18 November 2015

The Agony and the Apostasy

Yesterday, I more or less publiclyif you count the ten people who pay attention to my Facebook posts—renounced my participation in organised religion. And then I cried for a good half hour.

The breaking point had been coming for some time. For my entire adult life, I have been patiently explaining that “Christianity” is not monolithic. We have denominations, and we do not all believe the same things, but are bound together by a basic shared philosophy. The former two points are things I still find to be true. The latter is not.

The vast group of people who call themselves Christians do not share the same basic philosophy any more than the Daesh and Boko Haram, and pretty much every other Islamic group ever do. At best, we have a shared scriptural canon and a mostly shared history.

And I am tired of engaging in apologetics. I've tried, and I've failed.

I am probably still willing to call myself Lutheran, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, but that is so specific that I am not even sure how to go about explaining that. I just want to distance myself from any notion that I might be a Chtistian because I am ashamed of the idea that I might be perceived as such.

The irony is that when I was in elementary school, I attended a nondenominational youth group on Wednesday nights called AWANA (which stands for Approved Workmen are not Ashamed. The phrase is taken from Paul's second epistle to Timothy. Pretty sure it is in the second chapter). Well, perhaps I am not an approved workman, because I am damn well ashamed.

I am also disappointed.

I see nothing of Jesus in the cowards who will not allow Syrian refugees into our country. We did not let Jewish refugees into our country in the thirties, either.

I see nothing of Jesus in the people who hate gay people so much. I do not care what they think of me; I can take care of myself. But I do have a problem with a philosophy that instills fear in people. This has affected me personally, and both breaks my heart and makes me angry.

I see nothing of Jesus in the platitude that “everything happens for a reason” when someone is grieving. Eat that. That is not compassion; that is laziness and cowardice and selfishness.

I could go on.

What I find distressing is that when I, in a fit of pique, did post my anger, I was immediately greeted with the “don't paint us all with a broad brush,” “we aren't all like that,” “I am not like that.”


I've been fighting this fight for years. I know, better than a lot of people, to be honest, the differences between religious groups. It is not God in whom I have lost my faith, though my relationship with God continues to be complicated. It is the people who claim to follow the philosophy laid out in the Christian scriptures, and I shan't defend them any longer. I have taken enough arrows, especially this year. I am tired.

Take your own damn arrows.

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04 December 2014

There, but for the grace of God, go I. But where is the grace for her?

I knew what happened as soon as I saw the police report. Pronounced dead. Familiar address. No foul play.

We were not best friends, or friends, or Facebook friends, and the last time I can absolutely confirm that I spoke to her was twenty years ago. There is a possibility that it was actually as little as twelve years ago, but I doubt that. It does not matter. She was always kind to me.

Her obituary says that she died after a long illness, and that she wanted to be a doctor, but her illness prevented it. Were it me instead, my mom would write that I wanted to be a history professor/architect/journalist/Olympian/novelist, but that my illness prevented it.

Christ. This is one of the times that I want heaven to be real, and I want people to know they are in it.

It is not like I could have done anything. We were not friends, and even if we were it probably would have not made a difference, but I feel a very deep kinship with everything written between the lines in that obituary, and my heart aches for her. She did not deserve that pain.

12 August 2014

Why I am Still, Somehow, Alive

(Obligatory link to Allie Brosh)

I can tell you the precise minute the depression started.

I sat at the family computer playing Outlaws, an FPS from the late nineties. Dad was watching something on television. The call came at thirty-nine minutes past midnight on the fourth of July, Central Daylight Time, 2000 CE. I was one week and one day shy of sixteen and one half years of age; my grandma was sixty-seven, three months, and three days, and she was dead of pancreatic cancer.

The rest of that summer is something I remember as though both through a fog and also painfully clearly. For the first time since I was six, I did not go to Girl Scout camp. I sat on the couch and watched Designing Women, Golden Girls, and Murphy Brown. I ate little. I could not bear the thought of being away from my mother for longer than she was at work.

That is when it started. Other than a brief, incredibly unsuccessful stint with Xanax, I did not get proper treatment until after I was with my wife, and it took her over a year to convince me. I was twenty-five when I went on the Wellbutrin, and it saved my life.

