What the Battle Against Reproductive Rights Is Really About

Across the United States, the news from the reproductive rights front hasn’t been that great lately. Between trying to criminalize miscarriage in Georgia to whatever the hell is going on now in South Dakota (I’ve lost track at this point), the legal right of a woman to have a child when she judges is best to is under more simultaneous attacks than it has been in quite some time.

To me, this is glaringly apparent right now in my home state of Ohio. At the beginning of 2011, we learned the newly-elected state legislative body proposed five different bills that limit abortion rights in the first eight days of the session. Five bills. In eight days. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty relieved we’ve cleared out of the way every other political issue Ohio currently faces so that we can devote most of our time and energy to introducing bills that infringe on the rights already guaranteed at the federal level to all U.S. women by Roe v. Wade and have a slim chance of making it to law.

The most horrendous of these bills also happens to be the most popular and talked about and it’s what is being referred to as the Heartbeat Bill, which would prohibit a woman from getting an abortion, under any circumstances, after the fetus’s heartbeat is first detected. Let’s break this down. Medically speaking, a fetus’s heartbeat can be detected as soon as four weeks after conception. That means, were this bill to become law, a woman could have as little as four weeks to confirm the pregnancy, undergo necessary medical exams, obtain an abortion appointment, wait the amount of time already required for an abortion procedure, and then actually have the abortion. Factor in the time it naturally takes for a woman to learn she’s pregnant and the variation in individual women’s menstrual cycles–which, for some women, can fluctuate with complete normalcy two or three weeks themselves–and you have made it literally impossible for in many cases, if not the majority of cases, for women to legally make a decision about their pregnancies.

Which, of course, is the point. This is an attempt to prohibit abortion when those attempting it know full well they’re not allowed to actually prohibit it. They feel they can do it anyway, though, in open objection to medical facts, and they’re willing to abuse their power, influence and resources as publicly-elected officials to circumvent the law and rights of citizens to prove it.

Maybe this would be a good time to revisit exactly what the state of the law is on abortion. Here it is in a nutshell, from the Guttmacher Institute:

In the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, the Supreme Court ruled that women, in consultation with their physician, have a constitutionally protected right to have an abortion in the early stages of pregnancy—that is, before viability—free from government interference.

In 1992, the Court reaffirmed the right to abortion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. However, the ruling significantly weakened the legal protections previously afforded women and physicians by giving states the right to enact restrictions that do not create an “undue burden” for women seeking abortion.

So here we have a bill that not only creates an “undue burden” on women by restricting them to sometimes impossible physical conditions, but is also is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade that doesn’t have the strength to stand against constitutional rights. Which means there’s very little chance of it getting through. NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio’s Kellie Copeland says, “This bill could entangle Ohio in an expensive legal fight.” Even an Ohio pro-life group, Right To Life, is refusing to support it, saying the bill is unconstitutional and therefore a waste of time.

However, that didn’t stop the bill’s supporters from staging an elaborate sideshow during a legislative hearing by calling pregnant women’s fetuses as a witnesses. I wish I had made that up. Even worse, when the hearing actually took place, of the two pregnant women “testifying” on “behalf” of their fetuses, one of the fetuses’ heartbeats could not be detected. Which is something that woman had to go through in front of a packed courtroom. So all they really accomplished is publicly terrifying a hopeful mother, hopefully unduly, and proving how their own suggested method of handling abortion is medically unreliable and legally unenforceable.

That then begs the question of what is the point in wasting all this time, effort and resources in introducing multiple avenues of legislation, with accompanying dog-and-pony shows to grab headlines, that have virtually no chance of becoming lasting law? It’s a simple answer, and it’s the same one that has always formed the foundation of the anti-choice movement underneath its pageantry and doublespeak – women don’t matter. The point is to promote a scientifically-ignorant, often religiously-biased agenda over the fact that women are autonomous individuals with rights to their own lives. It’s about grandstanding and smug moral superiority in the face of reality. It is not, and has never been, about life.

This has been argued successfully many times before, but it’s worth reminding ourselves, in a discussion about the true motivations of the anti-choice movement, that their actions do not support their premise of caring first and foremost about preserving life and making abortions unnecessary. Were this the truth, their time and energy would be dedicated to those activities that serve to reduce abortion in a logical way – namely, sex education, laws that do not interfere with readily available contraception for both women and men and resources that improve the lives of women who are most at risk for unwanted pregnancies. Instead, they’re waging a war of pomp and circumstance, of bias and irrationality.

And I haven’t even touched on the rights of women whose own lives are put in danger by bringing a fetus to term, women who discover late that their fetuses are not viable or women who are the victims of rape and/or incest.

As it happens, I am the single mother of a five-year-old daughter. As you may know if you’ve been around here long enough, I have also had an abortion. It was after my daughter’s birth and, just like 75% of the women who give their reasons for their abortions, I made that decision in the context of understanding my abilities and responsibilities. I live in Ohio. Had this bill been law then, I would not have been able to make that decision. Just like so many women would not be able to if we don’t keep speaking up against this blatant misuse of medical fact and individual rights. We, all of us, deserve better.


Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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  1. Your facts are incorrect. I work OB. If you can get fetal heart tones at 4 weeks, let us know how you do it. It is possible (but difficult) to do at 8 weeks. Keep in mind @ 8 weeks, the baby (yes BABY) is approx 1/2 inch long. The heartbeat is easier to hear with doppler at around 12 weeks or later. We always groan when ER calls us to do fetal heart tones on a 5wk pregnant woman because they are almost impossible to do.

    I don’t know why we call them ‘reproductive rights’. We have already reproduced if we are pregnant.

    The right to abort isn’t a ‘reproductive’ right. It’s something much worse.

  2. You know what is also irritating? I have finally found a doctor who will give me a tubal. I have NEVER wanted children. I have never changed my mind about this and I never will. But it has taken until I am 32 years old to find anyone who will make sure I never have them.

    Why could I not get one a decade ago when I first asked? Why couldn’t I have gotten one at any time I wanted after adulthood was reached? I would have gladly signed papers that said I couldn’t sue if I ever changed my mind, but no. Apparently every female is supposed to want children. Regardless of what they actually want.

  3. @sschultz: It’s possible, although those are the facts as I understood them from various reports on both sides. I didn’t link a single source there because I found the same information on several sources. However, the difficulty that you yourself describe in definitively determining this process further supports the difficulty in creating fair and consistent legislation on the matter.

  4. @sschultz: Can that 1/2 baby survive without its mother at 8 weeks? If not, it’s not a baby in the sense that you’re trying to say it is. If you detach religious belief from abortion, a non-viable 1/2-inch potential baby isn’t much more of a baby than an un-combined sperm and egg cell. I don’t think early-term abortion is any more “awful” than using a condom–sure, it may not be the most responsible thing, to get pregnant, and *then* deal with the consequences, but drawing the line at conception is religious and not scientific.

