Abortions After IVF: Scandal Created By Anti-Choice Politics


There are few people who want a baby as badly as those who have struggled with infertility, especially those who have undergone fertility treatments.   So the shocked reaction from many media outlets in the United Kingdom to news that approximately 80 pregnancies from in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures eventually ended in abortions isn’t terribly surprising.  What is surprising, however, is the vitriol in which many attacked the women that they claimed just whimsically decided they didn’t want to be mothers any more.

“Dozens of IVF babies aborted ‘after women change their minds about becoming a mother’” claims Daily Mail, as if the decision to terminate a pregnancy was taken with the thought and introspection of deciding to wear a different colored sweater, or go out for dinner rather than stay home and cook.

Dozens of women are aborting babies conceived by IVF because they have changed their minds about motherhood, figures suggest.

Many are in their teens, twenties and early thirties, implying that numerous abortions were carried out for social reasons, rather than on health grounds.

Relationship breakdowns, fears about motherhood and simple changes of heart are all likely to have played a part in the terminations.

“Women Undergoing IVF, Get Abortions on Second Thoughts” accuses Top News, because after spending months or years trying to get pregnant, and then lots of money for treatment, obviously they didn’t think it all through to start with.  

Eighty women a year undertake expensive IVF, and then terminate the pregnancies, just because they have doubts about being a mother.

Yesterday, the startling data ignited anger that some women were cruelly treating test-tube babies like “designer goods”.

Rationales offered for abortions, some sponsored by the NHS for around £5,000, were dreaded to comprise a simple change of mind.

Others were separated from their spouses, or were weighed down by families to begin a family too early.

One IVF mother aborted her twins after finding out that her husband was not loyal to her.

Other women are believed to undergo IVF not for a baby, but just to show they can have one.

Unmentioned by either of these articles, but made clear by a report from the BBC, is that these 80 abortions included procedures done due to medical problems with the fetus, or selective reduction in order to enhance one or two fetuses’ chances for better full term birth.  Although the other articles mention the abortions occur most often in the 18-35 age range, implying more healthy babies that were aborted, the BBC also points out that that is the age range for a majority of the pregnancies in the first place, making higher abortion rates inevitable.  The conservative press made leaping assumptions about the women who abort, but the BBC spoke of not jumping to conclusions about the reasons behind the choice.

…Susan Seenan of the Infertility Network UK advised caution.

“Anyone who has undergone IVF knows what a long and difficult experience it can be. To make the decision to then terminate that pregnancy cannot be one that anyone takes lightly. I would imagine there are some pretty good reasons.”

Laura Riley, a spokesperson for the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, said: “Women and couples who have had donor insemination or IVF to become pregnant are unfortunately no more immune from the harsh vagaries of life than others who are lucky enough to be able to conceive naturally.

“Any woman can experience overwhelming life difficulties, such as intense relationship pressures or the diagnosis of a serious or lethal fetal medical problem. These may mean that she feels unable to continue with the pregnancy.”

At this point, the information has not been released as to the reasons for the abortions, although a breakdown is expected for sometime next week.   We do know that the 80 abortions rate less than 1 percent of the successful IVF pregnancies in the country in the last year.  Knowing that approximately 3-5 percent of all pregnancies have identifiable fetal abnormailties that can be determined prior to birth, the idea of assuming the majority of abortions are being performed on women who just liked the idea of getting pregnant more than they enjoyed the actuality of having a baby is laughable.

For women who struggle with fertility, just trying to conceive a child has already been a full effort, fraught with setbacks, disappointments and roadblocks.  But to finally become pregnant, only to find out that your child may have a neural tube disorder making it incompatible with life, or a trisomy that means that should you even manage to carry the child to birth it would be doomed to a short and painful life, or a heart defect making it unlikely to even survive the process of labor itself?  The pain, frustration and loss is unimaginable.

IVF isn’t just a one time process, where you show up, have some eggs taken out, and go about your way.  It requires multiple screenings with doctors, with various meetings throughout your cycle to monitor follicles, check for ovulation, do a retrieval, insert the fertilized eggs, and run betas to check for pregnancy.  It requires daily shots of hormones, countless restrictions on activities, and a full-time commitment to the procedure.  To imply that the women simply weren’t that interested, that motherhood was some sort of whim that they can easily discard, and that they were only in it to prove they could get pregnant, or that they only wanted “designer,” perfect babies, is offensive not just to anyone who has struggled to conceive, but to women in general.

But it plays perfectly with conservative crowd, who ceaselessly push the image of the fickle woman who can’t make a decision on her own.  The one who, if left to her own devices would suddenly decide at 7 months pregnant that she was tired of carrying a child and didn’t want to be a mom, and would go out and get an abortion if it were easily available so she could have a drink and go to a concert.

It’s this myth of the woman who has to be protected from her own inability to make good decisions that anti-choice activists feed on.  They use it in their legislation, claiming that forcing a woman to look at an ultrasound before an abortion is just giving her full information, protecting her from not having enough facts.  As if somehow without their help she wouldn’t understand that she was pregnant.  They use it when they pass bills that force women to have mental health evaluations before they can get an abortion, because a woman can’t be trusted to make a decision on her own.  And they use it when they pass laws saying a doctor can lie to a woman about fetal abnormalities, because a woman might not realize it is always in her best interest to carry a child to term, no matter what.

These anti-choice myths are the stuff that abortion restrictions are made of — laws made to protect women from themselves at a time when conservatives think they are too vulnerable to think clearly about what’s best for them.  And now they are using women who have struggled with fertility, struggled with conception, and worked harder than almost all their peers to get pregnant, abusing these women’s tragic stories to try and undermine choice even more as they further their own agenda.

I’ve worked hard to get pregnant.  I’ve suffered through infertility and loss.  I only hope I will be lucky enough not to have to face the trials many of these women did, and that if I do, my actions will not be used against me by anti-choicers desperate to score points.

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  • atomicspin

    I had a look at the stats in the article a little while back when the story first broke – most of the data is already available on the Human Fertility and Embrology Agency’s site. Most of the points that the papers use to try to attack women from are not even supported by the data – 18-34 year old women are less likely, per IVF cycle, to subsequently seek an abortion, not more, and the rate has declined slightly in recent years.

  • crowepps

    Many are in their teens, twenties and early thirties, implying that numerous abortions were carried out for social reasons, rather than on health grounds.

    The age of the mother is not strictly correlated with the likelihood that complications of pregnancy will occur.  Since more women GET pregnant in those age groups, more women in those age groups are going to have complications.  Major implication FAIL.

    At this point, the information has not been released as to the reasons for the abortions, although a breakdown is expected for sometime next week. 

    “figures suggest”, ”implying”, ”likely to have played a part”, ”just because they have doubts about being a mother”, ”the startling data” (which does not include anything similar to their speculation whatsoever),  ”Rationales … were dreaded” (but not KNOWN) ”to comprise a simple change of mind.”

     

    It just amazes me that they get away with this.  I’m sure all the ProLife activitists in England are pulling out their chequebooks and sending off letters to their legislators based on this nonsense, and yet it also CLEARLY STATES “the information has not been released as to the reasons for the abortions”.

     

    Doesn’t anybody grasp that if that statement is true, then all the rest of it is just VIEWING WITH ALARM or in other words LIES?

     

    I’m surprised as long as they were just speculating they didn’t link to everything currently relevant:  ”Some speculate that irresponsible life style abortions after IVF may have increased the likelihood of an oil drilling disaster which would mean these women frivilously RUINED THE ECOLOGY of the Gulf of Mexico!”

  • lizbodell

    I read this article as someone who used to work at an infertility clinic in Boston doing clincal research.  I read this article as someone who has spent many hours volunteering at Planned Parenthood.  I read this article as a Democrat.  I read this article as a woman.  I read this article as a pregnant woman.  I read this article as someone who is a pro choicer – through and through.

     

    Though I did not struggle with infertility, and know that I cannot begin to understand what that struggle must be like, there were a few things I felt compelled to comment on in this article.  The first of which is that I am not sure it is fair to that women who get pregnant easily do not want to be pregnant as desperately as anyone else… though I think there must be another psychological layer to that need and desire, I truly feel that takes away from those who have not suffered infertility. 

     

    I also struggled with blaming conservatives for having no faith in women.  The extremely aggressive approach alienates conservatives who may be pro-choice, and certainly those who are on the fence.  If our goal as progressives is to educate people and bring the truth to light, this aggressive tact only acts to hide the true point from those who might otherwise be able to hear it.  I agree whole-heartedly that these attacks on abortions after IVF are terribly researched and ignorant at best.  But if our goal is to educate…  if our goal is to do anything other than get a whole bunch of nodding from our own choir, I just don’t know that was accomplished.  The concept of the article is good… but what was the true goal?

  • crowepps

    I agree whole-heartedly that these attacks on abortions after IVF are terribly researched and ignorant at best.  But if our goal is to educate…  if our goal is to do anything other than get a whole bunch of nodding from our own choir, I just don’t know that was accomplished.

    What I took from the article was that this hysterical denunciation, based on a total and complete LACK of any information, was pretty typical of articles whose entire point is to demonize abortion without any consideration at all of WHY those abortions occurred.

     

    Certainly the ‘changed her mind in the middle of the pregnancy for frivilous reasons’ meme ran riot in the uninformed speculation about why those particular women had abortions.  The point of the original article was ‘women can’t be trusted to make good decisions and need someone to step in and tell them what to do for their own good’.

     

    The point of writing an article about it was to let us know that, yes, there are still bears in the woods and, yes, they ARE dangerous.  You would think everyone would be taking that for granted, but amazingly a whole bunch of people are insisting that “abortions are never medically necessary” and even “it’s really unfortunate if complications might kill the woman but it’s immoral to remove a doomed fetus ‘just’ to save the woman’s life’.

  • lizbodell

    Sure, but you have to understand that if what we want is to increase the ranks of those who think the original article is ludicrous, you have to be more careful in how you phrase who is to blame.  Because if you are not, you will almost certainly alienate the very audience that most needs to hear what you’re saying.

     

    My point isn’t that the article isn’t right, or that I don’t agree (by and large) but rather that if I was put off by some of the accusations, someone who is on your team, and the only demographic that didn’t make me the perfect, agreeable audience is that I didn’t struggle to get pregnant, then some things were overstated to the extent that the article does more harm than good in furthering our cause.

