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Abortion: Safe, legal, and as frequent as you want one

Elyse talks about abortion, and there she goes, undermining the conventional narrative.

And when we talk about abortion, we talk about the hand wringing. The indecisiveness. The longing to keep the baby. The understanding that the woman already knows a part of her will always regret her decision. There’s pacing around the house. There’s sleepless nights trying to make a decision. There’s waffling. And there’s tons of crying. So much crying. When we talk about abortion, we imagine every woman feeling nothing but profound sadness over the decision she is trying to make. Choosing between herself and her child.

But fuck that narrative. It’s bullshit. It robs women of their right to be viewed as fully actualized human beings. We are not people who are a lot like men but with a psychological and biological mandate to become mothers one day, struggling to figure out if that day is today, worried that if we don’t seize this opportunity, right here and right now, we will never become what we were always meant to be: moms. We are people. Just like men are people. And just like men, some of us want to be parents. Some of us do not.

And we need to stop talking about pregnancy like it’s some kind of fucking alternative to ecstasy. Women who are carrying pregnancies they planned don’t always bond with their babies-to-be. To paint the picture of the unwanted, unplanned pregnancy as one that causes grief because of instant maternal instinct that begins around two minutes after pissing on a stick is harmful to women. It’s harmful to families. It teaches us that mothers like me are less than. We don’t love enough. We’re broken. It’s hard enough to try to nurture and support a person who moved into your abdomen and that you don’t necessarily like. It’s harder when you think not loving them makes you a sociopath.

Comments

  1. says

    Fuck yeah, shout out to Grounded Parents!

    I *cough* might be a writer over there, but have so far limited myself to children’s television. I’m also SUPER busier than usual this week†, so I did not contribute to today’s Abortion Day celebration, but I did drop a comment that I’ll X-post here:

    Yes, this! In an ideal world, abortion wouldn’t be any more shameful than having a suspicious looking mole removed.
    If I were to become pregnant next month*, you’d better believe I’d be on the phone with Planned Parenthood that day scheduling an appointment to get that shit terminated. J and I can barely afford the kid we have now and I absolutely loathed all 9 months of being pregnant. There’s no reason to worry or fret about The Decision. No, it won’t be any more difficult or heart-wrenching for me than scheduling a regular OB/GYN appointment. (I also have the added bonus of living in New York State and literally have a Planned Parenthood abortion provider within walking distance of my apartment. Not that I’d want to walk home after having an abortion, but you know what I mean.)

    *Got my period today, HOLLA!

    †We’re moving on Saturday. I have learned that trying to pack while wrangling a toddler is no joke.

  2. Menyambal --- making sambal a food group. says

    So much of the anti-abortion position is based on fantasy. Either the fantasy that all women want to be mommies, or that some people would murder a child rather than be inconvenienced. And, of course, the fantasy that a child-murderer only needs to be forced to give birth to be transformed into a perfect mommy. All based on the fantasy that a conception is a child, and that their book opposes abortion, and that their book is not fantasy.

  3. Randomfactor says

    Much of the anti-abortion position is based on the notion that the women must be punished, and clearly deserve to be.

  4. elly says

    And when we talk about abortion, we talk about the hand wringing. The indecisiveness. The longing to keep the baby. The understanding that the woman already knows a part of her will always regret her decision.

    This is due to the “pro life” narrative about women who get abortions: we’re “selfish.” It’s a clever gambit, since my natural response, “fuck yeah I’m selfish – it’s my body and my future that’s at stake,” means forfeiting the moral high ground, at least as they – and the larger culture – defines it. Women aren’t supposed to be selfish, after all – we’re still expected to live our lives for others.

    Thus, the hand-wringing and regret. Now, I don’t doubt that this is true for many women, who may well be genuinely conflicted and would – under a different set of circumstances – elect to see their pregnancies through… and my heart goes out to them. But it’s also become the preferred “centrist” response, as embodied by the “safe, legal and rare” mantra – which stigmatizes abortion even in the process of defending it. The only “good” abortion, it seems, is the one that ends a wanted pregnancy that’s gone wrong, either for the fetus or its mother.

    Which rules me out, of course. As I’ve noted before, I had an abortion when I was 22. I didn’t struggle with the decision and had no regrets in the least. My then-boyfriend/now-husband didn’t either. And our two kids – now grown – also have no qualms about it, either, particularly since they understand that they wouldn’t be alive today if I hadn’t “selfishly” acted on my own behalf.

  5. says

    Fuck yeah
    I know one woman whose biggeest qualm about an abortion would be the time it takes to get one.
    I’m also constantly freaked out because I rechnically can’t get a legal one. Only an illegal one that isn’t prosecuted. Maybe I should never have read the Handmaid’s Tale.

  6. hoku says

    It’s funny how the one policy advocated by the anti-abortion folks is the one thing that has been proven to have little impact on the number of abortions.

  7. opposablethumbs says

    elly, I’m in the same boat. Two safe, legal abortions free of charge when I was younger; two young-adult kids (by the same bloke) now. Nothing but a relief at the time, and no regrets then or since!

  8. dianne says

    @Giliell: Can’t you go to the Netherlands and get a legal abortion there? Open borders and all.

    Abortion is an easy decision sometimes. But sometimes maybe it isn’t. In which case…so what? It’s still none of anyone else’s business. Deciding to have a kid wasn’t an easy decision for me. Does that mean that all people should be sterilized lest they make the wrong decision about reproduction. Heck, deciding which college to go to wasn’t a particularly easy decision. Should that decision be taken from high school students so that they don’t make the wrong decision and regret it? Part of becoming and being an adult is making decisions that aren’t always easy. It’s just life. Taking away an option because it might be difficult would be unthinkable in any other context. But somehow it’s all too acceptable when talking about women and our bodies.

  9. Rey Fox says

    If you give anti-abortioners an inch, they will take a mile, we’ve seen this again and again. No hand-wringing, no “but”s allowed.

  10. says

    elly (#10) –

    This is due to the “pro life” narrative about women who get abortions: we’re “selfish.” It’s a clever gambit, since my natural response, “fuck yeah I’m selfish – it’s my body and my future that’s at stake,” means forfeiting the moral high ground, at least as they – and the larger culture – defines it. Women aren’t supposed to be selfish, after all – we’re still expected to live our lives for others.

    Selfish is also a false accusation hurled at women who choose not to get pregnant ever, not just those having an abortion now. Choosing not to be a parent (or having only one) is not a character flaw, nobody “owes” grandchildren to their parents, and women are not “failures” or “less of a woman” for not getting pregnant.

    Not having kids is arguably the most unselfish thing one can do in terms of the environment. Each kid a person has also includes those kids’ progeny, multiplied by all the natural resources each extra person consumes. No amount of “being green” can reduce damage as much as not adding to the population.

  11. says

    dianne
    Going to the Netherlands was always the wealthy German woman’s solution, just like going to Britain is that of Irish women.
    To make things clear: I can get an abortion here and I won’t be in trouble for it. I also know where the nearest abortion clinic is.
    The situation in Germany is that except in some cases, abortion is not legal. BUT, until the 14th week, it is also not prosecuted. You have to get mandatory pro-life counselling before, and have a waiting period, and you have to pay for it yourself.
    But yeah, I’m disturbed by this “illegal yet not prosecuted thing”

  12. nrdo says

    I agree that the narrative that women should agonize over the decision is nonsense and should be done away with, but there is likely a subset of women for whom frequent abortions are indicative of psychological and/or economic problems keeping them unhealthy relationships. For them, counseling that focuses on empowering them to control, at very least, their fertility, would be appropriate.

    Part of the (real, ongoing) harm that the anti-choice forces perpetrate on women is that by forcing them to continually defend legality and access, they tangle up the resources that could be used to optimize care for groups like that.

  13. HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr says

    Understandably disturbed, Giliell! Even if it is accessible, knowing it’s only so because a law isn’t being enforced is terrifying to me. Being a human being should not be contingent on people looking the other way.

    I’m lucky enough that I’ve never needed one, and am unlikely to ever need one for around a half-dozen reasons. But I am scared as hell how the antis have been allowed to frame the conversation (for one thing, they’ve made sure it is one!) as well as even the “moderate” position, where it’s okay, I guess, if it’s like for a good reason and only once and is properly regretted. Which is astonishing bullshit.

  14. says

    Just came across this article,
    Ohio Abortion Restrictions: Gov. John Kasich Signs New State Budget Containing Anti-Abortion Measures. Here’s what Ohio’s new law will accomplish:

    Any abortion providers that manage to remain open under these restrictions are compelled to tell women “of the probable anatomical and physiological characteristics” of a fetus during various stages of its development. They must give women seeking abortions information on adoptions and alternative family planning options.

    And if a woman is able to obtain an abortion in Ohio and develops some sort of medical issue during the procedure, clinics will no longer be allowed to transfer these patients to public hospitals for additional care. In the midst of a crisis, these patients must find a private hospital to help them.

    Along with slashing funding to Planned Parenthood and channeling funds to “crisis pregnancy centers”, natch.

