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Will no one think of the zygotes?
August 10, 2008 12:16 AM   Subscribe

Millions of women have had abortions and didn't even know it.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese (172 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, this woman's attorney would certainly want you to believe that his client had an abortion. And they make a good case. Hell, I almost felt pity myself! But, ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, I have one final thing I want you to consider. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Chewbacca. Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk. But Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. Now think about it; that does not make sense!
posted by jimmythefish at 12:26 AM on August 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


Why would a Wookiee, an eight-foot tall Wookiee, want to live on Endor, with a bunch of two-foot tall Ewoks? That does not make sense! But more important, you have to ask yourself: What does this have to do with this case? Nothing. Ladies and gentlemen, it has nothing to do with this case! It does not make sense! Look at me. I'm a lawyer defending a major record company, and I'm talkin' about Chewbacca! Does that make sense? Ladies and gentlemen, I am not making any sense! None of this makes sense! And so you have to remember, when you're in that jury room deliberatin' and conjugatin' the Emancipation Proclamation, [approaches and softens] does it make sense? No! Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, it does not make sense! If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit! The defense rests
posted by boubelium at 12:33 AM on August 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


This is monumentally stupid. The fundamentalists are losing the fight, so they're redrawing the lines.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:38 AM on August 10, 2008


"The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has drafted a rule that would call it abortion when a contraceptive prevents a fertilized egg from embedding itself in the uterine wall. "

You have got to be fucking kidding me.

If these conservative fruitcakes had their way, masturbation would be made illegal, because semen ejaculated without an egg in the vicinity is the death of potential life.
posted by ZachsMind at 12:46 AM on August 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


If? Looking like when.

They can't get Roe v. Wade overturned (yet), so they're doing this through the backdoor.

and yes I'm aware that if more people did it through the back door we wouldn't be having this issue
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:51 AM on August 10, 2008 [16 favorites]


Well if that's the case, I'm having an abortion right now.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:56 AM on August 10, 2008


Like we need more people...
posted by clearly at 12:59 AM on August 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'm frankly due for another abortion in about an hour or two, but I like to get myself drunk first.


Attention religious people: George Orwell's 1984 Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale was a dire warning, not an instruction manual.
posted by loquacious at 1:02 AM on August 10, 2008 [14 favorites]


This is monumentally stupid. The fundamentalists are losing the fight, so they're redrawing the lines.

Or winning the fight and increasing their demands.
posted by Citizen Premier at 1:07 AM on August 10, 2008 [6 favorites]


.
posted by roll truck roll at 1:08 AM on August 10, 2008 [6 favorites]


Through contraception, we have come up with a way to enjoy sex without the consequences of snot nosed kids. Why would anyone want to make us feel guilty for this?

This sounds like a huge chance for the pharmaceutical lobby to redeem themselves from pushing through drugs that are far less useful and far more harmful than "the pill", which I happen to enjoy immensely.
posted by clearly at 1:09 AM on August 10, 2008


and yes I'm aware that if more people did it through the back door we wouldn't be having this issue

Will no one think of the zygoat.se?
posted by maryh at 1:25 AM on August 10, 2008 [24 favorites]


"Through contraception, we have come up with a way to enjoy sex without the consequences of snot nosed kids. Why would anyone want to make us feel guilty for this?"

Religious zealotry doesn't work unless it can use guilt and fear to control the masses. Without the ability to use irrational emotions to control people, they look like lunatics.

Which is what they are.

There are over seven billion people on this planet right now. The unborn do NOT need protection. We need to take care of what we already have. This is irrational behavior by people who are ignorant, arrogant, stubborn, manipulative, and bordering on psychotic.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:31 AM on August 10, 2008 [10 favorites]


If elected, I promise to enact legislation that would define an "abortion" as any person who thinks this is a good idea.
posted by SaintCynr at 1:32 AM on August 10, 2008 [19 favorites]


Religious zealotry doesn't work unless it can use guilt and fear to control the masses.

Depends on the religion, no? Buddhism seems to engender some pretty zealous behavior (look at what's going on in Burma, for example) without using fear and guilt as motivators.
posted by delmoi at 1:42 AM on August 10, 2008


I don't consider Buddhists religious zealots. Yes they are very devout, and a bit extreme. I haven't run into many of them, but the few I have met did not behave like fanatics, and didn't tell me my religion is wrong and only their kind will make it to some promised land. They didn't try to convert me.

Buddhists are generally pretty cool. I disagree with the ones who have set themselves on fire, but that kind of zealotry tends to be self-destructive - and not in my face telling me how to live.

I don't classify peaceful resistance as fanatical or zealous. I see it as a rational and appropriate response to assholes with megaphones and pepper spray.

Buddhists never try to coerce or force me to live under their rules. Granted, if I asked to live on their property that might be different, but they tend to go their way and I go mine. I like that about them.

It's a small planet. Tolerance is something humanity has got to learn.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:05 AM on August 10, 2008


If these conservative fruitcakes had their way, masturbation would be made illegal, because semen ejaculated without an egg in the vicinity is the death of potential life.

No, they won't go that far, because it's not really about life, at least not most of the time.

I've said this before, but I'll rehash: when you ask if there should be exceptions to the no-abortions rule for rape and incest, virtually every anti-abortionist will say yes. And if you press about why, they'll almost always say, 'because it's not the woman's fault; she shouldn't be punished for it."

And that, right there, is the REAL reason for the anti-abortion drive. It's not to save babies. It's to punish sluts. It's to force women to 'face the natural consequences of their actions' -- ie, to keep them from having sex.

There are no natural consequences to sex anymore; women aren't slaves to their own bodies. Science has set them free. And conservatives hate that vehemently. They've lost a lot of power over women, and they want it back.
posted by Malor at 2:15 AM on August 10, 2008 [155 favorites]


The fundamentalists are losing the fight

not at all, if McCain gets in, Roe is toast -- John Paul Stevens, the most liberal member of the Court, is 88. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second most liberal, a cancer survivor, is 75.

the anti-abortion crowd is one vote away from the sweet, sweet victory they've been waiting for the last 35 years. they're almost there. so this post is not as funny as you might think.
posted by matteo at 2:31 AM on August 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


"not at all, if McCain gets in, Roe is toast"

And McCain will "win."

Because the PTB are conservative.

If you vote for Obama, they will make sure your vote won't matter.

I REALLY HOPE that come November someone can link to these words and say I was wrong, but I'm calling it now. McCain's gonna win over Obama, and it's gonna look as shifty an election as the last two have been.

Notice there has been zero discussion about reforming our election system, even though it's been proven time and again that it's faulty. The PTB don't see anything to fix. To them, it's working perfectly.

And those of you who are still voting? You are helping them to keep that illusion alive.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:40 AM on August 10, 2008 [2 favorites]



Will no one think of the zygoat.se?
posted by maryh at 1:25 AM


I'm sorry.
posted by louche mustachio at 2:51 AM on August 10, 2008 [32 favorites]


ROTFLMAO!

Okay that has got to be THE BEST Goatse I have seen yet and I've seen some whacked out ones. That's priceless. Thank you LoucheMustachio!
posted by ZachsMind at 2:53 AM on August 10, 2008


When oh when are they going to start banning menstruation?

Periods kill zygotes.
posted by Blackadder at 2:57 AM on August 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


I've said this before, but I'll rehash: when you ask if there should be exceptions to the no-abortions rule for rape and incest, virtually every anti-abortionist will say yes. And if you press about why, they'll almost always say, 'because it's not the woman's fault; she shouldn't be punished for it."

I don't know about that. A quick search turned up
these
three
examples
of rape victims being denied morning-after pills - two are specific cases, one refers to a larger scale refusal on the part of Catholic hospitals.

I don't know, maybe they've expanded their idea of what a "slut" is to "any woman whose sexual organs and health we might possibly have to think about outside of the context of blessed marriage and childbirth." I can't wrap my head around treating someone who has just been raped with so little compassion.
posted by louche mustachio at 3:12 AM on August 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


If these conservative fruitcakes had their way, masturbation would be made illegal, because semen ejaculated without an egg in the vicinity is the death of potential life.

Well, every sperm is sacred.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 3:18 AM on August 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


i for one... no, wait, what year is it? listen, i think we should get rid of condoms. i mean, think about it. we really should. they're like this special magical metaphysical (except also latex) barrier to the special magical metaphysical spirits that are floating around everywhere right now, crying, because you're wearing a condom and therefore won't let them come down to inhabit the uterine wall of your loved one, or that chick you just happen to be fucking. condoms are hurting them dearly. with just a $5 donation from you right now, we can help rid the world of condoms and help our special little friends to the warm uterine walls that they need.

act now, and receive a free dose of happyjax cereal, the cereal that was good enough for the christchild when he was in the womb...
posted by punkbitch at 3:20 AM on August 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


And those of you who are still voting? You are helping them to keep that illusion alive

And to those of you who aren't voting, you are impressing all of us so much with your outstanding nihilism and defeatism. Please tell us more how our lives and votes simply don't matter. We loves it.
posted by 0xFCAF at 3:27 AM on August 10, 2008 [13 favorites]


Jesus H. Aborting Christ says "Missing tag: batshitinsane."

To amend what Malor said above, the real message isn't just "fuck you, sluts", it's more specific than that: It's "fuck you, poor sluts." Because birth control and safe abortion will always be an option for the wealthy and their poor "misguided" women-folk who might occasionally find themselves in the same biological distress as the dirty poor.

I beg my fellow countrymen to drop the fucking racism already and vote for someone who hopefully won't support dreck like this.
posted by maxwelton at 3:32 AM on August 10, 2008 [11 favorites]


May I say, as an aside, that it remains surprising and telling to me every time an American merges the terms "poor" and "black"; interesting that they mean the same thing in the US. And when I say "interesting" I mean "tragic that the impact of slavery is reaching into the 21st century", of course.
posted by Hildegarde at 3:49 AM on August 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


You know, the world has something like 6.5 billion inhabitants right now. By 2050, even conservative estimates place the world population at 9.5 billion by 2050.

If somebody wants to have a baby and contribute to this massive population growth, well, that is their decision.

If somebody wants to force people to have unwanted babies and contribute to this massive population growth, they are welcome to eat a bag of cocks.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:52 AM on August 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


fgsfds

There's been a big push in the anti-choice fundamentalist ranks to incrementally attack the right to birth control and abortion through local laws and legal cases, but this... this is big.

And this draft has been out in leaked form since JULY and it's barely getting any attention from the (non-grassroots) news sources I have access to. It is huge and meaningful and it's been buried under weeks of Olympics and it makes me so damn ANGRY not only that they're trying this, but that they might GET AWAY WITH IT because everyone has been distracted by something shiny and sporting flooding the arena.

FGFDSFGSFDS
posted by subbes at 3:58 AM on August 10, 2008


but they're begging us, the special metaphysical magical spirits... they're begging us not to use condoms, so that they can grow old in the warm fold of their new uterine home!
posted by punkbitch at 4:25 AM on August 10, 2008


I'm sorry. This should be addressed seriously.
I agree 100% with the zero-to-negative growth people who have expressed themselves above. But the thing is, we're not a planning society. We're a greedy get it now kind of society. A sort of a blinded by faith kind of society.

