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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Continuing the pro-choice/pro-life debate... (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Continuing the pro-choice/pro-life debate...
Jesse
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Reading the last post by the advocate, I want to throw something out there. I'm assuming it's fine to continue the thread. I think abortion is a frightening concept. If you think about it, what it does is eliminates a life. Even though the fetus is no bigger than a pin, and he/she can't think or feel yet, it's still a life. I AM pro-choice, although I'll never have an abortion for those reasons. I couldn't kill a fetus because of a mistake I'd made. And hopefully, I won't get pregnant before I'm ready. With any luck, I'll decide whether I'm waiting until marriage or at least engagement and end up with a few great kids in about ten years.

Just thought I'd throw that out there. *smile*

--Jesse

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"Hi, is Sam there. Hi Sam. I have no idea what I'm doing. Any suggestions?"

(Common sex conversation with best friend over the phone, actually took place 7/4/03)


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Ecofem
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I am pro-choice for many reasons. I could look at a fetus as a life, but I see it more as an extension of the living woman, that it cannot survive without her nourishment, etc. I actually consider "pro-choice" to be "pro-life" because the pregnant woman's life and well-being is important-- I feel that forcing a woman to have an unwanted pregnancy to term would unfair to both the mother and baby, as well as the huge number of kids who remain without homes or enough love.

Additionally, I feel punishing a woman for having an abortion is putting the sole blame on her versus including the male involved, who is equally 1/2 responsible for the pregnancy as the female is. Of course, I believe whether a woman has an abortion or not should be entirely up to her, as, even if she were to give it up for adoption, she'd have to live with it for nine months.

As much as I feel bad for the baby when a woman commits infanticide after an unwanted birth (which is often featured prominently in newspapers if discovered), I do not get angry at her and instead wonder how it could have been avoided if her options were more open-- again, legally punishing the woman only, is relieving the male of his equal responsbility for the pregnancy.

But for all the political and social reasons I support abortion rights, I have found myself questioning the "sanctity of life" in ethics classes I have taken. After much thought, I am still completely pro-choice and believe it, for me, this stance is the "ethical" decision.

However, the "sanctity of life" debate has raised another issue for me. I wonder what people who are anti-choice due to the "sanctity of life" feel about the death penalty and vegetarianism/veganism. If such thing as the "sanctity of life" exists, I believe that it would include death row inmates and animals, that they have a '"right to life." I was wondering how others feel about this?

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"Tear up the cloak of indifference that you have wrapped around your hearts! Make up your minds before it is too late!" ~Sophie Scholl


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BruinDan
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quote:
Originally posted by Ecofem:
Additionally, I feel punishing a woman for having an abortion is putting the sole blame on her versus including the male involved, who is equally 1/2 responsible for the pregnancy as the female is. Of course, I believe whether a woman has an abortion or not should be entirely up to her, as, even if she were to give it up for adoption, she'd have to live with it for nine months.

Can you see the inherent contradiction here? It's all the woman's choice but men need to assume 1/2 the responsibility? I can understand where this logic comes from, but I find it faulty on two counts. Basically, if a man have no say in what happens to a child he helps create, why should he therefore be compelled to either swallow the notion of aborting the fetus if he wants it or provide a lifetime of financial support if he does not? I understand the increased burden that is placed on the part of the woman who will carry the fetus to term, but I do wonder why one can be granted all of the choice without all of the responsibility.

quote:
Originally posted by Ecofem:
legally punishing the woman only, is relieving the male of his equal responsbility for the pregnancy

Except that the woman is being charged with the murder she committed, not the pregnancy she had. And it works the same for men. When they commit infanticide, it is they who are charged and not the woman who gave birth to the child. Why would you want it to be otherwise?

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BruinDan, "Number Three," FHOM

Beware the naked man who offereth you his pants.

[This message has been edited by BruinDan (edited 07-04-2003).]


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Ecofem
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quote:
Can you see the inherent contradiction here? It's all the woman's choice but men need to assume 1/2 the responsibility? I can understand where this logic comes from, but I find it faulty on two counts. Basically, if a man have no say in what happens to a child he helps create, why should he therefore be compelled to either swallow the notion of aborting the fetus if he wants it or provide a lifetime of financial support if he does not?

