From Pro-Life Feminist to Pro-Choice Mama: My Change in Beliefs

(Ready, Cate? 1. Open can of worms. 2. Dump on head.)

NPR recently reported that in some Planned Parenthood clinics, the abortion rate is up.

We’ve seen some people who said that they didn’t really think that they would ever be making this decision, but recognize that this is a time when they have to think about taking care of the families that they have.

I’ve mentioned my mama before around here. She’s the home-birthin’, articulate and soft-spoken, intelligent and wonderful mother of 6 girls. Six vocal girls.

She raised me and my sisters to be pro-life feminists. Then, when I was pregnant with my first child, I became pro-choice.

Here’s why.

Birth is natural. Our bodies were meant to do this.
Don’t let the men of the world tell you or show you that what your body was made to do is wrong. You’re just feeding in to their chauvinism.
Men have somehow convinced women to avoid what their body naturally does. That is, carry babies and give birth. Now women are even standing up for abortion and turning away from themselves.

Ever wonder if “pro-life feminism” is an oxymoron? The way my mom taught us, it is most certainly not. She’s a religious woman, but [thankfully] never forced us into church pews any more than she forced us to agree with her beliefs. She also didn’t believe that “God punishes all women for what Eve did with the pains of childbirth.” Because frankly, natural childbirth wasn’t all that bad. (And in my experience, it’s the worst pain you’ll ever forget…quickly.) Women’s bodies were, instead, wonderfully designed to do this amazing thing: grow and provide for a baby, and then give birth.

Don’t let them take that away from you! Don’t let society tell you that it’s wrong! Don’t let them make you feel that children are an “inconvenience.”

I very much believed that, once even going so far as to write a letter to Ms. Magazine asking them to examine “Pro-Life Feminism” (they refused).

But I still agree with that. As the mother of two boys and stepmother to two girls, I believe in birth and life. But it’s just not that simple.

When I was pregnant with Little L, my older son, I left his father. After catching him with another woman (on my birthday, no less) and discovering an increasingly horrible drug problem, I called off our engagement and moved out. And once I realized that the drugs were creating violence in him, I completely cut off contact with him, even though that meant losing out on a relationship with his then-3-year-old son, who I’d cared for 4-5 days a week for two years. It was a hard choice, but my priority was keeping myself and my unborn child safe.

During my transition from engaged woman to single mama, I had a handful of awesome women to support me. When I left Little L’s father, I moved in with a dear friend, who happens to be a bit younger than my mom. Two of my sisters lived here in Virginia (the rest of my family is in the Chicago ‘burbs) and were always around. I had my natural midwife, who very holistically asked me about my mental state and how I was adjusting every time I visited her. When I started to have “cramps” from the stress of the changes, I began to see a therapist, also a woman. I rented a house and moved in with another single mother and her young daughter. I became friends with the Pastry Chef at the resort hotel where I worked, who admired my supposed “strength” and was endlessly encouraging. Every time I needed someone to talk to, there was someone there. To help, to listen. I could pick up the phone and vent to any sister, and when I didn’t, they’d call me.

I was going to be a mother. Alone, which I had not planned. But everywhere I turned, I had support.

I know it sounds contradictory: “keeping my unborn child safe”, while becoming pro-choice. It happened out of nowhere, and was a surprise to even me.

At some point, I realized that most women don’t have to be thrown against a wall during pregnancy. Most don’t have a table thrown at them and duck while covering the belly. Of course, as a feisty feminist, I knew this was not “normal” and got out before it became regular behavior.

But I also knew that most women do not have the support network that I had at hand. Most women overall, not just pregnant women in bad situations. If another woman were in my situation, pregnant, how could I ask her to carry the child? That was my choice, yes. But would my choice be different if I had no one?

I felt Little L move very early for a first pregnancy (12 weeks). I am thankful for him every day. I was thankful for him every day that I was a single mom, too. No matter how I struggled at times. But Little L and I had incredible people in our lives. People who babysat for free so I could work. People who bought us loads of clothes or sent us Whole Foods gift cards. People who thought about what we needed and gave and gave and gave, without us ever asking.

Most women—most poor families—do not have that.
How can we ask women to stay safe, protect the children they have, and leave a bad relationship without support? How can policymakers simultaneously rail against abortion while cutting funding for food stamps or TANF or proposing “welfare reform”?

I don’t think we as a society can. Look critically at your beliefs, especially if you don’t agree with me. Work hard to provide for the life around you. Work to help those with less. Especially in this economy.

If you are against abortion, ensure that the multitudes of poor women have other choices. Until there is justice and support for them, abortion must be one of those choices.

Image: Steve Rhodes on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

Comments

  1. Great article! Abortion is not for me but I would never tell another woman what she has to do.

  2. I, too became a single Mama while pregnant. I had been a full time stay at home Mom… I had a toddler and a preschooler. I was going to school part-time and had no real skills to support myself and my children. I left an abusive 6 year marriage.

    That third baby gave me the strength to get out… I knew I didn’t want to bring another child into that marriage. I never for a minute considered abortion. I was poor. I struggled. We lived in a tiny apartment with only meager financial aide from school for the first 6 months of my child’s life. I had NO help or support from my family. I do not regret one single moment. I could not fathom making the decision to take my child’s life because we had been thrown a curve ball.

    A child is alive from the moment of conception. Many states have laws that protect an unborn baby from everyone except its Mother. Why is it that if someone else causes harm to that unborn baby they can face murder charges and yet, a mother and doctor can choose to kill the child and it’s considered ok?

    Yes, our society needs to improve the support methods available to low income families, but saying that choosing abortion is acceptable if you are poor or in traumatic circumstances isn’t the answer.

    Abortion certainly isn’t a women’s right issue… a true feminist should definitely stand against killing our children (many of which are future women being terminated because of sex selection). Susan B. Anthony was one of our great “feminists”. She stood for women’s right when we couldn’t even vote. Susan B. Anthony called abortion, “Child Murder”. (Susan B. Anthony, The Revolution, July 8, 1969).

    Did you know that the most Pro-Choice (or IMO, Pro Abortion) group in the United States are MEN (white males aged 20-45, Willke “Women’s Movement” and Condon “You Say Choice”). That’s right, it’s not a feminist issue… it is about the decisions men are making for us and our unborn children.

    “Many people say, ‘I’m not pro-abortion, but I’m pro-choice.’ But how would you respond to someone who said, ‘I’m not pro-rape, I’m just pro-choice about rape.’? You’d realize that his position implies that rape doesn’t really hurt anyone, and that it’s sometimes justifiable. You’d say, ‘To be pro-choice about rape is to be pro-rape.’ In exactly the same way, to be pro-choice about abortion is to be pro-abortion.” -Randy Alcorn (Why Pro-Life? pg. 94)

    Abortion is a difficult decision to make because we know its inherently wrong. This is one of those clear-cut issues. Abortion = purposeful death of a child.

    Having an abortion doesn’t prevent you from becoming a mother, it makes you a mother of a dead child.

  3. Ditto to Jamie Ervin’s comments. I can’t tell if this article was written in complete ignorance of ADOPTION or if it was just more convenient to leave that out.

    That’s what adoption is for! A woman’s choice is whether or not to have a sexual relationship, not to kill the baby who is the result of her bad choice. Abortion IS a clear cut issue though I think many choose to deny that because it’s hard.