    Beyond the outrage that comes from limiting women’s bodily autonomy, I’m left wondering: how stupid do these anti-choice assholes think we are? Any adult (and, let’s face it, any teenager) knows that there’s various stages of development and that a baby just doesn’t just *bamf!* into Mommy’s tummy fully formed.

  15. says

    nrdo

    but there is likely a subset of women for whom frequent abortions are indicative of psychological and/or economic problems keeping them unhealthy relationships. For them, counseling that focuses on empowering them to control, at very least, their fertility, would be appropriate.

    Gods, people always have to find their special sub-population on whom they can live out their power fantasies. Really, you make up that population in your mind and then proceed to propose policies about what people need to do to these women for their own fucking good.
    We totally cannot accept that yeah, women can make that decision, whenever they want to. There totally needs to be a qualifier. There needs to be some woman who must be somehow saved from herself. Really, get somebody to tell her about her life, because she clearly can’t know herself.

  16. Nick Gotts says

    counseling that focuses on empowering them to control, at very least, their fertility, would be appropriate – nrdo

    Abortion is a way for a woman to control her fertility. If that’s her choice, what’s your problem?

  17. David Marjanović says

    Understandably disturbed, Giliell! Even if it is accessible, knowing it’s only so because a law isn’t being enforced is terrifying to me.

    You misunderstand. The law (in both Germany and Austria, BTW) specifies that there is no penalty.

    It’s a weird compromise designed to shut everyone up and keep the topic out of discussion forever, which is working very nicely.

  18. says

    One of the creepiest things about pro-life fanatics, if you talk to them and ask questions, you will find they don’t really even care about the fetus, not when looking at the big picture from their mindset.

    Most of these fanatics believe the soul of an aborted fetus goes directly to heaven, which, in their eyes should be a pretty awesome thing. The same fanatics also believe most people who are born, live a natural life, and die will end up being tortured for all eternity in this place called “hell” unless they choose the right variant of the right religion.

    According to these people’s own beliefs when they are tying to “save” a fetus from abortion, they are taking away its shortcut to what they believe is everlasting bliss. They do this so it can live a relatively short life on this planet just to die and be sentenced to infinite suffering by their all-loving creator. Of course they won’t admit that easily, but that is what their beliefs are if you prod them a bit.

  19. nrdo says

    Giliell, It’s not about exerting power over women, it’s about providing them with the tools and continuity of care that we expect in every other area of medicine. If I presented to a doctor with signs of self-harm suggesting clinical depression, my doctor wouldn’t just treat the immediate issue; he or she would refer me to a psychiatrist to help address it. That service would of course be voluntary, but it would also be reimbursed because the medical necessity of it wouldn’t be questioned. What I’m arguing is that abortion should be integrated and available in the same way.

  20. says

    Going to the Netherlands was always the wealthy German woman’s solution, just like going to Britain is that of Irish women.

    Yes, it’s always been an option for the wealthy. Quite a coincidence. Even in the US, wealthy women would take a “European Vacation” and come back unpregnant. It’s never been sauce for the gander.

  21. says

    nrdo
    So, now needing an abortion (or heavens beware a repeated abortion) is the equivalent of self-harm and clinical depression? Do you even read what you write?
    How nice that you would make it voluntary. Why do you think that abortion clinics and OB/Gyns don’t already provide counselling and such? But you know what’s the first thing about counselling? It must be desired by the patient.
    In short, you’re just another person who thinks they know what women actually need without knowing the first thing

  22. Koshka says

    For me, having children is about the most selfish thing I have ever done. I don’t understand how people can consider choosing not to have children can be a selfish act.

  23. nrdo says

    @ Giliell, I’m sorry you feel that way, but I think that there is evidence supporting the view that women who have repeated unintended pregnancies could use more support than just legalized abortion: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22959631 – this is a recent WHO study on the connection between Intimate Partner Violence and repeated unintended pregnancies. There are many more.

    I have to re-emphasize that this is not an either-or scenario, and it would be utterly abhorrent and unethical to make abortion access contingent on counseling. But it’s similarly myopic to think that unfettered access will, in itself, improve the well being women who need frequent abortions in the first place.

  24. tariqata says

    elly@10 wrote “As I’ve noted before, I had an abortion when I was 22. I didn’t struggle with the decision and had no regrets in the least. My then-boyfriend/now-husband didn’t either.”

    This rings true for me, and has re-shaped my thoughts about an incident to me about 12 years ago, when I had been dating my then-boyfriend (and now husband) for about 6 months. My period was late enough that I was terrified I was pregnant (spoiler: I wasn’t), and after going for a pregnancy test, I spent a miserable afternoon wondering what I would do. In the end, my real fear about getting an abortion was not a struggle about the decision to “kill a baby”; it had everything to do with the recognition that I didn’t know if my then-new relationship would survive dealing with an unplanned pregnancy.

  25. elly says

    @opposablethumbs: it’s funny (and not in a good way) how times have changed. I had my abortion in late 1979, and it was just so… matter of fact.

    I went to Planned Parenthood to be tested as soon as I missed my period; and when the test came back positive, the staff member I met with simply asked me what I wanted to do – her only agenda at that moment was responding to my needs. I replied that I wanted an abortion (no surprise, since I’d already had plenty of time to think about it), and she, in turn, gave me the then-required three referrals and a supportive hug.

    One of the three was an independent clinic closer to where I was living than PP, so I made an appointment there for the following week. Suffice it to say, there was no gauntlet of pro-lifers to run; no shaming; no push to re-think, no insulting of my intelligence. Throughout the process, I was treated professionally and respectfully like the adult that I (barely) was.

    It was the same with the other clients – I was one of a group of five young women who were being treated at that day/time. It was actually an interesting experience – we had to wait together for roughly 15 – 20 minutes while the doctor got prepped and the Valium we were given kicked in, so we chatted to pass the time. And the conversation was immediately and spontaneously intimate: it was all about how we ended up pregnant. We were all nervous about the procedure (the Valium notwithstanding), so there was a lot of comfort in those few minutes of temporary bonding. If any of the other women regretted what they were doing, they kept it to themselves (which, under the circumstances, was unlikely, IMHO).

    The procedure itself was fairly quick – the doctor (a 50-something man) and the assisting nurses (women) were friendly and the atmosphere was relaxed, but they were all business. They explained what they would be doing, responded to questions, kept me informed during each step of the process, and that was that – the whole thing took maybe 15 minutes (not counting the time spent in the recovery room, with more (relieved) conversation, 7-Up and Midol to deal with the initial cramping and “urpies,” and finally, some cookies). When I left, the only mixed feelings I had concerned the dichotomous nature of the experience: although it was brief, the abortion itself was uncomfortable enough that I wasn’t eager for a repeat, but the professionalism, respect, group support and bonding I’d experienced was actually pretty cool.

    Overall, it was a positive experience. I shudder to see how far backwards things have gone.

    @left0ver1under: I agree, and to add to that, I’m pretty sick and tired overall of unchallenged “right” claimed by family members, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, etc. to pry into, and pass judgment on, personal reproductive choices.

    The hubby and I were married for a decade before we decided to have kids, largely because a) we were initially on the fence; and b) didn’t have the financial or emotional resources. While we didn’t have the “selfish” label thrown at us, I was surprised at the amount of speculation that had been going on behind our backs, once I “finally” became pregnant. People (esp. the MIL) weren’t the least bit shy about letting us know what they had been thinking about our “failure” to conceive within the standard time frame (which seems to be within 2 – 3 years of tying the knot). It was as if they felt entitled to an explanation, which I found it to be pretty creepy, tbh.

    Demanding that other people live their private lives in accordance to your (in a general sense) personal wishes (like a parent who feels s/he is “owed” grandchildren; or the pundits who concern-troll single professional women; and so on) strikes me as pretty damn selfish.

  26. dianne says

    @Giliell: The situation in Germany is that except in some cases, abortion is not legal. BUT, until the 14th week, it is also not prosecuted. You have to get mandatory pro-life counselling before, and have a waiting period, and you have to pay for it yourself.

    I’ve always thought that the “pro-life counselor” was the person Nina Hagen was addressing in Unbeschreiblich Weiblich.

  27. says

    nrdo:
    What exactly is your point? Question 2: Have you actually visited an abortion provider?

    I can’t speak for the rest of the world, but in the US Planned Parenthood provides referrals for all sorts of help, including for services related to rape and domestic abuse. (As an aside, plenty of OB/GYNs do, too, regardless of whether or not they provide abortions.)

    This has nothing to do with abortion whatsoever. An abused woman certainly benefits from not being forced to have children she does not want.

  28. dianne says

    nrdo: It is true that sabotage of birth control is a method abusers use to tie their victims to them. However, why focus on women getting abortions? Why not focus on women who are carrying the pregnancies to term, perhaps out of fear of what the abusers will do if they have an abortion? Your counselors would be more effective if they interviewed women planning to carry their third unplanned pregnancy to term than those planning to abort their third unplanned pregnancy. (Actually, most OB/gyn clinics-abortion providers or not, screen patients for domestic abuse, so the suggestion has already been put into practice.)

