The Newsweek Article: Reflections by a Young Prochoice Activist


My name is Elise, and I’m a pro-choice activist from Kansas. I have never-ending gratitude for those who have devoted their lives to reproductive rights. At the same time, I have some serious problems with comments made that disparage my generation’s involvement in the pro-choice movement.

For the last four years I’ve grown as an activist, surrounded myself with other activists and helped to train new activists at my school. I’ve pretty much devoted my college career to making a ruckus for reproductive justice. So imagine my surprise when I read Newsweek’s piece “Remember Roe! How can the next generation defend abortion rights when they don’t think abortion rights need defending?”

My peers and I are full-time feminists. We’re planting pro-choice gardens at the University of Northern Kentucky and throwing Sextivals at the University of Kansas. We’re working with organizations like Choice USA that lift up the voices of young people. We’re volunteering for local, statewide and national organizations. And we’re blowing up the Internet with the tools and information to create change. There are thousands of us working hard for the movement every day. How disappointing to find that those in positions that we will surely take someday doubt our passion.

We are more passionate than you can imagine. We know that the right to an abortion alone is meaningless without contraception, sex education and freedom from sexual assault and domestic violence. We’re expanding our understanding of “choice” and talking about all the ways that race, gender identity, class and sexual orientation impact reproduction, AND we’re doing it all while performing underpaid or unpaid labor that sustains giant, national pro-choice organizations.

Some say that millennials don’t view abortion as imperiled or in need of defense. I beg to differ with this massive generalization. Do I think we need to be defensive about our abortion rights? No. I think we need to launch some offense. From the Hyde Amendment to the Nelson Amendment, universal rights to safe abortions have eroded since Roe, and no one knows that better than young people. We are on the front lines; we’re victims of policies that marginalize poor people, queer people, people of color and people with disabilities. We’re more than aware that abortion rights are imperiled. We live that reality every day.

Meanwhile, about the moral complexity some claim that advocates haven’t quite grasped: I have never heard a pro-choice activist tell me that the decision to make an abortion is an easy one. In fact, from the beginning of my involvement in the pro-choice movement, great pains have been taken to demonstrate to me what a complex, difficult decision abortion is. I have been inside a clinic and heard the stories of women who have chosen abortion. Those experiences have only solidified my conviction that we must listen to Dr. Tiller’s words: Trust Women. No one understands the complexity of a reproductive decision better than the person making it.  

One of my favorite things about the feminist movement in general and the pro-choice movement in particular is our tendency toward self-reflection. Self-reflection is only effective, though, when you listen to dissenting voices and not just your own. So take heed: Youth are advocating for choice, and the pro-choice movement must do better by us. Leaders in the movement need to acknowledge our contributions, and work to make us the movement’s next leaders.

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

  • ahunt

    I cannot begin to express my gratitude and support.

     

    There was an earlier thread, where we discussed the the seeming disconnect between young feminists and those of us who are just worn out. You give us hope, faith, and you restore the commitment.

     

    Thank you.

  • sweett

    Elise -

    Great commentary, and I am so glad that you and people like you are so active and passionate. As a young(ish) pro-choice Kentuckian, though, I must correct you on one point, though. It’s Northern KY University, not University of Northern Kentucky. And I wholly support your activism everywhere, but especially that part of the state, which you probably know has already been the subject of some major anti-choice maneuvering with the merger of St. Luke’s and St. Elizabeth’s.

     

     

  • jill-stanek

    Elise, just one question: What in the world draws you to join a movement that tried every way possible to ensure your mother could kill you, unrestrained by any law or regulation whatsoever?

  • liberaldem

    Elise, thank you for your passion and committment to reproductive rights.

  • elise-higgins

    Sweet T, I’m so sorry for mislabeling Northern Kentucky University. The work done by pro-choice advocates in Kentucky is incredibly important, (especially given the strength of your opposition). I’ll be sure to double-check the accuracy of my school names before I post next time.

     

    Finally, Jill! Such a delight to see you on here. You crack me up. I’m proud to be a part of a movement that gives women the right to bear wanted children and am not atall concerned that pro-choice people want free-for-all murder. You might want to look into your own movement, though; many on its radical fringes seem to think that murder is a viable political solution when policy change doesn’t go their way.

     

  • jill-stanek

    Elise,

     

    You argue against the obvious, which even Newsweek noted:

     

    “It’s a morally complex issue that both sides have tried to make black and white,” says [NARAL pollster Anna] Greenberg. “We have to recognize the moral complexity.”

     

    Abortion-rights activists have traditionally hesitated on this front, viewing it as a slippery slope toward their own defeat. Instead, they often go to extremes to fend off even the smallest encroachments, opposing popular restrictions like parental-notification laws and bans on late-term procedures.

     

    Elise, can you name one common-sense law or regulation abortion activists have supported? I don’t think so.

     

    Which returns me to the point. The people you now align yourself with fought tooth and nail before and while your mother was pregnant with you to make it as easy and unfettered as possible for her to abort you. They didn’t want her to have any reason to think twice. Today they even fight organizations that give pregnant mothers in crisis help.

     

    Elise, you are not part of a “pro-choice” movement, you’re part of a “pro-abortion” movement – which caused somewhere between 1/4 and 1/3 of your generation’s demise.  It makes no sense that you as a survivor would now turn on and promote killing the next generation.

     

  • invalid-0

    Truly, people like Elise know the abortion battle really is a loser.  This is why they will never admit to being pro-abortion.  This is why they are ‘expanding their understanding of choice’.

     

    A simple Google search for student pro-life and pro-choice organizations can show you the disparity in numbers of young people on the life/choice issue.  She’s outnumbered big time.  To that end, she has my sympathy.

  • squirrely-girl

    I see this as a variation of comments to the effect of, “all of the pro-choice people have already been born…”

     

    While I always appreciate passion, do people just really NOT understand that IF a woman aborts, the fetus has NO awareness of a “life not lived?” None. Whatsoever. Honestly, my mother and I have an extremely close and open relationship and we talk about pretty much anything and everything. Through our conversations of the years, I know that when she found out she was pregnant with me that given her situation at the time she DID consider abortion. She ultimately decided against it and CHOSE to have me. Am I happy she did? Sure, why not?! Yay for being alive! But would I have KNOWN if she had decided to abort? NO! You don’t know what you don’t experience. Framing your argument in this manner is rhetorical and illogical. There is no REAL “answer.” 

     

    And just because a person is pro-choice doesn’t mean they’re lining up to get abortions. I consider myself to be pro-choice politically but personally I chose life for my son just as my mother chose life for me. At the end of the day, I’m just not so narcissistic and self-aggrandizing to think that my beliefs and opinions are SO GREAT and SO morally righteous as to impose them on other people. 

     

  • sweett

    Jill Stanek! Trolling your blog post! It must be such an honor, LOL!

  • squirrely-girl

    First of all – I am happy to have the “other side” here for the debate. I honestly believe that one’s arguments and debate are greatly improved when challenged even if I don’t agree. 

     

    As to this question:

    Elise, can you name one common-sense law or regulation abortion activists have supported?”