Wellbutrin is not why I am alive; it did not keep me from killing myself, but it did and does make me able to get out of bed every morning on a fairly regular schedule. I have to do the rest of the work of being alive, like brushing my teeth and eating and working. Some days are easier than others. Even with the treatment, I remember my younger self and know that I am not the same. But that is not what this post is about.

As of this writing it is unconfirmed, but there is a good chance that Robin Williams killed himself because of his depression.

O Captain, my Captain.

My heart bleeds for anyone who loved him. I do not know exactly what he was thinking, but I can hazard what might be a pretty accurate guess based on my own experiences. I have given varying degrees of consideration to offing myself a rather alarming number of times, and the reasons why I felt like I ought to do it tend to boil down to the following:

  1. I've made a hash out of my life and burnt it. The egg is overcooked, and I am all out of eggs. Nothing is ever going to get better. I am a waste of oxygen and carbon. I felt this way a lot when I was in college.
  2. No one actually loves me; they are just saying that. I am particularly prone to this one when I am feeling lonely and everyone I know happens to be busy.
  3. The people I love would be better off without the albatross of me tied round their necks.
It is important to note that my friends and family do not deserve for me to think numbers two or three; I am surrounded by a lot of incredibly loving people. I also do not generally feel this way, but it has been often enough that I have been able to distill some specific reasons for continuing to live whenever I am thinking I would be better off dead.
  1. I saw what the death of a close friend's sister did to her, and if there is even the slightest chance that I could cause anyone that kind of pain, I would rather live with my own rubbish and just deal with myself for an infinite amount of time. I cannot imagine making my wife feel that way.
  2. My mom cried (I felt really awful for making her cry) and told me that it would destroy her if anything happened to me.
  3. I actually do not want to die at all. Like ever.
  4. Tonight, I was told by someone that she would be lost without me. That is now part of the list.

I shan't claim to speak for all people who deal with depression, but I can say this for me: when I want to die, it is because I feel useless, like a burden, and/or like I am unlovable. Note that I did not say unloved. Unlovable. It is a depressing state of mind in which I am certain that everyone I hold dear are holding meetings to discuss how ridiculous and awful I am, and how it is really annoying that they have to pretend to like me. I am not completely making this up because I have had a lot of people talk about me behind my back in my life. The difference is that depression makes it seem like the people I actually trust are doing it.

This, incidentally, is why I attempt to be as straightforward and probably impolite with people as possible. No one should ever have cause to wonder if it is all a lie. I do not know if not experiencing catty people with multiple faces would have left me permanently unparanoid, but it may have helped.

So, when I want to die, I feel useless and unlovable, and I used to not tell anyone because no one likes to hear that someone wants to die.

Fortunately for me, my wife gave me a cease and desist on keeping it to myself and so now I tell her. Telling someone I want to die and having them just acknowledge it makes me want to die less. If someone tells you that they want to die, resist the urge to get shouty at them. Just listen and give them a hug. It probably helps.

As pathetic as it is, I need reminders that people love me and are not going to just suddenly abandon me. I know it is a lack of faith on my part and that it is furthermore needy and obnoxious. Knowing that I am needy and obnoxious sometimes makes me hate myself, but it is what's up. Tell the people you love that you love them and why on a regular basis. Everyone will be better off. I, fortunately, am not mentally ill enough that I will lose all rationality and forget my personal reasons for staying alive, or the broader, general reasons for staying alive.

Not everyone is as lucky as I.

So even if you, a non-depressed person, do everything right, someone you love my still harm themselves.

It is not your fault.

My self-hatred and depression do not come from my treatment at the hands of my mom, or anyone in my blood family, or my wife, or anyone in my chosen family, or society. It comes from within, and that is a whole other post that I may or may not actually write.

I am not even certain of my point other than I have tried to explain why I am alive, that it is sometimes a dicey proposition, and that the primary reasons are that at least one person on this Earth reckons she would be lost without me, another says she would be destroyed, my wife would be really upset, and still others would be at least a bit sad.

And that is enough. I find meaning in my relationships. So long as I have the people I love, I can look at attempting to set the world on fire with something akin to optimism, and at the very least, keep being alive. May others be so lucky.

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21 January 2014


I dreaded going to her class. Dreaded it.

In my four years of high school, I only got detentions from her: seven of them in my first semester of freshman year. It got to be a joke. I would be in detention with a whole bunch of other people who never got detentions.

