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A womb with a view
March 18, 2011 8:30 AM   Subscribe

Abortion has always been a hotspot in the culture wars. But of late, the anti-abortion movement has had some huge wins, often sliding in under the radar of pro-choice supporters. Idaho bans abortions after the 20th week, claiming that mother's shouldn't have the right to make a fetus uncomfortable. Nebraska also banned abortion after the 20th week, so did Oklahoma. Oregon, Minnesota, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Florida, Missouri, and Ohio are also considering joining the 31 states that currently have such a ban. Virginia passed a law that will shut the doors of almost every abortion clinic in the state. And various areas are now enacting laws that suggest a fetus is significantly more important than the carrier of said fetus. One judge ruled that a girl couldn't have an abortion because she had bad grammar. It is quite possible that women who are in their 40s right now may be the only generation of American women that possessed full reproductive rights for their entire child bearing years.
posted by dejah420 (213 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite

 
My local NPR station reported today that something like a dozen anti-abortion bills have been presented in the state legislature this session. If they all pass and are made law, they would combine to make Indiana the most restrictive state in the country.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:35 AM on March 18, 2011


I don't see this link up there, apologies if I missed it:
GOP Bill Would Force IRS to Conduct Abortion Audits

Were you raped? Was it incest? And other questions the government's tax cops would have to ask women who've terminated pregnancies.

posted by Stagger Lee at 8:37 AM on March 18, 2011 [9 favorites]


Wow, StaggerLee, that one flew under *my* radar, and I'm usually on top of these kinds of stories. Thanks for that add!
posted by dejah420 at 8:40 AM on March 18, 2011


@Stagger, glad I previewed, I was just going to post that. I was gobsmacked by this, but then I realized that's what smaller, less intrusive government must look like. Seriously, this kind of thing cements my allegiances through the next election, so thanks GOP.
posted by drowsy at 8:40 AM on March 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Once somebody told me "We all have the government we deserve". I don't deserve this.
posted by francesca too at 8:40 AM on March 18, 2011 [37 favorites]


I was just in Texas and heard from many women about the crazy new laws that force anyone seeking an abortion to get those invasive early ultrasounds. It's a bummer the country is swinging this way, hopefully someone takes one of the 20week limits to the supreme court to reestablish the right to choose.
posted by mathowie at 8:41 AM on March 18, 2011


hopefully someone takes one of the 20week limits to the supreme court to reestablish the right to choose

I wish I had that kind of faith in the current court.
posted by enn at 8:41 AM on March 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


If these initiatives to curtail legal abortion access gain traction, then you'll see handy infographics in a few years showing increased rates of medical accidents from unlicensed abortion providers in areas where women can't get a legal abortion.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:41 AM on March 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


The GOP is in a race to the bottom.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:44 AM on March 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Two steps forward, one step back. This is the one step back.

I thought it was progress that abortion was hardly on the radar in the last election cycle - probably for the first time since those late 40s women were children.

It will be next time.
posted by three blind mice at 8:44 AM on March 18, 2011


I'm fucking sick of women's bodies and lives being a bargaining chip in political debate.
posted by JimmyJames at 8:44 AM on March 18, 2011 [57 favorites]


Hunh. I just finished reading Unwind to see if it would be teen-appropriate. Turns out that it is now also time-appropriate.
posted by adipocere at 8:45 AM on March 18, 2011


hopefully someone takes one of the 20week limits to the supreme court to reestablish the right to choose

Well, by the time it's tried, it won't help the woman who needed the abortion...
posted by LordSludge at 8:45 AM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


The United States would be a much more humane place if Republicans cared about the born as much as they profess to about the unborn.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:46 AM on March 18, 2011 [60 favorites]


until liberals realize that the abortion wars are about the complete collapse of the industrial economy in the US, they will continue to lose the civil rights fight for women: tens of thousands of mill towns, cities across with absolutely no reason to exist filled with people who think they have no reason to exist and whom this society thinks are useless.

it's not about abortion it's class warfare and social collapse in the terminal high school education population in the US.
posted by ennui.bz at 8:47 AM on March 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


Sad story: Doctors tell woman if she doesn't have an abortion, her baby will die regardless and she herself will become disabled. But Nebraska law meant she could not have the abortion, and she was forced to carry her baby to term.
posted by LordSludge at 8:48 AM on March 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Does anyone have links to less sensationalist accounts of the stories written up on change.org? I'd like to know if I have my facts straight before getting worked up.
posted by Dr. Eigenvariable at 8:49 AM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think it's pretty clear that the poster has a bias here.

I mean, she doesn't note that the Republican sponsors of these bills protecting the lives of the unborn paired each bill with another bill providing for state-funded maternity care for any mothers denied abortions, and providing early childhood healthcare for the saved babies.

Wait, what? That's not true? Oh, my bad.
posted by orthogonality at 8:50 AM on March 18, 2011 [49 favorites]


> Well, by the time it's tried, it won't help the woman who needed the abortion...

For some reason that reminded me that "Roe" delivered her baby and eventually wanted the Supreme Court decision overturned. The case is bigger than the individual.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:50 AM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oregon, Minnesota, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Florida, Missouri, and Ohio are also considering joining the 31 states that currently have such a ban.

Minnesota's will fail, as Dayton will veto.
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:51 AM on March 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't see this link up there, apologies if I missed it:
GOP Bill Would Force IRS to Conduct Abortion Audits


How would the IRS know who had abortions?
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:54 AM on March 18, 2011


I'm stunned and sickened at what's happened in the last couple of years; it feels like we've rolled back the clock on a half century of progress and the fallout is going to last for a couple of generations.

And no one in power will care because the people most directly affected by this are very nearly second class citizens in the eyes of those who shape policy.

What the fuck happened to our country?
posted by quin at 9:01 AM on March 18, 2011 [14 favorites]


You know what the really sad thing is? I just realized that my last comment could be put in any number of other threads we've had here lately and be just as applicable: the wars, the union busting, the ruination of the poor and middle-class, etc.
posted by quin at 9:02 AM on March 18, 2011 [18 favorites]


> I just realized that my last comment could be put in any number of other threads we've had here lately and be just as applicable: the wars, the union busting, the ruination of the poor and middle-class, etc.

I think we're just being reminded that social justice and progress is never some kind of linear development or evolution, but really is more kind of cyclical. Weird.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:07 AM on March 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Given I don't have a uterus, I don't feel like my vote counts much on this. I support a woman's right to choose , and as much as I can't imagine a world where a woman doesn't, those words, that statement (right to choose), just seems like so much flat soda to me.

Many years ago, I held a woman's hand while she was having an abortion. We were married, seperated, and she had got drunk on her birthday and slept with someone whose name she didnt even know, and as we tried to reconcile, this bombshell fell. We went to therapy. I was resolute in thinking I didn't want to raise some no name's kid. I don't really think I talked her into it, but if I did, it didn't take a lot of talking.

A surreal car trip from Cape Cod to Framingham. We talked about the weather alot, and how the song on the radio was cool. Got lost twice, and finally found the non descript building mostly occupied by dentists.

A waiting room full of women, mostly alone, some with mothers or aunts, diverting their eyes. I think I was the only man there. They called her to the desk, and gave her some Valium.

When our time came, we went back to a procedure room, she got in the stirrups.

It was like one of those things the dentist uses. A big vacuum cleaner with a little nozzle. She started to cry, and I held her hand that much tighter.

The Doc was OK. I mean he probably has 30 of these things to do today. He made a first pass, said "Hmmm", then went in for a second. You could hear this little hitch, like a clog or something, then he said, "Hey, OK, that's what we're looking for!" It was maybe 3 minutes.

It still chills me. Those words.I just did't think it could be so matter of fact, So Wednesday "What's for lunch?" I'm not saying what a man goes through is above what a woman must feel in that situation, but I felt it as a human being like a wiffle ball bat to the face.

She was still a little loopy from the Valium. We drove back to the Cape mostly in silence. "Fire and Rain" came on the radio and I turned it off.

We got divorced five months later.
posted by timsteil at 9:17 AM on March 18, 2011 [49 favorites]


Burhanistan: "I think we're just being reminded that social justice and progress is never some kind of linear development or evolution, but really is more kind of cyclical. Weird."

It's more like a tug of war between progressives and reactionaries.
posted by zarq at 9:18 AM on March 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


"I like you guys who want to reduce the size of government and make it just small enough so it can fit in our bedrooms!" (The West Wing)

Was it the West Wing, written by Aaron Sorkin? I always thought it very telling quotation.
posted by alasdair at 9:19 AM on March 18, 2011 [26 favorites]


> It's more like a tug of war between progressives and reactionaries.

Yeah, tug of war is a good analogy. I was thinking in terms of the tide ebbing and flowing, but that imparts a sense of it being beyond our direct control.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:23 AM on March 18, 2011


This is the U.S.A. in the 21st century. The strong are sick of pretending they don't want to crush the weak. "Give me your rich, your white, your heterosexual Christian males yearning to breathe free."

How many people fought and died to win the rights these cryptofascist motherfuckers are trying full-time to take away? How many more are going to have to die before we take them back?
posted by Zozo at 9:24 AM on March 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


Was it the West Wing, written by Aaron Sorkin? I always thought it very telling quotation.

Yes. Spoken by Josh Lyman, to a gay Republican Congressman, over many beers in the White House Mess.
posted by timsteil at 9:28 AM on March 18, 2011


This just makes me so sad. WTH cam't a woman choose anymore?
posted by arcticseal at 9:33 AM on March 18, 2011


Wasserman Shultz: GOP’s Anti-Abortion Bill Is ‘Nothing Short Of A Tax Increase’ On Women And Small Businesses
posted by homunculus at 9:38 AM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I mean, she doesn't note that the Republican sponsors of these bills protecting the lives of the unborn paired each bill with another bill providing for state-funded maternity care for any mothers denied abortions, and providing early childhood healthcare for the saved babies.

Here's tongue-in-cheek solution to this... Every single time anyone proposes limiting abortion or birth control rights an amendment will be added including a progressive tax of at least 20% on every single person in the state with any income. That tax fund will be used solely to educate and care for every child born in the repressive state without regard to parental income. Each child born will have a full college scholarship including room and board.

Pro-lifers, put your money where your mouth is.
posted by drezdn at 9:38 AM on March 18, 2011 [21 favorites]


Given I don't have a uterus, I don't feel like my vote counts much on this.

Given that you don't have a uterus, your vote seems to count more than those that have them, these days.

/bitter

dejah420, I don't agree that this "slid under the prochoice radar." Just the opposite; my Twitter, my email, my mailbox, my FB are filled with frantic posts and pleas to call my reps pretty much every day.

This is clearly a coordinated campaign, well-funded and well-planned; the fact that similar bills are introduced in different states speaks to something that was set up to go as soon as the critical mass of Republicans were in office. Same for the unions, actually.

I would not be surprised if this deluge's timing is because the last deluge of anti-immigrant, anti-gay efforts are getting tired, and to keep the base fired up, you need someone to target your hatred on. Women are always convenient, and the right to abortion, because you can mask it with pictures of fictional but cute cuddly widdle babies, especially so.

The radar that is, as always, failing to note this particular Republican campaign is the mainstream media, but then, there's an awful lot they seem to be missing these days when it comes to Republicans.

Eventually one or more of these bills will trickle up to the Supremes; at that point, I don't know what will happen as I am not a lawyer. Best case is we get stronger affirmation of choice; worst case is we lose our right, and the right to contraception becomes imperiled as well, leading not only to illegal abortions but to a cracking black market for morning after pills and such, not to mention needing a new underground railroad to get women to places where they can get abortions.

Oh yeah, and a rise in women's mortality and a return to septic abortion as a cause of death.
posted by emjaybee at 9:44 AM on March 18, 2011 [9 favorites]


This is why I hate fundamentalist Christianity invading politics. The value of an unborn life is far greater to them than the woman who hosts it. I find abortion expedient and a crappy solution. But no person should be forced to continue to host another being. Pregnancy and childbirth still threaten a woman's life and health. My cherished child is old enough to vote, and I still have health issues related to his birth.

To say nothing of the right to choose to terminate a pregnancy if the child will have severe genetic or medical problems that will be painful and expensive.

Glee had an episode that was sexually focused. But I think many people were far more pissed about the provision of sex education to teens in high school than about a sexy dance. To say nothing of the health and sexual education issues of a gay teen.

What a bizarre anti-sex, anti-women nation people want it to be. Sex is awesome; people should have lots of it. Babies and children are awesome, and we should support healthy families. Refusing to teach people about sex, refusing to provide health care and support to citizens, especially the most vulnerable; I don't get it.
posted by theora55 at 9:45 AM on March 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


And of course, at the same time as all this, there's an effort to defund Planned Parenthood a la ACORN. I know it's theoretically about abortion (which is a tiny part of their services) but it really does seem like the folks pushing all these bills want not just to get rid of abortion and birth control, but women's ability to control their reproductive health care in any way.
posted by immlass at 9:59 AM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Brick
posted by timsteil at 10:02 AM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


The number of states cited as banning abortion after 20 weeks (31) is incorrect based on this report from the Guttmacher Institute (as of 3/1/11). The "31 states" report linked in the FPP instead talks about bans on "partial-birth" abortions.

Dejah420 - your post claims that women in their 40s "have possessed full reproductive rights". However, for the last ~30 years there have been at least some limitations on abortion on both federal and state level. To name a few: bans on abortion after fetal viability, parental notification laws, waiting periods. Has the status quo protected these "full" rights of which you speak? If the status quo has been acceptable, do you agree that some restrictions on abortion can exist without unjustly infringing on reproductive rights?
posted by chos at 10:05 AM on March 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Glee had an episode that was sexually focused. But I think many people were far more pissed about the provision of sex education to teens in high school than about a sexy dance. To say nothing of the health and sexual education issues of a gay teen.

Another entry from EC's "I Know I've Probably Told This Story Before" files:

My high school required all students to take a class in "health" at some point during their four-year term. Didn't matter what year you took it -- you just had to have passed it by the time you graduated. "Health" was usually taught by the gym teachers, and offered pretty basic information on hygiene, nutrition, and the general benefits of exercise. However, students had the option of taking a "Health" class that also offered basic sex education, or "Health" class without. If you wanted to enroll in the class that was "with", you had to bring in a permission slip from your parents when you signed up.

I blew off "health" until my senior year, at which time the only option I could work into my schedule was a session without the sex-ed. I spent most of my time bored out of my mind learning about the food pyramid all over again. After about a month, though, the teacher -- who must have personally decided that the notion of NOT offering sex-ed in class was ridiculous -- announced that she wanted to show us all a short film, but since it "mentioned contraception," we would all have to bring in permission slips from our parents. If a single person forgot their slip, she would not be able to show this film to any of us. At our next class, we all dutifully brought in our permission slips, and watched the film. (It was a very after-school-specially thing about two girls being pressured into sex by each of their boyfriends; one says no. The other, however, says yes. The "mention of contraception" was thus -- the girlfriend who decides to say yes is discussing whether to "go-all-the-way" with her boyfriend at the diner or something, and she asks "what about protection"? and he says he'll take care of it. Cut to the very next scene when she's on the phone to him: "you know that protection? It didn't work." That concluded the mention of contraception.)

The following time we met for class, the teacher had planned a short quiz for us all about the film. We all finished it in 15 minutes. However, that was all the teacher had had planned for us, so she said we could just have a free period for our remaining 45 minutes. As people were figuroing out what to do, one of the kids spotted a VCR in class, and pointed it out to the teacher and asked -- "I've got a tape of Porky's II on me, can we watch it?"

And the teacher said, "Sure, go ahead."


