Monday, July 29, 2013

Triathlon Training Week 5

Hard to believe my first triathlon is now only 3 weeks away!

Due to pool closure, last week's training kinda bled into this week so we'll start on....

Tuesday: 300 m swim, 20 min run

Wednesday: Wicked!

Thursday: my first brick- 30 min bike, 10 min run, 20 min walk
My butt is always basically numb when I get off the bike. That's probably bad, right? So it takes a little wobble walking to get up to a run, which I guess is kinda the point of bricks anyways... Practice makes perfect.

Friday: Off
Was supposed to be a swim, but I moved that to Saturday so I could take the night off to be a couch potato with my hubs.

Saturday: 400 m swim, 40 mi run
Swim was tough... I got very winded early and had to extend my rests to make it the rest of the laps. I'm starting to worry again about the swim portion of the tri and I think I'm going to swim my cool down 50 as breast stroke because I think it's easier to breathe and sight that way and I might need to use it during the race. It's much slower for me, and a big arm strain, so I'll definitely need to practice.

Sunday: 12 mi bike
Whew! Again I took to the roads behind my house, and this time I took my husband. His bike was still at this house, so he went during the week to pick it up so we could ride together. Things were going well until we rode by a small angry dog around mile 6. It was super fast and bolted right out of a hole at the bottom of the fence and chased us down the street. While trying to not get bitten and not run the dog over, Dan edged a little too close to the side and fell into the ditch. He is very graceful, unlike his wife, and managed to drop the bike and hop off, leaving the bike in the ditch and escaping to the other side without a scratch. Of course as soon as we were off the bikes, the dog skittered back home. Jerk.

 I try to plan meals on the weekends for the whole week and do one big grocery shop. This weekend I actually did it on Friday night, and planned dinner for Saturday, too. Finding recipes is always the challenge. Maybe something we are eating will sound good to you? Here's our menu:
Saturday: Curry chicken wraps
While we were grilling I put some extra chicken on the grill then popped it in the freezer, for a quick meal another day. For this meal we broke out one of the two bottles of wine we brought back from our honeymoon in Cyprus. Hard to believe that was already 5 months ago!
Sunday: Seafood Cioppino
Prepared it first thing, so it could slow cook all day. I love cooking in a slow cooker- delicious food with very little effort.
Tuesday: Pasta
The meatless dinner of the week (I'm trying to plan one per week). Dan goes to karate on Tuesday nights and doesn't get home until 9 so after the gym I'll make this quick recipe.
Friday: Orange Chicken

The rest of the nights are leftovers... and a group dinner outing on Wednesday in remembrance of Pumplemas.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Wicked!

Wednesday night Dan and I headed into downtown for the musical Wicked.
Before the show we ate dinner at Artista, a restaurant inside the theater. It was super fancy, but also delicious!
First they brought out this complimentary platter of plantain chips with a tomato sauce, some sort of cheesy/garlic sauce that I basically wanted to eat straight with that little spoon, and chimichurri. It was delicious!
 The restaurant is known for its views of downtown...

(The restaurant looks so empty here... I didn't think to find a restaurant until Sunday and by then all the 6pm seatings were reserved so our reservation was for 5:30. Then we overcompensated for traffic and got there early. It filled up plenty though, there were no empty tables by the time we left.)

For an appetizer we ordered the hilariously named "lollichops," and you know how we love our meat-popsicles, so we had to get them. The sauce here was also amazing- a cucumber/mint/yogurt sauce. (Dan and I agreed at the end of the meal that while the food was good, the sauces were the real stars of the meal)
 We couldn't decide, so we ordered a couple dishes we both wanted, and swapped in the middle. I ordered the Shrimp and Polenta with tikka masala sauce (SO GOOD!):
 And Dan ordered the swordfish, which came with fried yucca and a blue cheese dipping sauce:
I was plenty full after that, but Dan wanted ice cream and I did drag him to a musical so I figured I should indulge him. Raspberry sorbet, coconut ice cream, and mango sorbet. All delicious!
 Before the show started I snapped a pic of the stage. Love how the Emerald City glistens green.
Wicked was fabulous and I highly recommend it.  Such a great story of friendship and girl power (and flying brooms). Maybe I'm a big sap, but I got a little teary eyed every time Elphaba sounded all hopeful about love, or life, or teaming up with the Wizard, knowing (as anyone who has seen Wizard of Oz knows) that she was going to end up the Wicked Witch.
I had read the book a long time ago, but don't remember much so I can't really comment on how closely it follows the book. I did recently just read the original Wizard of Oz book (which is free on Kindle because the copyright has run out- did you know you can get tons of old books free on kindle because of this. I also recently downloaded Little Women.) and it's interesting the differences between the book and the original movie. Amazing that such thin source material (the book is really short) has turned into a whole universe of movies, books, and shows.

