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

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

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

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

I have come to the conclusion that I was wrong.

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

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

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

Changing Tactics and Breaking Ties

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

Banning Abortion Does Not Decrease Abortion Rates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Real Solution: Birth Control

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

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

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

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

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

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

What about the Zygote?

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

Does the Pill Kill?

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

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

Here is how a Life Issues Institute article describes this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Biggest Killer: A Woman’s Own Body

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

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

Without Birth Control:

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

With Birth Control:

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

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

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

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

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

Why No 5K to Save the Zygotes?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ultimate Hypocrisy

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

Barack Obama, Pro-Life Hero?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Making It Harder to Afford Children

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

We’d love to have you join us.


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

What the Ruff, the Spotted Hyena, and the Cuttlefish Taught Me about Gender and Sexuality
What I Love about My Feminist Husband
Fifty Shades of Disagreement: Evangelicals and Feminists on Fifty Shades of Grey
When Men Wax Poetic about My Womb
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.

  • Joe

    Finally, this is a conclusion I’ve reached without all of the number-crunching!

    First, let me say that I hope you pro-lifers keep on amping up the rhetoric. You will lose elections! Second, all of you armchair activists who “say” abortion=murder don’t really think that. If you did armed assaults on clinics/abortion docs/Planned Parenthood would be way more common. Third, if you are a Catholic and you join forces with sexually frustrated, greying patriarchs who REALLY, REALLY want you to focus on abortion then only altar boys will suffer.

    Why doesn’t Tim Dolan attack the Republican Party for its support of capital punnishment? Isn’t that RC teaching? Why doesn’t the Republican Party attack Benny XVI for his “rampant capitalism” rebuke? Why did Tim Dolan support Mitt Romney when his Prophet Joseph Smith called the Catholic Church an “abomination”? Why did nobody attack the Reverend Moon who claimed to finish what Jesus failed to accomplish: unification of all religions under him? The answer to all of these questions is: HYPOCRACY. The Religious Right uses their own limited Biblical isogesis to punnish political dissenters but forgive/ignore the pecadilloes of their own political confederates.

    No wonder the “nones” are growing in number.

    • Rab

      It’s all about control, isn’t it, Joe—who’s going to be one-up and who’s going to be one-down. I agree. I think the Pro-lifers” will elect a lot of Democrats, and that’s all right with me. As far as the “nones” go, spirituality and religion have never been the same. The former is an individual’s relationship with the Creative Force and the latter is about a human hierarchy of authority, power, privilege and money. Some find the former within the latter. Many do not.

  • Michelle

    Libby, thank you for sharing your story and your journey. I can relate to a lot of what you said, as I too was raised in an evangelical pro-life circle. In fact, I’d be surprised if our parents didn’t know eachother! I too have gone through a transformation of thought and have asked many of the questions you are asking. I’d love to collaborate ideas!

  • anita

    “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.”


  • Bluebird

    The article and some comments discussed the zygotes (fertilized eggs) that get flushed out of the body. Zygotes are not life. Life can not be frozen. You can’t freeze a fetus, human, or animal and then revive them but you can freeze a zygote indefinitely. A zygote is potential for life just like an egg or a sperm and nothing more (you can freeze eggs and sperm also). Thinking that zygotes are equivalent humans, I am sorry, is irrational. A zygote being flushed out is natural, normal. Tthe conditions in the uterus were wrong or the zygote itself had a defect, either way nature is most likely eliminating an undesirable pregnancy – call it God’s will if you like. Unless a woman is dealing with fertility issues, zygotes being lost to the menstrual cycle should not be a concern. You start on this road of talk, it makes me think if abortion is murder, then a miscarriage is involuntary manslaughter. Not only can a woman not terminate a pregnancy, take birth control, but she must at all times make sure her womb and hormones are prefectly balanced for pregnancy, even if she doesn’t want to get pregnant. If the body flushing a zygote, is ending a human life, then why not random uterine tests to make sure women aren’t unintentionally killing human life? Fines if they aren’t monitoring their hormones.

    I enjoyed the article (and winning one over to the darkside… bwhahaha). Seriously, no pro-choice person likes abortion, many even think it is immoral, and no woman wants to have an abortion. Pro-choice people do want reduce unwanted pregnancies and birth control is the most rational way. Since the topic is so divisive, I wish there were no unwanted pregnancies and the topic was moot.

    • puzzled_one

      “Call it God’s will if you like.”

      But that’s exactly what it is.

      ” You start on this road of talk, it makes me think if abortion is murder, then a miscarriage is involuntary manslaughter. ”

      Well, abortion is murder – make no mistake about it. You only have to read about Kermit Gosnell.

      As regards manslaughter, why are you playing word games with your conscience?

      Here’s more on manslaughter from Wikipedia – neither of these description apply to a unfortunate woman suffering a miscarriage:

      “It is normally divided into two categories; constructive manslaughter and criminally negligent manslaughter, both of which involve criminal liability.”

    • Anat

      I like abortion. I like it the way I like root canals and heart surgery – really not pleasant, better not needed, but grateful they exist for those who need them.

      • Kennedy

        Go be witness to a late-term abortion and let us know if you still “like abortions”.

      • Alix

        I do!

      • Anat

        As I said, better not needed, grateful it exists for those who need it. Just like root canals and heart surgery.

  • greenpersephone

    Here is a response from a woman who went the other way — a bit lazy of me, but a far more effective way of answering this. Her reasons, and yours, centre around contraception.

  • K. Grady, PhD

    I was given this link to Libby Anne’s blog on Pro-Life in a facebook post by my son’s girlfriend, who is particular about her posts. While I have been aware of the broad strokes of issues involved in this subject, I will admit a good deal of ignorance on its specifics, as so well elucidated by the writer, although I have always supportive of women being in charge of their bodies.
    However, like Libby Anne prior to her transformation, I admit that I did not like the act of abortions, most notably after the later stages of development when the fetus so strongly resembles a person. While I still dislike abortion at this stage, I cannot logically argue that prohibiting it reduces the overall abortion rate, as her reporting of the research on this issue by sources that would seem to reliable. Moreover, her research would seem to show that women will continue to have abortions, even in countries where it is illegal, and that such “illegal” abortions commonly endanger the lives of the women, which I believe, was a central force moving the legislation to legalize abortion in this country.
    Rather than seeking to control us, as those behind the Pro-Life Movement seem focused on, through distortions and propaganda, Libby Anne’s article informs the reader of the facts and perspectives on the relevant political and ethical issues surrounding women’s rights to their bodies, freeing people from prejudice and misinformation, so that they might work to improve conditions for all involved in the human endeavor of living life in a loving and ethical manner.
    Thank you Libby Anne for helping me better understand these issues.

    concerning women’s rights and so that the reader may better understand the issues and determine their own solutions to a difficult issue.
    Thank you Libby Anne for helping make me aware of the nuances involved in the Pro-Life Movement!

  • K. Grady, PhD

    I was given this link to Libby Anne’s blog on Pro-Life in a facebook post by my son’s girlfriend, who is particular about her posts. While I have been aware of the broad strokes of issues involved in this subject, I will admit a good deal of ignorance on its specifics, as so well elucidated by the writer, although I have always supportive of women being in charge of their bodies.
    However, like Libby Anne prior to her transformation, I admit that I did not like the act of abortions, most notably after the later stages of development when the fetus so strongly resembles a person. While I still dislike abortion at this stage, I cannot logically argue that prohibiting it reduces the overall abortion rate, as her reporting of the research on this issue by sources that would seem to reliable. Moreover, her research would seem to show that women will continue to have abortions, even in countries where it is illegal, and that such “illegal” abortions commonly endanger the lives of the women, which I believe, was a central force moving the legislation to legalize abortion in this country.
    Rather than seeking to control us, as those behind the Pro-Life Movement seem focused on, through distortions and propaganda, Libby Anne’s article informs the reader of the facts and perspectives on the relevant political and ethical issues surrounding women’s rights to their bodies, freeing people from prejudice and misinformation, so that they might work to improve conditions for all involved in the human endeavor of living life in a loving and ethical manner.
    Thank you Libby Anne for helping me better understand these issues.

    • e_lizabeth

      Ugh. The NYT is not a reliable source. Why? Because like most media the majority of stories report ONLY what conforms to their agenda. If it doesn’t conform to their agenda, we won’t see it in the Times — or the spin will be so extreme you won’t even recognize the story.
      As the mother of 3, it is obvious to me that unborn children are people.
      It is obvious that abortion kills a baby.
      Less than obvious is the claim of abortion as a right has reduced women to objects of sexual gratification for men, who are more than happy to have sex and abandon their partner if she conceives. Of the children born to women who are unmarried, 41% will grow up in poverty. WHY would anyone want women to endure this kind of existence? Why would anyone WANT to replace a father in the home with a welfare check? I guess you cannot have socialism unless you have government replace dad, and you can’t have the government controlling people’s lives if you do not create a permanent underclass of people who will always look to someone else to be responsible for their actions.
      In practice, prolifers tend to donate extravagantly to supporting unwed mothers. However, in an ideal world, babies would be born to married couples. I do not see how sexualizing 9 to 14 year old girls, for example, helps them in life, although it does make pharma, government, Planned Parenthood, and a host of other parasites much more wealthy, and greatly contributes to the creation of a permanent and dependent underclass of people.
      Having me pay for abortions? No, I don’t think so. Having others pay for your contraception? No. It simply amazes me to see what lengths the lefties will go to steal food from my kids mouths so their lifestyle choices and leftist institutions can be subsidized.

      • Anat

        As the mother of one it is obvious to me that a fetus, even close to birth, isn’t a person, and an embryo (which is what most abortions kill) is even further from being one. How convincing is the argument from ‘it is obvious to me’? Don’t forget that many women who have abortions are already mothers. If motherhood makes it so obvious that abortion kills a person that is evidently not universally obvious.

        Some men have been using women for sexual gratification since the emergence of our species. Women being abandoned by their sexual partners have always been around. It is absence of abortion that would send these abandoned women into poverty (or into deeper poverty than they were already in). Not having abortion as an option will not keep men who do not want to commit around, and families formed not because people want to spend their lives together but out of desperation are not what I would call a good outcome.

        It is better use of the taxpayer’s money to pay for contraception and abortion than for raising children their parents can’t support.

      • Christine

        As someone who intentionally got pregnant, there is no way I can believe that a first trimester pregnancy termination is murder. Otherwise I would never have dared to stop using contraception, because of the large number of deaths that would result naturally.

      • latetotheparty

        “In practice, prolifers tend to donate extravagantly to supporting unwed mothers.”
        do tell, e_lizabeth. where are statistics/documentation of unwed mothers receiving this extravagant aid?

      • Fitz

        “As a mother of 3″. Right, because the simple act of gestation and parturition confers immediate understanding of all things biological and scientific. You know, it boggles my mind how society has changed so that apparently any random personal fact about oneself mitigates and even supercedes scientific and rational arguments. As a scientist and medical doctor, first trimester pregnancies are NOT “children”, for the sole fact that at that gestational age, the embryo/fetus can not survive outside of the human body. Heck, even at a GA of 28 weeks, the baby, if expelled from the body, requires extensive time in the NICU. And before the mid-1900s, we did not have that technology, and the baby would have died. So tell me, how is an 8 week old group of cells (because that is what it is, really, since it can not survive outside of the body, and is still developing) considered a separate life?

        I am religious, and don’t believe (FOR MYSELF) in premarital intercourse. However, I understand that that’s not realistic for the vast majority of the population. Basically, your entire argument is founded upon the fact that if anyone gets pregnant outside of wedlock, it is because they are a dirty slut, and you, who is oh, so virtuous should not have to pay for their mistakes. “Taking food out of your kids’ mouths” indeed! It is not about lifestyle institutions or being a leftie – it is simply about caring for another human being! It amazes me that you, who claim to care about a clump of cells, are so cavalier about a living being human being who is in dire straights simply because they have made choices that you did not or with which you disagree. That is the epitome of hypocrisy.

      • Rosie

        It’s a small thing, but I want to point out that “married” in no way automatically confers the ability, desire, or willingness to become a parent. I’ve been married for a dozen years now, and am no more ready or willing to parent now than I was when I was 17 and single.

      • M C

        I have no idea what the NY Times has to do with this discussion. It appears that this commenter has decided to share her opinion without reading the article at the top of the page. The ideas are quite muddled, but what comes through loud and clear is that they are copied direct from a right-wing agenda, with no detour via a working brain.

  • mhckxpor

    We have found the source of evil… and it is you!

  • Kayla

    it is my body, and with it i will do as I please. It is not up to any organization or government to make decisions about what I do with it for me. I appreciate that some people believe the things the bible says, and i do not wish to disrespect those beliefs, but i do request the same respect to be given to me and my beliefs. My beliefs do not happen to coincide with those who are catholic or christian. I do not believe in heaven and hell… and so abortion and birth control do not bother me in the least. A woman has every right to choose for herself what is right for her, it should not matter in the slightest what some one else who does not even know her thinks she should do.

    What about all the sperm that are lost on a regular basis to masturbation?? should that be illegal too? No, because that is ridiculous.. but it is a sin right? Where are the campaigns against ejaculation? Shouldnt there be pickets outside teenage boy’s bedroom windows to shame them out of touching themselves? Why is it that if they don’t masturbate they will inevitably ejaculate anyways? Don’t you think that is a little flawed? and so by the rules they are going to hell right? But why is it that they get to choose and women don’t?

    there are arguments for either side in this, and the only thing that makes any of those things right are the personal beliefs of those reading and writing them. No one person is more right than the other.. we can argue until we are blue in the face and still there will be some thing that can be used as an opposition to the other side. It is pointless.

    Like the article states, it is not about the unborn babies it is about controlling how women use their bodies and I am not interested in those who feel they can appoint themselves the authority on my body or anyone else’s , who gives them the right?

    To be pro-life seems to me the same as assuming that you are then also the authority on what others should believe and that your beliefs are right while their’s are wrong. Like i said before, i do not care what you believe, but at least do me the same courtesy.

    • latetotheparty

      brava… but your last sentence falls a bit flat, because most if not all of those you are addressing actually _do_ extend ‘the same courtesy’ – of not caring what you believe…

  • Chuck

    You are intelligent and obviously concerned for and involved in the ultimate goal of improving the lives of people. That said, you still have to answer the question of when does a human life begin. When does a child have the inalienable right of life. If I understand you after a complete
    reading, it appears that you would by law protect those rights beginning when the umbilical cord is cut. Have I understood you correctly regarding the legal beginning of life? Thank you in advance for your response.

    • phantomreader42

      Chuck, did you notice that you completely erased the WOMAN from the situation? Did you even consider HER rights for an instant? No, of course you didn’t, because you know that denying the humanity of women is the only way to enforce your vile agenda.

      I don’t believe the fetus-fetishist bullshit that an embryo is somehow magically a human being at the instant of conception, and I see no reason to take that delusion seriously, especially given the fetus-fetishists dismal failure at being honest or consistent about it. But when it gets right down to it, I don’t really give a flying fuck if a fetus is a person or a parasite or a magical unicorn. Because an actual, living, breathing WOMAN is UNAMBIGUOUSLY A PERSON WITH FULL HUMAN RIGHTS! If a woman is not a person, then the term has no meaning or relevance. And as a person, she has the right to decide who uses her organs, and whether or not she wants to spend nine months risking her life and health for a parasite. That is HER decision, not something a pack of delusional old men and their imaginary god get to choose for her. There is no way for the fetus-fetishists to get their way other than erasing the rights of the WOMAN (just like Chuck just did). And no, they don’t get to do that.

      BTW, any fetus-fetishists who think human beings have the right to hijack the organs of other human beings without consent, please feel free to post your location and blood type. I know some people who could use a kidney. :P

      • Christine

        phantomreader42, may I point out that comparing having an abortion to refusing to donate a kidney isn’t a very good argument. “The law can’t force you to do the right thing here either” doesn’t affect the “abortion is wrong” argument…

        And I’d offer to help, but I’m O+.

      • phantomreader42

        Christine, if a human being has the right to hijack the organs of another human being without consent, at great pain and risk to the owner of said organs (as the fetus-fetishists claim when they pretend a fetus is a human being but a woman isn’t), then anyone who wants a kidney (or any other organ) should have just as much right to kidnap any random fetus-fetishist and harvest their organs without asking permission or providing anesthetic (though I still would recommend anesthetic because without it they’re likely to struggle and risk damage to the organ). The fact that fetus-fetishists think THEY should be allowed to keep control of their own organs, but women shouldn’t, just proves that fetus-fetishists are full of shit.

        I know that a human being does not have the right to hijack the organs of another human being without consent, but Chuck and his fellow cultists apparently do not.

  • best internet forum

    I really appreciate this post. I’ve been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You’ve made my day! Thank you again! “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” by Friedrich Nietzsche.

  • Caitlin

    Science is on the side of the prolife movement. I am genuinely prolife bc I believe that every person has a right to life and that women deserve better than abortion. I came to this conclusion on my own through a deeply personal and sad experience as a child. Science has proven that an unborn child/fetus can sense pain as early as eleven weeks. That means that while their bodies are being mutilated in their mother’s womb, they can feel it. It is torturous for them. Also, insulting my motives and implying that to be prolife is to be deceived does not convince me of the validity of your views. There’s one fact you cannot ignore…. Abortion stops a beating heart. That’s huge and I’m sorry you have come to the point where you can overlook that biological FACT, but I cannot.

    • Rosie

      “Abortion stops a beating heart”…though at 5 weeks gestation, when I had my abortion, even that’s somewhat iffy. (I saw the ultrasound; the pregnancy looked like a pea.) A chicken sandwich stops a beating heart for sure, and a chicken has enough neurological function to actively fight its own death besides. That hasn’t stopped me from eating meat though, because I need to do so to survive (some people can be vegetarian, or mostly so, with no ill effects, but I am not one of those). You can argue that abortion is inherently inhumane (I disagree, based on my knowledge of human development and on the fact that most abortions occur in the first trimester, when the embryo has less neurological function than the aforementioned adolescent chicken), but that won’t stop women from choosing that option if they feel they need to do so for their continued survival. No more than it stops most of us from eating meat.

    • Anat

      What is your evidence that an 11-week-ol fetus can feel pain? this is not the medical consensus.

      See Fetal pain: a systematic multidisciplinary review of the evidence.

      From there:


      Pain perception requires conscious recognition or awareness of a noxious stimulus. Neither withdrawal reflexes nor hormonal stress responses to invasive procedures prove the existence of fetal pain, because they can be elicited by nonpainful stimuli and occur without conscious cortical processing. Fetal awareness of noxious stimuli requires functional thalamocortical connections. Thalamocortical fibers begin appearing between 23 to 30 weeks’ gestational age, while electroencephalography suggests the capacity for functional pain perception in preterm neonates probably does not exist before 29 or 30 weeks. For fetal surgery, women may receive general anesthesia and/or analgesics intended for placental transfer, and parenteral opioids may be administered to the fetus under direct or sonographic visualization. In these circumstances, administration of anesthesia and analgesia serves purposes unrelated to reduction of fetal pain, including inhibition of fetal movement, prevention of fetal hormonal stress responses, and induction of uterine atony.

      Evidence regarding the capacity for fetal pain is limited but indicates that fetal perception of pain is unlikely before the third trimester. Little or no evidence addresses the effectiveness of direct fetal anesthetic or analgesic techniques. Similarly, limited or no data exist on the safety of such techniques for pregnant women in the context of abortion. Anesthetic techniques currently used during fetal surgery are not directly applicable to abortion procedures.

      Very few abortions are performed in the third trimester, mostly because of serious complications or late-discovered fetal defects. If access to abortion in early pregnancy were easy for all the demand for later abortions would decrease even more.

      Can you please explain the relevance of fetal heartbeat? The heart is just a muscle that pumps blood. It is not the seat of emotions, the ‘soul’ (what is that anyway?) or anything else.

  • Caitlin

    And btw….. I have no desire to control anyone’s sexuality and I, along with the vast majority of crazy prolifers, am not again birth control. Only destroying the body of a living human.

    • Monimonika

      So… you would be against abortions for ectopic pregnancies, right? Since you place so much emphasis on fetal heartbeat, you must logically be in complete agreement with laws that prevent abortions of any kind (even for clearly doomed pregnancies) being performed unless the heart of fetuses stops beating on its own. Even if the pregnancy is or will be harming/killing the pregnant woman/girl.

      Order of importance: Heart muscles > body of the incubator

  • Kim McLilith

    I really enjoyed reading this. I am a sex-positive, polyamorous, pansexual feminist and I see a lot of crap from repressed and ignorant people all over the internet. As someone who NEVER wants to have children (a growing trend) The prospect of “waiting until marriage” is utterly lost on many of my kind.
    1. How does one avoid pregnancy AFTER marriage?
    2. Why should I HAVE to marry one person if I love ALL my partners equally?
    3. Would marriage be required for my same-sex partners as well?

  • Just Wondering

    I have a question: Why are other forms of birth control (like a condom, for one) not ok with those people who think preventing implantation with hormones is an abortion? The sperm never even comes in contact with the egg in this case. If we had widespread sex education and ONLY PROMOTED CONDOMS it would still prevent a lot of unwanted pregnancies. A lot of times, however, these organizations don’t like ANY form of birth control. Why? It doesnt make any sense and doesnt support the argument at all. Unless, of course, it TRULY is about CONTROLLING a woman’s sex life.

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  • Bubs

    If contraception is the answer, why then do we have a mass slaughter of unborn children every year in an age of modern medicine with a plethora of contraceptives at hand?? It is obvious contraception/education is not working. What we are told is that the embryo, foetus is a bunch of cells and is not human but a potential person. Why is that? Because we are taught in biology that the ‘clump of cells’ goes thru various evolutionary stages – similar to our ancestors. Therefore abortion cannot be baby killing can it? Just removing a product of conception – a blob ‘science’ tells us is part of an evolutionary process. Right?
    The human fetus and embryo do not go thru any so-called evolutionary process. This idea was coined by the 19thC German zoologist Ernst Haeckel – a rabid supporter of Darwin. He produced a set of drawings trying to show that the human inside the womb is no different to other animals at the same stage of development in their respective wombs. This nonsense was shown to be a fraud soon after Haeckel published his work. In 1995, photos were taken of the same embryos all at the same stage of development in the womb. There is no similarity with us – no infamous ‘fish stage’ or ‘gill slits’ etc. The false world view of evolution underpins pro-abortion thinking. It is the main reason why we have such a mass genocide of baby killing. In evolutionary thinking, there are no absolutes, other than personal opinion & the collective opinion of many. Truth can therefore be redefined. Humanity can and has been redefined, no longer created in the image of God, but a product of re-arranged pond scum over millions of years. Atheism says there are is no God, no ethics, no ultimate moral authority, no purpose to existence other than to pass on our DNA.

    Have you noticed our western society, once founded on biblical principles has now deteriorated – primarily because the Biblical world view was replaced by a Godless one – humanism, along with all its adjunct evil and misery. Survival of the fittest – if you don’t fit in we will eliminate you from society. Here is an example of how the anti-God thinking goes. Unborn baby is substituted for 2year old (2yo) to show how horrific pro abortion arguments are:
    A 2yo is so disruptive and causing such heartache for his solo mother that she wants him killed, and people support her “right to choose” to kill her own child in the following ways (paralleling many “pro-choice” arguments):
    1.How dare you pass judgment on the woman, when you have no idea what she’s going through?
    2.You’re a male, so you have no right to comment.
    3.It’s the right of every 2yo to be wanted.
    4. No one’s forcing you to kill your own 2yo.
    5.Keep your church out of my home!
    6.We’re not pro–killing-2yos, we’re pro-choice.
    7.We want to make 2yo-killing safe, legal and rare.
    8.If we make laws against this, then those who are rich enough will be able to hire a hit man to kill the toddler, while the poor could not afford this, so such laws would discriminate against the poor.
    9.Unless you are prepared to adopt this child, you have no right to tell the mother that she should not kill her.
    10.If we don’t make it possible for the mother to kill her 2yo safely, then she’ll do it unsafely and possibly put her own health in danger.
    11.Laws against 2yo-killing would violate the woman’s right to privacy, which judges tell us is in the US Constitution.
    12.It’s speciesist to give a Homo sapiens 2yo so much more protection than a chimpanzee 2yo.
    13.You’re opposed to killing 2yos only because you’re a religious fanatic.
    14.The child was conceived by incestuous rape, and her existence is a continual reminder to her mother of what happened, so she should die because of her father’s crime.
    15.Stem cells could be harvested from this 2yo that could help cure many horrible diseases and disabilities—you religious fanatics want to stop this scientific research and cut off all hope of a cure for Alzheimer’s, heart disease, Parkinson’s, quadriplegia and diabetes.
    Reference for these arguments and Heackel’s fraud can be found at

    Trust this sheds some light on the subject

    • Nea

      It sheds light on your ability to come in very late and miss the point by miles, certainly. I think you miss the point of your talking points too: I notice that two of them do not address “killing a 2yo” and are actually basic statments of human rights. Can you figure out which two?

  • Chris Noonan

    Who cares who says its wrong, the fact remains and you can cover it anyway you want, abortion is murder, if it makes you feel better to say its only a bunch of cells or its a womens right to have control over her body, what about rape and incest, well what about!!! it only 2 percent of abortions are because of rape/incest, so lets talk about the other 98% so women have to have rights but what about responsibilty??? oh thats right he forgot the condom and we went too far, oh I can take the pill, I am allergic to condoms, I was too drunk, I thought it was a safe time, I can’t have a baby now its not the right time for me , Familiar???, but it doesn’t matter does it if you fall pregnant , no matter just exercise your rights and flush that bunch of cells down the toilet, what about if your 1/2 way along no problem you can just have the “Foetus” dumped in a cold metal dish to fight for breath and eventually die. Dont like what I have just said??? well as Nicholson so succinctly put it “you cant handle the truth” and for those reading this that have had an abortion many of you will suffer guilt and loss your whole life, so have your rights with your body but for your own sake as well as the babies take responsibility for your body as well

    • FlSam

      Let me guess….you’re against the Pill as well. So really, you are NOT pro-life, you are pro-forced birth. You can cover that little bit of misogyny up any way you want, but it won’t change reality.

    • Rab

      Chris, there is one simple fact here. If you can never get pregnant, this issue is none of your business.

  • Cassi Dupuy

    I loved the blog post! I SO agree with what you’ve said, and found some really useful tips here as well.

    • Sharon Campbell

      What you saying is very surprising considering the fact that 56,000,000+ million babies have been aborted in the United states since the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision an and over 1.3 billion worldwide since 1980. Compare to about 1, 5000,000 soldiers that gave their lives in all the wars combined in the entire history of the United States of America and the 50-70 million people from many nations that died worldwide during World War Two. After 30 years she (Norma McCorvey known as Roe) left the pro-choice movement to tell the truth and the horrors of abortion; she just couldn’t do it anymore so she travels the nation to tell of her experiences. The pro-abortion movement can say that they reduce abortion! Of the fifty-six+ million babies who lost their life about a half of them would have been females that would have, had the ability to grow up and re-produce, but they are not there to reproduce or for that matter have abortions. Of course there will be fewer abortions since there are fewer people as a result of years of abortions, especially in Black community.
      Therefore the science does not work to say, that the pro-abortion or pro-choice movement reduce abortions. How do you figure that out when you are decreasing the amount of females that would be there to have babies or choose to have abortions because they never had a chance to live themselves?
      Have you wondered why is it that the nation is only 11-12% black but 35% of all babies aborted are black? Well everyone needs to watch the series “The Black Holocaust on YouTube and read up on all the materials presented there”. Abortion didn’t just happen; it was a planned assault on the less desirable of society, not just of the former black slaves but also the diseased, the cripple and the mentally ill. Much more to say but I will save it for another time.

      • Jenn

        …What? Did you even read her article?

        Pro-life is actually pro-choice. It’s choosing ignorance. I wonder if available contraception might have been able to play a part in the 56,000,000 lives lost to abortion, or perhaps you think that illegalizing abortion would have brought the number down. I would bet that more Black children are aborted because Black communities had/have less available contraception and therefore more unwanted pregnancies. But birth control is evil to you, isn’t it?

        Again, I don’t believe you read this article because it doesn’t refute any of your claims, it just shows how your claims are completely inconsistent with reducing abortions. Yes, there have been lots of abortions since 1973, LOTS of them, but illegalization is not the answer. Birth control is the answer.

        In addition, individuals make the choice to have abortions. The practice is not a “planned assault.” It is called “unplanned pregnancy” and it is a tragedy for women who find themselves in such a circumstance. Banning abortion is like closing your eyes, plugging your ears, and screaming “Nah nahnah nah naaah, now it’s not happening!” When in reality it is. In an alley, with a coat hanger. You aren’t saving lives, you are destroying the lives that are already here.

    • Mike

      More contraception results in more sex which results in more pregnancies and therefore more abortions. This link part 3 shows it
      Also, the statistics Libby Anne used on abortion rates are based on the number of abortions per woman, not per unborn child. Plus, common contraceptive devices like IUDs, plan Bs, and ellas cause abortions directly and were likely not counted in her statistics. I also find two other interesting things. For one, many people who support the contraception and abortifacient mandate (which covers abortion inducing drugs and devices as well, not just birth control pills) are people who claim to be Pro-Choice. How does forcing employers to give out abortifacients and not giving them a choice mean these people are being Pro-Choice and giving them a choice? Also these people claim to want to keep the government out of people’s bedrooms despite forcing businesses to give out items like birth control pills and IUDs that are used in the bedroom. Libby Anne also shows support for Obamacare, which forces people to pay for abortions with their taxes and not giving them a choice. So much for being Pro-Choice.

      • Michael Busch

        >>More contraception results in more sex which results in more pregnancies and therefore more abortions<<

        No. That is offensively inaccurate bullshit.

        The failure rates of effective contraceptives are _independent_ of how often people have sex. IUDs, implants, and pills work by suppressing ovulation and fertilization. No zygote.

        And even for condoms, which have a failure rate proportional to the amount of sex people have, your statement is incredibly wrong. Demographics: 85% of women having unprotected intercourse become pregnant within 12 months. That rate typically drops to 15% for women whose male partners use condoms. So you are off by a factor of six in the worse case, and a more than a factor of 1000 in the best case. See

        Contraceptives are not abortifacients, and a business is _not_ a person. Cut the bull.

      • Michael Busch

        @myself: To clarify: that should be the failure rate “typically drops to 15% for women whose male partners use condoms, when no other contraceptive method is being used”. The best results are obtained by stacking different methods of contraception. 0.05%/year failure rate for implants and 0.2%year for IUDs can be reduced by another factor of 6 or more with condom use. And of course condoms are also used to reduce STI transmission.

      • Nea

        How does forcing employers to give out abortifacients and not giving them a choice mean these people are being Pro-Choice and giving them a choice? Also these people claim to want to keep the government out of people’s bedrooms despite forcing businesses to give out items like birth control pills and IUDs that are used in the bedroom

        The First Amendment says my employer cannot force me to live according to my employer’s religion if it conflicts with my own. That means my employer cannot use a religious reason to deny me any part of health care under law. “Obamacare” closes the loophole that allowed a pro-life employer to deny me birth control, a privilege no other religious belief has ever been afforded anyway – a Jehovah’s Witness employer never could deny me a blood transfusion and a Christian Scientist employer could never deny me health insurance in the first place. You are claiming a special privilege that no other religious employer has ever had, the “right” to force your religion on another person, and whining that you’re being persecuted when you’re being stopped from violating other people’s First Amendment rights.

      • AnotherMike

        No, they could not deny you that health-care, they could just ask you to pay for it yourself. It’s extremely common everywhere else in the world for people to pay for their own contraception.

  • Tina B

    I am and have always been pro-choice, though the idea of abortions saddens me. As a teeneager I witnessed the case of a catholic woman having multiple abortions because the pope said that contraception was sinful and just couldn’t get my head arund the idea that abortion was less ‘sinful’. As I have matured, I have known women for whom being forced to carry a pregnancy to term would have been a terrible mistake, both for themselves and for the resulting, unwanted child. I have never had an abortion, I am glad I was never in a position to need one, but do not condemn those who do so even as I wish it weren’t happening for purely emotional reasons. Your post was eye-opening to me too. I am horrified that this issue is being batted about like a political ball and that the religious right are attempting to impose their ignorant dogma onto an entire population in this way.
    Thank you for having the courage to post the truth. I hope that many pro-lifers also read this and take it on board, but I sadly feel that all too many will refuse to open their eyes as they cannot deal with information which conflicts with their heavily embedded belief system.

    • adriene

      So this “catholic” women obeyed the pope and did not used birth control yet went ahead and engaged in sex and abortions?? That makes no sense..

      And I completely disagree with this article.

      • Sarah

        This is exactly the problem with patriarchy. Women are always the ones who get stuck between the double standards: The Church says sex in sinful, while the rest of society encourages it”. In the end, it’s the woman that gets blamed, although she often has no say in either institution; not the church, not the main stream media, both of which capitalize on and encourage “slut-shaming.”

      • Rab

        Remember Eve? A very interesting little story, and central to Western culture.

      • Malitia

        What? If the sex was not extramarital she was adhering to the dogma. Being married doesn’t makes every child magically wanted, you know.

      • Mahndisa

        This is a misguided point of view that shows the author has been taken in by the wiles of the wicked. If the zygote isn’t a human being, what is it? A tadpole? I actually believe that women should be able to take birth control pills if they want but I am avidly pro life. This has caused some friction in the movement but so what? Rare is it when you have 100% agreement with anyone or any organization. What matters is that women are shown that abortion is murder and that there are other alternatives to it. Open adoptions are occurring with increasing frequency and Christian adoption agencies tend to recommend them so the child(ren) will at least know who their parents are and there is a possibility of having some type of relationship with them. Don’t be fooled people. Look at Gianna Jesson and tell me that abortion is okay.

      • Rab

        You have your opinions. You use them to guide your own decisions about your own life. That is appropriate. Making decisions fro strangers who do not share your opinions is inappropriate. Terminating a pregnancy is lawful. An embryo or fetus is not a “baby” or a “person.” What other people do is none of your business.

      • Anat

        A human zygote is not a person. It is an entity that if implanted in a woman’s womb and if the woman were to make the effort to support and sustain it, may eventually develop into a person.

        Abortion is not murder, it is the refusal to allow oneself be used against one’s will.

        Adoptions, open or otherwise, do not solve the risks that women endure by remaining pregnant. Nor are adoptions equally available to all who might want to go this route – minority babies and babies with birth defects are not particularly in demand.

  • Mark

    You said:

    “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.”

    So, this is about “fitting in with one side or another”, instead of going it alone and thinking for oneself?

    You continued:

    “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.”

    Sorry, this is just garbage.

    Let’s go back to the key reason why you went from prolife to pro-abortion.

    You said that you found the “pro-life movement” to be disingenuous in it goals. You make out like it’s the “pro-life/anti-contraception” side versus the “pro-abortion/pro-contraception” movement.

    Excuse me, but can’t you think for yourself? Isn’t their a third way? So you were a pro-lifer who felt that contraception was a way to help reduce the number of abortions? Great! Then why couldn’t you remain pro-life AND hold on to your beliefs in regards to contraception (not necessarily all forms, but at least some)?

    This is just more prattle from somebody who needs to choose a side and hang with a group to validate her opinion. Me? I’m an atheist pro-lifer, and I know that confuses BOTH of the “traditional” sides of the issue (the evangelical pro-lifers and the church-hating pro-abortionists). I’ve had religious fanatics regard me with suspicion just as I’ve had ardent pro-abortionists reject the idea of an atheist pro-lifer. But if the concept of an atheist pro-lifer is too much for them to handle, so be it. I’m me and that’s what counts.

    • M

      Well, Libby Anne also talked about how, while the pro-life side is disingenuous, she realized that they wanted to control women instead of saving babies. When she realized that pro-life is in fact all about controlling women no matter how you feel about the babies, she called herself pro-choice. You cannot be pro-life and also Humanist. You cannot be pro-life and a feminist. Every woman has the right to choose for herself whether she wishes to temporarily donate an organ to a parasite that might turn into a human being, just as you have the right to decide whether to donate your organs to save another’s life.

      • KFla

        I honestly do not understand when people say you can’t be pro-life and a feminist. In reality, the pro-life movement is protecting the life of not only the unborn child, but also of the mother. Think about it. Abortion hurts women (yes it can help in cases where the woman’s life is at risk–>8% of cases according to the Guttmacher Institute) in that it can lead to depression (42% according to this study done in New Zealand, anxiety, and other mental health risks. The pro-life movement looks far beyond a temporary crisis and worries about the well-being of the mother far beyond the year of pregnancy. It offers dignity and love and resources from women’s care centers with free prenatal screenings to a year’s worth of free diapers to free cribs and baby toys. This is far more than the pro-choice side does: it offers abortions and not much else in terms of resources and information (at least unbiased information). Be careful equating pro-life with anti-women. Pro-life pro-women is more accurate.

      • Rosa

        every pregnant woman is more at risk of dying if she carries to term, than if she has a legal abortion. Statistically, at least.

        Lying doesn’t help your cause at all.

      • Nea

        I honestly do not understand when people say you can’t be pro-life and a feminist.

        Because some of us think Savita Halappanavar’s life and health was more important than preserving a fetal heartbeat against her will.

        Don’t complain about people not looking for “unbiased” news and then cite LifeNews as factual, especially when there are studies that prove the exact opposite of what you want to see. Don’t try to convince anyone who knows anything about childbirth that 1 year of diapers and toys constitutes “dignity and resources” “far beyond the year of pregnancy.”

      • Michael Busch

        KFla >>In reality, the pro-life movement is protecting the life of not only the unborn child, but also of the mother. Think about it. Abortion hurts women <<


        Risk of death from a normal uncomplicated pregnancy: 8.8/100,000 pregnancies.
        Risk of death from an 1st-trimester clinical abortion: 0.6/100,000 procedures.

        By that measure, abortion is _14_ times safer than pregnancy. I give references:

    • Beutelratti

      And you also seem to be a man so tell me again how you should have any right to tell a woman what she does with her body?

      “Excuse me, but can’t you think for yourself?” This is also utter ridiculous because Libby Anne showed quite clearly how thinking for herself made her distance herself from the pro-life movement. I think you’re the one who needs to do some thinking and maybe read this atircle again without your “BUT ABORTION!!! THE HORROR!!!”-glasses.

      • Sharon

        My God this is so…..scary when 56,000,000 babies have been aborted in the United States since 1973 and 1.3 billion worldwide since 1980 and people are speaking as if babies are just disposable. What if someone says I have too many children I am going to get rid of the youngest one: “she is only 5 days old and not too far from a late term partial birth abortion.” Would you anything to say? What is the difference between an abortion at 25 weeks, and a baby that lives after being born early at 25 week, only to have the mother say five days later: “well I didn’t really want any more kids, she is only 25 week and has only been born for 5 days, I don’t want her just get rid of (kill) her. I bet you would think that was wrong? What about the babies being killed by a deadly vacuum, pulling apart its body, limb by limb, until it is dead and not breathing. Oh we shouldn’t talk about the reality of abortion; we should lie and pretend as if it harms no one but shoot a pregnant deer and see what the government will say. The American eagle that is no longer near extinction is protected to a fault; if you are found with a feather you’re in trouble. A person will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law with a charge of murder for killing a 1 day old baby, a five year boy or a sixty year old woman but it is her right to get pregnant as many times as she wants to and to kill all of her babies as long as she does it before it is born and is considered born and human. May God help us and have mercy upon us and forgive our land as the blood of fifty-six million+ babies cry out from the soil as did the blood of Abel in the Garden of Eden.
        They are human: who will protect them and what about their rights, both males and females.

      • Rab

        The bald eagle was endangered, in part because of habitat loss due to human overpopulation and thoughtless development.

      • Malitia

        Emotional manipulation brings you nowhere, so “What’s your solution?”.
        The facts:
        1) Banning abortion just creates higher maternal-mortality rate (if I remember correctly Romania’s tripled), more infanticides, abandoned children and crime (desperate parents, abandoned bigger children, back alley doctors etc.). And would also just make the rich practice abortion tourism (as in Ireland) because where is demand there will be supply (Capitalism 101).
        2) Homo Sapiens is not an endangered species but one with a serious overpopulation problem (as we have no natural predators to regulate our excessive population growth). We would be seriously screwed (humanitarian catastrophe level screwed) if there were 1,8 billion more of us and we would probably not only kill but eat each other.

      • Rab

        Well, there would be water shortages, plagues, wars. Nature takes care of things in merciless ways.

    • Malitia

      I just want to know where those pro-abortionists they keep talking about are as I never saw any and I was pro-choice all my life. And by pro-choice I mean: “Abortion is morally ambiguous but sometimes necessary or the lesser evil, so it should remain legal and accessible until someone comes up with a better solution.”
      Which (“What’s your solution?”) was by the way my question to all the pro-life people I ever met. To date all either dodged or refused to answer altogether. Almost as if they were only concerned about unborn people and never thought about the possible effects of an abortion ban or about the motivations behind abortion (outside of generic slut shaming).

      • Anat

        The pro-abortion people are in this thread and elsewhere. I am one. I don’t consider abortion morally ambiguous, from the aspect of the fetus. I see it as a medical procedure like any other, which should be performed as needed like any other. It would be good to reduce the need for abortion like it would be good to reduce the need for heart surgery – not because there is anything morally ambiguous about heart surgery but because being healthy in the first place involves more happiness and less suffering than being sick, having surgery and recovering. Similarly not getting pregnant when one doesn’t wish it is healthier and less stressful than having one’s contraception fail and having an abortion, but there is no moral reason not to use abortion as a means to get one’s life back where one wants it to be going.

    • ladyvanda

      Well, if you’d read the post, you would know the point isn’t about “sides”, she couldn’t call herself pro-life (as in “in favour of criminalizing abortion”) because she had read that legal abortion did not increase abortion rates.
      You can look at the study and decide for yourself if you find it compelling, and argue your point. If you reject it, you can explain why, if you accept it, you are pro-choice (unless you have some sort of messed up “criminalize abortion to increase abortion rate” position, which I will assume you do not).
      It’s not about sides, it’s just about accepting or rejecting a claim. People may have different reasons why they accept or reject that claim, but if a person believes legal abortion reduces abortion rates, that person is called pro-choice. Same as with atheism. If you do not accept God propositions, you are an atheist. There’s no “I’m half a theist and half an atheist”.
      In this case, the only person seeing pre-packaged “sides” seems to be you, not the writer.

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  • Alice

    Great article. The comments are also interesting and indicative of a debate that is so tired and ridiculous, and uncuriously led by lots of swinging dicks. I feel terrible for Libby Anne that she grew up in a radical pro life household. All this endless internal dialogue and soul searching to come to what is such an obvious conclusion. FYI Jesus is pro-choice. Clowns.

  • Sarah

    The pro-life/pro-choice issue is so massively complicated and often gets boiled down to defensive, oversimplified arguments. This article did an amazing job of looking at not just what we think about this topic, but WHY: what institutions have influenced our thoughts, and what are their motives? This should really be what we are all asking ourselves.

    You did an incredible job of taking both sides into account, relying on facts, and thinking up complex solutions that match the complexities of this issue. There has to be a division between God and human corruption for the sake of power, and I think you did an excellent job of articulating this in an honest but non-threatening way.

    Hurrah for educated opinions! Hurrah for good research and critical thinking! Keep up the good work!

  • Pingback: Why No 5K to Save the Zygotes? | 20 Times Around the Block()

  • Skarlet

    “The reality is that so-called pro-life movement is not about saving babies. It’s about regulating sex.”

    I read your article, and I understand how you came to this conclusion, but the conclusion itself is entirely wrong. The point of banning abortion is the same as banning murder or rape: those things still happen a lot, but the law about it clarifies that it is believed to be wrong; it clarifies that this culture does not condone rape, and does not see some types of people as “okay to murder.” The point of banning abortion would not be to make more abortions happen, or to make abortion dangerous (it already is dangerous for the woman, by the way, hardly a day goes by that I don’t see an article about a new case of a woman being injured through “safe and legal” abortion techniques) – the point of banning abortion would to say that the society does not think that murdering babies is any more moral than murdering a full grown human.

    “…leaving an exemption for those who become pregnant from rape.” Most don’t believe in the rape exception. I mean, I myself know an 8-year-old boy who was the product of a rape. I don’t think that makes it okay to kill the boy. He’s a sweetheart.

    “They would be raising money for research on why half of all zygotes fail to implant and working to prevent miscarriages.” But you see, there is a difference between trying to prevent all natural deaths (including death by old age) and trying to say that intentional killing should be outlawed. Natural deaths are natural, and physicians work on ways to prevent death by anything from gun shot to miscarriage to cancer to old age, and everything else inbetween. That’s their job, and everyone supports them. ProLifers, on the other hand, are not primarily doctors trying to prevent natural deaths (though they support that), but are primarily trying to take a stand against intentional killings.

    I mean, back in the days of the Nazis, you could tell a German, “Why bother hiding Jews? Your time is better spent working on a cure for cancer! You need to prevent THOSE deaths.” And they could rightfully say, “the doctors are working on finding a cure for cancer, but in the meantime, I can’t just let the Nazis kill these Jews here. We need to protect them.” That’s what the ProLifers stand for: stopping the unjustified taking of a innocent life. And yes, all scientists agree that babies in the womb are A-Human and B-Alive. They have the right not to be murdered as much as any human does.

    “It’s about controlling women.” Well sure. Laws against theft also “control” men and women, to try to prevent them from harming each other. If controlling people is always wrong, we should make everything legal and let people make their own choices about who to rob, and who to hurt.

    • phantomreader42

      Skarlet, your lies have all been debunked, months ago. Regurgitating fetus-fetishist propaganda on a months-old thread won’t magically make your sick death cult’s lies true. Your cult stands for denying the rights and humanity of women, nothing more. You don’t really think of fetuses as human, except in the sense of human shields you can hide behind when you get called on your foul agenda of rape, torture, and child abuse.

    • phantomreader42

      Here, Skarlet, try this link. It shows how your cult reacts to any suggestion of helping living women or born children: by recoiling in horror.

  • Tamar H.

    I have a lot of sympathy with your feelings. I also think that the pro-life movement’s opposition to greater birth control access and failure to promote policies that would make motherhood more affordable for women in crisis rightly discredit it among many people, including those who truly wish to see fewer abortions.
    However, I have a few problems with your rationale. First, I’ve seen the “Abortion still happens at the same or higher rates in countries where it’s illegal–it’s just unsafe” argument before, and I really think that’s comparing apples and oranges. Of course abortion still happens in developing countries that prohibit it–like in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. The actual ability of the government to enforce law in those countries is sporadic at best. Of course abortions in those countries end in death or injury to the woman more frequently. There has always been a shortage of trained medical personnel and supplies in those countries and legalizing abortion alone isn’t going to change that.
    On the other hand, there are countries that have established rule of law which prohibit or severely restrict access to abortion to certain cases (e.g. the woman’s life is at risk.) Generally these countries have lower abortion rates than countries with broad legalization on abortions–at least within their own borders. Examples include the Republic of Ireland and several Middle Eastern countries. And realistically, even in countries that offer abortion on demand (yes, including the U.S.) there are many cases of women suffering severe injury and even dying from abortions—much more than pro-choicers would like us to believe.
    Secondly, you cite this article to establish that the weight of scientific evidence suggests the birth control pill does not prevent implantation. When most people refer to “the birth control pill” they mean the combined oral contraceptive. But the article is actually about the “Plan B” pill (emergency contraceptive)—which, although made using similar hormones is intended to be taken in a very different manner. (A one-time use after sex, not daily use prior to sex). The article actually says that “daily birth control pills” are more likely to cause the zygote to slip through than Plan B because taking the hormones consistently over time is more likely to affect the endometrial lining than just a one-time dose.
    I was also kind of confused by the change from “6-16% of zygotes slip through without birth control, depending on whose statistics you use” to “50% of all zygotes – 50% of all fertilized eggs – die before pregnancy even begins.” Where did that last statistic come from?
    In principle, I agree that people who claim to want to prevent abortion should be in favor of greater access to birth control and better safety nets for women who face unplanned pregnancy. I still think that legally prohibiting abortion can have benefits and is a worthy, though somewhat unrealistic, goal. And counseling men and women to refrain from having sex until they’re in a position to potentially have children is also a worthy goal.

    • Nea

      I’ll leave someone else to correct your statistics and focus on this: counseling men and women to refrain from having sex until they’re in a position to potentially have children is also a worthy goal.

      No. No it isn’t. It’s none of your business why other people have sex. It’s none of your business to monitor fertility. It’s none of your business how people define if they are ready for children. None. Of. Your. Business.

      Counsel men and women to *mind their own business!* THAT is a worthy goal!

    • j

      “counseling men and women to refrain from having sex until they’re in a position to potentially have children is also a worthy goal”. I don’t think so. That’s really unrealistic and intrusive. Annoying the snot of out of people would be the main outcome of such counseling. We already know from longitudinal studies of abstinence-only counseling of minors that counseling yields increased rates of pregnancy (presumably because it demonizes contraception). Even if sex could somehow be limited to married people, a sizable fraction of younger newly married folks aren’t, in their own opinion, in a good position to have children. It would be ridiculous, and absolutely not a worthy goal, for someone to counsel such folks to refrain from sex. And, who would the counselor be? You? An employee of a nanny state? An employer? A university official if the married folks are students? The Dept. of Defense if they are military service members? Parents of the married adults? Someone with self-perceived religious or moral authority? If so, why would you think someone could impose her/his religious beliefs on another? Ughh… there is just so much wrong with your reasoning from a moral perspective, a human dignity perspective, and an empirical “decreasing the number of abortions” perspective. On the last point, please re-read the article reflectively.

    • Anat

      To whom can the legal prohibition of abortion provide benefit? Not to women who seek abortion. Maybe to busybodies like you who think they have a right to meddle in other people’s bodies. People who prohibit abortions kill women. ‘Life of the mother’ clauses are fig leaves. When a woman has to prove her life is in danger the vagina-monitors start bargaining that the danger isn’t imminent enough. By the time the woman is endangered enough to their taste it is too late and the woman dies.

      FYI, childbirth has a greater risk of death than abortion when the latter is performed according to proper medical standards.

    • Cynthia

      Check this out. Morning after pills prevent ovulation, just like daily birth control.

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  • SRoot61

    Pro-Lifers who know their facts aren’t actually saying the pill kills (with the exception of the <2% of cases when it does because the zygote can't implant correctly). The issue with the pill is that it creates sterile sex when an ovum is not released for months at a time. Studies show that sterile sex often results in a deterioration of sex as a way to love the person you're with, and is replaced by feelings of wanting sex as purely a selfish desire – to get a high while using the other person's body very conveniently to do so. Using a person is always a degradation of their dignity. Sterile sex includes sex with contraceptives (such as the pill), sex between same-gendered couples, and any form of masturbation. This is why the Catholic Church has always taught that contraceptives are not good for us, because the Church is believed to be inspired by God, a God who wants only the "best" for people – "best" meaning what will make the human person happiest and most fulfilled of their deepest, truest desires in the long run of their life, and not for the pleasure in the short term. Continual short term gratification is realistically unsustainable; delayed gratification brings much greater joy and achievement in the long run, and this is often the philosophy of the Catholic Church, and much of why today's world does not agree with the tough-loving ways of the Church. Please feel free to email any legitimate questions.

    • M

      There are absolutely zero studies showing this. Zip. None. Nada. If sex to you is only using someone else to get a high, instead of doing mutually pleasing things to each other, I feel quite bad for you and your partner(s). I’ve had sex with people I love, I’ve had sex with people who I was friends-with-benefits with, and neither was more or less selfish than the other. They just scratched different itches. I didn’t wind up with the guy who was, um, technically best but I don’t regret anything I learned from him either :D.

    • Nea

      Studies show that

      Please cite sources, including use of blind trials.

    • me.all

      what about those married couples who are sterile by God’s hand? What about men who choose to have a vasectomy to save their wives life after being told that the next birth will kill her? What about couples that cant have children because post menopause? What about ABRAM and SARAI in the Bible? do they all fall into that category? Your theory has some holes.

      • SRoot61

        The idea is that humans shouldn’t be making their relationship sterile, but if God so makes it or allows it to be that way, then the couple is still encouraged to love each other with totality and true selflessness (making a gift of one’s self, as wholesome and holy and admirable as one can be, so that the gift to their spouse can be complete). The difference then is that the couple is no longer conflicted with bipolar intentions. That is, wanting to be a total gift to the other, and withholding their fertility from their spouse. The true love of marriage means being open to whatever fruits of their love may come. A child is a blessing – the fruit of a union that is so true and full of love that it creates a whole new creation, that 9 months later you give a name to and get to care for and be in love with for the rest of your lives.
        So for all of the instances except the vasectomy, humans did not seek out that infertility, and so the couple is still free to love each other entirely.
        The issue of a vasectomy in this instance, where another’s life is predicted to be in danger, is where systems like Natural Family Planning become a great option instead of getting the vasectomy done. NFP is 99% effective in avoiding pregnancy if it does not seem in the best interest for the family to have another child, while at the same time, they still leave it open to God’s will, Who may wish that the couple have more children – and Who will bring great good out of the situation, no matter what. Additionally, even when doctors give expectations that someone has x days to live, there are many cases where the amount of time the person lives is, in fact, different from the “x.” This is in no way to insult doctors, but simply to show that human minds, as intelligent as the sciences have facilitated us to be, are never going to be 100% accurate. So when a doctor says, “The next pregnancy will kill her,” we can at least take some hope in the idea that this may not be 100% the way the situation plays out, but in fact that an all-loving God has it in His hands, even if the outcome is not what we would call good.

      • Surroundedbyfanatics

        And this viewpoint is another reason that I have left the Catholic Church and am a happy practising Methodist.

      • Rab

        Well, did God make the house you are living in? Did He develop the grains that sustain you? Did He make your car? Did He weave the fabric for your children’s clothes? Indirectly, you say? Then why aren’t family planning techniques also a manifestation ofn His mind? Because you say so? Do you speak for Him? You know that the leaders of your church are people and that they can, do, and have changed rules for their own human reasons.

    • Michael Busch

      >>Studies show that sterile sex often results in a deterioration of sex as a way to love the person you’re with, and is replaced by feelings of wanting sex as purely a selfish desire – to get a high while using the other person’s body very conveniently to do so. Using a person is always a degradation of their dignity. Sterile sex includes sex with contraceptives (such as the pill), sex between same-gendered couples, and any form of masturbation. <<
      You have not provided any evidence to support your assertions.
      You are also _wrong_. It happens that sexual satisfaction for _both_ partners is in general higher for opposite-sex couples when using contraceptives; although there is some variation between different contraceptive methods. I give a reference: .
      Nor is there anything wrong with masturbation or homosexuality or bisexuality.

  • Kellen

    You have no idea how liberated this makes me feel. How long I’ve struggled with knowing that there were terrible, distressing, destructive inconsistencies with the Pro-Life movement’s policies and their rhetoric. Knowing, somehow, knowing for YEARS, that powerful lobbyists were twisting my beliefs into tools for their political agenda. Yet unable to articulate anything that I felt. I’ve waited so long for what my heart was telling me to make sense. Thank you. Thank you for everything in this article. For the confirmation of much I suspected, for the facts that I never even guessed at, and for the perspective I couldn’t reach on my own. Thank you so much.

  • Jen

    I was raised by pro life protestors. My father was a catholic lawyer and my mother a catholic nurse. I had an unplanned pregnancy at 18 and at first wanted an abortion but then was told I would be expelled from the family. I not only suffered the fact my father was already dead and I had no income, but my mother didn’t either and had four kids to raise. On top of that I was black listed from employment after I did eventually finish college/university as I was raised praying outside abortionists’homes etc and made a pro life speech at uni. After living the reality, being single for ten years, no money, debt and a child who misses out on the basics I think your post is not only informative but holy in a strange way. I love my son and don’t regret him bit oh man do I wish I was given birth control lessons with meaning, not just “take this”but why I should take it. God bless x

  • Ervin Minichiello

    I really like getting the letters, but please really don’t go telling folks they are going to get about one particular a week. I’ve been lucky to have one a month. You need to do a little better than that….or quit the pinocchio stories at the extremely least. If 1 a month is what it is, then that’s what it is.

