Social Question

iamthemob's avatar

Pro-choice advocates - what do you disagree with in the pro-life movement?

Asked by iamthemob (17121 points ) January 6th, 2011

I’m pro-choice, in that I view the issue as the right of someone to make choices regarding their own bodies, and a moral and personal choice, and therefore something that should remain free of legislation, barring situations where abortions are sought after a certain amount of development unless sought due to definitive evidence of profound developmental disabilities (I’ll leave that as a gray area for legislation).

Personally, though, if I found out that someone was pregnant with my child, I would fight tooth and nail to convince them to have the child. I also don’t know if I could have someone who ignored that and had the abortion in my life. I would understand any reason for the decision rationally – but the disregard for my feelings, which would be profound and last for my entire life, would be difficult if not impossible for me to reconcile.

I have many, many problems with the pro-life movement. But I’m wondering where the points of agreement are, and what people’s problems with the movement might be.

Pro-lifers are encouraged to contribute – but I would ask, if possible, to attempt to take a critical look at your stance.

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76 Answers

JilltheTooth's avatar

Damn. I’m sick and I’m exhausted so I can’t do this justice til morning, when it will be overwhelmed, but it’s a GQ, @iamthemob , and I look forward to seeing how it goes. Wish you’d asked this 5 hours ago!

Blackberry's avatar

I think it’s pretty straight-forward: Of course I’m against having numerous abortions just as a normal method of birth control, but for occasions when you weren’t planning or weren’t ready, an abortion is cheaper than a lifetime of struggle and hardship. I guess it makes me seem cold, but I just feel that people should make an attempt to be prepared financially and mentally for a kid, not just having one because you need to fill a void or because you will see yourself as a murderer if you get rid of it.

Edit: I didn’t even answer the question lol. I simply don’t agree with people not having the choice.

Seaofclouds's avatar

The main thing I’m against is the idea that the government or any other group of people should be able to tell a woman that she must carry a child for the duration of the pregnancy like pregnancy itself is no big deal. I don’t think anyone should be forced to maintain a pregnancy for 9 months against their will.

wundayatta's avatar

My major bone of contention is that they don’t want women to have a choice. What else is there?

The consequence of that idea is that women become slaves or incubators when they are forced to carry a baby that they don’t want. It’s an issue of sovereignty. Anti-choice people apparently don’t believe that women are citizens with the same rights as men. If she was stupid enough to get pregnant, then she loses her rights to control her body.

I wonder what they do. Do they keep the woman in a jail to force her to take vitamins and eat properly and to keep her from drinking or drugging or starving or whatever? The idea of forcing a woman to keep a fetus she doesn’t want is so ineffective on so many levels. Does the woman have a right to keep on trying to become more tolerant to cyanide? Is she forced to stay away from a nuclear power plant?

It just makes no sense. It’s a purely polemical position that can’t possibly be expressed in law that is constitutional. It’s a way for certain folks to look like they are taking the high road when it is really one of the most cynical positions a person could have. They believe they are sincere, and have no idea how non-sensical they are. It’s scary. Very, very scary.

If the anti-choice position wins, we’re going to see 1984 arrive about three decades after it was predicted. It will ignite subversion and cause some kind of police reaction and God knows where that will end. It could spread to other issues. It could open up the door to end the separation of church and state (such as it is).

Will it do those things? Who knows. All I know is I don’t want to find out.

tinyfaery's avatar

One thing—the government has no business getting involved in what happens between a person and their doctor. Abortions are approved medical procedures, and if I am in need of a medical procedure, no one has the right to say that I cannot have it.

BarnacleBill's avatar

I don’t believe any woman finds herself pregnant and happily sets about to abort the fetus. There are always other circumstances, mostly stemming from lack of financial support, fragile support system, lack of health insurance, etc. For many, the cost of raising a child on minimum wage income means a life of poverty.

I’ve done a turn or two as an escort at an abortion clinic, and the pro-life people are heinous and vile. I have yet to hear of any “pro-life” person willing to offer financial or child support to a stranger. I feel the test of “put up or shut up” is not met with pro-lifers. It’s easy to tell people what do, it’s another to have the courage of your convictions and enable a stranger to keep a child. Until you are willing to walk in that person’s shoes, no one should have the right to tell a person they must carry a child full term.

That being said, I am a big advocate for adoption. Every child should be a wanted child. But more so, I’m an advocate for responsible sex. You should not be having sex without using birth control if you’re not ready to accept the outcome of a pregnancy. The biological intent of intercourse is reproduction. I believe that every pediatrician and family practitioner should give girls information about birth control and how to get it when they come in for their 6th grade shots, or when they start their period. Boys should be given and shown how to use condoms.

Among my 21 year old daughter’s friends and former classmates, there are 4 that have children. None are married. The girls dropped out of college to support their children; in all instances, the fathers are still in school, and are paying nominal child support, like $60 a week.

SuperMouse's avatar

I have many issues with the pro-life movement and their choice of methods for making their point. One that I feel particularly strongly about is the fact that there is no doubt in my mind that if men carried babies this would not even be up for discussion. Abortion would be legal.

YARNLADY's avatar

I think anyone who wants to force someone to have an unwanted child should be required to pay all the expenses involved for the rest of its life.

crisw's avatar

One of my greatest issues with the pro-life movement is their constant use of obfuscation and emotive language.

“It’s a human baby!

Yes, it’s human. Biologically human. But so are the cheek cells we kill by the millions every time we brush our teeth.

And it isn’t a “baby” in any meaningful moral sense. An egg is not a chicken, an acorn is not an oak tree, and a zygote is not a baby. It’s a non-sentient clump of cells. As it is not sentient, it has no rights.

