Should Women Have an Absolute Right to An Abortion?

By Katherine Fry, CEO/President Mediafy Communications Group

The explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger followed three previously aborted flight attempts. As a young elementary school student in 1986, we lined up our chairs for the fourth time to watch the Challenger launch. Our teachers, the news, and the entire country had us excited to observe a lesson taught from outer space. NASA, under pressure for the launch to occur, overlooked icicles on the landing pad. This led to the “major malfunction” that caused the Space Shuttle Challenger to explode after takeoff, killing all seven crew members. The explosion left school children bewildered and the nation shocked. A subsequent investigation led to the conclusion that the mission should have, once again, been aborted.

The word “abortion,” while appropriate in relation to the space shuttle, nevertheless has negative connotations in our society. In high school, I had a teacher who refused to use the word abort or abortion for anything, except in reference to a woman choosing to end her pregnancy. She found it offensive and inappropriate. Repeatedly, she stated, “Abortion is wrong because the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.” Conversely, during my graduate degree, I had a tutor who worked as an attorney. Day after day, he would tell me about visiting his clients in jail, and how badly the place smelled. He also told me about consistent observations he made amongst the prisoners. The most astounding observation included the fact that the majority of the prisoners had been born out of wedlock. As a result, he found illegitimacy to be a serious threat to our society. If one has a child born illegitimately, he would say, one’s major goal in life is to then keep that child out of prison. Abortion, he argued, is for the good of society.

In 1986, the space shuttle took off, because NASA felt pressure to deliver to the children of America the “first teacher in space.” As a result, they killed every astronaut on board. Is it appropriate to compare aborting a space shuttle mission to a woman aborting her pregnancy? Perhaps not, but I am going to do it anyway. Pregnancy occurs because a woman has sex with a man. Sometimes this sex is consensual, and sometimes it is not. Pregnancy often includes the conduction of various genetic tests, determining if the fetus is viable, or suffering from genetic problems. At this time, if either of these problems arise, abortion is the most likely resulting scenario. Continuing with pregnancies that have severe problems can result in catastrophic hospital bills, overwhelming caretaking bills, and even the death of the mother, and/or child. Like the space shuttle that resulted in such cataclysmic devastation, sometimes, one can argue, abortion is the wisest solution to the problem or potential problems that are most likely to occur.

Society often puts pressure on young, unmarried women to continue with their pregnancies. For example, my father has a dear friend who asserts he is pro-choice-before conception. Once one is pregnant, he argues, abortion is not an option. But what about birth defects, I responded? Or if the mother’s life is at risk? No deal, he answered. As a Roman Catholic, he believes, the child’s life is paramount. As a young woman being raised by a feminist woman of the 60’s, this belief system did not sit well with me.

Can abortion, in cases of rape and/or incest, represent a sensible decision? Ted Bundy, the world’s most notorious serial killer, entered this world likely as the product of just such a scenario. Initially raised as his mother’s brother, he only discovered his true parentage later in life. Shocked by this betrayal, coupled with a devastating breakup, he embarked on a devastating trail of rape and murder. After wreaking havoc on young women across the country, Ted Bundy finally met his end in the electric chair. However, it can be asserted that, had abortion been legal at the time of his conception, many women and their families would have been spared a great deal of torment and pain. What is more moral-society ending a life before it’s birth, or far after, when the person is an adult? Does Ted Bundy represent an example of abortion representing a sensible decision?

Religion often takes exception to abortion, regardless of the circumstances resulting in the pregnancy. Like my father’s friend, many Christians believe that life begins at conception and that as a result, the fetus, representing the most vulnerable members of society, is entitled to protection by the strongest members of our society. As a result of this belief, I observed many girls in my Christian high school become pregnant and drop out of school. Some of them married the father of the child, and the majority of them divorced. Few, if any, of these women attended college, but all of them underwent the overwhelming struggle of young motherhood. Financially, emotionally, spiritually, these women gave everything they had so that these children could be born and raised. While speaking with them later in life, many of them indicated to me that they felt pressured into having sex, pressured into having the baby, never even contemplated birth control, and routinely encountered boys refusing to wear protection. After the birth, more often than not in a charity ward, the father disappeared, or showed little concern. The woman, in the end, almost always became the primary caretaker to the child.

