Roundup: For Some Anti-Choicers, “Compromise Means Betrayal”

For Some
Anti-Choicers, "Compromise Means Betrayal"

The news that some anti-choice groups are shifting gears — working not to overturn Roe but to provide economic and
social supports for pregnant women — has sparked outrage amongst many entrenched anti-choice
groups.  In USA Today, Joseph Scheidler
of the Pro-Life Action League, writes

There is no evidence that increasing
social programs – such as low-cost health care and day care, college grants and
maternity homes – will impact a woman’s abortion decision. It is rare in our
experience to find a woman who says the reason she is choosing abortion is that
she doesn’t have day care, or that she’d rather go to college.

Those of us who have spent years outside abortion clinics, talking with
abortion-bound women, are keenly aware of what leads women there. Often, the
woman feels she has no choice because someone important in her life refuses to
support a decision to keep the baby…We see the effort to combine pro-life and
pro-choice forces as a betrayal on the part of the pro-lifers.

Today itself editorialized
in favor of the new approach:

Even before
Election Day, a loose coalition of conservative academics, prominent
anti-abortion pastors, lay Catholics and other activists began working with old
enemies in the pro-abortion rights camp to push a new agenda passage
of measures to provide low-income, pregnant women with the kind of services and
education that could discourage them from seeking abortions. They are on the
right track…We hope they can do even more, particularly in finding ways to make
contraceptives more widely obtainable and in improving sex education.
Meanwhile, if this first sign of détente
in the abortion wars helps make the procedure less common but still available,
it will be a notable accomplishment.

Female Majority in New Hampshire State Senate

New Hampshire’s
State Senate will be majority female come January, reports Women’s eNews,
the first female majority in a legislative body in the country.  The bad news? 
Women have historically been better represented in state legislatures
that pay little, and New Hampshire
is no exception – it pays state legislators $100 per session. 

Former NARAL Legal
Director to Advise President-Elect Obama
that Dawn Johnsen, professor at the Indiana University School of
Law and legal director at NARAL Pro-Choice America from 1988 to 1993, will join
President-Elect Obama’s Department of Justice Review Team.  Johnsen also served in the Clinton administration as the Acting
Assistant Attorney General heading the Office of Legal Counsel from 1997-1998
and as Deputy Assistant Attorney General from 1993-1996.

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  • emma

    I used to think it was really weird that so many anti-choicers object to welfare and other kinds of income assistance, paid parental leave, universal health care, cheap/free contraception and basically anything else that might reduce abortion and make life easier for women who choose not to terminate their pregnancies.


    Then I realised that, for a lot of them, abortion is very much a secondary (if that) concern. They want women who have sex to be punished. Just forcing them to have children they can’t afford or don’t want isn’t enough; they want to make life as miserable and difficult as possible, because otherwise women would be ‘getting off easy’ and not suffering sufficiently. That’s why they don’t really care that banning abortion doesn’t really work, but just makes it much more dangerous. They want women to be subordinated to men, to be slaves to their (our) biology. Doesn’t matter if women die. Doesn’t matter that abortion rates don’t go down. Doesn’t matter if children end up in orphanages and/or in poverty. That’s all irrelevant or even desirable in a fundamentalist anti-choicer’s misanthropic (particularly misogynistic) fantasy world.


    When I realised this, it all made a lot more sense.

  • invalid-0

    Too true. Just read what that nutso said about his “experiences” talking to women going into clinics. Wanna bet it might be one in a thousand who says something like that? If he didn’t make the whole thing up. Which he probably did.

  • invalid-0

    I am pro-life all the way, but i agree that we should have a more socialistic system at least in America. my feelings are not to punish the woman, but to help her. I am of the firm belief that abortion cannot be safely abolished if we do not first hav social reform. one can ban alcohol in the middle east easily because the culture contors to the idea. one cannot ban it the United states because it is outraging. I hope some day to see a Western Culture admit that killing babies is wrong. but i also do not want to see a bunch of dead mothers accompanying their dead children. we need to begin the process of illegalizing abortion from a slow and painful route cauld social reform. hopefully one day, we will hold our heads up high and say we did it. we abolished the practice from our mythes. until then i would not punish a woman for sex. just hope she chooses not to punish some one else for it.

  • emma

    There’s already a consensus in western culture that killing babies is wrong. A foetus is not a baby. I’m really glad to see there are people out there who are pro-life but who don’t want to punish women, and we probably agree on a lot of things other than abortion. The problem is that there are always going to be women who don’t want children, and barring major medical advances, there are always going to be cases of foetal abnormalities that aren’t compatible with with life, cases in which women’s health is endangered by continuing their pregnancies, and cases in which there’s an unacceptably high risk of the foetus having a tendency toward major genetic illnesses/diseases that are likely to have a negative impact on the potential child’s quality of life. My family, for example, has a long and severe history of depressive illness, eating disorders, and suicidality, and I’ve personally been affected by all of these. I would never want inflict my horrible mental health genes on any kid, to the point that I think it would be an act of cruelty for me to ever have a child. And while I’m extremely careful re: contraception, there’s always a risk of contraceptive failure.


    Does that make sense?

  • invalid-0

    Honestly, Emma, your comments made me laugh. First of all, I AM a woman-I definitely am not pro life because I want women to be punished for having sex. That is not the point. Frankly, I don’t give a crap about other people’s sexual lives. Moreover, your mention of non-fatal genetic “illnesses” as having a “negative impact on the child’s quality of life,” smacks of ableism, your mention of depression and eating disorders as reasons not to pass one’s genes only supports contentions that contemporary abortion has been hijacked by eugenic-like goals.

    Moreover, you make it sound as if pro choicers are the only people on earth who have endorsed or supported programs to help children. This is woefully inaccurate, as such programs have been ardently supported by people from both sides of the political aisle. Sometimes I feel like that particular argument is just a way for pro choice individuals to justify themselves as righteous do-gooders and avoid having honest discussions about the impact of abortion on women, children, and important diversity issues.

    When more pro choice people come out and oppose disability-based abortion like they would abortion performed because of a foetus’ race, then your position will, at the least, be free from a later history of support for post-eugenics.

  • invalid-0

    Progo35, it’s charming to see that you find such amusement in my personal struggles and in the suicides of my family members.

    Please spare me the eugenics BS. I do not want to bring a child into the world when that child has a greater than average chance of experiencing severe psychiatric illnesses up to the point of not wanting to live. That’s not about ‘eugenics’ – I’m not talking about attempting to eliminate certain traits I view as ‘evolutionarily undesirable; I am talking about my personal desire to not subject a child to a life that has a higher than likely chance at being a struggle. How dare you suggest that I am some kind of Nazi eugenicist driven by racism and ableism. Do you have any idea of the kind of pain that drives a person to starve herself down to 70lbs? To be too depressed to get out of bed? The amount of agony and suffering that has driven relatives of mine to take their own lives? I would never want to create a child who would have a higher than usual chance of suffering in this way.

    I do hope you realise you have just demonstrated the exact kind of callous lack of compassion that seems to afflict so many anti-choicers.

  • invalid-0

    I’d like to apologize for the above-poster, Emma. I’m pro-life too, but what she said was completely heartless and insensitive to all that you’ve been through. I’m so sorry for your losses, and the struggles that you’ve been through. I can’t imagine how much pain there would be in losing a family member to . I’m so sorry for you.

  • invalid-0

    Thank you so much for your kindness, Behe. It means a lot.

    Emma xxx

  • invalid-0

    Emma and Behe-

    I’m not sorry. Yes, I do know what it’s like to have anorexia and severe depression, as I had/have them, too. I struggle with the kind of depression you talk about and with a very rare learning disorder on a daily basis. In addition to my life-long disabilities, I almost died from anorexia 10 years ago. I find your position on childbearing as oppressive to women who are suffering from these conditions-you are arguing that childbearing in such cases is immoral, and thereby justifying this position as something that other women should adopt. Women should not have to make decisions about their pregnancy with the pressure of that kind of thinking hovering over their heads.

    Yes, your reasoning for not bringing a child into the world is eugenic, although voluntarily imposed. “Eugenic” applies to not wanting to perpetuate certain genes, whether that be in yourself or someone else. This kind of thinking is what is hurting the disabled community. Moreover, you cited the “quality of life” argument that is responsible for many women choosing abortion because of misconceptions regarding their down syndrome/disabled fetus’ potential. Many of these choices are also influenced by counselors, family members, and an overall environment that encourages This hurts human diversity, and is something that all of us, pro choice and pro life, should be gravely concerned about. You did not talk about any family members dying in your previous post, so there was no way for me to express sympathy or sensitivity to that. I am so sorry to hear that, I truly am.

    This post, however, is meant to address the line of thinking indicated in your previous post, which is eugenic and hurts the handicapped. Eugenics do not need to be imposed by the government to be what they are. My ire is not directed at you as a pro choicer, a position that is held by many disability advocates who support abortion rights but oppose abortions done based on handicap. My ire is at the position that you articulate and justify as a choice that protects human freedom, diversity, and tolerance. It does not. To read more about this, I recommend the book The Black Stork, which addresses eugenics in American society. Eugenic practices were considered noble when engage in voluntarily, and were based on the exact thinking that you articulate in your previous post. When you articulate that position, you are slipping back into the same thinking that drives true prejudice, hatred, and oppression in our society.