  • ricky

    My Name is RICKY.I will love to share my testimony to all the people in the forum cos i never thought i will have my girlfriend back and she means so much to me..The girl i want to get marry to left me 4 weeks to our weeding for another man..,When i called her she never picked my calls,She deleted me on her facebook and she changed her facebook status from married to Single…when i went to her to her place of work she told her boss she never want to see me..i lost my job as a result of this cos i cant get myself anymore,my life was upside down and everything did not go smooth with my life…I tried all i could do to have her back to all did not work out until i met a Man when i Travel to Africa to execute some business have been developing some years back..I told him my problem and all have passed through in getting her back and how i lost my job…he told me he gonna help me…i don’t believe that in the first place.but he swore he will help me out and he told me the reason why my girlfriend left me and also told me some hidden secrets.i was amazed when i heard that from him..he said he will cast a spell for me and i will see the results in the next couple of days..then i travel back to US the following day and i called him when i got home and he said he’s busy casting those spells and he has bought all the materials needed for the spells,he said am gonna see positive results in the next 2 days that is Thursday…My girlfriend called me at exactly 12:35pm on Thursday and apologies for all she had done ..she said,she never knew what she’s doing and her sudden behavior was not intentional and she promised not to do that was like am dreaming when i heard that from her and when we ended the call,i called the man and told him my wife called and he said i haven’t seen anything yet… he said i will also get my job back in 3 days time..and when its Sunday,they called me at my place of work that i should resume working on Monday and they gonna compensate me for the time limit have spent at home without working..My life is back into shape,i have my girlfriend back and we are happily married now with kids and i have my job back too.This man is really powerful..if we have up to 20 people like him in the world,the world would have been a better place..he has also helped many of my friends to solve many problems and they are all happy now..Am posting this to the forum for anybody that is interested in meeting the man for can mail him to OGBONISPELLCASTER @ GMAIL.CO M i cant give out his number cos he told me he don’t want to be disturbed by many people across the world..he said his email is okay and he’ will replied to any emails asap..hope he helped u out too..good luck ogbonispellcaster @ m

  • Molly

    I don’t know if anyone will see this or not or quite honestly care to read it at this point, but I am in love with this article.
    For a long time I’ve considered myself “pro-life” and the argument you’ve provided here is just amazing. It really all is true and couldn’t have been better put together. I don’t exactly view a one week old fertilized egg as a human being but once the heart starts beating and everything else, I do consider it a life still, but that’s just my personal feelings.
    However, I’ve never been against birth control and I was aware of pro-lifers being against birth control, I just ignored it when I shouldn’t have. I’m not sure if I can quite call myself pro-choice yet, but if I don’t want people to have abortions, then easy birth control availability is the best possible solution. Plus, all those programs you just stated that help women who have children who can’t afford it sound amazing honestly and I’m not sure why people would be so against that.
    I just wanted to say this article is amazing and it really changed my perspective on calling myself a pro-lifer. I don’t think I can call myself that anymore seeing how contradicting they are.

    • SRoot61

      What about Natural Family Planning as a form of safe and 98% effective birth control?
      Just reading some studies recently about a lot of the other forms of birth control that show a lot of negative effects for women, and this one, though comprehensive, really doesn’t get into a lot of the psychological/depression often associated with most forms of birth control.

      • Christine

        Non-hormonal methods of birth control don’t have issues with depression.

      • Rab

        Pregnancy and birth definitely do. If they didn’t for you, you were lucky. Not everybody has that luck.

      • Michael Busch

        It is misleading to say that fertility-awareness based birth control is “98% effective”. What matters is the failure rate.
        The appropriate statement is that given a group of 10,000 women using fertility-awareness (requiring careful daily monitoring of body temperature and cervical mucus), ~200 will become pregnant every year. Other methods branded as “natural family planning” have much higher failure rates.
        And for comparison, of a group of 10,000 women using copper-based IUDs only ~80 will become pregnant every year. For progestogen IUDs, ~20. For subdermal impants, ~5.
        As noted, the copper-based IUDs are non-hormonal. So is are permanent surgical methods (essure, tubal ligation). The hormonal methods of contraception do have side effects, particularly irregular periods. There were concerns that high doses of estrogen and progestin in the early versions of oral hormonal contraceptives could increase the severity of depression, although they did not increase the incidence. Low-dose hormonal contraceptives do not have this problem.
        There are side effects associated with all means of contraception, but what is missing from the article you linked is the counter-point: the health risks associated with any pregnancy, planned or unplanned. By avoiding those risks, contraceptives improve health overall (i.e. if 1 woman out of that cohort of 10,000 has a serious side effect, but 180 avoid an unwanted pregnancy, that’s a good trade to make).
        I give references:

      • Morri

        Copper IUD’s are poisonous. An IUD works by being an irritant; it keeps
        the uterus in a constant state of low-level inflammation. Now add
        constant toxic metal contact to a warm, moist, inflamed tissue
        environment. It’s insane, and frankly I thought they were banned in the
        late 70′s due to their danger. NEVER use a copper IUD, and in fact,
        IUD’s are not particularly safe, let alone long term. Do your research!

      • tsara


      • Lola Formerly of Broadway

        Some of your information is outdated. The Dalkon Shield was recalled in 1975 because 12 women died out 2.8 million users.

      • Boler

        Actually, recent forms of IUDs are pretty safe and effective. The Dalkon Shield (the specific IUD that caused all of the terrible health problems in the 1970′s) had a faulty design that fostered infection. New versions of the IUD are a good option for many women, even those who haven’t been pregnant before (though many ob-gyns are antsy about giving one to a woman with no children because they have heard about the permanent damage the faultily designed one did to women in the 1970′s). There is a wonderful article on Slate explaining the history of the IUD and why they are popular elsewhere, but not in America:

      • enuma

        There is growing evidence that the constant state of inflammation caused by IUDs blocks viral replication of HPV, which in turn reduces a woman’s risk of developing cervical cancer.

      • gydnew

        I LOVE my IUD! I was a crazy person in tremendous pain for 3 – 5 days every month before having it inserted. I cannot believe I let fear from the 70′s keep me from using it sooner.

      • Rarity

        I love my IUD for the same pain. The extra kick in the gut is that I might be infertile anyway.

      • adnama79

        I was one of the women who couldn’t get an IUD. :(

        My cervix just said no. It would have been great – I can’t tolerate oral hormones and I was hoping, after I had my beautiful son, that the lower dose of localized hormones in the IUD would work for me and that post-baby my body would accept it. Not to be.

        Fortunately for me, consistent condom use resulted in only one (wanted) pregnancy in 17 years with the same guy. I’m a lucky duck.

        As many safe, legal, affordable birth control options as possible, available to all who would use them!!!!!

      • Myrlyn Biffle

        Pregnancy does more harm to your hormones than birth control does. Post-partum depression, anyone?

      • Niemand

        What about it? Even assuming that the 98% figure is correct, that means that about 2 women per 100 using this method consistently will become pregnant each year. If the average woman’s fertile lifetime is about 35-40 years, she has a decent chance of getting pregnant at least once using this method consistently and properly. Then she should…what? Die if she is in poor condition for pregnancy? Have a child that she doesn’t want and ruin both lives? Have an abortion?

      • Uriel238

        I’d be wary of the rhythm method. I suspect the 98% effectiveness rate is according to “correct use” and incorrect use is pretty common, if nothing else because couples will often lose their faculties right around the critical time. (Those that didn’t died out before we had spears.)

        I remember in the 90s, an elegant French biotesting kit to methodize the process was refused (PFDA?) import licensing because it was regarded as a means of birth control. A less accurate one released as a “fertility facilitator” was released in its stead.

      • silent0

        Rhythm method != NFP.

      • Uriel238

        Quoth Wikipedia: “When used to avoid pregnancy, NFP limits sexual intercourse to naturally infertile periods; portions of the menstrual cycle, during pregnancy, and after menopause.”

        Ergo, the rhythm method.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Nope. Wrong. The so called rhythm method was counting days. Billings method goes by the natural forming and easy for most to see the bodily functioning of being fertile or non fertile. Not having intercourse for a few days can make for the return of intercourse after that period of personal restraint a pretty healthy sexual experience. Mmmhmmm :D

      • Uriel238

        When I was in sex-ed the rhythm method tracked temperature, mucus tack and other indicators of fertility and was still called the rhythm method. Semantics, regardless.

        Not a good idea to generalize everyone else’s experiences with your own. Again, unless you have stats saying that correct use of calendar and bio-indicators is high (as it is not for pretty much all other means of birth control) I tend to be skeptical of the 98% effectiveness value.

        Withdrawal is reported as 97% when done right, for Easter’s sake.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Here is the definition of NFP that is widely accepted when practicing natural family planning and family spacing. It will explain the non use of counting days or temperature.

        “The Billings ovulation method doesn’t require any form of rhythm counting, temperature taking, hormonal drugs or devices and allows couples to share in the responsibility of natural family planning.
        This natural birth control method can also be used from puberty to
        menopause, while breastfeeding, and in women who don’t have regular
        menstrual cycles.”

        This method is now newly being taught by some professionals who are trying to help couples conceive. It can work either way, to help you know when you are most fertile in order to obtain conception or to avoid it.

      • Uriel238

        With typical use, 22 out of every 100 women who use the Billings method will become pregnant in one year.

        Good show! Advocating a means of birth control that doesn’t actually work.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        I would suggest your stats are badly incorrect. Plus the use of sarcasm can often hinder a good debate or discussion.

      • victoria

        We really don’t know what the typical use effectiveness rates for NFP are.

        There’s never been a high-quality RCT of any fertility awareness method per Cochrane, which is really the gold standard for evaluating the effectiveness of a medical therapy. (The numbers for method-related discontinuations in the studies they looked at are tremendous.)

        Smoley and Robinson’s 2012 review gives a typical use effectiveness rate for NFP of 76%. This review estimates 97-99% typical use effectiveness, with the studies they cover for Billings specifically showing a typical use effectiveness of 76.7-98%. The studies included in Freundl et al.’s 2010 review had typical use pregnancy rates ranging from 80.4%-98.2%.

        The study cited on the Billings website for efficacy is fatally flawed because it excluded women who had difficulty identifying fertile cervical secretions.

        That doesn’t mean that NFP might not have fairly high effectiveness rates in practice, or that it might not work very well for some couples. As far as typical use effectiveness rates go, however, there’s no reason to think it’s likely to be better than 98% and good reasons to think it might be worse than that — possibly by a large margin.

      • Uriel238

        So is arguing semantics just so that you can waggle your wrong finger. Are we talking fertility based birth control or aren’t we? If you wanted to differentiate between calendar- and symptom-based methods, it would have saved us an exchange if you said so in the first place. But I suspect you just like telling people off.

        Regardless, the quote I posted I took directly from the website to which you linked. Feel free to find me some Guttmacher stats on NFP, if you decide to question your own source. The American journal of obstetrics and gynecology findings appear to report a 25% failure rate (not when couples are stringently monitored and rigorously coached as per perfect use studies. So when doing your own research, be sure you seek studies that that differentiate.)

        EDIT: Dangling prin closed.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        My point in these discussions is not to wag fingers, not to ‘tell people off’ but hopefully to inform and cause less harm. I lay counsel people with issues of infertility, and pregnancy loss. This is a very serious and often heart rending situation for most. People may at one time in life decide they never want children. Later on in life they sometimes change their minds. Sometimes the damage has been done and is not easily reversed if it is at all. I am trying to say simply that if one wants to forgo pregnancy and not use artificial means, the Billings Method is a good healthy method both physically and relationship wise. It does no harm. The ‘failure’ rate of the pill or I.U.D, condom, spermicides and other contraceptive devices when not used perfectly is high. Just one missed pill, one non informed person who may have been put on antibiotics or other medicines can easily up the failure rate. Doctors ‘fail’ to inform about medicine combinations that can effect the use of the birth control pill.They have also failed to inform their patients about history of the harmfulness of I.U.D. use. Depro-Provera has also been associated with long term infertility. Doctors have also failed to inform women that the low dose pill can allow conception but not implantation. In other words, one does become pregnant but the pregnancy cannot survive. What sort of health care is that be when your uterus is continually being effected by a drug that changes the natural chemistry so adversely?
        Even when used ‘perfectly’ these forms of birth control still have a failure rate, plus they can and sometimes do irreversable damage to ones body.

      • victoria

        Personally, as someone with significant medical reasons to avoid pregnancy, I would never choose a method with the typical use numbers even proponents claim for NFP.

        With the number of years of fertility I am likely to have left, that claimed 98% effectiveness means a one in three chance of an unplanned pregnancy at some point. Make that two in three if typical use effectiveness is really 95%. If the multiple studies that show effectiveness of 80% are correct then I’d have a 99.9884% chance of having at least one unplanned pregnancy.

        This is not to say that I think people shouldn’t choose NFP if it meets their risk tolerance for pregnancy and/or it is more concordant with their values. Quite the opposite, actually. It’s just that NFP meets neither of those two criteria for me.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Having significant medical reason to avoid pregnancy, what are you doing that you can be 100% sure of no possibility of pregnancy.?

      • Anat

        Considering the many women who use hormonal methods to improve their lives in ways not related directly to contraception, I’d say you are mistaken. For many women their natural cycle is not benign or not desirable, and the continuous effect of hormonal medications is exactly what they desire.

        And you are showing your ignorance by bringing up ‘historical’ information about IUDs, when present day devices are different ones.

        As for perfect use – it is very easy to use an IUD or an implant perfectly. There is very little the user needs to do. How many couples drop out of using NFP because they realized they were not able to use it perfectly enough for their comfort level?

        (BTW what is your position about the theology that a couple using NFP has to be ‘open’ to pregnancy? And how does that square with the claims for contraceptive efficiency?)

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        The use of hormones to improve a womans life has been very much more cautiously administered by the medical population due to the fact of the now known dangers. What I have been learning of late is that unless there is a very severe lack of hormone that can seriously adversely affect a woman, most cautious doctors will not prescribe.
        My position about the ‘theology’ of NFP is not what I am discussing on the issue of a womans reproductive health. Having any sexual activity can cause pregnancy unless the woman has not the system or complete lack of function. Whether one is or is not ‘open to pregnancy’ there is always that possibility. All prescribed and delivered contraceptive has it’s reason because of this possibility.

      • Anat

        While there has been a move away from hormone replacement therapy for typical menopause symptoms, there are many women of child bearing age who are using birth control pills to regulate their cycles and/or reduce menstrual symptoms. Recently there is in fact a move towards taking hormones back-to-back, reducing the frequency of menstruation or even eliminating it altogether. (This is probably more ‘natural’ than regular menstruation, as it mimics the state of repeated pregnancy.) For many women their natural cycles are not benign, and there is nothing horrible about using hormones to ameliorate their effect.

        I notice you avoided the question about couples dropping out of the use of NFP.

        Yes, pregnancy is always a possibility. What have you got to offer women who use NFP and get pregnant when this is not what they want? I support them having the option of abortion, if upon finding themselves pregnant despite all their efforts to the contrary they decide they do not wish to continue the pregnancy.

      • Uriel238

        Well, considering you’re advocating based on personal bias and without numbers (at all, let alone numbers from valid sources like Guttmacher) I daresay you may well be causing more harm than good in your peer counseling efforts. I hope you advise people at very least to not take your own word for it, but do their own research.

        I doubt it given your expressed distrust of doctors. I wonder, then, who you expect people to trust. Priests and ministers?

        Pregnancy does irreversible damage to ones body (whether it’s complicated or not) so the question of irreversible damage is a bit more nuanced than some versus none.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        The Guttmacher Institute in 1968 was founded as the Center for Family Planning Program Development, a semi-autonomous division of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Center was renamed in memory of Alan Frank Guttmacher, an Ob/Gyn and former president of Planned Parenthood.
        This is how much I would ‘trust’ GI and how it came to be.

        It’s all about Margaret Sanger and the agenda.

      • Uriel238

        The Agenda? Oh do elaborate.

        tl:dr regarding the website. Feel free to choose a qualified journal such as the American journal of obstetrics and gynecology if you prefer. In the meantime Guttmacher is the standard from which both sides generally pull stats because they seek to provide objective data based on facts.

        Of course, there’s a lot of disinformation out there, generally distributed by Pregnancy Crisis Centers whose only purpose is to disuade pregnant women from choosing to abort, even if doing so would be in her best interest.

        As I suggested before, I doubt that any statistics, no matter your source could change your mind. Your loyalty is an ideological one, not one based on truth.

        Feel free to demonstrate otherwise.

      • Niemand

        Depro-Provera has also been associated with long term infertility.

        Is it? I’m not saying you’re wrong, just that I haven’t heard of permanent infertility with it before. Ironically, when I put depo-provera and infertility into pubmed this was what came up:

        The rhythm method certainly doesn’t work perfectly, even with “perfect” use and pregnancy has lasting changes on the body as well. Use it if that’s the risk/benefit ratio you’ve decided is right for you, but don’t tell others what they should do. Or try to scare them into doing what you think is right with dubious and incomplete claims.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        I have known many couples who are in their twenties and early thirties who had been on Depo-Provera and now cannot conceive and many after trying for at least a year. I think if you did google that problem specifically you may find more than just this few.

        I would never try to scare anyone. I do share the facts of the issue and I have been involved in lay counselling for almost forty years for non profit societies who are very cautious about the people they accept. I am properly screen and interviewed and given a three month trial as a counsellor before I have been a regular in these often large volunteer societies. Either crisis lines or similar types of groups that cover the general public.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        We cannot trust pharmaceutical companies to desire what is best for our health. Their main concern generally is to make as much money as posslble as quickly as possible. That is true of many drugs manufactured, contraceptive pills included. There are large legal battles going on now against the manufacturer of a very highly advertised albeit many say false advertising other health benefits.

        Extremely upbeat and popular adverts of a very dangerous drug for many women.

        It would be nice if we as the female human animal would do more to honestly care and help defend each other against those who only want from us.

      • CarynL

        Okay, I’ve been reading through all of your obviously biased comments without remark, but you are the person who posted the article whose stats you are now deeming incorrect! Make up your mind – something isn’t incorrect just because it isn’t what you want to hear.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Depends who’s stats you believe. Skewed they are when all abortion stats are not posted. Not all abortions information is brought forward. I already put some of that information up on this run of replies. I’m never blind to hearing what others are saying. The only things I usually don’t want to hear is bullying, pithy sort of language and attacks on the person, not the information itself.

      • Anat

        Your source claims 78% typical effectiveness. That’s much lower than BCP.

      • StevenHB

        And what about barrier methods such as the condom, female condom, and diaphragm? Are you okay with them?

      • HoyaMama

        In addition to all these comments about “typical use” (more like a 20-25% failure rate) vs. “perfect use,” I dislike the Natural Family Planning method because it is simply unfair. Using NFP depends on the woman forgoing sex at the point in the month when her libido is at its peak–and when, presumably, sex would be most enjoyable and least likely to cause any injury or pain. Men’s libidos peak a lot more frequently than one time per month, so using NFP allows a man plenty of opportunities for high-libido sex. I also think it’s a bad method because it can be very difficult to use, especially for women who have irregular periods. The most reliable NFP methods are temperature charting and monitoring cervical mucus. The temperature charting won’t work so well for women who already have young children or who have other reasons for not getting undisturbed sleep, or women who don’t wake up at exactly the same time every day, or women who don’t sleep in the nude holding a thermometer (you’re supposed to take your temperature, vaginally, after a night of undisturbed sleep, without even sitting up to grab the thermometer from your nightstand). So that leaves manual exploration of your cervix and cervical mucus (not a great method for breastfeeding moms, since they won’t have much even if they are ovulating), which just isn’t everyone’s bag. I think that’s kind of the point of the “choice” in pro-choice. If it works for you, great–but every woman in the world doesn’t have your body, your life, your priorities, or your preferences.

      • tsara

        I’d like to add that NFP is pretty much tailored for stable, non-rapey relationships. If there is sexual coercion, NFP translates to no protection at all, and NFP is a lot of work for someone who isn’t actually planning on having sex all that regularly (or if they’re planning on having sex with people they don’t know all that well; barrier methods are pretty important in those cases).

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        I’ve always prefered to stay clear of putting chemicals into my body so as to control one of the most sensitive parts of my body or the use of bent pieces of metal put inside a part of my body that can be easily be damaged. Always felt that way, just for my own self preservation and respect of this beautiful creation that carries me along everyday. : )

      • tsara

        Congratulations for you?

        I’ve got a piece of bent metal, and I’d be overjoyed if it caused some damage that necessitated the removal of those body parts. I don’t want ‘em.

        And I love using chemicals to control all the various parts of my body. I read as much of the research on the chemicals in questions as I can before starting, I consult my doctor, I consult other doctors, I consult my parents, and I consult my friends. I use the chemicals in full knowledge of the potential side effects.
        I take antidepressants. I drink coffee. I take prescription stimulants for my ADD. I’m a better, more functional human being for taking all of those.

        If spines were designed, then they were designed for quadrupeds, not for upright animals. Natural only means ‘natural’. It doesn’t mean ‘better’.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Antidepressants are used for when one is ill. ADD is also a disorder that needs treating. Pregnancy is not a disease.

      • tsara

        You’re conflating several different medical things there, I think. Depression isn’t a disease. Neither is ADD. They aren’t the body’s response to infection, they’re the body’s response to, well, stress or day-to-day life.

        It’s the body functioning in its usual way; the problem is that its usual way is not the most adaptive way. Medication compensates for the maladaptive response, it doesn’t ‘heal’ or ‘cure’.

        And if I decide that pregnancy is not ideal — for whatever reason — then I would treat it exactly the same way I treat my depression or my ADD. Actually, in my case, I’d probably react more aggressively.

        Pregnancy is scary and gross and invasive for those who never want to experience it. (Have you seen the movie Prometheus? Captured my thoughts on pregnancy exactly. Reading a past Pope’s words on pregnancy triggered me so strongly that I threw up.)
        Pregnancy is not harmless.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Have you ever been pregnant? It seems to me that you react very strongly and not typically to a common non threatening and often extremely happy occasion.

      • Anat

        What is happy to one person is scary, disgusting or otherwise repulsive to another. People are different.

        And don’t forget that pregnancy can be dangerous. An unproblematic low-risk pregnancy can all of a sudden turn into a major crisis. Plenty of women spend months on bed-rest. Plenty of women spend months puking, or avoiding food that triggers puking. So yes, pregnancy is threatening – either immediately or in potential. So just stop telling people their feelings are not valid.

      • tsara

        Thanks for saying that, Anat.

      • tsara

        “It seems to me that you react very strongly and not typically”
        Astute observation. I did specifically say that it triggered me. But you can’t discard me as a data point; these things exist on a continuum, and I just happen to be one of the far ends.

        “Have you ever been pregnant?”

        No, thank fuck. If I did somehow become pregnant, though, (despite the IUD, despite the fact that I have an eating disorder and last had a period in January, despite a lack of interest in having sex with anyone) would you allow me to obtain a safe abortion, or would you force me to seek ever more dangerous methods of termination (until I may as well just shoot myself in the head), or would you have me restrained and intubated from the moment I found out about the pregnancy until the moment I’ve given birth?

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Believe me when I say I empathize with you. I have been in positions of similar difficult choices, been treated very badly by professionals and others due to this issue due to my own physical problems that have been at time life threatening.
        No abortion is ‘safe’. It involves invasive and manipulative use of ‘tools’ that do harm to the pregnant person. It often does extreme emotional scarring too. When one takes the choice to act there are always repercussions. Often when choices could cause harm in their lives women are pressured,coerced and manipulated by people in their lives be it by so called friends, partners, professionals, family members, and others. I do not believe in taking away a persons choice, what I support is for women to be informed, and not abused or pressured.

      • tsara

        You aren’t listening to me. I don’t find this to be a difficult

        choice. I find it to be an incredibly easy one. It would not be something I was pushed into, or forced to make. Every single part of me is in agreement on the issue.

        “been treated very badly by professionals and others due to this issue due to my own physical problems that have been at time life threatening.”
        I am sorry you experienced that. If you are able to, making formal complaints does often result in actual changes.

        “No abortion is ‘safe’.”
        Abortion is at least an order of magnitude safer than carrying a pregnancy to term and giving birth. It has risks, yes, but so does walking out my front door, or using a toaster.

        “It involves invasive and manipulative use of ‘tools’ that do harm to the pregnant person.”
        As does any medical procedure, including pregnancy.

        “It often does extreme emotional scarring too.”
        Again: compare rates of adverse psychological reactions to abortion with, say, rates of post-partum depression. Look at what the common factors are in the people who do experience adverse psychological reactions to abortion. Hint: it’s usually those who believe that by choosing abortion they are committing an atrocity who are psychologically or emotionally scarred. It’s not an inherent risk of the procedure.

        “When one takes the choice to act there are always repercussions.”
        There are repercussions to delaying choice, and to not acting, as well.

        “Often when choices could cause harm in their lives women are pressured,coerced and manipulated by people in their lives be it by so called friends, partners, professionals, family members, and others.”
        Pressure, coercion, and manipulation are wrong. Full stop. But please keep in mind that those are antithetical to the pro-choice/pro-reproductive justice/pro-reproductive freedom position, while they are inherent in the pro-life position.

        “I do not believe in taking away a persons choice, what I support is for women to be informed, and not abused or pressured.”

        Excellent. I agree. So let’s abolish crisis pregnancy centres, yes?

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        “Abortion is at least an order of magnitude safer than carrying a pregnancy to term and giving birth. It has risks, yes, but so does walking out my front door, or using a toaster.”

        If that were true you’d see a lot less ambulances coming to the back door of many abortion facilities.

        “It involves invasive and manipulative use of ‘tools’ that do harm to the pregnant person.”
        “As does any medical procedure, including pregnancy.”

        Abortion either is the forced opening of a ‘green’ cervix, green meaning a non ripe, ready and able to deliver a human small one. At birth the cervix is ready and able to dilate on it’s own. Abortion introduces sharp metal tools that cut and scrape to remove the growing ‘little one’ fetus. Abortion has in the past introduced an extremely strong salt solution to burn the ‘little one’ to be expelled later after death has hopefully been procured. Sharp objects, poisonous solutions, metal tongs meant for destruction, all these things are used to do damage and death. The tools that may need to be used to assist in a birth are used to help bring life and comparably do little damage to the birthing woman,very much unlike what they can and sometimes do to the aborting woman.

      • tsara

        “If that were true you’d see a lot less ambulances coming to the back door of many abortion facilities.”

        Would you like statistics? I’d be happy to provide them. I’d also like to see yours, as evidence indicates that your availability heuristic is giving you confirmation bias.

        “Abortion either is the forced opening of a ‘green’ cervix, green meaning a non ripe, ready and able to deliver a human small one. At birth the cervix is ready and able to dilate on it’s own. Abortion introduces sharp metal tools that cut and scrape to remove the growing ‘little one’ fetus. Abortion has in the past introduced an extremely strong salt solution to burn the ‘little one’ to be expelled later after death has hopefully been procured. Sharp objects, poisonous solutions, metal tongs meant for destruction, all these things are used to do damage and death. The tools that may need to be used to assist in a birth are used to help bring life and comparably do little damage to the birthing woman,very much unlike what they can and sometimes do to the aborting woman.”
        I don’t understand what you’re trying to say with that. The only vague semblance of a point that I can see there is ‘the tools that may be used to assist in births do less damage than the tools used in abortion’. But all I can say is, so? I can provide statistics to demonstrate how much safer for women abortion is than giving birth. It makes no difference to me how it’s caused.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Check out the number of live calls to ambulances to abortion clinics. You’d never get the real stats. They are asked to go to the back door regularly because they fear any negative publicity. They hide. This is a regular occurrence. If you had talked to ambulance drivers as I have over the years you’d possibly get closer to the real stats. Continually saying that abortion is more safe than giving birth is absolute nonsense.

      • Feminerd

        Hospitals report all complications that come to them. Ambulances take patients with abortion complications to hospitals. There is no coverup of abortion mortality or morbidity. We have real stats.

        Risk of death from abortion in the US: 0.6/100,000
        Risk of death from pregnancy in the US: 15-22/100,000 (depends on what year you look at, but it’s been going up, so 22 is probably closer to accurate)

        You have at least a 14x higher chance of dying from pregnancy than abortion. I’m sorry you don’t like learning things that contradict your current views, but that’s what learning is sometimes, and that does mean we have to change our viewpoints to accommodate the facts we’ve learned. The reason people keep harping on the fact that abortion is safer than pregnancy is because it is indisputably true. Sticking your fingers in your ears and saying LALALALA doesn’t change reality.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Who are the ‘we’ in ‘We have real stats? Can you not answer to the fact that they want to have the ambulance come with out sirens, with out lights, to their back doors? Information that cannot be denied you are ignoring. Please don’t condescend to me. I would prefer that we as women talk to each other with respect. One should not cover all hospitals with the same brush, as the known fact is some do not have to report at all, the stats that come from abortion procedures. Depending on where you live and the laws of the country or state we can not really know the ‘real stats’. These are facts. The many ambulances being told by abortion providers to ‘go to the back door’. The non reporting of any hospitals when abortion is he related emergency. These are facts. Talk to these please. Do stop the personal mocking attacks.

      • Niemand

        Can you not answer to the fact that they want to have the ambulance come with out sirens, with out lights, to their back doors?

        They don’t. That’s illegal. And even if ambulance crews regularly took bribes from clinics to break the law (like the average women’s health clinic has that kind of money), what happens to the women once they’re in the ambulance? Do they get dumped in a river somewhere (in which case why bother with an ambulance when a car will do) or do they go to the hospital? If the latter, the hospital will report the incident and the statistics will become public knowledge.

        You claim that hospitals don’t report, but do you have any idea how many people would have to be in on the conspiracy to not report to make that work? Literally everyone from the desk clerk who entered the patient into the database to the triage nurse to the ED doctor who saw her first to the OB who was called to the residents and interns and floor nurses where she was admitted to the janitor who cleaned the room would have to be in on it. Not feasible. Especially since ambulances are legally required to go to the closest hospital which may well be a Catholic hospital. Are Catholic hospitals part of the conspiracy to keep abortion complications quiet? Because they’d have to be to make this claim work.

        Sorry, but this conspiracy theory of your just doesn’t work. Provide evidence that it’s happening or abandon the argument.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Just because it may be ‘illegal’ doesn’t mean that the 911 calls and the filmed ambulances attending at back doors doesn’t happen.

      • Niemand

        You’re citing YOUTUBE as a source? Very convincing I’m sure. Because nothing on Youtube is ever faked or taken out of context.

      • Niemand

        Who are the ‘we’ in ‘We have real stats?

        I believe that Feminerd is quoting the CDC. What is your reference for the claim that abortion complications are suppressed?

      • Feminerd

        Where are the real stats from? Guttmacher, NIH, WHO. Every major medical organization that collects these statistics. Seriously, go to Google. Type in “abortion mortality rate US”. Then type in “maternal mortality rate US”. You’ll get results.

        I’m not being condescending. I’m frustrated. You refuse to take into account that your PCC might be misleading and lying to you. You refuse to think that the reason the same numbers keep coming up might be because they’re true. If my opponent had actual statistics from reputable sources instead of random anecdotes from no discernible sources other than “myself”, I’d be all over doing that research myself. The best way to know that I’m being really silly about something is that I’ve fallen on the “they must be lying because I don’t like what they’re saying” position you’ve found yourself in.

        An anecdote that an abortion clinic wants ambulances to come to the back (wider doors, perhaps?), no flashing lights or sirens (so the protesters won’t get in the way, perhaps?) means nothing, really. It could mean that particular clinic was crappy, it could mean that particular clinic was working in the best interests of its patient to get her to the hospital as fast as possible. You simply don’t know enough to make that call. And actually, all hospitals are required to report mortality and significant morbidity and what brings people to the ER. If they weren’t, our statistics wouldn’t be reliable- the CDC and NIH would not like that, so it’s not optional.

      • Niemand

        I’ve been part of an ambulance crew. Number of calls to an abortion clinic, to front or back door: zero. It may be a “regular” occurrence, in the sense that an event occurring once a year or so is “regular”, but it’s hardly frequent, at least based on my experience. Also, ambulances go to all calls on highest priority, i.e. with sirens blaring and lights flashing. Going to the “back door” won’t hide that much.

      • tsara

        In other words, you’re going to continue to believe what you like, regardless of evidence. If you want me to change my mind on this, show me evidence of systemic lawbreaking on the part of abortion clinics. Show me evidence of a conspiracy. A handful of phone calls is inadequate; it must be systemic for your point to be of any consequence.

        (Also, I live in Canada, where abortions often* take place in hospitals. The complication rate is around 0.5%, and most of those complications are pretty minor infections. And hospitals, by the way, record everything. They have twelve** people going over every report.)
        (*I don’t know the actual numbers for hospitals vs. clinics, but the hospital I work in does abortions.)
        (**made up number.)

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Just check out the number on youtube. These are live recordings of women who are in need of emergency calls to hospital. Some of the 911 call takers ask if they should go to the front door. “Front door?” Sounds like he’s been called for this sort of emergency before.

        One of the first things said when calling 911 to get an ambulance for an emergency is to say ‘Tell them no lights no sirens’
        The woman accepting the 911 call is wanting to help save the womans life.

        Another back door request. Because the front door is ‘locked’. Well unlock it then. It’s an ambulance, this is insane.
        There are many.
        If the real reason for these discussions on this issue was to really have a desire to save women from suffering, then you would be honest about the facts.

      • Anat

        If you measure the danger of abortion by the number of ambulance calls, then how would you compare the danger childbirth, which is risky enough that women often go to hospitals or other medical facilities in advance of it?

        Abortion involves sharp tools? Oh the horror, so does dentistry. And appendectomy. And heart surgery. It involves poisonous solutions? Most medications are poisons, depending on dosage and application.

        Anyway. Have a look at

        The comparative safety of legal induced abortion and childbirth in the United States. Published in Obstet Gynecol. 2012 Feb;119(2 Pt 1):215-9.



        To assess the safety of abortion compared with childbirth.


        We estimated mortality rates associated with live births and legal induced abortions in the United States in 1998-2005. We used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System, birth certificates, and Guttmacher Institute surveys. In addition, we searched for population-based data comparing the morbidity of abortion and childbirth.


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


        Legal induced abortion is markedly safer than childbirth. The risk of death associated with childbirth is approximately 14 times higher than that with abortion.
        Similarly, the overall morbidity associated with childbirth exceeds that with abortion.

      • RadioArcade

        Very soon, I will have to have a uterine polyp removed. It’s a benign tumor, not a fetus, but the procedure I will have to undergo will also involve forcing open my “green” cervix and introducing “sharp metal tools that cut at scrape” to my uterus. Should I not undergo this procedure due to the risks? Should it be banned?

      • Olive Markus

        Because not everybody is exactly like you. Get over it.

      • adnama79

        I’ve been pregnant. The poster who hasn’t been pregnant is entitled to her opinion of it.

      • tsara

        I prefer gender-neutral pronouns, actually. I’m pretty sure my feelings on pregnancy are closely related to my genderqueerness. I have scars in the shape of my fingernails on my lower abdomen from all the freaking out I used to do when I got my period. I just… really don’t like it when my body does stuff I didn’t tell it to do.

      • Niemand

        Pregnancy ends in death 15/100,000 times, in the US. That number sounds pretty good-much better than the traditional number of 1 in 6 or so, anyway. But consider that that number means that your chances of dying from a pregnancy are higher than your chances of dying in a plane crash would be–if you booked a flight on 9/11/01. It’s true. Look up the number of passengers on a flight on a typical Tuesday in the late 1990s/2000/2001 and how many died. So, is it ok to force someone to do something more dangerous than flying on 9/11/01?

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Comparing the human reproduction to a plane crash is like comparing a person accidentally falling and hurting their knee to a person playing pro football and blowing out a knee.

      • adnama79
      • tsara

        I learned that an immune response was a necessary condition for something to be called a ‘disease’ as opposed to a disorder or something.
        I’m willing to be corrected on that, though.

        EDIT: looks like that’s a regional preference, coming partly from distinction between symptomatic and asymptomatic infection, and also from regional disability destigmatization campaigns. Still, I prefer ‘disorder’ for ADD and depression.

      • Olive Markus

        Pregnancy can kill you. ESPECIALLY when you are in Catholic Territory. It is perfectly reasonable that a woman would use a chemical to prevent her death.

      • adnama79

        Pregnancy is a medical condition, not a disease. It is complicated, difficult and can be dangerous. It can also be beautiful, but I bet finding the beauty would not be possible if you felt out of control. No one should have to go through a pregnancy against her will.

      • adnama79

        Ditto the coffee and antidepressants.

        I made a different choice about childbearing and celebrate your right and mine to make different choices.

        Don’t get why your choice bothers anyone else.

      • Olive Markus

        I’m curious…

        Based on your other posts, you claim you have chronic pain. Do you take medication for this pain? Or any other kind of medication, ever, prescription or otherwise?

      • Feminerd

        Everything is chemicals. Does she eat, drink, and breathe? Because if she does, she’s putting chemicals into her body …

      • Olive Markus


        I just feel that the hypocrisy of claiming not to use BCP because it is a “harmful chemical” that would stand in the way of having a healthy body would be too much to bear if she were actually taking other medications.

      • Beutelratti

        And I always wonder if women who claim that suppressing your cycle is anti-feminist actually do celebrate their periods. “Yay, I’m bleeding from my vagina! Yay, cramps! Yay, yay, yay!”
        These are all things that come with being a woman and I accept them and still choose to mitigate them; just as much as I choose to mitigate my pollen allergy by taking *gasp* chemicals.

      • Olive Markus

        Yeah, I’ve never known anyone to celebrate these things. Ever. :)

        What bothers me the most is the idea that THEIR use of chemicals is fine, but use of chemicals for birth control is not fine. Suddenly, they become all hippy-dippy, toxin conscious, turning a blind eye to the fact that they’re filling their bodies and the planet with as many or more chemicals, just not that one.specific.kind. Unless they are pregnant, in which case they are polluting the water with much, much MORE progesterone than a BCP user.

        I don’t even use hormonal birth control. But I can’t tolerate the hypocrisy.

      • Beutelratti

        Exactly! Couldn’t agree more. :)

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Whether I take meds or not is not your business. I have said I have chronic pain which is due to herniated discs and other muscle damage due to a severe accident. I will not discuss with you my meds.

      • Olive Markus

        Well, if you do take medication, then your above statement is a complete lie and a perfect example of your shameless hypocrisy. That is all. I’m not saying you’re wrong for taking substances. Quite the contrary. You have every right to make your life as comfortable as you like, and I do not believe you should suffer if it can be helped. I am saying, however, that you are lying and being a hypocrite for the sake of making statements that make you feel superior to other women – yet again.

        Other prescription drugs are no more or less harmful to the human body than birth control pills, but yet you take those, all while saying that you prefer not to put chemicals into your body. That you can’t see what you’re doing right there astounds me, but you’ve been taught to believe that your position is always superior, no matter how ridiculous it actually turns out to be, right?

        As far as this being your business, yes it is your business and not mine, in the same way that a woman who takes birth control and has an abortion has decided those things are none of your business. What you do to your body is your business. What a woman does to her own body is her business. See how this works?

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        When one is ill, one uses medicines. When one is healthy and uses medicines one can often become ill. The little one is not the womans body. It is a completely seperate human being. The way you attack and quip is offensive. I will discuss with others who do so without personal attacks. You are not one of those.

      • Olive Markus

        You can ignore me as much as you wish, but for the sake of others reading these discussions, I will continue to point out the things you say that are outright lies, blatant hypocrisy, or nothing but condescension in disguise of being “helpful.”

        You feel that you can say whatever you wish to those here, but then expect that everybody treat you with nothing but empathy and compassion. It doesn’t work that way. Your view of women who don’t live exactly as you do is very offensive to me and to most of the women here, by the way. Maybe you’re used to being in a position of power where you counsel women (or tell them what to do) but you are not in any position of power here. If you can’t handle women who stand up for themselves and their rights, maybe you shouldn’t be here.

        You are taking medicine long-term to prevent something from happening – feeling pain – not to cure yourself from an illness. Much like hormonal BC pills are taken long term to prevent something from happening – getting pregnant.

        BCP do not cause abortions, by the way. They prevent ovulation, which prevents pregnancy. That is all. In this context, your above statement makes no sense.

        ETA: I get what you mean now, regarding the fetus being a separate entity. But it doesn’t matter. For as long as it is requiring a woman’s body to survive, it is for the woman to do with as she pleases, re: her business. Once again, you either give full rights to the fetus, or you give full rights to the woman, but you can’t give them both full rights. Once you give full rights to the fetus, you take away the rights of the woman, and when you give full rights to the woman, you must necessarily take away the rights of the fetus. If you believe a fetus deserves more rights than a woman, at least be honest about it.

      • NeaDods

        And sometimes healthy people use chemicals and meds to STAY healthy. Unless you do not use toothpaste, deodorant, soap, shampoo, etc., then you also use chemicals on a daily basis on a healthy body.

        And announcing that you don’t like someone’s tone does not erase the fact that your arguments are being rebutted.

      • Niemand

        When one is healthy and uses medicines one can often become ill

        Or one can take medications that prevent illness. For example, aspirin in certain people with heart disease risk, folic acid in pregnant women wishing to avoid neural tube defects, statins in people with high cholesterol. None of these acts are without risk, but they reduce the risk of disease overall, if used appropriately.

      • tsara

        This is a false dichotomy. ‘Health’ is not some magical state where a green light goes on to let you know that you have it. Health and illness are relative, and dependent on how your brain interprets things.

        And abortion is simply the removal of something (or someone, whatever) from my body when I do not want it to be there. I do not care even a little bit if it can’t survive outside of me. I do not have and will not accept any obligation to look after or care about its safety when I am being violated.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        One is often asked in questioniares to do with ones medical health, how healthy are you? There may be a range to choose from good to poor etc. So that is the criteria I would be using.
        “And abortion is simply the removal of something (or someone, whatever) from my body when I do not want it to be there.”
        I believe that no abortion is a simple removal. When you say you don’t want it to be there, that is something I can totally understand, having been in a similar situation. The fact is, that something would be a human being. If you choose to have no obligation to look after or care about it’s safety would be a choice you could make either to have it removed, aborted, or wait a few months and let some one else have that obligation.

        The one growing inside of a person is not violating. To do that would mean the one growing inside has done something, chosen some way to violate. The one growing inside has occurred due to the actions of others and is completely innocent of any violation.

      • Feminerd

        People can innocently violate others; they just don’t realize it’s a violation. Hugging a person when that is one of hir trauma triggers- the hug is a violation, but the person giving the hug doesn’t know it. My husband once had sex with me when I didn’t want to and didn’t realize that I didn’t want to- he was horrified to find out that I hadn’t wanted it, and we talked it through. It was an innocent violation.

        What does innocence have to do with anything? If someone feels violated, the intent doesn’t matter. The violation still occurred. Call the fetus an innocent violator if you want to, but remember that the woman is no less violated because of the fetus’s “innocence”. A being that can’t think can’t have intent, this is true, but a being that can’t think is also not human. I do believe you’ve painted yourself into a corner.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        The fetus has done nothing in action by choice that has caused it to be there. Others made that choice to allow it to be, to bring it into being.
        ” A being that can’t think can’t have intent, this is true, but a being that can’t think is also not human.”
        Why would you think that a fetus has no thought patterns happening? We know that the developing human as a fetus is affected and does react to sounds and movements from inside the mother. No matter the stage of development the fetus has means to be affected by all manners of sense. How much we are or not aware of how much they ‘think’ does not make them less human.

        You think I’ve painted myself in a corner but I am not trapped. Truth sets one free.

      • Feminerd

        A fetus either has brain activity or it does not.

        If it has brain activity, it wants to survive. That is the most basic instinct of any creature. Thus, it is in willful violation of the woman’s wishes that it not be there, overriding her wishes with its own. It can be removed with no ethical problems as a violating entity.

        If it doesn’t have brain activity, it can’t even have a survival instinct. Brain-dead people are dead; they aren’t human beings anymore. We harvest them for organs (with their prior permission or familial permission). Thus, a fetus can be removed with no ethical problems because it isn’t a person.

        Either way, there are no ethical problems with abortion.

      • tsara

        “I believe that no abortion is a simple removal.”
        Too bad. That’s what it is from my perspective. I don’t care what happens to it once it’s out — it can live, doctors can give it away, hell, they can tell me that I should take it home and give parenthood a try. I just want it out.

        “If you choose to have no obligation to look after or care about it’s safety would be a choice you could make either to have it removed, aborted, or wait a few months and let some one else have that obligation.”
        And that’s all I want: to be able to legally make that choice, and for it to not be prohibitively difficult to actually go through with.

        “To do that would mean the one growing inside has done something, chosen some way to violate.”

        Violation does not require intent of any kind. My breasts sometimes make me feel violated, just by being there when I’ve forgotten about them. My period makes me feel violated.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        “I believe that no abortion is a simple removal.”

        “Too bad. That’s what it is from my perspective. I don’t care what happens to it once it’s out…”
        I was speaking to the procedure. Intrusive and destructive to the body of the woman aborting.

        “Violation does not require intent of any kind. My breasts sometimes make me feel violated just by being there when I’ve forgotten about them.My period makes me feel violated.”

        You’re talking about how you feel, not what actually happens. To ‘be’ violated is what you spoke about in regards to the unborn. Not a feeling of being violated.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        The little one that comes out of the body after an abortion is not the abortion. The procedure is.

      • tsara

        Yes, and? I have unclear pronoun references in that comment (I should have said ‘the fetus’ instead of ‘it’); I’ll go get some more coffee. Should help.

      • tsara

        “I was speaking to the procedure. Intrusive and destructive to the body of the woman aborting.”

        I don’t care. It’s a procedure that I choose, and that makes the difference. Not to mention, pregnancy is an order of magnitude more destructive, and immeasurably more intrusive.

        “You’re talking about how you feel, not what actually happens. To ‘be’ violated is what you spoke about in regards to the unborn. Not a feeling of being violated.”

        They are, functionally, exactly the same. If I feel violated, I am violated. I get to define my own experiences.

      • Fred

        Intrusive and destructive to the body of the woman?

        In most cases its a pill.
        Are you sure you know what an abortion is?

      • Niemand

        The one growing inside of a person is not violating. To do that would
        mean the one growing inside has done something, chosen some way to

        So you do think that cancers, bacteria, etc are innocent. They certainly don’t choose to harm you and cancers, at least, made no effort to invade your body. Many people invite them in by smoking, refusing to have vaccinations that prevent cancers, etc. And I have a hard time imagining viruses choosing to do anything at all. So are we back to chemotherapy is murder?

      • Niemand

        I’ve always prefered to stay clear of putting chemicals into my body

        You’re a breathatarian then? Because if you eat you’re putting “chemicals” in your body on a regular basis…

        But if you don’t want to use OCP or IUDs good for you. I use barrier protection for contraception myself. Go with whatever works for you. Just don’t demand that everyone else do the same thing.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        If you’re suggesting that I don’t eat foods that may have been produced using any sort of ‘cide’ on them, that would be splitting hairs. We are talking about chemicals that KILL for the purpose of killing a human being. Trying to debate an issue using such ill logic is a poor discussion.
        Where have I ever ‘demanded’ any thing of anyone? I am giving information and the truth of contraception and abortion.

      • eggie

        “This one, though comprehensive, really doesn’t get into a lot of the psychological/depression often associated with most forms of birth control. ”

        Ha! When I’m *not* on birth control, I have crazy mood swings and horrible PMS that leaves me feeling numb and depressed. Not to mention that off birth control I get terrible acne, which is depressing in itself. Speak for yourself when you argue that birth control has “negative” effects.

      • Uriel238

        That’s actually remarkably common. Birth control is proscribed for plenty of reasons other than averting risk of pregnancy. My roommate was on birth control for years while she was completely abstinent to correct hormone imbalances (no libido due to medical reasons).

      • Mogg

        I was prescribed hormonal birth control for severe period pain some 13 years before I first had sex. The fact that it also controlled my fairly severe acne was merely a bonus.

      • tsara

        From that site:

        “Legal Disclaimer: The products, articles and other content on and related sites are not offered for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of any disease or disorder nor have any statements herein been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Said content is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care professional with regard to matters pertaining to your health.”

        No citations from more recently than 2003. I WONDER WHY.

        The article cites:

        “August 98 article in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association)”

        “a 1997 study reported in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism”

        “British Medical Journal September 25, 1999;319:795-796, 820-821.”

        “issue of the journalNeurology, researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN report that the number of women suffering from migraine headaches rose more than 56 percent between 1979 and 1990″

        “Smith JS, Green J, “Cervical cancer and use of hormonal contraceptives: a systematic review,” Lancet, 2003 Apr 5;361(9364):1159-67.”

        “J Child Neurol 1998;13:546-549.; Biochem Med Metab Biol, 1986; 36(2): 244-51;
        Neurology, 1989, 39: 549-52;”

        “Back in the mid-1970s, studies reporting that oral contraceptives depleted a variety of nutrients began appearing in the scientific literature.”

        “Am J Obstet Gynecol 2001;185;380-385.
        Med Sci Sports Exercise 2001;33:873-880.”

      • derbradster

        I suspect those having sex who adhere to “Natural Family Planning” are content to put their hormones on a schedule: “Oh honey, tonight is safe! Shall we put our 6 kids in bed early tonight and hop in the sack a tad earlier? (wink wink)”
        You hafta suspect a lot of sex happens because of mainly male horniness and the inability or unwillingness of a gal to reject the man’s advances- either of which sounds like it would be rape in any other context. I know a few couples who conceived a child on the honeymoon night.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        I suppose it depends on the amount he has for her and she has for herself. Going without for a few days doesn’t hurt the relationship, it enhances it in the opinion of myself and of many others.

      • tsara

        *beats forehead against brick wall*

        The point is that it’s completely unnecessary to go without. For some people, the time and energy that goes into NFP is worth it; for others, it isn’t. If NFP makes a couple (or larger relationship) miserable, there’s no point in keeping it; suffering for the sake of suffering is silly.
        Plus, for people in relationships with sexual coercion, NFP is the same thing as having no protection.
        NFP is not a universal solution.
        And I assume that you left out the word ‘respect’. The amount of respect members of a relationship have for one another and for themselves has no effect whatsoever on the frequency with which sex takes place. People need to stop bringing up respect in that context. It isn’t an argument, and it doesn’t work.
        (Not to mention, it throws people in sexually coercive relationships under the bus with those who like more frequent sex than NFP allows.)

      • Anat

        Depending on your cycle, you might end up required to go without more often than not. And other demands on your time, whether related to work, family life, children may interfere otherwise. At some point this can become very frustrating for both partners.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        The Billings Method when used properly causes the time period of constraint in regards to coitus to last only a few days per month. So take a few days, say four or five out of a full 30 days, leaves a lot of time for great sex if this is something that the couple feels is important for them. I’m sure no matter the work, family and other time constraints they would be able to do without on those few days. To make the choice to protect ones body from harm, and still allow for a healthy and happy sex life is worthy of considering this practice of birth control or child spacing.

      • Anat

        All assumes the woman in question gets a good reading of her fertility signs and feels confident enough in her reading to risk having PIV sex. Some women experience too much anxiety over their interpretation of these signs. They’ll wonder if they are safe, or perhaps they should take a few more days of, just in case. Or they decide it’s not for them and go for some other method (one with better effectiveness and more consistency).

      • Libby Anne

        Given that sperm can live within a woman for up to five days, and given that you need to allow 24 hours after ovulation to be sure the egg has filtered all the way through, I find your claim rather ridiculous. Even if you could know in advance what day you are going to ovulate (something you can’t actually know for sure, I know that personally my own ovulation regularly varied from day 13 to day 16), that would mean six days without sex each cycle. Would you care to explain how, then, you arrive at four or five days?

        Personally, when I practiced NFP, I generally stopped having sex after day 7 of each cycle, because I knew I could ovulate as early as day 13, and if I had sex on day 8 and the sperm lived five days that would mean there was some chance of pregnancy. If I ovulated on day 16 (which wasn’t uncommon) I would wait a day for the egg to cycle through, and a second day after that in case there might be double ovulation (rare, I know, but I did NOT want an unplanned pregnancy!). This meant that I would frequently wait until day 18 to resume coitus. That’s ten days without sex. And I should add that this is only if I was sure that I did ovulate on day 16 — there were a number of cycles when the signs were unclear and I wasn’t sure, and we waited until I *was* sure, because again, we wanted to be as careful as possible to avoid an unplanned pregnancy.

        For more, see my post on this subject:

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        The Billings Method of NFP does not count days nor temperatures.The way one knows when ovulation is about to happen, just has or has just ended is by knowing the consistency of the mucous. For their to be a possibility of conception the mucous needs to be in the most fertile range which is over in about a three day period.
        These are the facts about sperm survival taken from
        Most sperm die within minutes after ejaculation inside the vagina or outside the woman’s genital tract. Once sperm enter the woman’s genital tract, the cervix and uterus, most die within 1-2 days, but some can survive up to 5 days and thus the longest that sperm can survive in fertile cervical fluid or the uterus is five days. Studies have shown that most pregnancies can be attributed to intercourse that takes place within the 1-2 days before ovulation and the day of ovulation, but some pregnancies can happen after intercourse that happened up to 5 days before ovulation.
        Sperm do not typically survive for five days, even
        in fertile cervical fluid. A life span of 1-2 days is much more typical for sperm, even in fertile cervical fluid- less if there is no fertile cervical fluid.
        – See more at:
        These reported findings are the same as you would learn when practicing the Billings Method.
        Many things can alter the timing and the possibility of fertile mucous and when it happens. Stress levels, changes in a persons life, a persons health etc. Knowing how to check for mucous and knowing the type that is most fertile and the type that is non fertile is not difficult even for those who have little mucous at all. Many women who knew nothing about the Billings Method have known about this mucous and it’s changes but were not aware of the relation to ovulation. With good education and following by a trained Billings Method teacher, one can be very comfortable with knowing ones own body and it’s reproduction possibilities.

      • Christine

        How on earth are we supposed to believe that you actually understand Creighton if you keep calling it Billings?

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        The Creighton Model is a modified version of the Billings Ovulation Method. I am only sharing information about the Billings Method since I have not researched the Creighton and have only used the Billings Method. I never mentioned the Creighton Method in any of my replies.

      • Christine

        You are describing a mucus only method. Billings (as taught by SeReNa) uses temperature, mucus, and cervical position to model basic fertility.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Check out information here:

        “Billings Ovulation Method teaches only mucus observations. Serena and Couple to Couple League methods are sympto-thermal NFP variants. The Creighton Model will teach both mucus only and sympto-thermal approaches.”

      • Christine

        My apologies – Serena refers to their STM as also being a variant of Billings. I thought that Billings was a commonly used method, so the idea that it would be mucus-only makes no sense at all. Wouldn’t the average couple want to use the method that they first learned, which generally needs to be a fairly reliable one?

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        I very much appreciate that your replies are neither demeaning, attacking or verbally abusive like some can be. You may find this silly but I feel honoured to be treated so on a site that seems to bring forth people who I would probably feel a kindred spirit with but for this one topic, the one being health and happiness as women with or without children and all that entails.

        That being said, before I chose the Billings Method I did at the time research and put a lot of thought into by which means we would child space. I know this may be too much information but before I met my husband I did not want to have children at all. He changed my mind. /happy face here’.

        I found that if well learned and practiced the Billings Method was not difficult, it actually did enhance our sex life even if my husband would be away for weeks at a time for work, I would describe myself as a pretty ‘hawt to trot’ female but it only made the sexual experience as in the words of Madonna’ LIKE a VIRGIN’. ahem.

        Absitence wasn’t in my case about being little miss chaste and pure or better than others cause ”
        I’m a good girl I am”. It was more about waiting for the really good stuff cause I knew it was coming. Like anticipation of something special.
        This song seems to describe. One of my faves from back in the day… Carly Simon

        Your replies that are neither personally attacking nor ridiculing or sarcastic are very much appreciated.
        Thank you for your candor. It’s nice to meet feminist women like myself who don’t attack each other even if they disagree strongly. We as females do really need to stand up for each other, no matter our opinions that differ. There is so much suffering in the world and since I do believe we as woman commonly do have the more gentle side comparably to the males, we need to really support and help each other.