Yes, I am aware of the contradiction here-- I find it very hard if not impossible to talk about abortion rights issues, as there are so many possible contradictions on all sides of the issue. I am certainly no logician and often have trouble phrasing issues, but I feel saying my opinion is important anyway, as it brings further debate and makes me aware of more viewpoints.

quote:
I understand the increased burden that is placed on the part of the woman who will carry the fetus to term, but I do wonder why one can be granted all of the choice without all of the responsibility.

Yes, but I had meant my comments in more of a _The Scarlet Letter_ sort of way, that because the woman is the one who becomes (visably) pregnant, society criticizes the woman for being "loose" or "easy" while the man is not-- sort of a take on the double-standard in society. As for "why is the woman granted all of the choice" if the man has to share the responsibility, I am approaching it as the woman is the one who must bear the nine months of pregnancy-- of course, both parties would be responsible for eighteen years, a time period so much longer, but, for example, I'd find being stuck with an unwanted fetus for nine months to be more unbearable than the eighteen years afterwards would be. Of course, I know adoption is an option, and relieves the eighteen years of financial responsibility.

quote:
Except that the woman is being charged with the murder she committed, not the pregnancy she had. And it works the same for men. When they commit infanticide, it is they who are charged and not the woman who gave birth to the child. Why would you want it to be otherwise?

You're 100% right here, but I was looking at it more from a societal standpoint, that women are often portrayed as "baby killers" more than men, sort of back to the double-standard when right-wingers call women "bad mothers" more often and more harshly than they call someone a "bad father".

I am approaching this from a (somewhat half-baked) sociological background, although I do not claim to be knowledgable or correct, or instantly have good statistics to always back me up. I was thinking of the 1980 West German abortion debate at the national assembly when Green politican Petra Kelly said, "Paragraph 218, which says a woman is a murderer if she has an abortion yet does not include under the law the man who made the baby with her." I probably should have just stated that originally instead of going off on a lot of tangents. (I'd be glad to email you more information about the debate-- I'm studying the German Green Party right now-- if you're interested, BruinDan.)

I was wondering what your views on abortion are, BruinDan? From what I've read in other posts, I get the impression that you are attending law school (?) I'd really appreciate looking at others' statements (like yours) and use them as guidelines or learning tools to make my own argument more logical.


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"Tear up the cloak of indifference that you have wrapped around your hearts! Make up your minds before it is too late!" ~Sophie Scholl

[This message has been edited by Ecofem (edited 07-05-2003).]


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lemming
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quote:
Originally posted by Jesse:
If you think about it, what it does is eliminates a life. Even though the fetus is no bigger than a pin, and he/she can't think or feel yet, it's still a life.

And I know that this has been brought up, but I have to reiterate here: so, what about the death penalty? what about beef? what about the mosquito that bit me ten minutes ago, that I smacked till it left a trail of blood down my arm?

I can understand why someone would personally not want to have an abortion for this reason--terminating a life, or possibly a potential life, because it's not an autonomous one. And I don't know that I could have an abortion myself, since I had to think carefully even before killing that darn mosquito, but when we consider a life that cannot even exist without the life of its host, I think that abortion is a different story.

The one whose body is responsible for supporting that fetus, I say, should have the ability to make choices about that potential life and whether they wish their body to continue supporting it.

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Laurel Lemming
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Kissing girls in English at the back of the stairs, you're a honey with a following of innocent boys, they never know it because you never show it..." - Belle and Sebastian


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Grizabella
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Personally, I am against the death penalty and still struggling with my views on abortion, and I can see how someone could be for one and against the other. One could say that abortion is wrong because the fetus is innocent, while the death penalty is okay because the prisoner has committed a crime. Or you could say that abortion is okay because the fetus is not a fully formed human life, but the death penalty is wrong because then you ARE dealing with a fully formed life. I see this point being brought up all the time in abortion debates, but to me the death penalty and abortion are not the same thing.
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Ecofem
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Grizabella, You definitely make a point showing the different sides of the issue-- I wanted to bring up this one again.

quote:
One could say that abortion is abortion is wrong because the fetus is innocent, while the death penalty is okay because the prisoner has committed a crime.

