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Mar 14 2014

The Day I Decided to Have an Abortion

Migraines were the reason I was at the doctor’s office.

She was a wonderful doctor. It was the first time I’d had an internist as my primary care physician. She had a Palm Pilot with a good medical database on it so she didn’t have to work on anything by memory or leave me sitting to get more information.

A lot of what she had to say wasn’t new to me. I’d figured out that the frequent headaches and other weirdness were migraines through internet research. But she had access to more and better information. When I said I had these three to four days a week, she looked at me funny and said, “Three to four times a month is the point where we want to consider prophylactic treatment.”

I was all for treatment. She looked at my chart, particularly at my (low) blood pressure, consulted the Palm Pilot again, and said, “You’re having stress headaches with the migraines. I want to put you on propranolol.”

I was fine with that too. Then she said, “But if I give you a prescription for this drug, I need to know that you’ll be okay with having an abortion if you get pregnant.”*

I said, “Sure.” Then she wrote me a prescription. No fuss. No muss. About four years of migraine relief, with the side effect of clearing up some anxiety issues that had plagued me since childhood.

Everyone was happy. End of story.

As it turns out, Massimo Pigliucci is not happy with how I decided to have an abortion. You see, “To decide to get an abortion is always (or, at least, should always be) a very difficult and emotional step, precisely because it has significant ethical consequences.”

I’m so glad he told me. I had no idea that living a couple of decades as a fertile woman, at least nominally, would have prepared me to make that decision calmly and rationally. I couldn’t possibly have spent my life with abortion as a perennial hot-button political topic, something debated endlessly across the country and, you know, have thought the matter through in that time. I couldn’t possibly have sorted through how I felt about the existence of life versus the quality of life. I couldn’t have thought about what “life” means and which definitions of the word are useful versus which ones are stretching the point for the sake of argument.

I couldn’t have decided whether and how children fit into my life. I couldn’t have figured out whether my genes should be carried on. I couldn’t have figured out whether I would be a good parent, particularly not after having grown up with an abusive one.

I couldn’t have contemplated the possibility of birth control failing me sometime in the twenty years I’d been having sex at that point. I couldn’t have chosen birth control with the understanding of how I go about having sex and what that means for the odds of failure. I couldn’t have made contingency plans already and reassessed them as my life circumstances changed.

No, according to Pigliucci, I must have sat in that doctor’s office and had a “difficult and emotional” moment, because babby. Life! Ethics!

Sorry, Massimo, this is why we won’t be having this debate with you. You’re not qualified. You don’t treat women as people who can and do think about their lives. Instead we’re naive and need the help of the atheist movement to contemplate an issue we’ve been soaking in all our lives.

Let us know when you stop being so condescending. Until then, we’ll be over here not listening.

*Looking at the most recent recommendations on this, propranolol is probably not going to cause issues with fetal development, so don’t panic if you’re on the drug and would want to carry any pregnancy to term. Do talk to your doctor about it though.

47 comments

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  1. 1
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    To be fair, Pigliucci is often an enormous jackass to all sorts of people, and looks down on the decisions lots of people make that aren’t based on being a professional cretin… oh, I mean “philosopher”. Oops.

  2. 2
    frogmistress

    I am so sick of the men sitting around making all of these decisions for me. They decide what I can do with my body. They decide how I should feel about my choices.

    And then they don’t like how I react to them making all these decisions for me.

    I am so done with this.

  3. 3
    Stephanie Zvan

    And then they get so sensitive and emotional about it.

  4. 4
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    MEN AREN’T EMOTIONAL!! THAT’S YOU WOMENFOLK!!!

    I’d expound on that, but I have to advocate for a war because Russia’s president makes our president look weak, and I can’t live with myself if innocent civilians don’t die to correct that impression. LOGIC!

  5. 5
    hjhornbeck

    I’m got a theory about these controversies, and Pigliucci practically outlined it in blinking lights:

    What does any of the above, including abortion, fiscal conservativeness (or not), support for the military (or not), owning guns (or not), and liking or disliking Obama have to do with atheism? Nothing, absolutely nothing.

    There are two ways to think about religion: the collective assertion that the gods exist, or as a social system that privileges the in-group. As a corollary, atheism can mean either the lack of an assertion or a denial of the gods, or a rejecting of that social system of privilege. This leads to differing views on atheism’s scope. To a dictionary atheist, abortion has absolutely nothing to do the lack of belief and is therefore irrelevant; to a social atheist, abortion is a big issue as it’s key to ending one form of oppression and breaking a cycle of shame. These battles over abortion or feminism or social justice are really just small skirmishes.

    The real war is over what the term “atheist” means.

  6. 6
    SallyStrange

    They’re so OUTRAGED that a woman would dare have the temerity to dismiss out of hand arguments that are being marshalled in the service of denying her basic human rights.

  7. 7
    elly

    To decide to get an abortion is always (or, at least, should always be) a very difficult and emotional step, precisely because it has significant ethical consequences.

    Hmmm… this sentence needs editing, methinks.

    “To decide to get an abortion have a child is always (or, at least, should always be) a very difficult and emotional step, precisely because it has significant ethical consequences.”

    There, fixed!

  8. 8
    chigau (違う)

    I have long suspected that Massimo Pigliucci never quite got over the Catholic upbringing.

  9. 9
    hjhornbeck

    But back to abortion. Here’s Pigliucci again.

    Of course there are logical, science-based, and rational arguments against abortion. They may turn out to be ultimately unconvincing, or countered by better arguments — as I believe they are — but they certainly exist. To start with, you may want to spend some time perusing a few entries in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (like this one, or this one, or this one), for instance …

    So let’s have a look at them. The critical passage of the anti-abortion arguments of the first goes:

    Those who oppose abortion freedom argue that it should not be left to private choice because the unborn are equal members of the moral community, along with newborn infants. Membership in the moral community is conferred by human status or potential personhood, these philosophers argue. Religious ethicists sometimes characterize the unborn as having souls. Some moralists maintain that women’s decisional privacy must yield if science establishes that a totally unique human life comes into being immediately at fertilization of an ovum.

    Note there’s no references or elaboration there. Note as well how all the counter-arguments boil down to right-to-life/autonomous-agent arguments, none of which are capable of defeating the bodily autonomy argument of Thomson. Finally, almost immediately afterwards the article jumps into policy, and never bothers to analyze the quality of any of these arguments. It looks more like a “both sides” portrayal than a serious consideration of the topic.

    The second page is even worse. It spends a fair chunk of time discussing pregnancy in developmentally-challenged people, which are irrelevant to the current debate, before finally getting to able-bodied people… where it points out the courts have accepted the bodily integrity argument (the Angela Carder case), and outright states:

    Even when a fetus’s survival depends on a woman undergoing some intervention, she can no more be compelled to consent to it than anyone else could be compelled to undergo a medical intervention to save another person. In no other circumstances do we take anyone to be compelled to undergo medical treatments even if he is the sole contender for saving a life (for example if he is the only known match for a bone marrow transfusion or organ donation); pregnant women ought not to be an exception.

    The best counter-arguments come buried in a single paragraph:

    Savulescu (2007a) argues for a ‘duty of easy rescue’—regardless of whether the fetus counts as a person, he claims, a pregnant woman has a duty to allow acts that do not significantly harm her while protecting her future child from significant harm (see also Draper 1996). Chervenak and McCullough (1991) argue that sometimes refusal of treatment can be expected to result in further medical complications, and hence constitutes an implicit positive demand for alternative treatment that may be more costly.

    Which, next paragraph down, the article promptly refutes by invoking (you guessed it) bodily integrity: “Even if pregnant women sometimes have a moral duty not to refuse interventions, this does not count against the conclusion that, as full citizens, they have the same privacy and bodily integrity rights as all other citizens, even when their exercise of these rights involves morally problematic behavior.” Note that we still haven’t gotten to any actual arguments, just conclusions of other arguments with not elaboration.

    As for the third page, “This entry does not consider abortion.”

    Back to Pigliucci:

    Are these arguments sufficient to justify forceful state interventions on women’s bodily integrity, under any circumstances? Very likely not.

    I should hope not, because there are no arguments there. Only half-hearted assertions are made, all of which are soundly defeated by the bodily integrity argument within a paragraph’s length. That Pigliucci never realized that speaks poorly of his skills as a philosopher.

  10. 10
    Al Dente

    I’m sure Pigliucci would think very hard and even become emotional if he had to have an abortion.

  11. 11
    Jadehawk

    “To decide to get an abortion is always (or, at least, should always be) a very difficult and emotional step, precisely because it has significant ethical consequences.”

    wow, what bullshit.

    I don’t have a story like Stephanie, but “if I get pregnant, I’ll have an abortion” has been the default position for me for… 12 years now. Occasionally I review to see if this is still true (currently the answer is “I just got accepted into grad school. Fuck if I’m gonna let a pregnancy derail that.”), but I don’t agonize over the decision. And the two times I got a pregnancy test, I didn’t really think I was pregnant but just in case I wanted to make sure, so I wouldn’t find out at 3 months or something and not have the time to jump through all the hoops anti-abortionists make me jump through.

  12. 12
    Jadehawk

    Hmmm… this sentence needs editing, methinks.

    “To decide to get an abortion have a child is always (or, at least, should always be) a very difficult and emotional step, precisely because it has significant ethical consequences.”

    There, fixed!

    I wholeheartedly agree with this correction. But hey, even that decision doesn’t have to be agonized over at the point at which the decision needs to be made. People with uteruses tend to think about this WAY before it becomes an issue (it’s why women are less likely to be ok with unplanned pregnancies than men are, stereotypes notwithstanding; THEY have already thought about it, that’s why they don’t want to be pregnant in the first place)

  13. 13
    breaplum

    @10:

    It’s been my default position for, oh, 27 years now. I’ve never wanted kids. No particular reason, that switch is just flipped the other way in my brain.

    And yeah, I agree – what utter bullshit.

  14. 14
    Stevarious, Public Health Problem

    WTF? So, what, she’s not allowed to decide beforehand? She’s not allowed to even think about it until she’s pregnant? Come on. That’s the exact opposite of responsibly considering the question.

  15. 15
    G Pierce (Was ~G~)

    I decided before I was even fertile!

  16. 16
    dukeofomnium

    The idea that Pigliucci can arrogate to himself what a woman – or anyone else – must consider “significant ethical consequences” is astounding. I think it’s fair to say that most atheists consider the [in]significance of ethical consequences to be a subjective one (at least, for ethical consequences you can’t be indicted for). Even as a man, I find this attitude and arrogance to be troubling. I’d say “amusing” but this sort of attitude could have some grave consequences in the long run.

  17. 17
    Fail Blue Dot

    The bit I found the most annoying was actually the last line where he says don’t you dare call me a misogynist flashing his ally cred — is there no bigger red flag than this? It’s the self-identified-ally equivalent of “I’m not racist but…”

  18. 18
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Savulescu (2007a) argues for a ‘duty of easy rescue’—regardless of whether the fetus counts as a person, he claims, a pregnant woman has a duty to allow acts that do not significantly harm her while protecting her future child from significant harm

    These people really don’t know shit about pregnancy and childbirth. Oh, wait, they’re dudes, they haven’t even had menstruation related cramps. Hey, my last pregnancy triggered an auto immune disease, something we only found out later. Is that a risk women should simply take? Not to mention the many women I know whose pregnancies became life-threatening at 30, 35, 40 weeks or during labour. That’s not an easy rescue of calling 911, it’s hanging from a cliff with one hand while holding on to another with the other hand.