    So, I am sorry for your loses in your family, but I am not sorry for what I said in regard to your position, which our society advertises as an enlightened path to follow.

  • invalid-0

    Moreover, this article spreads misinformation about pro life individuals and policies. Pro life organizations have devoted extensive time and resources to assisting pregnant women and their families. This article attempts to mislead its audience by asserting that pro life people don’t care about pregnant women and have never attempted to provide support for them before. Not true, biased, and hateful, period.

  • invalid-0

    I am talking about the fact that I personally would not want to bring a child into the world due to the possibility that it may have an increased chance of suffering severe mental illness, which is likely given my family history. I am talking about my personal belief about what *I* would do in that situation. I am not advocating that any other person should feel obligated to make the same choice as me. I am not talking about attempting to breed mental illness or any other type of disability out of existence. I am talking about a choice I would feel appropriate if the situation arose for me. Not for anyone else. To refer to this as ‘eugenics’ is utterly ludicrous.

    I am sorry you have experienced similar psychiatric conditions, and I wish you the best in your recovery. I do not, however, think it would be productive to continue to engage with someone who misunderstands, distorts and misrepresents my statements.

  • invalid-0


    -my comments concerning eugenics are backed by research,
    -it is okay if you do not feel like responding, blogs are open forums that many people read,
    -According to the NY Times, hardly a pro life outlet, ninety percent of all down syndrome fetuses are aborted. It doesn’t matter what the women involved intend, that does amount to destroying an entire race,
    -I am okay with my disabilities, I embrace them as a part of my life story and would encourage anyone facing such issues to do the same,

  • otaku1960

     Gee, I had no idea people who cope with Downs Syndrome are an entirely different race than other humans. Citing the NY Times is not enough, what sources did that claimant of the 90% figure use?  Your "research" is extremely sloppy if that is all you can offer.

     Your grievance shall be avenged.

  • invalid-0

    I find your position on childbearing as oppressive to women who are suffering from these conditions-you are arguing that childbearing in such cases is immoral, and thereby justifying this position as something that other women should adopt. Women should not have to make decisions about their pregnancy with the pressure of that kind of thinking hovering over their heads.

    Bullshit…Emma said no such thing about it being immoral for others. What Emma personally believes to be her best choice for personal decisions (whether it be marriage, divorce, sex, reproduction, etc.) is not a statement about what others should do when faced with that situation or what is immoral in said circumstances.

  • harry834

    but I support Emma’s decision. I wouldn’t want her to have a child against her deeply held concerns.

  • sayna

    Emma brings up some excellent points and speaks from her heart. How do you respond? Make a passionate and intelligent post of your own? Oh, heavens no! You resort to two common yet fatal flaws in online debate: “You’re a Nazi!” and “I’m a woman too!”

    Godwin’s Law states that: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.” Thanks for proving that! Not all Nazi comparisons are wrong, yours is absolutely absurd and seeks only to vilify your opponent. It’s sad that you had to stoop that low and shows us all exactly how strong your argument is.

    Interestingly, Hitler was an opponent of reproductive rights:

    In order to truly understand this comparison, let’s consider how abortion was treated in Nazi Germany. By some yard-sticks, Adolph Hitler might have been labeled as “pro-life”. He was outspoken in his opposition to abortion for German women, seeing them simply as the breeders for the Aryan master race he envisioned. While abortion had been widespread in Germany prior to the rise of Nazism, Hitler issued a law which made the act of helping in an abortion a penal offense.

    That’s right, he outlawed abortion and closed clinics that provided contraception. However in this case, the Nazis also forced abortions on non-Aryan women. He did not care about reproductive choice, he saw women and children as a commodity. The link continues:

    How could a government justify two divergent policies on abortion? How is it that abortion could be prohibited for some and mandated for others? The answer is, sadly, quite simple. The government was not required to explain: the citizens of Germany allowed themselves to become the tool of Hitler’s will. The people abrogated their rights and responsibilities as individual moral decision-makers and allowed their own choices to be supplanted with those of the Fuhrer. With this information, can the freedom of choice over abortion in the United States be blindly compared with the Holocaust of World War II. The answer is simply no.

    The other flaw in your argument comes in when you claim that because you are a woman, you can’t have hateful or harmful attitudes toward women. Meet the following:
    Phyllis Schlafly, Ann Coulter, Camille Paglia, and Concerned Women For America. These women and organizations are absolutely sexist and support policies that are clearly harmful to women. Sadly, a lot of them think and say that what they’re doing is good for women. Essentially, they think they know what’s best for other women. Being female does not mean that you can speak on behalf of all females. Being female doesn’t give you the right to decide what’s best for other females either. You may have good intentions, but the stance you support is absolutely harmful to and disrespecting of women.

