Anti-Choice Website Misleads on Connections Between Abortion and Maternal Mortality


David Schmidt, writing for Lila Rose’s Live Action blog, makes the completely nonsensical argument that Ireland’s low rate of maternal mortality is linked to its criminalization of abortion.

The Ireland statistics are no surprise when considering that abortion is proven to cause all sorts of issues, including:

· 50% increased risk of an ectopic pregnancy after a single abortion

· Serious emotional issues

· Increased future miscarriage rate

· Increased rate of future premature births

Schmidt includes “evidence” for each of these “issues.” There’s also evidence that global warming doesn’t exist, that we should treat homosexuality as a mental disorder, and that condoms are highly dangerous.

Schmidt’s claim that abortion causes women to die in childbirth (try to follow that one) is not the only hole in his argument. The headline itself is problematic: “Maternal Death Rate Lowest in Abortion Free Ireland.” Ireland is abortion-free like America is drug-free; criminalization of something for which there is a demand does not eliminate that thing. Women in Ireland have abortions illegally, and many go to England, where abortion is legal. In fact, last December, three Irish women brought suit against Ireland’s abortion law in the European Court of Human Rights, arguing that “being forced to travel abroad for abortions endangered their ‘health and well-being’ as safeguarded by the European Convention on Human Rights.” And while statistics showed a decline in the number of women traveling from Ireland and Northern Ireland to England for an abortion, a women’s health advocate in Northern Ireland pointed out that more and more women buy “early medical abortion products”—presumably the abortion pill—online.

It’s hard to take this Live Action post seriously, and I would like to dismiss anything coming from Lila Rose, that nauseating Planned Parenthood sting operator. But Rose, who struck a decidedly martial tone at the end of her speech at the 2009 Values Voter Summit, should not be dismissed. In the speech, she quoted Patrick Henry thus: “Gentlemen may cry,  ‘Peace! peace!’ but there can be no peace. The war has already begun! Our brethren are already in the field! Why then do we stand here idle what is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have?”

Here’s the actual quote:

Gentlemen may cry, "Peace! Peace!" — but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have?

Perhaps the part about “resounding arms” was too much even for Rose, speaking, as she was, four months after the shooting of George Tiller. Yes, Lila, the war is actually begun. Are you proud to be a part of that war?

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  • prochoicegoth

    The Pro-life community can’t seem to tell the truth, even when they are proven wrong by ACTUAL science and medicine. I guess if it wasn’t for their lies and theatrics, their movement wouldn’t even exist as horrendously as it does now.


    It’s pro-choice or
    NO choice.

  • paul-bradford

    Ireland’s low rate of maternal mortality is linked to its criminalization of abortion.

     

    This simplistic (and false) connection does one good thing, at least, which is to provide a counterexample to the simplistic and false connection that the folks at Guttmacher and other places have been making for years about the link between the high rates of maternal mortality in places like the Philippines and Nicaragua and criminalization.  This is contrasted with places like the Netherlands and France where abortion is legal and maternal mortality is low.

     

    India is the other counterexample since abortion is legal but maternal mortality is high.

     

    It would be best to stop looking for a link.  There is a link, however, between excellent health care and low maternal mortality.  There is also a link between excellent health care and a diminished abortion rate.

     

    People who care about maternal health can find common ground with people who care about protecting the unborn since it serves both goals to improve health care.  The women in India, Nicaragua and the Philippines have poor access to health care and both maternal health and the unborn suffer as a result.  Women in Ireland, France and the Netherlands have excellent access to quality health care and not only to they have superior rates of maternal health they also have lower abortion rates than the poorer countries.

     

    The criminalization or decriminalization of abortion is a red herring.  We should all be paying attention to health care. 

     

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • jodi-jacobson

    Once again, not understanding and thereby oversimplifying an issue leads to false conclusions.

     

    There are several principal causes of maternal mortality.  Included among these are:

     

    • infections, sepsis, hemorrhaging all of which can be precipitated by many factors, but unsafe abortion is one such cause and in many countries the leading cause.

     

    • obstructed labor is another factor, as is high blood pressure, eclampsia and so on.


    Making abortion legal is a necessary but not sufficient condition for reducing maternal mortality.  In the end it is access to safe abortion services by trained persons, and access to emergency obstetric care obstructed labor, eclampsia, hemorraghing and other conditions that make the difference.

     

    India–a country in which I have traveled and worked extensively– has liberal abortion laws on the books–and in fact one of the best overal primary health care policies/programs on the books–but access to health care in India generally remains poor and the primary health care system exists on paper not in reality.  This all is complicated by lack of transport in rural areas, lack of staff in district and village clinics, and cultural norms that still place women at the level of livestock.