And I'll leave you with my favorite song: DefyingGravity

Doesn't it just make you want to smile... and kick some ass?!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Triathlon Training Update- Week 4

Big news of this week? I did it. I signed up for the August 18th Tri-Girl. So, guess that's gonna happen. Eeek!

Week 4 Training
Monday: Off

Tuesday: Swim 300m, Run 20 mins
After working the night shift, sleeping 3 hours, and spending most of the day a couch potato, I did finally convince myself to get up and go to the gym. I told myself I could just do the swim and save the run for Thursday, but as I said last week, I'm weakest on the swim and really wanted to get those workouts in.

Wednesday: Bike 8 miles
Done!

Thursday: Swim 300m, Walk 30 mins Run 20 mins
I went to the gym with the intention of basically doing Tuesday's workout- swim 300m and run 20 mins. But I forgot to check the pool closures for the week and it turned out the pool was closed from Thursday afternoon through close on Sunday for a big swimming tournament. Had I known, I would have swapped the sim to Wednesday and saved the bike for Thursday. Oh well, live and learn... and do the 20 min run.

Friday: Off

Saturday: 40 min Run

Sunday: 10 mile Bike
Took my real bike out for the first time of this training plan (previous rides had been on stationary bikes at the gym). The area around my neighborhood is mostly devoid of bike lanes or even shoulders, so I am restricting my real bike rides to the back roads and only on weekends when traffic is light. I saw only a few cars the whole time and enjoyed sightseeing- saw plenty of interesting things of the type you only see in Texas. It was slow/heavy going, so I need to bump the resistance up when I spin next time. Also, from the category "probably TMI," the real bike makes my lady parts hurt much more than the stationary bike, not sure if that's seat shape or how I sit or because the road is way bumpy. The butt hurt is about the same, though.

Monday: Off Swim 300m, Walk 30 mins

Next week: My first brick!

Thoughts on Tri training so far?
I really like the variety. Running 3-4 times a week is kind of boring after awhile, although we'll be back to that in the fall because I am planning a late winter half marathon. Mixing up the workouts is fun because even though I work out 5 times a week now, it's not the same thing day in, day out and it uses some different muscles so I haven't had a big problem with DOMS or muscle fatigue. (Actual fatigue from my crazy shift schedule is a different story...)
On the other hand, 5 workouts a week is a huge time commitment that I don't see being very sustainable once September rolls around (first weekend- recover from night shift, second weekend- out of town, third weekend- Yom Kippur, fourth weekend- out of town...). Ideally for steady state exercise I would probably do 3-4 times a week. I think I'll take another page from Caitlin HTP and do an Ironman month. Well, maybe a half-Ironman month first.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Achievement Unlocked!

Sorry for the radio silence over here for the last week. Between a crazy work schedule, a crazy workout schedule, and Texas Legislature-related rage blackouts, I have simply not been able to put together a post.