I've learned that not everyone on death row is actually guilty, as "since 1976, more than 100 people have been released from prison after being sentenced to death despite their innocence. In other words, 1 in 7 of those on death row have been freed after being fully exonerated." (CEDP Website) So someone could argue both ways on the guilt versus innocence issue– just wanted to share.

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"Tear up the cloak of indifference that you have wrapped around your hearts! Make up your minds before it is too late!" ~Sophie Scholl

[This message has been edited by Ecofem (edited 07-05-2003).]


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Confused boy
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If there was a perfect way of telling if someone was innocent or guilty, then I might just be persuaded to support the death penalty. But there isn't, so I am not.

A similar area of doubt surrounds my views on abortion, which is why I am pro-choice but in my personal relationships would go some way to avoid an abortion.

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'An Anarchist is a Liberal with a bomb' Trotsky


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Noelle_Kittie
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I am pro choice because if for some reason I get pregnant, I don't want any of my choices taken away. I'm not saying that I'd have one, It is still an option that I want on the table.
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morganlh85
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I don't think I could ever have an abortion myself; but I am pro-choice because I would like to know that should I ever have to make that decision that option would be available to me, or the people I care about.

Sure, I would rather unborn children be given a chance at life; but the way this country is those children would only suffer if they were born; if those who were willing to abort their child were forced to have it, just imagine the resent the mother would feel towards that child. Just imagine the hardships it would have to endure, from poverty to poor education to even abuse. Even adoption isn't great a choice; imagine if all the children who were aborted just this year were actually born and put up for adoption; there would never be enough people willing to care for them and they would stuck in this country's backwards foster care system until they are 18. So basically I think neither option is ideal, but something is needed to balance everything out.


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DarlingBri
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quote:
Can you see the inherent contradiction here? It's all the woman's choice but men need to assume 1/2 the responsibility? I can understand where this logic comes from, but I find it faulty on two counts. Basically, if a man have no say in what happens to a child he helps create, why should he therefore be compelled to either swallow the notion of aborting the fetus if he wants it or provide a lifetime of financial support if he does not?

No. I do not see a contradiction here.

Every time you have sex with a woman, you run the risk of pregnancy. You can take every precaution to limit that risk, but it's there. You accept it, and all that comes from it.

There are three possible outcomes for the purposes of this conversation:

1. No pregnancy. Everything is kosher.
2. Pregnancy, ending in termination.
3. Pregnancy, ending in a live birth.

You are forced to swallow option #2 because forcing a woman to carry and give birth to a clid she does not want is reproductive slavery.

You are forced to swallow option #3 because like it or not, it is one half your child at birth.

You do not get to say "but it's my baby and I want it!" for option #2, while wailing "but even though it's my child, I don't want it!" for option #3.

It is, in fact, not your baby until birth. A fetus until birth is just that: a fetus. It is not a baby or a child until it is born. It is not legally recognised as being separate from the mother. This is why fetuses, even late term fetuses, who die when the mother is killed do not count for a murder charge.

The mother and the fetus are an entirely self-sufficient unit, and you cannot lay claim to another human's body parts.


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leafy
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Thank you for that, DarlingBri, your post has expressed the argument in a way that really clarifies my ideas. I always find myself arguing strongly from a pro-choice stance without feeling that my phrasing is convincing or legitimate.

I cannot imagine how horrific it must be for a woman to be forced to carry a child to term that she does not want. This is why so many botched and life-threatening attempts at abortion used to occur before abortion was was made legal.


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Confused boy
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But surely if option #2 is entirely under the mother's control, then its rather unfair to expect fathers to accept their only option (#3) when the mother wants to keep the child.

I should remind you that the child is, in fact, not owned by anyone (so half and half posession is a really awfully simplistic way of putting it legally). The child is its own entity after birth.

Thus if a father expresses no interest in looking after a child during all times of pregnancy, when the option of abortion is wide open for the mother, then it is not right to demand fathership due to a decision taken exclusively by the mother.

Of course, this logic only works when we accept that abortion is a morally neutral action. However, that is a position that a fair justice system would have as a basis.


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Confused boy
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But surely if option #2 is entirely under the mother's control, then its rather unfair to expect fathers to accept their only option (#3) when the mother wants to keep the child.

