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View Diary: "The only moral abortion is MY abortion" by Joyce Arthur (219 comments)

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  •  What? (4+ / 0-)
    Okay, I thought you made some valid points, but you lost me at
    silencing through insult any woman who did not toe the party line of "it's nothing but a great thing"

    What arrant nonsense.  No one says that except perhaps you and antichoice spokespeople.

    Most people around here recognize that every choice comes with consequences, pros and cons.  That's every choice.

    So how someone views a choice they make is a product of what their life is like both before and after they make that choice.  Some regret a choice or the circumstances that forced a choice to be made.  Some find that as one door closed, a window opened.

    I support your push to help the ambivalent find a place in a prochoice world, but don't make the mistake of painting all the rest of us as a "no one should have any regrets at all" crowd to do it.

    The point is abortion should be a medical procedure available to anyone who needs it.  Just because a person felt the need to have one and either doesn't want to acknowledge that choice or regrets it, doesn't give them the right to deny the same choice that they had.

    A vote for the Democrats is a vote for Democracy. A vote for the Republicans is a vote for Empire.

    by Bionic on Thu Mar 23, 2006 at 11:58:28 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Really? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grayscale

      What arrant nonsense.  No one says that except perhaps you and antichoice spokespeople.

      OK, whatever you say.  Not.  

      Know what I just said about silencing? Lumping people on the left who try to make reasonable claims based on some actual review of the folks doing work out there in to the same breath as antichoice people just because they tell you an uncomfortable and scary truth -- one that need not be either, if we're smart and pro-active instead of continually reactive on the issue of protecting abortion rights -- is silencing.

      Your remaining arguments are just that:  they are arguments.  We want to elevate them into "truths" or facts, when they are no more than our opinions, strongly felt or no.  The bulk of people in this country don't see them as truth or opinion and likely never will.  We ever come up with ways that respect that legitimate difference in perspective yet still manage to advocate for a pro-choice desired outcome, or we don't.  For far too long, the answer has been "We don't."  And I think that is a large reason the other side is winning.  They have controlled utterly the rhetoric to address the bulk of women in this country, who are neither right-wing hypocrites nor pro-choice absolutists.  IMO, anyhow.

      My separate place for mental meanderings: Political Sapphire

      by shanikka on Thu Mar 23, 2006 at 12:08:26 PM PST

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      •  Actually if anything (4+ / 0-)
        That article supports my position not yours.

        One woman felt she wasn't given adequate care with an abortion.  She thought she needed counselling afterward, but because she hadn't been told to go or didn't recall being told that she might consider it, she didn't get counselling.  To me that is the single point in that article that suggests that she wasn't prepared that this was a big decision in her life but it is anecdotal not proof.  It doesn't support your contention that the prochoice side forces everyone to "toe the party line of "it's nothing but a great thing".

        But it's great that she turned that into something positive.

        From what I understand, most clinics in the States are full, with overworked and underpaid staff, so frankly to expect champagne care from places with beer budgets is wishful thinking IMO.

        But regardless, the clinics are trying.  They aren't insisting that no one should feel bad about the choice they make.  They're spending time figuring out how to improve care.  

        Life is full of times when we have to choose the choice we would rather not.  But it's hard when people are being told that the choice is no regrets or be a baby murderer.

        "Number one, it was supposed to be a secret," says Taft. "So these women had no idea who else in their lives had gone through this experience. Number two, we don't have good language even today for making a good, but complex, decision. Third, some women felt that if they said anything, it was ammunition to remove the right to choose. You either said you were fine or admitted you were a murderer."

        The furor with Hilary was not that she said abortion was a tragic choice for some, but that it was a tragic choice.  Period.  That's what got people upset.

        Seems to me that the higher level of abortions amongst black women has more to do with their financial means than their morality.

        And finally, many prochoice people are personally antiabortion, not just women of color.  The key factor is that it doesn't stop them from supporting women's right to choose.

