Ruthless Reality: How and why abortions were make Illegal or unattainable in 1971 as a political strategy for President Nixon to win re-election

by faithgibson on March 16, 2019

in Personal Stories, Women's Reproductive Rights

An easy shortcut to share ~

Pregnancy – planned or unplanned – is a gender issue that originates with the male of the species.

The way to eliminate non-medical abortions is to stop the problem at its source — the end of the penis of the man who is about to father a baby.

Since we know this social & ethical problem originates with men, the cure is both simple and effective:

“If you don’t want to raise a baby, then don’t ejaculate in a woman’s birth canal! “

This eliminates the complicated issue of unwanted pregnancies, which simultaneously eliminates the need for abortion services, and best of all, gets male legislators, judges and US Supreme Court Justices out of the business of legislating and criminalizing abortion services.

Every baby has a birthright to be a welcomed, well-cared for child that makes his or her parents happy and proud. A happy childhood is the best preparation for becoming a healthy, happy and productive citizen ^O^

~ 1920 to 1971 ~

Surprising Facts: 51 years of positive Republican politics on:  

1. Family planning services
2. Safe and legal abortion services
3. Women’s reproductive rights

This post is the second half of a political report from another of my websites.

Recap of Part I: The previous post told a very different political story about the Women’s Equal Rights movement and publicly-financed access to effective contraception and safe abortion as a regulated medical service.

These policies were not something that originated with, was promoted by, or even supported by the Democratic Party.

Before the 1980s, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and access to women’s reproductive health services (including contraception and safe legal abortions services) were NOT partisan issues, except to note that historically, Republicans offered more support for the ERA, family planning, Planned Parenthood, and safe abortions services than the Democrats.

Political support for Planned Parenthood began in the 1920s with Republicans substantially outnumbering Democrats.

In the 1950s, notable conservatives like Barry Goldwater and his wife served on the board of their local office of Planned Parenthood, signaling that family planning was, politically speaking, a “family value“.

Legalizing access to contraception as provided by Planned Parenthood was broadly supported by both doctors and clergymen.

In 1960, Planned Parenthood’s Clergymen’s National Advisory Council issued a statement titled “The Ethics of Family Planning“. It described family planning as fulfilling “the will of God” by allowing “married couples to enjoy intercourse for the sake of love”.

When efforts to legalize abortion first began in the 1960s, it was not spearheaded by women’s rights organizations but the doctors, lawyers, and clergymen that ran Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood, legal abortion, and Title X were all supported by none other than and Republicans Barry Goldwater, and former presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.

Politicizing female biology for to gain a partisan advantage:

GOP wages war on women’s reproductive issues for 57 years as a partisan strategy to win elections

The partisan demonizing and subsequent dismantling of legal abortion began during Nixon’s first term. In 1971, senior White House adviser, speechwriter, and right-wing conservative Pat Buchanan told the president that his prospects for re-election would be dramatically improved:

“if the President should publicly take his stand against abortion, as offensive to his own moral principles.”

Buchanan, who’d been born into an Irish Catholic family of nine and was the recipient of 12 years of parochial schooling, explained to Nixon that abortion had become “a rising issue and a gut issue for Catholics“.

Buchanan pointed out that opposing legalized abortion would guarantee him the vote of Roman Catholics and Christian conservatives, as well as their support in perpetuity for the Republican Party.

Both men knew that Nixon didn’t actually oppose lawful abortion. Just two years earlier – 1969 — Nixon had happily signed Title X. This is a federal law that funds family planning services, contraceptives and safe legal abortions for low-income women, members of the military and their dependents both in the US and when serving abroad.

Nonetheless, Nixon quickly jettisoned his previous support of abortion and enthusiastically embraced Pat Buchanan political advice by adopting the Catholic Church’s position on abortion — that human life begins with conception — and publically presenting himself as a ‘born-again’ anti-abortion convert who was staunchly ‘pro-life’.

In his public statement later that same week, he described his:

personal belief in the sanctity of human life — including the life of the yet unborn.”