  • sayna

    While I may not agree with a woman’s basis for making a reproductive health/moral/ethical decision, I still support her right to it. The decision is still hers, and anything less than respecting that leads to forced “choices”. What the pro-life movement seems to either ignore or just not care about is the fact that if a woman is not allowed a safe, legal abortion she is being forced to remain pregnant and give birth against her will. I could never do such a cruel thing to another human being and I have absolutely no tolerance for people who would suggest doing such a thing to me or the women of the world. It’s every bit as wrong as forcing a woman to have an abortion, or taking away her rights and ability to access contraception.

    Honestly, I’m not seeing any real support for pregnant women from the pro-life movement. I’ve seen a lot of their “care” for pregnant women aimed at pressuring them. Crisis Pregnancy Centers, which claim to (and sometimes do) provide support for pregnant women often lie about abortion and birth control and attempt to shame women who are leaning towards abortion, are the most obvious example. They make false and misleading claims in their advertising, set up centers near abortion clinics in order to trick women into coming in and refuse to even provide refferals to actual clinics that will provide the full range of options. This is not empowering or respectful to pregnant women.

    Furthermore, I don’t know of a single major pro-life organization that supports or is not vehemently opposed to contraception and comprehensive sex education. They do absolutely nothing to reduce the rate of unwanted pregnancy, which would prevent the need for abortion in the first place. If that’s not what the majority of pro-life people support, why aren’t they standing up to these organizations?

  • invalid-0

    Yes, Hitler did oppose abortion when it was the woman’s choice, but, what I am referring to is the fact that he loved abortion when it was forcibly performed on women because they were had or were viewed as having congenital illnesses/disabilities.

    Otaku-you are not taking the original meaning of the term “race” into account when replying to my comment. Originally, “race” referred to more than just a person’s ethnicity. It also referred to the human race in general and the characteristics thereof. Thus, traditional racism was borne from the object of eliminating traits that were deemed undesirable, and any people group that exhibited such traits was considered a “race.” So, yes, abortion that results in 90 percent of down syndrome fetuses being aborted does destroy an entire “Race” of people.

  • invalid-0

    It is not “hateful” to oppose abortion as long as one does not advocate violence against the women who have abortions or against the people who perform them. It is, however, hateful to characterize all pro life people in the way they are portrayed in this blog. If Emma’s logic holds up, than I, a pro-life woman, want to oppress myself. That is what I am referring to in mentioning my pro life stance.

    Moreover, the discussion we are having about abortion and disabilities is not a pro life discussion, per se. It is something that people on both sides of the political aisle-pro choice and pro life, have expressed grave concerns about. I hope that even if my position on abortion were to change, I would still oppose abortion based on disability, as do many pro choice leaders of the disability rights movement.

  • harry834

    then we are not hateful against you, Progo.

  • invalid-0

    One of the problems is that NARAL freaks out whenever ANY restriction is placed on abortion, at all. They seem to want women to have the freedom to have abortions up until nine months. R v. W was supposed to legalize abortion in the first trimester, not up until birth, yet NARAL and PP are not willing to compromise, and continue to push for late term for non fatal disabilities, such as cleft pallet, down syndrome, deafness, and other characteristics that make up the spectrum of human diversity. So, a lot of pro life people feel like the argument for compromise is only applicable to people on the pro life side, and pro choice people don’t have any obligations in that regard. What are your thoughts on that?

  • invalid-0

    You are claiming that downs syndrome is a race…or was considered a race. Can you provide the citation for this claim?

  • invalid-0

    If Emma’s logic holds up, than I, a pro-life woman, want to oppress myself.

    What Emma does in her marriage, relationships, sex life, etc. has nothing to do with you. Stop manufacturing a link where there is none.

  • invalid-0

    One of the problems is that NARAL freaks out whenever ANY restriction is placed on abortion, at all.

    For good reason, considering that most such restrictions are the MO of an “incrementalist” strategy to make abortion a practical, if not a legal impossibility for most women.

    R v. W was supposed to legalize abortion in the first trimester, not up until birth

    No, you only think Roe v. Wade legalizes abortion no further than the first trimester. From Wikipedia:

    Roe v. Wade centrally held that a mother may abort her pregnancy for any reason, up until the “point at which the fetus becomes ‘viable.’” The Court defined viable as being “potentially able to live outside the mother’s womb, albeit with artificial aid. Viability is usually placed at about seven months (28 weeks) but may occur earlier, even at 24 weeks.” The Court also held that abortion after viability must be available when needed to protect a woman’s health, which the Court defined broadly in the companion case of Doe v. Bolton. These rulings affected laws in 46 states.

