Pro-Choice Open Thread

As part of blog for choice day, we're supposed to talk about why we're pro-choice.  For me, choice is non-negotiable, and though I don't like some of the single issue groups that work in this issue area, it's a core Democratic and progressive value that we must protect at all costs.  The right to an abortion is about the right for women to control their own lives, and I won't accept any arguments that suggest that women shouldn't have the right to make very personal decisions or should have to make them in some sort of legal jeopardy.  That's just immoral.  I'm all for legislation reducing the number of abortions through legal assistance, economic help, and sex education, though I would point out that these tend to decrease all social ills and so I would support them for other reasons as well.  But anything that makes the state sanction abortion as anything but an intensely private choice by women (and men to a lesser extent) in a vulnerable and difficult position in their lives is wrong, wrong, wrong.

This is an open thread.  Why are you pro-choice?  There's a poll designed by Amy Sullivan on the flip.

Tags: Open Thread (all tags)

Comments

51 Comments

How Do I Love [Choice]? Let Me Count the Ways

With apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning:

Libertarian: Keep government out of the bedroom and doctor's office.

Civil rights: it's all about privacy.

Empowerment: my daughter should have the authority to make such decisions for herself.

Professional autonomy: Since when did the government come to know more about medical procedures than doctors?

Religion or Separation of Church and State: If abortion is a deeply religious question, government should not take sides.

Science: On what basis should legislators determine when human life begins?

Population and the Environment: One of the best ways to protect the environment is to make it easier to prevent unwanted additions to the world's population.

by Arthurkc 2007-01-22 02:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Choice Open Thread

I am pro-choice for a simple reason: Life is complicated.  When you get pregnant, it is the result of an activity that can take a very short amount of time.  Why should a very short activity cause you to be enslaved for 18 years at a minimum?

I am pro-choice because a child is a choice, not a requirement.

by dataguy 2007-01-22 02:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Choice Open Thread

I can't make that kind of decision for someone else.

by jallen 2007-01-22 02:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Choice Open Thread

I'm not just pro-choice, I'm pro-abortion.  Abortion serves a positive function in society.  It serves a positive sociological function and a positive ecological function.

I'm all for reducing the number of abortions if that means reducing the root cause of abortions, which is pregnancy.  I do not support attempts to triangulate on the issue in other ways, such as making abortion "rare" by encouraging adoption and the like.

Abortion is a form of birth control and should not be separated from other forms of birth control.  And birth control is a right.  The right to health care includes the right to birth control, which includes abortion.  Separating abortion from other forms of birth control only lends credence to the religious right dogma that fetuses have "rights".

Fetuses are not babies.  Life begins at birth, not conception.  The worldwide overpopulation crisis demands widespread use of birth control.  Abortion is a form of birth control.

by Old Yeller 2007-01-22 03:06PM | 0 recs
Not just for feminists

This will probably piss off some people here, but even though I am strongly pro-abortion, I am not in favor of "a woman's right to choose." I believe in a couple's right to choose. The father should have equal say in the matter. I don't buy the argument about a woman having control over her own body. Having control over your reproduction trumps that by a long shot, and that involves the man just as much.

The way I see the best policy working is like this:

1. When a woman gets pregnant, both parents can decide whether they want to keep the baby.

2. If either parent wants to keep it, the woman has the baby.

3. If only one parent wants to keep it, the other is absolved of any responsibility for caring for the child after it is born.

4. If only the father wants to keepit , he must pay the mother a large fee to have the baby for him.

That seems fair to me. I welcome opposing arguments.

by pualo 2007-01-22 03:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Not just for feminists

Uh, I don't know, rape, sexual assault and abusive relationships seem to me to be a pretty convincing opposing argument.  That's why most women who have abortions get them--oftentimes abuse, sometimes poverty, sometimes unpreparedness to raise the child.  The incidence of people in quality, stable relationships getting abortions because they don't feel like having a baby is infinitesimal.

by DanM 2007-01-22 04:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Not just for feminists

I thought it went without saying that rapists would lose their right to have any say in the matter. That would apply to female rapists as well. But I don't think a relationship has to be quality or stable for my policy to make sense. In fact the most important target for my policy is "couple's" who are not together at all, like two people who just have sex one time without any intent to stay together. The mother should not be allowed to abort the father's child if he wants to keep it and is willing to fairly reimburse her.