Unfortunately, the political hypocrisy of Nixon’s public statement was revealed in 1973, when he was caught on tape saying:

There are times when abortions are necessary

Then Nixon went on to mention a pregnancy resulting from sex between “a black and a white” a reason why abortion would be “necessary”.

(ref# 24; These TruthsA History of the United States by J. Lepore, 2018).

If interested the broader political background and details, the Tiny URL below takes you to the original (longer) version  

Part Two

The GOP decided to make abortion illegal or unattainable as a political strategy to win elections.

That means wealthy women win, while poor women lose, as well as their families and the rest of society. 

I cannot continue this part of the story without truthfully describing the actual reality of illegal abortions, facts that I lived with as an ER nurse in a busy hospital in the years before Roe v. Wade

Simply making abortion illegal and unsafe did not mean that abortions didn’t occur, just that they were dangerous illegal back-alley procedures sought out by desperate women and performed by people that didn’t know what they were doing.

Bungled abortions included unwashed hands and unsterile instruments; both dramatically increased the risk of virulent infection or torrential hemorrhage that ended in death or disaster for the mother

All About the Money: Abortions for the Rich and Famous ~ Easy-peasy!

The first and most fundamental truth about anti-abortion laws in the US is economic, that is, wealthy and/or well-connected women have absolutely NO problem getting an unwanted pregnancy lawfully and safely terminated.   

These wealthy women just get on a plane and fly off to another state or country where abortion is lawful. That ‘choice’ also provides these economically secure women access to a well-staffed clinic or hospital and well-trained professionals who have the knowledge, skills, sterile equipment and access to emergency resources that virtually assures a safe outcome.

But the benefits of wealth are not restricted to women alone, as the men who impregnated them directly benefit from their ability – via wealth — to have these inconvenient problems just ‘go away’ almost as if by magic.

Newspapers occasionally run stories about right-wing conservatives — US  Senators, Congressmen or high-ranking political operatives — who quietly arranged and paid for a legal abortion for a mistress or Paramore. Obviously permitting his girlfriend to give birth to his baby would have created a scandal and threatened his career. So he was delighted to pony up the bucks to fly his sweetie off to someplace that, for a price, would quietly and safely relieve him of this burden. 

Odd thing, but in the 45 years since Roe v Wade became the law of the land (1973), I’ve never heard a single anti-abortion activist mention this loophole for the wealthy. Nor have I heard any of them suggest the passage of laws that would prohibit women of childbearing age from off flying to countries with legal abortion services unless they first provided the airline with a certified copy a negative pregnancy test performed within the previous 24 hours. 

I can only assume that millions of anti-abortion activists believe safe legal abortions are OK for wealthy women, but not for ordinary American women of limited means.  

Abortion for the not-rich, not well-connected, very ordinary & often very desperate women of limited means

While we tend to think of abortion as mainly a problem for teenage girls and single women, the vast majority of women that seek abortion services already have families of several other children.

When illegal abortions go wrong, they leave orphaned children behind.

My role as an ER nurse brought me face to face with terribly disturbing realities that most anti-abortion activists are unaware of, or they knowingly refuse consider

For example, ER nurses can tell that a botched-abortion patient has been admitted to the unit by the putrid and fulminating smell of sepsis. At this stage of a virulent infection, the fetus would have already died. If the mother was very lucky, the permanent damage would only be irreversible infertility, since this kind of pelvic infection eats up her fallopian tubes and ruins her ovaries.

If unlucky, she would also die a painful and miserable death from the infection.

Funny thing, but when pregnant women die as a result of a botched abortion — whether self-induced or at the dirty hands of a back alley butcher — the UNBORN BABY always DIES as well.

For anyone who wants to save unborn fetuses, I’m here to tell you that making abortions illegal does not accomplish this goal, no matter how well-intended you might be.

Me peeking over my mom’s shoulder at my brand new little brother Roger born Jan 26, 1949

Making abortion illegal in the US, which is to say unattainable — whether the barriers are financial or geographical, disproportionately targets poor women with many other children or very young women without an independent income. 

Often these are single mothers who are the family’s sole support. When they die from a botched abortion, their children are orphaned and become wards of the State. 