....A year later, my high school was contemplating a student health clinic, something that could offer more exhaustive mental and physical and sexual health counselling; several people in town were up in arms over it, and the school board called for an open town-hall referrendum thing where anyone could come and speak their piece for about two minutes. I got up and told that exact story, pointing out that it didn't make sense to not teach kids to make responsible choices when the pop culture inspired them to make IRRESPONSIBLE ones.

...One of the most delightful things I've ever seen is the sight of all seven of the school board members' jaws dropping simultaneously when I told them about the teacher saying "go ahead" to Porky's II.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:06 AM on March 18, 2011 [15 favorites]


Pretty soon, it's going to be simply too risky to procreate in this country. Anyone with the sense to plan a pregnancy will either move elsewhere or not have kids. Mike Judge may have been conservative in his depiction of the future.
posted by sswiller at 10:13 AM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sure am glad for all this smaller, less intrusive government. I guess I'll stop thinking of my uterus as mine, since it's obviously not.
posted by rtha at 10:17 AM on March 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am 40 and still very much in my reproductive years, as evidenced by the 9-week-old sleeping on my lap. If I were to get pregnant again, this crap could still very much affect me and my choices, as I'm now in the age range where the likelihood of problems with pregnancy, for me or the fetus, is greatly increased. So this pisses me off on my own behalf.

But it scares the living shit out of me when I think about what it means for my daughter and her options over the next 30-40 years. And I thank my husband's determination to establish her Canadian citizenship (since he was born there). Doesn't mean she's completely safe, since the Crazy could eventually find it's way north, but it is something.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 10:19 AM on March 18, 2011


drezdn: "Here's tongue-in-cheek solution to this... Every single time anyone proposes limiting abortion or birth control rights an amendment will be added including a progressive tax of at least 20% on every single person in the state with any income. "

Fuck that - put the 20% tax on church receipts.
posted by notsnot at 10:27 AM on March 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


Glee had an episode that was sexually focused

You want those to be your first words when and if you get the chance to testify in front of a Congressional committee that might be able to shape the course of the debate, and push legislation up the Hill? Serious issues deserve serious scholarship, not pop culture Fox teen drama. Really.
posted by timsteil at 10:40 AM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


If the status quo has been acceptable

Are you trolling? Of course the status quo hasn't been acceptable. The fact that we may one day look back on it as the high-water mark of reproductive freedom doesn't mean that it was ideal, it was just the best that was apparently possible at a given time.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:42 AM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pretty soon, it's going to be simply too risky to procreate in this country

Actually, we will probably be looking at a very severe "brain-drain" on this country as well-educated liberalish people flee the economy and regressive politics to get union jobs with good healthcare in other countries.
posted by fuq at 10:53 AM on March 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Really not trying to troll - the OP is the one who implied that the cited round of news stories and legislation somehow ended a period of "full reproductive rights".
posted by chos at 10:54 AM on March 18, 2011


So in the 'bad grammar' link, we are told that a Pennsylvania judge has decided to deny a 17-year-old's request to have an abortion without parental permission, because she wasn't 'mature' enough, as evidenced by the fact that... she didn't seek parental permission to have an abortion. *Head explodes*
posted by Pre-Taped Call In Show at 11:17 AM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


zarq: It's more like a tug of war between progressives and reactionaries.

Its been my observation that an awful lot of self-declared progressives define themselves much more by what they are not then what they are. I'm not sure if it is new, but reactionary beliefs are very well and alive in progressives, and perhaps just as bad. Feels worse sometimes; I see the conservatives seeming to (sometimes) "stand" for something, and the other side just saying "we aren't like them". Not universally true, of course.

Maybe the progressives should start caring more about outcomes rather then what the other side thinks.
posted by Bovine Love at 11:19 AM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, you know, as a woman in her 40s who is past her reproductive years (thank the gods, babies are cute but they turn into . . . teenagers) I do feel that I had full reproductive rights. The first time I had an abortion was two years after my daughter was born, which was long enough for me to have figured out that it was all I could do at that point to care for one child let alone two. That was 1985 and I lived in South Carolina - not, then as now, exactly a hotbed of progressive politics. Yet 9 weeks pregnant me was able to go down to the clinic, pay my $300 in cash and have a quick, not painless but not painful, simple vacuum abortion. Nobody tried to stop me. Nobody tried to make me look at pictures of fetuses or Jesuses; nobody pressured me in any way; everyone at the clinic was kind, professional and polite and that was just how it was then, back when the US was a sane and secular nation. Nowadays that experience would be difficult to replicate, although the alternatives are just as bad as ever they were if not worse.

I have a bumpersticker on my refrigerator. It says "I Can't Believe I'm Still Protesting This Crap" and that sums up how I feel a lot of the time. I have not enjoyed watching this country go backwards instead of forwards.
posted by mygothlaundry at 11:21 AM on March 18, 2011 [17 favorites]


I have a little personal story to tell too.

My darling dad was a doctor, and I knew when I was growing up in Massachusetts that he was one of those who was willing to refer women (usually students at the university where he had a practice) to safe abortion providers. Because this was pre Roe v. Wade and abortion was very, very illegal in Massachusetts, his willingness to do this was a very big deal. I remember the day Roe was handed down, as my hometown was Catholic, and most people, including my friends, went into mourning for all the dead babies they were sure would result. As for me, I wasn't Catholic and I thought my dad was a hero for making life-saving referrals that could have gotten him jailed, so when I left home for school, I joined NARAL. One of my favorite T shirts at the time said, "Keep abortion safe and legal" and depicted a coat hanger.

But, I had a very good friend who felt so strongly about protecting abortion rights that she went to work for a Planned Parenthood style clinic. She couldn't stick with it though, and she told me why -- she saw the fetus disposal at the clinic, and it haunted her.

So, after that I was conflicted about abortion. I always supported safe and legal abortions, but I was extraordinarily careful to make sure I never needed one. (And, of course, I was lucky too.)

Then, when I was much older, and now living in Seattle, I went to a big dinner for a woman's law organization, and Gloria Steinem was the featured speaker. I'd read Ms. and a fair amount of Steinem's writing, but she talked that night about something I hadn't heard before from her. She talked about abortion, and why the right to abortion is at the center of women's rights and feminism. Women either have the right to control their own bodies, she said, or they don't. When society, or the state, or religion takes control of a woman's body, it engages in oppression at the most fundamental level. Our own choices about our own bodies is about as basic as it gets. All freedoms start there.

You know, that speech really hit home for me, and it still does. I am still not enthusiastic about abortion, but I think I would do just about anything to protect the right to safe, legal abortion on demand. Anything less is an infringement on basic human autonomy. And although I believe in life, and protecting life, a person already in existence is, in my view, absolutely entitled to make decisions about their own body, even at the cost of a person who is not yet born.

I heartily agree with everyone here who favors sex education and available contraception too, but abortion is just basic to female equality. The efforts to infringe it say worlds about what is happening to women's rights in this country.
posted by bearwife at 11:53 AM on March 18, 2011 [55 favorites]


So in the 'bad grammar' link, we are told that a Pennsylvania judge has decided to deny a 17-year-old's request to have an abortion without parental permission, because she wasn't 'mature' enough, as evidenced by the fact that... she didn't seek parental permission to have an abortion. *Head explodes*

Not mature enough to get an abortion, but mature enough to suffer the consequences of your actions, you slut raise a child. Makes so much sense!
posted by rtha at 11:57 AM on March 18, 2011 [9 favorites]


Chos, I'm not conversant with the laws of all of the states, regarding restrictions on abortion, but, assume the oldest side of that demographic. Someone born in 1962 was 11 when Roe V. Wade became law. This decision ruled out any legislative interference in the first trimester of pregnancy and put limits on what restrictions could be passed on abortions in later stages of pregnancy.

It has always been the law that restrictions could be placed on late term abortions; it was generally understood to be a choice that would be made to save the life of the mother and was expanded in some states to include cases where a viable birth was not possible. Late term was generally considered to be the 3rd trimester and there have never been very many surgeons that were qualified to do the procedure. Late term abortions are almost always tragedies in the families that are faced with them, and putting more roadblocks in the way of those women is a cruelty beyond belief. The "partial birth abortion ban" was nothing more than showboating for the religious right by torturing women who are already suffering. But the restrictions on late term abortions have always been in place legally, as I understand it. (IANAL)

Parental restrictions on abortion, while abhorrent and stupid, would not have impacted women born in the early 60's, as they would have all been well above the age of consent by the time the first one of those laws passed legal muster.

Thus, I believe my statement is true, that a certain demographic of American women, born in a certain time frame, have enjoyed a level of freedom in reproductive choice that will not be extended to our children or our children's children.
posted by dejah420 at 12:08 PM on March 18, 2011


Every anti-choice person should vote for better sexual education, support more funding for higher quality education, support funding for family centers that help single parents bridge the gap in leisure, educational, and enrichment activities for their children, and support univeral health coverage for all poor children.

Oh yeah, it's the opposite? Interestingly, About two thirds of americans believe that single parenting harms america. What percentage of those same people want to take away choice? And if single parenting damages children why would you not support programs that would make those kids lives better and address the specific reasons that single parent homes have poor outcomes for kids?

If you're so worried about women who will be emotionally harmed by abortion but feel that they do not have the resources to parent--- then instead of making abortion illegal focus on helping such women get healthy sex education, assertiveness training, awareness of abuse and reproductive coercion in relationships--- and then provide them with realistic support to make HEALTHY parenting possible for those women who want to parent but don't have the resources.

If there are so many women (and there are definately some) that want to parent but are listening the YOUR MESSAGE that single parenting is harmful to children-- then for CHRIST sake (literally) HELP THEM. Stop being body police and offer the compassion your supposed leader is claimed to have espoused. The guy hung out with prostitutes, do you think he would have wanted poor conditions hurled on their children as penance for their sins?
posted by xarnop at 12:18 PM on March 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


xarnop, that very point has been screamed, yelled, and whispered for years. The fact that it seems to make little difference is the single most damning piece of evidence against the "prolife" movement, the giant gaping hole in their "compassionate" stance.

It's not about babies or kids, or even doing Jesus' will. Never has been.
posted by emjaybee at 12:22 PM on March 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


"It is not about banning abortions," said Sen. Jill Vogel, R-Winchester. "It is simply caring for women who are about to have an invasive surgical procedure and creating an environment for them where they have the opportunity to do that in a place that is safe."

You're a damn liar, Jill Vogel. If anyone should burn in hell for all eternity, it's you.
posted by Deathalicious at 12:23 PM on March 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


dejah420 -- thanks for the detailed response.
posted by chos at 12:30 PM on March 18, 2011


Emjaybee--- what frustrates me the most is that I have heard anti-choice people talk about abortion in this context BELIEVING that it really is about saving babies. It drives me crazy. If you're going to be evil at least just say, "Look I hate sluts and their children and I want them to suffer as much as humanly possible because I'm an asshole"
posted by xarnop at 12:32 PM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


very few people make choices which they self consciously believe to be evil.
posted by Shit Parade at 12:36 PM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


The road to hell is paved with good intentions, compartmentalization, and denial.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 12:36 PM on March 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


> very few people make choices which they self consciously believe to be evil.

And plenty of people cause actual, measurable harm anyway. They don't believe their choices are evil because they've deliberately dehumanized the people they're harming.

I've linked to this before, and I'm sure I'll link to it again: Are "pro-life" policies consistent with the belief that abortion is exactly the same as child murder? Are they consistent with wanting women who have sex to suffer consequences? (Spoiler: No and yes, respectively.)
posted by Zozo at 12:47 PM on March 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


Its kind of like being anti-smoking; you are unable to make it actually illegal but you can drive up the costs of cigarettes, make the packaging unappealing, ban advertising, drive up your insurance rates and ban you from doing it in pretty much any public place. Its an end-run around the fact you can't make it illegal. Sames goes for gun ownership in many places. The pro-choice people are just employing the same kind of tactics to achieve their goal. You can disagree with their goal, but it doesn't mean they don't believe in their principles or that they are evil (in the manner of intent to cause harm), even if they are trying to make an end run around the law.
posted by Bovine Love at 12:49 PM on March 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I struggle with the abortion issue. It's one of those areas where there are valid ethical and moral arguments on each side of the debate. I have difficulty navigating the ethical questions and ending up with a coherent position at the end.

The most influential women in my life, some religious and some not, have seemed to lean more to the pro-life side than I did, which is what changed my thinking from being stridently pro-choice.

I think Obama had it right when he referred to these issues being, "above his pay grade." The best course of action is harm reduction while preserving the right of people to make their own moral judgements. Focus on preventing unplanned pregnancies in the first place through education without polluting the process with moral judgements on sex and abstinence fantasies and bullshit ultrasound laws.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:17 PM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


mothers shouldn't have the right to make a fetus uncomfortable

That is the dumbest phrase I've heard all day, given how "uncomfortable" a fetus makes the mother for the better part of 9 months.
posted by IndigoRain at 1:37 PM on March 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


My silly mistake, my comment should have read the "The Pro-Life people are just employing..." although I think that is evident. The pro-choice people have not been obstructionist, of course, that would be rather counter productive.
posted by Bovine Love at 1:37 PM on March 18, 2011


I suspect most pro life advocate (hell, probably most pro choice advocates also) have never actually looked at the data we have on how common abortions are.

http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/USTPtrends.pdf

What was a little shocking to me when I first looked into the data was that in DC Washington, abortions are actually more common than births.

There is a huge demand for Abortion services, and, historically, making a popular activity illegal doesn't drive down demand all that much.
posted by Shit Parade at 1:40 PM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


furiousxgeorge: I think Obama had it right when he referred to these issues being, "above his pay grade."

Assuming he's to some degree pro-choice I don't think that he's had it right at all. It's a serious cop-out on his part if anything.

Reality is that no matter what legislation is put in place there will be abortions albeit by illegal and generally dangerous means. Reality is that if abortions are restricted or hard to come by some percentage of pregnant women will physically suffer and/or die. Some percentage of pregnant women will psychologically suffer. Some percentage of babies will be born and suffer, have to live with more or less sever congenital defects and/or die.

On top of that, if we assume that all persons have equal rights, then it would be a violation of such a tenet of equality to pass legislation that would value the life of a fetus higher than that of its mother. Even if you pose that there's no difference between a fetus and a "born(?)" person that could not be construed to mean that the fetus' rights trump those of the mother at all times.

So far I haven't even touched on the issue of women's freedom to govern their own bodies and yet there's already a host of valid reasons to keep abortions legal and available simply because of its potential to reduce human suffering.

So, even if Obama has moral qualms about abortion, he should step up and at least extend his statement somewhat further: if an issue is morally above someone's pay grade then it's also above their pay grade to judge others for it and above their pay grade to legislate it. If he says he can't figure it out for himself then he must step up and say that others must have the right to make their own choices.

And, for completeness sake, I do think the reduction of human suffering should not be the only circumstance under which abortions should be legal. If women can't govern their own bodies but are forced to carry and give birth to babies they don't want then they can't be free. They essentially become state property. If freedom is a basic right of persons then they must also be free to have abortions.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 2:04 PM on March 18, 2011 [11 favorites]


I think Obama's commitment to the pro-choice position is pretty solid. He cops out on answering the moral question and focuses on supporting sound policy that can reduce abortions without taking away anyone's rights.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:12 PM on March 18, 2011


> You can disagree with their goal, but it doesn't mean they don't believe in their principles or that they are evil (in the manner of intent to cause harm), even if they are trying to make an end run around the law.

So what?

Regardless of intent, those principles do cause harm. Regardless of sincerity, those principles cause harm. Regardless of legality, those principles cause harm.