  29. says

    nrdo
    I repeat: Why do you think that this is not already happening?
    Ever been to the ladies toilet at the OB/Gyn? What I found there was leaflets with telephone numbers of shelters and information how I could contact somebody safely.
    Nobody said anything against giving women who want it more support. But the only way that’s going to work is by offering it freely and leaving it to women to take it or leave it.

    But it’s similarly myopic to think that unfettered access will, in itself, improve the well being women who need frequent abortions in the first place.

    So, what’s the alternative to “unfettered” access?

    Alexandra
    Yep, it’s like those people in Germany who oppose making Plan B prescription free by saying that this is to protect women who were vctims of violence. Yeah, totally, a woman who needs emergency contraception because she was raped will totally appreciate that now she has to talk to a stranger with about her need for emergency contraception, especially if she does not want to report the crime. That’s really going to help her. It’s also going to help her that, should she be in an abusive relationship, she has to get away for far longer. Really, we’re just preventing you from having access to the one thing you want and need at the moment for your own damn fucking good

  30. thascius says

    nrdo-ethical abortion providers are already providing those services to pt’s who need it. Contrary to what the anti-abortionists assert most abortion providers do take their duty to their pt’s seriously and do provide information on available counseling and alternatives to abortion if their pt’s request it. The notion that abortion is a big money maker is nonsense, most clinics lose money on the abortions they provide, and make up for it by providing other services for which reimbursement is more easily had. If you really wanted to make money on unwanted pregnancies, the way to do it would be to arrange gray market adoptions rather than performing abortions.

  31. floraposte says

    Giliel, don’t you know that those Planned Parenthood doctors are only interested in raking in the $$$ from poor women who need abortions?

    Seriously, PP providers, like most OB/GYN providers, are trained to spot signs of DV, drug abuse, etc. and offer resources. Once at a routine exam at Planned Parenthood, the chitchat with my provider veered off into relationships – it seemed like a spontaneous conversation, but after the appointment I looked in the mirror and realized that there was a small, almost faded bruise on my cheek that I had forgotten about (actually the result of my dentist pinching my cheek too hard while giving the novocaine shot). The light went off and I realized the conversation about relationships had probably been prompted by that bruise.

  32. nrdo says

    I freely admit that I have no personal experience with abortion services. However, I do have experience in the psychiatric mental/health field and am aware that many people with real disorders just don’t get the quality and continuity of care that privileged people do because it’s a stigmatized area of medicine, just like abortion services. So, I brought up the idea that abortion services would be better if they were more tightly integrated with general healthcare and if their medical necessity weren’t questioned.

    @ dianne Your point that the focus on women seeking abortions overlooks those carrying to term is a good one. I didn’t think of it, nor did see much about it in the studies I looked at.

  33. Pteryxx says

    If you really wanted to make money on unwanted pregnancies, the way to do it would be to arrange gray market adoptions rather than performing abortions.

    *cough* Shotgun Adoptions *cough*

    And if you really want to help women who need multiple abortions because of abusive relationships, give them access to birth control methods that aren’t vulnerable to sabotage, such as implants, injections, or IUDs.

    Abortion Rates Fall When Birth Control is Free

    While the women were offered any FDA-approved method of contraception at no cost, the researchers made sure they knew that IUDs and implants were the most effective.

    Researcher Jeff Peipert, MD, of Washington University in St. Louis, says around 3 out of 4 study participants opted for the long-acting methods.

    “That was a shocker,” he says. “We had hoped to get maybe 15% of the women to choose IUDs or implants, but it was closer to 75%. That made all the difference.”

    Abortion rates among the women and teens ranged from 4.4 to 7.5 per 1,000 during the time they were enrolled in the study — far lower than the national rate of close to 20 abortions for every 1,000 women.

    And the birth rate among the teen girls in the study was almost six times lower than the national average.

    The researchers estimated that providing no-cost contraception and promoting long-acting birth control methods nationwide could reduce abortions by 41% to 71% annually.

  34. says

    I just can’t understand someone who says “no, I have no experience with X”, then continues to explain to us what needs to be done.

    One more time nrdo: Either PP provides those types of services (like having a crises councillor on-call) or they can help you by providing a referral to the mental health treatment that you need.

    What is your issue?

  35. floraposte says

    “I just can’t understand someone who says “no, I have no experience with X”, then continues to explain to us what needs to be done.”
    This.
    It’s almost as if s/he has swallowed all the lies the pro-lifers push about Planned Parenthood “abortion mills”.

    Not that there are abortion providers who are substandard, just like any area of medicine. If legislators were focused on patient health instead of preventing patients from getting the services at all, we might be in better shape there.

  36. nrdo says

    @ Alexandra – I know that PP in particular does a good job. I think it’s a difference in personal experience that caused Giliell to argue over the emphasis on counseling because it is true that anti-abortion groups use it as a red herring to obstruct choice.

    I don’t think anyone here would disagree with Pteryxx’s point that free contraception is ideal because it can, prevent all sorts of bad situations in abusive relationships, including abortions and unwanted carrying-to-term.

  37. says

    I still have no fucking clue what you’re arguing. This is the conversation so far:
    “Abortion providers need to offer metal health care”
    “They do.”
    “Abortion providers need to provide mental health care.”

    What are you getting at?

  38. elly says

    @tariqata: Yeah, that thought crossed my mind too, although I wasn’t too worried that an unplanned pregnancy would have driven my BF away. He didn’t push me one way or the other: he said he’d support whatever decision I made. But I could tell he wasn’t any more enthused about becoming a parent than I was… which was a good thing, IMHO. If he had been over the moon about it, I think it would have freaked me out.

    Instead, it just demonstrated how well we were matched. Neither of us had any romantic illusions about “living happily ever after,” despite how much we loved each other. Relationships can go south for a number of reasons that have nothing to do with kids (notwithstanding the stress they can put on a relationship), and when it happens, kids complicate things enormously.

  39. opposablethumbs says

    elly, my two experiences were in the UK in the mid-to-late 1980s (I don’t remember the exact dates) and came pretty close to being completely trouble-free. I don’t know whether that has changed, in practice, and if so how (the law has not changed, I’m glad to say, despite many attempts – but I don’t know if things have changed on the ground at all). The requirements were that two doctors had to sign off on the procedure; back then it was known that whether you would find two such doctors easily or not depended on the lottery of where you lived. Being in a major city it was easy for me to find a sensible clinic to go to; I gather that this was not the case uniformly across the country. I remember I played it slightly safe – just in case – by emphasising not only that I definitely knew what I wanted but also that I didn’t know if the relationship would survive. In retrospect, I certainly resent feeling the need to say that (I don’t know if I actually needed to say it, but as I say, I felt that maybe I would be wise to do so – just in case).

    (love the nym, floraposte! :-D )

  40. says

    @Alexandra, I saw that Ohio news this morning as well and I’ll write something for GP about it if I can grab some time tonight. One thing that bugs me about this latest wave of BS abortion restrictions is that they are eventually losing in the courts. North Carolina’s went down last week.(http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/01/18/ultrasound-law-north-carolina/4630599/)

    And then we end up with tons of taxpayer dollars and wasted time fighting these things in court. For alleged human John Kasich, he knows that todays bill signing can go on hundreds of thousands of mailings come election time whilst the laws eventual overturning will be easily forgotten.

  41. nrdo says

    @ Alexandra – I was criticized for being “patronizing” and for “imagining” that there is a subset of women who need more social and counseling support because repeated abortions are predictive of domestic violence and poverty (they are). It is truly a mountain out of a mole-hill, because I support freedom of choice and am happy that, in the case of Planned Parenthood, those services are there. I guess there’s something about the Pharyngula milieu that promotes bickering even between friends.

  42. says

    Lou:
    I know you saw it. ;)

    I haven’t checked, but I’m willing to bet that those states passing (and fighting for) laws that restrict abortion access probably could slend their money on something else. Like, say, schools.

  43. says

    That’s what happens, nrdo, when you use talking points used by the anti-choicers. Then admit you don’t have the first clue about what you’re talking about.

    If you knew that PP was a great resource for women who need mental health care and help for abuse, why even bring it up in the first place?

  44. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Alexandra:

    Thank you for all your work in this thread. You are a rock star. My focus on queer sexual health has included only a tiny bit of work on abortion access, circumstances, and consequences. I couldn’t state with certainty many of the crucial things that you have here.

    We need you and we’re glad to have you.

    Hope codename: MAX is doing well.

  45. says

    I was recently hit with a new (to me) argument against abortion. He said even a blastocyst was a “human organism” as much as any other “human organism”. His exact quotes are, “What I am claiming is that using standard biological scientific terms, a human being (which he claim a blastocyst is using his organism definition) is a distinct organism of species homo sapiens.” and he went on to quote from an MIT website that defined “an organism”as: “A contiguous living system that metabolises, can grow, responds to stimuli, reproduces, and can adapt to its environment.” He accused me of thinking that the vagina contains a magic property that conferred personhood at birth.

