Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The penalty for abortion

The issue of abortion brings up many topics relative to environmentalism, human rights, women's rights, women's health, religion and a whole host of personal freedoms. Aside from the obvious issues pertaining to world population and the access to abortions, I wanted to bring up the problem with making abortions illegal.

Abortion is clearly an issue that divides this country with a good proportion of Americans believing that abortion should be illegal for a variety of personal, religious or ethical reasons. But, when asked, many anti-abortionists don't have a clear answer for how one should be punished for this crime.

In other words, let's say that abortion is made illegal, what should the penalty be for getting an abortion? Because history has shown that making abortions illegal doesn't stop abortions from happening. It just makes them less safe for the woman. And they will continue.

At a Libertyville anti-abortion demonstration, these people were questioned about their opinion as to how women should be punished if they have an illegal abortion and many of them didn't have an answer. Most felt that the woman shouldn't be punished, but the question was rightfully put to them that, if it's illegal, shouldn't they be punished?

What other crime of this supposed magnitude (particularly one where it is analogous to murder), or really any magnitude, goes without punishment? They didn't seem to think about this next, obvious step in making abortions illegal, and many of them had been involved in the anti-abortion movement for several years.

What about you? If you feel that abortions should be illegal, should women serve jail time? If so, how long? Should it be treated as murder? Life sentence or the death penalty?

And, if there is no penalty for obtaining an illegal abortion, then what's the point of making it illegal if there is no punishment?

128 comments:

Robj98168 said...

OH NO SHE DIDN'T! She Went there!
Seriously, I was taught since a young boy that if men could have babies abortion would not only be legal, but funded.
And that is my opinion on the issue- if congressmen and Senators could get pregnant- they would fund abortion.
I know - What about Adoption. Well if they made it possible for caring adults to adopt babies, and if people preaching adoption did adopt instead of turning their eyes away from those kids that are "un-adoptable",and the ones who want to legislate who is or isn't fit to be a parent who just shut up, We wouldn't have a problem
now would we.

Dani said...

Well put. Very well put indeed.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is "None of my business." This issue belongs to the person doing the suffering. That being said, would it not be better to provide better contraception for free to start with and better care for those who do get into trouble? And how about free morning after pills?

Anything getting through all this can surely be dealt with on a case by case level.

I'm not a fan of late abortion except in extreme cases but this should be on a case by case medical basis.

If we looked after people properly, this issue just shouldn't exist.

viv in nz

Heather said...

can of worms..check...can opener...check....


I think it's a choice every woman has to make for herself and it's unethical for a bunch of crusty old white men to make that choice for them. You are right. If I wanted an illegal abortion, I would find a way to have one, whether it be herbal or chemical, or physical. Those would be incredibly unsafe and put my life in danger as well as having the possibility of damaging the fetus instead of aborting it. The many issue is that I will always think abortion should be legal and they will always think it is murder and we will never change their minds or vice versa. The only solution is to live in harmony about it, like we do so many other things. For instance, in the bible belt, they teach creationism, even though it isn't a valid scientific theory, and though we all know it's wrong, we just have to accept that.

Lynn from organicmania.com said...

Good for you for raising this question, Crunchy, although it seems odd timing with Obama now in office. Tide should turn, no?

What do they do in repressive regimes? Prob jail the women.

Bucky said...

This should be fun!

Great question, CC. Most people haven't thought through what happens when you make abortion illegal. Many others don't think that women should face criminal penalties, just the people who perform them.

Which makes no sense at all. But then, no one ever accused the anti-abortion people of being sensical.

On a historical note, abortion didn't become an issue for the religious right until the eighties. When Roe originally passed, most mainstream Protestant churches in the South were very happy about it, because they thought that most of the people getting abortions would be poor black women. Southern Christians saw abortion as a way to reduce the population of African Americans. Ahhhhh, racism.

It was only after the decline of Russia and the fall of communism in the 80s as a rallying issue that the right latched on to abortion. They hadn't yet discovered the power of homophobia as a fundraising tool.

carsick said...

Yucky topic.
I'm not for abortion. Especially late term. Jail time? No. Crusty old white men? What is that? What a dumb statement.
The US needs peopke on both sides of the table. Ones that say we need abortion and ones that say No. That way a middle road can be reached. Where is's not all one way. It would never pass for them to be illegal.
Why is it protesters (Mostly Liberals) say Bush (with the war) killed innocent children when they are having abortions themselves?
Babies are born at 4 and 1/2 months and can be healthy. I know this first hand as I sit here and look at a child born then.
PS
God Bless America that we are able to have this conversation.

Bucky said...

The US needs peopke [sic] on both sides of the table. Ones that say we need abortion and ones that say No.

I couldn't disagree more. Perhaps your church needs people on both sides of the debate? But the US is a secular society. Keep your religion off of my civil rights and I'll promise to do the same.

As for the false comparison between the killing of innocent children and abortion -- just remember that a fetus isn't a child until it is actually born.

Carmen said...

I feel that abortions should be illegal (with exceptions for health of the mother and rape), but I wouldn't punish the women. These are women who are often desperate and convinced they have no other choice. I would instead put penalties on the abortion providers.

This is such a divisive issue for our country. It is divisive mostly because we have clearly different beliefs about when human life begins and when that human life has rights under the constitution. How do you resolve something like that? These fundamentally different beliefs. We may not be able to do that.

I think it would do everyone good if we focused on reducing these abortions, especially when women are pushed into it. I'm sure we all know plenty of women who have had an abortion - that's a problem. This shouldn't be done casually. Most of the women I know felt like they had no choice - parents insisted, boyfriend threatened, etc. As a community we should be caring for these women and propping them up - not tearing them down. Let them know that they do have other choices.

I have met many women who feel eternally regretful that they aborted their child. One kind of woman I have NEVER met? Someone who was eternally regretful for giving their child life.

Carmen said...

@Bucky...

Case in point "just remember that a fetus isn't a child until it is actually born."

This is just not a commonly held belief. Children have thrived outside of the womb from only 19 weeks in utero. Many, many, many people hold the belief that human life begins at viability and many also believe it begins at conception. The consititution of our country does not specify.

Maya said...

Well put Crunchy. I don't know anyone who has had one who actually wanted one, but the choice thankfully was there. I believe in the choice to have an abortion if that is what is necessary.

To answer your actual question, I think the primary people that would get punished (and used to get punished) by the law would be the doctors. They would probably be threatened with losing their medical license. The women would get small fines, but from an enforcement standpoint it would be the doctors they would probably go after, which would make it that much harder to get an abortion. The women who get sick, die, or become infertile from improper procedures would be getting "their reward". I imagine that is how it would go, as it has in the past.

Personally, I do believe in a non-physical reality, whether you call it heaven or the spirit world or something else. And I think that all babies work with God or Spirit to choose how, where and through whom to enter the world. So if they are entering the world through a woman that is inclined to abort them, then both God and the baby soul knew that, and must have been OK with that before they came in, for whatever spiritual reason or lesson was needed...

Bucky said...

Carmen, I have a question for you: why make an exception in the case of rape (or incest as many do although you don't)?

A life is a life no matter how it was conceived.

The fact that you are willing to "kill a child" that was conceived through rape is a sure giveaway that you are more concerned with punishing women for having sex than any actual concern for "life." You think it is only okay to "kill a baby" if the woman didn't consent to the sexual encounter.

From a rational, ethical point of view, that makes absolutely no sense.

At least try to be consistent.

And you need to get out more. Talk to a parent who is watching their newborn suffer and die from some horrible gentic or birth defect. Ask them what the humane thing would be.

Joyce said...

This is a good question! I agree with Carmen. I've never actually heard anyone say the the woman should be punished, but I have heard that proposed for providers. Personally, the right path is support for pregnant women, better adoption laws, free health care for young children, and better information about birth control, and(gasp) promotion of abstinence. Remove the barriers that make a woman feel hopeless enough to pursue abortion.

carsick said...

Please let me be more specific.
This has NOTHING to do with religion for myself. I just stated my opinion.
CC asked if what should a womans punishment be. I answered that the best way I could. Have you seen a partial birth abortion? You should watch one.
I justify my answer that it should always go head to head with yea or nea so it won't be treated casually. It's an impact on a womans life and is her decision but she should be made aware of what her decision brings.
For every action there is a reaction. Be it good or bad.

Anonymous said...

"This is just not a commonly held belief"

Assuming that billions of people hold the same views of something always leads to trouble.

pigbook1 said...

Eh, I have lots of opinions on abortions, but most of them involve dealing with the choices a person makes as well as the fact that it takes two to make a baby. some people say I am wishwashy or I sit on a fence or something, but I say I am realistic and this is not something that can be decided for everyone in every situation. I think it is one of those topics that if a person really has an opinion they are just going to believe more firmly that they are right and the otherside is wrong. It is not something I think arguing will change so I choose not to argue

Carmen said...

@Bucky
There are a lot of things that I believe are "unethical" that are NOT illegal and I wouldn't consider making them illegal. Things such as cheating on your spouse, lying, etc.

I don't think our country would ever be ready for no abortions without exception and I don't think it would do any good to make that illegal. I do think that that baby is still a human life, but there are extreme mitigating circumstances.

Anonymous said...

Bucky, you remember that it is only your opinion that a fetus is not a person until it is born. When was the last time you lost a wanted " fetus". They are a human being.
We need to prevent pregnancies! Not destroy them. I agree we need to help the people doing the suffering.

Alana said...

Wow. I'm anti-abortion, but never thought of what consequence should be attached, because guilt obviously isn't enough.
Consequence...sterilization? They obviously didn't want this child, so why give them the chance to abort another?
And as for "exceptions", I'd say rape & incest can be adopted (not to bring up past arguments). But a very important "exception" would be for mothers who's lives are at great risk from the pregnancy and could die themselves.
My daughter was diagnosed in utero with a severe heart defect and the doctor encouraged me to abort. I'm so glad I ignored her, because my daughter lives a completely normal/healthy life now. You never know.

Willo said...

Thank you CC for raising this question, especially at this important time as we celebrate the anniversary of Roe v Wade and the inauguration of a pro-choice president.

I had never seen that video before and it was remarkable. I liked that touched on the death penalty. I think it's interesting to ask anti-choice individuals how they feel about that as well.

It all comes down to the fact that no one knows my life, often not even those I share it with most closely and especially not "old white men" (77% of anti-choice leaders are men, 100% of them will never be pregnant). You have not walked in my shoes and I would never claim to know yours.

That's why it is so important that we have choice.

Carmen said...

@Bucky
Let's not get hostile - I'm trying to have some actual debate and dialogue. Your comments struck a very personal note for me.

My little sister died from some "horrible birth defect". She was born with two holes in her heart. I watched her die. You know what? No regrets about her life for me or my family. Her short time on this earth was a gift and a blessing to our family.

In addition, my own son was born with a heart defect. Technology has come a long way since my sister and they are able to manage his defect quite well.

I know many parents of and with born with down syndrome, cystic fibrosis, autism, etc. These things are not easy - but their life is worth living. Their existence on this earth is a gift. "Defect free" people are not more worthy of life than people born with disabilities.

Erin said...

A former Canadian Prime Minister once famously said that "the government has no business in the bedrooms of the nation," meaning some things are personal and should not fall under government regulation. This is one of those things.

Missy said...

Nice post Crunchy. This is a touchy subject and is bringing up so many good points.

I think the fact that we have the right to discuss this openly is great it is an example of the freedom we have in our country. I also think that the freedom to have an abortion is an American right.

I am pro choice but if it were illegal, then why not make the charges the same as 1st degree murder. If it seems harsh, then why bother trying to make it illegal by calling these women murderers?

I think the decision is a hard choice and one most women think hard about. The one's who use it as birth control and far and few.

I do not feel as if I could personally have an abortion, but who am I to choose for someone else. If that were the case then I would call every meat eater a murderer. At least the fetus isn't being brought into the world to be treated and killed horribly.

Ashley said...

Although I am a progressive, liberal woman - I still am a little uneasy about abortion.

I am honestly confused as to why a fetus is a baby if it's wanted (if a pregnant woman is murdered, it's counted as two murders), and is not if it isn't (abortion).

It's not an easy issue. Period.

Bucky said...

@Anon

Bucky, you remember that it is only your opinion that a fetus is not a person until it is born.

Actually, this was not what I said. I said that it wasn't a child until after it was born. I am perfectly open to the discussion of when human life begins. But a fetus isn't a child. It is, by definition, a fetus. A fetus becomes a child upon being born. Just a child becomes an adolescent upon reaching puberty. And so forth.

Denise said...

IMHO I believe every individual unwanted pregnancy should be dealt with in the way that most suits the woman in question. No one should dictate that a woman who finds herself pregnant, whether it be due to carelessness or ignorance, or because of rape or incest, cannot terminate that pregnancy. But I do firmly believe that the earliest possible intervention is best. Making the "morning after" pill easily available over the counter would prevent many women getting to the stage where an abortion is necessary. The issue of disability is also a very personal matter. Pre-natal testing can provide valuable information about serious genetic conditions and deformities - but again, it should be the choice of the individual (or couple) to decide whether to take a difficult pregnancy to full term. It's no-one's business but the parents.

Bucky said...

@Carmen

Sorry to hear about the difficulties with your sister and your own child. I obviously had no way of knowing so I couldn't have been trying to "get personal."

To be certain, I think that the lives of children born with problems of any sort are no less valuable than any other child.

But you were the one that stated the affirmative position that One kind of woman I have NEVER met? Someone who was eternally regretful for giving their child life.

I was just pointing out that in fact, there are many women who regret having had a child, for so many different reasons. A horribly suffering child is just one example. There are many others. But just because you may not have ever met one of those women doesn't mean that they don't exist. They do all over the world. Personally, I'm offended by your implied blanket statement that no woman ever regretted having a child.

I'm still confused as to your stance on abortion. You want to make it illegal but make odd exceptions because you don't think people would agree with you otherwise.

Why is it that you think abortion should be illegal?

Anonymous said...

Auctually Bucky a fetus at birth is a neanate not a child, but still a person, human-being just like you!
I say if we are going to penalize anyone why not the male, without them the female could not get pregnant and men from the beginning of time have not taken the full responsibilty of procreation, women have always carried the lion share of the burden. I bet if they were held responsible for their "seed" we would be seeing some great birth controll and free.

barefoot gardener said...

ooooh, Hot Topic Alert!

I think you made a good point, Crunchy. It is pretty obvious that if abortions were illegal the doctors would run the risk of losing their license and doing jail time. But the women? Huh, I don't know.

I hope we never have to figure it out.

Mrs. Haid said...

For this post, I found the comments more interesting and stimulating that the actual post (no offense, CC).

I still thinking about
"Remove the barriers that make a woman feel hopeless enough to pursue abortion." What an interesting idea. How to do this?

I am now 26. When I was still a teenager, I deeply believed that abortion was wrong. I had a preg. friend in HS who had the baby at 16, even though her life would have been much easier and possibly more succesful (relative, I guess) if she'd had the pregnancy terminated.

During college, I started to feel like no laws should be put on my body. The government doesn't know me, my options, my relationships, so don't make a ruling. I was still sickened by partial birth abortions and the what not, but I started to feel that it was an option for me, if I got pregnant.

Now I am 26. I've suffered several miscarriages, and my opinion about when life starts has changed so much. I think my opinion is more informed, since I have had to "work" at getting pregnant. All the high risk preg. doctors and medical professionals I have talked refer to my 14 week old fetus as "alive" and "a baby". As for me, there's no way I see this as an "it" or something that isn't alive until July 26th, its forecasted birthday.

What should the punishment be? Gosh, I only considered abortion for a pregnancy that ended in spontaneous abortion, and I am deeply affected by those thoughts. I can only imagine the inner punishment a woman feels later in life for making that tough choice. I sought a lot of counseling during the time after my miscarriages, and one thing someone said that still resonates with me is "if life didn't begin at conception, why do you feel such a profound loss?".

Of course, this is my perspective. And yes, I live in the Mid West and I am a believer. I also teach high school biology, so I am around kids with irresponsible sexuality and have had lots of training in teaching health issues and developmental biology.

Wendy said...

If a woman beats her child or otherwise neglects her responsibilities as a parent to care for and support the child she brought into this world, she is held accountable on a LEGAL level. The child is removed from the home, and in the most heinous cases, the woman is prosecuted.

IF abortion is illegal, BECAUSE it is considered murder, then the pregnant woman is, at best, an accomplice, and should be prosecuted. No woman who has been through a medicalized abortion did so unwillingly, and in fact, sought out the assistance of the medical professional who performed the "surgery."

It is a touchy issue, but I don't understand why people who are against abortion are laying the whole fault on the person who performs surgery. Where is the woman's responsibility for her part?

By law a thing can only be "right" or "wrong." The LAW shouldn't have room for "gray" areas and should not be left open to interpretation. It's either illegal (forbidden) or legal (permitted), if it is legislated, which is why something like abortion can not, and should not, fall to our judicial system to decide.

For the record, I'm pro-choice. I don't think abortion should be legislated any more than I think family size should be.

Tammi said...

Very touchy subject.

While I am pro life, I don't feel making it illegal or even punishment will do any good. It will go back to coat hangers and back alley doctors. If the mother is that determined to kill her baby, she will find a way to do it. I would rather abortions fall under government health regulations, to at least keep the woman safe. But then comes the issue of the value of an adult life with a role in society versus an unborn child.

Anonymous said...

I honestly feel like not giving women the choice to have an abortion when necessary or desired should be illegal! What would the punishment be? I'm not sure if it makes any sense in this context - let's just say I think it should be legal.
My mom had an abortion the last time she became pregnant. When I now look back and what happened in our household growing up, I think that was the best idea even though it means I never had a chance to meet a potential sibling of mine. When the abortion decision was made originally, we were not living in poverty, but less than 10 years later things were completely different. Another, younger, child would have made the situation more difficult and put more of the burden on society as well.

-If abortions were illegal and we have all of this new technology that helps keep newborns through very old individuals alive for longer periods of time, isn't our population going grow endlessly? To stop that, wouldn't we need other policies in place to stop this? Some of the people that are anti-abortion are also anti-birth control. If they get their way as well, then what? Do we grow endlessly until the earth kills us? Does our population grow until we kill each other over resources?
-Just because we have magical technology that helps a newborn survive, if we look at the larger picture of fitness to live, is it a good idea for the individual that would otherwise die without the technology with a genetic defect to pass it onto their offspring? If this continues on, what if one day we don't have access to all of the technology we have now? Aren't we setting up our population for long term failure by artificially allowing genes that would mean death in a simpler world to continue on?
-It is perfectly natural throughout the plant and animal kingdom for there to be non-survivors at a very young age. Some birds will push eggs out of their nests when they see the food resources aren't there. Other animals will simply stop feeding their weaker offspring. The way society works in the U.S. now, we don't have those options. Some states allow parents to drop off young children at designated spots, but this option is not available to all and it still ignores some issues. The idea that we have some of the technology that we do is relatively new compared to our biological past. Just because we create technology, it doesn't mean our biological instincts instantly change.

It is extremely easy to say "just make sure everyone has birth control or access to morning after pills". It is easy to say "it is ok for an abortion when a woman is raped", but these statements ignore many situations. Statistically women will become pregnant even when on birth control. Not every women is aware that she is immediately at risk for becoming pregnant and therefore does not see the need for the morning after pill. Birth control introduces it's own issues when it comes to our environmental health. Some women are married and don't feel comfortable saying to their doctor that their husband forced them to do anything.

Anonymous said...

I know many of you don't believe this, but one reason that many people who believe abortion should be illegal don't believe in prosecuting women is that they think women are some of the VICTIMS of abortion. To prosecute a fifteen-year-old girl who is manipulated into having an abortion by her mother or boyfriend makes sense to nobody.

As regards legality: either abortion is murder, in which case all civilized people should be against it, or it isn't murder, in which case all civilized people should back off. The issue isn't about women's rights, it's about definitions. Not all anti-abortion folks are against birth control (I'm sure in favor of it).

The science is out there for folks to consider; I have a hard time seeing when you can make a division between fetus and child when growth and birth is a continuous process-- would it be not murder a day before the fetus is born and "becomes" a baby? An hour? Ten minutes? How about when the head is born but not the shoulders? How about when one twin is born and the other isn't yet? Is it not murder when the fetus is not viable for life outside the womb? Why? Some people must use ventilators to stay alive-- would it not be murder to kill them, since they can't survive by themselves? I'm not speaking religiously here, just logically. The argument breaks down. If you are a strict utilitarian, of course, it doesn't really matter if it's murder or not, as long as it serves the purpose you've chosen.

And incidentally, I'm not a crusty old white man. I don't stereotype pro-abortion folks as child-hating crazies, so please don't stereotype those of us who have thoughtfully come to an anti-abortion position as gun-toting whack jobs. The only consistent way to be pro-life is to be pro-life toward ALL humans. This necessitates being anti-war, anti-death penalty, etc., and has nothing whatever to do with my opinion on women's rights.

scifichick said...

Isn't that a can of worms you just opened. Anyway, I am pro-abortion as I think that every one has a right to choose and I think making abortions illegal would not stop them from happening. It would just make it more dangerous for women to get them. But, speaking of punishment... Why should the woman be the only one punished? Should not the man be punished as well? He helped create a fetus, and if he consented to abortion, he should be punished as well. And, let's say that 'withdrawal' method was used and the guy couldn't help himself. Then it's all his fault the woman got pregnant in the first place. Or what about men that are dominating their women and keeping them in the pregnant/child-rearing stages as ways of control? Would an abortion be allowed then? And if not, isn't that abuse on the woman? Anyway, I think it's a nice rhetoric to talk about making abortions illegal, but I think that people are not thinking through on the practical issues.

Carmen said...

Regarding punishment, I think "Anonymous" said it right. Women are the victims of abortion.

There is so much that is divisive about this issue - that is not easily solved.

What can we Unite on and work together on?

I think this is supporting pregnant women and young mothers in our community:
- Building up confidence in self-respect in our teens and tweens
- Better and more effective prevention education
- Better pre-natal support
- Housing and parenting classes for pregnant teens with no parental support
- Paid maternity leave the "norm" rather than the exception
- College campuses equipped with parent housing
- Mentor/mentee programs for young mothers who are on their own
- A cultural shift to embrace a woman who chooses to have a child rather than saying she ruined her life by the choice

Rather than focusing on how to punish people for choices we don't agree with, we should be focusing on how to support each other as a community.

Bucky said...

@Anon

Great comment. I am prochoice as a matter of public policy because as we can see from the comments here, issues surrounding pregnancy and abortion and parenthood are unique and very, very personal.

I do think that there is a powerful and very sincere argument to be made for a prolife position. And I think you have laid it out well. A true "prolife" position requires people to be supportive of life outside of the womb as well. Particularly regarding children.

Unfortunately, so few people who consider themselves to be "prolife" are actually honest and sincere. As you point out, if one sees abortion murder, then the only exception to be made for abortion would be if the mother's physical life was at a serious risk. That is the only ethical exception to murder we make in our society. Saying that abortion is murder except for rape and incest is just the inane argument made by people who aren't being honest about what they are saying.

So I think you've mostly made a great point for the true prolife position. I'll take exception to your assertion that women who seek out abortions are the victims. As a staunch feminist and human being I find it offensive and sexist that you seem to think women are incapable of making decisions about themselves and their bodies. Your (I assume it was you but you post under anonomyous so I could be wrong) earlier comment about "men from the beginning of time have not taken the full responsibility of procreation, women have always carried the lion share of the burden" speaks volumes, I think.

Unfortunately, biology is a cruel master. Women bear the brunt of the burden because only women can get pregnant. That is why we give to women -- and women only -- the legal right to make decisions regarding a pregnancy.

jimbolini23 said...

Avoiding the debate of abortion's (il)legality, I'll just answer Crunchy's questions. If abortion were illegal, ...

By default, I would not criminalize the mother or the father for an abortion: the grief and emotional trauma they experience has been documented. (It may be suppressed for years, even decades, but studies are showing that it surfaces in one way or another.) Granted, exceptions should be made for coercion, abuses, etc... That being said, I think that the (illegal) abortionist should be tried like any other contract killer.

And, if there is no penalty for obtaining an illegal abortion, then what's the point of making it illegal if there is no punishment?
A: to drive the shameless exploiters of women (particularly Planned Parenthood) out of business.

Bucky said...

@scifichick

And, let's say that 'withdrawal' method was used and the guy couldn't help himself. Then it's all his fault the woman got pregnant in the first place.

Reading that comment was shocking and a bit sad to me. Obviously our educational system is failing miserably if you think withdrawal is in any way an effective birth control method.

Let me educate you a bit on this. When aroused, men produce seminal fluid (semen). Even before ejaculation. This semen contains sperm. Some men actually produce large amounts of pre-ejaculatory fluids during sexual stimulation. And while it is true that sperm are found in much lower concentrations in pre-ejaculatory semen, there are sperm present nonetheless. And it only takes one.

So the withdrawal method may reduce somewhat the possibility of pregnancy, it is still a considerable risk. Just ask any good catholic woman with a half a dozen kids and a husband that's not allowed to touch her anymore.

I hope that anyone involved in a sexual relationship will educate themselves about biology and contraception. Knowledge is power.

Billie said...

For myself personally, I lean towards pro-life. This means that if I got pregnant, I would probably not have an abortion. I don't want to have children (other than my step-children) so I naturally work hard at not getting pregnant. In fact, I plan on making that decision permanent later this year.

But I do not feel that I have the right to make that choice for anyone else. I am not in their shoes and I can't possibly understand what their life is like. In a broader sense, I am pro-choice. Women and couples should have the choice to do what is best for them and for the potential baby-to-be.

Anonymous said...

I've been in the situation where abortion was illegal for me. I was under 18 and getting consent for one from my parents never would have happened, so I told no one and eventually gave myself an abortion with a plastic chopstick. Before that I had tried Dong Quai, Pennyroyal, Blue Cohosh, and other herbal methods but just ended up vomiting and hallucinating.

If you're well read on medical issues, it can be done. I generally knew where I could and couldn't poke and what the signs of infection were. I didn't get an infection, but I did bleed copiously when I retained the placenta for almost a week. Actually, the uncontrollable shivering from the blood loss was the hardest thing to hide about the whole ordeal.

As one of those evil, murdering women I can say the whole debate about "It's a fetus/It's a baby" doesn't matter to me. I didn't want either of them, still don't, and at least now as an adult my options for birth control are more reliable than what I used as a teenager. I still feel utter relief when I think about my abortion. If it had been capital murder with the death penalty attached to it, I still would have done it.

I probably would have just bundled up better to hide the shivering.

Bucky said...

@Billie

Well said.

I am prochoice precisely because it is such a personal decision and I don't feel that I have the right to make it for anyone.

If you think abortion is wrong, then don't have one.

Beany said...

My husband watched the same youtube video yesterday and mentioned it to me.
I thought the fact that no one seemed to have an answer to the punishment question was hilarious.

I'm going to repeat what my husband's view is, because I agree with him:
Its a non topic. If it were banned a certain party wouldn't have that platform to stand on because
it would be a non issue. So its always going to be a carrot.

I changed my view (I went to a catholic high school), when my mom had an abortion.

And with Bush having been in office for so long, it could have been banned. But wasn't.

Anonymous said...

I think I can consider myself anti-abortion for a variety of reasons (father's rights, untold and unprecedented risks to health).

But that doesn't mean I'm for making it illegal. I'm for massive education in hopes of making it obsolete.

And honestly, does any crime really need a *punishment* or does the person breaking the law need mediation? Regardless of the law, punishment doesn't fix the underlying problem (our current revolving door system should prove that). And anyone desperate enough to break a law obviously needs help, not discipline.

And just because a person sees abortion as murder but doesn't know how to remedy a difficult situation, doesn't make them ignorant *or* wrong. Most difficult choices have no clear answers. That doesn't mean they should be ignored.

My comment doesn't answer any questions, but I still wanted to voice a different opinion. It's not all black and white.

Spice said...

Okay Crunchy you didn't open a can of worms, you opened the doors to a factory of canned worms.

I'm a pro-choicer.

No one should have the right to determine anyone else's morality. Yes there are laws that we all agree to abide by. But morality is the accumulation of a lifetime of personal beliefs.

For myself, a fetus is what the people involves see it as. Some see life as begining at conception. Good for them. Some see it as a clump of cells, disposable if necessary. Good for them.

The Chinese count the day a child is born as their 1st birthday (including conception and gestation in the child's age). Many other cultures on the other hand do not name a child until it is between 1 and 5 years. To them it's not human until it lives long enough. (I'm not discounting the emotional involvement of the parents here.)

The body politic has no right to legislate morality in a democracy built of multiple cultures. That way lies fascism.

If abortion were illegal in the US, I agree that men should be held as responsible for a pregnancy as the women

Bucky said...

Anon, thanks for the personal account of your own abortion. Too often in these debates we hear from women so glad to have their children telling us how happy they are they didn't abort. Too often we don't hear from the large number of women who have had an abortion and are glad that they did.

comingalive said...

Once you decide if someone can or cannot have an abortion in any circumstance means you are judging them.
For some people who are pregnant with a child will is not viable outside the womb, the "humane thing" is abortion. For some people they want to birth and have what time with that child they can.
It is not for any person to decide what's right for any other person.

To force a woman to carry a child she doesn't want is abuse.

As for the arguement about where life begins it's hard to say. When you are pregnant with a child you want, you imagine that it's beautiful and lovely and think about names and wonder if it's a boy or a girl.
If you don't want to be prengnant, you don't go around thinking about how lovely "your baby" is.

According to this article on Wikipeadia about 1% of abortions are past 18 weeks, in countries where abortion is legal. The article above also includes stats from a survey done in 1987 about why women waited until after 16 weeks to have an abortion.

@Carmen
women are victims of abortion. Give me a break. This says that women don't have a clue what their own thoughts are. All those nice things you say about promoting motherhood, sounds good.
But women who choose to have abortions are not victims, they are not stupid. They are making a choice that is right for them.

@carsick. Yep, protestors are saying that Wars are killing innocent children. WANTED children.
Explain to me how my choice to terminate or go through with a prengancy (therby abusing myself) has any affect on children being hurt in Iraq/Aghanistan/USA?

Babies can live at 4 and a half months. My best friend just took her very premature baby home. I'm happy we have the technology that saved his life, and that he is so loved by his parents.
I'm also happy for my friend who had an abortion, becuase she didn't want to continue a pregnancy.
Sure she could have chose adoption. But she didn't want to be prengnant, period. her choice.

Bucky said...

@jimbolini23

I doubt that I could disagree more with just about everything you wrote.

You wouldn't criminalize abortion for the mother or father because of the grief and emotional trauma they experience.

Huh?

If abortion is illegal because it is murder, then it is the worst sort of murder -- premeditated murder of an innocent who is completely unable to defend him/herself.

Newsflash -- we don't not prosecute premeditated murder because the killers might, at some point "years, even decades" later experience some mental anguish or distress. I'm sure most do at some point. And I'm sure the people sitting in our overly full prisons would love to have had you sitting on the jury at their trials.

Your assertion that the "grief and emotional trauma" that people who have abortions experience (perhaps only decades later) has been well documented is complete bullshit. Of course, jimbo, some people experience emotional trauma over their decision to have an abortion. And of course, others don't. That's pretty much the same for everything that happens in a persons life. Some decisions we later regret, others not so much. I've read some of those "studies" you refer to, and they are utter crap.

And your notion that Planned Parenthood is exploiting women is disgusting. It assumes that women have no ability to make informed choices about their own lives and that a woman's only function in life is to bear children.

Can we all cut this women are always and only victims crap? Women are actually fully functioning human beings who are completely capable of taking control over their own lives.

Bucky said...

I will, finally, give an answer to Cruchy's original question: if abortion is illegal, how should women be punished?

The only way that we will make abortion illegal is if we as a society decide that an abortion is a murder. In fact, abortion would be a premeditated murder of the worst sort. Given this, women who have an abortion should be subject to the same penalties as every other person convicted of premeditated 1st degree murder. It varies by state but usually includes life in prison or the death penalty. Anyone who assists her should be subject to the same penalties as people who aid and abet other types of premeditated murder.

If we make abortion illegal, I hope that we make it a mandatory life sentence, no possibility of parole.

Not because I think that an appropriate punishment, but because I know that the law would be on the books for about as long as it took for the first Southern Baptist preacher who's daughter was being sentenced to life in prison to decide that in fact, he could make those moral distinctions about which life was more important -- his daughter or a clump of cells.

As far as biological fathers being held responsible for an illegal abortion, I would agree only to the extent that they assisted in the woman obtaining the illegal abortion. Just getting her pregnant is not enough, as some commenters here have implied, to make him legally responsible for her decision to abort a pregnancy.

thetinfoilhatsociety.com said...

I've had one. It was the right thing to do. And I would have pursued any means necessary if it had been illegal to get one.

To the people who say that abortion is akin to killing a child because preemies can and have lived from 19 weeks gestation outside the body: um..not so much. They have serious medical problems, and a high death rate, BECAUSE they are not capable of living without heroic medical efforts outside the body. As far as I'm concerned a fetus can called a baby if it can breath, eat, and poop outside the body without high levels of medical technology, otherwise it is still an artificially supported fetus for a long long time. If you don't believe me, try taking one of those 19 weekers off the ventilator or out of the isolette and see what happens.

In some cultures historically a child was not named or considered a child until a year old. These same cultures considered abortion perfectly acceptable. And some of these are Western cultures.

In the most cold hearted strict sense, a fetus is a parasite. It feeds off the mother's nutrients, impedes some of her bodily functions as it grows, and changes the mother's body chemistry to suit itself. Now, I love my three parasites dearly, but I wouldn't force someone else to go through that process if they didn't want to.

--Susan

fernwise said...

Hmmm. Even if 'only' the provider of abortions is a criminal, that only means more women will self-abort - then do they get arrested/jailed?

And, if the state can assume the power to declare that a woman can't make her own decision to abort, that same state now has the right to declare that this, or another, woman HAS to abort. It is no longer the woman's choice THEN, either. It is the state's choice.

Me, I want abortion legal for a bunch of reasons. First, I see human-ness as including the current capacity for real brain function - and the brain synopses don't start to connect until 24 weeks gestation. Can fetus's live outside the uterus before that time now, with lots of med care? Yes. But for me, without connected brain synapses the fetus is not a human being. It is human tissue. Just like the sperm and egg were human tissue before they met and merged.

Second, and really NOT material to a discussion of legality, really, I don't see ensoulment until the first breath of a child.

Now, I don't think that anyone out there LIKES abortions. It's a drain of medical resources; unwanted pregnancies - full term or not - are a strain on the body; and having to face making big decisions are something that most of us try to avoid doing.

Anonymous said...

Bucky: and others who are pro-choice
thanks to you for fighting the good fight so eloquently.

You all know that about 50% of all fertilized eggs end up spontaneously aborted right?
God is pro choice, he's the biggest abortion provider of all.
Put that in your pipes and smoke it.

I had a miscarriage once, and I was more relived than anything because abortions are expensive. Maybe that was god looking out for me eh?

Quit victimizing women.
Abortion is not scarring, it's usually a pretty positive thing. I guess many of you actually DON'T know people how have had abortions, and you know what, there aren't a lot of them.
I can't believe some of the misinformation and assumption about abortions I have read here today. It's truly frightening.

We seriously need better sex ed and women need better access to education and control of their fertility not just in the world, but obviously in this country too.
Scary.

Anonymous abortion is EXACTLY WHY abortion should be legal, available and done without any requirements like parental consent laws. Brave of you to share, I am so sorry you have to go through that alone in your community. How awful our country works that way.

I'm not xtian btw. I am fully anti organized religion. I'll let others less aggressive than myself debate the topic.

You want to support women;s freedom, reproduction and health, then you support abortions legality.
You don't ,you are anti women. Sorry. I have no more words for you.
Those that disagree feel free to reply but I won't in kind.

Good luck there Bucky!

I am actually posting anonymous today because I don't feel like having a bunch of nutters post on my blog.

Anonymous said...

The only penalty for having an abortion is (and should be) that you have to live with your choice.

scifichick said...

@ Bucky: Please don't assume things about my education level. I thought I ran few scenarios in my comment, I don't know why you picked on that one. And yes, I'm well aware of how conception happens. But if you google contraception, 'withdrawal' still comes up. And yes, I know you should consult with your doctor and not rely on google :) Unfortunately, usually doctors just put you on a pill, and only if you ask questions you can get to alternatives.

Bucky said...

Thanks for the support, Anon.

It's kinda funny that I'm one of the ones most vocally supporting a woman's right to choose as I'm a man, and a gay man, so I'm in no danger of facing an unwanted pregnancy. As well, I have an adopted son so I'm the lucky beneficiary of a woman with an unwanted pregnancy who choose not to abort.

Go figure.

Still, I'm a vocal supporter of a woman's right to choose.

I'm with you in that I require brain function to think of something as fully human. I go a bit further than just synaptic connections however, and think that it is higher brain functions that separate us from just a collection of cells. I personally make the same distinction for people who have become brain dead -- no brain function; no human life.

But I realize that others make different distinctions. And we should all be allowed to make those decisions for ourselves.

Sharlene said...

Oh boy. I think this subject is emotional for everyone. I think abortion is sick, wrong, and selfish. But do I think it should be illegal? No. Because I don't think the legality of the issue will change whether or not people have abortions. Honestly- not too concerned with the health of the women using coat hangers in back alleys. Not real impressed with them and their morals in the first place. I think the greatest punishment for abortion is living with the decision. I have known a few women who are now in the 50s and had abortions as teens or young adults and they can't begin to talk about it without tears and regret. I also know women who have had more than 10 abortions and treat it as a form of birth control with no regret whatsoever but I have to believe those people will eventually face their demons in another life. Ending a life because it wasn't convenient to you at the time is not a reason. Sorry. It just isn't. There is alot of life that isn't planned or convenient that we can't get rid of. At least there is the option of adoption in this case. But then you mention adoption to women looking to have an abortion and they say "oh no, I couldn't bear the thought of someone else raising my child". Yet you can bear the thought of ending the life of your own offspring? huh? Anon who shared the abortion with a chopstick story- why didn't you think about having your child adopted since you didn't want it and still don't?

I am someone who miscarried and mourned the loss of my child. I am someone who at 7 weeks saw two little heart beats on an ultrasound and watched them grow inside of me until I was finally able to hold them in my arms. So please don't tell me there is even an argument as to whether a fetus is a life. I think the real argument here is whether or not it is a life worth ending because of how it may effect others.

Sharlene said...

Susan- would you be willing to go into one of the many NICUs in the country, look in the eyes of the parent of a tiny baby hooked up to machines, and tell them their little one is not really a child because it couldn't survive without the help of technology? I hope not.

Bucky said...

@scifichick

I wasn't making assumptions about your education level. I was commenting on your level of knowledge regarding birth control.

You were the one that said if a couple was practicing the withdrawal method of birth control and the woman got pregnant because the man "couldn't help himself" then "it's all his fault the woman got pregnant in the first place."

That's just wrong. Completely. Ignorant of the facts.

I have no idea of your level of education, as I don't know you at all. I do, however, know that you aren't aware of all the facts of the withdrawal method of birth control if you think that it is all the man's fault if a pregnancy occurs using that method.

And yes, the withdrawal method is a form of birth control. Just not a very good one.

And for the record, as a man, let me just say that your "couldn't help himself" statement is silly. It seems to imply that the man was just selfish and greedy somehow. Sometimes, you know, you can feel a sneeze building and you have time to grab your hankie. Other times, you just sneeze all of a sudden. It's kinda the same with ejaculation during sex.

scifichick said...

@ Bucky: Sorry, my comment doesn't really read the way I intended it. Yes, I know the mechanics, no, my comments don't reflect that I have that knowledge. I guess that point I was so poorly making was that it takes two for the pregnancy to happen. And, no, I didn't mean men are being selfish and greedy, just that I'm assuming sometimes they sneeze all of a sudden :)

Bucky said...

@Sharlene

I also know women who have had more than 10 abortions and treat it as a form of birth control with no regret whatsoever but I have to believe those people will eventually face their demons in another life.

I'm going to have to call bullshit on that comment.

You say you know women, as in plural. Meaning more than one. So you are talking about at least two women here. But usually when people are talking about a very small number of something, they mention the actual number. As in, "I know three women ..." So probably you are trying to imply that you know a somewhat larger number of women.

So you know at least two but likely more women who have had at least 10 abortions. At least 10 abortions. So some of these women have had more than ten abortions.

So you know two or more women who have each had 10 or more abortions. And these very fertile women and sexually active women were using abortion as their method of birth control.

And you expect anyone to buy this? I don't know anyone who has ever used abortion as their preferred method of birth control (although I'll admit that these women might exist). Yet you know at least two of these sorts of women, if not more.

Let me just pause for a moment and point out that you might want to rethink the sort of people you associate with. Just a small suggestion.

But as to using abortion as birth control -- the notion is silly. At least in the US where contraception is affordable and readily available (for now at least). Abortion is expensive and invasive and inconvenient and carries risk of injury. Why would any even semi-intelligent person use abortion as their preferred method of birth control. 10 times or more?

And lets not forget that a pregnancy almost immediately begins to make changes to a woman's body. Many of these changes aren't particularly pleasant or fun.

Yet you know a few women who just haphazardly go about on their wild sexual romps -- consequences be damned -- because they can just get an abortion on demand. So what if condoms are cheap and abortions are very expensive? So what if those ten pregnancies are ravaging their bodies? STDs? Pshaw! Who cares about the medical risks associated with using abortion as birth control that don't exist with using a condom?

Wimps, that's who!

You know women who laugh in the face of all of that! Ha! they say. Time after time, after time, after time. And then a few more times after that. These wanton harlots don't care. No remorse whatsoever, damn them. Which you are more than happy to do.

Sorry, Sharlene, but I call internet comment bullshit on that statement.

Erika said...

Anon (w/personal experience) - You are an incredibly brave woman! Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

Up until less than a year ago, I was pro-life and you couldn't talk me out of it. I still have the same opinion about abortion, I believe it's a form of murder and shouldn't be allowed. The change in my opinion wasn't huge, it was simply that I realized I had my head up my @** and was ignoring things that I knew and had seen. I still believe that abortion is a form of murder, but I also believe that there is no way that we can ethically make abortion illegal.

What I know, and what I've seen includes: 1. Health education in schools, especially regarding sexuality and contraception/pregnancy prevention, is PATHETIC in the US public schools. Until there is honesty, truth, and scientific fact in health and sex education, our youth will not know all the facts, unless parents/families (many of whom don't fully understand the truth and scientific facts, and may have trouble being honest and nonjudgmental) pick up the slack. 2. If we make abortion illegal, women will either find someone willing to use whatever tools they can scrape together, or they will do it themselves. Many of these women will have complications: infection, excessive bleeding, or even death. Having complications to a "home" abortion, many women might not want to seek medical treatment because of fear of being 'found out,' or worse yet, their complications may be so severe that they don't have time to seek help.
3. Although many of the laws and regulations that are on the books aren't logical or agreed upon by the vast majority, making abortion illegal certainly leaves many, many people with the thought, "In some circumstances, that illegal thing, abortion, would be so beneficial, I wonder how those folks in Washington decided that they could make decisions for women and families they've never met?" Yes, laws are public, and some cover private matters, but what is more private than a woman's reproductive organs, and thus her control over them. (This is not coming out the way it is in my brain...)...

To answer CC's question, who should be punished and how... Someone already brought up the point that the women are punished eventually, with the emotional pain that surfaces. If abortion is illegal, and doctors (for the most part) don't preform the procedure, are we (society) expecting the woman to rat out the person who preformed the procedure? So who should be punished? I have no idea...

--Erika

Carmen said...

@comingalive
In fact women are very often not having an abortion because they choose to. It is very often because they believe they have no choice. Most people I know who've had an abortion? Because "what would their parents tell their friends." They are given an ultimatum to get rid of the child or be disowned.

Certainly there are lots of women who made this well informed choice. But there are a huge number of women who are desperate and who are pushed into this option believing they have no alternatives.

