Abortion, “God’s Plan,” and “Selfish” Women

I’ve often said that when I was pro-life it was because I honestly believed the embryo/fetus was a person with a soul. This is true, but there’s something more. The reality is that I had no idea what women who found themselves with unplanned pregnancies faced. I had no understanding of the reasons someone would choose to end a pregnancy.

I was raised by a stay at home mother who had baby after baby without ever a threat to her health or the family’s finances. No pregnancy was planned, but every pregnancy was welcome. No pregnancy was ever inconvenient or any trouble at all. I couldn’t conceptualize what it would be like to want only two children, or none, or to face an unplanned pregnancy on a tight budget or as a working mother. Things like maternity leave or daycare costs were foreign to me. I had but one word for women who had abortions: selfish.

I believed that it was women’s role, as laid down by God, to have children. Many children, presumably, because children I believed children were always a blessing and never a burden. And child bearing was what women were made for, after all. It was also women’s role to remain within the home, cooking, cleaning, and rearing and educating the children. It was laid forth by God. Women whose chose anything else were selfish, seeking personal fulfillment over the needs of their families. Women who wanted to limit their family size were selfish. Women who felt their hearts sink rather than leap at a positive pregnancy test were selfish.

The problem was not unplanned pregnancies. The problem was not tight economic situations or a work environment for women that does not always accommodate pregnancy. The problem was selfish women, women who didn’t want to be pregnant, women who didn’t want to be mothers, women who didn’t want to stay home and care for their children. If women would just stop being selfish and realize the role they were created for, the whole abortion issue would disappear.

Today, I don’t want a dozen or more children. I don’t even want eight children, or five. I don’t want to be a stay at home mom. I don’t want to spend ten full years pregnant or twenty years changing diapers. I don’t actually particularly enjoy being pregnant. I want to work, to continue on a career that I find intellectually stimulating and fulfilling. I want to raise only a few children, but to invest in each one and raise them well. I want to choose when and if I become pregnant, to be able to have my economics and work situation in order, to be as prepared as possible for each child I decide to bring into this world. I have become one of those selfish, selfish women.

Except that I don’t feel selfish. I feel responsible. I feel loving. I feel happy.

The truth is, not wanting a large family isn’t “selfish.” Not wanting children at all isn’t “selfish.” Wanting to plan when and how many children to have is not “selfish.” Wanting to work outside the home isn’t “selfish.” Feeling your heart sink when you learns that you are unexpectedly and inconveniently pregnant is not “selfish.” In fact, it’s kind of normal.

You know what strikes me as selfish? Thinking your own choices are the only acceptable ones and wanting to impose those choices on everyone else. Telling other people how they should live. Expecting every woman to fit a one-size-fits-all mold you’ve fashioned from your reading of your holy book.

Many women have abortions not because they are “selfish” but because they are responsible. Sixty percent of women who have abortions already have children. For some women, an abortion is the only financially acceptable option. For some women, an abortion is needed so that they can properly care for the children they already have. For some women, an abortion allows them to finish their education so that they can someday give their future children better lives than they themselves had. Women don’t have abortions lightly or on a whim.

It’s often stated that women faced with unplanned pregnancies should just go through the pregnancy and then give the child up for adoption. This is the “selfless” thing to do, and those who choose to abort rather than offer their child for adoption are “selfish.” There are several problems with this argument.

First, not everyone is comfortable with the idea of having a child and letting someone else raise it, probably without ever seeing it again or knowing if it is having a good life. I know I’m not comfortable with that idea.

Second, pregnancy is an extremely difficult and arduous and invasive and inconvenient process. Pregnancy means losing control of your body for nine months, facing debilitating nausea and food aversions, a lowered immune system, a swollen belly and altered sense of gravity, physical discomfort and potential back problems, and finally, the painful and difficult process of labor, followed by a recovery that takes months. Oh, and did I mention that pregnancy includes having to buy a whole new wardrobe and answer questions from family, friends, and ever-friendly strangers?

When I was growing up, I saw adoption as the solution to the problem of abortion. I threw the idea out there flippantly, like it was so obviously a simple and easy solution. I now realize that it absolutely isn’t. If a woman wants to go through the pregnancy and give the child up for adoption, great. But no woman should be expected or forced to do so.

Today I understand abortion as a much more complex issue than I did growing up. If I still thought that an embryo/fetus was a person with a soul and all that, I would likely still oppose abortion, but I would at least understand it as a much more difficult question than I had thought it was. Abortion isn’t about “selfish” women flouting “God’s plan” for their lives. Abortion is about women in tight situations trying to make the best decisions for themselves, their current and future children, and their families. Sometimes, there are no easy answers.

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • Paula G V aka Yukimi

    Nicely said ^__^If I got pregnant now in the middle of my education(which with all the measures we take would be nothing short of a miracle) my boyfriend and I have already decided I would get an abortion and I don't feel selfish at all for that. In the future I want to have kids and adopt at least a child too but that will be when I have finished my medicine degree and have a job with which to be able to maintain them.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00629727123135969063 Nome

    "You know what strikes me as selfish? Thinking your own choices are the only acceptable ones and wanting to impose those choices on everyone else. Telling other people how they should live. Expecting every woman to fit a one-size-fits-all mold you've fashioned from your reading of your holy book." There it is 'Clap Clap Clap'!

    • LutheranEmily

      What if my choices are that I want to murder puppies in my backyard? Puppies are hardly people.
      Or what if I want to beat my children? They are my children living in my home. My home, my rights, right?

      They are my choices, right? Why should you be able to tell me what to do in my own home.

      You just cannot expect people who believe that you are killing a child to be able to let go of abortion. ..because THEY BELIEVE YOU ARE KILLING A CHILD.

      • Dianne

        LE: I’ve asked this repeatedly of “pro-lifers” and never received an answer. I don’t expect an answer from you either, but I’ll try.

        If you believe that a newly fertilized egg is a baby, why aren’t you interested in the pandemic of “natural” deaths in these “babies”? Up to 80% of fertilized eggs don’t implant. Where is the call for research into ending these early miscarriages? Aren’t you interested in helping sick children survive? Or do you consider money spent on SIDS research and campaigns to prevent SIDS a waste of time?

        If I believed that 80% of babies were dying of “natural” causes, I’d be a lot more interested in that than in a few cases of infanticide, horrible as infanticide is. Yet I’ve never seen a pro-life organization give even lip service to the needs of the sick and dying embryo. It’s almost as though you don’t believe your own claims.

      • Scotlyn

        Diane, here’s one intriguing answer to your question.

        “A lot of people believe that life begins at conception. But life also ends at conception or shortly thereafter—hours after, a day after, four or five days after. We don’t know why that happens, and what’s gone wrong. We’d like to know the answers to those questions,” Van Blerkom said, “but we can’t do those experiments.”

        The Van Blerkom in question is Jonathan Van Blerkom – an embryology and IVF researcher, who would love to be able to answer the question of why fertilised eggs don’t implant – but CANNOT do the required research because of right wing religious bans on research in which an embryo dies.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14775794907218052899 Amanda

    There's a quote from a recent Terry Pratchett book that sums up much of the whole abortion question for me. "Let it be said here that those who live their lives where life hangs by less than a thread understand the dreadful algebra of necessity, which has no mercy…"In other words, sometimes there is no "good" choice, there are just choices. To truly reduce the number of abortions, contraceptives need to be easily available and the public must be educated to use them effectively. Unfortunately, that's something many of the "Pro-Life" camp will not agree with for fear it will cause promiscuity… sigh. My brain hurts.

    • LutheranEmily

      As somebody in the prolife camp, I guess my question is this.. How are contraceptives not easily available? What would make them more available?

      As a teenager, without needing my parents consent, I was able to walk up to my local health department and dig my hand in a huge fishbowl full of free condoms. I was able to also get on the birth control pill for 4 dollars per month. It would have been free if I had no money. It was a “pay what you can afford” thing and I chose to give 4 dollars a month.

      From what I understand, birth control is very easily available..for as little as 12 dollars per month (without insurance) at Target.

      Also, free condoms abound.

      I just don’t get the argument that we don’t have easy access to birth control. Am I missing something?

      • LutheranEmily

        Planned parenthood and most clinics also have free condoms.

      • MadGastronomer

        You’re missing a huge amount. Not only are all varieties of the pill not that cheap most places (I pay $80/mo with no insurance for the pill that works well for me; different people need different types of pill, bodies don’t react the same), not everyone can get in to see a doctor to get a prescription. Not everyone can go to a PP or a public health office to pick up free condoms. Not everyone can do these things safely, because there are all these judgmental people out there who snoop and then put pressure on people not to use these things. Condoms require the cooperation of a partner. Being able to take a pill every day requires being able to do so safely and at the same time daily.

        There are a million and one reasons why people can’t get hold of the form of birth control they need, or can’t use it reliably.

        And, again, all forms of birth control fail, and rape exists, and no one should be forced to be pregnant for any reason. You are attempting to coerce or force people to be pregnant.

  • Anonymous

    As someone who has had an abortion, I agree with everything you say here. This needs to be said over and over!I also want to point out how prevalent this attitude is. It's everywhere, not just in the Quiverfull or super-fundy crowd, but in normal conservative culture, in mainstream Christian publications, in very standard Christian discourse. I have heard so many, many times how selfish women are if they consider abortion an option; how "easy" adoption is; and how women who flaunt God's plan (for home and childrearing) are just asking for a breakdown of society and Christendom. When I found myself with an unplanned pregnancy, I was in grad school and had just (finally) broken up with my emotionally abusive then-boyfriend. He didn't want a child and couldn't have supported one. I certainly didn't want a child that would yoke me to him for the rest of my life. I had no money, no job, and no way to "hide" a pregnancy even if I'd wanted to. I was extremely uncomfortable with the idea of having a child and then giving it to someone else to raise. I was terrified at the thought of my conservative parents' reaction to my pregnancy. There was really no other good option. These are not minor issues–finishing school and not being bound to an ex-boyfriend are really, really important!The other thing this makes me think of is how women are so often expected to be the ones that suck it up. If we do anything that is looking out for our immediate or long term needs, anything that doesn't include babies, anything that results in not conforming to the "women are nurturers!" ideal, we are "selfish" and "corrupt" and "flaunting God's plan." We are *expected* to give up our freedom, sometimes our very personhood, and our dreams in order to fulfill the ideal. The guys who get girls pregnant in a situation where abortion is the only option…are they ever called selfish?

