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.

Conclusion

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.

Addenda:

Before commenting, see my comment policy. If you liked what you read here, have a look at my welcome note for new readers.

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

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.

  • Abby

    Thank you for sharing your journey on how you became someone who dislikes abortions but wants them to stay legal and who realizes the importance of all types of birth control and informative sex-ed.
    It blows my mind that all the “pro-life” people here think only irresponsible sluts who need to “suffer the consequences” have abortions. What about rape victims? What about people in long-term relationships where something went wrong?
    The only two reasons I’d have an abortion? Rape or medical necessity.
    The 4 females I know who had one?
    Nr 1 had been trying to get pregnant for 4 years and had to have one for medical reasons. She was inconsolable.
    Nr 2s abusive partner tampered with her birth control and then threatened her life and abused her even more when she fall pregnant. Having an abortion opened her eyes to what a mess she was in, made her leave the “man” and was the push that got her life back on track – it still really upset her to have one.
    Nr 3 had a birth control failure with her long term partner. She had just started a new job and moved house so she had no sick leave allowing and no savings. She had to be hospitalized twice because of severe morning sickness and would have been homeless, jobless and SICK if she hadn’t had one. Half a year later she is still very upset about having one.
    Nr 4 is every “pro-life person”s worst nightmare of a “liberated slut”. She thought it would be fun to see how easily she could fall pregnant (as a lot of her friends were just starting to have babies). Turns out not that hard for her, only once she was, she realized she really didn’t feel like having a child and skipped off to have an abortion. She has no remorse (unless it suits the conversation) and lives in her own special version of reality.
    I have never been in the shoes of any of these woman that I know and hope never to be. It would not be my place to tell them they are evil people who should have died or lived on the streets instead of having an abortion (not counting Nr 4 here) – even if I did think so or thought my God thinks so. I shudder at the thought of what would have happened to them if abortion was illegal.
    And as someone who has spent many years living and working with people with severe mental and physical handicaps – f@#*%# you to anyone who looks down their nose at someone who aborts because of a diagnosis of disability. Unless you have a special-needs child or work with them, you have NO right to even think badly about the would-have-been-mother!

  • http://nerd.ocracy.org/em Emanuele Aina

    Whoa! Great article. Many thanks for having shared it with us!

  • Martina Passman

    Hi Libbyanne, I am against abortion in all its shapes and forms but I agree with a lot of what you have written,you have tried to look a little deeper into the abortion problem more than most, and yes I agree that to deal with the problem at the root (why women are getting pregnant in the first place)rather than dealing with the fruit of the problem,the unborn babies is the more intellegent way to go.However you didnt explain, between your cups a coffee and lunch breaks,why all of a sudden you no longer accepted that unborn babies,or zygotes all you call them are human beings??Where did that child in you that once cried with a heart of compassion for babies go to?you grew up?got educated? Have you forgotten how much He loves you,that as He says Himself in the bible in Jerimiah 1.5,’before I formed you in the womb I knew you’, or in Psalm 139 ‘I am fearfully and wonderfully made in my mothers womb’.Do you remember them pieces of scripture?To be known before you were formed in the womb means you existed somewhere before you came into this world,not at conception,before that,so zygote or not,in Gods eyes,your creator, you are a human being always and always will be, and all He wants to do is pour his love on your life again,like you knew when you were a child,even more so,remember,’unless you become as little children you cannot enter the Kingdom of God’

    • Mary
    • Liberated Liberal

      You are choosing to ignore the fact that Libby Anne is now an atheist and words in the bible aren’t going to convince her (or any of us atheists) of anything.

      She did not in that lunch break decide that a zygote isn’t a person. She only shifted her perspective regarding the WAYS in which to reduce abortion, real-world ways vs. ideological, useless ways. It has been in the last five years, during her transition out of theism and Christianity, that she has decided to not consider a zygote a person, particularly as more of a person than the living, breathing woman in whose body it is sitting as most Christians do.

  • Tracie Wilke

    I am so glad I figured all this out in 8th grade (I will be 43 years old on Nov 28th, and I learned the truth about human reproduction from both my mother and an 8th grade health class I went through).

    Anti-intellectualism has been on the rise over the last 30 years, and the pro-life contingent has been a big part of that – and now we know why. They simply want to control what people do and don’t KNOW as FACTS about reproductive choice. So do not give me that Proverbs crap or whatever, using appeals of emotion or mashing the guilt button to get your way. You people need to stop it, and stop it right now. Many of us have ALWAYS seen through your bullshit and we’re not going to stop now.

    I find it SHOCKING that this girl didn’t know what I’ve known for decades. Goes to show….

  • Charlotte

    As someone who ha been pro-choice as long as I can remember, it is a breathe of fresh air to read this post. I am a believer in science and facts–and you hit the nail on the head.

    I have always had the belief that the pro-life movement was about controlling women–and I am by no means a feminist. We are human beings–mammals–creatures of this earth. We have sexual needs as do any other creatures, we have a very sophisticated sense of emotion, most namely love. And we want to share that with the person we choose to love. Giving women access to free birth control is something that is very important. It is our right to control hen and if we get pregnant.

    I could not possibly have a higher respect for you for educating yourself on this matter instead of simply staying ignorant as most do. It shows a lot about your character and who you are as a person. Props to you and may people listen.

  • Sean

    I wish that what motivates the pro-life groups could be extended to the issue of creating quality of life for children who have already been born into poverty and misery in this world.

  • Pingback: How the Pro-Life Movement Lost its Groove | Generation: Handmaid

  • eleanor
  • P4F

    There are many good points in the article. I especially like the point about the pro-life movement’s silence on natural abortion and the effectiveness of birth control. They are truly excellent points that people who are serious about reducing abortions should consider. There were also several flawed arguments.

    A. In juxtaposing birth control against banning abortion, the author inexplicably overlooks an option: free access to birth control as well as a ban on abortions. Birth control would drive abortion rates down, and the abortions that would have been sought despite access to birth control would be banned. You would then need to weigh abortion-related deaths against abortions-prevented-by-the-ban to see whether the ban saves more lives than it takes.

    B. Some of us have resisted being similarly “duped” by misguided philosophies of personhood designed to “draw the line at birth.” I don’t want to control anyone’s sex life, but not one of the author’s “variety of reasons” would convince me that an abortion is a morally insignificant event.

    C. I’m also unwilling to summarily conclude that the pro-life movement is about penalizing women for having sex. First of all, child support in this country is state-sponsored indentured slavery and should be viewed as a similar “penalty” for an unwanted child. So, I would start by restating your conclusion to this: “the pro-life movement is about penalizing men and women for non-reproductive sex, albeit women more so than men.”

    Second, IIRC, the pro-life movement opposes birth control because it inevitably fails, etc., whereas abstinence technically works 100% of the time. Obviously, abstinence does NOT work because people who are taught to be abstinent do not remain abstinent.–But the author did not discuss this at all, and she SHOULD have precisely because it is the pro-life movement’s justification for their stance on birth control, as opposed to penalizing men and women for having non-reproductive sex.

    A good advocate must address her opponent’s points in order to refute them, and this author is writing to an extremely skeptical audience. I am to believe that the pro-life people I know want to penalize women when the author does not even address the pro-life movement’s stated reason for their position? How absurd! Without more, I could only concede that penalties incurred are -incidental- to a misguided faith in the effectiveness of abstinence. Proving intent requires more. You would need to demonstrate that the pro-life movement knows that abstinence is doomed to failure — as far as I can tell, they truly believe that it is the best option.

  • Hardik Panjwani

    Knowledge is liberating isn’t it? :)

    The ‘pro-life’ has long relied on falsehoods to further its agenda and its good to see that more people are catching on to whats is really going on in this argument. Kudos to you for a well researched article on the matter.

    And you have probably read this, but in case you have not, this is a must read: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/28/opinion/sunday/friedman-why-i-am-pro-life.html

    • Mike

      This is a very powerful article, but it is completely loaded with logical flaws. Please see this link. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/badcatholic/2012/11/how-i-lost-faith-in-the-pro-life-movement-rebuttal-up-in-hurrrrr-part-1.html
      I also find it interesting that many people (I am not sure if Libby Anne fits into this category) who support the contraception mandate also say the government should stay out of people’s bedrooms. How forcing businesses to give out contraception (an item used in the bedroom) and not giving them a choice means they are keeping the government out of people’s bedrooms.

      • wkdkween

        I supose if you believe that covering contraception is forcing the govt into the bedroom, you must feel the same about Viagra! It’s an item used in the bedroom. Most health ins covers it. But maybe, because it’s a male sexual aide, it should be allowed, because obviously you’re anti female, and feel only males should have an option in the bedroom

      • 1512

        I am a pharmacist, and actually Viagra and other drugs that give men the same effect are not covered by any health insurance companies, simply because it does not serve any medical purposes.

      • Cindy

        I am a pharmacist, and actually Viagra and other drugs that give men the same effect are not covered by any health insurance companies, simply because it does not serve any medical purposes.

  • http://renegadetrad.blogspot.com A Sinner

    This was a very thought provoking article, though I had come to most of these conclusions myself already.

    I do believe life, personhood, begins at conception, and would call myself Pro-Life inasmuch as I think abortion is immoral and unethical, a violation of justice towards the unborn. But I largely agree with your analysis regarding the political questions, and do not identify with the political “movement.” Being pro-life and being pro-criminalization are not the same thing, and targeting health-care and poverty would be much more effective. I guess there are some things could be done regarding post-viability abortion with political consensus in some States, but even then the question of enforcement without violating doctor-patient confidentiality is problematic.

    I further agree with your assessment regarding The Pill not being abortifacient. In fact, many pro-life doctors agree: http://www.prolifeforum.org/med/hormonalcontrac.asp

    The irony is that the same arguments could be used against so-called “Natural Family Planning.” Indeed, on an “infertile” day of a woman’s cycle, there can (like on the Pill) sometimes be a “freak ovulation” even though the intent is to avoid ovulation entirely. If this ovulation is fertilized, the uterine lining is in no state for implantation, and there is a much higher risk of the zygote being flushed out.

    I don’t think this means zygotes are not human beings; indeed, there have been points in history where [born] infant mortality was 50%, including up to children 2, 3, 4, 5 years old. For this reason, I don’t think mortality rates at a given age prove the humanity or non-humanity of people at that age.

    However, the point is the contradiction: all the Pill does, basically, is render a woman’s body in the same state it is in on an infertile day of her cycle (well, technically, the body is sort of made to think it is pregnant, but for our purposes same difference). In both cases, ovulation isn’t supposed to happen AT ALL. But in both cases it (rarely) can, and IF it does, the zygote has a low chance of implanting successful. But it is difficult to call sex on the Pill or on an infertile day “abortifacient.” For one, because if the woman simply didn’t have sex at all, merely taking the Pill (or the fact that the day was naturally infertile) wouldn’t DO anything. The idea the crowd that considers the Pill abortifacient (but, hypocritically, not NFP) seem to have is that IF you have sex on the Pill, and there IS a freak ovulation, then you’ve taken a heightened risk of miscarriage. But the same is true for a natural infertile day in the cycle.

    However, this also betrays a mistaken notion of “risk” that I think you also invoke in your article to make some nonsensical arguments. There can be no risk to someone who doesn’t even exist yet. Your logic that “it would be better for all women to be on the Pill to prevent the loss of zygotes” has the same logical problem as that of the crowd which calls the Pill abortifacient. Namely, that it amounts to saying that it’s better for people never to exist at all than to die. Of course, if this were the case, human beings could cure death PERIOD simply by never having any more kids ever again. No new lives, no more deaths! Bingo, that easy. But, of course, that’s trivial and absurd. In reality, “risking” conception is not the same as risking death (in the culpable sense that would constitute murder) since you can only risk a life AFTER that life already exists. I mean, in some sense, ALL parents are risking the death of their child simply by having him in the first place, since he’ll die after 80 years anyway. In reality, risking conception in circumstances that are risky IF it takes place…cannot be considered “risking death,” because you can’t risk a life that doesn’t exist yet. It is simply nonsense to speak as if risking CREATING a new life in the first place is equivalent to risking that life’s death just because something can’t die if it’s not alive in the first place. That’s just a trivial tautology.

    This is the error the “Pill as abortifacient” crowd makes. The fact that the Pill carries a heightened risk of non-implantation IF there is a breakout ovulation doesn’t make the Pill abortion, because the women are not taking it “to induce miscarriage,” they’re taking the Pill to avoid any conception IN THE FIRST PLACE. The fact that there is still a small risk they might conceive (and the fact that that zygote will then face a more hostile uterine lining) cannot be construed as a “risk of death” because it is trivial to identify or treat as equivalent the risk of bringing a life into existence, and the risk of its death. In fact, we can’t even compare; is it better to not exist at all, or to exist but die? It would seem incommensurable. So avoiding conception in the first place (in risky circumstances) cannot be considered equivalent to avoiding the risk of death, because for their to be a “risk of death” a life has to already exist in the first place. Simply not conceiving a life, therefore, only “avoids risk of death” in the most trivial and tautological of senses. It’s like saying “I avoid the risk of catching a cold by killing myself.” Well, sure, because you have entirely eliminated the conditions necessary for catching a cold (namely, being alive!) But that’s trivial, clearly.

    This refutes the “Pill as abortion” claim, but it also refutes your thing about putting all women on the Pill to “save” unborn babies (since more zygotes are flushed out naturally than on the Pill). Namely: you can’t “save” a life that doesn’t exist yet. Saying that fewer babies will die if fewer babies are conceived in the first place…is just a tautology. There’ll be fewer deaths, but only because there’ll be fewer lives TO die in the first place. But that’s trivial.

