T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 95148
posted 03-27-2013 03:30 PM
So, I consider myself pro-choice. I see things from the woman's point of view, and think that the possibility of /not/ having access to an abortion is pretty frightening. Some people may be strong enough to go through a pregnancy and adoption, but then what happens to that kid who is thrown into the foster system? Usually, not very positive things.
But on the flip side, I can see how abortion can be considered killing a person. I was actually raised with this viewpoint, and it took me quite a long time and conflict to agree that abortion should be an option to everyone, even if I don't think it is all that great. Now, with that background, I had a friend on facebook who posted a link to this article. I will link the article at the end of my post(WARNING: this image could be very disturbing to a lot of people. Don't go to it if you don't think you could handle it.) I viewed the article, was horrified, but immediately questioned the accuracy of it. Can anyone tell me if this /is/ accurate, or is this just pro-life propaganda? [edited] I am just interested in facts, even though I don't know what I will do with them. I just want to know, instead of assuming that what I hear or see is right. [ 04-01-2013, 09:10 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]
Member # 3
posted 03-27-2013 04:34 PM
I'm REALLY not comfortable with a link to that org being on the site here. Not only will clicks from here to there sometimes get someone's attention, leading folks that go there back here -- and I REALLY do not want to deal with them any more than I have to, as they can tend to get pretty nasty -- as a strongly pro-choice site, I would just really prefer we honestly don't promote ANYTHING antichoice in any way, including by providing a way for people to give clicks. I'll address this, but then can I edit this out, and can you instead simply type a description of the content you saw? No: that is not at all what most abortion really looks like. For starters, very, very few abortions happen at 23 weeks, period. Most often when they do, it is when the fetus is already stillborn or the mother's health is at serious risk. Most abortions occur in or around the first trimester when the fetus either looks like nothing more than a clump of mucus or, as we get a little later on in that time period, kind of like a half-formed newt. (I say this as someone who has seen fetal contents after many abortions in a tray when I was working more often in that field.) That said, later in the game, like at 23 weeks or beyond, can it look something like that? Somewhat, yes, though I'd say that illustration is really pushing it, since it represents a fetus that looks nearly fully developed, which is a stage fetuses aren't at until around 40 weeks.
Sarah Is A Bear
Member # 105659
posted 03-27-2013 05:21 PM
(This post contains talk about blood and miscarriage. Please skip if those topics might be triggering or uncomfortable.)
Dilation and evacuation is a real procedure and, yes, it means surgically pulling the fetus out through the cervix. In terms of abortions, it is typically used for second trimester abortions, though in some instances, dilation and evacuation is used as a broad term that encompasses vacuum aspirations. Second trimester abortions make up only roughly 10% of abortions. Roughly 90% of abortions occur in the first trimester and those are generally vacuum aspirations or medication abortions, though anti-choice legislation has severely limited medication abortions in some states. D&Es are also used after miscarriages to insure all parts of the dead fetus are removed to prevent infection. That image is not particularly accurate nor was I able to source it to any site/book that wasn't related to the pro-life movement. 23 weeks is fairly far into the second trimester, making me wonder why anyone would use it as an example age for a D&E (abortions taper off significantly the farther you go into pregnancy; almost none are performed after the 20th week, partially due to restrictive legislation and partially due to the natural drop-off). The fetus also looks far too developed for 23 weeks. To me, the big thing is the head looks too big; while you get a fair amount of neural development in the second trimester, you don't really start getting the big-headedness until the third. Kabith, I'm guessing your main concern is does the fetus feel pain during a D&E. I get it. D&Es look pretty gruesome and bloody, though so does childbirth (it is the miracle of life but it isn't the cleanest process) and miscarriages. The answer is no. Given current research, the absolute earliest a fetus might feel pain is the 24th week. Most likely, they can't feel pain until after the 26th as they START (not finish) developing the part of the brain that processes pain at that point. D&Es are also generally performed under general anesthesia, so both the uterus-owner and the fetus are completely unconscious (though the fetus is arguably not capable of consciousness at any point in the second trimester due to lack of large portions of the brain). [ 03-27-2013, 05:48 PM: Message edited by: Sarah Is A Bear ]
Member # 3
posted 03-27-2013 05:28 PM
Nice additions, Sarah: cheers!
