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

How I Lost Faith in the “Pro-Life” Movement October 29, 2012

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

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

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

I have come to the conclusion that I was wrong.

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

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

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

Changing Tactics and Breaking Ties

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

Banning Abortion Does Not Decrease Abortion Rates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Real Solution: Birth Control

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

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

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

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

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

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

What about the Zygote?

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

Does the Pill Kill?

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

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

Here is how a Life Issues Institute article describes this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Biggest Killer: A Woman’s Own Body

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

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

Without Birth Control:

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

With Birth Control:

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

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

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

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

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

Why No 5K to Save the Zygotes?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ultimate Hypocrisy

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

Barack Obama, Pro-Life Hero?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Making It Harder to Afford Children

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

We’d love to have you join us.


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

For followup posts on issues addressed here, see: 

A Response to Objections on my Pro-Life Movement Post

More On Laws And Abortion: A Response to Bad Catholic

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

Okay Then, Let’s Talk about Natural Family Planning

 A Paradigm Shift: My “Aha” Moment on Abortion

On Married Women and Separating Sex from Procreation

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  • Calling the other commenter “sweetie” is dismissive. Please read my comment policy.

    • Sarah Bailey

      Yes, you are right. I only did it in response to her calling me honey and a few other things. I was trying to lighten things a bit. But like I tell my kids – no blame game, so I will just refrain from doing that in the future.

  • Conuly

    Well, I have to say I think your misuse of an ellipsis is pretty disturbing. Three dots in a row, four if it is at the end of a sentence. Petty? No doubt, but that’s just how I roll.

  • Sarah Bailey

    I am interested but more at a personal level with family/friends and my dad as a dr worked extensively with many women and helped them to successfully carry babies to term after many miscarriages or being pronounced infertile. I guess I am more community minded than world minded as I don’t feel like I can do a lot outside of our community. some people are great at that. I haven’t expressed a lot of interest in discussing what I think works for women because that is a whole other dialogue. but most women who miscarry are often (very simply put) just in need of some balancing and often this problem is easily corrected without having to go through fertility and drug treatments.

  • Sarah Bailey

    i would be interested in talking to you off t his board, but I don’t really know how to do that without either of us putting private info on this board (sorry – not too techy)

  • Sarah Bailey

    Well, sorry – not trying to annoy. I don’t have disabled children so i have not had to live directly through all the problems. With 2 sisters having gone through it has been devastating and traumatic – but both now say they are so glad they have learned what they have learned. so glad for what their other children have learned (more understanding, more empathy, more love etc – not trying to get all sappy on you and just the pure love that comes from these children)

    I would hope nobody would ever use/exploit special needs children (but I DID just read that article over on yahoo about Disneyland 🙂 I don’t think people use them to impress god – I am positive they would never have chosen to go through what they have before they did. In their case (and I know that is a tiny tiny tiny percentage!) their children are so happy and so loved and I feel privileged to know them.

  • Sarah Bailey

    I wish I hadn’t clicked that link. It literally makes me sick. That is why I just can’t get past wanting to stop abortions when they are not necessary. I wish I had been around when one of my friends made her choice. I would have helped her find a family or take the baby myself. She regrets it every day and I hate that she feels so terrible. There’s nothing for me to say about it because she did what she thought was best and she had no support system. It is in the past but she hurts still after 20 years. it hasn’t gone away for her and she wishes every girl knew what she knows now. I know many are in her shoes and I wish I could live on a big farm and take all the babies. Please – no need to tell me the obvious (“well, you can’t so stop trying to force us to……..”)

    • purr

      ‘ick’ is not a good reason to ban something

      heart surgery is incredibly disgusting you know
      and traumatizing

      did you know that there are people out there who regret lasik surgery/ there are even support groups for them

      and I have had it, it’s quite traumatic

      burning flesh of your eye, and all that


  • Sarah Bailey

    My guess is D?
    C looks like it has a tail, B has hoofs, A has some sort of flower feet? But maybe I am way off – which is correct?

    • Niemand

      Does the fact that you have to guess and are not at all sure of your answer suggest anything to you? Anything at all?