As far as the male’s interest- well, I feel that the decision is totally up to the woman. It’s her body. He had the choice as to whether or not to contribute the sperm that might fertilize her. If conception is a concern, this should be discussed beforehand, and if abortion is a concern then you’d better have very good birth control.

JLeslie's avatar

No man or woman should be required by the government or law to support another life. Each individual should have full domain over their bodies. No one should be ordered to give a kidney, to give blood, or to be pregnant. Pregnancy takes from the mother, it should be her choice to decide if she wants to give from her life force to the fetus.

In the pro-life movement itself, what is tiresome is things like I know pro-life people who vote pro-life who wound up wanting an abortion when there was something wrong with their fetus. If they did not have us pro-coice people out there keeping it legal, they would have to stay pregnant or take a huge risk. I am sure they never tell the people in their church they aborted. Which lead me to the failure to know the science, how often pregnancies have complications, and the first two weeks the cells in the embryo are undifferentiated, I could go on.

It seems the stat for aborting significant genetic abnormalities like Downs Syndrome is 90% of those pregnancies are aborted. 90%. I heard Barbara Walters give that stat and Sarah Palin. So, there must be pro-lifers aborting their Down Syndrome babies In their 5th month, because it seems more than 10% of the popuation claims to be pro-life. How do they explain that?

cockswain's avatar

I don’t think the fetus should be regarded as a human. It’s a non- or barely sentient thing, and there are already plenty of people in the world. Too many in fact. If the fetus isn’t wanted, I have no moral qualm about terminating it.

ETpro's avatar

I am pro-choice up to the point where a baby (no longer a fetus) could viably survive outside the womb. At that point, I become anti abortion. I take my position because I believe that forcing a woman to carry a fetus to term is a religious decision and infringes the right of the individual to control their own body.

JLeslie's avatar

I too draw a line at viability. Which contradicts my original argument a little. Once the fetus ceases to be parasitic it is arguable it is an individual in its own right.

Supacase's avatar

I do consider a fetus a baby. Whatever the science, that is how I feel and I don’t feel the need to justify my feelings. However, I am also pretty much pro-choice. That must make be the worst kind of bitch because I’m saying it is okay to kill another human being.

What I might do in a situation is not what I necessarily expect others to do. We all have choices to make in this life. We live with the consequences of those choices – good or bad. I certainly don’t want to live with the consequences of a choice that was made for me by people who don’t even know me and I wouldn’t expect anyone else to, either.

I disapprove of people who use abortion as a form of birth control, but it is still their body and their right. The very idea of partial birth abortion makes me sick… my pro-choice stance ends there.

JLeslie's avatar

@Supacase The partial birth ban upsets me more than the people trying to take away abortions in general. Late abortions are not illegal, simply that procedure is. It does not stop any late term abortions by banning partial birth. Everyone I know who had a late abortion wanted their babies. Partial birth is safer for the mother, so she can go on to have more children.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I agree with @psychocandy. Simone De Beauvoir once said “Abolition of a woman’s right to abortion, when and if she wants it, amounts to compulsory maternity: a form of rape by the State” and I agree with her, as well. Finally, I disagree that when it comes to woman vs. fetus that a fetus ever can take precedence.

TexasDude's avatar

Banning abortion basically amounts to the State claiming ownership of a woman’s body and the State should not have ownership of anyone’s body.

Also, it’s a slippery slope from banning abortions to outright banning birth control altogether, which is just stupid.

klutzaroo's avatar

My problem is that people want to control what others are allowed to do. Its a fundamental problem I have with a lot of the conservative positions, legislating what people are allowed to do with their own bodies, personal lives (gay marriage, for instance), and other invasions of privacy and attempts to control every aspect of peoples’ lives. With all the protesting that the right is doing about the current administration trying to control peoples’ lives, they can’t see that if they were allowed that they would meddle far more and in a far worse way.

Legislators, mostly men, have no right to tell women what to do with their bodies. Period.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@klutzaroo Nor do I think women are allowed to tell women what to do with their bodies, either.

klutzaroo's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Indeed. But people who will never face the possibility of being pregnant have even less right.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@klutzaroo I disagree because having the ability to birth isn’t relevant to whether or not one can make policy decisions in terms of reproductive issues. There are plenty of women out there who: a) have zero need/desire to EVER use their uterus in that manner and b) are completely batshit because they think having a uterus implies they did something special.

klutzaroo's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Men, people who will never know what it is to consider that decision for themselves, cannot fully comprehend the complexities of this issue no matter how they might try. Its not something that directly affects them. Sure, you can say that their genetic contribution being discarded or not affects their lives, but in a less profound and intimate way than for women. I think its absurd that anyone who lacks true comprehension of the matter, being ill equipped in any way, is allowed to tell others what they may and may not do. I think the possibility of having to make that decision is absolutely relevant to the policy making in this matter. There are plenty of women who will never become pregnant, will never have an abortion, will never paint their toenails purple, whatever. But simply by having to think about the matter in an intimate way (what would I do, could I ever, etc.) gives women a better understanding than people who will never have to think like that about their own bodies. Legislating without comprehension on this matter is stupid. Having a uterus, used or not in whatever way, does make someone more qualified to speak and to make policy on this issue.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@klutzaroo Again, I respectfully disagree. I don’t think simply being able to consider something makes one more capable in deciding on the matter. For example, I can consider having 7 more kids but that doesn’t mean I am better equipped in discussing over-population algorithms and the ethics of one-child policies (although, in reality, I’m pretty equipped to discuss either, heh). To think that men can only think in terms of discarded DNA material is to admit that you have never stood by a man who witnessed his partner miscarry their potential child (as I have). What is intimate differs to different people and in my circle there are many men who ponder continuously what it would be like to feel a child move inside them, what it would be like to ever go through pregnancy (pretending that generations in the future will be able to do so). My 4 and a half year old son has expressed on numerous occasions his desire to carry a baby inside him and to give birth because he has seen me do so with his brother. You and I agree that a woman’s right to abortion shouldn’t be denied and shouldn’t be legislated by others but we disagree on whether a body part like a uterus necessitates a better understanding of any of this. I don’t know if you have children but if you don’t, let’s say this: it would be ludicrous of me to tell you that since my body has birthed 2 and miscarried one, my experiences make me better than you at deciding on whether you should have an abortion or that my mother who’s had at least 15 abortions is “better”/has more insight than either of us on this matter.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@JLeslie Really looking forward to your response. @klutzaroo Thank you for your conversation. I am going to sleep now and look forward to continuing this discussion, if you’d like, with you tomorrow.