    And, QF, if a mother is willing/able to abort her fetus, it’s probably not the right time for her to have children. Why force that on someone when they are clearly not ready, and may not be able to get ready–why force it on the kid? How moral is that?

  5. @sschultz: People whose hearts are still beating but who are brain dead are allowed to die. Should we cease this practice, since they’re still living human beings by your definition?

  6. @Amanda… I didn’t give a ‘definition’, but I will give you my opinion. Yes. Brain dead people should be allowed to die. Why? Because they would choose to. That is why we have living wills and power of attorney in place for those situations.

    After Terri Schiavo, I think almost every household discussed how they would feel in that situation. I am not prolife. I believe the braindead should be allowed to die IF it was their wish to do so. Do I feel that we should unplug those who would not want to die? No.

    Again, I’m not prolife. I agree with medically assisted suicide. Why? Because it is that person’s choice to die and it does not physically harm another person. It does not impede on another person’s rights. Abortion does.

    Just because the baby hasn’t fully developed doesn’t mean it is any less of a baby. Afforded the time, it could live outside of it’s mother’s womb. If the mom didn’t want the baby, there are plenty who do. We have never had a baby that was given up that did not have adoptive parents waiting. Even our abandoned infants do not become homeless. Their is a waiting list of parents who want a baby.

    Choosing to terminate so you don’t have to deal with the baby or go through the pregnancy is selfish. The MAJORITY of abortions are done for these reasons.

    The majority of abortions are not performed because of a medical concern or rape. Those are the cards pro-choice believers like to play, but they are a very small minority. It’s like finding one apple in the whole barrel that has a worm and saying the whole thing must be tainted because of this one apple.

    I have enjoyed conversing politely. I will continue to remain polite unless the environment grows hostile, then I will simply remain silent.

  7. Sorry sschultz but what a Woman does with her body is none of your damn business, period.

    You have no say in the matter what so ever.

  8. “Just because the baby hasn’t fully developed doesn’t mean it is any less of a baby.”

    Why? Because you say so?

  9. Sorry sschultz, but insisting on your definition of the word “baby” and refering to “cards pro-choice believers like to play” already puts you close to being the one that’s impolite.

    Personally I don’t consider an unborn human being a person, and while it cannot survive outside the womb and most likely doesn’t have a consciousness I find the benefits of legal abortions far outweighs any emotional qualms I may due to it looking like the tiny human it is.

  10. @spurge And it is a baby because it simply is. If you took the DNA and analyzed it – it would say human. It doesn’t turn into a human being at birth.

  11. I love it when anti-abortion advocates make it sound like having a baby is an inconvenience on par with not being able to find adhesive postage and are forced to lick stamps.


    If I ever become permanently and severely disabled, I’m going to come move into your house. You will be responsible for taking care of me. Every day. All day. You will care for me first. You will feed me first. My priorities will always trump yours. Sometimes my presence may put you in physical danger (like when you have to carry me up and down the stairs because you didn’t have the foresight to purchase a single-story home.) I’ll often cause you physical discomfort, sometimes pain.

    You cannot say that I cannot live in your home. You have to let me. I wouldn’t choose to die. I need someone to take care of me. You’d think I’d want it to be someone I know and love, but it’s not. It’s you. And you don’t get to choose. I’m a human being. I need to live in your house to survive. You don’t get to send me away just because it’s “inconvenient”. You should have thought about that when you moved into a home. My rights, as a person totally unable to care for myself and choosing to hole up in your house, trump yours… as a homeowner.

  12. @greengeekgirl (Sorry I missed your post at first). You said: Can that 1/2 baby survive without its mother at 8 weeks? If not, it’s not a baby in the sense that you’re trying to say it is.

    My answer would be: A newborn baby can not survive independently either. Is it not a baby?

  13. You keep saying it is a Baby. That is nothing but your opinion.

    You have no say in what a Woman chooses to do.

    “When is consciousness developed?”

    Why don’t you tell me?

  14. @sschultz: You are right that a fetus does not become human at birth, but neither does it become human at conception.

    The genetic argument does not stand scrutiny. I shed skin flakes that contain my complete DNA in them, that does not make them human. If I were to lose an arm, that missing arm would not be human.

    The DNA of a zygote or embryo is a potential human. Not a fully developed human, in the same way that an acorn is not an oak tree. It is a common fallacy to equate potential with final development.

    At some point, a fetus does become less potentially human and more actually human, and defining that line is certainly worthy of debate. It is a difficult determination where on the continuum of development a legal (or even medical) definition should be made.

    However, to insist that a zygote is a human being solely based on the contents of its DNA is definitively erroneous.

  15. @sschultz

    A fertility clinic is on fire. You have time to save a container filled with thousands of embryos or a one month old baby.

    Which do you choose?

  16. @Elyse – Yes. If I created you – you bet.

    It isn’t forever. According to this article, most women are 7-8 wks gestation by the time they figure out they are pregnant. It has become common practice to induce at 39 weeks.

    Why is adoption never talked about? I really don’t understand. I seriously can not understand. If there is a choice to carry the child and give it to someone who will love it (because as you stated “I need someone to take care of me. You’d think I’d want it to be someone I know and love, but it’s not. It’s you. “) or the choice to terminate the child, I can not understand why anyone would choose termination.

    I can’t. And I’m not a religious nut. I’m not some Bible-thumping Christian pasting religious rhetoric to you. I haven’t use religion as the basis for anything I have stated.

    I’m simply a woman – a mom – who can not understand why any other woman would make that choice. I have personally known several women who have had abortions and all of them say they regret them. My friend has 3 sons and says ‘What if that one was my daughter?”

    I truly can not understand why we would fight for this ‘choice’.

  17. @sschultz:

    “If the mom didn’t want the baby, there are plenty who do. ”

    Unfortunately, the support system for babies after birth is not nearly as strong as you would believe. I’m glad your hospital has seen the positive side of a snapshot in a baby’s life. One hospital is a microcosm of a much more complicated picture where low-income, low education, mental health issues etc. complicate giving up or properly placing a child. I’ve seen CPS and related government systems from the inside for years and have fought my own court battles to protect my child. If the pro-life group spent as much energy supporting parents and children after they are born as they do trying to make sure these kids make it to birth, then I would have no problem with your assertion. As it is, many foster kids age out, having never found a forever home or are used and abused by a system that is arbitrarily tied to federal dollars with conflicting goals and rewards no true stability. And, I’m not even touching the issue of parents of all types who find themselves unable to cope or worse, delude themselves into thinking they’re doing well with the extremely difficult 20-year teaching and psychological experiment that parenting truly is while they are harming their child. Helping children who are already here has become my cause because they have no real voice and no power to help themselves. I’ve seen more than enough cases to easily say that any life is NOT better than no life.

