When Teenagers Seek Abortion Care the Myths Are Exposed


It was a seemingly small story, one of those reproductive rights-related stories that crops up in the news, attracts some amount of attention, and then fades away as other stories crowd it out. But I want to look a little more closely at this story about a Seattle mother who is furious that her 15-year-old daughter got a legal abortion with the school health center’s help without telling her mother. To be completely clear, this was 100 percent within the law. Washington state understands that parental notification laws are an assault on the well-being of teenagers and so far has no such laws. The school health center is run not by the school but by the public health department, and students who go to the health center — including this girl — have permission to receive care due to permission slips signed by their parents.

Abortion is a safe, legal medical procedure, and there is no reason for school health centers not to refer patients to providers if those patients want it. That’s the simple fact of the matter, but unfortunately, that’s not where this story ends. What this story has revealed is that a number of pernicious anti-choice myths have taken hold in our society, and these myths are confusing people’s ability to see the plain truth of this story. Here’s some of the anti-choice myths touched on by the coverage of this story in both the conservative and mainstream news, and the reality behind these myths.

Myth #1: Abortion isn’t healthcare. Conservative bloggers and the mother in question trotted out this myth, saying that giving the health center permission to offer medical services should implicitly mean not abortion. The implication of this is that abortion is not a medical service, a myth that was also trotted out by supporters of the Stupak amendment to the healthcare reform bill, who tried to argue that abortion can’t be considered real healthcare. But this myth doesn’t reflect the basic reality of abortion, which fits all medical and cultural criteria for health care, if you look at without the burden of anti-woman ideology. Healthcare professionals offer it, others refer it, and it’s simply one out of many medical responses to pregnancies that are both healthy and not healthy. It’s also on a continuum from pregnancy prevention services, which are generally regarded by non-misogynists as healthcare. Strictly speaking, aborting or preventing pregnancy is regarded as safer by medical professionals than continuing to term, which is very stressful on the body, particularly for teenagers whose bodies may not be done growing and developing.

As Carole Joffe notes in her book Dispatches from the Abortion Wars, this myth that abortion isn’t healthcare is perhaps one of the most damaging anti-choice myths for women getting abortions and those providing them. It isolates providers from the larger medical community, and stigmatizes a choice that is usually the best one for the woman making it, causing unnecessary pain and suffering.

Myth #2: Abortion is a dirty, naughty sex act that should be stopped because it titillates anti-choicers to no end. If anti-choicers don’t think of abortion as medical care, what do they think of it as? The coverage from conservatives makes it clear — they use the model of “illicit sexual acts” when thinking about abortion. Jill Stanek used the word “clandestine” and Lifesite dwelled on the word “secret” to describe the abortion. It’s language that conjures up pictures of lovers sneaking around to engage in forbidden affairs. If the doctor had referred the young woman to an ears, nose, and throat specialist without calling her mother, anti-choicers wouldn’t be acting like this is some kind of sex scandal. I promise anti-choicers overreacting to this: as much as the idea of vacuuming someone’s uterus out sounds titillating to them, the rest of us without their heavy sexual hang-ups mainly think it sounds like an unpleasant medical procedure, chosen by a patient who was opposed to the alternatives.

Myth #3: Women seeking abortion are too stupid to know what they’re doing, and therefore the real decision-makers can’t be the women. Various news outlets described the girl who got the abortion as “pro-life,” implying that the girl didn’t want the abortion. But it’s all implication, and there isn’t one shred of evidence to suggest the girl didn’t want an abortion. Hot Air made this explicit, suggesting that the girl was bullied and perhaps even forced into an abortion, and that the only reason a woman would submit to the procedure is that she’s “confused” and “frightened.”

Even I was surprised how no anti-choice websites I read on this topic even considered the possibility that the health center referred the girl for abortion at her request. I can’t tell if they think young women are incapable of making that request, or if they think the only reason a 15-year-old might not want a baby is that she’s stupid. I’d argue in fact that if anti-choicers can’t think of any good reasons 15 year olds might not want babies, then it’s far from proof that 15 year olds are the stupid ones here.

Myth #4: Parents own their daughters’ sexuality, and this control can be managed solely through restricting access to reproductive health care. The mother in this case was quoted as saying, “Makes me feel like my rights were completely stripped away.” But the right to what, exactly? Anti-choicers promote to parents this notion that they own their daughters’ sexuality, and they can make abstaining from sex a rule that can be enforced through restricting access to birth control and abortion. Stanek made this argument clear, implying that it was access to birth control and sex education that caused the girl’s pregnancy and only by taking away both will parents gain their rightful control over teenager girls’ bodies.

It’s a long-standing hope of the patriarchy, one that explains everything female genital mutilation to abstinence-only education. It’s also completely silly. Most parents disapprove of sex for teenagers. Abstinence-only was the law of the land for a long time. And yet half of teenagers obey their hormones and not their parents.

The worst part about this myth is that it’s a PR move from anti-choicers to appeal to parents’ desires not to have pregnant teenagers, but it doesn’t actually reflect their obviously warm and fuzzy feelings towards teenagers having more babies. Those feelings only come out after the pregnancy occurs — witness the adulation for the Palin family for embracing teen motherhood for a daughter instead of college, or even witness the anti-choicers suggesting that the only reason a 15-year-old might wish to avoid teen motherhood is she’s being bullied by the school. I wouldn’t trust people who are so enthusiastic about teens giving birth for advice on how to accomplish the opposite, myself. In fact, I’d take what they tell me to do and do the opposite.   

