Pregnant and Pro-Choice

Kelly is now entering her third trimester of pregnancy. (Congratulations to her!)

Since she’s always been adamantly pro-choice, people have been asking her if she still feels the same way now that she’s having a child of her own:

And this has elicited some interesting reactions from those who know me, both online and physically. They ask me, “Are you still pro-choice?”

I have never been more pro-choice than I am right now, if that’s even possible.

I admit that I find the underlying reason for the question a bit ridiculous. After all, they’re asking me this because they’re assuming, somehow, that carrying to term makes a person anti-choice by default. Don’t all pro-choicers want to kill babies?

Pregnancy is a sacrifice — a very important one at that — and it has to be a sacrifice women are willing to make, to work through, and to bear — both the benefits and the suffering. No one else can make the decision except the individual herself. Carrying to term or terminating a pregnancy should never be forced upon anyone. The decision rests alone on the person carrying the pregnancy.To advocate for anything other than the legality, accessibility, and safety of abortion is an injustice and a slap in the face to women everywhere.

This pregnancy has been a sheer joy for me, and it’s because I want to be pregnant that makes it so joyful. And that’s why I’m vehemently, rapidly, unabashedly, and adamantly pro-choice.

Good for her.

Now, I’m hungry.

Just for the sake of argument, though, here’s an interesting story on the other side.

Gianna Jessen survived an abortion attempt and is now a pro-life advocate. She was on Hannity & Colmes last week to tell her story (and mischaracterize Barack Obama‘s stance on abortion).

Not to belittle her, but she talks a lot about how she defeated the “devil” and how she was somehow victorious in a battle that she really didn’t have any control over… she also has a paranoid belief that Obama was attacking her personally in recent political ads. All that aside, it is a pretty fascinating story, I thought:

I don’t think many readers on that far to the right on the pro-life spectrum. But I’m not sure how far to the left everyone would go… not all atheists are 100% pro-choice.

  • Polly

    I can’t see the video so I’m only commenting on what’s written.

    I wouldn’t expect pregnancy to change a person’s mind about choice.

    Gianna Jessen, provided she’s telling the truth, is a real life example of one of the reasons I dislike abortion so much – whether legal or not. I think it’s extremely unethical to kill would-be people. She might not be here, as with many others, if their mothers had given in to societal or economic pressures to abort them (or in Jessen’s case to try again?).

    The fact that they’d never know it if they were aborted, doesn’t dissuade me one bit from sympathizing with those who never get to live any more than a miscarriage.

    It sucks to carry a baby you don’t want. But, adoption can ensure that the burden is temporary. I’d rather be in foster care, even abused, than dead. And I’m sure Jessen would agree.

  • http://none Euthyphro

    Salvete amici-

    I am actually surprised to hear that so few atheists seem to be “pro-life” (which is really anti-choice). It seems to me that since the theist puts a greater weight on the “soul” that they would be less concerned with the physical body being destroyed by abortions, and with the atheist knowing that this is each and everyone’s only chance I would think they would be more apt to see the loss of an unborn baby as even greater. After all you’d be hard pressed to find an atheist that thought they would be “seeing them again.”

    With that said, I am pro-choice, but I would gladly support a moratorium on abortion. Not to make it illegal but to declare that the preferred option is to let live those eggs which have become fertilized.

    Peace
    Euthyphro

  • Jesse

    I’m pretty conflicted about abortion.

    I know this may sound strange coming from an atheist, but I don’t know if it’s right to abort fetuses who have souls.

    Of course, I would define the “soul” as a brain that gives rise to any sort of “self” characterised by any sort of awareness coupled with the ability to feel pain or pleasure.

    On the other hand, I can’t say I’m incredibly motivated to try to ban abortion. The thought of stripping women of a right that they cherish seems pretty awful and patriarchal to me. Whether abortion is right or wrong, I think it may be best to let women make the decision.

  • Polly

    Euthyphro,

    It seems to me that since the theist puts a greater weight on the “soul” that they would be less concerned with the physical body being destroyed by abortions, and with the atheist knowing that this is each and everyone’s only chance I would think they would be more apt to see the loss of an unborn baby as even greater.

    You described my POV perfectly. I was less concerned about abortion when I used to be a xian and thought that the soul got a free pass straight to Heaven.

    I don’t consider myself pro-choice. However, abortion is unlikely to affect my vote. Most of the assholes who want to outlaw abortion also want to blow up foreigners. I’m anti-choice mostly in that I wish women would choose Life every time it doesn’t affect their health.

  • Paul

    But, do you both want no access to abortion?

    I’m pro-life. But I will never support any legislation that would make abortions illegal. You can be pro-life and pro-choice at the same time.

  • http://sisyphusfragment.wordpress.com Sisyphus Fragment

    If you by pro-life atheists you mean the Raving Atheist. I don’t think he really counts anymore.. If not, I haven’t met a pro-life atheist, but, Hemant, you have met way more atheists than I.

  • Aj

    Obama seems to have had a problem with the bill. He says that he would have voted for it with an amendment, but voted “no” with the amendment. It seems Obama and his site’s fact check section are contradicting the official vote record. He can’t remember every decision he makes, the majority there voted against it, he may have a perfectly valid reason for voting no. He should just come out and say he was mistaken about his record, and makes his case for the decision.