Jennifer said...

Bucky~ I'd advise you to do a bit more research on the withdrawel method.

There have been no reported instances of LIVE sperm in preejaculatory fluid. Dead ones, yes. Live ones, no. I did a bunch of research on this in my drive to find hormone free and waste free birthcontrol for me and my husband (and the copper IUD was a dismal failure as I am WAY too small). Withdrawal when practiced properly has a failure rate very similar to condoms, 2 to 3%

However, it is pretty effective IF and ONLY if both partners know their bodies VERY well, though, and can complete the withdrawel EVERY time with no problems. This means it is NOT the method for anyone who is young and inexperienced (teenagers, etc) or for those who do not completely trust each other.

My husband and I have relied on this for 2 years now, and no pregnancies. We wouldn't mind being pregnant, so we are willing to take the risk if the studies we found are false, but it seems it either works or one of us is sterile.

Misty said...

@Jennifer: From this guide:

"Although it's obvious that the withdrawal method is most effective against pregnancy when it is used all the time and always used perfectly, perfect use hardly ever happens.

The typical woman does not use the withdrawal method perfectly. If typical women use the withdrawal method, it is 81% effective."

There are numerous studies online that show that the average effectivenes is more like the percentage quoted above (81%), so I suggest you do a bit more research on the withdrawal method yourself. It's unrealistic to expect perfection from people, your anecdotal evidence is an exception.

Carmen said...

@Anon
"I guess many of you actually DON'T know people how have had abortions, and you know what, there aren't a lot of them."

This is just not true. According to CDC statistics, which are ONLY including a subset of all the available data - 43% of pregnancies for girls under 15 end in abortion. 12% of women in their thirties. This is a lot of abortions. A LOT.

To look at more CDC stats (the least biased and politically motivated I could find) see: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5713a1.htm?s_cid=ss5713a1_e.

Crunchy Chicken said...

According to this research, as of 2008, about 28% of U.S. women ages 15-64 have had abortions.

So, figure 1 in 3 women in a crowd have had an abortion. I personally don't know very many, but I think it's because, if they did, they don't talk about it. Gee... I wonder why?

psuklinkie said...

Hot topic! Thanks for bringing this up.
I've always been a 100% defender of the pro-choice stance, mostly because of my grandmother. Gramma worked in the ER before Roe v. Wade was decided and she explained to me how frequently she saw young women die in the emergency room from self-inflicted abortions.
I think it's wonderfully bold of you to bring up a difficult topic, knowing that the discussion could get unpleasant. And definitely a good point to bring up: how should women be punished indeed. How about some better education, support, and standards?

Anonymous said...

Wow. What a question. I'll put that in my pot and let it simmer for awhile.

I'm a foster parent, who has the privelege of loving a 27 weeker (born at 1# 13 oz-crazy hu?)...

I think that until we have enough homes to lovingly care for the 144 thousand current foster kids who are waiting for an adoptive/forever family (that doesn't count the ones "just" in foster care and still trying to reconcile things w/ their birth families) and until adoption is seen as a heroic choice (see Juno the movie)- the question is still mute.

Pro-lifers need to do something different besides protesting.
Wanna join me in loving these little people who have been "abandoned" out of the womb?
Contact your local "Job and Family Services" or a private foster care agency.

Sharlene said...

Gee Bucky. Thank you for calling me a liar. Well newsflash- not lying. There are alot of bad people out there who happen to be very fertile. I know 3 women who have done this and these are the women who have admitted to it to me so can you imagine how many people don't admit to it? You have been on your mighty high horse this entire discussion and basically putting down anyone who has a differing opinion than you and its disrespectful. You can have a discussion with people who have different beliefs and opinions than you without insulting them. And calling me a liar is INCREDIBLY insulting. I appreciate Crunchy being brave enough to write this post and getting a intelligent discussion going. Most people on both sides of the issue have been incredibly respectful and eloquent. Bottom line: I am not standing in front of these women's homes with protest signs nor have I once let them know how disgusted I am with their actions. I believe in a higher power who will make the ultimate judgement. I don't support war, or guns, or the death penalty. I believe God should be deciding life, not a human. Fault me for that if you will, but don't call me a liar.

Jennifer said...

Misty~ Typical condom use also has a much lower success rate.

I'm NOT suggesting others use it, just wanted to clarify that those who DO use it when well researched are NOT "risking" things anymore than many other forms of birth control.

Jennifer said...

MIsty~ Also, I said "When practiced properly", not "when used typically". My statistics are for that, not the former. Diaphrams and sponges don't give that kind of "perfect" use statistics, though they probably aren't as hard to use perfectly either.

Sharlene said...

One more thing Bucky- two of the three women are sisters of my friends. So I am forced to come in contact with them time to time but I don't hang out with them on a regular basis. The third I haven't talked to in years.

jennconspiracy said...

Answer to Crunchy's question is the same as others: the woman has to live with that decision.

@Bucky "just remember that a fetus isn't a child until it is actually born."
Exactly!

@Anonymous "Assuming that billions of people hold the same views of something always leads to trouble."

Words to live by, seriously. I hate when people use these anonymous authorities, "Everyone" and "They" and "People" - do not exist!

@Spice - "No one should have the right to determine anyone else's morality. Yes there are laws that we all agree to abide by. But morality is the accumulation of a lifetime of personal beliefs."

Very nicely put.


@Carmine - I would never consider myself a "victim" and I have had two abortions (plus 2 miscarriages). Maybe a victim of stupidity and a jerk-of-a-partner, but none of the bullets you mention in your 8:30AM posting would have prevented or helped me in my decision. My life would be substantially different - I'm very happy with not having any children not just for selfish, self-indulgent reasons but for the overall health of the planet.

@Anonymous - "You all know that about 50% of all fertilized eggs end up spontaneously aborted right? "
I thought it was 65% but I am very glad you brought up this point as people have the mistaken idea that every fertilized egg is sacred and special. It's not!

@Sharlene - I'm with Bucky on calling "bullshit." Do you realize that after a certain number of abortions, there's a strong chance you won't even be able to get pregnant?

Do you really think the 2 or 3 women who claims 10+ abortions asare telling the truth or perhaps they are just trying to shock you and piss you off?

I can tell you from experience - as can Anonymous who induced her own abortion - it's not an easy, comfortable or convenient process.

@Bucky - thanks for carrying the torch, man!

@Jennifer - right there with you. Practiced withdrawal for 4 years with one partner and never got pregnant. Not even a late period. He has since had 2 children, so he wasn't shooting blanks. ;)

@Crunchy - you must be bored to open this can of worms so we can all entertain you!

I've had two abortions - it's not something that typically comes up in normal conversation. For the most part, it's just a non-issue - like getting my tonsils out. I would hesitate to reveal to everyone who asks because I would not want to get into a battle over judgment (ie, the 80 year old mother of my boyfriend - she wouldn't likely ask, but if she did, I would change the subject knowing her position and not wanting to get into a controversial debate with her).

fernwise said...

Dang it, there are women having 10 or more abortions? Why are there women out there CLEARLY having more sex than I am?

Ahem.

Do you really think that women who volunteer to get a painful invasive procedure repeatedly, rather than do ANY prevention, are mentally healthy? Don't you think that, just maybe, they have some major mental health issues?

Fern

Kristijoy said...

Carmen:
I looked up the data you posted because I was curious.
First there is more recent data here: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/infosheets/infosheet_teen_preg.htm
and it shows rates by year (for teens) I am just using the teen figure because I think you threw it out there because it looks high.

Firstly teen pregnancy rates have dropped considerably, as have abortion rates.

Here is what I found. The census for last year stated there were 435,424 teens in 2008.

Of those about 52250 ( 12%) became PG)
Of those (15%) went on to have abortions (more continued the pregnancies..30% or 15,675)
That is 1.8% of the teen population in 2008.
Not a lot.
I have to go with anon on that.
I guess it depends on what a lot is to you.
To me, if it was over half of the women in the entire population who were having abortions I would think that was a lot.
30% or so, from Crunchy's number, not a lot.
We can debate "a lot" till the cows come home though I guess.
It's just not a common as most people think, most women, do not have abortions. Some do. Some have a lot. Most have one.


Few thing from my head:
one: the earth is already overpopulated, I have no problem with people not bringing more people, especially if they are unwanted, into this world.

Making abortion illegal does nothing to make them less prevaliant. It just makes them deadly. It's a huge blow to women's' health.

Also: making abortions deadly and illegal also forces more women to have unwanted pregnancies. This diminishes the equality and freedom of women and thier ability to control thier lives.


It is proven that education, completely comprehensive sex and reproductive education, and accessible affordable health care both decrease unwanted pregnancies AND the number of abortions. It also increases the agency and equality of women.

No one is pro abortion, (except maybe Sharlene's sisters...they are an exception to the norm.). No one WANTS to be in a position to make that choice. It's painful, for some it's a really hard decision to make, it's extremely personal, its' a medical procedure, its' not fun.
But the choice should be hers alone and not the laws or yours.

If abortion were made illegal, the punishment would be in the piles of dead women from botched abortions.

I strongly believe that everyone should be able to decided for themselves what is right for them and thier body. I am also pro-death with dignity, among other things.


For therecord, I would keep a pregnacy. But I want that choice.

Sharlene said...

Fern and Jenn- I would say they are extremely unhealthy mentally. I mean how could you be healthy mentally and do that to your body over and over again?

Jenn- thank you for calling me a liar as well. Really. Thank you.
If you knew these girls you wouldn't be surprised by their actions. They could be lying I guess but I don't think their sisters would lie to me. Look- I am not saying its the norm. I am saying it happens. Whether you want to believe it or not.

jennconspiracy said...

@Sharlene, you seem to have a chip on your shoulder about this "liar" thing. Do you often encounter this in other discussion forums?

I simply question the validity of the information being given to you. People make up all kinds of shit for all sorts of reasons - like you inventing that we're all calling YOU specifically a liar.

I believe you when you say that you have been told that those women claim they have had 10+ abortions and use that as birth control.

What I question is whether that information is true or accurate.

If you think that means I am calling you a "liar," well, then what can I say - there are many reasons why you would try to derail the subject onto your authority but it doesn't change the validity of my question about the veracity of those womens' claims.

Bucky said...

@Sharlene

It's hard to find statistics on the number of people with multiple abortions in the US. we don't seem to keep those sorts of records. Britian, with it's national health care system (if only!) does keep records however. The last figures I could find were for 2006. In that year, there were 44 women who had 8 or more abortions. They don't tell us how many of this subset were 10 or more. This is out of a population of just under 70 million. That same year there were 17 women who were on their 7th abortion. I'll admit I was shocked by these numbers. Of course, in the UK, abortions are free, so although I don't have any evidence to back this up, I'd expect to see a somewhat higher rate of abortion recidivism than here in the US. Still, if we extrapolate some numbers to the US (pop about 300 million), well assume that there are 200 women a year who have their 8th plus abortion. (I'd actually expect this number to be quite a bit lower because damnit, abortions are expensive.)