    +++
    Ok , I said it before, I’ll say it again, and again, and AGAIN:
    To suggest that the embryo I lost at 10 weeks was somehow in any way equivalent to one of my children dying is fucked up beyond belief and does not show respect for the fetus/embryo, but contempt for actually living children (whose lives and wellbeing never ever feature in these discourses)

    +++
    Oh, and I made the decision never birth a child not long after my second kid was born, too. Should my contraception fail I will get an abortion ASAP. No wailing and wringing of hands needed.

  19. 19
    A. Noyd

    hjhornbeck (#9)

    Savulescu…claims, a pregnant woman has a duty to allow acts that do not significantly harm her while protecting her future child from significant harm

    I realize the authors and Savulescu are talking about wanted pregnancies here. All the same, the demonizing of abortion is hardly irrelevant. I remember watching a TV show about a woman who had ended up with more fetuses than a body can usually support after getting IVF. Her doctors urged her to have selective reduction done, and she refused. Abortion is a sin, so she left it in “god’s hands” and ended up, after a traumatic pregnancy, with only one severely disabled child. She had a choice, but how free was she to consider reduction given the pressure to consider abortion as a “very difficult and emotional step” instead of something uncontroversial you do for your health and the health of the remaining occupants of your womb?

    ~*~*~*~*~*~

    elly (#7)

    “To decide to get an abortion have a child is always (or, at least, should always be) a very difficult and emotional step, precisely because it has significant ethical consequences.”

    Yes! Why is it abortion that’s supposed to be so fraught with moral significance and not the bringing of an actual person into the world.

  20. 20
    blinncombs

    @9: I hope you realize that you successfully illustrated Massimo’s point. (There there seems to be a lot of that on this thread….)

  21. 21
    carlie

    It just occurred to me that in the supporting documentation with my IUD, it says that if a pregnancy occurs, it should be removed but that can cause a miscarriage, and if it stays it may cause congenital defects, and therefore abortion is recommended. I remember specifically thinking when I got it that at least if I got pregnant, no doctor could refuse to give me an abortion under those medically necessary circumstances. It was a big sense of relief.

  22. 22
    Tom Foss

    We’ve all lived in this world saturated with anti-abortion rhetoric for so long that even liberals have adopted a lot of it. That “legal, safe, and rare” mantra treats abortion as a necessary evil, something we’d rather not have to do but will do in certain circumstances, and then only with the requisite amount of hand-wringing and self-doubt and after-the-fact regret, because this is a Big DecisionTM. It feeds the anti-abortion argument when even proponents treat it as something shameful and wrong.

    I imagine a lot of that stems from the fact that the people spouting the rhetoric and making the political arguments and decisions have never had to really consider abortion, let alone the bodily rights argument. It’s not just the male politicians, it’s the rich, powerful women who’ve never had to be in a situation where they couldn’t support a child if they ended up pregnant, or couldn’t count on the best medical care (and morally acceptable abortions when necessary).

    To quote HJ quoting Pigliucci:

    What does any of the above, including abortion, fiscal conservativeness (or not), support for the military (or not), owning guns (or not), and liking or disliking Obama have to do with atheism? Nothing, absolutely nothing.

    The dictionary crowd always likes to make this argument for and about the things they don’t care about/agree with. The exact same argument can be made for things that the atheist movement generally agrees on: what does fighting church-state separation, encouraging atheists to come out of the closet, promoting science, rejecting other supernatural beliefs, or arguing against religion, have to do with atheism? Nothing, absolutely nothing. Atheism is just the rejection of the god-claims. It says absolutely nothing about whether or not to encourage others to reject god-claims, to fight the encroachment of religion on government, to support scientific methods, to reject belief in souls or ghosts or afterlives, or to promote a community among people who reject god-claims. Reaching all those positions requires different beliefs and different values.

    What things like gun control and fiscal policy have to do with atheism is that many of us reached our positions on those issues through the same set of values and beliefs and methods that led us to atheism. Atheism isn’t a starting point, but a conclusion. It’s not a cause of these other positions, but a correlation due to a set of common causes like skepticism and humanism.