     

    Honestly Jill, I WOULD (in theory) support “common-sense” laws and regulation of abortion. I really would! But whose common-sense? My grandmother (who had a second grade education) once commented, “common sense just ain’t all that common.” Common-sense, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. A bit like, “I think, therefore I am” perhaps. What an individual believes is common-sense is therefore common-sense to THEM. Well gee-whiz, that sounds reasonable to ME, so it MUST be true… Again, this all comes back to perspective taking and realizing that what’s good for one person isn’t necessarily good for EVERYBODY.

     

    Which brings me to another one of my favorite sayings, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” I do believe that some of these “common-sense” laws and regulations are possibly well-intentioned. I mean, who doesn’t want parents to be involved in their child’s medical decisions? Who wouldn’t prefer to have all abortions limited to the first trimester? However, it doesn’t take a person long to realize that the real world is not a situation where “one size fits all.” Whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, there ARE teens who would face SEVERE consequences for sharing a pregnancy with their parents. There ARE situations where abortions are justified and necessary in the second and possibly third trimester. Writing “common-sense” laws simply treats ALL situations the same when the reality is such that they are NOT all the same.  

     

    Finally, I am HIGHLY critical of what I perceive to be TARGETED regulation and legislation of a SINGLE medical procedure. What other area of medicine do we, as a society, legislate and regulate to this extent?! As I’ve expressed previously, morally I think this is wrong. I will support, until my dying breath, the rights of individuals to believe WHATEVER they want to believe even if it flies in the face of my own beliefs. But, I just don’t think people should impose their values and beliefs on other people (who may or may not share those values and beliefs), particularly through the LAW. Personally, I think individuals who focus their energies in this fashion have some serious issues psychologically. The near fanatical desire to impose one’s will on another is NOT okay. It’s just not. And from a legal perspective, I think it’s outright harassment and discrimination. 

     

    I’ve asked similar questions of people before and I’ll ask you: Would you take issue if members of other religious denominations, such as Judaism or Islam, started writing laws that affected Christians? Would you take issue with another group imposing their beliefs on you?

  • ksuchoice

    Great writing as usual, Elise!

  • invalid-0

    Would you take issue if members of other religious denominations, such as Judaism or Islam, started writing laws that affected Christians? Would you take issue with another group imposing their beliefs on you?”

     

    Like what?  It’s not like we’re forcing people to go to Mass.


    You don’t need to be a Christian to be pro-life.  In fact, I’m willing to bet that there are a number of pro-abortion Christians out there.  You just need to believe that its wrong to kill human beings without provocation.


    We legislate morality all the time, squirrely.  Or did you forget that we just passed a gigantic health care bill… or are regulating shady practices on wall street… or have speed limits… or outlaw theft, murder and rape?  

  • elyzabeth

    Instead, they often go to extremes to fend off even the smallest encroachments, opposing popular restrictions like parental-notification laws and bans on late-term procedures.

     First, why does “popularity” have anything to do with allowing people to have rights?  The verdict of Loving v Virginia was also monsterously unpopular at the time, and probably still unpopular in some areas of the country.

     

    You seem to think that little “encroachments” have no effect on women’s quality of life.  You can get away with believing that because the majority of women are unaffected by parental-notification laws or late-term restrictions.  However, the targeted populations get completely screwed over by those laws. 

     

    Parental-notification, ostentatiously used to protect women from statutary rape, is, in practice, used to provide minor women with an unreasonable number of legal hoops to jump through to prevent them from obtaining the medical care at all.  That’s why in some states, women need both parent’s permission, even if one parent has been out of the young woman’s life for for years.  Similarly, the judicial bypass procedure is more complex and resource-consuming than many teens, especially immigrant, ESL, or otherwise disadvantaged teens, can reasonably be assumed to negotiate.

     

    However, the group disadvanted by parental-notification laws are not powerful, so it’s easy to pick on them.

     

    Same with late-term restrictions.  It’s much easier to appeal to emotion when the fetus actually resembles a baby than when it is just a ball of cells or blob of tissue the size of a kidney bean.  This technique relies on pro-life people not being analytical enough to ask, “What woman in her right mind would abort a baby after she had already carried it for 6 months or more?”

     

    Do they think that women are just cackling with evil glee at the thought of quashing a baby on the edge of personhood and getting their jollies from the committing wanton murder with no legal repercussions?

     

    Do pro-lifers ever stop to think that most late-term abortions were wanted children that were then diagnosed with a fatal medical condition, or that the fetus already died and is deteriorating, and in their enthusiasm to stop the recreation abortionists, pro-lifers are depriving women of critical medical care?  Late-term abortion restrictions are so punishing, doctors refuse to remove dead fetuses from women’s bodies for fear of accidently breaking to law.  How can “pro-lifers” possibly see themselves as compassionate when they sentence women to suffer needlessly by depriving them of needed medical care?

     

    Anti-choicers can get away with these encroachments because these conditions affect such a small percent of women, and because they can easily drum up an emotional appeal.  Pro-choicers fight these “small encroachments” because they unfairly single-out and persecute a small, powerless group of people.

  • princess-rot

    We know things like “parental notification” and “partial-birth” and mandatory ultrasound and late-term bans are just another weapon of attrition used as a backdoor to access the Supreme Court and challenge Roe. They are not, though they come pre-packaged with a lot of sympathetic rationalizing, actually helpful to women and minors seeking abortion without running into myriads of obstacle laws on top of the economic ones that has made a medical procedure into a misogynist farce. They presume women are too stupid to know what “pregnant” means and too stupid to aggregate their personal circumstances to know whether they want to go through with it.

     

    Also, Jill, Elise is not a “survivor” of horrid and fickle women who won’t willingly bear children unless there is no other option. That is a straw-woman, a fictional harpie used to demonize and shame. That just shows how much you hate women who demand freedom and bodily autonomy, and won’t submit to oppression just because you and your ilk think quantity is better than quality, and women should remain in the home, bearing children whether they want to or not, and risking death trying to birth or abort. Don’t think for a second I’ll believe you when you say you don’t view forced-birth as punishment for sexual intercourse. After all, you seem to distrust every cis woman so much you’re in a flap about fetuses that have already been born, and those that haven’t yet been conceived.

  • invalid-0

    Angry much?

    Let me ask: do you really believe that our “quantity is better than quality” is a bad approach to human lives?

  • invalid-0

    Just a quick note – if the fetus is already dead, there is no need for an abortion.  Abortion requires that you actually murder the fetus.

  • saltyc

    What in the world draws you to join a movement that tried every way possible to ensure your mother could kill you, unrestrained by any law or regulation whatsoever?

     

    Because I am not so selfishly narcissistic to think that my mother had an obligation to have and love me, just because she was having sex. I am humbly grateful for everything she did, though this has taken me many years and becoming a mother myself to realize, just what a feat of corageous generosity it was and what a huge gift my life is that she gave me. The fact that it was given, not forced, makes me grateful. I take for granted the air that I breathe, not the life she gave me. If time were turned back to before I was born, the chances against the particular egg and sperm surviving and thriving and becoming the particular being that is me would be so remote, so vastly remote, that factoring in her willingness to have a child wouldn’t change much.
    To say that I’m such an important person that it would have been wrong for her not to have me is pathological, and a common symptom I see in your movement, especially presumptuous people who are mad that their moms aborted what would have been their siblings. Some humble reflection, please? She wasn’t put here to provide you or anyone else life, you should be grateful for what she gave you, and talk to someone about your narcissism.

  • jayn

    You just need to believe that its wrong to kill human beings without provocation.

    I consider ‘invading my body and using my personal resources and energy without my permission’ to be provocation.

     

    While the examples you list can be looked at as ‘moral’, they also have practical imlications–namely, personal security.  They provide a net benefit to society.  Abortion restrictions, on the other hand, can be shown to cause more problems than they solve–to put it bluntly, they are harmful.

     

    If you want to prevent abortion, fine.  But passing laws against it is not an effective way to do so.  We don’t need to stop women from having abortions–we should help women to avoid finding themselves in situations where they want abortions.  The need will never be eliminated, biology is too imperfect to allow that, but it can be reduced.

  • elyzabeth

    The belief that a zygote/blastocyst/embryo/fetus is more important than the woman gestating it has no medical or scientific basis–only religious basis. 

     

    Given that a woman’s body naturally allows for the “death” of ZBEFs much more often than they are carried to term, it is difficult for most people to equate a failed pregnancy with the death of an actual child.  Similarly, biology has natural mechanisms to prevent implantation or cause miscarriage when a female’s body feels that “it is not the right time” for a pregnancy.  Our bodies naturally abort fetuses in times of stress, malnutrition, and sickness, because nature knows that timing is critical to successfully raising a healthy child. 

     

    Our physiology knows ZBEFs aren’t people–they are potential people, they are ingredients for developing into people when the conditions are right.  Believing otherwise requires religion.

     

    The idea that people dying in car crashes (hence speed limits) or people being denied health care (hence the bill) can be empirically proven to lower the quality of life for all members of society–therefore these laws have a statistical, scientific basis.

     

    Similarly, a society, community, or other political body can’t function if everyone practices behaviors like theft, rape, or murder–so there is a secular, scientific basis for that “morality.”

     

    You don’t need to be a Christian to be pro-life.  In fact, I’m willing to bet that there are a number of pro-abortion Christians out there.  You just need to believe that its wrong to kill human beings without provocation.

     

    Last time I checked, 43% of women obtaining abortions identified as Protestant, and 27% identified as Catholic.  That’s quite a few pro-choice Christians.  Consider that the huge pro-life movement is relatively recent–historically only the Catholics opposed abortion.  Until the late 1980′s, Protestants were in favor of Roe v. Wade, probably because they felt like they would get Papist on themselves if they opposed it.

     

    Later, Evangelicals realized that they could drum up opposition to abortion and harness it for political capital, thus all the rhetoric about abortion being a “Holocaust” and how pro-choice people were “baby-killers.”  This rhetoric has no scientific or factual basis–only religious basis.

     

  • elyzabeth

    Unfortunately, that difference is not recognized in practice. 

  • liberaldem

    Which returns me to the point. The people you now align yourself with fought tooth and nail before and while your mother was pregnant with you to make it as easy and unfettered as possible for her to abort you.

     

    Jill,it might surprise you to know that pro-choice people don’t walk around handing out flier for abortion providers or strong-arming obviously pregnant women into having abortions.  We want every woman to have the ability to make up her own mind about if and when she wants to become a mother. I believe that the woman is going to be the person best able to make that decision, not myself, you, or anyone else.

  • saltyc

    There is a “pro-life” student club at the University where I teach. I often try to speak to them (calmly and respectfully) and ask a lot of questions. It is very striking to me the lack of experience and knowledge they have, and this has to inform their position. For instance, no one I have spoken to ever talked to someoen who had an abortion. They don’t know why women have abortions, except that they think it’s because they’re not aware of options.

     

    The more I speak to people I know personally, who were sypathetic to outlawing or restricting abortion, the more they come around and change tehir minds. This gives me hope, that what is needed is acceptance and calm dialogue.

     

    If a lot more young people than middle-aged people are against trusting women to make reproductive decisions, it’s due to lack of knowledge and experience, which does not mean that they will maintain their position as they grow and mature.

  • colleen

    It’s not like we’re forcing people to go to Mass.

    The Catholic church is doing everything it can to force all of us to comply with it’s peculiar notions of how people should live and die.
    Politically your church does it’s loser best to make sure that people, Catholic or not, are unable to choose a dignified death, to make sure that members of the GLBT community are treated as second class citizens, that women aren’t able to obtain effective contraception or have an abortion for any reason and that the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse isn’t extended anywhere.
    Your church is denying access to condoms in regions of the world where AIDS has reached epidemic proportions.
    Just because y’all don’t have the power to burn folks or force conversions anymore does not mean that you’re not trying to shove your beliefs down our throats at every opportunity. The ONLY reason the church isn’t forcing people to go to mass is because it does not have the power.

  • elyzabeth

    There is also the issue that passing laws against abortion don’t do jack to make it any less common.  Before it was legal in America, and in countries like Brazil where it is currently illegal, rich women would go to their doctors for help with “regulating their cycles” and poor women would die in drives from septicemia caused by unsafe abortion.

     

    The countries with the lowest abortion rates are ones where abortion is legal and safe, not countries, like Brazil, where it is illegal.

     

    Just because it is illegal doesn’t mean it will go away, and you would need to be startlingly naive to think that.

  • invalid-0

    Why is “pro-life” in quotes?  

    Where do you teach?

    If you want to wait it out, hoping that my generation will suddenly change our minds on this topic, be my guest.  Just assuming we’re stupid or uninformed won’t get you anywhere.

  • colleen

    Let me ask: do you really believe that our “quantity is better than quality” is a bad approach to human lives?

    What’s more in a world where 1/2 the human population lives on 2 bucks a day or less I believe it’s cruel, short sighted, irresponsible, indecent and profoundly immoral.

  • elyzabeth

    Yes, I do think that believing that the quality of life, plans, dreams, and careers for a large percent of the population is trivial and needs to be sacrificed for an idealized version of reality is a very crappy way to approach human lives!!!

     

    Everyone here would love to see society and our economic system change so that women don’t need to choose between motherhood and going to school or having a career, but that isn’t the world we live in.  We want women to have a full range of reproductive choices, and it is painful that many women have to sacrifice having children while it is biologically optimal because our economic and educational systems won’t accommodate it.  We don’t want women to have to make that choice, but until society changes, don’t treat making women choose between having a kid and having a degree and a real job like it is a selfish decision.

     

    Especially since legal restrictions don’t actually lower the number of abortions.

     

    Edited 1:40 for clarity.

  • saltyc

    Why is “pro-life” in quotes?  

    Where do you teach?

    If you want to wait it out, hoping that my generation will suddenly change our minds on this topic, be my guest.  Just assuming we’re stupid or uninformed won’t get you anywhere.

    I put “pro-life” in quotes because just wanting to force, coerce, badger and harrass women into making babies does not make you “pro-life.”

    You must be stupid if you think I’ll give personal information like where I teach to someone from your ruthless movement.