I should remind you that the child is, in fact, not owned by anyone (so half and half posession is a really awfully simplistic way of putting it legally). The child is its own entity after birth.

Thus if a father expresses no interest in looking after a child during all times of pregnancy, when the option of abortion is wide open for the mother, then it is not right to demand fathership due to a decision taken exclusively by the mother.

Of course, this logic only works when we accept that abortion is a morally neutral action. However, that is a position that a fair justice system would have as a basis.

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'An Anarchist is a Liberal with a bomb' Trotsky


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Milke
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No, parents don't possess a child, but they are responsible for caring for it. Infants aren't autonomous; morally, ethically, and legally, they are owed support until they become adults, by both parents.

This IS an unfair issue. But that's due to biology, you know.

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Milke, with an L, SSBD, RATS, TMNTP, MF, CWCD, DNFTF, WAOTA

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Heather
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quote:
then it is not right to demand fathership due to a decision taken exclusively by the mother

However, as Bri explained so well, that decision was NOT made solely by the mother. The paternal father made that choice when he engaged in procreative sex, if he understood that pregnancy -- regardless of what is done about it -- is a common consequence of procreative sex. he gets to make that choice everytime he engages in heterosexual intercourse, and since that's not a necessity for living, it is very much a free choice.

It is a historical given that a man gets a choice when a woman is pregnant as to whether he stays or vanishes, and very often, responsibility for that pregnancy or that child, monetary and otherwise, both before and/or after birth, defaults to the mother. And while legally (in some countries, but not the majority of them) one can make a man be financially responsible, no one can force him to parent. If he does not willingly participate in that and simply vanishes on that level, it's allowable. And the mother is then, by default and because she's the one with the kid in her arms, literally, the sole parent of that child unless she puts it up for adoption or abandons it completely (which is a highly unfortunate reality too often). So, while biology dictates that in the womb, reality and necessity do so afterwards should a woman bear a child, as well.

(It should be noted that it can happen that the father is left as the default parent of children abandoned by the mother -- a good friend of mine is an amazing male parent of three who would up in those circumstances. But what I said above is in response to Confused Boy's scenarios.)

I should also add that for very few people is the option of abortion "wide open." Abortion must not only be done in a certain time frame, it is also quire costly and requires cash be paid upfront (and to my knowledge, there is no legal precedent requiring should she abort, even with the males consent and agreement, to hold him responsible for paying any of those costs). As well, in many, many parts of the world (including parts of the western world), it is still difficult to obtain abortion. Not to mention that some people simply do not want an abortion, have ethical issues with abortion, and while it is not the high tragedy propagandists would paint it to be for most people of sound and stable mind, it also is not just a tossoff, nor is it usually easy.

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Heather Corinna
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My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
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[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 07-10-2003).]


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BruinDan
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quote:
Originally posted by DarlingBri:
This is why fetuses, even late term fetuses, who die when the mother is killed do not count for a murder charge.

Ah, but there you are incorrect. And that's why I have a hard time swallowing the way some of the legislation is designed now. If it's going to be one way, it oughta be one way. If it's going to be the other way, it oughta be the other way. But right now the law straddles the line in such a way that it allows for debates like this to be carried out on the national legislative level. Which is why we're in danger in this country of suffering setbacks in reproductive rights.

California's murder statute is found in 187 of the Penal Code. It specifically outlines that the killing of any human being or a fetus is murder if certain criteria are met. So if Joe Blow is driving drunk and broadsides a pregnant woman, he gets a double-homicide charge added to his DUI. If Rico Suave punches his pregnant ex-girlfriend in the stomach, injuring her and resulting in a miscarriage; he's got a domestic violence charge, battery, and murder all rolled into one. That's just the way the laws are designed out here.

I suggested in a previous thread that the law be amended in such a way so the fetus is treated in a manner you described, where it is part of the woman's body until it is born. That would mean that any harm done to it would be classed under "mayhem" instead. I've written about it, suggested it, notified my congressmen, all that stuff. Still no response from any of them. But I think that would at least even out some of the legislation now...and reasonable members of both groups would have what they wanted.

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BruinDan, "Number Three," FHOM

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Confused boy
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"requires cash be paid upfront"

Ah, that is not a factor I took into account. Must remember to bear in mind the American health system.