Last weekend I worked the evening shift (3pm to midnight) on Saturday and Sunday. Weekend shifts come around every couple of months for me, because our console is one of 6 with constant support, every hour of every day.  (The six are SPARTAN-power and external thermal, ETHOS- life support and internal thermal, CRONUS- communications, and on-board computers, ADCO- attitude control, GC- ground control, mission control itself is their system, and the Flight Director- the boss)

When I came home from work on Sunday, I had to stay up to shift to the overnights. I made it until almost 5am (minus an accidental catnap on the couch, from which I awoke face down in a puddle of drool- sorry, we keep it real here folks!). I woke up again at 7 when Dan got up for work, ate something, and then hung out until a 9am telecon. After the telecon, I headed back to bed until around 4:30 (with the help of my BFF, NyQuil). That night I went to work at 11pm to prepare the ISS for a spacewalk.

The SPARTAN prep was not too difficult on our shift: parking the SARJs (the big rotating joints each of which rotates 2 truss segments, 4 solar array wings), doing some ISS system powerdowns, and configuring some onboard software. The next shift had an early start (5:30 am) and had the bulk of our actions for the day. If you follow space news, you already know how the spacewalk went.

I got home a little after 6:30am, kissed Dan who was on his way out the door for a 7am simulation, and went to bed. I set my alarm for 10, knowing I couldn't sleep the day away if I wanted to get to bed that night. When I woke up, the first tweet I saw said "EVA cancelled due to leak in spacesuit." Which immediately got my heart rate going, because I thought this meant a leak of the spacesuit atmosphere into the vacuum of space- an extremely dangerous problem. I felt a little relief when I learned it was a water leak into the suit... but not much.

Despite being a Florida girl with pool water in my veins, I am totally terrified of drowning. I'm especially afraid of enclosed water slides because there's no escape. What's scarier about water in space is that there is no up, so you can't just scoot to the top of the helmet and find a pocket of air, the way you could in a water slide tube, or a car that drove into a lake. The water can float anywhere, and has an almost-sticky quality due to water tension, unfettered by gravity (see how water behaves in space here). So, basically, being trapped in a spacesuit that is filling with water is worse than my previous worst fear. Eek!  Thankfully*, he was able to get safely back to the airlock and out of his helmet.(*I originally wrote "Luckily" but I realized it isn't luck, it's hundreds of man hours of training and planning that allows the ground team and crew to deal with potentially dangerous conditions like this.)

Tuesday I spent most of the day sitting on the couch trying not to fall asleep, although I did get a short workout and a trip to the grocery store accomplished. Wednesday I was back to the office for regular office hours, starting at 8:30 when I headed to the SPARTAN backroom console (SPOC, pronounced like Spock) to support an onboard test of our little rotating joints (the BGAs, which each rotate 1 solar array wing). I wrote the procedure we used for the test, and wanted to be there to help execute. And that is now I spent half a day on the day shift in mission control too, to round out my week supporting all three ISS shifts- evening, overnight, and day.

When I was discussing my crazy work schedule with a coworker/friend who is a video game enthusiast, he said that if my life were a video game this would be an achievement. (Hi Mike!) So, you know, I should have access to all the better weapons now, or something. (I hope it's Nap pods.)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Triathlon training week 3

As I'm sure you would have predicted, I didn't go for a run in Virginia. We were out until midnight or later every night, and chose to spend our weekend sleeping in. Also it was hot... not as hot as here, but not exactly the pleasant running weather that I was hoping for.

Monday, though I got right back to the grind even though we had some unexpected company- Dan's sister and her husband were a couple hours from Houston for a wedding over the weekend and decided to stop and stay with us for a couple days on their way back to New Orleans. Though I would usually take this as an opportunity to skip the gym and drink a lot, I did not. That's a non scale victory if I ever saw one (although the not drinking was mostly because I was on call- a backup person in case something broke on the ISS and the console operator couldn't handle it alone. Thankfully, nothing happened!)

Monday- 200m swim, 15 min run
I can feel myself getting stronger at swimming. Less gasping for air at the end of every lap. But running after swimming? Let's just say that wasn't pretty.

Wednesday- 8 mile bike ride, abs
The plan called for 6 but I did some penance for the missed ride over the weekend and threw in an extra couple miles. Then I finished it off with some abs work.

Thursday- 300m swim, 30 min walk
I walked on the treadmill so I could read while I walked. I started The Handmaid's Tale on the plane to VA and am DYING to finish it. It's crazy, but the way she describes the change- one day a woman with a job and credit, the next day fired and only men could have bank accounts... well, lately it's not so hard to imagine it happening here.