    I am not waiting, I am actively talking to people, helping women with funds to get abortions and researching and thinking.

    The fact that you are uninformed is something I have discovered from talking to anti-choice people.

     

  • crowepps

    The medical definition of ‘abortion’ is the

    “the premature exit of the products of conception (the fetus, fetal membranes, and placenta) from the uterus. It is the loss of a pregnancy and does not refer to why that pregnancy was lost.”
    http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=2091

     

    Spontaneous abortions (miscarriages) are often followed by one of the exact same medical procedures used in elective abortion in order to guard against the likelihood of infection.

     

    Attempting to redefine the word so as to exclude all of the far more common miscarriages and natural errors of gestation and equate the word with ‘baby killing’ only works if other people are too ignorant to catch on to what you’re doing.

  • crowepps

    Given the choice between using birth control/abortion to restrict the total number of births or instead relying on starvation, disease and war to keep the overall population in balance with the resources available, I’ll choose birth control/abortion every time.

     

    I realize most Americans think the Four Horsemen are cool videogame characters, but even the most cursory knowledge of history would convince most that we shouldn’t deliberately INVITE them to visit.

  • crowepps

     This is why they will never admit to being pro-abortion.  

    Or, alternatively, it could be that they “will never admit” to being pro-abortion because they actually aren’t.  Being pro-abortion would mean a relentless campaign of harassment against pregnant women who want to have children to force them to have abortions instead.

    Anybody doing that?  I can’t find a website.  I can’t find a Facebook page.  Anybody got a link?

     

     

  • crowepps

    Some people are actually able to conceptualize social movements from the point of view of what is good for the greatest number because they are not self-centered and don’t see every issue as being All About Me.

     

    What in the world draws you to join a movement that insists women who commit the ‘crime’ of suffering complications of pregnancy should get the death penalty?

  • elyzabeth

    If they are anything like the “pro-life” club at my campus, then in general they are pro-war, pro-capital punishment, are not concerned that legislation criminalizing abortion causes an increase in maternal death, pro-ab only education in Third World countries–leading to an increase in death from AIDS (yay Pope Benedict!!), they think that poor people aren’t entitled to affordable healthcare because being poor is a sign of laziness, and a lot of them don’t wear seatbelts.

     

    “Stupid and uninformed” sounds like the most charitable assessment of the mindset–try “self-righteous and willfully ignorant” if you want to be more accurate.

     

    Edited 2:33 for clarity

  • invalid-0

    Yeah, that’s… total hogwash.  If you guys really want to win over the next generation, I suggest you stop trying to accuse pro-lifers of being religious zealots and actually address the issues themselves.  Either attack our message or admit that the message is correct.  Young people see right through the personal attacks these days – your message is weak.

  • invalid-0

    crow, you know we don’t have problems with the natural death of a fetus (sad, but unavoidable) – don’t change the subject.

     

    Again, what does it take to keep a pro-choicer on the issue at hand?

  • invalid-0
  • crowepps

    The issue at hand in this particular post was your incorrect assertion that “it isn’t abortion unless it kills the baby”.

     

    Another issue is that you apparently “don’t have problems” with the natural death of the WOMAN either.

  • invalid-0

    Ah yes… we’re ruthless.  We really do enjoy coercion and harassment.  You really nailed us!

    C’mon, Salty.  Even you have to admit that you’re mis-characterizing or at BEST over-generalizing the pro-life movement.

    I asked where you teach because I’d bet my lunch that you’re lying about ever speaking with a group of pro-life students – and I’d bet the members of that group would love an invite to this message board to address your comments.  You may do so, if you wish – you don’t need to tell me where you teach.

  • crowepps

    Either attack our message or admit that the message is correct.

    Your message being that other people are obligated to conform their sex lives and reproductive decisions to your standards, based on your total ignorance of the realities of their doing so?

     

    I don’t have any problem attacking that belief at all. If you actually grasped exactly what the burden is that you are eager to bind to the backs of others, you would understand your message is ludicrous, and if you understood just what effectuating your ‘message’ would do to the maternal death rate, you would be appalled.

     

    The biggest problem I have with young ProLife activists is that although they have no personal experience whatsoever in the realities, and a lot of the information they ‘believe’ turns out to be false after the most cursory research, they nevertheless insist they are qualified to mandate the decisions of people who are dealing with those realities, and to harass strangers who don’t bow to their self-proclaimed expertise.

     

    Reminds me of the old saying “Teaching grandmother to suck eggs”.

    • jacqueline-s-homan

      crowepps:

      “If you actually grasped exactly what the burden is that you are eager to bind to the backs of others, you would understand your message is ludicrous, and if you understood just what effectuating your ‘message’ would do to the maternal death rate, you would be appalled.”

       

      Actually crowepps, I don’t think the anti-woman/pro-forced birth crowd would really care at all about other women and girls dying from pregnancy and childbirth. As long as they’re fine it’s “screw you I’ve got mine.”

      Look at the flak Margaret Higgins Sanger caught for trying to make contraceptives available to poor women after her stint as a nurse where she witnessed the maternal deaths of hundreds of poor women — whose bodies were prematurely worn out from having 6,8,10 or more kids — and the establishment knew these women were dying but didn’t care. Their ideology and narrow worldview was more important than women’s lives.

      Being the narcissistic lot that they are, “pro-lifers”  wouldn’t give a Hoover’s Dam about the ramifications of effectuating their “message” on the maternal death rate (which is the highest among First World nations, and in pockets of poverty across the US, it is equal to the maternal death rates in Third World countries.

      They wouldn’t be appalled at all, until it happens to them. I personally know an abortion practitioner who remarked on the irony of the “no abortion should be allowed except MY abortion” mentality.

      One of her patients last year was a 19 year old “pro-lifer” who got pregnant (ditched by the co-conceiver who pulled a “Levi Johnson” number) and who faced the very real prospect of dying if she continued the pregnancy because the pregnancy triggered a cancer (from the pregnancy hormones) that would have killed her because pregnant women cannot get cancer treatment, so the choice was die (possibly before being able to give birth) from the cancer, or get the abortion and get treatments so she would live. Guess what she chose? She got the abortion. Yet, after that, this hypocrite “pro-lifer” still had the audacity to picket the clinic (yeah, the very same one where SHE got helped!) and try to take away other women’s right to life and bodily integrity/autonomy. Talk about moxy…Sheesh!

  • rebellious-grrl

    Elise, Great article. Like you, I spent most of my collage career as an activist for reproductive rights. It’s inspiring to see the younger generation continuing the fight. Multi-generational feminists are working together. An example is the solidarity event at Planned Parenthood in MN On April 2. Baby boomers, Gen X, and millennials stood together for choice and women’s health. Feminists of different generations can work to inspire each other, to learn from each other. I love the ideas you mentioned about “planting pro-choice gardens and throwing Sextivals.” Great ideas and venues to talk about sexual health.

     

     

    Thanks Elise, and keep up the great work.

  • elyzabeth

    “you know we don’t have problems with the natural death of a fetus (sad, but unavoidable) – don’t change the subject.”

