Justice and freedom

Much as I try to keep news and politics out of the blog, there are some topics I can't ignore. Yesterday George Zimmerman was declared not guilty of shooting Trayvon Martin. Today the New York Times reports that in the last 12 hours over a million tweets were sent on this subject. I received some of those, and I agreed with most of them. This verdict was a travesty. We must, if we believe in the rule of law, accept that jury's decision. But we don't have to accept the NRA-sponsored laws and the social constructs that encouraged Zimmerman's actions. Those can be changed, with determination and hard work. But personally, I am ashamed of Florida and ashamed of this country. It's the 21st century and we're still struggling to end racism? What's it going to take?

As a woman I find it equally frustrating that this week in Texas they voted to limit abortion to 20 weeks and severely reduce access to clinics that provide abortion and other health services for Texas women. Yes, there will still be five clinics left open—in a state that that covers 268,820 square miles and has a population of 26.1 million residents. Texas residents have the highest uninsured rate in the country (nearly 29 percent, in 2012, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index), and Medicaid is closed to anyone earning more than $196 a month, so how low-income women are going to get help is a mystery.

Legislators declared that they're "protecting" women and the unborn, though without doubt some women will now die from botched abortions. And should they decide to have the child, they can't count on help or medical care for it either. Governor Perry has so far refused to participate in the Affordable Care Act, which would expand Medicaid.

Those on the right see all this as a reflection of true freedom. They deplore government intervention in all its forms, but think it's fine to dictate to women when it comes to health and personal decisions. If it weren't so serious it would be laughable, since many of these men don't appear to have a clue as to how women's bodies work.

Since one definition of freedom is the right of self-determination, I wonder how our freedom-loving legislators justify their thinking. Depriving women or blacks of their right to determine their personal lives (which includes going for Skittles and getting an abortion) while at the same time promoting "freedom," is contradictory, stupid, racist, and anti-woman. Are we really in the 21st century?