Miss Clark?” we would ask each other. Solemn nods all around, and then snickers. My best friend received a detention from her for “excessive happiness.”

Miss Clark was mean, and harsh. We found a certain unity in that no one was safe from her ascerbic wit, not even the smartest guy in our grade (probably, actually, in the entire school, for several years before and after our graduating class. Yes, you, Tom). At the time, the only redemption in going to her class was that she made it clear that she thought my archnemesis was the stupidest person she had ever come across.

God bless her.

Miss Clark wore starched men's button-down shirts, stonewashed jeans, and Birkenstocks every day, weather irrelevant. Her grey hair was shaved short on the sides and only a bit longer on top, just enough to curl a bit. And she did not give a good damn what anyone thought about her attire. She, alone of nearly all teachers at Sterling High School, had the spine to tell us when we were being idiots, when we were not thinking things through, or when we were being straight up careless. No one else talked to us like that. She was absolutely terrifying.

I dreaded her class, in which the powers that were enrolled me because I had the temerity to be on the drill team (Do Not Say A Word) and orchestra at the same time. My punishment, therefore, was to have class at half past seven in the morning with the most intimidating teacher I had ever had, who, I was certain, existed solely to torture me.

However, the great thing about it was---and it did not actually take sixteen years of retrospect to come up with this (in other news, Holy God I was a freshman sixteen years ago aaaaahhhhhh)---she never talked down to me. Other teachers would put on their Very Disappointed face and tell me that I simply was not applying myself, and I could do so much better, and I should prioritise their class, et cetera. Not so with Miss Clark.

“Holly Ivy,” she would say, keeping me after class. She always called me Holly Ivy. I do not know why. Probably specifically because it irritated me. “Holly Ivy, what was your point here? Don't say 'uh' to me. This paragraph is completely unecessary. Tell me what your point is here. I would somehow managed to stammer an answer. “Okay, so why did not not write that?” I would say something about how I was not sure if I was right.

In reply, she glanced up, on this occasion, at the door, then lowered her voice. “Holly Ivy. I don't give a damn if you agree with me or if I agree with you. I only care that you can make a decent argument. If your argument is dumb, I will tell you.”

Then she sat down on her desk and winked at me. “You know I'll tell you the truth.”

Damn right she would, like no other adult. If one were to looke up “Brutal Honesty” in a dictionary which included adjectives, Miss Clark's picture would be there, accompanied by no words. Somehow I survived that year.

Imagine my horror when I received my class schedule for my junior year and found out that I had Miss Clark again. I walked into her room, probably looking like I was being led to the gallows. She laughed at me. “Good to see you, too, Holly Ivy.” It turns out that she actually just hated teaching freshman.

Day two of her class, she took me to the book closet and I picked up copies of All Quiet on the Western Front, Catcher in the Rye, The Chosen, and five or six other books I cannot remember right off hand. This year, she said, everyone would read what they wanted, and we would write analytical essays, present our findings, and discuss each other's work in class.

It was amazing, for a couple of weeks.

Then, in a stroke of bullshit of enormous magnitude even for the powers that were at Ross Sterling High School, we were unceremoniously removed from Miss Clark's class and sent to the class of one of the most milquetoast individuals I have ever had the misfortune to come across.*

I did not really get the impact Miss Clark had on me for a few years, but I am pretty sure I survived the Honours program at Lee College because she started getting in my face about thinking at the tender age of fourteen. I survived my bachelor's degree because after having my wee fourteen year old ego ripped to shreds and then nuked from orbit, I was used to criticism and there was not a lot that could faze me. One of my professors actually, sarcastically, told me that she “assume[d] that [I] have more than two brain cells rattling around in there” while lecturing me on some transgression that more than likely had to do with my attendance.

In retrospect, that is one of the greatest complements I have ever received from a professor. Backhanded and brutal, but great.

Normally, when I write one of these essays about someone who had a significant impact on me who has died, I trot out the fact that I, fortunately, am not one of those people who “never listened and now it's too late woe and regret.” This remains true, but still I have some woe and regret because my thirty-year-old self wishes that my eighteen-year-old self would have had the damn sense to go get a mailing address from her so I could keep in touch. I am quite convinced that she had yet more wisdom to impart.

