Christians and abortion: what are we, babies?

Are we insane yet?

I’m against abortion. So are you. So is everyone.

Who doesn’t like babies?

The reason I’m against abortion has nothing to do with the fact that I’m a Christian, and everything to do with the fact that I’m a human. Everyone thinks abortion is an terrible option. Everyone wishes no one ever felt compelled to undergo such a traumatic procedure. No one ever cavalierly decides to get an abortion. No one thinks of it as just another form of birth control.

Everyone loves babies. Okay? No one wants anyone else to murder babies.

So could fundamentalists/evangelical Christians please stop saying that anyone supports the murder of babies? That’s such a horrendously caustic accusation.

And could such Christians also please bear in mind that being Christian grants them no uniquely deep claim on abhorrence to abortion? Abortion is everyone’s concern, not just Christians’. When I was a teenager, a Muslim friend of mine had an abortion, and the tears her father cried when he found out about it were as real as any that ever fell to earth. I once accompanied a young homeless woman to her abortion procedure. She was a Christian. She was also poverty stricken, drug addicted, and the victim of a vicious rape.

In this world, sometimes good wins.

Sometimes it loses a ton of blood, and never again rallies.

Our responsibility—all of us, all the time—remains constant: to keep on bringing the love. If good is winning, you bring the love. If good is losing or has lost, you bring even more. Those are the rules of sane, decent people everywhere.

Christians, atheists, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists, car salesmen, budget analysts, movie stars, my insane next door neighbor with the crazy rottweiler … 99.99% of people alive on the planet right now would agree that, in a perfect world, every baby would be welcomed, loved, cherished, fed well, and dressed in the sweetest little baby clothes ever.

That relative to abortion everyone desires the same end—which is no abortions, ever—isn’t in much doubt. It’s only the means to that end about which people have varying convictions. But agreeing on our common ends should make for a cooling of the rhetoric about how we might best achieve those ends.

So could we please stop already with the finger-pointing, sign-waving, and screaming?

What are we, babies?

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • http://futiledemocracy.wordpress.com futiledemocracy

    You are equating Christianity with morality of the highest sort.

    I believe Christianity is corrupting, blinding, and rather abusive. I would add organised religion to your list of things Id like to see gone forever.

    • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

      I have a list of things I would like to ban as well. It includes men who wear acid wash jeans and the phrase "pattymelt". I find both harmful to our nation and our world. Please consider joining my militia, we have dance parties!

      • kim

        How often? Do you have to dance? Can I just watch? Is liquor served?

        • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

          Kim,

          Watching is actually sinful. In my militia? Everyone dances – with our muskets!

          • Amanda Hiland

            DR- I like how you don’t engage when someone starts doing something completely uncalled for, like going on a rant about how they would like to see a whole group of people ‘gone.’ You just say something silly and defuse the situation. It’s very honorable (in a silly way.) I support your militia as well! :)

    • http://registerednurse70.wordpress.com registerednurse70

      If Christianity were truly followed as we are called to, then yes Christianity would be equivalent to a pinnacle of morality and ethics. Unfortunately, we are human and as such are powerless on our own and at times slaves to our flesh. It is at these times, we try to control our own destiny. Futile, I agree with you on one thing. I have a distaste for organized religion on a large scale. At times organized religion has been more of a cancer than helpful to the cause of Christianity. Organized religion often seeks to place Christ within a box of routine. Being Christian is far from a routine. I am sorry that you have had a bad experience with Christians in your life. Keep in mind, we are all human and we all have faults. We should seek the face of God daily to help us to improve those faults. Please don't judge Christianity by those who profess but yet don't produce the fruits of the Spirit. I would ask you to base your opinion on the ethical standard we are called to and by the Savior who calls us to it, rather than by humans, who will fail you everytime.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    But I'm not keeping a list of things you would like to see gone forever. Please do feel free to keep one yourself, though. Sounds like fun!

  • Mark Lattimore

    John, I'm curious. You mentioned on FB that this was a rewrite. How significant a rewrite was it? I remember this post generally (in fact, the first comment I ever left for you was on this piece) but most of the specifics have faded with time. Nevertheless, I do get a somewhat different impression this time around. Did something change, or is it just me?

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      I originally wrote it in Oct. of 2008, and so it had much to do with the election. That material is now of course outdated. I also tweaked pretty heavily what was left–what you see here, but that was all much more a matter of style than substance. The final sentence we have here, for instance, is brand new. As is the story of the young homeless girl, which I chose not to include before.

  • http://penelopepiscopal.blogspot.com Penny Nash

    Great post – you nailed it. Reality meets ideology. Thanks.

  • Appalachiana

    Yes, babies are sweet. I love them too. I also would love to know that babies are loved, have what they need, and some sort of family that will care for them and teach them to love back. I want to know to that young women who have dreams and plans and futures can make decisions about when to bear children and when not to. I want to know that older women can do the same. Sometimes decisions are not easy.

  • Appalachiana

    If you're out there Mr. Biggins….I'd hope to do away with regrowing of umbilical cords, wearing seals for hats and mud in your eye.

  • Appalachiana

    Oh my…I'll never get the hang of putting posts where I intend for them to go.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Just hit the "Reply" button beneath whichever comment you want to respond to.

  • Kly

    This is probably the first anti-abortion thing I have ever read anywhere in any forum that I could actually pretty much get behind . But then I really like your current Secretary of State's formulation (I know it's not hers, but I have heard her say it most recently), that her government's position is that abortion should be "safe, legal and rare". I agree. I could even agree with a statement that it should be "safe, legal, and never happens because nobody ever needed one". Because you're right: that's what we all want.

    So long as the mother has an absolutely free choice here, I could sign on.

    And then we could get on with figuring out how to create those conditions, so that nobody ever WOULD need one. And that would be fantastic.

  • DonP

    Just like you John. to bring this one up. I'll bite; You made the statement that everyone thinks that abortion is murdering babies and that it is not necessarily a Christian issue. I have been in and seen many debates where neither of those statements are true. Additionally most of the media, save now you, has exploited just those two points. The main thrust of the arguments being the the morality of deciding when life begins. Having decided that, who has the right to tell a woman that her body is not her own.

    As I understand the issue, there is not really a sound way to define when life begins. A single cell is alive under some definitions. Even if we do use that as the deciding factor, the mere act of taking life to save life has already been established, even amongst the most moral and religious of us as Ok.

    The issue really does boil down to a religious one. Whereby, the decision must be based on when we think the soul comes into the body. Especially as a Christian, the Bible clearly states that the killing of a pregnant woman is killing of two, not one.

    If we can get that far and make the assumption that the morality of abortion does indeed boil down to a religious question. Then I must in all good conscience agree to let abortion be legal. Because John, as I understand the laws of the land as written by the Founders, I have no right to impose my religious views and laws on my fellow citizens. Which by the way, I support with all my heart. I have absolutely no desire, even as a Christian, to live in a country where anyone has the right to impose their religious views and laws on me.

  • DonP

    John, the Bible is not as clear as I thought. Here is the verse I was thinking of when I wrote "Bible clearly states that the killing of a pregnant woman is killing of two, not one." The verse can be read that way but I see now that it is subject, as usual, to interpretation. I believe the bulk of what I wrote though , is not affected by that bit of revelation.

    Exodus 21:22-25 (King James Version)

    22 If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. 23 And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,

    24 Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

    Exodus 21:22-25 (New International Version)

    22 "If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely [a] but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman's husband demands and the court allows. 23 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.

    • http://allegro63.blogspot.com/ Sylvie Galloway

      Interesting to note that that last verse is where that whole eye for an eye came from and the context it is written in. I appears to be quite specific in when that was to take place.

      It is also worth noting that back in the days of ancient Israel before there were those handy pee on a stick pregnancy tests, women could pregnant for a bit and not even know it.

      Abortion after the first 4 months were illegal in 1820 and made completely illegal around 1900 in the US. In 1873, The Comstock Law banned literature about sex, that also included any information about contraceptives. That wasn't over turned until 1938.

      Roe V. Wade actually took the abortion law closer to the laws on the books back in 1820. Didn't realize that till I looked it up.

    • kim

      When Jesus and the apostles walked the earth babies were routinely killed when the family could not take care of them or they were unwanted. What did Jesus or the apostles say about this aberrant practice?

      • DonP

        I am not sure what the relevancy to my reply is here. If you are trying to persuade me that abortion is wrong, as a Christian, of course, I already agree with that. If you are trying to persuade me that I do not live in a country that's founding laws free me from the imposition of religious laws then you are way, way wrong.

      • Ace

        If you are referring to the Roman practice of leaving unwanted children at the edge of the city to be picked up as slaves or starve to death, I don't recall Jesus saying anything on the matter. I could be wrong though.

      • http://allegro63.blogspot.com/ Sylvie Galloway

        There is really not a whole lot said on the matter in scripture. There is the reference in Jeremiah where the statement "I knew you before you were in your mother's womb" verse 1:5, paraphrased. Many other references denote the womb was were we come from, but can seem to show our origin not necessarily when we were considered sentient.

        Various cultures throughout history have exposed or outright killed infants for different reasons, wrong gender, not enough food to sustain them and a nursing mother, keeping a certain bloodline "pure", being born to the wrong side of the marriage bed, political power concerns.

        I think abortion is a lousy form of birth control, it is highly invasive, expensive, of higher health risks and is way overused, and I wish it would never ever happen. I am like John in hoping for the day where all babies are welcomed and cherished, but I also realize that we don't live in that day, and that it has yet to arrive. Abortion, even though we don't like it is the lesser of evils, when we think about it. And whether we like it or not it is still much more humane then what mankind has been and is capable of doing to babies.

      • Mark Lattimore

        You are right that the Bible doesn't devote a lot of space to the issue of abortion, but the early church (first 2-3 centuries) did specifically address the issue. The practices of abortion and exposure were fairly common among the Romans. According to early Christian writers, on the other hand, Christian practice explicitly forbade abortion. "There are some women who,

        by drinking medical preparations, extinguish the source of the future man in their very bowels, and thus commit a parricide before they bring forth" (From "The Octavius of Minucius Felix"). "And when we say that those women who use drugs to bring on abortion commit murder, and will have to give an account to God for the abortion, on what principle should we commit murder?" (From Athenagoras "A Plea For the Christians"). "Thou shalt not slay the child by procuring abortion; nor, again, shalt thou destroy it after it is born. Thou shalt not withdraw thy hand from thy son, or from thy daughter, but from their infancy thou shalt teach them the fear of the Lord" (From "The Epistle of Barnabas"). There are other examples but these are representative.

        It is worth noting that these writers, while reflecting the general attitude toward abortion held in the early church, were misguided in their assigning of responsibility for the practice to women. In fact, most abortions were carried out on the orders of men rather than at the request of the women carrying the children.

        Finally, sociologist Rodney Stark has pointed out that in the first four centuries the Christian population saw staggering positive growth while the non-Christian population saw a steep decline. He argues convincingly that one of the many reasons behind this disparity stems from differing attitudes toward abortion among Christians and non-Christians. Hope this helps the discussion.

        • Diana

          This is good information. Thanks for sharing it.

        • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

          What a terrific contribution, Mark. Thanks for taking the time to share with us the fruits of your study and education.

        • Ace

          That's some interesting reading, yes.

          I also doubt the practice was typically at the behest of the women, Roman society was aggressively paternalistic and socially hierarchical. The father/husband had control over the household, the ruling classes had control over the lower classes. Women were typically at the bottom of the barrel, regardless of class, and children were treated as the property of the father. Wealthy widows had a little more leeway, but that's about it.

          Of course by the time of Christ a lot of these social boundaries were eroding, but it was hardly egalitarian, even by today's meager standards.

          Bleh.

      • Diana

        “When Jesus and the apostles walked the earth babies were routinely killed when the family could not take care of them or they were unwanted. What did Jesus or the apostles say about this aberrant practice?”

        I’m with Sylvie. Based upon my reading of the New Testament, I don’t remember seeing this issue addressed. But given the character of Jesus, I would imagine that he, at least, shuddered. Jesus valued everyone–women, children, lepers, tax collectors, prostitutes, widows, orphans–all of society’s outcasts and “lesser thans”, Jesus embraced. He even valued Pharisees and Scribes–he just tended to take more of a “tough love” approach to them since they tended to be arrogant and thought they already had all the answers. So, I’m pretty sure that he valued the babies that were killed and wept for them, even if that’s not specifically mentioned in the bible.

    • Lynette

      I’ve heard the interpretation that if the woman miscarried, the man who injured her owed recompense to the baby’s father if that was the extent of the injuries. But that if the woman subsequently died because of the miscarriage, then the man who injured her was to be put to death, which would emphasize the value of the mother’s life compared to the unborn baby’s.

      I’m still personally pro-life, but politically pro-choice. I just think it’s dangerous to give the government say over my reproduction. I look at China and think, “If we cede the government authority over my reproductive capacities in saying I cannot have an abortion, aren’t we also ceding them the authority over my reproductive capacities to say I must have an abortion?” Not something I think the government holds any authority on.

  • Tanager

    I want to buy into this post, John; I want it to be true. Call me jaded, or perhaps just a realist…but there are women out there who do not love babies, not even their own babies, and there are women who think of an unwanted pregnancy and simply shrug and know they can get an abortion to "take care of it" – quite probably for free. I'm sorry, but they *really don't care* about it.

    And before someone says that they felt awful – even secretly – the first time, that's giving too much also. Some don't. I will grant that when these women were children they probably played with a doll and pretended it was their baby, but somewhere along the line their attitude changed, or was changed.

    For these women, pregnancy is a nuisance and an abortion is, at worst, like Raid – or, at best – an inconvenience to be scheduled and endured. So if we're going to believe that no one wants an abortion I guess I can get behind a "no one ever gets pregnant unless they really really want to" argument, but that's about it.

    I just don't believe we all have the same interior moral/ethical code. I'm not talking about faith or religion; I mean personally. I believe neither in the "inherent goodness" or "inherent evil" of humankind – I believe in an inherent uniqueness.

    • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

      The exception tends to prove the rule though, no? You're not suggesting this percentage of women is large in comparison with those who agonize are you?

    • Ace

      One could argue that women of that sort (which while I'm sure exist I don't think are really all that common) – who clearly don't love babies or children at all – are probably the least fit of all, to be mothers and raise a child they clearly don't give a damn about.

      Dumping more children (who would likely have fetal alcohol syndrome or other issues due to poor prenatal behavior and care on part of a mother who truly doesn't give a damn) into the foster-care system isn't necessarily a better alternative either. Children who aren't adopted by the time they are toddlers are pretty much shit-outta-luck on a whole host of levels, and children with disabilities or "special needs" are the least likely to be adopted at *any* age. It's also insanely difficult and expensive to adopt a child in the United States in general.

      Our society, even the "pro-life" contingent, doesn't care about children as much one might think. Especially the children of poor people, teen mothers, minorities, "welfare queens" and other disadvantaged folks. The typical anti-abortion lobbyist will fight tooth and nail to prevent a 15 year old girl from getting an abortion but once that teenager actually has that baby, suddenly both mother and child are a parasitic drain on society stealing Real American(TM)s' hard-earned money, that's how the politics go.

      And then there's the attitude that "loose" women should be "punished" by having to raise a child they don't want. I've even had one woman tell me straight out "Well those nasty teen girls will learn not to have sex before marriage after pushing out a baby, won't they?" in a discussion on the matter, which to me is absolutely obscene. Children are not a "punishment" – they are living human beings and do not deserve to be used as pawns.

      Abortion is sad, and preventable, but until there's a truly better alternative and real support for women in difficult situations, I can't justify banning it completely.

      • berkshire

        "One could argue that women of that sort (which while I’m sure exist I don’t think are really all that common) – who clearly don’t love babies or children at all – are probably the least fit of all, to be mothers and raise a child they clearly don’t give a damn about."

        If you mean "the sort" who didn't agonize over their abortions (and maybe that's not 'the sort' you're referring to, I'm not clear on that), and viewed it as something that needed to be done, for whatever reason, I think you are making a generalization here, and doing what John's post suggests we ought not do–make dire assumptions about people's character. I know such a woman–she's a very dear friend. She had one abortion a long time ago, over which she didn't agonize. She knew, for a variety of reasons, that it was what she had to do. She does not regret it.

        She also loves babies and children a great deal. She has two children now, and is a conscientious and loving mother–truly, her children are to be envied. She and her husband are model parents. She is also a successful business woman who donates time and money to charitable causes, including those supporting disadvantaged children. She clearly *does* love babies and children, and indeed all people. She just took a different view of her circumstance than those who are less sure of what they need to do.

        I agree with the rest of your post. The people you describe there would be more rightly called "pro-birth", rather than "pro-life". Once the life is in this world, they don't want to support its flourishing, and cry about the mythical "welfare queens". Some of these are the same people who support going to war (where many die, including children and babies), and capital punishment. To them I would ask how they determine which life is sacred and which is expendable. Is "cuteness" all there is too it? Vulnerability? We're all vulnerable in some way, adult and child alike. In a war zone, that's doubly true.

        I have mixed feelings about abortion, and those feelings depend on the individual circumstances. I don't support making it illegal, for many of the reasons Ace stated above–we don't support single and/or poor women/girls who decide to bear children, we apply different standards to men who impregnate women than we do to the women who are impregnated. Until we raise our sons to be as responsible as our daughters–instead of sending them out the door with a wink and nod–this problem will persist. The teenage girls (and grown women, married and single) who have abortions aren't having immaculate conceptions, as far as I know. Responsibility for an unwanted pregnancy is a shared responsibility–except in the case of rape, incest, of course, which is more common than I think people are aware.

        I wonder, too, that if all "babies" are created equal–that is, an embyo is the same as a fetus is the same as an infant is the same as a toddler–and people who have abortions are "killing babies" rather than aborting embryos or fetuses (which may very well be the person's view, whether or not one agrees with it. Some women who would consider abortion at 2 months would not consider it at 7 months, etc), then why do we behave differently toward couples when they have a miscarriage then we do if their baby was still-born, or if their child died at the age of 1? Why don't we have funeral rights for miscarried babies (I actually know of one person who did, privately, with family, but I've never heard of it anywhere else, and don't think it's common practice)? Why would we say to a couple who has miscarried "you can try again" (and please, please, please stop saying this to couples who've miscarried. Really), but wouldn't dream (I hope) of saying it to the couple with the still born or the 1 year old who had died? In that realm, we acknowledge a difference between a "fetus" and a "baby". When I see those bumper stickers that say "It's a child, not a choice", I feel like telling the person "It's a fetus, not a child". I also frequently feel like saying "Nice shiny mini-van. You would have the luxury of seeing it as a choice. How about the woman living in poverty?" I just wish people were more willing to acknowledge the complexity of this issue, on both sides. It would take us much further than the name calling and screeching, which I think is the essence of what John was saying. It would go further toward reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies and abortions in this country.

        I know of people who are "pro-life" who display this behavior as much as "pro-choice" folks. They DO behave as though a fetus miscarried in the first or second trimester isn't the same as a baby carried to term—except when they're waving hateful signs outside clinics, calling women in crisis "baby murderers". I find this inconsistency difficult to understand.

        • Ace

          I was merely responding to Tanager's post, actually. Which I think is a straw-man and I really don't think the vast bulk of women who have abortions do so because they hate children. There are a very rare few who use abortion as birth control rather than a last resort in a bad situation, but I doubt they are as common as some would have us think.

          • berkshire

            Thanks for clarifying.

          • Tanager

            I never said any woman chooses to have an abortion "because they hate children." I simply said that John's assertion that *no one* wants and abortion – the suggestion that everyone finds it "horrible" and that *no one* gets one cavalierly – is a bit much. When I say that not everyone "loves" babies, I mean they don't love babies. Not that they hate babies. Some people really just don't care much at all.

            I never said it was the vast bulk of women, either. John's the one using the broad brush by saying simply everyone, everywhere, loves babies and finds abortion horrible.

          • Diana

            Yeah, I think he’s doing that deliberately because the anti-legalized abortion movement tends to use the equally broad brush that anyone who would support legalized abortion hates babies and wants to see all babies murdered. John’s argument balances the scales.

            Yes, there are women who regard their unwanted pregnancies as mere inconveniences to be aborted as quickly as is convenient. But there are a lot more women who agonize (or at least sorrow) when they decide that getting an abortion is the best way to deal with an unwanted pregnancy.

          • http://blasphemouth.com/blog/ Angela Quattrano

            It's this "there are women who" (fill in the blank with disgusting lies here) bit you are fixated on. Reread your post. How many women are there who prefer to get abortions rather than use birth control because abortions are cheap, easy, and convenient? Exactly how easy is it to get an abortion where you live? How many of these women are there (stats, please)?

            How about the "there are men who" (don't bother to use birth control because they know they can walk away from the situation)? I'd guess there are a whole lot more of them around refusing to take responsibility for their actions.

            This is like the lie that late term abortions need to be illegal because almost any woman would just walk into a neighborhood clinic and have one at full term. Because you know that women are like that. You just know they are.

          • Diana

            Yeah, I agree with this.

            Especially the bit about the late term abortions. Usually, the women who carry a baby that far are already committed to carrying the child to term and are brokenhearted when some health issue requires the termination of the pregnancy. Some may ask how come all efforts aren't made to save the baby as well as the mother under those circumstances. Typically, it's because whatever the health issue is has already compromised the pregnancy to the point wherein the child is not expected to be viable. That is, the baby is already dead or is not expected to survive childbirth–even by C-section.

            Google the term "dilation extraction" for more information–but only if you have a strong stomach and a strong heart. I just read up on it and I can't imagine a woman choosing to go through such a procedure unless she truly thought she had no better alternative. It's definitely not a walk in the park.

          • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

            Oh Ace, I missed this. You did clarify – please ignore my comment below. Sorry.

      • Tanager

        "Our society, even the “pro-life” contingent, doesn’t care about children as much one might think. Especially the children of poor people, teen mothers, minorities, “welfare queens” and other disadvantaged folks."

        I am the child of a teenaged mother who was financially and emotionally unable to provide me the stable home she felt I deserved. She kept me safe for nine months and then faced more agony (IMO) than any woman who chooses abortion (no matter how hard she finds it) has ever faced: she let me go to a family she did not know, figuring she would never see me again. I'm very fortunate that after 29 years we were reunited.

        Although it was more difficult to do back then, she could have gotten an abortion. She didn't and here I am. Plenty of people would, I'm sure, not be terribly sorry if I wasn't…but seems a lot of people are glad enough. I have friends hitting up other countries – sometimes spending loads of cash and years of time – trying to adopt. I know adoption challenges exist for sick babies, disabled babies, etc., but there are plenty of people in this country willing to adopt.

        • berkshire

          We’re certainly glad you’re here. It sounds like she made the right choice for her, and for you.

          Would that every situation was identical.

        • Ace

          There are plenty of people willing to adopt, yes, but there are still children who are in foster homes who never get adopted, for a whole variety of reasons. There may very well be women who would be more likely to have their baby and not abort if they knew that child would have a good home.

          As it is, there is little guarantee a child handed over to the state will find a real family and not just be shuffled through a succession of sometimes questionable foster homes and be neglected. We as a nation are just not that good at taking care of the weakest in our midst (heck, we can’t even find homes for most unwanted *pets* nevermind children).

          If you were blessed enough to be adopted by a loving family, you are lucky indeed.

          It should definitely be easier and less expensive to adopt in this nation, and there should be a lot more support for adoptive parents, especially those who have enough heart to adopt a child with special needs, but that’s a whole ‘nother tragedy and a whole ‘nother rant.

          • Tanager

            My adoption was through the State – I'm sure there were fees of some sort, but I think they were pretty minimal. Nothing like private adoption fees, of course. But as things stand in my state (MA), if I were going to give up a child for adoption I'd hit a private agency. I don't trust my state in this regard. Back then things were certainly different.

