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i didn't feel bad.
May 6, 2014 1:49 PM   Subscribe


 
Excerpt:

Humming and breathing heavily through the entire thing, the video shows the procedure can take three to five minutes.

Never had an abortion. But I like this lady.
posted by Michele in California at 1:53 PM on May 6 [2 favorites]


Good for her. Abortion shouldn't have to be a shameful secret.
posted by bperk at 2:01 PM on May 6 [16 favorites]


Some predictable comments in there.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 2:07 PM on May 6


I think the fact that she literally used abortion as birth control is not going to win a lot of people over. (For the record, I'm very strongly pro choice.)
posted by desjardins at 2:07 PM on May 6 [4 favorites]


Is there ever a time when abortion is not used as birth control?
posted by bperk at 2:09 PM on May 6 [141 favorites]


I like this lady a lot. I think she's something of an outlier, though, just in the respect that there was no question in her mind whatsoever and she was okay with it from an emotional standpoint, which made the physical experience of it better. The women I've known personally who had abortions had (for whatever reasons -- and I'm sure there are many discussions we could have for those reasons) more emotional issues about it, took the decision very seriously, and generally felt sad. I'd like for more women to feel settled or content with their decisions, but I think it's inevitable that most women will take much longer to make their decision than she did.
posted by janey47 at 2:12 PM on May 6 [4 favorites]


Yeah, good for her. I've never regretted getting an abortion, not during it and not now, decades later. Sometimes even the pro-choicers feel compelled to discuss abortion as this terrible anguish women are forced to go through, when sometimes it's not a tough decision at all.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:13 PM on May 6 [50 favorites]


Is there ever a time when abortion is not used as birth control?

In the abortion debate, "used as birth control" doesn't mean "used to prevent a baby being born," it means "used because sluts would rather murder an innocent child than not have lots of sex."

But more precisely: the usual exceptions to "used as birth control" are rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother.
posted by Etrigan at 2:14 PM on May 6 [8 favorites]


I'm having trouble with cut and paste on my phone, but she makes a comment about how these women come in and say that they feel guilty for not feeling guilty. that guilt just permeates our society
posted by sio42 at 2:14 PM on May 6 [19 favorites]


Is there ever a time when abortion is not used as birth control?

Maybe it's better understood as abortion as the sole form of birth control, rather than something to turn to after one's primary method fails for whatever reason?
posted by janey47 at 2:15 PM on May 6 [6 favorites]


He was referencing her quote: I hadn't been using any kind of birth control, which is crazy, I know. I’m a sex educator, and I love talking about birth control. Before this experience, hormonal birth control scared me because of complications I’d heard about from friends — gaining weight, depression, etc. So I tracked my ovulation cycle, and I didn’t have any long-term partners.

She had been having unprotected sex, without birth control, without a serious partner. It's just not smart. I don't care if she has an abortion, but her bravery is also matched by pretty poor choices she shouldn't have made.
posted by jjmoney at 2:16 PM on May 6 [9 favorites]


I don't care if she has an abortion, but her bravery is also matched by pretty poor choices she shouldn't have made.

Why? Which of those choices was poor, in a nation where a woman who gets pregnant is not required by law to bring the fetus to term?
posted by Etrigan at 2:17 PM on May 6 [89 favorites]


The truth will set you free... or at least piss them off.

The only things that make abortion painful or dangerous are the actions forced upon women by laws in "pro-life" states (from invasive pre-procedural probing to 200 mile drives to a clinic).

And what do you consider more inhumane? Having an abortion frivolously or having a baby frivolously? Apparently some people consider childbirth an appropriate punishment for not using responsible contraception... childbirth-as-punishment is something that should be absolutely left in the dustbin of history.

And to EVERY woman who has had an abortion, let me say "you did the right thing".
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:18 PM on May 6 [46 favorites]


The issue of her not using birth control is a derail. It brings us into the discussion of who deserves an abortion and who's a bad person for getting one.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:18 PM on May 6 [208 favorites]


In the abortion debate, "used as birth control" doesn't mean "used to prevent a baby being born," it means "used because sluts would rather murder an innocent child than not have lots of sex."

Well, then, using this definition, I'd say she did not use abortion as birth control, because I see no evidence she is a slut who is willing to murder an innocent child in order to continue having lots of sex.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:18 PM on May 6 [8 favorites]


I found out I was pregnant in November. I had been working at the clinic for about a year. It was my first pregnancy, and, full disclosure, I hadn't been using any kind of birth control, which is crazy, I know. I’m a sex educator, and I love talking about birth control. Before this experience, hormonal birth control scared me because of complications I’d heard about from friends — gaining weight, depression, etc. So I tracked my ovulation cycle, and I didn’t have any long-term partners. I thought I was OK. But, you know, things happen. I wound up pregnant.
It sounds to me like she was using what most people call "the rhythm method." She was trying to abstain from sex while ovulating.

I know a lot of people will think that's not REAL birth control or something but I think it is more accurate to say she was idealistic and her choice of birth control failed her.
posted by Michele in California at 2:21 PM on May 6 [36 favorites]


Some people are against using abortion as the primary means of birth control because it does not seem to treat abortion with the gravitas warranted. You can believe that abortion is taking a life and still believe it should be legal. If you believe it's taking a life, it should be treated more seriously than "welp, forgot a condom, no big deal, I'll just go to the clinic!"
posted by desjardins at 2:21 PM on May 6 [10 favorites]


I don't care if she has an abortion, but her bravery is also matched by pretty poor choices she shouldn't have made.

Which she dealt with. No harm, no foul, nobody else's business but her own.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:23 PM on May 6 [59 favorites]


Is there ever a time when abortion is not used as birth control?

I know this wasn't really the question, but one procedure is also used to treat menorrhagia and PCOS.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 2:23 PM on May 6 [2 favorites]


many of the women i've known personally were not terribly conflicted about their abortion. they were afraid of complications, worried about the picket line, and anxious over how to pay - all issues largely created by anti-choice thugs - but the actual choice to not complete the pregnancies were not agonized over by many of my friends. i don't know that we can extrapolate how women feel about their abortions just based on samples of people we know.

on the birth control conversation - my husband and i have practiced the pull out method for the entirety of our relationship. if i were to get pregnant i would immediately schedule an abortion. i don't think this is a poor choice on my part. birth control doesn't work for me, we're not going to use condoms every time we have sex forever, the expense of a permanent solution doesn't fit into our lives right now - so the small possibility that i might have to have an abortion is a birth control plan i'm comfortable with. i refuse to let bullies make me feel guilty for that. i don't believe there is any inherent shame in terminating a pregnancy.
posted by nadawi at 2:23 PM on May 6 [96 favorites]


I'm really glad that she did this. Having positive, truthful experiences out there for other women to know about and feel supported by is extremely important.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:25 PM on May 6 [14 favorites]


I don't care if she has an abortion, but her bravery is also matched by pretty poor choices she shouldn't have made.

Her choices are none of your business.
posted by Pudhoho at 2:27 PM on May 6 [119 favorites]


In the abortion debate, "used as birth control" doesn't mean "used to prevent a baby being born," it means "used because sluts would rather murder an innocent child than not have lots of sex."

Well, then, using this definition, I'd say she did not use abortion as birth control, because I see no evidence she is a slut who is willing to murder an innocent child in order to continue having lots of sex.


For the record, I did not intend to actually describe her this way. I'm just describing how a lot of people on the other side of the debate feel about her stated reasons.
posted by Etrigan at 2:29 PM on May 6 [2 favorites]


The issue of her not using birth control is a derail. It brings us into the discussion of who deserves an abortion and who's a bad person for getting one.

Yes, what the corpse said. In the US, we just love to judge who is deserving of things (food, housing, health care, decent education, etc.), and this is another thing on the list. Some women, we're sort of willing to admit, are perfectly deserving of an abortion (though it must still be acknowledged as terribly tragic!) because they were comatose virgins who were raped by their fathers, or something. Only them, though. Anyone else who's ever had an abortion is almost certainly guilty of doing something wrong and therefore should be harshly judged for seeking a legal medical procedure.

Please form an orderly "She should just..." line.
posted by rtha at 2:29 PM on May 6 [80 favorites]


She had been having unprotected sex, without birth control, without a serious partner. It's just not smart. I don't care if she has an abortion, but her bravery is also matched by pretty poor choices she shouldn't have made.

And she admits herself that it was a stupid thing to have done.

To paraphrase a certain Person who may have lived quite some time ago - let he who has not done anything stupid when they were in their 20's even though they knew better make the first snarky comment.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:29 PM on May 6 [50 favorites]


I was surprised by how hospital-like the setting was. Is that the standard now? Last time I was in a women's health clinic, the abortions took place on Papasan chairs surrounded by cats and mint tea and SISTERHOOD IS POWERFUL posters. Well, not really, but that was the vibe.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:29 PM on May 6 [2 favorites]


I didn't realize until I watched this that every abortion image/video I've seen has been designed to shock and upset. It's stupid to quibble about the details that led to her abortion. We need voices like hers as a counterpoint to the overwhelming flood of sensationalism around this subject.
posted by naju at 2:30 PM on May 6 [17 favorites]


For clarification, the "biggest pro-life myth" is that surgical abortions are scary, and dangerous to the mother.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:34 PM on May 6 [8 favorites]


the expense of a permanent solution doesn't fit into our lives right now

Off topic, but just FYI, if it's only the expense and not the permanency of a permanent solution giving you pause, and you have insurance and live in the US, my understanding is that your insurance is required to pay for the whole thing under the ACA. My IUD was "free" last year (in that my insurance covered it 100%, no deductable, no copay) and same for a friend's vasectomy.
posted by joannemerriam at 2:35 PM on May 6 [4 favorites]


iuds are no-goes for us. i was talking either vasectomy or getting my tubes tied. i didn't know the aca covered vasectomies, though, so that might change things. it's also things like the rehab time and fear of complications, but those are further down the list of stumbling blocks.
posted by nadawi at 2:38 PM on May 6 [1 favorite]


I think the fact that she literally used abortion as birth control is not going to win a lot of people over.

I think the Stepford Wife picture of her is not going to win a lot of people over.
It's got zero to do with the issue. But the presentation ... the photo, she looks a little crazy. All I'm saying.
And her commentary. The actress thing. The "I hadn't been using any kind of birth control, which is crazy, I know. I’m a sex educator, and I love talking about birth control." Comes off a little poorly.

For that though, it's what makes it for me. The fact she isn't polished. The fact that she doesn't sound rehearsed or scripted. It's too amateurish. Doesn’t endear me. But it does make me consider how phony and in a number of ways hateful, many opposition perspectives are presented.

I’ve heard one is only as moral as one’s options. But I think it’s more that people are only as moral as they can be systemically. To wit:
“Which of those choices was poor, in a nation where a woman who gets pregnant is not required by law to bring the fetus to term?”


Well, she is supported by a number of options, many of which she eschewed and one in particular she noted by its omission, herself, as “crazy.” In part because she knew she wasn’t ready to take care of child and would have to have an abortion. I’m not sure whether or not the guy was wearing a condom, or why he wasn’t if it were one of the options. Or they weren’t using another non-hormonal form of birth control.

By the same token she tracked her ovulation cycle and was constantly taking pregnancy tests.
The question is one of responsibility and information. She was about as well informed on the topic as anyone can be, working as an abortion counselor, so information is off the table.
Responsibility. There’s the thing. She admits her error was “crazy” but too that “But, you know, things happen. I wound up pregnant.”

I can’t argue with that logic. No snark involved. She plain screwed up. I’ve done it. Things indeed do happen whether you’re the best, most competent person to deal with something or not. It wouldn't be my business ordinarially, but she made it public. Since it's public, hey, I take her at her word. She made what she thinks is a mistake. I think we can agree it was a mistake in the sense that it was not intentional (barring of course, acting, but I doubt that). Difference being, having made mistakes myself, I can relate.
Not sure where so many people leading absolutely flawless lives come from, but I make a mistake, I deal with it.

She dealt with it.

So, after the fact, she did indeed take responsibility and did the best possible thing she could with the situation to help people.
So while I can express doubts about her ability to best present herself, her altruism and courage are incontestable.

Like anything, the first blush is typically an amateurish effort.
It’s obvious that this needs to be seen simply because it’s so obvious that it hasn’t been seen before.
And there will be more and better presentation and better examples used as more people develop the courage to tell their own story, perhaps inspired by the seed planted here.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:39 PM on May 6 [7 favorites]


I have some gender dysphoria that crops up now and again (trying on lipstick? fun! getting a pap smear? OH GOD CUT MY BRAIN OUT OF MY HORRIBLE ALIEN BODY AND PUT IT IN A JAR LIKE KRANG FROM TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES) and I'm pretty terrified of my body's ability to get pregnant because, no matter what path I choose to take the pregnancy, I have to do something, and all my choices are very scary to me. Big ups to Emily Letts for making one of those decisions (and the one I'd almost certainly take) seem a lot less intimidating.
posted by Juliet Banana at 2:40 PM on May 6 [42 favorites]


I wonder if the women more likely to talk openly about their abortions are more generally those that had an easier time with it. I feel like most of the women I know who have talked to me about their abortions are similar to this woman - easy choice, no guilt, no big deal, just get it done and move on. I actually don't think I've talked to a woman personally who found it to be a very scary ordeal or difficult decision - and I wonder if that's just selection bias.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:40 PM on May 6


hmm. i'll have to research more, all my immediate googling suggests the aca doesn't change anything about vasectomy coverage and i know our insurance didn't cover a huge amount of it last time we checked.
posted by nadawi at 2:40 PM on May 6


Thanks to this thread, I learned I had an unconscious bias against women who have abortions but do not use the usual forms of birth control.

If I'm OK with abortions (though really, they're none of my business, as I'm a man, and science has not yet given me the option to become pregnant, much to the chagrin of my wife), then I'm not really being rational if I say "I'm OK with abortions, but only if at least one party in the couple are using some sort of pregnancy inhibitor, be it condoms or pills or whatnot, but if they aren't and the lady gets pregnant and she gets an abortion, she's a terrible person."

Thanks MeFites, for this moment of clarity.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:40 PM on May 6 [83 favorites]


...her bravery is also matched by pretty poor choices she shouldn't have made.

Agreed. Speaking for myself, every choice I have ever made in my entire life has been completely spot-on from start to finish. I'm pretty typical of most men, actually.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:40 PM on May 6 [106 favorites]


I think you can still believe (for completely non-moral reasons) that condoms/IUDs are generally better alternatives to abortions for everyday sort of birth/STD control without feeling that women who choose differently make a bad choice or should be shamed or don't 'deserve' an abortion or whatever.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:43 PM on May 6 [14 favorites]


Jesus Christ. Imagine that. That time I was driving around in the country and decided that we should go right instead of left, and we wound up in a wonderful place where there were all different kinds of fudge. What if I had gone left and ended up with a fucking kid that I had to support for 18 years?
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:44 PM on May 6 [10 favorites]


It's got zero to do with the issue. But the presentation ... the photo, she looks a little crazy. All I'm saying.

I think you should take some time to examine why you think this and what you even mean by "crazy" with relation to a picture of a woman, even outside this context.

This is a you thing, not her a her thing. The picture of her looks totally normal(and she actually looks like one of my friends, heh). I think the vast majority of people i would show the picture to would say that as well.

I actually went and stared at the picture for a minute to see if i could discern anything some average reasonable person would see as weird/crazy/etc and nope... just looks like a normal lady you'd see reading outside a semi-hip coffee shop or something.

So while I can express doubts about her ability to best present herself, her altruism and courage are incontestable.

Like anything, the first blush is typically an amateurish effort.
It’s obvious that this needs to be seen simply because it’s so obvious that it hasn’t been seen before.
And there will be more and better presentation and better examples used as more people develop the courage to tell their own story, perhaps inspired by the seed planted here.


The problem with this mindset is that EVERY person who steps forward won't quite be the perfect, optimal one. So many people want to take issue with this that every single one will get lambasted from both sides with this kind of garbage.

The solution is just to emphatically, and as a united front go "No, she's fine" rather than pick her apart like this.

Because no one is perfect, and especially in this context no one will be perfect. The vetting process for this type of issue, especially with a woman presenting herself like this, is 1000x worse than being vetted to be the fucking president or something. And it's like, your not helping, give it a rest.
posted by emptythought at 2:49 PM on May 6 [38 favorites]


Lutoslawski, good point. Even if the surgical abortion is not scary, by the simple fact that it is a medical procedure, I would personally opt for contraceptives as a preventative, but that is only my personal view. Kudos to Emily Letts, first for being an abortion doula, and second for sharing her process with the internet.

And if you're looking for Angie (the) AntiTheist online (she was mentioned in the Cosmo piece), here's her blog and I think this is her YouTube channel (YT is not loading for me ATM, but the username looks about right).
posted by filthy light thief at 2:51 PM on May 6


I had a medical abortion a few years ago and was so scared! It turned out not to be a very big deal at all, it was done in a really professional, hospital like place (much like the one Emily is in) and I don't think much about it now.

I never felt guilt or remorse and I didn't talk to ANYONE but my husband about it for years because I thought not feeling those things made me a Bad Woman. Seeing Emily having a similar experience makes me feel a lot better about my own reactions. I think a lot of people say "it's okay to have an abortion" but can't quite make it to "it's okay to FEEL OKAY about having an abortion."
posted by Saminal at 2:52 PM on May 6 [66 favorites]


> I actually don't think I've talked to a woman personally who found it to be a very scary ordeal or difficult decision

Among the women I know who've had abortions, only one has expressed great sadness over it. We weren't close but I had the impression that she thought she'd done the right thing, but also that it was a very tough decision for her and possibly not the right one.

Unfortunately there's no good way to get statistics on this. We can't remove abortions as medical procedures from all the social crap that surrounds them.

> I thought not feeling those things made me a Bad Woman

*squeezes you SO HARD in a big hug*
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:53 PM on May 6 [6 favorites]


Saminal: I think a lot of people say "it's okay to have an abortion" but can't quite make it to "it's okay to FEEL OKAY about having an abortion."

Fantastic point of clarification. An ex of mine confided to me that she had an abortion in the years before meeting me, and she was surprised I wasn't upset by the disclosure. I'm not sure if she felt OK about the abortion, or it was the social stigma that caused her that moment of anguish. I hope she has found peace with it by now.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:56 PM on May 6 [2 favorites]


an amateurish effort

She was having surgery. No rehearsal and she had to go with her first take.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:58 PM on May 6 [28 favorites]


Even here, in this thread, in this place, the impulse and the urge to judge.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:59 PM on May 6 [21 favorites]


I've had arguments with people about how dangerous abortions are, and A LOT of people think it's worse then carrying the fetus to term. I looked up the stats and what I found was 2-3 deaths due to abortions in the US, and 700 deaths due to pregnancy and childbirth. It is way riskier to decide to not abort. That should be common knowledge.

(And that doesn't even take into account how everyone I know who has given birth is now on some spectrum of incontinent. Mother nature really doesn't have this whole uterus/bladder thing figured out.)
posted by Dynex at 3:00 PM on May 6 [10 favorites]


Contraception options suck. The hormonal options available today are functional (for the most part) but in most cases do not make health better, and the technology has barely improved in 30 years. I consider them one of the great weapons of the war on women, myself, and think they're meant to be as awful as they are as punishment. IUDs are contraindicated for some women, and a poor choice for others. Women shouldn't have to get sterilized as a compromise. Condoms are shit, and if you're allergic to latex the alternative materials break if you blink too hard. Withdrawal and fertility planning are flawed methodologies. All the options suck. Shitty compromises have to get made all the time, and some of those choices are not the same as yours. Or there but for the grace, you know?

If you need to judge women for trying to do the best they can with the shitty second-class citizen options available to them, you are not pro-choice.

I understand we're all supposed to give lip service to abortion being a necessary evil, but I've seen no data to suggest it's actually less healthy than decades on the pill or putting a sharp object through your cervix to irritate your uterus and cause implantation failure or rejection. Why is preventing or disrupting implantation Good Virtue but a chemical abortion two weeks later Bad Virtue?

Should we be taking our multiple-miscarriage friends aside and make frowny concern troll faces at them about those D&Cs? Or does it make it okay if you have a D&C while you feel bad?

I know there's such a thing as well-meaning judgement, but it is not helpful to anyone.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:01 PM on May 6 [108 favorites]


That is the dictionary definition of courage.
posted by photoslob at 3:02 PM on May 6 [3 favorites]


She had been having unprotected sex, without birth control, without a serious partner. It's just not smart. I don't care if she has an abortion, but her bravery is also matched by pretty poor choices she shouldn't have made.

Let's play devil's advocate and say you're correct that those are poor choices. In a free country and marketplace of ideas, she would be entirely free to make poor decisions and be able to access a marketplace of healthcare options to address the consequences of those decisions in a responsible manner. Her actions here are therefore an expression of personal autonomy and liberty that the Founding Fathers would have approved of, wholeheartedly, if they held their ideals as sancrosanct.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:10 PM on May 6 [16 favorites]


It has served me well to allow all people the final say regarding personal health.
posted by breadbox at 3:10 PM on May 6 [3 favorites]


Even here, in this thread, in this place, the impulse and the urge to judge.

Yea. I mean, i think of this site as The Cool People, or The Good People or whatever. Like sometimes we stumble as a community, or a few of us do but everyone gets up and brushes their pants off and goes "fuck, that was embarassing" like they had just drunkenly tripped over their coffee table and wiped out their beer and snapped the leg off.

It can be eye opening though, when even here where i feel like we're in like the stronghold of people who Wouldn't Say Crappy Things it's full of a lot of what's been said in here it's like... shit, we have a long way to go on this one don't we.
posted by emptythought at 3:10 PM on May 6 [22 favorites]


I was surprised by how hospital-like the setting was. Is that the standard now?

Yes, generally speaking. I don't actually dislike that it is so, because if I am going to have a medical procedure, I'd like to have it in a place that gives me reasonable confidence in its sterility, good lighting, and all that other best practices junk.

HOWEVER, the shift is also partly thanks to onerous regulations imposed on clinics by anti-choice asshats. In many states, a facility performing abortions must basically pass muster as a tiny hospital with military-grade security. That doesn't leave a lot of money left over for velour papasan chairs and nice tea.

So again, as with almost everything else they do, the right wing is partly Why We Can't Have Nice Things.
posted by like_a_friend at 3:12 PM on May 6 [6 favorites]


Thanks to this thread, I learned I had an unconscious bias against women who have abortions but do not use the usual forms of birth control.

For me, it's sort of a personal risk aversion thing. I have always been risk averse. I look at people who do like... extreme snowboarding or something, and freak out a bit. For me, personally, that's an unacceptable level of risk. I would never do it myself, and I'm not super impressed by the people that do it. But I don't think it should be illegal or anything, and if one of them broke their arm, I don't think we (as a society) should deny them medical care (or insurance coverage of medical care), and I don't actually think they deserve more of a reproach than "yeah, that's sometimes a side effect of risky behavior. shrug", or treat them differently than say... someone who broke their arm while bravely evacuating people from a burning building (or ).

So yeah, I'm personally really risk averse about pregnancy, have always always used 2 forms of birth control, and have a little bit of trouble relating to people with less risk aversion about it, like I do about people who do extreme sports. But when a woman gets accidentally pregnant, again, I hope that my response is more of a "yeah, that happens sometimes" and a hope they can get affordable medical care of their choice (be it good prenatal care or good abortion care) to handle it. And she shouldn't be any more shamed than someone who broke their arm doing something they knew was a little unsafe.

posted by brainmouse at 3:12 PM on May 6 [13 favorites]


I notice the 'bad choices' crowd rarely says anything about the bad choices made by the male, who, the last time I checked, was a) a necessary condition and b) usually a willing partner in said bad choices.
I guess the burden of choice is on the woman?
posted by signal at 3:14 PM on May 6 [60 favorites]


"For clarification, the "biggest pro-life myth" is that surgical abortions are scary, and dangerous to the mother."

I thought it was that there was a god who cared about this stuff.
posted by klangklangston at 3:15 PM on May 6 [25 favorites]


I think the Stepford Wife picture of her is not going to win a lot of people over.It's got zero to do with the issue. But the presentation ... the photo, she looks a little crazy. All I'm saying.

I...what? Is "blue eyes, blonde hair, smiling" the bar for Insane Stepford Wife now?
posted by like_a_friend at 3:18 PM on May 6 [16 favorites]


I thought it was that there was a god who cared about this stuff.

Well, the biggest pro-life myth that can be easily dispelled. The closest thing I know of to prove that there is no such thing as a caring, living God is that Adam Sandler keeps making movies.
posted by delfin at 3:19 PM on May 6 [11 favorites]


I notice the 'bad choices' crowd rarely says anything about the bad choices made by the male, who, the last time I checked, was a) a necessary condition and b) usually a willing partner in said bad choices.
I guess the burden of choice is on the woman?


Yep, and their bad choices thing runs so deep that if a woman wants to get her tubes tied, etc then they'll show and up and be one of the doctors too! and go "Oh, are you sure you want to do this? you're so young/you've only had one kid/blablabla more bullshit"

It helps to stare at it and realize that the game is rigged in such a way that nothing is the correct answer and you'll be judged no matter what you do.

These people seem to be really chummy with the rape victim blamers too, it's the same kind of catch22 "logic".
posted by emptythought at 3:19 PM on May 6 [26 favorites]


Her choices are less risky than the average person who decides to play intramural sports.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:19 PM on May 6 [17 favorites]


"In a free country and marketplace of ideas, she would be entirely free to make poor decisions and be able to access a marketplace of healthcare options to address the consequences of those decisions in a responsible manner. Her actions here are therefore an expression of personal autonomy and liberty that the Founding Fathers would have approved of, wholeheartedly, if they held their ideals as sancrosanct."

All other things being ideal, I might favor some kind of disincentive, like, you know, if you didn't use any other methods of birth control, they could charge you $10 and hand you a wad of condoms instead of just getting the free abortion at a mall kiosk or whatever. But that'd also be after years of free, comprehensive sex ed and free, easily accessible birth control, so it's not something I think I'll ever have to really consider the practical implications of as policy.
posted by klangklangston at 3:20 PM on May 6 [2 favorites]


I was on medication that made birth control ineffective. I made sure my partner used a condom. It broke. I was apparently ovulating. I was in a developing country which is predominantly evangelical Christian and Muslim, and had no access to pregnancy tests. I was there for another 4 months. I got home and took a pregnancy test because I felt like there was something weird going on. And I was pregnant. I am not in a place to be a successful mother right now. And I am not in a place to carry a baby to term and then place it for adoption.

So I made a responsible decision and called an abortion provider in the town I live in. And I am lucky enough to have had enough cash on hand ($600!) to allow me to pay for an abortion at 15 weeks and to pay for nitrous oxide during the abortion. I did not tell anyone or ask anyone's permission. It is my body, and it is my choice. At 9:00 in the morning, I went in to my appointment past people who told me I'd go to hell, I was killing a beautiful potential human being, and God would never forgive me. I waited in a room next to a cross-section of women of reproductive age - from about 15 to about 40, a variety of races, a variety of languages being spoken. After they dilated my cervix enough to allow the abortion to occur (it took two hours and some medication), I had a D&C abortion.

I thanked the doctor and nurses. I sat in the recovery room where I was given some cookies and ginger ale, medication to slow the bleeding, and a new prescription for birth control. After they cleared me to leave, I walked *back* past the protestors who continued to remind me that I was going to hell. I drove myself home and cried a little bit. Today is 9 days after my abortion. I am still spotting intermittently, but I am not pregnant. I am not going to have a baby that I can't care for, and the folks telling me I'm going to hell won't provide an adequate social safety net to help me care for. I hope that in a few years, when I am prepared for it, I will have an awesome baby! In the meantime, I remain totally convinced that I did the right thing for me to do. In the meantime, I defend everyone's right to make the right choice for them - and thank all the folks who defended my right to make the right choice for me. My choices have not all been awesome. But I suspect that neither have all of yours.
posted by SockMarionette at 3:20 PM on May 6 [303 favorites]


"Her choices are less risky than the average person who decides to play intramural sports."

BROOMBALL IS MURDER
posted by klangklangston at 3:21 PM on May 6 [5 favorites]


Which she dealt with. No harm, no foul, nobody else's business but her own.

Except she made it everyone's business by giving us the memo about it.

Global village gossip is the consequence and you can't assume you are going to have control over the narrative if you make it public.

Really, it is her business and her body, but you can't decide for other people how they will interpret what you do or what they will notice.
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 3:21 PM on May 6 [5 favorites]


Contraception options suck. The hormonal options available today are functional (for the most part) but in most cases do not make health better, and the technology has barely improved in 30 years. I consider them one of the great weapons of the war on women, myself, and think they're meant to be as awful as they are as punishment.

I don't think this is the case. My wife has taken hormonal birth control pretty much from puberty through menopause, without pause and without ever getting pregnant. If anything she considers it an improvement, since her menstrual cycle is highly irregular and sometimes painful without the Pill. The hormone doses have dropped dramatically from the early days as more has been learned about regulating the cycle. I realize some people do have problems with the Pill, just as some people are allergic to penicillin, but it's not all that common and certainly not some kind of deliberate affront to women.
posted by localroger at 3:21 PM on May 6 [8 favorites]


"Except she made it everyone's business by giving us the memo about it."

So what? I broke my arm and leg riding my bike and nobody gave me any shit over it.

Global village gossip is the consequence and you can't assume you are going to have control over the narrative if you make it public.

So what? That other people are gonna be judgy assholes doesn't mean we gotta be.

Really, it is her business and her body, but you can't decide for other people how they will interpret what you do or what they will notice."

Yeah, but I can call 'em assholes if they wanna yammer on about it. (They can't choose how I interpret and respond, yadda yadda.)
posted by klangklangston at 3:23 PM on May 6 [20 favorites]


Really, it is her business and her body, but you can't decide for other people how they will interpret what you do or what they will notice.

That's a great point. Maybe society needs to learn to mind its own business. What legal, educational, economic and social policies should we enact to help us all get there as a group?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:24 PM on May 6 [4 favorites]


I realize some people do have problems with the Pill, just as some people are allergic to penicillin, but it's not all that common

For a sense of how common it is I suggest you search Ask MeFi for "birth control side effects" and then spend the next three weeks of your life trying to read every thread about it, and the dozens if not hundreds of ways it fucks women up.

Just because we keep taking it doesn't mean it's super awesometastic. We just want not-pregnant-ness MORE than we want not-migraines, or not-fat, or not-depressed, or not-suicidal, or not-thrombosis, or not-stroke....
posted by like_a_friend at 3:27 PM on May 6 [75 favorites]


Yep, and their bad choices thing runs so deep that if a woman wants to get her tubes tied, etc then they'll show and up and be one of the doctors too! and go "Oh, are you sure you want to do this? you're so young/you've only had one kid/blablabla more bullshit"


Last I checked, men can get vasectomies at age 18. Women need to be at least 25 to get a tubal ligation without it being a situation of "medical necessity." Even with medical necessity (heart condition and already had a baby that nearly killed them), they tend to be given shit if they don't yet have at least two babies.

This traps a lot of women in poverty who might get their shit together, have regrets later about not having kids, and maybe adopt in their thirties or forties. So this woman had an abortion. At least she isn't now becoming an unwed welfare mom and being given shit about that.

A lot of this type of bias is really awful.
posted by Michele in California at 3:29 PM on May 6 [26 favorites]


Let's be serious; there's a blinding, relentless urge to judge in this place and it's fine as long as it supports the prevailing view(s).

I think probably that's true of every place. One of the bits I really like about this place is it's possible to be mindful of your judgement, because someone is going to point it out to you.

Speaking to the FPP, I think she's done a good thing - there are those who will probably be less apprehensive about the process as a result of learning about hers. Also, you never know- reading the article(s) or watching the video may be someone's tipping point into a little compassion in lieu of judgement.
posted by Mooski at 3:30 PM on May 6 [1 favorite]


The most fervently anti-abortion people I know are mothers. I'm very pro-choice myself, but have frequently found myself arguing with my anti-abortion female relatives about it.

People who have had an intense emotional relationship with a developing embryo are (often, not always) much more hostile to those who insist that there's no significant difference between preventing implantation and destroying a second-trimester fetus. And those who have had medically necessary abortions of wanted pregnancies will be even more intense about it.

Let's be serious; there's a blinding, relentless urge to judge in this place and it's fine as long as it supports the prevailing view(s).

Aye.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 3:32 PM on May 6 [1 favorite]


Have there been comments deleted in this thread?
posted by Blasdelb at 3:37 PM on May 6


"Using abortion as birth control" has always struck me as an odd turn of phrase, usually spoken with a snarl and a glare. It only makes sense if it implies directly that people who make GOOD decisions can act as they please, but people who make BAD sexual decisions should just bite their lip and live with the consequences lest people scowl at them. How dare you correct the error you acknowledge making!

Why you choose to have an abortion is not only no one else's business, but it's also not going to matter to people who stand outside clinics screaming at people because Jesus told them to; your pariah status in their eyes is guaranteed. It also shouldn't matter to people who are nominally on your side of the debate... but, too often, it seems to.
posted by delfin at 3:39 PM on May 6 [6 favorites]


the majority of women who have abortions are already mothers. they have had that relationship with a growing embryo and still were able to not have that relationship in a later unwanted pregnancy. i also know women who have had medically necessary abortions in my friend group and they became even more fervently pro-choice than they were before because so much anti-choice bullshit came there way when they were doing something to save their life.
posted by nadawi at 3:40 PM on May 6 [39 favorites]


I think you should take some time to examine why you think this and what you even mean by "crazy" with relation to a picture of a woman

Oh, is this the part where we completely ignore what I'm saying and tease out bits of paragraphs to make it sound like I'm saying the opposite? I LOVE this part!
Her eyes are extremely wide open in the photo and it's a blurry still. Did we want it blurry on purpose for some reason? It's not a great picture. Surely better pictures of her exist.
Here's a wiki link to the definition of the word blurry.

The fact that it's not a good picture makes me think that this is not scripted and therefore more in earnest.

and nope... just looks like a normal lady you'd see reading outside a semi-hip coffee shop or something

This looks like a normal lady you'd see reading outside a semi-hip coffee shop or something.

I'll let you know next time I see a blurry looking poorly lit woman with wide eyes and a slasher smile at the coffee shop.
Perhaps she terrifies me because she had an abortion? *checks prejudices* Nope. It’s a goofy looking picture.

The problem with this mindset is that EVERY person who steps forward won't quite be the perfect, optimal one


Yes. It's the first one. That's why it's not perfect or optimal. The Wright brothers didn't start by flying a 747.

The solution is just to emphatically, and as a united front go "No, she's fine" rather than pick her apart like this.

I thought I was defending the idea that she was doing the right thing.
What should I be saying now? The picture looks just perfect. And her saying she did something "crazy" well, we'll just overlook that and pretend we didn't see it and not address it. Or shout down people who do address it without investigating it thoughtfully and objectively because the truth is not relevant at all.
I’m looking at it objectively. As any presented material. I take her at her word and contrast that with the judgments derived from that in a logical manner to form a coherent argument as to why this is relevant.

And it's like, your not helping, give it a rest.


Oh, you got that right. So sorry I thought of her as courageous and altruistic and defended her as doing the right thing. Man, I really screwed that up, didn't I?
I had best not point out the grammatical error in your sentence, otherwise I'm a pro-life fantatic asshole. Not because I hold any of those views. But because I objectively point out the error.
Granted people do fixate on grammar errors and often do this to score points in a debate. But I was objectively evaluating the points brought up concerning her, her actions as responsible or irresponsible in terms of “winning people over” and “poor choices”
If I were to look at your sentence that way I would say it has a grammar error, but perhaps you’re right in that expressing anything other than 100% acceptance of something seems like an attack to many people. I would say that perhaps this is the reason so many people prefer to lurk or present facile boilerplate reiteration as considered opinion because they don’t want to be subject to attack by omission, misunderstanding or pedantry that isolates one element in order to attack it.
But y’know, it’s still an error in grammar. It is what it is. It’s not relevant, except as an example to illustrate a point. My point is that she’s awesome, not in spite of, or if we omit her work, but BECAUSE of it. And I do think she’s awesome. So I offer constructive - that is non-"UR The DEVIL", but reasoned, constructive criticism, to help. And support further future efforts.

I’m really so sorry my reasons for thinking she’s awesome fail to align with the consensually approved paradigm. You keep thinking we shouldn't alienate people.
Well, it alienates the hell out of me. Last I checked, I'm people.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:41 PM on May 6 [2 favorites]


Having had two children made me even more pro-choice, if possible, because the difference between unwanted and wanted pregnancies is like night and day.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:42 PM on May 6 [47 favorites]


i also know women who have had medically necessary abortions and in my friend group, that makes them even more fervently pro-choice than they were before because so much anti-choice bullshit came there way when they were doing something to save their life.