    Now, I held my own agains this nonsense, but I felt a bit slammed from out of left field. Has anyone else heard this variation? And what defenses have you used against it?

  46. says

    Thanks, Crip Dyke! :)
    Truth be told, I’m not the most knowledgeable about abortion (I have never had one, but I have used PP’s other health services and donate money whenever I can). I just get all uppity when abortion comes up.

    Codename: MAX is doing well!

  47. nrdo says

    Because, as good as Planned Parenthood is, I think the government could do more to help that subset of people in underprivileged circumstances. As noted earlier in the thread, free contraception and counseling for women who choose to carry their unplanned pregnancies to term are two possible routes.

    Also, I would contest the notion that I used an anti-choice “talking point”. Several of the studies I found on Pubmed calling for more resources for women with repeated unplanned pregnancies were conducted by academics at the World Health Organization; not exactly right-wing nuts.

  48. says

    nrdo:
    Do you know the first thing about anti-choice arguments? Or how the laws to restrict abortion are written?

    There is almost without fail a demand that the pregnant woman receive some sort of councilling, in a bid to either dissuade her from going through with her decision OR to “run out the clock”. It ha been an anti-choice talking point for as long as I can recall.

    And honestly, having the “government step in to do more” is downright scary in today’s political climate and considering that it wasn’t thay long ago that the states actually practiced eugenics on women who were deemed “unfit” (too many unplanned, out of wedlock pregnancies while young and dsring to be a WoC.)

  49. carlie says

    Gwynnyd – you could give yourself a breather by making him answer the question of how he defines an “organism” with regard to clonal species. What is a single organism when you’re talking about a Volvox? A slime mold? A meadow full of Phragmites? An aspen grove? Funny thing about biology is that as soon as you think you have a hard and fast definition you can divide everything in the world by, a dozen things pop up that straddle that line very happily.

  50. D says

    @ Gwynnyd 53
    People have tossed that out here as well. It is wrong because it conflates two different meanings of a human, organism and being for what you were given. There can be a lot of variations on it, but some things to keep in mind are the continuum of an organism isn’t so clean. Sperms and eggs are organisms as much as we are. Chimeras and maternal twins merge or separate after the zygote. And even then there is the fact that a terminated pregnancy isn’t going to result in a continuum past that point for the fetus, so trying to argue against aborting it because of that continuum is self defeating.

  51. carlie says

    Also, based on his definition, a tumor is an organism.
    And if he tries to say that “reproduction” only means sexual reproduction, he really doesn’t want to go there. Then you can bring up all of the asexual species that have existed, ever.

  52. nrdo says

    @ Alexandra – When I wrote my first comment on this thread, I conceived of the improved counseling being provided [i]after[/i] an abortion (preferably covered by an insurance mandate), in order to help the woman recognize and prevent further domestic violence. I concede that this may be unrealistic in an environment where the opposition uses counseling requirements as a weapon.

    What I don’t concede, however, is the notion that because Planned Parenthood and some other providers in the US offer well-integrated care, everything is fine. The research seems to show show that there are still women for whom domestic violence is linked to repeated unwanted pregnancies. Are we supposed to ignore them because the anti-choice side seizes on their situation to try to shame them?

  53. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Are we supposed to ignore them because the anti-choice side seizes on their situation to try to shame them?

    Why not make some pamphlets and add them to the pile in the doctor’s offices/bathrooms therein. If you actually took the time to look, you might find what you want to see is there. But then, that requires research, not presupposition.

  54. says

    Don’t even try to make this about me “ignoring” abuse victims, nrdo. You are the jackass who decided to comment on a post which is about unrestricted access with your whining about mental healthcare. Of course you sound like someone who wants to restrict access.

  55. Randomfactor says

    Also, based on his definition, a tumor is an organism.

    Especially a molar pregnancy.

    But an organism is not necessarily a legal person, either.

  56. jnorris says

    Will someone please explain to me why, in the 21st century – hell, even in the 20th century, abortion and contraception is the business of old white men?

  57. says

    Look nrdo, it’s too bad you haven’t been paying much attention to the abortion issue up til today. Because if you had been, you would know that the Forced Birth Brigade have two major tactics that you repeated:

    1. Those craaaaaaazy women who have soooooo many abortions, what should we do about them? Clearly something must be done. We can’t just let them keep having abortions. (As previously noted, women with multiple unplanned pregnancies = god’s will, not a problem, whatever)

    2. Women need a third party to intervene and explain that abortions are baaaaaad, because women are too craaaaazy and stupid to know what’s good for them. That’s why they need counseling! Or something.

    I’m convinced by now that your carrying of water for the Forced Birth Brigade was accidental, but that is nevertheless what happened. You fucked up. Period.

    What I don’t concede, however, is the notion that because Planned Parenthood and some other providers in the US offer well-integrated care, everything is fine.

    You say this as if someone was trying to claim that everything is fine.

    The research seems to show show that there are still women for whom domestic violence is linked to repeated unwanted pregnancies. Are we supposed to ignore them because the anti-choice side seizes on their situation to try to shame them?

    And this is a nasty little piece of passive aggression. Are you really that low that you’ll stoop to strawmanning your interlocutors as indifferent to the plight of DV victims with multiple unplanned pregnancies? Is that really the direction you want to go? Is your “point” that mental health and domestic violence services are underfunded and not widely available enough (no shit Sherlock) really worth showing that much of your ass?

  58. nrdo says

    I have linked to research supporting some of my point, which was simply that underprivileged women are a subgroup that need attention. If you don’t believe me, here’s Planned Parenthood’s own summary of the research:

    — Clinic-based interventions show promising evidence that they can increase IPV disclosure by patients. Providers in the interventions can recommend longer-acting, more discreet forms of birth control (Miller et al., 2010c; Gee, 2009).
    — In 2011, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued guidelines that recommend routine IPV screening and counseling for all women and adolescent girls (IOM, 2011).
    — Incorporating healthy relationship curricula into schools can increase the likelihood of healthy relationships into adulthood (Kerpelman et al., 2009).

    source: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/resources/research-papers/relationship-abuse-26786.htm

    Note that these are all recommendations over and above what PP provides for its own patients.

  59. nrdo says

    Sorry, this part got cut off:

    Intimate partner violence and reproductive health are closely connected issues and one cannot be properly addressed without addressing the other. With IPV affecting rates of unplanned pregnancies, repeat abortions, second-trimester abortions, STIs, and inconsistent condom use, IPV itself is a reproductive health problem

    As I said, any sense that I support limiting choice would be due to a misreading of my words. But it is certainly not anti-choice to draw attention to the fact that abortion availability, while necessary to protect women’s rights in itself, isn’t sufficient in itself.

  60. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Gwynnyd, 53:

    His definition included this:

    “A contiguous living system that metabolises, can grow, responds to stimuli, reproduces, and can adapt to its environment.”

    Sorry for him, but the word “contiguous” means that the blastocyst still contiguous with the adult is a part of the same organism, and that organism is the adult.

    The vagina isn’t magical, but until the fetus reaches a point where no body part is in contact with the gestating adult – maybe the cord has been cut or the full placenta has been passed – the fetus in contiguous. Vaginal and vulval tissue just happen to be the last parts of the adult organism that the soon-to-be new organism is likely to contact.

    But really, the person clearly hasn’t read their own definition: contiguous blasts them out of the water.

  61. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    But it is certainly not anti-choice to draw attention to the fact that abortion availability, while necessary to protect women’s rights in itself, isn’t sufficient in itself.

    Now, what are YOU going to do about what you want? Too many people complain, then expect others to do the hard work. Are you the same hypocrite they are?

  62. says

    I have linked to research supporting some of my point, which was simply that underprivileged women are a subgroup that need attention. If you don’t believe me

    I guess you really want to show your ass, huh?

    Nobody here disbelieves you that poor, marginalized women need more help than they’re getting.

    But thanks for implying that everyone but you is a callous asshole.

  63. says

    Either the fantasy that all women want to be mommies, or that some people would murder a child rather than be inconvenienced.

    What are you talking about? People vote and approve of decisions that cause the death of children all the time for the sake of convenience or profit. For some reason the fetus is magic.

  64. nrdo says

    I apologize if I implied that you or anyone is callous or an asshole. I know discussions can be hijacked by concern trolls who imply, not very subtly, that all members of a disadvantaged class are somehow broken or compromised. I simply pointed out that my original point was made without any intended malice and was/is largely consistent with the views of actual experts at Planned Parenthood who are calling for more resources and, yes, counseling, for women at risk of Intimate Partner Violence and other known drivers of repeat pregnancies.

  65. says

    Sally:

    1. Those craaaaaaazy women who have soooooo many abortions, what should we do about them? Clearly something must be done. We can’t just let them keep having abortions. (As previously noted, women with multiple unplanned pregnancies = god’s will, not a problem, whatever)

    Fucking Christ. This. How many times have we heard arguments on Pharyngula that are essentially, “I’m pro-choice but there was this one girl who was going in for her third abortion…”

    nrdo:
    No one has said that the system is perfect. No one has said that victims of abuse shouldn’t have access to help. What we are saying is that:
    1) There’s a system in place to screen for DV as soon as possible– the doctor’s office. They are trained to spot possible victims and get them help.
    1a) I’m willing to bet that with the passage of the ACA that most people will have an easier time accessing and paying for mental healthcare. In fact, I’ll Google “mental health parity, ACA” as soon as I’m done here.

