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Women’s Bodies Held Hostage = Election Year


2-day-old human embryo (zygote)

It’s election time, so once again, just like the swallows coming home to Capistrano and geese flying South for the Winter, women’s bodies are being held hostage. It’s predictable.

One of the first signs this election cycle was when word came that Obama voted to not give life-saving measures to babies who survive late-term abortions. Have you ever heard of such a thing? Obviously, this was a vote to assuage his potential evangelical voter base. However, after Sarah Palin entered the race, those voters, knowing they now had the real deal, swung back to McCain, whom they were hesitant to support previously. Obama’s vote “No” was meant as a protest against late term abortion. So, then if life prevailed, kill it anyway? This makes no sense whatsoever.

A more recent sign of the “election-year women’s-bodies-as-hostage cycle” is the news that Rep. Nancy Pelosi would be given some schoolin’ on Catholic Cathechism by the San Francisco Archdiocese. It seems that the House Speaker made some controversial statements about abortion following Sarah Palin’s VP nom. Nancy was trying to show that although she’s Catholic, she’s pro-choice, so as to distinguish herself from the smarmy pro-life Palin who would have us revert to back room abortions. To Nancy, her choice about choice was as plain as day, but the Catholic Church thought otherwise: her views approached heresy. It was even suggested that perhaps Pelosi should not be offered Holy Communion if she was going to be that way. The uproar is due to Pelosi’s statement that she didn’t know when life begins, and that no one, even the Catholic Church, can know for certain.

The Church has replied: oh no you dit-‘nt. The Church has stated unequivocally that life begins at conception.

Now, I’m going to state something very, very controversial for a pro-choicer: I agree in part with the Catholic Church — life begins at conception. You know those carriers of life, the swimming little sperm and the big egg? Ever see them under a microscope, magnified, like on film? They pulse, they move, they form a zygote whose cells multiply and divide. The zygote beats with the mother’s heart, and grows into an embryo as it receives nutrients. What the heck else do you call it? Any woman who’s carried a fetus, whether it’s been born or aborted, feels the life within her. Way beyond religion, to call it anything but life defies scientific definition.

I’ve done a lot, I mean a lot, of transformational work in the process of becoming a body-centered therapist. I’ve literally experienced my parents’ emotional and psychological states leading up to my conception. Let’s just say they weren’t happy and knew as soon as they got married that they didn’t want to be together. They were among those post-war couples who “stayed together for the kids.” So my personal work, which has taken a long time, years, has been to unburden myself from that first cause of being a burden, somebody’s fault for being stuck together. Please, don’t worry. I’m fine.

So why am I delving into my past in this oh-so-revealing way? Yes, this is anecdotal, but I’ve seen it over and over again in my clients — the affect of one or both parents being unhappy during pregnancy and perinatally. Any psychologist can tell many of these stories. Although science has barely caught up, our memory, our life experience lives in our bodies. I am saying that our cells, the zygote, the fetus, are conscious.

Here comes the really controversial part: anyone who’s ever had an abortion knows that she is terminating the life of a baby. Otherwise, it would just be like having a period. Bloop and that’s it. There wouldn’t be the severe emotionally distraught feelings of fear, guilt, sadness, and trauma. Although we are determined to have that choice, who has ever had an abortion and felt happy about it? The fact of the matter is: a woman knows she is choosing to end a life AND that it is her choice.

Have you ever heard this point? No. Instead a woman is forced to either deny that she is ending a life when she has an abortion, or if she admits to herself, God, and Country that she is ending a life, then abortion must cease to be available. Isn’t that what the entire debate has been about — forever? So, Nancy Pelosi, by gosh, you did do something while in Congress! You made me come out about this topic. I say that both are true, and I stand by my right to choose, over and above all.

Of course, as we all know, if men had babies, it wouldn’t even be a discussion. Birth control and every other thing about reproduction, pregnancy, birth, and abortion would be highly studied, bought and paid for, and designed for his maximum empowerment, comfort, and control. And life would begin at birth, including for the Catholic Church, although I guess women would be running it.

Women I know, who lived on my same long-time hippy commune, where our policy was “don’t have an abortion,” are now staunchly pro-choice like me. Our solution back then was: instead, carry the baby to full-term, and if upon giving birth you still don’t want it, a family will take care of it for you. If you ever decide you want the baby or child back, you can have it. Of course, this policy created its own set of problems, but it tried to solve the “life vs. abortion, preggers but don’t want the child” conundrum.

So, yes, it’s election year, and women’s bodies are once again being held hostage. And so are our brains. We have to pretend that a sperm, egg, zygote, and fetus are dead, so we can do what we want to do with our bodies and the life we create that grows within us. Running for top office, basically, we have four pro-lifers, who say they won’t impose their views on their governance. Their churches would have them do otherwise. (Disclaimer: as a Jew, I don’t claim to know a thing about the Catholic Church or any other.)

As could be expected, during the campaign Obama once again voted present with his statement that determining when life begins “is above [his] paygrade.” Well, he was caught in a woman’s situation, because he was speaking at evangelical, Rick Warren’s forum, and didn’t want to alienate either side of his lady voter base. He actually was right: it is above his paygrade, but that doesn’t excuse his choosing ambiguity for expediency’s sake. As a Democrat, he was expected to come down on the side of pro-choice, but then how could he in that venue and not be cast out?

Pro-choice leaders, orgs, and Democrats are threatening that we run for our lives, because a woman’s right to choose will be removed from the table if the Repubs win, what with SCOTUS conservative appointees and all. Pro-life women are happy, because a woman of their own beliefs may come to national power, and life at conception might be recognized. Either way, women have to fake it once again. If we admit that we’re harboring life and abort, we’re baby-killers, murderers, plain and simple. This would make repeal of Roe v. Wade a foregone conclusion. If we divorce our brains from our bodies so as to simulate a dead zone, well then, I guess we’re alright. I don’t know about you, but doesn’t making judgments and taking control of women’s bodies remind you of how it was for us during those Salem witch-huntin’ days?

Not pretty, but in the end, who bears the responsibility, the shame, the guilt? Whose bodies and lives are at stake and held hostage because of it? You guessed it. This is a messy deal, this living thing and all.

Although a bit of a jog off the path, a few more things about the judgmental attitudes that other people make about bodies and lives not their own: We exist on living things — whether a plant or an animal. Anyone who’s ever raised an animal, or had a pet for that matter, knows they’re conscious. Many gardeners speak to their plants, and research studies show that plants respond to music and human emotion. Gardeners would agree. Whatever we eat has to die so that we may live. If we rid ourselves of pesky pests like bugs, rodents, or wildlife, we are killing. If we go to war or order others to go, we may end up taking a life or helping others to do so. Buddhists would have us not kill at all. In choosing what we eat and how we live, we are also choosing whether something or someone will live or will die.

In other words, to judge women as reckless for a choice about their own bodies denies the fact that in each moment we make life and death decisions.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

[cross-posted from Lady Boomer NYC]

279 Responses

  1. Wow, LadyBoomer. What a thought-provoking post! Thank you so much for writing it.

  2. I’m nobody’s hostage!

  3. Madamab, You’re welcome!
    myshiba: LOL, Yes!

  4. Wehn I can take a man to jail for not having my permission to ejaculate inside of me, THEN I’ll be able to sit down and listen to the “pro-life” debate at least once.

    Great post LadyBoomer!

  5. There wouldn’t be the severe emotionally distraught feelings of fear, guilt, sadness, and trauma.

    This is a very old RTL talking point meant to frighten. I have never seen any research on it and personally I don’t believe it.

    If you stop to think about it, sperm is alive. Remember all those biblical injunctions against “spilling your seed on the ground”? And how many people feel guilty about , uh, ahem, auto-eroticism?….just sayin’.

  6. Life doesn’t BEGIN with conception, life CONTINUES with conception.

    The egg and sperm are very much alive, and just a continuance of the lives of the bodies of the female and male.

    Life BEGAN a very very long time ago.

    The only REAL question is whether we let it continue in a certain form or not. There is constant dying of life, everywhere. In us, outside of us, everywhere. So, the question is who decides what to do with which particular life. Do we let others decide on our lives, which can go both ways? If we are forced to give birth, then isn’t it possible to be forced to not give birth? If we have no control over that, then it can be controlled in many different ways.

    Who controls us? Do we have REAL freedom, or not?

  7. (thinking hard)

    So, if life begins at conception, then a woman who aborts a baby is a murderer?

    Just trying to understand where this argument gets us ladies.

  8. There are a few things here worth considering:

    – you are not required to donate organs to save the life of another.
    – pregnancy is donating your entire body for 10 months.
    – young, single women are ostrisized for being pregnant – see Palin
    – women still die giving birth

    The bottom line is that our choices are about our privacy not when life begins.

  9. The only time I’ve ever bee pregnant was with my PUMA cub.

    Her dad is a lying sleazy sack of shit and I considered having an abortion because I knew that eventually I’d be a single mom.

    I became more PRO-choice more than ever as a result of that. I never want a woman to have to be forced to deal with something neither she and/or her body can’t handle.

  10. Oh, and I agree with you, Nijma. How many studies have been done that tell us whether it is the norm to be distraught? Personally, I know women for whom it was an incredible relief to not continue a pregnancy. Does that count?

    There is also the question of how many have been distraught at CONTINUING a pregnancy to term. Do they do studies on that, or is it just marked off to “hormones” or some such dismissal? If a woman is not happy being a mother, do they count that? Since women do most of the child abuse (they are more often “stuck” with taking care of the children, so are more often abusive compared to men) wouldn’t that be showing they are distraught at having carried to term?

    I would love to have some REALLY unbiased studies done, that didn’t want to push motherhood as the best thing since sliced bread. Perhaps then more support for mothers would happen in the business world and society.

  11. jjm – Yes, I have to agree with you there. I don’t see how this is a winning argument for women.

    Sorry LadyBoomer – maybe you can help me understand? I’m probably missing your point.

  12. Nijma, on October 2nd, 2008 at 3:27 pm Said: (quoting post)

    ‘There wouldn’t be the severe emotionally distraught feelings of fear, guilt, sadness, and trauma.’

    “This is a very old RTL talking point meant to frighten. I have never seen any research on it and personally I don’t believe it.”

    Nijma: Perhaps it’s used as a talking point, but in my personal and anecdotal experience, many women have these feelings around making this decision and going through the process.

  13. madamab
    So, if life begins at conception, then a woman who aborts a baby is a murderer?

    By the same token, if we are fighting this war in Iraq for oil, and killing innocent people, then driving a car conceivably makes me a murderer.

    Some interesting thoughts Lady Boomer

  14. Hi everyone. My morale is low.

    I have been in the trenches with the Obamabots.

    I should just be realistic. Jerk Obama is going to win. The polls look abysmal. My life this year was all planned out. I knew Hillary would be the nominee. How did this happen?

    I feel so anxious for Sarah. I hope she does well. The Obamabots are so nasty. Why? They are up in the polls, yet they spew hate.
    When Obama walks into the White House in January I will curl up in bed and watch old movies.

    Sorry,I am not happy today.


  15. “Perhaps it’s used as a talking point, but in my personal and anecdotal experience, many women have these feelings around making this decision and going through the process.”

    In my personal experience, many women only feel relief. So, we have contradictory personal experiences, don’t we.

    The key issue is: Do we FORCE women to choose one path or another? Can they voluntarily choose what they want?

    If they are allowed to choose, then we are pro-choice, if not, then we are pro-forcing.

  16. Life…. viral life … bacterial life… cellular life plant life … animal life… human life ….lots of levels of life
    I dont believe human life begins at conception .. these are one of those questions with no answer , and I think our choices extend to when lfe begins as well ..
    Some belief systems include the idea that the spirit of the unborn child lives with a mother from before birth until she bears that child , and that some spirits are only here temporarily .. trying earth out and the womb .. so to speak … perhaps several times before they decide to grow to maturity ..

  17. AAAG – Obama will not win. Do you know how far up John Kerry was at this point?

    Please. Enough with the doom and gloom. We have a month!

  18. There wouldn’t be the severe emotionally distraught feelings of fear, guilt, sadness, and trauma.’

    The thing is that a woman can feel all those emotions and incredible relief that the pregnancy is over.
    As the inestimable madamab might say, ooh, nuance.”

  19. Actually, the first Buddhist precept is “Affirm life do not kill”, but it is understood that it is impossible to keep that precept because in order to affirm your own life, you must kill. They also chant, “The Buddha way is unattainable. I vow to attain it”. It is part of the karmic wheel of life which is impossible to escape through our choices.

  20. I actually agree with all of you. Addendum to what I just wrote about women’s feelings: I absolutely agree it is also a relief to have the option when you want it.

    My point is simple: either way, women are vilified and saddled with making the difficult decision, when their pregnancy doesn’t happen by egg alone.

    Mostly, I’m talking about the dilemma of either having to take the PC stance that if we choose to uphold abortion by law, we have to pretend that this life doesn’t exist within, or choose at what month life or consciousness begins, or be told by pro-lifers that we’re baby killers. I’m merely raising the idea that either way, we have to fake it and disown part of ourselves.

  21. slim –

    By the same token, if we are fighting this war in Iraq for oil, and killing innocent people, then driving a car conceivably makes me a murderer.

    How are those two statements equivalent in any way?

    Is the car inside my body?

    It is almost impossible to live one’s life without consuming oil these days. However, it is possible to live one’s life without becoming pregnant or having an abortion.

  22. Do see the latest McCain ad on Biden: Embarass

    Gotta give them that. They do good ads.

  23. LB – I’m starting to understand your point…

    I’m merely raising the idea that either way, we have to fake it and disown part of ourselves.

    I guess that’s the part I’m having some trouble with. If I feel that a baby is not a baby until it can survive outside the womb, and I decide to have an abortion before it can do so, then I would not have to fake or disown anything.

    Your thoughts, LB?

  24. swanspirit, mawm, SweetSue — good points. I agree.

  25. OT – why did Edwards decide to run if he knew that his secret would be revealed?

  26. OMG that was funny …

    Maybe he will Send Hillary in his place HahAHAHAHAHA

    I do want a President with a sense of humor and we KNOW bo doesnt have one

  27. Regency – That’s funny!

    I think they really want people to watch the debate tonight. They are very confident in Sarah’s ability, it seems.

  28. It all begins and ends with religion. It is when religious views enter the dialogue that the issue takes on a whole new meaning. Most religions place women in a subservient role. As such, the right to choose is forever being threatened. For an example, the Catholic Church forbids women priests. Birth control was once taught as being a mortal sin and the practictoner’s soul would be cast into hell for all eternity if attempts were made to prevent conception. Men who knowingly had sex with wives who took the pill were equally set upon with the same fate. Total nonsense.

    It is the religious views that interfere with the right to choose. Condemnation, fear of hell everlasting, speaking as if they know personally what God wants, is what leads this debate.

    If we keep in mind that religion is manmade and those edicts are often parsed and sliced to fit the occasion, then we can be certain that no God speaks to us directly. As a result, our conscience and the necessity of decision is left to us alone. The right to choose is essential to all women.

    All children are not a burden nor are they always a blessing no matter who tells us differently. All children need to be nurtured and love but some children often are not. All children need to be welcomed and nourished but some children are not. To have a child is a personal decision and should not be forced upon society because of religious consideration.

    We all have to make our way in this world and our decisions should be ours to make without bowing to religious doctrine What you believe is your own business but forcing it upon me is a violation of my right as a human being to decide for myself.

    Until that worldview is adopted this debate will continue to rage on.

  29. Regency, on October 2nd, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    I don’t like it. His recent ads haven’t been that good.

  30. Well-said as usual, PJ!

  31. LadyBoomerNYC–this is a wonderful piece. I’ve been in both positions. I will not let either party use my uterus as ammunition. I am that person who will encourage choosing life because of the joy my daughter has brought into my life, but I will take the same woman to the clinic because I know that she’ll be better off not having to deal with the lifelong ties to the child’s father, let alone the financial and emotional problems. This is why women were chosen to be the ones who became pregnant. We’re not going to automatically choose what is expedient at the time. Guilt! How it continually shapes our lives.

  32. Ooh, madamab, you just got my number! Yes, it has been my life long belief that “life” begins when a baby can survive outside of the womb.

    Still, I stand firm on the right to the privacy of a woman to decide when she will donate her body to the life of a baby.

  33. My attitude is that: life begins at conception. SO WHAT? What the hell does that have to do with anything? Lots of things are alive, adn we kill them with the greatest cheerfulness, including adult humans who make actual demands on us or who have the misfortune to hold a passport that’s just like one held by someone who did something bad to our country one time.

    It’s alive. Of COURSE it’s alive. Conscious? Nope, sorry. But alive? Sure. SO WHAT? So are cancer cells.

    And I also have to shake my head at the severe emotional trauma and hideous awfultude of having had an abortion. I’ve known women who had them and were wistful about it because they wanted a kid eventually, just not right then. I’ve known women who got up frmo the abortion feeling nothing but bald-faced hysterical relief, and they found the experience actualyl empowering, dirty and shocking though it may be to say it, because it taught them that they aren’t at the mercy of their bodies like women and girls are taught all our lives. It can be hard to love your c*unt when you’re told your whole life that it is like a steak hanging off your body in a shark tank and there’s nothing you can do about it.

    Besides, even if it is a tough things to do — that’s another so what to me. Abortion hurts emotionally. So does putting an aging parent with Alzheimer’s into a care home. So does euthanizing a dying beloved pet.

    You know why that is? Because sometimes doing the right thing still hurts. That’s LIFE.

  34. Most religions place women in a subservient role.

    Because the religious tomes were written by men.

  35. madamab — Perhaps the point is when consciousness begins — in some way, our cells have consciousness. No easy answers here, nothing I can prove. More like an eternal dilemma.

    There’s an old Isaac Bashevis Singer tale where angels are reunited by being born. Something like, if I understood correctly, what swanspirit may have been suggesting at 3:43pm: “Some belief systems include the idea that the spirit of the unborn child lives with a mother from before birth until she bears that child, and that some spirits are only here temporarily .. trying earth out and the womb .. so to speak … perhaps several times before they decide to grow to maturity ..”

  36. Okay, madamab

    I will shape up thanks for the encouragement.

  37. why did Edwards decide to run if he knew that his secret would
    be revealed?

    for the same reason Gary Hart dared the media to follow him and then screwed around. He’s a dumbass.

  38. TheRealKim – Word, sistah!

    LadyBoomer’s post has inspired me to write something I started a while ago….thank you again, LB!

  39. I love it when madamab gets “inspired”! Something good this way comes!

  40. PJ – I got a great suggestion from SOD on my blog, too…but it’s one of these things that will have to wait for a while…

  41. Pat Johnson, on October 2nd, 2008 at 3:53 pm Said:

    “It all begins and ends with religion. . . .”

    And all the rest: well said.

    I wonder how things were 10,000 years ago in the Minoan culture when, I’ve heard, women ruled co-equally with men?

  42. I really wanted to vote for McKinney but when I researched her and her views, I realized she can go off on a tangent with the conspiracy theories.

  43. Try reading some Brian Weiss about the subject of when a “soul” enters into the body of a child still in utero. Back to the subject of men. At the risk of sounding like a man-hater (which I’m not, I just don’t like hypocrisy), they sure don’t have a problem killing on the battlefield. Most of the women I’ve seen in abortion clinics are taken there by a man who is making sure he’s not on the hook financially for the next 18 years. I’ve never seen one bodily insert himself between the mother and the clinic door. Never. I don’t choose to feel guilty about the choice I made either 25 years ago, or 15 years ago. Judgment/guilt is only a hat to be worn by those who choose to. I stand by both of my decisions.

  44. LB – Have you read “The Chalice and The Blade?”

    By Riane Eisler. It talks about those cultures. As far as she can tell, it was a pretty good system.

  45. All Afro American Gal

    Chin up! Polls last presidential time said we’d have Kerry … just do right for yourself! and come and hang with likeminded folks when you need to!!!

  46. TheRealKim, madamab — second it, word! I look forward to seeing what you’ll cook up next.

    Irlandese, on October 2nd, 2008 at 3:55 pm Said:
    “I’ve been in both positions. I will not let either party use my uterus as ammunition. . . .”

    Mmm, beautifully put about the choices we face and how each situation is different and how each makes sense, depending.

  47. Mawm – Fox News makes me laugh. People would not comment on her mental state. LOL!

    I think she’s probably wrong, but do people have to call her crazy?

  48. An unwanted child does not need to hear the words expressed aloud to know that he/she was unwanted. Often benign neglect says it as loudly as severe physical abuse.

  49. Very thoughtful post, Lady. I’m sure it took some deep breathing to hit the “send” button to post.

    I think that much trauma and distress over abortion comes from not accepting that, as women, we are the life givers and death givers. Womb to tomb – whether the end is an abortion or, if full a full term child is delivered, a child is still delivered to death – eventually. The immediacy of death at time of abortion is usually not present at the time of a full term birth of a child. But death is there, nonetheless.

    Life IS and Death is one of the incredible facets and complexities of the creativity of Life. Making choices and engaging with Life is not always easy and most definitely, not for the faint hearted. Being able to make choices means not being held hostage to any system, political or spiritual. And it takes courage.

  50. this is probably the best thing i have seen written here. period.

    OT from the electoral fiasco with women’s bodies, but on topic with your broader applications of body memory (if that is the right term), i wonder what the ramifications of circumcisions on male babies has (50% of male babies now in this country, much more a generation ago i think) on violence in the male population when men grow older.

    might it be one of many factors in male violence in this nation?

  51. Nijma: “Perhaps it’s used as a talking point, but in my personal and anecdotal experience, many women have these feelings around making this decision and going through the process.”

    I’ve had six pregnancies – four of which terminated in miscarriages – a heart wrenching experience for both my husband and me, therefor making our sons and grandchildren even more precious to us. But to choose to have an abortion, for whatever reason is just as deep an experience because the mother is losing part of herself – until that child is born it is actually part of the mother’s body – that is why the government should have nothing whatsoever to do with the decision making process. It is a deeply personal decision.
    So as helpful as Roe v Wade has been for women, I firmly believe that no one except me can make those decisions and that there should be no law on the books that governs my body or anyone elses except that which prohibits murder or mutilation.

  52. madamab — I’ve had Eisler’s book on my shelf for years, but never delved. Time to do so, methinks.

  53. Okay, come on madama, the government executed 5,000 people and dumped them in a swamp? That probably merits an examination.

    Oh why, oh why, couldn’t you just give me the one damn decent choice we had for POTUS. Why am I stuck with dumb and dumber?

    Can I please have Hillary back?

  54. Have read …the Chalice and the Blade and The Red Tent by Anita Diamant http://www.anitadiamant.com/theredtent.asp?page=books&book=theredtent

    .. and When God Was A Woman by Merlin Stone
    and many others good reading all …..

  55. my brain just explodes at the thought that a proto-human and a walking, talking human being are the same thing

  56. Peter, I have to say that circumcision isn’t nearly as invasive as an abortion…that’s like comparing a paper cut to an amputation imo. anecdotally (sp?), I don’t find myself particularly violent as a result

  57. Yes, Chalice and Blade is great as is When God was a Woman. I also liked The Great Cosmic Mother by Sjoo and Mor.

  58. Mawm, on October 2nd, 2008 at 4:06 pm Said:

    I’m sorry, but Cynthia McKinney is a wack job.

  59. TheRealKim – I don’t know. Sadly, I would not put anything past the Bushies.

    However, I agree with your second point COMPLETELY.

    I think so many of us are dispirited because we feel that neither Obama nor McCain are good enough to be President. (I know some are happy with McCain, and I respect that.) I’m just sick inside when I see how bad our choices are. The fact that McCain picked a woman is the only thing that makes mefeel a little better about him.

