How I became pro-life

Who is human?

Back in college I remember reading about how in certain societies throughout history (I believe in this case it was the Greeks) it was common for parents to abandon unwanted newborns, leaving them somewhere to die. It was so deeply troubling to me, and I could never figure out what was going on there: how on earth could this have happened?! I mean, I knew lots of people, and nobody I knew would do that! In fact, in our society you only hear about it in rare cases of people who are obviously mentally disturbed. How could something so obviously evil, so unthinkably horrific be common among entire societies?

Because of my deep distress at hearing of things like this, I found it really irritating when pro-lifers would refer to abortion as “killing babies.” Obviously, nobody around here is in favor of killing babies – and to imply that those of us who were pro-choice would advocate for that was an insult to the babies throughout history who actually were killed by their insane societies. We weren’t in favor of killing anything. We simply felt like women had the right to stop the growth process of a fetus if she faced an unwanted pregnancy. It was unfortunate, yes, because fetuses had potential to be babies one day. But that was a sacrifice that had to be made in the name of not making women slaves to the trauma of unwanted pregnancies.

I continued to be vehemently pro-choice after college, and though my views became more moderate once I had a child of my own, I was still pro-choice. But as my husband and I were in the process of exploring Christianity, we couldn’t help but be exposed to pro-life thought more often than we used to be, and we were put on the defensive about our views. I remember one day when my husband was in the middle of reconsidering his own pro-choice ideas, he made a passing remark that stuck with me ever since:

“It just occurred to me that being pro-life is being pro-other people’s-life,” he quipped. “Everyone is pro-their own-life.”

It made me realize that my pro-choice viewpoints were putting me in the position of deciding who was and was not human, and whose lives were worth living. I (along with doctors, the government, or other abortion advocates) decided where to draw this very important line. When I would come across Catholic blogs or books where they said something like “life begins at conception,” I would scoff at the silliness of that notion as was my habit…yet I found myself increasingly uncomfortable with my defense:

“A few cells is obviously not a baby or even a human life!” I would say to myself. “Fetuses eventually become full-fledged humans, but not until, umm, like six months gestation or something. Or maybe five months? When is it that they can kick their legs and stuff?…Eight weeks? No, they’re not human then, those must be involuntary spasms…”

I was putting the burden of proof on the fetuses to demonstrate to me that they were human. And I was a tough judge. I found myself looking the other way when I heard that 3D ultrasounds showed “fetuses” touching their faces, smiling and opening their eyes at ages at which I still considered abortion OK. I didn’t have any interest in reading the headlines at Lifesite. Babies — I mean, fetuses — seen yawning at 12 weeks gestation? Involuntary spasm. As modern technology helped fetuses offer me more and more evidence that they were humans too, I would simply move the bar of what I considered human.

I realized that my definition of how and when a fetus became a “baby” or a “person,” when he or she began to have rights, also depended on his or her level of health: the length of time in which I considered it OK to terminate a pregnancy lengthened as the severity of disability increased. Under the premise of wanting to spare the potential child from suffering, I was basically saying that disabled fetuses were less human, had fewer rights, than able-bodied ones. It didn’t sit well.

The whole thing started to get under my skin. At some point I started to feel like I was more determined to be pro-choice than I was to honestly analyze who was and was not human. I started to see it in others in the pro-choice community as well. On more than one occasion I was stunned to the point of feeling physically ill upon reading of what otherwise nice, reasonable people in the pro-abortion camp would advocate for.

In reading through the Supreme Court case of Stenberg v. Carhart, I read that Dr. Leroy Carhart, an abortion advocate who actually performs the procedures, described some second-trimester abortions by saying, “[W]hen you pull out a piece of the fetus, let’s say, an arm or a leg and remove that, at the time just prior to removal of the portion of the fetus…the fetus [is] alive.” He said that he has observed fetal heartbeat via ultrasound with “extensive parts of the fetus removed.” The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which presumably consists of well-educated, reasonable, intelligent men and women, opposed this procedure. Not for the reasons I thought — because it was plainly obvious that this was infanticide in its most grisly form — but because dismembered babies inconvenienced their mothers, and it was better to kill them outside the womb in a procedure they refer to as “D&X”. In the College’s words in its amici brief:

D&X presents a variety of potential safety advantages over other abortion procedures used during the same gestational period. Compared to D&E’s involving dismemberment, D&X involves less risk of uterine perforation or cervical laceration because it requires the physician to make fewer passes into the uterus with sharp instruments and reduces the presence of sharp fetal bone fragments that can injure the uterus and cervix.

There is also considerable evidence that D&X reduces the risk of retained fetal tissue, a serious abortion complication that can cause maternal death, and that D&X reduces the incidence of a ‘free floating’ fetal head that can be difficult for a physician to grasp and remove and can thus cause maternal injury.

I read the Court documents from Stenberg v. Carhart in a state of shock. A few years ago a friend of mine had her baby very prematurely, and I had visited him in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. He was so beautiful, just like the full-term newborns I’d seen, only a little smaller. Seeing him and the other babies lying there so peacefully in their incubators (some of them with cute little notes written on their incubator tags like “Aiden — mommy’s big boy!”), I was overwhelmed with feelings of wanting to protect these precious, innocent little babies. I was thrilled to hear the my friend’s son and all the other preemies who were in the NICU at that time did survive and go home with their parents. So I found myself in a state of cold shock and disbelief that I was reading of people — not just fringe crazies, but the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and some Supreme Court Justices — casually speak about the inconvenience of the skulls and bone fragments of dismembered babies (“fetuses”) the same age as those babies in the NICU. The horrors continued when I read Gonzales v. Carhart [some excerpts here…warning: no photos, but the descriptions are extremely disturbing].

It took my breath away to witness the level of evil that normal people can fall into supporting. They were talking about infanticide, but completely refused to label it as such. It was when I considered that these were educated, reasonable professionals who were probably not bad people that I realized that evil always works through lies. I also took a mental step back from the entire pro-choice movement. If this is what it meant to be “pro-choice,” I was not pro-choice.

Yet I still couldn’t quite bring myself to label myself pro-life.

I started to recognize that I was no better than Dr. Carhart or the concurring Justices or the author of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ brief, that I too had probably told myself lies in order to maintain my support for abortion. Yet there was something deep down inside, some tremendous pressure that kept me from truly, objectively looking at what was going on here. There was something within me that screamed that to not allow women to have abortions at least in the first trimester would be unfair in the most dire sense of the word. Even as I became more religious, I mentally pushed aside thoughts that all humans might have God-given eternal souls worthy of dignity and respect, because it got too tricky to figure out when we receive those souls, the most obvious answer being “at conception” as opposed to at some arbitrary point during gestation.

It wasn’t until I re-evaluated the societal views of sex that had permeated the consciousness of my peer group, took a new look at the modern assumptions about the act that creates those fetuses in the first place, that I was able to let go of that internal pressure I felt, and to take an unflinching look at my views on abortion.

The contraceptive mentality

Here are four key memories that give a glimpse into how my understanding of sex was formed:

  • When I was a kid, I didn’t have any friends who had baby brothers or sisters in their households. One friend’s mom was pregnant when we were twelve, but I moved before the baby was born. To the extent that I ever heard any of our parents talk about pregnancy and babies, it was to say that they were happy that they were “done,” the impression being that they could finally start living now that that pregnancy/baby unpleasantness was over.

  • In sex ed class we learned not that sex creates babies, but that unprotected sex creates babies. After we were done putting condoms on bananas, our teacher counseled us that we should carefully decide when we might be ready to have sex based on important concerns like whether or not we were in committed relationships, whether or not we had access to contraception, how our girlfriends or boyfriends treated us, whether we wanted to wait until marriage, etc. I do not recall hearing readiness to have a baby being part of a single discussion about deciding when to have sex, whether it was from teachers or parents or society in general. Not once.
  • On multiple occasions when I was a young teen I recall hearing girls make the comment that they would readily risk dangerous back-alley abortions or even consider suicide if they were to face unplanned pregnancies and abortion wasn’t legal. Though I was not sexually active, it sounded perfectly reasonable to methat is how much we desired not to have babies before we were ready. Yet the concept of just not having sex if we weren’t ready to have babies was never discussed. It’s not that we had considered the idea and rejected it; it simply never occurred to us.
  • Even recently, before our marriage was validated in the Catholic Church my husband and I had to take a course about building good marriages. It was a video series by a nondenominational Christian group, and in the segment called “Good Sex” they did not mention children or babies once. In all the talk about bonding and back rubs and intimacy and staying in shape, the closest they came to connecting sex to the creation of life was to briefly say that couples should discuss the topic of contraception.

Sex could not have been more disconnected from the concept of creating life.

The message I’d heard loud and clear was that the purpose of sex was for pleasure and bonding, that its potential for creating life was purely tangential, almost to the point of being forgotten about altogether. This mindset laid the foundation of my views on abortion. Because I saw sex as being closed to the possibility to life by default, I thought of pregnancies that weren’t planned as akin to being struck by lightning while walking down the street — something totally unpredictable, undeserved, that happened to people living normal lives.

Being pro-choice for me (and I’d imagine with many others) was actually motivated out of love and caring: I just didn’t want women to have to suffer, to have to devalue themselves by dealing with unwanted pregnancies. Because it was an inherent part of my worldview that everyone except people with “hang-ups” eventually has sex and sex is, under normal circumstances, only about the relationship between the two people involved, I got lured into one of the oldest, biggest, most tempting lies in human history: to dehumanize the enemy. Babies had become the enemy because of their tendencies to pop up and ruin everything; and just as societies are tempted to dehumanize the fellow human beings who are on the other side of the lines in wartime, so had I, and we as a society, dehumanized the enemy of sex.

It was when I was reading up on the Catholic Church’s view of sex, marriage and contraception that everything changed.

I’d always thought that those archaic teachings about not using contraception were because the Church wanted to oppress people by telling them to have as many kids as possible, or something like that. What I found, however, was that their views expressed a fundamentally different understanding of what sex is, and once I heard it I never saw the world the same way again. The way I’d always seen it, the standard position was that babies were a horrible burden, except for a couple times in life when everything is perfect enough that a couple might temporarily see new life as a good thing; the Catholic view is that the standard position is that babies are a blessing and a good thing, and while it’s fine to attempt to avoid pregnancy for serious reasons, if we go so far as to adopt a “contraceptive mentality,” feeling entitled to the pleasure of sex while loathing (and perhaps trying to forget all about) its life-giving properties, we not only disrespect this most sacred of acts, but we begin to see new life as the enemy.

To use a rough analogy, the Catholic Church was saying that loaded guns are not toys, that while they can perhaps be used for certain recreational activities, they are always to be handled with grave respect; my viewpoint, coming from contraceptive culture, was that it’s fine to use loaded guns as toys as long as you put blanks in the chamber. Thinking of that analogy, expecting to be able to use something with incredible power nonchalantly, as a toy, I could see how that worldview had set us up for disaster.

I came to see that our culture’s widespread use and acceptance of contraception had led to the “contraceptive mentality” toward sex being the default position. As a society, we’d come to take it for granted that we’re entitled to the pleasurable and bonding aspects of sex even when we’re in a state of being vehemently opposed to the new life it might produce. The option of abstaining from the act that creates babies if we’re in a state of seeing babies as a huge burden had been removed from our cultural lexicon: even if it would be a huge crisis to get pregnant, we have a right to go ahead and have sex anyway. If this were true, if it was indeed a fact that it was morally OK for people to have sex even when they believed that a new baby could ruin their lives, in my mind, then, abortion had to be OK.

I realize that ideally I would have taken an objective look at when human life begins and based my views on that alone…but the lie was just too tempting. I didn’t want to hear too much about heartbeats or souls or brain activity…terminating pregnancies just had to be OK, because carrying a baby to term and becoming a parent is a huge deal…and society had made it very clear that sex is not a huge deal. As long as I accepted that for people to engage in sex in a contraceptive mentality was morally OK, I could not bring myself to even consider that abortion might not be OK. It just seemed too inhumane to make women deal with life-altering consequences for an act that was not supposed to have life-altering consequences.

So this idea that we are always to treat the sexual act with awe and respect, so much so that we should simply abstain if we’re vehemently opposed to its life-giving potential, was a totally new and different message. For me, being able to honestly consider when life begins, opening my heart and my mind to the wonder and dignity of even the tiniest of my fellow human beings, was not fully possible until I understood the nature of the act that creates these little lives in the first place.

The great temptation

All of these thoughts had been percolating in my brain for a while, and I found myself increasingly in agreement with pro-life positions. Then one night I was reading something, and a thought occurred to me, and from that moment on I was officially, unapologetically PRO-LIFE. I was reading yet another account of the Greek societies in which newborn babies were abandoned to die, wondering to myself how normal people could possibly do something like that. I felt a chill rush through my body as I thought:

I know how they did it.

I realized in that moment that perfectly good, well-meaning people — people like me — can support very evil things through the power of lies. From my own experience, I knew how the Greeks, the Romans, and people in every other society could put themselves into a mental state that they could leave a newborn child to die: the very real pressures of life — “we can’t afford another baby,” “we can’t have any more girls,” “he wouldn’t have had a good life” — left them susceptible to that oldest of temptations: to dehumanize other human beings. Though the circumstances were different, it was the same process that had happened with me, that happened with the concurring Supreme Court Justices in Stenberg v. Carhart, with the abortion doctors, the entire pro-choice movement, and anyone else who’s ever been tempted to dehumanize inconvenient people.

I bet that as those Greek parents handed over their infants for someone to take away, they remarked on how very unlike their other children these little creatures were: they can’t talk, the can’t sit up, and surely those little yawns and smiles are just involuntary reactions. I bet you anything they referred to these babies with different words than they used to refer to the children they kept. Maybe they called them “fetuses.”

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Enter the Conversation...

198 Responses to “How I became pro-life”
  1. Anonymous says:

    What an amazing post–I know lots of commenters have said it, but you’ve got to write a book! Thanks so much for sharing this with me!

    –Elizabeth

  2. Irene says:

    Wonderful post, as usual. I have noticed a lot of pro-choice blogging recently and it just makes me sad.

    I am very pro-life. I can under all the reasons why someone would want to have an abortion. I completely understand. But that doesn’t make it right.

    I am a mom of a very special needs daughter. I knew about her issues at 20 weeks. I was strongly encouraged to abort. Most parents probably would have. I didn’t. She was supposed to survive birth, she wasn’t supposed to live long. She is now 4 1/2. She is severely disabled. She will probably never walk or talk. And I never EVER thought I could handle such a child.

    But she is one of the best things that ever happened to me. She has completely changed my life, in a very good way. She is an angel. And I don’t mean that is just how she acts. I know she IS an angel on earth.

    And I will never forget what a special needs teacher once said (way before I had her). “I don’t feel sorry for these kids, they have a ticket straight to heaven.”. And she is SO right. And she has every right to be here as I do.

    Anyway, to me it is just so obvious that abortion is wrong. There is no way to say with complete certainty that there is an exact point in a pregnancy that a “fetus” has become a baby. And I feel, for abortion to be OK, there really has to be an absolute EXACT point. Since there never will be an exact point AFTER conception, that point absolutely has to be conception itself. No doubt about it. No question. Absolutely.

    As you pointed out, how can some parents do everything in their power to keep their tiny premature infant alive in the NICU, while another mother, whose baby is the exact same age, can literally rip the baby in pieces and say that is her “right”.

    How can we say abortion is OK, but if you murder a pregnant mother, you can be convicted of 2 murders!

    It just doesn’t make sense.

  3. Becky Miller says:

    This is really powerful writing. I’ve been reading your blog for a few weeks – Amy at Untangling Tales linked to you, and I’m hooked.

    I’m (currently) a Protestant who is becoming more and more a firm believer in the Catholic position on life and sex the longer I work in the pro-life movement. I’m the education coordinator for Rhode Island Right to Life, and my recent work has been giving interactive presentations on abortion to confirmation classes.

    I always feel a little bit awkward in teaching Catholic theology as a Protestant – the way you’ve put things on your blog has really helped me out.

  4. Anonymous says:

    This is an amazing post, Jen. Thank you so much for writing about your journey.

  5. Tippy says:

    This book notes that of the 600 families whose family trees were inscribed at Delphi, only 1% raised more than one girl. Clearly, female infanticide was rampant. Your post sheds light on this phenomenon. Like you, I never understood it. But I think you have hit the nail on the head.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0262083256/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

  6. Paul, just this guy, you know? says:

    Outstanding!

  7. Anonymous says:

    “I realized in that moment that perfectly good, well-meaning people — people like me — can support very evil things through the power of lies.”

    Yes. And not only do good, well-meaning people (typically on the left) support abortion, but good, well-meaning people (typically on the right) support other things I’d refer to as evil, such as (unjust) war (which we’re currently involved in).

    The factors involved in abortion aren’t the only lies, for sure.

  8. j. christian says:

    Jen,

    Your conversion – not only to pro-life but also to Catholicism – resonates with me very much. My background and experiences are very similar. I love the way you lay out your interior thought process on these issues, because I find many of the same flash points in my own course of thinking.

    It hasn’t been easy. As you correctly point out, the culture peddles the idea that sex is not a big deal, and even thinking outside this box is difficult because it’s such a pervasive idea. It’s only when we realize that we’ve been sold a bundle of lies that the truth comes home. The headwinds against the Church’s position are strong.

    A case in point: Some friends of ours (not Catholic, but nominally Christian) recently invited us to dinner. They just had a baby, their second child, and the father announced that their dinner invitation was the same day as his vasectomy operation. He even joked about there being a discount on the second operation if I was also interested. I laughed it off, but inside it was eating at me. I knew that if I said the things I really believed to be true, I would be labeled old-fashioned, a prude, a reactionary… Not that I wouldn’t defend the truth if taken to task, but there was no need to make waves over it at this time.

    It helps that you write about your personal process of becoming pro-life, because I feel that in some small way I now have a little bit more confidence in explaining my own discovery on these things. And maybe even another ally, too. Let’s face it: the world thinks we’re nuts. For much of my life, I probably would’ve agreed with them.

    Thanks again for your post.

  9. Amber says:

    My pro-choice to pro-life background and conversion was quite similiar to yours. The genesis of my becoming pro-life started with a converstation with a good friend (very religious and very pro-life – it was kind of strange that we were such good friends because I was the complete opposite!) in high school. We were discussing gestational development, and as I was going through the whole thing I referred to the baby as a fetus through the entire 9 months. At the point when labor started, I was still calling the baby a fetus, and my friend remarked rather sarcastically, “don’t you think you could start calling the child a baby at this point?” I was somewhat startled out of my monologue and ever since that moment (what was that, 16 years ago?) that question haunted me. For awhile I tried to ignore the fetus/baby question, because in my mind (and many other pro-choicers as well, I think) a fetus is something you can abort, whereas a baby is a child who deserves care. If I could just call the baby a fetus for as long as possible, then it didn’t matter what happened… because it was just a fetus.

    As I became more religious this question kept coming back to me… and as I started thinking about the point of viability and other questions I began to realize that it just doesn’t matter. A baby is a baby is a baby. At first I didn’t even want to think about being pro-life either, but gradually I grew to embrace that label. Last Tuesday I did the first outwardly pro-life thing in my life – I went to the pro-life Mass at the Cathedral in my diocese. It was powerful experience, and I plan to do it every year – although I hope that at some point in the not-so-distant future I can go to Mass on this day in celebration rather than lamentation.

  10. Kelly @ Love Well says:

    This is beautiful, Jennifer. I had my third child (a girl) almost 20 days ago. As you might understand, I skipped over the more vivid sections of this post. The thought of abortion literally sickens me — especially right now, as I watch my daughter sleep and see her little fingers clench and unclench and listen to her tiny sighs.

    I understand abortion is a decision often made in desperation, and I know it’s a decision many (if not most) women ultimately regret deeply. But what a terrible, terrible thing it is. You so clearly articulated the way our society chooses to shut its eyes and ears to the babies rather than face up to the horror.

  11. Jenny says:

    Jen,

    This is beautiful and insightful, you’ve hit the nail right on the head. This article desperately needs to get into more people’s hands, I’ll definately be sending readers your way. Are you published yet?

  12. Anonymous says:

    Jen, Bravo, You said what I can never say and i thank you. How about this lie-Which I believed-Life is ruined by an unwanted baby.How about the truth-Life is ruined by abortion. More than one life, i’m afraid.

  13. Kerry - A Ten O'Clock Scholar says:

    Thank you for saying so eloquently what is in my heart.

    I’m not Catholic, but I do hold the same beliefs as the Catholic church on these issues. I’m thankful to my Catholic brothers and sisters for holding the line while so many Protestants have acquiesed to the culture.

    Thank you.

  14. Purpleflowerpatch says:

    You are one of my choices for Excellent Blog Award – as a Catholic convert myself I really enjoy your writing about journey, but also I love your style of writing!
    For details check out my blog.
    Jenny in Australia

  15. Abigail says:

    WOW! FANTASTIC! Don’t feel self-conscious about having a long post on this subject. I was hanging on every word.

    I loved this part:

    “The message I’d heard loud and clear was that the purpose of sex was for pleasure and bonding, that its potential for creating life was purely tangential, almost to the point of being forgotten about altogether. This mindset laid the foundation of my views on abortion. Because I saw sex as being closed to the possibility to life by default, I thought of pregnancies that weren’t planned as akin to being struck by lightning while walking down the street — something totally unpredictable, undeserved, that happened to people living normal lives.

    Being pro-choice for me (and I’d imagine with many others) was actually motivated out of love and caring: I just didn’t want women to have to suffer, to have to devalue themselves by dealing with unwanted pregnancies. Because it was an inherent part of my worldview that everyone except people with “hang-ups” eventually has sex and sex is, under normal circumstances, only about the relationship between the two people involved, I got lured into one of the oldest, biggest, most tempting lies in human history: to dehumanize the enemy. Babies had become the enemy because of their tendencies to pop up and ruin everything; and just as societies are tempted to dehumanize the fellow human beings who are on the other side of the lines in wartime, so had I, and we as a society, dehumanized the enemy of sex.”

    That’s a feeling I’ve haven’t seen put so clearly in words before. Great Job Jen!

  16. Tausign says:

    Your post shows a lot of humility, which is exactly what we all need to ‘see’ our way out of this mess. One would expect that science and technology would help us as we view more clearly the tiny life within the womb…and yet to use your words; we ‘just keep moving the bar’. We don’t want the Truth…to the contrary we run away from the Truth or say there is no Truth.

    I understand that many are hoping for a political showdown and wanting changes in laws and such: but that is a side battle. This is truly a SPIRITUAL battle first and foremost. Consider what St. Paul says…”What human nature does is quite plain. It shows itself in immoral, filthy, and indecent actions; in worship of idols and witchcraft. People become enemies and they fight; they become jealous, angry, and ambitious. They separate into parties and groups; they are envious, get drunk, have orgies, and do other things like these. I warn you now as I have before: those who do these things will not possess the Kingdom of God. “But the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control…And those who belong to Christ Jesus have put to death their human nature with all its passions and desires. The Spirit has given us life; he must also control our lives.” [Galatians 5: 19-25]

    And this from the Gospel…(Then the disciples came to Jesus and said…’why couldn’t we drive out this demon’…Jesus said, ‘this kind requires prayer and fasting.’ – cf. Matthew 17:19,21) So Jen, I think the Holy Spirit is setting all of us up for a real noteworthy Lent.