    As for “research to cure the 50% non-implantation rate,” I’ll say that maybe someday nano-technology will greatly lower this, and having such nanotech implanted will be a matter of course for women planning to become pregnant. However, I will point out one thing, regarding the same idea of “stopping death and saving lives are not the same if the death is stopped by simply never having a life in the first place.” Specifically, take this example: my mom had three kids, me, my brother, and my sister. Now, by your statistics, she “probably” (though, there are questions about that 50% figure) flushed out 3 zygotes during her period without ever even knowing she was pregnant. Let’s say, sometime in the three months before me and my two siblings were each conceived (ie, during the windows when she was trying to get pregnant). This may be true, but I’ll point this out: if those 3 zygotes HAD implanted, this doesn’t mean there would have been 6 kids in the world instead of 3. Because if they HAD implanted, me and my brother and sister would simply never have been conceived in the first place, as she then would have been pregnant with THOSE three babies. So it’s not like they would have lived PLUS me and my siblings. Rather, they would have lived INSTEAD OF me and my siblings. And it is not at all clear, as a metaphysical point (ie, “from God’s perspective”) that 6 human beings, with three dead and three alive…is “worse” than 3 human beings with all 3 alive. Not existing at all in the first place…is not in any straightforward way comparable to existing and then dying. In fact, it’s arguable metaphysically that existing at all is better than not existing.

    Nevertheless, I’m generally in favor of the availability of contraception, though I find it personally immoral. If people refuse to abstain or use NFP, it seems better to avoid disease and to avoid pregnancies that will just end in abortion anyway (although, that’s definitely NOT to say, as per the last paragraph, that [once it does exist, in hindsight] it would have been better for the aborted baby never to have existed).

    • Elaine

      You said:
      Saying that fewer babies will die if fewer babies are conceived in the first place…is just a tautology. There’ll be fewer deaths, but only because there’ll be fewer lives TO die in the first place. But that’s trivial.

      But it’s not trivial when your theological belief (Catholic and Mormon) is that women’s role in the world is to produce as many babies as possible. Not trivial at all, and makes opposition to the Pill logical, with the abortifacent argument the trivial one.

      • pprenosil

        Catholics do NOT believe it is a woman’s role to have as many babies as possible. We DO believe it is our place to follow God with every aspect of our lives, and yes, to accept life as a gift. But if there is a serious reason (not a shallow one) to avoid another child for the time being it is perfectly moral to use knowlege of the body’s fertility to avoid intercourse when the woman is fertile. This is different than contraception because it does not separate the act of sex from the possibility of conception. The opposition to the pill is not simply because it could cause the death of a zygote/fertilized egg, but because it goes against the very dignity of a man and a woman and the amazing beauty and greatness that is our God given sexuality. Ot trivializes sex into a mere pleasure seeking “activity” instead of a total, free, faithful, fruitful and loving gift of body and soul between a man and a woman.

      • Rosie

        And who gets to decide what reasons are “serious” and what reasons are “shallow”, I wonder? People in general don’t make choices, whether it’s the choice to have sex or the choice to terminate a pregnancy, for reasons they don’t think are good.

      • Nickie

        Of course God ultimately determines the “serious” from the “shallow” reasons for avoiding pregnancy, and a couple who chooses to apply NFP princples lovingly toward this end are not committing a sin, according to the guidance offered by the Catholic Church. Some woman-centered examples suggested in a discussion I attended would be probable medical complications of another pregnancy (serious) versus wanting to avoid gaining weight and stretch marks (shallow). Hopefully the decision whether to attempt, postpone, or entirely avoid pregnancy is made prayerfully and jointly by the husband and wife. You see, in our wedding ceremonies, Catholics must affirm that we are open to children. (“Open” reflecting an attitude, not necessarily biological fertility.) So to act oppositely is considered a violation of the marriage vows and a sin against God that requires His forgiveness. Again, only God is in the position to the judge the hearts and minds of a couple choosing to postpone or avoid pregnancy. I can imagine situations in which the reason cited as serious could be shallow and vice versa. (For example, a woman unfortunately suffers from body disphoric disorder, a genuine psychiatric condition in which the patient perceives non-existent flaws in her body to such an extent that she experiences great angst. Perhaps the great bodily changes that occur with pregnancy would be tremendously overwhelming to the point that she becomes suicidal. As an observer, I would consider that a serious reason to avoid pregnancy even though it’s “just” weight gain and stretch marks.)

        Also, I think people often make choices for reasons they or others either in the moment or later recognize not to be good, from the minor like a diet-breaking Big Mac, a peer-pressured college binge drinking session, or even the catastrophic like perpetrators of war criminals who follow orders in slaughtering a village in to preserve their military status. Our human motivations are complex, and what we judge as “good” in the moment (taste satisfaction, friend approval, etc.) can be fleeting. When people are choosing to terminate a pregnancy, I suspect they are often choosing the lesser/least of the “bads”. As mentioned in the original blog post, many women cite limited finances as motivation for an abortion. Though I don’t have anything handy to cite, I’ve rarely read that women abort a pregnancy because they have disgust or repulsion for the unborn baby; in other words the lack of that baby being born is not a “good” to them, but the lack of that baby being born does relieve a “bad” such as financial pressure. I sense I’m getting on philosophical soapbox, so I’ll conclude. Constructive comments and questions welcome!

      • Paul B

        You appear to have blanked out on a red herring. Your foregone conclusion is that the 27 babies of the women not on the pill, aren’t part of the equation. The objection is a moral one, and we who are consistently pro-life will also seek to save the lives of the 27 babies conceived of mothers not on the pill.

        It is frankly bizarre that you just ignore them in your misdirected analysis. Pro lifers are indeed doing the proper and life respecting thing in opposing the pill.

        Even worse is your capitulation to the numbers who will seek out abortions , legal or otherwise. I question the numbers given, but will withhold comment until I have researched better ones. My suspicion is that as in nations like Uganda when they stopped relying on the condom, but approached human sexuality as a human issue, and the AIDS rate dropped astonishingly, a set of preconceptions (no pun intended) might well be at play with the WHO figures.

        Hearst and Green at Harvard showed the WHO to be western value advocates and not too interested in politically incorrect answers.

        But you are simply stating that the abortion rate will be worse with no contraception, as if abortion must just be accepted as an inevitability. I don’t believe this is at all inevitable.

        Also, NFP is proving , according to a recent Lancet article , to be very effective at family planning, not CONTRA ception , or being AGAINST life.

      • Tiffany Guadagnino

        Actually what the bible says, for Catholics, is that sex is for the sole purpose of procreation, meaning that if you aren’t actively trying to get pregnant you shouldn’t be having sex at all even with your husband. Otherwise your a sinner and your going to hell. I’m not christian so I don’t care if you and your husband do it 12 times a day and use condoms and pills, my point is while the bible doesn’t say you have to be a baby factory it does say you need to be abstinent if your not going to be a baby factory even once married. Mormon’s on the other hand are trying to take over the world by breeding so yeah they have those rules, all I want to know is how they afford 18 kids? I mean what do these men do for a living?

    • Taranel

      Mortality rate of a zygote has ZILCH to do with it being, or not being, classed as a human being. No one, not ONE, pro-choice person has ever made this argument. What are you even talking about, bringing up that non-point? A zygote is not a person. It’s “life”, in the sense that human cells ARE alive (except when they die, of course), but so is the clump of cells you get on a q-tip from scraping the inside of your ear, or mouth, or the bit of cells that come off when you pare a fingernail or rip off a bit of lose skin–those cells were all alive too, but in themselves they are not human beings. A zygote, barring the choice to abort or unforeseen health complications, will eventually grow into a person, but in its current incarnation as an actual zygote, it is nothing more than a clump of living cells. It is not considered NOT to be a person because of it’s likelihood of death, but because it is, again, just a tiny clump of living human cells with the potential of eventually becoming a person, but not being one just yet. Once again I ask, where the bloody hell did you get the notion that people were using mortality rate as the measuring stick of whether something is a person or not? You certainly haven’t seen that argument used anywhere here in the comments.

      • highflyer

        It is true that some pro-life advocates would like to define human life as beginning at the moment of fertilization of the ovum by a spermatozoa. Here in Canada a bill proposing this made it the federal House of Commons. It was defeated, but a substantial minority of Conservative members voted for it. I may be wrong but did not Paul Ryan propose this during the campaign?

      • Paul B

        Oh no…not the clump “argument?”. What could possibly be more scientifically and morally illiterate or false. We never stop being a ‘clump’ of cells, and even more to the point , there is excellent reason in the fact of free will , intellective capacities for non-physically reducible elements etc . to argue that we indeed are considerably more at conception than just your pitiful ‘clump’ red herring. The post is too ridiculous for further comment.

      • Anat

        Clarissa, an embryo is not a fetus, a fetus is not a baby the way a baby is not an adolescent, which in turn is not an adult. These are not arbitrary divisions, they describe important changes. One very important change is birth – (no matter if timely or early, for this purpose) – it is when an organism of any placental mammalian species becomes physically individual, it can exist without infringing on the body of an adult or adolescent individual. Once born one’s care can be provided by anyone who assumes the responsibility willingly. Before one’s birth one is a parasite (and a rather dangerous one, too) of one’s mother. Once born one ceases being such a parasite. Thus, the embryo or fetus has no journey of its own, it is part of the pregnant woman’s journey.

        The rest of your post is BS. Pregnancy is one possible consequence of sex, if it is not the desired outcome we take steps to avoid it and when those fail we take steps to correct the situation, just like with everything else in life.

    • Paul B

      Hi there
      Just wanted to interject a couple of thoughts which might in fact have been better directed at the author. First, a new human journey begins at conception. That’s when we start our lives; all of us.

      Secondly, death is not the worst thing that can happen to someone. Being less than human is the worst thing that can happen to someone.

      The objection to abortion is against killing children. The argument against artificial contraception is that it is an immoral act that seeks to frustrate the actual nature of a loving and creative act.

      It is not a numbers game. It is not a quantitative analysis.

      Life is not a game of survival; it is a finite journey with no possible material final cause or purpose. It is about our response to the God who is at the very core of all being. And it is about the victims of unjust killings, the children in the womb.

      I oppose capital punishment and support social programs for the same reason. It’s not a numbers game. If a nazi forced a mother and son into a cell with a gun with one bullit abd said “Either one of you kill the other or I will kill you both, by the above arguments, one should kill the other. What faithlessness this would show.

      Who would even want to live in a world where one would kill one’s mother to simply survive. It’s about how we live and the rights of others as God given lives. It’s not about zygote collections and running numbers. It’s about respect for life as life is.

      • Anat

        First, a new human journey begins at conception. That’s when we start our lives; all of us.

        No. Mine started when I was out of my mother’s body. Before that it was her journey.

        Being less than human is the worst thing that can happen to someone.

        And forbidding a woman who does not wish to be pregnant to have an abortion forces her to be a lesser human.

        The argument against artificial contraception is that it is an immoral act that seeks to frustrate the actual nature of a loving and creative act.

        Sex can be loving or not regardless of whether contraception is used. Not using contraception when pregnancy is not wanted is not loving to anyone involved, nor is it loving to the offspring of such a union if one were to be produced.

        As for your Nazi example – it is irrelevant. It is probably not a great idea to take such a dilemma seriously because you cannot trust the captor to be honest about being allowed to live, but people do what they have to do. I wouldn’t judge anyone who came alive out of such a situation.

      • Paul B

        Well..Anat.. You obviously have a penchant for dogmatism. So you didnt begin your life at conception?

        Killing a baby on request is something we all must do or a woman will become less than human?

        Better to murder a mother than die yourself?

        You speak clearly as a desperate soul, overly immersed in materialistic philosophies, which fortunately are themselves incoherent. I’d recommend you look into the spiritual nature of human beings. You use them implicitly when you speak of my implicit duties to supposedly kill a child for your convenience, but you should look into the nature of life in a far broader and deeper vein. If you have the free will to speak and choose, then something about you cannot be reduced to the merely physical. And if the root of your personhood , and even intellective abilities speak of person and mind, and not only its organ, the brain, then there is grounds for hope in an equally transcendent and good dimension of being for all.

      • http://www.facebook.com/lucrezaborgia Lucreza Borgia

        Attacking the person instead of the content isn’t nice.

      • Isaac

        @PaulB:

        I’m curious to what you mean by “the spiritual nature of human beings”. I understand we can have what we perceive as “spiritual” experiences (ie, things that matter very much to us, and give us feelings of peace, love, fulfillment, euphoria, awe, etc) but these are fairly simple to understand neurologically.

        What is this mystical definition of “spiritual” you appear to be using? What does it mean?

        As someone who has studied anthropology, ethology and evolutionary biology, I take serious issue with your claim that the root of our personhood lies outside of the brain. It very clearly does lie in the brain- why else, to use one example, would people’s personalities and memories change or be lost from a severe cranial injury? Why do drugs, traumatic events and other factors which alter brain chemistry have the power to control our moods, personality traits, and feelings about ourselves and others?

        Also, in the technical sense which you point out, we do not have free will. Human free will as a practical concept is broadly based on our innate ability to modify our instinctive behaviors- good and bad- for cohesion in a social order.

        I don’t understand this argument. Especially at this point in time, when we have gleaned a large body of knowledge about our anatomy, history and development.

      • Anat

        To Paul B:

        My life began when I was born. That’s very common language usage. Possibly anything that can be regarded as ‘I’ only started weeks or months later, depending on what level of awareness one considers necessary to be a being continuous with my perception of myself now. I definitely have personal memories going back to when I was about 2 years old, so I feel confident saying that was me – that ‘I’ as understood by my own self was present starting from a time no later than two years since my birth.

        Killing a baby on request is something we all must do or a woman will become less than human?

        Before it is born it may be an embryo or a fetus, to become a baby it must first be born. If we don’t let women become unpregnant when they do not (or no longer) wish to be pregnant we are making them slaves for the entire remaining part of their respective pregnancies – we are forcing them to use their bodies against their wishes. If the pregnancy has yet to reach the point of viability the woman’s becoming unpregnant results in the death of the embryo or fetus. Later than that, the induction of birth is a practical possibility (assuming the reason for the abortion isn’t serious fetal defect or a maternal health problem that makes live birth not an option for some reason).

