She Used to Be An Abortion Clinic Protester

After posting the video of Aaron Gouveia responding to abortion protesters outside a clinic, I received an email from “Cindy.” She used to be one of those protesters but is now an atheist who hopes to eventually earn a Ph.D.

Here’s her powerful story:

My family is your quintessential evangelical, “Jesus Camp” family, except on steroids. I have at least four pastors in my not-so-distant extended family that I can think of off the top of my head, probably more outside. My uncle works for the Christian Broadcasting Network (the crackpot media arm of Pat Robertson). Youth camps, children services, and church services intertwine absolute obedience to their interpretation of the Bible and submitting to god’s will through prayer and speaking in tongues.

Other than my mom, none of the women in my extended family have full-time jobs. They bear children and build a “godly household.” I am expected to graduate college (if I want to), get married, take my husband’s last name, and make a glorious family while he is the primary, if not sole, breadwinner for the household. Needless to say, this is not the course I want to take with my life.

The video of the abortion protesters really strikes home with me for a haunting reason: I used to be on the other side, holding the signs and yelling at people for “killing babies.” The real kicker? I was 11; my sister was 8.

My grandmother is a seriously devout born-again evangelical Christian. As an example to how hilariously crazy she is, I received a poster for my 18th birthday (obviously taken from some church closet) with, I quote, “20 Reasons to Not Have Sex” (1. sex is bad!) 10 reasons were medical and 10 were derived from the Bible. One of the sections of the poster gave tips on “how to stay vertical with my partner and not be tempted to go horizontal.”

Anyways, we were visiting my grandparents when I was 11 or 12. One afternoon, my sister, my grandma and I piled into her car. She stuffed some things in the trunk. We drove for a few minutes and parked on a side street off a major road in her suburban Virginian town. She walked to the back of the car, passed my sister and I poster board, and we scampered off behind her. Around the block was a brick building with a spacious parking lot. There were other people standing outside. Many were holding posters and yelling at anyone that entered the building. There was a playground nearby; I wanted to play but we had more important business to attend to.

For what seemed like an eternity, my sister and I sat on the grass, holding sky blue posters decorated with pictures of dying fetuses, bloody head incisions, and formless bodies to persuade the people walking inside that they were going into a place of sin and ill-repute. I asked my grandmother why we were out here. Her response was straightforward and, at the time, seemed legitimate: “We are helping to stop people from killing innocent babies.” No wonder so many people were honking their horns, screaming at us, and flipping us an unsavory middle finger. My only thought was that I didn’t understand why people would want to kill innocent little children whom I thought were already alive. Oh, how I wish I would have known better. I thought the people didn’t like my sister and I.

If there were some way to rationalize their actions, I would. I am embarrassed that I am related to someone that would abuse the innocence of children and subject them to something that is completely out of their range of comprehension. I am embarrassed that my parents didn’t do something in response to the mental hazing. I can’t though. I cannot firmly accept that I was placed in a position where I had no choice but to comply. I feel, even to this day, violated to my core.

I can only hope that more people would realize that these protesters are so self-righteous that they can see no error in their ways. Being related to them has only deepened my hatred of those so beligerent and misguided to think that screaming and scare tactics will persuade people to believe in their narrow-minded ideology. There is no alternative for them. There is either right or Hell. Their indoctrination, their proselytizing, and their ignorance is a fate I wish on no child. There is no escape from it and I can still feel the ramifications of the brainwashing even in my life now. I try to be a friendly atheist, but these people… They crawl under my skin and gnaw at my bones to the point where I can’t stand it. That man in the video has a significantly more level head than I could ever imagine to have with these people. I give him major props for keeping his cool.

At some point, I will come out to my extended family about my lack of belief. But, until I can somehow reconcile my mistreatment, I might as well keep it secret. No need to expose myself to their berating when they themselves are unaware of what pain they cause.

I think it all goes back to a key question: Is there any good way to have a dialogue with those protesters? Knowing that they’ll most likely not change their minds and that they consider anyone who has an abortion on par with murderers… is it possible to get through to them?

  • http://www.facebook.com/tedhpeterson Ted

    No.
    Burn them all.

  • bigjohn756

    The simple answer…NO.

  • http://www.ryanrobinsononline.com Ryan

    I wouldn’t quite say absolutely no, but it definitely wouldn’t be easy. I am a Christian. My stance on abortion, matching that of my girlfriend, is that we would never want to be a part of it, but we want a separation of church and state, and it is probably better for the state to leave the option open.

    With that said, I’ve only had a couple encounters with these types of protesters – not as prevalent in Canada. The most interesting was when I was at a Christian missions conference. The tone of the conference could definitely be called “evangelical” but not really “conservative” (mostly social justice work). During the conference a group came from somewhere way out of town to protest, to us, because we were not conservative enough for them.

    The organizers of the event told us that there was absolutely no way to get through to them and that we shouldn’t get into a fight over it – just ignore them. One of my friends didn’t do that. He began to talk to them, and ended up in their van (with lots of hate speech on the side) talking to them about it from a Christian viewpoint. They were all young people who had clearly been indoctrinated pretty strongly as “Cindy” was. My friend did say, however, that by the end of about 3 hours of talking to them they were starting to at least think about their actions a bit more critically. He was able to, with a lot of patience, help them see that it wasn’t loving people – or showing them God’s love which is what they claim to be doing – to tell them you hate them. I don’t know if they stopped or if those people refused to do more tripped, but it definitely helped.

    So I think its possible. Really really hard, and if you know you can’t really invest that much time without losing your cool, which just feeds into their hatred in my opinion, it is probably better to leave them alone (as I chose to do). But I do think its possible and I hope that more like my friend will live up to the challenge.

  • littlejohn

    No. Absolutely not. And they should realize they’re wasting their time pestering women entering the clinics.
    If we had an abortion clinic here in Fort Wayne, IN (we don’t, of course, just a traveling doc who occasionally shows up), I would volunteer to escort the women into the clinics.
    I’m an ex-security officer, and if you check my screen name, you can probably imagine why nobody would try to block me.
    I hate those fuckers who block the sidewalks. I would love to have one them grab at me or a woman I’m escorting.
    Don’t misunderstand – I abhor violence – but they don’t know that.

  • stephanie

    On of the main reasons I am strongly, adamantly pro-choice is because I used to have to drive by the Planned Parenthood in Cincinnati on my way to college. The old one had been bombed, and the new clinic had 12 foot fencing and a policeman across the street whenever protestors were present. Most often during my college years, the protest consisted of an older man who would lean on the fence while watching two young children with huge, heavy signs. I never paid nearly the attention to the signs so much as the miserable expressions the kids wore.

