Shakespeare’s Sister and Jamie Lynn’s Abortion

In a famous passage in A Room of One's Own, Virginia Woolf fantasized the consequences had Shakespeare had a sister, "Judith," who possessed the same literary talents as her brother. Woolf speculated that instead of being celebrated as a genius, Judith would have been subject to so much derision and hostility that she would "certainly have gone crazed, shot herself, or ended her days in some lonely cottage outside the village, half witch, half wizard, feared and mocked at." Woolf's hypothetical case brilliantly shows the power of social context to shape the reception of innate talent–and the misogynist society of sixteenth century England was most decidedly not a place in which it was acceptable for a woman to be a writer.

Let us apply a similar thought experiment to Jamie Lynn Spears, the younger sister of Britney, who is a star in her own right of a television show for young teens. Spears, as everyone on the planet presumably now knows, is pregnant at the age of 16. She has announced that she will continue with her pregnancy. While Spears has been subject to some criticism from conservatives because of her sexual activity, she has repeatedly been praised by various anti-abortion spokespersons, including presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, for her decision to not end her pregnancy.

For the sake of argument, let us assume that Jamie Lynn actually prefers to have an abortion, an option chosen by nearly half of teenagers faced with unintended pregnancies. Just as the imaginary Judith Shakespeare's talents would have been met by a society deeply hostile to women writers, so too the real Jamie Lynn's decision to end this pregnancy would take place in a society deeply polarized around abortion.

Such a move would, at a minimum, be a career-ender. Abortion has become so stigmatized in the contemporary United States that public admission of an abortion by someone in Spears' position would most likely mean the loss of acting roles, personal appearances, endorsements and so on. Admittedly, Spears' current career prospects are uncertain, with her television show on hold; but given reports that her mother, Lynne Spears, has already arranged the sale of the first baby pictures to a fan magazine, it is quite conceivable –no pun intended– that Jamie Lynn might be able to create a new celebrity persona as teenage mom.

Moreover, were Jamie Lynn to seek out an abortion in Louisiana, her home state, her mother would have to give consent, as is required by that state's laws. And that would seem highly unlikely, in light of Lynne's marketing plans for her forthcoming grandchild.

But loss of career opportunities would only be the beginning of Spears' difficulties if news of an abortion became public. She would be denounced in the pulpits of evangelical preachers, castigated on various websites and right-wing television shows, and receive abusive and threatening phone calls and letters. Every public outing-say, an evening with friends in a restaurant -would carry the risk of strangers coming up and screaming epithets in her face.

This worry about exposure as an abortion recipient is not limited to celebrities. Attempts to "out" abortion recipients are a tactic with a long history in the antiabortion movement– for example, the many instances of photographing the license plates of cars in clinic parking lots. So fearful are some women of having their abortions revealed that clinic administrators report that often patients with insurance plans that cover the procedure prefer to pay cash, so there is no paper trail of their abortion.

The fact that a history of an abortion can taint one's identity-or serve, in sociological parlance, as a "discrediting device"– is a serious problem that goes well beyond the travails of Jamie Lynn Spears. Consider, for example, the world of electoral politics. The most recent data suggests that more than one third of American women will have an abortion by the time they reach the age of 45. Some portion of these women, no doubt, will run for elective office. Will the standard "oppositional research" that is part of modern politics now routinely include attempts to find out if women candidates have ever had an abortion? Will such information be enough to derail their campaigns?

Given the immense success that the antiabortion movement has had in the decades since Roe v Wade in demonizing abortion, it is no simple matter to visualize how to destigmatize the procedure, as well as those who receive and provide it. One promising start, however, comes from a still relevant quote made some years ago by Rachel Atkins, then the director of a women's health center in Vermont. Speaking to a New York Times columnist about the women in her waiting room, Atkins said, "The country really suffers from thinking that there are two different kinds of women — women who have abortions and women who have babies. They're the same women at different times."

To be sure, not all abortion recipients currently or eventuallyexperience motherhood-though this is an accurate description of most. But Atkins' perceptive comment reminds us that abortion is just one of several significant reproductive events that women will experience in their life times. And whether an unwanted pregnancy occurs to a famous 16 year old like Jamie Lynn, or– as is far more common– a poor teen of color, an ambitious college student who one day wants to run for office, or a waitress who has all the children she can care for, we should strive for a culture in which abortion is recognized as an honorable option.

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  • invalid-0

    Carol, you’ve got it right! As I write this, a young woman who already has a 2 year old is in my clinic, distraught because of her family is actively trying to stigmatize her. Her mother was here earlier calling her a murderer and a bad mother. Her sister said she would never speak to her again if she had the abortion. She herself was hard on people who chose abortion until she got pregnant herself at a bad time. Then she realized it was about trying to be responsible for life–her 2 year old daughter, what she could offer a potential child, and her own life. She obviously has a lot to overcome in her family much less in society, which is why many women choose not to tell others about their abortion. Unfortunately, that silence further reinforces the stigma of abortion. The only way out, it seems to me, is to encourage open conversation about abortion which is what we have tried to do at the Abortion Conversation Project ( ) and specifically with parents and teens at So, if you want to help eradicate the stigma of abortion, start talking!