      • Bunny

        “I found that if well learned and practiced the Billings Method was not difficult.” That’s the key phrase there: “. . . if well learned and practiced.” I can tell by your writing, Anita, that you have been well-educated, and are able to learn most things that you seek to learn how to do. I have a feeling that most of us involved in this discussion have the good fortune of being moderately to highly intelligent and educated, able to easily read and follow complex instructions and track patterns in a way that we could probably make a go at using NFP with some level of success if we wanted to. (Granted, some of us do not have the regular, ovulatory monthly cycles that the method depends on, and probably would not find it easy. But we’d know how to try, and be able to understand whether or not we were doing it right most of the time.) But what about the large portion of the world’s population who are (through no fault of their own) poorly educated, may only read at a low grade-school level, or may have a learning disability that prevents them from being able to adequately learn a complex system of pregnancy prevention like this? What about a woman who is to some degree mentally or physically impaired, and a task like checking her own cervical mucous on a daily basis just isn’t going to happen? (And please do not tell me that these women are not having sex, because they are. At least, I’ve met many who are, so for their sakes I will generalize.) I fully support a woman’s choice to use NFP as her contraceptive method, or as a method for upping her chances of conception when she wants to become pregnant. But we simply need different choices for different women. For one woman an IUD is terrifying and invasive, for another NFP is impossible.

      • Feminerd

        Not to mention that sticking dirty fingers up one’s vagina is just asking for all sorts of infections. In the developed world, we take access to clean water and soap for granted. In many places, that’s simply not true, and it would be a bad idea to ask women to check their cervixes with unwashed hands.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Oh and if you’re interest and don’t know Carly Simon. One sweet voice. For you listening pleasure:

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Some of the others posting to this blog may not appreciate my yadda yadda and sharing but here’s one more. My man and I did not always get along and there was yes, some pain but the holding out and keeping it going, he brought this desire for love and be loved.

        Another fine Carly Simon song.

        Lets try as women to love each other. There is such a need world wide.

      • Libby Anne

        I didn’t call it the Billings Method, but I was checking my mucus. And everything you say there is information I knew at the time and was operating on. Because some sperm *can* last up to 5 days and there was no way I was going to risk an unplanned pregnancy, I never waited for the mucus to change and instead combined that approach with counting days, since I inevitably ovulated between day 13 and 16. However, this:

        “Many things can alter the timing and the possibility of fertile mucous and when it happens. Stress levels, changes in a persons life, a persons health etc.”

        was a problem. I never felt like I could completely rely on my mucus. I could (usually) use it to tell after the fact when I had ovulated, but there were plenty of times where I found what I thought was fertile mucus, and then it disappeared but I still hadn’t ovulated, and then it returned later.

        Honestly, the biggest reason I stopped using NFP was that it could be messed up by the slightest thing. Go on vacation? Get the sniffles? Have a stressful project coming up at work? Stay up later than usual the night before? Any of that could mess up my signs. I wanted a form of birth control I could actually depend on, one that wouldn’t jump ship the moment something in my life wasn’t 100% normal.

        Again, I recommend you read my piece on the topic, which I linked above.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        I used the Billings Method for over 25 years and I never got pregnant at times I did not want to be. We were and are very sexually active but I am now past the age to conceive. Going on a vacation and the other happenings you cited were also things that I had happen in those years of my being fertile. ( I was a healthy and fertile person, being that when we did want a child it didn’t take long to forgo the NFP and become pregnant )

        The changes of the mucous signs don’t usually happen unless the changes in ones life are fairly dramatic, like a death in the family or other such trauma. learned from not only practicing this method but also being coached by a trained couple. The change that happens is commonly a delay or a lightening of the mucous which is a natural way of the body saying ‘this is not a good time to conceive”. That doesn’t mean it can’t happen during a stressful time, it just means that you have to be focused and it really helps to have a supportive partner who also knows how the method works.

        In your piece on the topic, you talk about your use of an I.U.D. Here is a little information from this site

        It gives the reasons why I would not use such a method.


        IUDs work primarily by preventing sperm from fertilizing an egg. The copper IUD releases copper into the uterus, which works as a spermicide. The Mirena releases a form of the hormone progestin (levonorgestrel) into the
        uterus. The progestin thickens the cervical mucus so that sperm can’t reach the egg and may keep some women from ovulating.In the unlikely event that an egg does get fertilized and survives, both IUDs cause inflammation in the uterus that makes it harder for the egg to implant there.

        Even as a teenager before I became sexually active and since my dad was a Veterinarian and used to teach us a lot about animal and human health, I did research on birth control and contraceptives which a few of my friends were on at the time. I made a decision then to not use any means that would be using a chemical, a wire inside of my body nor any means that could do me physical harm.
        “The copper IUD releases copper into the uterus, which works as a spermicide.”

        No matter how ‘safe’ the pharmacutical companies say these are, it’s a ‘cide’ which means it kills. I didn’t want to put something inside my body which main purpose was to kill. I was and still am into using close to as natural things and so putting something that is there to kill, inside a most sensitive part of my body was a choice I would never make.

        Here are two more reasons:

        “both IUDs cause inflammation in the uterus that makes it harder for the egg to implant there.”

        So not only does it 1. cause an unnatural and strong reaction on one of the most sensitive parts of our bodies and so more prone to damage, it also can 2. kill the offspring, the ‘little one’.
        Yes, if it meant that I could become pregnant due to the forgoing of the use of either the pill or the I.U.D. I thought it would be better to live with the consequences of having a child. Not the most terrible thing in the world, when compared to possible cancer or infertility etc.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        I used the Billings Method for at least 25 years and we were very sexually active and never once did I get pregnant without a desire to conceive. I knew we were very fertile because when we did want to conceive we did forgo using the method and were quickly able to become pregnant.

        The times when the stress could change ones mucous etc commonly would be quite serious ie: the death in the family or feeling physically unsafe to the point of fearing for ones life, and even then the mucous would still exhibit enough that you could tell if you were possibly fertile.

        I would never have used the IUD because of the danger to my being able to be fertile in the future.

        The use of chemicals or any thing that ends in the suffice ‘cide’ I did not want messing up my healthy body. The term ‘cide’ comes from the latin and means to ‘kill’. I did not want to put inside myself, especially into one of the two MOST sensitive parts of my body, namely my reproductive system, something that kills. No matter if I wanted children in my future or not.

        From this site I found basic information on the I.U.D. so I could post it here.

        “How does an IUD prevent pregnancy?

        Both types of IUDs work primarily by preventing sperm from fertilizing an egg. The copper IUD releases copper into the uterus, which works as a spermicide. The Mirena
        releases a form of the hormone progestin (levonorgestrel) into the uterus. The progestin thickens the cervical mucus so that sperm can’t reach the egg and may keep some women from ovulating.In the unlikely event that an egg does get fertilized and survives, both IUDs cause inflammation in the uterus that makes it harder for the egg to implant there.”
        I also would not use any method that would cause a developing offspring of mine to die due to the chemical reaction that would cause my uterus to be altered in such a manner.

        Oh and the term egg used there? ” makes it harder for the egg to implant there.” It is no longer an ‘egg’. Once the egg has had implantation by the sperm, it is ceases to be an egg due to the fact that it is now developing, as in a human developing. As in my offspring would be developing.

      • Anat

        So the text you quote right here implies that for a level of safety I and many other women would find acceptable we’d need to abstain from PIV sex from at least 5 days before ovulation. Does a mucous alone method give you that much of a warning reliably? Because if not, or if a particular woman finds that she sometimes misses the -5 point (ie once she knows she ovulated she realizes she did not recognize day -5 correctly) then mucous-alone is not safe enough. And once you add counting days then for very irregular women you get into no sex for weeks on end territory.

      • Christine

        Let’s not forget the fact that 5 is not a very conservative number. Aside from the fact that I can’t predict ovulation (PCOS), I got pregnant with that long of a gap before ovulation.

      • Christine

        Libby, you should probably mention in a more prominent location just how perfect a case for NFP you were – very short, very regular cycles, you were comfortable with the reduced reliability, etc. If someone like me makes the case that NFP sucks as a way to avoid pregnancy it’s not very strong, because I’m not a great candidate (irregular cycles, unclear signs, occasional long cycles, and not willing or able to use the less reliable method). However, given that you’re pretty much the ideal, your case is much stronger than mine.

      • Libby Anne

        You mean that I regularly ovulated between day 13 and day 16?

      • Christine

        Yes. Because your cycle was so regular it’s a lot easier to use NFP, because any deviation from the normal will stand out a lot more. And because you had such a short cycle you had a large percentage “safe” days.

        Unless, of course, there was other stuff that they ignored, and that doesn’t mean you have a regular cycle (I was always told as a given that the luteal phase was a constant, I didn’t even learn that it varied from woman to woman until I learned how to chart, but we all know how good general education on reproductive health is.)

      • Libby Anne

        Yes. Basically, I would have my period, then have a few days that were safe days, then either have sex on day 8 and then stop or start abstaining on day 8. (It depended on how I careful I was feeling that cycle.) Then I would abstain on days 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and so on, waiting for clear sign of ovulation as I charged my mucus, my cervix, and my temperature.

        Some months the signs were crystal clear and I knew for sure exactly which day I’d ovulated — the fertile mucus built up and then suddenly disappeared on the same day that my temperature spiked and my cervix went from soft and open to hard and closed — and I loved those months and what my body could tell me. More often, though, the signs were murky and it took me a few days to be sure I’d ovulated. Besides, when charting temperature I was taught to wait for three temperatures in a row above the previous temperatures, which meant that if my temperature spiked on day 14, indicating that I had ovulated, I would wait to make sure it was high on days 15 and 16 before then having sex the evening of day 16 (providing the other signs were clear by that point). If I had abstained starting day 8, that meant eight full days in a row of abstaining. If I ovulated on day 16, which was not uncommon for me, that would mean ten straight days of abstaining.

        There were a few months (two months out of the total four years I used NFP, but those four years included two [planned] pregnancies so it’s not actually four times twelve periods) when I was never completely sure of all the signs (i.e., the temperature would dip back down and would never be clear, etc.) so I literally just waited, and waited, not wanting to risk it if I wasn’t sure, until finally my period started. Those months I had 21 straight days of abstaining, followed by my period.

        Added to the fact that I never liked having sex on my period, I usually had to abstain from sex right about exactly half of all the days of the month. That wouldn’t be a big deal if it meant having sex one day and going without the next, repeat, but the way they were all strung in a row got taxing. And I didn’t find that it added to our intimacy or any of that stuff I’d been promised. I can’t complain too much, though, because I didn’t have any unplanned pregnancies and having had the experience with NFP means I know my body pretty well, and I like that. I’m just glad I had other options when I decided I wanted other options, and wasn’t forced to stick with NFP any longer than I voluntarily chose to.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        I never used counting of days. I always watched for the mucous and the change of it. I would think counting days could cause one to get mixed up or at least frustrated waiting to ‘see something’ on a such and such day. There is fertile mucous and unfertile mucous. That is what we watched for. Since one uses the washroom repeatedly though out the day, it is when signs for the mucous can be watched for.

        One does not need to even be able to read in order to use the Billings Method. It is taught world wide in many developing countries. It is taught by pictures and by persons of the same language and ethnicity who can understand why some people need the simplicity of it. I’ve seen it being taught with pictures, comparing when the rains come and the crops can grow, so the chart is pictures of dry and wet, or fertile, not fertile.
        Here is one example of the use of pictures.

        Saying that we were without intercourse for four or five days on average is because for one, no we were not planning to become pregnant and two, because if we did become pregnant we were willing to accept a larger family. In times when that was really not desired we would be willing to wait to be absolutely sure .going without intercourse was something that we were bothing willing to do out of respect for each other and because we knew that when we resumed it would be like what some used to call ‘ a second honeymoon’.

      • Libby Anne

        Saying that we were without intercourse for four or five days on average is because for one, no we were not planning to become pregnant and two, because if we did become pregnant we were willing to accept a larger family. In times when that was really not desired we would be willing to wait to be absolutely sure .going without intercourse was something that we were bothing willing to do out of respect for each other and because we knew that when we resumed it would be like what some used to call ‘ a second honeymoon’.

        And here we come to the root of it. You were okay with a certain level of risk because you were on some level open to having more children. I was not okay with any risk because I was not just not open to having unplanned pregnancies, I was not in a position to have another child. You might want to make this clear when you tell people that NFP used right means only four or five days without sex each month, because I can guarantee you people aren’t going to know you mean that that’s all it takes if you’re willing to accept a certain amount of risk of pregnancy, something most people trying to prevent pregnancy generally want to avoid.

        As for the second honeymoon bit—if that floats your boat, fine, but for myself I found that the long period of abstaining became a problem for my sex life even though I got to follow it up with sex when it was over.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        When we absolutely did not want to become pregnant we would wait a bit longer, maybe five six, sometimes seven days. Like I said before, at least 25 years and the billings worked all the time even though we are extremely fertile and highly sexual people.When we were not okay with risk many times in those years. It really did depends on the mucous. There was a great quote I saw somewhere recently, and it more or less said ‘ sex and procreation have always gone together and so far human kind haven’t been able to separate it.” Having said that, all relationships are different. Just quoting that does not mean I think people should be open to conception no matter what. I give my opinion but the Billings Method is not about how I and my husband practice family planning nor is it how I give my opinion about ‘second honeymoon’. It’s a science based means of NFP and has everything to do with trying to have a healthy a body as possible and choosing to either procreate or not.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Here’s another person who is a feminist who has similar thoughts as mine.

      • Libby Anne

        Oh, there are a great deal of feminists who are against contraceptives that use chemicals. There’s an entire natural subculture. I just happen to personally disagree with those feminists. Also, I find that they’re a bit anti-scientific and given to conspiracy theories. But that doesn’t mean I don’t know they exist.

      • Olive Markus

        Unless your hormones don’t allow you to enjoy sexual contact except on your most fertile days of the month, in which case not only is it not great, but it is excruciating and demoralizing.

        Your rules don’t work for everyone, and to believe that anybody who doesn’t have the perfect body functions doesn’t get to enjoy sex is ridiculous. Beyond ridiculous.

        If it works for you, awesome. Enjoy it. But stop playing the superiority game. You aren’t superior to me because your hormones give you a sex drive and good sex during non-fertile periods and mine don’t.

      • NeaDods

        So… You and your many others get to vote on how I conduct my sex life, based on beliefs I do not share? Wow, that’s not insulting, infantilizing, and degrading to me at ALL!

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Vote? I am sure I did not mention any sort of voting into this discussion. Neither did I say anything about ‘beliefs’.

      • Olive Markus

        Going without at times is a requirement in any relationship with another, you know, human being. We aren’t sex slaves to each other, and we have things going on in our bodies and lives other than sex (even though the religious want to pretend that anybody not being tied down by their particular religious beliefs are simply out raping everybody and having recreational abortions after coffee every morning). It’s called respecting the boundaries and wishes of each other.

        The problem is that adhering to YOUR accepted schedule can be devastating to a couple. For example, after one of my last illnesses, my hormones went absolutely crazy. No sex drive and 7 months of abstinence, because I was in physical pain and sex was excruciating. Oh, and we actually stayed together. Huh. Imagine that. After that, I now ONLY have a drive during my most fertile couple of days. It has nothing to do with my feelings for my husband. My body simply has a different agenda at the moment.

        If we all had to follow your stupid rules, we’d never get to be intimate with each other, unless I agreed to children that my body and mind will not handle well right now. That does NOT make a relationship thrive, regardless of the drivel you want to make others believe to justify your adherence to these beliefs.

        You aren’t the only people abstaining in a relationship. We abstain out of respect for each person in the relationship, and what they are going through on any particular day/week/month. You abstain because of stupid rules based on a chart and a thermometer. Which one is more loving? This superiority complex you people have because you’re capable of feeling your own cervical mucous astounds me.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        ” we have things going on in our bodies and lives other than sex (even
        though the religious want to pretend that anybody not being tied down by
        their particular religious beliefs are simply out raping everybody and
        having recreational abortions after coffee every morning).” From this rant I tend to gather you know very few if any ‘religious people’ unless they’re maybe one of the many rant type protestants or some badly informed and uptight others. meh
        “adhering to YOUR accepted schedule can be devastating to a couple” MY …? nope it’s not MY it’s a method and many of my great friends who are STRONG feminists follow it and some have had difficulties that you talk of, so yeah we’re all different. And for my ‘stupid’ rules? Again, they aren’t MINE per se PLUS … oops I shall remind myself not to yell . Plus I’ve never once said in my discussions here that there is any use of a thermometer.

        I am in no way superior nor do I think myself that. Maybe I come across in a way you find irritating and maybe outright something else. I don’t like to do the tirade or the yelling. Knowing the mucous is like knowing a cold. The cold can be a cough, no runny nose, or it can be a clear runny nose, no infection or it can be downright disgusting/plugging up the sinuses/green/yellow etc etc. To be able to know if you need to see a doctor and get antibiotics is often by reading the signs of your own body and what’s happening at the time. Similar to the mucous which says stuff too but it’s not an illness. I try to just saying something about how to not use chemicals etc if one wants to not conceive/conceive and all the other information that is interesting to do with family planning or spacing. One method by knowing your own body. Why does that seem to cause you to flip out?

      • Olive Markus

        I am triggered by talk about abstaining while using these methods. People who use methods similar to yours always pull out the “Well, the abstinence that we are required to observe is GREAT for our relationship and makes sex better” which obviously assumes that you somehow believe that couples who don’t use these methods don’t/can’t/won’t abstain. It makes no sense and makes me incredibly angry, because it is one of the most common things I hear.

        That is where the implied superiority comes in. You wouldn’t even say something like that if you thought critically regarding real couples in real relationships, where abstinence is required for a wide variety of reasons. It is a necessary part of all relationships. Why is your method of abstaining particularly good for your sex life while any other reason for abstinence, which every single couple on every single form of birth control must deal with, isn’t?

        I apologize if I came across as too angry, but people who use these methods tend to be very adamant about the “righteousness” of their way, whether subtly or not, whether religiously motivated or not. Just because “strong feminists” use it doesn’t mean much to me.

        I also track my cycles, symptoms and yes, mucous, diligently. I know my cycle very well, and journal every single day to try to match how I’m feeling and thinking about life with the data. I also choose not to use my tracking as a source for birth control. I actually believe if we educated women on their cycles and bodies independently from methods of birth control, most would be more interested, and thus, much more informed.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        I never said abstinence is GREAT. If I had to share with you the difficulties we’ve had in our relationship to do with sex, I’d bore you. It’s not always been easy, some times it’s been a real pain and has made getting along as a couple difficult. We’ve stayed together, worked things out and found that using this form of NFP was worth it for the benifits. Since I have counseled women for many years and have seen a lot of extreme emotional and physical suffering due to the use of artificial birth control and misinformation I do sound somewhat forceful. I’ve found it extremely sad to see how people are so easily accepting of and trusting of the medical profession and of the pharmaceutical companies.

        I totally agree with you on this comment you made ‘ I actually believe if we educated women on their cycles and bodies
        independently from methods of birth control, most would be more
        interested, and thus, much more informed.”

      • Libby Anne

        “I’ve found it extremely sad to see how people are so easily accepting of and trusting of the medical profession and of the pharmaceutical companies.”

        Care to explain? Because to be honest, with comments like this you come off a bit like an anti-vaccer.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        No I am not against vaccines. I am against doctors pushing drugs. Huge multi billion dollar companies push some drugs which can be either harmful, extremely expensive or both. Also there are magnificent doctors out there, I’ve had a few over the last forty years or so. I’ve also had many more who are not. Many like to push medications as a cure when often they are not needed. I have found amazing doctors who have been trained in South Africa and the U.K. who take a more holistic means in medicine and are also much more open to the patient wanting to cooperate in their health decisions.
        My dad was a veterinarian and he taught us to research and learn about human health issues .When we got ill we would try and find out from the symptoms what might be happening before we went to the doctor. Well informed.

      • Feminerd

        I wasn’t pushed towards hormonal birth control. I did my research beforehand and then I asked for it. It’s wonderful. No more debilitating periods and better sex (the condoms did get in the way).

        What would a “holistic” doctor tell me to do? Writhe around on the bed in agonizing pain once every 2-3 months (yeah my periods are naturally very irregular, I think that’s one reason they hurt so much) for about eight hours, hauling myself out of bed only so I can get to the bathroom to vomit? Prescribe an herbal tea? Prescribe Vicoprofen, a narcotic, which was what I used before I started my NuvaRing? I’d rather do what works for me- if NFP is working for you, that’s great. I’m glad it is. Just don’t tell me I’m doing it wrong, because I’m doing what works for me.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        “I’d rather do what works for me- if NFP is working for you, that’s great. I’m glad it is. Just don’t tell me I’m doing it wrong.”
        Where did I say anyone is doing it wrong? When I used the word holistic I don’t mean all drugs are no good. I have twin girls who have a rare kidney disorder. With out their medications ( costing over $750.00 a month ) they would be dead. Medicines have their place. They’re just not the main means for dealing with all illnesses.

      • Feminerd

        Medicines have their place. They’re just not the main means for dealing with all illnesses.

        See, that right there. You’re telling me I’m doing birth control, sex, and sexuality wrong. If you wanted to be nonjudgmental, you would have said something like “I’m glad you have medicine that works for you, I didn’t need anything like that, so NFP works for me”. You didn’t. You just told me I’m doing it wrong again in the course of trying to say you’re not telling me I’m doing it wrong!

        Your comments on holistic medicine aren’t the ones I’m talking about, by the way. It’s the ones saying that you don’t trust Big Pharma, that not everything has to be medicalized, and that NFP is super awesome for everyone. Presented with evidence that NFP isn’t super awesome for everyone, though it clearly works for some people, you’re … sticking your fingers in your ears and saying LA LA LA a lot. Stop doing that and actually listen to our stories.

      • Olive Markus

        Why on earth do you believe you have the right to decide which uses of medication are valid and which ones aren’t?

      • Olive Markus

        To be fair, I’ve known of a couple and read of many women who suffered emotionally and physically by blindly accepting church policy of NFP use, as well. Using NFP that failed them time and again but believing they had no other choice. Or whose relationships suffered for it. The point is that there is not one way for every single woman or couple to live their lives, so it is important to be knowledgable and to have the right to choose on all fronts. Women should be informed of their bodies and of all options, including. NFP-type options. I know of so many women who use BC who are happy and have kids when they want. I don’t see the point of sticking with NFP if it makes a relationship more difficult, considering all of the insanely effective options (condoms included) unless one feels motivated by religious reasons to slog through. As far as I’m concerned, anything that makes relationships harder is not a positive. NFP is a great choice for some, but I don’t see it as a superior choice in general.

      • Libby Anne

        I’ve gone over this before. It didn’t work that way for me at all.

        Also, no one said going without sex for a few days hurts a relationship. In fact, most people already go without sex for a few days quite often. The issue is that it’s scheduled rather than simply up to what works for the couple.

      • Christine

        Why doesn’t that study address modern, effective forms of birth control? Yes, outdated technology has problems. But that’s part of why better forms of birth control were developed.

    • brooklyn

      MOST women don’t find out they are pregnant until after the heart starts beating which is early I the 1st trimester ..according to the mayo clinic 4 weeks is when the heart starts pumping and brain and spinal cord is formed…do you know anyone that has an abortion at 3 weeks?

      • moon

        I had mine at 2 weeks, because I was lucky enough to have implantation cramps and knew almost immediately (I had a suspicion within 2 days of conception- women’s intuition indeed!) But even if it had been 2 months, I still would’ve had the abortion.

      • Donmallow

        (So sorry to post this as a reply to you, Moon, Also, lucky for you, girl. Most women don’t have any clue that early. I’m glad you are comfortable telling people about your choices. It’s my personal belief that a person should not make choices s/he is ashamed of, nor should s/he be ashamed of his or her mistakes if he or she knows why they are mistakes, so good for you for being open about it.

        Life: I wear used shoes. I buy used shoes. It doesn’t bother me. Your analogy could use a little bit of work. I agree that promiscuity is not attractive, and I would personally not enjoy the thought of being with someone who has had many partners in the past.

        However, not everyone that experiences an unwanted pregnancy is promiscuous. There are cases of people who are married but can’t afford to raise a child or simply don’t want to have kids. There are also failures in birth control, rape, etc. It’s a little unfair to assume that unwanted pregnancy is always a result of being a slut.

        Also, not all moms are anti-abortion. It’s not always disappointing for a mother to discover that her child is okay with abortions.

        For a little clarification, I don’t like the idea of abortion. In a perfect world, there would be no need for it and when pregnancy is unwanted it would be prevented, not aborted, and when it is wanted, it would be carried to term and parents could be happy parents of happy, wanted children. However, I support pro-choice ideas for a few reasons: 1. It makes abortions, when necessary, less dangerous. 2. Unwanted pregnancy can occur when you least expect, and when you can least afford it (whether financially or situationally). And, while adoption would be my first choice in methods to deal with this problem, pregnancy is difficult and separation is difficult even when the pregnancy was unwanted. In addition, the Earth can only support so much population. We should really be giving world-wide incentive for people to have less children if we want the existing population to be able to live comfortably on the resources the Earth can provide us (since we don’t really have anywhere else to go at the moment). Ideally, contraception between partners and abstinence in the absence of love would be the way to reach this goal.

        Please try to avoid overgeneralizing, proselytizing (as per OP’s request), and berating people. Respect and reasoning are a better way to show someone your point of view than visciousness and disrespect. You catch more flies with honey, as they say.

      • Donmallow

        Forgot the end parenthesis at the end of the first paragraph. Oops.

      • Mogg

        I think you need to consider exactly what you mean by a brain, there. Calling the brain and spinal cord “formed” at 4 weeks is somewhat misleading.

      • derbradster

        So do we then “err on the side of grace” and presume consciousness and a sapient being so early? One capable of feeling the pain of the procedure?

      • Anat

        I refer you to Is fetal pain proxy for legislating the concept of a soul?. Even newborns who survive birth at 22 weeks for a short while and die don’t show signs of suffering.

      • QuoVadisAnima

        I have friends who gave premature birth at ~20 wks. Their baby showed plenty of signs of suffering before he died.

      • lewr2

        That has to be the most ludicrous statement ever. I would ask you to take an ice pick to a 22 week old baby out of the womb.

      • Mogg

        What we know about foetal development indicates that the very earliest a foetus *might* have the capacity to feel pain is 22-24 weeks. At that point, most women would only be considering abortion if they either have been diagnosed with a serious malformation or other medical issue likely to impact on either the mother or foetus’s health or life, or if they couldn’t get one easily earlier in pregnancy – one of the major reasons women went to Gosnell. In either case, the mother’s rights are more important, but consideration for the possibility of pain would indicate that the foetus needs to be aborted as humanely as possible.

      • minime13

        Science would say no. Not even close.

      • derbradster

        Science can give us facts but our collective shared values (to the extent that we have them and obviously we no longer do) must dictate the choices we make

      • Mogg

        Erm, no. “Majority rules” is a very bad way to determine individual choices, in fact.

      • Donmallow

        I would have to agree. I think “developing” would be a more appropriate word at that point.

      • lewr2

        True…we have many people in this country that prove that even at 52 they still haven’t formed a brain. Some of them are in very high places as well.

      • derbradster

        How early will a home preg test show positive results? How soon after unprotected sex are women encouraged by the home preg test kits to drop the urine drops on the test strip? Should the instructions be revised? Or are they just not heeded?

      • Rosie

        Some home pregnancy tests claim to be accurate up to a week before the period is expected. It should be accurate if one is only a couple of days late. But finding an abortion clinic that can get you an appointment in less than a week may be tricky.

      • Kam

        And many of those clinics are in states that require you receive counseling from the clinic staff at least 24 hours before the actual procedure – which often leaves you two weeks or more out from when you initially schedule your appointment, particularly in areas where clinics are only open once a week, or where you might need to take a bus long distances – even across state lines.

      • Anat

        Not all women have predictable periods. Some will not suspect they might be pregnant until quite a while after. Especially if they used birth control measures that failed them.

      • minime13

        Some women still have spotting and bleeding during pregnancy (about 25%).

        I suggest you go brush up on some facts about a woman’s menstrual cycle, and tread lightly when schooling women about their reproductive organs.

      • derbradster

        Asking questions (rhetorical or genuine) is now taken to be “schooling” women or anyone? The one who asks questions is the student, not the teacher.

      • Anat

        Huh? Teachers ask questions all the time. ‘Who can tell me what we get if we multiply six by four?’ or whatever.

        But yes, stop telling us we are doing it wrong if we don’t handle our personal affairs to your standards and values.

      • derbradster

        When have I mentioned my standards and values? Or for that matter anyone elses? Because there is such a wide array of attitudes they would best be served by the give and take of legislative deliberation, not a one-size-fits-all judicial edict formed apart from public input. Okay that IS a value: laws made by legislators instead of judges.

      • lewr2

        At least you weren’t called a hatemonger for it. It’s the perfect leftist ploy… don’t like the question… call a name.
        Don’t have an answer… deflect with a name.

    • Uriel238

      Well, the higher brain functions don’t actually start operating until 22 weeks (which is why lack of higher brain functions isn’t detected until late-term.) This is (I think) the best position for personhood, though I hesitate to give any ground until the rights of the mother are firmly defined, partially because many severe birth defects which will affect quality of life are detected only late term.

      I still think we should put more effort into artificial wombs and a cheap, fast extraction/re-implantation procedure. If the state could provide that, it would end the abortion controversy (in exchange for several other, more manageable ones).

      • Marc

        I think personhood is a silly thing to argue over in the first place. Even if the anti-choice crowd wasn’t talking out their butts there, in what other instance, other than slavery which is pretty much universally recognized as unambiguously evil, is it considered acceptable for one person to force another to serve them against their will, even to the detriment of their own health?

        I mean, of course the fetus isn’t malevolent about it, as it can’t think or make decisions and is only actually innocent the way a rock is innocent, but that’s really just because it’s clearly not a person in the first place and kind of just demonstrates the other huge flaw in anti-choice reasoning, but you really don’t even have to bother dissecting that part; if the thing was demonstrably intelligent and could quote pseudo-philosophy for itself it would STILL not be acceptable to force the woman to have it.

      • Uriel238

        Personhood of a fetus doesn’t automatically nullify the personhood (or the rights) of the mother, as it is used in the obstructionist movement. But it can be used, for example, to determine when a fetus is entitled to lifesaving care and when it isn’t. There are even segments of the anti-abortion community that will acknowledge that aborting a braindead fetus isn’t really an abortion which is an odd way to say, it’s a a case which should not be opposed on moral grounds.

        Personhood is much more of an issue at the other end of life. Beating heart cadavers (in which a person is braindead but the organs are still working) are invaluable for being harvested for implantable organs. So there’s actually a precedent for the indicators of personhood.

      • lewr2

        Sure… neither does it a minute, day, week, month, year, 2 year, 3 year old either. The baby can’t function on it’s own at any of those points except for breathing.

      • Uriel238

        I’m not sure to what you’re responding.

        Babies after they are born can function independently of the mother, which is something that they cannot do beforehand. In all fifty states, that means they can be legally handed over to a safe surrender site, and will be cared for.

        But I’m not at all sure what your point was, since I don’t know to what “neither does it…” references.

      • lewr2

        They do very little on their own Uriel. Leave them alone and see what happens. Video tape it and then play the video back. Watch what they can do. I do it a lot in the nursery. They cry, they cry, they toss, turn, cry, toss, turn, cry. Tear up, toss, turn, cry, wail, wail, wail.

        At least it’s won’t be as violent as watching the brains sucked out of it’s head, arms and legs ripped apart or a saline solutions inserted huh?

      • tsara

        After they’re born they can be handed off to other people (there’s a thing that pro-lifers tend to talk about a lot called ‘adoption’). Before it’s born? Not so much.

        And I consider abortion methods to be much more humane deaths than starvation, which is basically torture.

        (And coming from someone who gets happy-feelings when I don’t eat something, and once spent three weeks eating nothing but one cracker and one teaspoon of yoghurt plus a quarter cup of gatorade and a quarter cup of orange juice mixed into an enormous water bottle plus varying amounts of black coffee every day, this should tell you something.)

      • lewr2

        I posted the definition of abort earlier. Go look it up. YOu’re ABANDONING when you ABORT. You can put makeup on a pig, but it’s still a pig. When you have an egg and sperm come together to make a 3rd set of DNA, you have life no matter how you all want to sugarcoat it.

        Personhood is started when a 3rd DNA is made.

        It doesn’t matter what word plays people want to try, abortion is killing life.

      • tsara

        Taking antibiotics is also killing life. Radiation therapy is also killing life — human life. Eating meat is killing life. Eating vegetables is killing life.

        “YOu’re ABANDONING when you ABORT.”

        Your point?

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        You’re comparing bacteria to a human being? Radiation is killing a human? Eating meat is killing a human? You are putting bacteria, cancer cells and a cow as equal to the life of a human individual.

      • Mogg

        Ahh, so “life” is not the only factor of importance here? What makes human life in the form of a 6-week embryo more important than human life in the form of a cancerous tumour? And is the human tumour more important than the cow? Is there some sort of hierarchy?

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        I’d say it’d be a good idea to think about what you are saying here, or at least share with others you know to see how much sense it is. I’m glad it is not legal to practice cannibalism although it was in some regions of the world in the past.

      • tsara

        Can you articulate exactly what you think the problem with what Mogg is saying is? Because I don’t actually understand what you’re getting at.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Ahh, so “life” is not the only factor of importance here? What makes
        human life in the form of a 6-week embryo more important than human life
        in the form of a cancerous tumour? And is the human tumour more
        important than the cow? Is there some sort of hierarchy?

      • tsara

        Oddly enough, just repeating what Mogg said doesn’t help. The comment is still there, I can still read it, and you still did not explain what problem you have with it.

      • Mogg

        If you take another look at what I said, you will find that what I was doing was trying to get you to further explain YOUR ideas, not commenting on mine. So, shall I try again? What, in YOUR opinion, makes a human foetus more important than a human tumour, a cow, or an edible plant? It can’t just be the fact that they are alive, because they are all alive. It can’t just be that the foetus is human, because the tumour is as well, with its own unique DNA distinct from its host. So what, in your opinion, is the difference?

        I’m glad cannibalism is illegal in most places as well, and although it is still practised in a country neighbouring mine, I have no desire at all to eat humans.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        A cancerous tumor is not a human being. It will not grow into a sweet, cuddly, warm, little one. A tumor is a group of cells that will try to kill. To compare a developing tumor to a developing baby is like comparing the destruction that diabetes can cause to a healthy immune system. One can not only cause serious medical health issues that no one would want, the other will bring us a better life. It’s hard to try and compare something that happens within us that the outcome could be incredible suffering, to something that can and most often does bring people incredible joy. So yes. a human fetus is more important than a tumor. To rid ourselves of cancer, there are many research centers that focus on trying to stop it, we don’t do that with unborn babies. Although during WWII it was done in death camps, they called it experimenting.

      • tsara

        The cuddliness of infants is not germane to the issue of abortion.

        Pregnancy would make me extremely miserable. I would be suffering the entire time. You are generalizing your experiences onto every person ever, and drawing false distinctions between things. To have diabetes is to exist in a particular condition. If somebody is fine with it and doesn’t want to treat it, that is none of your business. To have a healthy immune system is to exist in a particular condition. If somebody does not like that condition and wants to destroy it, that is none of your business.

      • Mogg

        Not all infants bring incredible joy. Some bring great suffering.

      • Niemand

        A tumor is a group of cells that will try to kill.

        A cancer is NOT trying to kill. It’s just trying to survive and reproduce. It’s not the cancer’s fault that it’s overgrowing its environment’s ability to care for it. The cancer is entirely innocent.

        It will not grow into a sweet, cuddly, warm, little one.

        So only cute life is allowed to live?

        It’s hard to try and compare something that happens within us that the outcome could be incredible suffering, to something that can and most often does bring people incredible joy.

        I don’t disagree. But what you don’t acknowledge is that an unwanted pregnancy can and does bring incredible suffering. Especially if it is unwanted because it is likely to kill the host. Wanted pregnancies can and often do bring incredible joy. But not always. Some end in terrible sorrow and death. I don’t feel the need to force that risk on others. The “pro-life” movement does.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Aww an innocent cancer. Isn’t that so sweet! You seem to care about the cancer more than the unborn little one! Kill kill kill is all that seem to come from many who answer here. Seems like the answer for so many of lifes struggles is to kill the defenseless little human beings. The world is a crazy and unsafe place to be if you’re an unborn little human being. Wacked.

      • Niemand

        So…you have no argument, no logical reason to not differentiate between a cancer and a “little one” aka embryo so you resort to ad hom. Why, logically, should I care more about an embryo than a cancer? They’re both living beings with separate DNA but dependent on the host. And, more importantly, why should I prioritize either one over the living, breathing, thinking, and often quite cute woman who bears them?

      • Jessica


        A cancerous tumor is caused by a mutation in your own cells’ DNA that cause them to replicate uncontrollably. These cells are a part of your body. A tumor is an overgrowth of YOUR cells.

        A 6-week embryo is not made up of your cells. A 6-week embryo (along with any other stage in development of a particular human organism) has its own set of cells that have in their nuclei a unique set of DNA which is separate from your own. Its genetic code does not match (in its entirety) yours or your partner’s. This is what we call a new human life, which, if allowed to grow and develop as nature intends, will grow into a fully functioning adult. A human life does not begin outside of the womb. It does not begin when you want it to begin. It begins at conception, when the sperm penetrates the ovum. That is when a new set of DNA is formed, and a new human being begins to grow and develop.

      • Beutelratti

        The cancer still has unique DNA, that is the point. The DNA of the cancer does not entirely match my own either. And again: The embryo is not separate from my body. If I don’t want it to be in my body, I remove it. My body, my choice.

      • Niemand

        Jessica, cancer cells have their own unique DNA that does not match yours. How do you think drugs like Imatinib work anyway? Your post is an eloquent argument for cancer cells being separate human beings.
        That being said, even if fetuses and cancers are separate people in any meaningful sense, what social good is there that can come from forcing one person to allow another to use their body without their consent?

      • Niemand

        The DNA in a tumor is different from your own. If having different DNA is the criterion for being a separate individual then tumors must be separate individuals and no amount of rationalization about how that difference came about is going to help you.

        Nor do all humans have unique DNA. Identical twins have the same DNA as each other, modulo somatic mutations. Does that make them a single person? Can a person ethically kill his or her twin because they are only destroying something with the same DNA as they have?

        Then there are chimeras, people formed of the fusion of two zygotes. Suppose a person is chimeric such that the DNA in their appendix is from one zygote and all other DNA from the other. Would it be immoral for them to have an appendectomy? Particularly a prophylactic appendectomy?

        I really think that you’d be better off simply abandoning the argument from DNA. It’s not going anywhere good.

        if allowed to grow and develop as nature intends,

        Leaving aside the whole question about whether nature “intends” anything at all, up to 80% of concepti abort spontaneously. Unless you’re equally concerned about these deaths, I’m going to have a hard time taking your claim that you’re interested in “saving babies” seriously.

      • Jessica


        Did you realize that I said MUTATION in your cells’ DNA? A mutation is defined as “a change in a DNA sequence.” So yes, there is most definitely a change here. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have a tumor in the first place because your cells would be functioning normally.

        The thing is, a tumor is caused by a MALFUNCTION. Something is WRONG. And this “malfunction” causes a change in YOUR cells.

        The penetration of an ovum by a sperm cell and subsequent formation of a new human organism with its own cells and its own DNA is not caused by a malfunction in your cells. It is a NORMAL and natural occurrence.

        It is beyond ridiculous to suggest that tumors can be considered “individuals” with rights that are equal to that of an ACTUAL human being. You and I both know that a tumor cannot grow into a fully functioning adult that can walk, talk, think, eat, etc. That will never happen, because a tumor is NOT a human being. It is only PART of a human being (an overgrowth of the (mutated) cells of that human being) whereas a zygote/blastocyst/embryo/fetus has its own separate DNA with ALL the necessary components to grow and develop all of the body parts that a fully functioning adult has.

        Sometimes there are glitches along the way (i.e. anencephaly, spina bifida, congenital heart defects, etc.) but the components with the potential to develop normally are still there.

        Tumors don’t have the necessary components.

        Niemand, I know identical twins have the same DNA. That is the ONE exception and you have found it. However, it has nothing to do with the topic at hand. We are talking about ABORTION. Obviously, it is not okay to kill your identical twin because they have the same DNA as you. They are still NOT part of your body. They can choose different things than you and act differently than you because they are a SEPARATE human being from you. Many pro-choicers claim that a fetus is “part of their body.” That could not be ANY further from the truth (if you wanna talk science here).

        Having an appendectomy (in the case of chimeras) does not equal killing a human being. Again, an appendix is only PART of a human being. An appendix is not a human being. You may have multiple zygotes’ DNA in your body (and a different DNA in your appendix than the rest of your body), but those are just parts of a whole. Each part, in and of itself, is not a complete human being. Your appendix (with its separate DNA) cannot grow the rest of its body. It is a PART of your body.

        Having an abortion terminates the life of a separate and unique individual with ALL the necessary components in place to grow into its own complete and autonomous human adult.

        One last nugget of insight: Spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) is vastly different than deliberately killing a living human being. Spontaneous abortion occurs naturally and does not deliberately interfere with the normal course of development. It is the earliest of “natural deaths.”

      • Beutelratti

        “Spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) is vastly different than deliberately killing a living human being.”

        Yes, and abortion is vastly different than deliberately killing a living human being. Again, your point?

      • Beutelratti

        I’m also amazed at how miscarriage is somehow okay in your world because it is natural and yet ending a pregnancy is killing a human being. The result is the same. The embryo/fetus does not survive. Yet one is supposedly wrong and the other is “just what happens”.

        Again, if you really saw embryos and fetuses as human beings you wouldn’t write miscarriages off that easily. That point has been made by Libby Anne in this very blog post.

      • Niemand

        Just to beat this dead horse a little further: Some miscarriages are preventable. If you think an embryo is a baby then not preventing those miscarriages is about as moral as not preventing a toddler from running out into the street. Would you shrug and say, “I’m not directly killing it?” while ignoring a 2 year old toddling along the on ramp to the Autobahn? Then why just blow off the preventable death of a fetus? I’m completely pro-choice but I find it immoral to not help women who are losing wanted pregnancies to retain their pregnancies to term. Why is the “pro-life” movement so willing to let these “babies” die?

        (In case you’re wondering why I’m going on so much about this, I’m writing while on hold with an insurance company trying to get them to approve a medication that may prevent a miscarriage in a woman who has a particular medical issue and multiple miscarriages in the past. If they don’t allow it, I’ll go to the drug company next. If they won’t provide free drug I’ll see what I can do with charities. If the Republicans, many of them “pro-life” hadn’t blocked the ACA this woman would likely already be on the relevant medication and the fetus and she in considerably less danger. Instead, my evil, murderous pro-choice self is trying to save them.)

      • Jessica

        Niemand, we can’t prevent every miscarriage. That is ridiculous. We can only do what we can to help minimize them.

        With that said, I think it’s wonderful that you’re helping this woman receive the life-saving medication that she needs to keep her baby alive. That’s the most pro-life thing you’ve said all day. :) I sincerely hope she can get access to this medication. It’s a shame that some of us fail to see the value of life and can claim to be pro-life, but turn our heads the other way when we might have to sacrifice a little to save someone else’s baby. It’s hypocritical. Please know that I wish the best for her AND her baby. Let me know how it goes, please!

      • Niemand

        You’re quite right. We can’t prevent every miscarriage. But we can prevent some of them. Particularly when we know why the miscarriages are occurring and what medication will, to some extent, reverse the condition. Are you willing to pay higher taxes to ensure that poor women get the care they need to prevent miscarriage and maternal death? (Again admitting that you’re right and all we’re really doing is reducing the chances of either, not preventing it totally.)

        Personally, I’d like to screen all pregnant women for conditions associated with preventable miscarriage at first presentation. But that would be even more money. Are you willing to pay to have medicaid function as well as private insurance?

      • tsara

        “That’s the most pro-life thing you’ve said all day.”
        That isn’t a pro-life action or sentiment. It’s a pro-choice (or pro-reproductive justice or pro-reproductive freedom or whatever Niemand calls hirself*) one: the woman wants the baby.

        *not sure about pronouns

        EDIT: this seems to be a problem. Some people call themselves pro-life and prefer to vote for people who call themselves pro-life, but don’t actually support the idea of forcing everyone who gets pregnant to either remain pregnant or visit a Gosnell-type-person. Pro-choice doesn’t mean pro-killing-babies, it just means pro-the-pregnant-person-gets-to-decide.

      • Feminerd

        Good, good. So we’ve established that unique human DNA isn’t the marker of what a human being is. Since identical twins are clearly not one person, and chimaeras are clearly not two people, there’s something else going on to make people, well, people.

        How do you feel about hydatidiform moles or ovarian teratomas? Hydatidiform moles happen when something goes wrong with a recent implanted blastocyst, and instead of developing into a fetus it develops into a tumor. It still has unique human DNA that came from a sperm and ovum combining. Is that a person? A pretty serious glitch happened, but “the components with the potential to develop normally are still there”, right?

        What are your criteria? For me, it’s independent existence. We call the moment a fetus becomes an independent entity “birth”.

        [Twins] can choose different things than you and act differently than you because they are a SEPARATE human being from you. Many pro-choicers claim that a fetus is “part of their body.” That could not be ANY further from the truth (if you wanna talk science here).

        Yes. Exactly! A twin isn’t connected to your body, stealing your very blood and nutrients, so they’re definitely a separate human being. The same can’t be said for a fetus. It’s going where the mother goes, ingesting what she ingests, and otherwise not being a separate human being at all. It can’t even think yet; the brain isn’t developed enough to feel pain until 23-25 weeks, so there’s certainly no higher thought process going on.

        As for the claim that a fetus is part of their body- kind of true, kind of not. It’s definitely attached, using the woman’s blood and nutrients to grow itself. It’s as much a part of the woman’s body as a tumor is. At any rate, that’s a red herring. All people have the right to remove anything from their bodies they don’t want inside of it and/or that is causing them harm. This includes tapeworms, appendixes, tumors, cysts, and fetuses.

      • Niemand

        Spontaneous abortion occurs naturally and does not deliberately interfere with the normal course of development.

        So what? Again, you seem to be indicating that you’re not interested in saving lives, only preventing killings. While preventing killing is a laudable goal, more lives are lost to “natural” death, often preventable natural death, than to killing.

        For example, “natural’ miscarriage. Some miscarriages occur because the pregnant woman has a problem with her clotting system that (probably) causes clots in the placenta and loss of the fetus. Usually in the 2nd and 3rd trimester, at a time when the parents are probably feeling like they’re pretty safe, that they’re definitely getting a baby and have probably named the fetus, started setting up a nursery, and told everyone that they’ll have a baby soon. Most of these pregnancy losses can be prevented by use of an anti-coagulant drug during pregnancy and shortly after delivery (as a free bonus, it also reduces the chances of the mother dying of a blood clot).

        There’s a catch, of course. Namely, the drug is expensive. Poor and uninsured women can’t afford this drug. If I were running the world, I’d make sure that all women who needed it would have access to it, regardless of their ability to pay. Because I think late miscarriage is a serious and tragic thing and that it should be prevented when possible. And I’m willing to pay a miniscule amount in taxes to improve the chances of a poor woman carrying her wanted pregnancy to term and not dying of a blood clot during delivery.

        What about you? Would you simply sneer at a woman who lost a pregnancy that way and tell her to stop whining, it’s “natural”? Would you refuse to help her prevent the next loss? Would you tell a child whose mother died giving birth to him or her that the death was “natural” and they should stop whining?

        Death is death, whether it is “natural” or not. Failing to prevent a death that you could have trivially prevented is as immoral as “directly” causing it.

      • Jessica

        Oh goodness. “Would I simply sneer at a woman who lost a pregnancy [by miscarriage] and tell her to stop whining, it’s ‘natural?’” Good grief, absolutely not!!! The baby that was lost was a human being with importance and value in this world. This is the reason why I am pro-life. Any loss of a human life (no matter how the loss was achieved) is cause for grieving. I can’t help but wonder though, what would you say to her? That is, since you don’t seem to believe that a growing fetus is something to be valued or cherished (correct me if I’m wrong). If you claim that other fetuses are not deserving of any respect, then it’s hardly consistent to afford hers any special status. Just because her fetus happened to be “wanted” is not what gives it that “human” quality.

        With regards to what I was saying earlier: The difference between having a miscarriage and having an abortion is that a miscarriage is not deliberate whereas an abortion is. A miscarriage is often outside of the woman’s immediate control. It is true that many miscarriages are caused by a malfunction in the woman’s body, so in that sense, they are not “natural.” Sometimes, these problems can even be fixed beforehand to prevent the miscarriage (as in the case of the Rh+ fetus). However, what I meant by “natural” is, again, the fact that she is not deliberately dilating the cervix, injecting the fetus with poison, and ripping it apart piece by piece. This is about as far from “natural” as you can get.

      • Niemand

        The difference between having a miscarriage and having an abortion is
        that a miscarriage is not deliberate whereas an abortion is.

        Oh, I’d call refusal to provide the drug that would prevent the miscarriage from occurring because it is too expensive pretty deliberate myself.

        I’ll ask again: Are you willing to pay for poor women to receive expensive medications to prevent miscarriage?

      • Jessica

        Niemand, you’re shifting the focus here.

        To answer your question though, there are varying degrees of “blame” here and it’s much too gray of an issue to determine with any real certainty that it is one specific person’s (if anyone’s) fault that her baby was miscarried. A lot of times, it’s really no one’s fault. I agree that she should be able to receive medication that would have saved her baby, regardless of cost. This is beside the point though, as now it seems we are discussing the minute reasons behind a miscarriage while shifting our eyes away from abortion which IS a direct and deliberate killing.

      • Feminerd

        How is abortion of an unwanted fetus worse that refusing to provide a woman a drug to prevent a miscarriage of a wanted fetus? That is, actually, exactly the point. You think direct and deliberate killing is worse than refraining from action that would save a life. Why? They both end in death.

      • tsara

        “That is, since you don’t seem to believe that a growing fetus is something to be valued or cherished (correct me if I’m wrong).”
        You are wrong. A fetus is worth exactly as much as the person carrying it assigns to it. Therefore, someone who valued the fetus highly and lost it… experienced a great loss. Someone who aborts an embryo because they do not want a baby experiences little to no loss. This seems blatantly obvious from what people are saying, but I guess not.

      • persephone

        God thinks aborted fetuses are only worth a monetary fine. Exodus 21:22.

      • Feminerd

        Actually, that’s accidentally aborted fetuses, aka wanted ones. There’s a magical ritual to induce miscarriage (which is, after all, a medical abortion) if a woman has been unfaithful to her husband. Numbers 5:11-31.

        EDIT: Also God is totally fine with ordering pregnant women ripped open and their fetuses, obviously, killed. Hosea 13:16, 2 Kings 15:16, Numbers 31:15-18

      • Ren Chant

        there’s also RH-factor incompatibility, only needing RhoGam, there’s incompetent cervix, only needing a little loop of suture around the cervix. i’m pretty sure those poor women can’t afford these extremely simple solutions.

      • Niemand

        It is a NORMAL and natural occurrence.

        And here we are back at “normal and natural”. Not every conception is “natural”. In fact, there’s quite an industry devoted to unnatural conceptions, including some where sperm does not meet egg directly. Is Louise Joy Brown not a person because the insemination that led to her existence was not “natural”? If we ever get around to human cloning for reproductive purposes will the children so born be not really people because their formation was both unnatural and not due to egg and sperm fusing?

      • Niemand

        It is beyond ridiculous to suggest that tumors can be considered
        “individuals” with rights that are equal to that of an ACTUAL human

        Why? What makes an actual human being?

        You and I both know that a tumor cannot grow into a fully
        functioning adult that can walk, talk, think, eat, etc

        Ah, you give an answer. Thank you. I generally agree with it. A tumor can’t walk, talk, or think. True. Neither can a fetus. So why is it “beyond ridiculous” to give rights to one but not the other?

      • persephone

        Actually it is made up of my cells, at least partially. And it continues to feed on my cells while it develops.

      • Mogg

        There are indeed innocent cancers. For instance, many prostate cancers will progress so slowly that the host will often die of something completely unrelated, having never suffered a symptom of his cancer, and would be worse off if he had it treated due to the almost universally severe and permanent side effects of surgery on the prostate.

      • Niemand

        All cancers are “innocent” in the sense that they act without malice and their motivation is simply to live, not to do damage to anyone. There is no evil intent in a cancer: it is simply following its genetic programming. Much like an embryo.

      • Mogg

        True. Very true.

      • victoria

        Suppose a full-term baby is born and it is discovered that its brain stopped developing at approximately six weeks gestational age.

        That baby would meet criteria for brain death. Any criteria you like. The capability and functionality of the brain at six weeks gestational age is unambiguously not consistent with what we define as being a living human when we’re trying to determine medically whether someone is alive or dead.**

        Is is possible to kill that baby? Is it possible to kill anyone else that’s already dead?

        Why, then, would it be unethical to have an abortion at that same point in pregnancy? Why would an abortion at that point be considered killing?

        ** I personally believe that cortical death is a much, much more relevant ethical criterion here, but I’ll leave that aside for the moment.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        If the little one is alive, then to kill it would be abortion. If the little one has not died, then it would still have a beating heart etc, it would be alive. Brain dead is a term very loosely used. A beating heart means alive.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        If the little one cannot survive no one would know till the birth and the little one is given medical care. You seem to be grasping at straws. Do not presume to know. Doctors some times presume and are greatly surprised by a little ones will to live after birth.

      • victoria


        Brain death is a medical and legal term. It has generally replaced heartbeat and breathing as a definition of death precisely because there are circumstances in which people’s hearts aren’t beating but they’re still alive (as when the heart is stopped during a surgical procedure or in some cases of severe hypothermia). Brain death is not “very loosely used” but instead relies on strict criteria.

        Do you believe that abortion is ethical before the heart begins to beat?

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        “Brain death is a medical and legal term. It has generally replaced heartbeat and breathing as a definition of death precisely because there are circumstances in which people’s hearts aren’t beating but they’re still alive (as when the heart is stopped during a surgical procedure or in some cases of severe hypothermia)”

        Surgery that causes the heart to be stopped and the function carried on by a machine is done so to save a persons life. Severe hypothermia would be presented as the cause of a very faint if even non registrable heart beat. There are medical ways to again, save the life. The plan is not to end it.
        “Do you believe that abortion is ethical before the heart begins to beat?”

        Whether or not the heart beat in a little one is registrable does not mean it is not developing. All the little one needs to do is to continue growing. It is a live human being.

      • victoria

        I disagree with you in the strongest possible terms that it’s a live human being. I disagree that it’s alive before the development of the forebrain, but that is at least in part a philosophical dispute. Before six weeks or so I can’t see any good argument whatsoever for it being alive.

        The fact that the heart is developing in an early-stage embryo doesn’t mean that it’s a heart yet. (At the time a pregnancy test can register positive, the embryo has neither a heart nor a nervous system, though it is developing some of the precursors to those things.) Under no circumstances would any collection of human DNA lacking a brain or heart be considered a living person outside the womb. Why would it be considered a living person simply by virtue of where it is?

      • lisa

        my daughter devoloped anencephaly around 29 days after conception. also it’s not uncommon for the cells that are devoloping in early pregnancy to keep reproducing but never actually form a baby. no brain, no heart, not anything but a clump of cells. science has no idea why either of these things happen. human reproduction is too little understood to even begin to know when “person hood” occurs.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        There is either alive, or not alive (dead or not developing at all ). There is no in between. Alive or not. Developing or not. Science knows that after conception there is a developing human. It is not dead, it is alive, it is developing. It is a human, two humans who mate do not produce a dog/cat/fly/knat.
        For someone to so strongly not want to believe what is easily a simple science I would think there must be some personal reason. Why are you fighting against fact? What is the purpose for your searching to make it not so?

      • victoria

        If you’re asking whether I have an emotional reason for my beliefs about when life begins the answer’s no. I have never had an abortion. None of my relatives nor any close friends have ever had an abortion to my knowledge.

        I didn’t say there was any in-between; I said that under no circumstances would any collection of human DNA lacking a brain or a heart be considered a living person outside the womb. Do you not agree with this statement?

