What do the purple people want in PRRI’s abortion poll?

This is the Public Religion Research Institute’s Graphic of the Week:

“In an exceedingly complex debate over abortion,” PRRI asks, “what do the labels ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-choice’ actually mean to average Americans?”

That’s not addressed in this graphic, but their data on “overlapping identities” points toward one possibility.

There’s a lot of purple in that graphic — the portion of each graph representing those who identify as both “pro-choice” and “pro-life.” White evangelicals and Catholics, unsurprisingly have the largest share of adherents who identify exclusively as pro-life. My guess is that this share — those who refuse any association with the identifier pro-choice — reflects those who want to see abortion criminalized, those who view abortion as immoral and also (or therefore) want to see it made illegal.

But more than half of Catholics and more than a third of white evangelicals identify as both pro-life and pro-choice. My guess — and this is only a guess — is that this suggests a moral opposition to abortion along with a perhaps-reluctant acknowledgement that it nonetheless ought to remain a legal option. My guess is that these purple people would be approximately in favor of the old Clinton formula: safe, legal and rare — perhaps with an emphasis on the “rare.” Some might prefer to pursue making abortion more rare by introducing an increasing number of legal hurdles, obstacles and hindrances, but others may prefer to pursue making abortion more rare by empowering women to have a wider menu of viable, meaningful choices (living wages, health care, day care, etc.).

Again, I’m just guessing — the graphic doesn’t actually tell us anything about what the purple people want or what it means, to them, to choose both of those identifiers of pro-life and pro-choice. It may only indicate that many Americans find these identifiers both to be inadequate on their own — as Taja Lindley recently wrote, the polarizing politics of abortion present a stark binary view that doesn’t capture many people’s actual experience:

In today’s binary political system, however, abortion has become oversimplified. Although fraught with social, economic, cultural, and political meaning, abortion has been reduced to a singular and isolated issue in the political arena. And yet, just below the surface of political silencing, those of us whose experiences with abortion do not fit neatly into didactic sound-bites and talking points for pundits and policymakers in their public debates about our bodies, the waters of human experience still run deep.

But if my guess above is correct — if the “pro-life only” category represents those who want to see abortion outlawed, while the purple people lean toward safe, legal and rare — then this graphic shows us something interesting: Earlier surveys have found that about a third of white evangelicals want abortion to be legally available in their communities. Yet this survey finds 48 percent of white evangelicals identifying themselves as pro-choice. This may indicate that allowing respondents to qualify their answers — to say they are pro-choice but also pro-life — resulted in a greater number of white evangelicals being willing to state that they do not wish to see abortion criminalized. And if my guess is correct about what this graphic is showing us, then it would suggest that a greater number of white evangelicals wish to see abortion remain a legal option than wish to see it banned completely.

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  • Jim Roberts

    I’m in the purple and, yes, it’s the “safe, legal and rare” thing. I’m not interested in putting up any obstacles for a woman who chooses to terminate, though. I am interested in being out back and coming along side any woman who leaves such a place alone and offering a cup of coffee and a listening ear. I know too many women who had to make these choses with no one to support them, and, however wise a choice they may have made, it tore them up.

  • banancat

    It’s just a little but patronizing to assume that women who have abortions alone would need or benefit from the sympathy of a random stranger.

  • The_L1985

     True, but I can also see someone who’s had an abortion, whose family and friends were all very strongly against her having one, possibly benefiting from someone saying “You did what you had to do, and I don’t judge you harshly for it.”  It’s good for someone to tell you you’re not a monster when everybody you know is trying to tell you that you’re a monster.

  • banancat

    But maybe a random dude outside the clinic isn’t the best person to hear it from.

  • Jim Roberts

    It’s what I want to do out of empathy and experience with women who’ve gone through the experience alone. Note that it’s not something that I actually do because, as you say, patronizing.

  • Dave Mabus

    they didn’t survive Armageddon

    s1.zetaboards.com/LooseChangeForums/topic/4979676/1/ 

  • The_L1985

     Wasn’t a condition of your release from prison that you not be on the Internet?  Are you sure you want to go back to jail, David?

  • Münchner Kindl

    Probably because the extremes: pro-life who don’t want to allow abortion no matter what circumstances, esp. in case of health issues of the mother, rape, minors sexually abused – and pro-choicers who consider a baby of 1 day before birth “just tissue” that can be aborted without any qualms or consideration at all – are appalling to any half-way rational and emphatic person?

    Technically, being pro-choice doesn’t mean “I want an abortion all the time without 5 minutes of thinking about it”, but since it’s often portrayed that way by the pro-lifers, I can understand people saying “When it’s necessary, it should be available, but nevertheless, the woman in question should spend some time thinking about it and have neutral counseling, and help for all options – child-care, maternity leave, giving birth without hospital costs for keeping it, adoption for not keeping it, safe and available places for abortion –  should be available.

    Here in Germany, there was a long discussion about §218 (which concerns abortion) and the final decision was to keep it illegal – because the fetus/ embryo/ baby is not “just tissue” – but to not prosecute it if the woman has a neutral counseling before with all options. (No invasive screening or anything). I think this reflects the ambiguity about a difficult choice.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Is making an act illegal but selectively prosecuting it only for communities that fail to meet some standard of seeming sufficiently respectful of the ambiguity or whatever a routine legal practice in Germany, or is §218 a special case?

    It’s a pretty routine legal practice in the U.S., where it leads to a lot of abuse. But,  of course, that’s not to say it necessarily leads to abuse in other countries.

  • Münchner Kindl

     I didn’t say that at all. The law says http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/stgb/__218.html

    “1) Wer eine Schwangerschaft abbricht, wird mit
    Freiheitsstrafe bis zu drei Jahren oder mit Geldstrafe bestraft.
    Handlungen, deren Wirkung vor Abschluß der Einnistung des befruchteten
    Eies in der Gebärmutter eintritt, gelten nicht als
    Schwangerschaftsabbruch im Sinne dieses Gesetzes.(2)
    In besonders schweren Fällen ist die Strafe Freiheitsstrafe von sechs
    Monaten bis zu fünf Jahren. Ein besonders schwerer Fall liegt in der
    Regel vor, wenn der Täter 1.gegen den Willen der Schwangeren handelt oder2.leichtfertig die Gefahr des Todes oder einer schweren Gesundheitsschädigung der Schwangeren verursacht.
    (3) Begeht die Schwangere die Tat, so ist die Strafe Freiheitsstrafe bis zu einem Jahr oder Geldstrafe.
    (4) Der Versuch ist strafbar. Die Schwangere wird nicht wegen Versuchs bestraft.”1). Who terminates a pregnancy, will be punished with prison up to 3 years or a fine. Actions which effects take place before the impregneted egg has attached to the uterus do not count as abortion for this law. [So the pill after is not illegal.]2). In severe cases the punishment is prison from 6 months up to 5 years. A severe case is usually given if the perpetrator1. acts against the will of the pregnant (woman) or2. carelessly causes the death or a serious health damage to the pregnant woman.3) If the pregnant woman does the deed, the punishment is prison up to 1 year or a fine.4) The attempt is punishable. The pregnant woman will not be punished for attempts.The exceptions are listed under 218a  http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/stgb/__218a.html(1) Der Tatbestand des § 218 ist nicht verwirklicht, wenn 1.die
    Schwangere den Schwangerschaftsabbruch verlangt und dem Arzt durch eine
    Bescheinigung nach § 219 Abs. 2 Satz 2 nachgewiesen hat, daß sie sich
    mindestens drei Tage vor dem Eingriff hat beraten lassen,2.der Schwangerschaftsabbruch von einem Arzt vorgenommen wird und3.seit der Empfängnis nicht mehr als zwölf Wochen vergangen sind.(2)
    Der mit Einwilligung der Schwangeren von einem Arzt vorgenommene
    Schwangerschaftsabbruch ist nicht rechtswidrig, wenn der Abbruch der
    Schwangerschaft unter Berücksichtigung der gegenwärtigen und zukünftigen
    Lebensverhältnisse der Schwangeren nach ärztlicher Erkenntnis angezeigt
    ist, um eine Gefahr für das Leben oder die Gefahr einer schwerwiegenden
    Beeinträchtigung des körperlichen oder seelischen Gesundheitszustandes
    der Schwangeren abzuwenden, und die Gefahr nicht auf eine andere für sie
    zumutbare Weise abgewendet werden kann.(3)
    Die Voraussetzungen des Absatzes 2 gelten bei einem
    Schwangerschaftsabbruch, der mit Einwilligung der Schwangeren von einem
    Arzt vorgenommen wird, auch als erfüllt, wenn nach ärztlicher Erkenntnis
    an der Schwangeren eine rechtswidrige Tat nach den §§ 176 bis 179 des
    Strafgesetzbuches begangen worden ist, dringende Gründe für die Annahme
    sprechen, daß die Schwangerschaft auf der Tat beruht, und seit der
    Empfängnis nicht mehr als zwölf Wochen vergangen sind.(4)
    Die Schwangere ist nicht nach § 218 strafbar, wenn der
    Schwangerschaftsabbruch nach Beratung (§ 219) von einem Arzt vorgenommen
    worden ist und seit der Empfängnis nicht mehr als zweiundzwanzig Wochen
    verstrichen sind. Das Gericht kann von Strafe nach § 218 absehen, wenn
    die Schwangere sich zur Zeit des Eingriffs in besonderer Bedrängnis
    befunden hat.”1) The case of $218 [punishment] does not apply if1. the pregnant woman demands the abortion and showed to the doctor a certificate according to §219 break 2 sentence 2 that she had a counseling at least 3 days before the abortion2. the abortion is done by a doctor [so homemade abortions are punishable – because they are a greater danger to the health of the woman]3. no more than 12 weeks have passed since conception [see 218 for “doesn’t count before attachment in the uterus”]2) The abortion with agreement by the pregnant woman done by a doctor is not against the law if the abortion is indicated by current medical knowledge to prevent danger to life or health of the pregnant woman [the usual medical indication stuff in legalese, which is not limited by time]3) The conditions of break 2 also count as fulfilled for an abortion done by a doctor with the agreement of the pregnant woman if according to medical knowledge an illegal deed according to § 176 to 179 Criminal Code [I assume that refers to rape] has been done to the woman, urgent reasons let one assume that the pregnancy is the result of this deed and no more than 12 weeks have passed since conception4)The pregnant woman is not punishable according to 218 if the abortion was done by a doctor after counseling according to 219 and no more than 22 weeks have passed since conception [so the no-punishment time for the woman is greater than for the doer]. The court can wave a punishment according to 218 [if more than 22 weeks have passed] if the pregnant woman at the time of the abortion was in serious problems.§219 http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/stgb/__219.html then explains how counseling must look like1) Die Beratung dient dem Schutz des ungeborenen
    Lebens. Sie hat sich von dem Bemühen leiten zu lassen, die Frau zur
    Fortsetzung der Schwangerschaft zu ermutigen und ihr Perspektiven für
    ein Leben mit dem Kind zu eröffnen; sie soll ihr helfen, eine
    verantwortliche und gewissenhafte Entscheidung zu treffen. Dabei muß der
    Frau bewußt sein, daß das Ungeborene in jedem Stadium der
    Schwangerschaft auch ihr gegenüber ein eigenes Recht auf Leben hat und
    daß deshalb nach der Rechtsordnung ein Schwangerschaftsabbruch nur in
    Ausnahmesituationen in Betracht kommen kann, wenn der Frau durch das
    Austragen des Kindes eine Belastung erwächst, die so schwer und
    außergewöhnlich ist, daß sie die zumutbare Opfergrenze übersteigt. Die
    Beratung soll durch Rat und Hilfe dazu beitragen, die in Zusammenhang
    mit der Schwangerschaft bestehende Konfliktlage zu bewältigen und einer
    Notlage abzuhelfen. Das Nähere regelt das
    Schwangerschaftskonfliktgesetz.(2) Die
    Beratung hat nach dem Schwangerschaftskonfliktgesetz durch eine
    anerkannte Schwangerschaftskonfliktberatungsstelle zu erfolgen. Die
    Beratungsstelle hat der Schwangeren nach Abschluß der Beratung hierüber
    eine mit dem Datum des letzten Beratungsgesprächs und dem Namen der
    Schwangeren versehene Bescheinigung nach Maßgabe des
    Schwangerschaftskonfliktgesetzes auszustellen. Der Arzt, der den Abbruch
    der Schwangerschaft vornimmt, ist als Berater ausgeschlossen.

    The counseling serves the protection of the unborn life. She [the counseling] is to be aided by the attempt to encourage the woman to continue the pregnancy and show her perspectives for a life with the child; she shall help her [the woman] to make a responsible and conscious decision. The woman must also know that during each stage of pregnancy the unborn has a right to life against her, too, and therefore the law allows a termination of pregnancy only under exceptional circumstances, if carrying the child to term is a burden for the woman which is so big and unusual that the usual border has been passed. The counseling shall through aid and advice help to solve the conflict connected to the pregnancy and avert an emergency. Details are laid out in the Law for Pregnancy conflicts.
    2) The counseling has to follow the rules of the Law for pregnancy conflicts through an approved counseling place.  The place has to issue a certificate [..]. The doctor who does the abortion is excluded from counseling.

    Now, in current US culture, a lot of these terms are very loaded and code words. But that’s not the case in German culture and law. These words mean what they say without codes.

    And no, there are no laws which are selectivly enforced. That violates the principle of the Rechtsstaat (which people are a bit proud of, no matter how often you call it chauvinistic). One of the practical consequences of Rechtsstaat means that old outdated laws are stricken from the books, so the laws are regularly revised. Letting old laws stand in the books and then rely on the courts to not enforce them is not how we consider laws to work. Laws and courts must be reliable, not wild.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    One of the practical consequences of Rechtsstaat means that old outdated laws are stricken from the books

    Oh you mean like Paragraph 175

    which wasn’t struck off the books until 1969?

    That’s an old and outdated law as of 1945 if you ask me! Don’t blow your own horn too hard there, buddy.

  • Münchner Kindl

     Yes, exactly like that*. It was introduced because of religion – those clobber verses – and therefore kept through Weimar; the Nazis made it more strict because they also considered it deviant; after 1945, Adenauer lead the restitution movement back to the old values of the 1930s so it stayed on, but after the 68 protests freed sexuality from outdated moral issues, the legislative followed the “normative kraft des faktischen” – the norm-giving power of facts.
    (East Germany could strike it earlier because as nominal atheists, they had little official reason against it, although in many other sexual areas, communist countries were still prudish.)

    But do tell me about how outdated it is considering it’s still illegal in some US states. (If you are from Canada, they didn’t change the law in 1945, either, but only in 1969 so I fail to see where your country does it better. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_history_in_Canada)

    I didn’t say that outdated laws are stricken “immediatly” from the books. It takes some time until the majority of people see reason and then some years to work through the legislature. There are several laws that I’m astonished and ashamed about how late they were kept on the books, here, too (wifes needing the consent of their husband to work or have their own bank account; complete corporal punishment of children being forbidden, including slaps in the face; no rape in marriage – blocked by consies for a long time…)
    But I still consider this system, even when it takes time, to one where laws about shooting Welshmen or carrying a gun into church still stand because “as long as its selectivly enforced it’s no big problem”. Obviously, you think different.

    * §175 was the old law that forbade homosexual acts. Today it only forbids sexual relations to minors.

  • The_L1985

     So basically, Germany allows Plan B, and abortions performed by a doctor during the first trimester, only?

  • Münchner Kindl

     No. If Plan B is the pill after, it doesn’t count because pregnancy starts with implementation/ attachment, not before.

    Germany makes an exception from prosecution if (all done by a doctor with consent by the pregnant woman)
    1. it either happens during the first trimester (12 weeks) and after counseling
    2. medical indication: no time limit
    3. Rape: during first trimester
    4. Court can waive (no time limits) if pregnant woman was under severe stress / duress during abortion.

  • The_L1985

     Plan B is also called the “morning-after pill.”  It is taken after intercourse, but before implantation (IIRC, Plan B doesn’t work at all after implantation) and often before even conception has a chance to take place.

    Mifiprex, the pill that’s actually used to cause chemical abortions, is a totally different drug.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     > And no, there are no laws which are selectivly enforced.

    Ah, OK.

    The “keep it illegal but to not prosecute it as long as X” wording confused me; I understood that to mean something different from “make it legal as long as X”.

    I am delighted to hear about the routine elimination of outdated laws; I’ve endorsed the U.S. doing something like that for a long time.

  • Münchner Kindl

     Well, as many of the more legal-trained US-Americans on the Internet have told me multiple times, throwing out old laws is not necessary under the English system because the courts won’t enforce it.

    That they can be selectivly applied against minorities (gays, blacks, uppity women) by any small-town sheriff/ mayor/ cop is apparently an added bonus.
    And of course, the curious system in the US of single Representatives sponsoring bills and thus getting media for their voters doesn’t give any incentive to review old laws, even if it would make things efficient.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     Yeah, exactly.

    My own position is that ordinary laws should automatically come up for renewal every N years, straight up-or-down vote, no amendments. If we want the law on the books, we vote for it. This state of “we don’t really support it but going on record as repealing it would be impractical so instead we constrain enforcement” is just goofy.

    Not that I expect that to change.

  • other lori

    It’s true that being “pro-choice” doesn’t mean that, but there are some very vocal pro-choice factions, especially on the internet, who consider anything less than unqualified celebratory zeal for abortion to be treachery to the cause.  It’s not enough to believe abortion should be legal. If you suggest it might be regrettable or would be, in an ideal world, rare, you are a horrible slut-shamer who just wants to make women feel bad about their sexuality. If you acknowledge that many women do feel ambivalent about their abortion experiences, and that some even feel regret, you are the problem, the person who makes women feel bad. Because no woman would *ever* feel ambivalent feelings about abortion–or regret, or grief, or sadness, or guilt, or remorse–if we all toed the party line and were 100% celebratory about it. There are absolutely pro-choicers for whom being in favor of legal abortion access isn’t enough.

    The internet: proving there are awful people on both sides of every issue since the mid-1990s.

  • Lori

    The internet: proving there are awful people on both sides of every issue since the mid-1990s.   

    Yes, both sides do it. One wants to control your body, even if it kills you. The other side says stuff that hurts some people’s feelings. Same, same.

  • other lori

    And if I’d said “equally awful,” that might be valid.

    I think a lot of people can be kind of blinded by the faults of their own side, especially as new converts, and that is true of both pro-lifers and pro-choicers. But, there are no perfect groups of people.

    There are racist, selfish, awful pro-choicers. There are people who are in favor of legal abortion access who would like to see the U.S. adopt a one-child policy (don’t believe me?–check out xojane, where awful pro-choicers love to gather).  There are pro-choicers who wish minorities would stop having so many babies. The pro-choice movement is not immune to awfulness.
     
    But, the whole point of the graph is to show that you can’t divide people neatly into “pro-lifers” and “pro-choicers”; most people don’t clearly identify as one or the other. I’d imagine that’s because most people see some problems with both movements or at least with some of the rhetoric of both movements. As somebody who has never been a part of the pro-life movement, I’m not super-interested in the problems with their movement; that’s their mess to clean up. I am, as a supporter of legal abortion access for as long as I can remember, interested in making sure the pro-choice movement grapples with the real complexities of the issue.

    Let’s face it, in the age of the ultrasound, “it’s just a blob of tissue” doesn’t ring true for many people, even those who think abortion should be legal. I have feminist friends who have confided to me after seeing a heartbeat on an ultrasound at 7 or 8 weeks that they don’t understand how people could have an abortion and that their unqualified support for abortion wavered a bit. 

    I have friends involved with the disability rights movement who can’t give their full support to the pro-choice movement because of how often “fetal abnormalities” are given as an unimpeachable rationale for abortion access, as if it were a given that a fetus with a disability should be aborted or that the presence of a disability somehow alters the value of that fetus. I know moms of children with Down Syndrome who think abortion should be legal but can’t identify with the pro-choice movement because they see it as at least partly complicit in a culture that leads to the vast majority of fetuses with a DS diagnosis being aborted.

    Any time people start trying to shut down conversation on a complex issue–either with “It’s murder!” or “It’s her body!”–I think there’s a problem. The vast majority of Americans of all backgrounds and viewpoints recognize that abortion is complicated, and not as simple as either the fetus having a right to life that trumps all else or the fetus being nothing but a parasite that society has absolutely no interest in protecting at any time. Most people recognize that there are two interests involved–the interest we have in protecting the bodily integrity of women and the interest we have as a society in protecting human life even at earlier stages–and that balancing those two interests is sometimes complicated.

  • Lori

     

    I’d imagine that’s because most people see some problems with both
    movements or at least with some of the rhetoric of both movements.   

    I imagine you’re correct about this. My point is that I don’t think this is a particularly admirable position. Sure you can find horrible people who identify as pro-choice. That has basically nothing to do with the validity of the position.

    We rightly make fun of people who use “Hitler was a vegetarian” to imply that vegetarianism is suspect or bad. How is “three are racist pro-choicers on the internet so the pro-choice position is unsavory” really different than that?

    This isn’t about being blind to the faults of “my” side. It’s about having priorities and a realistic sense of what is and is not a problem. There is zero possibility that the US will adopt a one child policy at any point in the foreseeable future. Zero. Any people talking about it on the internet are just talking to hear themselves talk. They have no real public platform and they aren’t actually part of anything that could logically be called the pro-choice movement.

    There is a very real possibility that Roe v Wade will be overturned and even if it’s not there will continue to be new laws passed that effectively prevent women from being able to get safe, legal abortions. In the case of the laws whittling away the legal right to chose it’s the purple people who make that possible.

    Let’s face it, in the age of the ultrasound, “it’s just a blob of
    tissue” doesn’t ring true for many people, even those who think abortion
    should be legal. I have feminist friends who have confided to me after seeing a
    heartbeat on an ultrasound at 7 or 8 weeks that they don’t understand
    how people could have an abortion and that their unqualified support for
    abortion wavered a bit.

    The issue is not “blob of tissue” vs “baby”. It’s person vs not person. The presence of a heartbeat at 7-8 weeks does not make a person. No one is trying to force these wavering feminists to have abortions. That doesn’t change the fact that their thinking on the issue is more than a bit muddled.

    Most people recognize that there are two interests involved–the
    interest we have in protecting the bodily integrity of women and the
    interest we have as a society in protecting human life even at earlier
    stages–and that balancing those two interests is sometimes complicated.  

    This phrasing is itself part of the problem. Saying that people “recognize” that there are two interests involved that society needs to balance assumes that this is a fact, which it is not. It’s a belief or an opinion. It also carries the implication that it’s appropriate to express this supposed need for balance through the debate about access to legal abortion. I strongly believe that it is not.

  • Lori

     

    There is a very real possibility that Roe v Wade will be overturned and
    even if it’s not there will continue to be new laws passed that
    effectively prevent women from being able to get safe, legal abortions. 

    So speaking of laws that effectively eliminate safe, legal abortion, behold the result of people unclear on the f’ing concept when it comes to fetal heartbeat being used by rabid anti-choicers.

    http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2013/02/this-week-in-the-war-on-women-arkansas-edition

    If this becomes law I’m sure the women of Arkansas will be very so grateful for everyone’s morally serious qualms.