     

    Millions of women therefore still give birth assisted only by untrained birth attendants using unsterlized and often crude tools that can lead to infection; many women must rely on quacks and untrained providers to obtain abortions or use dangerous methods for "do-it-yourself" abortions.  "Legal abortion" is meaningless without access.

     

    Bottom line: high rates of maternal mortality in India from causes such as complications of unsafe abortion; child and early marriage leading to too-early pregnancy; violence; lack of emergency obstetric care and so forth still pertain. It has nothing to do with the law on the books but rather is the result of the lack of political will and funding to make those laws realized by providing access.

     

    So yes, high rates of unsafe abortion–whether or not abortion is legal—and high rates of maternal mortality from complications of unsafe abortion can still persist.  The law is necessary but not sufficient, just like the fact that everyone in this country putatively has the right to legal counsel when charged with a crime but there are lots of people who can’t afford counsel and the lack of investment in public defenders leaves the system in tatters.

     

    Please be mindful that those of us who have spent entire careers not only studying these issues  but working on the ground with people who are dealing with them under enormously difficult circumstances have no goal other than to address the realities of these situations to save women’s lives.  To suggest otherwise is to suggest we care only about access to abortion and not the wider scope of services and rights that are indivisible from the right to abortion.

     

    I could care less whether any individual woman faced with an unintended pregnancy chooses to end it or carry through the pregnancy and bear a child…that is her choice to make.  I do care that–whatever choice she makes–she has access to safe services.

     

    And i also suggest that challenging Guttmacher particularly on this issue is at best unwise since the research they produce is done by some of the best in public health, social science and medicine available in the world.

     

    Jodi

  • crowepps

    Oh, sure it would.  Never underestimate the stupidity of the general public.  Happened to run across this:

    A fascinating new CBS/New York Times poll reveals that attitudes about gays and lesbians serving in the military turn on how the question is asked. It turns out that 42% of Americans oppose allowing "homosexuals" to serve openly in the military, but only 28% oppose allowing "gay men and lesbians" to serve openly. Conversely, 58% of Americans favor allowing "gay men and lesbians" to serve openly in the military, but only 42% favor allowing "homosexuals" to serve openly. Apparently, some 15% of Americans don’t know that "gay men and lesbians" are "homosexuals."

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/geoffrey-r-stone/gays-and-lesbians-or-homo_b_461668.html

    You just can’t make this stuff up!

  • crowepps

    the simplistic and false connection that the folks at Guttmacher and other places have been making for years about the link between the high rates of maternal mortality in places like the Philippines and Nicaragua and criminalization.

     

    Criminalization = secret/unregulated = unsafe = higher mortality rate

     

    That may be ‘simplistic’ but its also borne out by actual examples in the real world, particularly in countries like Romania where legal/illegal/legal demonstrated a clear connection to safe/unsafe/safe.

  • paul-bradford

    And i also suggest that challenging Guttmacher particularly on this issue is at best unwise since the research they produce is done by some of the best in public health, social science and medicine available in the world.

     

    Jodi,

     

    Why is it that even when we discuss an issue we both care passionately about and fundamentally agree about we have trouble acknowledging the other person’s point of view?

     

    The statistics I have read indicate that about 560,000 women die, worldwide, each year as a result of pregnancy complications or in child birth.  (That number leaves out the millions of women who suffer debilitating injury).  Do we have basic agreement on the scope of the problem?  Can we agree that this is one of the world’s most pressing concerns?  Can we agree that the reason this number is that high is because women in poor countries have a great deal of trouble accessing adequate OB/GYN care?  I’m pretty sure that we agree about the first two questions, but I would really like it if you would assure me that we have basic agreement on the third.

     

    Guttmacher does indeed do an excellent job (better than anyone else) at gathering up-to-date and reliable information about public health issues worldwide.  I have a high level of trust in the information they present.  I do think, however, that they oversell the benefits of decriminalization of abortion (keep in mind, Jodi, that I support decriminalization).  Honduras has a very high maternal mortality rate.  It also has strict laws against abortion.  If Honduras decriminalized abortion (and did nothing else) there might be some tiny dip in the mortality rate.  (And I think the dip would be very tiny!)  But it would be a drop in the bucket.  To substantially lower the mortality rate there would require an enormous investment in health care and education.  Decriminalization is not a panacea.

     

    When Guttmacher draws a link between tough anti-abortion laws and high maternal mortality they leave the implication that if the laws were liberalized the mortality rate would drastically improve.  The situation in India proves that decriminalization is not sufficient.  The situation in Ireland proves that decriminalization is not necessary.

     

    Why is it that we lock horns?  The point I keep trying to drive home is that it is not easy to make substantial improvements in women’s health.  I feel quite confident that we share a belief that it’s worth the investment, but there’s no way to make it easy.  There’s plenty of ‘reckless rhetoric’ coming from the right, but when the left blames high rates of maternal mortality on strict anti-abortion laws they’re engaging in ‘reckless rhetoric’ of their own.

     

    The issue we disagree about has to do with whether or not the Catholic Church’s impact on women’s health in poor countries has been positive or negative.  The Church has been willing to do the ‘hard’ part (making substantial investments in health care) but has been unwilling to do the ‘easy’ part (allowing decriminalization of abortion.)  If the bishops asked my advice I’d tell them they ought to ease up on the criminalization issue — but even though they don’t take my advice the Church has been able to make enormous contributions in the area of women’s health.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • crowepps

    I don’t think anybody is suggesting the legalizing abortion is all by itself a solution to maternal mortality but instead that legalizing abortion all by itself would cause a precipitous drop in maternal mortality caused by illegal abortions.

     

    A much tougher solution which would make a great difference is a cultural change which acknowledged that women should be able to control whether or not engage in sex, instead of being ‘required’ to have sex whenever their partner wishes.

     

    A solution that has been proven to make a big difference all by itself is allowing women open access to the family planning information which they themselves want, and access to the birth control methods to which they themselves request access, so that they can space births or prevent them altogether.

     

    One of the major opponents of all of these solutions is the Catholic Church, which promotes the idea that because women should be subservient to their husbands that it’s their ‘duty’ to have sex, that no one should be allowed access to information beyond ‘don’t have sex when you don’t want to get pregnant’, and that allowing abortion even in cases where the woman’s life is at risk isn’t following ‘God’s plan’ for women, which is apparently the ‘glorious martyrdom’ of dying in childbirth.  Your promotion of the idea that the Church is making a great contribution to women’s health is not borne out by the facts, which are that the Church is making a great contribution to the health of the FETUS and considers the woman herself disposable.

  • jodi-jacobson

    I have read indicate that about 560,000 women die, worldwide, each year
    as a result of pregnancy complications or in child birth.

    Paul, yes, some 600,000 women die each year from complications of pregnancy, labor, and childbirth…one fourth of these are the result of complications of unsafe abortion.

    Can we agree that the reason this number is that high is because women
    in poor countries have a great deal of trouble accessing adequate
    OB/GYN care? 

    Yes, it is a huge problem that results in part from lack of access to services, lack of access to contraception, lack of access to safe abortion, lack of status and power, inability to decide whether, when and whom to marry or to decide whether and when to have children and how many to have.  It is a highly complex problem.

    The Church has done just about nothing to address the cultural status of women, violence against them, nor their access to reproductive health services….hence the number of unintended and unwanted pregnancies in many countries remains very high.

    Honduras has a very high maternal mortality rate.  It also has
    strict laws against abortion.  If Honduras decriminalized abortion (and
    did nothing else) there might be some tiny dip in the mortality rate.
    (And I think the dip would be very tiny!)  But it would be a drop in
    the bucket.  To substantially lower the mortality rate there would
    require an enormous investment in health care and education.
    Decriminalization is not a panacea.

    I repeat what I said earlier……decriminalization is a necessary but not sufficient condition.

    When Guttmacher draws a link between tough anti-abortion laws and
    high maternal mortality they leave the implication that if the laws
    were liberalized the mortality rate would drastically improve.  The
    situation in India proves that decriminalization is not sufficient.
    The situation in Ireland proves that decriminalization is not
    necessary.

    No one said decriminalization is sufficient….it was your contention that a liberal abortion law showed that unsafe abortion did not contribute to maternal morality or morbidity in India.  That simply is  not true.

    And to use Ireland as an example of decriminalization not being necessary….Ireland with its unique geographic circumstances–i.e. surrounded by close by and easily accessible countries that have easily accessible safe abortion–as well as the increased access to emergency contraception and drugs for early medical abortion is to completely miss the point.  It does not prove anything.  it is an anomaly.

     

    Access to safe abortion services is critical to reducing maternal mortality.  It is not the only factor.  It is however a critical factor.

     

     

     

     

  • kailynn

    So every choice is valid as long as that choice is for abortion and not for life?

     

    Theatrics? What? Undercover video that proves PP is committing federal crimes by not reporting sexual abuse such as: sex with a minor, incest, rape, molestation… 

  • prochoiceferret

    So every choice is valid as long as that choice is for abortion and not for life?

    Why do you presume that "abortion" and "life" are mutually exclusive? If a woman has an unwanted pregnancy, abortion sure lets her life take a turn for the better.

    Theatrics? What? Undercover video that proves PP is committing federal crimes by not reporting sexual abuse such as: sex with a minor, incest, rape, molestation…

    Sorry, no such video exists.

  • kailynn

     June 24th, 2008

    Planned Parenthood of Indiana
    Bloomington Health Center
    421 South College Avenue

    Indianapolis, IN 47403

     

    Video 1 – 13 yr old sexual abuse cover up

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLDGFzdPjBU&feature=player_embedded

     

    Video 2 

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTxsWZz9whg&feature=player_embedded

     

    Margaret Sanger Center
    2255 N Wyatt Drive
    Tucson, AZ 85712
    (520) 884-5562

     

    Video 1 – 15yr old sexual abuse cover up

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpq_k1sfDLQ&feature=player_embedded

     

    Planned Parenthood of Alabama

    Video #6: Birmingham Center
    1211 27th Place South

    Birmingham, AL 35205

    Video 1 -14 yr old sexual abuse cover up

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNTCZdSyHTo&feature=player_embedded

     

    There’s more where that came. There are also video’s of national news coverage because of these videos going public and there are responses from Planned Parenthood taking responsibility for these FEDERAL LAWS being broken.

     

    The last video listed for your enjoyment is responsible for that Planned Parenthood being shut down and under investigation. Along with not reporting sexual abuse and telling young girls to lie so they can get abortions the authorities also found expired medicine being used and already used needles being reused. One would think if Planned Parenthood was such a beacon for human rights they would want to do their part to prevent the spread of AIDS not engage in practices that help spread the disease. 

  • paul-bradford

    One of the major opponents of all of these solutions is the Catholic Church, which promotes the idea that because women should be subservient to their husbands that it’s their ‘duty’ to have sex

     

    crowepps,

     

    I’ve got to think that, at the moment you were typing these words, you had to have an inkling that you had moved out of the ‘honest disagreement’ zone and into the ‘just plain mean’ zone.  I will repeat what I’ve already repeated many times which is that my aim is to have respectful and productive conversations with people who look at matters differently than I do.  I welcome you to air your disagreements with the Church, but what’s the point of depicting us so falsely?

     

    First of all, there is a long tradition in the Church of allowing tradition to inform our understanding of scripture.  Biblical passages that Fundamentalists trot out and take at face value (the most famous of which is Eph 5, 24: "As the Church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.") are mediated through the combined efforts of two thousand years of experience and reflection.  You can’t fully appreciate the Church’s teaching about the relationship between women and men by reading the Bible.  It would be much fairer for you take a look at the Church catechism if you want a realistic understanding of what Catholics believe.  This link will take you to Part 3, Section 2, Chapter 2, Article 6 of the catechism: "The Sixth Commandment".  It covers items 2331 – 2400, which are about sexuality in general and marriage in particular.

     

    Item 2334:  "In creating men ‘male and female,’ God gives man and woman an equal personal dignity.", "Man is a person, man and woman equally so, since both were created in the image and likeness of the personal God."

     

    Item 2335: Each of the two sexes is an image of the power and tenderness of God, with equal dignity though in a different way.

     

    You won’t find anything there about submission (except submission to God) or subordination.

     

    The Church emphasizes the quality of dignity.  Dignity for men, dignity for women, dignity for the institution of marriage, dignity for the sex act.  The depiction you made would be considered disordered, willful and violent if it were held up against Catholic norms for Christian marriage. 

     

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • prochoiceferret

    Planned Parenthood fired the counselors that were found to have given advice not in accordance with the law (state law, by the way, not FEDERAL), nor with PP policy. When we had U.S. Postal Service workers going berzerk, did that mean that the USPS was responsible for committing murder?

    Along with not reporting sexual abuse and telling young girls to lie so they can get abortions the authorities also found expired medicine being used and already used needles being reused. One would think if Planned Parenthood was such a beacon for human rights they would want to do their part to prevent the spread of AIDS not engage in practices that help spread the disease.

    Except that they weren’t reusing needles—the issue that had been found was "improper disposal of a needle attached to a syringe." Which is still bad, and yes, that particular clinic needs to fix those violations.

     

    Now, I have a video for you:

     

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lVJPziwcMA

     

    Does this mean that Burger King is guilty of serving unsanitary food to customers? Or does it mean that this one particular location is in violation of established laws and organizational guidelines, and needs to remedy the problem? Would you be at all surprised if a militant vegan used this video (and others like it) to try to impute Burger King as a whole?

  • prochoicegoth

    You’re not very familiar with the REAL pro-choice movement, are you? Pro-CHOICE is just that. FOR CHOICE. We support ALL THREE choices that a woman has when it comes to a pregnancy. We support her right to carry to term and be a mother, as well as adoption and we support her right to NOT carry to term. Pro-choice IS NOT pro-abortion.

     

    As for the PP thing, ProChoiceFerret already stated that those employees were fired for what they did. The behavior of a few employees DOES NOT make PP bad. And what about the woman who went undercover and LIED?! Does she get no punishment because she’s a pro-lifer? 


