November 30, 2011

End of the Month Controversy: Abortion

I started my End of the Month Controversy series so that I could talk about issues that are important to me, as a person, a woman, and a parent, regardless of whether they came up naturally in the course of writing about my family.  As a general rule, I try to keep politics out of this blog, but the fact of the matter is that parenting and politics go together.  So much of what you what you want for your children is tied to what you want for your country.  Or at least, I've found that to be true for myself.

You knew it was coming.  So here it is.  This month, I'm going to talk about abortion.

I am, as you have probably guessed if you follow me on Twitter or like me on Facebook, pro-Choice.

I don't believe that an embryo is a person.  I don't believe that a fertilized egg is a person.  I don't believe that zygote is a person.  I believe that life starts in the womb, but "life" means a lot of things.  A bacteria is "alive."  A tulip is "alive."  Yogurt cultures are "alive."  Cows and pigs and sheep and deer and chickens (all of which the majority of Americans eat, pro-"life" or not) are "alive."

I don't think that life is sacred- to the extent that some opponents of abortion do.  Yes, I'm a vegetarian.  But I'm also a pragmatist.  I don't oppose killing animals to eat them, I oppose the business of killing animals to eat them.  I believe that life should be dignified, and the lives of animals being raised for slaughter are pretty much never dignified.  They're awful.  And so many go to waste- the number of animals raised for slaughter in this country that live in conditions that render them totally inedible... it's horrific.  Undignified.

And it's my outrage in a lack of dignity in life that makes me pro-Choice.  I'll get back to that.

Let's talk about that word- choice.  Women have been choosing whether or not to maintain pregnancies since time immemorial.  150 years ago, most women knew which herbs were abortifacients.  Not just women out in the sticks either- city folk.  Women with book learnin'.  Upper class women in tiny hats who played the flute and painted with watercolors.  But also country women. Women who had to sew all their children's clothing, who had to work in fields with their babies strapped to their backs.  They knew how to avoid getting pregnant in the first place.  And they knew ways to naturally terminate a pregnancy.

Men didn't talk about it much, but they knew that women knew.  Men just didn't think it was their place to be involved.  They weren't involved in childbirth, they weren't involved with "women's work," and they sure weren't involved in discussions about women's reproductive health or autonomy.  There's a reason that abortion isn't mentioned in the Bible too directly- it was totally accepted.  Sometimes, women did what they needed to do.  And that continued for a long, long time.  Shortly after Charlotte Bronte died from hyperemesis gravidarum- a not entirely uncommon pregnancy complication, a friend of hers wrote that had she known the "cause" of Charlotte's illness, she herself would have administered the herbs to end the pregnancy.  That was 150 years ago.  But as the science of medicine grew both in effectiveness and in the public esteem, "old wives tales" and folk knowledge were replaced- midwives found themselves evicted from delivery rooms.  Slowly, the universality of the knowledge of controlling women's fertility dwindled.

And then the pill came along.  So much easier.  And then the D and C- our modern day abortion.

Now women have the ability to abort a pregnancy more safely than every before, but they can't do it on their own.  They can't go into their gardens, cut the right herb, make a tea that makes them horribly ill and induces a miscarriage.  They don't know how.  Instead, they can go to a doctor who can cleanly remove an embryo without the illness or medical risks.  And that really freaks people out.  It's so clinical, so cold.  People picture an abortionist as their worst childhood nightmares of the doctor- a man who cuts mommies so he can kill babies.

Now abortion is safer, but so much more public.

I'm not saying that it was ever an easy choice for a woman to make- it wasn't.  But we live in a different time. 150 years ago, life was so much HARDER.  You could be essentially married off against your will, you had no protection against a husband who beat you, you had no property of your own, the law didn't protect you at all.  You couldn't vote.  You had to have child after child, regardless of whether any of them had food to eat.  And you had to work, in the fields or in a sweat shop.  There was no middle class.  Not until the 20th century.