Does a woman have the right to terminate a pregnancy if she does not feel ready to raise a child? Did the operators of the space shuttle have the right to abort the mission? Today, knowing the result of the space shuttle not being aborted, the result is an astounding yes-the space shuttle launch should have been aborted. The children of Christa Mcauliffe and the rest of the astronauts would have had a parent. Their husbands and wives would have continued to have spouses. Instead, because of pressure and expectations placed upon the operators of the space shuttle, they made bad decisions, and destruction occurred. On the same token, if a woman’s life is at risk by giving birth, and she does not find out until the twenty-eighth week, does she too have the right to abort her pregnancy? Is it worth risking her life so that, potentially, another can be born? What about the risk that her current children will lose their mother, or that her husband will lose his wife? Even more profoundly, should this question be left to our slow-moving judicial system, or to a woman and her doctor?

Our legal system is attempting to clarify this difficult situation. New York recently passed “the Reproductive Health Act, (in which) non-doctors are now allowed to conduct abortions and the procedure could be done until the mother’s due date if the woman’s health is endangered or if the fetus is not viable. The previous law only allowed abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy if a woman’s life was at risk.” (1) Responses to this ruling have been comprised of shock and dismay. Children can now be aborted even if they are viable. How could such a ruling have occurred? Is this not murder? How can women have an absolute right to an abortion?

The Reproductive Health Act is likely a response to people in our government wanting to overturn Roe v. Wade. Many of these individuals want to make abortion illegal in all instances, including rape, incest, and birth defects. This arguably extreme view has now been met with another-the Reproductive Health Act, allowing just the opposite- that is, abortion up until the time the fetus or child takes its first breath. The war is on. Who does society value more-the mother or the child? Who has an absolute right to life-the mother or the child?

As a feminist, I firmly believe that the life of the mother is always paramount. I am consistently and profoundly bothered by cases in which mothers, forgoing cancer treatments so their children could live, often resulting in their deaths, are hailed as heroes. In such cases, a family is left without a daughter, a husband is left without a wife, and a child is left without a parent. I find myself afraid of being in such a situation, where my society states I must stop treatment and die, so my unborn child can live. I often feel that our society does not value women and finds us expendable. This both frightens and saddens me.

There are no easy answers to the abortion question. As a writer and researcher, it is often easier for me to take an external point of view. The reality is, society may fight extraordinarily hard to have unplanned children live, only to ultimately execute them later in the electric chair. We are born to this life, and we learn along the way. Good sense must prevail in all things, and in this matter also. So what are we as a society to do? For now, the judicial system of New York has spoken, but the struggle between what is more important to our society-the absolute right to life for mothers, or the absolute right to life for unborn children is very real and ongoing. Only time will tell, and we may never have a firm and definite answer.

  1. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/new-york-celebrates-legalizing-abortion-until-birth-as-catholic-bishops-question-cuomos-faith

Why Our Raw Genetics Must Become an Integral Part of Our Overall Health Plan

By Katherine Fry, CEO/President Mediafy Communications Group

Traditionally, the achievement and maintenance of overall health has included exercise, eating right, and mental health awareness. Children in the United States are provided school breakfasts and lunches that adhere to the official nutritional pyramid. Many children are required to attend gym class every day of the week, beginning in Grade one through twelve. Additionally, stress management and suicide prevention are routinely taught in school. After the high school years, colleges offer classes in nutrition, exercise, as well as breathing and relaxation. One important facet missing in this overall picture, however, is genetic health, or even the awareness of it. As a result, many children go on to suffer disastrous problems, fundamentally unaware that solutions exist for these various issues

The completion of the human genome project in 2003 set the stage for a health revolution. But this revolution would take time, and is still taking time. While researchers successfully mapped every gene in the human body, they needed to conduct additional research in order to understand the function of each gene. This research is still ongoing. Furthermore, the medical field is arguably traditionally conservative, so any significant changes to the health field would likely require a changing of the guard, or introduction of a new generation of more open-minded physicians.

The availability of tests such as 23andme to the masses is slowly and quietly creating an impact on the American populous. Founded by Anne Wojcicki, the ex-wife of one of the founders of Google, 23andme.com, coupled with sites such as geneticlifehack.com, squarely puts the power of genetic awareness, understanding, assistance, and treatment into the hands of the common person. Today more and more people are taking the test, yet many are still unaware that the results also contain their raw genetic data. Caught up in the findings related to their ethnicity, the health ramifications of their genetics is often forgotten. This overlooking of something so fundamental to one’s health has, inevitably, led to further delays in our popular understanding of the importance of one’s genetic health.