  • crowepps

    some things were overstated to the extent that the article does more harm than good in furthering our cause.

    I’m sorry, I just reread the article and I cannot identify what you’re talking about.  What things were overstated?

  • paul-bradford

    Speculation is counter-productive.  What is needed is accurate information about why women abort.  It’s only by examining the REASONS for abortion that we learn about what steps need to be taken in order to protect the unborn going forward.

     

    I don’t know about you, but I’m very skeptical about accusations that women abort for frivolous reasons.  Maybe some do, but I don’t know what can be done to protect very young people with frivolous mothers.  My own bias is to think that many of the women who abort are responding to anti-life pressures from outside their control.  Take the woman who aborts because she was abandoned by her partner after she became pregnant.  That’s a life that might have been saved if we enacted stronger legislation to assure paternal support.  The abortion is a response to a lack of respect for fetal life — but the lack of respect comes from the father more than the mother.

     

    Some women abort after they learn that their child has genetic anomalies.  How many lives might be saved if we invested more of our resources to care for people with disabilities or to support families of disabled children?  It’s not as if these women are making decisions in a vacuum.  Anti-life policies toward born children will inevitably lead to anti-life assaults on the unborn.  Is the mother to blame, or is EVERYONE to blame?

     

    Some women abort because they can’t get proper accommodations from school or work to mesh education or career with motherhood.  It’s anti-life to discriminate against mothers and, in that case, the anti-life attitude doesn’t come from the woman — the woman is the victim of the anti-life attitude.

     

    Some women abort because they’ve been raped.  Who’s anti-life in this case?  If you say, “the rapist” you’re half right.  The society’s lack of protection for women is also anti-life.

     

    I’ll be happy to debate anyone who chooses to contradict me, but it is my firm belief that when you institute policies that are pro-woman you reduce abortions and when you institute policies that are anti-woman you increase abortions.  You can’t be good to the unborn unless you’re good to their mothers.

     

    (I’m betting I’ll get little to no response from this post.)

  • crowepps

    I agree, you probably will get little response, because most people aren’t motivated to respond when they agree.

     

    Certainly the world-wide statistics support your view – in countries where women rights are constricted and their lives controlled, the abortion rate is high.  In countries where women are respected as equal citizens, the abortion rate is lower.

  • amyc

    I actually do agree with most of what you said. In fact, it is basically the point I have been trying to make for some time now. I hear too many “pro-lifers” talk about saving the lives of the unborn, but once that child is born the only person who is expected to care for the child is either 1) the mother (who may not financially/physically/mentally be capable) or 2) the state (either through welfare/foster care). I don’t see too many pro-lifers stepping up to adopt a child or help a woman with her child. Instead, I see a lot of the same people who protest abortion also protesting welfare, medicaid, and any other government safety net. It just doesn’t make any sense to me. They care so much about a fetus, but they don’t care about the child’s wellbeing once it is born.

  • paul-bradford

    Amy C,

     

    Hypocrite is a good word, so is ‘poseur’.  My point is that not EVERYONE who claims to be Pro-Life is a hypocrite.  A genuine desire to protect the unborn should lead a person to support a comprehensive plan to reduce abortions — that involves support for the poor, support for children and support for women.  Additionally, a Pro-Life attitude about pregnancy should be matched with a Pro-Life attitude about the death penalty, gun violence, military aggression, the environment and economic injustice.  Most of the ‘conservatives’ I hear from simply don’t have Pro-Life attitudes on these vital issues.

     

    They care so much about a fetus, but they don’t care about the child’s wellbeing once it is born.

     

    My opinions have evolved in the two years since I started flooding the internet with posts about abortion.  I used to assume that anti-abortion sentiment was fueled by concern about the rights of ZBEF’s.  Now I’m not so sure.  Take the issue of rape.  A lot of so-called anti-abortion folk are willing to support abortion in the case of rape.  That mindset betrays an exceedingly paternalistic attitude about sex and pregnancy.  In other words, some people feel that a woman should have to endure an unwanted pregnancy if the pregnancy is her “fault” but if she’s blameless she shouldn’t have to take the “punishment”.  The goal is to reward good girls and condemn sluts.

     

    To care about people in the early stages of development is to appreciate that those conceived as a result of rape have every bit as much of a right to live as those conceived in response to a loving, consensual union.  Why punish the child for the father’s sins?

  • amyc

    What you seem to be saying is that some people who claim to be “pro-life” aren’t actually “pro-life”. I see this all the time. A group calls themself one thing, then does another, when I mention that it’s hypocritical somebody else from the same group says,”Oh, they’re not a real (insert inane true believer here). The real ones don’t act like that.” I have to say that your “pro-life” name you give yourself has been hi-jacked by a majority of people who act like the hypocrites I was speaking about before. It’s the same thing with any group of people who fall into a specific category. With certain evangelicals, there are Christians and then there are “Christians” (think “no true scotsman” argument).

    As for your comments about rape victims getting abortions–I would have to say this is one of those usual times that I had to disagree with you. I am pro-choice regardless of why the choice was made, but especially in cases of rape, incest, or when the life/health of the mother is in danger. I don’t assume to know your personal life or history, but it seems obvious from your post that you have never been sexually abused in your life (although I could be wrong). Think about how it would feel if you were raped. Now imagine how it would feel if that rape caused a pregnancy. If you were forced to remain pregnant then that would be a 24/7 reminder of what happened to you for at least the nine months that you are pregnant (and a life time if you don’t put the baby up for adoption). People supporting abortion in cases of rape are not rewarding “good girls”. The “good girl”/”bad girl” stereotype ignores the realities of what happens before, during, and after both consensual sex and rape. It’s not like women get raped and then demand an abortion because it is rewarding. They get an abortion because it is too painful. A woman who has just been raped is normally in no physical, emotional, or mental condition to go through pregnancy. The pain of sexual abuse is agonizing, and it becomes even worse if you have a constant reminder of it. Getting an abortion in this situation is neither rewarding the woman nor punishing the “child”. There is no child to punish, but there is a woman there (a real living breathing woman) who needs to be able to begin healing.

  • amyc

    I think you called him “brother” a little too early crowepps.

  • paul-bradford

    I don’t assume to know your personal life or history, but it seems obvious from your post that you have never been sexually abused in your life (although I could be wrong).

     

    Amy C,

     

    You’re wrong.  I know from personal experience how damaging a physical assault can be and I know, to my sadness, that a sexual violation is the worst.  Thirty years ago all I was able to see was my own pain and dysfunction.  It’s better now.  Now I focus on finding hope for other people who have suffered.  Many of my clients have been victimized by sexual abuse, many have not — but they all suffer in one way or another.

     

    Putting myself in the role of a caregiver has given me the perspective of understanding that many people have undergone trauma that is much worse than what I had to deal with.  It could have been worse for me — not that it wasn’t bad enough.

     

    Obviously, the abuse I experienced didn’t result in pregnancy.  You say, “If you were forced to remain pregnant then that would be a 24/7 reminder of what happened to you for at least the nine months that you are pregnant (and a life time if you don’t put the baby up for adoption).”  I come at problems from the orientation of hope.  When I’m confronted with a victim of sexual abuse, I hope s/he can heal.  When I’m confronted with a young person in the fetal stages of development, I hope s/he will continue to live and be able to experience all the developmental phases of human life.

     

    I don’t know the percentages (maybe crowepps does) but let’s say that 5% of women who become pregnant as a result of rape bring their pregnancies to term.  I say that it would be a blessing if better care for trauma victims resulted in that percentage rising from 5% to 10%.  I would consider that trend to represent lives saved.  Efforts to reach out to rape victims are good in and of themselves — if we have an added bonus of enabling more young people to live long enough to be born that’s all the more reason to invest resources in trauma care.

     

    Please comment on this: I think that an abortion has more in common with a rape than a pregnancy does.  Both an abortion and a rape are examples of physical violence, both result in damage, both are violations of bodily autonomy.  I don’t doubt that there are women who simply can’t handle the thought of giving birth to their rapists child — but if there are one, or two, or three who could be encouraged to choose life I would consider the encouragement to be well placed.

  • vashra

    1) I cannot fathom how it is ever a good idea for anyone with “teen” it their age to be going through the generally tortuous rigors of IVF.

    2) Data does not ever imply anything. These women had abortions…that is medical fact. Whether or not those abortions were also medically necessary is also a matter of fact — either get the data or admit you really don’t have an article.

    3) It would seem to me that those women who *are* having a change of heart resulting in an elective abortion (if there even were any) are doing no more than proving what Nature already indicated: showing they are not of the mental or spiritual capacity to handle the rigors of motherhood. You’d *think* if bringing life into the world were so important to them then they’d put the child up for adoption at least…but that would run a bit counter to the whole “lacking in mental capacity” argument.

    4) When your mate leaves you and you find yourself pregnant, the proper response is to go it alone, put the child up for adoption, or find a more suitable mate — not to murder your unborn child.

    5) With eight BILLION people on the globe and literally millions of children who need loving families and good homes, wouldn’t it be nifty if we got over this desire to use the wonders of science to force our naturally breeding-defective bodies to pump out yet more babies and perhaps *try* to make life better for the ones already here? (And don’t give me the “you cannot understand my pain BS — I was sterile from my birth, never bothered with IVF, and have three wonderful (rather obviously not birthed by me) children).

  • scarlet

    I think that an abortion has more in common with a rape than a pregnancy does.  Both an abortion and a rape are examples of physical violence, both result in damage, both are violations of bodily autonomy

    This is why I usually avoid reading comments from pro-lifers about sexual assualt. They are incapable of showing any form sensitivity. They always, without fail, say something incredibly stupid and offensive.

     

     

  • crowepps

    I don’t know the percentages (maybe crowepps does) but let’s say that 5% of women who become pregnant as a result of rape bring their pregnancies to term.

    Approximately 5% of rape victims become pregnant.  The vast majority of them do NOT choose abortion.  There haven’t been many studies done, but the figures in the few that are available show the number choosing abortion ranges from 5% to 25%.

    I think that an abortion has more in common with a rape than a pregnancy does.  Both an abortion and a rape are examples of physical violence, both result in damage, both are violations of bodily autonomy.