So yes, that's all history.  But it's important to understand how new the public outcry against abortion really is.

It's not just new, it's confused and misguided.  So much of it is religiously based- the idea that abortion is murder and, "Thou Shalt Not Kill."

I don't think abortion is murder.  And neither does the Bible.  The Bible mentions abortion one time- and not by name.  Exodus 21-22: "If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no mischief follows: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine."  Incidentally, it's the same punishment as if a man cuts off the woman's arm.  Causing a woman to miscarry- that is, inducing an abortion- the husband gets to beat him up, and he owes the husband a fine.

I believe Genesis 9:6 covers that punishment for murder- "Whoso sheddeth a man's blood, by man shall his blood by shed."

God and I are firmly on the same side of the personhood issue.  If anything, I'm more pro-life than He is.  I believe that at some point, a fetus IS a human being.  I think that time comes around the same time that you can measure brain activity- about 20 weeks gestational age.  If the thing dreams, it's pretty close to human.  And most hospitals with good NICUs in this country have extremely good odds (over 90%) of keeping a 26 week preemie alive.  They even have 10% odds of keeping a 22 week micropreemie alive.  Micropreemies can have a whole host of lifetime disorders and medical problems as a result of not developing fully, but I would definitely call that fetus a person.  The Bible doesn't.

Keep in mind, nearly all abortions occur well before that point.  The vast majority of abortions occur within six weeks of conception.  At six weeks, we're still talking about embryos.  We haven't even reached the fetus discussion.  Let alone the argument of whether or not it's a child.

I often I hear people say things like, "It's a child, not a choice," and, "If the CHILD could choose, it would choose to live!"

The idea of the child choosing seems pretty loaded to me.  You see, an embryo isn't a child- it's a potential child.  The same way that an unfertilized egg isn't a child- it's a potential child.  They are no more capable of making a choice about their lives than a potato.  They simply are not sentient.

If we're going to say that every embryo would "choose" life, then we should also posit that every egg would "choose" life, which would mean that a woman who didn't get pregnant at every single opportunity was denying her "children" a right to life.

But let's avoid that for now... let's just say that we're only talking embryos.  What if every single embryo was grown into a human child?  First of all, it would be a miracle to women who want to have babies everywhere- one in three pregnancies end in early miscarriage.  Making many abortions pretty much a non-issue, as most women who have them get them within the fist six weeks- the time most likely to miscarry and also the fastest time frame possible.  And most of those women, the vast majority of them, are poor.  As a few notorious anti-Choice groups keep reminding us Chicagoans, poor black women in particular are the most likely to seek an abortion.

The strain on society of providing for those children is massive.  There's their educational costs, their childcare costs, their medical costs... and if a woman is already poor?  I got advice from a teacher once- he recommended all his students marry rich people.  He said, "You don't need any help being poor."  Well, nobody will help you be poor more than a child.  And we as a society have an obligation (particularly as a self-proclaimed Christian society- but that's an entirely different controversy) to take care of the poor.  One that we utterly fail at.

Then there are the more complicated choice issues.  What if the woman already made a choice NOT to get pregnant?  Let's say that she was already taking birth control.  Birth control is only 99% effective.  People still get pregnant when they're taking it.  What if she was raped?  What if she's mentally ill, or addicted to drugs?  What if she is in some way completely incapable of caring for a child?  What if she's in some way incapable of MAKING a choice?  Many of those children (and remember, mentally ill women, poor women, and minority women are at higher risk for rape as well), if not most, go into the foster care system.

It's sad to say, but most children that go into foster care never come out.  Most families looking to adopt are looking to adopt healthy, NORMAL babies.  Not the babies of crack addicts, not babies with serious health problems, not babies born addicted to heroin.  Those children go into the foster system, and they rot there.  They get involved in crime, they go to jail, they get killed.  It's horrible.