    Any group whose beliefs encompass abusing children like that as morally correct has my lifetime animosity.

  • muggle

    Of course. Many of us — myself included — are fine examples of people who lost their religion. Do you think every Atheist who used to be religious was always pro-choice. I know I wasn’t. My former opinion was formed in ignorance but I didn’t change my mind until I gave birth frankly and I was agnostic by that time. Giving birth was hell and I thought no woman should go through this for a baby she doesn’t want.

    Cindy’s story reminds me of an incident. I belonged to a freethought group. There was an anti-choice protest near where we met one day and several members commented angrily on the children dragged to it and how they had no chance but of becoming like their parents. My reaction was to be appalled though I too was angry at people using their children for protest. (I am even at protests I believe in; protests are not the place for children, leave them home.) I just asked how can you say that? How many of us have broke away from childhood indoctrination? Of course, they have a chance.

    I see no reason to change my mind on that score. Kids can break free and occasionally adults can too.

    I freely admit though I don’t have the required patience for a three hour discussion like Ryan’s friend above. Cudo’s to him.

  • http://www.givesgoodemail.com Givesgoodemail

    “Is there any good way to have a dialogue with those protesters?”

    Not likely, not on a meaningful level. They come from a viewpoint of faith, which is pretty much impervious to a coldly rational approach. Emotional approaches only work when there is an emotional stake to the matter–i.e., when an abortion opponent’s daughter/wife/girlfriend is a victim of rape with a resultant pregnancy, and often not even then.

  • Andrew Morgan

    We should probably make it illegal to use children as political tools until they’re 18. For all of the other things children aren’t allowed to do until they’re fit to make their own decisions — vote, fight in battle, do dangerous work, buy cigarettes, etc — it seems obvious to me that we shouldn’t allow children to be used for their parents’ political ends.

  • TXatheist

    As someone who use to (too busy right now) go and counter-protest these protesters I’d say it’s good to keep the dialogue open. At least they learn there is resistance to their views. I can’t tell you the number of times I heard, “you are really an atheist?” as if they never met one. I don’t think I have much of chance of changing their mind but my point is to let them know they are being challenged in the demonstration. I can’t begin to guess how many people would see my “Ignore them” sign and give me the thumbs up.

  • Mr Z

    I find myself conflicted over the lateral damage such issues as this have. On the one hand we have Christians being anything but Christ-like, and on the other hand we have condemnations of them and exasperation with trying to get them to see a better world view.

    When you see an abortion clinic protester it would be appropriate to ask them ‘what would Jesus do’ and ‘where/how should the murderers be executed?’ Why is hate speech okay when uttered by a Christian? It’s not, and it would not be untoward to give such protesters some ‘scientology’ hospitality – film them and make them famous. Make their hate visible to the world via video sharing sites. Call them at work to ask why they are so hateful. Protest their church. A bit of tit for tat would illustrate the hate they spew.

    Christianity is not necessarily a choice. Children are indoctrinated at a very young age. They did not choose that world view. They can however choose to NOT have that world view. Diabetes is not a choice, but you can choose to TREAT it. Addiction is not a choice, but you can choose to TREAT it.

    The theme here is that these people are sick, afflicted, weak. We should be caring for them, not simply condemning them as a lost cause. Compassion should not be reserved for only those who ‘deserve’ it. Can you look at your alzheimer suffering grandmother and condemn her because she is a lost cause? Or do you study to see what can be done, how you can best treat her?

    If we as people condemn ‘Christians’ for their addiction are we any better than they are? Don’t we owe it to society and ourselves to work to treat this disease? Look at any description of addictions, see if it is not describing religion. There are many reasons to not like their actions, and to despise their religions, but we have a duty to our species to try to cure it of this disease.

    There are many ways to treat such a disease. Like the approaches to alcohol and other drugs, awareness and education are paramount. There is much more of this happening, but we need to keep it up. Billboards, PSAs and more will help. We need to foment a social attitude of caring, not condemnation. Rather than demonize the people we should more correctly classify religion in the court of public opinion as a disease that can be treated. We can and should setup co-dependency help centers, religion crisis centers, and generally actively treat this as the social disease it really is.

    Approach such protesters and offer them counseling services and support groups etc.

    You can’t force an addict to get clean but you should always be willing to help any who want some help to get clean.

    That said, I often totally agree with the exasperations people express. It has taken me a long time to see religion as a disease, but seeing it for what it is makes it easier to stay focused on what can and should be done rather than squander my energies in frustrations.

  • Citizen Z

    My friend did say, however, that by the end of about 3 hours of talking to them they were starting to at least think about their actions a bit more critically. He was able to, with a lot of patience, help them see that it wasn’t loving people – or showing them God’s love which is what they claim to be doing – to tell them you hate them. I don’t know if they stopped or if those people refused to do more tripped, but it definitely helped.

    Then you do not know it “definitely helped”. You don’t even know if it “maybe” helped. All you’ve got is a potential case of confirmation bias on the part of your friend.

    The recommendations I’ve heard when it comes to politics is at any sort of debate or demonstration, you’re not trying to convince commited opponents to switch sides, you’re trying to convince the uncommitted witness using your opponent as a foil.

    As far as your friend goes, I’m of the opinion that it takes fairly consistent, repeated exposure to really have an effect. Maybe he planted a seed in their mind, or maybe it’s like the 27 Comcast crew members asking Focus on the Family people Jesus questions. It’s better to try and keep people from going down that road in the first place than try to bring them back.

  • http://www.lavenderliberal.com/ Buffy

    Is there any good way to have a dialogue with those protesters?

    No. In the same vein that people keep telling LGBT folk to reach out and “win hearts and minds” of the anti-gays, there’s no way to have a dialogue with the anti-choicers. You can’t win hearts that are hard and minds that are closed. Nor can you have a rational dialogue with someone who refuses to budge an inch from their position that a cluster of cells in a uterus is a life that must be protected at all costs, and that women are nothing more than brood sows who are expendable if God so dictates.

  • WingedBeast

    Judging from my time as a customer service representative, I can tell you that you can only have a respectful conversation with someone who is willing to have it.

    It takes an effort on both sides and both sides need to be able to see the other as equals, not necessarily as correct but as equals.

    When you believe that the truth is revealed unto you especially and that all those who disagree are either suffering absolute ignorance that only seeing your message can cure or are steadfastly evil, that respect is just not possible. Giving even that ounce of respect to someone as to say that their disagreeing position has a valid (even if incorrect) position would be to challenge your own worldview, which would be an evil unto itself.