      • Sarah Bailey

        No, it doesn’t suggest anything to me. My not knowing “for sure” doesn’t change what it is.

      • Niemand

        You’re right-it doesn’t change what it is. And what it is is an embryo virtually identical to other mammalian embryos and with the same level of neurological development.

  • Sarah Bailey

    I think the comparison was that a fetus is as alive as an intestine. However, the problem with that is that your intestine can never turn into a live human being (I know they know that – but it does kind of desensitize you if you think of it that way.)

    • Actually, thanks to recent scientific advances, any human cell can turn into a blastocyst and from there, if implanted, grow and develop normally and be born. Any cell. Including intestinal cells. It’s pretty fascinating, really.

      Does that mean surgery to remove an appendix or tonsils is now murder of billions of potential babies, because all those cells could have become new people?

      • Sarah Bailey

        lol oh boy – but okay, we know (or at least we are pretty sure!) that the intestinal cells are not going to turn into a baby on their own…

      • So? Are babies born through IVF not real babies then?

      • Sarah Bailey

        My last comment on this thread covered that. What happened to my comment moderator?

        Feminerd, you know the answer to that. The people that go through that are making a big financial commitment to hopefully get a baby. Not to have an abortion. I have a strong feeling that nobody is going to try and make a baby out of their tonsils, appendixes and then have an abortion. You are talking circles and distracting from the real issue.

      • purr

        In IVF approximately 50-100 spare embryos are incinerated because they have no use.

        Also, if a woman has too many embryos implanted, the excess will be *aborted*

        EDIT: and keep in mind, if a scientist does clone a human embryo from a skin cell, you can bet it’s gonna spend it’s life in a petri dish. How does it feel, knowing that a precious ‘unborn baby’ is going to be trapped in a freezer for life?

      • I’m just trying to figure this out, how it works in your head.

        Zygotes are people, but the fact that 50%+ die within two weeks is no big deal.

        Women can’t abort because that’s murder, except if she was raped, in which case it’s not murder, even though the embryo doesn’t change no matter how it’s conceived. But it’s definitely not about punishing women for consensual sex.

        Abortions should be banned because they are icky, but all other surgeries which are equally icky are fine.

        You’re fine with IVF, even though that inevitably leads to the destruction of 50-100 blastocysts, which you think are people. Somehow, this ‘mass murder’ doesn’t bother you at all.

        Blastocysts are alive and must be respected, but other cells which are also alive are just part of a person and can be killed willy-nilly, even though those cells could also theoretically make a blastocyst with some science, but IVF blastocysts are definitely people even though they were made with science, unless they aren’t implanted in which case you can just throw them away.

        You probably think bodily autonomy is really important. You don’t want to force people to donate organs or blood or bone marrow to anyone, even if they will die without it. You probably don’t even want to force corpses to donate organs if, when the person was alive, they didn’t want to, and you know people die because of it. You hopefully respect DNR (do not resuscitate) orders, even though they kill people. You let people remove life support from terminally ill people. And yet, for some reason, you think that a woman with a microscopic new lifeform inside of her doesn’t get to decide if she wants it there or not. I still can’t fathom thinking a dead woman has more bodily integrity and autonomy than a living woman.

        I’m just horribly confused as to your unifying logic here.

        And damn it, I put this in the wrong place.

      • purr

        Damn you Disqus, damn you!!!

        We are allowed to directly insult Disqus here, are we not?

        Disqus, you are incompetent!

        There, I said it 😉

        EDIT: boy am I glad I’m not Sarah Bailey. What you wrote HURTS MY FUCKING HEAD HALP ME I’VE GOT A HEADACHE. How does she have thoughts without brain xplosion????

      • Hehe, yes, feel free to curse Disqus all you like! It’s not a good piece of software.

        And yes, the pro-life-ish stance is very confusing. I don’t get it at all. The ones who are straight up forced birth at least have some sort of logic to their position, even though it leads to absolutely horrendous outcomes and they show themselves to be misogynistic, non-empathetic people by holding such a position. If you start with the premise that fetuses are more important than people and women aren’t really people anyways, the forced birth thing follows logically.

      • fiona64

        How does she have thoughts without brain

        IMO, that’s really all that needed to be said. 😉

      • I’m just trying to figure this out, how it works in your head.

        Women can’t abort because that’s murder, except if she was raped, in which case it’s not murder, even though the embryo doesn’t change no matter how it’s conceived. But it’s definitely not about punishing women for consensual sex.

        Abortions should be banned because they are icky, but all other surgeries which are equally icky are fine.

        Zygotes are people, but the fact that 50%+ die within two weeks is no big deal.

        You’re fine with IVF, even though that inevitably leads to the destruction of 50-100 blastocysts, which you think are people. Somehow, this ‘mass murder’ doesn’t bother you at all.

        Blastocysts are alive and must be respected, but other cells which are also alive are just part of a person and can be killed willy-nilly, even though those cells could also theoretically make a blastocyst with some science, but IVF blastocysts are definitely people even though they were made with science, unless they aren’t implanted in which case you can just throw them away.

        You probably think bodily autonomy is really important. You don’t want to force people to donate organs or blood or bone marrow to anyone, even if they will die without it. You probably don’t even want to force corpses to donate organs if, when the person was alive, they didn’t want to, and you know people die because of it. You hopefully respect DNR (do not resuscitate) orders, even though they kill people. You let people remove life support from terminally ill people. And yet, for some reason, you think that a woman with a microscopic new lifeform inside of her doesn’t get to decide if she wants it there or not. I still can’t fathom thinking a dead woman has more bodily integrity and autonomy than a living woman.

        I’m just horribly confused as to your unifying logic here.

      • Olive Markus

        My question is this – the massive quantities of embryos in a petri dish aren’t people to you and you don’t care that these embryos are sitting in a petri dish, frozen, and then tossed out, left to rot, incinerated or disposed of in other “inhumane” ways. They are tortured and murdered by the thousands. Not only that, but implantation often fails, so you’re setting up a system known to cause many deaths through spontaneous abortion – You’re ok with it.

        But take an embryo within a uterus – the exact same embryo that is sitting in this petri dish – and if a woman decides she doesn’t want it there, suddenly it’s evil and murder and the woman is a selfish, selfish slut.

        Why does this make sense to you?

      • Sarah Bailey

        It doesn’t make sense and I don’t like the idea of embryos in freezers. I would probably not do that unless I had plans to give birth to all of them. Luckily, I have not had to experience infertility. Creating life instead of destroying it seems more humane. Nobody knows how many eggs will actually take for sure or not.

      • Mogg

        Neither is a blastocyst.

      • purr

        blastocysts don’t turn into a ‘baby’ on their own either

        they need a woman’s body for that

      • Sarah Bailey

        Yes, I realize that. But it is a natural process (in most cases) – w hich you realize. Another distraction.

      • purr

        So unless a ‘baby’ is created through a ‘natural process’ you don’t consider it to be a human life with intrinsic value?

      • Sarah Bailey

        Let’s not go there. I’m not stupid and i know what you are implying and you are wrong on this count.

      • purr

        Explain how I am wrong.

        If you want to be taken seriously, you will have to explain yourself.

        You can’t just make inflammatory comments, refuse to explain yourself, and then whine about how everyone here is a big meanie for ‘unfairly judging’ you.

      • Niemand

        Why not go there? If you know what jejune’s implying and it’s not true, then you should have a good counterargument and want to go there. So, do you consider a baby not born through a “natural process” to have intrinsic worth as a human being or not?

      • ansuz

        Why the fuck should I care that it is natural?

      • Niemand

        So what? Quite apart from jejune’s excellent point, are people who need technical help to continue to live not real people?

      • Sarah Bailey

        Well, you, niemand, feminerd, jejune and fiona might go into a rage about bringing more children to this planet when there are already so many to adopt. how selfish of you to clone, to make babies from intestines or tonsils! remind me what jejune’s excellent point was?

        Miscarriages happen because something is wrong, they can’t survive. Natural process. It happens and we can’t fight off everything. My sister had a miscarriage and they discovered the baby was not even a viable fetus – it wasn’t even growing into anything (at least what it should have looked like by then)

      • purr

        Miscarriages happen because something is wrong, they can’t survive.