    I guess the writer of this article seems to think it’s either cool or popular to take such an “edgy” point-of-view and the last part was especially confusing. Since when do we encourage women to make a wrong choice because their government isn’t supporting them well enough to make the right choice? I’m not sure what that’s called-some kind of twisted Socialism? Communism? Whatever, it’s scary.

    The life of an unborn child is precious, life begins at conception, and abortion is wrong. I don’t believe it’s that simple, I KNOW it is.

  4. Actually, being raised a pro-life feminist indeed made me quite aware of adoption. That should definitely be one of many options available.
    From my own experience, it is most certainly NOT always a woman’s choice to have a sexual relationship.

    As for the reasons I mention the government: the government legislates our access to not just abortion, but care providers are even allowed to deny women birth control. They push “abstinence-only education”, which has clearly failed, as the teen pregnancy rate has risen over the past few years.
    (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/05/AR2007120501208.html)
    We are told by the pro-life community and legislators, “Have the child, have the child, have the child,” but offer no help or hope for those who cannot fathom feeding and clothing another child. Then, don’t forget, we look down our noses at those who turn to welfare for help. God forbid we help the poor. Wait–the God I’ve heard of would never forbid such a thing. Cute buzz word, there: “Socialism.” I remember when it used to be called, “Christianity” or “compassion.” Go figure. Rush Limbaugh says it enough and it’s part of the American vernacular.

    I am blessed to have my boys and would never make a different choice but them. I’m so good at birthing that I would happily do it instead of someone who could not. But my personal experience taught me this: I don’t know anyone else’s threshold. And I cannot and should not judge them for the decisions they must make.

    Perhaps those who feel so passionately about the life of the unborn could turn your considerable energy to helping out at clinics in low-income neighborhoods to ensure that these women and babies have the best possible chance for survival and have the health care that we take for granted.

    As a side note, I don’t feel this is an “edgy” stance. I’ve been thinking it through and discussing it with my [open-minded and thoughtful] family for a few years now. They are respectful of my beliefs, and I theirs.

  5. So, is it only poor women who don’t have support? Can rich women or middle class woman have the same issues as a poor woman?
    Sure rich or even middle class woman may have more $$ for support but I think what your talking about is mental support.
    Rich, middle or poor woman can all have the same issues and I think you are singling out a certain income with your views.

  6. Perhaps those who feel so passionately about the life of the unborn could turn your considerable energy to helping out at clinics in low-income neighborhoods to ensure that these women and babies have the best possible chance for survival and have the health care that we take for granted.
    ___________________________________
    A lot of people who respond to these types of blogs ARE active in the pro-life community. I know I am!

  7. This is a great post, admittedly because it speaks to my heart. I, too, held to the anti-access position of pro-life feminism. However, for several reasons, I now support legal access to abortion.

    My reasons include a religious faith that permits abortion for health and life, necessitating legalization by default. Also, I finally understood how it is that a pregnancy, as it affects a woman’s very body, health, and life, can result in the denial of the woman’s right to autonomy if the fetus is given legal standing.

    Each person must be convinced in his or her own mind. Having seen it from both sides, I pray we can keep the humanity of women in focus, and doing so will positively impact more lives than anything else.

  8. Before pro-lifers throw out adoption as the answer to all problems, perhaps reading this blog would be instructive: http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2009/03/breaking-silence-on-living-pro-lifers.html. Adoption is but one choice, and it can be a bad one.

    Kudos to you, Cate, for speaking your mind on a very controversial issue. Isn’t it amazing how having children can change us?

  9. Krystal, I am sorry if I singled out a certain socioeconomic status for this post. Being from that status when I went through the change in belief, that was the only place I felt comfortable to speak from.
    Of course women all across the spectrum are missing out on the so-needed support of other women and family members: of community.
    I also hope that by “active in the pro-life community” you mean “serve the community with my goodness” like so many of my pro-life family members do. (Crisis pregnancy centers do count!…though I don’t want to be prayed with when I take a pregnancy test!)

    Thank you so much Trish and Zahevti for your wonderful, open comments. When the critters lay down, I’ll take some time to savor that blog. The first few lines had me hooked.

  10. I used to be one of those wishy-washy types who was “personally against abortion but don’t want to impose my beliefs on others”. Then I got pregnant and saw my oldest on a first trimester ultrasound. She was a beautiful little baby with a beating heart. In that instant, my views on abortion changed. I realized that it wasn’t about a woman’s autonomy but about violence against a defenseless human life. And I needed to speak out against this grave evil in our society.

    There are 42 families waiting in this country to adopt every healthy infant given up for adoption. My heart goes out to women facing a crisis pregnancy. But they need real support, not the false hope offered by the abortion industry.

  11. My transformation was the polar opposite of yours. I was a pro-choice feminist, had a terrible pregnancy, and became pro-life.

    I agree that women need support systems and practical care. That’s why I support Crisis Pregnancy Centers and do all that I can to help women facing unplanned pregnancy.

    Instead of settling for abortion, I believe we should work to help women choose life. This is something we can all work for, outside of the polarization that usually comes with the abortion debate.

    Because you were once pro-life, I imagine that you do consider the unborn child to be just that, an unborn child. While I understand your compassion for women facing crisis pregnancies, I do not agree that abortion is the answer to the problem.

    To me abortion represents a symptom rather than a solution. We need to start looking for real solutions that honor both mother and child.

    I realize that some women choose abortion because of reasons outside of lack of resources, but often “choice” is taken away women due to the circumstances you describe. Let’s all work to ensure that no woman feels backed into a corner with abortion as the only way out.

    There is common ground, and I think we have an obligation to women facing crisis pregnancies to find it.

  12. thank you for this post. your transformation of beliefs is amazing, and I could not agree with you more. i am sure there are others out there that agree – i just wanted there to be another comment up here letting you know…

  13. I appreciate this article very much and I do not think it is edgy at all.

    I believe that those who are adamantly opposed to abortion are those who have a very religious view. A view that says that death is the end. What if you are a Buddhist? They believe in reincarnation, death is not really the end. It is a religious view being pushed on those of all faiths, and that is wrong.

    What about women who are raped, they should be forced to birth the rapists child? That is sick. What about a nine year old little girl in Brazil who was raped by her father and impregnated with twins. To save her life, the very catholic doctors and mother approved and performed an abortion and were immediately excommunicated from the church. How sick is that? I believe that there are many situations that mandate the necessity of an abortion, and therefore it must be legal for those circumstances. Let me be very clear that I am not talking about people who get serial abortions. It is not something to take lightly.

    Let me also point out that it comes down to the right of the child, but not in the way you are thinking of (previous commenters, that is, not the author) I had an abortion when I was 18. I was stupid and made a mistake in getting pregnant. I was a disaster, immature, and would have probably been abusive to the child because of my mental state an immaturity. I was honest with myself and realized that having the child would be selfish to the child. Since I do believe in reincarnation I chose the give the soul back to the universe and I believe my child has been reborn into another home that is hopefully a happy one. I chose to go through my own pain and live with the sorrow of the baby I never had, for that childs sake.

    I have a different view of life and death than most pro-lifers. Where do you get off telling me that my view is wrong, because your god said so? I don’t believe in your god so that logic doesn’t really apply to me.