This demographic of not-rich women cannot afford to drive or fly to another state or country to access legal and safe medical services. And for the same economic reasons, these demographic groups of women can least afford to lose their job due to pregnancy or the need to care for a newborn

A different but no less disturbing reality of our crazy abortion laws are the changes made to Title X some years ago by a GOP-dominated Congress 

When Title X was first passed (and signed by President Nixon), it specifically authorized medical facilities run by the US Armed Forces to provide safe abortions services to members of the military and their family.

But Several years ago, a Republican-dominated Congress amended this federal law in an “across the board” prohibition of abortions services under all circumstances. It denies funding to women’s health clinics overseas if they so much as provide information to the mother about where she can find safe and legal services. 

This restriction also applies to military doctors and prohibits them from providing abortion services when the fetus has birth defects incompatible with life, such as anencephaly (absence of the brain). These mothers are forced choose between (a) an out-of-pocket expense over $10,000 OR (b) enduring their doomed pregnancy for 9 months, while the family lives every day with the knowledge that the baby will be stillborn, die at birth or shortly after. 

Illogical anti-abortion politics compared to IVF & ‘disposal’ of fertilized eggs

Recently the Alabama Legislature passed a Draconian anti-abortion law based on the “Right-to-Life” movement’s position that life begins at conception, thus equating abortion to murder. The Alabama law is the first to make abortion illegal from conception on with no exception for victims of incest or rape. Performing an abortion is now a felony, with doctors and other healthcare providers facing a 99-year prison sentence.

Based on this “life begins at conception” definition, the moment the sperm penetrates the ova — even if this is an act performed under a microscope in the laboratory of fertility clinic — conception has occurred and any destruction of the fertilized egg or failure to keep it viable would logically equate to murder.

However, when Republican State Senator Clyde Chambliss was asked if his state’s sweeping abortion ban also prevented IVF clients from discarding embryos and other fertilized eggs held by the clinic.  He replied

“The egg in the lab doesn’t apply. It’s not in a woman. She’s not pregnant.”

Obviously, there is no biological difference between a fertilized egg while it is in a lab and that same fertilized egg after its implanted in a person.

When a fertility patient successfully conceives or decides to end fertility treatments, she simply gives the clinic permission to discard these fertilized unused embryos. This is carried out without fanfare, controversy, objection by the Roman Catholic Church or Right-to-Life picketers carrying signs up and down the sidewalk in front of the fertility clinic with pictures of ‘unborn’ fertilized eggs.

So let me reiterate these two different concepts of “conception”

(a) When a man ejaculates in the birth canal of a woman, and conception occurs in one of her fallopian tubes when his sperm and her egg meet up ‘naturally’, we say: “Life begins at conception” and consider the fertilized egg to be a separate and solitary (although very small) human being who falls under the protection of the US Constitution, with all the inalienable rights of an empowered American citizen. In these cases, any termination of pregnancy as a criminal offense necessitating a felony murder charge against the woman and her doctor.

(b) When a man ejaculates in a paper cup and the doctor uses a very long needle to puncture the mother-to-be’s abdomen and retrieve an unfertilized egg from her ovary, and conception occurs as a man-made medical ‘procedure’ that brings his sperm and her egg together in Petre dish, the resulting fertilized egg is not considered to be a separate and solitary human being of the sort that falls under the protection of the US Constitution. In such cases, post-conception fertilized eggs may be disposed of as the woman wishes (or necessity requires) under ‘business as usual’ rules, without any further regulation, legal restrictions or causing a big public brouhaha.

Distinction Without A Difference

This is an irrational distinction without a difference and represents either hypocrisy or a gross misunderstanding of biology.

A technological “Meet Up”, as the woman’s big round egg is penetrated by her partner’s sperm and its long wiggly tail drops away and the miraculous biology of cell-division begins a process that results in a new human being nine months later

‘Arbitrary and Capricious’ Equals ‘Unconstitutional’

In the 1970s, a US Supreme Court decision written by Justice Brennen established as a point of law that it was “arbitrary and capricious” to treat two things that were the same as if they were different, or to treat two different things as if they were the same, thus making any such law unconstitutional.