    Arguing “these things have to do with atheism and these other things do not” rests on a set of unexamined assumptions about what atheism entails, assumptions which contradict the “dictionary atheism” position on which the argument relies. It’s a hypocritical, self-defeating argument, only ever pulled out when it can be used as a wedge between Proper Atheists and Those Other Atheists Who Are Contaminating Pure Atheism With Non-Atheistic Things.

    It’s disingenuous, it’s fallacious, it’s divisive, and it’s insulting. If this is the quality of Pigliucci’s thinking, it makes me far less inclined to crack open my copy of Nonsense on Stilts.

  23. 23
    Jackie

    Men telling women when their bodies do and do not belong to them and what they are to think and feel? I thought I let that mentality in church.

    Yet another lesson from atheism’s dudebros on exactly how pointless their movement is. Gods may be out of the question, but it’s clear that they are fine with some of us still having masters.

  24. 24
    tdxdave

    Massimo edited the statement in response to a comment

    http://rationallyspeaking.blogspot.com/2014/03/david-silverman-and-scope-of-atheism.html?showComment=1394892761151#c3662195340554333983

    “To decide to get certain types of abortion (say, last trimester) is always (or, at least, should always be) a very difficult and emotional step, precisely because it has significant ethical consequences. ”

    Does this change anything? It seems to have been a complete waste of words, he is responding to a claim noone made.

  25. 25
    Stephanie Zvan

    No, changing it to the third trimester helps nothing with regard to him saying it has to be an emotional step. It is simply assigning me emotions as payment for the fact that there are consequences to my decision. It’s calling for punishment whether or not the decision is ethical, and that is not just paternalistic, but also really crappy philosophy.

  26. 26
    hjhornbeck

    blinncombs @20:

    @9: I hope you realize that you successfully illustrated Massimo’s point. (There there seems to be a lot of that on this thread….)

    Suppose I said I had an excellent argument against common descent: chimpanzees have an extra haploid chromosome than we do, and thrrefore we cannot be descended from them. You’d think I was an idiot, as by analyzing the structure of our chromosomes we can find evidence that two fused together. My argument only works if we ignore what we already know, and thus most people wouldn’t consider it an argument at all.

    Compare that with what I quoted above; those arguments against abortion only work if we ignore the bodily integrity argument. They don’t argue against it, or find a way around it, they just flat-out ignore it. Likewise, they too should not be considered arguments. They might be of use for academic philosophers, as deconstruction can lead to new insight, but for the lay person they’re irrelevant.

    Pigliucci, who writes about philosophy for the lay reader, should have been aware of this. That he wasn’t speaks poorly of him, almost as much as pausing us to a page that doesn’t discuss abortion to look for abortion arguments.

  27. 27
    Stephanie Zvan

    blinncombs is under the mistaken impression that anyone demonstrating thought about the ethics of abortion is proving Pigliucci’s point.

  28. 28
    hjhornbeck

    Zvan @25:
    That’s not he half of it. His edit retains the general applicability of his prior comment, but now incorporates specific examples. Should the heat continue, he can go “no no, I meant ONLY third trimester abortion;” should it slack off, he can claim he was talking about abortion in general.

    Pigliucci just put his goalposts on wheels, a shameful act for any philosopher.

  29. 29
    hjhornbeck

    Whoops. I meant “almost as much as directing us to a page that doesn’t discuss abortion to look for abortion arguments” back at 26. Stupid autocorrect…

  30. 30
    SallyStrange

    Arguing “these things have to do with atheism and these other things do not” rests on a set of unexamined assumptions about what atheism entails, assumptions which contradict the “dictionary atheism” position on which the argument relies. It’s a hypocritical, self-defeating argument, only ever pulled out when it can be used as a wedge between Proper Atheists and Those Other Atheists Who Are Contaminating Pure Atheism With Non-Atheistic Things.

    It’s disingenuous, it’s fallacious, it’s divisive, and it’s insulting. If this is the quality of Pigliucci’s thinking, it makes me far less inclined to crack open my copy of Nonsense on Stilts.

