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June 03, 2009


I. Love. Jo.

That is all.

So, so so MUCH love, Jo. You are awesome.

How do you suggest this muzzling be done?

I am a pro-life mostly Democrat. I don't watch Limbaugh or O'Reilly. I live in a foreign country right now, but I read a million blogs and read the NY Times to stay informed. I am horrified by George Tiller's murder right along with the vast, vast majority of Americans, including everyone I know who is pro-life.

It seems that the best we have is to join together and say, "We are not like them. We are not like this murderer, and we are not like the people who support this murder. This was wrong." This is by far the majority message that I am hearing from the pro-life side. We can also ignore people like O'Reilly and Limbaugh, because they do not deserve a public voice, so why give them an audience?

There are many people in many groups that I associate with, however loosely, that contain members I would like to muzzle. Powerful individuals say some awful crap sometimes, and often it's the most outrageous voices that are heard. In the pro-life group, my voice is being spoken through prayers for a suffering family, for spoken condemnation of a tragedy with my friends, and through failing to give ridiculous pundits an audience.

If a person who is pro-choice continues to group me under an umbrella with O'Reilly and Limbaugh, I cannot control that choice.

Well posted.

I consider myself pro-life and O'Reilly and Limbaugh don't speak for me on anything. I guess I mostly fit in the group you mentioned above, but I don't see myself working with "abortion is the solution to the stigmatization women face when they engage in sex" people ever.I know that isn't the position of the entire pro-choice movement, obviously, but every time I hear that, I just can't get beyond it.

VERY well said. You've articulated thoughts that have been bouncing around my head all willy nilly in a way I never could.

As for those that are pro-choice using "abortion (a)s the solution to the stigmatization women face when they engage in sex", I have never ever spoken to someone that feels that way, and while I admit I haven't spoken to every single person that is pro-choice, I think the poster is a wee bit off base and listening to the mythology of anti-choice factions. For me (and most of us that are pro-choice) having access to safe and legal abortions is about the right to control our own bodies and decide what is right for us. NOT the right to de-stigmatize our sexual activity.

I know many pro choice people don't feel that way. But that is an almost direct quote from someone I consider a friend. We rarely talk abortion but when we do, that is her feeling.

I guess my point was that while I'm probably mostly in the middle, both sides have crazies who hold positions that I strongly disagree with. I'm only responsible for my own opinion.

I know many pro choice people don't feel that way. But that is an almost direct quote from someone I consider a friend. We rarely talk abortion but when we do, that is her feeling.

I guess my point was that while I'm probably mostly in the middle, both sides have crazies who hold positions that I strongly disagree with. I'm only responsible for my own opinion.

I spend so much time in my own little bubble where abortion is a non-issue (because I will NEVER get pregnant by accident), that I forget how much this whole thing might effect my daughter one day.

Thanks for the reminder to remain vigilant.

Great post, Jo. My mother was one of the women who had an illegal abortion in the 70s. She was in medical school and slept with one of her professors. I don't know if it was consensual or not; I don't know anything about it.

All I know is that my mother, who was an Eisenhower-type Republican for her entire life, was as vehemently pro-choice as any woman I've ever known. She endured that illegal procedure under a doctor's care (because her family had money), but without anesthesia and in the dead of night. It's not the horror story of knitting needles and septicemia, but it was a horror story for her.

Could she have had that baby? Yes. It would have been hard. But I support a woman's right to choose NO MATTER WHAT, and that includes cases where it's apparently an abortion of "convenience," as I'm sure many pro-lifers would say about my mother's choice. I am sure she didn't make the choice lightly; I know that she thought about it for years afterward. She didn't want that baby, but it was a part of who she was and why she believed the things she believed.

As I said in another comment, abortion is SOLELY a religious issue. And being a religious issue means there should be NO LAWS in the United States either promoting or outlawing abortion. But these people want to make this into a "Christian Nation." I guess reform Jews like me need to go... somewhere else? Or just bow down to our new Christian masters.