        This is why we let children with genetic diseases die right? This is why children’s hospitals don’t exist, right?

      • fiona64

        I don’t bother with rage, dear. It’s a large emotion to waste on things you don’t much care for.

        Natural isn’t always good, obviously … cancer is natural, for example. In fact, a good many oncologists and geneticists believe that the reason cancer is so much more prevalent than it used to be is that we are all living so much longer … in other words, that cancer of some sort is almost inevitable.

        And none of this changes the fact that you don’t get to decide what is or is not the appropriate response to any pregnancy other than your own.

    • purr

      Scientists are now able to take skin cells from mice, reprogram them into stem cells, and generate eggs from these stem cells. What’s more, these eggs can be fertilized to generate viable, normal, and fully fertile offspring! This scientific breakthrough came from the laboratory
      of Dr. Mitinori Saitou at Kyoto University, and was reported in the journal Science in early October 2012

      • Sarah Bailey

        Yes jejune, but not on their own. We all can see this is yet another distraction from the discussion.

      • purr

        So unless a ‘baby’ is created inside a woman’s fallopian tubes you don’t consider it to be a life worth protecting?


        You know, the more we talk to you, the more obvious it becomes that you really only care about controlling women’s bodies, and punishing women for daring to engage in consensual sexual activity.

      • zoey

        Do you think that a zygote/embryo/fetus just transforms by it’s self?

      • fiona64

        They all seem to act as though the uterus is some kind of Easy-Bake Oven, don’t they?

      • purr

        I fucken love Marcotte for that:

        For anti-choicers, the fact that someone can make a baby means that making babies is what she is for.
        People mistake the term “objectification” to mean “looking at with
        lust,” but what it actually means is “reducing someone to an object to
        be used.” Sexual objectification is assuming that because women turn you
        on, they are for sex, instead of a person whose sexuality
        should be an expression of their agency. What anti-choicers engage in is
        reproductive objectification. Women are among an array of objects to be
        used. The refrigerator is for storing food. The bookshelf is for
        holding books. The woman is for making babies. You no more give her a
        choice in the matter than you would give your refrigerator veto power
        over what food it hold because it didn’t like your method of shopping.


        I need to get that paragraph tattooed inside my uterus!

    • Niemand

      the problem with that is that your intestine can never turn into a live human being

      Cloning. It’s not even a new technology.

  • Sarah Bailey

    Can you cite some sources for your statement about the pictures they use?

    • fiona64

      Source for sources? How ridiculous.

    • Niemand

      Read the links. They should give citations for their sources. If they don’t, you’re free to consider that a reason to take the data they present less seriously.

      • Niemand

        And…what do you know? The links had specifics: dates, names, references to other sources, descriptions of why the photograph is misleading…

  • You mean pro-lifers take miscarriages and chop them up for photo ops?

    Yeah, I knew that. Who has no respect for the dead now?

  • Sarah Bailey

    Oh come on. Can you at least say you don’t know? Sources please (about what the pictures are actually pictures of…..:)

    I know what you are saying about the menses is true – many women don’t even realize what happened other than they see blood.

  • Mogg

    Who said that they don’t happen? Abortions at 22-24 weeks happen, because many foetal abnormalities are diagnosed at 18-20 weeks and are usually double-checked by another doctor to confirm diagnosis, which may take days or sometimes a couple of weeks. Then there may be a waiting period of a week or two to access the clinic, and at that stage of gestation the process itself is, depending on method, going to take more than a day to complete – there’s a 22-24 week abortion, right there.

    Or, of course, sometimes 22-24 week abortions happen because some unfortunate woman wasn’t able to access one earlier because of the types of situation pro-lifers and abortion restriction advocates actually want and actively work for. Had to save up to cover out-of-pocket medical and accomodation expenses and it took 5 months of scrimping and borrowing? Didn’t know she was pregnant early enough for a safer, earlier abortion due to abstinance-only sex ed? Couldn’t access one because she needed parental permission and was too scared to tell them until the pregnancy was visible? Yeah, those ones.