    Sigh. We will keep going, as Hillary said!

  60. Delphyne, Peter, Thank you, and yes, lots of deep breathing to hit send.

    Peter, Although I’d agree that circumcision is traumatic, I’m not so sure that violence is limited to circumcised men, as violence toward women and in general seems to be universal.

  61. Whoever put pen to paper with the Garden of Eden myth is the originator of this campaign to place women in the subservient role. Writing that Eve sprang from Adam’s rib started the whole “who’s on first” tryranny by suggesting that without Adam, Eve would not exist. Therefore, second place.

    Some of those writers were whacked out of their minds. No such thing as psychotherapy in those days but those words live on. Since most of these seers subsisted on plants and fruit, their brains were atrophied by the lack of meat which went a long way in creating their so called “visions”. Give it up, guys. Women rule!

  62. My apologies for injecting hate into the conversation, but this is one of the comments (deleted it) I received when I first posted this on my blog last week. A taste of the opposition:

    You have the “right to choose”! Keep your legs closed.

    You choose to kill an other human being. You are predatory. Blame no one but yourself.

    “Of course, as we all know, if men had babies, it wouldn’t even be a discussion. Birth control and every other thing about reproduction, pregnancy, birth, and abortion would be highly studied, bought and paid for, and designed for his maximum empowerment, comfort, and control. And life would begin at birth, including for the Catholic Church, although I guess women would be running it.”

    You are a bigoted ass. Kiss the mirror fool, that’s what you love.

  63. gary

    was not saying circumcision was as invasive as an abortion. did i say that?

    anecdotally, might you be even less violent had you not been? see. we will never know.

    I was more responding to/thinking about LadyBoomer’s story about her family situation while in utero and her body centered approach etc. and i just got to thinking a little tangentially.

  64. Janis, I’m with you – loved your comment!!

  65. Lady Boomer: The whack jobs are out there. Scary.

  66. you tried, gary, you tried.

  67. Joanelle, Wow, thank you for sharing your story and for stating our situation so clearly.

    joanelle, on October 2nd, 2008 at 4:15 pm Said:

    “But to choose to have an abortion, for whatever reason is just as deep an experience because the mother is losing part of herself – until that child is born it is actually part of the mother’s body – that is why the government should have nothing whatsoever to do with the decision making process. It is a deeply personal decision.”

  68. LadyB

    was not suggesting violence limited to circumcised men. just wondering if perhaps it might make one more predisposed to violence and other forms of poor behavior. i mean if i remove my blinders to the practice and see it for what it is, it is sexual assault, no.

    and yes violence toward women is universal. john lennon was right in his song about women and there status in the world

    again, wonderful piece.


  69. until
    that child is born it is actually part of the mother’s body

    Wrong. Otherwise children would not have differnt blood types from their mothers. I remember the idiot priest who taught our theology class in high school making this argument, and he shut up right quick when I said taht the pilli in the placenta actually keep the mother and fetus’s blood supplies completely separate.

    That’s the problem with these jackasses — they haven’t a clue how human bodies actually work and yet they opine about them.

    Learn how the body works before trying to restrict other people’s lives based on your lack of information.

  70. Well, Lady B – just look at it as it takes one to know one – they are at that immature level.
    I’m sorry you had to experience that awful comment.

  71. OH LB – I’m sorry you experienced such hate.

    That *ssh0le need to keep his/her lips closed and fingers off the keyboard.

    Janis – I heart you. You are just brilliant!

  72. Janis – intellectually I know that, but my point is that, everyone of those pregnancies felt to be part of me – it’s my body, so I should have the decision to abort or not – without restrictions one way or the other by some judge.

  73. Janis, You may be railing at the priests or me, or the commenter, not sure, but whether scientifically the blood type is different or not, the fetus is part of the mother’s body and her psyche.

  74. Madamab-I respect McCain’s choice of Palin. When he chose her, I started the usual research as I would with any candidate. The Feminists for Life impressed me. I am pro-choice, but working with women most of my life has taught me that if we had more options, perhaps abortion would not be an alternative.

    Irlandese said she didn’t hate men and neither do I (I don’t think I do, although I haven’t dated in three years); but how the hell can you raise a child on $50 a week in child support? While I was writing this, I had a father call and state he had paid almost $2400 in expenses for his three children in an eight month time frame. Nevermind that mom has to rent at least a three bedroom house, pay the utilities on a larger home and all the food for her family. If it were just her, I am sure she would have a smaller home with less expenses. I wish I had a buck for every father that has stated , “I will pay child support as long as I know the money is going directly to the kids.” What bullshit! The custodial parent has to have a car to carry them around in, a bigger home, medical expenses and on and on, but he wants his $50 bucks a week to be handed to the child.

    If a woman has a child out of wedlock, (Bristol Palin), there is still some stigma involved. Even giving a child up for adoption, which I believe is an extrememsacrifice and completely selfless, carries a stigma. I am sure all of us have heard people whisper, “She gave her baby away.”

    I don’t advocate abortion as birth control and think it should be something we chose, because it is really our only choice.

  75. Placenta, mother, and child are all considered as one.

  76. Well, all I can say about the “keep your legs closed” commenter: “a softy on his house.” 🙂

  77. Everyone, my apologies, but I have to step out for a bit. I’ll be back. As you were.

  78. “Walk in the other guy’s shoes for awhile before casting judgment.” Or words to that effect. None of us knows how we would handle a given problem until faced with it. This is why having an option is needed. Nothing in life is black or white.

  79. Not all people who are religious are out to hijack your uterus. Bear that in mind.

  80. OT:( I always comment on the scarcity of local yard signs)
    I just saw a new huge McCain-Palin yard sign on the way home. It’s 4x the size of regular yard signs. LOL.

  81. Exactly, Pat. We have to place ourselves in their position. I am a mother of two daughters and a son. There are situations out there for men also. What about the man who is told by a woman that, yes, she is on the pill and he tells her he does not want a child. However, she has lied and is not on the pill, but expects payment for the next 18 years? Or the man who pays, but his wife moves away and does not grant him visitation?

  82. Micki – I agree, but I think the idea of original sin, and blaming it on the woman, has given rise to a lot of misogyny.

  83. Maybe madama, but if you believe in evolution then the whole point is moot.

  84. “When does life begin?” is not the right question to ask in this context. I apologize to those who’ve heard the following argument before, but sometimes it bears repeating.

    A world-famous violinist–a true, once-in-a-lifetime artist–lies gravely ill. His tissue type is rare; in fact, there is only one person in the world who can serve as a donor to save him. This is a young woman. Unless she is hooked up to him via tubes for nine months, he will die miserably. Who makes the decision whether to hook her up, and by what authority?

    A little more formally: Womeen must not be made to bear extra burdens of good samaritanship simply by virture of their biology.

  85. TheRealKim – Do you know how many people in this country do not believe in evolution?

    I am not one of them, of course. Agnostic here.

  86. Life begins when the kids move out.

  87. Ditto

  88. I love this post LadyBoomer — as a member of the one true holy catholic & apostlistic Church I can assure you that you have covered the topic well and, imo, are right on the money. Life does begin at conception — and still whether or not to have that child is the woman’s CHOICE because she has (or should have) autonomy over her own body. The entire struggle over the right for a woman to choose is much more then about when life begins — it is about men not controlling women’s bodies (which, until recently, they did). Yes, the Church is against abortion and if I were ever in the position of having an unwanted pregnancy it would be up to ME and me alone to choice whether I allowed my Church’s position to have any influence on my decision. Everyone else can stay out of it.

  89. Hey — I’m in moderation and I didn’t eve use the word “r@cist.” What gives?

  90. Ditto to myiq too!

  91. myiq, thanks for a much needed laugh! And so on target.

  92. Myiq is good that way!


  93. I was going to do a snarky post predicting post debate reactions, but I can’t find any humor in it, it’s too predictable.

    For instance, here’s Jeralyn:

    “Palin was clueless and obviouslym out of her league, she robotically repeated the canned talking points her trainers had her memorize, her voice was shrill and and her shoes were tacky.”

    Biden looked like he felt sorry for her, but he could not hide his superior knowledge and expertise. He looked confident, capable, and Presidential. Only Obama could have done a better job.”

  94. madamab asks:
    So, if life begins at conception, then a woman who aborts a baby is a murderer?
    No — you can not anything that is not a “person” (if you kill a cat for example, you don’t get arrested for murder, although you could be arrested for animal cruelty). Under the law, no one is a person until he/she is “born.” So, while the anti-choicers love to say women who have abortions commit “murder” they are just plain wrong.
    Now, some states have passed laws re: a person who assaults a pregnant woman and causes a miscarriage after a certain trimester to be able to be charged criminally and some of those nutty states may have that as a murder charge, but that is a very special circumstance as that is a third party’s criminal act.

  95. My kids have moved out, am I supposed to have a life now?

  96. jjmtacoma: “The bottom line is that our choices are about our privacy not when life begins.”

    Perfectly said!!!

  97. That should read:
    “No — you cannot murder anything that is not a person”

    PS — Please site admin. have mercy on me — take me out of moderation — or tell me what I wrote that is putting me in moderation.

  98. PPS — you are wrong on one point about the Catholic Church — if men were the ones who got pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament of the Church.

  99. Ezekial’s dry bone vision states that the bodies did not become alive until they drew breath. they rose up but did not have life until God breath spirit into them.

    There are multiple cultural interpretations of when life begins, not just scientific ones. The first trimester rule was an end around contraception (see, anti-conception). The problem with the life-at-conception literalists is that they want to ban the pill and other hormonal contraception. They state that these are abortifacts and should be as illegal as any method of abortion. The Roe v Wade fight is not about abortion but about reproductive rights. If the court, any court, even at the state level, rules that the pill is an abortifact then the ballgame is over. That’s the end of job equity, credit access, owning property, everything. No control over reproduction means no control over finances and no legal equity. Women are being blackmailed, every day. All of us who lived in a time when we needed our husband’s or father’s permission to buy a couch on credit knows this. Everyone who was denied a car loan or a job or a promotion because “we might go out and get pregnant” knows this.

    This is why constitutional protection was so important and was such a bitter pill to swallow. I hate that so many elections are being decided on this measure. I hate that it has been used against women so blatantly.

  100. Yes, RealKim – hop to it!

    I heard and interview today with someone who had debated Palin in the past and he said she’s a tough cookie and he thinks she’ll do fine

  101. angie – Thanks for saying that. I just think if you cede the frame that “life begins at conception,” then you are ceding THEIR definition of life.They own it now. Unfortunately.

  102. When I was in law school I made our evidence instructor laugh, which was apparently a minor miracle.

    The instructor was the presiding justice of the local District Court of Appeals and is rumored to have ghost-written the California 3-Strikes initiative.

    Many members of the legal community were convinced he had no sense of humor, with some adding that there wasn’t room for one because his ego took up too much room.

    If I had known that ahead of time I might have kept my mouth shut in class.

  103. myiq — you have Jeralyn down pat — you should mail that to her, I bet she uses it (without crediting you).

  104. myiq: You have made me laugh out loud many times. But then I have conceded as being a little nuts to begin with.

  105. artemis –

    The Roe v Wade fight is not about abortion but about reproductive rights. If the court, any court, even at the state level, rules that the pill is an abortifact then the ballgame is over.

    And that’s why Bush is trying to make it happen, and our esteemed and beloved Dem Party (except for Hillary and Patty Murray), are doing NOTHING about it because they don’t give a shit about women.

  106. you are welcome madamab — if my first comment would get out of moderation you would know that I think the entire struggle over choice has very little to do with “when life begins” and is all about a woman’s right to autonomy, which has been denied to women until very recently.

  107. Life began millions of years ago.

    I learned in biology class that all life comes from other living cells.

    An unfertilized egg is alive, and so are sperm.

    So if you want to get technical, every ejaculation is the murder of millions of potential humans.