        A vote for the Democrats is a vote for Democracy. A vote for the Republicans is a vote for Empire.

        by Bionic on Thu Mar 23, 2006 at 12:39:24 PM PST

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        •  I Blame Nothing on the Clinics (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Thursday Next, grayscale

          I said many ofthe voices in the pro choice movement.  Big difference.  We agree on the resource issues faced by the clinics and you'll hear nothing about of me about the issue of rhetoric.  I do have an issue with the fact that some clinics encourage women to see abortion as the "best" option for them, for the same reason I have an issue with those "pregnancy crisis" centers that don't actually do anything but lay their guilt trip on pregnant women.

          And when a person cannot express the opinion "Abortion is a tragedy" in a leftwing political context, without getting called a wingnut or a close second, that indeed silences women and men with differing views.  Most people simply stay shut rather than alienate their own political allies.

          The part of the article you quote makes my point:  women who have misgivings about choice issues are silenced.  Sometimes through what at times is rage, but usually through condescension (the reason I spoke up in this thread at all; the armchair psychology was highly condescending no matter how legitimately upset people were), political voices that try to take a middle of the road stance about the moral issues inherent in this debate.  So women are left with a choice to ally with either "you're a murderer" or "it's all good."  The other part of the article, however, also talks about women afraid to express misgivings because of fear it would be used to limit choice; clinical workers who admitted that they were protecting themselves from what the women themselves were saying (which makes no sense except for fear of what it might mean for their own feelings).  The mere fact that allowing women to write diary thoughts about their lost babies in a journal as an inherent part of the process is seen as an "innovation" when abortion has been legal for 30 years confirms that until very recently, emotional upset and viewing of a fetus as humanity really had no safe quarter on the pro-choice side.  Politically and publicly, anyway.  That was my point.  With the net result being that the pro-choice side has conceded the dialogue to the right:  because it's clear they allow this type of thinking, even as they shut out any conflicting voices.

          And as a Black woman I'm well aware of what studies say that most Black women feel on this issue.  Hell, those studies say that most Black people are personally opposed to abortion on moral grounds (last study I saw that 23% of us would make it illegal under ALL circumstances, an uber-pro-life position as it were), even as survey after survey confirms that African-Americans are clearly opposed to legislating the issue of abortion and taking choice away.  This position exists even with women who have had abortions.  And it's not a "dissonant" perspective.  Collectively, Blacks always have been socially conservative about issues of "morality" while politically liberal in terms of freedoms.  However, their voices in the discussion about abortion, including the choice of rhetoric used, are woefully absent.  Perhaps because most IME have no problem talking about the perceived moral issues and calling them moral issues - while still advocating for abortion rights as a necessary evil.  

          (But to hear some folks tell it, given the disproportionate number of Black women who access legal abortion, they must all be "cognitively dissonant", "crazy" or "hypocrites" too.)

          I was here during the Loooooonnnng discussions over the Hillary Statement, and over Bill's subsequent support of her statement.  Some people indeed said their only issue was that Hillary drew no no limits on her statement.  But that was not most people's issue, as review of the threads in the archives will confirm.  Most folks who wrote took genuine umbrage that she would use any negative value-laden language at all when describing abortion, instead of discussing the issue only in neutral terms.  The namecalling was almost as bad as during The Pope Wars (or God help us, the Pie Wars.)  Admittedly, last week's diary on the similar theme ("abortion" as sad?, I think it was called?) was far more civil than I've seen this go much of the tie  But it was still snarky, and some participants arguing against talking about the negative emotional side of abortion truly personally insulting at times (not to me; I didn't participate) and genuinely dismissive of the idea that was being presented.  Even though of course if that person bothered to read carefully the Guttenmacher study from 2004/05, which contains personal interviews, and realize that even as a pro-choice organization, Guttenmacher was presenting a picture of the decisionmaking process for women that was not consistent with the "Oh it's a piece of cake" theory when it comes to the impact of abortion.

          My separate place for mental meanderings: Political Sapphire

          by shanikka on Thu Mar 23, 2006 at 02:31:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It didn't seem to me (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            splashy, Thursday Next
            That you actually made the distinction of
            many ofthe voices in the pro choice movement

            You said

            One of the greatest political mistakes the active pro-choice movement has made in terms of fighting for abortion rights is silencing through insult any woman who did not toe the party line of "it's nothing but a great thing".  