by pualo 2007-01-22 05:32PM | 0 recs
married couples do have abortions

by debcoop 2007-01-22 08:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Not just for feminists

Sorry, pualo, when a man grows a uterus, he gets to have an equal say. Until then, he can give his opinion, but the woman has the final say. Period.

by Oregonian 2007-01-22 05:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Not just for feminists

I can't see how your position is anything other than overt sexism. You cannot treat two people differently based on their anatomy.

by pualo 2007-01-22 05:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Not just for feminists
Let me get this straight. A woman gets pregnant. The man who impregnated her wants to keep the baby. She does not, but she is still required to have the baby? And some amount of money is supposed to make it okay that she must give up control over her own body? I'm sorry pualo, but I'm really curious about what value you would put on say, cutting off your dick because someone else wanted and would pay money for you to do so.
by JonesingforaDem 2007-01-22 06:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Not just for feminists

I'm afraid I have no idea what the connection is to your analogy. I just don't think a woman should be allowed to kill an unborn child if its father wants to keep it. And I say that as a proponent of abortion. It just isn't right to put that kind of power in the hands of one person alone when there is another person equally--or at least almost equally--involved in the situation. The father may view the abortion as murder, a viewpoint that I disagree with, but respect. So from his point of view, the mother is given sole discretion over whether or not to murder their child. That is unbalanced and unconscionable.

The father must have some mechanism to protect the child's life. I don't know much about medical science, but perhaps the child could be transplanted from the mother to another carrier in these cases? Or maybe someday. It's not that I want to force a woman to do anything, it's just that I don't see any other way to handle it without completely marginalizing the interest of the man, who I believe should be entitled to equal protection. It's a difficult problem, and I'm not sure I have the best solution. I just wish pro-choice camp wasn't so pervaded by what I see as rampant sexism against men.

by pualo 2007-01-22 09:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Not just for feminists
I am offended that you find it so easy to put a monetary value to the choices that woman is allowed to make.
by JonesingforaDem 2007-01-23 03:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Not just for feminists
And I think its hypocritical that in this supposed "sexism" against men, that you would probably be unlikely to consent to a similar "buying" of something relating to your own body.
by JonesingforaDem 2007-01-23 03:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Not just for feminists

pualo, I don't agree with you, but I can understand your position.  The main reason I don't agree with you is that I'm pregnant right now -- I'm guessing that you have never been pregnant?

Every woman has a different experience of pregnancy, and I'm a little older than many (36), but I have to say, this is the most challenging thing I've done physically and emotionally, EVER.  Pregnancy is not fun.  It's really, really hard.  You give up your body and many aspects of your life for a long time, and for me, the only thing that remotely makes this ordeal worth it is that I'm excited about having a child at the end of it.  Otherwise, forget it!

The first trimester was, for me, the darkest time of my life in many respects.  DESPITE being excited to be pregnant because I want and planned for this child, the three months of perpetual nausea and exhaustion were so physically draining and emotionally depressing that I thought I wasn't going to make it.  Although the second trimester was much better, each day brought with it another strange and generally unpleasant symptom, ranging from the mildly inconvenient (increased heartburn and gas, nosebleeds, and itchy skin, for example) to the severely painful (stabbing round ligament pains, daily charley horses, and aching pains in my ribs that no Tylenol can touch).

... and I haven't gotten to labor and delivery yet.  Plus, I've had a very healthy pregnancy -- everything that has happened to me has been well within the range of "normal"!  I'm sure other women suffer less than I have, but a lot suffer far more, and need to take a lot of time off of work, or even to be hospitalized for long periods of time.  Many women can and do lose their jobs as a result, I'd imagine, no matter how immoral and/or illegal this may be.

Maybe it's just my experience, but I just can't see how forcing a woman to go through this experience when she does not wish to is remotely reasonable.  I don't know whether people who have not been pregnant can fully understand how big of a deal pregnancy is to live with!

Anti-abortion folk often say, if you aren't prepared to have the child, don't take a chance at having sex.  I would say to straight men, if you are not prepared for the possibility that your partner may wish to have an abortion should a pregnancy accidentally occur, don't take a chance at having vaginal intercourse.  This is a fundamental compatibility issue that needs to be determined before that sperm gets going.  