            I'm fortunate to have been wanted – by everyone! My mother wanted me desperately but knew she couldn't provide what she felt I needed and deserved. My adoptive parents had to wait over a year for me (short compared to what some folks I know have gone through with foreign adoptions, and even domestic ones filled with red tape.)

            Yup, I was blessed.

      • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

        One could argue that women of that sort (which while I’m sure exist I don’t think are really all that common) – who clearly don’t love babies or children at all – are probably the least fit of all, to be mothers and raise a child they clearly don’t give a damn about.>>>

        Ace,

        I have some real problems with what you’ve offered here. This boils down to what one believes about the unborn. If one actually believes that there is absolutely no moral issue at all with getting an abortion, then people like you and I who might have a moral dilemma with it aren’t really in any position of saying they aren’t fit mothers. They just don’t share our morality around it.

        Let me turn the tables on you. What if I said that I believe the death penalty is absolutely repugnant. What if I even went on to say that those who are christian and claim to be “pro” death penalty and display little to no remorse or sadness around it being used as a punishment have some emotional issues. Perhaps even mental illness, and that you’re not fit to vote in national elections due to this rather schizophrenic world view of who gets to die and live. What would your response be to that?

        Women who have no regret over an abortion often make fantastic mothers. You’ve made things awfully simple here and it’s just not.

        • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

          Never mind, I saw where you clarified yourself! Sorry, I keep doing that to you.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      The person who feels dispassionately one way or the other about abortion is such an aberration–so very few people feel that way, I mean—that it wouldn’t be worth trying to deal with them in a post such as this. There’s just not time/room.

    • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

      I've been doing some thinking about this as well as reading on the Huffington post, and I think I might agree. To assume that many women if any women feel remorse or regret regarding their abortion might be an assumption that they believe what's inside of them is a "child" when in fact, many may not share that perspective. I actually know several women who've aborted and felt nothing but relief in the end, though twinges of lots of things in between. Though for one or two of them? Nothing but sheer relief, and no regret.

    • http://genxsingalong.wordpress.com Gigi

      Where the hell are free abortions available? Not even where I live, in ultra pro-choice New York City, have I ever heard of such a thing. This, I suspect, is another conservative myth designed to make people angry at their liberal, baby-hating, heathen government.

  • textjunkie

    I have to pipe up on behalf of those who do not love babies or think all babies are cute.

    Doesn't mean I think they should all be done away with, though. Whether or not babies are cute is irrelevant to the conversation. Abortion is not about killing babies.

  • Diana

    Yeah. That too!

    • Diana

      My "Yeah. That too!" was originally directed toward Joy Victory's comment on the infanticide of girls–but it also applies to the "lost boys" to which Ace was referring. All people should be treated as valuable–even sociopaths, those people who don't value anyone, except themselves (and may not even really value themselves.) If God created them (and by definition, if they exist, God did create them) then they should be valued. BTW: I'm not saying that these sociopaths should not be carefully watched, nor that they should be allowed to hurt others with impunity. I'm just saying that they're people–if just barely.

      • Ace

        I think sociopaths are actually cats. People-shaped cats.

        Or at least cats are sociopaths. :P

        (I'm kidding – I love cats!)

  • http://editor.wordpress.com Joy Victory

    And this doesn’t even broach infanticide of girls in countries where girls are not valued.

    • Ace

      Or the "lost boys" of fundamentalist mormon groups. the things people do to their children…

  • Old Stuff

    John Shore wrote:

    I wish everyone was Christian. I wish divorce, drug abuse, alcoholism, spousal abuse, racism, and every sort of the exploitation and moral degradation amidst which we all live everyday was gone forever, burned away in the bright light of God’s infinite, immediate love for each and every one of us.

    I know [really really hope] that it was not your intent to intimate that all those nasty things were somehow mitigated (even a little) by believing in God…'cuz there is no positive correlation between God-belief and the reduction of all those nasty societal characteristics.

  • Stuart

    Great perspective as always John.

    If we spent a fraction of the time we currently waste, arguing about semantics and our personal convictions, and instead got on with our task of actually running Earth PLC, we would achieve so much more.

    I also think you should be the CEO of Earth PLC!

    Stuart

  • MJ

    John,

    Thank you and thank God for you.

  • http://grahamghana.wordpress.com Graham Knight

    Well done for stating the not-so-obvious obvious! Sometimes it's important to state these common sense views that we can no longer hear as we are so desperately defending our own corners. You are right when you state at the end that it is about the means by which we can move forwards. Your perspective is useful because it avoids the old us and them divisions and suggests a unity by which we all can move forwards.

  • http://questionablemotives.wordpress.com/ tildeb

    John, you write We Christians need to remember that being Christian gives us no uniquely deep claim on abhorrence to abortion. Abortion is as much a “secular” concern as it is a Christian one.

    Abhorrence. That word tells me that you are framing abortion as a moral issue first and foremost. But have you ever taken a moment and wondered if that assertion is actually true?

    The religious have this disagreeable tendency to frame all kinds of issues as moral ones, and then have the arrogance to assume that their religion has something meaningful to add not by merit of some highly developed and useful moral code demonstratively superior to others – especially when no evidence is provided that a specific moral code of aspecific religious belief set is particularly relevant – but simply because some oily morality comes coated with the term 'religion'.

    Although we have the ability to frame every single human action and decision as having a moral component, it takes a certain amount of nerve to elevate that moral framing to be the primary concern about a specific issue without feeling any apparent need to justify that elevation. I think this is plainly the case here.

    Have you ever seriously considered that the issue of abortion is primarily a medical one?

    Let's follow that thought for a moment but turn it around: Do you and your more sympathetic readers feel that I and my activist brethren have the right to impede through restrictive laws your wife's or daughter's ability to access to any and all gynecological medical procedures that may have what I consider the negative moral consequence of affecting the loss of potential human beings? Do I really have your agreement that I have the moral authority only according to my religious beliefs to assume that because my moral position on any medical procedure may affect human reproduction I therefore and justifiably have the requisite moral platform necessary to have the law actively intervene between your wife (and/or or your daughter) and her medical practitioner? Furthermore, does my religious chauvinism alone – to frame whatever medical issue of my choosing – justify my actions to do my best to change the law to then better impose my moral framing of medical issues on you? Or is something more needed for consideration? Finally, am I really being moderate in my religious beliefs if I allow you to proceed with what I consider an abhorrent moral act under the banner of some other excuse?

    Women undergo abortions (where available) for all kinds of reasons. It is you who are insisting that it is undertaken for only one reason (an abhorrent personal choice), and implies that it is almost always undertaken because other services for caring well for these potential children are lacking. But this is simply not true. It is a very particular and I think arrogant and unjustified framing of a deeply personal and often painful and complex medical issue.

    Many abortions are a necessary medical procedure for the health and welfare of pregnant women and have nothing whatsoever to do with any lack of services available for 'unwanted' children. Your framing of this issue is very one-sided and although it carries a welcome conciliatory tone compared with the usual fanatic and strident tone of the typical crusading anti-abortionist religious warrior, it is still a very poor framing of an issue that upon sober reflection is best left between a woman and her doctor so that they can frame that particular and very personal issue accurately and correctly.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Yeah, Ric.

    • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

      The religious have this disagreeable tendency to frame all kinds of issues as moral ones, and then have the arrogance to assume that their religion has something meaningful to add not by merit of some highly developed and useful moral code demonstratively superior to others – especially when no evidence is provided that a specific moral code of aspecific religious belief set is particularly relevant – but simply because some oily morality comes coated with the term ‘religion’.>>>

      I'm religious, and I have to say that this is a fair point and I think this happens a lot. I certainly experience John to be the counter experience, to but that you didn't here and offer this as a counter I'm glad for, if only because what you've written was what helped educate me when I was strictly a "pro-lifer". So thank you.

    • http://registerednurse70.wordpress.com registerednurse70

      Tildeb,

      You are incorrect in your assumption that most abortions are carried out for medical reasons. I work in the health care field as a registered nurse. I have 17 years of experience in acute care and most abortions are not carried out for medical reasons because the mother is at risk. Most are in fact elective procedures.

      If you are referring to D&Cs or D&Es, legally these procedures are carried out because of incomplete spontaneous abortions, not elective or because of abnormal bleeding.

      Abortions are indeed choices about morality when they are elective, not medical necessity. Christianity in itself does not corner the market on morals or ethics. In fact there have been "Christians" who are just as evil morally as the non-Christian. Many people claim to be something they are not.

      For me, Abortion has nothing to do with faith, but rather ethics on a species scale. While I would do nothing to prevent anyone from having an abortion, it is not the choice for me or my family. Working in the medical field, I have a unique perspective on understanding when life begins. Life begins at the moment of conception. Science only validates this. How can I ethically take life, knowing that life begins at conception? I don't have that right, truly no one does.

      If we as a society believe that murder is indeed wrong, then taking a life at any stage of development is still killing a living person. If you can die, you are alive.

      That is black and white.

      • Old Stuff

        Working in the medical field, I have a unique perspective on understanding when life begins. Life begins at the moment of conception. Science only validates this.

        Say what?!?!? You make a tremendous leap saying you work in the medical field to (seemingly with some self-proclaimed authority) "life begins at the moment of conception". You say that science only validates this…but how? The reality is that science has shown how gray the line is between life and non-life. Is conception when the sperm touches the egg? When the sperm break through to the interior of the egg? When the DNA begins to combine? When the DNA finishes combining? Remember that the sperm and egg are both living things to begin with. Science, in no way, clarifies the purely subjective concept of when a fertilized egg becomes human.

        We should also recognize that the fertilized egg is no more complex and is no more able to suffer than a skin cell that you might scratch off your nose. Moreover, 40%-60% of fertilized eggs are spontaneously aborted…which makes human induced abortions but a drop in the bucket.

        It is dogmatic and ideological arguments like yours that stifle real discussion.

        • http://www.bodysoulblissyoga.com Jamie Brown

          Old Stuff,

          Agreed. Also please note, medical science says pregnancy begins at implantation – not conception.

      • G1

        if life starts at conception, then take it out and be responsible for it…seriously?

        You impose your ethics on your family? Interesting, shows how fast those blinders are attached to your head.

        It is not black and white, as “life” has not been defined and my version of life is it must be viable outside of the host, if adequately cared for in the childhood stage….lot of arrogance there.

  • Andy

    Wow, a complete straw man of pro-choicers, and the fetuses are actually babies (and babies are cute) argument all wrapped into one.

    What other irrelevant, logically devoid arguments can you come up with?

    • Diana

      @ Andy: What are you talking about? Are you sure you read the post…all the way through?"

    • Susan Golian

      Snarkity-snark…snarkity-snark..Snark Snark Snark Snark Snark Snark Snark Snark Snarkity-snark, Snarkity-snark. (Monty Python fans will "get" this.)

      • Ace

        Bloody vikings! Shut up! Shut up!

        • Gene

          Spam, spam, spam, spam, Lovely spam! Wonderful spam!

          (A reference both to Monty Python and to the post from Andy)

          • denver

            I would like spam spam spam spam eggs and spam.

            Oh, I'm sorry, we're all out of eggs.

          • http://fairtilizer.com/users/Voicedude Voicedude

            NEE!

          • Lisa Maisel

            This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! ‘E’s expired and gone to meet ‘is maker! ‘E’s a stiff! Bereft of life, ‘e rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed ‘im to the perch ‘e’d be pushing up the daisies! ‘Is metabolic processes are now ‘istory! ‘E’s off the twig! ‘E’s kicked the

            bucket, ‘e’s shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisibile!! THIS IS AN EX-PARROT!!

          • Nina E.

            She turned me into a newt, she did!

          • http://www.bodysoulblissyoga.com Jamie Brown

            snarkity snark indeed.

            I don’t like spam.

            Here, try the rat tart. It’s only got a bit of spam in it.

            Bring us a shrubbery! Nee!

  • Karen

    He must have read a different post than I did. . . .

  • Natalie

    Thank you for this, John.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      You're certainly welcome. Thanks for saying that.

  • http://frommaryspen.blogspot.com/ Mary

    THANK YOU John, for stating my feelings so very clearly. Is there a "love" button?

    Rejoicing in the day,

    -Mary

  • Lisa Maisel

    Hey, I didn’t know you lived next door. By the way, my rottie is just high-strung, not crazy! If we could just manage to teach kids about sex and abstinence, and provide contraceptives to anyone who needs them; we wouldn’t have so many women needing an abortion.

  • Sox

    There is a continual effort to frame the abortion issue in the starkest terms possible-murder vs. preventing murder, which assumes the creation of a soul at the moment of conception. The bible doesn’t quite support that.

    Gen 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

    Gen 6:17And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die.

    Gen 7:15 And they went into the ark to Noah, two by two, of all flesh in which is the breath of life.

    Gen 7:22All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died.

    Job 7:7 Oh, remember that my life is a breath! My eye will never again see good.

    Job 33:4 The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

    Ez 37:5 This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.

    Ez 37:6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’”

    Rev 11:11 But after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them.

    If you want to use the bible as an authority in this it’s clear life begins with the drawing of the breath of life.

    • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

      Sox this can definitely define a lot of peoples’s views who are Christian for sure. But non-Christians are also Americans and thus, we all need to share a non-religious, non-Biblical set of standards for abortion. It’s their country as well as ours – our religious beliefs don’t have the last word on anyone who doesn’t choose to make those beliefs our own.

  • Melody

    Wow, over 70 comments already. Can’t wait for the tidal wave of pro-lifers condemning us to hell.

    • Melody

      Ah, I stand corrected. That’s what I get for commenting before checking the post date. Mea culpa.

  • http://MyGardenandSuch Lm Brown

    I’m sorry, Dear, but I cannot agree with your statement. While I am proud to be the mother of three great adults, none of whom became axe murderers nor drug addicts, I have to say that while raising them, I encountered many people who didn’t like babies. They didn’t want them or anything to do with them. Just saying.

    In a perfect world, babies would be welcomed with the love and care and adulation they all so richly deserve. A thing such as abortion would not only be necessary, no one would have bothered to create such a procedure. Unfortunately, that is not the world we live in: Nature very often makes mistakes, and sometimes that mistake is as simple as timing; other times it’s as complex as killing the woman who had conceived.

    I am pro-choice because I know how difficult it is to give up your ego and completely give over your life to that perfect creature you helped to create. Sometimes, the timing is bad; sometimes there are health problems that make bringing a child impossible into the world at that particular moment; and sometimes the conception of the child is under such horrendous circumstances that forcing the mother to bring that child into the world is the most damaging thing conceivable.

    A lot of Christians would claim to take the moral high ground, and demand that the child be given the option of birth. But they don’t do much follow through on how that child lives or if the mother has managed to escape the poverty cycle that entraps most unwed mothers. Me, I just see a vulnerable, scared woman, in the most difficult moment of her life, trying to make the best decision for everyone involved. No wicked women, no murderers, no one to hate — just someone who needs help, and the freedom to make the hardest decision of her life. She doesn’t need my opinion or advice, she needs my shoulder to cry on and my hands to help her with which path she decides to take. Think about that next time you get in a sanctimonious mood to judge.

    • dianne mcmanus

      AMEN!

  • G1

    see here is the issue with absolutes….

    Not EVERYONE thinks an abortion is a traumatic surgery, because when done correctly by skilled medical professionals it is a pretty low risk, minor outpatient procedure.

    Not EVERYONE thinks it is a terrible option, those of use with science backgrounds know that is NOT a baby until it can exist outside of the woman’s body, prior to that it is a mere fetus, a mass of cells. Until you have held the hand of a woman impregnated by a rapist or a mere child who is a victims of incest, you don’t know what a blessed option abortion is. The terrible option is having to be reminded everyday of the violent invasion of your body for nine months and then some.

    And unfortunately, some do use it as birth control, so if you are going to get indignant, about the stupidity of fundamentalists Xtians, who are not at all Christian by the way — then let’s attack the real issues.

    No sin is greater than any other, judge not lest you be judge, realize the whole world is not Christian and they would really appreciate if you kept your beliefs over there, since we are allowed freedom of and from your religion. You think abortion is a terrible option, then don’t have one. The rest of us, we get to be free from your beliefs as much as you get to have them.

    Finally, until you agree to finance that child’s upbringing from start to finish in the home of the mother’s choice, it remains in the category of shut-up or put up. Because if I am going to have a child I cannot be responsible for, I am not likely to give it to the likes of the stupid carrying the placards, not what I would want for any child and if that was my option, abortion wins.

    • Graydon

      I wish there were a “Like” button on here like on Facebook, because I really like your response here, G1! It’s thoughtful, eloquently stated, and provocative. Thank you for your post!

    • Holly

      @G1,

      ” those of use with science backgrounds know that is NOT a baby until it can exist outside of the woman’s body, prior to that it is a mere fetus, a mass of cells”. I wonder, then, why at 6 months pregnant I feel such a precious, indescribable love for my unborn son (and two already-born daughters when I was pregnant with them)? It is a heartbreaking reality that so many women have had to abort for reasons I can only begin to imagine. But, please, “a mass of cells”? I do have a “science background” (whatever that means to you), and I can’t begin to imagine calling my unborn, squirming “fetus” a “mass of cells”. A child (in utero or not) who is capable of physically responding to voices outside of the womb is so much more than a “mass of cells”. I hope that I haven’t misunderstood your statement.

      On that note, I will say that I am pro-choice. I do acknowledge and understand that many women must make the difficult decision to abort.

      • G1

        you did not misunderstand a thing I said, realize a mass of algae cells as well as dozens of other cells responds to voice as well, ever yelled at a cockroach or a mouse? …yep, science means objective evidence, not weepy emotionality about babies.

        There are people who don’t like babies or children….so again, if you are going to debate this, since the mass of Americans have less than a sixth grader, don’t bother with the science …assail their alleged religiosity.

        • Holly

          Weepy emotionality? Are you saying that our emotional attachment to anything (child, pet, family member) has no scientific basis? I’m not sure I understand what you’re attempting to express here, except a deeply held view that fetuses are nothing more than a mass of cells. I am not arguing with you. Merely trying to understand your point of view.

          • G1

            I am saying you have no clue how to debate science….and weepy emotionality refers to your definition of life vs. the scientific definition of life. You allegedly have a science background, yet you try to tell me just because a mass of cells responds to a voice I should accept that as life?

            Fetuses are a mass of cells scientifically, they are involved in a purely biological parasitic-host relationship and until they are viable outside of the host, they are not babies…so if you don’t get that on a scientific level, I can’t make you understand jack.

          • Holly

            I understand your perspective. I think you’ve misunderstood mine. It’s quite an unfair stab at someone to say you “can’t make them understand jack”. No, you’re right, you can’t MAKE me understand. But by explaining your stance (nicely!), perhaps you could HELP me understand your perspective. In fact, I spent a lot of my evening yesterday researching scientific medical journals on the cognitive development of fetuses. It was interesting and eye-opening. Do not assume ignorance on my part when you clearly do not understand the reason for my questions. I am simply trying to learn a perspective that is difficult for me to understand. And thanks to you, despite your rudeness, I am learning.

          • G1

            Ignorance was assumed on your part, because you offered me “junk.” Seriously, you expect to be found to be credible when you offer a laughable, unintelligible position?

            Your response that a fetus reacts to noise was so nonsensical that yes, you left me no option but to assume your lack of knowledge in the area. So if you want to be deemed credible then act credible.

            You have yet to offer one iota of scientific evidence to support your position.

            I don’t know why you are so self-entitled to expect a complete stranger to be “nice” to you, because I am not here to hold your hand and walk you through a topic you were ignorant on until I provoked you to research it partially yesterday, because I have been fighting for the medical and reproductive rights of woman for over 30 years.

            You were the one who said you have a science background, so grow a spine and defend your position with evidence. The planet is not here to molly coddle you, that is for your therapist or your mother.

            I work from the premise that intelligent, sentient beings should ask questions when they are in over their head.

            So FYI, there has been no scientific line drawn as to when a fetus becomes a baby, various levels of cognition do not a human make.

            but again as in most public forums, I run up against the position that Isaac Asimov quantified as:

            “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and culture life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge’”…..

            so if you want to be seen as knowledgeable, offer some. You have yet to do so and don’t expect me to “be nice” I have no compulsion to be so in a forum debating facts.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            You’re being a giant dick and as someone who’s aligned with your point of view it’s embarrassing. Get a hold of yourself, you’re making this all about your emotion, ironically, as you try to describe your perspective. If you can’t have a rational conversation about this then don’t engage.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            PS – she’s not being an “anti-intellectual”, she’s trying to figure out what it is you’re actually trying to say which is difficult because of your arrogant, condescending posturing. How about you take a little responsibility for being a dick who can’t articulate him or herself very well as he tries to pass his emotionally-fuels rants as “just about the facts” narrative. This debate is never just about the facts. Wake up.

          • G1

            the debate has to be just about the facts, because the rest is the subjective choice of the individual….so your condescending posturing by calling me a dick is no different then the emotions that you are reading between the lines,

            your choice.

            Have yet to call anyone a name here, funny that decency is being bantered about, yet not many have the spine to sort what I am debating here.

            I deal with objective evidence and after the objective evidence is weighed if there are moral, emotional or other personal considerations are for the individual, not for the public to determine another’s rights. So that being said, good luck to you too with your waste of key strokes.

          • DR

            If names were the only says of attacking people, the Internet would shut down. Your emotion is so present in the way you interact thus far- you’re fooling fooling yourself if you believe you’re exemplifying any kind of rational approach to emotional dialogue. And that you think you’ve cornered the market on the facts that are the exclusive roots of this debate is naive. You must be very young.

          • Holly

            Here’s a fact:

            “On the other hand, it could also be argued that since the fetal brainstem appears capable of learning, that this, in-itself is evidence for rudimentary cognitive-like (i.e. learning-related) activity.”

            I was not pretending to offer facts to you before. You may need to work on some listening skills, since you claim to want to be a part of a discussion. You are not discussing. You are claiming a self-righteous attitude that you have all the answers while people like myself are “anti-intellectuals”. Asking questions is not anti-intellectualism. Asking YOU questions certainly is though. In my effort to seek truths, I ask questions, which you obviously think makes a person unreasonable. I wonder how it was that you came to believe what you do? Perhaps because you learned it somewhere? Or did you just develop all of this “knowledge” on your own?

          • G1

            I don’t believe, I know, belief implies room for doubt. Nobody believes in the postman, they know the post man. I know this science down cold.

            Where I came by it, the same way I learn almost everything. I read everything I could get my hands on when I began volunteering in my 20s.

            As to what a fetal brainstem is capable of learning, realize that is pretty universal in all mammals and other species – nothing special, just the nature of the development of cells.

          • DR

            “I’m not here to educate anyone.” –G1

            It’s amazing, the more one talks, the more they reveal their agenda. G1 is as emotional, biased and as ineffective as a pro-lifer who calls people “murderers”. No desire to influence or educate, that was actually stated! (wow) just another angry, ineffective blowhard. Boring. g1, thanks for stating the obvious. You are now dismissed.

          • Gary

            Indeed. I refer to people like this as irrelevant.

          • Amanda Hiland

            G1- Geez. Regardless of what you believe or how firmly you believe it, there is no need to snap at a pregnant woman about whether her baby (which she clearly loves) is a mass of cells or not. She’s not even arguing with you, she’s just trying to understand your position. COOL IT. If we were in public instead of on the internet, I hope you’d feel ashamed of yourself.

          • G1

            No, not really — when people offer me pure bolgna, I have no respect for it…there was no question that everyone is now trying to back peddle and frame it as, no there was a flat out statement that fetus’ react to noise…

            Being pregnant gets you special dispensation why? Seriously, emotions again?

          • Gary

            Wow – What I have no respect for (not that you care but I will say it anyway) is arrogant pricks like you.

