Whose Abortion?

There is apparently a new men’s rights, anti-abortion movement underway that seeks to change political and personal language from “I had an abortion” or “she had an abortion” to “We had an abortion.” Be prepared to get pissed off. I personally feel like breaking a few things. Also, I encourage you to read the whole article, because I’m going to chop it up a little.

Jason Baier talks often to the little boy he calls Jamie. He imagines this boy — his son — with blond hair and green eyes, chubby cheeks, a sweet smile.

But he’ll never know for sure.

His fiancee’s sister told him about the abortion after it was over. Baier remembers that he cried. The next weeks and months go black. He knows he drank far too much. He and his fiancee fought until they broke up. “I hated the world,” he said.

Baier, 36, still longs for the child who might have been, with an intensity that bewilders him: “How can I miss something I never even held?”

These days, he channels the grief into activism in a burgeoning movement of “post-abortive men.” Abortion is usually portrayed as a woman’s issue: her body, her choice, her relief or her regret. This new movement — both political and deeply personal in nature — contends that the pronoun is all wrong.

We had abortions,” said Mark B. Morrow, a Christian counselor. “I’ve had abortions.”

Oh hell no. Back the fuck up a minute, buddy.

Who had an abortion? Funny me, I always thought that pronouns were meant to be about accuracy, not your ego. And from your statements, it sounds like you have never personally had female reproductive capacity. In fact, it sounds an awful lot like your fiancee had an abortion. Were your legs in stirrups? Did you have the contents of your uterus suctioned out? Did you bleed and have cramps and have to refrain from sexual intercourse for your own health afterwards? Did you have to face — either actually or mentally — the accusations of “whore,” “irresponsible,” or “baby killer?” Did you have to wonder how and if to tell your family, or how to get time off of work? Hell, did you even pay for it? Because actually, it sounds like you didn’t.

Now, obviously, this is in no way saying that men are totally uninvolved in abortion emotionally and that men don’t frequently provide support to their partners. What it is to say is that it’s not the same damn thing. If a man has testicular cancer (to choose a mild to moderate medical and emotional trauma that only biological males can experience), and his wife/girlfriend/whatever worries about him, supports him, helps him during recovery, assists in paying the medical bills, etc., she is certainly involved and invested. But I think that pretty much anyone would be offended if she actually suggested “we had testicular cancer.”

Abortion rights supporters, of course, acknowledge that men play varying roles with regard to abortion and can indeed feel emotional pain afterwards. And yet, the antis just don’t quite seem to get it:

Even abortion rights supporters acknowledge that men may benefit from counseling when they and their partners face an unwanted pregnancy. Sociologist Arthur Shostak has interviewed thousands of men waiting in abortion clinics; though they tried to project strength to help their lovers through the ordeal, many told him that they felt powerless, anxious and alone. Some dreamed about the children they would never know.

Shostak encourages clinics to reach out to these men. But he views the activist movement with alarm.

Recruits often cycle through church-based retreats, support groups and Bible studies that aim to heal post-abortion trauma. The men are urged to think of themselves as fathers, to name — and ask forgiveness from — the children they might have raised, had their partners not aborted.

At one retreat, the men are told to picture their sons and daughters dancing in a sunny meadow at the feet of Jesus Christ.

“They draw in men who may have a little ambivalence, possibly a little guilt, and they exacerbate those feelings,” Shostak said.

Well, it’s good to see that no matter how much things change, the more they stay the same. Manipulation of people’s emotions? Check. Forced guilt? Check. Making women who have abortions sound like evil whores who ruin men’s lives by killing “their babies?” Big, fat, bold check.

I’m not denying that this shit is clever. In fact, what infuriates me is that it actually seems to work. We seem to have gone from “abortion is murdering babies” to “abortion hurts women” and now to “abortion hurts men.” Yeah: they’ll try anything.

“It’s a rule of thumb that if you want to get a law passed, you have to tell anecdotes that grab people,” said Dr. Nada Stotland, president-elect of the American Psychiatric Assn. Antiabortion activists have done that well, she said. “They’ve succeeded in convincing a lot of the American public” that abortion leaves women wounded.

Now, those activists see an opportunity to dramatically expand the message.

The Justice Foundation recently began soliciting affidavits from men; one online link promises, “Your story will help legal efforts to end abortion.” Silent No More encourages men to testify at rallies.

Therapist Vincent M. Rue, who helped develop the concept of post-abortion trauma, runs an online study that asks men to check off symptoms (such as irritability, insomnia and impotence) that they feel they have suffered as a result of an abortion. When men are widely recognized as victims, Rue said, “that will change society.” [my emphasis]

If that doesn’t elicit bitter laughter, I don’t know what will. When women are recognized as victims? Society just keeps on raping them, beating them, and desperately trying to snatch away any other type of female bodily autonomy they still legally have left. But once men feel some pain — especially at the hands of stupid, selfish whores! — the sad thing is that yes, I do believe it has the potential to make people pay attention and want change.