Stephanie, I think the "save the women from consequences" viewpoint is an astronomical rarity and in most cases a red herring along the lines of "that breastfeeding woman who strips to the waist every time her baby wants to nurse."

The difference between the pro-life extremists and the pro-choice extremists is that 1) there are a whole lot more of the first, and 2) they are a whole lot more dangerous.

Brenna, that's great that people are banding together to say that these people don't represent them -- but it's time for new leaders in the movement if that view is to be taken seriously. When all America hears in the news is O'Reilly, and there are no outspoken voices from the rational people, then you cannot blame people for making that assumption that all is hunky-dory.

Beautifully put, Jo.

Forced child-bearing is slavery. Full stop. You cannot compel a person to labor (and growing a whole human being within your body is the definition of laborious) against their will and without compensation. That became very clear to me during my pregnancy with my very much wanted and loved son. Regardless of when you believe life begins, a woman has the right to full autonomy; she alone has the right to decide when and which child she will bear. I'm sure that'll mark me as a pro-choice "crazy", but I will not equivocate with those that falsely believe that they should be able to control MY body according to their beliefs. It is just outrageous.

Action: Call and Write to Limbaugh and O'Reilly. Tell them they do not speak for you. Tell them that though you don't believe in abortions, you also don't believe in their vitriol and speciousness. Start calling them by a new name, pro-hate, something to distinguish them. Write to their sponsors and networks. Tell them why you will not watch or buy their products.

Go to clinics and hold signs that DON'T talk about murder. Hold signs that condem the crazies across the street. Make T-Shirts. Start your own blogs. Testify in your churches about the difference between the crazies and you. Hold church rallies, rummage sales, whatever you churchy people do to support women who are pregnant and make it clear in your message that you are NOT the crazies.

Heck, if you're in Kansas, advertise a "peaceful pro-life" vigil for Dr. Tiller - condeming the killer, not the abortion. Get the TV stations to cover it. Get someone to speak to the reporters SAYING that you aren't the crazies and those extremists DO NOT speak for you.

That is what I suggest you do to separate yourselves.

You are absolutely right, we need to take action, with our voices, our wallets, and our votes; action that is *within the law*. Vigilante "justice" is simply immoral AND un-American. The domestic terrorism we've seen this week stinks of hypocrisy and is the work of small minds and smaller hearts.


that's my sister!

I'm definitely in the camp you would call Pro-Choice, but heck, I don't like abortion. Does anyone like abortion?

I want to know, and I'm trying to ask politely, if the staunchly Pro-Life people make distinctions. Are some abortions OK and others not? What about ending cell division in an ectopic pregnancy? Is that abortion? I'm just wondering.

Here's a little something I wrote about Why I am Glad I Don't Live in Guatemala:

Peach, that was awesome.

That is MY sister, too! Well said, Jo. I, too, have been trying to sort through my reaction to Dr. Tiller's murder and your post has helped me to synthesize those thoughts that are so difficult for me to articulate.

I'm wavering between saying "WOOT! WELL-SAID!" and saying "I LOVE YOU PLEASE MARRY ME." Hm. Can I say both?

Thank you for putting into words what I've been trying to say ever since I found out about this heinous incident.

I fall into the middle group you describe, and I absolutely agree that pro-life and pro-choice groups need to work together. If you're pro-choice and want to reach out to liberal pro-lifers, check out Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. Jim Wallis (progressive evangelical) from Sojourners is also working hard toward common ground in the abortion issue.

A couple thoughts... you ask pro-lifers to reach out to pro-choice groups, but not vice-versa. I believe that there can be common ground, but both sides need to be willing to give some things up and talk to one another. Like abortion peace talks or something. Both sides can take responsibility for this. In this post, I don't hear you saying to the vast majority of peaceful pro-lifers: "Let's talk, we can't go on like this."

