Abortion is Personal

And so is the political and ideological war against it

I’m getting sick of it.

Sick of measure after measure, new legal stipulation after stipulation passing, aimed at limiting access to abortion—locally and nationally—like this past week’s Foxx amendment, which ensures that no tax dollars will be spent to train health-care providers to perform abortions. Abortion, mind them, remains a legal and crucial medical procedure for women in spite of the Draconian regulations suddenly being placed on it left and right.

I feel this way, and I haven’t even come face-to-face with the need for one. As news story after discouraging news story passes, I keep wondering: When will they push so far that they just overturn Roe v. Wade, sending women back into the dark alleys and back to the uncertified, illegally performing “doctors” who’d become their only choice. We’ve come this far, but imagine: A world of only Kermit Gosnells. Is that what people really want?

A friend of mine—we’ll call her Rose—used to be on the other side of the argument. Like any good Catholic girl, she didn’t believe in abortion. Until, just as she neared her 17th birthday, the morning sickness kicked in. A hospital visit, and there it was: Her birth control had failed due to a drug interaction. She was pregnant.

“I was upset, my mom was upset and we had to tell my dad. He was really, really upset,” she recounts now, several years later. Neither she and the father (her former long-term boyfriend), nor her parents (both worked full-time) were in any way equipped to care for a baby. “It was hard, but I decided [an abortion] was the best thing.”

It took Rose a few years to reconcile her decision, to come to terms with the fact that, at first, she felt as though her parents made her believe it would have been impossible for her to have raised a child. But the decision was right: She’s in nursing school now, a longtime dream of hers that wouldn’t have come to fruition had she been saddled with a child and stuck with her controlling now-ex-boyfriend who treated her poorly.

“I look at my mom all the time and say thank you,” she says. “I was with [my ex] for six years, and if I ended up with someone like that, my life would be in ruins.”

Staunch pro-lifers will be quick to judge and condemn, as they always are, and quick to say she didn’t consider her “unborn child.” But she did—she knew that it wouldn’t be fair to bring a young person into a world where she knew the situation just wouldn’t work. And she was brave and strong and deserves praise for making such a hard decision, such a scary decision, such a grown-up decision, at such a young age. What she doesn’t deserve—and what nobody deserves—is people who don’t get it pushing laws against it and touting propaganda condemning it.

And so I challenge those who stand against it without understanding, those who make the laws without being there, those who spit fire at anything pro-choice without ever having had to choose: Put yourselves in her shoes. If abortion means the end of what would have been (or, to some, already was) a new life, the question is still valid: What makes that life any more important than the woman’s life, forever altered and maybe hindered by the decision to have an unplanned child? What about all the people Rose will help—the lives she’ll save when she becomes a nurse—that wouldn’t have been, had she chosen otherwise?

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  • Robert Burleigh

    Thank you for saying it. We must stop the tyranny of the MINORITY ~ more Americans believe in choice than not, but their silence enables the tyrants.

  • JP Prichard

    The pro-life ranks are swelling and these laws are being passed because the countless people harmed by abortion are finally taking a stand against it. And while its nice that you have an unpleasant anecdote to tell, it would be easy for me to offer you ten to one on your stories of how women would do anything to have not made that decision, and of men that coerced them wishing they’d had the manhood to be supportive.

    Great you have an opinion about something you’ve never experienced – maybe next time you’ll actually get larger sample size than one friend before you start painting with such broad strokes. You should take the time to get to know the people you are writing about before you make assumptions.

    Pro-lifers, the ones that actually work at it, are the most compassionate people I know. You’d agree, if you ever took the time to talk to them.

    http://www.vimeo.com/19315623

  • http://www.priestsforlife.org Leslie Palma

    Why was a good Catholic girl having sex at 16?

    Rose would not have to be “saddled with a child.” She could have chosen life for her baby and made an adoption plan. Hundreds of thousands of couples try to adopt every year, while 1.2 million babies are aborted. True, she would have had to carry the baby and give birth, but face it, she made the choice to be sexually active. Why is that the only time in life we can get a “get out of jail free” card is after a human life has been created?

    You are a young woman and you have been raised on the lie that the key to women’s liberation is abortion. But tell me, how has abortion made life better for women? Has it ended poverty? Domestic abuse? Sex trafficking? Pornography? Is the hook-up culture good for women? Good for girls?

    Ask yourself who benefits from abortion. Well, the billion dollar abortion industry benefits. The after-market for baby parts benefits. The boys and men who get to use and discard women benefit. All those who profit from the sexual exploitation of women benefit.

    You say it took Rose several years to reconcile her decision. What I know from talking to hundreds of women who have had abortions is that the regret never goes away, and the guilt can manifest in many ways — drug addiction, alcoholism, eating disorders, promiscuity. Repeat abortions are common.

    And as for judgment and condemnation, you should take another look at the pro-life movement. Yes, we want abortion to end, because it’s murder. But the women who have had abortions are not condemned, they are embraced. Those who perform abortions are welcome to lay down their weapons of mass destruction and join us. Look at Abby Johnson. Read about Bernard Nathanson.

    You need to learn more about the pro-life movement before you paint us with one broad brush.

  • Hoss

    First of all, “any good Catholic girl” wouldn’t have been taking birth control, nor would she have been engaging in pre-marital sex.

    But besides that point, nobody in the pro-life movement (who is truly pro-life) would argue that the baby’s life was more valuable than Rose’s, just that the baby’s life was equally valuable.

    If Rose had given birth to the baby and then when the baby was a year old decided to kill him or her to make it easier to get away from her boyfriend and to attend nursing school, nobody would approve of her actions. Why is it then that it is all right to kill that child five minutes before he or she is born (or five days, or five months; the difference is ambiguous)? The point is, abortion kills a real, living child, and there is no way around that. Circumstantial arguments fail in the respect that killing a born infant for the same reasons is rightly condemned.

