Kat Hudson

Kat Hudson
Location
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Birthday
May 16
Bio
Kathryn Hudson has been a writer for most of her life. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, she currently calls Baltimore, Md., her home. As an award-winning journalist, Ms. Hudson spent several years as a newspaper reporter. She is currently raising a beautiful daughter on her own as a single mother along with two obnoxious cats (they are probably both French-Canadian). In her free time she writes. In her regular life, she juggles a cute infant along with a job in sales, blogs, and short films about everything. She welcomes new friends and correspondence, especially from befuddled new parents like herself.

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Editor’s Pick
APRIL 11, 2011 11:44AM

Babies, Republicans and illegal tax breaks...oh my!

Rate: 24 Flag

Babies. They are tiny, helpless and quite defenseless and that’s right after they are born. Before then, however, they live in a protective bubble, floating about in a dreamy, warm bath inside their mother’s uterus. Sure, they are subject to the actions of their mothers which may affect their development and ultimately their lives. But before then, they enjoy more protection than they’ll ever get in their lives outside the womb, especially from Republicans and the religious, usually Christian, right. This has always struck me as a bit odd. Why do they focus so much on people who aren’t quite here yet and ignore the needs of those of us who are here and in desperate need of help?

I know a little bit about unborn babies. Yesterday was my first-ever baby shower. I’m seven months pregnant with my first child. I also happen to be a single mother. Until recently, I was unemployed. I consider myself lucky to be working, albeit part-time, and still able to collect partial unemployment benefits. I am happy to say I have caring friends and family who have rallied to support me now more than ever. I wish the same could be said for the conservative political establishment in this country.

First of all, I know what you might be thinking. What the hell was I thinking getting knocked up when I was out of work? Why didn’t I stay with the father of my child? Why should you foot the bill for my kid? I understand these questions. It wasn’t so long ago that I asked the same questions of women in my shoes. It was sure a lot easier to sit in judgment then when I had some sort of moral high ground to stand above them on. Then the floods came and swept my high ground away.

Without sharing every last detail of why and how I got pregnant, I will simply say that I had major contraceptive failures (yes, plural) with the wrong guy. After forcing ourselves to work on things for the sake of our future child together, he sort of ducked out of my life and I haven’t heard from him since. Rather than wait around hoping he’ll decide to be a father to our future daughter, I’ve moved on with my life for the sake of my own sanity. At this point in my pregnancy, I have bigger things to be concerned with like having this baby and tending to her needs.  Some people, including those in the religious right, probably think I have no business becoming a mom, but what real choices do I have? If left up to them, very few if any at all.

As I write this, a state senator from my home state of Maryland is just one of many Republican members of Congress that is supporting absurd bills that would severely restrict or completely ban a woman’s right to an abortion. Even if she has a legal abortion, there are plans by some Congress members to investigate whether or not she was raped or made pregnant by incestuous relations. This is one that Senator Andy Harris, supports. The bill’s sponsors claim it’s to prevent women from writing off their abortions on her taxes (something I can’t think of anyone doing, but medical deductions are legal and I would never question this) and thereby benefitting from some kind of illicit tax break. They pretend that shaming a woman about her choice is not their goal. How would you like it if you were the target of one of these witch hunts?

The kind of women who are most often shamed and targeted for their family planning (or lack thereof) are women just like me. If we get pregnant outside of marriage or a stable relationship, we are judged for our lack of judgment or selfishness. If we have an abortion, we are judged for conveniently disposing of our unborn children due to selfishness or ignorance. We may receive applause from the religious right for leaving the abortion clinic and “choosing life” but that applause dies the day our children our born. If we don’t hand them over to “better parents,” we are once again labeled as selfish and “welfare queens.” All the support we received as pregnant women dries up along with most kinds of public assistance. In order to get any help, we have to tell the government who the daddy is so they can find him and make sure he pays his fair share. We must also find ways to work and raise our kids. If we don’t, our benefits are immediately revoked. We are damned either way. And we are alone.

