Friday, July 31, 2015

If they could just get the bodies out less war torn, they'd make a heckuva lot more moolah.


For the past few weeks I've been debating whether to post about Planned Parenthood's trafficking of baby body parts. Calling it "fetal material" might make you feel better, but watch the video below, which shows eyeballs being pushed around in a dish with a PP technician asking about their market potential, and see if you can maintain your intellectual distance.


(If you have the stomach to watch more videos from the undercover investigation, go here.)

I know about abortion first hand. It's something I'll regret until my death and maybe even afterword. Because of that knowledge, I spent a few years with an organization called the Women's Health Collaborative which focused on collecting and distributing information about the seldom discussed risks and side effects of abortion, and the darker side of the abortion industry.

It is, in fact, an industry, making oodles of money in multiple ways, one of which is selling body parts.

In theory and by the letter of the law, compensation is supposed to be purely expense-based for organs and tissue. But this video and others that were filmed as part of this investigation show that what's being discussed is a profit center. It's not unlike the compensation offered for egg donation, with companies aggressively pursuing female college students who are prime candidates both egg-wise and financial-need wise. Do a Google search for "donate eggs" and you'll see what I mean. Young women are offered up to $10,000 for a single harvest. The term "payment" will never be used, because that would be illegal. Officially, girls are "donating" and being "compensated" for that donation.

But potential babies aren't the only profitable market. Dead babies are also money makers. As the videos show, abortion clinics can expect $200 for a single viable organ. With proper training, and perhaps modified procedures, abortionists can get bodies out more fully intact, so that the brain, heart, thymus, kidneys, and yes even the eyeballs can all be sold to companies like this one:

http://stemexpress.com/

StemExpress' home page describes it as a multi-million dollar company which provides fetal and adult tissue and promises privacy for both its donors and its customers.

As the Planned Parenthood official discusses in one of the videos, payment would need to be based on a per specimen model. Illustrations would need to be provided so that they would know how much they were going to make on each mutilated child, and could focus on maximizing profits.

The actor in the video points out that in the case of eyeballs, customers are looking for those that are more fully developed. And of course larger organs should earn more than smaller, younger ones. So is it any wonder that there has been such a fight against restrictions of later term abortions by the National Abortion Federation and related organizations? Doesn't the diggety dang government realize the profit potential they're impacting?

These appalling videos aren't getting much air time in the mainstream news, but that doesn't mean that Planned Parenthood isn't already lining up their apologetics. They've already used the "It's only compensation for our costs" falsehood. So what will they come up with next?

The only thing I can think of is the argument used for justifying embryonic cell research: "As long as these lives are being lost, why not give them some value"?

But of course they can't use that argument, because it would mean admitting that these tiny, war-torn* bodies, are in fact lives.

*"War-torn" is the phrase used by the Planned Parenthood doctor who probed around at a dish full of body parts.


Friday, July 17, 2015

Patricia Sarles on why she started the Books for Kids in Gay Families website


Patricia Sarles, MA, MLS has put together an extraordinary resource; a virtual library catalog of books for children related to various LGBTQ issues. When I discovered that my book, Rumplepimple, had been included in the list I was first thrilled, and then intrigued. I decided to ask her a few questions about how the whole thing came about. Here are her responses. I think you'll find her story fascinating.

How did you get started with this effort? 


I am a librarian and I became interested in children's books on the topic of assisted reproductive technology when a social worker colleague, who is a fertility counselor, asked me if I could find her any books on this topic. I thought this would be very easy because of my training in how to find information on basically any subject. My colleague, Patricia Mendell, already had a small library of children's books on this topic so I started with those by searching for those titles in the Library of Congress catalog and discovered that very few, maybe two or three of her titles, were available in their catalog. In addition to that, they had very strange subject headings, like "infertility -- juvenile literature" or "test tube babies -- juvenile literature" and those subject headings were inaccurate because that's not what the books were about. They were about children conceived via assisted reproductive technologies and about donor offspring. It became apparent to me then that these books would not be easy to find after all. It was also obvious that there were no appropriate subject headings for books on these topics.