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  • theresab

    I have worked with many teens who aborted without parental consent . It is heartbreaking. Some suffer from depression, for many the relationships with their families have changed. They have distanced themselves without the parents knowing why,leaving the ones that love them wondering what has gone wrong. Some are even suicidal. Having had an abortion myself as a teen,and knowing what I went through, it makes me angry to think Amanda is pushing her agenda at the expense of  these teens who she obviously does not care about at all.They in no way are emotionally mature enough to make such a life altering decision. Why is it Amanda can  state are not physically developed enough for pregnancy at that age, but she thinks they can make an emotional decision such as abortion on their own?

    She uses the alternating words “daughter”, “women”, “teenager” and “girl” to suite what she is trying to rationalize. So what are we talking about here? A woman? A girl? A teenager?

    She states that “half of teenagers obey their hormones not their parents”. Does this mean that because they may not follow the advice of their parents the parents should refrain from teaching them morals and values? What gives her the right to think she knows what is best for other peoples children?

    She says there was adulation for the Palins “for embracing teen motherhood instead of college”. Why should there have to be that choice? Why can’t a teenager who has gotten pregnant give life to her child and go to college? If Amanda really cares for these teens why doesn’t she put her energy into making sure they can do both instead of enshrining abortion?

    Amanda says she would take what “Anti choicers” tell her to do and do the opposite.

    We get it, she is already doing that, and that is fine.Do what you want Amanda, you are an adult and you can make your own decisions, but keep out of the lives of other peoples teenagers.

    Amanda is way off base and obviously cares more about the act of abortion than the teenagers she claim to care about. She definitely needs a reality check.

  • lifereality

    Fact 1: Abortion kills the innocent unborn.

     

    Fact 2: Abortion is deathcare: one dead, one wounded with long-term collateral damage.

     

    Fact 3: Over 80% of women regret their abortions. Other so-called loved ones pressure the women to abort due to selfishness or misplaced compassion. 15-years olds having sex is disordered to start–obvious,they are not making good decisions.

     

    Fact 4: Over 26 million dead unborn WOMEN since Roe.

     

  • jayn

    They in no way are emotionally mature enough to make such a life altering decision.

     

    This is where you absoltely, completely lose me.  She has to make a life-altering decision, there are no other options.  Either she has the abortion, and deals with whatever consequences may come, or carries to term and deals with whatever consequences do come.  If you think a 15-year-old isn’t old enough to decide to abort, why is she old enough to decide to have a child?

     

    The argument that ‘abortion is a life-altering decision’ always loses me, because it leaves this implication that giving birth isn’t, and I can’t believe that.  If bearing a child is a life-altering decision, then old enough or not the girl has to make one.  If it isn’t, you and I live on different planes of reality.

  • prochoicegoth

    There are no children involved in abortions, as children are BORN humans.

     

    Abortion is healthcare for the woman, especially if she has a pregnancy that will kill her, OR a fetus that is dying of a fatal condition. Abortions are statistically safer than giving birth and the chances of complications and long-term side effects are rare.

     

    MOST women do not regret their abortions. Most women go on with their lives, KNOWING that they have made the right choice. Even if your statistic was true(I would like to see your source on that one), giving birth and adoption BOTH can leave a woman with regret as well. Do you want to make those illegal too? 

     

    No such thing as an unborn woman, as a woman is an ADULT BORN female.

     

    Your “facts” are nothing more than lies and misinformation, which doesn’t surprise me. Your ilk’s whole platform is based on them.

  • invalid-0

    why is she old enough to decide to have a child”

     

    She’s NOT!  Does the term statutory rape mean anything to you people?

  • ahunt

    You may want to check into the specifics of statutory rape laws.

     

    Consensual action between teenagers close in age is usually exempted.

  • prochoicegoth

    First off, your post has been reported for violating the rules here.

     

    Second, that’s a fake photograph. Anyone with common knowledge of fetal development can plainly see that the hair growth on that fetus’ head is FAR too advanced for it to be a second trimester fetus. Third, when the MAJORITY of abortions occur, the fetus is the size of a grain of rice OR a kidney bean. It looks like a peanut with flippers, not a “cute widdle baybee”.

    Maybe you should do REAL research before posting next time.

  • jodi-jacobson

    May I have the reference for this?

    Over 80% of women regret their abortions.

    And this:

    Other so-called loved ones pressure the women to abort due to selfishness or misplaced compassion.

    Looking forward to getting them.  Thanks!

  • prochoicegoth

    What does statutory rape have to do with anything? We are aware of the laws around statutory rape, thank you very much.

     

    So she’s not old enough to decide to abort OR carry to term? So what is she old enough to decide? Or is she at the mercy and command of her parents?

  • prochoiceferret

    Looking forward to getting them. Thanks!

    What’s the MLA citation form for “barely-legible handwritten sign I saw at a clinic protest?”

  • invalid-0

    is she at the mercy and command of her parents”

     

    Yes – just like we ALL were as children.  This is still America – where parents have rights over their children and Parental Consent laws are Constitutional.  Why is this a difficult concept to accept?

  • prochoiceferret

    Second, that’s a fake photograph.

    Did she just try to make a “pro-life” argument by grossing us out?

     

    Man, I’d better not post any gory heart-surgery photos on anti-choice Web sites, or they’ll try to outlaw that too!

  • invalid-0

    First off, why report a fake picture?

     

    Second, that picture was the result of a third trimester abortion.  And it is real.

     

    Third, they’re not NOT children just because of their size.  You can play blind all you want, but it won’t change the fact that a child does not completely change what it is when it is born.

  • ahunt

    Oddly enough. if a minor chooses to go to term, her parents have no legal say in her health care decisions.

  • invalid-0

    Did you look that up? Make that up? Or do you just “know” the law in Washington?

  • crowepps

    Because I thought Mr. Lincoln freed the slaves.

  • invalid-0

    Hold on.  I’ll check the 13th-15th Amendments and see if I see anything in there about children being able to get abortions without their parents knowing.