Last week on ABC’s “The View,” former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee (R-Arkansas), a recent vocal critic of single motherhood (most-pointedly directed at Oscar-winner Natalie Portman’s unmarried pregnancy status), spoke about the topic. I would agree with him about the “fatherhood deficit” in this country. He said it added up to something like $300 billion dollars a year, a figure paid for by American taxpayers when fathers walk away from the financial responsibility of their children. I don’t know if that figure is correct, but taking food out of the mouths of these children and their mothers doesn’t solve the crisis, either. Sometimes, as moderator Whoopi Goldberg said, these women are better off without the men who made them mothers. Don’t try to tell that to a Republican or a religious fundamentalist, but they are hardly the only ones responsible for the dire financial situation many single mothers struggle to manage.

It was former President Bill Clinton who put the finishing touches on welfare reform. The goals, as they usually are, were noble. It started with finding ways to reduce welfare rolls while giving those on them, a majority consisting of single mothers and children, a way out of their poverty and the cycle that often last for generations. Instead, as the author of this article shows, for all of its lofty goals and high-mindedness, welfare reform has not only failed, but has left women stranded now more than ever before in low-level jobs where even tiny successes threaten to force them “further down the ladder” of success.  For every potential gain, whether it is a small raise or promotion, they find their benefits reduced or removed and their chances for escaping the cycle of poverty diminished even further. It is a demoralizing road to go down and its one we must travel alone.

As I write this, I am breathing a sigh of relief that our government has, perhaps only temporarily, avoided a shutdown. I wasn’t sure if this would affect my unemployment benefits—money I can’t go without for even a few weeks lest I fall completely behind. Still, I marvel at the reasons a shutdown of the federal government was ever on the table. Mostly it was to cut off funding to places like Planned Parenthood, a non-profit organization that does exactly as the title implies: it helps women (and men) plan their parenting choices.  Again, a soon-to-be single mother, I am furious that this organization, which has served me for many years in the form of cheap, decent healthcare including free condoms and low-cost birth control, was ever in anyone’s crosshairs. What else are you offering in its place, dear members of Congress? It sure isn’t Obamacare—you’ve made it clear that you don’t feel the poor deserve even half the healthcare you do that is paid for by taxpayer dollars and covers you for life.

Just ask Senator Andy Harris. On his first day in Congress this past year, he wasn’t concerned with saving anyone’s rights but his own. In an attempt to come off as a some sort of newbie Republican badass challenging the so-called “Obamacare” bill, he demanded to know where his healthcare coverage was. Apparently he was disappointed to hear that, not unlike many of the private working sector, there was a short waiting period before his coverage kicked in. Forget the fact that the man is a doctor and a millionaire. I guess he found out the hard way just how expensive it is to pay out-of-pocket for your own medical expenses. I didn’t hear him inquiring about anyone else and their ability to survive, even one month, without government-sponsored healthcare.

No, we don’t deserve your healthcare or your rights but our kids are good enough to fight your wars, serve your fries and burgers, and stay held down in the bully clutches of poverty. As long as we don’t try anything stupid, like trying get tax breaks on abortions. No, that would be very, very bad.

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So very well said, Kat. I hope this gets to the cover.
Congratulations on your baby-on-the-way! Motherhood is a sure way to becoming a political body, as you so nicely point out here. Choice doesn't start and stop with abortion. Career vs. full-time motherhood, or, God forbid, something in between--forget making that call these days (especially as services for women and children evaporate like steam off a Tea Bag). I'm baffled as to why it isn't evident to everyone that investing in kids, even if it means subsidizing their upbringing as well as their health and education, is the surest way to invest in a nation's future prosperity.
"but our kids are good enough to fight your wars"
You said it Kat. Congratulations on your decision and your honesty here. I did an "abortion" post today. We all have the right to choose whatever it is when it comes to OUR lives.
Right on. All the hypocrisy makes me furious, too. I just think that something as large and complicated as parenthood OUGHT to be planned for best results. But accidents sometimes cause people. I also think that family planning is something that the government should butt out of COMPLETELY. I give women credit for having both brains and consciences and the ability to use both to make the decision that is right for her.

I truly wish you and your daughter all the best, Kat. I hope you'll get a great deal of joy from becoming a mother, and I feel sure you are looking at this next phase of your life with clear eyes, that makes you better prepared for motherhood than are many women. Your daughter will be blessed to have you.

rated
Very well said, right on and congratulations and God bless. R
Welfare reform was vicious and absurd from the get-go. I could tell you horror stories about the sorts of corporations that were lined up to "administor" these programs. And the Clinton administration, along with the rest of the cronies on both sides of the aisle in Washington, knew exactly what was going on.