That Strange CT child
Member # 104246
posted 03-28-2013 01:40 PM
This is sad
Off topic but when heather mentioned a half formed newt i thought of my axolotl eggs and the shape they were the other day and at school today i was telling people that we all once looked like this (showing them a pic of a whitish comma with 3 developing bulges in front that would soon be body parts)
Member # 3
posted 03-28-2013 02:02 PM
You know, when you say this is sad, a couple things:
While everyone's experiences with abortion -- and anything with pregnancy for that matter -- will vary, so not everyone feels sad about it, more often than not, when we are talking about abortion this late in a pregnancy, it IS sad for everyone involved. This is something people who are antichoice often seem to dismiss or not even consider. That, for instance, having a stillbirth, or finding out no matter what you do, a pregnancy can't be brought to full-term, two very common reasons for abortion near the end of the second trimester? Usually everyone involved IS sad, and often DID intend to bring a pregnancy to term, but an abortion is what has to happen or beats staying pregnant and going through a delivery knowing you aren't going to have a live birth. Other common situations with abortion late in the second term? Domestic violence, serious addiction, needing something like cancer treatment, having health problems that would mean continuing a pregnancy could take your life or leave you with chronic health problems so you couldn't afford to have a kid you wanted? Usually sad. Again, not all situations are like this: some people do electively choose to terminate later on like this when they simply do not want a child. But even then, when it happens so late, it's more often because of wanting to do so earlier but lacking the money to do so, or being stopped in your choice by others (either personally, or politically -- like by antichoice laws, policies or efforts to make an abortion provider you can more easily afford to get to impossible or way harder): also sad and hard stuff. And on that, I'd add, that just like it makes little to no sense for people who say they don't want abortion to happen to also protest or try and stop or limit birth control use, similar happens here with later-term abortion. If people who are antichoice want to talk about how horrible they are, it's pretty strange since making it harder and harder for people to obtain abortions earlier, or nearer to them only makes it MORE likely, not less, people will have no choice but to terminate later who want to or have to.
Member # 101745
posted 03-29-2013 05:03 PM
quote: And on that, I'd add, that just like it makes little to no sense for people who say they don't want abortion to happen to also protest or try and stop or limit birth control use, similar happens here with later-term abortion. If people who are antichoice want to talk about how horrible they are, it's pretty strange since making it harder and harder for people to obtain abortions earlier, or nearer to them only makes it MORE likely, not less, people will have no choice but to terminate later who want to or have to. Heather, I have SUCH a hard time with this.
In addition, I've had some really heated conversations with anti-abortion folks who don't support access to birth control OR help for low-income parents either. It just makes me want to tear my hair out. [ 03-29-2013, 05:05 PM: Message edited by: Molias ]
Member # 3
posted 03-29-2013 05:09 PM
Right there with you, Mo.
Member # 56822
posted 03-30-2013 07:53 AM
I think people who try to control others and are very unfair in their dealings with others secretly are extremely unhappy with themselves and are just projecting onto others to try to escape the responsibility of taking care of themselves. I also think they don't love or care about themselves enough.
Member # 95148
posted 04-01-2013 09:07 PM
Whoah, sorry for poofing for so long! A whole bunch of work hit me all at once and I haven't had a whole lot of free time to come back and chat.
Yes Heather, you can edit out that link if you feel you need to- or perhaps there is a way to leave the url up, but take the link off to avoid the clicking issue. (Simply because I feel it would help people to understand the content in the discussion before commenting!) I was a little hesitant to post it in the first place, just in case it was misinformation. I didn't think that this is what a common abortion looked like, but I just thought I would ask. I tend to come here when I see information that looks fishy, and I am glad I did with this one. One of my facebook friend posted this link, and I was a little shocked by it. I was thinking of commenting on it at this point, but I'm not sure if I want to get into that... plus, the last comment was nearly a week ago, and I could just bring up a debate that is better left to rest. Idk. [ 04-01-2013, 09:09 PM: Message edited by: Kabith ]
Member # 3
posted 04-01-2013 09:14 PM
Unfortunately, any urls that get posted on the boards go to clickable. So, I've just edited it out, and I appreciate your understanding why I wanted to do that.