I don't think it's necessarily rampant sexism against men to recognize that a man's and a woman's position in this situation are drastically different.  I can understand men's frustration with feeling helpless and left out of the decision-making process, but I don't think the answer is imposing pregnancy and childbirth on a woman.  The phrase "cruel and unusual punishment" comes to mind.

But pardon me ... I have to go pee now for the 8th time this hour.

by Ms Bluezone 2007-01-23 03:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Not just for feminists

How about the other side of the issue? I am concerned that a woman can have a baby that a man does not want to keep, and then force the man to pay child support. But a man has no similar powers.

I am considerably persuaded by the arguments I have seen here, but I'm still not comfortable with the inequities it creates. I believe that the government has the responsibility to attempt to create equality where none exists in nature.

by pualo 2007-01-23 09:46AM | 0 recs
women are not slot machines

you don't just put in some sperm and out pops a baby with absolutely no physical consequences to her life or her health.

Elizabeth Sanger, the women who founded Planned Parenthood, her mother basically died, not from a botched abortion,  but from having too many children.  Pregnancy is hard on your body.  I know; I've been pregnant.

So no men don't get the right to pay women to put their health, their future, their bodies and lives at risk so they can do be a father ....as an afterthought to either a night or even an ongoing relationship.

by debcoop 2007-01-22 08:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Choice Open Thread

I'm not... but don't hold it against me!

by belili 2007-01-22 03:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Choice Open Thread

So if a woman has an abortion, how long should she be in jail?

by Matt Stoller 2007-01-23 04:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Choice Open Thread

If we go by biblical precedent as the Right Wingers do when they talk about anti-gay laws, then the doctor would have to pay a fine for causing the "miscarriage."  50 Shekels maybe?

by yitbos96bb 2007-01-23 06:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Choice Open Thread

"So if a woman has an abortion, how long should she be in jail?"

Thats a strawman.  

IF abortion were made illegal, the enforcement can and most likely would be primarily focused on the medical professionals.  In the same way that drug possession is a minor offense and drug dealing is a major one.

by lynx 2007-01-23 06:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Choice Open Thread

I am pro-choice because I do not think the government should intrude upon private decisions. It also distresses me that those who are anti-choice are also anti birth-control (see: Dr. David Hager), anti-evolution, anti stem-cell research, and anti right-to-die. What next, a return to the abacus?

by alicel 2007-01-22 04:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Choice Open Thread

While I'm absolutely pro-choice as a matter of public policy, I also don't think that there's a constitutional right to it.  I think that if the vast majority want to ban it as a moral issue, that in a democracy you should be able to do that.  And I also think that decisions reached by legislation will eventually be much more stable than those reached by judicial fiat, as has been the case in Europe.  

by conantd 2007-01-22 05:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Choice Open Thread

I used to be pro-choice just because that seemed apparently reasonable to me--I mean, based on a uninformed opinion I would prefer that the option is available, because, as another commenter noted, the world is complex.  That was my simple political judgment of the whole thing.

But now I am pro-choice because I believe that there is a constitutional right to abortion.  Roe and Casey sit atop a line of precedent that it would be extremely dangerous and contrary to our scheme of government to overturn.  

Abortion, in my opinion more than anything else, is about limited government.

by Reece 2007-01-22 06:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Choice Open Thread

reasons to be pro choice are many. my own personal top of that list: anti-choicers are racist hypocrites who don't give a shit about living babies out of the womb. how many brown or black orphans have most anti-choices adopted? none, you say? well, have a nice cup of "shut the fuck up" then.

however, i'm not entirely happy with the way the left addresses this topic either. this proved to be the hardest post i've written in months, and i'm still not happy with it. but i believe it's possible to be pro-choice, and still have "issues" with abortion.

and to whoever said it's the "couple's" choice: i'm fine with that, the day it's possible for both parts of the couple to carry the child. until then, here- i have a cup of something for you too.

by chicago dyke 2007-01-22 05:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Choice Open Thread

I am a pro-life progressive.  I believe the state should play an active role in nurturing life at all stages - in utero and inter vivos.  Your rhetoric is insulting and glib.  You draw a really nasty battleline with your words that cuts right across the progressive movement.  You, and those who share your tone on either side of the debate, are part of what makes abortion such an effective wedge issue.