Saturday- 30 min run
I told myself I could walk if I had to, but I managed to run the whole thing.

Sunday- 10 mile bike ride


I'm not sure how training is going to go this week. Last night I was on the evening shift, then I headed home to stay up all night to shift to the overnight shift for one night only. Tuesday morning is another US EVA, and I'm supporting the overnight shift to prep for it. I'm off that shift at 6am, and then back to days in the office on Wednesday. That's a lot of shift changes in not too long a time. My priority is to get my swim workouts in, because that's where I need the most practice.

Friday, July 12, 2013

A DC Fourth of July

This 4th of July weekend recap is way late. We had a very busy week and I finally got time to sit down and pull pics from my camera. Wednesday night we flew to Virginia, getting in at almost midnight.

Thursday we headed out to the Fairfax city parade, which my husband marched in as a Boy Scout when he was a kid.  We walked from his parents house to get some exercise and spent a couple hours watching the parade.
Yay, Girl Scouts!


That evening we headed to his cousin's house for a big family get-together. They live in an old row house on Capitol Hill and hosted us, Dan's parents, 2 of Dan's aunts (one in town from Chicago) and several of the other cousins with their kids.
Chillin with the fam.
S'mores made with star shaped red/white/blue marshmallows!
We ate and drank and hung out, then Dan and I walked over to the Mall to watch the fireworks. (The rest of the fam took the kids to a nearby park). It was only about a 15 min walk and we got a spot in the grass with a pretty great view!
Friday we had a leisurely morning before heading to DC for a couple hours. Dan's mom dropped us off that the metro station for the half hour ride to the city. His cousin works for a company that designed an interactive exhibit at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum and we headed to check it out (and the dinosaurs, of course!).

 

Giant sloth!
The Folk Life festival was happening on the mall, so we had some food and wandered through the exhibits.
A yurt. Dan loves yurts.
Mango lassi and a crispy rice snack from "A Taste of India"
















Duck and white beans from "Budapest Bistro"

We finished out the night hanging with some of Dan's high school friends.

The next day we went to Mount Vernon- George Washington's home and final resting place.
 It was unpleasantly hot (when will northerners learn not to go outside in the summer?) but we trooped around the grounds looking at the buildings and gardens...
 
... George and Martha's crypt...
and this working farm which mirrors in miniature what they actually grew on his very large lands.

Sunday we got up bright and early to head home. Our long holiday weekend was pretty great! Hope you had a fabulous Fourth too!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

"Triathlon" training, Weeks 1 and 2

Since I haven't actually committed to Tri Girl, for now I'm calling this "Triathlon" training. Although I think Dan has already resigned himself that I'm gonna do this race and he's gonna have to go support me in the heat at the crack of dawn. Wonderful husband, that man!

To be honest, I have been wishing I could sign up for a race for a long time. We did do a 5k in April, and while my performance wasn't great, I did run the whole thing which was a feat already considering how little I had run in the 6 months previous (like 4 times). This was the first race since we started running together that Dan and I split up, and he finished about 10 minutes ahead of me. Speedy guy.
But aside from that race, which we didn't train for, I have wanted a goal race to train for. I'm much more disciplined in my workouts when I know that I've already signed up for (and paid for) a race and I will suffer on race day from my laziness today.  That said, I don't want to sign up for a race that I'm totally unprepared for and will be miserable during, which is why I'm hesitating to sign up for the Tri Girl.

Week 1:
I told you already about Tuesday's run and Thursday's swim.

Friday: 5 mile bike ride, on the stationary bike at the gym.
Made the mistake of using the reclining bike (because it had a TV... later I found there are uprights with TVs too) and it was not comfortable at all. Am I the only person who finds recumbent bikes less ergonomic? All I've ever heard was that they're so much better for your back. But mine was not good for my back. And my left foot fell asleep. No thanks.
Saturday: 15 minute run
Sunday: 5 mile bike ride and some abs. 
Found an upright bike and it was better. Except for my butt, which now hurts. I need some padded shorts.Yes, I am probably going to whine through all 11 weeks of this plan about biking. Not my sport of choice.

