Saturday, January 7, 2017

2016 Recap

Hau’oli Makahiki Hou!
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I hope this letter finds you and yours in good health and spirits. Chinese salutations commonly include wishes for good luck and good fortune, prosperity and happiness. As I age, I value good health above all and barring that, vitality at every age and any stage.

Self indulgent - that describes my 2016 filled with new adventures and fabulous friends.

Before
I started the year by completing my Family Trust documents with a local trust attorney. My impetus was two calendared trips to Europe, where random acts of violence are becoming more commonplace. (Funny how American gun violence, its scale of human carnage exceeded only by war, did not move me to get my Trust documents done.) And while I felt tearful and uncomfortable putting my final wishes in writing, I concurrently feel content knowing my estate will flow to the people and causes I care for most. I highly recommend getting this done - contact me for an excellent trust attorney.
After
Things accomplished on the home front: 1) I had a gargantuan shed built for yard tools, bicycles, etc. 2) exterior painting in “happy” colors, 3) kitchen facelift, 4) master bathroom remodel underway (out with the plastic shower/tub insert and in with walk-in shower, senior friendly fixtures allowing me to age in place). ALMOST done with all the beeeg home projects.

Celebrating Sixty: a catered birthday party at my home with friends and neighbors. Most were pleasantly pleased with the Asian-vegetarian menu. I dressed in a Mamo holoku with leis sent by my sister and cousin. I really had a wonderful time and plan to hold a 70th - so get your mu’u mu’u, Aloha shirt and slippahs ready! And if you no moh, I can fix that at Hilo Hattie’s, though you may sincerely regret it.

Bill, me, John
July found buddies Bill, John and I traipsing through the Dolomites in Italy, floating in Venice, museum-ing in Florence and archeology-ing in Rome. Fantastic trip, hugely educational, instrumental in sorting and sifting through random datas learned in school. 
WWI was fought in the Dolomites as Italy reacquired land from Austria. Austrian influence continues in language, excellent apple strudel and a beverage called a radler = 50% lemonade and 50% beer. DELISH and sooo refreshing. Try it!
For more details of this trip you can read my blog entitled, The Church at https://lorinzmuze.blogspot.com. You will need to scroll to the earlier posting.
the Dolomites
The run-up and aftermath of the Presidential Election left me in a blue funk. I have more than serious reservations regarding Donald Trump and sincerely hope he does well for our country. Fingers crossed, prayer flags flapping. Seriously - he needs our prayers - every US President does.

Two weeks before Christmas, John and I flew to Paris (John and I met the first day of our Master’s/Nurse Practitioner’s program at UCSF and have been fast friends since) - to take in the European Christmas markets (yes, the very ones Homeland Security advised to avoid), the Louvre, the d’Orsay, the Eiffel, Versailles, and Disney Paris. 
We knew crowds would be lighter - but we had no idea. Crowds were basically nonexistent. The typical 3-hour-line to view the Mona Lisa was 30-seconds. No filing by, pushed by the crowds. There was time to linger - even for a selfie. The spacious galleries were unencumbered; priceless and famous works, easy to find and enjoy. 
The size of Le Louvre - I had no idea. Did you know it is touted to be the largest building in the world? We visited the bowels of the building, where parts of the original castle keep and dungeons survive. Bones of the secondary palace are also still visible.
A less famous but by far the loveliest Venus.
The d’Orsay Museum is a beautifully restored and repurposed World’s Faire, train depot that houses the works of famous French Impressionists. You know their names: Monet, Manet, Degas, Rodin, Gauguin, Toulouse-Latrec, Cézanne, Renoir, Picasso, Van Gogh, Sisley. It was fascinating for me to detangle their names and works in my mind. And with the advent of smart phones - photos sans flash allowed!
We were unimpressed with the Christmas Market. Once a showplace for local artisans, it seems to have been usurped by China’s supply chain. And of course, security is a problem. Uniformed, armed, security forces prowled en masse. 
Picasso
Paris’ Christmas Market straddles Avenue des Champs Elysées. Naught but a flimsy, white picket fence separates the Market from the traffic. We moved along the edges - where we could duck and run - a horrifying reality. I said they would be better served by closing Avenue des Champs Elysées and moving the market into the street, where they could block the whole thing off. Two days after our return, the attack in Berlin proved me right.