  108. I’m totally undecided on this issue anymore.

  109. Every sperm is sacred,
    Every sperm is great,
    If a sperm gets wasted,
    God gets quite irate!

    (from Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life”)

  110. ahh, yes, Myiq – so don’t waste “them seeds”

  111. I don’t believe in evolution, at least the way it’s been presented so far. But if anyone else wants to believe they descended from an ape, hey good for them. I choose to think more highly of my ancestry.

  112. Way too deep for me anyway. Gotta go home and take the dogs out.


  113. KJM – What you believe is your business, as long as you don’t try to impose it on me!


  114. I’ve always said that AFTER they outlaw war and AFTER they outlaw capital punishment and AFTER they outlaw killing in self defense THEN we can discuss abortion. Until then, the pro-lifers have no argument and, IMO, they really should devote their energies to an anti-war movement.

    BTW, I am in agreement with Lady Boomer and although it’s not a choice I’d make I would NEVER deny another woman the right to her choice. It’s a personal and private decision that isn’t any else’s business.

  115. angienc: that doesn’t mean that the law is right. I happen to appreciate laws that protect unborn children who can survive outside of the mother’s womb. Scott Peterson killed his wife and child. His child was still in vitro when he killed her. The child was expelled as she decomposed. If I’m not mistaken, he was convicted of two counts of murder–first degree for Lacy and second for Connor. You think that is nutty? Also, under your logic, if I have an abortion, can I be charged with animal cruelty because I destroyed something alive, just not a person? I do not think you can seriously contend that a fetus is not alive. If that were the case, why have ultrasounds and amniocentesis and heart rate monitors. Whether the fetus is sufficiently developed to sustain life outside of the womb is, or should be, the benchmark. I know all of you are super liberal with respect to this issue and I am not. However, I do have serious problems with late term abortion and partial birth abortion unless the baby is seriously deformed or brain damaged or the mother’s life is at risk. And I’m not going to even touch your abortion is a sacrament comment. I have to get out of this thread b/c I’m outwomaned (and out manned) and I have a different take on the matter. And that’s good right? This is the community of ideas, here, correct?

  116. And, for the record, I’m pro-choice. I would not have an abortion, but I would not preclude others from doing so. I just get a little upset when people dehumanize the issue to the point where it is the equivalent of douching.

  117. Micki – Please do not pre-emptively act as if you have been attacked. No one has attacked you.

    The whole point of this thread is to bring up different ideas, I think – right, LB? If we stop letting this issue divide us as women, we will be so much stronger as a bloc…

  118. Placenta, mother, and child are all considered as one.

    “Considered?” I also “consider” that the earth rotates around the moon. I’m still wrong.

    “Consider” as a word means nothing when you use it like this. WHY are they “considered” as one — because it makes it easier to say no she shouldn’t have that abortion?

  119. angienc — There you go, you’re freed! I have no idea why you got stuck, but apparently I have the power to unfree comments in moderation on posts I originate here.

    angienc’s comment is upstream at 4:58 pm.

  120. … the fetus is part of the mother’s body and her psyche.

    When did you get to speak for all women? Who appointed you the arbiter and definer of MY emotions?

  121. I am proud to call myself pro life man. I do know what it is like to be two scared kids in love. I do know what it is like to go to a pro abortion clinic. I do know what it is like to end a life. I do know what it’s like to make a decision that will never really leave you without any real guidance from an adult. I do know what it’s like to spend the next 5 years together, crying, maturing, and realizing we were never really given a choice after all. What I don’t know is what the decision would have been if other options had been seriously discussed. I might be a man but I have an opinion on the subject and the right to have one.

    When I see the “pro choice” argument equating ending a life to letting a sperm cell die. I realize our dislike of Obama probably is the only thing we really have in common. I read so many of the posts in this thread that make me realize how little you understand the majority of other side.

    To me pro choice has become pro abortion. So I call myself pro life with pride.

  122. When it comes right down to the wire, and when I go into the voting booth, I know exactly who I will NOT VOTE FOR…..there isn’t a person on earth capable of making me vote for that Obama puke…So no matter what happens on November 4, remember to be true to yourself in that voting booth….nothing else matters…IMO

  123. micki — Please don’t leave. There are no right or easy answers here in having this discussion, although I understand that it can be upsetting.

    I agree, as madamab said: “If we stop letting this issue divide us as women, we will be so much stronger as a bloc…”

    This is not an easy breezy topic, but it’s easier to take if we treat each others’ opinions with respect.

    Janis, nobody is say not to have choice or an abortion. We’re talking about the difficult position (sic) women are once again and always put in when making or even thinking about it.

  124. madamab, on October 2nd, 2008 at 5:23 pm Said: KJM – What you believe is your business, as long as you don’t try to impose it on me!

    Don’t worry madama, I’d never try to impose my view on anyone else! I’m no expert – on anything – and I sure don’t claim to be. It’s only that it makes me cringe to think that “my ancestors” spent their time eating nits off each other and flinging sh*t. And those Geico cavemen commercials creep me out too. 🙂

  125. The Catholic church says abortion is wrong, contraception is wrong, and women should submit to sex with their husbands.

    Oh yeah, divorce is wrong too.

    They are not the only church that believes that.

    It wasn’t that long ago that childbirth was a major cause of death of women

  126. LadyBoomer, don’t agree with much of what you said, but respect your right to say it. However, you said “anyone knows” your opinion is right – not this anyone.

    SPLASHY!!! I LOVE what you said here:

    “Life doesn’t BEGIN with conception, life CONTINUES with conception.

    The egg and sperm are very much alive, and just a continuance of the lives of the bodies of the female and male.

    Life BEGAN a very very long time ago.

    The only REAL question is whether we let it continue in a certain form or not. There is constant dying of life, everywhere. In us, outside of us, everywhere. So, the question is who decides what to do with which particular life.”

  127. In agreeing that life begins at conception, ladyboomer, you just has to argue that x being alive does not in and of itself imbue x with the right to live. That’s all 🙂

    One does not necessitate the other.

  128. Typical Republican, that’s how I feel about “collateral damage.” Personally, I’d rather see an end to the horrible deaths of civilians, innocent women and children, in a war ravaged country. But I’m told it’s the price of “freedom.”

  129. Typical:

    The day I stop snarking and making jokes is the day they drop the lid on the coffin and lower me into the ground.

  130. msindy, ITA. That’s why I always have to smile at vegans who eschew eating “living things” as if the veggie/soy burger they’re eating wasn’t once a “living thing.”

  131. If a fertilized egg must be protected from harm because all life is sacred, then the death penalty is murder too.

    Not only that, but people like Terri Schiavo must be kept alive because taking them off life-support is murder too.

  132. Typical Repub — Thank you for sharing your difficult story. I can appreciate what men go through as well, and I think you add a valuable POV to the discussion. I’m sure you’re not alone in what you went through.

    I’ve also known many, many women who had an abortion, and because of various types of internal organs scarring were later unable to conceive and suffered emotionally as a result.

  133. msindy, on October 2nd, 2008 at 5:42 pm Said:

    “However, you said “anyone knows” your opinion is right – not this anyone.”

    I’m not sure what you’re referring to?

  134. Oh, the carefree days of being a zygote!

    No debates, no elections, no financial crisis, no desire to slap KO and Tweety.


    Very thoughtful article, and I totally agree.

  135. I think life begins either at fertilization and/or when the egg attaches to the womb. For instance, I don’t think the morning after pill causes an abortion since it works before the egg attaches to the womb. It’s semantics I guess. But what I am saying is if conception is defined as during sex, then I don’t agree life starts then, but then I don’t know if that’s what you mean by conception.

    I agree with you about your abortion argument. I hate when pro-lifers say that feeling bad after an abortion is merely socialization. I simply don’t believe that. I think it’s probably sort of instinctive since we have the ability to procreate. Does that make sense?

  136. Working in family law I learned that if a female becomes pregnant only she has the authority to decide whether to have an abortion.

    No one can legally compel her to abort the child, nor, subject to the limits permissible under Roe et seq, can anyone legally stop her if she wants an abortion.

    The sperm donor has no rights. None.

    If she gives birth, he can be compelled to provide support for the child until it reaches adulthood.

    If she puts the child up for adoption, in most cases he is powerless to stop her.

    That kind of seems unfair, until you consider that he had a choice. He chose to have sexual intercourse with the woman, and he chose to not use effective contraception while doing so.

    If that still seems harsh, well boo-fucking-hoo. Life ain’t always fair.

  137. I didn’t know this Facebook group existed until I searched “riverdaughter”. If you choose to sit this election out, join this group:
    US Presidential Election Sit-Out

  138. Life begins at viability. That’s the law in most places BTW

  139. Charles:

    Just a little f*cking ray of sunshine, aren’t we?

  140. myiq2xu, on October 2nd, 2008 at 5:49 pm Said: Edit Comment

    “If a fertilized egg must be protected from harm because all life is sacred, then the death penalty is murder too.

    Not only that, but people like Terri Schiavo must be kept alive because taking them off life-support is murder too.”

    Yup. All life and death decisions and whole other can o’. Why do humans think they can act like God? It’s all very confusing, because many pro-choice positions are against the death penalty. And what about so many modern devices that support life when nature would not? Then you get into some religions not even believing in medicine b/c it’s artifice! The only way I could ever make a judgment about either would be if I were personally involved. Even then, some people who have had dear ones murdered are totally against the death penalty, others want to see the perpetrator fry. Whole other can o’.

  141. Lady Boomer, you didnt’ anwer my question. I’m telling YOU thast you are presuming to speak for all women when you make blanket statements like “THE FEMALE PSYCHE” as if those of us without that psyche are unnatural freaks.

    There is no such thing as “THE FEMALE PSYCHE.” We may have some areas of overlap, but when you talk about every woman on Earth as having as inherent drive for babies, babies, babies, you ARE speaking for all women. Period.

    Who said you could do that?

  142. myiq – is viability defined as when they turn 18 or graduate from high school or graduate from college or get their first job or get married or the government takes them into custody in the military or jail …………………………….


  143. Why is Romney not winning Michigan for McCain?????????/

  144. People should calm down. This is opinion.

  145. hey Myiq-I am so against the death penalty….

    I am unqualified being born without a uterus to tell women what to do with their bodies. I am sorry I dont feel right telling I woman what to do with their bodies.

    My opinion about the subject of choice vs life is not germaine to how the government should treat it. It is the law of the land and I dont want to tamper with that law….

    See if they take away chioce they might start telling me who I can love and I could not tollerate that kind of intrusion into my personal life. I consider it a private matter between the woman and her doctor.

    See I wish we had no violence against women and safe reliable and free birth control and sex education so the need for the choice vs life debate would for the most part become moot. If I missed anything that would mitigate the need for abortion throw it in.

    See eliminate the real causes of unwanted pregnancies and you eliminate the need for abortion. I think if the so called “Pro-Lifers” would work on these root causes they would eliminate 99% of what chaps their little tushes.

    sorry just my feelings-

    fight violence against women
    treat and respect women as equals
    pay them equal pay for equal work
    work to develope safe effective birth cvontrol
    provide it free to all who need it
    give proper sex education and AIDS education
    let women have control over their bodies
    is their anything I forgot?-please add it to my list
    Oh and guys since you cannot walk a mile in their shoes w/out costly surgery that still doesnt do it-MYOB

    All of this is a start and a step in the right direction to solving the choice vs choice argument

  146. myiq2xu -“If a fertilized egg must be protected from harm because all life is sacred, then the death penalty is murder too.
    Not only that, but people like Terri Schiavo must be kept alive because taking them off life-support is murder too.”

    Pretty much the Catholic position… The position that “life is sacred” has little sway with those who haven’t purchased “fire insurance.” They would do better to forward a better argument if they are going to persuade the opposition.

    Personally, I find this one amusing.

    We don’t know whether or not x has this right, so we ought to err on the side of life. That is, until we are sufficiently sure that x doesn’t have the right, we ought to assume x does). The problem that arises concerns the word “sufficiently”. The right to lifer will argue that since there is the possibility that we might be mistaken in what in this case would qualify as sufficient, we ought to err on the side of life (this where the culture of death idea comes in).

