• billfalls

    It’s sad that two movements I’m committed to and active in – pro-choice and pro-voice – sometimes veer off into tests of orthodoxy: if you aren’t exactly “on message” you’re suspect or even a threat. I cringe when pro-choice leaders I respect say President Obama is selling out when he looks for a middle ground with Congressional opponents. Renee Bracey Sherman’s article suggests that Exhale applied a purity test to her story-sharing as well. I hope that isn’t what they meant to do, and that they will respond here in RHRC.

  • XKCD

    It wasn’t long ago that I thought the best thing the pro-choice movement could do was to encourage (without pressure) women to share their abortion stories with those they knew who were anti-abortion. I had thought, obviously, it’s got to be hard to paint someone as a heartless “baby killer” if you know them and their situation personally.

    Honestly though, after hearing that guy shut down the testimony of hundreds of women who weren’t allowed to speak because he felt their stories were “repetitive” and “boring”, and seeing my home state’s abortion bill legislate that women can’t be transferred to a public hospital if they develop serious medical issues caused by legal abortion, and seeing more and more how anti-abortion people deflect and whine whenever you mention the awful effects banning abortion can have on women…I really have given up on the idea that any of these people care about women’s lives and health in the first place.

    Now I think what people need to do is just straight-up say “a fetus is not a baby”. That is their primary belief, and that is what needs to be focused on and argued against. A fertilized egg is not an embryo, an embryo is not a fetus, and a fetus is not a newborn baby. A 20-week ban is not based in logic because a 20-week fetus has 0% viability. Literally not once in history has a 20-week preemie survived, so “development” is not an argument for that ban. Fetal pain at that stage is a myth. The arguments for a 20-week abortion ban are based on emotion, not facts or statistics, and forcing those emotions on all women shouldn’t be tolerated. Something does not equal something else solely because it has the potential to become that thing. “Potential to be” does not equal “being”, and that would be a horrific scientific standard to base actual laws around.

    These people are the ones trying to take away already established, constitutionally-protected legal rights, it’s about time we put them on the defensive and made them prove that abortion rights harm society more than help (which would require ignoring history, I think).

    • Nor

      Ok, but the people who think it’s a baby at conception for religious reasons aren’t going to bend. The people who think a fetus is a baby aren’t going to bend. The only place there seems room for argument is telling them about how the way they are going about trying to limit/eliminate the number of abortions isn’t the most effective way. It’s hard, because some of them are also anti-birth control. I don’t know how to talk to those people. I don’t think it’s possible to win them over with words. But the people who truly want to reduce or eliminate the numbers of abortions can be convinced to promote other very positive things, like free birth control and comprehensive sex ed. And I think most of them are reasonable enough to allow exceptions for the health of the mother. So then we’re talking about a relatively small number of abortions left. And since there will always be abortions, whether it’s legal or not, in a practical sense they are going to have to accept a certain number, shy of putting all pregnant or possibly pregnant women under 24-7 watch. Then it gets down to practical questions – how do you intend to prevent illegal abortions, or self-abortions? If you can’t do this, what is your motivation for making women pursue that vs. having access to safe abortion? If that motivation is to punish them, look at who you are choosing to punish – poor married mothers, mostly. How is this punishment effective? Does it work now, did it work in the past, and will it work in the future? What is the cost to you and to society? What is the greater good? What is the cost to the weakening of bodily autonomy law? What is the danger of allowing laws of this type to be enacted in fields other than abortion (i.e. birth control, etc.). What is the cost to women’s rights and control of their lives? Is it worth it? Can you make that decision for other people? If they still can’t find some middle ground or understanding after all of that, I don’t know what else you can do except wait until they themselves are in that situation. Then whatever happens is what they really believe.

      • HeilMary1

        I try bringing up frequent deadly, gross and bankrupting complications from childbirth like female fetus-caused face and breast cancers, divorce-causing incontinence, $1,000,000 hospital and disability bills and priests molesting the already born kids. Looks-conscious fetal idolaters might then get very icked out by what Rev. Pedophile never told them.

  • Anne

    Thank you Renee, so powerful and helpful. I only recently shared my abortion story after keeping it secret for 27 1/2 years. I was able to do that because of voices like yours. I’ll be honest, the one thing I heard over and over and over again from the anti-choice women was a story like this: “I had an abortion, it was awful, I have regrets, it was emotionally painful. Therefore, no one else should ever have to go through that.” Although I empathize with these women, I find myself getting so angry that having had the choice themselves, they now want that choice taken away and given to a group of legislators. Anyway, thanks for your voice, much appreciated! God Bless!

    • Nor

      I don’t know that anyone explains it to them in those terms, and if someone did, I don’t have a lot of hope that they’d understand it.

  • Nor

    So what’s your story?

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