            Seriously dude…show some humanity. And besides…in my experience those who feel the need to try to act all intellectual by putting others down usually suffer from a serious disconnect between what they know and what they only THINK they know.

            In other words…your ass is showing.

          • G1

            I have no respect for anyone who enters a public forum and cannot engage in basic critical thought, so there are then a lot of asses showing here, nothing new.

            If you find that arrogant, guess where that falls, into one category, your problem.

            I have high standards and I don’t tolerate excuses, if you do, then you are no different than 80% of the masses and should avoid critical discourse.

          • Gary

            Thank you G1, for illustrating my point with perfect clarity..

          • Holly

            There is still a statement of FACT that my fetus reacts to noise. I am not back-pedaling on that statement. I still maintain that statement. You want proof? Come on over to my house and I’ll SHOW you.

          • G1

            and my point remains so do other masses of cells that are not babies react to noise…junk science in the abortion argument.

          • Amanda Hiland

            Look, you can be as knowledgeable or factual as you want, but at the end of the day, if you can’t put fourth that knowledge in a respectful and civilized manner, you’re better off not saying anything at all. No one is going to take you seriously because you come off as a socially stunted cretin who doesn’t know how to interact with the very people he’s trying to ‘educate.’

            And speaking of education, it’s probably far too late to teach you that there are certain groups of people in the world whom you just can’t mess with (especially without provocation!) without characterizing yourself as LOW. There will always be a few necessary exceptions, but this is the general rule. These groups include children, the elderly, pregnant women, the severely ill, and the mentally disabled, among others. Try to remember that the next time you’re riding the city bus. And not just because I say so- because the laws of decency say so.

          • G1

            Not trying to educate anyone, have no interest in it. My version of respectful is put out facts and if you can’t rebut them with facts, then your loss.

            The same fear mongering groups have not taken this “seriously” for years because they stick their morals and emotions into others’ decisions, so for those who want to debate the facts that is what I am here for, as far as the rest go, they can skip my post and move on.

            I “mess” with a lot of people, but it has to do with having high intellectual standards and the laws of decency are just as subjective as the definition of life. So how and who I choose to “mess” with is my choice and my consequence.

            And no pregnant women do not get special treatment, I was writing legal briefs and appeals when I was pregnant to assure you had rights, so save the excuses and grow a spine.

            If I wanted a mother, I would call her…so thanks for the inconsequential judgmental lecture, barely worth the keystrokes.

          • Gary

            LMAO G1 – Not much else left for you but laughter.

            And as for all your “intellect”, I say bullshit.

            Ironically I too support choice…but you are an embarrassment.

          • G1

            and to your failure to offer any objective facts as to any intellectual I say the same…so that being said, bugger off.

          • DR

            G1, your ends are nothing more than Internet temper tantrums you’re trying to wrap within some some very important information. Simply put, people like you haven’t learned the difference between being right and being effective. And those who are committed to the former vs. the latter as you seem to be reveal how little they actually care about the cause they are “right” about.

            So consider respecting those who have fought for these rights to remain legal for years and remove yourself from the dialogue. The people who can actually create change and influence others are slowed down by people like you who have too muc of your ego invested.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            Holly, one of my mentors told me once that emotional maturity means that a lot of things can be true about one specific event, all at the same time. You as a mom – a pregnant mom (congratulations!) probably can’t help but personalize the life that’s inside of you. And thank God for that, emotional attachment is a huge part of being a healthy parent. That being said, a second facet to this particular diamond, if you will, is the need to define what a foetus/embryo/zygote is from a scientific perspective as well which given your background, you understand. That’s all about what is viable outside the womb. Those definitions are very important as well and critcal to the law. So it can get challenging for those really devoted to keeping those lines in the sand around viability as clean as possible, given there’s so much riding on it.

            Do your feelings about your baby trump the scientific definition as to whether or not your baby at this stage of its development is viable outside the womb? No, not for you personally. No way. But we do need to preserve the purity of these definitions as well and sometimes that means separating them from the emotion one feels about what is or is not viable. For most moms I know, anyway, they feel connected to their child the second they discover they are pregnant (and obviously want to keep the baby). But to have some universal definitions of what viable life is vs. not is the only place we can start making sense of the decisions we need to make legally for both the unborn and the women having them (or the men who could potentially become fathers).

          • Holly

            DR, thank you. I appreciate your response, and respect the stance that both you and G1 hold. Emotions do often affect our discussions (on any side of the issue) and I have found it difficult at times to be reasonable about the scientific aspects of this issue when I have a squirming fetus inside of me. The issue here, I recall, is about when life begins (ie, fetus or baby?). And I am (truly!) just asking questions for the sake of knowledge about that issue. I have a deep respect for the scientific (non-emotional) side of this topic. Thank you for your insight.

          • DR

            I think those who would tell you they are just representing the facts on either side of this issue arguing to you and to themselves this is all about people who are fighting for what their own freedoms as well as the health and safety of women and others who really believe babies are being killed and also are terrified for women post-abortion. None of that’s objective it’s all deeply personal and frankly, all quite admirable.

          • Allie

            One more thing: I’ve seen women who were wrecked, just destroyed, emotionally when they had a negative pregnancy test and discovered that their attempts to conceive were futile. They had incredibly powerful feelings for a fetus THAT NEVER EXISTED OUTSIDE THEIR OWN IMAGINATION. Surely you’re not arguing for the viability of imaginary babies? Or discounting these women’s very real feelings?

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            With all due respect, what are you even talking about? She’s discussing the emotional component and the subsequent meaning that gets attached when one is pregnant. Both that and the discussion of viability can actually exist within the same graph without diminishing the other’s contribution to the abortion debate. She’s asking questions and you’re just all jumping down her throat and injecting a ton of meaning that she’s not even saying. I don’t get it.

          • Allie

            Holly, I’m a doll collector, and I’ve seen women get incredibly emotional about dolls. Your emotions are about you, they don’t say (or not say) a thing about whatever they are directed at. Some women get emotional about inanimate objects and some feel nothing about their own children.

            I’m not saying that your emotions are not valid, just that “But I have emotions!” is not by itself a valid argument.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            Holly’s not claiming that having emotions is equal to the legal viability of a fetus for God’s sake. She’s trying to figure some stuff out and where her emotions can reconcile themselves with the science.

          • Allie

            Holly’s specific statement was that her love for her unborn meant it wasn’t a “mass of cells.” But love doesn’t prove anything about the object of that love. My love for my husband doesn’t prove that he would never cheat on me. Terry Shiavo’s family’s love for her did not prove that she was conscious of their presence. Human beings are capable of feelings for all sorts of things, including masses of cells.

            You’re getting a little more aggressive than the situation warrants. No one is attacking Holly by simply responding to her.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            Your comments about me getting aggressive in this thread is one of the more ironic things I’ve read on this blog for a while but it looks like Holly’s redirected what she was actually *saying* vs, what you believed she said so it looks like that is that.

          • Holly

            Allie,

            You’re right. “I have emotions” is not a valid argument by itself. And I’m glad I didn’t make that argument. It seems I have been severely misunderstood in this discussion.

            I stated before that I am for a woman’s choice, whatever her reasons may be, to abort. I believe that emotion does not always play a role in a woman’s choice to have an abortion.

            By bringing up my emotional attachment to the “mass of cells” growing inside of me, I did not mean that I disagree with the scientific aspect of developing/non-human fetuses. I am stating that the phrasing “a mass of cells” doesn’t do a squirming fetus the justice it deserves since SOME women are attached to their “babies” emotionally.

            Below, Lynette describes my feelings perfectly. Please read her comment. She is much more articulate and educated on this issue than I am.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            For whatever it’s worth Holly that was all very clear to me. I find it so odd that it’s either inferred or directly stated that emotions should not be a legitimate part of this discussion. If you get into this discussion with anyone who is pro-choice (and I’d consider myself pro-choice), we’re going to say “this is a hugely personal decision”. “Personal” is subjective. And that means that for some women, they are attached to what’s going on, there’s meaning there. There’s nothing wrong with that and to try to figure out how you feel while pregnant while still trying to honor the science part of the discussion makes perfect sense (at least to me).

          • Holly

            DR,

            Thank you for acknowledging that. It is worth something to me to be understood (as I think everyone involved in this discussion would agree to).

            Thank you for reading what was written here, without assuming that I’m an idiot. I admit that this topic is a difficult one for me. I’m 25. Still learning.

            For the sake of just getting this out there, I feel compelled to say that we can all make scientific or emotional arguments about abortion, but frankly, unless any of us have walked in those shoes, it is not something we can fully understand. My guess is that most women don’t have scientific reasons for why they do or don’t have abortions. The issue is simply, “as a woman, I deserve the right to make this decision without interference from an outside, UNWANTED source.” No woman wants any outside governance over her body when it comes to making ANY decisions about it, much less the choice of abortion.

            This discussion went haywire the second I brought up my personal emotions about MY pregnancy. I’m still trying to figure out why that is such a “bad” thing to some of these people. Big deal, folks! I love my unborn kid! Give me a break! I acknowledge that this writhing thing inside of me doesn’t have human rights. I acknowledge the science behind the lack of “human-ness” that exists there. I acknowledge that that little brain is not cognitively developed enough to be considered a person. Fine. But if a woman can have the right to abort a fetus (which I’m a-ok with!), can’t a woman also have the right to be emotionally attached to a fetus? I’m not doing anything that women for ages (before scientific evidence was produced) didn’t do. I am helpless to the emotions of attachment that I feel, as this pregnancy is wanted.

            Those of you over-reacting about that need to calm down. Let a woman abort of she so chooses. But let a woman also be emotionally, lovingly bound to her kid if she so chooses.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            Well I guess for me, I think everyone is just telling their story, even if it’s based in “facts”. It’s all personal, they all are stories about what we care about and why. You get to tell your story too and you get to apply whatever meaning you want to and need to. It’s your body! As you’ve suggested that’s the other side of the coin. Are our personal stories something we can easily scale to all women? Most women? No. But I didn’t see you doing that.

            Congratulations on your baby and I hope you stick around. Things can get tense and personal but everyone here who is a regular has a lot of integrity and cares a lot about good things.

          • Gary

            Wonderfully stated Holly.

          • Gordon

            Wow, Holly, you’re only 25?? This is very well reasoned, thought out and written. I hope you don’t mind, but I copied and sent it on to some friends of mine and they both wrote back and with the same message: “This woman is only 25??”

            Happy New Year and blessings to you, your family and the soon-t0-arrive bundle of joy!

          • Holly

            Thank you. I genuinely appreciate your kindness.

    • Lynette

      I think the phrase “mass of cells” is a bit weaselly and I really think it needs to stop being used in public discourse. We’re ALL nothing but masses of cells. It’s a nonsense term. To the uneducated, though, it sounds like you’re suggesting an undifferentiated mass, which is nonsense past the very early stages.

      I think it’s more helpful to recognize that, yes, there is an organism there, but that the organism is not yet a human person deserving of human rights; that we don’t extend human rights to all organisms, but only to persons; and that until the foetus achieves personhood, it has only the same rights and protections that might be extended to any other living organism of a similar nature.

      It’s time to eliminate the completely misleading “mass of cells” from the public discourse as surely as “baby killer” needs eliminated. It does nothing to aid the pro-choice cause and, instead, causes it a lot of harm, as anyone pulling up a Wikipedia article on fetal development will draw the obvious conclusion that it’s either an outright lie or the pro-choice side being extremely disingenuous.

      If we want to break the stalemate, we need to move beyond the rote phrases and address the real issues to hand:

      Do women have the right to be secure in their persons, their very bodies, from interference by the government and from other people? Yes.

      Do fetuses pass the test for being living human persons? No.

      In light of that, does the protection of the foetal organism present a compelling social and governmental interest that supersedes the civil rights of women to be secure in their persons? No.

      • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

        I love every word of this comment. So smart!

  • Amanda Hiland

    John,

    I love your attitude on this. It’s something we need more of in a debate that is often strongly caustic on both sides. I too am against abortion on the basis that I am a human being who was born and given the chance to enjoy life and make something of myself, and I believe that everyone else should have that chance as well. However, and I really wish this wasn’t the case, I’m going to have to beg to differ on your assertion that “no one ever cavalierly decides to get an abortion. No one thinks of it as just another form of birth control.” I personally know women who have gotten abortions who really, actually do think of it as just another form of birth control. I’m not kidding, and I’m not exaggerating. I don’t know what percentage of women fall into this category- you’d have to be present inside the hearts of every single woman who has ever gotten an abortion to know this, and no one can have that knowledge except God- but it is true, to my very great sadness. I mourn the loss of those human beings even though their mothers probably never will.

    Also, regarding your claim that “everyone thinks abortion is a terrible option. Everyone wishes no one ever felt compelled to undergo such a traumatic procedure….” I have never worked in the abortion industry, but my common-sense knowledge of the laws of supply and demand tells me that those who do are probably not wishing for this.

    • Gordon

      I had a female friend who was single, in her early 30′s and a successful professional. She had started and was running her own Internet business. This was in the go-go 90′s in San Francisco. She drove a Porsche and lived in a fabulous Victorian flat in Pacific Heights. She was living “The Life”! One night we were having dinner and a handsome guy about our age came over to our table to say hi to her. We were introduced, he joined us for a glass of wine, the conversation was polite and civilized. After he said goodbye and left, my friend told me they had dated for about 9 months a few years earlier. During that time, she had TWO abortions and this man never knew it. This was a person I had known and loved since college. She was one of my best friends. She was (and probably still is) smart. I’ll never forget that conversation and the horrifying realization that this person actually did view abortion as a birth control choice. She had no qualms whatsoever about not using another method or practicing safe sex.

      I couldn’t get this conversation out of my mind and when I had gathered my thoughts, we got together again and tried to discuss it. Bottom line for her is that she did not believe that aborting a fetus was terminating a life. Bottom line for me is that I think life begins at conception. It was very quickly obvious that neither of us would EVER change our mind about this. So, as hard as it might be to comprehend and accept, there are women who do use abortion as a method of birth control. I’m not saying there are a LOT. Who knows for sure? If that guy hadn’t joined us at our table for a few minutes that night, I probably never would have known about how my former friend was behaving.

      That was almost 20 years ago now and I will always remember the experience as a defining moment in how I viewed this incredibly sensitive and divisive issue. That’s when I realized that I am absolutely pro-life but, as a male, I would never REALLY know how I would choose if I was faced with an unwanted pregnancy. And that’s when I realized that CHOOSE was the operative word. I would want that choice. So, maybe I’m some sort of a freak, but I am pro-choice AND pro-life. But, I agree with John Shore that the screaming, name calling and bloviating around this issue is petty and unproductive.

      • Anonplease

        Well, here I am: I don’t think abortion is any more morally dubious than a root canal or open heart surgery.

        1) It’s painful and expensive

        2) It’s best prevented

        3) It can be emotionally difficult (no one decides to go for open heart surgery lightly)

        4) If it’s necessary, it’s necessary, and not having access to a necessary medical procedure is tragic and wrong.

        But I am alive right now because Planned Parenthood kept my mother from being bound by parenthood to her first, abusive husband (and then she married the wonderful guy I call Dad) so maybe I come from a special place on this. I don’t want the number of abortions to rise any more than I want a sudden spike in the number of people needing open heart surgery, but a lot of the people who I’m supposed to agree with on this (because we “all agree that abortion is bad”) seem to want to address the issue by, metaphorically, making it much harder to find a cardiologist.

        So I’m going to say right here: I would actually be okay with more people getting abortions because they had better access to reproductive health services.

        I think that over time you’d want to see that number fall as more people got access to birth control that worked for them and that they could afford. A well-designed system of dental care catches people before they need root canals; an adequate medical system can’t be predicated on perpetual crisis. But I would be more fine with more people having access to the emergency medical procedures they need than I would be with fewer people getting emergency medical procedures because they couldn’t.

        • Amanda Hiland

          To be honest, I’m actually pretty disillusioned and disappointed in the world right now. I came onto this comment board two days ago believing that John was wrong in his assertion that “everyone believes abortion is a terrible option….no one thinks of it as just another form of birth control,” but that the number of women who actually think that it is another form of birth control and uncaringly get (or support getting) abortions was rather small, nothing much to hold against the pro-choice crowd. But now, after looking through all the comments from women on this post, I’m going to have to revise that number and raise it quite a few notches. I see that it’s not just a fringe group- it’s actually becoming mainstream. Some women even seem to be offended at the thought that there are loving families out there wanting to adopt the children that they could give life to instead of aborting. I am just baffled. I don’t understand where these people’s hearts are….but at least now I’m aware that they’re out there in droves. :(

          Obviously, this doesn’t apply to victims or rape or incest or women who suffer medical emergencies while pregnant- but I already know that these cases constitute a small percentage of overall abortions performed.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            An internet blog is not representative of the majority. This decision is really difficult for many women and your feelings are your feelings, I get that, but I’ve read this thread very carefully and there was not one mention of adoption because adoption wasn’t what was being discussed.

            While I’m discouraged that those who are both pro-life, pro-choice and also Christian can’t stop calling one another names or using incendiary language to reframe the other’s points of view and struggle to not inject meaning into peoples’ words, my expectations are mine to manage (and so is my disappointment in us failing to do that so consistently).

            Anyway – tough topic. I hope you get some encouragement along these lines soon. It’s such a complex issue and if women don’t feel badly about getting an abortion then it could be because they really don’t believe it’s a life which is something a lot of people believe. There are also people who don’t feel badly that we massacred hundreds of thousands of innocent lives in Iraq or that gay kids kill themselves because of Christians telling them they have to change in order to be ok. The world is a very complicated place.

          • Amanda Hiland

            Actually, there were several conversations about adoption, if they’re still up. I don’t want to name names (or web names) because I feel like that would be mean, but they’re there.

            I also don’t think that name-calling or incendiary language contributes ANYTHING positive to the discussion. This was another thing which I was discouraged to see on this page, although I suppose I should have expected it while wading into such an emotionally charged issue.

            I wouldn’t look for encouragement anytime soon, but I appreciate your thoughts. :)

            Lastly- just because some people don’t feel bad about massacring people in Iraq or about gay kids killing themselves, that doesn’t mean it’s okay. In my heart, (MY heart….not saying you have to agree with me,) the same logic applies to abortion.

  • http://www.seasonalcoloranalysis.net Jeanine Byers Hoag

    SUCH an awesome post!! I love the way you write and of course, I completely agree with you here. Wouldn’t it be great if the politicians said what you did and stopped using the issue of abortion as a weapon.

  • Sierra McConnell via Facebook

    I wanted to comment this on TCL, but I got blocked from commenting because I unintentionally trolled. >:

    • Isaac

      Yeah, they could stand to chillax a bit over there. I understand the problems they’ve had with trolling, but banning someone for linking a John Shore article which they clearly didn’t read first is a teensy bit beyond the pale methinks >.>

      • http://www.fark.com JerryBerry

        Hard to imagine that was the reason, they post his stuff a lot.

        I think they are missing a huge opportunity to teach by not being more selective. There is a large gray area between questioning, disagreeing, discussing, and trolling. I think Changing Minds is much more important than requiring all be of one mind. I read one commenter that said blocks are lifted after 24 hours, but I would guess prohibition from commenting is permanent. It’s also irking how proud of it they are.

    • Lynette

      “If you were banned and you want to come back and play nice, our policy has always been to offer amnesty to all who ask. Send an e-mail to TCL@TheChristianLeft.org. Put “Amnesty” in the subject. We’ll unban you.”

      Just FYI. (No, I’m not an admin there. Joined very recently, in fact, and missed the whole flame war.)

    • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

      Because a number of people were being incendiary by reframing abortion as “murder” which is obviously going to do nothing but cause problems. They are a good group that’s quite reasonable, I suspect if you got banned, your contributions were found to be incendiary and unnecessarily provocative. I don’t know your views on abortion at all but if you do believe it’s murder (which is certainly your prerogative, that’s not just a “Hey I get to express my opinion and I should expect zero consequences from that”. People are going to really react to that (and they should, it’s not productive).

  • http://www.facebook.com/JohnShoreFans John Shore via Facebook

    Sierra: Yikes. I’m sorry to hear that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Devin-Kelley/1071697837 Devin Kelley via Facebook

    Nice post. It’s a ridiculous issue to argue over seeing that it’s also a legal medical procedure backed by a supreme court decision. But that never really gets brought up lol

  • http://www.facebook.com/elfinragdoll Heather Halloran via Facebook

    I like how the implication of the sign is that Muslims are all about baby-killing. *facepalm*

    • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

      It’s a dig on Obama.

  • LaToya Faulk via Facebook

    I enjoyed reading this. The issue isn’t abortion it’s the society and it’s exploitative humane infrastructure which is a result of the conclusive decision to have a legal abortion (this is what I hear u saying and not saying throughout the piece). The psychology behind people and their aggressive anti-abortion rhetoric always leads me to misogyny and the history of male imagination upon the bodies of women.

  • http://genxsingalong.wordpress.com Gigi

    Sorry if this seems like missing the point, but your phrase “No one thinks of it as just another form of birth control” needs to be qualified with the word “anymore.” Before there were reliable forms of birth control – before those forms were legalized for all women in much of the Western world (which, fyi, happened in 1965 in the US and 1968 in the oh-so-advanced nation of France) – abortion was just another form of birth control, indeed the ONLY form for millions or women. In some places in the world, it still might as well be. And no matter what we do, no matter how well we teach sex ed in schools and how cheap and easy we make it to get contraceptives, there will always be situations in which women will get pregnant and not want a baby. And it will not always be because she is “poverty stricken, drug addicted, and the victim of a vicious rape.” Sometimes, it will be because she simply doesn’t want one. She doesn’t even want to have it and give it up for adoption, as good a deed as that might be. And I certainly won’t consider her choice to terminate her pregnancy a sin or a moral failing. (For the record: I’m not Christian.)

    • http://www.fark.com JerryBerry

      Excellent point Gigi. And if I may follow on: These same people, who apparently cannot sleep at night without trying to control others’ lives, were they to attain their ‘lofty’ goal, would immediately, I believe, begin the ‘ban birth control / God is the Great Decider’ campaign. The same people that preach abstinence to teen girls preach the same impossibility to substance addicts. The Same People seek to prevent teenagers learning how Not to Get Pregnant. The Same People, today, are at-once Pro-Life And Pro-Abortion, in the case that: ‘Babies whose parents are closely related and Babies whose father raped their mother DO deserve to die’.

      There is no end, no mitigation, no resolution to abortion; there is only variance in the quality of the treatment of women who make that choice – and also of those that don’t. How many pregnant women have an Easy Option of giving their baby for adoption? If couples and agencies taking-in children for adoption had the resources to provide for mothers as well as they do their babies, I would see them much more favorably.

  • Gerianne Downs

    I have been saying for years that the common ground is that no one is “pro” abortion. Period. Let’s move from there to find ways to make the choice to have an abortion less necessary. Let’s fund sex-education programs, let’s fund prenatal care, let’s fund child care. Let’s fund colleges so women can return to earn a degree that will earn them a living wage. Let’s support programs designed for women who would find themselves facing the need to choose abortion in the first place. Let’s also meet in the middle of the argument about teenage and premarital sex, understanding that it’s going to happen. Yes, it would be great if it didn’t. Yes, it would be great if everyone practiced abstinence. But THEY DON’T. So, understanding that, let’s go forward from there, and provide more education, more services, more access to contraception so children aren’t forced to make a decision about abortion.

    • http://genxsingalong.wordpress.com Gigi

      I categorically reject the notion that “it would be great if everyone practiced abstinence.” What a sad, anti-sex attitude that is. I’m not saying people don’t need to exercise judgment where sex is concerned, but a healthy sex life is (or should be) a normal part of life for those old enough to take responsibility for their own choices. Yes, even for people who aren’t married, and those who don’t plan to be.

