Pro-Lifers, May I Have A Moment Of Your Time?

cazzle said:

Sorry for hijacking your poll, Bub, but I think my point is legitimate. Where, here or in GD, are we ever nottalking opinions? Sometimes opinions based on stuff we can cite, but opinions nonetheless.

Since you asked, I am politically pro-choice on abortion–in other words, I am opposed to legislatively interfering. Personally…my ex-wife had a miscarriage about four and a half years ago, and my reaction to that caused me to do a lot of hard thinking about the subject–telling myself it wasn’t a person didn’t make it hurt any less. Since that time I no longer really know how to define my personal views.

iampunha said:

I see what you’re saying, and superficially it’s an attractive option. But the problem is that such a stance is in effect not on abortion at all–it’s a moral judgment on whether the woman should have been having sex or not. Thus it becomes a “gotcha”–she had sex voluntarily and now she has to take her medicine, whereas the rape victim wasn’t a “bad girl” so we’ll let her off the hook.

Munch said:

I can’t object to that, but I have a question. In your humble opinion (this is my effort to keep this thread from being thrown into GD, since cazzle apparently doesn’t like the idea) would you support public and private efforts to make sure birth control is as widely available and widely used as possible? Since, after all, an unwanted pregnancy that doesn’t occur is one in which there will never be an abortion.

Palandine: While I disagree with the notion of legally prohibitting abortions (if you advocate that), I think your position is logically consistent.

elfkin477 said:

Ah, but couln’t the same point be made if the pregnancy was the result of an affair? This seems to get back to the voluntariness of the sex involved.

cmkeller said:

I’ve never heard it expressed that way, but this view has some promise. The thing is, though, we still come back to the voluntariness of the sex–self-inflicted versus non-self-inflicted.

Maybe my ultimate question here (strictly rhetorical and directed an no one in particular, since otherwise cazzle is gonna try to throw me out of his thread again) is: should sex have anything to do with the abortion debate?

I would definitely consider myself pro-life. The only time I think that abortion should be legal is when the mother would most likely die if she were to carry the baby to term and deliver it. In that case, I believe that the mother’s life takes precedence over her unborn child. In the case of rape, she is not just carrying “a rapist’s child,” but her own child. If she doesn’t want to raise the child or would be financially unable to do so, she should then give it up for adoption. Just my opinion.

[moderator jock-strap on]If this were the Great Debates forum, questioning of someone else’s opinion would not only be allowed, it would be encouraged. But this is IMHO, where such questions are to be treated as if a poll were being taken. You may state your opinion here, but please try to refrain from commenting on other’s opinions.[/moderator jock-strap on]

Perhaps after all this time I am still unclear as to the purpose of IMHO. At any rate, I withdraw all comments and questions…and I trust that when I start my thread about why I should be Emperor of Earth no one will comment or question me.

Does TVeblen wear a moderator jockstrap?

While I don’t wish to continue in a GD vein, esp. after we’ve had a moderator in a jock strap step in, I did want to respond to MysterEcks’s original question, as it was directed to me.

First, let me say that, whether this is the proper forum or not, I’m glad such questions were raised, as it made me realize that this was an issue that I had not actually formed the type of opinion that could be written down “in 25 words or less.” Maybe it still can’t, but it forced me to question why I felt the way I did and where my conclusion comes from. So, thanks for that, at least.

I find myself agreeing with a number of other positions stated in this thread. They were more eloquent, and perhaps better thought out than mine, but they captured my thoughts and feelings pretty well.

As to the question of making an exception in the case of rape or incest, it seems to me that it comes down to this: if abortion is a choice the woman makes, I disagree with the choice to abort for convenience, or what amounts to retro-active contraception. While the choice to abort any pregnancy saddens (in some cases even angers) me, I can better understand the choice in the case of incest or rape, where nine months of carrying a child would be a reminder of the hideous violation.

It’s not that I would condone it in those cases, but I understand it and can better accept it. This may turn out to be the psychological equivalent of cmkeller’s post. The ultimate harm done to a full grown adult may influence the decision to abort a not fully formed fetus.