Whether anti-choice activists are true believers or not, whether their intentions are "evil" or not, why isn't as important as what. And guess what? Without the right to safe and legal abortion, women die.

When that's the outcome, I don't really give a fuck about intent.
posted by Zozo at 2:14 PM on March 18, 2011 [10 favorites]


The problem with the "their own bodies argument" is that it fails if one grants person-hood to the fetus. At that point, it is no longer exclusively the womans body, and there is definitely not unlimited right to interfere with other persons. Many pro-life peoples argument revolves around the fetus being a person, so they would argue that the woman do with with her body as she pleases but not to the detriment of another person, the fetus.

So you are not arguing with the same set of assumptions as they are. Not that anyone on either side is going to be convinced, but you aren't really having the same argument.
posted by Bovine Love at 2:16 PM on March 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Zozo, if you are going to achieve your desired outcome, then some understanding of the other side is going to be necessary. Going to war with them and calling them evil is not going to get it done, it is just going to make it more difficult for the undecideds to see clearly what the argument is. Making an already polarized debate even more polarized doesn't seem constructive.
posted by Bovine Love at 2:20 PM on March 18, 2011


My question for those advocating a pro-choice position remains: are there any legal limits to abortion rights that you would consider reasonable? Are all those who advocate for legal restrictions on abortion "evil"? What does "the right to safe and legal abortion" actually mean, in practice?
posted by chos at 2:41 PM on March 18, 2011


Bovine Love, your arguments are not new, and they don't get to the heart of the issue.

Here is the real state of things.

1. if you grant a woman full choice and autonomy, you affirm her status as a full human being who owns her own body (making her equal to men and not the property of the state). This does not prevent anyone, anywhere, from attempting to lower the rate of abortion, either through advocacy/religious appeals, or more sensible measures such as increasing access to birth control and strengthening the safety net for potential parents. Countries that take this approach lower their abortion rate (and their unplanned pregnancy rates in general). It is win-win.

2. If you attempt to restrict abortion via law/personhood measures, these are the immediate consequences:

a. Endless battles over when a fetus becomes a person, all of which have the result of criminalizing accidental events (miscarriages) or necessary medical events (abortions to save the mother's life or health).

b. State monitoring of women's reproductive status--in the most extreme cases, as we have seen, lawmakers attempting to investigate every miscarriage as a possible prosecutable event. With the result that women's bodies, right to work, right to participate in any marginally risky behavior, like drinking or eating shellfish, and right to do anything remotely physically dangerous, etc.etc., are at risk.

c. Net result: demotion of women to less than full citizen status and a massive decrease in their quality of life, AS WELL as a rise in mortality not only from illegal abortions but from medically necessary abortions being denied.

Everybody loses. We still have abortions, we just have unsafe ones, and more children are born who cannot be cared for.

The failure to do this simple math is what makes a "prolife" stance immoral; hiding behind vague feelings about the status of a potential person while massive inequities are visited on every actual woman is immoral.
posted by emjaybee at 2:45 PM on March 18, 2011 [40 favorites]


What does "the right to safe and legal abortion" actually mean, in practice?

It means that women have the right to decide what happens to their own bodies. In every circumstance.
posted by Go Banana at 2:46 PM on March 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ugh. Ugh ugh ugh.

I feel so lucky that I grew up when I did, as part of the last group of students who had comprehensive sex ed, that I learned about birth control and the right to choose. I've been having conversations with other people who write for teens lately about issues of choice, and how slippery anti-choice people seem to like to slide their agendas into books. Every time I speak out about a girl's right to read narratives about how to keep themselves sexually safe, I hear answers like, "Well, that's fine. But they need to know that they can abstain, too, and abstinence-only sex ed is the only way to do that. Otherwise you're pressuring girls to have sex!" And I want to shake them. Nature pressures teenagers to have sex. Basically, a lot of people feel that girls should only have sex in books if they end up pregnant or destitute or dead. I'm not even kidding. I've read a bunch of these lately and they feel like something right out of the 50s. I hate that the legislation in our country seems bent on ensuring that these narratives are true--that through ignorance and lack of choice, girls will be punished over and over again for their natural urges.

Ugh.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:46 PM on March 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


The failure to do this simple math is what makes a "prolife" stance immoral; hiding behind vague feelings about the status of a potential person while massive inequities are visited on every actual woman is immoral.

I think Bovine understands the argument there, but is just pointing out that it won't convince someone who sees a person instead of a potential person in the fetus.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:51 PM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


> Zozo, if you are going to achieve your desired outcome, then some understanding of the other side is going to be necessary. Going to war with them and calling them evil is not going to get it done, it is just going to make it more difficult for the undecideds to see clearly what the argument is. Making an already polarized debate even more polarized doesn't seem constructive.

I am so tired of this tone-argument bullshit. First, having been raised in a very, very anti-abortion milieu, I'd wager I understand "the other side" better than most. Second, if someone's "undecided" on the issue of whether or not to enact laws that will directly and inevitably kill women, it's not my goddamn tone that's the obstacle there.

Third, and still important enough to wrap in bold tags: Without the right to safe and legal abortion, women die. Either that's a fair trade to you, in which case I will call you a sick evil motherfucker with my last breath, or it's not, in which case we can discuss the details at our leisure.

Or, you know, take everything emjaybee said and sprinkle it liberally with f-words.
posted by Zozo at 2:58 PM on March 18, 2011 [12 favorites]


Barack Obama's record on abortion up to 2008 is nicely summarized here. As usual, he has been thoughtful about the issue when he talks about it, but his record is solidly pro choice.

Chos: 1) No, there should be no limits on the right to abortion. It is a woman's right to decide whether or not to give birth, period. (And I'd say a person's right if men could give birth.) 2) Safe and legal means that women should not face legal barriers to having an abortion as they choose, and their health and lives should never be at risk (as they often were when abortion was illegal.)
posted by bearwife at 3:00 PM on March 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


furiousxgeorge, the problem with that is as I mentioned; first of all there is no consensus short of "birth" on when the fetus becomes a person that the state has a right to protect, and no way to incorporate fetal personhood into a system that treats the mother as a full human being rather than as a fetal adjunct.

Fetuses are not separate beings, they are part of the woman's body; not only that, they are parts of her body that can actually endanger her, given that any pregnancy is more dangerous than not being pregnant to the woman in question. All pregnancies carry a risk of injury and death to the pregnant woman.

We do not require by law that parents of actual children put their own lives in danger, even if doing so would save those children. It is no different when it comes to a fetus; we do not have the right to demand that a woman put her body at the disposal of another being, even if that being is growing in her body.
posted by emjaybee at 3:04 PM on March 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


I'll play devil's advocate and hopefully not get wailed. I'm pro-choice for other people.

However - maybe not in the united states, but in some parts of the world, it is sometimes more desirable to have a male baby versus having a female baby. It isn't easy to tell the gender of your baby at 8 weeks, but the 20th week mark is usually where the ultrasound can tell whether or not you have a male baby.

Let me rephrase my first line - I'm pro-choice unless it's sex selective abortion.
posted by Sallysings at 3:07 PM on March 18, 2011


I also understand the argument already and for the most part agree with it, but repeat that it won't be convincing to someone who DOES see the fetus as a separate human life.

The difficulty in defining the point at which there should be protection is exactly why I view the debate as morally impossible to win for either side.

Fetuses are not separate beings

...is a position that can reasonably be disagreed with.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:10 PM on March 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Another 'isolated incident': California man charged with firebombing Planned Parenthood center, vandalizing mosque
posted by homunculus at 3:10 PM on March 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well, Sallysings, what if having another girl means a woman gets beaten or killed? Or that girl will be likely to be abused?

Sex-selective abortions in other countries are something many Americans like to sit around and feel judgemental about, but of course, none of us live in societies where the sex of our next child determines our own survival.

So really, that being the case, I think we should tend to our own business and support the feminist organizations in those countries attempting to make things better for women in general, instead of feeling superior about our moral ground.
posted by emjaybee at 3:13 PM on March 18, 2011 [11 favorites]


Yeah, the problem with sex-selective abortions is that they're common in countries that view women and girls as worthless, generally.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:14 PM on March 18, 2011


Don't like abortion? Don't have one. Provide comprehensive sex education. Make contraception readily available. Enact programs that make it socially and financially easier to raise a child. Compared to criminalizing abortion, these strategies are more effective, easier to implement—oh, and and they don't kill women.

I understand, though I do not share, the belief that it's a moral duty to protect fetuses from being aborted. But that belief, if genuinely held, also makes it a moral duty to do so quickly, effectively, and with as little collateral damage as possible. Criminalizing abortion fails on every count. Anti-choice agitating isn't moral. And I've got a thesaurus here with a pretty interesting antonym.
posted by Zozo at 3:18 PM on March 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


Let me rephrase my first line - I'm pro-choice unless it's sex selective abortion.

I'm pro-choice even then. I'm pro-choice if the woman in question decides to have an abortion because she had a fight with her mom that day. I'm pro-choice if the woman in question decides she doesn't want to take the chance of having a brown-haired baby, or a brown-skinned one. I'm pro-choice, without constraints whatsoever.

I find all of those hypotheticals despicable personally, but I'm still pro-choice about them. There is no litmus test for validity anywhere that will not inevitably infringe upon a woman's autonomy, that will not inevitably curtail the rights of a "deserving" woman. Personal autonomy is the foundation of all liberty. Are there women who shouldn't have abortions? Maybe, I don't know for sure, I haven't met one but I suppose one could exist. But even that hypothetical "fallen woman" still has the right to choose what to do with her body, always. No exceptions.
posted by Errant at 3:19 PM on March 18, 2011 [52 favorites]


furiousxgeorge, for the record? I used to hold that viewpoint. Let me tell you what helped to change it: going through an actual miscarriage and (wanted) pregnancy. I am intimately familiar with the ambiguity that surrounds the status of a woman carrying a fetus.

And because I used to be very active as a prolifer, I also know that their fetal personhood ideas are not based on either women's experiences or science, but on religious sentimentality and a deliberate fuzzing of the reality of what a fetus is actually like from conception on, as well as on the high percentage of natural miscarriages that suggest God takes a rather casual attitude to "unborn babies" as well.

All of which opinions they have a right to, but none of which are valid bases for laws governing the bodily rights of human beings.

I am not interested in winning them over; I am interested in exposing the lack of good science in their viewpoints as well as the harm they do to half of the human race when they are allowed to write law.
posted by emjaybee at 3:22 PM on March 18, 2011 [11 favorites]


I think there is a wide spectrum of views on the issue, and it is oversimplifying it to suggest it is entirely based on religious views and scientific misconception. I know women who certainly base their opinions on this on personal experiences.

It seems fairly reasonable, though I disagree, to consider conception the start of a human life even from a purely scientific point of view. From the religious side, God kills us all the time in various ways, a miscarriage would not be unique in that.

You are correct that the people who need to be convinced are, in general, religious. Such people are not easily won over by even clear-cut scientific evidence, so it's a tough road either way.

I think I'm getting too devils advocatey here so I'll drop out on this one, MeFi mail if you have more to say to me specifically.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:34 PM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I want to state, explicitly, that I don't care what anyone's views are on the personhood of a fetus, or under which circumstances abortion is or isn't sufficiently justified, or whether that individual would choose to abort a pregnancy of their own. Nor do I care about anyone's religious beliefs or political ideology. I don't care—and I don't judge.

The vitriol I've been slinging in this thread is intended solely and entirely for those who want to revoke a woman's right to choose what to do with her own body, who want to see abortion criminalized regardless of how many women it will kill. Those people are monsters, and can go fuck themselves.

The rest of y'all are okay by me, and if I splashed some GRAR on you and gave offence, I really do apologize.
posted by Zozo at 4:12 PM on March 18, 2011


"Representative Bob Barrett (R) makes a statement to Alicia Hemple, who has just finished testifying to the Minnesota House Health and Human Services committee about why she decided to have an abortion."

Unbelievable. I hardly have words. I mean, I have words, but if I start we'll be here all night, and I'll be shouting half the time and probably in tears too. How callous - how clumsily he uses her story to springboard into his talking point.
posted by flex at 4:22 PM on March 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


Remember when anti-abortion protesters were putting pictures of late-term aborted fetuses, covered in menstrual fluid and everything, on their protest signs? Maybe they still do that, I don't know.

Anyway, when my health class did presentations for our "research project" on abortion, there was one girl who had difficulty explaining what her position was at the start of the project; but when she presented her findings, she said very specifically that the pictures had made her anti-abortion.

The standards of quality for this project were miserable, possibly because a lot of the curriculum in my school was like that. Her presentation was given no criticism. Giving any presentation at all was enough.

I'm guessing that's the sort of mentality that votes against abortion rights. It's fairly pointless to argue against it.
posted by LogicalDash at 4:45 PM on March 18, 2011


I should have said "argue WITH it", that is, argue with a person who thinks that way. Arguing against the mentality with people who do not hold it is a different thing.
posted by LogicalDash at 4:46 PM on March 18, 2011


Fuck Bob Barret. Seriously.

These assholes are using this dogwhistle bullshit to score cheap political points, but I swear to god it looks—to me at least—like they're trying to start another fucking civil war.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 4:47 PM on March 18, 2011


I've recently gotten into the PBS/BBC historical shows... you know, Frontier House, Manor House, etc., where they put modern people into simulated, fairly accurate historical situations for a period of months. They always have to make some exceptions- they let people keep toothbrushes and birth control, don't let them use period firearms (even in the "19th Century" American West), and, of course, all those cameras are around.

Reading synopsis and other internet chatter about these shows always depresses me, though. Because even though the point is a social experiment, not a historical recreation, and even though there is never a clear line, because sometimes the 21st century must be drug in through the back door, the criticisms people have are always the same, no matter if we are talking about the Old West or Edwardian England: Women Shut Up. Women had no rights then, so shut up. Women had no power then, so shut up. Stop trying to make excuses and say that you're a feminist, because there weren't any feminists then.

It's so funny to me how women have become the last "minority" that it's okay to beat up on. In my lifetime, I've watched casual racism become so taboo that it's kind of joke now, homosexuality become something that was treated as hidden and shameful to something on every network, gone from only seeing some Spanish words on Sesame Street to preschool and kindergarten classrooms with everything covered in bilingual labels, even here in the upper Midwest... and I'm only 32. Don't get me wrong, I think this is progress, and I'm happy that it's happened this way.

But then I see women having to fight and refight these same damn battles, over and over, and it's so fucking depressing. It's not just abortion, either. We can't get anything approaching paid family care or maternity leave in this country, comprehensive public day care and preschool is but a pipe dream, teachers are being blamed for everything short of nuclear meltdown in Japan, nurses are being forced to compete for full time, benefits-having jobs, private duty health care aids are being barred from or stripped of their union rights... this race to the bottom, it's affecting work done primarily by and careers populated primarily by women in a huge way. Because women's work is not valued. Because women aren't valued, unless they act like men.

I'm just so sick of it, having to sigh and say, "sexism", eighty times a day feels so cliche, but it's true every.single.time. I'm just so tired of it being true that the leading voices out of the Uterine Control Movement are themselves wombless. I'm just so very sick of it all.

If women don't have rights to control their bodies, they don't have any rights at all. Everything else is moot without that basic freedom. I'm tired of viewing my body as a battleground.
posted by Leta at 7:29 PM on March 18, 2011 [30 favorites]


errant makes a good point about the fact that if you're going to be pro-choice you have to be pro-choice no matter what. If you start picking and choosing which woman has the right to have an abortion based on her reason for wanting it, and your value judgement thereof, then you're not pro-choice. You're limited-choice, not pro-choice or interested in complete reproductive freedom for all women.

