Writing in the 4th novel has been dragging slowly lately. Writing With Arthritis is fun (for some perverse values of the word). In the meantime, the upcoming US elections will again act as a referendum on women’s ability to have agency over their lives.

Judges > Science

The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) has taken it upon itself to decide whether a drug is dangerous for human use.

The Thalidomide tragedy in the early 1960s might be history for most Americans, but I had a schoolmate, Amy (full disclosure: with whom I had a crush), who had two fingers and a thumb on one hand. She had it hard, and, in 1st grade, not a lot of mercy and understanding was to be found among the kids. But it didn’t keep her back. Despite Benevolent Drug Companies, the Food and Drug Administration pulled the drug from shelves after reports of birth defects. (Okay, because of a female scientist who wouldn’t shut up). Scientists looked at data made a data-based decision, and issued rules based on same.

To have a flock of eminently unqualified, black-robed, here-for-life judges make decisions about what drugs are or aren’t safe for women is, in a word, bananas. Would you want a bookkeeper to decide which drug to use in what dosage for a heart condition? Maybe ask an embalmer what a good recipe for a roast might be?

I don’t think SCOTUS will get involved in this specious, religiously-slanted issue. To rule to limit mifepristone would open the way for RFK Jr. to lobby for vaccines to be removed from pharmacies and for a certain ex-chief executive to get bleach put into HMO formularies.

Unintended consequences of laws, the foundation of the Shmuley Myers series, rolls out the red carpet for insane ideas brought to their ad absurdum ends. Georgia’s current IVF issue is a small example of it. Getting mifepristone banned would simply make more “sinners,” not more murderers. For some religions’ definition of “sinner.”

Even Wiseasses Can Figure This Out

George Carlin was making the unintended consequences argument about “personhood” decades before his joke turned toxic for Americans.

In other news, book #4 in the Shmuley Myers series should be out at the end of 2024.

Yes, Alabama. Still and Again. I’m Looking at you, Louisiana.

H/T to Legal Eagle!

The court decision calling IVF embryos “people” merely built on the already legalized notion that embryos have personhood. Devin Stone‘s latest video shows the wheels of injustice grind mindlessly in random directions.

I want all future decisions regarding pregnancy, abortion, or reproduction to be ruled on only by people who understand reproduction. Phrases like “extrauterine children…in…a cryogenic nursery.” They’re just trying to catch up with Louisiana, who’ve already hopped down the rabbit hole.

The macabre world of Shmuley Myers and the Preborn Investigation Bureau was a reductio ad absurdum snark. “Don’t people understand the consequences of such a thing?” (Hint: no.) So, we’re faced with (yet) another clash of church vs. state, where one religion’s radical zealots attempt to influence the State (of everyone else).

Read A Day at the Zoo to understand the now-actually-possible (-dare-I-say-probable?) implications of unintended (intended?) consequences.

Why the “Citizenship at Birth” Amendedment in the Shmuley Myers Series is Better than the Status Quo

Currently, my lovely state of Texas ranks amazingly low in child insurance and high in infant and maternal deaths. The current “pro-life” trend apparently starts and stops only with citizens with the means to pay for care. What happens to non-citizens, or those unable to pay for medical services, is not relevant.

In this series’ universe, since every pregnancy means a live citizen, and every non-live-birth a murder investigation, women would be required to have prenatal care. On a high-school nurse’s office, in The Property of Blood, there’s a poster:

1.  Thou shalt place your citizen’s needs above your own.
2.  Thou shalt keep your citizen safe.
3.  Thou shalt shelter your citizen well.
4.  Thou shalt not poison your citizen.
5.  Thou shalt keep your citizen’s home clean.
6.  Thou shalt prepare a safe place for your citizen.
7.  Thou shalt obey your doctors.
8.  Thou shalt keep yourself healthy for your citizen.
9.  Thou shalt feed your citizen as an honored guest.
10. Thou shalt treat your citizen as you would want to be treated.

It’s sad when a dystopian speculative fiction series devoted to unintended consequences is beat by the realities of 2024. The decimation of funds for those most at risk is a blazing proof that it’s not about the women, it’s about propping up the existing (white, moneyed) system.

Unintended Consequences and the Abuse of Corpses

An Ohio woman who miscarried a non-viable fetus stands charged of corpse abuse–of the fetus (see story: https://www.cnn.com/2023/12/19/us/brittany-watts-miscarriage-criminal-charge/index.html). This is added to the increasingly blatant tricks used in states like Texas to ensure all pregnancies result in births, no matter the consequence to the fetus or mother.

The Shmuley Myers mysteries deal with the “law of the land” in this increasingly NOT an alternative history. To those not agreeing with what is not even Christian doctrine but instead a fringe desire to control women, the law is out to get you.

On Jewish Murder Mystery Authors

I’ve been asked about other murder mystery series. Most people know about the Rabbi David Small series by Harry Kemelman. I never connected to it, any more than I found Agatha Christie’s mysteries. My connection to the Jewish detective concept was actually due to Michael Chabon‘s brilliant “The Yiddish Policeman’s Union”, an alternate history tale set in Alaska. I found it more vibrant and police procedural than the dilettante detective concept.

One of my readers casually asked me recently if I’d read anything from Will Thomas. (No, I hadn’t.) I picked up the first book in his Barker & Llewelyn series, “Some Danger Involved,” and was immediately entranced. Thomas’ meticulous descriptions of Jewish customs and traditions set in and adapted for the 19th century. Sheer brilliance. If you like the Shmuley Myers series, Thomas’ dispassionate storytelling is compelling and now I have to spend more precious time plowing through the series.

The fourth novel in the Shmuley Myers series is being written, slowly. Name announcement and teaser to be revealed… anon.

Fictional Blood

In the opening scene of The Property of Blood there’s a scene at a primitivist Christian megachurch. Read the book to get details, but readers have commented about the different ways in which blood has been sacred. Here’s something from the NY Times that surprised me. It’s about Mrs. Vuolo, once a member of the overexposed Duggar family and its rather special brand of Christian belief. Full article here. ‘…As the credits rolled, the children performed a song onstage about the saving blood of Jesus, warbling, “Why should I not be put in hell to suffer for all time?”’

I’m always puzzled when these visions of violence are matched to the worship of someone seen as “representing “The Prince of Peace.”

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving/Friendsgiving. Be safe.