I did run into Miss Clark at the grocery store in Baytown a few years ago, and I hugged her and told her the standard rubbish about what I was doing with my life. I hope that encounter was enough for her to know the affection which I, in retrospect, held for her. I knew that I respected the hell out of her, and I am pretty sure she did know that, so I have that going for me.

However, last night, when I found out that she had died, I felt absolutely gutted. This is what it is like to not realise how much someone means to me until they are gone.

*This was actually the beginning of the end for my high school career. In retaliation for being put into this class, I tested out of junior and senior English. Then I tested out of junior and senior history. Then I tested out of health and government. I tested out of everything except for physics and mathematics. Eat it, GCCISD.

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02 October 2013

A Eulogy for Someone I Hardly Knew

My mom forwarded me the news of the death of one of our church ladies on Friday. My initial reactions were my standard “Well, that's a damn shame,” followed by “Wait, she's not that much older than Mom.”

Both of these statements are true, but for a few days, that was all I thought of it.

And then, at some point on Monday, it hit me what an actual profound effect this lady had on me, so I therefore entreat you to read the following, which was several days in the composition:

The Lady with the Hat: A Eulogy

The Lady with the Hat was Ms Nancy Borgfeldt. She is one of the first church ladies with whom I remember interacting upon our move to Saint Paul when I was six. She in fact introduced herself to Mom as The Lady with the Hat, which actually was a distinguishing feature, and pointed out that she might be harder to identify on days where the choir performed because her hats tended to clash with the robes.

Ms Borgfeldt sat on the right side of the church (an unfortunate habit which my mom has since picked up) a couple of rows in front of us, next to the side aisle. We were not best friends or anything; on the contrary, I tend to be extremely antisocial at church (I know that my being antisocial comes to an utter shock to my audience), and tried to avoid speaking to anyone at all, letting Mom do all the talking.

Despite our relative lack of personal interaction, Ms Borgfeldt left upon me a lasting, if subtle, impression.

Ms Borgfeldt often served as assisting minister (hatless, for the record), and the main thing I remember about her doing so was that when she did the readings,* you could feel that she was not doing it rote. She always read thoughtfully, pausing briefly where appropriate. When she served Communion, she always looked me in the eye, smiled, and said, “The blood of Christ, given for YOU,” with great conviction. Because she meant it.

This is to say that Ms Borgfeldt had a way of making God feel very real to me, and of showing the emotion she felt with her faith without the histrionics that one often associates with emotion in the context of God. She made manifest the love of Christ in her very being.

People like Ms Borgfeldt are why I still have faith, and I hope that she is in such a place that she can know that.

*For the uninitiated, we had a reading from the Hebrew Scriptures and another from the non-Gospel Christian Scriptures weekly, prior to the Gospel reading.

19 July 2013

The Man I Thought Could Never Die

Two years ago, I was starting dinner when my phone rang. I had quinoa on the stove and my hands were covered in something which precluded my answering the phone when my mom called. I asked Amber to answer it, which she did with some reluctance because she was still mildly afraid of my mother at that point.

“Hey Mildred, this is Amber. How are you?”

A brief silence ensued as Mom talked to her.

“Oh God.”

That prompted me to come round the end of the kitchen to see what was wrong. She looked at me.

“Your grandpa’s collapsed and they have not been able to revive him.”

It was eight minutes past five. I know this because the last sane thought which went through my head for some time was “TURN OFF THE STOVE.”

I tend to pride myself on not losing my shit during a crisis. James fell off a cliff and I kept it together while he was bleeding his way steadily through the sundry clothing items I had stripped off and tied round him. When Amber and I were moving from Wimberley and the drunk driver hit the lady in the minivan who then proceeded to roll several times down the embankment, and I fully expected to find a dead person when I got down there, I kept it together. When my aunt got in that horrible accident where we literally all thought she was going to die, I kept it together.

When we got the call that my grandpa had just had a heart attack, I totally, completely, utterly lost my shit.

While Amber got further information from my mother and presumably called whomever she did to take care of the wildlife, I ran around the house screaming, “No, no, no, nononono, NO PLEASE GOD NO,” and stuffing various toiletries into my backpack.

We were out of the house and on the road in less than ten minutes’ time. I drove (to give myself something to do), and I swear that not even being late for an exam has ever made me get to San Marcos that quickly. Pearsall, however, is an hour on the other side of San Antonio. San Marcos is relevant because that is when my phone rang again. Amber answered.