    I’m not saying it’s impossible. I am saying that it’s incredibly unlikely. I will say that, like the old psychiatrist joke goes, the lightbulb has to want to change.

  • VXbinaca

    @Buffy

    While dialog between protesters at abortion clinics is hard if not almost impossible, gays DO need to reach out to non-gays. I’ve had some that were very rude to me when I expressed that while I support equal rights in every way for them, I do not like to hear about or accept (I didn’t say “tolerate”) their lifestyle. They should Hermant’s example with Atheism and being logical and friendly with people. Sugar works better than vinegar.

  • http://www.banalleakage.com martymankins

    Since their minds are made up and their minds are sealed shut to opinions from others, I would say there is no way to have a reasonable conversation with any of them. I’ve read reports from others that have experienced head butting and talking to a wall when trying to have a civil conversation with abortion protestors.

  • Carlie

    Holy crap, how is it that so many people can say “No”, there’s no way to have a dialogue with those protesters, right after reading a letter from a former protester who changed her mind?

  • llewelly

    It is far more resource effective to spend your energies convincing other people that anti-choice protesters are doing horrible, evil things, and that to aid them, or to agree with them in any way is wrong and immoral.

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

    How to deal with them?
    I gave my opinion on that in this post of yours.
    I say that those who are inclined to such deeds and have the time, etc. should work towards making the cost of protesting exceed the perceived benefits.
    There is no talking reason to zealots.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Beth

    @ Carlie–I think it’s because she came to us first to tell her story. No one badgered her or debated with her to make her change her mind about protesting. It was only after she realized it for herself how she was used by her grandmother that the dialogue happened. Someone who is standing outside a clinic with signs and harassing women is not someone who is interested in any sort of meaningful conversation. Because if they were really interested in doing something that makes sense, then they would stop wasting time protesting and start doing things that actually prevent abortion/help children. In short–we’re not talking to a protester, we are talking to a former protester.

  • Alex

    Silence is acceptance. It does not matter if you can change their minds. They and the general public need to know we don’t agree with the protesters.

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

    @Carlie

    “Holy crap, how is it that so many people can say “No”, there’s no way to have a dialogue with those protesters, right after reading a letter from a former protester who changed her mind?”

    You can’t count children as legitimate protesters or as potential dialogue partners in a public venue. Kids used in these protests are victims, not ideologues to be confronted.
    Sure you don’t want to retract that statement?

  • http://www.freedomlovesracademy.com Kristina

    No. I’m pro-life, but I think these protesters are over the top. I truly believe that they’re not helping anything, and are really only harming themselves, the women, and the children who see them (or are forced to be one of them). I’ve been accused of being pro-choice because I don’t agree with protesting, changing the law, or bombing clinics. The fact is that these people are radicals. Dialogue won’t change their minds.

  • http://www.givesgoodemail.com Givesgoodemail

    @Carlie: “Holy crap, how is it that so many people can say “No”, there’s no way to have a dialogue with those protesters, right after reading a letter from a former protester who changed her mind?”

    Because she changed her mind and began to use critical thinking instead of knee-jerk reactions based upon faith.

    Discussions aimed at invoking thoughtful response require rational thought, not Scripture- and authority-based rantings.

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

    @Mr Z,
    I find your suggested response to be disturbing as well as a bit condescending towards those of “faith”. They might be loopy, but they’re not (all) stupid and the majority of them are certainly not insane.
    I’m more inclined than not to be aggressive with those who try to shove their religious ideology down my throat. However, I would just as aggressively defend their right to believe whatever idiocy they want to believe without someone offering to “heal” their “diseased” minds through re-education.
    Another thing: Sometimes it is beneficial to demonize them; at other times it is not beneficial to demonize them. I prefer to leave the hand-wringing and pretentious moralizing to those on the far right and far left who appear to have the wonderful luxury of living outside of reality.
    There’s no “one size fits all” solution to any problem.

  • VXbinaca

    @Kristina:

    I can accept you even though I’m pro-choice. I don’t attend protests either because they’re counter-productive. It’s not like they ended any wars or anything. Not sarcasm either.

    Welcome.

  • Pete

    Fully understand Cindys situation,i didnt choose my birth among the freakyfundy group i ended up born among either.It was just a pretty random! outcome of two humans breeding.

    And if, as faithful folk often try and tell us, they really are only concerned about the welfare of our children. Then they should all be brought to understand any valid concern, if enough good medical evidence is available to suggest some real posibility of harm exists,among children subjected to these beliefs at very young ages.

    I think i agree with Andrew Morgan.If its proven fact by science that there is quite high posibility of some real harmful effect like what Cindy discribes, existing in enough cases, then surely there should also be good enough evidence to start challenging these laws that exist,with regard to what should or shouldnt be coniddered legal, until a childs atleast age 18 when “fit to make their own decisions”.With modern advances in health and medical science and neurology we have science on our side.

    It brings the whole argument back around to being far more about laws of the land and human rights and what should be considdered harmful v unharmful.And i thinki it removes some of the personalized heat of the debate, that exists when many many humans in general of all different manner of beliefs tend to try and shout back and forth at each other, with all their “personal opinions” in their own point of “view” of the matter.

    Use of law, pushes it all further up there alongside all the other community decisions in common we have.Such as age limits of allowing our kids to smoke,drink,have sex,marry,purchase porn,loan from a bank,drive cars motorbikes etc.

    Carlie says

    Holy crap, how is it that so many people can say “No”, there’s no way to have a dialogue with those protesters, right after reading a letter from a former protester who changed her mind?

    Exactly.Yes its obvious we can slowly change religius opinion.Otherwise we might also still burn witches or stone female rape victims.Its just going to be quite a long battle to make all the change needed.

  • Pete

    Godless Monster

    There’s no “one size fits all” solution to any problem

    .

    Fully agree.

    Its like trying to suggest maybe human might all be clones ,and all children can be dealt with exactly the same way.

  • J Cole

    I read some of the posts above, and it seems like the only person who has had any success in getting through to these people was another, more open minded, Christian. And, even he admits that he “wasn’t sure if it did any good”. So, it seems to me that if someone who shares some of their core beliefs couldn’t do it, then the chances of you or I reaching these people is very slim. We are godless heathens, as far as they are concerned, and our opinions count for nothing. I’m not saying don’t try, but don’t expext much in the way of results. I think we would be better off trying to convince people like like Ryan (the aformentioned open minded Christian) to come over to the light side and leave the rest of his superstitions behind.