It can be argued, that for the American populous truly to be healthy, genetic health must be incorporated into the already existing health paradigm of exercise, healthy eating, and mental health awareness. In order for us to reach successfully the next level in our overall health, we must all be aware of our genomes, and what they specifically contain. By doing so, we can then not only be aware of our ethnicities, but also have an awareness of our genetic predispositions, sensitivities, mutations, and polymorphisms. One can argue that without the integration of genetic health into our public consciousness, many preventable, curable, and/or treatable conditions will be misdiagnosed, mistreated or overlooked.

My life has been directly impacted by awareness of my genetic health. As an American child in elementary school, I suffered from crippling anxiety that only exacerbated over time. Eventually diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, my life became of a regimen of counseling and pills. Doctors blamed my disorder on “a chemical imbalance” coupled with a range of emotional issues merely caused by life itself. Eventually, I came to completely blame myself and tried to tackle the OCD on my own. The sheer terror of living with this disorder ultimately led to TMJ disorder, muscle problems, and migraines.

It is better to discover one’s genetic health later rather than never. After exercising vigorously for years, eating according to the official health pyramid, and attending counseling with certified individuals, I received a referral that would change my entire game plan. At the age of 40, a physician’s assistant referred me to, what she called, a non-traditional MD, outside of Chattanooga. This physician sat and listened to my ailments, as well as my original diagnoses of OCD, and proclaimed he needed a blood sample. This physician also indicated he would be checking the levels of vitamins in my system. A few weeks later the results arrived, and his staff summoned me back to his office. Subsequently, a medical assistant informed me that I have a genetic polymorphism called MTHFR C677t. She also explained that as a result of this polymorphism, my Vitamin B levels fell to a critically low level of 13%. These factors led to my plethora of symptoms, but could easily be treated with Vitamin B pills, creams, and shots. The medical assistant than indicated to me that within six months of Vitamin B treatment, I would begin feeling better, and indeed I did. Today, my OCD symptoms are kept under control through this treatment of weekly Vitamin B shots, a diet high in Vitamin B, and exercise with a personal trainer. Additionally, I drink little to no alcohol, because I now understand that my genetic polymorphism makes me more susceptible to inebriation. Other factors include not drinking tap water, and the removal of mercury fillings from my mouth, because I am unable to push toxins out of my body like other individuals without this genetic polymorphism. My efforts have resulted in a quieted mind and a much happier life. At one point, I mentioned to a physician at an urgent care clinic that I had the MTHFR C677t polymorphism, and he looked at me in bewilderment. At that point, I understood that, while I had worked to become aware of the root causes of my issue, the medical profession, in many ways, had not kept up with this health revolution.

In order for the American populace to experience true overall health, genetic health must be incorporated into the basics. While exercise, eating right, and mental health awareness are important, there are a multiplicity of other issues that simply cannot be treated according to traditional medical methods. Without this shift in public consciousness, various conditions will remain mistreated, misdiagnosed, or undiagnosed. As a young woman growing up in the United States, my youth came before the completion of the human genome project. However, today, armed with my raw genetic data, I am free to interpret it, understand it, and treat it accordingly. As time goes on, I can only hope that others chose to do the same and that the medical professional ultimately catches up with these truly revolutionary health innovations.

Is the Commutation of the Original Sentence for Cyntoia Brown Appropriate?

By Katherine Fry, CEO/President Mediafy Communications Group

The case of Cyntoia Brown, the young teenage prostitute who murdered Nashville native Johnny Allen, has become the cause of the day for various celebrities. While some feel that her original sentence of fifty-one years to life represents a fair and just application of the law, others have argued that Cyntoia’s age and circumstance make this particular case worthy of a second look. This turn of events then begs the question-is our law static, and not subject to change, or is it flexible and subject to change with the evolution of societal norms?

Cyntoia Brown conceivably represents many of the poor, black females we observe walking the streets. Rather than acknowledging or helping these women, we glance away and judge them for their poor choices. The reality is, however, that many of these young women are runaways, with no authority figure other than a violent pimp. Their lives consist of humiliation and sexual objectification, often spiraling into a deadly cycle of violence and drug abuse. This cycle is often only ended by the murder or drug overdose of the prostitute. Like the state of nature itself, their lives are nasty, brutish, and short.