You know, per commenting back to your friend or not, that's your call, obviously. But in my experience things like this don't tend to change anyone's opinions, not do discussions about them. Especially if someone isn't seeing the fact that there's a whole other person -- the pregnant person -- involved here, a person who more likely than not at this gestational point, would probably not be having an abortion anyway if they had other valid choices. You know? Of course, too, anyone who reads that particular website is also almost always someone you can be SURE is probably strongly antichoice, and likely will be no matter what you tell them. heck, they might still say they are even if and when they need and get an abortion themselves. That happens often enough.
Member # 95148
posted 04-01-2013 09:32 PM
Also, just to throw a little "pro-life" perspective out there...
The reason that pro-life exists, from my understanding, is that there a certain religious (mainly christian-based religious) that have a certain viewpoint of the world. That viewpoint is that God creates life, life is sacred, and everything happens for a reason. When you combine these ideas, you can see why a lot of christian-faith-based people would be totally and completely against abortions. The idea is, God intended for that child to be created, and that it happened for a reason, whether or not the mother or father future child wanted that to happen. A lot of pro-life people understand the consequences that people face by carrying out a pregnancy, and are prepared to offer assistance to help complete the pregnancy and make arrangements for the child, if the mother does not want or have the means to care for the child. And on the flip side, a lot of pro-life people don't know, or don't care. Basically, what I am trying to say is that there are nasty people on both sides of the pond who just want to see things there way and don't care about the opinions or situations of the other. While I identify with pro-choice, I know a lot of pro-life people who really do just want to make life successful for everybody. (Personal philosophy and rants coming up, feel free to skip if you wish) In truth, I don't chose pro-life because I don't think it is realistic. If every mother could have a healthy pregnancy and put their kid up for adoption, and not suffer any consequences, and have the kid adopted into a loving family, that would be awesome. But that just won't happen, and I don't see it ever happening. And as much as I would like to trust God with that, I just don't feel like I can just "let things happen". I can't believe that making mothers go through pregnancies that destroy some element of their lives, identity, or health is part of a greater plan. I can't believe that allowing a fetus to grow into a child that will be put through a broken foster system or placed somewhere where they will not get adequate care is part of a greater plan. I mean, if my aunt would have aborted a few of my cousins (who had rough childhoods, but grew up into amazing women) that would have sucked... but that's the grey area isn't it? My aunt decided that God had a plan, and that she would make lives for her future children when she got pregnant at 16. And she did a fantastic job- but she is the ONLY one who could have made that decision. She was the ONLY one who decided that she was strong enough in herself and in her faith for that. Not every woman has that. So, telling a woman that she has to have a baby just isn't right. Because if someone would have told my aunt that, if she hadn't been the one to decide that she wanted to take the hard road to preserve those future kids, then I don't know if my cousins would have turned out the way that they did. (Also, she would probably hate that I am using her as an example for pro-life right now XD) I think I am done ranting for now. I hope I was able to express myself without offending anybody! Also, I am going back to work, so it may be awhile before I respond again. -poof-
Member # 3
posted 04-01-2013 09:39 PM
I don't think any of this is offensive to anyone.
That said, I think the tricky things with talking about people being nasty on "both sides" of this is that one "side" wants to withhold rights from people, while the other wants people to have rights. And you really can't want people to have rights to their own bodies without caring about other people. As well, when you simply want and support everyone having the right to make these choices for themselves, you kind of can't not care about other people's opinions or be dismissive of them because, of course, you're making room for people to feel however they want to feel about these choices, save that you are NOT okay with them dictating those choices FOR other people. (Which really includes someone wanting to make someone else's life their idea of successful: that's just not affording a person rights to their own body, life and choices, and a person who thought that way also probably wouldn't be too supportive of someone who wanted to do the same whose idea of "success" wasn't the same as theirs, if you catch my drift.) Know what I mean? I'd also just add to this that there are as many religious people -- certainly including Christians -- who are supportive of full reproductive rights as those they aren't, based on what we know from study at this point. So, this really isn't essentially a religious issue on the whole.