    This is just a really, really dumb statement.  Rape is a violation of a person’s right to say no.  FORCING the person to stay pregnant when they do not want to is also a violation of a person’s right to say no.  An abortion is a medical procedure to end a pregnancy.  You have once again fallen into the fallacy of believing the only person involved in the pregnancy is the fetus. 

     

    Unfortunately in the United States the incredible snoopiness and judgmentalism of a large segment of population considers women who are pregnant public property, so that total strangers feel free to demand personal details, touch their bellies, opine on their lifestyle and medical care, and harangue the woman that she should/should not do this, that and the other.  It’s hard enough to tolerate that when a married woman WANTS to be pregnant; having to relive the rape every time some prune-lipped church lady demands to know the details of your situation might be intolerable.

  • crowepps

    And yet a ‘brother’ who shares your view on one issue can and usually is a total ’bonehead’ on other issues, true?

  • amyc

    I think you and Scarlett have mostly covered everything I wanted to say.

  • amyc

    His boneheaded statements about rape victims in this thread are what I was referring to.

  • paul-bradford

    FORCING the person to stay pregnant when they do not want to is also a violation of a person’s right to say no.

     

    crowepps,

     

    It’s comments like this one that make me wonder if people are really listening to me.

     

    When have I ever proposed that a woman be FORCED to remain pregnant if she wants to terminate?  I have always maintained that the person who should make pregnancy decisions is the one who’s pregnant.  She should not be forced (by law, by poverty, by threats, by emotional manipulation or by any other means) to bring a pregnancy to term.

     

    I have never been in dispute with the majority of posters at this ‘site who maintain that a woman should have the right to choose abortion.  That’s why I named my organization Pro Life Catholics for Choice.  The issue, for me, has never been who should decide but rather what should be decided.

     

    I got into this on another thread when the discussion was about the ten year old Mexican girl who’d been impregnated by her stepfather and whose caregivers had decided that she should attempt to deliver her child.  Remember that one?  There was some conversation about who should be making the decision and pretty much everyone agreed that a ten year old was too young to decide (although, according to report, this particular ten year old was of the opinion that pregnancy continuation was the right way to go.)  I wasn’t interested in the tricky and confusing issue of who ought to decide for her.  I was more interested in pointing out that, whoever made the decision, the guiding principle ought to be saving lives.  I stated there that if doctors believed that the most likely outcome would be that both mother and child would survive delivery the right thing was to continue the pregnancy.

     

    Most of the posters took the attitude that an abortion should be performed — despite the fact that both the girl and those caring for her wanted her to try and have the baby.  The issue, on that thread, wasn’t at all about who should choose — it was all about what should be chosen.  So much so that people who normally advocate for ‘choice’ wanted to take the choice away from anyone who chose wrongly (which, to them, meant choosing childbirth).  I said that if the choice was in my hands I would feel a responsibility to both the mother and the child and would consult medical advice to learn whether there was a realistic hope that both could survive.

     

    It’s the same thing on this thread.  We’re not talking about who should choose.  We all agree that the woman who’s raped ought to decide whether to continue her pregnancy (unless, perhaps, she’s too young to make the decision competently).  We’re talking about what should be chosen.  I respect the fact that the woman will choose but I want her to have the advantage of thinking through the fact that — having endured a violent bodily assault herself — she might want to protect another person from having to endure a violent, and deadly, bodily assault.

     

    It’s an important topic, and it’s worth discussing.  Particularly since, by your statistics, the majority of women who have to make the choice choose to renounce violence.  I think it’s laudable that victims of violence take pains to avoid being perpetrators of violence.

  • paul-bradford

    They always, without fail, say something incredibly stupid and offensive.

     

    scarlet,

     

    Let me get this straight.  Are you of the opinion that anyone who describes abortion as an act of physical violence is being “stupid and offensive”?  My stupidity is rooted in the observation that before abortion we have a living human body and that after the abortion that human body is dead.  What’s offensive about calling that violence?

     

    Please respond.

     

     

  • amyc

    A fetus is not a human body. You have decided, based on your own personal moral/religious views, that it is a human body. You cannot force your personal views onto anyone else. If you truly believed that the women who obtain abortions and doctors who perform them are committing a violent act against another human being, then you would support prosecuting both the women who get them and the doctors who perform them. Even when abortions were illegal, the women who got them were not murder suspects. The only law that has ever equated either women who get abortions or doctors who perform them with murderers is a current Texas law that makes providing an abortion for a minor a capital offense (meaning they could conceivably get the death penalty). Of course, there has not been a case to prosecute and test this law’s constitutionality (I’m guessing if it was tested that it would fail).

  • amyc

    I never claimed that all women should an abortion after they have been raped. I was trying to explain why a woman would want/need an abortion after she has been raped. I don’t believe that abortion or pregnancy should ever be forced onto somebody. That’s the beauty of supporting choice.

  • amyc

    First you say women should put their children up for adoption instead of using abortion.

    You’d *think* if bringing life into the world were so important to them then they’d put the child up for adoption at least…

    …the proper response is to go it alone, put the child up for adoption, or find a more suitable mate — not to murder your unborn child.

    Then you say that there are millions of children already in the world who need a home. If all women stopped having abortions and put the baby up for adoption, wouldn’t that just multiply the problem? I applaud you for following through on your own beliefs and taking care of three children who otherwise wouldn’t have a home, but remember that if every abortion instead was a completed pregnancy then the amount of children waiting for a home would increase dramatically. My advice to you is to go and rally some “pro-lifers” and convince them all to adopt children and support policies that support men, women, and children of low incomes.

  • crowepps

    I have always maintained that the person who should make pregnancy decisions is the one who’s pregnant.  She should not be forced (by law, by poverty, by threats, by emotional manipulation or by any other means) to bring a pregnancy to term.

    Having specifically disallowed “emotional manipulation” you then proceed to use words that are the epitome of “emotional manipulation”:

    I respect the fact that the woman will choose but I want her to have the advantage of thinking through the fact that — having endured a violent bodily assault herself — she might want to protect another person from having to endure a violent, and deadly, bodily assault.

    There isn’t anything particular ‘violent’ about abortion, particularly when it is done early and the embryo hasn’t developed a sensory system.

  • scarlet

     

    No, what I objected to was comparing a consensual abortion to non-consensual sex. It’s incredibly offensive to me a survivor. You know that’s what I said and now you’re just trying pretend you said something else.

  • crowepps

    If you read carefully through your responses on this thread, you will see that what you have done is equated the woman who was raped and the rapist.  Someone violently forced her to have sex, she suffered through that, and now you want her to be ‘better than that’ by continuing the pregnancy.  If she chooses to deal with that by aborting the resulting pregnancy, a medical procedure which is painless for a zygote/blastocyst/embryo, then you are saying that SHE is equivalent to a rapist.  That’s offensive on so many levels that I can’t begin to explain them all.

     

    She is the SURVIVOR of a CRIMINAL ATTACK.  As such, she has the right to do whatever she needs to do to heal from that attack.  If she is willing to endure a pregnancy for her own reasons, that’s fine.  If she is not and removes the placenta and associated blastocyst/embryo that might, perhaps, if she doesn’t miscarry, finally cannibalize enough of her to build itself, then she should not only not be forced to do, she should not be guilt-tripped about doing whatever she thinks is necessary.

     

    Rapists do NOT have reproductive rights.  If she needs to be ‘not pregnant’ in order to heal, then just as so many insist that mothers dying from pregnancy complications is ’unfortunate but necessary to honor life’, if her taking the means available to be ‘not pregnant’ results in the death of an embryonic fetal body, that too is ‘unfortunate but necessary to stop the continuation of the rape’.

     

    People who can’t tolerate the idea that a certain percentage of pregnancies from rape/incest are aborted need to become much more proactive about stigmatizing and preventing RAPE/INCEST and seeing that the perpetrators  are not allowed to continue to walk among us.  The percentage of REPORTED rapists who actually spend time in jail is a little over 16%.  The percentage of all rapists is 6%.  In my opinion, you’re agonizing over the wrong end of the problem.

  • colleen

    Are you of the opinion that anyone who describes abortion as an act of physical violence is being “stupid and offensive”?

    To equate rape and abortion and particularly a equate a woman (or little girl) who has been impregnated due to a rape with a rapist because she has chosen to have an abortion is beyond stupid and offensive. Indeed I would say that your attitudes towards women have far more in common with those of a rapist than a woman or the parent of a child in that situation who chooses to have an abortion. I am sickened by the notion that you may be ‘counseling’ rape victims or women who have been battered.

  • paul-bradford

    If you truly believed that the women who obtain abortions and doctors who perform them are committing a violent act against another human being, then you would support prosecuting both the women who get them and the doctors who perform them.

     

    Amy C,

     

    I am more than happy to talk to you about what I “truly believe” and I am going to do the best job I can to listen thoughtfully to what you truly believe.  If you and I do a good job of doing this we will be having a respectful and productive conversation — and respectful and productive conversations between people who have different perspectives on the abortion question is what we need if we’re to get what I’m sure we all want which is a society where people respect the lives of other people.

     

    My honest response to your suggestion is to shake my head sadly and to point out that the attitude you convey is one that is all-too-prevalent in America (and, perhaps, in other countries) which is that the solution to every human problem is to fatten up the criminal code and build more prisons (prisons, by the way, which will be filled — not by those who are most guilty — but by those who have the most trouble accessing competent legal counsel.)  This is no way to protect the unborn and it’s certainly no way to increase a respect for life.

     

    I am completely opposed to hauling girls and women in difficult situations and medical professionals before judges.  For one thing, it’s cruel.  For another, it will never work; and for a third, it doesn’t strike at the heart of the problem.  Women get abortions, and doctors perform abortions because they don’t believe the unborn have as much of a right to live as the rest of us do.  We don’t need to change laws.  We need to change attitudes.

     

    The attitude you conveyed when you said, “A fetus is not a human body. You have decided, based on your own personal moral/religious views, that it is a human body. You cannot force your personal views onto anyone else.” is the very attitude that needs to be changed.

     

    We absolutely can not leave the question of who is human to “personal moral/religious views”.  It’s an idea that really upsets me and when I rub up against it I have to try really hard to keep my head.  (Deep breath).  Analogies don’t usually convince anyone but I would like you to comment on this one.  Suppose there were a religion that asserted that female bodies weren’t human bodies.  Suppose, in this religion, it was considered sinful to kill a man or a boy but it was permitted for a husband (or brother, or father, or son) to kill a girl or woman if she was disobedient or otherwise difficult.  How much of a defender of religious plurality would you be in that case?  Let’s call this religion “Rushism”.