  • Amy

    The Anti-Abortion movement is a Religious Movement trying to foist their religious views on the rest of us. If you believe a fetus is the same as a baby, it’s because your Religion tells you to believe that. It is not a scientific viewpoint, or even a legal viewpoint. I will not debate these points with anyone here, because they have already been debated right up to the United States Supreme Court.

    My point is that Religious people often mistake their personal morality for a larger, universal morality. And the United States was formed so that people could get out from under the thumb of oppressive State-Sponsored Religions being the Rule of Law.

  • Ali

    Thank you for saying this. It won’t change the mind of the people who go out and yell at women when they are at their most vulnerable. Those people just like to shove their personal ideals onto others and won’t stop. They forget that people have many reasons for getting an abortion and people do not use it primarily as a form of birth control, but they don’t care, they just like to judge.

    So again, thank you and try to ignore the ones who choose to ignore you and the needs of so many.

  • Kate

    I’m sure teenage pregnancy sucks. I’ve never experienced it, but I’m sure it does. But to say:
    “But she did—she knew that it wouldn’t be fair to bring a young person into a world where she knew the situation just wouldn’t work.”
    The situation wouldn’t work?
    So the other choice is to murder a fetus? Because let’s be serious, that’s what it is.
    The situation wouldn’t work cause her parents worked full time, ok, so? That’s common.
    It wouldn’t work because her bf was controlling? Ok, so? Tell me how many teen moms stay with their baby daddys. Or how the better alternative is expelling the baby instead of letting it live, and trying to raise it in a healthy environment to the best of your ability?
    These are all risks you put yourself in when your sexually active and immature. She made the ‘adult decision’ to have sex, than the ‘adult decision’ to have an abortion. She was far from mature.

    Also…..this statement disturbed me quite a bit:
    “What makes that life any more important than the woman’s life, forever altered and maybe hindered by the decision to have an unplanned child?”

    Exactly! Why is the womans life more important than the child?
    Sorry it was an ‘hindrance’. I’m sure that was the unborns babys goal, to interrupt her life. Selfish jerk that baby was.

  • Debra

    Like the majority of Americans, I believe abortion should be safe, legal and rare. The political measures that are happening at the state and federal level are really terrifying. I read recently that the Texas governor is requiring women who want an abortion to undergo a sonogram, before they can receive an abortion. Who pays for that – the woman of course. Or how about South Dakota that is trying to impose a 72 hour waiting period. Really – are we not competent to make decisions that affect our bodies without this interference? And the result is more of the same. If you happen to have enough money, you will be able to get the procedure, but for our most underserved women – they will suffer the most and cost tax payers the most. Then the right-wing conservatives can complain bitterly about rising welfare and social program enrollments for those who could not afford to have these kids in the first place.

  • http://www.benevolentgrammarian.blogspot.com bmmg39

    “But she did—she knew that it wouldn’t be fair to bring a young person into a world where she knew the situation just wouldn’t work.”

    Once again, we see the flawed “argument” that we must end a child’s life “so she doesn’t suffer later.”

    Amy: “If you believe a fetus is the same as a baby, it’s because your Religion tells you to believe that. It is not a scientific viewpoint, or even a legal viewpoint. I will not debate these points with anyone here, because they have already been debated right up to the United States Supreme Court.”

    You will not debate these points because you have no scientific grounds to stand on. (Didn’t stop you from interjecting with it, of course…) Secular science textbooks make it clear that fertilization brings about a new human being’s life — no religious belief required at all, Amy. I’m sure one could construct a cogent pro-choice argument, but you have not done so here.

  • Tracy

    It is frightening that the anti-choice people ( that is a better name, especially for those willing to allow women to die because of a pregnancy or to kill abortion providers) are gaining so much power. I am a grown woman, who has the right to decide what to do with my own body. I made the decision to termiate my pregnancy a few years ago when I found out I was pregnant just days after I found out that my husband of 15 years was having an affair…I was in my 40’s, with 2 children, medical issues, and no job…so yes, I ended a pregnancy that would have endangered my health ( as my earlier pregnancies had), so I could find a fulltime job and continue to raise the two actual children I already had…while I regret being in a position to make such a difficult decision, I have never thought for an instant that it was a mistake to end the pregnancy…and while I was talking to a counselor prior to the abortion, she told me a stroy of an abortion protestor who had an abortion and told the counselor that she would again be protesting outside that very location after she had recovered…so all you people who are so sure that you would never have one, try to be just a little less judgmental, you never know how you will feel when it is your life or your child’s life that is affected.

  • http://phillymag.com Jake

    Morgan “Zealot” gives us the impassioned post of an immature mind. No one is “saddled with a child”. Another life is a wonderful gift, and yes, sometimes this gift comes at an inconvenient time. But the wonder of all lives is the unexpected blessings that transcend our limited capacity to plan and understand them.

    In her youth, the writer thinks there is some universal truth in her friend’s anecdotal rationalization. There is not. It was and is a regrettable action that will scar her soul forever. Killing is a defenseless child is just wrong. It can’t be justified ever.

  • Hoss

    Amy, as bmmg39 said early, it is scientific fact that the preborn baby is a living human at the moment of conception. That baby has all his or her DNA. The only things separating that baby from adulthood are time and nutrition, the exact same things separating a toddler from adulthood.

    Also, unless you support slavery, you should not take the Supreme Court’s decisions at face value. The Supreme Court routinely ruled in the 17- and 1800s that blacks were not “persons,” most notably in the Dred Scott Decision.

    Debra, did you know abortionists already have to take sonograms before performing abortions? They do this to determine gestational age; however, they don’t let women see the sonograms because they know that over 80% of women who view sonograms choose life. If it’s really about choice, shouldn’t women be allowed to view the sonogram’s? Shouldn’t women be given all of the information, not have it withheld?