    In fact, I’m wondering how you’re contemplating your first post baptismal Lent. You know we Franciscans are really big on Lent and Penance. Please come to my blog ‘Perfect Joy’ and hit the label marked ‘Penance’. Only three posts on the subject but I think you’ll get a burst forward. Start with the bottom post (oldest) first and move up. I’ve promised someone else I would do one more which will get done as soon as the Holy Spirit gives me what I need.

  17. Judy says:

    Another great post – thank you!
    I am currently expecting my third baby in less than three years and was somewhat horrified to find the number of health professionals I encountered in the first few months of my current pregnancy (i.e. everyonen from my doctor to the nurse who did a blood test) asking me if I was ‘serious’ about ‘keeping this one’. When I asked what they meant by this, I was told (more or less) ‘well, you’ve already got two – a boy and a girl – and they are so close together, why have a third one? You’ve got one of each, so perhaps you should just terminate the pregnancy and make your life easier’.
    The concept of abortion has never sat well with me but especially for what were such flipant reasons! It makes me wonder how many other women in similar positions are given this same ‘advice’.

  18. ShackelMom says:

    I am a protestant who many years ago heard a sermon in which we were shown that the idols of today are the gods of affluence and personal convenience. We cringe when we think of the babies in the Old Testament given to the fire for Molech, but our culture also sacrifices infants to their idols.

    I went home and thought a lot about that sermon and how true it was. That was what abortion was all about! I was already very pro-life. But then I thought, “How is my use of birth control any different? Isn’t it all about affluence (finances) and personal convenience?”

    So I went to the Bible, starting at the beginning, and looked to see what God said on the topic. It became very clear that children were a blessing from the Lord, and that it was the Lord who opened and closed the womb, and than barrenness was a curse, not a blessing. Who was I to act like God’s blessings were a curse, that pregnancy was a disease to be avoided?! It changed the way I looked at my life, my marriage, my body, my priorities and of course, my children.

    I cannot say I have not struggled with giving God this much control. To do so I have had to really trust Him, even when I don’t understand or like His timing or what He has given me to do. But being in that place has brought me closer to Him, and given me more intimate knowledge and confidence in His ways than I could ever have had otherwise.

    Children are indeed a blessing from the Lord, and the fruit of the womb a reward.

  19. Elizabeth...mommy...etc says:

    well thought out and well written…keep them comin’! I’ve always been pro-life and when I read anything on someone being pro-choice or the # of abortions or how they are done, I literally feel sick to my stomach! ESPECIALLY since Tulip’s birth. Keep writing… *elizabeth

  20. andnotbysight says:

    Wow! What a powerful statement. You’re so right about the dehumanizing language. I was reading something about 1960s abortion activism (written from a pro-choice perspective), and though the author (not surprisingly) didn’t make note of it, I realized that the activists quoted actually used the words “child” and “baby”–not “fetus” or “embryo” or “tissue.” I guess before the use of those dehumanizing terms it was hard to gain widespread support . . .

  21. Anonymous says:

    Brilliantly written. The truth shines out from your post. I went through a similar “conversion” from pro-“choice” to pro-life, and haven’t been able to articulate it well.

    Keep blogging!

  22. Lady of the Lake says:

    Great post! Very thoughtful and humble. I love reading your blog.

  23. Anonymous says:

    This story and others like it are great gifts to the pro-life movement. I was taught the evil of abortion when I was young enough to respond: Who would do such a thing?!!and that attitude has remained with me throughout my life. My children also learned of it at a very early age and responded the same way. I think it is important to have that attitude towrd abortion, but I have to admit that it makes it difficult to communicate with others who are pro-choice. How could you think that?? just isn’t very convincing! As you point out, many pro-choicers are good people who think that their position is a compassionate one. I learned early in my adult life that I was not prepared to enter into peaceful dialogue on this issue. But I pray very hard for the conversion of hearts and minds, and have since learned to view pro-choicers I encounter as people who are somewhere in the conversion process, on the way to the Truth. Your perspective and experience give you a gentle persuasive strength in the discussion with those who have NOT YET been fully converted in heart and mind to the evil of abortion. Though I do not know you, I thank God for your conversion as an answer to prayer. Please continue to share your story with as many people as you can! Theresa

  24. Jonathan says:

    Powerful, thank you. I agree with the book comment below. Your manner of conveying thoughts is quite unique, I would not hesitate to purchase something penned by yourself.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for explaining in such detail. We disagree, but I deeply admire the way you have thought through your position and the way you live by it.

    I am pro-choice because I believe that criminalizing abortion saves neither lives nor souls, but I encourage everyone I know to use their sexuality responsibly so that abortion never becomes a consideration. When people do choose abortion, that is between them and God; it is not my role to stop them, only to pray for them. I believe that the soul of an aborted fetus returns to God’s loving care.

    I have a question about Catholic belief on one issue: You mention “God-given eternal souls”. In at least three other Catholic blogs, I have seen phrases suggesting that PARENTS create souls FOR GOD. I had never seen this idea prior to the past year and am puzzled by it. Is that sloppy writing, or is it true that Catholics believe that souls are made by people rather than God???

    Judy, I’m sorry you’ve been treated so insensitively. It’s sad that there are people who think of themselves as “pro-choice” who don’t realize that urging a woman to abort is just as coercive as urging a woman to give birth! Duh!!

    • C Moore says:

      No, the Catholic church does not say that people can create anything, let alone a soul. God creates. Creation comes from nothing, and God is eternally creative in that he sustains everything out of nothing for as long as anything exists. Only God exists by his very nature, and everything else is created by him and his will sustains it.

      The parents do cooperate in creation with God when they conceive, and I am guessing that was what they were trying to get at. We do believe that participating with God’s creation in this way is a great gift and yet another way in which God has “created us in His image”.

      Do you also belive that theft and murder should not be criminalized? If something is wrong, it should be criminalized. You cannot argue that because a law is ineffective (whether becasue people insist on an act or because the executive branch refuses to enforce it) it should not be a law. That is just like the parents who do not tell their kids to abstain from premarital sex and instead get them condoms because they are “just going to do it anyway”.

      If I am not mistaken, the number of abortions has gone up, not down, proportionally, since it became legal. You might like to look that up if your reason for being pro-choice is that criminalizing it would be ineffective. For pro-lifers, it is a moot point. We do not think it should be criminalized because it would be effective in preventing abortions; we think it should be criminalized because it is wrong, and the state should uphold the rights of everyone, even (or especially) the defenseless.

  26. La gallina says:

    Isn’t it funny how we’ve had to “open our minds” so much. I never knew how closed-minded I was back when I was “open-minded, free-spirited” agnostic.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write such an amazing post! Too bad we can’t fit all your words on a handy little sign for the pro-life marches.

    You words on sex, contraception have been a huge revelation to me.

  27. Jess says:

    I am pro-choice, for some of the reasons you listed that you used to be and a couple others as well.

    I read this post today holding my 12 hour old son, realizing that he was perfectly made and such a little miracle from the moment the sperm and egg met. There will never be another human just like him in the history of humankind. It is amazing to look at his physical perfection while also learning about his own unique personality, already sp clear and present.

    It is hard to justify abortion when you witness firsthand the sheer miracle of pregnancy and new human. I will probably look back at this comment and laugh at how obviously hormonal I am, how emotional, but I hope I don’t.

  28. Martha says:

    My high school (public school) also did not include “are you ready to be a parent?” as part of the “whether to have sex” guidelines. But there was a girl in my class who was pregnant already, and who sat there with us through the discussion of how teenage parents have all sorts of terrible outcomes. I know that helped the rest of us see that parenthood was a possible outcome (although I have always felt bad for her.)

  29. Melanie B says:

    “I bet you anything they referred to these babies with different words than they used to refer to the children they kept. Maybe they called them “fetuses.””

    I wrote about this recently on my blog, actually. I’m not sure about the Greeks and Romans; but later European societies, even Christian ones, used the word “changeling” to achieve this kind of emotional distance. There is a plethora of folktales and fairytales about changeling children or stolen children.

    The way they were able to bring themselves to kill their children was to convince themselves that their child had been stolen by the fairies or by the devil and a soulless creature had been left in its place. Thus it was no sin to kill the changeling because it wasn’t really the child they had carried for nine months and given birth to.

    Jen, thanks for this. Growing up Catholic, I always connected sex and babies. This was a real eye-opener for me. I of course have some understanding of and experience of the contraceptive mentality, but I don’t think I fully realized the extent of the mental disconnect that exists in the majority of American society.

  30. Jon says:

    The thing that bothers me about the vast majority of pro-life campaigners is the way they skip right over the desperation. The desperation is the crux of the matter; not questions about when a child becomes a child. To pull the roots of this desperation we’d have to do something about our culture’s view of sex (probably nearly impossible as long as birth control remains an option) and all the ways society penalizes women who have kids, especially out of wedlock. Unfortunately, dealing with abortion at that level isn’t nearly as glamorous as participating in marches and rallies. It also doesn’t give one the warm glow of self-righteousness that you can work up by denouncing anyone who has ever had an abortion.

    Jon

  31. Geoffrey says:

    “The thing that bothers me about the vast majority of pro-life campaigners is the way they skip right over the desperation. The desperation is the crux of the matter; not questions about when a child becomes a child. To pull the roots of this desperation we’d have to do something about our culture’s view of sex (probably nearly impossible as long as birth control remains an option) and all the ways society penalizes women who have kids, especially out of wedlock. Unfortunately, dealing with abortion at that level isn’t nearly as glamorous as participating in marches and rallies. It also doesn’t give one the warm glow of self-righteousness that you can work up by denouncing anyone who has ever had an abortion.”

    My, my Jon. Looks like someone else is a bit self-righteous at the moment, and it isn’t Jen. In fact, I doubt you even read her posts. Believe it or not, she never once denounced someone who had an abortion. Neither have I, and the same is most likely true about the vast majority of pro-lifers. *Gasp* how shocking!

    Hmmm…desperation. Yes, I’m sure that’s why people abort, or at least that’s what they tell themselves. Heck, desperation is also the leading cause of murder, theft, rape, suicide, war, etc…why don’t we stop focusing on all those byproducts, and start focusing on the “real” cause? (sarcasm)

    Jon, thank you for espousing one of the most radically lacking theories of morality ever uttered by human lips. I think I shall refer to it as “desperationism.” Now, with the wave of a magic moral wand, everything becomes okay, or at least less evil, as long as you’re desperate.

    …actually, the excuse “I was desperate!” is usually formulated after a human does something wrong. In fact, it’s a leading indicator that they know it was wrong, and they’re trying to rationalize it away.

    For instance…
    Why did you kill your husband? I was desperate. Why did we go to war with Iraq? They had WMDs, and we were desperate. Why did you rob the bank? I was desperate.

    However, the most intriguing aspect of desperation is that it rarely exists. When you ask the woman why she killed her husband rather than going to a shelter, when you ask the President why he went to war instead of double-checking his intelligence department, when you ask the theif why he didn’t apply for SSI or ask a church for help…when you ask a woman why she had an abortion rather than consider adoption or enroll in a program, such as project Gabriel, that provides free housing, food, schooling, indeed everything…”desperation” suddenly dissipates like the smokescreen it often is.

    Human nature is quite complicated. We have a will for complete autonomy, and ironically, this drives us to violently rebel against all help. We have what I call a “death urge.”

    We deceive ourselves, we keep it secret…but it screams, prowling in the dark backalleys of our soul. Sometimes, the thought flashes through our mind. We feel the urge to scream a cuss-word, veer off the road, snap our newborn’s neck, or throw ourself down a staircase. We all have such thoughts.

    The “death urge” laughs, maniac-like, repeating the mantra by which it was birthed, “ye shall be as gods!” Wronged from the beginning, deprived of all hope as we thrust off our sinful nature, this half-being, this fallen demon within the dark corners of our heart, seeks to drag us down into its own inevitable oblivion in the fires of hell.

    Thus, deep within, the urge throbs within us, seducing us…calling us to remain alone, and to die. To kill, and to laugh about it as our essence decays into absolute nothingness.

    “Desperation!” is the battle-cry of oblivion itself. It is the dark transubstantiation by which hell becomes truly present in the heart of man.

    The worst mistake of the 20th century was to assume the best in other people.

    • tatiana says:

      I’m sorry Geofrey you DO sound pretty self righteous. Some women ARE desperate (yes including the ones that kill their violent husbands) that doesn’t make it right, but it does make us feel a little bit in their shoes. And I think that Jon is saying a very valid point: for centuries part of that women’s desparation came from being frowned by having a baby out of wedlock which, surpreise!, was done mainly by catholic folks.

      I’m a craddle and proud catholic, however, even though I understand and share the view point that abortion is wrong I do feel truly sorry by women who feel they HAVE to abort. Aborting is ilegal in my country, that doesn’t stop them. I just feel it’s a loose loose situation

  32. Tausign says:

    To Jon- You said, “The thing that bothers me about the vast majority of pro-life campaigners is the way they skip right over the desperation.”

    My question: Are you similarly bothered that those who work to prevent a suicide are insensitive to desperation?

  33. Michelle Trudeau says:

    Thanks for this post! Once when I was visibly pregnant with my 4th child, I walked into a Victoria’s Secret store (with my 5 y.o., 3 y.o. and 2 y.o. in tow) and asked them where their maternity section was located. They gave me a strange look and said they didn’t have one. I looked stunned and while motioning with my hands said, ‘If you provide this, don’t you think you should provide that?’

    I’m always struck by the disconnect between sex and pregnancy.
    Thanks for your insights.

  34. Jennifer F. says:

    Unfortunately, dealing with abortion at that level isn’t nearly as glamorous as participating in marches and rallies. It also doesn’t give one the warm glow of self-righteousness that you can work up by denouncing anyone who has ever had an abortion.

    Jon – I’m not sure if that comment was directed at me or the pro-life movement in general, but in case it was the former, I’ll just throw out that many of my dearest friends and family members have had abortions; also, my husband was raised by a single mother who was so poor that she struggled to simply put food on the table and often couldn’t run the heat in the winter. So, a) I am sympathetic to the plight of single mothers, and b) I am very, very familiar with the things that lead women to have abortions, and am not focused on denouncing the women themselves as much as denouncing the act. Obviously, none of them think they’re killing “babies”. Otherwise they wouldn’t do it. But, again, maybe your comment wasn’t directed to me.

    I would also throw out that most people I know who go to marches and prayer services in front of abortion clinics also donate time and money to causes to support women in crisis pregnancies.

    Thanks, everyone, for your thoughts.

  35. truthfinder says:

    Wow. Please write that book. Every word was powerful. Thank you!

  36. Mary Poppins NOT says:

    I live in Aurora, IL, and have been fighting the largest abortion clinic in America. This made national news this summer, and while the news has cooled, the fight here in Aurora hasn’t. In the process of bringing the horrors of abortion to the public square, we have had many, many conversations with pro-abortion folks, and while we have attempted to stay charitable and loving, there is a real disconnect between our motives. Your post today is a real bridge between that disconnect. I thank you, and appreciate this post more than I can say. I was just out at the Planned Parenthood clinic today, praying, and paying particular notice of the employees there. I got the distinct impressiong that they were not evil people, that they were there out of concern for women in crisis. So was I. How do we stop seeing each other as enemies, and work to truly improve the lot of women in crisis? I do not know the answer, but I think posts like yours will go a long way to assisting in that goal. Thank you so much, and you can bet I will be referring to this post in the future, as we continue our fight here in Aurora to protect the lives of babies and their mothers. Thank you, again.

  37. Sarahndipity says:

    Geoffrey, that was a fantastic response to Jon. Though I do think he made somewhat of a good point, however clumsily he may have made it. It’s true that many women who have abortions are in very bad situations. Of course, no situation, no matter how bad it is, justifies killing an innocent child. But it is true that merely making abortion illegal is not enough (though that is certainly a goal of the pro-life movement). We also need to address the things that cause women to feel like they have no other option but to kill their own child. I like the philosophy of the group Feminists for Life, which says that a society in which a woman feels like she has no other option but to have an abortion is a society that has failed women.

    However, Jon, I don’t think you’re too familiar with the pro-life movement. As Jen said, the majority of pro-lifers not only attend marches and rallies but volunteer or donate to crisis pregnancy centers, which seek to address the needs of pregnant women who may otherwise feel like they have no option but to have an abortion. I always think of the pro-life movement as a three-pronged approach: there’s political action and rallies; there’s praying at abortion clinics, for women who have had abortions and who have crisis pregnancies, and for the conversion of those who support abortion; and there’s counseling women in crisis pregnancies and giving practical help to women in need.

    It’s ironic how so many people call themselves “pro-choice,” yet they fail to grasp that so many times women who have abortions feel like they have no choice at all. After all, why should society help a pregnant woman in need when she can just have an abortion? How many women and girls are pressured into having an abortion by their boyfriend, husband or parents? As long as abortion remains legal, it becomes easy for society and families to abdicate their responsibility to help women in crisis pregnancies.

    BTW, Jen, this was an awesome post!

  38. Jennifer says:

    Jen,

    I discovered your blog a few weeks ago and your story truly resonates with me. I am currently a Protestant, but have been thinking about converting to Catholicism for quite some time. I also used to be pro-choice, but lately I’ve been going through the same thought process that is bringing me to the pro-life side. I think your post was the final nail in the coffin.

  39. MHL says:

    Wow. I miss reading your blog for a couple of days and miss a great post like this. The evolution of your view on abortion is very similar to mine. I’m not quite with you on contraception yet, but I’m leaning that way. Thanks for the wondeful and thought provoking post.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Did Jon not read your blog? Did he skip the observation made by your husband that being pro-life is being pro someone else’s life? This has to be the best argument I think I’ve heard re: the debate. I’m so tired of being depicted by prochoicers as old, uneducated , meddlesome and judgemental. I’m none of the above. And like many, I’ve only lived in a post Roe v Wade world. I should be all for it but it has always horrified me and I wonder about people who will go to the mat for this anti-woman, anti-human act.

  41. Anonymous says:

    Could someone please answer my question about who creates souls?

    Geoffrey wrote:
    However, the most intriguing aspect of desperation is that it rarely exists. When you ask the woman why she killed her husband rather than going to a shelter, when you ask the President why he went to war instead of double-checking his intelligence department, when you ask the theif why he didn’t apply for SSI or ask a church for help…when you ask a woman why she had an abortion rather than consider adoption or enroll in a program, such as project Gabriel, that provides free housing, food, schooling, indeed everything…”desperation” suddenly dissipates like the smokescreen it often is.

    The fact that desperation is ILLOGICAL does not mean that it DOES NOT EXIST. When a person is experiencing it, it is quite real to her. She needs your compassion and gentle guidance toward the help that is in fact available to her–not your disdain and sarcasm.

  42. Jennifer F. says:

    Could someone please answer my question about who creates souls?

    We believe that God creates souls.

    Also, anon, please choose a name for further discussion. You don’t have to sign in, but write in a name. It is difficult to have conversations with “anonymous” people since you don’t know who/how many people you’re talking to.

  43. Anonymous says:

    “Abortion is not a sign that women are free, but a sign that they are desperate.”
    - Frederica Mathewes-Green, (who also has an amazing conversion story from pro-abortion to pro-life)
    People in the pro-life movement do understand the feeling of depseration experienced by women choosing to have an abortion. If you or someone you know is pregnant and scared go to priestsforlife.org and click on Abortion Alternatives. There is hope and you have choices — lots of choices and lots of help! Help with money, legal help, help finding a local pregancy reseource center, pregnancy testing, adoption services — you name it. Priests for Life is connected with people all over the country who can help you with anything you need.
    -T.H.

  44. Melanie B says:

    “You mention “God-given eternal souls”. In at least three other Catholic blogs, I have seen phrases suggesting that PARENTS create souls FOR GOD. I had never seen this idea prior to the past year and am puzzled by it. Is that sloppy writing, or is it true that Catholics believe that souls are made by people rather than God???”

    That would be sloppy writing, or perhaps poor understanding of Catholic doctrine on the part of the writer. We might correctly say that parents participate in or cooperate in the creation of new life. We are properly speaking co-creators with God of a new person. But God creates the soul.

  45. kris says:

    this is THE BEST analysis of a pro-choice to pro-life conversion I’ve ever read!!! Many pro-lifers fail to make the contraception connection – they can’t “go all the way” so to speak. But we MUST go all the way if we are to eliminate the desire to abort from our culture, We cannot simply make abortion illegal – that will never solve the real problem – the contraceptive mentality. Without this understanding (a general grasp of JPII’s Theology of the Body would be best) we’re just spinning our wheels. I hope you can articulate these lessons to your friends and family and anyone else who’ll listen. Great stuff!!

  46. Jon says:

    Jennifer, sorry I wasn’t clearer. I wasn’t primarily trying to critique your post. I was trying to critique the pro-life movement as a whole; especially as represented by some of the other commenters.

    Tausign, if it is true I would be. I would also expect that insensitivity to tend to lead to more suicides rather than less. Of course I’m assuming that suffering with those who suffer should lead us to try to change the rules by which society plays (when we focus on the society rather than the individual) more often than we try to make people conform to society’s rules and hope they’re not too uncomfortable. What do the crisis pregnancy centers do to try to change the world in which single mothers have lived for generations? What do they do to convince the broader society that adoption is a good option for kids and those that want kids and can’t have them for one reason or another? The language of rights certainly doesn’t change the rules; it’s also the hardest point on which to win, especially now with the increasing willingness to do something on a wide variety of social issues.

    From where I sit it looks like we only need a relatively simple two prong attack to eliminate abortion. First, the media blitz. Show people a good life and tell them how adoption can be a better part of that than things like in vitro. Ditto for how life could be for single mothers with enough support. Second, make sure that the advertised reality is the reality people experience. This will take work to increase the availability of things like high quality, affordable child care and medical insurance. Child welfare might need some reforming as well; it will certainly need to have an eye kept on it.

    Jon

  47. Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin says:

    Jon,
    truth must go both ways. Desperation is measured not against truth but lies. It is necessary to unmask the lies, and I do think that Jen’s post helps with that.

  48. farmer Tom says:

    I came here from a mention at the Evangelical Outpost.

    A very well thought out and written piece.

    Can I have permission to mention it at my blog?

    I just had a discussion with a single friend a few days ago about the “contraception” mentality.

    Again, thanks for such a great article.

  49. Jennifer F. says:

    Farmer Tom – sure! Thank you.

  50. Jon says:

    Arkanabar, You are only half right. WHat is neccesary is to remove the power that is driving people to sin. If the driving force is lies, then unmasking is required. If the driving force is truth leading to desperation, then unmasking the lies we tell ourselves to try to avoid guilt will do very little beyond increase the desperation.

    Jon

  51. Anonymous says:

    This post made me cry, especially the part about the process of abortion.

    I knew someone who wanted to abort her second child because it was “inconvenient” for her. I attempted to talk her out of it, with one of my points being that she already has a child, so she KNOWS it’s a baby. How could she kill that baby? Unfortunately, that little soul lost his/her life because apparently he/she was simply too much of a burden to the mother. It is so sad.

    I actually remember being surprised at the birth of my first child that she was really, truly a baby! Not some blob – a baby! You are so right that we have been conditioned so well to dehumanize the fetus.

    I also agree that we were never told that if you don’t want a baby, don’t have sex. Like you, when I read the Church’s teaching on sex, I was amazed! The idea that sex is for unification AND procreation is astounding in this day and age.

    Thank you for this post.

  52. John Jansen says:

    Jennifer—

    Thank you for this amazingly insightful post.

    Glory to Jesus Christ!

  53. Sarah says:

    Jen, you have inspired me to think through my own “conversion” from the pro-choice camp to the pro-life camp. (That said, it might be a while before I get it all worked out!) Thank you for this post. It was my one post to read this morning, before I go jump into the rest of my day, and what a thing to have clanging around in my head today. Thank you, as always, for your insight and for sharing your journey so openly. You have made a wonderful impact on my own ability to express myself and think through my own path. Blessings to you! (And hugs too, because everyone can use a hug!)

  54. smally says:

    It is possible to defend a pro-choice position that does not depend on the fetus being nonhuman.

    • C Moore says:

      Not rationally. If it is a human, then intentionally killing him or her is murder. You would have to argue that murder is a matter of choice.

      • Alan says:

        Of course you can, not all intentional killings are murder. There are such a thing as justified homicides. Are at least consistent enough to also say that there is no such thing as just war? That the death penalty is immoral? That intentionally killing in self defense or the defense of others is murder?

    • Alan says:

      Sure, the specifics are variable but let’s ask the question with other circumstances:

      Is it possible to defend killing in war that does not depend on the other side, including non-military bystanders, being nonhuman?

  55. Carlos says:

    Thanks for this great post and for sharing your own struggles and the insights you gained from them. I pray your words will touch at least one other heart out there and shake their uncertain foundations just as yours were shaken.

  56. Tami says:

    I just found your blog and this entry. It really resonated with me. Thanks for sharing.

  57. Anonymous says:

    This is an amazing post. I’m still at the point in my life where I’m trying to figure out my own beliefs, and abortion was a touchy topic for me. My parents, friends, etc., have always been pro-choice, and I, too, fiercely defended the position. I don’t know if I, myself, could ever abort a child, but I thought it was right to allow women the option, since there were plenty of “logical” reasons why one would want to have an abortion. But when you quoted your husband in your post, I realized something. Pro-choice really IS pro-your-own-life. You don’t want to go through the uncomfortable nine months, the weight gain, the morning sickness, the stretch marks, the painful labor. All understandable. But it still doesn’t give you the right to play God, to decide whether another human being lives or dies, based on how convenient or inconvenient that life would be to you. I’m not sure whether I’m pro-life or pro-choice at this point, but this had definitely given me something else to take into consideration. Thank you! And God bless.

  58. Rocks In My Dryer says:

    Remarkable post. I went through a similar change in thinking, and your journey resonated with many of my own thought processes. Thanks for taking on this subject.

  59. chickadee says:

    read all the way through and i’m glad i did. you made some excellent points.

  60. RainyPM says:

    Very thought-provoking reading. I too have always wondered how anyone could leave a baby to die, but I feel I’ve had scary glimpses of how such evil things are justified by good people. I wish more people could read this and reach your conclusions. Hopefully your post will save a baby’s (fetus’s) life.

  61. The (Almost) Amazing Mammarino says:

    SLAM DUNK!!!!

    “I was putting the burden of proof on the fetuses to demonstrate to me that they were human. . . . I would simply move the bar of what I considered human.”

    POWERFUL!!!!

  62. SuburbanCorrespondent says:

    First, I love you.

    A friend of mine said it best years ago, I think, when she said about the death penalty, “It’s not about what it does to them; it’s about what it does to us.” Meaning, that if we turn into the sort of society that kills people in cold blood, we’re in trouble.

    The same applies to abortion: if we become (or already are) a society that doesn’t treasure new life, it makes us less human. Sometimes this line of reasoning works best with pro-choicers (as I was at that time), because they will not accept that the fetus is a baby. But they may accept that aborting may somehow diminish our humanity.

    Or maybe they wouldn’t.

    We are a vasectomy-reversal couple, and every time I hear someone joke about having a vasectomy, I feel as though I am watching them through a million dollars in the trash. Are they crazy? Do they realize what they are giving up?

  63. Erin K. says:

    Amazing. Thank you. I am so thankful that my parents took the time to teach me about sex – that it is loaded gun and should not be played with as a toy. But knowing your perspective is so incredibly enlightening. I took my sex education for granted – doesn’t everyone know that sex is a loaded gun?? I was just like you but on the other end of the spectrum – being pro-life has always made sense to me and I couldn’t understand how someone could be pro-choice. Until now. Thank you for helping me to understand!!

  64. Anonymous says:

    Thank you.

  65. allisonbarton says:

    While I disagree with (almost) everything you said, I am extremely impressed at the openness, thought, and consideration you have given this subject. This is a very, very, well written post, and I think that you have a true grasp on your belief. I think that the most important trait in a debate like this is to not judge another person’s choice or belief. And it seems like you don’t, which is fantastic. Having gone through the choice of whether or not to have an abortion after a VERY unexpected pregnancy at a very bad time, I still hate it when people either push abortion or push having the child. Either way, you are pushing, and it’s all about letting the person CHOOSE.

    That said, I am 100% pro-choice, and the thought of making abortions illegal makes me feel slightly ill.

    Thank you for taking the time to share your opinions and belief systems. Even though I don’t share them, I respect them because you have thought them out and TRULY believe them, instead of simply blindly following something.

  66. Angie says:

    Wonderful and eloquent posting, Jen!

    Similarly, I considered myself pro-choice (although I had always known that abortion was not a choice that I personally could have ever made) before my journey to becoming Catholic. It was only through my study while preparing to convert that I was moved to be able to say that not only am I pro-life for myself, but I’m pro-life as far as everyone is concerned.

    Very moving post!

  67. BloggyFriendfromRocks&BiblicalWomanhood says:

    READ THIS ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE OVER AGE 35

    I thought I was “pro-life” too until at age 41 I found out I was carrying a baby with no brain due to anencephaly.

    I spoke to two ministers in my church and began praying for a miscarriage. When that didn’t happen I took my doctor’s advice and terminated at 12 weeks. Thank God for my wonderful, compassionate ob/gyn who later helped me to deliver my second child, my healthy darling boy, at age 43.

    If I had carried that child, there was a 50% chance of a later miscarriage and a 50% chance the baby would have been stillborn. When anencephalic babies survive, they usually live a few hours or days with intense medical interventions. I think the longest any have survived may be two weeks.

    Imagine the emotional turmoil of carrying a baby I know would die. (I’m already clinically depressed).

    I passed by a Catholic Church right after the termination to give some money we had collected for pregnant women, and the people collecting began talking about how the priest had talked about all the babies aborted that day. I told them my story and the woman said, “Well, that’s not we’re talking about. That’s not really an abortion.”

    YES IT IS!! Wake up and smell the coffee! If the radical right continues to chip away at abortion rights, you will not have the option I did.

    All those clauses about “except in cases of rape or incest” do not cover my situation. If I lived in South Dakota, I would have been forced to carry a baby without a brain who would have died. Forced to go through a difficult pregnancy at age 41 with decreased likelihood of conceiving again (because I would have needed to give my body time to recover).

    As it was, I had to pay $5,000 out of pocket for the procedure because my husband works for the government and government insurance will not pay for terminations – not even in my case.

    Think carefully, ladies, this could be you…don’t let the politicians take away your right to choose.

    I was blessed..my church was so supportive. My minister met me in recovery, and our pastoral care coordinator had been a NICU nurse and had cared for a baby like mine – she said it was inhumane.

    I believe God blessed my doctor to diagnose and treat me at such an early stage in the pregnancy. I was “lucky,” but many women are not, and find out much later – in the second trimester when they finally have a sonogram. That’s why abortion beyond the first trimester should remain an option.

    Every woman I have spoken to understood my decision. We cannot outlaw abortion.

    • Kelly McGuire says:

      I am a 42-year-old mother of four. My third child, sweet baby Gracie had anencephaly and died after only three days of life. For three days my family and I love her. It is not my right to take away the life she had a God given right to live because of my fear and pain. Her three days of life were some of the best days of my life. I am sad that you missed out on the moments you had with your first child.

    • Mairin says:

      These women would beg to differ with your opinion that anacephalic babies are less human:
      http://www.anencephalie-info.org/e/stories.php

      All these babies were just like your little one…except they died in the loving arms of their mothers, while yours died being cut apart because you cared for yourself more than you did your baby. There is nothing noble about your “choice”. I beg you to seek repentence for having your baby killed…name her and restore her humanity you stole from her. God is a loving Father and very forgiving…but you have to put down your walls of excuses and ask. You have my prayers!

      It is time for all Christians to tell the truth. As metal sharpens metal, man sharpens man.

  68. Runningamuck says:

    Jen, I just wanted to chime in with everyone else and thank you for posting such an incredibly well thought out piece. I’m pro-life and have been all my life thanks to being raised in a christian home. But I think sometimes I take my pro-life-ness at surface value, if that makes any sense. Your thoughts really made me dig deep, something I haven’t done in a long time on this subject.

    I thought your perspective on the detachment between sex and new life was really insightful. I had never thought of it before but it’s sooo true.

    I’ll be linking you on my blog. I think it’s an important read for anyone who can possibly get to it. And I’ll be back to re-read it. Thanks again.

  69. Bia says:

    I was referred here by a friend, and I thought this post was well-written and thought provoking.

    I have always been pro-life and could never understand the pro-choice side . . . but after reading this I can at least understand where they are coming from.

    Respecting life in all its stages (from conception to old age) is a common prayer theme in our parish, and one we wholeheartedly embrace in our family.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. God bless.

  70. Richelle says:

    Very well put. Thank you for sharing

  71. MooBeeMa says:

    Stunningly beautiful post! How very real and vulnerable you are. Thank you for all the hard work that must have gone into that post.

  72. minnesotamom says:

    This is fantastic. I’m going to link to it today–hope you don’t mind!http://minnesotamom.wordpress.com

  73. Marian says:

    This is an amazing post. Thank you for taking the time to write every word. You have been gifted with the ability to communicate these things articulately. Please don’t stop communicating them, whenever and wherever you have opportunity.

  74. AmusedMomma says:

    Completely resonates because of its truthfulness. Thank you for your grace-filled post! What courage you display in sharing this in this format.

  75. Melanie says:

    “dehumanize inconvenient people”

    Will never forget that.

    Powerful post with a truly loving message on behalf of the unborn.

    Thank you.

  76. Melanie says:

    Thank you for this. You have really touched on some amazing and thoughtful points that I hope opens minds to both sides. I’m very pro-life, although I understand the view of pro-choice, however ever much I disagree with it. I came from a mother who was battered and then left the marriage pregnant and completely penniless. She chose to keep me because abortion wasn’t an option in her mind. I’m so grateful she did. I have had an amazing life because of her self sacrifice and she has never regretted her decision.
    Jen, thanks again for a wonderful post!

  77. Lisa says:

    I have never read such a well-written and convincing argument for life. If I were not already pro-life, I would certainly be soul searching right now. I hope this reaches the eyes and hearts of many!

  78. Jen says:

    Well said, Jennifer.

    Over the years, I’ve “defaulted” to the position that science discovers a little more every day. So it follows that because we don’t know when a human life becomes a person, we will at some time in the future.

    Better safe than sorry. When it comes to killing things, I’d much rather err on the side of caution.

    Well thought out, Jennifer, and extremely well said.

  79. JenniferZ says:

    This is such a beautiful post – brava to you on expressing your journey so eloquently! I too was pro-choice and even volunteered with Planned Parenthood in my young adulthood. Only by the grace of God am I now converted to a 100% pro-life position, from conception to natural death. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences so others can learn what motivates people to change their minds on such a huge and important issue!

  80. Anonymous says:

    Interesting post but although you discuss abortion at length, what about end of life issues?
    Also, is the aim of the pro-life movement to achieve a ban on abortion or simply campaign against it to highlight alternative views?
    Despite being pro choice, I would welcome the second as I think it is important as a society to consider and discuss all different beliefs, but the first would sadden me.
    You are against abortion because you hold certain beliefs.Many people however do not share these so would it really be fair to impose your views on others?
    If abortion is legal, those who want it have it and those who don’t don’t. Everyone gets their way.
    Making abortion illegal however seems to me unfair as it imposes a certain way of life on others.
    Nobody in their right mind disputes that murder is ok. Whether you are atheist or Christian or anything else, people agree it is wrong and that’s why we have laws against it and people more or less unite to try and prevent it.
    But the fact is we cannot agree on whether abortion amounts to murder so should we not be tolerant to both views?
    Is it wrong?
    Most of you argue yes on a religious basis. Many would argue no, I don’t believe in God, it’s not wrong etc.
    Until you can prove beyond doubt and convince everyone that there is a God, that abortion is against His will and so that we should all stop having them, your arguements are interesting, but they are beliefs and it seems to me unfair to impose them on others because just as you may be right, you may also be wrong and this is too important an issue to start speculating.

    • Steve T. says:

      BLOG COMMENT FROM THE THIRD REICH, CIRCA 1935: “You are against the liquidation of Jews and other untermenschen because you hold certain beliefs. Many people however do not share these so would it really be fair to impose your views on others? If the liquidation of Jews and other untermenschen is legal, those who want it have it and those who don’t don’t. Everyone gets their way. Making the liquidation of Jews and other untermenschen illegal however seems to me unfair as it imposes a certain way of life on others. Nobody in their right mind disputes that murder is ok. Whether you are atheist or Christian or anything else, people agree it is wrong and that’s why we have laws against it and people more or less unite to try and prevent it. But the fact is we cannot agree on whether the liquidation of Jews and other untermenschen amounts to murder so should we not be tolerant to both views? Is it wrong? Most of you argue yes on a religious basis. Many would argue no, I don’t believe in God, it’s not wrong etc. Until you can prove beyond doubt and convince everyone that there is a God, that the liquidation of Jews and other untermenschen is against His will and so that we should all stop the liquidation of Jews and other untermenschen, your arguements are interestingg, but they are beliefs and it seems to me unfair to impose them on others because just as you may be right, you may also be wrong and this is too important an issue to start speculating.

  81. Anne says:

    I’m not Catholic, but I have the utmost respect and admiration for the way the Catholic church has held the line on the sanctity of life. When so many of the Protestant churches have caved in on an issue that is clear, the Catholic church has stood firm demonstrating the what is right is not always popular.

  82. Linda says:

    Hi Jennifer-
    I came across your blog and was deeply moved by your story of conversion to the faith by way of the pro-life conversion. Hopefully you will take the advice of so many who have encouraged you to publish what you have written. You might find interesting a compelling video called “The Cost of Abortion”. I think you could see it on thecostofabortion.com. You might also find a lot of support in you new life within the Catholic Church in a new web site for the first Catholic TV over the internet which will launch 9/1/08 at http://www.realcatholictv.blogspot.com.
    God bless you for your courage and generosity in sharing your story.

  83. newine says:

    Spectacular. Thank you. So few seem to have been, a) made the journey all the way across the Christian/secular worldview chasm, b) fully honest about the sharp distinctions between them and, c) able to write about the journey in such clear, honest and compelling terms.

    Brava!!

    I hope the eight months since you put this up have been enough to gestate the baby of a book of which this was just a seed. I pray that you go forth and seek out a contract or at least make a few calls to agents. Go for it!!!

  84. Anonymous says:

    You do know it’s possible to be a pro-life atheist, right?

  85. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for your post! One thing I never hear in "Pro-Life" & "Pro-Choice" conversations is how the opposite of Pro-Life is Pro-Death. Choosing to use the word "Choice" has it's obvious benefits… Thanks for being vocal about this! And for your humility (as one commenter noted).

  86. Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin says:

    Jon (@feb 26),

    I know I’ve taken my time to get back to you on this, but few people will undertake any sin, particularly those so grave as abortion and sexual immorality, without first lying to themselves.

    Sexual immorality is the root cause of abortion. Contraception helps us fool ourselves into believing that sex and children are disconnected — they give us the lie that sex is NOT for children, but for whatever we want it to be. And yet, sex winds up giving us children in SPITE of our contraception, and we have the gall to be stunned, shocked, dismayed, and angry!

    Anonymous (@July17),

    “Interesting post but although you discuss abortion at length, what about end of life issues? “

    There’s no excuse for the strong killing the weak. I can see forgoing heroic measures to temporarily prevent the death of somebody you can’t save, but withdrawing food and water is killing.

    “If abortion is legal, those who want it have it and those who don’t don’t. Everyone gets their way. “

    Sorry, but no. Significant numbers of aborted mothers are coerced into it by irresponsible lovers, incestuous (step)fathers, or by mothers who can’t tolerate the idea that their little girl isn’t a virgin.

    “Making abortion illegal however seems to me unfair as it imposes a certain way of life on others.”

    Keeping it legal excuses the strong killing the unborn. How is that fair? And there’s no end of people who DO dispute the evil of murder, for whichever group of weak people (e.g., terminally ill, the depressed, quadriplegics, paraplegics, with congenital birth defects, cystic fibrosis, the mentally ill, homosexuals, Blacks, Jews…). And when one group gets put in the list of “legal to kill,” these people will immediately start agitating for their own preferred victims to be added to the list.

  87. GrannyGrump says:

    Geoff, Jon is right. There’s a desperation that prolifers often don’t get, and that the abortion lobby uses as leverage: “She’s so desperate and scared! How can you stress her out even more, you cads!”

    Eduardo Verastegui, the star of “Bella”, said that the thing that shocked him most when he went to talk to women walking into abortion clinics is how many of them loved the babies they were about to abort. They weren’t aborting babies they didn’t care about. They were aborting because they were lost in despair, unable to believe there was any other way out. They were aborting the way a Jewish mother, hiding from the Nazis, would suffocate her baby to keep the SS from finding her family.

    The abortion lobby’s response is to abandon them in that horror and despair and to demand that they be grateful that this Sophie’s Choice is made available to them.

    The prolife movement’s response needs to be to recognize the desperation and ask the truly prochoice citizens how this is helping.

    If just one woman who doesn’t want an abortion climbs on the abortion table, that needs to be uniformly recognized as an appalling societal failure. We need to say it, often and loudly. And make the abortion lobby defend the fact that most of the women walking into abortion facilities are weeping, despairing, and doing the last thing on earth they ever thought they’d be desperate enough to do.

  88. Natalie Smith says:

    Fantastic post, Jen. It was so moving! I am going to show it to my pro-choice friends! :)

    Note to BloggyFriendfromRocks&BiblicalWomanhood:

    I can not believe that anyone could be so cruel hearted and insensitive as to have an abortion or even think that pregnant women should be able to "choose". How can you, a Christian woman, believe that abortion is ok? It doesn't matter if the baby would have lived an hour or a year. ABORTION IS WRONG. PERIOD.

    The emotional stress would have been awful; to have to watch your child die, well, I can't imagine how that would feel. But that doesn't make abortion ok!

    Anyway… no offense, I hope. My blood just boils when I read about how people think an abortion is all right.

  89. Anonymous says:

    I have to say THANK YOU for the words you have shared with so many. I have recently expressed my pro-life views with those around me, and have come under scrutiny for doing so…but I’m standing firm in my beliefs. I understand reasons why someone might want to have an abortion: my sister was young and was unsure if she could handle having her son. But, after speaking with myself and our mother, she did…and I couldn’t have imagined life any other way! My nephew is now 8 years old, and is truly the joy of our lives! My mother had an unplanned pregnancy with my younger brother–but she still went through with it, even through the struggles she faced…he made the home a happier and more joyous place to be!

    Thanks again for sharing your story!

  90. Anonymous says:

    wonderfulpost jen.. i’m from singapore and accidentally bumped into yr blog..

    I feel sad for my country as more women are going to abortions these days.. for reasons listed by many of the readers here.. It’s becoming a society that does not care much much about anti abortion.. people here are more interested in making ends meet and money or becoming more materialistic. Not that is wrong in making ends meet. but priority are wrong. Many reasons, financial is one of them..

    Pls pray for these people.

    God Bless

    Singaporean

  91. Yonmei says:

    it was common for parents to abandon unwanted newborns, leaving them somewhere to die. It was so deeply troubling to me, and I could never figure out what was going on there: how on earth could this have happened?!

    Well, quite simply: unwanted newborn babies are abandoned to die in all cultures, all societies, where women do not have access to reliable contraception and safe legal abortion.

    Where women get to decide how many children to have, and when to have them, newborn babies are not abandoned to die.

    Being pro-choice means opposing the return of a society in which babies, and pregnant women, are abandoned to die.

    Being pro-life means supporting the creation of a new society in which women are forced against their will to bear children no one wants in order to let those children be abandoned to a slow, miserable death.

  92. Angie says:

    I am moved by your post and very impressed by the depth of thought and explanation you have shared with us. I do disagree with your position though because I believe that the government should not legislate any reproductive issues. Women’s bodies are their own, whether they are deciding to have an abortion or to choose how many children to have. The choice they make are between them, their doctors, and their faith.

  93. Cammie says:

    I just discovered your blog and I’m so glad that I did. This is a great post. My best friend and I have argued about abortion a lot. I have to convince her to read your blog. I think it could really make a difference! Thank you!

  94. Dawn says:

    Wow. I just found your blog and since I am passionately prolife I had to read this post right away. I gasped in horror reading about the D&X procedure because it is horrific and barbaric. I wish every person in America would gasp in horror, and that we would wake up and see abortion for what is really is.

    I appreciate that you would write about this topic in such an honest and thoughtful way. I agree with you 100% that evil is perpetuated through lies. People are so deceived. I pray that their eyes may be opened. And that one day abortion in America will be abolished.

    Since Roe v Wade 36 years ago, more than 50 MILLION babies have been killed. And every day there are approx. 3,700 abortions. Which means we are killing more than 1 MILLION babies, our smallest citizens, each year in this country. How can God bless us when we continue to kill our tiniest, defenseless people?

    I am sick to death of the argument that a woman shouldn't be forced to have a baby. Statistically 50% of unborn babies are female – and what of their rights? They aren't being allowed the right to life much less the right to choose!!!

    And one of your commenters stated that since we cannot agree on when life begins we should be tolerant of both views! This is insanity!!! In one view, mamas and babies live. In the other, only mamas live. I think I'll choose life for both!!! It's almost laughable to me that they would suggest that because they aren't sure when life begins it's okay to go ahead and allow abortion. Hello! WHAT IF LIFE BEGINS AT CONCEPTION? And I absolutely believe it does. A tiny fetus in its mother's womb has its own DNA and is a unique human being from the word go. Period.

    Love them both. Choose life.

  95. Yonmei says:

    Dawn – People see abortion for what it really is when they visit or live in countries that deny women access to safe legal abortion.

    The original poster wrote of her horror at reading about cultures in which women did not have access to safe abortion methods, and where children were born to be abandoned to die.

    It would be better if all unwanted conceptions could be prevented: but realistically, the choice is between a culture in which women and babies die because safe legal abortion is denied; and a culture of life in which women can decide for themselves whether to terminate or continue a pregnancy. And, obviously, where all women have free access to free contraception, and no pharmacist or doctor dare deny a woman the contraceptive of her choice. (One reason for the high abortion rate in the US is that pro-lifers have succeeded in ensuring that contraception is hard to get and that people are misinformed about its use.)

    I choose life, not death: I choose a woman’s right to choose, and living women and living babies.

  96. Dawn says:

    Yonmei- I can respect your opinion, but you are unfortunately incorrect. Abortion is not safe for the unborn babies. Abortion ends in their death every time.