If it seems that I and others are trying to straddle the issue, that may be. But it’s a complicated issue with many gray areas, and if I am guilty of compromise, so be it. I find the “no abortion ever” proponents as disturbing as the zealots on the other side.

If a woman is raped, gets pregnant, has the child, and the rapist is identified and sent to jail, he can then claim father’s rights. She can be forced to take the child to jail for “visitation,” and he can sue for custody after he is released (and even use the child as a reason to be released). If anyone thinks this cannot happen, I know of a case, and the “pro-life” woman involved is no longer “pro-life.”

60 Minutes did a segment on “partial birth abortions” a couple of weeks ago. Ed Bradley talked to one woman who had one in her seventh month because the fetus was hideously deformed (no skull, no eyes, liver and kidneys grossly oversized), and the doctors stated carrying the child to term would probably affect her future fertility. Then he asked a “pro-life” woman what she would do in such a case. She would “rally my family, my congregation, and my friends” and carry the child to term. She was a spooky person anyway. Smiling the whole time, and talking with no emtion whatsoever.

Tough question - my humble opinion (because in my belief system, sex outside of the marriage context should also be unthinkable) is that I would rather not see the need for its distribution but this is denying a reality that certainly exists. If young, unmarried people are having sex, then it should be protected sex. How to enable this without sending the message that it’s OK to sleep around is the tough part.


Of course. That’s one area that I completely disagree with my faith’s position. I think the Church’s logic is faulty on this one. If sex is supposed to be recreation and procreation for a couple, always with the possibility of conception while building the relationship, and children are a gift from God, this God that was capable of impregnating a virgin teenager is also capable of aiding the pregnancy of a couple using a condom. If God really, REALLY wants you to have a kid, you’ll have a kid. (This is, of course, a completely cursory overview of my opinion on THIS subject, but I really don’t want to get into that here. I’d be happy to in a contraception IMHO thread.)

For the record, regarding this thread in IMHO vs. GD, I don’t think anyone is passing judgment on anyone’s opinions, just prodding for more info, and further elaboration of those opinions. Which I think IMHO could use a bit more of.

I consider myself pro-choice, for a variety of reasons, but I don’t really want to go into it right now. I was just thinking, however, that if there was some sort of pro-lifeish legislation, in which the circumstances of the cause of pregnancy or risk to the mother had to be established, then you’d end up with some kind of hearing, right? The mother would give her opinion, the doctors would give theirs, the rapist might show up and tell everyone he REALLY REALLY wants a son, the great-aunt will announce that she wants a great-neice/nephew…it becomes a whole public thing in which one would have to prove that an abortion is necessary or acceptable. I think this would be much more traumatizing than having to carry the baby to term, and with today’s world, the hearing would take a year and a half, and at that point, the baby is born or the mother died of complications during pregnancy! What if the decision is made that, after all, an abortion is ok. Do you kill the baby?
I am so gonna get flamed for that - but thats the type of question legislation brings to mind. How do you write the laws?

But you see what I mean, right? It’s such a nasty grey area, that if pro-lifers (who would never themseleves choose abortion) determine if another person (who might really want one) can or cannot abort the child, you get a court system, and judgement must be passed, which I don’t believe is a good way to solve the issue. Not to mention the fact that a lot of pro-lifers believe that judgement should be in the eyes of God. It’s just contradictory.

Which is part of why I’m pro-choice. Because I wouldn’t want someone who would never EVER make the same decisions in life as me determine what I can or cannot do. If I believe abortion is right for ME, then I’d like to have the option to do so without being judged, or examined, or having to prove/explain why I feel the way i do. I believe education is important, and that abortion is and should not be a form of contraceptive, and if the world could be such that abortions were not necessary at ALL, then I think it would be a good thing. But the way the world is right now - the option of abortion is not something I would take away from people who believe in it.