Some people very close to me have had medically necessary second-trimester abortions, and yes, are very much in favor of abortion being legal. But they are also appalled by the idea of someone having an abortion in the second trimester when it isn't medically necessary, and horrified and angry at people not using birth control while planning to abort any pregnancies. They regard it like adultery: should be be legal, is immoral.

I'm more on the side of "the parasite has no claims". But it has been pointed out to me many times that this is a very male perspective.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 3:44 PM on May 6 [1 favorite]


Have there been comments deleted in this thread?

Yes, hence the confusing quotes-of-nothing; folks didn't preview before responding, and I didn't catch the followup comments promptly. If folks need to have a "let's talk about the nature of Metafilter" discussion, it needs to be in Metatalk, which is why I nixed the comment in question in the first place.
posted by cortex at 3:44 PM on May 6


Her choices are less risky than the average person who decides to play intramural sports.

I watched a video of a Crossfitter paralyzing himself himself last night. Fucking scary and tragic as shit, and this young guy is now literally fucked and will be living in a nightmare for the rest of his life. Guys fucking girls and girls fucking guys is literally the most natural thing that can happen in the world.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:52 PM on May 6 [5 favorites]


Her eyes are extremely wide open in the photo and it's a blurry still. Did we want it blurry on purpose for some reason? It's not a great picture. Surely better pictures of her exist.
Here's a wiki link to the definition of the word blurry.

The fact that it's not a good picture makes me think that this is not scripted and therefore more in earnest.


You do realize that it's a screenshot from her video, not a photograph, right?
posted by payoto at 3:52 PM on May 6 [7 favorites]


I'm very pro-choice (I think abortion should be legal for all women, including minors, without having to justify their decision) and I had an abortion myself when I was 19, but this still upsets me. It feels disrespectful and life-negating. This should be a serious matter, a hard choice to make. I hate to see anyone treating the decision or the procedure as nothing much, or using it to prove a political point. If you're deciding to not bring a life into this world, the carrying out of that decision should not be pubic entertainment or fodder for gawkers.
posted by mysterious_stranger at 3:52 PM on May 6 [6 favorites]


SockMarionette, thank you for sharing your story. I'm sorry you had to deal with the protesters! I'm so glad you were able to make the right choice for yourself and that you feel good about it.
posted by insectosaurus at 3:58 PM on May 6 [13 favorites]


mysterious_stranger - so we should continue to let all examples of what an abortion looks like to be controlled by anti-choice bullies with posters of grotesque images that range from misleading to straight up false? i don't understand where you're getting that this is entertainment or to score political points. she's trying to undo decades of purposeful misinformation. if there were no fights over abortion - if they should be allowed, if they're inherently safe, if they're terrifying horror shows, etc - then this would be unnecessary, but that's not the world we live in.
posted by nadawi at 3:59 PM on May 6 [33 favorites]


What insectosaurus said, times 1000.
posted by yoga at 3:59 PM on May 6


I feel this:

> I think abortion should be legal for all women, including minors, without having to justify their decision

is at odds with this:

This should be a serious matter, a hard choice to make

What if it's not a hard choice? What if a woman finds it a very easy choice to make? You just said women didn't have to justify their decision to you.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 3:59 PM on May 6 [54 favorites]


This should be a serious matter, a hard choice to make

But that comes, almost certainly, from a particular way of viewing things that not everyone shares. I mean, for you it was, thats fine. But its not for everyone. It really is "nothing much" for some people, just like it really is a serious / hard thing for others. Because there is wide disagreement on the fundamental premise of how to consider the embryo/fetus (even among abortion rights supporters) -- which is OK, but no one should have to justify their personal medical choices.

(I've known several women who had abortions, and accompanied one to the procedure, and know that at least one of them really did feel it was not a big/difficult decision)
posted by wildcrdj at 4:01 PM on May 6 [6 favorites]


This should be a serious matter, a hard choice to make. I hate to see anyone treating the decision or the procedure as nothing much, or using it to prove a political point. If you're deciding to not bring a life into this world, the carrying out of that decision should not be pubic entertainment or fodder for gawkers.

Every night, when I go to bed successfully having avoided creating an embryo, I have made and carried out that decision. If people want the details of how and why, they can ask, though I'm not sure why they would feel compelled to.

As long as abortion is safe and legal, at what point in the process that decision is made should be irrelevant. If you feel otherwise, I respect your point of view but ask you to also respect mine.

This, of course, is the difference between disagreements amongst pro-choicers and arguing with people who want every abortion banned worldwide because Jesus.
posted by delfin at 4:04 PM on May 6 [4 favorites]


Sigh. Twisting my words and complaining about my heartfelt response to this video is not constructive and only shows that you don't really support women's freedom, when you penalize some women for having the "wrong" opinion or belief about abortion, or reaction to a video for that matter.

I meant justify to any public authority (judge, doctor, etc). But of course, no woman should have to justify her decision to any other woman, either. But the fact that a woman should not have to justify her decision does not mean I don't have a reaction, ever, to anyone having an abortion. This is emotional intelligence 101, folks. People are free to make their choices, but other people are also free to have reactions, opinions, emotions, about those choices. And in this case, she invited public discussion.

I don't judge her for having an abortion. I judge her for the way she treats having had an abortion, how she makes it a public spectacle, how she goes out of her way to "prove" that choosing to end a potential life is not a big deal. I find it very, very sad. And disturbing.

And no, I do not think it is ok to treat this lightly, to think of it as "nothing much". I think that is unethical. Should be legal, sure (because curtailing her right to choose what happens to her body is a greater wrong), but does not make that mindset right or good.

Again, you only show your hypocrisy if you vocally stand up for women's right to choose abortion but do not support other women's rights to have and express their own ethics and feelings.
posted by mysterious_stranger at 4:10 PM on May 6 [10 favorites]


Her eyes are extremely wide open in the photo and it's a blurry still. Did we want it blurry on purpose for some reason? It's not a great picture. Surely better pictures of her exist.
Here's a wiki link to the definition of the word blurry.

The fact that it's not a good picture makes me think that this is not scripted and therefore more in earnest.

[...]

This looks like a normal lady you'd see reading outside a semi-hip coffee shop or something.

I'll let you know next time I see a blurry looking poorly lit woman with wide eyes and a slasher smile at the coffee shop.
Perhaps she terrifies me because she had an abortion? *checks prejudices* Nope. It’s a goofy looking picture.


You know, I'm sorry, and I don't want to dismiss any other points you're trying to make, but how the hell is the quality of her picture -- WHAT SHE LOOKS LIKE -- even something you think skirts relevance? It's just another case of woman didn't do ______ right because she doesn't look like _______. Or woman does _______, and since we're talking about ______ let's just go ahead and dissect her physical appearance/how photogenic she is too.

It is so. fucking. tiresome. I'm not claiming that's what you're intending to do, but I want you to realize that it is very much what you're doing.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:10 PM on May 6 [64 favorites]


And no, I do not think it is ok to treat this lightly, to think of it as "nothing much". I think that is unethical. Should be legal, sure (because curtailing her right to choose what happens to her body is a greater wrong), but does not make that mindset right or good.

Nice to know my heartfelt response to having an abortion is "not okay" while YOUR heartfelt response is "okay." Because you have, like, a better heart or something.

when you penalize some women for having the "wrong" opinion or belief about abortion.

Nobody has "penalized" you for your opinion any more than you have "penalized" the women on this very thread who've said the decision was not a big deal for them. You shared your negative opinion of us, and we've shared our negative opinions of you. Looks like an even score to me.
posted by like_a_friend at 4:15 PM on May 6 [46 favorites]


Oh, is this the part where we completely ignore what I'm saying and tease out bits of paragraphs to make it sound like I'm saying the opposite? I LOVE this part!

Come on. I'm sure you're well aware of the long history of using the word "crazy" to fully and completely discredit and undermine women, right? Even if you yourself didn't mean it that way, there are some people (me included) who think that anyone who is using crazy in terms of describing a woman in any way need to stop it altogether because of the highly negative associations it has.
posted by triggerfinger at 4:17 PM on May 6 [15 favorites]


One obvious difference, "friend" is that I am not speaking directly to the woman in the video.

Another even more obvious difference is that I never said, and do not believe, that there is anything wrong with YOUR response to this video. It is possible to have divergent responses. I did not address you, or anyone else in this thread, I shared my reaction to the video.
posted by mysterious_stranger at 4:18 PM on May 6 [1 favorite]


I judge her for the way she treats having had an abortion, how she makes it a public spectacle, how she goes out of her way to "prove" that choosing to end a potential life is not a big deal. I find it very, very sad. And disturbing.

So she should be sad, and ashamed or at least discreet and then that would make her judgment-proof.

Your non-judgmentalism is not very non-judgmental. You don't judge her for her actions but you think it's fine to judge her for her attitude.
posted by rtha at 4:18 PM on May 6 [26 favorites]


I don't judge her for having an abortion. I judge her for the way she treats having had an abortion,

So, you realize this translates to, "You didn't do a bad thing, you're just a bad person."
posted by like_a_friend at 4:21 PM on May 6 [18 favorites]


Meh, most of you are just twisting what I said into something else, since it's easier to be outraged at me that way.

I'm glad she got nice effective healthcare, and I don't think she should feel ashamed. *shrug*

*Yes I emoted a shrug.
posted by jjmoney at 4:22 PM on May 6


mysterious_stranger, I understand that this is a sensitive issue for you and you have strong feelings about it. No one is bitching at you about your heartfelt feelings, just the way you expressed them as a prescription for how others should feel. You have every right to feel as you feel, and so does everyone else. A few slight changes to your post would have resulted in a different response.
It feels disrespectful and life-negating to me. This should be a serious matter, a hard choice to make for me. I hate to see myself treating the decision or the procedure as nothing much, or using it to prove a political point. If I'm deciding to not bring a life into this world, the carrying out of that decision should not be pubic entertainment or fodder for gawkers.
Peace.
posted by Kerasia at 4:25 PM on May 6 [5 favorites]


I'm already tired of people's (seemingly willful) misunderstanding of what I've posted. I will explain one more time for anyone who actually cares to understand what I am saying:

I do not think she is a bad person. I do not have nearly enough information to make any sort of global judgement about her. Everyone has weaknesses and makes bad decisions. I have done so. You have done so. Saying that you think someone's decision or attitude is troubling does not even come close to saying they are a bad person.

Her attitude about her abortion is very upsetting to me. I do not believe people should take abortions lightly, or publicly post their abortion procedure to prove a political point. I think those are both bad decisions and don't honor the fact that this was a potential life, as well as a real medical event for her body.

I will continue to think it extremely hypocritical for people to be so nasty to me for expressing my sincere beliefs and emotions, while supposedly defending the rights of women and any and every action at all that this particular woman took.
posted by mysterious_stranger at 4:30 PM on May 6 [5 favorites]


> As for my thinking women shouldn't have to justify having an abortion, nice way to purposefully misunderstand and throw my sincere and heartfelt words back in my face to try to prove your haughty little point.

Oh, I assure you, my words were sincere and heartfelt.

> And no, I do not think it is ok to treat this lightly, to think of it as "nothing much". I think that is unethical.

I've been very lucky not to have ever needed an abortion. But I've had conversations with about six wonderful women of my acquaintance about their abortions, and while they all described having had various emotions at the time of the procedure, and afterwards, absolutely none of them said they felt remorse or guilt. All of them, FWIW, were in long term relationships or marriages at the time of their procedures. The most negative emotion expressed was wistfulness—a wish that the timing had been different (particularly of those who later went on to have children with that particular partner)—and, in one instance, anger about a judgemental family member. All of them behaved, in my opinion, with impeccable ethics. None of them, I'm sure, felt quite as bad about it as you would have liked them to, but thankfully, that's not a requirement.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 4:31 PM on May 6 [10 favorites]


I do not want anyone to feel bad about having an abortion. I want them to consider the decision seriously beforehand, and to treat it as though it matters.
posted by mysterious_stranger at 4:33 PM on May 6 [3 favorites]


We're not twisting your words, we're responding to them. We're expressing our sincere beliefs and emotions.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 4:34 PM on May 6 [22 favorites]


mysterious_stranger, I understand that this is a sensitive issue for you and you have strong feelings about it. No one is bitching at you about your heartfelt feelings, just the way you expressed them as a prescription for how others should feel. You have every right to feel as you feel, and so does everyone else. A few slight changes to your post would have resulted in a different response.

Oh come on, it is clear that she was just posting her own feelings and opinion about the matter. One of the first things they teach you in English class in high school is not to pepper your writing with words like "in my opinion" when it's clear from the context that it's your opinion. She did say "this still upsets me. It feels disrespectful and life-negating. This should be a serious matter, a hard choice to make. I hate to see anyone treating the decision or the procedure as nothing much, or using it to prove a political point."

I may not agree with her opinion, but it is couched as just that, her opinion, and not a prescription for how others should feel.
posted by payoto at 4:35 PM on May 6 [6 favorites]


Nah, I'm done bothering. Several of you have no interest in understanding what I mean.
posted by mysterious_stranger at 4:36 PM on May 6 [2 favorites]


""Using abortion as birth control" has always struck me as an odd turn of phrase, usually spoken with a snarl and a glare. It only makes sense if it implies directly that people who make GOOD decisions can act as they please, but people who make BAD sexual decisions should just bite their lip and live with the consequences lest people scowl at them. How dare you correct the error you acknowledge making!"
Check out this map of abortion prevalence in Europe as a percentage of total pregnancies and you'll notice something dramatic.

The Soviet Union had its own independent sexual revolution in the 1920s that was fundamentally different from the one that happened forty years later in the West, which included naked marches through Moscow and legalized abortion as early as October of 1920, but was soon followed by a dramatically conservative pendulum swing in the opposite direction under Stalin. This created an odd situation where casual sex was simultaneously both a de-facto cultural norm and expected as well as shunned in a way the West has never come close to; where contraception was conservatively not discussed, access was severely limited, and use was strongly frowned upon. This inevitably resulted in extraordinarily high abortion rates as induced abortion was free, discrete, accessible, and did not require responsibility of any kind from male partners. It is unclear how much of an effect Stalin later criminalizing induced abortion in 1936, in order to boost population growth, had on the prevalence of abortion as there were no reliable statistics kept before or after, but demand remained inelastic and rates of illegal abortion were still extraordinarily high. Rights to free legal abortion were returned in 1955 with the death of Stalin and the total was said to have gone up further - though again with nothing like reliable records to strongly confirm or deny this - as the factors trapping Soviet women in these dynamics continued to not change. Women who had more than a dozen abortions in their lifetime were not uncommon, hell, I once had four neighbors who each got out back in the day and who figured out that between them they had had 18 induced abortions before escaping to the states. Today, the Guttmacher Institute's AICM based data shows the rate of induced abortion dropping by half in the Former Soviet Union between 1995 and 2008, and the numbers in the map, high as they are, are a reflection of this decrease. My understanding is that the abortion debate is increasingly mirroring the one in the United States more and more, though with a nationalists demographically desperate for babies twist, as the governments have placed progressively stronger restrictions on the procedure.

As a matter of social policy and public health, even if not that something just deeply human about the sacredness of human life, induced abortion makes for a terrible form of routine birth control when we can instead build a society geared towards embracing sexuality in a way that provides better options. In my own way, like it seems no small number of mefites in this thread, I found the casually performative tweeness of the video to be ...arresting, and I feel strongly about having become an audience to it. However, for people who feel strongly about either access to and incidence of induced abortion, the opportunity to judge or defend everything this video is remains a distraction to the much more important goals we should all have in common. Both the popularity and legality of abortion have statistically undetectable effects on incidence that at most can only be negligible next to the massive effects of availability of contraception, comprehensiveness of sexual education, the solidity of the social safety net, the strength of social support for mothers and families, the quality of available health care, and poverty.
posted by Blasdelb at 4:36 PM on May 6 [20 favorites]


If I'd ever had to have an abortion, I'd've not felt anything about it other than concern that I would have trouble getting access to the procedure in a timely manner.

Not everyone thinks that women ought to feel some kind of SERIOUS FEELS about abortion. I understand that people do, but their feelings should not be any more relevant to the medical procedure decisions of complete strangers than my opinion.
posted by winna at 4:37 PM on May 6 [21 favorites]


I want them to consider the decision seriously, and to treat it as though it matters.

I saw no evidence in that video that Emily Letts did not consider her decision seriously, nor that she treated it like it didn't matter. In fact, making a video like this indicates to me the exact opposite -- that she did very carefully consider her options and fully understood what she was deciding to do.
posted by jess at 4:38 PM on May 6 [18 favorites]


you are saying that she, and many in this thread, have behaved unethically with regards to their abortion. you can have that be your heartfelt response - but other people are going to honestly respond.
posted by nadawi at 4:38 PM on May 6 [12 favorites]


I think all women should take ... the decision to have a medical procedure, seriously, and think about it deeply, and treat it with respect.

Well at least I can promise you that I've been agonizing over this wisdom tooth surgery for like a year now. I respect the hell out of those impacted fuckers.

;)
posted by like_a_friend at 4:41 PM on May 6 [10 favorites]


Policy Mic had me at "anti-choice" in another article. This thread is similarly full of myths and I don't really see what this woman's actions is supposed to prove.
posted by koavf at 4:50 PM on May 6


I also hope I'm not alone in considering the needling of mysterious_stranger in this thread to be despicably shameful.
posted by Blasdelb at 4:52 PM on May 6 [13 favorites]


This should be a serious matter, a hard choice to make.

More than taking the pill or using a condom? Why, exactly?
posted by QuietDesperation at 4:54 PM on May 6 [9 favorites]


re: "needling"

i guess i feel like she kept extending the conversation and people kept responding to things she said. it's a fast moving thread and people are typing simultaneously. it read as a pretty provocative comment to some that was defended in, at times, an aggressive way. that's going to evoke a response in a thread on a topic as heated as this.
posted by nadawi at 4:58 PM on May 6 [5 favorites]


[Folks, maybe just everybody cool it at this point and move on with the not-arguing-with-one-person portion of the discussion.]
posted by cortex at 5:00 PM on May 6


Last I checked, men can get vasectomies at age 18. Women need to be at least 25 to get a tubal ligation without it being a situation of "medical necessity." Even with medical necessity (heart condition and already had a baby that nearly killed them), they tend to be given shit if they don't yet have at least two babies.

I had to wait til TODAY to get rid of my heinous sarlaac pit of a fucking uterus, and it took 100 days of constant bleeding and hair loss and exhaustion and 4 second opinions to find someone willing to do it FOR URGENT MEDICAL REASONS, solely because I am 35 and have no kids. I had a total fucking snot-covered dry-heaving panic attack breakdown in my (new, awesome) doctor's office when she initially explained that the usual amelioration for my many, many grotesque and painful symptoms was a little piece of plastic stabbing me internally at all times and releasing crazymaking hormones.

One of the most likely causes of the aforementioned many and grotendous symptoms was the extremely messy 3-day-hospital-stay-due-to-accidental-uterus-perforation abortion I had when I was 19. And yet if I had been able to have my tubes tied at 18 when I begged my doctor for the surgery - having known with 100% certainty that I did not want kids since I was 6 years old - I could have avoided both that unpleasant abortion AND many years of extreme pain and increasingly grim side effects.

The obnoxiously patriarchal lack of agency allowed to women in the US for their own reproductive health is a fucking atrocity. The revolting prevalence of second guessing by total fucking strangers in the decisions we make, whether or not they are easy to make, disgusts me more than I can begin to describe. The repulsive and insistent belief that those whose voices NEED to be heard are actually the ones who should be least involved in these decisions should be shouted down again and again and again.

i am fucking tired of this shit
posted by elizardbits at 5:01 PM on May 6 [198 favorites]


And FTR I do not now nor have I ever felt bad or guilty about any reproductive health decision I have made in my life and I don't give a rusty seesaw flying fuck what anyone else thinks about them.
posted by elizardbits at 5:06 PM on May 6 [79 favorites]


The idea that I must feel or express certain emotions about my own medical procedures in order to be considered an ethical person makes me want to set fire to things.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 5:10 PM on May 6 [71 favorites]


oh my god i misspelled sarlacc, dishonor on my cow
posted by elizardbits at 5:12 PM on May 6 [37 favorites]


The revolting prevalence of second guessing by total fucking strangers in the decisions we make, whether or not they are easy to make, disgusts me more than I can begin to describe.

This, a million times over.

I found her video to be moving and riveting. It probably took bravery to make and I am glad she did. It didn't look to me like she was taking things super lightly, but even if she was so what? It's her body and her right to make decisions for herself. If she was my friend I'd give her a big hug and then take her out for a beer.

I hadn't been using any kind of birth control, which is crazy, I know. I’m a sex educator, and I love talking about birth control.

As someone who has dated a couple of sex educators and been friends with many others, I suspect that this kind of risk-taking is super common in the profession, maybe as a reaction to the didactic Serious Business tone of so much sex education?
posted by Dip Flash at 5:16 PM on May 6 [4 favorites]


I think it's just super-common in the human race?
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 5:17 PM on May 6 [6 favorites]


this should be a serious matter, a hard choice to make.


Why, Because you decide it should be? Because every woman should feel the way you do about pregnancy? How selfish.

I had no emotional qualms whatsoever, nor did many, many of the women I know who have had abortions. I think that there is a very large percentage of women who have had abortions who for fear of being ostracized would never admit to not having any doubts or guilt or whatever other emotion everyone says we're supposed to be having. I find that once I mention oh yeah, I did that, not a big deal to me at all....needed to be done, more women feel okay saying the same. Even commenters in this thread feel like they have to qualify the women who had no negative emotional response to an abortion with stating how responsible or caring the woman was, or that the birth control failed.... Again, who cares?

I don't care if women use it as birth control. I don't care if women want to have a party after it or a funeral. I don't care if a woman has an abortion a year if thats how she decides to live her life. It is her decision to make, I don't sit high on my throne looking down on her judging her for other life decisions, this one is just as much not my business.

What I care about is that a woman is able to have an abortion free of society attempting to lessen her autonomy or by saying she should feel one way or another, she is a good person or a bad person for doing this or judging her reasons for having an abortion. It should be a decision she makes without feeling judged by anyone

mysterious_stranger, whether purposely or not, your statements act directly against this.

I applaud this woman using the video of her abortion as she sees fit. You've got the right to disagree with it, but at the same time, I hope that you also disagree with the multitudes more videos promoted and shoved down peoples throat by the RTL used as scare tactics to pressure women into having unwanted children.
posted by newpotato at 5:18 PM on May 6 [31 favorites]


"You know, I'm sorry, and I don't want to dismiss any other points you're trying to make, but how the hell is the quality of her picture -- WHAT SHE LOOKS LIKE -- even something you think skirts relevance? It's just another case of woman didn't do ______ right because she doesn't look like _______. Or woman does _______, and since we're talking about ______ let's just go ahead and dissect her physical appearance/how photogenic she is too.

It is so. fucking. tiresome. I'm not claiming that's what you're intending to do, but I want you to realize that it is very much what you're doing.
"

I understand and agree with your overall point there, but from my read what Smedley was saying was that because her photo looked like, well, Overly-Attached Girlfriend, it looked less like a slick media presentation by an advocate and more like an authentic expression from Letts. So it while it's still bound up in image parsing, he wasn't saying that she had done anything wrong, but rather that by doing something that would be wrong in other contexts, he felt she was more credible.
posted by klangklangston at 5:18 PM on May 6 [3 favorites]


I judge her for the way she treats having had an abortion, how she makes it a public spectacle, how she goes out of her way to "prove" that choosing to end a potential life is not a big deal. I find it very, very sad. And disturbing.

Interesting. As someone who is sick to death of seeing countless misleading anti-abortion videos that depict an abortion as a dangerous, bloody, violent ordeal that destroys a woman's very soul, I was heartened to see something a hell of a lot closer to the truth for every woman I've known that has had an abortion. I don't really understand how this is sad and disturbing.

Again, you only show your hypocrisy if you vocally stand up for women's right to choose abortion but do not support other women's rights to have and express their own ethics and feelings.

Also interesting. You've said that you are pro-choice, but you've also made clear that you in no way support this woman's right to have and express her own ethics and feelings.
posted by palomar at 5:21 PM on May 6 [26 favorites]


To be fair: you can be pro-choice and still really hate the decisions other people make.
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:23 PM on May 6 [12 favorites]


Congratulations on your de-uterusification, elizardbits.
posted by jeather at 5:23 PM on May 6 [17 favorites]


I think it's just super-common in the human race?

I used an industry-standard risk model program to determine whether or not I was within my predetermined risk tolerance zone for having sexytimes.
posted by winna at 5:24 PM on May 6 [8 favorites]


Does Hallmark make a card for that?
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:24 PM on May 6 [16 favorites]


Uh, that was for jeahter's comment, but I suppose it works for winna's as well.
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:24 PM on May 6 [15 favorites]


Oh the corpse in the library that is the best inadvertent juxtaposition ever.
posted by winna at 5:25 PM on May 6 [13 favorites]


I've seen no data to suggest it's actually less healthy than decades on the pill or putting a sharp object through your cervix to irritate your uterus and cause implantation failure or rejection. Why is preventing or disrupting implantation Good Virtue but a chemical abortion two weeks later Bad Virtue?


So, IUD's primarily work by preventing the sperm from reaching the egg, and only very rarely, if at all, work by rejecting implantation. In addition, the medical definition of an abortion involves an egg which has been implanted. This whole debate is at the center of the Hobby Lobby case; see thisarticle.

This is what I mean by both sides being right, but birth control activists being moreso. If you go by the scientific definition, where pregnancy begins at implantation, then IUDs definitely don’t work by causing abortions. If your religious beliefs lead you to think pregnancy begins at fertilization, well, the data suggests that, sometimes, rarely, IUDs used as birth control might abort a fertilized egg. In that way, everybody’s right. But the science — what we know about IUDs from evidence — suggests that the primary mechanism is to prevent fertilization, not to prevent implantation. So, in that way, Planned Parenthood is more correct than Hobby Lobby, no matter what deeply held religious beliefs the company’s owners may have.


posted by damayanti at 5:29 PM on May 6 [3 favorites]


even if not that something just deeply human about the sacredness of human life,

Why is it that when sacredness-of-life language is used in this context it's always about the fetus and never about the actual, walking-around-right-here woman? It's somehow even more discouraging when it comes from people who are pro-choice.
posted by rtha at 5:30 PM on May 6 [60 favorites]


No birth control is one thing - but a sex educator not using a condom (unless fluid bonded)? Way to catch a bouncing baby STD. A baby maybe a problem for nine months & 18 years, but HIV is forever.
posted by jb at 5:31 PM on May 6 [14 favorites]


So it while it's still bound up in image parsing, he wasn't saying that she had done anything wrong, but rather that by doing something that would be wrong in other contexts, he felt she was more credible.

I understand your reading of it, klangklangston. But it's still not an issue of "doing wrong" in a certain context as it is "looking wrong" (in the odd case where looking "wrong" is actually the right choice).

She's more credible, to one reader, because she used a picture that would have never been printed next to her name on Gawker, say. But if she had used a sexy picture next to her byline in an article about her abortion, she'd be less credible.

There's no way to separate it from the bigger issue of how a woman's appearance factors into a really disturbing percentage of conversations about anything any woman does.
posted by mudpuppie at 5:32 PM on May 6 [16 favorites]


(I have to say, as an agnostic-leaning atheist, that whole thing about the "sacredness of human life" really rubs me the wrong way. Life is meaningful and important, yes, but imbued with holiness because it was gifted to us by a supernatural being? I can't really get down with that.)
posted by palomar at 5:43 PM on May 6 [18 favorites]


Obviously I'm on record in this thread (and in my life in general) as disagreeing with the idea that women ought to feel any way in particular about having an abortion.

In the sense that nobody benefits from a pile-on, I would like to apologize for continuing to argue that point past an initial rebuttal. But I think one reason this turned into, as Blasdelb called it, a "needling" is that there's really no evidence whatsoever that Letts treated this situation casually at all. And an actual ton of evidence to the contrary!

I'm somewhat distressed that anyone could read the following direct quotes and think this was a callous person with no sense of respect for her situation:

"The moment when a woman looks down and sees those two pink lines and she’s not expecting to see them, it’s like time implodes and explodes simultaneously. You’re caught in this tornado that just sucks out all the breath in your lungs."

"I know that sounds weird, but to me, this was as birth-like as it could be. It will always be a special memory for me."

"I still have my sonogram, and if my apartment were to catch fire, it would be the first thing I'd grab."


Again, these are all Letts's own words. If you think that they are somehow thoughtless, heartless, or flippant, than to my mind what you are demanding is not thought, heart, or seriousness--you are demanding something else. Grief, guilt, devastation?

And it's a very different thing to want someone to be thoughtful, than it is to want someone to suffer.
posted by like_a_friend at 5:48 PM on May 6 [20 favorites]


Smedleyman: Like anything, the first blush is typically an amateurish effort.

I'm looking forward to the pro-video with narration by David Attenborough.

Snark aside, would the presentation really benefit from better production values?
posted by filthy light thief at 5:53 PM on May 6 [1 favorite]


You've said that you are pro-choice, but you've also made clear that you in no way support this woman's right to have and express her own ethics and feelings.

Could you please elucidate where, exactly, this was "made clear?"
posted by Behemoth at 5:54 PM on May 6


I do not believe people should take abortions lightly, or publicly post their abortion procedure to prove a political point. I think those are both bad decisions and don't honor the fact that this was a potential life, as well as a real medical event for her body.

Nobody says you can't or shouldn't have beliefs and feelings about other people's actions. If for example, someone said "I don't believe people of different races should marry", I wouldn't say they don't have a right to their opinion. But they don't have the right to not have their opinion characterized in turn. And I think it would be a correct characterization to say that your opinion is judgmental toward women who do take "abortions lightly" (granting you for the sake of argument that in fact they do take them lightly). You think they should "honor potential life" - go ahead and honor in your own life, but when you think other human beings "should" (your word) make the same determination as you do, well, we characterize that as judgmental (and you have the right to hold any opinion, including a judgmental one) - and that's a fair characterization, just as in case of someone who has that opinion about mixed race marriages - it's a fair characterization to call it racist, though you do have a right to hold racist views.

People make decisions about abortion. Those decisions don't impact you, and shouldn't concern you. If you have a belief that a fetus is a "potential life" or any other thing - well, that's YOU, not them, and their beliefs don't impact your uterus. Where does it stop? Because someone may feel that life potential begins even earlier Back in the day, people were upset about the potential life of sperm and didn't want it spilled on the ground. People make their decisions based on their own beliefs and as long as it doesn't impact my life, what difference does it make what I think about potential life?

I do not believe people should take abortions lightly,

And I believe that people are welcome take abortions as they please, because it's their bodies and their lives. They are welcome to take abortions lightly, medium or hard. It's none of my business. I have a right to my opinion, and you have a right to yours, but only one of us thinks other people's decisions are bad or good wrt. their own abortion: "I do not believe people should take abortions lightly".
posted by VikingSword at 6:05 PM on May 6 [18 favorites]


I didn't have many Serious Feelings about my abortion, except for the deeply felt certainty that bringing a child into the world with my alcoholic, sporadically employed ex-boyfriend would be a pretty terrible idea. The only anxiety I had about it was whether or not anyone could cover my shift the day of, and also whether going back to waitressing the next day at a place with lots of stairs would cause some sort of gruesome medical emergency.

Therefore, the worst part of my abortion (really, the only bad part) was that for some reason in the waiting room they were playing the Wayans' brothers White Chicks, with the sound on*. After that they put me under (I opted for the general anesthesia cause I had insurance at the time; otherwise I would've just done the local), then woke up, wasn't pregnant anymore, recuperated in a room with some awfully nice volunteers, got picked up by my then-boyfriend, got some falafel from a food truck, went home, and took a really great nap.

*it's not a very good movie
posted by Aubergine at 6:06 PM on May 6 [13 favorites]


I have to say, as an agnostic-leaning atheist, that whole thing about the "sacredness of human life" really rubs me the wrong way. Life is meaningful and important, yes, but imbued with holiness because it was gifted to us by a supernatural being? I can't really get down with that.

I'm a father, I was there with my wife as my son was born. I was dazed by the result of that process, mostly as I had never seen a birth, nor had I ever held an itsy-bitsy newborn person. I'm an atheist of some sort, and while I can't speak to the feeling of carrying another proto-person inside of you, with the feelings of movement before the birth, and then giving birth to a tiny little person, I bristle as the notion that life is a miracle. Why? Because this sort of miracle is going on all the time, and everyone comes from this "miraculous" beginning.

For whatever reason, the scale of humanity clicked when flying over the suburbs of Denver at night. Little lights, scattered as far as I could see from a tiny airplane window. All representing homes and businesses, where people were going about their lives. Everyone came from something tiny, inside another person.

Focusing on one little life as being miraculous often means you're ignoring the miracles all around you.

And it seems that people who are anti-choice because of "the sacredness of life" are quite happy to ignore that little proto-life the moment it is a separate life, or worse, the little proto-person on its way to becoming a person. It's a very narrow region of almost-life to get so riled up about, when I can't recall anti-choice folks also talking about providing assistance and care for expectant mothers, or mothers who have to feed their (not-so-)newborn child(ren). These aspects of "sacred lives" need care and protection, not just to be given some vague chance at surviving gestation to be born, then cared for to a point that the child is an adult and then should take care of itself.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:13 PM on May 6 [23 favorites]


Lyn Never: " putting a sharp object through your cervix to irritate your uterus and cause implantation failure or rejection. Why is preventing or disrupting implantation Good Virtue but a chemical abortion two weeks later Bad Virtue?"

It's sort of a derail but not: this is a myth, encouraged by your friendly neighborhood anti-choicers (including but by no means limited to the Catholic Church) to justify depriving women of reproductive autonomy by demonizing contraception as baby-murderin' and woman-hurtin'. Both of the IUDs release their active ingredients in high concentrations locally without changing systemic concentrations. Both act by thickening cervical mucus and making it really difficult for sperm to get anywhere near an egg; the copper IUD may also interfere with egg maturation and act as a spermicide. See.

(LN): "Contraception options suck. The hormonal options available today are functional (for the most part) but in most cases do not make health better, and the technology has barely improved in 30 years. I consider them one of the great weapons of the war on women, myself, and think they're meant to be as awful as they are as punishment."

I can see how and why you would think that and I sympathize, but trust me, even if I didn't know people working on contraception who are driven by an ethical imperative to grant women reproductive autonomy, I would have to point out that drug and medical device companies stand to make giant bucketsful of money by making contraception better and easier. I think that some of the problem is that people don't know all their options (You know about cervical shields? They're made of silicone, not latex, and they're one-size-fits-most, so you can get them over the counter. Cervical caps and diaphragms come in silicone now, too. And did you know that the current generation of contraceptive implants is progestin-based and doesn't affect ovulation?)
posted by gingerest at 6:19 PM on May 6 [8 favorites]


I've been fertile for 36 years out of my current 47 years on this planet and I've had three abortions and carried two children to term. I sometimes wonder how different my life would have been if I'd carried all those pregnancies to term but I've never felt bad about any of my choices although my last pregnancy was the one that caused me the most emotional turmoil I've ever experienced and it resulted in a boy who I love with all of my heart.

I agree with what the corpse said above, the difference between a wanted and an unwanted pregnancy is night and day.

To my mind, decisions about whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term (and as those who've suffered miscarriages know, you don't always get to make that decision) are the most personal thing in the world. Utterly personal. That's not to say that I live in fairy cloud cuckoo land where people never judge anyone else or have opinions about what they think others should do. It's just that those judgements and opinions should be completely irrelevant to the woman who is making the choice. Alas, so often it's not and the suffering and torment that some women go through after an abortion is in so many cases as a result of the judgement and harsh opinions of others and it sucks and it's so very wrong.

I applaud this woman for putting a tangible thing out into the digital world that shows that abortion is something you can do and get over quite easily. It's not a sin. It's a medical procedure.
posted by h00py at 6:26 PM on May 6 [33 favorites]


I don't care if she has an abortion, but her bravery is also matched by pretty poor choices she shouldn't have made. Those choices were made by her, and by a man. She deals with the consequences. Abortion as birth control isn't a great budget choice, and not the preferred medical choice, as the health risk and life disruption is higher.

Off topic, but just FYI, if it's only the expense and not the permanency of a permanent solution giving you pause, and you have insurance and live in the US, my understanding is that your insurance is required to pay for the whole thing under the ACA. Nope. Coverage for contraception is required, not abortion.

The most fervently anti-abortion people I know are mothers. I'm a mother, one who wanted more kids, even. But the effects of pregnancy, birth, and, most of all, the reality of parenthood convinced me even more that abortion must be safe, legal, and affordable. Pregnancy and birth can kill you, you may have to have emergency surgery, you may have permanent health issues. And you have a child, someone to be responsible for for 18 years, and then some.
posted by theora55 at 6:46 PM on May 6 [7 favorites]


Nope. Coverage for contraception is required, not abortion.