And people who want to adopt babies?  They mostly adopt abroad- for good reasons.  The US laws regarding adoption put so many protections in place for the birth parents that at almost any time, a family can simply loose their adopted child.  After years.  Did the mom clean up and get a job?  Did a grandparent come forward?  And so on.  International adoptions are much safer for adoptive parents, and so more and more frequently they pick children from other countries.  Countries that have made a business out of adoption, ruining families in the process.

And it's not just that, it's the cost.  A domestic adoption frequently costs eight to ten times what it takes for adoptive parents to fly to another country, adopt a child there, and return home.  A domestic adoption can often cost upwards of $40,000, most of which is the fees involved in making sure that the birth mother gives up all of her legal rights to the child.

Perhaps most importantly, people want to adopt children as young as possible.  Most domestic adoptions occur through agencies that deal with pregnant women- not with children already in need.  Most families looking to adopt are looking to go to the hospital when the baby is born, and leave with it.  They're not looking to rescue a child who's already been through years of potential abuse or neglect.  They don't want a child that might have "issues."  They want to be there from day one, not seventeen months or six years later.

There are lots of other reason that people don't want to adopt via foster care.  Half of the kids in foster care have siblings in foster care.  Nobody wants to split them apart, and the most adoptive parents aren't looking to take a bunch of kids at once.  More than half of the children in foster care have their parents come to retrieve them- at least once.  This is a huge fear of any parent looking to adopt.  And a large and growing proportion of children in foster care were actually placed there by their parents to help them get care for mental illnesses.

In short, we have a problem taking care of children in this country.

People do still adopt out of foster care.  And my hat is off to those people.  Truly.  There are people who make a gigantic difference in those kids' lives.  And if you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that it's in our plans to adopt.  Someday.  But that's not what I'm talking about today.

I say, until we as a society actually take care of the children- ALL of the children- that we already have... until all of the breathing, needy children who go hungry every day, who suffer violence every day, who commit crimes and live entire childhoods without once hearing the words "I love you..."  Until we as a society do our part to care for those children, we have absolutely no business telling anybody that they MUST bring another child into the world.

Last of all, I firmly believe that being pregnant just isn't for everyone.  Some women like being pregnant, but for some women it is awful.  Spending nine months being sick and miserable can actually ruin your life.  Only about half of the women in this country work jobs where they can take maternity leave.  What happens to you if you can't work because you haven't stopped puking in three days?  Or if you can't work because your SPD is so bad that you can't stand up?  Or if you can't work because you're just too damn tired to be awake more than four or five hours at a stretch?  Pregnancy is like that for a lot of women.  A lot of women don't have the opportunity to have both a pregnancy and a productive economic life.  Should a woman have to lose her job, her livelihood, her security, so she can make another person dependent on her?  How much should she have to give up because she's gotten pregnant?

Pregnancy doesn't just create a baby.  It hijacks a woman's body- literally makes it not her own.  Women who have been pregnant, whether intended or not, whether desired or not, know this.  Every move that you make, every thought in your head, every physical sensation you experience, somehow these are effected, altered.  Sometimes drastically so.  I could not have been a chef and pregnant simultaneously.  Not when chocolate tasted like fish food.

There are women who simply cannot be pregnant and healthy at the same time.  I think here of a friend of mine with a degenerative back condition.  If she were to become (and stay) pregnant, she would need to spend her entire pregnancy in bed.  She would be unable to carry a child to term, or have a natural delivery.  And after the baby was born, she would be facing years of physical therapy and probably surgery to try to undo the damage to her spine.

I think about women who become preeclampsic, or who have hyperemesis gravidarum.  Women who, whether or not they want to have a baby, suffer through a pregnancy.

I think about women like me, who's first symptom of pregnancy- even before a missed period- is cancer.

Should women for whom pregnancy might not prove fatal, but would certainly prove dangerous or permanently life altering in the matters of their own health, be expected to get or stay pregnant?