    (flying star) The More You Know…

    yet NARAL and PP … continue to push for late term for non fatal disabilities, such as cleft pallet [sic], down syndrome, deafness, and other characteristics that make up the spectrum of human diversity.

    Um. No. Neither NARAL nor Planned Parenthood have ever pushed for that, actually. I don’t know where you heard that they did, but it was obviously from someone pushing an agenda and caring little for the truth.

    If you can find a credible citation for either organization having advocated for late-term abortions in those circumstances, I’ll gladly recant.

    So, a lot of pro life people feel like the argument for compromise is only applicable to people on the pro life side, and pro choice people don’t have any obligations in that regard. What are your thoughts on that?

    I don’t see why a person would even want to compromise with someone who wants to force them to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term. Would you compromise with someone who wanted to force an abortion on you?

  • harry834

    If we truly want women to be free in this personal decision, then we better opt-out of calling them "detroyers of a race"

  • emma

    The problem is that you’re distorting and misapplying the research you’ve done. My understanding of eugenics is, to put it very simply, that it is a social movement aimed at systematically breeding out of existence characteristics considered undesirable, be they related to ethnicity, physical or intellectual disability, intellect and so on and so forth. The aim of eugenics is to ‘improve’ the genetic profile of the human species.

    My statement – and it’s one I believe very strongly – was simply that if I were to become pregnant, I would terminate. A significant part of the reason I would make this decision is the fact the mental health history on both sides of my family is godawful. I do not want to bring a child into the world who is very likely to suffer from, for example, eating disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, severe anxiety, self injury, suicidal ideation and suicide completion. For some people, some of these conditions are intractable, unresponsive to treatment, and cause a great deal of pain and impairment and, at worst, death.

    As I’ve already pointed out, this is my personal position on a hypothetical situation that could arise in my life. I have no interest in encouraging others to make similar decisions – that’s why we call ourselves ‘pro-choice. I am getting the impression that you are determined to see a potential personal decision applying only to me through the lens of the (anti-)social movement of eugenics, which is leading you to misunderstand and/or distort every word I write, and this is causing you to sound rather obtuse.

    Thank you Sayna, Harry and others for your support on this one. 

  • emma

    The original article refers to prominent ultra-conservative members and leaders of the anti-abortion movement who oppose affordable government provided health care, mandatory paid maternity leave, a generous social safety net for those who are disadvantaged, education about and access to contraception, and so on and so forth. I realise that not all anti-choice people are this vile, but the beliefs expressed by those who are both fiscally and socially conservative are grotesque, cruel and hypocritical. These are people who want to force women to gestate unwanted pregnancies, but are not interested in anything that might make it easier for women to afford to have and raise children. Access to contraception would reduce the incidence of unwanted pregnancy, thus reducing the need for abortion. Financial assistance and affordable, comprehensive health care would make it far easier for women to continue a pregnancy in situations in which their main concern is financial.

    Regarding children with disabilities: the difficulties associated with raising special needs children, particularly medical costs, could be alleviated by government programs aimed at assisting such families.

    The article was referring to the kind of extremely conservative anti-choicers who oppose all government assistance. They want to force women to continue unwanted pregnancies, but ensure that the lives of such women and their children are as difficult as possible. Not all pro-lifers take such views, but some do, and they are rather prominent.

  • harry834

    great to see you here Emma. And may every woman feel comfortable telling their story of choice.

  • harry834

    we can call any hate violence the "extermination of a race", even if the group being targeted is not an ethnicity (ie sexual oroentation, disability. etc.)

    That’s not to say I agree with Progo, but I thought I’d clear up that little definitional sna-fu. 

  • harry834

    some say ethnicity is not a "race" but a social construct, but that’s another story.

  • invalid-0

    Reasonable restrictions do not/do not have to represent an incremental approach to outlawing abortion. Personally I think that there is a significant difference between an early abortion and a late one. Reasonable restrictions simply represent common sense from a pro choice standpoint. It is harmful to everyone involved to oppose reasonable restrictions-it takes the abortion issue away from the issue of women’s health and makes it into a technical mess-at eight months, the fetus is still inside the woman’s body so she can have an abortion, if it threatens any aspect of her health, including her economic health. It is not true that viability occurs at 28 weeks. The youngest baby to survive after being born prematurely was 21 weeks. My nephew was born at 25 weeks. All of that aside, late term abortions are disproportionately carried out because of fetal disability.

    It is completely acceptable to point out the consequences of a 90 percent abortion rate for disabled fetuses, that does not amount to calling women in general “destroyers of a race.” Women may remain free to make these decisions despite reasonable criticism.