BUT CHANGE CAN HAPPEN! I'm on board. Who do I need to call...
posted by punkbitch at 4:28 AM on August 10, 2008


Isn't a soul trapped in a condom the saddest thing ever?
posted by Free word order! at 4:32 AM on August 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


Bush definitions:

war = peace

contraception = abortion

government = corporation

civil rights = religious rights

truth = misdirection

freedom = fascism


Bush's legacy:

Protecting the ideologies of radical Christians as well as small groups of cells clustered together...and oil companies

Bah!
posted by zerobyproxy at 4:42 AM on August 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


best line in this excellent article: "They want validation for that fringe viewpoint from a federal agency that, with a straight face, still calls itself the Department of Health and Human Services."
posted by kalapierson at 5:01 AM on August 10, 2008


To amend what Malor said above, the real message isn't just "fuck you, sluts", it's more specific than that: It's "fuck you, poor sluts." Because birth control and safe abortion will always be an option for the wealthy and their poor "misguided" women-folk who might occasionally find themselves in the same biological distress as the dirty poor.


I've posted this before, but in the context of this comment it bears repeating: The only Moral Abortion is My Abortion. It drives home the point made by maxwelton that the religious right has effectively de-humanized the other 99% of the people in the world to the point where their wants and needs simply don't enter into their calculus at whatsoever. You can guarantee that the Fundies will still get their daughters the pill from Canada, because it's what's right for their kid, while happily voting against it for everone else in the US.

These are the furthest reaches of cognitive dissonance, and they're grasping for, and attaining real power over the rest of the rational thinkers in the world. I'm beginning to believe that there's a real chance that extremism of all stripes will gain ascendancy over rational thought, as the progress of humanity grinds to a halt, and a new Dark Age looms on the horizon. I'm a bit of a misanthrope, but crap like this does nothing to assuage my misanthropy.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:20 AM on August 10, 2008 [21 favorites]


And those of you who are still voting? You are helping them to keep that illusion alive

Um, really, those of you who aren't voting are helping "them" by not voting.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:26 AM on August 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


Most birth control pills work by preventing eggs from being released. The mini pill is the one that prevents the egg from attaching to the uterine wall. See here for further info.

So either this article contains just a tad of misinformation or the people trying to enact the law didn't do their homework.

In any case, if they want to deny women birth control, especially the morning after pill to rape victims, they can kiss my ass. I don't know how many people here remember when abortion was illegal, but I do. And I had female relatives who almost died after receiving backstreet abortions. Do they really think people will stop having sex or trying to seek abortions when birth control fails (or is too difficult to get)?

What about the economics of unplanned pregnancy? Are they going to pay for all the children born to people who didn't plan for a pregnancy or will they tell them they should have just practiced abstinence? How about we outlaw dancing while we're at it? And kissing. Everyone knows kissing leads to babbies.

Yet these same people are probably out diddling with teenaged girls or prostitutes.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:27 AM on August 10, 2008 [5 favorites]


And McCain will "win."

Because the PTB are conservative.

If you vote for Obama, they will make sure your vote won't matter.


If anyone reading this thread has a rational mind in the slightest, you'll ignore this stream of garbage from ZachsMind. You'd think with idiocy like that, this guy may be working for the McCain campaign. The only thing worse than a neocon is a defeatist moron.
posted by cellphone at 5:34 AM on August 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


Devils Rancher : Fuck... I know none of us should be surprised by hypocrasy nowadays, but that's Kos link is depressing...
posted by twine42 at 5:51 AM on August 10, 2008


they're no longer going after abortion. they're going directly after Griswold v Connecticut, now. have been for a while.

besides allowing OMGCONTRACEPTION, which ushered in THOSE WILD AND SEX-SOAKED LATE SIXTIES WHEN THE HIPPIES RUINED THE WORLD, Griswold also helped establish the idea of a right to privacy, which then reached its horrible moral nadir in Roe v Wade.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:52 AM on August 10, 2008


a federal agency that, with a straight face, still calls itself the Department of Health and Human Services.

Reminds me of the time I saw a battered and well used dump truck, piled high with what was clearly the evicted contents of an entire apartment, the side of the truck labeled in giant bold lettering, "Department of Social Services."
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:58 AM on August 10, 2008


"Contraception as most women practice it is part of the ``culture of death,'' declared Susan Orr, whom President George W. Bush put in charge of the Office of Population Affairs."

Birth control: is administration backing down -- or not?
HHS chief denies new rule to attack contraception

Leavitt: "Several months ago, I became aware that certain medical specialty certification groups were adopting requirements which potentially violate a physician's right to choose whether he or she performs abortion," Leavitt wrote.

"I asked that regulations be drafted which would enforce these long-standing laws protecting a medical practitioner's conscience rights."

posted by madamjujujive at 6:55 AM on August 10, 2008


I find it difficult to read these things without feeling utter despair. Voting is rigged. If any right-thinking person tries to blow the lid off this shit the special interest ads immediately start in:

-Reinstate the taxes for the 1% richest Americans? That means "raise taxes and cost you your job"
-Vote against defining birth control as abortion? That'll be "the most liberal voting record on abortion in congress"
-Advocate using federal resources to build nationwide rail or rescue our infrastructure? How about we call that "big government tax-and-spend liberal"
-Stop the war? "Anti-military!"
-Call the Bush administration on its lies? How about we put your wife's life at risk by outing her as a CIA operative.
-Ever vote democractic? Don't try getting a job with the federal government, because we'll flag you as a dyke and ruin your legal career.

No one in public office can do the right thing, because they are all so fucking scared of this shit, which means they won't be reelected, so that they can't do the right thing. The only way things will change is if EVERY right-thinking member of congress agrees, together, to stop putting up with the bullshit and grow some fucking balls. But you know what? They'll just find a way to charge them with conspiracy.
posted by nax at 7:07 AM on August 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Most birth control pills work by preventing eggs from being released. The mini pill is the one that prevents the egg from attaching to the uterine wall.

Preventing egg release is The Pill's primary way to prevent pregnancy. But in the unlikely event that an egg is released and fertilized, it can also prevent implantation. See, from your link:
The HC usually stops the body from releasing an egg from the ovary. HC also changes the cervical mucus to make it difficult for the sperm to find an egg. HC can also prevent pregnancy by making the lining of the womb inhospitable for implantation.
As for me, if this crap continues, I'll be forced to give up my very fun, very rewarding job to dedicate my life to trying to get back women's rights. And I really, really don't want to do that. Plus if they take away my pill (from my cold dead hands, of course), I'll have really bad cramps on top of everything else. This sucks.
posted by lampoil at 7:21 AM on August 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


The fundamentalists are losing the fight, so they're redrawing the lines.

They successfully deselected Hillary from the left, so I would say they haven't lost any fights lately, but I understand denial.
posted by Brian B. at 7:27 AM on August 10, 2008


"The illusion never ends - you vote to stop abortion, you get a rollback in capital gains tax."
"It's like the French Revolution in reverse . . .people pouring into the streets, demanding more power to the aristocracy"

What's the Matter with Kansas? A 44 minute Lecture by Thomas Frank, with 6 minute streaming sample.
posted by plexi at 7:32 AM on August 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


There are no natural consequences to sex anymore; women aren't slaves to their own bodies. Science has set them free. And conservatives hate that vehemently. They've lost a lot of power over women, and they want it back.

Only half right. Ask a conservative, they'll say they hate single-parent families too and would demand the father stick with her. That's just harder to make happen.

Still, the part about wanting consequences for sex is pretty much spot on.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 7:38 AM on August 10, 2008


They successfully deselected Hillary from the left, so I would say they haven't lost any fights lately, but I understand denial.

Uh. What?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:56 AM on August 10, 2008


And McCain will "win."

Thanks Clinton! That'll teach the sexists.
posted by Artw at 8:29 AM on August 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


I can't help but wonder what the political repercussions of telling millions of women that they may have had dozens of "abortions" will be. Can't see them stopping the use of contraceptives, but I can see them starting to question what the fuss is about if having their period means they've done something they thought they'd never do.
posted by Benjy at 8:35 AM on August 10, 2008


HAY METAFILTER PRO-LIFERS, WHAT'S YOUR RESPONSE TO THIS?

By the way, I just finished having a five-day-long abortion. Wow, that was fun.

Anyway, the fundies are getting out of control. Let's financially eviscerate the fuckers and keep abortions safe and legal.

I am pro-choice and proud.
posted by kldickson at 8:53 AM on August 10, 2008


What is the saddest thing?

People who like to pass laws that do bad things to other people that they will never see in the name of protecting things that are not people.
posted by tehloki at 9:19 AM on August 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


Iirc, I got this graphic from a women's rights thread here on Metafilter. But I keep it and post it in my own journal when I speak about women's reproductive and sexual rights.

http://img514.imageshack.us/img514/805/prolifebeliefchartjq6.gif
posted by FunkyHelix at 9:22 AM on August 10, 2008 [7 favorites]


It's not the rich women married to the policy makers that will suffer these consequences. Those that can afford to have a baby will be the ones with enough money to travel to those willing to give them birth control or abortions.

The women who will suffer are the ill educated and poor, unable to get to those that can provide for them. And the pro-lifers who have the money to support protests (and bombings and policies) will not be adopting house fulls of abandoned children forced into life. They won't support these women who end up keeping the children they were forced to have. These rich people won't support more welfare to the poor.

These wealthy women and their policy making families will support jails and the death penalty.

And America will be all the poorer for it's hatred of all women.
posted by FunkyHelix at 9:26 AM on August 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Abortion Ninja strikes again!
posted by refrigerateafteropening at 9:30 AM on August 10, 2008


I don't think it's moronic or defeatist to point out that by the government's own claims, millions of votes, predominantly in Democratic districts, were not counted in the last two elections, and that millions more people were prevented or at least strongly discouraged from voting by a wildly disproportionate distributing of voting machines.

My current theory is that McCain's going to take a dive early, at or before the Convention, and they'll pick a dark horse candidate for the Republicans. You heard it here first.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:44 AM on August 10, 2008


If these conservative fruitcakes had their way, masturbation would be made illegal, because semen ejaculated without an egg in the vicinity is the death of potential life.

They can have my semen when they pry it from my cold, dead hands!
posted by five fresh fish at 9:45 AM on August 10, 2008 [5 favorites]


kittens for breakfast: "Um, really, those of you who aren't voting are helping "them" by not voting."

This is worth repeating. Every time I see anyone making the argument that NOT voting is helping things, I want to smack him/her with a spiked bat. Please remember that about half the country didn't bother to vote in the last two US elections. When all you need to win is 1/4 of the people, your job is much easier. Get your ass to the polling booth and make the conservative hardliners supporting McCain actually work for their goal. Staying at home whining about how bad things are is a damn stupid thing to do.

Even if you believe that the election is rigged, it is MUCH harder to hide a million false votes than it is to fake 1000. Get out and vote. Give your friends a ride. Give people you don't know a ride if they need it. Volunteer somewhere. And most of all stop goddamn telling other people not to vote.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:03 AM on August 10, 2008 [14 favorites]


They can have my semen when they pry sponge it from my cold, dead hands!.

Fixed that for you.
posted by Hactar at 10:03 AM on August 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


This isn't about Roe v. Wade or fundies, it's about stem cell research. Slowing it down now and laying a legal basis that can be used against further advance in the technology that will, in the future, not require embryonic stem cells. They are expanding the definition of human life for a reason.
posted by 517 at 10:11 AM on August 10, 2008


I know that outrage exhaustion is way too du jour, but holy shit. I don't know if I can take this anymore.

Recently, a new Planned Parenthood structure in Denver was protested by people putting baggies filled with fake abortions on the doorsteps of elected officials.

I wish I felt like it would help to be an activist about this stuff, but the persistence, funding, and evil intentions of the anti-rights folk are a bit daunting. Oh, well, guess I'd better get active if I want to be at even 1970s levels of respect for women's rights.

