Abortion: Finding the Middle Ground

by Birth Without Fear on October 4, 2011

Please read the whole post before responding. It is my hope that we can have a constructive discussion and become united for change.

Even thinking of writing an article on abortion is nerve wrecking, doing it has my stomach in wicked knots. However, I feel inspired to do so and I have learned, especially as a mother, to always listen to that tiny little voice.

Let me tell you what inspired this post. Mr. BWF likes to stay up on current politics. He researches all candidates, topics, etc. Don’t worry this is not going to be a post on who to vote for. In Mr. BWF’s reading he came across this excerpt in a book titled The Revolution by Ron Paul (again not telling you who to vote for, just happens to be his story):

One of the most contentious issues in our public life over the past three and a half decades has been abortion. As a physician, and in particular as an obstetrician who has delivered over 4,000 babies, I have always had a special interest in the subject of abortion. When I studied medicine at Duke Medical School from 1957 to 1961, the subject was never raised. By the time of my medical residency at the University of Pittsburgh in the mid-1960′s, though, wholesale defiance of the laws against abortion was taking place in various parts of the country, including my own.

Residents were encouraged to visit various operation rooms in order to observe the procedures that were being done. One day I walked into an operating room without knowing what I was walking into, and the doctors were in the middle of performing a C-section. It was actually an abortion by hysterotomy. The woman was probably six months along in her pregnancy, and the child she was carrying weighted over two pounds. At the time doctors were not especially sophisticated, for lack of a better term, when it came to killing the baby prior to delivery, so they went ahead with delivery and put the baby in a bucket in the corner of the room. The baby tried to breathe, and tried to cry, and everyone in the room pretended the baby wasn’t there. I was deeply shaken by this experience, and it hit me at that moment just how important the life issue was.

I have heard the arguments in favor of abortion many times, and they have always disturbed me deeply. A popular academic argument for abortion demands that we think of the child in the womb as a “parasite” that the woman has the right to expel from her body. But the same argument justifies outright infanticide, since it applies just as well to an infant outside the womb; newborns require even more attention and care, and in that sense are even more “parasitic.”

Wow!

Now, this article is not to bash one side or the other, but to offer information and start a thought process. I obviously lean pro-life, but please stay with me a little bit longer.

I have offered a question to those that are pro-choice and it NEVER gets answered. Let me explain. Anyone who follows BWF knows I am about choices. You may ask then, if you are for choices and women’s rights, then you must be pro-choice, right? Yes and No. It is a little more complicated than that as there are TWO human being’s choices involved. I am pro life AND pro choice…for the child. So, here is my unanswered question for those that are firmly pro-choice for the woman…

What about the choice for the child to live or die? Would you want that choice taken away from you?

I have seen the same sonographer for my last 4 children. She is very good at her job and mostly does ultrasounds for mothers considering abortion. I once asked her how many women choose not to abort once they have seen their baby via u/s. She said 99% change their mind!!! The most common thing she hears is, “Oh, that’s not a blob…that’s a baby.” Women are told their baby is not a human being. They are made to believe at the abortion clinics and by society that their little one is just a blob of cells and it’s no big deal. That it’s a ‘fetus’ in a ‘host’. There is a disconnect there until a mother sees her child and then she knows…that is no blob. That is her baby.

Many pro choice advocates ask, “What about when a woman is raped or what if it is medically necessary? That is why choice is important!” I agree. The issue is, just like with most things (plastic surgery, medically necessary circumcision, the needed interventions in birth), it is not saved for those heartbreaking or necessary times it is needed. It’s overused. It’s used as a form of birth control.

Truth

Worldwide: 42 million babies are aborted each year. That is on average 115,000 babies a day. (© Copyright 1996-2008, The Alan Guttmacher Institute. (www.agi-usa.org))

United States: 1.2 to 1.37 million a  year (1996/2008). Average of 3700 babies taken from the womb per day.

Why?

1% of all abortions are due to rape/incest. 6% occur because of medically necessary reasons (health of mother and/or child), and the remaining 93% of abortions are done for social reasons (child is not wanted or it is inconvenient).*

Like I previously stated, one sonographer who has done thousands of ultrasounds has said that 99% of the time, women change their mind and decide not to abort their baby once they have seen him/her. See, many women do not realize just how deep of a decision they are making. I am sure many do and don’t want to undermine that, but I am addressing the majority of people who do not. So take a look at the ultrasound images and tell me if that is a baby or a blob…

8 week old tiny baby…

ultrasound picture, abortion

10 week old baby…

abortion

12 weeks, close to end of first trimester…

abortion

13 weeks (almost 3 1/2 months)…nearing the end of the first trimester…

3D ultrasound

Ask a mother who has miscarried in her first trimester and she will tell you she lost a baby.

Many people may believe that abortions are only done early, but that is not the case. The laws vary state by state and in some states, later term or partial term abortions are done. So many families fight for the precious newborns to survive. Recently one BWF mother wrote about her premature baby surviving after being born at 23 weeks!

2nd trimester at 16 weeks and baby is a girl…

24 weeks, still 2nd trimester…

28 weeks (allowed to abort in 3rd trimester in some states)…

Is Pro-Choice…Pro-Abortion?

I have come to realize that *most* people who are pro-choice are not *for* abortion. They see the issues surrounding taking away choice (illegal abortions, what taking choice away will lead to, etc). I am pro-life and pro-choice for the baby, BUT I still do not think it should be illegal. That is right. I don’t think abortions should be outlawed. I think they are wrong and done way too often, but I can step back and see the long term negative consequences of abortion being illegal. This is the middle ground between pro-life and pro-choice that I think can happen…where the two sides can meet and do something good! So what do we do?

Becoming United

What can we do (on both sides of the debate) to become united? What can we focus on to help reduce abortions while not taking away choice?

May I propose we start discussing the following instead of arguing…

  • Education on prevention and birth control for women and men
  • Free ultrasounds for women considering abortion in all major cities
  • Support for women who become pregnant young and unmarried (account for most abortions)
  • Adoption being more affordable for babies who would have been aborted

One thing I am going to personally do is volunteer at the Teen Pregnancy Clinic in my town to give these mamas love and support through their pregnancies and births!

I will leave you with this woman’s story as it has held a special place in my heart since the first time I saw it. She was aborted, but survived and she gracefully talks about her thoughts on this.

YouTube Preview Image

Resources:

http://www.abort73.com/abortion_facts/us_abortion_statistics/

http://www.abortionno.org/Resources/fastfacts.html

http://www.baby2see.com/development/ultrasound_sonogram/first_trimester_scans.html

http://pregnancy.about.com/od/fetus/ig/First-Trimester-US-Gallery/

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{ 211 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie October 4, 2011 at 7:40 am

Can I just say, WOW.

I think u/s before abortion should be mandatory (unless medically necessary), and I think adoption should be cheaper and easier for the thousands who are trying. I’m going to ask about work at our local pregnancy assistance center.

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Kerry October 4, 2011 at 9:44 am

I agree with this.

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Wendy October 4, 2011 at 11:20 am

I agree!

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Sharon October 4, 2011 at 9:05 am

Under no circumstances do I think any woman should be forced to view her ultrasound if she does not want to. In most cases in the first trimester an U/S is entirely unnecessary in order to safely terminate the pregnancy. Most clinics and doctors will use them to confirm placement, and how far along the pregnancy is but to use that as a tool to manipulate a woman into shaming her to change her mind? No way. And the latter is exactly what legislation for mandatory u/s does.

Not every woman who has an abortion feels that the fetus is ‘just a blob’ and for those who do? So what? It is their right to feel that way. We may not like it, it may disgust us but the decision is not our own.

I have terminated pregnancies and I believe life begins at conception. Please do not assume that women don’t know what they are doing or the value of the life they are ending. Often times they do, it just doesn’t measure up to other factors in making their decision.

As for adoption- it is not all that people make it out to seem. There are many factor related to adoption that are just not feasible for many women.

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Krystle October 4, 2011 at 9:39 am

great points!

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Diamond October 4, 2011 at 9:47 am

I agree wholeheartedly with this comment! not much more to add than this!

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Keri October 4, 2011 at 11:32 am

I’m not completely opposed to your comment, just curious about the belief that life begins at conception. If you believe this, how does that not compare to taking the life of a human outside of the womb, which is not acceptable or legal, even considering other factors? I’m having a hard time squaring that away in my mind. Not attacking, just asking.

Also, what factors of adoption are not feasible? I need to learn more about this.

