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The abortion issue in the United States is constantly over-debated and has only worsened in recent years.  It is not something that will ever be agreed upon, with such strong feelings on both sides.  It boils down to, "when does life begin".  Some believe it begins at conception and abortion is murder without exception, while others believe life begins at birth or a variety of other gestational time frames.  Many of the more conservative and religious groups that are hardcore anti-abortion claim emphatically that life begins at conception or oddly enough, even prior to conception.  Who knew? They preach a right-to-life of the fetus as the only pro-life stance.  It is politicized and used as a distraction to divide the nation.  While disagreements on this issue are always going to exist, it must remain up to every woman to follow her own moral or religious beliefs in deciding what is best for her health and circumstances.  One's religious and moral belief system cannot dictate another's life choices.

In 2011, 2012, and the beginning of 2013, there was a dramatic increase in the number of abortion restricting bills that were introduced on the state level.  The bills included personhood amendments, ultra-sound and vaginal ultra-sound requirements prior to abortion, abortion criminalization after twelve weeks, abortion after rape criminalization as tampering with evidence, abortion restrictions and criminalization in cases of the health and life of the woman, and more. Other laws have been passed in several states that require abortion providers to maintain medically unnecessary structural or personnel qualifications that have threatened the closing of abortion clinics. In North Dakota, South Dakota, Mississippi, and Arkansas, only one provider remains open in each state.  Mississippi's clinic remains open, but is under threat of shutdown due to one of these laws.  This is taking away choice and putting women through unnecessary medical procedures and emotional distress in what is already a difficult personal choice.      

Many Republicans don't support a "life of the mother" exception.  Former Vice Presidential candidate, Paul Ryan, is against the exception as is former Presidential candidate Rick Santorum.  Former Illinois Congressman, Joe Walsh, called it a, "tool for abortions any time." Simultaneously, pro-life Congressman Scott Des Jarlais from Tennessee, was accused of pressuring his mistress to have an abortion, although, he has denied the claim. One example of a threat to the life of the mother is an ectopic pregnancy, where the embryo implants outside the uterus. Most of us know a woman who has suffered through this experience.  It is an extraordinary threat to a woman's life and rare for the embryo to survive, almost non-existent.  This is just one example of countless scenarios.  Should this be legislated by government?  Whether the mother lives or dies?  According to the American Pregnancy Association, 64,000 women a year have ectopic pregnancies in the United States.  With the majority of these pregnancies being wanted, it might be wise to take issue with labeling them as abortions in the first place.  While medically speaking, abortion is the proper term for the procedure, the current connotation of the word 'abortion', created by the conservative religious right, villainizes women as emotionless, uncaring murderers.  It is a difficult decision in any case for most women.  It is insulting to suggest that women deal with abortion as they would filing their nails.  How is forcing a woman to proceed with a pregnancy that would kill her and the fetus, pro-life?  How is that in any way the moral high ground?  

Many religious conservatives also believe that getting pregnant as a result of rape is God's will.  Todd Akin, a Republican Congressman from Missouri, comically believes that women actually have a valve that shuts off to prevent pregnancy when raped, placing the responsibility of pregnancy from rape back on the woman.  The question is, if your 11 year old daughter was raped and in fact, did get pregnant, would you want the decision on what should be done to be legislated or a personal family decision made with your daughter? Many people believe they know what they would do. It is often easy to judge
others until the situation arises on a very personal level. While this is indeed a very difficult decision, abortion may be the best option for the mental and physical health of the victim.  This is further complicated by the fact that rapists are able to sue for visitation, forcing the rape victim to co-parent with her rapist.  Would you want your 11 year-old, your 22 year-old, or your 44 year-old daughter to be forced to co-parent with her rapist?  If the rape victim decides to have the child, would you want the custody of your grandchild shared with the man who raped you daughter?  

Poverty, illiteracy, and drug abuse also play a role in the abortion debate.  One cannot imagine these situations or experience the desperation that arises in another's life.  It is impossible to know how one feels or how experiences affect them.  There are so many complexities, so many things a person can't possibly understand about other's circumstances and struggles.  The saying, "don't judge someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes" is never more applicable than in regard to abortion issues.