     

    Huh?  I thought the focus of the pro-life movement was to ensure that all fertilized eggs developed into babies.  It would then logically follow that they would support:

    a) subsidizing maternal care for poor women 

    b) medical research in eliminating fetal health problems

    c) reducing pollution and exposure to teratogens in the environment and workplace

    d) making sure that pregnant women receive adequate nutrition

    e) lengthy paid maternity leave so women can avoid stress of the workplace if they so choose to avoid the risk of miscarriage

      Natural death is not inevitable, and if you actually cared, there are many polices you could support to reduce it.  Since you said that “natural death” didn’t bother you, I’m forced to conclude that you don’t actually care about optimizing the number of zygotes that develop into babies; you only care about ensuring that women’s choice plays no role in the matter.

     

    We are very concerned about the “natural death” of born children, and as a society we have put quite a bit of effort into eliminating childhood diseases, ensuring children receive adequate nutrition, making sure children don’t get eaten by bears, and other policies that prevent them from dying by means other than murder.  I’ve heard only one other pro-life poster actually address that issue–I guess everyone else just figures it’s moral if god kills the ZBEF because it’s part of his plan.

  • ahunt

    I asked where you teach because I‘d bet my lunch that you’re lying about ever speaking with a group of pro-life students – and I’d bet the members of that group would love an invite to this message board to address your comments.

     

    Yah…which is why Salty has no reason to believe the benign intent you claim.

  • kate-ranieri

    Arex wrote:”Ah yes… we’re ruthless.  We really do enjoy coercion and harassment.  You really nailed us!

    C’mon, Salty.  Even you have to admit that you’re mis-characterizing or at BEST over-generalizing the pro-life movement.

    I asked where you teach because I’d bet my lunch that you’re lying about ever speaking with a group of pro-life students – and I’d bet the members of that group would love an invite to this message board to address your comments.  You may do so, if you wish – you don’t need to tell me where you teach.”

     

    Let me abbreviate your comments to just this one thought of your’s “you don’t need me” (bold added). And you’re right. We don’t.

    Period.

    Full stop. 

    ###

  • invalid-0

    *shakes head*

    We have no intention of making the natural death of the fetus illegal.  The issue does not concern us as activists.  We agree that maternal health should be promoted.  You NEED to stop putting words in our mouths.

    I find it interesting that you refer to the care as ‘maternal’.

  • invalid-0

    Really? Poor women would die in “drives” from unsafe abortions?  In 1973, the year Roe passed 19 women died from illegal abortion procedures.  25 died from legal abortion procedures.

    Don’t make stuff up.

  • invalid-0

    Just what intent do you think I have?

  • colleen

    you don’t need to tell me where you teach.

    the ‘pro-life’ movement has a long, sad history of bullying, intimidation, violent felonies and harassment directed towards anyone with the courage to stand up to them. I’ve seen you folks go after people’s jobs, harass their children and picket their homes. Indeed just recently one of your own murdered a good man on sunday morning and at church. Nobody posting here has to tell you anything and, indeed, the pro-choice men and women who post here would do well to not divulge personal information.

  • crowepps

    We have no intention of making the natural death of the fetus illegal. The issue does not concern us as activists.

    Well, that issue certainly SHOULD concern you, since banning abortions is going to prevent doctors from removing those dead fetuses from women.

     

    Does your ideal ‘ban abortion’ legislation contain a specific exemption that says “none of the provisions of this law apply in any situation where the fetus is dead and no doctor need fear enforcement for abortions performed in such cases”?

  • crowepps

    Actually, it’s hard to determine your intent. You haven’t posted any new information that might convince other people you’re right, you reject all the information others try to provide to you as lies, you haven’t even explained your own stance on what abortions you think should be or should not be legal, and then you insult everyone here by claiming that we all want to force women to have abortions they don’t want.

     

    At this point it seems to me your ‘intent’ is to take advantage of the anonymity of the internet to be rude to people and massage your own self-importance.

  • princess-rot

    Largely because Elise does not live in an existential tailspin, I imagine.  What if her mom self-aborted using a dangerous method because she couldn’t access abortion and she was desperate? If you’re going to play silly “what if?” games we could on all day. Really, Jill, do you distrust all women so much you can’t even trust them to know when they want to continue a pregnancy and when they don’t?

  • squirrely-girl

     

     

    Point of order – LEGAL doesn’t always mean SAFE. This applies to many situations in life, not just abortion.

     

    Also, keep in mind that prior to Roe v. Wade, by 1970, 15 states had liberalized their abortion laws considerably. So using 1973 as THE demarcation line is a bit misleading. Prior to about 1970, there were hundreds of recorded deaths from abortion each year in this country. And complications of abortion were a major cause of hospital admission. However, following Roe v. Wade, these numbers declined DRAMATICALLY (AGI, 1999). Still, all over the world, countries with strict laws outlawing or severely restricting access to abortion have the highest rates of deaths from abortion (Cohen, 2009). Crazy huh?!

     

    Also, if you’re going to throw out very specific numbers, it is generally expected that you cite the source. Otherwise, educated people tend to assume you’re spouting rhetoric or making things up. Just saying…

     

    ________

    Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI). (1999). Sharing Responsibility: Women, Society and Abortion Worldwide. New York: AGI.

    Cohen, S. A. (2009). Facts and Consequences: Legality, Incidence and Safety of Abortion Worldwide. Guttmacher Policy Review, 12 (4).

     

     

  • squirrely-girl

    Being upset about “clinics” who provide no REAL medical services (and no, OTC pregnancy tests don’t count), perpetuate lies about reproduction and contraception, and blatantly refuse to adhere to medical/counseling ethics such as confidentiality and privacy doesn’t mean a person is “pro-abortion.”

     

    It means they don’t like LIARS. 

     

    I genuinely like the *idea* of a crisis pregnancy center (a place to provide support to low income, pregnant women with WANTED pregnancies). However, I don’t appreciate the tactics that the current crop of centers use. Rarely does the “ends justify the means” if the means were DECEIT or SHAME.

  • invalid-0

    Yes? What makes you think we would want to make the removal of a dead fetus illegal?

    No pro-lifer makes that claim.  You’d better be pretty darn sure its dead though.  My friend opted to get a second opinion after the first recommended a D&C, believing the child to be dead.

    Their daughter is now one – thank goodness.

  • squirrely-girl

    Could not have said it better myself :)

  • invalid-0

    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5212a1.htm

     

    Happy? And please provide a web link – I cannot check your source.

  • invalid-0

    I can make the same accusation about abortionists – lies, misinformation, whatever.  Do you have anything original to add to this?

  • elyzabeth

    We have no intention of making the natural death of the fetus illegal.  The issue does not concern us as activists. 

     

    For the record, there was a bill in Utah that would have criminalized miscarriages, so yes, some pro-lifers with influence over politics are intent on making the natural death of the fetus illegal.

     

    However, I was not addressing the idea of criminalizing natural fetal death–I was outlining policies you would support if maximizing the number of zygotes that survived to develop into babies was actually your intent. 

     

    Pro-lifers, at least the ones affecting public policy, however, do not promote these policies–they only focus on banning abortion.  That is why it can reasonably be inferred that pro-lifers are not concerned with fetal death, only with removing women’s control.