I don't have any evidence to support this next assumption, but I'll go ahead and risk it anyway. I assume that the pool of women with double digit abortions under their belts (so to speak) is relatively small. So that the women in any given year who are on their fifth abortion are much more likely to be having their sixth abortion a few years later. So while about 30 percent of women in the country have had an abortion, I'm assuming that the number of women who need to be wearing open-toed shoes to count the number of abortions they've had is relatively small.

And yet you know 3 of them!

It is certainly possible, Sharlene, that you know three women who are smart enough to have enough cash to pay for all those abortions but aren't smart enough to not get pregnant in the first place. It is just highly improbable.

Particularly improbable given your obvious disgust for abortion.

As I don't know you at all, I'm going to go with improbable. I'm always leery in conversations -- particularly over the internet -- with anecdotal evidence from the friend of a friend that just so happens to reinforce a persons preconceived notions of god and morality.

Take all the offense you like. Doesn't bother me at all. I've previously stated that I think there is a strong case to be made for an honest pro-life position. Few ever make it, however. And I haven't stated my own personal thoughts on the subject of abortion were I to be involved in the decision. I've only clearly (I hope) supported a woman's right to make her own choice.

As for being on my high horse ... perhaps. I'll just point out that I'm not wishing eternal hell for people with whom I disagree.

Carmen said...

@Bucky
We do keep those kind of statistics to a point. CDC tracks abortions provided to women with previous abortions in the categories, 0, 1, 2, >=3.

If I'm reading it correctly it looks like there are ~50,000 women a year who receive an abortion who have had 3 or more past abortions. Not a huge percentage of the population, but not a tiny number either.

Bucky said...

@Carmen

Thanks for the info. And I agree, 50,000 is a high number.


Wish we had some better number so compare and extrapolate. I know from the UK figures I found, the numbers drop off dramatically the higher you go. The 44 women with 8+ abortions was for all ages. The same year, there were 16,000 women under 24 (not all ages) who were on their second abortion. So that's a very dramatic drop.

I'd find it hard to believe that we don't see a similar dramatic drop in the number of people when you get to the double digits. But can't prove anything.

carsick said...

comingalive
Yeah, those chidren they strap the bombs around and blow up? They were wanted all right.
To the gal who gave herself an abortion, you already are having mental problems.
To bucky get a life. This is not black and white. So I wanted my baby when I was 17. You make it sound that I'm whacked. You are reading all day and judging. Sounds like you are playing God.

Bucky said...

@Jennifer

Thanks for all the info. I did go and look up a few things. All the reliable data I saw confirmed what Misty has already pointed out: the effective rate for withdrawal is 81%.*

As to the question of live sperm in pre-ejaculate, I couldn't find any definitive sources that agreed it was never present. Lots of mixed info. I'll try a more detailed search later when I have the time.

*On a side note, I was surprised that the same information showed tht condoms only had an 86% effective rate in real world situations. I'd love to know that the "failures" were for each method? I understand the failure rates for the withdrawal method, but am confused about the failure rate of condoms. Wish I could find more (but I'm probably too lazy today).



@scifichick

Thanks for the clarification.

Anonymous said...

Bucky...you're my hero(:

To answer CC's question, if it were illegal (and I don't believe it should be), I would hope there would be no repercussion.

That said, my now husband and I got pregnant when I was 19. (while on the birth control pill)We couldn't afford an abortion but if we could have afforded it we would have gotten one. And although now, we have a kick-ass 16yo(whom we adore and love with all our hearts), it has made our lives harder than we could have ever imagined.

We recently asked each other if we could do it all over again and could have afforded the abortion, would we do it. We both said yes, without hesitation. We were in no way ready to have a child and being pregnant and giving our child to the unknown would have mentally messed with us WAY more than having an abortion.
I would do anything for my daughter if she was in the same situation I had been in. And I would hope she would never have to have a "illegal" abortion if she truly wanted/needed one.

The responsibility we have as parents as well as a society for the children who are brought into this world is of such a great magnitude. Unfortunately, I think some anti-choice proponents feel their job is done once the baby comes out and abortion was averted. You don't get to see how it plays out.

Bucky said...

@carsick

"To bucky get a life. This is not black and white. So I wanted my baby when I was 17. You make it sound that I'm whacked. You are reading all day and judging. Sounds like you are playing God."

Thanks ever so much, carsick, but I already have a life.

I have absolutely no idea why you say I make it sound like you are whacked for wanting your baby with you were 17. I am actually overjoyed for every child born into the world that has a home where she is wanted and loved.

I haven't mentioned anything about your child or the choices you personally made about your own situation.

In fact, you say "this is not black and white" which is something we can agree on, and is what I have been arguing all along.

Issues surrounding reproduction and sexuality are very personal choices that we all make. They are never black and white, which is why I am a fierce advocate for choice. The people who are advocating making abortion illegal are the ones who see the issues as black and white. And they are the ones playing god, not me. I'm not trying to control other people's lives. I want people to have the freedom to make their own decisions about those intimate matters that affect them.

Perhaps you are confused that people who advocate for reproductive choice are fans of abortion or somehow trying to make women have abortions. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Sharlene said...

Jen- I must have misunderstood you and for that I am sorry. I have actually never been accused of lying about anything on a forum before and I guess I felt like it was a blow to my integrity and put me on guard. It was my mistake and I apologize. I completely understand how it could be hard to believe. I asked how they could find people to keep doing it. I asked how their body could handle it. I asked how they could physically keep getting pregnant (to the two sisters, not to the ones who had the abortions). Incidentally these two people don't know each other and have never met. Thinking about the third person she was a bit of a whacko and could have easily made it up. But it was her claim. Kinda a weird thing to claim if you ask me but I think you are probably right in thinking at least one of these people was lying.

Bucky (the one who did in fact call me out)- I never once said I wanted anyone condemned to hell. Those of us who believe in God aren't some evil pack of hell wishing freaks. I just think that it is ultimately God's decision on how to deal with these people (maybe he allows them to feel the pain or remorse. Maybe he makes them run through hot coals. How the heck do I know?) and not mine or the governments or anyone else's. I think you have missed my point. I personally think abortion is wrong but don't think there should be laws about it. I am still friends with people I know who have made that decision. It was theirs to make. Three are lots of thing people do that I don't agree with. Doesn't mean their should be laws against them. I understand that you may find it hard to believe that I know 3 people who have had or claim to have had more than 10 abortions but I just don't understand why you had to insult me and call me out like that in front of a group of people who I respect (I actually have really enjoyed most of you ad your comments on this thread and in threads past).

Neo@ said...

I will say Yes, as any other murderer this must be punished, the mother, the intelectual actor (if there was a future father, grand pa, etc), also the aborter.

Murderer is punished in almost all the religions, everyone has the right to live.

That's why I'm against death penalty too, the state shouldn't have the authority to point who must die.

So Yes, we must punish abortion!

Neo@ said...

In the Mexican states where abortion is illegal, that means 31 of the 32 states, they give 3 prison years to the mother and the person that makes the abortion.

jennconspiracy said...

@Sharlene - thanks for the gracious retraction.

FWIW, I think that Bucky was coming from the same angle that I was and believe he explained himself adequately in his latest comment.

Bucky said...

@Sharlene

I never once said I wanted anyone condemned to hell.

You are entirely correct, and I owe you an apology. I am sorry. It's just that when I hear very religious people, which you obviously are, talking about people "facing their demons in the afterlife" my mind turns to hellfire and brimstone. What can I say? I grew up in a hell-fire and brimstone fundamentalist family. I misunderstood your words and I am sorry.

As for me calling you out and insulting you in front of everyone, let me remind you that in your initial comment, you came on strong with some very harsh words and I just responded in kind. In fact, you actually were the first to call out Anon who spoke of her self-induced abortion. You were the one to first use language like "sick, wrong, and selfish." You said that you didn't care about the health of women who had had abortions because you disapproved of their morals (that's a tough stance).

You made the inference that people only have abortions because it isn't "convenient" for them at the time to be pregnant. That is terribly simplistic and rather crass. And rather rude when your comment follows the brave comment by Anon talking about her own difficult situation regarding her abortion. There are many, many reasons that women have abortions. Sure, some might do it because it isn't "convenient." But I've never yet met a woman for whom the choice of an abortion was a cavalier or hasty decision.

You also took a hard line and asserted that we couldn't even "tell [you] there there is even an argument as to whether a fetus is a life." Well, guess what -- there is!

So I am very sorry if I've misrepresented what you have said. But you might want to take a look at the harsh language you use before you swoon and get upset when people call you out on it.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. No one seems to be reading "Depletion and Abundance". Those posts generate almost no comments, and of the few that do comment, many state "I haven't read the book, but..." How do I stir the pot? George Bush? Been there, done that. Circumsion? That is so last week. A give away? Wait, I just did that. But, boy look at the number of comments. How about abortion? Yeah, that's a good one, because it doesn't require my blog readers to actually read something and analyze it, they can just add to the mix.

fernwise said...

I cheerfully admit I'm not reading "Depletion and Abundance". Library doesn't yet have it, I'm not buying books right now. Reproductive issues I've faced, but commenting on a book I've not read seems ... inappropriate.

Bucky said...

I'm with the Fern on the D&A book. I can't get it from the Houston library yet. And no money in the budget for books right now. Looking forward to reading it, however. I love Sharon's web site.

BoufMom9 said...

As an adoptive mother of 5 children, 4 of whom are handicapped, and the birth mother of 4 more children, 3 also handicapped, I find abortion to be a cop out. I understand there are lots of different circumstances that lead women or young girls to have abortions and not all of them are to do with the birth mother wanting to avoid a child with disabilities, but never-the-less, I find it disgraceful.
I find it equally upsetting that president Obama just signed into law today funding to help underdeveloped countries offer abortions to their people.
Our country will now be footing the bill for abortions in OTHER countries!
It's not enough that it goes on here. let's take it overseas to Africa too...
Ok, I'm getting off topic.
I am not sure if it should be illegal. Although I find it to be dispictable and would never have one myself, i do know women will do it whether it is against the law or not. Ultimately it comes down to this... you either believe in God or you don't. Faith is the backbone to this issue. if you believe in God, you know what will happen if you have an abortion. If you don't believe in God, it has no consequence.
I am sure someone will say they believe in God, yet still support abortion or that they have had one and all I can say to that is that they aren't very good Christians then. Christians believe that life begins at conception, not when you see the baby. Not when you feel it move. Not when it breathes for the first time. Not when it can live without machine. At conception. PERIOD.

ps I am not a crazy person that stands outside abortion clinics. I believe in allowing people to live and let live. God is the ultimate judge. it is not my place to judge.

Miranda said...

Bouf - I find it hilarious that you can say that people who accept abortions "aren't very good Christians then" followed by your self-righteous bullshit about it not being your place to judge.

Which generally makes one want to completely discount anything you have to say on the matter.

Two Flights Down said...

I've been thinking a lot about this lately. Perhaps, though, the woman getting the abortion shouldn't be punished, but the person giving the abortion. But that also brings up many issues.

Honestly, I don't think abortion should be illegal. It'll just cause many young girls to make uneducated decisions on the matter and seeking help from a non-professional in an alley. I mean, if you're a young girl who needs to keep a secret, can you really afford to bribe a professional?

Not that I think abortion is right, but I don't think making it illegal is the way to make people have "morals." Laws of society are usually based upon the shared principals of its people...and obviously this isn't a shared principle. My view could be flawed, but on an issue we're so divided on, I think better education is a more effective way of instilling morals.