    It’s pro-choice or
    NO choice.

  • crowepps

    Well, actually, when I typed this I was thinking about the sad story told by Bishop Kevin Dowling about the faithful Catholic woman in Africa who was being told by her local priest that a) it was immoral for her to insist on the use of condoms during sex even though her husband had HIV and she did not, and b) that it was immoral for her to live apart from her husband and that she should rely on God to protect her.

     

    Feel free to share your personal understanding of Catholic theology, Paul, as opposed to what’s coming out of the Vatican itself.  I would note that you have certainly posted a number of instances in which you disagree with the heirarchy.  Unfortunately, all too often the definition of ‘duty’ is whatever the local Bishop or Archbishop determines and whether it is supported by theological evidence is irrelevant.

     

    I have read Mulieris Dignitatem, which outlines the two roles available for the moral Catholic woman – virginity and motherhood.  I find it unconvincing.  I found it to be particularly weak where it analyzed the ‘curse’ on women in Genesis – "your desire shall be for him and he shall rule over you" – where the implication is pretty clear that the cause of women being ‘ruled’ by their husbands is their passion.  "Be frigid like good girls should and you too can have equality!"

     

    I also found the conclusion as to the ‘perfect woman’ sick-making:

    …the human being is entrusted by God to women in a particular way…

    Thus the "perfect woman" (cf. Prov 31:10) becomes an irreplaceable support and source of spiritual strength for other people, who perceive the great energies of her spirit. These "perfect women" are owed much by their families, and sometimes by whole nations.

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_letters/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_15081988_mulieris-dignitatem_en.html

    To translate ‘the human being entrusted to women in a particular way’ is the fetus so that her holy purpose is to be the ‘support, source…for other people’ as a supplier of ingredients and gestational device.

     

    The job posting could say: "healthy adult female body with working uterus required.  Intelligence, education, talents and actual consciousness unnecessary.  Job can be performed while in coma."

  • paul-bradford

    Feel free to share your personal understanding of Catholic theology, Paul, as opposed to what’s coming out of the Vatican itself. I would note that you have certainly posted a number of instances in which you disagree with the heirarchy.

     

    crowepps,

     

    You’re absolutely right!  I do have disagreements, in some areas, with official Vatican teaching.  I’m also ready to criticize the Church, Church officials, and individual Catholics when they do something I think is destructive.  You know that I’m no ‘rubber stamp’ or ‘apologist’.  I do, however, feel that your comment was prejudiced and inaccurate and I think it hinders conversation when you insist on drawing a false caricature of Catholicism.

     

    The Catholic ideal of marriage is a partnership of equals.  We are taught to approach sex with an attitude of love and an expectation of mutuality.  Both men and women are warned against carnality — even in marriage.  Your idea of a dominant man insisting that his wife provide him with sexual favors against her inclination couldn’t be more off base.  I feel confident that if you were to adopt a realistic understanding of Catholic teaching about marriage you would strongly object to the emphasis on chastity, fecundity and piety.  But at least your objections would be rooted in reality.

     

    I may disagree with some things, but I’m very careful to make sure I fully understand "what’s coming out of the Vatican itself."  The document I linked you to makes frank condemnations of masturbation, homosexuality, contraception and premarital sex (which it calls ‘free union’).  It also makes an oblique condemnation of all forms of transgenderism.  To my mind, these condemnations do more to hinder the transmission of the gospel than they do to hasten it, but I respect the fact that it’s all rooted in an authentic desire to promote human dignity.

     

    Naturally, I fully endorse the Church’s call to respect the lives of the unborn.  I consider it a legitimate social justice issue and a direct outgrowth of the commandment to ‘love your neighbor’.  Which brings up something I haven’t asked you yet:

     

    You complain that my love of neighbor is selective, that I don’t sufficiently care about the lives of pregnant women.  What, in your mind, should a person who loves his unborn neighbor and equally loves that neighbor’s mother do?  My understanding is that a woman with adequate medical care stands a better than 99% chance of surviving pregnancy and childbirth.  A fetus, on the other hand, stands a 100% chance of perishing in an abortion.  To love both, I reason, is to strongly favor pregnancy continuation.  I also figure that the woman who earnestly tries to ‘love her neighbor’ would accept the fact that the existence of a person inside her body ought to compel her to continue a pregnancy.

     

    Your thoughts?

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    The Church has done just about nothing to address the cultural status of women, violence against them, nor their access to reproductive health services.

     

    Jodi,

     

    This isn’t true (especially when you limit ‘reproductive health services’ to services that actually promote, preserve or restore health and natural functioning — and not include ‘family planning’ which I will admit is a legitimate concern, but not strictly a health concern.)