    The Illinois law seems to pretty clearly already cover this anyway, so I don’t know why this extra law was needed. I checked the anti-abortion propagandists website and there is no mention of the “loop-holes” she refered to. I think it’s put up or shut up on that count.

    They’re trying to paint him supporting not giving treatment to aborted babies, but I seriously doubt that’s the case. They form a false dichotomy, he either had to vote yes for treatment or no for not treatment but there’s more posibilities for why he voted no.

    Polly,

    I’d rather be in foster care, even abused, than dead.

    If “you” don’t exist, then you’re not a person, so you can’t attribute preferences to any course of action. If you don’t exist, it’s illogical to say you’d rather anything. I think therefore I am…

  • Cathy

    Euthypro, most atheists tend to base many moral decisions on facts, evidence, and logical reasaoning. So, we can look up (reasearch, etc) things like neurological functioning, cognitive functioning and development, nerve development, etc. If anything, the argument becomes clearer when one removes the soul issue (except perhaps in very late term abortions). It seems pretty simple that eight cells does not equal a human being and that having complete human DNA does not constitute personhood (come on, your saliva has all of the DNA nessecary to create a human, but you don’t think it’s a person) There is also no reason why an atheist could not see the very real harm done to women by anti-choice policies or the damage done by botched abortions when abortion is illegal. Though, as the article said, not all atheists are 100% pro-choice, even those atheists that oppose abortion generally do not oppose birth control, comprehensive sex ed, and STD treatment availability (unlike many of the religious groups that oppose abortion).

    BTW, a moratorium means a legally mandated stoppage of the activity, therefore a legal moratorium on abortions denies women access to safe abortions as surely as making it illegal does. In fact, it is possible in most legal cases to punish someone for violating a moratorium. So moratorium on abortion = outlawing abortion.

  • Ubi Dubium

    I am totally, 100%, pro-choice. Having two children has only solidified this. Having a baby is risky, painful, and sometimes life-threatening. I agree with Kelly – I would never dream of forcing it on a woman who has decided, for her own reasons, that she does not wish to bear a child. And conversely, every baby deserves to come into this world as a part of a family where they are wanted and loved.

    We simply cannot function as a society if every “potential” person is treated as a fully realized person. Since I don’t believe in a soul, I am not really concerned about where “life begins”. An ovum is alive, and is a potential person, but we can’t insist that every one be fertilized and reared. And indiscriminate reproduction is irresponsible. If we can’t provide a decent upbringing and future for the children who are already here, we have no business telling an unwilling pregnant woman that she must bear another.

    It would be nice if there were fewer abortions. But the best way to achieve this is with education and birth control, not legislation and intimidation.

  • http://skeptigator.com Skeptigator

    @Polly

    It sucks to carry a baby you don’t want. But, adoption can ensure that the burden is temporary. I’d rather be in foster care, even abused, than dead. And I’m sure Jessen would agree.

    Given the high rate of suicide among adolescents and adults who have been abused. I dare say they don’t share your sentiment.

  • http://feministblogproject.wordpress.com Allyson

    But, adoption can ensure that the burden is temporary. I’d rather be in foster care, even abused, than dead.

    What if you get laid off once you tell your boss that you’re pregnant, or once you simply can’t hide the fact from your employer anymore? Yes, it’s illegal, but many women don’t have the resources to take legal action against employers. What if your employer doesn’t fire you, but you have to quit anyway because you simply cannot perform your job during you third trimester? What if you have to go on bedrest? Yes, the physical burden might be temporary, but the effects from losing or having to quit one’s job might be felt for the rest of one’s life. It’s not right to say that a pregnancy is only temporary, and that life goes back to normal right away. Because that’s not true.

  • Finn

    @Polly:

    It sucks to carry a baby you don’t want. But, adoption can ensure that the burden is temporary.

    Well, okay, the state can dictate what I can and can’t do with my body, as long as the burden is only “temporary.”

    You know what else sucks? Being forced to have intercourse you don’t want. But that’s only “temporary.” In fact, it’s waaay shorter than carrying a pregnancy to term and giving birth. So why’s that illegal, again?

    And yes, I did just compare forced pregnancy to rape. Because at the end of the day, it’s all about taking away women’s choices and autonomy and treating their body like property which exists to serve men/society/a fertilized egg.

    You guys can mewl all you want about the sad waste of potential life, but to me it makes slightly more sense to value the existing life – the woman whose welfare you are placing below that of a zygote.

    You – and the state – do not and should not have the right to force one person to use their own body to sustain the life of another. Ever. Period. Not a hard concept. Until you start arguing that we should have a mandatory-participation blood bank and organ donation system, you’re not following your arguments to their logical conclusion.

  • Spork

    There have been a few requests for you to comment about Lindsey’s deletion-happiness, and the appropriateness of you opening this weblog to the religious nuttery.

    If you have the time to post new items continuously, do you think, perhaps, just maybe, you might respond where your response is actively being requested?