I think we're like the Israelis and Palestians after a terror attack. Both sides are so afraid of losing everything that they won't give an inch. Let's not retreat and entrench. Let's not forget the successes-- Obama at Notre Dame, most recently. I don't want to give up on the middle ground.

Love you, Jo. This post felt like a much-needed hug and pat on the back today.

Can I also suggest, respectfully, and in the interest of common ground, that we try to keep anger and condescension out of the discussion? I know it's hard. But when Jo tells pro-lifers to "step the fuck up" and Peach says to do "whatever you churchy people do"... it's hard to want to sit at the same table.

"Ive noticed that everyone who is for abortion is already born." - Ronald Reagan


I think that being pro-choice is an implicit acceptance of the so-called "pro-life" stance. Pro-choicers don't believe people should get an abortion; they believe that women who may need an abortion should have access to it. Those are very different things.

Being pro-choice means that I accept that another person may believe that abortion is "murder," but that I disagree AND I don't think that other person should be bound by my beliefs. In other words, I won't force someone to get an abortion that they don't want to get. On the flip side, however, anti-choicers would like to force women NOT to have abortions, which is intrinsically limiting and in no way accepts the notion of "choice."

So, you know what? Maybe abortion talks are a good idea in theory. But I've never heard a pro-choice person try to lay their own personal beliefs and feelings on an anti-choice person the way that anti-choice people want to impose their beliefs (and I do mean beliefs) on everyone. If we were to engage in "abortion talks," it would most likely be geared towards helping pro-life people understand that imposing their personal and religious beliefs on others is inappropriate for legislation, and that there is simply no scientific support that a "fetus" is a "person" that needs saving.


You're certainly entitled to your views, but based on the comments you've left at Julie's blog and elsewhere, it doesn't sound like you're interested in seeking common ground. That's fine-- there are extremists in both camps. They just won't be the ones interested in trying to listen and understand the other side.

By the way, "anti-choice" is as pejorative as "pro-abortion". I get abused in pro-life circles for using "pro-choice" but always insist on using it out of respect for the people who feel it represents their position. Let's refer to people the way they refer to themselves, regardless of our personal feelings about the terms.

Also-are you the same Ariella (lawyer in Wisconsin) whose blog used to be linked at Arwen/Elizabeth? If so, I'm surprised at your harsh words for pro-lifers.

Hey Laura, have you met me? Have you read my blog? Then you know that's how I talk. To everybody. No apologies.

Also, it's a more than a little bit disingenuous to talk about pro-choicers needing to reach out to pro-lifers and give some ground, because if one examines the recent history of legislative and other activity re: reproductive rights, it will be very obvious that abortion access has been chipped away almost everywhere.

There's not a lot of ground left to give.

Laura, that one comment at Julie's was harsh and is not actually how I usually talk about this issue. But you're free to judge me from one comment; that's fine.

I don't actually agree that "anti-choice" is perjorative. It is a truthful statement of your views, is it not? You wish to take the choice to have an abortion out of womens' hands, correct?

Yes, I am the same one. Actually, I am friends with a number of Catholic/Christians who are pro-life. I don't judge them for their beliefs and don't particularly care WHAT they believe, as long as they don't attempt to foist their beliefs on me. That's where my own issues with pro-lifers come in: in my view, we can believe whatever we want in this country, but we can't force others to believe what we believe. But it appears that the entire point of the pro-life movement is to foist your (most likely religious) beliefs onto the entire country without a care that this country is not entirely Christian. That's what sticks in my craw, and maybe it IS because I am a lawyer.

Actually, I don't know if we could have common ground. Because I believe that abortion should be legal up to the point of birth, without restriction, I guess you would consider me an extremist. I personally find the thought of aborting a healthy fetus distasteful and would not do it myself, but I understand that as soon as the law begins placing caveats on when and where an abortion is legal, it creates a slippery slope for doctors and other caregivers to truly determine when an abortion is legal and when it is not. So although I would love to be grey on the issue, I cannot.