For example, you are a business open to the public, such as a restaurant selling food to people who can pay for their meals, but refuse to serve certain individual customers or a certain category of persons because of their color, religion, nationality, or other factors that have nothing to do with their ability to pay for the services your establish provides, then your actions are arbitrary and capricious, thus unconstitutional and illegal.

Based on this same legal principle, it is unconstitutional to treat certain fertilized eggs differently, depending on whether the conception took place in the mother’s fallopian tube or a Petre dish.

As a point of logic, that means society must do one of the two possible actions listed below, keeping in mind that they cannot do both simultaneously, as that would be unconstitutional under the theory of “arbitrary and capricious”:

(a) Declare constitutional personhood for ALL fertilized eggs and find a welcoming uterus for each one and every one of those hundreds of thousands of fertilized eggs, or failing that, have the American taxpayers pay to keep frozen in perpetuity those thousands of ‘unadopted’ fertilized eggs, or if that doesn’t fly, issue death certificates for each unadopted frozen egg, followed by a funeral

(b) Accept the termination of pregnancies during the first 14 weeks** by making peace with this issue just as society has already done with the disposal of unwanted or unneeded fertilized eggs.

{**14 wks equals 90 days after conception since pregnancy is calculated from the first day of the missed period. However, ovulation occurs 14 days after the first day of the last period, and that is when conception takes place. The way we currently calculate pregnancy, a mother-to-be isn’t pregnant for the first two weeks of her ‘pregnancy’}

Actually, the political issue is a whole lot simpler than that, since the GOP doesn’t really care about the hundreds of thousands of frozen fertilized eggs in the refrigerators of corporate-owned fertility clinics. Nor does it wish to provoke the ire of the thousands of families desperately trying to conceive every year. IVF is a situation that simply does not lend itself to being exploited into the high-octane political ‘wedge issue’ that the GOP has so easily (and profitably!) turned its anti-abortion efforts into.

In addition, the combined cost of pre-treatment fertility drugs and in vitro fertilizations generated an estimated $8 billion dollars in the US last year, so this is an industry with lots of corporate clout and political sophistication.

So the GOP is perfectly happy to have wealthy and/or well-connected women fly off to another state to partake of safe and legal abortion services. Certainly, the American airline industry and medical clinics in other states appreciate the business!

The GOP is also perfectly happy to have all those “unborn” baby eggs stored in the freezers of fertility clinics and let them be ‘discarded’ when no longer wanted by their ‘parents’. Certainly wouldn’t want to tip that $8 million-dollar ship or make any of its wealthy donors unhappy!

Strike Three: the GOP’s failure to support policies that prevent unplanned pregnancies

It’s not just the Republican stance on IVF that makes the political nature of their anti-abortion agenda so clear — that they need the anti-abortion fight to go on and on because it is so good for their “brand”.  We know this is a fact by their refusal to support legislation that would reduce the need for abortion services.

If the GOP was genuinely concerned about the health and wellbeing of girls and women and their minor children, they’d make birth control freely accessible and affordable and loudly proclaim that preventing unplanned pregnancies was an important adult responsibility and a core “family value“.

Instead, politicians fight to make birth control harder to get and prevent young people from accessing information that could keep them healthy and limit unwanted pregnancies.

Obviously, the GOP doesn’t really care about when life begins or the saving frozen fertilized eggs. Their only goal is to whip up hysteria and then use it to gain a partisan advantage.

The Ultimate Nightmare ~ a real-life story you’ll never be able to get out of your mind!  

But the damage of unsafe illegal abortions is NOT strictly a problem for mothers. In many cases, these tragedies involve other family members, including small children, and ultimately ruins other lives. One example is provided by the first-person account of a man in his late 50s, recounting events that occurred when he was a child.  

It began when he was 7 years old and living with his mother and 15-month-old baby sister. One evening after the two children had been put to bed, his mother went into the bathroom and locked the door.

Early the next morning his baby sister woke up hungry and crying hysterically to be picked up and fed. But oddly, his mother did not come out of the bathroom to take care of the baby, in spite of his calling her again and again. So he got up and banged on the door and kept calling her, but she wouldn’t come out and didn’t say anything to him.