  • Polly

    @skeptigator,
    Maybe I’d feel differently if I were abused, or maybe I’d be one of those that were survivors. How high is that rate? And then how high is the rate of abuse among foster kids? Then multiply those together and let’s compare it to suicide rates of “wanted” people. You’ve got the beginnings of an argument but the analysis is incomplete. And, what if we change the system? Nothing I would propose would be in a vacuum, anyway.

    @Allyson,

    You bring up good points. There are economic considerations that can be devastating. It’s really something that needs to be addressed by the whole system – social and economic. I think there are all kinds of reforms and enforcement of existing law that can be implemented so that no woman feels she HAS to get an abortion. I’m all for that kind of ability to choose.

    @Finn,

    You quoted me, but I don’t see anything in your post that looks like a response to what I said.

  • mikespeir

    I tend to oppose abortion, too. But I wonder if we shouldn’t keep the choice in place and then labor to convince women that it’s usually the wrong choice to make.

  • Euthyphro

    Salve Ubi Dubium-

    Undeque dubium venit, ut seniant.

    It would be nice if there were fewer abortions. But the best way to achieve this is with education and birth control, not legislation and intimidation.

    Agreed. Yet when you say “we have no business telling an unwilling pregnant woman that she must bear another.” Do you mean unwillingly pregnant (ie rape victim) or unwilling to carry the child. If it is the latter, am I the only one that feels a person should be responsible for their actions? Not to say that abortion should be illegal but my sympathies wane quickly when the person involved wasn’t considering the repercussions of their own actions (eg consensual sex can lead to pregnancy). It is a bit different if contraception does not work, but that is still a risk we take.

    Cathy The term moratorium has not been strictly used as a legal term for nearly one hundred years. It can also mean a temporary pull or suspension of support. If you read what I originally wrote I specifically mentioned that said moratorium would not be a case of legality. It would simply be a declaration.

    Allyson Here is some advice. If you are worried that getting pregnant might ruin your life, how about quit having sex? If I knew I was at a high risk of becoming an alcoholic it would be silly for me to drink. So as a woman you know that having sex runs the risk of pregnancy, its simply two and two.

    Abortion should not be used as an excuse to be footloose and fancy free.

    All that said, I don’t believe anyone has the right to tell a woman that she cannot have an abortion, or do anything else for that matter.

    Peace
    Euthyphro

  • Liz

    Being pregnant made my pro-choice leanings stronger. I was constantly freaked out while I was pregnant, and I had explicitly chosen to have that little alien in there!

  • llewelly

    But, adoption can ensure that the burden is temporary.

    What nonsense. There is a shortage of adoptive parents as it is.

  • http://www.shadowmanor.com/blog/ Cobwebs

    @polly

    It sucks to carry a baby you don’t want. But, adoption can ensure that the burden is temporary.

    So if my 17-year-old daughter is raped, it’s okay for her to re-live that trauma every day as she carries her attacker’s baby to term?

    I’m curious how many people who seem to feel that having a baby is hardly worse than having a bad cold have actually had a baby. It’s enormously hard on the mother’s body, and that’s if she’s healthy. Why is it okay to endanger a woman’s health for the sake of a cluster of cells?

    @mikespeir

    I tend to oppose abortion, too. But I wonder if we shouldn’t keep the choice in place and then labor to convince women that it’s usually the wrong choice to make.

    I think that’d be an awesome idea. It’s a pity that the same people who are against abortion also seem to be against any kind of contraception or sex education.

  • Polly

    I tend to oppose abortion, too. But I wonder if we shouldn’t keep the choice in place and then labor to convince women that it’s usually the wrong choice to make.

    Exactly.
    And that’s why I think we need to create a society/economy where the pressures TO abort are eliminated or diminished as much as possbile. Ditto for the incidents of unwanted preganancy, through education.

    The law isn’t my focus. I assume that it will always remain legal.

  • http://thegentlepath.wordpress.com GentlePath

    Carrying a baby to term when you’ve been raped can also be a way to bring some good out of a really bad thing.

    *********

    Years ago I remember seeing a photograph in a coffee table book American Life, or Life in America, something like that. It was of a dead woman – she’d perforated her uterus with a coat-hanger trying to give herself an abortion. So I’m pro-choice, but I wish there wasn’t a need for that kind of choice.

  • http://www.otmatheist.com/ hoverFrog

    She can’t walk without the assistance of God. How cool is that? God’s like her personal crutch. That is so nice of him and it explains why wars go and disease claim so many lives. He’s holding her up. It must be that chip on her shoulder that is so heavy that she needs the support.

    Abortion within a time frame is legal. Is there a compelling reason to change the law to make it illegal? In what ways does the law currently fail the citizens or allow inequality to remain? The right to life arguments are not compelling enough without real evidence that a bunch of cells actually constitute life. The pro-life/anti-choice “side” need to come up with better arguments if they want the law changed in their favour.

  • http://www.kellygorski.com Kelly

    Hemant, you’re wonderful. Thanks. :)

  • http://ghostsofminnesota.blogspot.com Ghost of Minnesota

    This reminds me of one of my most hated bumper stickers of all time: “Thank God your mom was pro-life.”

    Because, no she’s not, you moron. She’s very pro-choice and always has been. Trust me, I’ve known the woman all my life, and you’ve never met her. I know of what I speak.