Week 2:
Monday: 200m swim, 15 min run.
This was my first triathlon-type experience. The plan mandates a two-a-day but didn't specify if it had to be back-to-back, I just didn't want to get up early and do one workout before work, one after. After my swim, I hopped out of the pool and headed to the locker room. I traded in my bathing suit bottoms for running shorts, but kept on my bathing suit top (thank goodness for small boobs- I don't need a fancy sports bra!). I threw a shirt over it because I don't really feel comfortable (skinny or tan enough) to run with my stomach all exposed. I have ordered a tankini top, with enough support to run in, for the future. And I had to dry off a little anyways, my gym would frown on a soaking wet girl running laps on their track.
As for the two back to back workouts, I was tired post-pool but it wasn't too bad to run. I worry far more about running after sitting on the bike, because my back/butt get kind of stiff. (Plan starts bricks in a couple weeks, so we'll see how that goes!)

Tuesday: 8 mile stationary bike ride.
Plan had 6 on Wednesday and 8 on Sunday. I'm not expecting to get to ride this weekend, so I figured if I was going to skip a workout I should skip the shorter one and do the longer one.

Wednesday: 200m swim.


I skipped a rest day on Monday, moving up the week's workouts to Mon-Tues-Wed from Tues-Wed-Thurs (that's actually 7 straight days of working out, quite a streak!) but I know that I won't have access to either a lap pool or a bike (stationary or otherwise) while out of town over the weekend and I didn't want to totally fall off the wagon in week 2. I do hope to get one run in during the weekend. I basically have to, since it's my only chance to run outside and not die before September and I should really take advantage of that.

Today I left work at noon to hit up the gym and finish packing before we leave. We're off to Virginia tonight to visit Dan's family for the 4th of July long weekend. His cousin lives right in downtown Washington DC and we're going to a party at their house, from which you can see the fireworks on the mall. I've only seen the DC fireworks on TV, so I'm pretty excited for this!

Happy Fourth of July!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

20 Weeks and the French Fallacy

“Where do you draw the line?” “5 months is long enough!” “Should a woman be able to give birth to a baby and leave it to die?” “In France, abortions can’t be performed after 12 weeks!”

All of these are responses I have heard to any opposition to the Texas bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks and close most of the abortion clinics in the state. As I stated yesterday, my main opposition to this bill is with the rules that would make it more difficult to obtain an abortion for women in the western half of the state. Poor women, rural women, and teenage mothers are disproportionately affected by this bill; the goal of this bill (and of the pro-life crowd in general) is to reduce abortions to the point of near impossibility.

Don't believe that is the true motive? Rick Perry said it was.
It's important to remember that, as a state, while we are under an obligation to protect the health and safety of the people who live here, we are under no obligation to make things easier for abortion providers.
The ideal world, of course, is a world without abortion.
 ...
And just remember: the louder the opposition screams, the more we know we're doing something right.
Until the day Roe v. Wade is nothing but a shameful footnote in our nation's history books, we won't give up the good fight.

By wrapping these stipulations in with this 20-week ban, it gives anti-abortionists a smoke screen to hide behind. They rarely have to touch the topic of access, instead they can sling mud about how all pro-choicers want to do is kill babies. This is a strawman argument that relies on you accepting that a 6- or 10- or 20- week old fetus is functionally the same as a baby. My favorite of such arguments, popular with the “pro-life” crowd is “how is this different than a woman giving birth and leaving a baby to die?”

Well, in a number of ways. In this country it is already legal to give your baby up for adoption if you don’t want to care for it. In the most extreme cases, as my friend Katie pointed out on facebook, you can actually drop a baby off at an ER for someone else to care for if you cannot do it yourself. This is completely unlike a cluster of cells growing inside your body which cannot see, hear, think, or even breathe on their own for the first several months of pregnancy. A fetus, unlike a baby, does not exist separate from the mother. In order to give the fetus rights, you must take them away from the person who would be required to care for them, no alternatives possible. Since one of these is a potential person, and one of these is an actual person, I cannot support transferring her rights away.

