Thursday, July 2, 2009

A perfect case for better health care, reproductive education and not naming your daughter 'Candy'.

Recent stories on CNN news and the Huffington Post are talking about Candy Vigneri, the Maryland woman who was arrested Wednesday on child abuse and endangerment charges after giving birth in a Washington, DC PortaPotty.

Here's the messy details.
From CNN
"A 44-year-old Maryland woman faces charges of child abuse after police say she gave birth in a portable toilet and dropped the newborn into the waste tank.
After exiting the portable toilet in Long Wharf Park in Cambridge, Candy Vigneri got a cigarette from a construction worker and sat at a picnic table, police Lt. Wayne Bromwell said.
As she sat, a male passer-by approached the toilet but Vigneri warned him, "Don't go in there, I just had a baby there," police said.
The man immediately called 911. Vigneri returned to the toilet and retrieved the newborn from the foul liquid at the base of the tank.
The baby was unresponsive and covered with a blue antibacterial chemical agent when emergency responders reached the scene, police said.
Vigneri told officers that she didn't know she was pregnant.
She was arrested Wednesday on charges of child abuse and reckless endangerment and is being held on a $50,000 bond.
The baby is in stable condition at Easton Memorial Hospital. Dorchester County social services will take control of the newborn after she is released from the hospital."

(A few other reported details, Vigneri lives in Maryland with her other children. Not really someone who wouldn't know she was preggers.) Here's a great article on it, with some thoughtful insights.

Yep, that's America. We're fucking nuts, here. And pathetic. Sure, Candy Vigneri is pathetic, that goes without saying. What do you expect when you name your daughter Candy? (Anybody ever heard of Senator or General or CEO Candy? No.)

But even more pathetic is the culture that leads to this kind of life choice.

Expensive, unavailable health care often leads women to not seek prenatal care. The high costs of living impact families that cannot afford the birth control, doctors visits, or even food for the kids they have. The obvious lack of mental health care facilities and services leaves folks to be crazy (like Candy clearly is) and wander the streets having babies in toilets. Poor education, including inadequate reproductive and child development education leaves people to "figure shit out for themselves" and people are clearly stupid. Shame and politics affect women's access to all reproductive options. A culture that is 'gaga' over babies rewards pregnancy with social status and promotes idealized versions of motherhood, but leaves women out in the cold when it comes to health care or child services or family rearing support. And now this child is here in the world and is "enjoying" the care of the local Dept of Family Services, another wonderful element of modern American life (sarcasm included).

We have spent a lot of time arguing between the left and right on the health care plan, on abortion rights and the value of Human Life, on what this administration or the last administration did or did not do. When it comes down to it, what we need more than debates and mud slinging and blame is real solutions that affect real people. You know, people like Baby Vigneri, who are going to inherit what ever mess we create or clean up.

So next time you feel compelled to blame the Right for all the worlds ills, or blame the Left for everything gone wrong, remember this new little baby. Remember that what this baby, and in fact all of us need is actual solutions, and real solutions require compromise and respect. They require us to put our petty attitudes and prejudices aside and do what is necessary to make REAL CHANGE, not merely affective campaign slogans.

For all of us in America, it is time to give birth.

Or get off the pot.


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP