To Pro-Lifers Who Believe Adoption is Always the Answer

A couple of posts back, Unfundamentalist Christian Aliza Worthington (who is so unfundamentally Christian that she is, in fact, Jewish), recently published here An Open Letter to Pro-Lifers, in which she shared the basis for her conviction that if she became pregnant the choices facing her should be hers and hers alone. The core of her argument was this:

Can you [advocates in the Pro-Life movement] honestly say that you believe that you are in a better position than I to determine what is best for me and my entire family?

In response to Aliza’s post, one Bryan Baise, “a passionate and convictional pro-lifer” who writes for The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, wrote An Open Letter to a Pro-Choicer. Mr. Baise’s message to Aliza was that, if ever again she got pregnant, she should remember that she can always put her baby for adoption—that, in fact, he would adopt the child:

 I am concerned that you have fallen prey to the mindset that it must be “keep the baby forever or get an abortion.” No. There are thousands upon thousands of families incapable of having children that would take your child in a second … . I can promise you, if no one else would take your child we would.

And I’m dead serious, we’ll take your (potential) baby.

In response to Baises’ answer to Aliza, Unfundamentalist Christian Mindy Carney (she’s the copy editor of our blog here) emailed to Mr. Baise the letter below. (She would have published it as a comment/response to his post, but The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood doesn’t allow for comments to its articles.) After Ms. Carney shared her letter with the admin group of UC’s Facebook page, we decided to share it here. It is:

Hi Bryan,

I am the adoptive mother of two teenage girls. [That's Mindy and her daughters above.] Both were adopted as infants; both are amazing, wonderful people. One of them has suffered great heartbreak over the years, due to her losses and all that she went through.

My best friend is an adoptee, adopted as an infant in the early 1950s. Another very close friend is a birthmother who relinquished her newborn daughter when she was twenty and recently reunited with her, twenty-six years later. In the intervening years, my friend never had any more children. And she’d have made a wonderful mother.

I have been active in adoption communities and advocacy for over fifteen years. And I want to address your belief that adoption, rather than abortion, should be the answer to any unplanned, unwanted pregnancy.

I deeply admire my friend who relinquished her daughter for bringing that child into the world. I know that daughter brought her mom and dad great joy – and still does. And now that she and my friend have been reunited, I see my friend whole, for the first time in over a quarter-century. Her entire life, basically, had revolved around being the biological mother of a person she didn’t know. She doesn’t regret the choice she made.  But what she did, and what she’s gone through, is not something every woman is capable of doing, or should put herself through.

As I’ve said to many people, Bryan: If you truly believe that adoption is the answer for children without parents, then by all means, adopt a child already born who wants for a family. There are hundreds of thousands of such children already living on this earth, Bryan, many languishing in foster care throughout this country. They are good kids who desperately need families. Most people won’t adopt them, though, because they’re not infants. They might have “issues” of some sort, you know, being in foster care and all (most don’t, actually). Most prospective adoptive parents want healthy, white newborns. Even those willing to parent a child of color want a newborn.

And I get that, of course. My girls weren’t newborns, but one was a baby, the other a young toddler. I wanted to be a part of their lives from as near the beginning as possible, yes.  But I didn’t want any woman to endure a pregnancy that she didn’t want so that I could have a newborn. My babies were already here, living in orphanages and needing a family.

Why would you expect a woman to endure a pregnancy against her will, when too many kids who have already been born need families?

Also, being a birthmother is about a lot more than nine months—and about a lot more than, as you put it, “a few extra naps.” Women do actually die from complications of pregnancy and/or childbirth, it can cause lifelong physical changes, and the emotional toll it takes to relinquish one’s baby is too great for some people—both men and women—to bear. Making an adoption plan, or being adopted, is hardly a simple, one-size-fits-all solution.

I have talked with adoptees who, earlier in their lives, wished they had never been born, so damaged were they by being relinquished or abandoned before being adopted into a family that did not nurture the hurt parts of their souls, that did not care to know who the child they adopted really was. I know adoptees who shed their adoptive families as soon as they became adults, because they never felt like they fit in with them. They hated having been forced into a religion in which they never believed; they hated growing up without diversity of any kind; they hated not knowing anything about their birth culture or family; they felt as if they could never be “grateful” enough to satisfy their adoptive families. There are so many reasons for which adoption ultimately proves difficult for the adoptees. I know many adoptees who are happy and dearly love their adoptive parents, and by them are loved beyond measure—but who nonetheless have never felt whole.

None of this is anyone’s fault, and all of it can be overcome. But all of it is hard.

Were either of them to get pregnant, I absolutely would not recommend abortion to my daughters. I’d offer to help in any way I could so that she could parent her child. But I would not force either one to remain pregnant if that is not what she wanted. I have one daughter whose heartbreak over being left by her birthmother has never healed. She’s an amazing young woman, and we are very close, but I ache for the hurt with which she lives every day. My other daughter, also an amazing kid, has a more “live in the moment” personality, and while she’ll talk about it with me if I ask, she doesn’t dwell on her loss in the way her sister does. My girls’ temperaments are different; they process differently. No two humans are the same, Bryan, and for that reason alone we can’t take away any woman’s right to make the choice that she knows is best for her individual circumstances.

One of my daughters, for instance, is going off to prepare for medical school. Were she to get unexpectedly pregnant at a time that would preclude her finishing the education that she has been planning for herself since she was literally three years old, I wouldn’t blame her for terminating the pregnancy. Unlikely as it is that she would make that choice, I’d respect it if she did. Because ultimately it must be her choice. She plans to be a pediatric surgeon. She wants to spend her life performing life-saving surgeries on children, many of whom are either living in orphanages or too poor to afford care. She will likely save the lives of wee ones already living and in dire need. How could I—how could you, how could anyone—put an unwanted zygote above all the good in the world that my daughter is likely to do?

If a pregnant woman chooses to give birth and relinquish her child for adoption, I honor her noble decision. But it is absolutely wrong to suggest that it is the duty of a pregnant woman who doesn’t want to carry her child to term to have her baby anyway so that she can relinquish it for adoption. There are already enough of God’s children on this earth who need a family. If you want to adopt one or more such children, by all means do. But don’t enjoin a pregnant woman to grow her zygote or embryo into a newborn for you.

And mostly, please, understand that these concerns are never simple, never cut-and-dried. Please do not ever assume that you understand more than you possibly could about the pregnancy of any woman—and especially about a woman you’ve never even met. The only person in a position to understand everything about a woman’s pregnancy is the pregnant woman herself. So she, and she alone, must have the final say about her pregnancy. And it is only right and just that her decision be legally protected.

I believe that you mean well, Bryan, and I send you this with respect. But I also send it with a plea that you open your heart to a world that is bigger than your corner of it.

Sincerely yours,

Mindy Carney


Mindy Brown CarneyMindy Carney
Carney’s primary purpose in life is raising her two daughters to adulthood — but they’re almost there! As her first flies the nest this fall, she’ll continue to focus on her various other careers: editor, teaching assistant and jewelry maker. Misused apostrophes are liable to find themselves retooled as cool earrings, so look out. Mindy finds herself on a lifelong spiritual journey, and feels blessed to have found the vibrant, loving and intelligent community at Unfundamentalist Christians.

  • JhawkMolly

    Thank you for sharing your perspective, Mindy. As someone who works with teens in the Social Services sector, I can tell you that you are spot on about their problems — those raised with birth-parents or those released for adoption. There are so many sides to this issue and ultimately, the woman’s right to decide.

  • Elizabeth

    I’ve known and been a girl who had an abortion. In our cases, we wanted to finish our education. No one celebrates that decision. We were children ourselves, and we were scared. But it was our decision, the best we could do at the time. Thank you for respecting that.

    • JhawkMolly

      “No one celebrates that decision.” Thank you for pointing that out. I am so appalled by anti-abortion advocates portraying Pro-Choice as “Pro-Abortion.” No one is Pro-Abortion. It is a horrible position to be in and a heart-wrenching decision for the majority, I am sure. To have it painted as a casual decision or a “form of birth control” is so insulting to those who choose that option. Thank you for sharing, Elizabeth. I, for one, will always respect a woman’s decision regarding her body and her future.

      • Elizabeth
        • JhawkMolly

          I love John Shore. He is how I found this article.

      • Kagi Soracia

        Yeah this, exactly. Abortion is not a casual decision, not ever. The way that it is characterized and maligned by the so-called pro-life movement is sickening.

    • mindy

      Thank you for your honesty, Elizabeth, and know that you are supported by a sisterhood of women who believe as you do across the country.

    • LizBert

      I’ve been there, and it hurts. And it hurts even more to be told that you’re a stupid slut who shouldn’t have been having sex or that you’re unspeakably selfish. Please, that was the hardest decision that I have ever made and I made it because I didn’t want my child to grow up with the poverty that I did. I have to finish school. It’s the only way to stay out of the welfare office and I never want to go back there.

  • Tyler

    I agree with a lot of this post, especially that all of us (especially men) should never act like we can and do understand what a pregnant woman considering abortion is going through. But there’s a thought that kept occurring to me as I read this, and I’d be interested in people’s responses even though I imagine it won’t be popular. I get it, adoption is not perfect. There are a lot of problems with the system. But is abortion really a better answer? Surely, no one thinks it’s perfect either. Wouldn’t the best solution be for couples who aren’t interested in getting pregnant to not be sexually active in the first place?

    • http://heckledtrio.blogspot.com Helly

      Did you read the original article that started this chain? The author’s point of view was from that of a long-married woman with 3 children who contemplated what might happen if her birth control failed and she got pregnant. Should she and her husband just abstain because birth control is not 100% reliable? The point is: just as adoption is not the right answer for every situation, neither is abortion. But in some circumstances, for some people, yes, abortion IS the best option.

      • Tyler

        Yes, I read the first article. Since you asked me, I think an operation like a vasectomy seems like a better option for that couple to consider rather than abstaining or using birth control and mulling over abortion as a possible plan B.

        • http://heckledtrio.blogspot.com Helly

          Then you completely missed the point of this current article, which is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

          • Tyler

            No, I’m really not trying to say this is not a complex issue or that everyone’s situation is the same. I’m just wondering, with the admitted weaknesses of all birth-control methods, why celibacy seems to be considered such an unthinkable notion?

          • JhawkMolly

            because we are humans — as has been pointed out to you by several people now, sexual beings. that is how we were created. sexual relations serve many purposes among humans.

          • mindy

            Not unthinkable, Tyler. Just unlikely. We live in a culture that has spent gazillions of dollars on the development and subsequent marketing of Viagra and all the similar products. In a culture that worries so much about the failing of the almighty erection, abstaining doesn’t seem like a likely option. And even as they are usually marketed to an older male audience, I guarantee you that many of those older men who still think they need to have sex are having it with women young enough to still be fertile – wives, girlfriends . . . or not.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Because it is one of the basic components of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs.

          • verdulo1

            Tyler, I can be celibate now that I am past menopause, but I never could have endured it when I was younger. Maybe you can. If so, you are lucky! There’s nothing wrong with celibacy, it just doesn’t work for most people. It’s like telling fat people to just eat less.

          • KellyLynne

            Tyler, do you know any married people who are able to be celibate? Happily, without it wrecking their relationship? I agree that our culture emphasizes sex too much, but it’s a huge part of a committed relationship.

          • Tyler

            Sure, I think this is maybe the root of the issue: Our popular culture’s emphasis on sex=love. I can see now that my OP was poorly worded, but I really don’t think people should ONLY have sex to make a baby. But I would suggest couple not engage in sexual activity without understanding pregnancy is a genuine possibility, and knowing and agreeing what decision they think would be best and right in the event a pregnancy occurred. What I don’t think is particularly good or healthy is for young people to engage in sex and just hope pregnancy doesn’t happen to them.

          • KellyLynne

            “But I would suggest couple not engage in sexual activity without
            understanding pregnancy is a genuine possibility, and knowing and
            agreeing what decision they think would be best and right in the event a
            pregnancy occurred. What I don’t think is particularly good or healthy
            is for young people to engage in sex and just hope pregnancy doesn’t
            happen to them.”

            All of that I can totally agree with.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      A couple abstaining from sex because they didn’t want a pregnancy is hardly the best solution. And as the vast majority of why people have sex is not with the intended purpose of making babies, there should be things to make that less worrisome. The best solution is, of course.ensuring that all preventative measures are available, and that they have the freedom and finances to choose from any of them.

      Even so no method is perfect. I’d had a diaphragm for a month and used it faithfully when I discovered that I was going to have another baby, before my second’s child had turned two. After she was born I switched to The Pill, which fortunately for me, I could get at my local health department for free, being at the time, very low income.At least I had something close by for me at that time. These days, its harder and harder for low income women to get access to reproductive health centers that offer free or low cost contraceptives.

      • Tyler

        And as the vast majority of why people have sex is not with the intended purpose of making babies, there should be things to make that less worrisome.

        This is exactly my point. There are all kinds of other benefits to sex, of course, but the bottom line is that it does produce babies. That’s its biological function. And as you mention, no birth control method is perfect. So why is it so unreasonable to suggest that people who are not interested in having babies abstain from the activity that produces babies?

        • Elizabeth

          Abstinence is fine; I’ve practiced it for three years, partly because I know how fertile I am (please see below.) Sex gives us a lot more than reproduction, though: intimacy, bonding, and an endorphin rush, to name a few. Is it so reasonable for consensual women to forgo them because we’ll never have complete control?

          • Tyler

            Thank you for sharing some of your story, Elizabeth. Honestly, I don’t believe I have any right to tell someone else what to do with their body. That’s not what I’m trying to do. I really do think if someone chooses to engage in sexual activity or not, it should be their own decision either way.

            But to answer your question, I absolutely think women should consider foregoing sexual activity if they’re not at all interested in having a baby, and don’t know what they would do if they got pregnant.

          • Guest

            That goes for men too! ;)

          • Hannah

            That goes for men too. I can see your point, perhaps men and women who feel like they could not handle having a baby SHOULD abstain.

          • Tyler

            Thanks. That’s all I was trying to say. And, of course, I think the point goes for men, too. I only said women because that’s how Elizabeth worded her question.

          • Elizabeth

            I came to the same conclusion. It’s not an easy road. I don’t judge women who can’t hack it, and that particular burden is much heavier on women than men.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Try telling that to men then Tyler. You see, in order to procreate, you do need sperm. Historically men tend to have more sex than women, and they have far lesser investment, or biological ramification with every encounter. in fact, other than a deposit, their responsibility can end right there, which for millions of women, is totally unfair.

            Yet Somehow, the message is always to women, Don’t want babies, than don’t have sex. To men? Sex is how you show you are a man.

            See the double standard?

          • Tyler

            Yes, I absolutely think the same applies for men. If a man doesn’t want a baby, he should consider not having sex, too. I only said women in my comment because that’s how Elizabeth worded her question, but you’ll notice that everywhere else I said “couples.” I don’t at all think this is just something women should have to handle on their own. And I agree it’s completely wrong and unfair when a man leaves a woman to handle a child he is just as responsible for.

          • PJ

            But by your rules, then even married couples wouldn’t be able to have sex unless they were trying to get pregnant. Do you think everyone wants to be married for 50 years, but only have sex for 2 months? Even vasectomies and tubal ligations fail. Even married couples who plan to have children may want to control when they start their family, or control the size of it, or wait 2 or 3 years between children. 61% of women who have abortions already have 1 or more children. ( http://www.guttmacher.org/media/nr/2008/01/07/index.html ) This isn’t just about “selfish” people who don’t want a child to mess up their party life or studies or career plan; it’s about parents who want to provide for the children they already have.
            It’s really absolutely unreasonable to even imagine a world in which people ONLY have sex when they are trying to get pregnant (although, I guess that would be a pretty world for gay people? lol). It has never worked anywhere in the history of humankind, even when sex outside of marriage meant/means getting imprisoned or beheaded or stoned to death. Thinking that abstinence (and/or outlawing abortion) is a solution is as naïve as thinking that we ought do away with locks because people shouldn’t be stealing.

          • JhawkMolly

            The point is — it is NOT your decision. It is a woman’s body. Ultimately it is HER decision.

          • Tyler

            Never said it was my decision.

          • mindy

            Tyler, are you married? We are discussing something here that involves couples. Most of us who have commented with strong opinions one way or the other have shared from what perspective we are viewing the issue – married, divorced, adopted/adoptive – how about you? Are you married? In a committed relationship? Adopted? Birthfather? You are a man, so by definition will never in your lifetime suffer an unplanned pregnancy, right? You seem to feel passionately about this, which is fine, but I’d like to know from what perspective you are viewing the issue. You could be an eloquent teenager, a priest, a gay man – any of which would skew your perspective.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Are you married, Tyler?

          • Tyler

            May I ask why that is relevant?

          • AtalantaBethulia

            It seems germane to the conversation given that your suggestion is that if people (married or single) don’t want to have a child, abstinence is your go to solution.

          • JaneyGirl

            Here’s a scenario: a woman gets married at age 20. She’s very fertile and has 3 children within 5 years. She and her husband don’t make a lot of money, they are barely eeking by without being on any public assistance and if they added another child to their family, they would need gov’t support. They are responsible, conservative Christians. They know the rhetoric–don’t have more kids if you can’t afford to pay for them. They are 25 and the wife will likely be fertile for another 25 years, until she’s about 50. Are you truly advocating and encouraging them both to not have sex for 25 years??

          • ella

            You do realize this would require education. It’s magical thinking to assume people would just know how pregnancy happens, especially young people. Consider all the myths out there: you can’t get pregnant the first time, you can’t get pregnant if you are on your period, you can’t get pregnant if you are raped, you can’t get pregnant if you are in a certain point in your cycle, you can’t get pregnant if you are over a certain age. I have seen otherwise surprisingly smart people fall for these rationales.
            And here was my experience, 10 years into a marriage with a man I loved, I got pregnant. My husband told me before marrying me that he didn’t want children. I was responsible for birth control including the cost, the entire time, but birth control failed. When I told him I was pregnant, he repeated that he didn’t want children still. It was that easy for him. He wasn’t cold about it. Just clueless. He asked me finally what I wanted. I wanted to have a child with someone who wanted a child is what I told him. I didn’t talk to anyone else. I miscarried a few weeks late. He got a vasectomy soon after when I insisted on it. We’ve been married for 20 years now.
            Asking us to abstain from sex during marriage because my husband didn’t want kids is ridiculous. We have a close bond that is cemented by the joyful intimacy of sex.
            Men traditionally don’t think about consequences of having sex like women must because their biology doesn’t require it. Honestly I didn’t understand that until I got pregnant.

          • Tyler

            Thank you for sharing this, Ella. Yes, I think more education is really important, and we should try to reduce the awkwardness of talking about sex, especially for adults talking to younger people about sex.

          • JhawkMolly

            How about MEN consider foregoing sexual activity???? I am SO TIRED of MEN telling WOMEN what they should or should not do. You have no credence.

          • Tyler

            Oh for crying out loud, like I already said, I think this goes just as much for men as women. I only said “women” in this case because that is how Elizabeth phrased her question. In every other instance on this thread, I’ve said “couples” or “people.”

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          Uhm.. no. We are not the only species that engages in sex, for reasons other than the purpose of procreation. There is quite a bit of evidence that other mammals also engage in sex for reasons other than making more of themselves. It is possible that animals also do it for the pleasure it elicits and not a biological drive.

          Also, we don’t have nearly that strong a biological drive to reproduce as say, ants. First, our life spans are longer, second we adapt pretty well to life challenges, and are less dependent on our immediate surroundings for survival. We also don’t get pregnant as easily as many other species either, although the risk certainly can exist. Our biology is structured so it can have more than one purpose, only one of which may result in a pregnancy.

          • Tyler

            I’m not sure you have really addressed my point. I already said sex has a lot of other benefits, but the bottom line is that it does produce babies. All I’m saying is that, rather than wondering adoption, abortion, or etc., maybe people who don’t want to get pregnant should not engage in the behavior that causes pregnancy. If I don’t want to get wet, I’m not going to start a water balloon fight, you know?

          • LizBert

            Do you really think that people who never want children should remain celibate their entire lives and never experience one of the best parts of the human experience? Do you really think that married couples who already have as many children as they want should abstain from marriage until menopause? Do you really think you have figured out the perfect way to live?

        • Zeekrulez

          This is exactly my thought.

        • JhawkMolly

          The VAST MAJORITY of time, sex does NOT produce a baby. Your theory is flawed.

          • Tyler

            You are correct, but I’m also guessing that it’s comments like these that leads to young people thinking “It won’t happen to me” and therefore engaging in sexual activity without having any idea what they would do if they or their partner get pregnant.

          • http://thethreews.wordpress.com/ Ken Leonard

            “You are correct, but I’m also guessing that it’s comments like these
            that leads to young people thinking “It won’t happen to me” and
            therefore engaging in sexual activity without having any idea what they
            would do if they or their partner get pregnant.”

            Which is why we should have thorough, complete, and accurate sex education. So that young people are getting real education, not learning stuff from out-of-context comments on Internet blog posts for their information.

            Just a thought.

            Thorough sex education program correlate really well with reduced rates of unintended pregnancies, which correlate with low abortion rates.

        • Sandrilene

          Actually, for humans there is more to sex than just producing babies. We do not go into oestrus like other mammals. We can have sex any time of the month or year, not only when we are most fertile. Humans can even carry on having sex when we are too old to have babies.

          Also, with the birth control method I’ve used, my chances of getting pregnant are less than 1in a thousand. Were I to combine it with another method it would be even less than that. This Christian scaremongering is unncessary amongst grown adults who can easily access contraception.
          If you really wish to reduce abortions make sure your children learn about and have access to methods of birth control.

          • Tyler

            I’m not at all anti-birth control and I’m not trying to scare-monger anyone. I am simply trying to suggest that men and women have a plan in mind for what they and their partners think would be best and right in the event of pregnancy before engaging in sexual activity, rather than just hoping “it doesn’t happen to me.”

            As the authors on this thread have indicated, these decisions can and often do have a profound and lasting impact. So, we should think about what decision we would best be able to live with, before engaging in the activity that could lead to that situation.

    • JhawkMolly

      Abstaining or to use birth control until ready for a baby. Of course that would be the optimal solution (which is why it is nonsensical to me that Conservatives would oppose funding for birth control.) However, I live in the “real world.” Abstinence is not a going to be a choice of very many couples. We are sexual creatures. That is a fact. And that is real.

      • Tyler

        We are also intelligent creatures, capable of self-control and making reasoned decisions. We don’t die if we don’t have sex, OK?

        • ella

          Maybe we don’t die, but some of us are not living fully without it. Good sex is an amazing gift. Some call it divine.

          • Michelle

            But if you know before having sex, that you would have an abortion, shouldn’t you have a moral responsibility to do everything humanly possible to not get pregnant or at least not have an abortion once the baby is viable (which is around 21 weeks)?

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Michelle, most abortions are prohibited after viability. Could you explain your comment about 21 weeks so we might better understand your point?

          • LizBert

            That’s why most abortions take place in the first 12 weeks, the overwhelming majority, in fact. Women don’t wait until viability to abort for fun. Late-term abortions are nearly always extenuating circumstances.

        • Leslie Marbach

          Be honest, Tyler. Have you only had sex for procreative purposes?

        • lrfcowper

          Sexually intimacy is a large part of what binds couples to each other. For many couples, a lack of sexual intimacy endangers the marriage. Would you suggest to a couple who is living at or below the poverty line, or who already have as many kids as they can afford, or where one of the couple is going through a mental or physical health issue, or who are approaching the age where they can no longer keep up with an active toddler, or where the marriage has hit some rocky ground where it would not be good to introduce the added stress of a pregnancy, that they should put the health and well-being of their relationship aside? So, in essence, people who can afford children get to have real, sexually intimate and fulfilling marriages. Poor people, people in poor health, etc., they get to have half marriages without sexual intimacy or fulfillment. Privileged much?

    • mindy

      Ideal world vs. real world. Black and white thinking vs. the gray areas in which every human being lives. Robotic behavior vs. messy, wonderful humanity. Complexity is everywhere. Embrace that, and let each human being make his or her own choices.

      Every experience of our lives builds us into who we are, beginning at birth – whenever that happens, on time or dramatically prematurely. A not-yet-born child has not yet experienced life. They’ve grown into a (hopefully) healthy vessel, waiting to be born and filled with their own unique spirit. So care for those born, those experiencing less than they need. Give, open your arms and hearts. And let the female half of the population manage their own bodies (which includes any unborn child) until such time that they become two individuals, experiencing life from their own, unique perspectives.

      • Tyler

        I never said people shouldn’t make their own choices. I’m suggesting they think about their choices before making decisions that can have long-lasting and profound impacts — according to the female authors who have written pieces on this thread.

        And, Mindy? Genetics has just as much an effect on who we are as our experiences — probably more so. So if you’re going to define people who have rights as those who are unique in their experiences, the argument goes just as well the other way that a person is a person who is unique genetically from their mother. Which is every unborn child.

        • mindy

          Genetically, Tyler, identical twins are exactly the same. So, what, we treat them as not individuals? An unborn child is not YET unique from it’s mother, as their bodily systems are intertwined.

          • KellyLynne

            This is a good point. Genetic uniqueness cannot be the definition of personhood.

    • Liz

      My rule is “don’t have sex unless both people can agree on what happens in case of pregnancy”. (Note that this means that if you’re pro-life, no sex unless both people are okay with the child being carried to term.)

      No sex unless you’re ready to have a kid… think about the costs. For someone who wouldn’t be a good parent or who couldn’t have a healthy pregnancy, that means no sex ever. Even for the few people who would be okay with no sex ever, they’d have a pretty hard time finding anyone willing to marry them.

      Clarification: The difference between my rule of thumb and Tyler’s would be that in my situation a couple could do what I did and say “I will never be okay with caring for a child, but if I do get pregnant I will put it up for adoption; having sex with birth control is worth that 0.1% risk.” I think that’s perfectly responsible. The “don’t have sex unless you want kids” rule would leave me abstinent for life.

      • Tyler

        I think this is a good rule. If I might be allowed to clarify my own thoughts: I don’t think birth control is wrong and shouldn’t be used, I don’t think sex is bad or should only be engaged in for the purpose of procreation, and I don’t think married couples shouldn’t have sex.

        Really, I think you and I are on the same wavelength. I was simply trying to suggest that men and women “think about the costs.” Have a plan in mind for what they and their partners think would be best and right in the event of pregnancy before engaging in sexual activity, rather than just hoping “it doesn’t happen to me.”

        As the authors on this thread have indicated, these decisions can and often do have a profound and lasting impact. So, we should think about what decision we would best be able to live with, before engaging in the activity that could lead to that situation.

    • http://thethreews.wordpress.com/ Ken Leonard

      It’s a cute theory, but it fails when applied to the real world.

      Better? Maybe. But it’s not a viable method of ordering our society.

      The question comes to, Is that really a step we need to take? I’d argue, no.

    • MsC

      Abortion is the better answer if you do not want to continue a pregnancy or give birth. The reason does not matter, whether it is health, personal circumstances, whatever. My body and its contents are mine to do with as I see fit.

    • Em

      Once a woman is pregnant, telling her not to be sexually active in the first place is a lost cause.

      And we have tried telling women not to have sex before they get pregnant–it is called abstinence only education and leads to more sex, more pregnancies, and more abortions.

      Try again.

  • balance

    Were I to see an untimely pregnancy through to producing a child, there is no way on earth I could ever give my child away. That solution would not work for me. If it’s a bad time for having a child that I could care for well, I would do the responsible thing and halt the pregnancy before a child is produced. I love my children and can’t imagine the pain for them and for me if I had to live apart from them and not be their mother. Nor do I want to imagine being forced to go through pregnancy against my will or to bring a child into circumstances that would ensure its lifelong suffering. Anti-choice pat answers show much ignorance and quick judgment.

  • Julia

    Hey check out Feminists for Life. I believe true empowerment of women effects change in society to support our reproductive role, rather than pitting us against our own children and calling that some kind of choice. Abortion is a farce when it comes to empowerment of women.

    • Vanai

      Nothing says “empowerment” like forcing women to do things against their will.

  • Zeekrulez

    I just don’t see how any of these hardships justify murder. I’m sorry if I offend anyone I just don’t get it. Help me understand. If a women, or a man, wants to have sex then they shouldn’t be surprised if they create a baby regardless of the birth control method. Hardships a woman goes through don’t make t right to murder a child.

    • Elizabeth

      The average abortion occurs when the collective cells are tinier than your pinky nail. That’s not a child.

      • FormerFundy1992

        But it is still murder. A bald eagle’s egg is not a bald eagle, yet, to smash the egg, you are committing a crime. Why is a bald eagle’s egg more valuable than an unborn human?

        • fabshelly

          A bald eagle is an endangered species, so they need to be protected. Believe me, even if an “unborn human” was alive, there’s really no danger of that happening.

        • Elizabeth

          So you don’t eat eggs?

        • LizBert

          It’s not the egg per say that is protected, it’s the potential to become a full formed bird, which is protected. Nobody is arguing that eggs are birds, but birds come from eggs.

        • KellyLynne

          That’s not an analogy that makes any sense. Bald eagle eggs are protected because they’re an endangered species.

          Also, if you want to define abortion as murder, you have to show some evidence that an embryo is a person, not just claim that it is.

      • Zeekrulez

        True… I am very torn on the timing but if they are in fact no tinier than a pinky nail I am completely fine with it. But once it’s actually becoming an embryo I become less inclined to agree. But I do believe if they didn’t want a child they shouldn’t engage in intercourse. But I see your point about the cells thing. But some abortions take place after it actually loos like a child and things like that sicken me deeply.

        • SurlyJen

          Good thing then, that you can decide for yourself, and no one else. What sickens you really has no bearing upon the lives and decisions of other women and their bodies.

        • JaneyGirl

          Sounds like you’re actually pro-choice then, if you’re “perfectly fine” with abortion if the fetus is tinier than a pinky nail. And if you don’t agree, then you don’t really understand what the “pro-choice” position is.

        • KellyLynne

          The fact that it looks like a child doesn’t make it a child, though.

      • stefkagoil

        For anyone who has struggled with fertility issues, desperately hoping and praying for a baby, that bundle of collective cells that is “tinier than a pinky nail” is most definitely and without qualification, a child. And it is prayed over and protected and worried over at every fragile stage of development, fearing that something will happen to it before it can survive on its own outside the womb. This is my daughter’s story, not mine; but I watched her struggle with the possibility that adoption might be her only road to parenthood, and the loss of all those potential children made this very pro-choice girl weep…

        • Elizabeth

          Then she could have skipped Oxford to bear it. I’m guessing that wasn’t an option for her, as carrying those cells to term wasn’t an option for me. I want a child; I don’t have one; at near 40, I may never have one. I live with that.

        • Vanai

          A pregnancy is an imaginary friend. There is no guarantee it will end in a baby, even when you want and pray for it. It’s what you make of it; a wanted pregnancy is a “baby” as soon as the little plus sign shows up on the stick, but an unwanted one is a horrible assaulting parasite. Realistically, it’s a clump of dividing cells with DNA that may or may not continue to develop into a full, viable human.

          • KellyLynne

            Harsh as that sounds, I think it’s an excellent analogy. There’s a world of difference between the physical reality and all the emotions attached to it.

        • KellyLynne

          “For anyone who has struggled with fertility issues, desperately hoping
          and praying for a baby, that bundle of collective cells that is “tinier
          than a pinky nail” is most definitely and without qualification, a
          child.”

          I’m very sorry for your daughter’s struggles, and I hope that she is able to have the child she wants, whether it’s through pregnancy or adoption.

          Please don’t presume to speak for everyone who struggles with infertility as far as how they view pregnancy, though. I had an early miscarriage after trying for more than a year, and while it was very hard, and very sad, it was not like the death of a child. It was the loss of something potential, something hoped for, not a real person already living and breathing.

          Yes, if you desperately want a child, and you want that tiny clump of cells to become a child, it’s totally natural to think of it as one. But, objectively, physically, it’s not. Nor should the subjective views of someone who wants to be pregnant be used against someone who doesn’t want to be pregnant.

        • mindy

          That “tinier than a pinky nail” bit of cells is a POTENTIAL child – as an adoptive mother who initially attempted to medical intervention on to have it miscarry, I totally get what you are saying. I wept. My mother and sister and husband and family wept, yes. But I assure you that that loss, while piercing at the time, is nothing compared to what I KNOW I would feel were I to lose one of my sweet girls – even moments after they became mine. They may not be mine biologically, and yes, our lives have been complicated and messy, but I’d die for them, and I am not sure how I’d go on if I lost either one of them. It’s all grief, and it’s all painful. But if adoption is the road your daughter takes and is vigilant in guarding the ethics of the process, her joy will heal her, I promise.

    • fabshelly

      The Bible says that life begins at first breath, so it’s not murder.

    • Shina

      Anywhere from 25-60% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, typically in the first trimester–i.e. when the majority of abortions are done. I will take ‘pro-life’ rhetoric such as this seriously when they also start advocating to cure the rate of miscarriages. Until then, Zeekrulez, I don’t believe you when you say that you believe abortion is murder.

      • SurlyJen

        I upvote this x1000.

      • Leslie Marbach

        I can’t like that enough, Shina! If someone believes that God creates life and that God also allows life to die, then if you follow that logically, miscarriages are God’s way of performing abortions. Yes, I know that’s a stretch, but I’ve thought about it awhile. If God is so against abortion then I can’t imagine he’d continue allowing miscarriages.

      • AtalantaBethulia

        And up to 50% of fertilized eggs fail to implant, meaning – for those who ascribe personhood to fertilized eggs – 50% of all potential humans passed out of women’s bodies with their period without the women ever knowing the eggs were fertilized.

    • JaneyGirl

      Zee–I have a sincere question. It will likely across as snarky but I truly am trying to be sincere here. For the strident pro-lifers who believe all life, even that of a zygote, is precious; who believe a fertilized egg that is just hours old should be considered a “person”; who so will call a woman taking a “morning-after” pill a murderer, why do they not have funerals for the miscarriages?

      I’ve never ever heard of one (with the exception of possibly a stillbirth on the cusp of a normal delivery). But I’ve never heard of anyone having a funeral or a memorial service for a miscarriage that happened before the fetus was viable outside the womb. And let’s be frank, as others point out, a significant number of pregnancies result in miscarriages, often even before a woman knows she’s pregnant. In fact, those heavy periods that are late that many of us have experienced? Well, that may very well have been a miscarriage. So, my question is, why aren’t pro-lifers honoring the sanctity of life that was there by burying honorably and publicly their soiled sanitary napkins and blood-filled tampons in a ceremony with friends and family? If life is as precious as many would claim starting from the instant that conception has occurred, then celebrate that life, however short it was. Celebrate it and honor it publicly. Don’t just flush it down the toilet or stuff it in the trash. Because I can’t think of anything more hypocritical than that, for those who sincerely believe a zygote is a person.

      • AndyHuff

        JaneyGirl, I can respectfully offer an answer that we did as you’ve described for a miscarriage. We lost a pregnancy at about 15 weeks (would have been our 4th child). We did not hold a public ceremony because we felt it would be too painful for all those involved, and would not serve the same purpose of remembrance that a funeral would. However, we definitely gave the child a name and went through the process of a burial. I have been to the cemetery many times since then. Our other children know of this lost brother with age-appropriate details. We have only lost 1 pregnancy that we know of, but I believe we would choose to do similarly again if were we aware it was taking place. I do respect the beliefs and choices of others, but there is something deep in my soul that compels me to treat these tiny lives as fully worthy of a place in the family. In some ways, the costs of doing so are/were considerable. In the grand scheme of things, we are privileged, but we are not wealthy by any measure. We are a single-income middle class American household. I say that only to illustrate that the costs of practicing our beliefs were significant.

        • mindy

          Andy, what you did is perfectly legitimate. I’ve heard of other families who have done the same thing. That pregnancy was wanted, and your family had developed a whole hopeful scenario about this potential family member. The grieving process is about letting go of that hope and finding acceptance that it was not to be. It is about you, your wife and other living children and your feelings and emotions. If you hadn’t known your wife was pregnant, or if your circumstances were very different and instead of hope you were living in terror of how you would ever be able to feed not only another baby but your three existing children, your response to the miscarriage might have been very different.

          I’m not saying that your grief wasn’t/isn’t completely valid. But each of us walks a different road.

          • AndyHuff

            Thank you, mindy. I share our story only for the purpose of illustrating how, at least in our family, we try to actually practice what we preach. JaneyGirl has rightly pointed out hypocrisy in some of us who consider ourselves pro-life. There are many people who don’t really acknowledge, for many reasons, the ramifications of their beliefs. Some of us do though, and are willing to take a more difficult path in order to be consistent and to show that it is not just words.

            You are absolutely right that we might be troubled differently were the pregnancy unwanted. We have not personally faced that situation yet, and I certainly don’t take the position that we can solve everyone else’s problems simply by telling them what we do. We are actually in a stage now where (having 5 healthy, loving, life-force-demanding children) we would prefer to not grow the family again. It would be a great strain in many areas, and I would even admit that there could possibly be some sense of relief if a future pregnancy naturally terminated. But, as much as we can possibly know ourselves, I believe we would still respond as we did with the first miscarriage – with acknowledgement, grief, and remembrance. It would still be a loss of a dearly loved child. We simply believe that every conception we know about deserves that kind of recognition and personhood.

    • LizBert

      The problem we have is that I do not agree with you that an embryo or fetus without any ability to sense their environment or have a single thought is person, I just do not believe that. Nor do I believe that any individual has the right to use another person’s body without permission. You can assert that abortion is the same as murder, but I simply do not agree with you.

    • Liz Erbe Wilcox

      Your masturbation also murders. Life is on-going, sperm can never ever be anything but human, ever. They are not a mere ingredient such as flour in a loaf of bread. So when you no longer ejaculate then you can address the topic of murder.

  • FormerFundy1992

    I hear you. But murder is still murder.

    • Michael Wall

      But it’s ok to have a child live through the hell of foster care, possibly abusive parents, and to feel like an outcast to society for their entire lives. You make so much sense!!

    • AtalantaBethulia

      Former, would you say removing someone from life support is also murder?

      Wat about war? or executing criminals?

      • Zeekrulez

        The death penalty is wrong and war is even more wrong. But this is just my opinion. No one has the right to kill anyone.

    • Vanai

      “Life is precious, unless you’re a woman who wants to do something other than give birth for the state.”

  • fabshelly

    Their argument will begin to make more sense when there are no children without families, none in orphanages or foster care, anywhere in the world. Until that day, you have no right to claim that adoption is The Answer.

  • Zeekrulez

    You don’t want a baby? Don’t have sex. Don’t get to the point when you have to kill a child.

    • Michael Wall

      How shallow of an understanding of this topic can you have? That’s all most of the pro-lifers can spout off is “if you don’t want the child, don’t have sex”. Maybe you should get a better understanding of the topic first. It isn’t that simple. Even the reasons for getting to the point of wanting an abortion aren’t as simple as “oh well you had sex and don’t want a child”.

    • LizBert

      You are welcome to live in a bubble where life is perfect, but the rest of us out here in reality would like it if you would step off the pedestal. If I don’t have sex with my husband forever because I don’t ever want children, I will not remain married very long. You don’t know any other person’s life, maybe you should let them make decisions for themselves.

      • Zeekrulez

        I think it’s sad you only stay with your husband because of sex. Sex is animal and love is human. I think if without sex you would not be married for long is true then that’s not real love.

        • Michael Wall

          A couple married for several decades who never has sex just because they don’t want to have children are not in a healthy relationship. Even from a religious perspective it’s not healthy as we are encouraged to get intimate with each other.

          • Zeekrulez

            There are plenty of ways to be intimate without intercourse and everyone knows that. But if you truly want to engage in a baby making act then expect a baby.

          • Michael Wall

            “There are plenty of ways”. Yes, that’s why I referenced several decades of marriage. It’s ridiculous to think a couple that is married for several decades should go the entire marriage without having sex just because there’s a chance they could have a baby.

          • http://thethreews.wordpress.com/ Ken Leonard

            Sigh …

            How did we get another one of these “just don’t have sex, there are other ways to express marital love” people?

            If sex isn’t something very special and pleasurable in your marriage, then I’m sorry for you and I hope that you can get some help with that.

          • mindy

            I get the feeling that Zeekrulez might not be quite old enough to fully understand that. I could be wrong, but . . .

          • LizBert

            I got the same feeling, suggesting that adults abstain from sex for life if they don’t want children is not something most adults would do.

        • LizBert

          Replied in the wrong place

        • LizBert

          I’m not with my husband only because of the sex, but to imply that it is not a deeply meaningful component of a healthy marriage is incorrect. Sexual differences can create very deep discord in marriages. Love is multi-faceted and the physical part is very important to many people, it is pleasurable and can be a means of bonding in way that you do not with anyone else. I’m guessing that you have never been in a long-term sexual relationship because you sound rather naive.

        • PixieCorpse

          Zeekrulez, how long would you willing to stay married with no sex at all? it’s not the whole package, but it is part of the deal, and I know zero married men who would agree to never have sex until and unless they wanted a baby.

          “If I don’t have sex with my husband, I won’t remain married very long” read to me, and no doubt many others, as if it meant “he would leave me and seek sex elsewhere.” But you turned that around and made it *her* saying she’d leave *him,* because in your bubble world, sex is always the woman’s sole choice and the outcomes are always solely her problem.

          It’s true I know very few married women who would prefer a sexless marriage, either, but I’m pretty sure that’s not what LizBert meant, because in the world where she and I and most humans live, men tend to feel entitled to sex, especially from their wives, who are considered cold, evil and deserving of being cheated on if they “withhold” sex or fail to “satisfy” their husbands.

          But yes, make LizBert the sex-crazed loveless partner because that makes more since in BubbleWorld. Just don’t think anyone didn’t see what you did thar.

    • Liz Erbe Wilcox

      Um, yeah, tell that to the rapists so they know which of us don’t want to have a baby. Thanks.

      • Zeekrulez

        I am completely for abortion from rape. I’m not an idiot. If a woman is raped then of course if she can if she chooses. But if your responsible enough to have sex then don’t destroy a developing life because it’s “easier”. That’s just irresponsible. You have sex then expect a baby. It’s as simple as that no more complicated. Jeez people make it seem complicated when it’s not. Have sex, expect a kid. Or don’t have SEX!!!

        • Liz Erbe Wilcox

          OK, so the life of the baby, who had nothing to do with the rape, is just worthless. Yeah, that’s real ‘pro-life’.

          • Zeekrulez

            I respect life to a certain extent and I think that once the baby takes it’s first breath it is truly a person. BUT no woman should have sex WILLINGLY and not be responsible enough to deal with the consequences. If you have sex with a man expect a baby.

          • KellyLynne

            Using birth control is being responsible. Also, why are you making it only about the woman? It takes two people to have sex. Should men also never have sex unless they’re fully willing to be fathers?

            Besides that, someone may have sex fully wanting a baby and then things change. Health issues, financial circumstances, job changes—any number of things. Maybe she loses her good-paying job and is working at McDonald’s to make ends meet. Maybe her husband or one of their existing children is diagnosed with a crippling illness and she needs to care for them.

            It’s really easy to stand in judgment of other people, but it lacks compassion, and the understanding that life is not always simple.

        • Barbara

          Great, you’ll let a woman get an abortion if she’s raped. How do you determine whether she was raped? Is it enough if she’s just coerced? What about just really drunk? What about in an abusive relationship where she submits quietly because there’s no other choice? What about a marriage where she is expected to open her legs in exchange for financial support and a place to live? What about if she had responsible sex once then raped? Does the penalty for having sex negate the abortion you say you’ll allow her? How much “proof” do you need? If the guy denies it, how long will the court case take? Due process will easily take more than 6 weeks, which would put her past the first trimester.

          What about a happy, healthy marriage between consenting adults who simply cannot afford a pregnancy? You really think that telling people “Ha! Just don’t ever have sex!” is going to work?

    • Telegram Sam

      Abortion doesn’t kill a child, so no problem. Also, it’s not any of your business whether or when I have sex, so fuck off.

    • Jamie Brown
  • Susan Greenough

    You have articulated your thoughts and experiences well… But we are talking about a life here… and there are many many stores of women who aborted their babies who are also scared for life… there are no justifications for taking the life of another! But there are a few acceptable reasons (the life of the mother, rape and resulting pregnancy to a young teen, or woman who cannot bear this reminder of this trauma, but even then, some choose to not punish (kill) the baby and can separate the evil act from an innocent life. Life is life… Life is sacred… Killing is killing… it is MORE than just OUR bodies and choices we are considering here…

    • Michael Wall

      If you take a step back and look at this from a different perspective, you can easily see that most of these arguments you’re making could also be made for reasons that abortion is actually ok. Your post makes more of an argument towards the whole decision being a choice for the mother rather than it just being about taking a life.

      • Susan Greenough

        Sorry Michael, but LIFE trumps choice! I see abortion as a tragedy, and in 99% of the time, murder, even complacently now a form of birth control. I never said it was easy, but I see these past decades that how we treat the unborn, we are also treating one another, devaluing all life, esp those on the other end of the spectrum, the elderly… Life is sacred, and when we loose that perspective, I believe our societies stand much weaker for it. Sadly, women who have these very difficult decisions don’t receive the real support they need from us, the support to raise them, childcare, healthcare, education… If we look at what we do, rather than what we say we believe, then we can see that all around our policies do not value children at all, or even family values… I pray that we all have the strength to follow the promptings of the Spirit, no matter how difficult! I just can’t imagine God sanctioning abortion! I pray for us all! We each need His guidance…

        • Michael Wall

          You say that life is sacred, but you’re sitting here wanting to force women to no longer have a choice in this matter. You’re forcing them to go through labor that could do permanent damage to their bodies if the pregnancy goes wrong or if they die during childbirth. You’re forcing them to have children because hey it’s ok they can give them up for adoption, but I’m sure it’s more likely that mothers who decide to do that keep the baby anyway but they wanted an abortion in the first place because they couldn’t give the child what it needs. You’re forcing these kids to possibly grow up in terrible foster homes, or be abused. So, in conclusion to that, you say that life is sacred even if you’re putting multiple people through absolute turmoil for the rest of their lives. Providing them with better childcare, healthcare and education isn’t going to just solve the problem, because I’m sure most people who get to the point of seriously considering an abortion have actual, legitimate reasons.

          Also, don’t bring God into this because the Bible doesn’t even talk about abortion at all. It says nice things about babies a couple of times, but that’s about it. What people do with their bodies in the situation of abortion is between them and God, but people like you want to strip that choice away from them. You can’t just take away everyone’s choices on moral matters just because you don’t agree with them.

          • Zeekrulez

            No matter what pain someone goes through in there life they are still alive not dead and human life is sacred. Life may be hard but at least they have it.

          • Michael Wall

            That may be true, but who are you to decide other people’s very important life decisions? Most people against abortion want it outlawed, stripping people’s freedom to make their own personal decisions. If you’re so against abortion, I wonder how many foster children you have?

          • Zeekrulez

            I think it’s morally wrong but I completely think it should be legal. The government has no business in a womens choice whether it be irresponsibly ending a pregnancy that she caused by engaging in sex or not. Oh remember she chose to have sex and now she’s choosing to end it because it’s “easier”. I’m not as pro-life as I am “take responsibility for your own actions”.

          • mindy

            I don’t agree with you that it is “morally wrong” – certainly not in most cases, anyway – but I will defend your right to believe it. I appreciate that you agree it should be legal.

          • Zeekrulez

            Alright well I guess we just agree to disagree. But that’s something i’m 110% okay with because making it illegal would be unconstitutional and I respect the constitution with every bone in my body. I would fight with you to keep it legal it’s just my “personal” belief is that it is wrong but I am not trying to force my belief onto you I am merely informing you on my opinion.

          • KellyLynne

            And if the woman dies, that’s okay?

        • Liz Erbe Wilcox

          Your god is not everyone’s god, so your argument for others is invalid.

    • Leslie Marbach

      Susan, you’ve drawn your line. For you it would be acceptable to have an abortion if the mom is going to die or is raped and can’t deal emotionally with carrying her rapist’s child. Others set the line farther to one side and say it’s okay only if the mom will die. I hope you can also see that others set it farther the other direction. In your mind the line you’ve drawn makes perfect sense and seems like the only correct place for that line. My line is different and I believe just as strongly that I’ve placed it at the correct place. That’s why being pro-choice is the only way I can be. I can’t say that the line you’ve drawn is wrong and I sure don’t want you to tell me mine is wrong.

      • Barbara

        Great, so we agree that abortion is okay if the mom is 100% likely to die if she continues the pregnancy.

        What about if she is 90% likely to die? How about 75% likely? What about 30%? What if it’s only 5% in the first trimester (when most people are ok with abortion) but jumps to 95% when she’s 25 weeks along (when it would be a “late-term” abortion, which everybody wants to outlaw)?

        What about if she would survive, but be physically unable to work and would thus lose her job and her family’s only income? What if she is a teen and would be kicked out of her house to live on the street as soon as her parents found out? What if her husband beats her and might kill the child anyways?

        If you’re going to draw a line with a law, make sure your “line” is applicable to all women, of all financial, physical, emotional, and other situations, not just healthy upper-middle class white women.

        • Leslie Marbach

          Barbara, what point are you trying to make? I said those lines should be personal. That’s why I’m pro-choice.

          • Barbara

            You’re correct, that should not have been aimed at you; it should be aimed at a person who holds a strong “pro-life only unless the mother will die” position.

      • http://thethreews.wordpress.com/ Ken Leonard

        Reducto ad absurdum.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      For the sake of continuing the conversation, let me ask some thought-provoking questions.

      Is it a punishment if the one receiving the “punishment” is never aware of it?

      If life is life, is it murder to disconnect someone from life support? Why or why not?

      If life is life, is it wrong to go to war? or execute criminals? Why or why not?

      If life is life, is wrong to torture people? or imprison them indefinitely?

      Is it wrong to kill and animal? Why or why not? What if the animal was a deer and you were using it for food? What if the animal was your dog? Why is one seemingly more or less wrong than another?

      • Susan Greenough

        We each have to reason these things out in our own mind and hearts, and then take it to our Creator to confirm or redirect our paths… that said… for me:

        Punishment is punishment, even when we are culturally conditioned to recognize it or not.

        Life support is designed by man, therefore (in my opinion) the dying patient in a Living Will, and/or their loved ones, hopefully after much prayer, have a right to make those decisions, to release those souls to the next life.

        War is a bit trickier for me personally, is it better for one corrupt/evil individual to die, that an entire Nation perish? Do we stand and fight against such evil even if it means that lives will be lost? Should a person be compelled and called into war by a government against their will? I think that is immoral. As far as executing criminals… that is a life, so no. Torture is torture, and wrong in my opinion, however I also ask to gain information that would protect thousands of innocent people, is it ever justified? I don’t know. I would give a life in prison sentence if the crime was so heinous, to protect other’s from becoming the next victim.

        We are told in the Bible that we are to be wise stewards over all of God’s creations and they are given for our food (I believe to be used sparingly and humanely, only in times of need) which is sparingly and with thanksgiving… If the animal is a dog who has maimed children/people, than if it cannot be rehabilitated, it is in our right to take it’s life.

        Why is one seemingly more or less wrong than another… we must be guided my our moral and God given conscience… this question would require an essay, which I am unable to provide at this time… So for sake of continuing the discussion… this is only one opinion, we must we willing to hear all arguments, to understand the pain and cost of each decision, but ultimately do what God has given us, His Word, generally and specifically what He put’s into our conscience to do, for in all things we are accountable to Him!

        I wish not to offend any. I share my thoughts, my opinion, in a spirit of love. I believe that a good portion of our purpose in mortality is to choose for ourselves good over evil… but not at the expense of taking another’s life (unless commanded by God as He tested Abraham). But just as He spared His life, I think life should be spared, protected and seen as sacred, until we have violated our free will. We each have the freedom to choose for ourselves, but our choices have consequences and we will stand accountable.

        Peace and Love… let us take our sister’s (and brothers) hand and support each in these very very difficult circumstances when we women, have the burden of determining whether or not to be vessels and co-creators of life… or exercise their will to end one.

        Enough said… I am bowing out to hear other’s opinions and why.

        • mindy

          Susan, thank you for your thoughts. But you answered the big question in your first statement: “We each have to reason these things our in our OWN [emphasis mine] mind and hearts, and then take it to our Creator to confirm or redirect our paths.”

          Yes.

          • http://thethreews.wordpress.com/ Ken Leonard

            CJ, do you imagine for a moment that you’re ever going to change anyone’s mind with that kind of crap?

    • lrfcowper

      Let’s take a what-if. Let’s say I discover tomorrow that I am pregnant. Now, I’m 48 years old and life has taken its toll. Ain’t no way I’m keeping up with a baby. So, my choice is abortion or adoption. Let’s say I opt for adoption. I go through a very, very dangerous pregnancy (my last one was induced early due to pre-eclampsia. My BP was so high when I arrived at the hospital the day I was to be induced that the nurse refused to write it down and instead waited for me to get off my feet and rest for a bit, because if she had written down the first number, I would have ended up in the Critical Care Unit) and manage not to die or miscarry. The baby is born and the adoptive parents I have all lined up arrive at the hospital to see the new member of their family.

      But all is not well. The baby has a hole in her heart and needs surgery. I’m a match blood-wise, not just on the ABO scale but on other factors, so they ask me to donate blood. Now, I’ve just been through the ringer, but what’s one more needle, right? So I donate a unit.

      I get my requisite one night in the hospital and then head home, leaving the newborn to the care of her new parents. A week goes by. I get another call from the hospital. There were complications and the baby’s body is shutting down. She desperately needs a liver transplant or she will die. They can use a small part of mine. Would I go under the knife? If I don’t, the odds are not good of them ever finding a donor in time.

      If I refuse, is that murder? Can I be legally forced to donate part of my liver?

      Now, let’s say I do donate.

      Some years go by. I get another call from the hospital. Over the course of her live, the child’s ill-health has damaged her kidneys. She’s been on dialysis for a while, but what she really needs is a kidney or she will die. I have two healthy kidneys. Could I give up one?

      If I refuse, is that murder? Can I be legally forced to donate one of my kidneys?

      I go under the knife and give up one of my kidneys.

      A few years pass. I get in a car wreck which destroys my one remaining kidney. I die from complications. My distraught husband concludes I might have lived if I’d had a functioning kidney.

      The hospital approaches him. There’s this young woman who was born with a hole in her heart, who has had ill health throughout her life, and who now desperately needs a heart transplant or she will die. I am a perfect match.

      If my husband in his distraught state refuses to let my organs be harvested, is that murder? Can he be legally forced to agree to it?

      Now, step back in time. There’s a potential human being. It requires a uterus, a constant source of nourishment, and for me to risk a large number of life-threatening complications, as well as deal with a large number of permanent physical changes to my body. If I refuse, is that murder? Can I be legally forced to play host to this potential human life?

      Be careful how you answer these questions, because if you say the state has the right to force me to use my body or surrender body parts for the use, interests and benefit of another– despite risks to my health and well-being– you have either said the state can demand anyone donate organs, submit to clinical drug trials, bear children, or have abortions at the state’s behest, or you have established that women do not deserve the same rights as men to control how their body can be used by another.

      • Vanai

        You can’t even take organs from a corpse if they aren’t an organ donor. Forced-birthers want women have fewer rights than corpses.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        ok, lets take a real life scenario. You live in a part of the world were there is no such thing as contraceptives, so you, as a mother have had 8 kids by the time you were 28, half of which have survived infancy. There is a famine, thanks to the prolonged civil war in your area. Your husband and most of your extended family are already dead You need to move your family because there is no food. You don’t have enough food for all of you to make the long walk to where there will hopefully be food at the end at the refuge camp you are making for. The only chance for most of you to survive is to leave at least one behind, who will likely die of starvation, dehydration, murder or disease within the week. Who do you pick?

        You see its easy to call something murder, or immoral, Yes this is an extreme scenario, but for women on parts of the world today, and in generations past, such a decision has been necessary for the hope of anyone’s survival. If this mother died, and a relief organization discovered her surviving kids, Who would adopt them?

        There are countless children around the world with no parents, no grandparents to care for them, surviving as best they can on their own, enslaved by people who look for cheap, disposable labor, or sex slaves, and who die of disease, violence or starvation, Who cares for them? Who wants to give them a home?

        Which is the worse fate, to never have been born or to be born into a world that is one of hunger, pain, fear and an early horrible death? These questions are why abortion, adoption, choice are not the black/white one that people want to make it.

  • Mirah Riben

    Mindy’s letter is EXCELLENT with one tiny correction. She assumes that all children in orphanages are actually orphans when in fact 90% have at least one living parent, and many were stolen, kidnapped and trafficked for adoption. Paying tens of thousands of dollars to adopt any child, other than one of 100,000+ in foster care who could be adopted, is contributing to the corruption of the demand-driven mega-billion dollar adoption industry.

    Otherwise her comments on the effects of adoption to mothers and children are spot on and pregnancy is personal choice.

    Mirah Riben, author who has been researching and writing about adoption and post adoption issues for mothers and adoptees for nearly 40 years.

    • mindy

      Good point, Mirah – and yes, I did leave that out. Not because I didn’t know, but because that is part of a different conversation. An equally, if not more, important conversation that I am engaged in elsewhere on the Web. Thanks for bringing it up, though, as it definitely needs to be discussed in the light of day.

  • MyKarmaRanOverYourDogma

    What a well written and thoughtful letter. I applaud you for being more polite than I can be on this subject. I am writing this because I would like to reach out to the daughter who felt abandoned by her birth mother.

    I was not adopted, I was *almost* adopted after my parents divorce, but my grandmother (mothers mother) stopped it and took me in. We moved from DC to Florida, because she retired to take care of me, but my mother stayed in DC, where she worked for the government for 35 years.

    My grandmother was unprepared to raise a child (I was about 5 when I went to live with her), and we fought horribly as I became a teenager – I had a lot of resentment – and I ran away for good at 15. I got in touch with my mother when I was 17 or so and my grandmother had passed, although I remained in Florida and she was still in DC.

    I was initially angry at her for abandoning me (although she HADN’T…she sent money to my grandmother for most of my support and kept in touch, but I rarely saw her – maybe twice?), but I eventually got past that and had a long, mostly friendly relationship up until she died from lung cancer 11 years ago.

    Once I got to know her, and as I matured, I began to see that the resentment I had always felt towards her was wrong. I never got along with my grandmother, but neither had my mother, which even got me MORE upset…why would she leave me with someone SHE didn’t even like?? She also moved out of her home early, @ 16!

    BUT she did the best thing she could have done for me, because she was a RAGING alcoholic. She was a mean drunk, as well. I can’t imagine what kind of life I would have had with her. After I got to really know her, I began to realize that I was no longer sad or resentful that I had grown up as I had, instead of with my mother, as I had always dreamed of doing. My feelings about a mother were based on things like TV shows and THOSE women had *nothing* in common with the woman who was MY mother…as I found out. The reality of her was NOT like Mrs. Brady! “Nurturing” was not a word she was acquainted with. :D I did love her, but I loved HER, not some ideal of what she should have been…It was not easy, but life is what it is.

    My point is that your daughter more than likely dodged a bullet by being adopted by you, and I hope she knows what a lucky person she is! I know that it is hard not knowing WHY but no one does something like that without good reason. It is time to – let it go. She will appreciate you – and her entire life – so much more if she can.

    Good luck with all you and your daughters do, and thanks for sharing this fantastic letter!

    • mindy

      Thank YOU for sharing your story, Karma. :) My daughter loves me dearly – I believe that with all my heart. They both show me that, as I try to show them, with their actions as well as their words. I am divorced, too – our lives are vastly different now than when we started out. We have to watch every penny and I am far from a perfect parent! But we do all three love each other dearly, and their dad sees them regularly. Her grief is non-specific – we know next to nothing about either birthfamily, unfortunately. But when an infant is separated as a newborn from its mother and not immediately nurtured by someone else, damage is done. Some people recover from that better than others. She is a great person – successful in her life so far, full of compassion. We’ve worked hard to help her overcome, and she’s done a great job. She has certain triggers, and she gets stronger at dealing with those all the time. I am beyond proud of both of them.

      • MyKarmaRanOverYourDogma

        How she feels about you has nothing to do with the question of WHY. But the answers can be just as devastating as the not knowing. The “what if’s” in our lives are what really hurt.

        I am in my 50s now, and it took most of my life to finally come to terms with the hurt from my childhood that I carried with me since I can remember. It took a lot of introspection and having a child of my own to finally understand.

        I got to know my dad, too, after I had my own son, and at one point, had him tell me that he left my mother because of ME, because he couldn’t take me crying as a baby and toddler…I was about two when he left. My mother tried to take care of me but couldn’t do it alone and worked full time, she felt someone else could do better. Which I didn’t understand till much later. Some people are just not meant to be parents….There is also such a thing as being TOO honest…

        People are not always who you wish them to be and sometimes it is best to leave it alone…I forgave him, as I did my mother, but when he died, we were not on very good terms. He had criticized something I did with my son and it got me SO irate. How dare this man who had nothing to do with me try to tell me what I was doing wrong with MY kid? But then he got sick and within five months, he was gone. The “what if’s” nearly did me in…

        That, I believe, is the part that is/was bothering your daughter. Sometimes, it is better NOT to know….just assume that it was done with her best interests at heart, and assume it was done out of love. You all sound like amazing folks. Thanks for your compassionate letter, again, and I hope what I said here helps SOMEONE…

  • verdulo1

    If there are so many couples wanting to adopt, then why don’t they just find volunteers to produce babies for them? I mean, if it is so easy for the woman with an unwanted pregnancy to give up her child, then it should not be a problem for fertile couples to have a few extra children for the childless. In reality, of course, most people would be horrified at the thought of giving up one of their children.

  • LizBert

    I appreciate this letter so very much. It acknowledges the deep complexity of the issue. Adoption is not the a solution for a person who does not wish to be pregnant. I have lived this situation and for me, adoption was never a choice. My mother was an adoptee and I can see the deep pain she has felt throughout her life; like she’s missing an important piece that she can never find. I also know that I could not bear to part with a child that gave birth to, I know that I couldn’t do it. Just to throw in another layer, I know that my family would vehemently object to me not raising the child myself and I know it would make them very sad if I gave it up. For me, adoption was not a good option. And for many reasons that I don’t need to get into, being a mother was not either. Having an abortion was a painful decision for me, but it was the right.

  • verdulo1

    If a fetus is a human being, then abortion is wrong and I cannot buy the argument that it is none of my business when a woman wants to abort. But I don’t believe that a fetus is a human being and I would argue that it IS my business because abortion is the better choice. Creating a new life is a selfish choice. I was raised to care about the poor and the weak. How can I do that if I am busy caring for my babies? How can we as a society care for everyone if we are busy having babies for ourselves? Don’t worry, there’s over 7 billion of us, so we are not in danger of running out of people.

  • KellyLynne

    Thank you for this, Mindy. It really bothers me how easily people toss off “just put the baby up for adoption” as if it’s a perfect solution to every unwanted pregnancy. As if adoption isn’t hard on both the mother and the child. And as if pregnancy itself is a minor inconvenience, not a difficult and dangerous thing.

    The thing that bothers me the most is the element of entitlement coming from some infertile people–the argument that a woman with an unwanted pregnancy should carry to term and put the baby up for adoption so that they can have a baby. Yes, it’s awful to want a baby and be unable to have one, but nobody owes anyone else the use of their body and a year of their life to give them an infant.

    • Vanai

      “It’s a precious, little soul! You already have a connection to YOUR baby! Which is why you should just give it up to someone else, slut.”

  • Kelly Tamburello

    I am adopted. I am grateful that my mother chose to give me up for adoption rather than killing me. Just saying.

    • Vanai

      That’s like me mourning that I was conceived in May because it prevented the egg that would have been released in June from becoming a baby.

    • mindy

      Kelly, of course you do. You’re an adult person with a life of experiences and love and friends and purpose. My daughters feel the same way and of COURSE I am grateful their birthmothers created these beautiful girls who are truly the loves of my life. I believe their spirits/souls and mine were meant to be together. I also believe that had their birthmothers not given birth to them, their spirits would have found their ways to where I am in a different way. That’s just my personal, spiritual belief. I wouldn’t trade my life, all of it, even the cancer that took my reproductive system away, for anything – because it led me to my girls. But when I look at them, how incredible they are, I also ache for the birthfamilies that don’t get to know them. Why me? Why am I blessed with them and they are not? Why do my girls have to live not knowing, with not a great chance of ever finding? I don’t know those answers. I just recognize the questions as part of what makes it all so very complex, and thus full of choices that must be protected.

    • LizBert

      Are you also grateful that she had unprotected sex when she did? Your perception of the situation would be the same either way. If she had used birth control, abstained, or had an abortion, you would never have known the difference. That almost implies that we should encourage unplanned pregnancies so that there are babies for adoption, and besides everyone who is alive likes being alive!

    • Kelly Tamburello

      It seems to me that there are more people saying that they or someone they know was hurt by being adopted than there are people who were adopted saying that they were grateful for the opportunity at life. Actually Liz, I am grateful for the crazy circumstances that led up to my conception. I just hope that my birth mother’s relationship with my birth father (which did not continue after she got pregnant) was not a source of pain or regret for her later in life. God has a way of making good come out of things people see no good in. I just wish people would trust Him more. Every situation is different, every pregnancy is different, and they should all be decided, by the mother, on a case by case basis, with all the facts in front of her. I do not wish the decision on anyone because it is so difficult. But I just wanted to point out that SOME of us are grateful to be adopted, and it CAN be the right decision.

  • Samantha Thompson

    Pro choice is not pro abortion. Pro choice is for the woman’s choice. That is what pro life people do not see. You do not know the state that most women are in when pregnant. We’d love to assume it’s all happy and fun. My husband and I both plan on having children in the future when we have a house, not a tiny apartment that’s cramped with two people in it. I have a degree in child welfare, my apartment is seen as environmental neglect priority type two in our state meaning we’d have to move to a two bedroom with a bigger kitchen (literally can’t fit two people in it small). We are far from poor, easily we could take care of a child but we’d rather have a house and live our lives together still. What most pro life people get mad at when they hear when we had a scare we planned abortion. We thought about adoption, but looking at it, we don’t need another Baby Veronica because my family would force themselves to adopt it. I also pointed out the half a million children in the adoption system that have been looked over due to age or special needs or even both. Until every pro life person looks at it this way, a woman will always seek out help in getting rid of a pregnancy. During my internship, I spent time with abused and neglected children. Many told me “Miss Sam, we wish we weren’t born.” I’d always say “What makes you say that?” Their replies “We don’t want to be in the foster care system. Our foster parents only care for the money, they treat us worse than their children.” Many cases were true. And those kids suffered. Is it fair that they have to live their life in the foster care system? Many of those were under age 10 that said it.

  • Seal

    I was adopted and one that left my adopted family and have remained without contact for decades. I liken my childhood to 18 years of being a hostage. Many of these adoptive family’s are not the godsend people think, some are abusive. I survived and thankfully came out as a liberal, educated adult by my efforts alone and that was a miracle. I was adopted by a crazy racist, who loaded his house with guns for the race war he thought was going to happen. He was a religious anti-abortion, pro-lifer but had no problem with the idea of killing African Americans in the war he thought was coming. When he meant pro-life he meant white babies only. What this experience has done to my birth mother’s life is beyond words. There are no easy choices. What people need to do is butt out of other people’s lives and let them make their own personal choices with their family, their beliefs and their doctor, period. And if you want to save a life, go out and take in all these kids that need a loving home and take care of them and parent them and put them through college and teach them the value of others regardless if they look or believe differently from you, then I’ll believe you are about saving lives.

    • mindy

      I’m sorry for what you’ve gone through, Seal. You sound like a wonderful person, and I’m always in awe of anyone who survives a traumatic childhood and comes out on the other end reasonably whole. I hope you and your birthmother have found peace.

  • sheila0405

    You are right about this point, Mindy–those of us who are pro-life cannot wrap our minds around the idea that a pregnant woman would choose an abortion. Some of us were pro-choice, and regret our abortions. But none of us walks in the shoes of another individual. When the Gosnell case hit the news, I, like many, were horrified by what took place in his “clinic”. But I was disturbed that the woman who died was nearly an afterthought. The focus was on the gruesome details of how the babies were killed, and not really on what happened to vulnerable teens and women. Many women were maimed by this man. I believe that we can be pro-life and be pro-woman at the same time. We need to work to make sure that abortion facilities are safe for women. Women’s lives are as important as any developing human being. If we showed more compassion towards pregnant women, and not be so judgmental, we would be taken more seriously in our efforts to preserve life. After all, preserving the lives of the desperate women who seek abortion ought to be front and center.

    • Michael Wall

      That’s the biggest problem I see in pro-life people is that while I understand their desire for no life to be lost, their focus seems to be completely on the aborted fetus without a care how the mother feels or how things will affect her.

      • Mirah Riben

        The biggest problem is not helping mothers chose life by being mothers! Instead they offer a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea: abortion or adoption! For goodness sake – break out of that narrow-minded box and help FAMILIES in crisis by providing temporary housing for mothers AND their babies, affordable day care, job training, decent paying jobs, etc. THIS is altruism! THIS is what Jesus would do.

        Adoption as an alternative to abortion asks a mother who does not want to be pregnant to be breeder and carry a child for another. Why should any woman be asked to endure the lifetime shame and guilt of loosing a living child?

        • Michael Wall

          Narrow-minded box? You don’t even fully understand my perspective on this matter because I never gave it. The only thing I even said was that pro-lifers are ONLY concerned with the killing of the baby. Pro-choice people are concerned with the mother and the baby and they get to the point of abortion after considering what life will be like for both if the mother has the baby. Don’t bring Jesus into this because he wouldn’t be voting for legislature that keeps people from having a choice in a matter like this since it’s part of the free will that God gives us. It might be a sin to kill something and God may hate sin, but we were given the choice to sin and the choice to ask for forgiveness. Christians like yourself need to understand this because you spout God this and God that, but yet you go against the teachings of the Bible more than anyone else. I said Christians like yourself because I am one myself.

          • Michael Wall

            You know what? forget it. I’m editing out what I originally said. Talking to someone like you is pointless, I’ll just say a couple of things to you. I’m not pro-abortion, you apparently have trouble with critical thinking and you jump to conclusions. I’m not a judgmental person like you are and I’m not going to tell you what God will say to someone like you when your day comes even though I could say plenty about the type of person you are (and it is NOT nice). Also, have fun with all that mass amount of hate in your heart for people who do things differently from you. God is about love, not hate.

  • Dana

    I could believe “pro-life” people were really “pro-life” if they would work first and foremost to help women who want their children keep and parent them. But that’s not how it turns out. They want to harvest us of our kids, period, and if you look at who’s funding the crisis pregnancy centers, that all bears out. It’s usually adoption agencies, or a group of them. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn they’re bankrolling the “pro-life organization” whackjobs, too. And I’m sure churches are mixed up in this somewhere. They can’t convince enough people to join their membership anymore, so they’ll just take our kids and brainwash them from birth.

    To be fair, the Left’s not much better. Obama’s talking about making adoption easier, as if it isn’t too easy already (yes it is–it’s not my fault if you went through an agency that bilked you out of thousands of dollars), and Planned Parenthood is jumping on the adoption bandwagon now. And of course now that gay marriage is being legalized all over the place they’ll be pushing for gay adoption too. Which is fine, if they’re adopting out of foster care. But with people like Ricky Martin and Neil Patrick Harris hiring rent-a-wombs (way to respect women there, guys), I’m sure there are plenty of gay couples wanting the womb-wet infants, too. The Left has already shown it is willing to sacrifice women for someone else’s cause and this time will be no different.

    (I consider myself left-wing, but let’s call this what it is.)

    I’m tired of us being thrown under the bus. This is not a noble choice, because it’s abandoning our children and at the end of the day we’re being expected to serve the desires of the infertile for someone else’s child. And that’s not what we’re for. Break free of the adoption industry’s conditioning and see this travesty for what it really is.

    P.S. I *hate* the term “pro-life.” It’s just propaganda jargon. If the rest of us weren’t pro-life, we’d have committed suicide by now. Call it what it is: “anti-choice” or “pro-forced-birth” or “citizen of Gilead.” If you haven’t read The Handmaid’s Tale, you really should. Be prepared to never sleep well again.

    • mindy

      Dana, I respect your opinion, and in many instances, you are absolutely right. But you also can’t speak for all women. I remember my mother, of all people, saying that she wished she were younger because she would be a good surrogate – pregnancy and birth were easy for her. I’ve talked to women who have acted as surrogates, both with their own eggs and others, for family members and non-family members, who are quite content with their choices. I wanted to go that route early on when my sweet sister offered, but it wasn’t to be. I would never have asked her to do it. She offered, out of the blue. She already had children and stable life, happy marriage – it was a choice. Hers.

      I will also say that we were not bilked out anything by our adoption agency. I also realize that that DOES happen far more than it should, and as I acknowledged in another comment, child trafficking and a severe lack of ethics in adoption, especially international, is a whole ‘nother huge issue that certainly needs addressing. But every dollar we paid was accounted for, for the process. Not every agency is corrupt. But prospective adoptive parents must be extremely vigilant in finding an agency or other professional who protects, above all, the child.

      • Mirah Riben

        Clearly there is a difference between PAID and unpaid surrogacy. We often forget to make those distinctions and lines are intentionally blurred by language that calls paying for eggs and sperm “donating.” !!

        What makes all third party conception and adoption WRONG are two things: MONEY and anonymity! Money is corrupting and almost always exploits the poor in favor of the wealthy and anonymity is just plain DANGEROUS and not in any child’s best interest EVER!

        And, yes, LIBERALS/PROGRESSIVES are just as guilty as right wing fundamentalists. BOTH believe adoption is an act of altruism that “saves” or “rescues” children. BOTH fail to see that it the more altruistic act is to rescue the entire family or even village.

        • mindy

          I absolutely agree with you about anonymity. It is necessary in a very few circumstances (such as a dangerous birthparent), but that is, by far, the exception to the rule. And I also agree with you that adoption has nothing to do with altruism. I adopted because I wanted to be a mom.

          • Mirah Riben

            Adoptive parents need to do whatever is necessary such as restraining orders to protect children in their custody from harm…but anonymity is NEVER in an adopted person’s best interest. Even if their parent is a serial killer or a terrorist, they have a right to know that. No birth certificates should ever be falsified listing adoptive parents as “parents of birth.” That is simply gvt fraud and legalizing lies. It was done to allow adoptive parents to never tell their children they were adopted. It is archaic and dangerous, and needs to be REVOKED.

          • mindy

            Agreed. I was actually thinking of the anonymity in the other direction – if a birthparent is dangerous, that birthparent shouldn’t know the identity of the child and his family. At least not until the child is an adult and makes his/her own choice about contact. But yes, the adoptee has every right to the information, regardless, although some things have to be dealt with in age-appropriate ways.

          • Mirah Riben

            Mindy in all but two states, when a parent’s right are terminated either voluntarily or involuntarily, they have no way knowing even IF there child was adopted, let alone by whom. They are not notified or party to the adoption proceedings at all. The termination or relinquishment of rights precedes that and dissolves ALL their rights to their child creating them as legal strangers to their child.

            The exception is open adoption, which is a voluntary choice made between adopters and relinquishing parents and are promises that are unenforceable because they are made subsequent to the relinquishment of all rights.

            Adoptees can search even in closed states because their adoptive parents in most cases have adoption papers which often contain the name of the first parent(s) or at least they know the agency or attorney who handled it which can often help adoptees. Mothers who loose children to adoption have no starting point to conduct a search. They have no name. All they know is the date they gave birth and the hospital. But even dates and places of birth have been falsified to match up with adopters as “parents of birth” on adoptee “amended” birth certificates.

            Mindy, please contact me via works.bepress.com/Mirah_Riben. or AdvocatePublications.com, or via my Facebook page. I would love to send you a copy of my book!

            I also highly recommend reading The Child Catchers by Kathryn Joyce, if you have not already read it.

          • PA_NannyGirl

            When we were adopting, we were presented with profiles for several children. One was a product of rape, and the profile identified her as such. However, it also stated that the adoptive couple must agree never to divulge that information to the child. What is your opinion on that? Ultimately, that particular situation did not work out for us, so we never had to worry about it again, but I am just curious about your opinion.

          • Mirah Riben

            First, anything you are told about the original family may or may nor be true. Secondly. the rule is always “as age appropriate.” I would only reveal such “information” at a time my child were approaching search and reunion and then I would tell him or her that this is what were told and it may or may not be true. Many women claimed rape to protect their reputation, and few rapes rise to violent criminal acts by strangers that would mean having to fear some hereditary violent tendencies. I would also assure my grown child, at that time, that many mothers who reported conceiving as a result of rape are just as welcoming of their children as any other mothers. They chose to carry their child to term and not abort.

        • KellyLynne

          Mirah, I think you’re absolutely right about the corrupting influence of money. And yet, at the same time, bearing a child for someone else is *work* that deserves fair compensation.

          One of the problems with the whole abortion discussion is that it so often ignores the fact that being pregnant is a hard and dangerous task. People who think adoption is always the answer often talk as though a pregnant woman just goes about her daily life as normal, maybe with a doctor’s appointment here and a touch of morning sickness there, but no real hardship.

          I think that if I were in the position of asking someone to act as a surrogate for me, I would feel that I was cheating her if I didn’t pay her for all the hardship, risk, and work involved. But, as you said, once money is involved, the situation can easily become very exploitative, and turn into a big business.

          • Mirah Riben

            Kelly – I am not suggesting anyone “work” for free. What I am saying is that are two kinds of surrogacy (in addition to surrogacy and gestational surrogacy):

            1. A true act of altruistic, unselfish LOVE as when a sister bears a child for a sister., and

            2. Paid commercial surrogacy, which is also almost always anonymous.

            The second type is immoral and should be totally illegal in every state in the US as it is in most of the industrialized world.

            I am opposed to ALL forms of paid and/or anonymous third party conception as it is immoral, cruel and inhumane to buy and sell any genetic building blocks of human life (eggs or sperm) because what it amounts to is human trafficking.

            It also cruel and inhumane to buy, sell or rent a woman’s womb…and most of all it is cruel and inhumane to create human beings with all or partial genetic anonymity. It risks their lives and the lives of their offsprings for generations to come! All or partial genetic anonymity means not knowing all or half of your medical history.

            Commercial surrogacy and all forms of third party anonymous conception is selfish and thoughtless and does not consider the life of the “child” being created who grows into a adult with rights of his or her own that have been abrogated by decisions made by those who wanted a “designer” child rather than adopt an already existing child in need.

          • mindy

            I’m not opposed to it. I am opposed to the anonymity, because the resulting human being, if there is one, has the right to know where s/he came from. Paid gestational carriers – different scenario. Because they are only “renting” their womb, not sharing genetic material with anyone.

          • PA_NannyGirl

            I have never heard of an anonymous surrogate. How in the world would that even happen? Most people who want to hire a surrogate would want to be there for doctors appointments, ultrasounds, and certainly the birth.

          • PA_NannyGirl

            Ok, I read more comments, and I think I understand. You mean anonymous from the child, right? I do agree with you on that, the child has a right to know.

    • PA_NannyGirl

      As an adoptive parent, let me just say that adoption is not easy. It’s not easy through domestic agencies, through foster care, or internationally. It’s just not easy. There is a HUGE process before you can even get approved to adopt, and that process isn’t cheap. And as far as your comments about surrogacy, private adoption, etc., please remember that every mother’s path to parenthood is her own. She gets to make those choices, and all of the choices – including yours – are equally valid. Just as there are people who know they couldn’t handle placing a child with an adoptive family and have the right to choose abortion instead, there are people who know they couldn’t handle raising a child who has certain traits, including a history of severe abuse or substance addiction, and they have the right to adopt through a private agency or internationally or even use a surrogate. I am sorry if that offends you, but getting to make the decision about how you will go about becoming a parent when you are infertile is often the first time you’ve had a choice in the matter. Let’s respect that.

  • txcg

    Great article. Here in Texas there is a push for NO birth control, NO support of single parents and NO prochoice. Among us adoptees there is a strong conviction that all of those are being funded by maternity homes (specifically Edna Gladney Home) who make millions off of adoptions.

    If you don’t let a woman prevent pregnancy, you don’t let her make her own choice about whether or not to carry the pregnancy and then you don’t provide funds so she can support her child after birth….that is a total set up for her to relinquish her baby for adoption.

    As noted, there are thousands of children in foster care who need homes (the original reason for adoption) however no one wants them. Most prospective parents want, as many adoptees and birth mothers say, “womb-wet infants.” These prospective adoptive parents think they an imprint on an infant and magically the baby will be as if it had been born to them. Only years later do they come to understand that genetics are a much greater predictor of temperament and many other traits.

    Adoptees are the only parties to the contract who have no choice and are perpetually treated as children even as they age to collect social security!

    • PA_NannyGirl

      txcg – this has always been one of my biggest complaints with the pro-life community. How can you be anti-birth control, anti-abortion, and anti-social safety nets? The ONLY option left is adoption, and there aren’t enough adoptive couples to go around, especially when the child is not white (sorry, but it’s the truth.) When my husband and I were going through the adoption process with a private adoption agency we were told that this ONE domestic adoption agency had hundreds of non-white children immediately available for adoption because their birthmothers had selflessly made adoption plans, but there were very few adoptive families willing to accept a non-white baby. Now mind you, this is not a situation where children were removed from their mother’s care because of neglect or abuse, these birthmothers chose NOT to have an abortion but to make an adoption plan for their baby, and then their baby had NO FAMILY. They were living with temporary caregivers for the first few week or months of their lives until a family could be found. I can’t imagine going through the heartache of making an adoption plan for my baby only to find out no one wanted to adopt him/her. I would love to hear the pro-life argument then. Adoption is always a better choice, but if your baby isn’t white (or born overseas where adopting a non-white baby from is “cool”), tough? Argh.

      • txcg

        And studies show that the separation trauma and uncertainty of those first few weeks plague a person throughout their lives. Our adoption support group here in Austin, Adoptionknowledge org has their annual conference november 8/9. the keynote is “preverbal trauma” ceus for social worker. There certainly wouldn’t be ceus and an expert talking about this if it were not a common occurrence!

  • Mirah Riben

    I wish the pro-life community would stop promoting adoption as if all adoptions were equal, because they are not. Most involve large sums of money (average $40,000 per child) money, which in turn promotes corruption.

    I wish instead they would help mothers and families in crisis remain together by providing them the support and resources they need to do so.

    I wish all those concerned about the lives of UNBORN children, would put more focus on those already here in this world who are starving, in need of adequate medical care, schools, and clean, safe drinking water! The world is OVERPOPULATED and there are many children going hungry and without adequate medical care even in wealthy “developed” industrialized nations like the USA!

    We do not need to bring every pregnancy to term in an already overpopulated world full of children not being adequately fed until we can feed those already here! We most especially do not need to ask any woman to do so who does not want to, and we certainly do not need to offer her only two choices: adoption or abortion without including family preservation assistance as a viable option.

    We need to stop rescuing unborn babies and start rescuing families!!!

  • PixieCorpse

    “Why would you expect a woman to endure a pregnancy against her will,
    when too many kids who have already been born need families?”

    This wording suggests to me that if there were some kind of “actual child shortage,” some women would “owe” other women babies. There is no situation in which anyone owes anyone a child or baby, and there is no situation in which a woman should undergo a pregnancy against her will.

    • mindy

      Agree wholeheartedly. Just trying to deconstruct one of the pro-life arguments. They insist that because many infertile couples want to adopt, women *should* remain pregnant against their will. Why not argue instead that those couples who want to adopt, if they are truly “Christian,” should first consider their infertility a sign from God that they are either not to parent or are to parent a child not biologically their own? A sign that instead, they are to provide a home for a child stuck in foster care, a child with special needs stuck in an orphanage? Doesn’t that “fit” better with a fundamentalist Christian narrative?

      My guess is that they would answer something along the lines of not every couple is capable of parenting a child not biologically their own, or one who has medical or psychological problems. Or maybe they just don’t WANT to do that. Which is, of course, perfectly acceptable – each couple should make that personal decision for themselves.

      As should each woman facing the decision about pregnancy.

      And as an aside, so should every LGBT person who wants to have a relationship. Because, you know, that is the new fundamental take on being gay – well, OK, if it’s not a choice to be gay, then you can be gay – as long as you remain celibate. That’s the only way to “get right with God.” If that is their logic, then it follows that if you are infertile, you must accept that as the way God made you, and either take in a true orphan or foster child who needs a family, or remain childless. I don’t see how Biblical logic can be taken any other way. If they then say that medical science has come a long way, and it is acceptable to intervene medically to have babies, then why can’t they also accept that medical science has come a long way and made it clear that being gay is not at all dangerous or problematic and is simply a normal variation of human sexuality? It’s all about picking and choosing what serves their purposes, and it’s wrong.

  • Steve

    It is very cut-and-dry:

    Christians do not kill defenseless children. I don’t give a damn how “unfundamentalist” they are. (downvote me, I don’t care)

    By the way, the “unfundamentalist” label? You are seriously defining yourself into a corner there. You are defining yourself as simply being a contrast to fundamentalism. You are simply a reaction against reactionism, which is still reactionism. Fundamentalists worship an idol of depraved right-wing ideology, so I guess “unfundamentalist” Christians worsip an idol of depraved left-wing ideology. You can follow the elephant or the donkey; but you’re still not following the lamb.

    • mrichardson84

      And you are simply another reactionary fundamentalist. You are the depraved one, as conservatives are the polar opposite of everything Jesus taught. You make an idol of gun-loving, warmongering, hate-instilling dogma. Call yourself pro-life? Bullshit.
      Also? A fetus is NOT a child. Get an basic biological education, and then we can talk. Meanwhile, people like you are why the church is losing followers. Shame on you.

      • Steve

        I am not a conservative, reactionary, or fundamentalist. I have much more nuanced views of gun control than “take them all away” or “free guns for everyone”. I have serious problems with trigger happy foreign policy. I do not believe in spreading hatred.

        If you had read my damn post, you would have seen that I believe that right-wing ideology is also depraved. But no, instead you assumed. And look at what happened to us both when you assumed.

        And a fetus totally is a child. Sorry. It is a human being, who has the right to not be torn to pieces with a bladed vacuum cleaner.

        The church is losing followers because of pro-life? Odd, I thought that the country was slowly growing more and more pro-life and that the movement was getting stronger. The church is losing followers because of people who despise both ends of the political spectrum? How bizarre, I thought people wanted Christianity to be less affiliated with politics.

        You seem to believe that one can only be a liberal, or a conservative. You know, in Jesus’ time there were two very similar hostile factions. They were called Pharisees and Sadducees. The only thing they could agree on was to kill Jesus. If He were to come back, I would expect to see a similar thing to happen to Him.

        • mrichardson84

          I read your damn post. You are a complete jerk.
          Prove a fetus is a child. Without quoting the Bible. You can’t.

          • Aliza Worthington

            I appreciate your owning your “jerk” status. Here’s why. You’re actually right in that it’s very difficult to define at what point a fetus becomes viable and deserving of “human” status. Most pro-choice people would at least admit that there is a point at which it is unethical to have an abortion simply because a woman deems it inconvenient to play host to the growing fetus inside her. What is difficult to determine is what that point is.

            That is a discussion that requires sensitivity and an ability to listen. An ability to think before you spew judgment. The ability to consider you might be wrong. And the willingness to realize that since you do not possess a uterus, are not a female, and would not be able to step in and say, “Hey! You can’t handle this pregnancy for any number of legitimate reasons? No problem! I’ll just step in and grow me a uterus and carry the BABY (because a fetus IS a baby!!!) for you. I’ll take care of the attendant potential complications and subject myself to the discrimination (employment and otherwise) so prevalent in today’s society!” that you are in less of a position than the actual pregnant woman to make a judgement.

          • Steve

            While I am a jerk, or to put it more bluntly, a complete asshole, it is not because of anything involving abortion.

            It is difficult to define such a point, because such a point does not even exist.

            I am more concerned with judging the actions of abortion, and in fact, it is entirely acceptable to judge actions. Jesus was condemning judging people, not actions, in what was it- the Sermon on the Mount? So accusations of being “judgemental” is irrelevant to me.

            I am so very sorry, but I am sick of the logical fallacy that men have nothing to say about abortion (here comes a mini-rant). Do childless parents have nothing to say about parents abusing their children? Do bachelors have nothing to say about a man who beats his wife? No. Evil is evil, and all are obligated to speak out against it. But alright, you advise me to shut up about abortion because I lack ovaries. How about I point you in the direction of Abby Johnson and Norma McCorvey (aka Jane Roe), formerly pro-abortion women who are now pro-life ‘t activists. Hell, you don’t even have to go that far. Rebecca Hamilton on the Catholic Channel was a former NARAL state director before becoming pro-life, talk to her.

            And yes, there are many injustices against pregnant women. It may surprise you to know that I am in favor of universal health care, especially for pregnant women and families. But nothing, no situation, can justify the murder of an innocent child.

          • Aliza Worthington

            I can understand your frustration and your desire to eradicate evil wherever it occurs. But you must also, unfortunately, accept the fact that over the course of history, most of the decisions involving women’s health and reproduction have been made by men in such a way that oppresses women, and since you have a y chromosome, that puts you in the position of having to defer judgement. Just like because I am white, I can speak out against another white discriminating against a black person and have impact. The impact, however unfairly, is weaker (and maybe even non-existent) when I claim a black person has discriminated against me. It’s a matter of context and perspective that in this particular case, should relegate your opinion to a slightly lower status than the pregnant woman’s, her family’s, and her doctor’s.

            And I would respectfully point you to Libby Anne.

            http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2012/10/how-i-lost-faith-in-the-pro-life-movement.html

          • mindy

            Steve, in all of your ranting, you have not addressed the issue that this particular article discusses. Not every woman who finds herself pregnant can parent, nor can she handle a pregnancy simply to hand her child off to someone else to raise. Your BELIEF is that a zygote or embryo has the same rights as a born human child. That is a BELIEF, not a fact. If that is truly your belief, then you must get to work fighting to stop miscarriages, because far more zygotes and embryos are lost to that than anything else. Support research to help make sure every one of them is implanted and becomes a fetus.

            Your equating men not having a say in abortion rights to people fighting against the abuse of other people’s children does not compute if one does not believe as you do. And since your beliefs are religious, they cannot be legislated. Period. I don’t believe a person exists until they exist separately from the mother. At first breath, as the bible apparently states. That is *my* personal belief. Once that little person is born, the mother would probably much rather be supported in parenting her new baby rather than encouraged to give it to a childless couple who feels entitled to it. Support that. Support keeping families together.

            You can hold your belief that abortion is murder, and I can hold mine that it absolutely is none of your business what any woman but your own wife does with her pregnancy. And the law has to protect both points of view. You have the right to speak your mind. To counsel young women – if they ask for help – to consider birth and either parenting or adoption rather than abortion. To protest. You do not, however, have a right to legislate your religion. I’m sorry, but our Constitution prohibits it.

          • mindy

            You are creating living, breathing human victims in each of your scenarios. Not the same. Sorry. My logic in no way applies to those examples.

          • Steve

            Unborn children are alive. And they breathe via oxygen through their umbilical cord. And they are human beings as a matter of biological fact. So yeah, it totally does apply. Sorry.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Biologically they are more parasitical than human. They gain nutrients directly from the host, they eliminate waste directly into the host. If there are not enough nutrients through the host’s diet, the fetus will simply demand it, robbing her of iron, calcium and other things it needs. It for over half of its time within that host, incapable of surviving without a direct hook-up.

            Do us a favor, Get yourself pregnant, then try giving us the poor biology lesson.

          • Steve

            A parasite is an invasive, external, foreign species. An unborn child is a unique creature of the same species created by the host (mother), with some help (father). Unless unborn children invade women’s bodies from the outside, and if women’s bodies were not, at least in part, intended for the purpose of gestating a child (not the only purpose of a woman’s body, of course), unborn children are not a parasite.

            It’s you who needs the biology lesson. I have never heard a biologist or a doctor call an unborn child a “parasite”, only ideologues.

          • mindy

            Nope. Not breathing. Lung development is one of the last fetal stages.

          • Steve

            Do you know what “breathing” means? Respiration can occur through a variety of means. Such as through oxygen pumped through an umbilical cord. Breathing =/= inhalation/exhalation of air.

          • Mindy Carney

            Gosh, Steve, yes I do know what breathing means. I spoke too briefly – breathing without requiring the mother from whom to receive the oxygen. Steve, we get your position. You believe that your beliefs are fact. You believe that science proves you right. Many do not agree with you, with as much or more science to back them up as you have. You are proving yourself completely unwilling to listen to actual women who have actual uteri who can actually get pregnant. For that reason alone, I, personally, am done with you. You’ve shared nothing new. Thanks.

          • http://thethreews.wordpress.com/ Ken Leonard

            For the love of mercy, Steve … when you’re trying to distinguish between opinion and argument you should really realize that you’re well past trying to be constructive.

            Surely you have something better to do with your life than this.

            If not, might I suggest some books? Because that moves well into arguing minutiae for nothing more than the sake or arguing.

          • Em

            Forced organ donation is the greatest evil I could think of. Forced pregnancy is the moral and biological equivalent of forced organ donation. Thus, the prolife movement is the greatest evil.

    • Aliza Worthington

      Hi, Steve. Christians (or people who call themselves such) have killed defenseless children. So have Muslims and so have Jews. And so would you, it sounds, if a 14-year-old were impregnated against her will and needed an abortion to save her life (in any number of circumstances.) It sounds like you would deny it to her to save her fetus. Is that the case? If so, you, indeed, would be supporting killing a defenseless child. The 14-year-old.

      As far as being “unfundamentalist,” to me the name represents people are are NOT fundamentalist. They think in terms not black and white, are able to consider different (and opposing) points of view from their own, and do their best to do so without being judgmental and/or dogmatic. Hey, wait a minute – that actually IS the opposite of fundamentalists! Good job, UC!

      • Steve

        There are Christians who have done such things. But we know to call this “sin”, so I’m not sure what your point is. There are methods that do no involve directly murdering an unborn child if the mother’s life is at stake. You can prematurely induce labor or otherwise remove the child from the womb without using poison, bladed vacuum cleaners, or a pair of scissors to the skull. The baby is not likely to survive the world after such an early birth, but that is morally very different from directly butchering the child.

        If we are climbing mount Everest, attached together by a rope and if I fall over the edge with no hope of recovery, you may cut the rope if it will save your life, and my own life is already doomed. You may not throw a grenade or fire a shotgun at me to destroy the rope. There is a difference. Of course, actual incidents of such an occurrence motivating abortion are astronomically low, so you’re neglecting to defend the 99% of abortions.

        I claim to say that you are non-judgmental, non-narrow-minded, and able to take in complex views. I disagree. I look around, and I see the exact same kind of thinking that goes around on a right-wing Christian blog, with the exact same “Well said!” group-thinking, self-applauding mindset. You are simply the mirror image of fundamentalists: technically the opposite, but honestly not very different.

        • Aliza Worthington

          Are you suggesting that 99% of abortions are performed by the methods you describe? Scissors to the skull? Are you objecting solely to late-term abortions?

          • Steve

            No, I was saying that 99% (probably more) have nothing do with the mother’s life being at stake.

          • AuroraBird

            What difference does it make?

            Grow a uterus or STFU.

          • mindy

            Aurora, I’m really serious about wanting respectful conversation here. Steve, to whom you are responding, will not be back to the site – he was completely unable to respect any position but his own. STFU may be exactly what needs to be said to him, or not, but I’d hate to lose your insight as an adoptee here. Your perspective is perhaps the most important.

        • Aliza Worthington

          I would also like to point out that you nowhere address or respond to the actual article. That adoption is not always (hell, not even often) the easy solution to the problem of an unwanted pregnancy. And to your point that those who agree or support Mindy’s point are mindless “Yes” people, What they are saying “yes” to is that it’s a complex situation. You, on the other hand, begin your comment by saying “It is very cut-and-dry.” This automatically diminishes whatever you have to say that follows.

          • Steve

            Adoption is not always easy, no. But murdering a child is always wrong, and that is an issue that should never be obfuscated. The issue itself can be complex, but some solutions are quite clearly morally out-of-bounds.

          • Aliza Worthington

            Murdering a child is wrong, I agree. I just disagree that up until a certain point (of which I am not sure it’s possible to determine) a zygote/embryo/fetus is a child. And I CERTAINLY disagree that all abortion is murder. I’m not even sure if you agree with that.

          • Steve

            I most certainly agree that all abortion is murder. I believe that abortion, by definition, is murder. In fact, my argument would be weaker if it wasn’t. Arguments are harmed by inconsistency.

          • mindy

            Yes, your argument is much weaker to those of us who do not believe that early abortion is murder. And since your belief is based in your religion, it cannot, and must not, be legislated.

          • Will

            I do not think, he was making purely religious claims. It is of no coincidence that faith is supported by reason. He, as do I, believe that it is entirely unreasonable to commit abortion. (For me that line is drawn where the mother’s life is at stake.) If laws are not founded on reason and instead founded on the sways of public opinion, I am unwilling to trust their credulity. Also I am not advocating that abortion be illegal. I am advocating that it be unthinkable.

          • Steve

            My argument is NOT based on religion. It is based on biology and common sense. A buddhist, an atheist, and a Zoroastrian could all have the exact same argument that I did. Where did I mention religion in my argument about a unborn baby to have a right to life? I brought up DNA and the lack of a clear line. That was all.

          • mindy

            My mistake, then, Steve. But the fact that cells are alive and have the potential to become a human being does not make them a human being. As I said before, far more zygotes and embryos die from miscarriage than anything else. Why do you not concern yourself with that, if all those blobs of cells are people? Seems like that would be a pretty huge problem that pro-lifers would be insisting medical science DO SOMETHING ABOUT. And yet . . . no. Just the far fewer number that actually affect living women and families. Funny, that.

          • Steve

            Miscarriages, while extremely tragic, are not known to have any medical cure or prevention at the moment, so there’s nothing I can do about that. But your argument is saying that since a lot of fat people die of heart disease, it’s OK to murder them if you think they’re bothersome.

          • http://thethreews.wordpress.com/ Ken Leonard

            Actually, it has nothing to do with religion. Nowhere in the Bible is this actually addressed. It’s all extrapolated and made into a man-made pseudo-religious doctrine.

            Kind of like the Pharisees.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            All abortions? Even in the case of ectopic pregnancies? or if the woman was in an accident, her internal organs are damaged, and its get everything out and repaired ASAP or she dies? Or if she is diagnosed with stage 3 cancer and chemo will save her, but terminate her pregnancy, waiting 30 weeks will certainly kill her? Or if the pregnant person is nine, the victim of rape, and already in poor health? Or it was discovered early that the fetus, can survive birth, maybe, if its lucky, but won’t live a week afterwards, and only by being hooked up to machines that replace the things the mother was formally doing to keep it alive? All those too?

          • Steve

            I think I already addressed this, but it could have been one of the posts the admins deleted for disagreeing with the blog.

            Abortion is the direct termination of a pregnancy. That “direct” word is very important, as it specifically refers to the intentional, physical destruction of the unborn child.

            Prematurely inducing labor, or some similar measure, would address many of these things, but such a measure could not be defined as “abortion”.

            I’m not 100% on the Chemo thing, but I think it might be acceptable even though the child probably wouldn’t survive.

            These measures are not directly killing the unborn child, they are simply being unable to save it.

            EDIT: Read this post quick, who knows if or when the admins will decide to delete this for being “hurtful rhetoric”

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            You really don’t know what an abortion is, do you? We spontaneously abort fetuses all the time. Its an intentional, physical destruction of that fetus for reasons, that our bodies determine best, We don’t even know what is happening until it occurs. It can happen during all three trimesters …so That argument fails.

            Inducing a premature labor, is usually because if one doesn’t the mother is in real danger of dying. It is her life the doctors are trying to save, not the fetus. They know that if the fetus does survive labor, they will try to help it thrive, but in the first two trimesters of pregnancy the odds are poor to nil. Their priority is the woman.

            In the Cancer scenario, the woman would need every bit of her physical resources to fight the cancer and endure treatment, Having it partially directed towards the fetus, would hinder her care, and waiting for a later time for the fetus to reach viability may not be an option for several reasons..

          • Will

            So we should abort “potential adults” even though, as you just stated, “I am not sure it’s possible to determine” the personhood of an embryo at “a certain point?” That would be like a hunter shooting blindly into bushes thinking a deer is rustling the leaves but in actuality another human being stands behind the bush.

          • mindy

            Really, Will? I’m sorry, but that is a ridiculous comparison.

          • Will

            I clarified a bit above if that helps. And you did not answer my question, whether or not you believe my metaphor to be sufficient.

          • mindy

            I do not believe personhood applies to a zygote, embryo or unborn fetus. Until that fetus is living separately from its mother, it is part of her. Hopefully that is clear enough.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Hunters do shoot into bushes thinking they got a deer, not realizing, they shot into a neighborhood and that deer was a woman in her own back yard. Its an accident, its not murder, Accidental hunting incidents ending in tragedy happen all the time. And the example I just mentioned happened near where I used to live.

            Bad example, try again.

          • Will

            There is no need for the hostility, but I would disagree with your terming the situation “an accident.” When unsure, you simply do not shoot. Legally and ethically, that situation you described is no accident even if the hunter had no intention to shoot the woman. He/she becomes morally and legally responsible for the action of shooting without being certain that his target was a deer.

          • AuroraBird

            What the hell are you rambling about?

            People have the right to determine what happens to THEIR body.

            If I hit you with my car I could not be compelled to give even a single drop of blood. But I’m “supposed” to use ALL my bodily resources to keep a parasite alive? NOT!

          • Will

            I believe Mindy would agree that I have not been rambling. If you read my other posts, this is very obvious. I am also not referring to a “parasite” as you have so insensitively framed it.

          • AuroraBird

            An insentient cluster of cells is NOT a child. Too bad, so sad for YOU!

        • http://thethreews.wordpress.com/ Ken Leonard

          If you and I are ever climbing Mt. Everest together and I’m dangling irretrievably off of the edge, I would strongly prefer that you shoot me with the shotgun (thus killing me immediately) rather than dropping me to experience several seconds of terror before I die. I kind of wonder why you’re climbing with a shotgun, but that’s a different issue.

          Your moral comparisons are downright bizarre, really. And,I think that your evaluations are faulty in several of them.

          • Steve

            Moral thought experiments are usually weird. That’s nothing atypical. And I would refuse to shoot you because I don’t believe in euthanasia, but that’s a whole other can of worms.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            So you’d let him hang there, to either fall to his death, or die of exposure? How is that the more humane?

          • http://thethreews.wordpress.com/ Ken Leonard

            You misunderstand.

            I said that your conclusions are weird. I’ve done more variations of the trolley problem than I can count, and made up my own scenario in which the Martians invade the earth to abolish abortion. That was mostly an experiment focusing on “collateral damage” scenarios. I’m familiar with thought experiments and the purpose which they serve.

            It’s your choice of analogues and your conclusions which I find out of place.

            I just told you that I would rather die quickly than plummet to my death if it comes to that. Your decision to make my death more terrible is actually quite selfish, just because you want to feel that I died of the fall rather than the gun blast.

  • Will

    Mindy, thanks for the article, but I must admit that I am rather startled by its content. I would no longer describe myself as a “fundamentalist” Christian, but it has always been my view that one of the “conservative” issues Christians could not give up would be that of Pro-Life. It seems that a dangerous substitution of social mores for morals has been committed here. Keeping in mind that I do not lay claim to the “right-wing” or “left-wing” sides of the political spectrum, I feel that this issue of Pro-Life/Pro-Choice is an appropriate place for logic to intervene. It seems to me that the article is a rather elaborate red herring for the heart of the issue at hand: whether or not that which exists in the womb is or is not a person. I am not the typical Biblical “literalist” that I once was, but “Thou shalt not murder” seems to me to be pretty much inescapable. If that which exists in the womb is “her body” and “her pregnancy” and the mother really does have “rights” to “do with ‘it’ as she pleases,” then you certainly have a point. I would dispute you there. I hate to appeal to science in this regard, but science is a well-trusted discipline in society and may here be useful. When we consider what happens at fertilization, there is an obvious moment when “that which was two is now one.” A sperm has in it its own genetic code, as does the egg. When these codes become one at fertilization, you have an entirely new “thing.” Beyond that point, it is impossible to delineate a specific moment of “personhood.” You can speculate all you want, but in the end you must instead say “I do not know.” Should we kill that which we do not know for sure is a human based on the fact that it is a potential adult with a unique genetic code? That to me is unethical, and that is why I cannot support abortion.

    • mindy

      Will, first, I appreciate your willingness to have the conversation in a rational manner. Second, I value your right to hold your beliefs.

      But I emphatically disagree with you, and I expect you to respect that. The fact that a zygote or embryo has a unique genetic code does not make it (yet) a person. If that were the case, as I mentioned in another comment further back, we’d have to treat identical twins as one unit. They have exactly the same genetic make-up, the same DNA. And of course, we don’t do that. Genetics does not determine “personhood.”

      Personhood happens when a fetus becomes an infant – at birth. That happens when it is separate from its mother’s body. That may happen prematurely or at the full 40 weeks of gestation. Until then, that zygote, embryo or fetus is not a person yet. I am not “pro-abortion.” I believe that abortion after viability should be tightly regulated. But I am and will remain pro-choice. This is no red herring, and I believe you well know that.

      • Will

        Thank you for your respectful reply and your clarification. The identical twin argument would hold a great deal of weight if identical twins were in actuality, identical. Genetically speaking once the copies are erroneously (or in my case specially) made the distinct sets of code undergo mutations. Before the “things” are “viable” they in fact have different genetic codes. Now all of this is just the groundwork of the argument. As a Christian, obviously I would not rely on the mechanics of the situation in coming to the definition of a person. “Personhood happens when a fetus becomes an infant – at birth.” I wholeheartedly disagree. You just stated that “genetics does not determine ‘personhood’” and to that I would agree. Instead you trade one roughly “scientific” distinction for another. Why is the spatiotemporal distinction of in-womb/out-of-womb a valid distinction for the licensing of a potentially murderous act?

        As I stated in my original article, after the genetic deviation, the best we can say regarding personhood is “I do not know.” And as I brought up in response to another comment, this situation mirrors that of a hunter in need of nourishment. He sees rustling bushes and assumes that there must be behind the bushes a deer, so he pulls the trigger of the weapon. Instead lying lifeless behind the bushes is another human being. He is so hasty to solve the small problem of his hungry stomach that he accidentally murders another human being in a way that was in fact preventable and unethical. In light of my clarification, I continue to maintain that your original article is a red herring in that it uses a man’s assertion that adoption is a better path than abortion while not considering the issue of personhood and the potentially murderous implications of abortion. Only in that sense am I saying it is a red herring, and again, I do appreciate your clarification above.

        • mindy

          Then we will have to agree to disagree, Will. I do use the assertion that most people tend to assume, without reflection, that adoption is a better option than abortion. In some cases it is. In many it is not. Most importantly, it is not a man’s decision. It is a woman’s decision. So I take what you say as your sincere opinion, but I take it with a grain of sea salt.

          • Will

            I imagine we will have to agree to disagree. I appreciate your clarification of your belief below concerning the personhood of the fetus in relation to the mother’s body, however unsubstantiated it may be. I still fail to see the spatiotemporal necessity of in-womb/out-of-womb in terms that I can understand beyond, “mere belief.” I still see it as a situation where there is no option but to say “I do not know,” a situation where it would be unethical to kill the “thing” based upon uncertainty.

            Also I fail to see the necessity for the distinction of “man’s decision” versus “woman’s decision.” Ethics transcends sex/gender, and if the “thing” inside the woman is in fact a person, I feel that it is my duty (along with any other woman or man of similar convictions) to defend its right to life.

          • mindy

            Until you have found yourself pregnant, Will, you cannot know, and therefore cannot decide. I’ve met many, many women over the years who have had abortions, and the vast majority do not regret it. It was not an easy decision, but they know it was the best decision at the time they made it. I’m talking about first trimester abortions, before the embryo is a sentient being. I’m not talking about late term abortions, which are almost always done because of severe medical complications for the mother, baby or both. Once the fetus reaches viability, the time at which it can likely survive outside its mother, that is a very different decision, and one I don’t believe any woman would make without significant medical input and emotional pain. You are not a woman and you cannot know and therefore cannot decide. Period. You just . . . . can’t. Which, I know, is a very bitter pill for a pro-life man to swallow. But there it is. No. You can’t control our bodies. You can’t make us create a baby we don’t want to create. Not you, not anyone.

          • Will

            I honestly do appreciate the sincerity of your comments; although, it is obvious we do not share the same sentiments. I am not asking you to “create a baby” against your will. I realize that that would be insensitive. As a Christian it is my interpretation that God creates all human life.

          • mindy

            Which I respect, Will. Hopefully, you can see that since your interpretation is founded on your religion, it cannot be legislated. Because many do not believe as you do, and until humans are grown from conception to birth in a lab somewhere, women have the final say.

          • Will

            I do not believe I have ever suggested that “my beliefs should be legislated.” Instead as I said in a reply below, the goal is not to make abortion illegal. It is to make it unthinkable.

            Also, in reference to “until humans are grown from conception to birth in a lab somewhere,” I would recommend reading Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” It is not exactly a new world that I would desire; although, it seems to be the one toward which society is “progressing.”

          • mindy

            I read that book years ago, Will. My comment was not to suggest I wanted that, more to say that I don’t believe it will happen – at least not for the foreseeable future.

            I understand the desire to have abortion be unthinkable. I would like that to apply to several cultural issues. :) Most pro-lifers who engage in this conversation with me want abortion to be illegal or so limited as to be dangerous for women. I’m sorry I accused you of that if you are not one who wants to legislate it away. I stand corrected.

          • MyKarmaRanOverYourDogma

            How about instead of “illegal”, or “unthinkable”, you make it NOT NECESSARY. Read my reply to you above.

          • MyKarmaRanOverYourDogma

            You know how you stop abortion, Will? You get yourself fixed. Get your male kids fixed. Get your brothers to get fixed. Get ALL the right wingers to get fixed. Take some responsibility instead of shoving it off on the person who has to have a parasite living inside her for nine months and support it – often without ANY male help – for the next couple of decades. And STOP pretending that woman got pregnant all by herself!

          • Will

            Your comment is disturbing and ad hominem; although, the intended attacks against my “kids” and “brothers” who do not exist and my “right wing[edness]” which also is far from the truth were not even appropriate depictions of reality. Do you honestly think I would impregnate “some woman” and run off? And my position differs from yours in that I do not see the “thing” as a blood sucking parasite but instead as a potential child who has rights to be brought into life just as you had those rights. Are you unwilling to extend the same rights that you were afforded to someone else? And to clarify I mean moral/ethical/absolute rights, not legal rights. Our government in this place and time is not what is at stake here. It is the lives of people.

            So as to remember that I am addressing you, and you were addressing me, do you think that killing that which exists in the womb (while unaware for sure whether or not it is a person) is ethical? You nor I can say for sure whether or not the “thing” is a person. When uncertain you do not kill it. If you need further clarification, read my other posts.

          • MyKarmaRanOverYourDogma

            It isn’t ad hominem unless you take it personally. While you sit here spending hours slut shaming women who are already dealing with the most difficult choice of their lives, you are allowing your compadres to get off *scott free*. For something they are EQUALLY responsible for. If not more than equal! Don’t forget all those rapists who these asshole legislators have decided can sue to stop an abortion from a pregnancy that results – and even VISITATION. THAT is not HER choice any longer, it is HIS. THE CRIMINALS. And don’t act like just because YOU wouldn’t abandon a pregnant woman that it doesn’t happen DAILY…hell, probably HOURLY.

            And don’t forget, we don’t really care about your opinion unless you can squirt out a child yourself. It is quite obvious that you don’t have children of your own or you wouldn’t be so blase about supporting one or more additional people for possibly the rest of your life.

            Yes, a fetus is a parasite attached to a host (aka a woman), and it is quite scientifically proven when it becomes a fetus from a zygote from a few cells. It is really not your business whether it is ethical or not, unless you are God? I presume you are not. Judge not, judgyman.

            I don’t need to read your other posts because you are no different from any other anti-choice person that I have met, and you have nothing new to say. Mind your OWN business and if you really need to expend all this energy shaming someone about abortion, start with your own sex.

          • mindy

            Will, I’m pretty sure you are intelligent enough to see Karma’s post in context of the larger conversation – that she was talking about males in general, not you or your family in particular. She used a literary tool to make her point in response to yours. I think most of us who are pro-choice have made it clear here that we do not believe that a first trimester abortion is “killing” or “murder,” so it would behoove you and everyone else to stop trying to convince us that it is. We have considered it and determined that we do not agree. OK? Let that argument go. You can buy into it if you want, but I don’t. Karma doesn’t. She’s made that clear.

            We’ve also made it pretty clear that it is not a decision that any of us would make lightly. What perhaps ISN’T clear to you – and all the other males here – is how sick to death we are of men and boys discussing OUR bodies and OUR choices as if you have the right to do so! It is male entitlement at its worst – remnants of a long-ago dismantled patriarchy in which men made all the important decisions as if women weren’t capable of thinking coherent thoughts about anything beyond cooking and sewing.

            Newsflash: WE ARE CAPABLE. We are capable of raising amazing human beings without men in the house. We are capable of supporting them and ourselves, without men to assist us. We have learned how to do all that because we’ve had to. Not because we’ve wanted to, necessarily, but because enough men have put us in the position of doing so that we have had to figure out how to make it work. We live longer, so we have to know how to live on our own. We can’t cause a pregnancy and walk away, so we have to know how to handle one on our own. And we are perfectly capable of determining if we can or cannot do so, and WE DEMAND THE RIGHT TO MAKE THAT CALL.

            You have already said that you want abortion to be unthinkable rather than illegal. OK. Great. I would like abortion to be UNNECESSARY. That requires education and everyone involved, especially the males, making sure that unexpected, unwanted pregnancies DON’T HAPPEN.

            Since you are male, I suggest that you focus on your half of the species. You males get together and instead of figuring out yet another way to control the females, you figure out a way to control your penises. All of them. How to keep them in your collective pants. Pregnancies won’t happen if you do that one, simple thing. You focus on teaching boys not to rape. Not to risk impregnating their girlfriends before they are ready to be fathers, no matter how much in love they think they are. Teach boys that girls are not objects and that their minds and hearts matter more than their T & A. Teach boys and men that not only does NO mean NO, only YES means YES. If she doesn’t say YES, anything else means NO. Period.

            Teach boys that sex does not make them men. Teach men that sex does not make them better men. Focus on changing what our entire freaking culture tells boys about what being a man is all about. When you get that all taken care of, and when all boys and all men are respectful of women and treat them as equally valuable human beings with equally effective brains, we can talk about the rest of it. In the meantime, you’ve got a LOT of work to do.

          • Will

            No one seems to be willing to answer my fundamental question, and as even you (the reasonable one) have resulted to polemics, it is my time to depart. I just leave you with this: “And He said to them. ‘Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.’” Mark 6:10-11. Best wishes on your spiritual journey, and God Bless.

          • mindy

            What is your fundamental question, Will? What am I not answering? I’ve stated everything I can think to state on this topic. Are you talking about the ethics of “killing” what is in the womb? I’ve answered it. I do not believe it is unethical, before medical viability, for a woman to choose to terminate a pregnancy. It is HER decision, not yours, not anyone else’s. Yes, any given woman could make that choice for ostensibly unethical reasons. She could be a selfish bitch, who only cares about herself and no one else. I’ve known a few of those over the years. But in and of itself, no, it is not unethical. I believe it IS unethical to use your energy trying to “save” cells that are not yet a human being, and reside in the body of a woman you’ve never met, instead of giving of your time and energy to improve life, in some measure, for kids in foster care or women who truly want to parent their unborn children but fear they cannot. THAT is unethical. That, to me, is inexcusable. That is NOT pro-life. I will not follow this up with a bible verse, because that does nothing to improve the actual lives of actual living people who are actually hurting. Polemics? Right. Only because it was something you didn’t want to hear.

          • Jamie Brown

            And neither you, Will, nor anyone else from the “pro-life” camp, has yet to answer this fundamental question: Why should a fetus – whether it is a “person” or not – have more rights than any born person to use a woman’s body without her permission? Or why should men not have the same obligation to donate their body parts for the use of already-born persons who will die without them, when in fact, no born persons have such a right to the use of other persons’ bodies, and even corpses have no such obligation?

          • http://thethreews.wordpress.com/ Ken Leonard

            Will, as you say:

            “Also I fail to see the necessity for the distinction of “man’s decision” versus “woman’s decision.””

            Allow me to explain somewhat. You see, men have historically made all of the decisions for women in Western cultures. Women have been little more than property in a lot of cases. Married off to secure treaties, taken as prizes in war, sold into marriages for the benefit of the family, etc..

            It is a very recent development that women were trusted with such things as the right to vote in our government or to hold office. And so, you see, a lot of women don’t appreciate the idea that men put a lot of time and effort into speaking about a subject that, inarguably, has more impact on them than on us.

            I understand completely. You can’t tell an egg from a chicken … ummm … I mean … You believe that a zygote or fetus is the same as a full-fledged human being. I get it.

            You think that you’re saving the Jews from concentration camps or slaves from the plantations, just as others did when people’s humanity was denied. I even admire the position.

            But you need to see how it fits into the history of male-female gender issues. While you think that your position is one of fundamental human rights and transcends issues of gender … That’s also how pro-choicers see their position. The issue is one of bodily sovereignty and the right of women to control themselves. When pro-life men make pronouncements about what is right, why women are wrong, etc. … You see what I mean? It falls right into that old dynamic of men being in control.

            If pro-life women would like to make the case, even the same one that you’re making, it would be very different as it would not fall into that same domineering role. Quite simply, the dominant position that men have had in our history destroys our credibility to speak to an issue like this. It comes across as, “Sure, I know we’ve been treating you like chattel in the past, but we’re not this time. We just want you to do what we say.”

            Give it a rest is my advice. Find a different issue to crusade against. For men to take the lead on a pro-life argument is really to doom your own argument.

            I hope that this helps. I kind of wish that you’d listened to the women who were trying to say the same thing, but I hope that this helps.

            Blessings.

          • Will

            It seems that we come from different First Principles. I understand that history plays a major role, but I cannot see how that should keep Truth from being expressed. There is no “non-overlapping magisteria” here. We are all human beings made in the image of God. There is no “male species” or “female species.” The post-modern construction of this dichotomy is a blatant lie, a twisted delusion. If women want to reason with me about any and every issue, I am willing to listen to them like I would any man because we are human beings. I just ask that they do the same.

            Also, I hope I am not assuming too much, but is Ken not a male name? If you believe what you say, then why contribute to the discussion at all?

            “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

            Blessings to you as well.

    • Em

      First, cancer has unique human DNA. By definition.

      Second, can you tell me another situation where you feel people should be forced to give up bodily rights in order to save a life? Can a Nobel Prize winner lay claim to one of my kidneys even if I protest? In what other case are we required to use our bodies as life support for another human without ongoing consent?

      • Will

        Cancer is a series of mutations of already existent human DNA (if the cancer occurs in humans), so I have a hard time seeing how your first comment is helpful. My response, if you read the remainder of my comments, was also philosophical and not purely reliant on genetics as I feel that would be an incomplete way to address the issue at hand.

        Your second paragraph presents a more interesting question for us to consider. I feel that it is another step in productive dialogue. First, I shall answer your final two questions. No, a scientist cannot claim rights to your kidneys. I fail to see the philosophical weight of that question if you do not mind clarifying. In reference to your last question, the present issue has nothing to do with “other case[s]” whatever those might be. I fail to see how that bears weight on the issue at hand as well.

        Your first question becomes interesting because in order for me to address it, I must ask…from whence do you derive these “bodily rights?” I know it seems an absurd, potentially simple question, but it is important in determining the weight of the argument. If we can agree where these rights come from, then I feel we will make real progress. Thank you for your reply.

        • Em

          Cancer has unique human DNA. If you wish to quibble about how this came about, consider that a fetus’ DNA is also derived from its parents.

          Where do people gain bodily rights? They are the most basic, intimate rights one can have. The right to manage your own health and well-being as you please, to make positive health decisions for yourself rather than being forced to yield your body for the use of others. Having this fundamental ownership of your body is the basis of slavery being considered wrong, as well as forced organ donation. If a person cannot be forced to share bone marrow or a kidney (even if refusing to share these causes the death of another person), then how can a woman be forced to share her uterus? Donating a kidney or bone marrow is actually easier on the human body and has fewer long term effects than pregnancy and childbirth. The fetus is dependent on the ongoing consent of the donor/mother allowing it to basically use her organs.

          • Will

            I appreciate your reply, but I am perplexed at several points. Your first statement is not very helpful. The process of fertilization in no way mirrors that of the mutation of cancer cells. These are entirely different mechanisms. (Reference: every Biology book in print.) The chapters on mitosis, meiosis, and mutation might be helpful.

            While the definition you gave for bodily rights, “the most basic, intimate rights one can have,” is interesting, it in no way answers my question about where these “rights” you claim to have are derived. If you have these “rights,” maybe others share them as well. If we can determine that the “thing” inside the mother has these basic, intimate bodily rights, then we have a problem that must be sorted out. You claim “ownership of your body” is “fundamental,” and I might well agree with you, but I think an answer to my question is the only way to solve our dilemma.

            And what exactly do you mean by “a woman” being “forced to share her uterus?” Is the “thing” inside of her “her body” or is it something else? You cannot share with yourself, but you can share with another being. If you are suggesting that that which is in the womb is in fact something else entirely where there would be a necessity to “share,” then you unavoidably have another human being, the killing of which would be murder.

            And what about this “fetus” being “dependent?” If another dependent being exists inside of the mother, killing it would be murder as well.

          • Em

            If the fetus is not dependent, then removing it from my body would not result in its death. I absolutely extend these bodily rights to a fetus. If a fetus decides not to let me use its organs, it may do so.

            The same way I do not advocate for a man to be forced to give blood marrow to an infant who will die without it, I do not advocate for a woman to be forced to let someone else use her uterus. No one is required to give of their body even if a life is at stake. Unless, of course, you are talking to a prolifer. And even they feel that the only person with this requirement is a pregnant woman. Thus, your movement gives a fetus more rights than any other human and a woman fewer rights than a corpse.

            “If you are suggesting that that which is in the womb is in fact something else entirely where there would be a necessity to “share,” then you unavoidably have another human being, the killing of which would be murder.”

            No more than you are murdering the child who died without your bone marrow today. And there was one. Someone died without your bone marrow or one of your kidneys or your blood or a chunk of your liver. Why do only women have to sustain life with their bodies? You could sustain life with your body and you selfishly refuse; you have the legal right to do so and I would never dispute that because I respect you as a person much more than you respect women.

          • Will

            I will reply to the first part of your comment and not to the second, as it is a blatant ad hominem where you assumed far too much. In reference to your first few sentences, I think we are going off track because your view is that the fetus is some kind of parasite sucking the life from the mother. Mine tends to be that it is a beautiful process demonstrating the care and love of God by means of a woman in the same physical process that all humans have been brought into existence to this point. Our hang up I believe is here, so that is why I still ask that you answer my question

          • Em

            To a woman who may give up her health, her income, and her life for that fetus (with no choice if you had your way), there is little that is beautiful about it.

  • Doc Marten

    THANK YOU! The main word here is CHOICE. The woman has the CHOICE to terminate a pregnancy or not. I am not pro ABORTION, but pro CHOICE. There’s a difference.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      There is a difference. A woman should have the freedom to choose from all the options available to her, for reasons she alone can determine are best, based on her health, her mentality, her beliefs, her income, her safety. She should be able to change her mind if things change in her personal situation. Yes life is considered precious to many. It is also precarious. Therefore letting one who is taking all the risks make the decisions about that risk, is only right.

  • mindy

    To anyone who has had their comments deleted: I, personally, don’t delete anything. I only edit posts. An incredibly gifted team of moderators
    determines who is being respectful of differing views and who is not, and delete and/or ban, accordingly. Allowing insults and ignorance, or any other form of hurtful rhetoric, is not “tolerance;” rather, it is standing by and letting bullies have their way.

    While lots of rigid fundamentalists and pro-lifers like very much to accuse various sites, which block or delete them, of not being tolerant, they are quite wrong. Our administrators simply protect readers and other commenters from bullies who refuse to listen and engage in respectful discussion.

    • Steve

      Yeah… the posts where I used the word “asshole” and the posts where I compared you to someone who defends beating women and children stay standing up, but the one where I articulate an argument for the personhood of an unborn child gets deleted. I believe you when you say that you’re not the one who deletes posts. However it still reflects very poorly on the blog as a whole that they delete posts not for being rude, but because they are too inconvenient for your beliefs

      If the administrators really were deleting posts that were “hurtful rhetoric” or “insults”, they could have deleted other posts of mine, but they didn’t. Makes me question their motives just a little.

      • mindy

        Remember the part about being respectful about different points of view? Which, if I recall, requires active listening. I imagine that was taken into consideration.

        • Steve

          So rebuttals equal disrespect here. Not really helping your case on the whole “yeah, we’re totally not narrow minded” thing.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Ken’s right. And of course there is the other half of the discourse coin. The willingness to consider the validity of the other point of view. Whining because you keep running into roadblocks of your self-perceived excellence in insight is on your shoulders, not ours. We don’t have to agree with you, and several here can double match you point for point, as they are quite adept on this topic.

            People who hold our views do not do so lightly. Some of us have face decisions that you never will have to, Some of us have lost, some of us have mourned, some of us have suffered, making the decision we thought was the right one, knowing that there was no right decision, because each was going to hurt like a bitch.

            Life is not black and white. It doesn’t fit into someone’e pretty little moral parameters just because one insists. Life is complex. Its is biological, it has a myriad of ethics based on culture, religion, location, and survivability.

      • http://thethreews.wordpress.com/ Ken Leonard

        Steve, if you don’t like this blog, then you’re free to go away.

        I am also not the admin who deleted your posts, though I am involved in the leadership of UC. Your rant about why your posts were deleted might seem really self-validating, but I’d like to point out that your posts condemning our name are even left up, so it’s pretty clear that no one is just getting petty on you.

        Were you capable of self-reflection, rather than just embracing your own jerkness (jerkitude? jerkdom? whatever …) it’s possible that you could spare yourself a lot of this aggravation.

        But, I suspect, you rather enjoy it. It makes you feel like you’re both a victim and so smart that no one can argue with you honestly, right? Admins have to delete your brilliant rhetoric because no one can handle your irrefutable logic?

        Congratulations on being the smartest person in every room you’ve ever entered.

        • Steve

          No, but some posts that were only directly addressing the subject at hand were deleted.

          You suspect wrongly. I am capable of a great deal of self-reflection/criticism/deprecation. That’s actually why I referred to myself as a jerk and an asshole. It’s because I am aware of my many, many flaws as a person and a Christian.

          I don’t really enjoy having my posts deleted, no. I was kind of interested in having a conversation, which has become increasingly difficult. I don’t feel victimized by this blog (what a concept), and I know that I’m not a very smart person. In fact, I’ll emphasize this point: I’m also kind of a dumbass in addition to the other things I have called myself.

    • PA_NannyGirl

      I know you said you have nothing to do with it, but I have a comment for the moderators who do. When you delete an offensive post, can you please delete the responses to it, as well? It makes it very odd reading for those of us who didn’t see the original post to see the responses and have no idea what the original post was. Just my 2 cents’ worth.

      • mindy

        I will pass this along. I know that some of the responses, even though it is a bit awkward not knowing what they are answering, contain valuable additions to the conversation, and I think that is why they don’t always pull every response. But I will let them know!

  • http://blog.billsamuel.net/ BillSamuel

    What this ignores is the humanity of the unborn child. The idea that those less powerful should have their very lives in the balance from the more powerful is incompatible with the kind of world view presented by Jesus Christ. The first thing that those with the power to kill do is to dehumanize those they would kill. This piece argues for such dehumanization.

    • AuroraBird

      Oh bite me. Your Christ doesn’t exist.

      From a VERY ANGRY adoptee!

      • mindy

        I’m sorry, AuroraBird. I truly am.

    • Em

      What other human gets to use another person’s body without their consent? Your argument gives a fetus more rights than an already born person and a woman less rights than a dead body.

      Abortion was common in Christ’s time. Can you point me to all the things he said about it? After all, if Christ was concerned, surely he mentioned abortion at least once by name.

      • http://blog.billsamuel.net/ BillSamuel

        For the first 300 years of the Christian movement, every major leader believed that Christ’s message opposed the taking of any human life – including in war, abortion and the death penalty. All of those things were common at the time, but the church before being taken over by the empire was united in opposing all of them. (Reference: Consistently Pro-Life: The Ethics of Bloodshed in Ancient Christianity by Rob Arner, Wipf & Stock, 2010)

        The argument for every form of killing is that somehow these people should be given lesser standing in order to justify killing them. Who did Jesus advocate killing?

        • Em

          You failed to answer either of my questions. Why does a fetus get more rights than already born human while a woman gets fewer rights than a corpse? When did Christ say anything about abortion?

          And early church leaders were as likely to commit the killing as to protest it, so let’s not even go there.

          • http://blog.billsamuel.net/ BillSamuel

            This is a serious charge that early church leaders were committing the killing, and it’s one I’ve never seen before. Please provide some evidence to back up your charge.

            Plese listen to mindy’s request “to listen and engage in respectful discussion.”

          • Em

            There was the Inquisition, the Crusades, and the persecution of pagans in every nation Christianity has encountered for the first 1900 years of its existence, to begin with. I recommend Mother Nature by Sarah Blaffer Hrdy for an examination of the mass burnings of live infants conducted by priests under the belief that they were “changelings”. Or the fact that around half of all infants in Christian orphanages died of neglect, starvation, and/or suspicious circumstances. Those are just the cases right off the top of my head.

          • http://blog.billsamuel.net/ BillSamuel

            This was all post-Constantinian, when the Church pursued its unholy alliance with empire. It is not the pre-Constantinian Church, the actual Christian church. You are failing to make this very critical distinction.

          • Em

            I am not sure if the Church was as evil before it had the power to be so in a publicly documented way. You have failed to address either of my questions, choosing instead to quibble about history. So, if you can, can you answer these? “Why should a fetus get more rights than already born human while a woman
            gets fewer rights than a corpse? When did Christ say anything about
            abortion?”

          • http://blog.billsamuel.net/ BillSamuel

            “fewer rights than a corpse” Could you explain what you mean by this? And I believe all lives have value. I don’t believe in a concept of rights which holds that some have rights and some don’t. I believe that all lives should be protected, and should be treated with dignity and respect in keeping with all humans being made in the image of God.

            I don ‘t accept the notions of the warmongers, the abortion advocates and the death penalty advocates that some lives have value which should be respected and some don’t.

          • Em

            People have to arrange ahead of time and give consent for their body to be used after death. A dead body cannot be used without its owner’s consent. Pro-lifers think a live female has fewer rights than that, because according to them, a woman should be forced to let a fetus use her body even if she disagrees.

          • http://blog.billsamuel.net/ BillSamuel

            An unborn child is a natural creation. The womb is his/her natural home until birth or natural death. The child is not an intruder. The child didn’t choose to be where he/she is. Even if you accept the idea (which I don’t think is Christian but is in our culture), that you have the right to shoot an intruder, there you have the concept of guilt of the intruder operating. Your logic is inscribing guilt of an unborn child who did not choose his/her location. You are saying that the unborn child is an invader of the woman, and therefore the woman has the right to kill her or him (not even here acknowledging that most women do this because of pressure from others, and not their own desire to kill their child). I must reject a morality which justifies execution of the innocent.

          • Em

            A child dying of leukemia did not ask to need bone marrow. Should you be forced to give them bone marrow to save their life? They are a natural creation and are in a natural state of needing undiseased bone marrow. It is not their fault they will die because selfish adults refuse to give of their bodies.

            My logic does not inscribe guilt to an unborn child; my logic gives an unborn child in need of someone else’s body the same rights that an already born child. Just as you decide not to donate bone marrow, even though it has likely meant the death of a child, a woman can decide not to let a child use her uterus.

            You switched gears and went back to the same old pro-life rhetoric without telling me why a fetus should have more rights than a child and a woman fewer rights than a corpse. I have never met a prolifer who can answer that or object logically to the way I derive the argument. That says a lot.

          • http://blog.billsamuel.net/ BillSamuel

            I would suggest you read the gospels and note how Jesus responds when his opponents ask him questions. He almost never gives a direct answer. The reason is that a direct answer validates the assumptions of the questioner which he rejects. Instead he does something else like ask questions he thinks makes sense, or tells a story. Likewise, pro-lifers will not answer directly some of your questions because we don’t buy into the assumptions which underly them.

            There isn’t a direct parallel to the situation of a pregnant woman and her unborn child. (The leukemia is not a true parallel because leukemia is a natural condition with a natural result without intervention, and because it does not involve a direct killing of the patient.) Those who are pro-abortion try to force fit a parallel in order to justify the unjustifiable. The closest parallels I have seen are hypotheticals which are almost surely not going to happen, which in itself makes them not a true parallel because pregnancy is a perfectly normal thing which happens all the time.

            Between responses to you, I posted a response on FB to a Catholic who presented the hierarchy’s “intrinsically disordered” reasoning in the Catechism regarding gay and lesbian persons. I pointed out that the underlying logic leads to a conclusion that God makes junk, since gays and lesbians don’t choose to be such as the Catechism actually does note. It occurs to me that my objection to your reasoning is inherently the same (actually your reasoning is somewhat more extreme) – you say it is all right to treat a child as junk who can be thrown away. This is the underlying point of our disagreement. You don’t want it framed this way, but it is accurate.

          • lrfcowper

            No, her argument imparts no value, positive or negative, on the unborn. What it asks is a simple question– if I die and my child needs a heart transplant to continue living, the state has absolutely no authority to order my next of kin to permit the harvesting of my heart for the transplant. None. Now, ethically, morally, you can argue that my next of kin *should* allow it, but that’s down to his/her choice, not the authority of the government.

            Yet, you want to cede to the government the right to dictate what I can and cannot do with my body if I am pregnant. You want to give me– a living, breathing human being– fewer rights than I would have once dead. And you want to give an embryo or fetus *more* rights to demand that another must sacrifice their health, well-being, and body for the interests and benefits of the fetus or embryo than that fetus or embryo will have once born.

            The government should have no authority over my body. To say that it should in this case is to also say that it should in the case of a child needing bone marrow or a kidney or a lung or part of a liver, that the government has the right to compel me to use my body in a particular way and to subject myself to unwanted medical procedures and life-changes for the benefit of another person or in the public interest. But where does that stop? If we run into an overpopulation problem, can the government then compel me to have an abortion, like they do in China? If you give them the authority to dictate what I do with my body, then you’ve given them the authority to say I must have an abortion. If Barack Obama or John Boehner or General Dempsey needs a new kidney and you’re a donor match, in the national interest, why can’t you be compelled to give up your kidney? If you give them the authority to dictate what I do with my body, then you’ve given them the authority to seize parts of your body in the national interest. It’s not a question of morality, it’s a question of government authority over personal property (because my body is the most personal of personal property that I own).

            And, hey, once the government has sided with certain Christian denominations’ determinants of when an unborn fetus is a human being, in contradiction to other religious traditions (like the Jewish idea that a person is ensouled at first breath), then you can ignore other religious traditions if it saves a life, right? So the government can demand blood donations from a Jehovah’s Witness or insist a Catholic use birth control or compel Christian Scientists to use medical facilities against their own wishes, right?

            I believe there are many, many things that are moral and ethical and wonderful and life-affirming things for people to do. I also believe very strongly that the government should not be making people do them.

          • http://blog.billsamuel.net/ BillSamuel

            I will just say I like the Secular Pro-Life slogan, “The embryology textbook tells me so.” Scientifically we know when human life begins now. No ancient religious conjecture of that should be allowed to supersede the facts.

          • lrfcowper

            1) No, we don’t know scientifically when human life begins now.

            2) The government still has no right to compel a person to use their own body, personal resources, and health for the benefit of or in the interest of another person, even if doing so would save their life. So, even if you want to argue that at 8 weeks or 12 weeks or 20 weeks or whatever it is “human life,” the government still has no authority to violate someone’s agency over their own body.

          • Em

            Jesus talked directly about many things. But never abortion. Which tells you how he felt about it, like it was not worth mention despite being common in his time.

            Regardless of the excuses you make for not being required to give of your body, the fact remains that someone, even a child, dies because of your selfishness. Obviously you place those lives at less importance then that of a fetus. It seems convenient to me that prolifers always draw the lines so that only fetuses deserve a bodily sacrifice and only women are required to give it. If you care about life, then go out and march for forced organ donation. If you care only about fetuses, then keep doing what you are doing. Just know that it is transparent hypocrisy.

          • LiberalAria

            Bill, I’m wondering how you feel about miscarriage. It has the same result that you oppose. The only difference I can discern is that you oppose not the loss of potential life, but the ability of the mother to choose it. Spontaneous abortion is quite common. Apparently, God or Nature decides to end lots of pregnancies in the first 4-6 weeks. If the mother could end the pregnancy in that same time frame, why shouldn’t she be able to?

            And a religious justification is not really appropriate, because your personal religious beliefs cannot be imposed on others who do not believe in your god.

          • http://blog.billsamuel.net/ BillSamuel

            I feel about miscarriage the same way as someone dropping dead from a heart attack. Deaths which happen naturally do not justify killing people.

            Or take another example. Massive earthquakes kill thousands. Theoretically it is possible to mimic one with explosives. If someone did that, would that be OK because it is like something that happens naturally.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            You do realize that the gospels were written later than some of Paul’s writings, and that the gospel of Luke heavily borrowed from Mark and I think John.
            As for children being treated as junk who can be thrown away. Look at western history of the past few hundred years, where children were fodder for the industrial revolution, with small children working in horrific conditions for little pay. Look to Africa, where children are forced to fight the civil wars of adults. Look to developed nations and some areas in third world nations popular with foreign tourists, where children are shipped to the brothels. It causes me to wonder, which is the lesser horror, for these children to live these horrible existences, or to never have lived at all?

          • LivTokyo

            Not John. Luke and Matthew both relied heavily on a lost source.

          • LiberalAria

            I don’t know who writes these things or why you believe them, but the “pre-Constantinian” church was not the “actual Christian church.” There was no actual Christian church. There were many, many sects of Christianity, each of which practiced extremely divergent beliefs. So radical and diverse were these sects that by the 5th century, a grand council was convened at Niceae which outlawed all but the politically-favored form of Christianity.

            We all know that the victors like to write the history, so it should not be above suspicion how the story of The One True Church came to be told. To suggest that there was a singular, unwavering and noncontroversial version of “Christianity” in the 300 years after Christ’s death is factually and historically dishonest.

          • Em

            And you still refuse to answer any of my questions. Can you answer them? Do you have an answer?

          • MyKarmaRanOverYourDogma

            I remember my grandmother, when I was a child, telling me about a nunnery that was torn down, and how many babies were buried within its walls. (She even explained WHY. As I stated above, she was a piece of work.)

            We, in our own lifetime, have seen the church shuffling pedophiles from church to church, foisting them on unsuspecting parishioners and their children. There is NO defense for organized religion. I can’t understand people who follow it.

            Yes, the church has killed more people in the name of God than most other religions. In the name of God but for the sake of money…

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          The early church was hardly a unified movement. There were schools of thought, in regards to several matters then. Abortion occurred, though usually not in the fashion we have now, but rather in women ingesting things to ensure a pregnancy didn’t get far. Some areas exposed unwanted newborns to the elements, and it was culturally accepted, although today we consider it inhumane. There were even crude contraceptives.
          The early church was also a very small minority, a few thousand people in a region containing several million people of a variety of faiths. Gentile converts came from those other faiths, taking their culture. We have snippets of copies of the writings of a few people, who were a part of a new cultural movement. To make the assumption that every major leader was united on war, abortion and the death penalty us merely that, an assumption.

    • PA_NannyGirl

      Regardless of the battle below about what the church did or didn’t do or what Jesus did or didn’t say, the United States Constitution guarantees the separation of church and state. You may NOT make a law for purely religious reasons, it’s unconstitutional. Please come back with non-religious arguments, and we will be happy to discuss them.

  • Ishita Sharma

    So i was just thinking about the “sanctity of life”argument. Now every country wages wars right. So its ok for a soldier to sacrifice himself for the innocents. Please note that this soldier is a full grown human being with families and friends. In short he/she will be sorely missed. But every country is ok with if he dies for the greater good. So for these “human souls” there is no “sanctity of life” argument or “humanity” argument. But as soon as we talk about a bundle of cells which doesnt even have any ties to the world yet,everyone goes nuts. You want to follow the not killing people rule, try outlawing war in any country and see just how quick all the religious people turn practical.
    For that matter sex is bad right? As per any religion. Does every pro-lifer have sex only to reproduce and abstains otherwise?

    Its hard to live by religion when people who preach it themselves cant do it.

  • Erin Britt

    Once pregnancy occurs, there is no consequence free decision. Many people like to think there are, but there aren’t. The consequences are different, sometimes radically so, but they are consequences nonetheless. I am a birthmother. I considered abortion, but I decided that those consequences were not the consequences I was willing to deal with. I chose adoption, and I do not regret it, but do not think for one moment it was an easy decision.

    For one thing, in my state a birth father can stop an adoption procedure by withholding his consent. This happened in my case. What this means, for those of you who would blanket ban abortion, is that a woman would be forced to give birth to and care for a child she is unwilling or unable to raise. The birth father does not need to show intent to raise the child, nor does he have to be capable of doing so. He simply withholds his consent and the procedure stops. I had to fight to get it to go through. You cannot possibly imagine the added stress that caused me.

    For another thing, women can and do die from pregnancy related complications. I nearly did. Now, I chose that for myself, and that’s my right, but not one of you has the right to force that upon me. Especially when you won’t be shouldering the burden of caring for my already existing, and now orphaned, children. When your life is put on the line for a pregnancy, then you may make decisions regarding the pregnancy. Until then, as my mother used to say, you have no horse in this race.

    Thirdly, my adoption process was the most perfect scenario you could ever possibly hope for. Guess what? I still cried uncontrollably after my son was with his new family. I had nightmares of a son grown who would find me and demand to know why he wasn’t worth keeping, demanding to know why I didn’t love him enough to keep him. Keep in mind this was an open adoption and he has access to me anytime he wants. That fact didn’t stop the postpartum depression, though. Or the birthdays he has where I still cry.

    You (the pro-birth groups) are so cavalier when it comes to offering up adoption as your go-to option. It must be nice to know that you won’t be bound to the consequences of that option. And make no mistake, you are not pro-life. You are pro-birth. Pro-life means that you value all life, yet I don’t see you protesting Capital Punishment. In fact, I know several people who claim to be both pro-life and in favor of Capital Punishment and will argue with fervor that those two don’t clash. I don’t see you on the streets trying to house the homeless. You want to ban abortion, but you complain about the mother on welfare. And who really needs programs like Head Start anyway?

    I chose to risk my life to bring my son into this world and create a new family. You would take that choice away from me. You would force me to give birth or die trying whether I wanted to or not.

  • hslowe

    Bravo, Ms. Carney. – A birthmother

  • TP

    “Why would you expect a woman to endure a pregnancy against her will”
    “Women do actually die from complications of pregnancy and/or childbirth”
    ” it can cause lifelong physical changes”

    Good Lord, she makes pregnancy sound like a torture chamber in Guantanamo. Nothing like invoking scare tactics to make a point.

    And
    what are these “lifelong physical changes”? A little more elasticy
    “down there”? Is that really worse than the guilt people feel from an
    abortion? This person is basically downplaying the emotional trauma of
    an abortion in order to emphasize the emotional trauma of parting with a
    child in an adoption. In both cases a person gives up a child, but in
    one scenario the person can at least take comfort in her child being
    adopted, in the other, the woman, no matter how pro-choice she is, will
    forever contemplate if she took a life merely because it inconvenienced
    her.

    Sex makes babies, if you can’t handle that remote possibility, don’t have sex.

    • Erin Britt

      Considering I almost died from complication of pregnancy, I can say with certainty it was torture. I had low blood pressure the entire time so fatigue was a huge issue. I could barely function. I couldn’t keep anything down, so I lost weight throughout the entire pregnancy and I was hospitalized for dehydration. I went into preterm labor and when they gave me drugs to stop it, I went into a seizure-like state that earned me a trip to the high risk maternity ward. I went to the hospital an average of twice a week for 8 weeks for labor. My epidural alternately made my blood pressure bottom out or the fetal heart rate drop, so they removed that. And, once I vaginally delivered a 10 pound baby boy, I began to hemorrhage. Thankfully, my experience isn’t typical, but how dare you try to downplay the seriousness of it. Also, I am a birthmother, and I can tell from your comments that you are not. Don’t you dare try to downplay the trauma I faced, the nightmares I had, the postpartum depression, the endless crying jags, the constant second guessing I did about whether I made the right decision. You don’t get to do that. You get to control whether you reproduce or not and that is the extent of it.

    • Christian C

      What is this “guilt” and “emotional trauma” you speak of? I had an abortion years ago and I feel no guilt or regret regarding my decision. Do I ever wonder about the “what if’s” of my decision? What if I chose to have it? What if I chose to give it up for adoption instead? Well sure I’ve thought about it, but it doesn’t change anything about my ultimate, and correct, decision to have the abortion.

      You speak of using scare tactics, but are you not doing the same thing in your reply? Pregnancy isn’t for everyone. Abortion isn’t for everyone. Adoption isn’t for everyone. There is no one-size-fits-all response to an unwanted pregnancy. Options should be available to fit individual’s needs.

      Many people have had abortions and feel little to no remorse about their choice. You probably know many people who have had successful abortions but you don’t know you know them because they don’t bring it up. There is no reason to bring up something that is a non-issue. It is only the ones that ultimately regretted their decision that are vocal about the trauma associated with having an abortion.

    • mindy

      How many children do you have, TP? Have you ever had a pregnancy scare? Have you relinquished a baby for adoption? Are you adopted? Unless you can affirm those questions, your statements mean very little. You are applying emotion and effects to women you don’t know, which invalidates your comment almost entirely.

    • lrfcowper

      Seriously? You just basically asked every women who has lived through this perfectly natural, wonderful, miraculous event to tell you how horrid it was. And for many of us, it was horrid. ‘Cause, you know, seriously, it’s not something you do for the LOLs. You do *not* want to ask for the horror stories. Go read up on pre-eclampsia, eclampsia, deep vein thrombosis, diastasis recti, uterine prolapse, and fistula for starters. Then add to your consideration that it’s not uncommon for women to experience painful sex, urinary and anal incontinence, and post-partum depression for up to a year or more after childbirth.

      Then go call your mother and thank her.

      And stop telling women to ignore one of their most basic physical needs because they have the gall to think they should not have to suffer the risks of an unwanted pregnancy just because they want to share intimacy with their husbands and boyfriends.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      To pile on: Let’s not forget gestational diabetes, pregnancy induced cardiomyopathy, uterine rupture, hemorrhage, emergency hysterectomy, fourth degree perineal lacerations, complications of anesthesia including but not limited to: nerve damage, respiratory failure, spinal infections, and anaphylaxis, not to mention, embolism, stroke and death.

      In undeveloped countries, maternal mortality rates are still extremely high. Pregnancy and birth isn’t for sissies.

      Women in the United States can and do still die as a result of pregnancy and birth even in excellent hospitals with excellent care under normal circumstances. So, let’s not pretend like we’re bellyaching about saggy boobs and stretch marks.

    • Jamie Brown

      I personally don’t have any children, and I suspect from your comments that you don’t, either. I did, however, work in the medical field for 20 years, and from what I have observed professionally, as well as heard from my friends who are mothers, pregnancy and birth can, indeed, make Guantanamo look like Disney by comparison.

      As for your last comment, do you really mean that if a woman doesn’t want children, she should never have sex? Or, if a couple can only afford to raise 2 children, they can’t have sex any more after the second child is born?

      http://metalnun.blogspot.com/2013/07/dont-spread-your-legs.html

    • LiberalAria

      Your last sentence makes your point. It really is the ONLY point of the entire anti-abortion community. Babies are God’s punishment for having sex. And we like to punish people.

    • Richer Than

      Well, I got pregnant two months ago and nearly died. It was a rare cervical ectopic pregnancy which meant that the foetus attached itself to my cervix instead of the uterus. And whilst the uterus is capable of producing a live baby, the cervix isn’t. Also, the cervix can’t handle being burrowed into and just bleeds uncontrollably, which is the main life-threatening part. Removing the foetus was the only choice because if lef there, I would have died and there certainly wouldn’t have been a viable baby. This is just one of thousands of things that can go wrong in a pregnancy. Life does not occur at conception. From incorrect fertilisation with two sperms to incorrectly dividing eggs, to all kinds of life-threatening conditions that the potential mother can develop – pregnancies are a medical condition until there is an actual baby which can survive outside of the mother’s body and has been born to such an effect.

      Finally, I don’t personally give a shit about what a pregnancy might do to my body (as someone who has been desperate for just one child to call my own I’d chop off an arm and a leg to have that wish). But your comment about “down there” is so unbelievably ignorant I recommend you speak candidly to some women who’ve had complex births. You’ll enjoy stories about being cut from your vagina to your anus without an anaesthetic just to get the baby out; or the flabby belly you can’t shitf, or the bladder control issues (every time you cough or laugh a little pee comes out – or worse, a constant little trickle of it with no control left), or the scars left by a cesarean section and the stretchmarks that look like some alien landscape, or your boobs which now hold a whole array of pens under them, not just a pencil… seriously. Pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood can completely change a woman’s body so it’s not something to be flippantly dismissed like you have. But I wouldn’t say that in itself is reason enough for abortion. The part where someone is so self-obsessed that they care about what their bodies will look like after giving birth; that is reason enough for abortion because it tells me that person is not ready to put someone else’s needs first. And bringing a child into the world where its needs aren’t properly met is not a responsible thing to do.

    • Em

      In my case, a labor complication caused damage to my pituitary which has brought lifelong medical issues. Also, I had trouble “down there” for a long time because of tearing that had to be surgically repaired. It was impossible for me to work for almost a year after that birth so I also lost a year of income. More if you consider that I lost my job due to this and had to start at a lower wage at another company.

      Gestational diabetes did some damage to my pancreas that now puts me at high risk of developing type II diabetes despite having no other risk factors.

      I had healthy, normal pregnancies with only the most menial complications, btw. Some women have real health problems. In my case, we are looking at six figures in medical bills and lost wages just from one pregnancy–and that is not counting prenatal care or the delivery.

  • Noelle

    Mindy,

    Thanks first of all for your respectful and heartfelt letter. It’s fresh air in a world of too many knee-jerk reactions.

    As a woman who is against abortion, however, I still see one flaw in your argument. I hope you will read my statement with an open mind, even if you still disagree. Challenging one another openly and honestly is the only way we can reach common ground. I will not seek to twist your arm into agreeing — I just ask a sympathetic ear.

    I concede that it is not our place to dictate private and personal decisions to a stranger based on our beliefs. But I consider abortion to be in a different category, because I would never call an unborn child an “unwanted zygote” (or merely that). I believe there is more than just the life and rights of the mother at stake, and to me it is just as unfair (if not more so) for us to determine whether that child may live or die based on our views or situation. In other words, all of the concerns you expressed for the mother’s right to determine her own life (which I concede as valid), I feel also apply to the child, even unborn and tiny. I deeply respect how much difficulty and pain someone can go through in bringing a pregnancy to term, and I fully acknowledge all of the difficulties adopted children such as your own have faced. You’re right, it’s not cut-and-dried. It’s messy. There’s no “everyone skips away all happy” answer in situations where pregnancy is a crisis. Abortion, adoption, keeping the child — all involve some sort of pain and loss.

    But it’s my love of ALL people, the mother and the child and all the foster children here and across the word, of gays or heterosexuals, of black or white, baby or adult … of every single human being, in short, that pushes me to put abortion in a new category. Perhaps our fundamental disagreement is that you do not believe a zygote (or fetus, if later-term…?) is in fact a human person. If so, we’ll have reached a standstill, and I am not here to force my views down your throat — as much as I believe they are sound. We can agree to disagree.

    I guess all I ask of you is to think again, try to stand in my shoes, and the shoes of those that think like me. Perhaps ignore those that give pat answers and don’t really enter into the true pain and difficulty a crisis pregnancy can create. I bristle at them too. But, if you can, can you at least sympathize with why I feel bound to stand where I do, and to even be outspoken about it? I see unborn human life as individual life, and because I feel abortion violates the most basic human right to life (rendering nil the possibility of liberty or the pursuit of happiness), I also believe that it can’t just be a private opinion. You clearly believe strongly enough in a woman’s freedom of choice to be vocal about it. For me, (someone who also believes in individual freedom of choice and privacy of conscience) the rights of the unborn person are just as real, and so we have to treat the situation like any other when multiple groups’ human rights are involved: respect them all, though it may involve great difficulty.

    Are there not other situations when we would all agree that we are bound to act sacrificially to respect the individual rights of someone else? For me, this is merely another one of those times.

    But this is no answer to the pain and difficulty. For me, it’s just a place to start.

    Thanks for listening.

    With respect,
    Noellle

    • Erin Britt

      The problem I see with this position is that in the case of pregnancy, you have two separate “entities” occupying the same space. You can either honor the rights of the woman and void the rights of the fetus, or you can honor the rights of the fetus and void the rights of the woman. When a woman wants to be pregnant, this is not an issue. However, it becomes the issue when she doesn’t want to be pregnant, but now is. So, whose rights should be honored? A zygote, or a non-viable fetus, or a living, breathing woman? You can’t honor both.

      • Noelle

        Yes Erin, I do see your point, of course. I suppose I do believe that a woman naturally has a sort of obligation toward her child that means she should prioritize the life of the baby over her desires. And I realize this may in part be due to my religious beliefs. I do think there’s a valid case for it in a secular context, but here I think we can agree to disagree.

        However, when it comes to endangering the mother’s life, I feel that terminating the pregnancy does become a personal matter. It’s just that I don’t believe in ever directly killing the zygote or fetus, given my belief it too is a person. So if there is a way to remove the child without harming it (even if the sad truth is that it is not yet viable) in order to save the mother’s life, that is I believe a valid option. Again you may feel I am splitting hairs, but killing the child vs. not being able to prevent its death as a side effect makes a BIG difference to me. It’s the difference between doing the killing yourself and helplessly standing by while unable to prevent someone from dying, due to circumstances beyond your control. Still a terrible choice, but also a very personal one I would NEVER deem to make for someone else.

        • LiberalAria

          Noelle, your comments got me thinking about whether a woman naturally has an obligation to prioritize the life of her child over her desires. When a child is after-born, the government cannot force a mother or father to submit to a medical procedure in order to save the life of their child. If the child needs a kidney or a lung or a blood transfusion, the parent cannot be forced to provide it. This is true even if the parent is the only suitable donor.

          If our laws acknowledge this, then why would a pregnant woman be any different? What sort of legal justification could impose a “natural obligation” upon a pregnant woman that it does not impose on a mother or father?

          • Noelle

            I guess the main thing is that in the case of pregnancy, refusing the use of your body involves some sort of violence toward the unborn, whether by forcibly removing it or directly killing it and inducing miscarriage. Forgive me if the following explanation is a bit long, but I hope you can bear with me even if you strongly disagree. Just trying to do justice to your question. (By the way, it was a very well put question and really made me think. I’ve never taken things from this angle before.) Here goes.

            Having said that I feel abortion should be a matter of legal regulation, I agree that although there are many moral principles that people are personally bound to, the government does not–and should not–enforce them all. To some degree, people need to take personal responsibility for their own choices, except when their choice does violence to others or harms general society. I just feel like in this particular case, it’s less a question of trying to micromanage a pregnant woman’s personal decisions or merely the use of her own body, but a question (in my eyes) of protecting the vulnerable already dependent on their mother’s body. For nine months, the unborn is radically dependent on the sustenance the mother’s body provides, and it’s more than a matter of her choosing to refuse to give her body in the first place. Her body has already been given since the child started existing, and it would do violence to the child to revoke what has already been established by removing it forcibly. In the act of sex, components that once were purely part of a man and woman’s bodies no longer are distinctly theirs — the sperm becomes part of the egg and vice-versa. And once the child becomes its own entity, what used to be the mother’s (and father’s) body no longer is purely theirs even genetically speaking, and even if you think of the womb, placenta and umbilical cord, it’s as much a part of the child as it is a part of the mother. Some layers of the placenta are the child’s and some are the mother’s, genetically, and the placenta and uterus form one single functioning organ for the whole pregnancy. There is no hard line between the mother’s body and the child’s during this time — and yet there are definitely two distinct entities living together in one space. So refusing the use of what has already been given doesn’t make sense to me, especially since it necessarily does violence to the unborn in some way.

            I don’t know if that makes sense, but that’s why I would advocate a parent’s right to refuse to donate an organ to a child, and yet cannot advocate abortion as a legal right. Maybe I would, if it really was ONLY a question of the woman consenting to give her body to use — but my spiritual, metaphysical, and biological understanding of sex and pregnancy makes it impossible for me to truthfully say I believe it’s only a matter of a woman’s body. I believe in women’s rights, but I feel this is more than just a question of women’s rights here.

            Again, I’m not going to force anyone to agree with me, but I have to be honest about my moral convictions and why it would be unethical of me to advocate the legal right to choice over abortion. I could only do so dishonestly and in violation of my conscience.

          • Em

            Most abortions do not involve violence of any sort. The fetus is removed from its life support. It lacks the neural pathways to be sentient or to feel pain until late in the second trimester, so it is not in any pain or fear. Abortion is certainly less violent than an infant dying of leukemia because no one was forced to donate bone marrow.

    • mindy

      I do respect your views, Noelle. And I appreciate your patient and heartfelt explanation. You said:
      “Perhaps our fundamental disagreement is that you do not believe a zygote (or fetus, if later-term…?) is in fact a human person.”

      Yes. That is exactly it. I do believe a pregnancy that has already grown into a viable fetus, one that has a good chance of survival outside the womb, involves a very different set of parameters than a first-trimester pregnancy. I do not believe that a zygote or an embryo is a human person. I understand that each one possesses the potential to become a human person – but is not. And still, as I said in the article, I would never recommend an abortion as a first choice. But I respect that it is not MY choice unless it is MY body. Once a fetus is viable, I don’t believe any abortion should be performed that is not medically necessary. The determination of that, however, must remain in the hands of the woman and her doctor – NOT the government. Doctors don’t perform late-term abortions without good cause, no matter what the rabid pro-lifers try to say.

      But I think we shall have to agree to disagree, because I have not wavered on my pro-choice stance in over 35 years. I’ve done much research, I’ve lived through losing my own ability to have a child. I understand, but I don’t agree that a barely-there potential human has rights. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      • Noelle

        And thank you for listening. I greatly appreciate your respectful manner.

    • lrfcowper

      See, the thing with arguments like yours are that they are arguing ethics and morality and not taking into consideration the question of what powers over an individual’s use of their own body the government should be endowed with.

      Even if we concede that a fetus or embryo is a person, in no other case is a person legally required to cede the use of their own body or body parts to the interests of another, even if refusing to do so results in the death of the other person. Morally, it may be the right thing to do, but legally, the government cannot compel you to surrender a kidney, lung, part of your liver, skin graft, bone marrow, or even blood to improve the health or save the life of another person. This is true even in the case of a biological child. This is true even when you are dead– the state cannot compel your next of kin to sign papers allowing for organ donation to save another person’s life, even though you patently and obviously do not need those organs anymore and lose nothing by donating them.

      It is *only* in the case of pregnancy where people believe the government should be able to negate a woman’s agency over the use of her body for the interest or benefit of another person. This is why this is a feminist issue– because only women’s bodies are regarded as public property.

      And don’t think that women’s bodies being public property has not contributed to the larger cultural misogyny. This issue cannot be disentangled from other women’s rights issues because the attitude behind the anti-choice movement informs the attitudes behind such things as sexual harassment, hiring and pay inequity, slut shaming, and rape culture.

      • Noelle

        Fair enough, and you make some good points. Unfortunately, though, in almost all cases abortion does not involve simply denying use of your body; it usually involves direct killing of the unborn. Since I consider the unborn to be persons, that’s my sticking point as far as whether it should be legal or not. I am against the legalization of any individual deliberately killing any human being for any reason, except in self-defense. And the self-defense argument is not convincing to me in the case of abortion, though I have heard it before.

        Anyway, I’m not trying to force you to agree; I’m just asking for respect that given my convictions it would be unethical (inconsistent) of me to advocate a hands-off approach to abortion. Let’s agree to disagree here, shall we?

        • lrfcowper

          I can certainly agree that we disagree and that we are unlikely to reach unity on this matter. If that’s what you’re asking, then certainly I can agree to disagree.

          I want you to understand that I’m personally pretty pro-life with a few exceptions. I have two adopted siblings. My only nephew is the product of an unexpected pregnancy. Many of my closest friends are also adopted or were unexpected. I recognise that my life would look very different if their mothers had chosen abortion.

          I also have friends who only exist because their mothers aborted an earlier pregnancy and, thus, survived and thrived to give birth to them. And I have friends who were those women who knew they could not survive a pregnancy, who are quite convinced that they are only alive today because they made that difficult decision then– and it was difficult for all of them. And I recognise that my life would also look very different if they/their mothers hadn’t chosen abortion.

          In the end, for me, it is simply that I cannot conscience ceding the power over a woman’s body to the government. I think it is dangerous. We’ve seen in China what that kind of power can lead to. I don’t want to see it here.
          So, I think my efforts are better served in making abortion safe, legal, and very rarely needed, rather than in making them illegal back-alley affairs too often needed because our focus has been on the wrong half of the equation. I think my beliefs and religious rights are best protected by fighting efforts to enact them into law where dangerous precedents would be set by doing so. I know that sounds like a Catch-22, but it’s where I’ve arrived after much consideration of many of the issues facing us today that have an element of religious belief involved. And it’s likely where I’ll remain– believing one thing while vehemently defending the rights of others to believe something else.

          • Noelle

            Your approach definitely is food for thought. Thank you for sharing and also remaining civil with me. That’s the way it should go! :)

        • Em

          No. Most abortions involve simply removing the fetus from the uterus–denying it the life support of its mother’s body. So it is directly analogous to the same mother refusing nine months later to give one of her kidneys to the same child. No one questions the legality of refusing to donate an organ. It is only during pregnancy that a large political movement wants forced donation.

          This is why pro-choice people insist that pro-lifers care more about fetuses than newborns. Because legally, you do. You are fighting for a fetus to have more rights than a newborn and for a woman to have fewer rights than a corpse.

    • mindy

      I want to add to my comments below, Noelle – because it does bother me a bit that you are one of several people to comment who seem to think that I will change my mind if I just consider your viewpoint – as if I have not already done so. To be sure, I have considered all sides of this issue for a very long time, for both personal and cultural reasons. Your beliefs are just that – your personal beliefs. You believe that a zygote has the same rights as the mother. I do not. That doesn’t mean I haven’t listened to or thought about your viewpoint. I am a woman in my 50s – I’ve had many years to think about reproductive rights. And I have two teenage daughters, with whom I’ve discussed this many times. It has never been a subject I’ve taken lightly, and as an adoptive mother, I’ve been chastised more than once for my feelings on this. But I hold strongly to what I believe.

      I have been in orphanages overflowing with children who have no families, who suffer malnutrition and emotional delays because there aren’t enough resources to properly take care of these babies and children. I know that many of them have parents who are alive and did not want to let them go, but did so they wouldn’t starve to death. Or lost them to corruption. I have worked with and advocated for foster kids, stuck in an overloaded, understaffed system that cannot, no matter how it tries, serve the best interests of each one. That’s what families do, and these kids don’t have families willing or able to care and advocate for them. They are the ones whose lives need protecting.

      I cannot, in good conscience, say that a non-sentient cellular mass with the potential to grow into a human has the same rights as children already born and in need. Anyone who truly cares about the lives of children, in my mind, should be focused on caring for and finding families for those who truly need them, and, even more so, finding ways to keep families in tact so that fewer children wind up in the system in the first place. THAT is pro-life. Not just bringing more babies to term on a planet already bursting at the seams. Making life livable for children who cannot fend for themselves is truly pro-life.

      I cannot, in good conscience, say that a non-sentient cellular mass with the potential to grow into a human has the same rights as a woman, whose life will be unalterably and permanently changed if she goes through with a pregnancy she didn’t want or plan and gives birth to a child she isn’t ready, able or willing to parent. Better that instead, the childless couple wanting to be parents adopt a child already living, in immediate need of love and family. And the woman be able to go on with her life in whatever direction she is headed – often caring for children she already has – without living with the scarring guilt of having turned her child over to someone else to raise. And there will be no new adoptee to wonder for its entire life why its first mother had to let it go. Adoptees run the gamut from happy, successful and well-adjusted to broken, scarred and barely able to function. Yes, I know, just like humans in general. And even though I do believe that, in general, we do a better job now than in generations past of helping our adopted children heal, the scar of being separated from the person who gave birth to you, as I’ve been told by literally hundreds of adoptees, never, ever goes away.

      I feel as passionately about my perspective as you do about yours, Noelle. If you get pregnant, by all means, you can choose to give birth and parent, or relinquish for adoption. As I said, any woman who makes that choice has my admiration and respect. You can support young women who don’t want to have abortions but who don’t know how to manage. You can take up your cause from a variety of angles, and I will respect your freedom to do that – as long as you never coerce anyone to go through with something she’s chosen not to do. You don’t sound like someone who would do that – but many pro-lifers would.

      But you cannot make that decision for anyone else. I understand how you feel and I’m glad we can disagree respectfully. But I will continue to defend the right for every woman to make her own choice.

      • Noelle

        Mindy, thank you for putting so much thought into replying to me. Regardless of what some might say, it shows me that you are truly respecting me, because you are actually bothering to engage with me and explain your point of view more clearly.

        I am sorry I came across as assuming I would change your mind by explaining my position. I suppose I would love for everyone to agree with me because it’s so important in my eyes, but I know that it’s unrealistic and even inappropriate to assume that everyone will. If you are in part responding to my more recent comment (that ended “let’s agree to disagree here, shall we?”), please know it was in response to someone who I felt was pushing me to a point where I had to defend my views further. I certainly had no intention of coming back to you in hopes of convincing you of my position. There was a time when — naively and meaning well — I did think that all I had to do was present “the best argument” and I might convince someone. But having had little success with that approach and having been on the receiving end of such tactics, I have realized how unrealistic and potentially disrespectful such approaches are. Far better to remain passionate about your convictions, defending them when appropriate, while also respecting others’ right to disagree.

        I do thank you for remaining so clear-headed and deeply respectful in your explanation of your position. Though I, too, cannot agree with you, you have helped me to better understand that for you this is not merely a matter of preference or opinion but of moral conviction. And I wholeheartedly respect your integrity in standing by what you see as an inevitable duty, if you will, to defend humanity and uphold human life. You are right, being pro-life isn’t just about opposing abortion — it’s about defending human life in all aspects. I find that the terms pro-life and pro-choice have been sadly politicized — for while politically I might be classified as “pro-life” and you as “pro-choice” it is clear to me that these are woefully inadequate generalizations. No one ever perfectly fits either description, given human imperfection, and it’s certainly unfair to assume someone is not pro-life because of their stance on one human issue out of many (or vice-versa, that someone is not pro-choice because of their stance on one issue). We should all seek to be more fully pro-choice AND pro-life, in a truly ethical manner, and it is clear to me that this is what your aim is, from a true and sincere motivation. There, in that desire to uphold human life and dignity as fully and lovingly as possible, you and I have the same goal. I would love to be able to reach more common ground some day, but today I am simply grateful that we share this foundational conviction in common. Strange as it may sound, I believe you and I are motivated by more or less the same thing, though our social causes may at times conflict. The difference is not in respect for human life, but in the way we feel this plays out in culture.

        Thank you for engaging with me on this, and thank you for respecting human life so deeply.

        • Noelle

          P.S. You may notice that my original reply to you, in asking you to consider my position — far from desiring to belittle you or assume you had not though it out — was in fact trying to respond to (I felt) much the same undercurrent in your original post. In fact, I was merely originally bothered because I felt you, too, were assuming that “pro-lifers” (forgive the term) had not adequately considered their position and merely needed to open their minds enough to stand in your shoes to see the unreasonableness of certain aspects of their convictions. I felt a little bit belittled, as though I was not really considering all of the issues at hand, and so my main desire was that you would reconsider your (apparent) assumption that those like me have not really though the issue out all the way. Just as you truly care for all human life, including babies and children, I and many “pro-lifers” (excuse the exclusive term) truly care for women in the plight of a crisis pregnancy and take that difficulty seriously. It isn’t for lack of concern or thought that we stand where we do, but out of conviction.

          That said, I still stand by my longer comment above and thank you for remaining so respectful and voicing your concerns so carefully. Let’s continue to fight for human life and dignity together, even if our social causes may not always be compatible. I know some of them certainly are :)

          • mindy

            One thing I’ve learned over time is that engaging in these conversations requires a thick skin. I did not feel belittled, nor did I say that anyone had tried to belittle me. When two people have a fundamental disagreement, trying to explain your own side naturally assumes that the other side needs additional understanding of your position. The reason it bothered me in this case is that I am the one who wrote the original letter – and I can’t imagine posting something like that on such a controversial topic without having done much research and considered all sides. I hope that makes sense. My intent was not to belittle anyone. That letter was aimed at a young man who wrote publicly on a topic he clearly does not fully understand – adoption. I initially wrote that letter directly to him, because he publicly expressed an interest in engaging in a dialogue on the subject. It was far more about adoption than abortion, because he needed to hear about the complexities adoption entails. He was flippant about what pregnancy is – “nine months that might mean a few extra naps” – and I was deeply offended by that on behalf of so many birthmothers I’ve spoken to over the years.

            As it turns out, he seems to have absolutely no interest in a dialogue on this topic. I and others have contacted Mr. Baise directly via email and Twitter, and even though he’s actively tweeting about cool TV shows in the meantime, he has completely ignored us. I find it quite offensive, as a woman, a mother and a friend, that he feels writing such an article with a plea for an open dialogue, and then completely ignoring respectful requests to engage in such, is acceptable.

            I shared my letter with a few other people, including Aliza Worthington, who wrote the post to which he responded with his article, and was asked if it could be used here. Because I am comfortable defending my position, based on my research and experiences and conversations over the years with those affected by these decisions, I said yes. I would not have done so if I had not carefully considered all angles.

            My best to you. Thank you for discussing this the way it *should* be discussed – civilly.

          • Noelle

            Thank you for that additional background, Mindy … and I agree that (unwittingly or not), that young man was reckless and offensive to assume all that pregnancy involves is a “few extra naps”. Heh, I’d like to see HIM try it ;) They say that they have a childbirth simulator men can undergo … I’m thinking he should try that before he talks again!

            I realize now that you were simply responding to a tone that you already felt was disrespectful, so I was reading it out of context.

            Thank YOU for engaging with me civilly! So often people automatically become aggressive simply by reaction, and I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have encountered someone willing to engage civilly. :) All the best!

  • Leigh Ann Smith

    While I thought this was a well written letter, I would like to argue the zygote – embryo comment…many women routinely have abortions up to the 26th week of pregnancy which is the 6th month and the youngest surviving preemie born was just over 21 weeks. These are not zygotes or embryos…these are human beings.
    While there is no simple answer for anyone, let’s honestly states the facts about abortion, adoption, and keeping your child. We as a civilized society, mothers, sisters need to come together to find solutions to these issues. It is key that we educate our young men and women on the responsibility of becoming sexually active not just on a physical level but an emotional one as well.

    • mindy

      Routinely? No, Leigh Ann, they do not. I agree that being sexually responsible is absolutely key, but keeping the conversation honest
      is key as well. That is disingenuous at best, dishonest at worst. Less than 1.5% of abortions occur after 21 weeks, and barely 10% occur after 12 weeks. Nearly all abortions performed after 16 weeks are for serious medical conditions of either the fetus or the mother. If you are going to discuss this, please do so with correct information.

    • Richer Than

      “many women routinely have abortions up to the 26th week of pregnancy” = source?

  • MyKarmaRanOverYourDogma

    This is in response to some of the people who have commented on this subject about abortion below. IMO, we ALL are going at the subject of abortion COMPLETELY incorrectly.

    The way to truly stop abortion is to not get pregnant in the first place.

    I am not talking about abstinence or WOMEN’S birth control. I am talking about *men* taking responsibility for an unwanted pregnancy they are EQUALLY responsible for, instead of ALL of us, pro or anti-choice, pretending these unwanted pregnancies are immaculately concepted. That story only worked one time in ALL of history, so let’s be honest here!

    What I am about to suggest sounds very radical, so please hear me out.

    I think we need to get some female congressperson or Senator to suggest mandatory vasectomies for all males. ALL of them. Newborns can be done with the circumcision. It is completely reversible and once they take a weeee little IQ test, and they are grown and ready – reverse it. (I am kidding about the IQ test but damn, we could kill two birds with one stone…we could lose the “wrong wingers” as well…) ;)

    I am well aware how insane this sounds – on the surface. :) This does not mean I actually want this to happen! BUT maybe it would shock them into understanding that my idea is a far better solution than what we have now. If no one gets pregnant, no abortions are needed…That isn’t my only reason for suggesting something so drastic – they are so busy legislating OUR sex organs, they are completely ignoring their own! We MUST start reminding them that it takes two to make a baby, instead of accepting “slut shame”! What better way to do it than suggest legislation of THEIR junk?

    If we start a groundswell movement, INSISTING they do this rather than keep screwing with US, we may stop them from treating us like second class citizens who have no brains of our own! (I have said that we women should tell them that unless they get “fixed” – no more nookie! But we all know what would happen then…rape would suddenly become legal, and the amount of dead and battered women would mount….) Please remember this suggestion next time you are defending our womanhood from some nasty wrong winger…

    Think about it for a second, though…No more teen pregnancies. NONE. No more “welfare queens” (although I do not believe this is a THING, it would stop the “wrong wingers” from having this ammo!), women get pregnant when they WANT to. We solve overpopulation. But best of all, NO MORE ABORTION.

    While my whole idea is tongue in cheek, it is something that seriously could work! A quick #snipsnip, and no cells have to die! Wouldn’t it be nice to never hear “that” word again? To never bear the brunt of these wrong wingers hatred and hypocrisy again? Even if it isn’t “mandatory”, how about an educational ad campaign suggesting this real, possible SOLUTION for abortion?

    We women are not doing enough to stick up for ourselves. They are pretending that birth control doesn’t benefit them just as much – if not MORE – than it does women. (Hell, abortion benefits them, too. It’s just they don’t want to say so in public…although they sure as hell don’t mind talking about what a slut YOU are…) The majority are -pretending- to be against abortion, when the truth is most of them probably breathe a huge sigh of relief when they – or their kids – don’t have to take responsibility for one of those one night stands they love to shame women for – yet participate in happily. But we HAVE to make them remember that men are equally responsible for ALL pregnancies!

    Funny how it’s okay for them to tell US what to do with our sex organs, but heavens forbid we tell them to do something ONCE that is REVERSIBLE that would take this horrible decision away from the women they claim they care about! (And yet I called my own idea “radical”. It is truly NO more radical than anything THEY have suggested!) The reaction I’ve gotten elsewhere shows what they REALLY care about, however…sitting on the couch, scratching their balls and bitching about how evil women are.

    • mindy

      Ah, Karma, you have a great mind. :) I think proposing such a law is a great idea. I don’t advocate actually doing it, because I don’t believe government should mess with their parts, either. And of course it would never, ever fly – but it might be just attention-worthy enough to help at least *some* men see how absurd it is to think that they can legislate female bodies.

      Unfortunately, men who have no respect for women to begin with would simply assume being sterile gives them more “freedom” than ever for rape and sexual exploitation. Because they are that . . . amoral, immoral, horrible

      And what would those women do who try to get pregnant to trap a husband? Poor things would have to try a lot harder, I s’pose . . .!!

      thanks for the chuckle -

      • MyKarmaRanOverYourDogma

        See, another bonus to point out to the men. No more entrapment! ;) And yes, of course it is ludicrous to suggest forced vasectomies, just as it is absurd for them to think they can implant that baby and then tell US how to handle it…for the next few decades..

  • Morgan Trotter

    So basically what Ms. Carney is saying is that the pain of giving one’s baby up for adoption is worse than the pain and cost of killing one’s baby?? And that wishing for a period of time in one’s childhood or adolescence that one had never been born is actually worse than in fact never having been born?? OK….. Ms. Carney’s viewpoint suffers from the (post-)modern assumption that any sort of suffering, emotional or otherwise, is the worst thing a person can go through and that therefore suffering may be avoided at any cost. The biblical worldview is so much bigger because it recognizes that suffering is an inevitable part of life and that sometimes suffering is necessary and worthwhile for the sake of righteousness and justice. Ms. Carney’s viewpoint is merely the prevailing view of the culture dressed up as Christian compassion when in fact it’s really just selfishness in disguise.

    • mindy

      Ms. Carney here, Mr. Trotter. And no, Ms. Carney is not saying any such thing. She does not, in fact, assume that any sort of suffering is the worst thing a person can go through. She is well aware that suffering is an inevitable part of life, and embraces that fact. She has done her share over the years, and knows it brought her to this moment in her life, with two incredible daughters, a loving family and the most amazing group of loving friends any woman could ask for. What she also knows, however, is that it is not your place, or anyone’s place, to cause the suffering of another by forcing her to do something she does not want to do. YOU, Mr. Trotter, are male. I am going to cut and paste into this response my answer to another male who kept saying the same thing repeatedly waaay far down in these comments.

      To Will, who insists that killing anything within a woman’s uterus is unethical, I wrote the following:

      ******
      I think most of us who are pro-choice have made it clear here that we do not believe that a first trimester abortion is “killing” or “murder,” so it would behoove you to stop trying to convince us that it is. We have considered it and determined that we do not agree. OK? Let that argument go. You can buy into it if you want, but I don’t. Many don’t. We’ve made that clear.

      We’ve also made it pretty clear that it is not a decision that any of us would make lightly.

      What perhaps ISN’T clear to you – and all the other males here – is how sick to death we are of men and boys discussing OUR bodies and OUR choices as if you have the right to do so! It is male entitlement at its worst – remnants of a long-ago dismantled patriarchy in which men made all the important decisions as if women weren’t capable of thinking coherent thoughts about anything beyond cooking and sewing.

      Newsflash: WE ARE CAPABLE. We are capable of raising amazing human beings without men in the house. We are capable of supporting them and ourselves, without men to assist us. We have learned how to do all that because we’ve had to. Not because we’ve wanted to, necessarily, but because enough men have put us in the position of doing so that we have had to figure out how to make it work. We live longer, so we have to know how to live on our own. We can’t cause a pregnancy and walk away, so we have to know how to handle one on our own. And we are perfectly capable of determining if we can or cannot do so, and WE DEMAND THE RIGHT TO MAKE THAT CALL.

      You have already said that you want abortion to be unthinkable rather than illegal. OK. Great. I would like abortion to be UNNECESSARY. That requires education and everyone involved, especially the males, making sure that unexpected, unwanted pregnancies DON’T HAPPEN.

      Since you are male, I suggest that you focus on your half of the species. You males get together and instead of figuring out yet another way to control the females, you figure out a way to control your penises. All of them. How to keep them in your collective pants. Pregnancies won’t happen if you do that one, simple thing. You focus on teaching boys not to rape. Not to risk impregnating their girlfriends before they are ready to be fathers, no matter how much in love they think they are. Teach boys that girls are not objects and that their minds and hearts matter more than their T & A. Teach boys and men that not only does NO mean NO, only YES means YES. If she doesn’t say YES, anything else means NO. Period.

      Teach boys that sex does not make them men. Teach men that sex does not make them better men. Focus on changing what our entire freaking culture tells boys about what being a man is all about. When you get that all taken care of, and when all boys and all men are respectful of women and treat them as equally valuable human beings with equally effective brains, we can talk about the rest of it. In the meantime, you’ve got a LOT of work to do.
      ******
      Will then stated that I “still had not answered [his] fundamental question, and was simply engaging in polemics,” left a Bible verse and said he was leaving.
      I answered:

      ******
      What is your fundamental question, Will? What am I not answering? I’ve stated everything I can think to state on this topic. Are you talking about the ethics of “killing” what is in the womb? I’ve answered it. I do not believe it is unethical, before medical viability, for a woman to choose to terminate a pregnancy. It is HER decision, not yours, not anyone else’s. Yes, any given woman could make that choice for ostensibly unethical reasons. She could be a selfish bitch, who only cares about herself and no one else. I’ve known a few of those over the years. But in and of itself, no, it is not unethical. I believe it IS unethical to use your energy trying to “save” cells that are not yet a human being, and reside in the body of a woman you’ve never met, instead of giving of your time and energy to improve life, in some measure, for kids in foster care or women who truly want to parent their unborn children but fear they cannot. THAT is unethical. That, to me, is inexcusable. That is NOT pro-life. I will not follow this up with a bible verse, because that does nothing to improve the actual lives of actual living people who are actually hurting. Polemics? Right. Only because it was something you didn’t want to hear.

      • Banner

        Mindy do you believe that abortion in the second or third trimester is murder? If so, do you believe the woman should be prohibited from having an abortion? I am not trying to trap you but simply better understand the pro choice position. Thank you in advance.

        • mindy

          Not in the second trimester, no. A fetus isn’t viable until 21 weeks or so, later in the second trimester. Personally, I am not comfortable – unless a medical situation required it – after 16 weeks (which is moot, since I cannot get pregnant). But I do believe the choice must remain with the woman. I don’t believe any respectable doctor would perform a late-term abortion without extreme extenuating circumstances, and I agree that anything beyond viability should only be done for medical reasons. However, I remain committed to it being a decision between a woman and her physician, not the government.

          • Banner

            Thank you. The problems that women face with unwanted or medically dangerous pregnancies are real and varied. There are no easy solutions. I do not claim to have all of the answers. But for me abortion is killing a life. We could examine the science, but that is beyond the scope of this discussion (IMO). And you have probably already made your own examination.

            I was curious if at any stage in the pregnancy you felt there was life in the child. It seems that you have some concern in the later stages, say with a partial birth or late term abortion. If we could find common ground there for a moment. What I am trying to understand is if in those situations there is life in the child, what is the reasoning that enables a woman to end that life?

            I believe if I could understand that point I could better understand the pro choice position. What I wrestle with is the reasoning or logic behind the worldview that allows for the killing of an innocent life. Especially under circumstance that may seem trivial in comparison, but even in the more difficult situations that are certainly real concerns.

            You were kind to answer. I appreciate any insight you care to share.

          • mindy

            My bottom line, Banner, is that personally, I do not believe an abortion should be performed after full viability without medical cause. BUT – I also am willing to concede that, as my personal opinion, that position cannot be blanketly applied to all pregnancies. As long as a fetus is inside the body of someone else, that someone else is the ONLY one who can make the final determination about it. I hope you will read through the comments here; there are several that explain the use of one’s body by another better than I.

            You also have to remember that in discussing late-term abortions, we are talking about a tiny percentage of abortions, which already happen in only a small percentage of pregnancies. It is not some epidemic sweeping the nation, and it is not something that doctors perform cavalierly.

            One of the biggest problems pro-choice folks have is that anti-choice folks are so often the same people who have no interest in supporting women who want to parent but can’t, and they have no interest in supporting children languishing in foster care – either through adoption, or through mentoring or working to improve the foster care system. Their answer is all about getting that fetus born; then, unless the woman will immediately relinquish the newborn for adoption, they want nothing more to do with fighting for that kid’s life. It seems incredibly hypocritical. Not directing that at you, personally, but anti-choice protesters in general.

          • Banner

            Mindy I agree that late term abortions are small in number. I also agree that there are a lot of aspects to the problem of unwanted pregnancies that are not solved with just the passing of a law either banning or allowing abortions.

            I also agree that it can be a problem to not help those in need. I don’t limit this problem to just folks on one side of the issue. If you believe in pro choice then I think you would also agree to respect the choice of those women who chose to have a child and need our help. As a pluralistic society we are all going to have to take responsibility. Again I think we are in agreement on this point.

            I will read through the post as you suggest. Perhaps I will gain a better understanding.

            Let me try and put my thoughts in focus. I was not bring up the late term abortions to make a point, but because you seemed to indicate that you would have a problem with them, I thought we could find some common ground that would help me understand your reasoning. If one believed that an abortion was killing a life, what is the reason they would give to make it the right of another individual (be it mother, father or doctor) to end that life. If abortion is not ending a life, then I believe that a whole different line of thinking is required to determine the ethicalness of the practice.

            For me I have to settle this to determine how to best help those in need. These are complex issues determining what may or may not be ethically correct does not “solve” the problem but it can help us in finding a solution. Thank you for your input. This is the line of reasoning that I feel I need to explore to change my mind on the issue. If you are interested in making further comments I will listen. Or maybe you can point me in a direction

          • mindy

            Banner, I respect the heck out of you for coming here and engaging in a real conversation. This is a hard topic. It is fraught with emotion on both sides, and too often that gets in the way of us listening to each other.

            What I am saying here is simply my own opinion, so take it as such. My biggest problem with “pro-life” antics are the ones based in religion. Regardless of your faith, you can’t legislate it. Period. So using the “God creates all life so taking any of it is murder” argument cannot, by way of our Constitution, be the basis for abortion laws.

            As long as a fetus is completely dependent on a woman for life – which is pre-viability – I do not consider it a separate person. It is part of the pregnant woman, so she is the only one who can determine whether it will become a human being or not. Once separated from the woman, if it is able to survive on its own, obviously, it has become a person.

            I understand that this may sound cold and perhaps not something you can digest. But I simply do not believe that the pregnancy is anyone’s business but the mother’s, until the fetus can live on its own. Especially when it is a mass of non-sentient cells.

            This is a very good article to read – a young woman who grew from being the leader of a “pro-life” organization in her college to being a pro-choice mom. It’s long, but, I think, might be very useful for you. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2012/10/how-i-lost-faith-in-the-pro-life-movement.html

            Best of luck in your journey, Banner – and I’m happy to continue the conversation.

          • Banner

            Just another short note. Thank you also for your kindness. I come often to these boards and just lurk and go away discouraged because of the ugly way people talk to each other. Not so today, so thanks.

            I can say that I have a better understanding of your point after the last comment. I agree that we can’t legislate faith, but at the end of the day how do we define life? It seems you and I have a different understanding of that. I hope you can appreciate the passion of someone like me who holds that understanding of life.

            I’m sure I’ll see you around.
            Thanks

          • PA_NannyGirl

            Banner – first, let me say thank you for approaching this discussion in such an open and respectful manner. Second, I have a question for you. Do you support access to sex education and free (or extremely low
            cost) birth control? I noticed in your original post that you said your goal is to reduce the number of terminated pregnancies. However, I have observed that many of my friends and family who feel the same way also state that our society should not offer free or reduced cost birth
            control. If the goal is to reduce abortions, free or low cost birth control would do a heck of a job – up to 70% of abortions could be prevented. Additionally, if our country took care of women and children after the child is born with social services and health care, it would reduce the amount of abortions even further. I have known many women who have had abortions. I cannot think of a single one whose abortion would have been prevented by one of these two things. I think that some (many?) on the anti-choice side have some distorted view of young women who are casually having unprotected sex on a regular basis and that they go into that situation thinking that if they get pregnant, they’ll just have an abortion and go back to doing what they were before. Most young women who are not actively trying to get pregnant are actively trying not to. They are often pressured into sex by boyfriends who tell them that this one time wouldn’t hurt and then leave when a pregnancy occurs. Young women don’t want abortions, they don’t wish for an unplanned pregnancy so they can get an abortion, they don’t typically have cavalier attitudes about abortions. Abortions are a LAST RESORT. When young men and women are uneducated or miseducated about sex and contraception and when contraception is not easily available, unwanted pregnancies happen. This is what we need to work to avoid, and abstinence education has been proved to be completely ineffective.

          • Banner

            Thanks Pa_NannyGirl, I have enjoyed this discussion and will certainly engage on this forum again.

            I am not opposed to birth control or government (did you mean government?) sponsored aid for women in need. Now as to if I think it is the best option I have to say I don’t feel informed enough to say. I know of a friend that has a sexually active daughter that is u der 18. This has been a source of stress for the family and they chose birth control in order to avoid an unwanted pregnancy. In their case I believe it was the right move. I would add to the list of possible solutions the use of abstinence. There are many advantages to this ideology in addition to religious ones.

            You gave some interesting statistics. That are worthy of more thought.

            As a side note, you meantioned that I said my goal was to lessen unwanted pregnancies. I don’t believe I said that. No big deal, just didn’t want you to mix me up with a different post.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            According to the Guttmacher Institute 88% of abortions occur in the first 12 weeks and 1.5% occur after 21 weeks in the United States.

            Source: http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html

            Banner, It might be helpful to those reading along here, I think, if perhaps you could articulate why later term abortions are of such concern to those who hold a pro-life/anti-abortion position when, for all intents and purposes, such late term procedures are already highly restricted, regulated and rare?

          • Banner

            Yes, I will try. The reason I initially brought up the subject of late term abortions is in trying to see if I had any common ground with Mindy. I agree that this is a small percentage of the total cases. I didn’t bring it up to earn points for shock value as I have seen some do.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            There may be a subset of people who hold a pro-choice position that abortion on demand at any stage of development is what they want to have access to, however, I think you will find among those who discuss this from a moral and ethical standpoint, viability does seem to be the bellweather point at which a preponderance of people agree the State has a legal compelling interest to limit access to abortion, and, for many, viability is the beginning of when a moral obligation to protect the personhood of a developing fetus begins.

            Worth noting are some recent stories from countries (such as Ireland) where abortion is illegal in all instances, even to save the life of the woman, where women have recently died because they were denied a late term abortion that would have saved their lives. This risk is real and should not be discounted.

            Also worth noting is that with advances in modern medicine over the last century and the availability of safer Caesarean Sections, many previously necessary “partial birth abortions” due to cephalopelvic disproportion have become unnecessary.

          • KellyLynne

            It’s important to note that there’s a huge difference between what’s technically legal and what’s actually available. Savita Halapannavar, who died in Ireland because doctors refused to complete her miscarriage, should have been legally entitled to an abortion. But in that political climate, a doctor has a better chance of keeping his job if he lets the woman die.

            If we have a law that says you may only have a late abortion if your life is at risk, we’re asking a doctor to choose between risking his career and freedom and saving a woman’s life. Because someone will always be able to argue that her life wasn’t really at risk, and trials are decided by judges and juries, not by medical personnel who’d have a clear understanding of the actual risks.

          • lrfcowper

            There are two considerations to the question of late-term abortions.

            1) What is moral/ethical? Once the fetus has become viable, there isn’t really a moral difference between the fetus’ life and another human’s life, which is why most pro-choice people would still consider a late-term abortion morally problematic except in cases of medical necessity. In the case of risk to the mother’s health, there is an ethical argument paralleling abortion to self-defense. Just as some people will not act in their own self-defense while others will, some women will choose to risk a problematic pregnancy while others will opt for an abortion.

            2) What should the law say? And this is really the important question in this debate. Simple fact is, a person cannot be compelled to donate organs or blood or the use of their body for the benefit and interests of another person, even when refusing to do so will result in the death of the other person. To give the government the authority to compel a person to use their body for the benefit of another person creates a very dangerous precedent and opens the public up to numerous abuses– slavery, forced organ donation, forced abortions a la China, unethical medical experimentation, just to name a few. Pregnancy is a case of one person– the mother– using her body for the benefit of another– the unborn child. When she does this willingly, it is an act of love. When she does this unwillingly, it is an act of slavery. While we might agree that late term abortions for reasons other than extreme medical need are immoral, it is not in the best interest of anyone who owns a body to allow the government to be able to compel people to use it for someone else’s interest.

          • Richer Than

            How is abortion “killing a life”? How is it life if it can’t survive outside of the mother’s body? And a lot of women get pregnant and don’t even know it because the embryo quietly aborts itself before they’re even aware. Are all those women “murderers?”. What about women who miscarry, have ectopic pregnancies or a foetus that turns out to be chromosomally abnormal and would be so severely disabled that it would be torture to bring it to life? What about pregnancies which bring about such complications as to threaten to kill the potential mother? I find the pro-life stance really puzzling because it seems so myopic and insistent on drawing this arbitary conclusion that the second an egg is fertilised, lo, there is life. I could draw the line earlier than that and say that every time a woman ovulates and has her period, she’s murdered a potential baby. Or every time a man masturbates, there go all his babies he’s just killed. The pro-life stance seems really a little bit ignorant of how our bodies and biology works. It’s not life until there is an actual baby that can actually survive outside of the mother’s body. Until then it’s a medical condition.

          • Banner

            You ask several questions that focus on when life begins. Other questions regarding situations that a pregnant woman may find herself in and what are the implications. Your post actually illustrates something I’ve come to understand better after reading around on this site.

            One of the first questions we need to understand in approaching this issue is when does life begin? Now if you and I have different world views, we need to find a common way in which we can answer this question. I do hold what i call a biblical world view and believe life begins at conception. Now either, you may not hold that worldview or may interpret the Bible differently than I. How do we find a common ground? We can look to science. But as far as I can tell, people on both sides of this issue appeal to science.

            I will only add on this point that I see some inconsistencies with you definition, “It’s not life until there is an actual baby that can actually survive outside of the mother’s body”. That sounds clear, but in reality we find babies that are born premature that with aid, can survive.

            How we would answer some of the other questions that are actually implications of how we understand the beginning of life.

            I have come to believe that the close second question we need to understand, is once we determine where life begins, what value do we attribute to this life? Does the life have any civil rights? This question would need to be answered, whenever you determine life begins. For example, if you believed when a fetus becomes viable, even if unborn, does the life have any civil right?

            Anyway, i don’t really guess I answered many of your questions. But I find that we have to have a common standard in order to come to an understanding of these questions. I think that is the best place to start. Thanks for listening

          • Richer Than

            If it’s born prematurely and survives, it is life; it’s a baby, it needs to be protected with every effort.

            But let’s say this same premature baby was about to kill its mother – the mother’s life already exists, so why not protect HER?

            This is one of the many reasons I find the term “pro-life” confusing.

            And to argue your religious point of view at when life begins, well, many women become pregnant and don’t know it because the embryo isn’t viable and quietly aborts itself before any pregnancy symptoms begin. Are those women murderers?

            Many women become pregnant but with an embryo which has divided incorrectly and will soon die on its own and miscarry. Is that “life”?

            Only some of our eggs are actually capable of producing a baby. Some eggs fertilise incorrectly (with two sperms). All those abnormal circumstances = are they “life”? They can’t survive, they will sometimes go as far as attach themselves and result in a positive pregnancy test but then not develop correctly with no heartbeat or no sac – and they will miscarry. Are all those women who this happens to murderers?

            And let’s take what happened to me two months ago: an apparently viable embryo attaches itself, but to your cervix, where it can’t grow to term and has to be killed off even though it has a heartbeat? Am I a murderer?

          • Morgan Trotter

            You were once a zygote or fetus or whatever you want to call it. If you had been aborted, whether it was in the first few weeks or the last trimester, you would not be here today. The result is the same – you would have been prevented from being here today.

          • Richer Than

            What if I told you that if you didn’t exist, you wouldn’t know that you hadn’t existed and it wouldn’t matter one bit? The logic of asking actual, live people here and now “are you glad to be alive?” in the context of the abortion debate is absurd. Almost everyone is glad to be alive (but now you bring it up ;there ARE some kids who’ve gone through the adoption process and would rather have not been alive because of what they’ve been through).

          • Morgan Trotter

            If you want to view your presence in this world as irrelevant or absurd, far be it from me to argue with you on that point. ;-)

          • Richer Than

            If you want to intentionally miss the points I am making, far be it for me to waste any more time attempting to have any kind of intelligent dialogue with you.

          • Morgan Trotter

            I got your point. I disagree with it.

          • fiona64

            What a completely nonsensical response. This argument conflates “life” with “personhood,” which is inaccurate at a minimum.

            The human mind develops differently from the body, and it is our minds that have allowed us to become the top predator of this planet, to an extent never equaled by any prior species here. Not only do we consume a vast variety of other animal species, from bugs to whales, we also consume mountains and forests and rivers!

            For many who support abortion rights, the human mind is what qualifies us as persons; the body is just a “vehicle” for the mind (and your eyes are equivalent to twin windshields of that vehicle, through which you see stuff). The mind is certainly more closely associated than the body, with the concept of “I”, since it is the mind that must construct the answer to “When did your life begin?”.

            Well, when does that “I” begin to exist? This question now
            presents a dilemma to abortion-rights supporters, since it doesn’t seem to have an exact answer, partly because some things are still unknown, about the full definition of what an “I” is. It is claimed that basic brain activity begins in an unborn human at about 6-8 weeks after conception; this activity is associated with low-level stuff like the
            heartbeat, and little else. Some higher-level brain activities may beginabout 22-24 weeks. Or does it really happen that way?

            tigtogblog.blogspot.com/2006/05/fetal-brain-development-myths-and

            Well, regardless, the overall type and magnitude of those brain activities are easily exceeded by many ordinary animals. If we were to declare that an unborn human is a person because of that level of brain activity, then animals like frogs and rabbits should be declared to be persons, too. Maybe even certain insects would qualify, such as an adult praying mantis. (Have you ever looked closely into the non-faceted eyesof one? That bug is aware!)

            The fact is, a human typically does not begin to exceed most ordinary animals in terms of brain activity until about a year after birth. The “I” grows so smoothly from such a minimal start that nobody knows how to specify what its most relevant “beginning” really is. (Source)

            What you’re asking is a philosophical question of sorts, but it is prima facie so ridiculous that I’m actually only answering it to humor you: If I had been aborted, I could not possibly care less, because “I” didn’t exist anyway.

          • Morgan Trotter

            Congratulations, you’ve provided an excellent argument for infanticide.

          • fiona64

            Congratulations; you’ve provided an excellent example of the straw man logical fallacy!

          • Em

            If my parents had not had drunken sex before marriage, I would not be here. Is Mr. Trotter suggesting that I should be anti-abstinence because of some weird existential angst?

          • Morgan Trotter

            If you’re not thankful to be here I can’t help that.

          • Em

            I am quite thankful to be here. Nonetheless, I have enough awareness to realize that the circumstances of my existence should not be forced on others just because they led to my existence.

            If a woman should avoid abortion because that led to my existence, then a woman should avoid abstinence because that led to my existence.

          • Morgan Trotter

            You’re comparing apples and oranges. Fornication is unfortunate, but murder is unthinkable.

          • Em

            But in this case, fornication was a good thing, right? Prolifers like to pretend that we should all be prolife given that we exist because our mothers chose life. Well, I exist because my mother chose premarital sex. If you cannot see where your own argument leads, the problem is not the argument but your own mind.

          • Morgan Trotter

            OK, so score 1 for you. But in no way does that signify that abortion is a public good that should be allowed.

            To be blunt for a moment – fornication may indeed lead to a life, but abortion never leads to a life, it only leads to death.

          • Em

            I was comparing fornication to choosing life, not to choosing abortion. Please re-read the convo, you will see where you went wrong and where your argument fails if you have two brain cells to rub together.

          • Morgan Trotter

            Actually it’s your brain cells that are in question, because I turned your argument around to show that you are still out to lunch because you are advocating a position that is all about death.

          • Em

            If following your own argument leads to death, then you should question your own argument. Not the person who follows it to its natural conclusion.

          • Morgan Trotter

            You’re showing your lack of brain cells – I turned your argument on its head.

          • Em

            Is that what you tell yourself when you get out-argued?

          • KellyLynne

            That’s actually untrue. Medical issues with pregnancy happen.

            Also, there are women who have abortions who later have children. If the pregnancy had been carried to term, they may well not have had those later children. Take for example, a woman who is raped and can’t bear the thought of raising her rapist’s child, especially since he would have parental rights. She has an abortion, and within a year gets pregnant by her husband. That child would never have existed if she hadn’t had an abortion. So is that child less valuable than the embryo she aborted?

      • catherine rolerson

        Recently I read articles and saw news stories concerning abused children;these articles appeared within 1 week and only covered a 50 mile radius. All of these children were infants to toddlers; sexual abuse and beatings; death for two. Wouldn’t it be better to help the children that are already here than to put so much emphasis on children that aren’t even born?!?

      • Richer Than

        Bravo. I agree with all of that – and I am so glad there are other women pointing out that it’s not a baby until it actually IS a baby. A clump of cells and even a foetus aren’t necessarily viable until they can survive outside of the mother’s body. As someone who has gone through miscarriages and a really traumatic ectopic pregnancy, I really feel angry at all the misogynistic “you’re killing your baby” BS directed at women who need to have an abortion. It’s not a baby; it’s not life – it is the potential for one but so is every sperm when the man masturbates.

      • Morgan Trotter

        I gather from your tone that there won’t be anything productive gained by me replying to your points from my own point of view.

        • mindy

          And again, you are completely ignoring the point. My “tone” was due to your putting meaning into my letter that simply wasn’t there. You stated that I think all suffering is to be avoided, and I said no such thing. I then shared as much explanation as I could about my personal feelings on men injecting their opinions into this issue. Just because y’all do that doesn’t make it right. Doesn’t make it valid. This is a female issue. Period. This is about a woman’s right to decide how HER BODY will be treated and used. From a private perspective, I absolutely believe that the potential father of any pregnancy should participate and support. But ultimately, the decision belongs to the female, and the fact that men feel compelled to legislate our choices is absurd and wrong. My letter was intended to educated those who have not participated in adoption about the truth of it – that it is not perfect. And that it must always be about the child – not about couples who want to be parents. ALWAYS about the child. Not creating children for childless couples. I want abortion to never be necessary, but I’m a realist. And the fact that you, a man, expect a woman to carry to term a pregnancy she did not want, offends me greatly. Because you can never, nor can any other male, understand what it feels like to turn the child you just birthed over to someone else to parent. You cannot.

    • Rebecca Mota

      No, Mr. Trotter, there is no pain-a-meter….both choices could be very painful. I agree with your idea that suffering is inevitable and that it can serve the purpose of achieving justice but the real question is who has the power to determine when it’s sometimes necessary? I don’t hold that Ms. Carney’s viewpoint is the prevailing view of culture; abortion has always evoked strong debates about morality, equality and liberty. I believe abortion is immoral on various levels, but no law should ever forbid it.

    • Richer Than

      So, hi – as a man, I know this might be hard to understand, but thinking of a fertilised egg as a “baby” is really damaging to women who have gone through miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies as I have. It’s not life, much less a “baby” until it can survice outside of the mother’s body. Involuntary pregnancy loss is really, REALLY horrible to go through and yes, you DO think of them as “babies” – but as “potential babies”, not actual live ones. And the grieving process is not helped by misogynistic people like you who add guilt into an already horrible situation. I just suffered from a rare cervical ectopic pregnancy in which the embryo implanted itself into my cervical wall and caused uncontrollable bleeding which was life-threatening. Had it been left there, a) it couldn’t have grown into a baby. b) I would have died from blood loss. But you’re telling me that was a “baby”? No. I also don’t know if you are aware that a lot of women get pregnant and don’t even know it – the embryo quietly aborts itself because it divided incorrectly and was chromosomally abnormal. Let me repeat this for you: it’s NOT a baby until it is outside of the mother’s body and can survive out there. Also, calling abortion selfish is so idiotic I don’t know where to start. If someone is not ready to put the child’s needs first (emotionally, physically, financially; in whatever way) – how is it selfish to think “you know what, I am not ready to bring a life into this world.” Parenting is about putting the child’s needs first. All those people who have given up (or have had their children forcibly taken away) for adoption weren’t in a position to put that child’s needs first, but brought one into the world anyway.

      • Morgan Trotter

        There are plenty of women who hold to my views as well, so my position can’t be blamed on the fact that I am a man.

        • Myriam

          I agree. There are men and women on both sides of this debate, and to disqualify you from the discussion based on your gender is absurd. It is a moral question that anyone who can build a rational, educated argument about should be entitled to discuss. I find it irritating that people supporting abortion are more than happy to let men have their say when it is convenient (i.e. Roe v. Wade was signed into law by a room full of men) but as soon as there is opposition then nooo, men should mind there own business this is a woman’s issue! It’s a pathetic comeback- argue the issue and the points, not the author! Can you imagine if women were told we have no right to discuss violence in US prison system because it affects more men more strongly than women?

          • Richer Than

            Did you read anything past the first sentence? I merely offered him an olive branch for his total ignorance of female biology. It wasn’t some statement about how men aren’t part of this discussion.

          • Morgan Trotter

            Some olive branch. What a condescending attitude.

          • Richer Than

            Your post was condescending to the highest degree – don’t be surprised if people snap back at you in kind.

          • Morgan Trotter

            I’m sorry if it seemed condescending. It was more incredulous than anything. I simply couldn’t believe she was actually making those arguments.

          • fiona64

            Right … because calling post-abortive women “murderers” isn’t condescending.

        • Richer Than

          So you decide to reply to the irrelevant opening I made – and side-step the actual point of my reply to you. I’d like to know how you justify guilt-tripping women who’ve gone through miscarriages into thinking they’re “murderers.”

          • Morgan Trotter

            No, your opening wasn’t meant to be irrelevant – its purpose was to discredit anything I say because I am a man, so it was the one part that needed to be responded to above all.

            And as far as guilt-tripping women who’ve had miscarriages – that’s one of the more bizarre, convoluted, and manipulative arguments I’ve ever heard. It is obvious on the face of it that a miscarriage is a spontaneous natural even which is no one’s fault and therefore entirely different from an abortion, which is intentionally caused by human agency. A miscarriage is morally neutral and benign. An abortion is entirely immoral, because it is done by human hands.

          • Richer Than

            To call my valid point (which related to YOUR argument about life beginning at conception) “manipulative” is hilarious.

            So you’ve now conveniently changed your argument to “if done by human hands.”

            Okay, so “done entirely by human hands, therefore immoral.” Gotcha. So two months ago when I nearly died due to a rare form of ectopic (cervical) and had to take chemotherapy drugs and have emergency surgery to stop the uncontrollable bleeding, that was then entirely immoral? Your argument does not stand any kind of close scrutiny and it’s based on an arbitary belief that isn’t logical. Yes, abortion is a very emotional topic. But it is possible to feel the full range of human emotions (including empathy which you seem to be lacking) and still think rationally about things.

          • Morgan Trotter

            Yes, your comment about miscarriages is entirely manipulative. This discussion isn’t about miscarriages, it’s about abortions willfully done by human hands.

          • Richer Than

            And once again, you ignore the entire point. And you don’t answer my question: if by your definition “by human hands” is the immoral thing, then am I immoral for having undergone the chemotherapy and surgery to save my life two months ago?

            You can’t answer that because your arguments hold no water.

            Life does NOT begin at conception for all the reasons I’ve stated (and all the reasons which you’ve willfully ignored).

          • Morgan Trotter

            You weren’t specific enough in describing what you went through. Did you have an abortion? Or are you saying that a miscarriage resulted from the chemo and surgery you had? It is not my place to judge you, that is between you and God.

            If it was a miscarriage, then that is not your fault and I don’t see how you can equate that to abortion. If you had an abortion, then that is another matter; yet if you did so to preserve your own life, than that is not the same as an abortion for convenience sake – and again, it is not my place to judge you – that is between you and God. But let’s be honest that the majority of abortions in this country are done merely for convenience, so to focus on the unusual exceptional cases is to miss the point.

            My arguments are fine. You haven’t changed my mind in the least. I did respond to your reasons. I haven’t responded further because there doesn’t seem to be any point in it. You’ve already made up your mind that life doesn’t begin at conception and it’s not likely I’m going to persuade you otherwise.

          • Richer Than

            How is your reading comprehension? It was not a miscarriage, nor was it an abortion. I explained exactly what happened. It was an ectopic pregnancy which occurred in my cervix. This type of ectopic is very rare but tubal ectopics happen frequently.

            When that happens, the pregnancy has to be terminated to save the woman’s life. In my case it was more urgent because the cervical ectopic pregnancies can cause uncontrollable bleeding. So the pregnancy had to be removed.

            It would never have been able to grow into a baby in there. And if left, it would have killed me.

            I’m trying to make you see that when you people say “life begins at conception”, you are wrong. I’m trying to really spell it out to you that “done by human hand” is not inherently morally wrong. You have to judge each case on its own circumstances. And for that to happen, there shouldn’t be some kind of categoric ban on abortion.

            It is wrongheaded to suggest that the majority of people use abortion as some kind of contraception or have no care for human life. That’s now what this issue is about at ALL.

            Until there is a live baby and a live mother at the end of the pregnancy, a pregnancy is a medical condition.

            I suspect you’ve not even heard of “chemical pregnancies”.

          • LiberalAria

            No, a miscarriage is not benign if you truly believe that a just-fertilized egg was a full and sacred human being. Anti-choicers are equally anti-contraception, even contraceptives that prevent implantation of the fertilized egg, solely on the basis of their argument that it’s a human being with equal and inalienable rights as against the mother. So, by that logic, every single spontaneous abortion or miscarriage should be documented and handled as a death. To pick and choose based on “human agency” is to attempt to subvert the rights of the woman to control her body by replacing her authority with yours.

          • Em

            I have a condition in which my body refuses to get its hormones together to support a fetus. By your argument, I am committing murder by neglect if I refuse to undergo hormonal shots every single menstrual cycle on the off chance that an egg is fertilized. After all, if I withheld life-saving medical care from an infant then I would be a murderer–why is a fetus different?

            Except a fetus *is* different and I think even prolife people can see that, even if they refuse to admit it.

          • Morgan Trotter

            What you described is utterly different from a doctor actively killing a healthy baby in the womb.

          • Em

            No, both are circumstances where someone does not hold a fetus in the same esteem with which they hold a newborn. If a fetus is equivalent to a newborn, then I should be forced to take progesterone shots to keep any potential fetus alive, the same way I would be legally forced to give my children hormonal shots if they needed it to live.

          • Morgan Trotter

            That would be preferable to killing the infant in the mothers womb.

          • Em

            At least you are honest that you believe I should be forced to take shots that would destroy my health and render me unable to be a mother to my existing children or to work on the off-chance it might save a fetus.

            After all, a fetus is worth more than my existing five children and me put together, right?

            I find it refreshing when prolifers admit that my children and I have no value, because it reinforces the concept that their views should never be made law.

          • Morgan Trotter

            Only because you inserted a bunch of straw arguments that had no real bearing on the points I was making.

          • Em

            But there were no straw arguments. I merely followed your own argument through to its logical conclusion.

            If you don’t like the logical conclusion of your argument, don’t blame me. Blame your own argument.

          • Morgan Trotter

            That’s your opinion. The examples you gave were ludicrous. Preventing abortion is not ludicrous, even if you see it as being so.

          • KellyLynne

            But if it’s the death of a baby, it cannot possibly be benign. We don’t shrug at SIDS or leukemia or all the other horrible natural things that cause infant and child death and say, “Oh, well, that’s just nature.”

            Her point was that it’s not the death of a baby and pretending that it is IS harmful to women who have had miscarriages. If my miscarriage was a baby, then what kind of monster am I that I’m not still grieving after only six months? Do you know any women who lost infants who were okay at that point?

        • fiona64

          Wow. Way to miss the whole damn point …

  • LiberalAria

    I wonder what the pro-lifers think about in vitro fertilization. Specifically, when numerous embryos are created for implantation, but not utilized, wouldn’t that be a crime against persons? If pro-lifers are correct, then each embryo became a full and complete human being when created in a test tube. Keeping them “on ice” would therefore be kidnapping, or imprisonment, wouldn’t it?

    • milovachan

      yeah. most pro-lifers are anti IVF.

      http://studentsforlife.org/invitrofertilization/

    • LivTokyo

      The pro-lifers and anti-choicers that I know are opposed to IVF.

    • Richer Than

      As someone who is currently going through IVF and as someone who has suffered miscarriages and a life-threatening cervical ectopic – I really want to shout out to all the pro-lifers out there that life does NOT begin at fertilisation/conception. First of all, not all of the woman’s eggs are capable of producing a normal embryo. The older you get, the worse the statistics are. About 80-85% of my eggs (at age 41) are now chromosomally abnormal and even if fertilised, would divide incorrectly and abort themselves (or not even implant). In my last cycle 11 eggs were harvested, 9 of which fertilised and only 1 of which developed into a blastocyst which was good enough to go back in. Those other fertilised eggs stopped dividing as vigorously as they should have been and would not even have survived freezing. Does that sound like a “baby” to you? Of course not. They are not “life” until they are babies that can survive outside of the mother’s body. http://fertilityandivfblog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/on-why-my-last-ivf-cycle-nearly-killed.html

      • LiberalAria

        I actually didn’t know that IVF was so complicated. Thank you for sharing this information, and I hope that you experience great success with IVF. Best of luck to you!

        • Richer Than

          Thank you – and one of the reasons I decided to blog about the reality of IVF (for some – it can be easy for others) is that I, too, was completely ignorant of just how complex and even life-threatening it can be! I would still have done it (and am about to start our third cycle next month) because I would go through anything just to have a child with the man I love.

  • mindy

    For women who are pregnant and not ready/able to parent and cannot go through with an abortion, I implore you to do one thing if you decide to place your child for adoption. Insist on some degree of openness. Don’t choose prospective parents for your child who won’t agree to both honor your place his/her life and agree to, at the very least, keep your contact information updated and share it with your child when s/he asks for it. Be willing to be known to your child, and to acknowledge that child. Don’t keep it a secret from a future spouse or partner. Research shows that it is the secrets that harm. The not knowing, the lies that come from keeping secrets – that hurts adoptees deeply. Anonymous doesn’t work. If you are going to bring a child into the world, be willing to acknowledge that child for the rest of your life. That is the only way that is fair to your child.

    • Mirah Riben

      But be aware that open adoption contact agreements vary from receiving photos and updates to in-person visits. Do NOT assume that you and the perspective adopters are on the same page! Be clear and specific and get agreements in writing…but, know even then they are UNENFORCEABLE! Open adoption is NOT joint custody! You relinquish ALL your parental rights first and then these agreements are made. they are PROMISES and cannot be forced if either party is unable to hold up their end. Many mothers find it too painful or too difficult to travel to visit.

    • txcg

      Many birth parents ask me for help finding their adult children because “It was suppose to be open, they were suppose to send pictures and letters thru the agency. They did for a few years and then it just stopped. The agency said they didn’t have their address and they couldn’t do anything.” Here in Texas there is NO legal definition or legally binding contract for an open adoption. NONE. Many informed adoptive parents understand the importance for everyone of adoption and bend over backwards to keep the biological family involved.. That’s awesome and they do it because it is the right thing to do and even tho they have no legally binding agreement. It is the ones who don’t who are the problem.

    • LivTokyo

      Open adoptions can also lead to real problems. One of my cousins was adopted through an open adoption, but his birth mother was a disturbed woman who had abused and neglected him before deciding she couldn’t handle being a parent any more and giving him up (long story about the birth-grandparents, as well, but no time for that here). Because the adoption was open (with visitation rights), she was able to continue disrupting his life and manipulating him even after placing him with a loving family. Now he is an adult and has cut her out of his life completely.

      I agree that open adoption can be a wonderful way to maintain a connection, but please don’t advise it for ALL women considering adoption. Some women aren’t cut out to be parents, and shouldn’t be encouraged to keep in contact if it is not beneficial for the child.

      • mindy

        All I can say, Liv, is that if my girls had a birthparent who was toxic, I would distance her from their lives, at least until they were old enough to determine whether or not they could deal with her. As their mother, my primary job is to keep them safe and whole. Part of that job is not letting other adults hurt them, emotionally or physically. If someone were doing that, even a birthparent, I would put my proverbial foot down and protect my child.

  • Jamie Brown

    Mindy, thank you for sharing that letter and your insights about the realities of adoption, something that we don’t hear about often. Thanks also to the many people who commented here. Their comments were some of the most articulate and well-reasoned that I have ever read on this topic. I was happy to see that others have presented arguments that I thought I was alone in making. I have written a series of blog articles which echo many of the thoughts presented here, in case anyone is interested: http://metalnun.blogspot.com/2013/07/biology-personhood-and-civil-rights.html

  • sandra

    They’re never “pro-life”, just anti-choice.

    • Guest

      Not true, at least not completely. There are true prof-lifers out there. I know several. It’s just that, in my experience, they aren’t actively involved in the “pro-life” movement, since the movement does NOT correctly represent them. They also aren’t die-hard Republicans, since at least the ones I know recognize that being truly pro-life is not a one-issue position.

      I consider myself pro-choice. My favorite aunt is pro-life, Catholic, and believes life begins at conception. She is the adoptive mother of four, all of whom were above the age of two when she adopted them (and all of whom have had serious emotional problems related to their lives before adoption, sadly). She fights hard for welfare and healthcare rights for the poor and gives a lot of money to charity, because, as she says, life continues after birth. Despite being Catholic, she very much supports sex education and most birth control use, as she sees those as important tools in the war against abortion. She is anti-war and she is a registered Independent.

      Anti-choicers usually really rub me the wrong way. They are ignorant, they are selfish, and they clearly don’t care about reducing abortion overall through anything but the legal system. They also tend to be really outspoken without practicing what they preach (and no, I don’t consider having six kids to be practicing pro-life living). My aunt and I disagree, and we have reached a stalemate in our debates over life beginning at conception, but I can respect her opinions because I know she lives it.

      • Richer Than

        Tell your aunt that life does not begin at conception. If you take out that clump of cells outside of the mother’s body, will it survive? Furthermore, not all fertilised eggs are viable and many of them abort on their own or result in miscarriages because of chromosomal abnormalities. And even a viable embryo can implant in the wrong place (ectopic pregnancy) and have to be removed. And if you get as far as your second and third trimester, something else can go wrong and there may be a later pregnancy loss or a stillbirth. No. Life does NOT begin at conception. It begins when there is a baby that can survive outside of the mother’s body. Until that point, all decisions about what should happen are up to the mother. If the mother is not ready to be one yet, it is better not to bring a child to the world when the adult in the scenario is not capable of putting the potential child’s needs first.

        • Myriam

          The problem with your argument is that the age at which a fetus can live outside of the womb changes with changing technology- a 23 week old fetus has a 20-35% chance of living outside the womb these days (source: wikipedia, “fetal viability”). That would have been unheard of a century ago. Do you believe that the right of a baby to be born depends on the latest technology? Even without any type of religious arguments (I am not religious at all) I hope we can all agree that there is something special about human life that should be preserved (and I recognize that the issue of what qualifies as human life is where the divide usually lies- nobody argues that mothers should have a right to kill a 2-year old!) So how do you rationalize a woman being able to make all decisions about what should happen to her and the baby-to-be when it is not viable outside of her (say, at 20 weeks), if in another decade a baby could be viable at that same 20 weeks? Would you say that the humanity of that child has actually shifted? Would love to have a conversation- I come from a very pro-choice family/community but this criticism is among many other arguments for abortion has been left unanswered!

          • Richer Than

            I think that when the baby is born, it has a right to life because it is a baby at that point. Although stillbirth still happens (and I can’t imagine the heartbreak). As someone who has had many involuntary pregnancy losses, I really want to make people understand that it’s not a “baby” when it’s still just a theoretical one, inside the woman’s body.

          • Myriam

            Are you okay with abortions at 8.5 months? I am not trying to say you are, just asking if you see birth as the point at which it is a child, and not the woman’s choice. And if not at 8.5 months, 7.5? 6? At some point we need to draw the line- I find “birth” a sorta horrific time to draw it, but nor do I see conception as a rational one either…

          • Em

            Find me the huge number of women who are waiting until 8.5 months to have elective abortions and the huge number of doctors supposedly willing to perform them. Otherwise, this is a strawman fallacy with no bearing on the argument.

          • Richer Than

            What Em said.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Here’s another way of looking at the ethics of the question you have raised (knowing it is not completely analogous):

            Should we keep adults on life support indefinitely in the hope that new technology will one day be developed that can restore their health? Should we feel we have done something unethical in removing people from life support knowing that perhaps in the future we will be able to restore the health of people in similar situations?

          • Myriam

            Really good question, I don’t know.

          • KellyLynne

            That’s also a really good question. To add to it, what if we had the ability to stop a pregnancy from progressing? If a woman found out that the fetus she was carrying had deformities incompatible with life, and there was something that could be done to halt its development and keep her at that stage of pregnancy indefinitely, would it be ethical to do that to her, in the hopes that those deformities could be fixed months or years down the road?

          • AtalantaBethulia

            I would say, no. That would be an undue burden on the woman.

          • fiona64

            You neglect to point out that, in the statistically unlikely event that said 23 week-er survives, it will have *significant* health problems. but hey, who cares about *quality* of life, right?

          • Myriam

            I absolutely care about the quality of life, if we’re going to have a rational discussion try not jumping to conclusions, okay? No, I am not republican, I am all for universal healthcare, bla bla bla. While you make a good point, you didn’t address mine at all. Does the point at which we say a human is a human depend on technological advancements?

          • fiona64

            You are conflating personhood with being “human.” A hydatidform mole has human DNA. A tumor has human DNA.

            Personhood, and its attendant rights, accrue with birth. Unless human biology changes *radically,* there is no way that a fetus at 20 weeks’ gestation is going to survive; it is insufficiently developed. The further into gestation, the better the chances for *life,* but at 23 weeks gestation (the example you used), the chances of survival are *minimal.* Sure, it’s nice to say there’s a 20 percent survival rate, but that means there’s an *80* percent mortality rate … and the neonates that do survive all have severe medical problems.

            The point I was making is that no one gets to decide for a pregnant woman, other than herself, how much medical risk she should assume. And, as was pointed out already, adoption is not always the answer. So, to answer your question: no, I do not think there is anything inherent in human fetii that makes them “special.” I am concerned with born, sapient, sentient *persons,* not potential persons.

          • kaydee

            I think you need to read up on “fetii”, dear. It’s amazing what even a 6 week old fetus’ body, brain, and heart are doing.

          • fiona64

            Sweetie, at 6 weeks? It’s not a fetus. It’s an embryo.

            You might want to do some reading yourself.

          • kaydee

            And it disgusts me that you think you have more a right to life than an innocent CHILD. Yes, child. We should be protecting and nurturing life, not fighting for our right to destroy it just because we think we CAN if we want.

          • fiona64

            I have a right to *liberty.* You and yours advocate abrogating women’s right to liberty by assigning a right to live to a non-person. Do you know what people are when their liberty has been abrogated, Kaydee?

            Slaves.

          • mindy

            I would fight to the death to protect my CHILDREN, Kaydee. I would do the same for children who have no one to fight on their behalf. I will not, however, do anything to protect something that is a part of someone else’s body, if that person doesn’t want it protected. Embryos are not babies, not children. You cannot equate the two, kiddo, sorry.

          • Em

            Right to life is often dependent on medical technology and also on another person donating part of their body. A good example would be a toddler who needs a bone marrow transplant to survive. Her right to life would be null without medical technology allowing transplantation, and no person can be forced to give her the bone marrow she needs even though her life depends on it.

            Prolife people like to pretend that a fetus has more rights than an already-born child–that its rights demand that someone else be legally forced to give of their own body. But sane and logical people don’t buy it.

          • KellyLynne

            This is a really good point. No one can be forced to donate bone marrow, or a kidney. No one can even be forced to donate blood. And yet, the pro-life movement wants to force women to donate the use of their entire body, for most of a year.

          • KellyLynne

            To me, I think personhood begins when significant brain function exists to support thought and self-awareness.

            I also don’t think that personhood obligates another person to be their life support system, which is what pregnancy is. If I get in a car accident and need a blood transfusion, no one will be legally forced to donate blood. Not even my parents. Likewise, if I need a kidney or a bone marrow transplant.

            I also think the viability argument is a bit of a red herring because there are few if any women out there aborting viable fetuses for pure convenience. If someone’s having an abortion past 20 weeks, something has gone very wrong. Either she found out about major fetal abnormalities, something has happened that affects her own health (for example, she has cancer and needs to start chemo or radiation pronto), or there’s a severe financial issue, whether that means something drastic has changed with her financial circumstances (lost job, deceased or suddenly disabled spouse) or that she wanted an abortion 14 weeks ago but hasn’t scraped up the money for it.

  • Deana Sherry

    “Making an adoption plan, or being adopted, is hardly a simple, one-size-fits-all solution.”

    This is an awesome letter. Thank you for writing it. I am an adoptee–reunited with my birth mom for 26 years now. Her friendship is one of my biggest blessings in my life. I am lucky with my parents too–though they weren’t ready for open adoption (nor was it common during the 60′s.) You were able to articulate so many important points, and your point of view is compassionate and wise.

