The Raving Theist

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Priceless (Updated)

December 12, 2008 | 42 Comments

UPDATE: Abortion Blog responds in the comments.

Abortion Blog is a new blog by a woman who got an abortion this week. The author describes herself in the blog’s subtitle as a “proud atheist.” In this post, she recounts her interaction with pro-life street counselors outside the clinic:

As I walked passed the last protester before going through the door, I stopped, turned to her, smiled and said one of the following irreverent snarky things:

1) “You are one of god’s little accidents.”

2) “And how many children have you adopted?”

3) “Too bad Mary didn’t abort Jesus.”

4) “Oh, come on lady! Like you don’t vaccuum out the ole’ sea monkey tank every now and then!”

5) “I hope it’s twins!”

6) Opened up my copy of The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins and read several poignant exerpts since clearly this was the time and place to debate religious views.

The clinic escort was overjoyed, and grinning from ear to ear. The protester was clearly deeply disturbed. It was priceless, and although it is possible the right wing now has me on their kidnap and murder list, I’m glad I said something. They were there to f**k with me, and I f**ked with them. Right backatchya b***h!

After the abortion, the blogger is “[s]orry [she] didn’t take a picture of my little thinga-mahoojit, it was sort of interesting” and wishes she could have “donated it to stem cell research or something.” In addition to her own repeated comparisons of the fetus to a sea monkey, she is amused by atheist comedian George Carlin’s crack about “[h]ow come when its us, its abortion, and when it’s a chicken . . . it’s an omelet? There is somewhat less levity and blasphemy, however, in her earlier explanation of her reasons for the abortion:

What makes this hard for me is that when I was younger I had hoped that by my mid/late 20’s I would be able to have children. I sometimes literally crave to be a parent, and I wish I were in a position financially, emotionally etc where I could just have the baby and be joyful about it. I think I would be a pretty good mom. And someday I probably will be.

And someday, perhaps, she will realize that those protesters outside the clinic were not there to kidnap and murder her, and that, for all she knew, there might have been a proud atheist like her among them. And she might realize that there are many women in exactly her situation who escape their grinning escorts and receive from the protestors the financial and emotional support they need to be joyous. And then, perhaps, she will realize what is truly priceless.

Comments

42 Responses to “Priceless (Updated)”

  1. Abortion Blogger
    December 12th, 2008 @ 8:55 pm

    What an interesting post!
    I hope others share their opinion on this in the comments section, and I hope to see a little solidarity from a reader or two.   
    Since you like anecdotes and personal stories, I would encourage you to look at my post about when abortion was illegal.  The videos I posted there show the grim reality, and the public health disaster that preventing women from safe legal abortions was and would be again. I would have had an abortion even if it was illegal- just like those women and the many others who risked their lives for it.  I am so grateful to the doctors, women, supreme court, and anyone else involved in securing this right for me. 

    And regardless of how great you think fake clinics set up by prolifers are, I still see that they are mysogynist.  The prolife movement is primarily about controlling women’s bodies and sexuality.  As George Carlin said in one of his hilarious, awesome, honest stand up routines “if you’re pre-born, you’re sacred; if you’re preschool…. you’re fucked.”  The pro-life movement does not support women, girls, or children.  They do not empower people to have diverse family structures.  Their rhetoric is anti-woman.

    It’s not surprising the prolife movement has a few token atheists, but it doesnt make a pro-life point of view any more valid, or less offensive. 

    I consider eating my dinner more violent, and morally hard to defend than having this abortion, especially from an atheist perspective.  I had turkey: a sentient creature with thoughts and feelings was murdered so I could have that meal.  And that is kind of fucked up. More fucked up is that it probably lived in terrible conditions due to the terribly loose animal welfare laws in this country.  I have trouble justifying the fact that I eat meat. 

    But removing a fetus from my body- a fetus that was not even as developed as a guppy in terms of thoughts or feelings- I feel no guilt or remorse for.  I simply feel gratitude for the availibilty of safe healthcare, and that I am lucky enough to be able to afford it.  I cannot believe that there is a decent arguement for protecting that thing (which I think sea monkey is an excellent nickname for).  The only arguement that even makes any sense is either religious, or from a pacifist fruitarian. 

  2. Adam
    December 12th, 2008 @ 10:21 pm

    What is disturbing about the comment above is its very simplistic callousness towards the fetus, and its complete lack of knowledge of the philosophical literature of the pro-life movement.

    Let me ask the commenter above a pointed question:
    If a fetus can be destroyed at will because it is presumably less “developed” than an a guppy, then why can’t a one day old infant be destroyed at will because it is less developed than an adult buck deer, which may be hunt and shot? If not, why not? What is the difference?

    Also, it’s  laughable to watch someone attempt to convince themselves that “the only arguement[s]” (sic) for the pro-life movement are religious or bizarre. Simply put, the pro-life movement views a human as an being with a body developing towards the point of death. It’s this simple, non-religious definition that explains the pro-life position. It is the contrary definition: that a human is some being developed to a certain point, or with certain “morally significant” traits which is both aberrant and illogical. For what point of development is “the one” where the right to life vests is completely arbitrary, if not placed at the moment of conception; and which morally significant traits hold water are completely subjective, no matter how developed and deceptive our rhetoric.