     

    Many natural fetal deaths are preventable, and only happen because women lack access to medical care.  You said we agree that maternal care should be promoted, but how anti-choice activists almost never mention it?  How come, if you are so comprehensively pro-life and pained by the loss of a single zygote, that maternal care is not one of the main talking points?

  • princess-rot

    I’m angry that others think they get to decide what I do with my life. I would rather that women and girls get to choose their own paths in life rather than have it forced on them. I would rather not have epic levels of poverty and it’s attendants: crime, lack of resources, pollution, war, disease, overcrowding, economic instability, a large pool of desperate poor people being exploited for jobs, women dying from illegal abortions, abuse getting swept under the carpet because nobody cares about all those unwanted children once they are here, etcetera. All of that happens already, and we know these things disproportionately effect those already at a disadvantage in society – why do we need more of the same? Why is more better to pro-lifers? I can have a fair guess at the broad goals of the mainstream pro-life movement (for America), and that guess includes the words “domination”, “exploitable working class”, “relegating women to home and hearth” and “more white infants” among other things – but I want to hear it from the horse’s mouth, as it’s something you’ve not yet explained here. What’s your personal justification for making motherhood mandatory?

  • jayn

    I highly doubt the majority of pro-lifers would want to make such an act illegal.  HOWEVER, the laws you put forth often do make it difficult to impossible for women in these circumstances to access the services they require to protect their health and lives.

     

    It’s not the intent we’re talking about here–it’s the effects, intentional or not, that these laws have on women.  And restricting abortion does have the EFFECT of preventing women from getting appropriate treatment after a miscarriage.

  • squirrely-girl

    One doesn’t have to force “people to go to Mass” in order to impose their will or values upon them.

     

    The heavy handed involvement of the Catholic Diocese in Washington, D.C. over the recent legalization of gay marriage rights is MORE than enough imposing… The Church’s UNACCEPTABLE role in the recent health care reform debates was MORE than enough imposing… The Church’s grave concerns with changing statutes about the reporting and prosecuting of sex offenses in Connecticut is MORE than enough imposing… Catholic hospitals that recieve federal or state funds and vehemetly oppose providing emergency contraception to RAPE victims regardless of the victim’s religious orientation is MORE than enough imposing…

     

    I’ll GLADLY continue with more examples if you so desire. Don’t get me wrong, the Catholic Church isn’t the ONLY religious organization that likes to “play politics without paying taxes” but they are certainly the most vocal. People seem to forget that “separation of church and state” goes BOTH ways. The churches agree to mind their own business and stay out of politics and the government forgoes taxes and minds their own business. Apparently, SOME religious organization missed this memo…

     

    And before you preemptively dismiss me as a heathen or heretic – although you wouldn’t be the first :) –  I’ll go ahead and share that I was born and raised Catholic, attended a Catholic school, and have worked closely with Church outreach programs for migrants. To “top it off” I know ALL of my prayers, have a sincere knowledge of and appreciation for the Saints, and have participated in ALL of the relevant sacraments up until the last few years. So I DO have quite a solid background in the Church from which to form my opinions. It’s just kind of crazy how a little thing like the systematic facilitation and denial/cover-up of the sexual abuse and rape of CHILDREN will change your views on religion… 

     

    As to legislating morality, the health care reform bill is MUCH less about “morality” than it is about HEALTH and reducing medical costs over time through expanded preventative medicine. Regulating “shady practices on wall street” is about protecting the FINANCIAL assets of this country and regulating the economy. Speed limits are concerned with SAFETY (God doesn’t care how fast you drive… promise). Theft deals specifically with PROPERTY rights. And both rape and murder are assaults on BODILY AUTONOMY. In other words, ALL of these issues relate back to secular ideals. You don’t have to believe in a god to NOT want people to steal your crap or rape and/or murder you. I don’t need religion to want safe roads, a stable economy, or basic health care.

     

    Now am I saying there isn’t a moral component to these issues? Not at all. MOST religions comment on these general concepts. However, religion isn’t inherently NECESSARY to see the NEED FOR ORDER and thus legislate it. Even secular states have laws. Hence the TRUE purpose and role of government. 

  • invalid-0

    The abortions I think should be illegal: those that kill a human being.

    How’s that?

    I’m not really sure how to address your accusations that I am rude and ‘massage my own self-importance’.  You don’t know me.  

    I really don’t think that personal attacks are very becoming and I think you’ll see that I will not participate in them.  

  • nouseforaname

    I had a friend whose fetus died in utero and because of the abortion laws of her state (NE) she had to wait until that dead fetus was infected and her life was in danger because the procedure to remove it would have been considered a “late term abortion” (this happened in her 7th month of pregnancy). Pro-Life-endorsed abortion laws made my friend carry around her dead baby until it gave her sepsis before it could be removed from her body.

     

    So, yes, there are laws out there that would make the removal of a dead fetus illegal under certain conditions.

     

    The right to life means nothing if we do not care about the quality of life.

  • squirrely-girl

    Awesome, thanks! I’m “down” with the CDC and MMWR Surveillance reports!

     

    I contemplated including a Strauss reference which was actually the 2004 update on the same report you provided :)

     

    But I think we’re back to differences in interpretation. Your reference of 1973 in isolation completely ignores (or worse, manipulates) the overall trend of decline. I couldn’t figure out how to post the actual chart in my comment so I’ve paraphrased below.

    Chart 19.

    Deaths from induced abortions as taken from this article: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5212a1.htm(represented as  YEAR – legal/illegal).

    72 – 24/39

    73 – 25/19

    74 – 26/6

    75 – 29/4

    76 – 11/2

    77 – 17/2

    78 – 9/7 

     

    Feel free to read/reread the article if you want the numbers for the last few decades. But do you get what I’m illustrating here? The overall trend is a decline in deaths after the legalization of abortion. The text of the article illustrates a few additional interesting points about abortion related deaths in general. 

    From the National Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System, CDC identified 22 maternal deaths for 1998 and 17 maternal deaths for 1999 that were thought to be potentially related to abortion. These maternal deaths were identified either by some indication of abortion on the death certificate or from information such as a news report associated with the death. Investigation of these cases showed that 10 of the 22 deaths in 1998 and four of the 17 deaths in 1999 were related to legal induced abortion and none to illegal induced abortion (Table 19). For 1998, 11 deaths were due to spontaneous abortion, and one death was found not to be abortion related. For 1999, 10 deaths were due to spontaneous abortion, and three deaths were found not to be abortion related. Numbers of deaths due to legal induced abortion were highest before the 1980s, with very few deaths occurring in 1999 (Table 19). 

    Further, 

    The percentage of abortions known to be performed by curettage (which includes dilatation and evacuation [D&E]) increased from 88% in 1973 to 98% in 2000 (Table 1), while the percentage of abortions performed by intrauterine instillation declined sharply, from 10% to 0.4%. The increase in use of D&E is likely due to the lower risk for complications associated with the procedure (48,49). 

    (all emphasis mine)

     

    Medical advances HAVE been made in the last 40 or 50 years. From the article you provided, I gather that many of those earlier legal deaths were more related to the procedures of the times rather than the legality of them.