About the family:
Mom has rebounded from two setbacks and like an old Timex, she just keeps on ticking. She will turn 92 in April and I plan to be in Honolulu to celebrate. 
Sister Gina has been instrumental in assisting Mom and the Aunties. She and husband Michael continue to live in Kaneohe and enjoy watching their grandkids grow.
Niece Lael and husband Darth had their first baby: Alanna Quinn Kalea. She turns one in January and I plan to attend her party in SoCal.
Nick and Lindsey’s daughter, my great niece Jaydalyn Ui O Nalani is four and started school at Kawaiahao Church. Before Christmas, they made a snowbank so the kids could play in snow. I receive a steady stream of photos on Jayda’s photo stream and I love feeling more included vs being the auntie way over on the mainland.
Collins son Davin Kekahi Ho’omaluhia (whew!) plays in the band, surfs and fishes with his Dad, and snowboards when they make it to California.

What’s on tap? 
We are experiencing the largest mass extinction of animals - EVER. A photo safari may be next - before they become extinct. 2018. Saving my pennies.
I am taking weekly and monthly ukulele lessons. Monthly, classical Hawaiian lessons with Uncle Saichi - who used to play back-up for Iz, Gabby and others. He speaks full-on pidgin-english and is full of island stories. Good fun! (I really can't fathom how the English speaking students understand a word he utters!)
Work at Kaiser continues to be interesting albeit a bit challenging. Still LOVE the people - and that’s everything; isn’t it?

Some thoughts for the new year from Khe Hy (billed as the Oprah of the Millennials):
1. Have more compassion -- for yourself and others.
2. Do the "Uncomfortable Introspection."
3. Get comfortable with stillness.
4. Live your truth.

Sounds like a sound plan. I’ll take it on. You?
Here’s wishing you and yours a fabulous 2017. Be well, keep safe, and do keep in touch.

Much love and Aloha to you always in all ways ~ Lorin

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Now What?

Now What?

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What was your first reaction to the Presidential election results?

By cartoonist Damien Glez
Florida had fallen before I retired near midnight. I slept fitfully and arose at 0425. The news was sobering for one with an intense dislike disdain for Trump. I am unable to excuse, justify or overlook his hateful spew. 
His comment about Senator (and former POW) John McCain, “I like people who weren’t captured,” is unconscionable. 

And while he claims to be a Christian, Trump admits he has never asked for God's forgiveness. "I am not sure I have. I just go on and try to do a better job from there. I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don't bring God into that picture. I don’t. …When I drink my little wine and have my little cracker, I guess that is a form of asking for forgiveness.” Um… yeah - maybe. I wonder if he knows what the little wine and little cracker are about?
I wondered why my Christian friends voted for him; so I asked. My Aunt said it was simple. “We stand for the sanctity of marriage and life. That’s it. God can use any vessel and we will pray for Trump.” Clear - I can respect that. Another evangelical friend said, “She was more of the same. We want change. But I am a little uncomfortable with the thing he said about John McCain.” A little uncomfortable? I’m outraged! Are you? When I asked my Dad’s remaining sibling and devout Baptist about it she said, “Well I can’t vote for a Socialist, I won’t vote for Hillary so whose left?” These are people I know and love. These are people I trust.

His Twitter tirades are sophomoric, a one-sided dress-down of the Pope, current and former US Presidents, Governors, Congressional members, journalists, newspapers, actors, private citizens, people with disabilities, people of color, in essence, anyone who has breached his very thin and chemically tanned skin.1 Why doesn't his total lack of civility matter? Character matters. Temper tantrums and tirades, by-the-way, are behaviors of the emotionally immature. Ask yourself - what is the developmental age of children who tirade? Two to… eight?

