How I Lost Faith in the “Pro-Life” Movement

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The spring of my sophomore year of college I was president of my university’s Students for Life chapter. The fall of my junior year of college I cut my ties with the pro-life movement. Five years later I have lost the last shred of faith I had in that movement. This is my story.

I was raised in the sort of evangelical family where abortion is the number one political issue. I grew up believing that abortion was murder, and when I stopped identifying as pro-life I initially still believed that. Why, then, did I stop identifying as pro-life? Quite simply, I learned that increasing contraceptive use, not banning abortion, was the key to decreasing the number of abortions. Given that the pro-life movement focuses on banning abortion and is generally opposed advocating greater contraceptive use, I knew that I no longer fit. I also knew that my biggest allies in decreasing the number of abortions were those who supported increased birth control use – in other words, pro-choice progressives. And so I stopped calling myself pro-life.

My views on fetal personhood and women’s bodily autonomy have shifted since that day, but when I first started blogging a year and a half ago I was nevertheless very insistent that the pro-life movement should be taken at its word when it came to rhetoric about saving “unborn babies” from being “murdered.” I insisted that the pro-life movement wasn’t anti-woman or anti-sex, and that those who opposed abortion genuinely believed that a zygote/embryo/fetus was a person with rights in need of protection just like any other person. I believed that the pro-life movement’s actions were counterproductive, but that they were merely misinformed. I wrote a post with practical suggestions for opponents of abortion. I believed that the pro-life movement was genuine in its goals, but simply ignorant about how its goals might best be obtained.

I have come to the conclusion that I was wrong.

As a child, teen, and college student, I sincerely believed that personhood, life, rights, and the soul all began at fertilization. I was honestly opposed to abortion because I believed it was murder. It had nothing to do with being anti-woman or anti-sex. I thought that the pro-life movement writ large – the major pro-life organizations, leaders, and politicians – were similarly genuine. I thought that they, like myself, simply wanted to “save the lives of unborn babies.”

I have come to the conclusion that I was a dupe.

What I want to share here is how I came to this realization. And if you, reader, are one of those who opposes abortion because you believe it is murder and you want to save the lives of unborn babies, well, I hope to persuade you that the pro-life movement is not actually your ally in this, that you have been misled, and that you would be more effective in decreasing the number of abortions that occur if you were to side with pro-choice progressives. If this is you, please hear me out before shaking your head.

Changing Tactics and Breaking Ties

My journey began one blustery day in October of 2007 when I came upon an article in the New York Times. This article completely shook my perspective. It didn’t change my belief that abortion was murder or my desire to save the lives of unborn babies. Instead, it simply completely overhauled my tactical focus and made me realize that the current efforts of the pro-life movement are extremely backwards.

Banning Abortion Does Not Decrease Abortion Rates

The first thing I learned from that New York Times article shocked me: it turns out that banning abortion does not actually affect the abortion rate.

A comprehensive global study of abortion has concluded that abortion rates are similar in countries where it is legal and those where it is not, suggesting that outlawing the procedure does little to deter women seeking it.

Moreover, the researchers found that abortion was safe in countries where it was legal, but dangerous in countries where it was outlawed and performed clandestinely. Globally, abortion accounts for 13 percent of women’s deaths during pregnancy and childbirth, and there are 31 abortions for every 100 live births, the study said.

The results of the study, a collaboration between scientists from the World Health Organization in Geneva and the Guttmacher Institute in New York, a reproductive rights group, are being published Friday in the journal Lancet.

“We now have a global picture of induced abortion in the world, covering both countries where it is legal and countries where laws are very restrictive,” Dr. Paul Van Look, director of the W.H.O. Department of Reproductive Health and Research, said in a telephone interview. “What we see is that the law does not influence a woman’s decision to have an abortion. If there’s an unplanned pregnancy, it does not matter if the law is restrictive or liberal.”

But the legal status of abortion did greatly affect the dangers involved, the researchers said. “Generally, where abortion is legal it will be provided in a safe manner,” Dr. Van Look said. “And the opposite is also true: where it is illegal, it is likely to be unsafe, performed under unsafe conditions by poorly trained providers.”

I was flabbergasted upon reading this. I followed the link to the summary of the study, printed the entire thing out for reading over lunch, and then headed off to class. As I perused the study over a taco bowl in the student union later that day I wondered why I had never been told any of this. I was shocked to find that the countries with the lowest abortion rates are the ones where abortion is most legal and available, and the countries with the highest abortion rates are generally the ones where the practice is illegal. It’s true.

Highly restrictive abortion laws are not associated with lower abortion rates. For example, the abortion rate is 29 per 1,000 women of childbearing age in Africa and 32 per 1,000 in Latin America—regions in which abortion is illegal under most circumstances in the majority of countries. The rate is 12 per 1,000 in Western Europe, where abortion is generally permitted on broad grounds.

Banning abortion does not actually affect abortion rates. I was could not have been more shocked. I learned that all banning abortion does is make abortion illegal – and unsafe. I found that almost 50,000 women worldwide die each year from unsafe abortions, and that many more experience serious injury or infertility. These deaths happen almost entirely in countries where abortion is illegal – and thus clandestine. In fact, when abortion was made legal in South Africa, the number of abortion related deaths fell by over 90%.

Overturning Roe, I realized, would not make women stop having abortions. Instead, it would simply punish women who have abortions by requiring them to risk their health to do so. This is all well and good if the goal is to punish women for seeking abortions, but if the goal is to keep unborn babies from being murdered, this is extremely ineffective.

The Real Solution: Birth Control

But if banning abortion does not decrease abortion rates, what does? Why do some countries have low abortion rates while others have much higher rates? The answer, I found, was simple.

Both the lowest and highest subregional abortion rates are in Europe, where abortion is generally legal under broad grounds. In Western Europe, the rate is 12 per 1,000 women, while in Eastern Europe it is 43. The discrepancy in rates between the two regions reflects relatively low contraceptive use in Eastern Europe, as well as a high degree of reliance on methods with relatively high user failure rates, such as the condom, withdrawal and the rhythm method.

As I sat there in the student union reading over my lunch, I found that making birth control widespread and easily accessible is actually the most effective way to decrease the abortion rate. Even as I processed this fact, I knew that the pro-life movement as a whole generally opposes things like comprehensive sex education and making birth control available to teenagers. I knew this because I had lived it, had heard it in pro-life banquet after pro-life banquet, had read it in the literature. The pro-life movement is anti-birth-control. And opposing birth control is pretty much the most ineffective way to decrease abortion rates imaginable. In fact, opposing birth control actually drives the abortion rates up.

As I mulled this over, I realized how very obvious it was. The cause of abortions is unwanted pregnancies. If you get rid of unwanted pregnancies the number of people who seek abortions will drop like a rock. Simply banning abortion leaves women stuck with unwanted pregnancies. Banning abortion doesn’t make those pregnancies wanted. Many women in a situation like that will be willing to do anything to end that pregnancy, even if it means trying to induce their own abortions (say, with a coat hanger or by drinking chemicals) or seeking out illegal abortions. I realized that the real way to reduce abortion rates, then, was to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. And the way to do that is with birth control, which reduces the number of unwanted pregnancies by allowing women to control when and if they become pregnant.

I realized that the only world in which opposing birth control made any sense was one in which the goal was to control women’s sex lives. After all, birth control allows women to have sex without having to face the “consequences” of sex. But I had never opposed abortion in an effort to make women face the “consequences” of having sex. I had always opposed abortion out of a desire to save the lives of unborn babies. As a child, I had been moved to tears by the image of millions of babies murdered by abortion each year. If making it easier for women to have sex I personally believed was sinful was the price I had to pay to save the lives of unborn babies, it was a price I was more than willing to pay.

As my next class approached, I put the printout back in my backpack and walked out into the October sun. My mind was in turmoil, but there was one thing I knew for sure. I could no longer call myself pro-life, because I could no longer support the policies advocated by the pro-life movement and the major pro-life organizations. I no longer wanted to see Roe overturned or abortion banned. Instead, I wanted to work towards a world in which everyone has access to affordable birth control and unplanned pregnancies are reduced to a bare minimum. That day I became pro-choice.

What about the Zygote?

In the five years since that day in October, I have rethought many things. I no longer believe that abortion is murder because I no longer hold that a zygote, embryo, or fetus is a “person.” I also came to realize that the focus on personhood ignores the fact that a zygote, embryo, or fetus is growing inside of another person’s body. For a variety of reasons, I see birth as the key dividing line. But even as my position shifted, I was still willing to give the pro-life movement the benefit of the doubt. Why? Because I believed that the pro-life movement’s opposition to birth control stemmed not from a desire to control women’s sex lives but rather from the belief that the pill was an “abortifacient.” This meant that the pro-life movement could oppose abortion as murder and yet also oppose birth control without actually being inconsistent. But in the last few months I have read several things that have shaken this belief.

Does the Pill Kill?

Let me preface this with a quick biology lesson. Every month, a woman’s body releases an egg into the Fallopian tubes. If there is sperm there waiting, the egg becomes fertilized, and this fertilized egg has its own unique DNA. This is when I was taught life – including personhood and the bestowing of a soul – began. This fertilized egg, or zygote, then travels from the Fallopian tubes to the uterus, where it implants in the uterine wall. That is when pregnancy begins.

Now, the birth control pill works primarily by preventing ovulation in the first place, and also by impeding sperm so that it can’t get to the Fallopian tubes to fertilize the egg. But leading organizations in the pro-life movement argue that there is some chance that women on the pill will have “breakthrough ovulation,” and if this occurs and sperm somehow make their way into the Fallopian tubes, you could technically end up with a fertilized egg. Pro-life organizations further suggest that because the pill also thins the uterine lining, this fertilized egg would be flushed out of a woman’s body through her vagina rather than implanting in her uterus.

Here is how a Life Issues Institute article describes this:

The estrogen level is so low that it doesn’t suppress ovulation all of the time …, and sometimes there is what we call a breakthrough ovulation – ovulation which breaks through the effect of the drug and is simply a plain old ovulation. It just happens. Fertilization, then, can occur. But if fertilization occurs, implantation within the nutrient lining of the womb is prevented by another action of the same pill. That action is a hardening of the lining of the womb. What occurs, then, is an induced micro-abortion at one week of life.

How frequent is breakthrough ovulation in a woman taking a low-estrogen contraceptive pill? Well, let’s take a high estimate – 20%. Probably lower than that. How frequently does pregnancy occur when an egg or an ovum is waiting? Probably not much more than two or three times out of the twenty.

So if we use a high figure, a 20% breakthrough ovulation, that would mean a two or three percent fertilization rate. But, as a matter of fact, pregnancy occurs only about 1% or less of the time, so, in the other 1 or 2%, fertilization does occur, implantation cannot occur, and the little embryonic baby dies.

The bottom line, then, for the commonly used contraceptive pill is this: in 97 or 98% of the time, the effect is one of preventing pregnancy. But, in perhaps two or more percent of the time, the effect is abortifacient. There is no way in the normal clinical practice of knowing which is happening, or when.

When I learned that birth control, not banning abortion, was the best way to decrease abortion, I knew about this argument. However, I concluded that the small number of times this might happen was outweighed by the number of abortions the widespread use of birth control would prevent. Yet even though that was my conclusion, I could at least understand why those in the pro-life movement almost universally opposed the pill and other forms of hormonal birth control. I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that, even though I thought they were misguided in their tactics, they really did simply want to “save the lives of unborn babies.” And give them the benefit of the doubt I did.

I later learned that an increasing pile of evidence suggests that the pill does not actually result in fertilized eggs being flushed out of a woman’s body. I began to feel that the pro-life movement had no qualms with twisting the scientific evidence if need be, which was confusing because there didn’t seem to be a motive for insisting on the belief that the pill causes abortions if scientific evidence indicated the contrary. I also found that the pro-life movement is not afraid of twisting the evidence when it comes to things like the supposed harmful side effects of abortion, such as depression and breast cancer. Cooking up “scientific facts” in an effort to scare women out of having abortions rather than working to encourage birth control use in an effort to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies seemed extremely backwards, and I became increasingly troubled by the way the pro-life movement treated science and their constant willingness to play fast and loose with the facts.

The Biggest Killer: A Woman’s Own Body

Because I knew that the pro-life movement believed that the pill causes abortions, though, I could on some level understand why they opposed it, and I continued to give them the benefit of the doubt on that score. That is, until I read this blog post by Sarah.

The anti-birth control crowd leaves out one very important fact: a woman’s body naturally rejects at least 18% of fertilized eggs. This means that if you have unprotected sex that leads to the fertilization of an egg (30% chance of successful fertilization), the resulting zygote has an 18% chance of being rejected by the uterus. The human body naturally performs “abortions” almost 20% of the time. So does taking birth control actually increase the chances of zygote abortion, or does birth control actually reduce the chances of this occurring? Let’s do the math.

Without Birth Control:

  • Out of 100 fertile women without birth control, 100 of them will ovulate in any given month.
  • Out of those 100 released eggs, 33 will become fertilized.
  • Out of those 33, 18% will be rejected by the uterus.
  • In a group of 100 women not on birth control: 6 zygotes will “die”

With Birth Control:

  • Out of 100 fertile women on birth control, around 6 of them will ovulate in any given month.
  • Out of those 6 released eggs, only 2 will become fertilized.
  • Out of those 2, 100% will be rejected by the uterus.
  • In a group of 100 women on birth control: 2 zygotes will “die”

So let’s get this straight, taking birth control makes a woman’s body LESS likely to dispel fertilized eggs. If you believe that life begins at conception, shouldn’t it be your moral duty to reduce the number of zygote “abortions?” If you believe that a zygote is a human, you actually kill more babies by refusing to take birth control.

I have to be honest, this blog post totally shocked me. I wondered about the numbers Sarah used, so I went looking for verification. As I did this I opted to use the pro-life movement’s own numbers on the rate of fertilized eggs that fail to implant for women on the pill. Remember, once again, that scientific studies have found again and again that the pill does not result in fertilized eggs failing to implant. However, I felt that if I used the pro-life movement’s own numbers I could not be accused of simply using studies with a liberal bias. And so I explored the numbers. What I found was that Sarah’s numbers were off. What I found was that for every 100 fertile women on birth control each month, only 0.15 fertilized eggs will be flushed out. In contrast, for every 100 fertile women not on birth control in a given month, 16 fertilized eggs will be flushed out. In other words, Sarah’s numbers were far too conservative. She was more right than she knew. It is the people not using birth control that are “murdering” the most “children,” not women on the pill.

After reading Sarah’s article and doing the math using the pro-life movement’s own numbers, I concluded that the idea that the pill is an abortifacient is used as a smokescreen. It has to be. If the pro-life movement believes that even a very small chance of a zygote being flushed out is enough reason to oppose the use of the pill, then there should be an extreme amount of concern about the much, much higher number of fertilized eggs flushed out of the bodies of women not using the pill. Anyone who really thinks about it cannot help but come to the conclusion that if your goal is to save “unborn babies,” and if you truly believe that a zygote – a fertilized egg – has the same value and worth as you or I – the only responsible thing to do is to put every sexually active woman on the pill. Sure, according to the pro-life movement’s figures a few fertilized eggs would still fail to implant and thus “die,” once again according to their own figures, an enormous number of these “deaths” would be prevented.

And yet, the pro-life movement still up the pill as a great evil. Pro-life doctors often refuse to prescribe the pill, and pro-life pharmacists refuse to fill prescriptions for it. This makes utterly no sense unless the point is not “saving unborn babies” but rather making sure that women who dare to have sex have to face the “consequences,” i.e. pregnancy and children. As I thought through all of the implications of Sarah’s article, the benefit of the doubt that I had been giving the pro-life movement began to falter. How could they justify opposing the pill when putting sexually active women on the pill would actually save the lives of unborn babies?

Why No 5K to Save the Zygotes?

A few months after reading Sarah’s article I came upon one by Fred Clark. In it, he argues that if those who oppose abortion really believe that every fertilized egg is a person we ought to see 5K fundraisers to save these zygotes. This is very much like what I said above, except that the focus here is whether the 50% of all zygotes – 50% of all fertilized eggs – that die before pregnancy even begins could be saved. Fred suggests that if the pro-life movement really is about saving unborn babies, and if those in the pro-life movement really do believe that life begins at fertilization, then pro-lifers really ought to be extremely concerned about finding a way to save all of these lives. But they’re not.

Name a disease and there’s a charitable research foundation committed to finding a cure, and for just about every such foundation there’s a corresponding 5k race or walkathon, lemonade stand, bake sale, golf tournament, banquet, concert, gala or festival to raise funds.

But for the biggest killer of them all, there’s nothing.

No 5k or 10k. No walkathon. No foundation promoting research. No research.

The deadly scourge that claims half of all human lives ever conceived is completely ignored.

Here’s Jonathan Dudley discussing this killer in his book Broken Words:

Due to hormone imbalances, genetic anomalies, and a number of unknown factors, between 50 percent and 75 percent of embryos fail to implant in the uterus and are passed with the monthly menstrual flow. If we agree with pro-life advocates that every embryo is as morally valuable as an adult human, this means that more than half of humans immediately die. This fact provides pro-life advocates with an opportunity to follow through on their convictions. Surely, a moral response to a pandemic of this magnitude would be to rally the scientific community to devote the vast majority of its efforts to better understanding why this happens and trying to stop it. Yet the same pro-life leaders who declare that every embryo is morally equivalent to a fully developed child have done nothing to advocate such research. … Even if medicine could save only 10 percent of these embryos — and we don’t know because no one has cared enough to ask — it would be saving more lives than curing HIV, diabetes, and malaria combined. One could say that this massive loss of human life is natural, and therefore, humans are under no obligation to end it. But it is not clear why the same argument could not be used to justify complacency in the face of AIDS, cancer, heart disease, and other natural causes of human death.

For anyone who genuinely believes the pro-life argument that “every embryo is morally equivalent to a fully developed child,” the sort of research Dudley describes ought to be an inescapable obligation.

And yet there are no charitable events to support the foundations funding such research. No such foundations exist to be supported. No such research exists to be funded.

Reading Fred’s article compounded what I had felt reading Sarah’s article. The pro-life movement is not about “saving unborn babies.” It can’t be. As someone who as a child and teen really did believe that life – personhood – began at fertilization, and who really was in it to “save unborn babies,” this is baffling. If I had known all this, I would have been all for this sort of research. I would have been all for sexually active women using the pill to cut down on “deaths.” But I didn’t know any of this. The adults of the anti-abortion movement, though, and certainly the leaders, they surely must know these things. This isn’t rocket science, after all. They must know these things, and yet they are doing nothing.

The Ultimate Hypocrisy

Reading Sarah and Fred’s articles and then thinking them through and doing some research made me realize that those in the pro-life movement, or at least the leaders of the pro-life movement, are incredibly inconsistent. You simply can’t be against the pill for fear that it will result in flushed out zygotes and yet not concerned at all about the vastly greater number of zygotes flushed out naturally every day. At least, not if you really truly believe a zygote has the same worth as an infant, toddler, or adult, and not if you’re truly motivated solely by a desire to save the lives of these “unborn babies.” Fresh off of these thoughts, I came upon two news articles on the subject in the last week that have completely shattered the last bit of faith I had in the pro-life movement.

Barack Obama, Pro-Life Hero?

Those who oppose abortion are all set to vote for Romney because he has done things like voice approval for the personhood amendment, which would ban abortion, but what they don’t seem to realize is that, as I found out for the first time last week, Obama has already done more to reduce the number of abortions than any other president ever has or ever will.

On October 3, researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine published a study with profound implications for policy making in the United States. According to Dr. Jeffery Peipert, the study’s lead author, abortion rates can be expected to decline significantly—perhaps up to 75 percent—when contraceptives are made available to women free of charge. Declaring himself “very surprised” at the results, Peipert requested expedient publication of the study, noting its relevance to the upcoming election.

As most observers surely know, the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. “Obamacare”) requires insurance coverage for birth control, a provision staunchly opposed by most of the same religious conservatives who oppose legalized abortion. If Peipert is correct, however, the ACA may prove the single most effective piece of “pro-life” legislation in the past forty years.

In the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, we have a previously unimaginable opportunity for satisfying compromise on abortion. In accordance with liberal demands, the procedure will remain safe and legal, and reproductive choices will be extended to those who have been unable to afford them in the past. In exchange, conservatives will see abortion rates plummet, achieving a result comparable to that of illegality but without the fierce controversy or government imposition in the lives of individuals.

I am not so naïve as to believe that this conclusion is likely to be reached soon, or without further contest. Nor do I anticipate that Tom Minnery or Bryan Fischer will embrace President Obama as a pro-life hero. But it seems to me that, if conservatives really believe in the evil of abortion, they are morally obligated to embrace a policy that stands to limit it so impressively.

Obamacare stands to cut abortion rates by 75%. And yet, the pro-life movement has been leveraged in opposition to Obamacare, and most especially in opposition to the birth control mandate. They don’t believe women should be guaranteed access to free contraception even though this access is the number one proven best way to decrease the number of abortions. That access would, to use the rhetoric of the pro-life movement, prevent the murders of 900,000 unborn babies every year.

When I was pro-life, I truly believed it was about saving unborn babies. If I had seen a study like the one above – that making birth control available free of charge would cut the number of abortions by 75% – I would have immediately supported the requirement that all insurance companies offer birth control without copay. We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of lives. I cried about this as a child, cried about all the deaths. I felt guilty that I was one who had survived the abortion “holocaust.” Saving hundreds of thousands of these lives a year? I would have jumped at the idea!

And yet, the pro-life movement is fighting tooth and nail to repeal the very act they should be praising to the rooftops. In fact, some of them don’t even just think birth control shouldn’t be covered without copay, they don’t think birth control should be covered at all. When I read this study and thought about the pro-life response to Obamacare, I was baffled. Dumbstruck. But it gets worse.

Making It Harder to Afford Children

One thing I realized back in 2007 is that, given that six in ten women who have abortions already have at least one child and that three quarters of women who have abortions report that they cannot afford another child, if we want to bring abortion rates down we need to make sure that women can always afford to carry their pregnancies to term. Maternity and birth is expensive, adding your child to your health care plan is expensive, daycare is expensive, and on and on it goes. Raising children costs money, and women who have abortions know that.

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

I realized, then, that if the goal is to cut the abortion rate, the pro-life movement should be working to make sure that women can afford to have and care for children. After all, a full three quarters of women who have abortions say they could not afford a child. If we found a way to offer more aid to parents, if we mandated things like paid maternity leave, subsidized childcare, and universal health insurance for pregnant women and for children, some women who would otherwise abort would almost certainly decide to carry their pregnancies to term. But the odd thing is, those who identify as “pro-life” are most adamant in opposing these kind of reforms. I knew this back in 2007, because I grew up in one of those families. I grew up believing that welfare should be abolished, that Head Start needed to be eliminated, that medicaid just enabled people to be lazy. I grew up in a family that wanted to abolish some of the very programs with the potential to decrease the number of abortions. When I shifted my position on this issue, I was in many ways simply becoming consistent.

With the advent of the Tea Party movement and new calls for a small government and for cutting things like welfare and food stamps, those who claim to believe abortion is murder, who claim to want to bring abortion rates down, have only done further damage to what credibility they had left in my eyes. And lately, it’s gotten worse. You see, in some cases conservatives are actively working to make it harder for poor women to afford to carry unintended pregnancies to term.

A Pennsylvania House bill seeks to limit the amount of TANF assistance that low-income women receive based on the amount of children they give birth to while covered under the program.

Despite the fact that low-income women who give birth to children would logically need increased assistance to care for their larger family, Pennsylvania lawmakers — State Reps. RoseMarie Swanger (R), Tom Caltagirone (D), Mark Gillen (R), Keith Gillespie (R), Adam Harris (R), and Mike Tobash (R) — don’t want their state’s welfare program to provide additional benefits for that newborn. If a woman gives birth to a child who was conceived from rape, she may seek an exception to this rule so that her welfare benefits aren’t slashed, but only if she can provide proof that she reported her sexual assault and her abuser’s identity to the police

In other words, this bill would make it so that if a poor woman gets pregnant, she has to decide whether to have an abortion or whether to carry to term, have the baby, and see her welfare benefits slashed, taking food out of the mouths of the children she is already struggling to feed. I want to say I’m surprised, but I’m really not, because I’m remembering rumblings underneath the polished surface of the things I was taught. This idea that women shouldn’t “spread their legs” if they’re not ready to raise the results of their promiscuity, that the government shouldn’t be expected to pick up the tab for some slut’s inability to say no. As a teen and a young adult, I never thought about how inconsistent these ideas were with the “saving unborn babies” pro-life rhetoric I so strongly believed in. But they are. If it’s all about “saving unborn babies,” it shouldn’t matter how those unborn babies are conceived, or whether their mothers are rich or poor, married or not.

If those who oppose abortion really believes that abortion is murder, they should be supporting programs that would make it easier for poor women to afford to carry pregnancies to term. Instead, they’re doing the opposite. Overwhelmingly, those who oppose abortion also want to cut welfare and medicaid. Without these programs, the number of women who choose abortion because they cannot afford to carry a given pregnancy to term will rise. Further, they are working against things like paid maternity leave, subsidized daycare, and universal health insurance for children, programs which would likely decrease the number of women who choose abortion because they cannot afford to carry a pregnancy to term. And in this specific case, conservatives want to penalize a poor woman who chooses to carry a pregnancy to term by making it harder for her to make ends meet.

This makes utterly no sense if the goal is to save babies.


After reading that last article just a couple days ago, I realized something. I am done making excuses for the pro-life movement. I am done trying to explain that the movement is not anti-woman. I am done trying to insist that the movement really is simply trying to “save unborn babies.” I’m done because it’s not true. The pro-life movement supports the exact policies that will keep abortion rates high. It is those who believe in choice who support policies that will bring the abortion rates down.

I was a dupe. I’m ready to admit it now.

The reality is that so-called pro-life movement is not about saving babies. It’s about regulating sex. That’s why they oppose birth control. That’s why they want to ban abortion even though doing so will simply drive women to have dangerous back alley abortions. That’s why they want to penalize women who take public assistance and then dare to have sex, leaving an exemption for those who become pregnant from rape. It’s not about babies. If it were about babies, they would be making access to birth control widespread and free and creating a comprehensive social safety net so that no woman finds herself with a pregnancy she can’t afford. They would be raising money for research on why half of all zygotes fail to implant and working to prevent miscarriages. It’s not about babies. It’s about controlling women. It’s about making sure they have consequences for having unapproved sex.

But I am very sure that there are other dupes out there. If you’re sitting there reading this thinking “but I really am in it to save unborn babies,” I am sure you’re not alone. After all, I was one of you.

If you are one who has been a part of the pro-life movement because you really do believe in “saving unborn babies,” it’s time to cut your ties with the movement. You may be an honest and kind-hearted person, but you’ve been had. You’ve been taken in. It’s time to let go. It’s time to support Obamacare’s birth control mandate, it’s time to call off opposition to birth control, and it’s time to get behind progressive programs that help provide for poor women and their children. It’s time to make your actions consistent with your motives. While I am myself no longer morally opposed to abortion, I and others like me share your desire to decrease the number of unplanned pregnancies and to ensure that every woman can afford the option of keeping her pregnancy.

We’d love to have you join us.


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For followup posts on issues addressed here, see: 

A Response to Objections on my Pro-Life Movement Post

More On Laws And Abortion: A Response to Bad Catholic

If You Don’t Want a Baby, Just Don’t Have Sex?

Okay Then, Let’s Talk about Natural Family Planning

 A Paradigm Shift: My “Aha” Moment on Abortion

On Married Women and Separating Sex from Procreation

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I Co-sleep, But: Some Thoughts on Attachment Parenting
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.

  • Some Guy

    Hi! I read the conclusion your article on a tumblr post and respectfully disagree.

    I don’t believe that abortions should be outright banned, but they should be restricted to certain surgical centers. These places would be able to perform abortions safely. If a long drive would deter you from getting an abortion, then you probably aren’t all that serious about it.

    That being said, I don’t think that the government should be required to provide birth control to everybody. It’s ridiculous for them to provide for the recreation of all of it’s citizens. Using this sort of logic, the government should have free sport leagues, movie theaters, and TV’s. Recreational sex is just that- recreation. People should have enough self control to admit that if they’re adequately prepared to have sex, then they need to recognize it and do something else. The best way not to end up with an unwanted pregnancy is not to have sex. The only birth control that’s 100% effective? Abstinence.

    • Anat

      Why does a simple procedure such as an early abortion require being performed in a surgical center? This is BS. There is no justification to apply non-medical considerations to how medical procedures are performed.

      If you complicate access to early abortions you’d get increased demand for late abortions – even illegal ones, performed without supervision. And if you insist on your proposed policy knowing this then your concern for women’s safety is a lie.

      Heck, considering that an abortion is safer for women than bringing a pregnancy to term and giving birth anyone concerned with women’s health should support easy access to abortion for all those who are interested in them.

      The government should be subsidizing birth control because it promotes health, saves money, and serves as an anti-poverty measure.

      What’s wrong with recreation? What’s wrong with recreational activities that enhance people’s relationships? I thought strong marriages were the cornerstone of society or something. Are married people supposed to abstain too? Because married women have abortions too. Is sex a privilege of the well off?