“Hello? Yes sir. Just a moment.” And then she turned to me.

“Esposa, you need to pull over.”

And then I lost my shit again. It is a wonder I got off of the highway without causing an incident. By the time we pulled off onto Jackson Street, I could barely see. I actually do not remember terribly well what my dad said, other than asking me if I was going to be okay to get the rest of the way to Pearsall. He did strongly suggest that Amber drive.

When we finally arrived at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, I walked off into the pasture where I spent a significant portion of my childhood. I realised that I had failed to pack any clothes, and as a result was wearing running shorts and feet shoes and would be wearing them for the foreseeable future. Grandpa would have thought my feet shoes were ridiculous city wear, and I wanted desperately for him to drive up, explain that there had been a mistake, and mock my wardrobe.

This afternoon, I relived that whole sequence like it just happened today. I spent this entire week dreading today. This is why I hate July. I also remember the night my grandma died. I was playing “Outlaws” on the computer when our phone rang just past midnight. Daddy did not even have to answer and I knew what it was because Mom was in Pearsall and there was no other reason for anyone to call us at midnight. I stayed up all night watching Designing Women and Murphy Brown because any time I tried to sleep, I went into full nightmare mode.

I think I eventually dealt with the immediate aftermath of Grandpa dying better than I did Grandma because I was twenty-seven instead of sixteen, and because Sarah and I manufactured a task for ourselves. Sarah compiled photographs and I wrote and designed the bulletin. When I was sixteen, I had nothing to do other than to remain very, very quiet. I also had ages to dread Grandma dying, while Grandpa took me flat aback.

The other difference was that I had actually gotten over my phone issues and called Grandpa a few days prior to the calamity, and the last I spoke to my grandma was months before. Grandpa, incidentally, was not great with hearing, and I cannot hear on the phone, so that conversation was actually really hilarious. There was a lot of “EH?” and “SORRY? WHAT?”

The last thing I said to him was, “I love you, Grandpa.”

The last thing he said to me was, “I love you too, Ivy.”

So at least I have that going for me.

27 June 2013

Commentary on Senate Bill Five, and How to Address Media Questions

The following is the work of a woman named Karen Elaine as I found it on Facebook. I am reposting it here for ease of distribution as the 'blabber to your mateys' option just gives the link to the bill itself. Do read this and take heed.

PLEASE READ THIS IN ITS ENTIRETY! IT'S LONG BUT IMPORTANT! When you go to this protest on Monday, PLEASE be informed and know the facts. Some of the media will attempt to make you look as stupid as possible, as if women are hysterical, emotional and totally unreasonable. As emotional an issue as this is for many of us, people are more apt to listen and take you seriously if you remain calm and logical in your arguments.

READ THE ACTUAL BILL (if you haven’t already) http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/831/billtext/html/SB00005H.htm

Beat the supporters of this bill at their own game and have your arguments ready as to why this bill is damaging to women.
a. Point one of the bill changes the time at which a woman can legally obtain an abortion from 24 to 20 weeks.
• YOU NEED TO KNOW that this provision is touted as being legitimate because of TOTALLY REFUTABLE evidence from only a handful of doctors that a fetus at 20 weeks can feel pain, and that there is substantial medical evidence THAT THIS IS NOT TRUE because pain receptors in the brain are not fully formed at 20 weeks of gestation.
• YOU ALSO NEED TO KNOW that the Supreme Court has established that a woman has a right to an abortion until the fetus is viable outside the womb, which is at the 24th week of pregnancy, and so this provision IS IN VIOLATION OF FEDERAL LAW.
• Please note that there IS a caveat in the bill allowing an exception that if after the 20 week mark the pregnancy is a threat to the life of the woman, and/or the fetus has serious health impairments, a doctor and woman can decide to terminate the pregnancy. So be careful NOT to use the argument about the safety of the woman and the health condition of the fetus as a reason to not pass the bill.

b. Point two of the bill involves restricting the dispensing of the abortion pill to licensed physicians only.
• WHY THIS IS DAMAGING TO WOMEN is because it would prohibit nurse practitioners and physicians assistants, many of whom run these clinics, from prescribing the drugs.
• This provision also limits the dispensation of the drugs only after an examination concludes that the fetus is 20 weeks or less in gestation and that the health of the mother and/or fetus is at stake. In other words, a woman seeking a purely elective abortion will not longer have access to the abortion pill and will have to undergo the surgical procedure.