By illustrator Thomas McClure
When he was caught on tape  - the braggart boasting about “grabbing women by the pussy” - I was not shocked. It is completely consistent with his public persona. And 100 hours after airing his closing ad - a blatantly antisemitic, national ad - he’s inviting us to come together and heal?2    אױ װײ = Oy vey!

This is Trumps list of On the First Day To-Do’s:
Repeal every Executive Order enacted by Obama.
Obamacare: repeal and replace.
Recognize Israel: the days of treating Israel like a second-class citizen are over.
Recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the US Embassy.
Constitutional amendment to impose term limits for all members of Congress.
Announce plans to renegotiate NAFTA.
Label China a currency manipulator.
NATO has to be re-jiggered… for the better.
Hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce the federal workforce through attrition.
Make sure the middle class gets good taxes.
A five year ban on congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service.
Withdraw the US from the TransPacific Partnership (TPP)
Begin swiftly removing criminal, illegal immigrants from this country.
A lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.
Day one - we will begin working on an impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful, southern border wall.
The Muslim ban …has morphed into a extreme vetting from certain areas of the world.
A special prosecutor to look into Hillary Clinton.
A complete ban on foreign lobbyist raising money for American elections.
We’re gonna get rid of ISIS. We’re gonna get rid of them fast. 3
A pretty ambitious list - with some real pearls we are likely to see him walk back in the near future.

Now what?

The proletariat rose up and spoke - they did and they didn’t. Voter turnout hit a historic 20-year low with only 55% of voting age citizens casting a ballot. Clinton won the popular vote so when Trump claims to have a clear mandate - he doesn’t, he has just under 27%. He got the electoral college but he did not get the majority of voting Americans - and clearly - he did not get me.
A righteous rebellion against elites. I agree; citizens are tired of a system that enables the rich to get richer while the middle class foots the bill. Most of us can support that change but Trump’s hateful rhetoric also made a home for racists, sexists and xenophobes of every color: homophobes, Islamiphobes, immigrantaphobes, etc. …and that scared many of us/me.

By cartoonist Michel Kichka
We on the Left tend to paint Trump supporters with a broad brush as racist and xenophobes. In this post election week I have come to realize that people were drawn to Trump for many reasons. 
There are those hoping he will make good on his promises and bring back coal mining jobs. With the rise of fracking, a (theoretically) cheaper and cleaner source of fuel, only the uninformed would hold that pipe dream. 
Some look toward his promise to renegotiate NAFTA resulting in the return of industry and factory jobs to the rust belt. Experts say that job loss in recent decades was due to automation, not Mexico, and that to claim otherwise is naive or deceitful.  AND, if we got serious about renewable energy, the rust belt and its machinist workforce could rise again. 
Others hope he will “drain the swamp” as promised. How would he do that? The President has very little power to fire elected officials. Further he will need those alligators because, if he hasn’t noticed, the President can get very little done without Congressional swampees.
True conservatives hope for smaller government. Trump’s proposed federal hiring freeze and attrition could kickstart that movement.
Evangelicals aligned with him out of truth to their faith tenets. I get it.
Still others hope he repeals the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA was a start, not a final product. It needs many tweaks. 100% of us will use healthcare in our lifetimes. Citizens need access to affordable healthcare without exclusions for pre-existing conditions that allowed insurers to cherry-pick insurees to keep prices down. 

What’s difficult for people to understand is that we pay for people who don’t have health insurance through our taxes. And we pay at the highest price-point - when they are in crisis and seek care in the Emergency Department. Healthcare is not cheap but the absence of healthcare can forebode financial ruin.
By cartoonist JJ McCullough

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, a staunch Hillary Clinton supporter, will support Trump saying "It's very important that the American people coalesce behind the president.”4 He also says we “owe him our respect”. 
I beg to differ - respect is earned. Trump has disrespected large swaths of our population and others around the globe; he will need to make amends to earn my respect. An sincere apology would be a good start and I’m not holding my breath. That would be inconsistent with his public persona. …surprise me Donald.