    If we’re going to project the wants of a 1/2 in fetus, I think we can safely assume that it may not prefer life if it’s filled with neglect, abuse and red tape instead of the happiness and rainbows that so many pro-lifers seem convinced await every newborn. How is it that it’s ok to give a brain dead person the dignity of dying rather than living life as a vegetable, but a baby is required to live the life assigned to them just by the accident of their conception (at least until they are old enough to do something about it themselves)? Because they *might* end up in a happy and healthy home? They also *might* be trapped in any number of other situations that would make you cry. Since the fetus can’t make that decision, sure makes sense to me that its closest living relative, its mother, should be able weigh all the myriad of possible situations that the baby might face.

    I’m sure James can speak up more about the realities of adoption, fostering, mental health and social services.

  18. @sschultz

    “Why is adoption never talked about? ”

    Never talked about? You just did. You are just making crap up.

    There are grave risks and physical consequences to carrying a pregnancy to term not to mention the cost.

    Women are not brood mares who should be forced to provide babies to others.

    What you can or can’t understand is irrelevant.

    You have no say in what other people do with their bodies.

  19. @Zapski – you make a very good point. I will have to think on that. Thank you.

    I guess because I do see it in my line of work, it is hard for me to ‘draw the line’. I work OB and we have a Level 2 NICU. My MIL works in a Level 3 NICU. We see babies born at 28-29 weeks (granted they were ‘wanted’ babies) who survive and are healthy. It isn’t always a happy ending – we see some early babies 24 wks who survive healthy – but most of them do not yet.

    Of course they survive with medical care.

    Do advances in medical care/ability to sustain the fetus outside the mother determine when the child becomes a baby? 20 years ago, babies born before 34 weeks had a poor outlook. Now, we give surfactant after birth and steroids to mom before birth and our 32 weekers do amazingly well! (In my facility, we only keep the 32 weekers and above and babies who do not require ventilation).

    My mother in law deals with the tiniest preemies – considered viable at 24 weeks. Because medical technology has advanced, she will tell you that the 24 weekers have an uphill battle, but the 28-30 weekers usually do well.

    Maybe in another 10 years we will be able to save a fetus who is 18 weeks gestation. (As our technology advances).

    Anyway…20 years ago our arguments were the same. “The baby can not survive out of the womb therefore it has no choice.” 20 years ago, the age of viability was different.

    Does our perception of this fetus/baby change as we advance our technology? If we had the technology now to take an 8 week fetus and grow it into a full term baby – would the argument be different?

  20. @sschultz

    I’m not going to argue how I feel about abortion versus adoption because that’s entirely irrelevant. Even if I prefer adoption to abortion, that does not in any way give me the right to dictate to women in such a situation what they can and cannot do.

    It’s also worth noting that even a healthy pregnancy has its dangers. My sister recently had a baby, and it was by all measures a completely normal, healthy pregnancy… except that she hemmoraged during birth, losing so much blood that she had to take a transfusion and spend several days in hospital to recover.

    It’s completely unimaginable that anyone would want to FORCE that danger, slim as it may be, on a woman who was in whatever situation that prompted her to choose to abort. And this is in addition to the problem of telling a woman what she can or cannot do with her own body.

  21. @Ashley

    Thank you for your thoughtful response. Unfortunately, there is no link that shows legalized abortion decreases child abuse. There have been studies that believe abortion actually increases child abuse as it can affect the way a mother bonds with her next infant.

    Unfortunately, we deal with CPS too. I know there are cruel, horrible people out there. Those children certainly deserve better parents. It doesn’t mean they didn’t deserve to be born. If, as mothers, the child’s closest relative, we should be allowed to choose what is best (including abortion) – why not choose adoption.

    Those stories are heartbreaking and there definitely should be more resources out there for those children. I agree with you that no child should ever be harmed. Before birth or after.

  22. “There have been studies that believe abortion actually increases child abuse as it can affect the way a mother bonds with her next infant.”

    Provide evidence for this assertion.

  23. @sschultz:

    I think you’re missing my point. I’m not trying to link abortion or adoption to child abuse. I seriously doubt any connection would exist. I’m trying to point out a painful and often ignored reality outside the middle-class bubble. Adoption is a choice. Making it mandatory in a world that as a whole is indifferent to the individual is presumptuous.

  24. sschultz:

    You’re an idiot. “Baby” is not a medically accurate description of any organism that is in the process of gestation. It’s a “baby” or “infant” only after childbirth and before the approximate age of 1 year. This is a term utilized by so-called “pro-life” advocates as a form of emotional manipulation.
    Also, “reproductive rights” concern a woman’s right to be able to decide whether or not she wishes to carry an embryo/fetus to full term and give birth.

    I don’t suppose that you grew up in the age of when abortion was illegal, or for that matter, in a country where abortion is illegal. If you did, you would know better. Illegal abortion is not an effective method that reduces abortion, but rather a destructive source of future trauma for women who will obtain an induced miscarriage whether or not the state or country she lives in finds it legally acceptable.

    Also, your generalization that a majority of women have abortions because they’re selfish is inaccurate and completely arrogant. Choosing to have an abortion (for a varied amount of reasons) is one of the most responsible things that many women can do in regard to their lives and the lives of those around them, including the potential child. Look at for some very sobering and accurate information about women and abortion, as well as the most reliable methods of reducing abortions.

    Also, believing that every braindead individual would want to die is not only incorrect, but it’s a terrible assumption to make. I could make the same unfalsifiable claim about embryos/fetuses (which, btw, if you did your research before coming to your predetermined conclusions, you would know that the majority of abortions occur during the first trimester, when the organism in question is an embryo – not a “baby” or even a “fetus”).
    “They really didn’t want to be born, you know….”

  25. @Spurge Here are a few studies. The first two are academic. The third seems more opinion-based. Hope that helps.

    Ney, Philip G, MA, MD, FRCP(C), FRANZCP; Fung, Tak; Wickett, Adele Rose, BSN. Journal of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology & Health 8.1 (Fall 1993): 43-63.

    The Providence Journal [Providence, R.I] 30 Nov 1998: pp. B-05.

    Smith, C. (2006). Planned Parenthood: Time to Take a Second Look at Child Abuse Inc. Human Life Review, 32(2), 15. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

  26. Plus, making abortion illegal and forcing every woman who might be pregnant to have a child that she didn’t want and sometimes shouldn’t have (for her sake and the sake of the possible child) would be a breach of human rights and may be seen as cruel and unusual punishment.

    Ever see Rosemary’s Baby? … yeah. ‘Nuff said.