I'm a woman who didn't attach a lot of sentimentality to the clump of cells in my uterus. When I got pregnant and didn't want a child, I had an abortion. I didn't agonize over it, I didn't cry, I had it removed. I don't regret it now, and it doesn't bother me. I don't expect to need to do it again, but I will if my circumstances warrant it. It's nobody's decision but mine, and no one has the right to tell me how I should feel about it. Clutch your pearls if you must, but keep your laws and opinions out of my uterus.

posted by i feel possessed at 8:01 PM on March 18, 2011 [9 favorites]


These assholes are using this dogwhistle bullshit to score cheap political points, but I swear to god it looks—to me at least—like they're trying to start another fucking civil war.

Oh no, he didn't....

I just sent $100 to Planned Parenthood. That's for you asshole.
posted by fshgrl at 10:11 PM on March 18, 2011 [12 favorites]


Pro-lifer here. No, really. Vehemently opposed to the death penalty and euthanasia. Supporter of universal healthcare. Not a big fan of hunting for sport. And anti-abortion.

First peeve: the term "pro-choice"
I consider myself pro-choice. I like choosing. Choice is good. If a totalitarian dictator asked me tomorrow whether it would be ok to take over the US and rule with an iron fist, I'd totally be like, "No, go away." Really. Believe it or not, I am not anti-choice, contrary to what one would be led to believe by the pro-choice moniker.

I support a woman's right to choose, in the general sense, which I suppose is equivalent to asserting that I am in favor of the concept of women being granted free will. Though I'm always meeting people that make me question the wisdom of granting free will to /everyone/, I'm generally in favor of the concept. Not much we can do about it now, anyway.

So, now that's all cleared up, we can all have an enthralling, substantive debate about personhood, morality in the face of uncertainty, and the very nature of consciousness, right? Or, if you're not down with that, I suppose we could continue to hurl about lofty-sounding platitudes, punctuated by the occasional good expletive to really drive the point home.

To conclude, FUCK YEAH A WOMAN'S RIGHT TO CHOOSE!
posted by GIFtheory at 1:42 AM on March 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's a war on women. Seriously. If I were pregnant, I would not feel safe in this country. Too many people would feel I would have ceased to be important as a human.
posted by agregoli at 6:18 AM on March 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


Obviously I'm not a woman, so I'm sure my two cents counts for less than that, but doesn't 20 weeks seem like an awfully long time? By 20 weeks shouldn't you definitely know whether or not you're pregnant and be able to abort your pregnancy beforehand?

Obviously there are some cases (like the poor woman who had to come to term with a surely dead baby), but in general 5 months seems like ample time to decide, and if you take care of it before then you don't have to deal with the moral quandary of the fetus' personhood.

So I guess I'm just wondering why the ability to abort throughout one's pregnancy is necessary and even better when there is a period of time after which the fetus is more and more arguably a person of its own.

I'm going to trust MeFi not to jump on my handle . . .
posted by mangasm at 7:13 AM on March 19, 2011


So I guess I'm just wondering why the ability to abort throughout one's pregnancy is necessary and even better when there is a period of time after which the fetus is more and more arguably a person of its own.

Because some women--especially the young and those lacking decent healthcare--genuinely don't know if they're pregnant right away. They may be unable to get a doctor's appointment in time, especially in states with few abortion providers, or they might find out late into the pregnancy that there are developmental defects/problems with the pregnancy that puts their life or their baby's life at risk.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:49 AM on March 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


So I guess I'm just wondering why the ability to abort throughout one's pregnancy is necessary and even better when there is a period of time after which the fetus is more and more arguably a person of its own.

Women who seek late-term abortions like the ones you describe almost overwhelmingly only do so when either the mother's own life is at risk, or if the unborn child has been diagnosed with a medical problem so great the parents feel it is kinder than carrying the pregnancy to term and making them suffer.

Such medical problems include: ancephaly, twin to twin transfusion syndrome, pre-eclampsia, amniotic band syndrome, Zellweger syndrome, and scores of other congenital abnormalities and later-term pregnancy complications.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:53 AM on March 19, 2011 [7 favorites]


Women who seek late-term abortions like the ones you describe almost overwhelmingly only do so when either the mother's own life is at risk, or if the unborn child has been diagnosed with a medical problem so great the parents feel it is kinder than carrying the pregnancy to term and making them suffer.

That may be true in practise, but there are absolutists (many posting in this thread) who assert a women's right to choose in all circumstances without restriction, regardless of reason or motive. As such, they are asserting that a woman should be able to abort up to and including in the 9 month of pregnancy, for any reason she chooses, and they explicitly say so. They're not simply asserting the right to an abortion if the woman's life is in danger or if the child is likely to have a serious disease. Either defend it or don't, but don't misrepresent what is clearly being advocated.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 8:44 AM on March 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


The reason people are absolutists about it is because we know that those who would seek to judge a woman's right to abort on qualitative grounds often deny her that right even if her life is in danger. Read the article posted upthread about the woman whose body was crushing the fetus, and who likely had an infection because of this. Her doctors thought it medically necessary to abort, but they feared they would have been unable to prove that it was prudent, and they didn't want to face their state's medical board where they might have been fined huge sums of money, and so their recommendation was that the woman cross state lines to do so.

When you read about how these things work out in practice, it becomes clear that the argument for a woman's right to choose in any situation is actually the argument for the least suffering.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:04 AM on March 19, 2011 [11 favorites]


By being absolutist, you alienate anyone even slightly moderate (i.e. not absolutist). Perhaps some absolutists are necessary to push things in the right direction, but I get the feeling that such an extreme position more likely hurts your cause then helps it.
posted by Bovine Love at 9:12 AM on March 19, 2011


Yes, and it alienates women when they go for medical services at Planned Parenthood and have people scream "murderer!" at them.

So what's your point?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:14 AM on March 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


Look, not for nothing Bovine Love, but when we were "moderates" and conceded ANY ground, the anti-women crowd used that as a wedge to then eliminate life-saving measures, claiming instead that women should die, the doctors who performed those procedures should die...everything except a fetus...should die.

There is a time for being moderate. We've passed that point. If we compromise now, we might as well start building the birthing pens, because the only compromise left is to acknowledge that women don't have agency if their womb is occupied.
posted by dejah420 at 9:17 AM on March 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


I don't see the connection.

My point is that if you want actual legislative change, you need more then absolutists on your side.
posted by Bovine Love at 9:18 AM on March 19, 2011


than, dammit
posted by Bovine Love at 9:19 AM on March 19, 2011


For the record, I'm not--right now, in this here thread--out to change any minds. But if someone asks in good faith why it's seen as important for a woman to be able to have a late-term abortion, or why people are "absolutist" about it, I'd hope that we'd be able to give our answers here without having our "tone" policed by tut-tutting about whether I'm alienating moderates.

Lord knows the other side isn't worried about alienating anyone.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:20 AM on March 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


tut-tut, seriously? Its been implied up-thread that I am an evil bastard because I don't accept the absolutist position without question. Or that I will be killing women.

You can hardly accuse me of being unfair or in some way trying to chill your speech. I'm just presenting alternate point of view, put carefully and politely, and postulating that if it is change you want, a different tact might be more effective. It is just presentation of a point of view, then have at it, but it isn't fair to accuse me of trying to put you down or something.
posted by Bovine Love at 9:43 AM on March 19, 2011


Dude, I'm not trying to be effective. Someone--not you, mind you--asked why a right to late term abortions was so important to some people. He seemed to be asking in good faith, so I answered in good faith. Please know that we are aware of the other side's opinion. But that it feels very chilling indeed, actually, that every time someone seemingly asks for clarification of the pro-choice opinion (though you might understand why I'm starting to feel doubtful that this is actually the goal), pro-choicers are told, "Well, that won't convince moderates."

Who ever said we were trying to convince moderates here?

Again, if you're actually interested in engaging in this debate, take a look at this story, linked upthread which demonstrates why a more moderate position--which many of us might be in favor of in the abstract, if it weren't proven ineffective and harmful again and again in practice--doesn't always work as advertised on the tin.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:57 AM on March 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Third, and still important enough to wrap in bold tags: Without the right to safe and legal abortion, women die. Either that's a fair trade to you, in which case I will call you a sick evil motherfucker with my last breath, or it's not, in which case we can discuss the details at our leisure.

With the right to safe and legal abortion, unborn children are murdered. Yet somehow that makes pro-lifers sick evil motherfuckers?

Look, reasonable, moral people disagree on this issue. That does not make people who disagree with you into sick, evil motherfuckers.

I'm fucking sick of women's bodies and lives being a bargaining chip in political debate.

Indeed. I'm fucking sick of unborn children being murdered as a bargaining chip in a political debate.
posted by massysett at 10:16 AM on March 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Anti-choosers are, to use the common colloquial, sick motherfuckers.

Sorry, but it's just a fact.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:21 AM on March 19, 2011


unborn children are murdered

I always hear that but I never see anti-choicers willing to send women up the river for murder over it. This is one of the telling points that anti-choicers don't take women's moral agency seriously, because if they did, they'd believe women were guilty of murder for aborting, instead of just calling it murder and patronizing women who are making that decision.

It's possibly to reasonably disagree on this issue, but if you are against me owning my own body, sorry, you are my enemy politically, and you get no quarter. No restrictions, no apologies!
posted by immlass at 10:25 AM on March 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


massysett, you know that making abortion illegal doesn't stop abortions, right?

And your "unborn children" description assumes personhood. I have no doubt you believe it to be true -- but it's not a universally held belief, and still less a fact.
posted by dogrose at 10:26 AM on March 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think Obama had it right when he referred to these issues being, "above his pay grade."

Just to be clear, regardless of what you think about his policies or decisions, Barack Obama is an incredibly smart man, smarter than just about anyone who comments on this or any other website. In addition, he is trained as a lawyer by one of the best law schools in the nation. The question he was responding to was "At what point does a baby get human rights?" He is so smart, he realized that this is a question that cannot be answered to anyone's satisfaction, because it contains a couple of deliberate traps. It doesn't ask about a fetus, but rather about a baby. And it asks when it gets "human rights" without specifying which rights and without recognizing that any such rights are in conflict in the abortion question. Rather than delve into these issues in a forum where the listeners would not be patient enough to follow and appreciate such a discussion, he deftly dodged those issues and responded truthfully that he was not a theologian or philosopher and could not answer the question satisfactorily. He took a lot of grief from both sides for that answer, but it was the only correct answer. McCain's was typical bullshit from that fat mouth.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:06 AM on March 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Indeed. I'm fucking sick of unborn children being murdered as a bargaining chip in a political debate.

Your unsubstantiated assertion that "children" are being "murdered" notwithstanding, how is the removal of fetuses a bargaining chip in the political debate? Women choosing not to carry a fetus to term are hardly doing so as some sort of bargaining chip. Is your thinking really this defective? Are you unaware that outlawing abortion has been deliberately used by the Republican party as a wedge issue to get people just like you to support it in spite of its general hostility to governmental social support of women and children, its hostility to supporting family planning and sex education, and its rejection of early childhood education, all policies contrary to any humanitarian concern about the people these fetuses will become?
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:12 AM on March 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


Bovine Love, you are not going to find people willing to engage with your "alternate point of view" because it is a classic example of the Tone Argument, which reinforces privilege, derails the original argument, and renders it pointless. Please see Derailing for Dummies for further canned answer explanation, in particular entries like You've Lost Your Temper So I Don't Have to Listen To You Anymore and You Are Damaging Your Cause By Being Angry.


Meanwhile, the responses to this post overall bring us excitingly close to a full-card set in this round of bingo.
posted by nicebookrack at 11:12 AM on March 19, 2011 [9 favorites]


My apologies, nicebookrack, I was trying to be polite, actually. Therefore, I'll say that I am actually pro-choice (and, up to a certain time, for any reason whatsoever), but I find many of the opinions expressed here to be alarmingly fundamentalist and, to me, about the same level of thought that I hear from rabid pro-lifers. I was trying to politely say that an actual discussion and understanding might go far, but if it is just self righteous rage we wish to indulge in, the go for it.
posted by Bovine Love at 11:58 AM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


many of the opinions expressed here to be alarmingly fundamentalist

I am extremely fundamentalist about the right to determine my own medical care. Imagine, just as one example, that you have a serious, life-threatening illness like cancer and your doctor refused to give you a treatment that might save your life because of moral objections. This happens regularly to pregnant women.

When you are pregnant, random people on the street and internet feel free to touch you, harass you about your food/drink/behavior choices (more than usual for those already under scrutiny), judge your medical decisions made in conjunction with your doctor and your economic decisions made in conjunction with your family/partner/etc. And then you're a bad baby-killer if you don't want to carry to term!

Abortion is a basic form of medical care and the right to have one (or refuse one) is a basic matter of self-determination. I'm not willing to negotiate how much right you have to determine what I do with my body and/or the medical care and treatment I seek. I do not apologize for believing that abortion, particularly as a part of a full suite of medical and reproductive care available to women, is a basic human right.
posted by immlass at 12:11 PM on March 19, 2011 [23 favorites]


Well,

I don't like thread sitting and shitting any more than the next MeFite, but given my last thoughts on this maybe you can find it in your hearts to hear me out.

When the Doc said "Hey that's what we're looking for!", my guts sort of twisted. What was that he saw that assured him the job was done? Was it an arm, a leg, a skull? What the fuckin hell did I just sit here and be a part of? Whatever it was, it is still weighing heavy on me, to the point I feel a need to tell you about it.

Yeah, there was no way in hell I was going to spend the rest of my life raising some fruit of my ex wifes drunk one night stand who she cant name or even recognize the guy in a lineup's kid. We were both in our 20s. I know and understand why it happened to us. I know and understand why it can happen to you and yours, and I say that with absolutely zero judgement, and all the compassion my heart will allow.

I sat there, both my hands holding my soon to be ex's as tightly as I could. There was a part of me that said "Good Riddance", and there was a bigger part that just couldnt bear to look into that glorified ShopVac. All I could think, was, that coulda been a great person, I hate the motherfucker who planted this with heat of a thousand firey suns, but you know, little dude, you didnt do nothing to me, and FWIW, babies smell really good and maybe I'll just get over it and love you anyway.

There must be some horrible circle of hell that visits women in this situation. I have three daughters, and when push comes to shove, I would stand in front of tanks to make sure they have autonomy over their own bodies. When a girl to gets to the age where she can actually have a baby and doesnt know how to keep that from happening, you are a bad parent.

I'm torn. From a sheer public health issue, I like the idea that safe,sane, legal abortions are available to women that need them. I just wish no one ever needed them.

I think I would have got over it. Maybe a little catch. Shootin some 9 ball on Saturday mornings. Your turn to mow the lawn and do your damned homework. Just sayin.

It goes both ways ladies.
posted by timsteil at 12:13 PM on March 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


That may be true in practise, but there are absolutists (many posting in this thread) who assert a women's right to choose in all circumstances without restriction, regardless of reason or motive. As such, they are asserting that a woman should be able to abort up to and including in the 9 month of pregnancy, for any reason she chooses, and they explicitly say so.

Possibly because medical science is such a shifting field, and because medical rights is such an individualist decision, that trying to institute any blanket policy is simply not workable.

Consider:

Two men are diagnosed with the same type of aggressive cancer. They have the exact same odds of success, and the exact same complicating factors. And yet -- one may choose to aggressively treat it, and the other may choose not to put himself through such treatment once he hears the odds of success.