Dave Chappelle, the African American host of SNL said in their first post election show, “I’m going to give him a chance. And we, the historically disenfranchised, demand that he give us one too.”

Van Jones, CNN commentator, spoke of Whitelash in an impassioned address during the wee hours of Wednesday morning. Later that day, he was more circumspect. “More empathy and understanding can keep us from needlessly inflaming one another, and this should create the conditions for a better understanding of our differences. Deeper insight can only help all sides.”
Talk (and listen) to someone with whom you don't agree. Ask questions about anything that doesn't sound right to you. But don't just fight back. Try to listen. In fact, before you respond at all, carefully repeat back what you hear -- just to make sure you truly understand the other person. Then share your own views and feelings. Be passionate. But be compassionate, too.”
In the week preceding the election, Van Jones went to Gettysburg and met with Trump supporters. He invites everyone to watch The Messy Truth and converse.5

  I know families torn asunder by this election. To them I say, neither candidate is worth it. Do not let an outsider disrupt the sanctity of your familial circle. Apologize, acknowledge your differences, agree to disagree, express support and get back to love. Find a way back to love.

I’ll leave you with a posting from Rick Hanson, a psychologist who teaches essential inner skills of personal well-being, psychological growth, and contemplative practice. This from his blog:
Last, I've found it really helps to have perspective. Without minimizing one bit of whatever is awful, it is also true that humans like you and I have been walking this earth for nearly 200,000 years. I see the trees, the land, the ocean - all of it here before me and lasting long after me. Empires rise and fall. Sometimes the center does not hold - in a body, marriage, or nation - and still. And still people love each other, go out of their way for a stranger, and marvel at a rainbow. Nothing, nothing at all can change this. We keep putting one foot in front of the other one, lifting each other up along the way.6

I will personally continue to live true to my core values: spreading Aloha in the world, striving to find grace and graciousness, filling my time with music, writing, daily exercise, key relationships and meaningful work. You?


1 - For the ongoing and updated list of Twitter insults, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/01/28/upshot/donald-trump-twitter-insults.html?_r=1





7 - Cartoons http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/09/opinions/gallery/cartoonists-around-the-world-react-to-the-american-election/index.html

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Teenagers

Teenagers

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This piece is from my private journals and was penned nine years ago - shortly after I moved into my Folsom house and before I knew my neighbors well. When I shared it with Marcie and Kurt some years later, they laughed until they cried. It is reproduced here with their expressed permission. Be advised it contains profanity.

Teenagers

The teenagers next door are enigmatic and fascinating creatures to watch. Both Mom and Dad are runners and appear to have a commitment to healthy eating and fitness as evidenced by a collective BMI below 105 for the entire family of five ...or maybe its just good genes.

Weeks before Christmas, I sat backwards on the top rung of my sixteen-foot extension ladder, coffee-breaking during the annual stringing of festive lights, when Mom and Dad returned home.
Lorin!” Marcie hollered, “Congratulate Kurt, he just ran the CIM!” She was his biggest cheerleader; their bond seemed easy and mutually acknowledging.
“Wow Kurt; that’s awesome! How do you feel?” I called down from my perch. I was genuinely interested having completed several marathons myself. We chatted briefly, me staring down from roof’s edge, he shading his eyes to peer up.

The covalent bond of DNA bequeathing a long, lean frame dominated their union and left little doubt that all three were their father’s children. The eldest, a girl, was long, lithe, lovely like her mother and tipping twenty. She sourced a constant stream of handsome, young suitors and drove with the reckless abandon of youth. 
The boys might be handsome beneath their veil, an unkempt, dirty-blonde, crop of curls. They appeared equal in height and age though one must be older lest they were… twins? Santa had previously delivered boxing gloves with which they pummeled one another in the front yard -amid the cheers and jeers of their friends. Avid skateboarders, they jumped curbs, lifts and rails in our cul-de-sac well into the night. 
That is… until one son inherited a car. It had been his sister’s until she bought one, now it was his. He spent hours parked outside my kitchen window — loving his car. And when I mowed, I gave him the opportunity to move, sparing a dusting of yard debris on its polished paint.