I would still argue that the law should treat abortion as an ethically neutral action and so, leaving aside financial issues that really ought not to be anyway, the mother is left with a genuine choice. It is a complicated matter, though, and one that deserves law that will take into account all manner of circumstances.

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'An Anarchist is a Liberal with a bomb' Trotsky


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UKgirl
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quote:
Originally posted by Confused boy:
"requires cash be paid upfront"

Ah, that is not a factor I took into account. Must remember to bear in mind the American health system.


in the previous thread I made a similar statement, and got up on my high horse about free abortions in the UK and our "ideal" situation in terms of abortion, with solid rights and nobody threatening them. I will admit it, I was very, very wrong.

try not to over-estimate the NHS. in many areas in the UK it is difficult to get an abortion on the NHS, there is not an unlimited supply of funds or the resources. in many areas women do have to pay for private abortions (take a look at this: http://www.alra.org.uk/nhsie4.html and this: http://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk/en.asp?TopicID=1). this worries me deeply, partly financially (especially since i live in the area described as Bexley and greenwich, where only 71% of abortions are on the NHS) and also morally, as I have far more moral issues with private healthcare than i do with abortion. However, if I were in that situation I would be able to pay, so my concerns for myself are nothing compared to my concerns for those women who could not.

furthermore, in the UK abortion is not available on demand, and instead is a decision made by doctors. two doctors must agree that to continue the pregnancy would cause more damage to the woman (physically or mentally) or her existing family than an abortion would. I recomend reading this: http://www.thefword.org.uk/features/nac.live

[This message has been edited by UKgirl (edited 07-12-2003).]


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Heather
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Access to abortion and paying for abortion is also not simply an American or western-world issue. It is a problem worldwide, and in most countries in the world, it is often difficult to obtain and/or pay for within the limited time range one can have a safe, legal abortion. And in most of the world, even in countries with socialized medicine, most women have to pay for abortion services.

In many, many countries (close to 100), abortion is STILL not legal, lest we forget. In fact, almost half of all abortions worldwide, about 20 million a year, occur in locations where abortion is illegal. While we're on that, according to the UN, about 600,000 women die each year from pregnancy related complications worldwide, and at least 13% of those deaths are related to the complications of unsafe or illegal abortion.


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Confused boy
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That is all very important facts to bear in mind, but it is really expanding the issue outside of the remit of the discussion. The ideologies of "pro-choice" and "pro-life" are idiosyncracies of Western politics and is only a current major conflict in America: anti-abortion views, it seems to me, lie outside current accepted political controversy in Western Europe.

So it is really an issue of American justice. In the case of America, we see a nation that is the richest ever to exist and at the height of its power. So one might imagine it could afford to pay for the healthcare of citizens (including abortion procedures) when they cannot afford it themselves. Thus, if such financial help were given and abortion was considered a morally neutral action (as it should), then the mother would be given a genuine choice of whether to have an abortion or not.

To answer the point on holes in NHS provision in Britain from UK Girl: that is, of course, a generalised problem with the whole of the current system and is not just related to abortions. The system is either going to need more funding or a restructuring. But even after that, the public would not accept a system that did not treat those who could not afford it themselves.

Also, though I don't have any personal experience in this, it is my understanding that it is relatively easy to get 2 doctors to agree that abortion is necessary. That procedure is a way of making the patient think through all her personal issues with the pregnancy, while the doctors consider the medical ones. That would seem reasonable enough to me.

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'An Anarchist is a Liberal with a bomb' Trotsky


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DarlingBri
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quote:
The ideologies of "pro-choice" and "pro-life" are idiosyncracies of Western politics and is only a current major conflict in America: anti-abortion views, it seems to me, lie outside current accepted political controversy in Western Europe.
So it is really an issue of American justice.

Uh, hello, Ireland? The big country just to the west where abortion is illegal? Or if that's too far from home, what about Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK but to our great shame does not allow abortions?

UKgirl, that law is... well, it is law and it is followed, but it's not a barrier. I know of no cases where a woman has been blocked from aborting. Your GP or local clinic refers you, and the GP at the clinic to which you have been refered for an abortion seconds the recommendation.