     

    Women are the losers when folks in your position insist on painting the Church with a broad black brush.  Instead of demonizing Catholics you ought to tap into the fact that we truly want women to be healthy, happy and to fully realize their equality with men.  My observation of the folks at RHReality Check is that you’re always looking for the absolute worst in the Church.  The Church is unbelievably large and unbelievably old — if you want to find ugliness you’ll get a pile of it.  But if you do that you’ll entirely miss the fact the ugliness is what’s unhealthy about the Church.  The healthy aspects of the Church promote the health of women — and people who care about women should find reasons to bring the best out of the Church, not the worst.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • crowepps

    My understanding is that a woman with adequate medical care stands a better than 99% chance of surviving pregnancy and childbirth.

    I would say her chances are even better than that, so long as everyone understands that "adequate medical care" INCLUDES therapeutically necessary abortion in those 3 or 4% of cases where it is absolutely required to save her life.  If abortion is not allowed at her hospital, not performed by her doctor, or strongly discouraged by her neighbor as not being the choice of a ‘loving mother’, well, then the death rate is just gonna skyrocket, isn’t it?

    What, in your mind, should a person who loves his unborn neighbor and equally loves that neighbor’s mother do?  

    Pray earnestly for them and give them the respect he would hopefully give any other person by refraining from snooping in their lives, zipping his lips about his opinion of them, and leaving them to make their own personal decisions without his unwanted advice.

  • crowepps

    This isn’t true (especially when you limit ‘reproductive health services’ to services that actually promote, preserve or restore health and natural functioning

    So you’re going to get your vasectomy reversed?

  • ahunt

    that I don’t sufficiently care about the lives of pregnant women

     

    Parsing here…but I think crowepps may have been defining "lives" in terms of the actual lived experiences and circumstances of women.

     

    I also figure that the woman who earnestly tries to ‘love her
    neighbor’ would accept the fact that the existence of a person inside
    her body ought to compel her to continue a pregnancy.

     

    Deep breaths…taking deep breaths. 

     

    Okay…what say I don’t love my neighbors so "earnestly" that I am willing to sacrifice myself, my employment, my health, and the well being of my existing family to them…but I love them enough to watch their rural water pipes and care for their livestock while they are down at Marcos Island in the middle of  a frozen Michigan February.

     

    I think it would be both irrational and impossible to love ALL one’s neighbors in the fashion you advocate, Paul. 

     

     

     

     

  • crowepps

    Okay…what say I don’t love my neighbors so "earnestly" that I am willing to sacrifice myself, my employment, my health, and the well being of my existing family to them…

    Well, hey, nobody is talking about THAT, because then Christian men would also have to make all those sacrifices, interestingly, exactly like Christ commanded them to do.  You know, "Give him your shirt also", "go two miles", "turn the other cheek".

     

    But modern Christians have to be PRACTICAL.  Instead of upsetting our entire society with the idea that we ALL are our brothers keeper, instead the fetus is considered a unique and special case because there, and only there, can men shove all the consequences of the burden of ‘respect for life’ off onto somebody else.

  • ahunt

    Well, hey, nobody is talking about THAT

     

    Ah…didn’t mean to go off on a weird tangent …

     

    But now that you mention it…this whole "love one’s neighbor" argument does seem to be a trifle disingenuous.

     

    Maybe…the womb is ground zero for the concept…even though we’ve tried that and it doesn’t work…has never worked, and there is no rational reason to believe that forcing women to have children against their will…can ultimately translate into the kind of universal neighborly love Paul faults women for lacking.

     

    Gee…if we can just get women on the self-sacrificial boat, the men will sign on too!

     

    No really.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • crowepps

    Gee…if we can just get women on the self-sacrificial boat, the men will sign on too!

     

    No really.

    Totally unnecessary.  See, if the woman is sufficiently self-sacrificing, best of all, ‘gets the gold’ by being martryed, then as in the tradition that "the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife", any possible contribution by the men is covered.  If they can just get enough women to die by encouraging them to sacrifice for others, they won’t have to do a thing!

     

    No, really!

  • ahunt

    Okay, okay…so along with being responsible for the sexual, social, spiritual and familial/interpersonal behavior of men…women are also responsible for the salvation of men?

     

    WTF?

     

     

  • crowepps

    Actually, that verse also ‘sanctifies’ the wife if the husband believes, although judging by the proportions of women and men in the average church on Sunday, that doesn’t happen quite as often.

  • ahunt

    Whew. I feel better.  No really.