    See also: http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2013/02/abortion-on-the-ground

  • AnonymousSam

     *Stares*

    Well, he’s certainly representative of his kind. Baptist, describes himself as “a conservative, gun-owning, middle-aged, ordained fundamentalist,” thinks his actions are “sav[ing] America for our children’s future,” simultaneously says we need to defend the Constitution while also saying sometimes you need to ignore it, praises individual liberty while planning to strip it from citizens, and… whew, the things he’s done already. Quite a few of them enable carrying of concealed weapons in public places, including churches, schools and universities. Several make it harder to get abortions, or shut down clinics. One to urge everyone in the government to repeal the ACA.

    And yet what I keep coming back to, over and over, is that depraved, balls-slappingly stupid man of clay invoked the fight for women’s rights in the process of eliminating them.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I am just stunned beyond belief at the way that man has redefined chutzpah.

  • AnonymousSam

    His first bill to make abortion harder to get was even better. It would have held abortion clinics to stricter standards, closing most of them and making the others much harder to keep funded. His description of it was that it was a bill to protect women.

  • P J Evans

     It makes me think that some people have sections of their brains that simply don’t work at all. Like irony and proportion and recognition that other people aren’t them.

  • Carstonio

    No, he could be afflicted by the pro-life hero myth, with evil abortionists preying upon women for profit and deceiving them into not wanting to be mothers. Or else the line about protecting women is just a deliberate lie as a sales tactic.

  • Water_Bear

    Maybe he means “protecting them from themselves;” like stopping them from committing a sin and exposing them to Magic Baby Happiness Radiation TM is going to keep them out of Hell. Still hilariously wrongheaded, but I suspect he does see himself as helping the women he’s screwing over.

  • Tricksterson

    Well yes, from themselves since, poor dear things that they are they can’t possibly be trusted to define what’s in their own best interests.

  • Lori

     

    I have friends involved with the disability rights movement who can’t
    give their full support to the pro-choice movement because of how often
    “fetal abnormalities” are given as an unimpeachable rationale for
    abortion access, as if it were a given that a fetus with a disability
    should be aborted or that the presence of a disability somehow alters
    the value of that fetus. I know moms of children with Down Syndrome who
    think abortion should be legal but can’t identify with the pro-choice
    movement because they see it as at least partly complicit in a culture
    that leads to the vast majority of fetuses with a DS diagnosis being
    aborted.   

    I’m sympathetic to this position, but I don’t think the issue is really the pro-choice movement. The majority of fetuses with DS aren’t aborted because abortion is legal, they’re aborted because a very high percentage of people do not, for a variety of reason, wish to parent a child with DS. The pro-choice movement does leverage those feelings in order to create space in restrictive abortion rules . I don’t think that’s a good thing and I want to note that this is not an argument that I ever personally use and I don’t support it when other people use it. 

    That said I echo Dave’s comment by saying that the actual problem is with the restrictions that create the need for the leverage, and with the attitudes that make the leverage possible, far more than with the pro-choice movements tactics. The mushy middle contributes to that more than it fights it.

    The purple position basically boils down to the idea that some abortions are OK and others are not. That creates the need for women to come up with a “good enough” rational for their abortion. Negative feelings about disability create one such rational because a lot of people know full well that they wouldn’t want to raise a child with disability and therefore don’t quite have the hutzpah to openly condemn a woman for not wanting to either. And yes, that dynamic certainly does feed negative perceptions of disability. If purple people are uncomfortable with that they need to examine their own part in the dance, because the pro-choice movement is not the only place that people have trouble seeing the moral failings of their own group.

  • Fusina

    No one should be forced to do something they don’t want to.

    Other people’s rights end where my skin begins.

    Live and let live.

    And where is the new Left Behind Post???

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    I know moms of children with Down Syndrome who think abortion should be
    legal but can’t identify with the pro-choice movement because they see
    it as at least partly complicit in a culture that leads to the vast
    majority of fetuses with a DS diagnosis being aborted.

    And yet they don’t fear that by identifying as Down Syndrome advocates they should be promoting that women wait longer to have children in order to increase the number of children with Down Syndrome.

    No, of course not, because it would be unreasonable to assume that a Down Syndrome advocate is actually trying to make trisomy more common, while it;’s entirely reasonable to assume that being pro-choice implicates one in Down Syndrome eliminationism.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I don’t like people aborting their Down’s fetuses. I don’t like people aborting their uterus-equipped fetuses either. The way to solve both those problems is by dealing with the problems of societal disapproval of Down’s people and/or women, not by placing restrictions on abortion.

  • Lori

    As I know you know, we also need to increase support for families of people with Down’s and other disabilities. It’s not fair to expect people to knowingly take that on and then just leave them to struggle on their own.

    One of my close family members has a child with serious developmental limitations, as well as other serious health problems. They have been able to get a decent amount of support, but for so many things it has been so much work. Especially as he’s gotten older and his needs for adaptive equipment have increased. Think about how shitty our medical system is for people not rich enough to pay out of pocket. The consider that getting medical care for C has been by far the easiest part. Even getting an appropriate educational placement wasn’t too terribly difficult. Getting help with things like the very expensive diapers that fit him (too big for children’s diapers, way too small for adult diapers) and a bed he can’t fall out of, but which his parents can put him in without breaking their backs, has been really tough.

    Down’s kids need less equipment, but they need far more services and they’re now living much longer than C is going to. Most kids with his condition die by age 6. C is now 10 and doing well, but it’s highly unlikely that he’ll live to 20. Average life expectancy for folks with Down’s is now up around 50, which means that many more of them will outlive their parents. We’re not set up to for that. There are provisions of the ACA that will help with this*, but of course the people most against abortion also tend to be the most dead set against the ACA.

    I understand that the availability of selective abortion for non-fatal fetal abnormalities complicated efforts to get needed services because there’s always going to be some asshole who says, “You could have aborted, but didn’t. Why should my money pay for your choice?” However, I don’t think attacking legal abortion is the way to deal with that.

    *Harold Pollack did a nice video about this during the presidential campaign. His wife became the guardian of her disabled brother when their mother died. Pollack is very clear about the fact that without government programs this would have broken them financially and his BIL would still have ended up in much worse circumstances than he now lives in.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yes, all of that–and it’s not necessarily true that the parent of a Down’s child (or any other child with an early-onset disability) knew what they were getting into, too, so even if we make the appalling assumption that everyone who knows their fetus has Down’s will abort, help for Down’s people and caretakers thereof need to remain available.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    pro-choicers who consider a baby of 1 day before birth “just tissue”
    that can be aborted without any qualms or consideration at all – are
    appalling to any half-way rational and emphatic person?

    I think you exaggerate.

    I purposely choose the label “pro-abortion” because I am pro access to abortion at all stages of a woman’s pregnancy.

    It HAS to be available.

    Things can and do happen that are no fault of anyone’s, but which nonetheless could kill a pregnant woman unless the fetus is safely aborted.

    Banning abortion in the name of some kind of moral-warriorism is the equivalent of conspiracy to harm women.

  • Carstonio

     

    Banning abortion in the name of some kind of moral-warriorism is the equivalent of conspiracy to harm women.

  • Isabel C.

    Right. And even without the threat of death to the mother, I support late-term abortion being legal because otherwise women end up having to give birth to infants that are already dead, or brain-dead, or similarly horrific things.

    The usual song and dance, which I’m getting pretty tired of performing by now: Pretty much nobody casually decides to get a third-trimester abortion. They happen either because of medical problems or because lack of access, mandatory counseling and “time to think about it”, or parental-consent laws prevented them from getting a first-trimester abortion.

  • banancat

    I’ll give my usual song and dance too. A pregnant woman isn’t automatically a mother and it’s exclusive to refer to them that way. It’s inclusive and easy to say “life of the woman”.

  • Isabel C.

    Oh, good point, and thank you–sorry, early morning posting. 

    Also, as I’m posting again: I would find it offensive and condescending to have to sit through counseling about a procedure I’m certain I want. Making counseling available, sure. But making it mandatory? Fuck that noise. 

  • Carstonio

    Yes. That’s the same reason that mandatory ultrasounds are repulsive. Both seem to assume that women really don’t want abortions or are massively ignorant about the subject. I hear “counseling” in this context and I imagine that the law’s authors intend for counselors to emotionally manipulate the women into keeping the pregnancies. (Isn’t that what the “pregnancy care centers” do?)

  • The_L1985

    Making the mandatory ultrasound vaginal, which honestly has no legitimate medical purpose whatsoever, is about the only thing that can possibly make a mandatory ultrasound even more repulsive.

    And yes, “crisis centers” all deliberately try to talk women out of baby-murder abortion.  Because clearly a woman’s well-being and agency as an adult human being are less important than extremist talking points.

  • AnonymousSam

    Even better when doctors themselves point out that the ultrasound is completely unnecessary, and that an external ultrasound accomplishes the same results regardless of what they were intended to be… and the legislators insist on it being a vaginal ultrasound.

    The procedure is bad enough, but when the motivation behind it is that transparently malevolent?

  • Münchner Kindl

     Making counseling mandatory – but neutral and not invasive; and actually providing help for all options – is a good compromise between the rights of the unborn and the rights of the pregnant woman.

    And just because you might be well-informed about all options and help, and have made the decision on your own, doesn’t mean everybody does. A lot of pregnant women don’t know all the legal resources available to them. A lot of pregnant women are wrestling with their conscience to keep or to terminate and are glad to have a sympathetic voice without pressure understanding that the decision is difficult because it’s not clear-cut.

  • Carstonio

    What’s the basis for making even neutral counseling mandatory for abortion and not for other procedures? Why shouldn’t have I had mandatory counseling before having a vasectomy?

  • Münchner Kindl

     As the law says, the counseling considers the life of the unborn child. Having a vasectomy it is strongly recommended to get a medical counseling and maybe a second opinion to weigh the risks, but no other life is directly involved.

  • Isabel C.

    Second paragraph first: fine, so give them a brochure and tell them “hey, here’s where to go if you want to talk to someone.” I have no problem with making counseling available. I’m all *for* making counseling available, advertising it, and so forth, for pretty much any situation that comes up. I was raised in SoCal: we do counseling like, I don’t know, the Midwest does horrifying food in Jello.

    First paragraph: …and this is why I get snippy and extremist. Because I don’t really feel that anyone’s justified in compromising my rights for the sake of a blob of tissue with less brain activity than the cow that went into my roast beef sandwich. 

  • Münchner Kindl

     

    fine, so give them a brochure and tell them “hey, here’s where to go if
    you want to talk to someone.” I have no problem with making counseling
    available. I’m all *for* making counseling available, advertising it,
    and so forth, for pretty much any situation that comes up. I was raised
    in SoCal: we do counseling like, I don’t know, the Midwest does
    horrifying food in Jello.

    So because counseling is easily available in SoCal, it’s easily available in other states?

    And you don’t see a problem with giving women a brochure for such a difficult decision? You don’t see how a woman could be pressured by her surrounding to say “yes, I thought about it”, if neutral counseling was not mandatory?

    …and this is why I get snippy and extremist. Because I don’t really
    feel that anyone’s justified in compromising my rights for the sake of a
    blob of tissue

    And this of course feeds right into the extremist strawman the pro-lifers paint of the other side: calling it a blob of tissue and being callous and unthinking about it. You’re not doing the pro-choice side any favours by being extremist instead of accepting rational compromises.

  • EllieMurasaki

    You don’t see how a woman could be pressured by her surrounding to say “yes, I thought about it”, if neutral counseling was not mandatory?
    You don’t see how nobody actually says ‘yes I want an abortion’ without having thought about it BEFORE getting to the point at which counseling re abortion could possibly be mandated?

  • The_L1985

     Yes, but in the U.S. unbiased counseling is NOT the net effect of such laws.  Every single mandatory-counseling law in the U.S. was written with the express purpose of talking women out of having abortions.  The general zeitgeist of the pro-life movement is that women who want abortions are either:
    a) woefully uninformed, or
    b) cruel, selfish, child-murdering hags.

    Any evidence to the contrary is gleefully ignored by the pro-life movement here.

  • Dan Audy

    I don’t think that mandatory counselling before certain medical procedures which may have physical or emotional side effects that are not immediately obvious.  When I went for genetic testing to see if I was a Cystic Fibrosis carrier I was required to do a mandatory counselling session to make sure I understood how the testing worked, how genetic transfer worked if I was a carrier, and what sort of emotional responses were common to people’s discovery that they were and weren’t carriers.  I know that the US has a history of abusing ‘counselling’ to manipulate people on behalf of the forced birth contingent but there is nothing fundamentally flawed with legitimate, fact based counselling for ensuring people have full information and preparation before making a life altering decision.

  • Lori

    I know that the US has a history of abusing ‘counselling’ to manipulate
    people on behalf of the forced birth contingent but there is nothing fundamentally
    flawed with legitimate, fact based counselling for ensuring people have
    full information and preparation before making a life altering
    decision.  

    When you had counseling before your CF testing who mandated it and who conducted it? There is a huge difference between counseling mandated by your doctor or even your insurance company as part of generally excepted best medical practices, and counseling mandated by the state. There is also a huge difference between counseling conducted by your doctor or someone on the medical staff and counseling conducted by outside personnel.

    In practice I have never seen a requirement for (so-called) neutral counseling that wasn’t to abortion what “teach the controversy” is to biology. 

  • Carstonio

     

    In practice I have never seen a requirement for (so-called) neutral
    counseling that wasn’t to abortion what “teach the controversy” is to
    biology.

    Excellent analogy. The ostensible goals of the state-mandated counseling could be accomplished without that requirement. It doesn’t make sense unless one assumes a broader objective of discouraging women from having abortions.

  • Lori

     

    The ostensible goals of the state-mandated counseling could be accomplished without that requirement.  

    Exactly. It’s not as if, left to their own devices, abortion providers would just perform an abortion on anyone who walks through the door, with no discussion about it. Providers can and do refuse to perform abortions on women who don’t understand the procedure or who seem too unsure about their decision. The mustache twirling villain who hustles poor, vulnerable women through his abortion mill so that he can get rich off killing babies doesn’t actually exists in an environment where abortion is legal. Such people do exist where abortion is illegal. That’s what always happens when you have a black market focused on the desperate or a gray market exclusively serving the wealthy, which is what you get when abortion is illegal.

  • Dan Audy

    The genetic testing is mandated by the Alberta Health Services, our governmental health care provider.  Specifically, you get a referral from your family doctor to a genetic counsellor who meets with you to explain everything and ensure you understand how to deal with the results of your testing (either positive or negative) who in turn writes the lab request once they are comfortable that you understand what is going on.  Usually the meeting with the counsellor is mostly a formality and your testing is performed as part of the same visit.  In my case the genetic counsellor was an employee of the same hospital that performed my testing but people who live in smaller communities can either travel to a major centre or sometimes get their counselling done by phone and have a local lab take samples to be sent to a facility capable of doing genetic testing.

    When I got my vasectomy done I had a similar experience where the doctor performing the procedure discussed why I was getting the procedure done and ensured I understood the consequences and risks involved.  While that I believe was not governmentally mandated and was a combination of best practices and liability prevention I would have no problem with the government mandating that all providers follow best practices.

    I know that in the US that counselling is used as a backdoor attempt to increase barriers to abortions.  The problem however isn’t the idea of counselling but rather that your culture is sick with a religiously patriarchal sexual puritanism.  If your country had a significant population of Scientologists you’d have people pushing misleading counselling before people could take anti-depressants or if Jehovah’s Witness’ before people could have a blood transfusion.  The counselling is not inherently manipulative but rather the people pushing it to further their agenda.

  • Carstonio

     

    The problem however isn’t the idea of counselling but rather that your
    culture is sick with a religiously patriarchal sexual puritanism.

    From my reading, the objection is not to counseling but to the statutory requirement. You’re probably right about the latter.

  • Carstonio

     

    The problem however isn’t the idea of counselling but rather that your
    culture is sick with a religiously patriarchal sexual puritanism.

    From my reading, the objection is not to counseling but to the statutory requirement. You’re probably right about the latter.

  • The_L1985

     True.  But even if she hasn’t had any born children, technically the relationship between a woman and the fetus inside of her is “mother.”  We don’t really have any other good words for that relationship, even for women who can’t or don’t want to become a mother yet.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bill-McDonough/100001260964707 Bill McDonough

     True.  But even if she hasn’t had any born children, technically the
    relationship between a woman and the fetus inside of her is “mother.” 
    We don’t really have any other good words for that relationship, even
    for women who can’t or don’t want to become a mother yet.

    How about ‘host organism’? The developing organism, be it a fetus, an unborn child, a gift from Dog, or whatever you want to call it, is not providing any benefit back to the incubating organism. It is, in fact, parasitic. The incubating organism is, thus, a host organism.

  • Münchner Kindl

     I have not heard that used scientifically, because doctors consider pregnancy not paratism, but part of procreating.

    “Pregnant woman” is the most accurate scientific term I can think off. Expectant mother is when the woman wants the child- she is not only biologically expecting it but looking forward to it, too.

  • The_L1985

     “Pregnant woman” works as well, but is a bit clunkier than either “mother” or “host.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bill-McDonough/100001260964707 Bill McDonough

     I have not heard that used scientifically, because doctors consider pregnancy not paratism, but part of procreating.

    “Pregnant woman” is the most accurate scientific term I can think
    off. Expectant mother is when the woman wants the child- she is not only
    biologically expecting it but looking forward to it, too.

    Doctors, despite having a scientific profession, are medical professionals first. Their terminology will be medical terminology. They will look on the process of pregnancy as part of procreation.

    That does not change the fact that that part of procreation involves a parasitic relationship while the new organism gestates within the host organism. The value of reproduction is not value to the organism itself, but to the organism’s DNA – which can be viewed as having the objective of propagation, whereas the organism itself has the objective of continuing its own existence.

    The massive investment of resources and effort into a pregnancy is not of high value to the organism itself. It is, in fact, detrimental to the organism’s health, and thus its goal of continuing to exist. That reproduction is the fundamental purpose for which the organism exists does not change this fact.

    The concept of the Right to Life also includes a tacit understanding of the Right to Quality of Life. For example, when you’re looking at someone who will never survive without the assistance of life support machinery, who is in constant, agonizing pain, and your options are ‘drug them up so much they can’t think straight’ or ‘pull the plug’, then is it moral to force them to live in pain? Or to live as helpless captives within their own bodies? Is it even moral to attempt to force them to understand the situation, through filters of pain and drugs?

    My own position is that it is not. And so with a gestating homo sapiens, as well: you can speak of the rights of the child to live, but the developing organism has no meaningful, inherent value. It is, in fact, a blob of tissue, regardless of how far along in its development it is. It has no frame of reference for interaction with its surroundings, and no actual experiences that it will ever place value on. It’s functionally meat, until it starts to be able to interact with the world at large.

    Whatever rights it enjoys, it enjoys because society engenders it with those rights – the natural rights of a gestating human are the same as the natural rights of any other organism: You have the right to exert every ounce of control over your surroundings that you can. Others will attempt to interfere.

    That’s life. There’s no inherent moral value to life. There’s no inherent moral value at all. Morality itself is a societal construct built in order to foment the goals of the group.

    So until the goals of the group are laid out, clearly, and understood by every member of the group, any attempt to fit everything into a moral framework is going to be messy, complicated, and ultimately without universal agreement.

    Personally, I find morality to be a generally good thing – it’s the aggregate self-interest of the group at work. Morality is what says ‘hey, I don’t want you to kill and eat me, so I’m not going to kill and eat you’.

    It’s also, inevitably, really, really biased. The best example has already come up in this thread: ‘Hey, I don’t want you to kill and eat me, but you’re a cow, so I’m going to kill and eat you’.

    What gives humanity the moral standing to make that determination? What gives humanity the moral standing to say it’s ok to eat a cow, but it’s not ok for a tiger to eat a human? Self-interest… and the exercise of that natural right up above: exerting every ounce of control we can over our surroundings. We make it easier for us to kill lots of cattle to eat. We make it harder for tigers to eat us. We reshape the world in ways that we think will suit our needs. By what right? By the only true natural right: Because we can.

    So when you speak of a Right to Life, you’re really talking about a societal agreement. And really, the idea that a potential person’s interests should ever trump the interests of an actual person is just ridiculous.

  • The_L1985

     I think “host” can work, sure.

  • banancat

    I sure as hell haven’t met a pregnant woman who considered herself a mother before the baby was born, outside of a few religious nuts. If it is common anywhere, it is surely a recent phenomenon caused by people pointing out the hypocrisy of the people who think abortion is murder.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Written like someone who’s never caught hell for neglecting to get an expectant mother a mother’s day card.

  • Lori

    Written like someone who’s never caught hell for neglecting to get an expectant mother a mother’s day card.

    Someone may throw hell at you for that, but you are under no obligation to catch it. Just let that stupid shit fall on the ground.

    More seriously, I realize that people we love can really lay on the guilt and I don’t mean to minimize the effect. I know that sometimes there’s nothing for it but to go through the motions. But seriously there is not one damn reason for you ever feel even the slightest bit bad for not buying a mother’s day card for a person who has not yet given birth. Not even if you’re the person who got her pregnant. If it’s some sort of hormonal wackiness then, okay because one can’t really control how and when that hits. Otherwise, just no.

  • banancat

     And even here you referred to her as “expectant mother”, which is an accurate term.  I’ve never known a pregnant woman to go just by “mother” before the child is born.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Accurate if and only if, I’d like to point out, the pregnant person wants/plans to be a mother. And is a she. Not all people with functional uteruses are female.

  • The_L1985

    True, but  I’m so used to Invisible Transpeople that I try not to make the “transmen exist and are basically men with uteri” thing a huge deal.  Most people honestly don’t consider the fact that transpeople exist, until they’re confronted with one.  I know I didn’t until I made e-friends with some transfolks.

  • sekushinonyanko

    They are biologically female and choose to take on a traditionally masculine gender role. They have uteri because they are female. Sex is biological, gender is social.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Excuse me, no. Gender is not about gender roles. Gender is not about reproductive organs. Men with uteruses DO EXIST.

  • sekushinonyanko

    Yes gender is about gender roles. That’s why we call them “gender roles,” because they are roles that people take on based on gender. If a person is assigned female at birth, and chooses to take on a male gender role in society, then that person is a transman. The reason for the presence of a uterus is that they are biologically female. The reason we call them a man is because they have taken on that gender role and that is how they live their lives. What makes someone male or female, biologically speaking, is their reproductive organs. That’s why we still assign sex for animals that lack culture, thus by extension lack gender. A female mammal has a uterus with which to carry young, and has breasts that lactate. A male mammal has a penis which is used to impregnate female animals. Humans are mammals. Gender roles are separate from basic biological fact, and are thus mutable in a way that biological sex is not.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Let me put this in little words.

    I have a uterus. I have ovaries. I have breasts. I have a vagina.

    I AM NOT FEMALE.

    And it’s not because I have chosen to take on a different gender role, either. I am genderfluid; that means my gender changes. There is no gender role for ‘gender changes’. I am usually, and am today, agender. That means my gender is none of the above. There is no gender role for ‘none of the above’.

  • sekushinonyanko

    A person’s gender identification has nothing to do with their physical sex. Your physical sex is female, your gender identification is whatever you say it is.