While the title of pro-life has been claimed by anti-abortion groups, it is also the pro-life individuals who try to justify violence and even murder for their cause.  In 1993, Michael Fredrick Griffin, a born again Christian and pro-life activist, shot and killed Dr. David Gunn outside an abortion clinic in Pensacola, Florida.  In 1994, again in Pensacola, Florida, religious fanatic Paul Jennings Hill assassinated Dr. John Britton, his body guard James Barrett, and wounded Britton's wife.  John Salvi murdered two Planned Parenthood employees in Brookline, MA in 1994.  Religious fanatic, Eric Rudolph, bombed an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama in 1998, killing off-duty police officer, Robert Sanderson.   In 1998, Dr. Barnett Slepian was shot and killed outside his clinic in Amherst, NY by James Charles Kopp who was associated with a Roman Catholic, pro-life organization.   In 2009, Dr. George Tiller was killed in Wichita, Kansas by Scott Roeder.  Roeder, a pro-life activist, claimed that killing an abortion provider was justifiable homicide.  These are just the attacks that resulted in death.  There are numerous bombings of clinics, death threats, and assaults that have occurred over the years.  How can any of this be justified as a pro-life agenda?  How does this remotely qualify as being pro-life?  This is hypocrisy at its worst.

One of the most outspoken groups against abortion is the Catholic Church.  Ironically, the church is also against birth control that would prevent many unwanted pregnancies.  Interestingly, the number of Catholic women using birth control has been said to be as high as 98%.  It seems that it is easier to preach than to practice for Catholics.  Recently, St. Thomas More Hospital in Canon City, Colorado, owned by Catholic Health Initiatives, was sued for the wrongful death of Lori Stodghill and her unborn twins. Shockingly, the defense the Catholic organization used was that although Lori was seven months pregnant, the unborn babies were not covered by the Wrongful Death Act.  They argued under Colorado Law that life begins at birth and won.  While this case is not about abortion, it is about morality and conviction of one's beliefs.  Catholic Health Initiatives went against their core value that life begins at conception in order to save money in the lawsuit.  It was again easier to dictate their moral beliefs to the masses than to practice them.  Why should Catholics be held to a moral standard that the Catholic Church doesn't stand by in a court of law?

With so many different individual scenarios, moral beliefs, scientific theories, and religious standards, one must allow the individual the ability and the liberty to make personal decisions.  If you don't believe in abortion, don't have one.  No one is suggesting that anyone should be forced to have an abortion, but don't take the choice away from women who, for whatever reason, have decided it is the best option for them.  Legislating abortion based on one individual's morality or religion while disregarding another's is unacceptable and unconstitutional.  This debate wastes much of the nation's time and money.  The abortion issue was decided in Roe v. Wade in 1973.  The continued debate distracts from progress that must be made to push the United States forward.  We must agree to disagree and live our lives according to our own moral code while allowing others to do the same.

Originally posted to Kathryn Brusco on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 03:14 PM PDT.

Also republished by Feminism, Pro-Feminism, Womanism: Feminist Issues, Ideas, & Activism.

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Comment Preferences

  •  For me, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Penny GC, LadyMiseryAli

    life begins when the baby takes it's first breath.  Until then, that soul might opt out.

    That's what I think and I'm not trying to convince anyone of that, so, it matters not if anyone agrees or disagrees, so no debate necessary here.

    being mindful and keepin' it real

    by Raggedy Ann on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 03:20:57 PM PDT

    •  FYI. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marykk, FG

      When you need to introduce the concept of a soul into your argument, you are on shaky ground. A fetus that is fully capable of taking a breath is not alive according to you, simply because she is in utero and thus unable to take air into her mouth? On that basis, she is not alive?

      •  maybe s/he means "personhood" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        doc2
      •  That's all that the right to life argument is (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        radarlady

        based on, especially that life begins at conception garbage. It isn't life that begins, it is the idea that god spits the soul into the sygote at that point, and that human souls must be saved.

        Every time one has a bowl movement, showers, brushes their teeth, pops a zit, has any growth excised, etc., etc. one takes not merely a life, but hordes of lives. Life is not and never has been the issue, but they darent say souls because that is too blatant for some judges.

        That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

        by enhydra lutris on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 06:22:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Your opinion is yours. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RamblinDave, tardis10

      Your government shouldn't go near it at all.

  •  Correction. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johnny wurster, VClib

    I'm not sure that anybody believes that "life begins at birth". Clearly a baby is a baby the day before she's born. There are some radicals who believe in the right for women to have abortions through even the ninth month, but I don't think those people base their position on the claim that the fully-formed fetus is not alive.