    2) This is not the place to say that women who seek abortions are in need of mental health care. Elyse’s post was about knowing that another pregnancy would have to be terminated. None of this “but….” assholery is acceptable.

  66. says

    Answer to my own question:

    The Affordable Care Act will provide one of the largest expansions of mental health and substance use disorder coverage in a generation. Beginning in 2014 under the law, all new small group and individual market plans will be required to cover ten Essential Health Benefit categories, including mental health and substance use disorder services, and will be required to cover them at parity with medical and surgical benefits. The Affordable Care Act builds on the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA, or the federal parity law), which requires group health plans and insurers that offer mental health and substance use disorder benefits to provide coverage that is comparable to coverage for general medical and surgical care.

    Dept of Health and Human Services

  67. anteprepro says

    Will someone please explain to me why, in the 21st century – hell, even in the 20th century, abortion and contraception is the business of old white men?

    Because until further notice, EVERYTHING is the business of old white men. And it will be until their slimy grasp has finally been eroded away. Just hope they invent cryosleep or something soon, or else we will never see the fucking day.

    the fetus is magic.

    Would be an excellent My Little Pony knockoff.
    My Little Wingnut: Fetus is Magic!

  68. says

    Thank you, Crip Dyke @70 – “But really, the person clearly hasn’t read their own definition: contiguous blasts them out of the water.”

    I *knew* I was missing something!

    Also thanks to everyone else who replied.

  69. Nepenthe says

    @ Gwynnd 53

    Our society does not grant rights to human “organisms”, it grants rights to persons. Under no reasonable definition of personhood is a blastocyst a person. A good definition of personhood has to exclude a molar pregnancy, a tumor, and dead human (including brain death). It also has to count a mosaic child or adult as one person and conjoined twins as two persons. If one uses the “unique human DNA” definition, which atheist forced birthers seem to like, all of these conditions fail.

    In my opinion an organism qualifies as a person if it/he/she is self aware. So adult great apes and some other non-human animals are persons, but a neonate or anencephalic human regardless of age is not. But I gather that the general definition of person is a sentient human.

  70. amyisonly3letters says

    For Gwynnyd and anyone else who bumps up against the “biological person” argument.

    Pregnancy is, essentially, life support for a(n) zygote/blastocyst/embryo/fetus the mother is breathing, eating, and excreting for the pregnancy. She is donating the use of her body, her organs, and her tissues to support a “life” (growth, clump of cells, whatever) that cannot sustain itself.

    People die everyday because their organs cannot sustain them. Some do so with painful slowness, while waiting for a donation that is compatible with their own tissues. We could save thousands of lives by requiring people to donate blood, to submit to the bone marrow registry, to have their immunological markers on file as living organ donors. Some of these donations cause almost no harm to the donor and some cause drastic changes in the donor’s lifestyle, quality of life, and even their longevity.

    There is no society in the world that would force a subset of it’s population to give blood on a regular basis. There is no society that demands people donate marrow, or kidneys, or corneas, or skin. This is because we respect bodily autonomy and the right of each individual to preserve their own health. We don’t even require PARENTS to donate blood to their OWN CHILDREN. Many opt to if the need should arise, but there is no law requiring this of them.

    So, a fetus is not special, it has not exceptional rights as a person or otherwise, therefore it has no more right to the use of it’s mother’s lungs, kidneys, pancreas, heart, liver, blood, or uterus than any other human being. It may use them so long as she consents, because she has the right to make the choice to allow it. But she is just as much in her rights as a human being to deny this other organism the use of her body as a life-support device.

    As a society we don’t even demand that the dead donate organs and tissues they are no longer using to save living human beings. We abide by the deceased’s wishes, or if those are unknown, by the wishes of the next of kin. For example: on their driver’s licenses, and in their living wills my parents have specified that they are not organ donors, I, on the other hand, am an organ donor, in the case of my death I have authorized the use of any of my organs or tissues to preserve or improve the lives of others.

    Following this logic, those who oppose abortion believe that pregnant women have less of a right to bodily autonomy than CORPSES. How is that for a dehumanizing argument.

    I’m not saying you can’t make a moral argument against abortion, but that you cannot do so in a society where people are not required to give of themselves in other, equally invasive ways. As soon as we start insisting that people must register their kidneys, their corneas, their livers, their marrow, and their blood as public resources, held in trust for the greater health of society, then we can make the argument for forced birth, but not before.

  71. nrdo says

    @ Alexandra – This is not the place to say that women who seek abortions are in need of mental health care. Nowhere did I imply that. I actually do have personal experience with people suffering from mental health issues and it’s a bit insulting to be accused of writing people off as crazy when you have no idea of my perspective. Even in the small minority of women who do have disorders that keep then in abusive relationships, it would be a gross breach of medical ethics to withhold treatment (abortion) in an attempt to punish them.

    In fact, I think that physicians who use medical procedures to coerce decisions about pregnancy, (for example, in the course of those ultrasounds mandate by state legislatures) should be ejected from their professional organizations. Unfortunately, the organizations don’t have that much spine.

  72. says

    Well, good for you nrdo. At least you’re not a completely insensitive jackass.

    I still gotta wonder why you felt the need to bring it up in the first place in a post that was celebrating abortion.

  73. captainahags says

    Question- I read a poem a few days ago somewhere on FTB I think, and now I can’t find it anywhere. It was written from the perspective of a fetus and then a person, and was basically about how the lawyer, priest, and politician were all about protecting the fetus, but once born they were all against it. I recall it being relatively old, and possibly translated from French. Anyone?

  74. nrdo says

    I do acknowledge that advocacy from the mental and socioeconomic perspective could be hijacked and twisted into a “women seeking abortions are crazy/immoral” – type argument. Likewise, the idea that the government get involved is certainly open for debate; especially in the US where healthcare is treated as a political football.

  75. says

    Why should old white dudes have the primary say in what women do with their bodies? Because God is a really, really, really etc. old white man. So old white men are closest in character to God.

    And if there’s one thing that the religious tell us over and over again about God, it’s that he’s a gigantic cosmic voyeur, who has the right to know everything you do and think, especially the parts that relate to your sex life. So how else are the old white men going to be Godly if they can’t pass judgement on what you’ve been doing in bed, and how you intend to handle the results of those activities?

    The scary thing is that the above is pretty much how some of these folks actually do think.

  76. says

    nrdo
    You know, you could simply own your own writing and acknowledge that you
    -Entered a discussion when you were unfamiliar with the situation and arguments
    -You wrote something that can be reasonably interpreted as advocating mandatory counselling on a subgroup of women. You wrote this after people complained about mandatory counselling and you wrote that being ignorant of the fact that counselling etc. is already happening in reproductive health centres.
    -When people asked you whether you thought that this was not already happening you could have said “oh, my bad, I didn’t know” or “Yes, but I think there should be more support and offers for women.
    -You made inappropriate comparisons with mental health problems (and yes, I’m saying this as somebody WITH mental health problems, not because I think there’s anything superspecial icky about people with mental health problems).
    -You still try to claim that it was a problem with “my perspective” instead of your writing, which smells too much of “silly woman can’t know what’s good for her” in an abortion-related thread. Whether that was your intent or not is pretty irrelevant.

  77. nrdo says

    -‘I think there should be more support’ [particularly economic, since mental health is an issue in only a minority of cases] was actually the crux of my argument, right there in the second paragraph of my first post. Perhaps if you had taken the time to read my posts instead of attacking me as an ignorant you would have more fully understood where I was coming from.

    -Like it or not, a lot of people view abortion as a piece of a larger social justice issue, and the research supports this view. Instead of attacking us for not using the right, ‘ideologically pure’ language, it would be more productive to simply check that yes, neither of us support mandatory counseling, and then move on to more important issues.

  78. Iain Walker says

    Gwynnyd (#53):

    His exact quotes are, “What I am claiming is that using standard biological scientific terms, a human being (which he claim a blastocyst is using his organism definition) is a distinct organism of species homo sapiens.”

    It’s bollocks on stilts, basically. The blastocyst is not identical with any organism as long as it retains the capacity to split, or to merge with other blastocysts. Where the hell does he think monozygotic twins come from? Does he think that they are one and the same organism? Or does he think the identity relationship isn’t transitive? You can’t identify the blastocyst with any one individual organism, because it can give rise to multiple, non-identical organisms, and multiple blastocysts can fuse to give rise to a single organism. At the earliest stages of development, the process is too fluid to talk meaningfully of individual organisms. The argument isn’t just scientifically ignorant, it’s also ignorant of elementary sense and logic. It’s gibberish.

    “A contiguous living system that metabolises, can grow, responds to stimuli, reproduces, and can adapt to its environment.”