*smears her face with ABORTION BLOOD* :P
posted by mynameisluka at 10:15 AM on August 10, 2008


Fixed that for you.

Either way, I'll have died a happy man.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:23 AM on August 10, 2008


And the pro-lifers who have the money to support protests (and bombings and policies) will not be adopting house fulls of abandoned children forced into life. They won't support these women who end up keeping the children they were forced to have.

This is not always the case, at least not in my experience. I am pro-choice now, but I grew up in a household that was passionately devoted to the pro-life cause. One of my first memories is attending a pro-life rally at an "abortion clinic." Thinking back, it was probably just a run-of-the-mill Planned Parenthood. I asked my mother, "Why are we here?" and she answered, "Because these people murder babies." I misunderstood this statement--my little brother was a baby at the time, and he was with us, and I was terrified for the next several years that people were coming to take him. My father was arrested for sitting-in, and I vividly remember going to pick him up from the county jail the next day. He complained that he had only been given a bologna sandwich.

Anyway, a short time later, a young pregnant woman named Barbie came to live with us, on the condition that she not abort her pregnancy as she had been planning. She lived with us for nearly a year, and acted as our babysitter--in reality, we were left alone for long periods of time while she went down to the corner store to buy Twinkies. We weren't the only family in our circle who did this, either. A number of other Catholics and Christians of our acquaintance took pregnant women into their care; a number also adopted and fostered children. Then again, we're talking about people who don't believe that exceptions should be made in the case of rape and incest. The issue of abortion is constantly on their minds. As a teenager, I was instructed to "adopt" the soul of a baby who was in danger of being aborted and pray for it every day. It's difficult to understand this kind of extremist thinking if you grew up outside of this context, but there it is. These people take it for granted that hormonal contraceptives are abortifacients. They have believed this for a long time, and as far as I can tell, it isn't a disingenuous belief; slut-punishing is perhaps a peripheral concern of theirs, but in the main they actually do believe that a "holocaust of the unborn" is occurring right before our very eyes. And they're a larger demographic than you might think.

Their true hypocrisy lies, perhaps, in a lack of follow-through: we have no idea where Barbie or her child is now. That is the pernicious pro-life idea: this idea that once women actually give birth, they're on their own. Once the child is saved, so is the mother--at least, the only part of her that matters: her soul.
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 10:35 AM on August 10, 2008 [24 favorites]


Once the child is saved

In most variants of Christianity, doesn't an unborn child get a ticket straight to heaven? It would seem that being born is the worse option, as it exposes the child to a significant chance of going to hell. The mother may have committed one less sin, but that is certainly no guarantee of her salvation either.
posted by Pyry at 10:49 AM on August 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


If McCain wins this election I'm blaming ZachsMind for not voting.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:00 AM on August 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


Their true hypocrisy lies, perhaps, in a lack of follow-through: we have no idea where Barbie or her child is now. That is the pernicious pro-life idea: this idea that once women actually give birth, they're on their own.

They believe that a new soul is pure, rather than a genetic expression of the "irresponsible" parents, so they imagine they have increased the humble good rather than the haughty evil. This serves a selfish psychological purpose. The pro-life movement is perhaps the largest expression of cognitive dissonance on hand. Tens of millions of people refuse to accept that they were lowered, made miserable or disadvantaged because of their large family and misogynistic church traditions, and so they must reject the evidence by proselytizing against family planning just as any doomsday cult would normally spread their modified prophecies after they fail.
posted by Brian B. at 11:11 AM on August 10, 2008


In most variants of Christianity, doesn't an unborn child get a ticket straight to heaven? It would seem that being born is the worse option, as it exposes the child to a significant chance of going to hell.

To a demographic that believes that a fetus is equivalent to a toddler, it is sick thinking to suggest that a child would be better off dead and in heaven--imagine saying the same thing about a four-year-old. That's the general reasoning, from what I remember.
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 11:16 AM on August 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


And McCain will "win."

I REALLY HOPE that come November someone can link to these words and say I was wrong, but I'm calling it now.

And those of you who are still voting? You are helping them to keep that illusion alive.


CONSISTENCY FAIL.
posted by EarBucket at 11:27 AM on August 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


In the early 1990s, I accompanied my then-girlfriend to the clinic to get a refill of her birth control pills. It was a sunny Saturday, the clinic was just a mile or so from our apartment, so we decided to walk. As we approached the building that housed the clinic, we were surprised to see a crowd out front and a news van.

"Oh shit, we got here during a protest," my girlfriend remarked glumly. "This happens every time I come here. It's worse on Saturdays since all the fanatics are off work and can make time to come wave their signs."

I walked her through the cordon of screaming, sign-brandishing people. "Don't kill your baby!" they screamed at us. "Abortion is murder!" News cameras rolled. B-roll footage, I guessed, as there didn't seem to be any reporters nearby.

"We're not killing babies!" I yelled back. "We're trying not to make them in the first place!"

A police officer helped us get in the door, where a very nice nurse took care of refilling her prescription. We'd have gone to a doctor if we'd had health insurance, but we didn't, so we paid cash and left. Walking out we faced the same crowd. "Murderer!" they yelled. Their faces were red and contorted; hatred was coming off them in waves. There was no reasoning with these people, no talking, no chance of compromise. We ducked out and started walking home. It felt like we were the ones who'd done something wrong -- an odd sensation that quickly passed as we put some distance between us and the protesters. It was a sunny day, a nice day for a walk.

In 1998, some sick fuck named Eric Rudolph bombed that clinic, killing a police officer and maiming a nurse. I don't know if the officer and nurse who helped us that day were the ones there in 1998. I do know that Officer Robert Sanderson and nurse Emily Lyons are heroes whose names I will always remember.

My city is sadly more acquainted with terrorism than many US cities (Oklahoma City, New York City, and Washington, DC excluded). And the sickest part is that it's home-grown. Dynamite Hill, the Sixteenth Street Baptist Chruch, the Woman All Women clinic.

And every incremental step to redefine medical terms along ideological lines is just creating another Eric Rudolph, another Robert Chambliss, another Bobby Frank Cherry, another Timothy McVeigh.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:35 AM on August 10, 2008 [33 favorites]


The Handmaid's Tale: Fact or Fiction?
posted by homunculus at 12:06 PM on August 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


"We're not killing babies!" I yelled back. "We're trying not to make them in the first place!" Walking out we faced the same crowd. "Murderer!" they yelled. Their faces were red and contorted; hatred was coming off them in waves.

That sounds about right. A number of protesters failed to comprehend that clinics offered any services besides abortions. If you were a woman walking into a clinic, you were there to get an abortion. I'm not sure why this attitude prevailed, especially since the pro-lifers I knew did a lot of research into clinics. Intellectually, they must have known that many women were there for other reasons; when it came time to protest, that knowledge went out the window and a sort of mob mentality took over. It was a frightening thing to witness.
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 12:36 PM on August 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


I wish we lived in a society where babies were wanted and cherished and desired and not seen as parasites or burdens-a society where people who needed help with their children got it, where fathers always took responsibility for their children-and the mother of those children...a society where sexual love was honored and considered special and sacred, not treated as simply a casual pastime...and where birth control methods simply stopped sperm and egg from introducing themselves to each other.


I guess society thinks it's a lot easier to suck the products of conception down a cold steel sink. I weep for us all.
posted by konolia at 12:55 PM on August 10, 2008


I wish we lived in a society where babies were wanted and cherished and desired and not seen as parasites or burdens-a society where people who needed help with their children got it

I would like that too. I think all of us would. But it's worth noting that many of the pro-lifers I knew would express sentiments like this with one breath, and speak sneeringly of "welfare queens" with the next.
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 1:10 PM on August 10, 2008


I wish we lived in a society where[...]

But we don't, and we never will. We can't create policy and legislation based on wishful thinking.
posted by AV at 1:14 PM on August 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


clearly writes "Why would anyone want to make us feel guilty for this? "

Because happy, fulfilled people don't need religious leaders, and they don't go to war. You need to get people guilty, sexually frustrated, and angry if you want to use them as props or weapons. Then you give them a release, that in almost every war, especially wars against infidels or untermenschen, raping the losers is winked at.
posted by orthogonality at 1:21 PM on August 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


I guess society thinks it's a lot easier to suck the products of conception down a cold steel sink. I weep for us all.

In my experience the only groups in society that social conservatives care about are fetuses and Christians. Apparently the rest of us can get bent.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:24 PM on August 10, 2008


konolia writes "I guess society thinks it's a lot easier to suck the products of conception down a cold steel sink. I weep for us all."

konolia, I agree that abortions should be a last resort. But people who don't want kids are still going to have sex. Even Christian people.

So if you really want to limit abortions -- as opposed to outlawing abortions in order to punish people for having sex -- you need to make contraception easily available.

If you're opposed to distributing free condoms in high schools, you're tacitly for abortion, any rhetoric to the contrary,
posted by orthogonality at 1:28 PM on August 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


That sounds about right. A number of protesters failed to comprehend that clinics offered any services besides abortions. If you were a woman walking into a clinic, you were there to get an abortion.
Having been somewhat involved in the pro-life movement for some time, I'd just like to point everyone -- and I mean EVERYONE -- to read and re-read all the comments Powerful Religious Baby has been posting.

The simple explanation is conspiracy. Planned Parenthood hates babies, and if they can't get people to abort, they will at least try to do everything in their power to keep babies from being born in other ways. Also, contraception doesn't work, and abortion is lucrative, so they encourage teenagers to use contraceptives and have lots of sex -- ensuring a stream of desperate teens who will fork over cash to erase the mistake. And finally, if they DO do anything good, it's part of their PR campaign to trick people into thinking that they are something more than a business "built on death" -- like HAMAS opening schools or Al Qaeda running orphanages.

I remember not just hearing these things but believing them, with the same certainty that some folks believe Iraq sponsored the 9/11 attacks, or that Hillary 'really' won the primary. Once you've made the decision that The Other Side is evil, and fighting for something so monstrous that one could not possibly support it in good faith, it's easy to interpret even the good things they do as nothing more than a "cover" for their evil.
I guess society thinks it's a lot easier to suck the products of conception down a cold steel sink. I weep for us all.
I spent a couple decades nodding thoughtfully to that kind of reasoning, Konolia, and repeating the statements to anyone who brought the issue up. I hate saying it this way, but frankly pro-lifers who pretend that saving babies is their primary concern are liars. They are lying to others, and they are lying to themselves. The pro-life movement is filled with individuals who consider abortion something terrible that should be stopped, yes. But it comes in a distant second to the evils of consensual sex between unmarried partners, an evil so profound that attempts to increase the use of contraceptives -- and thus reduce abortion -- must be opposed, too.

I'm not trying to call "gotcha" on this. From a pragmatic view, there's nothing wrong with the fact that there is an issue even more important than abortion to pro-lifers. But it's also like discussing vaccination programs with someone who believes needles are a sin, and that using them is worse than dying from a preventable disease. They're welcome to hold that belief, but I'm also going to call them on their shit when this hypothetical anti-needle person says, "Nothing is more important than protecting children from disease!"

They're lying. To others, and to themselves. And they need to be called on that.
posted by verb at 1:32 PM on August 10, 2008 [16 favorites]


I wish I lived in a world where autonomy over my own body was not considered an appropriate issue for debate.

I guess society thinks it's a lot easier to suck the products of conception down a cold steel sink.

The issue of abortion, to me (and to many other feminists) has NOTHING to do with making things "easy." It has to do with recognizing that autonomy over one's body, and self-determination over one's reproductive system, is necessary to ensure equity between the sexes.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:35 PM on August 10, 2008 [7 favorites]


I wish we lived in that society too, konolia.

