1. PDX_Greg says

    Sure she makes brilliant points here, but … but … isn’t she the one who destroyed civilization a while back when she asked guys to be considerate enough not to proposition isolated women in hotel elevators at 3 AM?!! And had the audacity to explain why? Didn’t she offend Dawkins’ 100% perfect sensibilities, obviously marking herself the evil incarnate? I only watch every second of very video she posts so I can be aware of any new tactics she might deploy in the dismantlement of my earned-at-conception rights to dickishness.

  2. kevinalexander says

    I only quibble with the title ‘More women regret having kids than aborting them’
    since what you’re aborting isn’t actually a kid.

  3. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    ‘More women regret having kids than aborting them waiting
    better now, kevinalexander@2?

  4. Uncle Ebeneezer says

    I wish Rebecca the readership and paycheck of a Times gig but not the increased harassment that it would probably bring. But yeah she’s light-years ahead of Douthat for certain.

  5. Rey Fox says

    Well, you know what they say: It’s better to regret the lives you do bring into the world than the lives you don’t. Or something.

  6. kevinalexander says

    Better? No, because waiting implies something that you expect to happen where the idea of abortion is to not let something become.

  7. says

    Yep, that’s what is all about. My brief story is in there somewhere. I have never had second thoughts or regrets about having an abortion. Going through with the pregnancy would have destroyed my life, and that resulting child would have ended up with a world of fucking misery.

  8. says

    Regretting an abortion isn’t enough for a lot of people anyway. Unless a woman who has had an abortion is filled with unceasing, soul searing guilt, and thinks it’s the worst thing she could ever have done, they’ll think she’s horrible.

  9. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The proven method of having less abortion is to make birth control readily accessible, and morally mandatory.

    Of course, the problem in this country is the same groups that are the loudest about abortion (RCC, fundies), are also against birth control. I seem to be missing the logic here…..

  10. Anders says

    To be fair, she is using a strawman here, anti-abortionists do not want abortion banned -because of- regret, they want it banned for the whole religious stupid life-begins-at-conception bullshit, because that means abortion=killing babies.

    The “you are gonna regret it”-propaganda is just means to an end. Or their helplessly stupid way of trying to prevent abortion, since they cant change the law.

    I hate it when people i agree with use strawmen to construct bad similies.

    The anti-abortion argument contains more than enough stupid as it is, lets ridicule it on fair terms.

  11. brett says

    I hate how this nonsense keeps popping up. Hell, it popped up in the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals judgment on North Dakota’s “heartbeat” ban, where they begrudgingly struck the law down before ranting about it’s just so unfair that states can’t more thoroughly restrict abortion – and they trot out the whole “abortion regret” nonsense as part of that.

  12. Anders Kehlet says


    It’s not a strawman if it’s an argument they actually make.

  13. moarscienceplz says

    #11 Anders
    There are some people who are anti-choice because they care so much about babies, but not the majority. The proof is that many of the same people who are screaming about abortions are also complaining about women using
    AFDC to buy groceries. If they really loved babies so much, they would be lobbying for much more aid for families. Many women who abort do it because they cannot afford a child at that time and many do have children later on, so increasing aid for children would help to decrease abortions. When was the last time you saw anybody in the GOP try make that arguement?

  14. unclefrogy says

    as the previous post illustrated the argument against is almost entirely religious. As a religious argument it is tangled with all the other religious ideas and can’t be separated with in the case of christian’s of the guilt and sin, sex is sinful outside of marriage, purpose of life is to praise god.
    That is what I learned from church. There is always the idea of purpose nothing can be seen as itself that idea is behind creationist inability to understand evolution. It is at the root of the sex abortion problem. We get easily side tracked by the separateness of the arguments, anti-abortion, pro-life, and argue as if it is not connected with all the other aspects of the religious attitudes toward life and reality whose purpose is to praise gods.
    Abortion is a challenge to the core of that purpose.
    how I hate the religious for their need to make everyone think and behave according to their beliefs by what ever means possible.
    I have no objection to them believing and living any way they want within the law. I thought that was one of the principles that this republic was founded on.
    uncle frogy

  15. dianne says

    Note that regret was positively correlated with negative stigma of having had an abortion. In other words, the anti-abortion movement is causing “post-abortion regret” by harassing women about their decision. And don’t think that they don’t know this.

  16. Pieter B, FCD says

    They eventually got to Norma McCorvey, the “Jane Roe” of Roe v. Wade.