As you can see, abortion is accessible in the UK:
http://www.mariestopes.org.uk/uk/abortion.htm

It is also the obvious choice for women in Ireland and NI seeking terminations -- about 7,000 a year come to the UK because abotion is accessible.

The fact that only some abortions -- ranging from 97 - 46% in a given region -- are NHS funded has to do with funding, yes, but also with the availibility of private clinics and wait lists. It's sometimes just easier to go to a private clinic and get the abortion pill than to get wait listed for the NHS, or just some people's preference.

Private funding is not an option for everyone, but I think this is one area where the NHS does a good job dealing with a very high demand. Three weeks is the standard NHS wait and I find that very acceptable.


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Confused boy
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Well, Ireland is sort of... between Europe and America isn't it? Ok, perhaps not. When I was thinking of Western Europe, I must admit I had in mind Germany and Holland. And it is certainly true in London-bound and Brussels-based politics that abortions are considered perfectly reasonable and those opposed to them are on the outside of the current political spectrum.

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platzapS
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I disagree with the argument stating that a child might be better off aborted than given a life of pain. Is it right for others to decide whether someone would enjoy his/her life or not? Can we deny a (at least genetically) human individual the joy of existence?
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Heather
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The thing is, platzap, that what you're saying both implies and assumes that we only have a single life or existence, and that the reproductive choice of a parent to terminate or continue a pregnancy (and thus a birth) control, entirely, whether a being will exist/manifest or not.

So, for those of us of belief systems or traditions which subscribe to the idea of reincarnation and other variables, that question is basically just not applicable. In other words, it only addresses a limited belief system, and is not universal.

That aside, much of parenting, overall, involves making decisions about the health and well-being of one's child, and that applies not only after birth, but in deciding whether or not a given time is the best time to create a child in the first place, for everyone involved. So, do I think being able to do that (and that'd include using birth control methods) is ethically or morally "right" or sound? Again, when we're talking choice, we can really only take about our OWN reproductive choice, not for anyone else, so for myself as someone who fully supports all the available reproductive choices? I most certainly do.

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Dzuunmod
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quote:
Originally posted by Miz Scarlet:
So, for those of us of belief systems or traditions which subscribe to the idea of reincarnation and other variables, that question is basically just not applicable. In other words, it only addresses a limited belief system, and is not universal.

But, then, we might as well throw lots of rules and laws out the window, no? If you're going to argue that it's acceptable for mothers (or parents, whatever) to terminate a pregnancy on that basis, you can argue that I should be able to end people's lives on that basis, since they're just going to be reincarnated, anyway. Right? If these two things are looked at strictly on that basis (and I'm not arguing that they should be, I just like challenging the validity of almost every argument), then what's the difference?

I'm often quick (and so are many others) to say that religious arguments should be left out of the abortion debate - and legal debates altogether, pretty much - when they come from one side of the spectrum. So, personally, I can't let them go when they come from the other side, either.

[This message has been edited by Dzuunmod (edited 07-27-2003).]


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Heather
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If someone is asking about reproductive choice in the context of personal ethics and morality, Dzuun, we're not talking about laws, but about belief systems, whether one calls them religious or otherwise. I personally don't even care to entertain threads like this here, period, but if we're going to there's no way to toss out "religious" or legal factors, because without them, there's very little to discuss save simple biology and physiology.

And part of my point in responding as I did to Platzap was to illustrate, in fact, some of the reason WHY one's own morality or ethics can't be applied well to the whole of something so large as reproductive choice, rather than to one's own choices, because it IS so varied, individual and arbitrary.


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Dzuunmod
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I'm not asking that legal factors be tossed out, I'm asking that religious factors be tossed out. Where I said that laws could be tossed out the window was a different point.

Legislating based on religion, throughout history, has pretty much always been a bad scene, in my opinion.

[This message has been edited by Dzuunmod (edited 07-28-2003).]


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Heather
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Well, that's all fine and well and good, but that then tosses out of the dicussion that has been had up until now, especially if any belief which involves personal ethics that's linked to any sort of spirtiual or greater tradition is "religious."
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Jesse
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I'm kind of understanding what Miz Scarlet's saying. Now, I call myself an unaffiliated Christian (not catholic or another branch), but I believe strongly in some of the Lutheran teachings. But I also believe in past lives, reincarnation and whatnot. In one conversation I had awhile ago, we talked about how when one person dies, another is born. So even if the baby was aborted, it might be "reborn" someplace where it would have a better chance at a good life.