     

    Suppose a Rushist killed his mother when she got too old to justify the cost it took to care for her.  I would get outraged and claim that what the Rushist did was immoral.  I’d get all kinds of bent-out-of-shape, just like I do here.  You, if you’re consistent, would say, “Paul, I realize that the Catholics believe that women are people the same as men are but not everyone is a Catholic and you’ve got to learn to respect the religious freedom of Rushists and other people who don’t want Paul Bradford to control their lives.  From a Rushist perspective, killing your mother is no more of an immoral act than putting an old sofa on the curb for garbage pick up.  Stop trying to impose your moral/religious views on people who have no desire to practice your brand of religion.  It’s barbaric to impose your religion on others.”

     

    (Deep breath.  Deep breath.)

     

    What I don’t understand, and I am trying really really hard to understand, is how you don’t realize that the two situations are analogous.  I say, (and you can dispute this if you choose) that the only way to have morality is to get everyone to agree who must be treated like a ‘person’.  It’s not even sane to have a situation where this is left up to an individual’s moral/religious views.  I wouldn’t be moral at all if I took the attitude that it’s a sin for a Catholic to kill a woman but it’s perfectly OK for a Rushist to kill women.  When you come down to it, the REASON it’s a sin to kill a woman is because we’re all morally required to respect a woman’s rights.  In what way am I respecting a woman’s rights if I say, “Well I didn’t actually kill the woman, so why should I get upset if somebody else does?”  Wouldn’t you agree that that would be doing a pretty lousy job of protecting the rights of that woman?

     

    Your comments please.

  • paul-bradford

    what I objected to was comparing a consensual abortion to non-consensual sex.

     

    scarlet,

     

    Society hears from victims of rape, so we know how horrible non-consensual sex is.  Of course, even if we couldn’t hear from victims of rape I would hope we’d have enough imagination and empathy to be able to figure out that we need to do everything possible to protect women and others from rape.  Now, we can’t hear from victims of abortion.  They’re all silent — so are all those now living who are at risk for abortion.  The only way for us to know how horrible abortion is is to exercise imagination and empathy.  That ought to be enough for us to realize that we have to do everything possible to protect people from abortion.

     

    Non-consensual sex means that two people are involved in the act but only one consents.  How is that different from abortion?  There are two people involved but only one consents.  You talk about “consensual abortion”.  scarlet, I’m not trying to be glib here but I can’t even IMAGINE consensual abortion. 

     

    It’s incredibly offensive to me a survivor.

     

    OK, you and I have both disclosed that we’re victims of sexual predators. Let’s talk about being offended. I would certainly be offended if somebody tried to minimize what my perpetrator did to me by likening it to “tickling” or “horseplay”. I’d be incensed, because I know how damaging non-consensual sexual relations are. The thing that would upset me is that someone was drawing a parallel between behavior that is acceptable and non-destructive (tickling or horseplay) with something that is unacceptable and destructive (sexual abuse of a child).  On the other hand, if someone who’d been mugged pointed out similarities between what happened to him and what happened to me I would not be offended.  The person who’d been mugged would be comparing two behaviors that are both unacceptable and destructive.

     

    You ought to be offended if someone compares what happened to you (which was unacceptable and destructive) with something that is acceptable and non-destructive.  Imagine, for example, how outraged you would be if someone compared your victimization with getting one’s nails clipped, or having a mole removed, or having a tooth extracted.  Welcome to my world, scarlet.  People here do just that.  They compare something gruesome (abortion) with ordinary medical procedures that anybody might procure.

     

    There is a difference, of course and you’ve got every right to point this out.  A rapist knows that what he’s doing is unacceptable and destructive.  People who procure or perform abortions HONESTLY BELIEVE they’re doing something acceptable and non-destructive.  That’s why you were offended by my remark.  When I say “abortion” I’m thinking ‘unacceptable and destructive’.  When you HEAR “abortion” you’re hearing ‘acceptable and non-destructive’.  I fully understand why you’re offended.  It felt to you that I was comparing your experience of being raped with the experience of having a mole removed.

     

    I certainly do not set out to offend anyone who’s suffered a violent attack, and I can see how you might take what I said as being offensive.  Would you do me this favor, though, and try to listen to my comment as I INTENDED it.  I was intending to consider the position of the woman who learns she’s been impregnated by a rapist.  I would hope that any intelligent and sensitive person could have some idea how that might be for her.  People who have been victimized by sexual predators are even MORE likely to see things from her perspective.  My intention was to point out that such a woman would be doing something very moral and very good if she resisted the temptation to return evil with evil — that is, if she could develop the generosity of spirit to ‘turn the other cheek’.

     

    When something bad happens to a person it is almost “normal” for them to want to do something bad in response.  I understand that.  I’m human too.  But I’m a hopeful human and I’m always hoping that the people who experience something bad will try and do something good.  The more people do that, the better our world will be.

  • paul-bradford

    If you read carefully through your responses on this thread, you will see that what you have done is equated the woman who was raped and the rapist.

     

    crowepps,

     

    The equivalence isn’t with the people who perform the act.  The equivalence is with the people who are unwillingly affected by the act.  The difference between the people who perform the act is that one knows he’s doing wrong and the other thinks she’s doing right.

     

    Some evils, I suppose, can be prevented by assigning blame and dispensing punishment.  Most people consider rape to be one of those evils.  For other evils, it doesn’t make any sense to look for someone to blame.  I’m interested in looking for ways to protect myself and others from destructive experiences.  I certainly wouldn’t be satisfied if I were only protected from destructive experiences that are caused by a “bad guy”.

     

    Women who abort are not bad.  Men who rape are.  We agree on this much.  Let’s go further, though.  Women who are raped are damaged.  Fetuses who are aborted are damaged even more.  You certainly don’t have any trouble realizing that there can be a big difference between the evil of intention and the evil of effect.  I never want to INTEND evil, but neither do I want people to suffer evil from well-intended actions I might perform.

     

    Let’s round up all the rapists, lock them in jail and throw away the key.  The world will be a better, and safer place.  Do you agree?  Now, what should we do with those who procure or perform abortions?  It’s certainly not going to work to try the same plan.  It makes sense to put bad people in jail; but what good would it do to put GOOD people in jail?

     

    People who can’t tolerate the idea that a certain percentage of pregnancies from rape/incest are aborted need to become much more proactive about stigmatizing and preventing RAPE/INCEST and seeing that the perpetrators are not allowed to continue to walk among us. The percentage of REPORTED rapists who actually spend time in jail is a little over 16%. The percentage of all rapists is 6%. In my opinion, you’re agonizing over the wrong end of the problem.

     

    crowepps, I DO agonize over the victims of rape!  Potential victims of rape can be protected, at least somewhat, by strong laws that are aggressively enforced.  That would help — but (if I had more time) I’d argue that other efforts must be made ADDITIONALLY to protect the potential victims of rape.

     

    Why can’t you believe that I can be simultaneously concerned about potential victims of rape and potential victims of abortion?  Why can’t I agonize over both?  I care about both instances of disrespect for life but I’m more aware than most Pro-Lifers of the fact that these instances call for different responses.

  • julie-watkins

    What’s the difference between a gift and a tax, when a large amount of resources and risk are involved?

    .

    What’s the difference in difficulty between putting a square peg in a round hole vs. a round peg in a round hole, all diameters being equal?

    .

    Paul and I already had this discussion in a previous thread, but I thought I’d do some quotes (I’ve done some light edits on my quotes):

    The whole thread is here:

    http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2010/04/12/eyes-wide-open-nebraska

    Julie wrote:

    Paul’s way to be Pro-Life is about enforcing Nature’s Sexism because the cluebus hasn’t arrived yet about his own misogyny. Nature is very sloppy about the process because the big deal isn’t the ZBEFs, it’s “good outcomes” and “good genes” and “the right time”. However, in Pauls sentimentalized world view, it’s OK to put social and legal pressure on women and poor people to “do the right thing” (which just happens to help preserve the political power of people who support that world view)(that world view developed over millenia, by the people in power patronizing the philosopher’s and theologians who supports their views and undermining philosophy & theology that threatened their power)

    Paul wrote:

    …  Nature may be, as you point out, very sloppy about the process of reproduction but that’s no reason for us to be sloppy.  To me, a Culture of Life is a culture where a woman wouldn’t conceive a child, nor would a man father a child, unless they were both ready, willing and able to do a good job of raising that child.

    Julie wrote:

    Looking at Nature shows how our system works and our guiding philosophies should take How Things Actually Work into account. When you say “no reason for us to be sloppy” That’s trying to force a square peg into a round hole. That’s misogyny. On the other hand saying [attempting to] give birth [give life] is a gift, not an obligation is, from my PoV, is a better match with the reality of Nature & is more like putting a round peg in a round hole. You get very very worked up about needing to protect “the very young”. That’s something very hard to do well because of the square peg/round hole situation. Then you’re asking this very hard thing of people who already on the bottom society’s pyramid.

    .

    You keep writing as if I agreed ZBEF was a “person” (I don’t) that I would change my mind. I’m not in favor of giving ZBEFs a right (legal or moral) that no other person has. Speaking of charity, when I choose to donate, it’s my choice which charity and how much money or time.  The way you want potential parents to treat their potential obligations … it feels more like a government’s approach to “the public good” rather than a charity’s request “choose to be one of the people who helps us”. In regards “for the public good”, I don’t have a choice about taxes. I have to pay my appropriate taxes, and no one is excused. (Unless your someone like GE who puts all the profits in other countries and all the losses here.)

    .

    You/other pro-Lifers are taking a goverment approach, why we keep making complaints about “Treating pregnant women & poor as public property”. Collectively, you’ve decided to use social pressure (and laws) to tax women & poor people more than men & people with more resources.

    Paul wrote:

    You can look forever at Nature and you’ll find damned little rationality or justice.  Nature doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the sanctity of life.  That’s an entirely human idea — in fact, it’s the idea that MAKES us human.