      Abstinence is useless against rape. And even if there was no rape ever, the 100% effectiveness is only the theoretical rate. Just like the typical effectiveness for condoms includes instances where people decided to skip them, there’s some typical effectiveness for people who use abstinence as their birth control method – and don’t manage to do it all the time. And that number is less than 100%.

    • belgianchic

      “if a long drive would deter you from getting an abortion then you probably aren’t that serious about it” how disgustingly disrespectful. a long drive is a long drive. it has nothing to do with how ‘serious’ you are about it. A long drive to get a perfectly legal and safe medical procedure is kind of silly, and hurts the women in more ways than time. they have to take time off from work, and in many cases find child care. its sickening that people are so blatantly oblivious to what that means: restricting reproductive rights.

      • victoria

        Not everyone has a driver’s license, a car, or money for that amount of gas either.

      • belgianchic

        exactly! thanks for adding that.

  • kts89

    this article is amazing. I grew up in a similar household and held similar views as a child and adolescent. My experience of going from anti to pro-choice parallels yours in many ways. Thank you for this post, for your time and for its incredible clarity.

  • Erica

    I’ve been pretty sure the pro life movement was more interested in rolling the clocks back on the sexual revolution and in punishing “loose” women than in saving babies since the 1980s. Their rhetoric hasn’t shifted since then–they were against contraception, comprehensive sex ed and social services for poor mothers and their children then, and they are now. If you backed them into a corner and got them to tell you what you really thought back then, there was a point where their faces would twist with revulsion and they’d say something like, “A woman who doesn’t want children should keep her legs closed,” or something like that. This hasn’t changed. I just had what had to be my 200th conversation along these lines with an anti-choice person the other day. For good measure, he added that he doesn’t buy the rape argument either, because any woman who’s being raped can just kick the guy in the nuts, and if she doesn’t, she deserves to get pregnant.

    Yep, that’s their stance. Sex is only for procreation (if you’re female at least), and women who don’t want kids, or who can’t afford them or have them for health reasons, should embrace lifelong celibacy. Even rape is a woman’s fault, because she shouldn’t have been alone with the guy in the first place, or she should have kicked him in the nuts. They haven’t made a big secret of this over the years. An unwanted pregnancy is the ultimate slut shame.

    It’s sad that it’s taken about 30 years for this to become obvious to the mainstream. Of course, this is because we’re now reaping the “benefits” of 30 years of whittling away at the separation of Church and State, abortion rights and at social services, so it’s harder to hide the consequences of the religious right’s complete takeover of one party and their watering down of the other party’s commitment to this issue.

    • Valerie Finnigan

      As a pro-lifer who walked the walk in a variety of ways including carrying to term a crisis pregnancy and learning the vast difference between “unwanted” and “unloved,” I think you’ve got it all backward.

      The biggest reason we have an abortion rate as high as we do is because IMO, pro-choicers stigmatize unplanned pregnancy. It’s the mentality that a child is better off dead than unplanned. I’ve received more slut-shaming from the pro-choice side for daring to sport a baby bump before the wedding ring than from the pro-life side. For the most part, the pro-life organizations in my area were simply interested in providing me with food, clothing, baby items, medical care, lactation consulting, parenting support, and zero judgement for having an unplanned pregnancy.

  • Libilou

    I could have written this article. I, at one time, even ran a so-called crisis pregnancy center. I knew the statistics (most women who wanted an abortion already had children and just couldn’t afford more). I could see that those who had abortions weren’t suffering from depression, but rather released from it.

    Thank you for taking the time to lay this all out.

  • cindy


  • RayJ

    Interesting and well written.

    I’m sure that a large portion (but not all) of the Pro-Life supporters are
    religious. Much of your argument is with them, or perhaps with your parents.
    You infer that includes the leadership. Perhaps, but just your assumption.
    Religion, like many human institutions, is substantially about controlling
    people’s behavior. How can you find it surprising that is one of their motives?
    Or that it extends beyond a single issue? How can you imply that it’s sinister?

    You made a quick leap by equating opposition to birth control pills with general opposition to birth control. You do make the point that birth control pills are more effective than the other typical methods. But the issue is whether the Right to Life group is really against birth control, as you allege or only against the birth control pills. You haven’t made that case. Your words only support that they are against the pill and thus your arguments attacking them for opposing birth control are unsupported.

    Your appeal to statistics regarding actual percentages of abortions and aborted
    fetuses is interesting, but ultimately just a distraction. No one except sociopaths make moral decisions and judgments (that’s what this is about) based on statistics. No one on the Pro Choice side either adopted their position because of these statistics or would renounce their position if your statistics were reversed. And if statistics about results really affected people’s choices, then how can we have so many programs that have poor statistics, yet there are supporters who call for yet more … (funding, effort, leadership, etc.) — because
    they have a belief in some principle?

    The arguments about welfare support for poor mothers to be is a typical well-meaning thought, like socialism, that has proven to only work with Saints,
    not with we ordinary humans, who abuse such programs terribly. Examples are too numerous to count. This is where well-meaning principle and intentions confront reality; choose wisely. And note that while your article attempts to appeal to reason and fact, supportive facts and data are strangely missing from this welfare advocacy; i.e. No evidence that this works in reality.

    I find the conclusions are a bit much, derived I think from your feeling betrayed. But you have no evidence to support a conclusion that “the Pro Life movement” is out to deceive you and are not really against INTENTIONAL fetal death. I think evidence is necessary. Failing that, a more nuanced conclusion would be that there are apparent contradictions in their positions, based on logical outcomes — as there undoubtedly are with the other side. We are all humans, after all.

    Are you still for life? You could have also chosen to stay with the Pro Life side and attempted to change their stance with regards to including banning contraceptives in regards to this Right to Life advocacy, although you won’t change their religious convictions about it. Perhaps as your religious beliefs faltered (my inference), it was easier to switch sides and join with the secularists rather than wrestle with the religious part of the Pro Life movement. But that ease might pass. You might find potential for conflict with others in the Pro Choice movement (e.g. Partial-Birth abortion) and even wilder scenarios are possible with some majority of the people in the Pro Choice movement holding controversial or contradictory positions in other matters. What then?

    I believe the best social policy is to *honor* BOTH sides of such a weighty moral issue and not decide by majority vole nor appeal to emotions nor evade with irrelevant statistics. Honoring both sides as an approach may not provide simplistic answers, but jointly searching for such answers can lead to respect and unification rather than further divisiveness.

    • tsara

      “No one except sociopaths make moral decisions and judgments (that’s what this is about) based on statistics.”
      …can I have the sociopaths, please? Their world will probably be less broken.
      (especially because what we’re actually discussing is legal policies.)
      (am tipsy. Might not be making all that much sense.)

      • RayJ

        When I read your first lines, I immediately thought it was a great comeback in the context of a party (with drinking)! I think I came close.

        Do you *like* the typical major corporation, run by analytical MBA-types from Harvard, etc.? They follow this concept. They choose what to do based on studies and statistics and are out to maximize their “personal” return. They drop products, drop product support, raise prices, choose to make/sell crappy products, layoff workers, close plants, move to China, etc. as soon as they see a statistically likely benefit. Imagine a world with all the actors (individuals, companies, groups, governments) being this way. I see a horror story. Humans (and their institutions, if possible) with values derived from something deeper than some statistical study provide us with our best hope. But we do have to find a way to reconcile conflicting values — or at least conflicting conclusions.

      • tsara

        Really? I think they’re mostly doing what they feel like, with a whole lot of CYA. The various ways they’re destroying the world don’t really speak of ‘long term planning for their own best interests’ to me. I’d like to recommend the book ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ by Daniel Kahneman; humans are pretty terrible at making decisions, and economics is a whole lot more like a crapshoot than most people seem comfortable admitting. I am fairly confident in asserting that decisions made by carefully considering statistical realities and with the aim of actually improving things…will actually improve things. Of course, the issue is in how we define ‘actually improving things’; I think it’s likely that there’s only one right answer, but that we have to always try to ‘actually improve things’ and resist the urge to get to attached to any particular definition of ‘actually improving things’ so that we can continue to refine our definition and make things even better.

      • RayJ

        While our thinking about the details of how corporations work is different, our conclusions seem similar. We don’t think they make good decisions for the longer term or even necessarily for themselves. And not for the other actors they deal with. John Mackey of Whole Foods has a new book about about an alternative way for companies to behave — and they do even better for profitability than companies whose sole value is profitability!

        For decision making, there’s a concise summary at Probabilities can be used and utility functions, which are used for handling risk and whose values are partly determined by one’s values. As it points out, this science is actually rarely used — even by corporations and virtually never by individuals.

        It would be good to base decisions on what causes improvement. But life is so complicated that while it’s good to make a first best estimate and give some good thinking and analysis to it, the key is followup and course correction. Most are wedded to the initial theory and never let actual outcomes affect their thinking. So, I agree with you to do one’s best at thinking and using statistics and decision science for the initial decision;but your final point about refining is critical. Not just refining though, but fully reconsidering one’s theory. This is essentially the scientific method. Form a theory that leads to a list of actions that will get the desired outcome and then test. If it doesn’t get the predicted results, throw out or refine the theory. And throw it out if it gets unintended bad consequences. I think legislation should be done this way. Have a sunset clause built in that terminates the program if certain criteria are not met — and put money into objective measurements and to avoid fraud.

        Even here, this is simplistic. Virtually all actions have both positive and negative results. Taking the new job with a promotion causes some loss. In society, good for some is usually harm for others. How is this weighed or judged? Too often, in a democracy, this is weighed by majority vote which can allow tyranny over the minority. Our founders tried to build in protections against this, but weren’t ultimately very successful.

        But it’s another thing to apply this to situations involving moral principles. For example, situation: if you kill one person, you can save 50. Various objective weighting schemes from decision science would say to sacrifice the one. But most people’s moral principles will not allow that choice. Are they for life or not? Yes they are. Are they for consciously taking a life when it *should* result in saving 50? No. Is this irrational? It certainly depends on one’s values. I think there’s value in the long tradition of human values that oppose “murder”, even when done for “good” reasons.

        Applied to abortion, it’s even easier. They are against taking one life for sure when the outcome “may” risk the outcome for the mother. They don’t want the mother to make that choice either. They want the mother to share their value. That may not be realistic.

        But there might be a way if we can train ourselves to learn to honor the people with competing moral principles, especially when involving such weighty matters. And look for courses of action that fundamentally respect both sides.

      • tsara

        So I agree with you on morality in general, as far as it being basically the science of best outcomes goes, but you haven’t addressed my concerns re: abortion and how we can compromise.
        Here’s a pair of logic(-ish) problems:
        1. It’s obviously impractical* to have rape exemptions on abortion bans, and it’s obviously immoral to force someone who’s been raped to carry hir rapist’s spawn to term. What should we do?
        2. It’s obviously impractical* to have mental health exemptions on abortion bans, and it’s obviously immoral to force someone for whom it would be severely traumatic to carry a fetus to term. What should we do?
        *If it isn’t completely obvious, lemme know. I’ll give a few examples of issues.

      • RayJ

        I guess I hadn’t thought I agreed to morality being the science of best outcomes. I thought I said something quite different. But there’s a place for science of outcomes in many areas of life. But never mind that.

        I think it’s exciting if you feel moved to consider “compromise” or as I would say, honoring the other side. Moving to this position is a big step, if legitimate and not just trying to find some angle to attack me on.

        I have indeed some ideas of how to approach these issues that honors both sides. But I don’t think that the point is for me to provide answers. It is to provide a direction (honor the other side) and encouragement.

        I found/developed potential approaches through a dialog with folks holding radically different positions and hearing and understanding them and their deeper motivations and looking for a creative way to address their needs as well as mine (or the other side anyway).

        I encourage you to embark on this process yourself and see where it leads. The primary difficulty will be to find the right people to engage. But even if you only strive to hear them and let your own thoughts guide you to something viable, that will be a huge positive step.

        Most won’t be immediately open to considering any position except their dogma. But if you listen well and really understand, you may have created sufficient rapport that they would open their hearts to you as well and together you might find a way.

        As a first step, I suggest you try to state the pro life position in these cases. Then try to go to the “why” behind that and then the “why” behind that until you find a principle you also agree with. (and check it out with them) Try it and let me know what happens.

        You will also need to look at your own deeper needs. And with both, you need some creativity in finding solutions and checking with both yourself and the others and finding objections and refining an approach.

        NASA had a problem solving methodology they pioneered decades ago. You propose an idea. The others then respond within this framework: Give two positives about the proposal and the one (and only one) biggest objection or problem with it. Then digest that and evolve to a better proposal. And repeat.

      • tsara

        Sorry; I smushed together a few sentences I was going to write and accidentally lost some of the meaning. I can go back and expand it properly if you’d like, but it would take me a while and it would be a lot of work. :/

        And I actually started from a much less extreme position than I have today. What I’m trying to point out is that I don’t really see any viable areas for compromise — my point of view already seems like the most practically implementable, humane, and with best likely outcomes.

        I’m willing to work with pro-life people on putting facts-based sex ed in schools, getting CPCs to be honest about the fact that they’re purveyors of Jesus-flavoured bunk, making all kinds of birth control as universally accessible as possible, making early abortions and Plan B readily accessible, making (non-Jesus-y) day care cheaper, paid parental leave, etc., etc., etc. Show me where the ‘pro-life’ organizations that work on these things are, and I’ll work with them.

        I understand the (weakly) pro-life position, and I find it ignorant and short-sighted. I understand the (strongly) pro-life position, and I find it horrifying.

      • RayJ

        You need to spend more time and effort doing the things I suggested and you might get insight. You clearly need to work with pro-life people who are not strongly religious.

        Regarding the pro-life organizations, I can’t say. I’m not a member and don’t really know such specifics.

        It’s interesting that you say that you already know the best approach and yet you characterize yourself as having an extreme position. Perhaps you should consider what could make your position feel or be less extreme.

      • tsara

        Extreme position morally — I firmly believe that every reason for an abortion is a good one, up to and including ‘I changed my mind,’ and that nobody really has any business telling people what is and isn’t a good enough reason.

        The best approach legally and practically — for actually reducing the number of abortions while still granting pregnant people bodily autonomy and not driving them to extreme measures of terminating pregnancies on their own.

        I work best with people who call themselves pro-life but haven’t actually thought much about the realities of their alleged position.

        “You clearly need to work with pro-life people who are not strongly religious.”
        Completely agree with you there — religion wigs me out.

        “You need to spend more time and effort doing the things I suggested and you might get insight.”
        I spend a lot of time conversing with pro-life people (online). I have a lot of insight. What I need is people who are willing to discuss practicalities and statistics, because that’s where the strongest arguments for legal policies are — I really don’t care what people believe, as long as they aren’t going to force me to live by it.

      • RayJ

        Well I get it. You’re stuck. I’ve advised you to talk with them a certain way and you know that you’ve “talked” a lot and it’s gotten you something, but not anything close to what I’m suggesting.

        For what I’m describing, face to face is probably the only way. Plus there’s special power in the method I suggested, if you follow it skillfully. But, as I said, I think you’re stuck. So I’ll go a little further that I had wanted.

        Consider that the pro life people do not want anyone to actively kill (as in dismember or poison or crush) a fetus and the pro choice people do not want to be forced to carry one to term. I see a lot of room for answers that address both.

        Note that I consider these to be the primary demands of each side. There are certainly more wants that I think are less important than these and as you add more of the secondary ones in, it becomes harder to find an answer. But I think satisfying the primaries is quite possible although each side might be left feeling somewhat uncomfortable with what they’ve given up.

        Try a marginal analogy. You find yourself taking care of an aging parent (who you never actually liked) who has dementia and doesn’t even seem like a person anymore. You can’t stand it anymore mentally, emotionally or financially. You feel at risk of a nervous breakdown. Are there any choices available besides: a) actively killing the person (smothering, gun, knife, poison, etc. or b) just living with it until the person dies a natural death?

        If you choose ‘a’, then you will confirm the worst fears of the pro life movement, so I hope that isn’t your choice. I’m certain that would NOT be the choice of most pro-choice people. But you should look for a third (fourth, fifth) option.

      • tsara

        See, the thing to do in that case is get someone else to look after the aging parent. This is not possible with pregnancy. You say that you see a lot of room for answers that address both. This is good; please share with the class.

      • RayJ

        I learned in some class I took a long time ago that one doesn’t leap to conclusions yet, not even tentative ones. The problem statement has to be validated. That’s for you to spend some time doing.

        First verify from the pro-choice side that this captures the primary need and that if satisfied, a solution that’s inclusive with the other side would be worth possibly losing some secondary wants (that might be met today). This must be more than your personal opinion, you should discuss with others.

        Then check with the pro-life side. Careful of the religious vs non-religious factions. They might have different requirements. They also have to agree that a solution that meets the primary need as stated would be acceptable and they would willingly lose some of their secondary objectives for the benefit of unity and ending the war between the two sides.

        In both cases, you have to see if the objective is correctly worded and really meets the full set of mandatory needs. “Wants” have to be distinguished and not included in the problem statement.

        In any given political jurisdiction, one group is likely in a power position relative to the other side and that winning side will be faced with possibly losing some of its current “wants” (that are already met). They have to see the value of ending the conflict and achieving unity and mutual respect as worth the loss.

        If you are in a position to engage in these conversations and do it with principals in the movement, then we could have the potential for significant movement.

        Of course, the principals might have a vested interest in maintaining the conflict, thus their position. That’s an area of politics that I cannot help with. This is an approach designed for people who are really looking for a resolution.

        And if you get to this point I’m suggesting, you should be able together to find answers to the riddle. You’ll need some time. And while answers you come to together are way better than ones handed down from me, I’ll certainly consider sharing more direction. But not until I’m convinced that you’ve done serious homework and really, really want an outsider’s input.

        And let me say it again: your joint answers would be better than mine if only because they would be yours and you would own them and be invested in making them work. My ideas would be ones from some outsider and both groups would target shoot at it and not have ownership. And I likely don’t quite have the perfect wording or understanding of the minimum requirements of both sides. That has to be verified or corrected first.

        Are you in a position to carry this?

        If so, Good luck.

      • tsara

        Erm…I spent three years considering my position on this issue, and it’s still not set in stone.
        I’m a twenty-year-old undergraduate student working minimum wage research assistant jobs. Basically all the power I have is from being white, coming from an upper middle class background, and having only a mild and invisible disability.

        I debate with people on the internet. Activism is important, and I want to be involved, but it’s not what I want to do with my life.
        I’m actually a decently intelligent person who knows how to go about forming intelligent and rational positions. I read books about biases and rationality and whatnot.
        Basically, the instructions that you’re giving me are really not what I need, and you’re being incredibly condescending about it. Unless you actually want to discuss abortion, I probably won’t respond to any more of your comments.

      • Valerie Finnigan

        Actually, it is possible with parenthood. It’s not as if people seeking abortion would love to have a baby, but only wish to skip pregnancy. A lot of people seeking abortion for some reason seem to have the backward idea that putting a child up for adoption is more difficult and more cruel to the child than killing the child. Or they worry about getting attached to the child, forgetting that open adoption is an option- and these days is the preferred option as it makes life easier on adoptive children.

        And of course, better physical, social, and emotional support for pregnant women is sorely lacking in our society. IMO, every woman who refuses to have an abortion is a hero- someone who’s saved a baby’s life, and society should reward that with more than just a Mother’s Day card.

      • Anat

        Adoption does not solve the problem of women who are pregnant and wish not to be. Bringing pregnancy to term and giving birth comes with a health risk, and you have no right to force people to incur these risks against their wishes.

      • Niemand

        It’s not as if people seeking abortion would love to have a baby, but only wish to skip pregnancy.

        Really? I would have been willing to have another baby if I could do the pregnancy thing without dying. My cousin ended up adopting two (older, “undesirable”) children because she wanted some more kids but didn’t want to die in pregnancy. It happens.

      • Niemand

        Of course, placing a child for adoption is devastating for the mental and physical health of the birth mother, but who worries about that?

      • tsara

        So I don’t have a lot of time right now but I had to respond to this one.
        Parenthood: yes. Pregnancy: no.

        “It’s not as if people seeking abortion would love to have a baby, but only wish to skip pregnancy.”
        Aaahahahahahaha. You’re wrong. Pregnancy itself and giving birth are a large part of many decisions, even if just for the physical discomfort and time off work or whatever. Seriously, the issue I have is with pregnancy way more than it is with parenthood. Forcing me to keep a pregnancy would be traumatizing to the point of torture for psychological reasons. I already freak out enough just from getting my period.

        “And of course, better physical, social, and emotional support for pregnant women is sorely lacking in our society.”
        Obviously. But if you haven’t seen pro-choice feminists working on that, then you aren’t paying attention.

      • Valerie Finnigan

        If religion “wigs you out,” you may need to work on that, because that sounds to me like a prejudice. Replace “religion” with “the immigrant population,” “interracial marriage,” etc., and you’ll get the exact same thing, in my opinion. I’ve discussed this issue at length with people on both sides, and found that I can’t get anywhere with people who believe the government’s definition of “personhood” is always right. That stand reflects a gross ignorance of our nation’s sadder chapters in history. I also can’t get anywhere with people who insist opposition to abortion is strictly a religious view when it isn’t, or assume that religious views are automatically wrong, irrelevant, or out of place in the public sphere. (Even as an agnostic, I never believed that.) I don’t work well with people who assume that pro-life means anti-woman, or who believe if we can’t solve all the world’s problems, we must allow unlimited abortion for any reason.

        We can’t solve all the world’s problems on our own, yet I don’t see any push to decriminalize other forms of murder.

      • Valerie Finnigan

        There already is day care of a variety of religious and non-religious varieties available. What we’re short on are workable options for all working families. Working from home, flex time, on site child care, or- in the rare event that a job is too dangerous to allow any of those options (such as in the military or emergency services), generous paid family leave or temporary lateral transfers to equally paying positions that can better accommodate families should be options.

        BTW, I don’t know where you get your information on CPCs. I’ve actually volunteered with some and got help from some as well. There was absolutely no attempt at religious proselytizing even with the religiously affiliated ones. All information I got on health care and fetal development was 100% accurate at least to the best of our latest scientific knowledge. And, in my opinion, they were probably more “pro-choice,” since nearly everyone who approached them for help, even for abortion referrals, didn’t really want to have an abortion, but did not believe they had any other options.

      • Valerie Finnigan

        1. Society should stop judging human beings by the circumstances of their conception, circumstances over which they have no control. If the fetus is regarded as equally human and equally innocent, and in all other respects equally entitled to life and to dignified treatment as the mother, the question of allowing abortion in cases of rape will be rendered pretty much moot. And if we treat rape as the horrific crime it is against women and also against the children that might be conceived as a result, rape survivors and their children will be treated with greater dignity. And coerced sex will be seen as as much a crime as what some politicians might call “legitimate rape.”

        But, for the most part, this is a straw man argument. (Straw woman? Straw baby?) All abortions obtained for medical reasons, rape, or incest total account for only 2% of all abortions in the US. We’ve got to work on the 98% who seem to think that money, social standing, or merely not wanting a baby is a good enough reason to kill one.

      • Feminerd

        So abortion should be legal with no restrictions to account for that 2% (since there’s no practical way to weed out who “qualifies”) while we work on the societal issues surrounding poverty, essentialization of women, “mommy tracks” at jobs, the second shift, lackluster education systems, genetic defects, services for persons with disabilities, and more. And even after we’ve solved 100% of these problems, abortions should still be legal with no restrictions because some people will always need them, because again, there is no moral or practical way to determine who “deserves” an abortion.

      • Valerie Finnigan

        Unless there is a medical reason to terminate a pregnancy, such as if there is no way to save both mother and baby, medically, nobody really needs an abortion.

      • Feminerd

        I disagree. A 13-year-old really needs an abortion. A 9-year-old absolutely needs an abortion. A woman on drugs that are bad for a fetus really needs an abortion. A woman who will commit suicide if she is pregnant really needs an abortion. A woman who doesn’t want to watch her child die in agony of Tay-Sachs or Trisomy 13 or anencephaly or any number of other genetic defects really needs an abortion. A woman who doesn’t want to spend nine months with a potentially deadly medical condition (pregnancy) followed by a life-threatening, agonizingly painful event (labor) really needs an abortion.

        Any woman who wants an abortion really needs an abortion.

    • Anat

      Actually all consequentionalist moral philosophies take statistics into account in deciding morality of actions, especially when deciding about policies. Because these moralities are based on the likely outcome of one’s actions. (And a morality that is not based on choosing the action with the most desirable impact misses the point of morality.) Even virtue moralities take statistics into account, though at a remove. (Because virtues are often defined based on the likely outcome of broader categories of actions.)

      There is no honor in the enslavement of women. The idea that a non-thinking fetus should have priority over a feeling, thinking woman, one with hopes and dreams for the future, with memories of her past – that is an idea I cannot respect.

      • RayJ

        A cursory look at history shows that statistics didn’t even exist until about the 17th century in primitive form and more like what you have in mind happened in the 19th and 20th centuries. And even today, the average person is woefully unskilled with statistics, leading to why it’s so easy to “lie with statistics” (because people don’t understand it adequately).

        So, how did/does the populace create a personal philosophy or have actionable personal values before statistics or without adequate knowledge? I say statistics is irrelevant to personal values. When you decided to hit (or not hit) your sibling, you didn’t consult the published statistical likelihood of various outcomes. You don’t make choices about whether to cheat on taxes, lie when convenient, run a red light or whether to marry or cheat on him/her based on published research statistical outcomes. No one would marry in modern America if they paid attention to statistics.

        Your reference to philosophies may be technically accurate, but you haven’t met my challenge regarding whether real sane people actually make real personal choices involving morals based on published statistical studies. You haven’t even made a personal case for how often you act that way. So, I’m unconvinced.

        Regarding honor, you have switched from a very abstract discussion in the prior paragraph to a very emotional one. You seem to have missed my point (perhaps I didn’t explain myself adequately) that you honor** (see below) the *people* who have a belief system different from yours that at least partly derives from a belief you likely share: a belief in life and an abhorrence of unjustly taking a life. It’s like religion. You have one (or don’t) and others have another position. Are you the type who wants to convert everyone to your right way (likely)? But the world will be a more peaceful place if we learn to honor the other person and respect their having a different take on things, even if you think they are wrong.

        In addition, you have not heard my message. Where did I say that the fetus “has priority over …”? [I think you are not having a discussion with me about my ideas, but are using this as an opportunity to recite your dogma and make points with your blog mates.] I’m saying that you should honor the other’s viewpoint as well as yours and look for a path or method(s) that allow meeting the critical goals of both groups. That means that your priority about a “feeling, thinking woman” is to be fully respected.

        Once you actually get this idea, you’ll likely think that a joint solution is impossible and will want to dismiss the idea and move on. But I tell you that I have thought about this and see many opportunities for respecting both sides. A new attitude and a little give is required on both sides, but what’s wrong with that?

        ** honor the people with different beliefs. Don’t you think that’s a correct principle in other venues? Don’t you think the American Indian’s ways should be (have been) honored, even though different from western European ways? Shouldn’t straights and gay/lesbians both be honored? Shouldn’t Democrats and Republicans both be honored? (I know that too many will draw the line here!).

        I challenge you: Predict the statistical probabilities of successful human evolution into the future postulating 1) dishonor those different from yourself and 2) honoring those with differences and seeking common ground. Or can you choose without statistics? And if you use statistics as you allege, then provide them here for this choice/value.

        How does statistical uncertainty factor in? What about the quality of the study? Would the funding source of the study affect you (e.g. Monsanto funds a statistical study that says GMO corn is good for you)? Are you noticing that *you* have to decide whether to “believe” the statistics?

      • Anat

        Before statistics, people guessed, based on their life experience and personal biases. These days we have better empirical basis for determining the morality of ways of action, and I expect improvement in the future (unless the economy collapses for good for some reason).

        People can believe any crazy thing they want. But when they enact policies that seek to enslave people they deserve no honor. Your comparison to the treatment of Native Americans by Europeans is false. What you are proposing is the equivalent of telling Black slaves in the US South that they should have honored the people who had the opinion they had the right to enslave them.

      • tsara

        FYI, RayJ’s been telling me about all of the ‘homework’ I need to do:

        “And if you get to this point I’m suggesting, you should be able together to find answers to the riddle. You’ll need some time. And while answers you come to together are way better than ones handed down from me, I’ll certainly consider sharing more direction. But not until I’m convinced that you’ve done serious homework and really, really want an outsider’s input.”

        Zie doesn’t actually seem to be here to discuss abortion.

      • RayJ

        I followed the outline of the initial article in my original post; otherwise I followed the lead of questions and challenges. What do you want instead, a discussion of medical techniques? We’re talking morals and values and overpowering the opposition or finding cooperative solutions. How can you see this as unrelated to the issue? If you want a discussion about statistical results for some medical procedure, or what clinic has the best outcomes why are you engaging with me. That’s clearly not my thrust.

        And you bait me to tell you more about my ideas, while never being willing to share yours nor agree that you see value in unity rather than continuing the fight. Why should I take your request seriously?

      • RayJ

        *IF* people developed their morals based on outcomes, I agree with your assessment that at least in everyday matters, it would be based on their life experiences. But I don’t agree fundamentally with the thrust of this argument. I’ll get to that below.