    I might note, by taking the position that x isn’t alive, one undercuts the whole argument.

  147. Lady Boomer, I’m an atheist, how on earth can I “act like God”? I’m in agreement with most of your points, but a woman facing abortion is not playing God. She’s making an important decision about bringing a child into the world. It’s sucks that women get stuck with such a big responsibility but that’s the hand nature gave us.

  148. Just In: OBAMA is USING TERRORIST’S LAWYER to Defend Against Berg’s LAWSUIT

    Here come another of those “Guilt by Associations” that Senator Barack Obama will try to weasel himself out of. As you may know, Philip Berg is suing Senator Obama in Civil Court. Berg wants Obama to Produce his real birth certificate to prove that he meets the citizenship requirements to be President. Rather than just product the birth certificate (is he trying to hide something?) Obama’s legal team filed a motion to dismiss. One of the Lawyers filing the motion was

  149. Janis:

    There is a lot of research into genetic explanations for some human behavior.

    We are all descended from iancestors who behaved in certain ways that allowed them to survive.

    A species that doesn’t reproduce doeesn’t survive.

    But there is also variation within our species. While the center of the bell curve may be considered “normal,” there are always members of our species at the extremes in both directions.

  150. Mickie, you said: “However, I do have serious problems with late term abortion and partial birth abortion unless the baby is seriously deformed or brain damaged or the mother’s life is at risk.”

    Who decides “seriously”? And what about the woman’s health? And “partial birth” does not exist.

    Unlike many American voters, Watts knows that “partial-birth abortion” does not exist. Coined by anti-choice activists, this term cannot be found in any medical dictionary. Its imprecision, according to defenders of choice, could target a whole host of procedures.

    When Congress first considered the ban in 1995, Watts testified on Capitol Hill. So did Viki Wilson of Fresno, Calif., who had a late-term abortion because the brain of the fetus she was carrying had developed outside the skull. So did Vikki Stella of Naperville, Ill., whose fetus had no brain tissue and seven other major abnormalities.

    Watts, Stella and Wilson point out that in virtually all cases, late-term abortions are the only way to respond to unanticipated complications: the death of the fetus inside the womb, problems that mean the fetus can’t live outside the womb, or serious threats to the mother’s health.

    “No women has these procedures for frivolous reasons,” says Stella. “They have them because it’s their only choice.”


  151. I told ladyboomer before, if men got pregnant, life would begin at about 5 years old.

  152. ladyboomer, I have to say, I love this post. The debate about “when life starts” is an existential one, not a political one. That’s how it should be. I think you do a good job of showing us the difference.

  153. I think that we really ought to avoid saying “women” think or feel this or that re: abortion. Because the implication is then that all women do, but we are so varied in this.

    Both sides of this issue sometimes ignore and minimalize the real feelings of women, in an effort to “control the framing”.

    The right accuses women of being selfish, of being cold-blooded, for saying it’s a scrap of tissue nothing more – when often these are women who have children themselves, and understand maternity. The left accuses women of being mawkish and an unscientific “sellout” for feeling that that something in her womb is a “something”. Maybe not a full-blown human like her 6-year old, but it is a something to which she often feels a connection.

    Both accusations HURT women.

    I don’t think any of us should be dismissive of women when it comes to conception and birth and abortion. Women think what they think, and they feel what they feel, and it is a very experiential thing. If we have to jump all over how some women experience pregnancy, or termination, as nonsense and invalid because their expounded experience might fit this or that “frame”, and might give the enemy ammunition, then we do a disservice to women.

    It’s not about the fucking FRAMING. It’s about listening to real women, and us listening to one another.

  154. Sorry all but my mom tows the Catholic Line and she is a decent person I respect her right to believe what she feels and I respect all of your opinions-

    She is a caring person and I love her even though I have strong reservations about what a patriarcial religious system has to say about a womans body…

    If the Pope were a woman-then it might be a different story

  155. its not even really a scientific debate for that matter…

  156. lol, garychapelhill. And I’ve always said that nature made babies cute so you don’t throw ’em out the window at 2 in the morning.

    My new grandson has the sweetest little cry. He sounds like the cat. Of course, if he wasn’t mine it would probably drive me crazy.

  157. So, you guys watching the debate on PBS or on CSPAN? (My usual question)
    Last time I missed taping the 1st 10 minutes of the debate because CSPAN said it was showing it on CSPAN 1 but actually showed it on CSPAN 2. Mayb ethi stime I’ll tape PBS instead.

    Any drinking games?

  158. gxm …look at my avatar. that puppy makes me happily clean up poop, puke, torn up plastic, paper, trash of all sorts on a daily basis…..all with a twitch of his ears 🙂 talk about evolutionary strategies….

  159. Janis, again: I am only speaking for myself, so stop calling me out. I’m not assaulting you and am asking you treat me with same respect. Your anger is misplaced. I’m not your Catholic school priests. Nor did I say a thing about women needing to have babies. If I can’t state my opinion here without you shouting me down, I suggest you look at yourself and why every statement I make is upsetting you. Tone it down, and excuse me for suggesting that women have psyches! Is that what you’re looking for?

  160. thanks for freeing me LadyBoomer!

  161. I’m watching the debate from this board. I’m so scared Sarah is going to take a beating. But then, she was the only one I watched during the conventions so maybe I’ll get enough nerve to watch firsthand.

  162. Lady Boomer, you asked me to explain why I said you did not speak for this anyone (me). Such statements as these in your writing:

    “Any woman who’s carried a fetus… feels…”

    “…anyone who’s ever had an abortion knows…”

  163. Janis: And what gives you the right to come into the room and “challenge” everyone else who does not outright agree with your position? I “consider” that offensive.

  164. WMBC- I am trying to learn here about the whole thing I just feel if we worked more on the causes that put women in these sh*tty situations then we can give them better options so they don’t have to make these kinds of chioces.

    I mean end violence against women access to safe effective and free birth control sex education of both women and men…Investing more money in womens health

    these are not bad places to start right-if the Lifers would work on these issues maybe they would see less women having to make these choices

  165. Yep, garychapelhill, my grandson cries and my heart overflows. I just want to pick him up and cuddle him. You gotta hand it to mother nature, she’s good.

  166. I did have to leave for awhile to get home from work. I did not mean to pre-emptively act. I am naturally on the defensive with this issue b/c I know that I’m not in the majority here. I am actually very liberal in just about every other aspect of my life. And while I respect people’s deep dislike for the Catholic church, I have only gained good things from my faith. My church is committed to social justice and is active in the community. My church also has many parishioners who are gay and it welcomes openly gay individuals. There is a support group for LBGT parishioners that does not, and I repeat, does not, try to make them straight. Its a Jesuit parish, which does mean they are more liberal and, throughout history, have had many issues with the Vatican. We also have many lectures with synagogues in our community and with the muslim community to study commonality between our respective faiths, etc.

    Additionally, there are many people here who are atheist or agnostic. I believe in Christ. Christology often includes the exegesis relating to the impossibility of separating your theology from your ethics. My religion informs my ethics. I can hardly turn off my religion (ethics) when I make a determination about how I feel about abortion. That would make me a hypocrite and hardly a shining example of what I feel I have been called to represent (Christianity). What I can do is recognize that we all have different theology and ethics. “Catholic light”, Jewish, Muslim, no theology. Therefore, I embrace that each one of us has the right of self-determination and autonomy. Each of us has to decide for ourselves what we believe and who we answer to (ourselves, our God, the universe).

    Finally, this issue is deeply personal to me not because I have ever been faced with this decision. I have PCOS and I cannot get pregnant right now. I want nothing more than to have a child. But, more importantly, in 1971 my mother could not get an abortion in PA. She and my father drove to Johns Hopkins in MD to get an abortion. My mother could not go through with it, and I was born 7 months later. My parents were married and divorced 18 months later. Although many of you hate this argument or find it circular because if she had gone through with it, so what–I feel it deeply. I feel that her change of heart had meaning and that I have something to contribute to the world. Anyway, I apologize for my knee-jerk reaction.

  167. btw, your puppy is adorable. TCFW all the way. 🙂

  168. Charles:

    Lighten up, I meant no offense.

  169. fuzzy, my sentiments exactly. I shared my own abortion story long ago on The Cheeto – anyone who is not opposed to clicking there, feel free to go read.

    This was back in the day when sane people posted there, so there was actually a really good discussion that ensued.


  170. beejeezus
    who is this fuzzybear guy, and is he available?
    I have single friends 😉

  171. You mean my position that LB has no right to make blanket statements about “the female psyche?”

  172. McCain can never really lead when pollsters sample 3%-5% more Dem’s and independents than Republicans. Polls are designed to manipulate Fabricate an Obama Trend

  173. what’s TCFW? thanks, his name is macho and he’s half shi-tzu, half maltese, and all muppet monster :), I have four dogs. I’m kind of crazy I think 🙂

  174. Lady Boomer wasn’t making blanket statments. It was a narrative device. Just like when O’Reilly says,”Talking Points say…” I have no doubt that she intended to speak only for herself.

  175. msindy–that is a good point about partial birth abortion. I do still have issues with terminating pregnancies when the child is viable outside of the womb. If the mother will die in childbirth, or if the child has, say, encephalitis, or the organs were failing, or there was massive brain damage so that the child would not have a meaningful quality of life, I would say that is serious. That is not towing the Catholic line, but I can live with it.

  176. msindy, on October 2nd, 2008 at 6:31 pm Said:
    “Lady Boomer, you asked me to explain why I said you did not speak for this anyone (me). Such statements as these in your writing:

    “Any woman who’s carried a fetus… feels…”

    “…anyone who’s ever had an abortion knows…”

    I see what you mean and where I presumed. It’s totally an individual and personal thing and can see where I could have framed it more personally or less generally. I appreciate the feedback.

    Everyone, as you can see, and where I began with this: it’s not an easy topic or discussion, so my heart was pounding and it took a while for me to hit “publish.”

    I appreciate everyone’s weighing in and listening to each other. Mainly, I’ll be interested to see if and how Ifill touches the topic of women’s choice and reproductive rights — the new terminology of “privacy” — and how it gets answered.

  177. too cute for words. his pic is so darn huggable.

  178. I completely disregard polls after my run in with Rasmussen. I experienced first hand how polls are manipulated. Think about it. NO ONE is policing them. Heck, nobody is held accountable for ANYTHING any more so what incentive do they have to be honest or ethical. They poll who they want, to get the results they want, and if the results turn out “wrong” they just outright lie and call it “with leaners”. The sad (and maddening) thing is, those who can’t (or won’t) think for themselves will follow the imaginary crowd.

  179. I would assume that most here are speaking for themselves. Because someone does not agree is no reason to stamp feet and take words out of context then demand explanations. This is a wholly personal issue and not to be taken lightly. On the other hand, finding fault with a position and then coming across as belligerent, is not the purpose of the essay.

    Believe how and what you are comfortable with but stop shouting down others whose points of view may differ. A simple courtesy is expected.

  180. these polls are so messed up. I’m in NC and they now have Obama with a 3 pt lead, yet hagan and perdue, the two dems running for senate and gov are down and now 3 pts behind their republican opponents. I just don’t buy it. either that or Obama is doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, and may in fact be hurting downticket dems.

  181. I’m totally politically pro-choice. A woman’s choice is her own, whatever it is. My choice is life whatever the circumstances because that’s just me. I know that other people don’t have that luxury and I will fight to the death for their right to make the decision that’s right for them.

  182. Thanks WMCB-I wish we spent as much money on those issues above which were so important to me as we are spending trying to ellect two guys who are not worthy of the job of president. We could really make progress on womens health issues and on sex education. I had sex ed in California in 1974 in sith grade….we have gone backwards.

    Catrina thanks alot I am currently a single gay man in Florida and it is not pretty!