But thats just my opinion, writen quickly on an empty stomach. I hope its not too jumbled or hard to understand…

Though I would term myself a rabid pro-choicer, the reason I am responding is because I have long regretted the mistaken belief that pro-choice and pro-life are opposites and one person cannot be both. This simply isn’t so. It is entirely possible to be someone who does not personally wish to have an abortion under any circumstance, but who also has the great good sense to realize that they have no right to foist their own personal religious and/or ethical beliefs onto someone else. Unfortunately, such wise folks are rare, but they are out there.

I honestly believe it would be much more accurate to term the two camps “anti-choice” and “pro-choice”, since that really seems to be the crux of the issue.

The anti-choice crowd believes that under no circumstances should a woman be permitted to have an abortion. Period. No ifs, ands, or buts. Someone who is pro-choice believes that the woman carrying the child should have the right to make the decision as to whether or not she can or should carry that child to term. It does not necessarily mean that they are personally pro-abortion, a difference that seems lost on some elements of the anti-choice crowd.

I just wish there was another camp for those people who call themselves pro-lifers, yet find no problem at all murdering doctors willing to perform abortions. (Hello? How can you justify calling yourself a ‘right to lifer’ and then murdering someone who doesn’t agree with you?!) To me, they don’t deserve to bear the title of ‘pro-life’, just that of ‘terrorist’.

That’s why I asked, Lionors

I think some of the responses in this thread show that some people who call themselves Pro-Life aren’t exactly anti-choice, because they do allow for extreme situations (even if it doesn’t feel quite right to them).

It’s hard to label people in this argument, because there are so many different schools of thought - from those who think you should be able to abort at any time in the pregnancy on a whim, to those who think you shouldn’t be able to abort the deformed-and-requiring life-long care product of a rape.

Life is sacred, but each person needs to make his or her own choices in life, IMHO. I am, therefore, Pro-Choice. What you do with your offspring is not my concern. However, too often people who are against abortion are portrayed as evil horrible people who don’t care about anyone else, and who make no exceptions. I knew this couldn’t be the case, and wanted to see individual opinions.

At the end of the day, I think we’re all Pro-Life, and nobody thinks abortion is good or right, but while some think the rights of the mother outweigh those of the child, others stand up for the ones who can’t speak for themselves.

Palandine, what about cases where the child will die, but not in a few minutes or hours? A child who will last longer then that, but will not make it to a 3rd birthday? Also, why should a woman have to go through with a pregnancy with the knowledge that the child will die?

But I have to respect your statement about who can should be considered pro-life. It seems to me that, unfortunately, many who call themselved pro-life do not meet this standard.

Sorry. As a pro-choicer, I shouldn’t be posting here. But I, too, am puzzled by some of the attitudes and ideas I see on the other side.

MysterEcks asked, should sex have anything to do with the abortion debate? My answer, NO, it should NOT! But it does. In spades.

I think sex is a very large component of the whole abortion debate. I recognize that this is not the case with all pro lifers. Many oppose abortion because they see it as infanticide, or too close to infanticide for comfort.

But I think it’s plain that some pro lifers do not care if abortion is or isn’t murder; they oppose legal abortion because they think it makes it “too easy” for unmarried women and girls to decide to be sexually active. Keeping unmarried women and girls vigin is their highest goal, god knows why.

I think if we want to reduce the number of abortions performed in the US, we really need to work hard to “enable this” and not concern ourselves with any hypothetical “messages”. IMO, the young, unmarried people making the decision to be sexually active are not influenced by any “message” that some would read into the existance of contraceptive availability and education.

Allow me to chime in here with a personal-type anecdote. My aunt Miriam (not the aunt in my aged pit thread) got married in 1994 or so and about a year later she and her husband (my Uncle Tim) were trying to get pregnant. Finally, in late 1995 or early 1996, they did. During a routine checkup, the doctor noticed something odd (my knowledge of this part of the story is hazy; bear with me) and did some more tests. Maybe a week or so later the news came back that my nephew Jeffrey (who was still, of course, in utero) had anencephaly. My aunt carried him as long as she could (at physical risk to herself, but she wanted the baby) and hoped for a change, but at the same time recognized there wasn’t much hope for anything to change.

