What’s Wrong With “I’m Pro-Choice, But I Could Never Have An Abortion?”

There are a number of phrases that smart progressives realize that you should always end with a period, and not with a comma followed by the word “but.”  Examples of phrases that are best excised from your vocabulary completely: “I’m not a racist, but….” And “I’m not a sexist, but…”. Anything you say after the word “but” has been shown historically to swiftly disprove the first clause in your sentence. Now I think we should seriously consider adding “I’m pro-choice, but….” to the list. In theory, you can be pro-choice with a “but” added, but in practice, anything you tack on after that is unlikely to be helpful to the cause of keeping abortion safe and legal.

Take, for instance, the most common formation of “I’m pro-choice, but….”, recently seen in this article at Salon from a woman confessing that her anti-sex upbringing has brought her to the place of being 27 years old without ever having kissed a man. In the piece, she says, “I had no intention of having sex before marriage and, while I am pro-choice, I personally would never abort.” You hear variations on this phrase all the time: “I’m pro-choice, but I could never have an abortion!,” and it drives me personally nuts. Not because I think everyone should have abortions, by any means. If you never have a need to have one, that’s a welcome thing, and congrats to you for successfully avoiding unwanted pregnancies that you had to terminate.

No, the problem with “I’m pro-choice, but I would never have an abortion!” is that, whether the speaker intends this or not, the message is that you believe that abortion is for Other Women. Lesser women. Your clear message is that while you think it’s better if abortion is legal, you still think the women who have it are sexually immoral, and you’re insinuating you’re too good or smart to be caught in a situation where you have a pregnancy that you simply can’t go through with. In this particular article, that mentality comes through loud and clear. After all, the writer is still living with the belief that pre-marital sex is wrong, and that women who only have sex within marriage are somehow superior to others.

“I’m pro-choice, but I would never have an abortion” undermines the pro-choice movement you claim to support. It dehumanizes women who have abortions, and reinforces the stereotype that women who have abortions are irresponsible, immoral, or slutty. After all, what’s the point of making it clear that you would never have an abortion? It’s about distancing yourself from them, implying that you’re not like them. That you’re more sexually pure or more responsible. Which feeds into the anti-choice narrative about abortion: That it should be banned because the kind of people who need that service are bad people who need to be punished for their sexual choices.

It’s also annoyingly short-sighted to make a bold claim about how you just can’t see yourself having an abortion. We live in a culture where women who admit to using the birth control pill out loud in public usually try to qualify it by saying they take it “for cramps” or “for headaches,” and while these are legitimate uses of the birth control pill, the fact of the matter is that most women use it for contraception. But admitting out loud that we are sexual beings who have sex for pleasure instead of procreation is hard to do. Even to ourselves, women often try to find a way to separate ourselves from those Other Women, by focusing on how we imagine we’re moral and responsible, while casting others as less so.

The fact of the matter is most women sitting in an abortion clinic didn’t imagine that they’d find themselves there, after all. It’s all good and well to tell yourself that you don’t have the kind of sexual encounters that lead to abortion, can you honestly look into your heart and say for absolute certain that this is true? Can any of us really claim to be so perfect as to never make a mistake that could lead to a pregnancy we’re not ready to bring to term? Most women who say this are trying to suggest they simply don’t have sex with men without being 100 percent willing to make a lifetime commitment, but even if you’re so avid about this belief that you find yourself, like the Salon writer, as a 27-year-old virgin, can you ever really be so sure? Every week there are women sitting in abortion clinics who thought the guy they were with was The One. Every year, there are even married women who find themselves in abortion clinics because the marriages they thought were so secure turned out not to be. Life simply doesn’t come with those kinds of guarantees. We may think we know what we’d do under tough circumstance, but really, until you’ve actually been there, you don’t know for sure what you’d really do.

But even if you are absolutely positive you’d never have an abortion, you have to ask yourself: If you’re pro-choice, why do you need to exclaim about how you’d never do it? What purpose can it serve but to stigmatize abortion further? Instead of imagining abortion as a terrible thing that only Other Women do, why not try to learn a little bit more about women who have abortions? You might find that they’re not the irresponsible slatterns they’re painted to be, but ordinary women just like yourself who just haven’t been as lucky as you’ve been. For women tempted to set themselves apart from women who have abortions by saying they’d never do such a thing, I recommend checking out the 1 in 3 Campaign. Learn a little more about the women you’re trying so hard to make other people believe you’re not. You might find that they really aren’t the irresponsible or less moral people your comment makes them out to be. 

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  • dytter

    I am sorry BUT,….You are wrong on this one!  I have read many of your post some I agree with some I don’t BUT, I have never felt the need to reply.  I never even had an account to reply BUT, today I made one just for this article.

    The whole part about being pro choice is that you have a choice!  I have seen both ends.  Cried with my best friend holding her hand hell even paid for the abortion we both knew was the right decision.  I have always been pro choice and will always be however when it was me who was facing a pregnancy I was told had a high chance of trisomy 13, I had a choice and I used it not to have an abortion.  Not because I think they are evil or that it is a sin but because it was what was right for me.  Before this happened I had always said I would never carry a pregnancy to term if there was something wrong with it and there I was being told the best thing might be to abort an I said no.  That is the wonderful thing about choice!  You can choose!  I thank all the men and women who have fought this fight to give me my choice.  Please don’t say that we think less of those who do choose to abort.  We support them and the BUT is our choice.  

  • theborgblog

    (This is my second time typing this in – hopefully I will be as eloquent as the first time before the web page erased or more eloquent!)


    I am a pro-life pro-choicer. Or a pro-choice pro-lifer – I’m not really sure the order matters. I believe every woman has a right to choose but I do hope that what they choose is life.


    Now by believing above I am not necessarily judging those who don’t choose life. No, in fact, I am juding society in not making it a viable, healthy, safe choice for a woman to make. For society making it undesirable and attaching a stigma to those who choose to remain pregnant who may not have chosen to become pregnant in the first place. For setting standards about the ideal situation a woman should be in her life in order to give birth.


    I don’t believe simply because a woman gives birth to a life, she is the one directly responsible for raising it. I know there are many sets of healthy, stable, loving parents who would welcome a new life into their home and who aren’t necessarily able to create one themselves. I think we as a society need to remove the stigma associated with giving birth and giving that life up to a stable home that can raise it well.


    Now, I can definitively say that outside “legitimate rape” (and no, I know that’s not exactly funny yet, but I can’t resist), I won’t have to face this choice. I’m a dyke. Unless that whole getting pregnant from sitting on a public toilet thing is true, I’m fairly protected from ever having to be in that position to make that choice. And because of that, I respect even more that it is not my place to restrict – let alone judge – anyone who does find themselves in that position.


    I don’t like jelly. I like peanut butter, and I prefer creamy peanut butter. For you to say that my choice of having a peanut butter sandwich is invalid because I don’t like jelly is pretty silly. And for you to define the manner in which I might be pro-choice – to slice it so thinly – makes just about as much sense. Sorta like those guys on the other side trying to slice thinly around “legitimate rape”.


    I can understand the concerns you raise, and that we as woman, overall, should be supportive of each other. And I respect that concern. But I think you need to be careful and recognize that there is a wide grey swath of women in the middle who are pro-life but nonetheless respect a woman’s right to make that choice for herself. And given then tenuousness and the frailty of this political issue at the moment, while I understand your desire to STRENGTHEN the pro-choice movement, you should be careful not to ostracize those who are truly in the middle. If my pro-choice voice isn’t good enough for you, then maybe, instead of saying anything at all, I’ll stay silent. See how that might not help you? But no, I will not state that I am pro-abortion, and your suggesting that I can only say ‘I am pro-choice” and not clarify my position is almost like requiring me to say I am pro-abortion. I’m not. When you paint things black and white, some of us in the grey may not choose to or may not fall within your spectrum. And that doesn’t help anyone at all.

  • theborgblog

    (see having to re-write this twice makes me forget things…)


    I also *do* think we need to put our (collectively as a society) efforts, also, into doing what we can to limit having to make that choice to begin with.  Abstinence only programs are not effective.  (CLEARLY).  I get angry when people categorize Planned Parenthood as abortion factories when the reality of a lot of what they do is try and keep people from ever having to MAKE that choice.


    Yes, as you point out, good people who take all the necessary precautions sometimes find themselves in the unfortunate position of having to make such a choice.  But I think you would agree that without stigmatizing and “other”-izing people, there are a good deal of people who find themselves in that position who if they had been more aware of their choices BEFORE being sexual ABOUT being sexual might have been better able to avoid having to make such a choice.  Whether it be about making it clear that yes, you can get pregnant even if he says he’ll pull it out, and that YOU have power in your own contraception.  About making it clear to young teen girls that no boy has ever actually died from blue balls.  This is not about JUDGING the women or young women who find themselves in this position, but helping prevent them from doing so. 


    Those women aren’t any of the names you suggested others might call them. Often what they are is ignorant.  And that’s not an insult, that’s just a state of being that we, as a society, can help prevent.  So, in addition to giving people an option and an opportunity to have a greater “choice” if they should have an unwanted pregnancy, I think we need to be active on the other end to help keep women from HAVING to make such a choice.


    Yes. It happens.  It happens to good people.  It can happen to many people regardless of moral standing.  Which is why I am pro-choice.  But I do think, personally, we have to avoid the trap of being extreme, too.  We need to, as you clearly want to, support a woman’s right to be sexually active and remain healthy.  And I think there are many ways – not in battle with each other – that we can do that. 

  • hannahp

    When I first realized that I was pro-choice, I was one of the “I’m pro-choice, but” people. Then I got pregnant. I was 19, single, and living in a dorm room. At the time, I didn’t think I was strong enough to choose abortion. I never thought abortion was for lesser women, or OTHER WOMEN. I just didn’t htink it was for me. Then I lost my pregnancy. I’ve always wondered what my life would be like if I had made the choice to abort. Would I morn the loss of the pregnancy the way I do now? I don’t know. I’ll never know. What I do know, is that my “pro-choiceness” has evolved over time.


    I’m no longer in the “I’m pro-choice, but” category. Part of that stems from my own experience becaue I have NO idea what I would choose if I faced another unplanned pregnancy. The choice needs to be there for everyone. Whether we think we could make that choice or not seems irrelevant. Because I’m pro-choice I support everyone’s choice for whatever reason. It’s not my place to judge, it’s my place to be supportive. 

  • amanda-marcotte

    Am I taking the choice away or saying that having a baby is wrong? 

  • thalwen

    To me, being pro-choice means I support the right of others to choose regardless of my own feelings. Pro-choice means respecting the bodily autonomy of each person and you can be personally against abortion for yourself without having to be “pro-choice but..” as long as you respect the right of others to make the choice for themselves. 