    The “health crisis” which the commenter above states would occur if abortion was once again outlawed is both illusory and unconvincing. Life is about sacrifice. The very continued existence of society depends upon sacrifice in some way: the sacrifice of time, health, and happiness it takes to take care of the aging, the ill, the infirm; the time and patience it takes to education the up-and-coming generation; the difficult requirements of self-mastery which are required for simple function in society; the challenges of defending a country when it is invaded or attacked; and on and on forever. All of these require sacrifices of time and health (and possibly of life ) which may extend longer, and leave more debilitating consequences than a difficult pregnancy. If the preceding sentence is true, then it logically follows that pregnancies, at least those which will not take the mother’s life, must be dealt with just like any other sacrifice, rather than summarily terminated and callously disregarded.

  3. Laura
    December 12th, 2008 @ 10:32 pm

    AB, I appreciate that you alluded to Carlin’s point that we pro-lifers (individually and collectively) need to do much, much more to help women and already-born children. It is completely true, and it embarrasses to me that we do so little to push for the government to provide more assistance to these families, many of whom struggle tremendously to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table, and to provide more out of our own pockets.

    One other thing (and I say this as much to other readers as to you): If your feelings about your abortion experience change, there are people who will listen without judging. Exhale is a pro-choice resource; there are also many in the crisis pregnancy center realm who will not tell you “I told you so.”

    Best wishes to you in your recovery.

  4. The Raving Atheist
    December 13th, 2008 @ 12:20 am

    Abortion Blogger,

    My commentary addressed solely your disparagement of the clinic protestors, who have doubtlessly helped many a woman who “craved to be a parent” overcome the financial and emotional obstacles in her way.  They obviously did not persuade you, but rather gave you and your escort some entertainment.  But the women they have helped, I’m sure, are grateful for their intervention.  Perhaps you believe they were stupid for being duped out of abortion.  So have your laughs.  They have their children. 

    I have volunteered for a crisis pregnancy clinic for four years.  There is nothing fake about the pictures of babies posted on the bulletin board.  The mothers are not the victims of misogyny.  In the past I used this blog to recruit volunteers for CPCs, always reminding them that they were free to report any deception or misconduct they observed.  You might consider doing the same.

    Much of the time I took off from blogging was devoted to promoting this book about treatment options for a debilitating pregnancy-related disease called hyperemesis gravidarum.  We have placed thousand of copies, free of charge, in the hands of suffering women, their doctors and their families.  The author has spent countless hours counseling the women over the phone and in e-mails on how to survive the disease and bring the pregnancy to term, sometimes consulting with their physicians.  There is nothing remotely misogynistic about this very pro-life project.   But I don’t think you’ll find a single mention of hyperemesis or its treatment, though, on the Planned Parenthood or NARAL web sites.  Abortion is their one-size-fits-all solution.

    YOU are a decent argument for protecting “that thing” because you were once “that thing.” It makes perfect sense from either a religious or atheistic viewpoint.  Your argument regarding sentience goes nowhere because young babies are barely sentient while awake and adults and aren’t sentient while sleeping.  Their consciousness is just much merely”potential” as that of a fetus.  So you could as easily say that the only argument against killing sleeping or otherwise unconscious humans is “religious” or “fruitaran,” based on nothing but an irrational concern for their “souls.”  And it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to justify, on a purported “atheistic” basis, the quick and painless killing of virtually anyone whose life you deemed unworthy of continuance.  Indeed, you could justify the destruction of the entire world on the ground that life is mostly suffering and we’re all dead in the long run anyway.

  5. theobromophile
    December 13th, 2008 @ 1:22 am

    Oh, dear.  So many problems, so many issues to address.

    Abortion Blogger,

    I’m a pro-life feminist.  I see no other way to be a feminist; I believe that all human beings are equal, regardless of biological disparities, size, perceived intelligence, or usefulness to society.  I recognise that your pro-abortion ethic is nothing more nor less than the anti-woman ethic, just turned against a different target.  When we seek to use our greater social and physical power over a group in order to exploit them, we always dehumanise them (in direct contradiction to their obvious membership in the human race), denigrate their intellect (c.f. women, African-Americans during the slave and Jim Crow eras), and, in a wonderful display of totally circular logic, claim that superiour physical and social power is a reason that society ought not protect the weak, downtrodden, or helpless.

    Once, I fully believed that if abortion were to be outlawed, we would be back in the 1950s, with women dying in back alleyways.  As I thought about the issue, however, I came to realise that it’s a boogyman of the pro-abortion movement which has little to do with reality.  In the ’50s, being an unwed mother was a cause for shame.  Women had little education or means to support themselves.  The Pill had yet to be invented.  Condoms were not available for free on practically every street corner.  We didn’t have the massive government entitlement programmes which make it very easy for pregnant women to get health care. 

    If a woman in 2008 is pregnant after voluntary sex, it is only a result of her own carelessness.  In an era of birth control pills, IUDs, vasectomies, tubal ligations, condoms, gels, spermicides, cervical caps, natural family planning, diaprahms, and I can’t even remember what else – but let’s not forget abstinence, no one has to be pregannt who doesn’t want to be pregnant.  

    I know you just had an abortion, and maybe I should be all sweetness and sugar because of that “tough decision,” but let’s get real.  If you really did not want to get pregnant, you would have doubled or tripled up on your birth control.  You would have asked yourself if your partner was worth risking unplanned pregnancy for. You would, perhaps, have waited to find a partner – or waited for the relationship to be stronger – that would have enabled you to carry your child to term if you did become pregnant. 

    Will you ignore these lessons and be among the 49% of first-time aborting women who has another abortion in her lifetime?  Will you spend your time ranting against the patriarchy, sniping at people who actually care abou tyou, and celebrating your “right” to an abortion, rather than looking at the elephant in the room – the fact that you were faced with an unwanted pregnancy in the first place, and it’s certainly not pro-lifers that made your boyfriend into a jerk, your family into one that wouldn’t welcome a new addition, and your condoms defective?