        As for philosophy, I have no idea what you mean by ‘spiritual nature of human beings’. You will need to provide a coherent definition of what that thing is and then evidence that it exists. I know that I have a will, but I have yet to see evidence that this will is free in any meaningful way, and how it could be free. For all I can tell, my will is a product of a combination of deterministic causes and random events, all of which are actions of matter on matter. Humans are matter that has the capacity to enjoy itself. Quite wondrous!

        Lucreza Borgia: I don’t feel attacked, I’m one of those obnoxious atheists. Paul B would have to try harder if that’s his goal.

      • Clarissa

        To Anat:

        Saying that your journey as a human started when you left the womb, might be a common language usage, but is certainly not accurate. It would be as naive as saying that your journey as a woman (or man) started the day you turned 21. Obviously your journey started long before that, and all the things that happened before that day are the ones that are making it possible for you to start that journey as an adult. We usually don’t call woman (or man) to children or teenagers because they haven’t fully developed as grown-up, but does it mean that they are not technically women or men?
        Same case with a baby, she is properly called a baby once is out of the womb, but her journey started several months before that, when she was developing her body and the skills she needs to survive outside of the womb. When she is finally born she is called a baby but she is exactly the same baby she was one week before her birth.

        Saying a fetus is not a baby sounds like plain ignorance or voluntary omission. The word fetus literally means offspring and is a term used to refer to a “baby” in an specific stage of development inside of the womb. It does not refer to a lower category of human being, but apparently these days is also used outside medical context to describe a baby that is not wanted.
        In a planned pregnancy the people will usually refer to the fetus already as a baby, but that would be unthinkable if the pregnancy is unwanted.

        Pregnancy is not an imposed state, it is the natural response of a woman’s body to the act of fecundation. We don’t need to give concent for our body to do what it’s natural programmed to do. Becoming voluntarily unpregnant is the unnatural behaviour for the pregnanct woman’s body, not the other way around.

    • Z

      This is such a well-written and diplomatic reply. I never comment on things on the internet (for obvious reasons) but happening to stumble upon this reply really put things in perspective. You put the saying, “Diplomacy is telling someone to “Go to Hell” in such a way, they look forward to taking the trip,” to action. You have really solidified for me what I already knew, great job

    • Tori

      If you don’t exist you feel nothing because you don’t EXIST.

  • Pingback: The Battle over Contraception in the Pro-Life Movement

  • s l mccoy

    I commend you for a sane, decently researched article that has clearly made a few people rethink their assumptions.

    As a person who has known herself to be pro-choice since first learning in my high school years that states had anti-abortion laws back in the 1960s, my first response to every anti-choice claim is that no one and nothing has the right to control any person’s sex organs, immune system, or body against that person’s will, conscience, and freedom of religion. This made me especially interested in the point where you at last understood that an embryo is growing inside a person’s body and that the pro-life movement really is about controlling women and their sexuality.

    But your essay is wonderful because of your dispassionate analysis of that movement’s self-contradictions from the very perspective it fostered. Please keep on writing. You go, girl.

    • Paul B

      So you , not wishing to violate our sex organs, minds, and choices will not ask us to pay to murder your children then? Good. |For indeed for me to kill a young life in his or her mother’s womb is an unavoidably clear case of murder.

      • M

        Who, exactly, is trying to force you to pay for “murders”? Is it that you pay taxes which go to programs which might pay for abortions for poor women who could not otherwise afford them?

        If so, and that is the only argument I can see possibly making any sense, then my money is also spent for murders. Drones dropping bombs on people is murder. It might be called assassination, to pretty it up. People we weren’t aiming for can be called ‘collateral damage’ in order to make it sound bloodless. There are potentially valid political arguments for why drone strikes are a good idea and save lives in the future. Nevertheless, it is still murder.

        And yet? I still pay all my taxes. The price I pay for living in a society is that even when the government does things I find morally reprehensible, I still pay my fair share to live in that society. I can (and do) work to change the things I don’t like, through letters and protests and voting and even canvassing. What I will not do is make the claim that because my government is doing something bad I therefore gain the option of not paying for it.

        My “choice” is not abrogated when I am compelled by law to pay taxes that pay for things I do not support. Neither is yours. Next?

  • tm

    THANKS FOR THE INFO…I HAVE SHARED ON MY FACEBOOK…. you have elloquently pin-pointed your arguement….thanks for your insight!!

  • Mike

    This is a really depressing article. Even if I did believe what the author was writing, I wouldn’t want to think so negatively. The reality is that the only answer to abortion is chastity–saving all sexually intimate acts for marriage. According to the CDC, 84% of all abortions are committed by a woman who is not married to the father of her child. Additionally, saving sex for marriage allows one to be intentional about love and family, and requires the commitment that we all yearn for.

    Miscarriages are unfortunate, but the reality is, NaProTechnology uses a woman’s own fertility cycle to figure out where the hormonal imbalances are, and fix them in a natural way, which leads to greater fertility, and the loss of fewer children. Please check out http://www.amazon.com/The-NaPro-Technology-Revolution-Unleashing/dp/0825306264 and the The Gianna Center.

    The pill is an abortifacient. The embryo, zygote, whatever you want to call it (it’s just a name for the level of development, like toddler, teen, etc.) is still a distinct human person. She has her own set of DNA separate from the mother or father. Pregnancy begins with conception, not with implantation. http://liveaction.org/blog/abortion-birth-control-and-medical-deception/

    I hope for all of us, that we can come to a greater understanding of what it means to be human, and that life cannot be lived fully if we only think about ourselves. We have to make sacrifices to help the most vulnerable in our society, who, I would submit to you, is the baby in the womb.

    • Niemand

      Miscarriages are unfortunate, but the reality is, NaProTechnology uses a woman’s own fertility cycle to figure out where the hormonal imbalances are, and fix them in a natural way,

      Got any peer reviewed citations for this claim? Because I couldn’t find a thing. And even assuming that the “Gianna center” is for real, how much money have you donated to them? Surely you consider the death of 50+% of babies a serious problem, worthy of extensive funding. Especially since you’re claiming it’s a soluble problem.

    • Mary

      All of your claims have been refuted. Try again.

    • Dorfl

      “She has her own set of DNA separate from the mother or father.”

      A lot of pro-lifers have repeated this claim in this thread. It is of course true, but I really don’t understand how it’s relevant. We don’t consider a twin to be half a person. We don’t consider someone with somatic mosaicism to be two people.

      Could you please explain how the genetic uniqueness of the zygote matters either way?

      • Stan

        It matters in a legal sense because the definition of personhood is not uniformly applied across the board. In some cases, DNA samples (even just one drop of blood), have been used as evidence to prosecute people for crimes, including murder – so in other words, having your own unique DNA is physical evidenc that you are a human being that existed.

    • hannahbanana

      Married women have abortions, too. The act of signing a marriage certificate does not magically signify that you are ready to accept every single child (someone else’s) God chooses to gift/surprise you with. So saying that chastity is 100% effective at preventing abortions only works if EVERYONE stops having sex- even married people. Good luck with that!

    • shaed

      So I take it you are against natural family planning in the context of marriage, since it has been established to be as much an abortifacient as hormonal contraceptives?

    • Christine

      I applaud you Mike, for your clear, upright stance of upholding what it means to be a selfless adult. No one ever died from not having sex, no one ever got a battered conscience by not putting him-or-herself in a position to make a hair-splitting moral decision. When you can handle the responsibility, then you are privileged to enjoy the next stage in life. “Too much too soon” makes for a messy life full of regrets. The way of respect is the way of peace, and from that comes the strength to repair the damage we come across.

      • Suzu

        plenty of people have regretted the sex they had in the bounds of marriage, as has appeared before on this comment thread, plenty of abortions have been had by married women.
        Part of being an adult is understanding tha life love, sex and especially marriage are complex. Mistakes are made, regrets happen. Placing your lifestyle on a pedestal only sets you up for a longer fall.
        the sooner the pro life moment can gain the same level of maturity, intelligence and compassion displayed in this article the sooner they can start working with women’s heath advocates to reduce the number of abortions and reduce the stress and danger of child bearing and rearing for all women.

    • Taranel

      Um, no. The only answer to abortion is chastity, and all that other rhetoric you spewed? You’re disregarding the fact–and it IS a fact–that many married women have abortions, it isn’t something done only or even mostly by single or divorced women. If you think that not having sex until you’re married is going to eliminate abortions, you don’t have a clue about the reality of the world, because being married does not, never has, and never will magically make all women suddenly not ever want to abort. Many women only want to have one, or two kids, and will happily abort any subsequent pregnancies beyond that number, even if they are married, and irrespective of whether the man they’re married to is the father of the current pregnancy or the existing children. Many women, including married ones, don’t want to have children, period. Many married women decide that they want to have children, but for one reason or another don’t want to give birth to one. Many married women might want children, or more children, but don’t believe it is economically practical to do so. Among all of these women, there are many who have and who will choose abortion. That they are married won’t necessarily be a factor in their decision.

      You’re also ignoring the fact that a woman–or a girl–could be the chastest chaste female who ever lived, and still get pregnant. Women and girls DO get raped. It is a thing, and unfortunately it is a very common thing. Your little “Chastity is the answer!” notion doesn’t solve any problems for women who become pregnant this way.

      So basically, no. Chastity isn’t the answer. You’re living in a myth if you seriously think that most abortions are chosen by unmarried women. (You wrote as if you think those women were unmarried, not, apparently, allowing for the possibility that a woman not married to the father of her pregnancy doesn’t mean she isn’t married, just not married to HIM). A great many married women abort. In fact I question your CDC claim because the latest sources I researched indicated that the majority of women who abort are indeed married women who already have children.

      • Rosie

        I question the CDC claim because when I went in to get an abortion, nobody ever asked me if I was married to “the man involved with the pregnancy”. I was, and had been for more than 10 years, and he was right there beside me for the whole process (he gave his full consent and support for my obtaining an abortion)…but nobody ever asked about that. It wouldn’t show up in any stats that might be gathered.

    • Amy

      This ‘chastity until marriage’ ideal doesn’t account for those who choose not to marry because they are not religious people. Should all those people remain celibate forever then?

      • Anastasia

        Thank you for bringing up this point. Personally, I do plan to marry, and hope (for economic reasons) that I married before we have children.
        However, marriage is a religiously based concept and is not a necessarily component for a loving relationship between two people. One can follow a different religion, or even no religion at all and still be good, loving people. They can be devoted to one another and have upstanding morals without following God (or gods, depending on the religion.)
        That aside, I think sex should happen in a committed relationship, but that is just my belief. I was still on birth control when I was 3 years into my relationship because we were in our early 20′s and in no situation to be raising little people.

    • Paul B

      True words Mike and the truth leads to happiness. Lancet published a study showing the efficacy rate of Natural Family Planning was equal to the most effective life preventing technologies, but without preventing life, but rather working with it naturally. So odd to see people who go crazy over ‘natural’ this and ‘natural’ that so wishing to bomb themselves chemically… and the breast cancer link to the pill is very real.

      It really is all about men and women loving each other and having wonderful lives. There is a spirit in our souls that seeks love and fulfillment, and we should be helping those in our lives , live fully.

      • http://www.facebook.com/lucrezaborgia Lucreza Borgia

        NFP prevents life by the very act of not having sex when it’s possible to fertilize the egg.

        You mention a study but don’t mention which one. Do you mean this one?

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1619918/

        “After one year of use, the unplanned pregnancy rate was 14.4 per cent and the total dropout rate was 37.6 per cent by life table analysis.”

        A drop-out rate of 37 percent and a 14% pregnancy rate is hardly more superior to birth control methods such as an implant or IUD>

      • Nea

        Natural Family Planning was equal to the most effective life preventing technologies, but without preventing life

        What does this even mean? Seriously, how can something be simultaneously “equal” to something “without” doing what that something does? Something that doesn’t prevent pregnancy… doesn’t prevent pregnancy. Thus it is not remotely equal to things that DO prevent pregnancy.

  • Jane

    This is well written and respectful of both sides. It shows that you are not trying to preach to the choir, but rather calmly convince those of the opposite opinion. This is a rare approach in modern political culture. I have not read all the comments (there are a great many of them), but I hope people are responding in a similarly polite fashion. Thank you for this.

  • erin

    Disappointing that you decided to stop giving pro-lifers “the benefit of the doubt” and decided that based on all your intellectual hoop-jumping that you can know the intent of the entire movement. Way to be tolerant of others… Personally, I like to believe people generally have good intentions. I believe you have good intentions in this, even though it is my opinion that you have been truly duped by over-analyzing this issue. This comes down to basic truths about human life (Natural Law) and not something you can prove using your studies and intellect and education. The phrase “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature” comes to mind here. Also thought i’d mention that quoting a Guttmacher study lends you no credibility as that is Planned Parenthood’s research group.

    • “Rebecca”

      Thorough examination of an issue using studies, one’s intellect, and education is only a vice to a dishonest movement.

    • Mogg

      But you “fool Mother Nature” every time you sleep in a house, warm yourself with a fire or furnace, travel any way other than by foot, wear clothes, take medicine, and eat farmed food. Unless you would like to go back to a time where half of all humans born died before reaching adulthood, women married as soon as they were fertile and were more likely to die of a complication of childbirth than any other cause, and dying of accident, infection resulting from even minor wounds, disease, exposure to the elements, or starvation was routine, you cannot use the argument that contraception is unnatural. Well, you could, but it would be hypocritical.

  • erin

    You also fail to mention the times when contraceptives fail. I believe it is the very same Guttmacher Institute that has numbers on how many women come back in to PP for abortions after their contraceptives “fail” – you’d do well to look into that information. The false reassurance that birth control gives causes people to engage in more frequent sex and engage in riskier behaviors because they feel “safe,” and then they are more likely to have a contraceptive failure and become pregnant.