  27. @sschultz:

    So like, if I showed up because you did something to invite me into your home… like if your left your door open and my iron lung just happened to land in your living room?

    If I’m in your house, I’m your problem. Regardless of whether you want me or love me or know me or have other plans or are using your house for things.

    We should make it a law that all places of residence should be required to house the disabled whenever a disabled person decides they want to live there.

    (psssst…. it’s a metaphor.)

  28. My point may be neither here nor there, but brain dead people don’t actually get to choose whether or not to stay on the ventilator because they’re considered dead-dead. Hospitals try to work with families, because obviously it’s a hard time for them and they’re grieving, but in most states the plug can be pulled without anyone’s consent.

    (Terry Schiavo was in a vegetative state.)
    OK, I’ll go stop being OT now.

  29. @sschultz:

    What if the baby has a medical condition that means it will die after a day or two of life? Should a mother still go through pregnancy?

  30. Rosemary’s Baby … that is *fiction*. It has been entertaining and at some points, educational, but I must go make dinner for my children.

    Unless they are too big of a burden..then I guess I can just have them dismembered and tossed in the trash. Hey.. why not. I mean… no one should have to care for anyone else if they don’t *really* want to, right?

    Child-rearing is stressful. Having to cook, clean, etc… my life is no longer my own. I can’t go out when I want because – duh – I have to take care of the kids! I can’t really live the way I want – I have to have rooms for them and keep the house free of things that could harm them and maybe I want my dagger collection lying around! Maybe I don’t want to step on a hotwheel in the middle of the night when I’m walking to the bathroom! I could fall and sprain my ankle – another pitfall! Supporting them is damaging to my health. Having to work extra to buy them the essentials they need could give me a shorter life span. Geez – you guys thought carrying the baby was bad – try raising it for 18 years.

    Why can’t we just dispose of them anytime we want. We could choose when they were in the womb, right? Why can’t we choose now? Yeah. I say we ban together and fight for OUR rights. Why should we have to go through all this turmoil for eighteen years just because we CHOSE to have sex? Sheesh. I was so wrong.

    *Yeah.. it’s all sarcasm. Rosemary’s baby? Seriously.

  31. Rosemary’s Baby was a fiction, you are correct. The analogy I’m making is when a woman is strapped and physically forced to have a baby that she doesn’t want or may die from having. Try not being too literal next time, eh?

    1st of all: “dismembering” doesn’t occur during an abortion until past the 1st trimester, which, as I’ve already stated, is when the majority of abortions occur. 2nd: You’re using terminology that is clearly utilized for emotional manipulation, a true sign that you have no clue what you’re talking about, and since you cannot provide objective references for your preconceived beliefs that AREN’T based on confirmation bias, this is the only thing that you have to go on.

    By “burden,” I mean that (for instance) if a woman is an adolescent, she is more likely to not finish school or do the things that she wants to do with her life if she has a child — AND there is evidence to suggest that children born to adolescents (especially those that don’t finish high school) are also less likely to finish high school. The parents (or mother, in the cases where there is no father) are also more likely to be stuck at the poverty level, and their children thus follow in their footsteps. This is just ONE example, btw. Others would be like women who already have three kids and don’t have the financial means to care properly for the next (and subsequently is unable to properly care for all of them). Sometimes a woman cannot continue her career if she maintains a pregnancy, let alone have a child.
    Many women just don’t want to have children. At all. Period. Forcing them to do so would be against their rights as a human, let alone as a woman.

    And, no, murdering a living human being is not the same as terminating a pregnancy. You say you’re not “pro-life,” but everything that you’re saying is evidence to the contrary.

  32. @spurge:

    @sschultz: ” Unfortunately, there is no link that shows legalized abortion decreases child abuse. There have been studies that believe abortion actually increases child abuse as it can affect the way a mother bonds with her next infant.”
    Making these kinds of unsupported statements without citing your evidence is absurd. What study where? And really, studies don’t believe anything; they provide evidence to support or refute a theory. And some people do choose adoption. That is there choice, not one for you or anyone else to make.

  33. @sschultz

    I just wanted to say that while I disagree with your conclusions on the issue of abortion, I thank you for stating them clearly. To often this is a hot button (and for many rightly so!) that causes people to lose their cool.

    That being said, I am not pro-abortion. I am pro-choice. As a male and a non-parent, this issue is tough and complex for me. I am a huge believer in education and contraception. Sometimes, contraception fails or is sabotaged. Sometimes, pregnancies happen. Sometimes, abortion is the only option left on the table due to social pressures and / or quality of life issues. Yes, adoption may be a choice, but for many, especially those who have been given abstinence only education, an abortion may be the only recourse once nature runs it’s course.

    I was wondering if you would have abortion outlawed or if you are promoting all other options, but leaving abortion as a choice?

  34. @sschultz

    In post #17 alone you say;

    Why is adoption never talked about? I really don’t understand. I seriously can not understand.


    I can not understand why anyone would choose termination.


    I truly can not understand why we would fight for this ‘choice’.

    Your faliure to understand does not allow you to then assert your opinion as truth.
    I don’t understand calculus but I can not therefore assert that function times X = Bunny rabbit just because I like bunny rabbits.

    Oh, and pulling the mommy card on Elyse has never worked for anti-vaxxers so I doubt it will work for you.

    You are welcome to your opinion of when a fetus becomes a baby, what you would wish people to do in that situation, and whether you believe there is a link between abortion and child abuse (and maybe brest cancer? No?), but you are not allowed to force that opinion into practice in other people’s life.

  35. Jeez,
    This thread could be used as a primer for logical falicies. Let’s see…straw man – check, argument from authority – check, argument from ignorance – check, ad absurdum, final consiquences, non sequitur…

    Hail, hail the gang’s all here.

  36. @sschultz

    So, should my cousin have been allowed/chosen to have an abortion so that she could could undergo chemotherapy to treat her terminal cancer, and prolong her life so she could spend one more year with her 2 year old son?

    If not, you’re an awful person.

    If yes, why? Isn’t the ‘baby’ she was carrying as much a person as her 2 year old? Why should she have the right to terminate her pregnancy, but not a woman in a different circumstance, trying to take control of her own fertility?

  37. sschultz: You’re right. I chose to have sex.

    What I didn’t choose was for a parasite to infect my body, drain my resources, and tear a up my vagina forcing its way out. What I didn’t choose is to sacrifice my life goals for a thing that I don’t want.

    What you’re saying is tantamount to slut-shaming : “Well, if you don’t want to have kids, keep your legs closed.” Guess what! That is utter bullshit. What I do behind closed doors is none. of. your. business. And my repercussions of what I do in the bedroom, and my reaction to that? Also, none of your business.