        I agree that policies that enslave do not deserve honor. And I cannot find underlying positive intentions in the slave owner to honor. I have never made this argument about slavery. Opposing slavery would be the right choice in my opinion. I don’t see how you made a connection between my position and slavery; I think it’s an unfair argument. Further, you will have to explain what you mean about the Native Americans and being “false”. What’s false?

        Many here seem to have the position that morals are or should be determined by statistics. Elsewhere, I have made a number of arguments against this. I won’t repeat them here. I’ll come at it a different way.

        Statistics usually show correlations, not cause and effect. We have to infer causality and the inference is frequently wrong. The best tactic with statistics is to use them in support of a hypothesis and make a prediction and test the prediction with statistics. Taking statistics and inferring causation and prescribing policy is IRRESPONSIBLE.

        Next. This approach is reminiscent of the Progressive’s Eugenics program in the early twentieth century. It was supposedly for the betterment of man through science and statistics. I recommend you study this period and try to learn its lessons and avoid its errors. But briefly, they abandoned traditional morals for this pseudo-science to better mankind and perpetrated many horrors on various people. Eventually, it ended. But people have obviously not learned the lesson.

        Morals are about right and wrong. Statistics cannot be useful except around the edges. I proposed the situation where killing one person gives a statistical likelihood of saving 50. How do you decide on action? Statistics don’t tell you what’s right, but merely what the statistical likelihoods are. The Eugenicists would probably take the one person’s life; and they would go further. Many others would not. I respect both sides for having an underlying positive motivation. I do not respect the Eugenicists belief in their statistics as a basis for creating immediate harm, however.

      • RayJ

        I have to add some more about statistics and morals.

        Using statistics for everyday life decisions can be like this: I got away with stealing candy from my younger sibling 9 out of 10 times, therefore it is OK to do. You certainly wouldn’t approve. But it leads to the question of scope and methodology for use of statistics. You haven’t defined this.

        You are not being consistent with your saying that statistics are to be used to decide on policy. The primary statistical study would have to be to show that statistically-based decisions about moral issues works out “well” in some high percentage of cases. Without such a statistic, you are merely resorting the the same types of arguments as the rest of us: based on our values (morals) independent of statistics. It is a faith-like approach rather than scientific.

      • Valerie Finnigan

        There is no honor in equating the protection of the fetus with the enslavement of women, particularly since the former does not in the least depend upon the latter. The freedom and dignity of a woman does not depend on how suppressed her reproductive system is.

      • NeaDods

        Nice try. Forcing women to lose control of what happens to their bodies is the definition of slavery. Telling a woman what she must or must not do with her own organs very much impacts her freedom and dignity.

    • Valerie Finnigan

      This is why I find the most compelling arguments against elective abortion come from atheist and agnostic pro-lifers, even though I am no longer agnostic. The only apparent dogma is biology, and that beings who qualify as living human organisms should not be killed- especially if they’ve done no wrong.

      • RayJ

        While I haven’t studied this, it does seem likely to be true. I think
        the religious folks bring a lot of other issues to the table that muddy
        the water and depend on doctrine. Elsewhere, Libby Anne does admit that
        she’s targeting the arguments put forth by the Pro Life leadership.
        And I would tend to agree that they are easier targets than atheists or
        agnostics. The pro-choice groups tend to use the easier arguments to
        attack and avoid the harder ones. If one is bent on attacking, then
        choosing the easy prey is most rewarding.

        But I argue that they
        shouldn’t be attacking, but looking for resolution. And I think that
        applies to both sides. I’m hoping to stimulate that thinking in as many
        a possible. That is, it is possible to both respect the life of the
        unborn as well as the mother and her needs. It just appears to be

      • Valerie Finnigan

        Unfortunately, picking on the easy targets rather than the compelling scientific arguments against elective abortion does make the pro-choice movement appear to have some anti-religious bigotry, giving me another reason to question the legitimacy of the pro-choice cause- besides the fact that in many ways, I’ve observed that the pro-choice movement in the US has set women’s rights back a few decades, focusing on defending abortion while failing to focus on the wage gap and the discrimination against mothers who don’t abort which is still rampant.

      • Mogg

        I’ve yet to see a compelling scientific argument against elective abortion. And I became pro-choice when I was still a Christian.

      • RayJ

        Yes, I think “anti-religious bigotry” about captures it. I am non-religious myself, yet find the attitude of many to be disrespectful and that is uncalled for. Usually such things are not an issue unless one is trying to beat the other side in some public policy decision that will favor one side. I’m opposed to such tyranny of democracy.

        If you are correct about women’s rights outcomes, this might be the flip side. The Pro-Choice leadership might be to blame. Yet the high level goals of the average supporter are probably admirable.

        In other chat at this forum, I’ve found some obsessed with the value of statistics. Your point could be that there are many aspects that have to be measured to evaluate the total result of one’s actions or policy prescriptions.

        It’s often hard to predict all the results in advance and usually even harder to acknowledge bad outcomes and abandon an approach. That’s often considered a sign of failure and poor leadership. Better to blame others for any bad outcomes.

        And I find it really easy to predict that policy prescriptions that are a win for one side over the other will have non-compliance, opposition and worse in proportion to the values and corresponding emotions involved. That’s why both sides must stop trying to “Win” on this big issue.

        We have to stop being Pro Devisive and become Pro-Unity.

      • RayJ

        Well maybe Pro-Unity is too much. How about Pro-Cooperative.

  • JeannieR

    This is a fantastic article. I believe I can supply the missing piece to the puzzle – the reason WHY the Right is trying it’s best to slash benefits and punish the poor is a calculated move. They want to force women who cannot afford to keep their babies to put them up for adoption. Organizations like Quiverfull advocate having large families and encourage adoption because Evangelicals realise that the they risk being ‘outvoted’ by the rising populations of atheists. In addition, agencies that facilitate adoptions make millions of dollars from adoptive families paying fees, and organizations that handle foster care placements are also paid PER DAY that they have custody of a child waiting for placement and have been known to keep some children waiting for placement for ten years to get the maximum number of government dollars out of them.

    Punishing women for sex is most certainly part of the agenda, but so is making money and attempting to increase the number of future Conservative voters.

    And while I’m here – in terms of punishing sex, it’s funny that Viagra is covered by healthcare. Think of all the sperm that is being ‘wasted’. Shocking!

    • Valerie Finnigan

      As someone who works in geriatric care (including helping people take care of “down there”), I’ve noted that there are good reaons for covering Viagra that have nothing to do with sex. Good blood circulation is kind of important.

      • Niemand

        Silendafil has two indications: erectile dysfunction and pulmonary hypertension. PH is rare. ED is common. Most prescriptions written are for the latter.

  • lafemmeartiste

    You were not a dupe- definitely exploited, conditioned. It takes time and maturity to realize and recognize. Then, one word sums up the layers of resistance steeped, stewing and marinated in those societal pockets active in resistance: SHAME. A lot of responsibility is required to actually live one’s life in their own lifetime. Waking up is the first step of living into the level of conscious responsibility possible in just one lifetime. I am so grateful to read the beginnings of this transitional journey in your experiences so far. Thank-you for your gifts of intelligent articulation and motivation to do so. A gift for us all.

    • lafemmeartiste

      And MEN ON BIRTH CONTROL- this too is is just one more life balancing reality I want to see in this world.

  • Desley Noneofyerbiz

    Please don’t mistake the following comments from me as if I am simply trying to challenge you because I am not. I am a bit of an oddball Christian — a feminist Christian — and, obviously, there are many issues on which I disagree with my fellow Christians. I am only in the beginning stages of really questioning and examining things to see what I personally believe and I know that my opinions and convictions are likely to change. But I had a difficult time with the following statement:

    I no longer believe that abortion is murder because I no longer hold that a zygote, embryo, or fetus is a “person.”

    I guess the problem for me is that I have a personal stake in the subject, as I lost my unborn (soon to be born sleeping) child at 16 weeks into my pregnancy. He had a little human body, fingers, toes, eyes, mouth, ears, nose, etc. To my husband, children and myself he was a person. I mourned him like I would have mourned the loss of a full-term child that died during or after the delivery. The only difference was that I didn’t get treated the same as I would have if the child was full-term by those around me. So for me, when I read these words, it feels like a knife going in to my heart. It feels like invalidation of the loss of my very real child. Not an invalidation of the “idea” or “hope” of a child, but of an already existing child that had arms and legs, fingers and toes, eyes and ears, and a beating heart. To me, as well as to all of those who held him before we laid him to rest, he was not merely a sub-human “fetus,” but a person — my child — that I loved. To these people, apparently, the “fetus” was a human person worthy of their affection and love too:

    I realize that in legal terms “a person” is a lot different than “a person” is to a grieving mother or family. That is not a debate I really care to have. All I am saying is that by taking a stand that precludes the fetus from personhood status, you inadvertently invalidating millions of bereaved mothers. You are telling us that we are foolish for caring about a mere “fetus” and that our children are not worthy to mourn as people in their own right. You are telling women who’ve lost babies to abusive partners that their loss is not that great. But our pain is not motivated by political ideologies. Our pain is natural and is motivated by the loss of something real: a real child, a real bond to that child, and a real life that has been lost.

    I know that it s not helpful to think in black and white terms when it comes to the issue of abortion. And I know that the real solution to the problem isn’t going to be found on either side of the polarized debate; I myself am somewhere in the middle and UTTERLY DETEST patriarchy. I am open to learning and listening because I don’t have any agendas here and I am very passionate about the complete equality of women. But how can we take a position like the one you have without hurting grieving women and their families? Do you see them as kind of a collateral damage?

    Thanks for the thought and information you put into this post, by the way. There’s a lot to think about.

    • tsara

      I’m not sure that I’m the best person to be responding to this, as I have a very visceral (negative) response to the idea of being pregnant. I’m also not the most socially adept or good with words; I may inadvertently phrase something in a hurtful way. However, I have something to say. If I do it badly, I am sorry. Please let me know if it’s something that I should be aware of in the future.

      Here it is:

      “But how can we take a position like the one you have without hurting grieving women and their families?”
      We can do it by allowing the pregnant person to be the one to pick the words we should use to describe hir pregnancy. Each individual has complete authority to define their own experiences, and all aspects of their bodies. We can say that a fetus is not, by default, a person; a fetus has exactly the status the person carrying it gives it.

      Your feelings are valid. If you tell me that you lost a child, then you lost a child, and that’s a terrible thing for anyone to go through. I am sorry for your loss.

      • Desley Noneofyerbiz

        Thank you, tsara. I don’t think there was anything wrong with your words at all. I am still struggling, however, with this whole idea of my child’s existence being grounded not in reality, but merely in a perception. I don’t see how that fully legitimizes the loss.

        Please keep in mind that I am really trying to explore this issue and understand where exactly you are coming from here. But I have to ask: if the child were born and then died 10 minutes after birth, would that be any different than if it died 10 minutes before?

      • tsara

        “with this whole idea of my child’s existence being grounded not in reality, but merely in a perception.”

        I’m not sure that I can help there. Personhood and family bonds are both ephemeral concepts that I see as mostly being matters of perception — we’re not discussing the concrete biological reality, but abstract human interrelationships. Personhood is really something that works more like ‘justice’ than like ‘table’.

        “But I have to ask: if the child were born and then died 10 minutes after birth, would that be any different than if it died 10 minutes before?”

        The difference would be that the law recognized the child as a person (and, possibly more relevantly to the law, a citizen), and, as such, it would have the same rights as any child. Also, it would not be physically inside of you, and therefore the law’s opinion would matter more than yours. That’s it.

        I’m not really sure what more I can say.

      • Olive Markus

        I am also very sorry for your loss, and I don’t diminish how painful it was for you. With that said, I apologize if this is going to sound harsh, because I don’t really mean it to be:

        Why do you feel that you require and/or deserve external legitimization of your feelings of loss? What you think of your loss is none of our business and vice versa. You have a right to mourn your losses in any way you choose (or don’t choose, would actually be more accurate), but in the same vein, you don’t have a right to tell us how we’re supposed to feel about either your losses or our losses.

        ETA: I still think that came out too harshly, but I truly don’t mean it that way.

        For example, I have mourned some things very, very heavily in my life that others found undeserving of such a strong emotional response. But I don’t think that my feelings are in any way invalidated by what others think; nor do I feel that others should be required to feel the same way I did about similar circumstances in their own life.

      • Valerie Finnigan

        I actually know how you feel, as after my loss, I had people actually saying to me things like, “Well it’s a good thing you lost the baby now, rather than after it became an actual person,” or “I don’t know why you’re so upset. It’s not like you lost an actual baby.” Worst thing about it was that, at the time, I was in no shape to give these ignorant clods the education they deserved. Only later could I muster up the strength to give them a good WTF look and shock them with the revelation that I’d seen this being- who they imagined to be a mere clump of cells- had arms, legs, and a face.

      • Valerie Finnigan

        I don’t think anybody has the authority to define another human being’s personhood. I’m a person because simply I’m a living human being, not because my mother or anyone else decided i was a person.

      • tsara

        Congratulations for you? That’s fine as a personal opinion, but it’s a bit disconnected from reality. We have to define personhood (e.g., for the law), and ‘living human being’ is not a sufficient (or necessary) description — because I don’t believe that a fetus (and definitely not a zygote; srsly, no qualms about chucking ‘em in the biohazard bin) is ‘a human being’ by default. This means that it is not as immediately and intuitively obvious as you seem to believe, which means that a consistent and practical definition is necessary.

    • Libby Anne

      If a woman who did not want to be pregnant had miscarried at 16 weeks, say, a couple days before a scheduled abortion, do you think she would have mourned that loss as though she were mourning a full-term child? Before birth, I see it as potential. In other words, I would say that you were mourning the potential child, the child you hoped to have, the child you were growing but lost.

      • Valerie Finnigan

        Whether or not the death of a person is mourned has no bearing on the personhood of said human being. Lots of dogs and cats die without being mourned, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t dogs or cats.

        Basically, a tree that falls in the forest is still a falling tree, even if nobody notices. A dog or cat that dies without being mourned is still a dog or cat. A human fetus who is unwanted is no less a person than one who is wanted.

        Basically, our opinions or what we acknowledge have little to no bearing on facts.

        When I mourned the baby I lost at ten weeks, I did not mourn a “potential” person. The fetus, by all observable evidence, was a person up until death. Nobody can prove otherwise.

    • Valerie Finnigan

      I happen to be an oddball Christian and a feminist as well. As a pro-lifer, I’m an even bigger oddball because I find non-religious arguments against elective abortion most compelling. In absence of any evidence proving there is any such thing as a living human organism who is not already a person, and in the absence of any evidence that there is any such thing as personhood apart from being an organism of the species homo sapiens, it’s only logical to me to regard all living human organisms at any stage of development from conception to natural death as persons.

      Regarding the complete equality of women, I honestly feel that legalizing elective abortion when we did actually set us back. Thanks to Roe v. Wade, it took an entire generation to realize that unplanned children are not to blame for women’s careers and education being ruined, but discrimination against mothers is.

      I highly doubt that we’d have an abortion rate as high as we do- at over a million per year in the US alone- if we strongly banned “you show, you go” policies in schools in the 1970s instead of the 1990s. We’d have a lower abortion rate if it didn’t take until this century to recognize that nursing mothers are not to be hidden behind closed doors. (Yes, I think lactivism is an important part in pro-life feminism). We’d have a lower abortion rate if it didn’t take until the 1990s to pass any family leave act, and if the one we have on the books even now weren’t a total insult to working families. We’d have a lower abortion rate if laws against pressuring women to abort were enforced. The fact is that they aren’t.

      And yes, we’d have a lower abortion rate if feti were regarded as persons and society treated their deaths with at least some gravitas. There is much more that needs to be done to prevent abortion besides throw pills and condoms at the problem.

  • Carl Seaton

    If you postulate that there is no personhood in pre-birth humans. Either intrinsic or imputed. Then why would one use contraceptives in the first place? Why waste the time and money on pills, condoms etc.? Abortion is the ” final solution” for those who deny all pre-birth personhood. The ultimate pro-abortion position.
    An abortion clinic behind every Starbucks. No, an abortion clinic in every Starbucks. Oh what a wonderful world it would be.
    The total non-personhood position is just as extreme and brutal as the total personhood at conception position.

    • Mogg

      Don’t be ridiculous. Nobody wants abortion instead of birth control any more than anyone wants triple bypass surgery when cholesterol and blood pressure-lowering medication is available. With both cardiovascular disease and unwanted pregnancy, prevention is better than intervention but sometimes even with preventative measures intervention is needed.

    • Brian

      Because condoms are like, 20 cents.

      • Carl Seaton

        Yeah? If guys used them we would be having this conversation?
        Women don’t get pregnant from toilet seats.

      • Brian

        I have no idea what you’re talking about.

    • victoria

      I can’t speak for anyone else on this, but I can speak for myself.

      I do not consider early-term abortions (before the point that the fetus would be considered something other than brain-dead if outside the womb, so around 24 weeks) to be morally objectionable. There are arguments one can make based on ensoulment or based on the fetus as a potential person, but I think they’re pretty weak on the whole.

      I’ve never had an abortion but I have had a child. In my pregnancy, I’d had my first two hospitalizations for pregnancy-related complications before I was even six weeks along. If I wanted or needed an abortion on a hypothetical subsequent pregnancy, I might not be able to get one before getting very, very sick. And that’s to say nothing of the expense. Which is why we’ve taken precautions to make that hypothetical pregnancy incredibly unlikely.

      • Valerie Finnigan

        Actually, feti are certainly more than “brain dead” even if born well before 24 weeks. They may not be able to survive, but unless they’ve already died in utero, babies born around 20 weeks or later will at least try to survive.

        BTW, I don’t believe in any such thing as “ensoulment.” If the presence of the soul is what makes a person alive, it’s there even at conception.

      • Anat

        What evidence do you have for the existence of a ‘soul’ in anyone?

      • Valerie Finnigan

        Why ask me? I’m not the one who even brought up the ridiculous concept of “ensoulment.” There’s no evidence supporting ensoulment. There is no evidence proving there is even any such thing as personhood apart from being a living human organism.

      • Anat

        In this subthread I don’t see anyone bringing it up before you. Souls are imaginary concepts, as far as I can tell.

      • victoria

        I thought you were Catholic? It’s Catholic doctrine, present in Catholic theology at least from the time of Aquinas.

        And yes, based on the evidence we currently have available to us I too think ensoulment is not a useful concept in terms of determining when life begins. I consider a fetus to be a living human being at the point in gestation when it would not meet criteria for neocortical death if it were outside the womb (which is not the same as viability).

      • victoria

        Sorry, I messed up my HTML there. Ensoulment is Catholic doctrine, part of Catholic theology at least since the time of Aquinas.

        And I do not consider ensoulment a useful criterion for personhood either. I consider a fetus to be a living human at the time when it would not meet criteria for neocortical brain death if it were outside the womb (not the same as viability!) or at birth, whichever comes first.

      • Valerie Finnigan

        Aquainas is not Catholic doctrine.

      • victoria

        Didn’t say he was. I said it is Catholic doctrine (which it absolutely is; look at Pius IX’s 1869 bull Apostolicis Sedae or John Paul II’s encyclical Donum Vitae, to say nothing of the numerous earlier examples) and that the concept of ensoulment has been present in Catholic theology at least since Aquinas discussed it at length in Summa Theologica.

        No skin off my nose either way but it seemed curious that you described a concept straight out of Catholic theology as “ridiculous,” given that you discussed your Catholic faith elsewhere in this discussion.

      • Feminerd

        Well, not “well-before”, but before. The neural structures (both nervous system and brain) necessary to process pain and other sensations don’t develop until ~22 weeks at the earliest.

      • Valerie Finnigan

        Wrong there. While chances of survival are dismal before 22 weeks, we have on record now of a baby who survived and is doing well after having been born at just less than 21 weeks.

        Meanwhile, I’ve observed my own feti kicking in response to sensations like sound before even that point.

      • Niemand

        we have on record now of a baby who survived and is doing well after having been born at just less than 21 weeks.

        Cite? I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’ve just never heard of any survivals prior to 22 weeks without profound damage.

      • Niemand

        If the presence of the soul is what makes a person alive, it’s there even at conception.

        So what happens with identical twins’ souls? Does only one of them have the soul for the pair (presumably the good twin)? And do chimeras have two souls or what? If not, where did the other soul go?

      • Valerie Finnigan

        Like I said, one of the remarkable things about the human organism is the capability of asexual reproduction at an early enough stage. First of all, there is no scientific evidence of there even being a soul apart from whatever animates the human organism. Because the human organism can reproduce asexually within a day or so of conception, it stands to reason that, assuming there is such a thing as a soul, it also can. Therefore, identical twins have separate souls the same way they have separate bodies, or in the case of conjoined twins, they at least have separate and independently functioning nervous systems.

        In the case of a person with full chimaera syndrome, the other human being that’s been fully consumed is dead. Therefore that human being’s soul is gone.

        Meanwhile, you’re bringing up matters of faith which have no bearing on the scientific fact that elective abortion is the killing of a human being almost entirely due to socio-economic concerns.

      • Feminerd

        Define human being, please.

        So far, you’ve mentioned unique homo sapien DNA as the marker, while ignoring the fact that we’ve already torn that argument to shreds. Identical twins, chimaeric persons, teratomas, various cancers, and hydatidiform moles all show why that standard is neither necessary nor sufficient as a definition of “human being”.

      • Valerie Finnigan

        A human being is a living organism of the species homo sapiens. I suggest looking up “organism” in any biology textbook.

        I never said having human DNA is the marker. Identical twins are human beings. Hydatitiform moles may have at some early point been human beings, but the abnormal placental growth that’s overtaken them ends their ability to function as organisms. Cancer may happen to have DNA, but it’s not an organism- same with teratomas.

        You are also making up a rather big straw man. Aborting a fetus that can be easily verified as a living human organism is not comparable in the least to a lumpectomy or an appendectomy, and 98% of all abortions are not to remove hydatitiform moles or for any other legitimate medical reason, but for convenience and socio-economic concerns.

        Socio-economic concerns are best addressed with socio-economic solutions, not with elective abortion.

      • Feminerd

        Organism: An individual form of life, such as a plant, animal, bacterium, protist, or fungus; a body made up of organs, organelles, or other parts that work together to carry on the various processes of life.

        Fetuses have those, but embryos and especially zygotes simply don’t really have that yet. They are dependent on the woman’s body to carry on the various processes of life. Most abortions- 88%- happen before 12 weeks, when an embryo is clearly not yet an organism.

        And even if they were definitely human beings, from the moment of conception, it wouldn’t matter because they have no right to use anyone else’s body for their own benefit. Do I, a complete stranger, have a right to take your kidney without your permission because I would die without it? Does your daughter have a right to take your kidney without your permission because she would die without it? If the answer is no, why can a fetus take my blood, vitamins, minerals, glucose, and uterus without my permission? Why do you think fetuses have more rights than infants?

      • Niemand

        A human being is a living organism of the species homo sapiens.

        Perhaps then you’d care to define “living”? In particular, what makes the transition from living to dead? What criteria should be used for declaring a person dead?

      • Niemand

        First of all, there is no scientific evidence of there even being a soul
        apart from whatever animates the human organism.

        Agreed. And what animates the human organism is the brain. So how can a clump of cells that doesn’t have a brain be a person?

        Because the human
        organism can reproduce asexually within a day or so of conception, it
        stands to reason that, assuming there is such a thing as a soul, it also

        If you acknowledge twinning (cloning) as a form of reproduction, then shouldn’t you also worry about the “murder” committed by surgeons who take out, for example, diseased appendixes (or even worse, prophylactically remove healthy appendixes)? There’s no in principle reason that every cell in the appendix can’t be used for asexual reproduction. We as a society have chosen not to pursue the issue, but that doesn’t mean that the cells aren’t capable of reproduction. Why worry about a blastula but not an appendix?

        In the case of a person with full chimaera syndrome, the other human being that’s been fully consumed is dead.

        Howso dead? The blastula merge, but the cells in them don’t die. And how do you decide which person is dead?

      • Valerie Finnigan

        You are failing to recognize the difference between a body part and a full organism. Twinning is asexual reproduction that takes place when the human organism is capable of it. Artificial cloning is an entirely different process undertaken well past the point at which an organism is no longer capable of asexual reproduction.

        In people with full chimaera syndrome, it can be pretty easy to judge which organism survives based on which genetic characteristics manifest.

      • tsara

        “You are failing to recognize the difference between a body part and a full organism.”
        The reason we’re doing so is because you haven’t told us where the boundary between the two is — which is what people have been trying to get you to do.

      • Valerie Finnigan

        Good heavens, check a basic high school biology book, why don’t you?

        One cell in a multicellular organism does not count as a person. By your logic, you seem to think that a heart transplanted from a cadaver is a person. You are again not differentiating between a body part and an organism. Would an odd-eye be capable of growing and developing on its own, eventually becoming capable of finding a partner and making baby odd eyes? No? Then it’s not an organism, but part of another.

      • Feminerd

        But you just said that unique human DNA was the marker of humanity. We all know that’s not sufficient, as clearly evidenced by your objection. What is that line, that separates human being from not-human-being? You’ve failed to even try to come up with an answer.

        EDIT: My answer, at least, is birth. Once a fetus becomes an infant and is no longer dependent on a specific human being for its every need, is no longer tied into that human’s very flesh, it’s a human being now. Before that, it’s a (hopefully very loved and very wanted) biological parasite.

      • Feminerd

        But some chimaeric people have patchworks. They actually have patchy skin tones, eyes may be different colors, etc. And some of each genome will be active in their body. If even one cell of the “dead” organism still lives, that’s a separate person according to you.

      • Niemand

        Twinning is asexual reproduction that takes place when the human
        organism is capable of it. Artificial cloning is an entirely different
        process undertaken well past the point at which an organism is no longer
        capable of asexual reproduction.

        Are you sure you want to make this argument? Because if people are only people if they are conceived “naturally” there are a whole lot of unpeople out there. Artificial insemination and other methods of producing humans from infertile people are pretty common these days.

        In people with full chimaera syndrome, it can be pretty easy to judge
        which organism survives based on which genetic characteristics manifest.

        I’m not quite certain what you mean here. Are you saying that you can determine which person is “alive” by how many cells have one type of DNA and how many have the other? What if it’s 50/50 as far as anyone can tell? And are the parts produced from the non-dominant DNA undead or what?

      • Valerie Finnigan

        And if what animates the human person is the brain, how else can you explain the growth and development that takes place prior to the complete formation of the central nervous system- a process that, by the way, does not end until adulthood, and cannot be described as anything but life?

      • Niemand

        If all it takes to be a person is human DNA and being alive, then what should we say about brain dead people? Are they really still alive? What about human cells in cell culture? Are they individual people? Is experimenting on them murder and/or slavery?

    • Anat

      Because the effect on the woman, medically, economically, psychologically and any other way of contraception is preferable to the effects of abortion. (And abortion, in turn, is safer for the woman than birth.)

      • Carl Seaton

        Medical effect? How so? Abortion is extremely safe. Less side affects than pills. Economically? What does a years worth of pills cost? Psychologically ? Multiple studies show that there is no detrimental effect upon women. Hey. An abortion clinic at every highschool. Why not?

      • Anat

        Yes, have an abortion clinic in every neighborhood, but also good contraceptive services. The cost can be in similar range though more expensive than generic pills, and sometimes way more expensive.

        I’d like a source for abortion being safer than BCP. It is safer than full term pregnancy and birth but no way it is safer than pills,let alone more modern means for birth control.

        As for psychological effects – while there are no significant major long-term psychological effects to abortion there is the short term stress leading up to abortion, even when it is available and accessible, merely from needing to get it done in a timely manner.

      • Carl Seaton

        What do you mean by timely Manner?
        Can you name any health hazards associated with abortion? Virtually none!
        Unless it is you getting sucked out through the tube and put in the biohazard heap. Still no reason for contraceptives with abortion used as such.

      • Anat

        For starters: The comparative safety of legal induced abortion and childbirth in the United States.



        The pregnancy-associated mortality rate among women
        who delivered live neonates was 8.8 deaths per 100,000 live births. The
        mortality rate related to induced abortion was 0.6 deaths per 100,000
        abortions. In the one recent comparative study of pregnancy morbidity in
        the United States, pregnancy-related complications were more common
        with childbirth than with abortion.


        As for ‘in a timely manner’ – abortion is less intrusive the earlier it is performed. The least intrusive methods have a time limit.

      • Anat

        And in contrast, here is one on oral contraceptives:

        Mortality among contraceptive pill users: cohort evidence from Royal College of General Practitioners’ Oral Contraception Study

        From there:Conclusion Oral contraception was not associated with
        an increased long term risk of death in this large UK cohort; indeed, a
        net benefit was apparent. The balance of risks and benefits, however,
        may vary globally, depending on patterns of oral contraception usage and
        background risk of disease.

        It was a large prospective study. They found that BCP users had lower mortality than those who never used BCP.

        So yes, oral contraception is safer than abortion (which in turn is safer than childbirth).

      • Anat

        Also, if someone is looking at using abortion as primary form of birth control then we are looking at 2-3 abortions per year for a woman of average fertility who is sexually active. That’s certainly more expensive than oral contraception.