    Adoption is insanely expensive and not a viable option for many people who want it in the US. Not only that, but the adoptive parents have to be ‘approved’ by the, possibly, teenage girl who couldn’t keep her pants on in the first place. They must pay for all medical fees and hospital fees associated with the birth. We are talking thousands upon thousands of dollars. And then, the birth mother has the option to back out after all the bills have been paid without having to pay a dime back. She has SIX MONTHS to change her mind, after the adoptive parents have bonded with the child. Adoption laws in America are a joke. People who throw that out as a viable argument are simply showing how uneducated they are.

  14. EVERYONE! Read the link Trish gave us before anyone else mentions “adoption”. Read the comments, too, because they are just as startling as the blog.
    In case you missed it:
    http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2009/03/breaking-silence-on-living-pro-lifers.html

    Thank you, Trish, for bringing up this incredibly viable point.

  15. Cate, I’ve read the post at shakespearssister.

    Kitty, it matters not what someone’s view of the afterlife is. We don’t allow somone to kill their 3 year old because they believe in reincarnation. We might hold them less criminally accountable if their mental health is proved to be flawed, but we do not excuse their crime.

    Likewise, someone’s view on the nature of death do not excuse taking the life of a preborn child. You may believe that the child’s sould is released back to the universe, but it doesn’t change the fact that a life has been taken. Society does not recognize a persons beliefs regarding the afterlife as a valid defense for killing.

    As for rape, I agree that much support should be given to the woman who has endured such trama. However, I disagree that we should allow further trama to occur in the form of abortion. Again, let’s look to how society deals with such situations post birth.

    Could a rape victim kill the born child of a rapist? Of course not. A child conceived in rape is no less a child than one conceived in a loving act.

    The bottom line is that we must consistantly apply ethics. We live in a society that says it is wrong to kill. If we consistantly apply this ethic, abortion can not be just within our society.

    Of course, abortion violates other consistantly held ethics as well, but before we get to that we must establish that it most certainly takes a human life and doing such is not something that is within our society’s ethics.

  16. Sorry for the typos in my last post. I’m juggling a baby while typing.

  17. I would like to add to my comment. I have had no experience that changed my views. Still, as these exchanges show, one’s perspective can develop through what life brings our way.

    As a woman who works with a local abortion-alternatives organization (a non-political group, NOT affiliated with traditional “crisis pregnancy centers”), I believe that choice strengthens life. It is in trusting women, not restrictive and punitive laws, where lives can be saved.

  18. For every woman who became pro-life while pregnant, there’s one like me who was pro-choice before, and whose belief in the importance of a woman’s autonomy over her own body was affirmed both during pregnancy and after giving birth to a very much wanted child.

  19. I really appreciate how civil everyone is keeping this. There was much more anger on my circumcision posts. Go figure.

    Thank you Heather and Sadez for your succinct and supportive words. Zahevti, I am so impressed with your choice of work. All choices must be available to women, and I commend you.

    Lauren, though we clearly disagree, I appreciate your perspective. It’s interesting to see the complete polar opposite switch.

    I’ve been thinking since yesterday about Jamie’s comment. (Shoveling compost, thinking of it. Taking the kids for a walk, thinking about it. Breastfeeding, thinking of it.) Jamie, you clearly went through a lot and struggled a lot. I’m proud for you for standing up in what must have been a terribly hard situation. Good for you for keeping those kids and yourself safe. We both cherished those babies we were carrying and chose them over the “easy” path.

    We obviously don’t agree and won’t on this topic. But your beliefs in the face of a hard situation, and my change in beliefs in the face of a hard situation has made me muse on our individual growth through tough times. It is so interesting to me how we came out of (vastly different) similar situations with completely different outlooks.
    I cannot imagine what you went through. Thank you for sharing a very personal story.

  20. Thanks to those who mentioned that adoption is not an easy alternative to abortion. I think asking women to bear a child and give it away is about as cruel as anything you could ask. I am an adoptive mother and know first-hand the pain and distress placing a child can cause a mother. Some women do indeed choose adoption, but many, many do not. They are forced to give away their babies because either they had no access to birth control (and may or may not have chosen sex), no access to abortion, or because they wanted to parent their babies, but were not given the kind of support Cate describes here and saw no way to keep the baby. Sadly, for many, many women whose children are placed in adoption, it is a toxic combination of many of these factors that lead them to the greatest loss a mother can experience–the loss of her child.

    Blithely suggesting that every woman facing a crisis pregnancy should simply have the baby and place it for adoption is heartless and cold, and does not take value mothers.

    let’s keep adoption a CHOICE by keeping birth control and abortion easily and non-judgmentally available.

  21. I read an article a couple of days ago about how adoption is becoming non-existant. I think it said there are roughly 6000 infants put up for adoption/year. Compare that with the 4000 children aborted a day, and you really begin to get a picture of the situation.

    I support adoption when it is what the pregnant woman really wants. By that, I mean that she DOES NOT want to parent regardless of her financial or marital situation. I really have a hard time supporting adoption if the mother is only giving her child up because she feels like she can’t afford to raise him.

    I think we should do everything in our power to keep children with their birth parents. Adoption is a wonderful, pro-life option if someone just flat out does not want to parent, but it can easily lead to the type of things we saw over at the blog linked earlier.

    I don’t know if I’m explaining thigns well, but I’ll give an example from pop-culture to try to help.

    I was against Madona’s first adoption because the father was alive and in the picture. To me, it would have been better in that situation to simply give the father the resources to raise the child. I know I don’t know the whole story. Perhaps he didn’t want to raise the child and was thankful for the adoption, but to me our first goal should be to help people parent.

    All of that said, I think that adoption is much more favorable than abortion. The child is given the chance of life. We need to better support birth mothers, as well as equip them to parent if they want to, but we can not focus so much on the flaws of adoption that we turn to abortion as a solution.

  22. Lauren said: “but to me our first goal should be to help people parent.”

    I don’t know about the father’s situation that you mention (I have heard about her adoption), but maybe some people don’t want to parent. Maybe some people never intended to get pregnant. And, my God, women are raped and get pregnant! So she should ruin her life and sacrifice her body because someone violently penetrated her? That is NOT Christian compassion. That’s a sickness to force that on someone.

    Infanticide has always been a part of mammalian existence. It’s not a pleasant or positive side of human existence, but it’s real, nonetheless. Frankly, I’d rather see it happen to a non-viable fetus than to a child. I know it’s hard to look at the underbelly of human existence for what it is. Everyone wants to feel wanted and we want children to feel wanted. Not all of them are.

    I can see taking issue with late second trimester abortions and anything beyond. But an 11 week abortion? Not even close to viable.

    Placing fetal rights above the woman’s rights harms everyone. Check out the National Advocates for Pregnant Women’s web site… http://www.advocatesforpregnantwomen.org/ I’ve found it very informative.

  23. Sara. If you openly support infanticide there is really no point in discussing the issue further with you.

    Most people do not simply shrug their shoulders and accept as fact that people will kill their own children. Most people view the act as abhorant. The fact that you rationalize rampant abortion with historic infanticide does nothing to help your cause.

  24. What makes viability hands off for abortion?

  25. To all pro-choice commenters: Obviously, a woman who is raped or involved in incest is a different situation. I’m surprised you even bring it up as if anyone would not have compassion for those women. If abortion were made illegal, I think there should be a medical release clause for such situations IF the mother should choose that.

    But, we all know that we’re not talking about those women-we’re talking about the ones who choose to have sexual relationships without thinking of the consequences and then don’t want to be ACCOUNTABLE for their choices. If there is anything that will ruin a society, it’s a lack of understanding of CHOICE AND ACCOUNTABILITY.

    Of course, going through pregnancy and labor is a huge sacrifice and changes your life. And of course giving up a baby for adoption can be an extremely difficult thing to do that will cause some or much pain. But that is what it means to be accountable for your choices!

    Killing someone else so you don’t have to suffer the consequences of your bad decisions is simply wrong-I think we all know that.

    And Sara, I find it interesting that you put a time limit on abortion. Why are pro-life supporters criticized for imposing their beliefs on people when that is exactly what happens when anyone makes a law about WHEN a woman can get an abortion?

    If you say 12 weeks, what about the woman who wants an abortion at 13 weeks? Is that really fair? And that can go on and on until birth. If you’re going to allow abortion, it has to be all the way and then suddenly we’re allowing women to kill their newborns and ANY law against murder have no relevance! If you don’t believe any woman would go that far, think again.

  26. Actually, Sarah Palin does not believe abortion should even be allowed for women who are raped or part of incest. The story about the 9 year old Brazilian girl who got pregnant with twins by her own father is a true one. If you make it illegal period, then those women/girls have no recourse.

    But then again, I am also a proponent of a three strikes rule for women who have abortions. I am sure this will get me in trouble, and I do believe in pro-choice, but I believe that if a woman has three abortions then she should lose the right to have children. Whether that be a permanent resolution or temporary I really don’t know and haven’t made up my mind about. But, if someone is so irresponsible that they get pregnant three times and have three abortions they should not have the ability to get pregnant again.

  27. Yes, Lauren. Pro-infanticide here. Jeez.

    I guess that wasn’t clear. It is abhorrent. It is awful. I would rather see it happen when a woman realizes she’s pregnant than later.

    Anna, I totally disagree with your slippery slope argument that if this, then this and this, then this and OMG, dead infants! To me, it’s just not that black and white. I know people generally enjoying thinking of things in terms of black/white, right/wrong, us/them, etc. because it helps us have a sense of order to compartmentalize and polarize things.

    It was already mentioned in this thread that a fetus that results from rape or incest deserves love like any other fetus.

    I was really impressed with this author’s candor and sensitivity. I, too, was pro-life growing up and into my college years. Then I was raped. If I had gotten pregnant, there is no way I could have carried that pregnancy to term.

    The author’s unique angle is the only reason I commented. I never reply to abortion posts. I’m not a pro-choice spokesperson… rather, I just quietly vote for the right to choose.

    I’d never terminate a pregnancy unless I were raped again. I was stunned when a co-worker told me about his wife’s 20 week pregnancy and that they were waiting for the AFP results to see if they needed to “do something” about the pregnancy. I was horrified. Selective termination, mid-to-late second trimester abortions and beyond, abortion performed based on diagnostic prenatal tests of questionable accuracy… all icky to me.

    With the exception of rape, incest, valid medical concerns for mother or child, nothing about abortion makes me jump for joy. And yet, I can’t put myself in the place to make a decision like that for someone else.

  28. I’ll preface my comment by clearly stating my personal beliefs. I believe that abortion is morally wrong and that it is willfully killing a child. However, I also believe that legal abortion should be available so long as that’s what the majority of the people want — this is a democracy, after all.

    There are many things that are legal that I wish were not, and thinks that are illegal that I wish were legal. Changing laws (for moral or human rights or whatever kinds of reasons) needs to be at the will of a people who have, as a society, come to a different view than they had in the past, and not enforced “top down”, as it were.

    Anyway. My comment about the article is simply this. If your epiphany that abortion can be okay was in reference to the specific situation of a pregnant woman in hard times… Then why not apply the same logic to born children?

    A mom with young children leaves her abusive husband, faces abject poverty and no support and all the same things you describe. Her children are suffering and she is not able to be a good mother to them, perhaps even descends into abuse herself.

    So, by the argument of the article, it’s okay for her to kill them (or get a doctor to euthanize them) because it’s just not a good time for her to raise children.

    Or, by the argument of one of the comments, it’s in fact BETTER for the kids to be killed, rather than have to face this terrible life.

    Of course, if you believe in the “viable” distinction, then these arguments are pointless to you. Abortion must therefore always be morally acceptable whatever the mother’s situation or reasons because the fetus isn’t a ‘real person’ yet anyway. That’s your right to have that opinion, of course.

    If, however, you believe that the fetus is something valid on its own, then the logic of terminating a pregnancy because the mother is having a hard time must be extended to born children as well.

    Please note that this comment is not intending to state that there are no other valid reasons for abortion. I do believe that there are. I’m just pointing out what I perceive to be a logical fallacy in this particular argument.

  29. Sara, you are still supporting it even though you think it is awful. People throughout history have killed their wives as well, but we certainly don’t support current stonings in light of historical horrors.

    I’m sorry to hear of your rape. I hope that you have had people around you to help you heal. That said, I can not support the destruction of any human life, even if that life came into being in a violent manner. The issue of competeing rights still exists after a woman is raped. Though the woman who was raped arguably sacrifices more than the average woman when she continues a pregnancy, the child’s life is of the same worth as any other child.

    If we accept rape as a valid indication for abortion, we effectively say that the children conceived of rape are have less intrensic value than those not conceived of rape. To hold a consistent pro-life stance, we must support all life.

    Now, I will make an aside to say that being against abortion in all cases but rape and incest is a pro-life stance. Again, I don’t think it is completley solid from an ethical and logical point of view, but it does recognize the basic tennants of pro-life thought. I would be thrilled to see abortions reduced to the point where only the victims of sexual crimes aborted.

    Heathet, the problem with our current law regarding abortion is that it was not decided by the rule of the people, but rather by judicial legislation. On top of this, it was decided based on admitted lies on the part of NARAL, and artificial public opinion surveys.

    Dr. Bernard Nathanson was a co-founder of NARAL and admits that they blatantly lied to the American people in order to secure legalized abortion.

    Furthermore, our laws are not based on the idea of majority rules. Our laws are designed to protect the minority from the majority. In this case, the minorities are clearly being exploited. And on top of all of this, the publics acceptance of abortion is more in line with pro-life thought than pro-choice.

  30. Please stop arguing about live children. This is absolutely not what my blog is about, and if you think it is, please find somewhere else to argue.
    Like I said before, and I will say again: I don’t know anyone else’s threshold, and it is not my place to judge what anyone else can handle. Actually (especially if you are religious) it is no one’s place to judge. Ever.
    Little L was never a “crisis pregnancy”, because I always had support. Many women do not ever have that support. Whether pregnant or not, whether in a bad situation or not. That’s life. I’ve had it better than most, admittedly.
    But please don’t question the “validity” of my growth. And I say growth because I know who I was, where I’ve been, and who I am now. And all roads point to being more open-minded about others’ lives than being judgmental.
    My argument is valid in the pure and simple fact that it is *my* story. It is not your story. When it is, I would wholeheartedly agree to reading it.
    Yes, I put myself out here to possibly be criticized, but my point–my life experiences–they are as valid as anyone else’s. I lived them. I grew. I changed. And that is my story, like it or not.