     

     

  • crowepps

    The entire verse and its attitude towards ‘belief’ is actually really interesting in light of the abortion controversy:

    For the unbelieving husband is set apart as holy to God on account of [his relationship with] the [believing] wife, and the unbelieving wife is set apart as holy to God on account of [her relationship with] the [believing] brother. For otherwise [hypothetically, i.e., without this principle of sanctification in the believer] your children are unclean, but as it is in reality, they are holy.
    1st Corinthians 7:14

    Perhaps some of the religious anti-abortion protestors here can be comforted by the fact that since the woman who gets an abortion obviously is an ‘unbeliever’ (at least in their theology), there is Biblical authority for the belief that her zygote/blastocyst/embryo/fetus is not innocent after all but instead ‘unclean’.

     

    Really.

  • paul-bradford

    So you’re going to get your vasectomy reversed?

     

    crowepps,

     

    We both know you’re a smart woman, but you’re so eager to put a rotten spin on my comments that you send your logical mind off on a vacation in order to respond to me.

     

    I did not say that family planning services were wrong, or bad, or ought to be reversed, or anything close to that.  I merely drew a distinction between reproductive health services and family planning services.  When my urologist gave me a medical exam he was providing me with reproductive health service; when he gave me a vasectomy he was providing me with a family planning service.  Jodi is right on the money when she points out that women (and men) cannot access family planning services at Catholic Health Care Centers and Hospitals.  They can, however, access every form of reproductive health service.  And, in many of the poorest, most remote areas of the globe Catholic Health Care Centers are the ONLY ones providing reproductive health services — and they’re doing in in the teeth of great difficulty with no possibility of making a profit.  For no other reason than the fact that those involved believe they have a duty to help the needy.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    Pray earnestly for them and give them the respect he would hopefully give any other person by refraining from snooping in their lives, zipping his lips about his opinion of them, and leaving them to make their own personal decisions without his unwanted advice.

     

    crowepps,

     

    I’ve posted this many times in the past and I’ll post it again.  Here is my five step plan for reducing abortion:

     

    * Improve access to contraceptive services

    * Provide affordable pre-natal and pediatric services to all who need them

    * Increase supports for poor children

    * Insist on safeguards to insure paternal support of children

    * Encourage men to acknowledge their responsibility to protect themselves from the tragedy of losing a child to abortion and help them understand what they can do to protect their children before they’re conceived.

     

    Here are some steps that I DON’T advocate

     

    * Measures to make abortion services illegal

    * Measures to make it difficult for women to access abortion

    * Wrongheaded attempts to place responsibility for abortion at the feet of mothers.  Many, if not most of the factors that influence an abortion decision are outside of a mother’s control.

    * "Advising" pregnant women about pregnancy decisions

    * Harassing women’s health care providers.

     

    Again I repeat myself:  At any given time, 1% of the population is pregnant and 99% of the population is not.  The actions, attitudes and concerns of the 99% have a greater influence on the abortion rate than the actions, attitudes and concerns of the 1%.

     

    What, exactly, is it about my plan that you object to?  Do you disagree with me that my plan, if implemented, would be effective?  Do you disagree with me that the more people (among the 99%) who are concerned about the well being of the unborn, the more likely it is that plans such as the one I’ve outlined will be followed?

     

    My advice is not to pregnant women.  My advice is to you, "Take note of all the things you do that affect the well being of the unborn." 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • ahunt

    Family planning is a matter of reproductive health.

  • crowepps

    I was, however, replying to your statement here: 

    This isn’t true (especially when you limit ‘reproductive health services’ to services that actually promote, preserve or restore health and natural functioning — and not include ‘family planning‘ which I will admit is a legitimate concern, but not strictly a health concern.)

    I have to tell you, Paul, anybody who is touting the wonderfulness of ‘natural functioning’ at the same time that he has ensured his own functioning will be decidedly unnatural, and who claims that ‘family planning’ is not a health concern, has missed out entirely on the fact that after having 8 or 12 or 16 pregnancies, a woman’s health is going to be adversely impacted.  While it’s true that ‘family planning’ is entirely a matter of convenience for you, for women it absolutely is a health concern.

     

    Yes, yes, the Catholic Church has clinics everywhere, totally out of the goodness of their hearts, and they’re just great at providing half a loaf to women.  Personally, I think the women, and the world, would be better off if someone else were allowed to provide the whole loaf.

  • crowepps

    And just how do your posts here, particularly the ones which focus on how pregnant women should think and feel and what they should believe, posts apparently aimed at influencing that 1%, make it likely that your plan will be implemented?

     

    How much time are you spending trying to counteract the Catholic Church’s drive to restrict family planning to ineffective methods?

     

    How much time do you spend on boards like Yahoo Answers influencing young men to take responsibility for their fertility?

     

    You asked me what a neighbor should do about his neighbor.  If the neighbor was out working to get all the varied steps in your plan implemented, he wouldn’t have either time or energy to monitor his neighbor’s uterus.