I also have to say that no, this Morrow guy doesn’t deserve our damn sympathy. At first, he may just come off as a self-righteous, ignorant douche who is handling his grief very poorly. But actually, he’s a massive, massive asshole:

Morrow, the counselor, described his regret as sneaking up on him in midlife — more than a decade after he impregnated three girlfriends (one of them twice) in quick succession in the late 1980s. All four pregnancies ended in abortion.

Years later, when his wife told him she was pregnant, “I suddenly realized that I had four dead children,” said Morrow, 47, who lives near Erie, Pa. “I hadn’t given it a thought. Now it all came crashing down on me — look what you’ve done.”

A few months ago, Morrow reached out to the ex-girlfriend who aborted twice. They met and prayed together, seeking peace. After they parted, she spilled her anger in a letter: “That long day we sat in that God-forsaken clinic, I hoped every moment that you would stand up and say, ‘We can’t do this’. . . but you didn’t.”

Isn’t it funny how a guy can impregnate three women a total of four times in only a few years, watch every pregnancy end in abortion, and then years later think “oh god, what have I done to those poor embryos?” No guilt about the girlfriend who had abortions when she didn’t want to because she didn’t know how to talk to him about it. No guilt or responsibility for being a very lazy user of contraception (not entirely his responsibility, of course, but still). No thinking about how the women felt, no wondering if they were okay, if they went through pain, if they mourned. Not even “hey, I was a huge contributer to three different women’s lives being at least temporarily fucked up.” Just thoughts about how those women killed his babies, and how he, with the incredibly strength and arrogance that he feels has to automatically come along with the possession of a penis, could have stopped them. Whether they wanted to be stopped or not. “Look what you’ve done,” he says to himself. Because apparently, he thinks that he had control over the situation all along.

Nah, no misogyny there.

In fact, it seems like the LA Times couldn’t find a single non-asshole to interview on the subject. Does that mean they just did some really shitty reporting (after all, there is a non-quote statement about how a man wishes he could have “save[d] the babies”)? Or is it because only arrogant assholes would join a movement designed to outlaw the right for women to control their own bodies, solely because their personal male feelings have been hurt? I’ll let you decide:

Aubert, 50, was equally untroubled when another girlfriend had an abortion in 1991. “It was a complete irrelevancy,” he said. But years later, Aubert felt a rising sense of unease. He and his wife were cooing at an ultrasound of their first baby when it struck him — “from the depths of my belly,” he said — that abortion was wrong.

Aubert has since converted to Catholicism. He and his wife have five children, and they sometimes protest in front of abortion clinics. Every now and then, though, Aubert wonders: What if his first girlfriend had not aborted? How would his life look different?

He might have endured a loveless marriage and, perhaps, a sad divorce. He might have been saddled with child support as he tried to build his legal practice. He might never have met his wife. Their children — Christine, Kyle, Roch, Paul, Vance — might not exist.

“I wouldn’t have the blessings I have now,” Aubert said. So in a way, he said, the two abortions may have cleared his path to future happiness.

“That’s an intellectual debate I have with myself,” he said. “I struggle with it.”

In the end, Aubert says his moral objection to abortion always wins. If he could go back in time, he would try to save the babies.

But would his long-ago girlfriends agree? Or might they also consider the abortions a choice that set them on a better path?

Aubert looks startled. “I never really thought about it for the woman,” he says slowly.

Doesn’t that say it all?

0 thoughts on “Whose Abortion?

  1. Jenny Dreadful

    I just read this article in the LA Times, and I’ve got to say, I don’t know what surprises me more–the sense of entitlement that these guys are just dripping with, or the reporting of this “movement” in the first place.

    I love that the first guy blames his descent into alcohol-induced madness on his fiancee’s abortion. I read his delusional, self-indulgent behavior as evidence of what kind of a crazy parent he would make. If he can’t deal with his partner making an automous decision about her own body, what’s he going to do when his blond, green-eyed, perfect baby steps out of line?

  2. BettyBoondoggle

    “Aubert looks startled. “I never really thought about it for the woman,” he says slowly.”

    Well, what a surprise. I mean, it’s all about *you* isn’t it. worthless.

  3. pizzadiavola

    “I wouldn’t have the blessings I have now,” Aubert said. So in a way, he said, the two abortions may have cleared his path to future happiness.

    Wow. Massively, massively egocentric. His girlfriend having or not having abortions isn’t about her, them, or the children, even, it’s about him and how it affects his life. This is completely stupid and so disgusting.