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Sharon October 4, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Some people do not value one life more than another. I understand that. For them it is all the same. Woman,unborn,born etc.

Myself? I feel that if a woman puts her own life (or that of her born children) ahead of her unborn child then that is her decision to make. The moral implications and consequences are hers to deal with. If there is a higher power & she is one day judged it is her judgement to stand. I don’t believe it is my place to do that for her.

I want every child to be a wanted child. Making it so every woman has to continue a pregnancy isn’t feasible. What are we going to do when that woman does not care for herself in order to care for the unborn? Do we put her in jail and force feed her? Because as much as it is not talked about? There are women who just do not care. They will not care for that unborn child. So what happens then?

As for adoption, in a perfect world that is the perfect option but there are more unwanted children than there are parents for them. The children who are pursued by couples in the adoption process are typically not the ones being aborted in large numbers. You will find that often times the children of minorities or of the poor (who are among the highest #of women having abortions) are ‘special need’ adoptions and not as adoptable. Their children end up in the public adoption system and eventually foster care.

There is also the cost of continuing a pregnancy. I know it is callous to consider cost when a life is being discussed but it is the truth for many women that they cannot afford to continue their pregnancies. Without insurance and a means to pay for their pregnancies they are left feeling like they have no other choice. Which is why I believe that instead of focusing on ending abortion and making it illegal we should instead focus on comprehensive reform. We can all participate in lessening the number of abortions by supporting legislation that informs our children and young women and helps them protect themselves. And that when/if they do end up with an unplanned pregnancy they can continue it with the proper prenatal support. Right now in our country this isn’t the case.

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Cattrina Pendergrass October 4, 2011 at 11:34 am

So what are the factors related to adoption that are not feasible for many women?

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Janie October 4, 2011 at 11:59 am

so at what point can I kill my living children because “it” doesn’t measure up to the “other factors”
my husband lost his job, if he leaves me? If I become disabled? less mouths to feed would be easier. I mean I realize they are humans but I have other factors to consider.
I try so hard to have compassion on this topic and I always want to champion freedom of choice but your comments made me sick to my stomach, really sick.
Many women have serious mental problems later from previous abortions, a family member of mine did. I think she should have seen that baby via ultrasound before the abortion, it may have helped her reconsider and not spend the rest of her life having a nervous breakdown on that baby’s due date.

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Sharon October 4, 2011 at 3:07 pm

I don’t speak for others. Only myself. For myself having a child was not something I could and wanted to do at the moment. It was a moral dilemma and I chose to abort. Was it the right thing to do? For me? Yes. And I would not want someone who was in the same position as myself to be forced to continue a pregnancy and birth a child they truly did not want-whatever their reasons.

Like many decisions in life not everyone is okay with the things they have done. A woman who is unsure of terminating is more likely to have problems emotionally post abortion. I would like to see REAL counseling pre-abortion going on. Something that does not happen in most clinics offering abortion services.

I was not scarred by my choice. At the end of the day when I lay down with my 3 children I am at peace with the choices I made years ago. I cannot say the same for the child I was forced to carry, birth and give up for adoption.

I really don’t see what there is about my comment that is so sickening. Would it be better if I said “Oh its just a blob of cells. Who cares?” I really think some people prefer to believe that people like myself-who have had abortions- are less worthy than themselves. I think not.

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Jill October 4, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Sharon, I couldn’t agree more! I would to add something about the comment Mrs. BWF (whom I love dearly, but will have to agree to disagree with on this topic!) made about us pro-choicers saying “but what about rape?” When I say this, what I mean is, it can’t be murder one time and not the next. Many pro-lifers see abortion as murder, plain and simple. But they think it’s okay if the woman was raped. In my mind, that makes little sense. Either she’s doing something wrong or she’s not.

Also, just one other thing. I was a foster parent to two little girls, one of which had been hung upside down, and burned on the neck with cigarettes. These two little girls had an additional two sisters that had already been taken away from the “mother.” They were in the process. While in my care, the mother got pregnant again. Sad fact is, people like that rarely give up their babies. There are holes in the adoption theory that unfit mothers of unwanted babies will give them up. I am unable to conceive, and do you know how much effort and money it would take for me to adopt a child?! Say this mother HAD used abortion as birth control. I’m fine with that.

I don’t see too much common ground, unfortunately. Abortion for birth control, rape, incest, inconvenience, a tough but necessary situation…it’s either right or wrong. And as a pro-choice woman, I am glad it is legal and offered in our country.

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aradia October 5, 2011 at 12:33 am

I agree with this post whole heartedly.

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Grace October 4, 2011 at 9:07 am

Wow–first of all I just have to say that this is really weird considering I was just on http://www.ronpaul.com this morning reading his stance on abortion, and also, I JUST watched this same video on Mommy Daze and it really touched me! That’s so weird! Anyways, I am pro-life.. I always have been and I always will be.. I do not believe abortions are justified in any case, not rape, not incest, nothing. Call me crazy, call me sick, call me whatever you’d like, murder is murder and just because your baby is in your belly doesn’t give you any right to kill it.

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Rachel October 4, 2011 at 11:00 am

I agree entirely :) A person’s a person no matter how small! – Dr. Seuss I believe.

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Heather October 4, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Actually, the Geisel’s were/are pro-choice and resented the phrase from Horton Hears a Who being used to support to pro-life agenda.

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Joy October 4, 2011 at 9:07 am

Thank you for a good read. I shared this!

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Jessica October 4, 2011 at 9:12 am

Thank you for this post. I feel very strongly as you do that it should be an option, albiet an option reserved for those in special circumstances. The biggest problem is how do we decide where that line is, when we as a culture can’t even come to a middle ground on whether or not it should be legal. You are right on, pregnancy prevention education should be available to all teens, and adoption should be easier and cheaper for everyone (though standads should be kept high.) So many children are neglected in their own homes, and there are so many children who are given up who don’t get the kind of love and support they need to flourish. Thank you for your courage to stand up and say this!

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Tristen Warner October 4, 2011 at 9:16 am

As someone who has worked in an abortion clinic ,as an un-titled doula, I have never seen an abortion like Ron Paul’s story. MOST are NOT like that.
I am 100% pro-choice and a mom. Being a mom changes everything, if someone isnt ready to be a mom for WHATEVER reason she should be respected for that decision. There are too many unwanted babies as it is.
I wanted a baby from the time I was 12 years old, maybe some girls could be ready for that but I certainly wasnt. I wasnt ready for over a decade.
Yes if a woman has a miscarriage she says she has lost a baby, because she decided to have a baby. She wanted her baby, and its devastating that she lost it.

If you want a baby, if you dont it should be your decision no one elses.

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Jennie October 4, 2011 at 3:44 pm

DISAGREE! if a woman isn’t ready to be a mom, then she shouldn’t have sex, period.

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Nancy October 4, 2011 at 9:17 am

Excellent, well thought out. I, too, am pro-life/pro-choice. But do not want the government to legislate this area any more then I want them involved in other areas of my life.

You see, when we legislate something we take the thinking about it out of the picture and it becomes 2 dimensional and black and white. During the time when abortion was illegal AND a political hot button it was illegal for a woman who was miscarrying to have a d&c or d&e. Even now when I have talked about my miscarriages that have needed surgery I am judged by some who believe we should let “nature” take its course and not intervene…well for me I have hemorrhaged 2x to the point of losing over 3/4 of my blood supply…yes to the point of death. So the other miscarriages I have had I have had as soon as the baby has died we do surgery so that I don’t risk hemorrhaging.

Can we educate? Can we think? Can we move hearts? Can we help provide and strengthen rather than tear down and destroy?

Thank you!!!

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Aislynn October 4, 2011 at 10:29 am

THIS is my opinion exactly. Pro-life for sure, but absolutely anti-government.

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Kathie October 4, 2011 at 9:24 am

I had so many thoughts while reading…but after getting through the whole thing, I realized you and I feel very similarly. I used to be staunchly pro-life…but my work in birth (I am a doula) and trying to advocate for women’s birth choices in my state has led me to be both pro-life and pro-choice…pro-choice for the mother (as in, I don’t think making abortion illegal is the way to go) because the mother is the only one qualified to make the decision–whether it is right or wrong. As in all choices regarding children, I feel that the person/people who are going to raise those children for 18 years or more–they need to be the ones in charge of all decisions. That being said, I very much hope that options will expand to make abortion rare and mostly unnecessary.