    Other have pointed out that it is dubious at best whether a blastocyst (and indeed a foetus) fulfills these conditions. Frankly, a forest fire probably fulfills them better. Is he against the provision of firefighting services too?

    He accused me of thinking that the vagina contains a magic property that conferred personhood at birth.

    So he confuses being an organism (even a human one) with being a person? In which case he seems to be the one engaging in magical thinking, if he thinks there’s something special about human DNA. In any case, a person is a self-aware agent, not just an organism, and human organisms generally don’t display any unambiguous signs of self-awareness until a year or so after birth. Personhood is a matter of cognitive capacity, not metabolism.

    Has anyone else heard this variation?

    All the bloody time, unfortunately. Senor Bergoglio of Vatican Inc. is also fond of it (from On Heaven and Earth):

    “The moral problem of abortion is of a pre-religious nature because the genetic code is written in a person at the moment of conception. A human being is there. I separate the topic of abortion from any specifically religious notions. It is a scientific problem. Not to allow the further development of a being which already has all the genetic code of a human being is not ethical.”

    Same irrelevant appeal to misunderstood science, same magical thinking, same non sequiturs. Your opponent is about as sophisticated and well-informed in his arguments as the Pope – i.e., not at all.

  79. nrdo says

    @ Iain Walker – Good points; one could also add that humans after the death of higher brain function can have all of the characteristics he ascribes to a fetus, (even more since the memories of their life may still be intact in their brain) but we certainly wouldn’t force a living person to sacrifice their own body to keep a brain-dead person alive.

  80. dannysichel says

    When I say that in an ideal world, abortion would be safe, legal, and rare, what I mean is that, in this ideal world, women would already have full control over whether or not they conceive. In this ideal world, the default would be “no pregnancy” unless the woman makes the conscious and deliberate decision to switch her fertility back on. Contraception would be universally available with no socioeconomic factors standing in the way, and totally effective with a failure rate of zero.

    Not just “every child a wanted child”, but “every pregnancy a wanted pregnancy”. Idealistic, yes, but it’s something to strive for.

    Contexts in which the phrase “too many abortions” makes sense:

    “I’m sorry, I need to cancel our dinner date — I’ve got too many abortions to perform today, and I won’t be done until at least half past seven”

    and

    “there’s something wrong with your medical records — it says here you’ve had 16 abortions in the past 12 months? That’s too many pregnancies, and too many abortions, for such a short time period. It’s not physically possible.”

    and maybe “this action movie has too many abortions and not enough car chases”.

  81. says

    amyisonly3letters (#83) –

    As a society we don’t even demand that the dead donate organs and tissues they are no longer using to save living human beings. We abide by the deceased’s wishes, or if those are unknown, by the wishes of the next of kin.

    Actually, that’s no longer true. Wales has enacted a revolting law that forces people to “opt out” or their organs will be stolen from their bodies after death against their will (in both senses, their wishes and legal documents). I wouldn’t be surprised to see the anti-abortion crowd use it to rationalize invading living women’s bodies.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16506330

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-23143236

    Organ donation opt-out system given go-ahead in Wales

    Wales will become the first UK country to adopt a process where individuals will be presumed to have consented for their organs to be donated unless they opt out.

    […]

    “Wales is a progressive nation and this is a progressive policy for that progressive nation,” he said.

    “Progressive”? Invading someone’s body and taking something by force against the person’s wishes, when they’re not conscious to consent, is not “progressive”. Yes, that is an allusion to another issue.

  82. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    it would be more productive to simply check that yes, neither of us support mandatory counseling, and then move on to more important issues.

    So, you move on first.

  83. dianne says

    and maybe “this action movie has too many abortions and not enough car chases”.

    Great. Now I’m going to spend the rest of the day trying to imagine that movie.

  84. Nepenthe says

    @left0ver1under

    Corpses are not someone; they are something. They have no wishes.

    People who need organs, on the other hand…

  85. nrdo says

    @ dannysichel – Given that contraceptive technology is already quite effective, all things considering, I think we could get close to that ideal if we provided women with true, reliable socioeconomic support and education.

  86. loopyj says

    Safe, legal (well, not illegal), and covered by provincial health insurance where I am in Canada, thank you very much. And provided by doctors who champion the idea that abortion is a necessary part of providing proper medical care to women.

    Yes, in an ideal world we could snap our fingers and command our bodies to not allow conception to occur rather than having to take pills that kill a tiny percentage of us every year or having to insert bits of plastic into us that can perforate our organs. But the world isn’t magic, and the most effective contraceptives that women can be most in control of carry a host of risks for our health and well-being. There’s no reason to insist that abortion be ‘rare’ any more than we insist that vasectomies should be ‘rare’.

    I fucking love babies and children, and my abortion was an easy decision. Luckily, I live in a country and in a city where accessing abortion care is easy too. For most women who choose to terminate a pregnancy, the feeling they experience afterward isn’t regret – it’s relief, and relief was definitely the look on the faces of the women I saw in the recovery room with me after my abortion.

  87. says

    nrdo

    ’I think there should be more support’ [particularly economic, since mental health is an issue in only a minority of cases] was actually the crux of my argument,[1] right there in the second paragraph of my first post. Perhaps if you had taken the time to read my posts instead of attacking me as an ignorant[2] you would have more fully understood where I was coming from.

    Oh dear, another thin-skinned person who expected a cookie for not being a total douche.
    [1] Maybe in your head. Not in you writing. The way you wrote it clearly allowed it to be interpreted as “women who have multiple abortions need counselling because there’s clearly something wrong with them”
    [2] You ARE an ignorant. You admitted this yourself.
    Stop blaming others for your shoddy writing

    left0ver1under
    Bullshit. Opting out still means you have full control. It only means that you have to sit down for five minutes and think about the issue.
    Actually, it’s very much like reproductive rights:
    Abortion is the possibility to opt out of being pregnant, because unless you do so pregnancy continues.

  88. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @left0ver1under

    Actually, that’s no longer true. Wales has enacted a revolting law that forces people to “opt out” or their organs will be stolen from their bodies after death against their will (in both senses, their wishes and legal documents).

    “Revolting”? Downright sensible. If, for some ridiculous reason, someone wants their organs to go into the ground and rot uselessly after they’ve died, then they can simply opt out and their wishes will be fullfilled. No one’s forcing them, and since there is an opt-out option, not opting out is tacit consent, so it’s not stealing either. There is a massive shortage of donor organs in the UK and this will go a long way towards fixing it without doing anyone the slightest bit of harm. Corpses aren’t people, they are things; dead meat and nothing more. The law hurts no one.

  89. Iain Walker says

    left0ver1under (#95):

    Actually, that’s no longer true. Wales has enacted a revolting law that forces people to “opt out” or their organs will be stolen from their bodies after death against their will (in both senses, their wishes and legal documents).

    So a law that allows one to opt out of organ donation equals “stolen from their bodies after death against their will (in both senses, their wishes and legal documents)”. That’s … quite a leap of reading comprehension.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see the anti-abortion crowd use it to rationalize invading living women’s bodies.

    I wouldn’t be surprised, either, given the depths of malignant stupidity that anti-abortionists regularly plumb. Except of course removing organs from a dead person who has recorded no objection to such a procedure and forcing living, breathing women to give birth against their will have nothing in common whatsoever, so I doubt such a hopelessly inept argument would gain much traction. Well, not here in the UK, anyway.

  90. vaiyt says

    @nrdo

    Contraceptives are not infallible. You will always need a way to terminate pregnancy for those who fall through the cracks.

  91. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @nrdo

    It’s your responsibility to ensure you are clearly understood, not everyone else’s responsibility to be a mind reader. I had trouble understanding your point for a while, and what you said was certainly open to misunderstanding.

  92. nrdo says

    @ Thumper – Point taken, but I think a fair reading the [i]second paragraph[/i] of my post would have made it clearer:

    Part of the (real, ongoing) harm that the anti-choice forces perpetrate on women is that by forcing them to continually defend legality and access, they tangle up the resources that could be used to optimize care for groups like that.

    @ vaiyt – Of course, no medical device or intervention has 100% efficacy, we would still need abortion. The research I linked earlier in the thread estimated that stronger protections against domestic violence could cut unwanted pregnancies by 2-18% in their models. Better social services would contribute additional improvements. It illustrates to the complexity of the issue and importance of multiple approaches.

  93. John Horstman says

    @Gwynnyd #53: It is not the case that a blastocyst “responds to stimuli, reproduces, and can adapt to its environment.” In fact, it needs a very specific environment without which it will die – this is why abortion is generally fatal* to the blastocyst/embryo/fetus – stimulus response requires a later stage of development, and reproduction requires around another decade and a half of development. That said, I definitely think an embryo and even a blastocyst could legitimately be defined as a “human organism” for certain definitions of those words. That doesn’t make it a “person” in the sense that personhood carries in an individualist culture, becasue it’s necessarily attached to another person and lacks sapience. Personhood requires agency, which in turn requires BOTH self-contained embodiment and volition. Birth isn’t magic, it’s just a convenient and reasonable (given the whole no-longer-attached-to-another-person thing) dividing line for the law.

    amyisonly3letters does a great job of laying out the bodily autonomy line of argumentation in #83, and Crip Dyke’s point in #70 is also key.