  4. Cara Post author

    You know, the sad thing about the “I never really thought about it for the woman” comment is that it gets even worse. I ended the post on that line for emphasis; it seemed extremely fitting. But if you go to the article and read the couple of short paragraphs that come after that line, you’ll see this:

    He has not talked with either of the ex-girlfriends, but he says he can imagine what they feel because he knows how the abortions affected him.

    I know it has already been said time and time again what an egomaniac tool this guy is, but Christ. He’s going for gold. Oh, and there’s this, too:

    He never had the nightmares that other men describe, or the crying jags, the drug abuse, the self-loathing. Yet he knows he has been tarnished.

    “I have this stain on my soul,” Aubert said, “and it will always be there.”

    Poor. Fucking. Baby.

  5. Izzy

    Ugh. Well, I can’t say I’m surprised. They were bound to start whining about the rights of their precious sperm sooner or later.

  6. Cara Post author

    Well, they’ve actually been whining about their “rights” over a fetus for some time now. But now they’re taking some new, bizarre “emotional” approach that is still utterly hateful and yet, for reasons I cannot figure out, at least somewhat appealing to the masses.

  7. WereBear

    The really scary part is that this guy is still the self-centered jerk he always was… and now he’s a father.

    At the slow pace his personality is evolving, I figure he might have a change at adulthood with the messed up grandkids…

  8. Rebecca

    I’m about lost for words on this. The entitlement, the privilege, the absolute lack of respect for their partner’s body or comprehension of their experience…

    That people like this actually exist…*shiver*

  9. Thursday

    This clearly shows where the battle is – it lies in overcoming ignorance. Not just ignorance, but the willingness to be and remain ignorant.

    The blind cowardice of men to confront their own feelings blinds them to the feelings of others. None of the men quoted in this piece spoke to the women they impregnated, or none of the women they had impregnated felt comfortable enough to discuss their options with the men themselves.

    Gosh, I can’t imagine why!

    How about this: the leading cause of death for pregnant women is their husbands/boyfriends.

    Could be a reason she didn’t tell the psycho who blacked out for “weeks and months”, do you think?

  10. BettyBoondoggle

    “But now they’re taking some new, bizarre “emotional” approach that is still utterly hateful and yet, for reasons I cannot figure out, at least somewhat appealing to the masses.”

    My personal theory is that people forgive men anything. No man is ever a rapist, an abuser or anything that isn’t the fault of women.

    Notice that this article talks about one guy leaving a check for $200 under a woman’s door for the abortion and never talked to her again. He went to play softball.

    And yet, the problem isn’t his callous disregard of this woman, his cold abandonment – no no no! – the problem is the abortion took place. See, it’s her fault.

  11. RachelPhilPa

    Oh, for the love of G-ddess. To those dudes I say “Cry me a river”. They’re nothing but adult-size baybeez. What are they going to do next, appear on some preacher’s TV show, crying and blubbering how hurt they are because the wife / girlfriend dared to control their own body? Their seems to be no depth below which they won’t stoop to enslave women.

  12. Thealogian

    It seems like the only glimmer of hope in “telling” the stories of these men is that through their own language and absolute lack of empathy (capacity to think beyond themselves), they will reveal what total selfish tools they are! And in some ways, will thus show how absurd their desire to control the bodies of others really is! In some ways its an ad hominine attack–if assholes such as these are on your side, are you sure you should really support this “pro-life/forced-pregnancy” position? Okay, maybe that’s hoping too much.

    peace & no sex with REPUBLICANS!

  13. Cara Post author

    EWWW. Republican sex. There’s a solution to unplanned pregnancy: just talk regularly about naked Republicans. The horrible images of evil naked men, young and old, will render most of the American public completely incapable of sexual drive. Though it’s not exactly the method I would encourage 🙂

  14. mary

    The issue isn’t the guys who spoke out. It is the fact that men who have fathered a child can react to the destruction of the child. Many many coerce abortion, many men use the “it’s your choice” opt-out of responsibility, and many men do not want the abortion (but have no legal rights. Afterwards, men’s attitudes can change, as many women’s have. The rhetoric, lack of logic, and lack of scientific understanding among objectors to the LA Times story is really a sad commentary on the fact that the internet contains more spleen than thought.

  15. Cara Post author

    Quite the opposite of sad commentary, Mary, I’d say that it’s a relieving affirmation that some people left in this world have enough of a brain to still distinguish between “embryo” or “fetus” and “baby,” and to understand the basic concept of whose body belongs to whom. [Wait, my husband’s body DOESN’T belong to me? But I’ve had sex with him!!!! Many times!!!! And we have a legal document defining the commitment of our relationship!!! Oh, sorry. I forgot that it only “works” the other way around.]