  17. magistramarla says

    OK, I’m a very weird person. I loved every minute of being pregnant and childbirth (totally unmedicated and in my own home) was mostly a piece of cake for me. My five kids can be pains, even as adults, but I will never regret raising any of them. The grandkids are my rewards for putting up with their parents – LOL.
    However, we had those five babies because we knew that we could provide for them and we were in a loving, stable relationship.
    Any woman who is not in that kind of fortunate situation or has medical reasons should have every right to decide for herself what to do.

  18. tkreacher says

    Anders #11

    Uh, no. If the “regret” argument is just a specious rationalization that pro-lifers use to support their actual “real” argument that is religious based as you state, the fallacy rests with those making the argument.

    As has been pointed out, responding to an argument your opponent is making, whether or not that argument is sincere, isn’t what straw man means.

  19. Anders says

    #19 Yes it is their fallacy that they use regret as an argument against abortion, but I have yet to hear anti-abortionists use the argument as THE reason abortion should be outlawed. They are arguing that regret is one more thing that is so horrible about abortion. R.W.ironically suggests we therefore should ban everything that we might regret. This argument is similar to the NRA crowds comparisons of guns and knives ie:”So you want to ban semiautomatic assault rifles because they can be used to kill people?, well knives can be used to kill people too! lets ban all kitchen knives…?! Checkmate!” Clearly such refutations are strawman versions of a longer argument. The other side uses lies, strawmen and oversimplifications. lets not stoop to their level.

  20. brett says

    @Pieter B, FCD

    Yeah, I remember reading about that. McCorvey became a fanatical evangelical type, then quickly became a Catholic a few years later (also, she claims to be an ex-lesbian after living with a partner for years).

    * Shrugs* It happens, especially with folks who come from conservative backgrounds like that. I’ve heard McCorvey wasn’t treated too well by prominent folks in the pro-choice movement too.

  21. tkreacher says

    Anders #20

    I see what you’re saying, but the thrust of Rebecca’s argument rests on that it is false that most people who have abortions regret having an abortion. She asserts that the evidence suggests that people regret having children at a higher rate than people regret having an abortion.

    The clear implication, even if they don’t state it directly, is that pro-lifers use the “regret” argument to bolster their position that abortion should be illegal. It follows then, if regret is to be factored in to whether or not something should be illegal, then the proper thing to do would be outlaw childbirth.

    I took the point to be that regret isn’t an argument that is relevant to the discussion of legality, and even if it were it would support the pro-choice side of the issue. And besides, if they aren’t using it to support their position on legality, why do they bring it up, as they do, in discussions concerning its legality?

    I’m just finding it a stretch to call it a straw man.

  22. punchdrunk says

    #10 Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls:
    I don’t think ‘morally mandatory’ birth control is any more pro choice or pro woman that ‘morally mandatory’ children.
    A lot of people want the right to say what is and is not moral or selfish when it comes to other people’s reproductive choices. Who gets to do it and who doesn’t and when and how. They can all go soak their heads as far as I’m concerned.

  23. Artor says

    Anders, Rebecca is addressing this point in particular, and not one of the thousands of other insincere anti-choice bullshit excuses, because of the recently-published study that shows it to be totally erroneous. We haven’t had this data before, and a lot of people have been swayed, thinking maybe women really do regret their decision, so we should legislate their options away, so they don’t have to worry their pretty heads. I’m sure Rebecca has done, or will post rebuttals of any number of other anti-choice bullshit excuses, but this is the one she’s doing today. How is that a strawman in any way?

  24. aziraphale says

    #23 punchdrunk

    I agree, “morally mandatory” is iffy. But at least no-one in US or UK politics is proposing to enforce birth control, whereas very many such people are trying to effectively ban abortion (for the poor; the rich can always get it).

    I would unpack “morally mandatory” as: if you don’t plan your family size you are contributing to overpopulation and a poorer standard of living for everyone, including your descendants. Also claiming more than your share of the Earth’s finite resources.

  25. punchdrunk says

    #25 aziraphale
    In the U.S., at least, there are plenty of politicians proposing enforced
    BC requirements for people who receive welfare. Google ‘welfare birth control’ and behold.
    And I assume you’re aware of the history of sterilizing ‘undesirables’. For
    the greater moral good, of course.
    I’m just not at all comfortable going down that long, historical path. I’m not okay with either ‘Abortion is immoral because it takes
    a life’ and ‘Having kids is immoral because global warming/generational
    Give people, especially women, good access to BC including abortion, and
    butt the hell out. Women get hit from all sides, from what I’ve seen. I
    feel like everyone feels entitled to an opinion about what’s right and moral for us
    to do with our bodies and our reproductive choices, and we’re damned by
    someone or other regardless.