      • Gerianne Downs

        Sorry, Gigi. Didn’t mean to imply I’m anti-sex or that I’m one of those abstinence is the only answer zealots. Not in the least. It was kind of meant in the frustrated/sarcastic tone of, “Ok, Ok, we get your point. Abstinence = good; sex = bad. We get it. Regardless, let’s move on.” Never meant to argue people old enough to take responsiblity shouldn’t. Even people who aren’t married or plan to be. I agree with you. :)

  • e

    Honestly, I’m kind of disappointed in this article.

    “Everyone loves babies.” No. Not everyone loves babies. It doesn’t make you a terrible person, but some people don’t like babies. Some people don’t like children. That’s why many people choose not to have children.

    “99.99% of people alive on the planet right now would agree that, in a perfect world, every baby would be welcomed…” Again, no. This is a silly internet statistic. If I may also make up a statistic on the spot, about 58% of the people I know believe that the world is overpopulated, resources are being destroyed at an alarming rate and not every baby should be welcomed. Women in famine-stricken countries with five, six, seven children, some dead already by starvation… this is not a perfect world and it never will be.

    Abortion is not always a tragedy. It’s not even USUALLY a tragedy, or it wouldn’t be if the media hadn’t decided that for us. It is not always a difficult decision. I understand that this article meant well, but it may be hard for its male author to understand that for many women, a missed menstrual cycle and a relatively brief procedure followed by relief is NOT a tragedy. It is a blip on the radar and would remain that way if the world didn’t insist on calling one missed period a “baby”.

    Also, add me to the list of people who find it weird that the more “pro-life” Christians claim to be, the more “anti-life” they really are. No public aid! No prenatal care! No WIC programs! Cut education funding! Pro war! Pro death penalty! Let’s go hunting!

    • Jamie Marie Lynaugh

      What a great post! Thanks for bringing the true reality of this issue into the discussion. I could not agree with you more.

    • CACollins

      Okay, bit of an argument with the statement that the 58% of the people who believe the world is overpopulated also feel that not all babies would be welcome in a perfect world. I think that the planet is overpopulated. I also think that in a perfect world all babies would be welcomed and loved. There would just be a lot less babies. In a perfect world, one with safe reliable birth control, the babies born would be to those who could love and care for them and they would be born at a sustainable rate.

    • Driftwood2K11

      I think the idea behind John’s statement has more to do with the idea that we love babies in general. I mean, a baby crying can grate on my nerves, but I don’t look at babies and think “hm, you would have been better aborted. You don’t need to live”. We all want to be loved, and we have a natural desire to love. We tend to protect the innocent, and babies fall in that category. It doesn’t necessarily mean we all just love babies automatically.

      Abortion is a terrible thing, and I say that as someone who is “pro-choice”, though I hate the terminology between “pro-life” and “pro-choice”. How silly to divide up into camps that are never as black and white as either side hopes. There’s a whole spectrum of gray when it comes to abortion, and it isn’t likely to change anytime soon. We’re a people of values, but we don’t like it when the choice is between two sad outcomes.

      The best way to prevent an abortion (as best as we can) is to enlighten people on sexuality, to educate them, to offer them help before things come to the point where abortion becomes the only option. We need to help single mothers, not cast them aside. Nothing makes me angrier than the two facedness of the moral majority, who scream about pro-life and harass a mother into having a child she can’t support, but once the child is born, they drop her and the baby to their fates because the mother was “irresponsible and immoral”. Hypocrites all.

      In the meantime, we have a need to help these people in need. Yeah, it’s going to take some tax money, and it’s going to mean we have to care about people, but if we don’t, I think we lose a part of our humanity, one that can’t be restored by codes and laws.

    • Lisa

      I do tend to agree with a VAST majority of your post, but as a female, I will say that on a personal note, I feel better just not being PREGNANT in the first place…just seems easier/better/less of a problem. I’m a 47 y o female, and have no children, and it just has struck me as a tad easier to just not miss a menstrual cycle in the first place. To me, that is just the true answer, although I do also understand that some women have had that choice taken away, whether it be thru rape or incest. But, as long as it’s been inside the realm of my own CHOICE, i.e. through regular sexual relations, it has just been a simpler solution to not become pregnant. And yeah, maybe it is due to having this whole entire issue thrust on me via the US media giving too much attention to these whack jobs out there. (meaning these so called pro-lifers). I just find it easiest for me personally to stop the situation in it’s tracks before it comes time for a trip to the clinic…

      Otherwise, I feel y0ur post is totally on target. Those so called pro life Christians are anything but pro life, and they’re too stupid to even see that about themselves

    • n

      I agree, ‘e’, having friends and myself personally who’ve had this experience–it’s a heavy decision to make, one that i don’t think anyone takes lightly, but i don’t think of a blob of cells at 3 weeks (since many procedures are scheduled immediately after missing the periods) as killing a baby, or a terrible tragedy. unfortunately, not something i wanted to go through ever, nor did any of my friends, but the right decision nonetheless. And i wouldn’t say any of us are pro-abortion, just support the woman’s choice between herself and whoever she feels she can discuss it with, and perhaps her ‘god’.

    • Darlene Paulauski

      E is spot-on! I remember getting pregnant not long after I had my 3rd child. I was beside myself and talked to my husband about getting an abortion. He could not handle it. At about 6 weeks pregnant I had a miscarriage. I was very relieved. Abortion should be discussed more openly with women who are dealing with an unwanted pregnancy. If we didn’t shame and blame sexually active women and convince them they will never regret NOT having an abortion, there would be a lot less unwanted, unloved, and abused children in the world.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tom.brisson1 Tom Brisson via Facebook

    When prolifers are willing to make personal sacrifices to raise others’ kids, I’ll take them seriously. But not until.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Liz-Peryam/100000746253028 Liz Peryam via Facebook

    Serious lack of compassion for the living people who must undergo the procedure or lose control of their own lives.

  • Paula

    You’ve gone and done it again, John Shore. Best thing I’ve ever read on the subject.

  • Judith Bandsma

    Abortions would be a lot rarer if birth control was more accessible and affordable. Unfortunately, the same people who point fingers and cry ‘murderer’ at women needing the procedure are also trying to ban the use of birth control. For women it’s a no-win situation if you don’t want to be pregnant.

    The prevailing sentiment I keep hearing from these people is “if you don’t want to get pregnant, don’t have sex” as the only option. But which of them is going to accept that from the wives they expect to SUBMIT?

    • Elizabeth

      One of my best friends gets free birth control pills from planned parenthood. Anyone can. They are readily available. But instead of going in with a plan, so that they don’t wind up pregnant, they go in to kill their “mistake”

      • KC

        Elizabeth, you’re confusing “Getting birth control is easy for me and my friends” with “Getting birth control is easy for everyone.” Go ahead and googlemap Planned Parenthood, and you will see that if you live in the Midwest and the Rockies, they are simply not that available. South Dakota doesn’t even have one, and many other states have only one near the capital. If you don’t have a car (and people who are likely to need Planned Parenthood are also likely to have limited access to transportation) getting regular birth control is actually quite difficult. Furthermore, even if you do live near a Planned Parenthood, there are still obstacles to get there. At my local PP, we had a bunch of people hanging out outside protesting for “60 days of Life” or some such nonsense. This particular PP doesn’t even provide abortions, so the only thing these people were doing was intimidating women who were there for checkups and birth control prescriptions.

    • dianne mcmanus

      That is one of the most sensible responses I have ever heard. Amen and Amen!

  • Lorelei Hillman via Facebook

    Always been interesting to me that the same people who are anti-abortion are also anti-birth control. Which highlights the previous comment that it iss more about men controlling women’s bodies for the sake of progeny than about the sanctity of human life.

    • Elizabeth

      I am anti abortion, not anti birth control. There is a big difference. All of the people I know who are anti abortion are also pro birth control, so you’re very wrong.

      • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

        I think it is intellectually honest to admit that some people who are anti-abortion are also confoundingly and frustratingly anti-birth control, Rick Santorum among them, as well as noted pro-life movement leader and activist Jill Stanek. I have also seen negative birth-control information put forth from Focus on the Family as well as articles by James Dobson denouncing as unbiblical voluntary childlessness. In some Fundamentalist and Evangelical circles Depo-provera and IUD’s are considered abortifacients. And I have read recent articles trying to lump birth control pills in this category as well for the occasions where they act hormonally to inhibit implantation rather than their primary mechanism of action in inhibiting ovulation. (I’m a nurse). A pro-birth control message is counter-productive to the same group’s abstinence only message.

        It is true that in certain circles of the pro-life movement there is an active and visible anti-birth control element….including those who work for large, well- known lobbying groups who influence policy-makers. On this we need to be both aware and honest with ourselves that this influential element exists and that they hold sway in the halls of our government. That several Southern states attempted to pass legislation this past year to investigate all miscarriages for signs of foul play with the potential of charging women with a crime is indicative of how far this element is willing to go.

      • Kurt SP

        Elizabeth- Ditto.

        There are noisy ‘famous’ professional pro-lifers who are anti-contraception, but they don’t represent anyone I know personally.

        • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

          Kurt, when the people you know personally set and influence contraceptive policy and legislation for the country then the pro-contraception crowd will be in good shape, until then the noisy famous pro-lifers will keep chipping away at contraception (See: de-funding Planned Parenthood and title X) because to them an IUD is as abhorrent as a later term abortion (even though millions of fertilized eggs fail to implant naturally every day of the year in women across the globe). If the standard is that life begins at conception and folks are going to stick by their convictions on that – that every zygote is sacred – then contraception is the next realm of battle for the pro-life movement.

          • Kurt SP

            I don’t think that research on method of action (MOA) for most forms of birth control would bear that out. For example, it appears that IUD’s actually have a contraceptive (preventing fertilization) rather than contragestive (preventing implantation) MOA under all but very rare circumstances. If you implant an IUD after intercourse as a form of ‘emergency contraception’, then it is known to prevent implantation, but that’s pretty unusual. The two main forms of emergency contraception (plan B and ella) are also alleged by some to be contraceptive, but the evidence seems to be against that as well. RU486 is proven to have a contragestive MOA, but it’s only prescribed as an abortifacient anyway.

            There doesn’t seem to be much effort to disabuse people of misconceptions about contraception and implantation, and there’s probably good reason for that. The religious groups which are anti-contraception are probably happy to have their faithful believe that

            contraception violates their pro-life principles because that makes them less likely to use them. These groups often emphasize the bits of data which lead to that conclusion without explaining that the preponderance of evidence is on the other side. At the same time, pro-choice groups who don’t object to abortion in the first place have no qualms at all about contragestion, so they’re happy to let people think that opposition to abortion (which is slightly more popular than not) logically leads to the banning of contraception (which is tremendously unpopular).

            I’m not opposed to contraception even though I honestly believe that embryos have a right to life. (I believe that of zygotes as well, but only embryos are capable of implantation, so that’s not at issue.) I know that more than a third of them probably die naturally but if that happens because an embryo is developing improperly, then there was never any hope for it and if it happens because the uterine environment isn’t receptive, then the only way that could have been prevented would have been to implant it into a different uterus ahead of time. In either case, there’s nothing to be done about it, and I don’t think that natural loss of life (whatever the numbers may be) makes the deliberate ending of life any more morally acceptable.

          • Christy

            In the interest of full disclosure, Kurt, I’m a Nurse Practitioner. You might want to check out the lay information from a reliable healthcare source like this one (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/paragard/MY00997) about the MOA of IUDs. And they are usually inserted during menstruation and are not used as emergency forms of birth control.

            Or from the package insert by the manufacturer of Depo Provera (Pfizer):

            “CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY

            12.1 Mechanism of Action

            Depo-ProveraCI (medroxyprogesterone acetate [MPA]), when administered at the recommended dose to women every 3 months, inhibits the secretion of gonadotropins which, in turn, prevents follicular maturation and ovulation and results in endometrial thinning. These actions produce its contraceptive effect.”

            Birth control pills do the same thing: thin the endometrial lining making implantation less likely.

            I agree: making hostile the endometrial lining for implantation is not the primary mechanism of action. BUT it is the secondary mechanism of action should the first fail – which it can and does.

            Zygotes are the earliest developmental stage of the embryo – when sperm and egg fuse – and when talking about creating a legal definition of when life begins for the sake of overturning R v. W and the general pro-life consensus is that life which merits legal protection begins at conception, zygotes are what count. And if zygotes are what count, and such a law should ever exist – birth control is in jeopardy. These are the ramifications when we carry this conversation out to its full extent.

            Perhaps you have missed the massive amounts of attempted and successful legislation the past couple of years at the state level making access to contraception more difficult and those who raised suspicions about women who miscarry and think they should be investigated for signs of a possible homicide. And the comment made by Rick Santorum that if elected he would “repeal contraception coverage in healthcare” because “sex should be for procreation within the bounds of marriage only”. Now, luckily, he doesn’t stand a chance of being elected. BUT the sentiment is held by a man who is a Presidential candidate….in 2011.

            And they were worried that Kennedy’s Catholic faith would interfere with his presidency.

            So, to nail home my point: If a Catholic President attempted to legislate his idea of morality on the whole of this country (let’s say by making birth control illegal or extremely difficult to obtain) how would that make the birth control loving Protestants feel? So then how is this any different than any other religious group legislating their morality on the whole of the country who do not share their interpretation of scripture or moral point of view?

          • Cheryel Lemley-McRoy

            Very good, Christy. This is why we have the First Amendment. Because few religions agree on when life begins, and therefore we must not favor one over another. I also cling to the hope that people of reason far outweigh the religious fanatics, and will out vote them.

          • dianne mcmanus

            Thank you for that Christy and Cheryel!

        • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

          Kurt the Catholic church is safely considered one of the largest, boldest pro-life supporters out there. They put their money where their mouth is with Project Rachel, etc. But they certainly aren’t fans of artificial birth control.

          • Kurt SP

            I agree with you 100%. It’s just that the starting point was the statement, “the same people who are anti-abortion are also anti-birth control.” Catholics are a fabulous example of why that quote isn’t true – even if the Catholic hierarchy wishes that it was otherwise! :)

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com DR

            Got it.

      • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

        Elizabeth, this is very true in Protestant circles but not Catholic circles.

  • Gary

    Tough I am not a woman I have had first hand experience with this issue. I have seen the damage inflicted by the militant “pro-life” Christians.

    Before I comment further I want to state openly that I am pro life. I believe an alternative to abortion should always be sought. And more importantly every effort made to prevent the need for it in the first place. However, I recognize the reality of the world we live in as well. Anyway…back to the militant pro-lifers.

    When I was a teenager my best friend was a girl whose family was fairly new to our very large “fundamental bible believing” church. They became very active, singing in the choir and participating heavily in Sunday school. I will never forget the day my best friend came to me sobbing. She was pregnant and I was the only friend she felt she could trust. We spent much time talking through the situation, how we would tell her parents, how we would deal with all those in the church who would of course assume and tell others that the child was mine. (I did not even know she had become sexually active…she was too ashamed to tell me) After discussing all of the options, she determined that the best option would be to give the child up for adoption so a loving family with the means to care for him/her could be blessed by her “mistake”. We made plans to tell her parents together…I was to be her moral support.

    2 days before the planned meeting she called and told me the horrible news…her parents had discovered and were forcing her to get an abortion against her will in secret. She was only 16 and in our state parents had that level of control. She had pleaded with them not to force this upon her, to let the child be adopted instead, but to no avail. They simply were not willing to bring such shame on their family where they were “new” to the church and really “fitting in”. I know my friend lives with the emotional scars of that experience to this very day and that was 30+ years ago.

    Over the years I have had many feelings concerning the abortion issue…mostly following the hard line militant Christian view. I have harbored extremely hard feelings for my friend’s parents. I have wondered what I could have done differently and wished I had stepped up and “outed” them more times than I can count. Finally I found I could no longer hold feelings of resentment and simply accept that in an imperfect world…shit happens.

    In recent years I have found myself thinking about the issue all over again. But now I no longer harbor feelings of resentment towards my friend’s parents. Now I see them as another couple victimized by the brutal brainwashing of the fundamental church. The stigma of a pregnant child, and the scorn and shame they knew they would be subject to, was simply more than they could bear.

    I have come to believe that the militant mindset of fundamentalism literally caused my best friend’s abortion. Now when I read about the staggering statistics, I can’t help but wonder how many of them would have been avoided but for the culture of shame created by the church? How many unnecessary pregnancies happen each year because the church fights sex education? How many women seek abortions simply to avoid the condemnation that is heaped upon every girl who has found herself in such a situation? How many young women live their entire lives with the stain of guilt upon their consciences, whichever decision they made?

    It is time for the church to put down our signs and ask ourselves an honest question…How much blood is on our hands??

    • Gary

      BTW John, Outstanding post. One of your best!

    • Gary

      First word should be THOUGH…not tough…sigh.

      Wish we had a way to correct typos.

    • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

      Thank you for sharing your story. That must have been so very difficult for her. You raise some important questions.

  • Tor de Vries via Facebook
  • http://www.facebook.com/jacquiwrites Jacqui Garcia-Bowman via Facebook

    Great read! (Just an FYI, though: you’re missing the word “out” between the words “found” and “it” in the “And could…” paragraph. Thought you might want to know.)

  • scott

    I am not anti abortion. To be anti abortion is to believe that someone else other than the woman herself has the right to make decisions about what happens to her body. Abortion is a decision that belongs ONLY to the pregnant woman.

  • Maria

    “No one thinks of it as just another form of birth control.”

    But that’s the problem. That is EXACTLY what’s going on here. It all boils down to that one line in this article. I personally know four women who have had more than one abortion — and who made that decision simply because it wasn’t the right guy/right time. One gal I know has had six abortions. SIX! The last time she said, “I just can’t manage to stay on the pill consistently, but I don’t want to get my tubes tied.” I just read another online comment the other day by a woman who said that she can’t afford birth control pills, but her abortion was paid for.

    So while those who are pro-choice think and believe that abortions are happening with an honorable, heavy, decision-making process, the grim reality is that they’re not. Abortions are truly nothing more than a modern form of birth control. And that’s why pro-lifers have a problem with it. All morals, values, principles and integrity have gone out the window when it comes to this medical procedure that ends lives for no more reason than mere inconvenience. It’s heartbreaking, and it’s wrong. We can debate the whole “reproductive rights” issue all day every day, but in the end, what those women are doing is wrong.

    • Gary

      “So while those who are pro-choice think and believe that abortions are happening with an honorable, heavy, decision-making process, the grim reality is that they’re not. Abortions are truly nothing more than a modern form of birth control. ”

      @Maria

      Maria you must realize that there are people in all extremes and in every possible place in the middle. It seems to me that you are generalizing both the “pro-choice” and the women who choose to terminate. People simply do not fit into such neatly packaged stereotypes.

      • Maria

        Yes, but I guarantee that if you asked every woman about to get an abortion why they’re doing it, most of them will give the simple reason that they don’t want it, or that it’s not the right time, or that they’re not ready to be a mother, or that the father isn’t someone who will support it. I’ve done my research and read many stories. Very few of those women have circumstances (i.e. medical, rape, etc.) that truly warrant a legitimate abortion. It all comes down to personal responsibility. If they truly know that it’s not the right time or that they couldn’t be a good mother or love their baby and offer it proper care, then they need to make an effort to either not engage in unprotected sex, or else be more diligent with birth control. I didn’t count myself in that number above. Many years ago in my early 20s I got pregnant and had an abortion simply because my fiance and I were planning our wedding and we didn’t feel that it was the right time. To this very day I regret that decision and mourn the loss of the baby that I killed. I realize now that I was more diligent about paying bills and feeding my pets than ensuring that I took the proper steps to avoid getting pregnant. I was just lackadaisical about it all. I’m not stereotyping women — I’m simply saying that pro-choicers are so quick to justify and condone abortion without forcing any responsibility on the part of the woman to make wiser choices ahead of time. Better education and more available/less expensive birth control/more responsibility is essential. As a society, we’ve put no repercussions or consequences on the woman for this. Why is it that a person can go to jail for growing marijuana in their backyard but not for having an abortion? Our laws are so messed up. Human life must be protected at all costs — no one has the right to take the life of another human, regardless of what stage of development or growth that human is in. ESPECIALLY not for simple convenience’s sake. So many people get upset at the word “murder” or “kill” when it comes to abortion, but there’s no sugar-coating it. Had I not had that baby’s life terminated, I would have have a 14-year old son or daughter right now. Maybe a lot of women don’t have the same weight on their conscience that I do, but it truly pains me to see society so blase about this.

        • Gary

          “Yes, but….”

          Don’t say yes if you don’t agree…sigh. I get that you have a personal connection and a seared conscience. In fact I feel very badly about the guilt you still carry around with you. In fact I too struggle with those who fit your paradigm. A lack of personal responsibility is indeed a great problem in our society.

          Still I cannot help but be intrigued by your analogy of what would be a present day 14 year old that you “killed”. Surely you must realize that birth control effectively does the exact same thing. Every single egg you produce is alive and represents half of a child that “could” have been. You need to let go of the emotion and the angry vitriolic attacks if you are ever going to find any healing.

          I am also personally troubled by your posts on here…troubled and ashamed. I know how much I used to sound exactly like you.

          sigh

          • Kurt SP

            ““killed”. Surely you must realize that birth control effectively does the exact same thing”

            Might want to check out the definition of ‘organism’

          • Gary

            Is this point directed at me or Maria? It makes no sense tagged onto my comment.

          • Kurt SP

            At you- preventing two gametes from fusing is not the same as killing an organism. To say “effectively” the same is not really helpful, because then you could say just as easily that not conceiving is “effectively” the same as having a miscarriage.

          • Gary

            Nah…I was speaking to the point of a lost opportunity for a 14 year old child…not whether an organism is the same as a separate egg and sperm. That should have been obvious to you.

            You seem to be hitting a lot of comments with drive by types of responses. Perhaps you should slow down and invest a little intellectual effort rather than simply jump to conclusions and rattle off snarky comments.

          • Kurt SP

            You were saying that Maria shouldn’t feel guilty because she should view an abortion as effectively the same as birth control with regard what would be a 14 year old today. I’m saying that that’s not at all helpful because you’re ignoring the fact that something died, and if you were talking to a woman who had a miscarriage you’d probably be more sensitive than to say she should regard it as effectively the same as if she’d used birth control. You may consider my remarks to be snarky, but I consider your remark about being “ashamed” because you used to think as she did to be condescending and insulting.

          • Gary

            No I was absolutely NOT saying any such thing. You don’t get to ascribe callous motive to my remarks that I was not promoting. In fact I do not consider abortion the same as birth control. I was ONLY commenting on her use of the what might have been argument.

            This is why I said you should invest the intellectual effort rather than simply jump to conclusions and make snarky comments. I still stand by that statement.

          • Diana A.

            But even after the gametes fuse there’s no guarantee that they’ll implant. Something like one to two thirds of fertilized ova fail to implant and flow harmlessly out the woman’s uterus during her period. Should a woman be forced to carry these to term too?

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Thank you, Diana.

          • Kurt SP

            That doesn’t make sense. There are two reasons that embryos fail to implant. Either the embryo is not developing properly or the uterine environment is inhospitable. In the first case, the embryo will die and there’s nothing you can do. In the second it’s something that you could have been addressed with fertility treatments, but only if you knew about it beforehand.

          • Christy

            What doesn’t make sense about what she said?

          • Kurt SP

            Christy- I was saying that this didn’t make sense:

            “two thirds of fertilized ova fail to implant and flow harmlessly out the woman’s uterus during her period. Should a woman be forced to carry these to term too?”

            The question doesn’t make sense because it’s asking if a woman should be forced to do something that’s physically impossible. Those embryos cannot be saved and brought to term.

