The Gross National Debt

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Some non-emotional discussion about abortion


Few things can stir passion as much as a discussion of abortion. Imagine, then, my surprise last week when I launched a FB discussion on it which stayed nearly 100 percent polite and involved no vicious attacks on anyone in the thread.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I do not permit attacks on people in threads on my page. You do that, yer kicked out. Applies here too. Comments welcome. Attacks on people in this thread will get you banned. A lot of attacks will result in this thread being closed to commentary.

Anyway, what happened was an insightful discussion of this issue. I have edited out the extraneous comments. With people who've known me nearly 30 years and have been closer than my blood kin, extraneous is often the order of the day. If you MUST have the whole thread, it's in my page on Dec. 7-8.

I have edited the names to their initials to indicate whom is speaking. I mostly left names alone in the comments. So, I have to point out there are 3 different people named Mary commenting below.

It kicked off with this toon and my statement: I admit to honest confusion.
PRP: The first three panels clearly show the largest fetus ever.

ME: The largest baby ever was born in Canada in 1879, according to Guinness Book of World Records. He weighed 23 lbs, 12 ounces at birth. He lived for less than 1 day.

ME: Largest to survive, according to records, 22 pounds.

PRP: Wait, if the first three panels depict babies then I am confused too.

MB: 3 babies, one confusion at all.

ME: At what point does a fetus become a baby? I have yet to get a straight answer to that. Insults, plenty of them.

MB: well my opinion is when it is born. But I'm sure there are plenty who will have 100 variations of "but what ifs"

RBA: I'm gonna say about 22 weeks or when viable. The only time you will see someone as pregnant as the person in this post getting a "late" term abortion is when the baby has either already passed away or is brain dead. There is a great new documentary that EVERYONE should see:
‘After Tiller’ movie review: Documentary lucidly explores late-term abortion

There are only three doctors in the United States who perform "late term" abortions, by the way. Most abortions are in the first trimester.

MA: Generally, if a woman gets an abortion after the first trimester, it's because she really wanted the baby and told that it wasn't going to happen, or so many obstacles were put in her way as she tried to get a first trimester abortion that she ran out of time and wound up in the second trimester.

MA: I'm with MB. I think it becomes a baby when it is born.

RBA: I don't disagree with Mary either. I am SO concerned with many laws that have come about during the past few years trying to take the right of women to chose away. In many states, like Texas and so many others, it's down right terrifying what is happening. In North Dakota and in Texas, I think there is only one place a woman will be able to get an abortion. There is a city council woman in Washougal, Washington who has gone after a group for providing homeless women with info for Planned Parenthood (along with all of the other names of groups to help homeless pregnant women). This crazy council lady is upset because the city provides $7,500 in grant money to the group since they do so much work with the homeless and all this crazy council lady could say was, "they are giving out information that kills babies." No, they gave out the contact info for Planned Parenthood which helps homeless pregnant women have HEALTHY babies at birth if they chose to remain pregnant.

JW: I always ask a pregnant woman - "When is your fetus due to become viable?"

JW: By the way, my friends in China and India are quite supportive of aborting female babies. So I'm very careful to ask them only about the viability date of their male fetuses.

RSM: My only real comments on this poster is kind of a tangent. People are always speaking of the woman's rights when it comes to abortions. "My body, my life" etc are always bandied about but you never hear anyone speaking about the flipside of that coin. What about the Father's rights? Lets say a couple get together, get their bed on and make a future human being. IF the woman decides she doesn't want it, she has the right to have an abortion. What if the father of the child doesn't want her to do this. What if the Father wants the baby? The fetus is the product of two people, but no one ever speaks about the rights of the 2nd biological donor. If the Mother has rights then so does the Father. Just curious about people's thoughts on the matter.

MB: The odds of that happening are EXTREMELY small. If a woman decides to have an abortion, usually it's because the father doesn't want to be involved, the second most common scenario is that they decided TOGETHER that it would be best.

MA: That's one of those situations that is very difficult. If only we had incubators we could put the fetus in until it was able to go to its father. Unfortunately, that isn't the case, and until they're available, I think the person who is the incubator would get the last word on the subject.

MB: I understood the original question, I'm just saying that I don't think laws should be changed just to protect the "right" of one person out of a couple of thousand or more.

MA: Really, we probably ought to sign a contract before we have sex with someone specifying all of these things in advance. That would certainly end the "well, I thought she consented" situations. I doubt that will happen either, though.

MA: I guess you just have to be very careful who you make babies with, huh?

MB: The cold hard facts are that this boils down to a religious issue every time. You can't get around it. Everyone has a different opinion as to how this relates to the bible and murder, etc. etc. It is probably the ONLY medical issue that will ever be a religious issue, besides the whole "right to die" scenario.

RBA: The Hand Maiden's Tale.

MA: I never wanted kids. I never had any. That's fairly easy. If you want kids, then you have to involve someone else, which is a bit harder. Either you have to get a surrogate or sperm donor, or you have to be connected to someone else forever.