    • Mary

      She did not fail to address this. Libby Anne is really big on the idea of comprehensive sex education, which would teach people who to properly use their birth control so they wouldn’t mess up and accidentally become pregnant even while using it. Sex education, REAL sex education is all about giving people all the information available so they can make informed decisions about their lives and bodies and it is sorely lacking in America.

    • Twist

      Yeah, sometimes contraceptives fail, which is why abortion needs to remain an option even if you’re in a place where contraceptives are completely free and easy to get hold of. They don’t always work and women need to be able to make a decision in the event of them failing. One of the options is abortion. It’s a good back-up.

      Of course, I think what you’re suggesting is that it would be better if people just didn’t have sex unless they’re prepared to get pregnant and have a baby. Which fails to recognise the existance of women who don’t ever want a baby. Or women who simply can’t have one at the moment. Or women who shouldn’t get pregnant for health reasons. I should either have to remain celibate my entire life, or accept that because I happened to be born with a functioning set of female reproductive organs, my life is not my own and I have to become a parent whether I like it or not. Neither choice is really an appealing one.

    • Homa Sapiens

      “engage in more frequent sex.” I am afraid that your motives are not actually about saving unborn babies. Libby describes people like you. You didn’t recognise yourself?

  • Maria

    I came across this blog post this evening – it is the most thorough rebuttal of Libby’s article I have seen so far:
    http://prolife.org.nz/2012/11/how-i-lost-faith-in-the-pro-life-movement-blindly-embraced-some-logical-fallacies-instead/

    • Mogg

      Well, that was rude. I think the author fails to consider that New Zealand has both a social support scheme of a kind which does not exist in the US, and very few of the anti-contraception, anti-sex education types that really do have a voice in the US. That’s the very first time I’ve ever seen a pro-lifer state that sperm-meets-egg is not necessarily the start of life, too, and I, like Libby Anne, grew up in a strongly Evangelical, pro-life environment.

  • Angie

    Libby,
    I enjoyed reading your story of your journey–thank you for sharing your thoughts with us! I, too, have become somewhat disillusioned with the pro-life approach, but merely because I do not think it is the most effective. I have looked at Planned Parenthood’s website, and realized that they are promoting abortion blatantly, with biased perspectives, such as having abortion as one of their primary links, while one has to go hunting to find out about adoption; also abortion is proclaimed to have very few negative effects (and those only to people who are practically described as mentally unstable), while adoption could be very traumatic for a woman. Also, abortions and abortion counseling were offered onsite, but to have an adoption, it was like, “Good luck finding an agency!” I had previously thought that perhaps the pro-life movement was very closed-minded and harsh about P.P. until I saw the website for myself and noticed this. I believe a much more effective political approach would be to seek honest education for women and equal opportunities to receive adoptions.

    I do have to disagree with you on a couple of points, though. One, my very pro-life family has personally donated hundreds and thousands of dollars to organizations that help women with unexpected pregnancies. In fact, I think my dad may have paid for most of their recent building, in which they provide sonograms, maternity clothes, counseling, etc., judging by the way the heads of this organization run up and throw their arms around him.

    When my friend tells me of her experience going with a friend to Planned Parenthood, her stories are not of poor, underprivileged, scared teenagers, but of high school varsity athletes in there with their fathers, sitting together casually, as if this were a normal routine for them.

    One of my huge pushes, despite being an evil pro-life conservative, is that there needs to be a reform in child care assistance, so that people are not punished for being hard workers by having their child care assistance taken away. I move for a staggered, gradual system that rewards working increasing hours.

    However, when you talk about holding people accountable, I agree with that on all fronts. Do you want to live in a world where people can make choices, and then not be accountable for them? I mean, that is why we have bailouts, in which companies use the money to throw multi-million dollar parties, and a failing school system (since there are very little consequences for misbehavior, etc.). What if drunk drivers didn’t go to jail, because they weren’t responsible for choosing to put alcohol into their body, knowing where that can lead? I know it seems to you that we are judgmental, but consider this perspective: <> That is a quote from an article that was written in response to yours, from someone who used to be pro-choice. You might find it interesting: http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/why-i-lost-faith-in-the-pro-choice-movement/

    Thank you again for taking the time to write your thoughts, and considering these.

    Angie

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

      I went to the Planned Parenthood website to check if finding adoption was as hard as you say. It wasn’t. I found it in the first ten seconds. First, I clicked on “The facts you need – more health topics.” Then I clicked on “pregnancy.” Then I clicked on “pregnancy options.” This is what I read: “If you are pregnant, you have three options to think about — abortion, adoption, and parenting. Reading and learning about each one will help you get the facts and may help you decide. It may also help to weigh the benefits and risks of each one. Think about which benefits and risks are most important to you.”

      When I clicked on “adoption” I didn’t find the “good luck finding an agency!” you said I would find but rather tips for how to go about finding one. Planned Parenthood is not an adoption agency, so it only makes sense that they would give tips for finding one. Similarly, I looked at what was said about health risks when you click on “abortion,” and I didn’t find anything misleading at all. “For some women, having an abortion can be a significant life event, like ending a relationship, starting or losing a job, or becoming a parent. It can be very stressful and difficult. Other women have an easier time after abortion.” This is quite simply true. And as for adoption being traumatic, well, yes it is. As a mother, I can’t believe that giving up a physical child with the chance of never seeing him or her ever again would be anything BUT traumatic.

      • Sunny

        My mother gave up a child for adoption in 1950. She mourned her entire life for him. When my father found out about him, it ruined my parents’ marriage. When this man found us in 1976, he hated my mother for giving him up, hated us for living with our parents, was a vengeful person who ended up abusing my younger sister and taking my mother for more money than I can tell you. She said many times before her death that her life would have been easier and kinder if she’d had an abortion instead of being sent away to give birth to a child that was taken from her and given to someone else. Not everything is as simple as it seems. Oh, btw, he committed suicide and put all the blame on our mother.

    • Chelsea

      With all due respect, it seems a bit callus to compare a child to a jail sentence following a drunk driving arrest. Number one, as Libby already mentioned, is this about saving a human life or punishing the mother? Number two, I am disturbed by the notion that a child should enter this world as a consequence, as opposed to a gift. Okay, so a low income woman (who may have never received comprehensive sex education) had sex and now has to face the consequences. Sure, fair enough. But why should that child have to go hungry because of its mother’s mistakes? At that point we are holding babies accountable for the misdeeds of others.

    • Kate

      Angie: The Planned Parenthood in Chicago actually has formed a partnership with a local adoption agency so that they can assist the 1-2% of clients who request information about adoption more effectively. They are pro-choice in the truest sense of the word: they educate people about ALL their options in a factual manner and allow their clients to make the choice that is best for them.
      http://www.plannedparenthood.org/illinois/cradle-37683.htm

  • Niemand

    Hey, Libby Anne. If you ever get further in the arguments against abortion series, specifically to the “abortion harms women” argument, this may be useful to you: https://apha.confex.com/apha/140am/webprogram/Session36974.html

    Early results on a study of the effects on having an abortion-and being denied an abortion-on women. Women who were denied abortions were more likely to be in an abusive relationship, more likely to be anxious, less likely to be employed, and more likely to be on public assistance. Among other findings.

  • http://www.schumes.blogspot.com Chris Schumerth

    Oh, the old “if they would just get get educated on the issue” than they would believe like I do theory. Sad and condescending, too. While no part of me thinks the Republicans are all that serious about curbing abortions, the left is even worse. The reality that my liberal friends always fail to acknowledge is that there are plenty of people out there who can afford contraceptives but don’t use them anyway, or use them when they feel like it. Most of those friends got at least one round of sex ed. Ignorance is not the problem, or at least not the main one. How we approach life and sexuality is. And all the science jargon in the world will not convince me that discarding a child with his or her own organs, breath, and DNA is every anything but tragic.

    • Twist

      “there are plenty of people out there who can afford contraceptives but don’t use them anyway, or use them when they feel like it”
      Evidence?

      “Most of those friends got at least one round of sex ed.”
      How comprehensive was it? Were they informed about the various different options open to them regarding contraceptives, and how to use them to maximise effect? Or were they simply told that if they touched naughty parts with another person before they married, God would be mad?

      Are you really suggesting that there are multitudes of people who can afford and easily obtain contraceptives but don’t “because they don’t feel like it”, and not for any other reason, and then have abortions? Any statistics that show this happening? Is this more abortions-as-birth-control hand wringing? I think it is.

      By the way, fetus =/= child to an awful lot of people, and fetuses don’t breathe.

      • latetotheparty

        …“there are plenty of people out there who can afford contraceptives but don’t use them anyway, or use them when they feel like it”
        …Evidence?

        not that i’m expecting evidence to be presented, but very curious as to how many of said “plenty” are male…

  • Seth Falconer

    So what you are really saying is “I want to spread my legs, get as much experience as I can before I ever settle down if I do so the guy I marry will have a well-worn and experienced hoe (per most of the rapp songs you love) . So it doesnt fucking matter that a child (1.2 million a year in USA alone) are being killed so you can spread your legs and not take responsibility for the result. You young women are all selfish hoes because all you care about is empty hours of government paid orgasims (if you are lucky enough to find a guy that cares about you getting off).

    • Mogg

      So what, then, are the men who all us “hoes” are supposedly spreading our legs for? Are they “well worn” when they get married – if they do? Why do they not incur your judgement and insults?
      My partner and I have both had sexual partners previous to starting out relationship. Am I a bigger “hoe” than him? We have had exactly the same number of partners – would I be a “hoe” if I’d had more or less than him? We each feel lucky to have found each other, but why would either of our sexual histories have any bearing on how much we care about satisfying each other sexually?

      Believe me, it’s much easier for many girls to have an orgasm without a man’s involvement. That’s not generally the only reason for sex. Making babies is not the only reason either.

      • Sunny

        Don’t feed the troll. Anybody who uses that kind of language, referencing ‘government paid orgasims’ is just being deliberately stupid and trollish.

    • Doe

      So what you’re really saying is “I just want to complain about abortion because it furthers my real goal, controlling women’s sexuality.”

      Thanks for proving the point so concisely.

      • Liberated Liberal

        Exactly. I love that they do all of the work for themselves :).

    • Mary

      Typical misogynistic “pro-lifer.”

    • OurSally

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoe_%28tool%29 “A hoe is an ancient and versatile agricultural tool used to move small amounts of soil…”

      You were home-schooled, right?

      • Mogg

        LOL
        Also: we all listen to rap music and that’s why we’re farming implements? Really?

      • Christiana

        And your stereotype about homeschoolers contributes exactly what to the conversation?

      • latetotheparty

        ignorant stereotyping on your part, OurSally.

    • Rosie

      Even more ironic that Seth is (presumably) saying this to a blogger who has openly talked about her personal life to the extent that the casual reader will know that she’s married, monogamous, has never been with anyone other than her husband, and has two small children. Not that it’s any of his business if she had chosen a different lifestyle…but still, ironic.

    • Twist

      The misogyny is strong with this one.

    • Twist

      And yeah, this comment just really demonstrates what it’s all about. Seth really doesn’t want to marry a “well-worn hoe”, and we all know that that’s what all women who use contraceptives or have sex before marriage are. All of them. No exceptions. And we all know that being a woman who has had more than one sexual partner, sorry, a “hoe” is TEH WORST POSSIBLE THING IN THE WORLD TO BE EVAR!!!1!!!!11

      See Seth just doesn’t want his property to have been sullied by another man before he gets to use it for the first time, and he just wants us selfish “hoes” with all our selfish, slutty orgasms to realise that our only source of worth is in our hymen. After all, if your hymen is broken, no man will buy… sorry, marry you. And if you have no man to serve, you have no purpose.

      Oh wait, I forgot, it’s not the bronze age anymore! Seth, why not go set up your own country on the moon or something (I’d love to see your recruitment drive for getting women to live there!), and leave decent human beings alone? Scum like you are not good for my blood pressure.

      • phantomreader42

        No, Twist, it’s not JUST that Seth doesn’t want his property sullied. It’s that he knows that any woman who has ever had a pleasurable sexual experience would never willingly tolerate his touch. :P

    • phantomreader42

      So, what Seth’s really saying is that he knows he’s so hopelessly inadequate that his only hope to ever have sex with a woman is to force himself on a virgin who doesn’t know what an orgasm is, and ensure that government and society are set up in such a way that she has no recourse if she gets tired of being treated like shit.

  • Niemand
  • Steve
  • Kayly Newcomer

    You get it! Thank you! This is what most of us Pro-Choice ppl have been trying to say for so long. Thank you for your thoughtful consideration of your position over mindless rhetoric. You make a difference in this world by opening your mind the way you have.

  • CelticKnott

    Hi,

    I have a contention regarding your claim that, since the woman’s body naturally flushes out a certain percentage of fertilized eggs (e.g., ‘natural’ abortion), putting sexually active women on the pill is more effective and a morally acceptable alternative to what is proposed by the pro-life movement. I think the key here is that when the body is naturally flushing out or terminating a pregnancy or fertilized egg, it is precisely that–natural. What the pro-life movement opposes is the artificial termination or removal of the fertilized egg or artificial tampering with pregnancy. For example, when a woman miscarries at a later point in her pregnancy, nobody in the pro-life movement says she has murdered her baby, or that she has had ‘an abortion’. The baby aborted naturally–it died for some reason regulated by the body.

    You do, however, remark on the small percentage of fertilized eggs that are actually present for the pill or other contraceptive to artificially kill/flush out. In essence, this is one life, or perhaps several (depending on the aforementioned percentage you mentioned). If you had several toddlers in front of you, some of whom would die before age 2 of natural causes, and some healthy ones, would you find it morally acceptable to kill one of them outright simply because it was ‘only one’? Of course you wouldn’t! So why would it be ok to deliberately (artificially) kill even one zygote?

    There is no hypocrisy in the pro-life opposition to the pill, because advocates of that position believe that the natural death of a human being–whether shortly after conception, or many years later–is due to, well, natural causes. It is never ok to take even one human life deliberately/artificially.