  • lauram

    As someone who was raised in a “pro-life” Catholic household, I’ve made quite a big transition from being anti-choice, to pro-choice. Part of that transition did involve a big intermediary period where I was a ‘I’m pro-choice, but…’ kind of girl. It’s taken me a long time to reach the stage where I feel as though abortion is a valid reproductive choice, not just a last-resort that women should head for once they have thought tirelessly about carrying a pregnancy to term, or adoption. Your article has highlighted why I experienced that intermediary period. For a while I did feel as though abortion was an inferior choice, and I believe that may have been because I still felt the stigma that surrounds it and let it impact the way I spoke/thought about my role in the pro-choice movement. I did want to separate myself from those who had aborted, and those who would readily do so. 

    I’m relieved I no longer feel that way. Motherhood, focusing on women’s health, and volunteering in the developing world (where the consequences of not having a choice in both a legal and social sense are horrendous) have all contributed to my transition.  I can fully appreciate how that “but” makes a big difference. 

  • veggietart

    I don’t have a problem with it.  A lot of people, especially when they’re young, do live with the “it could never happen to me” mindset.  A woman who says that may change her mind when she realizes she’s pregnant and in a situation where raising a child is not possible.  Or maybe she is conflicted, which is an equally valid position.  I would rather have someone support the right of another woman to choose to have an abortion while claiming she could never do it herself than someone who thinks only HER abortion is okay (like many anti-choice activists) and will be out the next day protesting the very clinic where she had her procedure.

    And what of the woman who is grateful she never had to make that decision?   I’m glad it never was an issue for me.  Thank goodness for birth control.

  • theborgblog

    Those people who don’t support you get ratings of 1 or 2 (I’m apparently a troll, so no-one else sees my comments above?) and those who do support you get a 4 or 5? 




    I think my response was thoughtful, not insulting or simply attacking you as I have read MANY responses to blog entries generally be, and I get ranked a troll? 


    Now I can imagine this won’t be seen by anyone – because I admit, I’m responding a little defensively to seeing the other comment that didn’t agree with you ranked above a two solely because of *MY* ranking of it. 


    This comment DOES border on troll-dom, but even here I am trying to be respectful, at least.  Since I don’t necessarily recommend continuing this conversation in a public forum, but I would like to understand what happened above and your response to my comment, I invite you to e-mail.  I’m not trying to attack you – if I were, then I would much prefer to continue this publicly. 


    But I admit I am saddened, and slightly hurt, that something I took time and thought to write – and to do so twice because the program deleted it when I hit “preview” – would be dismissed so easily.  So, if I am being “troll-like” here – which I am trying not to be – this is why.  Please explain, and please tell me that I am wrong in the conclusions I’ve drawn.  And if I’m not, well, then, I’ll move on peacefully because it is clear that I (and my opnions) are not welcome here…


    Thank you.  theborgblog@gmail.com

  • coralsea

    I have to agree with Borg on one thing — there is a stigma now in regard to people who choose to give up their children for adoption — when they are seen by others as being capable of raising the child themselves.  I remember reading (in Better Homes and Gardens or one of those types of magazines — hey, I was stuck in the doctor’s office, waiting FOREVER) a story about a married woman who had two young sons.  She found that she was once again pregnant, but she and her husband simply could not afford another child.  So she decided that she would go ahead and have the baby, but put it up for adoption.  I honestly don’t remember if she did this out of anti-choice fervor, or if it was just how she felt at the time.


    The fallout she and her husband experienced from making this decision was horrendous.  They were basically ostracized from their families and by many of their friends, who simply couldn’t believe how heartless they could be.  I do remember that in the article, the woman wrote that the baby (another boy) looked a lot like her other two.  They stayed strong in their decision to put the baby up for adoption so they could devote their meager resources to their existing family.


    I have had two acquaintences who, as adults, also gave up babies for adoption.  Although they weren’t ostracized the same way this woman and her husband were, a lot of people were weird about it.  I have to say that the half-dozen people who were most weird about it were ardent pro-lifers!  They went on about how “unnatural” it was that these women could give birth and, although they had the financial resources (not really sure that’s true — people make a lot of assumptions about others finances), part with the babies.  Personally, I thought the women who gave up their kids for adoption (including the one in the magazine story), were very clear-headed.   Both of the women with whom I was acquainted were pro-choice, but they simply decided, at that time, to carry the pregnancies, but relinquish the babies.


    Society has a lot of harsh expectations of women, but this particular one I always found to be especially baffling.  Personally, I think it would be easier to have an abortion — I wouldn’t want to go through with carrying a pregnancy if I didn’t want to have the baby.  But condemning those that do — and especially saying that they are “unnatural” — is weird.


    If anyone has insights into why they think this is such a taboo, “unnatural” thing, please let me know.  Frankly, I was surprised that the anti-choice crowd wasn’t applauding them (maybe it was because they had SEX???).

  • angela-quattrano

    When you think you never will have to make a difficult decision for yourself, like the boyfriend I once had who was so supremely confident how he would feel about abortion if he were a woman. 

  • angela-quattrano

    double post.

  • crowepps

    You might not be familiar with how the ratings system here works, but it is not the author of this post who determines the rating, but instead the readers generally.  One of your posts received ratings from four people and the other from three people.  Following my usual practice, I did not rate your comment at all, but my opinion of the quality of your posts took a nosedive first when you used the hot button phrase ‘choose life’ (implying women who abort for any reason choose death) and again when you used the phrase ‘pro-abortion’ and asserted the author was “suggesting that [you] can only say ‘I am pro-choice” and not clarify”.

    There is nothing whatsoever that I can see in the original post or the author’s comments on it that implies she thinks people who identify themselves as Pro-Choice must advocate, recommend, encourage or be enthusiastic about abortion.  Pro-Choice isn’t about our personal approval/condemnation of other women’s decisions, but instead about our acknowledging that other women’s reproductive decisions and the reasons underlying them aren’t any of our business and we shouldn’t be setting ourselves up as the morality police.

  • serendippity

    I disagree with this article. I am a woman who had an abortion, and over the course of five years came to regret my decision. That is twenty years ago now, and I still support a woman’s right to obtain an abortion, but, BUT, it is a decision that should not be made in haste out of fear of humiliaiton, or be used repeatedly by the same woman as an alternative to contraception. I agree that abortion MUST be legal to ensure the safety of women, but I don’t have to agree that it is a woman’s first, third, or last choice when faced with an unwanted pregnancy. You assume that the only reason to use “but” is to separate ourselves from the “kind of woman” who would be in that situation. That person was me, and I am not above me, nor feeling superior to me. I’m just older, and wiser, and I am entitled to share my experience.

  • coralsea

    As Veggie Tart and LauraM both stated, I think the “but” part is often indicative of a young person, still trying to navigate her way into adulthood and all of the issues that it brings.  Also, I think “but” is a defense mechanism, because so many people will get in your face over issues such as this.  That can be a legitimate reason for its use if you are facing howling crazy family members who actually will punch your lights out if you say anything too radical (unfortunately, I have some family members like this.  I try to avoid them, but this is not always possible.  So I reserve for myself the right to preserve my teeth and not disagree with them, or do so only mildly, as a form of self-preservation).


    I am old enough to remember routinely saying (and hearing lots and lots of other women saying), “I’m not a women’s libber, but I think women should be paid the same as men.”  This was a really stupid comment, now when I look back on it (and I stopped saying it about 25 years ago).  Well, of course I was a Women’s Libber!  I believed all in all of the rights that the “Women’s Libbers” were pushing for!  But back then, as a 20-something living in a white, middle/upper-middle class area with a mother who didn’t work and was hostile to working women, and middle-aged male bosses that I was trying to please, I sensed that I probably wasn’t going to be well-received if I came on with guns blazing for the cause!  As it was, putting forth the statement “I think women should be paid the same as men” was already an act of courage — for a 20-something just starting out and still kinda stupid about the world.


    And yes, I also used to say “I’m pro-choice, but I could never have an abortion,” I think also to make my position known but to avoid a fight.  Gradually, I realized that, yes, I would have an abortion under certain circumstances, and I’d say that.  Now it’s simply, “I’m pro-choice, and I don’t think it’s anyone’s business to tell a woman what she can do with her body!”


    That is what I believe, but it’s also the point that I’ve finally achieved in terms of maturity and self-esteem (something so many women still sadly lack and that many people go out of their way to undermine in girls – especially with all of the abstinence sh#t) that allows me to speak my mind firmly. (Except when my teeth are imperiled.)


    I do think that it is important to state “I’m pro-choice” without the “but,” but I understand why a lot of women have used the “but.”  Still, I am very glad that Amanda wrote this article, because I believe that women shouldn’t have to grovel and back away from their own opinions — which is what “but” is essentially communicating.  As I said, if you are dealing with nasty, scary people, you may need to keep the “but” if you want to voice any opinion at all.  Remember what “but” often represents, though.


    Life is complex, and all women need to decide for themselves how they want to address a pregnancy, because no one really knows how they will feel until the time comes, and what may be the right decision or the desired decision at one point in a woman’s life may be completely different at another.  Regardless, women should have the right to choose what she needs and wants to do, no exceptions.

  • crowepps

    My guess is the anti-choice crowd is vested in the Motherhood Myths and are outraged that any woman failed to pretend she was passionately in love with and couldn’t live without each and every one of her babies and that every single act of reproduction wasn’t The Most Important Thing EVER.  I’ve seen the same kind of response to women who divorced and allowed the father to have primary custody of the kids, and to women who couldn’t have children at all and who had gotten over it and decided their lives were pretty sweet anyway.  Women are required to *wallow* endlessly in their anguish about their inability to be Perfect Mom.

    There’s a prescribed range of *feelings* women are supposed to have, so that ditching all the emotional emoting and drama queen martyrdom and making a rational, reasoned decision is suspect.  Mother are supposed to Give Up Everything For My Baby no matter how miserable that makes the father, the other children, the mother herself or for that matter, the baby!  It’s a little hard to pretend that The Most and Only Important Thing A Woman Can Possibly Be Is Be A Mother when somebody skips all the hypocrisy and says, ‘Oh, crap, our birth control failed — let’s just give this one away.’

  • coralsea

    Seredippity — I think this points up that any choice regarding pregnancy is going to be a tough choice — or at least a weighty choice.  As with such choices, we all face the possibility of being haunted by, or at least occasionally wonder about, what we might have done differently.  Not to be flip, but I wonder how my life would be if I had followed a different career path, and there are times when I could kick myself over not doing things a bit differently in college.


    This also points up how important it is for young people (or everyone, I guess — since it seems that a lot of people in Congress don’t know who procreation works) to understand the nuts and bolts of sex, including its consequences (e.g., STDs, emotional turmoil about being “used” if you go with guys to be “popular,” pregnance).  Sex is a wonderful thing, but it is also a serious thing, and people who engage in it should know what they are doing and go into it with their eyes open.


    I am sorry that you regret having an abortion, but I also know people who regret having a child (or children), regret marrying certain people that they married.  None of these types of major decisions is guaranteed to be easy.  I don’t, however, think that the shenanigans and rantings going on on the part of some anti-choicers makes such decisions any easier, and the fact that abortion providers are becoming ever more difficult to come by brings with it the likelihood that making a thoughtful decision is even harder for women (e.g., if they don’t schedule it quickly, they may not be able to get one at all).  