  • http://www.lavenderliberal.com/ Buffy

    @VXbinaca

    I don’t have a “lifestyle”, I have a life. Furthermore I don’t seek your acceptance. I merely want the rights you have and take for granted, and for bigots to leave me the hell alone. If you don’t want to hear about my life that’s peachy. But when is the last time a gay person came to your house and wanted to share the Gospel of Gay?

    If you don’t want to hear anything about us, and have already decided you don’t accept us, what’s the use of us trying to reach out to you? As I stated before, it’s useless trying to reach closed minds and hard hearts.

  • The Other Tom

    Mr. Z: “If we as people condemn ‘Christians’ for their addiction are we any better than they are?”

    Yes. They are ordered by their religion to not judge others, to love others, and to treat others as they wish to be treated. They are doing none of the three, which makes them hypocrites.

    We are under no such restrictions. We may therefore judge them without being hypocritical, dislike them as much as we feel like, and the fact that we may look down at them and dislike them does not change the fact that we will treat them humanely merely because we feel it is the moral thing to do.

    VXBinaca: “Sugar works better than vinegar.”

    Actually, it doesn’t. Google it.

  • Pete

    J cole says

    So, it seems to me that if someone who shares some of their core beliefs couldn’t do it, then the chances of you or I reaching these people is very slim. We are godless heathens, as far as they are concerned, and our opinions count for nothing

    Some more liberal folks who maybe also even shared some of the same beliefs such as slave-ownership and racism ,maybe also didnt have much luck quietly talking sense to some of the more extreme people either ,with regards to matters of slave-ownership and racisim.It was never ever going to be any easy change.

    But it still hasnt stopped matters of slave-ownership and racism from changing.These things are often like septic boils ,the trouble dont ever just simply disappear ,sooner or later the only way for proper healing taking place, is the infection in some cases needs to be either lanced, or else just cured by use of some antibiotics etc.

    For many years it was only really a very “slim chance” folks would ever be likely to be able to land on the moon too .But still wherever there is a will , quite often there is also always way.

  • Pete

    Mr Z says

    Christianity is not necessarily a choice. Children are indoctrinated at a very young age. They did not choose that world view. They can however choose to NOT have that world view. Diabetes is not a choice, but you can choose to TREAT it. Addiction is not a choice, but you can choose to TREAT it.

    Yes children can choose to leave.But still, we need to remember that choice often only exists only after! they have finally become a certain age, it some countrys thats at about 18 i think.Children should still be somewhat protected from some harmful situations they have little control over ,during their childhood.

    People are not born as Christian or Islamic ,just as they are not born as alcoholics or cigarette smokers ,or prostitutes etc .And simply us being parents of our children, should maybe not just automatically allow us the right! to “impose” some of these ideas/beliefs on our young children.Atleast not until they are of a certain age, so that they can then also make some of these important decisions for themselves.

  • http://atheist-roxie.blogspot.com Roxanne R

    I recently blogged on this topic. how to argue with an … (fill in the blank).

    I’m not a writer, I’m not gifted in any way like most bloggers I read, and I’m really not talented when it comes to words (just check my scrabble scores!)

    Basically, it all comes down to a person’s willingness to change.

  • http://fontofliberty.blogspot.com/ Rarian Rakista

    As a progressive pro-lifer, I find many of these comments to be as vile and vicious as some of the Christian pro-lifers use against leftist pro-choicers, but attacking freedom of speech and assembly. Protest, the right to do so is ingrained in our constitution, so long as no physical harm comes to anyone, I do not understand what we are supposed to be so riled up about? Pro-choicers demonstrate at churches, pregnancy clinics and other places pro-lifers congregate, I see no complaint of their activities.

  • Carlie

    You can’t count children as legitimate protesters or as potential dialogue partners in a public venue. Kids used in these protests are victims, not ideologues to be confronted.
    Sure you don’t want to retract that statement?

    No, because she’s not the only one; there are a fair number of people who change their minds about abortion as adults. I was an adamant pro-lifer until my early 30s, and am now entirely pro-choice. I would not have changed my mind had I not been confronted with the problems in the pro-life stance. Care to retract your snide retort?

  • http://www.mandikaye.com Mandi

    I don’t think “dialogue” is really possible or helpful. I’m another one of those who crossed the fence from faith to no faith, and I can honestly say it didn’t have much to do with the people screaming at me from both sides of the fence.

    As a former Christian, I spent a fair amount of time trying to convert people (the most notable occasion was when two JW’s knocked on my door and I invited them inside with some naive hope that I could change their minds).

    It didn’t work.

    When people do change, and I mean *really* change (from either side), it’s because they wanted and/or needed to. It’s not because someone talked to them and showed them the error of their ways.

  • Silent Service

    Cindy,

    You have my sympathy. I know far too many religiously closed minded people in my family too.

  • Rich Wilson

    I’ve had some that were very rude to me when I expressed that while I support equal rights in every way for them, I do not like to hear about or accept (I didn’t say “tolerate”) their lifestyle.

    Try replacing ‘their lifestyle’ with just about anything else. “The heterosexual lifestyle” “the black lifestyle” “the religious lifestyle” “the atheist lifestyle”.

    I often explain what I call my evangelical atheism as simply trying to de-marginalize atheism. I’m not trying to make anyone else stop believing in gods, I just want the golden rule to prevail. I would’t dream of people not wearing crosses in my presence. On the other hand, I bristle at the idea that I can only really get morality and happiness from gods.

    Wanting other people to stay quiet about some aspect of their lives is in the least hypocritical.

  • Rich Wilson

    People are not born as Christian or Islamic ,just as they are not born as alcoholics or cigarette smokers ,or prostitutes etc .

    I don’t think that comparison works. Completely aside from when or how or what anyone is taught about religion- I can’t ‘choose’ to believe in God, any more than a Christian can ‘choose’ to stop believing. One or the other of us may be convinced to change our minds, or choose to honestly investigate the alternative, but we set out to investigate, we don’t set out to believe something we don’t currently.

    Let me put it this way, I can’t choose to really believe there are 5 lights. I can say there are 5 lights, but if I see 4, I really be believe there are 4.

  • beckster

    Pro-choicers demonstrate at churches, pregnancy clinics and other places pro-lifers congregate, I see no complaint of their activities

    Hmmmm . . . I have never seen videos or photos of pro-choice protesters harassing women who were walking into hospitals to deliver the babies they chose to have or OB offices where they are going to have ultrasounds or prenatal care for the babies they want to have. Do you have some? I have seen pro-choice protesters of course, but they aren’t harassing pregnant women for choosing to have a baby and they are not trying to guilt anyone into having an abortion that she doesn’t want to have.