The other thing is, if you're old enough to have sex and take the risks, you're old enough to raise children. This is why a few friends of mine have vowed not to wait until marriage, but to wait until they were eighteen to start having sex. That way, they have no obligation to go to school, and they can work full time at eighteen. But still, if you're going to have sex, there's not TOO MUCH you can do to be careful. They've got a plethora of birth control items(I forgot the word I'm looking for), so if you end up getting pregnant, is it really a coincidence, or a "miracle"?

Think about whether you can really afford to give the child the life it deserves if you decide to have it. I'm seventeen (1/2), and there's no way I'd bring a child into the world now.

Ultimately, there's no substitution for adoption. I will never abort a child because I do believe it's not my place, spiritually, to eliminate one's life. That's God's job, and my job is to take responsibility for the mistakes I might make. I'm adopted, and all I know of my biological parents was that they were young and already had five plus kids before my brother and I. Personally, I'd rather be where I am today than still living with them. Instead of getting rid of an innocent life, let the child live, but give it someplace better to do it.

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"Hi, is Sam there. Hi Sam. I have no idea what I'm doing. Any suggestions?"

(Common sex conversation with best friend over the phone, actually took place 7/4/03)

[This message has been edited by Jesse (edited 07-29-2003).]


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Heather
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The trouble with that Jesse, is that as you may know, your situation when it comes to adoption is RARE (and it's great for you that you had a wonderful experience).

Every year, tens to hundreds of thousands of children land in foster care and will remain in (often very substandard, often abusive) foster care fand group homes or most of their lives. For those children who were either not put up for adoption right at infancy, or those who were but who were not white or who had any sort of special needs, the possibility of them ever finding a loving home is terribly small.

I'm a big fan of adoption when it works, too (though I'm never going to say any one reproductive choice is ideal over another, because in my mind and experience, professional and personnal, that is totally individual), to some degree (more as a system for the child than for the mother, for whom it is often terribly traumatic and emotionally painful), and on a personal level, it is likely how I will choose to have a family myself someday if I can get to that place financially (adoption is very costly, which is yet another limitation). But I'm also the former partner of someone who suicided very violentlly, eventually, due to the horrendous physical abuse and molestation he was put through in the hands of several foster families as a young child and adolescent, and also have a few close friends who experienced similar, on top of knowing what I do about it academically. So, adoption as reproductive choice CAN be a great thing, but it also very much cannot, which again, really, leads us back to the fact that any reproductive choice has a wealth of pros and cons, and has the possibility of being beneficial or tragic depending on a world of variables.

Just as a reminder: I'd like to inject a little semantics issue into the mix here. I'm not real keen on calling heterosexual intercourse "sex" or using "sex" as a term when what we're talking about is intercourse, especially in the contaxt of choice discussions, namely because there are LOADS of different kinds of a sex a person or couple can have which is not procreative. So, if we could plase use the term "intercourse" when that's what we're talking about, I'd appreciate it. I'd ask as well that we consider the linguistics and semantics of the word "child" when we're referring to a being or cell mass (given the stages we're taking about) which has not yet been born.

It also should be said that there very much is PLENTY you can do to be careful in terms of birth control via heterosexual sex. The great majority of accidental pregnancy does NOT result from the failure of reliable birth control, but from such not being used at all, or being used only sporadically, or in regions and aareas where such is simply not avilable or affordable to the general populace. And with the advent of emergency contraception, when it is made available to people, we're talking about the possibility of reducing accidental or unwanted pregnancies to near none before the pregnancy even occurs. So, most of the time when it does occur, it's no coincidence or miracle -- it's the natural consequence of the actions taken and not taken.

(It's really more detail for another day, but it's also worth thinking about the fact that women who become pregbnant, however they do, who decide to abort may not simply be deciding they do not want a child, or cannot rear one, but that they do not wish to be PREGNANT, and/or cannot remain so for any number of reasons -- they may end up homeless or jobless, for instance, and that child may not be able to be able to be born at all, or healthfully, in those instances, especially if that child is one of the "less appealing" groups wherin a private adoption scenario wouldn't exist to foot the bills. In other words, reproductive choice and birth control is a HUGE issue socioeconomically, and that aspect of it often gets brushed under the rug, and dismissing those aspects is simply not sound when assessing the entire situation.)