    • LutheranEmily

      Yes. The guys are called selfish. Also bastards, assholes,.. you name it. They are called it.

      I think giving a baby up for adoption would be awful. I cannot imagine it.

      But honestly, the only good choice was not abortion. You can only say this because you did not go the other way. You cannot see the alternate reality to see how it would have worked out.

      I cannot begin to imagine what you went through. It could not have been an easy decision to make.

      • Liberated Liberal

        I have to chime in here and say that I know many many (many many) women who’ve had children and regretted it. And many more who had children and ended up horrible mothers.

        So many women willingly have children and then become indifferent, resentful, hateful, neglectful or abusive mothers. I will never ever support women being forced to have children, because I can’t imagine even MORE children being treated poorly. You are claiming that if she had simply “sucked it up” and had the child, her life would be all rainbows and butterflies and she’d be thinking “Gosh, my life is perfect! God graced me with a child! I’m so grateful I never had an abortion.” This is WRONG. Not all women feel that way about babies. I can guarantee you with an almost infinite number of real-life examples that babies do not make everybody’s lives better!

        Having been in an abusive relationship myself, more likely than not, this potential child would have ended up abused, as well. Children are also a perfect way for an abuser to maintain control of their (ex) significant other. When I finally left my relationship, my ex repeatedly told me and others that he wished we had a child so I would be forced to deal with him. When later working with victim’s assistance to still deal with this person, my counselor said that the smartest thing I ever did was not to have a child with a person like this.

        You claiming that bringing the child into the world is always the right thing is so incredibly condescending and arrogant. Because SHE can’t see the alternate reality? And you can? You obviously know her circumstances better than she does. Amazing super powers you have to know exactly how the future would have unfolded had she done what you think she should have.

        You can believe that abortion is right or wrong but you have no right whatsoever to claim that her life would be wonderful if she had chosen your path.

      • MadGastronomer

        My choice was abortion or suicide. Continuing my pregnancy meant being taken off the medication that was keeping me from being suicidal. Abortion was, in fact, the only good choice. And anyone who thinks that they know my choices then better than I did is hugely insulting me.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10562805251128821984 Libby Anne

    "The other thing this makes me think of is how women are so often expected to be the ones that suck it up." Amen! Women are supposed to "sacrifice." Sacrifice for your husband, sacrifice for your children, sacrifice for your family, sacrifice for your community. It's just what women are supposed to DO! If women instead think of their own needs, they're SELFISH.

    • LutheranEmily

      Everyone should make sacrifices. Not just women.

      I stay home with my homeschooled children and make sacrifices for them and my needs do take a backseat.

      Meanwhile, my husband goes to work at a job he doesn’t like and makes sacrifices for us.

      It is called life.

      • Rosa

        Not everyone makes sacrifices. Everyone makes *choices*. But if someone has taught you that everyone out there is sacrificing what they really want because “that’s life”, they’ve sold you a mess of pottage.

      • Dianne

        I stay home with my homeschooled children and make sacrifices for them and my needs do take a backseat.

        Meanwhile, my husband goes to work at a job he doesn’t like and makes sacrifices for us.

        Wow. I’m sorry things have worked out so badly for you.
        Maybe if you had only had the children you chose to you wouldn’t be feeling the time you spent with them to be a sacrifice and could get your own needs satisfied, at least enough of the time to not feel like your life was a sacrifice.

        Maybe you still could. Stop having babies just because you’re too lazy to do anything to prevent pregnancy or deal with the pregnancy once it happens. Put the kids in a real school. You and/or your partner could go back to school yourselves and find jobs that you enjoy.

  • http://www.sustainablemommy.wordpress.com Naomi

    Yes, yes to your post, LA, and to the comments above!My question for the anti-abortion crowd who claims fetuses are persons with a soul from the moment of fertilization–what form do they think these fetuses will take in Heaven? Just consider how many fertilized eggs never implant and fetuses that spontaneously abort, not to mention abortions in situations described here–how the heck can you logically make a case that they will all show up in Heaven? The place will be overrun with them!

    • LutheranEmily

      I don’t think even christians know the answer to that question.

      I myself honestly doubt that heaven will be overrun with early miscarriages, but to say that I could be dogmatic about an answer would be a lie.

      • MadGastronomer

        Then why do you keep claiming that fetuses that are aborted are people?

      • Liberated Liberal

        So it’s an “early miscarriage” when it naturally fails to be a full-term birth, but it is a “murdered child” when a woman chooses not to continue to the pregnancy herself?

      • Dianne

        I myself honestly doubt that heaven will be overrun with early miscarriages,

        So either you don’t really believe that embryos are babies. Thank you for making that clear. It’s been pretty obvious from your comments that your real motivation is punishing women who dare to have sex and only have the children they want to have, but this statement makes it undeniable.

  • http://jeannettekranick.wordpress.com/ Jeannette

    Anonymous, I couldn't agree more. And men are only called selfish when they are cast as the evil callous boyfriend (never husband of course) forcing the poor helpless woman to get an abortion. I wonder how much this passive, agency-free expectation feeds into the "women must be selfless" refrain…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09921433991972562829 Joy

    Interestingly, studies have shown that when women have the number of children they *want* (as opposed to how many their husbands/culture think they should have; in other words, when women are simply given the option of family planning and self-determination in using it), it turns out to be the best way to obtain sustainable population numbers. Part of the problem with the fundamentalist mindset is that it tends to confuse free self-determination of a woman's life and family with "selfishness" and condemns the whole bucket. That's because they think the women *owe them something.*

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09921433991972562829 Joy

    Qui bene from all that sacrifice, eh? That's all you need to look for…none dare call it religious exploitation.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17952020007163151134 villemezbrown

    This is a wonderful, clearly explained, pro-choice statement that is the kind of thing that actually has the hope of convincing someone, or at least making them think a little harder about the topic. A refreshing contrast from the hate-filled vitriol so often spewed by both sides of this argument.Thank you!Adele

  • ee

    Hear hear! And wow, what amazing insights from all the commenters (husbands are never selfish–just boyfriends, it is the women who suffer, the scientific evidence, the anecdotal evidence from Anonmymous) Thank you for saying all the important things.My husband's ex had an abortion a few years ago. He identified as a Christian at the time, and he is still recovering from the scars created through that unwholesome self-flagellation. And despite a move towards atheism, a deep sense of feminism, and everything else good in the world, so much damange has been done to him. I ache for every person who has contemplated or had an abortion and later feels guitly out of religion.

  • ScottInOH

    Another great post and follow-up comments! My 2 cents, which may or may not add to anything already here:1. Christians who believe the fertilized egg is a full person with a right to life do so because of a point you made briefly: they think it has a soul. They won't say so in the public debate–there it's about arms, legs, a heartbeat, brainwaves, etc.–but that's their real argument. Enshrinement of that religious belief has no place in secular laws.2. For anti-abortionists, the answer to the question raised a few times here–under what circumstances would you force a woman to give nine months of life support to someone she doesn't know–is "when she has had sex." It's pretty shocking, really.

    • LutheranEmily

      1. You are right I suppose, but I also think it is because they think that it is highly immoral to kill your own child, and they want women to see that that is what it is.

      2. Sex equals procreation. It really truly is that simple, that if you don’t want to procreate, don’t engage in procreation. Really.. it is possible. Lots and lots of people do it.

      • MadGastronomer

        You, and they, are simply wrong. There is no non-religious standard by which a fertilized egg, a zygote, or a fetus is a person, and our laws are not based on religion in the US. They cannot be. Furthermore, as has been pointed out to you repeatedly, sex does NOT equal procreation. This is plainly and obviously true, a verifiable fact easily checked with twenty seconds of googling. So, again, this is a lie. Stop spreading lies.

      • ScottInOH

        At least you’ve given an open, honest statement of your position, LutheranEmily. I wish anti-abortion politicians would do the same, asking the public (1) should laws be made by religious leaders, and (2) do you think there is any purpose to sex beyond procreation? They would get shellacked in the polls, and the deception would be over.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10562805251128821984 Libby Anne

    Two excellent points. As to the first one, I'm actually planning a post on that, as well as a post on the problem of seeing an abortion at 7 weeks as identical to an abortion at 35 weeks. That'll probably be a two parter. As to your second point, this is indeed the standard fallback. If a woman doesn't want to have a child, she just shouldn't have sex. Then you don't have to worry about birth control or any of that either. The moment a woman "opens her legs" when she doesn't want children, she has ceased to be pure and has become the epitome of "selfish." Maybe I should write a post about this, too. My simplest response is that a woman shouldn't have to sacrifice her sexuality to avoid having children. And fortunately, with the advent of birth control (and abortion in the event that that fails), a woman doesn't have to.

    • LutheranEmily

      sexuality IS babies

      You cannot logically seperate the two things.

      You can try to get rid of the consequences (but I would argue that you never really do, even with abortion) but sexuality IS procreation.

      • MadGastronomer

        Again, no, it’s not. There are many kinds of sex that do not involve sperm getting anywhere near an egg cell. Even the one kind of sex that does sometimes involve sperm getting near an egg cell usually does not result in a fertilized egg. Most fertilized eggs are not actually viable pregnancies. You are simply wrong. Whether you are intentionally telling us something you know to be untrue, or you are blindly repeating this out of your own ignorance of biology, you are still repeating a lie.

      • Dianne

        sexuality IS babies

        First off, ick. I know that’s not what you mean, but you come off sounding like you’re advocating child porn as the only true sexuality.

        Second, sex in humans is not all about procreation. It’s also about bonding. That’s why people keep having sex after women go through menopause, why bisexuality is pro-survival, etc. People use sex to bond and form stronger relationships that will benefit the group. Whether children come out of it or not.