    She made her choice, which was to carry her two pregnancies to term. Because she wanted children. But she fiercely advocates allowing other women to make their own choices, which may be different from hers.

  • JSug

    Ghost of Minnesota wrote:

    This reminds me of one of my most hated bumper stickers of all time: “Thank God your mom was pro-life.”

    The pro-life crowd like to set up the false dichotomy that if you aren’t in favor of bringing every fertilized egg to term, then you must be in favor of aborting them all, and therefore, you are evil. It must be nice to live in a universe where everything is black and white.

  • Jeff Satterley

    I’ve always felt there are real ethical questions that need to be answered about abortion. Unfortunately, the religious right have hijacked the conversation. We are unable to have a real discussion about ethics in this country without reference to supernatural magic.

    I’m pro-choice because I think the woman should have a right to control her body, while there are no conclusive ethical arguments against abortion. I wish that women would avoid them at all costs, but I don’t think we can legislate without any real arguments on the pro-life side.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant Mehta

    There have been a few requests for you to comment about Lindsey’s deletion-happiness, and the appropriateness of you opening this weblog to the religious nuttery.

    If you have the time to post new items continuously, do you think, perhaps, just maybe, you might respond where your response is actively being requested?

    Spork — I’ll comment on this in a separate post shortly.

  • Grimalkin

    I have a question for everyone:

    Let’s say that there’s a hypothetical situation in which someone (let’s name him Fred for simplicity) had a terminal disease. This terminal disease is curable, but it’s a complicated procedure that involves being hooked up, via machine, to another person for the better part of a year.

    Once the year is over, Fred will be completely healthy and able to carry on his life as normal. The donor, beyond the inconvenience of essentially being chained to another person for 9 months, will have several residual effects. For example, he will put on a lot of weight, receive several scars, and will have a lot of discomfort and bleeding for several months after the procedure has ended. On top of this, because the donor hasn’t been able to do his job too well with another person attached to him, he may have been passed up for a promotion. If something goes wrong during the procedure, he may even lose his job. Because of certain social customs, if he doesn’t then volunteer to act as 24/7 nurse to Fred for at least 18 years after the procedure, he will be shunned from much of society.

    Now imagine that something in the nature of Fred’s disease means that ONLY YOU can function as donor. Fred may be a completely stranger to you, but something in your DNA means that you are the only compatible person. If you do not participate, Fred will die.

    Do you feel that, in this situation, it would be acceptable for the government to force you to donate 9 months of your life to Fred? Do you feel that the government should have the right to come into your house, Fred in tow, and say “here’s what you have to do – you won’t get any compensation, no benefits, quite a few downsides, and we won’t help you at all. We won’t even pay for the procedure, and neither will Fred. You have to foot the bill.”

    As far as I am concerned, until we live in a society where the government can force us to donate blood, organs, marrow, time whenever it decides that we are a “match” for a certain need, we have no right to make a special case for women who have become burdened by an unwanted pregnancy, regardless of whatever potential or actual person dies as a consequence.

  • Polly

    @cobwebs,

    Get a grip. You’re putting the “JERK” in knee-jerk reaction.

    Nothing in your comment reflects anything I’ve said or any view I hold.

  • http://www.shadowmanor.com/blog/ Cobwebs

    @Polly

    Nothing in your comment reflects anything I’ve said or any view I hold.

    Howso, dear? You said, and I quote, “It sucks to carry a baby you don’t want. But, adoption can ensure that the burden is temporary.” That still means that the baby is carried for 9 months. You specified that the baby is one that isn’t wanted. Are you saying that there should be an exception for babies conceived by rape and/or incest?

    If so…that baby isn’t guilty because of the way it’s conceived. Why is it okay to abort an innocent child conceived via rape but not one that was conceived because the condom broke?

    @Grimalkin

    Let’s say that there’s a hypothetical situation in which someone (let’s name him Fred for simplicity) had a terminal disease. This terminal disease is curable, but it’s a complicated procedure that involves being hooked up, via machine, to another person for the better part of a year.

    False analogy, dude, even if the argument is on the right track. “Fred” is, at least, a fully-formed, thinking individual. Blastocytes are no such thing.

  • Grimalkin

    Cobwebs – while I see where you are coming from, I respectfully disagree. I cannot think of a fetus in any way other than as a person. The transition is just too subtle and slow for me to say “anything prior to X is just a bunch of cells” and “anything after X is a person.”

    I’ve given this a lot of thought and the only boundary that I can, in good conscience, make is birth – the event that makes the baby no longer physically dependent. So that’s the clincher for me, physical dependence.

    Like Finn said: “Until you start arguing that we should have a mandatory-participation blood bank and organ donation system, you’re not following your arguments to their logical conclusion.” It makes this an issue about women, which is where it belongs – not with the status or non-status of a fetus. For me, all this discussion about personhood is weak and therefore useless. Far better to simply argue that we shouldn’t make special rules for women.

  • http://www.shadowmanor.com/blog/ Cobwebs

    @Grimalkin

    I’ve given this a lot of thought and the only boundary that I can, in good conscience, make is birth – the event that makes the baby no longer physically dependent. So that’s the clincher for me, physical dependence.