    And you have missed my point entirely. By “seeing abortion for what it really is” I am asking you to SEE what happens to the unborn baby. Don’t you see it?

    You say you choose life. Yonmei, by choosing abortion, death is the ultimate result. Every time. When a woman walks into an abortion provider, it ends in death every time.

    And you talk about the horrors of women not having the option of safe abortions! What about the horror of what happens to unborn human beings? That is what they are. Tiny humans. And it’s horrific.

    Please stop calling abortion safe. Again I say that it is NEVER safe for the unborn. They are aggressively and barbarically removed from their mother’s womb. Every time. And even for the mama, it isn’t 100% safe. The unfortunate reality is that babies weren’t designed to be removed from their mother’s bodies in this way (suction, tearing, sharp instruments, etc) and damage has occurred to women’s bodies through abortion. While that is sad, I almost feel it’s irrelevant because the fact remains, a tiny human being is killed. Is that not the greater issue? Does that not trump the fact that a woman does not want to be told what to do with her body? How does a tiny human being in the womb become disposable simply because it isn’t wanted by its mama?

    God is the Creator of life. God knits babies together in the womb. Do you get that? That is huge! HE FORMS THEM IN THEIR MOTHER’S WOMB. Each baby is His unique design. He is aware of each one. He loves each one. He fashions every part of these complex little human beings. There isn’t one baby in the history of the universe that God hasn’t known about. He has handmade EACH ONE. I think there are few issues, if any, more important to God than Life! He cannot bless our country when we are killing our own babies. His babies.

    Even in the case where there is a KNOWN problem with the unborn baby, God cares no less for that baby. He is still the Author of that life and is overseeing its development in the womb. Where do we get off thinking that it’s up to us to decide whether a baby lives or dies?

    Yonmei- I am asking you to see abortion for what it does to the unborn. They are the victims here.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6vtqpp-6Dw

  97. Yonmei says:

    Dawn: The unfortunate reality is that babies weren’t designed to be removed from their mother’s bodies in this way (suction, tearing, sharp instruments, etc) and damage has occurred to women’s bodies through abortion.

    Abortion is far safer than childbirth or indeed pregnancy. About sixty thousand women die each year not directly because they needed an abortion, but indirectly, because their country had made safe abortion impossible for them to get – so instead, they went to an unsafe practicioner, and their bodies were damaged so badly they died.

    The original poster was writing about her horror at the customs in countries before abortion became relatively safe – even illegal abortion is safer than delivering a child (one hundred and fifty thousand women at least die each year of complications in childbirth) in which babies were simply abandoned to their deaths. Is this a state to which you wish to return? I don’t think so.

    I would hope that the one thing we can all agree on, if we have concern for all lives, is to ensure that everyone has free access to freely available contraception, and the means/education to use contraception whenever they have sex and do not wish to conceive.

    We know from national statistics in countries such as the Netherlands that abortion rates can be reduced by six/sevenths fro the US rate while still keeping abortion legal and easily available to any woman.

    Isn’t that worth doing, Dawn?

  98. Dawn says:

    Yonmei – I appreciate your willingness to dialog with me about this. Through all your nice sounding words you neglect to acknowledge the gruesome death that occurs as a result of every abortion procedure, no matter how “safe” you keep saying it is.

    If you truly value ALL life as you say, why is some of that life disposable and inconsequential? Talking about how women die from complications during childbirth is tragic. And yet, you miss the more urgent matter – the slaying of 50 MILLION babies in this country in the last 36 years.

    You keep using nice words to talk about the importance of abortion as an option for women. While continuing to avoid what HAPPENS to the unborn during that abortion!

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry that you would imply that I would rather babies be abandoned. Of course not. But you would rather they be killed when there are other options. How is that better???

    Can’t we do better than this? We kill more than 1 million of our own tiny citizens each year. And I’m asking, can’t we do better than this? We know better!

    You can keep talking about how safe abortion is. And I will keep reminding you that it is not safe for the unborn. Ever. When a pregnant woman and her unborn child walk into an abortion clinic only one leaves with a heartbeat. The unthinkable has happened to the other. I wish this horrified you.

    It’s not worth it. Can’t we do better than this?

  99. Yonmei says:

    Dawn, I wish you were willing to engage in dialogue with me about this.

    What I mean by “engaging in dialog”: a willingness to discuss how best to reduce the abortion rate in the US or around the world. As the example of the Netherlands shows, it is perfectly possible to reduce the abortion rate to 1/7th of the current rate in the US: comprehensive sex education and freely available contraception. Yet abortion is still safe and legal in the Netherlands.

    Are you willing to engage in dialog, on the understanding that we both agree it would be good if there were fewer abortions performed?

    Do you think it would be good to reduce the abortion rate in the US by six-sevenths? If so, are you willing to begin to campaign to get pro-life organisations in the US on the same side as Planned Parenthood and other organisations which work to prevent abortion by provision of contraception?

    It is an odd and curious thing, you see, that there is no pro-life organisation in the whole of the US that is willing to work to prevent abortions – only to condemn women for having abortions. Indeed, many pro-life organisations actually stand with the pro-abortion pharmacists who refuse to provide contraception to women! Do you see the absurdity of that, Dawn?

    Abortion can be perfectly safe for a woman who needs to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. We will probably forever disagree on whether it’s right to provide abortion safely and legally to women who need to terminate.

    But what I am asking you is: Can we at least agree it would be best of all to prevent these abortions at source, by making sure any one who wants to be heterosexually active can – and will! – use contraception unless she, or he, intends to conceive a child?

    Can we agree to make it illegal for hospitals and doctors and pharmacists to refuse to provide contraception to anyone who needs it?

    That contraception should be available low cost or free to anyone who cannot afford it?

    That public schools should have compulsory comprehensive sex education classes that take a positive attitude to kids, when they decide to have sex, first of all making sure they have contraception and know how to use it?

    These are the essentials for preventing abortion. Can you agree to engage in dialogue about them?

  100. Dawn says:

    Yonmei- I have at no point ever disagreed that contraception should be available. I am 100% on board with reducing the number of abortions in this country. Why do you seem irritated with me over these two things when I have NEVER argued either of these points?

    YOU are the one unwilling to dialogue. It’s disturbing to me how you keep avoiding my questions to you. And how you continue to avoid what actually occurs during an abortion, what the procedures themselves DO to the unborn.

    “It is an odd and curious thing, you see, that there is no pro-life organisation in the whole of the US that is willing to work to prevent abortions – only to condemn women for having abortions.”

    How can you make such claims??? Have you BEEN to EVERY pro-life organization in the whole of the U.S.??? Unlikely. I have been to several in the Midwest and know firsthand that these particular pro-life organzations DO work to prevent abortions. You should be careful to do your research before proclaiming such a statement as truth. Do not perpetuate lies.

    In addition, these pro-life centers DO NOT condemn women for having an abortion! On the contrary, they are reaching out and attempting to provide these women with love, support, networking, jobs, housing, etc. It’s astonishing to me that you’re unaware of this! And that you would use such a tired, old argument. And one that is also false.

    If you wish to be persuasive you should first be truthful. Your arguments carry very little weight if you aren’t accurate.

    My main point the entire time has been to make sure that Americans understand and are aware of what actually occurs during an abortion. This might also lead to greater use of contraception if they understood that an abortion does unimaginable things to living, unborn, tiny human beings in the womb, and wanted to avoid such a procedure. You have yet to acknowledge that abortion results in a brutal death 100% of the time.

  101. Yonmei says:

    I have at no point ever disagreed that contraception should be available. I am 100% on board with reducing the number of abortions in this country.

    Good. So let’s talk about that, since we can agree on that.

    How can pro-life organizations be convinced to promote contraception and comprehensive sex education, instead of opposing it?

    Why do you seem irritated with me over these two things when I have NEVER argued either of these points?

    If I seemed irritated, it was because you said you wanted to engage in dialog, yet instead of engaging, you lectured me with your views on abortion.

    Have you BEEN to EVERY pro-life organization in the whole of the U.S.???

    Nope, but I’ve looked at all the websites of every single multi-state or national pro-life organization, and not one of them promotes contraception or comprehensive sex education – so plainly, not one of them is interested in preventing abortions.


    In addition, these pro-life centers DO NOT condemn women for having an abortion! On the contrary, they are reaching out and attempting to provide these women with love, support, networking, jobs, housing, etc.

    But it would be far more effective to use their considerable political clout to – for example – support President Obama in his efforts to let low-income women get contraception on Medicaid, or, if they want to support pregnant women/women with small children, to campaign for mandatory paid maternity leave, universal health care, and a raise in the minimum wage. Sporadic private charity is never particularly effective – as we see in the US.

    My main point the entire time has been to make sure that Americans understand and are aware of what actually occurs during an abortion.

    Why is that your “main point”? Instead of trying to thrust this at people, why not focus on doing things with pro-choice people that we can all agree on? Things that the pro-life organizations in the US are not doing? Where are the pro-life organization that spoke up in support for President Obama’s efforts to get contraception on Medicaid?

  102. Dawn says:

    Yonmei-
    “Why is that your “main point”? Instead of trying to thrust this at people, why not focus on doing things with pro-choice people that we can all agree on?”

    Because I think that the death of 50 MILLION babies in this country is a very big deal. You do not? I am not “thrusting” this at you. If that’s how you take it I can only assume it makes you uncomfortable. I think the slaying of 50 million American citizens is important to talk about. We talk about the murder of 6 million Jews during the Holocaust. How much more grave is the slaying of 50 million of our own tiny, defenseless citizens? These 50 million Americans have been torn limb from limb and disposed of in hazardous waste bins. You don’t want to hear about it, but I’m not going to be quiet just because it’s uncomfortable. It should indeed make people uncomfortable. It is unthinkable.

    “Nope, but I’ve looked at all the websites of every single multi-state or national pro-life organization, and not one of them promotes contraception or comprehensive sex education – so plainly, not one of them is interested in preventing abortions.”

    I don’t know if you’re familiar with what being pro-life means, but the core of it is preventing abortion. Whoops.

    “Sporadic private charity is never particularly effective – as we see in the US.”

    You make some broad, sweeping generalizations that aren’t very effective. To say that private charity is never particularly effective might seem a little ridiculous to those on the receiving end of it. It makes all the difference in the world to THEM.

    There’s a wonderful book called Why Prolife? written by Randy Alcorn. It’s available at Amazon and it explains a lot better than I can the position of a pro-lifer. The author writes about it so articulately. It’s really a fabulous book and a quick read if you’re interested.

    I agree with you about many things and yet my heart aches for you to understand the atrocity that abortion is. You would fight for this practice to be legal when you know that the cost of every abortion is an unborn life. I think you’re right about a lot of things, but not about abortion. The cost is too great. It’s not okay for tiny babies to be aborted because they come at an inconvenient time, or might make life uncomfortable for awhile. If we treated animals the same way we treat the unborn in this country there would be an uprising. And if a pregnant woman was murdered on her way into an abortion clinic, her murderer would be charged with a DOUBLE homicide and yet she could have walked in to get an abortion and killing that baby would be legal. Same day, same dead baby. In one scenario the baby would be mourned and buried and remembered. In the other, the baby is disposed of as hazardous waste and forgotten.

  103. Yonmei says:

    Because I think that the death of 50 MILLION babies in this country is a very big deal.

    Dawn, again, if it is such a big deal to you that there have been 50 million legal abortions in the US since 1973, why are you apparently more interested in pushing that figure at me than discussing how to reduce the number of abortions by effective methods that pro-choicers would support, too?

    I don’t know if you’re familiar with what being pro-life means, but the core of it is preventing abortion. Whoops.

    No, not in the US or anywhere else that I am familiar with: the core of the pro-life movement is not “preventing abortion” but making abortion illegal. As global statistics show, making abortion illegal does not prevent women having abortions, merely ensure that more women die or are physically damaged as a result of having abortions.

    If the core of the pro-life movement were preventing abortions, we would see promotion of contraception and support for all moves to make contraception free/freely available, on the front page of every pro-life website. Instead, as noted, not one pro-life organisation in the US promotes prevention of abortion.

    I agree with you about many things and yet my heart aches for you to understand the atrocity that abortion is.

    And yet, you do not appear to care at all about preventing abortions. If you think abortion is such an atrocity, why the lack of interest on your part in engaging in dialog about how best to get pro-life organizations to promote abortion prevention?

    To say that private charity is never particularly effective might seem a little ridiculous to those on the receiving end of it.

    But not in the least ridiculous to those who aren’t on the receiving end of it.

    Women who can’t get contraception on Medicaid, for example, because so-called pro-life Republicans fought to have that taken out of President Obama’s bill – without a word of protest from pro-life organizations.

    You would fight for this practice to be legal when you know that the cost of every abortion is an unborn life.

    Of course I would. The cost of making abortion illegal is women’s lives. Better to keep abortion as legal, readily available, and rare as it is in the Netherlands.

    You see, I think the difference between you and me is that you prefer merely to loudly express your sense of outrage about abortion being legal; whereas my preference is for far, far fewer abortions to need to be performed by preventing them at source. I want to prevent abortion; you want to be outraged about abortion: that’s our difference.

    What reduces the abortion rate is for the state to ensure that anyone who intends to be heterosexually active can easily get affordable, effective contraception: and that schools and parents strongly encourage their children, when they decide to have sex, to plan on using contraception. That works.

    Why, then, do pro-life organisations in the US show such active disinterest in preventing abortion, prefering instead to express outrage about legal abortion?

  104. Dawn says:

    Yonmei- I am asking you in all seriousness to stop putting words in my mouth. You know me only through our brief “back and forth” over the past couple days and are characterizing me in ways that you wouldn’t if you truly knew me. It’s unfair. Please stop it.

    I haven’t used wording to suggest that I am angry or outraged. Rather I have actually SAID that my heart aches for 50 million dead babies. You have used words to describe me like “loud”, “pushing”, and “thrusting”. I have used the figure of 50 million because it is an accurate figure. And to emphasize the SCOPE of the loss of human life. They are people. And it breaks my heart that they are dead.

    “The cost of making abortion illegal is women’s lives.”

    The cost of legal abortion is also women’s lives as about half of all aborted babies are female. So about 25 million women are dead. What of their rights?

    Again, I actually do agree with you about many things. It’s a little difficult in this format for me to articulate that I guess. Our disagreement is obviously legal abortion. You are right that I don’t think it should be legal. A procedure that does what abortion does to unborn human beings should not be legal. We wouldn’t do the same thing to animals. I’m sorry if that sounds to you like “forced birth”. But a baby does not become disposable because it is inconvenient.

    I’m ready for you to come back at me with more accusations of unwillingness to dialog. You’re trying to convince me of the importance of contraception when I already believe it is important. I don’t need to be convinced! While I am trying to convince you of the horror of abortion and the value of the 50 million little people that we will never meet, some of whom would be 35 years old and could be helping with the social issues we care so much about, and making a difference.

    President Barack Obama himself was essentially abandoned by his father, raised by a struggling single mother, and look what he has accomplished! Imagine the potential of the unborn, even in the bleakest of circumstances. Every life should have that opportunity.

  105. Yonmei says:

    Rather I have actually SAID that my heart aches for 50 million dead babies. You have used words to describe me like “loud”, “pushing”, and “thrusting”. I have used the figure of 50 million because it is an accurate figure. And to emphasize the SCOPE of the loss of human life. They are people. And it breaks my heart that they are dead.

    And you still keep thrusting, still keep expressing outrage, rather than trying to engage in dialogue. Why?

    Again, I actually do agree with you about many things. It’s a little difficult in this format for me to articulate that I guess. Our disagreement is obviously legal abortion. You are right that I don’t think it should be legal.

    Sixty thousand women die each year because they can’t get access to safe, legal abortion. Of course the fetus they were carrying dies too. Even more women are permanently damaged, again, because they couldn’t get access to safe, legal abortion. I think it’s more important to keep adult women alive and well than it is to attempt to force women who want to terminate to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.

    One, because statistics show that the only result of such an attempt is the deaths of women. The deaths of women may not make your heart ache, you may be utterly indifferent to their dying: but I consider it appalling that women die because Pharisees self-righteously demand that safe abortion shall be placed beyond the reach of ordinary women, to satisfy a literally Pharisaical sense of personal morality without compassion.

    Two, because I consider it deeply wrong to force a woman through pregnancy and childbirth against her will. And that, of course, is what makes me a pro-choicer, not a pro-lifer.

    . You’re trying to convince me of the importance of contraception when I already believe it is important.

    Then why are you not interested in talking about how to persuade pro-life organisations to support free provision of contraception, and assurance that contraception is freely available to all? Why are you only interested in trying to thrust your view of abortion on me?

  106. Dawn says:

    “And you still keep thrusting, still keep expressing outrage, rather than trying to engage in dialogue. Why?”

    Fasten your seatbelt. This is why.

    It’s never in anyone’s best interests to kill a child. When a child is hurt by his mother it brings harm not only to the child but to her. It’s impossible to separate a woman’s welfare from her child’s. Precisely because the unborn is a child, the consequences of killing him are severe. It’s the identity of the first victim, the child, that brings harm to the second victim, the mother. That’s why I begin and end my debate on abortion with the significance of the unborn and the gravity of the slaying of 50 million of them.

    In Illinois a pregnant woman who takes an illegal drug can be prosecuted for “delivering a controlled substance to a minor.” This is an explicit recognition that the unborn is a person with rights, deserving protection even from his mother. However, that same woman who’s prosecuted and jailed for endangering her child is free to abort that same child. It’s illegal to harm your preborn child, but it’s perfectly legal to kill him.

    At one time whites decided that blacks were less human. Men decided women had fewer rights. Nazis decided Jews’ lives weren’t meaningful. Now big people have decided that little people aren’t meaningful enough to have rights. Personhood isn’t something to be bestowed on human beings by those intent on ridding society of “undesirables.” Personhood has an inherent value that comes from being a member of the human race.

    An abortion is not just another surgery, no different from an appendectomy or root canal. Why do you suppose that people don’t remember the anniversary of their appendectomy 20 years later? Why don’t they find themselves weeping uncontrollably over the loss of their appendix? And where are all the support groups for those who’ve had root canals?

    In surveys of women who have experienced post-abortion complications:
    * 90% said they weren’t given enough information to make an informed choice
    * Over 80% said it was very unlikely they would have aborted if they had not been so strongly encouraged to abort by others, including their abortion counselors.
    * 83% said they would have carried to term if they had received support from their families, boyfriends, or other important people in their lives.
    (afterabortion.org)

    Women Exploited by Abortion (WEBA)has had over 30,000 members in more than 200 chapters across America with chapters in Canada, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Africa.

    Other postabortion support and recovery groups include Victims of Choice, Postabortion Counseling and Education (PACE), Helping and Educating in Abortion Related Trauma (HEART), Healing Visions Network, Counseling for Abortion-Related Experiences (CARE), Women of Ramah, Project Rachel, Open Arms, Abortion Trauma Services, American Victims of Abortion, and Former Women of Choice. The existence of these groups is evidence of the emotional and mental trauma of countless women who’ve had abortions.

    A study published in the Southern Medical Journal indicated that “women who have abortions are at significant higher risk of death than women who give birth.” This included a 154% higher risk of death from suicide.

    Every woman deserves better than abortion. I agree that they should have access to contraception. While the alternatives to abortion are challenging, abortion is the only one that kills an innocent person 100% of the time. Precisely because it does so, it has by far the most negative consequences in a woman’s life.

    Yonmei, you said, “Sixty thousand women die each year because they can’t get access to safe, legal abortion. Of course the fetus they were carrying dies too. Even more women are permanently damaged, again, because they couldn’t get access to safe, legal abortion. I think it’s more important to keep adult women alive and well than it is to attempt to force women who want to terminate to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.”

    In light of this comment I take it that you are unaware that women also die BECAUSE of their access to that “safe” abortion. Consider the woman who hemorrhaged, was transfused, got hepatits, and died months later. Official cause of death? Hepatits. Actual cause? Abortion. A perforated uterus leads to pelvic abscess, sepsis and death. The official report of the cause of death may list pelvic abscess and septicemia. Abortion will not be listed. Abortion causes tubal pathology. She has an ectopic pregnancy years later and dies. The cause listed will be ectopic pregnancy. The actual cause? Abortion.

    You also said, “…because statistics show that the only result of such an attempt is the deaths of women. The deaths of women may not make your heart ache, you may be utterly indifferent to their dying: but I consider it appalling that women die because Pharisees self-righteously demand that safe abortion shall be placed beyond the reach of ordinary women, to satisfy a literally Pharisaical sense of personal morality without compassion.”

    You have championed abortion as safe for women. Would you dishonor the women harmed by abortion by ignoring or denying their experiences? Abortion has been anything but safe for women.

    Why Prolife? by Randy Alcorn contains this info and much more with credible and scientific sources.

  107. Yonmei says:


    It’s never in anyone’s best interests to kill a child.

    But we aren’t discussing killing children, Dawn: we’re discussing terminating pregnancies, or abortion.

    The actual cause? Abortion.

    Yes: unsafe, illegal abortion.

    Where abortion is legal, it is safe.

    You don’t want to think of women dying because of unsafe abortions?

    Then support all women’s right to freely access legal abortion. Almost since Roe vs. Wade pro-lifers have endeavored to make legal abortion in the US costly and inaccessible: Medicaid will not pay for the abortion if a woman needs to terminate a pregnancy, but will pay for the costs of healthcare if she ends up having an illegal abortion and needs treatment. Most health insurance plans in the US don’t cover the costs of abortion: many won’t even cover the costs of contraception. This is plain stupid; a woman who chooses to terminate should be able to do so, and shouldn’t have to delay her abortion or have to go the illegal route because it’s all she can afford.

    Would you dishonor the women harmed by abortion by ignoring or denying their experiences?

    Precisely because illegal abortion is so unsafe for women, I champion and honor those women by demanding that abortion shall remain safe and legal.

    Your desire to have even more women die because they cannot access safe legal abortion, while hypocritically pretending care for the past women who fell victim to the pro-life movement’s campaign against safe legal abortion, is thoroughly hypocritical and dishonorable.

    If you object to safe, legal abortion because you think the state should try to force women through pregnancy and childbirth against their will, at least have the honor and honesty to admit that the price is paid in women’s lives – in the perforated uteruses and hepatis and other direct effects of denying women access to safe, safe, safe legal abortion.

  108. Yonmei says:

    My last comment was a little testy: claims by people who oppose access to legal abortion that use data about the physical damage caused by illegal abortion to “prove” their poiint tends to have that effect. Nevertheless, I apologize for my testiness.

    With regard to the mental effects of abortion:
    “Although women may experience some distress immediately after having an abortion, the experience has no independent effect on their psychological well-being over time, according to a study of longitudinal data from a large, national sample. The data show that the most important predictor of a woman’s sense of well-being after having an abortion is her level of self-esteem before the pregnancy. This remains true regardless of race or affiliation with a religious group, even if the denomination opposes abortion.”
    - from “Family Planning Perspectives”, Jul/Aug 1997 by S. Edwards. link

    The so-called “Post Abortion Syndrome”, claimed by many pro-lifers as a mental after-effect of abortion, has not been shown to exist in any scientific studies of women after abortion. So you can put your concerns for the mental affect of abortion on women out of your mind, Dawn.

    As I’ve noted already: better if people who oppose abortion focussed on provision of contraception, which pro-life organisations do not. Better also if people who are concerned for human life, focussed on keeping abortion legal and freely accessible, to prevent deaths from illegal abortions – which pro-lifers by definition do not.