Already there is a law preventing the termination of a fetus once it becomes viable, aka capable of survival outside the uterus. The Supreme Court included that in the Roe. v. Wade decision, and set it at 24 weeks. But now this and other laws are moving the deadline up to 20 weeks. I’m not really opposed to this part of the bill, with the proper exceptions.

Medical science has evolved since 1973, so it would make sense that as the science improves, we would also be able to say that fetuses can be viable earlier due to improved life support technologies. However the reason for this particular line in the sand is that the fetus is “pain capable,” so it would be inhumane to terminate it. I can’t really find any evidence of this being true, except that put out by the clearly unbiased National Right to Life campaign. I, obviously, would prefer if our law on the matter were rooted in actual medical fact, but if it were I would not oppose it.

 However if this were the case, and if your motivations were purely to keep women from getting abortions once the fetus can actually suffer or be viable outside the uterus, it would be wise to help women who want to get an abortion obtain one quickly and safely prior to that point! It would be more humane, to both the woman and the so-called child growing inside her, to get the abortion done earlier in the pregnancy. But as I discussed, this law does the opposite, because it also makes it more difficult for people living in the west half of Texas to even get to an abortion clinic. And then other delightful legislation has imposed a waiting period, where you must get a sonogram and then return no less than 24 hours later for the procedure.

Next is the argument that in France abortions cannot be performed after 12 weeks. Surely if such a cosmopolitan country as France, inventors of champagne and crepes and macaroons, would limit abortions to the first 12 weeks, this post-20-week ban is hardly a big deal...right? Now, I still think 12 weeks is too short, because usually you don’t know you’re pregnant for the first month and this only leaves two more months to decide and take action.

However, I did some research on this and found that the laws in France still make it easier to get an abortion than this bill would in Texas, despite the short time limit. Check it: In France, abortion is free. Some forms of birth control are free. And the president ran on a platform that included making abortions available at EVERY hospital. If abortion were free and easy to obtain then there would be almost* no reason for a woman who wanted an abortion not to do it before the time ran out. Even if the time was only 6 or 7 weeks from the day she found out she was pregnant.

(*Almost, because this only makes sense in the case of abortions where the sole reason is that you are pregnant and don't want to be pregnant. If the reason is mother's health or fetal abnormalities, these could arise later in the pregnancy and there should always be exceptions for this.)

Anyways, I think that the 20 week limit, or 24 week limit or even the 12 week limit are not that problematic by themselves (assuming the proper exceptions, which I do not think this bill provides). By coupling the two separate issues together in the debate and hiding behind this "baby can feel pain" idea, it lends legitimacy to the supporters of the bill.

After today I refuse to engage with anyone who uses the "well let's just dump unwanted [post-birth] babies in a trash can, then" argument, as well as anyone who ignores the fact that this bill is dangerous to women, based on religious beliefs rather than actual medicine, or targeted at reducing abortions by making them impossible for many to obtain. If you are willing to take ownership of all those things, then we can talk.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Why the Texas Anti-Abortion Bill is so Bad

After all the excitement of the 11 hour filibuster to defeat Texas Senate Bill 5, I was in an internet forum (as you do) discussing the amazing Wendy Davis who stood without food or drink for over 11 hours to save our lady parts from religious oppression.

And someone said "What's wrong with saying an abortion can't happen after 20 weeks and [it] must be done in a surgical center?"

Good question, I'm so glad you asked!
First of all, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists went on record saying that it opposes measures that single out abortion providers and impose strict measures that go above the requirements for other procedures of similar risk. Given that, it seems to me that this bill is targeted not at stopping unsafe practices, but is specifically targeted at making abortions as difficult to obtain as possible.

Supporters of the bill claim to be trying to make the procedure safer for women, but reducing the availability of abortions will not do that. Women have been getting back alley abortions for years, possibly centuries. Herbs. Coat hangers. Illicit abortion clinics where infection and death was common. Reducing the availability of legal abortions is not the way to stop abortions. It is the way to kill women.