  183. Micki — first the cat analogy was to murder requiring the killing of a person — it does NOT mean that a cat is an unborn child. So your whole “abortion = animal cruelty” is bs. I said quite clearly that the only way a person can be guilty of murder is if they kill a person. An unborn child, by definition, is not a person because a person has to be born. And yes, that is exactly why murder charges for “unborn babies” are nutty — because it is a confusion of the law & it validates the anti-choice meme and is just one more example of our elected officials eroding the “rights” stated in Roe. Now, you might not like that, but I do not give much credence to people who make legal decisions based on emotions. Clearly, one of the elements of the crime of murder is the killing of a person. Clearly, to be a person one must be born. Laws confusing the issue are dangerous.
    To someone else upthread –you said that in your opinion “pro-choice” has become “pro-abortion” — I think you might be right about that because as the Bristol Palin case has shown us, some people seem to have forgotten that having the child is a valid choice too. However,I hope that you can see that the pro-life people are really anti-choice (not anti-abortion, but anti-choice).

  184. It is when we get into “qualifying” what reasons are attached to that choice that we run into further problems. The decision should remain solely between the woman and her doctor and not by a panel of judges.

  185. @myiqetc.

    “If she gives birth, he can be compelled to provide support for the child until it reaches adulthood … If she puts the child up for adoption, in most cases he is powerless to stop her … That kind of seems unfair … ”

    It seems grossly unfair to me. I’m pro-abortion (not pro-choice, mind you) and I believe that men also should have an out. I’m not sure how this would be done, but it might involve legally binding abandonment of parental rights. And if the woman decides to have the baby and then give it up for adoption, the sperm donor should have first right of refusal if he hasn’t previously opted out. Those two provisions are about all I’d allow a sperm donor, though.

  186. Gee typical, I never thought pro-choice = pro-abortion -there are other alternatives – certainly abortion would not be my first choice – maybe not ever a choice – but having the ability to choose is -I think- what we are talking about.

  187. Where does this meme that the Confluence is a hater site filled with bigots come from.

    I don’t see it.

    I sometimes see people venting their anger and frustration among friends. But while those vented feeling are often irreverent and occasionally over-the-top, the people making them are intelligent, caring, and principled liberals who until recently were committed Democrats.

  188. Thank you —
    fuzzybeargville, on October 2nd, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    WMCB, on October 2nd, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    — when you talked about respecting the individuality of women’s choices, each other in this discussion, and in getting our priorities as a nation in order re: birth control, sex ed, violence against women.

    BTW, anyone from Canada, Europe, or a non-Catholic-based country? How do they deal w/ sex ed, birth control, abortion in other cultures? Is the topic this hot everywhere?

  189. See I believe this is so connected choice and LGBT rights-

    First they want to get control of our bodies
    both mens and womens bodies
    tell us what we cannot do to or with them
    then they want too controll our minds
    to tell us what to think is right and wrong
    next they will take control of our hearts
    to tell us whom we can Love and Hate
    when all this is done….
    they will have control of our souls
    we will no longer be what creation first made us

  190. Exactly joanelle. I always say that if you take away my choice to have an abortion then you take away my choice to not have an abortion. For me, anti-choice is rooted in the idea that women are incapable of making their own life decisions. (Of course there’s also those who think women shouldn’t have a say in pretty much anything let alone what happens to their bodies, but that’s a whole ‘nother argument.)

  191. myiq, you should go read murphy’s post at puma pac


    some people really do think tat we are the unclean masses. What drives them crazy is that they need us or they would live in their lonely little echo chambers across the web spinning their beautiful snark-free tapestries….with nary a first year grad student around to kiss their ass.

  192. “When I can take a man to jail for not having my permission to ejaculate inside of me, THEN I’ll be able to sit down and listen to the “pro-life” debate at least once.”

    sm77, I do believe you can do this already. It’s called “rape.”

    This abortion argument is unsolvable. The rights of the woman are inevitably in conflict with the rights of the child. It is a moral singularity. There is no right and wrong. There is only compromise. Anyone who sees this issue in black and white terms is either in denial or hasn’t thought about it enough.

    The whole question of “viability” is just a way to rationalize the taking of a life by redefining what life is. I’ve seen ultrasounds of eight week old fetuses and they are very much alive. Similarly, the whole idea of the government telling a woman what she can and cannot do with her own body is a violation of her rights.

    It is a stalemate and always will be.

  193. Sarah cut her hand yesterday when she slipped on gravel while running at McCain’s ranch. She will have a big bandaid on it.

    Gwen broke her ankle and will be wearing a cast.

    Biden is just handicapped by his bloviating.

    2 hours until Sarah’s Smackdown of Biden!

  194. I am in moderations I dont know what I said please release my comment of 657pm

  195. LadyBoomer — In Scandanavian countries birth control is free as is abortions (socialized medicine, true, but the mores are very “open” about sex, etc)

  196. I just saw a McCain/Palin sign in someone’s dorm window. It took all my dignity not to bolt up to the 3rd flr and leave a celebratory note on their door.

  197. Pat J — Thank you two times for your reasoned call for calm.

  198. Lady Boomer, thank you, that was intended as constructive criticism.

    Mickie, I think you missed my point on who decides – you then went on to state what you thought “serious” was.

    My point is, who decides who decides? Therein lies the rub. Any answer but “the woman” is indefensible.

    Also, you still don’t address the health of the woman (you only say “life of the woman”). Checking out the link I provided (and many others) you will find that women (and girls, sadly) carrying through pregnancies can be faced with disabilities and other grave health conditions as a result. Often preventing them from caring for, protecting, and loving their children and/or other family members who need them. And who will bear the cost of the care they need?

    And what if the authoritarian “decider” later realizes they decided incorrectly for others? Can it be undone? No. Is it possible to make amends? Who will care for the children or the elderly parent? Pay the bills? Heal the broken hearts and lives?

    There are many repercussions to forcing one’s dictates upon others.

  199. See I learn so much being here that I could not imagine my life now with out all of you

  200. The GOP raised $66 million in September — those polls are full of sh!t.

  201. Yes, it is a stalemate. The best solution is for government to stay out of it. I do have a problem with the partial birth abortion and providing medical care to a surviving fetus. It seems to me that when that independent breath is taken then the child has equal rights and deserves a legal advocate.

  202. gary:

    To hear some people tell it, we hold cross burnings here every weekend. (I hold goat sacrifices, but only in my backyard)

    I can see the Obots hating on us, especially the recent converts who are just ashamed at themselves for caving in to pressure and resentful of us because we stood firm.

    But there’s been some people dumping on us who should know better.

  203. Murphy’s post brought tears to my eyes. She is one of the best! And her bloggers as well over there. PUMAs thrive because of this bond we all share. I have been kicked in the gut more than once and the only way to survive is to “keep going”.

    Let’s send Sarah our warmest thoughts and best wishes for tonight. She is one of ours.

  204. No one wins until the last vote is counted and who’s doing the counting.

  205. gary — what those morons don’t understand about the “unclean masses”is that they are the majority of this country & it is they, not the elite, who decide elections.

  206. Jangles, I agree with your position. The government should not legislate morals.

    Re the polls, I am bummed like Janis. I think McCain has blown several golden opportunities. He could have hit home runs in the debate and regarding the Wall St. bailout. I could have done better than he did. He did cream Obama on foreign affairs, but no one cares about that right now, do they.

    We can all hope for a strong comeback…

  207. myiq — who needs Charles? I’m here.

  208. Dave, Jangles — the GOP raised $66 million in September — a record for them in one month. Those polls are being manipulated (oversampling, etc) to give BO his “lead.” It is a HAKA — don’t fall for it.

  209. Jesus, I hope we are not turning into a blog that has people taking themselves so seriously that they automatically shut down. This is a blog, a chatroom for God’s sake, not a jury room. If we start turning on each other we may as well just hang it up now.

    Issues are broader than one perspective.

  210. Jangles, there is no such thing as “partial birth abortion”. Please read this article about women who have needed late term abortions, and how the health and lives of women and their families facing similar situations are now in danger, thanks to the “partial birth abortion” bill: http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm/dyn/aid/2046/

  211. there is no such thing as “partial birth abortion”.

    msindy — thank you for saying that — I wanted to, but people are being a little touchy today.

  212. myiq ♥ angienc

  213. was this info already posted here?!

    Cross Post
    My face is burning I am so enraged over this….

    ‘Brilliant’ Ifill Cousin Scours Palin As ‘Offensive to Black Women’
    Here are more signs Sarah Palin could face an uphill battle with PBS host Gwen Ifill. Professor Sherrilyn Ifill of the University of Maryland Law School, whom Gwen Ifill has lauded as “my brilliant baby cousin,” has written that black women are not buying Sarah Palin’s “false claims to feminism” and is portrayed as too perfect: “when women who are privileged present as though they have it all together, it’s offensive to black women.” (Photo from Soros.com)

  214. PJ — LOL — I think the names should be the other way around tho’

  215. Oh, angie. And I thought all along he was the agressor.

  216. LB: you outdid yourself. Beautifully written. I agree wholeheartedly.

  217. “anyone who’s ever had an abortion knows that she is terminating the life of a baby. Otherwise, it would just be like having a period. Bloop and that’s it. There wouldn’t be the severe emotionally distraught feelings of fear, guilt, sadness, and trauma”

    I respectfully disagree. Many women have severe distraught feelings of fear and trauma because of the fear of the actual procedure….most people feel fear and trauma when they face surgery. As for guilt and sadness I believe that is most often brought on by the attitude of society toward abortion. And yes, I’ve known women who are quite glad they got an abortion and who feel nothing but relief.

    Most women know better than to admit they’ve had an abortion….they know the condemnation they will face, often from family and friends.

    I respect your right to your opinion but I don’t think you can judge what other women feel because of your beliefs. I have anecdotal evidence to the contrary but it doesn’t prove what all or even most women feel or believe.

    The Bible does not address the issue of abortion. It does state that life is in the blood, so maybe life really begins when the fetus has it’s own circulatory system.

    We also know that Adam became a soul filled living being when he took his first breath, so maybe life begins when the first breath is taken.

    In the Old Testament there was a much lesser penalty for causing a woman a miscarriage than there was for killing the woman. We can make different judgment values based on the things that Bible does address.

    According to studies 30 – 50 percent of fertilized eggs are miscarried before the women even knows she’s pregnant. (http://www.babycenter.com/0_understanding-miscarriage_252.bc)
    It’s not very “cost effective” for all of those to have been living beings with souls.


  218. angienc, on October 2nd, 2008 at 7:01 pm Said:
    “In Scandinavian countries birth control is free as is abortions (socialized medicine, true, but the mores are very “open” about sex, etc)”

    Sigh, how’d they luck out when we didn’t? Is it our Puritan background? The dominance (sic) of the church, even though it’s not supposed to factor in?

    Is it colder than NY there? I meant about moving there, but maybe it’s just so damned cold there that they had to figure out their birth control, etc., so women wouldn’t be eternally pregnant. I have not a clue, just free-associating.

  219. rd: I hope you have been able to read Murphy’s post.

  220. audacity — HA! Yeah, the reason black women aren’t voting for Palin is because of her “false claims to feminism” and has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that the AA community is voting 90% for Obama.
    Secondly, it defies credulity to label Palin as “privileged.” Why, because she is white?
    Finally, on TL the other day Jeralyn proudly posted some inane email making fun of Palin for attending community college & not an Ivy League school like Obama & Biden — the Obamacans need to get their talking points straight.

  221. Yes, the term “partial birth abortion” is deliberately inflamatory. Unfortunately it is also a pretty accurate description of the procedure, which is grisly to say the least. For me, a late term abortion is only justified to save the life of the mother. But let’s face the fact that it is taking a life. On rare occasions that is necessary.

    Re the $66 million, I hope you are right but I thought that McCain really blew it by supporting the bailout when he could have really differentiated himself.

  222. The hatefulness running through this campaign is stunning.

  223. Dave: Whatever position he took would have elicited the same comments. Voting yes, he is accused of caving in. Voting no, meant he was against the voter who opposed. Either way, he was on the losing end. Obama is the star. Go figure.