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The Deranged Housewife October 4, 2011 at 9:27 am

In certain states, there was legislation that made an u/s before abortion mandatory as part of the informed consent process. It was then found unconstitutional. How can we adequately make a decision when we aren’t given all the important facts?

I am going to go back and finish my post that I wrote because of yours. Thank you. :)

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Sonya October 4, 2011 at 9:33 am

my step brother’s girlfriend just recently got an underground abortion at 32 weeks. she thought she was doing the right thing but she hasn’t been the same. She hasn’t talked much to anyone. I fear her committing suicide. I don’t think that women realize the choice they make until after it’s done – and they have to live with it. The doctor’s that perform this NEVER tell you the emotional hell you go through during and after. It leaves most women with no desire to ever conceive again.

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Mrs. BWF October 4, 2011 at 9:44 am

32 weeks?! Where and why???

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Karen Joy October 4, 2011 at 12:53 pm

This is a good point. We in the NCB community often talk about the horrors of birth rape (as well we should)… but there is definite, documented trauma from abortion. There are MULTIPLE support organizations for recovery from abortion; I don’t think that the emotional trauma that a mother endures from abortion is discussed nearly often enough. http://www.abortionrecovery.org/

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Shannon Kean October 4, 2011 at 9:34 am

Very well written, THANK YOU. While I am fully Pro-Life, I appreciate exactly what you are saying. Like many causes in this world the Pro Life movement has been undermined by a culture that thinks that babies are disposable. If we all come together I believe that we find positive middle ground. I firmly believe in doing what we can, so if we can find a way to have fewer abortions that is better than doing nothing, right? I agree with Stephanie, I think that adoption should be an easier, better option for both the unprepared mothers and for the potential adoptive families.

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Krystle October 4, 2011 at 9:38 am

This is such an interesting topic of discussion. I am strongly pro-choice, but I agree that abortions are done much to often, part of this problem is horrible sex education globally (abortion is the symptom). Late term/second trimester abortions disturb me, I don’t understand how a woman can’t know she is pregnant until that late in a pregnancy. That to me is wrong. On the other hand, ( I am from Canada, where abortions are legal and covered by our amazing healthcare system) the city I live in, Ottawa Ontario, has an abortion waiting list of nearly 8-9 weeks. What is a woman to do in that situation other than wait for a second trimester abortion if she really needs one? The system needs work in so many ways. In order to curb abortion procedures, we need to be proactive about preventing pregnancy through education.

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Larissa October 4, 2011 at 9:41 am

This is very well written. I appreciate your conclusion that it is not to be outlawed, and I appreciate you asserting that pro-choice is not the same thing as being pro-abortion. No one, even among those who most fiercely defend a woman’s choice, is ever PRO-abortion. We would prefer it never had to get to that point. As you stated education and prevention are key.

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Kristen October 4, 2011 at 9:45 am

As a pro-life for all I understand you point of view about not wanting abortions to be illegal. But for me abortion not only just about killing a baby it is also about the long term side-effects having an abortion does to a woman’s body. My Mom works at a Crisis Pregnancy Center and routinely does ultrasounds on every woman that comes in with a positive pregnancy test. For those who are abortion minded they ask that the father to be present as well and many times he also realizes that it isn’t just a blob of cells but a baby.
Like Stephanie said above it should be mandatory for all pregnant woman to have an u/s before an abortion but many of the clinics say they will do them but then refuse to do the u/s for some reason or another, so many women do not even have a chance to see their baby before it is ripped from their body.

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Erin October 4, 2011 at 9:46 am

This was a great post! I find it unbelievable that in the United States of America, it is legal to kill a human being in-utero, but it becomes illegal as soon as they are born. People need to realize there will be consequences to their actions, e.g. having sex. I completely understand there will always be extenuating circumstances and there should be provisions made for those times. Life is so precious and we need to start taking it seriously as a nation.

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Sara October 4, 2011 at 11:51 am

Agreed! I was shocked to find out how many abortions are done in the US each year. If it wasn’t convenient to have a baby then you darn well better be sure you’re preventing it in every way possible if you’re having sex. My husband and I aren’t ready for #2 yet and we use 2 methods of birth control…if we can do it then certainly others can!

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Leanne October 4, 2011 at 9:46 am

I think using divisive terminology like pro-life and pro-choice is the first thing we need to get rid of in moving forward with this issue.

The fact is: a woman’s body and what she does with it is sacrosanct. The rights of the mother outweigh (though not necessarily completely) the rights of the unborn and those of the father. That’s just the way it is and any step back from that is a reduction of human rights. We need to accept this and move forward.

The most humane thing to do next is to ensure that safe and affordable procedures are available for all who request them, including the teens and adults. Next we must eliminate all judgement as to motive. It doesn’t matter whether the woman was irresponsible, was the victim of contraceptive error, was impregnated without consent, whether the choice of termination is in consideration of existing family size or due to medical necessity (hello consequences of c-section, care to terminate your scar implanted pregnancy and remove your uterus? How’s that for convenience!). Take motive out of the discussion.

Then, work to ensure that abortions happens less (better health care for women, free birth control, extensive and honest sex education for teens, etc..) and that support services exist for those that choose other options (easier domestic adoption services, higher standard of living for the no/low income families, etc…).

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Krystle October 4, 2011 at 10:54 am

brilliant response, I couldn’t agree more.

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Tomi October 4, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Im sorry Leanne but your response seems. . . callous. Emotionally removed even. How can motive not be a factor?

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Leanne October 4, 2011 at 8:29 pm

I don’t need to factor in my personal feelings on the issue because they have no place in this discussion. The right to terminate a pregnancy is a legal right of all women in all first world countries. Period. No more discussion. Going over whether it is morally right or not reveals nothing but the biases of the commenter. My comments are action oriented. I want to dispense with the muddy emotional BS this issue gets mired in. Because it will stay mired in that BS forever if you indulge that impulse and in the meantime, you aren’t paying attention to real problems: how to help people so they never need to make a decision to terminate, help people with alternatives to termination and help people who choose to terminate have continued access to safe free/low-cost procedures.

Motive has nothing to do with the continued protection of women’s legal rights. Neither you nor anyone else is allowed to know and/or judge why a woman terminates. It just doesn’t have a place in this discussion, except to help identify areas where we can improve services and support to women and families.

Discussing motive doesn’t improve the lives of women contemplating termination or recovering from termination. I have endless compassion for those facing this issue in their lives. How terrible. It doesn’t really help move anyone forward when we are examining this as a cultural issue.

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aradia October 5, 2011 at 12:41 am

Right on Leanne …

E'smom October 4, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Brilliant!! I wish I could find a candidate who thinks like Leanne!

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Amber October 4, 2011 at 9:49 am

I personally don’t understand it when people use the “what about the choice of the child” argument, saying abortion is wrong because the child doesn’t get to choose, and at the same time say well, I guess it could be ok in the case of rape. This seems like a double standard. Yes, rape is a terrible horrible circumstance under which to conceive, but so are a lot of other circumstances that cause people to choose abortion–maybe they don’t want to bring the child into an abusive relationship, or they have no money to care for the child, or they are a young teen, or the child has a severe disability and they don’t want them to suffer. Once you open the abortion door to rape victims, you have to open the door to all, because who says rape trumps all other horrible conception experiences? If you say, for instance, that a woman who conceived with an abusive partner and doesn’t want to bring the child into that relationship should consider adoption instead, then I would think the same should hold true for a rape victim. We can’t start drawing lines categorizing one experience as painful enough to warrant the awful decision to terminate another’s life and another as not justifiable enough. That doesn’t truly consider the child’s choice, just the mother’s on a scale of tolerable to unbearable. And since pain is subjective, whose to say one person’s experience is truly unbearable or not.

If abortion is truly weighed in light of giving each child the opportunity to survive and the right to life, then the only case abortion should be performed is in the case where neither mother nor child would survive should the pregnancy be allowed to continue (such as in ectopic pregnancy). Rape is a horrible circumstance, yes, but the child conceived didn’t choose to be conceived under those horrible circumstances. It’s not their fault they were a product of rape, just as it isn’t a child’s fault they were a product of teen pregnancy, or that they have an undesirable handicap, or that their parents have no money or don’t love each other, or any other excuse that is given for an abortion. Whose to say the woman in the video above wasn’t a product of rape? (I watched the video a long time ago, so I don’t recall if she says how she was conceived or not)

Personally, if I were raped, it would be really really difficult and hard and awful, but I would have the child, and then if my husband and I felt we couldn’t raise it due to the awful horrible memories and circumstnace under which it was conceived, we’d give it up for adoption.