  • paul-bradford

    And just how do your posts here, particularly the ones which focus on how pregnant women should think and feel and what they should believe, posts apparently aimed at influencing that 1%, make it likely that your plan will be implemented?

     

    crowepps,

     

    To my knowledge, I have never yet had the opportunity to converse on these boards with a pregnant woman who is considering abortion.  If I did have such an opportunity I would be wasting my time if I were to give her instructions about how she should think, feel or believe.  Most of the matters she would likely be curious about would be things that you, and several of the other regulars could handle much better than I could.

     

    I’m only just thinking about it now, but I suppose that if I were presented such an opportunity I would be interested in listening to her take on the emotional/physical/financial/social support she was getting from her partner, her family and her friends.  I would particularly be interested in asking her whether her partner had taken any degree of responsibility for making sure they avoided an unwanted pregnancy.

     

    In the end, though, I would find myself preferring to converse with you and the other knowledgeable and determined posters.  I talk to you because, at the core of it, you and I both struggle with the same thing (although each of us shies away from a different part of the issue).  That is, the difficulty we all have trusting mothers and fathers with choices that effect the well-being of their children.  Your very personal, very painful experience provides overwhelming evidence to the fact that some parents repeatedly make choices that do great harm to their children.  Both of us are very aware of, and sensitive to, the vulnerability children have toward their parents.

     

    I’ll bet I could get an "Amen!" from you when I tell you that I’d like women to be prohibited from ovulating unless they were ready, willing, and able to do a good job of being a mother.  Similarly, I’d like men to be prohibited from allowing their sperm to pass through the vas deferens and mix with semen unless they were ready, willing and able to do a good job of being a father.

     

    But of course that can’t happen.  It wouldn’t be good if it did.  It’s merely an expression of our mutual, and entirely justified, apprehension.  Parental power is the most significant power in the world.  It’s far more important than governmental power in shaping human happiness.  And look who we entrust that power with!

     

    Just today I came across this quote of Thomas Jefferson: 

     

    I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion.

     

    Here’s another one of his that’s totally tangential to my point:

     

    I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition (Christianity) one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology.

     

    The second quote is ‘just for fun’.  The first quote is about ‘the ultimate powers of the society’.  I claim that the ‘ultimate powers’ are parental powers.  We can’t take these powers away from ‘the people themselves’ so our only recourse is to ‘inform their discretion’ 

     

    My desire to ‘inform the discretion’ of the mothers of unborn children is but one tiny example of my concern about the discretion of fathers and mothers with choices affecting children of all ages.  My concern is with the ultimate powers of the society.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    Okay…what say I don’t love my neighbors so "earnestly" that I am willing to sacrifice myself, my employment, my health, and the well being of my existing family to them…but I love them enough to watch their rural water pipes and care for their livestock while they are down at Marcos Island in the middle of a frozen Michigan February.

     

    ahunt,

     

    Enlightening response!  When you come down to it, the call to ‘love your neighbor’ might very well require you to sacrifice yourself, your employment, your health and the well being of your existing family.  That’s why it doesn’t make any sense to pass a law FORCING people to love their neighbors.

     

    My point, again and again, is that our unborn neighbors need love from other people besides their mothers.  I hardly expect you to consult my advice about your private reproductive health care decisions; but I’d like to key you into the fact that you do a thousand things that affect the well being of your unborn neighbors.  Maybe you could love them better than you do without sacrificing absolutely everything.  A little bit of sacrifice from a lot of people could save a lot of lives. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • crowepps

    I’d like to key you into the fact that you do a thousand things that affect the well being of your unborn neighbors.  Maybe you could love them better than you do

    This sort of woo-woo, sentimentalist, touchy-feelly statement about how how ‘all we need is love’ to solve the world’s problems is really insulting to the intelligence of the other posters here, Paul.

     

    First, you don’t have any idea at all what things she does or doesn’t do, you have no idea at all how those things affect her ‘unborn neighbors’, a phrase which frankly makes me think of creepy pod people, and your judgmentalism about how her ability is love is deficient and could be better is based on zero facts aside from the fact that she disagrees with you about the practicality of an ethics of total self-abnegation.  The reason that abortion still exists is because ahunt is selfish — she hasn’t yet destroyed herself for others!

     

    Have you sacrificed yourself, your employment, your health and the well being of YOUR existing family for the unborn yet?  Maybe YOUR selfishness is the root cause.  Certainly if you haven’t you shouldn’t be on here judging others to be deficient.

     

    A plan to ‘save the unborn’ by ‘loving them better’ is equivalent to knowing that fairies exist because you saw Peter Pan and ‘believed in fairies’ really, really hard.  The problem of abortion exists not because of social, economic, religious and medical problems, but instead because people have the wrong EMOTIONS?  You just can’t make this stuff up!