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View Diary: Letters from an abortion doctor (156 comments)

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  •  I find abortion extremely troubling (3.93)
    I find abortion itself quite troubling.  As indeed anyone would -- I don't know anyone who thinks abortions are a great thing.  I've found myself wondering it it's a moral wrong.  I still struggle with it.  But I've never thought it should be illegal. (PS: you probably shouldn't use this forum as a chance to change my mind, lest this turn into an offtopic discussion)...

    One thing I always ask these anti-abortion fascists is: How many unwanted children have you adopted?  I grew up in a household where 3 of my siblings were adopted from abusive homes.  Since then, my mother has adopted two more great kids and taken in some foster children as well.  My wife and I are going through the adoption process as well.

    Most of these folks holding signs advocating that doctors be murdered don't do JACK SHIT to actually help children.  Maybe they donate money to their church group or something, but donating money is pretty much a cop-out.  If they care so much about the lives of children, you'd think they would take some children into their homes.

    •  These terrorists couldn't care less (4.00)
      about unwanted children.  Look at them: carrying signs applauding the murder of a doctor in the kitchen of his own home!  Papering a family neighborhood with bounty posters.  Dr. Hern is correct.  This is a fascist movement, with terrorism and a wedge issue as its linchpins.  Were the terrorists truly concerned about unwanted pregnancies, they would support stronger contraceptive access and education, longer maternity and paternity leaves, and universal access to affordable child care.

      For far too long, we have tolerated these sorts of right wing violent extremist groups and underestimated their venom.  What has this country come to that the ACLU is labeled a terrorist group by our representatives while people who celebrate clinic bombings and sniper shootings are not?

      I've made it very clear, he was not involved, that there's no truth to the suggestion that he was.-McClellan, 2003

      by GN1927 on Wed Aug 03, 2005 at 08:57:47 PM PDT

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      •  Not only do they not care (4.00)
        They use their own children in their demonstrations. I have personally seen 6 year old kids marching with fetus signs marching in 103 degree heat with their parents in front of a clinic. I have seen those same children put in the middle of shout outs between the pro and anti-choice folk in front of that same clinic.

        If that's not child abuse, I don't know what is.

        Its not about the children. Its about control and punishment of women who "sin."

        If it were about the children, it would be a whole different thing.

        "Tikkun Olam (to heal and repair the world) You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it" Rabbi Tarfun

        by RevDeb on Thu Aug 04, 2005 at 12:59:04 PM PDT

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    •  And they couldn't give a damn... (4.00)
      about these kids or their mothers once they are born.

      They won't provide universal prenatal and maternity and childhood health care, 'cause that would be "Socialism."

      They won't help single mothers or poor kids go to college, 'cause that's not "cost-effective".

      They won't raise the minimum wage, 'cause that would "hurt small business".

      They won't expand the social safety net, 'cause "too many people abuse the system"

      They won't provide free or low-cost birth control, 'cause that would "encourage promiscuity"

      They won't pass stricter environmental laws to help reduce birth defects, because it's "not based on sound science"

      Their movement has never been about "life". It's about their fear of and discomfort with female sexuality.

      •  They're all God's chidren (4.00)
        so it's safe to leave what happens to them up to Him.

        We have a church-sponsored "crisis pregnancy center" that moved in next door to our clinic a few years ago. They advertise "aid and assistance" to women financially unable to deal with an unwanted pregnancy.

        They say and do literally anything to keep a woman from having an abortion--and then, after they've frightened her half out of her mind, they send her away with a chit for Medicaid and a pair of crocheted baby booties.

        This year the state of Texas will begin financing CPCs with $5 million diverted from the funding earmarked for community-based health screening and family planning clinics.

        Forever and ever, amen.

    •  As an adopted person, (4.00)
      I am often asked by people how I can possibly be pro-choice, since I would have been aborted.  I find it incredible that people assume I had any greater chance of being aborted than they did.  To me it is obvious that I was wanted - if my birthmother had wanted to have an abortion she could have.  It had been legal for years by the time I was born.  She chose not to do so.  In fact, I know almost no one who is the result of a planned pregnancy, including the people who asked me that asinine question.  Many of the folks I know whose parents got married because they were knocked up now have parents who are divorced. Also of note, the most vocal anti-choice people I know would never dream of adopting a child.  Just my personal experience.