This intrigued me tremendously because I was now on a mission to find books on a topic that had no adequate subject headings. This meant they would be nearly impossible to find. But I still wanted to find them. I also knew that there were mothers and fathers out there who needed children's books like these in order to share with their children how they came into the world. There was a need for these books but no means for a librarian to find these books should a patron walk into a library and ask a librarian to help them find these types of books. That's when I started my blog.

How long ago did this take place?


My search for these books began in 2003 when I first met Patricia Mendell but I did not start my blog until the spring of 2009. I started with Patricia's small collection and then added to it as I unearthed (and by unearthed I mean I crawled under rocks to find them) more books on the topic. What started as a collection of about 15 books in English in 2003 has now turned into a collection of about 240 books in twelve languages so far in 2015! So how did I find these books that were not part of the Library of Congress collection and/or had no appropriate subject headings? I began scouring self-publishing catalogs, and began scouring the Web doing Google searches.

I've also learned terms in multiple languages, like Spanish, French, Italian, etc. and do regular searches in those languages as well. And now that my blog has been out there for a while, people who write these books also write to me to tell me about their books and I have discovered several this way as well. Since I have searched for these books in English and in so many other languages, I am safe to say that I am the only person in the world who maintains a collection of these books and since I share these books with Patricia Mendell, together we have the largest private library on these titles in the world. It is my hope one day to donate these books to a university or medical library, catalog them, and add them to WorldCat so that these books are findable for librarians around the world. It is also my hope to get the Library of Congress to create adequate and appropriate Library of Congress subject headings for these books so that they are appropriately cataloged.

You obviously find the LOC subjects lacking. What have you done to try to bring about improvements?


In 2009, Patricia Mendell and I started writing an article on these children's books which in 2010 was published in the journal, Children & Libraries. In it, we talked about the inadequacy of Library of Congress subject headings and the difficulty we had in finding these books. This article was picked up by Sandy Berman, a Library of Congress gadfly who has spent an entire career petitioning the Library of Congress for subject headings on a variety of topics for which there were none. He sent my article to the Library of Congress and petitioned them for a subject heading for "Donor offspring." I too had written to them asking them for new and more accurate subject headings for children's books on assisted reproductive technology but they wrote me back that they found their subject headings adequate. But in 2012, the Library of Congress added the new subject heading, "Children of sperm donors." This was a major accomplishment, which I felt I could take credit for since this was one of the subject headings I suggested they create. It is still not appropriate though because it implies that the books are about the children of people who donated their sperm and not about the resulting offspring of sperm donors. We subsequently published an article about this as well. It is my hope to write and publish more articles on this topic so that the Library of Congress can see that more appropriate terms are needed for donor offspring and other topics related to assisted reproductive technology.

So your work initially focused on assisted reproductive technology, but it branched out to include LGBT issues?


In the fall of 2009, I started my Gay-Themed Picture Books for Kids blog, when again, my social worker colleague asked me for a list of children's books for her gay clients who used third party reproduction to build their families. Third party reproduction would include the use of sperm donation for lesbian couples and egg donation, surrogacy, and IVF for gay couples. An organization she is involved with, the non-profit Path2Parenthood, formally the American Fertility Association, and an inclusive organization which helps couples, both gay and straight, build their families through third party reproduction, was looking to build a booklist for their gay clients on this topic. I wanted to help, again because I am a librarian and I just love to research things, and so I began my gay-themed picture books blog. There I set out to collect a list of gay-themed picture books for children. I started with the lists already in existence, the COLAGE list, the American Library Association GLBT Round Table list, and there are others, and I began to build my own list. In the case of Library of Congress subject headings, gay-themed books are so much easier to find. For example, the subject headings make much more sense:

Children of gay parents
Lesbian mothers
Gay parents
Gay fathers

As with my Books for Donor Offspring blog, I search for gay-themed books in multiple languages and I believe I have created the most comprehensive list on the Web. I have found over 500 gay-themed picture books in thirteen languages.

Tells about your work as a librarian. How long have you been at it? Where do you work? Do you specialize in books for children? 