Just to clarify, that exchange was about sterilization, not abortion.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:56 PM on May 6 [2 favorites]


This is great. I applaud her actions.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 7:04 PM on May 6


Thanks, Dip Flash. Is sterilization coverage mandated by the ACA?
posted by theora55 at 7:11 PM on May 6


I have only felt violently angry a few times in my life -- and by that I mean a deep yearning to inflict physical harm on another human creature. Once was when I accompanied a friend to a clinic for her abortion and we had to go through the picketers. My God, that was terrible, those terrible people. I was reading a lot of Yeats at the time and the phrase that kept coming to my mind on wending through them was "The weasel's twist, the weasel's tooth."

I am so deeply sorry for any of you who have had to brook that, it takes great bravery. I am in awe of the courage this woman exhibits to take such a public stance in the face of all the craziness that is out there. And I am in awe of and grateful to the mefi women who share their personal stories. It is sad that we should have to "normalize" health care and even worse that it should require courage.

I never had an abortion myself but I'd have had one in a flash had I ever gotten pregnant. I accompanied or drove many friends to clinics, none of whom regretted their decisions -- they were all grateful as hell that they had that option. I'm old enough to remember when there weren't any good options, only the choice between bad and worse. Hell, when I first got on the pill, it was illegal for a single woman to do that. I can't believe that in many parts of the country, we are losing those hard-fought rights and sliding back into the dark ages. It's shocking, frightening and dispiriting.

This year marks 20 years since the Boston and Brookline abortion clinic shootings that killed two employees and wounded five others. People who work in abortion clinics - from the doctors and medical staff to the receptionists and counselors - have my utmost appreciation and respect.
posted by madamjujujive at 7:19 PM on May 6 [35 favorites]


“You do realize that it's a screenshot from her video, not a photograph, right?”
Yes. And that’s exactly what it looks like isn’t it? And that’s exactly my point, is it not? (And subsequent point re: nitpicking)

“but how the hell is the quality of her picture -- WHAT SHE LOOKS LIKE -- even something you think skirts relevance?”

It’s not what she looks like, it’s how she presents herself. Or rather, how she’s presented. I don’t know who made the web page or wrote the copy. I don’t care what she actually looks like. And perhaps you should check yourself. I am, and was, being objective.

See if you can follow me here: The “I think the fact that she literally used abortion as birth control is not going to win a lot of people over.” is raised as a point of contention.
I respond to that with a somewhat serious, but somewhat in cheek comment on the quality of the overall presentation. Particularly the picture screenshot in question.
So “winning people over” as a topic is linked to both the presentation of her subject, and how she presents herself.

I then, DEFENDED HER, in showing that yes, she did use abortion as birth control – and the issues raised there being irrelevant – that yes, she admitted it was a mistake but that having the abortion, particularly given how much attention she paid to her ovulation cycle and taking pregnancy tests, shows her as a conscientious, responsible, compassionate person, albeit not in the Martin Luther King class of communicators.

Can we stipulate that how someone says something is at least a component of what they have to say?
Can we then agree that winning people over is an element of that? Regardless of whether it should be.
Can we then say that people are going to assess and judge her character based on those assumptions of how she is presented verbally, visually, and the general framing of her words?

My argument then cedes that while people are – and admittedly have, in this thread (albeit in a positive self-checking manner ) – going to have prejudices and biases, any of those are going to go to the perception of what she’s done. Not the actuality.

In actuality, she behaved in a conscientious and responsible manner and that is what people should focus on. The fact that she’s not going to win people over for the other stuff is a failure on their part to recognize the elementary format of her message and the fact that this, the movie, is pretty much a singular effort.

Additionally, I add that future efforts – inspired by this marvelous video – won’t have those flaws that ANY first effort has and will have - and will gain far more support. Because the message itself is true.
The last of which I take as a given. Which can be confusing if you presume I’m a macho chauvinistic pig…

“It's just another case of woman didn't do ______ right because she doesn't look like _______.”
…Which, I couldn’t have formed a better response had I made my own strawman.

“…let's just go ahead and dissect her physical appearance/how photogenic she is too.”

Not what I intended to do.

“I'm not claiming that's what you're intending to do, but I want you to realize that it is very much what you're doing.”

Hnh. Well predicted.

I’ll cede it’s what I’m perceived as doing. But I think you should take some time to examine why you think this when it’s not at all what I said.

I mean, hey, I suck at presentation. My formatting here is lousy. I type stuff when I’m exhausted, recovering, really should be hooked into something very important that I'm ignoring, etc. So I know I do a pretty bad job at presentation myself. Which is why I tend to be attuned to it generally.

In this case, I can see how you can think that. But first your premise has to be I’m either pro-life, or a shallow pig. I am neither.

Look, I apologize for getting up on my hind legs here. But it’s amazing how fast all cynicism vanishes when people look at media they agree with.

So, let’s pretend she’s a pro-lifer. Who was an actor. Who does pregnancy counseling at a pro-life establishment and abstains religiously from sex but then has sex with someone and gets pregnant. “Crazy, I know” she says, but then acknowledges that it was a lapse in judgment and in her religious beliefs but decides to deliver the baby to term and films the birth, and the subsequent joy of the adoptive parents when they first see the baby.

Would it be incorrect to say there would be suspicion cast on her motives from the outset
That perhaps being an actor was suspect?
That she was perhaps a hypocrite at the very least for not maintaining her abstinence when it’s exactly what she counsels others to do?

You bet the comments – the more thoughtful, less acerbic of them (and I write those off as a matter of course as not worth addressing) – would follow that general pattern.

Perhaps that’s the blind spot. I didn’t give the usual “I’m pro-choice” “not an sexist” disclaimers when dispensing with such things as trivial bullshit not worth addressing. Perhaps I do need to be more sensitive to that. But my omission was intellectual, not visceral. I don’t think anything about her other than what I see. Trained to do that. And that’s what I’ve been doing for a bit. So I’m in that mode.

“There's no way to separate it from the bigger issue of how a woman's appearance factors into a really disturbing percentage of conversations about anything any woman does.”
Her actual real life appearance is not a factor to me at all. The quality of the picture is. The choice of words is. The background she chooses to share. What she says. All these things are a factor. What she looks like, gorgeous, ugly, blonde, brunette, wearing a beard of bees, is irrelevant. With the exception of how that’s presented. I mean the beard of bees thing would be an inappropriate choice, no? So too, a blurry serial killer looking still.

Oh, I’m sure it’s connected generally speaking. I know people have and do comment that way. But then, why respond to me? I completely agree that many people are concerned with a woman’s appearance as a facet of a given piece of material in a shallow way. But I’m talking about the purely objective aspects of presenting material.

Wear a lab coat, people take the calculations you put on the chalkboard in chemistry lab seriously. Come in wearing a clown outfit, doesn’t matter if you’re Rosalind Franklin, no one is going to listen.

My point though is precisely that, regardless of the photo, her point is valid. The poor presentation is a derivation of the fact that this is a new thing. Not that the position is unsound.
Seemed fairly clear to me in the “her altruism and courage are incontestable” sorts of comments and the fact that _anything_ new is bound to be amateurish – rather than saying something like “Gee, she must be dumb because she’s blond” or some such tripe.

“Come on. I'm sure you're well aware of the long history of using the word "crazy" to fully and completely discredit and undermine women, right?”


Apparently she’s not. ‘Cause she’s the one who said it.

“Even if you yourself didn't mean it that way, there are some people (me included) who think that anyone who is using crazy in terms of describing a woman in any way need to stop it altogether because of the highly negative associations it has.”

The only way I could mean it, is in reference to her saying it. Unless I took it completely out of context and dishonestly repurposed it to make some sort of disparagement. Which I didn't.

See, this is why I get spun out. There’s this “C’mon” cajoling thing then the point proceeds
from there to a presumption and argument. When you KNOW the person in question didn’t RTFA that I’m referencing.

So why contest a point you’re uninformed on? Why the hell does it get any favorites?
Well, gee, perhaps something other than objective and earnest sharing of perspective is going on? Ya think?

Meanwhile, my $.02 are hardly shining examples of impartial dispassionate missives. But dammit at least I read the thing before I say anything and I share an honest – and most importantly changeable – opinion.

I doubt any damn thing I’ve had to say has stuck at all. (Although there’s people like klangklangston here who actually read for comprehension and have actual stuff to say, which makes me stick around. Even moreso because I learn from disagreements, and alter my perspective, rather than just recieve the ass pain.)

TLDR. Sorry. But you suck because of all the other people who are vaguely similar doing something you’re not doing but I don’t want to take the time to read your stuff or what you’re referencing before I call you out. Yeah, thanks.



.....But allow me to up the ante. I have taken people, one of them a close friend of mine (not my girlfriend) to have abortions. I have been with a woman who considered having one when it was ours. She later made the decision to give up the baby for adoption.
I’m familiar with this because I’ve been through it. The misconceptions abound. And I think this piece of film is great as a pioneering piece. I respect – deeply - Emily Letts effort, but I think the subject requires more people – that is not just women, but men as well – to speak out on the subject.

I don’t know if I lacked the courage at the time. I don’t think I did. I stood by my girlfriend and her choices and supported her through everything, that takes a certain amount of character. But I certainly lacked the imagination and awareness and the feeling of connection.

I know that we both felt completely isolated. I know that the only thing that kept my friend from killing herself after her abortion was my willingness to be there for her. And I think that if stuff like this were more widespread it would not only address the ignorance of the procedure (which yes, has been needlessly presented as both emotionally and physically traumatic) but the feeling of isolation that many people (not just women, but yes, especially women) have after the event.

So much of the “movie of the week” makes you think you have to feel some sort of major event loss. It’s got to be dramatic, etc.

Well, that’s from nothing. It doesn’t have to be arduous. You don’t have to feel guilty. And the only reason people do is because of the current construct.

This is the first to stand against that. But that’s the thing. It’s the first. Hopefully, just the first. But it’s news nonetheless because it’s like the 120 foot flight of the Wright brothers. Yes, it was shaky. Yes it was poorly flown. Yes, they had trouble getting attention and changing minds about powered flight.

But they were right. And they inspired more flights. And the world did change.
And that’s the same thing I think about this.

And, apparently, so does Letts: “I do feel a little irresponsible and embarrassed about not using birth control. I mean, Emily, wake up! What are you doing? I was going against the advice I give to patients all the time. So I had them put an IUD in after the abortion. I was able to learn and move forward. And I am grateful that I can share my story and inspire other women to stop the guilt.”
F'ing 'A. She's a hero. Not a webdesigner. But a hero. And being hero is enough.


“Snark aside, would the presentation really benefit from better production values?”

No. See above. I think it would have made it look phony and suspiciously convenient. I look at almost everything as objectively as I can. (This is not to say I don’t fail spectacularly at times). And it's a story pretty open to cynicism. ('Oh, she's an actor, is she?' sort of thing)

But again, hopefully this does inspire someone who is not a former actor and not employed by an abortion counseling center to do a video and the effort to promote this does a better job of promoting it in a manner more people can relate to.

As I said, I didn’t have the brains or imagination or the emotional resilience to do something like this.

And indeed, perhaps the next effort will be better supported. Someone with an idea how to do good PR, how to design and present a story, will be onboard.
But all that makes her all the more courageous in my eyes, that she’s done it this way. Hell, I couldn’t have done it and I’m tough as coffin nails.

But rarely is the messenger up to the task of presenting the message. I understand MLK had affairs. But that’s one of the things I most admire about the man. He was self-critical. He wanted to serve others as best he could but he knew he had personal flaws.
Like this, that, to me, makes the message all the more poignant. It’s almost trivially easy to speak about equal rights today. You can make the most simple of points now on racial equality because of the work of MLK and people like him.

But go back and listen to what they said. You have to weed through a lot of junk. But you and I can speak eloquently on the topic because we draw from the best of all those sources.

Letts does not have that luxury. So, in that sense, she’s like an early MLK. This is (again, hopefully) the first of its kind of material to speak against pro-life material (which is well-practiced, well-produced and slick) that says the procedure is horrible and people should feel guilty afterward, etc.

I think that’s more of a compliment to her than any pretense no matter how well meaning.

Unless I'm somehow the Elijah Muhammad in this equation...
But hell, no snarky opposition is going to be able to understand what I'm saying much less repurpose it.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:23 PM on May 6 [4 favorites]


“Even if you yourself didn't mean it that way, there are some people (me included) who think that anyone who is using crazy in terms of describing a woman in any way need to stop it altogether because of the highly negative associations it has.”

The only way I could mean it, is in reference to her saying it. Unless I took it completely out of context and dishonestly repurposed it to make some sort of disparagement. Which I didn't.


What she said: It was my first pregnancy, and, full disclosure, I hadn't been using any kind of birth control, which is crazy, I know.

What you said: It's got zero to do with the issue. But the presentation ... the photo, she looks a little crazy.

These are literally two different things. She's talking about a choice she made, you're talking about her photo. What I'm saying is when anyone applies the term "crazy" to a woman in any way, it is a very small leap in the minds of a frightening proportion of the population to words like: wild-eyed, emotional, hysterical, overreacting, irrational...and from there, it's easy to dismiss the woman in question - and other women by extension - entirely. I personally have to modify my behavior every single day in the male-dominated industry I work in so as to avoid being slapped with these labels and subsequently lose all credibility in my job. Because if you even raise your voice a little while, for example, you're speaking passionately about a work-related thing, you earn the label of "emotional woman" and the dismissal associated with it. Ask me how I know! At best this is frustrating and at worst it is fucking infuriating and upsetting at the unfairness of it all. So all I ask is that people pay attention to what they're saying when they talk about women because words matter.

See, this is why I get spun out. There’s this “C’mon” cajoling thing then the point proceeds from there to a presumption and argument. When you KNOW the person in question didn’t RTFA that I’m referencing.


I'm not sure if you're talking to me here, but I'll assume you aren't because I did RTFA (both of them) before posting, so I'm not sure where you would have gotten the idea I didn't from my post.
posted by triggerfinger at 8:07 PM on May 6 [1 favorite]


[A few comments deleted. If you don't want to read the thread and you don't care what anyone in the thread thinks, it's probably best to skip commenting. Thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:07 PM on May 6


“but how the hell is the quality of her picture -- WHAT SHE LOOKS LIKE -- even something you think skirts relevance?”

It’s not what she looks like, it’s how she presents herself. Or rather, how she’s presented. I don’t know who made the web page or wrote the copy. I don’t care what she actually looks like. And perhaps you should check yourself. I am, and was, being objective.

See if you can follow me here: The “I think the fact that she literally used abortion as birth control is not going to win a lot of people over.” is raised as a point of contention. I respond to that with a somewhat serious, but somewhat in cheek comment on the quality of the overall presentation. Particularly the picture screenshot in question. So “winning people over” as a topic is linked to both the presentation of her subject, and how she presents herself.


This is just my opinion; but the original commentary, that Emily Letts is supposed to be winning people over, is stupid and misguided. This isn't a popularity contest. She's sharing the reality of her life publicly and was very clear about her reasons for doing so, none of which were "win people over." That trivializes the significance of a woman doing something like this. She wants to show abortion in a positive light, to combat the pervasive and insidious guilt that women are made to feel about exercising their natural autonomy; she doesn't want to ingratiate herself to some audience or public that's then going to pass judgment on her. That's a very strange way to interpret the situation, to me.

So responding to the original commentary by accepting the premise and then pushing it to an even uglier place by bringing in commentary about her looks, even if done in jest, is really pretty awful and not at all funny.
posted by clockzero at 8:24 PM on May 6 [6 favorites]


mysterious_stanger: Again, you only show your hypocrisy if you vocally stand up for women's right to choose abortion but do not support other women's rights to have and express their own ethics and feelings.

It's almost a universal constant, regardless of the specific issue, that moralizers will cast themselves as victims.

No one challenged your "rights", they challenged your opinion.

Other people do not have the same ethical beliefs as you. When you say how women "should" feel about abortions, you seem to be unaware that your (rather mushy) logic on the issue is not shared by all. Why should someone agonize over a decision that they don't think is a big deal? I suspect you think those people are just liars, but personally, I find your take on abortion ludicrous and self-contradictory. You obviously feel it's wrong, but don't want to ban it, and you want everyone else to go through the same mental contortions you go through.
posted by spaltavian at 8:31 PM on May 6 [19 favorites]


This should be a serious matter, a hard choice to make.

More than taking the pill or using a condom? Why, exactly?


You really don't understand? Do you really not think that terminating the existence of a creature with arms and a face and a brain is indistinguishable from never bringing it into being?

Again, I'm in the Judith Jarvis Thompson camp, so spare me the "it must be legal!" No one here is talking about making it illegal. But it's rather like euthanizing someone with brain damage. It's usually the right thing to do, but if you feel no hesitation about it, you're one scary fucker.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 8:32 PM on May 6 [5 favorites]


But first your premise has to be I’m either pro-life, or a shallow pig. I am neither.

With all due respect... this is not a statement you can make about yourself. (The "shallow pig" part, that is.) The best you can say is that you don't intend to be a shallow pig. But we all fuck up from time to time, and we all have hidden (even to ourselves!) biases, and we all do and say things without realizing their ramifications. And sometimes even if you're a thoughtful person... you're a shallow pig.
posted by asterix at 8:36 PM on May 6


We understand. We also think you're wrong. If I was convinced by the "it has a face!" argument, I wouldn't be pro-choice in the first place.
posted by spaltavian at 8:37 PM on May 6 [23 favorites]


[Folks, I know it's a tough topic, but maybe we can do this without calling each other names?]
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:37 PM on May 6


Kind of surprised by the amount of anthropomorphism in here. It's like Roe v. Wade never happened. Am I supposed to get precious about every "lost" ovum, too?
posted by cotton dress sock at 8:38 PM on May 6 [22 favorites]


"I hadn't been using any kind of birth control, which is crazy, I know."
not crazy, not idealistic. Stupid. I don't care if she has had 1000 abortions, all in HD. But a "sex educator" who thinks this was "crazy" isn't much of an educator.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:39 PM on May 6 [2 favorites]


Do you really not think that terminating the existence of a creature with arms and a face and a brain is indistinguishable from never bringing it into being?

To me, it doesn't automagically get to take precedence over the already-being woman, and no one's ever explained to me why it should in a way that made me understand, let alone agree with.
posted by rtha at 8:41 PM on May 6 [40 favorites]


I recently came across an interesting writeup on the fetus-as-parasite perspective. By this account, the fetus isn't just passively sitting there waiting to be born. It actively manipulates its host mother (with the help of its father's genes) to increase its chances of survival. See the answer from Suzanne, here.
posted by mantecol at 8:42 PM on May 6 [1 favorite]


To me, it doesn't automagically get to take precedence over the already-being woman, and no one's ever explained to me why it should in a way that made me understand, let alone agree with.

IME mostly it is because the people who believe that seem to genuinely dislike women but are not comfortable admitting it outright.
posted by elizardbits at 8:43 PM on May 6 [33 favorites]


Can everyone, moving forward, please take it as a given that everyone, INCLUDING the woman who wrote this article, agrees that it was stupid to not have been using contraception prior to her abortion? She admitted it in the article, she did something to rectify that during her abortion, and there is thus no need to keep harping on how big a mistake it was, seriously, we've all gotten the memo.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:54 PM on May 6 [4 favorites]


To me, it doesn't automagically get to take precedence over the already-being woman, and no one's ever explained to me why it should in a way that made me understand, let alone agree with.

Their belief is generally that the already-being woman -- having made a conscious choice to engage in activity that she knew might lead to a creature with arms and a face and a brain -- doesn't automagically get to take precedence over it either.

Note that I do not believe this, and arguing it with me will produce no effect whatsoever. But saying that you don't understand it seems to be more a failure of your ability than theirs.
posted by Etrigan at 8:56 PM on May 6 [4 favorites]


Some people think meat eating is sad and wrong and even heinous and barbaric, but they usually don't push to make meat eating illegal or scream insults at people buying meat at the store. I think meat eating is sad and I eat meat. People should be allowed to be sad about things like this, avoid participating in things like this that feel is sad-- or not.

However I sort of respect that for people who see this as a sad thing happening to a living being, there's no way to "compromise" on the conviction that it SHOULD be a moral issue, or even fear of people who in their perspective have less empathy for living creatures.

I think we should all be fruititarians eating only outside of the seeds and then planting them and caring for them so they still get to grow!!

For some reason all these barbarian humans, including myself, just keep going along being barbarians, we step on bugs and squash butterflies with cars, our pets eat the bunnies and the mice!! : (

We should stop stepping on grass and only have little paths where there are no plants and no bugs, and steppingstones or something. Yes I know we have to kill the grass to put the path there.

UGH REALITY IS BARBARIC!!

Unfortunately, sometimes even trying to live causing no harm at all, requires doing harm in teh process. Should we avoid it when possible? Yes I think so, however when it is or isn't necessary is questionable, and what level of consciousness creates an imperative to protect that living being (seriously road kill and even human death is the collateral damage ofour cultural choice to be dependant on automobiles, are the deaths worth it?)--

but even if we can agree to do the least harm what is necessary harm? And at what time are we allowed to say "yes I just stepped on a snail which I do all the time when I walk on grass, but like, I have to freaking walk do I need to cry every time?"

Does a person need to be sad when taking care of something they know they feel is a necessary harm and possibly the kindest solution for everyone involved (possibly including the potential person)?
Like, sometimes I squash mosquitos and I like totally don't care. At all. I know it's really controversial and bad of me, but I don't! People have different thresholds for this.

I know it is kind of scary though because since we don't all agree on where the lines are as people, we kind of wonder how we'll deal with it for the lines of acceptable apathy toward living beings go even higher and we still have no way to stand up for the welfare of living beings.

This is why we should all be fruititarians, like I said. I think my logic is sound. ..... then again what if humans get sick on a diet of only fruit--- and mass suffering and pain and early death is the result.

OMFG. I'm going to bed.
posted by xarnop at 8:59 PM on May 6 [3 favorites]


To me, it doesn't automagically get to take precedence over the already-being woman, and no one's ever explained to me why it should in a way that made me understand, let alone agree with.

Yes, and let's not forget that we make decisions all the time about who amongst our population of actual living/breathing/functioning human beings gets to live or die.

Every time we, as a society, decide against having universal healthcare, or in favor of initiating wars, or to cut funding for stuff like medical research/climate change amelioration measures/a billion other things, we are making a calculation about who deserves to live or die.

The American right wing is so totally in favor of these things, but then spins around and get outraged about aborting a fetus - it's hard to disagree that they are really just trying to punish women for having sex.
posted by lalex at 9:06 PM on May 6 [19 favorites]


Etrigan: To me, it doesn't automagically get to take precedence over the already-being woman, and no one's ever explained to me why it should in a way that made me understand, let alone agree with.

Their belief is generally that the already-being woman -- having made a conscious choice to engage in activity that she knew might lead to a creature with arms and a face and a brain -- doesn't automagically get to take precedence over it either.


That's an argument for why women deserved to be punished for having sex, it is not an argument for why a zygote, embryo or fetus has equal or greater precedence in any circumstance. Unless you make the next step, which is that because of their moral failing, those women lose some of their previous human standing, low enough to be below a fetus.

But they never admit they are making that last step. We all understand their argument, they just rarely publicly make their actual case. They hid behind fantasies like "legitimate rape" to protect themselves from the consequences of their own beliefs: "good" women will never need an abortion, because they can only get pregnant and not want the baby from actions that make them bad women.

Note: I understand you don't believe this, and I am not arguing the merits with you. I'm saying you failed to explain their argument.
posted by spaltavian at 9:08 PM on May 6 [8 favorites]


But saying that you don't understand it seems to be more a failure of your ability than theirs.

But the explanation (which I understand is not one you subscribe to!) that you offered doesn't explain anything. It just goes "Because the fetus is why" and I've already heard that and already don't get it, so thanks, but it doesn't help at all. I may be expressing my lack of understanding poorly.
posted by rtha at 9:10 PM on May 6 [5 favorites]


I apologize for having old IUD information and perpetuating religion, which was not my intent. My primary concern is the user experience, which is still pretty crappy for one of the better, less hormonally-interfering, less user-skill-dependent options currently allowed us by our legislative overlords. As far as good intent of researchers, I can't stop sperm with it. See again: legislative overlords, plus lobby compromises etc. I'd assume that if there was already a miracle contraceptive available, they'd at least have it in Denmark or something, and that doesn't seem to be the case.

Outside of a small population of edge cases who don't or can't fully understand the process, most women already have an opinion about what she'd do if she got pregnant before it happens. Women are not vastly stupid as a default; they have thought about what a fertilized egg means to them. We have to, we have to think about that. While some women do change their minds - which is fine, nobody should have to have an abortion they don't want as much as nobody should be prevented from an abortion they do want - it doesn't make someone a fucking monster to find that the decision they already made is still the decision they want to make.

Embryos aren't actually magic, nor are their proto-faces. You don't have to be some kind of powerful wizard to decide, even when pregnant, to not be pregnant anymore.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:16 PM on May 6 [4 favorites]


I've never heard a satisfying "philosophical" answer to this question. Even putting it in terms of women's "choice" gets tricky because as soon as a baby gets in you, it starts manipulating your hormones to make you want to keep it. Right now I know I don't want kids, but if I ever get pregnant and my hormonal self changes its mind, which of those two choices is really mine?
posted by mantecol at 9:20 PM on May 6 [4 favorites]


Kind of surprised by the amount of anthropomorphism in here. It's like Roe v. Wade never happened. Am I supposed to get precious about every "lost" ovum, too?

You can be pro-choice and still see an embryo or foetus as significantly different from an ovum. Pro-choice is a position on the legality of abortion, and whether women should be free to make our own choice on the matter when it comes to our own pregnancies, not a position on the correct way to think of embryos.

I am very fiercely pro-choice and, yeah, I think there's a significant difference between an embryo and an unfertilised gamete, and I don't think I'm somehow ceding ground to the pro-lifers by thinking that. For me, being pro-choice does not come out of my view on embryos, but out of my view of women's right to make our own decisions about our bodies, a right I believe in very strongly indeed. Pro-choice is a big tent, and that's not actually a problem.
posted by Catseye at 9:47 PM on May 6 [16 favorites]


ThatFuzzyBastard: "But it's rather like euthanizing someone with brain damage. It's usually the right thing to do, but if you feel no hesitation about it, you're one scary fucker."

So you think it's usually the right thing to euthanize people with brain damage? Fetal development, like brain damage, happens in degrees. And there's a difference between a wanted and an unwanted pregnancy that doesn't have any parallel in caring for a person with a disability.

I support the notional right of a woman to terminate her pregnancy right up until the fetus comes out, but fortunately for my strength of character and contrary to the propaganda about how women handle their reproductive decisions, over 90% of abortions in the US occur in the first trimester, and only about 1-1.5% occur after 20 weeks.
posted by gingerest at 10:07 PM on May 6 [2 favorites]


Yup, that's what pro-choice is. The legality of abortion was established on the issue of fetal viability, though, and personhood is still at the core of the argument, as I think has become clear in this thread. Sure there's a difference between an unfertilized gamete and an embryo, but those tissues and processes (which, for now, remain dependent on incubation in a woman for their realization), are a ways away from creatures and faces, which is what people are getting worked up about, and expecting me to get worked up about.
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:11 PM on May 6 [1 favorite]


Is anyone in this thread expecting you to get worked up about it, though? I didn't get that from what TFB was saying.
posted by Catseye at 10:14 PM on May 6


I mean, I get that there are certainly people in the wider world who are, obviously. But it seems to be a Thing that in discussions about abortion, we (as pro-choicers) have a tendency to make it an argument against pro-lifers even if everyone involved in the discussion is actually pro-choice, usually by accusing each other of saying the kind of thing that someone who is pro-life might also say.
posted by Catseye at 10:24 PM on May 6 [3 favorites]


Possibly not me personally, but yes, I think those who negatively judge women for not experiencing grief or some similar 'moral' emotion after an abortion are more or less informed by those kinds of intuitions, and I think we've seen some of that above, no?
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:33 PM on May 6 [3 favorites]


Eh, we disagree on that I think. To me it looked more like what happened upthread with mysterious_stranger was that thing where if there aren't any pro-lifers present, we find the pro-choicer whose views seem closest and go after them instead, which I think isn't helpful. (I don't share mysterious_stranger's views, but I do think there's a difference between "I judge her for how she feels about her own abortion" and "I judge her for how she presented the idea of abortion in making this video.")
posted by Catseye at 10:44 PM on May 6 [3 favorites]


Catseye: "Is anyone in this thread expecting you to get worked up about it, though? I didn't get that from what TFB was saying."

Sorry, I don't quite get it? TFB said, in reference to "terminating the existence of a creature with arms and a face and a brain", "if you feel no hesitation about it, you're one scary fucker." Isn't that expecting a woman to get worked up about her abortion?
posted by gingerest at 10:48 PM on May 6 [5 favorites]


Yeah ok, I must have read that differently the first time round; I totally see how that would come across as telling women how they should feel about their own abortions (whether TFB meant it to or not).
posted by Catseye at 10:52 PM on May 6


The world would be a better place if more people had abortions instead of babies. IMO abortion should be the default response to any unplanned pregnancy.

Good for her for making it a less scary option for women.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:19 PM on May 6 [5 favorites]


i am so thankful for efforts like this. I am one of the myriad of women who has had an abortion, and felt no shame or remorse because of it. There really is a social stigma (and not just in the US - I have never been there) that if you are going to say you have had an abortion, you have to admit you feel guilty about it. Fuck that.

Can we now also work on the pernicious idea that once you have been a mother you are meant to feel 'a bit differently' about abortion? So many women I know who have had a kid say that their views on abortion have changed now that they have carried a child to term and know how special/precious/amazing it is. Can we have room in this debate for those of us who have had a child and our views still remain abortion is a right, a woman's choice about her body is her own, and it's not something we have to feel bad about/
posted by Megami at 11:28 PM on May 6 [12 favorites]


""Is anyone in this thread expecting you to get worked up about it, though? I didn't get that from what TFB was saying."

Sorry, I don't quite get it? TFB said, in reference to "terminating the existence of a creature with arms and a face and a brain", "if you feel no hesitation about it, you're one scary fucker." Isn't that expecting a woman to get worked up about her abortion?
"

Note that TFB has said multiple times that he doesn't believe these things, just that he's trying to present the other side of the argument. So no, nobody commenting in this thread expects you to get worked up about it; people outside the thread would.
posted by klangklangston at 12:05 AM on May 7


Yes, he has said it repeatedly, and he's clear on the point that he's arguing as a proxy for all the people who do have those feelings, but I am arguing back against those people, who are here by his proxy. (Although he does muddle up his proxying when he brings his perspective on legality into the middle of the argument about emotional attachment he's making on behalf of other people.)
posted by gingerest at 12:32 AM on May 7 [3 favorites]


Eh, getting pregnant made me pro-choice. I'd always bought into the myth that getting pregnant was "natural" and "no big deal" for a woman's body. That's what womens' bodies are constructed to do, right?
Two childbirths later I say nobody should have to take those medical risks and financial and career setbacks. Nobody.
It's a fucking big deal and even though I had an okay-ish experience I still feel like I came close to wrecking my body. And I wrecked my career. Voluntarily, but still.
posted by Omnomnom at 12:50 AM on May 7 [22 favorites]


"Yes, he has said it repeatedly, and he's clear on the point that he's arguing as a proxy for all the people who do have those feelings, but I am arguing back against those people, who are here by his proxy. (Although he does muddle up his proxying when he brings his perspective on legality into the middle of the argument about emotional attachment he's making on behalf of other people.)"

That's a danger to proxy or devil's advocate arguments, and one of the reasons why MeFi tends to frown on them.

Even more important is that you're not having any sort of conversation where you could convince these proxy parties, and you've already won TFB over, so…
posted by klangklangston at 1:27 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


Whoa, these threads are strange when you live in a country where there is no debate about this issue, it is done (i think for free) by the NHS, as it should be. No protestors, nobody goes to hell, no shaming, nothing but a medical procedure and maybe some councilling if required. So fucking simple.
posted by marienbad at 2:05 AM on May 7 [2 favorites]


Marienbad, I live in such a country, yet the "at least she should feel bad about it" attitude and the "it's a harrowing ordeal" narrative is still prevalent.
posted by Omnomnom at 2:15 AM on May 7 [8 favorites]


This looks like a normal lady you'd see reading outside a semi-hip coffee shop or something.

I'll let you know next time I see a blurry looking poorly lit woman with wide eyes and a slasher smile at the coffee shop.
Perhaps she terrifies me because she had an abortion? *checks prejudices* Nope. It’s a goofy looking picture.


Lol ok so i'll admit i fucked this one up rather tough.

I looked at picture A, and thought you were talking about picture A in your first post and had about this reaction. Yes, i had viewed all the links in the original post, but the second image never loaded(i think the firewall at work may have snagged it for some... reason? i'm still tuning the content filter)

I stand by my general "there's no perfect person and the opponents of this will skewer anyone who steps forward and paint them as crazy/shitty/etc in various ways" point, but the first part was a good old fashioned misunderstanding.

So uh, sorry that it called in an air strike and made you feel attacked to the extent that it seems to have. I was just really apalled that someone would look at the first picture and write what you wrote, since the second one never showed up for me.
posted by emptythought at 2:25 AM on May 7 [2 favorites]


Whoa, these threads are strange when you live in a country where there is no debate about this issue, it is done (i think for free) by the NHS, as it should be. No protesters, nobody goes to hell, no shaming, nothing but a medical procedure and maybe some councilling if required. So fucking simple.

My part of the UK does not have access to abortion (NI). I work in an office building which has anti-choice protesters outside every day because the Family Planning clinic is on one of the floors. Every day to go to work I have to walk past people with posters of dismembered babies and people handing out "information" leaflets detailing all the heinous things which will happen to you if you have an abortion (did you know it causes breast cancer?) Sometimes they pray, sometimes they follow staff and clients out into the street and across the street trying to give them their typed-up lies. One followed me to the traffic lights last week. normally I reply with steely politeness - "get out of our building (when they come inside) you are trespassing". But that day she caught me unawares and I found myself shouting "JUST FUCK OFF!" to her face. (I'm not sure which of us was more surprised...)

This is outside a place which doesn't even carry out abortions, just provides information and counselling on all types of birth control. That young people have to walk past them, that women who are trying to make their decision have to walk past them, that children have to see the images as they pass by, that people who have had miscarriages, or had traumatic experiences related to childbirth have to walk past them makes me seethe with anger every day. If you are a 15 year old young woman, or are poor, or both, or have a family, try figuring out a way to arrange a flight and an overnight stay to another country and explain your absence. Now try doing it when you find it difficult even to access the office where people explain your options.

I applaud Emily Letts for posting this and for putting an alternative to the myths into the public space. I wholeheartedly wish I could pin down the protesters outside and force them to watch this Clockwork Orange style - just for their own good, of course.
posted by billiebee at 2:35 AM on May 7 [37 favorites]


Yeah, there is always a small group of mainly elderly protestors outside my local Marie Stopes clinic here in liberal west London. I've never seen them shout at anybody, though; just hold up their gruesome signs full of misinformation and look sad.

Thanks for the post. I'm glad this lady has made this video to help demystify something that is a totally normal part of life for many women.
posted by goo at 2:48 AM on May 7


I've never heard a satisfying "philosophical" answer to this question. Even putting it in terms of women's "choice" gets tricky because as soon as a baby gets in you, it starts manipulating your hormones to make you want to keep it. Right now I know I don't want kids, but if I ever get pregnant and my hormonal self changes its mind, which of those two choices is really mine?
posted by mantecol at 9:20 PM on May 6
This describes my fear almost exactly, but I vaguely feel that something is missing. Maybe a combination of the following?:
1. My hopefully future otherwise-incredibly-smart husband has said something along the lines of, quote, "Our lives won't change THAT much; you can still have a career; etc." which 1/3 makes me want to sob, 1/3 laugh hysterically until I vomit, 1/3 already exhausted of even thinking about this whole concept. I love him, but he's seemingly clueless about at least the first few years so we have to figure THAT out.
2. I don't totally know where I sit with the kids/no kids thing, but I'm on the side of "better to regret never having kids than regret having them."
2.5. I refuse to make this decision based on whether I feel good about having kids with my boyfriend. He's irrelevant to the decision because, as horrible as this is, what if he dies when the kid is, you know, 3 or 8 or 10 or 15? Now I'm stuck with a decision I made, thinking we'd be pulling the rowboat together.
3. I'm afraid of turning into a pod-person, whether during pregnancy or later during PTA meetings/playdates where I have to sit through dumb-fuck parents discussing their dumb-fuck children. I don't even like talking to most people -now-.

And multiple other facets I've gone over repeatedly, especially as I've jumped the 25 hurdle and work my way towards 30.