  • invalid-0

    for letting our readers know about your sites. We have written about before for RH Reality Check but I'm thrilled to let people know about the amazing work you've done and continue to do to help destigmatize the abortion experience and reduce the isolation surrounding abortion for women! It is only through promoting open and honest dialogue around abortion – for both women and men – that we will be able to do this. Thanks for writing about this, Carol!

  • invalid-0


    I wish this could be linked to all feminist sites. I am a little afraid that, and this is politically incorrect to write, that younger feminists aren’t getting it on this whole Jamie Lynn story. They celebrate the choice to keep the baby, but that is it. To discuss anything else is wrong, particularly the downside of being a teenage mom. All discussion should be “everything will be okay” and there should be no downside. To mention the hard realities of teen parenthood, it is judged to be wrong to mention in a feminist context, like you want to punish the teen for having sex. That is not the case, but it is a very real thing to decide to be a parent with harsh realities. Do we really need young feminists and the anti-choicers too romantizing keeping the baby?

    When people bring up the subject that there is a subtext of villifying abortions or that, maybe being a teenage mom is not a great thing, there is social pressure to shut up. Her situation with the money to have nannies is NOT the norm. If you mention that being a teenage mom is hard, the response is “well, society should help them and their parents should help them.” They saying the world should be fair. And that parents should have nothing more to do in their lives than to raise the kids of their kids. To this I want to say to the youngsters, I know that in your minds grandmothers should be an endless breast and really don’t have any hopes and dreams of their own of how they want to spend their lives, but someday, maybe, you’ll recognize them as worthy of a story of their own.

    I grew up in the Moral Majority days and it’s a shame that we have to repeat all the learnings the hard way. They also had a romance about the teenage mother keeping the baby with that finger wagging about not speaking of abortion as an option. All the recent movies romantasize about “keep the baby” in an unplanned pregnancy. You notice they never show the movie a few months post birth. The difficulties are not to be mentioned. It’s forbidden.

  • invalid-0

    Thank-you, Anonymous, Peg and Amie, for your thoughtful comments and nice feedback. Peg, its good to be reminded of your great work. I think between the real Jamie Lynn and the fictitious characters in Juno” and “Knocked Up,” this is a very interesting cultural moment, one in which at least some sectors of the population will realize the absurd lengths that popular culture will go to avoid the a–word–and hopefully, this will initiate conversations that will start the pendulum swinging a bit. best to all, carole

  • invalid-0

    romanticized by society and the main stream media. When my niece was impregnated by her then-boyfriend six years ago (she had turned 21 just a few months before) she and her sisters and her friends thought it was “so cool” that she was having a baby.
    Until the pregnancy started dragging on and she went through the usual changes: morning sickness, swollen ankles, backache, etc. Then it wasn’t so “cool” anymore, and that was before she found out just how painful labor is.
    On the good side, SHE decided – no one decided for her – she had the support of her family and stayed in school. Her son is a bright kid and is (usually) well behaved, and he gained a stepfather this spring when she got married.
    Things turned out OK for her, but she was lucky and Jamie Lynn Spears will be lucky. Things are all fine and dandy here, but for so many teen girls now facing unwanted pregnancies, things are definately NOT fine and dandy. I worry how many more girls are going to be conned into the “your life sucks? Get pregnant and you will have something to love in nine months!” scam by all the media hype.

  • invalid-0

    This is a very astute observation. Recently two friends and I could not think of one movie in which a woman has an abortion and after, goes on to lead a happy life – and yet all three of us had abortions which did not ruin our lives – or even tarnish them.
    Do recall the powerful “We Had An Abortion” cover story which ran in MS Magazine twice – In 1972, 50 women signed the petition and in 2006, 5,000 signed, myself among them.
    To state the obvious, no one is proud or happy about having an abortion but most, who remember what it was like before 1972, are certain that women who make this choice must have access to legal, medical and safe abortions.

  • invalid-0

    Actually, a recent study on abortion said most women seeking abortions already have children. (I am sorry I don’t have the source on this computer – I want to say it is the latest ACOG journal).

    I think that changes the argument quite a bit. Women who choose abortion often know exactly what it entails to complete a pregnancy and bear a child. That is total informed consent, and these women are often treated like they don’t know their own mind. Forced to see ultrasounds, have counseling and a waiting period, be read to from a script, etc.

  • invalid-0


    Your commentary is pretty spot on. The first thought my roommate and I had when the news of this broke was “She can’t have an abortion, not a public one.” But it also made me realize there is no case of a celebrity publicly admitting to an abortion. Ms. Magazine had a campaign “I Had an Abortion” where ordinary women gave up their names, but as far as I know, no “famous person” has admitted to having one.

    Unfortunately the “what if” scenario you sketch out is all too likely. Not just the “end of her career” (which is only where my roommate and I’s thoughts went) but the sense that she would wear a Scarlett A for the rest of her life. That no matter where she was (and now deprived of fortune, she’d live probably back in ordinary places) someone would feel free to come up to her and tell her she’s a murder and a baby-killer and whatnot.

