Sen. Hank Sanders

Number 1529 - September 28, 2016









            I answered the phone with a big “Hey!”   “How are you?” he said.  “I just called to see how you are doing.”  I could tell by the rhythm of his voice that it was much more than concern for me.  I inquired about his well-being.  I thought that I was prepared for anything.

            Let me say up front that I will not mention the young man’s name.  Moreover, I will not provide any indications, so don’t even look at the names in the Daily Diary.  He lives hundreds of miles from Alabama.  I really want to protect his identity.  However, I need to share this discussion because it touches on so many issues.

            After we talked for a while, he said; “Can I ask for your advice?”  “Sure,” I said, “Ask me anything you want.”  He spoke quickly.  “This girl is pregnant.  She wants to get an abortion.  I don’t want her to get an abortion.  But she really wants to do it.”  I was not expecting, this but I tried to respond as best I could.

            I said, “Are you going to get married?”  “No,” he said, “I just don’t want the baby’s death on my hands.”   “Are you paying for the abortion?” I asked.  “No,” he said.  “Has she asked you to pay for it?”   “No, it’s just wrong!” he said.  I thought for a moment as I gathered myself.  “How many weeks is she?” I asked.  “Eight,” he said.  I responded.  “All life is precious, but the abortion would be legal since it’s in the first trimester.  Shouldn’t this be her decision?”  He said, “I just don’t want her to do it.  It is just wrong to kill my baby.”  He was very insistent, his voice rising.  In my mind, I backed away.  I thought some more.  I did not want to argue about whether or not an eight week fetus is a baby.

            I decided to use another approach.  “Can you take care of the woman?” I asked.  He said, “No.”  There was a short silence.  Then he said, “I know where you are going with this.”  I went silent, waiting for him to continue but he didn’t.  Then I asked, “Are you able to take care of the baby?”  He was silent for a long moment.  His “no” was barely audible.

            “I shouldn’t have called you for advice,” he said.  “I should have known you would ask me all these questions.”  I said, “I am just trying to get to the bottom of the situation, but if you don’t want to talk about it, I will not force you.”  He went silent again.

            I said, “You are wishing that you had not called me at all, aren’t you?”  He said, “Yes. I wish I had not called.  But since I called, I may as well tell you the whole thing.”  “Go ahead,” I said.  He hesitated.  “You don’t have to,” I said.  Silence prevailed for a long moment. “There is another girl,” he said and stopped.  “Is she pregnant, too?” I asked.  “Yes,” he said reluctantly.  “Does she want to have an abortion?” I asked.  “Yes,” was his reply.  “How many months is she?” I queried.  “A little less than eight weeks,” was the response. “I just don’t know what to do.  They are so wrong!”

            “Can you take care of her?” I asked.  “Can you take care of the baby?”  “No,” he said, “I can barely take care of myself.  I knew that I should not have called you!”  I said, “Since you know how strongly you feel about abortion and you are not able to take care of the children or the children’s mothers, why didn’t you protect the women and yourself?”  “I don’t know,” he said. “I just don’t know.  But these girls are wrong!!!”  He spoke of girls.  I spoke of women.

            In the back of my mind I began thinking that he was trying to manipulate me into to paying for the abortions.  However, he did not ask me to help.  I would not have anyway.

            I was trying not to be too judgmental.  But I felt strongly that I had to see that lessons were learned.  “You feel so strongly that it is wrong to have an abortion.  Yet, you don’t feel it’s wrong to help bring children into this world that you cannot take care of.  Both these women are going to bear the burden of carrying a child for nine long months.  Each will bear the burden of taking care of the child for many years.  On the other hand, if they get abortions, they will bear that psychological burden as well.  Yet, you want to make the decision.  Isn’t that wrong?  You could have prevented all these wrongs with a little care!”  He did not respond. 

            There was another situation that I discussed with him.  I am not going to mention it because someone, somewhere might figure out his identity.  It had to do with challenges that dealt with right and wrong in a legal sense.  When he spoke again, it was to inform me that he was getting off the phone.

            I thought, “This could be any young male, Black or White.”  I also thought about how so many express such strong feelings against abortion but do not feel strongly about helping to take care of children brought into the world.  I also said to myself, “It is so easy for us to take strong positions when others bear the burden of our positions.”

            Now on to the Daily Diary.