    By the way, why is it a “tough decision”?  After all, I assume that it wasn’t a tough decision to use birth control, which tells us that having an abortion is different than not getting pregnant in the first place – that whatever is in your womb is more than just sperm, egg, and uterine tissue.  It must have more meaning than that, or else women wouldn’t even hesitate before getting an abortion – and wouldn’t need to throw such vitroil against those who try to change the world into one that doesn’t pit women against their born and unborn children.

    It’s tough love, but you need it.

    Finally, I’ll throw your own rhetoric back at you.  I’m a highly educated vegetarian feminist who has never wanted children, but am as pro-life as they come.  Now, aside from the fact that my existence trashes your ad hominem attacks, I would like to address those ad homs.  It doesn’t matter who supports or opposes abortion – what matters is whether or not the cause is worth supporting or opposing.  By your logic, if Hitler protested the boiling of live puppies, then we should all make up a constitutional right to boil live puppies (and maybe club baby seals, too!).  Again, causes are judged not by their supporters, but by their inherent worth.  Keeping kids from being killed is right up there in terms of good causes, IMHO. 

    By the way – conservatives support vouchers, merit pay for good teachers, getting drugs out of the city and away from our youth, two-parent homes (which are statistically much, much better for the kids), and a host of other things that improve the lives of our children, after they are out of the womb.  You just don’t believe that we do, since it’s not about the almighty, all-benevolent, omniscient government.

  6. theobromophile
    December 13th, 2008 @ 1:56 am

    A P.S. on the “pro-lifers don’t help those who are already born” thing: not true – it’s science!  Conservatives earn slightly less than liberals, but donate significantly more to charity.  They even donate more blood than their liberal counterparts.  Catholic Charities is a pro-life organisation which gives low-cost health care to the neediest in our society.  Approximately 1/3d of hospitals in America are subsidised by the Catholic Church, because their pro-life ethic mandates that they help other people, at all levels of development. 

    The “pro-lifers don’t care about people once they are born” canard has gotten a little old for me.  It’s blatantly untrue, once one bothers to actually look at the facts, rather than accepting pro-abortion rhetoric as Gospel truth.

  7. Rhys
    December 13th, 2008 @ 3:20 am

    Too bad for all the folks who would have loved to have adopted that baby, the waiting lists for adoption are pretty bad.

  8. Lily
    December 13th, 2008 @ 9:46 am

    I poked around “Abortion Blog” for as long as I could. It is quite sad, really, and on so many levels. 

    Theobromophile, I appreciate a great deal of what you have written but I do have a different view of some of the issues you have raised.
    Re: birth control. Babies are the natural outcome of sexual intercourse. We can thwart that outcome pretty well but it is  nearly impossible to thwart it forever,  if a woman capable of bearing children is sexually active over a number of years.  It wreaks havoc with our thinking to suppose that sex and procreation can (or should) be severed and that has implications for how we should think about a variety of social matters beyond abortion.

    In order for abortion to be legalized, we had to be lied to about the dangers of abortion for many years and the number of deaths it caused. In fact, most abortions were performed by doctors, nurses, or others with some medical training. No matter how the pro-abortion side twists the mortality figures that we have for this century, abortion simply was not a statistically significant cause of death for women. Once antibiotics were introduced, death was even less likely an outcome. Oddly enough, the first person I know of to show this rather conclusively was Mary Calderone, M.D. a founder of SIECUS (1954-1982) and a medical director of Planned Parenthood. (1953-1964)

    “In 1957 there were only 260 deaths in the whole country attributed to abortions of any kind….90 percent of all illegal abortions are presently being done by physicians….Whatever trouble arises usually arises from self-induced abortions, which comprise approximately 8 percent, or with the very small percentage that go to some kind of non-medical abortionist…”

     Mary S. Calderone, M.D.: “Illegal Abortion as a Public Health Problem.” American Journal of Public Health, 50:948, 1960 (PDF available online from AJPH at : http://www.ajph.org/cgi/reprint/50/7/948)

    I very much appreciate your refuting that canard that pro-lifers don’t help women in distress. It is always possible to do more but I don’t know of a religious body in my state that isn’t heavily involved in supporting  women in need and, of course, there are a number of unaffiliated groups working to alleviate the needs of women as well. 

  9. Christina
    December 13th, 2008 @ 10:26 am

    AbortionBlogger, if you look at abortion mortality for the 20th century, you’ll discover that it was falling rapidly  long before legalization. You also can see that legalization didn’t even make a blip on the mortality trends. 

    That seems counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? How can it possibly be?

    According to Alan Guttmacher, Christopher Titeze, and other prochoice researchers, abortion deaths were falling — as was all maternal mortality — due to improvements in overall health, and due to the development of blood transfusions and antibiotics.

    Okay, this explains why abortion mortality was falling prior to legalization, but it doesn’t explain why legalization didn’t show up as a marked improvement in the mortality trends. 

    There are two reasons that legalization didn’t do anything:

    1. It was the same people doing abortions after legalization that were doing it before legalization.

    2. Although legalization might have improved the survival odds for most individual women (more likely to find a licensed doctor, more likely to seek hospitalization promptly), this improvement was offset by two other factors: the propensity of the legal abortionist to take risks a criminal abortionist would have never attempted for fear that a botch jobwould land him in prison  (hysterotomy abortions in an office, for example), and the sheer increase in the number of women subjected to the risks.

  10. Christina
    December 13th, 2008 @ 10:32 am

    Laura, I for one don’t “push for the government to do more” because I don’t trust the government. If the federal government was a private charity, nobody in their right mind would put their spare change in the donation jar, much less fork over nearly a quarter of their income and trust them to do good with it.

    I’ve taken in homeless families, given people food, given people money, and made regular donations to effective charities that actually provide real help to needy people. And every dollar the government takes to feed a fat bloated bureaucracy is one less dollar I have to actually help  people with.

  11. gb
    December 13th, 2008 @ 6:06 pm

    AB, I too believed for many years that prolife = mysogyny.  I was so sure of this that I aborted my daughter before it was legal.  Then one day I realized that what could really be more mysogynist than killing little girls & ripping them out of their moms? That’s ok, you don’t have to call her my daughter…call her whatever name you like…the point is that is who she was intended to be. Even you have to admit that.

  12. Sara
    December 13th, 2008 @ 10:41 pm

    Rhys, it is in no way AB’s duty or obligation to carry her pregnancy to term just so another couple can adopt her baby. Of all the arguments that the anti-abortion movement can use to discourage abortion that’s the most offensive and damaging, as far as I can see- kind of like “you better clean your plate, because there are starving kids in China”. Keeping a  poor, innocent,  childless couples from suffering the terrible injustice of having to wait a few extra months for their very own infant is not a good enough reason to bring a child into the world.  Statements like that only give further creedence to my suspicion that the vast majority of pro-lifers are less interested in saving babies and more interested in ensuring a constant stream of healthy Caucasian infants are available for adoption.

  13. theobromophile
    December 13th, 2008 @ 11:30 pm

    Re: birth control. Babies are the natural outcome of sexual intercourse. We can thwart that outcome pretty well but it is  nearly impossible to thwart it forever,  if a woman capable of bearing children is sexually active over a number of years.  It wreaks havoc with our thinking to suppose that sex and procreation can (or should) be severed and that has implications for how we should think about a variety of social matters beyond abortion.

    Just to be clear, I don’t disagree at all.  When I debate people, especially hard-core liberals, I try to take their values and show them how our side is consistent with a lot of their beliefs.   To  me, the existence of birth control is the trump card in the feminist abortion discussion (i.e. abortion as a woman’s right to control her own sexuality and body).   With the existence of birth control, the issue of “needing” abortions, or pro-lifers wanting to restrict women’s sexuality and life choices, becomes nothing more than sad, tired rhetoric that can go the way of the dodo bird.  Our response should be: “Birth control is legal.    Be an adult and figure out how to keep yourself from getting pregnant.” 

    Furthermore, it doesn’t make sense to debate feminist abortion advocates from a theological (or even just a conservative) perspective any more than it makes sense to debate a theologian by quoting Peter Singer.  In fact, I wish that the pro-life movement would find more confidence in its beliefs – to see that its beliefs hold up to scrutiny from every perspective, rather than this ceaseless appeal to religiousity.  Did you see how the Left went absolutely out of their tree when Sarah Palin – mother of five, governor of a state, half-Eskimo husband who helps with the kids, gave birth to a disabled baby while in office, and pro-life as they come – came on the scene?  She’s their worst nightmare, since there isn’t an anti-life ad hominem attack that can survive against her.  

    I would rather get the middle of America – those people who are deeply ambivalent about abortion – on board by appealing to their values, rather than making an argument that alienates 90% of the country.  Let’s argue from the perspective of people who think birth control is okay, but are uncomfortable with abortion.  Let’s argue from the perspective of people who think women like me “need” abortion, or benefit from it.  Let’s show them that the life ethic is completely feasible and in line with the ideals of empowering women and building strong families.

    In short: it’s not about what we believe, but about what we can get them to change their minds on.

  14. Christina
    December 14th, 2008 @ 12:30 am

    Sara, you said, “Rhys, it is in no way AB’s duty or obligation to carry her pregnancy to term just so another couple can adopt her baby.”

    You are absolutely right.

    She has an obligation to carry to term BECAUSE IT’S HER BABY and she is the child’s mother and it’s her duty to protect, nurture, and love that child, even when she doesn’t particularly want to. Because that’s what it means to be a mother.

  15. Pansy Moss
    December 14th, 2008 @ 9:47 am

    Statements like that only give further creedence to my suspicion that the vast majority of pro-lifers are less interested in saving babies and more interested in ensuring a constant stream of healthy Caucasian infants are available for adoption.

    Most aborted babies are black. Making abortion illegal would mean more of a steady stream of black babies.

  16. Sara
    December 14th, 2008 @ 11:03 am

    Christina- you may believe that, RA may believe that, Rhys may believe that– but obviously AB doesn’t believe that. Hence why she (and so many other women) have abortions. But throwing out the whole “but think of the poooooooor people who want to adooooopt” canard is just distracting, and makes you look every bit as selfish and self centered as ya’ll seem to think woman who have abortions are.

  17. Christina
    December 14th, 2008 @ 11:35 am

    Sara, it’s not a matter of who believes it. It’s a matter of whether or not it’s true. You can think, for example, that you’re entitled to a flat-screen TV, regardless of whether or not you can pay for one. But society doesn’t owe you a big screen TV. You (or any other woman) can believe that her children are her property, to kill or nurture as she chooses. But society doesn’t owe it to her to facilitate killing the children; society doesn’t even owe it to her to tolerate her killing the children without any help. Society owes it to the CHILDREN to protect them from their mother’s lethal intentions. 

    The idea that society should be structured to facilitate the strong preying on the weak should be anathema to anybody with a shred of basic human decency.

  18. Pansy Moss
    December 14th, 2008 @ 12:05 pm

    and makes you look every bit as selfish and self centered as ya’ll seem to think woman who have abortions are.

    Not trying to be nasty or snarky, but why? Isn’t the point of abortion simply that the person who might choose to abort doesn’t want  or  are not in a position to care for their baby? There are people who would love a child. Why is that a horrible sentiment? I am not sure why adoption is a selfish or self-centered option.  People have used this solution for centuries.

    In this time where abortion is legal, and if I were pro-choice and didn’t believe abortion is murder, I could understand why someone would rather abort than adopt out, but I couldn’t see why the suggestion of adoption is self-centered and selfish in and of itself.

  19. Abortion Blogger
    December 14th, 2008 @ 2:59 pm

    Thanks Sara.  :)

  20. elm
    December 14th, 2008 @ 3:07 pm

    “I think sea monkey is an excellent nickname for [it]”

    so your mother had a sea monkey? or were you inseminated by a male sea monkey? How you got a sea monkey into your uterus as compared to a human being must have involve some really interesting gymnastics.

  21. elm
    December 14th, 2008 @ 3:15 pm

     “Isn’t the point of abortion simply that the person who might choose to abort doesn’t want  or  are not in a position to care for their baby”

    This line of thinking is very interesting. This is why it takes 9 months to gestate a human being. There is a little boy who will be born this coming Tuesday at noon (C-section) who was not wanted, not even anticiapted because of birth control, and is coming at a really bad financial time. The parents were not thrilled; scared to death the first two months of the pregnancy. They were not even sure that they liked each other. This month, the month of the child’s birth, the parents are excited and looking forward to Tuesday when they will finally see outside the womb what their newly created child looks like, smells like, feels like. What a maturation has occurred this year in their hearts and in their relationship. They have accepted the responsibility come hell or high water. They are truly human, trusting in hope for the future.
     
    There is nothing more “sexy” than a man becoming a father and accepting what he has help create.
     

  22. Pansy Moss
    December 14th, 2008 @ 3:58 pm

    There is nothing more “sexy” than a man becoming a father and accepting what he has help create.

    On the flip side, I am not sure why being pro-life is misogynistic. I can’t think of anything more feminine than to have children.

  23. Christina
    December 14th, 2008 @ 4:08 pm

    “Those who plead for an extensive relaxation of the law [against abortion] have no idea of the very many cases where a woman who, during the first three months, makes a most impassioned appeal for her pregnancy to be ‘finished,’ later, when the baby is born, is thankful indeed that it was not killed while still an embryo. During my long years in practice I have had many a letter of the deepest gratitude for refusing to accede to an early appeal.” — Dr. Alec Bourne (the British doctor who challenged the abortion law by openly performing an abortion on a 15-year-old rape victim

    There are books such as Psychosocial Adaptation in Pregnancy (for a more scholarly approach) and Surprise Child (intended for lay reading) that examine how normal it is to be shocked, dismayed, ambivalent, even rejecting of early pregnancy, and how these feelings are self-limiting and change as the pregnancy progresses. Sandra Mahkorn even noted the resolution of initial rejection in rape victims, who as the pregnancy progressed came to change from rejecting the pregnancy to welcoming the baby.

    If there was one single fact I’d get to the public, it’d be the fact that ambivalence and rejection are normal and self-limiting in early pregnancy. The abortion lobby has been very successful in convincing the public at large, and individual women in crisis, that these feelings are abnormal and a sign that the woman will be unable to adapt to motherhood. And this is a con job.

  24. Sara
    December 14th, 2008 @ 7:22 pm

    Pansy- two points as far as the numbers go (african-americans vs. caucasian abortion), that may be true- but that doesn’t mean that many “pro-adoption” anti-abortion folks aren’t interested in seeing more white babies being born so they can be placed for adoption.  It’s not the suggestion of adoption that’s selfish- it’s the EXPECTATION – the demand. As though people are OWED a baby. Sadly, a healthy white infant is the holy grail of the adoption world, and one born from a smart young woman who found herself pregnant too soon is like hitting pay-dirt. But healthy (and by that i mean drug-free) white women (generally) have abortions when they find themselves with an unwanted pregnancy….meaning few white babies up for adoption.  If you don’t believe me, poke around the infertility/adoption blogs for a bit- you’ll see. Dangle the prospect of a white baby in front of them they go absolutely bananas. If a woman dares to change her mind, and decide to parent her own child, they talk endlessly about how selfish she is, how self-centered, yadda yadda. As though pregnant women were brood mares. For all their talk about choosing cross-racial adoption, I have no doubt in my mind the ONLY reason many of these couples go that route is because they know there just aren’t white babies. I think adoption is a wonderful thing, when a woman is genuinely unable to care for an infant (and that means real effort has been put into assisting that woman if she wants to parent, with meaningful and long-term support), the woman doesn’t want to terminate, and there are people out there wanting to adopt her child, regardless of race or disability- and she’s not being coerced. But adoption is not an alternative to abortion, it’s an alternative to parenting….and I think that for the most part when anti-abortion folks start talking about adoption as a solution to abortion, they’re less concerned about finding a solution that meets the woman’s needs and more interested in finding more “deserving”
    (in their minds) families for the child.

  25. Sara
    December 14th, 2008 @ 9:44 pm

    AB- you’re welcome. And good luck :)

  26. Carla
    December 15th, 2008 @ 8:17 am

    I used to get so angry about those that were completely happy after their abortions. I would get livid. It didn’t last long because I was there as well. The relief after my abortion only lasted a couple of days though and then the  sense of shame began to grow and the need to numb my grief was my first priority.  Only 4 short years after I ended the life of my child my circumstances changed. I was married with a good job, good salary, nice car and the desperate longing for a child.
    I almost wish I had been one of those girls crying in the recliners, clutching their bellies and screaming for their babies. They already knew. It took me years to face it and name it and seek healing.