    On a related note, while ostensibly it seems like a good thing to potentially ‘save’ lots of lives by using contraceptives, since the contraceptives are still killing *some*, I don’t see how you can justify advocating them on the whole. Who are you, or me, anyone else, to decide which babies/zygotes/fertilized eggs are the ‘sacrificial victims’ of contraceptives so that “hundreds of thousands” can live? (I’m not attacking you, merely posing a rhetorical question).

    I understand that you have stumbled upon some flaws in the methods or effectiveness of the pro-life movement. Every movement for or against pretty much anything contains such flaws, but that does not de-legitimize the goal itself or the arguments it makes in defense of that goal. In fact, sometimes those most qualified to effect positive change in a movement are those who are its biggest critics.

    You mentioned that you changed your position on the pro-life movement while reading that NY Times article ‘over a taco bowl’ in your school caf. I hope that you have already and/or will continue to give this issue far more thought than merely a lunch hour before you dismiss offhand what is for hundreds of thousands of lives a matter of life and death.

    • ScottInOH

      This is a thoughtful, well-written post, but the points made have been addressed at least half a dozen times in this very thread. I know it’s a long thread, but I’m always puzzled by someone who walks into a discussion and expects to persuade others without even knowing what’s been said already.

    • Doe

      You are not the first nor the last to make the “natural death” comparison. I’d much rather die an unnatural death in a car accident where I’m dead before I even know it’s happening, than die a so-called natural death of cancer or heart disease or sepsis or any of the other natural afflictions that you have no problem using medicine to get around.

      • Sarah

        You able to make this statement on your preferred method of dying because you have been born. How many babies in the womb, do you suppose, would prefer to die?

      • Mattie King

        They can’t have a method of preference because they’re not conscious of their situation or have anything to base their decision on. Use your brain.

      • “Rebecca”

        Sarah, this sort of question is ridiculous because embryos and early term fetuses have absolutely no ability to reason, and they have no capacity for self-awareness. To muse about their “preferences” is about as silly as musing about the preferences of a tree.
        Even if we could somehow ask a fetus this sort of question and obtain an answer at adult-level cognition, you’re assuming that fetuses would be selfish? I wouldn’t want to be alive at my mother’s expense if I was causing her economic calamity, immense pain, or some other kind of distress. It would be a tiny sacrifice for me to opt for a painless death by abortion (followed by a quick trip to the afterlife if you believe in that sort of thing), in order to spare my mother the misery of gestating and raising me when she didn’t want to. I’m grateful for the gift of life, but it was just that: a gift, not an obligation.

      • Doe

        My point was that “natural death” is only important to the anti-contraception crowd when an embryo is involved. We prevent natural deaths all the time; why not start a campaign to save the zygotes that naturally die? If you really believe that they are people, that is.

    • phantomreader42

      CelticKnott babbled: “There is no hypocrisy in the pro-life opposition to the pill, because advocates of that position believe that the natural death of a human being–whether shortly after conception, or many years later–is due to, well, natural causes. It is never ok to take even one human life deliberately/artificially. “

      This is simply not true. Fetus-fetishists regularly support capital punishment and war, and oppose any governmental effort to provide food, shelter, or healthcare to those in need. Those of them who can afford it make use of medical interventions to delay their own natural deaths. And, as the Terry Schiavo fiasco showed, they are eager to FORCE the continuation of such interventions to prevent natural death AGAINST the will of the patient, when doing so is politically advantageous to them. And then, of course, there are the many known and documented instances of anti-abortion TERRORISM. So, no, advocates of the “pro-life” position do NOT oppose the deliberate taking of life, nor do they support allowing people to die a natural death. They only pretend to be “pro-life” when the life in question is unborn, or occasionally when it is already dead. If the life in question is female, or gay, or poor, or sick, or a criminal, or foreign, or brown-skinned, or politically inconvenient, then all that babbling about the sanctity of life goes out the window in an instant.

      No, CelticKnott, what you have said is simply not true, and anyone who knows anything about the situation would be aware of that. Your claims bear no resemblance to reality.

      • Mike

        How true is the last sentence of the third paragraph!

      • Tina

        Sarah, this sort of question is ridiculous because embryos and early term fetuses have absolutely no ability to reason, and they have no capacity for self-awareness. To muse about their “preferences” is about as silly as musing about the preferences of a tree.
        <<< neither does my son who is 3 months old, so do u think its ok if i kill him?? he has no reason or self awareness. people like u make me so sick

      • phantomreader42

        Tina, your mindless regurgitation of nonsensical talking points that were addressed months ago makes me sick. It’s no surprise that you identify so strongly with an undeveloped parasite without a functioning brain, but are incapable of honestly addressing actual living breathing human beings.

    • Richard

      When is the best time to start a young women on birth control? I live in the inner city and most girls here are pregnant between ages 16 and 18. Should I ask my 15 year old niece to go on the pill? We have many “Immaculate Conception” because the young people here never admits to having sex.

      • phantomreader42

        How about “when she wants to start taking it”? Or is that too complicated a concept?

      • latetotheparty

        it certainly is complicated if the climate is such that she “never admits to having sex”…

  • Mik

    I just wanted to tell you that I got something you might not have expected from your post, I grew up quite sheltered from the Life/Choice argument, It’s always been legal in my lifetime and I’ve always been pro choice from the first moment I became aware that some people thought abortion was wrong because I’ve always thought that life doesn’t begin at conception. I never really understood why anyone wouldn’t be pro choice and as I got older, I was basically told that it was all a terrible anti-sex anti-woman campaign and that pro-life people were just kinda weird and kinda evil. After reading this, it’s the first time I really understood the level of emotion behind and complete belief in ‘Abortion is murder’. It was always just a slogan to me before and it’s only after you described crying as a child because you thought babies were dying that I really understood that at least some people who were pro-life were really desperately just trying to save what they really believe were dying babies. I think opposing sides understanding each other is important so I thank you for helping me to understand. Also the rest of what you wrote is very informative and well thought out.

  • Diane Doherty

    I once studied with a living mystic named Dr. David R Hawkins, MD. he taught us how to use muscle testing to reach the truth of things. It tests as true that the soul enters the fetus at the end of the 12week of gestation, when the brain is developed. Before that, the embryo is an empty house, biology. also, the human body calibrates at 200 on the Map of Consciousness, in other words, the level of neutrality. The earth, human body, sex, food, and money all calibrate at 200. In other words, it is the intention behind them, that gives it any meaning at all. anti abortion and Proabortion both calibrate in the mid 200′s. All this talk from Pro lifers is just nonsense. we live on the planet of free will. When you take away another’s choice, you are interfering with karma. “Let go, let GOD” …..there is some food for thought!

    • Tori

      Yes, if that food were hallucinogenic mushrooms.

      • latetotheparty

        shrooms for thought? yes please!

  • Sarah

    As a woman who has recently had a miscarriage, I am deeply troubled by the author’s insistence on equating naturally occurring miscarriages that are no fault of the mother’s with miscarriages that occur because a woman has been ingesting hormones in order to avoid pregnancy. The issue of intent, as with so many other unfortunate outcomes, is the key difference here.

    • chervil

      As I am deeply troubled by the murderous Catholic hierarchy death squads that has no problem with being pro choice, as long as the choice is theirs.

    • Steve

      The pill doesn’t cause miscarriages. It prevents ovulation.

    • “Rebecca”

      If I took hormonal birth control (which almost certainly doesn’t affect implantation by the way) as a way to reduce the number of zygotes that would be unwittingly flushed from my body, would that be okay? After all, my intentions would be pure.

    • Doe

      There is a difference between a miscarriage, which is when your body ends a pregnancy that has already been established, and what Libby is talking about in the article, which is the “flushing out” of a fertilized egg before it gets a chance to implant in the uterine lining and start growing. Birth control pills and emergency contraception will not dislodge a fertilized egg that has already implanted in the uterine lining, so they can’t cause a miscarriage.

      Ethically, there may be a difference (opinions vary) but to the embryo there is no difference between a naturally occurring miscarriage and an abortion. Not to say that it’s your fault that you had a miscarriage, it’s definitely not.

    • phantomreader42

      And I am deeply troubled by Sarah’s complete lack of relevant knowledge, and her adamant refusal to even attempt to inform herself on the subject. But willful ignorance is a core tenet of the fetus-fetishist cult.

  • Sarah

    “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.”

    Did you actually read this article, or are you just looking for ways to be an asshole to a stranger?

    • phantomreader42

      As was explained at length, the pill does not cause miscarriages, it prevents ovulation and therefore conception. It does not have a perfect success rate, and as a result ovulation can still occur, but much more rarely than without the pill. Since ovulation can occur, so can conception, but again much more rarely than without the pill. And since a LARGE percentage of zygotes get flushed out without ever implanting or gestating, there can still be zygotes flushed out while on the pill, but much more rarely than without the pill.

      You would know all this if you’d bothered to read the article you’re screeching about. So, Sarah, did YOU actually read this article, or are you just looking for ways to be an asshole to a stranger?

  • Mike

    Thank you for a very informative and well written argument on a very contentious issue. Long before I read this article I was of the opinion that the best course of action to eliminate abortions was to eliminate unwanted pregnancies. This article provides factual information to substantiate my thoughts. My final comment is that if you don’t like abortions, don’t have one.

  • minnie

    St. Augustine said, “Any woman who acts in such a way that she cannot give birth to as many children as she is capable of, makes herself guilty of that many murders.”

    Martin Luther wrote: “God created Adam lord of all living creatures, but Eve spoiled it all. Women should remain at home, sit still, keep house and bear children. And if a woman grows weary and, at last, dies from childbearing, it matters not. Let her die from bearing; she is there to do it.”

    “Anders Behring Breivik christian terrorist, pro-forced-birther, killed seventy seven people.
    What he thinks about womens rights, women need to breed, breed, breed.

    1. Limit the distribution of birth-control pills (contraceptive pills): Discourage the use of and prevent liberal distribution of contraceptive pills or equivalent prevention methods. The goal should be to make it considerably more difficult to obtain. This alone should increase the fertility rate by 0,1 points but would degrade women’s rights.
    2. Reform sex education: Reform the current sex education in our school institutions. This may involve limiting it or at least delaying sex education to a later age and discourage casual sex. Sex should only be encouraged within the boundaries of marriage. This alone should increase the fertility rate by 0,1 points.
    3. Making abortion illegal: A re-introduction of the ban on abortion should result in an increased fertility rate of approximately 0,1-0,2 points but would strip women of basic rights.
    4. Women and education: Discourage women in general to strive for full time careers. This will involve certain sexist and discriminating policies but should increase the fertility rate by up to 0,1-0,2 points.
    Women should not be encouraged by society/media to take anything above a bachelor’s degree but should not be prevented from taking a master or PhD. Males on the other hand should obviously continue to be encouraged to take higher education – bachelor, master and PhD.”

    “Self-Described ‘Christian Counterpart To Osama Bin Laden’ Arrested In Plot To Bomb Abortion Clinic
    Justin Carl Moose describe “himself” as the Christian counterpart to Osama bin Laden. Moose wrote: “I have learned a lot from the muslim terrorists and have no problem using their tactics.”

    Each year about 890,000 women have abortions in Pakistan, and every day 10 women die because they had an unsafe abortion. Some 560,000 Filippina women have unsafe illegal abortions every year, with 90,000 suffering complications from the procedure and 1,000 dying.~

    Pro-forced-birthers favorite piece of literature of all time.

    Genesis 3:16
    “I will greatly multiply your grief and your suffering in pregnancy and the pangs of childbearing; with spasms of distress you will bring forth children. Yet your desire and cravings will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

    “In the 1800′s when chloroform was introduced to the US to help ease the excruciating pain of childbirth for women, it was woman-hating Christians who fought against its permitted use on the grounds that easing women’s childbirth pain was contrary to God’s will. They cited the book of Genesis where God punishes women with the curse of pain in childbirth.”

    What pro-forced-birthers think of raped little girls. Pro-lifer porn.

    ”Church excommunicates mother of 9-year-old rape victim – but not accused rapist.”

    “A senior Vatican cleric has defended the Catholic Church’s decision to excommunicate the mother and doctors of a nine-year-old rape victim who had a life-saving abortion in Brazil.”

    “Police believe the girl was sexually assaulted for years by her stepfather, possibly since she was six. That she was four months pregnant with twins emerged only after she was taken to hospital complaining of severe stomach pains.”

    • Steve

      More from “St.” Augustine:
      “What is the difference whether it is in a wife or a mother, it is still Eve the temptress that we must beware of in any woman… I fail to see what use woman can be to man, if one excludes the function of bearing children.”

      Then we have Thomas Aquinas:
      “As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of woman comes from a defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence.”

      And Tertullian:
      “In pain shall you bring forth children, woman, and you shall turn to your husband and he shall rule over you. And do you not know that you are Eve? God’s sentence hangs still over all your sex and His punishment weighs down upon you. You are the devil’s gateway; you are she who first violated the forbidden tree and broke the law of God. It was you who coaxed your way around him whom the devil had not the force to attack. With what ease you shattered that image of God: Man! Because of the death you merited, even the Son of God had to die… Woman, you are the gate to hell. ”

      He was also big on women wearing veils. You can find similar quotes by many, many other so-called “saints”. Every single one of the men who made up the core doctrines of Christianity really hated women:
      http://freetruth.50webs.org/A3.htm

  • Stan

    Thanks for sharing this, but I think your logic is flawed in one regards – equating intentional to natural destruction of the zygote is akin to saying that euthanasia is not morally different than dying from old age.

  • Kin Parker

    Libby, chopping up babies is evil, you know it in your heart, and we should not pay for, promote, or encourage it. Yes people will do it anyway, but that does not mean we should make it easier for them. People use drugs, murder, and commit all sorts of heinous crimes, would you want us to legalize and promote those too if somebody made a statistical case showing side benefits?