     

    Now sadly, “official” record keeping on abortion only really started in 1969. I say sadly not because I’m all “yay abortion records” but because I value vital statistics in general and I see the lack of official statistics before 1969 to be GROSSLY negligent. However, thanks to the insurance industry :/ and university research, records do exist for times before this and they ALL point to the same trend of a decline in abortion related deaths AFTER legalization.

     

    Here are a few links to some articles on this topic:

     

    http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/tgr/06/1/gr060108.html - 

    http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/tgr/06/2/gr060203.html

    http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/3024498.html – good article on reporting abortions in general

     

     

    BTW – I do apologize for the academic referencing. I’m used to working with scholarly articles and sometimes I honestly just forget that not everybody can access these article through academic search engines and hosts. :) If I ever reference an article I can’t find online, I’m happy to provide a PDF upon request. :)

  • aitchapel

    Having covered the abortion issue for “Secular Nation” magazine for over two years, and after speaking with many people on both sides of the debate, I have to agree with the pro-choice activists quoted in the Newsweek article. That’s not to disparage young people passionately active within the abortion cause, but to state that there are not enough young people passionate about or active within the cause. Most pro-choicers I meet, save the ones that work for Planned Parenthood, seem to get caught up on questions of why and how late. Most pro-lifers I meet are unequivocally pro-life. That does not help pro-choicers.

     

    Ait Chapel

    http://twitter.com/AitChapel

    http://www.facebook.com/people/Ait-Chapel/1607997048

  • squirrely-girl

    So how, or perhaps, more appropriately, when do you define a “human being?”

     

    I guess what I’m saying is that when people answer, “conception,” I have to respectfully disagree. And my key point of difference is the term “being.” I agree that zygotes, ovum, embryos, fetuses, unborn babies, or whatever term you prefer to use ARE human… in the same way a tadpole IS a frog… or an acorn IS an oak tree. All possess genetic qualities that tie them to the original species. Acorns won’t become humans, fetuses don’t become frogs, etc.

     

    But all of these exist in the somewhat ambiguous realm of potential. A tadpole could become a frog, but maybe not. Many tadpoles die before fully developing. An acorn could become the mighty oak… or a squirrel could eat it first. <– And I’m totally not making light of abortion, I just love squirrel references :) Many conceived pregnancies result in happy, live human babies, but not all of them. The mere existence of spontaneous abortion, particularly with what I would consider rather high prevalence rates, suggests that even nature (or God if you prefer) sometimes has alternate plans. 

     

    Just because something could become something doesn’t mean it will. So if you can accept these concepts, the question then becomes when. When does the developing organism become a human being? I generally define being as a separate or discrete life form that has properties of mind such that transcend that of mere organisms with only life “functions.” I generally look at the point of viability (around 24 weeks) as being the best available, albeit imperfect, measure of describing some sense of “being” with regard to fetal development. Viability is the 50/50 mark and so there are obviously exceptions on BOTH sides.

     

    Given that the overwhelming majority of abortions are performed in the FIRST trimester, I have NO PROBLEMS with individual women making these decisions for themselves based on THEIR circumstances, beliefs, morals, whatever. And why not? Very rarely does “nature” keep up with technology (e.g. evolution). Why, with the advances we’ve made in technology and medicine should women NOT be able to decide? These are not sentient, separate beings with any awareness whatsoever that are being aborted. NOT AT ALL. Not ONE bit. Why should women not be able to decide whether to “spontaneously abort” all by themselves? 

     

    Are these embryos “human?” Of course! Women aren’t gestating other species. Does the embryo bare some resemblance to a human? Again, it’s supposed to be human so I would *hope* so. But is it a discrete being with awareness. NO! Is a fetus capable of surviving without the host prior to this point? HIGHLY DOUBTFUL (but I’ll never give “absolutes” on this type of thing because, again, there is ALWAYS an exception to EVERY “rule”).

     

    I’ve asked this of people before, and I’ll ask it again – if you’re against a woman’s right to choose to end an early pregnancy, are you also against medicine in general? Do you allow for ALL medical advances and decisions EXCEPT this? If so, why? Honestly, why? If it comes back to a religious argument, FINE! But don’t expect other people to “fall in line” with YOUR beliefs… especially if they go WAY beyond the understanding of developmental medical science. 

     

    So what about after the point of viability? Ugh. Ugh! I hate the thought. I genuinely do. Having a child of my own, I loathe the idea of ever being in situation where this issue were personal and not just theoretical or political. I abhor the position that some women are put in where they have to make these painful decisions. Let me just state my position here that I don’t believe for three seconds that women obtaining these late term procedures are doing so for the fun of it or without considerable thought and anguish. Likewise, I don’t believe the handful of doctors performing these procedures are just doing them all willy-nilly for no good reason. I have a little more faith in the medical establishment and humanity as a whole than that. But given that I am NOT these women, I just don’t see how I, from the outside looking in, could ever DREAM of telling them what THEY should do. 

     

    At this point, I have to defer to the MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS and the women themselves. NOT religious leaders, NOT politicians, and certainly NOT people standing outside of clinics holding signs and screaming about Jesus and little babies. Sorry… but I defer to SCIENCE. I’m not a doctor, and I’m not omniscient. After viability, I *trust* women, in close counsel with with their medical providers and whomever else they choose to involve (loved ones, clergy, etc.) to make the agonizing decisions that they feel are necessary. 

     

    If anything I see the overwhelming irony that providers of late term abortions LISTEN to the women whereas legislatures seem to want to listen to NO ONE, least of all the women these laws ACTUALLY affect. Writing laws that treat ALL cases the same is not only incredibly ignorant and developmentally immature (dare I say retarded) but also fundamentalist in nature. Refusing to acknowledge “exception” or individual variation IS a sign of limited intellect. And for ANY human to believe that THEY know what is best for ALL situations… well… I believe it’s a sign of extreme narcissism and hubris. An authoritarian “god-complex” if you will. 

     

    I truly believe that Roe v. Wade struck a fair and just balance between the rights of the individual (woman) and the interest in preserving potential life at a point where it IS a “being.” I might note that even the esteemed justices made “exceptions”…

  • wendy-banks

    @Jill Staneck Ugh! Can’t you anti-choicers vary your scripts once and a while as a change of pace? It’s same old drek, time after time…

  • arekushieru

    Actually, to tell you the truth, I have encountered the complete opposite.  The younger generation of ProChoicers were less likely to ask when and why than the older generation.

     

    Too, most PLers I have seen of the younger generation are more likely to be regurgitating what they have been taught by the older generation, leaving them unable to deal with the changing dynamics of the abortion issue. 

    Just sayin.

  • wendy-banks

    We are addressing the issues– You just choose to ignore the answers because they aren’t the ones you what to hear. And your message is so far from correct it could not be more wrong if it tried.

    In short, It is not about YOU. Everyone has the right to well-informed non-biased information on sex, sexual health, pregnacy prevention, STD’s, parenting, adoption, and yes– abortion.  If you don’t want an abortion then by all means DON’T HAVE ONE– It’s a free country. But you really don’t have the right to stop, harrass, threaten, demeen, intimidate, or invade the space of ANYONE trying to get sexual health care services. Your rights to freedom of speech is NOT allowed to over-run my right of privacy, my right of freedom of movement, and my right to obtain LEGAL health-care services.