    I have no judgment for you. I have done exactly what you have done. I will be praying for you though. There is hope and healing to be found in abortion recovery.

  27. Carla
    December 15th, 2008 @ 8:21 am

    Sara,
    I really don’t understand your argument about white babies. It isn’t reality when in my circle of friends there are 6 families that have adopted African American babies. They WANTED them. I know. Shocker.

  28. Nik0
    December 15th, 2008 @ 8:21 am

    Instead of everyone (excepting Sara) continuing to tell AB how she ought to feel and what she ought to do, maybe we could turn this into a productive discussion.  One of the main issues of disagreement seems to be whether the fetus is equivalent to (or deserving the rights of) a sea-monkey or a person.

    Obviously those inclined to believe that fetuses have souls will attach some inherent moral equality to even a little blastula, (much to the amusement of developmental biologists).  But I’m really surprised that the atheist blogger who runs this website should attach that same equality – and I’m curious as to why this might be.  Adam, it seems like your argument (like many others here) is solidly rooted in the idea that a potential child is the same as a child, by which logic we would conclude that an acorn is the same as an oak tree.

    But an acorn is not an oak tree.  And a first trimester fetus doesn’t have feelings, or the capability to survive independently (much less a functional nervous system).  What’s more, most fertilized eggs don’t become finished pregnancies.  The mother’s body aborts them if they don’t seem to be viable, or if uterine conditions aren’t favorable.

    So Adam, instead of harping on what you see to be callousness, I’d like you to tell us what material characteristic a fetus possesses that entitles it to the same rights as a human being.

  29. Pansy Moss
    December 15th, 2008 @ 9:48 am

    Sara

    Thank you for taking the time to answer my question in such depth. I have not been to adoption boards such as you describe, but I cannot feign ignorance. On the racial side of things, I think what you described is just sad a commentary of racial relations in our country. It doesn’t seem that odd. How many times have I heard “I would never marry a (insert different race) here person.” I actually left a very vibrant online community years ago when this question came up: “what race child would you adopt?” I was incredibly flabbergasted that not only was the question asked, but that people had racial preferences-none of them black. That said, these are not people I care to associate with and I also know wonderful families IRL who have multiple adopted children not only of different races, but if different levels of disabilities. So I don’t know how much the people you described are he face of  adoption.

    As for the boards making statements about “selfish” birth mothers, again I can imagine it is painful to lose a child you thought you were getting, and people in pain say stupid things. They also might be complete jerks and you might end up banding in a whole online community because they think alike. I can say that I think at times it is very easy for adoptive parents to forget that giving up a child was a great sacrifice for a birth mother, and not something women do out of annoyance like often portrayed on TV.

    Keeping all that in mind, perhaps the adoption industry could use some revamping-I don’t know. I know it has come a long way, and I hope it continues to move forward in addressing people’s emotional needs, especially in a time where people can communicate and find information so readily.

    All that said, to state a pro-lifer is selfish is assuming a lot about everyone in the pro-life movement.  To pro-lifers abortion is murder, plain and simple. And many like myself do not feel it is not a step to helping women but harming them. That’s the issue. If you believe in abortion, then usually the options if you find yourself pregnant in a difficult position are to keep the baby, adoption or abortion. If you are pro-life, the options are narrowed down to keeping the baby or adoption. If someone mentions adoption in a com box, it doesn’t make them selfish baby brokers. I can see how bringing up the needs of the adopted parents over the needs of the mother would ruffle your feathers after stating your thoughts on the way adoption is going these days. But give people who bring up adoption the benefit of the doubt that they don’t understand more so than every pro-lifer is standing up for the option of women to be incubators for a more “worthy” couple.

    You see a need for some sort of revamping in the adoption process. I see a calling in you.

  30. Rachael C. (formerly Rachael S)
    December 15th, 2008 @ 9:53 am

    First of all,welcome back, RA! I missed your pro-life blogging (and Naaman’s too, if you’re out there)! How have you been?

    You used to link to blog and my article on CPCs I think… but anyways, I’m no longer with Blog City and have included my new blog address above.

    BTW, I’ve had a change of heart; these days, I consider myself an agnostic.

  31. Matilda
    December 15th, 2008 @ 11:09 am

    Sara, the main problem I see with your “support” is that no one would have said anything about adoption if AB hadn’t brought it up first.  When I had first read the post and looked at her supposed number 2 response, the first thing I thought was “Obviously not yours.”  I don’t really understand why pro-aborts get so enraged over the adoption question.  They seem to throw out bizarre untrue statements against pro-lifers & others who would gladly adopt.  It seems to me that those who are so vehemently pro-abortion are anti-adoption and are projecting their inadequacies and selfishness onto others.

  32. Eric
    December 15th, 2008 @ 11:54 am

    “So Adam, instead of harping on what you see to be callousness, I’d like you to tell us what material characteristic a fetus possesses that entitles it to the same rights as a human being.”

    A better question is: what material characteristic does a fetus NOT possess? The answer to which is “nothing.”

    During the entire gestational period, the fetus receives no new genetic material that was not present at the moment of conception, meaning that gestation is entirely developmental, not generative. You compare the fetus to a “human being.” Exactly what is a homo sapien fetus if not a human being?