ME: Ehhh, no, MB. Transplants, blood transfusions, vaccinations and even surgery itself are all forbidden according to come religions. Bob Marley is a great example of a surgical proscription.
Is also not a religious issue. Concerted atheists have the same debate over abortion. Again, I thank you all for being sincere about the question. I have much to think about.

RBA:  I just think it comes down to a person's body being the ultimate right of that person to control. I would never tell a man he had to be a sperm donator and if you can trust a woman with a baby, then we should be able to trust her with the decision to make a choice with her own body that is right for her. If a man wants a choice, then he should chose a woman who wants to have a child with him. I have SO many clients who don't have parents - I sure wish all these people wanting children would want them.

MA: I think that, religious or not, abortion debates mostly center around whether or not you think human beings have a "soul" (or whatever you call what makes you you) or not, and, if so, when you think that soul (for lack of a better word) enters the physical body. I don't believe in a soul that exists separate from the body (or exists when the physical body does not).

MB: Mary I have two; one grown, one almost there. I fully respect the right to an abortion. Having children is a hell of a responsibility, one that some women or couples are not ready for, or capable of doing. I have many friends that have had abortions and I have been with them through the process. Each had their own very real reasons for doing it. Me knowing these people personally, I fully understood their reasons. It was never taken lightly, and at times a very, very painful choice to make mentally. I truelly believe that in each of those circumstances they made the right decision for them at that time.

MB: Ben I'm speaking in general terms...for most people it is a religious issue.

MA: I agree that they're a big responsibility, MB. That's why I chose not to have them. Plus I'm an introvert, and kids are house guests that never go home. If people truly wanted to lower the abortion rate, the only proven method is to provide low cost, easy to obtain, and easy to use birth control. I know anti-abortion folks like to claim that people use abortions as birth control, but that is a hell of a hard way to get birth control, and I think that they would much rather prevent the pregnancy than stop it after it begins.

RBA:  I totally agree Mary. I have a good friend who planned to have just one child and then to have surgery to have no more. she became pregnant during a period of her life that was very rough and having a child at that time may have led to suicide or just incredible depression. She made a decision to abort during the first trimester and then years later had a child when she was ready, along with surgery to have no more. That child that was ultimately born would have never been born had she taken a different route in her life. As it was, she became an awesome mother and who knows the tragedy that may have occurred had she had a child when she was extremely depressed. That's just one story, but it's very profound. The documentary Freakonomics also deals with this issue in a very profound way.

MA: Sadly, there are still people who think women don't know what they want and don't understand the consequences of their decisions. I got a lot of flack when I got my tubes tied because they were sure I would change my mind, and I didn't realize how permanent that it is. How insulting.

MA: And you're right, for most people it is entirely a religious issue, as far as I can see. I used to be a pro-lifer, you see, entirely because my religion told me that I had to be or I was condoning murder. When I dropped the religion, I realized that I had never looked at the other side of the issue. Even back when I was pro-life, though, it really upset me when others judged the ones who had abortions.

MB: I can give another example. Back around twenty years ago one friend had just left her boyfriend. He was abusive and alcoholic, he couldn't hold down a job and made it clear he did not want children. She never even told him she was pregnant. She was homeless, had no car and was making minimum wage. She knew she could not take care of a child at that point in time, she couldn't even take care of herself.She didn't want to be a burden to society. She wanted to be a mother very badly, but she wanted to wait until she could be the mother she knew she wanted to be. It was very painful for her to make that decision and she struggled with it for years.

RBA: I was in the same boat Mary and when I was 19 or 20, an ethics professor had each of us privately decide where we stood on the issue of abortion. Then, we had to write a persuasive paper for the OTHER side. This forced each of us to take a hard look at the other side. It was a great assignment and as a result, I went to the other side on that issue and never looked back.

RBA: MB, your example is very similar to some of the stories that came out in the documentary Freakonomics. In that case, they looked at Romania and the United States from the 1970's until the 1990's and the specific issue was because Romania outlawed abortion and the United States had Roe vs. Wade. What they saw was that women made the best choice when it is right for them to have a child and it primarily came down to those issues surrounding economics and a woman having a child at 30, when she is more often able to provide for them is very different from that same woman having a child when she is 18 and has very little means to provide. The children of women given a choice are FAR more likely to not grow up in poverty and many other issues that surround poverty.

MB: Other story is a couple who had 4 kids. They were both low income earners and barely getting by. They too did not want to have to ask for government assistance. They knew that one more child would be the straw that broke the camel's back. It's very easy to say you are against something till you start hearing the stories and understanding the reasons why.

RBA: The new documentary After Tiller explores many of these same issues.

MT: I actually was pro choice til I found out I was an accident. My mother was actually driven to the clinic in Jacksonville to abort me. Finding that out changed my mind. I'm just saying that it's all fine and well to make your decisions, (I believe we'll all be judged in the end....I'm not perfect.) just don't take the humanity out procedure. It's a baby, a person with potential not a potential person.