        Third, could you elaborate on the claim that you never get rid of “the consequences”? Am I supposed to mourn not just my aborted fetuses (if I have any), but also for my unconceived children (if I have any) or what? What about the consequences of abstinence? Can I also mourn the loss of the children I never conceived because my high school boyfriend and I weren’t ready to have sex yet? Their absence is definitely a consequence of our decision.

      • shadowspring

        Diane,

        These “pro-life” women continually read scaremongering hyperbole about “murdering babies” i.e. abortion, so much so that YES, they DO go crazy with guilt when they have a miscarriage! I had a “pro-life” friend ask me to sift through her menstrual blood (which she saved in a jar in the fridge) to look for her “baby”. She asked me to do this because her husband rightly refused.

        I agreed, because apparently I am still a sucker for mentally-ill people, but only looked at the jar in disgust and swished it around. OF COURSE THERE IS NO “BABY” TO FIND AT TWELVE WEEKS! As tiny as the embryo was at that point, her own body immediately began breaking down to whole shebang, placenta and embryo, and there was NOTHING TO FIND. It was a potential life that was vetoed by nature, not a BABY.

        However since she is always handing out those little plastic fake babies that pro-life people like to hand out, she was duped into believing that’s what the embryo she miscarried would look like. They really believe it’s a fully functioning person in miniature, because of their religious belief that it has a soul, therefore it has conscious thought and feeling, from conception. Science be damned, they will believe what they want to believe. Don’t go trying to teach a “pro-life” person about reality.

        The guilt and shame known as “post-abortion syndrome” should be called “religious self-flagellation syndrome” because THAT”S what it really is! This woman got off on torturing herself, like the medieval monks who hit themselves with whips and boards. She likes hating herself, and she likes hating other people. She would never admit this of course, but really, what else is it?

  • ScottInOH

    I look forward to those posts!Your description of the attitude is right on: "She HAD choice. Once she made it (to have sex), she has to deal with all possible outcomes. Otherwise, she's selfish."I wonder if such people would support the institution of a lottery system: Every time you have intercourse (in or out of marriage), your name goes in a hat. Each day we pull out some names. If yours is chosen, you have to provide such things as blood plasma and bone marrow (hey, they'll regenerate!) to whomever we designate during the next nine months. Would they support it if only women's names could be drawn? If men and women could be chosen?

  • http://janeyqdoe.com Janey

    What seriously shits me about the whole 'oh, just adopt the baby out' attitude is that, aside from what pregnancy actually does to your body, it ignores the attitude society has towards women's sexuality. So much of the discourse is around women 'taking responsibility' which is really just code for 'don't enjoy sex'. The very environment Christians and conservatives have created around women's sexuality makes the idea of carrying an unwanted child to term for adoption an even more difficult decision than it already is. If you choose to adopt that baby out, you'd better believe you will have the full judgement of the right wing machine raining down on you for daring to have sex outside of their very narrow definition of what it right.Just another way in which they create the very situation they claim to hate.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Not only is the charge of "selfishness" ridiculous, it's applied very selectively. I've made this point on the interwebs before but here it is again (because I don't often hear it.)What about women for whom the process of trying to have a baby necessarily involves "killing" a bunch of "babies" first? There are some women who have fertility problems that make their likelihood of early miscarriage very high, or who have uteri that just aren't very good at "receiving" the fertilized eggs but still want to have children. I know several women who had multiple miscarriages (and who knows how many unimplanted fertilized eggs) before successfully carrying a pregnancy to term. They'd been informed of their low chances of having a baby in advance by their doctors and they went ahead anyway because they really wanted to have babies.So aren't these women "selfish" by the reasoning of the anti-abortion crowd? Shouldn't they have set aside their own selfish desires to have a biological children, given that they knew their uteri were homicidal maniacs that were far more likely to kill those precious blessings than nurture them all the way to term? By making the decision to try to have a baby, they knowingly murdered countless other babies in the process! What's that? That would be a horribly judgmental and hurtful thing to say to a woman who is dealing with an extraordinarily sensitive and private issue that should be kept between herself and her doctor? Why yes, I agree.

  • Anonymous

    PP, I'm one of those women, only I wasn't warned by the doctor in advance. Joys of PCOS and all. I had so many miscarriages I literally stopped testing and counting, and I know that if I wasn't on medication there's a very high likelihood I'd have even more. And the pro-lifers who tell me I have 4+ children just piss me off. You don't actually think that, stop saying that just to make a political point (I have 1 child and am 2 months away from #2, so officially 1.75).*******All the decades of rhetoric against abortion really really hurt women. As I said above, I'm currently (happily) pregnant but this is almost definitely the last one. Both my husband and i are pro-choice (me much more so than him), but he was raised Catholic so is personally squicked by abortion. He is currently uncomfortable with the idea of getting a vasectomy, and aside from FAM and condoms no other birth control method are reasonable options. I'm paranoid about an unplanned pregnancy, and he says he'd be supportive of me having an abortion if it came down to it. The thing is, because of his background and his lukewarm feelings on abortion, I don't believe him. If I get pregnant again and don't want to keep it, I'm not sure I could tell him without it harming my marriage. Of course, not telling him in and of itself hurts my marriage. Me keeping it without wanting would also hurt my marriage. It's an awful spot to be in, and I'm not sure how to resolve it. Here's hoping I don't ever get pregnant again.

  • Anonymous

    Another problem with the flippant attitude behind the "Abortion's option: adoption" bumper sticker is that it glosses over another issue entirely–there simply aren't enough families out there to adopt all the babies of women of color who choose to abort. Got a white baby? Fine, you'll have more potential adoptive parents than you can shake a stick at. A brown or black baby? Not so much.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09921433991972562829 Joy

    Also it is very difficult to give up a baby after birthing it. Now that we as a society no longer apply severe social pressure on young, unmarried pregnant women to give up their babies for adoption, very few are doing it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18103745692859729289 Elly

    I read a stat yesterday that there are about 15,000 domestic infant adoptions annually in the US. Many women who do place are actually rather older than the stereotype of a teen mom. I other words, probably old enough to make the kind of decision that Libby Anne talks about in regard to whether they are able to care for a baby to the standards they wish. Oh and sometimes couples with children who realize that they can't care for another.

  • Rosa

    Vasectomy vasectomy vasectomy. He needs to man up and examine those feelings and come up with a solution that doesn't risk your health, or risks your health less than the (very small) health risks of a vasectomy.That's what I told my partner: we can practice abstinence, we can break up, or you can get a vasectomy. I already had a baby, that's PLENTY more invasive than a vasectomy. (So is an abortion, when it comes down to it.)

  • Anna

    I don't think I truly realized the ridiculousness of the "why don't they just have the baby and give it up for adoption" line until I actually had a baby of my own. I have never been so weak and sick as I was during my first trimester. Now I believe that NOBODY should have to go through pregnancy unless they really want to have a baby. I also think that having more children than you can care for (both physically and emotionally) is far more selfish than ending an unwanted pregnancy. I get so tired of hearing Moms explain that they can't be expected to meet all their children's needs because they have so many children. If you have too many children to be able to take one to the doctor (speech therapy, counseling, fill in the blank) when they need it, then you have made a selfish choice to have more children than you can responsibly care for.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06401440551873070129 Elin

    Actually Rosa, I strongly disagree. Anon's husband does not want a vasectomy and Anon does not want another baby. Anon should of course take HER responsibility and have the surgery. Yes, the male version is less invasive but he does not want one and it is his body. If you support a woman's right to choose for example abortion you must also support a man's choice to not have a surgery to his own body.

    • Cat

      Yup. And actually, there are sterilization techniques for women these days that don’t even require surgery. They can do it sort of the same way they put in an IUD. But like you said, it’s his body and he doesn’t have to do anything he doesn’t want to. She should get the procedure if she doesn’t feel like her current birth control is enough. I’m getting a tubal myself. It ain’t cheap, but avoiding accidents is worth paying for.

  • Anonymous

    HI! I have PCOS too & had a miscarriage last year, when I was 41 years old. (I also have a 6 yo daughter). So, I hae 1 child & am old enough now that getting pregnant (which even w/ PCOS my body will do sporadically) and it is no longer safe to get pregnant. The rates of fetal genetic problems rise substantiallly year by year now that I am in my 40s. My doc told me there are new methods of blocking the Fallopian tubes – not just 'tying' any more. Now there is a surgery-free procedure available. They can go up thru the cervic & uterus & place a block in each fallopian tube.Just a thought! I for one am glad that with time there are more contraceptive methods and procedures available. In spite of dimbulbs like lil' Ricky Santorum. Best luck anon at 4:49!

  • Rosa

    @Elin – I of course support her partner's LEGAL right to do whatever he wants with his body. But I know way too many men who let their feelings of unease at doing anything with their balls trump tremendous risk on their partner's health, largely because they've never been made to think about women's health at all. They should sit down and talk comparative risks and consider what that bad feeling about very minor surgery is, and how important it is in their relationship.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06401440551873070129 Elin

    Rosa, if a couple come to a joint decision to not have babies and the decision is for the man to have a vasectomy I defintely think it is right. I do not however think he should have to have a vasectomy if he is not sure. I would never ever have my tubes tied for a man's sake, only for my own, and therefore I would not ask a man to do the same thing. I know there are irresponsible men out there, but asking someone to make what is often a permanent change to their body and they do not want to is abuse in my view. Making the alternatives divorce or vasectomy is to me exactly like when a boyfriend of a friend of mine told her to choose abortion or he would leave. In fact, demanding a vasectomy might be worse, a woman having an abortion can for the most part become pregnant again later while a reversal in complicated and there are not guaratees to it being a success.

  • http://wonderingwanderingthoughts.blogspot.com OneSmallStep

    **My simplest response is that a woman shouldn't have to sacrifice her sexuality to avoid having children. **I really liked this line. Well said.