Otherwise, a pretty good post, and I certainly agree with you on Planned Parenthood funding. Although I'd like to see a better solution offered by somebody in power to the general healthcare deficit in slums. Creating a gigantic giveaway to insurance and pharmaceuticals companies in the guise of "healthcare reform" didn't seem to do the trick, for some odd reason.
Rated
"Then the floods came and swept my high ground away." I always find that when I stand in judgment of something, it usually is going to come way. Great thoughts here! Anyone who can not see that the GOP is schilling for morality versus trying to balance a budget is completely blind. BLIND.

I wish you well with your baby dear and I can't wait to have more updates!
First, I admire the choice that you made to preserve life and have your baby.

Second, you wrote:

"I am happy to say I have caring friends and family who have rallied to support me now more than ever. I wish the same could be said for the conservative political establishment in this country."

In my humble opinion, all is correct in your corner of the world.

It's not that I don't want to be supportive. It’s not that I wouldn’t be supportive of a person in your circumstances.

I just don't want to be forced by my government to contribute to charities of its choosing. Intuitively, this seems to violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The government has legislated the morality that I am forced to support, whether I agree with it or not.

I don’t want my government to determine what I believe is worthy charity and that which is not. I want to make up my own mind about whom I assist, how much I assist, and under what circumstances I assist. This, of course, applies not only to those pregnant and unwed, but also to those unemployed, unsheltered, or unfed.

Third, within this framework, the world works much better. Everything from one’s work ethic to one’s ethics and morality is left to families, churches, pastors, and, perhaps, the peer pressure of friends to teach and to instill by example.

When mistakes are made, or when accidents happen, I hope that these groups would leave the judging to someone else However, if they don’t, then the fear of their rebuke might invoke the hesitation in others that was apparently absent in your case.

Fourth, my hope is also that your child becomes healthy, wealthy, and wise.
Congrats on the baby. Excellent piece. Best wishes.
I've been following your story. Best wishes with your baby and the life of motherhood. You've said it perfectly here. The government talks about values, it doesn't apply them where they are needed.
Congratulations on the EP.

♥R
Dear Kat,

Don't worry. You are going to be a wonderful mother. The Republicans won't help you, but you don't need them. Pay close attention, because you won't want to miss one minute of the adventure that's coming your way. Pregnancy lasts forever, but children don't. In a couple of weeks you will look back and realize that twenty years have somehow flown by, and your beautiful baby girl has become a beautiful young woman.

Everything is going to be OK.
You wrote:

...." Still, I marvel at the reasons a shutdown of the federal government was ever on the table. Mostly it was to cut off funding to places like Planned Parenthood, a non-profit organization that does exactly as the title implies: it helps women (and men) plan their parenting choices. Again, a soon-to-be single mother, I am furious that this organization, which has served me for many years in the form of cheap, decent healthcare including free condoms and low-cost birth control, was ever in anyone’s crosshairs. "

Ah, no. It is not to "cut off funding to places like Planned Parenthood". Let's be, let's really try, intellectually honest. (And I hate it when the Right uses this expression too.) It is not to cut off funding. It is to cut off GOVERNMENT funding. There is a difference. Planned Parenthood is free to do, as it does, all of the private fund raising it likes. The rest of us just ain't gonna pay for it. Got it?

BTW, congrats on your pregnancy and I don't think it anyone's business how, when, why, etc., you got pregnant.
Contraceptives fail all the time, I don't believe their stupid percentages anymore. I have two pill babies, they didn't know 30 years ago that anti-biotics can render the pill ineffective, who knows what else does. My best friend has a tubal ligation sister. As far as being single, it's not just you they targeted it was married women too. They demonized divorced me for being poor with children and no child support, it's despised more than drunk driving. You're absolutely right, the children suffer for it dearly.

They don't hunt down the men for the child support ordered, the only person I know who got really lucky was a friend whose ex killed himself. She got social security for her two kids until they turned 18. If the guy had lived it would have been a terrible life for her and her kids because he rarely paid. What I want to know is when is everyone going to start blaming the men for getting women pregnant? It takes two to tango but men don't want to be responsible after dancing so we all keep blaming the women.

Mr. Andy IvoryTower is sure to pay for an abortion and hush money if he does the horizontal bop with one of his aides and blows a rubber. He could care less about children, born or unborn. He only loves himself and his money. You should be angry about this, I am. Attitudes need to change.
Any woman who decides to risk pregnancy (by the way, there's a wonderful new foolproof contraceptive device involving the crossing of legs) on the assumption that others will be required through involuntary taxation to support the situation has poorly Planned (her) Parenthood.