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mik October 4, 2011 at 9:51 am

Oh my. Mrs. Bwf, you made me cry yet again.

As i lay here snuggling my almost 7mo old reading this and watching ms. Jessen, i am so very grateful for having been educated on abortion long before i became a single mom.

I will admit, i hadnt ever really considered pro-choice to not mean pro abortion. This post has given me lots to think about.

You did an excellent job writing and explaining yourself without being…unreasonably opinionated. I love you. <3

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Jana October 4, 2011 at 9:51 am

Very interesting perspective; however, it is difficult to ride the fence in this area. Allowing a “gray” area, I believe, has resulted in the many late term abortions we have seen in recent years. Leaving the decision in the hands of the folks that would be responsible for this life is noble and right–the requirement, though, must be to make the decision (do I want a baby or not) prior to engaging in behavior that would lead to the creation of a life in the first place. After the life has been created, how is it fair to ever choose convenience over life?

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Bethany October 4, 2011 at 9:53 am

I agree with sooooo much of this!! I could probably write a whole mother blog post about my feelings & responses to what u said but I won’t. Lucky you. ;) but I will say this. I haven’t like a lot of the things erin paul has said but I LOVE the quote u gave! also as a christian I find it very hard to “understand” the middle ground approach but agree whole heartedly that the lies to these poor confused & emotionally stressed women need to stop. It’s a baby not a blob & this is a life altering decision. thank u for having the courage to post this article!

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Rose October 4, 2011 at 9:55 am

I am a doula and pro-choice.

I could not have an abortion.

I tried. I wanted to abort my fifth baby. I went to the clinic. The clinic is NOT what you described in this post!! NOT AT ALL!!

They gave ma an ultrasound. I was given the option to see it. I chose to look at it. My baby looked like a blob – I was about 6.5 weeks along. But int he middle of that blob was a tiny flicker, a beating heart.

I decided not to terminate in that one instant. I said to the nurse “I can’t do this. It’s easy for me to terminate a line on a pregnancy test, but I just can’t do it to that little beating heart.”

The care providers were very understanding, and happy that I had chosen not to terminate. Now keep in mind, I was not at some pro-life center disguised as a clinic – I was at Planned Parenthood.

I got up from the ultrasound table and got dressed. (It was a t/v ultrasound.) I asked for a picture of my baby, and the nurse printed it out. I tucked it in my purse and went to leave. On the way out I was given a big packet of information – how to apply for Medicaid, a coupon for prenatal vitamins, how my baby develops over the months, and a huge list of Medicaid friendly obstetricians.

For me, being pro-choice has nothing to do with the actual bodies of mother and child. I don’t like to think of babies being killed. I don’t like that mothers are ever put int hat position.

For me, though, being pro-choice means keeping legislation OUT OF MY BODY.

Mandating that all mothers must keep their babies walks a very fine line. If that can be passed, what else can? Mandating that babies must be aborted? Mandating how many children a family can have?

I feel that government should have health care choices – all health care choices, available, accessible, and affordable to all people.

Government has NO PLACE deciding what procedures are allowed or not. None whatsoever. It scares the hell out of me to think that this is a possibility.

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Aislynn October 4, 2011 at 10:40 am

Amen. I also considered terminating my second pregnancy because I was in nursing school and it was going to put an enormous amount of stress on our finances and relationship. I knew it wasn’t something I could do, but I told my partner that I would at least look it up. When I researched the chemical forms, I just knew there was no way. He was wonderful in that once I told him my decision, he accepted that and we have never spoken of it again. We now have a beautiful almost-one-year-old, born in the middle of a semester of nursing school, and we all survived. I do absolutely agree with the above post. I am firmly pro-life, but I am not comfortable with allowing the government to have that kind of power. They already control so much.

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CJ October 4, 2011 at 11:26 am

I get this-but I also see the other side of the fine line.
Once the government decides that we can chose life or death for another human being, where will THAT end?

When will it be that we’re deciding the fate of childrens’ lives after birth, based on circumstances, illness, etc?
Many argue that the baby is not viable, it’s just tissue, before birth.
But what of the full term infants or even handicapped adults who aren’t “viable” without medical intervention?

And while I know this sounds extreme, we do live in a world where this has, and is already happening.

I don’t believe that our governments have any authority to dictate who is a valid human, and who isn’t.
In china, abortions ARE forced on women, with their one child rule. It’s often based on gender. Some baby girls are killed after birth, or left to die in the streets. Where has abortion taken China?

There are *very* few instances where an abortion should even be an option. Yes, when a mother is already miscarried, a d&C should be allowed. Yes, ectopic pregnancies, where the mother and baby will both die if left to continue, as terribly sad as it is, termination should be available.
Aside from these though, I don’t see how abortion can be called anything other than murder.

Ask me if i’d change my mind if I were raped…

I was. I did get pregnant. I did not terminate. Knowing that a tiny, innocent human came out of that terrible situation was the only thing that kept me going each day.

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Rachel October 4, 2011 at 12:44 pm

I have never been raped, but I know for a fact that if I were raped, I would keep the baby. I have a hard time believing that killing my child (and it IS your child, same as if you were pregnant with your husband’s baby) would do anything to ease the psychological pain of being raped. If anything I think it would increase it.

I am really glad to hear your story CJ, thanks for sharing!

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Katherine October 4, 2011 at 10:01 am

Wonderful post.

I have a unique perspective on this as I am an adopted child and also a birth mother of an adopted child. I completely understand the emotional and social ramifications of unplanned (and “unwanted” pregnancy, though I don’t care for that term. Every child is wanted by someone.)

I absolutely agreee with you about the need for education and support of women and men who are facing an unplanned pregnancy. I see so often that friends and families are unsupportive of a mother’s desire to give her child life and a family through adoption but would be completely behind her having an abortion. I know I was blessed by being surrounded by a family who 100% supported my choice to place my daughter and did all they could to make the situation as good as it could be. Not having that support, regardless of my beliefs and convictions, I’m not sure that I’d have made the same choice.

Thanks for such a thought provoking post Mrs. BWF!

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Bekah October 4, 2011 at 10:01 am

I would just like to say that I completely agree with you. Religiously, I don’t agree with abortion, no matter how far along. I just don’t agree with it ever. But politically, I don’t agree with the government having that much control over someone’s body.
One of my friends growing up was born to a mother who had been raped by a family friend. The birth mom was walking into a clinic to get an abortion when a lady stopped her and told her about a home for abused women and children that was just opening that she could stay at and have her medical costs covered should she choose to continue her pregnancy. The birth mom chose to not get an abortion, had my friend a few months later, and my friend was immediately adopted by a family. A family that had been waiting for a baby for a few years.
Fast forward to now, and my brother-in-law is not able to have children to do lots of chemo treatments from when he was a child. He and my sister-in-law have adopted three beautiful children in the past few years. All three of their kids were born to mothers that had previously considered abortion before eventually choosing adoption. I can’t can’t imagine what life would be like with my niece and nephews!
If a pregnancy/baby is unwanted, adoption is always an option! There are so many people out there waiting for babies.
Thank you, Mrs. BWF for posting this! You articulated your thoughts on this topic without stepping on toes or getting judgmental, yet your opinion clearly comes through. Great job!

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Katie October 4, 2011 at 10:03 am

I’m officially pro-choice but essentially anti-abortion, as in I think it’s not usually the best option in the situation, and I’m glad the abortion rate has been dropping for decades. However, I can’t walk in another woman’s shoes. Consider that late term abortions are often related to severe defects identified at a 20-week ultrasound. Can I fault a woman who decides to abort her anencephalic child, even though I probably would not do so?

I also don’t think ultrasounds should be mandatory pre-abortion. It’s just a back door way of shaming a woman who is considering abortion, and it assumes that she’s too clueless to even know that pregnancy = developing baby. I have more faith in women than that. Ohio released 2010 abortion statistics a few days ago, and 64% of women who had abortions reported previous pregnancies, with 61.4% having living children (34.1% had no living children, and the rest didn’t answer). I assume these women are well aware of what they are doing by having an abortion.

I’d like to see an end to the attack on birth control that I’m seeing in political arenas, and particularly enhanced access to it among single, low educated women, because they are affected by the most unwanted pregnancies that lead to abortion.