  224. LB-Tell us more about body-centered therapy. I’m not really familiar with that term but it sounds most interesting. I could use some transforming myself.

  225. I disagree, Pat. McCain could have said no to the government purchasing the bad mortgages and instead protected the taxpayers by offering loans and liquidity instead. There is no way that putting all these assets in government hands is a good idea. Remember the RTC? The taxpayers are overwhelmingly against this ridiculous nationalization of the mortgage industry. Also, the whole Fannie Mae scandal has been ignored by the McCain campaign. And BO is right in the middle of it. McCain is on record warning about the failure of Fannie Mae years ago. So why isn’t that an ad instead of some stupid nonsense about Biden’s gaffes?

  226. Whilst you might be for abortion, I think one might argue until when an abortion maybe performed. The UK allows abortions up to the 24th week which I find very extreme, prematurely born babies have then almost a chance to survive, while some other countries limit it to the first trimester(12 weeks) which I think makes more sense.

  227. I readMurphy’s post, and she’s right.

    I see people talking about the Truman wing of the party, describing who they are and what they think.

    Them’s my peeps.

    My mom and her parents are from Kansas, dirt farmers who moved out here during the Depression.

    My dad and his parents were Okies, and I have siblings that are Sooners.

    My sister and I were the 2nd and 3rd of my maternal grandparent’s grandkids to graduate college. Thats a sizable group, and me and my sis are on the young end. Among my mom and her siblings, only half finished high school and none attended college.

    If any of my relatives is rich they are concealing it well. One uncle recently was proud to announce he had moved to a better trailer park.

    All of my uncles and most of the males in both sides of my family enlisted in the military after I school. So did I. My father was career Air Force. I had relatives that fought in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. We missed Desert Storm but I have a nephew training to go to Iraq.

    My family is made up of the type of people Jim Webb wrote about. Appalachian types, one of two generations removed. We aren’t bitter though.

    Bitterness comes from not getting what you wanted, or losing something you had.

    We never had nothing to lose, and never expected to get much of anything either. If you want to see taciturn and stoic, come with me the next time we bury somebody in the family. But you don’t see us complaining.

    Except for me. I never got the hang of that “quiet type” thingie. I rarely shut up.

  228. angie

    the other day i sent your comments, SOD’s and some others to my friend, for her “slander and libel” delusion. every-time i call her on something, crickets. her comeback line is “critical thinking”. i told her that i don’t watch alphabet soup TV stations. i told her that my next message will be on Nov 5th and that i decided my vote on May 31st after the RBC meeting.

    thanks again for your input.

  229. Lady Boomer — do your remember in 2001 the Crown Prince of Norway wanted to marry his live-in girlfriend who had an out-of-wedlock child with a guy who was in jail on drug charges. 70% of the people in Norway had no problem with her being their Queen.
    I don’t know if it is our Puritan background (the Scandanavians tend to be all Lutheran — which is pretty relaxed religion) but they have always been very progressive when it comes to these issues (including same-sex couples)

  230. vivienne westwood — no one is FOR abortions — we are for CHOICE. Please, please get that straight.

  231. I believe that what a woman does with her reproductive system is a medical and personal choice, not a political one. Each woman should be able to decide for herself whether life begins now or later or somewhere in between.

  232. audacity — you are welcome — about your friend there is a saying: you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink. I think that applies here.

  233. Speaking for myself only….My Eisenhower-era parents should never, ever have had children, but they did and I am still paying somewhere in my soul for the tremendous damage they wrought on my sisters, my brother, and me. Somewhere along the line, I vowed that I would be the end of the cycle; I wouldn’t even take the chance of repeating what my parents had done. And so I have never had children, a decision which has produced its own deep pain. Perhaps I could have been a good parent, but this I’ll never know.

    There are plenty of people out there who should not become parents, and some of them may realize this, however vaguely. If the availability of legal abortion helps minimize the number of badly mistreated children, deeply scarred children, then that, to me, is the greater moral good. The sanctity of life is one thing. The quality of it is often entirely another.

  234. RD: Thanks!

    Mountain Sage: I agree with you that the feelings of fear can be about surgery, and that sadness, and guilt women have around abortion are often because of what society puts on them. I also mentioned upthread in agreement that many women feel relief. There are no black and white answers, as someone also said. Perhaps I generalized a bit much, but believe that many women experience the weight of a life and death choice when going through it or deciding. I do not judge anyone for whatever decision they make and am solidly pro-choice.

  235. Women lead a dual existence: blessed and cursed at the same time.

  236. Dave, have you seen this ad?

  237. Kat5 — first, you can still adopt. Second, you prove a good point — you can’t just have a child and let him/her raise itself — you have to want that child.

  238. Dave, as you have seen on this thread, people have different opinions about “life”. Also the HEALTH of girls and women forced to carry through high risk pregnancies by the state is of concern. And I think the pain and agony of such girls and women is pretty “grisly”.

  239. Kat5: Beautifully stated.

  240. vivienne:

    Roe v. Wade:

    * gives American women the right to an abortion in the first three months of pregnancy;

    * allows government regulation in the second trimester of pregnancy;

    * declares that states may restrict or ban abortions in the last trimester; a woman can obtain an abortion despite any legal ban only if doctors certify it is necessary to save her life or health.

  241. Dave — you said that “partial birth abortion is a pretty accurate description of the procedure” Well, the ENTIRE medical community disagrees with you on that.

  242. Entirely OT, but who started this whacky Hillary demanded SC nomination? I mean for chrissake, what more can she do for Obama? Half-hearted my ass. She’s done way more for his campaign then his own establishment people.

  243. I just watched the Bill SNL skit from a while back. I love Darrell Hammond. He is a hilarious Bill.

  244. Dave-Calling a fetus a child can also be inflammatory.

    Angie-Why are you getting so worked up? I’m wondering if you have any children? Try to see the other side-if you were pregnant and a and a criminal killed the fetus, you wouldn’t consider that the murder of your baby? What if you were at 9 months? Pregnant women who want to be pregnant don’t consider it a fetus, they consider it their baby. I don’t think it’s emotion-the reality is that the fetus will be a baby at birth unless something or someone interferes. I don’t believe in the death penalty anyway but if it happened to me, I would most definitely want the criminal to go to prison. I don’t think it’s nutty though I do understand the slippery slope aspect. Lots of things are like that and mature adults have to work them out.

  245. Joan — if you think I’m getting worked up, you ain’t seen nothing. And don’t pull the “breeder” card on me, toots — My mother is pro-choice — she choose to get pregnant and she choose to have. I’m the same way.

  246. BTW — Dobbs is going after Biden — he said the media is given him a pass but he isn’t qualified to be VP with 2 charges of plagarism.

  247. Regency-Yes! Love Darrell-he was awesome last Saturday.Did you see it?

  248. Joan: Just saw it right now. OMG. Love it. He and Amy Poehler have such great chem as BIll & Hill.

  249. “Dave — you said that “partial birth abortion is a pretty accurate description of the procedure” Well, the ENTIRE medical community disagrees with you on that.”

    This is not true, but it is also beside the point. Anyway, as I’ve said, the argument is unsolvable and unwinnable. To me, an abortion that late is no different from murder. Justify it any way you want.

  250. I hope SCOTUS overturns Roe.

    But not for the same reason the pro-lfers do.

    If Roe is reversed, abortion doesn’t suddenly become illegal, except for a few states that have trigger laws on their books.

    What would happen is that the issue would be shifted to 50 state legislatures.

    Approximately 70% of Americans are pro-choice. If Roe is removed, the 30% that are pro-lifers would be pushing for laws that more than twice as many voters oppose.

    I’ll be happy to fight that battle.

  251. Dave — you can keep lying all you want, you are still wrong.

  252. Actually myiq I can agree with that — Roe is pretty bad on the legal analysis anyway.

  253. I have never seen a discussion of abortion that didn’t go in circles with everyone ending up exactly where they started and not a single mind changed.

    Great fun if you like to argue endlessly.

  254. NEW POST UP.

    Come and live blog the debate with Sheri Tag and guests. Conflucians should call in. Please?

  255. Can we argue about eugenics next?

  256. Just because someone disagrees with you does not mean they are lying. I prefer cogent arguments to name calling. I know several physicians who will not perform abortions because they believe it is a violation of the Hippocratic Oath. One of them is a very prominent fertility specialist.

    I remember when I was young and knew everything, too.

  257. Joan, on October 2nd, 2008 at 7:29 pm Said:

    “LB-Tell us more about body-centered therapy. I’m not really familiar with that term but it sounds most interesting. I could use some transforming myself.”

    Thanks for asking. Perhaps I’ll write up a full post in more depth about it. The short version would be that our bodies = our selves. Our body is more than a machine, which would be more of a Cartesian POV. We are literally shaped by our history, so our thinking, feeling, language, ability to take action, how we see the world and interact with others is filtered through that history. You know how you/we often recognize someone we know walking down the street? We see their gait, their posture, the tilt of their head, etc.?

    Our shaping can happen quite innocently through being socialized, or through trauma, and we learn how to best get love, attention, survive, be noticed, or in some cases, not be noticed in order to stay safe. People are ultimately resilient, and we learn over time or through even one event; we find out what works and repeat it. However, what worked as a child or during trauma can often hang us up by causing us to react as adults when under pressure instead of responding to what is actually happening in the current moment. Pressure is different for each person. For example, simply saying to one person, “you look great” could be some kind of trigger for them!

    So, by unwinding, through body-centered awareness and various “practices” what grips us from the past, we are able to have more choice and free-will in our ability to respond to the present. We are able to fulfill what we really want to do in the world. People who can get just so far from counseling, can often go further, because they are able to take new actions, not just know about it in their head.

    It’s deeply amazing, complicated, and freeing experiential work that I’m honored to facilitate. Joan, I hope you’re still here, and that what I wrote makes sense. I’m not sure if this is the right venue to do a more in-depth writeup, as it’s not exactly within The Confluence’s political mission, but you’re giving me an idea to do something along with a few exercises so you can experience it. If not here, at LBNYC.

    Thanks again, and to all who indulged me. That said, I must needs go out for a bit to get some pizza down the street to do my part to prepare for the debate! xxoo LB

  258. myiq, obama’s friend Doug Kmiec thinks Gays believe in eugenics and that we want to create super human test tube babies, so I should be an expert

  259. Hi Folks, I’m late to the party–apologies if this has already been brought up but…in my book, the pro-life argument would be better if it were really pro-life and not merely pro-birth.

  260. I don’t know anything about you, angie, and you don’t know me. I’m certainly not pulling any cards on you. But thanks for the thoughtful reply. That toots crap really added to the discussion.

  261. I read this earlier and had to come back and read again. It has been on my mind as today is my birthday and for some reason I am extra reflective. Today I am 43 and have three kids, the last kid was a complete surprise and has just turned 4.
    When I became pregnant with him it was a hard, hard financial time, as it is now. I agonized on what to do, cried, made my hubby nuts..etc.
    Look, I had a choice to make and it wasn’t the same choice i might have made at another time but I still had my choice. A choice my husband knew he had to give me space on, time to back off.(God/goddess bless him, please.) I would never, ever question another woman’s choice or presume i know what she is thinking/feeling. it is way too personal.
    And as someone said earlier it is a matter of privacy, above all else.

    miq2xu @ 8:04 you are absolutely right.

  262. soupcity: Happy birthday! And God/goddess bless your hubby for giving you what you needed to make whatever choice you needed to make at the time. May your life and year by full and joyous.

  263. angienc is right. From the same article:

    The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, The American Nurses Association, and the American Medical Women’s Association approve the practice of D & X as the safest medical option in certain cases…

    It’s about saving the health and lives of women (and girls)…

    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intact_dilation_and_extraction:

    Though the procedure has had a low rate of usage, representing 0.17% (2,232 of 1,313,000) of all abortions in the United States in 2000 according to voluntary responses to an Alan Guttmacher Institute survey,[2] it has developed into a focal point of the abortion debate. In the United States, intact dilation and extraction was made illegal under some circumstances by the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in the case of Gonzales v. Carhart.