    What we have not discussed, either, is women who choose abortion because they literally cannot afford to have a child. This is appalling, and if pro-life organizations could also be persuaded to focus on provision of mandatory paid maternity leave and free universal healthcare for all, plus a raise in the minimum wage, and other benefits routine for all mothers in other developed countries (free prescriptions: home health visitors: dietary supplements: etc) that would also help to prevent abortions.

    If only tbe pro-life movement in the US showed any interest in preventing abortions! But, judged by those I have attempted to discuss this with online (including you, Dawn, I’m afraid) they are entirely uninterested in abortion prevention, prefering to promote illegal abortion with consequent damage to women’s health, and get uselessly enraged about women who choose abortion without ever wanting to do anything effective about that choice.

  109. Dawn says:

    Yonmei- I am dismayed. You did not even read my comments. You accuse me of being unwilling to dialog. If the shoe fits, wear it! I can’t dialog with you if you don’t read my comments.

    The injuries to women that I am referring to are caused by the LEGAL abortion procedure that they have undergone. Legal abortion is not safe, Yonmei. Women indeed are injured by legal abortion.

    There are literally hundreds of support groups in this country for women suffering MENTAL and emotional distress long after their abortion. These groups would not be ATTENDED if there wasn’t a need. These groups plainly are meeting a very real, felt need by women. I am talking about current, present day support groups. As you sit here and read this, there are women in this country who underwent a legal abortion and are suffering because of it and have sought support. Whether you want to believe it or not doesn’t change it’s truth.

    “Where abortion is legal, it is safe.”

    The women I talked about in my previous post were injured by their LEGAL abortion. LEGAL abortion is causing injuries to women. So I’m concerned about that. And you are not.

    In 2004 Dr. Elizabeth Shadigan testified before a Senate subcommittee in a hearing to invetigate the physical and psychological effect of aborion on women. She said, “abortion increases rates of breat cancer, placenta previa, preterm births, and maternal suicide. Statistically, all typs of deaths are higher with women who have had induced abortions.”

    At least 49 studies have demonstrated a statistically significant increase in premature births or low birth weight risk in women with prior induced abortions. “Low birth weight and premature birth are the most important risk factors for infant mortality or later disabilities as well as for lower cognitive abilities and greater behavioral problems.” -Brent Rooney and Byron C. Calhoun, MD, “Induced Abortions and Risk of Later Premature Births,” Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, vol.8, no. 2, Summer 2003.

    Women who’ve had one abortion double their risk of cervical cancer…while women with two or more abortions multiply their risk by nearly five times. Similar elevated rsks of ovarian and liver cancer have also been linked to single and multiple abortions. (British Journal of Cancer, F. Parazzini, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, H.L. Stewart, Journal of Reproductive Medicine, I. Fuhimoto, and International Journal of Cancer, C. LaVecchia)

    After extensive research, Dr. Joel Brind, professor of endocrinology at City University of New York, concluded, “The single most avoidable risk factor for breast cancer is induced abortion.” http://members.aol.com/DFJoseph/brind.html

    Postabortion specialist David Reardon writes, “In a study of postabortion patients only eight weeks after their abortion, researchers round that 44 percent complained of nervous disorders, 36 percent had experienced sleep disturbances, 31 percent had regrets abour their decision, and 11 percent had been prescribed psychotropic medicine by their family doctor. This is particularly significant since some women show no apparent effect from their abortions until years later. -Major Psychological Sequelae of Abortion, 1997, Elliot Institute.

    So, my mind has not been put to rest about the mental or physical effects of abortion on women. Legal abortion is damaging women today.

    “What we have not discussed, either, is women who choose abortion because they literally cannot afford to have a child. This is appalling”

    What is appalling is that she feels the only choice she has is to abort. It’s truly heart wrenching when a woman cannot afford to carry to term the baby in her womb. I agree 100%. And what I think is even more appalling is that the baby in her womb has to lay down his or her life because of it. There ARE other options.

    You’ve brought up the cost of abortion. Those who offer legal abortions charge women for them, while those who offer abortion alternatives give their assistance freely, lovingly and almost entirely behind the scenes. Contrary to what you may believe, prolifers are not just pro-birth – they are pro-LIFE. They care about a child and her mother, and are there to help them both not only before birth, but after.

    This will probably be my last post, Yonmei. We’re leaving for vacation tomorrow and will be back the 15th. I’ll have very little internet access while we’re gone. And on top of that, I’ve been offended by your personal insults. It’s one thing to vigorously debate this important issue. It’s quite another to accuse me of pretending to care for women and call me a hypocrite. This was unwarranted. You cannot possibly know me through a “discussion” of this nature. But you pretend that you do and attack my character. And these insults do not lend themselves to making you particularly persuasive or credible.

  110. Yonmei says:

    You did not even read my comments.

    Read them: responded to them. You may not like my answers, but I’ve given them.

    But you’ve yet to respond to any of my queries. Instead, you keep thrusting your views about abortion at me, refusing to dialog, demanding – aggressively – that I react in some way to your long tirades against abortion.

    Well, no: I have nothing to say to them more than I’ve said already, which is that I prefer to prevent abortions, and I strongly object to forcing women to unsafe illegal abortions.

    Perforated uteruses and hepatitis may be a price you’re willing to have other women pay, a means of talking up how dangerous abortions are while elliding over the fact that it’s illegal abortions that make women run these risks: and it’s illegal abortions that the pro-life movement promotes. But I’m not in favor of women dying so other people can feel morally good about themselves: I want a woman who wants an abortion to be able to get a safe, legal abortion.

    While you prefer her to run the risk of a perforated uterusfrom an illegal, untrained practicioner rather than she should be able to go to her nearest hospital and just get an abortion from a properly trained doctor. And that preference seems to me to be morally abominable.

    Now if you wanted to talk about how to prevent abortions – but you don’t. I have been inviting such dialog since we began, and so far, you’ve refused every invitation.

    Instead, you’ve cited false medical evidence (no, women who have abortions are not at more risk from cancer, any more than they are from depression) and tried to claim I personally insulted you.

    Contrary to what you may believe, prolifers are not just pro-birth – they are pro-LIFE. They care about a child and her mother, and are there to help them both not only before birth, but after.

    Contrary to the evidence, you mean. Pro-lifers as a movement do not campaign for mandatory paid maternity leave nor free universal health care for pregnant women, a raise in the minimum wage, free childcare for low-income women, mandatory free preschool education for all kids, or any of the other benefits that pro-choicers won for women in other countries: so the claim falls to the ground. They are simply not there for pregnant women nor for children: neither before a child is born, nor after. Pro-life politicians in general are not the politicians who can be relied on to vote for pro-child or pro-mother policies. It’s just not true, what you claim.

  111. Yonmei says:

    Let me clarify this a little.

    There are (according to a study done in 2005) about 744 000 homeless people in the US. About 41% are families: the rest are single adults.

    It seems a reasonable conclusion that probably at least 300 000 of those homeless people are women – correct me if you have better figures for that. In 2007, 37.3 million people were living in poverty (from the US Census Bureau figures). 18% of the people living below the poverty level wo ere children under the age of 5.

    The specific area of poverty relief in which a person interested in preventing abortions might concern themselves would be provision of free contraception to all – certainly, anyone too poor to afford to pay for health insurance ought to be able to get contraception via Medicaid – I assume you’d agree to that?

    Medicaid will not cover contraception costs without specific permission from the federal government. President Obama tried to get this permission into his recent financial bill. It was opposed by Republicans and was removed.

    Where is the pro-life movement there? Can you show me any examples of pro-life organizations, or even individual self-identified pro-lifers, standing up and praising President Obama for his attempt to get effective abortion prevention into this bill? Or campaigning against the Republicans who wanted effective abortion prevention out of the bill?

    When I look for examples of organizations or individuals doing just that, I find them on pro-choice sites, not on pro-life sites.

    I haven’t even seen one pro-lifer acknowledge that the people who called Obama the “pro-abortion President” were flat wrong: it was the Republicans who required the contraception-on-Medicaid out of the bill who were effectively pro-abortion, weren’t they?

    I hope you enjoy your holiday, Dawn, and think a little about what I’ve said.

  112. Anonymous says:

    Yonmei-
    I have heard the same argument from other pro-abortionist- “where are all the prolifers in regards to the homeless? First of all, the amount of work done by religious organizations is immeasurable. They do this work WITHOUT all the government funding that pro-abortion groups receive. What work have you,personally,done to help feed and clothe the homeless?
    I hope that you will educate yourself. Read about Margaret Sanger and her “reasons” for abortion. Read about the psychological damage done to women who have had abortions. We know your position, look a little deeper into the pro-life reasons. But be careful….you may begin to believe as Jennifer!
    As far as Barack Obama goes-Mexico City Law. Have you heard of it? Our tax dollars going to Planned Parenthood in other countries! Disgusting! So much for our economy, right? He even said, “That’s above my pay scale.” in response to being asked, “When does life begin?” That opens the door for repeal of all current laws protecting women by wait periods, parental notification, infanticide, etc. Don’t take our word for it. Look for secular articles about it. Finally, look up writings of the abortionist that helped get Roe vs. Wade passed. He admits to performing over 1000 abortions himself. I pray your heart will soften towards the unborn as much as for the women and men that are homeless.

  113. Yonmei says:

    Anonymous, I am not “pro-abortion”: I am pro-choice. Until you begin to understand that, you cannot begin to communicate with me, because you begin from a wrong premise.

    I do think, in response to the original post, that it is better to have an abortion than to abandon the baby to die after birth: but better yet, never need an abortion at all: use contraception.

    Vaguely mentioning the quasi-science and ahistorical stories you sort of remember something about that you think showed you why it’s good to force women through pregnancy and childbirth against their will, is not a good way to argue. Trust me on this. Pro-lifers never seem to realise that the stories which justify their beliefs to the already-converted do not work very well on better-educated people.

  114. Alison says:

    I just wanted to let you know that I LOVE this post. It describes me to a tee! I had never heard anyone so perfectly describe me and my journey from pro-abortion to pro-life. Thank you so much. I have posted this on my facebook page several times and will continue to do it so I can get as many people to read it as possible. Thanks!

  115. Maureen says:

    Thank you for this blog – I am a cradle catholic that grew up believing in all the “rules” of the catholic church, but never fully understanding all of them – especially the ones related to sex – my thought was always – I want to have sex for the fun of it whenever I want!! I used many different kinds of contraception – considered aborting 2 of my children(thank you, Lord for not allowing that to happen) and for a long time felt very burdened by children at times. What a fool I was. I finally read some of Christopher West’s books and all these “rules” began to make sense – it is very difficult to see in this “raised to be selfish – take care of me first” society that we live in, but it does make total sense. You have explained things so well that you have helped me get through one final hurdle in my catholic beliefs – being open to life at all times! Thank you – God has a way of getting answers to us!! Praise Him for His Wisdom!!

  116. Aristocles says:

    Thank you for this wonderful story. May God Richly Bless You and Yours!

  117. Anonymous says:

    I stumbled on this post and decided to comment, even though the OP was a while ago.

    I am pro-life AND pro-choice. God HIMSELF is pro-choice. He allows US to decide, and has since we were in the garden. Yes, He allows us to make poor choices (abortion being one) and He gives us the consequences for our choices.

    Although I believe women should have a choice (otherwise some would resort to back alley abortions or worse), I chose life for my son. Not all people who want a choice would choose an abortion.

    I do respect your opinion, and think the links provided give some disturbing insights into the procedure.

  118. Lucia says:

    As someone who has been "pro-choice" for a long time, I am disgusted by Yonmei's aggressive responses. Dawn seemed to have some good points and to cite reasonable sources… the Yonmei/Dawn interaction leaves me wondering if I have been so blind about the possibly valid research supporting "pro-life" ideas. I am really questioning my stance now.

  119. Yonmei says:

    Hi, Dawn! Why are you posting as "Lucia" now?

  120. Lucia says:

    Hi Yonmei, this is not Dawn. Don't you think it's a little paranoid to assume so? I would give you my last name but I don't really want this popping up on any google searches of me since this topic is so sensitive. For the record, I am Reform Jewish and my congregation doesn't take a stand about abortion either way so I've been trying to figure this out.

  121. Yonmei says:

    Hi Yonmei, this is not Dawn. Don't you think it's a little paranoid to assume so?

    Paranoid? I'm sorry, don't you think you're taking a blog conversation a little seriously?

    If you are not Dawn, I apologize for assuming that you were: but your comment certainly took the classic sock-puppet format, so you might want to look out for that in future.

    For the record, I am Reform Jewish and my congregation doesn't take a stand about abortion either way so I've been trying to figure this out.

    If you need to have an abortion, I wouldn't think hanging out on blogs would be a useful way of making up your mind, but to each their own.

    (If you don't need to have an abortion, then you really only need to decide whether you take the position that each pregnant woman is in the best position to decide for herself whether to terminate or continue her pregnancy – the pro-choice position: or whether to argue that the state ought to make the decision for the pregnant woman – the "pro-life" position.)

  122. Lucia says:

    Hi Yonmei, thanks for your response. I am taking these posts seriously because it is a serious topic. Thankfully I am not in a position to have to make the choice of whether to have an abortion. The reason I am here is simply because I want to understand the ethical issues surrounding the topic and because I have always been weary of being completely pro-choice. I don't like how the pro-choice movement might allow people to lead irresponsible lives and feel that they don't have any consequences. Anyhow, I continue to believe that in some instances, abortion might be the best option. I'm just trying to sort out my own beliefs. I agree with you that the pro-life movement needs to focus more on prevention of abortions. Once they make a lot of headway in this direction, their arguments for making abortions illegal would make more sense and be taken more seriously. Signs like "abortion is murder" will not convince people who do not believe that fetuses have individual rights. They simply tend to offend others.

  123. Jennifer @ Conversion Diary says:

    Yonmei -

    If you don't need to have an abortion, then you really only need to decide whether you take the position that each pregnant woman is in the best position to decide for herself whether to terminate or continue her pregnancy – the pro-choice position: or whether to argue that the state ought to make the decision for the pregnant woman – the "pro-life" position.

    Thanks for your thoughts. I would suggest that the only thing that anyone really needs to decide in this debate is whether or not fetuses are humans too. If they are, then it's perfectly acceptable to protect them they way you'd protect any other human being. If they're not, then it should be OK to destroy the fetus for any reason (e.g. because she's a girl, don't feel like being pregnant, etc.)

    I think that most people would agree that fetuses do become humans at some point — after all, few people would advocate for "abortion" the day before a baby's due date. So the only question is *when* they become human, and I think that serious research into that question is very worthwhile. I encourage everyone to check out videos of abortions, some of which I liked to here, to make sure they know exactly what is involved. More information is always better is these matters.

  124. Yonmei says:

    . I don't like how the pro-choice movement might allow people to lead irresponsible lives and feel that they don't have any consequences.

    I have no idea what you're talking about, you know? I thought we were discussing whether or not a pregnant woman gets to decide to terminate or continue her pregnancy – the pro-choice position – or whether the state should take over and make pregnancy-related decisions for the woman: the "pro-life" position. If you are weary (or wary?) of arguing that a pregnant woman should get to decide, then you are surely arguing for irresponsibility of the individual – submission to the state.

    I agree with you that the pro-life movement needs to focus more on prevention of abortions.

    But the "pro-life" movement is against women getting to make decisions: so I honestly don't think it's possible for them to turn from persecuting women who have abortions to promoting free access to contraception and comprehensive sex education. It's the pro-choice movement that does all the work of preventing abortions: the "pro-life" movement is just headed in the wrong direction completely for success in that way.

    Signs like "abortion is murder" will not convince people who do not believe that fetuses have individual rights. They simply tend to offend others.

    Well, yes. But the point of that sign-waving is not, after all, to prevent abortions, but to demonize women who choose abortion and dehumanize doctors who perform them – with tragic results, as we see with the "pro-life" murder of Doctor George Tiller, after decades of "pro-life" assaults on himself, his staff, and his clinic.

    I have grown less tolerant since Tiller's murder made brutally clear again that "pro-life" is such an ironic name for a movement devoted to death and destruction.

  125. Yonmei says:

    I would suggest that the only thing that anyone really needs to decide in this debate is whether or not fetuses are humans too. If they are, then it's perfectly acceptable to protect them they way you'd protect any other human being.

    I agree completely. But of course, this has nothing whatsoever to do with whether a pregnant woman is entitled to decide for herself whether, and when, to terminate or continue a pregnancy. You can only, in all humanity, give a fetus the same rights as you would any other human being – which means they are no more entitled to make use of another human's body against her will than any other human would be. Abortion thus remains absolutely the decision of the pregnant woman, not the state.

    So the only question is *when* they become human, and I think that serious research into that question is very worthwhile.

    If you like, but that can't affect a woman's right to choose abortion, since that right is solidly based on her being human, and thus entitled to decide for herself whether or not to donate the use of her body – whether or not such donation keeps another human alive.

    By the way, seventy thousand women die each year as a direct consequence of being unable to get access to safe, legal abortion. Twice that number die in childbirth. The "pro-life" murders of doctors are the most blatant example of the "pro-life" movement's violence and inhumanity, but the steady death toll of women – and the fetus they were carrying – is an even greater indictment against the "pro-life" movement's claim to care for fetuses.

  126. paladin says:

    Sorry for being such a "Johnny-come-lately"; I've no idea if the conversation is still going on, but just in case…

    Yonmei wrote:

    You can only, in all humanity, give a fetus the same rights as you would any other human being – which means they are no more entitled to make use of another human's body against her will than any other human would be.

    First: I think you're making a mistake in saying that we "give" a fetus (Latin for "little boy") such inalienable rights as life; that right is intrinsic to all with a human nature–no matter how old or young, healthy or ailing.

    Second: do you not realize that your argument defends, a la Peter Singer, all forms of infanticide? Did you really mean to do that?

    Abortion thus remains absolutely the decision of the pregnant woman, not the state.

    That's not to the point. I assert to you that abortion, no matter whose decision it is, is a MORALLY EVIL choice.

    You seem to be relying on a Judith Jarvis Thompson type of argument, with your appeals to "giving permission to use [x]'s body for life-support"–as if pregnancy were some sort of artificial/technological contrivance worthy of Bela Lugosi, rather than a natural aspect of human nature(!). You don't seem to understand that such an argument is blatantly illogical, and it's a raw appeal to the gallery (i.e. whipping up a desired emotional response that trumps all sane reason). To illustrate, try this on for side (sorry about the length, Jen!):

    =====
    Suppose you are a pioneer, living with your family in the early to middle 1800's in the northern parts of Montana; suppose visitors are few, law enforcement consists of your skills at diplomacy and/or accuracy with your gun, and "social programs" are nonexistent. It is now early September, and the temperature is well below freezing–and it can be expected to stay below freezing until middle to late April (roughly 9 months).

    Now, suppose that a gang of outlaws, riding swift horses, invades your property, breaks into your house, and proceeds to steal, destroy, terrorize, and physically injure every member of your family (including sexual assault on every female member of the family); in addition, the head outlaw remarks on your spouse's "ugliness", takes a pot of boiling water, and pours it over your spouse's face, yelling, "this'll improve things, won't it?" Your spouse's face, aside from the agony, will never be anything other than horribly disfigured from this time on.

    As the head outlaw prepares to leave, he laughs and yells, "Oh, yeah… I got a present fer ya!", and proceeds to take a live baby out of one of the saddlebags of the horse. "This is a kid I sired by my woman back home; no way I'm gonna be tied down with a kid, so here you go; have fun!" And, laughing uproariously, he and his henchmen ride away far too quickly for any pursuit.

    It goes without saying that the outlaw "visit" was a trauma that has yielded, and will continue to yield, horrible (and probably permanent) damage to your family, emotionally as well as physically. It may be taken as given that even the mere sight of the baby will surely trigger horrible anguish and emotional pain in your entire family–but most especially in your spouse, whose dignity, sexual integrity, and face are ravaged. It may also be taken as given that you will have at least a 7- to 8-month wait until any visitors could possibly take the child to some Church, orphanage, etc.; it is certain that maintenance of the baby will cost you a great deal in time, effort, food, and other resources–in addition to the outrage that comes with the fact that the obligation was not of your choosing, and which was forced on you unjustly, with great pain.

    (continued in next comment)

  127. paladin says:

    (cont'd, for Yonmei:)

    Question #1: would it be morally justifiable for you to expel the baby from the house, knowing that the baby will surely die from exposure in short order, on the pretext that the baby is an unwelcome intruder who is intimately connected to the main criminal who caused your pain, and whose very presence is a source of traumatically painful memories?

    Question #2: would it be morally justifiable for you to take the baby outside and kill it directly (e.g. beat it to death with a shovel, shoot it, drown it, etc.), on the pretext that you wish rid of a baby whose presence was forced on you (and whose very presence is agonizing to your family), but you wish to spare the baby the pain of dying by exposure?

    Question #3: would it be morally permissible to keep the baby in the house (so as to prevent death by exposure) but to withhold all food (causing the baby to starve to death, eventually), on the pretext that you are under no obligation to supply the material needs of a baby that was forced on you without your consent, and whose very presence is psychological agony?

    If any of the answers to the above questions are "no", then one must re-examine one's basis for thinking that abortion is acceptable in cases of rape, etc.

    =====
    As I say: this does not pretend to be a rigorous argument; it is admittedly an appeal to the gallery, whose only real purpose is to highlight (by comparison) the specious "gallery-appeal" nature of Professor Thompson's argument (and similar arguments which seek to evoke "sympathy by appeal to emotion"). In short: if you want to hold to the "I won't use my body as life support for any baby I choose not to have!" position, at least admit that it's an emotion-based and irrational position!

    One note on Prof. Thompson's argument: it rests entirely on a non-Theistic, ego-centric (in the Cartesian sense) understanding of the human person. The argument assumes, as an unspoken premise, that one is assumed to have absolute sovereignty over one's body, and that anything affecting one's body must necessarily meet with one's free approval in order to be allowed to continue. (As a personal opinion: this argument style seems to give an unspoken approval of the "retributive" idea that, given a sufficient outrage of justice, any action may be taken as a remedy–"an eye for an eye", if you will.) I'd invite you to consider the idea that this is simply not true.

  128. Yonmei says:

    that right is intrinsic to all with a human nature–no matter how old or young, healthy or ailing.

    Fine: so presuming that you consider women to be human, you agree that a woman has an intrinsic right to life – no matter whether she is pregnant or not.

    Which means that a pregnant woman has an intrinsic right to decide to terminate her pregnancy: since pregnancy and childbirth can be lethal. To force a woman through pregnancy and childbirth against her will – to deny her access as of right to safe legal abortion – is to deny her intrinsic right to life.

    Second: do you not realize that your argument defends, a la Peter Singer, all forms of infanticide? Did you really mean to do that?

    You appear in the rest of your post to be arguing as if a fetus was a baby. As a fetus is not a baby – a fetus and a baby are quite biologically distinct forms of humanity – the rest of your arguments fall to the ground.

  129. paladin says:

    Yonmei wrote, in reply to my comment:

    [Paladin]
    that right [to life] is intrinsic to all with a human nature–no matter how old or young, healthy or ailing.

    [Yonmei]
    Fine: so presuming that you consider women to be human, you agree that a woman has an intrinsic right to life – no matter whether she is pregnant or not.