One day, I emerged from my house to find Number-1 son washing his car and spewing profanities across its roof at Venerable-father.
"Get out of my f___ face!" he roared, "I don’t want to talk to you right now!” I froze. Venerable-father’s voice was low; his words inaudible.
"I told you to get out of my f___ face!” Venerable-father retreated into the house and I followed suit.

I was shocked, appalled and contemplated my varied reactions and responses. What would I do if my 17-year-old said that, SHOUTED that at me?
“He shoulda beat the living shit outta him!” one of my co-workers offered vehemently.
“I don’t think so,” I countered, “That only teaches him to resort to violence when he is frustrated and angry. No, I’m sure that is not the answer.”
“He was wise to avoid a Jerry Springer moment,” Lucia said. She had raised three exquisite children, one of whom, between pre-med semesters, wiled away his working hours in the Emergency Department with us. Lucia had earned the right to weigh-in on this subject. “Nope, get him where it hurts; restrict his car.”
I noticed his car lovingly parked, stationary …for weeks.

One afternoon, having regained privileges, he drove in with his twin and two friends. I watched through my kitchen window as they loitered affectionately around his Honda, stroking it, petting it, caressing it — loving it. It was then, in the last lingering rays of daylight that they turned up her radio and let her rip:
Why? I wanna fuck a dog in the ass.
I wanna fuck a dog in the ass. Why?
They pranced and danced, encircling the Honda in a single-file, Kokopelli line - laughing, singing, pausing to rear up and shout in unison, “Why?”
I wanna fuck a dog in the ass.
I wanna fuck a dog in the ass. Why?
I wanna, I wanna…

A small smile seeped across my face. “Teenagers,” I shook my head and whispered in the immortal words of Mr. Spock, “Fascinating.”



Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Church

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St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City

The Catholic Church is arguably the largest church and curator of art in the worlds - both old and new. They include acquisitions accumulated over millennia, the crown jewels of which reside within the Vatican City. St. Peter's Basilica (SPB) is breathtaking with its soaring ceilings decorated in mosaic murals and larger than life, marble statuary. The Vatican Musei is filled with tapestries, paintings, carvings and curios to delight and enchant. Collected from every continent save Australia and Antartica, one could argue few were spared the sticky fingers, sleight of hand, and long reach of the Catholic Church.
Egyptian Obelisk
While the unmatched pillars of St. Peter's Basilica point to different quarries, they also tell the tale of booty, the pillage and plunder of other temples. Egyptian obelisks are the smooth, vertical stone columns that taper as they rise to a pyramidal top. Some are intricately carved, others are smooth as glass. Rome contains more obelisks than all of Egypt. They stand in silent testament to the human cost, carnage, enslavement and suffering of others.

Bernini's David - Borghese Galleria
 The coveting Cardinal Borghese (nephew of Pope Paul V) used position and power to take what he desired. Extortion and death were his modus operandi; trust blood was shed in the conveyance of his priestly duties. He used church tithings to commission and “acquire” works for his personal pleasure.
This tale was recounted at the gallery  -  "Pope Paul V willingly assisted his nephew's efforts to obtain the art works that aroused his interest. Through the influence of his uncle, Borghese secured the cooperation of the parish priest in arranging to have Raphael's famous Deposition stolen from the Baglioni family chapel in San Francesco, Perugia, for which it had been commissioned a century before." 1 When the chapel in San Francesco protested, Cardinal Borghese sent them copies - not one but two. The original Raphael however, remains in the Borghese collection.
The Villa Borghese was built to house his collection and continues to do so as a enviable, modern day museum. Perverse justice prevailed later as the family was forced to sell part of the collection for pennies on the Lira during the Napoleanic Wars. When Napoleon was defeated the art was not returned because justifiably, it had been sold not stolen. Some Borghese pieces must now be enjoyed in the Louvre.