  31. Cate, you should be proud of yourself for sharing your story. Even though you had an amazing support network, it must have been an incredibly difficult time for you. You exercised you Choice and made the choice that was best for you. For another woman in a similar situation, but without the kind of support you had, continuing to harbour the fetus likely would not be the best choice.

    The woman who wrote the adoption blog Cate linked to made a wonderful point. “No one makes a choice in a vacuum.”

    A young pregnant woman, without any support network, health care, etc, enters into a strange and terrible land. In the best of circumstances, pregnancy is an emotional battlefield. An unintended pregnancy is even worse.

    If the woman has no one to turn to, consider why. Her family? If she can’t trust them for support, likely it is because they are vehemently anti-unwed-pregnancy. That only adds to the pregnant woman’s emotional burden. She’s “soiled”, “impure”, going against the very moral core of her family. The sperm donor? Could be abusive, or just shiftless and unwilling to accept responsibility. If it’s an abusive or unhealthy relationship, becoming mother to the man’s child would link the woman to him forever. There are multitudes of scenarios where that would Not Be A Good Thing. And no woman should ever be forced to marry a man just because he’s got a bit of DNA in her blastocyst.

    Not only is an unwanted pregnancy an emotional burden, but going to term with such a pregnancy has significant social costs. College? Bye-bye. Employment? Better not go looking for a job once you’re “showing”. A relationship? Yeah, right! Life, as she knew it, is over. (Not to say that the next stage — motherhood — doesn’t have it’s own joys, but an unintended pregnancy puts a pretty damn abrupt end to a young woman’s dreams and plans. That’s lot to process…)

    Even for a woman who is married or with a family already, the emotional toll is significant and should not be discounted. And the social costs, perhaps having to turn away from her career, or becoming pregnant years after she was “done”, or having children closer together in age than she feels she can deal with, or having more children than the family can afford.

    The economic effects of single motherhood are also well-documented. Given our country’s deplorable lack of support for families, single motherhood has proven to be the single most effective path to poverty for women. And even for two-parent families, the lack of universal maternity leave means the family will have to face a decrease in income if the mother works at the time she becomes pregnant. For a family teetering on the edge of bankruptcy or foreclosure, that could be the last straw that costs them their home.

    Those moments that are full of joy for wanted pregnancies — the stick turning blue, the swelling tummy, the first movements — are simply terrible reminders to a woman who does not want to be pregnant. She’s sick, exhausted, emotionally battered, and every change just reminds her of this thing that’s taking over her body and her life. Loathing for this cluster of cells that have such power over her can easily morph into self-loathing as well.

    What’s the right answer? Keeping the child that is born as a result of an unwanted pregnancy has clear costs. Adoption has brutal emotional effects, and exposes the woman to the physical risk of carrying a baby to term. Abortion, too, has emotional fall-out, and physical risks. That’s clear.

    No woman skips blithely into the abortion clinic, thinking to herself, “Gosh! Just think how much I’ve saved on birth control pills. Whee!!” It’s one of the single most difficult decisions any woman has to face, and certainly is not a decision taken lightly nor achieved without buckets of tears being shed.

    I’ll admit. I’m not Christian (though I was raised that way, and think Jesus had a lot of brilliant ideas). I’m also not anti-sex. I think it’s a wonderful, wonderful thing, and the single strongest natural drive in the human animal. From puberty, our bodies are evolutionarily wired to seek a mate and get that DNA into the gene pool. Facts of life, there.

    With women waiting until they’ve finished college and started a career to begin a family — rightly so, I believe! — the whole no-sex-before-marriage mantra is outdated, unrealistic, and unnecessary. Going back to the whole topic of Choice, I believe woman should have the wisdom to choose good partners and to enter into a sexual relationship fully self-aware, with a partner who fully respects them, and fully prepared with effective contraception.

    Sadly, life doesn’t always work out that way, hence the topic at hand. Women are pressured and forced into sex with appalling frequency. Even if it’s not a scenario of forced relations, emotionally abusive partners can manipulate a woman into sex. Would that we were all strong and bold and self-assured, but the reality is that sometimes women make lousy choices in partners; sometimes women get drunk; sometimes we’re emotionally needy; sometimes we were raised in authoritarian households and are very susceptible to a manipulative man; sometimes we’ll do anything to keep our man; sometimes we’re married to a man who wants us to become pregnant, whether we want to or not; sometimes we’re poorly educated about our own bodies and the options to prevent pregnancy (thanks to abstinence-only education); sometimes we do everything right, and the pregnancy still happens.

    I don’t believe those mistakes should force a woman to become a mother if she doesn’t want to.

    I believe that every girl should be issued a copy of “Our Bodies, Ourselves” at age 12. I believe that access to affordable, effective contraception should be the status quo. (Nothing. NOTHING infuriates me more than pro-life advocates who are anti-birth control. Just come out and say you’re anti-sex, get it over with, and get out of the discussion.)

    Sadly, that’s not the case. Condoms? Effective, but they do require the dude’s cooperation and you’ve got to have them on hand when the moment strikes. The birth control pill? Great, but you’ve got to have transportation to the doctor’s office or the planned parenthood clinic, you’ve got to have the money to pay for the doctor’s visit, and you’ve got to have the money for the monthly prescription. Without insurance, that financial burden puts the Pill out of reach of many working-class women.

    I suspect the rise in the abortion rate of late has a lot to do with working families losing health insurance and thus, access to birth control pills. It’s a damn shame.

    No woman wants to turn up pregnant when she’s not ready. (Hence the “unplanned” part of the term.) And no woman should have to.

    Want to stop abortion? Donate to Planned Parenthood and other organizations that make free and affordable contraception options available to women of any socio-economic status. Post an ad on Craiglist offering to provide transportation to non-pregnant women who have no way to get to a medical provider to get birth control. Boycott pharmacies that allow their pharmacists to refuse to fill birth control or emergency contraception prescriptions. Walk into your local Planned Parenthood, grab a big handful of the free condoms filling fishbowls scattered around the lobby, and start giving them out to each and every fertile person you meet. You’ll make new friends, and every condom you share could be an abortion prevented*. Think about that. Really think about it. Please.

    ~k.

  32. Thank you, Cate.

    Back to the point of your post, it is easy to sit back and condemn others decisions about their lives when a person is sitting in privilege… minimal economic woes, never having faced abuse, never having been violated, racially privileged, etc. You acknowledge that your support system carried you through your experience. Cultural change is needed. Working to end institutionalized racism, sexism and poverty instead of just brushing it away and telling people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps is a start.

    Regarding the commenters above, it makes me really sad to hear someone actually offer a “Sorry about your rape, hope you had help in healing and OH YEAH, I DON’T CARE BECAUSE ALL I SEE IS THAT EMBRYO THAT YOU WOULD HAVE ABORTED IF YOU HAD BEEN PREGNANT BY YOUR ATTACKER.” It’s an ugly side of humanity to ignore or patronize the woman that surrounds the embryo or fetus and I’m now aware of why I don’t comment on abortion threads.

    Thanks for making my cry and feel violated again, Lauren.

    Cate, you’re fabulous. I made a mistake opening up here. I’ll be back for your other posts. =) Peace.