Therefore, I guess I'm trying to say?, I definitely think birth control, no matter the type, is the woman's decision. I've already told my guy that I could, at any time, decide I want to get my tubes tied and that he has no say in the matter. That he may get a courtesy notice of "I'm about to go in for surgery". Somehow, we've made it through a long distance still-together-but-open-relationship (yes, in which we both had sex with the opposite sex with mutual knowledge of the fact) phase, but I can't quite get him to completely understand that a calm and loving discussion on my birth control methods don't actually give him a say in what could happen regarding children.

So, talking through it, my fear of my hormonal self relates to the fear that I don't have complete control of my uterus, whether real or imagined. I've half the mind to get sterilized just to remove it from the equation; I tend to make decisions like this, "spur of the moment" after a long period of indecision, and it's always the more seemingly serious/insane/brave decision that I never regret. It's the ones that sounds like compromise with myself that I wish I could take back.
posted by DisreputableDog at 2:49 AM on May 7


I don't care if she has an abortion, but her bravery is also matched by pretty poor choices she shouldn't have made.

Her choices are none of your business.



Her choices have been made a matter of public debate by her decision to put her experience on the internet. She made them our business.

If I tell you I just took a lollipop from a baby, I can't expect you not to have an opinion on the matter. I won't give it back, because i'm happy with my candy, but I can't stop you sharing your thoughts.
posted by trif at 3:51 AM on May 7 [2 favorites]


I don't think the default should be abortion for any unplanned pregnancy, and that attitude is every bit as anti woman and anti choice as the attitude the default should be birth.
posted by xarnop at 3:56 AM on May 7 [2 favorites]


The default should be that each woman makes an informed choice on each occasion that arises, no?
posted by trif at 3:58 AM on May 7 [4 favorites]


If I tell you I just took a lollipop from a baby, I can't expect you not to have an opinion on the matter.

A better analogy might be "If I tell you I just had surgery on my knee", rather than something as loaded as "took candy from a baby". I had X medical procedure. You're entitled to have your opinion but really, what's it to you that I did this thing with my body?
posted by billiebee at 4:07 AM on May 7 [22 favorites]


It was a deliberate decision to use a loaded suggestion. I was trying to illicit a negative response. My point still stands; if i hadn't told you about the candy, you wouldn't have known about it and you wouldn't have formed an opinion.

For the record, I fully support the taking of candy from babies a woman's right to make a choice. I'm possibly just being pedantic.
posted by trif at 4:20 AM on May 7


Well I think people have a right to think a fetus has its own life and can feel, and that it's sad when they die. That doesn't have to a judgement but I thinks it's an acceptable way to feel. I don't like when pro choice attitudes define for all people how they are allowed to feel about life and death and when life becomes so precious it is sad to see it destroyed. People can think abortion is sad or that it's a moral issue. And be sad or upset when their hear someone had one. They can even think that people who are indifferent to the feelings of a fetus or embryo may be less empathetic. I don't think respecting the right to choose means dictating how each person must see abortion as morally neutral issue.
posted by xarnop at 4:36 AM on May 7 [3 favorites]


[Two comments removed. The point about the choice of analogy has been made and responded to. I would kindly suggest moving on from the metacommentary at this point. Given the topic I appreciate the desire to talk about styles of argument or clear up misunderstandings and what have you, and I try to stay out of the way as much as possible. But this is the fourth mod note in this thread, portions of which are almost purely metadiscussion — we're just getting very far afield. MeFi Mail, contact form and MetaTalk are all options if you want to talk about this discussion. Sorry to be a stickler for protocol here: again I do understand, but it's a powder keg and at this point we've been down the path of outright name-calling and such a few times, let's not go there again. Thank you.]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:53 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


xarnop: I don't like when pro choice attitudes define for all people how they are allowed to feel

This is a description of the abortion rights debate that is currently happening in the Bizzaro Dimension.

Here on Earth-prime, that isn't happening, in this thread and certainly not in courtrooms, legislative chambers and in media. It is women being told how they should feel anguished by abortion, whether from anti-abortion rights advocates or "moderate" pro-choicers.

I don't think respecting the right to choose means dictating how each person must see abortion as morally neutral issue.

Why is it that when you share your belief that abotion is super-duper sad, that's you expressing your opinion, but when other people say they don't see it that way, it's them dictating how people should feel and being anti-woman?
posted by spaltavian at 5:57 AM on May 7 [24 favorites]


And to be clear, you are making a false equivalence between very different types of statements:

And no, I do not think it is ok to treat this lightly, to think of it as "nothing much". I think that is unethical.

This is very clearly dictating to people how they should feel about the issue.

IMO abortion should be the default response to any unplanned pregnancy.

This statement, is not dictating to people how they should feel about the issue. You ludicrously called this statement "anti woman and anti choice". Even if we ignore the "in my opinion", which the first statement did not have, it's clearly not about telling people how they should think about anything. It's a framing for a decision tree, it is not a moral statement on where you should eventually end up on the tree.

The first is very clearly a moral statement that judges people who take a different path- even if they arrive at the same conclusion- the second is clearly a logical statement about ordering decisons and weighing values and practicality.
posted by spaltavian at 6:06 AM on May 7 [2 favorites]


To put it another way, respecting women's choices and feelings about their choices means respecting the full spectrum of ways women feel about their bodies and the development of an embryo or fetus inside them. If our goal is to respect women's choices and the thoughts and feelings they have about them, that includes women who feel very passionately about the emotional nature of the embryo or fetus inside them.

That should include respecting that some people don't see it as a moral issue and some people do. If figuring out how to do that sounds complicated to you, it does to me as well. The same arguments for why a woman should not have to see the embryo/fetus as a living entity or a moral aspect of their decision sometimes starts to run counter to women's rights to defend their decision to birth a child out of a difficult situation where IF the embryo is defined as non-existing and a simple family planning matter, her decision to give birth starts to look like a simple act of poor decision making planning her family, rather than a decision she made based on her feeling of connection to an entity she felt already existed within her.

Respecting the thought process and logic behind all choices gets really complicated, and I personally respect that people have a huge range of feelings about when life "begins" which is why I respect each woman's ability to define that issue for herself and any entities in her body. I think most of us as humans agree that ovulation and ejaculation are not tragedies so somewhere between that and birth we tend to agree that the loss of life of the entity in question is sad and it's good to be sad.

The woman carrying the entity in question should be the one entitled to make the decision on whether or when it becomes a "moral issue".

I'm genuinely the sort of person who has cried when GRASS dies. And I don't think badly of people who do not share my affections for our green planty friends in the world. Some people don't see abortion as a moral issue and I respect the reasons for that, I also respect my own reasons for feeling that there is a life there that feels and matters.

Reproductive justice also encompasses women's rights to define their pregnancy as one that contains a life that they believe should be protected, and I don't think the fight to preserve choice needs to stamp out their perspective.

I have personally experienced judgement, shaming, disdain, and contempt for carrying two pregnancies despite being single and poor and struggling- and that includes judgements coming from people who are pro-choice supposedly but believe that abortion or adoption are the only real solutions women who are pregnant in a difficult circumstance should be using.

I have been pregnant and poor and turned to liberal women who I though would be my mentors and supporters and they instead gave me feedback only that abortion or adoption were the right things to do. Stigma against women who birth children in difficult circumstance and need support and resources is an actually thing, not in some bizarro reality and the idea that abortion is a complete and perfect solution to unplanned pregnancy adds to that narrative.

However I personally think that cow deaths are a greater tragedy that abortion and I think if we're going to see morality in terms of harm that should include the trauma of adoption (which from those I know has been way greater than abortion), parenting in poverty or in terrible circumstances, should all be factored in and I see nothing but gray.

I deeply respect women's choices to wade through these waters coming to the conclusion that it is or isn't a moral issue, I just feel that it's ok for some people to think that it is and I understand why it's extremely complex to respect such a huge range of conflicting opinions and ideologies that we trying to all respect at once.
posted by xarnop at 6:09 AM on May 7 [13 favorites]


The hormone related personality change was very striking in my experience. My friend went from hard nosed career woman to enthusiastic mother in five days. One wasn't going to be enough though, she wanted a brood. Always ambitious I suppose.
She chose not to tell anyone, so I can't elaborate, but I can say that those were some powerful hormones.
posted by asok at 6:15 AM on May 7


I have been pregnant and poor and turned to liberal women who I though would be my mentors and supporters and they instead gave me feedback only that abortion or adoption were the right things to do.

Make better friends.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:18 AM on May 7


Their belief is generally that the already-being woman -- having made a conscious choice to engage in activity that she knew might lead to a creature with arms and a face and a brain -- doesn't automagically get to take precedence over it either.

That's an argument for why women deserved to be punished for having sex, it is not an argument for why a zygote, embryo or fetus has equal or greater precedence in any circumstance.


You say "punished for," they say "live with the consequence of." You say "zygote, embryo or fetus," they say "baby." I honestly don't see how you can't see that there is an argument there beyond hating women.
posted by Etrigan at 6:19 AM on May 7 [2 favorites]


These were not friends, these were my midwife, a zen counselor, and basically all the liberal mentors I could find in my liberal city of Austin TX.

No at that time I didn't have many (any?) friends by my side, that was why I was seeking support from the liberal community I thought supported women's rights. We have very few free parenting support services in my city designed by liberals, it is largely a christian lead movement. Which creeps me out.

Reproductive justice is a movement that is working to change the dominant ideology that women should never give birth in difficult circumstances or need resources to help them parent and I do think it will be liberals who lead the way in incorporate those ideologies into a better understanding of women's rights and better supports for women.
posted by xarnop at 6:23 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


I have been pregnant and poor and turned to liberal women who I though would be my mentors and supporters and they instead gave me feedback only that abortion or adoption were the right things to do.

this is absolutely a thing - and a thing that makes me really upset.

to me, being pro-choice means being pro-any choice the mother wants to makes (absent coercion or abuse). i support my friend who has had over a dozen abortions and i support my friends who are only 25 with 6 kids. while i might have general opinions on whether i think it's the best for all women to have a dozen abortions or 6 kids, once you get down to the actual person level i feel like the only option is to say, "i support you" (again, absent issues of abuse or mistreatment). so often no matter what we choose there will be a chorus to tell us how we've done it wrong and that is never more true than it is with issues surrounding child birth.

although, my full stop on the support train happens when someone takes how they feel about their own womb and extrapolate it to how all women should feel about their wombs. you wanna feel like it's a life that needs deep respect and that you should feel sad if you have an abortion. i support you. you want to say that i should view a fetus in my womb the same way - no. that's not something you get to decide for me. it is complicated to respect a huge range of conflicting opinions - but i think a good first step is to keep all the statements personal and don't judge those who react differently than you to their own issues of fertility.
posted by nadawi at 6:25 AM on May 7 [23 favorites]


Etrigan: You say "punished for," they say "live with the consequence of."

Sure, but there is literally no difference between those statements. I will happily amend my previous statement to use the "consequences" phrasing and will still totally stand by the rest of my statement.

I honestly don't see how you can't see that there is an argument there beyond hating women.

Honestly? I really, truly, 100% believe that there isn't. People don't come up with illogical nonsense to defend a position when there isn't a real agenda, which is how people, and women especially, should act, with sexuality, specifically.

But again, even just going off rhetoric, that argument, even with "consequences" and "baby" doesn't explain why the women's relative position would be reduced below it, without the moral judgement component. Even if you give them all of their terms, it's still a logically incomplete arugment without it.
posted by spaltavian at 6:25 AM on May 7


Wait, "mentors" are supposed to tell you do whatever you want, rather than give you advice? Because women seeking information on abortion would love to have that problem, rather than the problem they actually have, which is people who actually have control over them get to make reproductive decisions for them. If their zen counselor told them them abortion is wrong, but their legislature didn't, they would be in a lot better position.
posted by spaltavian at 6:27 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


You say "punished for," they say "live with the consequence of."

i have never been able to understand how the anti-choice side can simultaneously be all about the babies and their right to life and how important they are, while feeling hunky dory about casting those same babies as a "consequence" (which is pretty much a fancy word for punishment). if the anti-choice side, as a whole, actually cared for babies, they'd be huge supporters of welfare, prenatal care, maternity&paternity leave, breastfeeding in public, etc. they'd spend their weekends figuring out how to save every at risk baby already here or helping mothers who are having difficult pregnancies or raising money to reduce miscarriages. the singular focus on elective abortions, and the tactics they employ, show them to be saying one thing but doing another. their focuses doesn't make sense if their goal was to save as many babies as possible.
posted by nadawi at 6:32 AM on May 7 [18 favorites]


Mentors are supposed to give advice. And even if not, the existence of assholes is not an argument.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:32 AM on May 7 [4 favorites]


nadawi: their focuses doesn't make sense if their goal was to save as many babies as possible.

Yup. It has always, always been about controlling women's sexuality.
posted by spaltavian at 6:35 AM on May 7 [5 favorites]


if we have real and actual choice and support for women - then, yes, mentors should help you find the solution you're the happiest with, even if they think they'd personally do something else. that means when a poor single mother asks you for support in bringing her baby to term, you don't tell her how she'd be better off with an abortion, you make sure she knows her options and then give her all the information you can about social and volunteer programs that can help her.
posted by nadawi at 6:36 AM on May 7 [6 favorites]


Keep in mind this woman is going to have death threats against her. Guaranteed, people will try and make her live in fear. She is brave beyond words.

Also, I read two thirds of this thread before I remembered that, if my ex-gf is to be believed, I fathered a pregnancy that was terminated. Really, men shouldn't have opinions about abortion that isn't complete support for a woman's right to choose.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:38 AM on May 7 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure if you understand what reproductive justice is. Reproductive justice means supporting women with their ideal outcome and empowering them with tools to achieve that outcome.

This would mean going beyond legalizing abortion, and ensuring that abortion is accessible, and when women have obstacles to obtaining their preferred choice, the goal would be to help them overcome that obstacle by connecting them with funds, transportation, or educating their families about their decision to prevent them being treated badly in their homes for their choices.

If a woman's goal is to parent than a qualified counselor would assist with empowering her to achieve that goal effectively.

That liberals belief that abortion solves all unplanned pregnancy leads them to do less to support mothers in need is a really large problem that harms mothers and children across the US and other countries.

I don't think that women's empowerment needs to include making things worse for one group of women to uplift another. We can work for both at the same time.
posted by xarnop at 6:39 AM on May 7 [3 favorites]


their focuses doesn't make sense if their goal was to save as many babies as possible.

Just look at the Venn diagram of people who are opposed to abortion AND opposed to sex education AND opposed to birth control (AND opposed to homosexuality...)

Their mindset is that women and sex are both necessary evils reserved for making babies.
posted by Foosnark at 6:43 AM on May 7 [5 favorites]


nadawi; 12 abortions? Can you elaborate? was there a conscious decision to avoid other forms of contraception? Absolutely no judgement, just not a story you hear the like of very often.
posted by trif at 6:49 AM on May 7


beyond that fact, it's not my story to tell.
posted by nadawi at 6:50 AM on May 7 [5 favorites]


i appreciate that. excuse my prying.
posted by trif at 6:53 AM on May 7


That liberals belief that abortion solves all unplanned pregnancy leads them to do less to support mothers in need is a really large problem that harms mothers and children across the US and other countries.

What. What are you talking about.

Maybe you don't know about places like Texas, where it is not liberals who made it so that clinics like Planned Parenthood that serve low-income women and offer way more services like prenatal care and birth control counseling are harder and harder to access for more and more women.
posted by rtha at 7:09 AM on May 7 [28 favorites]


Xarnop, I think you may be extrapolating kind of broadly. When I lived in St. Louis, and now that i am in Ohio with limited insurance, all my gynecological care occurred at clinics which were primarily targeted at poor, generally minority women. All of them also provided abortion, so I assume they were "liberal." But they were all family planning places primarily and made contraception available at a lower cost and had explicit linkages with adoption counselors and organizations. But they also all provided abortion.

I don't know about the St. Louis clinic, but the one in Ohio lost a lot of funding and some grant opportunities -and others were shut down when our Republican governor and legislature pushed through punitive funding and other regulations for clinics which provide abortions. I don't doubt that on an individual level, there is the potential for problems like the ones you describe. But on a structural, societal basis, "liberals" are not the one making access to true reproductive justice increasingly more difficult, especially for the most vulnerable women in our society.
posted by ChuraChura at 7:13 AM on May 7 [3 favorites]


What I am saying is that parenting resources fit into the picture not just abortion access. And I agree that I think liberals will be the ones to lead the way in remedying that if it's possible, however when I talk to most liberals about reproductive justice they think it means abortion access and that is it, because that is the solution to being in an unplanned pregnancy. I am simply pointing out there is more to it and supporting women with a range of perspectives on what their pregnancy means and what their desired outcome is encompasses more than making everyone agree to have no feelings about abortion or that seeing abortion as purely a medical procedure is the right way for people who support women and choice to feel about.
posted by xarnop at 7:17 AM on May 7 [3 favorites]


If you said "reproductive justice" then I would presume you were using an unusual phrase for abortion rights. Or I'd ask for clarification, because it's not a term I know.

One the kid is born I wouldn't call that a reproductive issue any more. There might be matters of poverty, or access to public transportation, or housing, or daycare, or what have you -- but I wouldn't think of it as "reproductive."
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:25 AM on May 7 [2 favorites]


And if we don't believe women deserve the resources and cultural support they need to parent, isn't that also hating women for having sex?
posted by xarnop at 7:25 AM on May 7 [3 favorites]


And if we don't believe women deserve the resources and cultural support they need to parent, isn't that also hating women for having sex?

No one is suggesting that here there or anywhere. Again. This is very far afield. Turning your own interpretation of an anecdote into the main topic of the thread is silly.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:28 AM on May 7 [12 favorites]


And if we don't believe women deserve the resources and cultural support they need to parent, isn't that also hating women for having sex?

Absolutely! It's just that I don't think the phrase "reproductive justice" makes sense. But looking on-line I see it's a term that's frequently used and I somehow missed it. Carry on.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:28 AM on May 7


xarnop told her story about her own reproductive choices and how she felt about the support she received. that seems just as on topic of any of the women telling the stories of their reproductive choices in here. if anyone is trying to make it the main topic of the thread it seems like the people who are pulling it apart bit by bit.
posted by nadawi at 7:32 AM on May 7 [3 favorites]


"IMO abortion should be the default response to any unplanned pregnancy." was in fact stated here and I was talking about how that common perspective that I have heard hear and elsewhere ALL THE TIME does in fact play into harming mothers and families, damaging choice and should not be part of women's empowerment ideology.

Pretending I'm pulling things out of thin air is disingenuous, the remarks are made all the time, they just don't happen to hurt you so you don't see them.
posted by xarnop at 7:42 AM on May 7 [7 favorites]


And if we don't believe women deserve the resources and cultural support they need to parent, isn't that also hating women for having sex?

Liberal legislatures and governors and voters are not the ones passing legislation that cuts or eliminates access to health clinics that not only offer abortion services but also birth control, prenatal, well-baby, and other family planning services. It's not liberals who want to not pay for health insurance that will be used for birth control.

If you have actual evidence of such - not just rhetoric, but real-life examples of liberals campaigning against sex education, access to low-cost birth control, and the like, then please provide it.
posted by rtha at 8:07 AM on May 7 [10 favorites]


I agree with Jacqueline. Abortion is great for women and children. Unplanned pregnancies don't just happen to poor women, either, so that conflation is not accurate.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:16 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


"IMO abortion should be the default response to any unplanned pregnancy." was in fact stated here and I was talking about how that common perspective that I have heard hear and elsewhere ALL THE TIME does in fact play into harming mothers and families, damaging choice and should not be part of women's empowerment ideology.


I feel like people are seeing "default" and thinking it means "mandatory." What it means is "default." As in:

A woman discovers she is pregnant unexpectedly; the first thing she thinks is, "well, I don't HAVE to have this baby. But I COULD."

Making abortion the default response to an *unplanned* pregnancy would just mean that it is destigmatized sufficiently that "choice" enters into the woman's equation from minute one.
posted by like_a_friend at 8:17 AM on May 7 [27 favorites]


Unplanned does not mean unwanted.
posted by xarnop at 8:17 AM on May 7 [4 favorites]


"I hadn't been using any kind of birth control, which is crazy, I know."

Doctors who smoke and IT workers who don't make backups and nutritionists who eat junk food also exist. Knowing what you should do, and even advising people on what they should do, does not make you able to follow your own advice.
posted by alasdair at 8:19 AM on May 7 [9 favorites]


Although I should note that I didn't agree with NARAL about being willing to kill the ACA over abortion, because poor women deserve every kind of health care, including non-abortion reproductive and pediatric care. So I agree to some extent with xarnop that abortion choice isn't the only issue of reproductive rights for poor women. Liberals largely agree with me, of course.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:20 AM on May 7 [2 favorites]


It's so stupid that women getting pregnant via foolishness or carelessness is a critique lobbed at abortion. Foolish behavior and poor decision-making on the part of the would-be mother is, if anything, an excellent argument for abortion!
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:23 AM on May 7 [19 favorites]


rtha- I frequently try to help women in crisis pregnancies and I just wish there were more liberal orgs that would help me with this. The resources are scarce and inadequate from a child wellness and development perspective. Again, I think it will be liberals who will be likely to help solve this because it is liberals who are working at dismantling classism and ablism it existing women's empowerment ideology and creating better support structures. I'm just saying we have a ways to go before we actually see liberal orgs that are helping young or struggling moms without all the christianity or shame framework being hurled at them. I think liberals have the overall ideology that will lead to more positive social change but the idea that abortion solves unplanned pregnancy and therefore if women choose to parent they are choosing poverty (and they and their children don't deserve help out of it) is an actually ideology leading voters and people's perceptions about how to help families and what women should be pressured to do inan unplanned pregnancy, and it also leads to stigma and poor treatment of women who choose to birth their children, with the assumption being they are choosing poverty and are not worthy of assistance out of it.
posted by xarnop at 8:25 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


I'm just saying we have a ways to go before we actually see liberal orgs that are helping young or struggling moms without all the christianity or shame framework being hurled at them. I think liberals have the overall ideology that will lead to more positive social change but the idea that abortion solves unplanned pregnancy and therefore if women choose to parent they are choosing poverty (and they and their children don't deserve help out of it) is an actually ideology leading voters and people's perceptions about how to help families and what women should be pressured to do inan unplanned pregnancy, and it also leads to stigma and poor treatment of women who choose to birth their children, with the assumption being they are choosing poverty and are not worthy of assistance out of it.

Can you name one of these liberal orgs that are hurling shame and Christianity at struggling moms? Because that really does not square with the world as I've experienced it. Same goes for the whole "liberals don't want to give assistance to poor moms" thing. I don't know how you define liberal but I don't think it's a dictionary I've ever seen...
posted by palomar at 8:34 AM on May 7 [4 favorites]


It was a long time ago but a friend of a friend who was unexpectedly pregnant got counseling about services and options at....wait.....Planned Parenthood. From what I remember (I heard all this after the fact), they talked to her about abortion and also about keeping it, and got paperwork together for WIC and stuff.

Here's the list of services from a Planned Parenthood in San Jose, and they are not an outlier of a PP for this:

San Jose Health Center offers the following pregnancy related services:

pregnancy testing
abortion services
abortion referrals
adoption referrals
fertility awareness education
pregnancy planning services
prenatal services
postpartum exams
trained staff to discuss your options with you if you are pregnant
trained staff to talk with you about early pregnancy loss (miscarriage)
ultrasounds for gestational dating
miscarriage services


Of course, as I keep repeating, clinics like this are fewer and farther between than ever. And it's not because liberals.
posted by rtha at 8:38 AM on May 7 [8 favorites]


I agree that individual liberals may have a blind spot, in that because so much of the world screams OMG BABIEZ ALL THE TIME BABIEZ BABIEZ, we sort of assume that a woman who wants to have a baby....well, nobody's gonna stop her, right? Because "baby" is the Right and True and Correct thing for a woman, as we all know, because nobody will ever stop screaming that at us.

But the reason liberal organizations are not able to provide ample assistance to women having babies and raising small children is...we are still spending all of our money trying to secure women's basic humanity. I'm involved with a large reproductive justice organization and I can tell you, we are fucking broke. We would LOVE to offer solid financial and logistical assistance to mothers of young children and new babies, and we do so as much as possible, but we are struggling to keep the doors open, and to keep abortion from becoming a Gerri Santoro situation again, and it is really truly very close to becoming one.

So yeah. We would love to do more. Get the rich folks you know to write us some checks, then, maybe? Because we can only do as much as we can do, and what makes things possible is money.

Unplanned does not mean unwanted.

I mean, here's the thing. If I were to get pregnant right now, it wouldn't matter whether I wanted the baby or not--I ain't gonna have it. My 100% default response to any and all pregnancies in my body is abortion, as soon as humanly possible. I grew up dirt poor and I am still mostly dirt poor and I will not force a child to live the childhood I had. This is just my own personal life ethos, naturally, and I don't expect anyone else to share it.

But having abortion as my default for an unplanned pregnancy does not forbid me, nor anyone else, from making a different decision. What it does is make sure that any baby that did turn up in my life was there by conscious choice, not by default, or by lack of other choices. And another part of my personal ethos is that nobody should be brought into this shitty, stupid world except by conscious choice.
posted by like_a_friend at 8:39 AM on May 7 [15 favorites]


I can not name any liberal orgs in my city that are helping struggling moms with housing-- my point is that they are left with the Christian orgs who offer maternity homes (with a prolife and adoption agenda) and counseling that is biased and creepy. I hate referring people to these orgs which is why I wish there were more feminist or reproductive justice based orgs doing the work of supporting women in unplanned pregnancy with the task of parenting effectively across their child's life.
posted by xarnop at 8:40 AM on May 7 [3 favorites]


> I can not name any liberal orgs in my city that are helping struggling moms with housing

Do you not have a YWCA?
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:43 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


“I'm not sure if you're talking to me here, but I'll assume you aren't because I did RTFA (both of them) before posting, so I'm not sure where you would have gotten the idea I didn't from my post.”'

I derived the “crazy” comment from her. Not in a straight liner progression. But it’s her word choice and I riffed on that. Ironic she chose that picture, no?
Ok, you know what that particular picture reminds me of? Natalie Portman.
A beautiful, sane, quite competent actress, no?
Good thing she looks exactly the same in every still. They probably use that still for every head shot and every audition. Because discrimination in visually presenting yourself whether you are smilling or about to murder someone is sexist. Or something.

Certainly though - point taken in general, it’s been a problem since the 50’s and the stereotypical hysterical housewife on t.v. (and indeed back to at least the Victorian era), but I don’t know how many times I have to clarify I’m looking at the media as presented. My consideration of her as a person, the high esteem I hold for her personally, should be obvious to anyone with eyes to read.

"that Emily Letts is supposed to be winning people over, is stupid and misguided.”

So she shouldn’t “share my story and inspire other women to stop the guilt”? I mean it's pretty much her thesis statement. And I think more people generally should see the film and know this information. Why shouldn't it be given the maximum opportunity to spread?

“responding to the original commentary by accepting the premise and then pushing it to an even uglier place by bringing in commentary about her looks, even if done in jest, is really pretty awful and not at all funny.”

That’s why so many Irish infants get eaten year after year still, since the awful publication of that Swift book. Writers like that have no conception. I mean, people REALLY ate babies for years after that. They really really really did. Google it. And cannabilism of infants is really pretty awful and not at all funny.

God forbid I think enough of a person to joke with them as an equal or use humor to bridge a gap between understanding. Man, I'm such a bastard. I'm sorry, I'll go join the fantaically pro-life people and throw bricks and burn down shelers, shall I? You know to properly dissolve all humor and erode my self-awareness and sense of irony.


“And sometimes even if you're a thoughtful person... you're a shallow pig.”

Right. I’ll just trot myself back into the garage. How about this – erase everything else I’ve said and I’ll say this. She’s awesome. The message is great. The presentation needs a little work.


“Can everyone, moving forward, please take it as a given that everyone, INCLUDING the woman who wrote this article, agrees that it was stupid to not have been using contraception prior to her abortion?”


No, see, if we take her at her word and respect her mistake as we respect our own human errors, that makes us shallow pigs. If we willfully ignore that she is capable of any error at all, and we refrain from noting any presentation or rhetorical mistakes, only then is that legitimate commentary.

“So uh, sorry that it called in an air strike and made you feel attacked to the extent that it seems to have. I was just really apalled that someone would look at the first picture and write what you wrote, since the second one never showed up for me.”


No problem. But you know men never make meesticks … myst… miztak .. er ….
posted by Smedleyman at 8:48 AM on May 7


from where i'm sitting it doesn't seem like you guys are disagreeing with each other so much as talking past each other.

we sort of assume that a woman who wants to have a baby....well, nobody's gonna stop her, right? Because "baby" is the Right and True and Correct thing for a woman, as we all know, because nobody will ever stop screaming that at us.

yeah, this is totally how this happens - except i think some people with that blind spot forget that there might be women in their group who do find it hard to choose to have a baby under difficult circumstances and they do feel personal judgement from those they thought would support their choice no matter what. i think it's understandable that it happens - people fighting for abortion access are basically in a warzone fighting against terrorists - they just want to counteract all the anti-choice bullshit as loudly and aggressively as possible - but they can go overboard if the target is someone who is generally pro-choice, but choosing to have their baby.
posted by nadawi at 8:49 AM on May 7 [4 favorites]


I can not name any liberal orgs in my city that are helping struggling moms with housing

I feel like goalposts are getting moved and moved and moved. You seem to be saying that unless some unnamed and amorphous group of liberals provides *all* possible options for pregnant women everywhere, then liberals are actually worse than people who are trying (and succeeding) at removing options from pregnant women. You have fixated on this "abortion solves unplanned pregnancy the end" as a thing that all liberals do and that that is the only thing they do, and that is wrong and false and the more you insist on that being the sole narrative, the more it sounds like you're willfully ignoring all the other stuff that people here are saying and giving evidence for that explicitly counters that narrative.
posted by rtha at 8:50 AM on May 7 [33 favorites]


I forget what it's called, or i'd link it, but there's a thought experiment that suggests how strongly possible dangers or rewards motivate us, and it depends on two factors - how immediate the risk or reward is, and how certain it is. Something that is both certain and immediate more strongly motivates us than something that is both delayed and uncertain.

Certain, Immediate
Certain, Delayed
Uncertain, Immediate
Uncertain, Delayed

I think they are ordered most to least motivational.

Smoking and unhealthy eating, while undoubtedly dangerous fall into the uncertain, delayed category; the downsides are neither immediate or certain. unprotected sex falls into any of the other three, depending on what your exact definition of delay and certainty is. I'd say that, over time, risk of pregnancy after unprotected sex (supported by the rythym method or not) falls strongly into the certain and immediate categories.

My point is really, are Doctors who smoke and Nutritionists who eat junk food in the same league as a person who works in a sexual health clinic not using appropriate contraception?

I suppose it comes down to the perceived certainties. I guess the rythym method has some support in the US?
posted by trif at 8:52 AM on May 7


I agree with rtha.
posted by palomar at 8:52 AM on May 7


> are Doctors who smoke and Nutritionists who eat junk food in the same league as a person who works in a sexual health clinic not using appropriate contraception

Yes, in the category of "People who give good advice to others but don't follow it themselves." See also: all parents.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:53 AM on May 7 [3 favorites]


What? I did not say ALL liberals do this! Some liberals are bad-ass and do reproductive justice like awesome sauce pro's. Some people here on metafilter and elsewhere don't. And those cultural ideologies make it harder for the awesome sauce liberals to get full access to support viewed more favorably by the public.

I have just pointed out one harmful narrative that still crops up in women's empowerment discussions and I don't think it belongs.

Conservatives are terrible at women's empowerment, there's no way they're going to get this right, that's why I'm asking the liberals to.
posted by xarnop at 8:54 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


> I have just pointed out one harmful narrative that still crops up in women's empowerment discussions

Where? I've never heard anyone say that if abortion was easily available that all other feminist issues would take care of themselves.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:56 AM on May 7 [2 favorites]


I suppose, what I meant was, the risk motivators for smoking doctors and junk food gym rats are less strong in my mind than that for the unprotected sex sexual health worker.

The risks seem to be in different leagues.
posted by trif at 8:56 AM on May 7


Depends on how much one smokes and how much sex one has.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:59 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


madamjujujive: "I have only felt violently angry a few times in my life -- and by that I mean a deep yearning to inflict physical harm on another human creature. Once was when I accompanied a friend to a clinic for her abortion and we had to go through the picketers. My God, that was terrible, those terrible people."

When I was in college I volunteered at a Planned Parenthood and one of my jobs was to walk people past the protestors into the clinic. It was a fucking nightmare. Those protestors were awful people. Just awful. Planned Parenthood provides medical services and support to people who are sexually active, not just those who are seeking to terminate a pregnancy. They offer STD counseling and treatment, pregnancy testing and counseling, help women who have had miscarriages, etc., But no matter what someone coming into the clinic needed, they were forced to deal with people shouting at, harassing them and trying to block or intimidate them from receiving medical care.

There were a few people who put their kids on the protest line, and I think that's what I found most infuriating. Often under five years old, holding signs as a prop designed to guilt-trip. It was grotesque. And wearying to witness, day in and out.
posted by zarq at 8:59 AM on May 7 [5 favorites]


I can not name any liberal orgs in my city that are helping struggling moms with housing-- my point is that they are left with the Christian orgs who offer maternity homes (with a prolife and adoption agenda) and counseling that is biased and creepy. I hate referring people to these orgs which is why I wish there were more feminist or reproductive justice based orgs doing the work of supporting women in unplanned pregnancy with the task of parenting effectively across their child's life.

It's not the fault of "liberals" that these organizations aren't around. They are being starved of funding, run out of towns (and entire states), and intimidated by private organizations and well-funded politicians from providing anything that could mention abortion. It's possible that in the not-too-distant future that contraception itself could be removed from the conversation as well. And on top of all that, creating nurturing space for mothers in difficult situations is now one of the biggest targets of conservatives, to the point that it, too, is pretty much impossible to counsel on. Blaming the people trying to help these women for not offering solutions when they're forbidden to talk about 2/3rds of the solutions and the other 1/3rd is being removed an option seems really counterproductive.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:59 AM on May 7 [16 favorites]


Wikipedia gives me this for 'reproductive justice'. Is that what you mean? Is that how it's used? Because otherwise, housing and other kinds of social assistance imo fall under a general commitment to a welfare state, which is 'liberal' territory, absolutely. But expecting Planned Parenthood to manage that is a little.. unrealistic.

Also, ask me if I GAF what people think about my empathic reserves. I save them for the born.
posted by cotton dress sock at 9:03 AM on May 7


risk of pregnancy after unprotected sex (supported by the rythym method or not) falls strongly into the certain and immediate categories.

it really doesn't. unprotected sex doesn't immediately end in pregnancy a majority of the time, i'd say. some would suggest that because my husband and i employ almost exclusively pulling out that i am having unprotected sex and yet, i've never had a kid or an abortion. if unprotected sex was always met with an immediate baby there would be no fertility issues.
posted by nadawi at 9:04 AM on May 7 [3 favorites]


No the goal posts haven't moved, I think when I talk "reproductive justice" I'm talking about a movement that address women's obstacles to full empowerment in their reproductive choice, so yeah that included the resources to make those choices possible, and it particularly arose out of the class and race issues facing women of color for their reproductive choices and the shaming used against them for choosing to birth when young or single or poor and the traditionally white feminist movement that decided for them that they are causing their own poverty by having children while poor and other bullshit.

Many women face all KINDS of people trying to control their reproductive choices including offering pressure and shame for NOT choosing abortion.

Maybe it would help to read about the kind of reproductive justice I'm talking about--
"The isolation of abortion from other social justice issues that concern all our communities contributes to, rather than counters, reproductive oppression. Abortion isolated from other social justice/human rights issues neglects issues of economic justice, the environment, criminal justice, immigrants’ rights, militarism, discrimination based on race and sexual identity, and a host of other concerns directly affecting an individual woman’s decision-making process. Of equal concern, support for abortion rights is even frequently isolated from other reproductive health issues because abortion is deeply stigmatized by both sides of the debate rather than being seen as part of the continuum of women’s lived reproductive health experiences and part of their human rights entitlements."
posted by xarnop at 9:05 AM on May 7 [3 favorites]


nadawi: we sort of assume that a woman who wants to have a baby....well, nobody's gonna stop her, right? Because "baby" is the Right and True and Correct thing for a woman, as we all know, because nobody will ever stop screaming that at us.

yeah, this is totally how this happens - except i think some people with that blind spot forget that there might be women in their group who do find it hard to choose to have a baby under difficult circumstances and they do feel personal judgement from those they thought would support their choice no matter what


Except the examples provided were mentors and friends, not "liberals". Show me a non-idiosyncratic liberal media outlet, liberal politician, or Planned Parenthood doctor making that sort of judgement.