    •  Oops. I stand corrected. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib, radarlady

      Apparently some people do believe that a baby is not alive until it is born. Whoduthunk?

    •  This comment shows your immense (5+ / 0-)

      ignorance on the topic, doc.

      There are some radicals who believe in the right for women to have abortions through even the ninth month, but I don't think those people base their position on the claim that the fully-formed fetus is not alive.
      The hell?!

      The only time an abortion is ever performed that late is due to significantly ill health of the mother and/or baby.

      Honestly, your argument here sounds like a Republican one. Jesus Christ.

      Who cares what the fucking Republicans would vote for? They'd vote for cooking poor children and exporting them as delicacies if they had the chance. -- Jim P

      by Colorado is the Shiznit on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 05:14:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, we've had people right here (0+ / 0-)

        on this here site argue for choice through the end of the third trimester. I was surprised by that as well. I know you can read, so I'm sure why you think I said that abortions are performed in the ninth month, when what I actually said was that some radicals believe that such abortions should be allowed. Perhaps you should re-read my comment and then craft the appropriate retraction.

        •  LOL, no. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RamblinDave

          doc, seriously, no way. I read what you said, and I was offended in earnest by it, so I decided to focus on the part that still made me want to spew chunks, but only spew smaller chunks.

          We've disagreed on this topic before, vehemently. I'm not sure why I engaged today. Just felt like it, I guess.

          Who cares what the fucking Republicans would vote for? They'd vote for cooking poor children and exporting them as delicacies if they had the chance. -- Jim P

          by Colorado is the Shiznit on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 05:41:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Just who are these people? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ahianne

          When and where did you hear anyone say "abortion should be allowed in the ninth month"? Are you sure they weren't talking only about cases where the fetus wouldn't be viable (i.e. born without a brain and other such defects) or where the mother's life and health depended on it? Because there certainly are people who support abortion rights under those conditions - and I'm proud to be among  them - but who supports elective abortions at that stage?

          I will freely admit I am aware of one person who does, but that person is not a DK member that I am aware of, so that's not whom you were thinking of. But more importantly than what any given group of people may have said in the abstract, doc2, have you ever heard of a single example of any mother-to-be wanting an elective abortion in her third trimester? I have not, even though I have been on the front lines of this particular battle (volunteering at Planned Parenthood, canvassing on ERA referendums, etc.) The anti-choice crowd loves to rail against "partial birth abortion" (a term that does not appear in any reputable medical text, incidentally) because it sounds disgusting and because it gives squeamish pro-choicers pause, but where is the evidence that it has ever happened simply because the woman changed her mind about wanting a baby?

          You can't prove a negative, but you can prove that it has happened at least once, if in fact it has. And I have never heard of a single such case. Have you?

          Certaines personnes disent qu'il y a une femme à blâmer, Mais je sais que c'est ma faute sacrément.

          by RamblinDave on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 07:49:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  what is the purpose of this diary? (5+ / 0-)

    Not that I disagree with its overall sentiment, but ...

    If you don't believe in abortion, don't have one.
    If I replaced "abortion" with "gun rights" in that sentence, would you agree?
  •  It boils down to, "when does life begin". (10+ / 0-)

    No, it doesn't.  It boils down to, "does a woman have the right to consent to whether or not her body is occupied by another entity".  It doesn't matter whether that entity is considered a parasite or a full-fledged citizen of the USA, it doesn't have the right to occupy someone's body without consent.

    •  you didn't read the diary. Diarist agrees with (0+ / 0-)

      you. Next time, please read the whole thing before commenting.

      •  I was contesting... (2+ / 0-)

        ...something that was stated as fact in the third sentence of the diary.  I disagree with ceding that ground because I think it puts us in a much weaker starting position.  If we took my position that it's an issue of consent, then the whole issue of fetal personhood is irrelevant.
        It's like writing a diary about how to deal with the economy and stating in the first paragraph that our first concern should be to eliminate the federal deficit.
         

        •  may not have been 100% clear but it's pretty (0+ / 0-)

          apparent upon reading that the diarist is articulating a pretty key moral debate (which IS the cause of much of disconnect on the issues lies).

          Diarist isn't espousing that point of view--but actively criticizing it as you read on.

      •  While you are correct, (0+ / 0-)

        Bill is also correct that the diary begins with that comment and never really discredits it. I don't know whether he read the whole diary or not, but one could certainly do so and still come away with the impression that the diarist really is arguing that "it boils down to 'when does life begin'".