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        As I have said when replying to others on this venue I do lay counseling particularly for pregnancy loss. Whether the loss is due to miscarriage, accident, abortion or otherwise, all people concerned can contact myself and others for honest, compassionate and non judgmental support.
        Inside the womb when there has been conception and implantation there is a developing human. I cannot be more clear than that. If you are asking if a removed wart is a developing human or tissue removed by a plastic surgeon or similar tissue? No those would not be persons.

      • victoria

        I have no idea where you got warts from this discussion. (Nor is it clear to me why you mentioned your lay counseling in the context of this discussion.)

        I was pointing out:

        1. Before a certain point in pregnancy, the embryo does not have a heart or brain. This is absolutely indisputable.
        2. Nothing without a heart or brain could possibly be considered a living human being if it were outside the womb. It would have no heartbeat, no brain waves.
        3. The physical location of an embryo lacking heart or brain is no more relevant to the question whether it is a living human than is the physical location of anything else.
        4. Thus, at the time we’re discussing — before the heart and brain develop — the embryo is not a living human being. The fact that it might develop into one if given access to the mother’s resources is irrelevant to determining whether it is alive at any given point in time.

      • Guest

        “I do lay counseling particularly for pregnancy loss.” In other words, you work at one of those Talibaptist “Pregnant? We can help” shops that lures in vulnerable young pregnant women and then shames/bullies them into having babies they can’t afford because that’s the proper penalty for being a slut.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        No I don’t ‘work’ at any pregnancy outreach etc etc. People come to me from different ways, all different venues. I work out of my home. I’ve helped nurses who are strongly pro choice and because they have found difficulties from a pregnancy loss of others They’ve found out about me and have felt comfortable talking with me. I’ve helped women who have serious mental health issues who just really need some one to listen and not judge any. I’ve volunteered at a woman’s shelter when they’ve been in an abusive relationship or other areas of their lives that has caused them pain. I help women who have been raped. I’s not only pregnancy loss that I help people with.
        I don’t know why you must think I’m a non caring, non empathetic person. I despise bullying of any sort. I don’t ‘lure’ anyone. I am just available and often people have no one to share their fear, pain, sadness or their suffering. Many who come to me have been physically, sexually or otherwise abused. They want to deal with many issues. Having had suffered many similar difficulties it’s not hard to empathize. I started training in lay counseling at a young age in order to volunteer on a crisis line. I counsel not only women but men also. We are all affected by our own choices and choices of those we love. I have and do counsel people in all areas of abuse and suffering. Just because I may think different than you you need not try and mock and shove me into a hole that you’ve pegged for me.
        Also you use the term ‘slut’. I would never use that term for anyone because I am not a name caller nor do I make personal judgements on the life choices of others. People make a lot of choices in their lives, some hurt them as they have said so themselves. They are often very open and I honour them for being so. People sometimes just need a place to vent about lives changes and choices. A good sounding board is not always available. Often others don’t want to hear or know.

      • Grotoff

        Ummm… prions? Viruses? Mitochondria? Bacteria? There is no hard divide between alive and not alive.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        There is a divide between a living human being and the species you speak of. ‘They’ are not complete human beings. That is the divide.

      • Niemand

        So it’s not just alive/non-alive, but also human/nonhuman. Why? This is a serious question. Can you explain why you think that human life is more important than other life? I have my reasons for thinking that it is more important than other (known) life, but I’m wondering what your criteria are.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        All these other forms of life that you list play a part in causing a human being to become un healthy. They commonly need to be stopped, killed, in order for the individual to regain health. They have no other reason for being. They do not bring goodness to other beings. So I would take medicines prescribed to stop any of them from causing me harm. Human life does not thrive/survive/develop to harm another.

        I would assume most people would not want these ‘other forms of life’ living on/in them. They are destructive.

      • Conuly

        Actually, Anita, we need certain bacteria and viruses to survive. Heck, we can’t even make it through gestation without our mitochondria, and… well, I will let you work through the implications of that on your own time.

        The vast majority of life forms in our bodies are beneficial to us, or at least benign.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        I know that to be true, and I know about what you might be trying to say about mitochondria. I was speaking simply.

        The rot on a tree may kill it, but when it does, the rot become food for other trees. So often a simple discussion can go off onto tangents. I’d rather not.

      • Conuly

        You were speaking ignorantly. You specifically said that nobody would want bacteria or mitochondria living on or in them. Nobody with any knowledge of biology would say that, because it is patently ludicrous.

        To claim that biology backs up your views of abortion, you have to understand basic biological processes and facts.

      • Niemand

        So often a simple discussion can go off onto tangents

        This is not a simple discussion and the question of what constitutes human life and why human life is important is arguably central to the issue of abortion. It could, however, be argued that it is irrelevant because even if the average fetus spends its time inventing general relativity and writing poetry in utero it, like any born person, does not have the right to use someone else’s body to sustain itself, but I doubt you want to go down that path.

      • Niemand

        All these other forms of life that you list play a part in causing a
        human being to become un healthy.

        So? What does that matter? The human immune system kills viruses and bacteria by the millions or billions every day. Why should it be ok for humans to kill bacteria but not the other way around? Again, you’re making the basic assumption that humans are more important than other life. Why?

        They commonly need to be stopped,
        killed, in order for the individual to regain health.

        Actually, most viruses and bacteria are completely harmless to humans. And I’d hate to have someone “cure” my mitochondria, even if they probably did start out as parasites.

        They have no other
        reason for being.

        Not sure what you mean by this. They definitely bring life about. If that life sometimes needs other life to survive, well, so do humans. Or haven’t you noticed that you’re eating living or ex-living things (yes, even if you’re a vegan.)

        They do not bring goodness to other beings.

        They bring life to others. One virus or bacteria can create millions of its own kind. And mitochondria keep you alive. For that matter, I feel that my symbiotic colonic bacteria bring me plenty of goodness: they prevent diarrhea, prevent colonization by pathogenic strains, etc.

      • Conuly

        Incidentally, I suggest you bow out for a while, at least long enough to look up “mitochondria”. Your argument seems to depend oń science, but when you don’t even know the basics of how our cells work then it is impossible for anybody to take you seriously on anything else.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        I believe one need not know all to be able to have a conversation on a blog. Even the best educated people do and say stupid things. Sometimes the least educated, the youngest, the most simple say or do the most astounding.

        I never nor will I ever profess to know a lot about everything. I knew about mitochondria but chose to not go into a long discussion about how cells work. If people do not take me seriously that is their choice. They can ignore anything or all that I post here. It’s not all that difficult.

      • Conuly

        Your ignorance is like not knowing where babies come from. In this discussion, it IS that important. Asking that you refrain frôm pretending a scientific rationale for your views until you understand basic biology (and no, you aren’t fooling anybody by claiming you already knew that) is what is going to keèp us all from talking in circles.

      • Niemand

        How do you reconcile your claim “All these other forms of life that you list [in a list that includes mitochondria] play a part in causing a human being to become un healthy.” with a claim to knowing how mitochondria work?

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        ” I never nor will I ever profess to know a lot about everything. I knew
        about mitochondria but chose to not go into a long discussion about how
        cells work. If people do not take me seriously that is their choice.
        They can ignore anything or all that I post here. It’s not all that

        I will add ‘visa versa’.

      • Ren Chant

        the phrase is ‘vice versa.’ visa versa sounds like reversing a charge on your credit card.

      • Niemand

        Human life does not thrive/survive/develop to harm another

        Unfortunately untrue. Quite a number of species have gone extinct due to humanity, including, likely, our closest relatives, the other species in genus Homo. Also, as you may already know, the north pole is now open water not ice. That’s an effect of humans as well. Not to mention the millions or more bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc that are destroyed daily by each and every person alive. Realistically, there’s really probably no more destructive a species out there than humans. Well, maybe mosquitoes, but that’s about it.

      • Conuly

        Actually, there is no human life without mitochondria, and we desperately need other micro organisms to survive. This is basic high school biology.

      • Conuly

        And by what criteria do you consider that “divide” important? Be specific, please.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        I don’t think I’ve seen you reply to any of what I’ve said here Conuly. I want to do a bit of a change up. I sense that you have a thought as to what I might consider on the ‘divide’ idea used here. Please do give the opinion of what you think I could have to say? That would be interesting.

      • Conuly

        I’ll show you mine if and when you show me yours. Why do you think that human DNA with no brain function is categorically different from any life form of your choosing?

      • Grotoff

        A zygote is not a complete person, unless you mean on the DNA level. But then a cheek swab is a complete person too.

        Your “divide” is a matter of religious opinion, not scientific fact. Don’t foist your unsupportable opinions unto others.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        If you take a cheek swap you have human tissue, not a human being. A complete human being is exactly that, no matter it’s stage of development. This is not an opinion. This is scientific fact.
        Here are some quotes from those who study Embryology.

        “The development of a human being begins with fertilization, a process by which two highly specialized cells, the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female, unite to give rise to a new organism, the
        [Langman, Jan. Medical Embryology. 3rd edition. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1975, p. 3]

        “Human development begins after the union of male and female gametes or germ cells during a process known as fertilization (conception). “Fertilization is a sequence of events that begins with the contact of a sperm (spermatozoon) with a secondary oocyte (ovum) and ends with the fusion of their pronuclei (the haploid nuclei of the sperm and ovum) and the mingling of their chromosomes to form a new cell. This fertilized ovum, known as a zygote, is a large diploid cell that is the beginning, or primordium, of a human being.”
        [Moore, Keith L. Essentials of Human Embryology. Toronto: B.C. Decker Inc, 1988, p.2]

        “The development of a human begins with fertilization, a process by which the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote.”
        [Sadler, T.W. Langman's Medical Embryology. 7th edition. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins 1995, p. 3]

        “Development of the embryo begins at Stage 1 when a sperm fertilizes an oocyte and together they form a zygote.”
        [England, Marjorie A. Life Before Birth. 2nd ed. England: Mosby-Wolfe, 1996, p.31]

        “Almost all higher animals start their lives from a single cell, the fertilized ovum (zygote)… The time of fertilization represents the starting point in the life history, or ontogeny, of the individual.”
        [Carlson, Bruce M. Patten's Foundations of Embryology. 6th edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1996, p. 3]

      • Niemand

        If you take a cheek swap you have human tissue, not a human being.

        If you take the nucleus from that cell, stick it in an enuncleated egg, expose it to the right cytokines, give it a place to gestate…eventually you get a new human being. All a matter of development.

        If you take an unfertilized egg, expose it to the right conditions (i.e. a bunch of sperm and a place to gestate) eventually you get a new human being. All a matter of development.

        Nonetheless, neither a cheek cell nor an unfertilized egg nor a fertilized egg IS a new human being. Note that all the textbooks you quoted call the new organism a zygote, not a person.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        The word person denotes a legal term, not a medical term. All of the quotes I used are from professionals who use medical terms, and prove a zygote is a human being. If you prefer to not agree with those who specialize in studying a developing human being and state they are human beings from the stage of conception (fertilization) that is your choice. They would not use the term person since they are not dealing with law.

      • tsara

        You’re not explaining yourself well. How do the bits of medical texts you quoted (which, by the way, say nothing particularly interesting or new to me) ‘prove’ that a zygote matters more than a pregnant person? And what makes humans special, if not their minds?

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        I have never said that a human zygote matters more than a pregnant person. They both matter, equally. The both share human qualities, one is just older than the other. Humans all have varying degrees of intellect and mental capabilities. These do not define them nor qualify them. They just are. One is not more worthy than the other. A human being who has a great deal of difficulty with reading is no less worthy than someone who is very good at reading and understanding what they read. They are both equal. A human being who is of a certain race, is not more worthy than another of a different race. A human being who has no ability to walk is as worthy as one who can walk. A human being who cannot easily be educated above a grade 3 level is as worthy as some one who has a PhD.

        I try to explain myself as best I can. If I tend to cause confusion then those who read what I say can re post the parts that cause the confusion and I will try my best to be more clear.

      • Feminerd

        If they are of equal value, why does one get to steal the other’s body?

        You and I are of equal value. Because of that, I’m not allowed to press your body into my service. If I need blood, you can choose not to give it to me, and I can’t take it. If I was able to take your blood or your kidney without your permission, that would mean we weren’t equal at all but that I was considered superior in rights to you, as I would get to control your body.

        So lets make a simple substitution. A fetus and I are of equal value. Because of that, a fetus is not allowed to press my body into its service. If it needs blood, I can choose not to give it to the fetus, and the fetus can’t take it. If it was able to take my blood or my kidney without my permission, that would mean we weren’t equal at all but that it was considered superior in rights to me, as it would get to control my body.

        Even if a fetus were a full-fledged human being, it still wouldn’t have the right to exist by feeding off a woman’s body. The only possible way to come to your conclusion is to argue that a fetus has more rights than a woman does, and that is a truly horrific argument.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Some animals do not develop with in those that bred them. Birds bare their offspring soon after fertilization and the development carries on inside the egg, but the bird that bore the egg or the male of the species must continue to care for it by keeping it warm for a period of time. We as animals bare our offspring in many different ways.
        When two human beings choose to behave in ways that may cause the beginning of another human life, our bodies are the place for this new one to grow. At this point there is no other means. To be a human is to do so. As you did, as I did.
        We as a people came up with the term ‘Human Rights’ it was due to movement developed in the aftermath of the Second World War and the atrocities of The Holocaust
        When one human being is in need to survive and others choose to not act and supports this survival or make choices to hinder this survival we betray the rights of all human kind.
        Human rights are “commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being.”
        We have equal human rights, no matter our specific needs.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        If one had a new born baby in ones care, and did not feed it when one was able to and it suffered and possibly died, one could and would be held negligible by law. If the difference is that the human being has a few days yet to be born, it’s human right should be allowed the same protection. The only difference is it is being fed inside the womb instead of on the outside as in a crib.

      • tsara

        “The only difference is it is being fed inside the womb instead of on the outside as in a crib.”
        And that is a huge difference. I choose what goes into my body (and how), what goes on in my body (and how), and what comes out of my body (and how). If the options are a c-section or dismembering a nearly full-term fetus to remove it from the person carrying it, I would not judge that person for picking option b — c-sections are major surgical procedures, and have long-term physical consequences. I will not judge someone for choosing against that. Being physically attached to a human being who is capable of making medical decisions makes all the difference in the world.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        You don’t choose everything that can or will or does happen to you, whether inside/outside/around/ or about your body. You do not have control over all life whether it be your own or others.

        It’s a huge difference? Only to the point of at this time one can legally have the unborn killed by choice when inside but not when outside as in a crib. That’s a difference a few feet.

      • Olive Markus

        We can’t control everything, but we can control some things while attempting to control others. Insisting that we relinquish all control and just deal with whatever happens to our body is what abusers say to continue controlling their victim while stripping them of the belief that they have autonomy in the first place.

      • tsara

        “You don’t choose everything that can or will or does happen to you, whether inside/outside/around/ or about your body.”
        Maybe not, but I have that moral right. It is not morally wrong for me to ingest whatever substances I want or to undergo whatever surgical procedures I want.

        “It’s a huge difference?”

        Morally. I stand by that.

      • Fred

        No, but you can be in charge of your own body and medical care. Anything else is slavery.

      • Olive Markus

        If a woman’s body was producing milk after she gave birth, but chose not to breastfeed that newborn baby and only use formula, do you feel justified in holding her negligible by law? If not, why?

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        I will choose to not answer this question cause it is a stupid question.

      • Olive Markus

        Perhaps it is a little silly. But it deals with the same issue of bodily autonomy. Either you can lawfully force a woman to use her body in certain ways against her will or you can’t. Why would this be any different?

      • Niemand

        For that matter, once you accept the idea that it’s ok to force women to allow their bodies to be used in certain ways, what justification is there for making rape illegal? Why should a woman have the right to say what happens with her vagina if she doesn’t have the right to say what happens with her uterus? And why should it stop with women? Shouldn’t all adults be forced to donate organs to those in need? Where does it end once you’ve decided that violating bodily autonomy is ok?

      • Olive Markus

        I’m particularly interested in the rape scenario, but specifically within marriage. The idea that once a woman consents to sex, she must, therefore, submit to pregnancy regardless of will or consequences, is not too far off from telling her that once she consents to marriage (and sex within it), she must then submit to her husband regardless of will and consequences. When looking at evangelical sources, these beliefs tend to go very much hand in hand.

        We already live in a culture that minimizes rape and blames the victim. I see rape (particularly within a marriage from the religious perspective) being the one part of the slippery slope that goes hand in hand with this issue.

        I don’t ever see organ donation being required, regardless of whether or not women have rights regarding her body. Men, conservative or otherwise, would never tolerate it for themselves :).

      • tsara

        This is nightmare fuel.
        *skin crawls*

      • Niemand

        It wasn’t that long ago that rape was defined as a person forcing someone he was not married to to have sex with him. That definition could be used again.

        Mandatory organ donation seems like a less likely risk, except for one thing…the US court system works on precedent. If abortion is illegalized then a precedent has been set by which person A can force person B to allow A to use B’s body is set. What legal reason could there be for not allowing forced donation?

      • Olive Markus

        Exactly. I feel that the idea of marital rape, though illegal, is still so foreign to many people that it wouldn’t be difficult to revert back to a belief system that insists marital rape can’t possibly be rape. Even those who intellectually know marital rape to be wrong have a difficult time admitting when marital rape is rape, or even any kind of rape is rape, to be honest.

        As far as legal precedent goes, you’re right; if abortion is made illegal, the right to bodily autonomy is necessarily no longer existent. I guess I want to believe that there’s no way that mandatory organ/blood/tissue/etc. donation could ever be a legal consequence, however, wishful thinking does not represent reality.

      • Niemand

        If I were the lawyer for a person dying of aplastic anemia or leukemia and his/her only possible donor had refused for no good reason after initially agreeing to donate and abortion were illegal, I’d recommend they sue using the anti-abortion laws as a precedent. It would be the best thing I could do for my client and my ethical obligation would be to my client and so it would be arguably unethical for me NOT to make the argument as I wouldn’t be doing my best for my client if I refused.

        I’d like to think that if I were the dying person I’d let it go because I wouldn’t want to violate someone’s bodily autonomy no matter what, but it’s hard for me to say, not (yet) being in that situation. It’s hard for anyone to say how they’d really feel when not faced with the danger…

        In short, I believe it will happen, if abortion is illegalized. There’s just no argument to be made against forced donation if it is legally established that bodily integrity and free will do not come before helping others. Well, ok, there is one argument: That women are worth less than men and don’t have as many rights. And the world where that occurs would be even more horrifying, for women and men, even than the one where organ donation was forced.

      • Olive Markus

        I don’t think you addressed Feminerd’s statements at all.

        If you are going to believe that no human being has the right to use another’s body against their will to stay alive, you can’t insist that a fetus has those rights. That is giving the fetus extra rights while simultaneously taking away the rights of the woman, thus ending up with unequal rights.

      • Feminerd

        Oh good, you got soooo close … and then turned 180 degrees and messed it up. Yes, we all have inalienable rights because we are human beings. One of those rights is the right to control who does what to our bodies. It is universally considered more important than life for another; we get to control our actions, and if that means we don’t prevent another person from dying, well, tough luck for that person. I can always choose not to risk my life to save a drowning person, even if that person dies. I can choose not to donate blood, even if another person dies. I can choose not to donate my uterus and blood and vitamins and minerals and energy, even if another person dies.

        No one has a right to life that depends on another person’s body. No one. We have equal human rights, no matter our specific needs, which means that if a fetus can’t survive outside a uterus or a person can’t survive without a lung transplant, they’re just going to have to die unless they find a willing host/donor. Why do you think the fetus has a right to live but not the 2-day-old that needs a new liver? Your own argument shows why pro-life is such an untenable position that strips basic human rights away from women.

      • Fred

        “We have equal human rights, no matter our specific needs.”

        Except for Pregnant women.
        According to you they loose rights each and every time they become pregnant.
        A fetus gains more rights than any other person can ever expect to have right up to the time they are born where they automagically loose those extra rights.

        I guess it’s like Animal Farm, some are more equal than others.

      • Niemand

        They most specifically do not state that zygotes are human beings. They state that a sperm and an egg (technically a secondary oocyte) fuse to form a zygote. I happen to have used a textbook by one of the authors you quote, Moore. In it he specifically states that the question of when human life begins is a subjective one and that he personally would never put it before the fetal stage. In short, that he specifically does not consider an embryo or zygote to be a person.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        People have rights by virtue of their citizenship and status as legal persons not as human beings. Personhood is often defined as a legal term. Human hood if you will, does not. As I said before, the term ‘person’ is not used when talking medicine, especially the pre born human being. I do not use the term person also because of those reasons. The laws of a land can easily change due to human choice, the laws of science cannot.

      • Niemand

        As I said before, the term ‘person’ is not used when talking medicine, especially the pre born human being.

        Um…no. As I said earlier, Moore directly addresses the question of when a fetus can be reasonably termed a person (and makes it clear that there is no answer endorsed by “science” and that it is a matter of opinion.) And if you think that doctors, including OBs, don’t refer to their patients as “people” I really would suggest you find another doctor: yours is giving you a very odd idea of medicine.

        “Pre-born human” is not a term I’ve ever seen used in medicine. Nor is “the little one”, at least not in any situation except for informal chats with new parents.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        The definition of fetus is from the latin and it means little one. The fetus can also be a patient.

        “I really would suggest you find another doctor: yours is giving you a very odd idea of medicine.”
        Since some choose to reply to my comments with such thoughtless verbiage I choose stop replying to them, including yours.

      • Niemand

        Ah, flouncing then. Well, best wishes to you and I sincerely hope that you learn a bit of biology and start thinking through your beliefs and stop causing harm to other women and children.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Oh how could I do such if I am a flouncing fair maiden who cares for the whole human family? Flouncing takes too much energy for no good reason. That’s not me, but yes, trahh la la, thanks for the best wishes!

      • Niemand

        And you never did answer the question: Why should we care more about human life than bacteria? Can you answer it without resorting to random emotional appeal and ad hom?

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Well answer me this:

        If a person saw a child standing in the way of the vehicle one is driving, and closer is a cat walking straight in front, the decision must be made to avoid one and hit the other. Which would one generally choose to veer away from? What would our society find more acceptable? Hit the poor cat or the little child? The human or the cat. One must be chosen. Caring would be using an emotion. Caring is feeling. So emotion would be used if I was to answer the question on caring.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        I know that bacteria are not the same as a cat, I’m just trying to answer your question with a question and hope you will by this, understand my point of view.

      • Niemand

        Sigh. You’re avoiding the issue. So, most people would run over a cat rather than a small child. Are they right to do so? Why? What is it about the child that makes him/her more valuable than the cat?

        Also, suppose instead of a child, the choice were running over a freezer box labelled “contains human embryo (1)” or a cat? Which would you run over? Why?

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        No matter the stage of development of a human being, I would choose to save human life over cat life. I am avoiding no issue.

      • tsara

        Cool. I’d run over the embryo. Cat vs. fetus* is a bit more difficult, but I’ve got no problem with the embryo.

        (*this is assuming that we’re taking all the moral considerations of living fetus still attached to actual person without the actual person)

      • Adder

        OK , simple question to Ms. Amott: assume a woman gets pregnant and is determined to have the baby. At, say, 4 months pregnancy the doctors discover the foetus suffers from a very serious malformation and will NOT be able to survive AND will kill the mother in the process. Do you tolerate that the mother terminates her pregnancy in order to save her life?

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        If the fetus is found to have a serious malformation there is no true way of knowing whether it will survive or not until it is given the chance, with medical support. Both situations are an assumption even if a very good one. The outcome no one knows till it happens. If the pregnancy is ectopic then the chance of either of them both surviving is pretty scarce but it has happened. the uterus.

        An ectopic pregnancy cannot be saved and is extremely dangerous for the mother. The reason to remove would be to save the life of the mother, not to get rid of the little one. Any other reason would be if the mothers life was in serious and most probable threat of lose of life which in today’s medicine the indication is almost non existent.
        Again I must stress that no one knows if either the mother or the baby will survive. I know of a woman who had a complete tubal pregnancy, she chose not to abort. At so many weeks, the little one dislodged from the tube and moved into the uterus and the rest of the pregnancy went very well. I also know of a at least two women who had terminal cancer, found after knowing about being pregnant. Both of these woman chose to for go suggested abortions and all cancer fighting meds and procedures that would have been harmful for the fetus.

        They both delivered early and the baby survived, but the mothers did not.

        I also know of a woman who got pregnant while suffering from T.B. The doctor suggested abortion. She would not. The pregnancy ended up helping her survive the T.B. because of the pressure on the lungs from the growing fetus and they both survived. In these situations the removal of the developing fetus would have been a choice to try and save the mothers lives. The choices they made could have had very sad outcomes but in these cases they did not. Again, the choice would have been to try and save the life, a most probable but not an absolute known outcome. The mothers wanted to try for the life of their little one.

      • jhlee

        Whoa, are you saying a woman should be forced by law to risk her life and health on a very slim chance, hoping for miracles? If she makes that choice freely she has my admiration for her courage, though I might consider it an irresponsible risk if she has dependents such as children. The specter of her being forced to make that choice against her will is utterly horrifying. It is barbaric and inhumane. El Salvador is one such country (ectopic pregnancies may not be aborted as long as there is a heartbeat), and I’m sure it has your approval for its very Catholic position.

      • Niemand

        Why? What makes the human more important than the cat? That’s the issue you’ve been avoiding, probably because you don’t actually have an answer that doesn’t boil down to rank prejudice, i.e. you’re a human not a cat and therefore feel that humans (i.e. you) must be more important. But please enlighten me if I’m wrong.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        I have an answer. Yes I believe that human life is more worth protecting in this sort of instance. My dad is a vet, I had always wanted to follow in his footsteps but did not have the high academic grades needed. I’m an intense animal loving person, and if you know of St. Francis of Assisi,

        his love for animals is well known, even to the point where he would give them small lectures such as when birds would come to him in flocks. He would also have chosen human if he had to save one or the other. I believe what is written of him is true.

      • Niemand

        Nope. You’ve entirely avoided the question of WHY. Why is a person more important than a cat? Simply saying you have an answer and going off on a tangent about how you also like cats is not an answer.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Sorry, I do have a habit of dancing the light tangentish.
        Why. Well I guess I would say a person is more important than a cat because in the big picture a person can change the world. He/she could produce a great benifit for all of mankind. That is one reason that comes to mind.

      • Feminerd

        So can a cat. Have you never heard of the butterfly effect?

        Also, humans can change the world in very negative ways too. You have to keep in mind the child could be the next egotistical tyrant or mass murderer or developer of weapons of mass destruction. Even if our hypothetical child changes the world a lot, it doesn’t have to be for good. Saving a child or killing a child because of what it *might* do is irrational, especially when the cat *might* do something or inspire someone else in equally world-changing ways. Try again.

      • Niemand

        I would say a person is more important than a cat because in the big picture a person can change the world.

        What is it about a person that gives him/her the ability to change the world? (As opposed to a cat. Not necessarily asking which qualities in an individual make her or him most capable of changing the world.)

      • Ren Chant

        hitler sure changed the world, didn’t he?

      • Anat

        So which do you save from a burning building – cat or a canister full of hundreds of frozen human embryos in liquid nitrogen?

      • Feminerd

        The cat, obviously. Do you have any idea how heavy that canister would be?

        /snark. I mean, I’d still clearly choose the cat, that’s just not why.

      • Niemand

        Realistically, the cat is probably the only choice. Unless the canister is on wheels or something. Liquid nitrogen containers have thick walls for insulation. (Though one could hypothesize a cat versus an embryo that had been boxed in a small container for mailing I suppose.)

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        The humans, then if possible the cat, or I would think I could carry the canister and the cat, if it would let me, one in each arm! This is getting silly, honestly.

      • Anat

        You see, I’d take the cat. Because it would suffer horribly if left to burn. But the frozen embryos would not. They’d die without sensing anything. Why do you prioritize unfeeling embryos over a living thing with a capacity for suffering?

      • jhlee

        Here’s a scenario more relevant to the personhood you advocate. There’s a fire in a fertility clinic and you only have time to save one of the following: A tray of ten embryos or an eight-year-old child. Which would you choose to save?

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Where did I advocate personhood?

        I would do my best to save them all, to the point of possibly of putting myself in harms way and even to the point of death. When being interviewed for a position as a Nurse Aid I was asked a similar question about patients and their different disabilities and how to assist an emergency. At first I stated that it would depend on the situation but I answered similar to what I’ve just answered to you.

      • jhlee

        You advocate the position that a fetus is a human being. Hence, personhood.

        You’re evading the issue by denying the premise of the question–I specifically said you can save only one. By that token, everyone else can say in response to your cat-child hypothesis that they’ll save both, by running their car into a tree if they have to. If you want to be taken seriously you have to play by the same rules of debate as the rest of us一in this case, the dichotomy YOU introduced in the hypo you gave. Not fair, I know, to apply the same rules to a God-fearing believer like you as the rest of us heathens, but we require a bit more in the way of logical proof than “because God.”

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Personhood is defined such when the issue of abortion comes into a court situation. It is one way that abortion rights have been granted. Not a person, abortion is legal. Fetus not given that legal term, abortion is made legal. Given the term person upon complete birth up to the point of not being anymore connected to the mother, personhood is given.
        Where did i ever profess to be a “God-fearing believer”?
        The only personal opinion I have given is that I believe in spirit. Do not assume to know more.
        The ‘save the zygote or the little girl’ is splitting hairs. Do not assume that I would think more of a little girl just because I can see her whole body compared to being able to see the bodies in ‘the tray’. Embryo are not in trays. When doing IVF the developing human is in the zygote stage when deposited into the woman’s uterus.
        I choose to not belittle your comments nor use innuendo nor callous personal attacks.
        “. Not fair, I know, to apply the same rules to a God-fearing believer
        like you as the rest of us heathens, but we require a bit more in the
        way of logical proof than “because God.”
        Ad hominem again.

      • jhlee

        Um, no. Personhood refers to the state of being a person, and pro-life groups advocate personhood for fetuses–or unborn babies, little ones, take your pick.

        Personhood USA, in What is Personhood?: “The intrinsic humanity of unborn children, by definition, makes them persons.”

        You: “Science knows that after conception there is a developing human.”

        Seems to me like you advocate fetal personhood, which is why I posed the hypothetical to test the limits of that position. Just as you posed the cat-child hypothesis to test your opponent’s position, so it’s kind of hilarious to me that you’re crying foul for using the same argumentative device you did.

        “Do not assume that I would think more of a little girl just because I can see her whole body compared to being able to see the bodies in ‘the tray’.”

        So, since an already-born child is worth no more to you than an embryo, am I correct in assuming you’d save the embryos (or zygotes, it’s the same for my purposes–I thought you were the one who said perfect knowledge shouldn’t be required for blog discussions?) over the child? Remember, you can save only one of the two just as you can only save either the cat or the child in your own hypothetical.

        “Ad hominem again.”

        I was pointing out that you were avoiding a straigh answer, trying to wiggle out of the terms you yourself set, and that is inconsistent and dishonest. I never said you as a person are that way, but this specific action was. What explanation do you have for feeling that you don’t need to play by the same rules as the rest of us, other than thinking that you are somehow better and above the rules?

      • Ren Chant

        NONE of which says anything about ‘personhood,’ btw.

      • Niemand

        A beating heart means alive.

        So people who have undergone cardiac resuscitation are zombies or what? What about people who have had cardiac transplants? Their hearts are no longer beating but they have a replacement put in…or is it really a body transplant and the brain dead heart donor is the person “really” alive? Then there are people with artificial hearts–some of which don’t actually beat but circulate blood in other manners (though that’s experimental.) More zombies?

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        If these people were not able to be resusitated, then yes, then they would be dead. The artificial heart is beating, they are alive. You’re really grabbing here. Zombies? Really?

      • Niemand

        You’re the one that made the claim that it was a beating heart that distinguished a living person from a dead one. Except that it doesn’t. Some people without a heartbeat are still alive and can be resuscitated. Others can not. Others choose not to allow anyone to try (DNR order).

        Nor, I note, did you even attempt to answer the question about a cardiac donor. Is it a cardiac donor or a rest of body donor? Is the living person the one whose heart is beating or the one whose brain is functioning?

        And incidentally, there are experimental artificial hearts that don’t beat. They may take over as standard replacement hearts some day. Will the recipients be dead since they have no heartbeat?

      • Niemand

        A beating heart means alive.

        This comment is a repeat of an earlier one apparently lost to disqus…

        So, people who have undergone v fib arrest, PEA, or asystole and been revived. Are they zombies? They didn’t have a heartbeat for a significant amount of time.

        Cardiac transplant: Would it be better described as “body transplant” since the heart of the (brain dead) donor is still beating but that of the (brain alive and functioning hopefully normally) recipient is not?

        And then there are artificial hearts that don’t exactly “beat”. More zombies?

      • Jessica


        First of all, most abortions are not done because the fetus has little feasibility of sustaining life outside the womb (due to anencephaly or any number of other deformities). Most are performed for the convenience of the mother.

        With that said, abortion is putting a deliberate and swift halt to a human being’s life, while unplugging a ventilator is simply allowing death to occur naturally. It is not a direct killing of the person, but an indirect effect of allowing nature to take its course. Everyone dies eventually, at different times, and for different reasons. Death is not a bad thing. It is a part of life. However, it becomes a “bad thing” when we deliberately and directly terminate the life of another human being.

        It does not matter whether or not they have a brain or a fully functioning brain. A brain is not the sole determining factor of humanity. It does not change the fact that this organism is still human in substance.

        And I would argue, Victoria, that a baby with no brain at 6 weeks gestational age is still alive, as it is completely and solely dependent on the mother to sustain its life. It is not a mass of necrotic, dead tissue. Same goes for a patient who is on a ventilator and has been declared “brain dead”. He/she is still considered “alive” as long as he/she is still attached to life support. Why do you think it is called “life” support? It is supporting and sustaining a life. In removing said life support, you are simply allowing nature to take its course.

        “Killing” and “allowing to die” are two very different terms.

      • Beutelratti

        You are still denying the woman the rights to her own body.

        No one and nothing has the right to use another person’s body against their explicit will and consent. I can withdraw consent at any time and if I choose to withdraw consent for a fetus, then that is my right and my choice and nothing you should judge me for unless you also legalise mandatory organ donation.

        “Pro-life” is not life-affirming. It is robbing women of rights that even corpses have. No one and nothing has the right to use someone else’s body against their will even after they are dead. Period. Period. Period.

      • Olive Markus

        This whole “indirect killing” thing is nothing more than a way for those responsible for the killing to feel better about their own salvation than doing what is best for either the mother (that they don’t consider a full human being) and/or the fetus or zygote.
        If you belief that fetus feels something (though all science says it does not), I’m quite certain that a swift end to the life would be much less painful than the slow deprivation of nutrition.
        Once again, prove to me that natural death through deprivation isn’t infinitely more agonizing that a swift end? Please.
        These things make nobody feel better but the Catholics who are only looking out for their own souls and somehow think that indirect killing through “natural” deprivation as opposed to direct killing gets them off the hook with their lord and master. Amazing to me how the only time you guys care one whit about “Natural” is when it comes to sex and a woman’s bodily autonomy, re: sex. Otherwise, Natural be damned, right?
        Second, define convenience. You don’t have a fucking clue what is going on in these women’s lives, and you have no right to call all of these circumstances a matter of convenience.
        Third, what Beutelratti says, a million times over.

      • Jessica

        Olive, what do you mean by “those responsible for the killing?” Removing a brain-dead person from life support is simply allowing them to meet their natural end. Like I said to Feminerd, a person who is declared brain-dead has no potential for progress or recovery. If a person suffers a traumatic brain injury and there IS a chance of them recovering then it is unethical to remove them from life support. So, in this way, killing a fetus that is growing and developing is not quite the same thing as removing someone from life support who has no potential to live on his/her own.

        Where does “all science” say that a fetus does not feel any pain? As soon as their nervous system is developed and intact, I would most certainly argue that they feel pain. I can double check on that though, and find you some scientific proof if you need.

        It does not matter which form of death causes more pain. The point is that it is never your right to prematurely take the life of another human being, even if you think it’s “merciful.” There are also plenty of times when prenatal diagnoses have proven later to be wrong. For example, my friend’s mother was told that my friend had Down Syndrome and that she should abort the baby. Her mother wanted to keep her no matter what and carried the baby to term. She does not have Down Syndrome and is a 4.0 Mechanical Engineering student at a leading university. Prenatal misdiagnoses happen far more often than you’d think.

        And, I’m not sure why you said “deprivation of nutrition.” No one is advocating denying nutrition to babies already born. Denying nutrition is a deliberate harming to the baby. If they are born without a brain (as in anencephalic babies), they will die, most likely in a matter of minutes or hours. But they will die in the way that they were meant to die, in the arms of those who love them.

        This is not advocating that we “deprive” them of anything at all. You give them what you can to support their life and when there is nothing more to be done, you allow them to pass, loving them all the way.

      • Ren Chant

        so you DON’T endorse the current republican stripping out SNAP benefits from the farm bill?

      • Niemand

        Same goes for a patient who is on a ventilator and has been declared
        “brain dead”. He/she is still considered “alive” as long as he/she is
        still attached to life support.

        Actually, no, they’re not. They’re considered dead and will only be kept on “life support” if their organs are going to be used. That’s where cadaveric organ donations come from. Did you think that you could dig up a dead body and use the organs? No, only a person who is brain dead but whose body can still be kept alive on a ventilator can be an organ donor (with the exception of corneas which can be harvested a bit after cardiac cessation.)

      • Niemand

        With that said, abortion is putting a deliberate and swift halt to a
        human being’s life, while unplugging a ventilator is simply allowing
        death to occur naturally.

        Actually, a typical abortion (D and C or medical), removes the embryo or early fetus whole from its life support (the uterus) and allows nature to take its course. Another method of abortion in later pregnancy is pre-term delivery, i.e. the exact same thing.

        dies eventually, at different times, and for different reasons. Death
        is not a bad thing.

        So death is fine, as far as you’re concerned, as long as it’s not a “direct killing”? You’d tell a woman whose child had just died of SIDS, “Oh, everyone dies! Death’s not a bad thing.”? Do you oppose any medical care, because death’s no bad thing, as long as it’s not “direct killing”? That seems extraordinarily cruel.

      • Feminerd

        Oh, so you’re fine with abortion then. A zygote, embryo, or fetus is removed from a uterus and allowed to die away from its life-support system (also known as a human being who happens to be female). That’s just “allowing to die”.

      • Jessica

        No, Feminerd, it’s not just “allowing to die.” If left in utero, the fetus would have continued to grow and develop to the point where it could live autonomously outside of the womb. In the case of someone who has met the criteria for brain death, the life support equipment is only prolonging that life, while not allowing it to meet its natural end. The fetus (or whatever stage it’s at) has potential. The brain-dead individual does not.

      • Niemand

        The fetus has potential. True. So do all of your nucleated cells. Just because we as a society have not pursued human cloning for reproductive purposes that does not mean that it is impossible. Given the right circumstances, your intestinal cells could become baby Jessicas. And yet I expect you’ll slough them by the thousands, digest them, and defecate the remains today and every day for the rest of your life. Poor little potential Jessicas. And then let’s talk about the potential implicit in the oocytes you didn’t bother to get fertilized (or sperm that you didn’t bother to donate to someone, if that’s what you have-I don’t like to make assumptions and don’t think you’ve said.)

      • Feminerd

        So you’re fine with a requirement that you donate bone marrow or a kidney to someone who will live with it but die without it, then? I mean, the person has the potential to live if you would just give hir the means. Without your body, ze will die. Since you want to force women to donate their uteruses, blood, and vitamins to fetuses, I presume you’re just fine with forcing all people to donate kidneys, liver lobes, bone marrow, and blood to people?

        EDIT: Also, natural doesn’t mean good. Arsenic is natural. So is cyanide. So, for that matter, are e.coli and flesh-eating bacteria and malaria and broken bones and heart attacks and diabetes and a great many other things that are really bad for us. You have a weird focus on the process instead of the outcome that I simply don’t understand. If the result is bad, why does how we got there matter? Why is “natural” death better than “unnatural” death, if we agree that death is bad?

      • Jessica

        No, Feminerd, I’m not fine with that. My kidneys/bone marrow are a part of my body. They are mine, and if I want to donate an organ to someone else, that is my choice.

        However, a fetus is not part of your body (we’ve already been over this). It is a separate and unique human being with EQUAL (no more, no less) rights as you.

      • Beutelratti

        Yes, and my uterus is mine and a part of my body. If I don’t want to donate my uterus to someone else, that is my choice.

        And again, if you think that a fetus has any right to use my body, you are giving this fetus MORE rights. No one and nothing has the right to use someone else’s body against their will. How often do I have to repeat that? The fetus has no right to use my body against my will, just as much as I have no right to use your body against your will. Keeping abortion widely available and legal is giving equal rights to all.

      • Olive Markus

        A fetus only grows by taking things out of a woman’s body. Therefore, a woman is literally donating her entire body in order for the fetus to live. The fetus may be a separate entity, but it will not survive without feeding off of and being hooked up to the woman. I love how you try to erase the woman and her body’s role in the matter, but I will not let you get away with it.
        If you will not accept having pieces of your body forcefully removed to keep somebody alive, you have no right to force (and no intellectual or legal argument for forcing) a woman to donate her body, bones, blood, enzymes, nutrients, minerals, etc., etc. (re: her entire body) to keep a fetus alive. My grandmother lost her uterus and all of her teeth to keep her fetus (my dad) alive. She literally donated her body parts for that life. Should she have chosen not to, by YOUR VERY OWN LOGIC, she shouldn’t have been forced to.

      • Jessica

        I am not trying to erase or ignore the important role of a woman’s body in sustaining the life of a developing baby. That is absolutely necessary. The baby WILL NOT live without the support of the mother (in abortions below 21 weeks, but I won’t touch on that subject yet). The thing is, the baby has the RIGHT to receive that nutrition in the womb. It is a part of his/her natural course of development as a human being. You could also argue that once the baby is born, it is still entirely dependent on the mother for nutrition. If you don’t feed it, it will die. It’s irrelevant whether the nutrition is delivered through an umbilical cord, a breast, or a bottle. It’s still dependent. Does that mean that it doesn’t have rights?

        Also, I need to take a break from this discussion to get some things done. I will try to return later tonight.

      • Beutelratti

        “The thing is, the baby has the RIGHT to receive that nutrition in the womb.”

        No, it does not! It absolutely does not have that right. If I don’t want to donate my nutritients to the fetus, I do not have to. Just as much as you don’t have to give your bone marrow to a kid dying of leucemia.

        A child can be cared for by anyone, it does not need its biological mother to survive. If the mother doesn’t want custody, then the state takes custody. It can be fed by anyone who is willing to feed it. Simple as that.
        A fetus can only live off my body, so that is absolutely not the same. And no matter how you slice it, the fetus does not have a right to my body.

      • jhlee

        “I am not trying to erase or ignore the important role of a woman’s body
        in sustaining the life of a developing baby. That is absolutely

        What about her agency and free will? Is she just a meat vessel with no will of her own and no value other than her ability to carry a child to term once she’s pregnant?

      • Feminerd

        Oh you are so right in so many ways! Let’s pretend for a moment I agree with everything you just said (I’m not so sure on the personhood of a fetus, but whatever).

        However, a fetus is not part of your body (we’ve already been over this). It is a separate and unique human being with EQUAL (no more, no less) rights as you.
        Does a person have the right to live by taking your organs or bone marrow? You’ve already said no. Your body parts are your own, and you get to decide if and when to donate them. What you’ve said, in more abstract terms, is that your bodily autonomy trumps another person’s right to life. I completely agree.

        If a fetus has only the same rights as another human being, it also cannot take body parts without permission. In the same way a 40-year-old man can’t ethically take your kidney without your consent, a fetus can’t take a woman’s uterus, blood, vitamins, minerals, and glucose unless she chooses to donate them. If a fetus has the exact same rights as born humans, abortion is completely ethical for a woman who does not want to be pregnant for any reason or none at all. If I can choose not to donate my bone marrow for any reason or none at all (and I can), I can choose not to donate my uterus and nutrients for any reason or none at all. The only way to argue that a fetus has a right to life but a 40-year-old with kidney failure doesn’t is to say that A) a fetus has more rights than a person, or B) women aren’t people. Those are both horrific arguments.

      • Olive Markus

        The unfortunate fact is that I think they believe both A) and B) but are unwilling to admit it to themselves.

      • Feminerd

        Sometimes I think this is true, but a lot of times people don’t realize their own prejudices. Pulling these unconscious prejudices out into the open is the first thing that must be done to make people confront them.

      • Olive Markus

        You’re right, actually.
        I had a unique experience in that I noticed the Catholic Church’s misogyny and sexism, but thought the stereotypes were true and that women deserved whatever they got for their inferiority. I was proud that I accepted these “truths” about women, that they were relegated to certain roles and deserved some kind of backlash for daring to step out of those roles. I’m not sure what horrific part of my character that reveals, particularly since I spent my entire life bucking those stereotypes, but the biggest shock to me was not that I believed women to be less than, but that these beliefs turned out not to be true and turned out to have insidious consequences.
        I guess I tend to assume others feel the same, but that obviously can’t be true.

      • Jessica

        Olive, no. People have equal rights at any stage of development. Women ARE people (gosh, I am one!) The babies that they are killing are ALSO people.

      • Beutelratti

        By denying women the right to abortion you are degrading them! How hard is that to grasp?! You are forcing them to donate their body. You are making them give up their body! That is not having equal rights, that is having LESS rights. And by giving the fetuses the right to use women’s bodies against their will you are giving fetuses MORE rights.

      • Anat

        But your position is that fetuses have special rights that no person has: the right to force another person to make her body available for their use. If a fetus is equal to a person and not more equal then abortion should be a legal option, because the fetus has no more right to the uterus in which it resides than patients awaiting organs to anybody else’s organs.

      • persephone

        When are they people? When they have a brain? When they have a heart? You can’t even begin to describe a blob of tissue as a human being. it is not.

      • Jessica

        “A fetus can’t take a woman’s uterus, blood, vitamins, minerals, and glucose unless she chooses to donate them.”

        Feminerd, I hate to say this, because I know I am inviting a whole onslaught of attacks, but:

        You chose to donate them when you had sex (and I am speaking in regards to consensual sex….out of which the majority of abortions occur anyway). Children are the natural end of sex. By having sex, you are inviting the opportunity to become pregnant (even when you use BC, because contraception is not 100% effective). Unless you are open to the possibility (however unlikely) of having a child, then you should not have sex, since children are the natural end of sex.

        We have come to see the fetus (a normal period of development for every human) in a very negative light. We treat these in utero babies as if they are parasites, as if they are attacking the woman out of some sort of malice. Viewing them in this way allows us to call abortion a sort of “self defense” from a terrible, horrible parasite that is attacking the woman. This is a disgustingly unjust and subjugating point of view. A baby has the right to be cared for in the womb until it is ready to be born. That is an essential part of everyone’s development as a human being.

      • Beutelratti

        No, consent to sex is still not consent to pregnancy. Humans have sex for all sorts of reasons, procreation is only one of them. Sex doesn’t equal procreation which should be fairly obvious simply by noticing that humans very much enjoy sex.

        The second you go down this road you are back to slut-shaming. Children are not the “natural” end of sex. They are a possible end.

        And even if I consented now to give you my kidney, I can still withdraw my consent later, even if I’m lying on the operating table. So even if sex was consent to pregnancy, consent could still be withdrawn, because my body is my body and my body only. A fetus still does not have a right to my body just as much as I don’t have a right to your body.

      • Jessica

        When I say “end” I am not saying a pregnancy should be occurring every single time you have sex. I mean to say that sex exists for reproductive purposes. This is undeniable. It is also enjoyable, and helps us bond with the other. There is a sense of duality in the nature of sex, and you cannot separate one function from the other. It is both unifying and procreative in nature. Basically, you don’t get to “choose” what each sexual act will produce. Sex is what it is. It is the whole package. Accept it in its wholeness, or…kill your baby. That’s what we’ve resorted to.

      • Beutelratti

        No, sex does not only exist for reproductive purposes. That is the whole point.
        I can very well separate the functions of sex by using birth control. If birth control fails, I might or might not turn to abortion. Killing my baby would mean killing a born entity. Abortion means ending a pregnancy and killing an embryo or fetus. There is a difference, whether you accept it or not. I will not degrade human beings by pretending that punching a toddler to death is in any way comparable to getting a non-sentient embryo sucked out of my uterus. I have too much respect for human beings to do that.

      • tsara

        “It is both unifying and procreative in nature.”
        Straight out of some Catholic document or other. Great*. But you know what? Not everyone accepts that. I wholeheartedly and viscerally reject Catholic teaching. I find it offensive to human dignity, and I can explain why if you’d like (I’m refraining from explaining why in this comment because I don’t think I can explain it nicely.).

        You don’t get to dictate other people’s behaviours, and certainly not because of something Pope Somethingorother said.

        Find another reason. I reject this one.

        *’Great’ here meaning something else.

      • Olive Markus

        We can use it any way we choose. We do not have to have sex in the way you choose. You don’t like it, but you can’t assert these things as if we have to follow your orders. We can’t and we won’t. In the same way we use medicine to keep us alive despite unnatural habits necessary to live modern life, we use medicine or technology to separate sex from procreation. You may not want to do it, so don’t. But don’t tell others they can’t, either. You have no right

        We aren’t Catholic, so the Catholic definition of sex has no business in law and no influence over my decisions. Your arrogant assertion that we must obey your hierarchy doesn’t fly in these parts.

      • Anat

        Only a minority of human sex acts are procreative. Humans have sex during the infertile days of a woman’s cycle. Humans have sex when a woman is pregnant. Humans have sex when a woman is past menopause. Humans have sex while using contraception. And much of the time humans have sex for reasons that have nothing to do with wanting to procreate. Which is a good thing, as there are way too many of us already.

      • Jessica

        Yes, Anat. Women have sex throughout their cycles, when they’re pregnant, after menopause, etc. This is very true. Not all sexual acts will result in a pregnancy (and certainly many times women are not actively trying to get pregnant every time they have sex). Most of the time its the opposite. However, that still doesn’t change the fact that one of the fundamental purposes of sex IS procreation. That is why we have uteruses, why we ovulate, why we have increased libido when we’re ovulating. It is because the underlying goal here is to conceive a child. Your personal goal may not be to procreate, but it is still the goal of sex in and of itself.

      • Anat

        Nothing in biology has purpose, fundamental or otherwise. Biology has no mind. If my goal when having sex does not include pregnancy then there is no underlying goal that is different than mine.

      • Jessica

        Your “goal” is irrelevant. It is based on your wishes and desires, and not on reality. Sex makes babies. That’s what it does. Not every time, not even most of the time, but that’s still the function of it. Whether or not you want it to does not stop it from happening (in 100% of cases).

      • Anat

        For moral and legal purposes my goals are very relevant. For determining what I consent to my wishes matter very much.

        If there is an action that is known to often cause X and seldom cause Y then it is completely reasonable for a person to engage in that action with the intent that X happen and not Y. Pregnancy, even without contraception, is the outcome of only a small minority of instances of sexual intercourse among humans. Even a very fertile couple that is trying to conceive very hard only has a success rate of around 25% in a month of trying. The conception rate from an individual instance of intercourse is much lower. Therefore it is entirely reasonable (from a moral and legal POV) for a woman to consent to have sex for pleasure but not to consent to pregnancy, even if she used no contraception whatsoever.

        Pragmatically, if she does not intend to become pregnant, it is advisable to use contraception to improve her odds. But for the purpose of determining what she consented to the only thing that matters is what her goal was.

      • Olive Markus

        We evolved to reproduce through sex. Fine. We also evolved to die when our bodies became too acidic, to be toothless when we experienced decay, to die in childbirth when things go wrong. Hell, a few hundred years ago, most of us wouldn’t have lived past infancy, if our mothers even survived pregnancy. What is your point? You do things every single day to thwart the natural consequences of living, from dentistry, to antibiotics, to sunscreen, to corrective lenses, to clothing, to shelter, to artificially produced foods and drink, vehicles, makeup, even sitting in a man-made chair, not to mention medicine, surgical procedures and other types of care to keep you alive when, in nature, you would have been dead. Why do you claim that you have the right to partake in these things, because you have decided that your goal is different from Mother Nature’s goal, but somehow, using modern technology (or ancient technology, sometimes) to avoid Mother Nature’s goal of getting you pregnant while you enjoy sex is off limits? It is simply one more way to make choices about our own lives.

      • Jessica

        And you can’t “withdraw your consent” once another human being is in the picture. Once that happens, you are obligated to treat them as such.

      • Beutelratti

        Yes, you can! If you consent to donating your kidney, you can withdraw your consent even when the other person is being prepped for the surgery.

        I am also not obligated to treat embryos and fetuses as human beings. They are potential human beings. I am the actual human being and I still have the right to decide what goes on in my body.

      • Olive Markus

        You can withdraw consent. Legally. Just because you say a person can’t doesn’t make it so. We don’t live in a country in which Jessica is dictator.

      • tsara

        …just so you know, I can withdraw my consent when actual full human beings are in the picture.
        Saying that I can’t is… I don’t even think I have words for that. It’s terrible.

      • Anat

        Yes I can and no I am not. Every moment a woman can make the choice to no longer allow a fetus to use her body. If you are visiting me and overstay your welcome I can send you out. If you insist on staying I call the police to escort you out. If a fetus is no longer welcome in my body I evict it.

      • Mogg

        Of course you can, in exactly the same way as you can withdraw consent for donating blood, or an organ, or bone marrow. In those situations the ethics are even such that withdrawal of consent is as easy as possible, for any reason, and offered at multiple stages of the process, even if the recipient’s life is at stake. You are under no obligation at all.

      • tsara

        I get to revoke my consent. I can change my mind in the middle of sex, and if the other person (or people) doesn’t (or don’t) stop, that’s rape.
        I get to revoke my consent. At any time, for any reason.

        EDIT: My nope octopus isn’t working. :(

      • tsara

        Let’s try this again.
        EDIT: *sigh*

      • Olive Markus

        That is called slut shaming. It will do you no good.

      • Jessica

        I’m not “slut shaming,” whatever that is. I’m not trying to make anyone feel ashamed for decisions they have made in their own lives. I’m just telling it like it is. I’m giving you the whole truth about sex, and not suppressing any part of it.

      • Olive Markus

        Perhaps you weren’t in fact trying to shame anybody. Please, stop assuming I’ve never heard every single thing you’ve said already. We’ve heard it before, millions of times. I was born hearing it. You’ve chosen this as your truth, but it is not Truth. We live in a world where I can choose to separate sex from procreation as much as possible, and I choose to do so. We also live in a country that allows women to choose when and if to give birth. We are not slaves to the Catholic Church. That is the truth.

      • Feminerd

        You are just wrong. Consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy. Consent to sex is consent to sex, with the known possibility of having to deal with an unwanted pregnancy. Should people avoid all fun, relationship-building activities because something requiring medical treatment might happen? I rather like to have sex with my husband, but there was a long time when a baby would have been financially devastating and I would have aborted. Would you say I shouldn’t have sex with my husband if we don’t want a baby?

        People go skiing for fun. Sometimes, they fall down and break their legs. Consent to go skiing is not consent to break a leg, and we don’t shame the person, let them try to hop their way down the slope alone and in agony, and then refuse to treat the broken leg. We send up a stretcher team, give them painkillers, and splint the leg, because that’s how you treat broken bones. Well, abortion is the treatment for unwanted pregnancy.

        Additionally, people can change their minds. There is a Supreme Court case that reinforces this: a man who had promised to donate marrow, and who was a compatible donor, backed out and chose not to donate after all. The Supreme Court ruled that even though he had made this promise, and even though another would die if he didn’t follow through, no one was obligated to donate body parts for another person and they could change their minds at any time. If that can be done for a full born person, it can surely be done for a fetus.

        Biologically, fetuses are parasites. They steal a woman’s nutrients and build themselves out of her tissue. For many women, they are wanted parasites, willingly hosted. Unwanted fetuses, on the other hand? They aren’t attacking anyone, as that requires malice aforethought or intent and fetuses aren’t capable of that, but they are causing great harm as terrible, horrible parasites. No one has the right to another’s body, even if they’ll die without it. This includes you, me, and the fetus next door.

      • Jessica

        “Consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy. Consent to sex is consent to sex, with the known possibility of having to deal with an unwanted pregnancy.”