    As mentioned above: potential is not life. DNA being there? Not life. Miscarriages, which happen so effing often it’s not funny, also had the potential to be life, and DNA of a future human. Does that mean that we should go collect the blood and try to save the potential human? I’m guessing not.

    Looking at this from a much less emotional perspective, take public costs into account. It’s approximately $500 at my local PP to get an abortion; which, of course, the government will not cover. It costs how much for the government (and the individual) to pay for the healthcare, food (via programs like SNAP and WIC), housing, and potentially foster care for an unwanted child? Because, of course, class plays into this argument a whole lot, since the people who most desire access to abortions are those who can’t afford them.

    If you’re pro-life, consider the life that a woman gives up. A life that could actually make her a productive member of society.

    Also, I still maintain: If men were the ones incubating the fetuses and giving birth, this would be a completely null argument.

    Long story short: examine your biases here. What’s more important? A real live human with hopes and dreams, or a potential human with no consciousness.

  38. One day I stumbled upon an antiabortion articles with two of the most stupid and hypocritical arguements.The first one – “Lenin had legalized abortion!”.But the woman failed to mention that Stalin criminalized it again-So the biggest(or second biggest) murderer in history was against abortion.The second one was -“So many woman feel depressed after abortion(She apparently doesn’t make difference between miscarriage/abortion for medical reasons of a wanted pregnancy and the abortion of an unwanted fetus).”Again she failed to mention the post-partum depression which can lead to mureder of a live breathing baby.

  39. @sshultz

    I can understand where you are coming from as a mom and as nurse who spends the majority of her time trying to keep babies alive. I can see that the act of abortion goes completely against what you live and breath everyday. This would be especially insulting when you read or hear stories about women who do it purely for selfish reasons.

    I am not going to try and change your mind, you have a right to your opinion. You also haven’t stated whether or not you believe abortion should be illegal or not.

    I invite you to think about the following to try and see the other perspective.

    1. Not all women CHOSE to have sex.
    2. Not all women are choosing abortion to avoid their responsibilities or to cover for their irresponsible behavior and that some women ARE thinking about the “child”
    3. Naturally occurring miscarriage is not a choice.
    4. While some may want to chose adoption, it may not be a viable option.
    6. That there is a reason that there is so much such conflict, and that is because BOTH sides make valid points.
    7. Entertain the idea that in reality, if given a chance, some of the “crazies” would use the law in order to control women (and everybody else for that matter)

    Step back and try and understand a wider implication then
    “selfish women avoiding their responsibilities”

    I personally believe that abortion should be legal.

    I believe abortion to be a serious medical issue that needs careful thought and evaluation, by the parties involved, not a judge. I believe that a women needs to make an informed decision that includes all the FACTS and options and not bullied by opinions.

    I believe that we, as women and human beings are fully capable of making reasonable and responsible choices.

    Thanks for reading

  40. @Christina

    I apologize for the delay. I really was cooking my kids dinner :)

    Thank you for your insightful, intelligent post. I appreciate your views although they are not my own.

    Apparently this Skepchick site is a very pro-choice site. It is good that you have this group to support your choices/beliefs.

    I am very aware how often miscarriages/spontaneous abortions occur. I see them at work. I may work Labor and Delivery, but delivering babies who have died in utero is also part of my job. The saddest part. Even those who miscarry at home often need to come in to be sure the miscarriage is complete.

    So maybe I do see a different side than you all do. I see these premature babies – micro-preemies who are born to soon. I’ve seen tiny babies struggle to breathe and hang on for hours. They are under 24 weeks/1500 grams. They aren’t “viable” so there is nothing we can do for them. I see the terror and deep sadness when we have to tell these parents that there is nothing we can do.

    And because I see this.. I do have a hard time understanding when people say “but it’s not a baby.” It IS a baby. I would never (and I hope you wouldn’t either) tell the mother of a 22 weeker that there is nothing we can do for her “fetus”. We are told never to use those terms. We don’t say fetus. Because to that woman – that ‘fetus’ is her baby.

    So I guess whether or not it’ a fetus or a baby depends on whether or not the mother wants the baby.

    And I know we won’t agree. I wish there was at least one other person who could understand on this forum – but I think it isn’t fair. I think it is not fair that the fetus only “counts” if the mother wants it. Lets not even get into what the father wants. The talk about how fetuses are parasites? That is so very, very sad to me.

    The statements about hemorrhaging after delivery? Yes – but women die from abortions too because they hemorrhage and sometimes get septic. It is a surgery that carries risks. Like every other surgery. Both have risks – carrying a child to term and having an abortion.

    I realize we may not agree. I’m certainly not saying I know all the answers. I can only know my answers.

    I have often tried to understand the other side of this argument – to find something that will help me relate. What I usually find is a pretty hostile, defensive group. When I speak with pro-lifers, I usually find people who can only explain their beliefs because of their religion and their “God” says not to. Surely there is a middle ground.

    To those who remained civil: Thank you. It was appreciated.

    It certainly has brought some traffic to your site :)

  41. No one has mentioned that carrying a baby to full term and delivering it in hopes of giving it up for adoption often back fires. The oxytocin released during the delivery and right after the baby is born makes the mother emotionally attached to the child even if she rationally knows that she doesn’t have the resources to raise the baby. I don’t have children but I imagine that having my child taken away from me would feel like the worst broken heart you ever had x1000.
    If she chooses to keep the baby, she then will likely be a welfare mom and provide the lowest quality of life to the child possible. She will probably also screw over parents that were hoping to adopt the child. In addition to being on welfare, the mother will probably have to depend on her own parents for help with raising her own. Why would someone put themselves through that trauma and/or negatively affect so many people when she can just be responsible and not let it get to that point?

    No one is saying that abortion is cute, im pro choice and it makes me cringe. that being said, I know rationally that a collection of cells does not having feelings while a neglected or abused child has very intense negative feelings and most likely wishes that they were never born.

  42. I am pro-choice because I know life isn’t black and white but full of choices steeped in grey. I would not personally have an abortion but I’ve been there for a friend when she made the best decision of her life to have one. It’s not about what I would choose but the fact that I have the choice. A zygote is not an embryo is not a fetus is not a human. Like it or not when we are and what makes us human is not uniform, clear cut, and simple just like our lives themselves.

    You have every right to be anti-abortion yourself, this does not infringe on my rights as a woman. Insisting that you have the right to force a choice as intimate as this for every woman in the US, however, is where I have the problem.

  43. If it’s not your body it’s not your decision. While personally, I don’t think it’s a choice I would ever take, and I would prefer no one else ever had to make, life doesn’t work out that well. The thing I find particularly frustrating in this whole debate is pro-life are also the people (usually) that want to cut funding for Planned Parenthood and other sources of health care for women and children. If you are going to insist that every possible child be brought to term and delivered then you better make damn sure that pregnancy has all the necessary pre-natal care and all care afterwards. Oh wait, that would be universal health care and that communism. *takes a deep breath* But seriously. There is NO reason that America – in our glorified self image as world leaders – should rank 33 in the world in infant mortality. Seriously, check it out, CUBA does better than we do.