    • Feminerd

      Abortions are expensive ($200+), pregnancy is risky, abortions are not without risk (though it is very low), condoms are cheap.

      It’s like getting your teeth drilled. Yeah, you could just get all your cavities drilled, but it’s easier and safer to just brush your teeth twice a day to prevent them.

      • Carl Seaton

        Abortion has virtually no medical side effects. Why mess with your hormonal system(breast cancer risk here) when you can just get an abortion every time you get pregnant? According to planned parenthood it’s just a gentle suction that lasts less than 5 minutes. No compunction necessary. Gee you don’t even have to see what, or whom gets sucked out into the jar. What a wonderful world we have here.

      • Feminerd

        You … ignored everything I just said, didn’t you? Besides, there’s absolutely no evidence that hormonal BC increases the risk of breast cancer. It seems to have a slight risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke, but before 40 at least the risk of dying in pregnancy is higher than the risk of dying from any of that.

        Why do you brush your teeth? You could just go to a dentist to get your cavities drilled.

      • Libby Anne

        OMG! I posted before reading the quip you end with! Great minds think alike, apparently!

      • Feminerd

        Hah! Apparently they do :)

      • Libby Anne

        Dental work has no medical side effects. Why mess with your natural chemicals (most toothpaste has flouride in it, after all) when you can just get a cavity filled every time a tooth goes bad? According to the National Association of Dentists, you won’t feel a thing. Gee you don’t even have to see what goes on in your mouth during the procedure. What a wonderful world we have here.

      • Carl Seaton

        Wow. Seriously messing with ones estrogen levels is similar to toothpaste with fluoride in it? Who knew?

      • Libby Anne

        Dude, you’re the one saying it would make more sense for women to have abortions than to use birth control, I don’t think you have ANY license to be snarking here. Seriously, grow a vagina and then rethink this, because you’re not doing a very good job of considering what what you’re saying would actually mean without one.

      • Carl Seaton

        If I grow a vagina will it deputize me to become a giver of life and taker of life?
        Would my heart grow so cold that itwould grant personhood or deny it in order to avoid the self sacrifice of motherhood?

      • Feminerd

        I’ve been trying to figure out how to respond, but I just can’t. You are so incoherent and just off in your own little world that bears no resemblance to reality that I just can’t figure out how to bridge that gap.

      • Olive Markus

        Flouride is an endocrine system disruptor, actually, and studies are showing that while it can make the enamel of your teeth harder, it also makes it more brittle, thus not quite as beneficial as one might think.

        Bobek, S., S. Kahl, and Z. Ewy. “Effect of long-term fluoride administration on thyroid hormones level blood in rats.” Endocrinologia experimentalis 10.4 (1975): 289-295.;jsessionid=0otATVJtNY80dmX0OLnr.18

        Sebrell, W. H., et al. “Changes in the teeth of white rats given water from a mottled enamel area compared with those produced by water containing sodium fluoride.” Pub. Health Rep 48.17 (1933): 437-445.

        Not that it’s really relevant to the discussion, but you brought up the comparison.

  • Julia

    I have always been “pro-choice” because I don’t believe it’s my right to make life changing decisions for a person I know nothing about. Writer, I am so proud of you for believing so strongly in a cause that you researched it before you were positive in your position. More people should be doing what you are doing to better inform themselves on these strong opinions that they carry. Let this be a lesson that you can’t trust the face of a movement without thoroughly checking into their reasons for their beliefs and actions. I appreciate your courage to voice your opinion on such a “hot button” topic and hope you continue your work and research. This has inspired me to become informed, not just on this topic, but on all topics that I have opinions about to really make sure my position reflects my beliefs on the subject. There are so many ways to view the world and facts are what make claims legitimate, trustworthy, and worth our time. Bravo.

    • Valerie Finnigan

      Do you understand that elective abortion is making a life-ending decision for an innocent person about which you know nothing? If you oppose the pro-life movement on grounds that you don’t believe it’s their right to make decisions that change the lives of people they don’t know, I would think it only logical that you more strongly oppose abortion on the same or similar grounds.

      • NeaDods

        That’s not the gotcha argument you think it is, nor is it logical. Despite all your rhetoric, you are clearly erasing the woman, and a woman is the only one qualified to make decisions about what happens to her own body.

  • Zizzle

    I’ll start by applauding the author for this persuasive and fact-based stack of good talking points. Very effective.

    It is important to realize that the fact that we’re even having an argument on the morality of a procedure which was technologically impossible fewer than 10 generations ago. Put in perspective of the predominantly rigid, dogmatic nature of those who oppose free reign of personal choice, the lack of adherence to facts can be easily understood. Hormonal birth control and reliable physical contraceptives (based on plastics, or natural polymers like latex) are fewer than 3 generations old and are again technological in nature. It is easy to comprehend why rigid dogma might prevent the moral adoption of such technologies, as the societal circumstances around the formation and advancement of the beliefs behind that dogma are far older. The scripture simply does not address these issues in a meaningful way.

    Even I wasn’t aware of the “natural abortions” and their sheer scale – half or more of conceptions are discarded by the mother’s body. Only in recent generations has such knowledge been available; I’d wager that in prior times, the thought hadn’t even crossed religions minds.

    I think the moral landscape of “to abort or not to abort” misses the point that we are remarkably fortunate to live in a modern world where such arguments bear legitimacy at all — in the 1800s, abortion as an option hadn’t even seen the light of public opinion yet.

    Moreover, I think that to consider this a purely moral issue neglects the proven fact that all pursued technologies improve. In 50 years, abortion procedures may have a mere 1% complications rate, and birth control may have a negligible failure rate. At this time, any shred of the pro-life argument will be rendered useless, and only the anti-sex dogma will survive (because it is dogma).

  • JF131822

    Most of my friends are pro-life (college students and recent grads) and use birth control because they aren’t prepared financially to have a child yet. Not all pro-life people are against contraceptive. There are different types of birth control, and the ones that prevent the egg from being fertilized rather than just killing the egg after fertilization (sorry for the weird terminology, it’s been a while since I’ve had this discussion and was aware of the proper terms) are the ones that they’ve chosen because they do believe that life begins at conception. I don’t think there is anything wrong or evil in that. We are all avid church-goers and many people consider us to be pretty conservative, also.
    I know it is different for everyone, it doesn’t make anyone “evil” to have pre-marital sex. Everyone sins and everyone has different sins and different struggles, and with God it doesn’t matter what your personal demons are, because they are all equal in his eyes. Someone who lies is no better and no worse than someone who sleeps around, and all are in need of His forgiveness and salvation.
    Honestly, I wish that my husband had been a virgin when we’d met, because since I’d been a virgin, I don’t compare him to anyone, I think he’s great in the sack, and I am extremely happy with him and our life together. I don’t know anyone else intimately and I like it that way. Maybe some people would call me a prude or a self-righteous, pompous Jesus Freak, and sure, call me what you like. But I’m happy, SO very happy. :) I came into my relationship without burdens or weights or expectations from past sexual experiences, and I am happy feeling that freeing release. I feel complete unity and love with him, because he’s the only man I’ve ever shared my body with. I wish everyone could experience this kind of contentment and joy, also!
    The church still strives to keep kids from pre-marital sex because that’s what we were commanded, and that a big reason, in my opinion, that they are against abortion methods. It would make it easier for kids to begin having pre-marital sex if they figured a quick and easy fix was on the way to cover it all up. I agree that closing your eyes and putting your head in the ground like it won’t happen doesn’t help the situation. These lessons need to be taught at home and at church and reinforced so that kids can see the reasons, Biblically and otherwise, to not have sex outside of marriage. The other reason being that they believe life begins at conception, and there are birth control methods around that to keep the egg from being fertilized, so I guess I’d never seen how many lines could be drawn in the sand between people’s definitions of “pro-life” and “pro-choice”.
    Thank you for this article. It definitely did open up some new perspectives for me. Though I’m sure my comments will upset some people, I really appreciate the ability to post this all on your comments section. :)

  • anny

    bullshit. my parents had to have 2 abortions, wanted and cared ones but both times mom’s and babies life was endangered (I’d not reveal what was the medical condition, but it was pretty harsh). It was under constant doctor’s control so the third time they successfully had my brother.

    About birth controls. My roommate had no sexual life but was prescribed birth control pills due to her medical condition, she might not have children and she never had sex before. Birth control pills affect fertility, so one should take them only if there is no other choice.

    Thus, pro-life movement can have the point only with education children properly, so that the sexual life starts later and would be due to the mutual love and not as a part of sexual education among teens.

    Medical abortions should not be banned at no time! If you are pro-life, you should be a pro- mother’s life also. I do not think ads about condoms would help, but the lowering prices would, so that the monthly budget of couple having steady relationship wouldn’t have +$20 just for condoms, for some people it’s a lot of money.

    • tsara

      “bullshit. my parents had to have 2 abortions, wanted and cared ones but both times mom’s and babies life was endangered (I’d not reveal what was the medical condition, but it was pretty harsh). It was under constant doctor’s control so the third time they successfully had my brother.”

      I don’t understand how this makes anything in the OP ‘bullshit’.

      “Birth control pills affect fertility, so one should take them only if there is no other choice.”

      What you eat for breakfast affects fertility. Not eating breakfast affects fertility. Everything you do affects every part of your body, and there’s not much you can do about that. All you can do is pick which ways you want your body to be affected. Basically, you should take birth control pills only if you take them voluntarily and fully aware of the various ways they can affect you. If you think the risks are worth it? Good on you. If you don’t think the risks are worth it? Also good on you. Adult humans get to make their own decisions.

      “Thus, pro-life movement can have the point only with education children properly, so that the sexual life starts later and would be due to the mutual love and not as a part of sexual education among teens.”

      I was not informed that sexual life starts as part of sexual education among teens. I received full marks in sex ed, so I didn’t think I had missed anything…

      Also, why is love important? I get why the ‘mutual’ thing is important, because we want everyone to be on the same page on the subject of what the significance of what they’re doing is, but why does that significance have to be ‘love’? I see nothing inherently superior about having sex because you love the person as opposed to, say, having sex because you think the person’ll be really good in the sack.

      “I do not think ads about condoms would help, but the lowering prices would, so that the monthly budget of couple having steady relationship wouldn’t have +$20 just for condoms, for some people it’s a lot of money.”

      It might also help for people (especially religious people) to stop passing on misinformation about the failure rates of condoms and other forms of contraception. Plus, you can get condoms in bulk online for pretty cheap, and you can (or should) be able to get a few for free from most doctors’ offices and sexual health clinics.

  • Jared Welch

    The Pro-Life “Movement” has many people in it. The kind your so
    offended by are the ones who are loyal Republicans, even though the
    Republican party never actually does anything on Abortion when they have
    the opportunity to. It’s an issue they want unresolved so it can still be a source of votes.

    • Feminerd

      Uh, actually, Republicans do move on it regularly. Bans on abortion past 20 weeks, past 12 weeks, past 6 weeks. Counting the beginning of pregnancy from two weeks before conception to make it even harder to get an abortion before the legal limit. Rules and restrictions designed to shut down abortion clinics, hiding under the guise of health and safety regulations. Waiting periods, mandatory counseling, forced transvaginal ultrasounds, legally required misinformation. Ending funding of all women’s health clinics, including but not limited to abortion clinics.

      And that’s just in the past two years. The reason pro-lifers terrify us so much? They vote for the politicians who do this. They applaud when women’s rights are stripped away. I am offended by every kind of pro-life person, because they are telling me and all women that we aren’t real people.

      • Valerie Finnigan

        I don’t applaud when women’s rights are stripped away. I applaud when the rights of all humans to live are protected. Nobody has the right to take another innocent human being’s life.

      • Feminerd

        It is my right to control my body. No “innocent human being” can take that from me. Not a dying you, not your dying child, not a fetus. No one. I have no legal or ethical mandate to give you blood, so I don’t have a legal or ethical mandate to give a fetus blood. Unless you think fetuses have more rights than human beings?

      • Valerie Finnigan

        Your right to control your body does not come at anyone else’s right to live. Besides, the fetus’ body belongs to the fetus, not to the mother. Physical custody is not the same as ownership. I believe a fetus has no more rights than anyone else, but also no less. Rather, the right to live is more important than all other rights, as it’s the right upon which all other rights depend. You don’t have freedom of choice if your right to live is not safeguarded first.

      • Mogg

        “Your right to control your body does not come at anyone else’s right to live.”

        Yes, in fact, it does. In no other case apart from abortion is this even an issue. Why should abortion be an exception?

      • Feminerd

        Actually, my right to control my body does come at many others’ right to live. I could save many people if I gave blood more often, donated plasma, donated a kidney and liver, gave liver lobes as they grew back, and donated bone marrow. The people who will die on the waiting list for those items do not have the right to force me to give them, because my right to control my body means they don’t have the right to compel me to do something with my body against my will.

        If you gave a fetus the same rights as any other human being, you’d know it doesn’t have any more right to a woman’s blood than that woman’s sister. The fetus’s body belongs to it, so it can go get its own nutrients and oxygen from someone more willing to donate. And if it dies from lack of donation, well, that’s how we do organ donation and bodily autonomy. No donor, no life. I can always choose not to save someone else’s life; that is what bodily autonomy means.

      • Olive Markus

        “Your right to control your body does not come at anyone else’s right to live.”

        Actually, yes. In the very comment you replied to, Feminerd mentioned that others may die if she, rightfully and lawfully, decides not to do donate organs, blood or marrow to save another life. Your very religion says that nobody has a right to force a person to donate body parts to save the life of another. Because, your right to control your body DOES come at the expense of others’ right to live.

        “I believe a fetus has no more rights than anyone else…”

        The moment you take away a woman’s choice and control over her own body, you are giving the fetus more rights than the woman. You are literally taking away a woman’s rights by giving full rights to the fetus. There is no other way to handle an organism feeding off of and living within another organism. Either the fetus gets rights at the expense of the woman, or the woman gets rights at the expense of the fetus. There is absolutely no way, currently, to get around that.

        If you believe the fetus deserves more bodily autonomy than the woman does, at least be honest about it.

        And what is your honest opinion about your Church’s habit of letting women die for the sake of a dying fetus? I notice that you all tend to ignore that one a lot. Curious that you believe that the right to life is top priority when pregnancies are ended, but when pregnant women who didn’t want to die are killed in these circumstances, suddenly, nobody cares about her right to life.

    • Libby Anne

      “even though the Republican party never actually does anything on Abortion when they have the opportunity to.”

      This may have once been true but it’s not anymore. Look up what’s going on in Texas — the Republicans are about to shut down 37 of the state’s 42 abortion clinics. Similarly, North Carolina Republicans just banned half of all abortions in the state, and Mississippi got rid of abortions entirely, if the court lets their bills stand. Ohio, Wisconsin, and many, many others are doing the same with TARP laws targeting and shutting down abortion clinics, right here, right now, and they mean business.

  • Jared Welch

    I consider Life to begin at Conception. But as a Libertarian I also believe in choice, so to me Abortion is a gray area and it annoys me how both sides try so hard to demonize the other. Your points are interesting but No I will no accept any claim that all Pro-Lifers are lieing about why their Pro-Life.

    • Anat

      So what is your view on forced organ donations? Are they a gray area too?

      • Valerie Finnigan

        I’ve stated my view already. Refusing to donate an organ is not the same as deliberately hiring someone to kill a person. If you don’t donate an organ, someone else might. And even if they didn’t, it’s not as if you’re deliberately taking someone on the transplant list and slicing them into pieces.

      • tsara

        “And even if they didn’t, it’s not as if you’re deliberately taking someone on the transplant list and slicing them into pieces.”
        But you may as well be.
        EDIT: from the point of view of the person who needs the organ.

      • Valerie Finnigan

        There is a huge difference even between selfish and arbitrary refusal to donate an organ and outright murder. A person who does not wish to donate an organ most likely has no intention of killing anyone, but the whole purpose of elective abortion is to kill a fetus.

      • Niemand

        A person who does not wish to donate an organ most likely has no intention of killing anyone

        Actually, looking at the McFall vs Shimp case, it seems pretty likely that Shimp refused because he wanted to get revenge on McFall for some family conflicts. In short, yes, he did intend to kill him.

      • Niemand

        If you don’t donate an organ, someone else might.

        Tell it to McFall. Oh, wait, he died of aplastic anemia because his only matched donor refused to donate, so you can’t. Solid organs are a little easier, but it’s by no means certain that the organ you refuse to donate will be replaced by another. Heck, there are people who can only get blood from a single donor.

        And even if they didn’t, it’s not as if you’re deliberately taking someone on the transplant list and slicing them into pieces.

        If you are the only potential donor and you refuse to donate you are killing that person as surely as if you sliced them to pieces. Or even removed them intact from their food supply, which is what happens in the vast majority of elective abortions.

      • Valerie Finnigan

        There is no way for a stranger to know if they’re the only match. They’d have to first try and be tested to find out if they’re good potential donors for a specific person.

        Even at that, why go to the trouble of finding out if you’re just going to refuse to donate? Your argument makes no sense because your very premise is flawed.

        But let’s say for the sake of argument that you knew you were the only match for a particular patient on the transplant list, and you had no medical, religious, or occupational contraindications against donating. If you refuse to donate, you still haven’t ruled out the possibility of survival or even a cure later on down the line. It’s not just as sure as if you took a knife to them yourself. Refusing to donate would make you selfish, but it doesn’t make you a murderer. In order to be a murderer, you have to specifically intend to kill that person.

        BTW, I’m an organ donor, and I give blood. How about you?

      • Niemand

        There is no way for a stranger to know if they’re the only match

        Shimp was McFall’s cousin, possibly his half brother. He absolutely knew that he was McFall’s only hope. And a person who has leukemia or aplastic anemia and needs a transplant doesn’t have time to wait and hope that someone else will enter the donor pool and be a match some day. If the donor identified refuses, that’s that.

        But even if this were true, your logic is that of the person taking part in a firing squad: As long as I don’t know that it was my bullet that killed the person, I’m not guilty, right?

        If you refuse to donate, you still haven’t ruled out the possibility of survival or even a cure later on down the line.

        People with (most) diseases that need a transplant have a survival time measurable in weeks. Maybe less. No, there is no option to wait for something better to come down the line.

        Furthermore, no one gets drunk, makes an error in judgement and accidentally gets themselves haplotyped for transplant. Every person in the transplant database is there because he or she deliberately agreed to have their DNA tested for possible transplant some day. Yet we do not force them to go through with the donation even if they refuse for no good reason.

        BTW, I’m an organ donor, and I give blood. How about you?

        Congratulations and thank you. I give blood on a regular basis. I’m a rare blood type and CMV negative so the blood bank loves my blood–but they refuse to take it if I’m not healthy enough to donate, even if the risk to my health is something on the order of minor iron deficiency. I’m in the donor pool for bone marrow but no one’s wanted my marrow yet and it may be that no one ever will–I’ve got a very odd ethnic background.

        Are you a marrow donor or a solid organ donor? If the former, was it a stranger donation or a relative? (Please feel free to tell me it’s none of my business if you don’t want to discuss it, of course.) If you donated marrow to a stranger, would you have been willing to enter into the registry if you knew that by registering you were agreeing to give marrow under any circumstances, including if it would do you bodily harm to donate, and if you refused you could be charged with murder or physically forced to donate?

    • tsara

      What are your views on castle laws? Or using guns for self-defence? Restricting abortions to the point where I am unable to obtain one, for whatever reason, is exactly the same as telling me that I can’t fight back when I’m being raped because the rapist might get hurt. If something or someone is in my body without my explicit and ongoing consent, I can remove it from my body without consideration for its safety. This is not a grey area.

      • Valerie Finnigan

        So you’re comparing an innocent fetus to someone who deliberately chooses to commit a crime? That’s disgusting and flies in the face of anything I’d consider justice.

      • tsara

        No. I’m comparing a woman who is pregnant and does not wish to be to the victim of a crime; the effect of the crime on the victim does not change because the person did not deliberately choose anything.

        The innocence or otherwise of the fetus is not relevant. I find the entire concept to be useless, and I find the idea of punishment to be disgusting. The purpose of the justice system should be to prevent people from causing harm, not on punishing people.

      • Valerie Finnigan

        The innocence of the fetus is entirely relevant. It’s an injustice to kill innocent human beings, period. It’s an even greater injustice to sentence an innocent person to death for a crime somebody else committed. As a rape survivor who had to consider, “What if I am pregnant?” I arrived at the conclusion myself that it was only ethically consistent with my opposition to the death penalty to regard aborting my baby (if I were pregnant) to be an even greater injustice than what was committed against me.

        And if the purpose of the justice system is to keep people from doing harm, it should keep people from harming their own children.

      • Mogg

        Out of interest, how do you personally define “human being”?

      • Feminerd

        Why is a fetus innocent? Sure, it’s not intending harm, but if it’s using my body without my consent, it’s hard to consider it “innocent”. I would also kill a tapeworm that was using my body without my consent, draining my nutrients for its own benefit and to my detriment. Do you call tapeworms innocent?

      • Valerie Finnigan

        If you refuse to consider a human being whose done no intentional harm innocent, that’s your problem and still no reason to kill anyone.

        Furthermore, your comparison of a living human being to a tapeworm is also disgusting and repugnant. Comparing human beings to other animals has happened in other chapters of human history, and the end result when such views were codified into law was always oppression and atrocity. Look up what regarding some human beings as “lesser persons” or non-persons altogether has done to African-Americans, indigenous Americans, Jews, etc.,.

      • Feminerd

        Oh for fuck’s sake. A fetus is a biological parasite- it just is. You’re saying that it has more right to a woman’s body than she herself does. I’m saying that the person in control of the body is in control of the body. I’m not comparing a fetus to a tapeworm except in how they interact with a woman’s body. Obviously they are not otherwise comparable.

        If someone breaks into my house, intending me no harm, I can still kill them (go Castle Laws!). How much more if they break into my body? Remember that in the US, ~20 women per 100,000 who give birth will die of pregnancy-related complications. There will be about 30,000 near-deaths per year, and millions of women will be permanently injured. It doesn’t matter if a fetus wants to cause harm or not- it very well may. Pregnancy is dangerous. It stresses the heart, pancreas, and immune system. It shoves all sorts of hormones into the body that have wonky effects on blood pressure and blood sugar, leading to elevated risk of heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. Sometimes women get so nauseous they have to be hospitalized or they’ll die from dehydration because they can’t even keep water down (hyperemesis gravidarum). If the pregnancy is risky, the woman might need to be on bedrest.

        And then there’s labor and delivery. Pelvic floor damage (damage to the tissue of the vagina), organ prolapse (muscles so stretched out they can’t hold your uterus and/or bladder in place, requires surgery to fix), hemorrhage, stroke, vagino-rectal fistulas (tear between the vulva and the anus, severing the anal sphincter muscles and leading to leakage of feces into the vagina), infection, and more … these are serious quality of life issues if they don’t kill you. If someone wants to risk all that, more power to them. Forcing someone to be pregnant and risk all that is slavery and torture. We would never require a man to be a slave to save someone else’s life. Why treat a woman any differently?

      • Olive Markus

        By forcing a woman to live in a situation in which she has no control over her own body, you are enforcing the very oppression and atrocity that you claim to be so very afraid of. Why do you a feel that as soon as a woman is pregnant, her body belongs to the fetus, to you and to the state to do with as you all please, as opposed to herself?

        Look in the mirror, lady.

  • jenna

    I am totally Pro-choice. Every time I see one of those ridiculous billboards with photos of babies with the caption “Whose missing from your neighborhood?” or the idiotic pro-life “Save the Baby Humans” bumper stickers I want to gag. There are 15,000 children in the foster care system in the state of Pennsylvania alone. There is crime, there is poverty, too many people on welfare. There are scumbag parents who cook meth and send their children to school stinking like chemicals. What kind of people do those children often grow up to be? The cycle of ignorance, crime and poverty continues. Unwanted children are the origin of many of society’s problems.

    • Valerie Finnigan

      So you think it would have been better if those 15,000 children (many of whom are wards of a state that has not terminated their birth parents’ parental rights and therefore cannot be adopted) were simply butchered?

      Also, while it’s easy to blame society’s problems on people too young to defend themselves, scapegoating unwanted children as the origin of our society’s problems is not only inaccurate, it’s repugnant. The origin of society’s problems is the refusal of supposed adults to love their children.

      Abortion doesn’t solve anything. It won’t make parents love their children. It won’t make employers and schools pay attention and recognize the rights of pregnant women who don’t abort. It doesn’t stop abuse. It has failed to solve poverty.

      • Niemand

        The origin of society’s problems is the refusal of supposed adults to love their children.

        And how is forcing women to bear children that they don’t want to or can’t support going to encourage them to love their children more? No matter how loving a person you are, if you’re hungry or cold or uncertain about whether you’ll have a place to live tomorrow you’ll be less affectionate and more ill tempered to a child than if you are secure and comfortable.

        Again, are you willing to vote for a politician who will help poor women raise their children in security and some comfort, even if she or he is officially “pro-choice” or vote for a politician who wants to make life as hard as possible and opportunities as few as possible for poor women and their children because s/he is “pro-life”? I expect your preference would be for a pro-life and pro-welfare politician but such people are rare, at least in the US, so when you decide whose agenda is more like yours, which way do you go? (I apologize for the repetition if you’ve answered this question already. I have not seen your answer.)

      • Valerie Finnigan

        If you’re more ill-tempered toward a child over things that are not the child’s fault, that means you are resentful, not loving. Furthermore, you are directing your anger toward the wrong person. A person who is going to treat a child badly because of problems supposed adults have created is not a loving parent- but still has the ability to change and choose to become a better person and try to better society. On the other hand, a child who is abused or aborted does not have the power to reverse that.

        Similarly, people who only treat their children better when they are more secure and more comfortable only love conditionally. Being a good parent requires choosing to love unconditionally. I had to make some pretty big sacrifices to carry to term my unplanned pregnancy- sacrifices I should not have had to make. To take it out on my daughter is sick, twisted, and it doesn’t address any of the real reasons why I subsequently had trouble in education and employment, which is discrimination against mothers.

      • Niemand

        If you’re more ill-tempered toward a child over things that are not the
        child’s fault, that means you are resentful, not loving. Furthermore,
        you are directing your anger toward the wrong person.

        So you’re saying that no loving parent has ever been stressed about external circumstances (say, a rent payment that they can’t cover or concern about losing their job) and snapped unfairly at a toddler who was having a tantrum? That’s…a very high bar for what is considered a “loving parent”.

      • Valerie Finnigan

        Not at all. You, however, seem to think that a toddler would be better off dead than snapped at by a tired parent. I think abortion is far worse than unfairly snapping at a kid. Words can be taken back. A parent can make up for having a bad mood and make an effort to do better. But you can’t abort a child and then make it up to them later. That is irreversible.

      • Niemand

        Not at all.

        Then what did you mean by “If you’re more ill-tempered toward a child over things that are not the child’s fault, that means you are resentful, not loving.” Hard to read that comment as saying anything other than only women who are never cross with their children unfairly can be considered “loving”. Given that that’s exactly what you said.

        But you can’t abort a child and then make it up to them later.

        Just like you can’t fail to conceive a child and then make it up to them later. The children I didn’t have with my first boyfriend when I was 20 because I didn’t conceive them are just as non-existent as if I’d aborted them. Should I feel guilty about them as well? About the grandchildren I will never have because I was too socially incompetent to get it together to have sex?

  • Jon Kay

    All these things, I’m so sorry you feel this way. There are so many things you are confused on. Doing things on purpose, such as you stated the 2 deaths of people in the zygote stage, is always worse than the natural occurrences of life, such as you stated the 8 deaths of people in the zygote stage. Just because there are less in the one with birth control does not make it right, or better. Those children were chosen to be killed. Contraception also perverts sex. What, woman are free to be used by men? Men can now satisfy their lust without any fears of taking responsibility. I wish woman and men were more respected. You are made for more.

    • Kat

      You know, I’m getting really fucking sick of this whole idea that contraception = women being used for sex. I generally try to give people the benefit of the doubt, but I’m not sure whether it’s better to assume the person spouting this argument is knowingly trying to perpetuate bullshit or just staggeringly ignorant. Whichever is less insulting, I suppose I’ll assume that.

      Look, my husband and I are very much in love, and we want to have children. However, since we also do not want said children to starve, we’re waiting a few months/years until we’re more financially stable and can afford a slightly bigger place to live (right now we would have literally nowhere to put a child in our apartment, and that’s before factoring in any of the costs of raising it). This, incidentally, is one of the many ways people go about “taking responsibility.”

      Because my husband and I love each other, we like to demonstrate that love in many different ways. Some of those ways are physical. Some of the physical ways are sexual. I’m pretty sure that if he was just using me for sex, he would:

      1. Not have married me. That’s a hell of a lot of hassle for the sole purpose of getting laid.
      2. Not be so concerned with getting me off. I’m not going to get into explicit details here, but let me just say that a man who’s using a woman generally doesn’t put forth the effort/pay attention to the spots my husband does, because there’s really nothing in it for him.
      3. Not be so affectionate in other ways, both before and after (and if I’m not feeling up to it, instead of).
      4. Not be willing to occasionally try things that I like but don’t do much for him, simply because it makes me happy (naturally, I am happy to return the favor).