        Consent to sex IS consent to pregnancy. When you have sex, you are consenting to possibly becoming pregnant. So yes, you are consenting to pregnancy, because pregnancy is a reasonably likely outcome of sex.

        Breaking a limb is not the purpose of skiing. Breaking a limb is an accident. Pregnancy, however, is the purpose of sex. Pregnancy is a natural result of a reproductive system that is functioning properly.

        You do know that, biologically speaking, this is what we’re made for, right? This is why we have uteruses (uteri?) in the first place. This is why we ovulate every month (in a healthy cycle) and release an egg that waits to be fertilized. This is why we have increased libido during ovulation. It’s because the fundamental goal of sex is to MAKE A BABY. This is what our reproductive organs are designed to do.

        Refusing to donate marrow to a leukemia patient is NOT the same thing as having an abortion! In an abortion, you are directly killing another human being. You are not directly killing the leukemia patient. You are not obligated to give them your bone marrow. You are, however, obligated to care for the child in your womb. Abortion is the real problem here. Abortions occur far more often than any tiff over someone’s now withdrawn promise to donate bone marrow. It’s just a ridiculous argument.

      • tsara

        “Pregnancy, however, is the purpose of sex.”
        Prove it.
        Prove that things in nature exist for purposes, and do it without appealing to any god.

        In my world, see, things have the purpose we assign them. Purpose is a thing that requires interpretation, and is not innate in anything. I see absolutely no reason to treat accidental pregnancy as anything fundamentally different from any other accident.

      • Jessica

        Me: “Pregnancy, however, is the purpose of sex.”

        You: “Prove it.”

        Well, it’s absolutely necessary for the continuation of the human species. Just like it is necessary for every other animal to procreate. Otherwise, they will eventually become extinct.

        And i don’t mean to say that procreation is the ONLY purpose of sex. But I already explained that to you.

      • Anat

        So? And what if a species becomes extinct? (Almost every species that ever existed is now extinct. The ones that exist now will go extinct at some point.)

        Purpose requires planning and intent. Nature has no intent. Nature just is.

      • Niemand

        Well, it’s absolutely necessary for the continuation of the human species.

        I’m not 100% sure what “it” refers to here, but I’m pretty sure “it” isn’t necessary. We can already make conceptions without sex, in fact it’s trivially easy. And there are dozens of non-sexual reproductive paths that we have simply chosen not to go down at this time, i.e. cloning, oocyte fusion, and so on. The only reason we don’t have artificial uteri is that no one’s felt the need to develop them. The technology isn’t that difficult.

      • Jessica

        Also, did you read what I wrote below that sentence? I’m not sure why we have uteruses, ovulate monthly, and have increased libido during ovulation if we aren’t meant to get pregnant. That doesn’t make sense.

      • Anat

        Meant by whom?

      • Jessica

        Meant by our own biology? I don’t understand why you’re arguing with this statement.

      • tsara

        Biology doesn’t intend anything.

      • Anat

        Words like ‘meant’ imply the intention of some kind of mind. Biology acts mindlessly. Individual human beings develop minds and have the capacity of acting with intent.

        I have organs and instincts that have served certain functions in my ancestors. That alone does not compel me to use them in the same manner. I have my own mind, I can choose to use them in other ways.

        Personally, I have been sexually active for several decades by now. In all that time there was roughly one year in which I was having sex with the intent to conceive. At all other times I had no such intent and in all those times I used assorted contraceptive measures in order to make the outcome match my intentions as much as possible. The use of such means is evidence that in those many years I was not consenting to pregnancy. If I would have become pregnant despite my contraceptive efforts such a pregnancy would have been unintended, unconsented and unwanted.

        Your claim that consent to sex is consent to pregnancy because we are members of a sexually reproducing species is a version of the naturalistic fallacy, you are attempting to derive an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’.

      • tsara

        Yes, I read it. (EDIT: I chose to ignore it, because it made me angry.)
        But you don’t get to tell me that I’m meant to get pregnant. You don’t get to tell women who can’t get pregnant that they ‘aren’t meant to’. You don’t get to tell me that the definition of ‘woman’ is ‘one who has a uterus (plus or minus a few other factors)’. You don’t get to tell me what the purpose of any part of myself or my body or my life is. You do not have the right to define my experiences for me. It’s presumptuous and offensive.
        I reject the idea that anybody is meant to do anything.

      • Jessica

        I did not say the definition of a woman is one who has a uterus. Obviously, we are much more than the sum of our parts, and some of us do not have fully functioning (or functioning at all) reproductive systems. That is not what makes us women. I am speaking in regards to HEALTHY, fully functioning reproductive systems here. However, procreation is still the end goal — by virtue of what a uterus or ovary IS — EVEN in a malfunctioning reproductive system. The only difference is that this goal is much less likely (or impossible) to be met in a malfunctioning or non-functioning reproductive system.

        You are free to reject that your reproductive organs are designed to conceive and sustain a pregnancy. However, that doesn’t make it true. But of course, I won’t force you to believe anything I say. :)

      • tsara

        I have a (more-or-less) healthy, ‘fully functioning’ reproductive system that includes ovaries and a uterus. I am not a woman, and you do not get to say that I am one.
        I reject the notion that people who don’t have reproductive systems that can produce offspring are necessarily malfunctioning. I reject the idea that any part of me was designed. I reject the idea that we are all imperfect copies of a perfect template.

      • Feminerd

        Totally off-topic, you identify as an asexual genderqueer or genderfluid person, right?

      • tsara

        Yep :)

        I’m pretty confident about the asexuality, but I’m still experimenting with labels and presentation and such for my gender. The sheer amount of discomfort and dysphoria I have makes me almost certain that I’m not cis, but life (and the state of my brain) is complicated, so I’m holding off on committing with that one. I’m not officially ‘out’ with either of them, but I’ve pretty heavily hinted at the asexuality and don’t consider it a secret. I’m not even a little bit out as not-cis in real life, and am not really in a position to come out (this is about half the reason why I’m anonymous here).

        Anyway: ‘genderqueer’, ‘genderfluid’, ‘not-cis’, ‘undecided’, and ‘questioning’ are all appropriate labels. I use ‘genderqueer’ most often because it gets the meaning across in the most succinct and understandable way while still being a bit of a catch-all term, but I don’t have any particular preference for any of those labels beyond that.

        And I prefer gender-neutral pronouns. I use zie/hir, but any of them are fine.

        (I can go on and on and on about this stuff. I’ll leave it there, but feel free to ask me any questions.)

      • Olive Markus

        “And I prefer gender-neutral pronouns. I use zie/hir, but any of them are fine.”

        I feel incredibly ashamed, but I’d always assumed those were typos when I saw them. Consider me schooled!

        I also must apologize that I tend to use “she” or “her” when referring to you and your posts. Bad habit, and I’m trying to be aware. I don’t mean any disrespect when I fall into those brainless habits.

      • tsara

        It’s not really a big deal; you don’t have to feel ashamed. I only actually remember one comment (EDIT: in which you misgendered me) from you, and they do tend to stick in my mind, so I think I mostly assumed that you’d switched from a tsara-specific case to a more general case.
        I do sometimes waffle about whether or not to point pronoun errors out to people, but usually just end up responding to them in a way that ignores but correct the error. *shrugs* If you’d like, I can point yours out in the future.
        I get most upset (and therefore least likely to waffle about whether or not correcting somebody is a good idea) when people say things that imply that I can’t define my own gender (EDIT II: or that I must have babies) — hence my distaste for Catholicism’s natural law.

        I know you don’t mean any disrespect, and it means a lot that you apologized. :)

      • Feminerd

        Cool. I don’t think I really have any questions, but I’ll try to remember to use gender-neutral pronouns to refer to you!

      • tsara

        :) Thanks!

      • Feminerd

        Oooh oooh I know! Evolution has no purpose. We have uteruses, ovulate monthly, and have increased libido during ovulation because that’s just what happened to happen.

      • Anat

        As a biologist I disagree with you. Biology has no purpose. We are not made for anything. We are. And we use our bodies at our choice. That a uterus may be used to support an embryo, and later a fetus does not mean it has to be used that way, just like the fact that our nerves are arranged such that anal sex can be very pleasurable doesn’t mean we have to have anal sex. And other than your insistence on it, there is no basis for saying a woman is obligated to care for a fetus.

        I have no idea how often people change their minds about donating organs, but the fact that it happened at least once and was ruled in favor of the would-be donor is a matter of principle.

      • Jessica

        Oh wow, you’re a biologist, you must know everything! Sure, a woman can do with a pregnancy what she will. That is why we are arguing here today! Because abortion — the termination of said pregnancy — is legal. However, once again, that doesn’t change the BIOLOGICAL FACT that our reproductive organs exist in order to conceive and sustain a pregnancy. Why would we even have ovaries otherwise? Just get rid of them, they serve no purpose! The point is, that that is ridiculous. Our bodies are ordered to “seek out” a pregnancy. This is evident in the fact that we have increased libido when we are ovulating, that a woman’s cervix softens and opens up when she is ovulating, that her cervix begins to produce more mucus and that mucus changes in consistency and chemical composition in order to facilitate the movement and survival of sperm through the vagina and cervix, and into the uterus. We desire sex more strongly when we are ovulating, because the biological purpose of sex is to create a new human being.

        What a woman chooses to do with an undesired pregnancy is ultimately her choice (I’m not saying the choice for abortion is an okay choice, I’m merely saying she will do what she will do). She may not have personally wanted the sex to be procreative, but it still IS procreative in nature.

      • Feminerd

        We have reproductive organs. We don’t have to use them for reproduction. I have teeth for eating meat, but I can still choose to be vegetarian or vegan if I want to. I have limbs that can run long distances, but I can totally sit in my chair most of the day and move very small distances.

        I don’t understand your point. Can we reproduce? Yeah. That is what our reproductive organs are for. Sex, on the other hand, involves other bits that are multi-purpose. I can use my multi-tool screwdriver without using the awl; I can have sex without engaging my ovaries or uterus in procreation. We orgasm at the clitoris and sometimes, the vagina. The uterus isn’t involved. Women who are infertile or have had hysterectomies or oovectomies still enjoy sex.

        Again: pregnancy is a natural outcome of sex (as are STIs), but that doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t separate procreation from sex. Lots of really bad things are also natural, so you’ll find no sympathy for that argument here. Sex itself has no “nature” other than what relevance and purpose humans choose to assign it.

      • tsara

        Only very slightly off-topic:
        The consequences of using that type of argument.

        “Baton Rouge Sheriff Arrests Men for Sodomy, Despite Law Being Struck Down a Decade Ago”

      • Feminerd


        I can’t stand natural law arguments. They’re so awful, they’ve been torn to shreds so often, and they just won’t die! And every single person, every one, think they’ve come up with new arguments, like we haven’t seen this 10,000 times before on this thread alone.

      • tsara

        “[...]our reproductive organs exist in order to conceive and sustain a pregnancy. Why would we even have ovaries otherwise? Just get rid of them, they serve no purpose!”

        Uhm, ovaries actually do a fair bit more than that. They’re a pretty integral part of our endocrine system, which ties in to our immune system and regulates a whole bunch of things. This is one of the reasons why I’m not entirely sure whether or not I want an oophorectomy. I definitely want a hysterectomy, but there are non-reproductive reasons for ovaries to exist.

        But you’re assigning agenthood to evolution and biology when they actually have none. ‘Purpose’ requires interpretation and agenthood. Say ‘function’, if you must make this argument.
        Another mistake you make is in thinking that the ‘nature’ of something means something. It doesn’t. It’s completely meaningless, and I do not value the sentiment behind it. I think it’s harmful.

      • Jessica

        Yes, they do Tsara! Our ovaries release hormones (namely, Estrogen) that are responsible for many things, including the development of pubic hair, breasts, and the deepening of an adult woman’s voice. These other effects, however, are not what I’m talking about here. I am speaking strictly in terms of an ovary’s role in achieving (and seeking out) a pregnancy.

        Feel free to change “purpose” to “function” if that makes you feel better.

      • persephone

        An ovary doesn’t seek out a pregnancy. A pregnancy is something that can occur as the result of engaging in sexual intercourse, but it doesn’t have to, and most fertilized eggs never implant.
        Humans evolved in ways the other primates did not, including altering sexual behavior. We don’t go into heat. We are willing and able to engage in sex pretty much any time. We can procreate often. This is why we have overrun the Earth and are destroying it. We can recognize and deal with these evolutionary changes, or evolution will take care of the Earth and destroy us.

      • Ren Chant

        my oncologist has been after me to have an oophorectomy for a year, and i’ve refused. i am receiving lupron injections instead.

      • tsara

        “What a woman chooses to do with an undesired pregnancy is ultimately her choice (I’m not saying the choice for abortion is an okay choice, I’m merely saying she will do what she will do).”
        As long as you believe this, you’re pro-choice (unless you also believe that it shouldn’t be the pregnant person’s choice). :D

      • Jessica

        I’m not pro-choice. I think abortion should be illegal. It doesn’t matter whether or not women will do it anyway, that doesn’t make it okay.

      • tsara

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

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

      • Feminerd

        I … this … there are no words. He said that? In his out-loud voice?! In front of cameras for all the world to see!?!

      • tsara

        I tried to post this once already, but Disqus seems to have eaten it. (Or else it’s just that we have kind of bad weather here, I don’t know.) So this might show up twice if Disqus decides to send the first attempt through.

        Yup. There’s even a video still up on youtube, and he kind of admitted that the reason they’re pushing TRAP laws is to shut down abortion clinics (as opposed to the usual ‘protect women’ BS).

      • RedGreenInBlue

        Jessica: should abortion be legal and available in the case of women who have been raped?

      • Jessica

        No, I don’t believe it should. That would make me morally inconsistent. A new human life begins at conception. That is scientifically proven. It is not okay to terminate the life of another human being, ever (unless in self defense, but the problem of abortion is undeniably of different substance than your typical self defense case). With that said, I think much needs to be done to help these women. I cannot imagine the pain and suffering of being raped in the first place, and then having to face the consequence of an unintended pregnancy. More violence does not solve violence. Killing an innocent child — who is merely a result of the act and not the cause of it — is not the answer.

      • Feminerd

        What is the moral difference between an abortion and refusing medical care for a super-preemie, other than that one kills a fetus and the other kills a person? The outcome is exactly the same: death.

      • RedGreenInBlue

        OK – I agree that such a position would make your position inconsistent. However, adopting your position means that the rapist, however severely he might be punished, still gets to impregnate any woman he chooses at the time of his choosing and perpetuate his genes, regardless of her circumstances and wishes. The woman has to carry a pregnancy to term with all the medical risks that entails, and give birth to a rapist’s child (edit: with the psychological scars that that will leave if ever the woman ever wants to get pregnant in the future).

        Forgive me, but I don’t see how this is more humane than allowing the woman to choose to terminate the pregnancy at a stage when the foetus is not yet sentient and cannot experience pain, and thereby get her autonomy and her life back.

      • Olive Markus

        But forcing them to bear the child of their rapist – particularly when we live in a country in which the rapist has rights to those child – is good for the victim of rape? If you can’t imagine the pain and suffering of being raped – then try to imagine it. Develop the slightest bit of empathy, and maybe you’ll see what a monstrous thing forcing a woman against her will to carry a pregnancy resulting from a rapist would be like. It wouldn’t just affect her for 9 months, though that is enough, it will affect her for the rest of her freaking life. But who cares? Only the fetus matters, right? Until it’s born with a vagina, that is. Then fuck it all to hell.

      • Feminerd

        Warning: Super trigger warnings ahead. Like ohmyFSM trigger warnings for rape and domestic violence.

        John Scalzi wrote a very satirical letter espousing just your position.

        EDIT: Super relevant section: “So I want to take time out of my schedule to thank you for supporting my right to control a woman’s life, not just when I’m raping her, but for all the rest of her life as well.

        Ah, I see by your surprised face that you at the very least claim to have no idea what I’m talking about. Well, here’s the thing. Every time you say “I oppose a woman’s right to abortion, even in cases of rape,” what you’re also saying is “I believe that a man who rapes a woman has more of a right to control a woman’s body and life than that woman does.””

      • Olive Markus

        Would it be appropriate for me to quote certain lines from that, in case she doesn’t click on the link (as happens often in these scenarios)? My etiquette is somewhat undeveloped in situations like this.

        That said, Oh My, indeed. I haven’t gathered my thougths yet. Unfortunately, it is exactly spot on.

      • Feminerd

        Yeah, I think it would be. Just make sure to give credit to Scalzi.

      • Olive Markus

        Absolutely. Brilliant and disturbing piece.

      • tsara

        Between this and the post at WWJTD on the documents in the LA diocese settlement thing, I think I’m done with all parts of the internet that are not pretty much exclusively devoted to fluffy kitties for at least the rest of the day.

        But I’m pretty sure that that letter belongs in an abortion rights education packet for laypeople. It’s terrible, but it’s also really, really good.

      • Feminerd

        Yeah. Enjoy the cute kitties!

      • tsara


      • Fred

        Translation: It’s better to be consistent and a Monster than it is to be inconsistent and have some human empathy.

      • persephone

        Life doesn’t begin at conception, that is so not scientifically proven.

      • Niemand

        Why would we even have ovaries otherwise? Just get rid of them, they serve no purpose!

        Actually, ovaries likely contribute to prevention of heart disease and osteoporosis in pre-menopausal women. That’s why they’re often not removed when a hysterectomy is performed.

        We have ovaries because our ancestors who had ovaries survived and had children and grandchildren, etc. They’re not necessarily the best solution to reproduction, they’re just what evolved well enough to cope. But it’s our brains that have allowed us (for better or worse) to gain 7 billion members of our species, live twice as long as we generally would in “nature” and move into habitats that are absolutely ridiculously unnatural. If everyone’s ovaries disappeared tomorrow, we’d probably work out a solution to how to reproduce without them. If our cortex disappeared…we’re doomed.

        So, I’ll favor what a woman’s brains say she should do over what her ovaries say she should do.

      • Jessica

        Yes, Niemand, ovaries do much more than just prepare and release an egg each month. The hormones that our ovaries produce (namely, estrogen) serve many other functions including strengthening our bones! That is why many women become osteopenic or osteoporotic after menopause occurs.

        “If everyone’s ovaries disappeared tomorrow, we’d probably work out a solution to how to reproduce without them.”

        That’s funny. How would we do this? There would be no eggs, so nothing to be fertilized. Gametes contain only 23 chromosomes, half of what is necessary to create a new human life and there is no other cell in a human body that contains only 23 chromosomes. An ovum and a sperm are designed for this purpose alone, to join and produce a new human being. I suppose we could always resort to cloning ourselves but that’s not really producing a new and genetically distinct organism.

        Again, you are free to make your own assumptions regarding sex. Your opinions, however, on why an ovary exists, do not determine or change the scientific truth of the function of an ovary.

      • Feminerd

        We can clone people from non-gamete cells, you know. Our brains let us figure out how to do that, and given that sort of pressure (no more ovaries) we’d probably figure out how to mix DNA to make new genetically distinct people pretty quickly. We’re not that far from that sort of breakthrough now. And then, gay and lesbian couples could have biologically related children too!

        I suppose we could always resort to cloning ourselves but that’s not really producing a new and genetically distinct organism
        So are clones not really people then? That’s a horrible conclusion to come to …

        You don’t seem to understand that we know what the biological functions of the ovary are. Really. You can stop repeating yourself. We just don’t think that because humans can do something (reproduce), they must do it. Nor do we think that just because it’s “natural” it’s automatically a good thing. You’ve established your premise; ovaries are at least in part for reproduction. We agree. The problem is your logic and conclusion (that therefore we must use them for reproduction) is horribly flawed and we don’t agree with that. Stop reiterating your premise and start defending your conclusion.

      • persephone

        It is possible to take two eggs and combine them, rather than an egg and a sperm, so women could reproduce without men.
        I liked the whole idea of Brave New World of reproduction separate from daily life.

      • Feminerd

        Me too, though I prefer the Honor Harrington or Vorkosiverse versions much better. I don’t think family units are a bad thing!

      • Niemand

        That’s funny. How would we do this?

        I can think of several possibilities up front, though I must admit that oocytes disappearing is way harder than sperm disappearing.

        1. Did only the oocytes in ovaries disappear? Then we’ve got no problem at all. Banked specimens will save humanity without any real effort.

        2. Cloning. There’s a tricky bit with getting it back into shape to be a pluripotent cell, but doable.

        3. Frozen embryos. Actually, cloning frozen embryos (i.e. separating the individual cells to make multiple embryos) is trivially easy, so we can get several individuals out of each viable frozen embryo.

        4. Sperm fusion. Though finding a cell with good cytoplasm is going to be a real pain…oocyte fusion is much easier. Why didn’t I say if all sperm disappeared and give myself an easy problem?

        An ovum and a sperm are designed for this purpose alone,

        Ova and sperm aren’t designed at all. They evolved. They’re an adequate way to transmit genetic information, but by no means perfect.

        scientific truth

        “Scientific truth” is even worse than “biological fact.” Sorry, there are no absolute truths in science, just better and worse models.

      • Niemand


        Never trust a statement presented as a “biological fact”. Or especially a “scientific fact”. There are no “biological facts”, only hypotheses with greater or lesser supporting data. And don’t get sucked into saying “X is a biological fact”, no matter how tempting it is. Evolution is not a biological fact, but rather a well supported theory explaining current observations. (/meta-pontification)

      • persephone

        Just because we can we must? What kind of argument is that? My dog could kill the neighbor’s cat as a biological fact. Do I allow it?

      • Ren Chant

        hey, way to deny human reason. you make it sound like we’re fucking RABBITS.

      • Anat

        Again, I object to your use of ‘in order’. This usage implies intent. Whose intent would that be? We are not designed, there is no mind behind the structure of our bodies. No body part is ‘intended’ for any particular use or purpose. We adapt our bodies and aid our bodies with technology to achieve goals of our choice.

        And it is wrong to derive prescriptive claims from the way our bodies function. We don’t rely on the shivering reaction to keep warm, we put on clothes, or turn on the heat. Humans have been doing this in some form for tens of thousands of years and nobody is arguing it is immoral to rely on anything but the capabilities of our naked and unaided bodies to keep warm.

        And just like we use assorted means besides those enabled by our physiology to keep comfortable in a broad range of external temperature – just because we want to – we use assorted means of medical technology to regulate the extent and timing of our reproduction.

      • Feminerd

        Nonono. Procreation is a thing that happens sometimes, but it’s not the purpose of sex. The purpose of sex is whatever I want it to be- it can be procreation, but it can also be recreation, release of an urge, endorphin rush to stave off a migraine (hey it works sometimes!), relationship building, comfort, and more. Sometimes I want sexy-times that don’t involve PIV sex, even.

        It is natural to get pregnant from sex, this is true. It’s also natural to die from measles, mumps, polio, diphtheria, pertussis, tuberculosis, tetanus, malaria, random infected wound, and a great many other diseases. This doesn’t even begin to talk about all the other non-disease natural ways we can suffer and die. We interfere with natural processes to our great benefit all the time. Controlling our fertility is a fantastic advancement on par with sewer systems and public education.

        Why does someone have an obligation to donate organs and blood and nutrients to a fetus, but not donate anything to a person? In either case, ceasing/choosing not to donate causes death. They both involve an active choice not to donate. Why does it matter the process, when the outcome is death either way? It’s not the abortion that kills the fetus; the abortion merely removes the fetus from its life support system (also known as a human being). It’s well known that a fetus can’t survive without this human being’s organ donation, but that’s just too bad. If you can’t find a willing donor, you die. I’m treating fetuses exactly like I treat all other human beings. You’re calling them super extra special with more rights than any human being can claim. Why?

      • Olive Markus

        Once again, you say what I wanted to say, but much more intelligently :).

      • Feminerd

        Thanks! I am always afraid I’m being too wordy. I hate walls o’ text, but I keep producing them anyways. It’s just so hard to say complicated things in small posts!

      • Olive Markus

        Always good posts. I certainly appreciate them.

      • persephone

        So let’s be biological. Did you know that a number of plants when eaten will cause an abortion? They’re naturally occurring and available to humans, and have undoubtedly been used deliberately or accidentally over human history. The plants are natural. They’re there.
        And while the goal of nature may be to reproduce, we can clearly see that unlimited reproduction is destroying the world, not just human reproduction, but other animals. We are the one animal that has developed methods for controlling our population, although we also apply methods to other animals and to plants. If the only reason we are created is to reproduce, why do we go to school, create things, read, play?

      • Ren Chant

        pennyroyal and ergot, two of them-though, ergot is actually a fungus on grain-still natural.

      • persephone

        What if the sex wasn’t consensual? What if birth control failed? Why is the woman responsible for the child when the man also took part in creating it?
        A lot of people who drive have accidents. Does this mean the natural result of driving is an accident?

      • Niemand

        However, a fetus is not part of your body

        But your uterus, if you have one, is. If the fetus is a separate individual then it does not have the right to use your uterus without your consent any more than a (real, living, thinking, suffering) person has the right to use your kidney or bone marrow without your permission.

      • tsara

        “Death is not a bad thing. It is a part of life. However, it becomes a “bad thing” when we deliberately and directly terminate the life of another human being.”
        This makes no sense to me whatsoever. I just can’t comprehend the mindset and basic assumptions that can lead to it.
        Death is a bad thing. It doesn’t get any better when it’s natural.

      • Jessica


        Death in and of itself is a part of life. It’s inescapable. Sure, it’s always sad, but it’s something that will happen to every human being at some point or another. That doesn’t make it okay to kill your brother because you don’t like him. That would be a premature and wrongful death. He wasn’t supposed to die at that moment, but you killed him. You were the one who put a stop to his life. It’s the same thing with abortion. Do you understand now?

      • tsara

        Death is bad. Death is always bad. Killing someone is bad because death is bad (EDIT: and also because it’s usually violating their bodily autonomy), but making somebody hurt is sometimes even worse. If you kill someone in a way that hurts them, that’s worse than just killing them. If you make someone suffer just for the sake of it, you’re a monster.

        However, I have the moral right to control what goes on inside my body. If anything or anyone is inside of my body when I do not want it or them there, that is a violation. I have the moral right to eject from my body anyone or anything that is violating me. It is not my problem if that results in death.

        EDIT: So, no. I understand intellectually, but it’s so… Eurgh. I just. I don’t empathize.

      • Olive Markus

        Should this brother decide to hook himself up to tsara’s body and use it to keep himself alive, tsara has every right, in self defense, to kill said brother. Do you understand now?

      • persephone

        But isn’t an anencephalic child brain dead, since there’s no brain?
        Life support was not originally designed to keep someone non-functioning alive for years, but to keep someone alive until they could receive necessary treatment.
        You’re just twisting phrases.

      • Ren Chant

        wow-asimov didn’t think so-he thought that omission of action that caused death was just as bad as deliberate action to cause death-a shame we don’t hold ourselves to that standard.
        A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

      • persephone

        The world is a crazy unsafe place to be if you’re a woman.

      • Niemand

        (How in the world did this end up being an independent thread? As should be obvious from the quotes, it started as a response.)

      • Jessica


        First of all, a cancerous tumor is caused by a mutation in your own cells’ DNA that cause them to replicate uncontrollably. These cells are a part of your body. A tumor is an overgrowth of YOUR cells.

        A 6-week embryo is not made up of your cells. A 6-week embryo (along with any other stage in development of a particular human organism) has its own set of cells that have in their nuclei a unique set of DNA which is separate from your own. Its genetic code does not match (in its entirety) yours or your partner’s. This is what we call a new human life, which, if allowed to grow and develop as nature intends, will grow into a fully functioning adult. A human life does not begin outside of the womb. It does not begin when you want it to begin. It begins at conception, when the sperm penetrates the ovum. That is when a new set of DNA is formed, and a new human being begins to grow and develop.

      • Beutelratti

        The embryo is not separate from my body though, so I can remove it if I don’t want it to be there. Simple as that. My body, my choice.

      • Jessica


        Another human being may be growing inside of your body, but that is a necessary period of development in any human being’s life. A human being has rights at any stage of development, for virtue of being a human being. So, it doesn’t matter whether or not you want it there. The fact is that it’s alive, growing, and is not a part of you. It is it’s own organism with its own rights.

      • Beutelratti

        Yes, it does matter that I don’t want it to be there. It does matter a whole friggin lot. If you say that it doesn’t matter then you are taking my right to bodily autonomy and bodily integrity.

        No one and nothing has the right to use another person’s body against their will, even after that person is dead. The embryo/fetus does not have a right to my body. Until it is born it is part of my body, it is living in my body, it is growing off my body. It doesn’t have the right to use my body, that is really so simple. If you say that it does, you are giving embryos and fetuses rights that no living, breathing human being has.

        And after all: Another human being might be dying because you are not donating your kidney. You do not need two kidneys so why don’t you go ahead and donate one already? And shouldn’t you be forced to do so anyway?

      • Olive Markus

        No, it does not.
        At the moment, no human being has the right to use another human being’s body against its will for its own survival. End of story.
        Until you believe that I have the right to rip your kidney out of your body against your will to replace my own failing kidney, you have no right to force a woman to give up her entire body to keep a fetus alive.
        It matters completely that it is inside of and using the woman’s body. That is the ONLY thing that matters, in fact.
        If you want to force me to remain pregnant, I want to mutilate your body to remove your kidney. I am a human being, after all, and my right to live trumps your will to bodily autonomy, right? We have a deal? You can’t agree with one without agreeing to the other.

      • Niemand

        It is it’s own organism with its own rights.

        Even leaving aside the whole question of how ridiculous it is to give “rights” to a one celled organism, the right to use another’s body without their permission is NOT a right we grant to any real, living human being. You are not allowed to force someone to give you a kidney or bone marrow, no, not even if you’ll die without it. Why should a zygote have MORE rights than its mother?

      • Anat

        Rights are determined by society, and in any western society that I am aware of one’s rights start at birth. That’s when society acknowledges one as its own.

      • Mogg

        I am quite aware of how an embryo develops, thanks, and you seem to forget that even though an embryo has its own DNA it cannot live without taking from the woman carrying it. Nobody is denying that an embryo is alive, the issue is whether a freshly fertilised human egg, or a six week embryo, or a dying 18 week foetus, is something worth ruining an already existing human woman’s life over or causing her to further suffer or die for. Anita Maree doesn’t seem to understand my question – why don’t you give it a stab? Life, in and of itself, cannot be the reason you believe that embryos are more important than the women who carry them, because we kill every day in order to live. What, to you, makes a human embryo more important to preserve than any other form of life?

      • Ren Chant

        yeah, these people seem to think that the fetus is just hanging out, not that we MAKE the bloody thing from two cells. we actually CREATE a fetus from our own bodies.

      • Ren Chant

        sure, that’s life-but as so many point out, there’s all kind of life, and that’s not really a good enough excuse. even in the BIBLE, which is often held to be the arbiter, it states pretty definitely that when you draw your first breath is when your soul enters your body. and i can assure you that until VERY recently, pregnancy was only definitively confirmed with either fetal heart tones (after the invention of the Pinard Horn, in the 19th century) or an actual baby coming out. so nobody knew that much about conception and early gestation.

      • tsara

        No, I’m not. I’m pointing out that life is not a sufficient criterion for evaluating the morality of an action.

      • persephone

        You’re putting a clump of cells on the same level as an adult human.

      • Anat

        What is the relevance of DNA? Cancerous tumors have very unique DNA compositions. Teratomas do too. That’s not a reason to keep them alive.

        It doesn’t matter if the embryo is a living human organism if the only way for it to survive is by making use of the body of an unwilling person. Nobody has that right. Embryos are no more special than patients waitlisted for organ donations. If the potential donor is not willing they don’t get to make use of the organs.

      • persephone

        So no antibiotics, no squishing bugs, no rat poison, harvesting all your food by hand (machine harvesting kills birds and animals), and an extreme Jainism in practice, or you’re not supporting your own claims.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Being drawn and quartered isn’t torture? Being burned on the inside and the outside till death isn’t torture?

      • Mogg

        No, not if there is no capacity to feel pain, or if appropriate anaesthetic is used if there may be a chance of a capacity to feel pain.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        “By 8 weeks the neuro-anatomic structures are present. What is needed is a sensory nerve to feel the pain and send a message to the
        thalamus, a part of the base of the brain, and motor nerves that
        send a message to that area. These are present at 8 weeks. The pain
        impulse goes to the thalamus. It sends a signal down the motor nerves to
        pull away from the hurt.” The ‘little one’ which is what the term fetus is defined as from the latin term, the little human being does feel pain. Lets make a comparison. If one is hit by a knife on the back of the legs and doesn’t see it coming pain still happens, even if one were not aware it was about to happen. If one is aware, the pain at the time of contact may be easier to sense but the pain happens none the less. An unborn human is not aware the that cutting is going to happen in a suction currettage abortion (D&C) or in a dilation and evacutation abortion (D&E) but the cutting and dismemberment does happen. The knife does cut.

      • Mogg

        Read Feminerd’s and Olive Marcus’s comments. The neuroanatomy necessary for the experience of pain is not in place, developed and connected up until 23-25 weeks’ gestation. Even then, there is some evidence to suggest that the foetus exists in a semi-anaesthetised state due to low oxygen.

      • Feminerd

        This is why we read the whole thing, not just the part that we think says what we want it to say. The lines directly after that part says “At this time, however, the nervous system has yet to fully mature. No laminar structure is evident in the thalamus or cortex, a defining feature of maturity. The external wall of the brain is about 1 mm thick and consists of an inner and outer layer with no cortical plate. The neuronal cell density of the outer layer is much higher than that of a newborn infant or adult and at seven weeks’ gestation has yet to receive any thalamic projections. Without thalamic projections, these neuronal cells cannot process noxious information from the periphery.” In other words, the nerves are developing but can’t actually send signals because they’re not developed enough yet and neither is the brain.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        So if your grandmother possibly no feeling in her leg, and you didn’t think she needed to walk cause it caused you major concern, you could just have her leg cut off?
        These little ones don’t only have their legs cut off. They are dismembered and depending on the development stage, have their heads crushed. Your information about if and when they could/would feel pain is not what I would use if I would possibly err on the side of if/when a little one would feel pain.

      • Mogg

        My grandmother is an extant human being in her own right. A foetus is not.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        “My grandmother is an extant human being in her own right. A foetus is not.”

        A fetus is:

        Definition of FETUS

        : an unborn or unhatched vertebrate especially after attaining the basic structural plan of its kind;

        specifically : a developing human from usually two months after conception to birth

        Thus a fetus, using your word extant (ex·tant)

        Definition of extant (adj)
        [ ékstənt ]
        existing: still in existence

        A fetus by definition is a human, existing.

      • Mogg

        Yet again, you have managed to quote something and yet entirely miss the point. You left out the important part, which was “in her own right”. My grandmother is her own person. A foetus, while it exists and is human, is not.

      • Feminerd

        Well, I would ask her, actually. Since she’s a full human being, she has consciousness and can relay to others her wishes and desires. Were my grandmother completely demented and/or senile and I was her medical proxy, I would have to make the decision that was best for both of us- her in her incapacitated state and me in my role as caretaker. Given the likelihood of fatal falls, infections on the leg incapable of feeling, and other complications, I might well make the decision for amputation for her own good. It would be a complicated and difficult decision.

        Much like abortion is a complicated and difficult decision, requiring a woman to determine what is best for both her and the fetus, with focus on her own well-being.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        How would killing a little one be the best for him/her?

      • Mogg

        By ending its existence before it can ever experience whatever situation it is that is causing the woman to make the decision to abort.
        EDIT: insomniac spelling

      • Feminerd

        1) If it would live a short, pain-filled life and then die within hours or days.

        2) If it would be effectively brain-dead; it might live for years, but only with massive amounts of care, and it would never become conscious because of massive brain damage/lack of brain.

        3) If it would starve because its parents can’t afford it.

        4) If it would grow up alone, unloved, and unwanted in institutions and foster care because of disabilities either mental or physical or it simply never got adopted.

        5) If it would grow up abused and unloved. Nonexistence is probably better than tortured existence.

        6) If its existence would mean mental anguish for its mother and itself. A fair number of unwanted children have their their existence thrown in their faces and know that they derailed their mother’s life. They sometimes conclude they would have been better off never existing. They may not be wrong; it’s not a reason to suicide, but it is a reason to conclude that abortion would have been better for them than existing.

        7) If its existence would kill or seriously injure its mother.

        I’m sure there’s other reasons, but those are the ones off the top of my head. Also keep in mind that the well-being of the fetus is secondary at best to the well-being of the mother.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        These are all bad excuses for a choice to kill another human being. No one knows what life may bring to any other.

        If a child is born and due to what ever you think could cause it to have pain, pain can and is alleviated in hospital settings.

        Whether or not a child will die after birth is not a sure knowledge. Even the physicians who thought the child would surely die are amazed at the fight new born’s have to stay living.

        Starve because a parent cant’ afford? Kill the child so it won’t ever be extremely hungry? Are you saying that all women who live in third worlds countries who have great difficulty feeding their children should have aborted them?

        Abused and unloved? Read some of Charles Dickens stories, you’ll learn about real love even if the character has suffered abuse. And Charles Dickens knew suffering and saw the severity of it but he wrote about the strength to come through.

        Mental anguish for the mother? Do not all mothers suffer some anguish due to many difficulties with being a mom? It comes with the territory. No reason to kill your little one.

        You think choosing to kill a little one because it may suffer at some time in it’s life? If the mother is not able or willing to give good care, then you think the child should be killed?

        They derailed their mothers life? She made the choice to be sexually active, she can also make a choice to let the little one live and be with people who would treasure them, instead of killing her little one.

        Tell me how an unborn little one could kill or seriously injure the mother?

        No one in this world goes with out some suffering, some more than others, some a lot more than others but we for the most part, desire and strive to survive. It’s the human will.

        Many women have made a choice often made by coercion threats, and by being badly advised and suffer the consequences. With out the knowledge of why they can’t conceive, why the have P.T.S.D. behaviours etc etc. If one is well informed on the truth of contraception and abortion, and one makes decisions that cause them and others harm, the suffering can be dealt with in a non threatening, life changing and loving way. I wish no one ill and I wish healing for all. If only so many of the people I counsel had more of this knowledge they might not be going through the suffering that they have now.

      • Feminerd

        Right, we’re done. You clearly see women as walking incubators, not as people, and I don’t engage with people who see me as subhuman.

      • Dr. Apothecary

        Umm… you seriously don’t know how an “unborn little one” could kill or seriously injure a woman? News flash here to anyone who’s never taken a history class, but pregnancy and childbirth kill and seriously injure women, much more so than abortions, actually. Blood loss, blood clots, infections (sepsis), and eclampsia (seizures) are pretty big killers. They were more so without modern medical care, but they still are today.

        In fact, the risk of carrying a child to term is almost a 14 fold higher risk of death than getting an abortion (source: As well, morbidity, or complications leading to medical harm, are also higher with full-term pregnancy. Ever heard the term rectovaginal fistula? If not, you should definitely look it up (I dare you to image search it). Women also develop gestational diabetes and other diseases in pregnancy, and their existing diseases can be exacerbated by the hormones from pregnancy. This can definitely shorten their lifespans.

        I’m currently pregnant. My husband would rather have me than our potential fetus, hands down. If my life was in danger, I trump the potential life in my uterus. I’m sure the man in Ireland who just lost his wife and baby last year would rather have his wife than neither right now, too. Too bad their wanted pregnancy went wrong and his wife ended up dying from sepsis after being refused an abortion of a dying fetus.

      • Ren Chant

        “Starve because a parent cant’ afford? Kill the child so it won’t ever be extremely hungry? Are you saying that all women who live in third worlds countries who have great difficulty feeding their children should have aborted them?” BAD choice on that one-i lived in brasil, which is a catholic country and therefore, abortion and contraception were illegal. i knew of several babies that were drowned in the local lake because their parents couldn’t afford to feed them. i’m pretty sure infanticide is more likely to cause pain.

      • Dr. Apothecary

        Replying to Anita in agreement with Feminerd: I’ve worked in a NICU, and watching babies suffer is hard. I also realized that we don’t know a lot about neonates and pain. A common pain relief form for them is sugar water on a pacifier (last time I tried that, it didn’t work for me!). There are many things not functioning in a 27 week old fetus, like their lungs, and their responses to stimuli are very different than those of adults or even children. Even the experts don’t know exactly when a fetus feels pain, but the evidence, as above, points to long after most, if not all, abortions happen.

        Babies are normally born at 40 weeks because that is when all their systems are capable of working in the outside environment, but they are far from developed at that time. Logically, I would think since babies don’t come out of the vaginal canal screaming in pain, their response to what we consider painful stimuli is very different from ours.

        Paraplegics don’t need pain relief when procedures are done on areas they can’t feel. If a being does not have the appropriate nervous system developed to feel pain, they will not be in pain.

      • sam

        WOW I want to know who came up with the sugar water on a pacifier!

      • Kate

        Why do you keep saying that fetus means “little one” in Latin? It doesn’t.

      • tsara

        Huh. Thanks for that. I did think it was a little odd, given that the word ‘homunculus’ exists, but I didn’t think to check.

      • tsara

        Not if you don’t have a fully developed and functioning nervous system, and not if it’s the quickest and most painless death we can manage while not hurting the mother.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        The nervous system is functioning by approximately the 8th week. By 8 weeks the neuro-anatomic structures are present. What is needed is a sensory nerve to feel the pain and send a message to the
        thalamus, a part of the base of the brain, and motor nerves that
        send a message to that area. These are present at 8 weeks. The pain
        impulse goes to the thalamus.

      • Olive Markus
      • Feminerd

        Since I have little confidence that you will read Olive Markus’s excellent links, I figured I’d copy the most relevant paragraphs of the NCBI information.

        Free nerve endings, the “alarm buttons,” begin to develop at about seven weeks’ gestation; projections from the spinal cord, the major “cable” to the brain, can reach the thalamus (the lower alarm) at seven weeks’ gestation. An intact spinothalamic projection might be viewed as the minimal necessary anatomical architecture to support pain processing, putting the lower limit for the experience of pain at seven weeks’ gestation.

        At this time, however, the nervous system has yet to fully mature. No laminar structure is evident in the thalamus or cortex, a defining feature of maturity. The external wall of the brain is about 1 mm thick and consists of an inner and outer layer with no cortical plate. The neuronal cell density of the outer layer is much higher than that of a newborn infant or adult and at seven weeks’ gestation has yet to receive any thalamic projections. Without thalamic projections, these neuronal cells cannot process noxious information from the periphery.

        Can a fetus experience pain?

        The first projections from the thalamus to cortex (the higher alarm) appear at 12-16 weeks’ gestation. By this stage the brain’s outer layer has split into an outer cortical rim, with a subplate developing below. The thalamic projections that develop from 12-16 weeks penetrate the subplate. Within the subplate, cortical afferents establish prolonged synaptic contacts before entering the cortical plate. The subplate is a “waiting compartment,” required for mature connections in the cortex. The major afferent fibres (thalamocortical, basal forebrain, and corticocortical) can wait in the subplate for several weeks, before they penetrate and form synapses within the cortical plate from 23-25 weeks’ gestation. Subsequent dissolution of the subplate occurs through prolonged growth and maturation of associative connections in the human cerebral cortex.

        Current theories of pain consider an intact cortical system to be both necessary and sufficient for pain experience. In support are functional imaging studies showing that activation within a network of cortical regions correlate with reported pain experience. Furthermore, cortical activation can generate the experience of pain even in the absence of actual noxious stimulation. These observations suggest thalamic projections into the cortical plate are the minimal necessary anatomy for pain experience. These projections are complete at 23 weeks’ gestation. The period 23-25 weeks’ gestation is also the time at which the peripheral free nerve endings and their projection sites within the spinal cord reach full maturity.

      • tsara

        In addition to all of the information that has been presented by others about the pain-relaying structures of the brain, I’d like to point out that there was a second half to my point: “and not if it’s the quickest and most painless death we can manage while not hurting the mother.”

      • Carl Seaton

        So you admit that it is a “death”. That means you believe it was a life. Hmmmmm……….how does it feel to think of yourself as a giver of life and a taker of the same?

      • tsara

        Actually, I’m neither.

        EDIT: not that it matters, as I’m not on a power-trip either way.

      • Olive Markus

        Do you squash bugs, Carl? You killed something. Clean your toilet? You killed millions of things. Used bug spray? Mopped the floor? Cooked a piece of meat? Eaten a vegetable? Used mouthwash? All of these activities kill things, even your own cells. Every time you ejaculate, your sperm die. You kill things by having sex, Carl. How does that feel?

      • Carl Seaton

        The sex? Pretty darn good.
        I just don’t see the unborn as similar to germs on a toilet, a bug, a piece of meat, vegetable etc…

      • Olive Markus

        But you do see women as such.

        No problem. As long as we understand each other :).

      • Carl Seaton

        Aw come on. When did I say that women are anything similar to germs on a toilet or bugs? Read what I say. You are more than welcome to point out any errors in what I say. You might try to put me into the stereotypical “prolifer” box but I won’t fit.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Saline abortion done on fully functioning/feeling/developed nervous system. So strong was the salt solution it turned the little one beet red from the burn, which also burned the insides.

      • tsara

        Torture: totally what we call it when we kill something in the most humane way possible.

      • Niemand

        According to the CDC, the number of abortions performed by installation of any type in 2009 was less than 0.1% of total abortions performed. The vast majority are either D & C or medical

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Babies cannot ‘function’ independently. If left to be independent, they’d die.

      • Mogg

        Of course they can, in that they can breathe, eat and eliminate all by themselves, and don’t rely on any specific person’s organs to do all that for them.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        They must be fed, and in all ways, cared for by another. They can’t eat by themselves. If they can breath and eliminate but are not not feed or clothed property etc, they will die. The ‘other persons organs’ can’t do it, it must be the whole person, as is the same when they are inside the mother.

      • Libby Anne

        Care of a child is transferable. If someone doesn’t want to care for a child, they can transfer that care to another. Not so for a pregnant woman and fetus. I happen to find that difference significant.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        So the choice is either care for a defenseless human being for approx. nine months and have assistance doing so from the soon to be parent/parents, and then affecting the lives of many in a extremely positive way or killing him/her? Yes there is a significant difference in those choices. One is giving life and self sacrifice for the sake of many others, or death. I know there would be support for the pregnant woman in either circumstance and my strong opinion is that the support to give life would in the short and long term be the better choice for everyone.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        I am also very aware of the choices people make and often why they make them especially in this area of discussion. I would never want to try and say any of this is easy. I know from experience. We are not robots, we feel, we fear, we suffer. We also can have joy and peace and faith, in ourselves and in others. Often life can be like the ocean, sometimes calm, some times undercurrents of many of these emotions, sometimes huge storms that cause upheavels that can reak havoc on our lives. I havepersonally had such experiences and have also shared in the experiences of many others. Through these times of extreme trials, extreme pain and sometimes incredible joy I have given support of all kinds, and felt deep true empathy. I am not an unfeeling person. My purpose in replying on this blog is to do what ever I can that may inform some who are not informed and bring some light to a very often dark, depressing and at times extremely puzzling and sad place.

      • Niemand

        So basically you’re saying that the selfish needs of the would be adoptive parents should come before the life and health of the pregnant woman. She should commit to the “self-sacrifice”, but potential adopters are under no obligation to do so.

        You don’t believe that the zygote is a person. If you did you wouldn’t be wasting your time worrying about a few murders when there is a pandemic going on that is killing the majority of “babies”. The very fact that you’re arguing about abortion suggests that you’re more interested in controlling women than in saving “babies”. And the argument that women should “self-sacrifice fro the sake of others” confirms it.

      • Dave

        Mary S. Calderone, M.D., medical director of Planned Parenthood Federation of America,

        writing half a century ago:

        “[M]edically speaking, that is, from the point of view of diseases of the various systems, cardiac,

        genitourinary, and so on, it is hardly ever necessary today to consider the life of a mother as

        threatened by a pregnancy.”

        “Illegal Abortion as a Public Health Problem,” American Journal of Public Health (July 1960),

        pp. 948-954 at 948-9.

      • Olive Markus

        And that is an absolute lie. Just the single example of Savita Halappanavar is evidence to the contrary. My mother nearly died multiple times and lost one pregnancy. Every single ectopic pregnancy is evidence to the contrary. Once again, she has no facts to back up what she says there. Unless you can find real facts to back up your claim that no woman has ever been in danger or died from a pregnancy. This is simply absurd.

      • Dave

        Alan F. Guttmacher, M.D., “the father of Planned Parenthood,” longtime abortion

        advocate whose name was used for Planned Parenthood’s sister organization, the

        Guttmacher Institute:

        “Today it is possible for almost any patient to be brought through pregnancy alive, unless she

        suffers from a fatal illness such as cancer or leukemia, and, if so, abortion would be unlikely to

        prolong, much less save, life.”

        “Abortion – Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” in The Case for Legalized Abortion Now

        (Berkeley, Calif.: Diablo Press, 1967).

      • Olive Markus

        Great. Where are the citations proving his opinion?

        Also, 1967? Really?

      • Dave

        From a physician who supports legalized abortion and has performed abortions for
        “With diseases like lupus, multiple sclerosis, even breast cancer, the chance that pregnancy will
        make the disease worse is no greater than the chance that the disease will either stay the same or
        improve. And medical technology has advanced to a point where even women with diabetes and
        kidney disease can be seen through a pregnancy safely by a doctor who knows what he or she is
        doing. We’ve come a long way since my mother’s time… The idea of abortion to save the
        mother’s life is something that people cling to because it sounds noble and pure — but medically
        speaking, it probably doesn’t exist. It’s a real stretch of our thinking.”
        Don Sloan, M.D. and Paula Hartz, Choice: A Doctor’s Experience with the Abortion Dilemma
        (New York: International Publishers, 2nd ed, 2002), p. 46

      • Niemand

        Dave, how about a little case discussion: A 31 year old woman with congestive heart failure, heparin induced thrombocytopenia, and a history of multiple pulmonary emboli due to lupus anticoagulant presents with an 8 week gestational age pregnancy. She has been on coumadin for the past 5 years. She developed congestive heart failure during her first and only pregnancy which ended in a stillbirth at term and a prolonged stay in the ICU for the mother. Her current ejection fraction is 15%. She has no cancer whatsoever.

        What would you recommend she do if you were her physician?

      • Niemand

        Dave, I am shocked SHOCKED that you did not choose to respond to this comment*. I thought for sure you knew how to prevent pregnancy related heart failure and probably undo fetal anomalies from coumadin as well. Your post certainly implies that it’s trivially easy so surely even if you’re a complete lay person with respect to medicine you could google it easily enough.

        Well, except that the standard of care in this situation is an abortion. The patient in question will almost certainly die trying to complete a pregnancy and the fetus has a snowball’s chance in hell of living and less than that of being healthy. So there’s really no reason to demand the continuation of pregnancy except to torture the patient and no excuse for ignoring it except for unwillingness to acknowledge one’s true motives.

        *Though if you did respond and disqus ate it I apologize for the sarcasm contained in this comment.

      • Olive Markus

        You downvoted my perfectly reasonable rebuttal to your argument? Very classy.

        Facts annoy you, do they not?

      • Niemand

        Leukemia is not a fatal illness…at least not if you get chemotherapy in a timely manner and don’t have your treatment delayed because you’re pregnant, as happened to a young woman in Jamaica recently. She’s dead now and so is the fetus. There was never a chance for the fetus but the woman would likely have survived with prompt treatment that she did not receive.

      • Carl Seaton

        Some of those with which you are trying to debate with are just rabid atheists. They don’t connect the moral dots the same way as most people. Many of them don’t even have any objection to infanticide. As they nullify the personhood(read that civil protections) of the unborn at any stage of development they will be found easily doing the same for the already born. There will be a day when abortion is looked back on with astonishment and people will say ” Can you believe we used to do that? How could it be?”. Look no further.

      • Olive Markus

        Actually, the most pro-life areas of this country are also the areas with the highest rates of infanticide. If what you say were true, then we wouldn’t find that to be true. At all.

      • Carl Seaton

        So you are saying that Pro-lifers are living among those who commit infanticide. I very much agree. The utilitarian mindset is all around us. If it is not all about me, me and me……….then kill it.

      • LL

        From what I’ve seen, you aren’t using logic. Why wouldn’t infanticide rates be higher in areas that has a majority pro-choice demographic as opposed to a majority “pro-life” one if it is only pro-choicers who choose to commit this act? If your belief is true, then wouldn’t it be more rampant in highly pro-choice areas and also more tolerated? This is exactly the opposite of what is happening. The only way your statement would work is if there were more Pro-Choicers living in “Pro-Lifer” areas than “Pro-Lifers” themselves, but then these areas would be Pro-Choice areas, wouldn’t they?

        That was hand-waving at its best; you cannot ignore the data simply because it contradicts your presupposition.

      • Carl Seaton

        What the heck is a pro-choice demographic or a pro-life demographic? What is the difference between a woman that kills her unborn baby 10 minutes before he or she is born and one who takes a claw hammmer to her baby 10 minutes after he or she is born? I see no difference, though the author of this blog does.

      • Olive Markus

        Give me a fucking break.

        Demographics are the quantifiable statistics of a given population. Demographics is also used to identify the study of quantifiable subsets within a given population which characterize that population at a specific point in time.

        Pro-Life Demographic – The majority of the population is Pro-Life.

        Pro-Choice Demographic – the majority of the population is Pro-Choice.

        Would it make any sense to you to say that within a Republican Demographic, more people identified as Democrat than as Republican? NO! Because that would then then make it a Democrat Demographic.

        How many women have you ever known that had an abortion 10 minutes before the fetus would have been born (except when she is dying, perhaps)? Huh? Tell me, and give me some fucking facts to back up your absurd claims. You’re making absolutely no sense here. Over 98% of all abortions happen before 20 weeks, and almost all of the rest are because of the health/life of the mother and/or fetus. There are a very, very, very, very, very few who go to Gosnell-type clinics to get late term abortions, but those happen to be extremely desperate and desperately poor women who should have been able to access an abortion months before (and Gosnell-like clinics should not exist).

        Also, I’m going to give you a god-damned clue as to what the difference between a fetus and a baby is:

        One is attached to the internal organs of a living, breathing, feeling human being who is donating their entire body continuously to feed the other, while also absorbing and cycling its waste products. The other is not. Can you guess which is which?

        Don’t you fucking tell me there is no difference and also claim that you give a shit about women or their existence at all. The two beliefs are in direct opposition to one another.

      • Carl Seaton

        Good answer on the 1st question. The answer to the second question is 20 minutes. You say I make absurd claims. What claims do I make? I ask a question using hyperbole and you come unglued. You may believe that the unborn don’t deserve any civil protections or considerations whatsoever at any gestational stage. So what?

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        I agree and I also think they’ve got some reason to be so ‘rabid’. Some times the odd person will be reasonable and not attack personally nor go stringing off to something they’d rather go tangent with but I just tend to mark some ‘names’ off my reply list. It’s good to have some one answer who is reading what I write and doesn’t use the nasty negative flippant mouth. : ) Cheers!

      • Carl Seaton

        Just realize that this blog has a large atheist following. The author herself is an avowed and determined atheist. They will flock to discussion boards like this just so they can get off on give some religious people a hard time. They seethe with hatred towards all things perceived to be associated with “God” and their contempt for the unborn is just their way putting a middle finger in God’s face..

      • Alix


        Don’t forget the large pagan following here…

        Don’t like, don’t read, baby. No reason for you to hang out where you feel so unwanted.

      • Carl Seaton

        Thanks for the confirmation =^..^=

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        I have heard it said that some atheists have a perception that if one believes in God then one will be trying to cause things in either a personal sense or a wordly sense to make things ‘tough’ or ‘rough’ on those who do not.

        Since they say they have no belief in God, in goodness then they have no way to know which way to live is a good way, Except what they want. That seems more scary to me.

      • Anat

        It is obvious you know nothing of moral philosophy, much of which (at least in recent centuries) has nothing to do with belief in a deity, yet comes up with decent and reasonable ways of behavior.

        If you can’t figure out what is right to do without appealing to religion you must be quite a mess.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Lol, you’re funny!

      • fiona64

        I’m a follower of Jesus’ teachings, the mother of a 26-year-old son … and very much pro-choice.

        You don’t want people to stereotype you; please do others the same courtesy.

      • Carl Seaton

        What I said is true. Look at some of the atheist blogs and discussion boards. Names look familiar?