    Right now I don’t know if Jaime Lynn wanted to become pregnant, but if she didn’t, it’s a shame she is somewhat locked into this “choice” whereas if she wasn’t famous she wouldn’t be.

  • invalid-0

    I believe Cher has gone public with her abortion(s).

  • invalid-0

    Hillary, you are right–according to the Guttmacher Institute, the leading research organization on reproductive health, more than 60% of abortion patients already have children

    Also, re: Cher, I don’t know if she had an abortion. But she quite courageously played an abortion provider in the excellent movie, “If these Walls Could Talk,” an independent film of a few years ago which gave a very sympathetic portrayal of abortion provision at several different time periods. Given the stigma we have been discussing that is associated with abortion, I would guess that some (most?) actresses would balk at taking on such a role–so bravo for Cher! carole

  • invalid-0

    This article made me so utterly angry!
    I’m from the UK, and although abortion is still a very emotive subject, didn’t think the views in america would be much different, when apparentally they are.
    I myself am pro-choice, and on reading this, and your discussing the amount of stigma put on women who have abortions, like the recording of number plates etc, really makes me worry about the state of the world we live in. Where personal choices, that effect almost no-one but that woman actively seeking the abortion are put under such scrutiny by outside persons, who to be frank, have fuck all to do with that decision.

    Although -generally- I am from the UK, I actually reside in northern ireland, where currentally abortions are still ‘illegal’ and if women want one, they must travel to the UK.
    we also have the highest teenage pregnangy rate in europe, with many of these pregnancies being in low income familes who are on unemployment benefits, who will bring up children who will probably end up being teenage mothers/fathers [if they have anything to do with the child] – end up getting a bad quailty of education and soak up more unemployment benefits. I know this sounds awfully cold and stereotypical but surely, for the sake of the economy abortions should be legalized. Nevermind the rights of women living here that are still being so cruelly overlooked by a society that religion has brought nothing but petty violence to for many years, dispite the fact most of that is in the past now.

    I also agree with you that having children is becoming a glamourized subject on our screens, however I can boast of once such ‘soap’ on our UK screens called hollyoaks where in the past year 2 abortions have been written into the story line, each opposed to by certain characters, yet utilmately the women who decicded to get them have carried on happy(ish – seeing as most characters in this soap are hardly happy to begin with!) lives – thank god for some people who aren’t pig ignorant with their views.

  • invalid-0

    I like what you had to say.

  • invalid-0

    FORCED TO SEE THE ULTRASOUND — THE HORROR!!! Hillary — How callous of you to insinuate that it’s ridiculous a woman should be forced to see the ultrasound of the baby she is thinking about having sucked out and thrown in the trash. That is the least she can do for her child — funny considering we’re talking about a person who wants to take a thriving, growing, precious child out it’s warm environment and throw him/her in the garbage. But still it’s the least she can do. Maybe, just maybe when she sees the picture of the baby she will change her mind. That’s the point. Wow, you pro-choicer’s make me sick. No excuse or reason will ever justify abortion in my eyes. Don’t want the baby? Put him/her up for adoption. What is it about that concept that’s so hard to understand?
    Oh yeah, that would take a little bit of unselfishness on the mother’s part. These women can’t fathom giving their baby to another family, but they throw him/her in the trash instead!! Makes absolutely no sense.

  • invalid-0

    to force a woman to see the ultrasound of her fetus? It sounds like the pro life side doesn’t trust women in general, and women who have made their choice in particular. It also comes off as so much emotional blackmail to my way of thinking. There are quite enough flaming hoops women who want an abortion are already being forced to jump through.

  • invalid-0

    If Jamie Lynn does end up having an abortion, it will be kept super-secret and presented publicly as a “tragic miscarriage.”

    I think this sucks. It’s fine and dandy for Jamie Lynn – she’s got boatloads of money and if she doesn’t feel like parenting, she can hire nannies. But the way our society not-so-subtly encourages ALL pregnant women to keep the baby is terrible for those who do NOT have money. What if Jamie Lynn had no family support, wasn’t famous, worked at a minimum-wage job where you get fired for taking time off for urgent health reasons, and had no insurance?

  • invalid-0

    It would do the world of good for young people to see a young woman in Jamie Lynn Spear’s position turn around and say “Actually, no, I’m not going to give in to all this ‘Motherhood is a wonderful experience regardless of age or fitness’ crap. Many young women are not emotionally or physically ready to bear children but there is a tremendous pressure on them to keep their foetuses (can’t say babies, they’re really not ’til they’re fully developed and born) as being a mummy is portrayed as the be all and end all of female existence. Abortion in the UK at least seems to be portrayed always as a harrowing experience which leaves the woman regretful and emotionally scarred. (Apologies to the previous UK poster, I don’t watch Hollyoaks after my disgust with the way they treated their rape storyline some years back.)

    This may be true of some women but I don’t believe is representative of the majority. I had an abortion at 21 when dating a man who I considered a bad choice as a life partner. It went smoothly and I can honestly say it was the best decision I ever made. My partner and I broke up a year later (my choice) and my life would have been thoroughly miserable had I not had the abortion. I have never experienced the slightest twinge of regret – my body is mine, to do as I please with – and that includes my choice to bear or not to bear children.