     

    Keep holding…

  • githzerai

    It never seems to go both ways though.  I’d be there are a lot of parents out there who’d prefer their daughters to have abortions.  Do you really want to ask for ‘parental consent’ before a teenager is allowed to go to term?

    And because there are plenty of life-altering decisions that we do let teenagers make.    You don’t have the same level of authority over a 15 year old that you do with a 5 year old. Though now that I think of it, it’s strange that I’ve never heard anti-choice, pro-parental consent folks complaining when teenagers are tried as adults.

  • ahunt

    Common knowledge…but I s’pose I could google.

     

    Back in a minute…

     

    http://depts.washington.edu/adolmed/WA%20Minor%20Consent%20Laws.pdf

     

     

     

  • invalid-0

    For decisions regarding healthcare, there is very little distinction to my understanding between 5 and 15.  This is why high schools cannot administer drugs, even Tylenol, to students in most states.  This is a reasonable law.  A 15 year old may understand more about medicine than a 5 year old, but that doesn’t change the fact that neither of the two children have crossed the age limit to make these types of decisions.

     

    As for decisions regarding the “sexual freedom” of a 15-year old, I’m not sure there is such a thing.  Can we agree that 5-year old children should not be having sex?  How about 10?  15?  I always thought 18 was a pretty fair line to draw.  The bottom line is that in Washington, 15 is not old enough.  If your daughter is out there getting pregnant, she is not legally old enough to consent to sex, her parent or guardian should really be made aware – don’t you think?

     

    I’m not sure how your “tried as an adult” analogy equates to the situation.  Can you explain that?

  • crowepps

    If your daughter is out there getting pregnant, she is not legally old enough to consent to sex, her parent or guardian should really be made aware – don’t you think?

     

    Why is it vital that such parents be informed after the fact when based on the evidence of a pregnancy they obviously must be lousy, neglectful parents who failed in their duty to supervise?  GOOD parents would have been proactive by homeschooling both their boys and girls and refusing to let either leave the house alone where they might be contaminated by the presence of teenagers whose irresponsible parents are allowing them an inappropriate amount of so-called ‘freedom’.

     

    Yes, I’m being sarcastic.

  • githzerai

    If 15 year olds aren’t old enough to make these sorts of decisions (and deciding to give birth is just as much a decision as having an abortion), would you be okay with it being legal to force my hypothetical 15 year old daughter to have an abortion?  It’s a yes/no question.

    By bringing up the idea of charging teenagers as adults, I’m pointing out that our society does seem to think that teenagers can, when the situation is very serious, make decisions that can be treated as seriously as the decisions made by adults.  More to the point, pro-lifers aren’t complaining when teenagers are treated, legally, as adults. It’s not a perfect analogy, but we also let teenagers drive, pick courses, work jobs, and I think they should have some degree of control over their medical treatments. 

    And I think raising the age of consent to 18 is a terrible idea-and it would have to be 18 in all cases for your plan to ‘work’-none of the current exceptions for teenagers who are close in age.   Do you want it legally raised (even in the case of teenagers having sex with teenagers, because that will get you pregnant too) just so you can have mandatory reporting of pregnancies, or do you intend to charge all those teenage boys with statutory rape?  Or all those girls?  Accuse parents of letting their children engage in deliquient behavior if they’re having sex?

  • crowepps

    Keep in mind there are two sets of laws here – ‘age of consent’ to which you were given a link, but ‘statutory rape’ is not necessarily the same, because if the ‘age of consent’ is 16, one of the persons involved must be at least 16.  If BOTH are 13 not only can neither ‘consent’ but neither can be prosecuted.

     

    A link to statutory rape laws is here:

     

    http://www.cga.ct.gov/2003/olrdata/jud/rpt/2003-R-0376.htm

     

    Just as an example, here’s Alabama’s:

     

    First-degree rape for someone age 16 or older to have sexual intercourse with someone under age 12.

     

    Second-degree rape for someone age 16 or older to have sexual intercourse with someone between age 12 and 16, when the actor is at least two years older.

  • crowepps

    Actually, raising the age of consent to 18 would mean that one would have to be 18 before one could be a PERPETRATOR of statutory rape which would let more teenage boys off the hook.

  • jayn

    For decisions regarding healthcare, there is very little distinction to my understanding between 5 and 15.

     

    A bit off-topic, but I’m reminded of a case in Canada a few years ago where a 16-year-old was trying to get declared a ‘mature minor’ so she could determine her own medical treatment.

     

    Anyways, the biggest issue here (to me, anyways) is just how heated teen sex discussions can be.  Normally, I would be with you in supporting the quote above.  But when a teen gets pregnant, the judgements start flying.  Depending on the girl’s home life, she may not feel safe letting her folks know that she’s pregnant.  This is where parental consent laws fail, because in some instances they cause more harm than good.  I’d love for it to be safe for all teen girls to tell their parents, but it’s not, and I’m not going to support making a bad situation worse by telling her she has to tell her parents when she thinks it isn’t safe to do so.  I guess I’d put ‘telling her parents’ in the ‘should be encouraged but not required’ category.

     

    Personally, I had a good home life as a teen, but had I gotten pregnant, it still wouldn’t have been easy to tell my parents.  I can’t imagine how a girl with a bad home life would feel.

  • githzerai

    Depending on how the law was written, you’re probably right. Which underlies why it would be a horrible idea.  There should be a legal difference beween a 12 and 14 year old having sex and a 12 and 17 year old having sex.

  • crowepps

    And once you’ve made having sex illegal, whether it’s for the 12 and 14 year old or the 12 and 17 year old, exactly how does that change things?