  26. aziraphale says

    I did Google it. I was wrong. That’s a worrying collection of views, though not (as far as I can see) from anyone in authority. The Governor of Maryland is talking about free access to contraception which is a quite different issue.

    My views on birth control are not aimed particularly at women. It seems to me that often the women with large families are the victims of their men’s patriarchal attitudes.

  27. chrislawson says

    1. The original study that showed women had terrible regrets about abortion recruited its subjects by putting an ad in the local paper asking women who regretted having abortions to tell their stories to the researchers. There’s nothing wrong with this as a study design if the purpose was to explore the experiences of women who regretted abortions…but then the researchers passed it off as evidence that the overwhelming majority of women who had abortions regretted it — which was clearly an impossible deduction given their study design and showed up their intent as being to demonise abortion rather than advance research or identify ways to minimise the negative emotional issues that can arise for a small percentage of women after an abortion.

    2. Anders, you are definitely not using the term “straw man” correctly.

  28. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The Dutch government wanted to have a small number of abortions, so it wouldn’t upset their group of Fundies. They instituted sex education in schools, made birth control readily available and cheap, and essentially made it morally unacceptable for unplanned children to happen. The results were the desired small number of abortions.

  29. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I forgot to mention in my #29 is that the Dutch government also recognized teenagers (and adults) have sex, and it’s nothing to get excited about. Just make sure they take precautions.

  30. Anri says

    Anders @ 11, 20:

    I get what you are saying, but I do think you’re on the wrong track here.
    It seems to me she’s using hyperbole to show that outlawing something due to potential feelings of regret is a bad argument. As this is an argument used by anti-abortionists*, it seems like a perfectly valid tactic.

    *To some extent, anyway. The fact that feelings of regret and clinical depression aren’t the same thing is – just like pretty much every other medical fact – utterly lost on the anti-abortionist side.

  31. randay says

    Has there been a poll of how men feel about circumcision? I don’t regret my circumcision as an infant, I RESENT it because I had no choice. I feel like killing the doctor who did it, but he is long dead after mutilating hundreds or thousands of boys. But I still hate him.

    I only found only anecdotal reports of men’s thoughts on circumcision, but medical evidence against it. Here are two sites: I fall into most of the categories mentioned.

    Myths about circumcision:

  32. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    Wth. Herre we are, chatting about not regretting abortion, wnd some guy comes and literally changes the subject to his dick. What happened?

  33. anbheal says

    I’m not so sure I see the abortion objections as primarily religious, since the Bible doesn’t speak to the issue, and when it does it accepts abortion — so there’s actually not much religion involved here, except for a few generations of Popes fetishizing over sex. I think it’s part and parcel of the Libertarian tantrum since the 1970s over the world changing and other people’s voices being heard. They don’t like empowered women, period. And there’s PLENTY of Scripture to justify that.

  34. aziraphale says

    anbeal @35, where do you get “Libertarian” from? Libertarians are completely in favor of women’s rights. Some of them regard the fetus as having rights also, but that argument runs through all political parties.

  35. Crimson Clupeidae says

    Libertarian’s are not ‘completely’ in favor of women’s rights. Some are, many are not. The libertarian movement is a major bastion of the MRA movement, and let’s not forget (or pretend to) how that got started in the first place.

  36. microraptor says

    Gen #34- Apparently an MRA wandered in here and was disturbed that we were discussing women.

  37. unclefrogy says

    I am no biblical scholar but I do not think chastity is very biblical either but it sure is a christian virtue. I do not think abortion can be separated from sex at all it is part and parcel with the “sinful nature of the world” which is characteristic of christianity and not Judaism.
    If anyone is trying to engage in a rational argument or discussion with those who “believe” abortion is wrong because good good luck with that. I have never heard anyone who argued against abortion who’s argument did not boil down to god and eternal souls nor did not have a negative attitude toward sex in general and gender equality in particular.
    uncle frogy

  38. says

    Libertarians are completely in favor of women’s rights.

    …while being completely opposed to any actual policy that upholds or enforces women’s rights in any meaningful way.

    Seriously, of all the things any government has tried to do to uphold women’s rights, which of them have libertarians supported?

  39. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Libertarians are completely in favor of women’s rights.

    Liberturds will give lip to the concept of equality, then take real equity away by hiding behind what policies a corporation uses. If those policies allow for de facto discrimination, they are happy to go along with it, and some are overjoyed with the results.