      And you have the audacity to say you wish women were more respected?! I suppose you think forcing me to get pregnant during a financially stressful time or abstain from sex with my husband is somehow more respectful than the two of us discussing when we should try to have children together and being able to reap the benefits (emotional and physical) of our sexual relationship in the meantime. You’re right that someone doesn’t respect me (or women in general), but it sure as hell isn’t my husband, and it isn’t me either. Your faux concern about women being used fools no one. If you won’t stop advocating for us all to be unwilling incubators, you could at least stop insulting our intelligence.

      Edited to add: I forgot to mention this earlier, but I’d like to point out that I’m not on the pill solely to prevent pregnancy. It’s nice that it does that, so we don’t have to use anything else, but I also take it because I used to have painful, debilitating cramps whenever I got my period (which was wildly unpredictable). For a while I couldn’t hold down a job because I never knew when I was going to be doubled over in pain and unable to get anything done. That’s something tricky I’ll have to discuss with my doctor when we are ready to conceive, but meanwhile the pill is what keeps me able to function from month to month. I fail to see how being healthy somehow perverts sex, or how suggesting that I shouldn’t take advantage of a simple medication that greatly improves my quality of life is respectful to me. Quite frankly, it sounds pretty appalling.

      • Olive Markus

        Who on earth could have down-voted this post?

        Beautifully said, and I completely agree.

        My husband does so much for me, I don’t even know where to begin, and considering the health problems I’ve endured the last several years, there is very little sex to even “use” me for. I won’t go into the sex part, as my experience mostly mirror’s Kat’s. He currently works two full-time jobs (one from home, thank goodness) and teaches one class to keep me in a house I love, buy me healthy food, and take care of my dog all while I haven’t been able to find a job myself. He takes me out and he buys me things I don’t need (every once in awhile :)). He’s affectionate, is a pretty adequate listener ;), and he’s never, NOT ONCE pressured me for sex I didn’t or couldn’t give. Oh, and he cooks, cleans and does laundry. Seriously. We’re going on 8 years now, and I don’t recall ever once being used. If anything, he deserves a much better woman than I could ever be.

        But by Jon Kay’s logic, the fact that we mutually, happily and respectfully agree to use contraception, he’s just using me for sex? If my husband is using me and Jon Kay is respecting his wife, please, let my husband use me for eternity. I don’t want any part in that kind of “respect.”

      • Jon Kay

        Your doctor shouldn’t write you off and just prescribe you birth control pills to help your cramps when you are on your period. The pill might make the pain go away, but it doesn’t solve the problem. There are much better options to solve health issues such as that, and birth control is a cop out.

      • Alix

        If you’re not her doctor, then piss off.

  • lewr2

    Your one point about Obama Care is enough to blow your entire article up by itself honey. Considering even the unions now say it’s a charade, it must be. There’s no WAY Trumka is going against Obama Care unless it’s horrific.

    Here kiddo.. here’s another condom.. Here lady… take another pill you won’t feel it. No problem there you 11 year old. You don’t need to know you shouldn’t do that. Look there Johnny… if you use that thing, you need to pay for the baby.

  • JustMe

    I’m a pro-lifer who has never fully identified with the pro-life crowd; I am for birth control wholeheartedly; I believe in giving assistance to pregnant women, and who believes that adoption is an alternative to being stuck with a child you don’t want. As soon as I’m done with school I definitely plan on working in a capacity that supports my stance. This article provided a lot of good statistics and I have definitely thought through a lot while reading it. I happen to believe that those zygotes that are naturally aborted by the body aren’t meant to be born. And back to birth control, I definitely believe that that is what is going to bring the numbers of abortions down and it should be available, but parents also have the responsibility to take their teenage daughters to clinics to get them on effective birth control; as the author stated, condoms are less effective than other forms of birth control, so why should parents just settle for condoms being handed out at the school? I say the more unwanted pregnancies prevented, the better. People will have sex, nothing is going to stop that, regardless of what a religion says about the issue.

  • Meg

    Really great post, I enjoyed reading it and even learned some new things. It’s wonderful seeing how viewpoints can change with facts and compassion.

  • Rayne

    Excellent. I’d like to see more prolifers become foster carers or adopt the babies of women they convince to adopt out instead of abort.

  • Stephanie

    This is one of the most fantastic, articulate, succinct, and beautifully written articles on the subject I’ve ever read. Thank you.

  • Randi

    Although I have never been pro-Life, I wanted to read this article anyway. Thank you, this is very well written. I actually have a few people that I think need to see this. You make a wonderful and very sound point. Kudos!

  • Emily

    One of the most important facts is to remember “pro-choice” does not mean “pro-abortion”. Billions -most in fact – of pro-choice women choose to have their babies. The point is they are choosing. Choosing when to stop using birth control, choosing when their lives, finances and family are ready, etc.

  • Robin Witt

    OUTSTANDING article. The best I’ve seen on this subject!

  • The Truth Teller

    Maybe women should act like women and not fornicate with everything that moves while being drunk at the club and then murder an innocent unborn child to begin with? It’s pathetic that you justify your actions by renaming the unborn child to the “zygote” and that you’re not murdering it but “terminating” it. Continue to rationalize your disgusting, hedonistic, selfish actions. You’re disgusting.

  • lewr2

    For the pro-lifers are violent types. Here’s a good link.

    I don’t subscribe to violence, but use this as a weapon against you. Since 1973 11 people have died in abortion clinics due to pro-life violence. THree of them are from the KKK, which is henious.
    However… Gosnell butchered waaaaay more than that.

    • tsara

      If you want to make sure that nothing like the Gosnell case happens again, vote for the pro-choice legislators. If you want places like his to exist everywhere, vote for the “pro-life” legislators.

      (Also, “Since 1973 11 people have died in abortion clinics due to pro-life violence.” Eleven people and how many zygotes?)

      • lewr2

        Pro-life legislators are the ones who put Gosnell the butcher in business and kept him there. There the ones who lined up for his defense until they knew it was beneficial to keep propping up a murderering thug.

        The fact is, Gosnell is a poster child for the horrific outcomes of the abortion mill industry. He is just ONE. There are MANY others. In fact, abortion mills cover up underage pregnancies, which I would think any loving leftist liberal would love to stop.

        But… NO. That’s not what they want to do. They want to make it EASIER.

      • tsara

        “Pro-life legislators are the ones who put Gosnell the butcher in business and kept him there. There the ones who lined up for his defense until they knew it was [no longer] beneficial to keep propping up a murderering thug.”

        “In fact, abortion mills cover up underage pregnancies, which I would think any loving leftist liberal would love to stop.”

        I can think of many reasons why a teenager should not be forced to tell anyone about a pregnancy. You would think incorrectly. (Though I don’t see the connection between that sentence and the previous one.)

        “The fact is, Gosnell is a poster child for the horrific outcomes of the abortion mill industry.”

        No. Gosnell is what happens when people have no better option. Desperate people resort to desperate measures, or do you think that the people who went to him were so stupid that they didn’t realize that they might not come back? By going to him, they demonstrated that they would have rather died than not receive abortion, and I can empathize.

      • lewr2

        You can continue to lie to yourself all you want, but Gosnell was a plain butcher. Clearly stated even by the Philly PD, which isn’t any conservative hotbed I’m sorry to say.

        I guess if you tell lies enough you start believing them huh tsara?

        Gosnell did what he did because he’s a butcher. There are plenty of abortion mills that don’t treat the butchered babies quite the same way Mr. Gosnell did. The Delaware

      • tsara

        “You can continue to lie to yourself all you want, but Gosnell was a plain butcher.”
        I never said he wasn’t.

        “There are plenty of abortion mills that don’t treat the butchered babies quite the same way Mr. Gosnell did.”
        Obviously. Cases like Gosnell do not happen in places where bodily autonomy and freedom of choice are respected. I don’t see how that supports your point of view, though.

        “I guess if you tell lies enough you start believing them huh tsara?”
        I’ve nearly had enough of you making comments about my mind and my personal life. I have not made any such of you, and I have already requested that you refrain from doing so.

  • tsara

    You missed the bit about personal autonomy and self-determination. Consensual sex does not violate my bodily integrity. My sex life has absolutely nothing to do with this, and you persist in using second person pronouns. You need to knock it off with the slut-shaming and stop pretending that it is morally superior to being in favour of torture rather than quick, humane death.

    Sex only continues until one participant says to stop. If it continues, it becomes rape. A pregnancy should only continue until the person donating hir entire body to support the pregnancy says stop. If it doesn’t, it is as or more violating than rape. Forced pregnancy is torture.

  • vixxy

    I love this article, you know I notice that pro-choice actually gives more data to support their argument than pro-life and when pro-life gives data it’s always about the abortions that happen past week 24 which will only happen if done through illegal means if nothing is wrong or if there are extreme health issues for the baby or mother, and of course handicapped children. I have never in my life thought that abortion is a good choice nor do I argue the fact that it is a life inside the womb. There are so many other factors in the equation though human nature being the biggest part of it all. It’s sad that we do not live in this utopian world where all morals can be made into laws and that banning things actually puts a stop to it. And I agree with the writer in the fact that the way to reduce numbers of abortions is to advocate and educate about birth control. I also agree that most pro-lifers I have met do not believe in birth control or educating the youth about it as well. I wish that many of the pro-life people would push for tighter regulations and education for the best ways to bring the numbers down instead of just screaming murder over and over again.

    • Valerie Finnigan

      Whoa, totally not true. In fact, the pro-life side generally presents data that is far more scientifically accurate especially regarding fetal development while pro-choicers still insist that an eight week fetus is a “blob of cells,” or talk about abortion as flushing out a zygote, never mind that the term zygote applies only to the human being at the single-cell stage- which lasts less than a day.

      And disabled children have just as much right to live as anyone else.

      • vixxy

        have you even read this article? I never said it was not taking a life either, I point out though that the life of the woman and/or rape victim is rarely considered by pro-life. I was also generalizing most of the time when I personally have read pro-life written articles data is twisted and the writer likes to do things like use high numbers of an aspect of abortion, for example i read an article that stated 80 percent of the women that have late term abortions… so on so forth and the whole article is themed to make it sound like most abortions are happening at this stage. I personally believe that a fetus is a life and abortion would NEVER be an option for me but the hell if it is my right to tell another woman who is a grown person with cognitive thought and completely developed that she would have to keep a product of rape in her womb for 9 months to give life to a baby that she was never given a choice in the first place on getting pregnant. It is sad that bad things happen in this world but this is the real world and take a look at rape stats out there something like 28 women per minute get raped. Pro-lifers seem to think by banning abortion and making it illegal that it will bring the numbers down there is statistical data that shows that to be unlikely not to mention suicide of women which will result in two deaths because a woman feels like she has no way out and is afraid and let’s face it the writer of this article is right there is all sorts of help during pregnancy but when he woman becomes a mother instead of just expecting there is not that much help unless she is willing to give the baby she bonded with those 9 months up for adoption. Easy for someone else to tell them they should be overjoyed to do this. I know because I gave my daughter up for adoption when I was younger and it was hell for me. I have no real regret over my decision however emotionally I am traumatized and will never be the woman I once was, and go ahead tell me it’s my fault I am a slut because the baby was a result of a date rape situation. It is so easy to sit back and judge but unless you are the person even if your situation was or is similar you are not the same person which makes the situation different. I think it’s particularly cruel to discount the life of the woman who is concious and completely developed over a life that does not have conscious thought you say that pro lifers know more about scientific data? I find that hard to believe when all the articles I’ve read say because the baby can suck it’s thumb at 14 weeks that it’s a full person. Science says that it’s typically around 20-24 weeks (i give this time frame because I have seen some scientists differ in opinion but the main range where they agree things are really happening is between these weeks) when personage happens and connections are made developmentally that make the baby start to start feeling pain and higher brain function. I don’t even want abortion legal because I feel that a fetus is not a “baby” I want it legal because I don’t want women and dead babies during the later stages of pregnancy found in dumpsters or back alleys from botched abortion jobs. It never cease to amaze me how anyone can believe that banning something makes it stop, it always makes something like this go “underground” and worse scenarios have been proven to happen in the past when abortion was illegal in this country and happens presently in other countries that it is currently illegal to do it in. So let me get this straight a pro lifer would prefer for both the woman and the child to die? Maybe they think that the woman will deserve to die a horrible death for feeling desperate enough to feel abortion is her only option? Last time I checked God didn’t want us to judge others and that it was his job to do the you have been bad tally on judgement day. I want you to seriously consider this though Valerie would you rather a disabled child get put away in an institution do you think that is humane? It’s what happens a lot of time to children with disabilities born to parents that cannot handle the responsibility. Have you ever been to some of these facilities that these type of kids are placed in? I personally would rather be dead then in any kind of institution that even includes places that care for elderly. I remember working in an alzheimer’s care unit where the people on the shift before me didn’t bother to toilet or change the residents and I would check them and find they had sat in their dirty stuff so long it had dried, reported that place 4 times and then was let go the first time I was sick because they knew I was the one that reported the place. Besides the whole reason that abortion was made legal in the first place was because of the heinous things that happen when it is illegal. Religious belief and personal opinion doesn’t really belong when it comes to making law and the law considers the life of the mother as well instead of just treating the pregnant woman like she is a vessel only. Anyways enough of the soap box I have homework to get back to.

  • Hana

    Another thing pro-lifers seem to ignore is improving medical technology to the point where the fetus can grow and develop independent of the mother’s body. I know we’re not nearly to that point yet, but the incubator systems used for premature births have come a long, long way. Maybe if the pro-life movement was really trying to save the unborn, they’d be pumping money into the development of this sort of technology rather than closing down abortion clinics. I mean, if the mother could have the fetus removed for free (or at least a lower cost than for an abortion), I’m pretty sure the abortion rate would at least drop, if not fall to 0. Then the babies could grow in a hospital/facility before being adopted, possibly by those “immoral” homosexual couples who can’t directly reproduce (yet so many pro-lifers oppose homosexual couples having marriage/adoption rights. Won’t it save the babies??).

    • RayJ

      I think it’s a good thing to notice how technology can be part of a solution. Do you see that what you are proposing is a win-win solution? In some circumstance, when it’s appropriate, the fetus can be given an independent chance to live and the mother can also choose not to carry.

      Your example is for early term action. The technology is easier when the baby is closer to full term.

      There are also different approaches for birth control that can better respect the idea that it’s far better (honoring the pro-life sentiments) to prevent fertilization than abort a fetus. And so on. I suggest that you and others consider these win-win scenarios as the desired goal. So even if you think the pro-life group isn’t pursuing such approaches, if you on the pro-choice side pursue it, then I predict a happy future. If you consider their need, at some point the other side will notice and appreciate it. That can be built on.

    • Valerie Finnigan

      Actually, pro-lifers pay much closer attention in general to advances in medical technology than the pro-choice movement in general. It’s why the pro-life movement is pushing harder for limits on late-term abortion while pro-choicers are still stuck on science that was obsolete even back in 1973 and still insist that feti aren’t viable before 25 weeks and are therefore okay to abort.

      It’s the pro-life movement that is pushing harder to make these technologies available even for free to pregnant women. Pro-choicers are stuck on making even routine diagnostic ultrasounds available to everyone.

      • Mogg

        The definition of viability is the gestational age at which there is 50% chance of survival. That was still 24 weeks in the guidelines published for neonatal professionals in the 2000′s. Also, the concept of viability doesn’t include anything about the chance of ongoing disability, which is another factor which needs to be taken into account.

        Edited to add: Also, the decision of many jurisdictions to put the limit for abortion without restiction at somewhere between 22 and 26 weeks gestation is not solely to do with the concept of viability.

      • Valerie Finnigan

        Why should disability be taken into account? The disabled have just as much a right to live as anyone else.

        The accepted standard for viability is not the same as viability. Viability refers strictly to the ability to live. Some babies are viable as early as 20-21 weeks, though their chances are slim. Some aren’t viable even at forty weeks. Viability is dependent on too many factors that have little to nothing to do with the fetus’ actual stage of development, such as the availability and quality of prenatal and neonatal care where the mother happens to live, the mother’s own habits, and whether or not there are any complications during labor and delivery. It’s nothing to base one’s right to life on and has no bearing on whether or not a fetus is a person.

      • Mogg

        Disability is definitely something taken into account when making life-or-death decisions, whether or not it is for premature infants or the very elderly. Parents of a baby born at 24 weeks are not forced to put that infant through the medical interventions that would give it that 50% chance of survival, and some of those parents choose not to partially on the basis that their child would most likely end up with some level of ongoing medical disability. Certainly they have the right to choose medical care, accepting that risk, and I know of no neonatal care professional who would not respect that choice and do their utmost to care for that baby, but letting the baby die in a dignified manner without heroic lifesaving measures is perfectly legitimate.

        You don’t actually get to define your own use of a technical term. If you are going to use a technical term in a manner other than the accepted technical definition, prepare to be misunderstood.

      • Niemand

        So what would you think of the following restriction on abortion: Suppose the law was such that abortion were illegal after 20 weeks (why not put it at the absolute lower limit claimed?) except in the case of no other way to end the pregnancy without severe risk to the mother’s life, but that any woman who desired to do so could have labor induced at 20 weeks or later. After the baby was born, she could then relinquish custody to the state, if she chose to do so, and if she did then the state (i.e. you) would pay for any treatment that the baby needed to survive and have the best possible life–for its entire life expectancy. For example, it is due not just intubation and lipids during its first few days of life, but also tutoring if it has learning disabilities, physical therapy throughout life, and shelter throughout life it is unable to maintain work because of disability due to early birth.

      • Niemand

        Incidentally, could you provide a reference for survival of neonates at 20 weeks GA? I can’t find anything prior to 22 weeks, at which time survival is about 2-7% in most series. Again, I’m not saying you’re wrong, just that I can’t find any clear evidence.

      • fiona64

        Survival rate of neonates at 20 weeks’ gestation: Zero percent.

      • Niemand

        Why should disability be taken into account? The disabled have just as much a right to live as anyone else.

        Much as no one likes to admit this, we, as a society, have decided differently with respect to disability. A severely disabled person, i.e. one on life support with no prospect of ever being able to eat or even breath on their own is considered a candidate for withdrawal of care. Do you think that this is wrong? Should we get rid of the concepts of hospice and DNR orders and demand that aggressive care be given in every situation to the end of life (whatever “end of life” is exactly) regardless of any measurement of quality of life, by the patient or relatives?

      • fiona64

        Actually, pro-lifers pay much closer attention in general to advances in
        medical technology than the pro-choice movement in general.

        Excuse me for just a moment …


        There. I feel better now.

  • EBounding

    A born baby is just as dependent on the mother as a fetus in the womb. In fact, I would say a born baby is even MORE dependent on the mother. The baby may not be attached to the mother physically, but the mother still has a legal and moral obligation to care for the baby.

    So why is the mother responsible for caring for the baby outside the womb, but not inside?

    • Libby Anne

      Believe it or not, mothers of babies who don’t want the responsibility of caring for them can give them up, and others will care for them. Babies need care, yes, but their care is transferrable.

      • EBounding

        A baby won’t survive long if no one is around to care for it. A mother is legally responsible to care for the child. if she doesn’t and can’t transfer the baby to another parent, she can be thrown in jail. Parenting laws seem just as unjust as abortion laws.

      • Libby Anne

        Not true. You can drop a baby off at a hospital and just leave it there. No legal consequences. They are called “Safe Haven” laws.

      • EBounding

        What if a mother chooses not to do so? Why should the mother be punished?

      • Feminerd

        Same reason we punish anyone who abandons a child or a pet in an unsafe place. If someone else can care for a creature, it’s inhumane to abandon hir where ze can’t care for hirself when you could drop hir off at a place where other people can care for hir. That’s why we have Safe Haven laws and allow people to give the state custody of children of any age; after birth, other people can do the work. Before birth, it’s the woman’s body and organs or nothing.

        Some abortions become immoral if and only if a cheap, accessible form of artificial womb is developed and the process of removing the embryo is highly safe. Until then, bodily autonomy trumps life for women as for all people. Others will remain moral- ones for fetal abnormalities incompatible with life, for example, or where the woman doesn’t think her child can get adopted and doesn’t want it to grow up unloved and unwanted.

      • Niemand

        Some abortions become immoral if and only if a cheap, accessible form of artificial womb is developed and the process of removing the embryo is highly safe.

        This would be potentially a very elegant solution, protecting both the woman’s right to her body and the fetus’s right to life (if such exists.) It’s not a terribly difficult thing technically, probably well within current technology to develop. So why isn’t the “pro-life” movement pushing for its development? It’s almost as though they don’t desire a solution that would free women of the burden of an unwanted pregnancy.

      • EBounding

        So why do people even get abortions if they can just drop off the baby after birth? Do they really just don’t want to deal with being pregnant for 9 months?

      • Feminerd

        Uh, yeah? It’s not “just”.

        Pregnancy is inherently draining on a woman. You have another organism literally draining the nutrients from your body. Women can suffer vitamin deficiencies, including B vitamins, D, and K. They can lose minerals such as calcium from their teeth and bones, leaving them more vulnerable to fractures and causing tooth loss. Pregnancy puts great strain on the heart and circulatory system, the immune system, and the adrenal system. Women with heart problems and auto-immune disorders can and do die from pregnancy. Women can get sick from their immune system being suppressed by pregnancy. Gestational diabetes is a thing. So are eclampsia and pre-eclampsia, which is high blood pressure that is so high it risks heart attack or stroke. Oh, and don’t forget morning sickness- no one likes feeling sick and being unproductive/missing work, and if it gets very bad a woman has to be hospitalized or she will die from dehydration (hyperemesis gravidarum). A woman will gain weight and have to buy new clothes, a non-trivial expense. She will be restricted in what she can eat, what exercises she can do, where she can go, how she can travel, what jobs she can perform. Her feet and ankles may swell- this is devastating for a job, like waitressing or retail, where one must be on one’s feet for hours. A lot of drugs for various medical conditions, including mental illnesses, are likely to cause defects. Women taking these drugs often prefer not to be pregnant. This also ignores the known psychological stress of forcing a woman to be pregnant against her will- losing control over one’s very self is quite stressful for some reason.

        Then, of course, there’s labor and delivery. If everything goes smoothly, it’s most likely a 6-66+ hour period of agony, pushing a human being out one’s vagina, that requires about two weeks to recover from or a fairly major abdominal surgery. Things can and do go very wrong, of course. Hemorrhage (really bad ones can exsanguinate a person in under 10 minutes), infection, tearing of the perineum, vagino-rectal fistula (torn flesh between vagina and anus, including the anal sphincter, so that feces leaks into the vagina; requires surgery to fix), pelvic floor damage (vaginal flesh gets so badly bruised and crushed that it never heals right), organ prolapse (abdominal muscles so stretched they can’t hold the uterus and/or bladder in place; requires surgery to fix), and more.

        So yeah. Some women really “just” don’t want to deal with being pregnant for 9 months. Can you really blame them?

      • EBounding

        Parenthood can have poor effects on the health of a mother as well.

      • Feminerd

        Yes. Your point? You asked why people get abortions if they don’t want to be parents and why they don’t adopt out instead. I answered that; it’s because pregnancy itself can be a dangerous and unpleasant ordeal. Getting an abortion to avoid all that is reasonable.

        If a woman does choose to carry her pregnancy to term, then she has a responsibility to either care for the baby or hand it off to someone else who can. However, there’s nothing immoral or unethical about choosing to end a pregnancy instead of giving birth.

      • fiona64

        Yes it can. Do you have a point?

      • tsara

        Go read Feminerd’s entire reply to this. Seriously. Pregnancy is not a trivial thing, and forcing somebody to endure it is violating in the extreme.

      • fiona64

        This whole “pregnancy is no big deal because it’s only 9 months” business that you anti-choicers pull out of your hats is laughable. Pregnancy is *not* a state of wellness.

      • Libby Anne

        Because at that point, it is an independent entity that deserves protection. It being outside of the woman (that is what I mean by “independent entity*) makes all the difference in the world.

      • EBounding

        How is it an independent entity though if it’s dependent on someone else in order to survive?

        After the baby’s born, the mother is bound legally to care for the child unless she gives up the parenting rights.

        Before the baby is born, the mother biologically cares for the child, until the spinal cord is severed by the abortion doctor.

        In both cases, the baby/fetus is dependent on someone. So why can’t the mother just wait 9 months to leave it at the hospital? Why is it very important to make sure the fetus’s spinal cord can be legally severed?

    • Niemand

      A born baby is just as dependent on the mother as a fetus in the womb.

      Seriously? A baby can survive if the mother dies-in fact, it wasn’t uncommon in the “good old days” for a woman to die in childbirth and leave a baby behind. A fetus in the uterus of a dead woman will be dead very, very soon unless it is extracted.

      So why is the mother responsible for caring for the baby outside the womb, but not inside?

      A woman who has just given birth can relinquish the baby for adoption and walk away from it. How can she walk away from an 8 week old fetus without it dying?

      • EBounding

        Well it doesn’t die. It’s a fetus.

      • Niemand

        An extra-uterine fetus can survive? Do tell…

      • EBounding

        Fetuses aren’t living things.

      • Zaphod Beeblebrox

        Fetuses are definitely living things. However, the mold on my hat that I left in the basement is also a living thing, so take that with a grain of salt.

      • tsara

        You have an excellent screenname.

    • Feminerd

      Really? After a baby is born, the mother can hand it off to someone else. She can even die and the baby will likely survive. She can take a walk and leave the baby behind; someone else can feed, clothe, and carry the baby.

      A fetus? Not so much.

    • fiona64

      Is a born infant attached to the mother by an umbilicus, or can some other individual take care of it?

  • Progressive In PA

    Beautifully said. As a pro-choice progressive who from the start has said exactly what the author now has learned for herself, I can only hope her words strike a chord with others who believe as she used to and that they’re willing to open their minds and think things through objectively as she did.

  • Liza

    I’m Pro-Life, I read your entire article. I feel that you make some valid points, however there are also some which I disagree with how you portrayed them. I am opposed personally to the pill because it creates a dependency on the female body for those hormones. In the Pro-life regard, it is not that there are fewer embryos that don’t implant, but rather the fact that they are prevented unnaturally from implanting. I don’t agree that there needs to be a 5K for it, but to tell the truth I was unaware of the fact that so many embryos were rejected naturally, and you bring up a good point when you mention that this isn’t being studied, I agree, why isn’t it? Another point which I differed on is the “Obamacare” I agree that having the pill widely available to women might bring down pregnancy rates if used properly. But it is the contravention of the separation of Church and State where I disagree with it. Religious businesses, companies, and churches should not be forced to provide something which goes against the beliefs inherent to the faith or the organization, and yet that is what “Obamacare” was mandating. And so after reading your article I can say that I am better informed, but also that I am still very much Pro-life

    • Feminerd

      I must, must disagree with you about religious businesses. You do raise potentially valid points, but I’d like you to consider these counterpoints.

      1) Organizations don’t have religions. People do. When you are hired by someone else, they are hiring you in their capacity as part of an organization, not in their role as another person. So it can’t be an infringement of religious liberty to require an organization to do something.

      2) Why does the employer get to dictate the religious views of the employee? Doesn’t that infringe on the religious freedom of the employee?

      3) Corporations are not allowed to pay people differently based on their religion. My boss couldn’t (legally) pay me less because I’m an atheist. Requiring me to purchase something separately because of hir religious persuasion is effectively paying me less.

      4) Corporations are not allowed to dictate what employees spend their money on, nor to alter their perquisites based on religion. If certain forms of basic health care are not covered, they are effectively charging some employees a premium based on their religious views. If I see nothing wrong with birth control pills, I’m being charged extra, which means I’m effectively being paid less than other employees for doing the same job. See #3.

      5) If you truly think “[r]eligious businesses, companies, and churches should not be forced to provide something which goes against the beliefs inherent to the faith or the organization”, I assume you accept that Jehovah’s Witnesses can choose not to cover blood transfusions for employees and Christian Scientists can choose to cover only faith healing. Jews and Muslims can require their employees to follow kosher/halal rules for food, since they pay the employees and thus the money is coming from them. I really hope you don’t think that.

      • Hmmm


    • nitalynn

      On the other hand I am fine with having my taxes pay for these things. You and your GOP friends would prefer my taxes support the military instead of women and I have a problem with that!

    • fiona64

      I am opposed personally to the pill because it creates a dependency on the female body for those hormones.

      Since the pill employs the same hormones a woman’s body creates during pregnancy to stop ovulation (ovulation ceases during pregnancy), I guess I find your statement a little laughable. If it were even remotely true, every time a woman got pregnant she would develop a dependency.

      So, I hope you’ll indulge my request for a citation.

  • ncf

    For me the bottom line is about the woman’s right to choose. Do I think abortions are right? Do I think abortions are a good decision? Not really. But do I believe a woman who is of child-bearing age should have the choice to do what she wants with a potential human? Yes. A woman should have the right to do what she wants with her body. Would choosing to have an abortion be a sad, unfortunate thing? Yes. But the woman is the fully-functioning, full-living one in this situation and that is her decision to make.

    Also, a fetus is a bundle of cells that potentially can become human. Things like the fetus never implanting and miscarriage happen naturally, but are those seen as abortions?