    I’m willing to go with that boundary, too. If the fetus can live without the mother’s life-support system, I’ll be happy to agree that it’s a person. Before that point, it’s not viable. So I still argue that the cluster of cells that exists a few days after conception is not equal to an adult named Fred.

    And getting back to the original point of this post, I’m the proud mother of two beautiful children and still ardently pro-choice. Having children is a huge financial, psychological, and physical burden, and I don’t want anyone but me making the decision whether I should have my child or not.

  • Grimalkin

    Cobwebs: But when does that threshold get crossed? It’s easy to say that a cluster of cells a few days after conception is not a person, but a fully-formed fetus two days before the onset of labour is. But when does the actual transition occur? Can you say that all fetii become viable on day 126? And what about medical advances that change that date – if we use your definition, a fetus who would be called a person today would not be called a person 40 years ago because viability changes depending on the medical technology available.

    So like I said, I cannot, in good conscience, use viability as a guideline because viability is too weak a term. There is no set threshold that is true for all fetii. And the process is also too slow. How many cells must be formed in its nervous system before it can be called a person? If we say that 2K are necessary, what about the fetus with 1999? It’s endlessly complicated which makes it a weak argument – it’s too easy for the anti-choicers to say “I can find a dictionary that disagrees with your definition.”

    I just want to make clear that I’m not attacking you at all. It seems that you and I agree pretty much entirely, it’s just a semantic issue. One of the main reasons I’m an atheist is that things have to make sense for me and I need to be able to argue my position with 100% solidity. I tried to view the issue from your perspective, but I couldn’t defend it under fire (not without resorting to all sorts of dirty tactics like sticking my fingers in my ears, anyway).

  • http://intj-mom.livejournal.com INTJ Mom

    I’m going to be really honest here: I have 4 kids and have had 2 abortions. While I love my 4 kids dearly, I don’t regret the 2 abortions at all. Not even one little tiny iota. Neither abortion was from irresponsible sex. One was due to a rape, and the other one was while I was married to an ex-husband. We just didn’t want to have any more kids together. We’d used birth control faithfully and it failed for whatever reason. After that incident my ex went and had a vasectomy. To say that we should be forced to have another child, when we didn’t want another child and knew we couldn’t handle another child at the time, is just very ludicrous and insensitive IMO. And if we’d had that baby and given it up for adoption as a married couple – sorry but no one would’ve thought well of us. We would’ve been completely ostracized from our families, peers, neighbors, co-workers. It would not have been worth it.

    And to say that carrying the child of a rape to term would be creating good out of a bad situation is just blatantly ignorant. I shouldn’t even have to try and explain that one. It should be a no brainer as to why it’s incredibly ignorant and insensitive.

    It seems rather obvious that many in the anti-choice crowd are actually concerned about trying to control other people’s sex lives. It’s a complete myth that the majority of abortions stem from irresponsible sex. Lots of married women who’ve been faithful to their spouses have abortions. So married people shouldn’t have sex if they don’t want any more kids? Be real. I don’t know of anyone at all who has gleefully or nonchalantly had an abortion and considered it as a form of contraception. I’m sure there are a few women who’ve done so, but they are a very small minority.

    Also, I personally think it’s cruel to knowingly give birth to a severely handicapped child. I have relatives who’ve raised severely handicapped children and I’ve seen and heard their honest thoughts about what it’s like and the toll it takes on parents and families. These people say completely different things in public than they do in private and they say that is pretty common amongst the support groups they are associated with. So all this public “oh they’re so special & they’ve blessed our family so much” stuff is often not the truth. Many people are afraid to say the truth in public.

    If someone else has different opinions, that’s fine, I wouldn’t ever insist they have an abortion. If they really want to give birth to a severely handicapped child and take all the hardship that comes with that then that should be their right. But no one has the right to tell me that it’s not my right to make a different choice.

    I’ve also seen right wing arguments about how towards the end of the 1st trimester the embryo has pain receptors. This is true, but it’s important to note that those pain receptors aren’t hooked up to the brain yet, so no, the embryo does not feel pain.

  • Jen

    My mother certainly was/is pro-choice. I was born on purpose, and I know my mother still has some health issues from carrying me, and that was 23 years ago. Personally, I would feel guilty knowing my mother had carried me because the state decided she was too stupid to make her own decisions.

    Allyson Here is some advice. If you are worried that getting pregnant might ruin your life, how about quit having sex? If I knew I was at a high risk of becoming an alcoholic it would be silly for me to drink. So as a woman you know that having sex runs the risk of pregnancy, its simply two and two.

    Ok, seriously? I am on birth control, and the chance that I will get pregnant is 1%. If I have sex for thirty fertile years, or 360 chances for pregnancy, a one percent failure will mean I might get pregnant three times. If I want zero babies, should I abstain my entire life? Should everyone be gay until menopause?

    Also, I am not a fantastic driver. If I get in a car crash, is it my own fault because I should have known driving can lead to crashes? Should they refuse to treat me in the hospital? Should they refuse to treat smokers with lung cancer? No, that is the point of medicine- you fix the problem without judgment. Christ almighty.