    Certainly… and also whether she is born, or not. It's not very supportive of women's rights to kill young women in the womb, after all. (Some abortion-tolerant people *do* speak, sometimes, as if all the unborn children in the world were male, and that it was a women's rights issue to eradicate them; I don't understand it at all.)

    Which means that a pregnant woman has an intrinsic right to decide to terminate her pregnancy: since pregnancy and childbirth can be lethal.

    Oh, come now: that's patently illogical, and it doesn't follow at all. There's a nonzero percentage chance that some of my students who've been disciplined by me might ambush me in the street and kill me–and 've had a few students who were so mentally disturbed that they (if they ever encountered me again while they were in a fit) might kill me without knowing what they were doing–but I don't have the right to execute them preemptively, on that basis, do I?

    (I do admit to being surprised: many abortion-tolerant people abhorred President Bush's so-called "pre-emptive war" against Iraq, et al.; but you seem to be arguing in favour of pre-emptive executions of those [unborn children] who are undeniably innocent of all wrongdoing!)

    To force a woman through pregnancy and childbirth against her will – to deny her access as of right to safe legal abortion – is to deny her intrinsic right to life.

    First: no one, save perhaps for a rapist (who beats the astronomical odds and impregnates his victim), forces anyone to carry a child against her will; I (and those of like mind) only insist that she not resort to murder in order to *stop* carrying that child. Second: there is no such thing as a "safe" abortion–the child dies (in barbaric manners which you might find rather hard to watch–manners which many abortion-tolerant people would decry with horrified outrage if they were done even to a cat or dog), and the woman is devastated (if she survives at all). Third: you're using a grandiose "slippery slope" to justify wildly disproportionate means to achieve your end; and that cannot be.

    Consider this reasonably, for a moment: do I (or anyone else) have the right to assassinate all HIV-positive people, on the pretext that they present a very real (though remote) danger of contagion to me and my loved ones? Should all violent criminals be executed at once, using re-usable lethal weapons (and without benefit of a trial), on the pretext that no one should be forced to carry the financial burden of their support while they're in prison (perhaps for far longer than 9 months)? Would I be justified in killing any violent offender who was released into my area?

    Look: this seems to be a very emotionally charged issue for you, despite your veneer of logic (which–forgive me–is mostly sophistry), and I appreciate that. But I'm trying to get even a crack in your opaque glasses, so that even a sliver of light can get in. Your position, friend, is one of utter selfishness, taken to the point of death; you may have begun your position with every good intention… but don't you see how far, and how darkly, it has misled you?

    You appear in the rest of your post to be arguing as if a fetus was a baby. As a fetus is not a baby – a fetus and a baby are quite biologically distinct forms of humanity – the rest of your arguments fall to the ground.

    Would you be willing to explain your reasoning for that statement–especially the phrase "biologically distinct"? You and I are biologically distinct (in a greater way than are mother and child–so far as I know, we aren't even related!), but I don't think that grants either of us the right to kill the other, does it?

  130. Yonmei says:

    Certainly… and also whether she is born, or not. It's not very supportive of women's rights to kill young women in the womb, after all.

    What, you think it makes an ethical difference whether the fetus is male or female? I disagree.

    The ethics of abortion are the same, regardless of what biological sex the fetus is: a human being has an intrinsic right to life, and therefore, the right not to be forced through pregnancy and childbirth against her will.

    Oh, come now: that's patently illogical, and it doesn't follow at all.

    How is it illogical to argue that a human being's intrinsic right to life means that no other human being has the right to force the use of her body – a use that may kill her and may permanently damage her health – against her will? The argument that women's bodies may be used against a woman's will has no part of any argument that women have an intrinsic right to life. That is deeply illogical.

    First: no one, save perhaps for a rapist (who beats the astronomical odds and impregnates his victim), forces anyone to carry a child against her will

    Oh come now. If a woman is pregnant and wants an abortion, then if the state – or the pro-life terrorists such as those who murder doctors and attack clinics – succeed in preventing her from terminating her pregnancy, then plainly, they have succeeded in forcing through pregnancy and childbirth against her will. The goal of the pro-life movement is to force the use of women's bodies as choiceless incubators: forced pregnancy.

    Second: there is no such thing as a "safe" abortion–the child dies (in barbaric manners which you might find rather hard to watch–manners which many abortion-tolerant people would decry with horrified outrage if they were done even to a cat or dog), and the woman is devastated (if she survives at all).

    I think you're getting a bit confused here, between late abortions – which are carried out as a medical emergency, often of a wanted pregnancy and sometimes because a child has been raped and did not know she was pregnant – and the vast majority of early abortions, which carry virtually no risk at all. I am happy to defend either early or late: I do not consider it acceptable to force a woman through pregnancy and childbirth against her will, and neither do I consider it acceptable to force a woman to die in pregnancy or childbirth rather than terminate, though the pro-lifers who attacked and finally murdered Doctor George Tiller were prepared to kill in defense of the principle that women ought to have no choice but to die in pregnancy.

    Look: this seems to be a very emotionally charged issue for you, and you're obviously deeply ignorant and afraid, and I appreciate that. I don't, to be frank, expect to get past your emotional ignorance, especially not after the nasty remarks in the antepenultimate paragraph of your comment, which – forgive me – betray your arrogance and mean-mindedness in a way that undoes all your previous attempts to sound as if you were making a logical case.

    But I think it worthwhile to point out the truth, even to someone so lost in darkness they cannot comprehend it, in the hope that someday, you may be redeemed by facts.

  131. Yonmei says:

    Would you be willing to explain your reasoning for that statement–especially the phrase "biologically distinct"?

    Certainly. As I note above, I'm always ready to clarify facts. A fetus is biologically distinct from a baby in a number of important ways, even if we ignore the stages of development and look only at a fetus in late pregnancy. A fetus cannot breathe – nor eat: in effect, a fetus is an amphibian, with depressed oxygen levels in the brain such that a fetus is – as far as we now understand brain development – never conscious until the first breath. If someone could force a baby back in the uterus, the baby would die: nothing can make a newborn baby into an amphibian capable of living in liquid again.

    The change from fetus to baby is an enormous one – a biological miracle ignored by pro-lifers in favor of trying to claim that a fetus is a baby, or a child, or – as you do rather randomly at the start of your comment – a woman.

    The best way to protect and safeguard fetuses is not to start wars or attack clinics or murder doctors or harass and bully and jail women: it's to provide the best healthcare and support possible to pregnant women. This pro-lifers have always proved notably unwilling to do or to support.

    Countries in which women have access to safe legal abortion are invariably countries with lower maternal mortality/morbidity rates than countries without such access: not only because it is much safer for women if doctors can honestly tell them that a pregnancy puts them at risk and let them decide; but also because such countries regard women as humans who are entitled to good healthcare, rather than as choiceless incubators who may be forced without consideration of their health or their lives.

    Yes, I am emotional about this: I care about human life. That you regard this as folly to be mocked and claim that my regard for human life is "selfishness" or "opaque glasses" is a shame to you.

  132. paladin says:

    Yonmei wrote, in reply to my comment:

    [Paladin]
    Certainly… and also whether she is born, or not. It's not very supportive of women's rights to kill young women in the womb, after all.

    [Yonmei]
    What, you think it makes an ethical difference whether the fetus is male or female?

    (??) No. Where on earth do you get that? Nowhere did I imply that it was any more acceptable to kill a small boy ("fetus") than it would be to kill a small girl ("feta").

    I disagree.

    I should hope so! No… my point was to show the incongruity and inconsistency between casting who cast abortion as a "women's rights" issue (and that view is hardly uncommon among abortion-tolerant people) and the practice of killing young women in the womb, in staggering numbers, by methods too horrifying to be allowed on prime-time television. If you're not taking a "women's rights" approach, then fair enough, and I stand corrected… but the tenor of your comments strongly implied it.

    The ethics of abortion are the same, regardless of what biological sex the fetus is:

    Absolutely.

    a human being has an intrinsic right to life, and therefore, the right not to be forced through pregnancy and childbirth against her will.

    If you formulated those statements just a bit differently (deleting the "therefore", which simply makes no sense where it is), and qualify the statements a bit, I could agree wholeheartedly:

    1) A human being has an intrinsic right to life.
    2) A woman has the right not to be forced through a pregnancy and childbirth against her will.

    Both of those statements are correct, so far as they go–a person has a right not to be killed, and a woman has a right not to be impregnated against her will. Any violation of these rights is rightly called a crime, and it should be punished accordingly. But you wrongly assume that these rights are absolute and unlimited, and that any means are acceptable in order to attempt to "undo" the original harm–and that simply isn't true. I have an intrinsic right to life, but that does not justify killing half of the people in town, in the middle of a drought or famine, on the pretext that I'm preventing a personal food and water shortage (which could threaten my life). I have the right not to be forced to hear rap music, but that does not justify me stealing/breaking the stereo of the man below me who plays it loudly (to say nothing of killing him).

    The "rights" you mention are real, but they have real limits… and you don't seem to understand or accept that fact.

    How is it illogical to argue that a human being's intrinsic right to life means that no other human being has the right to force the use of her body – a use that may kill her and may permanently damage her health – against her will?

    That is not illogical in the least (and I agree with your main point wholeheartedly–though your exaggerations of the threats involved in child-bearing approach the level of hysteria). What is illogical, however, is the further assertion/implication that one may put an innocent child to death because of a remote fear of harm due to pregnancy complications. Even good ends never justify evil means–or do you disagree with that?

    The argument that women's bodies may be used against a woman's will has no part of any argument that women have an intrinsic right to life. That is deeply illogical.

    (??) I agree… so that makes me doubly puzzled why you would use a "potentially preserve life by killing an unborn child" argument in the first place; there is no proportion between the two ideas at all!

    More in a bit… crashed computer needs help!

  133. paladin says:

    Yech. Computers are not my friends today. I'll leave the ill computer for the moment…

    Yonmei wrote, in reply to my comment:

    [Paladin]
    First: no one, save perhaps for a rapist (who beats the astronomical odds and impregnates his victim), forces anyone to carry a child against her will

    [Yonmei]
    Oh come now. If a woman is pregnant and wants an abortion, then if the state – or the pro-life terrorists such as those who murder doctors and attack clinics – succeed in preventing her from terminating her pregnancy, then plainly, they have succeeded in forcing through pregnancy and childbirth against her will.

    You missed my point… and this may be a mere trifle of semantics, anyway, but: it was the rapist who first violated the woman, and who committed the added violation of imposing a pregnancy on the woman against her will. No sane person will deny the gravity of such a crime, and no one will deny that carrying that child to term will involve burdens and some risks (which should, mind you, be presented without dramatic embellishment–especially if you're as fond of "fact" as you say you are). But it's macabre to suggest that the murder of the undeniably innocent child is an acceptable way of trying to "remedy" the situation (and such a "remedy" would be illusory, anyway–as those who suffer the horrors of such acts of [abortion] violence can attest; a simple Google search for "Silent No More", "Project Rachel", etc., will give you evidence of that).

    Do you truly not see how wildly disproportionate your ideas are? You seem to have recognized (somewhat) that an abortion out of mere convenience (e.g. not wanting a pregnancy to spoil how one looks in a swimsuit or dress, gender-selection abortion, etc., not wanting to put off the purchase of that new boat, etc.) wouldn't have much sympathy in the debate arena… so you seem to be trying to frighten your opponents with the idea that "pregnancy = significant chance of severe injury or death". I'm afraid you're being rather disingenuous and misleading, at best; your advocacy of lethal force against innocent human beings would only be appropriate against a proportionally grave threat–not a remote and unlikely one… even if the ends justified such evil means (and they do not).

    The goal of the pro-life movement is to force the use of women's bodies as choiceless incubators: forced pregnancy.

    (*wry look*) Mm-hmm. And the goal of the "pro-choice" movement is to slaughter innocent boys and girls by the millions–by dismemberment, burning with saline, brain-vacuuming, and other hideous forms of torture–and to promote promiscuous sex at all possible ages.

    Are you really going to stoop to shooting at straw men, or can we stick to the "facts"?

    To be continued…

  134. paladin says:

    [Paladin]
    Second: there is no such thing as a "safe" abortion–the child dies (in barbaric manners which you might find rather hard to watch–manners which many abortion-tolerant people would decry with horrified outrage if they were done even to a cat or dog), and the woman is devastated (if she survives at all).

    [Yonmei]
    I think you're getting a bit confused here, between late abortions – which are carried out as a medical emergency [ALL of them are emergencies?], often of a wanted pregnancy and sometimes because a child has been raped and did not know she was pregnant [so you would disapprove of this if it were *not* a child-rape? Else, why mention this?] – and the vast majority of early abortions, which carry virtually no risk at all.

    "Confused?" The "dismemberment" abortions are done mostly in the 1st trimester, at 5-12 weeks (though they're certainly done later than that), with a vacuum hose, other dismemberments are done with a razor-sharp curettage (6-14 weeks), and most of the other dismemberments are done by tearing one limb at a time, with forceps (13-24 weeks: 2nd trimester); would you call all of these "late-term"?

    I am happy to defend either early or late:

    Even if it were not a so-called "hard case" (e.g. rape, physical danger)? And I'm afraid you're mistaken about the "virtually no risk" idea; the prevalence of uterine perforations was what led to the barbaric practice of "partial-birth abortion"–on the pretext that it was far safer to kill the child by manipulations *outside* the womb, rather than inside it. I do not mention this for dramatic effect, here; I mention it only to refute the false claim that early-term abortions are somehow "virtually risk-free".

    I do not consider it acceptable to force a woman through pregnancy and childbirth against her will,

    Nor do I; those who forcibly impregnate women should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. I merely ask that one heinous crime not be followed by another.

    and neither do I consider it acceptable to force a woman to die in pregnancy or childbirth rather than terminate,

    Terminate *what*, may I ask?

    though the pro-lifers who attacked and finally murdered Doctor George Tiller were prepared to kill in defense of the principle that women ought to have no choice but to die in pregnancy.

    Mm-hmm. [sarcasm] And abortion-tolerant people who leave rape and death threats for a 12-year-old girl who gave a pro-life speech, for a nurse who blew the whistle on "4th trimester abortions", and for a priest who dedicates his life to helping the very women you claim are abandoned by him, and the like? Are you, like they, prepared to kill in defense of the principle that the murder of a child by its mother is sacrosanct?[/sarcasm]

    Again: do you really want to have duelling straw men? Or can we stick to reality?

    Look: this seems to be a very emotionally charged issue for you, and you're obviously deeply ignorant and afraid, and I appreciate that. I don't, to be frank, expect to get past your emotional ignorance, especially not after the nasty remarks in the antepenultimate paragraph of your comment, which – forgive me – betray your arrogance and mean-mindedness in a way that undoes all your previous attempts to sound as if you were making a logical case.[…]

    :) Um… I appreciate drama as much as the next fellow (and I'm flattered by your imitation of my style and turns of phrase–imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, they say), but I think you have a perfectly workable style of your own; you needn't parrot mine, in order to be effective.

    More later.

  135. paladin says:

    Whoops! I didn't address your last post, Yonmei; apologies… though I think I need to address your last point first:

    Yes, I am emotional about this: I care about human life. That you regard this as folly to be mocked and claim that my regard for human life is "selfishness" or "opaque glasses" is a shame to you.

    I really think you've mistaken me, here. In no way was I trying to mock you (and certainly not because of your emotion–how could I, since I have strong emotions on this topic, myself?) or doubt your sincerity. But I seriously and sincerely believe that you are grievously in error, and I don't find that state of affairs to be good–not only because it leads you to empower and enable the culture of death in our nation/world (and enable the toleration of mass murder on a mind-boggling scale), but because it threatens your own immortal soul… and I really don't want to see you lost. Call me a liar or a fool if you will, but there's my truthful position. Yes, I *can*, under select circumstances (not usually involving abortion debates), enjoy good-natured (or at least civil) debate, but I'm not out to "score points" off of you; I'm here to dismantle the errors that lead otherwise good people who care deeply about what they believe to be right (such as you) to embrace horrific evils such as abortion. Call me sentimental, but I have a hard time watching babies be ripped to pieces, burned, etc., by the millions… and I have a similarly hard time watching hearts harden to the point where people ignore, tolerate, enable, or even "celebrate" that crime!

    A fetus is biologically distinct from a baby in a number of important ways, even if we ignore the stages of development and look only at a fetus in late pregnancy. A fetus cannot breathe – nor eat: in effect, a fetus is an amphibian, with depressed oxygen levels in the brain such that a fetus is – as far as we now understand brain development – never conscious until the first breath.

    There are several serious problems with this:

    1) The baby certainly "breathes" liquid, in the sense that it exercises its lungs while aspirating amniotic fluid, though there's no significant exchange of oxygen thereby (unlike amphibians)… so to call him/her "amphibian" seems to serve no purpose other than rhetoric (and the possible dehumanization of the fetus, in the eyes of onlookers).

    2) The baby can certainly "eat", though not by chewing and swallowing. I've been in the hospital with severe illnesses which required me to "eat" through an IV for days on end; would you say that I was (during those days) "biologically distinct" enough to kill with impunity? The baby in the womb is in the same position.

    3) As for your comments about "depressed oxygen levels" (compared to whom, and under what circumstances? Could someone overcome by smoke inhalation be rightfully killed, in your opinion?) and "no consciousness", I can only say that you're spouting your personal opinion, bereft of scientific support. How can someone who's "not conscious until birth" dream, remember, experience pain, and the like? But even if the child were unconscious until birth, I do wonder at your opinion that this makes them worthy of being killed with impunity; you and I are in a similar situation when we sleep, are we not?

    If someone could force a baby back in the uterus, the baby would die: nothing can make a newborn baby into an amphibian capable of living in liquid again.

    Nothing can make a newborn baby human into an amphibian at all, since it was never one in the first place. But you're making a great deal out of very little; I, for example, would no longer be capable of surviving on human breast milk, since I've developed a severe dairy allergy in the meantime. To borrow your turn of phrase: "Nothing can make me into a milk-drinker capable of surviving on breast milk again"; that which could make a typical [born] baby thrive for up to 2 years would kill me. So… am I worthy of being killed with impunity, because of that?

    To be concluded…

  136. paladin says:

    Yonmei wrote:

    The change from fetus to baby is an enormous one – a biological miracle ignored by pro-lifers in favor of trying to claim that a fetus is a baby, or a child,

    Forgive me, but this makes no sense at all! The difference between "fetus" and "baby" is a philosophical and semantic one, not a biological one (I think you mean "infant", anyway, if you're trying to refer to biological textbooks and terms). To Barack Obama (for example), a baby born during a failed abortion attempt is still a "fetus", unworthy of life and protection; to me, the one-celled zygote is a baby (as well as a fetus–a fetus is simply a human person in a particular stage of development… like blastocyst, embryo, adolescence, mid-life crisis, etc.)–admittedly in the earliest of stages of development–worthy of all human protections. Biology doesn't enter relevantly into the issue, save as an excuse on which to hang one's opinions.

    The best way to protect and safeguard fetuses is not to start wars

    I agree wholeheartedly, there… if you're speaking of a non-spiritual (i.e. with spiritual weapons, such as prayer, fasting and almsgiving) war.

    or attack clinics

    Depending on your definition of "attack", I can agree with that.

    or murder doctors

    I agree completely. One can never choose to do evil [such as murder], even for a good end, and those who murder abortionists have betrayed the very principles which separate them from those abortionists.

    or harass and bully and jail women:

    Harassment (in the non-idiomatic sense of the word) and bullying are both sins against justice and charity, and they are certainly to be condemned and avoided. Jailing should be reserved only for criminals, at very least–and there are more than enough women in the world who have allowed their children to be shredded to death in the womb out of fear, ignorance, or a conscience malformed by the culture and people around them, that jail might not be an appropriate response for them (in particular). The abortionists, however (women or men), are a very different matter.

    it's to provide the best healthcare and support possible to pregnant women.

    Yes… and their unborn children (which would utterly preclude any attempts to kill them). To suggest that "protecting and safeguarding fetuses" can be served by "healthcare" which involves killing those selfsame feti/a (Latin: little boys and girls) would be bizarre.

    This pro-lifers have always proved notably unwilling to do or to support.

    With all due respect: on this particular point, you don't know what you're talking about. I know of at least 5 crisis pregnancy centers (which provide food, clothing, extended shelter, job training, and mentor families to love and advise the woman and child(ren)) within easy driving distance of our house. We donate to one regularly, in fact. I find it ironic that those in the abortion-tolerant movement would like nothing better than to eradicate these same places of support, while (out of the other side of their mouths) decrying the "lack of support" from the "pro-life community".

    Countries in which women have access to safe legal abortion

    Legal, perhaps. Safe, no.

    are invariably countries with lower maternal mortality/morbidity rates than countries without such access:

    You might look up the fallacy, "post hoc, ergo propter hoc", when you get the chance. Is it not also the case that such countries (on the average) have far more advanced and readily-available medical systems in general? (How many Mayo clinics do you know, in sub-Saharan Africa?)

  137. Yonmei says:

    I'm just about to go out, Paladin, so I don't have time to respond to you point by point, and excuse me if I've omitted to respond to anything you consider to be important:

    But I seriously and sincerely believe that you are grievously in error, and I don't find that state of affairs to be good–not only because it leads you to empower and enable the culture of death in our nation/world (and enable the toleration of mass murder on a mind-boggling scale), but because it threatens your own immortal soul… and I really don't want to see you lost.

    I am an atheist, and normally I take "concern for my immortal soul" as a kindness – an expression of warmth, despite the fact that I don't believe in either an immortal God or immortal souls.

    But in this instance, you see, you are advocating support for a mass movement to treat women as slaves, animals, or incubators – to regard human beings as creatures to be bred by force, or machines that can be used to produce babies without regard for any harm done. This "pro-life" movement that advocates dehumanising women, that murders doctors, attacks clinics and health care – I would no more support it, ever, than I would support a pro-slavery movement, or a pro-death penalty movement, or a pro-war movement.

    Treating other human beings as lesser creatures, to be used and destroyed, is to me a sin. Cruelty and dehumanization such as you advocate are, to me, the ugliest of sins – and I would fear for the best part of me, for whatever integrity and kindess I possess, if I were ever brought low enough not to opppose such ugliness whenever I see it.

    To me, your advocacy of forcing women through pregnancy and childbirth, no matter what high-sounding excuses you make to yourself, is as ugly as slavery and rape. There is no excuse for it.

    I support a woman's right to safe, legal access to abortion, because I believe: "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood." And, so we include sisters in "brotherhood", I would never turn away from that to the horrors of the "pro-life" movement.

  138. paladin says:

    (*grumble*)

    Sorry, Yonmei… I'm not ignoring you. Computer freezes every [x] minutes, where 0 < x < 1000! I'm about ready to put a bullet in its head and start over…

    I'll try to get back to your message soon; I'm limping along with a substitute computer, at present…

  139. paladin says:

    Okay… dead computer or not, here we go…

    Yonmei wrote:

    I am an atheist, and normally I take "concern for my immortal soul" as a kindness – an expression of warmth, despite the fact that I don't believe in either an immortal God or immortal souls.

    Well… okay, fair enough. I think you're provably mistaken about both God and immortal souls, mind you… but I certainly *did* mean it as a kindness, in addition to it being true.

    But in this instance, you see, you are advocating support for a mass movement to treat women as slaves, animals, or incubators – to regard human beings as creatures to be bred by force, or machines that can be used to produce babies without regard for any harm done.