      "I said no deal; you can't sell this stuff to me" - Townes Van Zandt

      by btrflisoul on Wed Aug 03, 2005 at 09:59:48 PM PDT

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      •  I was unplanned as well (4.00)
        I've never understood the argument that if you were unplanned, then you have to be against abortion. I am grateful to my mother for continuing with the pregnancy, but I don't think she should have been forced to carry through with it had she wanted an abortion.
        •  Heck, back in my day (4.00)
          we were all unplanned. The main reason I'm grateful my mother didn't have an illegal abortion in 1950 is that it might have killed her. God knows she almost died from one in '64.

          I'm thankful that I didn't know then what I know now about how very dangerous it was for her.

          •  My mom (4.00)
            did have 2 illegal abortions between my birth in 1950 and my brother's 2 years later. I can't imagine what it was like for her. We don't talk about it but she's glad that I am a pro-choice activist.

            .

            "Tikkun Olam (to heal and repair the world) You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it" Rabbi Tarfun

            by RevDeb on Thu Aug 04, 2005 at 01:02:07 PM PDT

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      •  The adoption system (4.00)
        was meant to find homes for unwanted children.

        NOT to find babies for people who couldn't have them.

        HotFlashReport - Opinionated liberal views of the wrongs of the right

        by annrose on Thu Aug 04, 2005 at 05:51:56 AM PDT

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        •  Well, actually, it's arguable that (none)
          the adoption system was intended first to cover over the shame of illegitimacy, and second to find homes for unwanted children.  That's why they had and still have children's homes, but in all but 3(4?) states, adoptees' birth certificates are and always have always been amended.

          But war's a game which were their subjects wise Kings would not play at. -William Cowper (1731-1800)

          by br00mhiLdA on Thu Aug 04, 2005 at 04:48:48 PM PDT

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    •  so, so true (4.00)
      I have a friend who, after having two biological children, adopted two special-needs children (one whose birth mother was a meth user).

      How many of these religious right-wing, tough-on-crime assholes have adopted children? Not too many.

      •  I sense a theme here (none)
        How many of these right-wing, tough-on-terrorism assholes have invested an ounce of their own courage in fighting the war their big mouths have gotten us into?  They can't be bothered to pay for it, and certainly are too busy to fight it.  Amazing how people who are so fundamentally disconnected with reality have such immovable opinions about what other people should do with themselves.

        You depend on our protection! Yet you feed us lies from the tablecloth. La la la la la la la la la la la!

        by slippytoad on Thu Aug 04, 2005 at 05:39:18 PM PDT

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    •  There are all sorts of things that I find (4.00)
      extremely troubling, and in none of those instances can I find a clear-cut, black and white position that makes sense.  It is precisely in those instances where things are extremely troubling that we need to recognize that rigid pronouncements and state mandated rather than individually-reasoned decisions are not the answer. That's why "choice" is both the most democratic and the most moral option: it provides space for the complexities of what bringing a child into the world actually means and gives the burden of that decision to the person best situated to make sense of the particular conditions of that particular pregnancy.

      I'd say because it is troubling, that's why reproductive rights are vital. Nothing in that situation can ever be clear cut and no two situations are ever alike.  

      In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

      by a gilas girl on Wed Aug 03, 2005 at 11:12:29 PM PDT

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      •  What does "choice" mean (4.00)
        I was a volunteer "big sister" to a young woman who had one abortion (forced on her by the adults in her life) and one child by the time she was 17. She got pregnant again with the father of her child - who had never given her a dime or a moment of his time in suppot of his child. Her desire was to carry this pregnancy to term and put the baby up for adoption. She went to an adoption agency and let them know that the father of the baby would not agree to sign off on the adoption. When I asked her how the appointment went, her response was chilling... "I have NO CHOICE - I have to have an abortion!"

        I support her right to CHOOSE - no matter which choice she makes. We have a lot of work to do!!!