This thread was about making affirmative justifications for your belief, not taking lame and inaccurate pot-shots at those who disagree with you.

My progressive credentials are as good as yours.  I made the calls, worked the campaigns, and gave money to progressive causes.  After all of my work, I don't deserve your slanderous characterizations.

Be careful.  Not everyone agrees with you on this issue, but we remain your progressive brothers and sisters.

Our uteri are important, but they are not the Alpha and Omega of politics.

by Lassallean 2007-01-22 05:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Choice Open Thread

You're not alone Lassallean!

I'm pro-life because I don't beleive the state should sanction the ending of any life. I fully support planned parenthood's tactics of education and prevention, but ending the life of a fetus is one step too far.

Abortion is a wedge issue, and you wouldn't beleive how many people it has wedged from the progressive movement. Progressives are the most compassionate people in politics... it would only make sense that a portion of them extend that compassion to the unborn.

So please - at the very least, don't insult us.

by belili 2007-01-22 08:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Choice Open Thread

So if a woman has an abortion, how long should she be in jail?

by Matt Stoller 2007-01-23 04:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Choice Open Thread

Nice gambit, Matt.  Very effective rhetorically.

How's this for an answer:  The woman shouldn't go to jail.  It's not about punishing the woman; it's about protecting human life.  The woman is in a morally ambiguous and emotionally trying time in her life.  Why would we punish someone for that?  

The abortion provider is a different story.  He or she is removed and indifferent, and his or her act is deliberate and methodical.  If abortion were illegal, the abortion provider should suffer whatever criminal and professional consequences society deems appropriate for killing a human being in utero.

by Lassallean 2007-01-23 06:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Choice Open Thread

Because reproductive freedom is an inhernetly personal decision.  Because I don't want my daughter forced to do anything.  Because I don't believe anyone's religious beliefs should be forced on the rest of us.

by Marylander 2007-01-22 05:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Choice Open Thread

Well, obviously some will think me a barbarous fellow for this post, but I am not pro-choice. In my opinion the notion that anyone should be empowered to "choose" the abortion of a pregnancy and end a life, save certain extraordinary circumstances such as rape or concern for the mother's life, is morally abhorrent. Obviously some have the opinion that a fetus is not a life, that it is without rights and the protection of the law. To start, that is not even the legal situation today, the killing of a pregnant woman resulting in the death of the fetus carries with it two counts of murder. Even worse is the idea that abortions should be preformed to meet some academic, sociological end. No one should be aborted to decrease the stress on social services, or to curb the growth of poverty. Obviously this implication brings with it a obligation on the part of governments to provide for the people, to fight the "root causes of abortion." We must ensure access to health care, jobs, etc... but even in a society that fails to meet such standards, abortion is still the taking of a life, and no one has that choice. The solution is not to condone or encourage abortion, but rather the improvement of existing social conditions. When you have consensual sex, you must accept the possibility of pregnancy. One's lack of preparation or youthful inexperience is no excuse to simply do away with the unborn.

by LiberalPansy 2007-01-22 05:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Choice Open Thread

Let me also say this: I am most certainly a supporter of sex education and birth control and a stalwart defender of evolution and stem cell research.

by LiberalPansy 2007-01-22 05:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Choice Open Thread

While you are correct that several states have enacted laws adding murder charges when a fetus is killed along with a pregnant woman, I wouldn't be so cavalier in pointing to that fact in support of the proposition that a fetus is without rights or protection of the law.  

Those statutes were largely designed by pro-life legislators in order to challenge the holding of Roe et al.  They are round about ways of criminalizing actions the effect of which is similar to abortion.  It serves to link the action of abortion with the action of murder in the mind without making the argument.  By and large, they were throw away concessions to the right wing--recent additions to the law that don't follow any particular legal logic and are not necessary to the rational operation of the criminal law.  In other words,the statutes are thoroughly political.