He didn’t know what was wrong or what to do next, except to give his crying baby sister a bottle. This settled her for a while, but her night diaper was soaked. He did his best to change her diaper, but he couldn’t get it to stay put.

Many a grown man has failed to figure out how to get a diaper to properly cover the business-end of a wiggling infant and keep it in place while trying to stick sharp pins into the diaper without harming the baby or jabbing one’s own fingers.  I can’t imagine trying to do this as a 7 year old child.

But that first bottle and diaper change was only the beginning of the many problems these children faced. By the end of the day, milk carton was empty so he could no longer give a bottle to his baby sister. He tried to stop her cries by stuffing tiny morsels of different foods in her mouth, while staving off his own hunger with dry cereal and cold leftovers.

The warm sunny day gradually faded into a cold dark night. There was no heat in the house and he didn’t know how to turn the overhead lights on. The little boy did his best to take care of his baby sister, but still, he was only 7.

He was lonely, frightened, and just  couldn’t understand why his mom wouldn’t come out of the bathroom in spite of his pleading and knocking on the door. After it got pitch dark, he took his little sister to bed with him, but his inability to diaper her properly meant that both of them got wet and cold and smelled bad. It was the longest and most miserable night of his young life. 

This living nightmare melded into a long and increasingly intolerable second day. By then all the accessible food had been eaten and the children had no more dry clothes. There was no one for him to talk to, no one to comfort them, no way to know how much longer this would go on, and worst of all, no explanation for why his mother wouldn’t come out of the bathroom and take care of them like she usually did.

Had he done something to make her mad at him? Was he being punished? Even so, why wouldn’t she come out to take care of his baby sister? Surely she hadn’t done anything to deserve being neglected like this. No answers came.  

Finally, a neighbor happened by late in the afternoon of the second day and found the two children all alone. The reason was soon apparent. After breaking the lock on the bathroom door, they found his mother lying dead on the floor in a dark pool of her own blood, the fatal consequences of her attempt to abort an advancing pregnancy.

The brief but shocking glimpse of her partially-naked body smeared with blood and folded into a crumpled heap on the bathroom floor can never be erased from his adult mind. 

This badly traumatized little boy grew up to be a man whose life was forever haunted by this tragic experience.  Nonetheless, he was willing to share the story of these horrific events with a national radio audience, hoping it would keep this awful thing from befalling other mothers and other children.

The take-home message is simple — society is obligated to be both ethical and compassionate by providing access to effective contraception and safe, legal abortion services.

The cost of the alternative is just too high — gruesome, painful and unnecessary maternal deaths and unborn fetuses and orphaned older children forced to bear the unbearable.  

The Endless & Illogical Gender War to Control Female Reproductive Biology

In general, men do not bear any of the burdens associated with pregnancy — not the physical experience of morning sickness, not stretch marks, awkwardness, anxiety over finances or the loss of income at a time of increased expense.

Instead, many men choose a one-night fling or have affairs and then go away, leaving the impregnated woman to live alone every hour of every day for nine long months, endure many hours of painful labor and the hard work of pushing an eight-pound baby out and then breastfeeding him or her round the clock. This is inevitably followed by shouldering near-total responsibility to raise the child for 18-plus years.

And yet it is men with power and influence — priests, ministers, rabbis, legislators, lawyers, judges, governors, presidents, and big donors to partisan politics — who insist that the female gender does not have the legal authority to determine their own reproductive biology, nor does she ethically deserve to choose whether or not they are able to take on the life-long responsibilities that go along with raising a child at that time in their lives.

This attack on contraception and abortion is in direct contradiction to the 1972 the US Supreme Court, in which Justice Brennan wrote:

“… it is the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion  into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to beget or bear a child.” (ref #13, These Truths: History of the United States; J. Lepore, 2018)

It always wonders me when I see a room full of men in expensive suits, wearing fancy watches and pontificating about the woman’s absolute responsibility to avoid getting pregnant as if men played no part in the act of conception.

My eldest daughter got the man’s part in sex and reproduction exactly right when she said:

If you don’t want a baby, don’t ejaculate in the birth canal! 