    I’m glad you still embrace choice, but I appreciate your reminder that choice isn’t always easy or free of second thoughts. 

  • coralsea

    Crowepps — Ahhhh! The fact that the phrase, “Choose Life” has been co-opted by the anti-choice crowd is one of my pet peeves and annoyances.  Sometimes choosing life means choosing to care first for the mother, or choosing to ensure that existing children have enough to eat.  Those doctors in the Dominican Republic who let the 16 year old cancer patient die by refusing her plea to be allowed to begin chemotherapy because it might harm “the fetus” certainly didn’t choose life.  They chose death.


    This whole bit about insisting that all babies must be born — but once it’s born, it’s on its own — has very little to do with promoting life.  People who cared about life wouldn’t tolerate the 25% rate of childhood poverty in this country, or deny health care to millions of residents.  But as we know, “Choose Life” isn’t about life — it’s about exerting control over women’s bodies and furthering repressive religious agendas.


  • coralsea

    Crowepps — I expect that you are right — and I should have known that.  Since I have never married or had kids (to quote Fran Fine, from “The Nanny” TV show– “I’m not gay, I’m just pathetic!”) I have gotten that sort of crap sprayed in my direction for most of my adult life.  It’s extremely irritating.  The primary reason I didn’t marry or have kids was because of serious, on-going health problems.  I think if I had had kids, I would have been a good mom (but who knows?).  I have never craved children, though, or felt incomplete without them.


    Frankly, I wonder about some of the people that I know who have kids.  I don’t think, if they hadn’t been brainwashed by societal expectations, that they would have had them because they sure don’t seem to care about them all that much.  Others really adore their kids and do a great job with them.  It certainly would be nice if only those people who really wanted kids had them, and the rest of society would just cut the rest of us some slack and let us live our lives! 

  • theborgblog

    .. for acknowledging at least my comment had *some* merit… (Not trying to be snarky, but sincere… I admit (and admitted) I was a little hurt to be ranked a “troll” above (one rank BELOW “insubstantial”, but I don’t want to become one, either, in response to that!))


    I agree that sometimes what is best for the child isn’t necessarily being raised by the biological parents, and I think it takes a *brave* person – particularly in light of the stigma – to acknowledge that raising a child they gave birth to might not be what is in the child’s best interests.  (This also applies to those who choose to be surrogates!)  I think we should applaud those people for their wise choice rather than bully them into something they don’t otherwise feel prepared to do.  Just as we shouldn’t bully people into keeping what they have conceived (not entering or starting the debate about when life begins) either. 


    I can respect that the original author feels that when we say, “I’m pro-choice, but…” essentially our words have the potential to create that same stigma for those who choose abortion.  And I can respect her intent and attempt here to make people think about the power of their words and their effect.  And for a lot of people, I would agree, that is, in effect, what people are saying, that they are “other”ing.  And we should support each other rather than judge each other (perhaps an underlying issue I have with this ranking system).


    I support those sentiments. 


    However, for many the issue of choice is not so black and white.  While we want women to have the ability to make their own decisions and own choices about what they want to do when they become pregnant without planning to do so, we want them to have MANY valid choices, of which abortion is one.  Because even if we don’t want that to be a choice, history has shown is that it is ALWAYS a choice, just a question of how risky it might be.  So we want it to be safe if that is the choice.  (Even if it’s because we respect life, including the life of the mother!! (although that is only one of my personal reasons for wanting it to be a safe alternative, I have many, but will not waste your time here)) But, yes, a lot of us would prefer a different choice would be made (if only there was a better choice!), and think that if even one tenth of the pro-life money spent spewing propaganda were instead spent on providing valid healthy choices for women besides abortion, then we could probably all be happy, because if the pro-life people stopped attacking the pro-choice people, the pro-choice people could then contribute their money to viable choices IN ADDITION to abortion.


    No-one should be stigmatized simply because abortion isn’t and wouldn’t be their first choice any more than someone should be stigmatized because it would be.  It seems only fair to treat others the way you would want to be treated.  And if you don’t want anyone to stigmatize you and your decisions, then be respectful of others’ decisions, too.


    This does not, however, invalidate an important message to women that you should think carefully about what you’re saying and the effect it might have on others, and that when you say, “but” you may be undoing the good and the support that you intended.  I think the original blog entry brought up some very good points that women should consider. 


    Hopefully she will allow herself an opportunity to consider that others may have some good points, too.


    So as I started, thank you for acknowledging that my comment did, indeed, have some substance – even if it might have been disagreeable substance to others..


  • theborgblog

    .. of how words matter, and the words you choose may have an unintended effect.  I think this is a wonderful way to highlight the writer’s original point.  Thank you (seriously), because certainly in choosing my words I did not necessarily intend the effect they had.


    (And at the time I first looked, the only one who had made any responses to the first three commentators was the original author, and the first comment, which I had ranked, had only had two votes at the moment I wrote my more (admittedly) troll-like response, hence the assumption that it was that the original author had applied her initial ranks on the comments between my first comments and my troll-like response to the ranking.  I *do* understand that all readers have the ability to “vote” / “rank”, but I also have assumed (is this incorrect?) that this would include the original author having power, as well, to rank.  And if my assumption is correct that she was the original person to rank both my original comments as 1s, then it lessened the likelihood that others (such as yourself) might even READ the comment to make your own judgment / conclusion as to whether my comment contributed to the overall discussion.  I do see that my ranking has gone up since my original look which means, yes, others have actually looked at and viewed my opinion to be more than just a “troll” comment.  I probably would have been just as hurt, I admit, to have seen that my comments were insubstantial, but it might not have raised me to the level of feeling a need to question the ranking of my comments as telling me I am a troll.  I write a blog (hence the name) and I have seen MUCH less productive troll-like negative comments where it doesn’t seem the writer has even read what was written nor has any desire to engage in a meaningful discussion.  While what I may have written may have been disagreeable, and clearly I struck some buzz words which I will eventually address – and that issue I can respect, to rank me as a “troll” whose comment then will be virtually invisible to others was more than what I felt my time spent offering a slightly different perspective deserved…)


    At the end of the day – or rather the end of nine months- if one does not choose an abortion (note I don’t use any words whatsoever to describe whatever it is that is aborted) – you will agree assuming no other intervention or harm, what is produced is life.  A baby.  At the end of nine months.  I am for options which make choosing to create a life, to nurture ___ (whatever you want to call the presence in your uterus) for nine months a viable choice, too.  I am not politically correct, and I don’t know or use the “correct” terminology all the time.  I do try to be politically sensitive, but I can see here, I clearly hit a trigger.  I am not, however, anti-choice, and that seems to be the term some (perhaps including the author?) find valid for those who prefer one not to choose abortion. 


    So you tell me what is the correct label I should use for myself?  (I’m not trying to be facetious here, I swear, although I recognize it could be read that way).  The best term I can come up with for myself – to describe MYSELF – is a pro-life pro-choicer, or pro-choice pro-lifer.  I recognize there are a significant percentage of those who refer to themselves as pro-life ARE indeed anti-choice (and anti-life, too, which I discuss further below).  I can see why that term (anti-choice) – as applied to those persons – is more accurate and keeps the discussion centered on what is one of the real political issues – should a woman be allowed to make choices with regards to her reproductive life?  My answer is “yes”. 


    However, I’m also not, as I assume none of you necessarily are, as the pro-lifers would like to re-name you, pro-abortion.  I’m not.  Frankly, I’m somewhere between anti-abortion and abortion-neutral, as I, too, have had those close to me have to make such a difficult decision, and I certainly don’t judge them for making the choices they did.  In fact, as I stated in my original comment, I’m not really in much of a position whatsoever to have much of an opinion on it since I’m fairly fortunate that I am unlikely to ever have to make such a choice given my sexual orientation and ever-nearing menopause.  So even if I were a judgmental kind of person (which I’m generally not), it’s not my place to make a judgment about what someone should do in a situation I’ll never have to face myself.  Who am I who doesn’t have those consequences in front of me to tell you your decision was the wrong one?  No-one.  (And this is the point you make, and I address a little bit further below – we are in agreement)


    And so to get back to your original comment (and I really do appreciate you taking a moment to give me some honest feedback and response to my comment), when I say choose life, I mean choose to bring a life into this world, because I hope we’ll agree that at some point – even if we can’t agree on what point (and frankly, I have no clue myself nor particular opinion on the matter) – after it pops out of the birth canal, it is a life.  I respect and appreciate the sensitivities that, again, it is easy to assume that one means the exact opposite term might apply –  “pro-death” – to a choice that is not “life”.  And I will give some further thought to that and to perhaps a new way in which to describe the position I am in (and, as I wrote earlier above, please feel free to help me find a better way to identify myself since I’d like to be welcomed into the pro-choice “side” (that we even have to have sides highlights your “pro-death” response and one of the biggest issues we have in this whole mess – but that’s a side issue (if you’ll pardon the pun) that I’ll avoid for now)).


    Frankly, I had to go back and re-read my first comment to even remember where I wrote “pro-abortion” – and again, I wrote that initial comment twice, so the second time may not have been as eloquent.  My point there was that if I were only allowed to say I’m pro-choice, and not be allowed to express my opinion on the choices, than it feels like you’re trying to pigeon hole me into being the term that “pro-life”rs / anti-choicers like to use to to continue to stir things up, by making me say I’m pro-abortion.  (This was what I was attempting to illustrate with the peanut butter analogy – clearly it didn’t work)  Now I understand that may not be what you meant or intended (just as those who use “but” may not intend), however, it is a potential consequence of what you are advocating.  You are advocating that we promote a positive atmosphere for someone who wants to choose an abortion by saying nothing “negative” at all.  And I will do everything I can to provide a positive atomsphere for someone to make whatever choice they want, however, I will try to do so in a balanced way, and that means including the positives AND negatives about what it means to choose to keep the baby (and why is “keep the baby” any better than choose “life”??) and the various additional options and choices that come with that decision and the positives AND negatives about abortion.  Because some of the negatives / risks involved with abortion are completely separate from the substance in your uterus. 


    And if we were able to provide a range of choices, with no stigma attached to any, but that might make abortion less attractive although accessible and available, I think many people would be very happy.  And frankly I’m very angry at the pro-lifers (or whatever term you want to use, but that’s what they call themselves, so just leave it for me for now…) who act in a very much anti-life manner.  There is no concern for the woman whom they would force to carry the child.  And there is no concern for the child once born.  Their very actions frequently put both lives at risk.  Bombing abortion clinics and “choosing” to end the life of people who’ve managed to safely make it out of the birth canal seems COMPLETELY contradictory to a position that life at all stages is valuable (and the statistical correlation of pro-lifers who support the death penalty is a staggering contradiction I cannot understand).  And that they spend so much money and energy focusing on the nine months the “substance in your uterus” (for lack of a better politically desensitized word) develops into a baby, but no money and energy focusing on making that ultimate life healthy or helping the mother be a healthy “vehicle” (because that’s how they treat the woman, let’s face it) in which to bring a healthy baby into this world drives me crazy!  That if they spent just a tiny fraction on really being pro-life that the lives of so many – (already) born (and grown up) and unborn – could be so much better and they truly could achieve what they say is important to them. 