      • osiote

        Small community.

        I see the same folks on LiveActionNews that I see on Lifesite.

        And most of these people happen to be christian AND creationist to boot.

      • fiona64

        I reiterate: if you don’t want people to stereotype you, please afford others the same courtesy. I comment on atheist blogs, and I am not an atheist. The truth is simple: you just don’t know. Therefore, what you stated is *not,* and *cannot* be “true.”

      • Carl Seaton

        The author of this blog is an avowed and determined atheist.
        This is true.
        The rest can be considered my opinion.
        I’m used to being stereotyped. Have at it.

      • fiona64

        Well, I’m sorry for you then.

      • osiote

        Why are you here?

        You think that you are some sort of saintly martyr?

      • Carl Seaton

        Why are you here? You think you are a saint?

      • osiote

        Because Libby Anne has brainwashed me, clearly.

        It’s cuz she’s such a determined atheist!!!

        Oh, please, answer my question: ) Thanks in advance.

      • Conuly

        Given that most people support abortion rights, I’m not sure you can talk.

        As far as infanticide goes, that has been traditionally been the method people used to get rid of unwanted babies. Christians did it en masse, pretty much right up until the invention of reliable birth control and safe abortion.

      • Carl Seaton

        The abortion is ok at any stage of gestation position is a minority view. A small minority view at that. Most people support some restriction on abortion up to some point. Many say abortion should be illegal save for rape, incest and life of the mother and others say up to 16 weeks or some point of gestation. Only the rabid minority holds that it’s ok at all stages of gestation.
        As far as christians using infanticide to rid themselves of unwanted babies en masse.
        Yeah right….the moon is made cheese.
        How’s that rabies coming along?

      • tsara

        “As far as christians using infanticide to rid themselves of unwanted babies en masse.”

        Apparently you don’t history. Like, at all.

        “Infanticide has been practiced on every continent and by people on every level of cultural complexity, from hunters and gatherers to high civilization, including our own ancestors. Rather than being an exception, then, it has been the rule.

        “There is ample historical evidence to document the incredible propensity of parents to murder their children under an assortment of stressful situations. In nineteenth century England, for example, infanticide was so rampant throughout the country that a debate over how to correct the problem was carried out in both the lay and medical press. An editorial in the respected medical journal Lancet noted that “to the shame of civilization it must be avowed that not a State has yet advanced to the degree of progress under which child-murder may be said to be a very uncommon crime.””

        EDIT: That’s probably not the best source, but it was the first result from my google search. I’d do a search from my institution’s journal library, but the server’s been on and off all day.
        EDIT II: Here’s a thing from
        “Infanticide is the homicide of an infant; it can describe what might amount to a cultural act or an offence defined by the victim’s age. Often it is the mother who commits the act, but criminology recognizes various forms of non-maternal child murder. In many past societies, certain forms of infanticide were considered permissible. Female infanticide is more common than the killing of male offspring due to sex-selective infanticide.

        This article addresses the practice of infanticide within multiple cultural and historical contexts.”
        The article has a helpful table of contents; peruse sections 1.3 and 4.1.1 especially.

      • Carl Seaton

        Gee….I don’t history. Wow!

      • Conuly

        Carl, look up baby farming. Look up changelings. Look up “history of infañticide”, and when you’re done, come back and talk. You literally do not know what you are talking about if you claim it was not a serious and common problem up until relatively recently.

      • Carl Seaton

        Never said it wasn’t a serious and common problem. Don’t read your agenda into what I say.
        I do see similarities in the baby farming industry of the Victorian era and the abortion industry of the present era.
        They both make lots of money taking advantage the desperation of women.
        Where did you get the idea that christians were using infanticide en masse?
        Another agenda at work?

      • Conuly

        Who do you think was behind it, Carl? Do you think the Jewish, Gypsy, atheist population in Europe was so high at the time?

        Guess what, Carl? Unless you are selectively going to say they weren’t Christian (which would be a lie), in Europe, infanticide over the past 2,000 years was primarily done by Christians.

        But, again, do your own research. It isn’t my job to educate you on history. Or wallow in your own ignorance, but if you want to do that, do it on your own time.

      • Carl Seaton

        Yeah, any nut case can call themselves christian. Just look at congress. Unfortunately it is used as a political identity.
        Your point is?

      • fiona64

        As they nullify the personhood(read that civil protections)

        As you do to the pregnant woman the minute you afford rights to a fetus …

        There will be a day when abortion is looked back on with astonishment
        and people will say ” Can you believe we used to do that? How could it

        Abortion has existed for as long as humanity has existed, and will continue to exist in a similar fashion. Whether it is legal or not, women will terminate unwanted pregnancies. The difference is that, just as happened during the 90 or so years during which it was illegal in the US, women will die from it.

        Not that you seem to care.

      • Carl Seaton

        What do you know what I care about?
        I give statistics or state a fact and you think you know me?
        Good luck with yourself.

      • fiona64

        As soon as you have stated any facts, I promise to acknowledge them. Really.

      • Carl Seaton

        I doubt it.

      • fiona64

        Doubt all you want. As soon as you post actual facts, I will acknowledge that you have done so. And no, half-truths don’t count.

      • Carl Seaton

        I don’t need your validation, approval or fiat.

      • osiote

        Why are you afraid to post actual facts Carl?

      • fiona64

        And I don’t need you to make medical decisions for me or any other woman — so I guess we’re even.

      • Mogg

        Libby Anne beat me to it. Can you see the difference between a person who chooses to feed and care for a born infant, and one whose body is being used to feed and support a foetus whether or not she wants it to?

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Whether or not she wants to is something we often face in life. Whether or not we want to do many things that may cause us not only discomfort but financial difficulty, physical hardship, fear, anger and a gamut of other life changing situations. So it’s either do that, face up and let life occur or end the life of another human being.

        The choice where the possibility of become pregnant was already made. If it was not a choice in the situation of rape, then the choice for life is an even more serious one. Still the outcome of both can only be life or death. That choice either allows life of another human being or ends it. Also the possible and often outcome of choice for death will affect the one who chooses to her detriment. I would suggest that many people who strongly defend the right to abortion, chemical or otherwise have had some sort of experience of their own. It’s been a part of their choice or the choice of some one close to them.

      • Mogg

        Those who choose to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term often choose to their detriment, too. The whole point of choice in this context is to choose which option will have *less* detrimental effect. Your definition of a human being is clearly different to mine, because I do not consider an embryo or foetus to be a human being. Neither does the law.

        I have no idea what you base your assumption on, but I can tell that I, for one, do not meet it. I have never had need to consider an abortion. I have only one close friend of all my friends and relatives who has experienced abortion (that I know of, anyway), and it was well before I ever met her.

      • Olive Markus

        “Also the possible and often outcome of choice for death will affect the one who chooses to her detriment.”

        Prove that, because I happen to personally know women who’ve made this choice and experienced no “detriment.” You may want to believe this is true, but that in no way makes it true.

        “I would suggest that many people who strongly defend the right to abortion, chemical or otherwise have had some sort of experience of their own. It’s been a part of their choice or the choice of some one close to them.”

        Are you actually suggesting that you’d like to see every single woman who believes herself to be pro-choice intentionally get pregnant and terminate the pregnancy so that she can experience for herself the eternal torment you claim comes from abortion, consequently becoming pro-life just like you… to stop abortions from happening? Otherwise, I have no idea what you’re trying to say here. If, on the other hand, you’re assuming that nobody here has real-life experience, then you’re just being condescending again, and it’s really getting old.

        I have friends and family who’ve chosen abortions. I’ve also watched more WANTED children than I can count be abused, neglected, resented, and even beaten so badly so as to be permanently brain damaged. How much more often does this happen with unwanted children? I will go to my grave believing that the torture, abuse and neglect of a living, breathing child is infinitely and inexpressibly worse than the termination of a pregnancy in which the zygote or fetus feels and knows nothing. You have no idea how much at peace I am with this belief.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        I ‘happen’ to know hundreds of women who’ve made this choice, because I am a lay counsellour for people who have suffered from pregnancy loss.

        “Are you actually suggesting that you’d like to see every single woman who believes herself to be pro-choice intentionally get pregnant and terminate the pregnancy so that she can experience for herself the eternal torment you claim comes from abortion, consequently becoming pro-life just like you…”
        In no part have I ever thought or said anything that would show a desire for some one to do something so harmful nor ridiculous. What I was trying to say that people often react strongly to things that stir up deep emotional issues. One of these issues can be from their own experience or the experience of some one close to them.

      • persephone

        So your a lay counselor for women who wanted children but lost them. That does not apply to this discussion at all.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        I am a lay counselor for people who suffer from all types of life difficulties. I’ve stated that before. Part of what I do is also loss counseling, especially pregnancy loss. Miscarriage and abortion are both losses. No matter if the person is or ever has been activily pro choice, if they have made the choice and they come to me for help, they understand that life has changed. Something is gone. There is often an empty sense inside themselves and sometimes they try to fill that with drugs or drinking or other ways that bring no relief, only more pain. No matter a persons view on the issue of ‘choice’ they have a right to express their feelings. No matter what those feelings are , they need to be validated.
        There are times in our lives when we have major change. We often want to tell people about those changes whether they effected us in a good way or not. Some are told that they’ve made the right decisions so get over and get on with it. Some people find that difficult. Sometimes others do not want to hear about the feelings after the choice to abort. Or they may disagree that the person does feel a sense of loss, they may say that’s just guilt from the ‘pro-lifers’ so their words and their feelings are swept aside.

        Every one has a right to be heard and accepted no matter their choices.

      • persephone

        You’re seeing the people that are having a problem. If the woman isn’t having a problem, she isn’t going to see you. So 100% of the women you see are having a problem, but they may be only 2% of women in the same circumstance.

      • Jessica

        “Prove that, because I happen to personally know women who’ve made this choice and experienced no “detriment.” You may want to believe this is true, but that in no way makes it true.”

        Thousands of testimonies.

        In my opinion, it’s much more insensitive and inhuman to deny that abortion should cause emotional pain. Abortion stops a human life from growing. It stops a natural function and process. Therefore, it is “natural” to feel sad and hurt as a result of that abortion.

      • Beutelratti

        Your point again? There are thousands of testimonies of women who do not regret and do not feel remorse. Are they just deluding themselves?

        There are also people who regret getting married, yet I don’t see people trying to outlaw marriage. So “regret” is no basis for making laws that deny women equal rights.

        It is insensitive and inhumane to deny that women have a right to their own body. The moment you say that the fetus has a right to the woman’s body you deny the humanity of the woman. That is insensitive, that is unfair and that is unjust. It doesn’t matter that a growing human life or whatever you want to call a fetus dies. The only thing that matters is that it is the woman’s body and her body only and nothing and no one has the right to use it against her will.

      • Jessica


        My point was that abortion is unnatural. It goes against a woman’s very nature to care for her young. So it’s perfectly logical and natural to feel sad after having one. Sadly, it is all too often not the woman’s “choice” to have an abortion, but the “choice” of her boyfriend/husband/family. Many women feel immense pressure to end pregnancies. Their boyfriends threaten to leave them and their families threaten to disown them. They have no support, and so they have an abortion. And they suffer terrible emotional pain and guilt because of it. So to say that women do not and should not feel sad after having had an abortion is extremely insensitive.

        With that said, the fact that many women feel sad does not mean that abortion should be illegal. I agree with this logic. However, the fact that they feel sad is a telling tribute to what happens in an abortion. Abortion is the termination of another human being’s life. It is something to be sad about.

        I don’t deny that you or many others may feel happy/relieved/etc. after having an abortion. I can understand the sense of relief, knowing that you can go on with your life and not have to sacrifice your current lifestyle to make room for a baby. I get that. A baby will change your whole life, and involves many sacrifices that you may not feel ready or willing to make. However, the problem with this outlook is that you’re ignoring the other person in the scenario. This is why so many on the pro-choice side refer to the in utero baby as a “clump of cells,” “tissue,” “fetus,” “part of my body.” (Disclaimer: I am aware that “fetus” is a scientific term used to refer to a specific stage of development of an unborn baby….just making a point that oftentimes it is purposely used to refer to a baby that is unwanted. Generally speaking, when a baby is wanted, we call it a baby). Back to point, all of these terms are used to dehumanize what we know is a human being. No one wants to kill a baby. But it doesn’t really matter if we kill a clump of cells. It’s nothing. Just cells.

      • Olive Markus

        Your view of women is so condescending and immature.
        Once again, citation needed, please, that women don’t choose abortions for themselves. Also, citation, please that more women than not suffer terrible emotional pain and guilt. I’m begging you. If you’re going to keep insisting on these things as though they are facts, you need to give us some actual facts.
        And more condescension… It isn’t often a matter of convenience. Many abortions are chosen by women whose level of poverty would make you weep. That isn’t convenience. That’s survival. 42% of women who choose abortions are living 100% below poverty level.

      • Beutelratti

        No, an abortion is not any less natural than any other medical procedure. It doesn’t go against the “woman’s nature”. The minute a woman wants an abortion, it cannot possibly be against her nature. Also you are conflating the care for children with the care for fetuses and embryos. They are not the same. I do not use the term “unborn child”.
        And apparently you seem to think that men don’t care about “the young”?

        And so many women are being coerced into becoming pregnant and not terminating pregnancies. So your point again?

        No, we do not all of a sudden know that a fetus is a human being. You do that, because you want to, I do not. The fetus gets human rights once it doesn’t depend on my body and my body only anymore. Birth is the line. Simple as that. A fetus becomes a baby when its born, not before that.

        You are also still ignoring the woman in the equation. No one and nothing has the right to use another person’s body against their will. By thinking that fetuses should have this right, you are very much giving them rights that absolutely no human being has. The only way that fetuses can really have equal rights is to not allow them use another person’s body against their will. So by allowing abortion you are very much giving them the same rights that human beings have.

        If you don’t want fetuses to die and recognise the woman’s right to her own body, develop artificial wombs.

        And could you please stop pretending that a pregnancy is “just” a pregnancy. Women do not end pregnancies for convenience. Pregnancies are a real risk to the life of the mother, they come with severe side effects and will change the body of the woman forever. You simply do not get to force that on anyone and you also do not get to call them selfish for terminating a pregnancy. Fetuses do not feel pain, women do.

      • Olive Markus

        I’ve also watched many women give birth who end up caring nothing for the child they gave birth to. Some women don’t have it in their “nature” to be caretakers, regardless of what your Church tries to force you to believe. If they tell you they’ll be bad mothers, believe them, because they will be. Otherwise, you’re knowingly contributing to the neglect and abuse of children.

      • tsara

        “My point was that abortion is unnatural. It goes against a woman’s very nature to care for her young.”

        It isn’t only women who can get pregnant. If it’s a bad thing for women because it’s in their nature to care for their young (highly, highly, highly doubtful), that still doesn’t justify banning any of the procedures.

        “Many women feel immense pressure to end pregnancies.”

        Reproductive coercion — of all kinds — is extremely common in abusive situations. Does that mean we should ban all forms of sabotageable birth control and only promote vasectomies and IUDs? Nope.

        On fetuses: you don’t get to tell other people what they should call things inside of them. If it’s inside of me, it probably won’t ever reach ‘fetus’ stage, but I’m going to call it by its medical designation or by ‘get it the fuck out of me’. Telling me that it’s a baby is presumptuous and extremely rude.

      • persephone

        Most women who have abortions are not pressured into it.

        Most women who have abortions make the choice because they recognize that they cannot have a child at this time.

        You’re making wild statements without any basis except that this is what you believe.

      • Carl Seaton

        They cannot have a child at this time. Whoops, they already do and hire someone to suck it out into a jar and dispose of “it”. Love, Joy and Feminism?

      • Niemand

        abortion is unnatural.

        This is not entirely true, if by “unnatural” you mean “happens only to humans who have access to technology.” Rabbits can reabsorb litters when the conditions for their birth are poor (i.e. stress, malformation of the litter, etc.)
        Trivial point since, as has already been pointed out, “natural” is not the same as “good”, but it is notable for demonstrating that abortion is not just a human thing.

      • Jessica

        Abortion is unnatural because, if left to progress naturally, the child would have continued to grow and would have been carried to term (in this instance I am speaking only in regards to those pregnancies that are otherwise healthy). Abortion invasively halts a natural process. That is why it is unnatural. I don’t know much about the reproductive habits of rabbits, but I do know that that is irrelevant to this discussion because we are not rabbits. We do not behave in the ways that rabbits do. We don’t “reabsorb” our litters, but I would argue that it is something within their own bodies that causes this to happen versus introducing invasive, extrinsic factors (injection of poison, forceps, scissors, etc.). This is a fundamentally different thing. If anything, you should compare “reabsorbing a litter” to miscarriage in a human being, but definitely not to elective, invasive abortion.

        Abortion is, in the way I have just described it (and this is how we know it to be) a distinctly human action.

      • tsara

        And again you’re drawing artificial, arbitrary, and harmful lines.

        An unwanted pregnancy is by definition unhealthy, because I include mental health when I say ‘a healthy pregnancy’. The naturalness or otherwise of the procedure is entirely irrelevant.

        (I also noticed that you haven’t addressed anything I’ve said regarding gender roles.)

      • Jessica

        “An unwanted pregnancy is by definition unhealthy.”

        How so? Whether or not it is wanted and whether or not the mother is physically and mentally healthy enough to support the pregnancy are two completely different things.

        “I include mental health when I say ‘a healthy pregnancy’.”

        So, an “unwanted” pregnancy automatically assumes that the mother is in a depressed mental state? This seems like a stretch. Maybe this is true for you, but certainly not for everyone.

        What did you say regarding gender roles? I had to go to sleep last night, so i may have missed it. My apologies.

        Also, I’m going to class in a few and will be out the rest of the day. I will answer as soon as I can.

      • Feminerd

        Unwanted bodily trauma isn’t psychologically healthy for anyone. It’ll break a few people, but it’ll be traumatic for all of them. Unwanted pregnancy is extremely detrimental to a person’s mental health, because they lose control over what their body is doing. Did you know that rough pregnancies and labors (ones where things go wrong) can cause PTSD and other markers of severe mental trauma? And that’s wanted pregnancies where things went wrong. Can you imagine how much worse it would be if you didn’t even want to be doing this?

      • Olive Markus

        No, tsara was not assuming at all that an unwanted pregnancy assumes a depressed mental state, but is saying that a woman being forced against her will to go through a pregnancy and birth can be extraordinarily traumatic and damaging. Even healthy pregnancies can do extreme damage to a woman’s body, and if a woman doesn’t want something like that done to her, then it is extremely unhealthy for her. Even if she is willing to take on those things, it can be extremely damaging!

        And once again, who gives a rat’s ass about the naturalness of an abortion procedure? You don’t live your life in an even remotely natural way – you are about as far from natural as any human being could get – and my guess is that you have had unnatural procedures done to your very own body countless times. Why, if you live your entire life unnaturally (and eating hormone free food, or even organic produce while walking once a day is still living a completely unnatural existence), do you feel you can control what other women do based on whether or not the procedure is “natural?” Guess what else is unnatural? Ultrasounds during pregnancy. Knowing the sex of your fetus before you give birth. Prenatal vitamins. Giving birth in hospitals, or even with any kind of medication, sterilization or equipment present. I guess you aren’t allowed to you use those!

      • tsara

        No, if someone is pregnant who doesn’t want to be pregnant, the very fact of being pregnant is unhealthy for the person. Things happening to people’s bodies when they don’t want those things to happen cause various types of stress and unhappiness — and those things existing during pregnancy, by the way, seems to be really bad for the future emotional and psychological development of the presently-an-embryo-or-fetus. I consider forcing someone who doesn’t want to be pregnant to remain pregnant to be morally indistinguishable from torture or rape, and I expect that any study (from an reputable source) would find comparable rates (or maybe not rates, but intensity or something; comparable reactions, generally) of PTSD and related conditions from rape, torture, and forced pregnancy and childbirth.

        On gender roles:
        These aren’t as clearly about gender roles as I remember them being (apparently I toned them down considerably from what was in my head). I had thought that I had written my positions out and framed them such that you were probably intentionally ignoring them; I now think that you probably just didn’t really see what I was getting at.
        “”My point was that abortion is unnatural. It goes against a woman’s very nature to care for her young.”

        It isn’t only women who can get pregnant. If it’s a bad thing for women because it’s in their nature to care for their young (highly, highly, highly doubtful), that still doesn’t justify banning any of the procedures.”

        “I have a (more-or-less) healthy, ‘fully functioning’ reproductive system that includes ovaries and a uterus. I am not a woman, and you do not get to say that I am one.I reject the notion that people who don’t have reproductive systems that can produce offspring are necessarily malfunctioning. I reject the idea that any part of me was designed. I reject the idea that we are all imperfect copies of a perfect template.”

      • Ren Chant

        i’m pretty sure that women who have unplanned, unwanted pregnancies are depressed about them. i have known four women who had abortions in the time i have known them. every one of those women was very upset about the unplanned pregnancy and would have been much more upset by an unwanted child. likely to the detriment of that child.

      • persephone

        Chemotherapy halts a natural process, but I’m sure you’d still do it.

      • Anat

        Way to erase women! For pregnancy to reach term and result in birth of a child a woman has to be there and do it. And make the effort to keep herself and the fetus healthy. Pregnancy is work. Hard work for many.

        What is your definition of ‘natural’? Humans are part of nature, it is our ‘nature’ to use technology to solve problems (eg control fire, use tools to obtain food). Thus using abortion to solve the problem of an unwanted pregnancy is natural for humans.

        Or perhaps you mean that ‘natural’ means without human intervention? But we must act to survive. Without human intervention the only thing that happens to humans is death.

        You are making a meaningless distinction. There is nothing inherently good about a process being ‘natural’, and the dividing line defining what is ‘natural’ is arbitrary.

      • Carl Seaton

        So just kill it?
        Is that the answer to everything?

      • tsara

        Oh, ffs.
        If the person wants to be pregnant, zie’ll be willing to go through it. If zie doesn’t want to be pregnant, zie has every right to eject the embryo/fetus. Pregnancy, if one does not wish to be pregnant, is horribly violating and can’t actually be ended (at most stages) in a way that doesn’t kill the embryo/fetus. So if someone is pregnant and doesn’t want to be, killing it is a reasonable action to end the immediate and ongoing violation of the person’s body.

      • Carl Seaton

        Wow! Some folks consider pregnancy to be as wonderful thing. To you it is a violation. Ok. I see your view on this. I just don’t agree.

      • tsara

        Your opinion on my personal, subjective feelings is entirely irrelevant. If I were to become pregnant, I would feel more violated than you can probably imagine. For someone who does want to be pregnant, it is (probably) not a violation. Do you understand now?

      • Anat

        My answer is to let each woman choose what she wants. If she wants to bring the pregnancy to term, she should have prenatal care (in a normal country that would be publicly funded, at least the basics plus anything her medical team deems required for optimal outcomes, for her and the future child). If she does not, she has the choice of abortion. What is so hard to understand?

        Or maybe I should ask in your style – So just rape her for months on end? That’s your answer to everything?

      • Carl Seaton

        I never said anything about rape. You are the one who calls the killing of the unborn a “choice”. I just believe it’s murder on some level and yes it is a choice that many make.

      • Feminerd

        You know what else is natural? Obstructed labor of a fetus lying sideways, resulting in the death of mother and fetus. Hemorrhage. Infection. Breech birth resulting in stuck baby. Cords wrapped around the neck. Retained placenta.

        It is natural for pregnancy and labor to have a 1% mortality rate for women and a 9% mortality rate for babies. Don’t you dare tell me “natural” processes are good.

      • Dave

        From an ob/gyn who used to perform abortions, but later became president of the

        American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists:

        “In conclusion, although serious threats to health can occur, there is always a life-affirming way

        to care for mother and baby, no matter how bleak the prognosis.”

        Mary L. Davenport, M.D., F.A.C.O.G., “Is Late-Term Abortion Ever Necessary?” (2009), at

      • Niemand

        Dave, let’s try another case: A 21 year old woman with lupus is pregnant. She badly wanted this pregnancy and tried to keep it, even though she knew it was extraordinarily high risk. It’s not going well. She has developed severe pre-eclampsia and in fact just seized, making it eclampsia. She is 21 weeks pregnant and ultrasound suggests that the fetus is small for gestational age and so would not survive birth, if only because there is no ET tube small enough to intubate it with. Ultrasound also reveals poor blood flow in the placenta, suggesting that the fetus will not survive much longer. The patient’s blood pressure is 210/120 and she is confused. What do you do?

      • Feminerd

        Uh huh, that’s bullshit. There are plenty of cases where “life-affirming” means “let the mom die while praying for a miracle that probably won’t happen”.

        Beatriz. Savita Halappanavar. Esperanza. Mikki Kendall. Women with heart failure. Women with cancer. Women with auto-immune disorders. Women with malformed uteruses. Women with ectopic pregnancies. They will die if they try to carry a pregnancy to term. There is nothing, not one single thing, that can be done to save them except end the pregnancy. We can try, sure, but in the end, they will die.

        And you don’t care.

        P.S. Try non-propaganda sites next time. Wikipedia is your friend.

      • Carl Seaton

        Yup. Abortion good and motherhood bad. Really simple mindset.

      • tsara

        …and now you’re just making shit up.

      • Carl Seaton

        Just boiled down what you usually post.
        Ok then abortion good and pregnancy bad.
        Is that better?

      • tsara

        Erm, no. Ability to make decisions regarding the use of one’s body=good. Restrictions on that=bad.

      • Carl Seaton

        Am I correct here? You don’t believe that the unborn should have any civil protections or considerations whatsoever at any gestational stage up to an including birth. Am I right here?

      • tsara

        I don’t have an opinion on perfect world ‘oughts’. My position is that restrictions on early abortion access are counterproductive; that total bans are empty moral grandstanding that anybody with functioning empathy should regard as inhumane; and that laws restricting late-term abortions are a bad idea (because of where we are as a society with social safety nets and whatnot, because fear of prosecution can impair physician decision-making, and for a bunch of other reasons that I won’t get into right now because it’s late and I’m going to bed) and we should leave that to hospital ethics boards.

        All of which boils down to this, if we assume the personhood of fetuses:
        A person who is tied up and is currently being raped bites the throat of the rapist, who dies*. Sure, the person being raped knew there was a reasonable chance of causing death, but are we really going to introduce laws to penalize rape victims for defending themselves? And are we really going to hand that rapist a piece of duct tape? And are we really going to do that while also making it harder for people to prevent rape, and while penalizing people for agreeing to sex? And while not looking into nonlethal forms of self-defence?
        *moral equivalence because intent is to stop use of body, not death; because there is no option available that is not likely to cause death; and for a bunch of other reasons.

      • Carl Seaton

        A yes or no would be awsome.

      • tsara

        Sorry, in the real world things are complicated. I don’t know what my position would be if we were just dealing with perfect-world ‘oughts’. That makes my answer a ‘no’ in the strictest sense. In the world where things go wrong all the time and we seem to be only working on making things harder for pregnant people? That’s a very strong, definite yes. And that ‘yes’ doesn’t have a chance in hell of changing until we’ve got the means to safely remove earlier fetuses and embryos from people and grow them in artificial wombs (or smthng) AND the political (and social and economic) landscape changes a great deal.

      • Feminerd

        Oh, sigh. Strawmans ftl. No, the simple mindset is “woman = person”. She gets to pick what happens to her body. If she wants to risk her life and health for a baby, she should (and I will be in the future). If she doesn’t, she shouldn’t have to. Abortion is neither inherently good nor bad- it’s a medical procedure that is good when needed/wanted and bad when forced. Motherhood is neither good nor bad- it’s a role that is good when wanted and bad when forced. Consent good, coercion bad.

        Simple enough for ya?

      • Beutelratti

        And you consistently leave out the fact that an unwanted pregnancy is an unhealthy pregnancy.

      • Olive Markus

        Some women feel something when they have an abortion. Many women do not. Not all women experience trauma when they have an abortion, and to insist that they do is ridiculous. I’m asking you to prove that all women who have an abortion experience some kind of “detriment” as was earlier claimed, and I guarantee that you’ll be unable to do so. Each woman is entitled to her own experience, and that includes not feeling anything negative as a result of an abortion.

      • Carl Seaton

        I suspect it’s thousands of women among the millions that have had abortions. Only few have regrets. It’s called get it over with it and move on. Usually to the next abortion.

      • Olive Markus

        You’re empty of actual arguments, so you just resort to ridiculous and pointless conjecture about women you don’t have any clue about. Good job. Truly. And keep it up. This is why when you come to these sites you always have people replying to your posts, with, “Oh, My! You’ve totally changed my mind! I used to believe women should have choices over their bodies, but now I want their bodies only to exist as objects to be consumed by others! Hurray for Carl owning rights to my body!!”

        Oh, wait…

      • Carl Seaton

        Ok then….what percentage a women actually regret having had an abortion? Take a guess. What is your opinion? I think it’s maybe 5 to 10 percent and maybe lower. Stick your neck out and take a guess.

      • Olive Markus

        I think I was replying to your assertion that women simply move on to the next abortion…

        I wasn’t meaning to argue on the regret. But regret is a very interesting thing that we can’t exactly quantify, even with surveys, and only the person experiencing it can have any insight into how they feel about it. It is interesting to me Pro-Lifer beliefs fall into exactly two camps:

        1) Almost all women regret abortions and incur devastating consequences because of it, therefore, it’s in her best interest if we don’t allow her to make a choice;


        2) Almost all women who’ve had abortions are heartless, disgusting monsters who just like having abortions in between pedicures and coffee with her BFFs.

        I do know that for all of the women I’ve known who have had abortions, the level of regret varies, but it is mainly that they regret they had to make the decision, not that they had it done.

        Personally, had my abuser succeeded in getting me pregnant, as he tried to do, I don’t feel I would have had any regret aborting the embryo that would one day be a child my rapist would have rights over – thus having control over me for the rest of my life. I would regret that I had ever having been in that situation, as I very much do now, actually. But that just makes me a heartless monster not deserving of choices over my body or life, so I’ll go join the germs in the toilet now :).

      • Carl Seaton

        46% of abortons are the second , third or fourth abortion on the woman. I do believe it gets easier after the first one and probably earlier term also. Where to call, where to go and the hesitations have already been dealt with on the first one.
        Sorry for pissing you off.

      • Olive Markus

        Well, I shouldn’t have been pissed off, because you’re right. I looked it up right after I posted, and the stats are true. I think it might have something to do with poverty level, as nearly half of the women having abortions are also living 100% below poverty, but no matter. I should have looked it up before I assumed you were making it up.

      • Carl Seaton

        The reason that nearly half of women getting abortions are below the poverty level is the age at which abortion is so common. 17% in the teens, 32% 20-24 years old. So there you are. Half of abortions are on women that are 24 years old or younger. When I was in that age bracket I was definitely broke all the time and would have been below the poverty level-income wise.

      • persephone

        Nope, haven’t had an abortion. I only found out in the last week that a friend had one many years before I knew her. I’ve borne two children I am raising. I believe I had two miscarriages.
        What I have learned from my many years is that I cannot make that decision for someone else. That forcing a woman to carry a pregnancy to term can be mentally and physically cruel and destructive. That the great majority of unwanted children are abused and neglected, often killed, and often engage in drug use, criminal and destructive behavior if they live to adulthood. That limiting women’s choices is bad for the women, their families, and society in general.

        And I have learned that people who try to control others in this way are contributing to the destruction of families, society, and individuals.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        The National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) in America, predicted:

        “A policy that makes contraception and abortion freely available, will greatly reduce the number of unwanted children, and thereby curb the tragic rise of child abuse in our country. Legal abortion will decrease the number of unwanted children, battered children, child abuse cases, and possibly subsequent delinquency, drug addiction, and a host of social ills, believed to be associated with neglectful parenthood.” (A
        Speaker and Debater’s Notebook, June 1978)

        In the first 10 years after abortion was legalised in America however, child abuse increased by over 500 percent.
        Working with women and men who have had abortion experiences, I have found many either cling to their born children after the abortion choice, or do the opposite. They are reminded of the abortion by their children and some times become either cold and unattached and sometimes abusive.
        Wanted children are often abused and neglected. One need not be poor, a single mom, drug addicted or have any other ways others find negative influencing factors when parenting.
        What a person feels like before the child is born, the worry, the fear etc of the unknown is not conducive to how one will feel after the child is born.
        Who are these ‘unwanted’ children you speak of? Give me examples of how you come to the idea that women are forced to carry to term? I know of forced abortion and forced sterilization in countries such as China.

        Three prominent academics have published research: Theresa Karminski Burke, Ph.D., a psychotherapist, David Reardon, Ph.D., a biomedical ethicist and director of the Elliott Institute, and psychiatrist Philip Ney, M.D., a clinical professor at the University of British Columbia in Canada.
        Ney writes, “When I investigated the relationship between child abuse and abortion and reported a direct
        correlation, people were angry and astonished. It appeared that the rate of child abuse did not decrease with freely available abortions. In fact, the opposite was true.
        “In parts of Canada where there were low rates of abortion there were low rates of child abuse. As the rates of abortion increased, so did child abuse…Indeed, it is a vicious cycle. That is, parents who have been involved in abortion are more likely to abuse and neglect their children. Mothers and fathers who were abused as children are more likely to abort their child” (Deeply Damaged, p.91).

      • Jessica

        I think it probably has a lot to do with their own anger and unhappiness in their lives (for whatever reasons, probably very deep) that causes them to view children so negatively. I think it is definitely a vicious cycle — many times beginning with their own abusive experiences, which leads them to abort their own children and even abuse the ones they already have. It is terribly sad. Every person is a gift in this world.

      • Feminerd

        Every single person? Ever? I can think of a few people we would have been better off without …

        This is not an argument for or against abortion. It’s just pointing out that you said something that doesn’t actually make any sense.

      • Jessica

        Yes, every single person. Ever. Each person exists for a reason. What they choose to make of their lives is ultimately up to them, but that does not diminish the fact that their lives are WORTH something. As long as someone is alive, no matter what they have done, they can always make the decision, that day, to live differently.

      • Feminerd

        People don’t exist for a reason. I exist because my parents had sex (squick!) and then one particular sperm got to the egg first in my mother’s fallopian tube, and then the blastocyst that would later become me implanted successfully, and then my mother chose to carry me to term and nothing else went wrong genetically. I choose what to make of my life- yes, every person has value, but we don’t exist for any reason at all. That’s why what we make of our lives matters so much; we give our own lives purpose and meaning.

        Just because I wouldn’t kill someone doesn’t mean I don’t wish they’d never existed, though. There’s some pretty awful people in history. Not every person is a gift to the world; Jack the Ripper, Ted Bundy, the usual list of mass murdering dictators, etc. They chose to make their lives a net negative to the world, and thus their nonexistence would have been better than their existence.

      • persephone

        What possible reason is there for every single person to exist?

      • Jessica

        Feminerd, why doesn’t it make sense?

      • Feminerd

        Because it’s not true?

      • Olive Markus

        Oh my god. This is unbelievable. These are extremely offensive statements based on absolutely no facts, information or probably even grade-school level research. I have been astounded all day by the arrogance in just about every single statement you’ve made: Stereotypes and blanket statements that you have deemed Truth just because you say so.

        Sometimes I feel guilty when I reply with anger, snark and sarcasm, but at times like this, I realize that your beliefs don’t deserve my politeness and all the guilt melts away. Do you know a single person outside of your conservative little circle?

      • Beutelratti

        Your reply was nice. The only thing I could think of was along the lines of “Fuck you very much”. But that’s probably because I must have been horribly abused and I’m actually a very angry and unhappy person and not, you know, the person I actually am that is very happy at the moment and hasn’t been abused. ;)

      • Olive Markus

        Hehe :) Thank you. While my initial reaction was certainly no more polite than yours, I’m trying to curb my use of profanities when I am offended. What usually happens is I suppress it for awhile and then I spend an entire day posting nothing but profanities :D.

        Obviously, I must swear because my parents totally abused me as a child. Maybe God put me here as a spokeswoman for Dirty Mouth Syndrome and Orbit gum?

      • Beutelratti

        Yes, I see no other reason. Every profaning person is a gift to this world!

      • Olive Markus

        Well, at least I finally found my God-Given calling. It’s about time. Leave it to one unhappy, abused person to help this unhappy, abused person figure it out ;).

        Oh, but thanks for making me happy at the moment. I think you’re ruining my stereotyped, presumed image here.

      • Jessica

        Not saying that this is true of everyone. That would be very wrong of me to assume that. I was simply replying to Anita’s comment and the studies she quoted. I had honestly never heard those things before and was thinking about how the findings could be true — it would possibly explain some of the outright hatred and disgust toward unborn children, who really are very quiet in this whole matter. They have no say whatsoever in whether or not they can exist and are essentially spat upon, which is terribly sad to me. With that said, I am not out to hurt anyone here, so for that, I apologize.

      • Olive Markus

        You shouldn’t assume it of anybody.

        You are very compassionate towards the clump of cells that may or may not become children, and yet cruelly apathetic towards the women whose body is required to possibly turn those cells into children. When you’re not erasing the woman entirely, you’re simply insulting her.

        I had no say in whether or not I could exist, either. What’s your point?

      • Jessica

        Olive, I am compassionate toward everyone in the scenario. A mother and her child are both victims in an abortion. It is a terrible shame that abortion even exists. It hurts women, it hurts families, it hurts babies. It hurts everyone.

      • tsara

        “A mother and her child are both victims in an abortion.”
        If the pregnant person did not refer to the z/e/f as a child, you do not get to. Chances are, if there was an abortion, there was no child. A pregnant person who aborts is not a mother unless zie chooses to identify as one. And a person who freely chooses an abortion is not necessarily a victim of anything.

        “It is a terrible shame that abortion even exists.”
        Irrelevant opinion. Also, you might want to keep in mind that removing the fallopian tube in a Catholic-sanctioned procedure to ‘treat’ an ectopic pregnancy is an abortion, medically speaking.

        “It hurts women, it hurts families, it hurts babies. It hurts everyone.”

        [citation needed]

      • Feminerd

        Oh, you meant citations that abortion hurts people, not citations that abortion doesn’t hurt people. Sorry, can’t find those.

      • Ren Chant

        actually, it IS a shame that abortion exists. that we need it-contraception should be freely available,and social safety nets should be strong enough to support women and the children they can’t afford. abortion is no-one’s first choice-it’s expensive and often painful. but in the world we live in, ABSOLUTELY necessary. i used to be prolife, too-until i realised what a sanctimonious twat i was.

      • persephone

        You’re making blanket statements that are completely false and without basis. You’re not being compassionate toward anyone but yourself and your belief system.

      • Anat

        Abortion saves many women from poverty, dependence, being stuck in a bad relationship, as well as health problems, even death. Abortion saves many children from poverty and bad family situations (many women seeking abortion already have children).

        A woman who makes the choice to abort is not a victim, she is pulling herself, and sometimes others too out of victimhood.

      • Carl Seaton

        But she is a victim. Some guy got her pregnant when she didn’t want to get pregnant. That sounds like a victim to me. Abortion is just the mitigant.

      • Anat

        I know Disqus makes it hard with these long threads, but try to see what point I was responding to. I was replying to Jessica who was talking of women as victims of abortion. A woman may have been a victim of something else, but if she chooses abortion and goes through with it she is not a victim of abortion.

      • persephone

        Why would every person be a gift?

      • Anat

        It is (among other reasons) because we view children as beings deserving of good care that we want to ensure reproductive rights. Because children deserve to be wanted and chosen.

        And we are angry that people like you seek to make us all miserable by taking away freedom and choice, seeking to enslave women, degrade our health, mess up our livelihoods – and force children to be born where and when they do not get the best care, or where living conditions of older siblings may go from acceptable to poor as resources get stretched.

      • Carl Seaton

        You sound so caring for someone who wouldn’t object to infanticide. You’re making me laugh. So unwanted children should be exterminated by what prefered method?

      • Niemand

        Every person is a gift in this world.

        So then the people who are born because of abortion must also be a gift to the world. The child whose parents only met because xir mothers had an abortion that allowed her to go on and have a wanted child with a non-abusive partner later in life. The child whose parents were willing to conceive because pre-natal or pre-implantation diagnosis allowed them to choose to have a baby that had a reasonable chance of living to adulthood instead of watching one suffer and die in infancy. The child who is alive because of skilled OB care given by a compassionate OB who performs abortions on request including late abortions for fetal anomaly or maternal health risk, despite threats to his life. Are they not also gifts to the world which has been given these gifts partly through the existence of legal abortion?

      • Feminerd

        Really? Child abuse increased by 500% from 1972 to 1982? Are you sure it wasn’t just that reporting rates skyrocketed as the feminist movement successfully pushed domestic violence from “private issue” to “public crime”? People who are conservative and pro-forced birth also hide child abuse and report it at lower rates than the general public? Say it ain’t so!

        Additional Note: correlation is not causation. Abortion happens more often among the impoverished, as does child abuse. There’s lots of reasons for that, but the point is that abortion doesn’t cause child abuse. They are simply both correlated with poverty. Or do you also believe that ice cream causes robberies?

      • Olive Markus

        “Armed with these descriptions, Kempe persuaded Federal and State policymakers to support the adoption of a formal child abuse reporting system. Between 1963 and 1967, all States and the District of Columbia passed child abuse reporting laws. Federal reporting guidelines were established in 1974 with the authorization of the first Federal Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention and Treatment Act.”

        The statistics show such an increase, because that is when they began recording such data. Only Pro-Life advocates blame it on abortion. There is no causation there.

      • John Alexander Harman

        “In parts of Canada where there were low rates of abortion there were low
        rates of child abuse. As the rates of abortion increased, so did child

        That there would be such a correlation is unsurprising, as frequencies of both child abuse and abortion are correlated with poverty, and abortion is also sometimes a consequence of child sexual abuse. The conclusion that abortion causes child abuse is not strongly supported by this evidence.

      • persephone

        Did you know that approximately 20 years after Roe v. Wade that crime rates dropped across America?

        I’ve checked out the people you cite, and they are all virulent anti-abortionists, and they regularly lie about anything and everything they can.

        You’re going to have to do better.

      • Dave

        If you voted this down you are wrong.

      • Carl Seaton

        Notice getting rid of unwanted children not unwanted pregnancies.
        Children bad – abortion good.
        A peek into their mindset.
        It make them money too.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Do enjoy your quippy/lippy/cheeky/inyourface/tellitlikeitis replies, but…

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

        Personhood given when then? Lets start some split hair cutting here too!

      • Carl Seaton

        I don’t know. I do know the full personhood at conception position is as unworkable as the total non-personhood position up to birth is brutal. What think ye?

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Give me your definition of ‘personhood’ and we can discuss farther.

      • Carl Seaton

        You got me there. I guess full legal protection would be accurate.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Here are a few definitions found online:
        Person | Define Person at‎a human being, whether man, woman, or child: The table seats four persons. 2. a human being as distinguished from an animal or a thing.

        person – definition of person by the Free Online Dictionary …‎A living human.

        Person – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster …‎human, individual —sometimes used in combination especially by those who prefer to avoid man in compounds applicable to both sexes.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        From these few I get the definition of a person as being a ‘human being’. If you want we can discuss when is a human being a human being. You may find that a bit of a moot point but if not, please do continue.

      • Dave

        If you don’t want to have a baby then don’t have sex. That is CHOICE right there. If you do, then one must accept the consequences of their actions.

      • persephone

        What a stupid comment; people have had sex almost exclusively because it feels good, not to have children. People have been using birth control since they figured out that sex = babies. I’m not advocating abortion as regular birth control, but it’s an option that mist exist.

      • Carl Seaton

        I agree. Making abortion illegal would probably be counterproductive. It’s a problem with our culture not our laws.

      • John Alexander Harman

        “I would suggest that many people who strongly defend the right to
        abortion, chemical or otherwise have had some sort of experience of
        their own. It’s been a part of their choice or the choice of some one
        close to them.”

        If your suggestion is correct, it would be evidence against your belief that abortion does women more harm than carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term.

      • Dave

        Do you not understand how interconnected everyone is? Do you not understand that a person who tries to survive in the wilderness alone will die, without the knowledge gained from others?

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        That was what I was saying. Are you agreeing with me? I don’t understand why you are questioning.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        “There are even segments of the anti-abortion community that will acknowledge that aborting a braindead fetus isn’t really an abortion which is an odd way to say, it’s a a case which should not be opposed on moral grounds.”

        Isn’t ‘really’ an abortion? Just maybe sort of one?

      • Uriel238

        You do love the semantics, Anita Marie Arnott. I think their meaning (mind you this is now second hand) is that it’s not an abortion to be opposed. Technically, of course, it’s still an abortion and the question is about under what circumstances should an abortion be allowed or not allowed. Some people are not as adept at articulating subsets so they’ll classify (for example) “a real abortion” (procedures they want to oppose) and “not really an abortion” (procedures they deem as justifiable).

        My comment was not about which abortions should or shouldn’t be opposed, but how different people sort it out in their heads. Humans, while capable of advanced and very sophisticated logic, are not typically super-logical.

        EDIT: pre-coffee typos.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        And some things are very easy to see. A child will look at an ultrasound and say ‘hey mommy, look at the baby!’ Many things in our lives can be seen and known easily for what they are without people having to use a lot of logical thinking. Children often don’t complicate things, they see and say it like it is. Children born with anencephaly are not dead. No person is a ‘vegetable’. Some have very little cognitive function but are functioning enough to breath, take in nutrition and thrive if only but for a period of time.There are also syndromes that can cause a child to not be able to digest without feeding tubes being used till they are able to grow or have repaired surgically what causes them to do without a feeding tube. Shall we say it’s okay to kill them also if they don’t ‘fuction’ up to a standard?

        You deem it better to kill them before you can see, hold, love, value the little ones lives? Sounds pretty much like eugenics to me.

      • Uriel238

        Your response seems to have nothing to do with what I was saying. Was that intentional?

      • lisa

        anencephalic babies are capable of thriving? have you ever had a baby with anencephaly? i have. all my daughter was capable of was seizures everytime she was touched. there was no thriving baby who just happened to die. watching my daughter die was a nightmare come true. there is nothing pretty about anencephaly and if a woman chooses not to put herself and her family through it that is her business and her business alone.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Anecephalic babies are capable of living. For how long no one knows.
        Watching any family member die is unpleasant. Life has many unpleasant occurrences. To kill another human isn’t a good way to deal with them. You believe that the killing of a defenseless human being because they may cause unpleasant situations is acceptable for our society? We all have the right to speak up to protect the life of others.

        I have not had a baby with such a condition but for your child and for all others I will always speak up so they should not be put to death.

      • lisa

        my daughter lived two hours in pain, which i witnessed with my own eyes, and suffered seizures every time she was touched. holding your dying pain wracked baby in your arms until she dies is not just another one of lifes unpleasantries. the fact that you can’t recognize that is disturbing.please tell me more about how anencephaly is not that bad. you don’t know what you’re talking about and that’s one of the reasons why you should not be allowed to m
        ake decisions for others.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        While in Childrens hospital for probably the 15th time in a two year span because my girls who have a rare kidney disorder and needed extreme medical intervention. I met and talked with a family who’s daughter was also seizuring non stop after birth. She did not have anacephaly. They were not aware of any birth defect and they were in great turmoil and extreme fear and sadness and pain as everyone tried to help her survive. They wanted their child to live! I’m sure you wanted your daughter to live also. I can not imagine what you went through in that time. Did you name her? Did she have a funeral service? I would think that you loved her during her time growing inside of your body. I would think you also loved her as she went through the dying process. Was she not given pain relief?
        Where did I say Anencephaly is not that bad?! Letting your child be born is a giving thing. I do not make decisions for others. I decide to speak up for others to have life, no matter how difficult, no matter how short. I’m sorry for your loss and your suffering. I do not mean to add to it.

      • lisa

        you cannot compare seizures in a fully formed baby to a baby with anencephaly. there was no top on my daughters head. just an exposed brain stem. when you compare losing a baby to anencephaly to life’s other unpleasentries you belittle the horror of it. when you say anencephalic babies can live, don’t feel pain, and share their life and joy you make it sound not that bad. raw reality is a baby with no top on their head and an exposed malformed brain stem seizuring uncontrollably. she was not giving pain meds or rushed to the nicu because there was nothing the doctors could do. the doctors know so little about anencephaly. at that time they were not 100% that anencephalic babies could feel pain. when you “speak up for others to have life, no matter how difficult or short” you are interjecting your self and your opinions in a very personal, private, and painful part of someone else’s life where you and your opinions have no business being. i ask you again, who are you to decide that others must go through this?

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Where did I say they don’t feel pain?
        I have worked with children who have seizure disorders. It is not pleasant. During the seizure they do not know of pain, they do not know of their situation.
        The people who have had babies with condition similar to yours, without the seizures and have lived for a period of time, up to around two years of age, have loved, held, fed, cared for in all ways and shared this life and love with other people.
        This is a blog where others are allowed to share their ideas and thoughts etc. I have never ‘decided’ for another. I am replying to others in this venue.

      • Dr. Apothecary

        Umm… you have no idea what anencephaly is, obviously, and are seriously lacking in sympathy to lisa (lisa, I’m sorry you had to go through that and am sorry for your loss). A baby without a brain is, in severest terms, not human. They are life, but they do not have the capacity to think, feel, have loved, or even understand being fed and cared for. They are robots. However, it is very hard for us to watch the suffering, as we can empathize, and we still love what should/could have been a healthy baby that would grow up to be an adult.

        I’m currently pregnant, and if this fetus had severe defects that made it highly likely to suffer and die at a young age, I’d abort. Why? Because to me, it’s morally wrong to watch a baby go through pain and die, when it could have been aborted when its nervous system was less developed, if developed at all. I also respect others who make the decision to carry the fetus to term. It’s a horrible decision either way, but each family has to decide for themselves what to do. You do not get to make that choice for everyone, especially if you do not even understand what is actually going on with the fetus.

      • Guest

        i know several woman that being told that their baby will be unhealthy , brain damage, mentallly challange etc. They did’nt want to do abortion. but end up giving birth to healthy baby.

        My son was diagnosed by doctor will be mentally challenge . but instead he is born normal & gifted. He was walking by 5 months, teach himself to read before 2 years old. & speak several languages ,teaching himself . Sometimes doctor can be wrong. God can do miracle. Even the kid with disabillities can teach us how to be a better person. All baby are God’s master piece, Don’t distroy his creation. it’s insulting to the creator.

      • Ren Chant

        you have a very serious lack of empathy. it’s a shame it can’t be corrected with medication. perhaps you should just shut up.

      • persephone

        How is having your child tied to machines just to breathe and suffering continuous pain and seizures showing love? Anencephalic or not, how can this show love to the child?

        You say that every child has the right to live and at the same time you say that a fetus is alive and has the same rights as a child that had been born, but for some reason having that child born, no matter what, is very important, even if the.child will never actually have a remotely normal life or a life lasting more than a few hours.

        If giving birth to the child grants it life, then what was it living before in the womb? If the life outside of the womb will be one in which a child can never truly know God’s light and in the womb the child was already equally human, what difference does birth bestow on the child? If the baby is truly innocent, and the baby will only know pain and suffering after birth and not be able to accept God, aren’t you condemning the child to Hell?

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        In my opinion all human kind no matter developmental stage is a spiritual being. If there is a God then what happens with each individual inside their spiritual self and their connection with God is not known by others. It is between ‘them’. One cannot easily express verbally as a child that connection although when a child sees a little kitten or a beautiful flower garden they may show some delight in the wonder and beauty of such things. It’s different for all of us as we age and it also depends on our life experiences. I hope that makes some sense in reply to your question.

      • tsara

        So your position is a religious one. Good to know.

        I don’t believe in your God, and you don’t get to make me care about what zie says. You definitely don’t get to legislate based on your God’s wants.

      • persephone

        It makes sense in that it doesn’t make sense. You don’t have any real basis for your belief. It’s just a belief without logic or reason. We are all spiritual creatures, so that spirit will continue in some form, no matter the date of our deaths.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        “In my opinion all human kind no matter developmental stage is a spiritual being.”

        Where did I state a belief?
        You said and I quote:
        “We are all spiritual creatures, so that spirit will continue in some form, no matter the date of our deaths.”

        You seem to agree with me, where I said my opinion is all humans are spiritual.

      • persephone

        Here’s the quote again In my opinion all human kind no matter developmental stage is a spiritual being.look up

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        You brought up the god and hell stuff. Again seems like this discussion goes sideways and I’d prefer to try and keep it on a even plain, a bit of a flat surface. This other person wants to go off on a religious/spiritual tangent too, due to our discussion. That’s a whole different arena. Nothing to do with the reason I replied to this blog in the first place and I would like to keep it on topic.

      • Anat

        What does ‘a spiritual being’ mean? What is ‘spirit’? What evidence do you have it exists?

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        If you read my last reply to Persephone you’ll see what I mean.

      • Anat

        No I don’t. I read it and I see nothing helpful. If our supposed spirit nature is behind your objection to abortion you’d have to explain what you mean by that, on what evidence you believe it to be true and why having a spirit nature is a justification to take away a woman’s right to control her own body.

        As far as I an concerned ‘spirit’ is a word that is at most metaphor. It does not represent anything concrete.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        “If giving birth to the child grants it life, then what was it living before in the womb? If the life outside of the womb will be one in which a child can never truly know God’s light and in the womb the child was already equally human, what difference does birth bestow on the child?
        If the baby is truly innocent, and the baby will only know pain and suffering after birth and not be able to accept God, aren’t you condemning the child to Hell?”

        That … was posted by Persephone. She was the one who delved into discussion about God and Hell. She also said:

        “We are all spiritual creatures, so that spirit will continue in some form, no matter the date of our deaths.”

        Instead of going off onto tangents I will not enter into discussions nor debates on issues of religion or spirituality. If people want to discuss atheism, agnosticism etc etc etc they can do that somewhere else with someone else. It won’t be me.

      • Anat

        Got it. You object to abortion for no reason whatsoever. Or at leastfor no reason you are willing to support or justify. I think I have no reason to take you seriously except as a practical threat to women’s freedom.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        No you did not ‘get it’. You haven’t read all my replies and I will not go back over the things I have already said. I gave many reasons.
        As to being a ‘threat to women’s freedom’? I am a woman. I am a supporter of women in all manners, to all human kind. To not want women to hurt themselves or others is not threatening them, it is the opposite.
        Whether you take what I say seriously or not is your choice.

      • Olive Markus

        Forcing a woman to give birth against her will is taking away that woman’s freedom. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

        That you are a woman advocating this doesn’t make it any less so.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        The police forcing a woman who abuses her children, to give them up is also against her will. That is pretty simple also. I’d advocate that too.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Many ‘freedoms’ are tethered by law and by very good reasons. We are not ‘free’ to do what ever we want.

      • tsara

        But you’ve failed to prove that we have very good reasons to prohibitively restrict abortion access.

      • tsara

        …that is not at all analogous. The issue is the bodily autonomy of the pregnant person. How do you not understand that?

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        She would be physically stopped from doing what she wants by the police,
        but okay let me make a better comparison. A woman is not ‘allowed’ by law to lay naked on the street cutting her self and causing her self to bleed down the drain. I could think of many others but maybe that one suffices?
        One cannot do legally what ever one wants to ones own body but again, their is another human being being considered here. Lets not forget that fact.
        Now if you want to say ‘the person can choose to cut herself in such a manner but out of the view or knowledge of others then again that is a known, and we don’t need to stretch out the discussion for no good purpose.
        Oh I forgot! I wasn’t going to reply to you tsara because of your belittling ways. I won’t forget again.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        ” Many ‘freedoms’ are tethered by law and by very good reasons. We are not ‘free’ to do what ever we want.

        As I have already stated.

      • tsara


      • tsara

        …wait, what? When did I do that? I think I’ve said that you were being rude and a bit condescending, and also that I find the fact that you don’t seem to have an issue with forcing people who are pregnant to remain pregnant (which I don’t think is a distortion of your position; correct me if I’m wrong) to be wholly disgusting, but I’m pretty sure that’s it.

        “A woman is not ‘allowed’ by law to lay naked on the street cutting her self and causing her self to bleed down the drain.”