    I am now happily married with no plans for children and I have to say that even if I became pregnant now, I would not hesitate to have an abortion as it is the wrong time for me. Any young woman should think if having a child is the correct choice, as this is a lifelong commitment and can easily choke off many of the career choices available to young women – motherhood is not a substitute for a career and can leave them resentful and unfulfilled.

  • harry834

    thank you very much for sharing your stories and for illuminating the fact that there is high pressure to avoid abortion. That said, I'm wondering about coercion in the other direction. We all know about boyfriends that push their girlfriends to abort, but what about parents? I'd wager there's at least potential for pressure there, even though we're used to the notion that parental notification = parents who force away from abortion rather than forcing toward.

    But it can happen either way. My only doubt is which type of coercion happens more often. I may never know.

    That said, I'm wondering if you have had any experience or thoughts on parents or other trusted individuals forcing their daughters to abort. Specifically, I'm looking for people who would normally seem to force women away from abortion.

    Thoughts? Experiences? Anyone?

  • invalid-0

    I can understand abortion for rape victims. But regardless of “economy”, or “population control”, abortion is just another word for easy way out. True, the concept of someone having to pay for a mistake the rest of there life sucks. But then again why do people go to prison for most there life for commited an act of great horror? Or a person gets awarded the nobel peace prize for achieving something great? The point is…without trying to sound like a dick, (yes obviously you can guess I am a male. But gender should not have anything to do with it.) I am my mother AND fathers child. But we are trying to get a quick fix for everything. And yes, maybe it’s all done in good intentions, but not all good intentions unfold so. If people would just learn to wrap it up or keep there legs closed, then we would not have these problems. The more people are let to just shag and swag away and pop a pill or two or use a tube, the more we are telling our children that are alive right now: “sure, go ahead, fuck all you want, you can always get an abortion”. Thats the subliminal message we are sending. It’s not so much about “choice” as it is “responsibility”. Just like marriage. You know why the majority of people get married young? Despite our most primal instincts to mate, it’s divorce. Most young people may not “think” of it. Because they are blind at the time. But in the back of there head. They know if anything fails. They can just divorce. If people were not allowd to divorce or get abortions unless under EXTREME circumstances. People would, pardon my french, take shit a little more fucking seriously…because everytime we invent a quick fix for something, it’s just like giving a crying kid a cookie everytime they cry for it. Or babying a kid everytime they get into trouble. Your just teaching them to be lazy and not take care of themselves. Then, besides unwanted pregnancy’s, is STD’s. But thats another story…If my Mother ever said she wished she made the abortion decision…or if I even knew she considered it before, I would feel dead. I would have a right to know if the decision even crossed her mind, even if it cost me my happyness. Better to accept the truth than to live a lie. I apologize if I did not sound clear, or if I sound like a “pig”. But as a society, if we act like a bunch of get rich quick scheme people we are not getting anything but failure. Forget the past, repeat the past. It isn’t about control or oppression. It’s about growing up and responsibility.

  • invalid-0

    you’ve made some errors:

    But regardless of “economy”, or “population control”, abortion is just another word for easy way out.

    Pro life myth #1. I’ve heard this over and over again. No,that is not true. Abortion is not easy. But it’s a choice women must be allowed to make, without undue government interference.

    If people would just learn to wrap it up or keep there legs closed, then we would not have these problems. The more people are let to just shag and swag away and pop a pill or two or use a tube, the more we are telling our children that are alive right now: “sure, go ahead, fuck all you want, you can always get an abortion”. Thats the subliminal message we are sending

    YOW! That’s pro life myths #2 and #3! I’ve heard them repeated often enough, yet they are also urban legends. Here is where religious strictures run head on into human nature. People will continue to have pre-marital sex no matter how those in the pulpits fulminate. I feel the messages is more like: “If you are going to have sex, don’t be indiscriminate. And use protection to avoid STDs and unwanted pregnancies.”

    It isn’t about control or oppression. It’s about growing up and responsibility

    Pro life myth #4. Another determined myth which is very hard to kill. The choices to use of birth control, or the choice of abortion ARE also ways of growing up and taking responsibility. I know pro lifers don’t like to admit it (and at least one has tried to argue about it here), but taking action is on a par with taking responsibility for prior actions.

  • invalid-0

    All I was trying to point out is that if you dont let people have abortions then after a awhile “maybe” people will know there is no other way and think about there future BEFORE they fuck it up. And possibly it’s hard to rid of these “myths” because they are not myths. They plus the other opinions are all factors of these choices we make everyday. Does anyone notice how many abortions or wanted abortions there are? Doesn’t that tell you theres something wrong BEFORE the abortion. This i what I’m talking about ill responsibility. And I am not pro-life strictly because of religion. Just studying how humans and society seem to interact, it seems like, spare the rod, spoil the child. So if there is a way out for everyone, then everyone will keep doing it. I’m sure it’s not easy AT ALL for some woman to choose abortion. But if it wasn’t allowed and an example was made then maybe other people would “think twice” before doing this. It goes for men too. If men would consider the possibility that given the kid IS theres, they are MADE to take care of it no matter what, then hopefully they too would not pressure people into having sex. Or at least be the smart one for once and say “NO”.