    Julie wrote:

    Contrary to how you responded I wasn’t talking about “rationality” or “justice”. Rather, I was talking about how our biology shapes what is reasonable vs. what is not the way our biology works. It is an injustice to ignore physical realities and true physiological costs when making broad philosophical statements about what “MAKES us human” and what is moral or not.

    .

    I’m talking about the physical cost of the burden, and you answer with senimentality and platitudes about “justice” …

  • paul-bradford

    I am sickened by the notion that you may be ‘counseling’ rape victims or women who have been battered.

     

    You know, colleen, I find that reading your posts is a lot different for me than reading the posts of others.  Lots of other people have disagreed with me, or criticized me, or gotten nasty to me.  It’s OK.  I’m able (at least eventually) to focus on the the actual substance of what is being said and set aside the personal stuff.  What happens between you and me, on the other hand, is a whole ‘nuther animal!  It’s positively visceral.

     

    A guy like me, working in the field I do, and being as good at what I do as I am, regularly gets to hear from people (with the certain inclusion of women) that I’m smart, sensitive and caring.  Believe me, it’s a nice feeling; but I can’t live my life for the appreciation of others.  I’ve got to do the thing that I honestly believe is the most loving, most constructive, most just and most wise thing I can do.  I make plenty of mistakes and, I hope, I learn from my mistakes; but my intention never alters.

     

    You regularly distort the things I say.  If I thought I heard from somebody else the things that you think I say, I’d totally hate him.  It makes perfect sense to me that you totally hate me, but I’m saddened by that fact.  It really does hurt.  I’m not going to pretend it doesn’t.  You’ve ‘got my number’ as the saying goes.  You really get under my skin!  Sometimes I’m almost afraid to log on, worrying about what you’re going to say next.

     

    To equate rape and abortion and particularly a equate a woman (or little girl) who has been impregnated due to a rape with a rapist because she has chosen to have an abortion is beyond stupid and offensive.


    It would be “beyond stupid and offensive”, colleen, if I were to suggest that a woman or girl who aborts deserves to be treated in the punitive and contemptful way we treat rapists. This is, sadly, what you heard me say, and it makes sense to me that such a sentiment would send you into orbit.

     

    The fact is that I don’t believe that girls and women who abort ought to be treated with contempt or punishment.  I believe that they need to be treated with love and understanding.  Rapists are full of hatred and evil — women who procure abortions are just like anybody else, and they’re as eager to ‘do the right thing’ as anybody else is.  Comparing the rapist with the woman who aborts is nothing sort of vicious.

     

    This comparison, though, is a distortion on your part.  You hate me because you don’t see me.

     

    This is what I said: I think that an abortion has more in common with a rape than a pregnancy does.  Both an abortion and a rape are examples of physical violence, both result in damage, both are violations of bodily autonomy.

     

    I said, and believe, and I’m completely willing to discuss my conviction that our society has every bit as much of a reason to protect people from the violence of abortion as we do to protect them from the violence of rape.  In both instances, I think we could do much, much more than we’re doing.  When someone is victimized by rape, we ought to reflect on the question of what could have been done to protect her.  I say that when someone is victimized by abortion we ALSO ought to reflect on the question of what could have been done to protect the victim.

     

    Good people do bad things.  Bad people do bad things.  I don’t care whether the bad thing is done by a good person or a bad person — I want bad things to stop happening.  I’m not interested in blaming people, and I’m not interested in punishing people.  I’m interested in doing what needs doing to make this a more just and peaceful world.

     

  • colleen

    A guy like me, working in the field I do, and being as good at what I do as I am, regularly gets to hear from people (with the certain inclusion of women) that I’m smart, sensitive and caring..

     

    This is what concerns me. You have admitted that you don’t discuss your beliefs with the women you work with and I’ve commented many times about how manipulative you are here. I am concerned that you may be in a position where you talk to rape victims and other vulnerable, troubled women like you talk to the women here. Because I care about women, the notion saddens me.

     

    I don’t “hate” you, I am not interested in  any personal realtionship because you’re not trustworthy or capable of arguing in good faith. I find your beliefs dehumanizing and destructive to the lives and dignity of women. They offend me to the core but I don’t care about you personally.  What I DO care about is rape victims and what I know is that the last thing a rape victim needs to hear are the things you have said here every time the subject of rape comes up.

    Stop telling everyone how misunderstood you are. You say it so often and so reflexively that any concern I may have once felt about your being misunderstood is long gone. The fact that every time you speak of rape here you manage to offend every woman who responds should tell you that being misunderstood isn’t the problem. The problem is that you continue to say things that are unpardonably offensive.   And, you know what Paul, the problem isn’t that you aren’t spinning the situation adequately, it’s that for you the primary responsibility and role of women is to gestate any zygote no matter what the personal cost to her.

     

    I watch you play the same games every time. You say something you KNOW will be hurtful and offensive to garner responses and make Paul and Paul’s beliefs the focus of attention and then deny that was your intent. You understand quite well that equating rape and abortion is an ugly low thing to do and yet you do it anyway.

     

     

  • emma

    I by and large agree with you as well, Paul, and I appreciate that which you wrote.

     

    EDIT: Your first response, not the following ones.

  • scarlet

    colleen pretty much covered everything I wanted to say.

  • scarlet

    Once again, I said that the comparison of a consensual procedure to non-consensual sex is offensive. You just trying to derail the conversation and very little of what you wrote had to do with what I was trying to tell you.

    You ought to be offended if someone compares what happened to you (which was unacceptable and destructive) with something that is acceptable and non-destructive.

    I will decide what is or is not offensive to me as a survivor not you.

     

    I certainly do not set out to offend anyone who’s suffered a violent attack, and I can see how you might take what I said as being offensive.

     

     

      It was taken as offensive because it is offensive. Several people here are offended, and rightly so. So how about you stop pretending you didn’t do anything wrong, stop getting defensive when people call you out, and just apologize for your crappy behavior? You know what you did is wrong.

    Yeah right, I’ll keep dreaming.

  • emma

    I was more interested in pointing out that, whoever made the decision, the guiding principle ought to be saving lives. I stated there that if doctors believed that the most likely outcome would be that both mother and child would survive delivery the right thing was to continue the pregnancy. Most of the posters took the attitude that an abortion should be performed — despite the fact that both the girl and those caring for her wanted her to try and have the baby. The issue, on that thread, wasn’t at all about who should choose — it was all about what should be chosen. So much so that people who normally advocate for ‘choice’ wanted to take the choice away from anyone who chose wrongly (which, to them, meant choosing childbirth). I said that if the choice was in my hands I would feel a responsibility to both the mother and the child and would consult medical advice to learn whether there was a realistic hope that both could survive.

    I haven’t yet read the responses to this comment, but I do want to say that I think you’re misreading the motivations of people who supported abortion in this situation. It isn’t a lack of interest in saving lives.

     

    For most of us here, our primary concern is the survival of the pregnant child. Most of us don’t share your belief that a foetus is of equal value to a woman or child, and you really need to accept that, to us, this is a moral viewpoint.

     

    I feel that arguing that we’re not supporting choice for this kid is a bit disingenuous. If a ten-year-old kid wanted to run into a building that was burning down, would you encourage her/him or try to stop her/him? If a ten-year-old kid wanted to kill her/himself, would you encourage her/him to do that, or try to stop her/him? I genuinely feel that encouraging a child to continue a pregnancy that is likely to put her in danger is equivalent to saying a child that age should be encouraged to choose to put her/himself in danger by trying to save someone in a burning building.

     

    I would try to stop a kid from doing that, and I’ve called ambulances on quite a few adults I’ve known who’ve been in the process of trying to kill themselves. To get more personal than I probably should, I’ve had people do the same for me.*

     

    *Before anyone – and I don’t mean you, Paul – tries to suggest I shouldn’t be taken seriously because I must be mentally unstable, I’m going to add that this was over a decade ago, and I now have no interest in dying whatsoever.

  • mechashiva

    I’m stepping in right here:

    The difference between the people who perform the act is that one knows he’s doing wrong and the other thinks she’s doing right.

     

    The rapist rapes due to his worldview that he is entitled to sex. He may not even think of what he did as “rape.” People generally have some justification for why they aren’t doing something wrong. People are punished for what they do, not why they do it. This is why, if abortion were criminalized, it would not make sense to punish medical professionals and not the women who seek abortion.

  • paul-bradford

    I’m always happy to respond to your posts, and I’m happy to respond to this one as well.

     

    The Pro-Choice/Pro-Life debate presents us with a false dichotomy and masks the fact that there are two debates that can be addressed.  The first one is the Pro-Choice/anti-choice debate which considers whether or not a woman should have the power to choose whether to terminate or to continue her own pregnancy.  The second one is the Pro-Life/anti-life debate which ponders this question,  ”Regardless of who makes the choice, what choice should be made?”  I’m convinced that the second debate is far more important.  What’s more, I don’t have any disagreement with the consensus on this ‘site about how the first debate should be resolved.  Despite these two facts, you — and others — continue to try to involve me in the first debate and to ignore the second.

     

    Speaking of charity, when I choose to donate, it’s my choice which charity and how much money or time. The way you want potential parents to treat their potential obligations … it feels more like a government’s approach to “the public good” rather than a charity’s request “choose to be one of the people who helps us”. In regards “for the public good”, I don’t have a choice about taxes. I have to pay my appropriate taxes, and no one is excused.

     

    Your comment gives me the opportunity to set aside the Pro-Life question of abortion and to take up the Pro-Life question of hunger.  There are, I’m sure you’ve heard, 160 million children, worldwide, under the age of five who are malnourished and at risk for dying of hunger.  These young people, I contend, have a right to live and that right is being blatantly disrespected.  You point out that you get to decide whether to support or to ignore the charities that bring a promise of relief to the hungry.  You’re bringing up the Pro-Choice/anti-choice debate.  You don’t want governments to compel rich people to feed starving children.  I’m declining to involve myself in that debate.  I’m focused on the Pro-Life/anti-life question.  I’m here to say that whether you’re forced to give to the poor or whether it’s optional you have a MORAL OBLIGATION to help feed the hungry.  What’s more, I say, you have a moral obligation to remind other people of the fact that they’ve got a moral obligation to help feed the hungry.

