Sunday, January 08, 2012

Currently reading

Sometimes I come across a topic I want to know more about and start reading everything I can get my hands on. One recent interest was abortion providers. I wanted to learn why someone would choose this line of work given the violence and persecution they face. I first read Suzanne P. Poppema's book Why I Am an Abortion Doctor, followed by Susan Wicklund's book This Common Secret: My Journey As an Abortion Doctor. The writing in both books was so-so, but the stories were gripping. During my searching I also read a lecture by Dr. Garson Romalis, also titled Why I am an Abortion Doctor. I just finished the book Dispatches from the Abortion Wars: The Costs of Fanaticism to Doctors, Patients, and the Rest of Us by Carol Joffe and am still wanting to read more.

I have to say that the more I read about abortion debates in North America, the more incensed I become at the whole mess. In the past, I'd never strongly identified with either of the two ideological camps. I had understood abortion as a morally complex issue laden with shades of gray. It wasn't something I would have chosen for an unintended pregnancy after consensual sex (I've never been in that situation, so it's easier said than done), but definitely something I would have considered for other situations--rape, incest, threats to my health, etc. I've  never felt that abortion should be illegal or inaccessible. There are so many reasons, so many situations, that bring women to that decision and I find it incredibly arrogant that some people want to take away that option across the board. Abortion won't go away simply by being illegal or inaccessible.

As I've been reading more, I find my feelings intensifying. I dislike how both pro-life and pro-choice rhetoric victimizes women: Pro-life groups portray women as victims of their abortions ("abortions hurt women"); pro-choice groups portray women as victims of their pregnancies and of the lack of access to abortion. Is there a way to talk about abortion without casting women as victims?

The hypocrisy of many pro-life arguments, which glorify motherhood (by wishing all women to become mothers, however unwilling) yet do nothing to actually support mothers or babies, incenses me. I'd much rather see that energy focused towards helping women avoid unwanted pregnancies; securing universal health care, paid maternity/paternity leave, affordable quality childcare, and flexible work arrangements; and ensuring that all babies are wanted and that women can become mothers willingly and joyfully. That is pro-life. Not the hateful rhetoric that values an embryo more than the woman whose body carries it.

Overall, I find the North American obsession with abortion puzzling and troubling. It distracts people from more pressing issues. It's focused on symptoms, not on underlying problems. It's like nit-picking over whether or not a bandaid is the right shape while the patient is hemorrhaging to death.

Iknow that discussing abortion will bring out the crazies, but I had to get this out. I cherish my children and my babies. I love being pregnant and giving birth. I also want abortion to be safe, legal, accessible, and, ideally, rare*--not because I don't value life, but because I value it so highly.

[Deep breath]

I remember reading a book during my graduate student years by a sociologist (or maybe anthropologist?) who spent time with both pro-choice and pro-life groups and explained the worldviews and values of both camps. I can't remember the title but it was really interesting. Any more recommend readings on this topic? 

Note to commenters: Keep it civil and on-topic otherwise I will employ the Almighty Delete Button. 

* Dr. Wicklund mentioned that, ironically, one goal of abortion providers is to work themselves out of their job by helping women avoid unwanted/unplanned pregnancies in the first place. But the challenges are immense: lack of access to health care and contraception, partner sabotage of birth control (including threats of violence for using birth control), our hyper-sexualized yet hyper-prudish culture, etc.

65 comments:

  1. "Not the hateful rhetoric that values an embryo more than the woman whose body carries it."

    This doesn't make sense to me and I don't like to move into the territory of deciding whose life is more valuable. I would say that both lives are equally valuable. =/ Neither is more valuable than the other.

    I absolutely agree with you, however, that we need to place more focus on better sex education, access to birth control, a better healthcare system, etc, in order to address the issue at a deeper level.

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  2. I don't comment on here regularly, but I just wanted to add a "here, here!" to your stance. This is exactly how I feel, and it's practically impossible to discuss it sensibly in the US. Anyways, thanks for this.

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  3. "I'd much rather see that energy focused towards helping women avoid unwanted pregnancies; securing universal health care, paid maternity/paternity leave, affordable quality childcare, and flexible work arrangements; and ensuring that all babies are wanted and that women can become mothers willingly and joyfully. That is pro-life."

    Amen! I loved your whole post, but especially the above line.