    One thing I know is, people have become to obsessed with the “me” factor, that everyone has forgotten about family. Even families that are together are dysfunctional…yes they are families, thats how things seem to work for the majority. But it’s because no one thinks about anything until AFTER they have done the deed. What my kids do in the end IS there choice. But I dont want to have to sit there like an annoying voice box to tell them before they go off and do something stupid to not do it. I want to teach them at a very young age to tell themselves, not to do it first. In the end, it is a choice of the persons, but after this discussion, I have also came to the conclusion that PARENTS themselves need to start disciplining there kids rather than giving them what they want just to shut them up. It doesn’t always work, but if parents start actually stepping up nowadays. and ALWAYS, not just sometimes, then maybe people would think twice. I don’t know…it just seems that instead of stopping the problem “as a whole” before it starts, people just say: “HEY, don’t worry about it, we can fix your life right here”. But people would never have to bare that burden in the first place if they would have just not gave in.

    Yes, we are human, we are animals too. BUT, also being human is the fact that we CAN choose. So instead of NOT THINKING AND ACTING LIKE AN ANIMAL first AND THEN being human and making the “abortion” choice. Maybe we should teach some people to act like HUMANS first…use there intelligence…not just instinct and make there bodily choice NOT to “give in”. Instead of having to make the choice of abortion later, make the choice to not have kids now, meaning, keep it ZIPPED or keep them CLOSED. If people were made to bare that burden the rest of there life, then others would not want to follow and there go solves the majority of the abortion problems. The people that don’t want to have kids, won’t have an option, so they might…just might think before getting drunk at that party or getting into a relationship they “think” is the one…and end up screwing (pardon the pun) their life up.

    Not to bring religion into this…but in a sense…if there wasn’t a hell (not that I want one…cause trust me i don’t), if there wasn’t a hell, then everyone would never care about anything because they know they would never have to pay for it. Hence, people would be killing each other off more, cheating more, stealing more. So my whole point is that if there is a way out for everything and everyone, no one will learn to take responsibility now, not later. And would not have to deal with choosing there “life”, over the babies.

    By the way, i’m not at all for government interference…completely against it. When I say society I mean people taking responsibility on there own. So yes, parents do play a MAJOR role in how kids turn out, parents need to start actually parenting there kids before it’s to late.

    One more note before I quit “rambling”. Nature dictates we have sex and make babies, it assures survival of the species. So maybe it’s the human factor of being an animal that created abortion. so it’s not religion we are going against, it’s nature itself. And “my body, my choice, so not matter what your opinions don’t matter”…true, again, in the end it is there choice. But JUST because it’s there choice doesn’t mean there making the right one. How many “wrong choices” are we going to make before we stop making them in the first place. And what of the Dad? I surely would want to keep the kid. If the woman doesn’t want it, then I’ll take it and leave. Because a baby should always be a blessing, religion or not.

  • invalid-0

    one more thing is, just because the choice makes a person feel bad, doesn’t make them right. alot of people I know use the “do it now, feel bad later” excuse to do alot of things, and always blame it on “pressure” or “emotions”.

  • invalid-0

    That if abortion was outlawed for any reason, women would be more careful, more chaste. NOT! Even the more careful people have trouble planning ahead. It is human nature to make mistakes. Plus, why is it always the woman’s fault? Another problem with this argument is once upon a time, abortion was illegal in the United States. And even without an “easy way out”, people were still having pre-marital sex.
    So no, making abortion illegal again will NOT force people to change their habits. What is needed is education so people who will insist on having sex will take the time to pull on a rubber and/or use spermicidal jell, and/or take a birth control pill once a day.
    And to me, whatever choice each woman makes, if she feel it’s the right choice for her, then I’m satisfied.

  • harry834

    Even back in the 1940s when waiting till marriage was the official expectation, unofficially it was not the practice.

    The only difference is that we've now stopped the charade an admit that wew were never a species that "waits until marriage",

    at least 95% don't, same number since the 1940s

    Sex came first, then marriage was invented, originally as a tool of oppression. Still is very much. The idea of marrying for love came only in the 1800s century, and even that model required a strict gender code oppressing women.

    So will we have sex before we make this complex choice called marriage? I think so.

    That said, I'm a happy defender of the marriage equality movement for gay couples, and I know marriage is a good choice for the couples that choose it wisely…as opposed to rushing in so that they can finally taste sex!

  • harry834

    when spouses don't claim ownership over their partner's body. So yes, I'm glad wives don't need a permission slip from their husbands for an abortion, though they did once

    And Judge Alito was one judge who supported that husband's control.