  • Erin

    If there were no right-to-choose, no one would have to be in the position to have to choose. Honestly, it is beyond confusing to me that anyone should be able to choose whether to kill a child or to not kill a child. That mentality is beyond my grasp. Anyone who chooses abortion is choosing their own life over that of someone else. Frankly, I’m very happy that you are “sick of” all these new legal stipulations. That means we are moving in a good direction.

  • Joe

    If the argument for legalizing abortion was based on situations similar to this “good Catholic girl” scenario, the courts would have ruled against legalization.

  • J

    Biologically speaking, life begins at conception. One can sterilize it all they want by calling it zygote, embryo or fetus. The fact is the heart is beating and the spine is formed by 5 weeks! That’s often when the woman finds out she’s pregnant!

    If such is the case, and we have laws against homicide, why should it be any different from an unborn baby? Who fights for them?

    Should our law show preference on 2 lives based on their circumstances (“Rose” and her future career and voiding “morning sickness” versus her unborn baby whose future can hold many possibilities).

    We have laws against homicide to hold each other accountable. So, that we do make our own moral judgements that one life is more important than the other. In regards to legalizing abortion, it is law created for convenience that became an issue since the “free love” era when adults didn’t want to take responsibility and accountability of consequences of free love.

    You know, I’m not arguing that these pregnant teens or pregnant adults are mandated to keep their babies, but there are centers/resources out there to provide alternatives to abortion. Centers that provide help and support to women who are pregnant and in broken relationships, women who are in high school or in college continue to their education while carrying their pregnancy to term.

    It’s our feeble, ego-centric human minds that are unable to conceptualize other humane options.

    It’s one thing to recommend termination of pregnancy due to a medical condition that threatens the mother, but to allow abortions because it was unintended, and doesn’t fit our life schedule?

  • PALondoner

    I would not want to have a termination myself but I would always totally defend another woman’s decision to have one. And we must not forget all the medical cases where the mother’s life is at stake and a termination is necessary.

  • Parker

    Thank you for writing about this very necessary topic. And from reading the comments, I see the prolifers are at it again–saying their ranks are swelling when polls say otherwise. Saying a fetus is more important than a woman’s life, which it is not. Saying that women are hurt by abortion, which very few are. It’s like the saying goes, tell a lie often enough and some fools will believe you. The truth is that every day good women choose abortion for good reasons–women who are Catholic, Jewish, Protestant or non religious. And that’s OK. We must start trusting and respecting women to make their own choices.

  • Hoss

    Parker, would you respect a woman’s choice to kill her two-year-old? I certainly hope not.

    PALondoner, there is actually no situation where it is necessary to to kill a baby in order to save a mother. There is a large difference between treating a mother, with the baby dying as an unavoidable result, and intentionally killing the mother. Please follow this link for an explanation.

    http://www.prolifephysicians.org/rarecases.htm

  • Seth

    Morgan,
    Thank you for your article and comments. You write from your point of view, and the responses on here just go to prove your point that a legal procedure is being made much harder to obtain because of religion and religios view points.
    I would hope that the commenters on here could understand that not everyone shares their religion. And yes, we as Americans still have that right.
    I see that my children will not grow up in a country with the freedoms that I had because of the religous right – that is unless the silent majority speaks up.
    Thanks again Morgan.

  • http://savetheunborn.com ROBERT HOYING

    YES ABORTION IS VERY PERSONAL, TELL THAT TO THE BABY WHOS LIFE YOU JUST MURDERED. WHY ARE YOU TO BE THE JUDGE. AMY YOUR FULL OF SHIT. A LIFE IS A LIFE ITS EITHER THAT OR ITS DEAD, AND YOU ARE DEAD TO THE REALIZATION, THAT LIFE EXISTS. THE RELIGIOUS FIGHT ABORTION , AND EVERYONE WITH COMMON SENSE, DOES THE SAME THING. TOO BAD YOU DONT BELIEVE IN GOD, HE BELIEVES IN YOU, AND WILL MAKE AN JUDGEMENT WHEN YOU GET TO THE NARROW GATE, SORRY YOUR OUT. ROBERT HOYING

  • Seth

    Bob, angry much? I mean what are all those capital letters compensating for? Must be something…….just saying
    And by the way BOB, abortion is legal in this country – remember that when you spew your religous zeel.

  • M.

    As a Christian first, but still an American, I am appalled by how quick some of us are to judge and condemn others – and how desperately some of us want our religion to be the guide behind our nation’s laws. On top of that, as a former science teacher now getting a medical doctorate and a PhD in biology, let me assure you – scientists and doctors DO NOT KNOW, scientifically, when an embryo becomes a person (and I would be happy to give you a more balanced view that what you’re probably getting over at prolifephysician.com). We certainly don’t know when it gets a soul.

    But what we do know is that PEER-REVIEWED study after study suggests that most women do not suffer any irreparable damage from abortion – not physically, not psychologically. They might be sad, they might feel guilt – as we all do from time to time about a variety of things – but it almost always goes away.

    Do you know what doesn’t go away? The terrible feeling of being an unwanted child. The hunger and cold from being the child of parents who can’t afford food or to pay their utility bills (remember, the ones who want to end abortion also don’t want access to contraception, sex ed, or public assistance). The endless parade of foster parents if your parents do decide to terminate their parental rights – and getting adopted is hard, especially if you’re a child of color or the child of a substance abuser.

    I know a lot of women who have had abortions. Some are friends, some are women who I know much more casually – and who confide in me because I’m very open about my stance and they know I won’t judge. They run the gamut from politically liberal to conservative. I promise you, you know a lot of those women, too. Some of them probably go to your church. And you like a good number of them. You probably respect them and their ability to make good decisions. Remember that while you’re busy supporting politicians and laws that suggest those women somehow did not know as well as the government what was best for them and their families.

  • Mark Cofta

    Aside from all the moral arguments for and against the right to abortion, consider the problem of a vocal minority deciding what our tax dollars are spent on. In no other area of spending — military, government salaries and positions, infrastructure — does a contingent dare make the argument that something should be de-funded because “I don’t want MY tax dollars paying for that.”