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Laura October 4, 2011 at 10:09 am

Thank you SO much for having the courage to write this! Yes, it is such a heated topic, but I think this is the perfect forum for it, where women all over the globe come to fight for their rights, particularly because they know that their decisions affect their unborn child! So in essence, the reason we are all advocates of natural childbirth & a lot of the other choices that come along with it, is because we care so deeply about that little life growing inside of us. I just find it ironic that some mothers would be quite vocal about vaccinations or circing, but when it comes to a woman’s choice to abort, they either remain silent or fully support it!

The logic is flawed.

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Christina October 4, 2011 at 10:21 am

I understand where you’re coming from in this blog, and honestly agree with most of it. but my issue is that it’s not YOUR life…or anyone’s life but the person who is CHOOSING to abort. I’m not necessarily for abortion myself, but who am I to tell someone that they can’t do that? It may not be right in my or other people’s opinions, but it’s NOT my life and it’s NOT my choice. Woman should be allowed to make these choices without people breathing down their necks about things that are NOT their business.

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Chelsey October 4, 2011 at 10:23 am

I think abortion should be illegal. Since that won’t happen any time soon, I totally support mandatory ultrasounds before choosing. I realize that is unpleasant for a mother determined to kill her baby, but have you ever seen an ultrasound of a baby being aborted.. The process (to put it nicely) of being ripped limb from limb and having their head severed doesn’t seem pleasant for them either. I think educating children on why they should wait to have sex and why they should respect themselves could be even more invaluable than teaching them about pregnancy prevention, I think birth control should be a part of sex education, but abstinence is the best way to prevent and while it’s unheard of now, it doesn’t have to be.. My oldest two children are three and five and though I am passionately for protecting the sanctity of life (all life) I haven’t explained what that means to them in detail, nonetheless when we lose a baby my son cries and feels sad for the loss of what was his sibling and he looks forward to meeting them once we are in Heaven, together again. And so each lost child, whether miscarried or aborted, will also be
awaiting their mommies in Heaven. I would hate to explain to them what was more important than their precious lives. And no matter how difficult adoption is, it’s still a solution and if we can’t take away abortion, we should definitely improve adoption processes and costs. I think this was a very well written article BWF! It’s a hard topic to discuss, and I did my very best to “compromise” as you said. I will encourage our local facilities to offer more free ultrasounds (all though many of ours do) and also make them mandatory. Plus, volunteering is always an excellent option! And if you can’t get out to do these things, prayer is powerful, just pray for peace and courage in the hearts of those moms who really need it.

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Serenity's Mama October 4, 2011 at 10:24 am

Pro-choice here. Also, a mother. Don’t believe they are blobs either. Have you considered the social ramifications of children being brought into the world unwanted? This leads to abusive childhoods and unstable adults or being left in the system. The child welfare programs are already overwhelmed, there are approximately 650,000 kids already in foster care and only a small percentage of them get permanent homes (this doesn’t even consider if the homes are healthy and safe for these kids). Meanwhile, babies, while more likely to be adopted, cost more for the state to care for.
I’m not heartless, as some pro-life people may suggest. I think that abortions should not be performed after 8 weeks unless medically necessary, if you can’t get your shit together by that time, then adoption should be your next choice. Late term abortions, and the story described by the except above are wrong and terrible; yet all pro-choice people are painted the same color of evil here.
I have had an abortion, it was emotionally wrecking but a correct choice for me. And to answer your question, yes, I still believe that a woman has the right to choose. My mother choose to keep me, but she had the right to a choice in the first place.

Slightly of topic, but people breed too much in general. I know that many of your readers have well over 5 children! At any point have any of you thought, I should stop adding to the world population problem and adopt some of the babies and children who need loving and good homes? I meet pro-life people all the time that have gags of kids but NONE OF THEM are adopted? So, if you all are preaching adoption, but not adopting, than who is?

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Mrs. BWF October 4, 2011 at 10:28 am

No, I haven’t as I feel that we are all spirits and there are still spirits waiting to get a body and come to earth. It’s not a population problem, it’s a consumption problem.

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Rachelle October 4, 2011 at 3:35 pm

I agree wholeheartedly.

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Serenity's Mama October 4, 2011 at 7:10 pm

I’m sorry but 7 billion people is a population problem. And again no one is addressing the issue of who is supposed to care for all these parentless kids.

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Mrs. BWF October 4, 2011 at 7:32 pm

I’m sorry, but you haven’t opened your mind and done more research. Have you adopted children instead of having your own biological children? Some things for YOU to consider.

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Serenity's Mama October 5, 2011 at 10:03 am

I have one child, and my husband and are becoming foster parents and hope to adopt many kids in the coming years. We believe it is socially irrespnsible and selfish to have more than 2 children (replace you and your partner). I have done lots of research but still believe that you and your breeding frenzy friends are willfully ignorant via religion. I’m glad you at least understand the devastating effects of making laws to prevent choice and of course I agree with you that people should have access to birth control and other choices to prevent unneeded abortions, however I will never agree with being pro-life or having babies just to abandon them into a struggling social system.
I have enjoyed your natural birth blog for awhile now, please continue the good work in that area, but I can longer be a reader when it obvious my morals are so much different.
Peace be with you.

Rachel October 4, 2011 at 11:12 am

Adoptions is difficult, and expensive unless you are adopting out of the foster care system. While adopting from the foster care system is a wonderful thing to do, it is not the right choice for everyone. If you have 5 young children, it may not be the safest decision for your children to bring in a foster child, as they are often the product of abuse and tend to have behavioral problems that could end up being dangerous to your small children. Obviously this could happen with one of your children, but the likelihood is much smaller.

Plus, many of these families have large families because they don’t believe in birth control, so adopting a baby wouldn’t change how many kids they gave birth to, just how many they end up with.

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Serenity's Mama October 5, 2011 at 10:08 am

I understand that for sure, but imagine how many kids end up in foster care and abused by this system because some religious nut convinced the mom that abortion was inhumane…. or how about those young woman who are afraid and just drop their baby in a dumpster?
We need to let woman know they have somewhere to go where all their options are presented with non biased energy so they can make the best choice for them.

As for the breeders with no birth control, yes they will continue to breed but at least if they are adopting too they aren’t such hypocrites and are saving kids from subpar lives.

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My Educated Birth October 4, 2011 at 10:26 am

I personally would not have an abortion, but I’m most certainly pro-choice, as well. The only thing that I want to add is that often abortion statistics are skewed, including the “day after” pill – which then leaves you open to considering all birth control, because birth control essentially causes abortion. So it’s a tough issue to navigate because it bleeds into so many other areas.

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Hillary October 4, 2011 at 10:27 am

When I was 16 years old I took a friend (also newly 16) to have an abortion. It was a horrible experience. The protesters outside the clinic yelled at us and called her names I won’t dare repeat today.

We were so young and so uninformed. We were not capable of making those choices on our own, but we did. She had her abortion because she was scared to tell her parents and I helped her (even though everything inside me was screaming “TELL SOMEONE”). Maybe if I had been a little more responsible and a little more mature things would have turned out differently. I guess we’ll never know.

Today i feel very similiar to you. I do not agree with abortion but I understand what the consequences could be of taking that choice away from some women. It’s such a difficult topic.

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TheFeministBreeder October 4, 2011 at 10:31 am

I can’t imagine ever having an abortion. Just hearing about them makes me SOOOOO sad. But I recognize that it is just not my right to tell another woman what to do with her body. The same exact people who want to ban abortion are the ones who want to ban VBAC, birthing outside the hospital, and ANY informed choice. If you take a way a mother’s right to make choices about her body just because she’s pregnant, then you’re telling the law that it can do whatever it wants to her because the pregnancy has made property of her doctor, the state, and/or general public opinion.

I am pro-choice, but I’m NOT all “Yay! Abortions! One for everybody!” I am Pro Keep-the-government-outside-my-body because nothing good has EVER come from forcing women to carry babies they don’t want or can’t handle. In areas where abortion is illegal, it doesn’t decrease the amount of abortions – it just makes them deadlier. Desperate women will always seek out ways to end pregnancies they don’t want, and if there are no safe legal ways to do that, then they’ll get back-alley abortions. It’s just the same as pushing informed birthing choice underground – it’s not like women stop having homebirths just because the state won’t license midwives. They do it anyway, but at a greater risk.

And for those “pro-life” people who say “well, she did it to herself” – all you’re doing is telling these women that having a baby should be their punishment for getting pregnant. If you force a woman to have a baby to punish her, aren’t you really just punishing the child? BTW, I don’t think that “well, the sonographer said that almost all women change their mind” is good evidence. I’m sure that anyone who has worked at a clinic can dispute that statistic easily. That was just that sonographer’s opinion, and NOT actual science.