    (whew – see that’s my tirade, rant, troll-like comment about “pro-lifers”, but I still think has substance)


    I agree, wholeheartedly, both with your conclusion and your assessment of the author’s intentions that we shouldn’t be setting ourselves up as the morality police and women’s choices about their own bodies and their own lives are theirs to make, nor do they require anyone’s approval or condemnation.  And I would like to think that there wasn’t anything in my original comment that suggested otherwise, or supported any different conclusion.  I don’t think we’re on different sides here.  I just wanted to offer the perspective, however, that someone who says “but” may not be offering that condemnation or judgment that she sees.  And that by limiting our ability to express ourselves – which is different than making us think about how we express ourselves and the effect of ourwords, a goal of this post which I respect and agree with – with an absolute prohibition that you can only say “I’m pro-choice” and nothing more isn’t necessarily a productive manner to move the overall dialog forward. 


    Making us think about what we’re saying – as you have done with your comment and I hope / assume the author intends with her post – is an important message to convey.  So we can make an informed choice about how we express ourselves.  Telling us what to say, though, isn’t any better than telling us what to do with our bodies.  That was my point. (if anyone has stuck this far into my reply to get it).  And I found the initial ranking with no feedback whatsoever and which hid what I wrote ironically supporting this potential interpretation or notion of telling me what I could say rather than making think about what effect my words might have. 


    (I have used “you” indiscriminately to refer to either the author or the commenter or others – in some places I have tried to be specific, but recognize that just because I said “you… ” doesn’t mean I was necessarily referring to YOU specficially….)


    If you’ve read this far, thank you for your time and your respect.  Sincerely. 

  • theborgblog

    .. but.. that wasn’t what *I* intended when I said it.  I have no desire to control any woman’s body (unless she’s my lover and I’m bringing her pleasure).  And in the comment I just finished writing I said nearly the same thing that most people who call themselves pro-life are anything but pro-life. 


    Man, the lesson from today’s post and all these comments is words have power, and they can be dangerous, even when not intended to be.  I certainly meant no harm or offense in my choice of words, and in fact, I did clarify in my original comments how much I would *like* to see more viable and acceptable options available to women who do give birth and to the children who *are* brought into this world unplanned, and possibly unwanted.  That I’d love to see even a fraction of the money spent on fighting each other spent on creating such options and taking care of both the woman (regardless of what she chooses) and if she brings life into this world (is that any better?) the baby that has been created.  But that is a different issue, of course, than the original writer was discussing… and my point in raising it in the first place was to illustrate how someone could be pro-choice, “but”, want better / different options available for the person who had to make such a choice. 

  • theborgblog

    … You’ve summed up what I should have said (and what the author should have said) quite simply in the following:


    Now it’s simply, “I’m pro-choice, and I don’t think it’s anyone’s business to tell a woman what she can do with her body!”

  • theborgblog

    Someone wrote “Borg is right about one thing” and for a brief moment one of my comments (not my initial comments, of course) had a 4, and then someone clearly came along and called me a troll again and it’s down to 2.5.  The rest have 2s or lower – you (collectively, or individually) have deemed my comments to be insubstantial or worse.  And you can feel free to rank this one a 1 – I agree that it is not substantial to the conversation. 


    The most votes any comment has gotten so far is eight, and most average between 3-5 votes.  You have answered my initial question in my initial troll comment (“Really?” above) that my opinions are not welcome here.  If you can’t even have the respect to rank them above “troll”, then I must be one to you, and I will be gone. 


    My sincere apologies to anyone I might have offended.  It was not my intention to do so – in fact quite the opposite. 


    And I’m sorry, then, that I continued further extrapolating on my opinions (including clearly wasting my time and yours) when it turns out that my opinion has no value to you.  For a moment I thought it did – I was mistaken.  You don’t need to agree with me to be respectful – I don’t seek agreement (although, yes, it’s nice).  You don’t have to *like* my opinions, either.  But to rank them a ‘troll’?  Really? (With the exception, of course, of the two I admit wholly are troll-like  – this and my initial question above about this ranking system – even though I am not trying to be a troll)


    I’d rather be voted off this island, and clearly I have.   Good luck. 


    If anyone here did think my opinons had value and wants to have a valid exchange of ideas with me – or even to provide me with further feedback as to what I said that was so troll-like – I welcome a respectful dialog (even if it’s disagreeable) by e-mail – I’m at theborgblog@gmail.com


    Good luck to you.

  • leftcoaster

    “I support abortion rights but would NEVER have one myself!” – and then they did – I’d be in Bill Gates territory. Seriously.

    Hell, *I* said it – when I was 24. Then I turned 26. And stuff happens.


    Look, don’t sabotage this fragile right. But if you insist, please sign a binding contract that says you will NEVER EVER EVER EVER have an abortion, no matter what.

    Oh! That’s right. It’s unenforceable.


  • faithinme

    I read this article with interest after seeing it on FB because I happened to say that very thing in a discussion last night.  While I see where you are coming from and can see that the phrases itself may not be “helpful to the cause” on a legislative or educational level, unless you’re at a rally or trying to specifically further “the cause” this type of statement is usually made between friends or aquaintances in a social setting.

    Like I stated, I said this last night in a discussion and in no way was the message intented to nor did it convey the idea that only OTHER WOMEN put themselves in that position.  I have been in that position.  That wasn’t the decision for me.  Still, I don’t see myself above sitting in that space having to make that decision.  I don’t look down on women who have made that choice. 

    To say that the only reason to make that statement is to distance yourself from those who have had abortions or that that statement somehow dehumanizes women who make that choice is frankly offensive in and of itself.  It’s also short-sighted and limiting.  Maybe that statement is instead so supportive of a belief in the importance of safety and the ability to have control of our bodies that regardless of what I may find right for me personally, I will support the hell out of anothers right to choose for themselves what is right.  The very fact that I say the words “I’m pro-choice” groups us all together in our beliefs.  But now I can’t say that’s not the right choice for me along with it or I’m undermining the movement I “claim to support”?  The fact that being pro-choice doesn’t mean you have had an abortion, would have an abortion, or feel it’s right for you is a testament to the support and conviction of the movement and members. We are not all supporting choice just because we come from the same belief system, have the same life circumstances, and would make the same decisions…. we support choice because it is right to do so.  Those personal beliefs, circumstances, and decisions can all be different and still we come together in support of a womans personal choice about her body.     

    How sad would it be if the only people in the world who could support choice were those that could see themselves making that decision for themselves.  Is that really the message that will strengthen the cause?  Only like-minded and similarly acting individuals need show up for the discussion and advocate their belief for choice?  I would not be able to say I am pro-choice if it meant that to be a card carrying member I needed to feel or say “I am pro-choice and I believe it would be the right choice for me.”  The whole point of CHOICE is that you have a RIGHT to choose – not in what that choice would be.  I think there is a great strength in the fact that many people who are pro-choice have never had an abortion, have never been in a place to have to choose either way, and even do not believe that would be a viable option for them personally and yet still completely, 100% support the fact that no one has the right to take away anyone else’s choice to do that very thing. 

    Now, if this were about saying something like “I’m pro-choice but believe women wouldn’t need to worry about abortions if they would just stop sleeping around so much.”,  I’d be right on board with your every word.  I’ve heard that quote recently and THAT undermines, dehumanizes, distances, judges, and looks down on women.  THAT statement is everything this article states. 

    Every time I make the statement “I am pro-choice” I know I am opening myself to the possibility of a charged reaction.  I choose to do that anyway.  I choose to stand for a woman’s right to choose, I choose to stand for my belief that it’s not anyone’s business why or how she got there any more than it’s anyones business why she might go to the dentist. 

    When I say – and I tell you now I will continue to – that “I am pro-choice but I don’t believe I would have one myself” I know I am opening myself to the same possibility of a charged reaction.  I choose to do that anyway.  I choose to do it because it’s not my damn business to put my belief about your body into your life.  I choose to do it because I do want people to know that you don’t have to look the same, believe the same, live the same, react the same to recognize what is right.  I am pro-choice not because I believe I need the laws to support a choice I may one day make, but because even though I don’t believe it will ever personally have any relevance to my body – I believe the fact it affects any other woman is important enough to stand up and be counted….. as pro-choice.  So next time you hear someone say “I’m pro-choice but wouldn’t ever have an abortion.”, maybe you can choose to take it a different way.  That person is advocating a pro-choice stance, and proclaiming that fact to others, not because they think THEY personally need the protections (even if they one day do!), not because it necessarily aligns with their personal decisions, but because they realize the critical importance of honoring and protecting the bodies and rights of women as a community anyway.

    …just another perspective on the phrase. 

  • coralsea

    Borg — these are complex issues that we all have to parse, and you have raised some very good points (as far as I am concerned).  At this time when reproductive choices — including even contraception — are under fire from some formidable (and crazed — in my opinion) adversaries, however, I think that many of us are sensitive to any sense that someone is acting as an apologist for them.


    I do think that your comment on making money from the anti-choice movement available to help women deal with reproductive health issues is a provocative idea.  It would be interesting to see what some of them would say.  It would also be interesting to discuss with them how some of their religious standards and demands (of people who don’t necessarily believe what they believe) helps drive some of the expectations of what a “good” woman should do and be that often pushes girls and women into taking actions that really aren’t the best for them (I’m thinking here about women or girls who really don’t feel equipped to keep a baby but want to carry the pregnancy from being vilified for their choice to give the baby up — as well as the age-old problem (especially in Puritanically damaged America), where girls are told that only sluts use contraception and have sex, and so they end up having sex without contraception.  Maybe they are lucky and don’t get pregnant or get an STD.  But maybe they aren’t.  The bottom line is — they ended up basically being set up to make a bad decision because the abstinence harpies don’t want anyone to talk about it (because then the kids won’t have sex).


    I don’t think any woman should have to apologize or rationalize her choice to have an abortion.  I have known some people who don’t appear to give it much thought, and others who agonize, but the bottom line is, it’s her body — not some jerk in Congress’s or some religious group’s.  But I do support broadening the dialogue.  We need to make sure that the right to choose doesn’t totally slip away, first, because for a lot of women, it already has.  This is unconscionable, considering that by federal law, abortion is legal.  Unfortunately, little men (and women) at the state and local level don’t care, and have chipped away at this basic right.  We need to stop them and undo the damage they have done.

  • crowepps

    I have no problem at all with people saying “I am pro-choice but I don’t believe I would have one myself.”  I think that’s an honest and thoughtful statement, because nobody knows what their decision will be until they’re actually in the situation themselves.  I think it’s arrogant for a woman to say “I’m pro-choice but wouldn’t ever have an abortion” because reality bites: when the doctor tells you it’s the only way he can stop the hemorrhaging, it tends to clarify the mind. 