Included in the number of women who could afford to have a baby, who might become good parents, but who would probably choose to terminate rather than remain pregnant are also women for whom their career is both high pressured and quickly rising.  The fact remains that women receive fewer promotions, fewer raises, less money for any given job than a man.  Part of this is the fear that the company will "lose her" to a baby at some point in time.  If a man arrives at work and tells his boss that he's going to be a father, he gets a pat on the back, congratulations, a great deal of joy is shared.  But if a woman goes into work and announces to her boss that she's going to be a mother, she loses much of her opportunity.  Exciting or important jobs, cases, and assignments pass her by.  Promotions pass her by.  She is suddenly seen as a liability.  This isn't only true in business, it is true in academia as well.  Imagine working on your Ph.D. and being pregnant.  Imagine working in a lab where you deal with diseases, or doing fieldwork in a country without adequate prenatal care, or in a hospital where you are constantly on call and exposed to sick people day in and day out.  Is that a safe environment in which to be pregnant?  And should you give it all up in order to have a baby?

And if a woman is working so hard at her job in order to reach a point where she can provide for a child in the manner she sees fit?  Where she makes enough to pay for good childcare, for good health care, for a home in which her children can be safe and comfortable?  Should she have to have a baby that could derail her hopes and plans for a future family life?

A lot of people say that if you don't want to have a baby, you shouldn't have sex.  But that is nonsense.  Sex is a fundamental, basic need of most adults.  A need to be physically close to another person, a need for the emotional release, a need for the connection between the partners- whether committed in marriage or otherwise- to to express their love for each other.

I think abortion sucks, quite simply.  I think it's sad, but mostly, for the women who must make that incredibly painful decision.  But I don't think it's the worst thing that can happen.

I don't think it's nearly as bad as what I've seen happen to the children living in urban poverty.  Pregnant 11 year olds who were raped by foster brothers, seven year old boys running drugs for a gang that provides the only sense of family they've ever known, malnourished kids who can't concentrate on getting their reading skills up to grade level because they're too hungry to focus on learning to conjugate their verbs.

I don't think it's nearly as bad as women leaving the sciences, the corner offices, and the board rooms of the country because they must cede their own ambitions.

I say, if you're going to fight against abortion, start by fighting for the kids who really need you.  And the sooner that having an unwanted baby doesn't carry the risks that its life will be like the lives of the unwanted children among us today, the sooner women will make the choice to have the baby instead of aborting it.

And fight for gender equality.  When a pregnancy doesn't mean losing your financial independence, losing your upward momentum, losing hope for the life you wanted to build, more of those women will chose to have the baby rather than aborting it as well.

You can't start by eradicating the effect.  You have to go to the causes.  And the cause of abortion isn't women who, like me, just don't believe that an embryo is a person.  The causes of abortion are a society where it is extremely damaging to let that embryo become a person.  Give pregnant women the support they need, give children the care they need, give women the equality they deserve, and you will find fewer and fewer abortions performed.

23 comments:

  1. What a well thought and very well written blog. You have given such a great insight into your belief with solid and sound educational reasons. I know I say this all the time, but I always look forward to your blogs. I'm pro-choice and you have taught me more today. GREAT ENTRY.

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  2. What a great blog post. I agree with so much of your well articulated argument. The only parts that I would disagree with are those regarding adoption.

    As an adoptive parent, I chose to adopt domestically because it was cheaper and easier! We have two beautiful daughters and we didn't have to pay nearly the figures that you noted. And for us, we adopted newborns because we didn't feel like we were old enough to adopt through foster care. Adopting a pre-teen or teenager through foster care would be like adopting a sibling to us.

    For us another great concern with foster care was that we were adopting children who were removed from their parents against their parents will. With domestic adoption, we have open adoptions with young girls who thoughtfully created an adoption plan for their children. We weren't prepared for the multitude of issues that would be tangled up in parenting a child (in an open adoption because that's the way we believe is best) who was forcibly taken from his or her parent. We couldn't see a positive relationship forming there between the two sets of parents. However, we think that as our children grow (and us too!) we may seek to foster or adopt through the foster care system. I couldn't agree more that we need to care for these children before we force women to bring more children into the world.