    I don’t want my tax dollars paying for pointless wars, obscenely generous lifetime benefits for politicians, or $600 toilet seats purchased through no-bid military contracts — but if I protest these expenditures on that basis, no politician would actually restrict funding for these terrible things.

    Abortion is legal. Restricting funding for a legal medical procedure because some people don’t like it is an unethical (and perhaps illegal) end-around. It’s funny how the self-righteous will misbehave when it suits their agenda!

  • http://www.benevolentgrammarian.blogspot.com bmmg39

    Parker: “It’s like the saying goes, tell a lie often enough and some fools will believe you.”

    Seth has lied by suggesting that one must be religious in order to be pro-life. Does your saying apply to him, as well?

    Seth: “I would hope that the commenters on here could understand that not everyone shares their religion. And yes, we as Americans still have that right.”

    We absolutely do. Unfortunately for your argument, fertilization brings about a new human being’s life, and this is not a “religious view” but rather an incontroverbile, secular, scientific fact.

  • pete w

    I’m not a healthcare worker, but it sounds to me like your right to kill your kid, sorry, terminate your pregnancy, is infringing on my constitutionally protected right to practice religion. Such a hypocrite! Roe v. Wade places your right at the crossroads of viability and privacy, where prenatal life trumps your privacy. I suggest you go get yourself pregnant and have an abortion – get the whole experience before it’s gone. In time, science will close the viability window. By the way, I know you’re about freedom and the government staying out of your life. How do you feel about them requiring you to purchase health insurance? And not just any health insurance, the plan designed by HHS? Again, such a hypocrite!

  • http://www.priestsforlife.org Leslie Palma

    Parker, How can you say with such authority that very few women are hurt by abortion? I work with Priests for Life, and two of our ministries are dedicated to women who have been hurt by abortion. Rachel’s Vineyard, a healing program for women and men, had more than 12,000 people attend weekend retreats in 2010, in 47 states and 30 countries. The Silent No More Awareness Campaign has more than 9,000 members. These are women, and some men, who regret their abortions and say so in public.

    Before you rely on the results of any study, ask the question: who paid for it? A huge Danish study came out recently that said women suffer no ill effects from abortion. It was paid for by Warren Buffett, who is about as pro-abort as you can get. You always have to look at the funding before you start quoting study results.

  • http://www.priestsforlife.org Leslie Palma

    Debra,

    Safe, legal and rare is a nice mantra. But 38 years after Roe Vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton made abortion legal for any reason, through all nine months of pregnancy, abortion is not safe, and, with almost 4,000 babies aborted every day, it sure isn’t rare. Women suffer injury and death every day in this money-making industry that is basically allowed to police itself. Cases like Kermit Gosnell’s are not as rare as complacent Americans would like to think. Do a Google search on the abortionists Bertha Bugarin, (who is not even a doctor), Steven Brigham or Pierre Renelique. Read about the Metropolitan Medical Associates in Englewood, N.J., and the quarter-inch of filth and rusty crochet hooks investigators found in the area where women went for their safe abortions.

    The abortion industry exploits women, and they do it with your help.

  • Parker

    Leslie Palma, You are blind to your own complicity with your involvement with Priests for Life, which is nothing but a money-hoarding, celebrity whoring mockery of Catholicism. You and your ilk worry about money drawn from abortion clinics yet you fail to mention the millions pouring into PforL, fail to mention millions pouring into other medical/surgical clinics. You drag out the minority of abortion outliers like they’re exemplars of abortion care yet fail to recognize the superior care provided by ACN and NAF affliated clinics.
    And to others, I recognize as do others that products of conception means that a human zygote/embryo/fetus exists. But that does not mean it is more valuable than the woman nor does it mean they are equivalent in moral value. You believe otherwise, that’s fine. But not everyone shares your views, religious or otherwise. And that’s OK.

  • http://savetheunborn.com ROBERT HOYING

    TO PARKER, JUST BECAUSE YOU ENJOY GOING TO HELL, NO NEED TO CRITIZE, THOSE WHO ARE ON THE RIGHT PATH, KILLING A BABY IS JUST THAT KILLING A BABY, BUT IT TAKES A COMPENANT MIND TO UNDERSTAND THAT TAKING A LIFE AT ANY AGE IS WRONG JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE, SAYS ITS LEGAL, THE BABY IS STILL DEAD . DONT YOU GET IT? MAKING IT LEGAL DOES NTO MAKE IT RIGHT. SETH SORRY FOR THE CAPITAL LETTERS DID NOT KNOW IT MADE IT HARDER FOR YOU TO READ, NOT EVERYBODY IS PERFECT, I AM 80, AND I DONT LIKE ANYBODY KILLING, ANY THING OR ANY BODY, THAT CANT FIGHT BACK, ITS JUST SO SAD THAT TO SATISIFY YOUR EGO YOU HAVE TO KILL BABIES. AND TRASH THE CONSTITION, THAT CLEARY STATES THAT EVERYONE HAS THE RIGHT TO LIFE, AND THE PERSIT TO HAPPINESS. AGAIN I FEEL SORRY FOR YOU.

  • Parker

    Seth, I agree with you about Robert Hoying. The offensive caps are a form of flaming that the old guy doesn’t get. Nor does he comprehend something as simple as spelling or something as complicated as constitutional law. Sadly, as well, Hoying doesn’t respect women enough to know that if they find they are unexpectedly pregnant and cannot or do not want to be, then they are free to terminate the embryo/fetus. It’s not a baby until it’s born. No woman terminates a pregnancy to satisfy her ego or to be selfish.

    So, Mr. Hoying, no need to tell anyone you feel sorry for them because you’ve already condemned them to hell. Judgmental much?