Comparing that to the overwhelming cutural narrative of "this is the hardest thing ever/ a tragedy/necessary evil" just makes no sense.

"Reproductive justice" doesn't need to include a strong defense against pro-abortionists pushing their agenda, because that isn't happening.
posted by spaltavian at 9:07 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


IME mostly it is because the people who believe that seem to genuinely dislike women but are not comfortable admitting it outright.
...
It has always, always been about controlling women's sexuality.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/127559/Education-Trumps-Gender-Predicting-Support-Abortion.aspx

52% of women think abortion should be legal "only under certain circumstances." I suppose it's possible that 52% of women genuinely dislike women, but it strikes me as unlikely.

But that's the thing about this topic. People on Metafilter think anyone who isn't all "hooray for abortion" secretly hates women. People on National Review think anyone who isn't "ban it all now" secretly hates children. So everyone argues with the secret agenda they're absolutely convinced the other person has, rather than listening to the other person, regardless of their gender.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 9:08 AM on May 7 [2 favorites]


52% of women think abortion should be legal "only under certain circumstances." I suppose it's possible that 52% of women genuinely dislike women but it strikes me as unlikely.

I suppose 52% of women have strong opinions on the sexual morality of the other 48% of women, and that strikes me as a metaphysical certainty.
posted by spaltavian at 9:10 AM on May 7 [20 favorites]


My point is really, are Doctors who smoke and Nutritionists who eat junk food in the same league as a person who works in a sexual health clinic not using appropriate contraception?

She does say she was tracking her ovulation cycles. That could mean anything from the old-fashioned rhythm method (which is not as reliable as most contraception, but is still a lot more reliable than using nothing at all) to FAM, which is more reliable than condoms.

I mean, it doesn't matter for the conversation about abortion and it's been more than hashed out over here anyway, but: she wasn't actually taking no precautions against pregnancy.
posted by Catseye at 9:10 AM on May 7 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it's kind of hard for liberals to fund a network of charitable orgs to support underprivileged moms through whatever reproductive decision they might make, no matter the financial costs to the charitable org, when right now we're fighting tooth and nail to ensure access to affordable contraception for anyone who wants it, AND we can't even keep the existing underprivileged children in this country properly fed and clothed and housed. Resources are stretched thin, and we can't have everything. A network of secular, judgement-free homes where poor expectant mothers could live and receive healthcare and assistance so they can keep their babies? That's so far away from where we are right now that it's almost laughable that this is being pushed as a legitimate grievance against liberals for not doing enough.
posted by palomar at 9:11 AM on May 7 [16 favorites]


Except the examples provided were mentors and friends, not "liberals".

i don't agree with her use of liberals upthread - i feel like she was talking about mentors and friends who were liberals - people she thought would support her because of their politics. i've talked to other women who have been in similar circumstances - one was a chaperone at a clinic, and was browbeaten by her liberal friends for wanting to keep her baby. admitting it happens isn't saying that planned parenthood needs to change or that a liberal media outlet is failing. we can all personally do better in being accepting of lived experiences different than our own and that's probably extra true in really polarized issues like childbirth and abortion.

on all the "here's what liberal organizations need to do" stuff - i'm with the thread that there's just not resources or reserves to even approach that now.
posted by nadawi at 9:13 AM on May 7 [4 favorites]


Many women face all KINDS of people trying to control their reproductive choices including offering pressure and shame for NOT choosing abortion.

Given that our cultural default is to shame women regardless of the choices we make, I cannot tell you this never happens. I would be astonished if it didn't.

But it's very weird to me and very discouraging that you demonize liberals in a context where organizations (tiny! shoestring! run by women of color!) that provide sexual health education and outreach are struck by arsonists and physicians who provide medically necessary procedures to women who wish they didn't have to have them are murdered.
posted by rtha at 9:15 AM on May 7 [19 favorites]


I went to planned parenthood and they certainly had no resources or counseling to support women who wanted to parent. They were shocked I asked and asked if I was sure I didn't want an abortion. I just thought pro-choice actually meant that... pro-choice--- in reality most pro-choicers I know have their own bias and that bias ads to stigma and othering of single moms, including things like the 69 percent of all americans who disapprove of single mothers.

YEESH I am not trying to demonize liberals, I am trying to say that it should not be cool for people who are pro-choice to demonize people who DO think abortion is a big deal and don't want one by telling everyone abortion has to be a morally neutral issue.

That's all I'm saying. I think I can like pro-choice ideology and not like specific arguments I see people make for it that I think harms other women and contibutes to stigma and disenfranchisement of women who choose to parent in difficult circumstances.
posted by xarnop at 9:19 AM on May 7 [2 favorites]


It doesn't make sense to me that she said both, "I hadn't been using any kind of birth control", and, "I tracked my ovulation cycle". Most health organizations count "fertility awareness" (i.e. tracking one's ovulation cycle) among birth control methods, along with e.g. the male condom.

To compare, CDC lists the typical failure rates for the condom at 18%, versus 24% for ovulation tracking. Not a material difference by anyone's standard.
posted by rada at 9:21 AM on May 7 [2 favorites]


> I went to planned parenthood and they certainly had no resources or counseling to support women who wanted to parent

That's weird, because they offer prenatal care. Or at least they try to; not all of their offices have the funding for it, I'm sure, and maybe the clinic you went to was one of those.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:23 AM on May 7 [3 favorites]


I'm done here, if anyone wants to genuinely engage with me personally other I can be reached by memail.
posted by xarnop at 9:25 AM on May 7 [2 favorites]


I am not sure I follow what's wrong with advising someone to have an abortion if they are unhappy with the circumstances of their pregnancy. If a friend or mentoree came to me and said she was pregnant and it was going to be a struggle and she wasn't sure what to do, I would point out that abortion was an option and explain the process if she was unfamiliar.

I wouldn't, like, force her to have one or shun her if she didn't, but I would consider either decision a choice. I would believe that if she chose to have the child under the circumstances of current local available resources or lack thereof, that she made that choice on purpose. I believe this of all my friends, because I believe they are of sound mind.

I'll still vote for better resources and pay my taxes and agitate, by whatever means I have available, for improved services, but I also know that it is an uphill battle and my friend is probably not going to benefit from dramatically improved options any time soon.

Am I supposed to not mention abortion because I'm a liberal? Am I supposed to say, "Well, friend, you should have this baby because in a just world you would have all the support and resources you require? I mean, you and your child personally will probably suffer tremendous hardship, but that's unfair and that's why you should suffer and why I can't suggest you instead just not have a baby right now."

That's weird and I would hope my friend would be all, "Are you having a stroke?"

One Freaky Planned Parenthood doesn't speak for all liberals. That was some kind of bizarre customer service situation that probably should have been reported to management.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:25 AM on May 7 [11 favorites]


it's not that weird that she said she didn't use birth control and that she tracked ovulation. i've been told by lots of people, including my gynecologist, that ovulation tracking and pulling out aren't birth control.
posted by nadawi at 9:27 AM on May 7


Yeah, the CDC likely categorizes tracking as birth control for statistical reasons to compare it against the control group of not using any method at all, but it's very easy to imagine most health care/public health workers not referring to it as birth control in the colloquial, everyday context of their work.
posted by superfluousm at 9:31 AM on May 7


Planned Parenthood calls both methods birth control on their website. Effective birth control, even, no warnings against.

I just stumbled across that about a month ago and nearly had the abovementioned stroke. But...there it is.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:34 AM on May 7


[Oh, I did just find some mildly worded warnings, but it's not the sort of warnings I would give if I was writing that copy.]
posted by Lyn Never at 9:36 AM on May 7


My guess is that even while it has a measured efficacy level and is considered, scientifically, a form of birth control, the author (being a sex educator) was also aware that ovulation tracking is not considered by the wider public to be an effective method, particularly for a single woman, as it offers no STD protection.

In the popular media, people tracking ovulation are usually trying to GET pregnant. (Just anecdotally, the only woman I know who uses this method of birth control ... has five children. Let's just say her advocacy for the method is less than thoroughly convincing.)
posted by like_a_friend at 9:39 AM on May 7 [2 favorites]


I volunteered at a Planned Parenthood and one of my jobs was to walk people past the protestors into the clinic.
Been through that myself. Sort of satisfying for me being a large guy. Some older man yelled something at my girlfriend and I just grabbed him. "Yeah? I'm sorry I didn't hear you. What was that again?" And he STFU.
And so did pretty much everyone around him. Did I mention I'm muscular and have obvious callouses on my knuckles? They were still growing at that time.
When the police came over I let him go. He said he wanted to press charges against me. The one of the cops said "Well what did you say to her?" He repeated it. The cop said "You can't say something like that to a man's woman and not expect a response. Move along."

And that's how I first learned about Illinois' wonderful "fighting words" law.

Worked against me though at one of the pregnancy clinics. An older lady insisted I hold a plastic fetus in the palm of my hand. Pushed it into my hand. Quite agressively. Made marks in my wrist with her long nails.
Because, as a large man, I must have been demanding my girlfriend get an abortion, no? I must have been forcing her. I'm a large, muscular man. Therefore I care only about using women.
So yeah, appearances.

I suspect had I been in a suit or were I a woman or had the comfortable freindly look like Mark Ruffalo instead of the always vaguely pissed off look ofSam Eagle I wouldn't have caught as much flak.

But that's the thing, you'd never know who I am or what I think inside unless you take a few seconds to thing about situation and setting and what I'm actually doing. I'm there with my girlfriend supporting her. Perhaps I should have changed clothes, but most of my life then was the gym anyway and I didn't care what message I was sending. I've learned since.

i've been told by lots of people, including my gynecologist, that ovulation tracking and pulling out aren't birth control.


Does it matter? At least as far as the issue in question goes, is it relevant? Either she was practicing birth control or she wasn't. If she was, she got pregnant anyway. If she wasn't, she made a mistake, which she admits to, and got pregnant anyway.

From there, she decided to send a very positive, very critical message to women who might be thinking about having an abortion who have misgivings or fear the procedure that there is nothing to fear from the process.

That's what should be the takeaway here. The common perception is that abortion procedures are invasive, physically/emotionally painful and guilt ridden.
The reality is, they have no reason to be any of these.
Anything that says otherwise is an artifically constructed argument in contrast to this, very real, demonstrated reality.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:40 AM on May 7 [5 favorites]


i'm not sure why you quoted me there - i was responding to a specific comment in the thread about someone's confusion. i don't think it matters how she got pregnant.
posted by nadawi at 9:45 AM on May 7


like_a_friend - well next time you think about people who use ovulation tracking and withdrawal, you can think of your friend with 5 kids and me with none! :) to add another anecdote - my mom had 3 babies while using either a condom or pills.
posted by nadawi at 9:47 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


"You can't say something like that to a man's woman and not expect a response. Move along."

I know it was a good thing in these circumstances but, man, bleah. Attitudes that can lead to an armed officer of the state referring to "a man's woman" without irony are toxic, and a big part of the problem with attitudes about women's sexual and reproductive agency.
posted by KathrynT at 9:48 AM on May 7 [23 favorites]


Nadawi--no doubt in my mind that ovulation tracking works, and is even pretty simple if you have a really regular cycle. And obviously whatever she's doing must work on some level, because otherwise by now she'd have at least 9 kids, and not "merely" 5!

But you must admit, the optics of lecturing a child-free person on your chosen form of BC, while one infant is at the breast and a toddler is tugging at your shirt and three other kids are running around the house...are not what a PR firm would ever suggest. :)
posted by like_a_friend at 10:00 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


xarnop: "I went to planned parenthood and they certainly had no resources or counseling to support women who wanted to parent. "

That's unfortunate. :(

The one I worked for offered counseling and medical care for pregnancy, prenatal services, post-childbirth, and parents of kids and teens, plus written materials like pamphlets and brochures. I know there was a stash of prenatal vitamins and folic acid on hand too.

They had a counselor on call who helped with grief from miscarriage/pregnancy loss as well as post-partum issues. They also had people they could refer if someone came in and needed a service that they didn't directly provide. Such as say, lactation nurses.

But what is available might depend on the size and location of the facility.
posted by zarq at 10:09 AM on May 7 [10 favorites]


i'm not sure why you quoted me there

Fair enough. My mistake.

Attitudes that can lead to an armed officer of the state referring to "a man's woman" without irony
I suspect he was practicing verbal judo. That is, putting it in terms his target can understand.
I've heard south side chicago cops adopt a "Y'all" when dealing with tourists from the south and switch to "youse guys" going back to the locals.
Of course, just a suspicion. But it did diffuse the situation.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:46 AM on May 7


ThatFuzzyBastard: " But that's the thing about this topic. People on Metafilter think anyone who isn't all "hooray for abortion" secretly hates women.

There's a difference between being "hooray for abortion" and being against legislation that would completely deny American women the right to have one. I think you're right that people can be convinced that others have agendas. But whether they do or not, the concerns raised are still very real. Legislation that restricts womens' bodily autonomy regardless of circumstance is dangerous. I think it does a lot more harm than good.

I'm pro-choice not because I think abortion is fantastic, but because I don't think the government should have the right to tell women what they can and can't do with their own bodies. It especially annoys me that the groups who have been actively, vocally lobbying for Roe to be overturned since day one are doing so because they want to impose their religious beliefs on everyone, including folks who don't share them.

I think if you dropped the generalizations and actually asked people on this site what they think, you'd find that our attitudes about abortion vary widely.
posted by zarq at 10:59 AM on May 7 [9 favorites]


I find it troubling that the person who filmed this is so flippant about it.

I'm prolife. But even back in the day when I wasn't, neither I nor anyone else I knew (to include women I knew who had abortions) took them lightly.

Abortion ends life. (Whether you consider it potential or actual.) Respect for human life, for what it means to be human, that is not something to be casual about. If for no other reason than respect for the child who will never now be born, or the unique person who will never now exist as part of our society.

Lack of respect breeds lack of respect in other areas. I can only hope that this woman did indeed fake being pregnant to make this video, because as odious as that might be it wouldn't be as heartbreakingly callous as this presents to be.

I could only wish that women who get pregnant could at least have every resource available to her to have her baby so that no one would ever feel their only choice would be to abort.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:03 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


Why is she flippant about it? What evidence is there for that?
posted by agregoli at 11:08 AM on May 7 [4 favorites]


Also, my only choice would always be to abort. I don't want to have children, and that's my right. it has nothing to do with how supportive society is towards mothers. The government should not be able to dictate what medical procedures I get to have.
posted by agregoli at 11:10 AM on May 7 [9 favorites]


Abortion ends life. (Whether you consider it potential or actual.)

Many people don't agree with this. Stating it as though it's a fact you can look up in a textbook doesn't change that.

I could only wish that women who get pregnant could at least have every resource available to her to have her baby so that no one would ever feel their only choice would be to abort.

Better social support across the board, including prenatal and family care, would improve the lives of women and men in a number of ways, I agree.

But the flip side of this perspective suggests that the natural inclination of any woman should be to have a child - which just isn't the case. Even in a perfect utopia where a pregnancy carried no financial, medical, or professional implications, some women would not want to have children, full-stop. Their choice matters, too.
posted by superfluousm at 11:11 AM on May 7 [23 favorites]


What a presumptuous, and truly vile, comment.

You know nothing about this brave woman's situation other than she had a medical abortion.

Lack of respect breeds lack of respect in other areas.

What are you afraid she is going to do? Talk back to her parents?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:14 AM on May 7 [11 favorites]


I'm curious about what, specifically, makes this "heartbreakingly callous". Is it simply that this woman has views that are different from yours, and the decision she made is not one you support, ergo it is bad and wrong? Because that's how it reads from here.
posted by palomar at 11:15 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


(Personally I think it's far more heartbreaking and callous to force a woman to go through with a pregnancy she doesn't want and/or can't afford, but obviously that's not a problem for a lot of people.)
posted by palomar at 11:17 AM on May 7 [12 favorites]


Yes, I strongly disagree that her attitude towards her abortion is 'heartbreakingly callous'. She strikes me as considered, ethical, and using her experience as an opportunity to share with and educate others—possibly at the risk of significant personal harrassment. I consider that generous and courageous.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 11:18 AM on May 7 [7 favorites]


I had an abortion in 1972. Yes, before Roe v Wade. I had to fly to NYC, where it was legal, and where there was no 30-day state residence requirement, to get it. I had to talk privately to a local doctor to confirm that no one was coercing me, that this was what I wanted, and that I felt carrying the pregnancy to term would seriously affect my mental health.

The setting was very hospital-like, and the procedure was very similar to this one, from what I could see.

However, I was a white middle class high school senior who happened to have an older brother living in NYC. My experience was not the norm. Did I take the decision seriously? Hell yes I did. I was months away from getting out of high school and then out of town, months away from taking the first steps into my adult life, my vision of which did not include being a teenaged mother. I was terrified, not of having an abortion, but that something might prevent me from getting one. If my only option had been a back alley and/or a coat hanger, that is where I would have gone.

I didn't then, and I still don't, feel bad about it. It wasn't a big deal, other than the fact that even for a privileged young woman like myself, everything had to fall into place perfectly to allow it to happen. IOW, the only big deal about it was that others wanted it to be a big deal.

Years later, I read an article that said that women who feel guilt or depression after an abortion are those whose families and communities insist that they should feel guilt and sadness. So for all those who say "THIS is how you SHOULD feel about it," fuck you. You don't get to tell any woman how she "should' feel about it.

It makes me furious when people prattle on about "respect for life" when the topic comes up. As soon as this phrase is uttered, the woman in question has been rendered NOT-life: she is now nothing more to you than an incubator for the life YOU think is more important than hers. I've got news for you: Her life is the one that matters. Her life, her body, her choice.

Abortion ends life? That's just your opinion. And even if it were my opinion too, it's still none of your business which life I choose. As far as I am concerned, if I had been forced to become a mother at 18, it would have ended MY life.
posted by caryatid at 11:21 AM on May 7 [59 favorites]


Lack of respect breeds lack of respect in other areas.

What are you afraid she is going to do? Talk back to her parents
?

Abandon veganism and start eating things with faces

:(
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:30 AM on May 7 [5 favorites]


and arms, don't forget arms
posted by Greg Nog at 11:36 AM on May 7 [2 favorites]


i like all my meals with extra faces and arms
posted by elizardbits at 11:36 AM on May 7 [13 favorites]


So you mostly eat Hindu gods?

Gotta say, I think that might end badly.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:39 AM on May 7 [9 favorites]


St. Alia of the Bunnies: "But even back in the day when I wasn't, neither I nor anyone else I knew (to include women I knew who had abortions) took them lightly."

We hear several constant refrains from pro-life groups. Among them, that abortions are seriously dangerous or risky. That having one can irreparably damage a woman's ability to become pregnant in the future. Or that the chance of developing cancer or another deadly disease, or wind up with a cut cervix or perforated uterus is extremely high.

None of this is true.

A video that counteracts those lies and doesn't unnecessarily scare women into having an unwanted child is a good thing.

Also, a "potential life" is not a life, by definition.
posted by zarq at 11:40 AM on May 7 [15 favorites]


This seems flippant. I have never known anyone who was hungry, including people who actually had eaten lunch, who took the choice lightly.
posted by superfluousm at 11:40 AM on May 7 [4 favorites]


At this moment, thanks to advances in science, literally every single cell of my body is a potential life.

Or a potential meal, I suppose.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:46 AM on May 7 [5 favorites]


Everything's a fucking Hannibal thread to you guys
posted by superfluousm at 11:47 AM on May 7 [12 favorites]


CHOOSE LUNCH
posted by spaltavian at 11:47 AM on May 7 [5 favorites]


Well, we were talking about rudeness earlier, and I do have some fava beans soaking. Long soak. Heirloom beans. Artisanal salt. And I have a good idea about presentation.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:50 AM on May 7


Abortion ends life. (Whether you consider it potential or actual.) Respect for human life, for what it means to be human, that is not something to be casual about.

Who says abortion ends life? Opinions differ. As to 'potential', where does it stop? Are you therefore also opposed to birth control - because after all, it too deals with 'potential' life; you are a Christian, are you not? The Lord slew Onan. Not surprising, many Christians are opposed to birth control too, (and sex education!). People used to get into a tizzy about masturbation. It never stops, and you can go down that 'potential life' rabbit hole until you are the demented face of the Tea Party GOP of today when it comes to women's reproductive rights.

The only sane thing in this situation is to say: respect all views and choices women make for themselves. If you are anti-abortion - great, don't have an abortion. But deciding that other women's choices are morally wrong or suspect?

Incidentally, the anti-choice movement in the U.S. has an interesting history. For the RCC, abortion was of course always connected with a great deal of opprobrium. But the protestants by and large weren't focused on abortion the way they are now - that's something that happened sometime after WWII. And that happened because abortion became politicized.

Scripture itself has remarkably little to say about abortion. In fact, almost nothing - in order to derive some kind of opinion, you need to do a fair amount of stretching and interpreting and extrapolation. For example in: Judaism and abortion:

"The Torah contains no direct references to pregnancy termination, only to miscarriage following violent altercation. The chief biblical source referring to abortion is Exodus 21:22–25 concerning the man who inadvertently strikes a pregnant woman, causing her to lose the pregnancy."

In fact, even in the rabbinical prohibition of abortion(!), the teaching is at a huge variance with what today's Christians regard abortion (as murder) and the fetus (as a full human being):

"In principle, Judaism does not regard the fetus as a full human being. While deliberately killing a day old baby is murder, according to the Mishnah, a fetus is not covered by this strict homicide rule.[2] In the reading of Biblical homicide laws, rabbinic sages argue that homicide concerns an animate human being (nefesh adam from Lev. 24:17) alone, not an embryo... because the embryo is not a person (lav nefesh hu)."

It also goes without saying that even that prohibition is leagues away from the extremist Christians, because the rabbis always recognized the health of the mother as taking precedence and an abortion fully justified under those circumstances.

That's thousands of years ago. So how did the modern Christian movement manage to socially regress to even beyond what was accepted thousands of years ago? Well, it sure as hell wasn't scripture, seeing as to how little it addresses abortion. It was politics, pure and simple. And so it is to this day.

You may feel very strongly about abortion. Fine. Regardless of the reasons you do, however, please understand that other people don't hold your views, not about when life begins, about potential life or any ancillary issue, and those who hold different views from you are not even necessarily atheists - they can be deeply religious scholars who have the accumulated wisdom of thousands of years of biblical studies and analysis. It is highly arrogant to then imagine that your views are somehow the only morally correct ones and they give you the right to condemn those of different views.
posted by VikingSword at 11:56 AM on May 7 [29 favorites]


VikingSword: " It also goes without saying that even that prohibition is leagues away from the extremist Christians, because the rabbis always recognized the health of the mother as taking precedence and an abortion fully justified under those circumstances."

This bears repeating. In religious Judaism, including Orthodox Judaism, abortion is required and mandatory if the mother's life is in danger. The potential life is less important than the actualized one.

Quite a few Orthodox Jews are pro-choice, regardless. However, there are cultural pressures in some Orthodox communities -- especially in Lubavitch ones -- to have many babies. Sometimes the justification given is that it's important to repopulate world Jewry to make up for those lives lost during the Holocaust. That may affect their attitudes toward abortion rights.
posted by zarq at 12:13 PM on May 7 [7 favorites]


I once talked to a sex educator who mentioned that in general, the public has a hard time supporting women who have needed to have more than one abortion. It's interesting, like people are willing to accept you get a "freebie" or everyone makes mistakes but when you need another one, it's like, come ON, you should have figured this out by now.

I've been thinking about that a lot lately because my cousin is pregnant again. She's a single mother of one. This baby's father is different. Part of me keeps thinking, that's just trashy. But I try to stop myself when I have that thought for a few reasons. One, it's not really productive. Thinking of my cousin's behavior as trashy doesn't help me, her, or the baby. But also, I don't know the circumstances of how she got pregnant again. Maybe if I could walk in her shoes, I'd be more sympathetic. Maybe less but I'm inclined to think maybe more.

And that's why I'm pro-choice. Because I don't know the circumstances of why someone wants an abortion. If I did know, I think that more often than not, I'd be sympathetic to their circumstances. Maybe not always, but often. And since I don't get to interrogate everyone who wants an abortion, I'm just going to try not to judge anyone who does. I'm going to try not to judge my cousin. And I'm going to try not to judge in general. Because I don't know their whole story. And it's none of my business anyway.
posted by kat518 at 12:15 PM on May 7 [5 favorites]


It's interesting, like people are willing to accept you get a "freebie" or everyone makes mistakes but when you need another one, it's like, come ON, you should have figured this out by now.

Ah yes, the spiderman/family guy abortion maxim.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:17 PM on May 7 [1 favorite]


the young rope-rider: " Abandon veganism and start eating things with faces"

Or vice versa.

"Sweetie, look. Isn't this cool? Every one of your goldfish crackers has a smiley face on it. It's like your food is happy to see you!"
*bursts into tears*
"DADDY THEY'RE ALL SMILING AT ME. I DON'T WANT THEM ANY MORE!"
posted by zarq at 12:21 PM on May 7


I've been resisting the buzz and this video since it came out. It's hard for me not to feel jealous. My abortion was painful, and I was sad to have to do it, but not sad that I'd done it.

Between this and What to Expect When You're Aborting, maybe there can be some more sanity about it all.

I don't know. I'd say more, but this is bringing up memories I thought I'd dealt with.
posted by no, that other sockpuppet at 12:23 PM on May 7 [4 favorites]


I could only wish that women who get pregnant could at least have every resource available to her to have her baby so that no one would ever feel their only choice would be to abort.

I'm sorry--although my predominant reasoning for not bringing a child into this world is financial, to be honest there aren't enough resources on earth to make me choose not-abortion. (that is, nothing you could ever offer me would make me choose to carry a pregnancy to term. no adoption, no raising a kid, no fat paycheck, nothing. Nada.)

And I'm with everyone else in suggesting you present any evidence whatsoever that the filmmaker is callous or flippant. I quoted several examples above of the author demonstrating a serious level of consideration, compassion, and emotional involvement in the process. She says the fucking sonogram would be the first thing she saved from a fire, people. You don't save a piece of paper from a fire when you have no feelings about that piece of paper.

(Is it just because it's on a YouTube video? Is this some kneejerk INTERWEBS CANNOT BE SRS reaction that people are having?)
posted by like_a_friend at 12:32 PM on May 7 [5 favorites]


In the great and ridiculous tradition of conservatives nonsensically shaming people they disagree with, Sarah Palin wonders if Chelsea Clinton's pregnancy will change Hillary Clinton's views on abortion.

You know, because Hillary has never experienced a pregnancy herself, so her daughter's pregnancy will be the first chance Hillary's ever had in her entire life to really consider her own views and beliefs. How utterly brainless.
posted by palomar at 12:33 PM on May 7 [34 favorites]


The thing is, the more "flippant" "irresponsible" "unserious" someone considers a woman, by their own description, the more strongly they are arguing for an abortion; such a person does not need to be raising a kid; they don't even need the responsibility of going through a pregnancy and taking care of themselves.

Of course, I think this stereotype of the irresponsible woman having abortions is just that. I think the stories are quite likely to be more complicated than that. Like being depressed and not good at self-care, or being in an abusive relationship with a guy who won't use birth control or let you use it, or having other issues that make something like getting on and staying on consistent contraception hard-to-impossible.

But even if a woman is getting an abortion for reasons that are, in lots of people's opinions, irredeemably frivolous, she is still making a better choice than having a child she is not prepared or able to take care of.
posted by emjaybee at 12:34 PM on May 7 [13 favorites]


I can't for the life of me understand how anybody can look at the pro-life/anti-abortion movement and not come to the conclusion that, at the heart of it, it is mostly about punishing women for having sex at will. Yes, at the periphery of the anti-abortion movement you'll find people with more nuanced motives and more complex viewpoints but women's sexuality is what really drives and powers the core as far as I can tell. It may not even be something most of them are aware of to be honest. I sometimes suspect that people subconsciously started to hide behind the whole BABIES!!! thing as society progressed and arguing antiquated sexual morals was taken less and less seriously by more and more people.

Anyhow, the primary proof that this is not really all that much about babies has been trotted out countless times on Metafilter and it is this: there is a huge overlap between those opposing abortion and those actively working on or at least voting for the dismantling of social services that would actually help children born into less fortunate circumstances have better lives. To care about the unborn yet not about the born makes no sense whatsoever.

The secondary proof is that there is a significant overlap between those opposing abortion and those actively working towards/voting for making access to birth control harder. If you don't want women to have abortions and, at the same time, you don't want them to have easy access to birth control then the only possibly conclusions appear to be that you either don't want women to have sex at all or that you only want them to have sex if they're at least willing to get pregnant and give birth as a result. Or, I guess, you only want them to have non-vaginal sex but I doubt that's the case for the people I'm talking about here. Either way... it's about whether or not women should have sex for reasons other than getting pregnant.

Last but not least there seems to be a good amount of overlap between those opposing abortion and those engaged in practices that seem to emphasize the value of women's "purity" and their family's ownership of it (think father daughter dances, purity rings, etc). The moment a woman has an unplanned pregnancy the fetus' value trumps her's and she is expected to carry it to term and give birth regardless of her own plans and desires. This would seem to imply that she had no value in and of herself but that any value she had was tied to her "purity " and that the moment she engaged in sex without the intent or at least willingness to get pregnant and give birth she effectively destroyed that value and became worthless and must now surrender her life plans to the life of the fetus. If she was ascribed any intrinsic value of her own then there would have to be consideration of her wishes as she clearly is at least as much of a life as the fetus she carries. The counter argument here is usually that if you view all life as sacred then there simply is no other choice but to give birth to the baby. However, this argument quickly falls apart in the face of anti-abortion attempts to ban abortion even if the mother's life is at risk. This makes it very clear that when the truth comes out the mother is seen as having no real value here at all beyond her function as an incubator.

I'm not saying that punishing women for having sex is the sole motivator here but it seems like it's at the very least a huge part of it and one can't untangle the complex of viewpoints and politics involved here without realizing that the desire to control and suppress female sexuality is the one identifiable thread connecting all the pieces.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 12:35 PM on May 7 [19 favorites]


I can't for the life of me understand how anybody can look at the pro-life/anti-abortion movement and not come to the conclusion that, at the heart of it, it is mostly about punishing women for having sex at will.

I think anti-choice rhetoric and slut-shaming are what Western culture does well when reinforcing the idea that sex is a pursuit available to men when they want it, when they want to continue their family line, or when they want a weapon close at hand. But when a woman pursues it, she's dirty and immoral. It's hard for me, today, not to juxtapose this thread and this discussion with this news story that popped up in my feed.

It's all -- all of it -- about making sure women know that they do not have the same entitlement to sex that men do. It's all -- all of it -- about making sure that women know that, in the context of their own lives, sex is about birthing babies, full stop. It's all -- all of it -- about making sure that women know that if they do sex wrong (whether by getting pregnant unintentionally or wearing the wrong skirt or attempting to exert some control their own bodies and sex lives), sex and/or its consequences (i.e., pregnancy) can and will be used as a punishment against them.

It makes me tired.
posted by mudpuppie at 12:50 PM on May 7 [18 favorites]


> In the great and ridiculous tradition of conservatives nonsensically shaming people they disagree with, Sarah Palin wonders if Chelsea Clinton's pregnancy will change Hillary Clinton's views on abortion

No, wait, that one makes sense: it's much easier to be anti-choice when you're not the one who's pregnant.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:52 PM on May 7 [2 favorites]


(See also, those who kidnap 200+ adolescent girls and then believe that they somehow have a god-given right to literally sell those girls. Not to get too far afield, but it's all just a demonstration of how, no matter how much lip service we give gender equality, at least in the West, girls and women are still seen as somehow less-than-human in much of the world. Even in US suburbia.)
posted by mudpuppie at 12:53 PM on May 7


I'm not saying that punishing women for having sex is the sole motivator here but ...

Insurance companies often pay for Viagra, because if you are male you are apparently entitled to sexual fulfillment even if you need medical help to get it, but not birth control pills. If a woman is taking birth control pills, she is probably not gay. There is probably a man involved in the equation.

I have met countless men who seemed to think they were liberal, new age kind of guys for their attitude that it was okay with them if I enjoyed the ride. Uh, no. That does not work. It's your job to make sure I enjoy the ride, otherwise why in the hell would I bother? If it is my job to get your rocks off, and my job to get my rocks off, hello, I can get my rocks off without the extra burden of servicing you (plus putting up with your germs and contempt). It's called masturbation.

I was about 30 years old before I met a man who had a hard-on for me and was not pissed off about it. Before that, everyone seemed to be mad as hell that they found me attractive. I was called a prick tease and worse because some guy got a hard-on over me. Like, yeah, your dick obviously would not function and you would never have sexual need had you never met me. Sure.

There is an awful lot of anger out there at women for even having a sexuality at all. It runs really deep in some people. I am not sure what the solution is. I have a strong hippie-like streak and I kind of think the solution is finding ways to make it easier for bother genders to get their needs met (ie "make love, not war"). But it's a very hard row to hoe.
posted by Michele in California at 12:55 PM on May 7 [2 favorites]


Hairy Lobster, another element of your third proof is the common (though not universal) view of anti-choicers that abortion should be legal only in cases of rape or incest. What they are saying is that a woman should be awarded a get-out-of-unwanted-pregnancy-free card if the sex was non-consensual and "not her fault." But no abortions for the dirty sluts who engaged in sex willingly! They should have thought about the possibility of getting pregnant before they decided to have sex for fun.
posted by caryatid at 12:56 PM on May 7 [15 favorites]


I'm not saying that punishing women for having sex is the sole motivator here but ...

Don't worry -- there are plenty of people here who are doing it for you.
posted by Etrigan at 12:57 PM on May 7 [2 favorites]


I'm not saying that punishing women for having sex is the sole motivator here but it seems like it's at the very least a huge part of it and one can't untangle the complex of viewpoints and politics involved here without realizing that the desire to control and suppress female sexuality is the one identifiable thread connecting all the pieces.

I think there's a lot of truth to that, Hairy Lobster, but my pro-life, conservative Christian cousin was the first one to affirm my decision to abort and the one who went to the clinic with me. It wasn't a case of "my abortion is the only moral abortion". She recognized before I did that having that baby would kill me.

I think what we're arguing (in the larger sense, not this thread) is whether or not a woman is a person - a human being who can choose to give or not give consent to whatever activity she chooses. Look at the still-going hullabaloo about online and IRL sexism. At sexual assaults and how, even after rape laws have been changed and made more inclusive, they still aren't likely to be prosecuted because one woman was wearing Spanx, or because alcohol was involved.

For what it's worth, she didn't seem flip, she seemed young. She seemed 25 and happy with life. She said that she wanted to make a positive abortion video. I think that what turns some people off is their feeling that she's taking care of herself (thinking only of herself would be their terminology), and that's the opposite of what society wants mothers to do.

There are women, and there are Mothers, and God help you if you tread that third rail of Mother Worship.
posted by no, that other sockpuppet at 1:04 PM on May 7 [4 favorites]


If for no other reason than respect for the child who will never now be born, or the unique person who will never now exist as part of our society.

I really don't care about the child who will never be born. What about the kajillion seeds spilled in self gratification every day? Oh the potential humanity, a tragedy.

More seriously, I care about the kids who are already here who don't have enough food or medical attention. Who are getting shot in their schools and neighborhoods. More than 16 million U.S. kids live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level - about 22%. That is shocking. Yet the politicians who tout the right to life platform are the first ones down-voting the anti-poverty programs, minimum wage, education, healthcare etc.

I just don't care about the kid who will never be born. Not. One. Iota. Unless to be glad that it is not 16 million and one struggling in poverty.
posted by madamjujujive at 1:10 PM on May 7 [37 favorites]


Is sterilization coverage mandated by the ACA?
Yes.
posted by roystgnr at 1:25 PM on May 7 [1 favorite]


but not vasectomies, as far as i can tell.
posted by nadawi at 1:31 PM on May 7 [1 favorite]


If for no other reason than respect for the child who will never now be born, or the unique person who will never now exist as part of our society.

OK, so exactly how torn up am I supposed to be about all the unique snowflakes who were never born because my siblings and I were? If she hadn't had us, my mother might have had different kids at different times and they wouldn't be us! What if those kids would have been better, smarter, healthier? Either way, they'd be humans and unique and now they're not here, so should my mother be forever grieving?

Should I be having 240 retroactive funerals for every period I've had--that's one potential unique person who will never now exist! Especially since I am sexually active, which means that it's always possible that any one of my periods contains a fertilized, but unimplanted, embryo!

We could spend the entirety of our blink of existence on this earth grieving the potentials never actualized, because ALL OF LIFE is the existence of one reality over an infinity of others.

I grieve instead for the 8 year old boy who died last week trying to protect his 12 year old sister from being raped. I grieve for the 12 year old sister who was raped anyway, while watching her little brother die. Those are people who are and were already here. Actual, not potential. I grieve for the woman, the actual existing woman, who wants a child and cannot afford it, or who cannot carry a pregnancy safely to term.