All right, let me backtrack since I'm apparently coming across wrong. Jo, we've never met but I've been reading your blog since Sophia was a baby. I think I've commented before, but infrequently. I appreciate colorful language as much as the next person (and enjoy it here); my personal view is that it's best to avoid it when discussing volatile topics. But, you're right-- it's your blog.

I would describe myself as a moderate Democrat. I honestly can see both sides of the abortion issue but don't fully agree with either one. I think there's TONS of gray. But-- this is ideology and you asked about action.

As far as action goes, I was being completely sincere about both sides reaching out. Or, maybe what I really mean is for people in the middle, who aren't on either side, to find a third way. Right now it's the people who see this issue in black and white who are getting all the attention. Those of us who struggle with abortion and see shades of gray often get left out of it. You say it yourself at the end of your post, "there's not a lot of middle ground here."

This (the common ground initiative) is where I would like to see action. There can only be middle ground if we create it.

Here's one example:


Like I said earlier, I think it's a mistake to entrench-- both sides think there's not a lot of ground to give. But, I fear I've raised this in the wrong venue, and if so, I apologize.

Also, I'd like to apologize for "you churchy people" coming across wrong... it was to indicate that if you're a church-type person who does church-type things (I'm not one, so I really don't know the correct terminology but I know that a lot of churches have programs and things) you should become active in your church with those programs/things. I was trying distinguish between the non-church-going pro-life people and the church-going pro-life people so that there would be actions both type of people could take.

Simply saying "religious" didn't seem to work because not all religious people go to or are involved in organized churches.


I have a question for you... if I came to you and said let's start a clinic for women. Where you (shades of grey), me (staunchly believe in the woman's right to choose regardless), and someone else who believes there should be no choice whatsoever all counsel women on their choices. Let's throw in some medical counseling representing all three beliefs as well.

I believe the "pro-choice" movement is all for this. Giving women all the options and counseling they need and even providing education and easier access to prevention methods. And adoption support!

But it will never be effective until ALL the people accept that the choice might STILL BE to have an abortion. And if that choice cannot be an option AT ALL, how can we have discourse?


Thanks for the clarification on wording-- I understand what you meant.

As for your example...I see dialogue happening more at the public policy and legislative level than at the clinic level. I'm definitely not saying that I have the answers-- just that I'm interested in dropping the pro-life/pro-choice labels and hearing something new.

But you're right-- people with extreme views will struggle to have meaningful discourse. I think I articulated this badly to Ariella, but I'm honestly fine with that. It's important to have people defining the extremes-- how else will we find a middle towards which to work? I hold an extreme anti-war view and can't meaningfully dialogue with the likes of Dick Cheney. And I'm not sorry for that. But, I do acknowledge that there is a middle ground between me and Dick Cheney and I hope they can make some progress. I support the cause, but I won't be at the table. Maybe people at the extremes of abortion could do the same?

Your post did something I didn't think was possible: you made the issue black and white and you did it REALLY WELL. You're right, grey doesn't really exist, you're either going to have to work with the pro-life groups or work with the pro-choice groups and accept some unfortunate truths about whichever side you choose to work with.

I haven't read the other comments, just wanted to give you kudos on this really well thought out and written post.

For the record, I fall into that grey area of "abortion is not for me, but I think it's a necessary medical procedure that should be taught and available for some circumstances". From now on I'll call myself pro-choice. Time to step out of the grey.

Okay, fair enough, Laura -- so let's figure this out! What is something we can agree is acceptable in practice? Let's brainstorm! Let's make some common ground! Let's make something new!

I do think legislating medical treatment is really problematic, as by design the law works in broad generalities. This is the case with fertility treatment as well as abortion, a whole lot of other things too.

So where do we start? (rolls up sleeves)

And Peach, you've got me nodding like a crazy woman here.

I left the pro-life movement because I could not reconcile it with any sense of women as beings who had rights over their own bodies; I was (sometimes still am) conflicted over whether a fetus should have protection. But there is no way to act on that desire, however sincere, that does not rob a woman of her right to say what does or does not happen inside her body.

