Care. No matter what.

(A Planned Parenthood leader also announced that the clinic on 23rd Street in Oklahoma City will get a complete renovation. That’s great news! Planned Parenthood, it should be noted, does not provide abortions in Oklahoma, but I would fully support the organization, as I do now, if it did.)

Dr. Willie Parker shared his vision and philosophy as a reproductive-rights advocate Saturday evening at the annual Great Plains Planned Parenthood “Choices” dinner in Oklahoma City.

Parker, who provides abortions to women in the deep south of Alabama and Mississippi, said he was inspired to do so after reading a sermon by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King about the Good Samaritan. As he described it in an article in The New York Times:

The Samaritan reversed the question of concern, to care more about the well-being of the person needing help than about what might happen to him for stopping to give help. I realized that if I were to show compassion, I would have to act on behalf of those women.

Dr. Parker’s work is extraordinary in every sense. He not only puts his life on the line to do it, but he also speaks out openly and honestly throughout the country about a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. The key word here is, of course, “choose.” Women have the absolute right to control their bodies. Anyone who thinks differently has most likely bought into right-wing, patriarchal ideology, which carries with it an entire set of bigoted and distorted assumptions and beliefs that transcend the singular issue of abortion.

You can read about Parker here and here.

(Click "Read more" to continue reading.)


Conservatives, Progressives Should Unify To Defeat SQ 776

Image of Tina Kelly

(Contact Think Twice if you want to get involved in defeating this misguided proposed amendment to our state constitution.)

I usually wait to write about my support or non-support for specific state questions closer to election day than this because I believe not enough voters are paying attention yet, but it has been an unusual election year all the way around.

I’ll write about all seven questions later as we get closer to the election, but I want to focus on State Question 776 in this post as opponents—both progressives and conservatives—of this obviously flawed and unconstitutional proposed amendment kick off their Think Twice campaign to stop it.

The state question makes an attempt to imprint the death penalty in sweeping and rather draconian terms in the Oklahoma Constitution, a superfluous initiative based on ideology and voter pandering not basic common sense. Here’s the important thing all Oklahoma voters need to know: A vote in favor of this measure is not a vote in FAVOR or against the death penalty. No matter how one votes on SQ 776 or the final result of the vote, the death penalty will still be a legal punishment that can be applied by juries and judges in Oklahoma after Nov. 8.

I repeat: This is NOT a referendum on the death penalty.

(Click "Read more" to continue reading.)


Okies Nice As Spice? Consider Three Oklahoma Leaders

Think about 28 pigeons in varying states of distress, many dying after they’ve been shot for fun, flipping and squirming on the ground in pain all so U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe can raise political money. It just happened here in Oklahoma.This has been widely reported in the news over the past couple of days.

Think about Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who accepted so-called “campaign” money from a right-wing extremist who bizarrely claims animal welfare advocates want to do away with the concept of having pets, an absurd self-interested claim made to obfuscate and hide the truth beyond his pro-corporate vision. Pruitt’s own record on animal, human and environmental rights represents a quintessential, immoral right-wing extremist agenda. Pruitt doesn’t have an office he’s running for, but he’s collecting money, anyway, to advance an extreme political agenda.

One more. Think about Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett and his at least implicit support for keeping a distressed elephant, Bamboo, in her tiny OKC Zoo enclosure despite a national outcry. Cornett is on the OKC Zoo Trust. He could speak out. He may well be the “biggest” animal offender here. Sorry for the wordplay, but he could simply insist the zoo place Bamboo in a sanctuary, and it would probably happen or at least it would kickstart a real debate here.

Welcome to Oklahoma, where our leaders are not so nice to animals and not so nice to humans. Animals and teachers and, well, any halfway intelligent people, if you can, need to get out of here as soon as possible. This has become the nation’s cesspool of cruelty and ignorance to animals and humans. We lead the nation in our female incarceration rate on a per capita basis. We’ve cut eduction funding on a per capita basis the most of any state since 2008.

(Click "Read more" to continue reading.)