    But at the end of the day, as this wonderful article advocates, preventing unwanted pregnancies is the best way to prevent abortions. Accurate sex education, making birth control readily available (and teaching how to use those methods properly), and a culture which provides support for young and underprivileged women/families to support their children are the best ways of keeping abortion rates low. While Libby hasn’t changed my view (I’ve always been pro-choice) she has reiterated why I could never consider myself pro-life. I am a feminist and I believe in women’s rights.

    • RayJ

      Like you, I want women to be able to choose — and I don’t like abortions. More importantly, I think that since there is a significant number who feel abortion is murder, it is important to respect that view given that we are talking about life and death issues.

      I’d like you to consider my position, which is that we don’t have to choose between these conflicting priorities at all. We can find ways to honor both goals/sides. It’s just a matter of looking for methods that respect both sides. I believe that such options are available. Working with both sides to find and agree on these options can create a healing atmosphere, which I think our society needs.

      I’m pretty sure it’s NOT possible to achieve all the “wants” of both sides, but I think the “musts” of both sides can be reconciled with some creative thinking and some give on each side. Medical technology will probably help as well by providing more options.

  • knottymama

    This is beautiful, it’s like you read my mind!

    • Guest
      • Niemand

        You do realize that less than 1% of abortions occur at 23 weeks or more and that those that do are essentially all performed for severe fetal anomalies or risk to maternal health, right? The picture of a typical abortion would show a menstrual pad with a big clot in it (medical abortion prior to 8 weeks) or a jar with blood and no identifiable “baby” parts in it (surgical abortion up to 12 weeks) as is referenced above.

        In short, nice attempt to shock people, but if you’re even mildly honest and knowledgeable, you must know that it is misleading at best.

      • tsara

        This is what most abortions look like:

      • Conuly

        I thought bearing false witness was one of those top ten sin thingies.

  • William Ockert

    Whatever you decide to run for you have my vote. This may be the best example of open minded decision making I have ever seen.

  • Jimmy Conway

    You are not pro choice or pro life, you are pro idiot. I pray that God removes your Stupidity. Please do not respond. I have already seen how you talk and think. I do not need more of your lunacy. Just think if your own mother thought like you. You and this bullshit blog would not exist.

    • Olive Markus

      I’m sure if you ask God nicely enough, he’ll take a minute or two from his insanely busy schedule of NOT curing cancer, AIDS or malaria, nor helping children being tortured by abusive parents, dying of starvation and any number of other relevant issues to help you out with this “Stupidity” problem you seem to have. He’s awesome like that.

    • Anat

      You do realize Libby Anne is a mother of two? So no, thinking like Libby Anne does not prevent procreation.

      • fiona64

        I always love the “what if your mother thought like you” argument. The anti-choice are awfully dim, with their assumptions that any pro-choice woman may not have children herself … or a pro-choice mother! In short, I don’t think they understand that pro-choice includes supporting the choice to gestate — despite evidence readily available to them!

    • Jennifer Starr

      My pro-choice grandparents chose to have seven children.

  • Carl Seaton

    Why inculcate ourselves with the notion of personhood beginning at birth? If choice is the god we worship, then we should have more choice. Wouldn’t granting personhood at six months after birth give the mother even more “choice” over her offspring. She could have her blob of screaming fetal tissues disposed of by the doctor of her choice and by the method of her choice. A birthmark in the wrong place. Excessive ear aches. A heart valve problem. Maybe just plain inconvenience. Too young and too broke to be a mother? Just keep the decision between the woman and her healthcare provider. No back alley dumpsters needed. Just hire a doctor to do it. One small injection of sodium barb and all is well. No more screamer. No more self sacrifice. Why not? Or did I just predict the future here?

    • Anat

      Forget about personhood altogether.

      The question is when should one’s life be protected by the law. Well, when do you lose something by dying? When you become aware that a future exists. Before that, you couldn’t have cared less, therefore you couldn’t have valued being alive, even in a rudimentary way. A newborn appears to exist in a permanent present (which is why any discomfort is such a big deal for them – they don’t have enough experience to expect things to happen to change the situation for the better), whereas a toddler can act deliberately in ways that show they expect their actions to have an impact of some kind, which means they expect a future that is different in some way from the present state. This means that somewhere along the line infants develop the capacity to value their own future – at least their very immediate future. Death before this future comes to be actually deprives a toddler from something in a way a newborn cannot be deprived.

      However it is hard to determine when such mental development first takes place in an individual infant. So how do we design the law? If we require positive evidence that an infant passed the developmental threshold for their life to be protected by the law we end up with cases where infants or toddlers die, but there cannot be an investigation for wrongful death because the infant is already dead.

      Alternatively we could decide on a uniform age, earlier than the youngest for which we have evidence for deliberate future-aware behavior in any human. Well, that’s what we do in practice, with the cut-off age being birth, the earliest life stage by which a human entity of any kind can be sustained without infringing on the rights and bodily autonomy of an unwilling human individual.

      In principle we could shift the age a bit higher, allowing very early infanticide, if societal consensus were inclined in that way. In our culture it isn’t. Moreover, there actually are ways for unwilling parents to relinquish their responsibility for an unwanted infant without resorting to killing said infant. Currently there is no such solution for pregnant women who do not wish to be pregnant.

      • Carl Seaton

        Societal consensus for infanticide? That’s all it would take to send us down that road. My point exactly. Thanks.

      • Anat

        Well, I don’t see such a consensus forming any time soon, so your point is moot. But I stated where I stand philosophically: I wouldn’t get up in arms against the legalization of infanticide of newborns. I would for toddlers. I explained why. A newborn has value for others, toddlers have value for themselves. But neither will I get up in arms to demand legalization of infanticide of newborns. Our current laws already have mechanisms to deal with unwanted parenthood of infants and older people. It’s just a matter of making the existing system work well.

  • Elizabeth Hazel

    Appreciate this article, although disagree with your conclusion. The pro-life or anti-abortion movement isn’t about controlling women’s sex lives – it’s about relegating women to second-class citizens. A woman who is burdened with several pregnancies and children is too busy to focus on a career, to get a degree or a higher degree, or to accept a high-paced executive job.
    A woman who can’t get a degree (or a higher degree) will always have a limited ability to earn, ensuring a greater degree of dependency, whether on a particular man or her family. Having a greater income and control of that income puts a man in the driver’s seat in a woman’s life.
    For some women, this works out fine. However, in many cases, men blast out of the relationship when children start costing a lot of money. This leaves most women in a poverty situation.
    Since you like to do research, check out what happens financially after women divorce. You’ll discover that a great many of them drop from a fairly comfortable middle-class existence into a nightmare of poverty – for her and her children. About 25% of American children are impoverished, and suffer from all of the stresses and deprivations of poverty, including hunger. I find it highly arrogant of the pro-life movement to make judgments about women in need of welfare or other forms of assistance, considering that in a great many cases, the woman was put into that position by a man who abandoned his financial responsibility toward his family.
    Neo-con or Tea-vangelical Republicans are pushing hard to undo all of the civil rights and women’s rights legislation of the 1960s and 1970s. They pretend that they’re getting rid of obsolete legislation (like the Supreme Court slashing the heart out of the 1965 Voting Act), or that they’re being all noble and righteous by considering a zygote a person with rights.
    Ultimately, it’s about oppression of women and minorities. The tighty-whities want a massive underclass as cannon fodder for their wars. Poor people are too stressed out with coping with daily life to oppose political manipulation. Being poor means less education, another benefit for the oppressors. Educated people are in a position to pay attention and understand more about what’s happening in politics, and far less likely to fall for cheesy slogans that appeal to the heartstrings (but make no sense at all when the veil is pulled away).
    The only things that are trickling down from the hidden powers that pull the strings of the politicians in the United States (and I would include Democrats almost as much as Republicans) is a frightening trend toward oppression, corporate feudalism, and government corruption. Government is little more than an arm for corporate control at this point – and the extremely wealthy magnates of the corporate world don’t want liberated women or minorities with rights.
    Pretty simple and totally evil.

  • Mark Walker

    a Calcutta facility for the dieing.
    It’s like a supernatural pinball game race to high score. It’s like getting brownie points for the number of assists on souls getting to Raptureville.

  • Heather Hall

    thank you for this blog post. thank you for your research and thank you for your caring, conscientious way of talking about this sensitive subject.

    there are two areas where i feel like you are missing some things.
    first, the pro-life stance, as you point out, is not purely about saving unborn babies. it comes from Roman Catholicism and is a stance that is also about encouraging life wherever possible. a good pro-lifer is also against the death penalty. they are against contraception not merely because it is an abortificient, but because if fails to encourage pregnancy. it is not just about controlling women’s sex lives (although i am sure that is true for many or most as well) but also about PUSHING pregnancy to lead to childbirth as often as possible.

    which leads to my second clarification.
    i understand the pro-life stance to be primarily a religious one. this creates a problem in your argument that the purpose of being pro-life is merely to prevent abortion. if a woman’s body rejects a zygote naturally, God did it. we humans are not responsible. but if the woman took a pill that made her reject all zygotes then human action contributed to the rejection of that zygote and is our fault. i understand the pro-life stance to be more focused on preventing any action that could possibly contribute to the termination of a zygote, fetus or embryo more than it is on actual abortion prevention. the distinction may be a fine one, but i believe it is critical to understanding the pro-life mindset.

    thank you again for your hard work.

  • Doug Paterson

    A tip off that the “pro-life” movement was no such thing anticipates long before Fred Clark’s analysis of the zygote. As of 1980 — merely 7 years into the “holocaust” — the “pro-life” advocates are still sidewalk counseling, holding signs, and yelling at maybe-pregnant women going into clinics. And tho a few of the frothing having taken up the christian gun, we are now 40+ years into the ‘caust, and the objective is to pass laws. With, what, 80 million innocent people / babies, killed in the US alone? Honestly, if a fascist state had declared that, to fight population growth, 1 of 20 of all 5 year-olds (whom we can all agree are “people”) would be selected at random and euthanized — I and my 500 friends and their 500 friends would find those places and, regardless of cops and armies, leave not a brick in place. But these frauds have virtually stood by as what they call the world’s greatest slaughter of the innocents took place. Why? It’s not pro-life. It’s a performance. A performance of goodness. The text of which disappears upon birth. As this shows and as usual, fascist christians and fascists in general reify (treat something abstract as concrete) almost all reality. They need to be seen — by their own, by others, by god — as “good”. Regrettably, their need for stroking has created and continues to create holy hell for women all across the country.

    • sam

      well said x infinity.

    • jejune

      Exactly. If there existed a place where actual living newborns and toddlers were being killed at the rate of 30 a day don’t you think they’d do something besides 1) pass laws 2) sidewalk counsel

      Proof that they don’t actuallly truly believe that embryos are babies.

  • EBounding

    I’m pro-life, but this article does make some good points about the “pro-life movement”. Mainly that they focus more on legally restricting abortion instead of adoption or birth control. The movement should be more focused on making adoption an easier option than abortion and work to fund research to increase viability after birth.

    However, the article completely fails to explain why abortion is not murder. Rape is the only instance where a pregnancy is unwanted. In any other instance, both parents need to be prepared to care for a child. You’re going to have a hard time convincing me that abortion is not the literal butcher of a baby.

    • Niemand

      However, the article completely fails to explain why abortion is not

      Have you read the article? There are two basic reasons that abortion is not murder.

      First, the fetus and certainly the embryo, is not a person in any meaningful way. It does not have consciousness, independence, or, definitely for most of possibly for all of the pregnancy, even ability to feel pain. It does not have any of the characteristics that we value in a person. If a real, living, independent person had the neural activity of an embryo they would be taken off of life support due to brain death. If they had the neural activity of even a late fetus they would be candidates for withdrawal of care due to poor neural function–at the discretion of their next of kin. If a woman can take a newborn baby off of life support because the baby’s brain isn’t working, why not also allow her to disconnect the fetus from its “life support” at her discretion?

      Second, even ignoring all evidence about the fetus and assuming the Disney version where the fetus is talking and making obscure jokes, under no other circumstance is one person allowed to use the body of another against that person’s will. Not even if they will die without the use of that person’s body. Why should a fetus have rights that a newborn or older child or adult doesn’t? Completing an average risk pregnancy is, literally, more dangerous than flying on 9/11/01. It is not right to force someone to take that risk against their will.

      Rape is the only instance where a pregnancy is unwanted.

      Rape is the only instance where the sex was unwanted. Pregnancy may or may not be desired by two people having sex. Maybe they desire the bonding effect of sex. Maybe they are just in it for the orgasms. Maybe they want to see whether their relationship is going to work out before getting kids involved in it. There are numerous reasons why people have sex that don’t have anything to do with wanting a pregnancy.

    • tsara

      This is what most abortions look like:

    • fiona64

      Rape is the only instance where a pregnancy is unwanted.

      Wrong. I can think of any number of instances where a pregnancy is unwanted. Like, for example, if one does not want to be a parent.

      • Valde

        “literal butcher of a baby’

        aren’t you pleased that he used such colorful wording?

      • fiona64

        One thing you can say for the anti-choice: they have vivid imaginations.

    • Valde

      Pregnancy is also unwanted if a woman does not wish to be pregnant.

  • ses1978

    I stumbled upon this as a Christian being attacked by other “Christians” abusing Matthew 25 and the least of these as their defense for the unborn – that passage talks about not oppressing the least of these and the unborn are not included. I believe in the ACA and do believe it to be the best way to reduce abortions, as opposed to banning abortions. Even though I do believe that it is a baby at conception, I also believe we should never judge the woman who chooses abortion and that is backed up by the sermon a great pastor did on Matthew 25. He, too, said that the woman may have had a choice to have the baby and have an already living child starve to death or have an abortion. He also said the 48% comment was sinful and conservatives who agreed with that comment should repent. That comment was oppressive to the true least of these. My views are different than other believers because I have disabilities (the sick), my family financially struggles (the poor), and I had to go on SNAP to help us afford a medical diet (the hungry). I also believe we shoul help the widowed, the orphaned, the naked, the homeless, the imprisoned. All of these mentioned in that passage. No mention of the unborn. Not to say that I support abortion except in cases of rape and incest, but I am not strictly “pro-life,” by the standard definition which is actually “pro-birth” and not “pro-life.”

  • Fred

    Translation: I’m tired of you countering everything I’ve said and it appears I’m running out of space to shift the goalposts. Checkmate Goodbye.

  • fwsgirl

    I’m a pro-lifer and had just the opposite experience through my college years. I began as a strong pro-contraceptive advocate, even teaching classes on the various types of contraception as a peer educator. However, since those years, I graduated with a degree in environmental science and as I learned about what hormonal contraception does to a woman’s body (as well as the environment), I was nothing less than horrified. While birth control pills pollute our freshwater sources and turn our native fish into transgender mutants (, they also lower a woman’s sex drive (,8599,1987870,00.html) and inhibit her body from choosing the right mate ( Not to mention raising her chances of miscarriage in the future . Yikes. No thanks. I’m incredibly thankful I never polluted my body with that junk. Many of my friends suffer miscarriage after miscarriage, wondering all along if it’s due to their former use of birth control pills. Personally, I think it’s only a matter of time before birth control pills are connected to various reproductive cancers. If I live a natural lifestyle and avoid meat tainted with hormones, why would I pop them as pills? Never made any sense to me.

    • tsara

      1. “birth control pills pollute our freshwater sources and turn our native fish into transgender mutants”
      potentially worrisome, if offensively phrased

      2. “lower a woman’s sex drive”
      Not a problem if the person taking the BC is aware of it before hand and doesn’t think it’s a problem.

      3. “inhibit her body from choosing the right mate”

      4. “Not to mention raising her chances of miscarriage in the future”

      Citation needed.

      None of that in any way, shape, or form justifies forcing people who are pregnant to remain pregnant.

      • Cake

        But it’s SCARY!

        (musical sting, emotional appeal, roll credits)

    • Feminerd

      So uh, you do realize that BC in the water isn’t what’s causing the vast majority of that pollution, right? It’s plastics and their byproducts that create compounds that are estrogen-like that cause the mutants and such in the water.

      Hormonal BC can lower a woman’s sex drive. It’s an unfortunate side effect, and one I don’t like, but one I’m willing to live with. The answer is informed consent, not bans.

      The preponderance of the evidence doesn’t show any increased risk of miscarriage from hormonal birth control use. You also fail to consider condoms, spermicides, diaphragms, and IUDs when you condemn all forms of birth control in sweeping blanket statements.

      You do realize that the hormones in birth control pills are the exact same as the hormones the body produces in pregnancy, just lower does of them? I highly doubt “it’s only a matter of time before birth control pills are connected to various reproductive cancers”, especially considering that pregnancy has a protective effect against some types of cancer. You should maybe take your environmental science degree and apply the critical thinking and research skills you undoubtedly learned towards your own flawed understanding of human body and reproductive system.

    • Olive Markus

      One of the many sources of water pollution that is more significant than our use of BCPs. Plastics and pregnant women are also major contributors, but even the urine from pregnant women, which contains much more concentrated amounts of these same hormones, is largely filtered out.

    • Jessica

      Yep, I’ve read all of that. Pretty scary stuff. The Pill treats a normal bodily function as a disease. It “breaks” something that is not broken. I think this is one of the only cases in which a pill is prescribed, by a doctor, to stop a HEALTHY process. And I agree — I do not like ingesting hormones in my meat or dairy or anything for that matter. So why would I pump my body full of them by using the Pill when I try so hard to avoid them elsewhere? There are much healthier and more natural ways to avoid a pregnancy that do not involve harming your body and suppressing your natural cycle.

      • Olive Markus

        Make sure you don’t ever get pregnant, then. The amount of those very same hormones circulating through your body and consequently polluting the waterways is staggering. Scary stuff!

      • redlemon

        Pregnancy isn’t always “healthy” for a woman. Pregnancy can, and has, killed women. While I’m fortunate that pregnancy isn’t lethal for me, it caused a lot of ongoing problems for me. Pregnancy is a disease to me, one that I want to prevent at all costs. The Pill gives me a way so that my body doesn’t “break” anymore then it has.

    • Niemand

      All of that, and you missed the side effect that is probably the most dangerous one associated with birth control pills. Everyone misses it: everyone goes for the flashy (and ambiguous) cancer risk and no one even worries about the thing that is REALLY dangerous*. Hint: pregnancy produces an even higher risk.

      That little grumble out of the way, OCP use lowers the overall mortality risk. Since the idea that OCP are “scary” has been brought up.

      *To selected populations with…oops, almost gave it away!

      • Feminerd

        I *think* it’s high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, but I couldn’t swear to it. I know the thing my OB always checks before writing the prescription, though, is blood pressure.

        And pre-eclampsia and eclampsia are super dangerous in pregnancy. So, did I guess right?

      • Niemand

        Sort of. Actually, I was thinking of deep venous thrombosis, but really thrombosis in general is more accurate, so heart attack and stroke qualify. Pre-eclampsia may or may not be related to thrombosis. My intuition is that it is, but my intuition has been full of it before.

        Though it should be noted that the article I linked to didn’t find much in the way of increased vascular risk, except for smokers. Smoking is some scary, environment destroying stuff.

      • Beutelratti

        This is yet another thing I don’t understand about people railing against the pill: They always, and really always, leave out the risks that my gynecologist told me about. Why is that? I’m really curious.

      • Niemand

        I have two suspicions about this one:

        1. I was only partly joking when I called cancer a “flashy” risk. It’s something that scares people, arguably out of proportion to the actual risk. So any cancer risk gets more public attention and therefore is better known by the average person and so that’s what comes up in discussions.

        Infertility gets mentioned because the purpose of OCP is to cause temporary infertility and it would be ironic (or maybe, to the anti-choicer, poetic justice) if it caused permanent infertility. So that becomes an “interesting risk” to talk about.

        2. They’re all working from the same list of talking points about the risks of OCP and that list is wrong or at least incomplete.

        Probably it’s some combination of the above, plus stuff I haven’t thought of.

      • Beutelratti

        Well, I remember that my gynecologist had me fill out a questionnaire where I had to list any known heart diseases, high blood pressure diagnoses, thrombosis etc. in the family. She talked thoroughly about these risks and since I was going to go on a long distance flight, she said that she’d feel more comfortable if I wore surgical stockings.

        I remember that talk everytime I read someone who is trying to convince me that the pill is actually bad for me and I ask myself: Really? Those are the risks you want to talk about?
        It gives me the impression that they’ve never actually talked to or read from those that should know the risks best, i.e. gynecologists.

      • Niemand

        Other thoughts on avoiding thrombosis on long trips (besides compression stockings)…Stay well hydrated* during the flight, avoid caffeine and alcohol while flying since they can dehydrate you (sorry!), get up every few hours and walk around a bit (you’ll probably need to go to the bathroom anyway if you’re hydrating properly), maybe consider taking an aspirin if you don’t have a contraindication. Don’t take a sleeping pill during the flight. Tempting as it is, especially for an overnight flight, that increases your risk of thrombosis because you’re in too deep a sleep to notice minor discomforts that could indicate a restriction of blood flow and increase the risk of thrombosis.

        Um…not that you asked me or anything.

        *I suspect, but can’t prove, that the TSA restriction on water on planes has led to people getting more dehydrated and putting them at a higher risk of clots, including fatal clots. Some “anti-terror” measures have consequences even beyond the risk of harassment.

    • Niemand

      transgender mutants

      (Fussy comment): “Mutants” implies a change in the DNA. Hormonal contamination of the water supply causes epigenetic changes in fish, not genetic changes. (/fussy comment.)

  • Stephen

    Children born out of wedlock:
    1960: 3% – before The Pill
    2013: 41%

    Also, murder is against the law, as is stealing, rape, etc. But guess what they all happen? Since it obviously does nothing to deter, maybe we should legalize those? Socrates and every single other philosopher, atheist and christian, would be ashamed of you.

    • Feminerd

      1) Did you have a point? Why do you consider children being born out of wedlock a bad thing? Since you clearly do, what do you intend to do to fix it, and why do you associate birth control with out of wedlock pregnancy/birth? Also, have you properly taken into consideration confounding variables, such as the general decline in marriage rates, later average age of first marriage, piss-poor reporting in 1960, divorce rates, the decline of manufacturing, the decline of the middle class in general, the immense number of people in jail, etc, etc? It’s also considered polite to cite your sources for such claims. Where did you find those numbers?

      2) Ah, but rape and murder and robbery hurt other people. Fetuses aren’t people. Furthermore, all of those things infringe on other people’s persons and possessions. In the case of abortion, pregnancy is the infringement on another’s person; abortion removes the unwanted intruder in the same way that Castle Laws allow you to shoot someone who doesn’t belong in your house.

      3) I highly doubt every philosopher over the course of history would be ashamed of someone who did her research, thought about her principles, and changed her mind when her prior philosophy failed to meaningfully explain reality. On the contrary, it seems likely most of them would be quite pleased with this outcome, even if they didn’t agree with her conclusions. Socrates especially would be quite pleased.

      • Olive Markus

        I’m glad you typed more quickly than I did. As always, your reply is better than mine was about to be.

        I’d like to add that we can’t forget the shot-gun wedding, either. I think this is important, though I’m trying to find statistics or research. Shot-gun weddings are so rare outside of very conservative circles now, but used to be absolutely normal in pre-marital conception situations.

        Also, yes, piss-poor data collection. Everyone keeps comparing things now to things in the 1960s and before, but it seems that the 70s are when we finally started getting our shit together enough to record data in a more-or-less consistent and functional way.

        And then everything else you said.

      • Feminerd

        I might’ve found where he got his numbers. He sort of failed pretty hard if this is the case, though.

        1970 out-of-wedlock births: 3.1% of white births, 24% of black births
        1990 out-of-wedlock births: 18% of white births, 64% of black births

        And this particular source suggests that it is the decline of shotgun weddings that accounts for that difference. I completely didn’t think of them until you brought them up. This is only one paper, of course, but interesting enough. It certainly backs up your hypothesis!


      • Olive Markus

        Oh, thanks! I’ll read that. I came up empty and gave up for awhile :).

        I have no problem admitting if the stats show an increase in out-of-wedlock births. I have a tremendous problem with somebody just out of hand blaming it on abortion or contraception. There are so many reasons for these things, and I’m willing to bet it isn’t nearly as cut and dry as Stephen wants to pretend.

      • Feminerd

        Agreed on all counts. I don’t think anyone could argue that out-of-wedlock births haven’t gone up! The whys and wherefores are the complicated part, and also whether we consider rising rates of bastardy to be a problem or not.

      • Olive Markus

        I’ve been reading through that research paper, and I’m having some issues with it. I suppose that I agree with him on several fronts, perhaps not on all, but he offers no citations. I don’t feel comfortable putting stock into something that feels at least partially true, but that I haven’t yet been able to verify. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be able to look up more information :). Or at least sift through the information I have with a less muddy brain.

    • Beutelratti

      Or, you know, they would be ashamed of you because you promote the enslavement of women.

    • Composer 99

      Your reference to children born out of wedlock is meaningless, unless you have solid evidence (*) that modern children born out of wedlock are being born into worse circumstances than children born in the 1960s and that those circumstances follow of necessity from being born out of wedlock.

      (*) Just so we’re clear here, by evidence I mean something other than the usual smattering of unsupported assertions about the immorality/going-to-hell-in-a-handbasket-ality/whatever-ality of modern generations.

    • Niemand

      Crime, including violent crime, has decreased significantly since 1960 (at least in the US-don’t know about worldwide). Probably more than is appreciated since in 1960 a large part of the population simply didn’t get police help or even acknowledgement when a crime was committed against them (i.e. minorities simply couldn’t get the police to take any crime against them seriously, women couldn’t get rape reports taken even as seriously as they are today). So maybe those 41% are better off than the 3%. (Assuming both numbers are even correct…which I doubt.) They at least appear to be less violent.

  • LM

    Very well written, and intellectually honest. I was raised Catholic, and became disenchanted with the church over the same issue: their obsession with regulating sex, primarily through the oppression of women. As a medical student, it seemed obvious to me that the inherent cause of abortion is unintended pregnancies. Therefore, those who want to eliminate abortion should promote contraception. Yet, I kept hearing lies on the pill and its side effects (I am also a pharmacologist, I really DO know more about drugs than the average person or priest). I kept hearing how any form of artificial contraception is “unnatural” (well, then, why is medicine natural?). The only “approved” method of contraception was to limit sex to the supposedly infertile intervals. Well, I had learned in medical school about breakthrough ovulations, so this method HAS to have a high failure rate, and it does. In Italy they call it “Vatican Roulette”, and most people don’t use it no matter what the Vatican says. I had also learned that a woman is less likely to enjoy sex during the infertile intervals, because of lower estrogen levels and poorer vaginal lubrication. So, to use “natural” contraception means that women must accept to be sexually active only when they are least likely to enjoy sex, and be worried that they are playing Russian roulette every single time. Hardly a recipe for marital bliss, and not natural at all. I reached the same conclusion as the author that “pro-life” movements actually mean to control human sexuality through women, not save babies or make marriages stronger. The arguments made by the author about legal bans not leading to decreases in abortion were also very familiar to me. After all, Prohibition didn’t lead to a decrease in alcohol consumption. It led to speakeasies and Al Capone. It is an inescapable conclusion that anyone who really wants to eliminate abortion should campaign FOR more contraception.

  • Dave

    The author doesn’t even know what abortion is. She states, “the female body naturally has abortions”. To clear things up, abortion by definition has to be an INTENTIONAL ACT. For example, if a woman has ovarian cancer and is pregnant an operation can be done to remove the cancer. If the baby dies as a result of the operation it is NOT considered an abortion. However, if the baby was forciblly removed and murdered, then it would be an abortion. The natural death of a zygote or baby is NOT an abortion. Also, THE MEANS DO NOT JUSTIFY THE END AT ALL IN HER ARGUMENT.

    • redlemon

      Definition of abortion, as by Merriam Webster:

      the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or
      closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus: as
      a : spontaneous expulsion of a human fetus during the first 12 weeks of gestation
      b : induced expulsion of a human fetus
      c : expulsion of a fetus by a domestic animal often due to infection at any time before completion of pregnancy

      Also, the medical term for miscarriage is spontaneous abortion. Abortion is the “aborting” of a pregnancy, natural or intentional.

      • Dave

        My point is the Pro-Life side doesn’t use Webster’s definition of abortion. For us it has to be intentional to be an abortion. That is what we are against. A miscarriage is not the same to us.

      • tsara

        Bei Bei Shuai is evidence to the contrary.

        EDIT: except when it’s convenient for people to pretend otherwise, like the removal of the whole tube to treat an ectopic pregnancy.

      • Olive Markus

        So you just get to redefine words whenever it suits you to manipulate people?

        Awesome. And convenient. That must be what happened to the Christians’ takeover of the words “Love,” “Dignity,” and “Respect.”

      • Dave

        I don’t let a dictionary tell me how to define words. (learn to think for yourself and consider multiple alternatives, aka don’t be so narrow-minded)) Noah Webster is a white guy who started that particular dictionary. Also, don’t you think people have their own definition of words like happiness or love? I am simply stating what I believe an abortion is. If we can’t even understand each others view point on this, a debate is irrelevant.