JLeslie's avatar

@klutzaroo The flaw I see in your argument is there are plenty of women out there who have no empathy or understand of having to make the decision, because they simply would never abort. Then there are men who can understand that they would not want to be forced by law to do anything with their bodies, and hold the same value for women.

I do understand your point that it is easier for a man to not identify with what being pregnant is like, and one of my huge pet peeves is this idea out there that pregnancy is the most natural thing in the world and nothing ever goes wrong. Left to nature women die all too often. Medical intervention keeps maternal mortality rates down, and even still many women have other minor and major complications when pregnant, and after delivery. But, I believe there are plenty of men you do and can understand the womans position.

faye's avatar

I so agree with @YARNLADY about financial support for mother and child if you are insistent on no abortion. Pro-lifers that make it into media talk the talk but that’s it.

Jaxk's avatar

I sit on the fence on this issue. There are however several points that seem to be ignored in this debate. An abortion affects more than just the mother. If the child is born we have no problem dictating that the father write checks for 18 years. The financial responsibility is shared.

Also one of the opinions in Roe v Wade was based on the fact that no one had ever been indicted for the murder of a fetus. That is no longer true. Scott Peterson is sitting on death Row as a result of the fetus being considered a human life. Murder should not be determined by who did it but rather what was done.

There is no magic associated with the delivery room. The doctor does not breath life into the fetus. The life was already there. The development of the fetus is a continuum from a clump of cells to a viable human being. There is something wrong when the doctor must administer a lethal injection to the fetus to insure it’s not born alive.

Abortion is not an easy issue. And we make it worse by arguing the all or nothing point of view. The Supreme Court tried to make a reasonable decision in Roe v Wade. 1st trimester OK. 2nd trimester state regulation. 3rd trimester only if the life of the mother is in jeopardy. That decision has been bastardized to the point that there are no rules. The all or nothing approach to abortion has created a morass of legal and ethical issues. I can only hope that a little sanity will find it’s way into the discussion. Alas, I hold little hope.

rooeytoo's avatar

I think that if a man has serious reservations or complete aversion to abortion then he should damned well discuss what the feelings of the woman are on the subject before he upzips his pants. In my mind that is his “control” over what happens to a fetus. If he decides to have sex even though the woman is pro-choice then he forfeits his “control.”

I have never known a woman of sound mind who uses abortion as her form of birth control. I have never known a woman of sound mind who did not agonize over the decision to abort.

The bumper sticker says it all for me: “Opposed to abortion??? Then don’t have one.”

If it is made illegal, it will return to the back alleys, it will never disappear. And women will die unnecessarily.

YARNLADY's avatar

I am pro choice, but my slogan is: Make your choice before you make a baby.

iamthemob's avatar

Thank you all. I’ll throw out a couple of things from my perspective:

(1) I see a fundamental problem with the titling of the movement as “pro-life” rather than what it really is – anti-abortion. The position is a legal one, but the arguments are purely moral. Of course, that’s political rhetoric…but it’s completely misleading.

(2) Further, it’s fallacious to argue that legalization of abortions will increase abortions. Abortion is not a preferred method of birth control for everyone – those that have them generally are those who practice safe sex generally and it has failed. This is a known risk, but it indicates that the intent of sexual contact was not reproduction. Pleasure is a result of sex that provides an evolutionary benefit to a species by encouraging it to reproduce. That does not mean that the purpose of sex is reproduction. Therefore, those that seek abortion as an alternative did not intend on becoming parents. To require that an accidental pregnancy one seeks to terminate early in development is, in a vacuum, setting up what may likely be a poor relationship.

(3) Teen pregnancy rates have declined over the past 30 or 40 years steadily, with a few breaks. Much of this is due to the advent of sexual education programs of all sorts, and the push on that due to the AIDS crisis. Teenagers are generally the ones, though, that will make a short-sighted decision in a sexual moment, and therefore would feel the brunt of legislating against abortion. There isn’t a reasonable argument against the inevitable backslide that will result.

(4) As many mentioned, there’s a disconnect between support post-birth and mandates pre-birth. For me, a real pro-life movement would take the millions and millions invested in grass-roots and high-level political organizations to establish non-profit foundations providing health costs for mothers, adoption services, and educational grants to those who find themselves with unwanted or crisis pregnancies. I feel there should be an imperative in the movement to shift from a “you can’t do this perspective” to a “we can help you” one.

@psychocandy – I agree that the government should have no right to legislate what we do with our bodies generally. However, there should be some oversight to the doctor-patient relationship as an extension of that.

@crisw – I agree that the legal choice should be up to the mother. Providing a legal “in” for the biological father – for instance, mandating that he agree before an abortion is performed – brings in practical issues (what if it’s uncertain prior to a time when the fetus is viable?) as well as makes if functionally no different, but instead of the government making a across the board about whether a woman will be forced to, essentially, incubate a child she doesn’t want and instead makes it the decision of the father. In either case there is a force yielded.

I don’t agree, however, with the statement that the father could have made a decision or discussed the issue of conception prior to actually having sex. Rarely is this going to happen, and even more rare will parties be able to really tell how they would feel when confronted with this situation. The a priori assessment of what would be done in no way may match up with all of the associated feelings when something hypothetical becomes fact.

@Simone_De_Beauvoir – when you say woman vs. fetus, what are you conceiving in terms of fetus? If it’s a fetus anytime prior to birth, I disagree. The idea that a woman can delay a decision or change her mind at any point during a pregnancy negates the consideration of a balanced interest between the child and the mother – because at viability, it does become difficult to conceptually separate the idea of an abortion from the idea of dashing a newborn on the rocks.

@Jaxk – I believe that the decision in Roe, regardless of the Constitutional issues surrounding it, is indeed the most reasonable structure to consider. As a side, it’s interesting that in that decision is the idea of the trimester concept of development – it’s a legal rather than a medical standard, in actuality.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jaxk About insuring the fetus is not born alive. The fetus may survive for an extremely short time, but is not viable outside of the womb. When a baby is born at 8 or 9 months you can lay it down in a crib and watch it breath, wiggle, and make faces, without having to do anything to keep it alive. It is its’ own independent self perserving being. The law states something like once a baby is outside of the mother, born, then ending its life is killing it, so if a mother is aborting by birthing the baby, then once born, technically everyone is not supposed to just sit back and watch it struggle and die. Although, actually that happens even in non-abortion situations. Babies are born (I am not talking abortion here) known not to be able to survive, and people wait for the baby to die. Or, desperate measures can be taken, for no rational reason. My girlfriends, who is a Baptist and pro-life works in neonatal intensive care, and she said she would never try to save a 5 month fetus of her own, and when she sees these parents put extremely premature babies through hell, and then those children have significant disabilities if they survive, she thinks it is awful. I know I am talking about two issues here, but my point is because of how the law is written, if a woman is aborting we want to make sure it is dead.

iamthemob's avatar

@JLeslie – Agreed that there is a difference between a child born viable and a child born viable and likely to survive. That’s part of the reason why from a legal standpoint support, as a general federal stance, the Roe decision.

I have a problem with comparing, however, a second-trimester abortion with crisis birth around the same time. You recognized this, but I think it’s relevant that it’s the mother’s decision to terminate the pregnancy rather than an accident. Indeed, miscarriage or birth at an early month is more like an accidental pregnancy more than abortion at the same level of development. My problem is that in these cases it’s not the same as making an early decision. It’s not about, for me, the rights of the mother or child at that point – it’s more about there being a sense of brutality surrounding the procedure. Therefore, I think that there need to be additional and significant reasons for termination at the later stage. And at that point I think state regulation is better.

JLeslie's avatar

@iamthemob As I said above, I too care about viability. I am only in favor of late abortion in the case of a problem with the fetus. Genetic abnormality and significant developmental defect. I know two people who aborted when they discovered their fetus would never survive. One basically had no brain, and the other I can’t remember the problem. The one with almost no brain, the parents were Catholic, and they thought they were a pro-life couple, who had tried for months to get pregnant. When they found out the wife wanted an abortion, she wanted it over, out of her, and wanted to being able to start trying to get pregnant again. In Memphis is cannot get an abortion past 14 weeks, so she had to travel to Little Rock, stay over night. Her family lives in Little Rock, she almost didn’t tell them, because she feared their ridicule. They were extremely understanding, supportive, and helped her. I would love to know if anyone in their church knows what happened and if they still vote pro-life.

Some pro-life people have exceptions where they think abortion is ok, but the truth is, when there is an air of abortion being killing and immoral, and doctors have their lives threatened and are killed, it means fewer doctors might be willing to perform, or even learn the procedure. Again, she could not get her abortion after 14 weeks even though it was impossible for the fetus to live. She was at the mercy of the medical system.

Recently a nun was excommuncated for helping a women get an abortion who had 3 or 4 children already (can’t remember how many) and this pregnancy threatened the mothers life. Growing up my mom always said, don’t go to a Catholic hospital they will save the baby over the mother.

iamthemob's avatar

@JLeslie – I agree. I definitely think that one of the problems is approaching legality as a moral issue, and it’s particularly troubling when it’s couched as an issue of killing.

Where it gets muddled for me is, as mentioned, the issue of brutality. The later in term the procedure is done, the more, essentially, violent it becomes – physically and emotionally, and on all parties involved (I do not consider the fetus, necessarily, as part of the equation).

I consider it to be better characterized through the lens of responsible decision making. That may be merely a semantic or rhetorical shift in the end…but I think that in terms of communicating the issues, I find it to be an important one.

JLeslie's avatar

@iamthemob The tricky part is amnio is done rather late, so the woman who is pregnant may not have the information necessary to make a decision until late. Some things, like the brain trouble I mentioned, I think is was discovered right around 13 or 14 weeks on ultrasound, but by the time she got another opinion and decided, she was outside of the 14 week window for Memphis.

I think maybe it is two separate issues, a womans right to abort and euthanasia. Once the decision to terminate is decided, then maybe it comes down to what is most humane for the fetus? But, that is after the mother’s health in my opinion. But, there is no reason we can’t have both of those things, they are not mutually exclusive. Tricky again, because once we start using language like humane and terminating the fetus, rather than terminating the pregnancy, pro-lifers can latch onto that.

iamthemob's avatar

@JLeslie – I think that’s one of the practical issues that plays well into it as a responsibility issue. Deciding later on to abort because of information previously outside what could have been known is still being responsible as you’re taking all information into account.