  • Rosa

    But the man is demanding that his partner risk pregnancy, or use a form of birth control she's not comfortable with.I really don't see an alternative to "figure something out we can agree on" – and that includes really looking at the side effects – or "break up". "I won't consider this so you figure something out" is not a joint decision kind of approach.I don't think it's coercive to leave over a basic values issue like this. It's a two-way street, right? He doesn't like the idea of vasectomy, she doesn't like the risk of pregnancy with a partner who might not support her right to abortion. Why is his demand less unreasonable than hers? But I wouldn't sleep with a man who was "lukewarm" on abortion rights in the first place. so maybe I don't see breaking up as the awful threat some people see it is.

    • Cat

      A man not wanting a vasectomy is totally different from him trying to force his partner onto hormonal birth control. It is his body, and if he isn’t comfortable with the surgery, no one should try to force him. However, if NEITHER of them are comfortable doing things to prevent pregnancy, they have a problem. That doesn’t mean either of them should “buck up” and let the other pressure them into doing something they’re comfortable with. It means they have an issue in their relationship. But I agree with you on the last part – I would never, ever be with a man who was anything less than solidly pro-choice. I don’t want children, and I am not going to wind up in a position of a man trying to coerce me into doing otherwise. If he’s not ok with abortion in the case of an accident, there’s the door, don’t let it hit cha on the way out.

  • Rosa

    And, rereading, I realize I'm making an error here: the situation we're talking about, it sounds like both partners are (at least marginally) comfortable with condoms.I was dragging in the context I've seen the vasectomy conversation come up, which was when men resist/are careless about condom use. I've seen it happen to friends a lot "I hate using condoms, you should go on the pill!" It sounds like that's not fair to Anon's husband.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00185446236881234807 David Kreutz

    I have to disagree with this line of thinking. The essential question is whether or not a fetus is a person. If its not, then hardship can certainly be a deciding factor for the woman involved. However, if the fetus is a person, no amount of potential hardship can justify elective abortion. If hardship were a justification for abortion, a parent could easily make the same claim for say, a child who is paralyzed in an accident. Both situations (unexpected/unplanned/unwanted pregnancy and the injured child) can certainly result in hardship but in the later one would be jailed for ending the life for the child.Although I disagree with them, I can at least understand those who believe the fetus is not a person. If one accepts that premise then of course abortion is justifiable, its no different than removing a wart from a moral standpoint. As long as those arguing for elective abortions to be legal start with that premise, its at least justifiable. But to argue for legality of abortion, regardless of personhood, based on potential hardship? I just can't buy that.Thats not to say hardship isn't important to consider. From the standpoint of how we, as a society, choose to act I would argue that we should absolutely care about the hardship of pregnant women by providing services to help ease those problems. Neonatal medical care, counseling and support groups, knowledge about child raising, adoption, etc. Regardless of where one falls on the abortion debate I would hope we all can agree that the right thing to do is to help those in need.

    • Cat

      “However, if the fetus is a person, no amount of potential hardship can justify elective abortion.”
      Sure it can. The fetus is damaging and using the woman’s body against her will. If a person outside her does that, she has the right to kill them if she must, in order to preserve herself. Same goes for a fetus, as far as I’m concerned. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a “person” or not (though I think it’s rather asinine to argue that a clump of cells the size of a grain of rice is a person).

    • Anat

      David, adding to Cat’s point: Someone who needs bone marrow transplant to stay alive is a person. Yet if the only known donation match refuses to donate, we do not strap them down and extract bone marrow from them. We let the patient die. Despite the fact that the patient is definitely a person and the invasiveness of marrow donation is orders of magnitude less than that of pregnancy and childbirth. BTW, this would be the case even if the potential donation match was the patient’s parent. This completely refutes your argument that personhood trumps hardship. It does not.

  • http://wonderingwanderingthoughts.blogspot.com OneSmallStep

    **Both situations (unexpected/unplanned/unwanted pregnancy and the injured child) can certainly result in hardship but in the later one would be jailed for ending the life for the child.*But these situations aren't the same. In terms of the pregnancy, that results in the women's physical body being used for at least nine months. In terms of an injured child, there isn't the same biological dependence. And that's a key point in the pro-choice argument: should the woman be forced to remain in a situation that requires her to act as life support? As others have argued, there is no other circumstance where people are forced to donate organs for the survival of others. All the support groups in the world won't help if the woman simply doesn't want to be pregnant.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00185446236881234807 David Kreutz

    @OneSmallStep – Yes, it is true that upon becoming pregnant the woman will have to bear the baby for 9 months, an arduous situation, granted. However, except in cases of rape, it was the result of voluntary action. By choosing to have sex there was always a possiblity, however slim, that pregnancy could result. She made that active choice, and for any choice there are consequences. Again, and let me emphasize this, I recognize that pregnancy can cause great hardship and inconvenience. However, that can still not be justification for murder. If one accepts personhood of the fetus, then elective abortion is murder and as a society we have long ago decided that murder for the sake of convenience is unjustifiable. A parent has to provide life support for their children even after birth, clothes, food, shelter, etc. To not do so is a criminal offense. So it should be for the unborn person (if, again, it is a person).Morally abortion can only be defended in two or three cases. The first is medical necessity, the second would be rape (although some even debate this), the third is that the fetus is not a person. I can respect and understand those who are pro-Choice who argue from the position of non-personhood of the unborn child. I am unable to do so for those who accept personhood and still argue for legal, non-medically necessary abortion. I fail to see how ending an innocent life is justifiable.

    • ScottInOH

      Yes, it is true that upon becoming pregnant the woman will have to bear the baby for 9 months, an arduous situation, granted. However, except in cases of rape, it was the result of voluntary action.

      I guess I could hardly ask for better evidence to support my assertion @ 2/7/12, 1:36pm.

    • shadowspring

      “However, that can still not be justification for murder.” Of course not, but neither abortion nor miscarriage are murder. Your religious beliefs don’t trump reality.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10562805251128821984 Libby Anne

    David, what even is "personhood?" It never seems to be well defined at all. I haven't met any pro-choice individuals, by the way, who argue that a fetus is a "person" entitled to the legal and human rights you and I have, but can be aborted. People who are pro-choice don't see abortion as being about ending an "innocent life" at all. I have never, ever met a pro-choice activist running around saying "yay, let's kill babies!" I'm not sure where the idea that people would think that way comes from.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    I echo Libby in saying that I have never met a pro-choice person whose position is "Yes, fetuses are persons but it's totes okay to kill them." This is nonsense, a straw man to end all straw men.And here's something I don't understand. If a fetus really is a person, then why is abortion even acceptable in the case of rape? Rape is terrible but murder is worse, right? If I seriously thought that a fetus were a person, a person just like you or me, then rape would not be a justification for killing it. Something bad happening to me does not make it okay for me to kill somebody else. Of course, none of this is an issue, because I don't think a fetus is a person. But for those people who DO think fetuses are persons, how do they work it out so exceptions in the case of rape are okay? Repulsed as I am by people who think that women should be forced to have rapists' babies, their position seems much more consistent. This is why, honestly, I have to wonder if a lot of the people who claim to believe in fetal personhood are really, truly willing to wholly accept that position and all its implications.Because if you do, rape does not get you off the hook. Just sayin.'

    • LutheranEmily

      I am one who thinks that even in the case of rape, the punishment is going to the wrong person if the baby is aborted.

      There are many of us consistent people out there.

      • MadGastronomer

        Then you seriously misunderstand what abortion is.

      • Rosie

        And you seem to be assuming that every fetus WANTS to be born into whatever situation is waiting for it. In my experience (which also includes my family history), this is patently false. If it’s hard to apologize to a potential person for the termination of the pregnancy, how difficult will it be to apologize to the child who wishes he/she had not been born?

        I find this is further complicated by the doctrine of Original Sin (commonly held by religious anti-abortionists), which states that every person is guilty and condemned to eternal suffering for the crime of having been born (until they can get themselves baptized, anyhow). So every fetus has the right to be born so it can be guilty of doing something it never had any choice about? Your supposedly loving deity continually astounds me.

    • LutheranEmily

      also, he was not saying that in the case of rape it was perfectly fine. he was saying that in all cases except rape, the sex was consentual, and guess what?

      sex=babies

      • MadGastronomer

        Also sex. You do know that there are lots of sex acts other than penis-in0vagina intercourse, right? And that even that usually doesn’t result in pregnancy? And that something like half of all pregnancies miscarry before they’re detectable? And that this nifty new things called “contraception” exists?

      • Rosie

        Sex does not equal babies. Hetero sex can sometimes lead to pregnancy, which can sometimes lead to babies, but babies per instance of sex are so infrequent as to be statistically insignificant. And for some reason, gay sex usually gets left out of the argument entirely, presumably because people “shouldn’t” be doing it…? It can’t make anybody pregnant, though.

      • shadowspring

        Is this why religious people hate gay sex? Because it can never equal babies?

  • Caravelle

    Actually fetal personhood doesn't have to be relevant. People also have a right to control and privacy over their own body, which can trump others' right to life. For example I'm pretty sure a person being raped (and say the rapist was mentally ill and not responsible for their own actions, if that's an issue) would have a right to self-defense that goes up to killing the other person if necessary. And pregnancy is waaaaaaaaay more invasive and life-changing overall than rape.Of course pregnancy and rape are two totally different things, which is why while I said fetal personhood doesn't have to be relevant, it doesn't have to be irrelevant either. But the point is the issue of bodily autonomy is also important, and which one trumps the other when is a complex question.

  • Caravelle

    "A parent has to provide life support for their children even after birth, clothes, food, shelter, etc. To not do so is a criminal offense."Is it a criminal offense for them not to donate their organs to their children ?Moreover parents can relinquish custody of their children, some find themselves forced to do so when their children have special needs and they are completely unable to afford decent care for them. So it isn't even true that they "have to" provide even financial support to their (natural) children. (obviously they have to care for their *legal* children)@Libby Anne and Petticoat Philosopher : I've never met any pro-choice person who went around going "yay let's kill babies !" either, but I have seen pro-choice people say that fetal personhood is irrelevant – i.e. they would still be pro-choice if fetuses were persons, for the bodily autonomy reason.