    See, here's where you lose me: where on earth do you get any of this? Let me be quite clear:

    1) Slavery is the state of being in which one person treats another person as a "thing to be owned/used" rather than a person to be loved; I have never, nor will I ever, advocate slavery for women–or for men. I really do think you're using dramatic hyperbole, here.

    2) Never would I dream of treating a woman, man or any human person as an "animal" (in the sense of "dumb animal, sub-human, worthy of being the property of another person", and I challenge you to find any comment of mine to the contrary. This is a bit ironic, since many abortion-tolerant people view man as "simply another animal in the evolutionary process", partially in order to excuse sexual license and perversions as "just another natural manifestation of the animal sexual urge". Now *that's* dehumanizing, I think.

    3) You seem to use the word "incubator" (which is true, in a grossly simplistic sense) to imply "and nothing more than that"–which, again, is nonsense. One might as well dismiss me as "merely a walking sperm bank", and nothing more–which would be equally wrong.

    4) Did you not read my comments about condemning all "impregnation by force"? Unless you're accusing me of dishonesty, I don't see why you'd repeat a charge that I already refuted…

    5) If ever there is harm done during the procreation of children, I will be one of the first to grieve the fact. But I ask only that you consider the directly willed harm done to an innocent child in the womb; you seem positively insensible to that, apparently because you inexplicably deny personhood to any child before birth.

    This "pro-life" movement that advocates dehumanising women, that murders doctors, attacks clinics and health care – I would no more support it, ever, than I would support a pro-slavery movement, or a pro-death penalty movement, or a pro-war movement.

    I assure you: if there is a movement which claims to be "pro-life", but which truly (in reality, and not simply in hyperbole) does advocate the dehumanization of women, the murder of doctors, and attacks on other human persons, I would condemn it side-by-side with you. I will say, however, that my pro-life beliefs (and those of the Catholic Church, and those of the overwhelmingly vast majority of pro-life people in the United States) are a million miles from any of those horrors. Can you truly not imagine even the remotest possibility that we regard the unborn child as a child, and that (despite the anguish in any of the attendant circumstances) our main motive is to prevent that child from being murdered (and in barbarous ways)? Is that truly so hard to imagine?

    Treating other human beings as lesser creatures, to be used and destroyed, is to me a sin.

    It is to me, as well… and to the Catholic Church, to Whom I belong. But do you not see the deep irony, here? The abortion-tolerant mentality is treating unborn children–human beings–as lesser creatures (some sort of "sub-human", and using what you hope to be the impersonal word "fetus"), to be used (for stem-cell research, etc.) and destroyed. Is this truly so hard for you to see?

    More in part II…

  140. paladin says:

    Yonmei wrote:

    Cruelty and dehumanization such as you advocate are, to me, the ugliest of sins – and I would fear for the best part of me, for whatever integrity and kindess I possess, if I were ever brought low enough not to opppose such ugliness whenever I see it.

    I hope you can see, now, that I advocate neither cruelty nor dehumanization… and that it is precisely cruelty and dehumanization which horrifies me (and those of like mind) within abortion!

    To me, your advocacy of forcing women through pregnancy and childbirth, no matter what high-sounding excuses you make to yourself, is as ugly as slavery and rape. There is no excuse for it.

    I appreciate your sincere feelings, in that matter. I only offer the idea that you are grievously misled, and that you've accepted "high-sounding excuses" as justifications for the wholesale murder of over 40 *million* children in our country alone! Perhaps Stalin was right: "One death is a tragedy; one million deaths is a statistic."

    I support a woman's right to safe, legal access to abortion, because I believe: "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."

    As an aside: could you tell me the source of that quote?

    And, so we include sisters in "brotherhood", I would never turn away from that to the horrors of the "pro-life" movement.

    You are quite right to include sisters (and all humanity) in "brotherhood". But the "horrors of the pro-life movement" are fictions which you've (perhaps innocently) swallowed; I can't speak for every last person who claims to be pro-life (and yes, there are murderers and lunatics who [wrongly] take the "pro-life" label upon themselves–there's no "central office" which scrutinizes potential candidates for that label and gives licenses for the label to prevent abuses, after all!), but I can speak for myself, and (in this limited instance) for the Catholic Church: a horror of abortion, and a desire to see it eradicated, has nothing whatever to do with any desire to oppress, dehumanize, or torment anyone; it's quite possible to grieve abortion while still loving those who've been duped into embracing it. Read any page of the Catechism, and you'll see that I'm right on this point.

  141. Yonmei says:

    Slavery is the state of being in which one person treats another person as a "thing to be owned/used" rather than a person to be loved; I have never, nor will I ever, advocate slavery for women

    You have repeatedly advocated, in this thread, that a woman ought to be forced through pregnancy and childbirth against her will: even a woman who has been raped. Forced pregnancy, and breeding by rape, is precisely how owners treat property: you advocate treating pregnant women like slaves. Ugly.

    Never would I dream of treating a woman, man or any human person as an "animal" (in the sense of "dumb animal, sub-human, worthy of being the property of another person",

    You have repeatedly advocated, in this thread, that a woman may not be permitted to decide for herself whether or not to bear a child: she must be forced to breed, even if she has been raped. This is precisely how owners treat property: you advocate treating pregnant women like animals. Ugly.

    You seem to use the word "incubator" (which is true, in a grossly simplistic sense) to imply "and nothing more than that"–which, again, is nonsense.

    Not at all. You have repeatedly advocated, in this thread, that women's uteruses are to be made use of without their consent and regardless of what damage pregnancy may do to their health, their future capacity to bear children, or their life. A responsible owner would not treat even a slave or an animal like this: this is reducing women to the status of incubators, used till they're broken. Ugly.

    Did you not read my comments about condemning all "impregnation by force"?

    I read your comments gloating over how once a rapist's sperm meets egg, the woman ought to be forced to continue the pregnancy and give birth. That's hardly "condemnation", and indeed, makes clear (as above) that you regard women to be treated as slaves or animals – to be bred by force.

    If ever there is harm done during the procreation of children, I will be one of the first to grieve the fact.

    You mean one of the last. Given that in order to grieve harm and death, you would first have to acknowledge that these slaves, animals, incubators, are suffering harm. If you are still at the stage of regarding women as creatures below human consideration, where harm need not even be regarded or grieved for, you fcan hardly be arrogant enough to claim you'll ever be among the first.(Well, obviously, you can. But it's a bit like someone showing up at the after-funeral meal, and moving among the shattered mourners claiming to be "one of the first".) Ugly.


    I assure you: if there is a movement which claims to be "pro-life", but which truly (in reality, and not simply in hyperbole) does advocate the dehumanization of women, the murder of doctors, and attacks on other human persons, I would condemn it side-by-side with you.

    And yet, you don't even condemn your own dehumanisation of women.

    You don't even acknowledge the pro-life murders – not mere advocacy, but actual murders – over the past 20 years.

    You're not "side by side" with me. You're away down in a moral chasm of denial and cruelty, so mired in inhumanity you cannot even smell your own sins – and yet you dare presume to claim that you fear for my soul!

  142. paladin says:

    Yonmei,

    I have to admit: your last comment sent me on the gamut of emotions. At first, I was mad enough to spit (I deleted the first draft of my reply to this)… until I realized that your reply wasn't written to me at all. You certainly quoted my message while writing your reply… and you used the name "Paladin" a few times (at least in previous replies)… but you're obviously not replying to me! You can't be. You seem to have demonized all pro-lifers as "women-oppressing, rape-tolerating, cruel tyrants", cast me in that "role" on your mythical mental stage, and then proceeded to rail against that imaginary Paladin. I really am at something of a loss, here; how do I talk to you, if you're seeing "visions of evil Paladins, dancing in your head"?

    If a plea for civility or kindness doesn't work, then at least listen to logic! Take two cases:

    Person #1 has a deep-seated desire to see women suffer and to grind their dignity into dirt; he relishes with demonic glee the idea of seeing a woman pregnant against her will, and nothing tickles his fancy more than the idea that there is a very real chance of the pregnancy proving fatal to her (after great agony). This person opposes abortion in order to maximize (or at least to maintain) the suffering of as many women as possible, re: all of the above motives.

    Person #2 sees abortion as the murder of an innocent unborn baby, and it horrifies him… while, at the same time, he suffers intense grief while watching the anguish of a woman (especially one who has been brutalized through rape) as she tries to cope with an unexpected and undesired pregnancy. The woman might even be a relative–perhaps even his own wife or daughter. But despite his heartfelt tears in sympathy for the women (whom he perhaps loves dearly), he cannot but oppose the murder of the innocent unborn child–especially since such a murder will only give illusory "relief", and will compound the woman's suffering, over time.

    So… two men (#1 and #2) oppose abortion, for diametrically opposed reasons (the first hateful, the second loving). Clear enough?

    Now, suppose you meet someone (perhaps he even has a screen name of "Paladin") who opposes abortion. Given only that you know he opposes abortion, and assuming (for the sake of argument) that he's either #1 or #2 (i.e. one of only two extreme choices)… how can you tell which one he is, without further data? You can't, so far as sane reason can tell. “Jumping to a conclusion” is still a fallacy, when last I checked.

    You seem to have come to the (bizarre, illogical and prejudiced) view that all abortion opponents are evil by definition, and that any denials by them against your accusations–those of "desire to oppress women", "seeing women as nothing more than incubators", and other such stuff and nonsense–must be lying. This is sheer bias (and perhaps raw arrogance).

    Do you not see? You've flatly asserted that you know my mind in this matter (i.e. that my abortion opposition is for nefarious reasons), and you reject all my denials as lies–that "if I'm pro life, I must hate women." Logic itself should allow you to see the holes in such rubbish-ridden statements! Wherever did you get the power to read my mind, pray tell? What power allows you to declare infallibly that my motives are evil, while yours are snow-white? Could you refute me if I said that you were "pro-choice" solely because you hate all men, and that you like nothing better than to see fathers and other sympathetic men weep as women kill their children? That's the sort of "mind-reading" you try to practice, Yonmei… and it's not only stupid, but insulting. Have some sense, will you? You claimed to be in favour of "facts". Well, prove it. Get rid of these puerile accusations, and face the facts… and not simply your biased and hateful interpretation of them! You might even find that there are some "human beings" (rather than inhuman monsters) in the "pro-life" camp…

  143. Alpha Wolff says:

    My mother-in-law was advised to abort my wife because of some medicine she took before she found out she was pregnant. The doctor said the baby would be deformed. My mother-in-law went to the church to pray instead. When my wife was born, she had one ear that was folded over–that was her only deformity. We now have five children.

  144. Yonmei says:

    Alpha Wolff, aren't you glad your mother-in-law had the right to choose?

    Paladin, I'm sort of sorry I didn't respond, but I went on holiday for a couple of weeks and your anti-women diatribes praising forced pregnancy just made me feel sad and tired. I feel that if 70,000 women dying each year don't persuade you that women need access to safe legal abortion as a basic human right, my words never will: if you don't think of women as human beings with a right to decide for themselves when and how many children to have, my words will do nothing to make you see that treating women as slaves or incubators to be used till broken is profoundly wrong.

  145. paladin says:

    Yonmei wrote, in reply to Alpha Wolff:

    Alpha Wolff, aren't you glad your mother-in-law had the right to choose?

    Wow. Just, wow.

    If you expose the suppressed minor in your statement, and make your question less disingenuous, any sane person can see the absurdity:

    "Alpha Wolff, aren't you glad your mother-in-law had the legal option of killing your wife, even if she didn't choose it?"

    This, asked to someone who's obviously rejoicing in the fact that his wife wasn't ripped to pieces in her mother's womb? If you were deliberately trying to prove to me that you were deranged, Yonmei, you could scarcely do a better job than this. At least this puts the lie to your claims to honour logic…

    Paladin, I'm sort of sorry I didn't respond, but I went on holiday for a couple of weeks

    Perfectly understandable–no harm in that at all.

    and your anti-women diatribes praising forced pregnancy just made me feel sad and tired. [remainder of diatribe deleted for space]

    I suppose I can empathize, to some extent; I must conclude, like many who already said as much on this site, that you seem utterly incapable of having a rational discussion on this topic–and all my attempts to get you to do anything other than cut and paste one of a handful of pre-packaged variants of "you all hate women and want to exploit them, etc. ad nauseam" seems but a frustrating waste of time.

    In the future, I'd appreciate it if you admit–at very least–that your particular abortion-tolerant position is an irrational and hysterical one, and that you give not even the slightest pretense of READING the replies given you–to say nothing of considering them at face value and responding with substance (rather than with puerile, canned, and logically vacuous non-sequiturs).

    It's a pity, really: all abortion-tolerance is logically and morally incoherent, but others of that camp have at least engaged opponents with civility and intellectual honestly… both of which seem to be beyond you, when immersed in this topic. Your hatred seems to have blinded you, perhaps permanently, to all but your own myopic, rage-filled world–in which there is "no justice for women unless they have recourse to the killing of their children." And you have the nerve to call me (and others) hateful?

    Just, wow.

    Feel free to contact me if you ever wish to have a civil and reasonable discussion, Yonmei. Until then, God help you.

  146. Yonmei says:

    Alpha Wolff, aren't you glad your mother-in-law had the right to choose for herself to have the baby who would later grow up to become your wife? That she was allowed to come to her own decision in calmness and prayer?

    I am.

    Paladin seems to feel that the right thing to do would have been to force your mother-in-law, regardless of whatever fears or doubts she had, to make her choicelessly go through pregnancy and childbirth without being allowed to make a clear decision in her own time that, no matter what, she wanted the child who would later become the woman you love.

    Your wife grew up in the certainty of a mother who loved and wanted her, even before she was born: Paladin prefers a system where pregnant women are forced and mistreated, even to their death, and who know that not one of their children was a choice they were able to make.

    I'm glad your future wife was born in love: I'm sorry there are still people like Paladin who would rather that she had been born in hate after forced pregnancy.

  147. paladin says:

    Alpha Wolff, aren't you glad your mother-in-law had the right to choose for herself to have the baby who would later grow up to become your wife?

    …or to kill that same baby? Yonmei, I really do wonder if you've lost your sanity, entirely.

    That she was allowed to come to her own decision in calmness and prayer?

    Not to pry, Yonmei, but: did you ever have an abortion? Because it's overwhelmingly likely that only someone who's never experienced an abortion could ever dream up such unmitigated nonsense as you write, here. "Calmness and prayer?" I know you make a habit of ignoring the links and references people send you, but have you seriously not heard of Project Rachel, Silent No More, and dozens of other ministries (many of which are run by women, if that makes you feel better?) which minister to women broken by their abortions? You have absolutely no idea what you're saying. You might also check out Feminists for Life, (founded, directed and run by women–care to read what they've done in defense of women? Or are you too good for them?) for a tonic against the death-ridden version of "feminism" you've been spouting. Your pseudo-feminist claims of "Yonmei's way, or else woman-oppression" would be laughable, were they not so macabre and blood-soaked… and Patricia Heaton, Rebecca Kiessling, et al., fight your nonsense, day in and day out, with nary a Y-chromosome between them.

    How, exactly, DO you explain why legions of women, who have no interest in oppressing themselves or their sisters, would decry your ideas for the murderous nonsense that it is? The idea of "you're a man who wants to oppress women" doesn't seem to get any traction, against them…

    Paladin seems to feel that the right thing to do would have been to force your mother-in-law, regardless of whatever fears or doubts she had, to make her choicelessly go through pregnancy and childbirth without being allowed to make a clear decision

    …whether or not to kill that child, his future beloved wife. Right.

    Do finish your sentences completely, Yonmei; it's dishonest to leave critical parts of your ideas unspoken.

    Your wife grew up in the certainty of a mother who loved and wanted her, even before she was born:

    Are not your words insanity itself? You're seriously suggesting that the only way to achieve certainty of a mother's love is to give that mother the option of KILLING her child?? From what mad-house did you get this idea?

    In fact, it's exactly the reverse: children of parents who've repented of abortion tolerance may well have a chance of being assured of their mother's love; but the child whose mother unapologetically champions abortion as a "right" grows up under the ever-implicit-but-ever-present idea: "You have no intrinsic value of your own; your value comes from my approval. You are allowed to live only because you please me. Had I felt differently on any critical day, you would be dead now."

    That's "love" to you, Yonmei? With "love" like that, who needs hatred? Why not offer to machine-gun all children in the foster-care systems and orphanages and hostile homes, while you're at it, and at least be logically consistent? Why are you so unloving and cruel as to restrict your "loving window of choice" to only 9 months? Are the oppressed and desperate mothers of screaming toddlers, disrespectful pre-teens and criminal teenagers not to be allowed to "choose for themselves" whether their children are to be "wanted"?

    God have mercy on you, Yonmei; you're talking crazy-talk, here.

  148. Yonmei says:

    Paladin, your pro-forced pregnancy rants just make me feel sad and tired.

    But: My mother is pro-choice, as is my sister. The notion that I, my brother, my sister, my nephew, or any child ever born would feel that we have no intrinsic value of our own because our mothers chose to give birth to us, is so ridiculous in its fanatic, hate-filled absurdity that if I quote it, I suspect I will be accused of inventing it to smear the forced-pregnancy movement.

    I really hope you don't genuinely believe women cannot truly love a baby they chose to give birth to: after all, that would smear Alpha Wolff's mother-in-law too, who actively chose – as Wolff says, after prayer – to have the baby who became the woman Wolff married. But what you've claimed is that her act of choice meant she couldn't love the baby; your argument rests on the idea that she could only love her baby if she had been legally and choicelessly forced.

    Absurd, isn't it? Do quit this line of argument.

  149. paladin says:

    Yonmei,

    Forgive me, but I don't think there's any point in continuing this conversation; you limit your reading of opponents' comments to that which can be "cherry-picked" for easy knee-jerk responses (while ignoring the substance), and you follow it up with a relentless, prepackaged mantra of "forced oppression of women", "hatred of women", blah, blah, blah… despite the large number of women (did you ever check out the Feminists for Life website?) who denounce your ideas as nonsense, and even as diabolical. Apparently, only Yonmei (and those who agree with her) is fit to speak to "what benefits women", in your mind… which is mind-bogglingly arrogant.

    Case in point, re: your "cherry-picking" and disregard for the comments of others (save as a pretext for another canned rant):

    [Yonmei]
    I really hope you don't genuinely believe women cannot truly love a baby they chose to give birth to: after all, that would smear Alpha Wolff's mother-in-law too, who actively chose – as Wolff says, after prayer – to have the baby who became the woman Wolff married.

    Apparently this part (see highlighted portion especially) of my original comment wasn't caught by your cherry-picker:

    [Paladin]
    In fact, it's exactly the reverse: children of parents who've repented of abortion tolerance may well have a chance of being assured of their mother's love; but the child whose mother unapologetically champions abortion as a "right" grows up under the ever-implicit-but-ever-present idea: "You have no intrinsic value of your own; your value comes from my approval. You are allowed to live only because you please me. Had I felt differently on any critical day, you would be dead now."

    Since your anger is clouding your reason and thoroughness, let me itemize the salient points so that they're quite clear:

    1) Nowhere did I say that women cannot truly love a baby to whom they chose to give birth (my mother, who would never dream of resorting to abortion, chose to give birth to me by conceiving me with the cooperation of my father). I didn't even say that women who considered killing their child by abortion cannot love their child (and I stated explicitly to the contrary that repentant mothers *could*). And I didn't even say that it was impossible for an unrepentant "pro-choice" woman to love her child; I said only (and I stand completely by the statement) that children of such mothers (or fathers) grow up under the idea that they are a "chosen commodity" which could just as easily have been killed by those same parents… which doesn't do much for one's self-security.

    2) I don't see where Alpha Wolff described his mother as one who "unapologetically champions abortion as a "right". All who read my sentence with even a modicum of care would be aware that this was a precondition of my statement.

    3) You seem oblivious to the fact that one can "choose" to give birth to a child without "optional death" entering the picture at all; do not parents choose to give birth to a child whom they were trying to conceive? Tragedy (such as miscarriage, death of the mother and child, etc.) may strike and take the desired outcome away, but surely you see that non-abortive mothers can also "choose" to give life? This seems rather self-evident, to me.

    Enough is enough, Yonmei; discussion can only be held by those who are open to discussion, who are reasonable enough to consider ideas which aren't their own, and who are civil enough to listen to the comments of others with at least some minor attention. You can't do that, apparently (I'll let the reader prove that to him/herself, by skimming your comments and replies in this thread alone)… so I'm afraid I have to call it quits, with you. My time is limited enough as it is, without attempting fruitless discussion with those who choose not to listen.

  150. jenny says:

    I caution against being vocal about your viewpoint in your daily life. Like me, if you stay on the soapbox, you will never know if some of your dearest friends have had abortions and were happy with their decision. And maybe, like me you will hear of, and then wind up meeting by chance, a couple (already 6 months into a pregnancy) faced with bearing a child who would live its short life in a hospital, sink its parents into decades of debt, halve the time and care that they can give to children they have already OR facing a late term abortion to avoid these things. All because Hippocratic law insists upon doing everything possible to maintain life at any cost, regardless of the effects to parent and child. Why can a baby who is born with severe impairments not be allowed to die in its parents arms? The choice, let your baby be born, only to lose everything you have now and most likely lose this baby anyway, or allow your baby to be killed and pulled from your living body…The choices are both awful. I will never be qualified to decide the direct fate of the mother, the father, their born children, the children they still may have and their descendents. Those are countless lives. Not to mention the many people whose lives are affected by the potential upheaval. Only that couple, or that mother, can answer the decision to be made there. I do feel that the answer to this horrid decisionmaking process would be to disengage the Hippocratic oath in cases of severe disability and allow a newborn to live and die naturally should it be the wish of the parents not to put him or her through invasive, but lifesaving procedures. Let the parents draw the line. They are pro their life, and their life really IS just as important as the life of the baby on the way, and so is their children’s lives that may already be born to them and those that someday could be.

  151. jenny says:

    Throughout time, men have used violence to keep the world’s populations in check. It is done loudly and publicly; with full financial and political and social support; with awards and benefits; with parades and care packages and promotions and promises of God’s approval. This is war and occupation.
    Women, have done their part too, but quietly and privately; with no support, with shame heaped upon them,without any fanfare, and with the distinct message of God’s disapproval. This is infantcide and abortion.

    I am not speaking pro life or pro choice…I am just making a point as to world population and human nature.

  152. Bridget says:

    Thank you!
    I have linked your article to my FB page in honor of our current 40Days4Life campaign here in Bellingham.

    Will the ‘broken’ links be corrected?
    I tried to jump to a few, but they didn’t work.

    Thank you again, I am so blessed to have your witness to share with my friends.

  153. Leia Peison says:

    you are pro other people lives? hardly!! that IS what being pro choice is!! it is allowing other BORN people to live their lives fully and FREELY. you say we are the ones deciding who is and isnt human and whose life is worth living? uhm, that IS the womans right. that is why she is allowed birth control and the decision not to have children because the right to say a life isnt worth living exists. and she knows her circumstances best. YOU are the ones making decisions for other people, not the other way around. everyone is pro their own life? hardly!1 ever hear of suicide? also there are women who have high risk pregnancies and decided to continue them for the fetuses sake even at their own peril. how is that pro their own life? you say infanticide is bad? just wait until abortion is outlawed. infanticide will skyrocket.