  • Richer Than

    I just want to bring another angle to this discussion: people who preach that adoption is a cure for infertility. Adopting is a completely different process and I think successful adoptive parents are amazing, but not everyone is capable of being so fully altruistic; not everyone is capable of putting their jealousy and insecurity to one side and really accepting that they will always have to share that special place in the child’s heart. And adoption is about helping that child deal with the loss of “what could have been” – are people who can’t have children and may just have gone through miscarriages, ectopics or simply the loss of not being able to get pregnant at all the really in the best position to help deal with an innocent child’s sense of loss and anguish when they are still dealing with their own? An adopted child is not a replacement for your own. As for the termination/”pro life” angle, as someone who has gone through pregnancy loss more than once (and as I am sure many who’ve had miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies would tell you): LIFE DOES NOT BEGIN UNTIL THERE IS A BABY who can survive outside of the mother’s body! This whole “pro-life” thing is so wrongheaded I don’t know where to start. Many women get pregnant and don’t even know it because the embryo quietly aborts itself before it even attaches or if it attaches, there may be a “heavy period” one day and boom, it’s gone. The older women get, the more of our eggs are simply not capable of producing a viable embryo. In your 40s, up to 85% of your eggs will now divide incorrectly and result in embryos with chromosomal abnormalities. If one of them gets fertilised= it’s not “life”! And even an otherwise potentially viable embryo can implant in your fallopian tubes, in your cervix – or even (as crazy as it sounds) outside of your womb into your internal organs. All ectopic pregnancies have to be removed because they would be life-threatening if left alone (some more than others – I suffered from the rare cervical ectopic which results in uncontrollable bleeding because the cervix is not capable of handling implantation and keeps bleeding until the embryo is removed). I’ve written about these topics here: http://fertilityandivfblog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/on-why-my-last-ivf-cycle-nearly-killed.html

    • KellyLynne

      As a woman who has had a very early miscarriage, and who would never equate the grief I felt with that of a parent who lost an actual child, thank you.

      What I lost was a clump of cells not visible to the naked eye—and all the hopes and dreams that I had built up surrounding what that clump of cells would become. Had I somehow had a false positive on the pregnancy test, and that clump of cells had never even existed, the grief would’ve been the same. It wasn’t a person. And the embryos that women lose all the time without ever knowing it aren’t people either.

      Good point also about adoption. It’s too often viewed as a fix for infertility, and you’re right that people who are hurting aren’t necessarily going to be the best ones to help a child with their own sense of loss. *Especially* with the weird emotional conflict of interest. It has to be very hard to be appropriately sympathetic about an event that gave you a child that you wanted.

      • roddma

        The world is good at telling us what we can grieve and not grieve. This is the hard part of infertility. They don’t count your loss as important. While it may not be the same as losing as actual child, it still hurts and we have a right to grieve.

        • KellyLynne

          I agree with all of that, and I hope my comment didn’t make it sound like I thought we don’t.

  • Jono

    So, if times are tough, and your family would be better off with one less mouth to feed, I shouldn’t speak out about you performing a post-partum abortion on your three-year old???

    Here’s a really simple answer: If you don’t want kids, use birth control, or tie your tubes, or close your knees. If something is seriously wrong with the pregnancy or your life is threatened, then by all means do what you have to do. But stop destroying human life because you are too lazy to use a condom or just changed your mind.

    • mrichardson84

      That is completely idiotic. Get an education, and stop being such a judgmental, sexist prick. You clearly know nothing about basic biology, much less about actual situations where abortions must occur. You should be ashamed of yourself. Go home.

      • Myriam

        Are you suggesting that educated people can’t be pro-life? If so I would recommend you perhaps educate yourself a bit more- while it is convenient that all pro-lifers are backwards religious nutcases without a rational point in sight, if you are going to argue a pro-choice perspective you might want to avoid coming off quite so ignorant. What about Jono’s post made it seem like he knew nothing about basic biology? In fact from the short paragraphs he seemed to have a decent handle on it, but of course it is impossible to tell from what he said so I try not to judge too much (see what I did there?) He alluded to situations in which abortion must occur (“If something is seriously wrong with the pregnancy or your life is threatened, then by all means do what you have to do”) so your reply seriously makes me wonder if you even read the post or just spew out what you’ve been told, and if you seriously cannot form an opinion on your own. Makes me ashamed of the people who claim to stand for women’s rights.

        Also, I don’t agree with Jono’s position, but your response is an embarrassment. I would ask you to please “go home”, think about your arguments and rational, and come back with a good logical discussion!

        • mindy

          Myriam, Jono said “post-partum abortion” – which, by definition, is impossible and thus implies a lack of knowledge about the subject. And yes, there are educated folks who are politically pro-life, but not many. Most are politically pro-choice, while personally anti-abortion. I understand that anger does not always move the conversation forward – but the anger of the oppressed is ultimately what precipitates change, and this is definitely a situation through which males have oppressed females – by making legal decisions about body parts they don’t even possess. So Mrichardson’s anger is understandable. I find it odd that you are picking on her, even as you supposedly disagree with Jono.

        • mrichardson84

          I know it’s been months since this was written, but I cannot believe that you would stand up for him. He clearly doesn’t know the difference between an embryo and a three-year-old BORN person. You don’t even know what tube-tying is. Basic biology. And you call me ignorant? Look in the mirror. You are not a true feminist. If you were, you would have agreed with me here. You wouldn’t know “logical” if it hit you in the face.

          • Myriam

            I wouldn’t say that he “doesn’t know the difference between an embryo and a three-year old”, it seems to me that he simply believes they are both people. Clearly you disagree, which I respect, but to take his point and twist it around to be something you can conveniently disregard is not impressive.

            If you said a three year old should not be indiscriminately killed, and neither should a 60 year old, does that mean you don’t know the difference between a three-year old and a sixty-year old? Come on.

            And I agree that I learned a second definition of tube-tying- my first degree in biology was in wildlife behavior and my second is in infectious disease, so I agree that this isn’t my field! But to take that and use it as a basis for disregarding my whole point? I urge you to look in the mirror yourself, and ask yourself if you are arguing the points being raised, or just trying to discredit the people making them so you don’t have to think about it.

            And not a “true” feminist- wow. I mean, you just said I’m not a true feminist I’d better crawl back into my woman-hating hole and let you rant! Does it not raise a red flag that you personally have taken it upon yourself to define what a feminist is, and then have gone so far as to say that anyone who does not agree with you is not one? I’m sorry, but that is laughable. It is like a child in kindergarten saying that unless you like who I like you can’t be in the secret club.

            But I’m happy to share with you why I hold these positions, and still consider myself a feminist (if you’re interested, if not, so long!)

            I don’t see anything feminist about taking an incredible thing about women- no, not the only incredible thing by any means- really in some ways the only thing we have that is completely unique to women, kinda unbelievable (whether you want to have kids or not) that we can grow a little mini-person inside of us, and turning that into something inconvenient, something disposable, and something that is an unfortunate side-effect of men (and women) having their fun. In fact, to me it sounds almost like a patriarchal ploy to dis-empower us.

            I am not suggesting that women should have kids all the time, or that there is anything wrong with birth control, but I do think that normalizing the killing of a fetus (which we’ve agreed is not the same as a three year old) when a woman does become pregnant is incredibly harmful to us as women in the context of what our bodies can do and honoring that.

            And I don’t think it is slut-shaming to say so. You may disagree, and I’m engaging in this forum to have a conversation. I’m happy to have my mind changed if I see a valid reason (like, for example, learning of various meaning of the term “tube tying”!) but if you’re just going to lob around claims that I don’t know what I’m talking about and am anti-feminist unless I agree with you, then I will hope, for your sake, that you can grow in your ability to have dialogue, but I won’t be the one to help make that happen.

    • mrichardson84

      Oh, and stop your stupid slut-shaming. What about men who are responsible for impregnating the woman? Stop being an idiotic conservative who always blames the woman but thinks the man can do whatever he wants.

      • Myriam

        How do you know Jono was not referring to men or men and women in partnership with his statements? In fact, many of his suggestions (tube tying, condom) actually refer to men specifically so your argument doesn’t even make sense, unless you mean slut-shaming to be gender-neutral. I consider myself quite a feminist, I minored in women and gender studies, I have heard all the arguments and insist that rational conversations take place at all levels, but people like you who throw out terms like ‘slut-shaming’ without rational (or actually understanding what you are saying?) are such a embarrassment to the cause. Your comment sounds rash and judgmental, not conducive to conversation or growth. Who is blaming the woman? Who is saying men can do what they want? Have you actually thought about this argument or do you spit back what is spoon fed to you?

        • mindy

          Myriam, tube-tying is a done to a female. It is called a tubal ligation. His entire post is directed at women; it sounds like he’s suggesting that women should be responsible for the condoms. This is in no way “gender neutral.” He slut-shamed, and she called him on it quite appropriately.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Also, with the knees.

        • fiona64

          Um, sweetie? “Tube-tying” is tubal ligation … a surgery performed on women.

          • Myriam

            I have always heard “tube-tying” to refer to a vasectomy- maybe it varies geographically but this is the first I’ve heard to colloquial “tube-tying” as a procedure for women. Good to know, thanks!

          • fiona64

            It must be an extremely local thing for you, because not *once in my life* have I heard of a vasectomy being referred to as “tube-tying.”

          • Myriam

            First time for everything I guess, now you have- I know a number of dudes who talk about having had their tubes tied.

    • Richer Than

      Your absurd argument is invalid. Nice try. But going back to “destroying human life” = it’s not “human life” until it’s a baby which can survive outside of a woman’s body. At that point we should do all we can to protect it. If you are so concerned about human life, please do tell us how much of your time you devote to charitable work and giving aimed at easing the pain of child death in some developing countries and how much time you devote into making adoption easier for both the children and the prospective parents. The so-called “pro-life” stance is really about control and power and has nothing whatsoever to do with human compassion. I refuse to believe that intelligent human beings could be so lacking in empathy.

      • AJ

        Why is it only human life once it can survive outside of the mother’s womb?

        • Richer Than

          Because until then it’s a medical condition for the woman. If you’d realise the million and one things that can go wrong between fertilisation and live birth you’d appreciate my point of view. Hopefully.

          • kaydee

            Pregnancy isn’t a medical condition, it’s a natural one. It is also a natural state for a woman to be in. Yes, things can and do go wrong but for a large majority of women, pregnancy isn’t am “at-risk” state by any means. Thankfully we now have medical professionals to help with what goes wrong but on the flip side they also cause a lot of the “wrong” too.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            It’s a condition that carries with it a great deal of health risk. Natural does not equal safe.

            http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/campaigns/demand-dignity/maternal-health-is-a-human-right/maternal-health-in-the-us

          • KellyLynne

            Pregnancy isn’t a medical condition? So that’s why when a woman finds out she’s pregnant, doctors don’t want to see her or check on her multiple times throughout the pregnancy. She doesn’t get a list of foods that are no longer safe to eat and activities she can no longer do–everything from certain sports to getting in a hot tub.

            The problem with that “vast majority” is that banning abortion doesn’t just ban it for perfectly healthy upper-class women who can afford good prenatal care. It bans it for the woman who’s already sick, for the woman who hasn’t been to the doctor in a decade, for the eleven-year-old rape victim who was unlucky enough to hit puberty early but whose body still isn’t ready for pregnancy.

            “Natural” is a meaningless term. Illness is natural. Dying in childbirth is natural.

    • judi

      Load of CRAP……the Religious Right does not even want women to use contraception either. You idiots want is both ways….

    • mindy

      Oh, Jono, for heavens’ sake. Your “post partum abortion” is a completely made-up, right-wing hysteria term. There is no such thing and you damned well know it – so please do us all a favor and act like an adult when you have these conversations. That would be murder, because a three-year-old is a child, who can most certainly live separate from its mother. If a family cannot feed all its children, they have options – even desperate ones like giving up their parental rights to the child.

      If you really believe that women who seek abortions are doing so because they are too lazy to use condoms (and I guess the baby daddies are just free to go make more somewhere else, right?) or have “just” changed their mind as if they decided on a different colored shirt, you really have absolutely no clue what goes on out here in the big, wide world.

  • Joanna Boese

    You do realize that abortion is not a safe choice? That there have been cases where a woman has died from the procedure? If anyone is not ready for a child, don’t be sexually active. I’m very much for sexual education and abstinence as it seems it’s the only thing that will work against unwanted pregnancy and STD. And to advise women in the case of being raped to go to the local police station where they will have a feminine wash to prevent conception AND they will be able to report the incident. As for the type of situation where it could endanger a mother’s life, my priest has said that it is something that is a huge grey area, and IMO, it should be done in an absolute emergency AT A HOSPITAL.

    Unfortunately, I have lost a friend because I tried to warn her about the risks after becoming pregnant with her boyfriend’s child (And I really do regret telling her she should dump him after he kept cheating on her) and instead of listening, she thought it was a choice of school or child. Unfortunately, I don’t know if she realized that Universities do help women in her situation. But I wanted to help her, and instead, I get accused of bullying her when I really cared about her.

    I’m for adoption and foster care, it doesn’t matter what age the child is, there are always families that want children. I am disturbed by this anti-adoption backlash…my cousins were both adopted and they turned out fine. It just baffles me as there’s this consensus that thinks NOT taking responsibility is the norm now. It’s not. You have to think as sex is FULL of risks.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      Sex is full of risks. Accurate sex and health education as well as contraceptive use is very important.

      I hope most people realize that pregnancy and childbirth also have risks and that women continue to die of complications from both.

      Re: “And to advise women in the case of being raped to go to the local police station where they will have a feminine wash to prevent conception”

      I’m a health care provider. This is a myth. A rape kit does not “clean a woman out” in order to prevent pregnancy. Neither is douching after sex an effective form of contraception. A rape kit collects DNA evidence for the purposes of building a case against and convicting the rapist and documenting the physical condition of the woman. Medical care is provided and medications can be given in the form of emergency contraception in order to prevent pregnancy and provide prophylactic treatment and (hopeful) prevention of STDs including HIV.

    • fiona64

      You do realize that abortion is not a safe choice?

      Actually, it’s 14 times safer than gestation and delivery. http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/womens-health/articles/2012/01/23/abortion-safer-for-women-than-childbirth-study-claims

    • KellyLynne

      The bit about “a feminine wash to prevent conception” is completely and utterly not true. What they do at the police station or hospital is evidence collection. Once sex has happened, sperm is already past the cervix and on its way up to meet the egg. Cleaning whatever’s left out of the vagina or surrounding area doesn’t change that. And it’s extremely irresponsible to pretend that it does.

      The idea that cleaning up after sex somehow prevents conception is a myth. And women routinely *aren’t* offered actual, real emergency contraception after they’re raped.

    • KBAnderson

      My apologies, but, “go to the local police station where they will have a feminine wash to prevent conception”?! Seriously? I would recommend that you take a stroll down to you friendly neighborhood police station and ask them about this. A priest is not your best source of information in this area.

  • Flip3206

    I’m not unsympathetic to the situation of an adopted child who feels
    abandoned, or to a woman who feels not completely whole because she gave
    her child up for adoption. But in that scenario, both people are ALIVE
    to feel those things. With abortion, one of those people is dead, and
    the other one may or may not feel better. There are no guarantees that
    abortion won’t make the woman feel “unwhole.” There are entire
    organizations dedicated to dealing with the emotional trauma that SOME
    women feel after an abortion. I never hear people who call themselves
    “pro-choice” address that.

    There are no guarantees of happiness
    in life. You can be born into a well off family and be given every
    advantage and still be miserable. You can end up in foster care or
    raised by a 16-year-old mom and still end up happy. You can be
    miserable from having an abortion, or keeping your baby, or putting your
    baby up for adoption. But again, if you allow the child to be born,
    you both get a chance to LIVE. (Yes, women can die in childbirth, and so
    can their children, but no one is actively trying to kill either one,
    and more often than not, both live.) And you BOTH have some say in your
    own happiness, even in lousy circumstances.There’s a reason why
    many religions have restrictions against sex
    outside of marriage. It’s NOT to keep high school kids from having
    fun. They recognize that sex is a procreative act. And even with very
    careful use of birth control, pregnancy can occur, so sex is best left
    to
    people who are ready and willing to take on childbirth and child
    rearing, and not men and women who treat pregnancy like an unfortunate
    side effect of their recreation.

    Something no one addresses with
    regard to abortion is men’s role in it. I’ve heard people say that
    women should “keep their legs closed” if they don’t want a baby, but
    nobody ever says to the man, “If you don’t want the responsibilities
    that go with sex, keep your dick in your pants.” Nobody calls a man a
    slut for sleeping around. In this culture, you’re a “stud” if you’re a
    guy who has sex with many women.

    We also don’t take rape
    seriously in our legal system, which is not surprising with Congressmen
    who think that “In cases of legitimate rape women’s bodies shut that
    whole process down.” <–What Cracker Jack box did he get his high
    school diploma from? Since we have DNA testing that can definitively
    prove who the perpetrator was, we now have men using the defense that,
    "We had sex, yes, but it was consensual" and to explain her injuries,
    "She likes it rough." Apparently women are now forced to prove
    (somehow) that it wasn't consensual. I cannot think of any other crime
    where the burden of proof is that high. With any other crime, we assume
    that when one person presses charges against another person, that
    person did not consent to what was done to them.

    If we really
    want to end, or reduce the number of abortions, we men have to take
    control of our own bodies and take responsibility for our own actions.
    Every man needs to understand that drunken consent is not consent at
    all, and that no ALWAYS means no. We need to respect women, we need to
    refrain from sex until we and our mates are both ready for the
    responsibilities that go with it, and we need to make our legal system
    take rape victims seriously and not make the burden of proof
    ridiculously high. Men found guilty of rape must be given just
    punishment for their crimes.

    • fiona64

      While I disagree with your anti-choice position that all pregnancies must be gestated, I will tell you that I am in 100 percent concurrence with everything else you wrote here.

    • Myriam

      I really appreciate that you address this from a societal position and not the individual of women seeking abortion. I will never get on the pro-life bandwagon for this reason- they don’t address the actual feminist issues regarding the need for abortion, and just directly try to stop it. You find me a pro-life group who is petitioning to close the loop-hole that allows convicted rapists parental rights and I’ll be right there at that rally! Most people find “pro-life feminist” to be an oxymoron but it seems completely natural to me. Thank you for posting.

      • Flip3206

        I agree that the strategy of simply trying to outlaw abortion is not effective. The problem is that the political party that gives voice to the pro-life movement won’t address the social issues surrounding it. On the other hand, politicians in the other party who might address those issues but who declare themselves opposed to abortion can’t even get nominated. We need a third viable political party for a variety of reasons, this being one of them.

    • lrfcowper

      While I agree with much that you wrote about changes we need to see in our society, I have issues with “one of those people is dead.” That’s an argument that assumes personhood from the moment of conception. It is part and parcel of the “killing babies” argument– an emotional appeal based on nonfactual assumptions which you are presuming are shared.

      Throughout the world and throughout history, this has not been the case. Based on the Genesis account of the creation of Adam, most Jews and many Christians believe an infant is not ensouled until first breath– a blastoma, embryo, or fetus is not yet a living soul, but is only a potential person until first breath. Now, that potential life should still be respected, but not to the point of oppression of or harm to the mother, who is a living and breathing person.

      This position was held by most Christian leaders in the US, including many now leading the anti-choice movement, until someone realized it made a great political issue. Then, suddenly, everyone forgot their previous statements and started equating abortion with murder.

      Prior to that, most of them would tell you your statement was inflammatory, that in fact, with abortion, one of those people was never a person to begin with. He or she isn’t a dead person because he or she was never a person to begin with.

      You’re assuming we share a view that the fetus is a person, which, in fact, we don’t. Nor, historically, have most people or most Christians.

      • Flip3206

        Once the egg and sperm join to form a zygote, you have an entity which can eat, produce new cells, and produce waste. That’s the basic scientific definition of life. It’s not some religious or political view that I’m trying to impose on you. And as for the humanity of said entity, it is formed by the combining of a HUMAN sperm, and a HUMAN egg. If you are going to define that zygote as not human, then please provide some evidence of what it in fact is, and how it changes from that non-human state to being human. The Genesis creation story is not an historical account of the creation of the world. It is a symbolic story intended to convey the truth that God created the universe and specifically, humans.

        As for calling it the “anti-choice movement,” that’s absurd. What you’re calling a “choice” is again, the taking of innocent human life. No one gets to choose that.

        • AtalantaBethulia

          Hi, Flip. Thanks for your comment.

          RE: “Once the egg and sperm join to form a zygote, you have an entity which can eat, produce new cells, and produce waste. That’s the basic scientific definition of life.”

          This actually isn’t wholly accurate, and I think accuracy is important in these conversations as we try very hard to understand one another and each other’s positions.

          Human death (as in, the opposite of “being alive”), as defined by the medical community, is based on three things: the absence of spontaneous respiration, circulation and brain function.

          (See: http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=33438 )

          The link explains: “These common definitions of death ultimately depend upon the definition of life, upon which there is no consensus.”

          The pivotal word being “spontaneous.”

          We can keep people “alive” artificially with the use of advanced life support systems. We can keep people breathing and keep their hearts pumping and their blood circulating. (Though we cannot artificially keep their brains functioning.) In this way, medicine has been able to “keep people alive,” so to speak. Determinations of life and death depend on these abilities.

          We do not define death as having lost the ability to eat, produce cells and produce waste, so, it seems inaccurate to use this as the definition of “human life” or “person.” Trees and plants also do this (“eat,” produce cells and waste) and while we do consider them alive – we do not consider them alive in the same way we do sentient life.

          Your point about human sperm and human eggs making human zygotes is well-taken, and, yet, no one I know of is denying that human zygotes are human. However, the term “human,” as a species, and the term “person,” as a legal entity with rights equal to those of other persons are not interchangeable in this context. This is why in Roe the question is not whether a fetus is human or not, but rather, at what stage of development does the government have a compelling interest to confer upon the zygote, embryo, fetus the rights of protection equal to that of independent living persons.

          It is for these reasons viability has been that determining factor: the ability to live outside the womb with spontaneous breath and circulation and brain function.

        • KellyLynne

          “Life” is not the same as “person.” Animals are alive. Plants are alive. Every cell in your body is alive. An anencephalic baby (that is, born without a brain) is alive—briefly.

          People who are against abortion conflate “life” with “personhood.” If they were the same thing, it would be murder to remove cancer cells, or to eat a hamburger.

          Additionally, a zygote does not “eat.” It’s provided with nutrients through its mother. It doesn’t breathe; it’s provided with oxygen.

          Additionally, if the death of a zygote, embryo or fetus is the death of a person, why do we not have a funeral when a woman has a miscarriage? (Some women do for still births, but that’s much later, when there’s a recognizable baby.) Why is no one more interested in studying the causes of miscarriage? Are those “babies” only people when the woman in question doesn’t want to be pregnant?

        • KBAnderson

          You claim that “an entity which can eat, produce new cells, and produce waste” is the scientific definition of “life”. By that definition a flu virus is a “life”. Do you also advocate against vaccination on the basis of saving the flu’s “life”?

    • mindy

      In the case of an abortion, though, no “person” is dead. To die, you have to first be born. A potential life is not realized, but that happens to most sexually active women through spontaneous abortion before they even realize they are pregnant, probably more than once in their lives. I understand that people who are against abortion want to equate every zygote and embryo with a baby, but that simply isn’t factually accurate. Your comment is valid in its call for men to take responsibility and treat women with respect. Thank you for that.

    • ATxann

      “And you BOTH have some say in your own happiness, even in lousy circumstances” Not in all cases. When you advocate against all abortions and for adoption instead in all cases, you remove from birth parents the choice to save their potential child from a life of certain or almost certain misery in the cases when prenatal testing has found devastating defects in the fetus.

      I gave birth to one of my children over two months prematurely. He had significant birth defects, but has had a very good life, and I would never have aborted him based on those defects. However, I would have aborted him rather than let him live a life of utter misery or a short pain-filled life (some babies are born with the medical certainty of only living a few days, weeks, or months of suffering).

      I support a woman’s choice in all situations, but to take that choice from parents who would abort out of love for their potential children, and expect them to just walk away from their children’s suffering, is monstrous. That would be giving neither the birth parents nor their children any say in their own happiness. I support a woman’s choice, no matter what the situation.

  • kaydee

    What a load of garbage!
    I know two two women who had abortions when they were teenagers. One is gone now. she had an INSURMOUNTABLE amount of guilt because of her decision which led to drug abuse, alcoholism, mental instability and ultimately DEATH. the other woman is in her late 20s and had FINALLY achieved a viable pregnancy after YEARS of trying to conceive and still has incredible guilt over the abortion her father forced her into as a teenager.
    Yes, abortion IS a choice…the WRONG ONE.
    You don’t get to decide to be a murderer because that life might ruin your life’s plans.

    How do you people even call yourself “Christians”?!?!?! Do you even KNOW Christ?!?!?! My guess is NO.

    • Lacey

      The letter clearly states that women should be able to make decisions regarding their own pregnancy. From what it sounds like the two people you knew who had abortions were FORCED into it. Abortions or adoptions or keeping a child isn’t bad but restricting a woman’s choice over her own life is.

    • mindy

      Kaydee, you are talking about two people. Out of, literally, millions. Two people whom, it seems were forced into their abortions. Which is, absolutely, as wrong as being forced to carry a pregnancy to term if you do not want to do so. The key is force and/or coercion rather than choice. I know many women (as in, more than a dozen) who had abortions when they were younger and they carry no guilt as adults. Who have gone on to live fulfilled lives and have wanted, much-loved children when they were ready to do so with supportive partners. Many of whom are Christians, active in their church communities and wonderful examples of living as Jesus taught.

      You are welcome to believe whatever you choose about abortion, but you are not welcome to force your beliefs on anyone else. You are welcome to not have one, and you are welcome to counsel any girl or woman (WHO ASKS YOU) not to have one. But you are not welcome to come here and question anyone else’s Christianity. That is about the least Christian thing you can do.

    • KellyLynne

      Wow, you’ve met two people who’ve regretted their abortions. Two out of millions. Clearly, that settles it. But, then, I know at least one who doesn’t, and Mindy knows dozens more, so that must negate everything you just said.

      Or maybe, just MAYBE, people are individuals, and you can’t make sweeping generalizations from a sample size of two.

    • KBAnderson

      I mourn for your friends who suffered. Clearly, they had sad and tragic lives outside of the difficult decisions they made. You friend who is gone, must have needed more love and support than was ever offered to her in her youth and during the most vulnerable years of her life. Perhaps she was judged and condemned by those she thought loved her. But her mental instability was not caused by her decision, it most likely occurred much earlier in her life.

      Your friend in her late 20′s who was “forced” to have an abortion, should not feel guilty. Those who forced the decision on her should. Pro-choice means just what it says Pro-CHOICE. She should have been allowed to make her own choice and supported whatever she decided.

      I made that choice once upon a time too. I descended neither into drug abuse nor alcoholism, I am not mentally unstable, and I am, clearly, not dead. Do I regret my choice? No, I do not. It was the only choice I felt able to make in that time and in my circumstances – about which you know nothing. Do I regret having put myself in the position where I needed to make a choice? Yes, yes I do. But, I will be eternally grateful that I did not have to go to some back alley butcher as the result of so many brave women having fought, and some having died, before me to ensure that I HAD A CHOICE!

  • Veritas81

    Y’all disgust me. True Christians would never allow children (unborn or otherwise) to be murdered.

  • Jo Anne Swanson

    If “pro life” Christians spent more time, energy, and resources on helping preserve the mother-child bond, rather than separating them in response to the lack of resources that often drives the abortion decision, they might accomplish something. An example of the folly of pushing adoption as the (only) alternative to abortion played out in Florida back in 2007, when funds from “Choose Life” license plates sat unused because they could only be used to help women who agreed to surrender to adoption – not women who would like to parent but lacked resources. You can read more here:

    http://www.countercurrents.org/riben020108.htm

    Christians also need to take a long, critical look at their complicity in the disenfranchisement of several generations of adoptees through falsification of “birth certificates” and denial of access to their own authentic documents. Access to original birth certificates was an adoptee right that once was assured:

    http://pages.uoregon.edu/adoption/archive/UscbTCNOBR.htm

    Then this right was stripped from them. And not for the reasons you think!

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1282262

    Today, adoptees are denied passports because their ‘certificates of live birth’ are not authentic birth certificates. Their health and that of their children and grandchildren is jeopardized by lack of updated family health history. They risk committing incest with an unknown relative. They struggle with issues of abandonment and genealogical bewilderment and more. They are denied access to, and association with, blood kin – unimaginable restriction on U.S. citizens.

    Sadly, many “Christian” agencies and adoption brokers not only participate in this practice but promote it, often opposing legislative efforts to restore adoptees’ civil rights. It’s part of a multi-billion dollar adoption industry that has literally commercialized the redistribution of newborns. I call on my fellow Christians to reject these practices and help us restore rights and dignity to both women with unplanned pregnancies and disenfranchised adoptees. I suggest you drop in on this blog and spend a little time here:

    http://www.adopteerestoration.com/2013/09/an-open-letter-to-pro-life-community.html#more

  • http://www.adoptionbirthmothers.com/musings-of-the-lame-an-adoption-blog/ Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy

    As a birthmother for almost 26 years who makes it her business to speak about the very issues raised here, I find no need but to say BRAVO! This is spot on. No mother should be forced to live the life of a birthmother in order to make some other person feel good about HER decisions or to provide a child for those who cannot have one.

  • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

    Beautifully said. Adoption is an alternative to parenthood. It is NOT an alternative to pregnancy. Abortion is the alternative to pregnancy.

  • IrishEddieOHara

    In a world of relativism, God has had the final word: “Thou shalt do no murder” All the rest in defense of abortion is sophistry.

    • KellyLynne

      And yet, Christians justify killing actual born human beings all the time. If you want abortion to be treated as murder, first prove that an embryo is a person.

      • IrishEddieOHara

        Not all Christians do. Some of us realize that the life of an Iraqi child is every bit as worthy of caring for and protecting as the life of an unborn child.

        Prove that an embryo is a child? Simple? It ain’t a dog, cat, fish or snake. Won’t be born an elephant, toad, spider, or bullfrog.

        That was simple, wasn’t it? When you can prove that it will not be born human, come back and talk!

        • KellyLynne

          That’s not what I said, but it’s nice that you can condescendingly pretend that you have a nice simple argument.

          What I said was prove that it *is* a person. Not will be in the future. An egg isn’t a chicken. An acorn isn’t a tree. And an embryo isn’t a child—yet.

          An egg or sperm cell will become a person—after lots of development. That cell won’t be born a dog, cat, fish or snake either. So by your proof, every time a woman has her period, or a couple has sex and the egg isn’t fertilized, a baby dies.

          What a thing can become is not what it is.

        • KBAnderson

          And none of those are alive until they are born, either.

    • KBAnderson

      What about the Indian woman who died in Ireland because of being refused an abortion of a fetus that was KNOWN to already be dead and non-viable? That was murder, too.

      There is no scientific evidence that an embryo or zygote is a “life”. I have seen presented elsewhere some fairly convincing biblical evidence that life begins at birth, not conception.

      How does the potential viability of a non-viable collection of cells trump the already living woman who could die without a life-saving medical procedure?

  • roddma

    I don’t think infertile women are necessarily asking or demanding other women give up their babies. Unless you have been infertile or want a child but don’t have one by circumstance, you don’t know what these women go through, It’s like wanting to be part of a club you can’t join. Some of these women are actually suicidal.When you do adopt, you get accused or child stealing,denying them rightful heritage and all kinds of things. I think the issue here is how we focus too much on biological ties.The best way to avoid unplanned pregnancy is prevention. The isn’t about religion at all but control and responsibility.

    • KBAnderson

      I am sorry for your experience (or that of someone dear to you) of having been accused of “child stealing”. I have never heard that, and I am adopted. I am sorry for your inability (or that of someone dear to you) to bear children on your own. It is a tragedy that many, including my own adoptive parents (although in our case it was my father who was infertile), people in that position. And I agree that the focus on biological ties is excessive. Do you know I’ve actually have someone say to me “Really? Your adopted!!!? Wow! You don’t look adopted.” – seriously. And, yes, the best way to avoid unplanned pregnancy is prevention. But, sometimes prevention fails and then women are left with a choice. And that choice, that “control and responsibility” should belong to the woman with the decision to make and no one else. That is the issue, roddma. No 2 women’s circumstances are the same. No 2 women’s emotional strengths or weaknesses, are the same. An no woman comes away from such a decision, whichever one she makes, unscathed. No woman makes such a decision lightly or casually. Compounding the hurt and damage by allowing ANYONE for ANY REASON to judge her or usurp her choice makes her a slave to someone elses’ desires.

      Neither you nor I have any right to interfere in the decisions of another human being about the direction their lives will or will not, should or should not, take! The right to choose is a private and personal right. It none of my or your business.

      Why is that such a difficult concept to grasp?

  • Bwech

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