A goodly number of these same wealthy and influential men have at some time in their life ejaculate in the birth canal of women they don’t want to raise a baby with. If she got pregnant, they either claimed they don’t know her or arranged to fly her to Canada for a nice quiet (and very safe) abortion.

Obviously, the way to end unnecessary abortions and irrational shaming of women must begin and end by immediately putting the responsibility squarely where pregnancy has always begun (with male ejaculation) and where it always belongs — with the men who chose have sex.

If any individual or any group wants a focus for their outrage, it’s proper place is on the man who fathered this “unwanted” child.

When a man chooses to ejaculate in the birth canal, he is logically responsible if his female partner becomes pregnant and it is he who logically must bear the cost for caring, feeding and raising the child.

By putting the blame, and shame, as well as the social and economic expense squarely, where it truly belongs — on the man who ejaculated in the birth canal — this debate, which is anti-woman, unethical, frequently fatal for both the woman and her unborn fetus, will no be able to be used and abused as a political football to gain a partisan political advantage.

Once we focus on the REAL ISSUE – men who ejaculated in the birth canal of a woman they don’t care about enough to be responsible for having impregnated them, the partisan issue of abortion will vanish like wisps of fog in the early morning sun.

This is where and how we stop abortions (both legal and illegal) and all their immediate and downstream consequences in instances were the termination of pregnancy was not a medical or personal necessity.

A Certain Class of Men

Until then, we will continue to have a certain class of men — mostly wealthy and in positions of political power, insulated by our social institutions against the effects of their actions — that will continue to insist it is solely the woman’s responsibility to prevent unplanned pregnancies.

And should she fail for any reason (he refused or forgot to use a condom or it broke) and her male partner decides not to “play house”, she is illogically bound to welcome the pregnancy gracefully and without complaint, and become solely responsible for supporting and raising the child.

These same men, and many others like them, boldly insist that it is “right and proper” to pass laws that make safe abortions either illegal or inaccessible. Likewise, they insist they are doing God’s bidding by sponsoring laws that permit the criminal prosecution of women they suspect of directly or indirectly causing a miscarriage or doing something while pregnant they believe might be risky to the developing fetus.

This kind of propriety “Father/Doctor Knows Best” thinking extends to term pregnancies when the obstetrician’s preference or the hospital protocols is to perform an elective Cesarean for any one of a long list of supposed problems they define as an “indication” for Cesarean delivery — a large baby, post-dates, normal twin pregnancy, breech, or if the mother had a previous Cesarean delivery, etc.

If she refuses this advice, the doctor or hospital attorney simply call a juvenile court judge and generally get a court order to perform Cesarean surgery without the mother’s consent.

All this is promoted by well-meaning people, as well as politicians seeking votes, and others who don’t know the real facts about unsafe abortions or just don’t care.

Nonetheless, many people who think of themselves as patriotic citizens devote years of their life collecting and disbursing many millions of dollars in order to convince state and federal legislatures to close clinics and criminalize abortion services.

This kind of “play to pay” wealth is also used to finances election campaigns that promise to bring about more favorable anti-abortion rulings by the US Supreme Court (i.e. more restrictive and punitive, including criminal charges). 

Apparently, they want to be sure that other 7-year olds somewhere in America become orphaned and permanently traumatized when their mothers, desperate and in dire financial straits, attempts to end an untenable pregnancy, only to die on the bathroom in a pool of their own blood, leaving behind their orphaned children in a bottomless pit of sorrow.

God help America, land of dispassionate, clever, mean and heartless hoards of arrogant, uber-rich and politically influential men who have convinced themselves that they alone know what is best for girls and women.

They believe they have the final say over all female reproductive functions, thus reducing the status of adult women to property, like earlier generation of slave owners, like breeder cattle, with “ownership” rights in the hands of male relatives, doctors, lawyers, and judges.

But these ‘alternative facts’ are flat wrong. Furthermore, no self-respecting man would stand for this if the gender roles were reversed.

The Critical Missing Ingredient – Civic Virtue

This is illogical and wrong for so many reasons, but the biggest of all is that it leaves out civic virtue — ethical principles that apply to a fair and functional government and the simple verbs of human compassion and caring for the weak and vulnerable with empathy and tenderness.