  • Linda

    Many pro-life women like myself are offended at the insinuation that we need the right to kill our biological children in utero to be equal to men. This is not a matter of opinion, but of scientific fact. The simple fact that the gestating human is a member of our species means that they are a human being. A simple DNA test will show that that human being is the biological child of his or her mother (the pregnant woman) and that child’s father. The pro-choice position sits in contempt of not only biological fact but basic human decency. The pro-life position is simply this: that the gestating human is a human being who is the biological child of the pregnant woman, and that it should never be lawfully permitted to kill one’s child regardless of his or her location, dependency, ability, or level of development.

  • Parker

    The prochoice position sits in contempt of biology and human decency? I think not. The prochoice community is as diverse on reproductive rights as any community could be. However, they are crystal clear about the value, the rights, the dignity and the humanity of the woman in the body. The value of the zygote/embryo/fetus is contextual. If the want desires and is able to bring a life into the world, so be it. If she doesn’t, so be it.

  • Linda

    I’m sorry, but my value is not nor has ever been dependent upon how my mother feels about me, nor is anyone else’s worth determined by such measure. Please tell me how “Human worth is completely subjective and based entirely on the opinion of that human’s mother.” is rooted in anything other than feel-good egotism and disregard for others.

  • Linda

    And also, you didn’t explain “If the want desires and is able to bring a life into the world, so be it.”

    The entire premise is faulty, because if a woman is pregnant, she has already brought another life into the world, regardless of her desires or feelings about the matter. That is the biological fact you all sit in contempt of, and nothing you’ve said shows any differently at this point.

  • Parker

    Linda, thanks for your comments because it makes perfectly clear what I said about the rights of women. You value the fetus over the woman. That is a faulty premise. There is no intrinsic value of a zygote or fetus over the life of a woman unless that said woman deems it so. Women, just so you know, are not just biological machines. So you can take your biological fact and try to remember that women have intellectual and emotional attributes. Putting it plainly, women are not incubators.

  • http://www.benevolentgrammarian.blogspot.com bmmg39

    If Linda believes that Person X should not be allowed to kill Person Y, she then “values” Person Y more than Person X? No.

    I think you are the one pushing a faulty premise, Parker.

  • Linda

    I’m well aware of the intellectual and emotional value of women, seeing as how I am one, and I think I’ve done a fine job of exposing your assertions for the nonsensical feel-good claptrap that they are. Wanting the lives of everyone to be equally protected by the law is not valuing one life over another. I’m perfectly capable of valuing my own life while at the same time demanding that the lives of my children are protected by law from everyone (even me) from the moment they are created and at every developmental stage. No one asserted that the value of a human being at the zygotic or fetal stage is more than that of a pregnant woman-once again, they are equal-and you have yet to show how a woman simply deeming something so makes someone else valuable or worthless. I know I am not an incubator. I’m perfectly capable of acknowledging that fact and at the same time the fact that once I am pregnant, I have created another human life that deserves consideration and lawful protection just as my life has. You are the one dealing with such fanciful notions as “Human lives are only valuable if their mothers FEEL like they are.” I’m not dealing in feelings. I am and have been the one consistently dealing in facts, and I think the sooner you drop the emotional baggage you seem to have about this issue and deal solely in facts as well, the better off you’ll be, Parker.

  • M.

    Hi Linda – quick reminder, science and medicine do not say a zygote is the same as a fully developed human. Some scientists and doctors say it is; probably a similar number (and quite possibly more) say its not. The answer is not clear.

    And while I would like not to be accused of likening a zygote to a tumor (I certainly value zygotes more than tumors), I will say that a zygote and a tumor, in the vast majority of cases, have the same amount of DNA and depend on the host/mother for blood and nourishment. What makes them different? The potential to become its own life? To say that is to acknowledge that they’re not quite alive already…

  • Linda

    I am not the same as my 3 year old. Does that make him less of a human than I am? Of course not. He is not “fully-developed”, nor will he be until adulthood, but that doesn’t mean he is less valuable or inferior to me. He is the same entity now that he was when he was in my uterus, only older, and his life was no less valuable when he was at that point in his life cycle than it is now at this point, and once he has reached adulthood and is “fully-developed”, he will still be this same human being he has been from the start, very much alive and a human being, and no less valuable.

    If you don’t want to be accused of likening a zygote to a tumor, then perhaps you shouldn’t do so, eh? If you are wont to do such a thing, I’d just like to remind you that a tumor is an abnormal growth, and not a separate organism from the afflicted organism. If you are going to compare a zygote and a tumor as you have done here, you might want to consider a refresher on human development, as you seem to be having trouble distinguishing between the natural life cycle of a human being and an abnormal mutation of genetic material which is a disease.

    There is no “potential to become its own life”, as I’ve explained earlier, both of my children, myself, and even you have gone through these earliest developmental stages of life and even then we had our own lives, and ending our life cycles at that point would’ve killed US, not some hypothetical being that might potentially become US.

  • Linda

    And as far as experts go, here is some food for thought for you, M:

    A United States Senate Judiciary Subcommittee invited experts to testify on the question of when life begins. All of the quotes from the following experts come directly from the official government record of their testimony.1

    Dr. Alfred M. Bongioanni, professor of pediatrics and obstetrics at the University of Pennsylvania, stated:

    “I have learned from my earliest medical education that human life begins at the time of conception…. I submit that human life is present throughout this entire sequence, from conception to adulthood, and that any interruption at any point throughout this time constitutes a termination of human life….

    I am no more prepared to say that these early stages [of development in the womb] represent an incomplete human being than I would be to say that the child prior to the dramatic effects of puberty…is not a human being. This is human life at every stage.”

    Dr. Jerome LeJeune, professor of genetics at the University of Descartes in Paris, was the discoverer of the chromosome pattern of Downs syndrome. Dr. LeJeune testified to the Judiciary Subcommittee, “after fertilization has taken place a new human being has come into being.” He stated that this “is no longer a matter of taste or opinion,” and “not a metaphysical contention, it is plain experimental evidence.” He added, “Each individual has a very neat beginning, at conception.”

    Professor Hymie Gordon, Mayo Clinic: “By all the criteria of modern molecular biology, life is present from the moment of conception.”