     

    The point of making something illegal is not to actually prevent it but to enshrine the ability to punish it and hope the threat of that punishment will prevent people from engaging in it.  Does the 14 year old go to prison?  Does the 17 year old?  What if the 17 year old is female and the 12 year old is male, does that change things?

     

    Or since both of them ‘aren’t mature enough to make this kind of decision’ do you jail the persons who are REALLY at fault – the parents who didn’t adequately supervise the immature?

     

    Personally, I’ve met boys in junior high who were six feet tall and had 5 o’clock shadow by lunch time and girls who were seniors in high school but looked and acted about 12.  The problem with statutory rape laws is that every child doesn’t hit puberty in the same year and laws hinged entirely on age don’t recognize the development curve at all.  Just as a for instance, girls are physically mature at a younger age than boys.

  • crowepps

    Second, that picture was the result of a third trimester abortion.  And it is real.

    Who took the picture, of whose fetus did they take it and where, and did the woman from whom the fetus was removed give her permission for them to do so?

  • crowepps

    Third, they’re not NOT children just because of their size.  You can play blind all you want, but it won’t change the fact that a child does not completely change what it is when it is born.

    While an 8-month fetus does not change substantially except for size until it is born, from the zygote to about the seventh month a fetus changes substantially.  They don’t continue to look like kidney beans with flippers but actually grow bones, organs, a brain, eyes, etc.

     

    It isn’t just that their size is small, it is that they haven’t done the majority of the actual development which will enable them to be ‘human persons’.

     

    She is speaking of the time at which most abortions are done, way, way before there are diagnostic tests for things like ‘didn’t grow kidneys’ or ‘heart did not develop’ or ‘brain missing’ or ‘is dead’ of any of the other anomalies which may result in a nonviable fetus and a late-term abortion.

  • jsb300

    Obviously if the teen is depressed and and distancing herself, then their is not very good communication there to begin with or maybe said teen is afraid of repercussions of parents knowing they had an abortion. If parents do know, why the heck does there have to be this stigma in the family about it? It’s is a choice, you make it or you don’t. You can not hang that over a teens head forever if you are the parent of that teen. They have to be allowed to make their mistakes. Ultimately it has to be that teens choice. After all she considered herself old enough to have sex, why shouldn’t she choose the path to take after she becomes pregnant? It’s almost like ,well, now we have to talk about sex to! The real big elephant in the room. That is stigmatized as well, just because the girl is young, a teen, moving into adulthood. She is going to have sense of sexuality as she gets older and adults, or parents DON’T want to face that REAL fact! This is one of those things that makes abortion so much harder. If some one becomes suicidal, then there is definitely a communication break down and some isolation going on there and probably shame placed onto the shoulders of that teen that should not have been placed there to begin with, by who? The parents maybe? Society? I think the writer of this article cares very much for the health of teenagers. She is after all willing to address the subject head on, while some people are ranting about the ownership of other people’s teenagers. We don’t own our teenagers, they are becoming adults(and will make choices like having sex even though parents don’t like it or want to talk about it) and when we don’t address these issues, that is what creates these problems to begin with. 

     

  • prochoicegoth

    IF that was a real photograph, then you would have no issue finding adequate proof of its authenticity and showing it to us. And a pro-life site with a supposed doctor saying it’s real IS NOT proof. The forceps in the photograph holding the head suggest it’s an earlier fetus, but the hair on the head of said fetus indicates that it’s much older, like possibly a newborn. So it’s safe to say it’s either NOT an aborted fetus or that it’s photoshopped. If you’re gullible enough to believe EVERYTHING you see on a biased anti-choice site, then that’s very pitiful.

     

    And anyone with common sense KNOWS that a fetus when the MAJORITY of abortions occur is WAY WAY WAY different than a fetus when abortion are illegal UNLESS it pertains to maternal health or fetal anomoly.

     

    You’re not doing your side justice with your misinformation and ignorance.

     

  • ack

    There is nothing inherently “disordered” about 15 year olds having sex. None of them would be diagnosed with mental illness for doing so. I think the only truly problematic part is that adults are terrified of having meaningful, realistic conversations about desire, consent, and safety. They’re also afraid to talk about masturbation and fail to acknowledge sexual behaviors beyond intercourse. Talking about sex shouldn’t be something that happens once when puberty hits. It should be an ongoing conversation that starts at birth, with proper labeling of body parts and honest answers to questions as they come up. It needs to evolve into conversations about healthy friendships and dating relationships, which (GASP!) includes talking about what it means to engage in truly consensual affection. This includes but is not limited to penile-vaginal intercourse. First, if we limit to that, we’re ignoring the rest of the behaviors that teens and adults engage in. Second, that’s incredibly heterocentric.

    Teenage sex is not an inherently bad decision. It becomes a bad decision because caring adults don’t prepare them adequately for it.

  • sash

    Everything ack said!  I was a sexuality educator for Planned Parenthood for many years, my mom a nurse in a clinic that offered abortion care among a plethora of other reproductive health care for both female and male clients, many of them adolescents.

    I talked to, quite literally, thousands of teenagers and they were starving for accurate information about sex, love, relationships, communication and negotiation skills. The VAST majority wanted to be able to talk to their parents about these topics, but… they said that the idea of making their parents angry, or dissapointing them, or just making them uncomfortable kept these teens from starting that conversation.  The majority of teens (both female and male) do IN FACT involve their parents (or other trusted family member) in these decisions.

    The laws written about minors’ health care and reproductive rights are often contradictory, espcially age of consent laws. In my state a minor over 13 can access 1. Reproductive health care 2. Mental Health Care and 3. Substance Abuse Treatment WITHOUT Parental consent or notification. It appears to be the same set of health issues that WA is exempting from parental consent(but not notification if I read it correctly). These laws were designed to try and balance the needs of parents to know what is happening with their children and those children’s need for confidential care for these very sensitive and potentially volatile situations.  These laws recognize that families are not perfect and if we really care about the health of adolescents these options should be available to them. 
    To reiterate what ack said: not all teen sex is bad, disruptive or damaging. That is NOT to say that all teen is okay or the right decision for that teen.