        …well, that’s a bit out of left field. But still not a very good analogy. First of all, in the States, Roe vs. Wade was decided as a privacy issue. Nobody is making a spectacle of themselves by getting an abortion. (Actually, it’s the pro-life people with their grotesque, graphic, and misleading signs who are making a spectacle.) The ‘in public’ bit belongs in a discussion about public indecency laws, which I don’t have an informed opinion on. And my problems with suicide have more to do with mental illness and the extent to which people likely to kill themselves are making unimpaired decisions than with its effects on people other than the individual killing hirself (though I do believe that they are morally obligated to minimize the splash damage). I consider death to be right as fundamental as any other.

        So, still not analogous. And I’ll repeat what I’ve said earlier today:
        “If somebody came and attached one of my teenaged siblings to my body in such a way that they’d die if I disconnected them, I would have every right to disconnect them. My siblings are indisputably people, but I’m a person, too, and they don’t get to use my body unless I say they can.”

      • Olive Markus

        Here’s the point: Bodily Autonomy.

        In your scenario you have a woman and her child (not a fetus in her body, but a child). This woman has no rights to abuse that child. By taking the child away from her, you are not restricting her rights by taking the child out of the abusive environment. It may be against her will, but no rights of hers are being violated, while the continued abuse of the child would be violating the rights of that child. They both have bodily autonomy. Taking a child away from its abusive mother does not restrict the rights to bodily autonomy for either of the individuals.

        In my scenario, you have a woman and the fetus (or embryo, or zygote) that her body is carrying. If you insist that she continue with this pregnancy when she does not want to donate her body and health, you are giving the fetus bodily autonomy, but at the same time, you are, most definitely, taking away the rights to bodily autonomy from the woman (and doing something against her will). Not only have you taken away the right to bodily autonomy for this woman, but you have also given the fetus extra rights that no human beings actually have (according to your religion, as well) and that is to use the body of another human in order to remain alive. So you’ve given the fetus extra rights that no person actually has, while simultaneously taking away the right of a woman to control her own body/health/life.

        As I’ve mentioned before, either the fetus has the right to bodily autonomy OR the woman does, but they cannot both at the same time. If you believe the fetus deserves rights that no other human being has, and if you believe that a woman deserves fewer rights than even human corpses have, then at least admit that.

      • chucklingabit

        The bodily autonomy position (depending on its precise form) is one of the few reasonable-seeming pro-legalized abortion positions.

        I believe there are some significant problems with this position, but first I’d like to consider what the position buys you, *if* it is true, and if you are forced into using it as an argument of last resort (as I believe most intellectually honest pro-legalized abortion advocates must admit):

        A. A mother who wants to rely on this argument, by itself, would have to admit that she is selfishly putting her own autonomy ahead of the life of her *morally innocent*, defenseless child. That, even though her unborn son or daughter deserves rights, she believes her right to autonomy is more important than her child’s health, well-being and even life. To me, this would be a massive win over the status quo, where women are convinced through propaganda that they are basically “removing a tumor” or “extracting the products of conception.”

        B. The mother would be required to merely remove her fetus, and would not be permitted to purposely slaughter it. When someone is transgressing our rights, we are permitted to do the minimum possible to achieve a cessation of that transgression. If a 12 year old is biting your arm, you’re not permitted to shoot him in the forehead, even if that is the quickest and safest-for-you way to detach him.

        But many women are equally interested in annihilating their offspring entirely, not simply removing them from their uterus. So this too would be an improvement over the status quo. As technology progresses, we’d be able to save more and more of the “evacuated”/birthed fetuses…

        So, at best, it would seem this principle would permit terribly selfish women to legally, but not morally, put their bodily autonomy (which in 93+% of cases amounts to comfort, convenience and avoiding some tough situation) ahead of their child’s need to remain in the womb. For non-viable fetuses she would be selfishly passing a death sentence on a *morally innocent human.*

        But I believe this *unlimited* principle of bodily autonomy is, as you’ve stated it, problematic.

        C. Newborns are dependent on the products of their parents’ bodies for survival. Whether through the work of their muscles (and all of their metabolic organs, brain, etc), or, in many situations, the nipples and mammary glands of the mother, newborns put bodily burdens on their parents and their organs. Not only do we consider child abandonment morally wrong, we also recognize that parents deserve legal punishment if their actions cause their child to starve to death (especially if done merely because they didn’t want the product of their bodily exertion to benefit their children.) Note, we’re not simply talking about taking away the child here. We’re talking about punishing the woman, that is, depriving her of her freedom, if she kills the child through her action or inaction (by declining to provide that child nourishment via the use of her organs.)

        D. Even if the mother didn’t *want* the child, *if* she consented to the sex (which is true in 98+% of abortions), then it is a choice of her own (and the father’s) that resulted in the fetus being in a needy and endangered state. Imagine a box in a room, with a button on it. Its functionality is clearly labeled. Pressing the button 99 out of 100 times generates an orgasm and a feeling of well being in the button pusher. 1 out of 100 times, it generates a fully formed newborn infant along with that orgasm. Even if the person didn’t *want* to generate the infant, the knowledge that they might be generating an infant puts the responsibility for the infant’s well being on them. To deprive that child of its *only* means of survival is clearly wrong, and I believe that we would, and should, punish folks who walk away from the newborn, leaving it to starve.

        E. Another thought experiment. Imagine a woman who goes hiking with her newborn. She uses heavy chains and a strong lock to secure the infant to her tummy. She gets lost and loses the key. After several days of being lost, she decides she no longer wants to carry the infant. It is slowing her down, tiring her out, and she is *slightly* more likely to slip while she is climbing. She tries to wriggle out the chains, but cannot do so without hurting herself or the baby. She could escape, but she’d need to break two ribs, and there’d be a very small chance she’d break her arm. Instead, she grabs a rock, and pulpifies the newborn’s body, such that the remains seep out between the chains, releasing her from the burden. Would you defend her right to do so? I suspect most folks wouldn’t..

        This point further demonstrates the problems hinted at in (B), above. Even without really questioning the principle you outlined, it seems that it should be illegal for the mother to harm her child more than is necessary to remove the burden it is causing. But someone might object that giving birth to the fetus early, or carefully removing it, adds burden to the mother… Well, so does asking this mother to contort to remove the infant she chained to herself. It would seem that if it’s wrong to bash in the newborn’s brains to escape a burden, especially if it is a burden *she herself introduced* (as is the case with consensual pregnancy), then it is also wrong for a mother to use surgical steel to rip apart an unborn child (especially if she consented to the sex.)

        I don’t think that the “bodily autonomy” solution is as simple or powerful as you think it is.

      • Anat

        The bodily autonomy argument applies for pregnancy just as it applies to organ donations. And we have legal precedent that it does apply to organ donations.

        A fetus is not a ‘defenseless child’ it is a fetus. It only becomes a child once it is born and starts breathing on its own. The two are different entities precisely because one can only exist by infringing on someone’s bodily autonomy and the other does not. A fetus has no rights. In the US constitutional rights are bestowed at birth. In many other countries as well (in some of those countries the rights have other names, but the principle applies in the same manner).

        As for B – your objection is moot before viability anyway (which covers some 98.6% of abortions in the US). It is also moot in many of the situations leading to third trimester abortions – severe fetal defects or serious maternal health complications. And even in a situation where for some reason we face a decision to abort a healthy fetus in a healthy pregnancy post viability – live birth, whether by C-section or induction, involves increased risk to the woman compared with abortion. She should not be required to bear the extra risk against her wishes for the sake of another (especially when the other isn’t born yet).

        C- Irrelevant. Once a child is born it can be left in a ‘safe haven’ for someone else to care for. Or it can be adopted out more formally. There is no equivalent for a fetus, which is why abortion needs to remain an option.

        D- No. If pushing the button only rarely results in a child pushing the button does not equal consent to creating a child, just like getting into a car does not equal consent to being injured in a road accident. And just like we don’t say ‘you willingly got into the car, so no medical treatment to you!’ (regardless of whether the victim was a driver or a passenger, drove carefully or not, used a seat-belt or not) we do not say ‘you willingly had sex, so no abortion to you!’.

        E-??? It is stupid to go backpacking with a newborn and no other adult, the woman was being neglectful when she started off. Once a child is born it can be cared for by another – she should have left the child in someone else’s care before going backpacking. And it was wrong of her to use that idiotic restraint system. Your scenario is so unrealistic that it only serves to show why pregnancy is different from situations involving actual children.

      • Olive Markus

        Thank you. You’re more coherent tonight than I am :). And you answered in the correct order!

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        You are only fishing and not doing well ‘catching’ to try and nullify the clear and well thought out points from Chuck.
        Hairs hairs hairs, split ends cannot be repaired, just slicked together so to look better. Chuck? Well done!

      • Fred

        Nice pom poms!
        Way to cheer for someone nine hours after their argument was torn to shit.

      • Olive Markus

        I’m getting ready for bed, so this will be short. Federal law states that no person is legally required to donate body parts, or their body, to keep another alive. If somebody needs a body part of yours, and you decide that your health and well being are important enough to you that you aren’t willing to give up said body part, and that person dies, you are not legally responsible. Even *morally,* according to the Catholic Catechism. Nobody has a right to take your body parts against your will. Somebody is going to object to this, particularly if the person needing your organ is something cute, like a 2 month old baby, perhaps. Does their personal objection make it right for them to force you to undergo this procedure?

        Pregnancy is exactly the same issue. You may not like it. It may somehow interfere with your personal opinion that a fetus deserves more rights than any other human, but your morals do not have a right to dictate my legal rights. I actually think it’s pretty darn simple. While my body is being used to keep something alive, I have a right to decide when my body is no longer going to be in use.

        Elective abortions are illegal after 7 months. The line, legally, has to be drawn somewhere, and we have decided that roughly when the fetus has good enough chances of external survival, we give it more rights. Also, virtually nobody chooses abortion at this point. This poses problems in cases of health and life of the mother, but most women don’t choose to carry a pregnancy this far and then terminate (except the very poor who have not been able to access one earlier and are extremely desperate – this is extremely rare).

        Your talk of *morally innocent* is also extremely religiously motivated. I have a right to reject anything based on religion out of hand. Who claims the woman isn’t *morally innocent*? What if she were an 9 year-old rape victim carrying twins that the Catholic Church believes should die rather than receive an abortion? Is this child really *not* innocent?

        Thought E) doesn’t prove your point, but it is an interesting thought experiment (minus the chains, because, well that’s just plain stupid. actually, the chains makes this entire thing stupid). What if she were to die unless she “unburdened” herself from the baby she was carrying? What if she had 4 children waiting for her and she needed to live to take care of them? Would this really happen? Should she be held culpable if she lets this child die to save her own life or the lives of her other children? I don’t know, actually, but it’s interesting to think about. I don’t currently have an answer, but it seems irrelevant to the discussion of abortion. If she just left the child to die, because she wanted to, well, a born child has personhood rights and isn’t living within and off of her body against her will, isn’t putting her life in danger, and so that’s illegal. And stupid. As are the chains and taking a newborn hiking. Did I say that already?

        Thought process D). The simple answer is no. Consenting to sex is not consenting to pregnancy. Once again, you may not like it, but that’s the way it is. Oh, and a woman’s body is not a robotic object to be pushed at will for pleasure. Horrible, horrible, rapey and objectifying analogy. Also, a born child that can survive with external help from *anybody* is different from a fetus/embryo/zygote (and all the stages before and in between) feeding off of and deteriorating a particular woman’s body.

        C) If a person decides they don’t want to care for a newborn, they then don’t care for that newborn. They give it to somebody who will, even if it’s the state. They have legal rights to do so, actually. The child is not literally hooked up to the woman putting her life and health at risk. Not the same thing.

        B) Interesting thoughts. Perhaps, if a fetus or embryo is safely removable and technology allows it to grow independently of the woman, then society at large might find that acceptable – or possibly desirable. The fact is, it can’t, so, for now, it isn’t relevant. There are a lot of pro-choiceres who bring this up, too, so, once again, not the gotcha argument you’d like.

        A) In the same way that you may *selfishly* decide that you’re not going to remove organs to save the life of somebody while also *selfishly* believing that this somebody doesn’t have the right to hire a team of doctors to rip this organ from your body against your will, a woman is *selfishly* deciding that she’s not going to do the same thing by donating her entire body to grow a fetus. I’m ok with that.

      • chucklingabit


        First, I want to make the point that, when I use words
        derived from the word “morals”, I am not referring to divine commands of some kind. I am instead using those words as synonyms for words derived from “ethics.” In other words, I don’t intend any of my language in this post to be interpreted from a religious perspective.

        Ok! Onto your comments…

        “Federal law states that no person is legally required to donate body parts, or their body, to keep another alive.”

        Right. But to be clear, I’m not particularly interested in discussing what *is* legal; rather, I am interested in what *should* be legal. Still, I think sometimes it’s worth bringing up existing law, provided that your goal in doing so is to point something out about our moral intuitions, or to hint at the logical conclusion of a particular view (this is different than, e.g., arguing along the lines of “It’s legal so it’s ok.”, or the opposite.)

        “You may not like it.”

        Ha. It’s not about what “I like.” It’s about my sincerely held belief that a careful, open-minded use of evidence, logic and ethical analysis will demonstrate that abortion is by far more likely to be an unjust act than a just act. In other words, I am in favor of persuading folks both that abortion is wrong, and that it should be illegal, for (probably) the same reasons that you are in favor of laws that serve to prevent and penalize the acts *you* sincerely believe are terribly unjust. It is absolutely farcical to claim (as many do) that pro life folks are the only people that attempt to legislatively impose their beliefs on other people. The passage of nearly every criminal statute is an exercise in this same spirit.

        “It may somehow interfere with your personal opinion that a fetus deserves more rights than any other human, but your morals do not have a right to dictate my legal rights.”

        I *don’t* believe that fetuses deserve more rights than anyone else. Instead, I think that fetuses deserve the same rights as prematurely born infants: that is, their parents ought to do (at least!) what is *normally expected to be required* to keep them alive. For healthy, genetically regular newborns, that includes nourishment, shelter and help remaining clean, among other things, provided that there are no alternative sources for those resources.

        “I actually think it’s pretty darn simple. While my body is being used to keep something alive, I have a right to decide when my body is no longer going to be in use.”

        But if that’s the case, then you are the one making an ad hoc exception that excludes the fetus. As I pointed out, newborns require you to keep them alive through the use of your body and its organs (including your brain, your muscles, most or all of your sensory organs, and even in some cases, access to more intimate parts [e.g., the nipples.)]

        You’re right to point out that *right now*, *in most cases*, there are alternative sources that can provide those important resources to the infant.

        But for the purposes of ethical analysis, it is often useful to appeal to thought experiments. I’ll use one that isn’t especially silly (even though silly-*seeming* thought experiments can be *perfectly* legitimate conceptual tools.)

        Let’s imagine that a new, young mother is trapped in a cabin following a terrible snowstorm. All communications are cut off and she can’t leave the cabin. There is plenty of food and drink inside and plenty of wood for heat — enough to last an entire year — but no baby formula. It’s not clear precisely when the passage to her cabin will be cleared so that she might receive assistance, but it is clear that it will happen at some point within a few months, because the pathway will naturally clear by then due to changing seasons.

        Would you support her right to deny her infant the use of her bodily organs, if she grew tired of providing access to them and the fruit thereof? The infant simply cannot live without its mother’s support, or the support of another adult, to provide nourishment and shelter. Should the mother be allowed to starve the infant to death, without fear of prosecution? Should she be allowed to kill it outright, so she doesn’t need to be reminded incessantly, by its cries, of the demands it’s making on her body, since those cries might cause her mental discomfort?

        “Elective abortions are illegal after 7 months. The line, legally, has to be drawn somewhere, and we have decided that roughly when the fetus has good enough chances of external survival, we give it more rights.”

        Leaving aside whether viability is even a reasonable line (which I think the thought experiment above at least begins to challenge), we know this: at least one infant has survived after only 21 weeks and 5 days in the womb. So *if* we were to (IMO, illogically) draw the line at viability, we should do so in such a way that we not exclude *any* potentially viable fetuses.

        In several states, elective abortion is legal for greater than *five weeks* beyond this point! From the perspective of those in the rights-at-viability contingent, this should be considered a terrible and egregious injustice, that should be dealt with *immediately.* In some states, entirely elective abortion is legal up to the age at which 90% of born infants manage to survive. Are you comfortable with that?

        “Also, virtually nobody chooses abortion at this point. This poses problems in cases of health and life of the mother, but most women don’t choose to carry a pregnancy this far and then terminate (except the very poor who have not been able to access one earlier and are extremely desperate – this is extremely rare).”

        First, it’s worth noting that “rare” has at least two uses. One can use “rare” to communicate “it almost never happens / it occurs in tiny numbers” or one can use “rare” to communicate that “the event is uncommon relative to some other set of events.” Late term abortions are rare in the second sense, when compared to the massive number of annual abortions, but definitely *not* in the first sense. While it’s hard to get exact statistics, the most recent stats I can get my hands on imply that approximately 12,000 occur per year. That’s not a small number. If you apply the viability standard, you might compare the 12,000 children killed by their parents in the womb each year to the 1,500 children annually murdered outside the womb.

        A related point is that the validity of your conclusion will very much depend on where “this point” is. If you select “7 months”, then you might be right, I am not familiar with the statistics. But 7 months should not be the date that concerns us. Technology has advanced beyond that which was available when 7 months was decided to be the age before which the fetus has been *declared* to possess no rights (like you said, “we” — where “we” equals “a handful of Supreme Court justices” — merely “decided” this! It’s worth pointing out that our Supreme Court has a history of *deciding* to deny the rights of personhood to other relatively powerless classes of humans, in each case acting in accord with prevailing and popular views that denied that members of those classes were “fully human.” In every other case, we have come as a society to terribly regret those Supreme Court decisions, and they’ve been universally overturned and/or repaired legislatively.)

        If you select minimum viability, i.e., 21 weeks 5 days, instead of the now utterly arbitrary 7 months, your case becomes quite murky.

        In 1993, the famous late term abortionist Haskell said: “I’ll be quite frank: most of my abortions are elective in that 20-24 week range.. In my particular case, probably 20% are for genetic reasons. And the other 80% are purely elective”

        So at least in his case, many fetuses that *might* live outside the womb (as evidenced by the fact that some have) and some that would very likely survive, are killed for purely elective reasons!

        We know also that Leroy Carhart claimed that ~50% of the 22-28 weeks abortions he performed were for the mother’s “mental health.”

        Mental health has been ruled by the courts to be interpreted so widely as to include “I am really depressed about being pregnant.” So that can be an excuse to turn an elective abortion into a “therapeutic” abortion. Yes, I acknowledge that depression can be a very real and serious problem. But there are doctors who openly believe that any restriction whatsoever on abortion is unjust. It’s quite likely that some are willing to overuse the entirely impossible-to-prove “I’m depressed” excuse. (A related question: is a woman who is is suffering terrible postpartum depression, yet cannot find a suitable guardian, justified in killing her prematurely born infant? Should she face legal sanction of some kind if she does so? If she is not justified, why not?) In any event, 21 weeks 5 days comes long before the driven-by-outdated-medical-stats age-limit, so many women don’t even need an easily fabricated excuse to abort potentially-viable and likely-viable fetuses. It is *quite* legal.

        While these stats are “anecdotal”, they are also the self-reports of two of the most active American late-term abortionists in recent history. While we can’t know for *certain* that their statistics are representative, we can infer — in the absence of better, more up to date evidence — that they are at least *somewhat* representative. This is especially so because those abortionists lack a motive to inflate the statistics, as they must be well aware of the fact that they are politically unhelpful.

        Unfortunately, updated statistics are largely lacking (just where did you get yours, upon which you based your claim?) But the limited data, to which we have access, includes these stats from 1987:

        71% Woman didn’t recognize she was pregnant or misjudged gestation

        48% Woman found it hard to make arrangements for abortion

        33% Woman was afraid to tell her partner or parents

        24% Woman took time to decide to have an abortion

        8% Woman waited for her relationship to change

        8% Someone pressured woman not to have abortion

        6% Something changed after woman became pregnant

        6% Woman didn’t know timing is important

        5% Woman didn’t know she could get an abortion

        2% A fetal problem was diagnosed late in pregnancy

        11% Other

        While it’s difficult to tell exactly where each individual woman fell (since they were allowed to select more than one reason), it’s clear that there are many reasons beyond “I’m poor” and “There’s a health risk.” In other words, you can see how these might corroborate the limited stats available from the doctors.


      • chucklingabit


        “Your talk of *morally innocent* is also extremely religiously motivated. I have a right to reject anything based on religion out of hand.”

        I answered this above. I apologize for the confusion. I am quite specifically making a secular case against abortion. Granted, *some* non-religious folks believe that ethical preference is roughly equivalent to gustatory preference (e.g., “I like child abuse, you hate vanilla ice cream.”, and so on) But I’d like to think that the vast majority of us can agree at the very least that there are ethical facts (in other words, I am claiming that “it is wrong to molest children for sexual gratification” is true because it corresponds with some fact about the world.)

        “Thought E) doesn’t prove your point, but it is an interesting thought experiment”


        “(minus the chains, because, well that’s just plain stupid. actually, the chains makes this entire thing stupid).”

        The chains (or some other restraint) are required when one attempts to properly analogize this aspect of abortion. The state they cause is conceptually similar in many ways to the fetus’ “trapped” state in the womb, and the mother’s trapped state as the person with the womb, in that they prevent the mother from easily disengaging from her offspring without terribly harming that offspring. It is a mistake in logical reasoning to reject thought experiments because they seem unlikely or unrealistic. When it comes to ethical analysis, if you don’t like the resulting inference, you must demonstrate that there exist morally significant differences that justify rejecting the comparison.

        Merely saying “No one would put chains on their baby” or “that’s very, very unlikely” or even “that’s a stupid analogy” isn’t enough. It’s not like my argument depends on these circumstances being likely. The analogies are conceptual tools.

        “What if she were to die unless she “unburdened” herself from the baby she was carrying? What if she had 4 children waiting for her and she needed to live to take care of them? Would this really happen? Should she be held culpable if she lets this child die to save her own life or the lives of her other children?”

        For what it’s worth, I think your questions are quite insightful. The inference one might draw from answering them aligns quite well with the ethical intuition of most folks on both sides: that (among other concerns) if the mother is almost certain — or even very likely — to die, she should be allowed to abort. There are pro life folks who reject this, but statistics show that the majority do not. I think the precise answer varies across circumstances, probabilities, etc, from both a legal and ethical perspective.

        “If she just left the child to die, because she wanted to, well, a born child has personhood rights”

        You’re just assuming that the fetus doesn’t. You need to explain why, e.g., a smaller, less developed 24 week old prematurely born infant deserves more rights than a larger, more developed 27 week old fetus. Please explain what logical criteria must obtain for one to “count” as a person. I might eventually ask you “how do you know?”, but I think we can make a bit of progress starting with a logically consistent set of criteria that you are comfortable applying universally.

        “and isn’t living within and off of her body against her will, isn’t putting her life in danger,”

        There’s a lot to deal with in this one sentence. But I purposely constructed the analogy to point out that death wasn’t particularly likely, while still at least *possible.* In fact, I made her situation slightly more dangerous than the average pregnancy, in that she was *definitely* going to have to purposely break a couple of her ribs to escape (and *might* break an arm, which would impair her climbing ability, and thus make it slightly less likely that she’d return to safety. In other words, there is a small chance that she could suffer deadly harm, and a very high chance that she’d suffer a very painful and somewhat debilitating, but not life-threatening, condition.)

        “and so that’s illegal. And stupid. As are the chains and taking a newborn hiking.”

        The fact is that the situation is a rather close analogy to pregnancy *if* you accept the personhood of the fetus. If you don’t, that’s fine! But then you need to establish why some innocent members of the species homo sapiens do not deserve rights, and you’d need to do so in a way that isn’t utterly ad hoc (e.g., “it’s born”.. birth, while beautiful and amazing and rich in emotion, is *essentially* the forcible pushing of a fetus six inches down and out of the birth canal. I suspect you’d object to the notion that merely forcibly moving any *other* innocent human six inches could mysteriously grant it additional rights, or eliminate its existing rights.

        The bodily autonomy argument should stand or fall on its own, without directly assuming that the fetus is a non-person. After all, the argument has no purpose, at that point! This is why it affirms the rights of the fetus, but denies that the fetus’s right to life trumps the competing rights of the woman involved. If you want to deny that the fetus is a person, fine, but that should be dealt with as a separate argument. You can see this by converting the argument into a formal syllogism. If you did so with this argument, we’d find several undefended premises, all included in this one step. If each of the premises is problematic on its own (as I believe I have shown, at the very least providing challenges to them that ought to be answered), then your argument fails.

        A tall stack of leaky buckets still leaks.

        “Thought process D). The simple answer is no. Consenting to sex is not consenting to pregnancy.”

        We assign moral and legal responsibility to all manner of effects that were not intended, provided that they are not considered astronomically unlikely and can be reasonably foreseen. More on this specifically with respect to pregnancy and parenthood below.

        “Once again, you may not like it, but that’s the way it is. Oh, and a woman’s body is not a robotic object to be pushed at will for pleasure. Horrible, horrible, rapey and objectifying analogy.”

        Sheesh. I might agree with your charge of using a “rapey” analogy, except that the actor in this question is the mother herself!! I nearly explicitly indicated that that was so, by explicitly noting that the logic only applies if the sex is consensual. In other words, the person pushing the “give-me-an-orgasm-and-emotional-bonding-and-I-hope-a-baby-doesn’t-pop-out” button is the woman herself, not some man forcing sex and a pregnancy on her. Again, the analogy is apt (once you understand it), because it eliminates some of the otherwise complicating issues. The box, is, in effect, her womb; when she presses the button, it is equivalent to her engaging in consensual sex (if you need to, you can imagine that a man joins her in pressing the button); the infant represents the unborn. The reason we substitute an infant is to avoid the complicating factors about personhood (as those should be dealt with separately!)

        If you want to reject the personhood of the fetus, I’ll await the criteria I asked for above.

        If not, then I’d ask you to engage the analogy directly, since it clearly isn’t “rapey” and it aligns quite well with the issue at hand, which is “Can you be held ethically or legally responsible for an outcome that you know is not particularly unlikely (unplanned pregnancy leading to abortion happens to a lot of women, apparently 1/3rd of them, at some point in their life!), even if you didn’t specifically set out to cause that outcome.”

        The answer is, almost certainly, “yes.”

        If you have an unplanned pregnancy, and give birth to a prematurely born infant, and then decide you no longer want it, our ethical intuition (and our laws) hold you responsible for providing for it, *unless you can find a suitable caretaker.* Even then, the infant must not show signs of abuse or neglect, if you want immunity from punishment. If you cannot find a suitable caretaker, *as is the case with most pre-viable and at least some post-viable fetuses subjected to abortion*, you are not allowed to stop caring for it! It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to use your organs to provide nourishment to it, or don’t want your body to “deteriorate” at the efforts or stress involved in life qua caretaker. You *certainly* can’t *immediately revoke consent*, for example, because you don’t want to take the time and effort to deliver the child to a safe haven! Rather, we expect you to do *at the very least* the bare minimum required to *safely deliver* the child to someone who can care for it (that would mean exerting your body at least as long as it takes to drop off the child, even if, e.g., that meant walking through a dangerous part of town.)

        “Also, a born child that can survive with external help from *anybody* is different from a fetus/embryo/zygote (and all the stages before and in between)”

        That’s only true *if* there is someone (an “anybody”) immediately available to take care of it.

        With that in mind, *Please answer these two very specific questions:*

        If a woman with a newborn infant found herself in a scenario where she could not find or reach a suitable caretaker, would you support her if she refused to care for it, provided she cited similar-in-kind reasons that you cite in favor of abortion? Separately, would you support her if she actively killed the child, because having to listen to its cries was a detriment to her mental health?

        Bear in mind that you can’t simply say “but the fetus doesn’t have rights.” You can, of course, use that objection, but that would require first providing a sound argument that shows that it is just to deny rights to an entire class of innocent (yet inconvenient) humans. That would almost certainly bring us back to our previous need: a *non-ad hoc* set of criteria for personhood or rights-possession.

        “C) If a person decides they don’t want to care for a newborn, they then don’t care for that newborn.[…]”

        I answered this above, through (hopefully now clarified) analogies and by pointing out that there are already clear legal limits — and what I think you’ll agree are very real ethical limits — on the notion that one can simply deny to care for a dependent, especially a dependent that was rendered needy by ones one actions, without fear of sanction. I think you’ll agree that our friend in the snowstorm couldn’t expect things to go her way if she contended to outraged authorities “Meh, I wanted to *immediately* revoke consent over the use of my organs, so I let my infant starve. There wasn’t anyone else who could care for him, so he’s not a person / he cannot place a burden on my autonomy / etc. So.. he’s dead. I can go home now, right?”

        “B) Interesting thoughts. Perhaps, if a fetus or embryo is safely removable and technology allows it to grow independently of the woman, then society at large might find that acceptable – or possibly desirable. The fact is, it can’t, so, for now, it isn’t relevant. There are a lot of pro-choiceres who bring this up, too, so, once again, not the gotcha argument you’d like.”

        It’s not intended to be a gotcha. It’s intended to point out that, even if the bodily autonomy argument succeeds, it doesn’t in any way justify going beyond doing the bare minimum required to remove the burden.

        But it would seem that many women believe they have a right not only to end the burden of pregnancy, but also to kill the fetus, even if doing so is not necessary! Many potentially viable and likely viable fetuses are killed each year in elective abortions. When speaking to these women, some have said “I just can’t live with the idea of putting the child up for adoption. I don’t want it to be out there in the world.” This would put an end to that reasoning.

        Still, I think E helps to establish that a desire to avoid the mere possibility of major harm (or even the near certainty of **relatively** minor harm) to yourself will not in and of itself unequivocally justify the intentional and definitive destruction of an ethically innocent human. This is all the more clear when you yourself are 100% causally responsible for placing that human in the very state that makes you feel threatened by it. In other words, *you knowingly ultimately caused the threat to yourself, and now wish to destroy the human that you forced into that situation.* As usual, this assumes that we’re discussing abortion resulting from consensual sex (as is the case for 98+% of abortions… My heart breaks for women facing a pregnancy caused by rape. I cannot even imagine how that must feel, and I do believe that the responsibility factor tremendously complicates all of these issues, especially the legal considerations.)

        A) “In the same way that you may *selfishly* decide that you’re not going to remove organs to save the life of somebody while also *selfishly* believing that this somebody doesn’t have the right to hire a team of doctors to rip this organ from your body against your will, a woman is *selfishly* deciding that she’s not going to do the same thing by donating her entire body to grow a fetus. I’m ok with that.”

        Like I said, even that would be an improvement, in my opinion. Women are constantly lied to about what is the entity that has taken up residence in their wombs.

        But let’s see if we can tighten up that analogy a bit. You are missing a key fact, which results in a morally relevant disanalogy. You left out what is perhaps the most important part of the story, which is the point where *I made a free choice* to engage in a very pleasurable-to-me act — an act that I know full well causes 1/3 of people who try it, to end up, at some time in their life, to cause their newborn child’s vital organs to stop working (we’ll say daughter because I am sick of typing “child”/”they”/”its” and “stomach” in this case, to analogize her inability to acquire nourishment.) Sure, I wouldn’t be *intending* to cause her stomach to stop working. But I would know that it’s a very common thing that can occur.

        It’s not like I am just selfishly denying the productive fruits of my organs to a stranger, nor even to a random but beloved relative, nor even to my own child, who found herself in this state through rationally unforeseen effects entirely divorced from my actions. Rather, I am *entirely causally responsible* for the pitiful state in which my daughter finds herself. Her freely chosen actions had literally nothing to do with the circumstances, and my freely chosen actions had everything to do with the predicament in which we’re now found. But in my attempt to escape the predicament that I myself caused, I still decide to either allow her to die without a working stomach, or I decide to kill her outright.

        Perhaps we’d consider this a tragic, albeit manageable problem, unworthy of legislation (I doubt it…), if this was a bizarre and unexpected anomaly, that afflicted an unlucky few at some point in their life. But what if this nourishment-denying, self-gratifying act caused 1.2 million children to drop into comas and starve to death each and every year, because 1/3 of all folks who decided to engage in this act, at some point in their life, end up causing the problem, and then sigh, shrug and refuse to provide the needed support to those infants? Would you support that?

        A final summarizing point. If you want to defend bodily autonomy, you need to be willing to do so without appealing to a supposed lack of personhood. And if you want to defend the idea that fetuses aren’t persons, you can’t do so by merely appealing to bodily autonomy. They are separate concepts, and you can’t smuggle one in to defend the other, since there are separate objections to each.

        Thanks for your careful consideration.

      • Olive Markus

        Ok, I’ll make my point very short then.

        I don’t believe that anything living inside the woman is a person. However, even if it were considered a person, if it is hooked up to a woman, she has a right to kill it. In my personal opinion, personhood doesn’t really matter. To the law, it does. To me, it does not.

        If a 2-month old baby were suddenly hooked up to a woman’s body in order to survive, and the woman decided that she didn’t want to donate her body anymore, and removing it in a way that kept it alive wasn’t an option, kill it. I’d feel the same way if the person were 10 years old, 20 years old, or a 100. If that person is using up a woman’s body and the only way to get rid of it is death, then kill it. Does that make my point any clearer? Person or not a person, the one whose body is being used against their will has a right to decide that their body is no longer going to be in use.

        I will tolerate absolutely no beliefs that claim that my body belongs to everybody but me.

        My concern is with entities that are literally, physically and biologically connected to the person, sucking resources from that body. Any analogy of an individual person requiring care is not the same. You keep bringing up these silly stories of my actions affecting somebody not literally connected to my body. Not the same thing.

      • chucklingabit

        Thanks for your comments.

        Unfortunately, what you’ve done is precisely what I expected. You merely stated what appears to be an ad hoc difference.

        But if the snowstorm analogy holds, then there is no *ethically significant* difference between an infant that requires the use of your organs, requiring repeated biological attachment by the lips-to-the-nipple, and the fetus, which is biologically attached by the umbilical chord to the placenta.

        It is not enough to merely state a difference, you must also be able to *demonstrate* that it is morally significant.

        Let me show you why. Consider a racist. He tells you that black folks do not deserve legal protection when their interests contradict the interests of a white person. You tell him that all innocent, living humans are equally valuable and deserve equal rights and protection under the law. You insist that he defends his view by establishing an ethically significant difference between blacks and whites. He responds “Their skin is darker. That means they don’t deserve to have their rights protected.” Now, he *has* established a difference. What he has not done is explain why anyone should believe that it is a morally significant difference.

        I’ve tried to show you that our ethical intuitions regarding parenting a newborn show us that we are not willing to legally protect a woman’s decision to withdraw her (planned or unplanned) offspring’s use of her body (which includes her infant being connected to it), unless she can guarantee that a second human (or group of humans) is prepared to care for it.

        But you merely assert (by implication) that the umbilical-chord-to-mother connection somehow mysteriously changes everything when compared to the mouth-to-mother’s-nipple connection. But you have not explained why we should believe that to be true.

        In other words, you’ve pointed to a difference, like skin color, but not one that is obviously morally significant. Instead, it seems that you’ve just selected an *ad hoc* difference, and decided that that difference justifies the purposeful slaughter of an innocent person (A similar ad hoc difference would be that one has been birthed. There is no morally significant difference between a human that has been *forcibly* moved six inches and a human that has not been forcibly moved six inches. You might think that there is, but you’d need to provide a reason that we should believe that there is.)

        Maybe you *can* demonstrate that the difference you cited is not only morally significant, but that the difference is *so* significant that it justifies legally protecting the mother when she purposely kills her preborn offspring, but throwing her in jail if she merely revokes consent over the use of her body to her prematurely born infant (which could feasibly be even less developed than the fetus!)

        Again, I know you don’t like the stories or analogies, but a dislike of some method of logical analysis does not justify your decision to impose your *undefended* ethical views on others, to the point of legally defending the violent* killing of an innocent human person (and presumably, hypothetically, justifying your own willingness to kill one of those humans, if you found yourself in that position.)

        I’m going to keep it short for now. I may revisit one of your other statements when we’ve chased down this thread.

        * The majority of abortions *are* surgical, contrary to the frequent claims of pro-legalized abortion folks, at least according to the statistics I found (please feel free to share others stats if you have them.) Most are performed using curettage or vacuum aspiration. If you don’t believe these methods are violent, you’re fooling yourself. Both involve the dismemberment of a tiny human. It goes without saying that later term abortions are even more violent and disturbing.

      • Olive Markus

        There is a huge difference between a woman carrying a fetus and caring for it after birth. IF the woman doesn’t want to continue caring for it, then she gives it away. Then she is no longer responsible. Also, she can feed it formula if she doesn’t want to continue donating her body, as many women do. You going to throw a woman in jail for feeding formula as opposed to breast feeding, too?

        You erase the woman and her body in all of this discussion. Honestly, that you refuse to see a difference between my body being occupied by another organism and a woman choosing to care for an infant dumbfounds me. But it doesn’t surprise me. There is a HUGE difference between anything that is hooked up to my body and something that isn’t hooked up to my body. How do you refuse to see that?

        What if your neighbor hooked himself up to you in order to use up all of your biological resources to keep himself alive? Is that the same as you feeding him dinner to keep him alive? Because that is exactly the same argument you are making. If you claim there is a difference here between you feeding your neighbor dinner and him hooking himself up to you, leeching your body of its resources and most likely damaging you permanently, then you can’t claim there is no difference when you’re dealing with a woman and a fetus inside her womb or 4 month old infant. If you do see a difference, is it still ad hoc? Are your internal organs no different when they’re detached from your body than when they’re detached?

        Why do you defend the violent eating of a woman’s body by an organism she doesn’t want there? You have no problem with that. Why? Her body doesn’t matter, right? We’re right back to your morally innocent (very RELIGIOUS, even if you try to hide it) argument. She had sex. She deserves it if her body is destroyed, right?

        I don’t dislike your analogies because they’re so right on that you’re making me doubt my position. If anything, you’ve cemented in my mind, over and over, that your respect for a woman’s body is so nonexistent that you refuse to accept a difference between something growing through physical attachment to her internal organs and an infant. Your analogies don’t work because you aren’t dealing with organisms inside and feeding off of another organism. I don’t like them, because they aren’t analogous to the situation at hand. You have simply decided that the fact that a woman’s body is literally being eaten to build a fetus doesn’t matter to you, so you are acting as though an organism not attached to her body is exactly the same as an organism attached to her body. It’s extremely telling about your view of women, and this is why your discussions aren’t working.

        Every single pro-life argument comes back to this. Everything you discuss erases the woman and her body from the discussion.

        Also, about the abortion procedure. I don’t care. Whatever gets it done. I’m not fooling myself. Medication that dissolves the embryo can be considered violent. Removing a fallopian tube to let the embryo die without feeding from the woman anymore can be violent. So what? The embryo can’t feel a thing, and doesn’t have a brain to be aware. There is very good evidence that even very late term abortions don’t result in any pain to the fetus.

        Also, your *undefended* ethical opposition to abortion doesn’t give you rights over my body. I own my body. You don’t. That is defense enough for me.

      • chucklingabit

        “There is a huge difference between a woman carrying a fetus and caring for it after birth. IF the woman doesn’t want to continue caring for it, then she gives it away.”

        Again, you’re ignoring the entire point of my comments. There have been, and will be in the future, situations where there are not other guardians immediately available to whom the infant can be handed. In fact, *in nearly every case*, there is a time where the mother *must* continue to provide for her newborn, even after her initial desire to hand it over.

        Do you believe that mothers should be allowed to *immediately* revoke consent over the productive capacity of their bodies, and access to their organs, even prior to being able to safely hand over their infant to a suitable guardian? Do you believe that the absence of the presence of a convenient guardian in the near future means that the mother is justified in slaughtering or starving to death her infant?

        BTW, even if this scenario was entirely unfeasible, it would remain an appropriate conceptual tool *if* there were not *demonstrable* morally significant differences between it and the more common scenario we happen to be discussing.

        The analogy asks you to consider a woman who is snowed in, who is therefore unable to reach another guardian, and who is lacking access to formula. For some reason, you refuse to do so.

        Why won’t you answer the question directly: Would you defend the woman’s choice to withdraw consent over the use of her bodily resources, and refuse to be connected biologically to her infant, in that situation?

        “Then she is no longer responsible. Also, she can feed it formula if she doesn’t want to continue donating her body, as many women do. You going to throw a woman in jail for feeding formula as opposed to breast feeding, too?”

        You’re not even reading my comments, it seems. I *explicitly* asked about the ethical status of her decisions *in the event that formula wasn’t available.* But even when formula is available, the newborn infant is still “enslaving” the mother, making all kinds of demands on her body and the output thereof (This goes on even outside the conceptual realm, when a second guardian is not *immediately* available — and it’s a rare case indeed that a guardian is *instantly* available in the exact locale the mother happens to find herself at the moment of her decision to revoke consent.)

        Again, you appear to be simply refusing to deal with the logic in question.

        “You erase the woman and her body in all of this discussion. Honestly, that you refuse to see a difference between my body being occupied by another organism and a woman choosing to care for an infant dumbfounds me.”

        I’m sorry that it is dumbfounding. But I am not erasing her body. In fact, I have explicitly referred to it over and over again.

        Again, in both cases the fetus/infant is (using language I suspect you’d *love*), “enslaving” the woman’s body (and her internal organs) for its needs. Indeed, when formula isn’t available, using your language, it *is eating and consuming the output of her productive organs.* And it is doing so, *in both cases*, because the mother put the fetus/infant in that situation.

        “But it doesn’t surprise me. There is a HUGE difference between anything that is hooked up to my body and something that isn’t hooked up to my body. How do you refuse to see that?”

        There is a *huge* difference. There are many huge differences. However, *most* “huge” differences are not morally significant.

        The racist can look you in the eye and tell you that skin color is a huge difference. That the two people look radically different, because the bodies largest and most visible organ is a totally different color.

        But doesn’t it matter whether or not the “huge” difference is morally significant, when we’re discussing whether or not, and how, it impacts the ethical status of some act?

        Doesn’t it matter too, even *if* something is morally significant, whether it is significant enough to justify the act in question, in this case, the purposeful, violent destruction of an ethically innocent human in question?

        “What if your neighbor hooked himself up to you in order to use up all of your biological resources to keep himself alive? Is that the same as you feeding him dinner to keep him alive?”

        You’ve made a couple mistakes here:

        1) You say “use up all of your biological resources.” That sounds lethal. But the fetus rarely “uses up all of the mother’s biological resources.” And most pro lifers would agree that, when there is strong evidence of the likelihood of that occurrence, the moral calculus can change.

        2) The biggest mistake you make is the exact same mistake you made with your doctors-ripping-out-an-organ analogy. I’ll fix your analogy for you: You walk over to your neighbors house. You *willingly* engage in some kind of very pleasurable activity that does not, at this point, directly involve him. You know full well that your neighbor might end up attached to you, consuming what is likely to be a manageable percentage of your body’s resources, *as a result of your actions.* As a side effect, the same act *you chose to commit* stranded him in a needy and vulnerable state, a state you knew your actions had a reasonable chance of causing. *His* volitional actions had *absolutely nothing* to do with you being connected to him, nor *anything at all* to do with his needy state. That was caused, *100%*, by *your* decision.

        But when we analyze the ethical status of some act, we take into consideration the question of who actually committed the circumstances in which the act takes place. But in your analogy, you *completely reverse* the person who originated those circumstances, thus potentially completely reversing our understanding of the ethical act in question.

        That is how you demonstrate a morally significant difference —-^.

        Note, I didn’t just say “but they are different, one is inside a house.” I didn’t say that in one case he used a fork, and in the other he used a tube (without further explanation.) Instead, I explicitly identified one of the differences that I believed to be morally significant, and indicated why it seems to change the ethical status of the acts in question.

        The two states you are comparing are a) a case where *I willingly* feed him, in order to keep him alive; and b) a case where *he freely acts* and as a result *forces me to feed him*. Well, you’re right. Those are obviously morally different.

        But (b) is not an accurate picture of a pregnancy resulting from consensual sex (as opposed to rape, where many would argue that the responsibility for the pregnancy is on the rapist.) There are clear, obviously morally significant differences between your version and the correct version, where b would be something like: (b’) a state where *I* act, *my act causes* a need in my neighbor and *my free act* connects him to me, and then *I* refuse to provide for the need that *I* myself caused in him, and knew that I might cause in him, knowing ultimately that if I did cause it, it would probably lead to his death.

        You see the difference, right?

        “Her body doesn’t matter, right?”

        Yes, her body matters. This is why I would vociferously oppose your (b) above. I can feel free and devoid of cognitive dissonance in so doing, *only because* I provided a morally significant difference between the b’ that I accept and the b that I reject. If I hadn’t, I’d be forced to consider your analogy to be evidence of either a logical error that one of us has made, or a mistake in my position, and I would feel compelled to resolve it, at some point. It’s true that I might resolve it eventually in such a way that I manage to preserve my view, but I couldn’t simply dismiss it out of hand if I desired to remain rational. Rather, I would have to deal seriously with it.

        “We’re right back to your morally innocent (very RELIGIOUS, even if you try to hide it) argument.”

        This is frustrating. You’re calling me a liar now, and you’re doing so with absolutely no evidence.

        *Secular ethics is a branch of moral philosophy.* And “moral” *is a common synonym* for “ethical”, that need not imply anything supernatural. So what on earth are you talking about?

        What’s incredibly frustrating is that I *explicitly* defined my terms, and yet you insist on pretending that I haven’t, or that I am lying. You can pretend my case is a “religious” one if that makes you sleep better at night, but you’re just pretending.

        Let’s get something straight: do you believe that one *ought to do* some things (e.g., “That if one votes, one ought to do so in a way that doesn’t erode women’s rights.”) and that one *ought not do* other things (e.g., “One ought not rape women.”) If so, you agree that there are morals; aka, that some volitional acts have ethical statuses; aka, that some acts are just and others are unjust — and therefore you should stop (please?) with the bizarre interpretations of my explicitly defined phrases.

        If you don’t believe that morals/ethics/just-vs-unjust acts exist, then why on earth are you defending the position you are defending? Do you really believe that it is equally just and moral and ethical to molest a child, as to kindly care for it? I suspect not!

        “She had sex. She deserves it if her body is destroyed, right?”

        No. She doesn’t deserve to “have her body destroyed” (something that is unlikely to happen in most pregnancies, in any event.)

        But you remind me of an interesting point. Pretending that sex between a man and a woman is not a potentially reproductive act is absolutely ridiculous. Perhaps some day, given better, easier, more consistent contraception, we can all live that dream. But try as we might, a large number of folks do not manage to consistently avoid reproduction, as evidenced by the fact that 1 in 3 women in our nation will have an abortion at some point in their life (not to mention the many who have unplanned pregnancies but decide to keep their child!)

        “you refuse to accept a difference between something growing through physical attachment to her internal organs and an infant.”

        I am refusing to see an *ethically significant* difference between a prematurely born infant that has been birthed, for which the mother cannot find a suitable guardian, that requires *biological attachment* to her nipple, since formula is not available; and a fetus that is biologically attached to her by an umbilical cord, for whom the mother also cannot find a suitable guardian.

        You realize that in my example the infant is “growing through physical attachment” to the mother’s nipple, right? You see too that, even when formula is available, the infant requires access to the products and resources of the mother’s internal organs, right?

        You say I am not aware of the differences. I am. The fetus is located inside her womb (*right where the mother put her*, if this was the result of consensual sex), and is temporarily attached for a longer time, but never reattached, via one chunk of flesh (umbilical-cord-to-placenta); whereas the infant is temporarily attached for a shorter time, and then repeatedly reattached, via a different chunk of flesh (lips-to-nipple), and, contrary to her counterpart, has already been forcibly moved six inches, down the birth canal.

        If the mother refuses to allow the infant access to her nipple, the infant will die. If the mother refuses to allow the fetus access to her placenta, the fetus will die. In the case of a fetus, there is no guardian available to take over for the mother. I am asking you whether you will follow your own logic and say that if the mother can’t find a guardian for her infant, you would support her decision to withdraw consent over her “bodily resources.” Would you? I am also asking whether you’d support her decision to violently kill the child if she, e.g., didn’t want to bear the depression brought on by dealing with a newborn. Would you? If not, why not, and why do you keep appealing to ad hoc differences like “in one case, the mother has forcibly moved the infant six inches” or “in one case, the kind of flesh connecting the mother to the child is an umbilical tube. In the other, it’s a nipple-tube.”

        “Also, about the abortion procedure. I don’t care. Whatever gets it done.”

        I just happened to notice a few folks complaining about the word “violence”, and words like it, so I decided to head off that complaint “at the pass.” Sorry to muddy the waters.

        “There is very good evidence that even very late term abortions don’t result in any pain to the fetus.”

        There is definitely not medical consensus on this issue. Still, we don’t outlaw only those unjustified killing techniques for which we have strong evidence of torment.

        “Also, your *undefended* ethical opposition to abortion doesn’t give you rights over my body. I own my body. You don’t. That is defense enough for me.”

        I am not making a claim to own your body (obviously.) But I *am* engaging directly with your arguments and not brushing them aside as “silly”, or simply waving my hand in saying that they are disanalogous without *explicitly* demonstrating that the supposed differences are morally significant such that it would render them disanalogous.

        In any event, it’s obvious that you don’t owe *me* an answer to my arguments. But if you intend to proceed from belief to action (in support of abortion, or to have one), then you owe it to the tiny humans whose lives are in jeopardy, to ensure that you are not supporting a grave injustice.

        Thanks again for this discussion.

      • tsara

        Goddamnit, this is not what I want to be doing right now. I’m writing something, though, because you’ve managed to articulate the issue you have in such a way that I think I understand it. I’m sorta busy this weekend, though, and I need to sleep because I’m trying to fix my circadian rhythms before school starts again. I’m also a bit absentminded, which could be a problem. If I don’t have something up by Sunday afternoon, feel free to reply to this reply; I’ll see it, and that’ll remind me about this.

      • tsara

        Innocence has nothing to do with anything. It is not a useful concept, and I judge people who use it in earnest.
        (In courtrooms, I believe the term used is ‘not guilty’.)

      • Niemand

        Chuck, you seem to have a misunderstanding about early abortion. Yes, the majority are surgical. According to the CDC, in 2009, 17.4% of abortions were medical. 74.2% were D & C prior to 13 weeks. There is absolutely no “dismemberment” involved in D&C. The contents of the uterus are removed intact. The fetus or embryo simply isn’t large enough to dismember even if for some reason the person performing the procedure wanted to.

        Is it violent? Yes. Surgery is violent. You’re letting someone stab you when you consent to surgery! There’s a reason it’s done under anesthesia and you feel like crap afterwards. C-sections are violent. Appendectomies are violent. (Actually, both of these are far more violent than abortions, which don’t involve breech of the peritoneum and internal scarring.) So what? In each case, the violence is performed to help the patient and with their consent. It’s all about returning bodily control to the patient: something has happened to make them ill and the surgeon is reversing it so that they can be healthy again. It’s not really a difficult thing to understand if you believe that women are humans capable of understanding their own needs and with the right to control their own bodies.

      • chucklingabit

        Thanks Niemand. I think you’re mostly right.

        Our statistics don’t make the situation abundantly clear, since Vacuum Aspiration abortions are often classified as D&Cs, but so are standard dilation and curettage abortions (where the name D&C came from.) If I understand the process correctly, in both cases fetuses can be dismembered, but in a standard curettage abortions it is more likely.

        Even though Vacuum Aspiration abortion are more common, they remain violent in their own way. There is a reason that the vacuum curette is sharp — this is so it can assist in breaking up the fetal and placental tissues (especially if the fetus is a little larger. You can see the remains of some VA abortions online. The fetuses are definitely dismembered.. Are you sure you know what a 10-12 weeks fetus looks like?) In the “perfect” case, the tiny human isn’t dismembered (i.e., he is sucked into the tube whole), and he is left to die, whether by asphyxiation, or inside a jar of toxic liquid.

        There’s no getting around it, abortion at every stage is in some way violent. But they do become more and more graphically violent depending on the specific technique and as the fetus ages.

        You’re absolutely right that most surgeries are violent in some way. So what could possibly be my problem, right?

        Well, the answer is hidden in your question. As is the case with nearly every pro-legalized abortion advocate, you accidentally left off the fact that in *this* surgery, the most egregious violence is done to a second human, with no intent to heal them, who has not consented to the surgery, and with the specific intent to kill them, and that the mother/”patient” is utterly responsible (assuming consensual sex) for both her predicament and that of the human she intends to kill.

      • Feminerd

        At 10-12 weeks a fetus is ~2 inches long. It has translucent skin, limb buds but no digits, a huge alien-looking head. It cannot feel pain or any other sensations, because its nervous system and brain aren’t developed enough yet.

        Are you sure you know what it looks like?

      • Niemand

        If I understand the process correctly, in both cases fetuses can be
        dismembered, but in a standard curettage abortions it is more likely.

        No, you don’t understand correctly. A pre-12 week fetus is tiny. There is no reason for “dismemberment”: It’s small enough to remove whole and breaking off pieces only makes it harder for the pathologist to be sure that all contents of the uterus have been removed. (Leaving some behind is bad. Very bad.) So, no, a competent OB should not be “dismembering” or even lacerating the fetus or embryo as it comes out.

        And I doubt that a being with no cortical neurons to process fear or pain and no spinothalamic tract to carry pain signals suffers, no matter how gross you consider what happens to it. You’re suffering some unnecessary distress by what you’ve been told happens and I’m sorry that that’s occurring. If you’d let go of your need to control women you could also let go of that distress-without any thinking or feeling creature being harmed.

      • tsara

        Okay, I give up. My brain is really, really spacey today. You’re getting the bare-bones version of this, and it’s probably fuzzy and disjointed.

        1, The law is not a moral code. It is society looking after its interests.
        2. Violent vs. nonviolent killing doesn’t matter, as long as it’s the most humane way possible that is also safe for the pregnant person.
        3. ‘Ethically innocent’ also doesn’t matter, and, regardless of your intentions, you do wind up penalizing people capable of getting pregnant for having sex.
        4. Pregnancy is a state where the embryo/fetus is continuously inside of and feeding off of the person. A neonate doesn’t require continuous support. A pregnant saying ‘no’ is being violated. A person who has given birth can say ‘not right now’. This is significant. If it’s going to be ‘no’ forever, you can give a neonate up. I grant moral weight based on brain development, so an embryo has virtually none and a fetus has some. A fetus and a neonate are both worth careful consideration, and a neonate is worth the effort of getting them to someone who will look after it.
        5. The scenario you give is rare, and you don’t make laws for cases like that. I would have to judge the morality on a case-by-case basis. I do consider letting the neonate starve to death to be the most inhumane, and would probably require either a commitment to do hir best to look after the neonate or a quick painless death. This is in an extreme case, though, with extreme isolation and probably inadequate resources.

        Will probably be able to clarify better tomorrow, if I’m not making sense.

        -it may be relevant that I’m mostly a consequentialist
        -tl;dr: abortion is a reasonably-proportioned action to end the immediate and ongoing violation of a pregnant person’s body. Putting a neonate down (EDIT II: on the floor, a chair, etc.) is a reasonably-proportioned action to end the immediate and ongoing violation of a not-pregnant person’s body.

      • Anat

        You claim to be making a secular argument against abortion. Your argument rests on equivalence between a fetus and a child. What makes them equivalent? That a fetus, given a healthy and willing woman to carry it may become a child does not make it a child. A fetus is not a child, a child is not an adult, we apply different rules to each of them. If an entity is equivalent to what it might become then we are all corpses that just happen to still be breathing and typing away. But we do not expect to be treated as corpses. Neither is there reason to treat a fetus as a child. Give a justification why a fetus should be considered a child as it is, regardless of what it may become in the future.

        We do not apply the standards you want to apply to pregnancy to other situations. When people get into road accidents we give them medical treatment without demanding that the injured endure the consequence of their willing decision to go on a ride, and without wondering about their possibly selfish motivations for driving in the first place. It is acceptable in other areas of life that while a responsible person will work to mitigate risks, not all risk can be eliminated, and when undesirable outcomes happen ways to counter the damage are offered. And the same level of damage-countering acts is offered to those who were responsible and to those who weren’t. Because regardless of how they got to be injured, their needs are the same.

        Only pregnancy is different. Suddenly no level of risk mitigation is good enough, no action allowed to correct a problem when it is small.