    Polly- I can agree that there are societal factors at work when it comes to abortion, and certainly, in a perfect world, women would never feel that they HAD to have an abortion. What of the women that don’t want children, though, or simply don’t want more children? Let’s say its not a health issue or a forced pregnancy. Let’s say I just don’t want a child, and in the course of my 360 chances to get pregnant, I conceive. What, in your world, will be my motivation to carry that fetus and not throw myself down the stairs while drinking a daily fifth of vodka?

  • Jonas

    I’m a pro-life atheist, and frankly, I’m sick of people referring to anti-abortionism as “anti-choice.” That’s like referring to pro-choicers at “anti-life.”

    I’ll explain my reasoning behind my pro-life beliefs:
    There is no difference between a fetus two seconds from birth and two seconds after birth. There is, however, a major difference between a sperm and egg cell two seconds before conception and two seconds after conception. The sperm and egg join into one as a zygote.
    That being said, I think that when a woman’s physical health is threatened, then of course the most logical solution is to terminate the pregnancy.

  • Aj

    Apart from the “potential” crap that doesn’t last a second of thought, I really don’t understand the arguments about “responsibility”. If sex isn’t wrong, and abortions aren’t wrong, then why should it matter that women have them? I don’t here this “responsibility” call about other things that can be easily reversed without harm. If it’s because abortions are wrong then say so, it has nothing to do with responsibility.

    Jonas,

    There is no difference between a fetus two seconds from birth and two seconds after birth. There is, however, a major difference between a sperm and egg cell two seconds before conception and two seconds after conception. The sperm and egg join into one as a zygote.

    That’s all well and true but doesn’t really have much to do with the right to life. There are various stages where we can say an embryo is much different than it was before.

  • Polly

    @Jen,

    What, in your world, will be my motivation to carry that fetus and not throw myself down the stairs while drinking a daily fifth of vodka?

    In my world, you may be moved to “go through it” for the sake of the person that will eventually arise. You’ll give it up for adoption if you still can’t/don’t want to raise it.
    Still in my world: If, in your calculus, it’s still a moral decision to trade in a life of several decades for a few months of inconvenience, then you’ll stop the development of a human being, violently. You’ll be relieved while others like me look at the stat’s and regret the loss of human life.

  • Polly

    @cobwebs,

    If so…that baby isn’t guilty because of the way it’s conceived. Why is it okay to abort an innocent child conceived via rape but not one that was conceived because the condom broke?

    It’s not OK to abort a baby for the conditions of its conception. If you or anyone else has the stomach to carry to term, then I hope you would. If not, then it’s unfortunate but understandable that you can’t bear the burden of having a rapist’s baby. The psychological toll is much higher than a “normal” preganancy and might even be risking the woman’s life or mental health for years afterward if not permanently.

  • Jen

    Still in my world: If, in your calculus, it’s still a moral decision to trade in a life of several decades for a few months of inconvenience, then you’ll stop the development of a human being, violently.

    Bite your tongue. I was born to a mother who developed postpartum depression, which was not treated. She is still dealing with the fall-out, despite being heavily medicated for the last decade. If all she had to deal with was the bunions, the lack of a perm, the weight gain, and the hemorrhoids, you might have a point, but we are talking about twenty-three years of depression.

    And again, I was a wanted, planned child, the product of a then-happy marriage. I don’t know if she would have decided to have a baby back then if she knew what the fallout was going to be. Oh yes, and even though I know she wanted me, I have had to live with knowing that my mother’s inability to live life normally is directly related to my being here. Is that the burden you want a child to have?

    “A few months inconvenience”. I’ll have to tell her that one the next time she can’t get out of bed.

  • Polly

    @Jen,

    But YOU are here.

    And, is it right to assume that such dire consequences are going to follow every unwanted pregnancy?

    I don’t mean to sound cold, but a botched abortion could have taken her life, too even in a clinic or hospital. Life carries all kinds of uncertainties. Unless you can show that uwanted pregnancies somehow carry greater risk of PPD, this isn’t an argument for abortion. It’s just a really lousy situation.

  • Cathy

    I can’t remember who made the “women should not have sex if they don’t want to be pregnant” argument, but I hate that one so much. Women don’t get pregnant all by themselves. Why don’t you tell all the men to stop having sex? Also, you presuppose that everyone is knowlegable about contraception (comprehensive sex ed is not provided to everyone) and that contraception is always affordable and accesible (millions without insurance, parental consent laws, etc).

    Oh and as to the possible medical problems caused by pregnancy, how about heart failure, pulmonary (and other) embolisms, incontinence, pelvic floor disorder, loss of bone calcium, prolapsed uterus, renal failure, permanent abdominal muscle damage, blindness, diabetes, inability to recieve treatment for other medical conditions, brain damage, or death. 875,000 women each year experience pregnancy related complications. From a medical point of view, abortion creates less risk to a woman’s health than carrying a pregnancy to term and delivery. FYI, the argument that abortion causes psycological damgage is false too (according to the American Psycological Association).

    Oh, and an interesting argument for those that think all embryos have individual personhood (or souls), what about identical twins? Are they half a person/have half a soul? I guess people with Chimerism would be extra special because the are worth two people or have two souls (Chimerism is a rare condition in which two genetically distinct embryos fuse to create one individaul).