  • EllieMurasaki

    CISSPLAINING CISGENDER PERSON NEEDS TO SHUT THE FUCK UP AND STOP TRYING TO TELL THE GENDERQUEER PERSON THEY UNDERSTAND GENDERQUEER AND TRANSGENDER BETTER THAN THE GENDERQUEER PERSON DOES.

  • sekushinonyanko

    If you don’t know that sex and gender are not the same thing, then I’m not sure what else to say. You have a right to identify yourself the way you choose, that doesn’t mean you get to decide biological reality is not real and yell at me if I don’t go along with you. Your physical body is a real thing, you live in it, and it has certain real characteristics. What these characteristics mean in the context of society is a different question than whether they are or are not what they are or are not.

  • EllieMurasaki

    ‘Sex’ is an action, like ‘jump’. ‘Gender role’ is a societal construct. ‘Gender’ is a state of being. ‘Biological reality’ is you’re deliberately misunderstanding me.

  • sekushinonyanko

    The definition of sex, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
    1 : either of the two major forms of individuals that occur in many species and that are distinguished respectively as female or male especially on the basis of their reproductive organs and structures
    2
    : the sum of the structural, functional, and behavioral characteristics of organisms that are involved in reproduction marked by the union of gametes and that distinguish males and females
    3
    a : sexually motivated phenomena or behaviorb : sexual intercourse
    4
    : genitalia.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Merriam-Webster definition of ‘cisgender’: big fat blank. I do not therefore trust Merriam-Webster to correctly define words related to gender issues.

  • sekushinonyanko

    Well in that case, it’s impossible to tell if we agree or disagree if we aren’t starting from the same definitions.

  • EllieMurasaki

    No, it’s quite easy to tell. You came in here asserting that ‘a trans man is a woman who’s taken on a male gender role’. There are at least three things wrong with the bit in single quotes. You followed that up by asserting that one’s assigned-at-birth gender (which is the actual term for the thing you’re trying to misuse the word ‘sex’ for) is more relevant than one’s actual gender. Couple more things wrong with that. Somewhere in there you said you know more about gender issues in general and my gender issues in specific than I do, when I am the actual genderqueer person in this conversation. And you capped it by asserting that the dictionary is right on a matter where the dictionary is demonstrably (and I demonstrated!) wrong.

    Shut the fuck up and go the fuck away.

  • sekushinonyanko

    After getting an opportunity to sleep on it, I decided that I owe you an apology. We clearly have different ideas on sex and gender that don’t even benefit from coming from a basis of the same assumptions, definitions or interpretations of facts on the matter, so really we’re sort of talking around each other. I don’t like the idea that nothing, not even things specifically relating to female reproductive care, are considered to be something that has something to do with women, and I personally feel like, since biology is static and culture is not, it’s pushing against a brick wall to try to conflate the two in the event one wishes to move them around. But that none of that really necessitates being rude to you; I was in a bad mood and feeling rather pedantic.

    I’m sorry.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Pregnancy and related issues aren’t female issues. They’re female-assigned-at-birth issues. Cis women, trans men, and about half of all genderqueer individuals are female-assigned-at-birth; most but not all FAAB people are female. Just remember that.

    Apology accepted.

  • aunursa

    I sure as hell haven’t met a pregnant woman who considered herself a mother before the baby was born, outside of a few religious nuts.

    I think there are many pregnant women who consider themselves moms (or at least “expectant mothers”) before the baby is born.  I see many references on pregnancy and new parent sites to the pregnant woman as “mom” and her partner as “dad” — by the webmasters and the women themselves.  Many refer to their “baby” and identify the fetus by the name they have chosen.

    Just Mommies
    Baby and Bump forums
    Baby Center pregnancy boards
    Expectant Mother Parking Signs

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bill-McDonough/100001260964707 Bill McDonough

     I think there are many pregnant women who consider themselves moms (or
    at least “expectant mothers”) before the baby is born.  I see many
    references on pregnancy and new parent sites to the pregnant woman
    as “mom” and her partner as “dad” — by the webmasters and the women
    themselves.  Many refer to their “baby” and identify the fetus by the
    name they have chosen.

    And there’s good reason for that: going from ‘not mom’ to ‘mom’ is a psychological paradigm shift. By doing it over time, and giving themselves that adjustment before the actual physical demands of ‘there is a newborn in the house’ add in on top of it, they’re making the shift far less burdensome.

    Think of it as putting their foot on the clutch when changing mental gears. A little lead time for huge changes in outlook never hurts.

  • banancat

     Again, I’m pretty sure this is a new phenomenon that has come about because anti-abortion activists were called on their hypocrisy and so they used their power to change the language use and therefore the perception of pregnancy.  There’s also some anti-feminist backlash that has led to a certain subset becoming baby-obsessed.  And of course, the internet will accumulate and magnify anything because everyone can find like-minded people.  But a pregnant woman still isn’t automatically a mother and we can challenge this change by using the better term.

  • Münchner Kindl

     

    I think you exaggerate.

    Yes, that’s why I called it the Extremes of both positions.

  • stardreamer42

     The problem here is that your other extreme:
    pro-life who don’t want to allow abortion no matter what circumstances,
    esp. in case of health issues of the mother, rape, minors sexually
    abused

    really does exist; we voted a shitload of them out of office in 2012, based on their actual public statements.  If you (general, not personal) have to make up an opposition position to be equally untenable with one that’s out there for real, the problem isn’t with the opposition.

  • Münchner Kindl

     Again, returning to the survey, guessing at what the purple really mean* , the most likely position to me is between the extremes that shape the debate.

    Re-defining the debate with facts – that most (numbers!) women only get abortions for personal reasons in the first trimesters; that a x% of women already have one or more children and are in a relationship (not slutty teens) – would probably push a lot more people towards pro-choice = allowing safe abortions, but not taking it lightly.

    *a better survey would have asked clearer questions – maybe they will return with a more detailed one?

  • aunursa

    a better survey would have asked clearer questions – maybe they will return with a more detailed one?

    I agree with you there.  It would be more helpful to understand the respondents’ views on more specific grounds.

  • Isabel C.

    The first one, yes. The second two…you know what? There’s nothing wrong with being a “slutty” teen, and certainly nothing that would condemn you to nine months of childbearing.

    Likewise, I think that the attitude where we will only allow you control over your body if you can prove that you’re really taking it seriously–with, what, the appropriate amount of hair-tearing and breast-beating?–is horrible. 

  • Münchner Kindl

     You misunderstood me. A major argument of the religious no-choice groups is that only slutty teens want abortions, which they could avoid if they kept chaste, and that a baby is wonderful.

    Showing them that people in marriage/ relationship – which by Biblical definition (two boxes) is not slutty – and who already have kids and therefore know how wonderful they are have abortions undermines that argument for **the religious people themselves**.

    I personally don’t care about slutty teens. I do think teens shouldn’t change partners nilly-willy because I think sex is not just like an itch to scratch but part of something bigger so it should be in a relationship which is also bigger. I think one-night stands are sad because empty like a Big Mac is sad compared to real food. But I’m not forcing anybody to behave non-slutty.

    I also wish for teens (and older people) to take birth control, but again, we’re not forcing anybody.

    Likewise, I think that the attitude where we will only allow you control
    over your body if you can prove that you’re really taking it
    seriously–with, what, the appropriate amount of hair-tearing and
    breast-beating?–is horrible.

    No hair-tearing. If you personally come into a (secular) counseling center and say “I’m at 6 weeks, it’s just a blob, I know …[rattle off above said], I know the medical risks [rattle off], can I get the certificate already” I venture to guess that nobody would force you to  cry crocodile tears about destroying a potential life. (I might be wrong, but I have not heard horror stories like the ones Fred linked to about showing pictures via ultrasound and going on and on and on about how wonderful kids are).

    But then, careful consideration of all issues – medical including psychological – should be done before other operations, too. In some cases it’s required: if you want to get cosmetic surgery paid by the general health insurance, you must prove that it’s necessary by taking psychological counseling. If you look hideous from a disease or accident, no problem. If you’re vain and want lifted, a psychologist might help you better with your image problems. (Most people who don’t want that pay out of pocket, often in Eastern Europe where it’s cheaper).

  • The_L1985

     The word “slutty” is not a good word to use.  If you’re referring to someone who has a lot of sex partners, the correct word is “promiscuous.”

    “Slutty” is a form of judgement on people, usually women, for daring to have a sex drive or to dress in something more revealing than a burqa.

  • Isabel C.

    Yes, this. 

  • Münchner Kindl

     Again, I was using the arguments of the religious themselves, not my speech. (And it’s shorter than promiscious … you have too many latin foreign words in English!)

  • Isabel C.

    Right, but I don’t think we should pander to the religious groups at the cost of shaming people who have perfectly valid lifestyles. (I’m not much for Big Macs, myself, but I’ve enjoyed both homemade dinners and bags of chips, in, er, both the real and metaphorical senses, and neither really interferes much with the other. But that’s down to personal preference.) And I don’t see any real need to. Even here, where we have a ton of evil fanatic assholes, abortion is still a right. Why give them any ground?

    Which is, I think, a major part of our disagreement. You keep talking about compromising, and I…don’t see why I should, or why my country’s laws should. 

    *If* we’re talking the same medical consult that accompanies any other major procedure–here are the options, here’s the after-care, here’s where you can go to find out more, etc–and if that consult doesn’t impede the ability of women to get abortions in timely fashions, that’s one thing. But if it’s showing movies about fetal development, implementing waiting periods, or asking people why they want to get abortions, then no. 

  • Münchner Kindl

     Um, all I suggested were telling the facts – that x% of women who get abortions are married with previous children, not teens.

    I explained how the argument would work for the religious, but I did not mean to use that language in public. Educating the majority with facts is just facts.

    Second, a majority of your culture and country is religious. Though most of them – according to surveys Fred sometimes post – are not frothing at the mouth fundies, but more relaxed, they still consider a fetus important and sex not lightly and marriage important, just not the insane degrees that the fundies go to.

    You keep talking about compromising, and I…don’t see why I should, or why my country’s laws should.

    But in practice, half of the US states already have counseling – only very bad counseling with a hard agenda (plus bad sex ed, plus bad access to contraception) or terrible things like vaginal ultrasounds plus bad access to providers.

    If you manage to reframe the debate to get the majority of sensible people on your side – like Fred “safe but rare” then you can change not only the currently terrible laws but also, by having the majority on your side, prevent assholes from enacting other laws.

    After all, if the fundies are only a small voice in the big portion of Christians, why do extremist assholes who want to ban abortion get elected at all? I can only conclude because the moderate Christians also vote for them from the misconception that are spread by the anti-choice side.

    So reframing the debate and pulling the moderate majority to your side should allow moderate politicans to be elected to make moderate laws. Because what use is Roe vs. Wade theoretically allowing unlimited abortion if in practice it’s not available, or terrible to sit through?

    *If* we’re talking the same medical consult that accompanies any other
    major procedure–here are the options, here’s the after-care, here’s
    where you can go to find out more, etc–and if that consult doesn’t
    impede the ability of women to get abortions in timely fashions, that’s
    one thing

    No, that’s not what I meant. Medical explanation about risks involved and medical alternatives are done by the doctor; social consequences of having a kid, financial aid and psychological counseling for those “moderate Christian” woman who don’t want to take a life but need an abortion because [list of reasons] is done by other trained counselors for those things.

  • other lori

    I do wonder how opinions on abortion would change if people’s perception matched the reality: that the majority of women having abortions are white teens, but are women of color (over 60%), and that most are poor, in their 20s, and many are already mothers.

    Cynically, I wonder if some pro-lifers  might be a little less ardent if theut y realized that it was poor single women of color who were having most abortions, not middle-class white teens.

    And I also wonder if pro-choicers might be willing to take seriously the idea that for many women abortion isn’t about not wanting children, or even not wanting a child at a specific time, but about lacking the resources to have a child. I don’t think a woman who feels she *can’t* have another child because she lacks money/adequate housing/child care/etc. can really be said to be making a free choice. Making sure that all women are able to continue any pregnancy they want to continue to term–not in the abstract, but in a real, practical sense–has to be part of the pro-choice movement, and unfortunately the right to *have* children and have the support one needs to have children (an issue that affects minority women far more than white women) has been one that the largely white, largely middle-class pro-choice movement hasn’t always been awesome about acknowledging.

  • other lori

    And that should be “the majority *aren’t* white teens.”

  • The_L1985

     “I do wonder how opinions on abortion would change if people’s perception
    matched the reality: that the majority of women having abortions are
    white teens, but are women of color (over 60%),”

    This part, I knew as an ardent anti-abortion jerk*.  It was cited as “evidence” that Planned Parenthood was still in the business of eugenics, and that pro-choicers all wanted the black population to die off by forcing abortions on them.

    “And I also wonder if pro-choicers might be willing to take seriously the
    idea that for many women abortion isn’t about not wanting children, or
    even not wanting a child at a specific time, but about lacking the
    resources to have a child.”

    That aspect is why I became pro-choice.  “Not wanting a child” had been painted as “I want to have tons and tons of unprotected sex with lots of men, but I don’t want any babies to come from it” so often when I was growing up that that particular lie took me ages to shake off.

    —————————-
    * I really was a massive jerk about it.  Don’t ask me for details.

  • Münchner Kindl

     

    Cynically, I wonder if some pro-lifers  might be a little less ardent if
    theut y realized that it was poor single women of color who were having
    most abortions, not middle-class white teens.

    One of Fred links shortly ago was a list of anti-choice ad campaigns without women (because it’s only about babies); one showed a black girl (maybe 8 years old?) with the caption that the most dangerous place for African-American girls is the mother’s womb.

    Which is … offensive and wrong on so many levels.

  • Carstonio

    I explicitly named improvement of economic opportunities and support for mothers as two ways of reducing abortions. 

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

     Wow, that’s one huge pile of straw.

    I know no one who is pro-choice who is not also supportive of a woman’s right to bear children as they choose, and are generally supportive of programs that help families and children(universal health care, day care, food stamps, housing and financial assistance). 

    It’s those who claim to be pro-life that refuse to care for the post-born, that defund programs that allow women to make the decision to keep a child. 

    And no, telling pro-lifers that its poor women of color having the most abortions won’t help, because they don’t care.  They want poor women of color to have less children, it’s the white teenagers aborting they want to stop. 

    There is a heavy element of racism involved in almost all of the positions the religious right takes, don’t think that their stance on abortion isn’t related to that.  I know many anti-choicers(better term than pro-life and a thousand times more accurate) who vocally support the forced sterilization of women of color who “have too many kids”.  How does preventing a woman from bearing anymore children valuing life? 

  • other lori

    I think it’s overly idealistic to imagine that the pro-choice movement has been as dedicated and serious about addressing the ability of women to have children  as it has about making sure that affluent white women never have to bear a child they don’t want. And, it’s been really successful: unplanned pregnancies are far less common among that group, and they are generally able to access the reproductive care they want and need.

    Sure, the pro-life movement (I don’t like the term, either) is hugely racist, but we can’t pretend that the feminist and pro-choice movements don’t have their own problems with racism. Ignoring the experiences of poor women and women of color has long been a problem with feminism, and the pro-choice movement has certainly not escaped that. Simply the fact that it’s been framed as “pro-choice”–and nearly all about abortion–rather than “reproductive justice” is telling. There seem to be many pro-choicers who are very concerned about making sure that they never have to have or continue an unplanned pregnancy (which is totally understandable and fine) but not concerned or even aware of the other side of the coin, that there are women in our society for whom having a child is the choice that is inaccessible for them.

    I’ve just had too many discussions with pro-choicers arguing for why China’s one-child policy is really an understandable, not-so-bad idea, or why cutting off welfare benefits for women after x number of children to discourage them from breeding is a good idea, to really believe that the pro-choice movement is just as dedicated to making sure women can have children as it is to making sure they don’t have to.

  • The_L1985

     “I’ve just had too many discussions with pro-choicers arguing for why
    China’s one-child policy is really an understandable, not-so-bad idea,
    or why cutting off welfare benefits for women after x number of children
    to discourage them from breeding is a good idea”

    Dear gods…you mean that kind of person actually exists, and isn’t just a straw man?  I’d always been hoping it was just a straw man.

  • JustoneK

    No, some of those I’ve heard in person too.  The world is a strange and mysterious place, which is why I never leave the house.

  • other lori

    I always hoped they were straw people, too. I have a B.A. in women’s studies, and I a graduate certificate in women’s studies. I used to argue vehemently that no feminists actually believed stuff like that, or made fun of women for being stay-at-home moms, or viewed all men as potential rapists, or any of the stereotypes, because I’d never met any real-life feminists like that.

    And then I encountered the feminist blogosphere. Especially, but not exclusively, where it intersects with the “child-free” movement, it’s filled with some of the most  misanthropic people I’ve ever encountered. 

    But, pre-internet, I also thought all atheists were amazingly tolerant, open-minded, progressive people. 

    Of course, I’d also never met a young-earth creationist before the internet, and would have probably said that such people didn’t exist, either. My non-internet life has been pretty charmed, I guess.

    At first I hoped it was maybe all just performance art.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     I have not yet been 100% convinced that it isn’t performance art.
    Some people are very committed to their art.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I don’t disagree with anything that you say, because there are still plenty of pro-choice supporters that feel that way, but that is still an awfully big brush you’re painting with IMO.  I find that the advocates I speak with don’t believe that pro-choice is so narrowly defined, and those are the people who are trying to expand the definition of pro-choice to a more expansive term.

    And I will say that the constant need to police our own advocates about whether we are properly advocating can feel a hindrance to the reproductive rights movement, our tendency to do that is a GOOD THING overall, because the fact that no discussion on “abortion in the US” without also making sure we are discussing the full scope of reproductive rights, like access to birth control AND prenatal care, paternal leave, in addition to abortion is how we will expand movement beyond the old definitions to a more inclusive definition a solid majority of the voting public supports. 

    Eat the purple people, pretty much. 

  • Isabel C.

    *If* the choice comes down to the kind of mandatory counseling you describe or the kind a lot of states have now, I’m with you–but I don’t think it is. I think the majority of sensible people *are* on our side*, that a lot of the others will–hopefully–die off over the next ten to twenty years, and that fighting with every weapon in our arsenal will achieve as much or more as compromise.

    And if we do have to compromise on mandatory counseling, I still don’t want to frame it as a good thing in and of itself: it might be something we have to do in order to get the majority of things we want, but the lesser of two evils is still an evil, and especially here, I think it’s good to call it that.

    “Yeah, we have mandatory counseling–it’s an annoying concession to the wingnuts and I hope we can get rid of it soon, but at least it’s a neutral party doing it,” would go over much better than “We have mandatory counseling and it’s a great thing because women don’t know what they really want and it’s always a tough decision…”

    Because here’s the thing: it’s not a tough decision for everyone. It wouldn’t be for me; it wasn’t for other people I know. It’s not desirable–no major medical procedure is a walk in the park, and expense is no good–but making across-the-board statements like “it’s a tough decision” is rather insulting and othering to those of us for whom it’s not. *A lot of the really Godawful people get elected because of district line wooginess, because they prey on other fears, and because people aren’t educated. And also because we, as liberals, have traditionally been kinda chickenshit when it comes to fighting back. 

  • Carstonio

    What you’re missing is that “slutty” is a sexist concept, a double standard regarding sexual morality for the genders.

  • Münchner Kindl

     

    we voted a shitload of them out of office in 2012, based on their actual public statements.

    From how I see it, the discussion in your country has two problems:

    it’s dominated by the lies of the pro-choice extremists – the facts of the other side don’t get through*

    There is a strong incentive on punishing the women by shaming (which ties in with the false representation above)

    The other side is seen as being just as unreasonable because Roe vs Wade is represented to mean “abortion up to 9 months = no problem”.

    An actual law “Abortion only 1st trimester” might help. Or maybe the patriarchial attitude to owning/ ruling about women is too strong.

    I know that mandated counseling plus abortion only 1st trimester (plus medical indication plus rape) is a workable compromise because we have no outcries from major groups here. (Well the catholics complain, but they also forbid condoms and pills, only allowing calendar method, which is unlogical and nobody, not even their own laypeople, listen to them).

    There are no major groups dominating the discussion about stopping baby-murder or feminists standing up for the right of women to life. We did have that during the 70s and 80s – and those protests did lead to the revision of the old law to the current state.

    The complementary measures – sex ed in schools, no-shame prescription of the pill etc., condoms everywhere – were introduced in the 60s and 70s, so that also keeps unwanted pregnancies down, avoiding the problem of terminating them for personal problems. (What has risen is abortion for Down syndrome after amniocentesia, which is a seperate problem).

    *partially the problem not only with right-wing media, but with that stupid attitude of “fair and balanced reporting” = letting two extremists talk without doing work myself, the public will figure out where the truth is. I don’t know if your media will ever get back on track and try to tell the public hard provable facts about issues.

  • The_L1985

     “it’s dominated by the lies of the pro-choice extremists – the facts of the other side don’t get through*”

    I believe you meant “pro-life” here?

  • Münchner Kindl

     Oh yes of course – duh. Concentrating so hard and still picked the wrong word.

  • Carstonio

     

    lies of the pro-choice extremists

    Such as? In my experience, it’s the pro-lifers who wrongly claim that Roe legalized abortion up until birth.

  • Münchner Kindl

     I mistyped. Of course I meant the anti-choice (pro-life) extremists.

  • stardreamer42

     pro-choicers who consider a baby of 1 day before birth “just tissue”
    that can be aborted without any qualms or consideration at all

    Y’know, I just flat don’t believe those pro-choicers exist outside of forced-birther mythology. Certainly I’ve never met one, or even seen one in the wild (i.e. blog posts, etc.) Like the mythical straw-feminist who screams abuse at a man who holds the door for her, they’re a construct designed to make the opposition feel better about themselves.

  • Isabel C.

    Yeah, this.

    It’s the equivalent of the mythical woman who has five kids just for the welfare check. Even assuming you don’t have moral qualms about either instance…why the hell would anyone *want* to do either of those things?  

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

     I know plenty of poor women who’ve made the calculus that having another child on assistance will provide for their family better than attempts to find poorly paid jobs that don’t provide benefits, and I can’t fault them for that calculus, people do what they have to to get by.

    That of course doesn’t mean they WANT to do those things. 

  • Isabel C.

    No, I agree. I think I phrased that badly–the myth is the woman who has X number of kids purely to get assistance, without actually wanting the kids themselves or whatever, not that she is on assistance and gets pregnant, or has X number of kids or gets pregnant and can’t find a job with benefits, as you say. Both of which are sad actual situations, but speak to the horrific nature of work in America rather than any failure on the woman’s part. 

  • Münchner Kindl

     Really? That … surprises me. Like the “cadillac driving welfare queens” I thought the “woman who has tons of children to receive benefits and gets rich” is a myth / lie from consies.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

     Well, they don’t get rich.  But mostly they are facing a expiration of welfare assistance, and another child will make them eligible again.  Plus the amount of food stamps they receive will increase.

    It is no way to live.  These people would prefer to have a decent paying job with access to quality child care and health benefits, but the opportunities for these things tend to go away when the first unexpected pregnancy occurs. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Yeah, me neither. I frankly consider it an obscene exaggeration that should be punishable in some way or form for “pro-lifers” to circulate the idea that a woman, in her late stages of pregnancy would casually go “Oh well! La-di-da!” and abort on a total lark.

  • Lori

     

    and pro-choicers who consider a baby of 1 day before birth “just
    tissue” that can be aborted without any qualms or consideration at all –
    are appalling to any half-way rational and emphatic person?   

    These people do not exist. You know who actually exists? People who believe that decisions about pregnancy should always be up to the pregnant woman and her doctor and only the woman pregnant woman and her doctor.

    As a practical matter, even if a woman did for some reason decide that she wanted to abort a healthy fetus 1 day before birth she would be unable to find a doctor to perform the procedure. There are literally only 4 doctors in the entire US who currently perform 3rd trimester abortions for any reason.

    As long as you continue to traffic in the fiction of terrible people wanting to abort healthy fetuses in the 3rd trimester for trivial reasons you’re pretty much disqualifying
    yourself from consideration as a half-way rational and empathetic person.

  • AnonaMiss

    What do the purple people want in PRRI’s abortion poll?

    Presumably, not to be eaten.

  • The_L1985

     It took me a minute, but…wow.  People still remember that song!

  • Tricksterson

    And we, the winged, the one eyed, and one horned remember that racist tripe as well!

  • http://www.facebook.com/WingedWyrm Charles Scott

    “What do the purple people want in PRRI’s abortion poll?”
    “Presumably, not to be eaten.”

    You know, as much as that is a joke, it’s probably also true.  They probably self-identify as both out of a stance that they’re not as extreme as one side and not as extreme as that one side makes the other side out to be.  But, they also self identify as not-the-enemy.

    They don’t want to be the promiscuously and thoughtlessly selfish enemy of the pro-lifers.  They don’t want to be the oppressive and thoughtlessly spiteful enemy of the pro-choicers.  They just don’t want to be caught up in that fight.

    A part of what they could be saying is, when being asked which group of flying-purple-people-eaters do they want to offend, “Don’t eat me, bro!”

  • Carstonio

    My guess — and this is only a guess — is that this suggests a moral
    opposition to abortion along with a perhaps-reluctant acknowledgement
    that it nonetheless ought to remain a legal option.

    I’ve been saying that “pro-choice” and “pro-life” should refer only to once’s stance on the legal status of abortion, but obviously many others define these differently. To me, the poll reveals the futility of simplistic terms in capturing different positions and the reasons people hold them.

    I’m curious about the ethnic profile of the Unaffiliated group and the gender breakdown for all the groups. As Fred has described, the abortion issue in the US is largely a proxy for larger battles over privilege, particularly the role of women in the family and in society.

  • other lori

    I’ve generally thought that “in favor of legal abortion access” and “opposed to legal abortion access” would be much more accurate terms. But, they’re not pithy.

  • http://twitter.com/upsidedwnworld Rebecca Trotter

    I’m too lazy to look it up now, but there’s a lot of research which has found that there’s a small core of true believers at each end – those who thing abortion should be legal throughout pregnancy, without restrictions and those who think it should be illegal in all circumstances. About 13% at each end. There are also people who call themselves pro-choice who would severely restrict abortion and people who call themselves pro-life who would allow abortions in most circumstances in which it’s already allowed. 

  • Carstonio

    My principle is that a woman shouldn’t be forced to either carry a pregnancy to term or to have an abortion.

    The idea of “legal without restrictions” is misleading. First, for all practical purposes there’s no such thing as elective abortion late in the pregnancy. The concept of “partial-birth” is propaganda that obscures the fact that late-term procedures are almost always done out of medical necessity.

    Legal restrictions don’t work if one’s goal is to reduce elective abortions. They work great if one’s goal is to punish women who don’t want to be mothers. Or in the case of exceptions for rape or incest, punishing women who want to have sex without becoming mothers.

    I hear far too many pro-lifers insist that laws against abortion are about “standing up for the unborn,” as if we were talking about issuing proclamations. Perhaps many of the people who favor some restrictions on abortion make a similar philosophical mistake. They might oppose elective late-term abortions and believe that these should be illegal, not considering the purpose of law and the consequences of this type of law for women. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/tomstone Thomas Stone

    “My principle is that a woman shouldn’t be forced to either carry a pregnancy to term or to have an abortion.”
    I get the feeling a fair number of anti-abortion zealots are motivated more by the prospect forcing women into uncomfortable situations (as punishment for sex) than any concern for their children, whom they certainly don’t seem to worry about much after they’re born.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     There are a possibly equal number who simply don’t think of the women involved at all. The women are at best thought of as being sort of tangentially related to the issue.

  • Münchner Kindl

    Disqus ate my formatting. *shakes fist at disqus*

  • http://www.facebook.com/tomstone Thomas Stone

    The idea of abortion makes me profoundly uncomfortable, for various reasons, but it’s one of those situations where a.) as I don’t have a uterus, it’s really not my call, b.) the opposition to legal abortion is so consistently and so clearly oriented far more towards shaming and punishing women than towards reducing the number of abortions that occur and c.) my recollection is that criminalizing abortions doesn’t significantly reduce the frequency with which they happen.

    Thus, I guess you could say that on a personal level, I’m somewhat purple- I can’t really justify abortion as something that I would ever be comfortable being part of, and if I were ever to get a woman pregnant, I would absolutely offer to take full custody of the child or provide whatever other support was in my power to make it easier to make a different choice- but as far as I recall, there is not a single legal restriction or circumscription on abortion that I thought was just or defensible.

  • Fusina

    I am in the purple. I don’t particularly like abortion, but I believe it should be legal. I also think that contraceptives should be available and inexpensive. I think abortion is a riskier form of birth control than oral contraceptives, by that I mean that any time you do an “operation” there are risks. But life itself carries many risks.

    I am also against capital punishment. I dislike intensely what our prison system has become. I would like it to be a place where people have access to classes and may study for careers that don’t involve breaking the law. The problem is, as I pointed out to my children, you can’t make people do things. I, as a parent, can impose conditions on my kids lives that cause them discomfort, but I cannot make them do a thing. All I can do is put choices in front of them and make the rewards for what I deem good choices more attractive than the rewards they would get from what I deem poor choices.

    as it is written in Deuteronomy 30.19, “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live”

    Err, not that I have promised them death, just loss of the use of my electricity to power their electronic gadgetry.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Well, you can stop worrying. 

    The hypothetical woman who uses abortion as birth control is a pro-forced birther strawman. It’s one of the things they use to convince the crowd that women who have abortions are evil, by putting forth the idea that women do it casually and all the time.

    Much the same way that they say things like “Imagine a woman deciding to abort just a few days before she’s due!” but that not only never happens, but isn’t even an option. Women who develop health issues in the last ~8 weeks are delivered, not given an abortion. 

  • Fusina

     Point taken. I was thinking of the loonies in Congress who want to restrict contraceptive use and added that in. That said, I spent many hours sitting with a friend who was waiting on the results of her amnio test, as if the child tested positive for Downs she planned to abort. She had many good reasons, one of which being that she was 41. Her husband is disabled, and she feared ending up the primary caregiver for both husband and child, and she was very concerned as she did not think she was up to it. So I know from that how the decision is not one taken lightly. I would like to see abortion stop due to not having unwanted or damaged fetuses, but I do not see that happening.

    I also read the news. The woman in Ireland who died due to being unable to get an abortion to remove the dead fetus in her uterus–that would be why I support the right to get one–I would rather have abortion on demand than women dying from that sort of thing. I also remember reading about a woman who was raped and forced to have the baby–I believe this was in the Sudan? and her only question was, “How can I come to love this child?” My heart broke for her and the child–for her because every day she sees the result of this vile act, and for the child, who had nothing to do with it and yet is also paying. Better for this to have ended in abortion, than that a child should be born to such misery.

    I am a woman, I am raising a daughter. We have discussed contraception. We have discussed condom usage. We have discussed abortions. We have discussed teenage pregnancy. She has friends in high school with children. She has seen how difficult it is. She does not know, now, if she would be able to emotionally handle either having a child or aborting a pregnancy. I have told her that she is in charge of her body, that if she wants to do something, she is allowed–although I banned tattoos until she was 18, and then only if she pays for them herself. I am a mishmosh of contradicting opinions–which makes me normal.

    I am tired. I am tired of injustice. I am tired of people with too much money pleading poor when it comes time to pay the piper. I am tired of people with power removing what little power remains to those without much because “they don’t understand how to use it.” I am not “the little woman” “the helpmeet”, I am a person. I have a mind. I know how to use it. My sexual identity is not what I think with. And I am finding it harder and harder to go out of my house, out of fear of my fellow humans and how stupid so many of them seem to be–and how many of those who are stupid are in positions of power and authority.

  • Tricksterson

    Which to a teenager is probably worse, especially if they are of the goth or emo persuasion.

  • Fusina

     If you are referring to the electricity usage, gamers also find it a horror beyond belief.

  • aunursa

    My guess — and this is only a guess — is that this suggests a moral opposition to abortion along with a perhaps-reluctant acknowledgement that it nonetheless ought to remain a legal option.

    My guess would be that (many of) those respondents who identify as both pro-choice and pro-life have different positions depending on the time point in the pregnancy.  My guess would be that they support the right of the woman to choose abortion for any reason in the first trimester, and they oppose the choice of abortion for almost any reason* in the third trimester.

    They identify as pro-choice for the first part of the pregnancy, and as pro-life for the last part.

    * The exceptions being: if the mother’s life is in danger, and for most, rape and incest. (Presumably few victims of rape or incest would wait until the third trimester.)

  • Carstonio

    The issue is whether the law should prevent women from having third-trimester abortions, not whether individuals believe that abortion is the wrong choice at that point. I would apply my principle against forcing women to give birth equally to all trimesters.

    If one’s goal is to reduce abortions, in one trimester or in all of them, the criminal justice system is the wrong route both morally and pragmatically. I’ve said that someone who opposes all abortion should take seriously the reasons why some women choose them, and favor measures that change the circumstances behind those reasons. (Economic opportunities, sex education, contraception access, support for mothers…did I miss any?) I would say the same thing to someone who opposes only late-term abortions.

  • Münchner Kindl

    Okay, short version of the law wall of text:
    218 says Abortion is illegal and will be punished.
    218a says Abortion will not be punished if the woman
    1. had counseling, is no more than 12 weeks after conception (and the termination was done by a doctor with consent by the pregnant woman)
    2. Medical indication, no time limit: to avert health or death from the woman
    3. Rape exception
    4. Court can waive punishment if pregnant woman was under severe stress/ duress/ problems at that time.
    219 explains how the counseling has to look like and refers to a specific law that gives the details, called “Pregnancy conflict law”.

  • The_L1985

     Thank you.  That’s a lot more clear. :)

  • banancat

    I also wonder how many people think “pro-life” has nothing to do with abortion.

  • The_L1985

     Is that even possible in the US?  This is kind of a high-profile controversy.

  • Isabel C.

    Right, and even neutral counseling, if it’s mandatory, is paternalistic and condescending. I’m over eighteen, I know what I’m doing, and I’d like to get it over and done with before it gets more complicated, thanks. I ran the risk (though, to credit both my obgyns, it didn’t materialize) of that shit quite enough when looking into sterilization.

    I think that’s why there’s a lot of push-back against the whole regret-and-remorse thing. (Also? Anyone can regret *any decision* they make. It doesn’t mean everyone does, or that other women need counseling, or whatever.) Because no, fuck you, I do know what I’m doing, and if I regret it later, then…I’ll deal with it later, with resources. 

  • Münchner Kindl

     In what way is it paternalistic? You can consider it an advocate for the unborn child who also has a right to life – you believe in the antagonstic system, right, so one advocate for the child and one for the pregnant woman is fair.

    And neutral counseling (Planned Parenthood would be close, I think) is not about regret-and-remorse. It’s about considering all the ramifications, exploring all the options of the decisions.

    And what has being over 18 to do with condescing if given advice? When getting surgery (if not emergency) or looking for a job or making any big decision, people usually get together with friends, mentors or relatives because making the right decision is hard. Another voice/ viewpoint, or just simply a sounding-board to figure things out loud and make them clear is valuable.

    If you were to insist that because you’re over 18 you no longer need or want or take any advice, you would be showing yourself to be immature.

  • Isabel C.

    Because, especially in the first trimester, it’s not a child to a lot of women, and it doesn’t have a right to life. Saying that the system is “fair” because it provides an advocate for something that you haven’t proven *deserves* an advocate is starting from false assumptions. “You can consider it an advocate for the unborn child who also has a right to life” is like saying “You can consider it an advocate for the polka-dotted space aliens who need to know your harmonic vibration,” where I’m concerned. Or, to go back to my earlier metaphor, saying I need to sit down for half an hour with a vegetarian before I order a steak.

    The thing about advice is: if I want it, I will ask for it. I’ll ask my friends. I’ll ask people I consider qualified. If I don’t ask, and someone offers advice anyhow? That person is generally an asshat. (There are a few exceptions where close friends, or my mom, can start out with “Hey, can I offer a suggestion about your finances?” or “Hey, I need to tell you that you should maybe reconsider that eyeshadow?” but those exceptions are a) few and far between, and b) involve close friends, or my mom.) If I say that I’m not interested in advice and the person continues? That person can get out of my life, preferably by going off to fuck themselves.

    If I go in for an abortion, I know the options. I know the ramifications. You’re welcome to say that counseling is available, to ask if I’d like it, and to prominently display pamphlets and fliers in your office. Anything beyond that is intrusive, condescending, and unwelcome; frankly, if it was mandatory here and the situation came up, I’d spend the entire counseling session either singing at the top of my lungs (if you treat me like a child, I might as well act like one) or reading a book. 

  • Münchner Kindl

     So you are so adamant that you don’t be treated as child that you are ready to act like a child and by denying a compromise deny all women the oppurtinity?

    And the doctor who does the procedure is exempt from counseling, to avoid any conflicts.

    The thing about advice is: if I want it, I will ask for it. I’ll ask my
    friends. I’ll ask people I consider qualified. If I don’t ask, and
    someone offers advice anyhow? That person is generally an asshat.

    So people trained for counseling, up to date on all laws and help, are less qualified than your friends? Yes, that’s what an adult person … doesn’t say. And anybody who gives you unasked advice is an asshat? You know, maybe people treat you like a child because you very strongly come across like one. You give the picture of someone stamping their feet saying “But I’m grown-up, I don’t have to listen, I know everything!” – which is the opposite of adult.

    And refusing compromises to push extreme versions, even if they have less chance of suceeding? Yes, very rational.

  • JustoneK

    And begin the same old arguments.

    Protip:  Calling someone childish for not giving up on an issue that does, in fact, directly affect on how she lives and/or dies is a dick move.

  • Münchner Kindl

     I’m not calling her childish, I said her behaviour and arguments come across as one. To claim that you’re so smart you don’t need any counseling and to deny even listening – is that not childish? To insist that mandating counseling is paternalistic?

    And I fail to see how it affects how she lives or dies – I’m not talking about forbidding abortion, only about mandatory counseling. But that’s too terrible for her to bear, to listen to what somebody has to say.

  • Beroli

     I’m not calling her childish, I said her behaviour and arguments come
    across as one. To claim that you’re so smart you don’t need any
    counseling and to deny even listening – is that not childish? To insist
    that mandating counseling is paternalistic?

    You know, for someone who is arguing that everyone should “listen” on every subject (or, as Izzy put it, that the mark of a grownup is being willing to listen to every jackass with an opinion), you sure seem to be posting with your fingers jammed into your ears.

    …On this subject and every other subject I remember you posting on, for that matter. There are people who could say “it’s inherently childish not to be willing to listen” and I’d believe they were sincere (idiotic, but sincere). You? Aren’t one of them. It’s abundantly obvious that you only consider it mandatory for people who don’t already See The Truth to listen…to you.

  • Münchner Kindl

     1. I didn’t say everyone should listen on every subject, and certainly not any jackass.

    2. I can listen and still disagree with the opinions I read.
    Therefore, I don’t expect everybody to immediatly change their opinion to mine. But at least acknowledge that my opionions also have some value instead of declaring them wrong.

    3. I don’t expect it mandatory for others to listen to me. I do expect not to dismiss my opinions because things are different and thus automatically better in your country. I would like to challenge the unspoken assumption that the way you do it is aumatically better, but instead I get shouted down or ignored.

  • Beroli

    I didn’t say everyone should listen on every subject

     

    To claim that you’re so smart you don’t need any
    counseling and to deny even listening

    Yeah. You did. You claimed that “denying listening” is automatically childish.

    But at least acknowledge that my opionions also have some value instead of declaring them wrong.

    …Why would your opinions automatically have value? Because they’re your opinions? Sorry, there are a lot of opinions that aren’t worth the breath it takes to utter them.

    I don’t expect it mandatory for others to listen to me. I do expect not
    to dismiss my opinions because things are different and thus
    automatically better in your country. I would like to challenge the
    unspoken assumption that the way you do it is aumatically better, but
    instead I get shouted down or ignored.

    That may be the most hypocritical thing I’ve ever read. Every post I can remember you ever making here has been on the theme, “Why my country is better than your country.”

  • Münchner Kindl

     Then you deeply misunderstood me. Pointing out how things are done in my country =! saying that my country is better. It serves first as point of interest, as comparision, a different viewpoint. Secondly, yes, in several cases I do point out what I consider a better way – because most topics are US-centric. If you brought up a different topic, I would bring up the plenty faults.

  • Münchner Kindl

     

    Yeah. You did. You claimed that “denying listening” is automatically childish.

    I did not say on any subject, listening to everybody. Taking snippets and exaggerting them to generalities is not what I consider a fair style. Maybe that’s why you get the wrong impression.

  • Beroli

     

    I did not say on any subject, listening to everybody.

    Oh? Explain, then. Why is “denying listening” automatically childish, but only sometimes on some subjects?

  • Münchner Kindl

     1. Not all subjects are relevant to everybody at this point in their lives.

    2. The person on the subway is not relevant if his opinion is uninformed. (Same goes for a lot of talk show guests).

    3. I was, again, specifically referring to one particular point: mandatory counseling before abortion by trained people, after Isabel said she would not listen to such a session. (She then made a skewed comparision).

    If a topic (Abortion) is current for you personally (As pregnant woman wanting one) and the person talking to you is trained as expert on this topic (the counselor), then refusing to listen with the argument that you are smart that you don’t need any advice … I could also call it arrogant, if you prefer that. Or short-sighted.

    That is not related to people on the subway talking to you, or somebody expostulating about 13th century metallurgy when it has no impact on your personal life or similar.

  • Beroli

    If a topic (Abortion) is current for you personally (As pregnant woman
    wanting one) and the person talking to you is trained as expert on this
    topic (the counselor), then refusing to listen with the argument that
    you are smart that you don’t need any advice … I could also call it
    arrogant, if you prefer that. Or short-sighted.

    I get to choose which ad hominem you use in lieu of actually making a case? Well then! I think “arrogant” would be good, you know, for maximum visible irony.

    (The irony’s just as there with “childish,” but it doesn’t jump out at one in the same way.)

  • Isabel C.

    What new and revolutionary arguments, pray tell, would such a counselor offer me?

    That adoption is available? Thanks, know that, don’t want to go through nine months of hell and permanent bodily changes.

    That some people think an embryo is a precious little bundle of joy and potential that deserves a chance at life? Heard that, got it, don’t give a damn.

    …anything else? 
    No?

    Then why should I listen to such a hypothetical argument? 

  • Münchner Kindl

     I don’t know – I’m not a counselor, I haven’t been to a counseling session, I haven’t read accounts of them.

    But if you tell this at the start, the session will probably be short.

  • aunursa

    Why would your opinions automatically have value? Because they’re your opinions? Sorry, there are a lot of opinions that aren’t worth the breath it takes to utter them.

    I agree with you on this point.  I see many instances where someone asks or expects respect for their opinion.  Why should every opinion automatically be granted respect?  I can support someone’s right to express an opinion — without respecting the opinion.

  • Isabel C.

    Oh, Lord. I don’t think anyone on this board* assumes, spoken or unspoken, that the way the US does things is automatically better than anywhere else, up to and including the gladatorial pits of Xaxxon 5. **

    I myself feel that our economic and social policies are, as a general rule, deeply inferior to those of, oh, Canada, the UK, Australia, Sweden, France, the Netherlands, and probably a bunch of other countries I haven’t heard of yet; that, frankly, our economic policies are inferior to those German policies that I’ve heard of; and that the specific policy you’re advocating is bullshit. For the record. 

    *And now a troll with a crying eagle in its icon is going to pop up and prove me wrong.
    **Okay, we’re probably better than that.

  • Münchner Kindl

     

    frankly, our economic policies are inferior to those German policies that I’ve heard of;

    Actually I disagree with Angie on the current course for the Euro and think it’s terrible of her to push for austerity against Greece. A lot of people think it’s bad, that’s why there were demonstrations not only in Greece, but also in Germany by the unions. But that’s a different topic.

    and that the specific policy you’re advocating is bullshit. For the record.

    And I think it’s a workable compromise.

    Apart from that, we agree that
    abortion should be available safely and easily, for medical reasons always
    for personal reasons until 12th week = first trimester
    and that counseling should be available to those who want it (without extra cost, easily accessible) ?

    The only problem you have is that it’s mandatory?

  • Isabel C.

    Yep. 

    You see the embryo as valuable. So don’t have an abortion. I don’t, so I will. There’s no need for either the law or counselors to get involved unless, in the latter case, one of us wants the counseling. 
    “Workable compromise” between what? Why would I need to compromise? Like I said, the non-compromising option is, while under siege  by people who like to throw terms like “unborn child” around and sometimes kill actual people as a result, working out just fine here in places where it does work.  

  • Münchner Kindl

     You don’t need to be unfair by lumping me with people who kill pregnant women or put pro-choice under siege just because I call it an “unborn child”. In the post you replied to I again stated I don’t want to forbid abortions, so could you stop casting me in that corner?

    “Workable compromise” between what? Why would I need to compromise?

    Workable compromise when the law was changed between one group wanting abortions with no strings attached at all and the other group wanting to forbid abortions because the child was more important (religious groups, mostly Catholic).

    If most people in the US, too, agree in the middle – which, again, the graphic shows, given that we can only guess what exactly the purple means – making abortions safely accessible but with a pause to think – whether counseling, in a certain (obviously non-invasive, non-shaming!) form or another variant – would be accepted by a majority.

  • Isabel C.

    Woo, great.

    Newsflash, again: we already have safely accessible abortions (dickhead protesters/murderers aside) with no counseling needed, at least in some states. Why should we compromise with people who want to take away our right to bodily integrity based on their own sentiment?
    As far as being cast in a corner goes…lie down with dogs, get up with fleas. If you don’t want to be lumped in with the right-wing, don’t use their terminology.

  • Münchner Kindl

    So you’re intent on slamming me personally because words are coded in your country not in mine? Although I explained my position you want to concentrate on the code not the meaning? Very nice style.

  • Isabel C.

    Here’s the thing.

    When you use a word and someone else explains that its meaning is offensive, you can either stop using it and apologize or double down. You chose to double down. Therefore, it’s not just a difference in vocabulary. 

  • Münchner Kindl

     Um, where did you say it’s offensive to call unborn child? I don’t remember that (maybe I overlooked it).

    I used all three terms – embryo, fetus, unborn child – interchangeably, and said that it changes from embryo to fetus at 11 weeks, but the cutoff is 12 weeks so technically it’s an embryo. Unborn child is therefore the general term for both stages.

    What better, neutral or more scientific term do you suggest instead that covers both?

    You used the “blob of tissue” term, which I consider offensive and not accurate beyond a certain stage, but you continue also.  So why are you allowed to be one-sided but not lumped into “abortions until 3rd trimester”?

  • Isabel C.

    I was pretty sure it was implied, but okay: embryo or fetus. Scientifically woogy for a week, but not emotionally loaded. I’m down with us both using it.

    But to answer your second question: because that side doesn’t actually exist. 

  • Carstonio

    While you don’t want to forbid abortions, you’re still framing the issue as women making choices that meet your disapproval.

    As strange as it may sound, I have no position on whether a woman should or shouldn’t have an abortion – at no point in my life will I face the possibility of being pregnant, so I have no basis for judging a woman’s decision. My position is that the choice shouldn’t be forced on the woman. Take away her control over her womb and one might as well take away control of her life.

    You want a true compromise? Recognize that women have valid reasons for wanting abortions, and you don’t have to approve of abortion to do this. Focus on changing the circumstances so that there are fewer unwanted pregnancies.

    This is so much like the frustrating debate over illegal immigration, which cannot and should not be treated as a law enforcement issue. The long-term solution involves increasing economic opportunities in those other countries and easing the paths to citizenship here.

  • The_L1985

     Yes.  Exactly.  That is the only problem most women have with it.

  • Isabel C.

    I’m only denying anyone any opportunity if you think “opportunity” involves force. As I said–in capslock, even–I’m all for providing counseling. Just not for making it mandatory. 

    And you haven’t answered either my questions or my points, which suggests things both about your guts and your argument style.
     So people trained for counseling, up to date on all laws and help, are less qualified than your friends? 

    No. If I want advice from a counselor, I’ll ask one of them. See the “people I consider qualified” right after the bit about my friends? That would imply doctors, lawyers, counselors, and so forth. 

     And anybody who gives you unasked advice is an asshat? 

    Most people, yeah.I don’t think a lot of the guy on the subway who wants me to smile, baby, because it can’t be that bad. I don’t think a lot of his pro-life equivalent, either. Neither one knows anything about me; neither one is qualified to comment on my situation; and if I make a decision, that’s my business. Not theirs. 

    So the mark of being grown-up is being willing to listen to every jackass with an opinion? Good to know.

     And refusing compromises to push extreme versions, even if they have less chance of suceeding? 

    What “less chance of succeeding”?

    If I got knocked up today, I’d call Planned Parenthood, make an appointment, and get an abortion. No bullshit counseling by someone who thinks I have to be conflicted about this because it’s what fits their worldview; no static; they’d probably ask if I’m sure, I’d say yes, and then it’d be done.

    The right-wing might flap its hands,  and God knows we have a long way to go and a bunch of “unborn child”-spouting dickheads to defeat, but it sounds to me like my position’s succeeded pretty well here. 

  • Münchner Kindl

     

    As I said–in capslock, even–I’m all for providing counseling. Just not for making it mandatory.

    So who is going to provide it? That’s what my answer was about. Wanting to provide it is all nice, but somebody has to pay for it.

    And you haven’t answered either my questions or my points, which suggests things both about your guts and your argument style.

    I thought I did answer your question, except for surgery, which I answered up to another: normal operations don’t involve other lifes. And pregnancy is not an operation, so I don’t understand how you get counseling before pregnancy – what you mean with that.

    Most people, yeah.I don’t think a lot of the guy on the subway who
    wants me to smile, baby, because it can’t be that bad. I don’t think a
    lot of his pro-life equivalent, either. Neither one knows anything about
    me; neither one is qualified to comment on my situation; and if I make a
    decision, that’s my business. Not theirs. 

    So the mark of being grown-up is being willing to listen to every jackass with an opinion? Good to know.

    I consider that comparision between a trained counselor in a mandatory setting and a guy on the subway to be so ridicolous and off-track that I don’t want to answer it. And I didn’t say “to listen to every jackass”. I’m talking all the time about mandatory counseling for pregnancy termination from trained people. Side-tracks are not relevant to this point.

    What “less chance of succeeding”?

    If I got knocked up today, I’d call Planned Parenthood, make an
    appointment, and get an abortion. No bullshit counseling by someone who
    thinks I have to be conflicted about this because it’s what fits their
    worldview; no static; they’d probably ask if I’m sure, I’d say yes, and
    then it’d be done.

    So you live in a state which currently allows full abortions up to 9 months? 

    I was talking about how it’s done here, and one of the things necessary for a compromise for those who consider an embryo a potential child and therefore, with lesser rights but not without, was a pause to think and information, therefore mandatory counseling. You felt necessary to attack the very idea because it’s oh so terrible, instead of asking how women here feel about it.

  • Isabel C.

    The state, I’d assume? It’d present the same problem in the US that getting state-funded *anything* does–fucking Republicans, namely–but so would mandatory neutral counseling. 

     I thought I did answer your question, except for surgery, which I answered up to another: normal operations don’t involve other lifes.
    Neither does abortion, in my view and in a lot of other people’s. Furthermore, if you’re going to get into the whole “involving other life” thing…do I have an obligation to get counseling before getting a tapeworm removed? Taking antibiotics to cure my strep throat? 

    Counseling before pregnancy: well, presumably if you’re going to require counseling before an abortion, you should require counseling before someone goes ahead with a pregnancy. That involves “other life” too, right?

     I consider that comparision between a trained counselor in a mandatory setting and a guy on the subway to be so ridicolous and off-track that I don’t want to answer it.

    Why? Neither of them knows anything about me. I didn’t ask for either of their help.

    Honestly? If your position is “people should have to get counseling before making any major life or medical decision,” then I’m not on board but I can understand it. But singling out abortion for that requirement is absurd.

     So you live in a state which currently allows full abortions up to 9 months?

    I live in a state where I can get first-trimester abortions on demand without mandatory counseling. You don’t. I, and many other people, addressed the whole late-term abortion issue elsewhere. Read those posts. I was talking about how it’s done here, and one of the things necessary for a compromise for those who consider an embryo a potential child and therefore, with lesser rights but not without, was a pause to think and information, therefore mandatory counseling.

    And I don’t see why that compromise is necessary or desirable for the rest of us, is what I’m saying.I don’t really care how women there feel about it–or, rather, I expect that not all women feel the same way about it–and why should I? You presented it as the way things are. I responded by saying that it’s a shitty way for things to be. Why wouldn’t I? 

  • Münchner Kindl

     

    Counseling before pregnancy: well, presumably if you’re going to require
    counseling before an abortion, you should require counseling before
    someone goes ahead with a pregnancy. That involves “other life” too,
    right?

    I’m sorry, I still don’t understand what you mean. Do you mean: counseling before starting a pregnancy? How would that work practically? (Because that comes often about on itself; though people are free to go to a doctor for medical help if they have concerns).
    Do you mean: counseling to continue a pregnancy? (That is part of the abortion counseling. And a pregnancy continues on its own. We also have mandated checkups by doctors for pregnant women to reduce miscarriages and spot problems for those who want to continue the pregnancy).

  • Isabel C.

    Sure. If you go into the doctor’s office pregnant, he or she asks if you want an abortion. If you do, you get counseling. If you don’t, you get the same counseling.

    Why not? It makes sense, under your logic. 

  • Münchner Kindl

     No. My logic is that the counseling is a compromise, between the theoretical right of the child – which the law takes from conception – and the right of the pregnant woman to decided what to do with her body.

    To continue a pregnancy, no counseling is necessary. (Though a woman can get it if she wants it.) The pregnancy continues by itself. What would the counseling be about?

    The counseling before an abortion covers all options: terminating or continuing. If the woman already knows she wants to continue, she already has decided that the other option doesn’t apply.

    If during the pregnancy medical problems come up, then the decision is different, and the gynecologist will tell her the risks.

    It’s assumed that most woman who are pregnant and go to a doctor will want to continue. (One of the differences is removal of other factors leading to unwanted pregnancies, like easy access to prevention).

  • Isabel C.

    Right. Why should the law respect that theoretical right starting at conception? Why does the law assume that most women who are pregnant will want to continue, when it doesn’t assume that most women who want an abortion will want to go ahead with that?

    Why should it?Why is this compromise even necessary? The pregnancy continues by itself. What would the counseling be about? Presumably, whether to get an abortion or not.

    Let me put it this way: if you require a woman seeking an abortion to sit down for an hour with someone so she can listen to, basically, “Here are the alternatives to and ramifications of abortion,” then you should require a woman seeking to go through with a pregnancy to sit down for an hour with someone who will discuss the alternatives to and ramifications of carrying a child to term.

    I think either one is a dick move, myself. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    I figured out what Munchner Kindl ought to support, if mandatory counseling before the decision to abort or not to abort is a thing Munchner Kindl wants to support.

    I am accustomed to terming this thing ‘comprehensive sex education’.

  • The_L1985

     She has expressed strong surprise at how bad sex-ed is in the U.S., and I had to flat-out tell her earlier in this comment thread that a national standard of comprehensive sex-ed would never pass.

  • EllieMurasaki

    So I now see. Holy full inbox, Batman.

  • Persia

     So people trained for counseling, up to date on all laws and help, are
    less qualified than your friends? Yes, that’s what an adult person …
    doesn’t say.

    Less qualified to help their friend with her life circumstances? Seriously? This isn’t buying a new car. The laws don’t really come into place with this. Knowing where to go for childcare, etc, is probably helpful, but again, making that mandatory is pretty absurd.

  • LL

    I think it reflects the fact that the label “pro life” is deliberately misleading. Few people want to be labeled as “anti  life,” so those who fancy themselves as protectors of innocent little babies call themselves “pro life.” 

    But it also reflects the fact that most people are really kinda self-serving and hypocritical. “Well, I want to protect innocent little babies, or I want people to think I do, so I’ll call myself pro life, but if I or anybody I care about ever need an abortion, I’d sure like it to not be one of those unpleasant, dangerous, back-alley kinds.”

    So I put everybody in the purple area under “pro choice.” Because that’s really what they’re saying. They just don’t have the guts to admit it. They really like having the weaselly choice of “both,” even though it represents a compromise that actual “pro life” people find unacceptable. It’s like calling yourself a vegetarian, but still eating fish or chicken.

  • Carstonio

    Sounds like the explanation that William Saletan at Slate offers the rape and incest exceptions. He argues that these aren’t really about compromising with pro-choicers, but with soothing the consciences of pro-lifers bothered by making women give birth.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Sounds like the explanation that William Saletan at Slate offers the rape and incest exceptions. He argues that these aren’t really about compromising with pro-choicers, but with soothing the consciences of pro-lifers bothered by making women give birth.

    Some consciences, if they’re only concerned with whether a pregnancy is forced when the sex leading to the pregnancy was consensual.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    Sounds like the explanation that William Saletan at Slate offers the rape and incest exceptions. He argues that these aren’t really about compromising with pro-choicers, but with soothing the consciences of pro-lifers bothered by making women give birth.

    Absolutely.  Not one of the people who says, “Oh, of course there should be exceptions for rape and incest” offers any ideas on just how such exceptions would actually work.  Would there have to be a rape kit?  A conviction?  Genetic testing?  What?

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    Few people want to be labeled as “anti  life,”

    http://dorkforty.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/jg-jones-anti-life.jpg

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=687121933 Carrie Looney

    “Banning abortion in the name of some kind of moral-warriorism is the equivalent of conspiracy to harm women.”

    and

    “Pretty much nobody casually decides to get a third-trimester abortion. They happen either because of medical problems or because lack of access, mandatory counseling and “time to think about it”, or parental-consent laws prevented them from getting a first-trimester abortion.”

    Those.  Yes.

    I’m in the purple because an abortion is a failure, somewhere along the line – a failure of education, of birth contol, of keeping women safe from unwanted access to their bodies, of medical technology, etc.  And one single woman at a time should never have to bear the burdens of any or all of these societal/systems failures.
    So an abortion is not a good thing, but that is absolutely, utterly not a reason to deny women access to safe and legal abortions.  The problem of abortion is one to be addressed at a root causes level, not at a hurt-women or shame-women or deny-women-some-degree-of-autonomy level.

    Oh, and I’m not a fan of wars or guns or capial punishment and I’m a vegetarian, but that doesn’t seem to be part of ‘pro-life,’ for some reason.

  • Carstonio

    an abortion is a failure, somewhere along the line – a failure of
    education, of birth contol, of keeping women safe from unwanted access
    to their bodies, of medical technology, etc.  And one single woman at a
    time should never have to bear the burdens of any or all of these
    societal/systems failures.

    So an abortion is not a good thing, but that is absolutely, utterly not a
    reason to deny women access to safe and legal abortions.  The problem
    of abortion is one to be addressed at a root causes level, not at a
    hurt-women or shame-women or deny-women-some-degree-of-autonomy level.

    I regret that I can only give one like to this. Your words should be carved into marble somewhere.

  • http://flickr.com/photos/sedary_raymaker/ Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Probably because the extremes: pro-life who don’t want to allow abortion no matter what circumstances, esp. in case of health issues of the mother, rape, minors sexually abused – and pro-choicers who consider a baby of 1 day before birth “just tissue” that can be aborted without any qualms or consideration at all

    I was going to say that this is like comparing the Pentagon and Code Pink as equal but opposite extremes, but my analogy is flawed because I’ve actually seen Code Pink advocates. I’ve never seen your “casual abortion until birth” advocates. Where are these people? They never seem to show up at the abortion debates I see.

  • Münchner Kindl

    *points upwards* Did you read for example Isabel C. comments? A fetus is just a blob of tissue, and she doesn’t need or want any input in her decision. I don’t know how long she considers a fetus just tissue and when she maybe considers it a baby, but people of this type always show up and the shrillness of their voice convinces the other side that their strawmen are true.

  • http://flickr.com/photos/sedary_raymaker/ Naked Bunny with a Whip

    You’re taking a consistent ethic of a woman’s right to control her body  that makes no practical difference in the abortion debate (because people don’t get late-term abortions for non-medical reasons) and pretending that it’s equivalent to zealots who are imposing invasive, state-mandated ultrasound probes.

    Your pro-choice “extremist” sounded like a typical pro-lifer strawman because that’s exactly what it was. If you can’t be honest about the ethics and practical application, there’s no point in engaging you.

  • Münchner Kindl

     First, I didn’t compare it invasive ultrasound zealots. ? I only compared one side wanting abortions unto birth to the other side wanting no abortions whatsoever.

    And I was not talking about the practical difference, because I was talking about extremes. Most people fall in the middle because of this: they say it’s a blob at 4 weeks, so it’s not such a big deal, but at 30 weeks it’s a preemie, so allowing abortion without time limits is not okay.

    And it’s not a good argument about what “people get” or don’t get. Yes, most abortions are not last trimester. But there are people who for some reason or other delay their decision. So if you give numbers, that argument would be stronger than just asserting that people don’t get them.

    And as we see in this discussion, some people do argue for the right to their body without any thought to the embryo, so I don’t know where they draw the line. They don’t say “It’s a blob until week 10, but after that, I would think about it” Or “It’s a blob until 3rd trimester”. No, it’s “blob of tissues”. (And comparisions to tampons, which is really weird to me).

  • Isabel C.

    Oh, for fuck’s sake.

    Nobody. Wants. Nine. Month. Abortions.  We have said that. Other people have said that.
    If you’re talking about me, read for comprehension. I said “first trimester” about fifty-seven times, fool. I also talked about how mandatory counseling LEADS TO MORE LATE-TERM ABORTIONS, actually, and how most of the rest are due to health concerns. As did many other people.

    And also? If you’re going to demand numbers, start fucking providing. Begin with these “women who feel pressured into not asking for counseling,” maybe, or the “most people” who fall in the middle, you hypocrite. 

  • Münchner Kindl

     

    I also talked about how mandatory counseling LEADS TO MORE LATE-TERM
    ABORTIONS, actually, and how most of the rest are due to health
    concerns. As did many other people.

    I have not heard that. I do not want to wade through other abortion debates previous because Disqus sucks at reading old stuff.

    What is the reason that mandatory counseling leads to more late-term abortions? I assume you refer to those states in the US that have them? Is it because counseling places are difficult to access? Is there a long waiting period?

    If you’re talking about me, read for comprehension. I said “first trimester” about fifty-seven times, fool.

    I missed it fifty-seven times, then. You called it a blob of tissue, which either means the first few weeks or … I don’t know.

    I didn’t say I had numbers. I didn’t say that many women feel pressured. I suggested a possibility. That most people fall in the middle is up in the graphic: people who are pro-life in that they don’t want abortions in later weeks or presumably nilly-willy, but are pro-choice, presumably meaning safe access.

  • Isabel C.

    No, that was this thread. Something like five posts up from ours. Don’t be disingenuous. 

    Mandatory counseling results in more late-term abortions here largely because some women can only get off of work/away from their husbands or fathers/into the facilities that offer abortions at limited times. If they have to get counseling before the procedure, they’re much less likely to be able to get it before the first trimester ends. I missed it fifty-seven times, then. You called it a blob of tissue, which either means the first few weeks or … I don’t know.

    Then ask. 

     I didn’t say I had numbers. Then don’t ask other people to provide them.

     I didn’t say that many women feel pressured. I suggested a possibility.

    So…you’re willing to make actual women wait for their medical procedure and go through a lot of paternalistic bullshit because there’s a *possibility* that some woman, somewhere, might feel pressured not only to get an abortion but not to seek out counseling if she’s conflicted?

    There’s a possibility that we’re all brains in jars somewhere, but I don’t think that’s a good basis for law. 

  • The_L1985

    “Is it because counseling places are difficult to access? Is there a long waiting period?”

    Yes to both.

  • Münchner Kindl

     Which needs to change – but again, like access to abortion clinics, is not fault of the law about counseling itself. (In Germany, like said, the doctor who does the abortion is not allowed to do the counseling, so the woman has to go to two places anyway, which makes the waiting period less problematic. And of course access to doctors is easier. I don’t have current numbers about waiting periods here.)

  • http://flickr.com/photos/sedary_raymaker/ Naked Bunny with a Whip

    a good compromise between the rights of the unborn and the rights of the pregnant woman.

    Never mind. I see where your bias is.

  • Münchner Kindl

     The law calls it unborn child because that’s what it is. They don’t use the medical terms because embryo and fetus apply to different stages in pregnancy, but the law applies to all stages/ the first 12 weeks.

    I fail to see where the bias is in saying that it can develop into a child and should therefore be treated respectfully and not discarded thoughtlessly.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     > The law calls it unborn child because that’s what it is.

    There are a lot of things that it is.

    Picking one is not a neutral act; it’s a way of prioritizing its role as that thing.

    I am an undead corpse in the same sense that a fetus is an unborn child, but if someone wrote a law that started referring me to that way that would not be an unbiased description.

  • EllieMurasaki

    The law calls it unborn child because that’s what it is.

    There is no such thing as an unborn child. If it is a child, ze has been born. If it is unborn, it is a zygote or embryo or fetus; yes, there should be a word encompassing that which a pregnant person is pregnant with regardless of the stage of pregnancy, but ‘unborn child’ cannot be it.

  • Isabel C.

    Okay, English presumably isn’t your first language, so I’ll be nice.

    The SoCal thing was a joke about my origins. I said, capslocked for your easy reading comprehension, that I am ALL IN FAVOR OF MAKING COUNSELING AS AVAILABLE AS POSSIBLE. Whenever. Wherever. For any life event, or just in general.

     You don’t see how a woman could be pressured by her surrounding to say “yes, I thought about it”, if neutral counseling was not mandatory?

    So, because someone might not have taken advantage of what’s available, that thing should be mandatory?

    Would you advocate the same requirements for any operation? Gastric bypass surgery? Laser vision correction? How about pregnancy itself? Certainly that’s a situation where women could feel pressure from their surroundings.

     And this of course feeds right into the extremist strawman the pro-lifers paint of the other side: calling it a blob of tissue and being callous and unthinking about it. 
    Ah, the tone argument. Always fun.

    Scientific fact has shown me no reason why a first-trimester embryo has the same rights as a human being. You use “unborn child,” I use “blob of tissue”. You see callous and unthinking, I see sentimental and manipulative. Equal and opposite reaction, buddy. 

  • Münchner Kindl

    So, because someone might not have taken advantage of what’s available, that thing should be mandatory?

    Yes. One of the reasons is that by making it mandatory for everybody, the onus is not on the woman to get access to counseling – which currently is not available everywhere, no matter what you advocate – but on the state to provide it. For another, it makes sure that some women are not pressured or uninformed.

    Scientific fact has shown me no reason why a first-trimester embryo has the same rights as a human being.

    It doesn’t have the same rights, otherwise an abortion would not be allowed at all. But it is more than just a blob of tissue, because it can develop into a child. That’s also a scientific fact. Science also says that while in the first few weeks, it’s just a blob, closer to the end of 12 weeks, it’s a lot more developed. After the 11th week, it becomes a fetus because the embryonic development is over. So “blob of tissue” is incorrect.

    By denying that it is something that can become life and therefore valuable you are ignoring facts. You are also denying many women who think different an opinion.

    And I’m not your buddy.

  • Isabel C.

    Thank God for that.

    As far as the embryo/fetus/blah is concerned, other women have the right to think whatever they want.  To women who are going through a *wanted* pregnancy, a first-trimester embryo is much more than a blob of tissue, and I respect that completely. To me, it wouldn’t be–so insisting that it is is denying me an opinion, by your logic.And now we’re just going to pretend we’ve had the same old argument where I point out that the contents of your crusty Kleenex and my used tampons “can become life and therefore valuable” by this logic,  you say that’s different because Reasons, blah blah blah, not really interested in going around that circle again. However: if the embryo becomes more human by the end of twelve weeks, isn’t that an argument for making sure abortions can take place as early as possible? Like, without bullshit counseling requirements?

    And if you want the onus to be on the state, wouldn’t it be just as easy to say that the state is mandated to offer counseling, rather than saying that the woman is required to go through it? And as far as pressure or being uninformed goes, I repeat: do you advocate the same requirements for pregnancy?

  • Münchner Kindl

     

    And as far as pressure or being uninformed goes, I repeat: do you advocate the same requirements for pregnancy?

    Please explain what you mean with that. I don’t see how mandated counseling before pregnancy would work?
    Do you mean that counseling is made available before pregnancy? Then yes, I’m for it, because we have it – every girl or woman can go to her gynecologist and get advice on how to avoid pregnancy or on how to become pregnant. Underage girls do not need parents consent or company and because of doctors confidentality, the gyn. can’t tell the parents that the daughter wanted the pill.

  • Beroli

     

    I’m for it, because we have it

    That may just be a slightly awkward phrasing, but I find myself wondering if you actually mean what it seems to be indicating, read perfectly literally. Is your concept of the ideal government identical to your concept of your own government?

  • Münchner Kindl

     Huh? No, you misunderstood me. I meant “Yes, I’m for it – and also, incidentally, we already have it (so I can see it’s a good idea)”.

    Also, I didn’t talk about the govt., but about this specific case – medical advice available through a doctor because of Health Insurance.