        Because pregnancy is evidence that some woman is a slutty-slut who slut-slutted. She dared to have sex, and may have even enjoyed it, and you can’t allow that. You are so caught up in the ‘selfishness’ of normal people doing normal things and desiring normal lives. (Fetuses don’t desire anything, BTW. They aren’t developed enough nor experienced enough to desire anything.) We do not need to justify ourselves to you. It is normal to have non-procreative sex. It is highly desirable to use contraceptive measures that best suit one’s total situation (including health considerations, practicality, level of comfort with future pregnancy in the near future, possible desire for children in distant future and so forth). Regardless of whether contraception was used, if pregnancy occurs and it is deemed unwanted – abortion should be a possible way to remedy the situation.

      • chucklingabit

        Yes, I “claim” to be making a secular argument against abortion *and* I *am* making a secular argument against abortion.

        “Your argument rests on equivalence between a fetus and a child.”

        Obviously (!) my argument does *not* rest on an equivalence between a fetus and a newborn. This is evidenced by the fact that I have repeatedly pointed out several of the differences that make them nonequivalent. But I have asked you to demonstrate that those differences are morally significant, and that if they are morally significant, that the difference is powerful enough to warrant brutally killing the fetus in one case, and locking up the mother for the rest of her life in the other.

        Again, using our racist as an example, he would be repeating (ad nauseam) that you are treating the black race as equivalent to the white race. “But hey!” he’d say, “There are clearly differences. CANT YOU SEE THEIR SKIN?! Your argument fails, carpetbagger!”

        But he’s not made his case. And he won’t be able to, unless he can establish *morally significant* differences between white folks and black folks (obviously, I think he cannot.) Simply repeating differences and assuming that they’re morally significant (*and* significant enough, even if they are somehow morally significant), without demonstrating and defending those differences, fails for him, and it fails for you.

        “If an entity is equivalent to what it might become then we are all corpses that just happen to still be breathing and typing away.”

        My argument is not that we are *equivalent* to what we may become. Rather, it is that failing the establishment of a clear morally significant difference between two circumstances, then if we believe it is unjust to treat some innocent, living human a certain way in one circumstance, we should consider it unjust to treat other innocent, living humans in a similar circumstance the same way, barring morally significant differences. In other words, humans have *equal rights*.

        You can complain over and over again that in one case there is a nipple-flesh-tube and in the other an placenta-to-umbilical-flesh-tube. You can point out repeatedly that the mother has already forcibly moved the infant six inches, but will only forcibly move the fetus six inches in the not too distant future (if she doesn’t perform the very act we’re debating.) You can imply that I’m hateful, that I’m making irrational religious arguments, or that I don’t care about women. But you’ve not given *any* reason for me to believe that we should consider ethically significant the differences you pointed out.

        “Give a justification why a fetus should be considered a child as it is, regardless of what it may become in the future.”

        You told me that personhood doesn’t factor into your thinking on the bodily autonomy issue. Do you want to recant that?

        I’m not saying that the fetus should be considered a *born* “child.” (Although colloquially, humans have long used the world “child” to refer to fetuses as well, I am assuming you meant ‘born child’.) I am saying that it is a living human, and that therefore it deserves human rights, unless an argument can be made to show that it does not deserve human rights (which would probably come from showing that the fetus’s situation is significantly different than the infant’s situation…)

        I am further stating that ad hoc, arbitrary, and morally insignificant differences do not justify actions that would deny rights to some class of humans (if you think they can, what do you say to the racist?)

        “We do not apply the standards you want to apply to pregnancy to other situations.”

        You say this, and yet you *continue* to ignore the case I have made over and over and over again that shows that we absolutely would, have and do apply that standard to other analogous situations (infant childcare). Why do you refuse to answer this question, which is obviously closer analogically to pregnancy than your car accident (which I’ll discuss later):

        Consider a woman, with a just-born infant, who is lacking access to formula, who is snowed in, and who is therefore unable to reach another guardian.

        Would you defend the woman’s choice to withdraw consent over the use of her bodily resources; i.e., her decision to refuse to be connected biologically to her infant, when there is no other guardian available to raise her infant?

        Why won’t you answer that question directly? Why won’t you answer that question directly? Why won’t you answer that question directly?

        “When people get into road accidents we give them medical treatment without demanding that the injured endure the consequence of their willing decision to go on a ride”

        That’s true. We give them medical treatment.

        But we don’t generally offer them “medical treatment” that requires the purposeful destruction of a second human, especially a human whose decisions had nothing to do with the crash. Assuming that the crash is not likely to kill her, and that the second person is otherwise likely to survive if they take the time to treat him, we certainly don’t allow her to say “Hey, pull me out. Just cut through that guy there who was merely walking on the sidewalk, who had nothing to do with my crash, who in fact I pinned between my door and a telephone poll. Come on, he’s blocking my exit. Yes, I know there is in fact little chance that I will suffer permanent, grievous injury of any kind, especially relative to the harm he will suffer, given your expert assessment, but hey, it *could* happen. Now go and take a chainsaw to him, dismember him, rip him apart! He’s in the way of me exiting the vehicle!!!”

        You accuse me of ignoring the woman, and then, in every single example you come up with, you either utterly ignore the other human involved, or you twist the entire scenario such that the fetus’s choices led to the predicament, rather than the mother’s choices! In other words, you keep developing scenarios with clear, *ethically significant* differences.

        “It is acceptable in other areas of life that while a responsible person will work to mitigate risks, not all risk can be eliminated, and when undesirable outcomes happen ways to counter the damage are offered.”

        That’s true (if I understand what you mean). But we don’t allow them to knowingly cause further harm to innocent folks who *they placed* in some dangerous predicament.

        And, by the way, just how do you suggest a woman “counter the damage” of the person she intends to kill?

        “Because pregnancy is evidence that some woman is a slutty-slut who slut-slutted. She dared to have sex, and may have even enjoyed it, and you can’t allow that.”

        Your incessant questioning of my motives is tiring. *yawn* I will say that it is starting to make me wonder at yours… I said nothing about punishing or stopping women who merely engage in sex — pleasurable, promiscuous or otherwise. Your complaints and assumptions appear to be thinly veiled attempts at poisoning the well, or, at best, attempts to change the subject.

        “It is normal to have non-procreative sex.”

        Yeah, I know. I’m not opposed to contraception. I said as much above. Sigh…

        I’m not saying that non-procreative sex shouldn’t be attempted. I’m saying that when folks fail in their attempt to keep their sex non-procreative (as many folks do, at some point), they should justly deal with the consequences of their *freely chosen* actions, which means not killing innocent humans to escape them.

        **BTW, you are 100% opposed to mandatory child support payments, right? E.g., a man who abandons a woman and his child, after an unplanned pregnancy, should *never* have to pay child support, correct?**

        “We do not need to justify ourselves to you.”

        Feel free to keep on not justifying yourself to me. One way would be to continue to avoid providing a direct answer to a few simple questions I’ve asked.

        Just don’t be surprised when me and people like me continue trying to educate others through rational argument and continue trying to pass laws to prevent the purposeful, targeted killing of innocent humans.

      • Feminerd

        If we are equivalent to what we may become, and we will all unquestionably become corpses, why treat living people differently from dead ones?

      • Niemand

        Chuck, your arguments have been refuted thoroughly, a fact you seem interested in ignoring.

        There are multiple differences between a fetus (or embryo) and an actual infant. Most significantly, at the time when the majority of abortions and virtually all truly elective abortions occur the embryo or early fetus does not have cortical neurons. It is neurologically the equivalent of a brain dead person. A brain dead person is considered a potential organ donor, not a patient to be saved. So, yes, we would “rip right through” a brain dead person to save an actual living, thinking person. Why treat the embryo differently?

        Even if we consider the fetus and embryo to be the moral equivalent of an actual living, thinking, feeling person, there still remains the fact that, at least in the US, there is a clear legal precedent which states that a person can not be forced to allow their own body to be used for the benefit of another, even if that person would die without the relevant body part. So you’re suggesting giving fetuses more rights than any other person has. Or are you suggesting that we should all have the right to seize others’ bodies for our own benefit, if the need is high enough? I asked you this before and, as far as I know, you ignored the question. Care to address it?

      • chucklingabit

        [I realize I accidentally confused you with someone else who has been writing very similar comments. This is one of the several reasons I generally select one person and take the conversation to completion. Besides mistakes like this one, I also hate how much time I spend repeating myself with respect to similar questions.. In any event, please forgive the misidentification. If you're not sure which of my comments still apply to you, let me know, though I suspect you can reason it through. Sorry.]

      • Niemand

        Drive by chuck, one simple question: Do you think the decision in the McFall vs Shimp case was the correct one?

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        First off, you did not say rights you said her ‘will’ (choice).
        You said “Forcing a woman to give birth against her will is taking away that woman’s freedom.”
        I try to be as concise as possible and I know that part of being in a discussion/debate is understanding and relating back with words. That is the point of the whole objective. So I try to understand what the other is saying then go forward with a reply. Hence the amount of quotes I copy/paste.
        I have tried to answer to your point of autonomy. Again I am saying no one human being has a right over another to take life away from the other. There should not be a choice of one human being over the life of another especially if both are thriving or trying to survive.
        When you say ‘at least admit it’ I am admitting all when it comes to this discussion. I have no need to hide.

      • Olive Markus

        I interchanged freedom and rights. I apologize, but to me they meant the exact same thing.

        Perhaps you think there should be no choice, but the law disagrees with you and so do we. So, your option is, don’t have an abortion. If you don’t want one, nobody should ever, EVER force you to do something with your body against your will. The law says nobody has a right to force you, and the law says you don’t have a right to force a woman to give birth against her will. If a human being is taking away pieces of my body, I actually do have the right to take away its life. In the same way that you have a right to kill any person who is harming your body or has theoretically hooked itself up to your body as life support.

        Here is what you are admitting, if you actually read what I’ve written a million times:

        1) A fetus deserves MORE rights than any human, re: the right to use the body of another against its will. You don’t have that right nor does any man, so you’ve not given the fetus simple personhood rights, you’ve given it more.

        2) A woman deserves FEWER freedoms than a fetus, than a man, and than any corpse (who also would never be required to donate any piece of its body should the person not have wanted to before death), re: She is required to give up her body to keep the fetus alive, whether she wants to or not.

        Thank you. That means you believe that a fetus is super human and a woman is subhuman. I appreciate the honesty.

      • Dave

        Both the fetus and woman have rights. There is no reason to add “OR”

      • Olive Markus

        Nope. You are 100% wrong.

        The moment you give a fetus the rights to use/eat/destroy a woman’s body against her will, you are literally giving that fetus more rights than you give any man or woman in this country. No human has a right to use another’s body against their will.

        The moment you require a woman to carry a pregnancy against her will, you are literally taking her rights away. The very same rights that say a person cannot violate another person’s body without full and ongoing consent in order to keep them alive.

        There is no other way around it. When you have an organism feeding off of another organism, you cannot give them both equal rights. It simply isn’t possible. You can force a woman to remain pregnant and give birth, but do not for one moment assume it is under the pretense of equal rights. It is not.

        Read up on McFall vs. Shimp. If you agree with it, then you cannot say you support forcing a woman to give birth against her will for reasons of equal rights. If you disagree with it, then fine. I’d respect your “Pro-Life” stance, particularly because that means that you agree that should somebody be dying and require a body part of yours, they can hire a lawyer and a team of doctors to rip that body part from you and use it, even if you do not consent. Fair?

      • Anat

        The 14th amendment of the US constitution refers to ‘All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof…’ This means that in the US rights require birth or naturalization. Fetuses not included.

        You can find similar definitions in other countries.

      • Olive Markus

        Me, too. But way to miss the point :).

      • Dave

        Mary S. Calderone, M.D., medical director of Planned Parenthood Federation of America,

        writing half a century ago:

        “[M]edically speaking, that is, from the point of view of diseases of the various systems, cardiac,

        genitourinary, and so on, it is hardly ever necessary today to consider the life of a mother as

        threatened by a pregnancy.”

        “Illegal Abortion as a Public Health Problem,” American Journal of Public Health (July 1960),

        pp. 948-954 at 948-9.

      • Anat

        Well, hardly ever is not never. See Savita Halappanavar. Also see When a politician decides if the life of the mother is at risk

        And what about health risks short of the life-threatening ones? Why should women be forced to bear those against their choice?

      • Niemand

        Yeah, right. At the same time as this statement was apparently being made, women with sickle cell disease were being advised to never become pregnant because they would not survive. Women with pulmonary hypertension were being sterilized at puberty because there was absolutely no way they would survive a pregnancy. Women with heart conditions were being advised to not have sex any more because their chances with a pregnancy were very poor.

        There have been improvements in medicine. Patients with sickle cell disease now have a mere 1% or so chance of dying in pregnancy (still MUCH higher than the 14/100,000 average risk in the US, but a lot better than “definitely”.) Pulmonary hypertension….is still pretty bad but there are case reports of survivals. Cardiac disease…depends the condition, but mostly better odds than in the 1960s.

        And yet the fact remains. Of every 100,000 women who complete a pregnancy, 14 will die in the attempt. Of every 100,000 women who have an abortion to end an unwanted pregnancy, less than 1 will die in the attempt. The numbers are unambiguous. Pregnancy, even “normal” pregnancy can kill. Abortion is safer.

      • Dave

        That you are a woman and advocating to allow people the choice to murder their baby makes no sense. Might as well allow people the choice to rape huh?

      • tsara

        Pretty sure that not only is she arguing that gender doesn’t actually matter in this discussion, but also to allow people the right to control what goes on in their own bodies.

      • Olive Markus

        You’re right. Gender isn’t the whole story. A person of any gender has no need to relinquish control of their body to another.

      • Olive Markus

        Forcing me to give carry a pregnancy and give birth against my will is violating my rights.

        Raping is violating a person’s rights.

      • Olive Markus

        It is because I am a woman that I support abortion rights vehemently. I have been raped multiple times. My abuser wanted me to give birth to his baby so that he could continue to control me for the rest of my life. We live in a country in which rapists have rights over a child conceived during rape.

        Make no mistake. Had I become pregnant, I would have aborted so fast it would have made your head spin. If I had to travel to another country I would have done it. Nobody owns me. Anybody who thinks that my body belongs to another to do as they will disgusts me.

      • Anat

        Forced pregnancy is a form of rape. If the state blocks access to abortion the state is an accessory to the rape of all those women who are forced to remain pregnant against their wishes.

      • Dave

        Alan F. Guttmacher, M.D., “the father of Planned Parenthood,” longtime abortion

        advocate whose name was used for Planned Parenthood’s sister organization, the

        Guttmacher Institute:

        “Today it is possible for almost any patient to be brought through pregnancy alive, unless she

        suffers from a fatal illness such as cancer or leukemia, and, if so, abortion would be unlikely to

        prolong, much less save, life.”

        “Abortion – Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” in The Case for Legalized Abortion Now

        (Berkeley, Calif.: Diablo Press, 1967)

      • Niemand

        Beatriz’s abortion* saved her life when she was dying of lupus and the stress of pregnancy.

        *A premature c-section on a fetus with anencephaly is just an abortion using a less than optimal technique. There was never any chance of saving the fetus and she and her doctors knew this.

      • persephone

        Children also often think that cars will stop in time if the children run into the road to get a ball, but that doesn’t make it so.

      • Fred

        New Definition: Doctor – A child who will look at an ultrasound and say ‘hey mommy, look at the baby!’

        The rest of your post is emotional B.S. and outright lies and can be discarded.

      • Niemand

        Except that they can’t. If a child looks at an ultrasound and sees a baby, it’s probably because someone told them “look at the baby”.

        Certainly “pro-lifers” can’t see a baby. I’ve posted ultrasound pictures of kidneys and gall stones and been told that they’re definitely human, can’t you tell by looking? And the elephant embryo is an internet meme at this point (and that’s not even an ultrasound but a high quality intrauterine photo.)

        Ultrasounds can give a lot of information–to a trained and capable radiologist. To a lay person, they’re basically rorschach blots: people see in them what they expect or want to see, not necessarily what is.

      • Dave

        Everett Koop, M.D., former U.S. Surgeon General:

        “Protection of the life of the mother as an excuse for an abortion is a smoke screen. In my 36

        years in pediatric surgery I have never known of one instance where the child had to be aborted

        to save the mother’s life. . . . If, toward the end of the pregnancy complications arise that

        threaten the mother’s health, he will take the child by inducing labor or performing a Caesarean

        section. His intention is still to save the life of both the mother and the baby. The baby will be

        premature and perhaps immature depending on the length of gestation. Because it has suddenly

        been taken out of the protective womb, it may encounter threats to its survival. The baby is never

        willfully destroyed because the mother’s life is in danger.”

        C. Everett Koop, M.D., as told to Dick Bohrer, in Moody Monthly, May, 1980.

        Reprinted in Bohrer’s book here:

      • Feminerd

        Which is why Savita Halappanavar didn’t die from not getting an abortion early enough (she presented at 17 weeks with an incomplete miscarriage and ruptured membranes, so the fetus wasn’t anywhere close to viable yet). And Beatriz totally didn’t have an abortion to save her life.

        Oh. Wait. Oops. I guess C. Everett Koop (who was not a gynecologist or OB) was wrong, then.

      • Monica Savant

        I have to agree here. The issue the way I understood ROE V. Wade was whether or not the baby had the same rights as the mother and could then could override the rights of the mother to the use of her own body. Especially in the case of RAPE. I just can’t wrap my mind around these laws that would force a woman to have a child that was the product of a sexual assault. In this case, the woman didn’t even choose to have sex so how do anti-choicers reconcile that?

      • Carl Seaton

        Beware the decay into utilitarianism. Human value must be innate or it becomes calculated. If it becomes calculated then ……

      • Uriel238

        Beware the decay into deontology. Otherwise you lose the ability to act on necessary lesser evils to stop greater catastrophes.

        If you would lie to Nazis to cover for hidden Jews, or even murder in defense of yourself or another, then you are willing to take that first step into “utilitarianist decay.” If you would advocate the use of lab animal testing to develop a vaccine that could save billions of humans from the next pandemic, then you advocate for some degree of utilitarianism.

        The slope’s not that slippery, and if it were, it’d go both ways.

        The truth of the matter is that we rely on deontological ethics when we cannot effectively predict the outcome of our actions, because most of the time those will (not uncoincidentally) provide for the best consequences. It’s only when we have the foresight to see the end results of our actions that we engage in utilitarianism.

        Historically, humans have caused more death and suffering from acting deontologically, from acting on unsophisticated notions of honor, than from reflecting heavily on the gravity of their decisions and ultimately making a utilitarian choice.

      • lewr2

        You haven’t relected heavily enough Uriel. In America we’ve basically murdered 54M people. Lots of people complain about their taxes (for those who actually pay them now) but don’t reflect on how many of those 54M would be taxpayers. This might actually take some of the sting of social insecurity, govt. road project taxes, etc..etc..etc..

        I’m sure you’re getting the reflections of what I’m proposing. The utilitarian in you feels that wacking babies in the womb who are unable to defend themselves is a more worthy goal.

        Reflect on your reflections.

      • Uriel238

        It’s a very peculiar definition of “murder” that you use. lewr2. Perhaps you should take some of your own advice.

      • lewr2

        Is the life alive before abortion? Yes

        mur·der [ múrdər ]

        crime of killing somebody: the crime of killing another person deliberately and not in self-defense or with any other extenuating circumstance recognized by law

        something difficult or unpleasant: something that is very difficult or unpleasant and involves great effort or hardship

        kill somebody illegally: to kill another person deliberately and not in self-defense or with any other extenuating circumstance recognized by law

        Synonyms: homicide, manslaughter, assassination, killing, slaying, unlawful death, contract killing, slaughter, massacre, wasting

        Definition of abort (v)

        Bing Dictionary


        [ ə báwrt ]

        remove fetus: to remove an embryo or fetus from the womb in order to end a pregnancy

        have miscarriage: to give birth to an embryo or fetus before its independent survival is possible.

        end something prematurely: to bring something to an end or come to an end at an early stage

        Synonyms: terminate, end, abandon, call off, call a halt, cancel, stop midstream, break off, halt, stop, quit

      • Uriel238

        Amazingly, you can quote a dictionary and still fail to see why abortion and murder are different things. I’m sure you’ll make a fabulous terrorist.

      • Conuly

        So I should stop eating this steak?

      • Anat

        Hey, your own definition says ‘or with any other extenuating circumstance recognized by law’. In the US the law (in the form of precedent) recognizes people have the right not to donate organs against their wishes, even though people die as a result. In the US the law recognizes abortion as a legitimate procedure. Therefore your definition does not apply.

      • Mogg

        Have you noticed that those two definitions are not the same, and the synonyms don’t match? Abortion is not murder, even in the dictionary.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        lewr2 I concur and support your replies.

      • Feminerd

        The problem is that murder means killing another person unlawfully. With the personhood of the fetus very much in question, and killing it being very much lawful, there is no way to call abortion murder without ignoring what murder actually means.

        Or would you call a war in which soldiers shoot other soldiers an incident of mutual mass murder?

      • Niemand

        Not just killing unlawfully, but also killing with malice aforethought without mitigating circumstances. Circumstances like, for example, the person killed is eating your food, exposing you to dangerous substances, living on your property without your permission, and endangering your life.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        It was legal to beat your wife if the stick wasn’t any bigger than a man’s thumb

        “The ‘rule of thumb’ has been said to derive from the belief that English law allowed a man to beat his wife with a stick so long as it is was no thicker than his thumb. In 1782, Judge Sir Francis Buller is reported das having made this legal ruling”

        Before 1929 women were not legally ‘persons’. The law is often an ASS.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        “n 1929, five Canadian women won a ruling by the Judicial Committee of
        the British Privy Council that women were persons
        in law. The five
        women, known as the Famous 5, had sought in the 1920s to have women
        appointed to the Canadian Senate, but were denied by the Supreme Court of
        Canada on the grounds that women did not qualify as ‘persons’ under
        Section 24 of the British North America Act 1867.”

      • Dr. Apothecary

        As soon as fetuses at 8 weeks make a personal appeal to the Supreme Court, I’ll concede you have a point.

      • Niemand

        That’s the thing: Fetuses can’t talk back. They don’t have desires, thoughts, or wills of their own. They’re the perfect tabula rosa for the “pro-life” movement to project onto. Babies, even newborns, start expressing their own needs pretty quickly. At which point they become little sinners who have to be “trained up” (and who the “pro-life” movement has no interest in saving–as is obvious from their lack of interest in ensuring universal health insurance.)

      • Ren Chant

        you know scalia would rule in favor.

      • Feminerd

        It is. But domestic violence isn’t a legal classification, nor in many ways is the discussion of personhood.

        So you can call it immoral killing if you like. I disagree, but it’s clearly something you believe. Murder has only a legal definition, though, so you shouldn’t use it as an emotional appeal when it is factually incorrect.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Where do you see me use the term ‘murder’? When people continue to comment on what I’ve said, and do so in ways that not only do not follow correctly what I am saying, and mix up the dialogue with what others have commented then I will choose to not follow.

      • Feminerd

        1) “lewr2 I concur and support your replies.” lewr2 definitely calls abortion murder.

        2) Generic “you”, not meant to apply to you (personal) only. No one should use the term murder. You haven’t, you’ve just called it tearing little ones limb from limb, ignoring that that isn’t how abortions happen. It apparently makes you happy to imagine sadistic doctors with curettes going into uteruses with abandon, though. Most abortions (the 88% that happen before 12 weeks) are either medical or vacuum suction- no sharp objects at all, no tearing anything into pieces. D&C only happens for medical reasons (fetus already dead, mom going to die, fetus has abnormalities incompatible with life, etc) and only happens when it’s safer for the woman that way.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Suction Aspiration is the first means of abortion by the abortionist. The suction does this:

        then the parts are supposed to be accounted for. Arms, legs etc. Supposed to make sure no parts get left behind to cause sepsis. Limb from torso, leg from torso, etc. No sharp objects, just a powerful vacuum that pull the little one apart.

        So you are wrong. And D&C can be done in Canada, as well as D&E, hysterotomy ( C section abortion ) and all others for any reason and as long as the woman is pregnant, up to the stage that the little one could be ready for delivery.

        Give me some abnormalities incompatible with life. If the little one can and would be born, then it’s compatible. Eugenicists may not agree but I won’t support their thought. They agree that imperfect little ones should not have any right to life.

      • Feminerd

        1) Anencephaly. No brain but the brainstem. Guarantees a life full of pain, for however long the body can be kept alive with artificial means. No emotions, no higher cognitive functions, just pain from an exposed brainstem’s nerve endings hitting open air.

        2) Mermaid syndrome (sirenomelia); no kidneys. Guarantees a short, painful life.

        3) Tay-Sachs.

        4) Trisomy 13.

        5) Intestines growing outside the body cavity.

        6) Severe spina bifida, such that the spinal cord is entirely exposed.

        7) Hydrocephaly. Water in the head that crimps the brain and can force it out of the head. No chance for survival.

        Do I need to keep going?

        A fetus at 12 weeks is about 2 inches long (~5-6 cm). Its systems are starting to develop, but it still looks pretty alien with a giant head, eyes only starting to move from the sides to the front, translucent skin, and underdeveloped limbs with buds for fingers and toes.

        If vacuum does tear it apart, you need a freaking microscope to find the parts, that’s how small they are.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        All these disorders are treatable and the child will live, some for a long life, except in the case of anecephaly where many have lived for more than a year, bringing joy to the people around them. Except for the parts of the head which are commonly hidden from view, are beautiful babies that have lived to share life and love with their families.
        All the other disorders you list are treatable and death does not have to be a prognosis.
        I’ve got a friend whos daughter has Tay Sachs. She is a growing and thriving child.
        My twin daughters who have a rare kidney disorder have grown up with a young woman who has Trisomy 13, she is loved, gives love and is wonderful part of her family and community.
        My cousin was born with a serious umbilicus hernia, which caused her intestines to be outside of her body, she is a grown adult woman and lives life to the fullest.

        I have three friends with spina bifida. Two have had shunts, one is wheelchair bound except he can walk for short distances, and he is one of the most hilarious and compassionate people you could ever meet. The other friend wore a back brace for most of her childhood from the time she was 6 till she was 14. She walks with out aid and you’d have never known she was ill. Her parents were told to put her away in an institution when she was born. They did not. She is now married to a physician. She teaches and is a very giving gentle and beautiful woman. Her husband will tell you how thankful he is that she was born and was given a good chance at living.

        Hydrocephaly. One of my friends daughters was born with this disorder and she has had three shunts put in through her life time. She is now 28 and lives a typical life of many young women her age.

        You were once a fetus at 12 weeks. I was too. What you looked like then, what you looked like as a new born,at three years of age, as a teen etc is not what you look like now, nor what you will look like at age 70. You’ve just grown.

        When an abortion is done at the stage of a 12 week old little one the parts are supposed to be looked for as I said before. This is supposed to be done as a regular procedure so nothing is left behind in the uterus so to stop infection and possible sepsis. A good friend had her first pregnancy abortied. She became septic twice. The second time she ended up in a coma. Due to this she is not able to carry to term.
        ‘m sorry that you may have been misinformed. It makes me sick to think of how many young people are told lies or at least not given the true facts about the growing one inside of them. It’s not only unjust, it causes me a lot of anger. Giving information when making any decisions especially one that will change a persons life forever should never be done lightly. Well informed is well armed as the saying goes.

        I wish no ill will on anyone. I just wish for the truth to be told. There would be a lot less suffering.

      • Feminerd

        No, those disorders are not treatable. There are no treatments for fatal genetic disorders other than palliative care.

        That’s nice that the anencephaly baby lived a year in agonizing pain but “brought joy to those around it”. You reduced that baby to an object for the benefit of others without considering its needs. How awful is that?! If you want to treat your anencephalic child as an object lesson for others, you can do that, of course. But choosing abortion is, in my opinion, the more humane choice.

        The child with Tay-Sachs will die a horrible death. There are no treatments, no cures, and nothing can prevent her inevitable degeneration. If she has the infantile version, she will die by the time she is 5 years old in incredible pain. If the juvenile version, by the age of 15. If the parents are willing to subject themselves and their child to that, they can. But if they do not wish to do that, abortion is also a humane choice.

        So on and so forth for the entire list. Some children will (very rarely) survive and thrive with some of those disorders, but the vast majority will not. I don’t play the lotto; I wouldn’t bank on a 1% chance of “living child” with a 99% chance of “child who died in agony”. That’s not good odds, and I would rather assured painless nonexistence than almost assured painful death. A parent with medical proxy for hir children can make that decision both before birth and once they’re born.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        The baby did NOT have pain. The others live now and have since they were conceived and you seem to want all people who may possibly have these disorders to be killed! Who made you God? Killing seems to be your only choice for everyone with a disorder like these! Death is not the best choice although you seem to think so.

        ” painless nonexistence than almost assured painful death”

        Your information is wrong about these disorders and more than that, these little ones do exist, painless non existence? Then what would you be aborting? A nothing? No! You’d be aborting a little one, a tiny defenseless human being with a very strong will to live. How dare you choose death for others you don’t deem good enough to live!

      • Niemand

        a little one, a tiny defenseless human being with a very strong will to live.

        Seriously, tell me again how this can have a “will to live”?

      • lisa

        then tell the truth about anencephaly. you make it sound so pretty. my daughter died a slow horrible death. her slow death brought no one great joy. there was no sharing of life on her part. you are putting rose colored glasses on a horrific experience many families have to deal with. earlier you said all mother’s experience mental anguish as part of mother hood. i’m a mother and i’ve lost a child to anencephaly. trust me carrying my daughter knowing she was going to die and then watching her die in my arms was a lot different than the little hurts of raising a child. who are you to decide that a woman and her family must go through this?

      • Niemand

        I’m sorry for your suffering and loss! I wish I had something to say that would make it better somehow, but I don’t.

      • lisa

        thank you for your kindness. losing my daughter is what made me pro-choice. i realized i had no right to tell any one else what to do in my situation.

      • Niemand

        I’m sorry, but I have never heard of any case report of a person with Tay-Sachs surviving to adulthood or even teens. Similarly, I’ve never heard of an adult survivor of Trisomy 13.
        A reference would be greatly appreciated. I don’t want to doubt your word, but this is the internet. I don’t know you and have no particular evidence that you’re not making everything you say up.

        Also, these diseases are not even slightly treatable. If there are survivals, they are simply the extreme tail of the “natural” survival.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        I will give my friend this blog site. Her daughter has Trisomy 13 and is a young adult. If she wants to post here that will be her choice.

        Whether or not she is one of a rare few survivors does not give people the right to kill those we think may not survive.

        If we as a society choose to euthanize, infanticide, abort those human beings we decide for what ever reason should not be allowed to survive till birth or after birth we have really chosen to see human life as disposable.

      • Niemand

        If she’s willing, I’d be interested. Probably I’m out of date with respect to trisomy disorders.

        I would note that the majority of trisomy 13 (and 18 and 21) fetuses die in utero. If we should treat infants and children with trisomies aggressively (i.e. avoid anything that could be called “euthanasia” including passive withholding of care) shouldn’t we also work more on saving the majority of trisomy conceptions by improving in utero survival? This will, of course, mean increased taxes to pay for the research to figure out what’s going wrong, increased funding for maternal care, and probably diversion of funds from research in other areas, but if it’s immoral to abort a fetus with trisomy 13 surely it’s immoral to stand by and let one die as well.

      • Dr. Apothecary

        If any of these people you’re saying exist, the only reason they exist at all is because of medical advances. Without them, most of them would likely have all died shortly after birth. I wish no child would be born disabled, but I’d rather as a society help the ones that would benefit from medicine than keep alive a shell of a human with anencephaly for two years.

        I’d love to explain to my five year old child about to die of a congenital disease that i knew about before he or she was born, that I pretty much knew their end would be a lot of pain, needle sticks, and endless days in the hospital. Yes, any child can get sick, but it’s different when your chid’s risk is 99% of dying before age 5 vs. less than 1 in 1000.

        My family members get type 1 diabetes and often have other health problems along with it. They spend a lot of time in the hospital and have a reduced quality of life. They still get to have a pretty normal life compared to others, but there’s anger and frustration at their situation, too. I will take my chances and hope my children don’t develop diabetes, and if they do, we’ll deal with it. But that’s a bit different than basically signing them up for a life of disease before they’re even born.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Your choice would be to decide whether or not the ‘quality’ of the life would be worth living. You would choose to kill if you decide the quality wouldn’t be ‘good enough’. Ask those who have the diabetes if they would prefer to have been killed.

      • atalex

        I have “the diabetes.” While it is well-controlled, if I ever fell into a diabetic coma and there was any sign that I was suffering, I would hope that my loved ones would follow the directions I have already put into a health care directive and allow me to die with peace and dignity. My greatest fear, however, is that the views of diseased monsters like yourself will hold sway and I will be maintained in a painful, ghoulish half-life as long as possible for the glory of the sadistic evil god that creatures like you worship.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Diseased monster you call me. You don’t know me. Where have I said that I have a god? You know nothing of my spiritual self.

      • Dr. Apothecary

        Although I prefer not to name-call, you have already decided that your children will live through whatever torturous medical procedures that you want them to, despite their wishes or even the chances of those medical procedures succeeding, according to other posts on here.

        Responding to your earlier post, I wouldn’t kill anything. That’s your words, not mine, nor what’s actually going on. It is not a quality of life question but a quantity. I wouldn’t give birth to my fetus if it were severely disabled and would have a very shortened life span. It would never know one way or another, because I wouldn’t have given birth to it.

        I wouldn’t be here if not for medical advances that kept my mother alive with type 1 diabetes as a child. I’m glad to be here, but if my mother had chosen not to have me or if my mother hadn’t lived to adulthood, I wouldn’t be. I’m sure my family members with diabetes and other diseases are glad to have lived (my mother didn’t give up as cancer ravaged her body), but I’m also sure they would rather be healthy and not have their diseases.

        You have a right as a parent to insist that your child go through various medical procedures. That’s your choice. I have a right as a parent to not want my child to be guaranteed suffering right at birth. If something happens after that, then my family will deal with it. But if it is something terminal, for me or my child, I will be pursuing hospice instead of drastic treatment. Many people in healthcare who have seen suffering choose the same.

        My snarkiness aside, I do respect your choice for your family. I ask that you realize that every family is different and respect their choices for their family.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        “you have already decided that your children will live through whatever torturous medical procedures that you want them to, despite their wishes or even the chances of those medical procedures succeeding,”
        Show me where I specifically said that? I don’t think that so would not have said it. Also I have the right as a parent to decide if the medical applications being made will give my child a longer life. I would also have this choice due to the information given me or due to my own knowledge or through research. I have known training professionals who will be dealing with children who have similar disorder to the one my kids have. He believes the child should have the right to choose death. One reason why parents choose for their children many things of high importance.

      • Androo

        I don’t think lewr2′s assumption is correct.

        It imagines a United States where there’s an excess of jobs and infrastructure, with too few laborers in the pool. Any brief glance at employment statistics will disabuse that notion.

        Innovation of course would happen, but just consider how we’re currently doing on natural resources.

        Gas prices doing anything interesting over the past 10 years?
        Do we really want to be OPEC’s most profitable customer?
        Ever hear anything interesting about Fracking and flammable water?

        Can we reflect on how we, as a society, are treating our environment and each other? We seem to be more interested in fighting political battles and creating rules than looking at ourselves in the mirror.

        Can we reflect on a movement that allows the circumstances described in this article to propagate?

        We have very serious issues to tackle, critical even. We can’t get bogged down in controlling women when we have a planet to save.

        I’m tired of reading articles like this, I’m ready for our society to grow up and work together towards something more meaningful.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        “partially because many severe birth defects which will affect quality of life are detected only late term.”
        Quality of life. What a stagnant term when it’s being used to decide to assist in the killing of the ‘not perfect enough’.

      • Anat

        Err, some of the things we are talking about are cases of a very short life of severe suffering. Such as friends who aborted a fetus from a much wanted pregnancy because ultrasound revealed it had no kidneys.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        Suffering need not happen if you’re talking about pain. Pain is manageable No matter the cause of the pain, it can be alleviated. If a child has abnormalities before being born, and you find it sufficient to kill it then, what if it has those same abnormalities are found after birth? A non functioning kidney, the loss of a leg, a brain hemorrhage that causes brain damage. If the fetus is known to have had a brain hemorrhage that has caused damage to the brain and one chooses to abort, why not kill a born child one who has the same hemorrhage after being born? Why not kill it too?

      • Mogg

        Clearly you are unfamiliar with the medical speciality of pain control, if you think all pain can be managed. And to inflict pain and suffering on a newborn and cause the mother to go through the pain of late pregnancy and childbirth, in a case where the death of the newborn is inevitable in any case? That, to me, is far more monstrous than abortion.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        I am not unfamiliar with pain management. I have a background of working in the medical field, plus I have some history of being involved with palliative care.

        We all suffer some pain and suffering. So if that may be a possibility for an unborn, the best thing is to kill? To allow a mother to give her child life, no matter for how long, and to love that baby is better is not better than killing her/him? Do you personally know any one who has been or is in that situation? I know a few. I also know a few who aborted. The women who allowed their child to live even if for a short time, were able to love their baby, and those babies were loved by many. Some of them survived when the doctors had said the would not. Some are thriving where the doctors said they would not. They bring a lot of love to others and not only love, they bring immense wonder at how the human being can go through life with such difficulties and bring so many others incredible positive effects. One individual that I do not know personally but who could speak to this very well is
        Nick Vujicic.

        Born without arms or legs, he has become a most influential and positive motiviational speakers of all time. There are many persons such as he. He changes peoples lives for the better. There are many similar people who no matter their ‘disability’ have greatly affected the world in extremely positive ways.

        If the doctors think or say that death is ivnevitable, they are sometimes wrong. If they are right, my opinion is better to have that child in your arms for a period of time, knowing that you did your best to give life than some of the other experiences of going through the process of killing one’s little one.

      • Libby Anne

        “my opinion”

        Well exactly. And if that’s your choice and you’re in that situation, you are free to make that choice. But not everyone shares your opinion and some people would make a different choice. I happen to think that women should be allowed to make that choice for themselves, rather than robbed of any say by someone else’s opinion.

      • victoria

        Andrew Sullivan ran a really remarkable series of stories called It’s So Personal from people who’d been faced with terrible prenatal diagnoses. Some had chosen to bring the pregnancies to term (or as far as they could). Some had abortions. There were people who’d made both decisions who were at peace with those decisions, and there were people who regretted them and/or made a different choice on a subsequent pregnancy.

        I can’t imagine condemning someone for making either decision — to terminate or to give birth — in the sorts of situations Sullivan’s correspondents describe. The tragedy is in the circumstances, not the choice, and I think most people make the best, most ethical decision they can.

      • Ren Chant

        born without arms or legs is NOT born without kidneys or a brain.

      • Niemand

        Pain is manageable No matter the cause of the pain, it can be alleviated.

        Actually, chronic pain is not that easy to manage. Acute pain responds to a lot of different treatments, including particularly opiates. Chronic pain…not so much. Opiates can actually start causing a “hyperalgesic” effect after a certain amount of time, for example.

        Also, are you against all palliative care options? If someone said that their child with cancer had suffered enough when the third line of chemotherapy failed to help would you condemn them for treating the child with palliative measures only rather than going for a 4th line treatment that had, say, a 5% chance of working? Do you condemn Tom DeLay for putting his father on comfort care only after he experienced severe traumatic brain injury and had only minimal brain function left?

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        I have chronic pain so I know.

        To your palliative care comment. I have identical twins with a rare disorder. A training specialist suggested that children who have had surgeries, repeated treatment that can cause pain etc etc, should have the choice to not only forgo treatment but choose to for go life saving medications.

        As a parent I would fight with all I have to not allow others to give my kids their own choice to end their lives.

        I have also had a friend with Lou Gherics disease. He choose when the plug would be pulled after being put on life support. He made that choice of timing along with his wife and many others he loved and who loved him. His daughter was one of my daughters best friends. She was five years old at the time. I have no problem with people as adults choosing when to forgo extraordinary means of life support. Food and water are not extraordinary.

        There is a very fine line when it comes to end life decisions. My father was dying of a tumor. He was slowly dying and was on heavier and heavier medication. The medications were not given to hasten death but they did affect his length of life. He chose not to eat much at all because due to where the tumor was, eating often caused him more pain. These were his choices. Sometimes one cannot make such choices due to being unconscious or delirious, or other ways of not being able to discuss ones own medical care. There are others who must do so.

        We had a court case in Canada not so long ago where the parent killed the child because he did not want to see the child suffer any longer. She has surgeries and was disabled but others knew her to be able to smile, laugh etc. Enjoy life. Even if that was not visible, no one knows what joy or enjoyment of life another can have just by being able to . I have worked with people who have severe cerebral palsy and one can not easily tell if at all whether or not they may be feeling pleasure or are happy, sad or in pain. They still are able to be fed, bathed, wheeled outside to have sun and fresh air. They are still able to thrive and live. Like I said, there are many fine lines but the line that crosses over to say that some people should have life and others not is reminiscent again of preceding to WWII where people with any special needs were put to death. I also have a son with Autism. He would have been put to death also. He is a gifted person who brings a lot of goodness to all who know him. I My dad fought and suffered in WWII. I learned a lot about what the choices for death can do to not only an individual but our world as a whole. He taught me well.

      • tsara

        Nobody is arguing for forcing anybody to do anything except you. I am all for personal choices — you make the best decisions for yourself, and I will make the best decisions for myself. The pro-life position is the position that supports forcing people to remain pregnant when they do not want to be. That is what the pro-life position is.
        If you don’t want that, or if I am misinterpreting what you are saying here, please let me know.

      • Niemand

        I have chronic pain so I know.

        I apologize if I’m being rude, but if you have chronic pain whatever possessed you to claim that pain can be easily managed? Chronic pain can not be easily managed by current medications, I’m sorry to say. I’d like it to be true, but it just isn’t.

        I have no problem with people as adults choosing when to forgo
        extraordinary means of life support. Food and water are not

        Then you don’t agree with the Delays’ decision to withhold IV feeding from the family member with severe brain damage?

        I don’t think that their decision was necessarily wrong myself. I don’t necessarily think it was right. I simply don’t have the information to make that decision and would rather leave these decisions to the people who are most involved and have most at stake, i.e. the patients themselves and their families, after accurate and unbiased information from their medical providers. I can’t imagine why someone would want to take that right away from people already suffering from ill health or from watching their relatives with ill health suffer.

      • Anita Marie Arnott

        show me where I said chronic pain can be ‘easily’ managed?

      • Niemand

        You’re right. My comment was rude and out of line and I apologize. I work with people with a condition that causes severe chronic pain and the severity of which is constantly underestimated by people who do not have the disease so I’m trigger happy with any comment that might suggest minimization of the difficulties of chronic pain. I apologize for jumping to the unjust conclusion that that was what you were doing by saying that chronic pain could be managed.

      • Dr. Apothecary

        You are going to force your children, and every child, to go through every imaginable medical procedure that might save their life, despite any pain that may cause them, until they reach the age of 18??

        You think life is being fed, bathed, wheeled outside, and generally treated like a well-taken care of doll? If you work in any hospice facility/palliative care treatment place near me, remind me never to send myself or loved ones there.

        I’ve watched my mom die in agony of cancer over several months. It was her choice. It would likely not be mine, nor would I have forced anyone who could not speak for themselves to go through that.

      • Anat

        Parents of infants born with severe abnormalities may under the current legal system choose to let the infant die as comfortably as possible. They may alternatively choose to give up their parental rights and leave the decisions to the state. I would support euthanasia, because I don’t see what an infant gains by living such a life. But the difference between an infant and a fetus is that a fetus, if not wanted, is infringing on a woman’s body the way an infant is not. So at least that problem does not apply to the case of a dying newborn.

      • vixxy

        There would still be complexities with this and who would pay to “grow the baby” It’s a very nice idea however and would be great for women that cannot carry to term as well they wouldn’t have to go to a surrogate and risk the woman keeping their child.

        The state or govt would not be providing this option either they couldn’t afford to do it for every unwanted pregnancy unfortunately.

      • Uriel238

        Well of course there will be complexities. Simply conjecturing a cheap/fast system of extraction/implantation and incubation is something like conjecturing a moon shot: There’s a lot of steps between the notion and the implementation. We’re doing it, and the progress is slow and it will be expensive thanks to the research being privatized. I’m sure patents will keep it unavailable, except through a monopoly, for decades. I’m sure the US’s hyper-inflated medical care prices will keep the procedures unavailable except to the very affluent. But all this could be changed if a group really was convinced that abortion truly was abominable enough to be regarded as murder — enough to really do anything to make a change.

        But I think we should take the steps. I think that if the anti-abortion community were truly serious about curbing abortion, they would focus on other approaches than obstruction, and state-provided cheap ectogenesis would be one of them. I bet if they put as much of their time and money into that, we’d have a system in place where people could drop their zygote at an incubation center and decide before birth whether to keep the child or let it go into the foster-care system.

        That same amount of energy could, frankly, also push a robust state-sponsored child welfare system which would encourage women to continue a pregnancy.

        Conspicuously, no, they don’t. Anti-abortion activists have three strategies: push criminalization; harass the clinics; disinform confused patients. (Heck, even their dead-baby pictures aren’t from abortions but natural miscarriages. They’re really big into outright lying.) So no, the credibility of the anti-abortion crowd is rather lacking.

        I think it comes down to the used-shoe thing. Obstructionists are not people who love babies. These are people who hate the sexuality of women, who believe that women should not be promiscuous or sexually active. I think they want to preserve pregnancy and the poverty of child-rearing as an instrument to punish for behavior to which they object.I think they have no interest in a positive outcome for the resulting human being. They don’t care about child poverty, which means ultimately they don’t really care about the fetus or the zygote they allegedly defend.

        Those people that do prove otherwise end up like Libby Anne above. And they end up pro-choice, or at least far less pro-life than they used to be.

      • Whirlwitch

        What I would like to see as an option is inter-uterine embryo transplants. Women who want a baby could take over the pregnancy from women who don’t. The women gaining a wanted pregnancy would pay. Better than adoption for both parties. It’s been researched and successfully done with animals, I’ve been told it’s been done in primates, which would suggest it’s a possibility for humans.

    • Guest

      I have always been a firm believer of pro-choice for many reasons. I never did as much research it was just something that always made sense to me. In my 30′s I was taking college courses and one of the things that I had to do was write a persuasive paper. I chose to write about “Pro-Choice”. I didn’t have all the statistics or scientific studies…mine was based on heartfelt common sense. I do applaud you Libby for taking the time to do such extensive research. I didn’t get to read all the way through your article so I’m not sure if you touched on one factor that is usually over-looked. It takes two to make a baby…and the one left with the biggest responsibility “most times” is the woman.

      • Mike

        “I was taking college courses and one of the things that I had to do was
        write a persuasive paper. I chose to write about “Pro-Choice”. I didn’t
        have all the statistics or scientific studies…mine was based on
        heartfelt common sense.”

        Sigh. This is why degrees are worthless.

      • Dave

        By pro-choice you mean anti-life? I like your last sentence a lot! More needs to be done to make the man accept responsibility for his actions and not just the woman!

      • Fred

        How is choosing to carry a fetus to term anti-life?

        Sense, you make none.

      • Dave

        Choosing to have an abortion is anti-life.

      • tsara

        How is choosing to have an abortion anti-life? Choosing to have an abortion is a single decision, whereas ‘anti-life’ (whatever that means) implies a blanket position on a topic. Or do you not realize that there is nothing inconsistent about pro-choice people choosing to carry fetuses to term? I mean, my mom was (and still is) pro-choice when she was carrying me.

      • Fred

        Nice to see you admit you were wrong Dave.

        Good for you.

      • Dave

        Thank you for supporting a 50,000,000 million person holocaust that legally started in 1973.

        Good for you.

      • Carl Seaton

        Abortion was legal in many places long before 73. In 66 my mother wanted an abortion(my sister). She already had 4 boys and was done with it all. The doctor wouldn’t do it unless my father signed off on it. He wouldn’t and so my sister survived. Thanks to Reagan and him signing the TAA of 67, abortion became legal if the doctor agreed. My sister missed the knife by a year or two. So she lives and has three kids of her own.

      • jhlee

        In other words, pro-life means giving men control over women’s bodies. How nice.

      • Carl Seaton

        Pro-life means pro-life. The control thing is why abortion is so common.

      • jhlee

        Libby actually wrote about your exact stance a while ago in a post about erasing women from the abortion debate. The abortion debate is both about the life of the unborn AND the autonomy of the pregnant woman. You can’t erase one side of this debate and pretend that significant parts of women’s freedom are not at stake in the debate about this issue.

      • Carl Seaton

        What is my stance on this? What position have I taken?

      • jhlee

        Read your own words. You said the pro-life position does not entail control of women. This is clearly false when the position means legally forcing women who don’t want to bear a child to do so. By saying pro-life is only about life and not about autonomy, you are essentially saying women don’t exist in the equation.

      • Carl Seaton

        Where did I ever advocate forcing women to do anything? My position is that abortion is murder on some level. It’s just plain wrong. It’s even more wrong as the gestation of the baby increases. It just amazes me that many see ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with sucking the arms and legs off of a living baby in the womb. Sucking its body and head through the same tube into a jar and throwing it away.
        I don’t think making abortion illegal is a solution to this moral nightmare either. That is my pro-life position. You obviously presume to know what I believe.

      • sam

        “It’s wrong.” To YOU. “It’s not moral” TO YOU. These are things you can go over with yourself when you PERSONALLY are pregnant. No matter what you believe you don’t get to tell someone else what to do.

      • Carl Seaton

        To me- its wrong to call African Americans ni##ers and those who do deserve a serious ass chewing. It’s wrong to cut WIC, TANF, food stamps and Medicaid while holding to an ever increasing military budget. I also believe that those who emotionally abuse their wives should be kicked in the nuts till their eyes pop out of their heads.
        All of these things are perfectly legal( except the nut kicking part), but are dead wrong, to me. According to you I should just muse while sitting on my hands and starring at my navel.

      • sam

        I don’t need a list of the things you think are moral. My original statement still stands. These are things you can go over with yourself when you PERSONALLY are pregnant. No matter what you believe you don’t get to tell someone else what to do.

      • Carl Seaton

        I’m so happy for you. Now go ponder your navel =^..^=

      • Libby Anne

        Carl, please try to avoid this sort of statement. It does nothing to further the discussion and is very condescending and off-putting and not the tone I try to foster here.

      • Carl Seaton

        Oh I see. So when valde called me a freak that was acceptable.
        Sam blew me off so I gently blew back.
        I’ll try to behave.

      • Feminerd

        Here’s the general feeling I get from this blog:

        Insults are mildly discouraged but acceptable. However, they have to occur in the context of an argument, or be added on to an argument. Condescension is pretty strictly frowned upon, though it definitely happens sometimes.

        If, in the course of an argument, I were to call you an idiot, that would be acceptable. If I made a post that just called you an idiot with no arguments, that would not be acceptable. You made no arguments, merely a condescending statement, and that was in response to a serious post. Please don’t do that.

      • Carl Seaton

        The moderator is free to ban me at any time. Then I will be gone and you can have your echo chamber back.

      • Anat

        Since you aren’t actually making a coherent argument, what difference does it make?

        On what basis do you think abortion is wrong? Is it OK for women who used contraception but it failed to have an abortion? Why does this make a difference? What should be done to women who had abortions?

      • Carl Seaton

        Sorry about the lack of coherent argument. I don’t have any reasonable point of view and I don’t know what I’m talking about. I just pull statistics out of thin air which have nothing to do with anything. Sorry.

      • Feminerd

        If you know your stance is unreasonable, why hold to it?

      • Feminerd

        I don’t want an echo chamber. I want coherent, logically consistent arguments. I’ll either find them compelling, somewhat convincing but not enough to change my mind, or unconvincing and full of logical holes. Whichever one it is, I’ll probably tell you.

        In order for that to happen, though, you have to actually make arguments. Answering Anat’s excellent questions below is a good start.

      • jejune

        I dislike echo chambers

        I am glad you are here Carl, even if I find your behaviour to be a bit hysterical at times

      • jhlee

        You wrote a post saying your mother would have had an abortion (by your logic, murder) if the laws were different when she was pregnant. That seems to echo the common pro-life narrative that the only thing standing between baby-killing women and mass murder is restrictive abortion law.

        I was also disturbed that your story portrayed your father as having veto power over your mother’s medical decision. Whatever happened to talking about major family decisions and accommodating each others’ needs? Not that I’m saying such conversations didn’t happen in your family, but I was taken aback that the main focus of your story was a change in state law.

        And for the record, I’m not so hot about abortion either. I’m pro-choice, not pro-abortion. I respect your moral stance on abortion, and even more that you don’t feel that the government needs to enforce your morality on others. I just didn’t get that from your post discussing your mother.

      • Carl Seaton

        The main focus of my story was that I was glad my sister didn’t get sucked into a jar and thrown out with the trash. The legal aspect was just a mater of fact.

      • jhlee

        Fair enough, since you’ve come to know your sister. On the other hand, my mother miscarried before she had me and I don’t miss my “brother” because he never existed. If he had been born and I’d gotten to know and love him I would have been glad he wasn’t miscarried, or that he wasn’t hit by a bus, didn’t get sick and died, etc. However that’s just part of wishing well of a loved one, not something I can genuinely feel toward a hypothetical being I never knew.

        Similarly you couldn’t miss your sister if your mother had had the abortion, so “my sister wouldn’t have been born” doesn’t seem like a good argument against abortion. If anything, it seems like an argument for saying that fertile people should have sex and have children as often as physically possible, since every potential human being is precious and will be loved by someone so their not being born is a loss, etc.

      • jejune

        Why are you so obsessed with the more gruesome aspects of abortion?

      • Carl Seaton

        Why would it be gruesome if it is perfectly ok?

      • osiote

        I want to know why you are so obsessed with the more gruesome aspects of abortion.

        ‘sucked into a jar’ was your wording


      • Carl Seaton

        Because the pro- abortion set likes to use terms like “terminating a pregnancy”, “product of conception”, “pro-choice”, “fetal tissues” etc….All of which conceal the brutal nature of what an abortion does to the unborn human. But if someone thinks that sucking the arms and legs off of a fetus and sucking them into a jar and then sucking the body and head into the same jar and throwing it all into the bio-hazard heap is perfectly ok then that is the way it is.
        I just complain that it is wrong. Deeply wrong. That’s all.

      • osiote

        You are ignorant.

        The majority of abortions occur before 13 weeks, 61% before 9 weeks – there are no legs and arms to be ripped off. That’s just hyperbole. In fact, there are nothing more than limb buds.

        And if ‘it’s gross’ is your logic, then you must also oppose abortion in ALL CASES right? Because it’s gross if it is to save the life of the woman, and it is gross if the fetus is dead or dying.

        This is what a typical abortion looks like btw:

      • Carl Seaton

        I do oppose abortion in all cases since I see it as murder. So you are ok with the abortions that do involve sucking the arms and legs off of the fetus and sucking the body and head through the same tube into a jar and throwing it all away like no big deal?

      • osiote

        So you oppose abortion even in the case of the life of the woman?

        Do you believe a woman should go blind from a pregnancy because you view an embryo as having MORE VALUE than her?

        Why? Do you really hate women THAT much?

        And yes, if you oppose abortion *at all stages* – even when the embryo is MICROSCOPIC then HOW IT LOOKS should NOT MATTER. Why are you so obsessed with later term abortions if you truly believe that A MICROSCOPIC EMBRYO IS A BABY?

        Would you rather women got c-sections instead of abortions that way your precious fetus could get removed whole? Sure, it might cause her grave and potentially fatal health concerns down the road…but seeing as how you value a fetus ‘right’ to be whole over a woman’s right to not suffer undue pain, then I am not the least bit surprised.

      • Carl Seaton

        Since the vast majority of abortions are simply for birth control reasons that tends to be what I center up on. Should a woman get an abortion when there is a serious health issue in front of her? That is her decision. As it should be.

      • osiote

        Since the vast majority of abortions are simply for birth control reasons that tends to be what I center up on

        As fiona has asked you, citation needed.

        Should a woman get an abortion when there is a serious health issue in front of her? That is her decision. As it should be.

        There is no such thing as a risk free pregnancy Carl. Even a so called ‘healthy’ pregnancy is in fact unhealthy for the woman. And then there is birth – up to 72h