  • http://www.redheadedskeptic.com Laura

    No.If you make people angry, they will further themselves in their cause. If you are friendly and polite, and you might hit on the one or two that may eventually de-convert, but in the moment, you aren’t going to change their minds. Chances are, though, that it won’t do any good. I always encourage dialogue, but not with protesters (while they are protesting, I mean. Dialogue is better and more productive when they aren’t in the zone. When you are protesting, you expect to be persecuted, and anything you say fuels the fire). I like the counter-protesting things that use humor, but those are more for the other people, not the person actually doing the protesting.

  • VXbinaca

    I merely want the rights you have and take for granted, and for bigots to leave me the hell alone.

    Hey! We have something in common! So do I!

    As I stated before, it’s useless trying to reach closed minds and hard hearts.

    Well you can be kind to those you disagree with, can’t you? Thats a great start to dialog or at least a civil society. You knot that civility is the masking tape that hold society together. Thats the first part to changing minds.

  • Alex

    I am expected to graduate college (if I want to), get married, take my husband’s last name, and make a glorious family while he is the primary, if not sole, breadwinner for the household. Needless to say, this is not the course I want to take with my life.

    Why is the last sentence “needless to say”? There’s not necessarily any more value in being an income earner than being a household caretaker. And yet the author seems not only to think that it’s the case, but that it goes without saying.

    As for the question at hand, I think that trying to have a dialogue with these protesters is all but futile. I think their opinions can be changed, but it is best done by people who know them and I are able to really engage them in private discussion.

  • Regina Phalange

    I know this is strange, but I am actually an atheist pro-lifer. I find the whole debate to be extremely frustrating. Religious pro-lifers tend to irritate me because god and the bible have absolutely no place in the discussion and all it does is make pro-choice people not take us seriously. (Understandably….I can’t take anyone seriously if all I hear from them is ‘god this’ and ‘the bible that’ either!)

    It all comes down to when do we consider it a human being. If a fetus/baby is a human being before birth, then it should have the same rights as a baby would after it has been born.

    Let me give an example. (I realize I don’t have a very popular position here, but please hear me out before disagreeing with my point of view.) A 14 year old girl gives birth to a baby and realizes that her life is never going to be the same. She’s going to miss out on her teenage years, she won’t be able to go to college, she won’t be able to get that career, and on top of that, she will never be able to provide more than the bare minimum for her child. She decides that she can’t handle that reality, suffocates the baby and tosses him in the dumpster. I don’t think that any rational human being would be ok with what this girl has done. It is simply not acceptable to kill a child because you’re not ready to take care of him.

    This is why the most important thing needs to be determining when human life begins. If the fetus/baby is a human being then the given reason would not be sufficient for an abortion, just like it’s not sufficient reason to suffocate a newborn. (Obviously there are different scenarios. Danger to the mother’s life being one of them. If it’s one life or both lives, there’s not much of a choice to be made.)

    From the things that I’ve seen and heard, my conscience won’t allow me to think if it as just a fetus or a clump of cells for very long. The advancements that have been made in the field are telling us more and more about fetal developement and it’s pretty incredible. Personally I can’t see it as anything but a human once that heart starts beating. And that happens pretty early.

    As for your question, I can only see two ways of changing the minds of protesters. Pro-lifers who have reasons similar to mine (although I myself have never protested) would have to be convinced that the unborn baby is actually not a life. If anyone here is able to show me that, I will gladly change my mind. I say gladly because being pro-life actually kinda sucks. Believing that babies are being killed every day makes my stomach churn, and the looks I get when I tell people I’m pro-life are never fun either. If there is some piece of knowlege out there that I am unaware of that could convince me that an abortion is not ending a life I would accept it in a hearbeat…
    But, if they are the kind of pro-lifers who just are because that’s how they’ve been brought up and have always been told that pro-choice people are evil murderers who think it’s ok to kill children if it benefits you, then they need education. If – very big if – they can be made to see that pro-choice peole aren’t evil monsters and the debate has nothing to do with religion, then you would be able to have a reasonable discission. You may not be able to change their minds, but the ability to have a reasonable discussion is always a great thing!

  • Rich Wilson

    Christopher Hitchens BTW is another atheist pro-lifer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BI8wwt4yKkc

    One of my regrets over Hitchens’s cancer (and a selfish one to be sure) is that I probably will never hear him answer my burning question: “How would you change Roe v. Wade”?

    He has stated that the best (only?) way to raise the standard of living for a community is to give women control over their own reproduction. So to carry on with his argument, how would he feel if he found that the woman had asked to be kicked because she was 6 weeks pregnant can barely afford to feed the family she has?

    My own take is that I honestly think we’re all ‘pro life’. I have yet to meet a ‘pro choice’ who wouldn’t like to see the need for abortion to go away. Where we disagree is on how best to reduce the number of abortions that do occur, whether in clinics or in back alleys.

  • Angel

    They are ordered by their religion to not judge others, to love others, and to treat others as they wish to be treated. They are doing none of the three, which makes them hypocrites.

    We are under no such restrictions. We may therefore judge them without being hypocritical, dislike them as much as we feel like, and the fact that we may look down at them and dislike them does not change the fact that we will treat them humanely merely because we feel it is the moral thing to do.

    Well said, The Other Tom. Very well said.

  • Pete

    Rich Wilson Says:

    don’t think that comparison works.

    Howdy Rich

    I can’t ‘choose’ to believe in God, any more than a Christian can ‘choose’ to stop believing

    I think kids do even choose/decide to believe in santa ,yes maybe adults “talk them” into doing it yes its all about indoctrinatin!.But its the kids mind still the one that chooses.

    What age should it be considered ok ?, to manipulate by indoctrinating kids mind with certian ideas/ways.

    Maybe id agree with you in saying the kids cant choose to believe in santa or Jesus unless they see him, like they seeing 5 light bulbs.

    My point is, why? is it considdered lawful to use “manipulative religious indoctrination” to manipulate kids mind this way, if proved it can be so harmful to them.We do have laws to protect the child against lots of things,like when they can be taught to smoke or drink or take up lots of other habits.

    And as Cindy had said

    I had no choice but to comply. I feel, even to this day, violated to my core.