    There are lots of practical and theoretical things wrong with my government – it’s a long list. But a lot of the principle things I find much better when I compare them.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     > I don’t see how mandated counseling before pregnancy would work?

    Well, how does mandated counseling before an abortion work? Presumably, if I can be proven in court to have had an abortion or to have provided one, and there’s no evidence that the mandated counseling happened, then I get criminally penalized in some way (e.g. imprisoned or fined or caned or whatever).

    Laws frequently work that way.

    So one way mandated counseling before pregnancy could work is similar: if I can be proven in court to have become pregnant, or gotten someone else pregnant, and there’s no evidence that the mandated counseling happened, then I get criminally penalized.

  • Münchner Kindl

     No, I mean at what time would you get the counseling? Not everybody plans pregnancies, they’re hard to plan. You can plan that you want a baby and start trying – or decide you don’t want one and take the pill/ pressary/ condoms depending on medical what’s best for you.

    But trying to get a baby and actually getting pregnant is often a long time. And there are things like rape that happen unplanned. Or you take the pill and it fails. Things are too unplanable with pregnancies for it to be practical.

    Whereas an abortion is planable.

    If you mean general sex ed., that’s provided in school, under biology as part of health, and can be asked for at the gynecologist.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    How we provide a service is independent of how we legally mandate a service.

    If our concern is with how we provide a service, then I don’t understand why you’re asking about legal mandates at all. The question in that case is how we can best make counseling about pregnancy and about abortion (and about birth control and about sex and about etc.) available to to people, and the law has nothing to do with it. And, yes, I agree that schools, gynecologists, and other health-care professionals are great resources for that sort of thing, and we should be funding those resources so everyone is aware that they exist and can access them without hindrance if they choose.

    But if our concern is about legal mandates… well, like I said, that’s easy. Just mandate it. Making something legally mandatory doesn’t necessarily mean that we aren’t making it difficult, inefficient, expensive, painful, frightening, or unpleasant. It just means that we can make not doing it equally so, if not more so.

    Personally, I think we do a lot better by devoting our attention to how we provide services, and not to how we legally mandate them.

  • The_L1985

     “If you mean general sex ed., that’s provided in school, under biology as
    part of health, and can be asked for at the gynecologist.”

    In your country.  In many parts of the U.S., something called “abstinence-only education” is legally mandated.

    Things that are covered by abstinence-only education:
    1. You don’t have to have sex if you don’t want to, and no means no.
    2. Anybody who ignores your “no” is committing some form of sexual assault, and it’s not your fault.
    3. A lot of B.S. about “how to avoid being raped” that doesn’t actually work and is based on outdated, sexist notions.
    4. The general statement, repeated over and over, that artificial forms of birth control “fail sometimes” or “don’t always work.”
    5. If the school is a religious school, you also have it drilled into your head that abortion is murder and birth control is a serious sin.  “Secondary virginity” may or may not be mentioned; ditto the concept of abstinence as “keeping yourself pure.”  Expect a lot of B.S. about how having sex before marriage taints you and makes you unlovable, but having sex within marriage doesn’t.

    Things that are NOT covered by abstinence-only education:
    1. How vaginal sex, menstruation, or either gender’s reproductive anatomy actually biologically works.  After all, young people, in these morons’ minds, won’t be tempted to have sex if they don’t know what it is.
    2. Anything remotely informative or useful about birth control, including actual failure rates that would allow a young person to make an educated decision about whether or not to use them.  After all, if young people aren’t scared out of using birth control, they might have sex.
    3. Anything which would indicate that gay people or non-vaginal forms of sex even exist, because in the twisted minds of American conservatives, you can’t state that these things exist without also implying that they are 100% morally right and non-controversial.

    I grew up in an abstinence-only-education state (Alabama).  The only reason I know anything at all about how my own body’s reproductive organs work is because my mother bought me a book on puberty and menstrual products.  My schools told me nothing at all.

  • Münchner Kindl

     So mandating general reproductive health /sex ed classes with correct info (and classes telling the Boys !! that no means no) would be better step.

  • The_L1985

    Yes, and I feel that comprehensive sex education should be mandated on a federal level. But here in the U.S. there is absolutely no way in hell that would pass.

    We have a lot of religious extremists over here, that make even the Catholic extremists in Germany look like John Lennon by comparison.  Every single “abstinence-only education” law was passed within the last 30 years, probably within the last 20.  These laws were passed because of a growing segment of the population that doesn’t want teens to have access to any knowledge about sex, out of a false idea that not knowing about sex will somehow lead to you never wanting to have any until a wedding ring is on your finger.

    They blissfully ignore that the net result of abstinence-only education in the U.S. has been:
    1. No real difference in the number of people abstaining from sex until marriage;
    2. A decrease in the number of unmarried people using birth control; and
    3. An increase in teen pregnancy and teen abortions, as a direct result of consequences 1 and 2.

    They ignore it because it makes them feel morally superior to keep America’s youngsters ignorant about sex.

  • Münchner Kindl

     Those extremists Catholics at non-priest level are themselves a minority – hence the uproar. A survey said that among Catholic laypeople, either 75% or 90% take condoms or pill to control family size despite the Priests vocally forbidding it, and said they don’t care.

    Again, the only help I see would be educating people about the facts, but those segments that refuse reality over ideology can’t be reached that way.

  • The_L1985

     Extremist Christians in the U.S. are a minority as well.  Their numbers are somewhere in between 20% and 40% of the national population.  So a pretty huge number of people are in fact choosing ideology over reality.

  • banancat

    Consent doesn’t only apply to boys and there’s a lot more to it than just “no means no”. And consent should absolutely be taught in schools, starting at a young age.

    Part of that would include teaching that women have sexual desire and sex isn’t always about boys initiating sex with resistant girls and telling boys to be more respectful of girls gatekeeping, which seems to be the way you view it. We need a complete overhaul of all these rape culture narratives.

  • Münchner Kindl

     Yes, obviously. Fred recently linked to a post on how rape is inevitable byproduct of the teaching that decent girls don’t want sex because abstinence, so no doesn’t really mean no. But that’s a huge complex too.

  • AnonymousSam

    Wow, your abstinence-only-education manages to be more comprehensive than mine. I had it twice, in two different schools. It consisted largely of

    1) These is a penis
    2) This is a vagina
    3) The two interact in some vague and ill-defined fashion to produce babies
    4) STDs are horrible and the only way not to get them is not to have sex
    5) Marriage is AWESOME, totally wait until afterward to have sex

    The second class included one more detail and specified that “orgasm” is an embarrassing word that you shouldn’t ask adults about, but which happens with post-marital sex and makes things GREAT. It also went into a teeeeeny bit more detail about how the AIDS virus goes straight through the lining of a condom and automagically kills you and your partner on the spot, even if neither of you had HIV or any other warning signs.

  • The_L1985

    Yours still comes out ahead of mine.  Mine was completely silent on the fact that orgasms, penises, and vaginas exist! It also mentioned the B.S. about AIDS being able to pass through condoms like it ain’t no thang.

  • AnonymousSam

    If by showing some poorly drawn images of the internal anatomy is showing how they exist, then I suppose so. Apparently the pictures didn’t stop a few kids from coming away with hopelessly mixed up ideas about the anatomy, though. I knew one person who thought the only difference between men and women was what showed on the outside, and that women had testes in their uterus and men had ovaries near their kidneys.

  • The_L1985

    You got to see images of the internal anatomy?  In school?  I’m deeply jealous.

    Hmm… by “poorly drawn images,” do you mean to say that the male and female reproductive images were superimposed on each other? Because that reaches new levels of stupid.

  • AnonymousSam

    Didn’t see your second paragraph there. *Kicks Disqus*

    By poorly drawn, I mean the penis resembled a garden hose, and the uterus/ovaries resembled a cow’s skull. Vaguely oval-shaped circular shapes with labels, obviously hand-drawn by the instructor, who was only allowed to give us even that much if we came to class with a signed parental consent form.

  • Münchner Kindl

     So as long as you don’t touch garden hoses, you are not having sex and stay pure? Hey that’s easy!

  • AnonymousSam

    To which I say: There are people here who believe you can get pregnant by swimming in water that touched a person of the opposite gender. If you use a garden hose to fill the pool…

  • Münchner Kindl

     Ah snopes has some of those legends. Along with civil war “Bullet pregnancy” Story.

    It’s less icky but less fun to do it in the pool I assume. :-)

  • JustoneK

    Apparently wikipedia has officially recognized the sidehug as noteworthy:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Side_hug

  • JustoneK

    There is also the meme that using a toilet seat after someone of the opposite gender can result in pregnancy.

  • AnonymousSam

    That one popped up too, but the variation I heard of it was “You can catch STDs off a toilet seat somebody else has used,” used as both an excuse for having an STD and as a reason not to have unisex bathrooms (but you can’t get an STD off a toilet seat used by a member of the same sex? The seats are smarter than we are!)

  • Isabel C.

    …oh, God, this is pr0bably the reason half the women in public bathrooms don’t sit on the goddamn  seat. HATE. 

  • AnonymousSam

    FWIW, a lot of people have an automatic disgust reaction to anything having to do with toilets. It’s hard to work it into a conversation, but for an amusing experiment, try finding out how many people you know think the water inside the flush tank of a toilet is disgusting and they need to wash their hands after touching it.

    Unless your tank has managed to grow mold or algae or something bizarre and wretched, it’s just water. It hasn’t come into contact with bodily waste yet and it doesn’t get drawn straight up out of the sewers. That’s why the water in the toilet bowl is clear! Yet nine times out of ten, someone sticking their hand in there will make “eww!” noises the entire time and then promptly scrub their hands with soap afterward.

  • Jim Roberts

    Well, it’s not in contact with brand new human waste. Depending on how clean the loo in question is kept, that water can, in fact, be decently dirty. I mean, not always and not routinely, necessarily.

  • P J Evans

     Usually the tank is rust-stained inside because plumbing, but it really is just water – although some people may have replumbed so it’s recycled or ‘gray’ water, in which case you should wash your hands.

  • Münchner Kindl

     Um, so what was sex about if it didn’t involve penis and vagina? Teaching abstinence is one (bad) thing, but not teaching what to abstain from … that fails even to that logic!

  • The_L1985

    Yeah, that is exactly my point.  Don’t get me wrong, the word “sex” was mentioned.  But the names of the organs involved, and how sex actually worked, were not mentioned at all.  Sex was some vaguely-defined thing that made you unclean if you did it at the wrong time relative to a Christian wedding ceremony.  Euphemisms for sex and virginity were also used pretty often, like “intimacy,” “purity,” “special gift for your future husband/wife,” etc.

    Bear in mind also, that there is this bizarre view among the Religious Right that if youth don’t know how to have sex, they won’t be tempted to try and figure it out. Nevermind that this runs counter to how sex drives and basic human curiosity work, they’ll make you live by their ideals no matter how obviously-flawed they are.

    That is what passes for sex-ed in many parts of the country.  People are being paid to teach this nonsense to impressionable children and teens instead of giving them the facts of the matter.  And other people are voting for it.  That is how badly the Religious Right has hijacked politics in the United States.

  • AnonymousSam

    Did you have a lot of girls who thought they could get pregnant from kissing, too? That’s still a distressingly common myth. I blame the religious conservatives who freak out whenever two teens so much as look at each other (remember the “eye sex” thing from a few threads ago?) as if that alone might be sufficient.

  • The_L1985

     I honestly have no clue.  I was never close enough friends with any other girls to hear their thoughts on the matter.

    However, I was at least able to figure out that sex had something to do with the genitals before I actually began researching it on my own.  After all, the book Mom gave me specifically stated that babies come from inside the uterus, and are born through the vagina, and there was no connection between the diagram in the book and any other body system.

  • Münchner Kindl

     I remember a tract (not Chick but from some apparently fringe Catholic group) being handed out(on the street, not school) … let’s see, must’ve been the 80s – where they explained very earnestly how kissing means “Exchange of flora and fauna of the mouth” and is therefore very serious matter spiritually and biologically. It sounded unintentially funny because of the 50s vibe it gave off and the seriousness with the ludicrious claim.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    where they explained very earnestly how kissing means “Exchange of flora and fauna of the mouth”

    And occasionally gum.

  • Münchner Kindl

     I’ve seen it several times already on Weltspiegel, Tagesthemen and other reports during the Bush years (who pushed this hard and worse inflicted it on 3rd world countries) so yes the existence of abstinence-only education I know already and no longer activly shocks me (it’s still bad of course).

    But to not explain what sex is is such a basic fail I can’t get around. Does that mean you all masturbated because you didn’t know that was forbidden? Was everything between the navel and the knees “dirty” and not to be touched – so touching womens’ breasts and kissing was “not sex”?

  • JustoneK

    Masturbation is referred to usually in euphemisms also, and also forbidden (and frequently done anyway, lots of guilt complexes from that).  Since the 1960s or so the navel and belly are acceptable BUT still associated with sexy people who want sex which is bad so Good Girls don’t show them off much.

    Are you at all familiar with the modern evangelical superchaste sidehug?  Ostensibly it makes it less sexual than hugging front to front, with GASP body parts touching on the torso.

  • Münchner Kindl

     

    Masturbation is referred to usually in euphemisms also

    Here at work I got access to a lot of catechisms and religion books for children and advice for the priests on how to take confession from the 50s and 60s = preVaticanum II, back when everybody was prudish, catholic or not.

    One common point (also from anecdotes of people being Catholics back then) was that when going to confession you had to confess to breaking the 6th commandement, which was re-interpreted from “Don’t break marriage” to “don’t be unchaste” and therefore also forbid touching oneself.

    Thus the priests had to talk to teen boys if they had done the dirty deed without giving those who hadn’t any ideas that doing it would be a pleasant idea, so lots of circumlocutin was used, leaving a lot of boys very confused.

    Are you at all familiar with the modern evangelical superchaste sidehug?

    Nope. Do you have a pic? It’s not that LeftBehind “arms-around-shoulders” freeze frame from the first novel at the airport?

  • The_L1985

    “It’s not that LeftBehind “arms-around-shoulders” freeze frame from the first novel at the airport?”

    That’s one form!  For the other, picture people who are facing in opposite directions, but not directly in front of each other (like the way people sit in a tete-a-tete, only standing).  Now imagine their arms going around each other like a regular hug, except they’re still not quite in front of each other.  Like this:   http://blog.beliefnet.com/stuffchristianculturelikes/files/import/hip%20hop%20hug/hug2.jpg

  • Münchner Kindl

     That’s not a hug. That’s two dudes who are uncomfortable with body contact to the nth degree. You can see them counting the seconds when they leap apart because one second longer than “normal” makes them gay. Ugh.

  • The_L1985

     And this sort of Christian we’re referring to is also uncomfortable with body contact, regardless of the respective genders.

  • The_L1985

     School didn’t mention masturbation at all.  I went to CCD, though, and they quoted Thomas Aquinas on how masturbation was “intrinsically disordered.”

    I was going through puberty at the time, and had a fairly strong sex drive.  I’ll let you imagine what sort of psychological terror I went through about how I must be the only person I knew who’d ever touched myself.

    “Was everything between the navel and the knees “dirty” and not to be touched”

    Again, this was strongly implied, but never explicitly stated.  Breasts were considered to be some sort of horrible thing as well, and were never mentioned in class or CCD that I can recall, save as something you should never mess with unless you’re feeding a baby.

  • JustoneK

    In the interest of sharing, were you more north/urban during that age?  My schooling is all Northern Louisiana in the 1990s.

  • The_L1985

    Central Alabama, late 90’s and early 2000’s.

  • JustoneK

    OHGOD WE’RE OLD.  ahem.

    They did try fairly hard to give us a full public sex ed class, what little I recall, but it was still heavily abstinence focused, did not get into actively wanting it (at least somewhat because in our school folks knew we tended to be active), and did not cover as much dealing with a pregnancy in a shitty living situation.  It was one gender-segregated class for maybe two or three days out of a school year.

    And I remember plenty of girls getting pregnant and either dropping out to work full time (because they either left home or got kicked out for it) or working three times as hard to finish.  Abortion was never talked about.  Abortion was _heinous._  Letting young women drop out without degrees somehow less important.

  • The_L1985

    “Abortion was _heinous._  Letting young women drop out without degrees somehow less important.”

    I’m still trying to figure out how that “logic” works.  I remember there being several pregnant teens in the schools where my mother worked, but no, abstinence-only education clearly works because only three students in the current graduating class of 75 ended up pregnant!

  • JustoneK

    Also worth noting is the fact that states where abstinence-only is still strongest are the states with the highest teen pregnancy rates.  But yeah, facts, whatever.

  • AnonymousSam

     At least they didn’t quote John Kellogg. Whew.

    Anyone not familiar with this one– http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/KelPlai.html — chapter nine discusses masturbation. A choice bit following a description of a young man who is now “sunken to driveling idiocy”:

    In short, the distinguishing characteristics of a human being were almost wholly obliterated, leaving but a physical semblance of humanity, — a mind completely wrecked, a body undergoing dissolution while yet alive, a blasted life, no hope for this world, no prospect for the next. In the insane asylums of the country may be seen hundreds of these poor victims in all stages of physical and mental demoralization.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     These reports of abstainance-only classes are very weird to me. Now, I went to school in a “comprehensive sex ed” state, so we had far more than a bunch of twelve year olds were prepared to process about condoms (back then, the rule was “always use spermicidal ones”), The Sponge,  contraceptive foam, IUDs, contraceptive film, and diaphragms, and we learned the symptoms of STDs in women (For boys, the gist of it was “We don’t need to detail the symptopms of STDs in men, because you will know it if you get one”), but there was never any suggestion that marriage was especially good or that sex therewithin might be any better than the horrors sex would be before marriage. It was just “There is no good reason anyone would ever want to have sex. Especially with the likes of you little cretins.”

  • The_L1985

     Your description of sex-ed that was actually sex-ed is equally weird to me.  And wonderful.  Like some beautiful dream of what schools ought to do.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I just find the whole “Married sex is totes awesomesause yo” aspect of AO to be very alien to me because it seems like one small beacon of sex-positivity (and the rest of AO is so sex-silent as to make its sex-negativity all implied), whereas my experience of non-AO was that it was very explicitly sex-negative.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I personally wanna know how two people who’ve lived up to abstinence-only standards are supposed to go from the night before the wedding, no sexual experiences with the possible exception of some fully-clothed kissing and maybe cuddling (certainly no porn consumption or solo sex and absolutely no partnered sex, and depending on what they’ve heard, possibly no idea of what goes where), to the wedding night, experts at the art of partnered sex. There is a logical step or ten missing here.

    I am not encouraging sex before marriage for people who don’t want to have sex before marriage, and of course it’s possible for two virgins to have sex and enjoy it. But with sex, like with all activities that take skill, practice makes improvement.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    It seems unlikely, but my high school reunion included a few people who, unless I am to call them liars, successfully rode the abstainance train all the way to marriageville and would not shut the fuck up about how fantastic married sex was.

  • EllieMurasaki

    ‘Married sex’ or ‘wedding night’? Because I suspect the former is better than the latter, especially so for people who hadn’t had any sex before the wedding night.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Honestly, y’know, with all the adrenaline and anticipation and thirty minutes of undressing, you could totally fall asleep about fifteen seconds in and still think it was the best sex of your life.

    ETA: Or not. Everyone’s different.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Heh. True.

  • Amaryllis

    ‘Married sex’ or ‘wedding night’? Because I suspect the former is better
    than the latter, especially so for people who hadn’t had any sex before
    the wedding night.

    When I was a little girl, my mother had a book by, I think, Maria von Trapp about Catholic family life. In which she suggests that “wedding night” doesn’t have to mean “married sex” either, because wouldn’t it be nice if the new couple spent their first few nights in prayer?

    Even at ten, I thought that was a little odd.

    Not that Mrs von Trapp had anything against eventually getting around to married sex, judging by all those children.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    wouldn’t it be nice if the new couple spent their first few nights in prayer? Even at ten, I thought that was a little odd.

    (shrug) Different families are structured around different things at different times, and different people have different priorities. If what’s most new and special and exciting to me about my recent marriage is not at all related to sex, it makes sense that what I most want to spend my honeymoon doing won’t be having sex.

  • Isabel C.

    I didn’t ask, but comments from my married friends suggest that wedding night sex was not a thing.

    Of course, they all had gotten it on a lot prior to marriage, so it wasn’t a “yay, we can have sex now!” deal: from what I can tell, it was “yay, we can get some damn sleep!” that particular night. ;)

    Which might be why bridesmaids, the bride’s parents, etc, had a bigger role back when the wedding night was more widely the first occasion those particular people were supposed to have sex. 

  • Carstonio

    Dumb joke – wouldn’t a von Trapp advocate that newlyweds spend their first new nights in song?

  • EllieMurasaki

    When I was a little girl, my mother had a book by, I think, Maria von Trapp about Catholic family life. In which she suggests that “wedding night” doesn’t have to mean “married sex” either, because wouldn’t it be nice if the new couple spent their first few nights in prayer?

    Even at ten, I thought that was a little odd.

    That actually makes sense to me. It seems entirely plausible that someone knowing nothing of sex, or just the scary bits, who is now expected to have sex, would be scared of having sex. In that situation, please do spend as many nights doing prayer instead of sex as is necessary to stop being scared. It’s hard to enthusiastically consent (not that Maria von Trapp had ever heard the phrase, I expect) to something one is scared of.

  • Carstonio

    The advice would be more praiseworthy without the premise of sex being an obligation. Not your premise, but perhaps von Trapp’s.

  • Lori

     

    In that situation, please do spend as many nights doing prayer
    instead of sex as is necessary to stop being scared. It’s hard to
    enthusiastically consent (not that Maria von Trapp had ever heard the
    phrase, I expect) to something one is scared of.  

    People should absolutely do what works for them. A lot of couples I know didn’t have sex on their wedding night and I think that’s often for the best, especially when they couple is sexually inexperienced. Two virgins, especially of the more clueless variety, having sex for the first time on their wedding night is not going to work our particularly well in a lot of cases. Being tired from a long day + huge expectations + not much knowledge does not tend to equal a happy sexual experience, especially for the woman.

    That said, I’m not sure that most people are going to find nights of prayer all that helpful. Nights of talking to each other and getting comfortable, sure. Nights of talking to God, not so much I think. Delay that doesn’t actually, directly improve the situation can just lead to more dread. and dread is not the friend of good sex.

  • Lori

     

    It seems unlikely, but my high school reunion included a few people who,
    unless I am to call them liars, successfully rode the abstainance train
    all the way to marriageville and would not shut the fuck up about how fantastic married sex was.   

    I file this in the same place as blogs by ostentatiously Christian folks who post all the time about “my hot wife” or “my hot husband”—-there’s often a bit of a good impulse there, but it’s mostly cultural performance.

  • The_L1985

    Through the magic of matrimony!

    Seriously, this was never once pointed out.  There’s this strong expectation that married people will Just Know everything about sex, simply by virtue of having the magical token that is a wedding ring.  Nobody stops to question that a vehemently anti-witchcraft segment of the population is simultaneously suggesting that Weddings Are Magic.  Nobody even thinks that slightly weird? Really?

    And I like that you pointed out that kissing and cuddling are a “possible” exception.  The “no kissing or holding hands” folks make me quite uncomfortable.