  • invalid-0

    it isn’t about legality. it isn’t about husbands having control. it’s about equality too. a husband should have a say too, because it’s that persons seed thats in her. what this all leads down to in the end is people taking responsibility. how about instead of killing the babies. why not kill the people who can’t stop making mistakes and breeding them? i mean. when does a baby have a choice? when it’s popped out of the womb? when does it finally become not part of the mother? when its out of the womb? this has nothing to do with gender. though most would like to make it so because it is always easier to blame it on the other sex for a cause. much like others blaming other races for all the problems. or when another race says a white person is racist and thats why they didnt hire them or thats why they asked them to wait in line like everyone else. abortion being legal or not. people just need to really grow up and keep a cork in it. the only reason people want abortion is because they can’t handle there mistakes. so ok then, age 14 or 33. if you have to have an abortion, you obviously havn’t grown up in the first place and can’t handle life. because it seems some would destroy a new, innocent, life. to protect there mistakes and make there life better. if abortion is to be stood for, then why not let pedophiles run the streets? afterall, if killing your own baby is possible, easy or not. isn’t letting someone who has a sickness out, forgiveable? oh but i guess abortion should be allowed because, afterall, you can’t feel the babies physical pain. and thanks to “science”. the baby probably won’t even remember whats going on because it will be killed soon anyways. the baby can’t make its own choices. so i suppose it’s ok for the mother that vesseled it to choose? so if someone is smart, but mentaly unstable and can’t make there own choices and there just a burden in my life. why not let me kill them? maybe the person should have the baby first, let it grow a few years and then decide if it wants to live or not. no that would be to hard because some people are more selfishly worried about there future “money/carreers and glory/image” to put someone else, a beautiful creation, first. if this is what the world is going to be like for the rest of my life. then i wish my mother would have aborted me.

  • invalid-0

    I’m not sure what’s more troubling about this article: the self-righteous sense of moral authority or the ambiguous allusion to Shakespeare’s sister. I understand that Ms. Joffe is trying to reveal a parallel about the stigmatization placed on women in a misogynistic society, but is it really a fair reference? Virginia Wolfe was commenting on how a woman with talents equal to a man’s would be condemned, not about a woman’s quest for sexual autonomy. It seems more than a little vulgar to make the comparison. What’s the underlying insinuation; that sexual liberation is in the same vane as intelligence, talent, or ability? Ms. Joffe’s haphazard link is so enthused with men and women’s equality that it does not stop to think that being equal does not mean being synonymous. Pregnancy, for instance, is a uniquely female experience much as the inability to be pregnant (by and large) is uniquely male. Where is the intellectual merit in drawing on Wolfe’s comments? Shakespeare’s sister (in the musings of Wolfe) would be ridiculed for engendering the talent of her brother, not for denying her physiological self.

    As for Jamie Lynne and the stigmatization of women who undergo abortions, Ms. Joffe undercuts her own point. While speculating that Jamie would be criticized for choosing abortion she inadvertently criticizes her for choosing to have her baby. Her snide comments about baby photos and fan magazines, as well as the creation of a teen mom persona, is her condescension manifest. She rails against an attitude of intolerance while simultaneously being intolerant herself.

  • invalid-0

    husband should have a say too, because it’s that persons seed thats in her.

    …he cannot dictate his wife’s actions to her. The day the husband had complete control of his wife is long past, and it won’t come back.

    if abortion is to be stood for, then why not let pedophiles run the streets?

    No comparison. Abortion is a legal medical procedure, pedophilia is a CRIME.

    if this is what the world is going to be like for the rest of my life. then i wish my mother would have aborted me.

    Calm down. It’s OK if you feel overwhelmed. I feel that way too sometimes. Just take a few deep breaths.

  • invalid-0

    No matter how much time one wastes on arguing about this subject or attempting to re-criminalise it, abortion rates worldwide, whether legal or not, remain the same. So much money and spiritual energy wasted on a part of the imperfect human condition that cannot and will never be erased.

    Religion? Well, the xtian religion has had 2000 years to achieve its objectives, but the fact remains that organised religion has failed to solve even one single problem across the human race, and it won’t solve anything this year or in the future either.

    Politics? This issue should not even be allowed on political platforms. We need visionaries with real leadership skills to run countries, not voyeuristic “faithful” perverts (too often they show up in the same person) spying on people’s sex habits or dictating to them in their bedrooms.

    Media? I wholeheartedly agree with the posters here who, like me, are tired of seeing motherhood glorified. I know two women who developed diabetes during pregnancy and one who burst all the thousands of blood vessels on her face and neck during labour, requiring lots of money for laser surgery afterward. Not to mention the swelling, the can’t move around business, can’t afford shite because they’ve got to work whilst pregnant due to society’s not really putting their money where there mouths are. The child is not so happy either, it cries for literally two years straight after birth and wakes its parents, leading to depression and sleep deprivation.

    It’s no easy trip, and those who trivialise women’s decision-making skills very often are themselves the first to consider abortion when they themselves are in trouble… because in trivialising others, they’ve also trivialised themselves. The knee-jerk reaction is already so ingrained that it simply plays itself out. So I learned from my own time volunteering at Planned Parenthood whilst living in here the States. Very often, the same people sporting pickets outside would then show up in my office, desperately saying “I need an abortion just this once” even whilst they tried like hell to make it harder for themselves to attain one, almost as if they were trying to cover for their “misdeed” when it’s anything but.