    And

    Their indoctrination, their proselytizing, and their ignorance is a fate I wish on no child. There is no escape from it and I can still feel the ramifications of the brainwashing even in my life now

    Im more interested in coming from the “legality” side of matters, of whether its moral or immoral, for us to be brainwashing our young “kids minds” with certain ideas specially if there is already some good scientific type evidence showing up,that suggests it causes some long term harm, like quite afew seem to be reporting it does.Cindys not! the only one to have reported feeling this indoctrination has had some long term effect on them.

    There is still a lot of lifelong psychological trauma being imposed on some children by religion in some groups.Think maybe i agree with Dawkins it amounts to little more than child abuse.And as such why isnt it outlawed? as is indoctrinating young children into drinking alcohol or smoking or even making porn movies.And parents are also supposed to be responsible for the childrens health.

    If some of these more agressive type fundy beliefs tending to traumatize many of the kids like im picking the evidence might likely suggest they do.It cant be good for health .

    I cant see why it isnt a matter for taking to the courts to try and seek better justice.

    Sure this might not! change the mind of the adult fundy yelling at the clinic .But still it would hopefully help save a few more young kids! from needing to try to simply “put up” with much of stuff that is abusive and (damaging) to young minds,and that alone has to help go some way towards helping cure “part” of the problem.

    Personally im not so interested to try continuing yelling! to try and change the adult minds.Im far more interested in finding the approach that quietly paves the way for better more equal rights/options to be made available for all the kids.

    Soceity trys not to let our kids be subjected to to much physical abuse ,and even if we adults start to “threaten”! to burn them we can end up spending time in some jail.So why then is this cold calculated “threatening” religious psychological abuse ok?.

  • Pete

    Rich Wilson says

    My own take is that I honestly think we’re all ‘pro life’. I have yet to meet a ‘pro choice’ who wouldn’t like to see the need for abortion to go away. Where we disagree is on how best to reduce the number of abortions that do occur, whether in clinics or in back alleys.

    Yeah i agree.People dont “enjoy” abortions ,really none of us do.Im pro-life too.Thats for sure.

    But the difference is i understand life isnt always equal for everyone ,situations are never always totally the same, and just because birth/life is the best choice for somebody .Does not equal that its simply always the case for everyone else also.

    I dont see it can be proven that pro-life is “always” the very best choice.Im sure maybe some folks do exist in this world , who dislike life ,who might even sometime wish their parents maybe had thought a little better about even bringing them into this world.

    When is life real life? .Is misery life?

    The thought of what is the greater suffing sometime needs to be addressed .Like the analogy of the train on the track and the choice about the greater suffering .

    See analogy here http://forums.philosophyforums.com/threads/kill-one-to-save-five-30630.html

    I am pro-life .But i see the reason for the human need for having some “personal” choice in these matters.Its not any matter of the “one size” fits all type decision.

    Rarian Rakista Says:

    As a progressive pro-lifer, I find many of these comments to be as vile and vicious as some of the Christian pro-lifers use against leftist pro-choicers, but attacking freedom of speech and assembly. Protest, the right to do so is ingrained in our constitution, so long as no physical harm comes to anyone, I do not understand what we are supposed to be so riled up about? Pro-choicers demonstrate at churches, pregnancy clinics and other places pro-lifers congregate, I see no complaint of their activities.

    Hi Rarian , im fine with these folks “right” to choose to be pro-life, im pro-life myself .But nobody is ever about trying to remove our right to “choose” pro-life are they.How would it feel to these pro-life folks if large groups of folks srarted going around trying to stop! their right to even choose pro-life, and started demanding when women should have abortion ?.

    Thats the big difference here between them and us.

    I bet they wouldnt like that much.They would even feel quite indignant at somebody else with the gall and great ignorance, to even be daring evading their personal space in public at such a time demanding they MUST have an abortion.There would be utter outrage if this started happening.

    In my opinion i think its much better we start to concentrate on fully working out all the guide lines and find best ways to try and lesson any great suffering caused by abortion.

    Both living and dieing can be the cause of some great suffering,so there is really no one size fits all answer to this.

    And its unlikely we can ever stop back street coat hanger type abortions happening anyway.

    So whats better? having controlled places with guidelines are kept and best outcome are properly discussed .

    Or ban it? and have babies getting killed by a kick in the guts ,or by being poked to death by a coat hanger in some back alley.

  • Pete

    I bet they wouldnt like that much.They would even feel quite indignant at somebody else with the gall and great ignorance, to even be daring evading their personal space in public at such a time demanding they MUST have an abortion.There would be utter outrage if this started happening.

    Imagine if some very agresive groups formed that all targeted the Christian women heading into the hospitals to give birth to their babies ,who started picketing them and shouting out at them that they already had far to many christian kids already! ,and demand ! they all should be having abortions.

    Would it be considered quite fine ?

  • Pete

    Laura says

    I like the counter-protesting things that use humor

    Oh yeah i agree.Sometimes about the only option left is to try and let somebody get even the slightest little glimps, of just how utterly silly they actually look.

  • AxeGrrl

    Buffy wrote:

    In the same vein that people keep telling LGBT folk to reach out and “win hearts and minds” of the anti-gays, there’s no way to have a dialogue with the anti-choicers. You can’t win hearts that are hard and minds that are closed.

    I’ve seen this confirmed quite a bit lately. Since the Prop 8 ban was overturned a few days ago, I cannot tell you the ignorance (most of it wilful), denial of reality and general lack of integrity I’ve seen demonstrated by the anti-same-sex-marriage peeps.

    Case in point: On another board, they were going on about procreation being ‘the’ point of marriage, I asked 3 of them this very simple question: “If the ability to produce children isn’t a marriage requisite for heterosexual couples, why should it be one for homosexual couples?”

    Not one of them answered it. And I kept needling…..not one stepped up to the plate. The cognitive dissonance must be oppressive.

    And I don’t know how many Christian posters have insisted that “there is no such thing as same-sex marriage”, despite the fact it, indeed, exists in several countries. Not ‘i don’t agree with it‘, but ‘it does not exist‘.

    Some of them are reeeeeeeeally losing it over the Prop 8 ban being overturned.

  • ash

    Regina Phalange,

    It all comes down to when do we consider it a human being.

    No, not in my case, not in the case of the majority of pro-choicers. It’s about it not being ok to regard an already existing human being as nothing but an incubator for something else when she clearly states that is against her wishes. It’s about recognising that no contraception is 100%. It’s about realising that an unwanted pregnancy (hell, even a wanted one) can cause major mental and physical health problems and no-one should be forced to go through that. It’s about not treating women as sexual objects who have only two choices – no sexual activity until/unless definite sterility, or enforced breeding.