  • invalid-0

    “reasonable criticism.”

    You appear to be suggesting that criticism of women who choose not to bring disabled children into this world is “reasonable.”

    Somehow, I feel certain that if the men were responsible for the 24/7 care of these children…abortion would be a a respected duty.

  • invalid-0

    Ahunt-you have changed to topic to a gripe against men, which has no relevance to this discussion. It doesn’t matter who does the terminating-if men could get pregnant and they terminated their pregnancies because of disability, they wouldn’t get any more “respect” from me or anyone else concerned with this trend. It is perfectly reasonable to criticize choices that cause the destruction of an entire group of people because they weren’t born. Not criticizing that makes abortion into a way for people to have the “right” to the kind of child that they want to have, which is not what abortion was meant to enable.

  • invalid-0

    It has all relevance. Who is responsible for the 24/7 care?

  • invalid-0

    Okay, I’ll run with the broader use of the term to ask this question…if a cure for down syndrome were found, would progo35 support it since the cure would still wipe out downs syndrome as a ‘race’ and thereby limit human diversity? Two things progo claims to be opposed to in previous posts.

  • invalid-0

    Both parents are responsible. The late term abortions I am talking about usually occur when a pregnancy was wanted by a couple but was terminated when the couple learned of the disability. This is different from the situation of a single mother who has an abortion because whoever was responsible for her pregnancy abandoned her. That is why it doesn’t matter whether or not it is the female or hypothetically the male having the abortion-usually, both parents agree on such a decision before it is carried out. For instance, a couple in Italy was “devastated” when the wrong twin was accidentally aborted when they were trying to abort the other one, who had down syndrome. It wasn’t that they didn’t want children, they just didn’t want that child. They would not have been devastated if the fetus with down syndrome was aborted, which shows extreme prejudice on their part that has nothing to do with who cares for the child. Moreover, I believe that you are exaggerating the difference between the care needed for disabled children and other children-really, all children need/recieve 24 hour care, not just those with disablities.

  • invalid-0

    Anonymous-you are, once again, missing the point of the disability rights issue inherent in this discussion. The very heart of the disability rights movement is that our culture is currently so focused on “curing” disability that it has actually embraced abortion as a “cure”. We generally regard that as reflective of a social fear of disability in which cures are focused on without regard for accommodating those who have/embrace their disabilities, borne of our society’s fear of disabled people. Ie, people don’t just want to cure people out of compassion, they want to cure disabled people so that they won’t have to interact with/live with them.

  • invalid-0

    Yes, Hitler did oppose abortion when it was the woman’s choice, but, what I am referring to is the fact that he loved abortion when it was forcibly performed on women because they were had or were viewed as having congenital illnesses/disabilities.

    So you have a problem with ‘negative’ eugenics but not ‘positive’ imposed eugenics? Just askin’.

    Also, Emma speaks to using contraception which you don’t mention in your criticism of her. Curious omission given that contraceptive type measures such as sterilization were part of ‘negative’ eugenics. In the US and many other countries it was these that was largely used….abortion was still illegal.

  • invalid-0

    No, once again you are jumping to conclusions. I never gave my opinion that downs syndrome should be cured, would be cured or that the cure should be imposed. I’m asking you, based on your position of down syndrome as a ‘race’ and your prior statements on diversity, if a cure were to be found would you oppose it being used?

  • invalid-0

    BTW, I refused prenatal exams such as amnio and CVS in my later age pregnancies, even though they were recommended…I very much wanted both pregnancies regardless of what the results might have shown so chose to not have the I’ll not accept you jumping to false conclusions about me anymore than on Emma.

  • invalid-0

    I’m talking about the nature of cure in relation to how our society currently regards/treats handicapped people. Instead of working for our acceptance and accommodation, our society is obsessed with “curing” us. If I were cured, would that help me, or everyone else who has to “put up with” my disability? It doesn’t matter what I think about cures themselves, it is how they are used in our society to ignore the current, real needs of the handicapped. The cures you speak of aren’t here, and we are, so we have a right to be indignant when fetuses that would grow up to be like us are aborted en masse, and no one says anything about how that hurts diversity.

  • invalid-0

    My question had nothing to do with abortion or reducing accommodation in the meantime (or ongoing for those who might continue to choose to live with their disabilities)…so I guess your just going to ignore the question I asked that followed from your earlier claims about race and diversity.

  • invalid-0

    Exactly-you have ignored what I’m saying about accommodations vs. cures by implying that I said that you want to reduce accommodations, which is not what I implied. You just want me to answer that question so that if I say “yes, I would favor cures” you can say that I am admitting that disability is a bad thing and not the same thing as race, and if I say, “no, I don’t favor cures” you can say that I am a zealot who wants to deny treatment to disabled people.