  44. Honestly I’m surprised you guys spent so much time debating one person who had the obvious desire to provoke and not commenting on the article.

    Other than the one inaccuracy it makes a good point. Women don’t matter and the intent of these laws are to control women and repress people in general. The proof- these are the same people who would refuse publically funded health care and education, along with income and welfare supports. The people pushing these laws sicken me.

    I feel fortunate that presently I have a choice, but where I am there are people who would jump at the chance to limit my choice. Because they feel they know better than me. They know what’s best. And they feel that if I exert control they will lose power.

  45. @sschultz: “My answer would be: A newborn baby can not survive independently either. Is it not a baby?”

    I guarantee you that a newborn baby can survive independently of its mother and they frequently do. That’s pretty much the premise of that whole “adoption” thing that you mentioned nobody talking about. It needs somebody to take care of it but that somebody doesn’t need to be its mother.
    This is fairly well established but please don’t take my word for it – ask a doctor!
    Further, the same is not true of that 1/2 inch fetus. Again, don’t take my word for it. Ask a doctor.

    I also think you’ll find that your lack of adoptable babies is a fiction. There may not be enough adoptable babies for those who insist on a white baby* but I guarantee you, there’s no shortage of babies in need of adoption. What there is a shortage of is prospective parents fit to adopt them.

    * And I, for my part, am absolutely fine with these folks not being able to find a baby to adopt.

  46. @sschultz: “They are under 24 weeks/1500 grams. They aren’t “viable” so there is nothing we can do for them.

    So you do understand the difference between not being able to survive outside the womb and just needing someone to take care of it, then?
    You know, that difference that you claimed didn’t exist between a non-viable fetus and a newborn baby just a few posts back?

    “Because to that woman – that ‘fetus’ is her baby. “

    And to some, a cabbage patch doll is their baby but that doesn’t make it an actual baby.
    What something emotionally is to someone doesn’t really have any bearing on what something actually, technically is.

  47. As a 24 year old (male) parent from Norway, I’ve been viewing America’s loud, rather nasty version of Christianity with a mixture of horror and incredulity.

    I do agree absolutely with the premise of the given article. The roots of the misleadingly named pro-life movement are to be found in the utter misogyny of religion as well as the inability of people to distinguish between the advocation of an action and the advocation of the right to perform that action. The right of the mother to choose whether or not she would like to have a child should be self-evident! Sacrificing the rights of a fully grown woman at the altar of self-righteous, hypocritical morality is to be condemned. It IS slightly consoling to know that such idiotic bills are unlikely to ever become laws in the United States and it will continue to honour the rights of individuals, regardless of whether or not anyone can understand the “need” for this.

  48. I am afraid that, in the context of this blog, my opinions on this topic will make me sound like a troll. I amn’t. I have been following the posts on here and enjoying and agreeing with most of the points brought up in them. I feel that I am learning a lot.

    I don’t want to get into a debate about when a fetus becomes a baby or alive or any of that stuff, because I don’t imagine that an internet conversation is going to change anyone’s opinion on something which is, fundementally, felt rather than thought.

    But I would argue that the use of the phrase “reproductive rights” is bad scepticism. As far as I understand it, the point of view you’re trying to promote actively promotes the acceptance that there are other points of view out there. A large proportion of humanity, myself included, believe that once you are pregnant you have already reproduced. By wanting to be allowed the right to abortion, you are not asking for the right to decide when you do and do not reproduce, but rather for the right to ‘un-reproduce’. I do not expect to change your mind, but since there is no compelling scientific evidence either way (there can’t be, this is not a scientifically determinable thing), please respect my beliefs and those of people like me.

  49. @sschultz: Does our perception of this fetus/baby change as we advance our technology? If we had the technology now to take an 8 week fetus and grow it into a full term baby – would the argument be different?

    That is a good question as well, and I don’t know that I am qualified to address it.

    Legally, the traditionally accepted definition has been that the first trimester is an acceptable period in which to terminate a pregnancy without conditions. The actions at the courthouse in Ohio are clearly designed to try and push that definition back, relying on a heartbeat as a definition of personhood.

    I don’t think that there really can be a clear moment that everyone could look at and say “that is a baby and that is not.” It’s a reducto ad absurdum argument, and not very productive.

    To date, the law has been more geared towards a “necessary evil” determination. I believe the others here have (to varying degrees of success) tried to explain the “necessary” part of that argument.

    Personally, I wish very much that there wasn’t a need for abortions to happen at all, but I am willing to accept safe and legal abortions over the inevitability of back ally or coat-hanger abortions that we know will happen. Preventing that horror is on balance more important to me than allowing an ill defined potential person to be destroyed. If it is illegal, both the child and the mother will be killed or worse. We know this from our own history.

    Further, by making it illegal, one creates a situation where a woman who might seek an abortion can be imprisoned by the State which will force her to bear a child. If a woman is forced to bear a child, she is no longer being treated as a human. Prisons will have wings full of pregnant women forcing them to give birth. Again, this is not speculation, this happens in some South American countries.

    The best solution is simply to make pregnancy prevention the priority. After that, we need to have safe and legal abortions. It’s ugly, we don’t have to like it, but the alternatives are worse.

  50. @Zapski
    Personally, I wish very much that there wasn’t a need for abortions to happen at all, but I am willing to accept safe and legal abortions over the inevitability of back ally or coat-hanger abortions that we know will happen.

    I absolutely agree and would like to add that if you wish to know how ridiculous limiting access to abortion is, take the above sentence and replace abortion with any common surgery and it becomes asburd.

    Personally, I wish very much that there wasn’t a need for appentedomies to happen at all, but I am willing to accept safe and legal appendectomies over the inevitability of back ally appendectomies that we know will happen.

    Abortion, when you remove the extreme emotions that are inevitably involved, is a surgery that will happen regardless of legality, the difference is that those who have the means will always be able to get a safe abortion even if it is made illegal, and in that way this issue is deeply tangled with the class warfare that is currently being waged by the right.

    It’s the golden rule, those who have the gold make the rules.

  51. @saoili

    Respect your beliefs? That is rich.

    No one is telling you that you have to have an abortion.

    You have no say in what Women do with their bodies, none.

    Get that through your thick skull.

  52. @saoili
    You are entitled to your opinion and use it as you wish in your personal life, you may try to persuade people to see things your way, and you may inform without pressure as much as you would like, I don’t think anyone here would say you couldn’t or shouldn’t.