    There are consequences that are being ignored here by the scope you have defined… but you mentioned one thing that really gets to the heart of it all. you claim the pro-life movement is about ‘regulating sex’. To a small degree that is true, but it also reveals the true nature of the pro-choice movement, it was really about promoting noncommittal sex, and because of that entire industries were built to deal with the consequences. But they can’t even keep up with those anymore, the impacts are now damaging all of society in ways that have no direct ties to reproduction. Divorce rates have skyrocketed in the last 40 years, the numbers of children raised in single parent homes is out of control – did you know that is the most consistent cross-racial indicator for whether or not somebody will end up in jail? Not poverty, not race, its if a man was raised in a home without a father… and the positive is being removed from society too. People raised in a household with a mother and a father statistically have higher rates of success. We need those people, but its like they are missing from our world now. And did you know that those who use natural family planning have divorce rates around 2%… do the pro-choice folks tell the girls about that? They should if they are truly giving them options to ‘choose’ from while considering their lifestyle… please don’t close the door on this Libby as if you went through it all, its great that you expanded your outlook and did research, but don’t stop, keep going and praying for guidance, this is much more complicated and you have only scratched the surface.

    • Twist

      Yeah, I’m sure you know what the writer of this blog “knows in her heart” better than she does, especially when you can’t be bothered to read enough to know that she is an atheist! Ugh, the arrogance and condescension here.

      You realise that a sizeable proportion of the pregnancies terminated each year would be born into single-parent families, which according to you are the worst thing ever, right?

      “it also reveals the true nature of the pro-choice movement, it was really about promoting noncommittal sex”

      No, it was about giving people the ability to control their own fertility. You know, have the CHOICE whether to have sex or not, and the choice whether or not that sex resulted in children. The pro-choice movement recognises that our bodies and lives are our own.

    • Dawn

      “And did you know that those who use natural family planning have divorce rates around 2%… do the pro-choice folks tell the girls about that?”

      And did you know that people who live in houses with more toilets commit fewer crimes and finish college at a higher rate than people who live in a home with just one?

      Kin, you need to internalize the very basic idea that correlation is not causation. “Natural family planning” doesn’t lower divorce rates; couples who use NFP and couples who do not seek divorce both belong to communities where divorce is made extremely difficult, either though social pressures or economic barriers (i.e., a woman who was married fresh out of high school and lacks her own source of income or any measurable skills allowing her to make her own income often has trouble feeding herself and her children when she decides to leave her husband). Just like people who have low arrest rates, high college completion rates, and more toilets in their house all tend to share a higher socioeconomic status.

      Given that, think about your assertion that a father in the house is the causal factor in improved outcome for boys born into two-parent families. Maybe there is something else that two-parent families and the families of boys with improved outcomes tend to share?

      What you and others like you also miss while fantasizing about “back in the day” when people didn’t get divorced and all children were conceived in marriage and teenagers didn’t have sex and people only had sex within marriage, without using birth control, and with the willingness to have children if conceived is that this “back in the day” is just that: a fantasy. All of these things have been happening as long as people have existed. We no longer ship off teen girls to their aunts’ farm in the country to give birth to a child produced out of wedlock, but teen pregnancy rates have actually dropped from “back in the day.” Women now have a choice if they want to keep a pregnancy and whether they want to marry the father–who is often not exactly “life partner” material–due to increased educational and economic opportunities for women making it possible to raise the children produced from unintended pregnancy (which I thought you “pro-lifers” would want?) without committing to a bad relationship. Women have always used contraception too, or attempted to. The key difference is that modern contraception is safer and more dependable than the Lysol douches our grandmothers used. And guess what? Women have always had abortions too. Everything that y’all wring your hands about and blame on “modern permissive culture” is actually more accurately blamed on the simple fact that we’re human, and humans always have and probably always will enjoy sex, attempt to obtain sex while minimizing the perceived negative consequences, and find ways to circumvent those consequences when they come to pass.

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  • Jani Nortz

    Interesting website, i read it but i still have a few questions. shoot me an email and we will talk more becasue i may have an interesting idea for you.

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  • http://InternationalProlifeFederation.org Ernestine Gwendolyn Standberry

    Everyone here has a voice HERE…why?…because you’re all alive! You were not aborted? Please see my video testimony under my name on youtube i.e. “Ernestine Standberry.” Also that of Bishop Linda Felix under her name! We both had numerous abortions! God showed me my children twice! I was once prochoice…I did not believe there was a baby in my womb if I had an abortion the same week! Well, over a period of 20 years, I ended up having 8 Abortions before I had children! God showed me the children I aborted…I WAS NOT SLEEP! GOD SHOWED ME THAT ABORTION IS MURDER! After studying the Scriptures, specifically Psalm 139:13-16 “which speaks of the LORD KNOWING ALL OF US BEFORE WE WERE IN THE WOMB.” I am so thankful that GOD showed me the TRUTH! Many women are now saying the same thing…they saw their aborted children! Also, I get continuous emails from people thanking me for this video and thanking Bishop Linda Felix for her testimony! AGAIN…YOU ALL HAVE A VOICE AND OPINION BECAUSE YOU ARE ALIVE!
    Truthfully and Respectfully Submitted,
    Ernestine G. Standberry, Dir. of International Prolife Federation.org
    Ambassador at Believers Tree of Life Outreach Mennonite Church
    CAN-TV PRODUCER

    • plch

      you had 8 abortion? couldn’t you have avoided to get pregnant so many times using some better form of birth control?
      BTW: I am alive because my mom lost a newborn child one year before I was born, of course i am happy that my parents had another child (me) so soon but it would have been even better if that child had survived and I never existed.

    • Rosie

      Besides what plch said (which I concur with), the Psalms verse says nothing about abortion. Sounds to me like your deity is claiming to have known me *before my parents ever even had sex*. Which is a pretty Calvinist take on him, but it doesn’t really give any information about how he feels about abortion.

    • Niemand

      A friend of mine is alive because the Holocaust threw her parents, who would otherwise never have met, together. Therefore the Holocaust is a good thing, according to Standberry’s logic (using the term loosely.)

    • Twist

      “because you’re all alive! You were not aborted”

      Yeah. I’m also alive because a doctor told my mother that she was ‘probably infertile’ and so contraceptives were unneccessary. I’m also alive because she didn’t decide to stay in and read a book the night she met my dad, and because my mum was alive, which she wouldn’t have been had my grandfather not moved to the UK where he met my grandmother, or if they’d decided to get an early night the night she was concieved. A great big string of small, unimportant decisions led to me being alive. And you know what, if things had been different, I wouldn’t care, I wouldn’t be able to care because I wouldn’t exist, just like the millions of hypothetical babies not concieved because their parents decided to have an early night.

  • Mary

    Here’s something else to add: In a gay family, EVERY CHILD IS WANTED. Gays and lesbians are just as effective, if not better than, straight families in raising well-adjusted children. If pro-lifers stood behind their philosophy, they’d be pushing for gay marriage as hard as they can.

  • Doug Ullrich

    Oddly — I have found that may people that are Pro-Choice are against the Death Penalty… basically in both cases if one waits 9 months you will have TWO people… not ONE or NONE… I am PRO LIFE and AGAINST the Death Penalty.. ending a life OR a possible life isn’ something that should be taken lightly

    • Niemand

      Doug, if I am a person of the appropriate gender and age, I could claim that if we had sex and then waited 9 months, there’d be a third person. Does that mean that it’s murder for you to refuse to have sex with me (if conditions for conception are met)?

      Pro-choice people are frequently interested in issues like justice and prevention of loss of life, even “guilty” life such as that of a murderer. It’s good to prevent murder, but not at the cost of state sponsored murder.

      Possible life, OTOH, well, there’s so much possible life that claiming that you’re going to protect all possible life gets ridiculous very quickly. Even if you really meant all possible human life, there’s the problem that conception is the easy part, pregnancy the hard part. Conception’s so easy we can do it in a petri dish. Getting a zygote to implant, much less come to term…that’s harder. How much money and time are you willing to spend preventing miscarriage and researching ways to prevent currently unpreventable miscarriage? And don’t bother saying “but that’s natural and there’s nothing we can do about it”. If you care about embryos, you’ll want to prevent miscarriage. Leukemia’s “natural”, but we don’t just sigh and allow children with leukemia to die of it. (Or adults, even.) We spend money and time to prevent those deaths. Are you interested in preventing the deaths of embryos, or only thwarting the will of pregnant women?

    • Twist

      There’s a difference between termination of an unwanted pregnancy and killing a human being as punishment for committing a crime. For one thing, a fetus is not a person, it is something that could potentially become a person. Killing it is in no way the same as killing a self-aware adult human being with a personality, relationships, memories, feelings etc. A fetus has none of those.

      Also, the fetus is residing in somebody else’s body. Death row prisoners aren’t. Killing them will benefit nobody. It won’t undo the crime they committed. Removing the fetus can save the life of the person it is inside, or drastically change it. The woman’s bodily autonomy should always take priority.

      • Caitlin

        “A fetus is not a person” is like saying “I’m not a person I’m an adult”. The word fetus isn’t meant to dehumanize. It simply represents one of the many stages in human life. If a fetus has a heart beat, brain activity, and is functioning and growing it is a living human fetus. It is a person and it is alive. This is just basic science friend.

      • Rosie

        “Fetus” is a scientific term for a particular stage of life (and it’s applicable to animals as well as humans). “Person” is a legal and philosophical term. Under current law, part of the definition of “person” is “born alive”. You may disagree with that and work to change the law. But even if you succeed on that point, it’s worth noting that also under the law, no person has the right to use another person’s body or organs without their explicit and continuing consent, so abortion will still be legal up to the point where induced labor and live birth are an option for terminating the pregnancy.

    • Kodie

      I’m against the death penalty because I don’t believe that death is a punishment. It solves the problem of revenge in some cases and rids the world of one bad person (presuming guilty as charged; not going to talk about false convictions). I don’t believe death is punishment, and I don’t believe if a person is dead is the only way “they can never hurt anyone again”. It doesn’t deter crime of the nature that usually warrants it. Of course I don’t feel the same way about cockroaches, although it can be a similar thought. If you kill one cockroach, there are many others anyway, so what is the point. “It feels triumphant” but it’s not triumphant. You haven’t solved the nature of crime itself, and you aren’t serving the community in the death penalty to address criminality. Also, trivially, don’t step on a cockroach because the eggs get on your shoe and you walk them around.

      Then with abortion, I think this article says more that you didn’t read or comment on than just say it doesn’t wash over you. Mindlessly saving all the babies is as simple-thinking as what I just said about pro-death-penalty (I know you disagree with that position, but disagree for different reasons than I have). You seem to also have in mind that pro-choicers should be for the death penalty because we just don’t have an aversion to murder, or something. I’m a little bit more concerned at how to solve the big problems, like why people have abortions in the first place, and how to address things like medical care and poverty. You don’t care for their reasons, and you don’t give any counter-reasons other than a simplified position on the preciousness of life. Congratulations, you thoughtful guy. Everyone should just change their mind because you had a shallow opinion.

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  • Snexas

    Libby you are very smart and very brave. It can be difficult to realize a deeply held belief is untrue. Keep growing & keep sharing.

  • Jeanne

    If this point has been made previously then I apoligize.
    One argument against abortion that angers me the most is the “adoption argument”. They should just have the baby and give it up for adoption. Yeah that works. Ask all those kids in foster care being shuffled from one temporary house to another how well adoption worked for them.

    • Twist

      As well as the many difficulties that having a baby then giving it up may cause for the woman. She still has to go through pregnancy and birth, both of which are difficult and risky, which the pro-lifer always seems to overlook. She has to endure questioning from friends, family, co-workers, medical professionals, even complete strangers about her pregnancy. Friends/family may really struggle to understand why she is giving it up and pressure her to keep it, especially if instead of being a single teenager she’s a woman in her twenties/thirties, financially stable and in a stable relationship who just happens to not want a baby.

      Then there’s spending the rest of your life being concerned about this person you’ve brought into the world, who they ended up with, if they’re being mistreated, if they’re happy or messed up. We’re not monsters, however much some pro-lifers liike to think we are. Add to that the concern that the kid you gave up may one day track you down, maybe just to meet you, maybe to find out why you gave them up, maybe to blame you for abuse or neglect they’ve suffered. Add to that the difficulty in giving up a baby for adoption when you already have kids, kids who’ve watched you go through pregnancy only to not come home with a baby (provided they’re old enough to understand) would only confuse them and frighten them that you might give them away as well.

      I’m sure there’s other problems I haven’t thought of, but adoption is not the one-stop easy solution to end abortion. I’m not saying that having a baby you don’t want to keep then giving it up for adoption is neccessarily a bad thing, but it’s nowhere near as easy and problem-free as some make out.

  • Lahoma

    Thank you so much for this article. I myself have always been on the fence about Pro-Life vs Pro-Choice. As a person of faith I cannot help but listen to the argument of how Abortion is murder, yet killing during a time of war or the death penalty is acceptable because it is completely “different”. As I recall the commandment says “thou shall not kill” not thou shall not kill unless you feel it is acceptable. I may be taking this way into left field but it is this kind of thinking that has lost me. In either case, you have made your hand that the Hand of God and decided to play God by taking ones life. I have also always believed that making abortion illegal will in no way reduce the numbers of abortion but increase the risks! In any rate, I may never decide either way as I believe a woman’s body is her own. I will continue to read and maybe one day I will decide. :)

  • GregR

    “Providing birth control to women at no cost substantially reduced unplanned pregnancies and cut abortion rates by 62 percent to 78 percent over the national rate, a new study shows.