I also wish that babies didn't get painful terminal diseases and that it was easier to make women orgasm. But then that wouldn't be real life.

They successfully deselected Hillary from the left ...

Er, by voting for her in the biggest numbers of Republicans voting in Democratic primaries ever? It's time to moveon.org, son. (Disclaimer: I am not a democrat, nor a moveon.org member.)

And those of you who are still voting? You are helping them to keep that illusion alive.

I sort of agree with you in principle although if you aren't out there organizing, publishing, etc. (or blowing shit up), you're not doing much to disillusion people either.

It's OK not to vote. Apparently it's one of our most prized rights, as any support for mandatory voting gets you tagged as an american fascist. But don't deceive yourself into thinking that not voting will affect any sort of positive change. I mean, I don't see how it could (unless it was well organized as a mass (and I mean MASS, like 10+ million people) protest and/or electronic-voting teach-in/sit-in).

On preview: homunculus' link explains therule change well, I think. I was also unsure how they would define fertilization, or if it was even possible. ... It is pretty fucked up that nobody's really covering this story. I guess that's what happening when you stop buying newspapers, YOU FREELOADERS!

On double preview: Devils Rancher's link is powerful stuff. It truly boggles the mind. Despite the happy ending, it's the sort of stuff that makes it hard to live on the same planet with such people, to look them in the eye and acknowledge them as fellow humans. And yet we have to.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:40 PM on August 10, 2008


Absolutely, verb--I had forgotten the emphasis on abortion being lucrative. From a very young age, I believed that Planned Parenthood wanted to keep abortion legal because it was getting rich off of these women. The March of Dimes was another organization whose sole mission was to spread the gospel of abortion over the face of the earth. They might claim to be concerned about prematurity and infant health, but that was just a cover.

If you grew up in the movement, you existed within a context of distortion, misinformation, and cherry-picked facts. Apocryphal stories about abortion and the pro-choice movement abounded. I remember hearing about fetuses born at twenty weeks who survived. I particularly remember a story I was told about a "leading feminist" who went to the hospital complaining of a stomach-ache. It turned out she was pregnant and didn't even know it, and was about to give birth at that very moment. This, I was told, was evidence of God's intervention, because if she had known she was pregnant, she surely would have aborted the child. This was another strange belief that persisted: the belief that a pro-choice woman hated children so much that she would always choose to abort a pregnancy.
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 1:52 PM on August 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


To a demographic that believes that a fetus is equivalent to a toddler, it is sick thinking to suggest that a child would be better off dead and in heaven--imagine saying the same thing about a four-year-old. That's the general reasoning, from what I remember.

Forget saying it about a four-year-old, I'll say it about an adult: if a person is in a state of grace such that he is guaranteed to go to heaven upon death, he would be better off dead, if only because by continuing to live he risks eternal damnation. I don't see how you can escape this conclusion if you accept the existence of heaven and hell.
posted by Pyry at 1:53 PM on August 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


If you're opposed to distributing free condoms in high schools, you're tacitly for abortion, any rhetoric to the contrary,

I WAS having sex while I was in high school. We did use condoms. Guess what? They break, and they slip off, and those pregnancy scares were horrible.

Even if I weren't now opposed to sex before marriage, even if I was looking at this all in a pragmatic sense, I don't see condoms-or any birth control method, really- as the answer to fewer abortions.

But for the record, I am not anti-birth control-as long as we are talking preventing sperm and egg meeting up. In my case, as a married woman, the only method we tried that worked and did NOT have unhappy side effects was hubby getting a vasectomy.

I get that people have sex. Christian, unChristian, married, single, etc etc. Yes, I see unmarried sex as not a good thing. And I say that from experience as well as conviction.

But I see abortion as way way worse. That baby once it is conceived has just as much a right to live as I do. And I do know how much pain and trouble raising children can be. My own were way too close together and we had way too little money and had other problems to boot. Serious problems. But no freaking way would it have been better to abort any of them. I am a stronger person and a better person for having raised them, and they are good people-grown now, one a parent herself.

All of us were that single-celled product of conception at one time. ALL of us. No exceptions.

And we are ALL supposed to be here. Period.
posted by konolia at 2:02 PM on August 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


I don't see how you can escape this conclusion if you accept the existence of heaven and hell.
By saying that only God has the right to decide who lives or dies. Thus anyone who kills someone else "to save them from sin" is sinning by doing something only God is allowed to do. This is also where religious prohibitions against suicide and euthanasia come in.
posted by verb at 2:02 PM on August 10, 2008


Reality is: until the social and institutional mechanisms are in place such that every woman is able to control for herself exactly when she will have a baby (and I don't mean "control" as in only then will she be allowed to have sex) and is assured of all the resources she needs to raise it - accidental fertilizations and pregnancies are going to occur, and many of these will be unwanted. Contraception, via any mechanism, is a step toward establishing that control over our own reproduction, and toward a society where every child is desired.

40-60 percent (or higher, depending on your statistical sources) of naturally fertilized eggs will naturally fail to implant anyway, with no outside interference. Are we supposed to go into heavy mourning every month over the possibility that a widdle baby zygote might have been flushed with the tampons?
posted by casarkos at 2:03 PM on August 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Even if I weren't now opposed to sex before marriage, even if I was looking at this all in a pragmatic sense, I don't see condoms-or any birth control method, really- as the answer to fewer abortions.

But that is what actually works in practice. It really does. There is no doubt about it. Please, let's be pragmatic and deal with the problems we have in a way we actually know that works.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:06 PM on August 10, 2008 [8 favorites]


Even if I weren't now opposed to sex before marriage, even if I was looking at this all in a pragmatic sense, I don't see condoms-or any birth control method, really- as the answer to fewer abortions.
That's absurd, and is precisely the sort of self-deception that caused me to leave the pro-life movement. The last time I spent a day sifting through the statistics, ~30% of abortions were performed on individuals in relationships who did not use contraceptives and make no plans to use contraceptives in the future. To pretend that abortion numbers wouldn't drop dramatically if that group were convinced to use contraceptives is absurd.
But for the record, I am not anti-birth control-as long as we are talking preventing sperm and egg meeting up.
Pro-lifers -- you included -- do not emphasize contraception because they believe it is a sin. Those who say they don't believe it is a sin rely on disingenuous sophistry, like the "fertilization versus implantation" line that would turn every menstruating woman into a mass murderer. It's no different than the "macro-evolution versus micro-evolution" silliness that Intelligent Design advocates indulge in.

Sadly, even that level of sophistication is rare inside the movement.
posted by verb at 2:13 PM on August 10, 2008 [6 favorites]


40-60 percent (or higher, depending on your statistical sources) of naturally fertilized eggs will naturally fail to implant anyway, with no outside interference. Are we supposed to go into heavy mourning every month over the possibility that a widdle baby zygote might have been flushed with the tampons?
Refer back to the "only God has the right to decide" angle. The problem is not so much that a baby died, it's that a person, rather than God, decided it should die. The implications for the question of God's omnipotence is left as an exercise for the reader.
posted by verb at 2:15 PM on August 10, 2008


Carlin (SLYT). Go straight to 2:48 or just watch the whole thing.</small.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 2:23 PM on August 10, 2008


Crap.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 2:24 PM on August 10, 2008


I WAS having sex while I was in high school.

[...]

Even if I weren't now opposed to sex before marriage


Or you could perhaps let people make their own decisions. You seemed to enjoy that capacity; why not extend that to the rest of us proles. We're animals. Animals fuck. The notion that others should rail against their own biology -- when you admittedly failed to do so yourself -- is absurd. The "we had our fun, but you shouldn't, it's bad and stuff" is tiring.

The pro-life logic is that they want to "save babies" but I don't hear these same people lining up to adopt crack babies. Did we suddenly solve the homeless children problem? Are the orphanages empty? It's about controlling people, nothing more. It's not about wanting to fix problems, just telling people what they can and cannot do.

I wish people would shut the ungodly fuck up about what women can and cannot do with their bodies, and debating the sentience of fetuses / zygoats. The world does a wonderful enough job mistreating and fucking up the children we already have.

If you want a world where babies are cared for and wanted, then don't force people to have them when they don't want them. Even a vasectomy is not 100% effective; nevermind the whole "undoing the lord's good work" notion. What's the fucking spiritual difference between removing someone's capability to create life, and an abortion? Really. If you want to debate the sanctity of life and so forth, you just sterilized a human being.
posted by Dark Messiah at 2:41 PM on August 10, 2008 [41 favorites]


Dark Messiah, you're awesome. Thank you for saving me all that typing. <3
posted by perilous at 3:17 PM on August 10, 2008


Isn't a soul trapped in a condom the saddest thing ever?

Actually, probably the saddest thing you'll ever see is a mosquito sucking on a mummy. Forget it, little friend.

/handey
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:27 PM on August 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


But anyway, this whole thing just smacks of "We're gonna have to get our cannon fodder from somewhere."
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:30 PM on August 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


This is grotesque. I, too, am a firsthand witness and former brainwashing victim of the anti-choice movement. They really do think of little else.
posted by adamdschneider at 3:45 PM on August 10, 2008


I wish I lived in a world where autonomy over my own body was not considered an appropriate issue for debate.

You do live in just such a world. You're just living in the wrong area of it.
posted by -harlequin- at 3:46 PM on August 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Er, by voting for her in the biggest numbers of Republicans voting in Democratic primaries ever? It's time to moveon.org, son.

You cite insincere strategic voters who were sent by the pundits, after McCain locked, to prolong the combat among Democrats. Most women voted for Hillary by a double digit margin, and most red states went to Obama, blue states voting Clinton. Funny you would mention moveon.org, because they were never neutral, waiting to back the primary winner. Rather, they voted to give only Obama their cash early on, to wage against a fellow liberal, much of it raised from Hillary supporters.
posted by Brian B. at 3:51 PM on August 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


The issue of abortion, to me (and to many other feminists) has NOTHING to do with making things "easy." It has to do with recognizing that autonomy over one's body, and self-determination over one's reproductive system, is necessary to ensure equity between the sexes.

Worth repeating.

Anytime I think about abortion as a political issue, I'm reminded of the slogan which points out that 70% of anti-abortion activists are men and 100% of them will never have to get one.

I do not believe that any woman who gets an abortion thinks of it as an "easy" decision. I am adamantly pro-choice because I feel that it is a decision that every woman should have the right to make for herself.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:55 PM on August 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


Powerful Religious Baby writes "That sounds about right. A number of protesters failed to comprehend that clinics offered any services besides abortions. If you were a woman walking into a clinic, you were there to get an abortion. I'm not sure why this attitude prevailed, especially since the pro-lifers I knew did a lot of research into clinics. Intellectually, they must have known that many women were there for other reasons; when it came time to protest, that knowledge went out the window and a sort of mob mentality took over."

I'm guessing qualified protest signs like "Some of you are committing murder" wouldn't have quite the same punch.

konolia writes "I wish we lived in a society where babies were wanted and cherished and desired and not seen as parasites or burdens-a society where people who needed help with their children got it, where fathers always took responsibility for their children-and the mother of those children...a society where sexual love was honored and considered special and sacred, not treated as simply a casual pastime...and where birth control methods simply stopped sperm and egg from introducing themselves to each other."

I wished we lived in a society which had total matter-to-matter conversion powered by sunlight, unlimited energy via clean cold fusion, and which existed on a planet that automagically increased the carrying capacity to compensate for every newborn that took it's first breath like some sort of advanced RL MMORPG. Until that time maybe we shouldn't be forcing people to have upwards of 20 kids just because they have sex. We have too many people as it is.
posted by Mitheral at 4:02 PM on August 10, 2008 [6 favorites]


I, too, am a firsthand witness and former brainwashing victim of the anti-choice movement. They really do think of little else.