    Thank you for your post. I spent so much time nodding my head in agreement - something I find rare when the topic of abortion comes up!

    Ashley
    www.modernmommymagic.blogspot.com

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  3. @Ashley Thank you so much for commenting!

    I'm always very interested to learn more about adoption, so thank you for that information.

    You also bring up a few great points about the additional flaws with the foster system.

    I hope I didn't imply that there was anything wrong with adopting outside the foster system. I certainly didn't intend that at all. I know that parents who choose to adopt through any method put incredible thought and care into making the choices that are best for their families. And for all my railing against the injustices against the children in foster care, M and I just don't know yet through which avenues we will end up adopting- domestic, international, foster, open, closed, anything!- when the time is right for our family.

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  4. Adoption can be a hard journey to navigate. I'm always happy to share our experiences! Feel free to contact me if you ever want more information. :)

    Ashley

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  5. LOVE your entry. That's all I can say.

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  6. Really enjoyed reading this post, very daring of you to write about such a touchy subject. I agree with everything you wrote however, some very very good arguments for those Pro Life people to think about. Abortion is not something I personally could ever do, but I can definitely understand why some women see no other choice due to their circumstances and I would never judge them for it. It's a difficult decision to make, I doubt any women would go through something like that for no good reason.

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  7. A brave and brilliant post. I have been there before, and yes, it sucks, but women need the choice. Thank you!

    (new follower from 20sb)

    - Q

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  8. wow that is deep and i agree with every bit of it

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  9. I am looking for authors that would like to join me for a new forum at Random Thoughts.

    If you would be interested to share your opinions and views in an open discussion format please contact me at lynda(dot)schultz(at)ymail(dot)com

    It's a no holds barred forum, and I'd love to have you on board.

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  10. If I may offer another side, without attack, just my two cents here.

    You said most abortions occur within 6 weeks of ‘conception’. {I guess we could argue time of conception too.} Puzzles me, and I find that hard to believe. Most women, even those trying to get pregnant don’t realize they are pregnant until minimum 4-5 weeks after conception. I am hard pressed to believe that a woman who accidentally got pregnant would realize it that quickly, confirm it, ponder it and go through a medical procedure of that magnitude in a week’s time.

    Regarding your statement about the child choosing life, and an unborn child not being able to make a choice, I say this: Would you entrust your twin daughters {heck, even a teenager} to make choices in regards to their own mortality? No. It is our job as parents to make those choices for them; to protect them, to teach them to make good decisions.

    I also have close friends that have adopted domestically and abroad, and I have family that fosters children. I’ve never heard one of them say they would not take a child with special needs, or not “normal”. I'm sure there are those that will not. My son has special needs, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. What's easier isn't always best and isn't always right.

    I agree that most children in the foster care system have challenges. Who better to care for those kids and the “crack-babies” than those parents who ache for a child so badly they will take on the ‘burden’ of a child with special needs? I consider myself one of the lucky ones, you don’t realize how amazing and precious life is until you care for those kids; I’m blessed.

    I can only speculate the constraints leaning in favor of the birth parent in domestic adoption, as far as them being able to re-enter the child’s life, to be from a consistent desire from birth parents to do so. I agree it can be devastating for the adoptive parent. Children change everything, the power of love and that for your own child can change you. One moment the world revolves around you and the next you would die for that little baby. If human beings couldn’t change their minds, if we had decided what we believed and stick to it for the rest of our lives, and never consider there might be any other truth out there; how would we grow? How would anything change?

    I do have so much more to say, but only responded to a small portion of your post as to not write a novel here.

    I wonder, and perhaps it is worth me looking into, how many of those women who have had abortions, and then had children later; regret their decision knowing the joy their children brought?

    I also just want to add, that I'm a single Mom with two kids. I have no regrets, as hard as it can be sometimes, it is equally and more so wonderful.