            Saturday, September 17, 2016 – I handled many matters and worked into the night.   Among others, I communicated with the following:  Faya Rose Toure who was in Cambridge, MA for a Law School Reunion; Michele Alexandre of Mississippi; Carolyn Gaines-Varner; K.C. Bailey and Tearra Wright of Selma; and Coumba Toure Ba of Senegal, West Africa on her birthday.

            Sunday – I walked, handled many matters, did Radio Sunday School with Dr. Margaret Hardy and Radio Education with Perry County School Superintendent John Heard, III.  I did a live podcast and worked into the night.  Among others, I communicated with the following:  Charles Sanders of Bibb County; Mary Pons of Montgomery on her birthday; Shelley Fearson of Alabama New South Coalition (ANSC); Gladys Dunston of North Carolina who is recovering from illness; James Coleman of Hale County; Johnny Ford, former Mayor of Tuskegee; and David Tigabu and Mike Mitchell, producer of a live podcast.

            Monday – I was at work at 5:30 a.m., handled many matters, read Sketches on Faya’s Fire Radio Program, discussed matters with Dr. Daniel Boyd over lunch, traveled to Greene County, returned to Selma and worked into the night.  Among others, I communicated with the following:  Greene County School Superintendent Dr. James Carter; Permon Hardy of Lowndes County; Alecha Irby of Miles College; David Gaines of Birmingham; Liz Wing, Tim Ross and Greg Robinson of the Clinton Campaign; Kindaka Sanders of Houston, TX; Willie Gilcrist of Selma; and Greene County School Board members Dr. Carol P. Zippert, Leo Branch, William Morgan, and Carrie Dancey.

            Tuesday – I walked, read Sketches on Faya’s Fire, handled many matters, participated in an ANSC conference call and worked into the night.  Among others, I communicated with the following:  Jim Cole of Florida; Rev. Thelma Hogue of Perry County whose husband, Spencer Hogue, died; Youlanda Curtis of Washington County; Montgomery Circuit Courts Judges Charlie Price and Greg Griffin; Lester Brown of Greene County; Dr. Ernest Okeke of Selma; Senator Vivian Davis Figures; former NAACP National President Ben Jealous; Ola Morrow of Maplesville; and Nicky Fuller of Perry County.

            Wednesday – I read Sketches on Faya’s Fire, handled many matters, did Radio Law Lessons with Franklin Fortier, participated in two meetings and worked into the night.  Among others, I communicated with the following:  Sam Walker of Selma; Karen Jones of Montgomery; Lowndes County Administrator Jackie Thomas and Engineer David Butts; Jeanette Thomas of ANSC; Edwin Ellis of Selma; Wallace Community College Selma President Dr. James Mitchell; Representative John Knight; Duel Ross of the Legal Defense Fund (LDF) and, Robert D. Farms of San Francisco.

Thursday – I walked, read Sketches on Faya’s Fire, handled many matters, led a leadership lunch discussion, participated in an SOS conference call, traveled to Biloxi, MS attended a conference and stayed the night.  Among others, I communicated with the following:  Yomi Goodall of Selma; Carolyn Wheeler of Tennessee; Greene County Commissioner Lester Brown;  Frank King; Malika Fortier and Ainka Jackson of Selma;

Friday – I was still in Biloxi, MS I traveled to Gulfport, MS returned to Biloxi and attended a conference reception.  Among others, I communicated with the following:  Sharon Calhoun, C.C. Calhoun and Pat Chatman of Montgomery; Cecil Gardner of Mobile on his birthday; Lowndes County Commissioner Dickson Farrior; Dr. Margaret Hardy on her birthday; Senator Priscilla Dunn and Grover Dunn of Bessemer; Jerry Pennick of Atlanta; Mike Murphy of Montgomery on his birthday; Senator Rodger Smitherman; Jefferson County Circuit Judge Carole Smitherman; Dr. Joe Reed of ADC (Alabama Democratic Conference); John Tanner of Washington, DC; Sharon Wheeler of Montgomery; Senator Quinton Ross; Senator Bobby Singleton; and Perry County Commissioner Albert Turner.

EPILOGUE – Everyone has an opinion.  Some express their opinions more often than others. Some voice their opinions in stronger ways than others.  I try not to express my opinions too often or too strongly unless I am asked.  (Sketches is an exception).  I try to leave room to hear others no matter their status in life.