Member # 95148
posted 04-02-2013 12:02 AM
Yeah, I totally get that. I just think that the "other side" may be concerned about the rights of the unborn child- whether or not society even allows rights to people until they are of a certain age or competency is irrelevant to them. They just want to protect a "person" that cannot project themselves. That is how they see it. They don't see it as taking rights away from the woman, they see it as protecting the unborn child's right to live. They don't necessarily understand why it is a big deal for a woman to carry out a pregnancy if it can preserve a life- or if they do understand, they think that the life is more important than the discomfort of the woman bearing the life.
Again, not saying that women shouldn't have the right to an abortion, and I'm not saying that their logic is right or unflawed. I try to understand the other point of view, because seeing it from different perspectives can help a greater understanding of the issue. It can also help when navigating around family or close friends who have different perspectives than me, because I know that they care and mean well, we just see and value things differently.
Member # 3
posted 04-02-2013 12:23 AM
I hear you.
And I also understand and support you in working to understand everyone: I think it's comendable. It's just pretty tough for me to kind of go all the way to here you're going when, for instance, I've directly seen or known of the someones who come into a clinic where they have been harassing women for weeks saying abortion is murder to get an abortion themselves, then going right back out there the next week, saying the same thing, even though they clearly don't even apply those values or ideas to themselves, and even though we gave them respect and care despite their harassment. In other words, some of them sure DO understand why some women want to choose abortion because they have BEEN those women who used and wanted that choice. Or the folks who say they respect life, but who have harassed, hurt or killed abortion providers or firebombed clinics. Or who say they want to prevent abortion and "harming" children, but then also protest contraception or government funding to feed and house poor children and families. Mind, those folks aren't what I think it's fair to say are the common denominator of people who are anti-choice. But that more typical denominator still often doesn't stand actively counter to most of that kind of stuff and gets on board when getting on board that platform, even if it's passively. Of course, I've been working in and around this for such a long time now, likely seeing all "sides" of it so much more up close and personal than most (including very personally, like being the daughter of someone who didn't have the right to choose), so in some ways, even these conversations are just very tough for me to have and I am probably not the best person to have them with in more colloquial ways anyway.
moonlight bouncing off water
Member # 44338
posted 04-02-2013 12:24 AM
The so called "prolife" point of view is interesting, but here's the thing: we are never going to get all the people on Earth to agree with one side of the other of this debate. There will always be people believing that abortion is right or that abortion is wrong. The prochoice side allows every pregnant person to make the decision that best suits that person. If someone chooses not to have an abortion because they think it is immoral, then I encourage them to make that choice. But that doesn't mean it is the right choice for somebody else. The right to CHOOSE is quintessential, because there is no consensus on what is truly moral, we must allow each individual to choose for themselves. We cannot legislate morals.
Member # 95148
posted 04-02-2013 12:35 AM
Yeah, that all makes sense.
And yes Heather, there is a lot of ugliness that just makes me sick. Those people are hypocrites, and it is just unfortunate that there are people out there who refuse to stop and listen and instead lash out. You are much braver than me to be in the front lines standing up to bullies like that. As you can probably tell, I like to try and talk and reason with people- but some people just aren't like that, and I never know what to do in those situations besides politely disagreeing. Or bursting into tears XD So I admire you for being so fierce in your efforts to protect the rights of women, and be there for those who have no where else to go Just know that there are some decent pro-lifers out there. I come from a very liberal Lutheran school, so we have quite a mixture of opinions on campus. It makes for some good debate, but we are also very respectful of each other's opinions. I know that most of the world isn't like that... but I guess it comforts me that some people can be reasonable.
Member # 3
posted 04-02-2013 12:45 AM
Like I said, I've been around the block with all of this for a long time now. I certainly know that there are people who are anti-choice who are otherwise decent people. I know that there are people who are anti-choice whose hearts are generally in the right place.