  • http://wonderingwanderingthoughts.blogspot.com OneSmallStep

    David,**, it was the result of voluntary action. By choosing to have sex there was always a possiblity, however slim, that pregnancy could result. She made that active choice, and for any choice there are consequences. **This comment, for me, is coming way to close into turning pregnancy and childbirth into a "punishment" for voluntarily having sex. As Libby Anne says in a prior comment, women shouldn't have to sacrifice their sexuality to avoid having children. But under this line of thinking, then the embryo/fetus has more rights to the woman's body and life than she does. The state itself has more rights to the woman's body than she does, forcing her to maintain the pregnancy. Again, as I said, there are no other circumstances where we force one person to use their bodily organs for another – I think even corpses are allowed to keep all organs if they haven't made arrangements for donations while alive. **A parent has to provide life support for their children even after birth, clothes, food, shelter, etc. To not do so is a criminal offense. So it should be for the unborn person (if, again, it is a person).**No, these are not the same. Pregnancy involves a biological life support system. After a child is born, parents do have the recourse of seeking out help, or in some circumstances, can surrender the child so that others can provide the food and shelter. A pregnant woman does not have that recourse.

    • LutheranEmily

      “**This comment, for me, is coming way to close into turning pregnancy and childbirth into a “punishment” for voluntarily having sex.”

      uhm….

      “As Libby Anne says in a prior comment, women shouldn’t have to sacrifice their sexuality to avoid having children”

      chuckle.

      Yeah, because sexuality has NOTHING to do with bearing children. Its just a fun recreational activity…despite the fact that during orgasm, our bodies are literally trying to make new life.

      and people can’t POSSIBLY abstain from this super fun recreational activity if they don’t want children. that would be impossible.

      The argument that we should have sex without consequences certainly isn’t logical.

      But I guess that is what happens when you take away a concept of God and sin. Human life then no longer is sacred. I suppose I understand the whole “personhood being irrelevent” thing if you take away God.

      I find it very sick, but I understand it.

      • MadGastronomer

        I’m a cis woman. My body is not trying to do anything but enjoy itself when I orgasm.

        Or, you know, people could use the methods available to them to have sex AND not have kids, just as we have for literally thousands of years. *gasp* Shocking, I know. What’s illogical about that?

        Life is entirely sacred. But that includes my life, and my body, and that means I honor, cherish, enjoy, and protect my body, regardless of your petty notions of morality.

  • Steve

    What could possibly be more selfish than thinking that the creator of the whole damn universe – with dozens of sixtillions of stars – has some special plan just for you, while millions of people are dying around you?

    • Liberated Liberal

      Amen

  • http://carpescriptura.wordpress.com/ MrPopularSentiment

    Someone once told me that when I had children of my own, I would understand the anti-choice position. I've now gone through a pregnancy and I have my son, and I'm still pro-choice.I had an amazing pregnancy. I had no complications, I never threw up, and I was still running at eight months. Truth be told, I loved being pregnant – I've never felt healthier, sexier, or more confident than I did with that big ol' belly. But even so, it consumed my life. Keeping my son healthy meant watching what I eat all the time. Gone was my ability to just veg out on the couch when I had a bad day, or even to have a glass of wine with my meal. Being pregnant meant endless doctor appointments and test, and getting prodded with more needles than I'd care to count. Being pregnant meant difficulty even with simple tasks, like peeing in a public restroom stall (which are far too small, by the way) or sitting through a meeting at work without having to excuse myself to pee. Being pregnant meant having feet so swollen that I had to buy new shoes two sizes larger. If I worked at a job that required standing, being pregnant would have meant losing my job.And then there's labour. I'm sorry, but no one gets to tell anyone that they should have to go through that against their will.Easy as my pregnancy was, it would have been unbearable if I didn't have my husband and family to support me, and if I wasn't looking forward to having my son at the end.As for the adoption argument, all I can say to that is that it's an easy thing for white people to say.

    • LutheranEmily

      “I’m sorry, but no one gets to tell anyone that they should have to go through that against their will.”

      The point is, that nobody DID.

      There was a choice.

      • MadGastronomer

        No, the point is that YOU are telling people what we have to go through: IE, pregnancy. Nope, you don’t get to. Pregnancy is NOT the inevitable result of sex, and neither is giving birth. We have choices about this, too.

      • Rosie

        There are always lots of choices, but I find my religious upbringing didn’t illuminate them very well for me. Marriage (hetero only, of course) and kids or old-maid-hood (possibly involving foreign missions or a nunnery) were what were laid out for me. Only after I was married at 28 did I get clear on my own sexuality (bi) and also my extreme aversion to children (which I still feel like I should apologize for, despite the fact that it was clearly inherited and my father feels no such need to apologize for feeling the exact same way). Had I known all this earlier, I could have chosen a lesbian relationship and avoided all worries of unintended pregnancies. At this point, however, to not have sex would mean a divorce, which the church also frowns upon. And we don’t really want to do that anyhow. Somehow all the neat little moral platitudes about “right” and “wrong” get very messy when applied to real people in real life.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13320456585751961569 puredesire

    Man deliberately imposing his self onto a woman for his own pleasure and her complete degradation = Unborn child, guiltless and helpless, conceived in a woman whose bodily resources he/she needs to stay alive… ??? You may have admitted they were totally different things, but you also lumped them together as if they were both responsible for the woman's misery. Self defense (look up *defense*) and shooting the brain of a person that's simply inconvenient to us are two completely different things. That is what makes the personhood of the baby completely relevant.

    • Rosa

      Having a fetus living off your body – blood supply, calories, oxygen, all of it – is hardly “inconvenient”. And then you risk death to give birth, if you go through with it.

      Personhood is totally beside the point in that scenario, and that’s what pregnancy is.

      • LutheranEmily

        You risk death going through an abortion too.

      • MadGastronomer

        The risk of death from a safe abortion performed by trained professionals is miniscule. The risk of death from continuing pregnancy and giving birth is far, far higher.

      • Rosie

        Not to mention that risking death for something you want (in this case, to become unpregnant) is a whole different ballgame than risking death for something you don’t want.

  • Anonymous

    I was in a physically/emotionally/verbally abusive marriage for six years while in grad school. I got pregnant twice, and then with the third pregnancy, I KNEW I was living in an abusive marriage and I felt damned for bringing the first two into the world and giving them this homelife that we were living. I figured I'd brought two children into a screwed up home life and they were going to grow up to be abused or be abusers as well according to the statistics. I felt wrong and ashamed for even bringing them into the world, but I could excuse myself a little because I didn't REALIZE it was abusive when I'd given birth to them.With my third one, I couldn't claim ignorance any longer. I seriously contemplated aborting my third pregnancy. I really wanted to graduate, get a job, and be financially independent enough to get away from the psycho-husband.A friend talked me out of it, completely by accident. When I told him I was pregnant, he responded so positively and encouraging to me, I knew I could do it. Despite all my doubts, despite all my guilt for even being pregnant in this situation. His encouragement and positive attitude for me, gave me the strength to believe that I could keep my baby and still graduate and still get free from my marriage.So, I did give birth to my third child two years ago. I did get out of my abusive marriage, but not until about 4 months ago. And I am going to graduate in the next four months, and I have a full scholarship to another program and I'm moving myself and three kids there in July.I'm so so glad, that I chose to have my baby. He's truly been a sunshine and a blessing to my life. And I can offer him an abuse-free home, and I can raise him to be his own person and not to be an abuser or an abuse-victim. And I can see the bonds forming between the three children, and I know that they're happy to have eachother, despite the upheaval my home initially went through when my X moved out.I have a lot of friends in my domestic violence support groups who did not make the same decision as I did. Some of them have struggled with their abortions, some of them were pressured into abortions by their abusive partners, and some of them have no regrets aborting a baby secretly while in an abusive relationship. I don't judge any of them for their decisions, everyone is forced to make survival decisions when they're in difficult situations, and honestly, at those moments, sometimes you just have to choose the best of all the bad options before you. One person's "best of the bad options" might not be another person's "best of the bad options".But I'd just like to personally encourage any woman out there, to know that there is hope regardless of which choice you make. I'm happy with my decision, it wasn't easy. I wanted to know that I was bringing my baby into a happy healthy home with two healthy happy parents, but I couldn't. And I felt it was wrong of me, even selfish of me, to bring a baby into a marriage/family that I KNEW was unhealthy and abusive. So in that scenario, I felt either option COULD have been considered selfish of me: To have the baby-and bring it into an unhealthy home, or to abort the baby and not even give it a chance to make it's own life regardless of the family dynamics.imo either choice was the "selfish" choice if someone wanted to be judgmental about my life.I'm happy with my choice, but I can't make the choice for everyone, and everyone's lives are different. Whatever you choose, I highly recommend getting the support you need from a support group, community resources, etc. And make sure you surround yourself with people who are POSITIVE and LOVING in your life.I love the quote: "Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, look around and make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes."

    • Dianne

      Anonymous, I think one critical point here is that you’re happy with your CHOICE. You chose to have this child and you’re pleased with the outcome. Women who were forced or coerced into one action or another are frequently less happy, whether that forced or coerced action was childbirth or abortion.

      Congratulations on getting away from the abusive relationship. Best of luck to you!

    • shadowspring

      I don’t think your friend “talked you out of” anything. You made your own mind up, and you made your own choice, There was no divine intervention going on here. You talked about your inner struggles until you made up your mind. It would’ve happened the same way no matter who your friends were.

  • Rosie

    I have no interest at all in bearing or caring for children; it’s absolutely the last thing on earth I want to do with my time. Does that make me selfish, or does it make God, who supposedly knit me together in my mother’s womb with all my likes and dislikes, a sadist?

    • LutheranEmily

      It makes you selfish, and probably narcissistic too.

      • MadGastronomer

        And there’s nothing narcissistic about deciding that everyone must do what you say, and you are absolutely correct and know best for everyone. OK, sure.

      • Liberated Liberal

        Your choice to have babies is just as selfish a woman’s choice not to have babies. There’s no difference whatsoever, and that argument is losing steam in society these days. Time to come up with a more logical one.