    Professor Micheline Matthews-Roth, Harvard University Medical School: “It is incorrect to say that biological data cannot be decisive…. It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception…. Our laws, one function of which is to help preserve the lives of our people, should be based on accurate scientific data.”

    Dr. Watson A. Bowes, University of Colorado Medical School: “The beginning of a single human life is from a biological point of view a simple and straightforward matter-the beginning is conception. This straightforward biological fact should not be distorted to serve sociological, political, or economic goals.”

    A prominent physician points out that at these Senate hearings, “Pro-abortionists, though invited to do so, failed to produce even a single expert witness who would specifically testify that life begins at any point other than conception or implantation. Only one witness said no one can tell when life begins.”

    Ashley Montague, a geneticist and professor at Harvard and Rutgers, is unsympathetic to the pro-life cause. Nevertheless, he affirms unequivocally, “The basic fact is simple: life begins not at birth, but conception.”

    This matter is hardly as labyrinthine as you portray it to be, as some simple searching finds a plethora of information on when a human being’s life begins, and no scientific material is going to make value judgments on the weights of different human lives, anyway. It’s the field of science’s job to inform, not discriminate.

  • http://www.benevolentgrammarian.blogspot.com bmmg39

    I so feel like jumping here, and yet Linda seems to holding down the fort very well here all by herself.

    Remember: we do not stop developing until we are dead (and some suggest the body undergoes changes even in those hours after that). A human zygote or embryo or fetus is not fully DEVELOPED (just like Linda’s three-year-old isn’t), but she IS a complete human being.

  • Parker

    Linda,
    Great job strutting out a mountain of FACTS about when life begins. It’s hardly a disputed fact that life begins at conception, now isn’t it? But you give short shrift to the FACT that if a woman does not want to be pregnant, she will, legally or not, abort this life. If we want to add specificity, if she wants to terminate her 12 or 16 week fetus, it’s still legal. It still does not have the same value as she does as it is not sentient (FACT), is not capable of living on its own (FACT), does not hold a social security number (FACT), does not have a birthdate (FACT). The argument seems to whirl around pronatalists who believe that once pregnant, they’re stuck like a slave to a plantation. Well, sister, that ain’t so. One in 3 women will have an abortion (FACT) by age 45. Women who are Catholic, Protestant, Jewish or non-religious will have abortions and will do so for good reasons. All FACTS.

  • http://www.benevolentgrammarian.blogspot.com bmmg39

    Nice! Linda just provided scientific basis for her views, and you responded with a bunch of touchy-feely stuff about social security numbers. I guess NO human beings existed, then, before the creation of social security numbers and birth certificates.

    A fetus, by the way, is a “he” or a “she,” not an “it.”

  • Linda

    And sometimes if a woman doesn’t want to be a mother, she’ll kill her toddler, whether or not the act is legal. What’s your point? Electing to kill your child at any point in their life cycle should be legalized to make it safer and more humane for both mother and child then? Give me a break.

    We understand that at this point in time, opting to kill her child in the fetal stage is legal. You’re missing the point of the pro-life movement, which is simply that this type of discrimination against one’s own children based on their abilities and dependency has no place in a civilized society. The fact that he or she (yes, that “it” to which you refer has their own gender, and it’s funny that you should attempt to frame this to be about women’s rights, as roughly half of all abortions preformed in the U.S. kill females) has greater dependence upon their mother should not be viewed as an excuse to kill that child, but more of a reason for greater protections of that child’s life, just as any vulnerable and highly dependent infant’s life is protected by law.

    You do realize their are grown adults in rural areas that don’t have a definitive birth date or social security number, don’t you? Are those individuals not human beings to you either? Your argument seems to whirl around the whims and lack of understanding of certain individuals rather than informed and reasoned logic and basic human rights for all, not just for some, as most oppressive policies have throughout the years.

    I am no more “stuck” when faced with a crisis pregnancy as anyone else facing less than ideal circumstances. Would you say that a black man who had just lost his job yet refuses to resort to harming others in robberies in order to make ends meet “stuck like a slave on a plantation”? Would you say that to his or her face? Because I’d love to watch that, quite frankly.

    I am a woman who has experienced a crisis pregnancy. Your statement that I am “like a slave on a plantation” to my daughter who I did not have killed in an abortion even though that would have made my life easier is ludicrous. The FACT that her life has always had value regardless of her cognitive capacity when in utero. Just because a newborn is incapable of functioning at my cognitive level does not make the value of their life less than mine. Because they are not capable of sustaining themselves as much as I am does not make the value of their life less than mine. And that goes for any other human being who is either developmentally challenged or just younger and therefore not as developed. CAPACITY does not make our lives valuable. The fact we are HUMAN BEINGS does.

    There is no such thing as a “good reason” for any parent to opt to have their child’s life ended prematurely.

  • Linda

    *there are grown adults

  • Parker

    Linda,
    Feel better? No amount of your wretching will persuade those who think differently. So, I quit with you. You are a waste of time. But it’s been fun watching you make outrageously pathetic attempts at logic, at comparisons when there are none to compare.

  • Linda

    “No amount of your wretching will persuade those who think differently. So, I quit with you.”

    Yes, I know that the practice of abortion is indefensible. Thank you for exemplifying that for me with your absolute lack of rebuttal and your 3-year-old-throwing-a-tantrum political philosophy of “La LA LA LA! I CAN’T HEAR YOU! I’M NOT LISTENING!!!”. I’m hoping that logic and reason will win out for “those who think differently”, so we can stop the bloodshed and injustice.

  • YoMamma

    Prolife-hysterical, emotional, lacking logic
    Prochoice-rational, logical, analytical

    This is an amazing collection of prolife screaming meemies who get their undies in a wad, who never listen, just spout, and pontificate ad nauseum. BARF!