If abortion is illegal, will the topic become taboo in time? Or will it become such a heated discussion that schools are forced to not mention the issue (such as the case with evolution)? Will this stop women (especially, young women who are in a panic and scared) from seeking help elsewhere...and uneducated on the topic?

Bucky said...

@BoufMom

So much is wrong with what you wrote, it's hard to know where to begin. But first let me say that I'm happy to see so many people who say that while they are personally anti-abortion they are also pro-choice as a matter of public policy. That is, after all the pro-choice position: every woman should have the right to make her own decisions about her reproductive rights.

That said, let's get started.

Although it's been a few years since I spent much time reading the bible, when I was growing up it was required daily reading. I'm more than familiar with Biblical teachings. So perhaps I somehow missed or forgot Jesus' Sermon From The Stirrups where he made pronouncements on all things related to conception; such as when life begins and abortion and contraception.

Perhaps you can refresh me and point me in the direction of the appropriate passages?

Regardless, I'm very glad we have you to separate the Christian wheat from the chaff as it were by knowing which sort of people are "good Christians" and which are bad Christians (can you be both Christian and bad? ... oh, wait, nevermind, you've already answered that question).

Moving along, I did want to correct your mistaken statements about Obama's lifting of the Bush "global gag rule," aka "The Mexico City Rule."

The US does not pay for abortions overseas. That is illegal. Since 1973, the Helms Amendment has banned the use of U.S. taxpayer funds for abortions overseas. It would take an act of congress to overturn the law. Obama does not have that power.

Let me repeat, because this is important and all the right-wing nut job talking heads have got it wrong: The US does not pay for abortions in other countries.

The gag rule instituted by Bush through executive order in 2001 made it illegal to provide funding to any organization that merely mentioned to women that abortion was an option even in countries where it was legal. It denied funds to any organization that provided abortion to women with other, non-US funds. It withheld money from the UN family planning organization because they worked with the Chinese government (who provide abortions to women as part of their national health care).

This is what Obama changed today, so that America can once again work with international and local family planning organizations to provide information, education and contraception to poor women all over the world.

This is critically important as providing women with the ability to control their reproduction is the surest way to lift them and their children out of poverty.

p.s.: I am a crazy person that stands outside of abortion clinics to protect the rights of women to enter and receive necessary and legal treatment.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Anonymous - I fail to see the point of your comment, but if I must point out the obvious, Tuesday (the "low" comment day) was the inauguration. Not too many people were commenting because they were busy doing something else, like celebrating the departure of George Bush. I suppose I could have capitalized on that moment but didn't. I had a book post to write.

The last book post garnered 35 comments and the previous 29. Is that not enough for you? Feel free to look back at every single post I've written this month, most of them not controversial as you accuse of me, and most of them getting quite a few comments.

This is a good post because it "doesn't require my blog readers to actually read something and analyze it"? Last time I checked, my readers weren't using this blog as a Distance Learning PhD program.

If you find my blog either so horribly offensive or are somehow perturbed at the number of comments it receives, then WTF do you read it and feel the need to leave a comment yourself, thereby artificially inflating this post's popularity?

Mike said...

I say to every person who is anti-abortion that you better adopt a child or shut the hell up. It's easy for anti-abortionists to tell women to keep the child or give it up for adoption. Well we've all made mistakes or have been put in situations that we wish we hadn't been. A woman who doesn't want to be a mother probably won't be a good one. The only option is to not have the baby or give it up to a good home. Unfortunately the people behind the pro-life campaigns haven't come up with a solution to the excess babies of the world. Adopt an unwanted baby or stop being such a hypocrite.

Anonymous said...

I love you Bucky!

Anonymous said...

Yo-- just so everybody knows, I'm the "women can be considered victims of abortion" anon and not any of the other anon posts, just for clarification, so folks can separate out arguments. I, too, did not want crazies posting to my blog. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Are you really sure that you want a child raised by a person whose primary motive in becoming a parent was to prevent an abortion?

(As an aside, I think a women can abort a pregnancy, and still be a good mother)

Since I don't think aboriton should be illegal, I don't think anyone should be punished, save that while it legal, anyone who induces an abortion on someone else and is not trained legally permitted to so, should be punished for practicing illegally.

I think that a woman should only abort when she can't face carrying the pregancy to term and that SHE (in consulation, if she wishes, with her partner) is the only person who can make the decision.

MEA

Jen R. (aaron-n-jen.com) said...

Bucky, you are amazing. :)

Creamy PB said...

Bucky for President 2016!

ceridwen said...

A lot of comments here.

The thing that strikes me is that this wouldnt even be a matter for debate on a British blog. I guess there's a lot fewer anti-abortion proponents here in Britain - and to my knowledge I only know one person who is anti-abortion.

I think we find it hard here in Britain - I know I certainly do - to even think of abortion as anything other than a medical procedure that is sometimes (regrettably) necessary. Unless it is performed late on in the pregnancy - at which point a debate starts.

ceridwen

Anonymous said...

Wow! Someone has her organically and sustainably manufactured panties in a twist. My point is this: As a blog about living "green" and doing our part to support the environment, and providing ideas and opportunities for others to act responsibly, you are on to something. While some of your ideas may seem "out there" for the main stream, they do provide food for thought, and do provide a service. Putting the mental in environmental, as you say... Your "controversial" posts (think Bush, Palin, abortion, etc.) are out of context of what appears to be your stated purpose and therefore seem calculated. Of course, this is your blog, and you are free to do as you please, just don't be surprised when someone calls you on it.

Kristijoy said...

To the last Anon poster:
I think abortion is a very relevant issue for environmentalism. it is a form of keeping the population down, especially of those potential people who would have been unwanted and dumped into a resource strapped system.
The world is overpopulated. Choosing abortion, can be, very much an environmental or resource based decision. For good or worse (ie China's one child policy.)

Anonymous said...

I write seeking your forgiveness.
On behalf of those who call themselves Christians, please let me ask for your forgiveness.

I have said rude, abrasive,and mean things in the name of pro-life.
I have cared more about my agenda than I have about your feelings.
I have picketed instead of holding your hand.
I have judged you, instead of loving you.
I have not shown you the love of Jesus, but the hatred of man.
I have been a road block in your path to healing.
I have been a jerk. Please forgive me.

Thank you to all the very courageous women who have shared their abortion stories. I'm so sorry for the extra grief we christians have caused. Abortion is NOT an unforgivable sin, please forgive us for communicating that.

I agree w/ the person who said "adopt or shut up."
Thank you, I'll take that to heart and start to move on that.

Thanks for reading,
humbly yours... sandy

RC said...

I waded through the comments and only a few reported on the punishments they knew about or proposed punishments. The rest failed to follow the directions, a common dysfunction.
So, here, near the bottom, I wish to add my two cents. Nothing says Medieval Patriarchy like stoning to the death.
Of course, one commenter pointed out that if the punishment were death, somebody would be undoing the illegality pretty quickly.
And so I do believe will go the controversy.
It is amazing how much blather occurred here.

abby said...

I hesitate to comment, but I hope that it will be heard. I didn't read every last comment, but I found it interesting that very few people will actually own up to having an abortion or supporting one, because once you have, there's something of a stain on you.
My own mother had an abortion in the 70's, one which caused her a lot of trauma physically and emotionally. The fact remains that most women she's met in working in a pro-life job are terrified to admit to their abortion, and most, if not all of them, feel the guilt of a murder on them. I'm sure this is not true of every single woman, but have we talked with women who've had abortions? What are their thoughts? I think--no, I know--that before my mother dealt with the fact of her abortion, she felt that she deserved to be punished severely for her "crime." (I put quotes, because it's not a crime, but this is how she felt afterwards.)
As to the original question, I have a problem with the premise that there is some sort of "double standard" towards those involved in abortion. This idea is not new, it wasn't an original thought by Crunchy (sorry if I'm outing you), but the problem isn't what we should do with all the women who have an abortion.
Personally, I wish there were no abortions. I know that my children were human beings from the second I was pregnant, if I knew they were there or not. But the reality is that no president in the last 35 years has done ANYTHING to stop abortions in the United States. Sure, a few have "limited" them, but since January 22, 1973, there have been nearly 50 million abortions in this country.
Instead of arguing about the legality, many Christians that I know (who also voted for Obama in spite of his pro-choice stance) have taken the "grass roots" approach to preventing abortion. No, we're not picketing clinics or doing anything illegal. Last year, my church prevented more than 300 abortions, simply by coming alongside moms and giving them donated supplies to help care for their babies.
A lot of people are cynical about this, because they think that these women are just taking advantage of the church, but I can say that most of them are eternally grateful for the assistance, and don't treat the church as a welfare outlet.
There are a lot of people who are supportive of abortion, but say they don't really like the choice, but then are critical of poor women who choose to give life to a child. These people claim that they don't want their tax dollars being used to support the baby of a woman on welfare. They say they don't favor the choice of abortion, but they do favor it for certain groups, even though they would never come out and say it.
The real problem with abortion isn't those who want it to be illegal, it's the bigoted people on both sides of the spectrum who would rather pay for an abortion than have their tax dollars used to pay for a baby on welfare.

abby said...

Here's a disgusting example of people I mentioned:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/22/AR2009012203995.html?referrer=emailarticle
Just read the comments.

Kristijoy said...

Abbey,
Sorry I just have to say, I personally avoid reading comments on newspapers and online articles because it brings out the most awful people on earth, I swear. I wish that they would be required to post such things behind their real names and identities.
Sure, there are people who think this, there always have been, those are the people who make it real easy for poor black women to get their tubes tied at any age regardless of # of children, but educated white women who are adamantly child free can't get a doc to do it, because they "might change their minds" and of course we want their babies... lucky they are really not so many. There was a great article on a study of online publication comments.. it was a great read.

Abortion is just one part of women's heath issues that can be used against poor women. It makes me sick when I hear people say there should be a test to be a parent or other such discriminating eugenic type arguments.

I read your post with interest and guess that we are of similar age if your mom was having you in the 70's. At first I thought maybe our perspectives are so different because of an age gap. I am 31.

I have a completely different experience with women and abortion and it's acceptability than you do. And I think it's cultural.
I grew up in the liberal easygoing west coast. I was "raised' christian, Methodist, but not strictly by any means,. more just introduced. I am agnostic. I am anti organized religion, but believe people should be free to worship or have spirituality wherever they find it. I really look down on trying to make others believe as you do though. To each their own, but keep it to yourself.

I grew up in middle class, educated communities, open minded.
I grew up in a place where teens had sex, were educated about it and it was not morally wrong.Birth control was easy to get and not taboo. and teens were generally supported when they got in trouble whatever kind it may have been, no matter what decisions were made. I knew women who had abortions and kept babies. both with varying outcomes, but both positive.
I have moved a lot and as I grew up and moved out on my own and so have met many women how not only have had abortions, but who are not ashamed, do not feel they were murders or that what they did was wrong. Only that it was their right to choose what to do with their bodies. health happy women in productive active lives.
Most of the women I know are comfortable with themselves, their sexuality and their bodies and their lives.