    And that is why comprehensive sex ed, that’s medically accurate, scientifically sound and age-appropriate along with access to confidential reproductive health care is one of the best things we can give our children whom we cherish and adore; it doesn’t take the place of parents or the values they rightly should be sharing with their daughters and sons. But when that may not be enough, they deserve more. They deserve compassion, understanding and non-judgmental care.

     

  • jgbeam

    You pro-choicers claim not to be pro-abortion but all you do is promote abortion, at any age, for any reason.  I can’t think of anything further from healthcare than abortion.

     

    Abortion is not healthcare.

     

    And never will be.

     

    Jim Grant, Pro-lifer

  • jgbeam

    Not so.

    http://www.lifenews.com/int1496.html

     

    Abortion is not healthcare.

     

    Jim Grant, Pro-lifer

  • ahunt

    Horseshit!

     

    Peer reviewed research is your friend, Jim.

  • saltyc

    Obviously that lifenews skewed article was cherry-picking, Choosing comparisions of maternal mortality when abortion is legal versus illegal in very narrowly selected regions and dates. They say maternal mortality in Chile was high in 1961 when abortion was less restricted and low in 2007 when it was banned, well maternal mortality has gone down with the advancement of time, all you had to do was find a country which became more restrictive and then correlate the lowering maternal mortality to restricting abortion. Easy peasy. You could just as easlily find a place and time when abortion laws became less restrictive and correlate the declining maternal mortality with that. Here I just copied this from a peer-reviewed abstract about maternal mortality in the US, before and after Roe:

    For all deliveries, mortality per 100,000 deliveries declined from 25.7 in 1970 to 14.3 in 1978.

     

     but the very premise itself should make you wonder: comparing Maternal mortality, see? Maternal Mortality = rate of death that accompanies childbirth, not abortion.

    If you were really interested in the relative safety of abortion versus childbirth you’d compare abortion mortality with maternal mortality.

    It’s childbirth that is dangerous, not legal abortion.

     

    Well I’d say that was a slam-dunk refutal, thank you very much. (buffs nails on shirt)

  • squirrely-girl

    Sorry to break it to you Jim, but there ARE situations where abortions are medically necessary. What part of that equation do you not equate with healthcare? Medical procedure = healthcare. Just because some people don’t approve of cosmetic surgery doesn’t make it any less of a healthcare procedure. Personal beliefs and religious ideology don’t suddenly make something “not” healthcare. 

     

    I certainly can’t speak for anybody else here, but I don’t consider myself “pro-abortion” by any means. I had an unplanned pregnancy (taking birth control religiously!) and I was at a point in my relationship and life where I felt financially independent yet supported enough by family and friends to have my son. I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world. However, I know that not everybody is in the same position that I was and so I’m happy to let all women make their own choices. I would be as deeply offended by somebody pressuring a woman to have an abortion as I would be by somebody pressuring a woman to have the child or pressuring the woman to adopt. The only person who can REALLY make these decisions is the woman herself. This all comes back to autonomy and personal choice. To me, pro-choice is simply about CHOOSING the path that works best for you in your given situation. I chose to have my child. Some women choose to abort or adopt. If I were in a different situation I would still want those CHOICES. One size DOES NOT fit all. 

     

    I am also not so narcissistic and self-righteous to believe that I have the right to speak for anybody else or the audacity to tell other people what to do with THEIR bodies or how to live THEIR lives. I’m realizing this is probably the fundamental difference of ideology between the two camps but I think it’s worth acknowledging. I don’t inherently have issue with “pro-lifers” – what I take issue with are “anti-choicers” and people who think they need to legislate morality and put up barriers so women will have to pick their “choice” either by default or from fear or harassment. This is SO WRONG. And I personally think it’s extremely anti-Christian. People should live their own lives and stop telling other people how to live theirs, particularly when they don’t have to live with the consequences. 

  • ahunt

    Actually Salty…no cookies for you! You’ll just have to settle for the cream cheese brownies I’m making this afternoon.

    I found this interesting…

    Ireland, which has constitutional protection for the unborn, has the lowest maternal mortality rate in Europe: 1 maternal death per 100,000 live births.

     

    Irish women travel to England for their abortions.

  • saltyc

    OK

  • jgbeam

    How is that health care?  How can you look at your son and believe that you could have chosen to not have him?  As soon as you conceived him he had a right to be born.  As I have stated on this site before, the only time when abortion can be considered health care is the extremely rare, almost non-existent, case when the mother’s life is threatened.  I’m not telling you how to live.  I’m telling you that everyone has a right to live. 

     

    Abortion is not health care.

     

    Jim Grant, Pro-lifer

  • ahunt

    Ah c’mon, Jim…do not run from questions.

     

    Why do you want to force unwilling women into motherhood? What purpose would doing so serve?

  • crowepps

    As I have stated on this site before, the only time when abortion can be considered health care is the extremely rare, almost non-existent, case when the mother’s life is threatened.

    You’re not taking into account the fact that it is extremely rare, almost non-existent that mothers die (only 600 annually in the United States) BECAUSE abortion is available. Ectopic pregnancy occurs once in every 50 pregnancies. That is NOT extremely rare.