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Janie October 4, 2011 at 1:41 pm

“The same exact people who want to ban abortion are the ones who want to ban VBAC, birthing outside the hospital, and ANY informed choice.”

^^ that makes absolutely no sense except to show that the different camps continue to paint the other side with one big ol paintbrush of misinformation.

There are plenty – pro-life, pro-homebirthers out there. Mrs. BWF herself seems to be one of them.

For the record:
one can be compassionate and conservative
one can be traditional but informed
one can be pro-choice but anti-abortion

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Sharon October 4, 2011 at 3:30 pm

If you look at the legislation and who in government (elected officials) supports it often times it is the same people who support abortion bans are the ones who are also trying to restrict how women birth. The same line of thinking of ‘the government and experts know best’ comes into play with both. So even if the masses do not fall into these categories government does.

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Sara October 4, 2011 at 10:36 am

I think finding middle ground on the abortion topic is impossible. Either you believe that a woman should have a choice at ANY time in her pregnancy, or you believe that, regardless of circumstance, a child/fetus/embryo has the right to live.

As a side note, I find the ‘pro-life’ community (most of the organizations, not all) gimmicky and with no real intention to end abortion, only to manage it. It is wrong. It really makes the “cause” (for lack of better word) appear like a joke. My opinion.

I believe that there is a truth greater than me that I need to live abiding to, that is, ‘Do not murder’. It isn’t a truth simply for me, but one that is established whether or not I believe it.

This is not about a woman’s choice; it is about a child who doesn’t have a choice, having his or her life terminated. Inside the womb, or outside, this individual is stll human and still has done nothing deserving of being killed, regardless of circumstances of conception.

Why do we also assume women have MORE rights to choose, if they are raped? Isn’t that inconsistent? Why is this even an arguement? What has happened to a woman in this circumstance leaves the offender, not the child, deserving of death. If we live our life based on circumstance, there is no longer any absolutes, right or wrong, but whatever is right at the moment. We have two options: either everything is permissible based on individual perception and circumstance and feeling, or there is a law that transcends, that endures. If the first, we should be accepting of every sort of decision, if we really want to support women, from infanticide, to rape, to stealing, child abuse, etc.

Although I don’t see Ron Paul as pro-life, I do agree with his comment about children being more ‘work’ after they are born….and really, this is what abortion does in the first place, it eliminates that element…the after birth element…of the child’s life. It does not eliminate a ‘potential’ child’.

Women have been ‘taken’…lied to, taken advantage of, profited from, truly unsupported, unloved, not cared for, by a system that promotes choice. We DESIRE to support each other. It is critical that we do. Children, that are still unborn, need support as well and the only one who can care for that child is the woman who is carrying him/her.

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Rachel October 4, 2011 at 11:18 am

I think that Pro-Life people aim to manage abortion rather than outlaw it because it is much easier to get the public to vote for a bill saying you have to have been raped to get an abortion rather than you can’t have an abortion.

I think that abortion is VERY wrong. But, I know that outlawing it completely is probably never going to happen. So anything that leads to LESS babies being killed is a good thing. I believe life begins at conception and I don’t think you should ever be allowed to have an abortion (ectopic pregnancies excluded, as neither mother or baby has much chance of living through those) but that is unrealistic in the times we live in.

I think women should have to have a hysterectomy with their first abortion. If you don’t want a child so much that you are willing to kill it, you probably don’t need to have children.

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Leanne October 4, 2011 at 9:00 pm

“I think women should have to have a hysterectomy with their first abortion. If you don’t want a child so much that you are willing to kill it, you probably don’t need to have children.”

That’s the most awful thing I’ve heard yet. That’s really disgusting.

Super Christian of you.

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HaleyLeann October 4, 2011 at 3:55 pm

VERY well written. Thanks for sharing that.

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emma October 4, 2011 at 10:45 am

what a fantastic, well written post, a job well done!! thank you for this, you have done well Mrs BWF. thank you again!!

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Kelley October 4, 2011 at 10:45 am

I used to be pro-choice for the woman–before I knew so many of the details about the abortion industry, and before I realized that abortion is taking away the choice of the child. Also, I am the aunt of an adopted child, so I am strongly pro-adoption. Just this morning I listened to audio snippets of a speech given by Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood manager. In her speech she talked about the fact that she had to tell her parents that she had killed two of their grandchildren. She also talked about her gruesome work as a POC technician. POC stands for “Product of Conception,” a sterilized way to say baby, and the process involved putting back together the suctioned and dismembered parts to make sure everything had been removed from the womb so there would be no infection. Here’s the YouTube link if you want to listen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcJmwoRJI3c&feature=channel_video_title

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Rachel October 4, 2011 at 10:55 am

I think that your ideas are really good. Although my views are more extreme, I think your ideas are better because I feel that they are more feasible, and I think fair to people who feel differently than I do.

I am quite disturbed by the comment on here about women knowing that their baby is more than a blob and having an abortion anyway. I always figured that abortion was accepted by many people because they don’t feel it is a “life”. While I still find it wrong, it was much easier to stomach than the idea that women were knowingly and willingly killing their baby. Why on earth can’t you kill your babies and toddlers than? If life begins at conception to you, than why is it okay to have an abortion, but not leave your baby in a dumpster once it is born? I am not trying to be confrontational, I am sure it is a difficult decision, I am just trying to understand the logic behind it, and how the logic is different in different situations that lead to the same end result. (Mrs. BWF – if you find this part to controversial and would like me to delete this paragraph I am happy to. I don’t want to cause problems on your blog, but I do want to have my opinions heard and questions answered.)

Also, if it is okay to have abortions, why is it not okay to do so many other things? Why in some countries is it illegal to spank your kids? Why is it borderline illegal to not vaccinate your kids? What about car seat laws? We make so many laws that limit parents rights (whether for good or bad reasons) once the child is born, but no laws to limit parents rights before it is born.

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Myndee October 4, 2011 at 1:50 pm

To your last paragraph- if you limited a mother’s rights before her baby was born, you could then argue that a woman who gets cancer while pregnant should not get treatment because it can and likely will kill the baby. If the rights of the unborn child take precedence over the rights of the mother, women could be forced into caesarean sections against their will, in the name of “it’s best for baby”. There is a book called Pushed by Jennifer Block that really helped me understand why abortion should be legal, and how you can wish it didn’t happen so often and work to change that, but still support the right’s of the mother to have control over her body.

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Sharon October 4, 2011 at 3:39 pm

I don’t see the problem. Of course its easier to believe its just a blob but not everyone does. It is easier to believe that women who abort are ill informed, unfeeling, unattached women but that isn’t the case. Other circumstances arise that preclude the decision to continue the pregnancy. People have moral dilemmas all the time. Some people are prolife but prodeath penalty as well. To be human is to have juxtapositions of different beliefs. I think it goes to show that it isn’t as black and white as many of us believe. That the decision to abort is complicated. Not nearly as easy as people seem to think it is.

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Angie October 4, 2011 at 11:03 am

I have to agree that ‘exceptions’ based on the mothers’ perspective is too loose a concept… If the baby is alive, that is the concrete point and no one’s feelings can change fact…

(sigh)… I agree with this post- we need to have more discussion about NOT becomming pregnant starting with fertility/body awareness and including absitinence AND contraceptives. Honestly, in MOST cases a mother DOES have a choice concerning reproduction- she can choose not to have sex (pregnancy is the natural and expected outcome of sex. If you want to ‘play’ be ready for the consequences). But if she becomes pregnant, the choices and issues of physical autonomy become blurred- whose choice? Whose autonomy?

Abortion is a subject that doesn’t seem to get discussed much in natural birth venues- most women are feminists saying that women deserve the autonomy to make decisions about their bodies AND most women in birth circles are feverently concerned about the baby as well- what is healthiest and best for this baby from its earliest life?