As well, accidental pregnancy also can and does result from rape and sexual assault in which the woman did not get to ask her attacker to please use a condom.

(This too, is really a conversation best had somewhere else, like say, the All About You forum, but the presentation you're giving reincarnation is pretty simplistic. Obvsiouly, we get to tailor these things for yourselves as we choose, but just FYI, most traditions and cultures in which reincarnation is a part not only don't believe that what is reincarnated are just human beings -- for instance, in my next life, I may be a slug in a field rather than a person at all -- which is also why several cultures which embrace reincarnation are vegetarian -- nor that reincarnation is this sort of boom-boom chain that happens instantaneously wherin one person dies so another must "file in" as it were.)

[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 07-29-2003).]


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Heather
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(I want to add, Jesse, that I very much appreciate how you can discuss choices you would make for yourself, or feel you might should that situation arise for you should you become pregnant, within the context of choice for everyone.)
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Melancholy_Mango_Mania
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I agree with a lot of people's idea on abortion. I being pro-choice, would not chose to have an abortion but can understand why some women would chose to have one. I think if i did have an abortion i would carry around a lot of guilt though. I once did a persuasive essay for english class about abortion and my teacher said you can't be pro-choice and pro-life at the same time. I think in a way you can be. I think women should be able to chose to have an abortion or not but for myself i wouldn't chose to have one. Well that's about all i have to say for now.

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People are lyke oreos--the best part is on the inside.-Lora

Live life to the fullest, don't let anyone tell you you're not beautiful, and don't take shiitake mushrooms from anybody.


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truthseeker
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Geez, i could talk about this subject for hours on end, i actually got into a fight with my History teacher about this suject several times now that i think about it.... anyway, i am pro-choice because if i ever get pregnant, i want the availibility of an abortion even though i would never in a million years get one. my ideal would be to have abortions legal as they are now but have it be a rare proceedure.I think the first step to having less abortions is better sex education in schools- but hey thats another subject. I do beleive that it is (sort of) murder when a person gets an abortion regardless of who the act is blamed on. Yes, the man helped crated this little fetus and he needs to take responsibility for his actions. I also think that the woman is in charge of the decion she makes. it's growing inside of her, the man won't have to go through child birth and/or possible injuries due to the actual birthing or pregnancy complications. There are so many sides to this and everytime i talk about it i realize something different or change perspectives. Thats why i am (for now) pro-choice AND pro-life.
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angelinthepit
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I am pro-choise. I was raised Catholic, and the idea of pro-life, abstinence-only sex ed was drummed into me by countless Catholic schools. I accepted everything told to me without bothering to question it, until I suddenly met the greatest guy I've ever known. We got into an extremely good relationship, and slowly it grew more and more intimate. I finally stepped back and began reevaluating everything that had been taught to me, and began questioning some aspects I'd been told. Eventually I went online and found places like scarleteen that told me EVRYTHING I'd always wanted to know about sex, but never bothered to ask because my (Catholic) teachers had always told us, "This (abstinence) is THE way it has to be or else you'll go to hell."

Now, I'm not anti-abstinence or anything. If you CHOOSE that, then props to you for making your own decision about your life, but I was never told that I HAD the option to CHOOSE. I researched and researched and was overwhelmed by all the reproductive options open to women (and men) out there. I've now been in a sexual relationship with that same wonderful guy for well over a year now (and I've been *with* him for about six months longer than that) and I feel empowered that I have the option to control my choises, rather than being TOLD what I had to do. I also do not know if I would have an abortion if I became pregnant. It would definiately be an option to consider, because I certainly can't afford to raise a child by myself right now, nor could the prospective father. I hate anti-abortion sites who proclaim, "Anti-abortion is Anti-Baby," because I would LOVE to have a child sometime in my life--just not right NOW. I think I should be able to make decisions about my own body. If my kidney was failing, a doctor could not remove it without my permission, nor could he force me to keep it inside my body if I requested it to be taken out or replaced. I think the same should apply to pregnant women...


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