  33. Sara, you completely misread my words. I did not say what you are accusing me of saying.

    You read that based on your own bias. I said that I am truly sorry for your rape. I am. I said that I *also* care about any child conceived in rape. Caring for the child does not make me care about the woman any less. I’m sorry that that is what you took my words to mean, but that was certainly not my intent.

    Let me make it perfectly clear, I see far more to the situation than just the child. I am sorry that I didn’t make that more clear, it was not my intent to cause you pain.l

    I have always said that we should support women who have been raped. I also believe we should support children conceived of rape. That does not mean that I don’t care about the woman, nor does it mean that I want to cause additional violation of the woman. You are projecting opinions upon me that I do not hold.

  34. Cate, first of all unborn children are live children.

    I’m not sure if your addressing me or Heather with this comment, but I’m going to respond in case you were addressing me.

    Yes, this is your story. However it is not the end of your story. You are not firmly cemented at that place in time until the end of eternity. We are trying to show you the flaws in your argument so that you can continue to grow. Isn’t that the point of making a case for anything? We believe we have looked at things from all the angles, but often someone else comes in and shows us a different side to the story.

    I believe you came to a completely flawed and harmful conclusion. Because there are real world implications of holding the view that abortion is acceptable, I also feel that it is important to clear up the flawed claims that often lead to a person supporting choice.

    I know I am not always successful. I hurt someone earlier in this thread because I did not make it clear that I care about the woman equally as the child. I do. I just do not believe that this gives the woman the right to kill. I’m sorry that I am using direct language, but for too long the debate has been hidden with euphenism.

    If we are going to talk about something as serious as taking the life of another human being, we must discuss the issue using clear language.

  35. Kristen, women deserve better than abortion. All of the situtaions you mention assume that women should just accept that they will have to leave college or work or whatever. Instead of accepting this fate and dutifully abortion, women should rise up and say that they will not be forced to choose between college and a child or work and a child or home and a child.

    Crisis Pregnancy Centers help women in these situations, but there is still much work to do. Again, this is real common ground. Feminists for Life work to try to solve these real world problems.

  36. Lauren, I think the point you are missing between the rape victim and the child conceived through rape is that no matter how much support the woman may receive, forcing her to carry it to full term is beyond emotionally traumatic to put it in an understated term.

    You may care about the woman, but by saying she still should carry it to full term *is* caring about the child more than the woman. You may not want to believe that about yourself, but your statements show that. I believe Kristin read your words correctly, although it may not be what you want to hear.

    I disagree that a fetus up to 12 weeks is a live child. And perhaps that is where the difference lies. Yes, I do have children.

    In order to prevent abortion, what needs to be exterminated is rape, incest, teenage sex, and all sex except for procreation. Those things are not going to happen. Even if you outlaw abortion, you will simply have women going to back alleys and having them with coathangers, or worse. By keeping it legal, you keep it safe. Or safer anyway. Are you seriously saying the 9 year old girl should have kept her twins from her incestuous father even though it would have killed her? Seriously think about that situation. You are talking about controlling the entire human race based completely on *your* beliefs alone. That is controlling and wrong. There are many abhorrent things that happen in this world, things even worse than abortion, that we still do not have the right to stop because it may not be ok in our culture but it is ok in theirs. That is called freedom. Freedom does not always refer to pleasant things, but also to ugly things.

    Since you can’t keep people from having sex, then pharmacists should not have the ability to refuse birth control.

  37. Kitty, no, caring about the child’s life while supporting the woman is caring about them equally. Allowing someone to kill because they are the victim of a crime is anything but just. It does not erase the horror of the crime against them, and instead creates another victim.

    The case of the young brazillian girl is not as it has been reported. The mother was lied to regarding the health of her child, the young girl had no say. The only good that came of the situation was that the raping stepfather was brought to justice.

    Had abortion been as easily accessable as in the US, the raping step-father could have covered his crime by taking the girl for an abortion. It has happened several times within the US and those girls returned home to be raped again.

    Mandatory reporting laws would protect girls from this horror, but it has been shown again and again that abortion clinics do not follow mandatory reporting laws.

    The situation was tragic all around. Any time a woman’s life is in danger, everything should be done to perserve the most life. If this means that the unborn child must be removed in order to save the mother’s life, it is acceptable because the goal was to save a life, not take it. During an elective abortion, the goal is not to perserve the most life, but rather to specifically destory life.

    The prevelance of abortion has sky rocketed since legalization. Again, I refer you to Bernard Nathanson who openly admits that the abortion numbers he fed the American public were completely fradulant. The actual numbers of abortion deaths were actually less in the year prior to Roe than the year after Roe. It is a myth that legalizing abortion made it safer.

    Legalizing abortion simply made it more wide spread. If we delegalize abortion, while simultaneously increasing the support network for women fa cing crisis pregnancies, there is no reason that the numbers of abortions would not be drastically cut.

    Besides, we do not legalize theft because some people steal. We do not leaglize murder because some people kill. Arguing that abortion should be legal because some people will do it any ways makes about as much sense.

    Outlawing abortion is not “controlling the human race” any more than outlawing theft or murder. We “impose our morals” on society through our laws all the time. There is no difference. The only reason you make such a claim is because Dr. Nathanson was a very clever man and realized that he could easily frame the debate in terms of Rational People Vs. The Catholic Church and make abortion a Moral Issue instead of the ethical issue it really is.

    Would you argue that people should have the freedom to kill and steal? Should people have absolute freedom to do whatever they feel like, others be damned? If not, you are imposing your morals on others. To pretend this is not the case is ridiculous. Abortion is no more or less an ethical issue than these, yet people act as though to question it’s merits is somehow forcing a religious dogma.

    Science is very clear that amphimixis marks the beginning of a unique human life. Abortion kills this unique human life. There is no question about this fact. Society has agreed that we can place limits on human behavior that is harmful. Why is abortion above this measure?

  38. I personally don’t believe there is such thing as a “pro-life” feminist. Removing autonomy from women, especially in the one capacity that is unique to women, is totally un-feminist. Feminism requires equality, and women will never be equal if we are forced to endure unwanted pregnancies based on someone else’s political agenda. Women are raped. Women are required (in many states) to have sex with their husbands, as a refusal to engage in marital acts is grounds for divorce. There are many, many reasons women become pregnant and need abortions – and that decision belongs solely to her. Removing the “choice” for whether or not a woman will use her own uterus is the most anti-feminist thing I can think of.

    And – I hate abortion. I chose against one when I had my very unplanned pregnancy, and now I have a child that I love more than anything in the world (and went on to have another.) I’m more against abortion now that I ever was before. I don’t WANT any woman to choose abortion and when a friend told me she was having an abortion, I tried very much to gently talk her out of it. I even said I’d take the baby. She found out she had already miscarried when she went to the abortion appointment, but I was so relieved that she didn’t have to be the one to take that life.

    However, to have any hope for equality, we cannot allow our bodies to be run by someone else. Abortion is ugly, dirty, and depressing, in my opinion. But I wouldn’t want someone else’s opinions running my life, especially when it comes to something as huge as having a child, so I won’t try to run someone else’s.

  39. Sweden has the *EXACT SAME* percentage of pregnancies end in abortion as the U.S. (1 in 4) even though women there have ready access to contraception at low/no cost and an extensive social welfare system.