    Peter Singer has suggested an adjustment period for new (human, mind you) parents once they have a child–18 months I think. If you decide you’re not cut out to be a mommy or daddy, you should be allowed to have the child humanely put down. If sentience or consciousness is the critical factor (see RA’s earlier comments on sleeping adults), you shouldn’t logically object to this form of euthanasia.

    If the thought of infanticide horrifies you, examine your objection. Are you horrified at the violence? What if wasn’t violent? Are you horrified by the loss of life? Okay, but what makes the newly born child more human than the seconds-before-birth child? There’s the rub, and the answer to the original question. The seconds-before-birth child is no less “human” than the newly born child, or the 36-week fetus, or the 24-week fetus. Humanity, along with all requisite genetic material, is possessed by the child at conception.

    Now if you want to discuss “viability” or the suggested ability of a fetus to feel pain, that’s something else. (On that note: when my three children were each born, they each vociferously objected to even being man-handled by the nurses, or being bathed, or having their legs held to get a footprint. Do you think they would have objected, say, a month prior, to their limbs being forcibly removed? Or their skulls pierced with a medical implement?) A zygote, or a blastocyst, or a one-week embryo does not have the ability to feel pain, and is not self-aware. At some point in gestation, the ability to feel pain certainly is acquired. Self-awareness, perhaps not until birth. (But who knows, really? From the moment of birth, each of my kids was fully self-aware–their lives are all about self-awareness. Can we say that because no one can recall their preborn life that we didn’t have some sense of self-awareness?) Whether or not we/they do, the point is that that isn’t the point!

    A fetus’ right to life is enforced by its full humanity (it’s not a different organism, right?) It’s also enforced by its possession of all necessary genetic material as a discrete entity.

    The acorn/oak tree analogy is instructive–there is definitely a parallel. According to the second-century theologian Tertullian, “The entire fruit is already present in the seed.” But the analogy is severely flawed in one regard–it’s a TREE, not a human being! Stepping on an acorn = dismembering a human fetus with a curette? Seriously? These are morally equivalent to you?

    If your life has no more value than a shrubbery, or your extended family has no more worth than the copse of trees in your backyard, this conversation is worthless. Get pregnant, have an abortion, don’t have an abortion, feed a hungry child, eat a fat child for dinner–do whatever suits your fancy. But if what you really believe is that although human life has greater value than a tree, a mother’s rights trump her fetus’ right to life on all levels and at all times, then just say so. (You should then be the first person to sign up to support born-alive infant protections. Their right to born life should be at least as fiercely protected as the mother’s reproductive rights.) That, at least, is more honest than the ostensible “productive discussion” of a fetus’ “material characteristics.” Even your “developmental biologists,” along with embryologists and the entire medical community can’t debate over a fetus’ “material.” It’s all in there.

    And, for the record, Niko: a “potential child” is a contradiction in terms. A potential child would be a thought, a wish, a tickle in someone’s pants. A “child” is created when sperm meets egg. A dependent child, sure, but so is a newborn, a one-month old, a year-old.

  33. craig
    December 15th, 2008 @ 12:07 pm

    Nik0 (December 15th, 2008 @ 8:21 am) writes:

    “…it seems like your argument … is solidly rooted in the idea that a potential child is the same as a child, by which logic we would conclude that an acorn is the same as an oak tree.”
    “Potential child” is a misnomer.  An unfertilized egg is a potential child.  A fetus is a child as-yet unborn, who will self-develop into a child if given the sustenance intrinsically given in the mother’s womb.  By this point, no choice or deliberate act is required of the mother in order that the fetus develop into a full-term baby.
    “But an acorn is not an oak tree.  And a first trimester fetus doesn’t have feelings, or the capability to survive independently (much less a functional nervous system).  What’s more, most fertilized eggs don’t become finished pregnancies.  The mother’s body aborts them if they don’t seem to be viable, or if uterine conditions aren’t favorable.
    Neither do many injured or impaired adults have the capacity to feel or to survive independently.  Since sustaining these persons requires far more deliberate acts on the part of others than does pregnancy require, your line of thought suggests that leaving these persons to die is an acceptable choice if caring for them inconveniences us. You may well agree here; I’m just clarifying the fact that in searching for some “material characteristic” that evades the plain fact of conception, you have defined the right to live as contingent upon utility.
    And the fact that fetuses spontaneously abort does not justify their deliberate abortion, any more than the fact that people sometimes die of starvation permits us to starve them.

  34. Anther
    December 15th, 2008 @ 12:28 pm

    Kudos Eric, Kudos.

  35. Eva
    December 15th, 2008 @ 5:05 pm

    hmmm….
    well, glad you brought your friends along, RA….

  36. elm
    December 15th, 2008 @ 5:49 pm

    well, glad you brought your friends along, RA….

    can never have too many friends.

  37. Chris Arsenault
    December 15th, 2008 @ 8:19 pm

    Niko said:

    So Adam, instead of harping on what you see to be callousness, I’d like you to tell us what material characteristic a fetus possesses that entitles it to the same rights as a human being.

    Well, I’m not Adam, but I can tell you several things.
    Logically, you are “begging the question” – that is you are assuming that the fetus is not a human being in your statement.  It’s reasonable to ask – if it is not a human being, then what is it?
    What is the fetus? You must begin with flesh and blood.  If you don’t grant that to the fetus, then you can’t grant it to yourself, because you too are of human flesh and blood.
    1. The fetus is a human being (homo sapiens) – scientifically the law of biogenesis shows that two human beings pro-create after their own kind. Pre-borns have both a mother – the pregnant woman, and a father, despite denials.
    2. The human fetus has a unique flesh and blood and identity (via DNA & chromosomal patterns, including  gender).  It is not part of the woman’s body. It’s not an organ. It is a separate human being.  I could provide numerous scientific & medical references that speak to the human nature of the fetus from explanations of sperm and oocyte joining to birth. A good solid  medical embryology text would serve you well.  From an intellectually honest standpoint, you must concede that the flesh and blood is indeed a living human being, otherwise provide solid evidence to the contrary.