    The research, by investigators at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, appears online Oct. 4 in Obstetrics & Gynecology.”

    http://www.newswise.com/articles/abortion-rates-plummet-with-free-birth-control

  • Naomi

    I truly enjoyed your article. I, too, was a very conservative youth who, as an adult, has become more and more liberal. I am a high school English teacher in Las Vegas, NV. In 1998/1999 when I was pregnant with my daughter, I had a tenth grade student who was also expecting. We were both visibly pregnant. I would share my healthy snacks during lunch in my classroom. It was a inner city school and she didn’t always have something healthy to eat. One week she was gone for several days. When she returned, and we met for lunch, she looked me in the eye and said “My mom made me get an abortion; do you think I’m a horrible person?” I gave her a hug and said, “No, I don’t think you’re a horrible person.” I wondered how many people had told her that she was a horrible person…that she was evil. She was only fifteen years old.

    • Niemand

      That’s an example of an abortion I would oppose. It sounds like the pregnant woman (or, in this case, girl) did not want the abortion. She should therefore not have had it. (Or had it only IF she changed her mind after non-directive counseling that gave her the options in a realistic manner but did not try to convince her to go with one option or another.)

      Now, which condition is it more likely that a pregnant woman would get proper counseling? A woman who goes to a legitimate provider like Planned Parenthood and talks to a counselor before going for the abortion or one who is sent to a back alley abortionist (even if that person is, in fact, medically trained and reasonably physically safe)?

  • Patricia Dirlam

    Very well researched piece and wonderful record of your journey from “pro-life” to pro life. There is one part of this that I would like to have discussed more thoroughly. I still have a very hard time with the idea of life beginning at birth, which is not to say that I believe it begins a conception. I, therefore, have a very hard time with late-term abortion. We do know that prematurely born babies are viable. Does this soul wait the nine months or does it know when the baby passes the cervix? I think we might consider the point of movement, or the actual proven time of viable life. I’m not sure here, but I had three children who were born at less than eight months, so am sensitive to the issue. Excepting the cases of rape, women do have a say in their reproductive activities and I would not want anyone else to control us, but I would like us to use a little of that control. Use birth control, abstain from sex at times, consider early abortion or “morning after” pills. But I think really, that indecision and procrastination are poor reasons to terminate a baby who is listening to and being comforted by its mother’s voice.

    • Rosie

      And the late-term elective abortion is really a red herring in any case; nobody who doesn’t want to be pregnant stays that way even a minute longer than necessary. Late-term abortions are performed because the fetus is non-viable, it’s threatening the life of the mother, or because early-term abortion was not available to the woman in question.

    • Caitlin

      Rosie I respect how calm and sensitive you were in addressing this issue. I too have had my opinions formed about unborn children through deeply personal circumstances. I do disagree with you on when life begins. I believe it does begin at conception bc that is when unique human DNA is formed. However, I do appreciate your sensitivity to at least the late term child. Children even in early stages can feel pain and I believe it makes abortion very inhumane. You sound like someone who I may not agree with completely, but that I could talk to bc you wouldn’t insult my faith and beliefs. I don’t like what I am reading on here from pro choice or prolife individuals. A lot of hatefulness that gets us nowhere.

      • Anat

        Children in early stages – do you mean newborns? yes, they do feel pain, as anyone who interacted with one can attest. An embryo is not a child and neither is a fetus. They represent different life-stages. Did you mean to say that an embryo can feel pain? If so, what is your evidence for that?

        Fetal pain is an argument for terminating an unwanted pregnancy as soon as possible, and this is indeed what women want. The difficulty of obtaining abortion in some places is one factor causing unwanted pregnancies to go longer than intended.

        But regardless of fetal pain, the fetus has no right to make use of the woman’s body against her wishes, and neither does society have the right to force such use of a person’s body. We know that because we do not force people to donate organs against their wishes, and people die while waiting for transplants all the time. Forced pregnancy is forced multi-organ donation.

  • Andrew

    This blog is very good an dwell thought out! I don’t really agree… but I did learn some things that made me think. The biggest problem I have with the argument, however, is that a zygote dying naturally is seen as equal to a zygote being killed. If a person believes that a fetus is a human being (which you have not successfully refuted), then this argument has no weight. It’s like saying, “Well… 100% of people are going to die anyway, so we might as well kill them when we want to.” Simply because zygotes die without human intervention does not mean that it’s okay to intentionally kill them.

    • Rosie

      It is inconsistent, however, if you believe that a zygote is a person and killing one is murder, to not be concerned with researching and preventing the natural causes of their natural deaths just as much as we research and seek to prevent all kinds of natural causes of natural deaths among born persons. That’s the point Libby Anne was making there.

    • Niemand

      Simply because zygotes die without human intervention does not mean that it’s okay to intentionally kill them.

      What’s the difference between allowing someone to die when you could save them with a simple intervention and killing them? Do you support provision of emergency medical care to all people or are you ok with people being left to die at the doors of ERs because they don’t have money or are perceived to not have money?

      And even if we accept that letting embryos die naturally is not as bad as killing them through abortion, does that mean that we should just ignore natural embryo deaths? Infanticide may be worse than an infant dying of SIDS, but we don’t say that there is infanticide in the world therefore we should ignore SIDS. Until and unless you show at least some interest in preventing the natural deaths of embryos, I’m not going to be able to believe that you really think that embryos are babies.

  • Virginia Jolly

    Thank you for your story: it is well-researched and well-reasoned. And kudos for taking the Pro-Life rhetoric and showing what it really means.

    People don’t understand that a human body (I’m speaking of an autonomous one) has a myriad of mechanisms for survival. There are duplicated systems, highly-developed resistance to disease, adaptive mechanism and behavior, and a tremendous instinct to live instilled in the body and brain alone. Pair with that an individual (Soul, the spiritual spark that we are) who is bent on survival, and nothing short of an act of God can stop him or her.

    There are genetic reasons why zygotes and embryos are spontaneously aborted, too. When chromosomes combine during meiosis and mitosis, chromosomes exchange genetic material. DNA, when replicated, is copied faithfully, and there is mechanism for errors not making much of a difference. But when errors are made, sometimes the gene can become what is called a lethal gene. If the lethal gene is paired with another copy like itself, then the organism to which the zygote would have developed becomes nonviable–perhaps a key process doesn’t develop or a killing deformity prevents it from growing and becoming a viable, birthed baby. These lethal genes are often balanced with non-lethal genes, so that the young do develop and are born.

    But there are reasons even in nature for zygotes and embryos not to be viable, and a lot of these cannot be controlled with the best of technology.

    Just like people still die of heart attacks, even though we can prevent them from dying with our advanced medicine. Sometimes, it is time for the person to leave this Earth. For the rest of us, the human body is a marvel of mechanics, chemistry, biology, adaptation, vitality, and survivability.

  • http://www.statik-media.com/Ness/ Rayne

    Thankyou for this article! Very well written and compelling. I’ve linked to you on my article “Prolife are antiwomen” on my blog. (Insufferable Intolerance http://www.statik-media.com/Ness/)

    Your words are inspiring.

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  • Jon Morris

    I read through as many comments as i could and first off, thank you for the well written and thoughtful examination of this issue. I am going to share this with a number of people i know that might be affected by the “reality” of this issue.

    As far as the zygote/embryo/etc = a human life with its own soul and everything, when you eat a peach and get to the large seed inside of it, do you look at that seed and then try to eat it as well because the farmer put a little peach inside the one you were trying to eat? If so, how are your teeth? i hope your mind isnt in as bad of shape as they are but i have reason to doubt its wellbeing as well.

  • http://erinruppelt.blogspot.com Erin

    The Pro-Life Movement is strong and getting stronger. Wait until you see what changes we will be making to protect human life and everything that it is. I’m deeply saddened that you were once pro-life and now are pro-choice. All pro-lifers will be praying for pro-choice people that are confused on what life is really all about.

    • latetotheparty

      implying that you think clearly about something (“what life is really all about”) is pointless unless you can do more than imply it.

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  • http://facebook Robert

    Some years ago maybe 20 I read that 50% women in the prolife movement had had abortions and now were “involved” to “save women” from the pain they suffered after the abortion. Is the 50 % correct? Where can I find more info on this? Thank u for great articles. I helped develop the NOW group at Baylor in 1967.

    • Niemand

      I don’t know about that number, but I do know that every person I know who works in obstetrics and performs abortions has a story about a “pro-life” woman who comes in to the clinic for an abortion and goes back out to protest immediately afterwards. Many women who are “pro-life” seem to think that their abortion is different, ok somehow. Perhaps because they aren’t the women they believe should be punished for having sex.

      • latetotheparty

        …quite possibly because they are cynical exploiters of some penitent/confessional loophole.

  • Anonymous

    I would also like to add that we should advocate for paid paternity leave. It is sexist to think that women are the only partners who will need to leave their jobs in order to care for their families. Men have just as much stake in their families as women do.

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  • MikeFitzgerald

    Thanks for a highly thought-provoking article. I really learned a lot from it. And it helped clarify my thinking about a highly charged issue.

  • http://www.gamingsymmetry.com Ali Nazifpour

    I just want to say this: you have won me over. I used to be like you- I identified as pro-choice because I hate religions and people who oppose contraceptives, while I still believed abortion should be illegal. But now I see why pro-life movement will result only in more abortions and legalization is crucial. Thanks for that. Thank you for being so open-minded to change your own views, and thank you for being so moral, rational, and courageous for posting this and changing the mind of people like me.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mindy.chairweaver Mindy Edwards-King

      Ali most of us pro-lifers want abortion to be virtually obsolete and needed only to save the life of the mother or terminate a fetus who is so malformed it can’t hope for any sort of quality of life. We know this is an obtainable goal if birth control is readily available. I nearly lost a relative to an unsanitary illegal abortion. I was a child when Roe V Wade was passed and I remember seeing the faces of so many lovely bright young women who weren’t as fortunate as my relative. Some died from coat hanger attempts but many more were victims of unregulated back alley clinics, people who flunked out of medical school or never even went- using makeshift implements improperly sanitized between patients. We will go back to that time if pro-lifers are able to abolish abortion.

  • gaetano

    This article is sickning. Who th hell do you think you are? You and every women PIG in this world that can try to make excuses why they were right in killing their unborn child should suffer for what you have done. You think that you know what God is telling women . You or no stupid idiotic women can play God. You are simply murderers. Case closed. You think bcause the law of the land tells you that it is ok to have an abortion,that God will forgive you. How can you live with yourself.? Do you think that stupid words make it right? It is called murder. Plain and simple. Not abortion or safety or pro lif or anti abortion. It’s simply murder and a sin against God. I hope God strikes you down.

    • Malitia

      “You think that you know what God is telling women .”

      XD Bwahahahahahahahaha… Sorry sorry, but this is rich (If you’re a troll read “rich” as “pure gold”):
      1) Accusing an atheistic blogger of talking in the name of any god.
      2) By a commenter who thinks he speaks in the name of God.

      • http://www.facebook.com/lucrezaborgia Lucreza Borgia

        God is always on the side of angry commenters, don’tcha know!

      • Malitia

        @ Lucreza Borgia:

        I noticed that the holier-than-thou they are the more they seem to think they speak for “god”. So god = an “universal” term they can use for their appeal to authority fallacy. :D

    • Anat

      Which god? The one in the Bible? Where does he care about fetuses? To the degree that he cares about anyone at all, the biblical god only considers those at least one month old as persons.

    • sara maimon

      wow gaetano what a convincing, rationally presented arguement. I think I’ll go picket my former employer, an abortion clinic.
      (sarcasm alert.)

    • Wendy

      Saving intimate acts for marriage…?
      Well according to your Bible sex is only for procreation so therefore sex should only be performed on fertile days only.
      As for the God fearing… how presumptuous of you to assume that all believe in God, and how is it you feel it’s ok to force your religious views on another, would it be ok for another to force theirs on you say islam?

  • Robeert

    Well, like Mitt Romney and the rest of the heinous Republicans, Immoral Minority and Religious Wrong-Wing Nutjobs stated during the campaign, “who cares about the facts and the truth. We’re just here to make sure Barack Obama is a one term president.” And that is what is wrong with all of these whack job organizations, they do more harm than good to push their own agendas. And they don’t care!

  • Anna

    EEEEEPPPP!!! I LOVED this article! I’m a pro-choice progressive Christian, and you brought up points that I haven’t even thought about. Way to go. I’m proud of you for putting your story out there. I’m going to post this article to my Facebook, Planned Parenthood’s Facebook and any other pro-choice or pro-life page, the Facebooks of pro-life friends, maybe even email it to my pastor at my church. You’re s right about everything. I love that you posted stuff from your sources so people know you’re not spewing falsities. I really enjoyed reading this. My faith in humanity is restored–the fact that SOMEONE who was sucked into the lies found their way out! Always stand up for what you believe, and never stop sharing this stuff! Way to go! *Hugs!*

  • Leslie

    With regard to the NYT article, every European country has stricter abortion laws than the United States. Many only allow it in the first trimester. The U.S. is one of only four countries that allows abortion through all of pregnancy; our company is Canada, China, and North Korea.

  • Bene

    my name is bene and I recently had a breakup with my bf about 2 months back. He said we are done that we should move on that he has someone else now. I could not even bear the pain and everything and just so unfortunate, I discovered I was pregnant when me and my ex we going through some big fights. I couldn’t tell him I was pregnant because I knew he would blame it on me. I suffered with the secret on my own and I could not go through an abortion on my own. The funny thing is I discovered that he had two other girlfriends I was not aware of. I know if I could turn back the hands of time I would do it again because i could not suffer everything alone, I almost drop out of varsity because of a guy. On a faithful day after i lost of thought, an old friend told me about a spell lady with this email priestessifaa@yahoo.com who could help me restore my love and have my baby in good terms. I sacrifice everything to make sure the spell was done. and the spell was now the savior. her spell brought back my lover after 2days. My joy, love and happiness is restored because of this spell lady, my baby comes soon.

    • latetotheparty

      you “sacrifice everything” but there’s still a baby on the way? what exactly did you ‘sacrifice’?

  • Jonathan

    Thank you for this article.

    I have not real all the comments as it would take more time than I have available to me at the moment, however the arguments for and against fall into distinct categories that I feel it might be useful to clarify.