Of course, finding the appropriate way to legislate or regulate that is an issue. And there’s always an issue when you talk about what is an “appropriate reason.” But that’s why a “first trimester legal floor” is a good standard from a federal perspective, as it allows the states to be, in essence, the legislative and regulatory laboratories they were meant to be.

That’s another part of my problem with abortion legislation on a federal level. The pro-life stance seems inherently anti-state’s rights to me.

JLeslie's avatar

@iamthemob Pro-life seems anti states rights? That is ironic to me. I think of those pro-lifers as using states rights to take away a womens right to abort.

Actually viability and amnio kind of fit neatly together for now with our technology.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@iamthemob You said ”(1) I see a fundamental problem with the titling of the movement as “pro-life” rather than what it really is – anti-abortion. The position is a legal one, but the arguments are purely moral. Of course, that’s political rhetoric…but it’s completely misleading.”

While I agree sometimes, there really is a difference between the two. I know a few pro-life people that seem more on the pro-choice side of things than the anti-abortion side of things. There really are two different groups here. There are the pro-lifers that call themselves pro-life because they would never get an abortion themselves (because they are afraid if they call themselves pro-choice it would tell people that they would be okay with personally having an abortion when they wouldn’t) and there are the people that are pro-life and think everyone else should be and they think abortions should be illegal (they should be calling themselves anti-abortion at that point). There are all kinds of reasons people choice a certain label for themselves, and I think it’s important to look beyond just the label.

I personally have no problem with someone that is pro-life for themselves. Whenever I am looking at political candidates, I look beyond just their pro-life/pro-choice status and look at where they stand on Roe v. Wade. There are many pro-life candidates that don’t really desire to change Roe v. Wade, while there are many that are very adamant that they want to repeal Roe v. Wade. I will never, never vote for anyone that wants to repeal Roe v. Wade.

From my research, it seems like a lot of states take the mother’s health into consideration as well as the health of the fetus (meaning if the fetus has a severe, life-threatening abnormality) that would allow abortions. Some states have laws that it must be done within a specific time frame, while others do not. Here is the Kansas law:

As long as fetus is not viable (and mother’s informed consent obtained); abortion of viable fetus permitted if 2nd M.D. certifies that abortion is necessary to preserve life of mother or fetus has severe, life-threatening deformity or abnormality

So while it does require a 2nd doctor certifying that what the first doctor is saying is true, it can be done.

As far as your comment about the father having some right to negate the woman’s right to choose an abortion, I’m sorry, but I don’t think that should ever happen. I think it really stinks that it would come to that, but I don’t think a man should be able to tell a woman that she has to carry a baby to term when she doesn’t want to. I do think there should be an out for men that don’t want the baby though. I feel bad that men don’t have the abortion option that a woman does in order to avoid becoming a parent and all the responsibility that comes with it. Unfortunately, I don’t really have a good plan for this out because the one I had originally thought of could easily be abused. Originally, I thought the man should have the same timeframe as a woman to decide if she wanted to abort. Basically, if the man wanted the female to abort, but she refused, they could get something legally drawn up that states she understands she is choosing to do this alone. Sure it sucks for her to be a single parent, but in reality, she’s choosing to do so (in my opinion) by keeping a baby when the father has asked her to abort it because he’s not ready. I mean, women can make the choice to abort against the fathers wishes, I think men should have a way out as well in the beginning. By doing this, the man would be relinquishing all of his rights though, and not be allowed back in the child’s life. I could see this being abused because I could see some men doing this every time the got a woman pregnant and using it as a way to not need to use condoms or not care about birth control, so obviously this idea has it’s flaws and I wish I had a better way for it to work.

iamthemob's avatar

@Seaofclouds – I totally agree that pro-life is a label that doesn’t describe a general attitude of all who take it. But in the political and legal arenas, where it really matters, the pro-life stance has much less to do with being an affirmation of life but rather a campaign against legalized abortion. This is why I think it’s profoundly misleading. I assume nothing (or try to) about someone when they claim they’re pro-life.

In the political and legal arenas, therefore, stating that you are pro-life is an uninformative stance.

As a note – I think you’ve misinterpreted my stance on the father issue. My stance is that it’s just as improper to require the fathers approval in individual circumstances as to have the state decide across the board. In both cases it’s allowing third-party dominion over a personal choice of the internal workings and health of the mother.

We are in agreement that it’s completely, from a legal perspective, the woman’s choice whether or not to have an abortion up to a certain point, which is where it gets gray for me from a legal perspective. And I think that if that’s the legal case, then laws mandating child support for the child from the father must be limited to fathers who do not waive parental rights to the child within a certain period on reasonable notice of the pregnancy. I also think that the father should be able to waive rights upon notice of potential health problems in a child which would allow the woman to abort during a later term. I don’t think it should be something written up – this can be a standard administrative waiver.

There is one complication. There are certain things, let’s say Down Syndrome, that if there’s a discovery of the possibility or a clear answer that the child will have it, should not be allowed to “reopen” a window of decision in my opinion. There are cases, therefore, where a father may be learning about the pregnancy and the disability at the same time, and theoretically be able to waive rights and avoid financial responsibility because, although willing to be a parent, not willing to take on that responsibility. Such cases would be rare, I believe, and could be handled on a case-by-case basis through common law refinement.