Are all three of us--you, verb, and I--from the Midwest? The movement took really tenacious hold there during the 80s. And the interesting thing about the Midwest is how much this thinking has seeped into mainstream culture. If you drive through certain parts of Cincinnati and St. Louis, you'll encounter dozens of emotionally-wrought pro-life billboards, and every Planned Parenthood is flanked by a "pregnancy center." It's fascinating. It's simply in the water.
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 4:27 PM on August 10, 2008


This post provides a set of links and resources to protest the ridiculous new proposed HHS rules. No woman should be forced to bear a child because of someone else's so-called morality.
posted by leslies at 5:31 PM on August 10, 2008


If you want a world where babies are cared for and wanted, then don't force people to have them when they don't want them.

Good blog post that expands on this point: "Pro-choice is often referred to as if it were synonymous with pro-abortion. It isn’t. Being pro-choice says nothing whatsoever about your own personal views on your own abortion, your best friend’s abortion, or a complete stranger’s abortion; being pro-choice means you believe that the pregnant woman ought to be the one to decide whether, and when, to terminate her pregnancy. . . . Pro-lifers are a forced pregnancy movement."
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 5:55 PM on August 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


Yes, I see unmarried sex as not a good thing. And I say that from experience as well as conviction.

This is a hilarious statement.

My wife and I are common-law. We've been together for 22 years this fall. Both of us have been faithful to one another. We're one another's one and only. And we have mind-blowing good sex. By any rational measure, we're way better than you.

But, hey, because we haven't been formally married by a religion we don't believe, it's "not a good thing." And hey, because you were a stupid teenager who fucked around like a bunny on fire, why, your experience must be the one by which other relationships are judged!

If one doesn't laugh at the daft things you say, one ends up crying.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:04 PM on August 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


Are all three of us--you, verb, and I--from the Midwest? The movement took really tenacious hold there during the 80s.
Yep. I was a 14-year-old conservative political activist from Wheaton IL, the evangelical capital of the universe (at least, until Colorado Springs took the prize).
posted by verb at 6:15 PM on August 10, 2008


I live in the PRC (yes I drag it out too much, kill me), and one of the nicest things about living here is that every single choice a woman makes about her sexuality is one she makes by herself. In my adventures I've run into all kinds of beliefs, sure. You want to stay a virgin until you get married?...Valid choice, alright, I get how that could be important to some people. You're scared of getting pregnant?...Well, I can wear a condom, but that has risks, so, sure, I get where you're coming from. Afraid birth control will screw up your hormones?...Well, alright, it's your body, won't mess with that. Afraid all foreigners have AIDS?...Um, well, I don't, and I have the test to prove it, but, y'know, well, at least there's a pool of Chinese guys out there for you to safely enjoy. With my girlfriend, the choice to use birth control was based purely on her anxiety about screwing up her loins.

Whatever the reasons are for not wanting to have sex with me, or anyone, God does not enter into it. And birth control is a simple $5 a month OTC drug. Nobody looks at you funny if you buy condoms. All of what I encounter is purely a woman's choice, and that's something I know I can respect or present evidence to reassure. Theology does not enter into it. It's strictly between me and the ladies. And every time that happens, I feel a little twinge in my stomach. That's the knowledge that at least here, things are as they should be in the universe.
posted by saysthis at 7:05 PM on August 10, 2008


That's the knowledge that at least here, things are as they should be in the universe.

This is the nation that forbids couples from having more than one child?
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 7:54 PM on August 10, 2008


So does this mean that Zygotes go to Limbo now along with aborted Fetuses and unbaptized babies?

Oh and on an unrelated note: Abortions don't kill people, unaborted babies kill people
posted by Pseudology at 12:21 AM on August 11, 2008


This thread is basically over, but since when has that stopped me from commenting?

One of the striking things that you'll notice here is that Metafilter's Very Own Outspoken Pro-Lifer has graced us with her presence to remind us that .... uh .... there are babies and, um, God is involved and, uh, people are having sex in bad ways and, hey, wouldn't it be nice if abortion didn't exist?

Like others in this thread, I too was once virulently pro-Life. I can attest to the testimony of others that they really do believe that a literal Holocaust is taking place right now in American cities. In fact, I remember someone once telling me that the real Holocaust was comparatively minor compared to the American-Abortion holocaust, since, according to her, "only" six million Jews died under Hitler, while upwards of 40 million babies have been slaughtered in America's "abortuaries".

When faced with this level of ... (is "psychosis" too strong a word?) ... does it help to stop and ask them "Wait a second, are you folks really trying to define a normal menstrual period as an abortion?"

As this thread points out, obviously it doesn't. Pro-lifers aren't interested in the heinous consequences of their thinking (women dead from back-alley abortions, doctors reporting "suspicious" miscarriages to the police, the pill outlawed, women in jail, overflowing orphanages, etc.) and instead mouth some platitudes about Life, God, Family and Courage which, somehow, are supposed to translate into a logical rationale for the State to wage war on women (which is, to be brutally honest, what outlawing abortion would amount to).

If our War on Drugs and War on Terror are any indication, the new War on Women will be long, violent, filled with no victories but many casualties -- and, most important of all, supported by 40% of the voting population.
posted by Avenger at 1:26 AM on August 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


konolia wrote: Even if I weren't now opposed to sex before marriage, even if I was looking at this all in a pragmatic sense, I don't see condoms-or any birth control method, really- as the answer to fewer abortions.

Gee, I guess them condoms and hormonal birth control aren't working out for my SO and I. We've been fucking for 10 years and have yet to conceive a child. Thankfully, since she is pro-choice, but would refuse to have an abortion were she to become pregnant.

Thus far, even after the move to Jesusville, we have no trouble getting contraceptives.
posted by wierdo at 1:28 AM on August 11, 2008


If Mike Leavitt is to be believed, "a widely circulated draft U.S. regulation that would define many forms of contraception as abortion will not be proposed in that form, if at all."

An early draft of the regulations found its way into public circulation before it had reached my review. It contained words that lead some to conclude my intent is to deal with the subject of contraceptives, somehow defining them as abortion. Not true.
posted by Violet Hour at 2:22 AM on August 11, 2008


a society where sexual love was honored and considered special and sacred, not treated as simply a casual pastime.

You know what? I have no problem with that kind of casual pastime between consenting adults. Not all sex is or should be a sacred act. And anyone who thinks it does, on religious grounds, needs to pray about it but also realize it's otherwise none of their business, and not under the purview of law, and stop trying to persecute anyone who disagrees with them. (not that you are, just that such a point is irrelevant to a discussion of actual legal rights.)
posted by emjaybee at 6:28 AM on August 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


My wife and I are common-law

In some states you are just as married as I am. You did make my point. You are monogamous, your wife is your one and only, etc etc etc. You sure SOUND happy.

Reread what you wrote. I don't really freaking care about a ceremony/no ceremony, etc. You are living a married existence. And from what you write, very successfully.

To the rest of you-if a zygote isn't a person, then what is it? If it is a person, why do we have the right to destroy it? And if, again, it isn't a person, when exactly does it become one? And if inconvenience to the mother is a factor, why can't we just kill our elderly relatives when they get Alzheimers? They're expensive, they disrupt others' lives, and they sure as heck aren't cute.

But, whatever...I can't tell any of you what to do. I can only hope that some of you might have a change of heart because in the long run that is the only thing that will stop this holocaust. Laws won't do it. Legislation won't do it. Only the recognition that sometimes we as humans can get it terribly, terribly wrong, and we need to change.
posted by konolia at 6:57 AM on August 11, 2008


To the rest of you-if a zygote isn't a person, then what is it?
Historically, the church considered an unborn child "human" when it first kicked. In other cultures, the line was when a child took its first breath. Today, many in the church consider it "human" the moment an egg becomes fertilized. Others insist that the line is "implantation in the uterine wall." This line is arbitrary. The fact that you draw it earlier than anyone else does not make yours more legitimate. Hell, it doesn't even make it more biblical.
All of us were that single-celled product of conception at one time. ALL of us. No exceptions.
All of use were sperm once. This does not mean that masturbation should be considered murder -- though it's worth noting that the church has, at times, made that very argument. Throwing up one's hands and lamenting that no one has answered the troubling "when does humanity begin" question is disingenuous and deceptive. What you're really asking is, "Why hasn't anyone answered this question the way I do?"
But, whatever...I can't tell any of you what to do.
Actually, you can. You can work with other like minded individuals to change laws in our country to make the things you dislike illegal. Thus, this conversation.
posted by verb at 7:36 AM on August 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


Whu?! So you believe sex before marriage is a sin, but don't believe religious approval is required to make a marriage; and, indeed, don't even believe that one needs the Special Government Certificate to make a marriage. All one has to do is... cohabitate as fuck-buddies for a period of twelve consecutive months, so as to fall under common-law estate and taxation laws?

So when my wife and I were getting it on a month into our relationship, living on the same floor in the dorms but not actually holding common-law status in the eyes of the tax man, it was a big ol' sin. A year and three months later, while sharing our first apartment, but still not holding common-law status, it was big ol' sin. But the very next month, wham bam thank you tax man, we're considered common-law and, hey-o!, we're fucking married by god!

You don't make sense even to yourself.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:37 AM on August 11, 2008


five fresh fish, what do you want? Now you're telling konolia to conform to your stereotypes of her.

I mostly agree with you, but your "By any rational measure, we're way better than you" posturing is obnoxious.
posted by roll truck roll at 7:42 AM on August 11, 2008


I can't tell any of you what to do. I can only hope that some of you might have a change of heart because in the long run that is the only thing that will stop this holocaust. Laws won't do it. Legislation won't do it. Only the recognition that sometimes we as humans can get it terribly, terribly wrong, and we need to change.

Your underlying theme that only YOU know what is right is the most disturbing... Your evocation of "holocaust" imagery is par for the course. Murder of babies, slaughter of the unborn, bla bla bla. It's tried, boring rhetoric, founded in knee-jerk morality and nothing more.

Maybe YOU need to change? But no, that viewpoint is never considered. Listen to yourself; from God's lips to your ears, apparently that's what "right" is.

That's the problem with people like you. Everyone else is 'wrong', except you. What, beyond your swollen ego, dictates that you are so unequivocally right?

To the rest of you-if a zygote isn't a person, then what is it?

A FUCKING ZYGOTE! That's what it is! That's why science developed the term; that and fetus; they're not synonyms; they're different things. It's the building blocks of a person; more-so than simple carbon atoms, less-so than the person writing this post.

You're either blind to -- or unwilling to event accept -- the concept that not every fertilized egg will be a person; regardless of human intervention. But I shouldn't even bother bringing science into this, I'm sure your personal God of the gaps will fill in any discrepancies in your "logic".

And if inconvenience to the mother is a factor, why can't we just kill our elderly relatives when they get Alzheimers? They're expensive, they disrupt others' lives, and they sure as heck aren't cute.

And now the descent into the absurd... There is no parallel between aborting a POTENTIAL human and killing one that is living and breathing on it's own. You're not even debating the subject, just constructing absurdist imagery to justify the fact people shouldn't do things you find "icky". I totally understand though, why debate the topic when you can bait-and-switch with inapplicable hypotheticals.