But I also know that I'm never going to stop countering anyone's efforts to take away people's rights to their own reproductive systems, and I'm never going to square with that, or find it acceptable, whatever the reason, for anyone to try and do that to anyone. When I have people in my family or wider circle of friends who go that way, it's simply something where my general tactic is to say that I know where they stand, and they know where I do, but I'm not going to debate them about it, nor am I interested in listening to their reasons why it's okay or ideal for them to try and take away my rights or the rights of other people. (Which, of course, isn't to say what you should do, or that my way with that should be yours, or is better than yours, by any means. Different strokes and all that. )
Sarah Is A Bear
Member # 105659
posted 04-02-2013 05:52 AM
There are definitely some decent pro-lifers out there - but most of those decent pro-lifers are also actually pro-choice. I mean, I think Joe Biden is pretty cool and he's personally against abortion, but he is also against anti-choice legislation. If someone is personally pro-life but doesn't want to limit the rights of others, they fall under the pro-choice umbrella. The problem is all the pro-life people who are actually anti-choice, hence the pro-choice movements tendency to use that term.
In my book, anyone who believes in anti-choice legislation either isn't a decent person or is extremely ignorant and misguided. You're free to disagree with me, but reproductive rights* are pretty close to my heart. Like Heather though, I tend to keep quiet about if when I'm in mixed company. I'm an Episcolute and queer, so I'm pretty good at playing it cool and avoiding debates with old stodgy Christians. It's a useful talent, so I definitely don't think there's anything wrong in learning to pick your battles. (Access to abortion is not just a women's issue, hence my preference towards the term reproductive rights or reproductive justice.)
Member # 46007
posted 05-04-2013 09:34 PM
Sarah, that's an interesting way to frame it. I guess the difference is political vs. personal - there are a lot of great people who are personally pro-life but politically pro-choice, for example (I think a lot of them would like to keep the label of pro-life since they may view abortion the same way as the mainstream pro-lifers - as unethical - they just know banning abortion is not the way to end or decrease abortions. Since pro-choice implies that you are fully comfortable with abortion and/or don't see it as murder - even though this is not always the case and pro-choice people have a wide variety of views and opinions - personally pro-life politically pro-choice people don't necessarily want to be grouped with the mainstream pro-choice camp).
Anyways, I completely agree with you that it is extremely difficult to see politically pro-life people as anything but indecent, ignorant, and/or misguided. It makes absolutely 0 sense to believe that legally banning abortion will do ANYTHING to stop abortions, and instead will cause a great deal of harm (and, if grouped with anti-birth control legislation and anti-sexual health education and Planned Parenthood defunding etc. etc. will likely in fact increase abortions). And this is why I'd always respected my father's beliefs, especially since he also believes in universal health care, birth control access and sexual health education, plan B, maternal and paternal leave, as many services and as much education as is needed for anyone and everyone, abolishment of the death penalty, peace, etc. etc. Until I found out that, duh, if I got pregnant and wanted an abortion, he would not support me. I don't know why I hadn't thought about this before. Maybe in the context of abortion and the pro-choice movement I just never really personalize it/apply it to myself, or maybe I just didn't realize how anti-abortion he was (since he's not politically). But I asked him recently what he would do if I got an abortion, and he pretty much told me it'd be the end of the world to him. He'd completely freak out. I don't think he'd kick me out of the family or anything extreme like that, but he's an emotionally fragile person and I know he would see the embryo as his grandchild and it would break his heart. And that's just scary to think about. For me to have to carry the emotional weight of someone else when making a decision for myself - that's a lot of added pressure on an already tough situation. Not that I'd have to tell him - I probably wouldn't, though it would be hard since we're close and I tell him everything - but it would suck to know that if he found out, I'd be breaking his heart. A decision *I* am making for myself and my body could emotionally **** up another person so severely. And this leads me to both feel a great deal of empathy and compassion for personal pro-lifers, because it must be so tragic and hard to read the statistics on abortion and feel for every one of those embryos...and it makes me frustrated and angry. Like, yay my dad for not politically opposing others' choices, but screw him for still making it his business regardless. And this is what Heather talks about a lot - the pro-life movement is a problem not only because it politically restricts rights, but because it makes women feel horrible about themselves and their choices when they shouldn't have to. I don't have a problem with abortion on an ethical level, yet I know how horribly guilty someone like my father could make me feel if I ever got one. And that sucks, cuz at least I have a hell of a lot of other people who *would* support me, whereas some people have none. All they have are people who will guilt trip, and cry, and make it THEIR problem. And, you know, I'm mixed - again, it must suck to care that much about the embryos terminated in abortion. It must be really hard. But just because you're being rational and not out protesting and trying to BAN abortion, and just because you're consistently pro-life because you're anti-war and anti-death penalty and pro-healthcare and pro-access... doesn't mean you don't have the power to be like every other pro-lifer and make a woman feel like HELL for her decions. As good a person as you are, it's STILL not okay to decide that a woman should feel bad or guilty or regretful. I hope I never have to face that decision. I'm pretty lucky that I probably won't. But thinking about it has given me another huge wave of empathy towards all the women (like the 16-year-old described in Heather's article) who, while they (thank God) had the legal right and access to get a safe abortion, still had to face the shame and guilt of their families and friends. And because shame and guilt are not concrete and tangible, they're in some ways even harder to take away than the legal restrictions to, financial obstacles of, and regional limits to abortion access. So..what to do about that..