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

I think you’re misreading or misinterpreting the Pro-Life stand. The hard core pro-life lobby believe that the fetus (from the moment of conception) is a human life. As such should be protected by law. Killing that life is murder. Abortion is merely the most common tool employed to kill that life. It is about pro-life.

There was a case last year (I think) about a girl that was both pregnant and a crack addict. Her doctor told he that if she didn’t stop using crack the baby would die. She didn’t, it did. The doctors concluded the still born was a direct result of her crack usage. The local prosecutor charged her with murder (it dropped out of the news). I don’t know if this went to trial or if the charges were dropped but the prosecutor’s point was a pro-life position not an anti-abortion position.

I think your anti-abortion label is more a way to justify your argument than any real distinction.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@rooeytoo I forget if you and I already discussed this but in many other cultures including Russia (in some decades past) abortion was/is birth control and they are all of sound mind. Condoms, apparently, are so hated by men, they don’t give a shit if their women cut themselves up trying to prevent children from being born.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@iamthemob We have to draw the line somewhere. I draw it as being unable to live without its mother as someone who doesn’t have the same rights as the mother. A potential for life isn’t the same as life.

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk

I don’t really think that I am – it’s about demanding accuracy from the statement from a political and legal perspective.

Stating that your position is pro-life does very little to say anything – I don’t know very many who are anti-life. If it’s pro anything, then it would be pro-birth. That would be a more accurate…and for me acceptable framing.

But, and I do generalize here, you will find many expressing a pro-life stance are in favor of the death penalty. The idea of the death penalty negates any pro-life message, as it precludes the possibility of growth from horrific tragedy. That’s inherently anti-life, and so there’s an internal hypocrisy in the usage.

So, it’s not about my argument necessarily – it’s about whether saying one is pro-life is more about rallying and rhetoric than it is about expressing a true and coherent political or legal position. It can be described any number of ways, but pro-life is deceptive when you look at most of the campaigns generally, as the movement is only about birth, and about outlawing abortion.

@Simone_De_Beauvoir – well…let’s address that. We’re pretty much on the same page I think – but it really depends on what viability means. If there is a high probability of healthy survival outside the womb with some medical intervention, then I think that’s viability. The details of it should be explored, but if it’s a manner of a week or two of development, I would be in favor of setting a ban on late-term barring specific crisis situations earlier in the pregnancy rather than later.

rooeytoo's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir – I said “I” have never known anyone of sound mind (because I do know a mentally challenged woman, I hope that is politically correct enough, who alternates between having the children and putting them up for adoption, keeping them herself until the government steps in and puts them in foster care and abortion) who uses abortion as a means of birth control. I was not aware of it being part of a culture but when men rule a woman’s body, anything can happen.

That is why, in this enlightened day and age, I believe that if a man is so concerned about his rights regarding abortion, then as I stated above, keep your damned pants zipped. @iamthemob thinks that is not practical so I assume he is a man.

iamthemob's avatar

@rooeytoo – If women are so concerned about getting pregnant, then they should keep their legs crossed.

- but really, what? It takes two to tango – I don’t think I ever said that a man should have equal say in the decision from a legal standpoint. I don’t see where at any point I argued that a father should be able to have input into the legal ability to obtain an abortion….

Stating that if you’re so concerned with your rights, don’t get involved, is a non-starter.

And whether or not I’m male or female, it doesn’t have anything to do with whether I’m a feminist. It also has nothing to do with whether I’d ever find myself in a situation where I got someone unintentionally pregnant. ;-)

rooeytoo's avatar

@iamthemob – If men are so concerned about their input on the abortion question, then they should not have sex with a woman who does not share their feelings. Men complain that they have no control, I am saying that is where they have the ultimate control, deciding where their sperm goes.

If a woman is allowed to access an abortion by the most likely male ruling group, then the ball is in her court. You saying women should keep their legs together is not relevant here. But I do agree with that theory. On numerous occasions questions have been posed in Fluther asking when should I have sex. My answer is always the same, when you are ready to be a parent because there is no 100% sure form of birth control.

I also think that if culture stopped telling young males it is manly to fuck every female you can and instead give the message that you could become a dad and that is a big responsibility, and once the sperm leaves your body you have no control, perhaps the whole attitude would change and this question would become less important. Young females should also be given the message that getting and keeping a man is not the ultimate goal in life. This one question leads to so many other areas of interest.

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

With that reasoning prochoice would allow a mother to kill their baby at vitually any point. If the brat at 5 years old is raising hell then they can choose to kill it. Otherwise you would have to argue it’ s not pro choice, it’s pro abortion. Sounds like you’re struggling with a way to legitimize your argument but twisting the semantics isn’t it.

iamthemob's avatar

@rooeytoo – I 100% agree that the legal question of whether to have the baby has nothing to do with the father. But there are two practical issues that make this valid: (1) many states mandate child support even when tricked into getting someone pregnant (which, although rare, has happened) and therefore there are inescapable legal consequences for a man based on the decision of the mother, which although not the level of intrusion on rights that mandated child birth is for women, but is still a rights issue, and (2) fathers arguing for a say in a legal context are nominally those who want to take care of the child, and to have all the possibilities of fatherhood taken from you by the decision of another – in fact, the mother of the children – must reasonably, in some cases, feel like murder to them.

Neither outweigh the rights of the woman to not be used as an incubator by others, I think. But there’s risk associated with getting in a car at much the same level as we discuss regarding accidental pregnancy and dealing with the consequences of sex. But people drive, often when it’s unnecessary. We don’t blame them and say “You shouldn’t have gotten in the car in the first place because you knew something could go wrong.” We shouldn’t blame people a priori for not considering parenthood as likely to result from sex either. Sex is awesome, and I feel like that kind of message makes it a scary thing.