  • banancat

    I saw the last Twilight movie even though I never saw the preceding ones. And the creepiest part was how much emphasis there was on the wedding ring during the sex scene. The camera kept zooming in on it sparkling.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    Nobody stops to question that a vehemently anti-witchcraft segment of
    the population is simultaneously suggesting that Weddings Are Magic. 

    The first Catholic wedding I ever attended was as part of the wedding party for a couple of friends. As part of the ceremony, the priest invoked the power of God to transform wafers into the body of Christ and wine into the blood of Christ, which, y’know, OK.

    He then invoked the power of God to transform the bride into an obedient woman.

    If I had believed that his words had power to transform reality, I would have felt morally obligated to interrupt the ceremony right there. I mean, I knew the bride, I knew their relationship, and in the context of that relationship such a transformation would have been a deeply unethical violation of her personal integrity and their integrity as a couple.

    As it was, I felt a strong obligation to walk out of the ceremony rather than be seen as endorsing that sort of magic, even in principle. I didn’t, because that would have been hurtful, but I’m still ambivalent about that choice.

  • The_L1985

    AO teachers are stuck in a weird bind because of the restriction on sex placed by extremist forms of Christianity.  Namely, that sex within marriage is very strongly encouraged, to the point that it’s almost creepy; whereas sex outside of marriage is very strongly discouraged, and girls* who engage in it are horrible filthy slut-whores.  (Some forms also go on and on about how filthy masturbation and homosexuality are, others prefer to pretend that they don’t exist at all.)

    This sort of doublethink naturally permeates into AO classes as well.

    ————————-
    * The boys that these girls presumably had sex with are, of course, completely ignored.  Because Boners Are Uncontrollable Werewolves, and it’s all the girl’s fault for getting one of those started instead of being as “chaste” and “modest” as the church told her to be.  Even if she was raped, this is the model used.  After all, she had to be doing something to entice her rapist, or it wouldn’t have happened, right? (Ew ew ew I actually typed that.  I feel filthy now.)

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

     Me, too, but that I live in what is now a abstinence state, for the most part, so it just makes me feel old.

    I got age appropriate sex ed three times in school, but the high school class sucked, started getting infected with abstinence stuff like that, and the basketball coach that taught it had a very nasty sex negative attitude about it.  Guess how many in my class got pregnant/got someone pregnant? 

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

     Sex education at the Catholic school I went to in the UK consisted of:

    1. Explanation of puberty
    2. “This is a Catholic School so we have to tell you Church Teaching is don’t have sex outside marriage.”
    3.  Explantion of PIV sex
    4. Explanation of fertilization and implantation with timescales after sex.
    5. Common methods of contraception with another boilerplate disclaimer about Church Teaching.
    6. STDs and the efficacy of condoms in preventing them (with a repeat of the boilerplates about sex and contraception).

    No one missed the point.

    The teacher was a Sister and on the first class she walked in and said: “Those who can do. Those who can’t teach.” Which kind of set the tone.

     We also got classes on rape seperately and they were very clear on the point and not at all victim blamey.

    It was the UK government’s sex ed that was terrifying and stupid.

    “Don’t have sex without a condom or you will catch HIV and get pregnant and get cervical cancer and DIE! Yes even if you’re both virgins who just got married and the woman is taking the pill.” (Obviously that’s a paraphrase but they did seriously say everyone should use a condom everytime they had sex regardless of circumstances. It was very very silly in retrospect).

  • Beroli

    Please explain what you mean with that. I don’t see how mandated counseling before pregnancy would work? 

    Mandatory contraceptive implants. To get them removed, you need to show your current license to have a child, stamped by the person who counseled you.
    (No, lest someone walk in in the middle and misread this, I am not advocating this. I am providing an example of how it would be possible to make counseling absolutely mandatory before pregnancy.)

  • Münchner Kindl

     No, doctors would not agree with this. Mandatory implants are messing with the body and are not recommended for health unless wanted.

    And they can fail.

  • Isabel C.

    …much like pregnancy. How about that?

  • Münchner Kindl

     Which you can take some steps to minimize. Forced contraceptives would influence every women’s health (or would the men get it? Both, for added safety?), whereas pregnancy only affects some women. (Esp. as it’s declining anyway.)

    Part of the reason the state wants to protect the embryos/ unborns is not only that our constitution says every life has value, but also the practical aspect of encouraging children to keep from dying out.*

    * That’s another part where I strongly disagree with my govt. politics: the anti-immigration and anti-citizenship attitude. And the lax way in which the promised Kindergartens are not being built and staffed to provide child-care, which would encourage a few more woman to have children. And the whole complex of making it possible for women to have children in today’s economy. But that’s a real big complex only tangential.

  • Isabel C.

    Every life? So are you a nation of vegetarians? Opposed to antibiotics? Do you make bug bombs legal?

    As far as that goes: Beroli was (I think) positing a hypothetical situation, not something that’s actually happening. So imagine that we have a completely safe, completely reversible, permanent form of contraception that’s proven to have no side effects. Would you support making everyone get that, and have to have counseling in order to have it removed?
    The encouraging-more-children thing is always a bullshit argument: we’ve got seven billion people in the world, the human race is in no danger. What “we need to have more children” generally means is “we need to have more children of the right race/citizenship”, which, as you’ve mentioned, is ridiculous. 

  • Carstonio

     

    Part of the reason the state wants to protect the embryos/ unborns is
    not only that our constitution says every life has value, but also the
    practical aspect of encouraging children to keep from dying out.*

    Since bans prevent almost no abortions, the state is simply spinning its wheels. If we assume a scenario where more children are genuinely needed, instead of being tribalist paranoia like you and Isabel mentioned, a more practical and humane solution would be some type of incentive program.

  • Münchner Kindl

     Yes, that’s what I said in the footnote, what all experts agree on after a study asking women yet again why they don’t have more children comes out: the German state is doing way not enough compared to France or Scandinavia to ease the double burden of motherhood (and work) on women.

    Current developments in the economy  – only limited-time jobs, relocating to the other end of the country to find a job, low wages for middle class – make founding a family more unlikely than ever. But Angie and the Consies don’t want to bite the hand of the lobbyists, and she learned from her mentor Kohl to sit out all problems by not doing anything to solve them – that avoids getting unpopular for drastic measures with the voters. No matter how dumb it is. Given that she has a real diploma for physics, this is embarrassing.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Potential means nothing. The fact that an embryo has the potential to become a person should not in any way factor into the abortion debate at all. 

    You have the potential to become a serial killer. Should your home country lock you up simply because you might possibly murder someone one day? No. There’s no difference.

    And that potential to become life doesn’t automatically ascribe value either. 

    Also, speaking as someone who has actually carried a pregnancy to term, a 12 week old fetus is MUCH closer to a blob of tissue than it is a person. Development is only part of the equation. The level of development has to be factored in, and then there’s the fact that, without the woman’s body, it wouldn’t be developing at all. 

    And that’s what the entire debate SHOULD hinge on: Value or not, life or not, the entire process depends on the fetus (and other stages) having a captive woman to take nutrients from and to handle everything for it. If the woman wants to submit her body to this process, then more power to her. But the woman who doesn’t should have every right not to. In no other situation do we require a person to give up their body to another person for Person B’s use. Why are unborn fetuses any different? 

  • Münchner Kindl

     

    If the woman wants to submit her body to this process, then more power
    to her. But the woman who doesn’t should have every right not to. In no
    other situation do we require a person to give up their body to another
    person for Person B’s use. Why are unborn fetuses any different?

    I feel like I’m repeating myself, but
    1. I’m not advocating forbidding terminations of pregnancy. Especially not for medical reasons, and also not if the woman feels she doesn’t want to or can’t carry to term.

    2. That the embryo depends on the woman’s body does not for me mean it has no rights. Its needs are less than the needs of the mother, but I do not agree that it must be all or nothing. That’s why I call it complicated and want counseling, because I don’t see it as black and white. I see the embryo to be considered valuable, too, therefore, time should be spent to make that decision.

    3. In no other situation is one person so dependent on another person without alternatives.
    Maybe, in 30 years, we will have artifical wombs so developed that after 1 week the fetus can be removed and left to mature in there (the preemie viability has been pushed backwards a lot in the last 4 decades), and then we would have to rethink the whole thing. But currently, there is no other option than carrying at least into 2nd trimester to give the embryo a chance.
    If you want to compare kidneys or similar depending on transplants: those are two full persons, who can speak for themselves, and who can use machines for survival interim. The embryo doesn’t have that option.

  • Baby_Raptor

    So, if I’m understanding you right, the fact that the fetus (and other stages) cannot speak for itself means that we should automatically afford it a special set of rights? 

    What about a person in a car wreck, who is now comatose and in need of a transplant? They can’t speak for themselves. Should the government now start stepping in and forcing compatible donors to donate whatever in order to keep these people alive? 

  • The_L1985

     I’m with Isabel on this one–it should be strictly enforced that counseling must be available, so that people who want counseling automatically have access to it.

    But making it mandatory for someone to receive that counseling, even if that person already knows the ramifications of what they’re about to do, is essentially treating grown adults like mentally-handicapped children.  It is, in effect, saying, “You don’t really know what you want.  Let us tell you what you really want.”  That is bad.

  • EllieMurasaki

    by making it mandatory for everybody, the onus is not on the woman to get access to counseling – which currently is not available everywhere, no matter what you advocate – but on the state to provide it

    I see you clearly explaining why counseling availability should be mandatory. Not a word about why people considering abortion should be compelled to go.

  • Lori

    I see you clearly explaining why counseling availability should be
    mandatory. Not a word about why people considering abortion should be
    compelled to go.  

    Exactly. If the goal is to compel the state to make counseling available then compel the state to make counseling available. Everything she’s said on this issue makes it pretty clear that’s not actually the point. This is not exactly a surprise since I’ve never seen any legally mandated pre-aboriton counseling that wasn’t designed simply to give anti-choice views a captive audience.

  • Rowen

     “Would you advocate the same requirements for any operation? Gastric
    bypass surgery? Laser vision correction? How about pregnancy itself?
    Certainly that’s a situation where women could feel pressure from their
    surroundings.”

    I think we should be clear on what is meant by “counseling.” Because. .  you get counseling before gastric bypass. You don’t just make an appointment with the surgeon and go “snip it, yo.” Same thing with both of my minor knee surgeries. Hell, there was a short counseling session before just about every single HIV test I’ve had.

    Now, I doubt it’ll ever be the case that a woman can just walk into a clinic and go “cut it out, yo,” so, it might be that what I’m thinking of as “counseling” already exists (especially in dealing with the after effects), and what other people are thinking of as counseling is more complex and sit downy and intrusive and Therapist-y.

    Cause I can see the medical/liability necessity to have a referral and/or have a brief “This is what’s going to happen, this is what we’re going to do, this is what most patients felt, physically, this is a normal range of pain, if you see this, this or this, call the office immediately, here’s a few pamphlets going into more detail with some extra resources, do you have any questions?” sorta thing.

  • Isabel C.

    Oh, yeah, that’s fine and good, and an excellent point. I was thinking of the more intrusive “let’s talk about alternatives and what this means and blah blah blah.”

    Oddly, I’ve never had a counseling session before the HIV tests, but that might be because I just get them lumped in with all my other periodic bloodwork. Or it might be a different-state thing. I do have to sign a form, though.

  • Rowen

    I’ve been going to the GLBT community clinic, so I think they take it on themselves to discuss safe sex and prevention/stopping the spread. I don’t remember being *asked* a lot of questions, but I think that’s because I’m usually nervous about having blood drawn and end up babbling about how I TOTALLY learned things like don’t give blow jobs when you’ve bitten your lip, eaten tortilla chips, brushed your teeth, or anything else that can lacerate your gums.

    In some ways, I’m still just a kindergarten kid craving a gold star sticker.

  • Isabel C.

    That makes a lot of sense. And my obgyn does ask about sexual partners and safety and all that, just earlier in the exam.

    I hear you on the blood drawing thing, though. Lllp. 

  • Rowen

     My absolute WORST experience was, when I was 19, getting my second test, and was telling the doc how I hated the test because of the drawing blood thing (this was back when they had to fill a vial of your blood, not just a smudge). His response? “Well, if you don’t like it so much, why are you putting yourself in this situation?” (aka, why are you having sex?)

    At 19, I was like “um… um… um…” now, I’m like. .. 
    http://www.disneyvillains.net/images/maleficent4jr0.jpg

  • Isabel C.

    Oh my God that guy was a dick.

    The doctor I tried to get an IUD from when I was twenty-one or so explained that she couldn’t give me one, because as I’d had five or so sexual partners, I was clearly an unsafe dirty slut who would get PID and die and sue them.
    …I don’t know if there’s something about meeting shitty medical providers comparatively early in life or what. Mine have thankfully been better since, and I hope yours have too. 

  • Rowen

     it’s been a mixed bag, but I’ve come out of it relatively ok. ^_^ But yeah, it does/did take a while to get over the whole “I’m sexually active and therefore a failure/slut/horrible person” mentality.

  • Isabel C.

    Ooof. I’m sorry.

    I was lucky enough in my upbringing that I just got wildly pissed off–I recall stalking the entire mile-plus way home–and told my college to stop recommending people to that doctor. They were pretty responsive, which was nice. 
    My current obgyn has been pretty awesome so far: didn’t bat an eye when I requested Essure or anything. 

  • Münchner Kindl

     Wow. That’s … beyond shitty.

    Could you have gone to your state medical approval board and accused him (don’t know the English technical term) for being a bad doctor with unsound medical advice? Or is this behaviour not against the rules?

    I remember how my older sister got upset over a seemingly innocent remark when I went to my first gynecologist – she said that my older sister was a patient of hers, too. Obviously in a friendly way of “Half of the family is coming to me, so I know the general problems”, but of course a huge privacy violation. (That I had asked my sister before where she went was irrelevant, the doctor is not allowed to mention who the patients are, even if they are family living at the same adress and can be assumed to talk to each other).

  • Isabel C.

    Alas, probably not: doctors can refuse to insert IUDs, and she didn’t state things quite that bluntly, just implied ’em.

  • Münchner Kindl

     Huh? You mean refuse for a non-medical reason?

    I know that different contraception methods carry different risks generally and specifically per person, so I can understand a doctor saying to Mrs. Smith that with her medical history* method X would be too risky/ too bad for health, and therefore to use method Y.

    But to refuse for personal reasons is allowed? That’s … bad.

    * E.g. if body chemistry is wrong in one way, or a history of breast cancer in the family, the pill might have much higher risk. Or if the cervix ? is too small/ too much sport, the thingie might fall out (I’m not a gyn., I’m guessing here.)

  • John (not McCain)

    For somebody who feels like they are repeating themselves, you sure do go on and on.  Sorry your side lost in WW2*, but maybe you could get over it and not take out your frustration on the rest of the world?

    *Not actually sorry.  Rather glad.  Too bad the whole place wasn’t Dresdened.

  • Isabel C.

    Dude, not cool. 

  • Münchner Kindl

     Thanks for Godwining and showing yourself to be without empathy or appreciation of cultural world heritage.

  • The_L1985

    Wow, that’s incredibly dickish. Germany today is NOT the Third Reich by any stretch.

  • Beroli

    Too bad the whole country didn’t get slaughtered? The hell? Way to leap away from the moral high ground.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    There are plenty legitimate reasons in the present-day to criticize Germany – among them its habit of imposing an almost paranoid anti-inflation stance on the ECB in a time when actually it needs to be trying to help push some inflation into the system.

  • Isabel C.

    There’s a fuzzy area. I don’t think they can refuse for personal reasons most places (although we’ve had pharmacists try and refuse to fill prescriptions for Plan B/oral contraceptives, so I may have missed something with doctors as well) but…well, “I think that you have too many sexual partners” is *technically* a medical reason for not going forward with an IUD, because it can make infections more serious.

  • Münchner Kindl

     A real – neutral – gynecologist’s opinion would be helpful then to evaluate the situation.

    Though if you warned your college, found a better one and it’s years behind you, it’s probably water under the bridge and not longer worth fighting for you personally.

    The trouble with pharmacists being catholic not wanting to sell condoms – it pops up in the news (and catholic catechisms) now and then, but I can’t remember the current legal stance on it.

    There was just recently a huge scandal when a raped woman in Cologne was turned away by a Catholic clinic, because they didn’t want to give the “pill after” (falsly claiming it to be abortion) and therefore didn’t want to even treat her in case the treatment gave medical reasons to give her the pill after.
    Digging deeper, the reporters found internal memos that this had been going on for some time and not one isolated incident, and that they didn’t stock even forensic evidence rape kits.

    I hope they get a huge smackdown since they are state-funded and so have to play by general medical rules – but Cologne is notorious for Catholicsm penetrating deeply in higher levels of society.

  • Isabel C.

    Good Lord, that’s monstrous. People should go to jail for that.

    As far as my own case goes, yeah, that was, er, nine years ago. Alarming. ;) Have since gotten an IUD, had it taken out for other reasons, and had no issue with it: the gynecologists up in Boston don’t seem to have any problem at all, which is nice. 

  • Münchner Kindl

     I would be satisified with administrators being fired, doctors having their approbation revoked and strict new guidelines with new personnell instituted. (She didn’t die from denial of care or anything – she was humiliated and had to get to the next clinic. Which is bad, but not automatically prisonworthy; it depends on the circumstances.)

    Accomplishing anything beyond would be bonus.

  • The_L1985

    “Huh? You mean refuse for a non-medical reason?”

    Yes.  Exactly.  Because this is how warped “religious freedom” has become in America.

  • Münchner Kindl

     

    but I think that’s because I’m usually nervous about having blood drawn
    and end up babbling about how I TOTALLY learned things like don’t give
    blow jobs when you’ve bitten your lip, eaten tortilla chips, brushed
    your teeth, or anything else that can lacerate your gums.

    Thanks for sharing .. I think, but a bit too close to TMI? ;-)

  • Rowen

     It’s information everyone should know.

  • glendanowakowsk

    I learned something from your post.  Thanks, Rowen!

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    *shudder* needles.

    I almost fainted the last time I needed blood drawn.

  • Carstonio

    Mandatory counseling isn’t when a practitioner requires it for medical reasons, to make sure patients are informed of the risks for a procedure. It’s when a government makes it a legal requirement. The folks pushing these laws for abortions aren’t focusing on the risks – they’re just using government power to try to change the woman’s mind.

  • Rowen

     That’s why I wanted to be clear. Because, to me, mandatory counseling is just that. The stuff you get before any big procedure to go over the risks and results and the fact that you can’t just walk in and get stuff done. I do understand that, in the US especially and among the pro-choice crowd, mandatory counseling means something completely different.

  • Münchner Kindl

     I (don’t know about the others) used “medical advice/ medical counseling” in my posts when refering to this.

    This is done by a doctor before any major surgery (unless emergency), explaining all the risks and benefits and possible alternatives. For an elective surgery, a second opinion is recommend – maybe the risks are different, or there are alternatives to what the first doctor said – and shopping around to find the best specialist.

    The counseling mandatory in Germany before an abortion is done by trained counselors. They can be from a secular background or a protestant pastor* (since they are trained in Seelsorge – therapeutic counseling for help with life crises). It’s both practical aspects: if you keep the child, what help can you get? If you carry it to term, how does adoption work? If you terminate the pregnancy, what are the consequences? And spiritual/ psychological aspects – women feel different about what the embryo is, and what they should do. They often have talked with others before and thought about it.

    The intent is on protecting the unborn child (as the law puts it) and recognizing that this isn’t easy for women but a difficult decision. I don’t have the numbers of what’s typical here on which groups do actually get abortions for what reasons, or how the outcome of the counseling typically is. It would take a lot of time digging to find them, so I’m not eager unless it’s necessary. (Plus, Disqus hates going back to old threads.)

    * Catholic bishops offered counseling, too, and were critized for not being very neutral but pressuring strongly towards keeping the child instead. But some years ago, Rome told them that because they gave the certificate at the end, they were aiding abortion and that was not allowed under Catholic doctrine. So now the catholic priests offer counseling to catholic women who feel they need it, but then the women have to go to a second place to get the certificate. Unsuprisingly, the numbers dropped sharply because even Catholic women didn’t want to sit through it two times.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Cause I can see the medical/liability necessity to have a referral and/or have a brief “This is what’s going to happen, this is what we’re going to do, this is what most patients felt, physically, this is a normal range of pain, if you see this, this or this, call the office immediately, here’s a few pamphlets going into more detail with some extra resources, do you have any questions?” sorta thing.

    I wouldn’t call that ‘counseling’. I’d call that ‘providing necessary information’, which is a thing the doctor doing a medical procedure must either do or ensure is done before the procedure begins, in order to be certain that the consent to the procedure is informed consent. What I call ‘counseling’ involves the participation of both patient and counselor and generally involves prying into what the patient is thinking and feeling. (‘Prying’ because if we’re mandating it, and sometimes if it’s not mandated, it’s an invasion of privacy.)

  • Rowen

     Makes sense. I think I was thinking a long the lines of my HIV tests. It’s been a rough month and at the last one, during the “let’s talk about sex” part, I totally broke down and the doctor and I chatted for a bit, and he gave me a list of therapists to see.

    I do realize that most of the legislation we’re discussing was created by people who probably aren’t viewing the Gay Men’s Health Crisis Center as a standard of operation, though.

  • Mark Z.

    Would you advocate the same requirements for any operation? Gastric bypass surgery? Laser vision correction?

    Isn’t that how informed consent works?

    (Edit: Rowen already made this point, so no need to go through it again.)

  • Isabel C.

    That’s a fair point, as per Rowen. I think part of the problem is that the term means different things in different contexts–and the way Kindl is arguing does not suggest a simple “Take some ibuprofen beforehand and avoid vigorous exercise for a while” chat.  

  • AnonymousSam

    Yeah, Isabel, listen to the man and ask a woman how she feels about this. ¬_____¬

  • Münchner Kindl

    ??? If you’re referring to me, I’m a woman.

  • Fusina

    I am in the purple. I don’t like abortions being necessary, but I also don’t like women being restricted from getting them. for any reason they see fit at any point in the pregnancy. 

    This point is mine, this opinion is mine, and here I stand.

  • LL

    Here we go: http://www.guttmacher.org/statecenter/spibs/spib_MWPA.pdf

    Just in case anybody was still under the impression that this “counseling” is about anything other than trying to dissuade women from having abortions. 

    26 states (so 50%) that require “counseling” require the patient to wait 24 hours between the “counseling” and the procedure. Which means 2 separate trips to the doctor. 

    It’s not about informing women about the risks associated with abortion (I’m guessing most decent doctors would do that anyway). 

    It’s about making getting an abortion as difficult as possible without actually outlawing it. I’m kinda surprised there are still people here who don’t know that. 

  • Münchner Kindl

     Thanks for the link – but apart from the seperate trips*, I don’t quite see how mentioning the risks of abortion (and in 29 states, information on the risks of continuing the pregnancy) is only about “dissuading women from having abortions”.

    That list in itself does not tell how the written material is like (though the women is not required to read it, so in a way it’s less coercive), or how the oral information goes. “Describing fetal development” could also lead women to conclude “I’m in the 8th week, it’s some fishy-thingy, no problem” instead of “it’s a baby, I’ll keep it”.