  • nico

    I think the sex-positivity behind your post is right on. I also agree that “I’m pro-choice but I would never have an abortion” can be less than helpful from an advocacy pov. I also totally agree that it’s a short-sighted claim to make (this should be pointed out whenever it comes up.) But I don’t think it necessarily follows that the only interpretation of the “but” is as the Othering of a sexually immoral slut and prospective baby killer — though obviously it will be that sometimes, maybe often.

    Consider that the gap between the “being pro-choice” and the “but” is the space where opinions are changed and allies are made and lost.

    But also, way more important than the reason behind the “but”, the fact that the but is invariably followed by “I would never have an abortion” points to the way that abortion has so totally occupied the rhetorical content of “pro-choice” that all the rest of reproductive rights gets lost in the shuffle. I believe this leaves… has left… repro rights more susceptible to attack than it might otherwise be. (I just wrote a TL;DR post about this at my blog.)

    Many, probably most, of the same people who say “I’m pro-choice but I’d never have an abortion” still can’t wrap their heads around the fact that the “anti-choicers” really ARE coming for their IUDs and birth control pills with canines trained to sniff out latex and K-Y. (Keep Paul Ryan’s big nose out of my tent!)

    The real problem with “I’m pro-choice but I’d never have an abortion” is that it’s so rarely followed by “but they’re sure as fuck not gonna take my birth control away and increase the chances that I’ll be faced with that decision in the first place and I’m sure as fuck not gonna stop fucking!”

    Allies like that who see the bigger picture beyond (gasp) abortion would be fine, even if they aren’t as OK with abortion as people who read sites like this. That bigger picture would be easier to see if painted with smarter rhetoric.

    I also think the idea that certain phrases should always end with a period and not with a comma followed by “but” makes sense except to the extent it doesn’t. It has the potential downside of filtering or shutting out complexity, which is what keeps “smart progressives” smart. The problem isn’t the “but,” but what follows (though yeah, it’s usually not anything good.)

  • freetobe

    I became pregnant three months after I had, had my first baby. Up to that very moment in my life I had always been pro-life or anti-choice. When I found out I panicked like an animal suddenly trapped in a cage would. It was the most horrible feeling I have ever had in my life.  When i calmed down i realized I had not been paying attention to my cycle because after I had my first baby which was planned and wanted I went into a severe post partum depression. i was so ashamed of how I was feeling that i could not even tell my doctor who always asked me how I was feeling. he was a really good doctor I should have trusted him and told him but it would not have mattered because the whole  severe post partum thing was not even known then.

    The first thing i did was talk to my abusive husband about adopting the baby out. He siad no  that it would cause too much conflict. I went ahead with the abortion I was almost over 8 weeks along and was so out of it did not even notice.

    Now i am and will always be pro-choice. My situtation as millions of others was living proof why  legal abortion is a much needed thing!


  • crowepps

    The procedure done after an incomplete miscarriage is an ‘abortion’, the procedure done to remove a dead fetus is an ‘abortion’, and according to a large percentage of the ProLife advocates, anyone who has been on the Pill or who uses an IUD has had numberless ‘abortions’.  I think one reason I find that phrase irritating is that what the woman is disclaiming for herself is the mythical ‘selfish abortion of convenience merely for lifestyle reasons’ that some claim as the norm.

  • ack

    This also points up how important it is for young people (or everyone, I guess — since it seems that a lot of people in Congress don’t know who procreation works) to understand the nuts and bolts of sex, including its consequences (e.g., STDs, emotional turmoil about being “used” if you go with guys to be “popular,” pregnance).  Sex is a wonderful thing, but it is also a serious thing, and people who engage in it should know what they are doing and go into it with their eyes open.

    I completely agree that we need to increase the level of information available about sex, reproduction, and contraception. However, I challenge your concept of the consequences of sex. That’s exactly what abstinence education tries to do; it shames girls and tells them eveyone will think they’re sluts and attempts to terrify everyone in the class with giant pictures of herpes lesions. That kind of education, which focuses on “consequences,” is harmful. 

    What we need instead is comprehensive, medically accurate, non-judgemental sex and relationship education starting in kindgergarten. It should focus on how the body works, but should also build strengths in children and adolescents which foster healthy relationships. They need to learn how to set their own boundaries, how boundaries can shift in both healthy and unhealthy ways over the course of a relationship, and how to respect the boundaries of others. They need to know about STIs and pregnancy, but it should happen in a context that stresses protection and destigmatizes its use. 

  • coralsea

    Ack — I know that there has been a lot of “Misspeaking” lately (sorry — couldn’t resist).  I guess I wasn’t sufficiently sensitive to the language that the abstinence only nuts use (consequences), but you are right — they do dwell on the whole “consequences” thing (e.g., pregnancy, sores, eternal damnation).  I WAS thinking about the concept of “comprehensive, medically accurate, non-judgmental” education and discussion of sex.


    I was fortunate to have had “sex-ed” back in the early 1970s before the Religious Right got ahold of it.   I had a wonderful biology teacher named Miss Stark (Miss — it was the 1970s) who gave us a very comprehensive view of what can only be described as the “joy of sex,” seasoned with down-to-earth “You have to make sure that you use birth control, go to the free clinic if you have “burning” during urination, orgasms are….” discussion.  Thinking back, this was rather incredible. We spent almost a week on human sex and on reproduction — and she used the word “consequences,” so I think I was channeling her.


    Another thing that I remember — although several of the kids in the class did have sex (that I know of because they were friends) before the end of high school, none of them got pregnant.  I think Miss Stark and her forthright explanations had something to do with that.  Also — we did have a “Free Clinic” nearby that readily dispensed contraceptives and reproductive medical care.  Ahhh — for those simpler times.


    So yes, I should have avoided the loaded word “consequences.”  And gee — I wish we could go back to the more enlightened times of Miss Stark (at least in terms of sex-ed goes).

  • ack

    I genuinely appreciate your comments. I’m not trying to label you, but it does seem like you’re still working through how you feel about this issue as a whole, and that makes perfect sense.


    I think what irks me (beyond what some of the other posters have said about knowing absolutely how you’d act and “Choose Life!” etc…) about the “I’m pro-choice but I’d never have an abortion” is that when you consider the sheer numbers of women who’ve had abortions, saying that really does stigmatize someone who’s sitting right in front of them. It makes those women who have had abortions less able to talk about them.


    But honestly, you do represent the middle ground and I’m sorry you didn’t get what you wanted out of this thread. We need more politically pro-choice people who maybe feel squeamish about abortion but are actually willing to put their money where their mouths are. We need better social programs for women and girls who want to keep their pregnancies; we need child care, job training, health care, cash assistance, and educational opportunities. We need contraception and education on how to use it so women and girls can avoid unplanned pregnancies in the first place. We need to expand adoption options to ensure that all couples, whether same-sex or heterosexual, have the same opportunities to adopt. (Adoption is by no means unproblematic, but I’m fully in favor of eliminating restrictions and preferences based on sexual orientation.) But we also need to understand that even if all those systems were perfect, there would still be women and girls who want to terminate pregnancies, and we need to be ok with that.


    Pregnancy isn’t an inconvenience. It’s nine grueling months of bodily investment, followed by what is arguably the worst pain a human can experience. It’s full of risks, from conception to birth and beyond. Women and girls have the right to make a choice regarding whether they’ll undergo it.


    We don’t need judgement about those choices; we don’t need pressure to give birth and hand over the baby to some family who can’t conceive. I can only imagine how heartbreaking infertility is among het couples, and I hope I never have to face it. We have to value women’s and children’s lives to the point where we can say, “We have done all we can to make wanted pregnancy possible to complete. And now, we just trust women and girls to make their own decisions.”



  • ack

    I thought I’d figured out your views from your other posts, but we do have a lot of lurkers on this site and teasing those issues out is important. :) There have been a lot of posts about the substance of ab-only curricula, and I wanted to make it clear that effective programs don’t highlight “consequences” but instead focus on boundaries.


    And gosh do I wish I could get my hands on Miss Stark’s materials! What an historical archive! My sex ed in the 90s consisted of being compelled to write an ILLUSTRATED book about why I would remain abstinent until marriage and having my parents sign it (there were stick figures with pregnancy bumps; I’m not an artist), watching a birth video (during which one of my classmates actually passed out and the teacher didn’t notice for a bit, despite our, “Ummm… I think he’s unconsious!” comments), and lots of pictures of lesions. It was uncomfortable, weird, and completely irrelevant for most of us.

  • ack

    It also brings up the classic piece where health care practitioners at abortion clinics talk about the protesters and anti-abortion activists who came in for abortions. Saying, “I don’t think I would make that choice,” is very different than saying, “I would never make that choice.”


    We just don’t know what we do in any situation. 


    I was at a party a couple of years ago and we got into this topic. It was late, we’d been drinking, and we got to a point in the conversation where an ideological (but not personal) adversary said, “But you said you wouldn’t get an abortion.”


    My response: “I never said I wouldn’t get one.” I actually would never say that, especially because up until about a year ago, childbirth wasn’t even on the table. I’ve known what I would do since I became sexually active. I’m in a committed relationship and may make a different choice now, but it’s still not a guarantee.


    But the fact that he projected that onto me is interesting. He was extremely taken aback when I flat out told him that I would, in fact, have an abortion.

  • ack

    It’s been a common issue to reflexively vote posts down. I generally refrain from ranking unless I’m particularly struck by something, or a post like yours seems to have been voted down for reasons a newcomer doesn’t necessarily understand. I sincerely hope you continue to advocate for women and girls facing unwanted pregnancy; I know you don’t always agree with the choice, but the mere fact that you’re willing to speak up for their rights represents a common ground that we should be able to maximize.


    There are lots of people like you who wish that abortion was a less viable option than parenting or adoption. I hope you’ll continue to work for services for pregnant people and children, and will respect people’s choices when they decide that pregnancy and childbirth just aren’t right for them. As a country, we have a huge opportunity to reduce abortions; it starts with increasing contraception access and social services for low income people. While you and I may disagree about the morality of abortion, we can certainly agree on the time-tested ways to decrease unwanted pregnancy.

  • coralsea

    Ack — Oh my god!  Are you kidding about the “book” you had to write about staying abstinent?  Was this in a PUBLIC school?  How offensive and coercive!  And frankly, I think both of my parents (although they are very devout Christians) would have rather poked their eyes out with sharp sticks than sign any document (especially an illustrated one) that even hinted as sex — even if it was about abstinence.


    I have written before and I believe that girls, especially, should know what they want in terms of sex, and not just “do it” to please boys (I’m talking high school here).  But I knew girls who were certainly mature enough to decide to have sex recreationally or as part of a “committed” (for the moment) relationship.  The major difference between those girls and the ones who had sex to “please” some guy was that the ones who actually wanted to have sex used birth control.   It just wasn’t considered that big a deal.  My mother wouldn’t have suggested the pill for me (I never asked — I wasn’t sexually active in high school out of nerdiness and also I was pretty consumed with horse-back riding in between bouts of a chronic illness), but other girls’ mothers didn’t have a problem with it, reasoning that they would rather their daughters not get pregnant.  And, of course, there was the “Free Clinic.”  I grew up in an upper middle, upper class area where, in the 1970s, at least, there wasn’t a lot of religious posturing.  Things were pretty relaxed.