I’ve said it before on other webpages- ultrasound DOES change our relationship with abortion. I’ve heard other women speak about how an ultrasound impacted their abortion decision. I have to say- as a women’s health advocate, doula, Certified Lactation Counselor and student midwife- I am for INFORMED choice. A woman needs to understand what’s happening inside her body before agreeing to a surgical procedure. No matter OUR OWN feelings about that, to allow that mother to excercise truly informed consent, she needs to know…

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TracyKM October 4, 2011 at 11:03 am

At 18, I was assaulted by a trusted friend and got pregnant (back then, Ontario still had grade 13, so I had over a year of high school left). I terminated the pregnancy at 8-10 weeks. I was not shown the ultrasound. It wouldn’t have changed my mind.
Since then, I have had 4 other pregnancies. One of them, I had ultrasound at nearly 6 weeks, and to me, it was still a “blob”; nothing looked like a baby yet. I lost that pregnancy at 13 weeks. Your ultrasound image is concerning–it looks full term as there is nothing for comparison. A baby at that age is still only about 2″ long, and I noticed nothing resembling those pictures while I miscarried (though I wouldn’t have known exactly what to look for).
“What about the choice for the child to live or die? Would you want that choice taken away from you” That choice WAS taken away from me. Of course no one with a wanted pregnancy is going to answer “Yes! Take my baby’s life if YOU want”. Even people who believe that a miscarriage/stillbirth is “God’s plan” have acknowledged and accepted that choice is taken from them! I think every woman–God believing or not–already KNOWS that they don’t have total control on the choice of having the baby live or die. It’s a part of being pregnant–the very chance that “someone” else will make that decision for you.
As for pro-lifer’s often appeal of “adoption is the answer”…not ONE of the protesters at the clinic I went to offered to help me. They were insulting, rude, and righteous. Perhaps if one of them had said “I want to adopt your baby”, I might have changed my mind.

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Rachel October 4, 2011 at 11:22 am

I think that anti-abortion protesters are WAY out of line. Calling someone names and showing them gruesome pictures is NOT a way to reach someone. It is a way to make people defiant and angry. I think they need to have a different approach.

In case anyone on here is considering abortion, I would LOVE to adopt your baby, and if I can’t do it right now (I’m not exactly rich) I know there are MANY other people out there who feel the same way and would love the chance to love your baby.

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Hannah October 4, 2011 at 11:04 am

Oh mama, that was so hard to read. I’m in my second trimester and just weeping at my kitchen table. Thanks for posting. I hate abortion so much. :(

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Mandy October 4, 2011 at 11:09 am

I agree except for the part about rape. I read a testimony of a hold who was allowed to live and her mother considered abortion. She believes and so do I that EVERY baby deserves to live.

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Samantha October 4, 2011 at 11:20 am

Thank you, Mrs. BWF, for a rational post that really tries to get at both sides. This issue is something I think about a lot. I’ve always identified as pro-choice, and probably always will, but I do agree that WAY too many abortions are performed. The emphasis, as you rightly say, must be on education, first, because so many of these pregnancies could be avoided, and second, on support for pregnant women. I know that walking into that clinic to have an abortion is perhaps the most alienating thing a woman can go through– and neither the pro-choice nor the pro-life movements seem to really appreciate that fact. What women need is honest, rational support. Not claims that “It’s just a blob” OR claims that they’re going to “hell.” I for one believed neither of those things, and neither made my decision any less painful. Because that guy that wanted to save my immortal soul did not offer to adopt my baby, to help me adopt the baby, to help me raise the baby, etc. You see where I’m going. The point is that neither of the party lines provides any comfort– or, for most people, does anything to change their minds. What it does is shove the issue into a closet for most women. Supposedly as many as one in three American women have had an abortion. I don’t know any– or at least I think I don’t.

Anyway, kudos to you for trying to start a conversation between these two very divided camps.

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Jasmina October 4, 2011 at 11:30 am

WOW to the Ron Paul paragraph and especially the video. I am neither a Republican nor a Christian, but I have a lot of respect for what I just read/saw. Thank you.

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Katherine October 4, 2011 at 11:31 am

I am in favor of supporting women, whether they decide to abort a pregnancy or rear a child. That makes me pro-woman. I honestly, honestly believe that this isn’t something that women undertake blithely. We know ourselves well enough to know if having a child is something we, the already-existing-on-earth, can handle. Women might abort because they are in an abusive relationship and know a child is one more way to tie them to the abuser (or they don’t want to carry a sociopath’s child). Maybe they already have four kids and know that they are not going to good parents to the four on the ground if they bring the Down Syndrome baby home. Maybe the condom broke and they really just do not want to have a child at this point in time. That is not my business, and I don’t know what is in their hearts, but I trust them to make decisions that are right for them and that allow themselves to look in the mirror every morning.

I also know that our culture pays lip-service to being “pro-life” and “family values,” but IT IS NOT. Paid maternity leave for the mom working a cash register at WalMart? Methinks NOT. Moms being told that they can’t take pumping breaks at work, or that they have to pump in the unisex bathroom…happens all the time. FMLA is 12 weeks total, and if your mother happens to get cancer and need care the same year as your baby is born, you are S.O.L. if you run through it. Breastfeeding mothers told they have to leave the restaurant/mall/amusement park where they are nursing their babies? Lotsa those stories out there. Daycare for infants? Runs up to $2K/month if you are in an urban area. And don’t even get me started on how poorly funded Head Start and public schools are. Yeah, kids are great when they are tidily stowed in the womb, but as soon as they are out and need social services or social support, fuggedaboutit. Pro-lifers who are not also fighting hard for social justice issues and creating a culture that values life from cradle to grave can take their three foot tall aborted fetus signs and go jump in the lake. It’s easy to protect a fetus, harder to nurture human beings.

Case in point: I know somebody who is pregnant unintentionally, really wants a child (but didn’t want one at this time), and is considering abortion BECAUSE HER HEALTH INSURANCE WILL STOP ONE WEEK AFTER HER DUE DATE (she’s in school). She is freaked out because she says, “I can’t afford to have a baby.” If we had socialized medicine and better support for families, if she knew that she would not be liable for $10-14K in hospital bills for the prenatal care and birth and then on her own after the birth, I don’t think it would even be on the table as an option.

And to all the people who say, “Well she could just give the baby up for adoption,” that has super-creepy ethical implications — she is a person of modest means. That’s not a crime, just a circumstance not entirely of her own making (economic recession, anyone?). Why should she be a sentenced to be a baby-factory who has the responsibility to love and nurture this baby in utero, and then have to hand it over to strangers just because she has less money than they do? I think that is at least as “wrong” as abortion.

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TheFeministBreeder October 4, 2011 at 12:42 pm

I agree totally with the “baby factory” comment. Just because other people want babies (and seriously, has anyone SEEN how many unwanted kids there are in our foster care system?!?) does NOT mean that another woman should be forced to carry children for the infertile. After experiencing the flat-out misery of pregnancy, and being practically cut in half during a cesarean, I could never force another woman to take that on against her will. I was near suicidally depressed during my first pregnancy because I did not want it. I kept it, and fell in love with my child, but if I hadn’t been able to care for my child, who knows what would have happened to me. As it was, I had to be on medication to deal with what happened to me, and I had a GREAT support network. Other women are not so lucky, and might never recover from being someone else’s baby factory.

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Myndee October 4, 2011 at 1:43 pm

You make excellent points. More social justice and support for mothers- especially in the workplace should absolutely be something we are all fighting for, espeically those who want less abortions. Does your friend qualify for state insurance like medicaid? Is homebirth an option for her- without insurance, HB is a lot cheaper than hospital births. Best of luck to her!

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CJ October 4, 2011 at 11:34 am

I want to add to my previous post, that ideally, adoption should be made easier and more afordable to families who want to adopt.
And society should be much more compassionate to young mothers, regardless of their situations, or how they “got” pregnant.
Society needs to be more compassionate towards children. They’re tiny, real people. Not burdens, no matter how they came to be.

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Katherine October 4, 2011 at 12:51 pm

There are also LOTS and LOTS of older kids in foster care, kids with cognitive, behavioral, or physical health problems who are totally available for adoption. Are there lines out the door waiting to adopt these sometimes no longer so tiny, real people?

To play devil’s advocate, I would ask: at what point do they turn from “tiny, real people” into “burdens”? When they turn 3 and should be in a state-funded preschool that none of the taxpayers want to fund? When they turn 12 and become sexually active and don’t get accurate health information so they can avoid STIs and unplanned teen pregnancy? When they turn 16 and get in trouble with drugs and need to go to a therapist or rehab? When they turn 19 and are involved in their first robbery and get sent to prison? Why does our responsibility to each other end?

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CJ October 4, 2011 at 9:13 pm

You’re absolutely right. Compassion should NOT end when the child is no longer “tiny”.
I have an aunt and uncle with 8 adopted children. Only one was adopted as an infant, the others were adopted out of foster care between ages 6 and 13. They’re looking into adopting more too!

Society so often views children, regardless of age, as burdens. That needs to end.