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  4. I could not agree more. I have a similar post in my blog. In my mind, it is an amazingly PERSONAL issue...and a moral one. This country was not founded on the idea that the law decide moral issues. In fact, it was founded on the opposite belief. Apart from obvious violence related issues (murder, rape, theft, etc), the law has no place to decide my morality.

    While I do understand that many consider abortion to be murder, there are also many who consider birth control (that lovely pill that so many women take) to be murder as well. You cannot draw the line in one place when it comes to reproductive rights and not expect it to spill over to other areas.

    If abortion is outlawed it is only a small step to outlawing birth control of all forms, and from there to move onto other areas of reproductive health. Those other areas include choice of birth provider, birth place, and way of birth (would any of you want to have a c-section forced on you?).

    There are simply some areas where the government (and other people) should butt out of a woman's life.

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  5. This post just makes me sad. And I feel like one can't share his or her opinion because unless we ride the fence with cool abandon of the fetus's rights we have already been labeled "the crazies"

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  6. If you like reading personal essays, there is a book called, "Choice: True Stories of Birth, Contraception, Infertility, Adoption, Single Parenthood, and Abortion" edited by Karen E. Bender. It was tear-inducing at times, but had essays from many many sides and brought up experiences involved in the reproductive debates I hadn't run into yet. I really like personal essays, but if you aren't a personal essay person, it might not interest you.

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    1. Thanks for the reference!

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  7. Janie, you're reading things I didn't say. I didn't say that anyone who disagreed with me was a "crazy." I didn't even say which particular group(s) that might apply to.

    I wish that there were ways to talk about this without having to be on one of two "sides." I mean, come on--there are a thousand and one ways of looking at abortion. I hate that it's been channeled into either pro-life or pro-choice (and even those titles are laden with divisive connotation). If we acknowledge more than two possible viewpoints on the issue, then we wouldn't have terms such as "fence-sitting"; that implies two fields that are divided by a clean line. Real life is much messier!

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  8. Tophat--sounds really interesting! Off to order some more books...

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  9. I don't have a book to recommend, but you might be interested in checking out an organization called Faith Aloud (they are on FB at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Faith-Aloud/60066423626).

    One thing I think about abortion is that pregnancy is one area of life in which women, usually young women, do actually and in reality have immense power. We hold life - *and death* - in our bodies, and that really can't be changed (only fought). As a culture, we don't like women, especially young women, to have power. So, as a culture, we demonize the utilization of that power - in pregnancy, in choosing to end a pregnancy, in birth, in motherhood.

    I, too, have a hard time talking about abortion because some of what I think makes everybody mad. Good for you for posting about it.

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  10. Lisa in Canada1/8/12, 10:04 PM

    Excellent, excellent post, Rixa! Absolutely adore your blog. I can't believe how huge Inge is!!

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  11. I consider myself a libertarian, therefore I feel abortion should be legal. However, personally I think abortion is murder, but would not want to force that view on other people who do not hold the same religious views I hold. Obviously the ultimate goal is to educate so that unwanted pregnancies stop happening.

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  12. I totally understand that some pregnancies are unwanted, having a baby is a HUGE responsibility I wouldn't be stupid enough to tell someone to take that huge pill and swallow it too. But my policy on it is that adoption is the answer! I have read way too much propaganda on both sides of the issue that leaves this simple fact out. Adoption is the choice everyone can live with (pardon the pun, but it's so true!) both baby and mama.

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  13. Kate, thank you for bringing that up. It frustrates me to no end to hear both sides and adoption usually is a neglected topic. As someone who has struggled with infertility, this tears me up.

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  14. "The hypocrisy of many pro-life arguments, which glorify motherhood (by wishing all women to become mothers, however unwilling) yet do nothing to actually support mothers or babies, incenses me."

    This is incorrect on two points: (1) We on the pro-life side believe that women (and men) become parents the moment the child is conceived. However, we acknowledge that neither parent may be able or willing to parent the child after birth, in which case adoption is encouraged as an alternative to killing an innocent child who didn't ask to be conceived in less than ideal circumstances, or (in the case of rape/incest) executed for the crime of its biological parent.

    As for the myth that pro-lifers do nothing to help those in crisis pregnancies, I beg you to do more research on this. See here for MANY examples.

    Personally, in my city, I donate to the 1st Way CPC and am a big supporter of Maggie's Place, a home for mothers in crisis. When I lived in ND, I donated to St. Gianna's Maternity Home. Pro-lifers work their butts off to give women in crisis a viable alternative to killing their child, and it's disingenuous of you to suggest that they don't.