        You think that trying to force the world to adhere to your beliefs while continuing to have children so that you have a new generation that can be raised to try to force the world to do what you want isn’t selfish?

        And I firmly believe that the need to bear your own child is very narcissist. It is built into our genetics for survival probably, as most parents who want to raise children insist on raising their own, because they see their own faces in the children. There wouldn’t be such a need for IVF and the like since there are so many millions of children (in this country alone) that need desperately need homes. But nope, most couples are only willing to raise children that remind them of themselves. That is the definition of narcissism.

      • Anon

        I absolutely LOVE the way you just judged me without knowing one. single. thing. about me, other than that I don’t want to have children.

        My own mother was never very loving towards me, the last of six kids. I never felt close to her. I believe that she personally was “done” having kids after number three, but being Catholic, she was caused to have three more that I think she didn’t want. After I was born, she went into severe post-partum depression and ended up hospitalized when I was about 9 months old. My older siblings had to take turns staying home from high school to take care of the younger ones. My mom had electroshock therapy for the depression, and who knows what else that did to her. I believe all of this engendered a serious amount of (mostly subconscious) resentment of me, on the part of my mother and my older siblings.

        I then grew up to make the choice that she was taught she could not make, and that made her even more resentful.

        How dare I be so selfish? I’ll tell you how. Because I didn’t want to live a life as bitter and full of martyrdom as hers, and pass that on to a bunch of innocent kids I would be likely to have.

      • Cat

        Yeah, because there’s nothing selfish at all about having kids. Tell me, did their little fetus souls ask to be born? Or did you just want to see yourself when you look in their face, perhaps have someone to guilt into caring for you in old age? I’ve never met someone who had kids for unselfish reasons. All reasons are selfish. Especially people like you, who feel a need to force women into making decisions that would make them miserable. Disgusting.

      • shadowspring

        My mom is a narcissist and selfish too, and BECAUSE of that, she would’ve aborted me when it was clear that she was pregnant with twins rather than one child AND the pregnancy wasn’t manipulating her husband in the way she planned. And guess what that would mean for me?

        Nothing. I simply would not exist. End of story.

        Because NPD seems to run in families, I did a lot of research into the phenomenon. The division between nurture and nature was 50/50. Nurture advocates propose that NPDs may not have had their needs met in the critical 18-24 month window in which empathy is developed. Nature says its inherited. I wondered what to do.

        I gambled that the Nurture argument was right. I went ahead and had children, determined then to make sure their emotional needs were always met. I purposefully limited my family size and spaced my children. I wanted to make sure they each had their needs met and that none felt unloved or unwanted, especially in the critical early years. I made all these decisions with the approval of scripture, which I won’t bother proof-texting here.

        As it turns out, Asperger’s (on the autism spectrum) and NPD look a lot alike. Asperger’s is clearly inherited. One of my children does have that inherited trait, and she is not “selfish” nor a “narcissist”. She doesn’t want to ever be pregnant and I don’t blame her. She is not wrong for being born who she is. Pregnancy would be horrific for her, and having her as the only primary caregiver would be horrific for a young baby.

        If your God micromanages everything, then He is clearly responsible for my duaghter’s genetics. After all, I was a devout and committed Christian women praying night and day. Apparently, God doesn’t want her to have kids, or she wouldn’t have inherited Aspie traits. Or does he just want to torment her and torture her prospective children for kicks?

        Lutheran Emily, how dare you condemn my daughter and those like her. If your religious books are true, then you are a goat who will be cast into outer darkness, for you do NOT love like Jesus loves. Shame on you.

      • Rosie

        Shadowspring, the generations of my family who had kids and regretted it were never officially diagnosed (nor have I been), but it would not surprise me at all to find out we’re all Aspie to some extent. And yeah, I came to the same conclusion as you about God’s micromanagement (which I was taught to believe in): if it’s so, then either I’m not meant to be a parent, or He’s a sadist. Given the stories of Job, and Abraham and Isaac, and the Garden, and Noah, etc., I tend to lean toward the latter explanation, though.

    • kisekileia

      Shadowspring, do you have any idea how offensive the stuff you just said about people with Asperger’s is? Firstly, NPD and Asperger’s do not look alike. Asperger’s involves difficulty in understanding how other people think, i.e. cognitive empathy. NPD involves a deficit in the ability to sympathize with other people and care about their feelings, i.e. emotional empathy. On average, people with Asperger’s have HIGHER emotional empathy than the general population, and are disproportionately likely to be victimized by narcissists and other predators. You are likening a frequently abused population to their abusers. That is bigoted and offensive. Stop it.

      Furthermore, having Asperger’s does not automatically make a person unfit to raise children. A person with Asperger’s may have a somewhat different parenting style than the average neurotypical parent, but keep in mind that their children are likely to have some autistic traits as well, and that kids with autistic traits benefit a lot from parents who can relate to them. It is neurotypical parents who are likely to emotionally abuse autistic kids due to some of the popular misconceptions about autism, e.g. that people on the autism spectrum do not feel and love to the extent that others can. Shame on you for your bigotry towards your daughter and people like her.

      • shadowspring

        No, I did not have any idea I was being offensive. These are personal issues we deal with in my family as a part of daily life. We do see tremendous similarity between NPD (my mom) and Asperger’s (my sister and daughter). The main difference seems to be the nurture and acceptance that my daughter and sister received growing up, versus the emotional neglect my mother suffered.

        I never said that having Asperger’s makes a person unfit to raise children. I said my daughter would not/ could not stand being pregnant or deal with a loud, wet, soiled, sticky, smelly little bundle of joy the rest of us know as babies. She will be a great mother if she can afford a nanny and can adopt. And why, why WHY are you calling me bigoted for supporting MY DAUGHTER and ACCEPTING FOR WHO SHE IS and BELIEVING WHAT SHE HAS TOLD ME ABOUT HERSELF?!?!

        It doesn’t have anything to do with YOU, and frankly, I have no idea why you are taking HER decisions as a personal insult, and then turning that around to insult me back. I hope you feel better now.

        The rest are YOUR assumptions! I won’t apologize for anything you ascribed to me. You should apologize to me for dumping your negativity on me, a supportive and proud mother of an Aspie whom I adore!!!

    • kisekileia

      Shadowspring, reread your post. You said that “God doesn’t want her to have kids, or she wouldn’t have inherited Aspie traits,” and you equated growing up with an Asperger’s mother to torment and torture. This is a clear statement that her Aspie traits mean that God does not want her to have kids, and that parents with Asperger’s are essentially abusive. You are a bigot because, according to your own statements, you believe that people with Asperger’s cannot handle babies. If you don’t believe that, you should have chosen your words more carefully.

      Also, I shouldn’t even have to explain this on a blog like Libby’s, but you as a neurotypical person do not get to decide what is offensive to people with Asperger’s. People with Asperger’s get to decide that it is not okay to say that Aspie traits make a person unfit to care for a baby. You need to STFU and take a serious look at whether your attitude towards people like your daughter has come as far as you like to brag that it has.

  • http://liseusetheloverofreading.wordpress.com/ Natalie

    Some women don’t want children, and they are not selfish, bad people.

    They decide not to have sex.

    • ScottInOH

      Or they decide to use contraception. Or not to have PIV sex. Or to abort unwanted pregnancies (far less often than the other two, because it happens when the other two fail).

    • Paula G V aka Yukimi

      I can have sex and not have children thank you very much. I want to have children in the future but that’s irrelevant and I wouldn’t be selfish if I didn’t want children or if I’d prefer to adopt them (I want to adopt a kid or foster too if money allows it). As of now contraception is working (and it’s being working the 9 years I’ve been with my boyfriend) and if it failed (whihc I hope it won’t) I would have an abortion. If you want to think I’m selfish go ahead (I don’t know why but…), nobody it’s forcing you to do the same as me but you shouldn’t go around judging people or baiting people in this forum for your trollish purposes as you’ve done in other threads. You are not going to change people’s opinion here with arguments as solid as that /sarcasm or by “guiltying” people or by using religion on non-believers as is my case so think better arguments and stop posting the same foolishness repeatedly.

      • Natalie

        Wow. I do apologize for some of my previous comments(which were unnecessarily sarcastic or offensive).

        I actually really enjoy this blog, as it contains a lot of thought-provoking material.

        As Libby Anne is a very strong advocate of woman who question and think, I doubt she has a problem with my questioning some of her points on her blog.

        However, I am trying to incorporate more of her rules of civility in my comments. I truly am sorry for some of the impolite comments I’ve made.

      • Paula G V aka Yukimi

        You can post differing opinions in the blog but you are actually posting the same opinion again and again in threads that are months old and they aren’t even new arguments but rehashed versions of the same arguments that have been denied in Libby Anne’s blog posts… I encourage you to learn more about the topic and come up with new arguments if you intend to try to change our minds.

        Also, in one or two other threads you’ve tried to bait people and that isn’t a very nice thing to do in internet etiquette.

        I don’t intend this in a harsh manner since I myself make mistakes all the time but someone needs to tell you this stuff.

    • Dianne

      So, Natalie. Do you think Heaven is overrun with the embryos that don’t implant? Do you believe that the 80% or so of failed implantations are babies that deserve a chance at life? What do you think we, as a society, should do to prevent the death of these “babies”?

      • Natalie

        Actually, like Libby Anne, I am somewhat utiliterian in my views.

        Because of this desire for the greatest good for the greatest number, I will not willfully end the life of a human being once it is being carried by my body.

        I believe human life begins at conception, and will do nothing to harm human life inside my body.

        However, I have not studied pre-conception protection techniques sufficiently to know my views. I will probably study and make such a decision before becoming sexually active.

      • Dianne

        Because of this desire for the greatest good for the greatest number,

        If you believe in the greatest good for the greatest number and you believe that life begins at conception then you must be deeply concerned about the early deaths I mentioned. As I said, about 80% of “babies” (conceptions) fail to result in a clinical pregnancy, much less a viable baby. If they’re all people then we could do vastly more good by concentrating on analyzing the reasons for these early deaths and preventing them than any other single act in history. Where’s your enthusiasm for saving human life? Demand an NIH program for prevention of miscarriage now!