    This goes back to my earlier contention, that opposition to abortion based on disability is not a pro life issue, it is an issue that people of pro life and pro choice convictions have expressed concern about. I revealed my pro life stance because of what was said about pro life people here, which I find offensive as a woman, but like my stance on cures, it doesn’t matter what my stance on abortion is if the issue at hand is whether or not abortion based on disability constitutes prejudice. Like I’ve said repeatedly, many pro choice disability rights organizations are gravely concerned and have spoken about this.

  • invalid-0

    I’m pro-accommodation…that has nothing to do with my question to you that was based solely on your own earlier arguments.

  • invalid-0

    Excuse me? I didn’t read squat about “reasonable criticism” of the “couple.” You were specifically targeting the pregnant woman in describing criticism of her choice. Why is that…do you think?

  • sayna

    A person can be hateful without being violent. The two are entirely different things (though I think there’s a causal relationship there). One can hate women without being violent or encouraging violence.

    And still, you don’t have to be hateful to be harmful.

  • sayna

    Like I’ve said repeatedly, many pro choice disability rights organizations are gravely concerned and have spoken about this.

    I’m sure you’ll have no trouble showing us some examples, then.

  • therealistmom

    … nor is it a "diversity of human condition". Almost all trisomal chromosomal disorders are fatal or incompatible with obtaining consciousness- the exception being some percentage of fetuses with trisomy 21, also known as Down syndrome. It is believed the majority of conceptions with the extra chromosomal material are miscarried. I would not say that a living, breathing person with DS is anything less than a person, nor are they a "mistake". From a purely biological standpoint though, nature does not seem to intend for genetic "errors" to be viable in general. People seem to suffer from "Corky syndrome" where they think all people with DS are healthy and high functioning- and, for many, this is not the case.

    Do I want the absolute best in education, care, and integration of people with DS (and other developmental handicaps) into society? Absolutely! Do I believe that abortion should be the automatic response to finding out a wanted pregnancy is carrying a fetus with trisomy 21? Of course not. It is an extremely personal decision made by people who have to decide for themselves if they are capable of raising a child with special needs, or if they are willing to place their child up for adoption (which of course carries its own difficulties, not the least of which is finding a family who desires to bring in a special needs infant). This choice, like any other choice in pregnancy, can ONLY be made by those involved.

     Thirteen years ago the prenatal testing was not as accurate as it is today, and I refused an AFP as the rate of false-positives was high. I was 23 years old, with one healthy child already, there was no reason to risk a false-positive and related scares with an uncertain blood test. It was not until my daughter’s birth we had a clue anything was "wrong". Thankfully my beautiful little girl is generally healthy, no heart or GI defects, and pretty high functioning, reading at a second grade level and doing double-digit math. Do I wish it could be different for her, not to have to face struggles for a lifetime? Yes. Do I wish it could be different for -me-, selfish as it sounds? Hell yes. Would I have carried my pregnancy to term knowing I would bear a child with Down syndrome?

     I don’t know. I think the answer probably would have been no.

    It doesn’t make me love my daughter any less. But I can’t condemn people who would choose not to have a baby with DS.

  • invalid-0

    Yes, as I’ve said, DS is part of human diversity and discrimination against such people does fit into the more basic, original definition of “racial health,” eg, racism. You are inaccurate when you imply that DS is incompatible with life, as the majority of people with DS lead productive lives. I am not “condemming” women who have abortions because of DS. I am arguing against prejudice in the abortion decision making process. I don’t really care about what your position is on accommodations, that is not the point. We can’t enjoy accommodation if we aren’t here.

  • invalid-0

    Agreed, my position on accommodation is irrelevant to the question I asked you based on YOUR arguments…a question that also had nothing to do with abortion.

  • sayna

    We can’t enjoy accommodation if we aren’t here.

    While I understand your concerns about prejudice against disabled people, I think that you’re venturing awfully close to the “what if” argument here. I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but my rights come before your existential/philosophical crisis.

    If you had never been born you would have just… never been born. Asking “what if my mom had an abortion instead?” is like asking what would have happened had your parents never met or decided not to have sex at a particular time.

    I agree that disabled people can (and usually do) lead happy lives and that society is probably afraid of them and doesn’t understand them. I think potential parents should consider the options and research a disability before terminating a pregnancy, and I’m sure most do. The problem is that if you don’t let them abort, you are forcing the woman to have a baby they don’t want and most likely forcing her to risk her very life in doing so.