    As far as I’m concerned, we already have enough babies. So many in fact that we don’t provide healthcare for ten million kids in the US who need it. So much for life being precious, it’s obviously not even a top priority. The President was right when he stated the kids’ healthcare services were too expensive, after all, he has people to kill abroad and wars to fund, certainly caring for the kids on his own soil is not important. And with this attitude, he’s validated every woman who’s ever had an abortion for economic reasons. America is a country where indeed, hypocrisy comes straight from the top.

    As we approach the 7 billion persons mark worldwide, I would only hope that increased respect for the environment (an American baby has many times the negative environmental impact of one born elsewhere due to the oil addiction here) comes about, and all those jumping on the “goin’ green” bandwagon would do well to re-consider popping out yet another pollution-generating and resource-depleting child. 7 billion persons, when half in the world are starving or living in poverty. There’s the real problem.

  • invalid-0

    now, while i completely agree with ruthless here about everything in anonymous’ previous post, i would just like to ask one thing; why does everyone think it’s so bad to have “an easy way out?” not that i call abortion an easy way out, i know i certainly hope i’m never in the situation to have to make that decision. but really, even if there WAS a truly easy way out (like a control-Z for real life, say), why would that be a bad thing? i fully advocate personal responsiblity, and i also believe that birth control and discretionary sexual contact and even abortion are facets of said personal responsibility. but sometimes, it’s the woman who does everything right, who takes her pill the same time every day and who’s husband of 10 years always wears a condom and can operate it correctly, but who can’t afford to have a kid right now because she already has two gorgeous children, who gets pregnant; while the girl who sleeps with everyone she meets and has no idea what the latex feels like and can’t even be bothered to feed her fish, doesn’t. i just don’t see the problem with giving that first woman an “easy way out,” would that it existed in the first place.

  • invalid-0

    all of you stop bickering. you got a person who seems to have a problem with the whole thing. a bunch of … who can’t seem to realize they can’t handle there emotions so they go get abortions and you have others who just seem to think this guys trying to make it a male vs. female agenda. if this guy was smart he’d see you can’t change peoples minds male or female. and if these woman were smart they would stop trying to act like every guy that defends pro-life is a male supremisict

  • invalid-0

    Pros of Abortion


    Laws against abortion kill women. Even though abortion may be illegal doesn’t mean that women won’t go through with the abortion. Look at the case of Becky Bell for example. She was an innocent girl that did not want her child and died because of an illegal abortion.

    Legal abortion protects women’s health. For tens of thousands of women with heart disease, kidney disease, severe hypertension, sickle-cell anemia and severe diabetes, and other illnesses that can be life-threatening, the availability of legal abortion has helped avert serious medical complications that could have resulted from childbirth. Before legal abortion, such women’s choices were limited to dangerous illegal abortion or dangerous childbirth.

    A woman is more than a fetus. Though a woman might be pregnant with a child, she still is her own person and has every right to decide what she wants to do with her baby.

    Outlawing abortion is discriminatory. Anti abortion laws discriminate against low income women who are forced to back alley abortions, where they can become infected. Rich people can travel to anywhere they need to go to find the proper care that they need.

    If abortion is outlawed then more “children” will be having children. Abortion should not be a form of birth control, but if something does happen there should be the option of abortion there so the wrong mother doesn’t have to raise a child at such a young age.

    Every child should be a wanted child. If abortion is illegal then there would be a lot of children brought into this world that weren’t wanted. This could cause more damage to the child than anything.

    Abortion should be legal for those women who are raped. Women who are raped sometimes can not even bare the thought of bringing that child into their lives and sometimes the option of abortion is the best one to chose.

    Cons of Abortion

    * Abortion does not give the child that is in the womb a chance at life. It is wrong and looked down upon by a lot of religions.
    * Some women use abortion as a type of birth control. They sleep with men and do not use protection and think nothing of it to go to the clinic as many as five times in their life to have an abortion.
    * A con against abortion is the nagging thought that a woman went to a clinic, had an abortion, and thus the world was prevented from seeing the birth of the only person capable of attaining a leadership role and initiating a peace accord between warring factions in the Middle East, thus preventing decades of strife and murder. A stable home life is not a guarantee of talent, and illegitimate children have shown themselves to be very bright on occasion, Lawrence of Arabia for one.
    * Another con, is that the child who never lived, may have invented a cure for cancer (had he lived). Think about that, if you’re for abortion, the next time you walk into a hospital to have a mysterious growth on your breast checked out.
    * Having an abortion always lessens your chances for having children later in life. Even though it doesn’t happen to many women, you could be the one to miss out on your once in a life time chance to have your baby.
    * There are other options. You can give your baby up for adoption and give your child a chance at life.
    * If looked at at the religious aspect, God gave you the opportunity to have a baby for a reason, you should not throw that chance away.
    * If you laid down in the bed and weren’t responsible, you should take responsibility for your actions and take care of the child you created. Abortion is the lazy way out.
    * If you have an abortion you will always wonder what if, and feel guilty for the rest of your life about the child you could have had.

    for another fact, it seems like some woman are more concerned about what it will do to there personal image, like give them a flabby stomach, because not all woman can get rid of it so easily. worrying about beauty so concerndly is a negative and naive way of looking at your priorities.