    There are no artificial wombs yet, so why do so many pro-lifers seem to forget that there’s an actual born concious being involved with a pregnancy that will average the best part of a year of her life?

    P.s. you might want to re-think the ‘human at heart beat’ thing, brain development seems a better indicator. Unless you think medics shouldn’t try resuscitation, or that people spend several minutes as ‘unhuman’ whilst undergoing heart transplants…

  • Brian Macker

    My take on it is that these people think that abortion is murder and they certainly have a reasonable position when it comes to using it as a birth control method, especially late term. Not so much when it comes to issues of health even if late term.

    I’m not sure what my answer to the question of whether it makes sense to talk with them. I talk with plenty of people who I believe will not be swayed by my positions on things. I wouldn’t go out of my way but if I was there I might have a word with them.

    Besides, maybe they are right. Maybe in some instances abortion is tantamount to murder. I’m on the fence for this issue. This is a area where it shades into murder at some point. Certainly, killing the baby in the womb after the woman broke water and started contractions would be murder if there were no medical issues.

    Then you have to work backwards from that point in time and I don’t see any clear dividing line. Of course that doesn’t mean we can’t find something clearly on the other side. I’m not sure if I’m “bald” or not but there certainly are people who are bald, and those who are not.

    She says, “Needless to say, this is not the course I want to take with my life.”

    She’s referring to being a housewife or homemaker her. Not sure why it is so obvious. Is it obviously worse than being a dishwasher at a restaurant, a waitress, a stripper, an accountant, etc? No, it is not obvious and that depends on the person and she made it sound like an obvious choice for every female.

  • Regina Phalange

    Ash

    I am intrigued by your suggestion of brain development as a better indicatior of the beginning of life. I have considered that as well.

    As to your point regarding the absence of a heartbeat, I feel I must respectfully disagree. Personally, I see a difference between the heart being temporarily stopped and a heart that has never yet beat. Also, I feel it is possible to have something as an indicator of existing life where the absence of it would not necessarily indicate a lack of life. For example, if you find someone lying on the ground and notice that they are breathing, you would be confident that they are alive. However, if you find someone who is not breathing, that does not necessarily mean they are not alive. What I’m saying regarding a fetus is that before the heart is beating, I’m not sure if we should consider it alive, but once that heart starts beating, (for me at least) it’s gone beyond questionability. My mind and my conscience will not allow me to deny that that baby is now a part of the human race. And as a member of the human race, I must allow it the exact same rights that we allow ourselves.

    Now I, as a human being expect to have the right to life, and expect every other human to have that right as well. I would also expect that another human does not have the right to take that life from me if for whatever reason they feel that my existance impedes on their ability to live their life the way they would wish to. And to take that a step further, I would expect that my fellow human beings would not only not allow this person to try and take my life, but would actively try and prevent them from doing so. Again, as I stated in my original post, if the mother’s life is in danger it is a completely different situation. I am referring here to the option to terminate the pregnancy because allowing it to contiue will put the mother at a disadvantage.

    I, as a feminist woman certainly understand the disgust at being viewed as nothing but a sexual object. And I most definitly am furious if anyone indicates that I have less right or ability to live my life the way I wish then a man. However, I cannot say that my rights are more important than someone else’s rights. How can I argue for equal rights for myself if I’m not willing to give it to others?

    It is absoultely horrible that we have no way of guaranteeing that we will not become pregnant. And if we do, the implicatons are huge…..life altering. It’s scary as hell, and infuriating. But how does that give us the right to take someone else’s life away? This is why I’m saying that the question of when life begins is the most essential one in this debate. We would not allow a new mother to suffocate her baby, so if the unborn is in fact living then he/she should be given that same protection.

  • Steve

    @AxeGrrl

    And I don’t know how many Christian posters have insisted that “there is no such thing as same-sex marriage”, despite the fact it, indeed, exists in several countries.

    One could say that there is indeed no such thing. It doesn’t exist as a separate, legal construct like civil unions. It’s just marriage. And the gender is irrelevant.

    Of course that’s not what they mean.

  • p.s.

    Regina:
    Why the heart? it seams like an arbitrary organ to choose. why not the liver? the stomach? they are all necessary for survival.
    The reason the brain is considered the best way of judging “life” is because it’s the home of personality and awareness. We need a certain amount of brain activity to be aware that we exist. everything else is mechanical.
    Would you consider someone with an artificial heart to be inhuman?

  • Regina Phalange

    p.s.

    Very good point. Let me reflect on that and I will respond again. Perhaps I am biased towards the heart because it seems so life like. Hearing a heart beating seems such a powerful indicator of life….
    Hmmmm

  • zazazoom

    How else are they going to learn unless people speak out against them and try to change their minds? Their actions are not acceptable, but just yelling back at them mindlessly certainly isn’t the way to do it. But I also think that just walking by and ignoring them is passively saying that their behavior and views are ok. I know how hard it is to be nice to people that are so infuriatingly deluded, but if they only talk to other pro-life wackos their beliefs are not coming into question in a way that they have to defend. As their opposition we should show them that we are compassionate and patient human beings, but we are going to challenge them frequently and openly when they are spreading hatred in a public place.

  • Betsy

    I don’t think protesters that extreme can be reasoned with. My family was similar when I was young and my parents still are. When I was 16 I debated against abortion in an English class using similar methods – pictures, graphic descriptions, etc… it was only when I met my husband at 18, got pregnant before we were married and got scared shitless that I understood why a woman would have an abortion. I sure as hell didn’t want to tell my parents I was pregnant. A natural miscarriage saved me that discussion.
    Recently I’ve started thinking the fundamentalists will never be prochoice unless scientists find a gay gene they can identify in-utero. If that ever happens, they’ll change their minds in a heartbeat.

  • Carlie

    It all comes down to when do we consider it a human being. If a fetus/baby is a human being before birth, then it should have the same rights as a baby would after it has been born.

    That’s perfectly fine.

    No baby (or adult) who has been born has the right to forcibly co-opt another person’s body to keep them alive. Not even if they need it. Not even if it would be a relatively minor inconvenience for the other person. In the US, we don’t even have opt-out for cadaver organ/tissue donation, because we hold individual bodily autonomy to be so sacrosanct that we require explicit consent to be documented for a person’s body to be used after they’re dead. So, fetuses have the same rights as born people: they can’t use the bodies of people who don’t want them used. Does that mean that some fetuses don’t survive? Yes, just as hundreds of people die every year waiting for organ transplants that never arrive (even if their next-door-neighbor is a suitable donor). Same rights.

  • p.s.