@Jaxk

Interesting point. What are your thoughts on the “women’s reproductive rights” lobby? There probably should be something equally clear on the other end…you’re right.

crisw's avatar

@iamthemob

“there’s risk associated with getting in a car at much the same level as we discuss regarding accidental pregnancy and dealing with the consequences of sex. But people drive, often when it’s unnecessary. We don’t blame them and say “You shouldn’t have gotten in the car in the first place because you knew something could go wrong.” ”

The problem with this analogy is that a car doesn’t think. A man should. We can’t excuse behavior just because people do stupid things. That’s an explanation, not an excuse.

The answer is a heck of a lot more sex education, for one thing- it’s appalling how misinformed many people are.

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

“What are your thoughts on the “women’s reproductive rights” lobby?”

I’m not a member. Other than that, I don’t know enough about it to have an opinion.

iamthemob's avatar

@crisw

Both (or all) parties think, either in a sexual encounter or while driving. When we discuss the risks of getting into a car, part of it is even when you behave responsibly, others may not, and they may do so without any knowledge on your part. And even when all act responsibly, there are risks associated with chance that no one can control for. A falling tree branch can lead to an accident, so can a broken condom – or a failed vasectomy, etc.

Sex is not a stupid thing. That’s all we’re talking about. Objectively, it’s a totally natural thing. And I think it’s incredibly concerning that the conversation is about what the man should think. Responsibility about sexual contact is the responsibility of both parties. If there are unintended consequences, a nominal father and a nominal mother may make different choices. However, what either party chooses to do should have minimal impact on the other’s choice from a legal standpoint.

And sex education is absolutely a fundamental factor in reducing unintended consequences. More importantly, though – and this is why I think it’s troubling to use terms such as “stupid” when referring to an unqualified sexual act, is that the education, I think, put forward the social message of female sexual agency. We still have this archaic notion that sex is something men propose, and women allow.

@Jaxk

But you understand the basic legal arguments. As a member of the group falling under federal and state legislation and regulation, legal action that determines what any one person may do with his or her body, along with an overarching social concern for the best interests of a child, you’re indeed a member.

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

I would never belong to any group that would have someone like me as a member.

I understand the arguments on abortion. Exactly what the “women’s reproductive rights lobby” is advocating, I don’t know. The name is a bit too ambigous for me. Are they advocating that their rights should be reproduced, or is it that they want the right to reproduce, Or maybe they just want access to reproductions of art work like the Mona Lisa.

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk

A little tongue in cheek, but clearish. ;-)

I think that maybe the best way to say it, then, is an up front and honest “Right to Terminate.” In context, it would be clear.

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

I’m uncomfortable with ‘Abortion at Will’. I understand the problem when a girl gets pregnant and is not prepared for the consequences. It should not ruin her life. All I ask is that the decision be made timely. Before the fetus is viable. There’s got to be a line we can draw somewhere between the morning after pill and the delivery room that we all can live with.

Abortion destroys lives and the lack of access to abortion destroys lives. There’s no easy answer. I can’t quite accept the “it’s a women’s body and she’ll do what she pleases whenever she pleases”. I aware of most, if not all the arguments on both sides and I’m still on the fence.

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk

Well, I don’t think that anyone is arguing “Abortion at Will.”

In the end, I think it’s then best to just rest on no movement heading – rather, “I support Roe v. Wade.”

In terms of federal legislation, set the bare minimum – the first trimester seems like a good call. Then, it gets muddy – and it goes to the state for anything thereafter.

Leanne1986's avatar

The pro-life movement seems to forget about the millions of orphans in world. I will always be pro-choice at least until there are no more unwanted children. Pro-lifers are quick to tell a woman that she should see the pregnancy through but I wonder how many think about what happens to that child when it is born.

iamthemob's avatar

@Leanne1986

That’s part of my problem, but I don’t think that’s necessarily a basis of a life or choice decision. Much of the pro-life movement really thinks that abortion is really no different than infanticide.

It’s pretty terrifying, from that perspective, to live in a society that legally sanctions that…even appears in some ways to celebrate it. From that perspective, the immediate danger is the many, many number of children that are being killed right now, regardless of the state of adoption.

So I think that’s not really a problem with the movement now that I’ve considered it more…but more of a lost opportunity.

That brings up an interesting point – is it possible to reasonably hold a position that is pro life and yet anti gay adoption when the above is true?

Leanne1986's avatar

@iamthemob Don’t get me wong, that isn’t the only thing that I don’t like about the pro-life movement and it probably isn’t even the worst thing about it in my opinion but other people in this thread had already made many points that I agree with. The gay adoption point is a very good one.

JLeslie's avatar

@iamthemob What you said about comparing it to infanticide…this is why I never try to argues with someone on this topic who believes life begins at conception and is pro-life, because if that is their belief, I think it is very hard for them to get past that for obvious reasons. Well, to say I never argue with them is overstating. If they want to understand my position, I am happy to explain, but I just think they can’t get past it as killing a baby. I can understand to some extent their point of view, I am sympathetic to it.

What does annoy me though is pro-life posters against abortion that talk about killing a baby, and a photo of a bigger than life size beautiful, perfect 9 pound baby. Instead of showing the one inch long, two month fetus, that looks like a sea creature. Or, a few cells that have not even attached yet, for the morning after pill. Again, I respect those people who feel it is human life from the start; but I don’t like when people don’t really know the science. If they know the science and they still are against, fine.