Now, let's look at this graphic (from here):
Since the labels didn't copy, I'll tell you that dots are current abortion clinics in Texas. The grey dots are the ones that meet the criteria for staying open under the proposed bill, the gold dots would either be forced to close or make expensive renovations to become surgical centers and stay open. (And again, the professional organization of doctors who specialize in pregnant women DO NOT agree that these heightened standards are necessary to patient health.)

The first thing you should notice is that the western half of Texas is already woefully under-served by abortion clinics. Obviously, not a lot of people live out there compared to the 4 major cities, but they are very spread out. This means that women in the rural parts of Texas must already drive several hours to get to an abortion clinic. Now take all those gold dots away, and the entire state is left with only 5 abortion clinics. Everyone in the western half of Texas seeking an abortion must now drive to one of the four major cities to get an abortion. Now these women could be 8-10 hours from an abortion clinic instead of 2-3.

So imagine you are a poor woman living in a small, rural Texas town and you need an abortion. You need to drive 8 hours to the nearest clinic. When you get there, you can have a sonogram, and then you must wait at least 24 hours before returning for the abortion. Maybe you decide to stay in a crappy motel nearby rather than make the drive. Or maybe you have other kids at home or a job you have to get back to, so you drive the 8 hours back to your small town. And then the next day, or the day after that- or several weeks later when you can get another day off- you make the 8 hour drive back to the abortion clinic to get the abortion done.

Do you see all of the obstacles placed in front of this woman? Well, let's add one more. Now she has only 20 weeks to get the procedure done. Subtract at least one month, when she was pregnant but didn't know it yet. Now there's only 4 months left. Four months to decide you don't want to carry the pregnancy to term and then arrange to drive 8 hours, at least twice and possibly four times, to get an abortion. How many times in the last 4 months were you able to take 2-3 days off of work to drive 600 miles away for a medical procedure? (Now stop and realize that if you answered greater than 0 you are lucky that you have a job that gives you sick leave and have the means to make the trip. And realize how many people are not so lucky.)  It is absolutely imposing a hardship. A hardship designed to keep women from having abortions and force them to carry unwanted pregnancies to term. And if they didn't have 2 days to take off work for the abortion, what's the likelihood they have a week take off work to give birth, or the ability to pay for their delivery and hospital stay?

Next case? A 14 year old girl raped by a family member. Now not only does she have to travel 8 hours for an abortion, she can't even drive. And her parents may not be so willing to take her to a doctor because they could get themselves in trouble. It's not middle class women with good jobs, good health insurance, good sex education, and access to birth control that are hurt by these restrictions. It's not you, forum poster who obviously has internet access, a computer, and time to spare, who doesn't have time to get an abortion in 5 months. And it's not me, either.

The problem with this, and with all anti-abortion legislation, is that it does nothing to treat the cause of abortions. Abortions do not happen just because slutty women want to have tons of premarital sex. Rather they happen in a perfect storm of lack of education, limited access to contraception, and lack of resources to raise children. For a poor woman with more mouths than she can afford to feed already, who is unable to obtain or afford contraception or daycare, she doesn't need another baby. And rather than trying to take away the reason this woman got pregnant (lack of sex education, lack of access to contraception, lack of options to report spousal rape) so she doesn't need an abortion... instead they are taking away the only out she has left.

That woman, and thousands of women, will suffer because of this bill. And those innocent babies that the anti-abortion crowd is so desperate to save will suffer too, by growing up unwanted and in poverty, where these same Republicans will cut funding to their schools, Medicaid, and other social programs that could help them. If you are opposed to abortions, what are you doing to stop abortions from happening? If your answer isn't "helping women not get pregnant when they don't want to," "preventing rape," or "making it easier for women and families to afford to raise their children" then you are NOT actually helping.

But it doesn't matter. Governor Rick Perry has called a special session, reconvening the legislature today to vote on this and a couple other bills. This time it will pass. Sorry, Texas women.