It leaves out the Golden Rule: 

Do onto others, as ye would have them do onto to you



Easy shortcut to share the link:

Me on the occasion of my 76th birthday with my eldest daughter — the one born in the back seat of our Renault in the hospital driveway in my attempt to avoid to routine use of Twilight Sleep drugs, general anesthesia, episiotomy and unnecessary  forceps delivery



A Personal Note for those who wonder:

I am a religiously conservative Judeo-Christian.

Historically, my mother’s side of the family were Mennonites who emigrated to the American colonies from Bern, Switzerland (via Amsterdam) in 1737.

My father’s side of the family were Boones who emigrated from England to colonial America in the early 1700s to escape religious persecution. They were early members of the Religious Society of Friends (know as Quakers). One of Daniel Boone’s brothers — Charles — was an 8th great grandparent.

Both of my ancestral families were motivated by a genuine religious belief that arose with the Protestant Reformation.  In 1517 a Catholic priest by the name of Martin Luther nailing a list of 95 religious questions to the door of a church in Worms, Germany.

Protestantism was a direct result of the Gutenberg printing press, which made the first Judeo-Christian Bible available (and affordable) in the vernacular — the languages actually spoken in the different countries of Western Europe. Prior to 1443, bibles were all written in Latin and could only be read by priests and academics.

My ancestors emigrated to America to escape religious persecution by the Roman Catholic Church in Europe and the Church of England in the UK. For centuries, anyone who did not attend mass every Sunday and  financially support the Church, or was for other reasons suspected of being a ‘heretic’, was subjected to extra-judicial imprisonment, torture, and execution of for themself and very often, their entire families.

I stopped dressing “plain” while politically representing the issue of traditional midwifery in California. My Interactions with the State Medical Board and our legislators was being derailed by their discomfort &/or prejudice against what they interpreted to be a “religious fundamentalist”. When I realized what was happening, I stopped wearing the tradition head covering and while I still dress in “plain” but contemporary clothes, they no longer not draw attention to themselves.

Many of my religiously-conservative relatives eschewed modern conveniences such as electricity, telephones, and automobiles. This  ‘horse and buggy’ culture purposefully separated itself from secular society so they would not have to depend on external source over which they had no control — better to depend on one’s own abilities for the necessities of themselves and their families.

Romans 12-2:

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Do not be conformed to this world,[a] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is[b]

This was seen by many groups of “co-religionists” as as requiring true believer to separate themselves from “worldly” society.

These groups came to be know as “Old Order”, as they lived by the “Ordnung”, which is a set of rules for AmishOld Order Mennonite and Conservative Mennonites. Ordnung is the German word for order, discipline, rule. 

Forty years before the Revolutionary War, my Mennonite ancestors, the Shanz (also spelled “Tschantz”) settled in Montgomery and Bucks counties in southeastern Pennsylvania. In 1806, the grandchildren of my 8th Great-Great-Great Grandfather Jacob Shantz entered into a treaty with native Indian population (First Nation) of Upper Canada.

They negotiated with the indigenous indian tribes to purchased farming land from them. This eventually become the  townships of Woolwich and the small towns of Kitchener and Waterloo within the Canadian province of Ontario.

However, in the early 1900s, my own Mennonite grandfather emigrated to the greater Detroit area of Michigan and got married.  My mother and I were both born in Hazel Park, Mich. My grandfather became a naturalized American citizen and no longer observed the strict ‘Old Order’ ways of his Canadian relatives.

April 19, 2019

I was a L&D and ER nurse for 15 years before cross-training into midwifery. As a professional midwife, I have a small private practice that provides community-based midwifery services.

Politically, I am an Eisenhower RepublicanIndependent and democrat with a lower-case “d”.

I believe that unwanted pregnancies should be prevented if possible; if not, they should be accepted if that is a possibility, and when that is not an option, based on medical or personal reasons, safe abortion services must be legally, geographically and economically available.


“False Association btw the routine use of c-EFM to prevent cerebral palsy in babies, pelvic floor damage in moms & protect OBs from lawsuits”

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