    The solution to the abortion problem does not lie in contraception as 50% of all unplanned pregnancies already are the result of contraceptive failure. It also does not lie in providing government assistance to needy families (though I do support that). Instead, it lies in changing hearts and minds such that killing an unborn child becomes as unacceptable as killing any other human being.

  40. Hello TheFeministBreeder,

    I understand what you are saying, and agree with it, in spirit. However, may I say that, personally, I am not willing to cede the term “pro-life.”

    Like you, I support abortion access, while my personal convictions, volunteer time, and heart all lead me to encourage a choice that both the woman and child can live with, where possible.

    From what you write, and speaking for myself, we are as pro-life, if not more so, than any reliance upon a creed or the holding of a mere legal position, as some would pride themselves.

    Just MHO. :-)

    It has been wonderful to happen upon Cate’s site and to learn that others have also reconciled these issues. Thank you, Cate, for sharing.

  41. TheFeministBreeder.

    You allow other peoples opinions to run your life in any nubmer of ways. You can’t kill, steal, or even prostitute your body.

    Pro-lifers aer simply saying you can not kill someone just because they have this misfortune in residing within your body. It is no more or less a moral judgemenent than telling someone they can not kill their 3 year old.

    Society sets guidelines all of the time. Only in abortion do people scream that we can not tell them what to do. It is absurd. Again, I refer you to Bernard Nathanson who expertly framed the debate to reject all logic.

    I could care less what a woman does with her uterus as long as she doesn’t kill another human being. This has nothing to do with wanting to control women and everything to do with protecting innocent human beings who are killed at a rate of 4000/day by their own mothers.

    I’m sorry, I take great offense to someone saying they are “pro-life” because they support the right of a woman to kill her child. That is not pro-life. You don’t excuse someone killing their 3 year old for the reasons you listed supporting abortion. If you do, I would hope you wouldn’t have the audacity to claim that to be a pro-life position.

  42. Hello Lauren,

    You may be responding to my view above, that support for legal access to abortion is consistent with one’s pro-life convictions. No offense is intended, but I must speak to the reality that I see.

    It is absolutely pro-life to help women avoid abortion. One’s stance on the letter of the law, or a woman’s right to ultimately decide, does not matter. Only that he or she is engaged in saving lives. That is why I will not cede the term “pro-life” to those who may feel justified only by holding mere beliefs against legal abortion.

    Also, not all groups in society oppose abortion in every circumstance, as does the organized anti-abortion movement. I am not referring to liberal beliefs, but even among more conservative or traditional views. We find differences based on matters of health, life, or – more to your concern about killing – it may be held that the status of the unborn depends upon the point of gestation.

    Even activist friends who have experienced miscarriage or later-term stillbirth do not place these on the same level as the deaths of their born children. The inconsistency does not make these individuals less pro-life, but all politics aside this is quite revealing.

    Lauren, I understand where you are coming from, honestly I do. Please also understand that we are not advocating child killing, but acknowledging that this issue is not all black and white.

  43. Zahevti

    It really is “that simple.” Mothers face horrific situations all the time. We do not allow these mothers to kill their toddlers because of their hard situations.

    Stating this fact is not anti-woman, it’s simply acknowledging that the child has a right to life despite the circumstances surrounding her.

    Likewise, abortion should not be considered a solution to a troubled situation. Support, housing, medical care, material care, education, counseling,and restraining orders are solutions to crisis pregnancies. Abortion is not.

    If you would not support a woman killing her toddler because of her hardships, you can not support a woman killing her unborn child.

    It really is that black and white. These are not theoretical chidren or potential children. They are living, human children who are killed. 4000 a day.

    Yes, women face challanges. The answer is to support the woman, not to trot out abortion as the solution.

    What is more pro-woman: Helping a woman out of her horrific situation while helping her choose life, or aborting the woman’s child and sending her back to the horrific situation? Abortion does not solve the root problem, it just creates another victim.

  44. Hello Lauren:

    You continue to compare this to killing born, independent children, when I have tried to explain in a simple way how this is a false comparison. We disagree, and I am happy to respect your right to do so.

    It would also seem that you have not thoroughy read what others have written here.

    I volunteer with a highly successful abortion alternatives organization and social network for families in need. You are not telling me a thing about how to help women, as I see these families, and know their need as well as you do.

    With all due respect, your rhetoric, and the superior attitude based on mere legal position, is unnecessary and unproductive.

    I encourage you to continue any work you are doing, hands on, to help women avoid abortion. I will continue do the same, even as I respect the right of women to make another choice, should they decline our services.

  45. Why the concern to help women avoid abortion if abortion is not similar to killing?

  46. Zahevti, killing an unborn child is the exact same thing as killing a born child. The child is equally human, and equally dead. This isn’t a matter where reasonable people can disagree. This is biological fact. When abortion was legalized, NARAL spread the lie that unborn children were simply a bundle of cells. We now know better.

    I am reading what people are writing, but they are basing their arguments on false premises. I am attempting to get beyond rhetoric to the actual substance of the matter.

    I am glad you work to prevent abortions, but your support of abortion is not something I can support or respect.

    Once again, let’s trot out the toddler. Would you respect the opinion that it is an acceptable choice to kill a toddler? Even if the person who held this view was working to keep people from killing toddlers, you would still disagree with their support of the choice to kill toddlers.

    I have debated the merits of abortion for a long time and with a lot of people. I have never once had anyone come even remotely close to explaining why an unborn child, though human, could be killed. You’re welcome to try, but thus far you have offered nothing to support this view.

    I do not believe I am superior to anyone else. I believe that the logic and reason underpinning pro-life thought is superior to the rhetoric underpinning pro-choice thought.

    Again, I ask you to research Bernard Nathanson. SO much of what people “know” about abortion are really lies manufactured by him while he was in charge of NARAL.

  47. Student, hello. The concern for me is that a life has begun, and that is not a small matter. Abortion is permissible for reasons indicated previously. However, this does not mean the subject is treated lightly.

    Lauren, the unborn live only because of the woman, relying on the woman’s body, health, and her very life. This unique relationship of fetus to the woman is why your local authorities do not account for two, but only the woman – until that baby is actually born.

    Different religions (not necessarily liberal) also maintain similar views, that the unborn are not separate or fully protected persons until birth.

    As I mentioned before, even pro-lifers I have known tend regard their loss of unborn children differently from the lives or untimely deaths of their born children. Not because they do not grieve, but there is an understanding that it is different.

    None of this is to dehumanize the unborn. It is only to say that there are valid opinions recognizing the unborn as subordinate to the woman, permitting abortion, or at the least holding that it is not a crime. Once a child is born, or to use your toddler example, of course we agree that their lives are protected as *independent* persons.

    I am not expecting you to accept this, it is simply my answer. And, by the way, I have been audience to, and personally met, Dr. Nathanson while on the right-to-life circuit. Knowing his story does not change a blessed thing, as my views did not develop according to what you wrote in your post. I have not been nor am I now a NARAL gal. Sorry.

  48. If life has begun for the prenatal, is the abortion question based on balancing the rights of the mother to the rights of the prenatal?

  49. Zahevti, all children are reliant upon their parents for survival. We have specific laws that protect children from neglect at the expense of their parents rights.

    For example, my right to privacy is less than my son’s right to not be neglected. I can not put him out in the backyard and lock the door. I no longer have autonomy, until an acceptable alternative is discovered.