    An ectopic pregnancy occurs in about one in 50 pregnancies. … The major health risk of ectopic pregnancy is rupture leading to internal bleeding. Before the 19th century, the mortality rate (the death rate) from ectopic pregnancies exceeded 50%. By the end of the 19th century, the mortality rate dropped to five percent because of surgical intervention. With current advances in early detection, the mortality rate has improved to less than five in 10,000. The survival rate from ectopic pregnancies is improving even though the incidence of ectopic pregnancies is also increasing. The major reason for a poor outcome is failure to seek early medical attention. Ectopic pregnancy remains the leading cause of pregnancy-related death in the first trimester of pregnancy.

     

    Medical therapy can also be successful in treating certain groups of women who have an ectopic pregnancy. This treatment method involves the use of an anti-cancer drug called methotrexate. This drug acts by killing the growing cells of the placenta, thereby inducing miscarriage of the ectopic pregnancy. Some patients may not respond to methotrexate, and will require surgical treatment. Methotrexate is gaining popularity because of its high success rate and low rate of side effects.

     

    http://www.medicinenet.com/ectopic_pregnancy/article.htm

    It is estimated there are approximately 1 million cases of ectopic pregnancy annually. Half spontaneously abort, but banning all abortion because ‘the need for them is rare’ would crank the death rate right back up to 50% and result in the deaths of about 100,000 women annually. To compare that number to one in most people’s experience, that’s more than double the number of people who die in motor vehicle accidents. If all abortion is banned, just as everyone now likely has had a friend or family member killed in a car crash, everyone will have a friend of family member die from ectopic pregnancy.

     

    “Exceptions, while statistically small, may be numerically staggering.”

  • jayn

    She (screw the male default) does not have a right to my body.

     

    And you are telling us how to live.  You are telling us to sacrifice ourselves, in one of the most literal ways possible, in service of others.  You are telling us that what is best for ourselves is secondary to what we can do for others.  You are telling us that others can take and use us for their own benefit, and we shouldn’t argue with that.  In essence, you’re telling us that we don’t matter

     

    Screw that.

  • catseye71352

    The random orifice strikes again. There is NO valid source for these so-called “facts” because “LifeReality” pulled them out of its rear end.

  • crowepps

    You see, the problem is that Jim is obsessed with the value of ‘human life’, particularly ‘innocent human life’, and women’s lives don’t matter because he believes that any woman who has had sex has surrendered ’innocence’ and I’m not too sure he feels we qualify as ’human’.  He certainly doesn’t have any qualms about killing us.

  • crowepps

    Fifty years ago the Universal Declaration of Human Rights defined what a human being is. It told the world what a person, as a person, is entitled to. Are women human yet?

    The omissions in the Universal Declaration are not merely semantic. To be a woman is not yet a name for a way of being human, not even in this most visionary of human rights documents.

     

    http://www.nostatusquo.com/ACLU/mackinnon/mackin1.html

  • ahunt

    “When will women be human?  When?”

     

    Now crowepps, I imagine that Jim reluctantly concedes that women are human…just not fully human. 8-*

     

     

  • jgbeam
  • jgbeam

    Frequency

    Since 1970, the frequency of ectopic pregnancy has increased 6-fold, and it now occurs in 2% of all pregnancies. An estimated 108,800 ectopic pregnancies in 1992 resulted in 58,200 hospitalizations with an estimated cost of $1.1 billion.

     

    http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/258768-overview

     

    Pick your cherries.

     

    If 50% of these pregnancies abort spontaneously, as you state, we are now down to 1% that would justify abortion.  I agree, as I have always done, that in the case of truly life threatening conditions, meaning that, if the pregnancy is carried to term the mother will die, abortion is justified.

     

    This is the only patch of common ground we share. 

     

    Abortion is not health care, except when the mother will die if the pregnancy is carried to term.

     

    Jim Grant, Pro-lifer

  • ahunt

    Since 1970, the frequency of ectopic pregnancy has increased 6-fold, and it now occurs in 2% of all pregnancies. An estimated 108,800 ectopic pregnancies in 1992 resulted in 58,200 hospitalizations with an estimated cost of $1.1 billion.

     

    Didn’t crowepps do the math?

  • crowepps

    Have to admit, comparing the original “human rights” document calling all humans to come together in “a spirit of brotherhood” and talking about how “humans” have the right to a living for “himself and his family”, and then comparing it to the current version that talks about “everyone”, it’s obvious that after 60 years we have made enormous progress in that women are at least included in spirit.

     

    It’s would be really nice, though, if the discussion of “women’s rights” didn’t quite so obviously enshrine the idea that ‘women’ have different needs from and are therefore somehow separate from and different from ‘human’.

     

    It would be really interesting to see THREE lists – ‘these are the rights of humans’, then ‘the addendum for females’ and finally a corresponding ‘the addendum for males’.

  • ahunt

    What about probabilities, Jim…as in…Mom might not die, but then again…she might?

  • saltyc

    No, there are no grays. Jim says so himself: only the 50% of ectopic pregnancies that DON’T spontaneously abort justify elective abortion. So if you’re in the wrong 50%, it’s not justified, even though it is ectopic.

     

    Jim, you’re one sick dude.

     

    BTW, how are you supposed to know if it will spontaneously abort or not? Ask the women in Guatemala. You wait.

  • ahunt

    BTW, how are you supposed to know if it will spontaneously abort or not?

     

    YA THINK?!

     

    Good Lord, Jim…do you even think about what you write?

  • ahunt

    Yah…there has to be some tortured justifications for the full humanity/eternally subordinate argument.

     

    Most such arguments appear to be based in the WORD of some loving, benevolent deity…

  • julie-watkins

    A medical emergency, and an operation in those circumstances is going to cause injurgy, even if not death. Why wait? Is it the few chances in thousands??/millions?? the fetus will grow large enough (I think there’s a few miracles were it attached to another organ??) so a cesarean can deliver a live birth? That sliver of a chance is worth automatic damage (maybe death) to the woman, when an abortion as soon as the ectopic is discovered would protect her life and fertility? Arggh.