    I do however have a problem with your definitions, you say that “reproductive rights” is the wrong term to be used because once you are pregnant you have already reproduced, that is not only a very strange opinion it is factually wrong. If that were the case any female who have ever had a miscarriage has reproduced, do you see how absurd that is?

    You say that it is bad skepticism to use the term “reproductive rights” and I suppose using your defintion it would be, but I don’t believe any skeptic would use your extreme definition of reproduction, it follows that the term is bad skepticism to you alone.
    You are, as I said, welcome do believe that your definition is correct, but don’t try to redifine terms in law, you will have a ferocious fight on your hands.

  53. @saoili

    Also, I think you will find that we here a Skepchick will accept that different people have differnt beliefs and will have no problem with your personal beliefs…

    until you try to assert something that is patently wrong, or you use an illogical argument, or you try to tell someone else what they should believe, or you are rude for no good reason, or you attack for the sake of attacking. To wit, if you provoke you may be killed in the face with bears and we will not apologize for it.

    BTW- You will note that snark will sometimes be attacked when it is not properly recognized, but when that is pointed out it will be followed by a sheepish apology.

    Basically, we won’t be dicks until you are, then it’s on! Welcome by the way.

  54. Have to agree that the idea of pregnancy = reproduction is absurd. Becoming pregnant is merely the start of the reproduction process. As reproducing is about ensuring the continuation and survival of ones genetic material then it does rather stand to reason that it would involve the production of physically independent offspring. If you are merely pregnant with a fetus which could never survive without your body’s continual input, how exactly are your genes surviving you? It’s only a potential reproduction – as so many commenters have said. The idea is as absurd as me saying that I’ve built a house when all I’ve done is draw a blueprint.

    I wonder how the anti-abortion commenters on this thread would feel about being legally required to donate a kidney to anyone who needed it, or even to give blood?

  55. I was reading the thread and got about half way down when I just couldn’t see straight anymore. I always have this problem with discussions (even polite one) about abortion. All I can see is my best friend and her second child. The one she aborted. At 6 months.

    The 6 month ultrasound showed several internal problems. The boychild had no lungs (his liver was in his chest cavity), a malformed heart and several other problems. She had the choice of abortion or carrying him to term only to watch him die within minutes of birth. She decided that abortion was the kinder option. An easier death.

    She was fortunate that she didn’t have to march through a line of anti-abortion protesters on her way to get her abortion (she was able to slip in a back door). And she just barely squeaked in under the line and didn’t have to drive 8 hours to get a “late term” abortion. I can’t imagine how hard it would have been if she’d had to deal with the so-called pro-lifers.

    After a while all of the anti-abortion comments turn into the sound of her crying over her lost boy.

  56. @The Edge

    I am so soryy to hear about what you friend had to go through, life can really be cruel sometimes.

    For any pro-lifers who think that choosing to abort is an easy choice…

    I’m too polite finish that sentence the way I would like to.

  57. “If you don’t want Abortions, STOP F#@KING Every woman in Ohio!”

    I am not even a little sure what message the sign holder thinks they are conveying. I am undecided whether I want to know.

    We do live in interesting times, some more than others.

  58. @genjokoan: I was having that thought myself. Is the sign saying “stop fucking, every woman in Ohio!” or “(men) stop fucking every woman in Ohio!” I kinda like the meaning of that latter, although it’s probably not what that person meant. Just the implication that men should take some responsibility, if they’re going to take away rights for a condition that they will never have to deal with. Of course, the former is victim-blaming, as usual.

    As for the abortion argument itself, much has already been said by people here. So, all I will say is, I understand if you don’t believe that abortion is an option for you. However, you cannot extend your opinion to other women, because you will never have to deal with the consequences of your choice on their lives.

    Making abortion illegal changes nothing. Just like prostitution, drugs, and other “crimes” are unchanged by being illegal. They still happen. I would rather that women have safe abortions with doctors in clinics, than back-alley abortions performed by god-knows-who with god-knows-what training with unsanitary instruments in unsanitary conditions.

    Also, as a victim of child abuse, I can wholeheartedly say that no life would be infinitely preferable to the horror and pain that I experienced. In fact, I wish my mother had aborted me, just to spare me the pain. Don’t tell me to just commit suicide, it’s not that simple. That doesn’t prevent my pain. It just ends it. I would have rather prevented it.

  59. Wow, thanks for all the responses. I appreciate them all, except maybe the one from @spurge, who I frankly think has no basis on which to judge the thickness of my skull ;).

    @mrmisconception You make an interesting point, that my point of view means that any woman who has ever had a miscarriage has reproduced. And yes, I think they have actually. It just wasn’t an entirely successfully reproduction.

    Where did I try to redefine terms in law? Is ‘reproductive rights’, that particular phrase, actually in American law? I know that it isn’t in Irish law, since we don’t have legalised abortion (technically our constitution now allows for it in very specific circumstances, but it has never been put into law, per say) here.

    I am curious by your statement ‘I don’t believe any skeptic would use your extreme definition of reproduction’. You are incorrect. I am a sceptic*. And I clearly have.

    Or do you honestly believe that my stance on this one issue alone disqualifies me as a sceptic? I have thought long and hard about the abortion debate and done a lot of reading and arguing on it. My end conclusion, as a sceptic, is that reason doesn’t lead to either side of the debate. There is no way to use science to determine which side is right and which side is wrong. It comes down to definitions, opinions and, ultimately, feelings. You can probably work out which side of the abortion debate someone is on just by asking ‘when do you feel that life begins?’. I see no evidence of an objectively ‘right’ answer to that.

    @earthling “As reproducing is about ensuring the continuation and survival of ones genetic material” Really? So if my son dies wihtout having children, have I failed to reproduce?

    And for the record, I think being required to give blood would be a great idea. I try to donate as often as I’m allowed to myself, though the rules here are incredibly strict, so I often don’t qualify.

    *The dialect of English that I speak spells it this way. From a quick google, it looks like there isn’t really a difference in meaning between the two, although being a skeptic makes you part of a bigger community in a way that being a sceptic does not.

  60. When does life begin? About 3-4 billion years ago, most likely in some primordial ooze.

  61. @saoili
    I still don’t understand why you think your opinion should govern myself or any other woman. You don’t believe in abortion? Good, never have one (better yet, also adopt a whole bunch of those kids you want to force into being born) and you’ve supported your stance. I’m pro-choice, therefore if I were to find myself unexpectedly pregnant (or pregnant after being raped or pregnant with a nonviable fetus) I would exercise my right CHOOSE for myself. There you go, freedom for us both.

  62. If I can quote Bill Hicks (and I will):

    “You’re not a human being, until you’re in my phone book”.