  • Linda

    YoMamma, simply asserting something and saying it aloud doesn’t make it so. Please illustrate your points with logic, analysis, and reason as you’ve seen the pro-lifers here do, and we might be more inclined to listen to you specifically since you’ll have something substantial to say instead of just random nonsensical words with no context.

  • http://www.benevolentgrammarian.blogspot.com bmmg39

    Parker: “Feel better? No amount of your wretching will persuade those who think differently. So, I quit with you. You are a waste of time.”

    Translation: “I give up!”

    YoMamma: “This is an amazing collection of prolife screaming meemies who get their undies in a wad, who never listen, just spout, and pontificate ad nauseum. BARF!”

    I see people like Linda addressing the arguments directed at her, and not pontificating. Care to clarify, or is this just another unsubstantiated accusation?

  • YoMamma

    In all the arguments that anti abortion activists make about abortion, they leave women out of the conversation. When they cite scientific or medical experts about when life begins, they fail to cite the testimony of women who chose abortion. When they argue that women regret abortion, they fail to cite the testimony of women who chose abortion. When they individually claim that they had a crisis pregnancy, they fail to cite the testimony of women who chose abortion. When they carried their conceived-in-rape pregnancy to term, they fail to cite the testimony of women who chose abortion. When they boast of their accomplishments as a parent of many children, biological or adopted, as a parent of normal or of special needs children or as a certified foster parent, they fail to cite the testimony of women who chose abortion. When they cite their particular view morality or their faith in their religion, they fail to cite the testimony of women who chose abortion. And when they do cite the testimony of women, it’s the exceptions to the millions, the tried and true of the likes of Norma Corvey or Abby Johnson. What follows for these exceptions is their brief moments of fame, fueled by the celebrity-whores of the prolife industry. They join the ranks of Tony Newman, Flip Benham, Fr. Frank Pavone, Dr. Nathanson and all the other wannabe attention-seekers who desperately seek to fill a void in their life by becoming a B-rated celebrity or, more pitifully, a bright star in an insignificantly small constellation. But, they fail to cite the testimony of women who chose abortion. And why is that? They don’t want to know. They don’t listen. They don’t care. All they care about is themselves.

  • Linda

    “But, they fail to cite the testimony of women who chose abortion. And why is that?”

    Because women who choose abortion are not the ones losing their lives in those operating rooms (most of the time. Women still die of “safe and legal” abortion). Their children are. Because we know that having a baby isn’t going to end your life, but an abortion is going to end someone else’s. If you can’t see that , then you are missing the entire point.

  • YoMamma

    Having to carry a pregnancy to term and keep it, against your will, against your means, against your emotional capabilities, can and will end the life of the woman, spiritually, psychologically, physically and financially. You Don’t Get It because You Don’t Care enough about women and you don’t see how you are a slave ship in your own shoes. You’ve bought the patriarchal kool aid. Keep on drinking.

  • http://www.benevolentgrammarian.blogspot.com bmmg39

    YoMamma: “When they cite scientific or medical experts about when life begins, they fail to cite the testimony of women who chose abortion.”

    The latter fails to change the former. But you knew that.

    “You Don’t Get It because You Don’t Care enough about women and you don’t see how you are a slave ship in your own shoes. You’ve bought the patriarchal kool aid.”

    Nice employment of an overused buzzword. Which class taught you to throw “patriarchal” into the mix?

  • Linda

    “Having to carry a pregnancy to term and keep it, against your will, against your means, against your emotional capabilities, can and will end the life of the woman, spiritually, psychologically, physically and financially.”

    No, it won’t. You might be scared into thinking that it will, but it won’t. This is all conjecture on your part, and I’m loath to deal in your hypotheticals, so I won’t. I’d rather deal in provable truth and actual fact, so I will. All of your psychobabble and philosophical navel-gazing will never change the cold hard FACT that in an abortion, that child is LITERALLY meeting the definite end his or her LIFE. Permanently. Forever. No monetary value is equal to that life. No perceived psychological trauma will equate its measure. No temporary physical condition will outweigh its snuffing out. No spiritual vapor will fill its void once extinguished.

    I do care about women. I care enough about myself not to turn myself into a killer of my own child to prospectively escape what was at the time a dire situation-I care enough to keep my self-respect intact.

    I do care about women. I care enough about my daughter-a woman-to be considerate of her life from its very beginning. I care enough about her and every child that will ever be in her position to fight for her right to live when it would’ve been legal for me to kill her, and their basic right to live as human beings just as you and I have both been granted. I fight this fight in my daughter’s honor, because I do indeed care.

    I am no one’s slave. I am no one’s vessel. But I am also not a monster. I am not a murderer, and I care enough about women to want better for us than that.

  • M.

    No, Linda. No. You make my point exactly. There are plenty of experts that say a zygote is a “true human” or whatever else you want to call it. But there are plenty who say a zygote, while having the full DNA complement of a human, are not exactly persons. They’re zygotes (or fetuses, or whatever stage you want to insert here). The fact that no one testified to the contrary is not evidence that such people don’t exist. There are plenty of reasons why people don’t testify at hearings (ranging from they weren’t invited to they thought the hearing was a sham orchestrated by one side to prove a point – just look at Rep. King’s hearing on Muslims earlier this year). In my entire Ob/Gyn course, at one of the top medical schools in the country, I did not ever hear a professor (and I’d imagine they’re pretty much experts) say that a fetus was the same as a person who had been born. I’ve also only rarely heard a geneticist or cell biologist say it – and I’ve known many. My point was, there is disagreement. You only reiterated that.

    Again, while you have made many points, you missed mine. There is nothing that legally entitles a “developing, pre-born person” to the same rights as one who has been born. In the same way that you will likely get more compensation in a wrongful death suit if its your 28 year-old lawyer husband/wife who was the primary breadwinner versus if its your child who was killed, there are certainly instances where the law discriminates between the value (not moral, but legal/financial) of people based on development (again, not acknowledging that fetuses are exactly people).