Currently, we grant the patient an absolute right to decide whether or not to proceed with treatment, even if the patient's refusal to treat means his certain death. We do not compell the man with cancer to deny himself treatment, because he has the autonomy to decide his own fate and make his own medical decisions. We do not place any conditions upon this autonomy -- we do not make any rules as to the estimated length of time he could survive without treatment, the odds of his survival, the cost of his treatment, or what have you. If the man who chooses not to undergo chemo, but prefers to receive pallative care, is barred from his choice because of a law on the books restricting a man's right to refuse chemo, his doctor's hands are tied when it comes to treating his patient.

Similarly -- two women who are given the same diagnosis for their unborn child may also make very different decisions about what to do. One mother may choose to deliver the child and keep it alive as long as possible, and the other may choose to terminate the pregnancy because she considers it cruel to deliver the child. In asking for "right to choose without restriction," they are simply asking for the same autonomy that the man with prostate cancer asks for in deciding the course of his treatment. If we pass restrictions based on the viability of the unborn child, the risks to the mother, or the like, we run the risk of having situations which do not neatly fit either side of these restrictions -- and doctors may not be able to treat their patients with the best specific treatment for them because they are too caught up in ascertaining their legality. And over the course of the doctors ascertaining a given treatment's legality in a specific patient's case, a delay in treatment could indeed lead to that patient's death in and of itself.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:14 PM on March 19, 2011 [12 favorites]


I am an absolutist when it comes to the right to a legal abortion at any length of pregnancy.

Before I get into why, let me say a few things.

I have never had an abortion. I have witnessed many. They are incredibly difficult things. Even if the woman has enough money to opt for general anes, even if she has no attachment to the fetus, even if the surgery goes perfectly and everyone is kind to her, there are still better ways to spend a Saturday afternoon. You still need to deal with bleeding, pain, cramps, risk of infection and will almost certainly be out a few hundred bucks. That all sucks, even for the wealthy, bored, insensitive.

I opted out of prenatal testing for my pregnancies because I knew I would not want to abort, except under such severe health concerns that the problems could be picked up during routine ultrasounds. Abortion is not a choice I would make excepting a pretty fucking dire illness.

But it must be MY CHOICE. If I want to put my tits on my back, THEY ARE MINE. I think a human fetus is a valuable creature, that if people have souls, the fetus is included in that. They certainly have human DNA. But I don't think that a fetus is more valuable than a woman. Moreover, I don't think the life of a fetus is more valuable than a woman's agency. I'm not alone in this, many philosophical and religious persons have come to the same conclusion, for whatever that's worth.

I have counseled women against second trimester abortions where health issues were not present, because they are nightmares. You have to get laminaria placed, go off to a hotel where you cramp and throw up for hours, then come back. Unlike labor, there isn't pain relief offered, other than some ibuprofin, or, if you are lucky, some Valium. There is little emotional support, unless you have truly great loved ones who'll stick it out with you. The risks are higher, the outcomes sketchier. But if a woman makes the informed decision that this procedure is what she needs, I must trust her judgment.

Because if we don't, what then? Goddamn government death panels for real, that's what. You know who has the right to make health care decisions for me? ME. If I'm incapacitated, my legal next of kin. That's who. Nobody else. My body, so, in absolutely every circumstance, my choice.
posted by Leta at 12:18 PM on March 19, 2011 [17 favorites]



It goes both ways ladies.
posted by timsteil


What goes both ways? I don't get what you're saying.
posted by agregoli at 12:18 PM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


agregoli: What goes both ways? I don't get what you're saying.

Patriarchy Hurts Men Too?
posted by nicebookrack at 12:25 PM on March 19, 2011


What goes both ways? I don't get what you're saying.

That just maybe, a guy feels something, and is affected by an abortion, certainly not in the same way or with any measure of depth the way
a woman undergoing it is, but you know, here we are. We're half the reason we are discussing this.
posted by timsteil at 12:26 PM on March 19, 2011


Please don't start a "what about the men" argument in a thread about removing women's rights.
posted by palomar at 12:30 PM on March 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


Yeah, that's what I thought you were saying. Whether you're affected by abortion or not doesn't change anything about the fact that women deserve to be in charge of their own medical decisions and body integrity. Not men. And no, men are not half the reason we're discussing this, unless you count that it's mostly men who are trying to remove these basic rights from women.
posted by agregoli at 12:39 PM on March 19, 2011


As I've mentioned in other threads, I've been involved in women's bioethics issues for a long time. 20+ years I volunteered on the front lines to protect women walking into and out of whatever clinic was being targeted. During my younger, non-career job years (bartending, college, etc.) I carpooled with other activists all over the South and SouthWest US, protecting clinics. (It's why I had a concealed carry permit for a while...my name and picture starting showing up in anti-women calls-to-action, which isn't far from their wanted poster list...and we all know what can happen once they put you on a wanted poster.) I stopped working on the front lines when I got a mailer with my son's picture, and the implied threat thereupon.

(IANAMedicalDoctor, nor have I now or ever worked in a medical capacity...it's why it was weird that a few of us regular anti-protest workers were showing up on their target lists...names, addresses, phone numbers...I started carrying a gun, and it contributed to the reasons why I moved.) I didn't stop working for the cause, but I'm too old to work the line like I'm still 20. These people play for keeps, guys.

I know some of these people really believe that the murder of living, breathing, going to school children of ProChoice Activists would be seen as retribution for walking women into clinics. That's how crazy the other side can be. There is not "be a moderate to meet them in the middle" with fundies of the anti-woman side...and that side is heavily funded by people that seem to be rational. (Hello Dillards, I'm looking at you!)

See...here's the thing...having stood on the front line of this battlefield for more than half my life; there are some things that are really important to keep in mind:

Nobody who supports abortion rights has ever killed an anti-abortionist.
Nobody who supports abortion rights has ever blown up a clinic.
Nobody who supports abortion rights has ever published the home addresses, children's names and where their kids go to school, and incited violence against anti-abortionists.

See...even when pro-choicers are being "extremists" by demanding that we have full agency over our own beings, we're not extremists by the standards of people who blow up clinics, kill doctors, and send goon squads out to terrify children.

We're not the extremists here. We are demanding equal rights over our own bodies. That is all.
posted by dejah420 at 1:09 PM on March 19, 2011 [29 favorites]


agregoli

Yes, whether you want to believe it or not, the reason a woman is pregnant, is because she let some guy stick his dick in her. Of course there are rapes etc. and I'm not talking about that. I'm just saying, you guys got the damned plumbing that makes babies., and that comes with some responsibility. If you walk around from the day you are actually able to have a baby, and don't know how to not have one, then somebody failed you badly.

Whatever, I have a 12 year old daughter. Just assume everything with a penis is trying to impregnate you and here is how you can make sure that doesnt happen. If I get a new grandchild, I will love him and change his diapers and pick up your slack teen aged girl. I will also think you made a bad decision.

Yeah, I felt something when I saw a human life sucked into a shop vac, and it seemed I was the only one that saw a candle go out.

I am not religious at all, in fact I scoff at it. I am not of the mind to control a woman's, body, that;s just weird, I don't want a part of it, your plumbing, your business. Okay. But how about this?

For reasons I just don't have the right words to describe to you, there is something very deep in the core of who I am that takes massive offense at you describing a potential kid as a coupla mutant cells living in your uterus, and something you feel like you can squish like a cockroach and move on to fuck someone you dont care abiout another day.

It's your junk. Read the owner's manual. And in case you havent figured it out yet, yes, men are half of this equation, and while you might want to sing your sad songs about your reproductive rights, half the person that is growing in your belly is a man.

They are your legs. Is there some point where you didn't get the memo on crossing them? Billions of dollars have been spent trying to tell you how to not to have babies from the time you are in sixth grade up. Billions of dollars are spent every year feeding the kids you were too young to afford.

There are situations where abortion is exactly the right thing to do. for reasons no one wants to discuss. I support the option, but I don't like the implementation.

For all the feminist howling and wailing about your bodies and reprodcutive rights and just lah de fucking dah, you took off your pants, you spread your legs, and said go for it.

Shit happens. That's OK. I understand. But the non religious, non judgmental, sort of an ass but mostly decent guy in me truly feels like maybe, (and with no moral authority or grounding whatsoever), you should only get one, and only one, "oopsies" when it comes to this.
posted by timsteil at 2:02 PM on March 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


non judgmental

whoa the dissonance
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 2:08 PM on March 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


Wow, that was hateful timsteil. Amazingly so.
posted by agregoli at 2:12 PM on March 19, 2011 [20 favorites]


timsteil,

how dare you assume that women who have abortions don't care about what they're doing, don't care about who they fuck, don't care about anything at all.

how dare you. you are more of a monster than i will ever be if i abort a clump of cells that i don't want to grow inside me.
posted by palomar at 2:13 PM on March 19, 2011 [20 favorites]


Like, oh! the misogyny!
posted by agregoli at 2:15 PM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


timsteil: "non judgmental":

Please. There is pretty much nothing in your ugly little rant that isn't viciously judgemental.

Who the hell are you to assume that you know the motivations and level of emotional turmoil of any and every woman who has an abortion? Or that you should be allowed to dictate to them how they should perceive that embryo. Or whether they should pass your arbitrary fucking moral bar in order to be allowed to maintain control over their own bodies?

For all the feminist howling and wailing about your bodies and reprodcutive rights and just lah de fucking dah, you took off your pants, you spread your legs, and said go for it.

They shouldn't have spread their legs? You have got to be fucking kidding me.
posted by zarq at 2:19 PM on March 19, 2011 [31 favorites]


Just assume everything with a penis is trying to impregnate you

Not just hateful towards women, either. Hateful towards men, too.
posted by immlass at 2:23 PM on March 19, 2011 [15 favorites]


By the same token y'all...we went a really long time with a nice rational thread about abortion. Nicely done. Tim, dude...I'm sorry that you were traumatized by someone else's trauma...but really...it's time for you to back away from the keyboard. I'm sure you're not as much of as asshole as that comment made you out to be, but you're driving angry, dude. Don't drive angry.
posted by dejah420 at 2:35 PM on March 19, 2011 [8 favorites]


I don't think it is hateful at all. It is plain reality.

Women are blessed/cursed with the engine that makes babies grow in them.

Hopefully, they have been schooled in ways to deal with that, so when the time comes when they really want a baby, they can have one. They can and should have all the sex they want in the meantime, with the wisdom in hand to not make babies, or get something they don't want.

Anyone, male or female, who thinks its just a matter of squishing a couple of mutant cells, is probably going to look back at that thought years later, and reconsider their actions.

And however hateful you want to try to make it sound, the ball is totally in the woman's court on this. Take ownership and control of your body.
posted by timsteil at 2:46 PM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Your previous statement about how we all need to keep our legs shut really makes it hard to swallow the recommendation to "take ownership and control of your body." By taking control of my body and fighting for my reproductive rights, that makes me a hollering feminist slut per your previous post here.
posted by palomar at 2:50 PM on March 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


I was going to post something in response, but I find timsteil's comments too exhausting to deal with - as in, my bingo card is full.
posted by agregoli at 2:50 PM on March 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Too exhausting. How cute of you.

Do I need a freakin bullhorn here?

Women should, and usually do have control over what happens to their bodies.

If they are old enough to have sex, hopefully they do, and enjoy it, with the knowledge of all the things having sex could entail.

There are a whole lot of ways to not get pregnant, and hopefully, someone has told you about them. Personally, I feel getting pregnant and having an abortion, unless it is in very dire curcumstances, should be a last resort.

There are extreme cases of everything. No, I don't want to see some 13 year old rape victim have to carry a child to term and deal with it her whole life. In the same respect, I don't want a 20 year old girl thinking that abortion is some kind of birth control option.

This isnt a religious, or right wing whatever issue with me. I am as left wing dope smoking guitar playing Neil Young listening to asshole as they come. But I guess, in all my years, I have come to truly believe and feel, you know, there is a little spark there.

Maybe it was becoming a grandfather, I honestly don't know. But I look at every little sign of life differently anymore. The first cardinal, the first robin in the spring. I make a complete ass of myself around babies. I just want to smell them.

I'm sorry if I spoke too loud and too strong for some folk's taste, but I never lied, only gave you my honest opinion. If that didnt sit right with you, well you know, there is a reason the world is this big.

Yes, I have been personally, and indelibly affected by abortion. That doesnt make me a woman, nor does it make me an expert whose opinion should be valued above any one elses.

I'm a guy with three daughters, and if any of them need an abortion, then I will be glad they have the legal safe way to do it, and I will drive them there if need be. But the old fart in me, will always hope this was the last option available to them, And I will always have a secret part of me that wonders about that game of catch with my new grandson.
posted by timsteil at 3:34 PM on March 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


And now we've circled back to a clear example of the misogyny at the heart of the anti-abortion movement. It's all about punishing women who dare to be sexually active (aka SLUTS WHO OPEN THEIR LEGS), controlling women's bodies, and controlling women in general.
posted by nicebookrack at 3:34 PM on March 19, 2011 [20 favorites]


timsteil, it would really be great if you could extend your "respect of life" to not calling women who have abortions a bunch of sluts who should have kept their legs shut. You don't know the circumstances of anyone's abortion outside of your ex-wife, since you talked her into it. Maybe your current stance on the kind of woman who gets abortions is informed by that experience, and if it is, I'm sorry for you. But your statements here have been incredibly misogynist, hateful, and offensive, and there is no excuse for making statements like that. Not ever.
posted by palomar at 3:41 PM on March 19, 2011 [15 favorites]


Were Roe v Wade providing up to, say, 6 months, would anyone here be placated?

I appreciate the responses to my earlier post, buy have come away with a couple more questions.

One of the answers to my inquiry about pregnancy awareness up to week 20 was that some genuinely are unaware of their pregnancy. Correct me if I am wrong, but by week 20 wouldn't the pregnancy be clearly showing and be inducing accompanying spells of sickness? Shouldn't it be blatant by that point?

I definitely agree that in the case of fetus' life vs woman's life the woman is more of a person than a fetus at any stage in conception, and regardless the fetus has not been brought into the citizenry yet or anything. But so, because of a case like this, does it follow that a woman's option to abort should be guaranteed throughout the 9th month?

I think Roe v Wade is at 3 months because it is generally assumed that the fetus is indeed just a lump of cells in the woman (though note that it is not in any scientific sense solely comprised of the woman's cells -- but that's not an issue that should be debated here), but after that it gets murky.

Of course I think a woman should have priority over her body and even over a lump of cells in her uterus for as long as it is clear that the lump is not a person, but the argument on the other side is that at some point a pregnant woman is in presiding over herself and someone else. Ask any pregnant woman why she has stopped drinking or smoking during pregnancy -- they decided not to benefit the lump of cells but the baby, the same baby that might be brought to term. I agree with abortion up to 20 weeks (or maybe longer, I'm not privy to the specifics of fetal development) but cannot see how some of you consider a 9 month pregnancy to not be a human being.

Again, I of course am saying this excluding cases that endanger the mother's health.
posted by mangasm at 3:49 PM on March 19, 2011


Too exhausting. How cute of you

Not being cute, but thanks for even MORE condescension. I wasn't aware you could manage more than you already had. It's truly exhausting to hear these kinds of hateful attitudes against your sex.

Women should, and usually do have control over what happens to their bodies.

THIS IS THE POINT OF THIS THREAD. Women are LOSING control over their bodies. You busting in here insisting that women should is not anything women here need to be told.

There are a whole lot of ways to not get pregnant, and hopefully, someone has told you about them. Personally, I feel getting pregnant and having an abortion, unless it is in very dire curcumstances, should be a last resort.