  • crowepps

    For unknown reasons, just as ectopic pregnancy “increased 6-fold” between 1970 and 1992, the known rate of ectopic pregnancy has continued to increase – possibly earlier diagnosis, although other suspects are IUDs, various STDs and other things.

     

    Obviously, although ectopic pregnancy is the LEADING cause of maternal deaths in the FIRST trimester, many other causes contribute to maternal deaths both in the first trimester and in the last two-third of pregnancies. Picking out one particular cause and giving that one approval as leading to ‘necessary’ abortions doesn’t address the truth that pregnancy is a risky business throughout and that deaths incident to pregnancy are undercounted because they may be delayed.

    Women who experienced preeclampsia and gestational diabetes during their pregnancy were twice as likely or more to have a stroke, on average, 13.5 years after the pregnancy.

     

    Women with preeclampsia were 60% more likely to have a stroke in the months and years that followed their pregnancy.

     

    http://www.netwellness.org/healthtopics/brainattack/pregnancyandstroke.cfm

  • ahunt

    What pisses me off about the Jims of the world is not just that their moral code obliges sexually active women to die for being sexually active…Jim appears to believe that women should die WHETHER OR NOT a live infant survives.

     

    Good God…there is not even any obnoxious nod to “Mother Love and Sacrifice.”

     

     

  • crowepps

    To be fair, Jim does reluctantly allow abortion in the (he thinks) extremely rare cases where the mother will die. Certainly I haven’t yet seen him agree that abortion is medical care in the cases where the fetus is grossly deformed and will die at birth.

     

    The important thing for some people seems to be that there be ONE CLEAR RULE with no or few exceptions, because they can’t tolerate the messy process of having people individually looking at the actual FACTS of their situation and then make individual decisions.

     

    They just can’t tolerate letting the doctors and/or the patients have CONTROL, because something might happen they don’t approve of.

     

    It never seems to occur to the authoritarians that if their insistence that all humans will most likely be wrong is correct, that means that those doctors and patients can’t trust THEM to be right either. Shifting the responsibility off onto into the supernatural ignores the fact that the entire text of those purported godly rules was all written by humans, likely to have ALSO gotten the message wrong.

     

    Instead of “abortion is not health care” (which he has now modified to include maternal fatalities) Jim’s slogan could as easily be “making decisions is not health care”.

  • ahunt

    Jim’s slogan could as easily be “making decisions is not health care”.

     

    Heh…yah…it is allllll in “God’s” hands…according to Godly men.

  • elyzabeth

    I don’t know if this was clear earlier, but the figure I’m familiar with is “50% of ectopic pregancies abort spontaneously.  The other 50% need to be aborted to stop them from killing the mother.“  Yes, there have been cases where an ectopic pregnancy was carried to term, but those are very rare. 

     

    Forcing a woman to continue one can be a death sentence (or a massive hemorrhage sentence, an often an infertility sentence) for her, since the only way she escapes serious medical complications without intervention is if the embryo aborts naturally early enough.  Either way, the embryo won’t survive–so all depriving the patients of medical treatment will accomplish is make you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside because Jesus wuvs you. 

     

    It might help if you actually knew what was happening in women’s bodies before making a blanket assessment about whether or not medical intervention is necessary.  Ectopic pregnancies happen most commonly (99%) because the embryo implants in the lining of the oviduct and starts growing. 

     

    Given that the oviduct is a tiny tube as thin as a piece of yarn (remember, an oviduct isn’t designed to have anything larger than the grain-of-sand-sized blastocyst pass through it), this is a serious problem.  Untreated, the oviduct ruptures.  Let me repeat, even when the fetus is the size of a bean, this is a serious problem.  Ruptured, bleeding organs are always a problem: can we agree that a woman would need medical treatment in that scenerio? 

     

    The second, less common type of ectopic pregnancy occurs because the oviduct isn’t actually attached to the ovary since they arose from different structures in embryogenesis.  The ovary sits inside a catcher’s mit-like structure at the end of the oviduct called the infundibulum. 

     

    When the ovary ovulates, the oocyte leaves the ovary, travels very briefly, and gets caught in the folds of the infundibulum, which push it down the oviduct.  The oocyte can then be fertilized about half-way through the oviduct and begins dividing soon after. 

     

    Over the course of the next few days, the oviduct is supposed to push the zygote towards the uterus.  Very rarely, the zygote gets pushed backwards towards the ovary and out the infundibulum.  At this point, you should have noticed how not having the female reproductive tract be a closed system is a crappy design choice.

     

    The blastocyst can travel around the abdomen and implant in some other place with a blood supply.  Most commonly, it ends up on the ovary, or the outside of the oviduct or uterus, but it can also implant on the spleen or liver. The fetal membranes nourish the fetus and protect it from pathogens and the body’s immune system, so it continues to increase in size. 

     

    However, do I need to explain why we gestate in uterus and not on livers?  Organs that are not uteruses are not capable of protecting and nourishing fetus to term, leading to almost inevitable spontaneous abortion, and no way to remove the dead fetus without surgery.

     

    How it can ever cross anyone’s mind that refusing to intervene is “moral”  in these circumstances makes no sense to me.  If we weren’t supposed to intervene, the oviduct would be designed not to backfire and kill people. 

     

  • oidale

    Well were living in a modern world right now… that’s there choice if they practice abortion, for them that is the right decision but when you look at the world perspective towards abortion and the law of God its totally wrong… more of me at
    http://oidale.wordpress.com/

  • prochoicegoth

    For one, your god does not belong in this issue. Two, right and wrong is subjective when it comes to this issue. You may think abortion is wrong, but others do not. That doesn’t make your opinion the correct one nor does it give you or any other pro-lifer the right to stop women from making that choice.