      • Niemand

        I tend to agree with you about dictionaries. Dictionaries should be descriptive, not proscriptive. However, as has been pointed out, you’re not just moving away from the definition in one dictionary, but also from the definition commonly used in medical literature and to some degree popular literature. You can attempt to redefine abortion as not including spontaneous abortion if you’d like, but you should acknowledge that your definition is in the minority and not society’s standard usage.

      • Dave

        humm you may be on to something. Back in the 19th century people considered slaves just property. (perhaps a parallel can be made to people considering the fetus just a bunch of cells?) The idea that slaves were not just property, but people with rights was actually a belief held by the minority and was not society’s standard’s usage for most of that century.

      • tsara

        Your irrelevant but heavily loaded analogy is noted.

        The correct analogy to make would be that we shrank the concept of property such that people could no longer be included in it. (Or something to that effect. I’m on a methylphenidate break, and can’t seem to get my brain working.)

        The analogy remains irrelevant. If somebody came and attached one of my teenaged siblings to my body in such a way that they’d die if I disconnected them, I would have every right to disconnect them. My siblings are indisputably people, but I’m a person, too, and they don’t get to use my body unless I say they can.

      • Dave

        Your analogy makes no sense at all in the case of abortion. You can’t use unreal situations to prove something that simply isn’t true. People need to take responsibility for their own actions. If you have sex you have to accept the consequence of having the baby. (Abortion resulting from rape are rare, but another issue) Woman can’t have babies by themselves now can they? It takes two to make a baby. If a woman could spontaneously create a baby by herself than it would completely be her body.

      • Olive Markus

        It takes two to fertilize, but that is it. The female’s body is entirely responsible for the growth and sustainability of the fetus, and until the man’s body can be used, harmed or killed while providing tissue and nutrition for the fetus to grow, you can’t claim it takes two.

        And No. We literally do not have to give birth if we don’t want to.

      • Dave

        So it takes two people to create life? Also, the government doesn’t force people to have sex or face the death penalty, right? Most people have the choice to have sex. (exception being rape). If you didn’t want to give birth then don’t have sex. One most accept the consequence of their actions.

      • Olive Markus

        Brilliant. If you are ever in a car accident, or hurt yourself playing sports, working around your home or even walking down the street, I hope you are not allowed to receive any type of medical care. I mean, you knew the risks you were taking while carrying out these activities, and if you dare to do so anyway, you must accept the consequences of your actions.

      • fiona64

        So, the childfree should remain celibate on the off-chance that their contraception fails? Or a family that has decided that they’ve had enough kids?

        Dude, talk about controlling …

      • Hmmm

        So if someone never wants children she can only have sex after menopause!!!

        That is absolutely ridiculous ideal to never have sex for 30 years of fertility

      • tsara

        Except pregnancy does not occur very often, and is a risk that can be mitigated. And it’s a fucking terrible position to believe that we should not be able to do what we can to mitigate the consequences of sex. Because if I were to decide, hey, why not, I like this person and I trust them and I might as well experience sex… and I were to become pregnant despite the condom I would insist on, despite the IUD, despite the fact that I weigh 100lbs, you’d support using government force to restrain me in a psychiatric institute, intubated and on suicide watch for at least six months until the baby was born? All that, just because I had sex?
        Great moral high ground there.

      • Dave

        To answer your question, NO I wouldn’t. Way to put words in the governments mouth though. :P (I would support making it illegal to have abortions) Although government enforcement would be very little.

      • tsara

        So you support moral grandstanding regardless of outcomes? You support forcing pregnant people to either remain pregnant or visit Kermit Gosnell, like Bubba Carpenter?

        “And of course, there you have the other side. They’re like, ‘Well, the poor pitiful women that can’t afford to go out of state are just going to start doing them at home with a coat hanger. That’s what we’ve learned over and over and over.’
        But hey, you have to have moral values. You have to start somewhere.”

      • Dave

        It was their choice to get pregnant and its their choice to visit a kermit. (rape is an exception).

        It is her choice to use a coat hanger. (Still dont think its right) But she would have been much wiser to choose a partner that would support her and love her.

      • tsara

        Fuck, I can’t deal with this lack of empathy. I’m leaving.

      • Dave

        I think harder laws need to be placed on men. Too much blame is on women. Men are cowards no a days and don’t take responsibility.

      • tsara


      • Dave

        Actually fixing all men would solve the problem. Would it not? :P

      • Olive Markus

        Again, totally erasing the person enduring the pregnancy and the desires/needs of that person. Fascinating. But so right on and unsurprising.

      • fiona64

        Women exist solely as life support systems for our uteri. Didn’t you know that?

      • Olive Markus

        The Catholic Church put tremendous effort into forcing me to believe that the only reason I existed was to provide nourishment and protection for my hymen and uterus so that they may be purchased by men and rented to babies.

        I guess I’d forgotten there for a bit. My bad. ;0

      • Nerdinity

        Late to the game, but do you blame battered persons (since it’s not just women who can get pregnant or be abused, let’s remember!) for “choosing” an abusive partner, too? Charming.

      • fiona64

        So, since you support “making it illegal to have abortions,” tell me: what punishment should a post-abortive woman undergo?

      • fiona64

        People need to take responsibility for their own actions. If you have
        sex you have to accept the consequence of having the baby.

        There it is, folks: “if you don’t want a baby, don’t have sex” … with a side order of “women who want non-procreative sex should be punished by forcing them to have a child.”

      • Olive Markus

        It reminds me of my little sister, who, when told that she was saying a word wrong, insisted “I’ll say it how I want!” while throwing a little tantrum.

        Thinking for oneself does not involve redefining words and just calling things what you want. If you don’t want to accept what abortion means for the population at large, then good for you, but realize that your definition of the word isn’t going to work when talking to said population at large. Particularly when you waltz onto this blog, insist the author was defining the word abortion wrong, told that you, in fact, were defining it wrong, admit that you were redefining the word to suit your own needs, and then decide that you are the one in the right. Sorry, but you’ve done yourself no favors here.

        You’re right, debating with you would be irrelevant.

        P.S. You are the one who wants to keep the slavery of women, which has been going on for millennia, the status quo. You are no revolutionary. Maybe you should stop to think about who’s being narrow minded here. Don’t insult me because I don’t accept your bullshit, super minority definition of a word.

      • Dave

        Who says it is accepted by the population at large? The Anti-life side is all but finished and people favoring Pro-life are in the majority. But please tell me what is the difference between a spontaneous abortion and an intentional abortion? You are fooling yourself if you think the Pro-life side has anything against mis-carriages or natural processes of the body.

        P.S. Baby killing is wrong. Abortions do nothing to help the poor out of “slavery”. Minorities are the ones who have a majority of the abortions. But you would never know that from the loud mouth anti-life side who cares more about themselves than others. Its 2013 people wake up! This shouldn’t even be up for debate anymore. (if you want revolutionary I would make a law requiring men to take more responsibility for their actions instead of leaving the woman or forcing her to have an abortion).

      • Olive Markus

        Oooooh. Citation, please!! I’d love to know how the “anti-life” side is finished and “pro-life” is currently majority. Please, give me data to prove yourself right. Can’t wait to see it :D. Oh, also, please, tell me how this definition isn’t accepted by the world at large, particularly the medical sphere. Once again, dying for the information.

        Yes, actually we talk about women in the minority and in poverty having the most abortions quite a fucking lot. As a matter of fact, 43% of women having abortions live 100% below the poverty line. Gosnell’s practice, in particular, took massive advantage of these very women, which is why when the story originally broke, no body gave a damn. Who cares about poor, minority women, right? Certainly not the Right-Wingers… until they need fuel to continue their anti-choice crusade. So resurrect the story, spin it out of control while claiming this is what happens when abortion is legal (with not a single fact to back up this claim), and then the Right-Wing suddenly cares. But, believe me, these facts do not come out in your favor, as forcing these women to have children they can’t take care of will only push them further into poverty and desperate situations. Also, why do you believe that the poor, marginalized women of our society having the bulk of abortions makes you look good?

      • Dave

        Well I hate to break it to you, but I am not a member of the GOP. What you are saying about the Right-Wingers has some truth to it. O and btw “abortion” as we know it today was promoted to stop the spread of Blacks in America. African Americans have the most abortion and are often the poor of which we speak. Why would you support something that was meant to be a genocide against a certain race of people? Also, on a side note:

        From an ob/gyn who used to perform abortions, but later became president of the
        American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists:
        “In conclusion, although serious threats to health can occur, there is always a life-affirming way
        to care for mother and baby, no matter how bleak the prognosis.”
        Mary L. Davenport, M.D., F.A.C.O.G., “Is Late-Term Abortion Ever Necessary?” (2009), at

      • Olive Markus

        Please, PLEASE give me a citation regarding abortion being used to stop the spread of African Americans in this country. Jesus Christ.

        This woman you keep quoting is not a citation of facts. It is the opinion of one [very provably wrong] woman.

      • Dave

        I recommend starting here. Also, please watch your language.

      • Olive Markus

        Until Libby Anne tells me I’m not allowed to use these words, I will use them. I’m not here solely for your pleasure.

      • Dave

        Just curious. Olive is a girls name right?

      • Olive Markus

        In words better than I could manage, since I am not an expert.

        And even if abortion were started for less than savory reasons (I am not agreeing that it was), it doesn’t change that it’s a needed/wanted procedure by women from all walks of life.

      • Dave

        Sanger was racist. Which isn’t surprising since that was the norm during that time period. I think what women need is men to stop being such cowards and even letting abortion be discussed. I as a man believe my side has a large part to play in it too. Women do suffer a lot if they have a baby that isn’t planned. Especially if they are single. If women can legally have abortions, then women should be legally allowed to hit the “cowardly men” in the balls with a club. That is all.

      • Olive Markus

        Why are you completely denying what the woman may or may not want?

      • Dave

        What woman would want an abortion with a man that is faithful and ready to give up his life for her? For the sake of financial comfort? That makes perfect sense to me…(one life for anothers profit) :P

      • tsara

        People also get abortions because they do not want to be pregnant. Also, this may shock you, but not everybody who can get pregnant is a woman. I’m not a woman, I can get pregnant, and I’d get an abortion because I do not want to experience pregnancy and because I absolutely hate it when my body does things that I didn’t tell it to do.

      • Olive Markus

        For somebody supposedly offended by my language, you are being remarkably unkind.

      • Dave

        My last sentence was sarcasm. But seriously, was that not going to be your next response?

      • Niemand

        I think what women need is men to stop being such cowards and even letting abortion be discussed.

        At least you’re not shy about admitting that it’s all about denying women agency.

      • tsara

        Here’s a debunking of the Black genocide myth. It’s partly an article about Gosnell, so fair warning.

      • Dave

        Debunking it like the President of Iran debunked the holocaust. Genius. I see what you did there….

      • tsara

        Four minutes. Yeah, you didn’t read it.

      • Dave

        1. I am a fast reader.
        2. Its all based on feelings and emotions. (The last paragraph summarizes the authors intent the best)

      • tsara

        “The brutal truth is this: The far right wing politicians and individuals so obsessively “concerned” about the abortion rate in the Black community are the reason that the abortion rate in the Black community is so high.”
        Go read the bulleted points.

      • fiona64

        You know, I’ve noticed over time that it’s very easy to be an anti-choice male. After all, you’ll never have to risk your life or limb to gestate a pregnancy, wanted or unwanted.

      • Conuly

        Yup, if I decide to call a Dog’s tail a leg, everybody else just has to go along with it. Who cares that everybody else says it isn’t a leg? I’m thinking for myself, guys!

      • fiona64

        I don’t let a dictionary tell me how to define words

        I can’t wait to find out what happens when your kindergartener raises his or her hand to ask the teacher if s/he can “go mambo dogface to the banana patch.” After all, we wouldn’t want to let a dictionary tell us how to define words …

      • Brian

        Steve Martin.

      • fiona64


      • Brian


      • redlemon

        So the entire medical community, with their use of spontaneous abortion as a technical and medical term, is wrong?

        Are ectopic pregnancies abortions? Why or why not?

        All I can gather from your post is that you think the author doesn’t know what abortion is and then how the Pro-Life redefined what abortion is, and so somehow that is an argument. How come you can just redefine words as you see fit and I can’t?

    • fiona64

      Actually, medical records of a miscarriage will refer to it as a spontaneous abortion.

  • Guest
    • Beutelratti


    • Carl Seaton

      Awsome video. Thanks

  • KyukiYoshida

    I can’t tell you how much I love this article, how much it hits home, and how happy I am to see an old pro-life advocate realize that they were duped. We can’t be the only one’s who see this, those other pro-lifers have to see this too, it’s too obvious, like the elephant at the dinner table. But chances are, is they do see it, and they are lying to everyone, and like this article says, it’s because their goal is NOT for the children. In my years of experience, their motives are inconsistent. They want to ban abortion, most want to outright ban all forms of contraception, I’ve seen some even want to ban sterilization. They want pregnant women to have no maternity leave, no welfare, no daycare no anything, in fact, most of them think that women shouldn’t work at all, should get married, stay at home, and be forced to bare children by their husbands. They don’t believe pregnancy is an option, they believe that a women should have children, against her will, with no say. Most do not believe in surgery to remove ectopic pregnancies, and i have met many who believe that if the fetus dies, the mother should die too. They also do nothing for the children already born. It has never been about babies, it is the most anti-woman agenda I’ve ever seen. Nothing more than a clever ruse to try and send women back to the old ages, where we were nothing more than incubators and a slave to man.

  • Carl Seaton
    Early pregnancy ultrasound. Very fascinating.

    • Beutelratti

      Awwww! That totally convinced me … not. I’ve seen ultrasounds before. You still haven’t acknowledged the woman in the equation.

      • Carl Seaton

        What equation?

      • Beutelratti

        Woman + her body + her nutritients + her organs + health risks + shitloads of pain (and more health risks) at birth + fertilised egg + time = baby

        What you do is this: fertilised egg + (more or less) time = baby … that is the “charitable” version. There are others that do this: Fertilised egg = baby. Neither one of those versions includes the woman.

    • Niemand

      Nice Rorschah blot. Too bad you only know what it’s supposed to be by the label. If someone posted a picture of a gall bladder ultrasound or a kidney ultrasound or an elephant embryo* you’d see a (human) baby in it as well. Ultrasounds are really only interpretable to people trained in reading them.

      *Yes, all three have been done and yes, inevitably, no one who identifies as “pro-life” has caught the deception. They’ve either called it a baby or refused to answer.

      • fiona64

        There’s a great link called “which embryo is human,” which has images of various viviparous vertebrate embryos at similar stages of development. The anti-choicers never seem to answer — and I think it’s because they all picked the skink … which is the embryo that looks most human.

  • Kimmie Smith

    I am pro-life and whole-heartedly believe in birth control. I don’t know where you people get this notion that pro-life people are opposed to birth control, makes no sense. Murder is when you deliberately stop the heartbeat of another human life whether it’s in the womb or out. To ignore the facts about human reproduction and what abortion (murder) really entails is ignorant. To not want to see an ultrasound is deliberately choosing to ignore reality.

    It is HUMAN from conception on, it is NOT a plant or a parasite. Please take responsibility for the outcomes of your choices in life and especially when it comes to another separate human living breathing being. Stop listening to the dark side.

    • Niemand

      Murder is when you deliberately stop the heartbeat of another human life

      Cardiac surgeons will be astonished to hear this. They routinely stop the heartbeats of other (real, living, breathing, thinking) humans. Sometimes permanently. And, yet, the people who this happens to are still alive. Almost as though it’s not the heartbeat that determines life.

      • fiona64

        Hell, cardiac cells in a Petri dish have a “heartbeat.” These anti-choice, low-information types don’t seem to understand science very well.

    • NeaDods

      I don’t know where you people get this notion that pro-life people are opposed to birth control

      The number of “pro-life” politicians who are against birth control for one. The “emergency pregnancy centers” that lie about it for two.

      It is HUMAN from conception on, it is NOT a plant or a parasite.

      Parasites get all of their nourishment from another living body.

      another separate human living breathing being

      Separation and breathing are both signs of actual birth.

      • Niemand

        Parasites get all of their nourishment from another living body.

        Parasites get their nourishment from another living body and provide nothing in return and may be detrimental to the life of the host. Pregnancy puts any woman’s life at risk and the fetus inevitably draws its nutriment from her, but if it is a wanted pregnancy it gives something back to her: the hope of a baby some day and general good feelings. So I’d argue that this is one of the unusual cases where the mental state of the carrier determines whether the fetus is a parasite or a symbiote. For what that’s worth to the whole debate.

      • fiona64

        Parasites get their nourishment from another living body and provide
        nothing in return and may be detrimental to the life of the host.

        Just like pregnancy.

      • NeaDods

        True enough. It’s all about mental state really – except for cases of health issues, it’s the woman who determines if it’s a wanted or unwanted pregnancy.

    • phantomreader42

      You don’t know where people get this notion that “pro-life” people are opposed to birth control? How about from all the allegedly “pro-life” organizations that fight against the availability of birth control, constantly lie about it, and demand that children not be taught actual facts about it? OR do you just pretend those don’t exist because they’re inconvenient for you?

    • fiona64

      Murder is when you deliberately stop the heartbeat of another human life whether it’s in the womb or out

      Actually, no. Murder is the unlawful (illegal) taking of a person’s life with malice aforethought.

      Fetii are not people (nor are they “separate living breathing” beings. They are connected to a woman by an umbilicus — the only separate, living, breathing being involved is the aforementioned woman). Abortion is legal.

      Your definition fails.

  • Wendy

    I appreciate your desire to view this issue based on reason and evidence. I can tell you wanted to get down to the facts, rather than argue based on emotions. There are two questions/comments I had based on some of the info you mentioned:

    1. Are you aware that the first study you referenced (from the NYT article) was performed by the Guttmacher Institute, which is part of Planned Parenthood?

    2. Regarding naturally-occurring abortions — is there evidence that suggests the zygotes which do not implant are otherwise healthy/viable? Is it possible that those “abortions” (miscarriages?) occur because of defects in the DNA of the zygotes? Perhaps those zygotes are not viable for a variety of reasons, and therefore unable to implant? Maybe the uterus is not in the proper state necessary to sustain the zygote?

    Also, I think it’s fair to distinguish between intent: actively trying to end a human’s life would be legally considered 1st-degree murder (or some degree homicide). On the other hand, miscarriages do not involve any intention to harm.

    Finally, if one were to follow the logic of your argument, the conclusion should be abstinence, not the pill. Abstinence would mean 0 abortions, natural or purposeful.

    I was just curious to see if you had considered those things. You seem to desire to be intellectually honest, and I was trying to follow your logic.

    • Libby Anne

      1. The Guttmacher Institute is not a part of Planned Parenthood. And actually, I grew up seeing the Guttmacher Institute cited by pro-life groups on things like the reasons women get abortions, etc. But if you have evidence that their numbers on abortion rates per country are wrong, feel free to share.

      2. Yes, of course there’s reason to think those zygotes have defects. But so what? People with Down syndrome, or with cerebral palsy, or with spina bifida also have defects. Do we therefore not do any research to help give them a better quality of life? If zygotes are just as much people as infants with spina bifida, not trying to do research to find a way to save them from being flushed out of a woman’s body is an inconsistency.

      You say intent matters. What if someone takes the pill with the intent of saving lives by flushing out fewer zygotes?

      Finally, one of the points I try to make here is that we need to be pragmatic. Expecting people to be abstinent is not a pragmatic way to reduce the number of abortions. The pragmatic solution is actually not the pill either, it’s long-term methods like IUDs that are incredibly, incredibly effective, much more so than condoms or the pill. In fact, if women have unfettered access to such long term methods, a study found last year, the rate of abortions falls 75%. In contrast, telling women to just not have sex is not going to make the abortion rate drop like that.

      I hope that helps explain where I’m coming from!

      • Wendy

        Thanks for your kind response, I appreciate the explanation!

        1. You’re correct — the Guttmacher Institute is not part of Planned Parenthood. However, it was originally created by Planned Parenthood, and their stated mission is to advance abortion rights. Like you, I too have seen anti-abortion literature which references studies by the Guttmacher Institute. My guess is that, in a world where there are often many conflicting studies, citing a study performed by a group that opposes you lends credibility. We probably wouldn’t put much stock into a study that found that “94% of women who’ve had abortions suffer major depression” if it were published by the Pro-life Research Institute. Along those lines, I don’t feel the burden should be placed on me to find a conflicting study — the intellectually honest thing to do would be to toss it, imho. Wikipedia on Guttmacher (you can also find similar info on Guttmacher’s website):

        2. My apologies! I should have been more clear. I only meant fatal, incurable defects – see my responses above

        I don’t understand your question: “What if someone takes the pill with the intent of saving lives by flushing out fewer zygotes?” Do you mean, as opposed to some other form of birth control? Are we assuming that someone wants to be sexually active without getting pregnant? And are we also assuming that this person would abort any unwanted pregnancies?

      • Carl Seaton

        If there is absolutely nothing wrong with abortion at any stage of gestation then why should anyone care about reducing abortions?
        Just get an abortion every time you get pregnant. So what.

      • tsara

        Uhm… because being pregnant when you don’t want to be is stressful and potentially traumatic no matter how easy the abortion process is? Because pregnancy changes your body and your hormones and can seriously fuck things up, even if it doesn’t last very long? Because getting an abortion is probably always going to be something of a pain in the ass? Because prevention is cheaper than a cure?
        I could go on.

      • dance commander

        Abortion at later stages is *dangerous*

        Women have abortions because they do not want to be pregnant, ergo, given a choice, they would prefer to have abortions sooner rather than later.

        And yes, given a choice, prevention = preferred.

    • Niemand

      Regarding naturally-occurring abortions — is there evidence that
      suggests the zygotes which do not implant are otherwise healthy/viable?

      Some of the zygotes have obvious defects. Some don’t.

      Is it possible that those “abortions” (miscarriages?) occur because of defects in the DNA of the zygotes?

      It is probable that there are multiple reasons for early spontaneous abortion. And cut the scare quotes: a spontaneous abortion is an abortion. Miscarriage is the usual lay term but spontaneous abortion is the proper medical term. As above, some zygotes that fail to implant have no observable defects in their DNA.

      Maybe the uterus is not in the proper state necessary to sustain the zygote?

      Probably true in at least some cases.

      Please correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me that you’re arguing that if the zygotes have errors in their DNA you’re just fine with them failing to implant. So if you believe that zygotes are babies, you just said you’re fine with allowing babies with genetic errors to die because it’s too much trouble to figure out how to keep them alive. There are historical groups that would applaud your logic, but it’s not well received in current ethical thought.

      • Wendy

        Per your request: You are wrong. I only meant to include DNA or other defects that made it impossible for the zygote to be saved. To be even more clear, I believe it is wrong to selectively abort a zygote or fetus because they have down syndrome (or some other undesired quality).

        Also, you wrongly attributed an intent to the quotes I used. The word “abortion” is strongly identified with elective abortions, and very rarely associated with spontaneous abortions. I wanted find a way to avoid having to type out “spontaneous” every time I referred to spontaneous abortions. I will just write out the phrase next time.

      • Niemand

        I only meant to include DNA or other defects that made it impossible for the zygote to be saved.

        Why are (some) DNA defects not repairable? Because we, as a society, have not invested the resources and energy into finding ways to repair them. There’s nothing magic about DNA. It can be repaired. If we want to do so. We have not chosen to make that a priority. The “pro-life” movement has no apparent problem with it not being a priority. Again, consistent with no interest in saving “babies”, only with controlling women.

        To be even more clear, I believe it is wrong to selectively abort a zygote or fetus because they have down syndrome (or some other undesired quality).

        Most DS embryos die in utero. Probably more than we know, because we don’t test every failed implantation for abnormalities. Do you or do you not have any interest in saving the “babies” who abort naturally?

        The word “abortion” is strongly identified with elective abortions, and very rarely associated with spontaneous abortions.

        The word “abortion” is applied to both spontaneous and induced abortions in the medical world. I know that the “pro-life” movement delights in murdering doctors, but shouldn’t you at least understand the terminology of those you seek to murder?

    • Niemand

      Consider this scenario: A couple has a baby with Down syndrome. Unfortunately, this baby has severe heart defects, as some children with DS do. Fortunately, the particular defects this baby has are completely correctable with surgery and the baby would then have a quite good chance of living another 40 or 50 years. The couple in question refuses to get the surgery or even to give the baby oxygen or morphine for comfort as it lays dying, gasping for breath and in pain. “The baby has a defect in its DNA,” they say. “It’s natural. It’s not like we’re killing the baby.” Do you agree with their logic?

      Alternately, suppose the heart repair surgery had never been invented because researchers and funding agencies had said, “It’s completely natural for a baby with DS to die. Nothing we can do.” Would their logic have been correct?

      If you really believe that a zygote is a baby then that’s exactly what you’re saying.

      • Wendy

        I did not intend to include correctable defects in this scenario. I apologize if the word defect was not specific enough for you. I meant defects which would make the zygote incapable of continuing to live.

        Your example strikes me as unnecessarily emotionally manipulative.

        To clarify, I believe we ought to try to preserve every human life we reasonably can, starting at the moment of conception. The question I had asked was whether the author knew if it is actually possible to save the lives of human zygotes who are spontaneously aborted. Basically, are they saveable? I’ve done more research since I posted originally, and from what I gathered, the answer to that question is not clear.

        The author puts a lot of weight on this point and I was curious to see if the author had considered whether or not those zygotes are saveable, or to see if the author just assumed that they would be saveable if we put the research into it.

        Ultimately, I don’t think this particular point has any bearing on the morality of intentional abortions. Basically, if we were to follow the author’s argument to its logical conclusion, it would be: Anti-abortion advocates should be trying to save even more human lives — both those that are purposely killed, and those that are die naturally.

      • Niemand

        Your example strikes me as unnecessarily emotionally manipulative.

        Really? It’s drawn from life. I guess reality is unnecessarily emotionally manipulative. Maybe that’s why you ignore it.

    • Boo

      First, the Guttmacher Institute is an excellent source. Planned Parenthood is not the Devil like the pro life side would like you to believe. Planned Parenthood performs a great service to the community, and actually works to lower the abortion rate by addressing why women have abortions in the first place, unlike pro life groups. I would trust the Guttermacher Institute over anything any pro life group says. Second, abstinence is never going to happen. It has never happened in any civilization in the world no matter the circumstances. There is absolutely no way in the world we can make the whole world stop having sex. The right is like a broken record parroting that ignorant message. Most of the people talking about abstinence have never been abstinent for any extended period for their entire adult lives.

  • Nicole

    Im not in any kind of “movement” but abortion still disgusts me. This changes nothing for me. Never will I side with people who stand outside of clinics chanting “Hail Satan” to be as childish as those standing opposite them. Never will I side with people who act proud of themselves over the act of ending a life. Not the people who are just as bad as the other side just as radical and JUST as foolish. Neither side is worth sticking with. Both of them are idiots. Neither will ever get any point across because they are TOO busy pulling stunts and acting like quarreling children(ironically enough).
    So no I am not a part of any movements, I make my own choices based on what I know and what I feel and believe. And the mere thought of abortion is enough to make me want to vomit.
    (And no I am not religious and I belong to NO churches so don’t even go there.)

    • Mogg

      Eye surgery makes me want to vomit. Nevertheless, it is sometimes necessary, and we should be proud to be able to provide it to those who need it. And where on earth have you ever found people shouting hail Satan in opposition to anti-abortionist protesters? I suspect that in the real world most people would find that extraordinarily tasteless.

      • tsara

        “And where on earth have you ever found people shouting hail Satan in opposition to anti-abortionist protesters?”

        No, that kind of happened. It was in Texas, prolifers in blue were praying or singing, and a few prochoicers in orange started shouting. It’s pretty hard to distinguish words of the shouting in the videos I’ve seen, but at least one person said ‘hail satan’.

        (and, tbh, I thought that was kind of funny)

      • phantomreader42

        This reminds me, need to get some sidewalk chalk and scrawl “HAIL SATIN!” on the sidewalk outside Hobby Lobby. No, I did not misspell that…

      • Olive Markus

        That would be brilliant!

      • Mogg

        I suppose it’s kind of funny well away from the actual outside of an abortion clinic with actual upset or intimidated patients involved.

      • tsara

        Yeah, it was when the Texas special sessions were going on, outside of the government building, not at a clinic.

    • tsara

      The idea of my being pregnant also makes me want to vomit. In fact, I have vomited from thinking about it, several times.

      • phantomreader42

        And I’ve heard actually being pregnant caused my mother to vomit, frequently. More so with me than with my brother. In fact, vomiting is one of the more common side effects of pregnancy. So if we’re banning things that make people vomit, should we ban pregnancy?

      • tsara

        That would be the consistent thing to do.

      • phantomreader42

        So now the question becomes “has there ever been a fetus-fetishist who was consistent?” I am not aware of a single example.

      • Olive Markus

        I throw up watching other people throw up. I guess we’re banning vomiting, too :) Thank goodness.

      • Nicole

        And where did I say anyone should ban anything based on my PERSONAL feelings? I said both sides make themselves look stupid and stated my personal feelings.

      • phantomreader42

        No, you whined about “both sides” while only insulting one side, and ignoring the massive differences between the two. You just vomited forth a load of false equivalence. It smells.

      • fiona64

        Yep. Hyperemesis gravidarum. Been there, puked that.