    Tom Foss — excellent point, I fully agree. I expect to see such lazy thinking in comments on Dave Silverman’s Facebook page, not from a fancy-schmancy smartguy philosopher.

  31. 31
    Claudia Sawyer

    “To decide to get an abortion is always (or, at least, should always be) a very difficult and emotional step, precisely because it has significant ethical consequences.”

    ———————

    I had wisdom teeth yanked at ages 23 and 24
    an abortion at age 41
    a root canal at age 60.

    All for the same general reason: shit was going on in my body that would cause increasing pain and threats to life.

    Nothing difficult or emotional about any of it.

  32. 32
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    Another thing the dictionary atheists don’t seem to get is: nobody’s saying “You’re not an atheist,” we’re saying “You’re not an atheist we want to associate with.”

  33. 33
    Feminace, formerly Qurikythrope

    Another thing the dictionary atheists don’t seem to get is: nobody’s saying “You’re not an atheist,” we’re saying “You’re not an atheist we want to associate with.”

    THISTHISTHIS ALL OF THIS.
    No one’s taking your club card away, doodz. We just don’t want to deal with you. You’ll be alright.

  34. 34
    cubist

    sez quirkythrope:

    sez unknownedictheapostate:

    Another thing the dictionary atheists don’t seem to get is: nobody’s saying “You’re not an atheist,” we’re saying “You’re not an atheist we want to associate with.”

    THISTHISTHIS ALL OF THIS.
    No one’s taking your club card away, doodz. We just don’t want to deal with you. You’ll be alright.

    Ah, but we’re making a different card, for a different club, and telling them that they can’t have the card for that other club. Which obviously violates doodz’ inalienable right to FREE ASSOCIATION, which obviously includes the right to force their presence into the vicinity of people who would just as soon not interact with them. Because FREE ASSOCIATION, and FREEZE PEACH.

  35. 35
    Jadehawk

    Am I the only one who feels like the edit demanding that 3rd trimester abortions come at an emotional price verges of Mother-Theresa-esque worship of suffering? Given the realities of 3rd trimester abortions?

  36. 36
    Stephanie Zvan

    I feel more like it was backing away from one poorly thought-out, indefensible position only to step into an ugly mess because he didn’t stop to think whether he could be wrong in his assumptions as well as his facts.

  37. 37
    Jadehawk

    oh I was specifically referring to how it reads. I’m pretty sure what’s actually going on is that he’s trying to save his precious point, flailing about ineffectively and without serious thought into what he’s actually saying.

  38. 38
    A Hermit

    I can well imagine that having to make a decision about a third trimester abortion could be an emotional and difficult experience, but that’s because of the kind of circumstances that would make such a procedure necessary.not because of any ethical concerns as Pigliucci asserts.

  39. 39
    Jadehawk

    well it could be; but saying that it should be is just abusive

  40. 40
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Jadehawk

    Am I the only one who feels like the edit demanding that 3rd trimester abortions come at an emotional price verges of Mother-Theresa-esque worship of suffering? Given the realities of 3rd trimester abortions?

    It’s shitting on women who go through a horrible situation anyway, who are probably going through the worst period of their lives anyway.
    After my miscarriage I was active on a forum for people who lost pregnancies or babies. It was great help and big support. But while everybody was gracious and warm and supporting, nobody, from our own lived realities believed for one second that a first trimester miscarriage was comparable to a second or third trimester abortion because of Potter syndrome or that the late term abortion was comparable to losing your baby to SIDS. Somehow people were always glad that they got off “easier” than the next person.
    And then there was the day one of the fathers came and told us that his wife had killed herself, leaving him and their daughters.
    Yes, these are the women about whose emotional state Pigliucci pontificates

  41. 41
    Jafafa Hots

    Hey, my last pregnancy triggered an auto immune disease,

    Same with my sister, my aunt and a couple of cousins… and most likely my mom. (Mom’s case was so long ago they probably didn’t make the connection, 1960ish.)