    *If a pregnancy is terminated after viability, the fetus can often survive, though the political coding means we usually call these kinds of abortions “pre-term birth”, even in cases where the removal of the fetus is the result of direct medical interventions like induced labor or Cesarian delivery. “Abortion” is not, in fact, the killing of a fetus, it’s the ending of a pregnancy through a medical intervention. “Induced labor” in the absence of a direct medical need is, in my estimation, technically illegal thanks to bans on third-trimester abortions, yet it’s still common-place. The anti-choicers tend to not freak out about abortions that will still result in motherhood for the pregnant woman.

  94. John Horstman says

    @dannysichel #94: That was always my understanding of “safe, legal, and rare” as well, and I’m pretty sure it was the original intent of the message. It was an early call for reproductive justice, the “rare” being shorthand for “we need lots of education and contraception access so that women who don’t want to be pregnant can avoid it in the first place instead of having to contend with the inconvenience, discomfort, and expense of an abortion procedure”.

  95. John Horstman says

    @left0ver1under #95: Corpses don’t have will – they’re dead – so you can’t do anything to a corpse against its will, including harvesting organs. I actually have no issue with laws/social perspectives that would construct corpses as public property to be used for the general welfare; I think defaulting to organ donation (with or without an opt out) is an extremely good idea. I also object to the concept of people dictating the division/distribution of the resources they used to own after death. It’s an aristocratic hold-over from a system meant to perpetuate familial privilege – like most private property, inheritance is theft.

  96. nrdo says

    @ John Horstman – “rare” would be ideal in the sense that surgical abortion, while very safe as far as medical interventions go, has a higher risk of complications than contraception and medical (drug induced) abortion.

    Actually, when I was researching the issue of counseling, I came across a paper (can’t find it at the moment) which showed that women in poor and at-risk populations don’t seem to get medical abortions at the elevated rates they got surgical abortions. This was in the US and suggests that they are getting lesser quality care or are not well-informed about their options.

  97. nrdo says

    For clarity, I would add that the study was only suggestive; it didn’t prove what factors were responsible for the discrepancy.

  98. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    John Horstman, 108

    If a pregnancy is terminated after viability, the fetus can often survive, though the political coding means we usually call these kinds of abortions “pre-term birth”, even in cases where the removal of the fetus is the result of direct medical interventions like induced labor or Cesarian delivery. “Abortion” is not, in fact, the killing of a fetus, it’s the ending of a pregnancy through a medical intervention. “Induced labor” in the absence of a direct medical need is, in my estimation, technically illegal thanks to bans on third-trimester abortions, yet it’s still common-place.

    Such an important point, yet so very often missed, misunderstood or simply ignored by the forced birthers. Abortion is simply unhooking your body from its position as involuntary life support system.

  99. chris61 says

    Abortion is killing of the fetus. That might not be its stated goal but since the removal of the fetus is undertaken in such a way as to assure as much as possible that fetus is dead before it exits the uterus, that is certainly a secondary goal. Not doing that is one of the many things that got Kermit Gosnell in trouble.

  100. says

    nrdo – congrats on not actively oppressing women.

    Now you need to work on communicating more clearly and not being an asshole when people point out that you’re communicating unclearly.

  101. nrdo says

    @ SallyStrange – If you are sensitive to the extent that you insult and name-call an ally without the slightest effort to understand or clarify their opinion, I don’t know how you could tolerate communicating with people who genuinely support oppression.

  102. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    chris61

    Not doing that is one of the many things that got Kermit Gosnell in trouble.

    What got that guy in trouble wasn’t that he didn’t kill fetuses, it was that he killed infants.

  103. nrdo says

    @ Beatrice – The Gosnell scandal was such an extreme example of abuse on many levels that I don’t think it’s a good basis for discussing abortion in general.

  104. says

    nrdo:
    I’ve read all your comments in this thread and the responses. I agree that your message was unclear. Why is it difficult for you to accept that you made an error-clearly several people did not understand your point-apologize, and move on. There are other places to get defensive. I do not think this is the appropriate one (you run the danger of making it ‘all about you’).

  105. chris61 says

    Beatrice117

    That was my point. Killing the fetus is one of the goals of abortion because as soon as the fetus is born it becomes an infant and killing an infant is illegal. So while I am pro-choice I think it is disingenuous to argue that the goal of abortion is to end a pregnancy not to kill a fetus.

  106. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I don’t know how you could tolerate communicating with people who genuinely support oppression.

    snickersnortcoughguffawhystericalfit

    Really? Communicate with people who genuinely support oppression? Why would we engage in an activity as useless and painful as F?

    Laying bare the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of support for oppression so that lurkers can have minds changed or feel supported and that the oppression that targets them isn’t universally supported? That’s a useful activity. Communicating with people who genuinely support oppression?

    Sally almost certainly wouldn’t tolerate it here. Maybe she has a job somewhere that requires it. Someone has to do it. But here? No. The odds that she would tolerate it are p < 0.0027

    And why should she?

  107. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    nrdo,

    The Gosnell scandal was such an extreme example of abuse on many levels that I don’t think it’s a good basis for discussing abortion in general.

    in the sense chris61is trying to make some kind of a point (?) with it, you’re right. It’s not a good example.

    But on the other hand, it’s a perfect example of why abortion should be safe, legal and free.

  108. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    So while I am pro-choice I think it is disingenuous to argue that the goal of abortion is to end a pregnancy not to kill a fetus.

    No, what people are arguing is that the main desire for an abortion is to end the pregnancy. The fact that the fetus is dead is an unintended side effect until fetal transplants are available.

  109. nrdo says

    @ Tony – Well, I really don’t want to be excessively defensive or monopolize the thread. My first post may have been unclear (sorry everyone!). My second post (#25) was absolutely clear that I didn’t support anything involuntary and it was followed up by actual data showing that the population I was talking about exists and isn’t being well served by the current system. I was just surprised at how quickly things descended into me being called asshole and facetiously congratulated for “not oppressing women”.

  110. nrdo says

    @ Beatrice –
    I completely agree. One other thing that we might learn from the Gosnell scandal is that the professional organizations that regulate OB-GYNs and Psychiatrists have been doing a pretty poor job supporting women’s bodily autonomy. Their statements are consistent with universally accepted medical ethics, but when it comes to cracking down on doctors, they’re paper tigers.

  111. says

    nrdo:

    I was just surprised at how quickly things descended into me being called asshole and facetiously congratulated for “not oppressing women”.

    Given your comments, I’ve been operating under the assumption that you’re not a woman. As such, IMO, your privilege is blinding you (in this respect) to what women around you are saying. This issue-abortion-is deeply personal for many women (I’d like to say it’s personal for all women inasmuch as it speaks to their right to bodily autonomy which is under seige across the globe, but I’m hesitant to do that bc it feels like I’m speaking *for* women). It is not an intellectual discussion far removed from daily life. This is something that many women have given consideration to. As I learned in another thread, many women have already made a decision on when or if they will have an abortion prior to becoming pregnant.

    You came across as talking over women, or knowing better than them, in a thread where the concerns of women should be paramount and they should not be muted or shouted down. I’m not saying you’ve done any of that intentionally (I have no idea what your intent was). All I know is the *effect* your words have had.

  112. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    So while I am pro-choice I think it is disingenuous to argue that the goal of abortion is to end a pregnancy not to kill a fetus

    I don’t see how it’s disingenuous at all. Abortion is called a termination of pregnancy, and while the fetus does often die as a result of this, not all TOP leads to fetuses dying.Did you even read my comment, or the one I quoted?

  113. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    since the removal of the fetus is undertaken in such a way as to assure as much as possible that fetus is dead before it exits the uterus,

    Also, don’t buy into the forced birthers’ propaganda about ‘partial birth’ terminations and the like. Medical abortions, which is the preferred and better form of care, are perfectly able to terminate the pregnancy without directly affecting the fetus at all.

  114. opposablethumbs says

    chris61, would you care to expand on that a little? Because as it stands, you certainly sound ignorant as all get out. To put it charitably.

    Omitting to mention, for example, that (exact percentage varying depending on geographical location; I’m more familiar with the situation in the UK) the vast, vast majority of abortions are carried out extremely early – often not a foetus at all but an embryo – and that in a civilised system the vanishingly tiny minority of late ones are usually of a wanted but sadly non-viable foetus (e.g. foetal abnormality only discovered at a late stage). Omitting to mention that in uncivilised systems such as the right wing are fostering in the US, forced-birth policies preventing women from accessing early abortion are often the only reason that a later one has to be carried out.

    PS fwiw I am glad nrdo has clarified their position – thank you, nrdo. Thank you to all those whose comments made sure it got clarified.

  115. Tethys says

    nrdo

    I’ve been lurking this thread, and I see that you are still not getting it. Allow me to assist you in reaching a greater understanding of why you are getting so much negative feedback.

    Well, I really don’t want to be excessively defensive or monopolize the thread.