            I suppose it is open to debate as to who exactly the "active prochoice movement" represents.  But since you also say it is the party line, I don't think I was out of line to assume you were painting with a very broad brush.

            And I still disagree with your contention.  Emotions enter into every big decision we make.

            The issue that started our whole discussion wasn't women who expressed regret over their abortion, but women who actively fought to prevent others from having an abortion, but who readily availed themselves of the services when they needed them and then promptly turned around and went back to working to prevent others from making the same choice.

            To me that is the biggest hypocrisy.  

            My morals are based upon the Golden Rule.  I don't presume to tell how others how they should feel about any choice they make, whether it's having an abortion, a baby, getting married, going to school or changing jobs or whatever.

            Sometimes it turns out that you wish with all your heart that you could take back the choice you made.  Sometimes just a door closes and no window opens.  Other times, what seems like a 100% negative situation can contain a blessing in disguise.  

            That's life.  

            But any choice comes, as I have said before, with pluses and minuses.  The forced birth crowd want to promote the idea that all women experience only regret from having an abortion.  That is simply not true.  

            It seems to me that some women who do feel overwhelmingly bad about the choices they make seem to have a convenient amnesia about why they make the choices they do in the first place.  There is not much you can do about people like that, but you shouldn't base your country's laws on their feelings.

            Someone who believes that abortion should be criminalized is not inherently more moral than someone who believes it should be available legally.  

            I do believe that if someone considers abortion murder, then they should probably not have an abortion.  And that also means they should do what they can to make sure they minimize their risk of needing one.  

            And given the propensity for many forced birth advocates for abstinence only sex education, perhaps they should rethink their stand on that. Perhaps they should make sure they teach their daughters how to be responsible enough to not need an abortion for the most part.  

            Some abortions can reasonably be said to be forced upon someone. I would hope that anyone who had to have an abortion due to genetic problems, in utero death, rape or incest would have counselling for more than just an abortion, if that is what they choose.

            The flap about what Hillary said is not picayune.  There is an important distinction between acknowledging that for some an abortion is a tragic choice and stating that abortion per se is a tragic choice.  Doesn't that simply try to silence those for whom an abortion is nothing but a relief?  But why say it in the first place when discussing public policy?

            Would it be acceptable for Hillary Clinton to call a radical mastectomies a tragic choice while discussing the issue in terms of legislation?  I suppose it would be okay if she was supporting the need for more counselling for women who had it.  But if its availability was hanging in the balance it wouldn't be.

            I know a couple of women whose major emotion was relief at getting rid of both of their breasts prophylactically, due to their family history, when they themselves were diagnosed with cancer.

            For many women such a route could indeed be a tragic choice, but the point is, we don't presume to tell anyone what sort of choice it is.  We just hope that whatever decision a woman makes with her body, it was an informed one.

            By saying abortion a tragic choice, Clinton was playing to the forced abortion crowd because it brings a sense of sweeping emotionalism into something that we don't tolerate for any other legal medical procedure.

            It's not that there is no place for emotion for a woman considering or having an abortion, but there really is no place for it when discussing abortion legislation as part of public health.

            A vote for the Democrats is a vote for Democracy. A vote for the Republicans is a vote for Empire.

            by Bionic on Thu Mar 23, 2006 at 05:08:30 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I deliberately didn't mention my abortion (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bionic

            to my therapist. After my husband's stroke I was having problems coping, and I talked about everything else.

            The other part of the article, however, also talks about women afraid to express misgivings because of fear it would be used to limit choice;

            The abortion happened 15 years before the stroke, and had nothing to do with why I wasn't coping well. He asked me all sorts of questions and maybe he had access to my medical records (same hospital). I was scared about money, I was scared about having to be (in the future) caretaker to an invalid when I'm not strong enough to lift him, etc. etc. He was a good doctor, helped me calm down.

            But I was afraid to say anything about the abortion to him (though I'm not afraid to talk about it here) because I didn't want to be a data point somewhere that would be used against other women's ability to have abortion access.

            If your local service workers don't get a living wage (including insurance) then your local social contract is *broken*

            by julifolo on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 05:16:25 AM PST

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