Michelangelo's David - Musei Academia
The Medici family rose to power as merchants in Florence. Their family spawned two Popes and countless Cardinals. They too amassed great fortune and wealth through powerful and papal position. The family held sway over Florentine politic for hundreds of years. The last known Medici was a barren woman who bequeathed the family fortune to the city of Florence with two stipulations barring the sale and/or movement of their treasures. So the extensive collection now occupies every square inch of the four-story Galleria degli Uffizi, for all to enjoy.

Its difficult for me to reconcile the opulence and splendor of The Church with the squalor of the tithing peasant. I thought the same two years ago when visiting the lavish churches of northern Europe. Of these private art collections amassed by The Church; some works were commissioned, many were taken by force, coercion and extortion. It's difficult to stand in awe and overlook the human cost of these collected works. 
Michelangelo's Pietá. SPB, Vatican City
At the same time, I acknowledge we must thank the Catholic Church for patronizing the likes of Michelangelo, Raphael, Bernini, Caravaggio and more. Without patronage these masters may not have nurtured their proclivity or perfected their craft to produce in abundance. Had the Catholic Church not subsumed the “pagans” and their Pantheon, it would surely have been dismantled for parts.

One of my friends asked if I was spiritually moved by my Vatican tour. Sadly, for many reasons, I was not. It was easy to admire the work of the Masters, relishing their gifts and simultaneously difficult to dismiss the Church’s many means of acquisition.  One can point to the times - that is how it was. We too, after all, are not without sin. Some of our own founding-fathers owned slaves and treated them harshly. We can hardly judge them or the Roman Catholic Church by today’s standard. But what of more modern and continued abuses of power?

What of the Nun run mother-baby homes in Ireland: thousands of babies sold, and unmarked mass graves?2
Today, a headline would read: Nuns Trafficking Children to US.
   What of the double perpetration of pedophilia within The Catholic Church - the physical perpetration and subsequent denial and protection of perpetrators lasting decades? I laughed heartily when, in the early years, a papal spokesman had the audacity to call it “an American problem”. (I confess I resorted to obscene name calling; perhaps including even his mother and horse.)
What of the Bishop of Bling Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg, Germany accused of renovating his residence and other church buildings to the opulent tune of €38,500,000 (almost $43 mil) in 2013?3 (To his credit, Pope Francis acted swiftly, dismissing Bishop Elst and preaching against a Roman Catholic Church hierarchy he accused of being "overly insular and too often led by narcissists." Bravo! But I ask; has the power structure within The Catholic Church changed?

Lest I sound completely disgusted and cynical, I harken to a recent conversation with one of my youth pastors. Pastor Grant retired last year. We sat on a lanai just yards from the pounding surf of Oahu's north shore and discussed my absolute disillusionment with organized religion.
"Christ was very inclusive," I said, "And my experience of the church is not. Each sect harbors exclusionary criteria and their own special brand of we're going to heaven and you're not. It’s tribalism, pretty ironic and downright hypocritical. And how does one follow a doctrine when there is evidence of atrocities, secreted by leadership, that continues into the modern day?”
Wise man he, Pastor Grant spoke of the organization of the church versus the good people that comprise the Body of Christ - a distinction I found helpful. Admittedly, there are good and faithful people who are the flesh, blood  and bone of every church. That being said, doctrine that excludes, dismisses and diminishes others is not my cuppa and I believe is against Christ’s own teachings. And aren’t those offending nuns, priests, bishops, cardinals and Popes also part of the Body of Christ?