    Your second point is – does this human being have moral agency?   Philosophically, should it be regarded as a human being when it comes to rights and responsibilities?  While scientific fact provides the flesh basis, a valid argument must be present to reject that this is not a human being with the intrinsic right to life.  Do not give me Blackmun’s Roe opinion. It’s circular logic.
    Size, level of development, environment and degree of dependency are the only factors which differentiate between your pre-born self and now. Morally, these do not negate the rights of human beings, including the  foundational right to life, upon which all others hang. Throughout our legal system we have laws to stop discrimination against these factors.  Also discriminating against pre-born humans on sentience fails when the same  test is applied to other human beings.
    On the moral agency factor of dependency – all rights come with moral responsibilities which cannot be rejected. The greatest is: do not murder, particularly those who are completely dependent upon us.  We do not allow murder of our newborn children.  Our responsibilities with regard to justice and to each other requires us to defend the innocent against their destruction.

    Undermine that principle and brute force is the only recourse – which describes abortion perfectly. It’s also completely fallacious.

    Brute force renders your initial query moot – there is no reason to ask what it is if the intention is to destroy it.

    And if the fetus is an innocent human being, then no excuse justifies the killing.

  38. theobromophile
    December 15th, 2008 @ 11:23 pm

    So Adam, instead of harping on what you see to be callousness, I’d like you to tell us what material characteristic a fetus possesses that entitles it to the same rights as a human being.

    Not Adam, nor Eva, but will answer anyway. 

    It is a human being.  Plain and simple.  Anything else is a subversion of science to ideology.  The progeny of two humans will always be a human.  We do not live in a world in which women who want babies give birth to babies, while women who don’t want them would give birth to armadillos but for abortion. 

    Enough of the science, because that only tells us that, at the moment of conception, we have a living human being.

    As students of history, we should realise that there are tremendous problems with classifying one group of human beings (members of the species Homo Sapiens) as “people” and another group as “not people,” “the second sex,” or the like.  The victims of abortion are not as readily seen as the victims of slavery, the Holocaust, or even of domestic violence.  They, like the elderly who are quietly euthanised where such is legal, do not cry out to protect themselves.  They do not organise marches, make ribbons, or do anything else to demonstrate that their treatment is abomindable.  Somehow, in your world, that vulnerability justifies using them as easy targets.  It’s sort of like saying that women are smaller and weaker, and are more emotional and less rational, so domestic violence is justified.  Sick, sick, sick.

    In short – I have nothing but science and liberal values to offer you. 

  39. Adam
    December 16th, 2008 @ 7:04 am

    Niko,

    I would suppose my reasoning goes as such: I do not think the comparison you’ve made between acorns to oak trees; fetuses to humans is valid.  I would agree with you that a gamete is not a human being; it is, if you’re going to really stretch language, a potential child. But a fetus is not a potential child, it is a human being. Human beings, by definition (until RvW) are those beings developing towards the point of death, with a biologically unique identity. I just don’t see what is incorrect with this definition, except that it is unsympathetic to those women (and their supporters) who want to terminate pregnancies.

    What I do find spurious and difficult, on the other hand, is to list definitively which physical or personal characteristics (such as a nervous system or feelings) allow the right-to-life to vest. Consider: does a 1 hour old child have feelings? Or does a severely mentally retarded person? Does an individual with advanced Alzheimer’s? All do, perhaps, but in such an impaired or primitive way as to not be comparable to the rest of humanity. Therefore they should be killed. Does this statement sound incredible to you? It does to me as well, and I think that just shows the arbitrary nature of stating that one needs certain characteristics to be human.

    Finally, you heap error onto error by stating that many pregnancies end with natural, spontaneous abortion, as though that impaired the humanity of fetuses which do not meet such a fate. Consider: many children die before the end of infancy or childhood. But does that impair their right to life while they still live? No. And for a person that doesn’t see any distinction between a fertilized ovum and a six year old, (in terms of the right to life) I don’t think this statement really harms the claim that fetuses are children either.

  40. Pansy Moss
    December 16th, 2008 @ 12:17 pm

    As students of history, we should realise that there are tremendous problems with classifying one group of human beings (members of the species Homo Sapiens) as “people” and another group as “not people,” “the second sex,” or the like.  The victims of abortion are not as readily seen as the victims of slavery, the Holocaust, or even of domestic violence.  They, like the elderly who are quietly euthanised where such is legal, do not cry out to protect themselves.

    T,

    I agree. I am not sure why these arguments are reduced down to “religious believe” and “non-religious”.  Right and wrong is only reserved for those who believe in God? Issues of social justice? I suspect it’s merely a rationalization: “oh, only those religious fanatics who are too dopey to think for themselves believe abortion is wrong, and I am not one of those, therefore, I can believe in abortion.” In many cases, such as obvious acts against the innocent such as abortion, religion just reinforces right and wrong, not dictates it.

  41. elm
    December 16th, 2008 @ 1:05 pm

    Calling abortion “voluntary termination of pregnancy” is like referring to wife beating as “corporal spousal correction

  42. Magdalena de Sales
    December 18th, 2008 @ 10:48 pm

    Carla, thank you for your honesty.  God bless!  You are in my prayers tonight.

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