c. Point three of the bill is the most concerning. This is the point requiring abortion clinics to upgrade their facilities to ambulatory surgical center standards (for information on what that means see this link http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/hfp/asc.shtm.)
• WHY THIS IS DAMAGING TO WOMEN is because only five of the current 42 clinics meet these standard.
• IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW that the bill gives a deadline of September 1, 2014 (about a year) for clinics to upgrade their facilities to meet these standards, but these upgrades are VERY costly.
• IT IS ALSO IMPORTANT TO KNOW that abortion providers already follow standard regulations and that both The Texas Medical Association and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists indicate that the proposed standards are not necessary for performing safe abortions.

Point three ALSO requires that doctors performing abortions have admitting privileges at a hospital within a 30 mile radius of where the abortion is being performed.
• YOU NEED TO KNOW that most hospitals in Texas do not grant privileges to doctors who perform abortions due either to religious reasons or out of fear that they will become targets of protest. It is also a COMPLETELY moot point if the other part of the bill requiring clinics to upgrade their facilities takes effect because everything needed to ensure the safety of the woman WILL BE AVAILABLE AT THE UPGRADED FACILITY.
• This part of the bill is a very thinly veiled attempt to shut down all of the clinics in the state, and particularly ones that women in rural regions have access to. This puts the burden on the pregnant woman to not only have the money to pay for the abortion, but also the money and ability to travel great distances to obtain the services. ALSO REMEMBER these clinics provide other important services related to women’s health care and shutting them down will restrict access to those services as well.
• SO YOU CAN ARGUE THAT IF, as the proponents of this bill profess, this bill promotes the safety and well-being of the pregnant woman, then what are they willing to do to ensure that a.) the clinics have the ability and funding to upgrade their facilities, and b.) that hospitals will allow admitting privileges to doctors who perform abortions? If this were TRULY about the safety and well-being of the women, the state would set aside funds for clinics to be upgraded, and/or provide tax incentives for clinics that do upgrade their facilities. They would also be setting aside funding for MORE of these surgical facilities to be created to increase women’s access to services, and taking action to force hospitals to give admitting privileges to doctors who perform abortions.

IN CONCLUSION, the bigger issue of the War on Women of which this bill is but one battle is that a primarily rich, white, old, male legislature is determining what SHOULD be a decision between a doctor, a woman, and whatever deity in which a woman believes (if any). They are not in there discussing the man’s obligation and role in a woman’s pregnancy in the first place, men’s rights to Viagra, standards for safe surgical procedures for vasectomies or prostate cancer, rape prevention measures, or appropriate and realistic sex education to prevent pregnancy in the first place.

If they are OUR representatives in the Senate, then they should be REPRESENTING THE BELIEFS OF THEIR CONSTITUENTS, and this poll indicates that a majority of CONSERVATIVE VOTERS in Texas do NOT support this bill. As such, the Senators are NOT representing the beliefs of their constituents. Here's a link to the actual poll data: http://gqrr.com/articles/2013/06/20/texas-voters-oppose-governor-perry-s-omnibus-abortion-bill/ (footnote: the research group that conducted this poll states it is "committed to progressive goals, ideas, and leaders." Take the validity of the poll results within that context. They did do a reasonable job at establishing a representative cross section of the Texas population based on political affiliation, had a good N (i.e. total number of people polled), and an adequate margin of error at +/- 4.)

Also, if you haven’t already, let your Senate representative know how you believe they should vote. If you already know s/he opposes this bill, still send him/her a message to encourage continued opposition to the bill. Follow this link to find out who represents you and their contact information http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/senate/members.htm

And finally, IF the bill passes, (and we HAVE to admit it very likely will), then focus your attention on WHAT WE CAN DO NEXT, such as finding non-profit funding to ensure the clinics can meet the upgrade standards within the time limit, putting pressure on hospitals to allow admitting privileges to doctors who perform abortions and on our legislators to ensure that this happens, mobilizing transportation programs to get women in rural areas to the clinics that remain open, and seeking legal representation to take the provisions of this bill to the courts to be overturned as was the case in states such as Arizona, Georgia, and Idaho. And VOTE in the next election to get legislators into office that DO represent our interests.