And some women will make choices you disagree with; if not having many abortions, then maybe having a Duggar-sized family and being constantly pregnant. Some women will take drugs, or just not take care of themselves.

But they will all still be people who own their own bodies, and I can't in good conscience take that away from them, even in the name of their to-be born children.

To be honest, I saw nothing of this idea in the movement when I was in it (15 years ago)--and worse, I saw an overwhelming aversion to "middle ground" ideas like contraception, or RU-486--it was all abstinence or nothing. There was no willingness to discuss the realities of women's lives, which include sex, married, consensual, or not, and contraception that usually works but sometimes might not, and simple bad times or bad health that make a child a burden and not a gift. The only offer the pro-life movement makes to women is adoption; but have they ever considered what it would be like to go around visibly pregnant and then not have a baby afterwards...how that advertises your sad, hard,choice to all the world? What would you tell co-workers, your family, your friends, neighbors, anyone who saw you regularly? Or how it can make things worse in an abusive situation, because pregnancy is a huge risk factor for murder for women in abusive relationships? Or how pregnancy itself medically puts you at risk? Or how giving birth and then giving up a child is a traumatic event in a way that abortion is not? No. They don't consider these things, at all. The woman as a person does not exist at all to them. She is a stereotype: irresponsible, misguided, dumb, slutty, lazy, or One of Those People. Willing to commit "murder" so she can keep having fun. Which is just not what happens in a clinic.

Very ambitious of you, Jo! I'll say that forging the details of the middle ground is, to quote a wise man, "above my pay grade." I'd rather leave the abortion summits to the groups I linked above-- anyone who is interested in this has got to be reading Jim Wallis of Sojourners, for one.

But, hypothetically, where would I start?

Peach says, "But it will never be effective until ALL the people accept that the choice might STILL BE to have an abortion. And if that choice cannot be an option AT ALL, how can we have discourse?"

Agreed. There are instances where abortion must be on the table as a choice. Safe and legal. Are there ANY instances where it's off the table, not offered as a choice, not legal?

I think the only instance where it can be off the table, not offered as a choice, not legal is when the fetus's agency trumps that of the mother's--in short, when the fetus is viable on its own. At that point, it should be illegal to abort, unless the fetus's defects are incompatible with life, or the mother's health is at risk, in which case I think the mother should be permitted to terminate or induce labor.

Otherwise...I agree that there are instances where abortion is just plain wrong, but I don't see how we can legislate away the "wrong" abortions. The person best equipped to make that choice is the woman, even if she makes the "wrong" choice. Even if she regrets it.

I am an adoptive mother who wouldn't have her two children if two teenagers had had abortions, but I can't bear to think that either of them would have been required to carry a pregnancy to term just because a rich American woman was willing to adopt their kids.

I should also add that while finding legal middle ground is an interesting and valuable discussion, my feeling about the common ground movement is that most people prefer to work within the laws as they currently exist. The focus is on reducing abortion by means other than restricting access or making it illegal. For example, Democrats for Life are pushing for something called the 95-10 initiative that focuses on support for pregnant women. Maybe that's a place to start:


Oh, you guys are awesome.

I am an observant Jewish woman. I believe in the binding nature of Jewish law.

The thought of Christian theolgy having any impact on my choices of what I do with my body makes me want to throw up in my mouth. I don't believe Jesus was anything more than a nice Jewish guy who lived a long time ago. So why, why would it be ok for you (Christian anti-choice people in general) to decide what I can do within the context of my religious beliefs? Judaism does allow for abortion, there is very little debate, even though children are considered a blessing and something we should all strive to do. If I am ever in the position to be faced with a question having to do with abortion, if I need cousel other than medical, I will go to my Rabbi, not the Catholic church or other religious figure who doesn't speak to my religious beliefs.

