Growing up, I hated being Appalachian. There, I said it. I hated my accent. I hated the holler where I grew up. I hated having to travel an hour on curvy, decrepit roads for my mother to spend what little money we had to buy school clothes. I hated the poverty. I hated the need. I hated the food. I hated the stereotype. I left as soon as I could. I attended Morehead State University, initially on an academic scholarship, a mere 30 miles north of my hometown of West Liberty, KY. After earning my BA in Communications, I immediately moved to Louisville. Over the years I also lived in central Kentucky and eventually landed right back here in West “by gawd” Liberty in my mid-thirties.
I lost my home in every sense of the word when I lost my mother in 2000. I had been roaming with no tether until my hometown was wiped out by a tornado in the Spring of 2012. It was in volunteering and working with others that I felt reconnected to this place, this armpit of humanity… that suddenly no longer seemed like such a decrepit place. Appalachia had set its hooks in my adult self. The foothills reclaimed me.
This is a glorious land of amazing people. I love growing generational green beans passed down by my Grand Daddy. I love growing six types of heirloom tomatoes. I even have chickens now and have begun saying “ya’ll” with no sense of irony.
So, here I am… a liberal, passionate woman who is pissed as hell at what is going on not only nationally but also locally – state and closer to home. With the takeover of the GOP the immediate legislative issues being taken to task by the Kentucky General Assembly include an all-new HB2 . HB2 passed in the 2016 Assembly became the first bill signed into law by newly elected Governor Matt Bevin (R) and revised “informed consent” by a woman seeking pregnancy termination to require that she must meet with the practitioner to receive said information 24 hours prior to consenting to the procedure. 2017’s HB2 which sailed through committee and House already will require that a woman have an ultrasound prior to receiving the procedure in Kentucky. It is expected to sail through all steps toward becoming a law. It should be noted that since Bevin took on the only abortion provider in Lexington, Kentucky in 2016, women can now only attain the service in Louisville within the state of Kentucky. The passing of 2016’s SB2 added additional hardship in the 24 hour waiting period when women of eastern Kentucky live sometimes close to 5 hours of drive time away from the urban location and often cannot afford the cost of a hotel. Some compensation was made in the 2016 bill in allowing women to meet electronically 24 hours in advance. This, however, would require high speed internet and machinery for a video conference. I’m not sure everyone would be comfortable completing this step at their friendly public library.
Face to face in early 2016 with a fairly prominent KY legislator, I asked him why he voted for HB2. He looked at my blankly, as if he had no clue to which bill I referred. I reminded him of its content and he stated that as far as he was concerned, the abortion issue was made moot by Roe v Wade. However, he continued that he felt he voted as his constituents would support. I reminded him that eastern Kentucky women like myself would disagree – to which he replied, “But you’re certainly the minority.”
I’m the minority but I know I am not alone. I am all-too aware that abortion is a hot button topic. I know that all the God-fearing good folks of Appalachia are pretty sure I’m going to hell anyway, so why not make the ride worth something? Why not stand up for the women who do need or prefer the option to terminate?
I’ve already had some backlash to the name of this blog – that it perpetuates the stereotype. I prefer to think it plays with the stereotype. I like being barefoot – when it’s an option and there aren’t bees in the clover. I also like not being pregnant as that just isn’t the right choice for me at this point in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore children. I sometimes am regretful that I’ve never had a child, but my reason is this – I’ve never been in a relationship with a man who I trusted enough to be a father and I have never dreamed of being a single parent. That shit is hard.
I don’t intend this site to only be about reproductive rights. I will go off on pretty much anything that ticks off my little, black, liberal heart. I hope other women will speak up. I invite you to submit content for this lil blog. It may turn into something and it may not. Who knows? Hopefully I’ll figure out posting podcasts next. Chins up, ladies. Let’s get organized and figure out how to make these old white men hear our voices!