    Oh, and potential person does not equal person. So, if a man and a woman have protected sex, they just murdered all of the potential spawn that could have resulted from their sperm and egg uniting? Clearly there is a potential for those sperm and egg to unite, fertilize, attach to the womb, devolp, and be born(for a more humourous take, try Monty Python http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNgotUM4gk8).

  • Jen

    My point, Polly, is that you cannot judge for other women that carrying a pregnancy to term is worth it, nor can you dismiss pregnancy as a “few months” of annoyances. It has a real effect on the body, which was the point of what Kelly (congrats, Kelly) said. Also, I mentioned four other symptoms that my mother suffered during pregnancy- she still has three of those. She might not mind a lifetime of bunions because she gets to have me as a reward, but I certainly would be mad if I had them for a kid I didn’t even want. And as Cathy said, there are plenty of other health problems that can result from pregnancy far more serious than bunions. And pregnancy is more likely to kill a woman than abortion, hands down.

    Your attitude seems to be that pregnancy is a mere walk in the park, and that only cold, selfish women would choose to abort rather than carry to term and hand away their kid to strangers. How many children have you given up for adoption? I admit I am curious, since you appear to think this is easy.

  • cipher

    I was less concerned about abortion when I used to be a xian and thought that the soul got a free pass straight to Heaven.

    I’ve never gotten this one. According to them, if you’re born, there’s an overwhelming chance you’ll end up in hell. If you die during gestation, you go straight to heaven.

    Apparently, they don’t believe in game theory, either.

  • http://feministblogproject.wordpress.com Allyson

    Here is some advice. If you are worried that getting pregnant might ruin your life, how about quit having sex?

    Sooo . . . children are a punishment for having sex?

    I fail to see why anyone would want children if they are a “punishment.”

    That’s one of the things that always struck me as false . . . children are a gift, but you “deserve” to get pregnant if you have sex, even if you use reliable birth control and it fails. How is a pregnancy both a “gift” and a “punishment”?

    I use two forms of birth control because I want to have sex with my husband, but I do NOT want to get pregnant. And guess what? I also DON’T want to have an abortion. If I got pregnant, I WOULD have an abortion, because we don’t want children, but I would rather use condoms AND the pill just to be extra-safe.

    Why should I be “punished” for having sex? Why should I be forced to carry a child I clearly do not want as evidenced by the fact that I use extra birth control?

  • Euthyphro

    Salvete amici-

    INTJ Mom-

    It’s a complete myth that the majority of abortions stem from irresponsible sex. Lots of married women who’ve been faithful to their spouses have abortions. So married people shouldn’t have sex if they don’t want any more kids? Be real. I don’t know of anyone at all who has gleefully or nonchalantly had an abortion and considered it as a form of contraception. I’m sure there are a few women who’ve done so, but they are a very small minority.

    I am just going to go ahead and assume this was directed at my comment seeing that I was the only one to advocate responsible sex. It is not a matter of people not having sex but rather that they should consider the consequences, if you don’t want kids have your tubes tied, or better if your partner isn’t selfish a vasectomy, like you said your ex did. Even easier use a condom, a diaphragm et caetera ad infinidum.

    Jen-

    Ok, seriously? I am on birth control, and the chance that I will get pregnant is 1%. If I have sex for thirty fertile years, or 360 chances for pregnancy, a one percent failure will mean I might get pregnant three times. If I want zero babies, should I abstain my entire life? Should everyone be gay until menopause?

    Really need to read all of the post as a whole. It is likely my fault for being ambiguous in my connections point to point. I never once said I was anti-choice (I actually said the opposite) I just don’t feel that abortions should be justification for irresponsibility. See above.

    Also, I am not a fantastic driver. If I get in a car crash, is it my own fault because I should have known driving can lead to crashes?

    It is not necessarily your fault, it would depend on the crash, but I would say that if you know you are a bad driver it is your responsibility to take lessons, or other measures to improve your abilities. When you drive you risk the lives of ever other motorist on the road not just your own. You cannot honestly think it is ethical to expect them to just avoid you on the road.

    Cathy-

    I can’t remember who made the “women should not have sex if they don’t want to be pregnant” argument, but I hate that one so much. Women don’t get pregnant all by themselves. Why don’t you tell all the men to stop having sex? Also, you presuppose that everyone is knowlegable about contraception (comprehensive sex ed is not provided to everyone) and that contraception is always affordable and accesible (millions without insurance, parental consent laws, etc).

    It was me, and I stand by it. You are right women don’t get pregnant all by themselves, but I never said WOMEN stop having sex. I am no misogynist. It is a two way street. In fact while we are on inequalities of the sexes: you have a problem with women feeling the burden of the responsibility and yet you are not up in arms that the man who was involved in the act has zero say in the future of the zygote. Sounds hypocritical, maybe it is not. I’ll give you the benefit of doubt.

    I don’t presuppose that everyone is knowledgeable, I actually am confident that most people are idiots, but we are talking about abortion in the United States, No? Not to say that in all cases it is so easy but for most people in the States there are options, go to the Library. (Not to mention Planned Parenthood and other resources for people who need help). I have seen homeless people here in Orlando going to the library, if they can why can’t anyone else? Honestly the resources are there; if you are not using them you are just whining.