    I believe that all human beings have a right to life from the moment of existence, and that neither the circumstances of their conception or their degree of "wantedness" by their biological parent(s) should affect that right to life. It's not a matter of "valuing the embryo more than the woman who carries it." It's about doing our utmost to respect the rights of BOTH human beings in a less-than-ideal situation. No human being deserves to die because s/he isn't wanted by the person who, 99% of the time, made the free, consensual choice to engage in the act that brought him/her into existence. It's a human rights issue, pure and simple, and I don't think the deliberate murder of an innocent human being should EVER be a legal, safe, accessible choice, because it's a grave moral evil and a human rights violation regardless of the circumstances involved. That doesn't mean I don't support helping women in these situations in every way possible in the ways you describe -- but I think it's not an either/or situation, in that we EITHER oppose abortion OR we support helping women. In fact, it's both/and -- we BOTH oppose abortion AND support helping women. I've been involved in the pro-life movement for several years now, and I've never once met a single person who thought that a fetus should have more rights than the mother, or who opposed helping women in crisis pregnancies.

    Something to add to your reading list, if you're truly interested in gaining a more balanced viewpoint on this topic - "The Hand of God" by the late Dr. Bernard Nathanson. He's the former head of NARAL, and also a former abortionist. His conversion story is chilling and moving, and he became pro-life purely based on the scientific, philosophical aspects of the argument, as well as the advent of ultrasound technology.

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  15. Adoption isn't a choice if a woman is 20 weeks pregnant and has skyrocketing blood pressures and liver failure. Or is in the ICU, septic from a massive intrauterine infection. I have seen this happen. To women who wanted those babies, but who would have died if they had stayed pregnant. Yes, it is rare, but not all abortions are because the pregnancy is not desired or seen as an inconvenience. Where do you draw the line?
    I'm not saying that adoption isn't a wonderful option, but just a reminder that the issue is incredibly complicated.

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  16. Atalanta0jess1/8/12, 11:09 PM

    Adoption isn't simple either though...it's really not.

    In any case, one thing that has impacted my understanding of abortion and the need for easy access to abortion (rather than limits that say you must be a victim of rape - which you must be able to PROVE, which of course is a whole different ball of wax than actually just being raped)is doing a little reading about how common reproductive coercion is. It's actually a very commonplace aspect of abusive relationships. There's an interesting piece about it here. Not everyone is at a place where they can name that as rape or abuse when it comes time to seek an abortion...it's hard to name abuse, it's hard to name rape. Sometimes, before those names comes the gut feeling of "I cannot have a child with this man." Or "it would be extremely dangerous for me to have a child with this man."

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  17. I totally agree abortion is necessary in a life threatening situation.

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  18. As an ardent pro-lifer (and ex-pro-choicer) I would echo Joanna's sentiments. One note that I would like to add is that a the concept of a "late-term abortion to save a woman's life" is not really accurate. An induction is done to save a woman's life because the pregnancy has to end; an abortion is an induction in which the baby is purposely killed. When a mother truly needs to birth to save her life (sepsis, eclampsia), she can be induced and both mother and baby be cared for lovingly, even if the babe is too early to make it - there is no need to intentionally kill the child. There's a difference. But I won't be back to check any more responses, because I too just get too upset over this issue. This is probably one of the few birth-y issues I'd disagree with you on, Rixa, but love the blog.

    Diana

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  19. I find it interesting (and discouraging) that many people in the pro-life movement consider adoption the obvious "win-win" solution to an undesired pregnancy. It might make emotionless, logical sense: No abortion + Baby you can't take care of = Adoption (with the bonus addition of "giving a baby to someone who can't have a baby themselves!!"). But for a movement that invests so much in the idea of "post-abortion syndrome" with abortion having potentially serious consequences to a woman's mental health, it's interesting (and discouraging) to see that there is no acknowledgement that relinquishing a baby for adoption undeniably has lifelong psychological consequences. To carry a pregnancy to term, go through the adoption process, and then maintain a relationship, or not, with the baby/adoptive family for the rest of your life - I don't think most birthmothers would call that an obvious "win" or a choice without consequences for their lives. It is absolutely the right choice for some women, but currently that's their choice to make. And it's unfortunately not simple math.