    I have always thought that the “guilt trip” that the new regime of sex Nazis (meaning the abstinence-only crowd) do a lot more psychological damage to kids — and especially girls — then the occasional sexual misadventure, with or without birth control, of my friends.  After reading about the ILLUSTRATED abstinence book you were required to write, now I KNOW they cause significant damage.  People have sex — and that’s a good thing, if it’s good sex.  Why beat people up over natural urges?  I just don’t get it.  You’d think, like those moms in the 1970s, they would be more interested in ensuring that their kids had good information and good contraception — that is, to me, much better parenting.


    Oh, well, this is I suppose one of the reasons I am not a Christian.  I simply don’t care if other people are having sex, other than to hope they are enjoying themselves.


    Also – Miss Stark had various slides (we all thought the one showing an erection was hilarious), but otherwise, I think she just made up the sessions.  She did hand out pamphlets from the Free Clinic on “VD” (now STDs) and birth control, and she did mention the Kama Sutra (one of the kids brought a copy in with her).


    Oh, my!  I really do miss “the old days” before the Religious Right got its hands on the political process!

  • coralsea

    Ack — the whole projection thing is difficult.  I have family members who invariably pull out the, “But I don’t suppose that bothers YOU,” after mentioning some atrocity because they know that I–gasp!–voted for Obama.  It is incredibly annoying, but when I say, “Well, of course I think it’s horrible that women and children are being gunned down in the Sudan!” they realize how dumb their comment was (and that it had nothing to do with voting Democratic).



  • colleen

    It’s been a common issue to reflexively vote posts down.

    I would say, rather, that there has been a common disagreement about who is trolling, misrepresenting themselves and/or being aggressively self referential and manipulative.


  • crowepps

    Generally I don’t rate/rank at all, but one thing that is a red flag that someone might be a troll is if they post a link to their personal blog repeatedly.  This has the effect of reducing their comment to merely the lead-in to an advertisement.


  • quenyar

    Seems like a perfectly rational comment for any man to make.

    “I would never take my own life” and “I could never kill anyone” and “I could never have an abortion” are all comments of people lacking in sufficient imagination to think of circumstances sufficiently terrible to themselves personally to make this their choice.

    I actually have more trouble with people who say “I am pro-life” and who say “I am for the death penalty” or “I am in favor of nuclear weapons” or “I always support our troops.”

    I am pro-choice and I wish for a world where no one ever wanted to kill anybody, full stop.  I don’t want war. I don’t want people to be suicidal. I do not want people to become preganat and not want the child.

    But given a real world where these things do happen, I will refuse to dictate to everyone else what their response to reality should be. If you believe in a God who gave people free will, you believe that God gave this to everyone, not just you. To take their choice from them is a sin of pride and evidence of the worst kind of arrogance.  If you don’t believe in God, you should extend to others the same rights and privilges you demand for yourself, or you’re the worst kind of hypocrite.


  • crowepps

    So, if they assume you won’t be bothered by atrocities because you voted for Obama, does that mean if the atrocity was being ignored by Bush or Romney, that would make it okay with them?

    I have a hard time understanding the ‘whatever my Great Leader does is okay by me’ mindset.  People are scornful of Democrats/liberals because they argue with each other so much, but I sure prefer that to the brain-dead, somebody else tells me what to think sheeple!


  • ack

    All I got out of Borg’s posts was honesty about her own thoughts and feelings; sure, she used some dogwhistles to anti-choicers, but she seemed genuine. Sometimes I forget that not everyone comes here for meta discussions. And apparently, she changed her mind about the language she uses, which is a huge step for some people individually and is good for the movement as a whole. I’m sure plenty of readers come just for information because they’re trying to figure out where they are on the spectrum of belief on this issue; it’s not easy for everyone! And there are plenty of people out there like Borg. I hate to think they’re being excluded from commenting because they don’t want to be accused of trolling. 


  • crowepps

    At the risk of flogging a dead horse, a couple points:

    At the end of the day – or rather the end of nine months- if one does not choose an abortion (note I don’t use any words whatsoever to describe whatever it is that is aborted) – you will agree assuming no other intervention or harm, what is produced is life.

    Well, no, actually. Less than 50% of conceptions make it all the way through to live birth. My personal stats are four pregnancies, two live births, two miscarriages. You’re making the unwarranted assumption that pregnancy is a guarantee of a healthy baby, that pregnancy is no big deal for the woman involved, and ignoring the permanent negative effects on a woman’s body, health and possibly life.

    I am for options which make choosing to create a life, to nurture ___ (whatever you want to call the presence in your uterus) for nine months a viable choice, too.

    I am not aware of any ProChoice activists who are picketing obstetrician’s offices or handing out pamphlets urging women who are happily pregnant to think twice and consider getting abortions instead. I am not aware of any ProChoice activists who are actively working to force all women to be sterilized. All of the ProChoice activists I know have always considered completing a pregnancy a viable choice.

    I am not, however, anti-choice, and that seems to be the term some (perhaps including the author?) find valid for those who prefer one not to choose abortion. So you tell me what is the correct label I should use for myself?

    Personally, I would use Patronizing/Sentimental. You state that you’re not a judgmental kind of person, that it’s not your place to make a judgment about what someone should do, and then you claim special insight into the positives AND negatives about what it means to choose to keep the baby … and the various additional options and choices … AND negatives about abortion. You agree that “we shouldn’t be setting ourselves up as the morality police and women’s choices about their own bodies and their own lives are theirs to make”, and yet at the same time you make it crystal clear that you assume the women in question are so ignorant about their situation, so unaware of the negatives involved in their choices, so lacking support and professional help, that they require intervention by non-professional who aren’t involved at all, because if they really truly understood things the way you understand them, they would ‘Choose Life’. While that may align them more closely to your sentimental feelings about pregnancy, what women are ‘for’ and Babies Are Cute, it would be my contention that their decision-making process shouldn’t have to include ‘satisfying the emotional needs of total strangers’.

  • crowepps

    Personally, I wish we would use ‘three strikes’.  It usually takes that long to figure out whether someone really wants to have a dialogue.

    It was my understanding when the rating system was put in place that it was to get rid of WallOfScripture, WallOfHate, WallOfInsult, WallOfBumperSticker posts.  It has succeeded admirably in doing so.  It would be a shame if lacking better targets, people started down-ranking people merely because their Pro-Choiceness isn’t sufficiently wildly enthusiastic and ideologically blind —

  • colleen

    yes, well, clearly some others don’t share your perceptions and have come to a different conclusion. I am suggesting that your assuptions about the motives of those downrating are incorrect. At least it’s glaringly obvious to me why people are downrating this individual’s posts and it has nothing to do with a disinterest in meta discussions or a tendency to reflexively downrate. Perhaps others see things that you do not.

  • coralsea

    I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt initially unless they launch into something really canned.  I have to say that I am not always completely “up” on all terminology (hence using the word “consequences”), but I find it interesting to hear what others have to say.  I am sufficiently old (56 years old yesterday!  Yay!) to remember having a lot of very foolish opinions simply because I hadn’t lived long enough to think them through.  Also, one tends to pick up attitudes from parents and other that one later realizes aren’t really for them.   I would rather have people disagree with me, but thoughtfully, knowing that the seeds have been planted, and when they begin to have certain types of experiences, they will remember what I said and give it more consideration.


    Frankly, a lot of the people I worry about the most are all of the kids being homeschooled with the intention of separating them from the “sinful other.”   These kids hear so few dissenting opinions that one has to wonder if any of them will be able to make their own decisions.  I say this from experience, because I have a sister who homeschooled her kids in Alaska.  The two oldest girls were married off to guys picked by their fathers (and who were “religiously” suitable).  They are nice young women, but if you say anything that is beyond their comfort zone, they simply refuse to continue speaking and walk away so they can read the Bible or whatever.  (I practice Wicca — but I would never share that with them).  I think that there are a lot of kids like that — certainly more than when I was growing up.


    I appreciate this website because it does make me think about things I might not otherwise have considered.  But I expect that for those who are still exploring their thoughts, they may make statements that, afterwards, they realize aren’t really logical or don’t reflect what their life experiences have taught them.  I certainly don’t like to jump on them over it.  Being willing to share, rather than prosyletize, is an act of courage that should be congratulated.

  • marlowe28

    I’ve spent decades trying to reason with the pro-forced birth crowd. I tried because, for me, having an abortion was difficult before, during and after. It wasn’t something that I did lightly and I’ve sometimes mourned what might have been. I thought that it was important to acknowledge that for some women abortion wasn’t like getting a tooth pulled.

    But I’m through with trying to reason with people who are beyond reason. The decision about whether a woman may or should have an abortion should not be made by legislators or religious zealots who are committed to forcing women to choose a life of abstinence or forced childbearing. Every woman must decide for herself who to involve in the decision when confronted with a problem pregnancy.

    I don’t see how anyone can see the “It’s okay for other people but I would never do it myself” comment as anything but judgment of women who decide to abort.

    “My body, my decision” is my new mantra. 

  • ack

    I shouldn’t have labeled it as reflexive; you’re right. The posts were problematic, and I think the critiques of her points were accurate. Everyone can obviously define “trolling” for themselves, but I do think we risk losing discourse with people in the middle if they get a downgrade to troll status right away. There are a whole lot of people out there who don’t like the idea of abortion but don’t think they should make that choice for other people. I just don’t think it does the movement any good to shut down the conversation before it even takes place.


    More and more young people identify as pro-life, but are politically pro-choice. Sure, it can seem contradictory, patronizing, and othering sometimes, but we’re never going to be able to respectfully challenge those ideas or mobilize together on the issues we agree on if we don’t create space in which to engage. I don’t know of any other site that offers the kind of comprehensive coverage the writers here provide. And I honestly haven’t come across a site where the views presented by commenters are as thorough or well-honed. Using that to educate the people in the middle makes sense to me. But I’ll try to avoid labeling intentions when they haven’t been stated. I realize it was dismissive, which wasn’t what I was trying to convey.

  • coralsea

    Crowepps — as my title suggests, what they often fall back on is that the Republican or conservative candidate (at least over the last few decades) is that there isn’t anything “questionable” about those who are billed as Republican or conservative.  Of course, this is flamingly false, but they invariably give the benefit of the doubt to the guy (almost always a guy) who goes to the right church and is economically successful (because that has to indicate that he’s smart and righteous) and has “a wuuunnnn-derful wife!!!” who doesn’t have any sort of “assertive” career (they gave Laura Bush a pass because being a librarian is womanly).


    I know — it drives me nuts.  A lot of conservatives simply avoid hearing about or thinking about anything that might shaken their concept of the “fine upstanding man” — never mind that they are stupid, hypocritical, religiously zealous, hold “My Pet Goat” upside down while it’s being read and don’t really notice, stripmined lots of companies, threw people out of work, and then stuck the proceeds into tax shelters so you could avoid paying taxes.