He was born on October 21, 1996. He lived 15 minutes and died in his mother and father’s arms. I believe, but am not certain, that Miriam carried him for six months. I know but cannot cite anything for certain that she now lives with permanently worse physical health because of her decision to carry him as long as she could. I know for a medical certainty that she could not have carried him a full nine months (not that it would matter in terms of giving him better chances of living; almost five years later there is no cure, to my knowledge) had he not had anencephaly.

I don’t know if that adds anything more than a face to your example, but I felt it needed to be said.

And I have to respond to this before I forget:

“The anti-choice crowd believes that under no circumstances should a woman be permitted to have an abortion.”

One of the reasons I have a difficult time being called anti-choice is that I am not always in favor of a woman not being allowed to have an abortion. IOW, I am not universally anti-choice . . . I’m pro-life with a few reservations. So while I am among those who do not support the performing of an abortion in many cases, . . . how do I say this . . . I don’t think the quoted statement is true at all. I think it applies a general “this is what all anti-choicers believe” to those who do not warrant or deserve that label (and the negative stigma I think it carries).

“But I think it’s plain that some pro lifers do not care if abortion is or isn’t murder; they oppose legal abortion because they think it makes it “too easy” for unmarried women and girls to decide to be sexually active. Keeping unmarried women and girls vigin is their highest goal, god knows why.”

I’ve seen this to be the case in many instances. And in many of those instances it’s an opinion held solely because of personal preference or religious beliefs, as opposed to being backed by scientific reasoning. And while I have no problem with that (though my wording may suggest otherwise), I think it makes the argument weaker (my opinion; others disagree and are free to do so). And when people start to lump those of us who try to have some medical reason for our beliefs with those who use the standard, no-exceptions “no abortions ever, and no sex outside of marriage” (again based not on scientific reasoning), I find that problematic. I’d like to see some separation of degrees to which we believe abortions should not be performed, or the reasons we believe that way. Sort of like different denominations in a religion. I realize some people (many, even) would still associate the most stringent with the overall group (as they associate one Fundamentalist they met with all Christians), but it would be nice to have some amount of separation.

" . . . I have long regretted the mistaken belief that pro-choice and pro-life are opposites and one person cannot be both. This simply isn’t so."

Thank you. Thank you thank you thank you:) I’ve been trying to reconcile this for a while and I had been struggling to find any hope in it, especiallywith the people I see who say you cannot be both. And while I am not a rabid pro-choicer as yourself I do share some beliefs with y’all (as far as I know, anyway:)).

And lastly (I hope; this is getting unbearable long), to address MysterEcks:

“But the problem is that such a stance is in effect not on abortion at all–it’s a moral judgment on whether the woman should have been having sex or not. Thus it becomes a “gotcha”–she had sex voluntarily and now she has to take her medicine, whereas the rape victim wasn’t a “bad girl” so we’ll let her off the hook.”

I understand what you’re saying here. I didn’t intend to judge anyone, I was just remarking (I thought) on the idea of choosing to have sex or not (which is part of my stance on life/abortion). I’ve been trying to think of a good analogy, but it isn’t working.

I didn’t mean to imply that the woman who wasn’t raped is the “bad girl”; I have no problem with people having sex outside of marriage; it isn’t my concern what they do so long as they don’t go hurting other people. I just don’t believe in gimmes when there’s a life on the line (the unborn child). Exceptions stated in this post and elsewhere in the thread, as always:) I realize that is a moral stance, but . . . oh well. Dunno what to tell you.

The common perception is that the US is polarized on this issue. I think this is an oversimplification. Most people identify themselves as being for or against legal abortion, but I see a division within each group.

The antis include, in addition to those who want it absolutely forbidden, those who say that abortion should be outlawed, except in cases when the woman has a good reason. The pros include, in addition to those who want safe, legal abortion to be easily available to any woman or girl who wants one, those who say it should be legal, providing the woman has a good reason. I strongly suspect that the “no, but” group is larger then the “absolutely never” group, and the “yes, but” group is larger then the “yes for anyone / yes for any reason” group.