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  20. "I'd much rather see that energy focused towards helping women avoid unwanted pregnancies; securing universal health care, paid maternity/paternity leave, affordable quality childcare, and flexible work arrangements; and ensuring that all babies are wanted and that women can become mothers willingly and joyfully. That is pro-life. Not the hateful rhetoric that values an embryo more than the woman whose body carries it."

    Yes. Absolutely. And it baffles me that 'pro-life' politicians in the US are more interesting in restricting abortion and contraception access instead of expanding healthcare options, maternity leave, etc etc.... until other people point out that the end goal is controlling women, not saving babies.

    Another one for your reading list might be "How to be a Woman" by Caitlin Moran - it's a kind of autobiography, but her writing on her pregnancies, births, miscarriage, and abortion are beautiful and illuminating. An extract:

    " My first conception - wanted, so badly - ended in a miscarriage three days before my wedding. A kind nurse removed my wedding manicure with nail-polish remover, in order to fit a finger-thermometer for the subsequent D&C operation. I wept as I went into the operating theatre, and wept as I came out. In that instance, my body had decided that this baby was not to be and had ended it. This time, it is my mind that has decided that this baby was not to be. I don’t believe one’s decision is more valid than the other. They both know me. They are both equally capable of deciding what is right."

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  21. I agree with every word. Well put! Another clincher for me is that the WHO includes access to safe abortion to improve women's health overall~I morally disagree with abortion but viciously support women's access to it... SUCH a complex issue. You're brave and great for posting about it! And I'm going to read those books too...

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  22. Just popped in to say that I found a really interesting read about abortion debates and women who have abortions is bioethicist Leslie Cannold's "The Abortion Myth".

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  23. I feel much the same as you on abortion. The only thing I disagree with is the framing of the pro-choice language as placing women as victims of pregnancy. In my pro-choice opinion, women are victims of the misogynistic and harmful legislation against abortion (and healthcare/birth control) that comes from the anti-choicers. A woman is only a victim of pregnancy if she doesn't have the control/access to terminate it if need be.

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  24. I very rarely post on your blog, but I absolutely love reading it! I can't tell you how much I agree with this post. I thought it was well put and expressed your own feelings on the matter. It makes me laugh at how some are reading between the lines, getting defensive, and then making desperate attempts at proving you wrong.

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  25. I think the book you mention in your last paragraph is Contested Lives by Ginsburg.

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  26. Great post! What a tough issue but I think you handled it well and I very much agree with your beliefs on this topic.

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  27. This is a brilliant post, Rixa, and you managed to echo my setiments and those of my Fella to precision. Thank you for your bravery in posting on the topic.

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  28. Well said! I struggle myself to put my feelings about abortion into words, but your post comes very close.

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  29. I agree with what JoAnna said. I really respect your position and agree with you on most of it, but it comes down to when you think life begins.

    I think my definition of "pro-life" is slightly different than most people's. I think it's hypocritical for anyone who calls herself pro-life to support the death penalty, for example. I also think all pro-lifers need to support universal health care for mothers and children, and total, unquestioned access to birth control for every woman who wants it. I think that every young woman should be taught about safe sex, along with pregnancy and birth, in school, and I believe that they should all be rolling their eyes because their parents have already taught them all of it at home beforehand anyway. I believe that all victims of rape and incest have been brutalized beyond belief and that if they choose to carry their babies they should be lauded as heroes, and if they don't then they should be held close in the loving arms of their community and allowed to heal without judgment.

    There are very few legislators in this country who actually qualify as pro-life in my mind. What other pro-lifers seem to forget is that no woman ever WANTS to end her pregnancy. She didn't WANT to be pregnant in the first place, and every woman I have ever met who had an abortion agrees that it was the most agonizing decision she ever had to make.

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  30. I very seldom comment... but YES!!

    I am pro-choice because, regardless of what my personal feelings or choices might be, it is immoral, unethical, and just WRONG to make the choices for another person. If I were an OB-type, I would absolutely provide abortions services.

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  31. I draw a parallel between abortion and home birth, which explains why I so firmly believe we as a culture must accommodate both, with as few restrictions as possible, but with regulation to keep both those options safe: Women will have abortions, and women will give birth at home, no matter what the law is. If the law puts barriers in the way of women getting the trained assistance they need in both of these situations, women will do whatever they believe is necessary to meet their needs. And as history tells us, especially in the case of abortions, women will die. Unnecessarily. Often leaving other children behind. THAT is the tragedy.

    Women deserve skilled, safe, respectful care, no matter what. I think we can all agree on that.