    Oh and just so you know I cannot afford health insurance, and you know what, when my wife and I can’t afford condoms we don’t have sex. Easy as two and two.

    Allyson-

    You have worked the strawman to great effect, but I never said any of the statements you have made. I am actually pro-choice, I was just making the obvious response to your list of the many repercussions of pregnancy; if you are so worried, stay away from the cause of your worry. It’s simple.

    If you had spent the time to read my entire post you would see that I had actually advocated choice for women. I don’t believe the government or any one else has the right to authority over you. I also don’t believe that a zygote is worthless, though, I doubt worth as much a pregnant woman, but it is a personal moral/ethical choice not one to be made in a court room.

    Peace
    Euthyphro

  • Aj

    Polly,

    …then you’ll stop the development of a human being, violently.

    Again with the illogical statements. Abortions don’t stop the development of a human being, it’s stopping the development of an embryo or fetus into a baby that will in turn development into a human being with personhood.

  • Polly

    @Jen,

    My point, Polly, is that you cannot judge for other women that carrying a pregnancy to term is worth it,

    Nor do I except when it comes to hypothetical scenarios. Observe that I answered your original question based on this assumption provided by you:

    Let’s say its not a health issue or a forced pregnancy. Let’s say I just don’t want a child, and in the course of my 360 chances to get pregnant, I conceive. What, in your world, will be my motivation to carry that fetus and not throw myself down the stairs while drinking a daily fifth of vodka?

    My answer would change based on expectations of health problems including psychological ones – see my response to cobwebs.
    My point is that there are two sides to consider, but many pro-choicers on this very board, completely omit the human life that’s being ended from the equation. And I do see it as an equation – somthing to be calculated. How much pain and suffering is a human being worth?

    As an analogy, people die for the convenience of mere automobile travel every day, does that mean we should outlaw automobiles? Maybe. It depends.

    If you tell me you wish you were never born for your mom’s sake, I’d say you’re lying. That goes double if you tell me she thinks that, now.

  • Polly

    @Aj,

    Abortions don’t stop the development of a human being[...]

    Play your semantic games with yourself. I’m already familiar with your opinion.

  • http://feministblogproject.wordpress.com Allyson

    One of the other things that bothers me about the “just don’t have sex” argument is that we’re not slaves to our biology. Not really.

    Okay, sometimes biology “wins” – cancer beats chemo, or the organ transplant doesn’t come on time. But I don’t have to live with my genetic predisposition to bad teeth; I can get Lasik rather than lose my eyesight. I can take antibiotics to keep a bacterial infection from killing me. If I were infertile and wanted a child, I could (assuming I had the money) pay to undergo treatments in order to conceive.

    No, we can’t control everything. But medical science shows that we don’t have to deal with our biological disappointments. I mean, in theory, you can choose to conceive if you’re infertile (the class issues surrounding that are a different topic altogether). So why do you have to let biology “win” if your birth control fails?

  • Aj

    Polly,

    Play your semantic games with yourself. I’m already familiar with your opinion.

    I’m not the one constantly trying to conflate two different concepts to deliberately confuse the issue. And you’re not alone, it’s a tactic used by all anti-abortion groups. What’s next, holding up graphic images of aborted fetuses?

  • Old Beezle

    It seems like there are different arguments within the abortion argument:

    1) legal:
    the right of a woman to control her own body vs. the state

    2) political:
    how parties use the issue to their own benefit (Republicans oppose ending the life of a “potential person” but send fully-grown people with families to foreign countries to die for ‘freedom’-wtf?)

    3) moral:
    right vs wrong blah blah blah

    To me, none of these matter…it is the individual choice of the woman (perhaps with input from significant other). She should look at her own life and decide and not let any of these arguments sway her.

  • Polly

    @Aj,

    I’m not the one constantly trying to conflate two different concepts to deliberately confuse the issue.

    The confusion is in your own head. You don’t get it at all. I’m done trying to ‘splain it to you.

  • Aj

    You’ve already explained it to me, you have given me links to articles, I know what the argument from potential is. That you keep confusing potential for actual is not a problem with me. We’ve been through three rounds of your excuses to protect your delusion, I don’t care about your delusion. If you keep conflating the ideas, I’ll keep highlighting it. Do you think it’s for your benefit? Do you think I’ll stop because you refuse to address your irrationalism?

  • Polly

    @Aj,

    you have given me links to articles

    Did I give you links? I don’t recall that. Are you sure you’re thinking of me?

  • Aj

    Polly,

    Did I give you links? I don’t recall that. Are you sure you’re thinking of me?

    You’re right, memories got merged, you posted a link to articles, but it wasn’t to me. Your views do include potential person arguments like I said. That doesn’t mean you can confuse pontential and actual.

  • Jeff Flowers

    Don’t make the assumption that atheism = pro choice. That is not always the case.

  • http://www.rekounas.org rekounas

    I am okay with abortion. But when the woman is doing it for her 3rd or 4th time, then she is using it as birth control and that is just wrong.

  • Pam3la

    Absolutely totally pro-choice.


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