      • MadGastronomer

        Not wanting to have an abortion yourself is one thing — although chances are good that if you found yourself in the wrong situation, you’d have one anyway; many pro-life people do, see The Only Moral Abortion Is My Abortion — but deciding no one else should get to have one, either at all or under some set of circumstances you think are ok that will never cover every eventuality where it’s actually necessary medically, much less practically, is another. The first is you acting in accordance with your beliefs. The second is you forcing your beliefs on others, and limiting basic human rights.

        You may think that not getting an abortion is always the best way to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number of people, but you’re wrong, even leaving aside the question of personhood. There are many circumstances in which continuing a pregnancy hurts many people. You may not understand that yet, but I hope some day you will. If you’re very lucky, it will be through abstract understanding. If you’re less lucky, it will be because someone you know goes through it. But of course the most direct way for you to learn it would be through direct experience.

    • Cat

      Um, excuse me? I’m childfree and I can have as much sex as I like. That’s what contraception is for, and failing that, abortion.

      • Jonathan

        That is the most selfish egotistical and self-absorbed thing I’ve ever hear a woman (not worthy of the term lady) say. Abortion is NOT a contraceptive…it’s murder and worthy of the death penalty. If you don’t want children…get sterilized. Problem solved and no need for contraceptives or abortion. A childfree woman who isn’t infertile is a woman who fails at the very purpose for her existance..the continuation of the human race. I have nothing but contempt for such women..and hopefuly no man will waste his time with such a woman.

      • Anat

        ‘Lady’ is a potentially sexist term. Better not use it at all. Many of us here would not want to be called that, especially not by a stranger, especially one who has no regard to women being people.

        Easy for you to suggest that people get sterilized. Not so easy to find a doctor that will do the procedure (‘you are so young! what if you change your mind?’).

        Also, some people want to leave themselves the option of changing their mind, so they prefer reversible contraception.

        Oh no! making babies is not the purpose of anyone’s existence. If People want to, they do. For the continuation of humanity there is no need that every woman, or even every woman who can, have children. It is sufficient that some do, and so far there are plenty who want to have children. In any case, if by any chance no woman wants to have a child then the human species goes extinct. So what? Why is it such a terrible thought? Humans will probably go extinct at some point. Is it worse that we go extinct by choice rather than by famine or disease?

        And I love how kind you are to a woman simply enjoying living her life.

      • Olive Markus

        I am child free, by choice.

        My husband is an amazing man and treats me like gold. He thinks I’m worth more than just my uterus, and feels that my life is worth whatever I say it is worth. All of the child-free-by-choice women that I know are in extremely happy marriages with wonderful men.

        Apparently, a lot of men “waste” their time on horrible women such as ourselves. Maybe you’re the one missing something?

        I feel very sorry for the poor woman uterus you tear your hooks into.

      • jejune

        A childfree woman who isn’t infertile is a woman who fails at the very
        purpose for her existance..the continuation of the human race.<

        You are a misogynistic piece of shit.

        PS A fetus is not a human being

      • Olive Markus

        Yeah. I restrained myself from saying so, but I’m glad you did.

      • jejune

        good cop/bad cop :P

        And I never do restrain myself around woman hating creeps

      • Olive Markus

        :)

        And you never should.

      • jejune

        There is a certain thrill in being able to tell them exactly what you think :P

        I am happy that Libby Anne allows us to insult at will:)

      • Kristin

        I don’t 100% agree with this woman but here is some food for thought.. why is it that if a pregnate woman is murdered and her child dies too it’s considered a double homicide (murder) but if a woman chooses to abort her baby it’s perfectly fine??? Whether a child is wanted or not should not be the determining factor in if it’s considered a human being!

      • jejune

        1) to protect a pregnant woman’s right – not the unborn

        2) the most recent ‘unborn victims of crime act’ was passed by pro-liars specifically to get people like you to wonder ‘gee, if the law considers an embryo to be a baby in this circumstance, shouldn’t it be considered a baby at all times’

        Pregnant women are often killed by abusive husbands and boyfriends.

        BTW, these laws have been used to send women to jail for miscarriages more so than abusive men.

  • http://liseusetheloverofreading.wordpress.com/ Natalie

    I’m not judging. I know some women are raped etc., and such things are very terrible. But I think if one is not in a position to support a baby, I don’t think one should have sex.

    • MadGastronomer

      That is, in fact, judging. Saying it isn’t is like saying, “I’m not racist, but…” and then saying something racist. Also, your opinion doesn’t actually count in most other people’s decision making process, and when it comes to those of us in that group, our decisions are none of your business. If you don’t want kids, don’t have sex. If you don’t want to have an abortion, don’t have one. But your judgemental, self-centered opinions are not welcome in my life.

    • Rosie

      That’s easy to say, Natalie, if everyone knows exactly who they are and what they want from life the minute they come of age. But that’s not the case for everyone. Especially those raised with fundamentalist and patriarchal attitudes. It has taken me DECADES since leaving home and the church to sort out what I really want and what I was just taught I SHOULD want (but would actually make me, personally, miserable in real life). I’d been married for ten years before I realized that I was NEVER going to be ready to have kids. So do I stop having (hetero*) sex now? Until I get through menopause and am no longer in danger, anyhow? Even though that would mean a divorce? Trouble is, I love this man, and all our stuff and our lives are pretty inextricably intertwined after almost 12 years of marriage. Seems like a pretty extreme step to take, just to avoid children.

      *I specify hetero sex because I’m bi, and obviously gay sex does not carry a risk of pregnancy, so that would still be an option for me.

      • Rosie

        Oh, and why did I get married before I was ready to have children? Because I was taught that the act of marriage would MAKE me ready. By magic I guess. It didn’t work.

      • Dianne

        obviously gay sex does not carry a risk of pregnancy

        Gay sex does carry a risk of pregnancy. No, really, I’m not crazy, hear me out! Gay sex leads to bonding with your partner and, in some people, that bonding leads to a desire to raise kids together. For lesbians, that sometimes means a sperm donor and pregnancy…all because you had gay sex.

        Fun fact: Children raised by lesbians have a much lower rate of abuse than children raised by hets. Possibly because very few lesbians become pregnant accidentally. Sometimes I wonder if the forced pregnancy people hate women or children more: Sure, their policies lead to women being forced to endure torture and die from pregnancy, but they also condemn children to a childhood of abuse and a lifetime of dealing with it. (Obviously, not all children born of accidental pregnancies are abused, but the risk is higher.)

      • Rosie

        My bad, Dianne; I should have said that gay sex does not carry a risk of *unwanted* pregnancy.

        And even if unwanted children are not exactly abused, they still bear the emotional scars of knowing their mother would have rather been doing something else (say, getting or using her college education) than raising them. I have watched three generations deal with that in my family, and I finally decided it was time to stop the madness and simply *not have kids* since I’d also rather be doing other things. I don’t want to condemn yet another generation to the confusion and pain of wondering why on earth they were born in the first place.

      • Dianne

        I have watched three generations deal with that in my family, and I finally decided it was time to stop the madness and simply *not have kids* since I’d also rather be doing other things.

        This seems to me to be the sensible and unselfish decision to make. It’s easy to get caught in the social and evolutionary pressure and have kids even though you don’t really want to raise them. Why this isn’t considered selfish, I don’t know.

      • Liberated Liberal

        Rosie and Dianne,

        You say more eloquently the things I’d like to say. Choosing *NOT* to have children can be incredibly unselfish. Even doing it for “selfish” reasons is unselfish, because you are sparing a child a life with a mother who doesn’t really want a child.

        The anti-abortion group doesn’t care about the consequences of forcing women to have unwanted pregnancies. They only care that women are “put in their place.” The only things they think about are

        1) If a woman has sex she should endure the consequence of pregnancy
        2) If a woman gets pregnant, she should endure the consequence of spending her life raising children.

        End of story. The details don’t matter.

      • Jonathan

        How on earth can someone do something for “selfish” reasons make that action unselfish? It’s an oxymoron. One cannot do something unselfish from selfish motives. So a woman shouldn’t have to accept responsibility for her actions? She chooses to have sex..but gets to avoid the responsibility for her actions? No one can have life, liberty or property taken from them without due process. So what crime has that unborn child done to deserve death? Abortion also allows a man to have all the sex he wants without consequence because “she’ll take care of it with an abortion”. NO ONE is entitled to murder someone else..not even a mother. Nine months is a insignificant price to pay for giving that child a chance at life and someone who can’t have children will be happy to love the child you despise. If abortion is allowed, follow it up with sterilization. No more unwanted pregnancies to worry about. Problem solved.

      • Olive Markus

        “No one can have life, liberty or property taken from them without due process.”

        You might want to rethink that, because by forcing a woman to give birth against her will, you are literally taking her liberty (bodily autonomy), her property (her own body) and potentially her life, without due process.

        You can believe that the embryo deserves more rights than a woman, but don’t pretend that you’re giving them both equal rights while forcing a woman to endure an unwanted pregnancy. It doesn’t work that way.

      • jejune

        So what crime has that unborn child done to deserve death?

        so sex is a crime for which ONLY women must be punished?

      • Paula G V aka Yukimi

        I completely agree, that is the unselfish thing to do ^^

      • Anon

        “And even if unwanted children are not exactly abused, they still bear the emotional scars of knowing their mother would have rather been doing something else”

        *raises hand* That would be me, as I described <a href="http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2012/02/abortion-gods-plan-and-selfish-women.html#comment-12966&quot; above. I am lucky I had a father who genuinely loved me, and we had a very close relationship, but a lot of other kids in my shoes don’t get that luck. As it stands, I believe I am generally a happier person than most of my siblings, but it has taken about 10 years and a lot of pain and work to get here.