  • Niemand

    But why isn’t it? In fact, why don’t we screen every woman who wants to get pregnant for risk. We don’t wait until a family has had 2 or 3 babies die of SIDS before advising them to put the baby on its back to sleep. What reason could there be for allowing 2 or more miscarriages to happen before getting serious about it besides a cultural acknowledgement that embryos and fetuses aren’t as important as babies?

    Also, again, the information about putting the baby on its back to reduce the risk of SIDS? That data didn’t come down directly from God on a fiery tablet. It is known because people researched the problem and found one thing that helped reduce the incidence. Again, if we were really serious about embryo=baby we’d be working harder on miscarriage and doing at least some research on failed implantation. We’re not and the “pro-life” movement isn’t pushing for it.

    • fiona64

      Well, see, if the “pro-life” movement were actually doing that, they wouldn’t have time to slut-shame people … so they don’t bother.

      • Sarah Bailey

        We don’t screen everybody because that isn’t fail proof. Just like there are so many false positives or false negatives. If we waited for the dr to okay everything, we would miss out on a lot. Drs don’t know everything – they are practicing medicine – which is exactly that.

        fiona you can call it slut shaming all you want. I call it standing up for the rights of the unborn. I don’t see the need for another gov research program that sucks in billions just to come up with “Back to Sleep” – there are way better ways to prevent sids that don’t cost millions.

      • purr

        If you actually cared for the ‘unborn’ you wouldn’t ONLY be trying to force pregnancies that result from consensual sex.

        You would care about *all* of the unborn, regardless of how they were created.

      • Sarah Bailey

        Thank you for clarifying your stance. You care only about the women and not the unborn. Do you like it when I tell you what you think? I’m not forcing pregnancies – they happen without me being involved, thanks for the credit however. Maybe you can tell me who these unborn babies are they I don’t care about – i’d love to know.

      • purr

        You admitted that you want abortion to be illegal with an exception for rape and health, right?

        IE, you want to FORCE women to remain pregnant against their will.

        The unborn ‘babies’ that you don’t seem to care about are the ones that were not ‘put there’ as a result of consensual sex.

      • Niemand

        there are way better ways to prevent sids that don’t cost millions.

        There are more intensive ways to prevent SIDS, but they cost far more than the simple advice to not put your baby in a position that it can’t get out of and might smother in. Somehow, though, I doubt that respiratory monitoring and intervention is what you mean. So what do you mean? What do you suggest for preventing SIDS?

        We don’t screen everybody because that isn’t fail proof. Just like there are so many false positives or false negatives.

        So you’re against screening asymptomatic patients in general because there might be false positive or negative results? Do you oppose testing newborns for PKU, for example?

    • Sarah Bailey

      So is the pro-choice movement raising money to research this? This seems more like a distraction from the conversation. Babies still die from “sids” even sleeping on their backs. My children always slept better or their tummies and instead of worrying about sids I focused on other things to boost their health.

      • purr

        It’s not a distraction.

        It just proves that pro-lifers only ‘care’ about ‘babies’ if the woman chooses to exercise her bodily autonomy.

      • Niemand

        So is the pro-choice movement raising money to research this

        Why? We’re quite clear that an embryo is not a baby and therefore prefer to prioritize research that helps actual babies, not imaginary ones. (Speaking strictly of extreme early miscarriage. I entirely support research into reasons for clinically evident miscarriage. Because miscarriage after pregnancy is clinically evident hurts actual people, i.e. the mother and any others emotionally invested in the pregnancy.)

      • Sarah Bailey

        what does “entirely support” research mean?

      • Niemand

        Lobby the government to spend more money on it (along with many other health care issues), write grants to study specific problems that might lead to fewer miscarriages, support health insurance for all so that no one miscarries because they didn’t get prenatal care. Evaluate epidemiologic trends to determine whether there might be environmental issues adding to the rate of miscarriage. That sort of thing. You?

      • Sarah Bailey

        That is what I thought. You say pro-lifers can’t decide what you do with your uterus. Then you go and decide what we do with our wallets. Health insurance does NOT insure no one miscarries, but it does insure they can get a free abortion. Environmental issues? Already done.