    In the case of my my sister and my aunt, the disease appeared years later when their kids were essentially adults. Almost killed my aunt, made my sister severely ill, disabled for a long while essentially.

    Yeah, getting pregnant can even kill you years after the fact.
    I would imagine some women have endured years of problems (and possibly died) from adhesions from c-sections, too.

  42. 42
    hoary puccoon

    What elly (at #7) said–

    Having a child means undertaking a serious responsibility in the best of circumstances.

    Even if the child is given up for adoption, pregnancy entails months of the mother’s life, physical stress on her body, very likely censure from the family and community if the mother isn’t married. For a promising college student, it could mean the difference between a successful career and a lifetime of dead-end jobs.

    Even if the woman is married and pregnant by her husband, the cost of an additional dependent may be a financial burden the family can’t handle. Will the mother be able to continue working while pregnant? Will the additional burdens strain the marriage?

    If the fetus is known to be deformed, raising a child who will need special care for life represents an opportunity cost for the family, who might raise two or three healthy children to self-sufficient adulthood with the same expenditure of resources that would go to one disabled child. And what will happen if the dependent child outlives his or her care-giver?

    These are all serious, serious issues that need to be addressed from a logical as well as an emotional perspective. Advocating that women throw in some sentimental claptrap about the poor, widdle baybee– which is basically what Pigliucci has done– is about the worst advice anyone could give.

    (I won’t go into the gory details of my own, traumatic third-trimester situation, except to say, gee, Massilmo, thanks a lot for making things better by throwing that in my face. How awful it must be for you to think that I didn’t have sufficient emotional tenderness toward that dead fetus to bleed out on that operating table and leave a 28 year old widower and a two year old motherless child. Yeah, well, buddy, I’m sure you’ll be able to bear up under the emotional trauma my survival must be causing you.)

  43. 43
    hjhornbeck

    I’ve got a full comment on this elsewhere, but it’s worth pointing out here that Pigliucci’s edited his post for a second time. Look carefully for this one:

    To decide to get certain types of abortion* (say, last trimester) is always (or, at least, should always be) a very difficult and emotional step, precisely because it has significant ethical consequences.

  44. 44
    noxiousnan

    Gee, based on some of these comments, you’d almost think it was common for women to plan whether or not they want children…(in advance even!)

  45. 45
    geekgirlsrule

    Seriously, I have had one pregnancy scare and I was married and in grad school when it happened. My first thought was not, “Could we do this?” My first thought was cold terror and wondering where the hell I’d get the $400 for an abortion.

    Not all women get verklempt over the idea of whether or not to have children. Some of us know in our very bones that we do not want them, and that an abortion is without a doubt the course of action we’ll take.

    I find all this maundering about how hard it should be for me or any other woman in the mouths of men to be highly insulting, and I really wish they’d quit projecting their neuroses on us.

  46. 46
    sisu

    Then she said, “But if I give you a prescription for this drug, I need to know that you’ll be okay with having an abortion if you get pregnant.”*
    I said, “Sure.”

    Thank you for sharing this! I hadn’t thought of this as “deciding to get an abortion” so I appreciate your framing it that way. I can share a similar story:

    When I was pregnant with my second child, I knew I’d be delivering her via c-section, so I talked to my OB about having my tubes tied at the same time. (“So while you’re in there…”) She said, “if you do somehow get pregnant afterwards, there’s a high likelihood that it’d be ectopic. So if you think you’re pregnant, I need you to come see me IMMEDIATELY and I need to know that you’d be okay with terminating the pregnancy.” I said, “Sure.” I signed the various consent forms and almost five years later, I haven’t regretted it once. :)

  47. 47
    Hershele Ostropoler

    Even a dictionary atheist, if zie wants to be consistent, has to reject all arguments that boil down to “a good said so” (which admittedly isn’t the same as rejecting the conclusions to those arguments if zie gets there by a completely godless route).

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