Even how you have it here - "someone has told you about them." A woman would never find out about her own body, you know? Your attitudes are paternalistic, at best. As if women don't consider abortion a last resort. It's not first on anyone's list.

There are extreme cases of everything. No, I don't want to see some 13 year old rape victim have to carry a child to term and deal with it her whole life. In the same respect, I don't want a 20 year old girl thinking that abortion is some kind of birth control option.

Well, it IS a birth control option, as you discovered in your own life.
posted by agregoli at 3:50 PM on March 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Were Roe v Wade providing up to, say, 6 months, would anyone here be placated?

I appreciate the responses to my earlier post, buy have come away with a couple more questions.

One of the answers to my inquiry about pregnancy awareness up to week 20 was that some genuinely are unaware of their pregnancy. Correct me if I am wrong, but by week 20 wouldn't the pregnancy be clearly showing and be inducing accompanying spells of sickness? Shouldn't it be blatant by that point?

I definitely agree that in the case of fetus' life vs woman's life the woman is more of a person than a fetus at any stage in conception, and regardless the fetus has not been brought into the citizenry yet or anything. But so, because of a case like this, does it follow that a woman's option to abort should be guaranteed throughout the 9th month?

I think Roe v Wade is at 3 months because it is generally assumed that the fetus is indeed just a lump of cells in the woman (though note that it is not in any scientific sense solely comprised of the woman's cells -- but that's not an issue that should be debated here), but after that it gets murky.

Of course I think a woman should have priority over her body and even over a lump of cells in her uterus for as long as it is clear that the lump is not a person, but the argument on the other side is that at some point a pregnant woman is in presiding over herself and someone else. Ask any pregnant woman why she has stopped drinking or smoking during pregnancy -- they decided not to benefit the lump of cells but the baby, the same baby that might be brought to term. I agree with abortion up to 20 weeks (or maybe longer, I'm not privy to the specifics of fetal development) but cannot see how some of you consider a 9 month pregnancy to not be a human being.

And no amount of asserting agency over your body will do a lick of good unless you can convince pro-lifers that a fetus is not an entity or consciousness apart from you.

Again, I of course am saying this excluding cases that endanger the mother's health.
posted by mangasm at 3:51 PM on March 19, 2011


I'm not privy to the specifics of fetal development

Yes you are. Open up another browser window, go to Google, type in "fetal development".
posted by palomar at 3:56 PM on March 19, 2011 [7 favorites]


This handwaving "hopefully they have the knowledge to prevent pregnancy" is awfully irritating. And if they don't? Or if the method failed? What, they then don't deserve agency?
posted by rtha at 3:56 PM on March 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


But the old fart in me, will always hope this was the last option available to them,

You hope. So you'll drive them to get a safe, legal abortion without interrogating them about their sexual histories, whether or not they used birth control and what kind, whether they're devastated enough to meet your taste—without subjecting them to the same judgment you've meted out here? Good on you!

And I will always have a secret part of me that wonders about that game of catch with my new grandson.

So it's really all about you and your fantasies: what you lost when that ex had an abortion, what you'd lose if any of your daughters did.
posted by dogrose at 3:58 PM on March 19, 2011 [12 favorites]


Again, I of course am saying this excluding cases that endanger the mother's health

So the woman's life only counts more if she might die, but not otherwise. Okay.
posted by rtha at 3:59 PM on March 19, 2011


Y'know, in-fighting really does not help advance the choice movement.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:09 PM on March 19, 2011


mangasm: cannot see how some of you consider a 9 month pregnancy to not be a human being.

By "human being," do you mean, "imbued with all rights of legal personhood"?

You may be interested in reading a previous thread, where Miko addressed the question:
You're right that there may not be a large moral difference between aborting a fetus at late term and killing an infant of about the same age. However, for pragmatic purposes, we need to draw a line at which the rights of citizenship begin. You can say the same about whether minors are really ready to be allowed to drop out of high school at sixteen, or drive at seventeen, or serve in the military at eighteen, or drink at twenty-one. All such lines are necessarily arbitrary and aim for the mean. But in the case of birth, we have a very clear, singular event - the cutting of the umbilical cord and the start of independent life - to draw the legal line that determines whether there is an independent life or not.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 4:17 PM on March 19, 2011


I'm an up-until-birthed absolutist.

Until it pops out and lives independently, it does not have rights. It can't: it has no means to accept them or carry them out.

Anti-choicers are fundamentally evil people who would choose proven greater harm to women and society for the ludicrous fantasy of fetal "rights".
posted by five fresh fish at 4:20 PM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


fff, there'd be less in-fighting if more people restrained themselves from, eg, judging that birth control failures must be due to the woman's ignorance or carelessness. Or that if you "spread your legs" you get what's coming to you.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 4:24 PM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


mangasm, Miko goes into more detail here. You may find that the rest of her answers in that thread address some of your lines of inquiry.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 4:29 PM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


We all know that women can become pregnant due to failure of one or more methods of contraception, RIGHT? That is - women who are being "responsible" and are actively working to avoid pregnancy can get pregnant through no "fault" of her own.

So, timsteil, these responsible women, can they have abortions? Because this is a common reason for abortions, sluts notwithstanding.
posted by smartypantz at 4:33 PM on March 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


timsteil, it would really be great if you could extend your "respect of life" to not calling women who have abortions a bunch of sluts who should have kept their legs shut

Please go back upthread, cut and paste all the places I called women a bunch of sluts. Do that right now.

I can agree to disagree with you. That is basically civil.

If you need to lie and make stuff up in furtherence of your viewpoint, I can understand that, but that doesnt mean I will tolerate it.

See, kinda your turn now isnt't it?
posted by timsteil at 4:36 PM on March 19, 2011


I'm sorry, I'm not getting how

you took off your pants, you spread your legs, and said go for it. != "slut"

Clarification please?
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 4:47 PM on March 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


If the words came out different than intended, ok. Happens to all of us, especially in a long thread about a charged topic. As it stands, I'm having trouble coming up with an alternative interpretation of that sentence.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 4:55 PM on March 19, 2011


slut n.
1.a. A person, especially a woman, considered sexually promiscuous.

pro·mis·cu·ous adj.
1. Having casual sexual relations frequently with different partners; indiscriminate in the choice of sexual partners.
2. Lacking standards of selection; indiscriminate.
3. Casual; random.

"They are your legs. Is there some point where you didn't get the memo on crossing them? Billions of dollars have been spent trying to tell you how to not to have babies from the time you are in sixth grade up. Billions of dollars are spent every year feeding the kids you were too young to afford."

"For all the feminist howling and wailing about your bodies and reprodcutive rights and just lah de fucking dah, you took off your pants, you spread your legs, and said go for it."


"I'm just saying, you guys got the damned plumbing that makes babies., and that comes with some responsibility. If you walk around from the day you are actually able to have a baby, and don't know how to not have one, then somebody failed you badly."

So - you are saying that women who need abortions are being irresponsible with their choices in "spreading" their legs - irresponsible, like "promiscuous" even. Not far to get from "irresponsible" to "slut" at all.
posted by smartypantz at 4:55 PM on March 19, 2011 [10 favorites]


Pregnancy endangers the mother's health. Every single time. You cannot claim to know anything about the reproductive process or a woman's fucking plumbing or whatever other shit is happening up there without knowing this. Pregnancy is always a threat to the mother's health.

Many, many mothers deem this an acceptable risk, and that's totally ok. Many mothers deem this an acceptable risk in the course of "normal" pregnancy (ha, what a misnomer that is) but then discover severe abnormalities and choose to abort. That's totally ok. Some mothers discover that even a "normal" pregnancy is unusually threatening to their health. All those women get to have safe, legal abortions.

Then some women have an accident. They get to have safe, legal abortions. Possibly some women use abortion as a first-line birth control scenario. I don't know anyone like this, and neither do you, because it's the myth of the welfare queen writ spooooooky, but whatever. They get to have safe, legal abortions too.

That may be true in practise, but there are absolutists (many posting in this thread) who assert a women's right to choose in all circumstances without restriction, regardless of reason or motive. As such, they are asserting that a woman should be able to abort up to and including in the 9 month of pregnancy, for any reason she chooses, and they explicitly say so.

Hi, you're talking about me. History tells us that any time people try to create "reasonable restrictions" on personal autonomy, maybe even ones I might be inclined to follow personally despite their lack of official mandate, those restrictions are hardened and widened incrementally and inexorably in order to deny rights to a class of people. So there's no measure or test a woman can take that will not elide that agency in the service of medical necessity.

But, see, even having that conversation embeds the assumption that women should only have abortions if it is medically necessary. I believe that women are people and not incubators. I believe that women do not have any responsibility to do anything with their bodies that they don't want to do, and I fundamentally mistrust any state apparatus that attempts to remove individual agency from a class of people. That is what we do to criminals when we lock them up, and the message here is that women who get pregnant have violated a moral law of prudity and their punishment is carrying a child to term. In my "absolute" world, some women would have abortions and some wouldn't. In theirs, no woman would have authority over her own body if she becomes pregnant. Tell me who the absolutists are, again?

First peeve: the term "pro-choice"
I consider myself pro-choice. I like choosing. Choice is good. If a totalitarian dictator asked me tomorrow whether it would be ok to take over the US and rule with an iron fist, I'd totally be like, "No, go away." Really. Believe it or not, I am not anti-choice, contrary to what one would be led to believe by the pro-choice moniker.


But you're totally ok with calling yourself "pro-life", and thereby leading others to believe that the people on the other side are "anti-life". That piece of hypocrisy doesn't bother you in the slightest.

With the right to safe and legal abortion, unborn children are murdered.

No, they're not. They're not murdered, and the reason you want to say they are murdered is because murder is ethically an abrogation of the agency of another which leads to loss of life. Fetuses don't have independent agency, so they cannot be murdered. They can be killed, but they can't be murdered.

I don't think they're children either. But let's say they were. Even if fetuses are babies, which they're not, but even if they were, there is no law anywhere that compels a person to sacrifice their life for another. No one is legally compelled to donate organs that would save another's life. No one is legally required to take a bullet for a stranger. Except when it comes to women who spread their legs and let dudes fuck them, apparently.

timsteil:

there is something very deep in the core of who I am that takes massive offense at you describing a potential kid as a coupla mutant cells living in your uterus, and something you feel like you can squish like a cockroach and move on to fuck someone you dont care abiout another day.

Gee, what might we call someone who fucks people they don't care about?

They are your legs. Is there some point where you didn't get the memo on crossing them?

Gee, what might we call someone who can't keep their legs crossed?

You're a misogynist and a slut-shamer, and that you're hiding behind the fact that you never said the word "slut" is childish and cowardly, like playing the "I'm not touching you!" game except with vitriol and hatred. Own up to your shit, if you're such a man.
posted by Errant at 4:57 PM on March 19, 2011 [54 favorites]


I'm a guy with three daughters, and if any of them need an abortion, then I will be glad they have the legal safe way to do it, and I will drive them there if need be. But the old fart in me, will always hope this was the last option available to them, And I will always have a secret part of me that wonders about that game of catch with my new grandson.

Just so long as that secret part of you accepts that your daughter -- who is born and alive -- needs you at that moment more than she's ever needed anyone in her life, but is too terrified to ask whether you can forgive her because you've been talking about wanting grandkids someday, and now here she is getting an abortion and she's already feeling bad about that but it's the only best choice she can make and she's afraid her father hates her on top of it which makes it worse.

No one is saying to ignore that the unborn is a potential for life. But we are asking you to respect that there is actual life that has its own needs and wishes and rights, and terrors, and regrets, and that compassion is what those people need as opposed to second-guessing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:01 PM on March 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


You know, I am not super comfortable with abortion. As a person who interned in a clinic, as a Nine Month Absolutist, I am deeply uncomfortable with a lot about abortion.

If my daughter, or my one of my sons' partners had an abortion, I would probably be very upset about it.

On a personal level, I think there are good reasons, and less good reasons for having one. But what I think doesn't matter. We can't legislate bodily autonomy for the whole country based on what I am comfortable with. I mean, for Christ's sweet sake, who wants that responsibility?

We have to trust people to make the best decisions they can. If we don't, we infantilize them, we render them (in this case, an entire sex) as a class of persons with less than full rights. I'm not okay with doing that just so I can feel comfortable.

(It's so weird that in two separate MeFi threads that I'm following right now, I'm making the same argument, even though one is about local food and the other is about abortion.)
posted by Leta at 5:02 PM on March 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


We can't legislate bodily autonomy for the whole country based on what I am comfortable with. I mean, for Christ's sweet sake, who wants that responsibility?


Lots of people. That's why this argument exists.
posted by dogrose at 5:10 PM on March 19, 2011


I'm sorry, I'm not getting how

you took off your pants, you spread your legs, and said go for it. != "slut"

Clarification please?


Seriously, what do you feel needs clarifying here?

If you choose to have sex, I would hope you have all the knowledge about it to keep you safe.

That doesnt make you a slut. I am talking about one instance here. You make a decision whether to have sex or not. Hopefully you are aware enough to know all the things that might happen as a result of that.

So what do you want from me? I'm a guy who this really doesnt effect much, You want it legal? OK. Fine. Really, no skin off my nose either way.

OK now what? I mean, you want one a month, one a week? I mean how fucking long to you want me to pretend to care about this issue that I have nothing to do with, have done nothing to cause, am doing nothing to further and I am going to end up paying for for no other reason than than you cant keep your pants on on weekends.

I dont hate women. In fact I like women who cant keep their pants on on weekends. They have been very good to me.

It's your body. You have control of it. If you make bad decisions, that's you. Do you really want the federal government in charge of it?

If it ever comes to the point you decide you need an abortion, I hope it will be legal, clean, safe and effective. I would also hope you look back and realize there were so many ways you could have avoided getting to that point.
posted by timsteil at 5:17 PM on March 19, 2011


Please go back upthread, cut and paste all the places I called women a bunch of sluts. Do that right now.

I can agree to disagree with you. That is basically civil.

If you need to lie and make stuff up in furtherence of your viewpoint, I can understand that, but that doesnt mean I will tolerate it.

See, kinda your turn now isnt't it?


timsteil, #1, where the hell do you think you get off ordering me to do anything for you?

#2, I don't need to because several other people have already very helpfully pointed out all the ways that you called women irresponsible sluts.

#3, when are you going to apologize for calling me a liar?
posted by palomar at 5:18 PM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would also hope you look back and realize there were so many ways you could have avoided getting to that point.

And I would hope that at some point you would understand that you literally have NO IDEA what circumstances make a woman decide to abort a pregnancy. You don't know if she didn't use any birth control at all. You don't know if she was using three forms of BC and they all failed her. You don't know if she was raped. You don't know if she just found out she has cancer on top of being pregnant and it's either her life or the fetus. You don't know if she was impregnated by her abusive partner and will probably be beat to death for "letting" herself get pregnant when they can't afford a baby. You don't know if she just had a genetic test and found out the fetus is not viable.

Stop making moral judgements about situations you know nothing about. As a man who talked a woman into getting an abortion, you don't really have a leg to stand on with that argument.
posted by palomar at 5:29 PM on March 19, 2011 [7 favorites]


timsteil: And I will always have a secret part of me that wonders about that game of catch with my new grandson.

I'm not sure why your fantasies about what you lost when that ex had an abortion, or what you'd lose if any of your daughters did, should have any meaning or significance for anyone but you.

And they are fantasies. The fact that you value them so highly... maybe that's something you ought to think about.
posted by dogrose at 5:32 PM on March 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


"OK now what? I mean, you want one a month, one a week? I mean how fucking long to you want me to pretend to care about this issue that I have nothing to do with, have done nothing to cause, am doing nothing to further and I am going to end up paying for for no other reason than than you cant keep your pants on on weekends.