    My support for abortion rights has intensified since I have become a mother and been able to understand first-hand what it takes to bring a child into the world and raise it. No one whose heart is not in it should have to do that job.

    On a more light-hearted note, I sometimes yearn for the world of various science-fiction novels, in which all men at puberty are temporarily sterilized, and can father a child only after much planning and a permit to reverse the sterilization. That would be a way to reduce the number of abortions!

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  32. Wow Rixa,

    You are brave.

    I am sad that you have drunk the universal health care koolaid. Obamacare is about to unleash a Chinese style of Health Care in America where Mothers are routinely sterilized after one birth and babies will be forced to be aborted. (Murdered).

    I thought you would have been smart enough to see that.

    The UN has been extremely vocal about their desire to set up the Chinese Model all over the world.

    That being said I am all for Early Abortions being safe and secure for those women who have been the victims of rape and incest, as a survivior of both I would like to know that the option was available for others who may have conceived during the assaults. Thankfully I didn't.

    I want to challenge you to conduct some research on the depopulation agendas of the globalists. It would be nice to have your strong voice speaking out for parental rights regarding how many children couples can have.

    Jenny Hatch

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    1. Funny, in Australia we have universal health care, women aren't sterilized against our will, no-one is forced to have an abortion, and no-one ends up bankrupt or having to sell their house because they can't afford life-saving medical treatment. I am so glad I live here and not in a country that thinks it's ok to leave people to die if they don't have enough money - and a country that for some reason equates treating people decently with communism. Australia is a democracy!

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  33. I decided to write about my choice to end a very-much-wanted pregnancy in my memoir, Carrier (Counterpoint 2010, winner of a 2011 Minnesota Book Award), because my experience fit nowhere within the black-and-white of the high-profile political debate about abortion in the U.S. I think the more we tell our stories, the more the wider society will realize that each woman, and each choice, is unique ... and that women are capable of making (and living with) some of life's most profound and difficult decisions.

    THANK YOU for the perfect way you stated the following: "I'd much rather see that energy focused towards helping women avoid unwanted pregnancies; securing universal health care, paid maternity/paternity leave, affordable quality childcare, and flexible work arrangements; and ensuring that all babies are wanted and that women can become mothers willingly and joyfully. That is pro-life."

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  34. "I'd much rather see that energy focused towards helping women avoid unwanted pregnancies; securing universal health care, paid maternity/paternity leave, affordable quality childcare, and flexible work arrangements; and ensuring that all babies are wanted and that women can become mothers willingly and joyfully."

    Yes, yes, yes! Thank you for writing this well rounded piece - I think it's time that we begin to see the gray area in the abortion debate - and not polarize it even further.

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  35. I agree with pretty much all your sentiments. Thank you.

    Also, I just watched part of an interesting show about freakonomics and the connection between abortion being legal and easily available and the drop in crimes rates. Very interesting. They said that they could track crime rates dropping about 20 years after abortion became legal, with the biggest drops in states where it was easily available. The idea being that all those children who would have been unwanted children weren't born, so in those years when they would have been most at risk to commit crimes, they weren't there to do it. They also said that most people who have abortions, usually go on to be parents later on to wanted children, who do not raise the crime rates. Very interesting.

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  36. Someone made a comment about so called "post-abortion syndrome" which has been disproved already. The state of a woman's mind BEFORE the abortion takes place will have effect on how her mind is after.

    Anyways. I have to give you a round of applause about this. Finally someone who really sees the nitty gritty of the pro choice/life fight. It is a disgusting battle that is unfortunately not over. If we are to end this, then we must choose what is right for woman: good sex education, access to contraception, and good healthcare.

    Oh and @Jenny Hatch, your comment about Obamacare turning us into China style model of health care is absurd. If Rixa was able to write something like this, I'm quite sure she has done research about our countries health care system.

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  37. Her opinion of obamacare is not absurd. It's her opinion. You think it's absurd because you seem to believe universal healthcare is good. I myself think it's horrible. I think we are screwed if it really goes through. My husband is currently in his 4th year of residency as an orthopedic surgeon, and I will tell you, if universal healthcare really comes to pass, there will be such a shortage of doctors many of us wont receive help when needed. My opinion is not absurd. It's my opinion just like your opinion is not absurd to you even though it could seem absurd to me. I'm a libertarian and so I feel very strongly about getting government out of our lives as much as possible before they destroy our country completely. But, that's just my opinion.