      • Nicole

        Well if you have such a reaction to that thought then donate your eggs, no eggs no babies to be had.

      • tsara

        I… don’t think it works like that. I do want a hysterectomy, though.

      • Nicole

        I had mine done that way. But then I don’t know if that’s done everywhere. Some studies say women can in fact make more but that cuts down on the chances pretty well I think. I think they should offer hysterectomies to women who know they don’t want children. Rather than making them wait until they have what was the numbers? 2 by 25 years of age?

      • Olive Markus

        Wait… I missed this earlier, but why on earth are you ok with donating eggs so that embryos can be created in a laboratory and frozen, with the majority of them discarded or expected to die once implanted… but the removal of an embryo from a person’s body creates such a disdainful reaction from you? How is that possible??!!

      • fiona64

        Hysterectomy is far more drastic surgery than tubal ligation, just for the record … and most physicians will not recommend it absent medical necessity. While it is challenging to get a tubal ligation under the age of 30 (I had to doctor-shop to get it done), it can be accomplished.

      • Valde

        A hysterectomy is extremely dangerous and can also cause more problems than it fixes.

      • fiona64

        You have no idea how that works, do you?

      • Anat

        You realize that when women donate eggs they undergo hormonal stimulation and just those eggs that were stimulated to mature get harvested, the rest remain where they were? It’s egg donation, not ovary donation.

      • jejune

        Why are forced birthers such ignorant fuckwits?

    • Olive Markus

      The idea that women are people with complicated lives, health problems and mental health issues probably makes you vomit, as well, does it not?

      I mean, come on!! People with vaginas as people??!! Don’t disgust me!

      • jejune

        Many of the posters on this thread offer a good clue as to why many right-wingers are anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-whatever.

        Anything that makes them feel ‘icky’ is automatically teh ebil. They just cannot live in a world where men might be kissing one another, or women aborting their embryos.

        In the end, it is FEAR, more than anything, that motivates (some) of them.

        I still need to watch the film “Flight From Danger’ about Terror Management Theory:

    • jejune

      Open heart surgery disgusts me too. Perhaps we should ban it post-haste.

  • yanlm2007

    This article makes sure to dodge around the most important question–what SHOULD the law be once a woman is actually pregnant? Opposing the pro-life stance on birth control and being in favor of contraceptives may in fact reduce the need for abortions, but this author says nothing about the fetus’ alleged rights once it is actually conceived. A pregnancy test will only appear positive if the fertilized zygote has actually attached to the uterine wall. Thus, that zygote has the full potential to develop into a human being. A woman cannot “abort” a fertilized egg that had an 18% chance of being shed, anyway. This author fails to provide sufficient evidence as to why fetuses SHOULDN’T be protected under law, as they are in fact human beings. It’s not a question of simply trying to reduce abortion rates, or “dangers” associated with women who will seek them out anyway. It is not a question of whether or not certain women are “fit” to be mothers, or if having an unplanned pregnancy is too “inconvenient.” It is about the law taking a stance on the right to human life–and a fetus should be more than included in this category. In this respect, I stand whole-heartedly with the Pro-Life movement.

    • Anat

      Well, the law (via precedent) already says that people are not obligated to donate parts of their body to support the life of another, even if they previously agreed to do so (McFall Vs Shimp). Therefore even if the fetus were a person, and we grant it all the rights of a person the law should follow the pro-choice position all the way. Regardless of whether the sex that led to the pregnancy was consensual, regardless of whether the pregnancy was initially desired or even planned, regardless of the stage of pregnancy or the reason why the pregnancy is no longer desired.

      From the wikipedia article on McFall v. Shimp:

      McFall then sued Shimp in order to force him to donate his bone marrow, but when the case ended up in court, Judge John P. Flaherty Jr. stated that Shimp’s position was “morally indefensible,” but simultaneously refused to force Shimp to donate his bone marrow.[3]
      Judge Flaherty also stated that forcing a person to submit to an
      intrusion of his body in order to donate bone marrow “would defeat the
      sanctity of the individual and would impose a rule which would know no
      limits, and one could not imagine where the line would be drawn.”[3]

      A woman is a person. She does not stop being one when she becomes pregnant. Doesn’t forcing her to remain pregnant when she does not want to defeat the sanctity of the individual far worse than a forced bone-marrow donation?

      • Niemand

        Doesn’t forcing her to remain pregnant when she does not want to defeat
        the sanctity of the individual far worse than a forced bone-marrow

        Pregnancy is several orders of magnitude more dangerous than bone marrow donation (counting ONLY mortality…bone marrow donation has essentially no morbidity whereas it’s virtually impossible to not have some morbidity from pregnancy), more invasive, requires a longer time commitment, and is far less certain to actually help a real person. If we’re going to force people to donate their bodies to save others, starting with making bone marrow donation mandatory makes a whole lot more sense than starting with making pregnancy continuation mandatory.

    • Composer 99

      I think you are missing the point. The post isn’t about justifying the pro-choice position. It’s explaining the flaws and problems with the anti-abortion position, such that it cannot reasonably be called “pro-life”.

      However, I’ll bite:

      It comes down to the right to bodily autonomy, which is a component of the right to person.

      As a society, we don’t even force dead people to give up their organs for donation to others. In other words, we will gladly let sick people, even sick children, stay sick or even die, in order to respect the bodily autonomy of legal persons, even posthumously.

      The anti-abortion position, as espoused by yourself, amounts to telling women they have to give up their bodies to host a fetus. (Apparently, dead people are allowed to retain their right to bodily autonomy, but living women aren’t.)

      Well, you’re wrong.

      Fundamentally, whether or not fetuses are declared legal persons at the moment of conception is irrelevant: women have the right to bodily autonomy, such that society must respect it even if it means the death of others.

      What is more, because of other rights that we recognize people as possessing, women can exercise this autonomy for any reason at all, whether others agree with it or not.

      • yanlm2007

        And yet pregnancy is not a permanent state. I am not arguing that a woman stops becoming a person when she is pregnant–a “living host” for a fetus to feed off of, as some might say. That’s an awfully dark way to look at it. But I AM saying that the law should be concerned with the fetus’ rights as well as the woman’s. I believe there is a way to honor both the mother’s and the fetus’ right to personhood in a way that doesn’t compromise one or the other. It may, however, have to result in a change of attitude toward’s women’s “rights” to choose between maturation or abortion for a fetus.
        The logical outcome of sex (and its most basic purpose) is pregnancy. When a person engages in unprotected sex, they are logically agreeing to any and all possible outcomes that may result from it.
        When a zygote is implanted and begins to grow, I believe the law should protect its rights to reach maturation. Whether or not the woman chooses to keep and raise the child IS truly her decision, but because pregnancy is a short-term state that evolutionarily will not in any way permanently cause harm to the woman, I believe the law should lean in favor of the fetus’ rights. Rape/incest/extreme danger are of course excepted from this. I believe someone posted this earlier, “there is no difference between killing a baby ten minutes before it is born and killing a baby ten minutes after it is born.” One is undisputedly illegal, the other is not. I believe the law should correct this inconsistency.

      • tsara

        “pregnancy is a short-term state that evolutionarily will not in any way permanently cause harm to the woman”

      • yanlm2007

        Women are genetically programmed to be ABLE to give birth safely, effectively, and multiple times.

      • phantomreader42

        Pregnancy is a life-threatening medical condition that is well-documented to cause multiple changes to the body, many of them permanent, and that carries a risk of death or permanent disability. If you are not aware of this, you obviously do not know what you are talking about, and thus are not qualified to lecture anyone on the subject of pregnancy.

      • yanlm2007

        And yet we are biologically equipped to be able to handle those changes effectively.

      • tsara

        [citation needed]

      • Niemand

        In the same sense that we are “biologically equipped” to handle infectious disease: yes, we have evolved to cope with the crisis most of the time. But those methods fail and fail often. The maternal mortality in rural Afghanistan is 1 in 6. The fetal and neonatal mortality even higher. And this is not even as bad as the “natural” situation with no medical care at all would be. You really should learn a bit more about pregnancy and then readdress this issue with yourself.

      • phantomreader42

        So, no woman has EVER died in childbirth? There is no such thing as gestational diabetes? C-sections either don’t happen or heal perfectly in an instant by magic? Ectopic pregnancies are fabricated by some sort of vast conspiracy to sap and impurify our precious bodily fluids?
        Do you have any idea how ridiculous and willfully ignorant you sound? Why should anyone take your pronouncements on pregnancy seriously when you know nothing about it? It’s like going to a cardiac surgeon who thinks hearts are little bits of chalky candy with cute messages on them! Only an idiot would hire a mechanic who’d never seen an engine to fix their car, and only an idiot would believe a word you say about anything remotely related to medicine.

      • Olive Markus

        Well said.

      • Composer 99

        I’m not sure what part of “carries a risk of death or permanent disability” you are having a hard time understanding.

      • Niemand

        The part that conflicts with his/her dogma: s/he says childbirth is safe therefore it is, don’t confuse him/her with the facts.

      • Olive Markus

        And by “biologically equipped” you mean, without modern technology, women would mostly die and and even with modern technology will suffer permanent, sometimes debilitating consequences, right?

        Because that’s what you should have said if you didn’t want to be an intentional liar.

        How old are you? You seem to not know one single, tiny thing about pregnancy and child birth. Why do you feel qualified to tell us our business?

      • Boo

        What planet are you from? How is death the same as being biologically equipped to be able to handle those changes effectively?

      • jejune

        580k women die per year from pregnancy

        so no

      • tsara

        Do you know anything about what happens to a person’s body during pregnancy? Do you have any idea what happens to a person’s mind during a pregnancy zie does not want to carry?

      • Anat

        Not true. Woman are built such that just enough of them can give birth and survive, and some of those give birth again and survive. Evolution is a tinkerer, not an optimizer. And it doesn’t care about the welfare of individuals. As long as some survive, however poorly, there is no pressure to improve.

        But many women suffer serious consequences from pregnancy and childbirth. Until not so long ago childbirth was a major killer of women, and even these days, in modern countries, where maternal deaths are rare but non-zero, many women go on bed-rest for months, many have other complications that render them barely functional for months. And after giving birth many have chronic conditions and are more prone to chronic conditions such as diabetes. Many have post-partum-depression.

        Compared to this, the morbidity of bone marrow donation pales to insignificance. Yet people have the right to refuse a bone marrow donation or even go back on a previous agreement to donate.

      • Olive Markus

        We are also genetically programmed to be hunter gatherers, living practically naked and in herds hunting for food and water, sleeping on the ground. What’s your point? Does that mean I should evict you and your family from your home and force you to live this lifestyle? No? Why ever not?

        Until modern medicine, most women and babies died during child birth. Other women died during pregnancy. The outcome of a pregnancy was NOT in the favor of the woman surviving or a baby being born. The only reason that has changed is the very same technology that allows women to choose what happens to their body. Just because we are “genetically programmed” (stupid way to put things, by the way) to do things, doesn’t mean you own anybody and have the right to force them to do such a thing.

        Unless you do believe you own every body with a vagina and have the right to control them. Care to elaborate on that?

      • fiona64

        Already answered. Pregnancy is far from being a state of wellness.

      • Boo

        Nope. Not true. That is a lie we believe because we take birth for granted in this country. Women have always died in childbirth. It is a dangerous state for a woman. How many women do you know who have had c-sections or needed to be induced? Now imagine not having access to modern health care. How many women do you think would survive multiple pregnancies now? Hmmm?

      • Jennifer Starr

        You sound as if you’re talking about livestock, which is disturbing but nor surprising, given the general ‘pro-life’ view of women.

      • phantomreader42

        yanlm2007 babbled:

        I believe someone posted this earlier, “there is no difference between killing a baby ten minutes before it is born and killing a baby ten minutes after it is born.” One is undisputedly illegal, the other is not. I believe the law should correct this inconsistency.

        Provide even one single case of an abortion performed on a fetus “ten minutes before it is born” in a case where said fetus was not already known to be non-viable and the pregnant patient’s life or health was not endangered by it, or admit that you are lying through your rotting teeth.

        You are demanding that the law be changed, resulting in reducing the rights of a pregnant woman to less than those of a corpse, because of an alleged inconsistency which exists only in your delusions. You don’t get to do that. Quit lying.

      • Composer 99

        I’m not sure what trouble you’re having with this concept: women have the right to bodily autonomy, such that society must respect it even if it means the death of others.

        And yet pregnancy is not a permanent state.

        And what of it? That doesn’t alter the fundamental nature of the right to bodily autonomy.

        The logical outcome of sex (and its most basic purpose) is pregnancy. When a person engages in unprotected sex, they are logically agreeing to any and all possible outcomes that may result from it.

        False. In a rights-based, contractually-governed society (like, say, modern affluent societies in North America) no one is obliged to give up their right to person to anyone else, and no one is obliged to agree to “any and all possible outcomes” of an activity at the cost of their bodily autonomy.

        (If it were so, then anytime anyone went out for a few drinks they’d be implicitly agreeing to be sexually assaulted, since that is certainly a possible outcome if one has the misfortune of being unknowingly acquainted with a sexual predator. Suffice to say, that is an inherently unreasonable and unethical position to take.)

        Whether or not a fetus is recognized as a person, no woman is obliged to give up her bodily autonomy just because she has sex.

        The rest of your comment appears to continue to run aground on the rocks of the right to bodily autonomy, where it is not outright factually false (such as “pregnancy [...] will not in any way permanently cause harm to the woman”).

      • tsara

        “(If it were so, then anytime anyone went out for a few drinks they’d be implicitly agreeing to be sexually assaulted, since that is certainly a possible outcome if one has the misfortune of being unknowingly acquainted with a sexual predator. Suffice to say, that is an inherently unreasonable and unethical position to take.)”
        See, the problem with that is that far too many people don’t actually recognize how gross that position is.

      • Composer 99

        See, the problem with that is that far too many people don’t actually recognize how gross that position is.

        You are sadly correct.

      • Niemand

        And yet pregnancy is not a permanent state.

        Pregnancy, even the easiest and most healthy of pregnancies, changes the woman’s body. Her cervix does not return to its pre-pregnancy state. After a few pregnancies, urinary incontinence is the norm, not the exception. An even slightly complicated pregnancy can increase a woman’s risk of hypertension, diabetes, and other conditions later in life. A c-section results in scarring which will complicate any later abdominal surgeries. Pregnancy is in no way benign and no one with the slightest knowledge of medicine or even biology would make such a claim.

      • phantomreader42

        All true, but has there ever been a fetus-fetishist with the slightest knowledge of medicine or even biology? ;)

      • fiona64

        Pregnancy also creates permanent changes to the pubic symphysis; it never reconnects fully after pregnancy, and successive pregnancies see it remaining further disconnected each time. Forensic anthropologists can tell how many times a woman was pregnant by looking at striations on the pubic symphysis.

        I have a friend who has had five kids. She can no longer ride a bike because of all the damage to her pelvis related to childbirth, and her walking gait is no longer normal.

      • Olive Markus

        “there is no difference between killing a baby ten minutes before it is born and killing a baby ten minutes after it is born.”

        phantomreader42 addressed this in the way it should be. Nobody carries a pregnancy to term and then chooses to abort 10 minutes before birth. Only liars or complete idiots say this is true.

        However, I’m going to add something.

        The difference is that one is attached the person’s internal organs, literally feeding off of the body and using that body to recycle its own waste products. The other is not. Guess which one is which.

      • Niemand

        Yeah, the formulation as quoted completely erases the one definite living, breathing, thinking, feeling person involved in a pregnancy: the pregnant woman.

      • phantomreader42

        That’s deliberate. The only way fetus-fetishists can enforce their dogma is by denying the humanity and often the very existence of women.

      • Olive Markus

        Both of you are absolutely correct. It’s deliberate. And you can talk with them in circles over and over again, but they will continue to ignore the role the pregnant person’s body plays. They were taught that the fertilized egg will just guide itself to babyhood… Or, they believe that the only reason women exist is to be consumed, by men, by babies, and by society, so they feel justified in erasing her role – as it’s simply a given and doesn’t need to be acknowledged.

      • Olive Markus

        And yet pregnancy is not a permanent state

        The effects of pregnancy are 100% permanent, and range from inconvenient to devastating. Try again.

      • fiona64

        It may indeed be a short-term state, but pregnancy is not a state of wellness. The US has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the developed world (we’re #50). Women die of pregnancy related complications every day in this country, so taking the blase “it’s only 40 weeks” attitude that you display here is saying that you know better than a given woman whether or not that is a risk she is willing to take.

      • Brian

        “there is no difference between killing a baby ten minutes before it is born and killing a baby ten minutes after it is born.”

        And since no one has an abortion ten minutes before birth, that’s a pointless dodge and no one cares.

    • phantomreader42

      The law should be that, once a woman is actually pregnant, she remains a human being with the right to decide what happens to her body, just like she was before she became pregnant.
      If you think a pregnant woman should be forced by law to allow a parasite to use her organs against her will, then you must also support the forced harvesting of the organs of people other than pregnant women, including your own, so kindly post your address and blood type, I know someone who could use a new kidney.

    • fiona64

      This author fails to provide sufficient evidence as to why fetuses
      SHOULDN’T be protected under law, as they are in fact human beings.

      Simple: the minute you afford rights to a fetus (a potential person), you abrogate the rights of the pregnant woman (an actual person).

  • star17

    This is one of the greatest things I have ever read. I never write comments online ever, but i had to thank you for all of the work and personal searching that went into this article. I am sending it to everyone I know and I made a donation, too! It made me feel wonderful to see so many people commenting positively- that there are many people who want to stop and think and do the right thing for all humanity (which includes women and children, and I’m glad to see finally many agree on that point!) Thank you so much, Libby Anne!

    • Libby Anne

      Thanks! :)

  • Micheal Planck

    “I have come to the conclusion that I was wrong.”

    The rarest, and most valuable words on the internet. I always read any essay that contains those words. And usually (as in this case) I find the essay to be thoughtful, eloquent, and insightful.

    Although in this particular case I was way out in front of you. :D

  • Sarah

    This is now one of my favorite articles on this topic.

  • Carl Seaton

    If getting an abortion is evidence of a woman having control over her own body, then isn’t getting an unwanted pregnancy evidence that she hasn’t been exercising that control?
    (Not talking about rape here)

    • Anat

      Huh? Becoming pregnant against one’s wishes can mean all sorts of things. It can mean one miscalculated, it can mean being sabotaged, it can mean life took a turn to the worse, it can mean one did everything right but was unlucky. This list is non-exhaustive. And whichever way it happened abortion is one way to regain control over one’s circumstances and keep them from spiraling into unbearable situations. Such as poverty, abusive relationships, bad health situations, mental health problems, etc.

      • Carl Seaton

        So what you’re saying is that abortion is just a mitigant for women that don’t exercise control over their bodies. 46% of abortions are on women that used absolutely no contraceptives in the month they got pregnant. That’s control?
        Where’s the feminism here?

      • jejune

        So you view pregnancy as punishment.

        Sex is a crime for which only women must be punished.

      • Carl Seaton

        I never ever said that. Maybe you think that.

      • jejune

        No honey, you’ve given every indication that dirty sluts must be punished for engaging in the sin of consensual sex.

        A crime for which ONLY women must be punished.

      • Carl Seaton

        Wow. Get some help. I never said any of that. You’re losing your argument by making up stuff. Do some of the statistics bother you? If they do then I can’t help that.

      • jejune

        So what you’re saying is that abortion is just a mitigant for women that
        don’t exercise control over their bodies. 46% of abortions are on women
        that used absolutely no contraceptives in the month they got pregnant.
        That’s control?

        You view pregnancy as punishment for ‘slutty behaviour’

      • Carl Seaton

        I think you pretend to know what I view. Maybe you just pretend period.

      • osiote

        you wrote:

        women that don’t exercise control over their bodies

        That IS The definition of slut-shaming bro.

      • Carl Seaton

        If feminism is having control over your own body then getting pregnant when you don’t want to is not being feminist. The slut thing is your own paranoia.

      • RonPaul2012

        Contraception fails. People make mistakes.

        And this may come as a shock to you carl, but women cannot have complete control of their fertility at all times

        It is an *automatic* process.

        The woman does not *will* fertilzation to take place

        BTW, even tubal ligation can fail

        Everything can fail, short of a complete hysterectomy

        Basically, Carl, what you are advocating, is that women 1) never have sex unless they want to get pregnant 2) have hysterectomies

        Your views are incredibly sexist.

      • Carl Seaton

        If you have sex without contraception you will get pregnant.
        The slut part of that is your conclusion and certainly not mine.

      • RonPaul2012


        Sex without contraception does not always lead to pregnancy

        And sex with 1) condoms 2) birth control pill 3) IUD’s 4) tubal ligation 5) vasectomies can STILL lead to pregnancy

        Everything short of complete abstinence and complete removal of the woman’s uterus can still lead to pregnancy

      • Anat

        Huh? I don’t understand your argument. Why shouldn’t women who did not use contraception be allowed to terminate a pregnancy they do not (or no longer) want? And do you concede that women who used some form of contraception should be allowed to terminate the pregnancy if they so wish?

        If you get injured in a road accident you get the medical treatment you need regardless if you drove safely or recklessly, used a seat-belt or not, drove sober or drunk etc etc.

      • Carl Seaton

        You don’t have much difficulty with infanticide. So I don’t know what I can debate with you. Your morals are a derivative of a completely different world view than mine.

      • Anat

        Feminism is that odd idea that women are people. And therefore their bodies should not be violated, forced to support a fetus they do not want. It does not matter if they use contraception or not. Or even got pregnant deliberately and changed their mind later (perhaps because of a change in circumstances or a realization that actually being pregnant at the moment was not as good an idea as they originally thought.

      • fiona64

        46% of abortions are on women that used absolutely no contraceptives in the month they got pregnant.

        As noted above, that number includes women who were trying to conceive and whose wanted pregnancies went wrong.

      • Carl Seaton

        The pro- abortion folks often get upset when pro- lifers say that abortion is being used as primary birth control. The reality is that it is.

      • fiona64

        The pro- abortion folks often get upset when pro- lifers say that
        abortion is being used as primary birth control. The reality is that it

        Only in your masturbatory fantasies. 54 percent of women who sought abortions were using contraception during the month in which they conceived, per Guttmacher. The remaining 46 percent includes women who were trying to conceive and whose wanted pregnancies went wrong.

      • Carl Seaton

        You are the one in fantasy land. According to your math. All abortions are on women that were either using contraception or actually wanted the pregnancy. So to you all those pregnancies resulting from not using any contraception are all wanted pregnancies. You are the one masturbating.

      • fiona64

        According to your math. All abortions are on women that were either using contraception or actually wanted the pregnancy.

        Since I never said that, you can just put your straw man back in the closet.

        You’re a very boring little boy, Carl.

      • RonPaul2012

        A child should not be punishment Carl.

        Every child should be wanted. Children should not be used to punish the ‘sluts’ who didn’t use contraception.

  • file #2

    This is a friggin’ fantastic article! Thank you so much for sharing this!

  • Nancy

    Husbands really need to be careful of other woman outside their
    marriage,this was a true life story that happened to me to my own
    notice my sister took my husband from me the Husband whom i have love
    so much and promise me that no woman will take him from me but all of a
    sudden things turned apart if not for my friend hear in USA that told me
    i needed a spell caster that could cast a spell to separate them maybe
    by now he must have went for a divorce which could have made me commit
    suicide because i loved him so much likewise like him also but how
    things turn around was a thing that surprised me.
    I vowed that any
    thing it could cost me i must separate him and my elder sister i then
    collected the contact of this spell caster from my friend Mary she told
    me his name is spiritual Priest Ajigar and his email is i contacted him and narrated the whole story
    to him he consulted and found out that my sister visited a spell caster
    that casted a spell that made him love her i then ask him what to do he
    told me that this spell needed to be broken so that my husband can
    leave her alone and come back to me the spell was broken and within
    three days he began to hate her that he even beat her up before he said
    to her that it is over between him and her right now my husband is with
    me again and take good care of me like he have never done before i thank
    my friend Mary but i own all thanks to priest Ajigar for bringing back
    my husband.

    • fiona64

      Okey-dokey then …

    • Jennifer Starr

      I have a suspicion that this is spam….

      • osiote

        You’re just saying that ‘cuz you’re pro-death!!!

      • fiona64

        OMGSELFISH! ;->

  • dance commander

    You wouldn’t have a right to live if you were using my body against my will and neither does a non-sentient non-sapient fetus.

  • dance commander

    Oh, and the top picture is of a miscarried 2nd trimester fetus.

    Many of the photos used by you and your pro-liar buddies are of miscarried fetii.

    They are also of anencephalic fetii and other fetii that have medical conditions that are incompatible with life. And pro-liars NEVER reveal where they got the photos from? I wonder why?

    Because any idiot can take a pic of a miscarried 24 week fetus and say ‘this was aborted’.

    • Lizzie

      don’t forget before they photograph those precious miracles we’re all supposed to respect so much, they throw down a quarter or other coin so we can get an idea of size. It’s not exploitation if it’s dead!

      • dance commander


  • outrageous

    Really Carl? Could you be more histrionic?

    We care because you and your pro-liar buddies LIE and misrepresent abortion every chance you get because you want the whole world to think that abortion = women killing live babies at 30 weeks.

    Grow the fuck up and use some real arguments instead of the crap you’ve been coming up with.

  • Guest

    Great article. Thank you.

  • fiona64

    What a ridiculous assumption to make. There are many pro-choice people who have never terminated a pregnancy, just as there are many anti-choice people who *have* terminated a pregnancy (because The Only Moral Abortion is My Abortion, donchaknow …).

  • Carl Seaton

    Are the pictures that pro lifers use actually miscarriages?

    • RonPaul2012

      Yes, often.

      Or of late term abortion that was a result of *medical emergency*

      Did you know Carl, that if a woman develops hyperthyroidism 9 months into pregnancy that the fetus can die of a heart attack ?

      So someone takes a photo of that to document it, and the forced birth brigade takes that stillborn pic and says ‘late term abortions!!!’

    • fiona64

      Yes. almost always. Or, sometimes they are very late term abortions that were for medical emergencies. And then they try to contend that these are “typical.” A typical abortion is indistinguishable from menses absent a high-powered microscope and an advanced degree in biology. Seriously.

  • Carl Seaton

    No answer huh?

  • RonPaul2012


  • RonPaul2012

    Also inflammatory.

  • Niemand

    I was 20 when I may have had my abortion. I had sex, the condom broke, and 6 weeks later I had a heavy painful period that I speculate might have been an abortion. Oh, wait, you’re ok with my “baby” dying because it was a spontaneous abortion and probably deserved it for being a “bad egg”. (Not to mention possibly being totally imaginary-stress can delay menses.)

    Never had an induced abortion. I also still have my appendix. Yet I happily recommend that people have appendectomies or abortions if I think it will improve their health.

    • Sarah Bailey

      No, never okay or happy with something wrong happening to a woman or a baby. Spontaneous abortions can be/are very traumatic. I know many women who are very sad when this happens and work to try and figure out what went wrong. It would be wonderful if we knew why or what caused things, but we don’t.

      • Niemand

        We don’t know what causes such things because we’ve never looked. We’ve never looked because no one has thought it important enough to spend money and resources doing so. Why not? If all fertilized eggs are babies then surely stopping babies from dying should be high priority. Most likely most of the deaths are due to very simple problems that could be easily fixed…if we only spent the money to find out what was wrong. Are you going to lobby congress for a massive increase in the NIH’s budget, earmarked for research into the causes of spontaneous abortions? If you really believe that fertilized eggs are babies it’s a much more important public health problem than abortion and ignoring it is like ignoring a plague to focus on a few murders.

      • Sarah Bailey

        You mean the gov is not spending money researching? Lots of people spend money trying to figure out why a woman can’t carry a baby full term. Including my father who is an m.d. and has helped many many women become able to get pregnant and also to carry their babies after multiple miscarries. I have lost faith in many of these big business race for cures. Millions spent, but still the same.

      • Niemand

        You mean the gov is not spending money researching?

        Nope. Look at Find their grants page. You’ll find zero calls for submissions on abortion, spontaneous or otherwise. Private industry isn’t either.

        Including my father who is an m.d. and has helped many many women become able to get pregnant and also to carry their babies after multiple miscarries.

        What sort of research is he doing into prevention of miscarriage? What’s his opinion on screening for factor V leiden in an asymptomatic woman seeking to become pregnant for the first time? For that matter, what’s yours? Does he look for failed implantation? Do you think he should?

        I have lost faith in many of these big business race for cures. Millions spent, but still the same.

        Billions. Probably trillions. And no, it’s not “still the same”. Your chances of surviving cancer, the most common example, are MUCH higher now than they were in the past. Consider CML pre- and post-imatinib. Or DLBCL pre- and post-rituximab. Or Hodgkin’s lymphoma. There are people still in practice that remember when HL was a death sentence. Now it’s 98% curable in younger patients. Zero percent to 98%. Is that really “still the same”? Seriously? And why did we go from zero to 98%? Because people spent money and time on the problem, looking for causes and solutions. As we have not done for early spontaneous abortion. And for early spontaneous abortion, failed implantation and abortion just after implantation, it really is still the same.

      • fiona64

        Only if a woman is *repeatedly* miscarrying. A single miscarriage is not a research project, dear.