Cyntoia Brown’s life started in a daze, just as her victim’s life ended in one. Born to a drug-addicted, alcoholic single mother, her life quickly devolved down the same destructive path. Running away from her adopted parents, she fell into the claws of a savage pimp. One night, a real estate agent in his forties picked up Cyntoia. After rebuffing his many attempts to have sexual relations with her, Cyntoia ultimately shot him in the head. Was it in self-defense from Johnny Allen, or did she do it while he slept beside her? Either way, Johnny Allen died, and Cyntoia immediately took what should carry and ran.

Justice for the victim, Johnny Allen reigned down swiftly on Cyntoia. When prostitutes are murdered, society often fails to notice they are missing. When the Johns of the world go missing, it usually results in anger and a trial. The outcome of this case is arguably cliche-the disadvantaged, black, female prostitute, sentenced to fifty-one years to life for murdering an advantaged, white, professional male. Following the trial, with justice duly served, society forgot about Cyntoia and moved on….for a while.

As society changes over time, so do the views and values of its citizens. (1) The year 2004 represented a world quite different from today. The conservative George W. Bush had just defeated the liberal John Kerry. Conservatism pervaded our society, and the Iraq War remained in full force. As a country, we had little time, interest, or sympathy for an underage, black female prostitute. The sacrifice of Cyntoia Brown simply represented good sense, according to the cultural norms at the time.

Today, our culture has perhaps evolved into one of greater responsibility toward our youth and redemption for our sins. Many celebrities have taken up their own particular cause de jures, with Cyntoia Brown being among them. Consequently, many people have found it hard to stomach incarcerating, effectively for life, a once sixteen-year-old, sex-trafficked by adults. Society has changed so much that, despite having commuted her sentence, many still say Governor Haslam should be ashamed for requiring Cyntoia to serve another eight months.

Like our current society, the business culture has evolved also, into one of custodial and transformational leadership, rather than one of dictatorship. As the CEO of a digital marketing company, I feel a responsibility toward my staff, to make their lives better, more hopeful, and more productive. I am not just their boss in many ways I consider myself a parent, not only here to make sure the company prospers, but that their personal lives prosper also. My office has food for the staff, web seminars for continued learning, lights dimmed to protect their eyes and paid vacation for those on salary. I am constantly thinking of new ways to improve their lives because the welfare of the individuals within my company has become just as important as the welfare of the company itself. This is quite different than just a few years ago, where the bottom line mattered the most, even at the expense of the staff’s private lives and paychecks.

The case of Cyntoia Brown, including her conviction, and the commutation of her sentence, represents broader changes occurring within our society. Rather than our law remaining static, it is instead dynamic, and changing with societal norms. In 2004, at the height of conservatism and a foreign war, the case of Cyntoia Brown generated little interest. Today, however, our society simply cannot stomach locking up a sex-trafficked child for life. Tomorrow may be different, but today, society dictates that Cyntoia Brown shall be freed. Society also dictates that business owners care more for their employees than they ever have before. Consequently, it will be interesting to see what societal norms hold for us in the future.

  1. https://www.google.com/search?q=Is+the+application+of+the+law+static%3F+or+does+it+change+over+time%3F&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS790US790&oq=Is+the+application+of+the+law+static%3F++or+does+it+change+over+time%3F&aqs=chrome..69i57.22919j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-)

Would Daily Life Really Change if The Federal Government, As We Know It, Disappeared?

By Katherine Fry, CEO/President Mediafy Communications Group

Years ago, while a student in college, I learned about the various Antitrust Acts that redefined the power of the Federal Government. I also learned that, originally, the Federal Government had three strictly defined purposes.

  1. A united military
  2. A united currency
  3. The elimination of tariffs between the states

However, the rise of commerce led to to the rise of monopolies, arguably damaging consumers with high prices created by the lack of competition. This resulted in Antitrust laws. “United States Antitrust law is a collection of federal and state government laws that regulate the conduct and organization of business corporations, generally to promote fair competition for the benefit of consumers. The main statutes are the Sherman Act of 1890, the Clayton Act of 1914, and the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914. These Acts, first, restrict the formation of cartels and prohibit other collusive practices regarded as being in restraint of trade. Secondly, they restrict the mergers and acquisitions of organizations that could substantially lessen competition. Thirdly, they prohibit the creation of a monopoly and the abuse of monopoly power.” (1) It is the compilation of these three Acts that led to the formation of the Federal Government as we know it today. While as a Feminist, I appreciate the rules and regulations that protect women and other minorities in the workplace, as a business owner I feel the burden of taxation that hits my business every other week from the Federal Government. As a citizen, I feel like our government is a bloated fish that needs an enema.