  40. Saad says

    aziraphale, #36

    Libertarians are completely in favor of women’s rights.

    Where do they stand with respect to the Hobby Lobby decision?

    (I genuinely don’t know, just have a gut feeling)

  41. aziraphale says

    Saad @42, a brief search suggests that they side with the employer because they don’t think the government has any business interfering with employer-employee relationships. Presumably in their world a woman would negotiate with an employer for a salary high enough to let her buy her own birth control. Of course in the world as it is, siding with the employer means failing to support women’s rights, but they would say that’s an accident of history and wouldn’t be true in their libertarian utopia.

    (Full disclosure: I live in the UK and don’t actually know any libertarians)

  42. aziraphale says

    Nerd @41, I’m sorry, I was unable to find any liberturd policy documents. Can you give me a link?

  43. anteprepro says

    Regarding Rebecca Watson’s argument and accusation that she is combatting a straw man:

    The alleged “psychological reprecussions” of abortion is in fact a major argument of the Fetus Rights Movement. It is one of their memes about the dangers of abortion, along with making stuff up about the riskiness of the surgery itself. It is especially notable and prominent when they are secular or trying to pretend to be secular. Here’s one article for a taste:

    And some bullshit from a site simply called

    And some bullshit about people saying that abortion is a purely positive experience and accusing pro-choicers of lying (and apparently about a similar article published in fucking Time magazine):

    There are several news articles about people regretting abortion on the idiotic Life Site News, it is a section of the website The National Black Pro-Life Union (which also spreads the odious and dishonest meme that abortion is racist), and Secular Pro Life (where I found an article about how Serious of an issue abortion regret is, last year, about half of a year after when the same site hosted a blog post listing that as one of the five arguments pro-lifers should stop using).

    One News Now currently has an article up explicitly saying they are refuting this “feminist study” because it is contradicted by “personal experience”.

    There is also Project Esther. Their words:

    We recognise that many women choose abortion because of lack of education around abortion and the unborn child, outside pressure and lack of viable alternatives.

    We want to see women facing an un-planned or crisis pregnancy empowered to embrace their most profound power – the ability to create life – to take what’s in their hand – the power of creation, love and motherhood and run with it fearlessly .

    It links to a page about Abortion Grief, which is another issue that lots of anti choicers latch onto. (Sites prominent in google search for “abortion grief psychology”: Studentsforlife, lifeissues, and hopeafterabortion.) There is also a Project Rachel, “the post-abortion healing ministry of the Catholic Church.”

    Regarding Libertarians and abortion:

    The Libertarian party platform is what you would expec:t “keep the state out of it” (and this includes opposing legal restrictions as well as opposing any state funding of abortion)

    There’s also Ron Paul, who thinks abortion should be decided at a state level, but also says it is murder (and says life begins at conception to boot):

    Gary Johnson, 2012 libertarian party presidential candidate, thinks abortion is woman’s choice up to fetal viability. (Also: states’ rights! Of course)

    Harry Browne, two time candidate for libertarian party presidential candidacy, says “abortion is wrong” but also “government isn’t the solution” and wants it to be about states’ rights, blah blah blah.

    Bob Barr, another previous candidate, has voted against “partial birth” abortions and to ban family planning aid to other countries.

    On abortion, Americans identified as libertarians have essentially the exact level of support as the American average, with significantly less support for restrictions than the tea party and white evangelicals (talk about damning with faint praise).

    And an aside to Randay:
    Your willingness to kill your doctor over a procedure that your parents volunteered you for is noted, as is your attempt to derail into “what about the menz!!?”.

  44. anteprepro says

    Also notable: Libertarians also fail to be fully in support of women’s rights in general, or minority rights even more generally, because they share the right-wing opposition to affirmative action laws (because everyone is already equal, dontcha know). And they go even further to oppose any restrictions on businesses’ ability to discriminate against groups of people. They insist that the only recourse that should be allowed when businesses discriminate like that are “free market solutions”, such as boycotts. So basically because government is so horrible, and laws are so awful, and regulations are the greatest of all evils, we should force people to fight in constant civil rights movements against businesses that insist on continuing to prejudicially refuse service. At least they have principles?

  45. yazikus says

    Libertarians are completely in favor of women’s rights.

    That isn’t true, and as far as I know every major Libertarian candidate has been anti-choice (see the Pauls, Rand & Ron).

  46. shadow says

    @10 Nerd of Redhead:

    I seem to be missing the logic here…..

    You aren’t missing it. There is no logic.