Quit it with the hysterics and morality lessons; quantify and qualify your opinion.
posted by Dark Messiah at 7:44 AM on August 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


What's particularly fucked up about the attempts to restrict contraception is that those nice, Christian, married women suffer, too. Birth control liberated married women -- allowing them to enjoy their sexuality, within their marriage, without the threat of pregnancy. Pregnancy is hard on a woman's body, and the risk of dying in childbirth is not inconsequential, even now. Plus, of course, mouths to feed and butts to wipe.

So we return to a time when if women don't want to have another baby, they have to convince their husband to nix their sex life. Great. Such progress.
posted by desuetude at 7:58 AM on August 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Most of us out here know the difference between barrier methods and abortifacient methods.
posted by konolia at 8:10 AM on August 11, 2008


Yes, we do. As in, birth control pills are not, in any way, abortificants.
posted by agregoli at 8:26 AM on August 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


Most of us out here know the difference between barrier methods and abortifacient methods.

Most of us also know that different tools are for different problems. In the event that contraception fails, other methods are some times necessary. So, what exactly was your point?

I don't know anyone who uses them interchangeably; "awww screw the condoms, honey, we've got coupons for Morning After pills!"

Here's some food for thought: rapists don't always wear condoms, contraception fails.

In the end, some people will have abortions, while others just want miniature American flags.
posted by Dark Messiah at 8:30 AM on August 11, 2008


Are all three of us--you, verb, and I--from the Midwest?

I was raised in Steubenville, OH, on the border with West Virginia. That small town is the site of the Franciscan University of Steubenville, which takes its Catholicism way more seriously than most religious run colleges.

Funny (to me anyway) story: My mother's beliefs seem to harden year after year, and she vehemently does not like my atheism, but fortunately we still have a good relationship, so from time to time I like to have a little fun at her expense (since she's always forcing her religion on me).

One visit home, we were in the car waiting in the drive-through line at McDonald's so she could get one of their ice cream cones. I don't recall how the topic of abortion came up, but as it so very often does with her, I was prepared. I very casually stated that I was not pro-choice. There was silence in the car for a beat, followed by my mother's incredulous, "what". I repeated myself. A tiny note of hope entering her voice, she said, "Really?"

I said, "Yes, absolutely. I don't believe it should be a choice at all. Abortion ought to be mandatory."

My shoulder is still sore, but it was worth it.
posted by adamdschneider at 8:52 AM on August 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


Most of us out here know the difference between barrier methods and abortifacient methods.
Most of us also recognize the fact that referring to non-barrier methods as "abortifacients" is like calling injected vaccines "bio-weapons." Barrier methods, hormonal birth controls, and abortifacients all operate very differently. If you believe that hormonal birth control is an abortifacient, then you believe that every woman with a menstrual cycle is a mass murderer. It's that simple.

The pro-life movement's eagerness to group hormonal birth control and abortifacients together is one of the prime examples of the willingness-to-deceive that defines the movement. It's also one of the prime examples of the real priorities that underly the movement: eliminating extramarital sex is more important than reducing the number of abortions.

I'm not making this up. I'm not projecting it, or waving around a silly stereotype. I have had this conversation with friends, relatives, fellow churchgoers, and fellow pro-life activists from around the country. I worked with the American Life League and I interviewed pro-life congressional lobbyists for magazines. This is how it works. Solutions to the 'abortion' problem are dismissed as unacceptable if they might encourage the unmarried to have sex.

In recent years a few 'edgy' folks have stepped out and suggested that condoms are acceptable, but hormonal birth control is grouped together with abortion and any non-abstinence based education is fought tooth and nail because "contraceptives aren't foolproof." Neither is abstinence, of course; I know more women who've been sexually assaulted or raped than I do women who've gotten pregnant because condoms broke.
posted by verb at 8:56 AM on August 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


For the record: while my views have changed considerably, I am still very ambivalent about the subject of abortion. I am troubled by the subtle, blurry lines that delineate "life" and "human life", and I am inarticulately troubled by the balance between a woman's "right to autonomy" and an unborn child's "right to exist."

In recent years, however, the pro-life movement's willingness to aggressively attack legitimate, non-abortifacient methods of contraception has pulled the mask off. Abortion is just one of a class of "moral problems" that are considered more or less equally bad: premarital sex being one of them. Any solution to one that might encourage another is unacceptable. As such, "The problem of abortion" is primarily a philosophical and moral wedge issue to win arguments with those who are troubled by the kinds of dilemmas I mention above.

Despite all of my internal conflicts about abortion, I regret every moment of time, every bit of energy, every word that I spoke in support of that movement.
posted by verb at 9:10 AM on August 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


To the rest of you-if a zygote isn't a person, then what is it?

Oh my god, is this whole damn thing caused by you people not being able to tell a person from something that is not a person? I think I may just be able to end the anti-choice movement right now. It is so simple. Okay, pay attention:

Person

Not a person

Person

Not a person

Person

Not a person

Person

Not a person

See the differences? See how one is a human being and the other is not? It isn't too difficult. Now you can stop being crazy right?
posted by ND¢ at 9:37 AM on August 11, 2008 [5 favorites]


verb, I'm right with you. I dread this subject coming up among my very liberal cohort, because I do not believe in abortion. Knowing that this is a personal choice for me however, I would never ever expect to impose my feelings on someone who does not share them. Hence I vote pro-choice.

Upthread I read this phrase:
willingness-to-deceive that defines the movement
which absolutely sums up how "right-to-life" lost me, and in fact my discomfort with the entire conservative/republican movement. They are willing to twist facts, isolate statements, overblow trivialities, tamper with voting machines, and rig polls in order to win converts. I absolutely believe that they do this with deception as a motivating factor. I do not believe it is because they want to save babies, not for one single minute. I do not understand why intelligent Christians and conservatives (I use the phrase without irony) do not see this. How can they, in the face of the disastrous outcome of consevative policies, not see the evil intent behind it all?
posted by nax at 9:43 AM on August 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I dread this subject coming up among my very liberal cohort, because I do not believe in abortion. Knowing that this is a personal choice for me however, I would never ever expect to impose my feelings on someone who does not share them. Hence I vote pro-choice.

I'm so sad when I hear this -- that experience with obnoxious people can deter meaningful future discourse. nax, please know that even among those with significantly more liberaion feelings about abortion, there are plenty of us who will respect your opinion. Indeed, thoughtful insight into the conservative/religious/republican anti-choice movement is much-needed. US VS THEM AND I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU THINK is not working.
posted by desuetude at 10:18 AM on August 11, 2008


Laws won't do it. Legislation won't do it. Only the recognition that sometimes we as humans can get it terribly, terribly wrong, and we need to change.

That's right, konolia. Changing the laws will not do it. People will still have abortions if you make it illegal, and because they can't go to doctors for those abortions, they will die in back alleys just like they did before it was legal. That is what you are fighting for when you fight for these changes to the laws.

Women are going to disagree and they are going to seek abortion and your movement is trying to make it as dangerous as possible for them. Pro-life, my ass.
posted by heatherann at 10:37 AM on August 11, 2008


Powerful Religious Baby, verb, adamdschneider, and Avenger, thank you for your contributions here. It's very illuminating to read about "pro life" (maybe I'll start calling them the forced pregnancy movement) premises from former believers.

seconding desuetude, too.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 11:02 AM on August 11, 2008


We haven't even touched the flip side of this coin -- the way this issue overlaps with stem cell research.

I take care of an elderly parent living with Alzheimer's type senile dementia. It's ugly and sad.

That politicians bloviate about bioethics while actively blocking research that could treat one of the more monstrous (and common) conditions affecting elderly populations offends me greatly.

You want to stop killing embryos? Fine, shut down fertility clinics. I won't hold my breath waiting for that to happen.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:02 AM on August 11, 2008


If you believe that hormonal birth control is an abortifacient, then you believe that every woman with a menstrual cycle is a mass murderer. It's that simple.

That is patently ridiculous.

First of all, yes, not every fertilized egg makes it. This is a fact of nature.

Second, if I choose to use a birth control method that causes implantation not to occur, (rather than interfering with sperm meeting egg) then I MYSELF am tampering with nature insofar as some of those eggs may have implanted.

Third, for those of us who believe that interfering with implantation is indeed aborting what would have been a living child if LEFT ALONE, we have the right to make the decision not to use that method, and we have the right to NOT be lied to about it.

Fourth, not every sperm or egg is sacred, but human reproduction should be treated with respect. Since every single one of us -to include Barack Obama-started out as a single celled fertilized egg, not as an interchangeable glop of cells but as a glop of cells that is the starting point to an individual human being with unique human potential and unique humans giftings, who are we to say which fertilized egg deserves to implant and which does not?

What if Obama's mother had decided she did not want to carry a child? Or for that matter, Bono's mom?

Or Mathowie's?


Or.....yours?
posted by konolia at 11:05 AM on August 11, 2008


Bitteroldpunk, kindly keep up with the latest on stem cell research, which is able to be carried out without messing with embryos.

If we have the right to mess with the embryo, we have the right to grab you off the street and grab your kidneys for someone who needs them.
posted by konolia at 11:07 AM on August 11, 2008


Second, if I choose to use a birth control method that causes implantation not to occur, (rather than interfering with sperm meeting egg) then I MYSELF am tampering with nature insofar as some of those eggs may have implanted.

So are you against tampering with nature?
posted by agregoli at 11:25 AM on August 11, 2008


Or.....yours?

I wouldn't really know the difference, now would I?
posted by aclevername at 11:28 AM on August 11, 2008


I MYSELF am tampering with nature

Seriously...FUCK nature. We owe it nothing. The best part is, it won't get offended and stop sending Christmas cards.

who are we to say which fertilized egg deserves to implant and which does not?

To quote Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven, "Deserve's got nothing to do with it."
posted by adamdschneider at 11:28 AM on August 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Indeed, thoughtful insight into the conservative/religious/republican anti-choice movement is much-needed. US VS THEM AND I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU THINK is not working.

Agreed. I posted my story because I suspected that most MeFites have no first-hand knowledge of the movement, and I was so glad to see a few other people chime in with similar experiences. As strange as outsiders think the movement is, it is even stranger. As extreme as they think the movement is, it is even more extreme. It is important to actually listen to what anti-abortion activists are saying, because when you mischaracterize their arguments, they immediately dismiss you as being stupid, and from that moment on, every point you make is invalid in their minds. Once that happens, further discourse becomes impossible. If you really want to engage these people, do research on their positions. Learn what you can about their beliefs. Try to understand the cultural context in which these beliefs exist. Then, as much as you can, explore the weaknesses and inconsistencies in their argument as it actually stands.
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 11:39 AM on August 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


If we have the right to mess with the embryo, we have the right to grab you off the street and grab your kidneys for someone who needs them.

That's horseshit, and you know it. And kindly don't patronize me.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:39 AM on August 11, 2008


I absolutely believe that they do this with deception as a motivating factor. I do not believe it is because they want to save babies, not for one single minute. I do not understand why intelligent Christians and conservatives (I use the phrase without irony) do not see this.
For all of my railing, I do feel there are individuals who "get into pro-life politics" for idealistic reasons, at least within the context of their beliefs. I worked on the campaigns of several local politicians who were still at the local/grass roots level, and they were running as conservative republicans on a pro-life platform. They wanted to end something they felt was a profound tragedy, and this motivated them. That said, I too am pretty shocked that rank and file pro-lifers haven't realized that their single-issue-voter pledge made them easy targets for a party that wanted to lock in easy votes.
Fourth, not every sperm or egg is sacred, but human reproduction should be treated with respect. Since every single one of us -to include Barack Obama-started out as a single celled fertilized egg, not as an interchangeable glop of cells but as a glop of cells that is the starting point to an individual human being with unique human potential and unique humans giftings, who are we to say which fertilized egg deserves to implant and which does not?
I remember the 80s, when this question was, "Who are we to say what child has the right to be born?" Lo and behold, the slippery slope has pulled us to this question. I could just as easily note that every one of us started as sperm. Who are we to say which sperm deserves to fertilize an egg? Who is to say which sperm deserves to be part of the ejaculate? Barrier methods and vasectomies violate the same principle of 'non-interference' that you advocate.