    During pregnancy, the mother’s body ensures that the child is not neglected. Since birth is the only suitable alternative to transfering this responsibility, the woman has an obligation to provide for the child during the prenatal period.

    All children and parents have rights in competition with each other. We, as a society, have decided that the child’s right to not be neglected overrides various rights of the parents. This should be consistently applied to the maternal child relationship during pregnancy.

  50. Should neglect laws discriminate the prenatal from the born?

  51. It is impossible to reconcile that a financial basis is used to justify the taking of a life. I joined feminists for life because yes, women deserve better.

    I used to not care to make a judgement on this. I think if they show us in biology class information such as
    http://www.abortionfacts.com/literature/literature_9438MS.asp
    there will be more people making an informed decision instead of letting the media depict one view or the other as extremist verging on terrorist.

    I don’t think it is possible for a woman in touch with her body and thought, to cope with the knowledge that they took a life. That should also be considered. Healing is hard.

    More importantly, support every woman you know to learn and live up to their potential.

  52. student says:

    Does abortion provide women with potential?

  53. Outlawing abortion does not stop it, History has shown that it’s dangerous to ban abortion, then it will be done in the back alleys where there is no protection for women in regards to sanitation and unscrupulous doctors. A woman should have a choice. Always.

    While I believe every woman should have a personal belief about whether one believes in abortion for ONESELF, to infringe upon other woman’s right to choose because it infringes upon your own personal belief is overstepping. An abortion is a hard choice to make and for someone who’s not in that person’s shoes to judge and be self rightous isn’t really supporting, it’s cramming your personal belief down someone’s throat probably at their most vulnerable time.

    Some have commented that life begins at conception. Actually no one really knows when life beings. Scientists are still trying to figure that one out. Maybe to you, life begins at conception, but to someone else, it starts at birth. To someone else, it begins at the first heartbeat, or maybe an ultrasound… again it’s all out personal belief, but that’s not a basis to ban abortion because YOU believe life starts at conception.

    What would be worse is to not give a woman the option, So she’s forced to have a child that she doesn’t want or doesn’t have resource to have for one reason or another, and then the child will be in a home where he or she is not wanted or even worse resented. So what then, will be your answer?

  54. This is one of the least-convincing, trite and stupidest pro-“choice” articles I have ever read. Nice try. “Choice” is a euphemism. We don’t have the right to “choose” to kill our own children.

  55. I support life, and that is why I am pro-choice. The woman carrying the fetus is a life, she is alive. She feels, breaths, thinks, dreams, plans, has family, most like has other children already born to care for, has a future, has a past. Her life is valuable, her life is precious, her life is worth protecting.

    I am a mother of 3, have seen the beating heart on a monitor, have felt the kicks and thumps, have caught my newborn baby in my hands. And I am pro-choice. Because I honor life.

    I think “pro-life feminist” is an oxymoron of epic proportions. But then again I don’t believe there are really “pro-life” people, just anti-choice, anti-women, and pro-pregnancy-as-a-punishment-for-sex-you-dirty-slut-should-have-kept-your-legs-closed-now-shut-up-and-do-what-the-men-tell-you-to But pro-life? Nope, rarely do they even acknowledge the life right in front of them if said life has a vagina and a voice.

  56. I am pro-choice, but I am not pro-abortion. Honestly, I wish no woman EVER had to have an abortion. I cry when I hear about babies being aborted, even when it’s just listening to a song like “Brick” by Ben Folds Five.

    BUT I believe that all children should be wanted and loved. What sort of life will a child have if its parents don’t want it or love it? If he or she will be abused and neglected because the woman gave birth despite herself? I worked with abused children for two years until I burned out because my heart broke for them every day. Have you listened to a 10-year-old cry and say he wished his mama never had him? Have you heard the story of how an 11-year-old was beaten with a wrench until he was a mass of blood and bruises on the floor? Have you sat at the emergency room with an 8-year-old girl who told you she’d been sexually abused by a stranger in the woods, only to have her later confide that it may have been her father and her brother?

    Aside from that, what about the life of the woman? I was fairly “lucky” that pregnancy’s lasting effects on my body were a ruined digestive tract and a pouch of extra skin on my abdomen. And the inability to deny the underlying anxiety disorder and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome that had gone ignored for several years. Many women aren’t so lucky. If a woman is forced to carry a child and decides to give it up for adoption because she can’t handle raising it, she still has to deal with the aftermath of pregnancy and birth on her body. Let’s not forget postpartum depression. I had that, too, though it went undiagnosed. A poor woman with no support system who may already have an untreated mental illness and then ends up with postpartum depression may just end up killing herself because she doesn’t even know enough to seek treatment. Hell, I have a Master’s degree in Psychology, and I didn’t recognize that I needed help until after the fact! No one even thinks about these things when trying to control what another woman does with her body.

    I can’t wait for the day that no woman gets pregnant unless she wants to be pregnant and can afford to raise her child in a loving home. I can’t wait for the day when medical science has advanced to the point where no woman will die because of pregnancy complications. I can’t wait for the day when men stop raping women. I can’t wait for the day when every woman has access to birth control and has been educated about its proper use. I can’t wait for the day when all babies are wanted, loved, and can be provided for.

    Until that day, abortion needs to remain a viable, legal option. And that is why I am pro-choice.

  57. No one can be forced to donate blood or organs or anything else to save someone else’s life. To force women to donate their bodies to an unwanted baby is to grant the baby greater rights than the woman. To force women to continue unwanted pregnancies is to force them to risk their lives for someone else. It is a violation of a woman’s right to bodily integrity. You want to stop the “murders”, figure out a way to safely transfer the fetus to a woman who is willing to donate her body.

  58. I see where you coming from, and it’s quite amazing to read a pro-choice testimony that’s not full of propaganda, slogans, and half-truths. 10 points for that. I also agree 120% with you that poor women need support in all ways possible, especially faced with unplanned pregnancy. That’s the main reason I try and help as much as I can to those in need through different charities, homless shelters and organizations who help women faced with unplanned pregnancies (help them with housing, benefits, job search, baby care, material things, etc).

    However, I’ve read enough heart-breaking testimonies of women who were poor, got pregnant, panicked, aborted and spent the rest of their lives regretting it and seeing that they had other choices if only they tried to look for help. If the money that’s been poured in to support abortion providers (from the government and private donations, etc) and various pro-choice organizations were used to create a sustainable system to provide help to women in crisis pregnancies, I can bet you a 100$ the abortion rates would go down immediately.

  59. Zac Skinner says:

    “If you are against abortion, ensure that the multitudes of poor women have other choices. Until there is justice and support for them, abortion must be one of those choices.”
    this is your argument for abortion. i suggest you do some research and find a better one honestly. Birth Choice, Project Gabriel, and many other systems of the like are dedicated specifically not only to counseling pregnant women but providing for them and their child after birth. before you make a statement, especially one on the internet, where it will exist indefinitely, try not to look ignorant and know what you talk about. ive also heard an argument that these organizations are only for christian women. this is blatantly and hilariously false. there is no discrimination against women for these organizations.

Trackbacks

  1. […] [From Pro-Life Feminist to Pro-Choice ] Cate Nelson shares how her views as a Pro-Life feminist who shifted her views to the Pro-Choice angle. Sensible,articulate and much appreciated by myself, a feminist who values and respects life but holds choice as a sacred right. […]

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