Although we in the pro-choice movement often speak of the problems of mixing religious doctrine with public policy, I don't think we do a good enough job of focusing on what that means on a personal level.

Judaism has it's own views on abortion, end of life care, IVF, organ donation, etc. When was it decided that it's ok for Jews to decide what they are going to eat (kosher) but not what they are going to do with their bodies? Why is it even a debate, when what the majority of the anti-choice movement is using for its foundation is the Christian bible?

I just want to make a few comments here, my opinions (and some medical thoughts from my physician husband).

First of all, if you look at statistics, the number of abortions performed to 1) save the life of the mother and 2) cases of rape or incest are very small, something like 1% rape/incest and about 6% health of the mother. Over 90% are for "social" reasons. It is unfortunate that such a small percentage of "necessary" abortions being allowed results in such a high percentage of "unnecessary" abortions.

My husband becomes very sad whenever he has a patient tell him that they have decided to end their pregnancy, when he is constantly contacted by families and adoption agencies that are looking for babies. So many people in this country want children and are unable to have them, and are devastated knowing how many babies are aborted that could have had happy lives. And there are so many resources for the pregnant mothers so that they would have little to no expenses involved in carrying the baby to term. When there are so many reliable birth control options out there (that can also be obtained free from many agencies) I have a hard time feeling sorry for someone who "accidentally" got pregnant and just doesn't want the baby.

If anyone is still reading, I just wanted to say something about Tiller in general. I am from Kansas and I know an awful lot about how he ran his practice. Various investigations have been underway about the procedures he was following in performing the late-term abortions. They are illegal in Kansas unless the health of the mother is in danger. He was supposed to obtain a 2nd (outside, unconnected) physician's confirmation that these mothers' health was in danger, and the vast majority of these confirmations he was getting were from a physician who basically worked for him, never actually saw these patients, and just signed a form. The majority of the "health issues" these mothers were supposedly facing were "temporarily depressed," which seems to me a very convenient diagnosis to get a late term abortion. He also had been investigated for his treatment of the patients, many of them ended up getting shipped over to a local hotel after the procedure and the hotel finally got fed up with their "guests" having hemorrhages/other problems and having to call ambulances when the patients should not have been released from the clinic in the first place. That just screams poor patient care right there.

I also wanted to make one comment on SarcatstiCarrie's comment and blog she linked to. Ectopic pregnancies are not viable and would majorly harm/potentially kill the mother, and so I would not say that ending an ectopic pregnancy is abortion, because there is no way that that pregnancy would result in a baby. But in the blog you linked to, you mentioned abortions necessary in HELLP or Pre-Eclampsia situations, and I don't know anywhere where an abortion would be necessitated in those cases. Immediate delivery can be required, but you are talking about conditions that happen late in pregnancy, and would most often result in a healthy baby, albeit a pre-term one. I had moderate pre-eclampsia and so I read up on it a lot and was very surprised to see you link that condition to an abortion.

EKL, one woman who had to terminate a (much wanted) pregnancy prior to viability due to severe pre-eclampsia is Cecily, whom many of us reading Jo also read. I couldn't quickly find a post that outlines the basics of her story but here's one that talks about it:

EKL, I've been lurking, but you've gotten my attention.

You don't get to legislate "unfortunate." You can think it is very sad that people terminate pregnancies for "social" reasons. (I also think it's important to note that these abortions occur before viability, and that no pregnancy is terminated after the point of viability for reasons other than threat to the life or health of the mother or fetal abnormalities). But since, in most cases, you are not the woman whose body will potentially be providing ... well, everything, for the fetus for the duration of the pregnancy, what you consider unfortunate doesn't mean shit. Although I'm sure you can find researchers interested in pioneering some early pregnancy fetal transfers so that you others who find these kinds of terminations so unfortunate can volunteer to carry them to term yourself.