     

  • wendy-banks

    “Teaching grandmother to suck eggs”.

    *chuckles* We old dogs have bitten the rear of their aguments more often than not, eh?

  • invalid-0

    the ‘pro-choice’ movement has a long, sad history of bullying, intimidation, violent felonies and harassment directed towards anyone with the courage to stand up to them. I’ve seen you folks go after people’s jobs, harass their children and picket zero-profit, zero-salary crisis pregnancy centers, vandalize literature, make unprovoked obscene gestures – including one young chap who felt that it was appropriate to expose himself to us before pushing his noticeably pregnant girlfriend through PP’s front door. Indeed just recently one of your own murdered a good man on September 11 sitting peacefully outside of a clinic.

    I’ll agree not to over-generalize and mis-characterize the majority of your otherwise-peaceful movement or make biased assumptions about you, if you agree to do the same for me.

  • amie-newman

    on what exactly concerns you as activists and what doesn’t. In fact, this is EXACTLY what Utah just did:

    http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2010/04/20/followup-story-utahs-bill-making-illegal-abortionsprosecutable-homicide

    No one has a problem with someone being personally opposed to abortion but when you tell me that I must be forced to birth against my will, you are infringing on my own right to make the best decisions I can for me, the growing life inside of me, and my family. The majority of women who have abortions are already mothers. They understand what it means to be pregnant, to give life, and sometimes to end the life growing inside of them. As the mother of two beautiful children, I do not need you or anyone else telling me what I am allowed to do with my own body.

    In addition, the absurd argument that Jill and others make to somehow justify forced pregnancy and childbirth (“What if your mother had aborted you?!”) makes no sense. In fact, for a lot of women, the abortions they had as younger women allowed the lives of their current children to come forth. One can just as easily say, “Had I not had the abortion I did before I had children, the child/ren I have now would not be here.”

    Please, you’re not going to “win” any arguments by denying a woman’s ability to make her own decision for herself and the embryo or fetus growing inside of her own body. You just won’t. If anti-choicers like Jill and others would commit one ounce of their energy towards improving maternal and infant mortality and health the world over, ensuring prenatal care for all women, ensuring women globally have access to education, lifting women and girls out of poverty, then we’d be working together to improve women’s and their children’s lives. Instead all we get is obsessive moralizing about how you know best what all women should do, how all families should live.

    It doesn’t work, simply. It just doesn’t.

  • prochoiceferret

    the ‘pro-choice’ movement has a long, sad history of bullying, intimidation, violent felonies and harassment directed towards anyone with the courage to stand up to them.

    Yes, and I’m going to continue that long, sad history:

     

    YOU POOPYHEAD!!!

     

    There, I just committed violent bullying and intimidation/harassment toward you. (It’s violent, of course, because it was in all caps.) Gotta keep up the tradition!

    I’ve seen you folks go after people’s jobs,

    Yes, we didn’t think George W. Bush was particularly qualified for the position.

    harass their children,

    Jill Stanek may be someone’s child, but I don’t think that gives her a free pass to deny women reproductive choice, do you?

    and picket zero-profit, zero-salary crisis pregnancy centers,

    Ah, so it’s okay to dish out misinformation and emotional blackmail, as long as you’re doing it on a volunteer basis. Our bad.

    vandalize literature

    Hey, I thought this one was rather cute.

    make unprovoked obscene gestures – including one young chap who felt that it was appropriate to expose himself to us before pushing his noticeably pregnant girlfriend through PP’s front door.

    Oh, you poor, poor soul, you got mooned. Now you know what we must have felt like after this happened.

    Indeed just recently one of your own murdered a good man on September 11 sitting peacefully outside of a clinic.

    Sorry, you were just having a fever dream. I know, those can seem very realistic.

    I’ll agree not to over-generalize and mis-characterize the majority of your otherwise-peaceful movement or make biased assumptions about you, if you agree to do the same for me.

    I think we’d rather just continue saying stuff that has a basis in actual fact. We’re kind of used to that already… hope you don’t mind.

  • saltyc

    You are harrassing people, and are shocked shocked that anyone would make “unprovoked” obscene gestures? Vandalize literature? You mean the free pamphlets you give out? Those aren’t protected, anyone can do what they want with them. Go after people’s jobs? Are you serious? The day crisis pregnancy centers are picketted one hundredth of the extent to which your side tried to block access to women’s clinics I’ll be happy. Because women going into clinics are getting real doctors and services they request, whereas CPC’s main goal is to change women’s minds theerfore they have to be deceptive which is why protesters are justified.

     

    As for one of “our own” shooting anybody. Where is the evidence that Harlan Drake was a pro-choice activist or followed any news on reproductive rights? There is none.

    His own family said the killing was not about abortion. He went on to kill another guy on the same day who had nothing to do with abortion. His defense did not once cite pro-choice talking points.

    Your guy Scott Roeder, on theother hand, had a history of obsession with abortion, and connections with prominent members of your movement. His defense and other statements were full of anti-abortion talking points and he justified his actions based on your philosophy.

    All your examples of people reacting to the noxious behavior by representatives of your movement, are not by people involved in the pro-choice movement, just people reacting to your fighting words.

    Thanks for letting me clear that up for you.

  • pinkerton

    These so-called anti-choice, pro-family uneducated masses just don’t get it.  Pro-choice people are NOT about killing babies as said uneducated masses believe.  They’re for protecting a woman’s decision to have a child she WANTS and can afford to raise.  Sometimes a pregnancy means a child with Down’s Syndrome or some other malady which some people can’t afford to care for.  If someone wants to terminate a pregnancy due to a detrimental malady, that is the woman’s choice.  NO, it’s also, not a simple ‘It’s a baby’ phrase, as the so-called pro-family people also like to regurgitate, but a basic belief that everyone should be born into a family ready and willing to care for an infant.  If the anti-choicers are so very concerned for all babies, why don’t they put their money where their mouths are and take all the orphaned children into their homes?

  • walt

    Jayn – you are indeed correct that the restrictive abortion laws will put women who have a miscarriage at grave risk. my sister-in-law had a miscarriage after 12 weeks, she could not go to a doctor in her state, Maryland, to have the procedure done to remove the dead fetus, she had to travel to another state – after several days carrying the necrotic fetus inside her she was finally able to have the procedure done to remove it. How wonderful would it have been if the laws in Maryland applied to the whole country – her 4 other children would have been left without a mother.

  • walt

    arex said: “…just recently one of your own murdered a good man on September 11 sitting peacefully outside of a clinic.” That murderer was not “one of our own” – he was a disturbed individual who murdered 2 other people completly unrelated to this issue – don’t keep repeating lies.

  • crowepps

    There are ProLifers who honestly believe that medicine can somehow ‘save’ both woman and fetus in all cases, because they’ve been fed a string of lies by the ProLife propaganda machine, like “abortion is never really necessary to save women’s lives” or the incredibly stupid “abortion is not health care”.

     

    If pregnancy is killing you, yeah, that’s exactly what it is, life-saving health care.