I've been a librarian since 1990 and graduated from library school in 1991 so have been at this for 25 years. I do not specialize in children's literature at all! Even though I am currently a school librarian for grades 6-12 serving three small schools in Staten Island, New York, school librarianship is not what my training was in. I am a former medical and college librarian and that's the type of librarianship I was trained in and it is the type of librarianship I hope to get back into when I retire as I would like to popularize these books to make them more accessible to librarians around the world and I cannot do that in my current position. Ironically, I have no particular interest in children's literature, have no coursework or training in children's literature, but got into this subject because I was intrigued by finding things that were impossible to find. And in this case, it just happened to be children's books on assisted reproductive technology that I stumbled upon. Outside of this topic, I have no other interest in children's books.

Your websites list your email address as "Tovahsmom". Do you mind telling us who Tovah is? 


In 2003, my partner of 23 years and I went through the process of artificial insemination in order to build our family. This is how we came to visit a fertility counselor and how we met Patricia Mendell. Unfortunately, our attempt did not take and we did not become pregnant so we never had children. Tovah however is the name of one of our dogs who passed away in 2013.

Thanks for sharing this very personal part of your story, Patricia. And thank you for the work you are doing on behalf of all the families who want books for their children which reflect their personal reality. Your donation of time, thought, and efort for the sake of others is inspiring.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Rumplepimple Named HuffPost Live's Unicorn of the Week!

We were thrilled that Rumplepimple was featured in this video segment. Unfortunately, when HuffPost shifted their web infrastructure, the section which hosted these videos went poof. Luckily Rumplepimple's Momsey shot a video before that happened! Apologies for the resulting poor quality.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Happy birthday, little Doodle


A year ago today I wrote this post in honor of my eldest child's birthday. Today the lovely Kiera turns 27, and so I am continuing the tradition.

When I was 27, Kiera was one year old. We celebrated her birthday at my ex-husband's family cottage, as we would in the years that followed. That first birthday she sat in a huge aluminum bowl of water, clothed in nothing but dapples of shade as we tried to fight the heat and soothe the itch of chicken pox. Photos from the day show three red pox angling up and out symmetrically above each eyebrow. We made jokes about her having Spock brows.

(What I wouldn't give to have a copy of those photos. Or any photos from her childhood, really.)

Today, as she has every year, Dolce thanked me for bringing the gift of Kiera into the world. And she asked me questions, as she always does.
"Do you remember the way the top of her head smelled when she was a baby? Or the scent of her breath? The softness of her skin?"
"Yes." I remember all those things.
"What's your favorite of her physical features?"
"Her mouth, I guess. It's wide and beautiful. And her eyes. They are large and searching, attentive and kind."
"Do you remember things she said when she was little?"
"She said the funniest things when she was about 4. One day she came home and taught us a poem. It went like this:
    'My name is Edgie
    I'm sitting in a wedgie
    Potato in my jacket!' 
Another day she brushed my hair and said with obvious admiration 'Oh, mommy. Your hair is so long, and stringy...'"
"Was she always so confident?"
"Mostly. Maybe not as much during adolescence."
"What did she do that made you the maddest?"
That was a hard one. I thought, and thought, and realized that I can really come up with only one time that she made me mad.

Mostly I remember how gorgeous she was as a toddler with curling hair, huge eyes, and red lips. And how her legs ached when she went through growth spurts, the bones expanding so quickly that her flesh was traumatized. And how she became self-conscious and gawky during middle school before blossoming into lovely individuality as a young woman. And how I taught her to drive before she moved west, practicing parallel parking more times than I could count, and treasuring absolutely every single minute of it.

I remembered, and cried again, just as I have for the last five of Kiera's birthdays. I cried for lost time and for not being able to see her face on these days that celebrate her life.

Diane held me and let me cry, just as she does every year.

It is 4:00PM. Almost the very hour that my smart, kind, funny, passionate daughter was born. We will toast her soon, and give thanks that she exists.

Happy birthday, my sweet and lovely little Kiera Doodle.




Thursday, July 2, 2015

Happy to be included in a gay-themed picture book list!

I was thrilled to discover that librarian Patricia A. Sarles has included Rumplepimple in her collection of resources:


One of our goals in portraying Rumplepimple's family as it actually exists was exactly for this purpose. We know that children need books which illustrate that they and their families are normal, regardless of how many parents they have, or how old those parents are, or what color their skin is, or what genders they happen to be. Being included in this wonderful compilation of titles is a real honor.

Check back soon for an interview with Patricia about her work in creating these book lists.