    “Pro-choice” advocacy and its various methods is no more unnatural than anything else associated with modern life. The fact that we are using computers to have this discussion is surely a sign that we are no longer living in intellectual penury and are capable of affecting the world around us and within us. Similarly, to blinkardly dismiss medicinal or physical contraceptive because of its unnatural status is the same as suggesting a blanket ban on all medicine intended for the betterment of the species. There seems to be this attitude for many (but of course not all) “Pro-life” advocates that allowing a woman or a couple to choose the terms of their lives is somehow malevolent to the unborn life and morally reprehensible. But these points are irrelevant to the discussion.

    More to the point is what the article above cohesively addresses. The arguments against abortion are emotive, those for are practical. Therefore they cannot be argued on the same platform. It is a highly contentious issue in the United States, whereas it is much less so in Western Europe (where I am from).

    To any observer or participant, this argument concerns foetuses/babies and the abortion of pregnancy. To only a selection of observers or participants does it concern God. These arguments can therefore not be qualified as they are outside the realm of the subject matter. While Christian and other religious doctrines are powerful and emotive players in this debate, they are removed from it. This discussion is about minimising abortion rates and the facts associated with that. Even the differing ideas of when life does or does not begin are a sideline-issue, used as fodder by those who oppose abortion to discredit and, in its inverse state, by those who wish to advocate the choice of the individual, to discredit the naysayers. However it does not have an effective role to play in the argument presented by the author: lowering abortion rates.

    Unfortunately, and in despite of how hard some might try, emotive personal opinion has no bearing on fact. It is intellectually dishonest to attempt to make it do so. This broad umbrella includes arguments that stem from religious doctrine or personal opinions dictated by fundamental moral convictions, regardless of their source. Therefore they cannot be used as rebuttal in a factual arena. Assertion does not ascribe validity, regardless of how loudly one may say it. If this debate is to be at all constructive, it must be held on the terms of the author of the article.

    Various research and, in many countries, qualified practise, has unanimously suggested that contraception reduces pregnancy rates. Some pregnancies are wanted, others aren’t, and this is where the emotive argument begins. But regardless of one’s standpoint, the initial premise remains true. I have read no study where widespread use of contraception has increased pregnancy rates. Therefore, the number of pregnancies will go down. A proportion of these will be unwanted. If one wishes to lower abortion rates, this is by far the most effective way of doing so.

    If, however, the motive is different; if there is some obscurity to what is wanted by those who argue against abortion that means that contraception is also considered to be unacceptable, we must change the premises of our debate. We can no longer maintain that the “Pro-life” intention is to decrease abortion rates. One has to first become pregnant in order to consider having an abortion, regardless of where one’s opinion on the inception of life is.

    So by opposing contraception, which is (as someone pointed out linguistically earlier – though I’d thank them to research their etymology more thoroughly) designed to prevent fertilisation, one is not opposing abortion. One is opposing contraception, somewhat obviously. The two arguments are philosophically different. The argument is not, therefore, “how can we lower abortion rates” but “what are the moral ramifications of contraception and maternity”. This, latterly, was not presented by the author, who was quite tactful in avoiding unnecessary moral exposition in the article.

    The latter argument is an insoluble conflict of dogmas and belief systems, both of which make attempts at the invalidation of the other on premises neither are willing to accept. As has become unfortunately typical of forums or comments boards such as this, it is being hijacked for the purposes of espousing “correct” opinions. This is a redundant exercise.

    If one wishes to argue for the moral rectitude and abortion-solving qualities of sexual abstinence, on a personal level, I think you are on a hiding to nothing. People are going to have sex whether you like it or not. But my opinion is irrelevant. By making this comment, you are affirming the conclusive statement of the article: that the argument is about regulating sex rather than observing facts and making a concerted attempt at improving the human condition.

    People do not care for the opinions of others much, as I am sure to find out when I click “post comment”, so please refrain from masquerading them as facts. Facts speak for themselves, and often upset people. If we can dispassionately observe them, then we can understand how they are alterable. If we choose to ignore them and instead remain deontologically fixated on our opinions and use these opinions to oppose change, as is somewhat self-evident, we cannot expect change or positive action (or indeed any action) to be taken.

    Rivers take the most efficient path around obstacles to make progress because they are not obstructed by conditions that bind them to one place. This is what enables them to provide for everything around. If they are forced to run straight and stick to a path that does not change, they silt up and die.

  • Gia Anslin

    I my self have had 3 abortions in my life. not regreting any of them. Having children is not my cup of tea. I think forcing women having unwanted children creates troubled society. Women not taking care of these unwanted things. Maybe not having enough money to feed and provide as should. People who want children should be able to care for them and have enough money to do so. I come from poor family and I would not want to have children in that situation. I know what its like to be hungry…… let women deside for them selves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! its their body and life…………………

  • Stephanie

    I do intend to read all the citations that you have posted. However, none of them change the fact that a child is killed, often through coercion by parents or boyfriends. As a parent of a 20 year-old, and three teens, the pregnancy is not the worst thing that can come from having sex outside of marriage. The baggage that a scar-covered soul takes into the marriage is far worse. No amount of contraception can change that.

  • Tanya

    Wow, all these arguments, and not many comments that deal with the actual article.

    I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed reading your article – it was obviously very honest and heartfelt, and it was very well written. I think it was a very cool and brave thing to do, and I’m glad that you posted this.
    I grew up in a Eastern European country and abortion has never been an issue for me culturally, and it’s been a shock moving to US, in that regard (culturally). It shocked me that something like this was even an issue in a country that boasted personal freedom (coming from a totalitarian regime).
    I still have some friends who are pro-life, and I do not think they will change their stance, because it’s about blind faith in their leaders, not so much about the logic, but it is very refreshing to read the process you have gone through to arrive at your current point of view. Thank you for posting this and for hopefully opening some people’s eyes to the truth.

    • Dan

      Excellent article! Very well written, and I found myself agreeing with you, except on a few points.
      I consider myself Pro-Life, in that I believe abortion is murder. HOWEVER, I agree that our country needs greater access to contraceptives and better sex education and family planning.

      Your equating ‘naturally aborted’ zygotes with induced abortion is a non-issue. Those zygotes would never have an opportunity to grow up, whereas a fetus will. Here are my views on abortion: Even if you argue that a fetus is not a person until it is born, you cannot deny that a fetus (if left alone) will grow into a person; so therefore killing a fetus is killing the person it will be.

      • machintelligence

        Sorry Dan, you can’t ignore the woman in the story.

        you cannot deny that a fetus (if left alone) will grow into a person; so therefore killing a fetus is killing the person it will be.

        Take an egg and place it in a petri dish.
        Add sperm so that it is allowed to be fertilized.
        Leave it alone as long as you want, it will never grow into a person.

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  • K

    An assertion by your Fred Clark, “No 5k or 10k. No walkathon. No foundation promoting research. No research.” Check out March of Dimes- http://www.marchofdimes.com- this organization has been around for decades and completely disproves Fred’s point.
    Furthermore, and organization called The Endowment for Human Development is dedicated to, “Improving lifelong health one pregnancy at a time.” http://www.ehd.org/index.php
    Just two of many examples of organizations that research pregnancy, try to improve fetal survival rates and educate people on prenatal health to improve fetal survival.
    You refer to natural embryonic death and say that, “If I had known all this, I would have been all for this sort of research.” I don’t understand what is it that tells you pro-lifers are in opposition to research organizations looking to reverse natural fetal death and other fetal problems. You say that pro-life groups do not support or care about fetal research and you ignore massive organizations which have been dedicated to that research for decades. All the while you haven’t provided the link showing where pro-life groups or organizations have opposed foundations such as March of Dimes.

  • Mike

    This is a very powerful article, but it is loaded with logical flaws. Please see this link. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/badcatholic/2012/11/how-i-lost-faith-in-the-pro-life-movement-rebuttal-up-in-hurrrrr-part-1.html
    I also find it interesting that many people (I am not sure if Libby Anne fits into this category) who support the contraception mandate also say the government should stay out of people’s bedrooms. How forcing businesses to give out contraception (an item used in the bedroom) and not giving them a choice means they are keeping the government out of people’s bedrooms.

    • http://www.kisarita.blogspot.com ki sarita

      businesses do not give out contraception.
      Health providers give out contraception.
      The idea is that businesses hould not be allowed to interfere.

    • Malitia

      I also want to add:
      Not allowed to deny is not the same as forcing to give out. That contraception was asked for by people if a health provider or business or government or anybody says no, they intrude in those people’s bedrooms.

      I’m yet to see any indication that anybody actually forces contraceptives on people actively denying it or even just not asking for it.

      In short: When did people’s bedrooms become the bedrooms of businesses in your mind I wonder?

  • Voiceforthosewithout

    It is a good thing your mom didn’t look at YOU as a ZYGOTE…because at one time, in your life, you were one, IF that is what you want to call it. From the moment an egg is fertilized, God has called that child HIS and he/she is living! Abortion is murder, deny it, but those babies that are murdered every day will be avenged by their Heavenly Father, it will be a horrible day for you when it comes! They may not get the chance to speak out for themselves, but their FATHER will! Quit focusing on all these stupid studies and what MAN says, and look into you heart people! Search the web for aborted baby pictures…does that look like some ZYGOTE? IT IS A CHILD! A CHILD OF GOD’S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are blind and stupid if you can’t see past your own selfish lives!

    • Kodie

      Proof?

    • Nea

      From the moment an egg is fertilized, God has called that child HIS and he/she is living!

      …And then God lets half of them flush away and die without ever implanting. Your heavenly father has a bad track record of protecting those “children.”

      IF that is what you want to call it

      Zygote is the scientific term. Why be afraid of that?

    • Rosie

      It all depends on how you frame it, Voiceforthosewithout. Do you also believe in the inherent sinfulness of human beings? Do you believe that those who die before birth or some age of accountability go straight to heaven? If so, then aborting is the ultimate sacrifice a mother can make; she’ll surely go to Hell for the “murder”, but her unnamed embryo or fetus will never suffer this life or have the chance to sin, and it will be in Heaven for eternity. What greater gift could a parent give?

  • Ron

    If you ban abortion than that means zero abortions would be performed, it’s not rocket science

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

      Kind of like how we banned marijuana and now there is zero marijuana being … oh wait.

    • Rosie

      Maybe you’d call them “suicides” rather than “abortions”; I don’t see how that’s any better.

    • Nea

      Both historically and culturally untrue. I suggest you do a little basic research on rates of back street abortion in states and countries where birth control and abortion are limited or banned.

      While you are doing your research, I suggest that you also look into all the other reasons D&Cs are performed – hint, they often have nothing to do with a pregnancy – and the needs for theraputic abortions in the case of a dead but not miscarried fetus or ectopic pregnancy.

      “No abortion, ever” means putting the “life” of a partial miscarriage, a guaranteed lethal tube rupture, or a literally festering corpse over the rights and needs of the mother. And that’s before we talk about Savita Halappanaver and the unnamed nine-year-old in Brazil (a country where abortions are banned) where even the doctors said “Woah, there’s no way we’re going to let this abused little girl birth twins; it’ll kill her” and performed the abortion.

      It’s what has happened in the world around us, Ron. It’s reality.

    • Malitia

      Where there is a demand there will be supply, it’s not rocket science. (Basic capitalism.)

      If you ban something in your country other countries will provide, or the black market, or the internet etc..

      If you want to eliminate abortion (or anything else by that matter) make the demand disappear.

      So when will you support proper sex-ed, affordable contraception, paid maternity leave, job protection programs for mothers, free daycare for children etc.?

  • Mary

    I will pray for you. please pray the prayer to St Michael. We are in a Spiritual Battle between Good vs Evil. No one wants to be used especially by Satan who loves to twist the truth which God,our creator and Father, has given us. America was founded with a Moral Compass. Our forefather painstakingly wrote the constitution to protect and guide our country. Satan loves to plant the seed of Doubt. For example,you were Pro Life and now you’re not. Who is your Moral director? Where do you get your guidance from? Why do you want to spread these lies so othes might follow you. Do you know where you are going? Why speak such poison? Do you not care about the girls/women who have been trafficed for sex? How is that protecting us. What a violation! What an abomination! That we hate women so much as to lie to them. Yeah get some more contraceptives so a man can have sex with you and you won’t get pregnant and sure he loves you, he may marry you one day(why buy the cow if you can get the milk free)…but if you get pregnant with a new life growing inside of you, you better kill it now because it is illegal to kill the baby once it is born!!!!And all guilt and anguish you feel on the anniversary date of your abortion year after year for the rest of your life and IT DOESN’T GO AWAY THE ANGUISH GETS STRONGER AND STRONG until you snap into a deep deprsion, while your so call friend say it is really nothing – just move on with your life. God is the creator of the original “Pro Choice” slogan because he allows temptation to happen to us but he gives us Grace to strengthen us and a Free Will! All along from the beginning of time we were able to choose. The question is…Are we making the right choice in all our daily decisions? The beauty is that we worry about ourselves but still love eachother enough to let them know when some choices are wrong, against God and against eachother. PS three times I had problems typing this because Satan was trying to stop it. Peace to all.

    • Kodie

      Satan was trying to stop you from typing.

      :O

    • Nea

      I’mnotsorry.net Many women feel relief after abortion.

    • Malitia

      How do you know what’s a lie I wonder?
      I mean you state that doubting is of the Devil, so you think those people of authority for you are automatically right and everybody else wrong/lies? So for an easy definition for normal people “Lie = Knowingly and willingly told falsehood” for you “Lie = Everything said by people without authority (in my mind)” and let me guess you think others are gullible. Oh. The irony.

    • phantomreader42

      When a christian says they’ll pray for an atheist, they’re ALWAYS lying. What they’ll really do is fantasize about watching their monstrous imaginary friend burn us alive forever. But of course bearing false witness against anyone with a functioning brain is a sacrament for christians.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lucrezaborgia Lucreza Borgia

      What the heck is up with people thinking that only unmarried women have abortions?!?


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