      • purr

        Oh, so are you one of those who believes that women shouldn’t get abortion insurance from the health insurance they pay into?

        Or are you against the Affordable Care Act, and you believe that women (and their unborn babies) should not get adequate pre and post natal care? you know, the stuff that CUTS DOWN ON INFANT MORTALITY

      • Sarah Bailey

        Well, I guess that would just depend. Medical necessity or not? Kind of like cosmetic coverage.

      • purr

        There is no such thing as a risk free pregnancy, as has been repeatedly explained to you.

        Viagra is covered, and sex is just for fun, right? I mean, you don’t *need* to have sex, do you? In fact, anything that covers sexual dysfunction isn’t actually *medical necessity*

        And I suppose you think that a dead fetus rotting inside a woman isn’t ‘medical necessity’ either, since it is removed through..ABORTION.

      • Olive Markus

        But your comparison doesn’t work!

        According to people like Sarah, anything that a man wants is automatically a NECESSITY and you need to shut your mouth about it.

        How dare you compare a man’s medical need for an on-demand boner to a woman’s selfish slut’s wish to end a pregnancy?

        What gall!

      • Sarah Bailey

        Oh interesting, so now it is me who put viagra on the list of things covered by insurance? or at least I even think it should be there? hardly, but thanks for giving me so much credit…

      • fiona64

        Then you go and decide what we do with our wallets. Health insurance does NOT insure no one miscarries, but it does insure they can get a free abortion.

        This is a 100 percent, flat-out unadulterated LIE. Your tax dollars do not do any such thing.

        Since the Hyde Amendment, not one dime of Federal money (and we are talking about Federal money in this thread) can go for abortion. That includes for female soldiers who are raped; they cannot get an abortion in a military hospital, and if they are stationed somewhere that abortion is banned (like, say Iraq … and you cannot possibly have missed out on the problem with female servicemembers being raped by their *colleagues*), she is SOL.

        Not that you care …

        You could at least take five minutes to educate yourself before you spew utter nonsense.

        Here’s the text of the Hyde Amendment. I’ve added emphasis to the pulled quote so that you can’t possibly miss it:

        Quote: (a) In General- No funds authorized or appropriated by Federal law, and none of the funds in any trust fund to which funds are authorized or appropriated by Federal law, shall be expended for any abortion.

        ‘(b) Health Benefits Coverage- No funds authorized or appropriated by Federal law, and none of the funds in any trust fund to which funds are authorized or appropriated by Federal law, shall be expended for health benefits coverage that includes coverage of abortion.

        There. Now you’ve learned something today.

      • purr

        Did you know, pro-lifers are now fighting really hard to make sure abortion isn’t even covered by private health insurance.

        They don’t want women to have any kind of coverage whatsoever for abortion needs.

      • tyler

        what’s really amusing is that most of these same pro-lifers are the type to tout the american healthcare system for its variety and flexibility of coverage options

      • purr

        Heh, and Sarah Bailey, below, just confirmed what I wrote.

        She doesn’t regard abortion as something that is ‘medically necessary’

        Remember, PREGNANCY ISN’T A DISEASE!

      • Sarah Bailey

        Sigh…I will repeat myself once again. Abortion should only be used when there is medically necessity (and again, i will say that could vary greatly in what might be a medical necessity). After wading through all these comments, i will say it is probably a good thing that many people don’t have more children (for whatever reasons)

      • Who decides what is medically necessary?

      • Sarah Bailey

        is that so?

      • tyler

        is it different in your experience? i don’t believe i’ve ever seen a pro-lifer say anything less than glowing about the american healthcare system, in spite of the fact that it has the highest costs for the lowest efficiency in the first world and regularly causes bankruptcy, and all i ever see from them regarding universal healthcare is undisguised revulsion. this is just my anecdote, however.

      • fiona64

        I know, and then they bitch if a woman doesn’t terminate on *their schedule* (whatever that may be — and they all have one, whether it’s 5 minutes or 5 days or whatever) because she had to get money together.

      • Olive Markus

        THANK YOU.

      • Niemand

        Then you go and decide what we do with our wallets.