Uncle Chri and Barbara Joanne have it right.
You have written my thoughts exactly. The right needs to be called out as often as possible for thier paradoxical views concerning abortion rights. Abortion is a vile evil, but heaven forbid you seek contraceptive counseling. Then when you have the baby, don't ask for a handout...absurd reasoning. Planned Parenthood should be a venerated institution for pro-lifers when you think about it.
Thanks all for the comments (good to see you again, Thoth!).

Despite the tone of this blog, I really don't expect anyone to take care of me and my child. As many people know, I enjoy working and wish I had a full-time position that was more supportive of my goals. Yet, we can't always help our circumstances. Rather than expect me or any woman and her kids to suffer without some sort of help is rather cold. We used to be a country that had a little more compassion than that.

People like Gordon Osmond have all the answers. I should have kept my legs closed. I was waiting for someone to have the guts to say that, but the fact is, that's a gutless response. We all know that to say that to a grown woman or man is senseless. It's too bad his mother didn't keep hers shut. Comments like that strap the load of responsibility only to the woman's back. It is a comment designed to shame a woman and steal her power both intellectually and sexually. Sorry, Gordo, the days when a woman would be cowed by your words are gone. I am not ashamed of what happened to me and I'm glad I didn't keep my legs shut.

The past few days have found me lying in bed and holding my ever-growing belly as my daughter squirms and kicks inside. We listen to music. I talk to her. She makes my heart leap for joy. We can't all arrive to a perfect situation that includes two parents who love each other. But I truly do believe (and have seen many times) that one parent who loves you more than anything in the world is all anyone ever needs. My daughter's got a village of love around her already through friends and family who eagerly await her arrival, but she's got one person who'd give her the world and her life and that person is me.
"I am not ashamed of what happened to me and I'm glad I didn't keep my legs shut."

Fine; go for it! Just don't ask innocent bystanders to your decisions and emotions to cough up cash to indulge them.
@ Gordon:

If it makes you feel better, just pretend your taxes paid for bombs in Libya, and I'll pretend mine paid for Planned Parenthood services for Kat and her daughter. Or anybody else who needs them.
Kat, I also congratulate you on your baby and wish you and her the best in the world. I also understand your worries but I don’t agree with your hate (or dislike) of Republicans. I don’t think that they, as well as Democrats, in reality, can do anything but to stop this waste of money that’s going on in our government for decades, if not for centuries. You know how abusive all these programs are – do you really think that Clinton wanted to cut the welfare? He’s the Democrat! He is for the poor and for the working class! But he finally understood that something should be done – the welfare made people’s lives worse, not better. Girls were having babies year after year – it was their ticket to a “normal” life. They didn’t work, they didn’t go to school, they weren’t doing anything, but just having babies. There were (and I believe still are) generations of people who never worked. Government should stay away from our personal lives. It’s not the business of Government to tell a woman to keep or not to keep the child – but, at the same time, I don’t believe that they should pay for abortions with our money. I don’t believe that government should be a provider for any of us. It’s simple not the government business.

I am sure that you’ll be fine. These moments of weakness will pass. At the end you’ll be compensated with love and smiles you’ll get from your little girl. And I wish you a lot of those.
Nobody does hypocrisy better than right wing Republicans.
Kat, I don't what else I can add that hasn't already been said in praise of this fine piece of work. So I will just say Bravo! And mazel tov! Your daughter is going to have one very inspirational mom.
God, I feel so sad. I want to weep for humanity. We have to live the consequences of our decisions. Who can afford a society based on forgiveness?
/R
Uncle Chri---
I sure don't want to pay for your charities, so contributions of charities should not be tax deductible. At least I can vote about how the Gov't spends my money. I can't vote about whether you donate tax deductible dollars to Planned Parenthood or the NRA.
Uncle Chri---
I sure don't want to pay for your charities, so contributions of charities should not be tax deductible. At least I can vote about how the Gov't spends my money. I can't vote about whether you donate tax deductible dollars to Planned Parenthood or the NRA.
Most low income people get no benefit from itemized deductions, so removing a tax break for abortions is not going to make a difference to anyone who really needs it.