Even so, I think people should examine the logic of the statutes.  If a woman is pregnant and is murdered, in the vast majority of cases, she will have been murdered after having chosen to keep the baby.  Thus, the statute would make some sense.  Whatever the legal status of the fetus at the time of the murder, the mother's intention to allow it to develop into a legal person would rationally support the argument that killing it was murder.  It is still a matter of choice.

by Reece 2007-01-22 06:18PM | 0 recs
Exodus on fetal personhood

"To start, that is not even the legal situation today, the killing of a pregnant woman resulting in the death of the fetus carries with it two counts of murder."

This piece of egregious legislation was designed solely so that you could say that.  It is designed to undermine the primacy of the mother's life and to say that the fetus is same a an alive women.  

That is in contradistinction to the BIBLE!!!! and the view of one major religion --- Judaism--

The first mention of the abortion issue is Exodus 21:22:

    When men fight and one of them hurts a pregnant women, and     miscarriage results, but no other harm ensues, the perpetrator     shall be fined whatever the woman's husband may exact from     him.

The husband is compensated by a fine for the loss of his progeny in this preceding passage. The clear implication is that the fetus does not rise to the level of the human being. Later the passage says that if "other harm occurs," namely that the woman is killed or injured, then the penalty shall be life for life, eye for eye, etc. Later, the Tannaim concluded from this that the fetus was not considered a living person. In fact, the fetus was defined as  part of its mother's body:

    A fetus is like its mother's thigh. (In hebrew: ubar yerekh     immo)                 --Hukhin 58A, Gittin, 23B

The Tannaim said the fetus had no independent life or rights. Indeed, the Mishna goes even further.

    If a woman has difficulty in childbirth, we cut up the     fetus\offspring in her womb and remove it limb by limb because     her life takes precedence over its life. Once its greater part     has emerged, you do not touch it because you may not set aside     one life for another.    --Mishna Ohalot 7.6

Not only is abortion permitted; it is mandated. We are under a positive moral\religious obligation to put the woman's life, up until she gives birth, before the life of any fetus

by debcoop 2007-01-22 08:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Choice Open Thread

I am pro-choice because if somebody else tried to tell me what to do with my own body I'd stick my finger is his fucking eye. So even though I do not have a uterus, I feel obliged to vigorously defend the rights of those who do to use them as they see fit.

And yeah, sure, it's not really all that simple -- the issue is fraught with such immense moral ambiguities, and that's obviously what makes for all the strong feelings. For me, though, it really is as simple as being sovereign over one's own body. Period. Everything else, morally fraught though it may be, is secondary to that principle. That's why I'm pro-choice.

by scottso 2007-01-22 06:33PM | 0 recs
Because I grew up before there was choice

and saw the damage that did.

Two of my friends got pregnant in high school, at 14 and 16 -- both were A students who were forced to drop out of school, marry, and face the world with 9th and 10th grade educations.

Another high school friend was sent to Arizona, supposedly for her asthma, but I now believe to an unwed mothers "home."

All of that so frightening to someone who wanted out of that small town, and the instant housewife life, that I didn't have sex until I was 19.

My former babysitter also got pregnant at 16, dropped out of high school to marry, and when I next saw her, she was missing teeth at age 30.

In college I met the daughters of the rich and upper middle class, who had been flown to Puerto Rico for their abortions pre-Roe -- the only lives destroyed were those of women who weren't lucky enough to have rich parents.

by judybrowni 2007-01-22 07:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Choice Open Thread

I am vehemently pro-choice because I am terrified that I may one day face a situation where I may want to have an abortion, and I don't want to have to ask permission from a politician to have to do so. Plain and simple.

I only just read it today, but the NY Times Mag this weekend had an interesting article about "Post-Abortion Syndrome." Abortion is an immensely complicated issue, and undertandably an emotionally wrenching thing to go through - for some women it indeed may not be the best course of action, and we should encourage and support women who make these decisions based on what what is actually good for themselves and not what is good in the eyes of politicians or the clergy.