    I’ve read several psychological studies on people who tend to be very conservative (and especially religious conservatives), and they have demonstrably poor reasoning abilities and very high “fear” levels.  I certainly see this in my family and it’s heartbreaking because they aren’t monsters, but they just feel that they have to believe everything “those nice men” say (as opposed to that black guy who was a “community organizer.”)  Racism plays a role, too, and that appears to be a lot more prevalent on the Right side of the spectrum (although a lot of religious people are studiously non-racist, to their credit).


    Sorry — too much information, I know.  I just hope that we can get as many people out to vote as possible who are appalled over the whole War on Women thing that the GOP is so very definitely waging.


    BTW — I live in a heavily GOP area and at least one of my neighbors still thinks that Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.  Very, very depressing, but trying to correct such errors are like talking to a wall.

  • ack

    Yes, it was in a public school. And EVERY time I’m headed home, I think, “Wow, I should see if I still have that weird abstinence book.” And then I forget. I’m not sure if it’s in the box of old school stuff under my childhood bed, because at the time, it was stupid and not a piece of bizzaro world sex ed memoribilia, as I see it now. 


    But I make a solemn oath: If ever I should find my “Why I Won’t Have Sex Before I’m Married,” illustrated book, I will scan every page and send it to this site. Copyrighted, of course, because I’m quite sure my 8th grade brain had a lot of brilliant ideas that hatched while trying to appease a teacher.

  • coralsea

    ack — yes, it would obviously be an interesting “artifact.”   Or actually, a horrible warning about why these abstinence freaks should stay the heck out of kids’ heads.  I truly cannot see how anyone can view this as anything but religious indoctrination — and that makes me mad.


    On the other hand, I expect that it would be both fun and appalling for you to see it again.  I done know that I would want to be confronted with anything I did in eighth grade!  On the bright side, at least your parents weren’t crazy and didn’t frame it or something and hang it on the wall!


    BTW — did the school have any ceremony to accompany this, er, achievement?  Because all I can think is that if they did, this should be an event that would generate a lot of those AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com photos!  Disgruntled expressions and all.

  • pamstarsia

    I wrote a chapter about the “I’m pro-choice, but I’d personally never have an abortion” rhetoric in my undergraduate thesis, and I think it’s a really important topic.  One thing that I focused on there was my (admittedly unscientific) observation that these types of comments seemed to come most frequently from middle-to-upper class white women—the demographic which has historically controlled the direction of the reproductive justice movement, often alienating women of color.  My feeling has always been that the “I’m pro-choice but…” mentality has often been a symptom of unacknowledged privilege (be it white priv, or economic priv, or both)—if one feels that they have a relative wealth of resources, that person is probably more inclined to believe that they could “handle” an unplanned pregnancy, no matter what. 

    Based on this, I feel like a huge problem with this rhetoric that the author didn’t address is that the “but” formulation reinforces the “otherness” of those “other” women who might choose to have an abortion relative to the (usually privileged) speaker.  If the unspoken (and likely unconscious) sentiment underlying the “but” is that abortion is a valid choice for poor, unmarried, minority, or “other” women, but not for *me*, you are conceding validity to a system in which only the privileged have a real choice when it comes to reproductive health issues.  As reproductive justice advocates, we can’t engage in rhetoric that signals acceptance of this “two Americas” type of inequality.  Our words and actions must always convey our belief that a system in which access to resources determines reproductive choices or health outcomes is categorically unacceptable.        

  • nuts

    I chose my user name “Nuts” because seeing how you treated another newbie, I know I’m nuts to enter the foray.  But I have to say some of you seemed to judge Borg a bit harshly. 


    Jenny, The Bloggess, has an excellent post on how to tell if you’re a troll:  http://thebloggess.com/2012/06/how-to-tell-if-youre-a-troll/


    I have no idea where she lives (and maybe she DOES live under a bridge), but, generally, Borg didn’t seem to fit it.  And many of you seem to have jumped to conclusions in response to her about her or her views that I don’t think she said.  Like I don’t think she said anywhere that abortion is immoral.  Or that she was judging anyone for their choices – but I think she acknowledged that the choices, unfortunately, are limited, and said some of the same things those of you who are “brilliant” said about expanding and improving the available choices.  


    I guess extremists on both sides are quick to close their eyes and blind themselves.  I guess it’s really “us” against “them”.   If so, I’d rather not be one of “us”…


    Good luck! 



  • nuts

    I think you’re last paragraph is pretty patronizing.  Nowhere did Borg extrapolate what those positives or negatives were, nor did she suggest she had any special knowledge of them.  In fact, it sounded to me like she was trying to support the professional counseling that already takes place in places like Planned Parenthood.  I think she touched upon a hot-button for you with legislation that has certain requirements regarding counseling, and ultra-sounds, and such, but nowhere did I read that Borg was advocating those.  I think you assumed a lot with her, and just wanted to find nuanced points with which to attack her.


    For example, in the first quote you pulled out, she explicitly stated “assuming no other intervention or harm.” I would presume this meant to include those exact situations that you attack her for not considering as potential results of conception.  Is “life” a word that is not allowed in this political discussion whatsoever?  Apparently so. I read her statement as trying to explain that “life” is one potential choice, and illustrating that at some point, life can happen.  It seemed she was carefully trying to avoid that debate about when life starts.  


    I also don’t think I read anywhere that she suggested abortion was immoral.  I think you read a lot of what you think she’s saying into her words, and when she tried to use more to explain the miscommunication, you jump all over her “choice” of words again.  


    Be careful calling the kettle black… 

  • nuts

    Read and re-read this.  I’m curious about what is so glaringly obvious.  Because clearly I am not “other” in this instance.  I think what she wrote reflects what many of you wrote.  In fact the only thing I think she says that is glaringly different is that she’s a lesbian.  

  • nuts

    is in a woman’s right to choose what to do with her body.  Period.  


    I believe that these choices are not easy.  Period.


    I believe that we should support all women. Period.  Even if they don’t agree with us. 


    I believe that all of the above takes many forms. Period.


    I believe that one way to do this is to listen. Period. 


    I believe that I may not have it all right. Period.

  • crowepps

    This is interesting — as I understand it, what you took from the many exchanges of posts on this subject is that we aren’t interested in her opinion because she’s a lesbian?  Really?  Actually, aside from ‘it’s easy to believe somebody ELSE ought to make sacrifices for a fetus’, that had zero influence on my responses.


    What I saw in her posts was ‘Women who have abortions shouldn’t have to get illegal, unsafe ones, and so abortion must remain legal.  Those who support abortion being legal can claim the label ProChoice BUT should be able to reserve the right to get in women’s faces and make it clear that the ‘Choosing Life’ is superior, because women who decide to get abortions are too ignorant / overly emotional / selfish / unwomanly to know what they’re doing.

  • archer61

    I agree with the columnist that some comments are defeating the movement. I claim no such “purity”. In fact I had two abortions – both with my husband – because two different methods of birth control failed. Why did I abort?

    We agreed before marriage that we would pursue a lifestyle of spiritual freedom, and felt that our love for one another and our mutual life-work and pursuits were sufficient to our satisfaction. We felt that we weren’t so self involved that we needed to create life in our own image.

    We also believed that the earth was changing and that unchecked population growth was harming the earth, and would lead to water and food shortages and not merely in countries in Asia or Africa that had chronic famines, floods and corrupt practices (preventing aid from reaching those in need). That process has already begun.

    What we did not foresee was that greed and corruption – cloaked in self righteous narrow-mindedness — would so infiltrate every strata of our culture, taking the form in many cases, of a war on women. This war is in full flower today.

    I support the right of every woman, no matter the circumstances, to do what she wishes with regard to unwanted pregnancy. If you live in Tennessee or Mississippi or Texas, or any state that is denying your rights, I urge you to pack up and move to a state that – at least today – cares about women and their health.


  • nuts

    .. you aren’t interested in her opinion, it’s just the only thing I see that was different about her opinion from others that had been labelled brilliant.


    While I would agree that probably her reasoning for wanting to keep abortion legal is to keep it safe, I don’t think the remainder of your description of her opinion is accurate.  I don’t think anywhere did she say anything about a woman who chooses to get an abortion as to their emotional state, their informational state, or their state of womanliness.  I think what she said was that it was a shame that we aren’t spending on our money (on any side of the issue) towards actually taking care of the women who have to make the choice and helping give them real choices free of stigma rather than stigmatized ones (including the stigmatization of abortion that this original post was about trying to avoid).  


    I think you – personally crowepps – got set off by some hot button politically incorrect word choice she made and then leapt to a lot of conclusions about what she said simply because she didn’t use the current political terms of art.  I re-read her comments several times in light of what you wrote, and I didn’t find her making any commentary ANYWHERE about people who choose abortions other than to indicate they are in a difficult position and that she has supported those she’s known who have made those choices.  Judgment, moral conviction, none of what you suggest she wrote.  But certainly seems to be present in your personal comments to her.  


    And I can’t help but wonder why? 

  • crowepps

    Your incredible psychic mindreading powers have failed, you do not know me personally, you do not understand my motives or, apparently, the points I was attempting to make.  The posts are all there, the statements are fairly clear as are the attempts to clarify them, and your insistence that I can’t possibly mean what I’m saying and your demand that I admit there must be some discredible, secret reason underlying them is rather — odd.  Your inability to understand what I was talking about cannot be cured by further explanations on my part when you insist my posts are biased.

    I do try not to get personal and to stick to the issues, and although we disagreed, I don’t think TheBorgBlog felt personally attacked by me, so I wonder why you feel compelled to show up at this late date and do a critique of the posts.  Have you self-appointed yourself Tone Monitor?  Considering that your very first post included your stunning speculation we were likely homophobic bigots, I don’t think that is a position for which you are qualified.

  • squirrely-girl

    Do you think your sexual orientation plays a role in your views on abortion? Reading through your thoughts a couple of times, I can’t help but see a disconnect from other women… the “it wouldn’t/couldn’t happen to me (outside of rape)” so that must mean those other women are just being irresponsible…

  • squirrely-girl

    In that sense it’s acceptable for young, single (white) women to choose adoption… because birthing for others takes a bit of the edge off that whole having been “a whore for having sex outside of marriage” thing in the first place…

  • squirrely-girl

    You might consider reading some of the work on Terror Management Theory if you haven’t already done so… 

  • squirrely-girl

    “I would never take my own life” and “I could never kill anyone” and “I could never have an abortion” are all comments of people lacking in sufficient imagination to think of circumstances sufficiently terrible to themselves personally to make this their choice.



  • squirrely-girl

    Granted it took me awhile to get to this point and I know I’m as guilty as others of having qualified my pro-choice views with the ever-dreaded “but” tacked on there at the end… but it has brought me a point where when asked how I label my views on abortion, I can smile sweetly and simply reply, “I’m pro-mind your own reproductive organs.”