I do not grieve for the "potential child" of a woman who doesn't want that child.
posted by like_a_friend at 1:34 PM on May 7 [37 favorites]


And having commented sans preview I now see I've been repetitive. Oops. :/
posted by like_a_friend at 1:35 PM on May 7


I wouldn't've gone on to have my two kids if I hadn't had one abortion years earlier. So surely that's one more unique person overall, and a net gain for people who think that way?
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:38 PM on May 7 [7 favorites]


Abortion in Brazil: Why one desperate woman lied about rape from Al-Jazeera America.

I wonder if this is where we're going.
posted by Dashy at 2:20 PM on May 7 [1 favorite]


[Comment removed - please join the discussion already in progress. Don't axe-grind here.]
posted by jessamyn at 2:35 PM on May 7


Let's very much hope that is not where we are headed. Excerpt from Dashy's article on abortion in Brazil:
There, a 9-year-old girl became pregnant with twins and accused her stepfather of raping her. Weighing only 80 pounds 15 weeks into her pregnancy, she was given an abortion that doctors said would save her life.

A local archbishop excommunicated her mother and all the doctors involved in the procedure, but not the girl’s stepfather.

“He did a terrible crime, but one with no ground for excommunication,” the priest, Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, declared. “There are many other serious sins…but even graver than that, I tell you, is abortion.”
posted by Michele in California at 2:37 PM on May 7 [4 favorites]


Abortion: A graver sin than forcing an 80-lb 9-year-old to endure nine months of pregnancy that her body is not mature enough to handle and a subsequent childbirth that could very well kill her. Yay, humanity!
posted by mudpuppie at 2:41 PM on May 7 [10 favorites]


I'm so glad I live in a world where a nine year old girl gets raped and impregnated by her stepfather, and the religious leaders of her community publicly declare that she and everyone who helped her is a bad person who deserves to be kicked out of their worship community... but the guy that raped and impregnated her, he's a-okay! God still likes that guy!
posted by palomar at 2:51 PM on May 7 [5 favorites]




Abortion does not end a life. It ends a potential path that the mother's life could take. It ends a potential thing, not a thing.

I have a friend whose mother was 15 when he was born. They had a tough and abusive life when he was growing up, and he's always maintained that she should have had an abortion. She would have been able to finish high school, she wouldn't have had to get married at 14(!). She could have done a lot more with her life. When asked "but what about you?!", he'd say: "There'd be no me to worry about. That's a nonsensical argument."

As for Brazil: that's exactly where the anti-choicers want us to be; that's where we were before Roe v. Wade.
posted by no, that other sockpuppet at 3:03 PM on May 7 [23 favorites]


he's always maintained that she should have had an abortion.

this has always been my viewpoint about my own birth (excepting that i think my oldest sibling should have been aborted, thus ending our "family" there). i've had therapists tell me it was related to my depression, but i really just think my parents would be so much better off if they could have graduated high school and met partners more suited to them. instead they had 3 kids in 3 years before they turned 20 and stayed together, hating each other, for 20 years. at the time, there were no other real options in front of them, so i don't begrudge them their "choice," i just think there could have been a better way for their lives to play out.
posted by nadawi at 3:10 PM on May 7 [2 favorites]


It seems like an appropriate time to recommend Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 3:15 PM on May 7 [4 favorites]


This short story by C.C. Finlay just gets closer and closer to truth daily. (I am acquaintances with him.)
posted by jeather at 3:33 PM on May 7 [3 favorites]


The distinction between the potential life of an egg and the potential life of a zygote seems to be causing a bit of confusion.

I think its pretty clear that it comes down to what you would need to do to prevent that potential from happening. Unfertilised eggs will go away on their own. Fertilised ones need to be actively dissuaded.

Still doesn't change the point that women should have a choice.
posted by trif at 3:46 PM on May 7 [1 favorite]


Fertilised ones need to be actively dissuaded.

with the number of women who have had miscarriages, this isn't strictly true.
posted by nadawi at 3:49 PM on May 7 [4 favorites]


Fertilised ones need to be actively dissuaded.

Approximately 25% of all pregnancies result in miscarriage.
posted by zarq at 3:49 PM on May 7 [3 favorites]


I have heard that probably about half end before a woman even realizes she is pregnant.
According to the March of Dimes, as many as 50% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage -- most often before a woman misses a menstrual period or even knows she is pregnant. About 15% of recognized pregnancies will end in a miscarriage.

webmd
Even mother nature struggles to figure out what works and does a lot of that by trial and error. Evolution -- survival of the fittest -- is about surviving high attrition rates at various critical junctures. It applies to pregnancy as well.
posted by Michele in California at 3:54 PM on May 7 [4 favorites]


I have empathy for xarnop's and nadawi's position, and am highly disgusted at the sheer amount of NOT ALL LIBERALS and PROVE IT and refusal to listen that came up in response. And what's all this about lack of funds being said in the same breath as "well PP does it" - should there be no activism for anything new ever because funds are low? Are we going to throw marginalized and underresourced mothers under the bus to pursue one small aspect of reproductive justice (how just is that?)?

I too bristled at the "abortion should be the default" comment. There shouldn't be a default. Take each situation as it comes and see what the person needs.

There really is a strong class and ethnic divide when it comes to reproductive justice - as mentioned earlier, the rights and dignities of marginalized people to keep their child or not be forcibly sterilized is overlooked at best and scoffed at at worst by White-centric feminism. I'm on my phone, so no links, but there's been plenty of writing by POC and non-US intersectional activists about this.

I noticed this for myself when my sister had a miscarriage a few years ago and I was looking for resources for her. She skews liberal, though isn't particularly political (though she does tend to come from a Science-first POV). The closest I've had to discussing abortion with her was when I was a teenager, she was studying Biotech in university, and I asked her if there was some clear scientific delineation between a clump of cells and life (she said not really).

For the life of me I couldn't find any resources that weren't religious and didn't reduce her to just being a mother, but that also reflected and respected the deep loss she felt. I was close friends with a lot of radical pro-choice activists, and so much of their rhetoric stemmed from "well that fetus wasn't a person anyway so there's no use mourning it".

Motherhood is so devalued in radical and liberal politics (not just with repro justice - it's an issue that's come up lots in the various activist circles I'm in) that any choice to BE a mother is seen as suspect or just not enough of a priority to care about. If we actually gave a damn about mothers we'd find ways to fund for it rather than making excuses orx"we'll get to you later".
posted by divabat at 3:58 PM on May 7 [7 favorites]


divabat: Are we going to throw marginalized and underresourced mothers under the bus to pursue one small aspect of reproductive justice (how just is that?)?

Not only is this not happening, anywhere at anytime, it's not at all clear how this could happen in the United States. Where, exactly, are resources being taken away from young children and mothers to service the pro-abortionist agenda? Likening one person's zen counselor advising abortion to throwing marginalized mothers under the bus is absurd.

There really is a strong class and ethnic divide when it comes to reproductive justice - as mentioned earlier, the rights and dignities of marginalized people to keep their child or not be forcibly sterilized is overlooked at best and scoffed at at worst by White-centric feminism.

Wait. Linking 20th century eugenics programs and child protective program abuses against mostly Native American to pro-choice feminists/liberals. Now that's absurd.
posted by spaltavian at 4:26 PM on May 7 [4 favorites]


There have been and always will be women who, when faced with an unwanted pregnancy, will choose abortion. Desperate people do desperate things and that's what people become when a safe option is removed - desperate. Making abortions harder to obtain has only one outcome and that is more dead or injured women.

Morality, sin, beliefs about when life begins, judgement, shame, yadda yadda.

This post is about clearing up the misconception (ergh) that women who have abortions will regret it until the end of their days - it's not about whether all reproductive choices are valid or should be supported or are good or bad or anything else. It's about how the freedom to not continue a pregnancy should be safely available to those who need that option and if you choose to terminate a pregnancy in a safe environment then you will not be wrecked and damaged emotionally purely because of that procedure.

If a safe option is not available it's not going to stop those who require an abortion. We have thousands of years of history to back that up.
posted by h00py at 4:58 PM on May 7 [12 favorites]


Wait. Linking 20th century eugenics programs and child protective program abuses against mostly Native American to pro-choice feminists/liberals. Now that's absurd.

It's not absurd, and major differences in reproductive justice issues have been a large divide among white feminists and feminists of color in the US for quite a while.

Women of color have historically and are now still experiencing “reproductive punishment” described by Dorothy Roberts, or “reproductive oppression” defined by ACRJ. Both terms summarize the way that the state and others refuse to support us with quality services and resources, but at the same time interfere in our lives and decisions. Reproductive oppression is implemented, for example, through discriminatory foster care enforcement, criminalizing pregnancy, immigration restrictions, preventing LGBTQ individuals from parenting, and forced abortions for incarcerated women. As stated above, reproductive oppression is a means of selectively controlling the destiny of entire communities through the bodies of women and individuals, a newer and more subtle form of negative eugenics.

(I would also pretty much say that calling any mention of racism within white feminism "absurd" is an unhelpful kneejerk reaction.)
posted by jaguar at 5:01 PM on May 7 [13 favorites]


If we actually gave a damn about mothers we'd find ways to fund for it rather than making excuses orx"we'll get to you later".

Who is this "we"? And what funding is this? And how are radicals now in charge of huge amounts of money? Are all the politicians now in the pocket of Big Radical? Why didn't I hear about this? I've really been wasting my time.

(I have a child and am acutely aware of motherhood)
posted by the young rope-rider at 5:19 PM on May 7 [13 favorites]


Re the piece jaguar linked to: this is new to me, and interesting. I'm still not seeing how pro-choice liberals are the enemies of reproductive justice activists, though.
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:20 PM on May 7 [2 favorites]


jaguar: (I would also pretty much say that calling any mention of racism within white feminism "absurd" is an unhelpful kneejerk reaction.)

I didn't call "any" mention of racism within white feminism absurd, I called that mention absurd. Obviously there has been racist strains within liberalism. But that doesn't mean there's any validity to drawing a through line between forced sterilization programs and today's pro-choice movement. I find that absurd and there's nothing "kneejerk" about my estimation.

Reproductive oppression is implemented, for example, through discriminatory foster care enforcement, criminalizing pregnancy, immigration restrictions, preventing LGBTQ individuals from parenting, and forced abortions for incarcerated women.

And this is the work of pro-choice liberals how exactly? Because someone's friends thought they should get an abortion? Can you try to actually link that? And can you stop implying that me pointing out there's no link is the same as me saying that marginalized women haven't had their reproductive rights violated?
posted by spaltavian at 5:37 PM on May 7 [7 favorites]


The corpse in the library: Re the piece jaguar linked to: this is new to me, and interesting. I'm still not seeing how pro-choice liberals are the enemies of reproductive justice activists, though.

Yeah, it's pretty impressive jiu jitsu to impute the thinking of people who force abortions on inmates to your run of the mill pro-choice liberals.

It's actually straight out of the anti-choice playbook, likening the dastardly Democrats to the reproductive policies of places like China.
posted by spaltavian at 5:41 PM on May 7


not the work of pro-choice liberals - but rather, something that some portion of mainstream pro-choice/liberal/feminists have a blind spot towards and thus means that maybe their approaches in certain areas can be helped by considering intersectionality some more. how is this a controversial idea? it seems fairly accepted, or at least accepted that there is some friction between "mainstream feminism" and "woc feminism."

it's pretty shitty to say that bringing up intersectionality concerns is something out of the anti-choice playbook, but i assume we're all just maybe reading things poorly because it's a heated topic and easy to get our backs up.
posted by nadawi at 6:03 PM on May 7 [7 favorites]


nadawi: not the work of pro-choice liberals - but rather, something that some portion of mainstream pro-choice/liberal/feminists have a blind spot towards and thus means that maybe their approaches in certain areas can be helped by considering intersectionality some more. how is this a controversial idea? it seems fairly accepted, or at least accepted that there is some friction between "mainstream feminism" and "woc feminism."

The multiple denunciations above were never about a "blind spot", it was about pro-choice liberals being "just as anti-woman", "not giving a damn about mothers" and "throwing marginalized mothers under the bus". All those things were actually said. I don't understand why you are acting like my comments were to replying the sort of unoffensive, non-accusatory statement you just made.

it's pretty shitty to say that bringing up intersectionality concerns is something out of the anti-choice playbook

You're doing the same thing jaguar did. I didn't say bringing up intersectionality is out of the anti-choice playbook, I said linking the views of pro-choice liberals to forced sterilization eugenics programs, and forced inmate abortions is out of the anti-choice playbook, because it is. I don't think I am reading anything poorly.
posted by spaltavian at 6:14 PM on May 7 [1 favorite]


Actually the coexistence of forced abortion/sterilization and anti-abortion extremism are opposite sides of the same coin, which has nothing to do with liberalism or conservatism and everything to do with racism, classism, and misogyny.

Women of "desireable" races and upbringing get anti-abortion and anti-birth control restrictions and forced birth. Women of "undesireable" races or with handicaps like illiteracy or mental illness get forced abortion and sterilization. What is common to the two threads, and is common throughout the entire political spectrum from right to left, is that individual women can't be trusted to make decisions about their bodies for $REASONS of greater importance than their freedom and self-determination.
posted by localroger at 6:18 PM on May 7 [7 favorites]


but because I don't think the government should have the right to tell women what they can and can't do with their own bodies

Well said. If we can get NGOs away from spreading falkse messages and laying guilt trips on people, that'd be another big step foeward out of the darkness.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:23 PM on May 7


, I said linking the views of pro-choice liberals to forced sterilization eugenics programs, and forced inmate abortions is out of the anti-choice playbook

and i'm saying that's not actually what divabat said. she said these things were overlooked or scoffed at, not that it was their views. those are different statements.
posted by nadawi at 6:36 PM on May 7 [1 favorite]


Well said. If we can get NGOs away from spreading falkse messages and laying guilt trips on people, that'd be another big step foeward out of the darkness.

They are required to by the Mexico City Policy (not currently in effect because it gets repealed by D presidents and reinstated by R presidents so do not tell me there's no difference between the parties). The Helms Amendment doesn't help either.

Decreased access to safe, legal abortions means more women will have unsafe abortions, which means more women will die. I agree that ignoring the fate of imprisoned women who are forcibly sterilized is terrible. I also agree that I don't know what the fuck that has to do with this linked video's attempt to destigmatize abortion, and to turn up the volume on the message that no, abortion is not a terrible physical or emotional trauma for every woman, and that's not a tragedy or a sign of immorality.

Liberals aren't the ones burning down clinics and shooting doctors and passing ridiculous fucking laws that mean fewer women have access to safe, legal medical procedures (which include prenatal and well-baby care!). Can we please remember that.
posted by rtha at 6:55 PM on May 7 [18 favorites]


Wait, you all are getting upset because you think we're blaming liberals for ruining mothers' lives, yet you're saying we're in cahoots with the anti-choicers somehow? WTF?

Liberals aren't the ones burning down clinics, no, but that doesn't mean they're not capable of causing their own harm.

Thank you nadawi and jaguar.
posted by divabat at 7:05 PM on May 7 [2 favorites]


MisantropicPainforest: "You know nothing about this brave woman's situation other than she had a medical abortion."

This is purely pedantic but for professional reasons I gotta say it: she had a surgical abortion. Medical abortion is the use of medications (typically mifepristone and prostaglandins) to end a pregnancy. There's nothing to film there except swallowing pills, lying on the couch with a hot pad, and possibly a closed bathroom door. (Although I wonder what the feelings police in this thread would consider being serious enough when the procedure takes two days instead of half an hour.)
posted by gingerest at 7:10 PM on May 7 [1 favorite]


Wait, you all are getting upset because you think we're blaming liberals for ruining mothers' lives, yet you're saying we're in cahoots with the anti-choicers somehow? WTF?

Yeah, that's not what I said.

I feel like xarnop kicked this whole bit off with

That liberals belief that abortion solves all unplanned pregnancy leads them to do less to support mothers in need is a really large problem that harms mothers and children across the US and other countries.

and that was one hell of a broad brush there, to which many people unsurprisingly took exception.
posted by rtha at 7:15 PM on May 7


Things have kind of gone galloping off in multiple weird directions, I agree.

What I have seen in mainstream feminist activism is a huge focus on abortion access and rights. (Which I absolutely agree are important.) What I think xarnop and divabat are pointing out is that a feminist focus exclusively on abortion access and rights often privileges the needs and values of white educated women and ignores a lot of other people's needs and values.

I don't necessarily agree with the entirety of either poster's comments, but I don't think it's particularly controversial to say that this country does a rather shitty job of helping poor women and kids or that communities of color absolutely have reason to be wary about prioritizing abortion rights and access as an issue above other reproductive justice issues.

And neither of those beliefs precludes the belief (at least for me) that this video is awesome and I'm glad she made it.
posted by jaguar at 7:33 PM on May 7 [13 favorites]


I have many mixed emotions about terminating a pregnancy; it is a safe procedure. I don't think it should happen after the last trimester starts; but the one thing I am sure about is that if it is a choice the only one making that should be the mother.
posted by OhSusannah at 7:36 PM on May 7


but I don't think it's particularly controversial to say that this country does a rather shitty job of helping poor women and kids

I should have expanded that to more than just "this country," but I feel a bit uncomfortable speaking for or about places I'm not currently living or studying. I realize this is unfortunately not a US-only phenomenon, though.
posted by jaguar at 7:40 PM on May 7 [1 favorite]


ah I see where things went haywire now. I'll fix my typing error "that some liberals". now I see why everyone thought I was speaking about all liberals. I can assure you that was purelytyping error. I did not at a'll mean to imply I thought all liberalshandled repro justice wrong.
posted by xarnop at 7:48 PM on May 7 [2 favorites]


For the life of me I couldn't find any resources that weren't religious and didn't reduce her to just being a mother, but that also reflected and respected the deep loss she felt.

Yeah, this has come up in other MF threads as well. The insistence that the fetus is nothing but a clump of cells and anyone who thinks otherwise hates women feels incredibly dismissive to women who have lost wanted pregnancies.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 7:54 PM on May 7 [3 favorites]


The insistence that the fetus is nothing but a clump of cells and anyone who thinks otherwise hates women feels incredibly dismissive to women who have lost wanted pregnancies.

I remember reading in Ms. Magazine's big abortion issue that there's really not a lot of talk about the embryo/fetus as a baby, in general, but that many women do think of it as a baby. I know I did, and still do.

I wanted the baby, but I couldn't have it. The fact that I had to force it from my body is what marks me as "bad" and "selfish" and the reason this account exists.

For the life of me I couldn't find any resources that weren't religious

I think that was at least one FPP a while back. Here's one. Kind of religious, though. The blog Abortion Clinic Days has some good stuff, but I'll have to find it later, I'm too tired and feely right now.
posted by no, that other sockpuppet at 8:13 PM on May 7 [3 favorites]


Going further back into my history, I've rediscovered I'm Not Sorry.

Answering "Pro-Lifers"
posted by no, that other sockpuppet at 8:34 PM on May 7 [2 favorites]


International Socialist Review: Black feminists and intersectionality
In Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness and the Politics of Empowerment, published in 1990, Black feminist Patricia Hill Collins extends and updates the social contradictions raised by Sojourner Truth, while crediting collective struggles waged historically with establishing a “collective wisdom” among Black women:
If women are allegedly passive and fragile, then why are Black women treated as “mules” and assigned heavy cleaning chores? If good mothers are supposed to stay at home with their children, then why are US Black women on public assistance forced to find jobs and leave their children in day care? If women’s highest calling is to become mothers, then why are Black teen mothers pressured to use Norplant and Depo Provera?
and
Mainstream feminists of the 1960s and 1970s regarded the issue of reproductive rights as exclusively the winning of legal abortion, without acknowledging the racist policies that have historically prevented women of color from bearing and raising as many children as they wanted.

Davis argues that the history of the birth control movement and its racist sterilization programs necessarily make the issue of reproductive rights far more complicated for Black women and other women of color, who have historically been the targets of this abuse. Davis traces the path of twentieth-century birth-control pioneer Margaret Sanger from her early days as a socialist to her conversion to the eugenics movement, an openly racist approach to population control based on the slogan, “[More] children from the fit, less from the unfit.”

Those “unfit” to bear children, according to the eugenicists, included the mentally and physically disabled, prisoners, and the non-white poor.

[...]

Yet mainstream white feminists not only ignored these struggles but also added to the problem. Many embraced the goals of population control with all its racist implications as an ostensibly “liberal” cause.

In 1972, for example, a time when Native Americans and other women of color were struggling against coercive adoption policies that targeted their communities, Ms. Magazine asked its predominantly white and middle-class readership, “‘What do you do if you’re a conscientious citizen, concerned about the population explosion and ecological problems, love children, want to see what one of your own would look like, and want more than one?’ Ms. offered as a solution: ‘Have One, Adopt One.’” 38 The children on offer for adoption were overwhelmingly Native American, Black, Latino, and Asian.

To be sure, the legalization of abortion in the US Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision was of paramount importance to all women and the direct result of grassroots struggle. Because of both the economic and social consequences of racism, the lives of Black women, Latinas, and other women of color were most at risk when abortion was illegal. Before abortion was made legal in New York City in 1970, for example, Black women made up 50 percent of all women who died after an illegal abortion, while Puerto Rican women were 44 percent.

The legalization of abortion in 1973 is usually regarded as the most important success of the modern women’s movement. That victory however was accompanied at the end of that decade by the far less heralded but equally important victories against sterilization abuse, the result of grassroots struggles waged primarily by women of color. In 1978, the federal government conceded to demands by Native American, Black, and Latina activists by finally establishing regulations for sterilization. These included required waiting periods and authorization forms in the same language spoken by the woman agreeing to be sterilized.

Davis notes that women of color “were far more familiar than their white sisters with the murderously clumsy scalpels of inept abortionists seeking profit in illegality,” yet were virtually absent from abortion rights campaigns. She concludes, “[T]he abortion rights activists of the early 1970s should have examined the history of their movement. Had they done so, they might have understood why so many of their Black sisters adopted a posture of suspicion toward their cause.”
It's Not Just About Abortion: Incorporating Intersectionality in Research About Women of Color and Reproduction
Many women of color—as well as poor, working-class, and lesbian women—believe that their needs have not been adequately addressed in the mainstream “pro-choice” movement. Moreover, focus group research has shown that women of color and low-income women do not identify with the pro-choice message; in fact, the choice rhetoric is almost meaningless to them. Reproductive justice activists argue that the pro-choice movement’s seemingly singular focus on abortion rights neglects how race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, and other markers of difference are implicated in reproductive rights for many women. Reproductive justice activists also argue that mainstream pro-choice activists have failed to see how reproduction is connected to other social justice issues, such as economic justice, welfare reform, prison reform, the adoption and foster care systems, immigration, LGBT rights, and environmental justice. Last, reproductive rights is not only about the right to obtain an abortion, but also about the right to reproduce at all and to keep and raise the children that one has in safe and healthy environments (Silliman et al., 2004).
Subverting Motherhood as an Institution and Re-Imagining Mothering as Radical Political Practices
Every feminist intervention in the 1970s illuminated that point: that is, motherhoods is imposed on us, there is not nothing natural about it, and that there is where the suffering and subordination that it involves, come from. They’re not a consequence of the mothering itself, but of what is mothering supposed to fulfill. It was a mistake, however, for the feminist movement to equate control over our lives and control over our body and reproduction with the struggle for abortion. This was a myopic position which ignored that true control is to have the possibility to reproduce ourselves, something which many women across the world have been and are denied. For throughout the history of capitalism the state has wanted to decide who is going to be born and who is not going to be born on this planet.

State politics concerning mothering have always had a eugenic dimension. In US, in the 1970s, black women and generally low-income women who were on welfare, if they had no husband and they had children were likely candidates for sterilization. Often, in the hospital, after giving birth, they would be given a paper and told to sign hear that they accepted to have their tubes tied, for otherwise they would loose their welfare benefits. The feminist movement was not there for these women; it did not fight for their right to have children. And this was particularly problematic because by the 1980s with globalization and the restructuring of the global economy we saw a massive attack on women across the world in the name of population control. I believe that this attack, which led to the sterilization of many women in India, in Indonesia, made in the name of population control, was a political decision. Across the world, in the 1980s, a new generation was coming of age who wanted a new world order, a new distribution of wealth, more just, more egalitarian satisfying the aspirations of the anti-colonial struggle. This was the context in which women were blamed for world poverty, due presumably to their having too many children. So the campaign for population control was a true war on women, made the scapegoats for the devastating consequences of colonialism in their regions.
Flyover Feminism: Reproductive Rights Through An Intersectional Lens
Whenever we speak of reproductive rights we tend to do so as if these rights are equally distributed to all women regardless of race, class, gender presentation, or socioeconomic standing. Yet, we know that these various societal variables change the way in which women get access or if they can at all. The fact is women of color have to had to piggyback off the reproductive rights of white women because we were never part of the original plan. A choice for women is a great thing to advocate for, but we must never forget to remove choice off the shelf of privilege and put in a place that can be easily accessible to all women.

Back to MHP: her comment was so darn powerful for me because it subverted the negative narrative of my childhood. Sexual health and reproductive justice it often framed from a white woman’s perspective. Every time I hear talks of abortions it is usually from my white feminist colleagues who will boldly proclaim that they’ve had abortions. However, for feminists of color who are plagued more so by respectability politics, we find ourself in a conundrum. The battle is whether or not we want to embody the Madonna or the whore because for women of color, we are not allowed to live nuanced lives and be complex.
posted by divabat at 9:18 PM on May 7 [17 favorites]


The insistence that the fetus is nothing but a clump of cells and anyone who thinks otherwise hates women feels incredibly dismissive to women who have lost wanted pregnancies.

I've lost four desperately wanted pregnancies and I don't feel like anyone here is being dismissive of me and my experiences at all, except possibly for people who want to use my grief over those mourned pregnancies to score a rhetorical point.
posted by KathrynT at 9:22 PM on May 7 [37 favorites]


Just to settle the ACA and male sterilization question, the answer is NO.

Plans aren’t required to cover:

Drugs to induce abortions
Services related to a man’s reproductive capacity, like vasectomies

posted by Purposeful Grimace at 12:14 AM on May 8


Seems fitting to leave this here today, as the abortion debate in my corner of the world has gone backwards. The High Court has ruled that Northern Irish women cannot get free abortions in Great Britain. Currently women have to travel, usually to England, to have an abortion and have to pay for travel, accommodation and the cost of the procedure. So if you don't have the money you don't have the choice, and even if you do have the money it's a much more traumatic experience, including probably having to go alone. The mother of a 15 year old young woman who made the journey a couple of years ago took a case to argue that as UK tax-paying citizens the procedure should be available on the NHS. It was ruled today that we are not entitled and there is no right of appeal. Meanwhile, a man I know is being flown free from Belfast to England by the NHS and put up in a private hospital for a few days to have his vasectomy reversed. Men's reproductive choices, of course, being a given right.

I have found this thread really interesting, and thanks to divabat for the links regarding abortion and intersectionality, which is a new debate for me. I'm still jealous, though, that you are in a place to have these debates whereas here - in a developed country in 2014 - abortion is simply illegal.
posted by billiebee at 2:38 AM on May 8 [20 favorites]


Yes, thanks, divabat, that's what I was trying and failing to find last night.
posted by no, that other sockpuppet at 5:41 AM on May 8


This is purely pedantic but for professional reasons I gotta say it: she had a surgical abortion.

Thanks for the correction. My partner works in L&D so I have the layman's vocabulary for these things and then also the professional vocabulary, in addition to the euphemisms, and sometimes everything gets jumbled.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 5:43 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this has come up in other MF threads as well. The insistence that the fetus is nothing but a clump of cells and anyone who thinks otherwise hates women feels incredibly dismissive to women who have lost wanted pregnancies.

The gross mischaracterization of what other mefites are saying seems incredibly dismissive to other mefites here, many of them women.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 5:45 AM on May 8 [11 favorites]


ThatFuzzyBastard: " The insistence that the fetus is nothing but a clump of cells and anyone who thinks otherwise hates women feels incredibly dismissive to women who have lost wanted pregnancies."

My wife had a miscarriage. Then, during her pregnancy, she had a selective reduction. I don't really like to talk about it because even after 7 years, we're both still sorting through our feelings about what happened.

I can't speak for others. But I can tell you from experience that it is possible to grieve for the loss of a potential life, and still believe that that any fetus only has the potential to grow up to be a person. And I think it is reasonable and right to believe that lobbying for legislative policies which force a woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term (by definition against her wishes) is harmful and wrong.

It's worth noting that if we hadn't reduced, she would have very likely had a late miscarriage. Doctor was telling us that was all but guaranteed. If terminating a pregnancy had been illegal at the time, it would have happened on its own, and my twins wouldn't have survived.
posted by zarq at 7:07 AM on May 8 [16 favorites]


divabat and no, that other sockpuppet, thanks for those links.
posted by zarq at 7:29 AM on May 8


t is reasonable and right to believe that lobbying for legislative policies which force a woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term (by definition against her wishes) is harmful and wrong.

For christ's sake, how many times to I have to say that I am emphatically against legislative policies which force a woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term (as I have in every. single. comment.) before you will hear it? Are you so locked into polarized thinking that your eyes just pass over anything that doesn't fit?

I've lost four desperately wanted pregnancies and I don't feel like anyone here is being dismissive of me and my experiences at all,

Seriously, that's great for you. But as a cursory reading of links would show, a great many women do not feel the same. Your experience is not universal. One of the more distasteful characteristics of this thread is women saying "I feel x, which proves that all women feel x except the ones who hate women," in spite of polling evidence showing the opposite. Makes the links about intersectionality all the more important.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 8:16 AM on May 8 [2 favorites]


Seriously, that's great for you.

Wow, what a condescending thing to say.

"I feel x, which proves that all women feel x except the ones who hate women,"

Can you link to EVEN ONE comment that says this?
posted by KathrynT at 8:24 AM on May 8 [13 favorites]


Seriously, that's great for you. But as a cursory reading of links would show, a great many women do not feel the same.

Kathryn, in case you were wondering how women feel about this, please don't worry! A man is here to tell you!
posted by Greg Nog at 8:29 AM on May 8 [23 favorites]


Wow, what a condescending thing to say.

You might even say it feels incredibly dismissive.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:34 AM on May 8 [12 favorites]


"For christ's sake, how many times to I have to say that I am emphatically against legislative policies which force a woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term (as I have in every. single. comment.) before you will hear it? Are you so locked into polarized thinking that your eyes just pass over anything that doesn't fit?"

Yeah, that's one of those risks of playing the "I don't feel like this, but someone else does…" game. People end up thinking you're kidding on the square and treat you like it. Especially if you have a dubious history around feminism in a forum. So, while I feel your frustration, it's also not like this is a total surprise — if you play with fireworks, sometimes some of them go off in your hand.

"Seriously, that's great for you."

Like this one. Bang. When a woman tells you that she's lost four pregnancies, even if you disagree with the second clause of her sentence, being glibly dismissive is only gonna make you look like an asshole.

But as a cursory reading of links would show, a great many women do not feel the same.

Well, since they're not actually in this conversation, maybe it's worth talking to the people that are, rather than staking out someone else's hill to die on?

Your experience is not universal. One of the more distasteful characteristics of this thread is women saying "I feel x, which proves that all women feel x except the ones who hate women," in spite of polling evidence showing the opposite."

Pretty bold words from a "cursory reading" guy, you know? Like, maybe a cursory reading of this thread would show that Spaltivian is the closest to that, and even that's not really a decent paraphrase.

Makes the links about intersectionality all the more important."

Why? I'll agree that they're worthwhile to read, but since she's talking about the conversation here, it seems pretty thin to lecture her about conversations elsewhere.
posted by klangklangston at 8:37 AM on May 8 [14 favorites]


ThatFuzzyBastard: " For christ's sake, how many times to I have to say that I am emphatically against legislative policies which force a woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term (as I have in every. single. comment.) before you will hear it? Are you so locked into polarized thinking that your eyes just pass over anything that doesn't fit?"

You raised the idea that people who think 'a fetus is more than a clump of cells' are being denigrated as women haters. You've also mentioned that thinking is dismissive of women who have had miscarriages. My entire comment was intended to address that, which is why I quoted you in my response. Your line of thinking can be extended to certain logical conclusions, and since we're discussing abortion, abortion rights, pro-life and pro-choice opinions and laws, it seemed appropriate to repeat my own opinion of that subject in my comment.
posted by zarq at 8:48 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


klangklangston: "Yeah, that's one of those risks of playing the "I don't feel like this, but someone else does…" game. People end up thinking you're kidding on the square and treat you like it. "

With respect to klang, I didn't assume TFB was a pro-lifer in disguise. The topic's difficult and complicated.

On the other hand, this:

ThatFuzzyBastard: "Seriously, that's great for you."

...was condescending as hell.
posted by zarq at 8:52 AM on May 8 [4 favorites]


"That's great for you" isn't sarcastic. It really is fortunate to feel you've found a community here that shares your feelings. But such a feeling is not shared by the majority of women, and it would be nice to allow the reality of those women's experience.

From 1975 - the present, the number of women who believe abortion should be legal in all circumstances varies from 23% to 34%, mostly staying in the mid-20s. It has never been near to a majority position. I find it implausible that this is because a large majority of women hate women.

My partner had to terminate a very wanted pregnancy at 25 weeks, due to extremely severe birth defects. 25 weeks put us well past the "late-term" line, so I am well aware of the importance of holding the line on even the legislative restrictions that affect only a small number.

But given that we had spent the last two months eagerly watching its movement and hearing its heartbeat, it didn't feel like we were "ending a potential life" (as it had when we used morning-after pills). It felt like a mercy killing. And while I am emphatically in favor of the right to a mercy killing, people who would insist that it's no big deal give me the creeps. And judging from the polling, that is a much more common view that the "eh, what's the big deal" prevalent here.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 8:52 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


ThatFuzzyBastard: One of the more distasteful characteristics of this thread is women saying "I feel x, which proves that all women feel x except the ones who hate women

Uh, I think you're paraphrasing me there, a man. And I think the "hating woman" was really more an artifact of Etrigan's phrasing, and my not terribly careful quoting, as I think the meat of the comment makes clear:

People don't come up with illogical nonsense to defend a position when there isn't a real agenda, which is how people, and women especially, should act, with sexuality, specifically.

I think it's pretty easy to view the enforcement of one's morality on someone, and subsequent judgement and intimidation as "hatred", but I'm not suggesting they all necessarily are consciously thinking "I think women are inferior, so I'll do this". To be clear, though, I absolutely think that is an aspect of a lot of pro-life thought.

I think I make the "hatred" clear in a later post.
posted by spaltavian at 8:55 AM on May 8


TFB, Not one person here has said it was universally no big deal for everyone. I really wish you would pay closer attention to what's said instead of jumping in and accusing people of callousness when your comments aren't particularly respectful themselves.
posted by agregoli at 8:57 AM on May 8 [4 favorites]


[Gentle reminder, it would be a lot better to have a discussion with the people actually in this thread than to argue with the people in commenting sections of other websites. This is an ongoing chronic problem that we have in hot button threads and people need to get better at moderating themselves around it.]
posted by jessamyn at 8:58 AM on May 8


TFB, I'm very sorry for your loss. But the fact that some women didn't feel conflict or grief over ending their unwanted pregnancies doesn't have any bearing on how I feel about my losses, or about how you feel about yours. There is no universal "women feel X about pregnancy" guideline.

And for the record, there was nothing "great" about my inability to carry a pregnancy to term at all. It was, and remains, one of the most miserable, grief-inducing periods of my life, and one that firmly cemented my own beliefs that only an individual woman can say how should feel about carrying or ending a pregnancy. So whether you meant it to be dismissive or not, it definitely came across that way. The fact that other people didn't experience agony over terminating their pregnancies doesn't invalidate my sadness over involuntarily losing mine, and I'd appreciate it if you didn't imply so heavily that it was "no big deal" to me.
posted by KathrynT at 8:59 AM on May 8 [8 favorites]


And that's the difference between a wanted and an unwanted pregnancy. You and your partner wanted that baby so very much and there's a very big difference between that and someone who wants to stop the pregnancy before it has become a 'baby' and is still just a potential. There's a big difference there, a huge difference.
posted by h00py at 8:59 AM on May 8 [8 favorites]


That was in reference to TFB's comment, not yours, KathrynT.
posted by h00py at 9:01 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


One of the more distasteful characteristics of this thread is women saying "I feel x, which proves that all women feel x except the ones who hate women," in spite of polling evidence showing the opposite.

Can you reference specifically what in the world you are talking about here?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:02 AM on May 8 [4 favorites]


“Well said. If we can get NGOs away from spreading falkse messages and laying guilt trips on people, that'd be another big step foeward out of the darkness.”
&
“Decreased access to safe, legal abortions means more women will have unsafe abortions… video's attempt to destigmatize abortion, and to turn up the volume on the message that no, abortion is not a terrible physical or emotional trauma for every woman, and that's not a tragedy or a sign of immorality.”