Ironically, the two middle groups probably overlap. That is, some who identify as pro-life would probably allow abortion under more circumstances then would some who identify as pro-choice.

The reasons commonly accepted as “good” include saving the life of the woman, saving the health of the woman, cases where something is seriously wrong with the fetus, and cases of rape and incest. But these “good reasons” account for only a small percentage of the abortions performed in America. And IMO, genuine contraceptive failure also accounts for only a small percentage of abortions.

The abortion debate has dragged on ever since Roe vs. Wade, with no end in sight. IMO, there are several factors that keep the controversy alive. For one thing, the number of abortions occurring per year is perceived by the antis to be entirely too many. For another, the reasons for most of these abortions do not seem to them to be good enough.

IMO, most of the “no but” contingent of the antis (those who would permit abortion for good reasons) would not be involved in the fight against abortion if the procedure were very rare, and if most of those that occurred were for what they consider to be acceptable reasons.

I’m not sure about the extreme, no-compromise antis. In an alternate America, where abortion was very rare, and where almost all abortions performed were done for “good reasons,” would they be struggling to get it outlawed? Would they really want to tell women they had to continue life-threatening pregnancies? Would they really insist that women bear children with severe genetic defects? I think they oppose these abortions because they fear that allowing abortion in these extreme cases will lead to allowing abortions for reasons they don’t consider acceptable. In the absence of an “unacceptable abortions” problem, perhaps these people would accept a small number of abortions performed to save the life or health of the woman, or to avoid bearing a defective baby. And if they did oppose these abortions, I don’t think they would get much support from the rest of the population. It’s the “bad reasons” abortions that get people upset.

I believe that the abortion debate would fade away if we could bring about a situation where abortion was very rare, and where almost all abortions performed were for done for “good reasons”. Unfortunately, one group in the anti-abortion camp – the sex police* – are dead set against the very things that would reduce the demand for abortion: good contraception education for all, easy availability of contraception for all, research into improved methods of contraception, easy availability of EC (emergency contraception, aka the “morning after” pill), easy availability of RU-486.

*These are the people I mentioned in an earlier post; the ones who are against abortion because they think it makes it “too easy” for unmarried women and girls to decide to be sexually active. They’re against contraception and sex ed for the same reason.

Okay, one more pro-lifer coming up. Let’s get down
to brass tacks - IMHO pro-lifers accept that an embryo
is a human life. It is entirely indistinct from any other
person at a genetic level. Now, you can argue that it isn’t
human, because it doesn’t look it, or somesuch, but really,
folks. Then you have to answer an even tougher question; when DOES it become human? Heart is beating by 12 weeks. Looks like tiny baby at same time. Still not human? When fingernails develop? When breathing activity begins? Or just
when you say so? Or he says so? Who decides? And if no one person can possibly be allowed to decide for all of us, why do we (meaning humans) seem to always choose the easy way out? The self serving way?

The baby is a human being. It doesn’t matter what auxiliary circumstances occurred. The baby is a human being.

NaSultainne, CrafterMan – To me, this whole “when does it become human” discussion makes about as much sence as “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” What difference does it make? Woman and girls with unwanted pregnancies are going to have abortions. Regarless of legality. Regardless of anything anyone says. Buttonhole them in the waiting room at the clinic, and say “but it’s human!” Some will say, “no it isn’t,” some will say, “yeah? so what?,” some will say, “yes, I agree; but I have to do this,” some will say, “maybe you’re right, but it doesn’t follow that I should be required to bring it to term”.

If you could totally convince everyone in the world that people become human at the instant of conception, what will this victory actually signify? Woman and girls with unwanted pregnancies would go right on getting abortions.

Remember in my last post I talked about people who had blanket opinions?

Please do not associate the pro-life attitude Crafter_Man has with mine. We are very much not in the same camp; our stances are not one and the same, as I hope is plainly obvious. Furthermore, . . . ugh. C-M, you’re REALLY NOT helping the cause.