  • nuts

    Your psychic mind-reading powers have failed.  It wasn’t my first post – but it is a question I raised since it appears to be the only distinction.  Note I was clear in the post that you just responded to that I don’t think that is an issue – don’t assume it is – but it was the only difference I could see between what she posted and what others have posted.  (My first post was about what defines a troll….)


    Funny, how when someone labels you something you’re not, or misrepresents your views, you seem upset?


    BorgBlog is a close friend of mine who was there for me and held my hand while I made my difficult choice.  There has never been anything in her actions, her words or the way that she has treated me that ever made me feel like the choice I made was immoral or that I was “other” or less than a woman or any of the other things that you suggested she meant.  She made me feel loved and cared about and supported.  She made sure I was not alone before, during and after.  I feel really lucky to have a friend like that by my side through such a difficult choice.


    While she didn’t express that she felt attacked by you personally, she did mention to me her shock at the responses which made me come on here myself to read through them. I felt like you personally attacked my friend when you in two separate posts you called her patronizing and suggested she felt the need to be in the face of anyone who was making that choice.  When you then further suggested she felt that other women who chose abortion were unwomanly. ignorant, overly emotional and selfish.  Fortunately, I imagine she didn’t even see those posts, since by then she had walked away.  


    Ack’s analysis was spot on… 

  • whiteroses

    I support your right to make your own choice.  No, I wouldn’t have an abortion.  I have made the decision to not, even while pregnant from rape, and will never be pregnant again since I am sterile now.  I assume  you’d rather take that than the alternative which is “since I made this particular choice, I’m going to force that choice on you, too.”  No?  Okay, then.  Please take the support offered by those who might disagree with certain choices, yet adamently fight for every woman to have choice.

  • katangel13

    Ok so I stumbled upon this and disagree. Just because someone says they’re pro-choice but wouldn’t get an abortion, doesn’t mean they look down on those who do.

    I read on comment that said pro-choice means you get a choice. So if you can choose to get an abortion, you can choose not to.

    If I were raped or the pregnancy was going to kill me or my baby I believe I would get an abortion. In any other situation I would have my baby. I don’t look down on people who do get abortions, it’s their life and they have their own situations so I can’t judge.

  • magnificent

    It’s no surprise many pro-choice women won’t admit to having an abortion. In order to address what impacts their decisions, we really have to define abortion. What is abortion? What does it do? Why do so many women who claim to be pro-choice also say they don’t like abortions? It’s obvious that some kind of ethical criteria is in play.

    Furthermore, we can’t have an educated discussion on the matter without asking ourselves what is the unborn child, because they are the ones who are at the heart and centre of this matter, but they are often overlooked.  

  • prochoiceferret

    What is abortion? What does it do? Why do so many women who claim to be pro-choice also say they don’t like abortions? It’s obvious that some kind of ethical criteria is in play.


    What are root canals? What do they do? Why do so many people who claim to be pro-dental-health also say they don’t like root canals? It’s obvious that some kind of ethical criteria is in play.


    Furthermore, we can’t have an educated discussion on the matter without asking ourselves what is the unborn child 


    The “unborn child” is actually a human fetus, usually not yet capable of living outside the uterus. I didn’t have to ask myself that—I read medical textbooks!


    because they are the ones who are at the heart and centre of this matter, but they are often overlooked.


    Did you overlook that this “unborn child” is inside a woman who doesn’t want it there?

  • magnificent

    Your comparison of a human being to a root canal is repulsive. Of course the fetus isn’t capable of living outside the mother’s body, in the same way that an infant isn’t able to survive if someone neglects them. But abortion takes another step where there is a force from the outside physically harming the fetus.

    If a pregnant woman is attacked and loses her unborn child, the perpetrator will be charged with manslaughter. So the law clearly contradicts itself. On one hand they grant the unborn child with the same human rights as the rest of us, but on the abortion issue they take away those human rights.


  • prochoiceferret

    Your comparison of a human being to a root canal is repulsive.


    That’s quite understandable. I wouldn’t be too fond of something that completely eviscerated my logic, even though such a thing has yet to be found.


    Of course the fetus isn’t capable of living outside the mother’s body, in the same way that an infant isn’t able to survive if someone neglects them.


    No, actually, that’s not the same thing. An infant can be cared for by some other person, without physically extracting resources from its mother’s body.


    But abortion takes another step where there is a force from the outside physically harming the fetus.


    Kind of like what happens when you exercise self-defense, wouldn’t you say?


    If a pregnant woman is attacked and loses her unborn child, the perpetrator will be charged with manslaughter. So the law clearly contradicts itself. On one hand they grant the unborn child with the same human rights as the rest of us, but on the abortion issue they take away those human rights.


    Are you bothered more by the perceived legal inconsistency, or by women having agency over their own bodies and lives?

  • magnificent

    I sort of have to correct myself. There are many fetuses that can survive without the mother. For example a fetus that’s 5 month old or older can survive outside the mother’s body, but it’s in the mother’s body for no choice of it’s own. It has no choice to be socially dependant on someone else and it is being forced to be physically dependent on the mother’s body because it’s in the womb. 


    Abortion is legal up to 9 months in my home country (Canada) and I believe it is the same in many states. How can someone justify killing a baby that can easily survive once he/she leaves the mother’s body?

  • prochoiceferret

    For example a 5 month old fetus can survive outside the mother’s body


    “Can survive?” More like “might survive, if you include very expensive and lengthy medical intervention.”


    but it’s in the mother’s body for no choice of it’s own.


    The “it’s in the mother’s body” part is why the woman has the right to an abortion in the first place. The “for no choice of its own” part is irrelevant.


    So again lets take a fetus that’s 5 month old or older, it can probably survive probably survive outside the mother.


    I would add a few more “probably”s.


    But it has no choice to be socially dependant on someone else so  it is being forced to be physically dependent on the mother’s body because it’s in the womb. 


    Perhaps you’re forgetting that the point of having an abortion is not to punish the fetus, but for the woman to no longer be pregnant without going through childbirth.


    Abortion is legal up to 9 months in my home country (Canada) and I believe it is the same in many states. How can someone justify killing a baby that can easily survive once it leaves the mother’s body?


    Good question. Maybe that’s why in Canada, abortion is only legal up to nine months.

  • magnificent

    “Good question. Maybe that’s why in Canada, abortion is only legal up to nine months.”

    An 8 month fetus old can be delivered and survive to be a healthy human, so why abort a 9 month old fetus? Doesn’t make sense. My friend was born prematurely and he’s as healthy as a horse.

  • crowepps

    You may not realize it, but many of the people here actually talk about the medical, biological issues around reproduction as though they were medical, biological issues, and their doing so isn’t “repulsive” unless you’re sentimentalizing the fetus, and thinking of it as an itsy bitsy cutsey widdle babbee!  Considering that the vast majority of abortions take place at the point where the embryo/fetus is indistinguishable from that of any other mammal, an inch or so long and an ounce or so in weight, the eensy teensy babbee just isn’t reality for anybody who is reality based.

    The fetus does indeed have the “same human rights as the rest of us” and no more, which is why it has no right to demand the use of an unwilling woman’s body.  Nobody has the right to use an unwilling woman’s body, for anything.  If she says no, then it’s no.

  • crowepps

    “How can someone justify killing a baby that can easily survive once he/she leaves the mother’s body?”

    Geez, so TIRED of this silly, circular argument. 

    The vast majority of abortions, approaching 95%, happen when the embryo/fetus hasn’t got a hope of surviving.  Most people AGREE that things are different in late pregnancy, and personally can’t justify “killing a baby” and that is why it is extremely, EXTREMELY rare that abortion happens in the last half of pregnancy, and why those abortions almost always are either medically necessary or to bring to an early end the risks of a futile pregnancy. 

    They are instances of rare problems where either BOTH WOMAN AND FETUS DIE or the fetus CANNOT easily survive because, just for instance, it has no kidneys, no brain, or no heart.  The idea that healthy babies that would have survived birth are discarded ALL THE TIME just for “convenience” is one of the standard ProLife lies.

  • crowepps

    A HEALTHY 8 month fetus can be delivered and survive.  A DEAD 9 month old fetus needs to be removed by abortion.

  • prochoiceferret

    An 8 month fetus old can be delivered and survive to be a healthy human, so why abort a 9 month old fetus?


    Because if it’s still a fetus, then it’s still in the woman’s body, so an abortion is still a possibility.


    That said, do you actually know just how often, and under what circumstances, doctors will “abort a 9 month old fetus?”


    Doesn’t make sense. My friend was born prematurely and he’s as healthy as a horse.


    Good for him, but what does that have to do with women having the right to abort a pregnancy?

  • ljean8080

    Is that abortion on demand?Well,what do you expect from a country that sees Robert Latimer as a hero.

  • magnificent

    It’s still a fetus?

    What’s the difference physically between the 8 month old fetus and the baby delivered at 8 month other than their environment? Why not go head with delivering the baby. I don’t wanna waste much more time arguing with you about this. I can’t beleive we live in a society where little innocent and weak babies are being torn limb from limb and we have the audacity of only describing this as “choice”. It’s a truly disgusting. I don’t know how people sleep at night defending such an action.

  • prochoiceferret

    It’s still a fetus?

    What’s the difference physically between the 8 month old fetus and the baby delivered at 8 month other than their environment?


    The “environment,” as you so glibly put it, happens to be a woman—a.k.a. a human being with human rights. And that’s what makes all the difference.


    Why not go head with delivering the baby.


    Because that may not be the safest option for the woman. if you want the full answer, you’ll need to get an M.D. in obstetrics.


    I don’t wanna waste much more time arguing with you about this.


    Hey, what a coinkidink—neither do I!


    I can’t beleive we live in a society where little innocent and weak babies are being torn limb from limb and we have the audacity of only describing this as “choice”.


    What is this society where babies are being dismembered and this is being described as “choice?” It certainly can’t be Canada nor the U.S.


    It’s a truly disgusting. I don’t know how people sleep at night defending such an action.


    It certainly would be disgusting and insomnia-inducing, but I’m not aware of any place in the world where this is taking place.

  • magnificent

    Rare or not it’s still legal and it still happens. This so called rarity kills thousands each year. They are human beings not statistics.  


    I would accept abortion when it prevents the woman from serious physically health problems or if it saves the woman’s life.

  • colleen

    I would accept abortion when it prevents the woman from serious physically health problems or if it saves the woman’s life.

    I am not sure why you think your acceptance or lack of the same is relevant to the women here. Do you believe we’re seeking your approval?

  • magnificent

    Com’on it’s not like all these abortion are carried out to remove a dead fetus. There are healthy 9 month old fetuses being aborted for any given reason.

    Besides, why would anyone be against removing a dead fetus from a woman’s body? 

  • crowepps

    Some people are ridiculously sentimental and get all weird about the fetal corpse being “dismembered” so it can be removed in the technique safest for the woman.  If you have any evidence whatsoever that “healthy 9 month old fetuses” are being aborted, please share it.  Personally I doubt that ever happens.