Which I think is great too….

“Liberals aren't the ones burning down clinics and shooting doctors and passing ridiculous fucking laws that mean fewer women have access to safe, legal medical procedures (which include prenatal and well-baby care!). Can we please remember that.”


Hmmm. Not sure what I stepped in here, but looks like some wires are crossed. I think the video helping to destigmatize abortions and alleviate the physical and or emotional trauma of getting one is a good thing. So I want more of them. More truthful stories. More light to drive out the darkness of lies.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:03 AM on May 8 [2 favorites]


ThatFuzzyBastard: " One of the more distasteful characteristics of this thread is women saying "I feel x, which proves that all women feel x except the ones who hate women," in spite of polling evidence showing the opposite."

Can you please link to the multiple instances where this happened in this thread? Because at this point you're referring to multiple women saying something that I apparently missed, and I'd like to be able to examine those comments.
posted by zarq at 9:09 AM on May 8 [2 favorites]


We Do Abortions Here: A Nurse's Tale. by Sallie Tisdale, Harper's Magazine, October, 1987. I appreciate Tisdale's writing and her viewpoint as a nurse. Abortion is now far less available, and there's even more danger for people who provide them. I may have posted this in a comment previously, not in this thread, not recently.
posted by theora55 at 9:09 AM on May 8 [2 favorites]


And for what it's worth, I'm very sorry for your loss, TFB.
posted by zarq at 9:09 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


women saying "I feel x, which proves that all women feel x except the ones who hate women," in spite of polling evidence showing the opposite.

I think you are making the mistake of weaving the thread as a whole into one massive straw man.

Some women (like me) have been saying that we do not like being told what to feel; similarly, I have no interest in telling others what to feel.

Others have been talking about different aspects of the relevant ontological arguments, about personhood, etc, and the ways those arguments have played out in wider politics.
posted by cotton dress sock at 9:10 AM on May 8 [4 favorites]


Can you please link to the multiple instances where this happened in this thread? Because at this point you're referring to multiple women saying something that I apparently missed, and I'd like to be able to examine those comments.

Pretty sure he is just grossly mischaracterizing my comment here which was about my personal experiences with people I personally know IRL and the conclusions I have drawn from their behavior about their attitudes towards women.
posted by elizardbits at 9:19 AM on May 8 [7 favorites]


It's such a mistake to extrapolate 'I did not regret my abortion' to mean 'anyone who regrets or suffers because of their abortion is wrong'. This is the thing: it is utterly personal. What one person feels doesn't negate anyone else's feelings.
posted by h00py at 9:21 AM on May 8 [8 favorites]


Absolutely. I have tremendous empathy for women who feel their abortion is a necessary choice, but also a very difficult, emotionally-fraught one. And I have empathy also for women for whom abortion is a simple, straight-forward medical procedure about which they harbour no strong feelings except relief and gratitude. And women who feel anything in between and otherwise. I have no interest in policing how individual women feel about their own abortions. Their choice, their feelings.

People who do want to police how women feel about their own abortions, though? People who've decided it's okay for women to have abortions as long as they feel and say the right things afterwards? People who want those women to behave contrite/remorseful/humbled/sad/bad/whatever in accordance with some ethical or religious framework that may be quite different to the one the women herself subscribes to? I feel... less empathic towards them.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 9:50 AM on May 8 [15 favorites]


TFB made that comment in response to me saying I found it hard to find resources for my sister who'd miscarried that respected her feelings of loss while also not being religious or pro-lifey or reducing her to a babymaker, since a lot of my resources came from radical pro-choice activists whose starting position was that no fetus is significant enough to be mourned, or something. I wish I'd remembered the Mizuni Kuno post, that would have been perfect actually.

I got the feeling that he was speaking in a more general sense, rather than pointing to anyone on this thread.
posted by divabat at 10:00 AM on May 8 [3 favorites]


I got the feeling that he was speaking in a more general sense, rather than pointing to anyone on this thread.

Not sure how you got that but:


People on Metafilter think anyone who isn't all "hooray for abortion" secretly hates women.

that is a much more common view that the "eh, what's the big deal" prevalent here.

One of the more distasteful characteristics of this thread is women saying "I feel x, which proves that all women feel x except the ones who hate women,"

Yeah, this has come up in other MF threads as well. The insistence that the fetus is nothing but a clump of cells and anyone who thinks otherwise hates women feels incredibly dismissive to women who have lost wanted pregnancies.

posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:15 AM on May 8 [4 favorites]


Yeah, he's making specific accusations about things women have said in this thread, and about things "People on Metafilter" are saying.
posted by zarq at 10:17 AM on May 8


Oh, the "other MF threads as well" I took to mean "other people have expressed similar concerns to yours elsewhere on Mefi".
posted by divabat at 10:28 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


And for the record, there was nothing "great" about my inability to carry a pregnancy to term at all.

To be very clear, "great" referred to your finding a community where your views are shared, not the experience of losing a pregnancy.

And that's the difference between a wanted and an unwanted pregnancy. You and your partner wanted that baby so very much and there's a very big difference between that and someone who wants to stop the pregnancy before it has become a 'baby' and is still just a potential.

It doesn't make sense to me to argue that another entity's ontological status is dependent on my opinion of it. Once it has a heartbeat and can move, it's a living thing. Sometimes it is neccessary and right to kill a living thing– I do it indirectly every time I have meat for dinner. But I don't think one should regard even necessary killing as no big deal.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 10:32 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


…and other people disagree, and have just as much a right to their opinions.
posted by klangklangston at 10:38 AM on May 8 [10 favorites]


To be very clear, "great" referred to your finding a community where your views are shared, not the experience of losing a pregnancy.

Which views are those, precisely?
posted by KathrynT at 10:39 AM on May 8


I do think some people - myself included - are trying to say that there is no obligation to feel regret or suffer. You don't have to feel bad to "pay" for your transgression. I thought the author was expressing surprise that she didn't feel bad, because you're supposed to. Because you have to "show some respect" and not be "flippant" to earn that abortion you shouldn't even have.

If you DO feel bad or conflicted or regret or pain because life is often really complicated that's how you feel, then that is how you feel. I don't want it made worse by external forces, though.

Also, it's entirely possible for women to be misogynistic, and women can often be very ugly to each other. My mother is certainly in the 22-34% who thinks abortions should only be available for 1) rape and incest ("justified" abortion), 2) save the life of the mother if the mother is worth it and maybe kind of selfish, 3) people she personally knows and doesn't think should have children for whatever reasons 4) undesirables who shouldn't breed. All those other poor stupid sluts should suffer for what they did, which was on purpose to steal money from the government, and they should have just shut their legs in the first place or something. It's really sort of a triple salchow of racism, misogyny, and classism, but she's hardly unsupported in this perspective.

Once it has a heartbeat and can move, it's a living thing

That is your opinion, one that works very tidily for wanted pregnancies, but you still don't get to tell other people how to feel or how they have to feel in order for it to be allowable.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:43 AM on May 8 [19 favorites]


ThatFuzzyBastard: " Once it has a heartbeat and can move, it's a living thing. "

You keep making statements like this as if they are facts.

Let's be crystal clear: this is your definition. It is a definition of a fetus as a living thing according to you. You don't speak for me in this.

This by the way, would make the fetus a "living thing" at approximately 6 weeks. Heartbeat starts at 23 days post-conception. First movements (arching its back) begin around the 6 week mark.
posted by zarq at 10:47 AM on May 8 [13 favorites]


The thing is, the more "flippant" "irresponsible" "unserious" someone considers a woman, by their own description, the more strongly they are arguing for an abortion; such a person does not need to be raising a kid; they don't even need the responsibility of going through a pregnancy and taking care of themselves.

I think this gets at my reaction, and although I can't speak for them, to the extent I find myself in agreement with mysterious_stranger, xarnop and ThatFuzzyBastard I suspect this might apply to their positions as well.

This has nothing to do with whether abortion is legal -- in fact, it strengthens the case for keeping abortion legal and shame-free.

But I don't see why being "flippant," "irresponsible," or "unserious" isn't a legitimate criticism. Abortion is actively stopping something that will likely become a human being -- that's doesn't justify giving it human rights, but it's not nothing.

I choose to eat meat, so I certainly don't consider animal rights sacrosanct, but if someone claimed that they didn't have any qualms about eating meat I would definitely question their capacity for empathy.
posted by bjrubble at 11:04 AM on May 8 [3 favorites]


One more thing, TFB: brain death is legally considered death by the laws of every single US state. Not the presence of a heartbeat or even involuntary movement.

This is one of the primary reasons why the pro-life movement wound itself up in knots when the case of Marlise Munoz was raised: they have a different definition of what constitutes life. To them, it's a heartbeat.

And to bring the conversation full circle: this is not just an academic discussion. Five states: North Dakota, Arkansas, Mississippi, Ohio and Kansas have all tried to ban abortion at the point at which a fetal heartbeat can be detected. The first two on that list, North Dakota and Arkansas, both saw those bans become law, only to have them blocked by judges who understood how the bans countered other state laws regarding legal death, and what the medical community's general consensus is on the subject.
posted by zarq at 11:05 AM on May 8 [8 favorites]


bjrubble - because "legitimate criticism" is variable based on the opinions of the people involved. There's no concensus on that. And also - there is no opinion that matters but the woman making the decision of what to do regarding her pregnancy.
posted by agregoli at 11:12 AM on May 8


It doesn't make sense to me to argue that another entity's ontological status is dependent on my opinion of it.

Let's look at a cake and a fetus from the Aristotelian view of causality.

- Material cause: the raw stuff a thing is made of. Flour, eggs and water; proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, water again.
- Formal cause: the thing's organizing principle. A recipe; DNA.
- Efficient cause: the proximal agent of an action. A chef; two reproductive-aged humans (with more weight being given towards the one carrying the fetus, for the many reasons stated above).
- Final cause/telos: what a thing’s ultimately for. A cake to eat; a manifestation of Nature or God’s will - or, if you don't believe 'nature' has a purpose or moral force, or that a god exists, whatever the humans/proximal agents settle on.
posted by cotton dress sock at 11:18 AM on May 8


But I don't see why being "flippant," "irresponsible," or "unserious" isn't a legitimate criticism.

There's disagreement in this thread about whether the woman who made the video is or is not some or all of those things. Some people seem to think that just making this video shows she is not serious, and that it's a public spectacle (and that is an undesirable thing). So I guess first we have to determine, somehow, that this woman is in fact being any or all of those things, and if she is....then what?
posted by rtha at 11:22 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


but if someone claimed that they didn't have any qualms about eating meat I would definitely question their capacity for empathy.

I know a LOT of people who have no qualms about eating meat (I am not one of them) and who are perfectly empathetic people. I certainly don't make judgments about their ability to be a caring human being based on their diets.

Abortion is actively stopping something that will likely become a human being -- that's doesn't justify giving it human rights, but it's not nothing.

And it's fine that you feel that way. But what others are arguing is that there's a spectrum of opinions on this, just as there are on carnivorism, and your (or anyone's) strong feelings shouldn't be the yardstick by which others' actions are judged when what it comes down to is autonomy over our bodies, and how we feel about what we do to our bodies.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:23 AM on May 8 [6 favorites]


bjrubble - because "legitimate criticism" is variable based on the opinions of the people involved. There's no concensus on that.

Well, yes. It's my opinion. I'm not trying to codify it into law, and I absolutely understand how my opinion is similar to that of people who are. But I don't see how that has any bearing on the opinion itself.

There's disagreement in this thread about whether the woman who made the video is or is not some or all of those things.

I should state that I'm not making any judgments about this woman in particular. But that's a question of perception: does the video reflect a certain philosophy or attitude that she holds? I'm talking about the question of whether that philosophy or attitude itself can legitimately be held in moral opprobium.
posted by bjrubble at 11:32 AM on May 8


You lost me then. You seemed to be saying it was reasonable for everyone to think your opinion was a legitimate criticism.
posted by agregoli at 11:41 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


But I don't see why being "flippant," "irresponsible," or "unserious" isn't a legitimate criticism.

It's not legitimate criticism because there is no measurable standard for judging someone's thoughts and feelings. You can holler 'til the cows come home about your views and value judgments on this woman, but in the end, all you're doing is holding this woman to your personal standards of behavior and finding her lacking. Your personal standards aren't a universal standard, nor should they be.

I should state that I'm not making any judgments about this woman in particular. But that's a question of perception: does the video reflect a certain philosophy or attitude that she holds? I'm talking about the question of whether that philosophy or attitude itself can legitimately be held in moral opprobium.

You're seriously asking if we can judge this woman harshly (that's what moral opprobrium means!) because of your interpretation of her emotional state?
posted by palomar at 12:06 PM on May 8 [5 favorites]


I know a LOT of people who have no qualms about eating meat (I am not one of them) and who are perfectly empathetic people. I certainly don't make judgments about their ability to be a caring human being based on their diets.

The critical distinction I see is that I wouldn't judge them on their diets, but I would judge them if they claimed that their diets had no moral implications.

You lost me then. You seemed to be saying it was reasonable for everyone to think your opinion was a legitimate criticism.

Well, there's a difference between disagreeing and delegitimizing.

The original point I was replying to was that if someone is flippant and irresponsible, I should be that much more in support of her having an abortion. I was agreeing, and pointing out that what I think some people found problematic was really her flippancy and irresponsibility.

I see 3 questions here:
1. Did the woman in the video truly feel no qualms about having an abortion?
2. Does having no qualms about having an abortion indicate flippancy or irresponsibility?
3. Can you consider flippancy or irresponsibility a legitimate grounds for criticism?

I'm saying that #1 is an empirical issue, not a philosophical one. And my original point was basically asking whether people were saying "no" on #3, because that seems nonjudgmental to the point of uselessness.

I think #2 is really the point, and I think there could be an interesting discussion about it, but I think it's getting obscured by #1 and #3.
posted by bjrubble at 12:21 PM on May 8 [1 favorite]


2. Does having no qualms about having an abortion indicate flippancy or irresponsibility? ... I think #2 is really the point, and I think there could be an interesting discussion about it, but I think it's getting obscured by #1 and #3.

I don't really understand why having an abortion is considered the irresponsible thing to do when you're pregnant and you know that you don't want a child and/or you can't care for a child. Can you please explain why you feel that's an irresponsible decision?
posted by palomar at 12:27 PM on May 8 [9 favorites]


At this point, it almost feels like you haven't been following along, since no, many of us do not think that having zero qualms about one's own abortion is at all flippant or irresponsible. Who's definition of flippant? Who's definition of responsible? Who cares what anyone else thinks but the woman involved? I don't even understand why you're so interested in her mental state, honestly. If she felt terrible about it, would that make you feel better? Why? What purpose does that serve?

I'm not trying to attack you in any way, but I don't think you're quite getting why most of us are not interested in judging a woman for her choices - because our opinion doesn't matter.
posted by agregoli at 12:28 PM on May 8 [7 favorites]


Blasdelb: "...even if not that something just deeply human about the sacredness of human life,"

rtha: "Why is it that when sacredness-of-life language is used in this context it's always about the fetus and never about the actual, walking-around-right-here woman? It's somehow even more discouraging when it comes from people who are pro-choice."
While I have more than a few reservations about jumping back into what has from the start been such a profoundly toxic thread, isn't it at least strange, rtha, to pick this clause out of a comment that is almost solely focused on the ways in which institutionalized misogyny towards women contributes to abortion incidence as being somehow proof of how women are forgotten in all of this?

I suppose I can, however, own this new role as a discouraging supporter of pro-choice policies - you've ferreted me out. I am indeed among that section of American society that bizarrely seems simultaneously dominant in this debate while also embarrassed into silence by the inherent contradiction of considering a developing fetus to be both inherently human but also an entity whose intentional death should be made safe, legal, and available. Not that anyone asked, but it is indeed pretty weird to have what appears to be ultimately the majority perspective among both men and women in the US, find no one actively agreeing with me other than perhaps the Clintons when they were foolish enough to speak their minds, be both plausibly claimed and actively shunned by each of the 'two sides' of this debate, and still be almost semi-mythical.

I guess I'm horrified by both the idea expressed in this thread that induced abortion should be the default response to any unplanned pregnancy, as if a developing fetus should not only be used as a means to an end but is not even worth being oriented towards the possibility of considering it an end in and of itself, and the deep seated misogyny that pro-life stances are so often just a thin veneer for. I won't pretend to have some right to judge this woman or even this video, if nothing else there is a lot I admire in it, and besides that is not the kind of orientation I ever want to have towards anyone having found it to have this funny way of blinding me to my own many faults and my duty to love my neighbor. At the same time though, I won't apologize for the pit in my stomach that I feel for watching the end of a human life performed with a smile for a camera so that I could watch it.
posted by Blasdelb at 12:56 PM on May 8 [2 favorites]


as if a developing fetus should not only be used as a means to an end but is not even worth being oriented towards the possibility of considering it an end in and of itself

See, the problem with this argument, though, is that it completely ignores what the mother would have to endure during the gestation period. The mother is removed from the equation entirely. No weight whatsoever is given to what her body would have to endure over nine freaking months -- three-quarters of a whole year! There's no acknowledgement of the short- and long-term medical complications that could arise (some of which, like diabetes, won't magically go away after the baby is born), the incredible expense of all of the medical appointments, and the possibility of complications or, you know, death during childbirth.

If it were as simple as having some sort of non-invasive way of removing the fertilized egg and putting it into an incubator, there wouldn't be as much disagreement. (You'd still have the issue of another unwanted child being introduced into society, but let's focus on pre-birth.) But you can't make that proposal and then have that conversation in any non-disingenuous way without also considering what that person rtha calls the "actual, walking-around-right-here woman" will go through to realize the end you're suggesting. And that's offensive and dismissive. In relegating the now-pregnant mother to the role of incubator without considering what that incubator is going to experience, you are essentially saying that her experience doesn't matter.

That right there is why a lot of women get kind of het up over this issue.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:14 PM on May 8 [14 favorites]


I am indeed among that section of American society that bizarrely seems simultaneously dominant in this debate while also embarrassed into silence by the inherent contradiction of considering a developing fetus to be both inherently human but also an entity whose intentional death should be made safe, legal, and available.

Your sarcasm is unbecoming, and also completely misses the point I was trying to make.

isn't it at least strange, rtha, to pick this clause out of a comment that is almost solely focused on the ways in which institutionalized misogyny towards women contributes to abortion incidence as being somehow proof of how women are forgotten in all of this?


No, not when the only life whose sacredness must be considered (or is ever even mentioned) is that of the fetus. We are constantly reminded of the sanctity of life, but there is only one life that people mean when they use that phrase, and it's never the woman's. I will never not point this out in discussion like this if this phrase comes up.
posted by rtha at 1:28 PM on May 8 [30 favorites]


Exactly. As many have pointed out, treating the fetus, which has not yet met a number of commonly held and in principle empirically determinable criteria of personhood (like a fully developed CNS), as the end in itself, turns the woman into its means.
posted by cotton dress sock at 1:30 PM on May 8 [5 favorites]


Thank you, rtha. I'm always astounded that so many believe an entity that cannot exist on its own takes immediate precedence (even if only in, "wait, let's consider the fetus first" kind of precedence) over me, based on the mere idea of its potential. Any woman has definitive inherent value over a fetus - we're already here and can say so.
posted by agregoli at 1:33 PM on May 8 [5 favorites]


I don't really understand why having an abortion is considered the irresponsible thing to do when you're pregnant and you know that you don't want a child and/or you can't care for a child.

Whoa, I think you got ahead of the question. If abortion was really of no consequence, then the "because" doesn't matter at all. Getting an abortion because you want to go bar hopping guilt-free this weekend, or because the due date would be July 7 and that's just more 7s than you're comfortable with, would not be grounds for anyone to think less of your priorities or decision-making.

I'm not trying to attack you in any way, but I don't think you're quite getting why most of us are not interested in judging a woman for her choices - because our opinion doesn't matter.

I'm not trying to attack you, but why are you on Metafilter then? For me, the whole point is to share opinions and try to make better sense of things. And this discussion has certainly made me think more about aspects of this.

What it comes down to for me is what empathy means, in particular with regard to theoretical or potential things. I would regard a fetus as a potential human being, and more personally as a potential major character in the story of my life. Thinking about this, for me, is the same empathic exercise that it would be for any other decision -- it's an A/B test where I see my decision from the point of view of another person. In one scenario, the person exists, and in the other they don't, and from their perspective the existence seems like the better outcome. The fact that this person has no current existence is, rationally speaking, a critical distinction -- but it doesn't change the essential quality of the story in my head, or my emotional reaction to it.

I guess I don't get how the thought process works that doesn't end up here in some fashion. My uncharitable hypothesis is a lack of imagination or empathy. My more practical hypothesis is that anti-abortion politics has made that sort of sentiment so seemingly traitorous that it's difficult to explore. But really, I don't know, and I'm actually genuinely curious.
posted by bjrubble at 1:38 PM on May 8 [2 favorites]


See, the problem with this argument, though, is that it completely ignores what the mother would have to endure during the gestation period.

That's the point. The anti-choice right-wing movement has completely dominated the anti-abortion discourse and supplied most of the anti-abortion arguments. Their inherent misogyny and larger project of punishing women for having sex means that most anti-abortion arguments are likely to internalize a lot of their assumptions, including erasing the woman/mother from the whole thing.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:38 PM on May 8 [5 favorites]


Whoa, I think you got ahead of the question. If abortion was really of no consequence, then the "because" doesn't matter at all. Getting an abortion because you want to go bar hopping guilt-free this weekend, or because the due date would be July 7 and that's just more 7s than you're comfortable with, would not be grounds for anyone to think less of your priorities or decision-making.

The question was, does having no qualms about having an abortion indicate flippancy or irresponsibility? Please explain why my asking what's irresponsible about choosing abortion when it's the right decision for you, is somehow "getting ahead of the question". If you can do it without moving the goalposts and changing the question that was actually asked, that'd be swell.
posted by palomar at 1:44 PM on May 8 [2 favorites]


bjrubble, I wish you had answered my other questions. Why would you want the woman having the abortion to feel qualms about it, so you could feel better about her as a person? You insert yourself into these scenarios as if your opinion of them matters, as if the woman who aborts should consider your viewpoint or she is seriously lacking in character. We have been trying to point out how this is absurd.

Now your comments read as if you accuse me and others of a lack of imagination and/or empathy. How does this uncharitable reading of those who think differently than you help the discussion at all?
posted by agregoli at 1:46 PM on May 8 [3 favorites]


rtha: "We are constantly reminded of the sanctity of life, but there is only one life that people mean when they use that phrase, and it's never the woman's."

Thank you.
posted by zarq at 1:50 PM on May 8 [4 favorites]


"I am indeed among that section of American society"

I thought you were in Belgium or something.
posted by klangklangston at 1:50 PM on May 8


In relegating the now-pregnant mother to the role of incubator without considering what that incubator is going to experience,

I think people have trouble imagining it. Pain is hard to imagine or remember in a way that does it justice, I guess.

I said earlier that I had okay-ish pregnancies. What I meant by that was: I had two emergency c-sections because of sudden uncontrollable bleeding. The second one after eight hours of what felt like the worst bowel cramps in the world, only that doesn't do the birthing experience justice either.

Before that were nine months of scary painfulness. Imagine your body falling apart. When you turn around too rashly, something seems to tear and it starts hurting for the rest of your pregnancy. So you can't turn around normally anymore. When you sneeze, you pee in your pants. Your back hurts from carrying around a quarter of your own weight additionally. You can't sit or stand for more than ten minute comfortably. Never mind the morning sickness which, despite the name, is not reserved for mornings but goes on all day and also doesn't stop after the first trimester like everyone tells you. Meanwhile, depression caused by hormones is making you cry every morning. Then one day oompf the baby turns on its head and jabs you so hard in some nerve ending you want a wheelchair because you can't walk or stand anymore. But you have to walk home. Because you are not sick or an emergency or anything people take seriously. Bless her, she's only pregnant.

That's normal, the doctors tell you magnanimously. Don't worry about it. Your baby is okay. They look funny when you tell them, to hell with the baby, what about me? Am I okay?

There's still loads more but I don't actually want to remember all this crap. The point is, this is what an okay-ish pregnancy looks like, one that ends up in a bloody surgery bed but with a mostly happy patient.

The woman I shared a room with almost bled to death. Her vaginal bleeding just didn't stop after childbirth. It happens regularly enough that the doctors knew what to do but they were frantic. She spent two night in intensive care. She came out brave, trying to get her baby to latch on, cried when it didn't know how. Cried and cried and cried. Felt like she had let down her baby. The doctor came and said, "be gentle to yourself. You almost died. We are so glad you are even sitting here." She cried some more, and she went on being brave. Two days later she was pushing herself along the hallway, and she smiled.

She was the worst off, but the women in that hospital all had a broken body, that healed only slowly. It was easy for exactly none of them. But that doesn't count. Not like breaking a leg does. Because getting a baby is natural.

"Oh, that's normal", they smile at you. They've heard women complain about their pregnancies and deliveries a million times. It must be no big deal. Otherwise humanity would have died out long ago, haha.

And this is my reason why nobody should carry a baby to term who doesn't want to.
posted by Omnomnom at 2:11 PM on May 8 [38 favorites]


"See, the problem with this argument, though, is that it completely ignores what the mother would have to endure during the gestation period. The mother is removed from the equation entirely."
...Which, is a big part of why I am, as I have yet to post without repeating and making super abundantly clear, pro-choice. Just because I feel that, absent depressingly common dire circumstances, induced abortion is a horrifying and inhuman choice, doesn't mean that I also feel that it should be mine to make.
"Your sarcasm is unbecoming, and also completely misses the point I was trying to make."
I suppose you might just have to take my word for it that I am being entirely sincere, but your point requires an opponent who is conspicuously not present. As I have not made unclear, I feel that medically induced abortion should be rare because there is something intangible yet absolute and sacred about the value of human life while also safe, legal, and available because there is something intangible yet absolute, and yes sacred, about the value of human agency.

What quickly gets lost in these conversations though, as we circle up for the customary liberal firing squad, is how it doesn't really matter why each of us come to the pro-choice movement, if indeed there is such a thing that genuinely includes both of us and could be accurately described that way, but that each of us votes and donates that way.
posted by Blasdelb at 2:24 PM on May 8 [3 favorites]


klangklangston: "I thought you were in Belgium or something."
I am an American, with a blue passport and everything, living in Belgium where induced abortion is uncontroversially legal, safe to the highest standards of modern medicine, available to all, and not subject to public spectacle. The madness of the debate in this thread is making me feel at home though.
posted by Blasdelb at 2:30 PM on May 8


I guess the difference is, if we were in some sort of political operation here, then caring about what people think would be silly and subservient to what people do. But we aren't, we're talking. And all we have are our opinions.

And since all we have are our opinions, when someone offers their opinion that "induced abortion is a horrifying and inhuman choice" its no great solace to hear that some of us who have participated in that choice that the holder of that opinion is objectively pro-choice and votes that way.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 2:33 PM on May 8 [8 favorites]


Yeah, it's not really comforting to know that if I decide to have an abortion, at least one of my pro-choice "allies" out there is going to consider me an inhuman monster for making that choice.
posted by palomar at 2:36 PM on May 8 [11 favorites]


Considering the long human tradition of infanticide, it's laughably stupid to call abortion inhuman.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:43 PM on May 8 [8 favorites]


As I have not made unclear, I feel that medically induced abortion should be rare because there is something intangible yet absolute and sacred

OK, but with all due respect: why should I or anyone else care what you feel? I mean, great, have those feelings, share them with whomever you choose to have children with, excellent. But why should some woman you've never met give an ounce of weight to your feelings on the subject?
posted by KathrynT at 2:49 PM on May 8 [16 favorites]


Having Big Feels on a topic does not make one more moral than others. Intent and such can be judged as part of the law but, mostly, we judge action. And given you are a 25 year old American living abroad, (apparently) pursuing your PHD, you probably come from a pretty privileged background in some sense. So it isn't very realistic to expect most of the world to live up to your moral standards. For medical abortion to be "rare" while still holding the lives of women as sacred, we first need to solve a shitload of other problems. We are just so far off from that.

Blasdelb, you are, in some ways, a younger version of me. And I suspect you are getting a lot of pushback because you are one of The Cool Kids of mefi and people respect your opinions. You have the right to feel whatever you feel. But your position here gives you influence which you should also treat as sacred if you don't want a lot of shit for how you feel.

Of course, it's not really my business. I am sorry I am posting this publicly. I wish I knew you well enough to feel like I could say it privately and have it not be interpreted as a personal attack. It certainly isn't intended as an attack. I have, at times, done a lot of obnoxious things because my position of influence in various forums made me a target of attacks. I am nearly 49. It has taken me a long time to figure out how to get my ego out of the way and become less of a target. So I actually have quite a lot of sympathy for how you feel and what your position here is, socially, and how that likely impacts you personally.

But, you know, with great power comes great responsibility. It's one of the reasons I don't really want to be one of The Cool Kids. Trying to treat others and their lives as sacred is just too fucking hard to pull off when I am too much in the spotlight. And I think that is more important. So you have a very hard row to hoe, with talking about sacredness of life while trying to defend your ego above all else. I hope you figure out something that works for you that others find less hurtful.
posted by Michele in California at 2:54 PM on May 8 [1 favorite]


"We are constantly reminded of the sanctity of life, but there is only one life that people mean when they use that phrase, and it's never the woman's."

That would be because in a modern medical context, the woman is likely to suffer, but not to die, while the fetus is unlikely to suffer, but certain to die. Not to say there's no risk of death---as rightly noted above, childbirth is much riskier than abortion---but it does rather affect whose life one is concerned for.

Considering the long human tradition of infanticide, it's laughably stupid to call abortion inhuman.

Considering the long human tradition of infanticide, it's laughably stupid to act as though "life begins at birth" is a universal truth. Lots of societies have regarded infanticide the way we regard abortion.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 2:55 PM on May 8


Lots of societies have regarded infanticide the way we regard abortion.

You mean as something where men's voices are treated as more valuable and meaningful and important to the discussion than women's are? That's true at least.
posted by elizardbits at 2:59 PM on May 8 [15 favorites]


That would be because in a modern medical context, the woman is likely to suffer, but not to die, while the fetus is unlikely to suffer, but certain to die.

Maternal deaths in childbirth rise in the U.S.

"Maternal deaths related to childbirth in the United States are nearly at the highest rate in a quarter century, and a woman giving birth in America is now more likely to die than a woman giving birth in China, according to a new study."
posted by palomar at 3:00 PM on May 8 [13 favorites]


it's laughably stupid to act as though "life begins at birth" is a universal truth.

And its just plain fucking stupid to consistently misinterpret and misrepresent what people in here are saying.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 3:01 PM on May 8 [4 favorites]


Considering the long human tradition of infanticide, it's laughably stupid to act as though "life begins at birth" is a universal truth.

It's not a universal truth; I'm not sure who said that it was. This is phrased like a zinger but since I agree with you it's more of a puzzler.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:07 PM on May 8 [2 favorites]


That would be because in a modern medical context,,

No, that would be because we live in a society where women don't matter, and it's so pervasive a notion that even people who are feminists and pro-choice forget about the actual woman when abortion is under discussion. Anti-choice people are happy to make their reasons for forgetting/ignoring perfectly clear (because sluts, because suffer the consequences, because sanctity-of-life-only-applies-to-potential-life, etc.).
posted by rtha at 3:10 PM on May 8 [12 favorites]


KathrynT: "OK, but with all due respect: why should I or anyone else care what you feel? I mean, great, have those feelings, share them with whomever you choose to have children with, excellent. But why should some woman you've never met give an ounce of weight to your feelings on the subject?"
If anything I think its kind of odd that you would think my perspective should be afforded some kind of special privilege. It is indeed not really relevant to anyone but me.

I am beginning to regret it, but I came to this thread to share something relevant and generally unknown hoping to add something useful to the discussion, and I returned because I'm generally inclined to resent being stuffed with someone else's misogyny and attacked as a stawman.
posted by Blasdelb at 3:18 PM on May 8 [3 favorites]


> Yeah, it's not really comforting to know that if I decide to have an abortion, at least one of my pro-choice "allies" out there is going to consider me an inhuman monster for making that choice.

Yeah, but why do you give a crap what they think? I know I'm not an inhuman monster and that anyone who thinks I am is wrong.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:20 PM on May 8 [3 favorites]


Quick demographics check - is it true that those here expressing the deepest empathy towards the 'potential for life', and the most profound horror at aborting women's 'coldness' are 1) men and/or 2) quasi or explicitly religious?
posted by cotton dress sock at 3:21 PM on May 8 [3 favorites]


If anything I think its kind of odd that you would think my perspective should be afforded some kind of special privilege.

Because when you say "I feel that medically induced abortion should be rare" then you are saying "I wish a lot of the people who have abortions wouldn't have them, because I don't want them to." That's not a statement that applies just to you, or even just to a partner; that's a statement that applies to an entire population.
posted by KathrynT at 3:22 PM on May 8 [2 favorites]


Yeah, but why do you give a crap what they think?

Ultimately, I don't. But it's kind of a slap in the face to have someone who professes to be pro-choice stating that they think having an abortion is an inhuman thing if you're doing it for a reason they don't agree with. Doesn't really sound like a pro-choice stance, honestly.
posted by palomar at 3:23 PM on May 8 [6 favorites]


the young rope-rider: "Considering the long human tradition of infanticide, it's laughably stupid to call abortion inhuman."
If you find yourself curious, it is exactly that long history that informs why I described it that way.
posted by Blasdelb at 3:26 PM on May 8


I'm generally inclined to resent being stuffed with someone else's misogyny and attacked as a stawman.

Come on now, this is what you wrote:

Just because I feel that, absent depressingly common dire circumstances, induced abortion is a horrifying and inhuman choice...

And, considering your opinion makes you the judge of "dire circumstances" and that there are necessarily circumstances which do not meet your criteria, how are you not saying you believe certain women's personal choices strip them of humanity in your eyes?

If you're going to say hateful things, at least stand behind them five minutes later. You're stuffed with nothing more than your own, clearly-spoken opinion, which many people find objectionable.
posted by griphus at 3:27 PM on May 8 [24 favorites]


If you find yourself curious, it is exactly that long history that informs why I described it that way.

You mean Christianity--and your privileging of such--informs your description. If humans regularly do something, that means it's not inhuman, even if Christian-influenced moral systems frown upon it. The word you are, perhaps, looking for is "sinful".
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:35 PM on May 8 [14 favorites]


If humans regularly do something

This should be a much more narrow claim, but I don't want to edit much for content.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:37 PM on May 8


griphus: "And, considering your opinion makes you the judge of "dire circumstances" and that there are necessarily circumstances which do not meet your criteria, how are you not saying you believe certain women's personal choices do not strip them of humanity in your eyes?"
We all, constantly, do things that most of us, with a few moments reflection, would consider to be callous and inhuman. We all walk past people we know to be in need, we all ruin the days of others from time to time, and we're each right now destroying the planet with the turned on computer we're each using in order to do nothing more than argue with a stranger on the internet. I am manifestly not an adequate judge for anyone's actions or circumstances but my own, and even that is generally pretty questionable.
KathrynT: "Because when you say "I feel that medically induced abortion should be rare" then you are saying "I wish a lot of the people who have abortions wouldn't have them, because I don't want them to." That's not a statement that applies just to you, or even just to a partner; that's a statement that applies to an entire population."
What I am saying is that the world I would like to contribute to making is one where birth control is universally available and understood, where women naturally have the agency necessary to make reproductive choices - whatever they are - for themselves, where pregnancy is never a financial or career disaster, where families with children have all of the social support that they need, and where healthcare is not only universal and accessible but a human right. Maybe the word I'm looking for isn't rare, but obsolete where possible.
posted by Blasdelb at 3:50 PM on May 8 [1 favorite]


Maybe the word I'm looking for isn't rare, but obsolete where possible.

Yeah, that's a REALLY different sentence with a really different meaning.
posted by KathrynT at 3:56 PM on May 8 [6 favorites]


I am manifestly not an adequate judge for anyone's actions or circumstances but my own, and even that is generally pretty questionable.

And yet you clearly felt comfortable using language like induced abortion is a horrifying and inhuman choice... which is hardly free of judgement; people right here in this room who have made this choice heard you. Do you think that language is neutral and merely descriptive? It may be only your opinion, but you felt totally a-okay letting people here know what you think of the choice they made. It's not surprising if some of us want you to know our opinion about what you said. But hey, we're not judging or anything. Just expressing.
posted by rtha at 4:07 PM on May 8 [22 favorites]


rtha: "It's not surprising if some of us want you to know our opinion about what you said. But hey, we're not judging or anything. Just expressing."