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Ivette October 4, 2011 at 12:27 pm

I have terminated a pregnancy. and i do not regret it. and truthfully if i ever felt guilty about anything, was putting MYSELF in that position. They did an u/s, and they didn’t show it to me. They put me in a room with my file and I looked through it to find it. It looked like a Lima Bean. Yeah, it was a ‘baby’, but i didnt want it. People say ‘”take responsibility for your actions”. well i did. i did what was best FOR ME financially and emotionally. now you say newborns are a bigger parasite that an unborn child. well to have a newborn you have to go through months of pregnancy, to have a newborn to take care of you have to make the CHOICE to keep it, to have a baby, to birth a baby. abortions are there so you dont have to go through that, because you know whats to come, going through with 9 or 10 months of pregnancy is not something i would make anyone do. consenting to sex is not consenting to a baby. After being pregnant my self, after birthing a child myself, i have become more prochoice. I made sacrifices, both during pregnancy and during labor and birth, for my baby. i wouldnt ever think of making anyone go through that if they did not want to. The fetus cannot have choices that trump the mothers, because it cannot sustain itself. it does not breathe its own air. it does not live on its own. honestly putting it up for adoption is not a choice i would consider. the american system for unwanted children is SHIT! i wouldnt even want my dog in it. Honestly, what everyone should do is support peoples choices. even if the woman you are supporting is going to go through with it, she needs the support and love of people. girls would NOT feel guilty about anything if people wouldnt go around calling them murderers and what not. they dont need that. they need the love and support of people the trust.

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Mindy October 4, 2011 at 1:13 pm

“Consenting to sex is not consenting to have a baby”!?!!? Herein, lies the first and most disturbing problem, because ABSOLUTELY when you consent to have sex you consent to the possibility of getting pregnant and having a baby. You don’t want a baby – don’t have sex. Period. This is exactly why we need better sex education in our schools, teaching safe sex, abstinence or a combination of the two. Parents – do your job and educate your children.

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Sharon October 4, 2011 at 3:42 pm

And what of the women who do use protection and it fails? People are going to have sex. Expecting them to be abstinent is not realistic.

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Mindy October 5, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Sharon, I didn’t say to ONLY teach abstinence, because I know it’s not right for everybody. I clearly stated “safe sex, abstinence or a combination of the two”, because what’s right for one is not right for all. “What of the women who do use protection and it fails?” If you think you’re responsible enough to have sex (even with protection) you better be darn sure you’re responsible enough to handle the consequences, should the contraception fail.

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HaleyLeann October 4, 2011 at 4:28 pm

“The fetus cannot have choices that trump the mothers, because it cannot sustain itself. it does not breathe its own air. it does not live on its own.” Sorry for being critical, but this is a lame argument. A newborn can’t sustain itself either. It’s still needs the nurturing care of an adult or it too will die.

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Mrs. BWF October 4, 2011 at 4:35 pm

A newborn baby can not sustain itself either on it’s own. It is a very valid point, not lame.

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HaleyLeann October 4, 2011 at 6:29 pm

I was making the same point as you. I was referring to the comment that Ivette said, “The fetus cannot have choices that trump the mothers, because it cannot sustain itself. it does not breathe its own air. it does not live on its own.” I feel that the argument that the baby has no rights because it can’t sustain itself is lame because the same could be said for a newborn. They still need our help to survive outside of the womb.

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Danielle October 4, 2011 at 12:56 pm

This doesn’t address one of the most dangerous of all risk factors in carrying a baby: homicide. Homicide is the number 1 cause of death for pregnant women in the US.

In the statistics you provided, rape and medical necessity are listed as cause for 7% of abortions. The other 93% are lumped together as “inconvenient.” Many women in abusive relationships do not seek help for domestic violence until it has progressed. The issue of violence against pregnant women is extremely important to this discussion. There are most definitely women who choose to abort to stay alive (and maybe protect the children they already have).

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Lindsey October 4, 2011 at 1:01 pm

I was raised pro-choice. I mean, my mom and I attended marches, protests, I rode a bus to D.C. when I was 18 to march for woman’s rights. I have every response to anything the pro-lifers can throw at me! I was raised to believe a life begins when you have one. And even thinking of a God was foolish.

I am 26 now and have 2 babies. Over the last year I have struggled greatly with finding my own voice when I always had someone speaking for me. I do think a fetus is a baby, and even typing this makes me anxious because my first reaction is to argue with myself. I watched my babies grow inside me, every three months recieving u/s photos of the newer, bigger little person inside of me. Feeling the kicks, punches, turning. These are things I cannot ignore.

I still believe that woman should be able to decide what happens to their bodies, and always will. But I agree with most of you, education is key. I live in Oklahoma, where sex ed isn’t great in schools, and I see pregnant girls all too often. I will think on it, and find a way to help in my community. Thank you for this post, I really liked the video, such a stong woman.

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Michelle October 4, 2011 at 1:19 pm

A baby doesn’t have a right to choice because it can not take care of it’s own needs on the outside of the mother? Guess all these babies sucking from a mother’s breast and requiring regular diaper changes don’t have rights either. This just goes to show that you can not regulate a person’s heart with bills, laws, and such. This is something that must be done on a spiritual level. God is the only one that can change hearts and produce fruit in our lives. Binding our beliefs on someone that doesn’t share the same thoughts on God and scripture is often futile.

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Sara October 4, 2011 at 3:54 pm

I agree, Michelle. Bills, laws, etc….pointless. It is really beyond just the debate of whether abortion is okay, or if sex ed is sufficient. Either there are absolutes, or there aren’t. If a person does not believe in absolutes, then whatever seems right, is right. There is no logic that will change that.

I mostly destest the prolife ‘movement’ for these reasons.

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Stephanie October 4, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Strangely enough I had this conversation with a doula client last week. They shared that they did sidewalk counseling at the local abortion clinic. I was a little taken aback since I am pro-choice. Mainly like many people I know because I itch at the thought of government control and the idea of giving government a larger foothold in being able to say what I can or can not do with my body. Now I do not agree with abortion as a means of birth control. I know that some women need and are comfortable with their decision to terminate their pregnancies. How many women are shamed into keeping a pregnancy they are not prepared for? And then what happens to those children? I have cared for foster children. Unwanted and abused from birth. Not only will making abortion illegal increase the load on the foster care system it will see a rise in infant deaths and underground abortions. I agree with Mrs. BWF. I think education and fair and open discourse is the answer to the abortion debate. Whenever a candidate hits the abortion platform I cringe because I feel like it’s cheap pull at the heart strings. I mean who really wants to murder babies? No one. Not even mothers who have terminated pregnancies really want to kill a baby. I feel like if a woman has come to that point fully educated in the process and repercussions then she needs our love and support not condemnation. I do not know that an ultrasound is necessary or should be “required” I think that the generic this is what your baby looks like drawings should suffice. And then to really explain to the women how the baby is removed… I don’t think it is wrong to educate or require that the process and all it’s details be explained to the patient. The key part of informed consent is being INFORMED.

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Myndee October 4, 2011 at 1:29 pm

I understand and pretty much agree with you. I am sad that abortions are part of our culture, and I definitely believe they are overused. I also feel that the emotional and physical tolls are downplayed by many. However, I also do not want abortion to become illegal. The flip side of that coin is women will surely lose rights to give birth how they see fit, in the name of the unborn child. Thank you for starting this discussion.

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Ad October 4, 2011 at 2:06 pm

In all of this discussion I hear the mom’s rights and the babies rights being talked about. And while those are both very important, you are leaving one other person’s rights out of the picture, the fathers! Just because mom doesn’t want a baby and wants to abort doesn’t mean the father feels the same way. My husband’s girlfriend got pregnant when they were teenagers, she aborted the baby. This devestated my husband, 30 years later he still gets very emotional when we discuss it. The baby does not belong exclusively to the mother, if the father wants to raise the child he should have the option.

Murdering a baby because mom doesn’t want to go through pregnancy and childbirth is wrong. The bible says “Thou shalt not kill.” it doesn’t say don’t kill before a certain age, or if it’s not convient, or before the child can live independant of care. Obviously I am pro life, but I also don’t want the government stepping into my business in any form or fashion. I believe that these people who kill their babies will have to answer to God about their murder. And I believe these drs who violate their oath to “do no harm” will have to answer to God about the countless murders they commit. It is not my place to make them feel guilty (and I don’t believe that I could, if they feel guilty it is their own conciounce eating at them not mine) or condemn them, God will do that when they stand before him on judgement day.

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