As our current government is deadlocked on its current funding situation, we are now faced with a partial Federal Government shutdown. We have all heard about this on the television and the radio, but visibly, nothing in my life or business appears to have changed. Past government shutdowns led to the Chickamauga Battlefield being closed, but people simply took down the barriers and went in anyway. We were told that, as a result of the government shutdown, the Battlefield had only “essential workers” taking care of it. As a business owner, I can assure you that everyone in my business is essential, and people who are not, are eliminated, for the sake of efficiency. Our Federal Government, while once with defined duties under its original purposes, is today very, dare I say, INEFFICIENT, with the additional purposes created for it by the passage of Antitrust law.

As an average citizen and business owner in the United States, the partial shutdown of the Federal Government has not noticeably changed my life or my business at all. I remember in the past, during partial government shutdowns, hearing that the police would no longer be funded. I suppose one could be afraid of such a prospect, and yet, I could not help but feel that we govern ourselves pretty well. Furthermore, in the American South, we all have guns, with the police essentially there to take reports after the fact. Additionally, as an advocate of Laissez-Faire economics, I tend to question the value of the Antitrust laws, that led to the bloated monster we now call the Federal Government. The “invisible hand” of the economy would likely take hold, and the matter of monopolies and unfair competition would sort themselves out, according to the laws of efficiency, supply, and demand. Again, it is hard to believe that, with the shutdown of the Federal Government, anything would really change in our day to day lives.

As our Federal Government continues to grow, comparisons with the Roman Empire are inevitable. Reaching across Europe, Asia, Northern Africa and into the Middle East, the Roman Empire arguably brought order to a vast group of people. However, like a bloated animal that keeps taking in more water, it ultimately exploded in a most spectacular manner-or did it? Did the day to day life of the people change during the fall of the Roman empire? Did Rome actually fall in a day?

An examination of the fall of the Roman Empire reveals that the day to day lives of its citizens actually changed very little. Rather than a catastrophic blow, the citizens merely gradually changed their allegiances and continued on with their daily living. Reasons for the fall of the Roman Empire include:

  1. Invasions by Barbarian tribes
  2. Economic troubles and overreliance on slave labor
  3. The rise of the Eastern Empire
  4. Overexpansion and military overspending
  5. Government corruption and political instability
  6. The arrival of the Huns and the migration of the Barbarian tribes
  7. Christianity and the loss of traditional values
  8. The weakening of the Roman legions (2)

The reality is, just like today, while these issues impact civilization on a broad scale, they arguably have very little impact on the average person’s day to day life. The typical Roman citizen engaged in local commerce, like buying food and clothing. They loved their families and spent time with them. They enjoyed walks and experienced the change of seasons. None of the factors listed above had a real impact on their day to day life. Studies of this time period focus on leaders, and the wealthy. The peasants are virtually ignored because their lives consisted of uninteresting factors and primarily stayed the same, regardless of regime charges.

I have often felt that if the Federal Government shutdown, we would never even know it, except for the media. Power would simply fall back to the states, and day to day life would continue on as usual. The average Americans would still get up, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, love their children, etc. One could argue that most of us have an internal locus of control, and would not simply start killing or stealing from one another. As the Queen of England says, we would simply, “Keep calm and carry on.”

The Federal Government originally had three very narrowly defined purposes. Various Antitrust Acts created the path to the over bloated American Federal Government we know today. It, therefore, begs for comparison with the Roman Empire, that ultimately fell under the burden of its own weight. However, just like the Romans during the Empire’s fall, our day to day lives have changed very little, if at all, during this partial government shutdown. Is our government on the same path as the Roman Empire? Only time will tell, but even thousands of years after its fall, there is still a Rome, only now it is a city instead of a country, with people living there as they always have, for thousands of years. While the elite battle amongst themselves, life for the common man changes very little, as we continue to find happiness or otherwise on our own terms, in our own worlds.

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_antitrust_law
  2. https://www.history.com/news/8-reasons-why-rome-fell