    • Paula G V aka Yukimi

      Sex is a very pleasurable activity (if done right XP) that serves to connect people and there’s no logical reason to restrict it only to make babies, that is simply absurd. What then, infertile couples shouldn’t have sex, gay people shouldn’t either, what about post-menopausian women? Just to name a few.

    • Ursula L

      Hubris is a sin.

      And it takes tremendous hubris to think that your private opinion should control the medical care of other people. It takes tremendous hubris to think that what you imagine, sitting safe at home, lets you make a better decision about someone else’s medical care when they know the full circumstances of their life.

      Supporting anti-choice laws means that you’re supporting decision making based on ignorance, rather than informed decision making. Every cis-woman and trans-man knows their life situation in full detail. They know what pregnancy and childbearing will mean in their life.

      You don’t know these people. You don’t seem to care to get to know them and the problems they face in their lives.

      Would you let a complete stranger go with you to every doctor’s appointment, interrupting your conversations with your doctor about your medical needs, and deciding what treatment you should get without bothering to know you, your life, and your medical conditions? Would you let them make decisions about your medical treatment before you’ve even been seen by a doctor?

      Pregnancy kills. My grandmother nearly died when my mother was born. Her doctors advised her that she should not have more children, because any future pregnancy would almost certainly kill her. But she didn’t have access to either reliable birth control or safe abortion. She didn’t have a husband who was willing to be abstinent – he wanted sons.

      She did die when my aunt was born.

      Not only did a lack of access to birth control and safe abortion kill my grandmother, it also did severe emotional damage to my mother and my aunt. My mother blamed herself for not being a boy – if she’d been a son, she always wondered if my grandfather would have been willing to be abstinent in order to protect my grandmother’s life. My aunt had it even worse, knowing that she came into this world killing her own mother.

      Now, some women are willing to take great medical risks for themselves, in order to have children. My mother had difficulties giving birth, and was fairly ambivalent about having children. I’m extraordinarily grateful that I was born in a time and place when birth control was reliably available and abortion was safe and legal. The risks that my mother took, in carrying pregnancy and giving birth, were voluntary risks. Unlike the risks her mother was forced to take.

      Knowing your mother died to give birth to you is a very, very difficult thing. But it’s easier to deal with if you know your mother wanted you very much, and chose the risk in order to have you, rather than knowing that she had no choice, that your conception was her death sentence.

      • Rosie

        Thank you, Ursula.

  • Natalie

    * This is to Diane’s post above. I didn’t see a reply link available.

    Often times women who have miscarriages mourn in very deep and painful ways (and have funerals for the child that was not born).

    Of course researching to end miscarriages would be a good thing. Maybe I will try to find some blogs discussing such topics. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • smrnda

    When people say that sex and procreation are connected, what it sounds like to me is that they are saying that it is wrong to use technology to separate sex from procreation. You can quite reliably separate the two and methods of contraception are getting better all the time.

    To me, the idea that they are supposed to be connected because it’s part of the natural order would be like saying that it’s wrong to be warm in the winter and cool in the summer using heat and AC since it is ‘natural’ that winter is cold and summer is hot. The great thing about people is when we don’t like the hand nature has dealt us, we figure out a way around natural problems and limitations.

    The other problem I have with the idea that having kids is inherently selfless is how many parents are incredibly narcissistic and see their kids as little trophies and extensions of themselves. Plus, tons of parents like to pretend that they alone contribute to civilization and that all the childless people out there are worthless freeloaders, as if the people without kids who do work that society depends on just aren’t contributing anything. I sure would not have accomplished what I have done in work, which is a contribution to society, if I had had children.

    I do volunteer with children, but that’s a choice. I know it’s not for everyone. Not everybody should have kids and not everybody is cut out to work with them. I think it’s better that people do what they want. I would rather not be critical of choices people make since the things that would work for me might not work for everybody else. Calling people selfish or narcissistic for not wanting kids is like saying that everybody is selfish who doesn’t work 60 hours a week. People have a right to their own priorities.

  • Rilian

    Abortion seems like unsavory to me, but I would definitely do it if it were me. The fact that it’s so risky for your health is reason enough for me.

  • Cat

    Here, here! I get so tired of anti-choice lies. They try to guilt women into sacrificing their lives against their will and if that doesn’t work, they tell them how awful abortion is and how they’ll never recover form it physically and emotionally. BS. I had an abortion, after both contraception and EC failed. Best decision of my life. Never had a second thought, and it was actually a very empowering experience (I had a medical abortion, so I did it at home). I had no complications. I spent one day at home, drinking ginger tea and relaxing. It wasn’t exactly fun, but it wasn’t awful. Like a bad period or something.

    For me, the decision was easy. It wasn’t even a “decision.” I knew right away I wanted an abortion, and that was that. It wasn’t some major upheaval in my life. It wasn’t all emotional or tormenting. I just got an abortion, and it really wasn’t a huge deal. I know it’s not that easy for all women, but it’s proof abortion isn’t the end of your world. I know other women who’ve gotten abortions, and even the ones who struggled with it are content with their choice, because it was THEIR choice. Sure, maybe it was a choice they never wanted to be faced with, but they did the best thing they felt they could.

    I’m childfree and I’m staying that way. If I needed to, I’d have another abortion without hesitation. I’m trying to get a tubal, but doctors often refuse to do it for women without children. So, if someone wants to get on my ass about having an abortion, talk to the medical professionals – they’re the ones in my way of being on better birth control.

    • Rosie

      Cat, some of that may depend on your age. Once you get past 30, I guess the doctors figure you aren’t going to change your mind. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep trying to find someone who will sterilize you now anyhow, though! I was 38 and childless (also one abortion in my past) when I got my tubes tied; best decision ever. The doctor was pretty cool; I went in for my “consultation” and enumerated all the various methods of birth control and why I wanted the tubal, and she just said “ok” and scheduled it for me. Sometimes I think I should have done it 10 or 15 years sooner…but then, there’s always the worry of the tubes growing back.

      • Cat

        Yeah, I know. I’m still trying! I actually have another counsultation next week. I have heard of childfree women as young as me getting their tubes tied, so it’s not totally impossible. I’ll just keep trying until I find someone. I have a friend who works for PP and has been trying to find me doctors willing to work with younger women.

      • Noelle

        have you considered an iud or implanon to tide you over if you can’t find someone to make it final? There’s also the essure procedure where they put little coils in the tubes. It’s less invasive and will still give you sterility. Many docs are wary of performing a surgery with potential risks that you can’t reverse (well, maybe. but it’s tricky) on a young and healthy person. They would say the same to a young childless man who wants a vasectomy (though, a V is less invasive than a traditional tubal). Doing your homework, like Rosie, will get you the best results when talking with a obgyn.

      • Cat

        Yes, I’ve been medically advised against getting an IUD, and I cannot be on any form of hormones, both for medical reasons. I am ready to make a final decision. I don’t need to “tide myself over,” and the only reason I would do so would be to kill time until I find a doctor to sterilize me. I do have somewhat-longwinded-to-explain reasons for prefering to do the surgery over something like Essure, but I have looked into it. I have done my research, and a whole lot of it, believe me!

        I am aware that doctors are wary of it, as though they have some sort of right to tell me when I’m ready to make decisions about my own reproductive care. I can’t recall ever hearing a doctor say to a pregnant woman, “are you sure you don’t want an abortion?” but for some reason they feel they have the right to tell me I don’t really want to be sterilized. Yes, I do. And I will keep banging on doors until I find someone to do it.

  • Rosie

    I know almost as many kids conceived through IUDs as through the pill, as many as I know resulting from broken condoms. Though the new IUD + hormones is supposed to be more effective. If your body can handle hormonal contraceptives (progesterone only), I recommend Depo-Provera in the meantime. The downsides of that one can be delay (like a year and a half) in the return of ovulation after I stopped taking it (not much of a downside for me!), and after a decade the doctor started worrying that I might suffer bone loss (which is why I eventually went off it and got the tubal). The upsides of Depo for me were: no ovulation, no periods, no pregnancy. Homework is good, but unfortunately it’s common practice for doctors to believe that women under 30 don’t know their own minds, no matter how much homework they’ve done. Which I find pretty…presumptive…on the part of the docs.

    • Cat

      This. Other forms of contraception outside condoms are not an option for me due to medical reasons. I could try if I wanted, but I’d suffer for it. Why should I suffer because some self-important git thinks they know my mind better than I do? Like I said above, I never hear doctors saying to pregnant women “Are you sure you don’t want to abort?” They seem to respect women’s choice then, but not when they want to be sterilized. I think it’s a degree of sexism honestly; as though there are no women in the world who honestly have things they’d rather be doing with their lives than raising kids. If I wanted to do any more research than I already have, I’d have to go to medial school. Most people who have kids don’t do half as much. And yet they have the audacity to tell me I don’t know what I want.

      • Rosie

        Yeah, I agree that it’s residual sexism. I’m sorry that you don’t have the plethora of options while you search for a doctor who will actually listen to you and respect your decisions. Good luck in that search; I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you that you find one soon!

      • Cat

        Thanks for the well-wishes, Rosie. Apparently they worked! I’m slated to get the tubes tied in July. :)

  • http://christiancompletely.blogspot.com/ Skarlet

    Not all people are against abortion because they think that women are supposed to have children. Some people just think that snuffing out a human life is miserable. There are hard choices. I mean, if a mother has a 1-year-old that she cannot support, and she does not want to give it up for adoption not knowing if it will live a good life, she has the hard choice between killing the infant or not. Life is hard.

    People say “fetus,” and it’s a latin word that means “child.” It hurts to get torn limb from limb, and when they do that to late-term babies who can feel pain as much as you or I do, it hurts like hell. When I hear about it, it breaks my heart. They try to run from blades, but the blades cut them up. If a fetus (child) a person with a soul? Well, they are human. If humans have souls at all, then babies do. Babies in the womb can kick, and dream, and recognize their mother’s voice – and after a few weeks, they feel the physical pain of having their life ended. If babies do not have the right to live, no human does.

    • Kittens

      What on Earth are you talking about?

    • jejune

      You are so full of shit.

      A fetus is not a person

      A fetus cannot feel pain

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