    So, fetuses have the same rights as born people: they can’t use the bodies of people who don’t want them used.

    An unborn *person* has the same rights as a born person. A group of functioning cells with no brain activity is no more a person than any of my organs.

  • Carlie

    Well, yeah. I’m just saying that even if you accept their premise of “equal rights”, that doesn’t get rid of abortion.

  • p.s.

    Ah, my mistake :) I definitely agree with you there.

  • DA66

    My thoughts on Cindy’s email: So your grandma had you hold a sign protesting the murdering of unborn children. It’s not the worst thing in the world. How many parents sign their children up for every sport, club, camp, etc. and make their children do things they really could care less about doing.
    And enough about the judgmental or hypocritical Christians. We ALL judge and we are ALL hypocrites. A true Christians strives NOT to make those things a HABIT and strives to be more Christ like. If there were no one to protest abortions, how would some people come to the realization that a fetus is not simply a mass of cells? “IT” is a human being who feels pain and actually struggles to get away from the suctioning device that’s ripping it out of the womb.
    If you’re going to have sex, use protection. Stop using abortion as birth control. Most abortions are done because the baby would be an inconvenience. The truth is hard to hear.

  • luckymama

    Carlie:

    Having been pregnant unexpectedly before, I think I understand the emotion behind your statement that no on can forcibly co-opt another person’s body even to keep themselves alive. with some pregnancies, there are feelings akin to one’s very life being unfairly invaded and disrupted. It IS very personal, hence all this contention.

    However, as feminists, we need to think carefully about the negativity of this perception of pregnancy and childbearing. Men once (and sometimes still do) treat(ed) their wives as property, or at least, an object for their happiness and convenience. That was/is demeaning, to control and subjugate another human being. So why is it ok when women treat their unborn child the same way? Aren’t we better than that? I have never met a woman who was not strong enough to put her child’s welfare and survival before her own, even if it meant placing for adoption. (And yes, because pro-choicers usually ask, I am willing to adopt an “unwanted” or “handicapped” baby).

    Except in circumstance of real impairment or death, telling a woman that the pregnancy boils down to control over her body isn’t even the real issue, to be honest, because pregnancy goes away naturally in nine months, and her body is not the only one involved. Furthermore, parents have a duty to protect their children, period, and location does not change that (not to mention, biologically speaking, an unborn child is NOT parasitical in nature).

    What pregnant, parenting, and adoptive-placing women generally need is lots of support, love, and resources. That is one reason why CPC’s have been so incredibly successful.

    As for the original topic of clinic protesters, I can see why you speak out against see a mob of angry people shouting at women and workers.

    But, while I do acknowledge this happens, my friends who protest do not do this. They hold signs such as “we will adopt your baby” or an accurate picture of a developing baby so that women can consider what their child looks like. Then, they offer resources, a list of legitimate malpractice suits against the doctor (he has injured women, something the clinic will not share with those going in) and most importantly, they LISTEN. Some of these sidewalk counselors have been through crisis pregnancies or abortions themselves; most are women. I have seen firsthand how, especially for women who feel pressured into the abortion, this can help alleviate some of their stress. I even went to the baby shower of a lady who changed her mind and carried – and guess who threw the shower? Not the abortion clinic workers.

    I think we can all agree that, while it is ok to give your stance on abortion (either side), if one is not inspired by `love and a willingness to really help a woman or couple, than you are no better than a Pharisee.

  • luckymama

    An embryo and fetus do have brain waves. Science discredited the prehistoric “clump of cells” argument awhile ago.

    Dehumanizing those who can’t speak for themselves has always paved the way for destruction. It’s not empowering; it’s belittling and scientifically void.

  • p.s.

    An embryo and fetus do have brain waves. Science discredited the prehistoric “clump of cells” argument awhile ago.

    Dehumanizing those who can’t speak for themselves has always paved the way for destruction. It’s not empowering; it’s belittling and scientifically void.

    That is not true in the sense you seem to be referencing. An undeveloped fetus has “brainwaves” in the same way that a live neuron has “brainwaves”. Would you consider a single living neuron a person?
    Not to mention the fact that fetal brains are incredibly tiny, and the logistics in actually measuring activity is incredibly difficult and unreliable.
    Cohesive brian activity does not begin until the 20-26th week of the pregnancy. I really doubt that anyone here is arguing for the abortion of a healthy fetus at that stage.

  • Amanda

    If you’re going to have sex, use protection. Stop using abortion as birth control. Most abortions are done because the baby would be an inconvenience. The truth is hard to hear.

    I could not agree more! So sick of abortion as a means of birth control.

  • CuteRedHood

    Wow, this is almost my exact story. I was 6 when my parents took me to a busy highway in Shreveport, LA and had me hold a sign that said “Abortion Kills Women”. In a puffy coat and light up sneakers, I was used by the movement as a cute little pawn in a war I didn’t even understand.

  • father

    I’m a little troubled by the fact that so many people seem to be aghast at the thought that children should be present at protests–ANY kind of protest. I bring my son to protests all the time, and have since he was a baby. I think it’s good for him to be around passionate people who are actually fighting on the side of humanity and the planet, and yes, I AM trying to raise him with values that fit with that…should I apologize for that? Don’t hold your breath…

    Before anybody gets bent out of shape OF COURSE I wouldn’t bring him into a situation where I thought he could be hurt, or exposed to screaming, hate-filled imbeciles of the Operation Rescue variety…but the reason why I think it’s sad to see kids at anti-choice protests is because NOBODY should be protesting against a woman’s right to decide her own fate–NOT because it’s wrong across the boards to try to impart certain values to your kids.

    There’s a huge difference between raising your child with what he or she needs to exist and even thrive in a complicated world–where moral complexity exists even though oppression and exploitation are unambiguous structural realities–and indoctrinating your kid to believe that you can get all the answers out of a 2000 year old book. So I’m down for seeing more families out fighting for humanity and the planet.

  • http://ghostlove.co.uk Anji

    I could not agree more! So sick of abortion as a means of birth control.

    Of course it’s a means of birth control. It controls whether or not a woman has to give birth. How is that not a form of birth control?

    Even if a foetus is a human being (and I don’t believe it is), that’s irrelevant. If my sister needed part of my body to survive – one of my kidneys for example – and if I refused, she would die, I would still have the legal and moral right to decline. No human being has the right to utilise another human being’s body for life.

    The other thing I wanted to say was, you pro-lifers, who believe a beating heart/brain waves/whatever, are so important. I take it you’re all vegetarian then? A cow or a chicken is a living being with far more life experience and sentience than a foetus, after all.


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