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  38. Sorry Jenny Hatch, I totally don't buy that all. A) "Obamacare" isn't universal health care and B) it is not at all going to mandate sterilizations or forced abortions. Whoever's making these claims (Fox News anyone?) is just flat-out wrong.

    I am not scared of universal health care and think it would do this country an enormous good by spreading the costs more evenly and allowing everyone access to services. I can say this because I have lived and worked in France and often used health services for the students we were responsible for. I am also married to a Canadian who longs to go back to his home country and have access to its health care system again. In both countries, you can buy into a private option if you wish. But most people stick with the public option. Anyway this is a whole different can of works. Not going there today.

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  39. Rixa,

    Just in case you or any of your readers were interested in learning more, here are a few links:

    http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/972/underpopulationthe_real_problem.aspx

    For those of you who believe this could never happen in the US, it already did: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BM5f01RaUTw&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    http://occupywallst.org/forum/euogenics-are-there-people-that-want-you-dead/

    quotes from eugenists in their own words: 

    http://occupycorporatism.com/?p=2083

    Physicians for life: (site has quite a few links and stories about Obamacare and Abortion)

    http://www.physiciansforlife.org/content/view/1763/2/

    And one more written by a christian doctor: 

    http://wesdancin.wordpress.com/2011/11/12/the-population-control-agenda-depopulation/

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  40. I have to agree that there are people in the government subtley (and not so subtley) pushing for population control, one way or another. Look at the way our food is being controlled by major corporations, the way vaccines are being pushed, the rise in cesareans that obviously are preventing women from giving birth to multiple babies. If you really don't believe there's something nefarious going on, you're profoundly naive. While there's some relevance to abortion laws, I think it's bigger than just whether or not abortion should be legal and easily accessible. This is about human rights across the board and our ability to make decisions for ourselves without interference. It's all connected - food, birth, parental rights, religion, everything. Get the government the heck out of our business and the rest will fall in line. When you have freedom, it doesn't matter who disagrees, you're free.

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  41. Thank you for posting this.

    The best way to lower the abortion rate is to make birth control and healthcare more available; unlike the fears of paranoid rightwing fantasists, *actual data* from countries that do this bear this fact out. Period.

    I used to consider myself a "pro-lifer". But then I began to think for myself and ask hard questions, such as what would a world look like in which a fertlized egg in a woman's uterus was considered equivalent to a person, under law? I mean, here we are with personhood amendments and presidential candidates who don't want *me* to use birth control because it offends *their* religion (or interpretation of same).

    What we end up with is women being prosecuted for miscarriages...in fact, this has already happened. Women's freedom to live where and how they please, do work they like, eat or drink what they like, all comes under pressure when they are considered to be potentially pregnant and possibly endangering a fetus at all times. It's a nightmare, and it's wrong. I don't want to live in that society.

    Oppressing 51% of the population by laying claim to their bodies is morally repugnant, and endless emotional handwringing around the purported personhood of a blastocyst doesn't make it ok.

    As for later in the pregnancy, well, a woman who terminates her pregnancy is being responsible; she knows she can't provide or that her body can't bear it. She is making a difficult choice about something that could actually take her life (as pregnancy might) or lose her her job (as going through pregnancy might), or endanger her other children (as the needs of a new baby could), etc. etc. She should be allowed to do so with dignity and respect. People who say "just adopt!" seem to not understand the difficulties of pregnancy itself, or just not to care. Or to consider that women of color or women who give birth to a disabled child might not be *able* to find a family to take them. What then?

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  42. Your synopsis is an excellent summation of how I feel about this issue. Well written! And I agree with your point, why can't we talk about abortion without making women the victims?

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  43. Gianna Jessen and others who have survived abortions, as well as Jack Nicholson, whose mother nearly aborted him, are decidedly pro-life, as are many others who had similar close calls. In all the talk about the woman's right to do with her body what she wants or deems best, the subject that is profoundly absent, is the discussion of the baby's rights to her own body.

    Gianna Jessen's mother exercised her "right to choose", and aborted Gianna at 7 months of pregnancy. Gianna survived the saline abortion, but has cerebral palsy because of her mother's choice.

    Jack Nicholson was very nearly killed prenatally, and was ultimately raised believing his grandmother was his mother, and his mother was his sister; when he found out how close he came to death before birth, and that his birth mother nearly exercised "her right to choose", he no longer looked at the abortion issue the same way.