Jaxk's avatar

@Leanne1986

I struggling a little with your point. There is little or no problem with new born adoption. In fact there is a wait list with qualified parents, for newborns. The problems we have are more with the 5–17 year olds. Such as the 10 year old kid sitting in foster care because his parents were sent to jail for child abuse. So unless your point is that that kid should have been aborted, I’m struggling to tie this to the abortion issue.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jaxk Is that true for minority babies?

Jaxk's avatar

@JLeslie

Yes. At least black and Hispanic. There seem to be a skew in the ‘Other’ category but the numbers are quite small.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jaxk I do see your point about adoption and abortion not necessarily being linked. But, in bad families, drug addiction, extreme poverty, or mental illness, if abortion was easy, free, and stigma free, we might see fewer babies born into these families that wind up in the foster system, or available for adoption at older ages. Maybe not, I don’t know for sure. I am just thinking out loud. I don’t know ow those people think. One person on fluther once said that many poor people don’t even know there is such a thing as planning a pregnancy, or family planning in general. I guess you could argue people in that state of dysfunction might not take advantage of getting an abortion even still.

Jaxk's avatar

@JLeslie

You may have an excellent point there. It’s difficult to interpret a lot of the statistics that get thrown around about adoption but there is one that I thought was very interesting. It seems that when looking at single mothers, caucasians are more likely to put up a new born for adoption (almost twice) and the likelihood of giving up the baby, increases with education. I’m not sure exactly how to interpret that but it does seem to play into family planning.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jaxk it seems to be a subculture among blacks, from what others have said. That people actually gain status when they have a baby, unmarried or married. I would think the more educated, the more stigma associated with being an unwed mother at a young age, or stigma associated with not being able to financially support a child. Plus, more educated think about the plight of the mother, not just the baby. No one ever really talks about it, people usually word it in terms of giving the baby a real chance at a proper family, but come on, also the teen mom is going to make it much tougher on herself to finish her education and realize all that she can be.

I would never have given up my baby if I had become pregnant as a teen. It is unthinkable to me. In my observation you have to be groomed with the idea maybe to contemplate it. I guess some come to it on their own, but I think most girls who do it grew up with family and church talking about it. I am not judging them, I think it is an incredibly selfless thing to give up a baby so it might have a better life. If I had become pregnant as a teen, pretty sure I would have had an abortion.

Of course, not all single moms are teens. But, I still think culture and socio-economics plays into that too.

Leanne1986's avatar

@Jaxk Rightly or wrongly I can’t help thinking that if there were less newborns up for adoption maybe the older children would stand more of a chance. That is probably an uneducated opinion, I admit that I don’t know the stats of children in need of homes. My point was: until we can rehome all the orphans in the world (whether they are babies, toddlers, teenagers etc) then I will never judge a woman who decides not to bring yet another child in the world that will be on the “up for adoption” list.

rooeytoo's avatar

@Leanne1986 – I never thought of it from that perspective but how true it rings. I would rather not bring a child into the world than take the chance of it being adopted by the right sort of people. Just because people really want a child does not guarantee they will be good parents.

Leanne1986's avatar

@rooeytoo Too true. Of course, when I said that there are too many orphans in the world and I will be pro-choice until homes are found for all of them, I definitely meant the right type of homes.

crisw's avatar

@Leanne1986

“Rightly or wrongly I can’t help thinking that if there were less newborns up for adoption maybe the older children would stand more of a chance”

Having been in that situation and met lots of potential adoptive parents- I doubt it. Most adoptive parents, frankly, want a normal, healthy baby- or no child at all. Older kids come with a lot of baggage and are at great risk for serious emotional disorders. The kids that aren’t adopted as babies are in foster care for a reason- and have often suffered far too much damage to easily integrate into a normal family. That’s just the facts. Not pleasant facts- but the facts.

crisw's avatar

@Leanne1986

“Just because people really want a child does not guarantee they will be good parents.”

No- but if everyone had to go through what potential adoptive parents go through (at least in California) before they conceived, we would have almost no unwanted, abused children:
• Income check
• Background check with fingerprinting
• Psychological interview
• Income verification
• Home study and survey to determine safety of the home
• Written interview scrutinized by experts
• Heath exam

Jaxk's avatar

@crisw and @Leanne1986

It’s unfortunate that the adoption process is so long and costly. It costs anywhere from $5,000 – $20,000 to adopt. It’s a difficult balancing act to insure the parents are stable without making the process too onerous. Nonetheless, the difficulty and cost of the process is a deterrent to many. I’m not suggesting that it is wrong just that it is a hurdle some can’t clear. Even though they may make excellent parents.

crisw's avatar

@Jaxk

“It costs anywhere from $5,000 – $20,000 to adopt.”

And there’s no guarantee you’ll have a kid at the end of the process. I know people who spent much more than this to adopt- hiring facilitators and the like- and this was often after having spent tens of thousands of dollars on fertility treatments.

JLeslie's avatar

You can adopt for free, or practically nothing, if you adopt from the system. But, the children are usually older, and usually have come from difficult circumstance.

crisw's avatar

@JLeslie

Yeah…the adoption may be free, but what happens afterward can cost quite a bit- emotionally as well as monetarily. Just ask my sister who adopted a bipolar child who, over the years, has threatened her with a knife, destroyed household fixtures, been picked up for shoplifting, etc. Or ask my other sister, who has a little boy with a genetic disorder that has required endless doctor visits and hospital stays- and who may never be independent.

Jaxk's avatar

@crisw

Very true. I low balled the number. An adolencent child is almostr always from difficult circumstances. Even if thier parents died, that would still be difficult circumstances. Most however, have been taken from their parents for some reason.

mattbrowne's avatar

It’s wrong to punish women and doctors.

The focus should be on better sex education and avoiding unwanted pregnancies.

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