What I found especially interesting/sad about the article is that Rhonda Arias, the abortion-recovery counselor who was followed as a subject, seemed to be driven by the need to absolve herself for what she perceived as the sins of her own previous abortion experiences. It's a bit hard to tell what her feelings are regarding her early life experiences mentioned in the article, but I can only think that the religious fervor that drives her is still rooted in a misplaced notion that women are responsible for the often terrible situations they find themselves in. Sexually abused by a step-brother? Forced into sex at 14 and then forced to give up the resulting child for adoption(by whom?)? Arias seems not to question these situations because "she can't do anything about them," and instead continues to berate herself in her work to stop abortion. It seems to me that she is an example of the patriarchal causes of abortion that continue to be ignored so that women can be blamed instead.

by JonesingforaDem 2007-01-22 07:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Choice Open Thread
When I first went to lobby right wing politicians, I used to be less sophisticated and less focussed on the immediate issue or the legislation on hand. Back then I argued first principles. So I remember saying to a staffer, who was quite intelligent, that women could not be fully free and equal without the right to control their bodies and controlling their reproductive lives was the sine qua non of that. He had no rejoinder to that. After all what is prison but the lack of freedom to control your body and your life? And I still think that is the fundamental issue. It's in the Declaration of Independence --- life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Note Jefferson changed property to the pursuit of happiness. Property is what women are without this right -- either of another man or the government.
by debcoop 2007-01-22 08:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Choice Open Thread

The staffer probably did not know what sine qua non meant. Has been my experience with right wing offices.

M

by techsoldaten 2007-01-23 01:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Choice Open Thread

Yes, women should have the right to choose what happens with their bodies and government should have no say about what goes on in someone's uterus.

That said, the idea of abortion still sickens me. I am not concerned about what happens to the child in utero, I am not sure when a fetus goes from being a mass of biological matter to being a child and don't think anyone has a good way to determine the difference. I know it is not something I want to see happen but don't feel compelled to judge other people for their actions.

I am bothered by it from the perspective that having a child is a very complicated issue and there is too much group think when it comes to the topic of abortion on the right and the left. Every person's situation is completely unique and, perhaps more than reproductive rights, people need space to make decisions that are right for them. No one needs to be pushing agendas on vulnerable women one way or the other, and politicizing abortion such that there are so many strong right and wrong actions diminishes the people's ability to make intelligent decisions.

My daughter was born while I was in college and unmarried. When I told friends the mother was pregnant, the first question anyone asked is whether I was taking her to get an abortion (sometimes phrased as when am I going to do it). From what I could garner, the mother was getting the same on her end. When we told our parents, the first thing we heard from both of them was that we needed to have the baby and give her up for adoption immediately. It was non stop, we both were getting calls from everyone we knew, old relatives were suddenly looking to reconnect, professors were taking me aside to weigh in on the situation, campus security suddenly noticed I was living in the wrong dorm, I was getting letters from the Dean of Student Affairs about available conselling services, coaches from the various sports I was involved in could not keep their mouth shut about personal responsibility, and my friends could not talk about anything else when I was around. Strangers were in on it too. I was in standing in line behind some people at the canteen who didn't know me but were talking about that pregnant girl who is getting an abortion. I was getting papers dropped under my door listing the addresses of abortion providers. The campus christian coalition showed up at my door with an alarming frequency.

What I found was that everyone was absolutely convinced they knew what was right and they had to talk about it right then and there. With the abortion people, it was like having a child was an inconvenience (which it was, but a worthwhile one) and something was wrong with actually wanting to be a parent unless you are financially stable. With the baby people, it was like having an abortion was a terrible thing and we would both be scarred forever if we went through it. There was no middle ground and no one was interested in letting us think about what we really wanted to do (especially after the mother got fat with kid). If abortion was an option, we really didn't consider it because of all we had to sort through from all the people around us who would not shut up.

More than abortion rights, I think potential parents need people to shut up sometimes and this should be a right, a right to conscience. All this talk is about what women do with their bodies and there is an absolute indifference to what people are doing with their minds except from the perspective of moral certainty. Decisions are made on multiple levels, and the opinions of other people should not be the primary maxim in deciding what to do with your life. So, yeah, I am pro-choice from the standpoint that everyone needs to shut the hell up.

M

by techsoldaten 2007-01-23 01:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Choice Open Thread

I am not pro-choice, I am anti-coat-hanger.

I believe abortion is wrong. The pro-lifers have a very valid point that most abortions are not for convenience and not for any medical purpose. Certainly having a baby as a teenager is difficult, but is it ok to kill to avoid this difficulty? I think not.

The only time I consider abortion to be an acceptable option is if there is significant danger to the woman's health and abortion is the only way to resolve the problem. Rape and incest are terrible, but two wrongs do not make a right. Abortion does not undo the violation.