I dont hate women. In fact I like women who cant keep their pants on on weekends. They have been very good to me.

It's your body. You have control of it. If you make bad decisions, that's you. Do you really want the federal government in charge of it?


= calling someone a slut

I mean, COME ON BUDDY! Geez.

Also please answer to my previous statement regarding someone who uses birth control and still gets pregnant as this is likely a much larger reason women have abortions - women who can't keep their pants on on weekends and then get pregnant and have to have an abortion (perhaps multiple times) are not in the majority here. They do not represent "women who have abortions", but they seem to represent your feelings about your ex who you talked into having an abortion.
posted by smartypantz at 5:39 PM on March 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


What I propose: if any man wants to have sex with a woman, and does not want to risk getting her pregnant, he must get a vasectomy. No ifs, ands, or buts. Can't resist the temptation of those spread legs? Get yourself snipped, or you are not taking full responsibility. Don't like losing your agency? Too bad. Don't have sex, then.
posted by rtha at 5:40 PM on March 19, 2011 [36 favorites]


Correct me if I am wrong, but by week 20 wouldn't the pregnancy be clearly showing and be inducing accompanying spells of sickness? Shouldn't it be blatant by that point?

Not necessarily. That's only four months along. I've known a few women who weren't showing by then. Some women show right away, some women start to show by the end of the first trimester, some women don't show at all. A classmate of mine senior year was pregnant, and no one knew because she didn't show through her clothes. I only found out she'd been pregnant when I ran into her a few months after graduation and she was pushing her 10-week old baby in a stroller.

Also, according to one of the first results I found on Google for "pregnancy 20 weeks", the screenings for genetic issues happen at 15-20 weeks. So if a woman is 20 weeks along and wants an abortion, odds are pretty high she just found out the fetus she's carrying is "incompatible with life," i.e. it's not going to live if it's even born alive. I know I would not want to give birth to a baby that would suffer as long as it lived, and if the fetus died in utero I would not want to be forced to carry that corpse to term.

And, honestly, I think that anyone who would seek to force a woman to undergo that kind of horror because they personally can't deal with abortions is inhuman. A monster. That is a choice that should be left solely up to the woman whose body is involved.
posted by palomar at 5:53 PM on March 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


(that should be "senior year of high school", up there.)
posted by palomar at 5:53 PM on March 19, 2011


What we see so plainly in timsteil's comments is the truth: "anti-abortion" sentiments are the genteel cover for a hatred of women.

Some of the ugliest stuff I've ever seen allowed to stand on Metafilter, well done.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:05 PM on March 19, 2011 [9 favorites]


I dont hate women. In fact I like women who cant keep their pants on on weekends. They have been very good to me.

I'm going to wade through your pile of crap one more time to point something out to you: it's all in the construction.

To you, it's not "women who won't keep their pants on", it's not "women who don't keep their pants on". It's women who "can't" keep their pants on. Women who are constitutionally incapable of not falling into bed with dudes on weekends. Women who have no choice or ability to choose, no agency, because you cannot recognize the essential and elemental way in which you denigrate them constantly and reduce them to the roles of bit players in your own ridiculous drama. They're not the would-be mothers of your unborn child, they're not the purveyors of your grandchildren, they're not your weekend entertainment.

I don't know if you're constitutionally able to process how you marginalize women at every turn, but I do sincerely hope that one day you are able to look back and realize that there were so many ways you could have avoided getting to this point.
posted by Errant at 6:09 PM on March 19, 2011 [11 favorites]


You requested: cut and paste all the places I called women a bunch of sluts

so I cut and pasted one example and asked for alternative interpretations.

So what do you want from me?

I had thought that good faith dialogue might be a possibility. My mistake.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 6:44 PM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Concern troll. That is all.
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:09 PM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


palomar: " Not necessarily. That's only four months along.

20 weeks is five months, not four.

Also, according to one of the first results I found on Google for "pregnancy 20 weeks", the screenings for genetic issues happen at 15-20 weeks. So if a woman is 20 weeks along and wants an abortion, odds are pretty high she just found out the fetus she's carrying is "incompatible with life," i.e. it's not going to live if it's even born alive. I know I would not want to give birth to a baby that would suffer as long as it lived, and if the fetus died in utero I would not want to be forced to carry that corpse to term.

My wife had a CVS test at 12 weeks. CVS on my son (but not my daughter) was inconclusive, so we did an amnio at 16 weeks. Amnio results take 10-12 business days to come back from the lab. The results were again inconclusive, so we did another amnio. The results came back during her 20th week.

From what I understand, inconclusive results for a CVS are somewhat common. They are not common for amniocentesis. However, it is possible that someone who is having amnio to determine whether or not their fetus is either viable, malformed or carrying a genetic disorder might not know until the fifth month.
posted by zarq at 8:11 PM on March 19, 2011


I apologize -- long day, not so great at maths.
posted by palomar at 8:17 PM on March 19, 2011


However, it is possible that someone who is having amnio to determine whether or not their fetus is either viable, malformed or carrying a genetic disorder might not know until the fifth month.

Yes, I know people who this has happened to.
posted by palomar at 8:24 PM on March 19, 2011


One of the answers to my inquiry about pregnancy awareness up to week 20 was that some genuinely are unaware of their pregnancy. Correct me if I am wrong

Happy to do so!

but by week 20 wouldn't the pregnancy be clearly showing

As others mentioned up thread, many women (of the millions and MILLIONS of women of different body types, sizes, and anatomies who get pregnant each year) don't show much physically during their pregnancies. Other women for various reasons (heavyset women! women carrying small fetuses that don't move much! women with uteruses set far back in their abdominal cavity!) may show no visual indication of being pregnant at all.

and be inducing accompanying spells of sickness?

Not all women experience morning sickness. Those who do may experience it mildly.

Shouldn't it be blatant by that point?

Women who didn't realize they were pregnant are so (relatively) common that there's a reality TV show about it.


I think an aspect of the common ignorance/miscommunication in this area is that we've all been constantly fed the line of standard cultural tropes about pregnancy and birth. We see these so much much that we begin believing that all pregnancies/births do and SHOULD follow those standards, to the point that their absence makes us suspicious. (OF COURSE pregnant women are huge like basketballs! OF COURSE they vomit all the time and crave pickles!) But the messy, complicated reality is unrealistic.
posted by nicebookrack at 10:25 PM on March 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


There are few nastier things to say to or about a woman than "should have closed your legs." No equivalent insult to a man packs nearly the same contempt, does it? Certainly not "should have kept it in your pants" or "don't stick your dick in crazy (or give it a baby)," which instead convey a kind of rueful sympathy. The tone isn't blaming, it's winking and world-weary. As if to say hey man we all know how rough it is, this pants-closing thing, when there are all these lady legs just flung wide open everywhere you look. It's as though in the physics of fucking open legs have an active gravitational mass that tugs open zippers while their owners look downward in powerless, dazed wonder. You'd think the gutless passivity of this kind of thinking would itself be an effective form of birth control -- but then so few dudes theorize in this fashion when near legs they'd dearly like to see open.

Nonetheless it's a useful reminder, this open contempt rather than the latest high-flown rhetoric the anti-choice camp is peddling what women deserve. Contempt for women, for their health and agency and freedom, is what restricting abortion is really about and what it has always been about. We can never afford to forget. Thanks for all the work you've done, dejah, and for this thread, which just inspired another donation.
posted by melissa may at 4:09 AM on March 20, 2011 [25 favorites]


20 weeks is five months, not four.

Not to nitpick, but they start counting those weeks from the start of your last period, which is long before the pregnancy itself actually started. Twenty weeks would actually correspond pretty exactly with four months of pregnant time.

And thank you timsteil for making it abundantly clear to people who don't realize that abortion is about women's rights what it is that we're fighting for here. You've been a shining example of the type of hypocritical misogyny that defines the so-called "pro-life" crowd.
posted by Go Banana at 6:17 AM on March 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Actually he self-identifies as a lefty and pro-choice.

It's like the 1960s. With friends like these...
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 9:31 AM on March 20, 2011


My wife had a CVS test at 12 weeks. CVS on my son (but not my daughter) was inconclusive, so we did an amnio at 16 weeks. Amnio results take 10-12 business days to come back from the lab. The results were again inconclusive, so we did another amnio. The results came back during her 20th week.

I would like to add to this statement, since I worked in various labs doing precisely this type of testings. CVS can be inconclusive in a few instances, when cells from the placenta are included with the villi during the surgical procedure. Placental cells routinely show chromosomal abnormalities, and this result would require amniocentesis and karyotyping. When I left the field to go into molecular genetic, the turnaround time for growing the cells from the amniotic fluid and then karyotyping the cells was 6 days and I do not think that the time is much shorter now. In ideal situations thus results at 18-19 weeks at best.

Unless there is advanced maternal age which would put CVS and amniocentesis testings on a pregnancy care schedule from the start, a physician has to rely on ultrasounds to detect fetal abnormalities and to then order genetic testing. This pushes result much later than 18-19 weeks, closer to the 24th week cutoff. Adding to all this the fact that karyotyping only discloses rather large chromosomal abnormalities and that for effective DNA testing one has to at least suspect what type of genetic defect one is fishing for, I believe that the cutoff should be several weeks past the 24 weeks limit.
posted by francesca too at 9:47 AM on March 20, 2011


Tim's right. Life is precious.
That's why his comments and others have encouraged me to donate/participate in organizations dedicated to improving other's lives through access to contraception and reproductive rights.

Every year for the rest of my life, no matter how little I'm making.

Without the thread, especially the ignorance on contraceptive failure, why people get abortions, and signs of pregnancy, I wouldn't have realized how much work needs to be done in this field in this country.

Thanks guys!
posted by Freecola at 10:01 AM on March 20, 2011 [8 favorites]


Let me add to my comment that I am only expressing an opinion on how long it takes to get results on testings, and not an opinion on if there should be a cutoff date to abortions. I have enough respect for women (barring few exceptions) to think that they are perfectly capable to decide on their own without the government having a say.
posted by francesca too at 10:03 AM on March 20, 2011


Francesca too:

This is not exactly correct. The initial tests offered during the first trimester are blood screening and US to look for abnormal markers (these tests are completely optional at any age). Typically, this is done between 11 and 13 weeks gestation. Most patients, even those with advance maternal age, choose this screening first. If the screening tests are negative it reduces your risk of an abnormality by anywhere from 1 in 4000 to 1 in 10,000 (this is referred to as an adjusted risk. Prior to the testing anyone below the age of 35 has a <1% chance of one of the trisomy condition; 35-40 1-2% chance, and after 40, it increases more exponentially). At the time of the first trimester screening, the parent(s) will still be offered CVS if they want to be absolutely sure. If there one of the screening tests are positive, it is again the option of the parent(s) to do CVS or amniocentesis.

As a certified nurse-midwife, I see the importance of keeping abortion safe and legal for a variety of reasons, at any gestational age. However, I am uncomfortable with elective aborting of normal fetuses after the first trimester. I am not saying it should be illegal, but as someone who has assisted the delivery of pre-viable fetuses, it's just not an easy thing to think about. At 20 weeks, they will gasp for breath as a reflex, though they do not have proper lung development yet and cannot survive outside the uterus. What I'm trying to say, is there is a big developmental difference between the first and second trimester and part of a woman making an informed decision on whether or not to abort, should be knowledge of those differences.

Of course, how do we address this in the rape or incest victim? Should they be given the details of fetal development. Probably not. It's a very, very complex issue that cannot be solved by an absolutist stance.

Just trying to inject some reality into the debate.
posted by janakf at 10:25 AM on March 20, 2011


What I'm trying to say, is there is a big developmental difference between the first and second trimester and part of a woman making an informed decision on whether or not to abort, should be knowledge of those differences.

I find it patronizing to assume that women who make the decision to abort in the second trimester don't already know these differences or they'd be making a different decision. If they don't, which is possible given the shitty sex ed and reproductive biology teaching in a lot of corners of this country, it is a function of incomplete secondary education, which should be fixed on a general basis for both men and women. But "let's specially educate women considering abortions so they'll make a moral decision that doesn't squick me" is pretty wtf and patronizing, especially if we're not bothering the women who were raped or victims of incest with it so they won't feel bad like those women who are having abortions for an insufficiently good reason are.

There are decisions that women make about abortion that squick me personally too, but I don't think it's "inject[ing] reality into the debate" to propgagandize women to agree with my judgement when I don't know why they're making their decision. Maybe they already knew that stuff and thought it through before scheduling the appointment! Nobody's private moral judginess, including mine, should be put into law to force other women to carry unwanted pregnancies.
posted by immlass at 10:46 AM on March 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


Like I said, it's a very complex issue. How can we meet in the middle? I definitely think it should be optional for the patient to discuss the issue of fetal development. I wouldn't FORCE the patient to consider it. If she said, "You know, Jana. I just really don't want to know. I just need this to be over" I think that's fine.
posted by janakf at 10:57 AM on March 20, 2011


As someone who did preabortion counseling (per state requirements), I can tell you that patients ask about fetal development a lot. I tried to always be very scientifically accurate, which means saying, "We don't know" much of the time, because we don't know how conscious a fetus is, or if they feel pain, or when. It's not a cop out, it's the truth.

Many, many women talk about loving their fetus, and knowing that they want a better life for a child than the one they can provide. Abortion is frequently an act of love, no matter what people might think of those who participate in it.

All the clinicians that I ever had heart-to-hearts with were very intense about the emotional and moral aspects of our work- a lot of them used the word "sacred". It is a sacred thing, to protect women's bodies. And pregnant women, no matter the end outcome, usually need and always deserve a lot of support. It's a noble calling.
posted by Leta at 11:07 AM on March 20, 2011 [7 favorites]


This is not exactly correct. The initial tests offered during the first trimester are blood screening and US to look for abnormal markers (these tests are completely optional at any age). Typically, this is done between 11 and 13 weeks gestation. Most patients, even those with advance maternal age, choose this screening first. If the screening tests are negative it reduces your risk of an abnormality by anywhere from 1 in 4000 to 1 in 10,000 (this is referred to as an adjusted risk

True, but you are only talking about a very few abnormalities: trisomy 21, trisomy 13, trisomy 18 and Turner syndrome. Any other gross chromosomal abnormality (unbalanced translocation, duplication, deletion, inversion etc.) has to be picked up by ultrasound and followed by CVS and amniocentesis. For a lot of other familial genetic diseases (Huntington, Fragile X syndrome, etc) you do have to wait for amniocentesis at 15-16 weeks. Thankfully new methods for harvest of fetal cells from blood are in development and earlier detection will be possible.

All I'm saying is that early and timely detection of a lot of genetic abnormalities is not a given.
posted by francesca too at 11:16 AM on March 20, 2011


Nobody's private moral judginess, including mine, should be put into law to force other women to carry unwanted pregnancies.

For me, that's basically it. Abortion is a difficult, messy, and unpleasant subject to think about, and I completely sympathize with the basic emotions it provokes in such strength. It seems like there ought not to be a need for them, or that in a perfect world few to none would avail themselves of the procedure. But any attempt to place a restriction on abortion has as its inevitable end result forced pregnancy on an unwilling woman. I don't hear the pro-life side talk about this aspect of it very much, and I would like them to, because codified sexual slavery is surely also difficult and unpleasant to think about.