          • Christy

            Kurt, I understand what she is saying. She is saying that if every zygote/embryo is sacred – a human life worth protecting – why then isn’t the pro-life movement who holds such a position doing more to save these unborn children from an early demise? Why aren’t we making sure every sexually active woman of childbearing years is on prenatal vitamins? Why aren’t we offering hormonal testing to make sure every woman’s hormones are ideally balanced to accommodate implantation? It’s a rhetorical if/then argument. Your defense necessarily then falls into acts of ommission vs. acts of commission status without the status of the zygote/embryo changing at all.

            If our bodies naturally do something: fail to ovulate or fail to implant a fertilized ova – how then can it be immoral to replicate those conditions on a consistent basis with various forms of birth control?

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            The cells aren’t even implanted into a woman’s womb yet, over 90% of fertilized eggs don’t even make it that far. Are you equating these fertilized eggs with abortions?

          • Kurt SP

            First, I have no idea what you’re asking me about because my remark to Gary was about the difference between abortion and contraception. Failure of an embryo to implant is called contragestion. I wasn’t talking about that in the comment from yesterday that you’re replying to. I did just say something about it to Diana FWIW.

            Secondly, 90% is incorrect. The numbers are hard to determine, but I’ve seen estimates as low as 12% and as high as 60% and the consensus seems to be in the neighborhood of 30%.

          • Christy

            Which matches Diana’s one to two thirds numbers.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            Failure of an embryo to implant is called contragestion.>>>

            Thanks for correcting me, I’ll use the accurate term. I think there’s some confusion on your position between birth control and abortion – Diana asked you a question about it which hopefully you’ll answer, I think that will satisfy what I was asking as well.

          • Kurt SP

            DR- I screwed up. I need to correct what I said before. 30% is the low end and 70% is the high. Actual testing gives an estimate of 36%. My apologies.

        • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

          Re: ” Human life must be protected at all costs — no one has the right to take the life of another human, regardless of what stage of development or growth that human is in.”

          Unless it’s an Afghani boy gathering wood in the middle of a war zone and he is classified by our government as “collateral damage.” That mother grieves no less for that already born and loved life than any of us would for our own children. We need to be honest with ourselves about the hypocrisy that we carry when it comes to issues of life. I’m all for saying people are precious and employing a consistent ethic of life across the life span. But when we deem foreign children in war and criminals as less valuable than people who look and believe like us – we have allowed ego to dictate our priorities.

        • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

          Maria,

          Consider not speaking for “every” woman just because you’ve done some research and read some stories. No one can do that on either side of this debate. You have your story with abortion and a lot of women have their story where they don’t regret it. Our personal experiences – even the things we’ve read – just don’t scale to the majority. Only cited facts, objective reports by non-biased organizations can be trusted to speak to patterns for big groups of people. Thanks.

          • Kurt SP

            “Our personal experiences – even the things we’ve read – just don’t scale to the majority. Only cited facts, objective reports by non-biased organizations can be trusted to speak to patterns for big groups of people. ”

            In the U.S. women reported the following as their primary reasons for choosing an abortion:

            25.9% Want to postpone childbearing

            21.3% Cannot afford a baby

            14.1% Has relationship problem or partner does not want pregnancy

            12.2% Too young; parent(s) or other(s) object to pregnancy

            10.8% Having a child will disrupt education or job

            7.9% Want no (more) children

            3.3% Risk to fetal health

            2.8% Risk to maternal health

            2.1% Other

            International Family Planning Perspectives

            Volume 24, Number 3, September 1998

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            I don’t care if you’re militant about this issue, frankly, your snarky rhetoric is only going to do a lot of damage to the pro-life perspective (not that I think people like you even care about that, I think you project your own emotional issues into this discussion). But please cite things that are at minimum, in this decade. Thank you.

          • Kurt SP

            LOL- Okay, so her observation was no good because it was anecdotal, and mine because it is too old. Never mind that it’s the most recent data where the question is what is the primary reason. The more recent data uses a different methodology (select which of the following you feel apply) which makes it impossible to categorize. Of course you might know that yourself if you spent less time thinking about my alleged snarkiness, militancy, and emotions and tried looking it up yourself.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            Given your rather childish behavior on the Christian Left site, I’, not surprised by your behavior here but assuming you’re an actual adult, I’ll ignore the “LOL given the gravity of the topic.

            That you actually believe a study from 1998 is the “most recent” is interesting. I just Googled and added a time frame and found 1933 citations that give a lot of data. But you know, we all tend to rely upon data that serves our interests and supports our convictions, I wouldn’t suspect you’re any different.

          • Kurt SP

            It is the most recent study I have seen using a methodology that designates the primary reason for women having abortions in the U.S. If I’m wrong, then I will tank you (and I mean that) because I would be pleased to have more recent data. Prove me wrong if you can. That’d be more constructive than making snarky comments and telling me that you know how to use google.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            That’s not logical, you’re actually the one who’s making the assertion that the majority of women who abort are cavalier about said abortion – I’m certainly not making any such claim, why would I put up evidence? If you have a point, then prove it with some data that’s in this decade. It’s simple! :)

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            And these points within this study contradict what Maria was offering, they don’t support it. I’m bewildered as to why you’d post it.

          • Kurt SP

            “Yes, but I guarantee that if you asked every woman about to get an abortion why they’re doing it, most of them will give the simple reason that they don’t want it, or that it’s not the right time, or that they’re not ready to be a mother, or that the father isn’t someone who will support it”

            Over 70% fall into that category.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            Yes, again that’s the point. People like you and Maria are assuming that you have the ability to define the the emotional, physical and financial realities and complexities that go into those reasons and that is a ridiculous assertion. Which was the point.

          • Kurt SP

            DR, you said, “Only cited facts, objective reports by non-biased organizations can be trusted to speak to patterns for big groups of people.”

            I got the facts that you seem to busy or lazy to be bothered looking up for yourself. You’re welcome.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            Kurt your need to be a dick doesn’t provide any show of strength – it actually reflects a lack of conviction for the lives of the unborn. You seem quite invested in alienating those you seemingly seek to influence – in the words of Dr. Phil. “I wonder how that’s working for you?”.

            I frankly don’t care if you agree with me or not – I’m against abortion and I’m for it being legal. The law is on my side, those of you who seek to change it need to influence the majority of us who’ve ensured it’s legal. It’s an odd choice to see you attack the people who could actually create the change you want and it’s one that makes me feel slightly embarrassed for you, but this is a very emotional issue and the more entrenched someone is in (either) position, the worst it typically brings out in them as they talk about it. In my experience, it’s rare to find anyone in this debate who will put aside their own ego and self-righteousness to really care about creating change. I leave that to those on the national front lines who are doing that beautifully. You’re just another casualty in a very important conversation. Pretty expected stuff.

        • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

          AND – 30,000 children die every day around the world from preventable poverty that too many choose to see as an unfortunate reality of the world we live in. 30,000 wanted and already born children. Let’s be as passionate about saving them.

          • Gary

            Awesome point Christy!

            And DR, this is exactly one of the points I was trying to make to her. But a closed mind is impossible to penetrate.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            Well, I get it. This is a brutal topic and a lot of women who’ve had abortions experienced it as a really traumatic event and have awful regrets, I don’t want to in any way invalidate Maria’s experience. But yeah, that being said while I tend to be kind of pro-life’ish myself (I’m really torn on this issue), those who are pro-choice are clearly focused on making sure women are safe! And that all of the rights that have been afforded to women after some huge upward battles to get there continue. And lastly, the health of the babies that are born. It’s so clear to me that’s what they value, to label those who are pro-choice as “pro murder” or “totally indifferent to the lives of the unborn” is a manipulative lie. It just is, and despite stories like Maria’s, we can’t let that kind of thing slide anymore (on either side of the debate).

          • Gary

            Totally agree. I am sympathetic to Maria as I told her, perhaps more than most men due to the personal experience with my best friend I shared just below. But words designed ONLY for battle rather than resolution need to be challenged.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            “But words designed ONLY for battle rather than resolution need to be challenged.”

            I might need this for myself! :)

    • http://genxsingalong.wordpress.com Gigi

      Abortions are in fact an ANCIENT form of birth control. For THOUSANDS OF YEARS it was the only form of birth control. Abortion was not invented in the 20th century; it was invented the moment prehistoric humans learned to identify the symptoms of pregnancy, looked around the cave, and realized, “There’s not enough food for another one.” And for THOUSANDS OF YEARS, women terminated their own pregnancies and helped one another to do so and said nothing about it to the men, because pregnancy was considered a female domain and why would a man want to involve himself in that? I’m glad we’ve reached a point where men are as interested in babies as women are, but that still doesn’t change the fact that a man has, so far, never carried a child.

  • Elizabeth

    It’s actually not a horrendous accusation to say that people use it as birth control, or to say that people do it so cavalier like. I know one girl who has had 6 abortions, because as she said, it was her form of birth control, cause she didn’t want to get a shot, or take a pill that would make her “nauseous” and she hated condoms, so she just kept killing babies. I have known several other girls who have had an abortion or 2 like it was nothing, and still do not see a problem with it. So, no, that is not a “horrendous accusation”

    • clif.hiker

      “…so she just kept killing babies.”

      except in her mind, science and medicine’s mind, and in most pro-choice minds (including mine), they aren’t babies. The insistence on using that terminology is nothing but a cheap rhetorical effort to inflame public opinion.

      • Kurt SP

        kept taking the lives of innocent human organisms

        There you go. Fixed.

        • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

          I think I understand why you and some of the others were banned. (there’s always more to the story)

    • Maria

      I have to move on from this website. That comment truly stuns me. Again, I have no idea when or how our society — especially those who call themselves Christians — can be so blase and indifferent to the right to those unborn babies lives. Truly, we treat animals with more humane rules and guidelines. It’s a shame. I don’t have anything more to say. Having a baby versus enduring nausea or dealing with the inconvenience of condoms???? I’m speechless. May God have mercy on us…

      • Maria

        Sorry — I meant “having an abortion versus enduring nausea…”

        Clearly I’m flustered.

        • Gordon

          Being flustered over this issue is understandable. It’s a tough one, Maria. I don’t think you should move on from this page over it, though. I hope you won’t. The high level of debate and exchange of ideas and information here is all too rare these days. But, it is imperative. And we don’t have a person to waste! (Yes, I borrowed that from President Clinton.) Please stay.

      • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

        Maria I would never have an abortion but please consider not allowing your emotions to insert meaning into how people feel about babies’ lives. Seriously. I get that women are emotional about this issue but we all need to lay the emotion aside and start characterizing one another on the values *each* group is trying to defend. You demonizing women who want to keep abortion legal and being manipulative in suggesting Christians can’t hold this position is completely unproductive.

    • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

      Oh good Lord. You can point out all of the anecdotal evidence that you’d like but this is *clearly* an exception which proves the rule. I’m more on the pro-life fence myself but for God’s sake, leave your hysterical, emotional rants about “killing babies” that do nothing than provide a righteous anger orgasm. OK? You really hurt the pro-life position when you assign such a horrifying descriptor to people you don’t even fucking know and I’m sick to death for people like you speaking for me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/heather.m.webster1 Heather Mae Webster via Facebook

    I agree & liked your post. However, I think the ” I wish we lived in a world without abortion” sentiment seems to still have some shaming undertones to it. Your ”poor, drug addicted, raped mom” example SHOULD win over anyone with any common sense. However, as much as I like babies (ok..i actually love babies as someone who hopes to be a midwife someday), I also think of the 30-something couple that doesn’t want anymore kids or the someone who had a contraception fail while being lovingly made love to by her partner. These people also deserve the option & choice, without guilt, to decide if they want to be parents. I really think all shame surrounding this issue needs to go. I’m glad for abortion, I’m glad it exists as an option that I may or may not feel bad about utilizing. I’m glad that anyone can choose to be parents when they are ready to be, that to me is abortion in a perfect world.

    • Kurt SP

      “I also think of the 30-something couple that doesn’t want anymore kids or the someone who had a contraception fail while being lovingly made love to by her partner. These people also deserve the option & choice, without guilt, to decide if they want to be parents.”

      I really doubt that Shore agrees with you.

      • Gary

        You do huh? LOL

        How about simply speaking for yourself?

        • Kurt SP

          Probably rash on my part. I agree.

          I was about to say so anyway but you beat me to it. All the same (even though I’m not psychic), the way I read the article it just doesn’t seem compatible with her view about people who have nothing like what one would call a ‘need’ for an abortion, but have one merely to prevent a disruption to their lives.

          I’d be curious to see if he says anything about it.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            “The way I read it” = “the meaning I am *inserting* into a total stranger’s post that is about offering choices to become parents or not but I’m going to ignore that because it doesn’t support the points I’d like to make.”

          • Kurt SP

            No, it’s because he wrote this, “Everyone wishes no one ever felt compelled to undergo such a traumatic procedure. No one ever cavalierly decides to get an abortion. No one thinks of it as just another form of birth control.”

            The scenarios Heather Mae Webster via Facebook described are suggesting that it should be seen as an acceptable alternative to emergency contraception . Many people would say that that’s not compatible with the idea that abortion shouldn’t be used as birth control.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            We can go over this again and again, Kurt. It’s not going to change anything and I’m not going to allow your imaginary thinking and the conclusions drawn as a result to reframe the discussion. If you want that, I’d suggest that you talk with people who are more easily manipulated.

            Again – to be clear – all of the reasons listed in your “study” give no indication of women approaching this “cavalierly”. You and Maria have simply *decided* that’s true and now you’re rather desperately scrounging up some kind of research from 1998 to try to prove it. And what you and people like Maria can’t seem to accept is just because it *appears* to be cavalier to you. your observations don’t define much at all except your opinion which you’re welcome to have of course, but to add it into a debate as some kind of foregone conclusion – particularly when it flies in the face of common sense so dramatically – is just silly.

          • Kurt SP

            I never used the word “cavalier”, and the study that I pointed to actually came from an institute that is associated with Planned Parenthood, so I didn’t scrounge up something biased. I merely tried to find objective data which (as far as I could tell) you said was missing from the conversation.

    • http://genxsingalong.wordpress.com Gigi

      Or what about the someone who had a contraception fail while being unlovingly screwed by some guy she just met at a party because SEX IS FUN? If you get pregnant within the context of a loving relationship, you deserve sympathy, but if you get pregnant just because YOU LIKE SEX and had an “oops,” you somehow are less deserving of abortion rights?

      • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

        You’re absolutely right, Gigi. This often comes down to the hatred of women’s sexuality and the “she asked for it, what a whore” belief about women.

        • Kurt SP

          I don’t think that’s a fair characterization. Everything I’ve ever seen on the topic shows a virtually equal gender distribution for positions on abortion. If you’re right (which I doubt) then the sexism must be coming from women as much as from men.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            But how is this possible when it’s the actual woman’s choice to have a baby or to terminate? I don’t think this is the popular national narrative, Kurt though I suspect you’re around some really great people who are also pro-life which makes sense they’d define the majority view for you.

            The accusations for getting pregnant in the first place outside of marriage are almost always directed at women. We live in a rape culture where women who wear short skirts in dark alleys “ask for it” – and that attitude is grounded in a low view of women to begin with. This view is still prevalent today among the best and well-intended of people who’ve simply grown up with the deeply held beliefs that sex only belongs in one, very specific context of marriage. Anything else begins to put women in a very sketchy category.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdgalloway

          Late jumping in on this, but you bring out a great point DR.

          In a perfect world, every pregnancy would be wanted, every baby would be healthy, every sexual relationship would be wonderful, every party in the pregnancy would be completely involved in the entire process from conception till they started paying for that Masters in Pottery degree.

          But that isn’t reality. In human history it never has been. Men have never had to bear equal burden in this whole “lets have a baby” situation. Sure there have been plenty of fathers who for some reason have raised their kids alone, but I do believe they are a small minority.

          Human culture has long dumped “the kid problem” on women, in an attempt to make it only a female responsibility, then blame women for everything that doesn’t fit a particular ideal. Part of the solution is changing perception about the man’s role and responsibility. If they don’t want to get someone pregnant, then they should actually have at least equal if not more responsibility in prevention, and the after-effects when the pregnancy test reads positive. Until that happens, this problem will continue.

          Of course in a perfect world, pregnancy would be cross-gendered, where pregnancy could occur to either partner.

  • Tim

    The real problem is three fold:

    #1 We need to do more to prevent unwanted pregnancy in the first place. Prevention is the only solution either through abstinence or birth control. We need to change the focus of the debate and turn our attention to the realities of pre-marital intercourse. Abortion isn’t going to stop if the only answer is name calling and derision.

    #2 It is more than a little sanctimonious to decry the “killing of babies” if the only thing being done about it is calling people names. The day those “Christians” with their signs and wagging tongues step up and take financial responsibility for those unwanted babies is the day I will believe they are the righteous ones they claim they are.

    #3 Those who blithely castigate those of us who see abortion as last possible solution to rape, incest or life of the mother need to stop judging those women faced with that horrible decision. That decision is between the woman and God; not the woman, God and the government. As the author pointed out, it is probably the most difficult decision a woman has to make in her life…regardless of the circumstances.

    Jesus taught us to be tolerant, accepting and loving of one another. He didn’t tell us to demonize those we disagree with or to twist the truth of the matter or to pretend to be holier-than-thou. Abortion is not a Biblical issue, it is a human issue. Mankind caused this problem and those who believe otherwise need to scour the Bible for justification: Abortion is not mentioned once. Not in deed or in name. Jesus came to make it right between God and us. All this noise about abortion is man made nonsense and self-righteous chest pounding and hardly what Jesus expects from us.

  • Sherry Lou Meeks via Facebook

    Love this also a) the people who claim to be against abortion whine about paying for medicaid birth control ? b) BUSH was “against” abortion but the figures who during his 2 terms—abortion increased—so being mentally against abortion does noting to prevent the need for it c) President Obama searched for better birth control methods instead—proper solution— educate women to take better responsibility for not only SAFE sex, but pay more attention to birth control—stop the need for abortion. Be adults and be responsible in secual behavior to prevent needs for abortions same way folks have to be responosbility when drinking—-esp drinking and driving

  • Christina Johnson

    Having actually debated this topic at great length in an ethics class a couple semesters ago, I can safely say that the individuals who remain moderate on this topic are usually the most sane ones. That being said, we’re discussing the rights of a zygote with the potentiality to become a person. Obviously, if we all went back in time to talk to our mothers about getting an abortion, the vast majority of us would say “Don’t do it!” On the other than, though, the zygote/fetus could be considered an “unwelcomed guest” of sorts in a woman’s uterus. They can either concede their rights to their anatomical real estate, or they can go see a doctor to have the fetus removed.

    What’s the point of this? This is a no-win situation. Sometimes, abortions just have to happen. Saying that someone is “pro-life” or “pro-choice” is moot when it comes down to the simple fact that pro-lifers have to acknowledge that their idea of supporting wars (I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen an anti-abortion sticker next to a yellow ribbon on the back of vehicles), as well as denying birth control and viable sex education that involves more than “Don’t have sex (especially gay sex)” isn’t pro-life but pro-control. They want to control people’s bodies because of their dogmatic ideas of how God made sex and sexuality between humans. If they really want to stop abortions, they’re going to have to compomise.

    Pro-choice people need to realize that abortions shouldn’t be freely available to any woman who wants one. In a more perfect world, when a woman seeks an abortion, they would be led through a process that involves one or more psych eval(s), an attempt to line up a family for the child to encourage the woman to carry the child to term, and all the medical care she may require during the course of her pregnancy. That being said, pro-choice individuals need to compromise on how abortions are handed out.

    Of course, though, I’m just a college student who is simply fascinated by human sexuality. This entire discussion (like AIDS and herpes) is a sad by-product of that sexuality, and education is the key to solving a lot of the problems relating to these issues. Unfortunately, only the moderate Pro-choice people on the abortion view spectrometer seem to be calling for a serious education concerning birth/STD-control.

    • http://genxsingalong.wordpress.com Gigi

      Oh geez, a woman should have to get a psych evaluation before getting an abortion? Why, because anyone who would see the plus sign on the pee stick and not be flooded with joy, or anxiety, about pregnancy – anyone who might just say, “Oh shit, not now” – must have some kind of psychiatric problem? I say this as a person who very, very much wants to be a mother someday (soon), but also as a woman who finds the notion of any other person, woman or man, telling me what I can do with my body, and HOW I SHOULD FEEL ABOUT THAT, utterly abhorrent.

    • G1

      “Pro-choice people need to realize that abortions shouldn’t be freely available to any woman who wants one. ”

      and why not, because someone died and put you in charge?

      Sorry, reproduction and sexuality are rights, not for the invasion of a decision that belongs to a woman and her physician, that is control.

      Further, you are assuming every one becomes pregnant out of their own free will, when does the balance come in for the ones who have been violently violated who do not want or need to re-live that continuously for the rest of their life, in the pregnancy stage and then wondering if that child that is half of their genetic material went to a good home?

      I don’t need a psych eval to make a decision about what I want to do with my body for the next 40 weeks, I was and remain very clear in all of my reproductive choices and my sexual choices. So keep your draconian ideas the heck out of my business.

      • Christina Johnson

        No, not because someone died and put me in charge. We’re discussing ideas, not absolutes. We have different ideas about this topic, obviously. I find it interesting that no one has responded to my naysaying (for lack of a better term) about the pro-life movement, as if to say that I’m only trying to support one side of this issue, rather than acknowledge the multitude of viewpoints that actually exist.

    • Lynette

      Um. No. Pregnant women who have freely chosen abortion due to whatever life circumstances they are in do not requires psych evals or being strong-armed with offers of loving families or medical care. I’d love to see medical care offered to pregnant women, so the children born have had the best prenatal care, but that’s separate from abortion. Would you suggest that women who have chosen to keep the child or give it up for adoption need psych evals? What makes you think a woman who knows her own mind and what is best for her situation is somehow inherently unstable and unbalanced? Can we please stop with the public ownership of women’s lives and bodies? My body is mine. It doesn’t belong to the state.

      • Christina Johnson

        I’m sorry, I guess “psych eval” was the wrong phrasing. Something more like an intake interview as a precursor to informed consent.

        Maybe it is a bad idea? Iunno. I’m just talking about a theory here, and maybe it would completely suck being put into practice. If that is the case, then it should be changed. However, through some sick evolutionary joke, I have not the anatomy for childbearing. As such, I’m sure any opinions I might have on the subject are null and void, because I’m not a real woman.

        • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

          I just wonder what criteria post-eval would be one you’d consider suitable for having an abortion. Do you have a sense of what that is?

          And I think anyone can weigh in on this topic.

          • Christina Johnson

            Like I replied to MilitantRubberDucky, it really does come down to choice. If a woman seeking an abortion is made aware of the fact that there are other options (and, as I also said, actually having other options rather than paying lipservice is a big deal), and she still wants to get an abortion, then let her have the abortion. I don’t think it’s at all logical to try to completely restrict abortions. However, keeping a tighter grip on how they are handled could reduce how often they happen. I think all in all, “Safe, legal, and rare,” pretty much covers my ideas about abortion.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            I think I see what you are saying. Perhaps in an ideal world you might like to see something along the lines of the Mayo Clinic of Reproductive Health where each person who arrives with a possible pregnancy of which they are not so sure is walked through their options with a knowledgeable social worker or healthcare provider who could objectively help the individual assess their emotional, financial, physical, and support systems while also providing unbiased and accurate information regarding her options. Absent a trusted friend or confidant (and/or in addition to one), a licensed professional psychologist/counselor would be available to provide a listening ear and offer unbiased insights as she weighed her options. Various clergy from all faiths might be on staff and available for consultation, if desired by the individual. Such a place would be equally accessible to women in every state. Consultations would be covered by health insurance. Time off work would be permitted by employers. An individual would have a sufficient period of time to weigh their options. Decisions would be made. Healthcare would be provided. Appropriate counseling (including a contraceptive plan), referrals, and follow up care would be supplied.

            The full picture of the health of the woman as a whole person is considered as well as that of any resulting offspring. Taking into consideration this holistic approach is not only comprehensive, it is compassionate to the person and their individual needs as well as to any potential resulting offspring and by extension the health of society at large.