Furthermore, easy access to abortion allows society to abandon their obligations to the most vulnerable members of society. It is no coincidence that one of the first laws legalizing abortion was signed into law by Ronald Reagan, something most people don't know. As a liberal, I believe that pregnant women deserve better choices than abortion or poverty. Unfortunately, too many liberals sound like country club Republicans when it comes to supporting families.

However, I know that abortion was not invented in 1973. I know that legal or illegal, like it or not, abortion is between a woman and her doctor. A law against abortion would be selectively enforced  if at all. Meanwhile, women who were pregnant and didn't want to be would continue to try to terminate their pregnancies often with disasterous results.

Despite my personal feelings about abortion, I know criminalization is bad policy. The best way to end abortion is to prevent unwanted pregnancies and to give the women who do become pregnant better options. Like it or not, young people ARE having sex and they do need to know how to be able to protect themselves from pregnancy and STD's. Make it easier for women and families to bear the financial cost of having children. I believe there is no more pro-life measure that can be taken than to guarantee health care for every American.

I believe abortion is wrong, but criminalization is a bad idea. Instead, the best way to reduce abortion is to give women better choices.

by wayward 2007-01-23 01:54AM | 0 recs
We should've been made to state gender this thread

Your comment about rape gives me a strong indication that if you were raped you would never have to make that decision.

I'm of the opinion that males like myself should be weighted down a bit when chiming in on this.

by drowsy 2007-01-23 08:05AM | 0 recs
Re: We should've been made to state gender this th

No, I would not.

I am not trying to downplay the horrors of rape or incest at all. And I can certainly understand why a woman who was raped would want an abortion. It is not my intent to judge anyone's action.

I am just saying that two wrongs don't make a right.

by wayward 2007-01-23 04:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Choice Open Thread

"I am not pro-choice, I am anti-coat-hanger."

I think a lot of people have lost sight of the fact that Roe v. Wade was fought in large part because women were dying in back alleys trying to get illegal abortions.

I was recently visiting with Sarah Weddington (the lawyer who won Roe v. Wade and my namesake) and she told a story about wearing a pin in the 70s showing a coat hanger with a bar through it (similar to anti-smoking signs).  A lot of people just didn't understand the reference.

A few months ago (a year ago?) when South Dakota outlawed abortion, a website sprung up detailing how to give yourself an abortion.  I read a very self-righteous post from some right-wing blogger who was horrified and asked "Who would have ever thought of it!?"

It made me very angry.

Sarah

by Sarah R Carter 2007-01-23 11:12AM | 0 recs
Religion

I'm going to turn the question around: why are people anti- (abortion, stem cell research, the right to die, etc)?

My claim is that this goes back to some fundamental religious beliefs that guide people's thinking. This has nothing to do with "morality". If it did then religions wouldn't have the concept of a "just war". If the belief is over the sanctity of life why permit wars or executions?

The underling reason is the belief in the immortal soul. Many people need to believe that some part of them persists after death. It is one of the strongest appeals of many religions - be obedient and you will go to a better place. This soul has magical properties, such as becoming embedded in a blastocyst at some unspecified moment. To allow for the possibility that decisions about life and death can be made for scientific or practical or compassionate reasons allows doubt about the existence of the soul to leak into the public debate. This is dangerous to belief and unnerving.

If progress is going to be made on dealing with these issues rationally those in favor of more flexibility will have to face up to the fact that they are dealing with irrational opponents and frame things accordingly.

by rdf 2007-01-23 05:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Choice Open Thread

If a woman asked my opinion on whether she should have an abortion (and truthfully this usually only happens if it is a relative, a close close friend, or your the daddy) I would say No... she should give it up for adoption.  That is the way I personally feel.

But ultimately, I would never force her to go through with it.  The government has no right to interfere with women's health, except to maybe make it safer.  I am pro-choice because abortions will happen regardless, and I don't want women in back alleys with coat hangers or risk jail time.  I also don't believe that the fetus is truly alive until it gets heart and brain functions.    That is just wrong.  As much as I hate to say it, HRC has the right approach... They should be safe, legal and NEVER.  Our goal should be for 0 per year.  We need better education and easier access to birth control.  This is the most effective way to reduce abortions, not making them illegal.

by yitbos96bb 2007-01-23 06:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Choice Open Thread

Abortion has always been (and liekly will always be) the grayest, most difficult issue that I wrestle with as a progressive Christian.  I absolutely, positively do not want to strip a woman of any control over her own body- that sounds like one of the most fundamental precepts of progressivism.  And yet I can't help but think that at some point a viable, unborn child has to acquire some rights.  It's when the rights come that I struggle with.