Jacob at Scarleteen
Member # 66249
posted 05-05-2013 06:15 AM
I think this consideration of a private/public divide in positions is interesting, it brings out few things for me. Maybe it could help to question that a bit, and saying things like "the personal is political" can really make a lot of things clearer... I have a whoooole lot of thoughts on this:
Firstly while I think about it more, I'm not really sure that the idea of being pro-choice or pro-life makes much sense when speaking about oneself. I.e. It's almost impossible not to be pro-choice for ourselves. And if we didn't want a choice, that itself would be a choice, anyway. And if we thought of a fetus as having human rights then it would no longer be a personal question, it'd become an interpersonal. Then it wouldn't be possible to be pro-life for ourselves. Somehow it's a bit of a contradiction. I feel like these terms somehow always seem to end up being about others. Because what we really mean when we say "pro-life for myself" is a preference between at least two choices. It doesn't really say anything about whether we should have that choice... which is where the whole prolife-prochoice thing usually hinges. I'm also thinking about how having influence over our own children is a position of significant political power. In western countries perhaps it isn't so obvious because making a distinction between private and public is something we actually do a lot. But in smaller communities, power really is quite explicitly family and parenthood. I'm not sure your Dad's beliefs are ingenuine but I really do feel that his personal feelings about his family really are still political. Although I'm sure he experiences it in a similar way to what you describe. I guess the other thing you spoke about is the idea of god and belief. I actually think the idea of asserting person-hood as a basis for having rights isn't so eternal. For many people I know who were brought up in religious environments but not the pro-life ones we've become accustomed to it seems that religion was understood as a set of rules that didn't need justification because those rules came from god... we wouldn't have to redefine a fetus one way or another, because personhood wasn't where ethics came from. But then through the past 70 years comes human rights, feminism, abortion, birth control, fights for sexual freedom, queer rights and so on... bringing on a lot of change and anxiety for people because their familiarity with and power within a society based on certain social structures: family, church, patriarchy and so on. For me a western pro-life position almost always seems like a reaction to these changes, but which at the same time appropriates big hunks of them. For example using human rights to say create legal implications for defining fetuses as people, using feminism so to rebrand traditional gender roles as free and empowering. I think God only comes into this, because religion is one of the places people express their anxieties, but also because churches are the types of institutions which rely very heavily on traditional family structures. If it weren't for marriages, funerals, baptisms and christenings continuing to occur in a traditional way the place of the church in society would be severely disrupted. I don't think there's any signs at least in the bible that an abortion is not part of God's will, any less than any other technology like soap for example which has also changed our lives and how and when we develop, live, die, carry a pregnancy to term, or not. Free will is a big question in all philosophy... but I don't think a belief in god, or Christianity alone somehow inevitably leads to a belief that abortion shouldn't occur (and therefore women should be forced into a conveniently traditional social role), any more than the alternative conclusion that "Everyone should have abortions, no more children should be born, because God led us towards inventing the technology which makes abortion possible". I feel like the reason that conclusion isn't popular is because it just doesn't fit the cultural anxieties of the pro-life Christianity as it stands. That's not to say individual people are somehow scheming to preserve one type of society, but I do think they are effected by the anxieties of the time which very much come from that place. [ 05-12-2013, 06:21 AM: Message edited by: Jacob at Scarleteen ]