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    1. To respond to your last question. I made a CHOICE 18 years ago that I absolutely do not regret. I regret the judgment made by others who think a choice can be wrong. I made a very different choice 3 years ago and love that child to no end. However, my life would have taken a very different path, personally & financially had I made a different choice 18 years ago. Quite frankly, the joy of my heart would not be here as that path would be different. I have no regrets about my own personal decisions.

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  11. @Cari from Bubble Gum on my Shoe Thank you for your comments!

    I agree, that "conception" timeline can be pretty fuzzy. But it is true of most women who get abortions that it's pretty much their first order of business after a positive pregnancy test.

    I would trust my daughters to avoid pain and danger as much as they understand it, but that wasn't the point of my argument. My argument is that I don't believe that an embryo is sentient, and I absolutely believe that my toddlers are. And I hope very much that I am teaching them to make good decisions, but no amount of teaching can lead an embryo to any sort of decision making at all. It simply is not capable of choice, or of desire, or of any psychological response. That isn't a comment on whether or not it's a human life, it's an observation of what its biological capacity is.

    I regret that a lot of my post seems to have come across as anti-adoption, or anti-fostering. I assure you, what I meant was the opposite. I am very strongly in favor of adoption and fostering. I think it's one of the most important thing that we, as a society and as loving individuals, can ever do for another living soul.

    I am sure that many women regret abortions that they have had. I know that of the women I know who have had abortions, only one did so with grief and regret. Of the others, they consider their decision the right choice for them.

    I can't say how they'll feel in another ten years, or another twenty. I hope they will always have peace with the choices they made, but I believe that whatever pain and logic went into their choices to abort might have been, it was their choice and they had the right to it.

    I'd like to add, I have nothing but respect for single moms. M works CONSTANTLY, and some weeks we don't see him at all, and I cannot imagine how difficult life would be raising my kids on my own.

    What you, as a single mom, accomplish is a testament to the power of love and determination, and while I will never envy you your burdens... I have more respect for them and for your accomplishments than you can possibly know.

    Thank you again for commenting, and for sharing your ideas and your opinions. I really appreciate being able to have the conversation. :)

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  12. Here's my response to your post, cheers!

    http://www.beardandpigtails.com/2011/12/defending-defenseless.html

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  13. So I'm young,I mean I won't be a legal adult for QUITE a few years.I'm also pro-life always have been,always will be.Even without influence from my parents its just always seemed natural,sensible,just RIGHT.Maybe its just because of my faith and strong believes and understandings in God.Now,abortion can be argued on for ever and ever and the 2 sides still woulnt agree with eachother.But I deeply believe that many things just aren't meant for us humans to fully understand and comprehend.Only God knows why these things were meant to have happened.So ,no I have no fancy facts to or rude comments to throw at you.Just this.@becoming supermommy,I will keep you in my prayers with the rest of the pro-choicers,and I will ask God to open your eyes so you can see The Truth.God Bless You All.

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  14. Thank you for this post. I just came across your blog accidentally yesterday, but I foresee myself being a regular reader, for sure! Abortion is an issue I’ve struggled with for many years. I’ve always been prochoice; I was raised by a fiercely prochoice mother. I didn’t learn until I’d graduated from college that she’d had an abortion at sixteen; she’s spoken of it to me exactly once. I doubt my younger sisters know, or either my father or my stepfather. But I do believe that if my mother had made—or felt that she had had—a different choice, way back then, seven years before I (her firstborn) was born, I might not have been. Who knows how her life would have been different? Would she have met my father, or my sisters’ father? Who knows? I’ve always believed that I couldn’t personally make the decision to have an abortion, but I’ve never been in a situation that required it. I’ve definitely never felt like it was my place to tell my friends who have had them that they shouldn’t have. It was what they believed they needed to do, and who was I to say differently? You used many of the arguments that I’ve used, but I feel like you expressed them so much more clearly, concisely, and elegantly; I tend to get bogged down in emotion and cease to make sense. The most important argument, I think, is that we need to learn to take care of the children we already have. There’s currently an outcry against socialism by the same people who don’t want abortions to be legal, and to me this is hypocritical—but heck, what do I know? At 31, I’m pregnant with my first child, with the man I’ve been with for 8.5 years and finally officially married last year. I took birth control religiously for the first seven years we were together, even when I was sure I did someday want a child with him, because we just weren’t ready. Not that we couldn’t have somehow made it work if it had happened—and I even got to the point that part of me did hope it would happen accidentally—but the ability to make the choice to wait was a valuable one and has only strengthened our relationship, because I know we’re truly ready now—or as ready as we’ll ever be. But I digress—or do I, if the point is the importance of choice in our lives? Abortion does suck, and I don’t think prochoice and pro-abortion are the same thing. Who is pro-abortion, really? But in the world we currently live in, it seems like a necessarily evil, and again, I appreciate you taking all of the jumbled thoughts and beliefs about this seemingly right out of my head and putting them into a coherent form!