     

    You’ve been open with me about the fact that, when you were pregnant, you chose to have an abortion.  From a Pro-Choice perspective I’m glad it was you, and not some priest, who made the decision; but from a Pro-Life perspective I wish that there had been more structures in your life at that time to influence, and encourage, and support, and enable you to choose life.  I’m not blaming you, but the fact is that you didn’t do all you could to support the life of your child.  In a similar way, I wish that right now there were more structures in your life to influence, and encourage, and support, and enable you to give aid to the hungry.  You could, with more encouragement, be giving more than you are giving.  Should you be forced to give?  We don’t even need to talk about that.

  • crowepps

    The second one is the Pro-Life/anti-life debate which ponders this question, “Regardless of who makes the choice, what choice should be made?”

    While this may be a very interesting philosophical question, obviously the only person who actually has to pay a price for whatever answer is given is the woman involved. That being so, the philosophy of a bunch of strangers, particularly male strangers, is pretty irrelevant. You can debate which choice is ‘moral’ or ‘right’ or ‘most fully human’ until the cows come home without ever having to be discomfited in any way, because although you may experience, just for instance, having your daughter die needlessly along with a fetus known to be doomed, there is never, ever going to come a time when you have to personally die for your ideals. It’s always, always much easier to hew to a strict moral standard when it results in OTHER people dying to uphold it.

    I’m here to say that whether you’re forced to give to the poor or whether it’s optional you have a MORAL OBLIGATION to help feed the hungry. What’s more, I say, you have a moral obligation to remind other people of the fact that they’ve got a moral obligation to help feed the hungry.

    Your personal moral standards have an internal conflict, because at the same time you think nobody should be hungry, you also believe that people should be encouraged to be pro-life by going ahead and staying pregnant even when that means the loss of the woman’s economic output means she can’t possibly feed either that child or the rest of her children.

     

    You seem unable to grasp that the fact that YOU believe that there’s a moral obligation to ‘feed the hungry’ doesn’t mean that other people have to agree with you. Hunger is usually rooted not in just a lack of food, but in politics, economic inequalities and dysfunctional cultural values. Buying and distributing food does nothing to alleviate those root causes and just perpetuates the problem endlessly.

  • crowepps

    I’m not blaming you, but the fact is that you didn’t do all you could to support the life of your child. In a similar way, I wish that right now there were more structures in your life to influence, and encourage, and support, and enable you to give aid to the hungry. You could, with more encouragement, be giving more than you are giving.

    The fact is? You are not making this statement on the basis of any ‘facts’. You have no idea at all if she was or was not able to do any more to ‘support the life of your child’ but instead are guessing. You have no idea at all what aid she gives to the hungry, whether she is capable of giving more than she is already, or what structures there are in her life that encourage or discourage her from doing anything. You are making vast assumptions based on your belief that you and your personal views are morally superior to hers without knowing more about her than can be gleaned from her posts on a topic board.

     

    This sort of pious moralizing in which you assert that you know better than others what is good for them is just incredibly offensive in its arrogance.

  • crowepps

    I genuinely feel that encouraging a child to continue a pregnancy that is likely to put her in danger is equivalent to saying a child that age should be encouraged to choose to put her/himself in danger by trying to save someone in a burning building.

    I’d add to your analogy that the PURPOSE of encouraging the child to do so would be so that the person who encouraged them, while staying safely outside themselves, could feel that by persuading somebody else to take all the risks they themslves ’upheld the morality of saving lives’.

  • crowepps

    ‘I’m sorry you’re so over-sensitive after your traumatic experience that you misunderstood what I meant’ isn’t exactly what I’d call an apology.

  • wendy-banks

    Yeah, we all know that Paul is a false sympathy troll– Just ignore the asswipe–I do.

    I was molested when I was three, (And I was ‘blessed’ with a dysfuntional family as well) and my mind still repressess alot. And ended up with DPD. It’s hell to work through trama like that, but if you get the help of a good therapist, you can. And it’s really worth it! Don’t try to force down and bury what you went through, it will eat your soul. My Doctor FORCED me to face it and I both hate and love him for it. But I got better. You CAN do it!

  • scarlet

    so very true

  • scarlet

    You’re right, its probably best to ignore Paul and all the others.

     

    But, what makes you think I haven’t gotten help?

  • julie-watkins

    Hi crowepps, thanks for your support. He “knew” because I’ve said here before there were no “extinuating circumstances” other than we didn’t want to be pregnant. 28 years ago the world was already overpopulated, abortion was available and legal at that time, so what? None of his business.

    .

    I restated that recently to Paul in the “throwing away” non-communication, as in if he’s going to say “throwing away” he should have said it  to me on my abortion decision, not in accusation against people who are worried about a pregnant 10 yr old’s health. (Of course, I would have answered: not your business, and I’m tired of you trying to make a gift into an obligation.)

    .

    Typically Paul, he didn’t reply about that though I specifically asked … but he’ll remember & take me to task later. Even though he just goes away and won’t answer a legitimate question.

    This sort of pious moralizing in which you assert that you know better than others what is good for them is just incredibly offensive in its arrogance.

    I agree. He does a lot of invoking of authority. There’s a higher Truth — his definition, not ours. Also invoking authority because he’s a counselor of some sort and he does a good job so we should accept his advice — yet he won’t acknowledge the personal experiences you have from your job that contradicts his wishful thinking.

    .

    Also, there’s the invoking of authority as he’s the spokesperson for PLCFC … I asked multiple times before about the scope of his group because “PLCFC webpage”, when I clicked, was a personal blog on USAT. If I google PLCFC all the matches are his personal comments. If there is any group it’s small and no web presence … not a well organized advocacy group. But, again, he keeps proclaiming he knows the Truth, and has a double-misleading signature — proclaiming he’s for “choice” (but he’s trying to redefine the current usage) and he’s spokesperson for an importatant-sounding group with no web presence — trying to invoke more authority than he has.
    .

    He has zero authority to judge me. That he does anyway — that bad behavior showcases his misogynistic “ethics”.

  • julie-watkins

    Your comment gives me the opportunity to set aside the Pro-Life question of abortion and to take up the Pro-Life question of hunger.

     

    There you go again, treating choices like obligatory taxes. I think it shows much about the shallowness of your commitment to justice that you think it’s appropriate to tax women and poor families at a much higher rate than men and families with more resources.  The evidence from Nature is that biology is  sloppy and wasteful of conceptions because good outcomes, good genes, and good timing are more important for evolutionary success. However, you keep on insisting that we can do better than that, even though it’s insisting that everyone should be putting square pegs in round holes.

    .

    The reason why the expectations are so divorced from reality is that the ruling classes have had millennia to refine their cover story & pretty it up. The background agenda is that the bottom of the pyramid is obligated to support the top 1%. For many of them this isn’t a conscious goal, they’ve deluded themselves as well as their followers. But when you look at the ugly results, the hidden agenda is clear. You keep saying, Paul, that’s you’re for Justice and not about supporting the Status Quo … but that’s not what your actions show.

    .

    All of the above is stated in summary because we’ve already discussed each of these topics at length and we’re not going to change each other’s minds. I’m just laying out my evidence for the audience.

    .

    I’m always happy to respond to your posts, and I’m happy to respond to this one as well.

    Actually, I was addressing the audience, not you. Since you’re “happy to respond”, will you withdraw or defend your “tossing away” from that thread long ago — this is my 7th time asking you directly.

    .

    Any doctor that would advise it’s an acceptable choice for a 10 year old child to continue a pregnancy — that’s evidence that doctor doesn’t value the pregnant child’s short term or long term health; but rather puts too much value on the possibility of a good outcome for the fetus.

    .

    You accused people in that thread, stating your opinion that we wanted the doctors to “throw away” the “child [fetus]“. BUT you have never acknowledged the doctors’ “throwing away” of the pregnant girl’s health. Your refusal to acknowledge this valid concern is further evidence of your blind acceptance of the age old oppression of the ruling class.

  • paul-bradford

    scarlet,

     

    You said, “that the comparison of a consensual procedure to non-consensual sex is offensive.”  I agree with you, scarlet, it WOULD be offensive if somebody compared a consensual procedure (like a tooth extraction, or a mole removal, or any other medical procedure that a person consents to) to non-consensual sex (i.e. rape).  You explained very clearly to me that that is what you thought I did and it makes perfect sense to me that you’d get offended.  I am perfectly happy to apologize to you for expressing myself in a way that you didn’t understand, but I’m not going to apologize for something I didn’t do.

     

    I compared a violent, non-consensual event (an abortion) with another violent, non-consensual event (a rape).  You seem to be under the misapprehension that an abortion is consensual and that it’s non-violent.  Our disagreement on that point causes you to be confused about my comparision.  If it were possible for you to appreciate the violence of abortion and the utter violation that a fetus suffers when s/he is aborted, you would realize that my comparison only serves to underscore my sensitivity to the violence and violation of rape.  You’re offended, and I’m sorry you’re offended, but the only reason you’re offended is because you misunderstood what I said; and you misunderstood what I said because your understanding of abortion is so radically different from mine.

     

    Several people are offended.  Each of the people who are offended refuses to accept my understanding about abortion.  As long as you continue to judge what I say by your (very different) understanding of what abortion is, you’re going to have a distorted understanding of what I have said.

     

    Do you imagine that if I were even more sensitive and more aware and more concerned about the reality of rape than I now am I would be hesitant to draw a comparison between the victims of rape and the victims of other violent, non-consensual events?  Would you, for example, be offended if I compared rape to other violent attacks — muggings, or bombings, or knifings?  What would be offensive about that?  You and I are having trouble — not because I’m insufficiently concerned about the victims of rape, but because you’re insufficiently concerned about the victims of abortion.

  • paul-bradford

    I drew a comparison between abortion and rape.  You could view that comparison in two ways.  You could compare the perpetrators of abortions with the perpetrators of rape.  The trouble with that is that women who abort are generally viewed as well-adjusted members of society, whereas rapists are viewed as moral degenerates.  I have no interest in depicting women who abort as moral degenerates.  The other way to view it is to compare the victims of abortion with the victims of rape.  That is what I have set out to do.  When I do this, we all get to see how deeply people on this ‘site care about the lives and well being of women, and how little they care about the lives and well being of fetuses.  I applaud your concern for women, but I challenge you to match that concern with a concern for fetuses.

  • crowepps

    The other way to view it is to compare the victims of abortion with the victims of rape.