            It is a wonderful vision. I agree that everyone deserves to be treated with the kind of care one can receive at the Mayo Clinic. Not everyone agrees with me on that, many of whom make our laws and many more fellow citizens who vote.

            We have the capacity to improve the delivery of healthcare. We can do things that make sense. But as a doctor friend advised: People want three things in healthcare: Affordability, Excellence, and Ease of Access. The trouble is we can generally only have two out of the three. When you add in variables like legislation, litigation, profit, and a divided perspective on the ethics of reproductive healthcare – it makes it even harder to achieve this ideal.

            Largely, we leave due diligence up to the individual to seek out how little or how much they desire to know, what factors they choose to consider, and how much they can afford before making such a decision.

            “Keeping a tighter grip” drifts over into another realm of ethics that the field of medicine decided long ago was not theirs to regulate: degrees of access. And this is the point I believe DR and M.R.D. were making: what criteria would we use to determine who is eligible and who is not? Who would determine the criteria? And who would make those decisions?

            You see, these questions are what smack of Palin induced panic regarding “death panels” which doctors and lawmakers choose to deal with by using as broad and inclusive language as often as possible like “equal access under the law” which was designed to avoid discrimination and prevent abuses by the government and the industry while maintaining the “least restrictive environment” and the highest degree of self-determination (read: civil liberties) regarding reproductive health (unlike say, China) in this country. The one factor still permitted in some cases that most limits access is ability to pay.

            It *might* seem reasonable to some people that a rule of “no frequent fliers” existed for abortion. Six is the max. Or four. Or how many would be reasonable? And so often the women who have a high number of abortions are suffering from other social problems like addiction and prostitution and poverty or mental illness. Is this who we’re going to single out and say: “Sorry. You reached your quota?” Or are those the only people we would permit to have them? What do those decisions mean? What do they say about our society and what and who our society values?

            By their very nature the intersection of moral problems and social problems are complicated. There is no easy solution. And in a perfect world they would either not exist or be easily fixed. We do not live in a perfect world. So, we leave this choice up to the individual and her doctor – for in a freedom, equality, and self-determination loving society, these are decisions that the society has determined are unethical for the whole to enforce on the few. As society changes, this may not always be so.

        • http://www.wordsmoker.com MilitantRubberDucky

          Well, what factors would be put on there that would restrict a woman from having an abortion?

          • Christina Johnson

            I honestly don’t know. I guess at the end of the day, it really does come down to choice. For some reason, I can’t rest easy knowing that the answer in this discussion could be so simple.

            I think it boils down to just informing a person who wants to get an abortion that there are other options, as well as actually having other options to provide. This is where the pro-life movement falls short. Many of them don’t seem to care what happens to babies, or the people who carry them (either willingly or unwillingly), but only the fetus while it is indeed a fetus.

            I think this discussion belies a problem with many discussions that happen in the US in this day and age. Every topic is cast in a left/right us/them Allies/Axis good/evil dichotomy, with gray areas attacked by both sides. Within the confines of this topic, the two attacks on moderate views are generally either “You don’t care about women!” or “You don’t care about babies!” When in fact, I do care about both women and babies, and by a lot. I don’t have all the answers, and I don’t try to have all the answers. That’s not my job, and it shouldn’t be expected of anyone. There has to be compromise if this world is going to survive. I think this discussion in particular is simply a microcosm of a much larger problem with debate and discussion in this world.

          • Cheryel Lemley-McRoy

            In this age of information, it would be hard for a woman not to know she has options. A woman’s choice is influenced by her personal beliefs. If her religion teaches her it’s not murder, that will influence her choice, and vice verse. It all boils down to her personal religious or non-religious beliefs. And we can’t legislate for or against one’s personal religious beliefs. If Christians want to prevent abortion, they need to do it the way Jesus told them to do: minister to people’s needs, share His Gospel, love them, and reach out to them.

    • Christy

      RE: ‘Obviously, if we all went back in time to talk to our mothers about getting an abortion, the vast majority of us would say “Don’t do it!” ‘

      I’m not sure it’s obvious. It’s an assumption based on most people the world over throughout all of history a) being generally pleased with their lives or b)being generally pleased with their families of origin or c) being sufficiently more pleased with the whole of their lives than the parts they are displeased with and d) having no idea whatsoever from where consciousness arises or theoretically exists before making an earthly presence and how fancifully nice that pre-bodily DNA combined place might be.

      However: 1) It’s a hypothetical a lot like: which door do you want to choose without ever knowing what’s behind door #1 or door #2 and after choosing never being told what you might have gotten had you chosen the other door.

      And 2) Zygotes aren’t sentient so they won’t know the difference. If you never were – how can you care that you weren’t?

      For those who believe in God and heaven and that all life and consciousness originates there – it might be quite nice to stay wherever there is without ever being squished through a tiny tunnel and encapsulated in strings of code and dividing cells.

      For those who believe in God as the ultimate source of all that is from which we come, of which we are a part, and to which we return…..this little jaunt on earth might not be as nice as staying a part of the whole.

      And for those who believe there is nothing and we return to nothing: see Point 2).

      Just some things to think about.

      • Christina Johnson

        You caught me, Christy! I was speaking in absolutes! I try so hard to avoid that, because it DOES make it sound like I assume things when I really try hard not to.

  • Anne Young via Facebook

    i got blocked from TLC too, Sierra, but DO want to say to John: Well Done! best characterization yet of this issue. thanks as always for writing.

    • Kurt SP

      I was also blocked.

      • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

        Most of those who were blocked were blocked because you refused to stop using the term “murder” as it related to abortion. You were asked not to and refused. If you go into someone’s home and spit in their face in the name of “free speech” because you’re having temper tantrum that you don’t like what’s being served for dinner, I’d probably expect to be booted out of their home.

        • Kurt SP

          DR, the problem is that most people who are strongly pro-life actually believe that it is a form of murder. If they didn’t think that, they wouldn’t be pro-life. It’s one thing to say, “Don’t call Jim a murderer,” which is perfectly reasonable. It’s another thing to say “You’re being kicked our because I support the death penalty, and you described it as legally sanctioned murder.”

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            Those in the pro-life movement who are making strides for their positions care more about being effective than they do being right. That those of you chose to persist in calling it “murder” in whatever context you’re offering is simply an incendiary decision on your part, period. It’s like pro-choice people saying you don’t care about babies after they’re born – that’s a stupid, below the belt comment and it does nothing to advance the discussion (and they believe it, just like you do).

            Simply put in that community, you doing so was against the rules. You were told that, given a warning and then you were banned so to see some of claiming to be victimized over your “right to free speech” or just innocently “confused” as to why you were banned doesn’t exactly fly. I don’t care what you want to call it – just deal with the consequences like a man for God’s sake.

          • DR

            Apologies for that last sentence, that was uncalled for.

  • Anne Young via Facebook

    Hillary Clinton once said: “Safe, legal, and never.” I liked that.

    • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe she said “safe, legal, and rare.”

      • Andrea

        Either way isn’t that what we should be shooting for. . .safe, legal and as little as possible if not never.

        • Kurt SP

          Ummm- no, we don’t all want “legal”, that’s the point of saying “the means to that end about which people have varying convictions”

      • Kurt SP

        You’re correct. She said ‘rare’. Later Bill started saying the same thing.

      • dianne mcmanus

        So isn’t murder, rape and child abuse “illegal” …but it still happens. Do you think if abortion becomes illegal it will just “go away”? If so, that is the true meaning of naive. Most “pro-lifers” or some who put themselves in that category, are only concerned about children who have yet to breathe in one breath of life and yet seem to care less about the murder and abuse of those hear and now. That is why people will not listen to what they say. It comes across hypocritical and senseless. If they were all so concerned about the sanctity of life they would all become foster parents to all the babies to rant and rave about saving….after they are born and need midnight feedings and diaper changes, pre K, elementary, middle, high school and college, along with medical insurance, auto insurance and all the love from every fiber of your being. Unless you are willing to take on that responsibility for every “unborn child” you save…you really should not scream so loudly. Or at least say you are for birth control.

        • Darlene

          We need to be PRO-abortion and PRO-choice. Let our health care system counsel pregnant women who need it and and help them make realistic choices as to whether they can adequately care for and love their children. Let our health care system reduce child abuse and neglect by targeting those most at risk of not taking care of their children. But don’t let them make judgements of those they deem “unfit” either. Many women living in less than ideal circumstances make great mothers; so be careful of judgements. All women should decide for themselves whether to carry a fetus to full term; with society’s resources and knowledge we should be able to counsel them in a gentle and nurturing environment in a private setting. Abortion should not be a public, government, or religious concern.

          • Gordon

            PRO-abortion? Is that a typo?

        • Kurt SP

          “So isn’t murder, rape and child abuse “illegal” …but it still happens. Do you think if abortion becomes illegal it will just “go away”?”

          Surely, you must realize that there’s be more rape, murder and child abuse if they weren’t illegal.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            Obviously those things will never be legal because of the violence associated to them so let’s go with your logic and use drug addiction. In countries where drug use is legal – Amsterdam being one example – the drug addiction rate is less than a 1/3 compared to the US based on their Department of Health. That is because it is regulated, the drugs are actually weaker than what are sold on the street (drug dealers encourage addiction for obvious reasons) and when there is addiction, it’s treated as a medical condition and not a crime. The information is easily Google-able if you’d like to confirm the citation.

          • Kurt SP

            Comparisons to drugs aren’t relevant unless you think abortions are addictive. Normal behavior goes out the window when addiction is involved.

            Generally banning things does cause them to happen less. If that were not true, then we’d never ban things.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            Well, these are tough analogies to draw, Kurt, if only because in some pretty profound ways you’ll be comparing apples to oranges.

            Here’s some advice (and it really is advice, please take it or leave it). The pro-life side of this debate is going to struggle in ways like those that try to prove the existence of God via science struggle. Because ultimately, what makes life “life” is how people define “life” in the first place. You’re obviously a very smart guy and I admire your convictions, actually. And I also know how passionately people are protecting the unborn and who could argue with that motivation? No one.

            Here’s the advice. Consider ending the character assassinations of women who choose to abort. It makes it less about the unborn and the innocence you’re trying to protect and more about your judgement about the women themselves. When you make their motive, their circumstances so black and white – when you assign feelings like “cavalier” to them? Sorry to use this word, but it makes you look like an asshole who doesn’t like women very much. It makes you appear to not care about them at all and I don’t believe that, I bet you’re a really good guy who cares a lot about very good things.

            Take it or leave it but I think someone needs to start telling you guys the truth.

          • Kurt SP

            “Well, these are tough analogies to draw, Kurt, if only because in some pretty profound ways you’ll be comparing apples to oranges.”

            I agree. At some level, because pregnancy is such a unique experience, there can never be a perfect analogy. People on one side think that banning will only make it less safe and have little or no effect on the rate. People on the other side think that there will be little or no increase in mortality if it’s illegal, but they think that it will profoundly improve the rate. A lot of which side one agrees with seems to be determined more by the attitude you begin with rather than the quality of the model used for the prediction.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            Yes. It’s hard to say, when something is illegal then it would make sense to think people would do it less. I think that’s a fairly reasonable conclusion to wonder about. The death penalty hasn’t shown to deter crime but the 3 strikes rule has so punitive consequences sometimes work. It’s hard to say because we don’t have much data on abortion when it was illegal though we certainly know the number of women who died during the procedures were massive according to those who have the procedure done now.

            Here’s something I find really interesting. The abortion rate has actually dropped in recent years though last year it’s on the rise in the US this year. Because abortion is so tied to economics, particularly the poor, our recent economic melt down might give us more insight into why people make the choices they do.

            Here’s an interesting statistic from a recent set of facts published by the Guttmacher Institute. Not sure if this is an organization you’d trust but given the World Health Organization is linked to them they seemed fairly safe to cite.

            About 61% of abortions are obtained by women who have one or more children.

            • 42% of women obtaining abortions have incomes below 100% of the federal poverty level ($10,830 for a single woman with no children).

            • 27% percent of women obtaining abortions have incomes between 100–199% of the federal poverty level.*

            • The reasons women give for having an abortion underscore their understanding of the responsibilities of parenthood and family life.

            - Three-fourths of women cite concern for or responsibility to other individuals; three-fourths say they cannot afford a child; three-fourths say that having a baby would interfere with work, school or the ability to care for dependents; and half say they do not want to be a single parent or are having problems with their husband or partner.

            http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html

            This would seem to indicate that

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            (ignore that last sentence)

          • Kurt SP

            That’s the same source (guttmacher) that I used. As you can see, they changed the way that they asked the question.

          • Kurt SP

            I agree that finances affect the abortion rate. Another guttmacher study showed drop offs in states with medicaid funding for abortion when the funding was lost, but that it picked up again after it was restored. There are studies that show similar effects when there are fewer clinics to go to. For me, that’s one reason to think that a ban would drastically lower the rate.

          • Kurt SP

            Also, the fatality numbers are hard to pin down. The numbers are mostly estimates. Early pro-choice activist groups inflated the numbers out of proportion. The former head of NARAL has admitted this and the claims were independently fact checked. I’m not trying to make it sound inconsequential, just pointing out that depending upon what source someone uses the numbers may be much too high.

            Another issue is that if you go back to pre WWII days, then the numbers were much much worse. The difference there was that it was before sulfa drugs. In the period before legalization but after antibiotics became widely available, the rates went down a lot.

          • DR

            I think I remember that study it was shown in light of the needs for increased foster care.

            If it’s poor people who are getting most of the abortions then it seems a rather obvious conclusion when financial support for aborttions is taken away, they’d not get an abortion. With all due respect that seems to be circular logic.

          • Kurt SP

            Here’s the advice. Consider ending the character assassinations of women who choose to abort. When you make their motive, their circumstances so black and white – when you assign feelings like “cavalier” to them? Sorry to use this word, but it makes you look like an asshole”

            Look, I never used the word “cavalier”. Maybe you’re thinking of someone else, or maybe you’re just assuming that I believe that even if I didn’t actually say it.

            The problem (as I see it) is that this is an issue with two layers. Most every serious ethical dilemma in involves two rights claimants whose interests are incompatible. In this case the two things that make the issue especially intractable are:

            1) one claimant isn’t even recognized as being capable of possessing rights by one side and is seen as deserving of the special protections accorded to children by the other

            2) the rights in conflict are profoundly important ones for both sides- the right not to be killed and the right to control your own body

            A lot of time is spent focusing on #1, but #2 is just as important. You can’t omit it from the discussion any more than you can omit the dispute about the status of the fetus.

            My side needs to be able to point out that the interests involved for the pregnant woman are usually quality of life related and that they aren’t usually life and death. They’re about avoiding a burden which is not to be taken lightly, but which is temporary. I never implied that the decision is one which is usually made cavalierly.

            There’s no way to talk about competing interests without talking about motivation. Prochoicers talk about the importance of what is being sought or lost by the mother in order to make a better case, and no one will object to that line or reasoning. Prolifers need to be able to respond. Yet, if I address those motives, you’ll want to accuse me of demonization or character assassination. That’s just not reasonable.

          • Christy

            You have given voice to the problems with the argument. What do you see as solutions? Where is there common ground to be found?

          • Kurt SP

            Common ground about how to have the discussion without it breaking down into name calling or common ground about what to actually in terms of policy?

          • Christy

            Policy.

          • Diana A.

            It’s not always temporary. Pregnancy is physically risky to the woman–in addition to everything else. Especially for women under the age of twenty or over the age of thirty–and the further you get from that happy medium, the more risky it becomes. This is one reason why I firmly believe that the only person who should have a say over if a woman gets an abortion or not is the pregnant female herself, in consultation with her doctor–because she is the one whose body is going to feel the impact of this pregnancy.

          • Kurt SP

            I understand that. It’s not always the result of a consensual act. If you want to talk about “hard cases” like rape, incest, life/health of the mother, and fetal abnormality, then most pro-lifers can be pragmatic enough to realize that exceptions will need to be made (even if they’re not happy about it). We’re talking about over a million lives every year, and the ‘hard cases’ are somewhere between 3 and 9% of the total.

            BTW- In the U.S., the likelihood of getting killed in a traffic accident is almost ten times higher than the likelihood of dying during childbirth.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            Kurt can I ask you something? If abortion is truly murder then why is it ok in the cases of rape and incest? I’m really asking, I promise (I know I’ve been a jerk in these conversations and I’d love to start over if we could).

            I appreciate the willingness of someone who is pro-life to take circumstances into consideration in these two specific scenarios, actually so I’m glad that happens. But for me I’m just confused by why only two contexts apply when there are a number of factors that contribute to a woman getting pregnant that are totally out of her control.

            It’s hard for me to reconcile your #1 position that the unborn are entirely defenseless and should not have to pay for any of the consequences adults manifest – that they are a separate life apart from the woman – yet in these two instances, that’s not true any longer and it’s ok to kill it. How can those specific circumstances be let on the table while the others that also apply to women – being poor, totally unable to care for the baby – being drug addicted – being married and on birth control and you happen to be the 1% where it fails – does something have to be a crime against women in order for abortion to not be about protecting the rights of the unborn any longer?

          • DR

            As for #2, motive is essential to any dialogue I’m not contesting that. It’s part of how we define legal consequences, if one causes deliberate harm the crime is more severe. If said person doesnt have any remorse? Even worse.

            But the huge difference is in that setting, even the accused knows what s/he has done is a crime. Thats already been determined, all that’s left to prove is if she did it, why she did it, the risk of her doing it again and her degree of remorse.

            That’s not the reality here. Pro life supporters approach abortion with that kind of gravity, those who believe abortion to be murder . So motive is olores cia that lens. Those who are pro choice often don’t believe a baby is being killed to begin with so they have nothing to justify. But that also does t mean they don’t feel horribly about the decision.

            Given that the two starting points are so different, discussing motive is a very dangerous thing for your side. It is so often accompanied with a “well she asked for it because she was wearing a short skirt and in a bad part of town” posture that no one who is reasonable is going to entertain something of substance which accompanies it.

          • DR

            So motive is olores cia that lens = “motive is often viewed through that lens”.

          • Kurt SP

            It would be dangerous for us if we said that the motivation was a desire to kill. No one says that about the women having abortions. Even when it comes to the doctors/abortionists, people don’t say that that is the motive. I think it’s entirely legitimate to look at motive based on studies, though. I don’t see why that should be at all dangerous.

            “It is so often accompanied with a “well she asked for it because she was wearing a short skirt and in a bad part of town”

            That is a completely unfair and inaccurate characterization.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            “It is so often accompanied with a “well she asked for it because she was wearing a short skirt and in a bad part of town”

            That is a completely unfair and inaccurate characterization.>>>

            You certainly aren’t communicating that but you can’t deny that it’s part of the national dialogue. The sexual activity of women is certainly at play in this discussion and is quite present in this thread. The suggestion that women shouldn’t have sex, should only have sex in specific contexts, that “you pay when you spread your legs” – it’s part of the narrative, Kurt. And it’s often why women bristle when “responsible sex” comes up and is in part, why I bring up character. There’s often, already a stigma present with women having sex outside of marriage and need to abort. That’s an undercurrent that contributes to the tone of the discussion and often derails it.

          • dianne

            Kurt SP…I suppose you also think capital punishment deters crime? So you buy into the theory that those who fear being punished will somehow not commit a horrendous crime? We see how well that is working out. There is no black and white here and certainly no pretty shade of gray. Most women who have abortions (not all..not 100%) but most.. are not violently killing a baby in a fit of rage or murder or any other violent crime, they are making a decision of what to do with their own body. I was just making the point that somehow some people have it burned into their minds that if they can make it illegal it will relieve them of any responsibility of the children they fight so hard for before they are born and so easily forget and often disdain and complain about having to support with their tax dollars after they are born.

          • Kurt SP

            “I suppose you also think capital punishment deters crime?”

            ‘You suppose wrong.

            “I was just making the point that somehow some people have it burned into their minds that if they can make it illegal it will relieve them of any responsibility of the children they fight so hard for before they are born and so easily forget and often disdain and complain about having to support with their tax dollars after they are born.”

            Wow. That’s interesting that you believe that. Most people who want to ban it believe that by doing so they will be saving innocent human lives. Whatever you think about taxes doesn’t change that simple fact.

          • dianne

            I understand your point of view completely and respect it …you believe human life starts at the moment of conception or implantation or the somewhere in the middle and I do truly respect that, because I don’t think anyone really knows that answer..I would just ask that you take a moment and realize until you have been put in that position, you do not know what you might be ask to do or choose to do. God willing you will never have to face that decision in your life. As a social worker for over 25 years and seeing how those very children you so vehemently protect before they are born, go through hell here on earth without any support will open your eyes in ways you could never imagine. I still stand firm by an experienced opinion that if people cared as much about the rights of children who have taken the first breath of life as they are about the ones who have not..it would be a different world.

          • Kurt SP

            Thank you. :)

            I sometimes hear pro-choice people say that it’s important to have abortion remain available because of the dire circumstances that children without parents often find themselves in- which annoys me greatly.

            My response (and I wonder what you think given your life spent in social work) is that that is a really bad way to think about it because it seems to imply that the quality of care given to those children should be a function of how many their are to make claims on a limited pool of resources! We ought to provide a guaranteed quality of life to children no matter how many there are.

          • http://www.wordsmoker.com MilitantRubberDucky

            As a someone who spent ten years in the foster care system, I can tell you that improving funds and regulations for state ward systems is paramount; however, that doesn’t change the fact that by banning abortions, women lose the rights to their bodies for nine months. It doesn’t change the fact that it will force women to go through something they don’t want and are not capable of handling, whether it be mentally or physically or financially. It doesn’t change the fact that they can’t afford prenatal care, can’t afford the stigma if they’re out of wedlock, and they can’t afford the risks of serious bodily harm or death or postpartum depression. It doesn’t change the fact that women bear all the risk of a situation that took two people to create, and that the decision is being advocated by some people who will never have to face the decision because they are men.

          • Kurt SP

            I don’t know if I agree with “not capable of handling”, but I take your point. Banning it wouldn’t be a ‘perfect’ solution, but there is no perfect solution. I’m not eager to force a burden onto someone or make them endure (even temporarily) a hardship, but there are instances when I think it’s morally necessary. This is one such instance.

          • http://www.wordsmoker.com MilitantRubberDucky

            But Kurt, by whose morality is it necessary? Therein lies the problem. What your morality dictates (a morality based on your view that life starts at conception) does not necessarily drive another person’s morality, which in fact could be very different. And what sort of morality states the possible life of an organism that might not even make is somehow more important than that of an actually live, independently living person? How is it right to say that this woman must be forced to give up any and all rights to her self simply because someone else believes they should? She didn’t commit a crime, she’s not a felon to have her rights removed, she’s a human being making a medical decision. As much as this must pain you and those who think like you, it is NOT your decision, any more than it is mine or anybody but that woman to decide.

            In regards to “not capable of handling,” there are people in this country with mental and emotional shortfalls who are indeed not capable of handling the process of child bearing, being pregnant, etc. You may think it’s alright to say, “oh, well, just inconvenience yourself just this once for 9-10 months, no biggie,” but that has so many possibilities for lasting, damaging affects: postpartum depression, complications to her body that can prevent her from having a child she actually wants when she’s actually ready, and many others. I, as a tax payer and as someone who this would actually affect, am not at all comfortable with the government saying that I must do X,Y,and Z to my body and that I have no choice. Take away legal abortions, and your numbers won’t go down, but the amount of women getting dirty and unsafe back alley procedures will; I can guarantee you, if I wanted to terminate a pregnancy and it was illegal to do so, I WOULD find a way. I’d rather die of sepsis from a perforated uterus than be forced to do something with my body that I didn’t want.

          • Diana A.