Now, I think that's a different conversation than "how much information should be mandated before proceeding with the totally legal any-gestational-age abortion". I personally think that people should make informed medical decisions. I also think that mandated information frequently becomes a bludgeon with which to shame women out of choosing to abort. I do not think "women must have an uncomfortable conversation before they are allowed to abort" serves any purpose but to assuage our guilty feelings as a society. We'd like to be sure that women absolutely know what they're doing, which for me is problematic because it sort of assumes their default state is not knowing what they're doing. But I certainly think applicable medical information ought to be dispensed early and often, so I can agree that this part of it is a little more complex.
posted by Errant at 11:31 AM on March 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


Anecdotal...I was 38 when I gave birth to my son...they didn't even offer amnio testing until week 24. (Perhaps because my doctor understood that Down's syndrome wouldn't have changed my pregnancy, in that it wouldn't have been reason for me to abort.) So, it was offered, I turned it down, and we did some sort of OMG...WOW 3d/4d ridiculously expensive ultrasound thingy at the genetics lab.

But, that said; almost all of the women in that section of the hospital for testing were VERY pregnant, so it seems to my untrained eye, that there are some tests that don't happen until much later in term than 20 weeks..

Another thing, most people think of pregnancy as 9 months=36 weeks...it's not. It's 40+ weeks, so 20 weeks is just about the halfway point of a pregnancy, it's not the "rest a dinner plate on your tummy cause you can't reach the table" pregnant.
posted by dejah420 at 11:40 AM on March 20, 2011


Francesca too:

Absolutely! We've had a few cases of anencephaly which was not caught until 20 weeks (or after).

We have the technology now, to selectively choose embryos for implantation that are not affected by family genetic disase. Unfortunately, this is still very cost prohibitive for the patient and most still only have the traditional route of getting pregnant first and sorting it out later.


Leta:

It sounds like those women were lucky to have someone like you to talk to. I agree you can't discuss things like consciousness or pain, because we do not have any data on this.

I have known women who had a termination that felt they were misinformed about the development at that stage and would have chosen differently had they known, so I think counseling should be offered, but I agree with immlass that it should not be forced.
posted by janakf at 11:45 AM on March 20, 2011


it sort of assumes their default state is not knowing what they're doing

What bugs me so much about this is the frequent unspoken corollary that of course the people who want to inform me and other women know better because if women just knew what the folks who want to inform us knew, we'd do what they think we ought to. This is the underlying idea behind abortion-specific informed consent laws: if women who want to abort "really understood" (i.e., agreed with the people writing those laws), they would choose not to abort.

Absolutely every woman should be informed about fetal development. But that should be part of general education for both men and women, and probably also reinforced as part of health care for women. But again, we have shitty sex and health education, mostly for ideological reasons (abstinence-only), and without meaning offense to health care providers in this thread, who are doing the best they can in a bad situation, unreliable and inconsistent health care for women (and men). Those are the places where we should try to address a lack of knowledge, not at the last minute when a woman has decided to terminate.

All that is a separate issue from any counseling a woman considering an abortion might want. If she wants to know more about fetal development, I'm all for her getting that information. If what she finds out makes her decide to continue the pregnancy, more power to her for making an informed choice, too. I'm pro-autonomy and pro-rights, including the right not to keep a pregnancy.
posted by immlass at 11:55 AM on March 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


Er, the right TO keep a pregnancy, or not to terminate it. (need more caffeine.)
posted by immlass at 11:56 AM on March 20, 2011


Those are the places where we should try to address a lack of knowledge, not at the last minute when a woman has decided to terminate.

Agreed. I'm still shocked at how many 24 y.o come into my office and do not realize that they do not urinate out of their clitoris...

Personally, I think ALL birth control should be free starting at age 12, if it is desired. Sex ed should be thorough, detailed and FUN (planned parenthood is EXCELLENT at this. ALL high schools/jr highs should adopt their education program). It would be nice to have college courses that review sex ed with further detail for incoming freshman.

We fight insurance companies every day to get contraception paid for. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. It's one of the most infuriating parts of my job. Oh, you won't pay for an IUD (or an abortion) but you will pay thousands of dollars for prenatal care and delivery? Where does this make sense?

Elective termination is a hard situation for health care providers, particularly if they are offering prenatal care. I think that's why many of us choose not to offer abortion services. Most providers that offer abortion services work primarily in GYN, with some exceptions, of course. We are anti-choice, it's just difficult for us to switch gears from caring for a pregnant woman and her fetus, to electively terminating a fetus. I think most of us consider that when we provide prenatal care, we are providing it for the woman and the fetus (2 patients). So, when we have a patient that chooses to electively terminate, we have a hard time reconciling that in our brains, because it feels contradictory.

I have never, ever, judged a woman for having an abortion at any time in her pregnancy. That would be abusive to the patient. But am I personally sad about it? Yes. Abortion is never an easy choice for the patient, no matter what the circumstance. I must say that I have never had a patient that came to me wanting a second trimester abortion, just patients who had already had one at some point in the past, so all my feelings about what that would be like are completely hypothetical. I do know I would be uncomfortable and at some point it probably will happen. After reading immlass' comments, it may be best for me to just say "I understand. Do you have any specific questions?" and refer her on to save her from any unintentional bias on my part.
posted by janakf at 1:12 PM on March 20, 2011


I should say we aren't anti-choice. Most of us are pro-choice.

posted by janakf at 1:16 PM on March 20, 2011


What bugs me so much about this is the frequent unspoken corollary that of course the people who want to inform me and other women know better because if women just knew what the folks who want to inform us knew, we'd do what they think we ought to. This is the underlying idea behind abortion-specific informed consent laws: if women who want to abort "really understood" (i.e., agreed with the people writing those laws), they would choose not to abort.

Agreeing with and emphasizing this. People undergoing any number of medical procedures far more dangerous, physically invasive, and/or questionable than abortion are not required to receive the kind of patronizing counseling. With any other medical operation, immediately before the procedure:
even if it's upsetting: A BRCA mutation-positive woman opting for a double mastectomy is not required to examine a diagram of excised breast tissue to be totally sure that she wants all of hers removed. A man undergoing a prostatectomy is not required to hear the description of his probable loss of sexual function just in case he wants to back out.
even if it's elective: If you receive sex reassignment surgery, you are not required as you're being wheeled into pre-op to confirm that you really, truly haven't changed your mind about this whole transgender thing after all. If you get cosmetic liposuction, you are not required to examine the cannula and vacuum device during a description of the fat they will be sucking from you.
even if you're conscious: If you undergo maggot debridement, you are not required to watch or hear how the maggots will eat your dead flesh. If you're awake during brain tumor surgery, you are not required to listen to a description of what your brain looks like under your skull.

Of course none of these hypothetical medical examples are directly analogous to the upsetting, (usually) conscious, elective procedure of an abortion, which is profoundly unsettling and upsetting to every woman who chooses it and not lightly sought by any. And in general terms, being well-informed about your personal medical care is a Good Thing, and I'm sure doctors are happy to discuss it with you when you express interest. But few if any will choose to spontaneously share with you graphic details of the medical procedure you're about to undergo right before you undergo it: probably because they assume you've chosen to be informed (or not) already at this point, definitely because they understand that that kind of detail at this particular time is when it will be most upsetting to you.


There is no logical basis for any reason why women undergoing abortions are alone subject to this "requirement to be informed" counseling so soon before they have one. Other than the cold calculation that this is the time the information will most distress her--whether that prompts her to back out at this last juncture, or just punishes her with more guilt in post-op recovery. And that is monstrous.
posted by nicebookrack at 9:00 PM on March 20, 2011 [16 favorites]


[comments removed - that's **IT** This thread is not a referendum of one crabby person's opinions about abortion. Go to MetaTalk, don't say "screw you" to people. Act like someone who wants to be here. Thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 8:17 AM on March 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


Agreeing with and emphasizing this. People undergoing any number of medical procedures far more dangerous, physically invasive, and/or questionable than abortion are not required to receive the kind of patronizing counseling.

You have no idea, nicebookrack... when I had mine (very early and very long ago), the doctor was required by law to show me what he had removed. It... was a jellyfish. A tiny jellyfish. It wasn't traumatic for me, but I can imagine how hard it could be for so many in that situation.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 11:23 AM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


the anti-women/anti-choice laws and proposed laws in oklahoma top my list as reasons to get the heck out of dodge. they seem to get a "save the babies!" bug every year. here's the post from last year - note the part where doctors are protected if they lie about the health/age of the fetus (with a wink and a nod towards preventing abortions).

a few months ago my local town's FB page had a posting about donating to a pregnancy resource center in town. i left a simple note saying "for anyone that cares, this is a pro-life organization that lies to women" with non-partisan links to support it. it turned so nasty and included someone telling me to "go back to where you came from."

i do think it's telling that all over, and especially in oklahoma, the powers that be feel like the only way to stop abortions is to lie to vulnerable women. how does that square with their ten commandments?
posted by nadawi at 11:54 AM on March 21, 2011


Just as a note from a former canvasser who shared the office with Planned Parenthood canvassers — Planned Parenthood can do a lot more with donations if they're made monthly rather than yearly. It really helps them plan their programs and budget. So if you're thinking about making a huge one-off donation, think about signing up and making a smaller monthly contribution instead. It's weird to think that more money isn't necessarily more effective, but it's true.
posted by klangklangston at 12:01 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


klangklangston, is it really more helpful even if i'm sending small amounts monthly? i'm happy to do a monthly donation but my lizard brain is like, "dude, whoa, lump sum is better than a piddly $15-20 monthly." help me convince my lizard brain it's wrong.
posted by palomar at 12:13 PM on March 21, 2011


palomar - think of it like a pay raise vs a bonus. if you get a raise that amounts to an extra 20 bucks a month, you can budget that $20, put it into your long term plan of savings and bills and entertainment. if instead you get a check once a year for $240, chances are you're going to blow that on new speakers or a vacation or a great new outfit and dinner, or whatever - so while it certainly feels better to give and receive the larger amounts, it actually seems to be better to give them something they can count on and budget with.
posted by nadawi at 12:22 PM on March 21, 2011


thanks, nadawi -- yeah, my knee-jerk reaction is "more money is better!!" but your raise vs. budget analogy is accepted by my lizard brain as logical. :)
posted by palomar at 12:44 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Talk about removal of agency:
The National Association for Pregnant Women (NAPW) recently acknowledged a victory in which they played a part related to a woman who had given birth three years ago and had her newborn swiftly whisked away by a child protective authority claiming child endangerment for refusing to "pre-authorize" a cesarean section. The victory came in the form of a court decision last week reversing a lower court's decision to terminate the mother's parental rights (Ms.M aka V.M.) and remove the baby from her custody at birth, because she didn't consent to a c-section, even though it was never medically necessary.
posted by rtha at 12:46 PM on March 21, 2011


I just came back to this thread after a lot of time away, and hope it is OK to belatedly stand up to give Errant a huge personal round of applause and thanks. Favoriting didn't seem to be enough.
posted by bearwife at 1:19 PM on March 21, 2011


The stat that Planned Parenthood gave its canvassers was that monthly donations were roughly seven times more effective than one-time donations, i.e. that $20 per month was worth $1680 to them.

This was because they were better able to budget it, because monthly donors tend to be more sustainable (there was a big weird tension in canvassing because you're really supposed to make sure that the people making contributions can sustain them and aren't just going to cancel in a couple of months, especially college students. It's like, no, if you can't afford $20 a month, really, we'd prefer to have you sign up for $10 than giving a one-time contribution of $240). There are also a bunch of matching grants based on the number of monthly members versus one-time members.

Monthly members are also more likely to get involved in non-monetary ways, such as volunteering and contacting their representatives, whereas a lot of one-time folks think that they gave once and they're done with the issue.
posted by klangklangston at 2:22 PM on March 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


timsteil, you really, really, don't get it. Really.

Developing fetus does not equal random bunch of cells. But the rights of the potential human are trumped by my right to control what goes on in my body. In the last 2 weeks, I learned of 2 accidental pregnancies; both women using reliable birth control. One was a daughter born to a woman whose ineffective IUD stayed in her uterus during the vaginal birth. The other, birth control pill fail. It's okay for women to want to have sex, to like it, and to have as much as they want. Even with 99% effectiveness, which is rare in birth control, there are a lot of unwanted pregnancies.

The anti-choice movement is against the 'morning after pill,' when I think it's reasonable to call it a bunch of cells, and when denying a bunch of cells the right to implantation is pretty darn reasonable.

The anti-choice movement is generally against providing reproduction information to girls under 18, girls in high school, girls in middle school, girls in grade school. I want those girls to know the facts about periods before they have them. I want those girls to know the facts about sex, before, as you describe it, somebody sticks their dick in them. Cause that somebody might be 'Uncle Joe.' Or some kid who pressures them, and I want those girls to understand what it is they're being asked to do.

The anti-choice movement is against getting girls vaccinated against the virus that causes cervical cancer. There's no evidence that being vaccinated against a sexually transmitted, sometimes fatal disease makes women more likely to have sex, but the anti-choice movement seems to be anti-woman a lot of the time.

The anti-choice movement is often against abortion to save the life of the woman. Pregnancy and childbirth are not medically trivial.

The anti-choice movement is against abortion when the child would be seriously ill, and have a terribly short, possibly painful life. I've read the story of a woman who bore a child with anencephaly, and she and her family lovingly cared for the child until its inevitable death in a few days. Brave, but also heart-breaking, and I don't think this should be required of all women with wanted pregnancies who learn that they face a certain tragedy. In my case, if I had learned that I was having a child with a significant genetic disorder, I'd have been likely to have an abortion.

having an abortion, unless it is in very dire curcumstances, should be a last resort. agreed. If nothing else, the cost of abortion makes it an option of last resort.

This statement makes you sound like someone who doesn't think women should enjoy sex. For all the feminist howling and wailing about your bodies and reprodcutive rights and just lah de fucking dah, you took off your pants, you spread your legs, and said go for it.

you guys got the damned plumbing that makes babies., and that comes with some responsibility. Men have an equal part in reproduction; it's women who carry the pregnancy, and that's why it's critical that women have a choice.

They are your legs. Is there some point where you didn't get the memo on crossing them? It's your penis. Is there some point where you didn't get the memo on keeping it in your pants? Both partners should care about birth control and consequences. That's why men have to pay child support, even if they used birth control, even if they think the woman lied bout being on the pill.

I like women who cant keep their pants on on weekends. It's perfectly fine to have consensual, safe sex any day of the week, and it just sounds really weird to me.

Many years ago, I held a woman's hand while she was having an abortion. We were married, seperated, and she had got drunk on her birthday and slept with someone whose name she didnt even know, and as we tried to reconcile, this bombshell fell. We went to therapy. I was resolute in thinking I didn't want to raise some no name's kid.
I think this is the key. You sound rather bitter, and maybe this has affected your feelings about women. I'm sorry this happened to you and to her. You aren't representative of all men, she isn't representative of all women.

tl;dr timsteil, you really don't get it
posted by theora55 at 2:35 PM on March 21, 2011 [10 favorites]


Klang and palomar, thanks for that analysis on planned giving. PP gets an automatic donation from me every month, and I've been feeling squirrely about not giving them a bigger lump sum, but it sounds like the better way to do that is to just bump up my regular donation.

(Incidentally, I signed up to donate after The Genocide Awareness Project came to my school. No, I'm not gonna link to it. There is nothing good about it, believe you me.)
posted by athenasbanquet at 6:50 PM on March 21, 2011


Just signed up for my monthly Planned Parenthood donation! Less than I spend a month on fluffy coffee, really. Now I will give myself a cookie (a literal Oreo).
posted by nicebookrack at 8:10 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


yet another thing to pile on the "it's not about the kids" argument. while oklahoma is spending significant resources passing anti-choice legislation, DHS continues to be broken.
posted by nadawi at 8:16 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


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