  264. Thanks LBNYC, I always enjoy your posts and this one was extra thought provoking. Thanks again.

  265. You’re welcome, and thank you, soupcity! Your appreciation makes some of the turmoil that it provoked seem more worthwhile. Of course, I knew it would be tumultuous. The more interesting thing, as I mentioned upstream, is if and how the debate will cover it. If they don’t, I’ll be disappointed, as the topic’s been on mute in the press so far.

  266. Well, LBNYC it was bound to happen. It will be interesting and very telling if the topic comes up, Biden will have to do some dancing as well as Palin. We’ll see I guess.

  267. Scandinavian reproductive laws:

    The Scandinavian countries started out by framing the political question as “Should women who work be able to have children, ” instead of the other way around. The answer was a resounding yes, so they have amazing parental leave policies, and can even split the one year maternity leave 50-50 with the father.


    This is usually done without anesthesia (here at least) and the newborn is given nothing for pain afterwards either. I saw one situation where the mother insisted on it and the doc, a young woman, was contemptuous of the idea because she had to go to extra work in setting up the injection…

    severe emotionally distraught ..etc:

    Several people have posted anecdotal stories about feelings of relief, but I have a strong reaction to the very idea of framing this as an emotional issue. “Hysteria” is the oldest argument in the book against women holding responsible public positions. Framing abortion as an emotional issue misses the boat completely and sets up women to expect something negative or to become emotional basket cases. Remember the old “self-fulfilling prophecy”?

  268. If anyone has ever noticed, the “pro-life” camp never objects to war or capital punishment. Some day I’d like to see just one bumper sticker that says “the electric chair stops a beating heart”.

    It’s not about “life” at all. It’s about controlling women’s sexuality.

  269. Oooh! what did say? In moderation at 927.

  270. angienc: i completely and utterly disagree with you regarding the issue of third parties causing harm to unborn children who are viable outside of the womb. I argued the same position in law school, and you certainly aren’t going to change my mind. Its not based on emotion. Its based on the simple fact that it is killing a being that can survive on its own even without the mother’s body to protect it. Sometimes, the law is an ass. And I defy you to find a woman who lost a baby in the 8th or 9th month through the actions of a third party who said ‘Oh, that’s just fine. It wasn’t a PERSON yet anyway.” Send me a citation. And, if I recall correctly, Peterson lived in CA. Apparently, people in CA disagreed with you and CA is about as liberal as you can get, IMHO. No accounting for juries, I guess. Number one rule: Never Trust Juries. I guess all the jurors weren’t sitting there thinking “how is this going to affect Roe v. Wade.”

    And, miq2xu is correct about Roe getting overturned and going back to the States. Abortions would actually go down by an estimated 10%, both because the states would have trouble enforcing any law they passed and because people can travel to other states to obtain an abortion.

    And, Nijma, I was at a lecture tonight given by Fr. Thomas Reese (Washington Post) regarding the Catholic vote and a large part of the discussion revolved around what you raise: why does the church not call out the “pro-life” Repubs who voted for the war and the Congresspersons who support the death penalty.

  271. njima — By your point, it’s clear that we could learn well from Scandinavia in how women could be treated in society. How did they get so smart?

    re: framing abortion as an emotional issue or “hysteria” and having it become a self-fulfilling prophecy — I think there are actually two different points at play here. As one who went through three natural childbirths at home with midwives, backed up by on-call doctors, and as a body-mind practitioner and a hands-on healer, I have walked the talk of mind-over matter. I mean that by taking on a certain mindset of positivity, one can go through extreme difficulty and make it positive. The other notion: that a physical procedure and the law and a decision one makes and its ramifications is not emotional and can be divorced from real feelings when it comes to a real person going through it, well, I just don’t think that holds water. I absolutely agree that choice must be upheld and primary, but that’s not to say people’s experience of it doesn’t involve their heart and lots of wrangling with their decision, for whatever reason.

    Lastly, re: your point about pro-lifers being against the death penalty and war, it’s tricky to say never and no one, but, it’s true that opinions generally have run that way. I also talked about it upstream at 6:06 but in reverse, where “pro-choicers” are anti-death penalty, which would be my position. However, even then I wouldn’t presume to have an opinion re: someone who’s dear one was murdered and might feel either way.

    It’s just not that black and white to me anymore — not when everything I’ve thought for 50 years about the Dems has been turned up-side-down. I guess the point is that when it comes to life and death, (meaning abortion and death penalty) opinions of Left and Right don’t align within themselves if talking about life, so it must be about women’s rights in terms of abortion. (I’m not sure how to write that clearly.)

    However, my opinions about Obama are very clear: he’s not to be trusted.

  272. I know I’m the only one here, I just came back to answer a few points made after everyone left.

    However, in light of a debate about choice: at least we had one!!! That’s more than we can say about the Veep debate. I guess it was way too hot for tackling in a :90 second soundbite or two minute follow-up.

  273. So, I’ve had one abortion, one miscarriage, and now am in my fifth month of pregnancy. I grieved over the first two. The last, though wanted and planned for, scares the crap out of me. I heard the heartbeat yesterday and cried, mostly because the heartbeat made it so real, and there is still that part of me that believes I don’t deserve to have a child, because I don’t feel what I “should”, what society tells me is correct. People feel all sorts of things at different times, and none of those feelings is a valid reason to create or destroy a law, imo. We all have feelings that run the gamut; my goal personally is to choose my actions based on my values and sense of what is right, and not just on how I feel in any given moment.

    What does all this tell me? Partly, that unless we want to live in a totalitarian regime, it is absolutely impossible to agree on questions like when life begins, and that a reasonable compromise is the best we can hope for.

    I am pro-choice. I also understand, to the degree that I can, that if I viewed abortion as murder, I might want to picket clinics, too. That is to say, I can appreciate and to some extent understand others’ very strongly held convictions, even if I don’t share them.

    For me, it is a no-brainer that I am carrying a life within my body that, while it is sustained by me, is also separate from me.

    It is also a no-brainer (for me, not generalizing for anyone else) that since I am not god, I cannot know when consciousness begins. There are lots of theories. I am not qualified to make a judgement about which is right; I can only come to my own conclusions about what is right for me.

    I think it’s cavalier to dismiss the feelings of a man whose potential child is aborted against his will. I am NOT saying that the woman should have the child; I am saying that his feelings are legit, and sometimes very strong, and should be considered, too.

    I do think another point that hasn’t been adequately addressed is that MANY girls and women (and men too) have an incredibly inadequate knowledge of how the reproductive system works. If girls were given and thoroughly instructed in the content and methodology of, for example, the book “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” I believe we’d have fewer unwanted pregnancies. And knowing one’s body is a powerful, wonderful thing.

    I’d like to see people willing to change from “You’re wrong” to “I believe differently”. And that goes for everyone across the spectrum.

  274. Lady Boomer, you’re brave for starting an abortion flame war!

    I disagree on when life begins; I am of the mind that it is transmitted.

    The basic issue to me is that forced pregnancy is a human rights violation. That said, it is yet another instance of the choice that too often becomes an obligation, as Typical Republican relates above. The focus on the act of abortion alone obscures the situations in which we often make that choice, the pressures, the secrecy, the lost possibilities.

    Another basic principle is fairness. I do not want the abortion question, like so many others, balanced on women’s backs; to see women die so society can feel moral. Safe and legal abortion removes that hypocrisy. It may introduce others but that one may not stand.

    Pro-choice and pro-life are not opposites. I very much chose to have my child. I am baffled by the sneers and abuse that greeted Sarah Palin for bearing Trig. I don’t claim to understand all points of view, but we need a legal framework that allows these points of view to coexist.

    That is my humble two cents on the topic.

  275. I have been a lurker and faithful reader here for several months, as I believe this election is the most important of my lifetime and Obama must be stopped if we are to continue as a country. This is my first attempt to post. Thank you for one of the most thought-provoking and intelligent discussions on *any* subject I’ve seen in many, many years. I implore you to bear with me as I offer a somewhat different perspective, and also admit what I have learned from you.

    First, let me out myself as a practicing evangelical Christian. I was raised with the Democratic Party flowing through my arteries, being the granddaughter of a West Virginia mine union organizer and the daughter of a miner as well. I remained a diehard Dem until forced to leave because of my conscience on the abortion issue, about 20 years ago. I have been Independent ever since. I vote for Dems or Repubs or third-party candidates, depending on the issues and whether or not I actually like or can have confidence in the person; hence I usually end up “throwing my vote away” on underdogs.

    LadyBoomer, you have written what I never thought I’d live to see: the admission from a Democrat that abortion does, indeed, still a beating heart. At the same time, you spoke eloquently and poignantly for your position that only the woman involved can ever make the decision whether or not to bear a child–and what an agonizing decision it is!

    After many years in the “pro-life” movement I have seen the entire gamut from stern, unyielding males who would deny abortion to even a woman with a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy, wherein the baby is assuredly doomed and will take the mother to her death too; to arrogant, shrill womyn full of loathing for “breeders” while sporting “Defeat the fetus fetishists!” buttons. My own emotions and beliefs have, admittedly, been all over the map too. During the 80s I was much more stridently anti-choice than I am now. Of course, the paradox of being a Christian libertarian-leaning opponent of government intrusion who at the same time supported the right of said government to tell a woman she could not decide the most intimate details of her own life was almost mind-boggling.

    My two children were both adopted. The first was wanted very much by the brave young birth mother who knew she needed an education and wasn’t ready for parenting. Her decision to bring my Jeremy to life and then gift him to my husband and me is one for which I will honor her forever. Our daughter, on the other hand, was abandoned in a Brazilian hospital–the fourth child of a 19 year-old who kept giving birth and leaving her babies behind. So much tragedy! Once again, I’m thankful to have had my darling girl, who has now made me a grandmother twice over. Yet I wonder about Katia, the teenager who should have had someone care for her enough to guide her to better life choices. My heart breaks for this woman I never met but who impacted my life so profoundly.

    It was actually because of my children, not so much my religion, that I got into the pro-life movement to begin with. Because of my Democratic and Union roots, I honestly believe with all of my heart in standing for the the most vulnerable of beings–the unborn who have no voice, no rights, no chance. But of course the truth is that so many already living women have no real voice or rights or options, either. The criticism that pro-lifers care for saving the baby but not the mother has sadly been too often justified. However, I’m happy to say that has changed a lot over the years. The groups I associated with have mostly progressed from picketing and finger-wagging to actually putting their money and effort where their mouths are: aiding single mothers (like my daughter) and their children with food, clothing, housing and other necessities; lovingly and without being so judgmental and self-righteous.

    I would describe my current stance as similar to Sarah Palin’s: I applaud her for choosing life for her Trig and encouraging her daughter to do the same. I believe in the ideals expounded by Feminists for Life, that we have an obligation to help every woman understand all the options she has, thereby reducing the perceived necessity for many if not most abortions, and empowering women to yes, Choose Life. I believe many women would reconsider if they didn’t feel so lost and overwhelmed at such a vulnerable time.

    Yet some will decide to end their pregnancies. To those women I offer nothing but compassion; as a Christian, I believe it’s God’s place, not mine, to judge their motives. I respect their dignity and their rights as well. May each one find peace and not condemnation, as she and she alone is accountable for her life.

    By the same token, I consider it equally wrong to force medical professionals to assist in an abortion if doing so would traumatize them or is contrary to their own sacred consciences . If we must be pro-choice about women’s rights to make this most personal of decisions, then we must be pro-choice also about doctors and nurses having that same privilege.

    So where does this all leave me? I suppose I’m pro-life choice. I still feel intense sadness when I think of women feeling desperate enough to terminate a pregnancy. I was unable to conceive. I confess that made me angry towards women who, I assumed, were callous about something I wanted more than anything. I was wrong.

    If anything, LadyBoomer’s honesty and transparency has has helped me realize that there are still some things this old dog can learn, and many things I never will.

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