Sadly, this is one of those cases where "human reproduction should be treated with respect" is just another way of saying, "people who don't agree with me are wrong." What is "disrespectful" about hormonal birth control, compared to vasectomies? The fact that the movement has siezed on arbitrary distinctions and imbued them with moral significance is a testament to their priorities, not an indication of any inherent meaning.
What if Obama's mother had decided she did not want to carry a child? Or for that matter, Bono's mom? Or Mathowie's? Or.....yours?
What if they had abstained? What if your father had received a vasectomy? What if Germany had won WWII?
posted by verb at 11:43 AM on August 11, 2008


Second, if I choose to use a birth control method that causes implantation not to occur, (rather than interfering with sperm meeting egg) then I MYSELF am tampering with nature insofar as some of those eggs may have implanted.

Let me just quote you from earlier in the thread now:

In my case, as a married woman, **** the only method we tried that worked and did NOT have unhappy side effects was hubby getting a vasectomy ****

I'll leave that where it fell. You're not even coherent. Enjoy living your convient, self-assuring lie.
posted by Dark Messiah at 11:50 AM on August 11, 2008


konolia, what if your folks had abstained from sex? What if your mom hadn't ovulated that month? What if your dad shot blanks? What if they did teh butt secks? Oral only? Or, heaven forbid: WHAT IF YOUR DAD HAD A VASECTOMY???

And everybody knows that Obama was conceived by immaculate conception.

Bono, OTOH, was the result of a drunken threesome with a goat and a shepard's pie. (I have pictures.)

posted by LordSludge at 11:54 AM on August 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


I am verb's less articulate sock-puppet.
posted by LordSludge at 12:08 PM on August 11, 2008


I'll leave that where it fell. You're not even coherent. Enjoy living your convient, self-assuring lie.
Dark, it needs to be said that within the network of arbitrary distinctions that exists in pro-life philosophy, she is being perfectly consistent. Barrier methods are not interference. Sterilization is not interference. Those are effectively mechanical processes that prevent sperm from getting from point A to point B. Hormonal birth control does invisible things, and modifies the way a woman's body works at some invisible level. That's disrespectful to nature, and is tantamount to abortion regardless of the actual medical distinctions between hormone regulators and abortifacients.

It's also worth noting that inside the pro-life movement there are varying degrees of belief on these matters:

On one hand you have your over-the-top folks who believe that abstinence, even inside a marriage, is the only acceptable means of birth control. A friend's father, for example, believes that and has refused to "allow" his wife to have her tubes tied even though doctors pretty much told her another child would destroy her body. This is the "It's in God's hands, and anything you do to change that is an act of pride and selfishness" philosophy.

Then you have the middle-grounders like konolia who accept "barrier" methods and surgical procedures, but insist anything else is interfering/usurping. This is basically the "I'm not one of those freaks, see?" philosophy. These individuals tend to focus on differentiating themselves from the absolutists above based on hair-splitting and sophistry. I used to be one of these people. I was pretty good at the sophistry.

Finally you have your "I don't really care about this contraceptive stuff, but I'm really uncomfortable with abortion, because, holy shit, that's a baby" folks. They're the ones who dwell on stuff like a friend who was born 6 weeks premature and survived, or stories like Giana Jessen, an apparent survivor of a third-term saline abortion. If these people become active in the pro-life movement it is generally because they are swayed by the absolutist arguments of the two groups above, and accept the Othering of pro-choice groups.

One of the important things to remember is that all three of these sub-groups will insist that they aren't like those other folks. As Powerful Baby said, if you confuse their beliefs they will dismiss you as someone who lies and/or is "wearing blinders" and only seeing what they want to see. But when push comes to shove, they work together, vote, and operate as a unified block. You won't see someone from the third group, for example, opposing pro-life legislation because "it goes too far." And you won't see someone in the second group withdrawing support from an organization that tries to keep condoms out of high schools. Any flaws are dismissed because "They're fighting for the right cause."
posted by verb at 12:12 PM on August 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


But I love the idea that Obama and Bono are viewed somehow as liberal sacred cows -- as if.., I could live without Obama, but NOT BONO!

NOT!! BONO!!!!!!!!

posted by LordSludge at 12:13 PM on August 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


I love the idea that Obama and Bono are viewed somehow as liberal sacred cows.
That whole ends-justifies-the-means thing is a curious angle, too. I mean, that line of reasoning cuts both ways. What if Stalin's mother had decided she wasn't ready to have a child? What if Jeffery Dahmer's mother had been on the pill? Does the fact that many innocent people would have lived make abortion and/or contraception OK? Does it make it OK only in those circumstances? Is the problem with abortion that we don't know which babies will be evil? Clearly, the answer is no. But it's certainly a curious appeal to reflex.
posted by verb at 12:18 PM on August 11, 2008


What if Obama's mother had decided she did not want to carry a child? Or for that matter, Bono's mom? Or Mathowie's? Or.....yours?

If my mom had decided she didn't want to carry the embryo or fetus that eventually became me, good for her for making a tough call infused with all the grief and love and thoughtfulness she had in her (lots, in case you wonder). She'd have considered carefully the quality of life she could offer, the positives and negatives of her environment and her relationship with her husband and her own state of mind, and whether she and her situation could provide the loving, stable home that every child deserves. If she'd decided she couldn't, and aborted the embryo or fetus that eventually became me, that's fine with me. She knew what was best for her, and what was best or worst for her determined the quality of life she'd be giving any baby that the embryo/fetus turned into.

She cared about ensuring the best quality of life of any baby that her embryos/fetuses turned into. She didn't want them born into a situation where they weren't wanted or loved or safe.

Why do you assume those of us who are pro-choice have never thought about that angle? Oh yeah, because we're thoughtless immoral airheads who treat abortions as casually as haircuts.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 12:23 PM on August 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


On a slightly unrelated note, I do appreciate that konolia actually continues to participate in these discussions. I have very strong feelings on this issue, and it's pretty clear that she is outnumbered dramatically in this thread and on mefi in general, but she honestly attempts to explain her positions and her views without ad homenim attacks on any of us.

Again, as Powerful Religious Baby said, I would really encourage anyone who feels strongly about the issue to listen to konolia carefully. Even if you disagree strongly with her, be sure that you are disagreeing with what she actually believes and understand the distinctions of belief inside the pro-life movement that motivate them. We demand the same of leaders who talk about religious extremists in Iraq, and I think that she deserves at least as much consideration as they do. :-)
posted by verb at 12:39 PM on August 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I live in the PRC (yes I drag it out too much, kill me), and one of the nicest things about living here is that every single choice a woman makes about her sexuality is one she makes by herself.

Except for the choice of having more than one child.

(Note: I think that there are much more rational reasons behind the one-child policy than are behind the anti-choice movement, but it's still an example of government interference in people's reproductive choices.)
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:42 PM on August 11, 2008


I love how pro-life advocates get their panties all bunched up about the death of undifferentiated cells in laboratories while not contributing more to the lives of living, fully-formed human beings.

This really isn't about killing 'babies', is it? It's about taking power back from women and returning all of us to a less 'materialistic', more 'biblical' existence -- where pi = 3, women were essentially property, and any dissenters were dispensed with. If the theocrats get their way, the society they create will not be the Kingdom of God on earth they seem to want so passionately.
posted by oogenesis at 1:05 PM on August 11, 2008


Most of us out here know the difference between barrier methods and abortifacient methods.

You can't abort what was never implanted.

I MYSELF am tampering with nature insofar as some of those eggs may have implanted.

I know I am unlikely to get you to listen to yourself, because you are already dug in behind the wall of words, but are you seriously suggesting that we should never "tamper" with nature? This means that if you have a life-threatening infection, you can't use artificial antibiotics to stop it, because that would be tampering with nature, right?
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:27 PM on August 11, 2008


That whole ends-justifies-the-means thing is a curious angle, too. I mean, that line of reasoning cuts both ways. What if Stalin's mother had decided she wasn't ready to have a child?

It's even more irrational than that. What saints/geniuses were not conceived because Stalin's mother didn't abort Stalin? All that time he was gestating, father's sperm and her potential eggs were unable to create the child that would have saved the world. Such a shame!
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:36 PM on August 11, 2008


oh well what's done is done.
posted by godseyeview at 1:45 PM on August 11, 2008


Second, if I choose to use a birth control method that causes implantation not to occur, (rather than interfering with sperm meeting egg) then I MYSELF am tampering with nature insofar as some of those eggs may have implanted.

Aside from what others have said (vasectomy, condoms, etc) ... isn't abstinence tampering with nature? I mean, the sex drive was pretty strong, and if a woman doesn't choose to abstain from sex, sometimes those unfertilized eggs will, well, be fertilized. And implant. I guess God wants us all to run around having sex willy-nilly.

And as Scott Adams said, if you haven't tried running around having sex willy-nilly, you really should.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 2:06 PM on August 11, 2008


Second, if I choose to use a birth control method that causes implantation not to occur, (rather than interfering with sperm meeting egg) then I MYSELF am tampering with nature insofar as some of those eggs may have implanted.

I tamper with nature on a daily basis! I take medication to change the chemicals in my body to make me less likely to have a seizure because NATURE went a little wonky with the wiring in my brain. Hell, I had an infection recently and I tampered with NATURE again by killing HORDES of bacteria! Single-celled organisms! Just like babies! Antibiotics are mini-abortions! This line of reasoning is ridiculous. We tamper with nature all the time. If you're going to believe that we are fated to exist, you're going to have to also accept that the pregnancies which did not result in birth were also fated to be terminated (or miscarried or whatever). You can't say "Oh, well, G-d is in control and everything goes according to his plan, except that he would be in MORE control if we all did XYZ." You've already ceded control! You can't have it both ways!

I try not to get too far into the religious/political aspects of abortion. As I said before, I think it's a choice every woman should have the right to make for herself, and if someone DOESN'T want one, well, awesome. Her reasons are her reasons.

BUT. I can't get behind twisting those personal reasons to the point where they make no biological sense. As mentioned: a zygote is not a person. It is a zygote. That's what it is. It is the potential to become a person. An egg can't become a person on its own. Sperm can't become a person on its own. A zygote CAN. But it is NOT a person. It is merely the potential for a person.

A PERSON is a PERSON when s/he has exited the womb. There are words for what a person is before this: zygote. Embryo. Fetus. These words exist because they represent specific stages in development. Just like a tadpole is not a frog. It is a tadpole.

Tadpole = Zygote.
Baby = Person.

I'm not going to get into the religious aspects of "when do we get souls?" or "Did Jesus pick which sperm became me?" I'm just saying that from a biological standpoint, a zygote is NOT a human being.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:16 PM on August 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


I can't get behind twisting those personal reasons to the point where they make no biological sense. As mentioned: a zygote is not a person. It is a zygote. That's what it is. It is the potential to become a person. An egg can't become a person on its own. Sperm can't become a person on its own. A zygote CAN. But it is NOT a person. It is merely the potential for a person.