Not surprisingly I tend to associate with liberal, educated, women. Not necessarily middle class at all, many are working class or even dropping out of commercial society. And some are, like me, very radical, feminist and socialist, and religion-free but not most. Many of this subset are also child free by choice. I am not one of them. I will gladly be a breeder when the time is right-er.

I think our upbringing and where we fit culturally in society has shaped are very different perspectives on abortion.

While I was reading your post I felt sorry that your mother didn't live in a time, and a place, where she would have been supported in her decision to abort and felt no shame or guilt.

My mother had a down syndrome child after I was born, when I was 2. My parents were struggling with money and didn't feel they could adequately care for a special needs child, especially in that era. And so they gave her up for adoption. If I had been older or their cicumstances diffrent, tmayeb they could have chosen differently. Ahh those ifs...

They didn't have the luxury of testing like we do today, where they could have had time to figure out whether they would keep, adopt out or abort a pregnancy they could not handle. A choice. It was more traumatic then than it can be now where you can be prepared to deal with the blows life throws you. My parents were scorned for adopting out the baby btw. It was also shameful. And for babies with disabilities, it still is. I think it's very brave for someone to know when they cannot rise to the challenge and needs for a special needs child and find someone who can. That's putting the child first.

My mother never speaks of it, there is no record of my sister. I was also therefore excluded form knowing a sibling.

Nothing in life easy easy, and few choices are. But it's even harder with no choices. So we're blessed to have them.

and I think people punish themselves, like the women you know, more than enough to ever require punishment for abortion were it illegal. And I commented about about what illegal abortions would do and it's not pretty. They don;t go away, they don't magical stop, they just go underground and get deadly. Also, punishment enough.

abby said...

kristijoy,
I appreciate your comments, and I actually didn't read the comments on that article until my mom mentioned how awful they were.

I wanted to say that my mom would probably disagree with this statement:
"While I was reading your post I felt sorry that your mother didn't live in a time, and a place, where she would have been supported in her decision to abort and felt no shame or guilt."

She was basically tricked into thinking that the abortion was "better" for her, because she should be able to have a better life without these babies (it was twins). The strange thing was that she was 17 and already had a 2 year old baby, my oldest brother. She never told her family that she had an abortion, I didn't even know until I was 16 and she told us. She felt guilt and shame because in her heart she KNEW that these were living human beings that she had allowed to be killed. Not only that, but the abortion was botched, leaving one baby behind to be miscarried weeks later, and she was nearly hospitalized, but thankfully recovered.
You could argue that the traumatic abortion she experienced was not the normal experience and it was what cause more emotional pain, but I personally know many women who had uneventful abortions who also felt tremendous guilt and shame, not because they were made to feel that way by the church or anything, but because they knew that it was wrong.
I know that if I give you a woman who feels sorry for an abortion, you can give me a woman who doesn't, but the point is that there are women suffering from their choice.
To get back to the original discussion, the more I think about the idea of making abortion illegal, the more terrified I become of what might happen to women who try to get one, not legally, but physically. I do wish that people wouldn't have them, and am thankful for people who prevent them, but if we remember the prohibition era, we will remember that making something illegal doesn't mean getting rid of it, and often means that things become far more dangerous and out of control.

As far as the whole argument about genetic testing, I think we will start to notice that there are a few doctors who will lie to underprivileged pregnant women and say there might be something wrong with their baby just to try to convince them to have an abortion.

My point is that there is a huge disparity in our society between the poor and the privileged when it comes to who most people *think* should have abortions, but the reality is that it's the poor and uneducated who are keeping their babies and the rich and educated who are discarding their fetuses.

Just in comparing notes, I'm a 28 year old, college educated stay at home mom of 2. I come from a middle-class family, and I married a foreign citizen. I'm a Christian, and was raised in a fairly progressive, but not necessarily liberal, church, and my political views are in the middle of the spectrum, and I'm in the mid-west.

Fr. Peter Doodes said...

I wonder what rights a fetus has?

Moonwaves said...

In general I think most of what I think has already been covered. I'm pro-choice (don't think abortion would ever be the right choice for me but unless I am in a situation where I needed to decide don't feel I can make an equivocal statement either way).

@Bucky - bear in mind that any statistics you read for the UK will also include the many women from Ireland who travel to England for abortions as it is still (in almost all cases) illegal in Ireland. At least technically we've now got the right to information and the right to travel!

I add my sincere wishes to the commenter above that the need for abortion some day become more or less obsolete.

Cynthia said...

Living in "Focus on the Family" region of the country, I hear ALOT of anti-abortion rhetoric. My response to this is: How many of your children are adopted? (I have met 3 families out of hundreds who have adopted) Are you willing to adopt a child of a different color, that is not an infant and has "problems" or been in the system a long time?" I get the answer, "Of course." My next question is: why haven't you? I get,"well, it's just not feasible now." or "we're not set up to adopt, but we would if we could." There are so many children in the foster system that are NOT getting adopted despite the rhetoric about how there are so many families who want these unborn. Really? Seriously? Before someone spouts off to me about the immorality of abortion, they need to be adoptive parents or foster parents to quantify their statements. I'm tired if seeing unwanted/unloved children burned/beaten/molested etc. why would you require a child to go through that type of life? I don't like abortion. I would rather safe sex be practiced. However, that is not our reality.

TV Free said...

I agree with many of the comments here; it is a difficult subject.

One struggle I have with the pro choice argument is with the accountablility of the woman. Yes, I believe women should have control over their bodies. But, don't they have the same ability to choose whether or not to have sex? Yes, there are some cases where the birth control didn't work, or the woman was raped, but barring those exceptions, didn't the woman have the right to choose before she committed the act?

Joy said...

Someone asked what the fetus' rights are - well, the law does imply that they have the right to be born when a pregnant woman dies and it counts as TWO deaths because she was pregnant. This could be a car crash or a murder - it's still two deaths in the court of law. I just think that's interesting.

Everything has been said in every way here. I don't do well with the debating and bashing that happens with so many of these kinds of subjects. I don't have an answer for the orginal question. I'm sorry. :(

Moriah said...

wow! thanks! This is totally different from my regular standpoint (though hinting at supporting the same side). I never even thought that people would be getting them illegally, just that they'd be trying DIY/at home stuff or committing suicide.
It's cheaper to have an abortion than raise a child. I'd never thought about it from an environmental standpoint, but I don't want to even think about what's wasted in childrearing.

I know I sound like a heartless monster. I don't like abortion, and I don't want to have to do it, but I do want the option. I don't mean to get into the whole debate, but I really am glad you shared this!

Well put Crunchy. I don't know anyone who has had one who actually wanted one, but the choice thankfully was there.
^Exactly!

Moriah said...

Cynthia: I live in the Bible belt too. Maybe this should be a lesson to those same people that abstinence-only sex ed isn't the way to go

comingalive said...

@carsick.

comingalive
Yeah, those chidren they strap the bombs around and blow up? They were wanted all right.


Your orginal comment was that liberals shouldn't protest the Bush administration going to war which in turn killed babies when they are having abortions.

How do we get to suicide bombers?
Not sure.

Children who are maniuplated and/or choose to strap a bomb to their chest are an ENTIRELY different issue from abortion. Try to stay on topic.

Jen said...

I've thought about this for quite some time but haven't had the chance to respond. I apologize for coming back to this late.

As I've been turning this over in my mind, the thing that keeps coming back is that if we were to equate abortion with murder in a legal sense, what a can of worms that would open. Speaking completely logically, if abortion was to be tried and punished as murder, wouldn't that put women who miscarry naturally at risk as well? In the event of a human death, there is always an accounting of what happened - even in the case of an accident, there is usually a trial and a verdict, even if that verdict is "involuntary manslaughter." I think when we put women's reproductive issues in legal terms, the lines blur into all sorts of shades of gray.

I could go further into all this would entail (premeditated abortion? "crime of passion (or panic)" abortion? should the two carry different sentence weight?) but I don't have the brainpower this morning. Just thought I'd thank you for this morsel of thought I've been chewing on for the past seven days :)

Anonymous said...

Making abortion illegal is bad for the environment.

Why?

If I were a woman and wanted to have an abortion I'd really want it. If abortions were illegal in the place I lived I'd simply outsource the abortion.

That's right: I'd simply hop on a plane and fly somewhere where abortions where legal and would have my abortion overseas and then fly back.

Just think of all that carbon dioxide being blasted into high altitude. Quelle horreur!

Honestly folks: If big corporations benefit from globalization why shouldn't you?

Anonymous said...

In Germany for example (to offer an outside perspective) abortion is illegal BUT there's no penalty (for neither the doctor performing the abortion nor for the woman having the abortion).

Therefore everyone is happy. Those Christians are able to say that it is illegal whilst everyone else has no (major) problems getting an abortion if need be.

Anonymous said...

Just something to toss in the mix here...

According to Wikipedia, "The word fetus is from the Latin fetus, meaning offspring, bringing forth, hatching of young. It has Indo-European roots related to sucking or suckling."

So, the issue of whether or not a fetus is a real baby or not is a question of semantics, not reality. "Fetus" is a doctor's fancy and sterile way of saying "baby".

It's a lot easier to stomach saying, "I'm deciding to terminate the fetus", right? If you want to be pro-abortion, then do it proudly. But let's call it what is.

Brooke said...

In reading many of these comments I am struck by how incredibly sexist the anti-choice comments are and how if maybe these people could see women as individuals in their own right, perhaps their minds would change?

It seems like the concept is that women are VICTIMS to abortion doctors, family members or abusive boyfriend that FORCE abortion on women. That only these individuals should be punished for abortion.

However the reality is that many women CHOOSE to have abortions, SEEK OUT abortion doctors and have abortions despite the high cost and legal challenges. The have abortions even when it is made clear to them that they could raise their child on welfare and other state support systems. Women, still choose abortion.

Why? Because once again the reality is that pregnancy is not beautiful and glamorous for everyone. Not everyone plans to have a child. Not every child is the product of a good relationship or a consensual one. Women have abortions, if anything because they are victims of an incredibly sexist society which denies women birth control, access to education and jobs, that denies women protection from abusive partners and rapist. Even birth defects can be attributed to society and the chemicals we allow to pollute our environments.

Rebekka said...

Brooke, RIGHT WITH YOU!

Anti-choice (or as I prefer to call it, forced birth) is by definition anti-woman. If you think abortion should be illegal, then you think a woman should be able to be forced to go through a pregnancy, with all the inherent risks (which are far higher than those of abortion, no matter how many anecdotes of "botched" abortions the forced-birthers come up with) and child birth, with all those risks.

All to "save the life" of something that's actually a parasite that can't survive without her, never mind her life or her autonomy over her body.

It springs from thinking that women are less important that other humans - men and even potential humans.

If a man could save someone's life by donating a kidney, is it ethical to FORCE him to donate a kidney? Why not? The other person will die without the kidney.

Pat said...

Stoning. In the arab world, virtually no women get illegal abortions! Why? They don't want to have rocks thrown at them till they die(But then, the baby didn't wish to be vacuumed out either).

Pat said...

Stoning. In the arab world, virtually no women get illegal abortions! Why? They don't want to have rocks thrown at them till they die(But then, the baby didn't wish to be vacuumed out either).

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