  • prochoicegoth

    First Jim, just because you write in caps, doesn’t make you correct. It’s your OPINION that abortion isn’t healthcare. That is all. Second, I don’t promote one choice over the other. Prove that I do or concede that you’re just grasping at straws and telling lies.

     

    Your rantings are getting more pathetic each time you post them.

  • squirrely-girl

    Thank you for your response. I honestly do appreciate your position and passion and I’d like to share with you a few life experiences that have shaped MY position and passion over the years. 

     

    You may recall that I mentioned I wouldn’t trade my experience with my son for the world and so when I look into his eyes I really don’t see any other possibility than his existence. Quite simply, when I look at my son I see my son, not a political or religious “statement.” But just because I leaned heavily toward one choice doesn’t make it any less of a choice. Although I CHOSE to become a mother, given the legal options available to pregnant women, I could have also CHOSE to NOT become a mother. That’s the beauty of choice. Just because a person doesn’t like one of the options doesn’t mean that there aren’t, in fact, choices. It can just make your “choice” a little quicker and easier.

     

    However, over the years I’ve looked into the eyes of thousands of “throw away” children and adolescents who have lived horrific lives that most people will never truly be able to understand or appreciate. Unwanted children suffering severe neglect, near starvation, emotional and psychological abuse, physical abuse bordering on outright torture, incest, rape… only to be followed by abuses within the system that was supposed to help them. I have witnessed true crimes against humanity and have realized that WE as a society have utterly failed to protect these innocent children. These LIVING children. What I think some people utterly fail or outright refuse to acknowledge is that not every child is WANTED. Please realize there is a BIG difference between UNPLANNED and UNWANTED. Not every child is born to a mom and/or dad that will love them and care for them and protect them. Sadly, sometimes unwanted pregnancies become unwanted children. FORCING a woman to bear a child (either openly or by putting up enough hurdles to make her do so by default) doesn’t magically transform her into a “mom.” Given that the only exception in your narrow definition of acceptable/allowable abortion is the life of the mother, I interpret your position to include expecting rape victims to birth their rapist’s child. Personally, I find this position to morally repugnant and disturbing but I’m more curious as to what you are proposing to do with all of the children of rape. Were you going to force the women to raise them too? Were you counting on some special group of people to adopt all of the children of rape? Contrary to some people’s delusional beliefs, not every unwanted pregnancy has adoption as a real option. Go find me a bunch of people able and willing to adopt crack-exposed infants from low-income, uneducated, ethnic minority women and we’ll chat. Go find me a bunch of people falling all over themselves to adopt severely disabled, special needs infants and we’ll chat. Fact of the matter is that people looking to adopt and who can afford to negotiate the adoption process generally want healthy infants, preferably from white, educated young women WITHOUT substance abuse problems or health issues. In fact, some people so DESPERATELY want a child that will “fit in” that they’ll adopt from overseas rather than adopt a child here in the US because of the color of their skin. Find me a solution to this problem and we’ll chat. 

     

    I have looked into the eyes of children and adolescents and listened as some of them have bemoaned their very existence and openly WISHED that they’d never been born or that their mothers had aborted them. Why? Call me callous, but sometimes life is NOT worth living. And given the suicidal tendencies, some of these children agreed. These children DO have a right to live… free from abuse and neglect. We as a society OWE them that. But a right to be born? No. If anything, I think some of these children had a right to NOT be born… at least into a life like that. Until we have a magic cure for REALITY, nobody will convince me that there aren’t cases where a first trimester abortion wasn’t the better alternative (or at least the lesser of the evils) than bringing an unwanted child into this life only to SUFFER. That is CRUEL and INHUMAN and barring some spiteful, vengeful deity, NO GOD would ask that. 

     

    While I would agree that “everyone has a right to live” there is a big difference between that and a “right to be born.” Rights are not afforded to masses of cells and/or tissue without autonomous thought and function. They just aren’t. Take that up with the constitution. While you’re there, take a look at how long it took certain groups of ACTUAL LIVING human beings to get “rights” afforded to them. A fetus/unborn baby doesn’t have a “right” to be born. They either are or they aren’t. “Rights” kick in at first breath. And given the statistics regarding miscarriage and stillbirth, I would even go so far as to propose that even “nature” has made a “statement” in dissent about a “right” to be born.

     

    Is this to say there aren’t moral and ethical issues at hand? Absolutely not! I believe there are MANY moral and ethical considerations with regard to pregnancy and abortion. And I truly believe that most women agonize and/or debate over these issues before making this type of decision. But I don’t think the government should be in the business of legislating morality or ethics particularly with regard to what a person CAN or CANNOT do to their OWN BODY. Sorry but I don’t. Not everybody believes in a higher power and those that do believe don’t/can’t/won’t all agree on which one (or several) to follow. Legislating on the belief structure of one group is just discriminatory and wrong. What part of “don’t FORCE religion” do people just not get?!

     

    Whether you wish to concede that abortion is healthcare or not, these are MEDICAL decisions. MEDICAL decisions should be made between MEDICAL doctors and patients (and their God if they so choose), not a bunch of people without medical training sitting on a hill catering to their constituency. People should be VERY wary of government intrusion into private medical decisions like abortion. While it is easy to sit back and think, “Who cares? Abortion doesn’t affect ME!” I ask, “How long it will be before legislators take issue with a medical issue that DOES affect me?” 

     

  • wendy-banks

    You know ahunt, if Jim’s god was a goddess we would not be haveing this talk all– A woman would be above a man just because we can give birth. Patriarchy sucks! Hey, I want to go back to the good old days when women ran the show *smirks*….