  • therealistmom

    I said almost all trisomy disorders are incompatible with life- trisomy 21 (Down syndrome) is an exception, and even then the majority of conceptions with it are believed to be miscarried as the fetus is not viable. In the "old days" many of the infants would not have survived after birth, as up to 60% of infants with DS have a heart deformity varying in severity, others have GI issues. Some develop bone or blood cancers at a higher rate than the rest of the population, and many have respiratory issues when they are still babies. In this day and age we have the medical technology to help even children with more severe defects not only survive but thrive, and I am thrilled to see that the medical community does not encourage treatment to be withheld, knowing now the good quality of life people with DS can enjoy.

    However- insisting that people bring children into the world with a disability to "prove a point" is, frankly, asinine. Of course we need to actively work to ensure the integration and acceptance of people with DS and other disabilities. If a woman does not feel she has the ability to raise a child with special needs then she should have every right to terminate the pregnancy if she wishes, just as she would have the right to for any other reason. The people with Down syndrome and other MD’s who are here, and those who will continue to be born, need to be given every opportunity, but we shouldn’t "encourage" people to have disabled children to have a "population" of them any more than we should DISCOURAGE them from continuing the pregnancy. IT HAS TO BE INDIVIDUAL CHOICE.

    Frankly, I would like to see more resources available to people with disabled children to assist in raising them to to their greatest potential- but this is the frustrated mother of a 13 year old girl with Down syndrome speaking.

  • invalid-0

    I am not talking about the “what if” scenario, I am talking about the propensity in our culture to want to get rid of disability and disabled people more than wanting to accommodate and appreciate it.

    No, the majority of pregnancies with Down Syndrome do NOT end in miscarriage, this is simply inaccurate information. Most pregnancies of down syndrome fetuses are perfectly viable.

    Re the couple mentioned who aborted the wrong fetus: I was criticizing the couple, because both people agreed to the procedure. It wasn’t the woman having this procedure in a vacuum, her husband was involved, so that makes them both responsible for that decision.

    Finally, if you want an example of pro choice admonishment against disability based abortion, please read Our Bodies, Ourselves, the 1998 edition, in which they discusss this issue with graet clarity.

    Finally, I am not talking about bringing disabled people into the world to “prove a point,” as you put it. I am talking about not discriminating against fetuses with down syndrome and other disabilities when the pregancy would have been wanted otherwise. Such discrimination is no different than aborting because the fetus is biracial.

  • invalid-0

    The very nature of the phrase “it is believed” indicates that you and the sources you cite aren’t certain about the percentage of Down Syndrome pregnancies that are viable. What is that percentage and where did you get it from?

    As for your own personal choice in regard to having known about having a DS child, adoption is a perfectly viable option because the our country’s primary Down Syndrome organization has a huge list of people waiting to adopt such children. So, it is not hard to find a couple willing to adopt a special needs infant. Let’s also please stick to the issue at hand-down syndrome and non fatal disabilities, and not other chromosomal disabilities that are completely different.

    Just because DS isn’t an ethnicity, doesn’t mean it’s not a race-like I’ve said, race originally meant people with an identified set of characteristics. Yes, once again, you can deny that disability is part of diversity, but that just, in my view, shows prejudice on your part because you don’t want to accept the idea that disability is usually fine with the person who is disabled as long as they are raised in an environment that encourages them to love themselves for who they are. Have you ever asked your daughter whether she is upset by her disability? She is probably less frustrated by it than you, and enjoys life in general. She may struggle because of how our society treats and views disabled people, but that, again, has to do with our society and those people being wrong, not the disability constituting something “wrong.”

  • invalid-0

    Saya-down syndrome pregnancies do not have any more impact on the mother’s life and health than carrying any other pregnancy to term does. Please do not spread misinformation by asserting this.

    As to “encouraging” people to bring ds people into the world, much of the “neutral” info given to women carrying such fetuses is extremely negative and biased “he/she wil struggle with this,” “I would have an abortion if I were you,” etc. People often recieve misinformation when they go to research disabilities and pregnancy, so you shouldn’t assume that people have had access to “neutral” info before making a choice. Some pro choice blogs have even gotten angry at pro choice parents who set up networks for people who find that their fetus is disabled to learn about what having a down syndrome child is like. Pro choice websites have sometimes labled these enterprises as “pro life” and argued that the people involved are trying to “force” women to meet with the family’s of down syndrome people. Making yourself available to someone facing such a decision isn’t “force,” it provides them with an opportunity to get first hand information on down syndrome and other conditions.

    Encouraging people to bring their children into the world does not conflict with choice as a legal right, so I think that you should be perfectly fine with people pointing out the dangers of assuming that abortion is better for fetuses with disabilities, as a pro choice person who, like many in the pro life community, want women to have access to as much information as possible.