        Your wallet is a part of your body? That’s surely the first new finding in gross anatomy in a good hundred years. You should publish it.

        Health insurance does NOT insure no one miscarries, but it does insure they can get a free abortion.

        No health insurance ensures that treatable causes of miscarriage go untreated. And many insurances, including, alas, ACA, do not cover abortion. Though I wish you were right on this one. If you were that would mean fewer second trimester abortions due to financial problems.

  • fiona64

    So, you went to an anti-choice site and it never occurred to you that these just might be photoshopped?


    • Sarah Bailey

      And a pro-choice site says they are fake/mislabeled. You can always find what you want to find.

      • fiona64

        The photograph of what a typical abortion looks like has already been provided — with sourcing.

        I’m sorry you missed it. Perhaps Jejune or Feminerd will re-post it for about the dozenth time in this thread alone in order to satisfy you.

        Quote: A July 1992 LIFE magazine article, The
        Great Divide, reported that Reverend Robert
        Schenk, member of anti-choice coalition Operation
        rescue, attended a demonstration outside an abortion
        clinic in Buffalo, NY, with “Baby Tia”, a 7-inch,
        gray-tinted and formaldehyde-soaked dead fetus.
        In the escalating madness of the crowd, the fetus
        was dropped onto the sneaker-trodden street. Authorities
        arrested Schenk and confiscated the fetus, which
        was taken to a coroner, only to be identified as
        an approximately 20-week-old stillborn. The article
        reads, “Many pro-choice supporters in Buffalo are
        angry about the distance between their reality-what
        they see in the clinics-and the images the anti-abortionists
        present as fact. ‘What they are showing to the public
        is a lie,’ says Joni Ladowski, a nurse at a nearby
        clinic, as she unfolds a length of gauze. In the
        center lies what appears to be a clot the size of
        a peanut. It is a fetus, nine weeks old. ‘This
        is an abortion,’ she says.”

      • purr

        Yeah, whatever, FIONA ‘CHARLES MANSON’ 64!!!!ELBENEty!!!

      • Niemand

        What? Fiona can’t be Charles Manson, I’m Charles Manson. I’m so confused! Probably because I haven’t had my morning abortion yet.

      • purr

        Ok, fine.

        fiona can be Hitler.


        Gawd you pro-choicers are all me me me me when it comes to what mass murderers you are compared to!

      • Niemand


        …Hers is bigger than mine now. (Ducks before jejune can find a cyberpillow to throw at me.)

      • fiona64

        I really was hoping to be Pol Pot … but you can’t win ’em all.

      • fiona64


  • Niemand

    Carl, quite seriously, what distinction are you drawing? Neither a fetus nor an intestine is sentient. Either can, in principle, be used to create a sentient person. What do you see as the difference? Can you, calmly and without personal attacks, make a definition of “human” that includes one, excludes the other, and isn’t based on simple prejudice or idiocy about what is “natural” and what is not?

    • purr

      The comment was deleted, but did you see where he accused you of being Charles Manson?

      Apparently, we all want to ‘find em , grind em, throw em in the trash’ just like Charles Manson.

      Oh, and he accused us of wanting to chop him into pieces and suck his bones out of his body, only we can’t because he’s too big, so instead, we’ll use Zyklon B.


      • Niemand

        No, I missed that one. I inferred the content from responses that were not deleted. By the number of comments of his which have been deleted, I’m guessing that he’s out of non-insult arguments.

        Zyklon B, tsk, so passe. But since Godwin is in the room already, I’d point out that the Nazis were profoundly anti-choice. They demanded some women get abortions, forbid others from getting abortions, but they were never, ever willing to leave the choice to the woman who was pregnant. Much like the current “pro-life” movement.

      • purr

        It made me pretty angry to see you, and by extension all pro-choicers, being accused of being psychopathic mass murderers.

        I insulted him, then went back to edit my posts 🙂

        With a clear head, it became obvious that he has simply run out of arguments and is resorting to playground tactics and shock value.

        Every time he has shown that he is incapable of countering a sound argument, he types ‘baby killer!!’ ‘you just wanna cut babies up!!!’ ‘you just want to massacre all babies for fun!!!’ etc etc ‘you love to rip the arms and legs off of babies!!’