    Looking at it from the perspective of the child being killed changes your viewpoint, especially if your mother attempted to sacrifice your body on the altar of her choice.

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  44. I browsed the comments to see if anyone had already posted John H. Richardson's "The Last Abortion Doctor". Its an incredibly short and popular read on the subject so I imagine you may have read it already.

    http://www.esquire.com/features/abortion-doctor-warren-hern-0909

    I hope that everyone remembers that there is no absolute truth when it comes to abortion. There are a lot of comments listed above mine that are biased and most importantly stated as fact. It breaks my heart to think that anyone would be denied safe health care because a specific group of people morally opposed it. Thank you for your post. I appreciate your honesty.

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  45. I love your post. Thank you for, yet again, being a voice of reason. In three short years as a relatively rural midwife, I have encountered at least one woman each year, who would have died without an abortion. I've also encountered many more women who became pregnant as a result of rape. Not always violent-beat-up-and-hospitalized rape, but several
    "I thought all the folks here were my friends but I woke up with semen in my underwear" rape.

    So many pro-lifers act as though the "rape, incest and danger to the mother's life" is so rarely necessary as to be irrelevant and perhaps unnecessary. Yet, I've run into all of those instances in just three short years in a rural community. On the other hand, I can only think of one woman who chose abortion because of an unplanned pregnancy following consensual sex.

    I also believe there is very nearly a cult of zygote out there. As you said, they value the potential life of an embryo over the life of the mother carrying it. How can a fetus be more important than the mother, unless she is the one who chooses to make it so? Isn't she already here, fully alive? Like you, I've always said how much more wonderful the world would be if the pro-life zealots that protest abortion clinics with their ugly signs, posters and screams put all that energy and money into supporting the children who ARE born and who need help.

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  46. could not agree more with this: I've always said how much more wonderful the world would be if the pro-life zealots that protest abortion clinics with their ugly signs, posters and screams put all that energy and money into supporting the children who ARE born and who need help.

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  47. My bottom line on this is that MY moral code should NOT dictate another person's life. And yes, I mean the life that can speak for itself, the mother. While I do believe that life begins at implantation (which is separate from conception by the way, or I would not believe in birth control), I don't think they my belief should dictate the law. Being free and in a free country means that we are free to choose how we live our lives, not that you are only free if you choose what I do.

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  48. We are suppliers of Maternity Care, Medical Products, Diabetic Supplies, Diagnostic Products, Dietary Supplements offered at discount prices.

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  49. I agree with you Jenny. Look at the birth rates of france Rixa... you think with obamacare or universal health care that there won't be 100% vitriol toward women who choose to have large families - I am sure that my family of five and hoping to have more would be considered the "leeches on the system" I for one don't want the cost spread around because then others "footing the bill" will think their opinion on my life has more weight when is none of their business and shouldn't be. Let me pay and leave me alone government!! (Same as I don't want a cent of my money paying for abortions - even though sadly it already is.)

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  50. For me the abortion debate really boils down to the question, "When does life begin?" I believe life begins at inception, thus a fetus has the same right to life as I do. Because of that, I agree with the comments made by Joanna and Diana.

    P.S. Jenny Hatch says something outlandish and automatically she got her info from Fox News? I don't even watch Fox, but that was unfair.

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    1. Steff,

      I am curious to know what I said that was outlandish. I don't watch Fox news, (too much Rupert Murdoch propoganda) but I have spent many years reading actual documents published by the United Nations and researching the history of Planned Parenthood and it saddens me that more parents aren't aware of the Human Rights abuses that have been written into Obamacare.

      Starting with The Mothers Act, which has been fully discredited by my friend Amy Philo and following with the Vaccine goon squads that will be showing up at peoples homes to force vaccinate all of us, the sterility and forced abortion sides to Obamacare are just another layer of the open season on the American Mother which we are all about to witness and experience if it is not overturned.

      I wish Rixa was a little more educated on these topics than she appears to be.

      Jenny

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  51. I am reading This Common Secret right now, and I agree - it's a gripping, harrowing tale. I would also recommend Abortion and Life, edited by Jennifer Baumgardner. It's built around first-person narratives of women who have had abortions. It's a slim little book, but quite the read.

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  52. You very eloquently stated exactly what I feel about abortion. Thank you for this post and for having such an open mind:)

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  53. Thank you so much for this post! I have to admit that my own biases led me to believe that I was not going to like what you had to say. But I LOVED every word of this post. I ended up a little teary in the end because I felt so hopeful! Thank you so much. I love your blog even more :)

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  54. I agree that women should have choices and it is not for me to judge. I did read an interesting book - UnPlanned and it gave an insiders look at Planned Parenthood which was fascinating.

