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Zika virus help for those who are pregnant or at risk of pregnancy

Over the last week or so, I’ve noticed a lot of news about the Zika virus. And as a person with a womb who has worked in neonatal care, the effects and the risks are terrifying.

The prospect of having a child who is largely or entirely dependant on care for the whole of their possibly short lives is daunting. Sometimes disability is unavoidable, and those affected (like myself) should obviously be loved, cared for, and encouraged to live as fully as they can.

But to know that disability is preventable, and to know how to prevent it gives us, I believe, an imperative to do all we can to give parents and children the best start in life.

So. Here are a list of charities, organisations, and campaigns that are helping to prevent microcephaly and at risk pregnancies across the affected regions.

I have focussed on pregnancy and abortion because the search for a vaccine will, I believe, be the more high profile issue. I don’t want those at risk of pregnancy, miscarriage, or whose foetuses are at risk of microcephaly, to become collateral damage. They are not a way of keeping score or tracking the scale of this disease.

1. Women on Waves (CN: website uses gendered language)

Women on Waves are a charity who provide medical abortions within the first 9 weeks of pregnancy. They are providing free medical abortions to those who can prove they have been infected with Zika. You can donate here.

2. Umm, well there isn’t a number 2.

Really. One organisation is all I could find offering abortion services to those at risk of a Zika affected pregnancy. And no one offering contraception.

If you know of any other organisations that should be added to the list, put them in the comments and I’ll add them to the post. Please.

There is, of course, plenty of noise from people wanting to persuade governments to change their policies around contraception and abortion. But that’s long term stuff, and doesn’t help those at risk, who need it now.

So please. Share this post around. Women on Waves (also known as Women on Web) have been getting quite a bit of press, but I’m sure they won’t mind more donations.

And if you are in a position to start an organisation or campaign to provide contraception and abortion services now to those at risk of a Zika affected pregnancy, please do so! I will publicise the shit out of you, and I won’t be alone.

Shapes, boxes and abandoned art

We are beings of potential.

We are beings of growth.

We are who we are. Who we have been. Who we may become.

We are the leftover shapes of the guides and containers that have been placed within beside and around us.

We start. And we move. And we grow.

We become ourselves. Start to show our shapes. To acquire the contours of those around us.

They stretch us. Nourish us. Contain us.

They can take us to heights of talent and skill that leave us breathless with delight.

They can point us to understandings of the Earth and its inhabitants that grow our ideas of who we are and how we live in this beautiful damaged world. 

They can squash. Stunt. Prune.

Take passions from a shout to a whisper. Push us on paths so narrow we fall.

In boxes so small and tight that dynamite becomes the only way to fight.

I will never be the person I could have been.

I will never fit the box that was made for me.

I will, always and forever, be incomplete.

A collection of influences and potentials to delight and confound.

A work of art forever being refined, and in the end abandoned, not completed.

And so will you.

Protected: Rattling (poem)

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Poly Means Many: polyamory and feminism

Poly Means Many: There are many aspects of polyamory. Each month, the PMM bloggers will write about their views on one of them. Links to all posts will be found at . This month, our topic is “ polyamory and feminism”.

While thinking about what to write for this, I came across this fabulous comic on the Everyday Feminism project that I wanted to give a 1-up to.

It doesn’t make mention of the issue of polyamory and race, and of how people of colour can be relatively invisible within the non monogamous community. I’m sure there are other axes of oppression that are also missed out, however that is the one that jumped out at me.

That aside, this is a really good introduction to how one can experience oppression in one axis (like being in a non monogamous relationship) and still be relatively privileged compared to others.

That’s all I’ve got for this month, but in my defence, that comic is really good!

Protected: All The Family Bullshit – please ask for password

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What’s in a song

To believe in a monarchy is to believe that some, by birth, deserve more. More power. More wealth. More adulation. More respect. Not for their actions, but for their genetics.

To believe that about one family, it is a small step to believe that about a whole class of people. To believe that there are people who, by virtue of their birth, not their deeds, deserve more from society, and are better suited to shape it.

To believe that about a class of people, and about one family based on their genetics, it is almost inevitable to believe that about people who look and sound the same.

If you believe that some inherent characteristics entitle one to more, you may not realise it, but you must also believe that some people, by virtue of characteristics decided before their birth, deserve less. Less power. Less wealth. Less respect. Not for what they do, but for who they are.

To believe in a monarchy is to believe that some people are just not worth as much. That they don’t matter. That the comfort of this group of people is worth more than the suffering and deprivation of those people.

To pay lip service to a monarch is to glorify and perpetuate this system. This societal agreement that if your parents had the wrong job, if your written and spoken language don’t match, if you love the wrong people, if your skin and your faith don’t match the colour and practice of the realm, then not only do you probably get less than the right people, but the fact you get less is a consequence of society working properly, not a sign that it is broken.

I love my country. I love its people, ancient and new. I love its voices, in their glorious melodic variety. Its kaleidescope of faces.

But my country has a cancer at its heart. The monarchy is a modern hangover. Colonialism is not dead.

In the age of empire, the class that ruled Britain ruled the world. Those people committed horrors upon horrors on those below them, both in these isles and across the world.

We have not exorcised these ghosts. Their structures remain. The same blood sits on the same seats.

With those seats, the message is given, over and over, that we are not the same. That some people are just worth more than others. That some deserve gold headwear. Others, a photo of their child, cold on a Turkish beach.

So no. I will not sing your anthem.

I am not more than you because of my parents education. I am not less than you because of who I love. And I will not say that I am, not in any way, and certainly not with a song.

With eternal thanks to all those who have helped me see the consequences of my attitudes, and helped me be a kinder human being.

Pacifism, republicanism and supporting the troops

So, I have something to say about the reaction to Jeremy Corbyn as a pacifist and a republican.

Being opposed to nuclear armament and armed conflict is not incompatible with being supportive of our troops and their service. The people who declare war and the people who fight wars are two separate groups of people. It is totally possible to condemn the decisions of one without in any way diminishing the contribution of the other.

It is not our troops on the ground who decide who their enemies are. That is decided in Parliament. More often nowadays that is decided in Number 10. To be opposed to conflict and favour democratic negotiation, and to be willing to speak to all parties, including Hamas, to avoid military action, is merely pacifism. It isn’t and shouldn’t be interpreted as a slight to serving men and women or veterans.

It is the duty of our armed forces to serve at Her Majesty’s pleasure and to follow the chain of command. To do so is an honourable decision. Regardless of how one feels about the monarchy or the commands being given.

It is the duty of our government to determine where and how our armed forces should be used, and to correctly interpret the will of the people. And debate should be welcome in this arena given the lives that hang in the balance.