      •  Wow Gilas Girl (4.00)
        This is so well said!  As a woman I have been all over the reproductive spectrum.  I have been young and alone and pregnant and my father wasn't ever much financial support and my mother passed away when I was little.  I have been older with means and desiring children and finding out that pregnancy for me isn't a given and isn't easy.  I have two kids.....a 16 year old daughter and a 5 year old son who was born with a genetic mutation that "matters".  Every conception involves not just passing on genes but a few novel genes zapped into existence as well, some of which a woman's body says, "Nah, out with ya!"  My son lacked the coding for some small muscle groups that should have developed after 19 wks I believe. I wouldn't have done anything any different either.  If I would have known my son was going to have problems I would not have aborted him, it wasn't even an option for me.  I don't feel bad about my abortion.  I don't feel bad about miscarriages.  It's life!  It is strange and forever unique every time around the mulberry bush!
    •  I respect your opinion. (4.00)
      I feel differently about abortion now than I did when I was in college.  Then, I think I would have had one (if my birth control failed) without too many second thoughts.  Now, after some difficulty in getting pregnant, and a devastating miscarriage, and anxious scrutiny of the ultrasounds of the tiny embryo's heartbeat, I am not at all sure I could or would do it.  Looking at the baby at six weeks' gestation does make you feel differently about the whole thing, I think.  

      But like deminla, I still believe it should be up to the woman to choose that option.  My daughters are now 10 and 12 and have asked me what abortion is and if I believe it is okay to kill a baby (can you tell where they are getting their information?)  I told them I didn't know if I would ever do it, and would only do it if something was really wrong with the baby, and in any case that I thought it should be my decision and not Tom DeLay's.

      I don't even have that much of a problem with anti-abortion people if they are strongly in support of easily accessible, inexpensive birth control.  That at least is a morally consistent position.  It is the flaming hypocrisy of most of that crowd (no birth control OR abortion rights) that infuriates me.

    •  Their beef really isn't with abortion... (4.00)
      ...it's with the idea that women could have sex the way men do, without getting pregnant.  (Saint Augustine, the person whose pronouncements form key portions of Christian doctrine, said as much when he condemned abortion for destroying the linkage between sex and birth.)

      Why else are these people also against birth control?  If they wanted to stop abortions and had no problem with women having sex without getting pregnant, they'd be passing out condoms and diaphragms to everyone they saw.

    •  Outlawing abortion is also about power. (4.00)
      Power over women so we can return to being Harriet Nelson.

      Power over women so we can be content to dust and cook and keep a happy home for the breadwinner.

      Power so that white guys get all the goodies and we get the crumbs.

      Power to keep women subsurvient and quite.

      yikes!

      HotFlashReport - Opinionated liberal views of the wrongs of the right

      by annrose on Thu Aug 04, 2005 at 01:40:20 PM PDT

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    •  unwanted (4.00)
      "How many "unwanted" children have you adopted?" is a very interesting question.

      Roberts adopted two kids and some conservatives point to that as an example of how his life supports his beliefs.  But race realities being what they are, healthy white blond-haired blue-eyed infants are in great demand in the adoption world and cannot be called "unwanted" in any sense of the word.

      Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Thu Aug 04, 2005 at 01:54:46 PM PDT

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      •  I have to agree, (4.00)
        As I said above, I am adopted, and I just don't think the word 'unwanted' can describe me.  Perhaps I'm flattering myself, but I was a healthy, white infant and I don't believe there was ever a chance that I wouldn't have been adopted.  Because of that, I tend to believe that my parents needed and wanted me more than I needed them.  That is not intended to be a flippant sentiment, but merely to illustrate that if it hadn't been them, it would have been some other couple.  

        I am lucky to have the parents I do; I honestly believe they are the parents I was meant to have.  Nevertheless, I am always surprised at how many people out there think they somehow had control over the circumstances that brought them in to this world.  They all think the same thing - that what happened to me could never have happened to them.  Whether you are adopted or not, you did not have any control over the family into which you were born.    

        "I said no deal; you can't sell this stuff to me" - Townes Van Zandt

        by btrflisoul on Thu Aug 04, 2005 at 05:39:54 PM PDT

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