  63. ” I have thought long and hard about the abortion debate and done a lot of reading and arguing on it. My end conclusion, as a sceptic, is that reason doesn’t lead to either side of the debate. ”

    Then you’re doing it wrong or just avoiding conclusions you don’t like.

    1) No amount of personhood justifies human slavery or forced birth. This is pretty easy to determine rationally, it’s the same reason we don’t have forced organ donation.

    2) Most benchmarks of personhood are not met until a significant time after birth. Potential personhood is a meaningless concept. basing decisions on all potential futures is not a rational way to decide things.

    3) That said, there are distinct physiological changes in brain and body function at the moment of the first breath. This is also when the baby is physically separated from the mother and is no longer dependent on her body or a potential danger to her. This makes birth a rational cutoff for abortion.

  64. Let’s momentarily concede the point that abortion is murder. Just for the sake of argument.

    If someone comes into my house, even if it’s only for a few minutes, and they’re not invited and I don’t want them there, and they don’t leave, and they’re taking my shit and threatening bodily harm to me, I have a right to kill them. Even if I didn’t lock the door. Even if I didn’t lock the windows. Even if I have really great shit in my house. Even if one day I want house guests. Even if I already have house guests. Even if I have house guests and am willing to give them all my shit. No one has a right to come into my house and take my shit and/or harm my body. And that’s just a house.

    But if someone comes into my BODY, I’m expected to automatically love them and nurture them and see to it that they have the best experience possible?

    You know, if someone came into my house and threatened to tear my vagina, I’d do everything in my power to make sure they got the hell out… and I’d refuse to feel bad if that exit was bloody.

    And I say that as a very proud mother of 2 young and beautiful children. I say that as a woman who has had four very wanted pregnancies, three of which were complete surprises. I say that as a woman who has had 2 emotionally devastating miscarriages. I get it. But as a woman, I have a right to not be a mother if I don’t want to. And I have the right to not be a baby-making service for anyone else if I don’t want to. I have the right to not have anyone else come into my home or my body uninvited.

  65. When people say that one should “take the brief discomfort of being pregnant to give a baby to one of the many childless couples” does that mean they are doing pro-bono surrogate pregnancy round the clock for charity?

  66. @Buzz Parsec
    @anyone else who was responding to me

    I’m afraid that I don’t have time to respond in detail to people’s replies to me. But in general, you are replying to things I have implied and things you have assumed, rather than things I have said. (Though I would like to thank you all for not assuming I’m a right-wing Christian crazy, which is the response I usually get when I try to talk to Americans about abortion).

    Let me say again that I am not here to try and convince you that abortion is murder, or otherwise change your views on the subject. And just as I don’t think I will change your views on this with an internet conversation, I am sure that you won’t change mine.

    I am just pointing out that the phrase ‘reproductive rights’ carries an offensive level of ‘we’re right and you’re wrong’ in it. I accept that your point of view is a valid one and I only ask that you give me the same respect.

    I asked if the phrase is actually in American law, but no one seems to have answered that.

    For the record, I find the term ‘pro-life’ offensive for the same reasons and I don’t use it. I am honest. I am anti-choice. I am not trying to change American law to prevent abortions. However, I will fight against people trying to change Irish law to allow them.

  67. @ saoili

    We are right and you are wrong.

    No one is going to force you to have an abortion.

    You have no say in what other Woman do with their bodies.

    It is as simple as that.

    I for one plan to do whatever I can to get abortion totally legalized in Ireland.

    Anyone know who I can donate to?

  68. @spurge

    Your comment reads a lot like you read enough to determine that I am on the other side of the debate from you and then completely ignored what I’m saying.

    Why do you insist on trying to drag me into the debate on the rights and wrongs of abortion, when I have stated, repeatedly, that I think debating it online is a pointless exercise?

    All I am asking is that you consider the possibility that you are wrong.

    Some of the basic principles of science amount to ‘wrong until proven right, and even then, open minded towards being proven wrong again’. You don’t, and can’t, have any evidence what is morally right (let’s not get into a discussion about objective moral truths). All a person can have on a moral question is an opinion. So please get down off your moral high horse and allow me my opinion.

    A huge number of people believe that abortion is wrong. It is arrogant and ignorant of you to dismiss us all, simply because you disagree with us. I am not trying to convince you of my side, I know that is futile. All I am asking is that you acknowledge our existence and try to refrain from insulting, irritating and offending us.

  69. @spurge

    Oh, ya know what? Up until you said ‘we are right and you are wrong’ I was anti-choice, but now that you’ve said that, I’m convinced. Or maybe it was the idea that I have no right to say what another women does with her body that did it. I’ve never heard that argument before.
    Never mind that I believe the difference between ‘some cells from two different human beings’ and ‘a new human being’ happens as soon as the egg is fertilised. Never mind that, by almost all definitions of humanity, a fertilised egg is just as much a human as a new born baby. I believed that the life of a human began at conception. That’s clearly, objectively not true! How could I have been so fooled! The fact that a new genetic combination that has never existed before and will never exist again comes into existence at conception is clearly completely irrelevant, now that you’ve told me I’m wrong.

    Never mind that I prefer to live in a country that pays for every medical need of a pregnant woman than one that uses ‘well, you can always abort any children you can’t afford’ as an excuse not to. Never mind any of that, you’ve told me I’m wrong so now I’m convinced. I guess readily available abortions are the better way.

    Why do pro-choice people always trot out this lame ‘no one is forcing you to have an abortion’ thing? No one ever said anyone was forcing anyone to have an abortion. It’s a ridiculous straw man.

    I had an unplanned pregnancy. I was lucky enough to be in a position to keep my child and I am now a very proud mother. But I remember pregnancy, it was pretty nasty in a lot of ways. And I imagine knowing that I’d decided to give the child up for adoption would have made it much, much worse. And I can imagine how heartbreaking the beautiful moment when he stopped crying when I held him, just born and still slippy, would have been if I’d known I had to give him up. But you know what? All of that is better than death. Since I believe that an unborn child is alive, that’s what aborting him would have been for him, death. I know that you don’t believe that an unborn child is alive. But you cannot prove, objectively, that it is not, because that is not something that is objectively true or false. It is a matter of opinion. Believing that an unborn child is alive means that I have as much right to say whether a woman kills an unborn child as I do to say whether a woman kills a new born child. Whatever it would put her through, if it is less than death, the unborn child’s right to life is paramount.

    All I am asking for you is an admission that whether or not an unborn child is alive, and whether or not they’re a person is a matter of opinion. I don’t think I have ever talked to anyone for whom their opinion on that topic does not accurately predict their side of the abortion debate. If you can convince me that they are not, objectively, by referring back to something other than a definition of human or alive with which I also don’t agree, then maybe you will convince me. I am willing to accept that possibility. I may also eat my hat.

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