    * In other discussions, it has been mentioned that access to abortion clinics has in some states become very difficult, hitting, of course mostly poor women. But the requirement of counseling itself or a waiting period is not to blame for that; putting abortion clinics or doctors out of business is done with other (open or underhanded) measures.

  • P J Evans

     In some of those states, the doctors are required to give patients ‘information’ that’s been proven to be wrong. Because ‘personhood begins at conception’ according to a majority of the (white, male.conservative, douchebeck)  legislators in those states.

  • The_L1985

     Because the counseling laws were specifically about abortions, and they were passed by politicians who had specifically stated that their ultimate goal was to ban abortion altogether.  Every single piece of pro-life literature I’ve ever read (and as an ex-Catholic, I’ve read a lot) that ever mentions counseling laws specifically lauds them for making it harder for women to get abortions.

  • Münchner Kindl

     So then the situation is different to here, where secular places provide counseling. Yes, the law is worded with intent to protect the unborn life, but also acknowledges that the woman is in a difficult decision. And since it was a change from a stricter anti-abortion law, it’s clear that banning abortion is off the table. (And people wouldn’t accept it).

  • Isabel C.

    Ugh.

    I feel really lucky that I live in MA.I also kind of hope that a lot of doctors in the other states take some circumventing-an-unjust-law measures. “Well, I’m required to tell you this. You’re not required to listen. If you want to have a real discussion of your options, I’m here. Otherwise, have a magazine and some tea and I’ll just talk very quietly at the front of this room.”That’s what I would do, in a similar situation. 

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

    In Britain Abortion is legal up to 24 weeks as long as two doctors agree that continuing the pregnancy constitutes a greater risk to the woman’s health (physical or mental) or any children she already has than the procedure does. So that’s pretty much any pregnancy then.

  • Münchner Kindl

     Are you sure that any pregnancy is riskier than abortion? Doesn’t that depend on the method of abortion compared to the pregnancy in this woman? Might e.g. some drugs be more dangerous for the woman than carrying to term?

    Do the doctors have to make any examination at all?

    We do have a medical indication for life or serious complications for health of the pregnant woman (unless the danger can be avoided in another way). Some people claim it’s applied nilly-willy. Probably because mental health = psychological problems are also part of health indication, and a woman under severe stress .. it’s hard to disprove. (That’s closer to Isabels hair-tearing ,-)

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

     On average probably – Pregnancy can be risky.  But I was being flippant, primarily because it’s basically rubber stamped and everyone on both sides and in the middle knows it. (This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true because everyone knows a chunk of things that aren’t but AFAIK (I don’t have personal experience) it is.)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Canadian law is silent on the subject, but provincial governments have played games with making abortion de facto unavailable by screwing around with funding of clinics. (See here)

    In addition, British Columbia has a law restricting protesting outside of clinics.

  • AnonymousSam

    Here is as I see it: a woman doesn’t come to an abortion clinic because she needs help deciding whether or not she wants an abortion. In most cases, I doubt she even comes there with the choice already made, wanting someone to further justify the decision. Therefore, any attempt made to discuss alternatives is, by definition, trying to dissuade her from having the procedure.

    This is bad enough when it’s not mandated. When it is mandated, we run into situations like the woman who genuinely wanted a baby and found out the fetus had a terminal genetic defect which would have resulted in even more tragedy and suffering had she brought it to term, but was still forced to go through counseling sessions and being given the standard “DON’T KILL YOUR BABY!” literature regardless of the situation, as if they were hoping to appeal to her maternal instincts to willingly bring a life into the world only to be extinguished after much suffering.

  • Münchner Kindl

     Again, like I said, I’m describing the situation here. The counseling is seperate from the abortion place, because the doctor doing the abortion can’t provide the counseling. And because the counseling is about the psycological/ mental/ spiritual issues and practical help, which a doctor doesn’t know about or isn’t trained in counseling for.

  • smrnda

    I think that you’re ascribing too much intelligence to the people who go both ways. Many people are ardently pro-life until someone they know (or themselves) has an unplanned pregnancy, and then they switch into the ‘pro choice with some reservations’ category, and the ‘with reservations’ is often not particularly consistent. People’s views on an issue can change quite a bit when it suddenly goes from being an abstract concern about other people to something personal, and people then switch back without even noticing the cognitive dissonance. I suspect this is more the issue than any well-thought out or nuanced stance.

  • Münchner Kindl

     Hmmm… I do agree that people behave that way – some time back Fred linked to the woman protester at an abortion clinic standing on a ladder to better scream, who one day went into the clinic to have an abortion herself, and was back on the ladder the next day. Cognitive disassociation indeed.

    But this was a (badly worded) survey. I don’t think people with denial or dissassoziation activly put the conflicting viewpoints down that way. It’s similar to Republican X being caught having gay sex or fundie Talk Show host Y being divorced 3 times – they don’t want it for everybody, they don’t agree that it’s necessary; rather, they slipped and sinned. Afterwards, they will confess, be forgiven, and go right on with the original opinion.

    Again, a better worded survey – do you support abortions for medical reasons until 1st trimester/ without limits? Do you support abortions for personal reasons until 1st/ 2nd/ 3rd semester? – would clear that up.

  • thebewilderness

    I am rather taken with the idea that a doctor who is qualified to discuss with you the options of a surgical procedure that you are requesting they perform is somehow unqualified to discuss the options with you if the procedure is an abortion.
    That is bizarre.

  • Münchner Kindl

     If you are replying to me (I assume) then a doctor can explain and discuss the medical risks.

    But how would a gyn doctor know the financial resources available to you (and where to file) if you keep the child? Why would a gyn doctor be trained in spiritual/ mental/ psychological counseling when the woman says “I’m torn, I want children, but [reason why not .. maybe not now], what shall I do? I don’t want to abort, I don’t want to continue, what shall I do?”

    You don’t go to a psychological therapist for a broken bone, you don’t go to a gyn for mental therapy = counseling.

  • Isabel C.

    Well, that’s when you refer to a therapist. You can say that every abortion clinic and/or obgyn office has to have a trained psychologist on the premises: might be a good idea, as a general rule. 

    But there’s no reason to make the therapy stuff mandatory.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ZNNUWEXUPQUQAYGBFDHTEIJBUI Joshua

    I feel like regulations like that are more commonly used to drive abortion clinics out of business. Having to have a trained psychologist on the premises is an additional expense — a huge one, if you have to have one on hand for every single procedure. 

    It may be a good idea despite that but I think before any governmental body adopts it as a rule they should have a legitimate fact-finding that this would actually improve outcomes for women seeking abortions. 

  • Isabel C.

    Good point there.  I was sort of at the end of my rope.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    know the financial resources available to you (and where to file) if you keep the child?

     See, that’s the part that’s coercive.  It’s the assumption that if not for the financial feasability, you’d be totally down with having a child, and while that is the case for many women, it’s not for all.  It’s a shaming tactic for those “slutty” girls who get themselves knocked up, don’t they know they should keep that baby, look at all the help you will get(which I understand there is a pretty decent safety net in Germany, so I don’t know why people don’t already know about it.  Ours is shitty, so no one really knows how little it actually does).  It’s a common tactic in pregnancy crisis centers, to spout off about all the assistance you can get, if you decide to keep it, but trust me as someone who’s received that assistance, it ain’t shit.  And that assistance is not why I decided to keep my child. 

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Probably related to the fallacy that abortion providing is a multi billion dollar industry, because the abortion doctor has a financial interest in whether you have the procedure or not, and as such cannot be unbiased. 

    This was in response to thebewilderness above, sorry.
    Honestly, I know the law in question is in Germany, but it sounds like it was written by one of our own homegrown forced birthers.

  • LL

    It’s amusing that our friend from Germany thinks the “counseling” is mandated out of concern for the women involved. I can’t decide whether that’s charmingly naive or indefensibly dumb.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Ask anyone (in the US; Germany might be different, I don’t know) why they support mandated counseling, and they’ll tell you: it IS out of concern for the women! The ones who can’t actually be termed ‘women’, even ‘young women’, till a decade and a half after the counseling session in question, who’ll never get the chance to be so termed if not for the counseling session in question!

    Y’know, the ones who don’t exist yet, and (seeing as they’re nonexistent) are not actually entitled to exist.

  • The_L1985

    I was once that naive.  I can see it happening.  She’s basically saying a lot of the same stuff I said when I was in college and first trying to really wrap my head around the facts of the whole abortion thing.

    It took a combination of learning more about severe birth defects and maternal poverty, and the article “The Only Moral Abortion Is My Abortion,” to change my mind.  I did a complete 180 from “complete ban, no exceptions,” to “Who am I to decide whether a complete stranger’s reasons are ‘good enough’ to have an abortion?  It’s not my place to judge other women, especially women in a situation that they actually need this!”

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I suspect the purple regions there have a lot to do with the fact that even amoung the viehemently pro-choice, I know a lot of people who every single time feel the need to qualify it with “WHat I really think is that it is terrible that a woman would ever be in a position where she feels she needs one and what we should really be doing is to try to minimize that happening,” as if the default assumption is that someone identifying as “pro-choice” actually likes abortion and wants to encourage them.

    But I suspect a lot of it is also the “But what about the sluts?” contingent, who agree that abortion should be available safely and on-demand, but still entertain the fantasy that there are significant numbers of women who use abortion as a form of birth control, or who “aren’t responsible” and need to “learn to take responsibility” and “live with the consequences”.

  • other lori

    I’d give the “purple people” a bit more credit. I don’t think it’s that they think the pro-choice movement actively encourages abortion. But, in reality, there are pro-choicers, some very vocal ones, who really don’t think the current rate of abortion is a problem, who don’t think it would matter if there were more abortions, and believe that there is no difference of any moral import between preventing a pregnancy and terminating a pregnancy. And, that’s fine that they believe that, but I don’t think that’s where most people are, even most people who support legal abortion access.

    I wouldn’t identify as a “purple person,” because I use the labels to refer to legality alone, and so identify fully as pro-choice. But, I really, really don’t like abortion. I’m a pacifist, I think abortion is an act of violence, and I think that in nearly all cases (except for those where the life of the mother is at risk), it is preferable to continue the pregnancy. I also think forcing a woman to continue a pregnancy against her will is an act of violence, so I certainly wouldn’t ever support that. So, at the level of the law, I would always support women having access to safe, legal abortion. But, on a personal level, if somebody who was unexpectedly pregnant came to me, I’d encourage them to continue the pregnancy and do whatever I could to help them do so. If they decided not to, I’d support them and love them and not judge them, but I would think it was a loss.

    And I don’t think I’m the only person who feels that way, and I can see why many people who are in favor of abortion legally but opposed to abortion morally would identify as “purple.” Because, there are many pro-choicers who are not morally opposed to abortion, and, really, given the way abortion laws are decided (not by a popular vote), our views on the morality of abortion are probably more salient in our everyday lives than our views on the legality of abortion are. 

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    I use the labels to refer to legality alone, and so identify fully as pro-choice.

    I like the succinctness of that.

    at the level of the law, I would always support women having access to
    safe, legal abortion. But, on a personal level, if somebody who was
    unexpectedly pregnant came to me, I’d encourage them to continue the
    pregnancy and do whatever I could to help them do so

    (nods) I was in that camp for a long time… indeed, that could have been a direct quote. And I think you’re right that a lot of “purple” people have basically that position, which gets expressed in various ways.

    I have since then moved to a less me-centric position on the personal level… now, I would say that if somebody who was unexpectedly pregnant came to me, I’d encourage them to talk through their thoughts and feelings about that pregnancy, and about their broader beliefs about morality and what was valuable in the world, and about their various options, and try to help them make a decision that best incorporated all of that stuff and best reconciled the tensions in it… and that my thoughts and feelings and morals and values would not even come up unless I specifically thought discussing them would be useful.

    Any time people start trying to shut down conversation on a complex issue–either with “It’s murder!” or “It’s her body!”–I think there’s a
    problem.

    I agree with this as far as it goes. That said, it’s worth thinking about what exactly the problem is.

    If a bunch of people are sitting around discussing whether or not, and on what terms and conditions, I ought to be permitted to access a medical procedure that I consider necessary to my continued health and well-being, and they are having that conversation in a way that doesn’t seem to pay any attention to me, or my experience, or my preferences, or my capabilities… yeah, I might very well start trying to shut down that conversation with “It’s my body!”

    And yes, in that situation there’s definitely a problem.

    But the problem is not with my attempt to shut down the conversation. The problem predates that attempt. And attempts to “solve the problem” by insisting that I calm down and let the conversation continue are… well, let’s just say I don’t necessarily endorse them.

    Not that I’m suggesting you’re doing that.

  • Carstonio

     

    But, on a personal level, if somebody who was unexpectedly pregnant came
    to me, I’d encourage them to continue the pregnancy and do whatever I
    could to help them do so.

    Why? Even if you support the person no matter what her decision, you’re still proceeding on the assumption that you know what decision she should make, as if you know what’s best for her. Not your call. Dave is exactly right that your thoughts and feelings and morals and values don’t necessarily belong in that  conversation. Someone who has never faced an unwanted pregnancy can truly understand what it’s like to be in that situation, and thus has no knowledge base to make a decision for someone in that situation. This applies even more to me because of my gender.

  • Isabel C.

    Right.

    If I got pregnant, I would get an abortion ASAP. No second thoughts involved, probably no guilt. (And part of why I take such a hard-line stance is that a lot of the rhetoric, especially in the US, suggests that people should feel guilt, and that it should be a tough decision for everyone that they have to justify. Which I resent, frankly.) For the most part, if pressed in a debate, I’d say that, as an abstract and general rule, abortion is the best way to respond to unplanned pregnancy. However, if a friend of mine came to me and said “I’m pregnant, and I’m not sure what to do,” I would try to avoid coming down on either side. I’d ask how they felt about the situation and offer help regardless. Maybe I’d say “Well, if it were *me*…” but I’d be sure to end with “…but that’s me.” It’s pretty much the same way I try to act when friends talk about taking jobs, potentially breaking things off with SOs, and so forth. Everyone’s different. What makes one person happy may well make their twin miserable, and abstract and general rules don’t often work very well in the specific. 

    So I’d try and keep my personal position out of things. I’d hope for the same courtesy from anyone who called themselves my friend. 

  • Isabel C.

    I would also hope for paragraph breaks, but apparently that’s not happening today.

  • other lori

    I do think that, in general, it’s better to nurture human life than to end it. So, yes, I do think it would be better to continue a pregnancy than to have an abortion, assuming the mother’s life isn’t at risk. Do I make the call for somebody? No. But, it’s simply silly to imagine that we shouldn’t or can’t have opinions, especially when we’re talking about people we love. If a friend of mine is cheating on their spouse or gambling away their money or voting Republican, I’ll love them and support them, but it won’t change the fact that I don’t agree with their choices and, if approached for input, would give it.

    And, I have had an unplanned pregnancy. It was one of the scariest times of my life, and I was in the best possible situation for facing an unplanned pregnancy at the time (married, financially secure, finished with my education, supportive family and friends). So I can imagine how scary it would be for somebody in a less ideal situation, and that’s why I would NEVER support forcing women to carry pregnancies to term or laws that would attempt to do so.

    I think it’s this idea that we can’t have an opinion about abortion–that we can’t think abortion is morally problematic, that we can’t think that continuing a pregnancy is better than terminating in most cases, that we can’t, for example, treat abortion like adultery and think it’s wrong but something that is still a person’s personal business and not something to be legislated–that alienates people from the pro-choice position and causes people to attach to the pro-life label even if they do support legal abortion access.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    it’s simply silly to imagine that we shouldn’t or can’t have opinions, especially when we’re talking about people we love. 

    Sure, that’s absolutely true. Has anyone in this discussion said that we shouldn’t or can’t have opinions?

     

    If a friend of mine is [doing things I disapprove of] I’ll love them and support them, but it
    won’t change the fact that I don’t agree with their choices and, if
    approached for input, would give it.

    Would that input always include telling them about your disagreement with their choices? If not, what kinds of situations would encourage you to provide that input in particular, and what kinds would encourage you to withhold it?

    Would that input only include telling them about your disagreement with their choices? If not, what  else would it include, besides that disagreement?
    Would you start with talking about that stuff, or start with talking about your disagreement with their choices, or would it depend?

    For my own part, I find that there are many relationships and many contexts in which, when I am approached for input, I have opinions and moral judgments, and I am perfectly free to have them, and I am not in the least apologetic about having them, and it is usually best to start by talking about things other than my opinions and moral judgments, and it is frequently best to never quite get around to mentioning them.

    They aren’t the most important thing.
    They rarely make the top three.

  • Isabel C.

    Hm. And conversely, I feel like there’s a lot of pressure on the other side, as I said, to feel that it’s problematic but necessary, to justify it (as Lori mentions above), to not think it’s the best choice under most circumstances. And that alienates people like me from the “moderate pro-life” or whatever we’re calling the purple group. 

    Which leads me to believe that most people are going to get or have gotten flak for their opinion, simply because there’s such a range of said opinions and people all feel very strongly about them. Which, in true New Englander fashion, leads me to believe that we should keep said opinions mostly to ourselves–unless specifically asked “What would you do?” or “What do you think about abortion?”–while leaving the law as open as possible. 

    I feel the same way about religion, adultery, and gambling, for that matter–and where voting’s concerned, I’ll campaign and be generally outspoken about being Democratic, but I do feel like it’s not okay for me to approach my Republican acquaintances and family directly. Keep yourself to yourself, and so forth.

  • Carstonio

     

    I do think that, in general, it’s better to nurture human life than to end it.

    As the original Lori pointed out, we’re talking about personhood, not life. Before advance directives were common, there were many instances of people being kept alive by machines after hope of recovery was gone. That’s another case were no one who hasn’t had a loved one in that situation can truly understand what it’s like to be in that situation. (The case of Terri Schiavo was really a family conflict that escalated into a political one.) The long-term solution wasn’t to debate over which course was the most moral in these cases, but to turn the decision over to the individual patient ahead of time.

    If a friend of mine is cheating on their spouse or gambling away their money or voting Republican,

    It’s defensible to have an opinion about the first and third situations, because they’re cases where actions are hurting others. I perceive the second as more problematic because any handling of that type of addiction by outsiders can very easily be paternalistic – ending the addiction involves the individual addressing the underlying psychological issues, which aren’t things that others can simply fix.

    This isn’t about having an opinion that abortion is wrong in the abstract. My point is about having an opinion that a specific woman shouldn’t have an abortion. Or that she should. The circumstances are different for every woman, and the consequences of carrying the pregnancy to term may arguably be worse in some cases for the woman and her family. Any opinion by an outsider about the best course in a specific circumstance of unwanted pregnancy is, by default, an uninformed one. That doesn’t mean that the woman automatically knows best, but that ultimately the decision has to rest with her.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    the polarizing politics of abortion present a stark binary view that doesn’t capture many people’s actual experience

    Dunno if you read 300 comments in, but just so you know Fred–you’re part of this.

  • Lori

    Dunno if you read 300 comments in, but just so you know Fred–you’re part of this.  

    Here’s the thing, PRRI poll results notwithstanding, the simple fact is that when it comes to legal, safe abortion the choice is pretty binary. We have it, or we’re condemning women to die. Whatever else any purple person thinks or feels about the issue, that’s the bottom line.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    That’s all well and good, but the poll asked about how people self-identify, not their thoughts on specific legal questions. And on the matter of identity, Fred contributes to the polarised, stark binary view that excludes a hell of a lot of people.

  • Lori

    People’s self-view is the subject of the poll, but not really the main issue WRT abortion. The purple people aren’t automatically right because they’re in the middle or because they’re in some way excluded by the typical framing of the debate. The poll tells us something about how people feel about that framing or about themselves, but it tells us nothing about what constitutes a good, right or reasonable position on the issue of abortion. There are actually some issues where, to borrow from Jim Hightower, there really is nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos. Abortion is legal and therefore safe, or women die.

    Everything that people do to make it more difficult for a woman to get a safe, legal abortion should she want or need one results in women dying and there is no ethically coherent argument that justifies the state creating that situation.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    People’s self-view is the subject of the poll, but not really the main issue WRT abortion.

    Once again, my comment is not about legality and it’s not about what the main issue might be. It’s not about any of the things you’ve mentioned in each reply to me. I’m not arguing with you on any of that.

    My comment is about the specific piece of text I first quoted, and that’s it. I’d appreciate not being talked at as if in response to a point that I haven’t made, and won’t be making.

  • Lori

    Fine. I’ll repeat my first point. To the extent that Fred is actually part of the polarizing of the abortion debate, good for him. The purple middle is not the moral high ground.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    On that we’ll have to agree to disagree.

  • Violet

    I’m in the purple zone. I think human life is a process of development which begins at conception and that all human life is valuable and should be protected. I can’t imagine ever having an abortion myself. I don’t like the idea of abortion and I find the way some pro-choice advocates talk about unborn humans to be disgusting and dishonest.

    On the other hand, I don’t think banning abortion will lead to less abortions, only unsafe illegal ones. I can’t call myself pro-choice because 1. I don’t want to be affiliated in any way with people who shoot abortion doctors and 2. I’m in favour of cheap, plentiful contraception for everyone.

    In an ideal world, no-one would abort their child. I think the best way to achieve that is better sex education, easy access to contraception, legal protections for working mothers, better childcare facilities and a system that makes sure fathers have to pay child support, from conception onwards.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I can’t call myself pro-choice because 1. I don’t want to be affiliated in any way with people who shoot abortion doctors and 2. I’m in favour of cheap, plentiful contraception for everyone.

    Did you mean to say you can’t call yourself pro-life?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I can’t call myself pro-choice because 1. I don’t want to be affiliated in any way with people who shoot abortion doctors

    Ehem, it’s not pro-choicers doing that.

  • Keromaru5

    I’m not normally a fan of Frederica Mathewes-Green (a very pro-life conservative columnist and prominent Orthodox Christian speaker), but the whole time I’ve been following this thread, I kept thinking back to this article, about the Common Ground group she was part of.

  • AnonymousSam

    He specifically invoked the “dingy dungeon-like laboratory where women are prodded and jabbed with rusted knives to produce the desired bloody result” horror stereotype of abortion clinics, so his idea was to basically require them to be as well-certified as an actual hospital. That would have shut most of them down on the spot.

    Of course, our maternal death rates are high enough that I somehow don’t think forcing women to have their children is really giving them better odds, all other factors aside.

  • Tricksterson

    Isn’t that more like the places women would have to go to if abortion was once again illegal?

  • Dan Audy

    Yup.  However, there have been a few legitimate cases of abortion clinics which were filthy and did not adhere to acceptable medical practices that provide fodder for these people to project their (exagerated) faults onto all abortion facilities.  Personally, I think those operators need to bed repeatedly kicked in the gonads since it is a horrible thing to risk the women who didn’t know better or have any alternative’s health and should have been obvious how that would be used if the anti-abortion crew ever found out.  Essentially however what he is trying to do is doom us to the thing he purports to be saving us from.

  • Carstonio

    Even though his goal is obviously to make abortions harder to obtain, that doesn’t mean that he’s invoking the torture chamber image as a propaganda tactic. He could have that goal and still believe completely that abortion clinics are like that.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    There is a good case to make for legitimate licencing and inspection of abortion clinics, just as there would for any other medical clinic. But there are ways to play games with those rules, I imagine. :(


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