        Certaines personnes disent qu'il y a une femme à blâmer, Mais je sais que c'est ma faute sacrément.

        by RamblinDave on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 08:18:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  as I read it the whole diary discredits it as a (0+ / 0-)

          basis for law.  Biden did the same thing in the debate.  The pro-choice argument is:

          There is nothing unethical about saying 'I believe that human life begins at conception'--provide that that doesn't trump the choice of the woman bearing the fetus.

          So one's personal moral choices DO NOT trump the right to choose in this case.

          Diary is clear on this point.

    •  It also boils down to the fact (7+ / 0-)

      that if it were REALLY about "life," then the anti-abortion crowd would be avidly pushing contraception, since it really does decrease abortion. Banning it just makes women seek illegal and unsafe abortions. The "when does life begin" debate is nothing but a distraction. It's really about fear and loathing of women.

      Jon Husted is a dick.

      by anastasia p on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 04:06:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  No. It. Does. Not. (5+ / 0-)
    It boils down to, "when does life begin".
    It boils down to that it is none of your business.

    It is up to the woman.

    Period.

  •  the whole discussion (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irishwitch, annominous, crose

    is purely a religious one.  A sperm cell is a potential life- an egg is a potential life-- a fertilized egg, a zygote, 12 weeks, 20 weeks, 5 minutes...  When does the "soul" enter the cell structure?  What is the soul?  Does it exist?  Where do the zygotes go after "death"?  This isn't science, it's dogma.  This is why this argument never ends, and it's also why it can't be legislated.  In my opinion.

    the best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity

    by mailman27 on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 04:42:48 PM PDT

  •  Hi, Kathryn. I see you're new here. (5+ / 0-)

    Welcome to Dkos! Good diary too, btw. I can appreciate the effort it took to write it, and I agree with most of the things you said.

    A few things ...

    1. I do not consider the anti-abortion contingent in this country, or worldwide even, to be "pro-life" anymore. I think the term you're looking for is forced birth, because that's what it is.

    2. Agreed about the recent influx of disgusting legislation produced by several states restricting women's rights with regards to abortion. Unfortunately, these state-sponsored bills now on the books are making Roe v. Wade irrelevant in many parts of the country. It pisses me off to no end.

    Therefore, this is null and void:

    The abortion issue was decided in Roe v. Wade in 1973.

    No, it wasn't. Republicans have been looking for loopholes ever since, and they found them.

    The continued debate distracts from progress that must be made to push the United States forward.  We must agree to disagree and live our lives according to our own moral code while allowing others to do the same.
    I wish that were true, Kathryn. Sadly, it isn't. Republicans, and even many "pro-life" Democrats, will never agree with that sentiment.

    Which is why we're still having this debate 40 fucking years after Roe v. Wade was passed.

    Who cares what the fucking Republicans would vote for? They'd vote for cooking poor children and exporting them as delicacies if they had the chance. -- Jim P

    by Colorado is the Shiznit on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 05:09:57 PM PDT

  •  The question is offensive. nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RamblinDave
  •  Actually, this is false (0+ / 0-)
    It boils down to, "when does life begin".
    That is a euphamism, deception, maybe a lie or maybe self-deception. They don't give a shit about life per se, but about the human souls that they fantasize are embedded in the zygote or foetus.

    Each of us kills thousands of living beings weeklyu, if not daily, and none of us really give a crap that we do so. In fact, often we are happy to kill some of them. It isn't about life, but about little bits of mythical god matter called souls.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 06:26:20 PM PDT

  •  The question at hand is not the framing (0+ / 0-)

    of one side or another. The question is, Better and More Democrats, or Fewer but Worse Republicans. Actually, both at the same time.

    It is not surprising to those who study the psychology of authoritarians and the Religious Right that with their numbers shrinking, they are getting louder and more vicious. The raft of recent anti-abortion bills is due to the success of Republican gerrymanders, which is partly due to past failures among Democrats. But now we have an opportunity to reverse that situation, because there continue to be ever more Democrats and ever fewer angry White guys. We have to GOTV, particularly in states like Texas where there is an excess of non-voting Latinos, but actually in all 50 states.

    Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

    by Mokurai on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 06:59:44 PM PDT

  •  This is SO EASY to defeat (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annominous

    I do not understand why progressives don't just sink this. "I am PRO PRIVACY and do not believe that personal medical decisions should be made by the government."