  154. jennifer says:

    “The message I’d heard loud and clear was that the purpose of sex was for pleasure and bonding, that its potential for creating life was purely tangential, almost to the point of being forgotten about altogether.”
    When all the pro-lifers can keep themselves from putting in their mouth the things they crave that are bad for them, then I will think there is a case for insisting upon abstinence unless one has the necessary life skills and funds to raise a child. Until then, all pro lifers should pretend just for a day that that thing you crave can call you, tell you to come over to it, beg for you to enjoy it, tell you it loves you and can send you flowers and take you out on dates.
    Can you imagine.
    What I am saying is…if you can’t even resist those small things you crave for pleasure like a cigarette, or a slice of cake…then how are you to judge anyone who cannot resist making love to somebody they love even if it is “just for pleasure”. If it was not for my own parents making love “just for pleasure” (mind you they were married but not wanting children at the time) I would not be here…nor would many of us. Some of us who were only fetuses at that time did NOT get born. Maybe their concievers had abortions, maybe they were miscarried, maybe they died in utero near the end of gestation.
    Point is, we were all fetuses…and if everyone of the fetuses that were aborted the year we were all born had been born, this world would be more crowded. Multiply that by the years since you’ve been born, and we’d have even more crowding.
    How about this…STOP killing people who are already born. Decline military jobs, discourage your children from becoming soldiers, and put all your anti-abortion campaign funds into helping all the grown fetuses filling up orphanages and foster care programs… Think of how many babies could be saved! All the born fetuses from crisis pregnancies and homes struggling through school, and wearing shoes with holes and sharing toothbrushes in local foster programs. Put your heart in the right place.
    Reason you don’t hear alot of happy post abortion stories? Nobody wants them. No one wants to hear how the procedure went smoothly, and two weeks later she was able to take that job or tour that college or continue that long term project. Nobody wants to hear, “If I had not had the abortion, I would’ve never met my husband that year and had the children we have now.” You will especially not hear those stories if you are pro life and vocal about it.
    We are women full of eggs…thousands. Babies will continue.
    Please take care of the born before the unborn and start putting the care of people before the ideals of your god.

  155. Veronica Tosoni says:

    Jennifer,

    Thank you for your thoughtful post. You are a breath of fresh air to modern thought on this still controversial subject. Sharing your journey to pro-life gives many reasons for the pro-choice way of thinking which I never understood and never knew anyone willing or able to articulate it the way you did. God has given you many gifts…your intelligence, writing, and speaking attributes shine brightly. Catholicism has a new light shining…You! May God Bless you!

  156. Beate says:

    Hi Jennifer,

    Thanks for your post. It helped me to understand why a large number of people judge that it would be justifiable to do everything possible to hasten the death of my nephew, who was brain injured in an accident. His movements look reflexive…. It sounds like obvious thinking is a necessity for being qualified as a human being.

    I’m glad that you have made this journey and wonder at your strength to be able to keep up with the combox discussions. A friend of mine used to be adamant about defending her pro-choice views every time we were together – it was the only way to avoid the guilt of her own abortions which she didn’t want to admit to. These encounters, despite my only listening and not engaging in debate, left me drained and with a huge headache. Eventually she was able to address the real issue, her guilt and pain, and move on.

  157. Mark says:

    I think i can comfortably state your well thought and emotive post has made me identify completely with the pro-life group. Prior to this i hovered somewhere in between – at least think choice was a reasonable thing – but some of the horrifying pictures i have seen and the terrible practices i have heard about have chilled me to the bone. Why is this information is not so common knowledge? Definitely pro-life!
    Mark recently posted..7 Quick Takes Friday Monday

  158. Lori says:

    I did not grow up Catholic but married into the Catholic faith. I grew up in a Christian family who did use contraception…my mother has openly talked about using birth control pills and then having her tubes tied after my sister was born; my self, my sister, my aunts and cousins have all used birth control of some form, many of them making a permanent decision when they have determined they were done having children. I didn’t realize until I took our marriage classes that not all couples used birth control!

    I have waivered back and forth on the idea of birth control. My husband and I have 3 children, the first two were planned, and the third we call our planned suprise (we planned to have another child, but he came about sooner than we planned so suprise!). We spaced our kids on purpose…we felt we would be better parents if we had at least 2 to 3 years between children. Now, we are faced with the next step…I know that the Catholic faith says we should be open to children; however, children are expensive, completely dependent on us, take up lots of room, and take time (from careers, retirement plans, social plans, etc.) Don’t doubt at all that I completely love my three kids and I love being a stay at home mom and I would love to have one more baby. But, that is it. Knowing we are not the only family who feels like they don’t have the money, the space, the time, the patience, who worry about their ages and what medical problems for both mom and baby can happen, what is your advice? Is Natural Family Planning an option that isn’t considered “abortion”? Or is the only option complete abstinence if you don’t desire any more children and how does a marriage survive and thrive with this decision? I know how very easily I get pregnant and if we do nothing, there will be one baby a year until, well, my uterus falls out on its own. Is there a way to have an intimate relationship with your spouse without adding more children?

  159. Christine says:

    I have just recently discovered your blog, and I cannot tell you how much THIS post means to me. I am a practicing Catholic, but I also lean toward the left in my political views. As contradictory as this may sound to some, my political affiliation has everything to do with the “bottom line” in that I believe we should help others. I have no reservations about paying taxes if I know it is to build up our community in a positive way. With that being said, I have always stood separate from my political affiliation on the subject of Pro-Choice. While,logically, I do believe that women have a choice, there is not a single fiber in me that can justify abortion- at ANY leg of the gestational journey. And like you so masterfully said, these pro-choice believers are often compassionate, GOOD people. They just have their focus on the wrong slide. My viewpoint truly changed when I was pregnant. How could you ethically defend abortion while reading “What To Expect When You are Expecting?” It was virtually impossible for me. Just as challenging was learning how to jump over the political fence in defense of life. I cried when reading your excerpts on the abortion- my hope is that the Catholic church begins to defend life through EDUCATION as you said. Also,initiating programs that support new mother’s in health care, child care and emotional support. Thank you, again, for your wonderful blog. I discovered it at such a critical point in my spiritual life- your words have truly been a God-send.

  160. Alex says:

    Hi Jennifer,

    Thank you for sharing this story. I find your blog quite interesting partially because my experience has been in contrast to yours. I was raised Catholic and my mother is a very serious practicing Catholic, but I have moved away from the faith. I am still Christian but many of my former views, including my former stance on being pro-life has changed.

    I find your arguments quite compelling and you explain your journey in a way I have not been exposed to before, it definitely gives me pause on my current stance. I think part of the issue which you touch on is the “slippery slope” of accepting a pro-life stance leads to having to alter the stance on sex and contraception as well. However, you make a strong case.

    What would you say should be done in cases of rape, incest or when children become pregnant?

    -Alex

  161. Tara says:

    Okay, this is a very well written piece, and I thank you for being very calm and non-accusatory throughout it, and for fully justifying your feelings. I am glad I read it, because it gave me a lot to think about as far as what sex means, how we treat it/view it, and the role it has in creating life. It is not something I have had so explicitly explained to me before, and I think I am better off having heard it.

    I understand where you are coming from. We want to make sure that every life or potential life is given a chance. But when I was reading this, it seemed that you viewed most of the pregnancies that ended in abortion as inconvenient pregnancies. (I could be wrong, that’s just how it come off to me.) And yes, I understand that something being inconvenient doesn’t justify ending a life. But not all pregnancies are so black and white. What about cases of rape, where the mother did nothing to try and begin the pregnancy? Maybe you think that while it is obviously horrible, it doesn’t mean we should get to kill an innocent life. What about incest? These cases are usually also some form of rape, but with an increased risk of genetic defects from inbreeding. Would you make them have the baby, despite all the psychological trauma to the mother (and possibly later on, the child), as well as the risk of creating a special needs child? Maybe, again, you sympathize with the unfortunate, horrible situation, but again point out that we don’t have the right to end life. I can see how both of those could be justified.

    But what about pregnancies where the mother is at risk? Would you say that the unborn child’s life is more important than the mother’s? What if she already has kids, would you deprive them of their mother because of an unfortunate situation (the baby’s condition that is posing risk) that was no one’s fault, but none the less still exists? I don’t really expect you to answer that, because I don’t think it’s your place, really. You shouldn’t be able to tell somebody that their life is less important than somebody else’s. The choice that the mother makes should be all her own, because it is her life that is at stake, as well as the baby’s.

    I think that the idea that it is wrong to make abortion illegal is very American, in that if you were to make abortion illegal, it takes away a person’s own rights over their own body. You can’t tell someone they can’t have an abortion any more than you can tell them they can’t burn an American flag. You may not like it, but that’s the way freedom is approached in this country. Also, if abortion were illegal, what would be the punishment? Would you throw them in jail? These women who are most likely already going through emotional trauma?

    Having said all that, I don’t think that people should have abortions. I don’t think they should be presented so readily as an option, I can certainly understand taking away federal funding for abortions, and I am afraid of a future with an increase of abortions and what that would lead to. If it becomes too “popular”, it almost becomes its own form of eugenics, in that you are breeding humans by saying “oh, this child has a defect, therefore it shouldn’t be born”. It’s a slippery, scary slope, one that hints at literary dystopias where “nature” and its natural diversity are almost completely removed, because humans think that they know what are the best human traits.

    I really agree with you that the best way to try and stop people from getting abortions is education and understanding. (Granted, these two things are probably harder to spread these days than it is to get a law passed.) The idea that sex is more than recreational is worth spreading, and changing societies perceptions is the best chance we have of stopping abortions. I don’t want to take away a person’s right to choose, but I do want to try and make them see the reality of the choice they’re making. But in the end, it’s still their life, not mine, and therefore not my choice.

    Phew, that was long winded. Sorry about that. But thanks again for writing this, definitely gave me a different viewpoint and way of thinking things.

    • Chevelle says:

      It is their life…but we are all intertwined. what does that mean for the society that our children will grow up in?

  162. Wow! I returned to the faith in 2008 and I was still pro-choice…until I read this. Very powerful argument. I’m going to have to rethink my position, although it’s going to be difficult: My son is an atheist and he “tolerated” my sudden conversion because my view on politic had not changed. When the moment arrives, I’m going to have him read your article.
    Antonella Garofalo recently posted..Going with the Flu

  163. Augusth says:

    Well that just isn’t true. The right to control ones own body is a central theme of the pro-choice movement. Judith jarvis (spelling?) wrote a famous pro choice essay about morally killing someone who is dependent on our body. I don’t remember the example exactly but essentially it was a fictional story that was along the lines of “imagine the distraught surgeon son of one of the worlds most famous violinists discovers you are a tissue/blood match for their ailing father. Too far down the donor list for a transplant in time to save the fathers life the son drugs you and medically attaches you together so the father can use your liver along with yourself. This medically possible situation would keep him alive for the 9months or so it would require to finally move up the list and get a kidney from the donor list. This arrangement is only a minor risk to your life but do you morally have to put up with it? After all we don’t even say that people morally have to give blood or donate their second kidney. Actions that obviously save lives. Nonetheless unplugging the ailing violinists would kill him. Prior to hooking him up he would be left to die but much like the euthanasia debate… Unhooking him now would be killing him. He didn’t ask his son to do this but it is done. He is innocent of foul play. Do you have to live the next 9 months with this situation. Are you morally obligated to someone living off your body. If people can have moral claims to our bodies does that not extend to the thousands in need of kidneys as all if not most us on this board have an extra one that we can give with relative safety and all but a quarter size scar to show for it. Woman can actually have them removed through vahina I read = no visible scar. Any way all this to say that the morally right to our own bodies is one that bares consideration in the abortion debate. It is by many considered such an inalienable right that it justifies the death of good innocent people. How many here would oppose government mandated kidney donation during life. Actually how many would oppose it even after death when they aren’t in use! We have a dismal organ donation rate. People willingness to give themselves is not as great as we’d expect. The prolife movement is guilty of this as much as any. Is there a inconsistency that we would force a woman to give her body at to birth a child but then not force her to donate her kidney to her child 20years later. Why does the child have claim to her body at 5months pre-birth but not at 20yr. Lots of hood moral questions and quandries. If you can’t see them you haven’t spent enough time reading the other side and have painted them a strawman easily dismissed.

    • Augusth says:

      Ugh. Typing on an iPhone. That post was suppose to be a response to another commenter who said their was no argument for abortion if you accepted the fetus as human. Next time I promise to wait until I’m at a proper computer. These touchpads are just to finnicky!

  164. Augusth says:

    Oops that most was suppose to be in trainee to acposter saying their was no argument for abortion if you viewed the fetus as human. Don’t know why it didn’t post as a reply to his comment

  165. Andi says:

    “Dehumanize inconvenient people” – what spot-on phrasing. I know this post is three-plus years old, but I just stumbled across it today. I have two children with disabilities – my daughter has cerebral palsy and my son has Down syndrome – and I speak often about the ability of others to dehumanize individuals with disabilities (and babies, and babies with disabilities). I’ve never been pro-choice but I have many friends who are. Your post will help me talk to them, when they are willing to talk.

    God bless.
    Andi recently posted..Outrageous Fortune: 97 percent

  166. Robert Hernandez says:

    Thank you, Jenn. I am pro life myself, but sometimes one needs a good remainder why. This is it. On the side you briefly touch on also why “safe” abortions are a mith with all the risks involved.

    Hope you eventually have millions of readers, they need you.

  167. Giovanni says:

    WOW! What a wonderful, amazing way to explain the truth about sex and abortion!
    Thank you!
    Giovanni recently posted..Irrinunciabile

  168. Kate says:

    Justices O’Connor, Kennedy, and Souter in Casey v. Planned Parenthood:

    “To eliminate the issue of reliance that easily, however, one would need to limit cognizable reliance to specific instances of sexual activity. But to do this would be simply to refuse to face the fact that for two decades of economic and social developments, people have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail. The ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives. See, e. g., R. Petchesky, Abortion and Woman’s Choice 109, 133, n.7 (rev. ed. 1990). The Constitution serves human values, and while the effect of reliance on Roe cannot be exactly measured, neither can the certain cost of overruling Roe for people who have ordered their thinking and living around that case be dismissed.”

    In other words, the establishment and perpetuation of a contraceptive culture makes abortion on demand necessary. There you have it!

  169. Sara says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am currently in the process of converting to Catholicism and I am dealing with the struggles of reconciling all my old world views with what the Church has shown me to be right. Your story has given me strength that I will be able to make the right decisions and follow God’s path.
    Sara recently posted..Wrapped up in Wrath

  170. Zaida says:

    Im so interested in this whole thread. Jennifer, I have some similarities to you – I was raised in a wonderful but athiest household, and I grew up in good old liberal New York City. For most of my life I was pro choice. As an adult, I became a Christian, and Im well on my way to being Catholic. My pro choice-ness has been hard to shake. Ive never been an advocate for an abortion – never thought I could have one myself – but always felt that I would never want to see a woman forced to go through labor…but Im moving into the pro life camp…one of my big concerns, however, is how the two groups see each other….I think pro lifers need to move away from seeing pro choicers as “baby killers with evil intents”….for most pro choicers, it really and truly is about protecting women (even if they are not protecting woman they think they are)….and pro choicers need to stop seeing pro lifers as “backwards and against womens rights” – most pro lifers care immensely about womens rights, and protecting baby girls from being killed! But I can honestly say, having moved from one camp to the other, the worst thing is to demonise each other…(I know not everyone does this at all, but some do)….I would like to some day in some way reach out to pro choicers in the spirit of love, and help them change their understanding….

  171. Zaida says:

    Tried to post earlier and dont think it got through! Jennifer I wanted to say how much I relate to your posts…Im a former agnostic raised in a very liberal athiest household….that I found God, and now the Catholic faith is a matter of total Grace! Ive been so blessed….I have a real interest in pro choice and pro life having been on both sides of the debate….for me a key is in really understanding (and not demonising) the other side….pro choice people really dont know…they dont “get it”, and most are truly looking our for (or think they are looking out for) the rights of women….and I want pro choicers to know that pro lifers love and care for women and are not backwards, or out of date….they truly care for the rights of women….I feel like maybe at some point in my life I might have a calling, to help pro choicers see the truth, but help them in a very loving and understanding way….anyway thanks for your great posts!

    • Chevelle says:

      Helping them through love and understanding to know the truth is really the only way. It’s going to take alot of patience Zadia, they like us, think they are doing what is right for mankind, but the difference is that we are doing whats true to mankind. I am glad that you found God despite your background.

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  173. Chevelle says:

    Wow, I love how you told your journey. I too used to be Pro-Choice, until I realized I was under immense pressure to follow social laws and be a social champion instead of advocating for the truth about human life. I feel so disconcerted and sad when I see stories about Pro-Choice and people just blatantly ignoring the truth and wanting to “keep it private”. Why is it that in society, we seem so certain about things and phenomena that are very destructive? Its like we don’t care about life anymore? We don’t recognize our potential to do great things and the lives that we can create. I feel so doomed.

  174. Tammy says:

    I thinks ou are very intelligent and I see a lot of you atheist past self in ME currently (not Christian) and I love that I can actually relate to what you have to say because of how ou say it, I often feel most believers are born into the culture and are sheep like and don’t really know why they believe they just DO..so it’s usually hard to have a proper discussion …anyhow what I WNTED to ask / comment on is the very obvious, but left out part of this topic (maybe I skimmed and missed it?) RAPE, HIV, etc… What In your opinion, are people to think of that? Or what do you think of babies that come of those situations… Still no abortion?… I’m a little torn there, though like you, with the birth of my son, I too became a lot closer to pro life than I have ever been but still…I find it hard to believe its right to totally “ruin” someone’s life and /or the new baby’s life who may now be born with HIV, BIRTH DEFECTS, and anything that might cause a short painful life for baby and serious financial trouble etc for the mom and (maybe) dad… Please…tell me what you think.
    -Tammy

    • Andi at Bringing the Sunshine says:

      Hi, Tammy. I know you addressed your comment to Jennifer, but I wanted to answer you because your concerns struck a chord with me. For many years, I was “pro-life except for…” because I believed, like many people, that certain cases were so difficult that there was no clear cut answer. My life experience and conversion to Catholicism have reshaped my view.

      The examples you gave question whether abortion is ever justified, if, as you put it, someone’s life would be “ruined” (whether it be the child’s or the mother’s). I would suggest that you are basing the question on a false premise: the presumption that lives would actually be ruined.

      I have two children with disabilities – my daughter has cerebral palsy and my son has Down syndrome. I have no “normal” children. Outsiders look at my family and see heartache, struggle, and suffering. We, however, have a joy that we don’t see in many typical families. Our children’s disabilities add to our enjoyment of life, because we are less likely to dwell on the minutiae that drags other people down. Yes, it is difficult at times, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it. Our lives as parents weren’t ruined when we had these children (though we didn’t believe it in the moment), they were enhanced. Likewise, our children are happy, well-adjusted, and loving. We recently hired a new sitter for a date night who is the daughter of one of my husband’s co-workers; I found out yesterday that she went home that night and cried as she told her parents what a BLESSING it was to her to spend those few hours with our two children. We have heard similar sentiments from most everyone who has ever spent any amount of time with them. They may struggle, but they do not suffer.

      We can not truly appreciate the sunshine unless we’ve seen the clouds, and true joy is impossible without experiencing sorrow. Having a child born sleeping (like our first child, born before our two living children) or who dies shortly after birth, is painful, and I have no doubt that giving birth to a child conceived through rape is difficult, as well. But every life has value, and every child can bring joy. Abortion, by contrast, just adds another layer of pain to an already difficult situation.

  175. Robert says:

    Amazing! Great testimony. They say a picture tells a thousand words. Watch this Ted video. Helen launched a 1000 ships. This testimony will save more lives!

    http://www.ted.com/talks/alexander_tsiaras_conception_to_birth_visualized.html

  176. Emma says:

    This post has completely changed my views on abortion. I clicked on the excerpts that you gave a warning about, and I could barely read any of it. I closed that tab with tears in my eyes, like many other people must have. Thank you for sharing your story.

  177. May Peterson says:

    Hi Jen,

    You’re an amazing gal, and I feel privileged at having read your conversion from being a pro-choice to a pro-life. I do believe that we cannot simply differentiate a fetus and a baby as both have life. We cannot just say that one has more right to live and one can simply be ended at the whim of a woman.

    In our case, since we do not want to commit abortion, we decided that my husband would just go through a vasectomy. And that is what we did. He had the V and we never worried about me getting pregnant. We did not forget or totally eradicated the plan of having children. Let’s just say we postponed it a bit. When we were ready, we had it reversed through the help of Dr. Wilson who happens to be a Christian and who makes it a point to help patients to have children again by doing reversals on those who had vasectomies. At a cost of $1700, it was simply worth it. Now I’m on the way and am so so happy! Having a baby is worth it! Btw, Dr. Wilson is a good doc and helps couples. He can be found at http://www.microvasreversal.com
    I’m looking forward to reading more posts here. :) Kudos and may you be blessed always!

  178. Danielle says:

    Hi Jennifer. I started following you based on your Explore God video, which resonated with me despite the fact that I was raised in a Christian family and have been a Christian since I was 12. I was trained as a scientist in college, so I had to go through a similar intellectual journey to decide if I was going to continue in my faith. Thankfully, God did not give up on me, and he’s still with me today.

    I wanted to post that I appreciate your explanation on how you became pro-life. I don’t know if I’d call myself pro-life but I do agree with many of the reasons you stated. Maybe it’s fence sitting but I am starting to be less-staunchly pro-choice than I was. Fundamentally, I have always believe in the sanctity of life, and that is one thing I cannot get past with abortion for any reason.

  179. J says:

    Since you’re pro-life, one question.

    Do you believe the tobacco industry should be completely shut down?

    If you’re truly pro-life the answer is an unqualified “yes.” Anything else, you shouldn’t be calling yourself pro-life.

  180. Bobbi says:

    Labels are an interesting conundrum. I’m pro-child, pro-family, pro-life, and pro-choice. To use the term pro-life to indicate being anti-choice implies that I’m anti-life, which simply isn’t true. I have two children, I completely understand the miracle of life and love my children dearly, but that doesn’t mean that I believe I have the right to tell another woman whether or not she has to carry a baby to term. Her choice is between her and her maker. Factually, until a baby can survive outside of its mother’s body it’s in a symbiotic relationship at best, although it’s more like a parasitic relationship in truth. I can’t bring myself to view women as incubators. Personally, I consider myself lucky to never have been in a position where I considered abortion, but if I were raped or molested, I don’t know what I would have done, and I don’t presume to make that choice for anyone else.

    Another thing about the term pro-life… where’s the pro-life sentiment when funding is cut to programs that help children in need? Where’s the funding for the orphanages that will be necessary if abortion becomes a thing of the past? When I hear the label pro-life I automatically think ‘pro-fetus’, because I don’t hear the people who want to take a woman’s right to choose going on ad nauseum about their responsibility to care for all of the unwanted and/or needy, underprivileged babies the way they go on about what a sin it is and how they need to protect the life of the unborn child.

    It’s a complicated issue, to be sure, and after 40+ years of thinking about it I simply can’t say that I believe that I have the right to make that choice for anyone other than myself. It would be wonderful to live in a society that saw babies as blessings and only had sex responsibly, but that simply isn’t reality. Idealism is wonderful right up to the point that it’s applied to anyone but one’s self, in my opinion.

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