            And make no mistake about it. A woman who can not get a legal abortion but who feels for whatever reason that she can not carry this baby to term, will either seek out an illegal abortion or attempt to self-induce. Much better to keep it legal, safe, and do everything we can to prevent unwanted pregnancies in the first place.

          • Christy

            Kurt, Re: “Most people who want to ban it believe that by doing so they will be saving innocent human lives. Whatever you think about taxes doesn’t change that simple fact.”

            I am curious to know, if abortion should become illegal sometime in the future, what you think will become of the children who are born to women who would have chosen abortion if it was a legal option? In other words, in a world where abortion is illegal, what do your think becomes of the children who are born to women who don’t want them?

          • Kurt SP

            My impression is that while there are too many kids in foster care and group homes, it doesn’t follow that an increase in unwanted newborns would mean that the number of kids without homes would rise proportionately. The demand for healthy infants and newborns is far greater than the supply. (Special needs children are a different problem.) I can’t prove this because I don’t have data for it, but my impression is that much of the time children end up growing up in foster homes because they ended up in the system when they were at an age where they were less in demand for adoption. In other words, someone who wanted to raise them didn’t realize until it was too late that they weren’t able to do so, or they were taken away from someone who was unfit.

          • DR

            Non-white babies are rarely adopted in the States, they make up a massive majority of kids in the system (years of homeless shelter volunteerism kicking in). And given roughly half of the abortions are Black and Hispanic women, I wonder if the pattern would continue? Do you see the private sector stepping up, perhaps? That certainly seems ideal except so many people with means are focused on invitro babies that I wonder what would motivate them to Lego of the genetic need to have their own DNA babies and adopt these babies instead. I also wonder who would take the babies that are drug-addicted given there’s lots of data to the connections between economics and addiction.

          • Kurt SP

            I know that non-white babies are offered for adoption at lower rates in the U.S. There seems to be more of a social stigma attached to giving your baby up for adoption in minority communities. You seem to be saying that often it’s not possible to find homes for them. I’m not saying you are wrong, but that’s not consistent with what I’ve been told.

            Frankly, if I could, I’d regulate IVF differently. I’m not against it, but I don’t agree with the way that there are more embryos created than will ever be used. That isn’t necessary, it’s just that it makes it less expensive. We also are starting to see more ‘twin reductions’ when older women have multiple implantations. Maybe if it were regulated (and the result was that it was more expensive) that would make adoption more attractive.

            Drug addicted babies are a tough issue regardless of what you think about abortion. Down’s syndrome is too. Because of earlier testing that reveal DS, about 90% get aborted. One result is that it’s becoming harder for parents who have DS kids today than it was in the past because its harder to find public schools that accommodate their needs.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            I know that non-white babies are offered for adoption at lower rates in the U.S. You seem to be saying that often it’s not possible to find homes for them. I’m not saying you are wrong, but that’s not consistent with what I’ve been told.>>>

            I worked with homeless kids for a number of years and was a trained to be a foster care parent. We’d work with a lot of social agencies and in my state at least, non-white babies available for adoption are not taken at the rate white babies are taken, there is on average, a 3-6 year waiting list for white babies and there is no wait for non-white babies. Adoption is really expensive and given the majority of wealth and home ownership is within the caucasian population, it’s typically this demographic who can even consider abortion. Gay men and women who adopt will often adopt non-white and special needs infants because there is no waiting list.

            IVF is definitely a phenomenon I wonder if we’ll learn more about in hindsight than we do now. I wonder how we’d regulate it? Once that door is open, to limit a couple to a set of fertilized eggs seems to smack of the one child policy in China which probably wouldn’t fly.

            I actually agree with what Pope John Paul said years ago – that we’re on a slippery slope, deciding what is life and what isn’t. I respected his stance on IVF, I found him to be compassionate and articulate and also really consistent. The Catholic in me resonates with you in all of these discussions (I was pro-life for a very, very long time). Lately there’s seemed to be a trend in general that casts adoption in a negative light which has made me terribly sad. I’m sure there are answers to decreasing abortions and increasing adoptions, I bet there’s more than one right answer: more tax incentives, medical benefits, etc. Perhaps if we all invested more energy in creating all of that instead of defending our positions we could find them but then again, the legal aspect of this is valid to put weight behind (on both sides of the fence) which does require debate.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            (In terms of my first graph that’s all anecdotal and based on experience about 10 years ago so the rate of non-white babies being adopted may have changed. I hope so, it would be an encouraging trend.)

          • http://www.wordsmoker.com MilitantRubberDucky

            Hi, Kurt. I’m going to make a few assumptions, so please feel free to correct any of them. I am going to assume you’ve never been in the foster care system. I am going to assume that you have never fostered children, and I am going to assume that you’ve never adopted children in the US.

            From the age of eight, I was a ward of the state (Florida, if that matters). I was not “given up”; my mother was deemed unfit by the state when I was an infant, and my father was incarcerated when I was eight and he lost his parental rights. Therefore, I was put into foster care and I stayed there until I was eighteen. Now, I understand that the things I am telling you are anecdotal, but I do believe they are important and that they can offer unique insight for you. I aged out of the system because, yes, who wants an emotionally and sexually abused eight year old little girl? No one, obviously, so you’re right about the age of a juvenile being an issue for adoptive parents. However, every home I went into, there were several children under the age of five in each of them, and most of them had been there since they were under two. The “demand” of newborns does not outweigh the supply; it is striking and sad just how many young children are without a family in this country.

            I can not begin to tell you just how damaging it is to be a ward of the state. I can not tell you the things I saw, or that were done to me, especially by people that were supposed to protect me; I will, most certainly, take those things to my grave for the shame and pain they represent.

            Also, in response to another comment of yours (there are so many now!), the only way one can successfully advocate for adoption/state care for unwanted babies is if they can also wholeheartedly stand behind legislation that bans any and all cuts to those programs. If not, then they can not protect these kids; the system is too poor, stretched too thin, and too broken.

          • Kurt SP

            I hope that I don’t say something that will inadvertently cause offense. Please know that if I do, that it isn’t my intent. Am I wrong in thinking that if your mother was unfit and your father ended up incarcerated, that it would have been possible for you to have experienced a better outcome if the state had intervened when you were still just a baby? That’s kind of what I was trying to suggest: that we try to do whatever we can publicly and privately to ensure when a child is born into a situation that is likely to result in them becoming a ward later on, that they get adopted as soon as possible after they’re delivered.

          • http://www.wordsmoker.com MilitantRubberDucky

            I don’t take offense, but I think you’re misunderstanding me; I was not damaged until AFTER I went into the system. I was not harmed until that point; my father, who was disabled and was 48 when I was born, was for all his faults a good father. The system failed me, Kurt, therefore your argument of adoption doesn’t hold. Again, it also doesn’t address the fact that there are more children in the system than there are parents to adopt (including young children). No one can predict the future, so the argument of placing me for adoption when at the time I had a good and viable parent is silly. You can’t say that a child should be placed in state care because they MAY have been born to unfit parents when there has been no evidence of that at that point. You can’t control the fact that unfit parents WILL bear children; what we as a society can contribute to is unfit parents NOT bearing children, and we have a responsibility to allow them to make the decision not to.

          • Cheryel Lemley-McRoy

            MilitantRubberDucky, I am awed by you intellect and writing skills, and at the same time I just want to hug you! You’ve come through a lot and I understand a bit of it, as I was raised by a paranoid schizophrenic mother. Kudos to you.

          • Holly

            Idealists are often easily swayed by numbers and data. What this discussion (of the many happening here) comes down to is that the REALITY is there are children born into this country, unwanted, uncared for, abused (in unimagineable, heartbreaking ways). These children go on to live difficult lives, with pasts that haunt them forever.

            Kurt, is that fair to you? Those children are NOT numbers and data. They are real people. Their lives are being governed by people who have no desire to see them succeed or live fulfilling, happy lives. Their lives are dictated by adults who consider them to be “data”. They live lives forgotten by a corrupt system that is supposed to help them.

            Consider, then, how abortion might be an appealing option to a woman who fully comprehends that all of that would be the harsh, evil, realistic fate of her child.

            For me, knowing that I could not (financially, emotionally, physically) make the sacrifice of being a parent, I would certainly be compelled to abort.

          • Kurt SP

            I consider them to be children who deserve a chance to live. If someone else thinks that they aren’t persons and it’s better for everyone that they die before they’re born, then from my POV that’s as bad or worse then viewing them as data.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            But to your point if kids are in foster care because of being placed when old, you’re right about that. There’s data that supports it. Kids under 18 months have the best chance of being adopted. 5 and older it drops substantially and 11 and older? Probably not happening.

          • Kurt SP

            Do you know where to find data on that? If you could point me in the right direction, I’d appreciate it.

          • dianne mcmanus

            Kurt SP…you have made so many cruel and unfeeling comments on this post in the last few hours..it is hard to believe you care one iota about children living or dying. Or maybe you just care about the ones who are yet to be born. Please go back and read how you talk about women and children and the terms you use. How can anyone take anything you say serious after that?

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            Yep, let me email a friend of mine who is a law professor at the U of W, She’ll have some credible sources for you, I trust her information more than my own. Mine’s based on the clinics we’d participate in and things may have changed.

  • Dallas Jenkins

    “No one ever cavalierly decides to get an abortion. No one thinks of it as just another form of birth control.”

    Naive, not to mention categorically false.

    Do a google search for “abortion is no big deal,” and see what you come up with. For starters, check out this article: http://www.theweek.co.uk/26977/many-women-abortion-no-big-deal

    In many European countries, where abortion isn’t even debated as an issue, abortion is really “no big deal.”

    Check out this excerpt from an article about a pro-choice rally:

    “Wearing a jean skirt and a tattoo, seeming as sassy and funny as the abortion doctor she described, Levin recalled a virtually pain-and guilt-free abortion that contradicted all she had heard about risks and emotional turmoil. “I felt downright angry that I had spent so many hours being anxious, depressed, and afraid,” she said, reading from an essay she had written. “Since then, I’ve combated that reality the only way I know how: without apology, without shame, and”—here, she slowed to a defiant staccato—”without . . . one . . . ounce . . . of . . . regret.” The crowd went wild.”

    • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

      Hey Dallas,

      I think we all know what you think about women from your lovely tweets.

      “Dallas Jenkins @dallasjenkins 16 Dec

      An attractive woman in revealing clothing has a modesty issue; an unattractive woman in revealing clothing has a self-awareness issue.”

      And that was just one of them, it was hard to choose. If you’re going to put your misogynistic douche-baggery out there for the world to see and then have the audacity to comment with such arrogance on such a sensitive topic about women, I thought it would be good for people to see the Dallas that others do in other corners of the public internet.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      “Naive.” Man, Dallas, I’d hate to see how you talk to people you don’t consider your friends.

      • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

        He’s a lover!

    • Andrea

      That is why he said 99.99% not 100%. . .you can always find information to support any point of view you would like. . .rather than arguing pro-life or pro-choice. . .we should be helping people rather than accusing, judging, and hating. . .THAT’S the point. . .not how people feel about abortion.

      • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

        Are you really suggesting there’s a substantial difference between “99%” and “100%”? What would that be?

      • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

        Oh wait, sorry Andrea – I misunderstood (vacation brain!). I see what you were saying now.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JohnShoreFans John Shore via Facebook

    Yikes: so that’s two people here who got blocked from TCL? yowzer.

    • Gordon

      It was a total mess over there yesterday.

      • Amanda Hiland

        Indeed it was.

  • Anne Young via Facebook

    yeppers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/marylee.trevino Marylee Trevino via Facebook

    Now I’m curious; I’m going to try to get blocked by TLC. Who’s with me?!

    • Gary

      What is TLC?

      • Gary

        Or TCL?

        • Lynette

          The Christian Left– a Facebook group where Christians of a liberal leaning can discuss and share articles of interest without being shouted down by right-wingers insisting they aren’t Christians if they are pro-choice or pro-marriage-equality.

          • Gary

            Thanks.

            Sounds like they did not quite live up to their charter yesterday…LOL.

          • Lynette

            I missed it, so I don’t know. Probably for the best I did. It sounds like they went further than necessary to stop a flamewar. It happens.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            Those who were banned insisted on calling those who are pro-choice “murderers” and refused to stop. It was a pretty reasonable decision (from where I’m sitting anyway).

          • Gordon

            No, not LOL. There was nothing funny about it, Gary. TCL was attacked in a very organized way and they stood up to it. It wasn’t pretty, and a lot of the people who follow the page were irritated and turned off by their defense tactics. They stood their ground, though. They have my support. Unfortunately, they have become a target. (Gee…I wonder why?) We’ll have to see if they can continue to grow. I’m with them!

          • Gary

            You know Gordon I know nothing about what went on yesterday as I do not participate on TCL.

            However, if your defensiveness and venting shown to me for a simple off hand comment (we take ourselves too seriously sometimes…no?) is representative of the management of TCL…then perhaps my comment bears more truth than jest.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            They were facing a lot of people who claimed that their free speech was being violated because they weren’t being allowed to call abortion “murder”. Which clearly isn’t going to help the dialogue much. :) It was a hard line they took but they refused to allow any bit of that in. I admire them for that stance.

          • Gary

            Who has “free speech” on a forum?

            The fundy mindset can be so hard to understand…and I used to be one.

          • Gordon

            Sorry, reading this now I really did come across as defensive. Sometimes I do take myself too seriously, yes! Another thing to add to the New Year’s resolution list…. :-)

          • Gary

            A sincere apology is always welcome and accepted. God knows I have had to make quite a few of my own from time to time. grin

            Thanks

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bethany-McFarlin-Cook/645709607 Bethany McFarlin- Cook via Facebook

    TCL went a little crazy yesterday but they just posted that if you’d like to come back you can but, since you’re blocked, you will have to send an email with “amnesty” in the subject line.

    • Gordon

      As I wrote below, I don’t think they went crazy. They perceived they were under attack. They organized what I would call a proportionate response. If some of us got caught in the cross-fire, that is really unfortunate.

      Damn…I wish we could have a civilized discussion about abortion and equal rights. Damn. But, you touch those electric third rails at your peril!

      • Tim

        But that is the crux of the problem, isn’t it?

        The anti-choice camp is incapable of having a rational discussion about abortion because all they have to fall back on is insults, name calling and emotional button-pushing. I mean, any group which stoops to manipulation and half-truths to drive their point home is all about dominating the debate, not participating in it. The day the anti-choice insurgents stop shilling for the radical right control freaks and cease showing us dead fetuses in bags is the day I will believe they actually want to discuss the abortion issue. Disrespecting the unborn is just as disgusting as the wholesale abortions they claim to be against.

        Until then, they are just as bad as that anti-Gay church which protests at military funerals or that Florida church which burned the Koran. Fanatics we got, Gordon. Polarization does nothing to solve the abortion issue.

        • Gordon

          Agreed. Well said.

        • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

          Tim, calling them “anti-choice” isn’t helping and contributes to the polarization. And before you say “But that’s what they are” that’s exactly what they’ll say about someone who is pro-choice being “pro-murder”. This will never move forward until we’re motivated to show the basic courtesy of allowing someone with the counter view to define their own descriptors for what they believe and more importantly, *why*. But most of us are so dug into our position that we can’t make that simple gesture. If you’re not willing to do that? Then you’re still part of the problem.

          • Tim

            I get your point.

            Basically, I was just keying in on the issue of a woman’s right to choose and abortion as opposed to having that rightful choice being taken from her rather than hitting on the emotionally charged words the opposition uses.

            As an example, the term “pro-life” indicates that to be against this is to be “pro-death”. That isn’t true either and is equally polarizing. I’m pro-life, too. However, I support the right of a woman to have control over her own body.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            Yep! Totally get that. For me though, having choice “taken away” – having less freedoms – that’s just as emotional for those of us are defending that, at least speaking for a woman. I think it’s disingenuous to color one side of this debate for using “emotionally charged language” when all of this is very emotional, it’s very personal.Incendiary language like calling pro-choice people murderers or telling those who are pro-life that they could care less about babies once they’re born – that all needs to be taken completely off the table, as much as each side believes that. It’s like trying to talk about Civil Rights like we do a tax code – we can’t do it, neither position can. I’m the last person to be preaching to anyone on anger and aggression I give myself way too much license to do that here (and elsewhere). But I guess we have to start somewhere. :)

          • Tim

            Fair enough.

  • Bonnie Sims

    WHAT A GIFT to see a comment beginning, “The issue isn’t abortion…,” which is of course true. The real question is, does a woman have control over her body or does her body ‘belong’ to the group? Even the twenty-first century sees the obvious answer clouded by “misogyny and the history of male imagination upon [not only] the bodies of women,” but their intrinsic value as individuals. Women as the ‘lesser sex’ is so embedded in our culture that most people fail to realize even the ‘progressive’ suggestions of funding sex-ed, child-care, educational opportunities, etc., are condescending. The only appropriate way to address this problem, and the multitude related to it, is to exact a fundamental change in ideas so deeply rooted in our psyches they are seldom given any thought. Using phrases like ‘men and women,’ ‘boys and girls,’ ‘male and female,’ all subtly reinforce and preserve the lie. The greatest damage of all is done by our constant referencing of the Deity as male. The late theologian Mary Daly offered a summation in less than a dozen words, “As long as God is man, then man is god.”

    • Cheryel Lemley-McRoy

      The Hebrew language has masculine and feminine articles just like Spanish and French. In Hebrew the word for God is neither neutral nor exclusively masculine. it is the rare word that is both feminine and masculine. The names and attributes of God are some in the masculine and some in the feminine. Interesting to note that the name and attributes of the Holy Spirit are in the feminine. When God created Adam in the likeness of himself, he created Adam male & female. When Eve was created, God took the feminine attributes of himself from Adam and created a new creature in the feminine likeness of God. Eve was created to be a helper, not as we conceive a sous chef, but as a fellow soldier, as the Hebrew word for helper, ezar, denotes. Ezar is a Hebrew military term for a soldier that comes to the aid of a fellow soldier overcome by the enemy in battle and rescues him. Funny how our society’s idea of a white knight rescuing a damsel in distress differs from God’s idea of Eve coming to Adam’s aid. God identifies himself as our ezar in one of his names, Eleazar. Because of this, Christian feminists see that woman was created equal to man. Either, the Christian church, historically, has been ignorant of what the Bible originally said, or a male dominated clergy has suppressed it.

      • Christy

        Thank you so much for this, Chereyl. My dear friend who went to seminary in the 60′s when women didn’t go to seminary said that the most revealing and incensing thing about the experience came early in her education while taking Greek and Hebrew. She turned to me and said, “Christy, I read it with my own eyes; the text doesn’t say what they’ve been telling us for it says.”

        • Christy

          *for so many years it says.

          • Cheryel Lemley-McRoy

            Oh, Christy, there is so much more; but don’t get me started. To anyone who is interested, let me recommend a book by Bart D. Ehrman, “Misquoting Jesus”. It will either make you lose your religion or find it.

          • Will

            Bart D Ehrman is intelligent, educated and honest.

            His books are must reads for believer and atheist alike.

            We could use more like him.

          • Cheryel Lemley-McRoy

            Thanks, Will. We, the average Christian, know so little about the Hebrew language. Even if we can read the original text word for word, we know nothing of Hebrew idioms and euphemisms. E.g., the word translated “feet” in Isaiah, “with two he covered his feet” and “they shall pluck out the hairs of your feet”, is a euphemism for genitals. “If thine eye be single”, more accurately translated “If thine eye be good”, is an idiom for generosity. I say all this to say that we have to be careful about on what we base our beliefs because whole teachings have been based upon translation errors.

          • Will

            Thanks, Cheryel. I didn’t know that about “feet”

            I’ll try harder not to put my foot in my..uh.. .er..nevermind. :D

          • Diana A.

            Like!

      • Robin

        Cheryel, that is *beautiful*. Thank you.

  • Pam Marolla via Facebook

    @Sherry Lou Meeks : good points – not to mention all the middle eastern babies (children, adult civilians) we killed and called “collateral damage”

    • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

      Exactly.

  • Bob Knisely

    For me, the issue reduces to “NO SLAVERY FOR WOMEN.” I agree wholeheartedly that abortions should be scarce, legal, and free. But as long as the issue is framed “Pro-choice” or “Pro-child,” rather than “NO SLAVERY FOR WOMEN,” then we lose.

    By the way, it’s also worth noting that somewhere between 25% and 33% of ALL fertilized eggs DO NOT implant in the womb, and are therefore lost. You can look it up…

    If this is so, and it is, then why doesn’t organized religion hold services for all these lost souls — after all, they were human beings after fertilization, right? Just wondering…

    • Cheryel Lemley-McRoy

      Good point, Bob; good point.

  • Dallas Jenkins

    “I agree wholeheartedly that abortions should be scarce, legal, and free.”

    Free? What do you mean? Someone has to pay for them, who should it be? You’re saying it should NOT be the person who didn’t take easy and obvious measures to avoid pregnancy, but it should be their tax paying neighbors, some of who may find the procedure abhorrent? How reckless and unfair.

    • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

      Then don’t pay for the community health centers where drug addicts are given methadone via your tax dollars or your parks where prostitutes are giving BJs in the bathrooms. Move to a location where your taxes get to be 100% about *you* and *your* values which doesn’t exist anywhere in the world, but good luck trying to find it. Dallas Jenkins doesn’t define what your – or my – federal tax dollars support. You might be the king of your particular hill dear, but that stops at the end of your driveway.

    • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

      We get to choose to believe where our tax dollars are spent. You can choose to believe that your tax dollars go toward the programs that you like. I can choose to believe that my tax dollars don’t go toward bombs and torture and do go toward programs of social uplift, housing, and food assistance. We get to do that. We get to choose.

    • dianne mcmanus

      Dallas, your comfortable life with no interruptions or discourse most be wonderful and we will pray that it continues to be so forever. But, when you say things like ” should NOT be the person who didn’t take easy and obvious measures to avoid pregnancy” it appears that you do not understand that every female that becomes pregnant may not have had that choice, or do you recommend that we put every young girl that come of age to bear a child on automatic and “easy” birth control. So it is reckless and unfair for the 13 year old raped by her father not to have taken obvious measures not to get pregnant? And you are the one who said, it is either murder or it is not. If you are hell bent on making it one way or the other, then you have to say that you are willing to force birth control on all females at an early age or you agree that it is murder no matter what the circumstance. See, it truly is not black and white, but sometimes ugly shades of gray.

    • Will

      Correct me if I’m wrong.

      You are the Dallas Jenkins who is a movie producer and son of a co-author of the Left Behind series. Yes?

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

        Yes, that’s him. (In case he doesn’t make it back this way.)

        • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

          Dallas never makes it back to actually engage in conversation, he certainly doesn’t appear to have the courage of his convictions.

          • Will

            Thank you John and DR.

            I was wondering why it seems that the person with the most comfortable lifestyle has the biggest problem pitching in with everyone else for the greater good?

            Isn’t the baby born of the crackhead mother the “least of these” that Jesus spoke about in Matthew25?

            If somebody’s child is sick without insurance it’s “let ‘em die” (Tea Party quote)

            To use Dallas’ words against him, “reckless and unfair” is when you want the authority to tell another to have a baby, but won’t be responsible to chip in with support for that family.

            Is that being Christian?

  • Dallas Jenkins

    Abortion is either the murder of innocent life or it isn’t. If it is, people who “oppose” it should be upset about it and want it outlawed. If it isn’t, then why should people find it so horrible and such a bad option, as John suggests? Why would it be a big deal at all?

    At least war, which often causes the death of innocents, can in many cases have a long-term good and be considered a necessary evil. Abortion, if it’s murder, has no long-term good and protects no one but the mother, and protects her from nothing but the inconvenience and discomfort of childbearing.

    • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

      Dallas, you might be able to control what something “really is” in your own world but in the real world, you don’t get the last word on the dialogue. Adults who talk about this issue effectively recognize the huge number of very important facets to this debate. With all due respect, I think you might be out of your league here, particularly given the rather low view you hold of women based on your excessive focus on our appearance (which is creepy).

    • Christy

      Dallas, Re: “At least war, which often causes the death of innocents, can in many cases have a long-term good and be considered a necessary evil. Abortion, if it’s murder, has no long-term good and protects no one but the mother, and protects her from nothing but the inconvenience and discomfort of childbearing.”

      Your opinion here, which is what this is, is rather short-sighted and certainly not comprehensive. War always includes the death of innocents; it depends on whose side you are and how broad your worldview who the innocent ones are. Not to mention the deaths of the “guilty.” Our perceptions of guilt and innocence tend to become blurred when it comes to things like war and nationalism and difficult, emotionally charged topics.

      Your perceptions about the good and the bad, the risks and the benefits regarding a woman and her choices actually begin and extend far beyond herself and and the labor and delivery room. As a home visiting nurse educator, I met many women who already had more children than they wanted and could support – married and single women. Rich and poor women. And every home in which the primary caregiver is overwhelmed and undersupported those children are at risk for abuse and neglect: physical, emotional, and sexual. The burden on society is also lasting. Our unpreparedness for the realities of how challenging parenting is leads to much harm done to children – even by “good, God-fearing, church-going people.” Mix in all the other challenges of life and some people barely manage it for themselves, let alone taking on the responsibility of another, particularly one so fragile.

      We cannot talk about abortion without talking about contraception. We cannot talk about abortion without talking about community resources. We cannot talk about abortion without also talking about adoption and children’s services and WIC and Food Stamps and Aid to Families with Dependent Children and the financial and emotional cost of raising a child. We cannot talk about abortion without also talking about education and job training and the cost of education….and drugs….and child abuse….and choices. These issues do not exist in a vacuum. They are all interrelated. You push a little here and something is going to bulge elsewhere. That’s how societies work.

      But please keep in mind: one man’s murder is another man’s necessary evil is another man’s self-preservation. It depends on where you are standing on the battlefield and how wide the view.

      • SheaShea

        Thank you for this post! As I stated in a previous post I am currently pregnant (after being told that it was impossible for me to get pregnant again) and this is a situation that has cost me dearly. Due to having a limited medical card the doctors I dealt with could have cared less if I could reproduce another child or not, but after performing so many tests that they felt like I would not be able to pay for they stopped attempting to find out what was really wrong with me, told me I could not bear children, refused to write me a prescription for birth control because it was doing more hard than good for me according to my gyno, and sent me on my merry way. Now I am already a single mother attempting to finish school and rebuild my life after making bad decisions when I was younger. Here I now sit though jobless because my job of four years let me go due to having such a hard and high risk pregnancy, I have no income of any kind, I am having to move out of my home of four years with no where to go, my vehicle has broken down and unlike before when I was working I have no way of repairing it, and I have had to sit out of school yet another semester. Now I will not lie I truly struggled with keeping this child because I know with the way things look currently I will not be able to sufficiently support myself, my daughter, and yet another child BUT thankfully I also do believe in God and I am trusting Him to get me through this. The thing is you are right so many people want to say how horrible abortion is and blah, blah, blah yet they do nothing to assist with preventing it or the aftercare of many of these children. For all the people that were in my ears telling me what a sinner and horrible person I would be if I aborted this child I have NOT one of them now trying to assist me. Not even rides to doctor appointments, let alone shelter or clothes or anything else for the baby. I also can recall a time when I was attending school and I was known as a Student Leader in the college and would plan different events for the college/high school students who attended the college. I wanted to have two workshops towards the end of my last Spring semester at the college. One was “Let’s Talk About S.E.X” and the other was a day to inform students about the pink medical card and to get them signed up. I have already talked to Planned Parenthood and arranged for them to come out, sit at a booth, and literally take applications there so that the women at the college would not only have sex education, but a way to receive the necessary items they needed to stay healthy, safe, and “unpregnant” unless they choose the alternative. The school however pitched a fit over the use of the word sex on the fliers and felt uncomfortable to the idea of having Planned Parenthood signing women up for the medical card because they were afraid it would send the wrong message. Now my question to them is how many women now are they condemning for wanting/needing abortions yet they had a way to assist with preventing the unwanted pregnancies in the first place. I am so tired of people telling you to just wait until marriage and abortion is murder as the solution to this growing situation. Let’s truly DEAL with it and perhaps abortion will not be as huge of a deal as it currently is.

        • Cheryel Lemley-McRoy

          SheaShea, is there anything I, or any of us on this blog, can do to help you? Is there any one near you, or an agency that can help? To all of my fellow bloggers: Jesus tells us all to put our money where our mouth is, and be a glove on His hand. I believe there is want in the world because we Christians would rather be a lace glove than a work glove. He said We are His emissaries. His plan is to heal the world through us; for us to be His work glove.

    • Tim

      Abortion isn’t an either/or decision, Dallas.

      Using inappropriate terms such as “inconvenient” or “discomfort” relative to bringing a child to full term only trivializes the reality of the very complex abortion issue. Life begins when the Spirit enters the body. I will hazard to guess that nobody can say with any certainty when that happens.

      IMHO, Life begins when the baby is able to live on it’s own outside the womb. I submit, having seen both my children born, the Miracle of Life happens precisely at the moment of that child’s first breath. Hence, the Spirit enters the body simultaneously. There is no sustainable proof to the contrary and neither is there any Biblical reference to suggest otherwise. Ergo, the egregious misuse of the term “murder” simply does not stand up to the light of reason or theology relative to abortion.

    • http://www.wordsmoker.com MilitantRubberDucky

      “Abortion, if it’s murder, has no long-term good and protects no one but the mother, and protects her from nothing but the inconvenience and discomfort of childbearing.”

      Are women worth so little in your eyes that if they are the only ones being protected then the measure should not be taken?

      To echo others before me, you are incredibly short-sighted and naive. It protects women from going through something that can KILL them, that can force them into a role they are not ready and may never be suited for. You know what happens to women that are forced to have children they don’t want? They harm their children, Dallas. They beat them, they ignore them, they pimp them, and they shortchange them. They drown them in bathtubs and strike them when they ask for hugs.

      And don’t give me the adoption argument; if you think that giving a child up for adoption is all roses for the child, you’ve got some pretty rosy glasses on. I was in foster care from the time I was eight years old-I didn’t get adopted. I aged out of the system, unwanted, like so many of my peers. Children of the state are shuffled around from home to home, never making lasting relationships with friends or any semblance of family. The rigorous adoption procedures in this country make it incredibly difficult for possible parents to adopt, not to mention the fact that they’ll go to another country just as easily as go with their own. Children in foster care go without – without food, without proper clothing, without guidance or confidantes or advocates; adoption is not the end-all-be-all solution. It also doesn’t change the fact that anti-abortionist such as yourself want to take a woman’s right away for a minimum of nine months; her body is no longer her own, so shame on you. I also don’t see you or anyone else giving a flying fig about those children once they’re out of the womb – hence the sorry situation of state care. If you don’t want an abortion, don’t have one, but please stay out of uterus.

      • Will

        Ducky, that you or any child should face feeling unwanted is a shameful disgrace for our country and a slap in the face to God.

        When a child isn’t wanted, it is no reflection on that child, because every child is a child of God.

        But it is a direct reflection on how society spits on the God it claims to worship.

        This quote has been on my mind alot lately.

        34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

        37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

        40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

        41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

        44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

        45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

        46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

        Matthew 25:34-46 (New International Version)

    • paula

      “protects her from nothing but the inconvenience and discomfort of childbearing.”

      Dallas, I’ve never had an abortion. Just had 3 children I very much wanted, and a loving husband to boot. But I still remember waking up pregnant thinking, “geez, I just don’t know I can make it X more months.”

      I had a desk job that wasn’t looking for ways to fire me, and I could call in sick those days I couldn’t make it (with no loss of pay) and a husband who did everything when I was incapacitated. Nobody yelled “Stupid” at me on a daily basis the way they might have, had I been 19, unmarried, and living in a dysfunctional family. I had the money to eat well, make it to the doctor, buy maternity clothes, etc.

      It takes but a little imagination to realize exactly what “inconvenience” and “discomfort” can actually mean in the lives of some women. We’re not talking about a hangnail. Pregnancy is serious business.

      Yep, I suppose if it is murder it doesn’t matter what the woman has to put up with– up to (and, as some would have it, including) her own death. But let’s not pretend it’s nothing. And please understand why those of us who do not think it is murder — resent having you make that decision for us.

    • Cheryel Lemley-McRoy

      Dallas, my grandparents were “holiness” people who believed that card players, especially poker players were going to hell, even though there is no condemnation of poker players in the Bible. Should we take your views seriously when they have no biblical basis?

  • Kevin

    Too often, pro-life extremists don’t consider all the consequences of an abortion-free country. If a female crack addict gets pregnant by another crack smokers while they’re both high, you really expect her to carry a baby she doesn’t want while she continues using drugs? Then she has a crack baby that may be mentally challenged. Who takes care of all the medical bills for this child?

    Not everyone is cut out to be a parent. And as a man, I have no right to force a woman to carry a child. Period.

    • Diana A.

      I think you’re right. They aren’t thinking that far ahead. And if they are, they’re thinking that if they just get rid of legalized abortion, all those other problems will magically go away.

      Authoritarian types believe that if they make a lot of rules and enforce them with a great deal of strictness that people will toe the line. But people prove themselves time and again to be more than capable of circumventing the rules and the punishments imposed tend to have, at best, a temporary effect. Only a change of heart can change people’s actions. Unless we want to live in a police state, making a bunch of rules and enforcing them vigorously is not going to solve the problem.

      • Cheryel Lemley-McRoy

        You’re right, Diana. “Only a change of heart…” Conservative Christians need to see that Jesus had a plan to change the world, one heart at a time. To that end, he specifically told them to preach the Gospel and take care of those less fortunate. In fact he made that the criteria for judgement in Matthew 25. He did not intend for them to legislate the Gospel or he would have been born into Caesar’s house. American Christians find Jesus’ methods too inconvenient, and time consuming, to be taken seriously.

        • dianne mcmanus

          Cheryel, I have never heard that put so well. Thank you!

          • Cheryel Lemley-McRoy

            Diana, Christian conservatives and Tea Party people are, I believe, the vocal minority. There is a large faction of liberal and progressive Christians who believe quite differently. If you like, you may appreciate the Christian Left web site.

  • Stephie

    “So could fundamentalists/evangelical Christians please stop saying that anyone supports the murder of babies? That’s such a horrendously caustic accusation.” ~ Christians and Abortion: what are we, babies?

    “If you’re a Christian who believes that being gay is a morally reprehensible offense against God, then you share a mindset, worldview, and moral structure with the kids who hounded Jamey Rodemeyer, literally, to death. It is your ethos, your convictions, and your theology that informed, supported, and encouraged their cruelty.” ~ Christians and the Blood of Jamey Rodemeyer

    THAT is “such a horrendously caustic accusation”.

    • Gary

      Really Stephie?

    • Gordon

      I may be a little lost in all the quotation marks. Consequently, I hope I have missed your point, Stephie. Care to clarify?

    • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

      The difference Stephie is that a suicide is something we all agree is actually a “death”. As a result of that, all we need to define is who was responsible for it.

      I get your argument, actually, I think it’s fair to put on the board for consideration. If those of you who tell gay kids the way they are is sinful and has to change or they’ll go to hell have to weather the “you are responsible for their death” charge, what you’re asking is to be able to have the freedom to return the favor, to accuse who have an abortion or want to keep abortion legal as being murderers. And you can certainly do that – but here’s the difference, no one wants these suicides to occur in gay kids. Even you (though I do hold you responsible for driving them to their death) But *you* as someone who is pro-life are in a position where the law is not on your side. You have to influence a lot of people, the majority of Americans actually, that you’re right and they’re wrong. Calling them murderers is probably not going to win you a lot of votes. Or friends. Or even an audience who will listen.

  • Tim

    Abortion isn’t an either/or proposition.

    Using inappropriate terms such as “inconvenient” or “discomfort” or worse, “murder” in relation to pregnancy only trivializes the reality of the very complex abortion issue. Life begins when the Spirit enters the body. I will hazard to guess that nobody can say with any certainty when that happens.

    IMHO, Life begins when the baby is able to live on it’s own outside the womb. I submit, having seen both my children born, the Miracle of Life happens precisely at the moment of that child’s first breath. Hence, the Spirit enters the body simultaneously. There is no sustainable proof to the contrary and neither is there any Biblical reference to suggest otherwise. Ergo, the egregious misuse of the term “murder” simply does not stand up to the light of reason or theology relative to abortion.

    • Cheryel Lemley-McRoy

      Tim, I agree with you about life beginning when you take your first breath, and Hebrew scripture backs backs you up. There is a Biblical reference to the status of the fetus that is either overlooked or suppressed. Genesis 21: 22 – 23 states that the loss of a fetus warrants a loss of property (in the original language) fine, Whereas only the mother qualifies for a life for a life penalty. Elsewhere it states that one does not become a “living soul” until one breathes the “breath of life”. Hope that helps.

      • Tim

        It does. Thanks, Cheryel.

        • Cheryel Lemley-McRoy

          Tim: I believe the birth of a child is a holy occasion because that’s when they get their soul. And God is there to breathe into them the breath…

    • zoni

      Tim, I’ve always believed that a life does not start until a child takes its first breath, so the whole “abortion issue” is a non-issue to me from a faith perspective. The death of an unborn child is tragic, but is not murder. Thanks Cheryl for the scriptural reference. I had remembered about the mother’s life being worth more than the unborn child’s in Biblical law, but had forgotten the Bible actually talks about the breath of life. Probably where I got the idea from in the first place. ;)

    • Matt

      “IMHO, Life begins when the baby is able to live on it’s own outside the womb.”

      By this standard, my second child wasn’t actually alive until ~20 days after she was born (when she was finally taken off a respirator)… and I am quite confident God was with her and in her prior to that point.

      I’ve watched friends grieve their miscarried children, and I certainly pray for them that those children are with God now.

      I know that my God is a loving God, and that spurs me to believe God in his love takes care of the unborn.

      • Cheryel Lemley-McRoy

        Matt, the God of the Old Testament says that life begins when one takes the first breath; so your baby needed help, but she did breathe. In Genesis 21: 22-23, He says that an unborn fetus warrants a loss of property fine. Only the mother warrants a life for a life penalty. I didn’t write this. Just go back and read the original language.

        • Matt

          Cheryel –

          Fortunately, I read the New Testament as well as the Old Testament, and believe we’ve received a New Covenant through Jesus. Unless you apply all the laws in Exodus, Deuteronomy, and Leviticus to modern-day life, I don’t believe citing this one proves much of anything.

          Also, you’ve mis-cited your scripture – you’re thinking about Exodus 21, not Genesis 21. Even in that case, there is some disagreement between translations as to whether the “there is no harm” clause means that only the woman is alive and healthy (but her child is not) or if it means that BOTH are alive and healthy.

          Hanging your entire view on this issue on a verse that is a) part of OT law and b) apparently not entirely clear to all scholars, seems a rather weak point to me. You’re certainly free to have your opinion on this, but citing it as definitive proof seems a bit of a stretch.

          • Cheryel Lemley-McRoy

            Matt, you’re right about Exodus. I apologize. Jesus also said He came to fulfill the law not abolish it. Matt, I have been citing Jewish theology. I was asking not what translation did you read, but if you had read the original language. That is the only one that really counts. My point being that not all religions agree on fetal status. So we cannot make any laws that respect one belief system over the others. Could you tell me on which Bible passage you hang your view? Respectfully.

        • Matt

          Oh… and one more thing… none of those verses say anything about anyone taking breaths. That part is 100% extrapolation.

          • Kelly

            At the time of those verses, it was inconceivable (pardon the term) that any human could live outside the womb before 8 months, or so. And now we manage it earlier than that. It was provably inconceivable at that time that no human or animal could be alive in any way without oxygen for more than what… 5-6 minutes, turning purple. Provable only because they didn’t have a reliable way of getting artificial air to a brain (the respirator). No post-born people made it longer than 5-6 minutes either, and they had actual practice with that inhaling, exhaling routine.

            Matt’s daughter lived on “artificial air” for 20 days before taking a “real” breath. Was this child then still pre-born? Not alive? Suppose she had NEVER breathed without a respirator and existed until high school graduation !! Valedictorian on a respirator ! This will happen someday soon. Has this future brainiac never been “given a soul” since the real “breath of life” has never entered?

            Obviously, ability to breathe on one’s own is no longer any valid measurement of life. It once was, but no longer.

  • Robin

    Here’s what just kills me about most anti-abortionists: they show absolutely no interest in the most reliable methods to prevent the demand for abortion: comprehensive sex education for children and free contraception for everyone.

    If anti-abortionists really wanted to stop abortion, they would make sure that every child knew the facts about sex, reproduction, contraception, pregnancy, and child raising. They would make sure that every adult had access to, knowledge of, and approval for using contraceptions. Unitarian Universalists and the United Church of Christ have a joint sex ed program called Our Whole Lives. Guess which religious sects have the highest average age for first sexual experience, lowest rate of teenage pregnancy, and lowest rate of abortion? The two congregations listed above, that’s who.

    The fact that anti-abortionists are so unwilling to consider these proven methods tell me that it’s not about the unborn child. It’s about something else, something much uglier.

    • http://www.faithpermeatinglife.com Jessica @ Faith Permeating Life

      If I could like this comment a thousand times, I would.

      You said succinctly what I wrote this whole post trying to say. Thank you.

  • Cheryel Lemley-McRoy

    An abortion should be determined by one’s religious (or lack thereof) beliefs, and no one else’s.

  • JanCarol

    I would caution you against using “EVERYBODY” and “NOBODY” for these terms are never true. There is always and exception to Everybody, and always an exception to Nobody.

    When making a logical argument, I would caution your use of these terms. For there are SOME (albeit a few) who take abortion lightly, use it as birth control, and there are SOME (albeit a few) who have no love for babies.

    Everybody / Nobody makes an argument invalid, or at least compromised.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      It’s a blog post, not a comprehensive dissertation.

      • Debi

        That’s a cop out, John. Stand by what you say… wherever, however you say it.

        (Imagine I said this in the most polite way possible.)

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

          Thanks for the admonition about the importance of integrity. But I’m simply stating a fact. When I write these things, I have to always bear in mind certain concessions that I know the length-limit of the blog form itself will impose upon me. In this case, I purposefully used “everybody” and “nobody,” knowing both were (obviously) inadequate, because I simply did not have the space it would take to finesse my way through anything more inclusive. (A blog post longer than about 800 words is basically useless.) I wasn’t copping-out. I was explaining. Hope that’s okay with you.

          • Debi

            Thank you for your response. Is it ok with me? Not completely, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s your blog, after all. I guess I would have used my 800 words differently, considering the depth of the subject.

            I’m totally with you on the “bring the love” thing – but, it’s a tad naive to believe “Everyone thinks abortion is a terrible option”. You present an all God’s children love each other and babies view, where only the most dire of circumstances would necessitate an abortion (e.g., your ‘rape’ reference).

            I just don’t agree.

            “Ms. Magazine Names Women who had Abortions”

            More than 5,000 signed petition saying they are unashamed of decision (http://on.msnbc.com/abortion_list)

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

            Sorry you find that I treated the subject naively and with inadequate depth. I do look forward to discovering the depth and lack of naivety that you bring to your post on the same matter.

            Re: the Ms. article: saying that you’re unashamed of a decision you made is not at all the same as saying that you wish you’d never had to make the decision in the first place. Like one of the women is quoted as saying in the article to which you linked, “I felt it was my right to make the decision, but having that right doesn’t make the decision any easier. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made.”

          • Hannah Grace

            I thought your post was great, John.

            Some people aren’t that traumatized by abortion, because they know it’s the best way, and feel that a few tiny cells won’t be able to suffer, the way sperm that is lost won’t know it. That’s ok. But these same people tend to care deeply about human beings who are already born. And want babies to be born into loving families. John was spot-on and already addressed these issues.

            Women who get abortions shouldn’t have to do penance in shame and self-hatred. It’s great that John seems to get this.

          • Kelly

            It wouldn’t take much more room to say “almost nobody” and “virtually everybody”. Gets the gist across, but it is more the whole truth.

            This blog entry is not just some petty little topic about cooking rice. It’s not that important the distinction between “everybody” likes babies and almost everybody. I mean, the howling brats can’t outrun you, so just walk away if you hate them. But the notion that NObody gets abortions willy nilly as a form of birth control is legitimately invalid. There are women who have had even a half-DOZEN of them. (Whoopi Goldberg, for one.) Surely the case can’t reasonably be made that in each one a woman was young, didn’t know any other options after conception (like adoption), didn’t understand birth-control and how to use it. Somewhere around # 5, 6, 7 or at least 42, it ought to really dawn on you what’s going on.

  • Cheryel Lemley-McRoy

    Steven: How did I quote Genesis 21: 22-23 incorrectly? The scripture you posted I agree that God can see what’s going to happen before it does. So this scripture does not refute Genesis. Do you have someone who can explain the scripture in Hebrew for you? I don’t have enough space here. But it does apply a loss of property fine to the loss of an unborn child, if no further harm is done, and reserves the life for a life for the mother. But that’s not my point. My point is that many Christian denominations and other religions do not consider abortion murder. And the First Amendment forbids passing laws that favor one over the other.

    • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

      Honestly, those of you debating the right/wrong of abortion on *this specific thread* are so wildly insensitive and inappropriate, it kind of blows me away. The level of emotional intelligence those of you demonstrate when you do this kind of thing is chilling.

      There is another thread on abortion – how about you save the moral indignation debates for posts that don’t start with a totally devastated woman’s experience who’s looking for some support.

  • Elizabeth

    Excellent! John, you haven’t been spammed before to my recollection.

    • vj

      ;-)

  • Lymis

    That does sound incredibly handy!

  • Bastet

    I understand what this article is trying to achieve; less blame and name -calling. I agree with the need to tone it down. I disagree with the basic premise that an abortion is ending a ‘baby’ in all peoples view.

    This is the fundamental difference between pro-life and pro-choice ideology. Pro-life says once sperm and egg combine it is a baby. Pro-choice says once sperm and egg combine it is a zygote that becomes an embryo that becomes a fetus. The point at which life begins is disagreed upon.

    I’m not American and don’t live in a country where all abortion is outright legal or outright illegal. When I look at the all or nothing approach of the American abortion debate, I admittedly, find it quite ‘nuts’. I like the legal stucture around abortion in my adopted home country. I’ve never had to ‘fight’ on this issue and I feel very priveleged to not need to.

    The laws where I am place the ‘mothers’ health first unless she states otherwise. This covers physical, mental, emotional, psychological, rape, incest and child abuse in the first trimester. The second and third trimester are covered by physical health only. The first trimester has a lot of leeway under mental, emotional and psychological health and was written specifically to do so because the majority of miscarriages also happen during this time and the development of the embryo is marginal during this time. In short, its a compromise between extreme pro-life and extreme pro-choice that bases itself around science instead of personal belief.

    Occasionally a situation will crop up that requires the law to bend such as a 9 or 10 year old girl raped without access to medical help and social services. More often than not the law falls in favour of the girl-child, getting her safe and allowing her to decide (choose).

    I understand, some disagree with abortion across the board, no matter what. I understand that this opinion is held but don’t understand why. To me, it sounds like, ‘you are protected only until you are born. After that, you are unimportant. If your life is a living hell, too bad. If you are raped, who cares.’ I can agree with 2nd and 3rd trimester being illegal outside of extreme circumstances though. To me, that makes sense. There’s a line in my mind that says everyone deserves protection, the right to health care, non-violence, bodily integrity and a life worth living. I sincerely believe my adopted home country has found a way through the very murky waters of abortion.


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