Some points are easy- before viability the rights of the mother absolutely take precedence.  That means I believe that the mother has absolute control for  the first twenty four weeks.  Once a child becomes virtually autonamous from the Mother's body, on the other hand, I think the mother forfeits control- she has no right to kill a fetus thatcan exist perfectly independent of her, so after thirty three weeks abortion should be (and I believe is) illegal in all cases- since an emergency delivery is never unavailable should a complication arise.  Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

As for those two 'tweener months- wow, what a struggle.  I'm pro-choice and leave the decision to the mother, but boy do I wish my thinking were a bit more decisive...

by Puggins 2007-01-23 07:33AM | 0 recs
Why are you pro-choice?

Because it's too important of a decision to be made by anyone else.

And also because the blatant, cold-hearted, misogynist hypocrisy of holier-than-thou white males really pisses me off.

My pro-choice stance is a nuanced thing - I want abortion legal, yes, but I also want there to be fewer abortions, by teaching abstinence and birth control, by providing education, learning materials, condoms, to prevent unwanted pregnancy and stop the spread of STD's and AIDS, to empower young women to have the confidence to say "sorry, no" and young men to have the brains to accept "sorry, no" as an acceptable response, to educate everyone that the consumerism that promotes sexuality as the only identity is incomplete and based solely on monetary gain. These are all based on choices we all must make, and we should all be free to make them.

-GFO

by GuyFromOhio 2007-01-23 09:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Why are you pro-choice?

I haven't posted a lot on mydd, though I read mydd every day. I've always enjoyed reading mydd and found the arguments to be thoughtful and persuasive.
Reading the commens to this posting however I'm disappointed with the comments from the mydd readers.
Why can't somebody be a good progressive although she/he is pro life? Why are people so harsh on people that feel that abortion is something immoral.

I myself I'm both uncomfortable with the terms pro-life and pro choice.
Pro-Life suggests that I put the babies right above the mothers, pro choice suggestts it the other way round - but why can't American progressives accept that there are people that feel both ways:
On the one hand I morally believe that abortions should be rare and limited on the other hand I believe that the only way to limit abortions is to council women and to allow them.
What all the pro-lifers don't get is that forbidding abortion won't do any good. It won't lower the numbers, nor will it bring women to decide on adoptions. If you want abortions to be safe and rare, you must allow them but also council women on their decision to get an abortion or not.
Interestingly enough some of the most liberal European Countries (Netherlands, Belgium and Germany) have the lowest abortion rates.
While about 25 in a thousand fetuses get aborted in the US, it's only about seven in a thousand in Germany or Belgium.
Why?
Those countries try to explain the benefits and disadvantages of abortions without seeing them ideologically.

by Johannes 2007-01-23 01:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Choice Open Thread

- "anti-coathanger" is a good way to put it.  until safe, perfectly effective birth control is available worldwide, abortion may be necessary for some women.

- if i catch you entering my house trying to steal a $100 television, i am allowed to shoot you in self-defense.  pregnancy is a lot more costly (in $, time, and health risks) than most items stolen from houses.  abortion is sometimes necessary as self-defense.  

- unless i am reasonably suspected of a serious crime, the government should stay the hell out of my bedroom, my doctor's office, my mailbox, and my computer, period.  

- the 1st amendment guarantees all of us the freedom NOT to be subject to laws enforcing other people's religious beliefs.   if your faith includes the tenet that all life is sacred and abortion is wrong, please, by all means, don't have one, and i hope to see you protesting outside San Quentin when prisoners are set to be executed.  but don't tell anyone else what to do.  TIA.

by chiefscribe 2007-01-23 11:39AM | 0 recs
p.s.

check out the past few days of www.feministing.com for some excellent posts on this subject.  

by chiefscribe 2007-01-23 11:44AM | 0 recs

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