You don't get to legislate "very sad," either, even if your husband IS a doctor. I think it's very sad that many people who are "devastated" by abortion have not adopted or fostered hard-to-place children. This is not to say that some have not, but if 50% of our country identifies as pro-life, why are so many children waiting for forever families? Luckily, this is just my opinion, and I don't feel particularly compelled to codify my opinion into a law that would force these families to adopt.

And while your husband may be a doctor, unless one of his patients is seeking a second or third trimester termination, his assessment of what counts as a threat to their life or health means jack shit. And if it was one of his patients, I would hope that he would be able to assess the risks to his patients fairly, even though it would be easy to have your medical judgment clouded by the "ick" factor of late term termination. This is why we train doctors, so that they can get over the "GROSS" that is all things visceral and make reasoned decisions to help their patients: the pregnant women. I don't think it should be necessary to point out that since it sounds like you are NOT a doctor and therefore not treating any women seeking late terminations, your opinion on what medical or psychological conditions might legitimately threaten a woman's life or long-term well-being is moot.

Go read Cecily's blog. And after you're done there, head over to www.aheartbreakingchoice.com. And when you're done there, read the latest posts about Dr. Tiller in the NYTimes articles by Judith Warner and Lisa Belkin. And, once you're done with that, if you still can't think of a single circumstance that you imagine might lead you to terminate a pregnancy, then you can thank God that you live in a country in which you are free to make choices about your reproductive health care. Because "pro-choice" isn't just about letting women choose to end a pregnancy, it's also about letting women choose to continue them. It's about recognizing that a woman's uterus is part of a woman, and doesn't suddenly become public property as soon as some man's sperm sets up camp in one of her eggs and throws a mitosis party. However unfortunate, sad, icky or unimaginable you might find others' reproductive decisions, if it's going down in someone else's uterus, you've got no business there.

EKL--Depression can be lethal. I have three good friends who have lost their siblings to suicide as a result of this devastating disease. The fact that you seem to be trivializing it suggests that if you got that opinion from your husband, he needs a refresher course in psychiatry.

Also, why were Dr. Tiller's patients forced to stay in hotels in the first place? That's the question that I think we should be focusing on here. A woman should not have to travel hundreds of miles to get medical care in the USA in the 21st century! Patients are often sent home from the hospital/clinic even while they are still at risk of complications, when the risk is considered low or manageable. The fact that these patients were forced to return to a hotel, away from their normal support system, is part of the problem here, and one that Dr. Tiller couldn't fix.

Let me ask you this, as a doctor's wife, do you think that it would be ethical to try to legally force a patient to donate a kidney to save their (already born) child's life? I think that we can probably all agree that the idea of refusing to take the non-trivial risks of kidney donation to save your child would be quite shocking, but should it be illegal? If not, then how is forcing a woman to take the non-trival risks of ongoing pregnancy and childbirth (including the serious risk of long-term mental health problems if the child is placed for adoption) to save her fetus's life any different?

"So many people in this country want children and are unable to have them, and are devastated knowing how many babies are aborted that could have had happy lives. And there are so many resources for the pregnant mothers so that they would have little to no expenses involved in carrying the baby to term. "

EKL - think about what you're really saying in the above quote. You're minimizing the psychological effect of pregnancy because these women who voluntarily end their pregnancies would not have to pay for their prenatal care.

Just because someone doesn't WANT to be pregnant; just because that person feels it is not the right time to be pregnant; or just because that person believes that it would harm her and her family to be pregnant does NOT mean that that person would not feel an attachment to that child. To think otherwise is naive. So even though you believe it is "very sad" or "unfortunate" that these voluntary abortions occur, that does not mean that these women should be forced to carry to term and then just give up their children.

Plenty of women who DO choose adoption later can't go through with the adoption. Pregnancy is more than just gestating a baby, birthing it, and then walking away. And I think women who choose abortion know that.

And as for not feeling sorry for women who get pregnant when there's a lot of effective birth control out there? First, are you sure that the demographic of people who have abortions are able to get access to that birth control? Second, are you really intimating that these women should be punished with an unwanted pregnancy and an unwanted child because they made a mistake? Because that's what your statement implies; that those women, who just couldn't be bothered to have their boyfriends put on a condom, should have their unwanted pregnancies continue. I think not.