  • invalid-0

    “A woman is more than a fetus. Though a woman might be pregnant with a child, she still is her own person and has every right to decide what she wants to do with her baby.”

    problem with this is that you’ve had your chance at a mind. what about the babies chance at life and a mind? what is ever wrong with giving up your life so another may live and choose too? oh and yes you carry it. yes we males DO appreciate it, but it’s our sperm in you. we are NOT just sperm donars.

  • harry834

    You can choose to carry it. But don't force women to be incubators to satisfy your "morality".

  • invalid-0

    You claim that men are not just mere sperm donors. But, in opposing women’s soveignty over their own bodies and destinies, you prove just the opposite–that you’ve not educated yourself above the level of mere control freak sperm donor yourself. Let’s face it: some men view the fetus as an extension of their almighty schlong, it’s penis worship at its worst. Women are the life-givers, and for some immature, uneducated and unevolved men, this is a threat when we decide who comes into the world and who does not. Just remember that EVERYONE on this planet has a generous woman to thank for their existence. And that includes you–have you said thank you to the woman who gave you life? Or do you just want to control her body parts since you obviously feel so out of control about something in your own unfulfilled life?

    Real men value the lives of their sisters, daughters, wives and mothers more than their own control issues, religious dogma or idealism. My husband is one–he is an atheist who would never be so inconceivably stupid or murderous as to hold pathetic superstitions over my health. I would NEVER marry anyone who did. It’s suicide.

    If you as a male would subject your own daughter to possible death by back alley or mafia/gang abortion while not having to take that risk of death yourself, then you fall under the definition of “coward” at the very least. Figures, your posting name is “anonymous”. There’s the mark of a coward with something to hide.

  • invalid-0

    no you misunderstand what i am saying. i would NEVER subject my own daughter to death AT ALL. nor an unborn child. i DO THANK my mother everyday. especially since she NEVER even thought of having an abortion. and I WAS AN ACCIDENT. once again people are trying to put men on the spot as we want control. but we dont! we do just realize though that yes you females are life givers but you forget IT TAKES TWO! so no matter what we should have at least 50 % say in it.

    heh…funny how some want ALL the choice to themselves, yet when they do decide to keep the baby, even if they dont want the man around, they still want the money and child support. alot of men these days DO want a child and DO want to be apart of there life and want them to have life. it’s given us something to not BE PIGS about in the first place, but apparently no matter what our reason, right or wrong. even if we “did” come up with a logical reason and were right. we would still be wrong. i have ALOT of female friends who ARE athiest and are still against abortion for the fact that they actually know how to be equalist without being female supremisict. i’m sorry if men mistreated you so bad they made you want to subject them to there stupid torture. im not a woman hater. not at all.

    oh and btw. i hadnt even really payed attention to the name thing. jake harlender. thank you

  • invalid-0

    About the “cons” of abortion.

    * If a woman has a child before she is ready, she loses her chance at a better life. And sometimes, the wanted fetus will have a fatal defect which will cause it’s death in the womb, or during, or soon after birth. What kind of a life is that?

    * Yes, some women do use abortion as birth control, which to me is financial suicide. This tells me these women need to be educated, not have their choice taken away.

    * This world is in enough trouble without having to wait for a child to be born and grow up. OTOH: That child not aborted could also grow up to be the next Osama bin Laden. “What ifs” won’t cut it.

    * The abortion – infertility link is not proven by any credible medical studies. Many women who abort either already have kids or go on to have children later.

    * Yes, adoption is an option. But, it’s not easy either.

    * Yes, the religious aspect is valid. But I don’t believe God “gives” babies, many other people don’t believe this either.

    * Abortion is NOT the “lazy way out”. I am SO tired of hearing that. It is another way of taking responsibility. And hey, are you giving the man a free pass? Maybe he should have kept his pants zipped.

    * Guilt for the road not taken is common. Even for women who do decide to go to term.

    Some people are vain, it’s true. But abortion is not an easy choice, and like I said before, I’m tired of that stereotype.

  • harry834

    You know your awesome, right?

    But I will examine one of your points:

    "Yes, some women do use abortion as birth control, which to me is financial suicide. This tells me these women need to be educated, not have their choice taken away."

    While there may be some truth to that, some women who use abortion as birth control do so for health reasons, ie taking the pill is too much a disruption to their internal hormones. Might they have other choices? Maybe. But we need to keep our minds open to the various women's situations in terms of health.

    That is, after all, why we fight, yes no?


    That said, you show real woman power Ruthless!

  • invalid-0

    because the pro life movement uses the few women who do this as part of their argument against abortion. And I thank you for the compliment.

  • harry834

    We evolve, we learn, we find the better ways we can. I know we'll try our best.

  • invalid-0

    what about the babies chance at life

    This is as useless as the slogan “let the baby choose!” There is no right to be born in any country’s law, and it’s not there for a very good reason. It is estimated that up to 75% of fertilized eggs either fail to implant or spontaneously abort (misscarry) before the 12th week of pregnancy. What about their chance at life? Nature ended them. What about the would be mother’s chance at a better life if she can delay childbirth until she finishes school or pays off student loans or gets married? Some people want the government to step in and end those.