What is the practical application of one’s spiritual beliefs? How do we live consistent with our inner faith - and do we? Do I?
Am I kind and compassionate? Or do I use harsh words and knowingly cause upset? Am I thoughtful? Do I treat others with respect and dignity? Do I allow for their world view and self expression - even if it differs from my own? Do I apologize when I hurt others? Do my loves feel loved or judged?

In his book Generous Orthodoxy, Brian McLaren draws you toward a way of living that looks beyond the "us/them" paradigm to the blessed and ancient paradox of “we." He rates ‘orthopraxy’ (right behavior) over ‘orthodoxy’ (right thinking).4 Ah - me likey! The Chinese extol 'wu wei' (right action).

As I point fingers and cast aspersions at The Church, I notice the three fingers pointing back at me and think…
My support of Roe v Wade and a woman’s right to choose is perhaps ultimately no different than the cruelty of nuns in Ireland’s mother-baby homes albeit justifiable by todays standard. While I do not consider myself a single issue voter, when it comes to Roe v Wade - I am. I will defend a woman’s right to choose every - single - time.

Not every woman wants to be a mother. Not every man wants to be a father. Because we can (for which their is GREAT societal and biological pressure) does not mean we should. 
Societal inequities are unjustly foisted upon mothers. Did you know that on average, women earn 79 cents to a man's dollar. But mothers earn only 73 cents. And according to the National Women's Law Center (with numbers drawn from the U.S. Census Bureau): "Compared to white, non-Hispanic men, mothers of color fare even worse: African-American mothers make 53 cents and Latina mothers 47 cents compared to white, non-Hispanic fathers.” Not that the reasons to remain childless are economic - though they could be; and why not? Who are we to judge? Why should we foist motherhood upon those who don’t want it?
Women spend decades and 3/4 of their reproductive lives avoiding pregnancy. By age 45, more than 1/2 of all American women experience an unwanted pregnancy.5
“It wouldn’t force them to be mothers,” says a male friend, vehemently opposed to abortion. “It would force them to give birth.” And then what of the unwanted child and the rise, yet again, of backstreet abortions? Its a very complicated issue; I don’t pretend to have answers.

As an aside - during his highly entertaining albeit offensive (meant in every definition of the word) campaign, Donald Trump said to a breastfeeding mom “You’re disgusting.” Really Donald? With two words, he demonstrates his disdain for women, mothers, and his absolute cluelessness to the commitment of mothers to get them and their “screaming babies” to his rallies. Rather than applaud their Herculean efforts on his behalf; he derides and ousts them. Bigly interesting; donchya think? But I digress.

I am not childless by choice though I am infinitely happy in my circumstance. (Sometimes this seems important to disclose as I have felt judged for my childlessness.) Oh - you’re one of those women who chose career over family. How selfish. 
I am a barren woman - it seems we comprise about 10% of all women - and form what Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat, Pray, Love fame) calls the Aunty Brigade. I like being part of the Aunty Brigade, it has afforded me many opportunities. And Aunty Brigade is a far more powerful context than blaming, shaming, even amputating a woman’s hands, no less, for a barren womb.
Then why do I support Roe v Wade? Because notice that in all societies, women are the primary parent, they raise the children. I think they should have a say in the matter. Men certainly do. We have a long history of valuing the lives of men over women and we are at the tip of the iceberg in understanding what it means for women to have full authority and autonomy over their bodies and lives.

The Last Supper tapestry, Musei Vatican.
Having just returned from the Sistine Chapel and standing in awe before Michelangelo’s The Last Judgement, I admit my take on Roe v Wade may be flawed. Yet, I am immovable, implacable, entrenched and happy to remain so.
I recognize the harshness with which I judge organized religion and the Roman Catholic Church, and I appreciate my dilemma. Its an uncomfortable place. Hence - I write. I write to disentangle, to unpack and pull apart. I write to examine its parts and hope to find clarity. I write to understand - as if knowing will make a difference.

Ultimately, I see that my likely path is to accept that - this too, is so.

Footnotes:


3 https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/03/28/how-the-bishop-of-bling-spent-43-million-renovating-this-house/