    So a girl or woman who is violently raped has an equivalent experience to a fetus which has no self-awareness, hasn’t developed a sensory/pain system and is never aware that anything happened? Sorry, that is a very lame comparison.

     

    Next you’ll be joining the men’s rights advocates and telling us that paying child support is the same as rape.

     

    I sincerely hope you will drop this subject, since you’re just digging yourself in deeper and deeper.

    I applaud your concern for women, but I challenge you to match that concern with a concern for fetuses.

    Since your concern extends to almost irrational lengths, and tends to disregard the woman altogether as disposable, and you can’t seem to grasp that although we don’t agree with your extremism, many of us here DO have a concern for fetuses, having actually been through a process you persistently fail to comprehend, your ‘challenge’ is just plain silly. ‘Concern for fetuses’ does NOT mean ‘agree with Paul’s sentimentalism/religious extremism 100%’.

  • scarlet

    I’ll just second what crowepps has said here, I have nothing else to say.

  • paul-bradford

    you can’t seem to grasp that although we don’t agree with your extremism, many of us here DO have a concern for fetuses, having actually been through a process you persistently fail to comprehend, your ‘challenge’ is just plain silly.

     

    crowepps,

     

    Look at the phrases that crop up when you respond to me: “can’t seem to grasp”, “fail to comprehend”, “irrational lengths”, “extremism”, “sentimentalism”, “just plain silly”.  My comments aren’t silly.  You misunderstand them.  In the past, you’ve described my writing as ‘inartful’.  Apparently my writing deficiency has caused you to go off on me even though the idea I actually have in my mind does not merit your ridicule.

     

    I said, ”I applaud your concern for women, but I challenge you to match that concern with a concern for fetuses.”  I’m made to look like an idiot because you interpreted that to mean that I’ve never noticed that many women will go to great lengths to care for their unborn children.  Let me take a second stab at it.  Let me say, ”I applaud your concern for women who are mistreated, but I challenge you to match that concern with a concern for fetuses who are mistreated.”

     

    I hope this edit makes my observation less ridiculous to you.  My take on the development of this thread is that after I suggested that compassionate people ought to show concern for women who have been raped but should also show concern for fetuses at risk for abortion, I was accused of insensitivity to women.  As if the problem was that I don’t care for rape victims.  

     

    Since it wasn’t clear to you, let me explain that I was comparing two groups of mistreated people — rape victims and abortion victims.  Many of us, you included, demonstrate compassion for people you don’t even know if they’ve been mistreated.  My assertion is that you show a great deal more concern for mistreated women whom you don’t know than you do for mistreated fetuses whom you don’t know.  I’m suggesting that that’s discriminatory.

     

    Now that I’ve cleared that up I hope you’ll respond to me in a more respectful way.

  • crowepps

    Apparently my writing deficiency has caused you to go off on me even though the idea I actually have in my mind does not merit your ridicule.

    The idea in your mind may be brilliant, although I doubt it, but no matter how brilliant it may seem to you, if you cannot use language to convey it to other people, there is no way they can agree.  Recently, the analogies which you have used to try to convey your idea are beyond silly – the rape analogy is VILE.

     I’m made to look like an idiot because you interpreted that to mean that I’ve never noticed that many women will go to great lengths to care for their unborn children.

    It isn’t necessary for me to “make Paul look like an idiot”.  You manage nicely all by yourself.

    Let me say, ”I applaud your concern for women who are mistreated, but I challenge you to match that concern with a concern for fetuses who are mistreated.” I hope this edit makes my observation less ridiculous to you.

    No, it does not.  Aborting zygotes, blastocysts and embryos, the time frame in which most abortions are done, MAY end their lives early (considering that 10 to 15% would be spontaneously aborted anyway), but this painless process can not accurately be described as “mistreating” them.

    My assertion is that you show a great deal more concern for mistreated women whom you don’t know than you do for mistreated fetuses whom you don’t know.  I’m suggesting that that’s discriminatory.

    And my assertion is that there is a enormous difference between sentient, existing, emotion-feeling, pain-feeling mistreated women and non-sentient, provisionally existing, emotionless, immune to pain fetuses.  It is not discriminatory to treat dissimilar groups differently.  Your assertion that the two ought to be considered equals is exactly what I meant when I said you were sentimental.  You wish to imbue in the undeveloped, nascent ounce and a half a personification and a value which no pregnant woman can take for granted, because SHE is aware how many things could and do still go wrong.

    Now that I’ve cleared that up I hope you’ll respond to me in a more respectful way.

    I doubt if you will find this post any more ‘respectful’ than the last one, however I would point out that it is certainly a great deal more respectful than those you have repeatedly posted to others including myself.  You are neither authoritative nor well educated on this subject, and the fact that you root your opinions in emotional angst decreases my respect for that opinion.  It is not persuasive to be the most hysterical, to be the biggest martyr, or to argue that 10 people reading the same thing and coming to identical conclusions are ALL misunderstanding the plain sense of the text.

  • paul-bradford

    the rape analogy is VILE.

     

    crowepps,

     

    Rape is vile.  Abortion is vile.  The analogy is only vile to people who have respect for the lives of women but who disrespect the lives of the unborn.

     

    Don’t think that this stuff doesn’t pain me.  It’s no fun for me to get into scrapes like this with you and the others.  I certainly don’t get a rise out of upsetting people.  I’m extremely sensitive to giving people offense or saying things that others interpret as being disrespectful.  I like being liked and I know how to be pleasant to others.  But I’m not on this ‘site to make friends.  I’m interested in saving lives.

     

    If you were a creepy, disrespectful, uneducated, insensitive person your attitudes about the unborn would do no damage to anyone because no one would be influenced by your attitude.  It’s precisely BECAUSE you’re a courteous, well informed, sensitive, respected member of society that your dehumanization of the very young puts people’s lives at risk.

     

    Your post is enormously disrespectful to the unborn.  It is discriminatory, it is bigoted, it is dehumanizing.  You’ve referred to other members of the human race as ‘provisionally existing’.  You say, “You are neither authoritative nor well educated on this subject“.  How much medicine and science do you think a person needs to understand to realize that the phrase ‘provisionally existing’ is false?  Fetuses exist, embryos exist, blastocysts exist, zygotes exist.  WE wouldn’t exist today if we hadn’t existed when we were at that phase of development.  Your comment is brutally cruel and that attitude coming from you, and coming from other influential people causes people to die.  Neither you, nor any decent person, could bear to think of so many people dying needlessly.  So, in order to reconcile your basic human decency with your justification of abortion you have to pretend that fetuses are ‘provisionally existing’.

     

    You refer to a person at risk of being aborted as an “undeveloped, nascent ounce and a half“.  You want to believe that born people count more than that.  You want to believe that women count more than that.  You want to believe that YOU count more than that.  The truth is that we’re all equal.  You’re no better than a very young person and a very young person is no better than you.  You point out that fetuses are not sentient, do not feel pain and do not have emotions.  Do you imagine that I’m unaware of that?  Every human life goes through a non-sentient phase.  We couldn’t be human if we didn’t go through that phase.  It’s an essential aspect of an integrated human life.  To disrespect that phase of human development is to disrespect humanity.

     

    I was so upset when I read your comment yesterday.  It’s taken me quite a few hours to get myself into a frame of mind where I can respond to you.  Part of the reason I was upset is because I believe you DELIBERATELY misinterpreted my analogy to mean that I was saying that rape was as trivial and as ordinary as you think abortion is.  If you look at it from my perspective, it will become obvious to you that I was saying that abortion is as horrible and as evil and as grievous a violation of the body as we both understand rape to be.  I was upset that you basically called me VILE.  But that characterization isn’t going to do me any harm.  Your characterization of the unborn is what upsets me more because that’s the attitude that makes abortion possible.

     

    I don’t believe it does any good to pass laws prohibiting or restricting abortion.  I don’t believe it does any good to confront young women who have pregnancy decisions to make.  That’s not where the trouble lies.  The trouble is in the attitude of disrespect.  What you say about me just makes me upset for a while.  No biggie.  What you say about the unborn causes actual people to actually die.

  • crowepps

    What you say about the unborn causes actual people to actually die.

    Sure, because I make all the people in my cult tailor their reproductive lives to suit my beliefs, you know, emulating the Pope.  Geez, Paul, this dramatic representation of all the power you think I am wielding through my words makes it very clear to me what your conception of your own role is here.

     

    You really, truly believe that your little homilies about “being fully human” and “the value of life” and all that stuff have huge repercussions in the thinking of millions of strangers.  You really, truly believe that young women, unsure what to do about an unexpected pregnancy, come on this board and THE WORD OF PAUL changes their hearts and saves their souls and rescues the unborn from death.

     

    That is just so sad and pathetic.

  • mechashiva

    Paul, all I can do is laugh at you. Seriously, you are cracking me up.

     

    No one is stupid enough to compare abortion to rape, because we all know:

    Women feel. Fetuses don’t feel.

    Women think. Fetuses don’t think.

    Women can suffer. Fetuses can’t suffer.

    Rape causes the woman to suffer.

    Carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term causes the woman to suffer.

    Abortion can alleviate a woman’s suffering.

    Abortion does not cause the fetus suffering, because fetuses can’t percieve anything.

     

    If you take capability of perception to mind, it is obvious that abortion and rape are not comparable. Things only get tricky when you compare aborting a fetus to raping a woman in a coma… but do we really want to hear you explain how a fetus is of equal value to a woman in a coma? Because if you are, tag it so I know to smoke a joint first. I need more drugs for that shit.

  • paul-bradford

    You really, truly believe that young women, unsure what to do about an unexpected pregnancy, come on this board and THE WORD OF PAUL changes their hearts and saves their souls and rescues the unborn from death.

     

    crowepps,

     

    Here’s the thing.  And it’s the thing that demonstrates that I am putting a different emphasis on the issue than most Pro-Lifers.  I’m not interested in addressing legislators, I’m not interested in addressing pregnant women and I’m not interested in addressing abortion providers.  I’m interested in addressing you.  It’s unimaginable to me that a young woman would be interested in what I have to say about pregnancy, I’m at odds with Pro-Lifers on most legislative issues and, in the battle between protesters and providers, my sympathies are almost always with the providers.  I’m not going to volunteer at a Crisis Pregnancy Center, I’m certainly not going to support a ‘Pro-Life’ politician and I stay miles away from the sidewalk outside women’s health centers.