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  15. I have to admit that when I stumbled across this post (bouncing over from the excellent "Lie Of Motherhood" post), I approached it expecting the all-too-common Christian bashing that frequently accompanies pro-choice arguments.

    I am so happy to be wrong.

    While I am against abortion (the term "pro-life" irritates the crap out of me) in the vast majority of cases, you make very good arguments for why this is not simply a black-or-white issue. In my own opinion, no progress will ever be made on the debate until both sides can agree on whether and when the embryo/fetus/baby is actually a human being. You present your views on this in a refreshingly straightforward manner so that the message doesn't get lost in rhetoric.

    You and I may be on different sides of the debate, but it is truly encouraging to see someone who is having an intelligent discussion about it. It's something that is far too uncommon on either side. I only wish more would follow your example.

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  16. I'm not sure what version of the Bible you used for your claim that it has not problem with abortion. I went to BibleGateway and looked up the passage in the NIV, NKJ and ESV and saw that God's Word does take very seriously the loss of life of an unborn baby. Be sure to read through verse 24 as well.

    from the NIV:
    22 “If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely[e] but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. 23 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.

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    1. The following lines refer to damage to to the woman, not to the fetus. In other words, if he punches her in the stomach and she loses the baby, he owes the husband a fine. But, if he beats her severely, say breaking an arm or knocking out her teeth, then the husband (not the woman) may do to him whatever was done to the wife.

      Here are some other interesting discussions from the Bible about whether or not a fetus is a person:
      http://www.thechristianleftblog.org/1/post/2012/10/the-bible-tells-us-when-a-fetus-becomes-a-living-being.html

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  17. I love the line "we have a problem taking care of children in this country" because it is so true....the place where we differ, is that I think we need to change that by actually taking care of the children, not getting rid of them. If we all value children more and stop viewing them as a hindrance, the world would be a better place of course. The only problem is that we have made children a commodity...they can only exist if they are convenient or "wanted". Wantedness is completely detached from any inherent worth. We should view each child as worthy. More people should consider adoption for the women that find themselves in unplanned pregnancy, more people should serve the poor and impoverished children....but unfortunately if the logic is that "every thing needs to be perfect before we can stand up for certain issues" than nothing ever gets done. I'm for women, and I'm for helping them and their children.

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  18. As a mom who cannot carry babies to term without significant medical intervention, the choice issue is very dear to my heart. If I got pregnant and did not have access to medical care, I would continue losing babies. I have lost one to preterm labor at 22 weeks, and have one NICU graduate who was born at 26 weeks. My daughter, my rainbow baby born after my second son's death, was born at 38 weeks because of some serious medical care. I had my cervix sewn shut at 19 weeks and was on bed rest from 24 weeks. I could not have carried my daughter to term and continued working in my (then) profession. And I should be able to choose if I am willing to undergo that kind of care again. And that kind of risk. I expect my country to respect my ability to make that choice. Period.

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  19. Fist pump. I love every single word of this. So incredibly well done.

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