To be clear, If anything I'm just glad that the seething mass of, entirely valid, anger swirling around this thread looking for targets is no longer directed at the woman who came into this thread with an apparently unacceptable understanding of her own abortion.
posted by Blasdelb at 4:31 PM on May 8 [1 favorite]


[Friendly suggestion, everyone move on from this becoming the Blasdelb show?]
posted by jessamyn at 4:38 PM on May 8 [4 favorites]


_Nobody_ has said that anyone has an unacceptable understanding of her own abortion. People have said that universalizing one's personal feelings about their own procedures is a mistake.
posted by KathrynT at 4:38 PM on May 8 [5 favorites]


Yeah, no one criticised that woman's feelings about her own abortion at all. People were critical about her being critical about how the woman in the video felt (or appeared to feel) about her abortion. So if you're upset with people dictating how women who've had abortions should feel about their own abortions, you're arguing the wrong side here.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 4:44 PM on May 8 [2 favorites]


I have done the perp walk past the protesters more than once. All the screaming about God? I'm not a believer, and that argument doesn't work on me. Abortion is legal in my country, and I am grateful for that.

I have a 16- year old son that is my reason for living. And I can care for him, give him what he needs and guide him through the minefields and meadows of life. This is something I could not have done back in those younger days.

Do I think about the ones that I did not have? Yes, I do. But I don't dwell on it. Because they are better off.

People are going to share their stories for their own reasons. This woman felt the need to put her story on YouTube. That's fine. I just shared mine, semi anonymously. Everyone expresses their stuff the way they want to.
posted by sundrop at 6:46 PM on May 8 [6 favorites]


I see 3 questions here:
1. Did the woman in the video truly feel no qualms about having an abortion?
2. Does having no qualms about having an abortion indicate flippancy or irresponsibility?
3. Can you consider flippancy or irresponsibility a legitimate grounds for criticism?


The answer to all three is "why do have an opinion on someone else's medical procedure?"
posted by spaltavian at 7:34 PM on May 8 [2 favorites]


Please explain why my asking what's irresponsible about choosing abortion when it's the right decision for you, is somehow "getting ahead of the question". If you can do it without moving the goalposts and changing the question that was actually asked, that'd be swell.

You said:

I don't really understand why having an abortion is considered the irresponsible thing to do when you're pregnant and you know that you don't want a child and/or you can't care for a child.

You included reasons for having an abortion, which is begging the question. If abortion is completely value-neutral, then you shouldn't need any reason. It doesn't matter if you want a child or not, or whether you can care for the child or not. You can have an abortion because you always wanted to know what fetus tastes like, it really doesn't matter either way.
posted by bjrubble at 7:49 PM on May 8


bjrubble, I wish you had answered my other questions. Why would you want the woman having the abortion to feel qualms about it, so you could feel better about her as a person? You insert yourself into these scenarios as if your opinion of them matters, as if the woman who aborts should consider your viewpoint or she is seriously lacking in character. We have been trying to point out how this is absurd.

Okay:

Who's definition of flippant? Who's definition of responsible?

Mine, I guess. Is there some controversy over the definitions of these words?

Who cares what anyone else thinks but the woman involved? I don't even understand why you're so interested in her mental state, honestly.

On a purely practical level, she is a public voice in a debate that I care about, and if she seems unreasonable she is counterproductive.

But my interest is mainly in this proposition that abortion is completely morally inconsequential. That discussion proceeds from the assumption that she does have a particular mental state, so the empirical validity of that assumption is actually immaterial.

(In other words, this is beanplating, not investigative reporting.)

If she felt terrible about it, would that make you feel better? Why? What purpose does that serve?

Yes, in the same way that I hope the person who shoots a horse with a broken leg doesn't revel in the act. I guess it's the idea that the other person has a moral sense that I can comprehend.
posted by bjrubble at 8:15 PM on May 8 [3 favorites]


And now comes the rules-lawyering. It's like you're working from a playbook.
posted by palomar at 8:19 PM on May 8 [3 favorites]


Yeah, it's not really comforting to know that if I decide to have an abortion, at least one of my pro-choice "allies" out there is going to consider me an inhuman monster for making that choice.

See, this is where the goalposts are being shifted. Nobody (as far as I can tell) is saying they'd consider you to be an inhuman monster for making that choice. But if you say that it's a choice that doesn't weigh on you at all, that it's of no more consequence than the choice of what color shirt to wear today? Yeah, I think that's problematic.
posted by bjrubble at 8:24 PM on May 8 [3 favorites]


"I don't care what you do, as long as you feel bad about it."
posted by spaltavian at 8:31 PM on May 8 [19 favorites]


Who is "revelling" in abortion, exactly?
posted by cotton dress sock at 8:38 PM on May 8 [2 favorites]


Why is it problematic, and for whom? Why *must* it be problematic, or else something bad?
posted by rtha at 8:41 PM on May 8 [6 favorites]


Nobody (as far as I can tell) is saying they'd consider you to be an inhuman monster for making that choice.

Well, one.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:51 PM on May 8 [3 favorites]


But my interest is mainly in this proposition that abortion is completely morally inconsequential.

Is there a symbol on my keyboard that I can use to represent moral consequence that I'm not seeing? I mean, I can represent five American dollars as "$5" and people will know what I mean. But how do you measure something as being "morally okay", as opposed to "morally inconsequential"?

What does a woman who is considering having an abortion, or who has had an abortion, have to do to convince you -- and by "you," bjrubble, I mean YOU -- that she has gone through the appropriate contemplations and moral checklists to arrive at the conclusion that, yes, terminating the pregnancy is the right and best decision? What does she have to do to quantify her morality? Because that is basically what you're asking for.

But more importantly, why should she fucking have to?

Look, I understand where I think you're coming from. You're hearing that some people here are saying that the decision to terminate a pregnancy would be easy for them -- automatic, even. That's hard for you to accept, and that's okay. It's hard for me to relate to, because although I'm a woman, I don't sleep with men, so my chances of getting pregnant are pretty low. And, if I were faced with that dilemma, I don't know how easy it would be to make that decision. I don't know, because I've never been through it. And neither have you. But, a number of women right here in this thread have been through it, and their voices are much more instructive than you're giving them credit for.

What it comes down to is that in the end, your idea of morals and my idea of morals don't mean a fucking thing when some other person is faced with making a decision about whether she's going to spend nine months of her life going through physical hell to birth a baby she cannot care for.

Do you see, then, that your interest in what is morally consequential is completely irrelevant, and even arbirtray?
posted by mudpuppie at 9:14 PM on May 8 [17 favorites]


i guess my question is where does the "weighing on you at all" have to happen for it to valid for all the people who are looking for rending of garments or whatever?

were i to discover i'm pregnant tomorrow, there would be no question in my mind - i'd immediately schedule an appointment for an abortion (and a plane ticket since i don't really feel safe having an abortion here) and i wouldn't feel bad or guilty or shamed or upset. i would view it as a medical procedure, like dental or hernia surgery - something i'd be nervous about, but not conflicted to have. the reason i'd be unconflicted is because i decided a long time ago that i will never have kids. i've already made peace with my decision. i do not view a fetus in my body as a potential life because there's no way i'd carry it to term. while i was making my choices about the sort of life i wanted, the thought of motherhood weighed on me, but since then i've been conflict free over it. why should it weigh on me again if i should need an abortion?
posted by nadawi at 6:31 AM on May 9 [20 favorites]


The local alt-weekly covered this story on their blog this week...

[after quoting some of the comments from the Gawker post...]
"I want to be clear: No matter where you stand on abortion rights, you have every right to not watch that video. And you have every right to say whatever you want on the internet about this video, as long as you're not sending death threats. But what I want to tell you is, if you agree with the above comments, you are a bad ally when it comes to abortion rights.

Let's just back up a little bit: If you call yourself a liberal, and if you claim to support abortion rights, it's none of your business how anyone gets pregnant. It's none of your business why anyone wants an abortion. You do not decide if someone has the right to exercise a right you think they should have. You can't tell someone how they should feel about their abortion. Rights don't come with asterisks.

...In this video, Letts is saying that she doesn't feel guilt or shame about her decision, and these so-called allies are saying, essentially, "you can have the right to an abortion, I guess, but you should feel terrible about using that right." Comments like these are opening the door just enough for anti-abortion zealots to creep inside, and they're helping those zealots to start shaving rights away. If you're leaving comments like this, you are part of the problem. You're the reason Letts felt like she had to make this video in the first place."
posted by palomar at 11:34 AM on May 9 [14 favorites]


Quick demographics check - is it true that those here expressing the deepest empathy towards the 'potential for life', and the most profound horror at aborting women's 'coldness' are 1) men and/or 2) quasi or explicitly religious?

As made clear by Gallup polling, you're barking up the wrong tree. Education, not gender, is the big predictive divide in how people feel about abortion. If you're going to look for a sociological explanation of why people think/feel what they do, you must look to education, and education's powerful silent partner, class.

Ultimately, I don't. But it's kind of a slap in the face to have someone who professes to be pro-choice stating that they think having an abortion is an inhuman thing if you're doing it for a reason they don't agree with. Doesn't really sound like a pro-choice stance, honestly.

As has been discussed in threads ranging from Donald Sterling to Amazon's labor practices, you have the right to say anything you'd like. You have the right to do a great many things. You do not have the right to have everyone vocally approve of what you say and do.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 2:11 PM on May 9 [1 favorite]


You do not have the right to have everyone vocally approve of what you say and do.

There's a significant difference between wanting everyone to vocally approve of what you say and do (something no one here has expressed a desire for, but I know you like to make up arguments to rail against), and thinking that someone who says they are pro-choice but they believe abortions that don't match up with their own internal rules for acceptability indicate that the recipient of the abortion is inhuman, is at best inconsistent in their beliefs and at worst contributing to a greater culture of anti-abortion zealotry.

But you know that, don't you.
posted by palomar at 2:26 PM on May 9 [7 favorites]


You do not have the right to have everyone vocally approve of what you say and do.

This goes both ways.
posted by KathrynT at 2:41 PM on May 9


Education, not gender, is the big predictive divide in how people feel about abortion.

well, kind of. from that link :
Within various age and partisan categories, men and women are mostly similar in their views. Only with respect to education, specifically those with a college education, is there a sizable gender gap. College-educated women are significantly more likely than college-educated men to believe abortion should be legal under any circumstances.
so, that gender gap does exist. that link also doesn't speak at all about religious orientation. beyond all that, the comment you're quoting was talking specifically about the people in this thread.
posted by nadawi at 2:51 PM on May 9 [4 favorites]


What does a woman who is considering having an abortion, or who has had an abortion, have to do to convince you -- and by "you," bjrubble, I mean YOU -- that she has gone through the appropriate contemplations and moral checklists to arrive at the conclusion that, yes, terminating the pregnancy is the right and best decision? What does she have to do to quantify her morality? Because that is basically what you're asking for.

Isn't this true of anything? I feel like people are proposing some sort of moral solipsism, where you can't be absolutely sure what someone else is thinking so therefore you can't have an opinion about their decisionmaking.

I get that the anti-abortion side is all about shame and guilt and categorizing people according to their weird moral bar, but I feel like this is some radical denial of the entire idea of a moral framework, the end result of which is that you could never make a value judgment about anything at all. Which, I dunno, maybe you all are completely pure and nonjudgmental, but from the tone of this conversation I sure don't get that impression.

I think of it like the trope of "intolerant of intolerance," which I see animated by the notion that tolerance means never making judgments, basically advocating for amorality. But really, tolerance is a judgment about judgment -- it's the idea that there are some values that you can hold but shouldn't impose -- and in that sense it's actually highly judgmental, and claiming that it's not strikes me as exactly as hypocritical as the "intolerant tolerance" strawman suggests.

But to address your question itself, I try to follow the Golden Rule (and I don't hesitate to call breaking that rule "evil" or targeting all the fury I can muster at those who break it). As I said in an earlier response, I would consider this decision (and it is in fact one that I've had to consider; it's a woman's body but that doesn't make her the only party, nor does it mean that in the context of a stable family she shouldn't allow other people into the decision-making process) by imagining the consequences from various perspectives, including that of the hypothetical person. To me, this is the essential mechanism for implementing the Golden Rule.

So I guess the short version is, I think actively and deliberately refusing to consider interests other than your own in making any decision is inherently wrong.

the reason i'd be unconflicted is because i decided a long time ago that i will never have kids. i've already made peace with my decision.

Again, I feel like you've just conceded my point. Why does it matter how long ago your decision about kids was? What "peace" was there to be made? The fact that you say these things implies to me that you did in fact give it some thought. Which is really all that I would ask.

"you can have the right to an abortion, I guess, but you should feel terrible about using that right." Comments like these are opening the door just enough for anti-abortion zealots to creep inside

Which is a reasonable point to make in terms of practical political tactics. Although I would counter that suggesting there's nothing wrong with having an abortion on a whim is far more politically damaging.
posted by bjrubble at 2:52 PM on May 9 [4 favorites]


The fact that you say these things implies to me that you did in fact give it some thought. Which is really all that I would ask.

Please explain why you think you have any say at all in anyone else's medical decisions.
posted by palomar at 2:56 PM on May 9 [9 favorites]


bjrubble - that was really my question - like, some people seem to be suggesting that if you don't consider a fetus growing in you as it's growing in you before you have an abortion, you're morally suspect. i personally reject that, because any fetus inside of me is predetermined by me to not be a potential life. there would be no consideration or question if i were to find myself pregnant.
posted by nadawi at 3:02 PM on May 9 [1 favorite]


bjrubble: " So I guess the short version is, I think actively and deliberately refusing to consider interests other than your own in making any decision is inherently wrong."

Whose interests are you insisting be considered? For that matter, whose interests are you asserting are being "actively and deliberately" dismissed?
posted by zarq at 3:20 PM on May 9 [2 favorites]


The fact that you say these things implies to me that you did in fact give it some thought. Which is really all that I would ask.

Not that you have any standing for asking it, but even if you did, why wouldn't you assume that women are intelligent humans who generally do think about things before doing them, just as a starting priniciple?
posted by jaguar at 3:30 PM on May 9 [15 favorites]


ThatFuzzyBastard: " As made clear by Gallup polling, you're barking up the wrong tree. Education, not gender, is the big predictive divide in how people feel about abortion. If you're going to look for a sociological explanation of why people think/feel what they do, you must look to education, and education's powerful silent partner, class."

Be that as it may, Catholics and conservative Christians have been a primary driving force behind the pro-life movement's anti-abortion lobby since Roe vs. Wade. American Catholic clergy were a large part of the movement's initial push in the 70's, through the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Family Life Bureau. Catholics continue that tradition today. See statements here. From the NPR Council and Operation Rescue to Survivors and Christian Soldiers, the pro-life movement is filled with Christians who believe they have a religious obligation to stop everyone, not just other Christians, from having abortions.

Many groups of Christians seem to think that their anti-choice beliefs should be imposed on others who do not believe as they do in this country. They actively lobby their politicians to tighten abortion restrictions for American citizens. They push lies about fetal development and medical consensus about when life begins on the public, to try to equate abortion with murder.

The influence of the Christian clergy and laity on the abortion debate isn't casual. It is quite substantial. We ignore their fundamentalism at our peril.
posted by zarq at 3:31 PM on May 9 [7 favorites]


Although I would counter that suggesting there's nothing wrong with having an abortion on a whim is far more politically damaging.

Well that's a straw character, isn't it? I'd be skeptical that anybody in the entire history of the human race has ever had an abortion "on a whim." Societal sanctions aside it's something you have to actively seek out and do which presents its own expenses and risks. It's not a direct source of immediate positive sensual or emotional feedback. It's the sort of thing nobody would ever do unless they were thinking rather hard about the future.

But that's typical of how some people want to frame it; those awful feminists are getting together to see how they can piss off us good right-thinking people, and lookit today they decided to have some abortions! Because our point of view is so right and obvious that clearly anyone who does not agree with it simply hasn't thought about the matter.

You see this attitude in a lot of the anti-choice bullshit regulations which are passed, as if hearing a speech about fetal heartbeats or seeing an ultrasound will affect a decision to which a poor woman has already committed a month's salary and a day's drive.
posted by localroger at 3:46 PM on May 9 [10 favorites]


Again, I feel like you've just conceded my point. Why does it matter how long ago your decision about kids was? What "peace" was there to be made? The fact that you say these things implies to me that you did in fact give it some thought. Which is really all that I would ask.

I feel like you've conceded all our points in that your opinion continues to remain unimportant to virtually everyone you are arguing with.
posted by elizardbits at 3:58 PM on May 9 [14 favorites]


So I guess the short version is, I think actively and deliberately refusing to consider interests other than your own in making any decision is inherently wrong.

To whom is this addressed - the hypothetical pregnant woman? Whose interests should she consider? Why are you assuming that she hasn't considered them?

And *any* decision? Really? Then can I ask you to please take my interests into consideration before you have dinner tonight? I will certainly have opinions about it. The Golden Rule is, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. So if you want me to take your interests into consideration, turnabout is fair play.

The fact that you say these things implies to me that you did in fact give it some thought. Which is really all that I would ask.

Uh, great? But who the hell are you that nadawi should give a shit what you would ask of her? There's all this blather in this thread from people insisting that women think about it before we get an abortion. Let us assure you that it is impossible to get one without thinking about it. What you want is that we think about it in a particular way that you deem sufficiently thoughtful, and once again, who are you to demand that? Who are you to assume that no thought is going into it?
posted by rtha at 5:06 PM on May 9 [16 favorites]


The fact that you say these things implies to me that you did in fact give it some thought. Which is really all that I would ask.

Dad, I know we argue but I just want you to know that your opinion means the world to me.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:09 PM on May 9 [1 favorite]


Again, I feel like you've just conceded my point. Why does it matter how long ago your decision about kids was? What "peace" was there to be made? The fact that you say these things implies to me that you did in fact give it some thought. Which is really all that I would ask.

It's really not possible to come to reproductive age and have periods and have sex and live in our culture without ever considering what motherhood is and what it would be like to go from being a girl or a woman to being a Mother. That baseline level of consideration is always there. It's not inconsistent with treating a first-trimester termination as a medical procedure comparable to removing a wart.

Look, the whole reason Letts made the video is that our culture presents only the narrative that abortion is necessarily traumatic, tragic, and heartbreaking to the woman. The viewpoint that abortion can be a clinical experience gets no airtime whatsoever, and the fact there's a ton of pushback and Not All Abortion-Havers speaks to the reality that the
"abortion as personal trauma" narrative is a cherished notion, and it's really worth examining why, especially if you're one of the people personally offended. It's her fetus (and by the way, it's not a fetus until week 10, so it might actually be her embryo), it's her uterus, and it's her feelings.
posted by gingerest at 6:15 PM on May 9 [21 favorites]


I feel like this is some radical denial of the entire idea of a moral framework, the end result of which is that you could never make a value judgment about anything at all

Actually it seems there's been some discussion about it, and at the base of the consensus moral and legal framework undergirding American society is the inalienable right to liberty and freedom (i.e., autonomy) of the person, including said person's physical body. Which, latterly, has been taken to refer to women persons. But not (Roe v. Wade) non-persons, like fetuses.
posted by cotton dress sock at 6:20 PM on May 9 [2 favorites]


I am 49, and just entering menopause. I started menses at age 9. That means that for 40 of my 49 years, I have been capable of being impregnated. I was 12 when Roe v Wade made abortion legal. I was 15 when I first volunteered at a clinic to be a "walker", someone who walked patients in and out of the clinic. I continued volunteering, at clinics in various states, until I was in my 30s, and cases were decided that pushed the protestors away from from where they could physically touch people going into the clinic.

My generation is destined to be the only generation that will have had full reproductive health care for the duration of our child-bearing potentiality.

When I was in my twenties, there were dozens of clinics performing abortions, just in the Dallas area alone. Now, there are 5 clinics in the entire state of Texas. 20 years ago, getting an abortion meant making a scheduling call, and showing up with the fees...which even at the time were multiple hundreds of dollars, iirc. Now, getting an abortion means making a scheduling call, getting probed with an 8-10 inch wand for an internal sonogram, waiting 24-48 hours, then having the procedure, which now costs well over a thousand dollars.

Of those 5 remaining clinics, 3 are expected to close by the end of this fiscal year, because of the new regulations, leaving 2 clinics to deal with a state that has 6 million women of reproductive age.

Abortion, once upon a time, for a very brief window in history, was safe, legal, and relatively easy. Now, deaths from illegal abortions are spiking in Texas. Women are buying drugs at flea markets because it's the only place they can get them. I personally know two women who have had "back alley" abortions because they couldn't take 3 days off of work to travel 400 miles and wait 24 hours and pay 2 months rent. One of whom ended up in the hospital, where the doctors did a very careful dance to make sure that botched abortion never entered the records, so that they could give her a D&C legally. The law, as it stands, means that medical providers can refuse to treat patients who present with the symptoms of a botched abortion.

My studies were in bioethics. My doctoral dissertation was on the topic of postmortem prenatal ventilation, because Texas has a law that had been interpreted to mean that even dead women were fetal incubators and had to be kept ventilated until the fetus could be recovered, even if meant ventilating a corpse for months. There was recently a case about this in Fort Worth, where the hospital refused to remove ventilation from a woman who met the Harvard criteria for brain death, and the courts overruled the hospital and let the family unhook her. It was one of the few times when the courts have ruled that the woman's autonomy extended beyond death and that her living will about DNR should have been honored. (For the record, there has never been a case where long term ventilation of a dead woman has succeeded in producing a healthy infant.)

I am pro-choice. I support my friends who have chosen to bear children in difficult financial or family situations, I support my friends who have chosen abortion, I support my friends who have chosen adoption (on both sides of that equation), and I fully support Emily Lettes for being brave enough to show that abortion is Just A Medical Procedure, and not some soul rending, sack cloth wearing, punishment for being a slut.
posted by dejah420 at 6:53 PM on May 9 [46 favorites]


Anyone who hasn't read Anitanola's comment about what it was like to get an abortion pre-Roe should go read it.
posted by rtha at 8:41 PM on May 9 [16 favorites]


Anyone who hasn't read Anitanola's comment about what it was like to get an abortion pre-Roe should go read it.

I hadn't seen that before, and reading it left me speechless. It's a history I know intellectual but didn't have to live intimately.
posted by Dip Flash at 12:26 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


The law, as it stands, means that medical providers can refuse to treat patients who present with the symptoms of a botched abortion.

What. I can't even.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 5:13 AM on May 10 [2 favorites]


at the base of the consensus moral and legal framework undergirding American society is the inalienable right to liberty and freedom (i.e., autonomy) of the person, including said person's physical body.

Except that this isn't true. Our autonomy is compromised for the sake of others all the time, ranging from how far I'm allowed to swing a frying pan to how much of my income I'm allowed to keep. The question is never "how dare you compromise my autonomy", it's "How much can my autonomy be compromised and for whose sake?"

But again, in the context of this video, and this discussion, we're not even talking about compromising anyone's autonomy. We're talking about personal judgements. Which you don't actually have that much standing to mess with either.

There's a significant difference between wanting everyone to vocally approve of what you say and do (something no one here has expressed a desire for, but I know you like to make up arguments to rail against), and thinking that someone who says they are pro-choice but they believe abortions that don't match up with their own internal rules for acceptability indicate that the recipient of the abortion is inhuman, is at best inconsistent in their beliefs and at worst contributing to a greater culture of anti-abortion zealotry.

I can say that someone has a right to do something while still judging it a bad idea, or even immoral. You can cheat on your monogamous partner, prevent your children from reading books, shop at Wal-Mart, have a late-term abortion on the advice of your astrologist, and mutter about the darkies all you'd like. It's totally legal, and any attempt to make it illegal would be bad. But I would happily tell you that all those things are terrible, without compromising my commitment to personal freedom.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 10:21 AM on May 10


I was responding to the ideas expressed by bjrubble, and horrifically manifested in Texas, as described by dejah420. No difference between swinging a frying pan and forced pregnancy, really? The thing is there's no analagous male experience. Women's *very being* is caught between biological legacy and laws, opinions, values. You're entitled to your view, but understand that it contributes to an atmosphere supportive of the legal and practical barriers to women's physical autonomy forcing some, in the United States in 2014, to take the risks described above.
posted by cotton dress sock at 12:01 PM on May 10 [5 favorites]


The thing is there's no analagous male experience.

For a lot of people, this means it doesn't count. It's not real, it's not serious. If it can't be understood by other people (that is, male people), then it's irrelevant. This gets demonstrated in every. single. thread about things that overwhelmingly or only affect women.
posted by rtha at 12:06 PM on May 10 [18 favorites]


have a late-term abortion on the advice of your astrologist

Wow, there's that same straw character again! Because unlike the procedure shown in the OP late term abortions are fairly serious medical procedures that few doctors even perform nowadays, are very expensive and somewhat risky even for the mother, and are generally done only because it has been determined through actual science, not astrology, that the developing fetus is lacking features most of us take for granted such as limbs or a cerebral cortex or that the mother's body is incapable of supporting it and death for both is the only alternative.

But keep on pitching yourself those softballs, cuz you know those of us who disagree with you can't possibly have given it any thought or we would obviously, like, agree with you amirite.
posted by localroger at 12:10 PM on May 10 [18 favorites]


Just here to WTF at the phrase "abortion on a whim," because I'm pretty sure no woman in all of history has ever thought to herself, "Well, I was gonna have this baby, but golly gee, I feel like an abortion today!"
posted by salix at 12:32 PM on May 10 [15 favorites]


"Except that this isn't true. Our autonomy is compromised for the sake of others all the time, ranging from how far I'm allowed to swing a frying pan to how much of my income I'm allowed to keep. The question is never "how dare you compromise my autonomy", it's "How much can my autonomy be compromised and for whose sake?""

You're right about autonomy being compromised, but that doesn't refute the statement that "at the base of the consensus moral and legal framework undergirding American society is the inalienable right to liberty and freedom." The "inalienable" doesn't mean that the right can't be restricted, but rather that it's origin is in the individual and that it can't be separated from the individual.
posted by klangklangston at 1:45 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Just here to WTF at the phrase "abortion on a whim," because I'm pretty sure no woman in all of history has ever thought to herself, "Well, I was gonna have this baby, but golly gee, I feel like an abortion today!"

And even if they were, is that the kind of person you want to be in charge of a baby? It's like, oh, this callous, inhuman, whimsical nutball can't have an abortion!! Give her an entire person to be in charge of instead!!

I can only hope that the people making these arguments aren't in charge of hiring anyone. "Wow, she cancelled the interview last minute to do some cocaine and forgot to wear her seatbelt on the way! Irresponsible, whimsical, and with horrible judgment! Looks like we found a new general manager!"

Reminds me of a social worker I know who was complaining about a client--and this is a homeless, long-term addict who had committed a serious felony--who had gotten 12 abortions. She said "one or two is fine, but 12? At some point it's too many!" Uh, would you rather that she have 10 babies?
posted by the young rope-rider at 5:06 PM on May 10 [10 favorites]


Well rope-rider in fairness, after an abortion you're generally fertile again the next month while pregnancy means nine months of not being able to get re-pregnant, so I'd guess 12 abortions would have worked out to more like four or five kids without abortion. Still a very bad idea but just dotting the i's for the folks who will pick nits.
posted by localroger at 6:15 PM on May 10


"Just here to WTF at the phrase "abortion on a whim," because I'm pretty sure no woman in all of history has ever thought to herself, "Well, I was gonna have this baby, but golly gee, I feel like an abortion today!"

And even if they were, is that the kind of person you want to be in charge of a baby? It's like, oh, this callous, inhuman, whimsical nutball can't have an abortion!! Give her an entire person to be in charge of instead!!
"

dudes i think i just found my zoe deschanel rom-com pitch her abortion teaches jason bateman its ok to live his dream as a paraglider
posted by klangklangston at 6:19 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


"Reminds me of a social worker I know who was complaining about a client--and this is a homeless, long-term addict who had committed a serious felony--who had gotten 12 abortions. She said "one or two is fine, but 12? At some point it's too many!" Uh, would you rather that she have 10 babies?"

Nah, but I can wish she had housing and a drug-treatment plan and counseling and then we'd probably see the abortions decrease anyway.
posted by klangklangston at 6:22 PM on May 10 [4 favorites]


Definitely. In her circumstances I feel that having abortions was highly responsible behavior and I thought my friend (perhaps I use the term loosely) was really shit for judging her. She would have judged a low birth weight baby going through withdrawal in the NICU too, of course. The men who got her client pregnant mysteriously escape comment.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:00 PM on May 10 [8 favorites]


Er, I believe she's being judged for having unprotected sex and thus creating the potential lives that she aborts, not for the abortions themselves.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 8:21 PM on May 10 [2 favorites]


Whereas whichever men were involved didn't have anything to do with that.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:48 PM on May 10 [5 favorites]


Why do you believe that she is being judged for having the pregnancies she terminates rather than the terminations?
posted by gingerest at 8:49 PM on May 10


"Definitely. In her circumstances I feel that having abortions was highly responsible behavior and I thought my friend (perhaps I use the term loosely) was really shit for judging her. She would have judged a low birth weight baby going through withdrawal in the NICU too, of course. The men who got her client pregnant mysteriously escape comment."

Yeah, I mean, the reason why I tend to favor reducing the number of abortions is that I see it as a proxy for financial instability and education levels generally, so I tend to think of abortion rates at the population level as indicative of other social shortcomings. I don't really care if any woman has an abortion individually for whatever reasons, and the abortion-reduction policies I support are not at all related to making the abortions themselves more difficult to achieve, but rather through obviating the causes that make abortions the best choice for a lot of women. That's my "safe, legal, rare."
posted by klangklangston at 9:49 PM on May 10 [4 favorites]


The law, as it stands, means that medical providers can refuse to treat patients who present with the symptoms of a botched abortion.

On an intellectual and practical level, i know that this is true. Just as it's true that hospitals in my state are getting taken over by the church, to block abortion even when someone is laying on the goddamn table dying.

So yea it's like, i know that this is true and this is reality, but i actively can't understand how the fuck anyone could sit down and sign the piece of the paper and go "ok, that makes sense, that's how it should be". It's so utterly nonsensical to me that it feels like a lucid dream. It's like if i woke up tomorrow and dragons were real, and someone presented me with lots of links and info showing how they had evolved for hundreds of thousands of years, with millions of years of evolutionary history just like electric eels.

I'm just sitting here, staring at that bleak knowledge going "buh....buh" like a wormhole just opened in the pacific ocean.

So they can actually, legally just let someone die because they showed up after a botched home/DIY abortion? Isn't that a violation of the hippocratic oath? Wouldn't it run afoul of like, the same rules that prevent doctors from administering lethal injections?

Couldn't the family of someone who died because of this sue the hospital for wrongful death and cash in, since they could have saved her but were too busy standing there goatroping and judging the shit out of her and figuring she's getting her just punishment in gods eyes or whatever?

Reminds me of a social worker I know who was complaining about a client--and this is a homeless, long-term addict who had committed a serious felony--who had gotten 12 abortions. She said "one or two is fine, but 12? At some point it's too many!" Uh, would you rather that she have 10 babies?

Yea, it really does shore up the "punishment for sex" argument.

In addition to that though, having talked with some people who think like this IRL, i really think a big part is that some hypothetical multi-abortion-having person wasn't so upset by the experience that they actively avoided it afterwards. It's not just the consideration before, it's that the message that abortions are some horrible torture porn experience has deeply entered the cultural narrative because of everything spread by the anti-choicers.

It's a cognitive dissonance thing. In addition to all the "you're just killing a life over and over!" type of thoughts, and the "lack of consideration" kind of poorly thought out to its actual conclusion can of worms, it's that. Because if someone is willing to go through it so many times, but it's so horrible, then- ERROR DOES NOT COMPUTE.
posted by emptythought at 11:44 PM on May 10 [3 favorites]


Hospitals in California, Nevada, and Arizona are also getting increasingly taken over by Catholic institutions, and the consortium called "Catholic Healthcare West" (which at least let you know what you were in for) has become "Dignity Health." An article about it in the San Francisco Chronicle notes that Dignity West's Statement of Common Values for its hospitals states, "direct abortion is not performed. Reproductive technologies in which conception occurs outside a woman's body will not be part of (the) services. This includes in vitro fertilization."

I very much encourage people who are having wanted pregnancies to think about how they want their healthcare providers to respond if something goes wrong, and to make sure the hospitals they choose (if there's a choice) will even allow those decisions to be carried out. "If I start to miscarry badly and need an ambulance, where should I or my partner insist the ambulance go?" is a question you want to make sure you have an answer to, because you may find that, by official policy, you're a person at one of the local hospitals but an incubator at the other.
posted by jaguar at 8:10 AM on May 11 [12 favorites]


And the above consideration is worthwhile for potential rape survivors, too (i.e., everyone who can get pregnant) -- if you are going to want the option of emergency contraception if you are ever raped, know which emergency departments in your area will give it.

It's appalling that you need to know which hospitals provide actual medical care rather than restricting your options due to the religious convictions of their board, but that's what we've got in the US right now.
posted by jaguar at 8:14 AM on May 11 [9 favorites]


Incidentally this is a pretty amazing resource for women in countries where abortion access is limited,
This website refers you to licensed doctor who can provide you with a medical abortion. After you complete the following online consultation and if there are no contraindications, the medical abortion (with the pills mifepristone and misoprostol) will be delivered to you. At this moment it can take 2-3 weeks before the packages arrives. A medical abortion can be done safely at home as long as you have good information and have access to emergency medical care in the rare case that there are complications.

The doctor can only help you if :
  • you live in a country where access to safe abortion is restricted
  • you are less than 9 weeks pregnant
  • you have no severe illnesses
  • Before starting the consultation, do a pregnancy test and an ultrasound, if possible. The consultation consists of around 25 questions. At the end of the consultation you will be asked to give permission to disclose all your information to the doctor. All information will remain confidential.
  • At the end of the consultation you will be asked to make a minimal donation of 90 euro. Women on Web is a non-profit project seeking to support women. The donation is part of a chain of solidarity needed to keep the website online and to ensure that other women can also be supported. If you can donate more than 90 euro, you will help us to provide the service to women who cannot donate the full 90 euro. If your economic situation is particularly difficult, please contact us: together we will try to find a way to help you.

    For more information about medical abortion please look under Questions and Answers. To know who we are, please look under About Women on Web.
    If you have any questions send an email to Women on Web (info@womenonweb.org)
    posted by Blasdelb at 4:44 AM on May 14 [4 favorites]


    That's an excellent resource, and reminded me of an article I read a couple of years ago about a woman in Idaho who was arrested after inducing her own abortion.
    posted by palomar at 7:32 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]




    Wow. That is some pretty weird sex stuff, right there.
    posted by running order squabble fest at 9:09 AM on May 14


    I stopped reading that thing when the author actually wrote, "Kaboom! You've been lawyered!".

    Of course, the comments on the article call Letts a whore, a harlot, a murderer, a slut, and many commenters insist that Letts surely does feel guilty, or if she doesn't now she will soon because you can't evade your guilt when you're a sexually promiscuous murderer, she's disturbed, she's a ghoul, she's not even human.

    It saddens me that the commentary on a National Review article comes even remotely close to the sentiments I've seen in this thread.
    posted by palomar at 11:28 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


    "The doctor can only help you if :
    you live in a country where access to safe abortion is restricted"


    Is the U.S. on that list yet, or just certain states?
    posted by oneswellfoop at 12:44 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


    oneswellfoop: "Is the U.S. on that list yet, or just certain states?"

    For all of its problems, thankfully neither the US nor any state in the union are anywhere close to the dire circumstances need to be red on this map and thus be a part of this list. It is a terrible option that requires up to four weeks of processing in a very time dependent process, involves no in persons screening for contraindications, and requires women to depend on their local emergency services should anything go wrong - if nothing else risking the wrath of local prosecutors. It is not a service that can be ethically provided in the states where support can instead be provided in paying for or traveling to a competent abortion provider
    posted by Blasdelb at 2:38 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


    That map is misleading. It has Malaysia in red/pink and yet in the entry it says:
    Before the amendments came into force, the only grounds for an abortion were "for the purpose of saving the life of the woman" (Section 312). Now, an abortion may be carried out if the practitioner is of the opinion, formed "in good faith", that continuation of the pregnancy would constitute a risk of injury to the "mental or physical health of the pregnant woman, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated". (LINK)

    Misoprostol approved under name "CYOTEC" but difficult to access.
    Having met women who worked with reproductive justice rights in Malaysia, from what I can tell abortion's not as terribly complicated as it seems to be in some US states. As far as the Cytotec goes, the post & comments show that there are multiple ways to obtain it.

    Malaysia tends to be rather pro-life by default (as in "duh, of course it's wrong, why would you think otherwise") though I suspect that that's probably changed in the last few years. Also while there is controversy over free distribution of condoms, birth control is OTC.
    posted by divabat at 2:51 PM on May 15


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