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  55. Thank you so much for writing so cogently about both the real human cost of the vitriol that has developed in the abortion debate. I feel like so many people who flock to extremes really fail to consider the actual emotional experience of pregnancy--be it wanted, unwanted, life-threatening, or whatever. If we could just hear the voices of women--something we are somehow perpetually deaf to--I feel like a lot of the venom would fade from this debate. It wouldn't be solved, sure, but maybe the debate wouldn't be a problem in itself. A favorite quote: "The people on the extreme [...] would rather be certain than right." --Bruce C. Hafen

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  56. great post! i'm wondering if the sociologist you were thinking about was Kristin Luker, and her book "Abortion and the Politics of Motherhood?" She has excellent chapters on the worldviews of activists...

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  57. Rixa, thank you for this post. I am currently writing my dissertation proposal on the topic of medical versus personal choice abortions. Society is willing to "accept" a woman who has had an abortion for "medical" reasons (whatever it may be) but not willing to accept a woman who has an abortion because she cannot have a baby with her abusive boyfriend. One is self-less, and one is selfish. My husband was adopted during the "baby grab" of the early seventies (pre Roe-vs-Wade) and I have to say that adoption isn't happy rainbows and butterflies either.

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  58. Thank you for your post, Rixa.

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  59. I second "Enjoy Birth"'s suggestion of "Unplanned" by Abby Johnson. Planned Parenthood (started by Margaret Sanger, who was a pretty scary person when you read about her beliefs/statements) is the #1 abortion provider in the U.S, and Abby Johnson worked there and has inside info of how they operate and her conversion story to becoming pro-life.
    Another fascinating book to read regarding feminism and the media and it's affect on women (but also addresses the abortion issue) is "Extreme Makeover: Women transformed by Christ, not conformed the the Culture" by Teresa Tomeo.
    We cannot discount the damaging affects of abortion on women. An abortion does not take the inconvenience of a pregnancy away, it permanently scars a woman, psychologically and physically. Of course, she can find healing, but we are lying if we say there is an "easy way out" through abortion.

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  60. The most basic question we must ask ourselves is "What makes *anything* right or wrong?" There has to be a higher standard outside/above ourselves to make any thing have any moral value. What makes stealing or lying or adultery, or even things like lust, gossip, or coveting "bad?" The Author of Life certainly has the right to tell His creatures what is required of them. The fact that many women experience guilt after an abortion shows that God's Law is written on our human hearts. I don't think it's crazy for someone to believe that a 100% human life is created at conception, it has all the DNA etc and it's scientific to say so. Just like it's more scientific to say that this world was created intentionally by an Artistic Creative Genius...all fields of study lead one to an Intelligent Designer. Something to consider is that not every act of intercourse leads to pregnancy. The God of the Bible "opens the womb." He creates a human life when He wants to because He's God and has the authority to do that. Who are we to question Him and decide that is was a "mistake?" I am not ignoring the tremendous pain that a rape victim experiences. A very very small portion of women seeking an abortion are rape victims. Does anyone else see that the woman's "choice" comes BEFORE sex, not after?! In our society, sex is separated from babies when it shouldn't be. People think unprotected sex leads to babies, not sex. So they feel entitled to an abortion when whatever method they were depending on fails. When a woman gets drunk or high with acquaintances, she's making the choice of sex possibly happening. Aborting unwanted children in the name of some utopia of only "wanted" people in the world is a slippery slope to be on. The Nazis truly believed what they did was noble. They believed the Jews have tainted blood. I know life is hard and messy and adoptions don't always end in sunshine and rainbows, but deciding who should live and who shouldn't isn't within our domain. That's God's domain and we were created in the image of God, which gives each of us intrinsic worth even if we're born blind and deaf and we inconvenience our parents. I don't doubt Dr. Wicklund's motives, however let's not forget how many millions of dollars Planned Parenthood generates. "The love of money is the root of all evil."

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  61. I dont normaly post but one point that seems to have been totaly overlooked is the physical trama that happens to the mothers uterus when she has an abortion. there is a much higher risk of having improper placental implantation that can lead to death of future babys or even death of the mother and baby from placenta previa and postpartum hemorage. just somthing to consider along with everything else that has been mentioned.

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