MB: I think there is humanity of both sides of the issue, you just have to see it.

MA: We don't help mothers to care for their children after they're born, so it's pretty hypocritical to insist that they have to bring them into this world. What's really annoying is when they're against birth control AND abortion. What do expect women to do? Because it's the women who are going to deal with the consequences. It's nearly impossible to make a man pay child support if he doesn't want to, and if you give custody to the man, you're a horrible mother. It should be easier to get sterilized, too, if you want it.

MA: My husband just asked who I was arguing with. I told him that we were talking about abortion, but it wasn't much of an argument, since we all seemed to agree.

MB: This is why it is so important to keep the government out of this issue. It is a personal choice, a life long choice. A life-changing choice.

MT: Yes I agree life changing.....for more than one person.

MT: Yeh, sadly though I disagree.

MA: It's interesting that many of the same people who are up in arms over Obamacare because "the government shouldn't interfere between a person and their doctor" are all for laws that come between a woman and her doctor.

MB: Mary T. obviously your mother made the decision that was right for her. Not every child can be born into a loving home. Many will be in adoption centers for years...just call your local Family and Children agency and see. Many will be born into povery and suffer. This goes on in America every day. The house behind me is 300 square feet, there are 6 people living in a building the size of a large carport. I'm happy that things worked out for you and your mother, but that doesn't mean there should be laws forcing women to have children that they cannot take care of.

MT: I've seen adoption first hand....I know it's not all rainbows and happy endings. I suppose I'll just seem biased because of the way I feel. I just think there is something to be said for the baby.

Paul Hodges According to Roe vs. Wade, one of these things is not like the other. I see a baby in three.

RBA: I've been acquainted with a young woman who committed suicide because she saw no "choices" and she was desperate. I'm sure we can always come up with that "one" story that will convince us of either side. But that's why choice is so important. My mother had a miscarriage before becoming pregnant with me, had it been that she had chosen a prior abortion, same difference I could have been born while another not. Maybe that other person would have been a better person than me? Maybe we could say too bad Hitler's mom didn't have an abortion. I don't think that the individual stories that make up each of our personal lives should dictate what others can or should do. It's a personal choice, at least up until viability (however you define that).

TC:  I see lives forever changed in all four, no matter how narrowly rhetoric chooses to define them. Who could they all have been? We will never know, because one person decided to make a decision for both lives.

MB: Tom when you can get pregnant, let me know.

TC:  That capability, or the lack of it, is irrelevant to my point. You can argue whether a fetus is a person, whether it has a soul, whether it is imbued of rights, or is human, etc. 'til you're blue, but one point is factual and medically as well as scientifically unarguable; that mass of cells is alive, same as the rest of the cells in a body, and has the potential to 'be' a human, and nothing else. Seems to me that's two lines of potential history, one of which is being decided by the other by force. Something feels basically wrong with that, IMHO.

MB: Going to go to bed now..not gonna get in a debate about whether a mass of cells have rights or not.

TC:  I'm not debating, just throwing a observation into the conversation, and I really don't care whether there is agreement or not. Not much short of a major breakthrough in science will change how I feel on this issue.

RBA: I think MA and I can ONLY imagine what was said. Glad I can't see anymore - I use to get REALLY mean but MA is helping me to be a better person on FB. lol

Every parent makes decisions for their children every day. I've had to hold my little girl, screaming and kicking, as a shoved a frozen bullet of medicine-butter up her rear end against her preferences.

If I truly believed what was best for her was for me to wring her little head off, I'd've done that too, and the same for anyone who tried to stop me.

I do not make assumptions for every other person, and I really don't want to hear a ton of statistics about it, because every case is unique. There are horrible wrongs being done on both sides of this argument, but in the end, I'm with Mary Beth: not going to debate whether a ball of cells has rights.

Heck, I don't think you guys have rights aside from what you can defend. I make my choices based on my morals, and the only thing that makes me care about your preferences is that my morals and ethics require it.

As for Tom's argument, I know a lot of grown people with the potential to be a human that the world would be better off without.

LMR: I believe that along with most things, you must decide for yourself. I could never have one, but I love people who have done so. No matter what, if it is something desired, it will be acquired, politics or not. I want to add the difference in how babies are viewed now. I read these comments and see a certain common similarities in lifestyles and thoughts. Now give a glance to the very large population of young people who see a baby as just another tally, the boys who boost how many they have by different women -the girls who brag who's baby they have. Babies and toddlers in herd of young girls at mall who see them as accessories. These kids are no longer seeing post birth children as babies, never mind while still in womb. I am certainly not advocating shipping young girls off in the night for 9 months, but the trend is now so far in other direction. Schools teeming with pregnant girls. I suggest more focus on the common prevention tools for ALL--birth control.

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