    By my count you have made 22 comments in a thread that’s 127 long, most of them defensive. I’ll let you do the math.

    My first post may have been unclear (sorry everyone!).

    No, your first post at 18 was very clear. It used the common anti-abortion tactic of ignoring everything the OP says, and immediately bring up some sub-set of abortion seekers who should not be allowed to make autonomous decisions about their reproduction, for their own good.

    You are in fact being a shitty ally by bringing up domestic violence as pertinent to the subject of safe, legal, abortion on demand.

    My second post (#25) was absolutely clear that I didn’t support anything involuntary and it was followed up by actual data showing that the population I was talking about exists and isn’t being well served by the current system.

    Asshole! The very last fucking thing a pregnant woman in an abusive relationship needs is MORE moralizing from entitled douchweasels.

    It also underscores the fact that you think domestic violence is something that only happens to poor people. I suggest you google Nigella Lawson, and stop othering victims.

    I was just surprised at how quickly things descended into me being called asshole and facetiously congratulated for “not oppressing women”.

    That’s a feature, not a bug.

  116. nrdo says

    @ Tethys –

    It also underscores the fact that you think domestic violence is something that only happens to poor people. I suggest you google Nigella Lawson, and stop othering victims.

    Where on earth did you get that impression?

    You are in fact being a shitty ally by bringing up domestic violence as pertinent to the subject of safe, legal, abortion on demand.

    I posted a link to a whole paper, published by Planned Parenthood, that discusses the link in depth and asks societies to address domestic violence through better education before and after abortions are sought.

  117. chris61 says

    opposablethumbs

    I’m not referring to when in time the pregnancy is terminated but rather why it is terminated. When women are asked why they chose to terminate a pregnancy (according to the Guttmacher Institute which I think is a fairly unbiased source) the reasons given by the majority involve the baby that would result if the pregnancy were not terminated rather than the pregnancy itself. This is why I don’t agree that the death of the foetus (or embryo for that matter) is an unintended consequence of the procedure.

  118. says

    chris61:

    This is why I don’t agree that the death of the foetus (or embryo for that matter) is an unintended consequence of the procedure.

    How deep are you planning to dig this hole?

    You’ve had people telling you that abortion is the termination of a pregnancy*, yet you refuse to accept the reality of that definition, preferring instead to stick your fingers in your ears and ignore everyone?
    You might want to rethink the wisdom in ignoring women (in general; in specific, this is a thread about women’s right to reproductive freedom).

    *often-though certainly not always-this results in the death of the fetus.

  119. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    the reasons given by the majority involve the baby that would result if the pregnancy were not terminated rather than the pregnancy itself

    Do you have any corroboration for this?

  120. opposablethumbs says

    chris61, why do you think it’s of any importance or relevance why a woman decides to have an abortion? (excluding inane hypotheticals such as someone has a gun to her head and is forcing her to abort a wanted foetus)

  121. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    This is why I don’t agree that the death of the foetus (or embryo for that matter) is an unintended consequence of the procedure.

    Gee, not making a lifetime commitment to care for something you aren’t in a good position to do at that time doesn’t mean what you think it means. It means she doesn’t want to be pregnant. DUH.

    The only reason for keeping up your bit is that you are an anti-choicer playing an concern troll. Not that we haven’t seen that before.

  122. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    No one used the word “unintended” here but you, Chris. We’re just saying that abortion doesn’t equal killing the fetus, especially in the context of late term when the forced birthers love to hand-wring about “viability” and mythical women who go for frivolous abortions at 39 weeks and 6 days.

  123. nrdo says

    Elyse’s essay PZ that linked sort of touches on the notion that that [i]preventing a baby from existing[/i] is not an intrinsically immoral act. This should be obvious to anyone who doesn’t believe in things like predestination or souls. If you agree with that analysis, then the goal of an abortion procedure is a non-issue. (Except, or course, if there are other circumstances like the procedure being forced or breaching other principles of medical ethics)

  124. ledasmom says

    dianne @97:

    “and maybe “this action movie has too many abortions and not enough car chases”.

    Great. Now I’m going to spend the rest of the day trying to imagine that movie.

    “In most ways ‘The Abortioneer’ is a classic action movie jam-packed with fighting and chases, including a particularly fine high-speed example through the heart of Washington, DC as the title heroine evades a pack of anti-abortion villains in pickups, culminating in her escape by motorcycle through several of the buildings comprising the Smithsonian. However, it bogs down during the more serious sequences set in the various clinics, each the only one within a hundred miles, that she commutes between; the social message of the movie should have been better-integrated with the lighter tone. In short, this movie has too many abortions and not enough car chases.”

  125. Tethys says

    nrdo

    Where on earth did you get that impression?

    You keep ignoring the subject of the OP to whinge on about DV victims who use PP.
    This gives me the impression that you are more interested in pontificating about what you consider important, than in a womans absolute rights to body autonomy and medical privacy.

    You are in fact being a shitty ally by bringing up domestic violence as pertinent to the subject of safe, legal, abortion on demand.

    I posted a link to a whole paper, published by Planned Parenthood, that discusses the link in depth and asks societies to address domestic violence through better education before and after abortions are sought.

    I don’t care that you substantiated your claim. You should not have brought it up in the first place because it is entirely tangential to the subject at hand.

    In effect you are saying, “Sure woman are entitled to full reproductive rights except if they also have the misfortune of being in an abusive relationship and or getting pregnant more than X number of times.”

    All womens reproductive status is none of your business under any circumstances. Got it?

  126. chris61 says

    opposablethumbs,
    Speaking from an admittedly USA-centric POV, I think any woman’s reason to have an abortion is no one’s business but her own but I think women’s (in the aggregate) reasons for having abortion are relevant to voters attitudes. 40 years since Roe v Wade and according to Gallup polls Americans are as conflicted as they ever were about abortion. The most recent poll indicates that while 38% are satisfied with abortion laws as they are, of those who are dissatisfied almost twice as many (25%) want stricter laws as want less strict laws (13%). Personally I find that scary.

  127. stevem says

    re Tethys @145:

    alternatively; nrdo is saying, “Abortion on demand is perfectly okay, but DV is worse, we need to fix that first, before talking about the right of women to abort the fetus that would be coming into a DV home, and: DV is making women abort because of the abuse they are receiving. Fix DV, and abortion won’t be an issue anymore. The rights of women, while absolutely true, is only an issue because of DV. Talk about DV, not abortion-on-demand. Without DV, women will only become pregnant when they want to, abortion won’t be asked for if there were no more DV.”

    Like everyone else here, I can only say that even if that is nrdo’s argument: it is still worth providing A-on-D while addressing DV. They are not mutually exclusive issues. The subject of this OP is A-on-D, not DV, so stay on topic, do not derail to DV.

  128. opposablethumbs says

    chris61, OK I see the context you are suggesting.
    Voters in the aggregate may indeed get exercised about what they think are common reasons for having an abortion, but I would suggest that this is very much a side-track – and that rather than fall into the trap (?) of focusing on what those reasons might or might not be (and there are probably as many reasons as there are women who decide to have an abortion), we might do better to expend our energy on shifting the focus of any discussion to women’s rights – the right to bodily autonomy, the right to full human status. The right to choose freely whether or not to be a blood (and much more) donor, just like men do.

    I think nrdo‘s aims are in the right place. They haven’t always expressed themselves well, but they have expressly noted that – and I really do think their aims are in the right place.

  129. nrdo says

    Advocating for abortion rights in addition to “liberal” causes like alleviating Domestic Violence can be difficult because focusing on underprivileged groups can indeed sound patronizing. But people with bona fide experience and credentials in women’s healthcare (Planned Parenthood Link) consistently call for more counseling and education for at-risk women outside of the clinic, so I’ll just voice my agreement with their analysis and leave it at that.

  130. ledasmom says

    Tony! @ 144:
    I actually think “The Abortioneer” would make a fantastic comic book, but as I am incapable of art above the third-grade level it will have to remain a dream, alas.
    The story I had come up with includes a not-quite-actionable Dick Cheney who repeatedly clones himself for replacement hearts.

  131. dianne says

    @142: Congratulations, Ledasmom, you have won the internet! It will be delivered to you electronically from your nearest computer.

  132. says

    I agree: it has by now become clear that nrdo is not a member of the Forced Birth Brigade.

    However, his insistence on bringing domestic violence up in a discussion still irks me: it’s still the same old song about how abortions are baaaaaaad. While I agree that not getting pregnant in the first place is preferable to abortion, it still irks me to see allies carrying water for the “abortions are baaaaaaad” narrative. Abortions are, in point of fact, fucking fabulous. Especially for a woman whose abusive partner is attempting to trap her in poverty and dependency with an unintended pregnancy.

    There was no particular reason to bring up DV in the context of a discussion about how abortion access should never be restricted in any way. And the effect of bringing up DV in that particular context was to further the narrative that abortions are terrible and awful and so on. Nrdo’s heart is in the right place but he needs to consider more carefully what the unintended consequences of his desire to talk about DV in the context of a discussion about abortion are.