Well, here's another thing the mainstream might not know about: anti-abortion activists consider words like "zygote," "embryo," and "fetus" to be propaganda, not legitimate scientific terms. They're looked upon as an excuse to avoid saying the word "baby."
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 2:55 PM on August 11, 2008


Indeed, comparisons are sometimes drawn to language eugenics experts used in the 1930s to draw "scientific distinctions" between races or people with different levels of intelligence. "Imbecile" and "Moron" for example. Movement members believe that in the future, we will look back at phrases like "fetus" with the same horror -- shocked that they were used to justify the murder of full-fledged people.

The idea here is that by calling a baby a "fetus" you make it sound like something it's not. Ironically, the opposite is equally true. Calling a fertilized egg a "baby" is as absurd as calling an egg "My pet chicken."
posted by verb at 2:59 PM on August 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


On a slightly unrelated note, I do appreciate that konolia actually continues to participate in these discussions.

Err.. she doesn't actually 'participate', as such. She shows up, spouts off some nonsense, makes ridiculous statements that she refuses to back up, deliberately misquotes other people, etc.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 3:26 PM on August 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


They're looked upon as an excuse to avoid saying the word "baby."

Movement members believe that in the future, we will look back at phrases like "fetus" with the same horror -- shocked that they were used to justify the murder of full-fledged people.


That explains why so many of these discussions go nowhere. I mean, I got that they translated "embryo" or "fetus" into "baby," but somehow I didn't make the connection that they think we're the delusional ones.

Even if you disagree strongly with her, be sure that you are disagreeing with what she actually believes and understand the distinctions of belief inside the pro-life movement that motivate them.

I can't begin to formulate how to constructively disagree with someone whose non-negotiable premise is that zygotes, embryos, and fetuses are babies. How do you address this?
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 3:38 PM on August 11, 2008


we have the right to make the decision not to use that method, and we have the right to NOT be lied to about it.

You do NOT, however, have the right to make that decision for me, and I will work until the day I die to make sure people like you never will.

And you do NOT have the right to misrepresent to anyone else how any particular method of contraception works.
posted by casarkos at 3:44 PM on August 11, 2008


I can't begin to formulate how to constructively disagree with someone whose non-negotiable premise is that zygotes, embryos, and fetuses are babies. How do you address this?

I think that this is the unavoidable wall you hit when arguing with the pro-life on moral grounds. The argument shouldn't be about what is or is not a baby. The argument should be about what the government should be allowed to make you do.
posted by roll truck roll at 4:14 PM on August 11, 2008


That explains why so many of these discussions go nowhere. I mean, I got that they translated "embryo" or "fetus" into "baby," but somehow I didn't make the connection that they think we're the delusional ones.

It's my impression that the anti-choice folks think we are not deluded but actually very thick, because it seems to them we don't understand that biologically the genes in a zygote/embryo/fetus are human genes and therefore this lump of flesh is "human" and a "person" in the most obvious way. They may not appreciate that in the context of the choice debate we are using the terms "human" and "person" not to designate any member at any stage of gestation of the particular category of biological species know as Homo sapiens, but to identify specific members to which society accords fully functioning moral rights. It probably serves to further confuse them that in other contexts we might use the term "human", as in "This is a human fetus," or "A human zygote will grow into an embryo and then into a fetus if the conditions in the womb permit." To them, the former meaning implies the latter; they miss the subtle fact that although they (or some of them, at least) feel that full rights are accorded to even zygotes, the general behavior of society, including most of those who think that way, betrays this belief, as we do not have funerals for them, name them, or interact in any meaningful way with them except in extraordinary circumstances and only a small fraction of the populace does this primarily to support their a priori belief.

It is only in the anti-choice movement's exceptional behavior and belief system regarding the termination of such entities as a zygote, embryo, or fetus, that any such societal interaction occurs. Nonetheless, they feel that their belief and activity alone should be enough to imbue the intrauterine zygote/embryo/fetus with full personhood and that we on the other side are just too thick or callous to understand that this is as it should be. Their moral calculus does not allow for the competing interests of society and of individual women and men to have dominion over these zygotes/embryos/fetuses, in spite of their clearly different status both biologically and societally as part of the pregnant mother. I suspect it takes a lot of mutual support for them to sustain this viewpoint in the face of overwhelming evidence that society in general does not hold their viewpoint. This accounts for the rabidness with which they cling to that viewpoint in the face of attempts to dissuade.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:38 PM on August 11, 2008 [4 favorites]


I have some mixed feelings on the larger subject at hand because it would have been completely understandable for my parents to abort me if the pre-natal technology available now had been available when I was born. When I was born, a doctor told my parents to start planning for my funeral because he felt it was inevitable I'd die within a few weeks. All the doctors agreed that if I did survive the first few weeks, I (and they) would have a very difficult life, I'd probably be retarded, and my life expectancy was 2 years old maximum. My parents indeed had a difficult life in my first few years as I had multiple surgeries and they had to schlep me around the country to different specialists. I'm sure they were happy, in a sense, to do it out of love for me, but I'm also sure it was a big fucking pain in the ass and cost them much more money and time than they could have ever anticipated. They pretty much completely missed their 20s.

Now I'm 33, I have a Master's degree, I'm getting married this fall, and I've been perfectly independent for my entire adult life. I am the exception to the rule, it seems; many people born with my rare syndrome do die in childhood. I could completely understand if my parents had wanted to spare me any suffering they thought I would have. But then again I wouldn't be here today.

I do, however, strongly believe that the choice belonged to my parents, and to my mother specifically. I can't have children, but if I could, I can't see myself having an abortion no matter what the prognosis.

To the specific topic at hand: yeah, zygotes are zygotes, not people. You can't have any idea what sort of person they might develop into, physically or psychologically, and I have no qualms about preventing implantation. Fetuses, I dunno, because you do have a sense of individuality. You know at some point whether it's a girl or boy, whether it has any serious physical problems or genetic predispositions, etc. I would never outlaw abortion, but if a close friend or family member asked my opinion on whether she should end her pregnancy, I would definitely encourage her to think twice.
posted by desjardins at 4:39 PM on August 11, 2008


For clarity's sake, I did not mean to imply that cognitive impairment is a good argument for abortion. Without going into my medical history, I had many other serious anatomical issues that no one at the time knew how to treat. (I still leave all but the most experienced doctors befuddled.)
posted by desjardins at 4:41 PM on August 11, 2008


konolia: To the rest of you-if a zygote isn't a person, then what is it?

Dark Messiah: A FUCKING ZYGOTE!

This exchange is so phenomenally pointless, it's like when my sister and I used to argue over whether or not her hair was blond or light brown.

You're never going to convince each other this way, not only because the lack of a defined moment when life begins means you're both right, but because konolia's viewpoint prevents her from considering other viewpoints legitimate. Dark Messiah, I think you would agree that being pro-choice entitles konolia to her belief that life begins at fertilization, as long as she doesn't impose that belief on others. But to konolia, anyone who disagrees with her is sanctioning murder. The argument that a woman has the right to do what she wishes with her own body is meaningless, because the zygote is not her body, it's a separate person. It's like saying, "Well, I think killing toddlers is wrong, buuuut you might disagree, so who am I to tell you what to do?"

Note that I personally don't agree with konolia, but I understand her reasoning as it follows from her core beliefs.

I was also very pro-life when I was younger, although in most other ways my family was very liberal. From my own experience, the only way to convince someone pro-life to reconsider their views - the only thing that convinced me - is to grant that abortion is a great evil - even grant that the zygote may be human - but demonstrate that the consequences of criminalizing it would be a greater evil.
posted by granted at 6:26 PM on August 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I mean, I got that they translated "embryo" or "fetus" into "baby," but somehow I didn't make the connection that they think we're the delusional ones.

Not delusional, quite--they believe that pro-choice people understand full well that "abortion kills babies," but that the sacredness of human life is so contemptible to them that they just don't care. See also: their unshakable conviction that a pro-choice woman will always choose abortion. See also: the label "pro-abortion," which applies to virtually no-one, but which they consider to be the only accurate description of pro-choice views--besides the term "pro-death," of course.

I can't begin to formulate how to constructively disagree with someone whose non-negotiable premise is that zygotes, embryos, and fetuses are babies. How do you address this?

I tend to address other issues, such as the prevalent pro-life attitude that once abortion is finally made illegal, everyone can draw a breath and rest easy and never worry about the issue again. I point out that the root causes of abortion will continue to exist if abortion is made illegal. I ask, "What will happen to women who risk their lives by seeking illegal abortions?" If they answer something along the lines of, "They're on their own--they made their choice," I state that that view is not consistent with a belief in the sacredness of all human life.
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 7:16 PM on August 11, 2008 [4 favorites]


What granted said.
posted by verb at 7:36 PM on August 11, 2008


Also, what Powerful Religious Baby said. Yeah, that's all.
posted by verb at 7:43 PM on August 11, 2008


Dark Messiah, I think you would agree that being pro-choice entitles konolia to her belief that life begins at fertilization, as long as she doesn't impose that belief on others

That goes without saying.

The whole reason I'm even posting in this thread is because anyone who wants to deny people the right to that choice needs to be argued. Especially in the context of a thread on changing the definition of what constitutes an abortion.

I'm not looking to convert anyone, but when I see the personal beliefs (i.e. zygote = person) presented as though they're fact, I'm going to respond. It doesn't matter who you are, or what you believe.
posted by Dark Messiah at 7:57 PM on August 11, 2008


Dark Messiah, I think the most important thing you might take away from this is that the best you can hope for in most situations is that pro-life activists not distort the truth when arguing their points. Acknowledge that they have the right to argue vigorously for their beliefs about the moral an ethical implications of abortion, but insist that they not distort legitimate differences (like implantation vs. fertilization) when they argue their points. They are very fond of slippery slope arguments so explain the implications of their own reasoning if the same standards are applied. (For example, "Infanticide is just around the corner" is no more less silly than, "Masturbation is murder" -- they are just pushing the extremes in opposite directions.)

Rather than saying, "You're a liar," point out that the specific arguments being used are distortions, and note that that legitimate beliefs should NOT require distortions and lies. Rigorous intellectual honesty, and a willingness to extend those who disagreed with me the same graciousness that I demanded of them, is really one of the things that began putting cracks in my own ideological certainty. Simply the act of being honest forced me to consider whether I should hold onto the convictions I had never previously questioned.
posted by verb at 9:39 PM on August 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


The double-standard of "one rule for the rich, another for the poor" is obvious in Ireland's solution to the "abortion problem".

It is no longer illegal here to go abroad for an abortion. You cannot, however, get one in Ireland.

There was recently a case where a teenager in foster care was pregnant with a foetus lacking a brain. I don't mean the girl was brainless - I mean the foetus was not viable, as it had not developed a brain at all. Knowing that it had no chance at life, the girl understandably wanted to terminate the pregnancy. The state refused. Their solution was to have her carry the pregnancy full term, at which time she could give birth to a still-born. A huge legal battle ensued.

This was obviously not about saving a baby, nor would it have been an issue had she been able to afford overseas travel.
posted by InfinateJane at 8:46 AM on August 12, 2008


That is ghastly, InfinateJane.
posted by agregoli at 9:31 AM on August 12, 2008


Simply the act of being honest forced me to consider whether I should hold onto the convictions I had never previously questioned.

We're not all like that. I appreciate your perspective, but I've been altering my tone to fit the discourse for most of my life. I respond to hysterics with hyperbole; it's the only way to keep my blood pressure down. My only intent is to remind 'those people' that not everyone else doesn't think the way they do. What they do from there is largely irrelevant to me.
posted by Dark Messiah at 10:13 AM on August 12, 2008


Malor, thanks for that superb and insightful comment.
posted by nickyskye at 6:11 PM on August 12, 2008


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