     

    You, on the other hand, matter to me.  Your opinion counts.  Your take on these issues makes a difference.  We can’t expect that a distressed young woman is going to make much of a change in her thinking during the few weeks she has to make a pregnancy decision.  Whatever her view is when she discovers she’s pregnant is pretty much the view she’ll use to make her decision.  Her views, like all of ours, will be shaped by conversation.  I want to participate in the conversation.

     

    Whether a given young woman likes the idea of being a mother or not is outside my scope of concern.  What I’m interested in discussing is whether or not the life of a child matters enough to YOU to get you to be careful about the language you use when you refer to that child.

     

    If the members of the society speak respectfully of the unborn, the unborn will be safe from the danger of abortion.

  • paul-bradford

    Women feel. Fetuses don’t feel.

    Women think. Fetuses don’t think.

    Women can suffer. Fetuses can’t suffer.

     

     MechaShiva,

     

    Shall we limit the class of people whose humanity we will respect to those who can think, feel and suffer?  That’s the very issue I want to discuss!  I don’t want to talk about a woman’s access to abortion (I see no reason to get in between a determined woman and a pregnancy termination.)  I want to talk about who gets to have her/his life valued and who doesn’t.

     

    The fact that I’m easy to ridicule may lead you to the incorrect conclusion that I’m not smart enough to view things the way you do.  This isn’t true.  It is very, very easy for me to comprehend the kind of thinking that leads people to completely disregard embryos and early term fetuses simply because they’re tiny and undeveloped.

     

    I have no idea whether you were ever in a coma, but I know for certain that — once upon a time — you were a fetus.  You couldn’t possibly feel or think, but you were capable of BEING RESPECTED.  You were also at risk for being disrespected.  Back then you had a very clear set of interests.  You had an interest in being nurtured, being nourished and being protected.  If you were respected you’d have a good chance of getting what you needed.  If you were disrespected there was a good chance you WOULDN’T get what you needed.

     

    It’s totally up to you whether you choose to respect people when they’re at the phase in life before they have feelings; but you can’t deny that you were once in that phase of life — and your life then was entirely dependent upon whether OTHER PEOPLE respected you.  You might not want to contemplate this because you might imagine yourself to be viable and self-reliant, but your life today is entirely dependent upon whether other people respect you.

     

    Our well being isn’t so much a function of what we can do for ourselves as it is a function of what others are doing for us.  You think, you feel, you enjoy pleasure and suffer pain — but you’re no more viable than an embryo. 

  • paul-bradford

    You say something you KNOW will be hurtful and offensive to garner responses and make Paul and Paul’s beliefs the focus of attention and then deny that was your intent. You understand quite well that equating rape and abortion is an ugly low thing to do and yet you do it anyway.

     

    collen,

     

    Let me present it to you this way — when a pregnant woman is in your care, her unborn child is in your care as well.  Have you ever considered how hurtful and offensive your comments about unborn children are?  I don’t make hurtful and offensive comments about women.  When a woman is in my care you can be sure that my only goal is to help her live the happiest and healthiest life she can.  I’m not so sure that the unborn children in your care can count on the same from you.

     

    I’m concerned about cycles of violence.  I well know that victims of violence often become perpetrators of violence.  I know that there are strong temptations to make the leap from victim to perpetrator.  The people who counsel victims of violence should consider whether or not they’re in a position to break the cycle.

     

    colleen, I’m concerned that when you’re in a counseling position you might very well betray the disrespectful attitudes you’ve demonstrated here with regard to the unborn.  I don’t have much confidence that you’ll extend the care and concern you feel for rape victims to those victims’ unborn children.  I’m not too sure that you’ll appreciate the role you have in either continuing or breaking the cycle of violence.

     

    I don’t talk to ‘vulnerable, troubled women’ the way I talk to the women here.  Here, I’m much more interested in challenging women than I am in comforting them.  You have some pretty specific ideas about what I intend when I provoke comment on this ‘site.  I will tell you this.  I’m looking to push people out of their comfort zones.

     

    Surprise me.  Prove to me that I’m wrong about you.  Give me a reason to believe that while you’re doing everything in the world to support the physical and emotional health of rape victims you’re also doing everything in your power to protect their children.  Show me that you don’t put restrictions on your love.

  • paul-bradford

    I feel that arguing that we’re not supporting choice for this kid is a bit disingenuous. If a ten-year-old kid wanted to run into a building that was burning down, would you encourage her/him or try to stop her/him? If a ten-year-old kid wanted to kill her/himself, would you encourage her/him to do that, or try to stop her/him? I genuinely feel that encouraging a child to continue a pregnancy that is likely to put her in danger is equivalent to saying a child that age should be encouraged to choose to put her/himself in danger by trying to save someone in a burning building.

     

    Emma,

     

    Before we start tossing around words like ‘disingenuous’ I’d like to assure you that I don’t expect anyone to let a ten year old girl make her own pregnancy decisions.  She’s too young to make the decision for herself so it becomes a legitimate issue to determine what another person should decide for her.

     

    Do you think there’s any hope at all for the unborn child?  Is that child absolutely and utterly doomed?  I’m intrigued by your analogy about a child rescuing another child in a fire.  How about this one?  Should a child give up a kidney to save a sibling?

  • crowepps

    Sorry, Paul, but I’m not in the market for a guru, and I find your tortured reasoning unpersuasive. People have been talking about how ‘mothers deserve respect’ for thousands of years at the same time that actual, real mothers were (and are) treated like house slaves.

    &nbps;

    Feel free to think your ‘great idea’ is important.
    Feel free to enjoy the power trip you’re on and feel that your internet messages will change the world.
    Enjoy the nice massage your ego gets from the believing you have ‘the solution’.

     

    To me, your ‘great idea’ elevates provisional, potential life to more importance than actual living persons and, to me, it relegates women to inferior and underclass status. Include me OUT.

  • mechashiva

    Shall we limit the class of people whose humanity we will respect to those who can think, feel and suffer?

    Short answer, no, because I didn’t say anything about “respect.” Abortion is about authority to make decisions. If women should be given the authority to make the decision to abort (which you would agree with, as you think abortion should be legal), then you should respect their authority rather than constantly trying to manipulate them into making a decision you agree with.

     

    Back then you had a very clear set of interests.

    No, I didn’t, because I had no consciousness. I was not “interested” in anything. I was like a pan of cake batter sitting in the oven… slowly becoming a cake over time.

  • crowepps

     Should a child give up a kidney to save a sibling?

    First you saw that nobody would allow a 10-year old to make their own medical decisions and then you ask this.  Aren’t you really asking if it’s okay for parents to permanently damage one child by using his/her ‘spare parts’ in an attempt to save another?  No, unless the ‘child’ is at a minimum 16, I don’t think so.

  • crowepps

    Shall we limit the class of people whose humanity we will respect to those who can think, feel and suffer?

    Certainly there is far less concern in general about the ‘right to life’ of classes of people who are NOT able to think, feel and suffer, like people in persistent vegetative states or comas.  It doesn’t have anything to do with ‘respect’, it has to do with how much pain society is willing to inflict on people who DO think, feel and suffer in order to keep mindless bodies alive through extraordinary means.

  • colleen

    Let me present it to you this way — when a pregnant woman is in your care, her unborn child is in your care as well.

    First, and again, I do not share your belief in the ‘personhood’ of zygotes and blastocysts. I recognise that it requires an ENORMOUS contribution of the part of a woman to carry a child to term, that any zygote she carries as the result of being raped is in HER care and that the decision to carry a child to term is HER decision, not mine and most certainly neither the care or decision of folks like you.

     

    When a woman is in my care you can be sure that my only goal is to help her live the happiest and healthiest life she can.

     

    Because of the things you say and attitudes you display here I find this impossible to believe.

     

    I well know that victims of violence often become perpetrators of violence.

    I am too. If you said to rape victims you were ‘counseling’ the things you say to the women here, some of them, the ones with a better sense of their own self worth, would take your face off. I wouldn’t want to see them arrested.

     

    I’m looking to push people out of their comfort zones.

    What you’re looking for is the opportunity to express your pent up hostility and contempt towards women in a ‘safe’ environment where you won’t be fired.

     

    Surprise me.  Prove to me that I’m wrong about you.

     

    One reason I am concerned about you ‘counseling’ vulnerable women is because this is the sort of overt manipulation that works only with women with low self esteem and who are seeking validation from some patronizing asshole such as yourself.

     

  • crowepps

    I have a real problem with this definition of “in ones care” because, as you pointed out, when we are ‘caring’ for people that does not entitle us to make their decisions for them, to use language for the purpose of manipulating their decision making process, or to guilt-trip them if they decide something differently than we would ourselves.  PARTICULARLY when ‘we’ are foreign to the entire process because ‘we’ have not and never will have their particuliar experience.

     

    It’s pretty clearly recognized in counseling that the interaction is most effective when alcoholics  in recovery counsel alcoholics, when former batterers counsel batterers, when women who were formerly victims of rape or domestic violence counsel women who have had those experiences recently.  The whole point of education in counseling is to transfer the insights learned by people who have actually experienced and recovered from various traumas to a person who can act as a NEUTRAL third party later by helping patients who have those experiences.  The counselor is not supposed to substitute his/her own ‘shoulds’ for those insights.

     

    The more I think about it, the less likely it seems to me that someone who has an agenda going in, (whether it’s ‘save the marriage at all costs’ or ‘save the fetus’ or ‘live the happiest and healthiest life by MY definition’!) is going to be able to do the type of objective, patient-centered counseling that leads to good mental health outcomes, particularly when their agenda is based on their (by definition irrational) religious beliefs.

     

    One of the ethical guidelines for counselors is that they help THE PATIENT make their OWN decision and avoid any situation where they personally have a conflict of interest.  If the counselor has a checklist of predetermined religiously based ‘shoulds’, there would be a huge conflict in working with any client who comes in to discuss pregnancy/abortion.

     

    I will agree with you that the arrogance of deciding one is entitled to “push people out of their comfort zones” is pretty overwhelming, and absolutely seems to me to be a sign of someone whose agenda has overwhelmed his common sense.  None of us here are obligated to prove anything to Paul, and his constant demands that we must change ourselves to satisfy HIS emotional needs are wearying.