        Feminerd told him repeatedly that such tactics will gain no traction, here, but apparently he is not intelligent enough to realize that. The poor bugger thinks ‘abortion is gross’ is a slam-dunk every time.

  • Osiris

    the pro life movement. all “movements” that don’t just focus on a savior message of Jesus Christ is from hell anyways. They are just here to restrict choices. When do they ever talk about Jesus Christ? They aren’t getting souls saved. Only pissing people off. the word baby is mentioned a lot at and “Jesus Christ” is mentioned zero times.

  • AtheistNavyVet

    my post disappeared so I shall keep this one brief: rape itself is “punishment” by rapist males for women being sexual beings…religions, judges and politicians who are also the PRO-LIFE forces WHO DENY WOMEN life saving abortions and deadly disease preventing condoms … the result is the death of 6 million women a year globally OUT SHINING “900 thousand dead zygotes” preventable in the USA every year…. until it can be medically proven women and their partners or RAPISTS can prevent ECTOPIC PREGNANCY and sepsis, SAVING WOMEN’S LIVES IS MORE IMPORTANT than saving a 4 millimeter zygote at 5 weeks @LarryAccomplish

  • AtheistNavyVet

    Carl Seaton is the sort of misogynous bigot who is so sociopathic he is incapable of self awareness. Equating a 5 millimeter embryo with a 5 foot tall starving raped Jewish dead victim of Nazi’s is no less insane than Eichmann or thousands of camp guards with their belt buckles ” god WITH US ” … Carl Seaton echoes gott MITT UNS every time he says abortion is holocaust AND REFUSES to read a gynecology text

    • purr

      You’re a few days late.

      Carl Seaton, whose posts have now been deleted, accused posters here of wanting to:

      ‘find em grind em and throw em in the trash’

      which then lead to:

      “you’re no better than Charles Manson”

      which lead to….

      “I bet you want to kill me. I bet you want to suck my bones ot of my body like a little fetus. Only you can’t I’m too big, so you’ll have to zkylon B me instead, won’t you Charlie!”


  • AtheistNavyVet

    Carl Seaton dehumanizes every menstruating woman into a murder machine as most all UNKNOWINGLY murder eggs with his holy sacred sperm wiggling inside according to his Jehovah Jeebush Ghost Hole plan… Carl Seaton and his ILkkk simply are incompetent and ignorant of simple medical facts deserving the name TAMPON TERRORIST every time they scream at clinic staff or anyone walking into clinics “murderer”

  • AtheistNavyVet

    Carl Seaton is a typical TAMPON TERRORIST who would force women to search menstrual clots for HUMAN BEINGS in his insane equation a 2 millimeter blastocyte = a 2 meter person as tall as myself…TREASON is his crime as he advocates THEOCRACY allowed to change the Constitution from ALL PERSONS BORN OR NATURALIZED into EVERY SPERM AND RAPISTS own ova & uteri & gonads & ectopic pregnancies

    • ALL CAPS is yelling. Yelling is not emotion, it is just yelling.

      In more seriousness, you’re not really making arguments, just ranting and insulting people. Please don’t do that.

      • purr

        Credit where credit is due:

        Tampon Terrorist is kinda catchy 🙂

  • Shayna

    My mother is pro-choice…do you know what that means? It means she chose me, and my sister, and my brother. She didn’t have to, she wasn’t forced to, she chose to. How precious, how awesome, is that?

    • Sarah Bailey

      My mother is pro-life and she chose to have me. That is awesome too. what is even more awesome to me is that she would never have considered destroying me or any of my siblings. That to me, is awesome and makes her an amazing woman.

  • Sarah Bailey

    Interesting way to put it – dehumanize. i never could understand how women could do it.

  • Lyric

    Er, my mother is pro-choice. As am I. My children are going to grow up knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that I wanted to have them and deliberately set out to do so.

    And I don’t see how it makes any sense that a child is the only good that can come out of a human being. Beautiful art, uplifting writing, being kind to animals and people, all those mean nothing?