    Further, my analogy to tumors was not meant to say that they are of equal value. It was only to say that the arguments (which are posted above and which I often hear in other venues) that all products of conception are of equal legal value to people because they have the same amount of DNA are flawed. 46 chromosomes does not make a mass of cells a person. Is it that the person has a soul? Maybe – but science sure can’t tell you when that happens. I just don’t think we have the answer. (And no, just because you like a particular “answer” doesn’t make it THE answer)

    And, just as an aside, if you really are this concerned about abortion – start supporting the measures that keep women from needing them. Support the availability of birth control and sex ed. Support the availability of good schools in poor neighborhoods and food/nutrition services for poor women. If you don’t get unexpectedly pregnant, you usually won’t have an abortion. And many women wouldn’t get abortions if they thought they’d be able to afford raising a(nother) child and provide them with a “good life.”

  • Linda

    “There are plenty of experts that say a zygote is a “true human” or whatever else you want to call it. But there are plenty who say a zygote, while having the full DNA complement of a human, are not exactly persons.”

    That’s because you’re intentionally conflating scientific principles with philosophical ones in order to confuse the issue. If you’ll notice, I have not mentioned “persons’ at all. That is because I refuse to classify ANY human beings by degrees of personhood in order to attempt to legitimize killing them. The notion of when the life of a HUMAN BEING begins is quite concrete. Every HUMAN BEING should have their lives protected by law by simple virtue of them being alive and human, period.

    I never said that “all products of conception are equal because they have the same amount of DNA”. You are the one who has missed the point here: HUMAN BEINGS should be protected by law always, at every stage of life. Not because of their DNA, not because of some arbitrary sliding scale of “personhood” worth that’s been constructed by others, but because they are living human beings. Nice usage of a dehumanizing term though to attempt to make killing other human beings seem acceptable. I am a “product of conception”, as are you. My life still matters and always has because I’m a human being.

    Women don’t need abortion. Ever. Do you ever need to kill your children, M?

  • M.

    No, Linda. I’ve never needed to kill anyone. (And I’m not agreeing that abortion is the same as killing a living, breathing person not dependent on another person’s blood supply for life.) But I’m also lucky enough to have been born to a middle class family and have always had access to birth control. Between working in inner city schools and in hospitals and clinics in a major metropolitan area, I can assure you that is not true for a large number of women. And let’s not even get started on women in rural communities, where the only pharmacy for miles is run by a deacon at your church or an old family friend or just the town busy-body. What’s very clear is that women who find themselves unintentionally pregnant will many times act to end those pregnancies. Again, I say if you want to stop abortion, support measures that prevent unintended pregnancy.

    I notice that you’ve given up your (faulty) argument that science does indeed know when human life begins. I was using terms like “personhood” and whatever else to appease you. Let me be more clear – science is not clear on when or if an embryo becomes the same as a human. Science does not unanimously acknowledge that a fertilized egg equals a person. Which is an argument you clearly tried to make in your earlier postings. Now, either this is a scientific issue or its a philosophical one. If its a scientific one, and you want science to decide when and if an embryo is a human being of the same legal status as one who has been born – science just doesn’t have an answer. If its a philosophical or moral issue – there’s no consensus there, either. For many (but not all) people, the answer is tied to religion – and that’s not a good basis for making laws. Even if you take religion out of it, then it really just becomes personal preference and belief. My belief is that an embryo is not the same as a person and is not entitled to the same protections under the law. You believe differently. Does that mean you get to make the laws? I hope not…

  • Linda

    Umm…

    “Let me be more clear – science is not clear on when or if an embryo becomes the same as a human.”

    You need more schooling, obviously. Did you read ANY of what was written in my previous statement at all? If you’re having trouble with the big words and research, I can tell you from personal experience that yes, embryos are the same as persons, because I’ve personally birthed 2 former embryos, and yeah, they’re persons. This is completely a scientific issue, which has been definitively resolved through careful study (as I posted earlier, you might want to go back and read that again), and anything else is simply obfuscation to attempt to rationalize and legitimize barbarism.

    What I believe has nothing to do with this issue in the least. What anyone chooses to believe does not alter reality and fact, regardless of how much you might want it to be so. We are all the same beings we are now as we were when we were growing in our mother’s wombs. The only thing that has changed is our level of development that has changed with time and growth. We were not replaced some time between embryonic stage and birth/infancy with some new human being. That idea is absolute lunacy on its face, and I’m absolutely mystified that you are supposedly educated and still make the claims you do.

  • http://www.benevolentgrammarian.blogspot.com bmmg39

    M.: “I notice that you’ve given up your (faulty) argument that science does indeed know when human life begins.”

    A human being’s life begins at the moment of fertilization; that is a scientific fact. Linda is merely avoiding the term “person” to respond to your splitting of hairs.

  • M.

    Linda, please refer to the websites for the courses you teach. Or your faculty page. Or the proclamation making you the arbiter of all scientific facts. You referring me to your previous statements does not count as certain evidence (nor does bmmg39’s affirmation). I’m not sure what you carefully studied, but it clearly was biased. I’m not denying that your sources say what you claim they do – I’m just reminding you (and I read quite well, I assure you) that there are plenty of opinions to the contrary. And an opinion does not become fact because you like it.

    As Linda at least (sort of) acknowledges, the debate is really around what entitles a grouping of cells to equal protection under the law. The answer is not clear. If it were, at least in the way you say it is, I think our laws would look more like you want them to. The semantics around are we going to call it a person or say its alive are somewhat moot, except that certain people among us want to latch on to those words as use them as the moral/legal/scientific argument.

    I was thinking about sending my degrees back to the universities where I earned them, along with a letter stating that I recently discovered I did not, in fact, know nearly as much as the faculty at two separate institutions in three separate departments thought I knew. But then I realized, that was an opinion, as well :)

  • M.

    And of course, my never-ending mantra for the whole community: support meaningful access to sex ed and contraception, and we can really make this debate a much smaller issue.

    Cheers!