I have to say, I'm literaly shocked at the post by EKL. My husband is also a doctor, a surgeon, and people do stuff all the fucking time that he doesn't 'like' or thinks is 'sad'. Like the people with Lung Cancer who sit outside the hospital with their cigarettes smoking them thru a trach hole. Or the morbidly obese people who have gastric bypass surgery, eat nothing but McDonald's milkshakes and complain that they don't loose weight. And you know what, he doesn't say a fucking thinnk, b/c his job is to treat the medical issue at hand.

How dare you come here, and mouth off, and try to shame us into thinking that you know more or understand more b/c your husband went to med school and completed residency. If he doesn't like that his patients make choices that he disagrees with, then he should get out of the field and go treat goats, they don't have lives that are complex and fluctuating (no offense to any goats out there).

Pre-E and kill, HELLP can kill, depression can kill, and if your husband doesn't know that, then we should all find out where his MD/DO is from and stay as far away from him as possible. The entire field of high risk Maternal/Fetal health was created b/c pregnancy does fucked up things to the body, sometimes endagering the life of the mother.

A doctors 1st obligation is to the patient at hand, not the potential patient that might be if all goes well or as planned.

Take your moralizing and your self righteous outrage and shove it up your ass.

(sorry Jo, I really can't help myself, feel free to delete if necessary)

coming late to the party, but count me in on any "middle ground" discussion. personally i think abortion is morally problematic, but less morally problematic than legislating away women's control over their bodies, sexuality and reproductive lives. just like i think that war is morally problematic, but i am not a pacifist; i think, for example that, mid-20th century fascism was more morally problematic. i do believe, though, that reasonable minds can disagree about these things -- so, i can respect my pacifist friends, though i disagree with them, and i can respect my pro-life friends, though i disagree with them. (i respect both of them a lot less if they are inconsistent, and disagree with each other.)

as for working together, i believe the focus should not be on abortion, which i think must be safe and legal until viability or when the mother's life or health is at risk. i think rather the focus should be on empowering women to have true control of their sexuality. once women are truly in control of their sexuality, there will still be unwanted pregnancies, but there will be a whole lot fewer of them. end patriarchy and abortion becomes a whole lot less salient.

as for adoption, it makes me CRAZY when people offer this as an ethical alternative to abortion. adoption is rife with its own ethical minefields, most of which would also be rectified if women truly controlled their own sexuality.

so, can we get together on ending patriarchy?

I agree with you, Marta, and I also really liked what you had to say about the abortion issue at your blog!

I also wanted to go back to Jo's question about brainstorming common ground and to Denise's point about fetal viability being the point at which some abortions could be off the table. I have always thought viability makes sense but is a dicey place to legislate abortion because, as technology improves, it's a moving target.

So, I'll throw out this hypothetical-- which would require concessions on both sides in existing law:

1st trimester abortions are legal in every case. All restrictions (parental consent, waiting periods, viewing ultrasounds, etc.) are removed and access to 1st trimester abortion is improved to the point where every county in the US has safe, legal access. Protections for doctors are in place to ensure they can perform these procedures without harassment.

2nd and 3rd trimester abortions are only legal in the case of danger to the mother's life or health, including mental health, and what constitutes this danger is at the discretion of the doctor. All abortion methods (including D&X) are legal as long as their use is restricted to cases of life or health.

Supports for pregnant women, mothers, and children are vastly expanded to include universal health coverage for mothers and children as well as paid maternity and paternity leave and college tuition assistance, for both parents if appropriate.

I'm not saying this is the answer, just a hypothetical way that both sides can both give and gain ground.

Laura, WOW!

Provisional heck yeah to that. With the cutoff for life and health (some compromise between 2nd tri and viability point, whatever that may be) TBDiscussed.

I would sign on for that.

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