    (This can be extended. Canada has NO LAWS about abortion and 1/7 the number of abortions as the US.)

    Bumper stickers: "I am pro-privacy."

    Then just refuse to discuss it beyond that.

    Believe me, even in my ultra-libertarian Northern Michigan (1) neighborhood, this works well.

    But progressives want to just go on and on, pushing their personal moral or ethical opinions on others. Just drop it.

    •  Roe v Wade (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RamblinDave

      nominally protects a woman's right to privacy with respect to seeking (or not seeking) an abortion; nominally, the matter is left between the woman and her Dr.

      So what's the deal with these creepy old men sitting on tall ladders outside the Planned Parenthood offices in so many places, or lurking on sidewalks by the front door? supposedly, these 'protestors' have the right to peer in to the PP windows? supposedly, these 'protestors' have the right to buttonhole women at the door and proselytize?

      •  Believe it or not... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        annominous

        I've actually heard card-carrying Libertarians whine about how FACE laws restrict their free speech. It doesn't seem to ever occur to them that a woman seeking an abortion has a right to freedom from their meddling in her private affairs!  My stock response: "Your right to free speech ends where her right to freedom from harassment begins. If she wants your input on whether or not to get an abortion, she'll ask you. Otherwise, keep your mouth shut."

        Certaines personnes disent qu'il y a une femme à blâmer, Mais je sais que c'est ma faute sacrément.

        by RamblinDave on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 07:59:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  You're making a crucial error here: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annominous, Ahianne

      You're assuming the Republicans really believe in their "get the government out of your hair" rhetoric. They don't. What they really believe in is keep the government away from regulating business in any way whatsoever, but reserve the right to legislate morality to their hearts' content.

      I'm glad to hear people in your neck of the woods buy your argument (though I can't resist pointing out it's the area that gave us Bart Stupak), but there is a reason why pro-choicers haven't just settled on that strategy and stuck with it. That reason: it doesn't work, at least not often enough.

      Certaines personnes disent qu'il y a une femme à blâmer, Mais je sais que c'est ma faute sacrément.

      by RamblinDave on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 07:57:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good point and furthermore (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RamblinDave, tardis10, Ahianne

        what the goopbaggers REALLY REALLY want is unfettered (unregulated, cheap) access to the natural resources held in the commons.  They want to extract (with min-wage labor, if possible) and "value add" (with min-wage labor, if possible) and enrich themselves without paying a fair price for those resources or for the labor required to do the value-adding. They don't want to be taxed, and they don't want to be regulated, but they do want credit for "building that".

        And even further more, they want to be able to use the common airsheds and watersheds as sinks to discard pollution from their industrial processes, without paying any price for environmental degradation. They want to pass those costs on to the taxpayers, the people who will eventually have to pony up to clean it up.

        And, as you ably point out, they want to hide their real (greedy) motives by stirring up single-issue voters.

      •  Compared to Benishek (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ahianne, RamblinDave

        Stupak was positively liberal--and understand, on the issue of stem cells I harassed him regularly. Benishek is a "live begins at ovulation" guy who wants to ban birth control.

  •  A Fallacy (0+ / 0-)

    One example of a threat to the life of the mother is an ectopic pregnancy, where the embryo implants outside the uterus. Most of us know a woman who has suffered through this experience.  It is an extraordinary threat to a woman's life and rare for the embryo to survive, almost non-existent

    An embryo that implants in a fallopian tube has zero chance of survival. Once it grows too large, if untreated, the fallopian tube will burst, ending the pregnancy and causing the death of the mother if emergency treatment is not given.

    Also, the term abortion applies to any pregnancy that ends prior to viability. A miscarriage is an abortion. Laws that criminalize abortion make all women subject to state control and investigation of their late menses and any early miscarriage.  

    •  It is close to zero (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ahianne

      It is zero for all practical purposes. But there have actually been a few reported cases of a fertilized egg rupturing through the tube, or escaping from the fimbriated end, and implanting in the abdomen where the pregnancy continued. A pro-birth fanatic really only needs one reported case to take the position that ectopic pregnancies are also sacrosanct.

      •  Close enough to zero (0+ / 0-)

        ..for the only rational action to be to terminate such a pregnancy when detected, but it's always good to be clear on the facts.

        Cogito, ergo Democrata.

        by Ahianne on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 05:37:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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