    Clearly, you’re not there yet. And I can’t even begin to comprehend what you might mean by our “lack of scientific understanding.” But I’m sure that it will make you sound utterly ridiculous, so by all means, do tell.

  16. mary

    That the conceptus is a genetically unique human individual formed equally from the father and the mother, that embryo-fetus-newborn-
    baby-toddler are all names for a developing human incapable of being viable on its own, that the reason men should take responsibility for their born children is the same reason men should have the ability to veto an abortion, that rape and incest abortions make the child pay the price of the crime and destroy the evidence at the same time. That the scientific evidence is overwhelming – and done by pro-choicers – that abortion causes mental illness for previously healthy females. My question: do you believe that human life is unique, sacred, and ought to be protected by law? If you don’t, then why do you not object to laws against killing children or adults? Because of the location of the intended victims?

  17. Cara Post author

    So. You understand that fetuses and embryos are not humans but “developing humans” incapable of living on their own. But you still think that women should be forced against their will to let this developing human live off of them for 9 months. You understand — I hope — that said “developing human” lives inside of women, and yet you think that men should be able to tell them “nope, sorry, you have to carry around that developing human for 9 months and let it live off of you and then expel it in an extremely painful and somewhat risky manner, because I left my jizz inside you that one time.” You suggest that rape and incest victims should be forced to carry around the developing human with the unique DNA you describe acquired from said rapist for 9 months and let it live off of them. Even if they’re children themselves. Even if doing so would be incredibly traumatizing. And actually, no, abortion does not cause mental illness, and no, pro-choicers did not say that.
    So. In other words, I was right about you looking utterly ridiculous. Go it.
    And actually, yes, I do value life very highly. I value the lives of women who I don’t want to see die because they’ve shoved coat hangers up their vaginas in desperate attempt to expel the “developing human” with very little brain activity, so small that I could squish it in between my fingers or that I could pass it out of my body during my period without even realizing it. I value the concept that once life is given, no one should be able to hold you hostage in your own body — even that guy you fucked. Even if you made a bad choice and let him come inside you, even if the condom broke, even if you forgot to take your pill. I also understand that the life of the embryo/fetus can be extremely valuable to the woman carrying it. I’m fine with and happy about that. I’m not pro-forced abortion. Because I don’t get off on controlling other people’s lives. I’ve got other things to do. You, on the other hand, are indeed pro-forced birth.
    But hey, you’re here. And you probably won’t go away until you annoy me enough or say something so inflammatory that I’m forced to ban you. So, we can play my favorite game. It’s called “Ask the Forced-Birth Proponent a Question They Won’t Answer,” and it’s a lot of fun. So, Mary: how much time should a woman who has an abortion serve in jail?
    If your answer involves any woman being too feeble-minded to understand what is happening in her uterus or to have her own original thoughts or to handle the manly business of making decisions, and therefore are not responsible for their abortions, though, it will result in instant banning. But I’ll still leave your comment up so that we can laugh at you.
    [Aside to the intelligent: I think that the primary season is getting to me. I’m in quite the nasty mood today. Is it wrong that I kind of like it and am not even remotely apologetic?]

  18. lepidopteryx

    While a man may want the child, the fact remains that he is not the one who has to carry it, it’s not his body that is put through extreme changes for nine months, not his crotch that is split open during a vaginal delivery, not his belly that is sliced open during a C-section, and not his life that is threatened when deliveries go wrong (and I speak as someone who almost died along with my daughter during her birth). He’s not the one who faces loss of income if he happens to work at a job that involves exposure to radiation or teratogenic chemicals, and he is most likely not the one who will have to adjust a wrok schedule to accomodate things like day care hours or leaving to pick up a sick child from school. He’s not the one whose breasts will leak, who will bleed and cramp while healing after the birth.
    So until men can get pregnant and give birth, their say in the decision of whether or not to carry a pregnancy is only as much as the woman wants them to have.

  19. Sarah

    It’s jerks like these guys who are also now protesting in front of the HOMES of *builders* and *contractors* of a new Planned Parenthood building in Denver, not just the folks who work in the clinics (or in front of clinics). Horrifying! – and for those of you celebrating Christmas: they were slated to protest in front of their homes even on that day. It’s really showing how the antichoice movement is evolving and changing tactics. It’s scary, scary shit.

  20. lepidopteryx

    Clarification – my daughter and I both almost died during her birth. She did not die while being born – she’s now a lovely, intelligent pro-choice teenager.

  21. akeeyu

    Christ, what a passel of assholes.

    If men really want to say “I had an abortion,” does this mean that they want to have a canula shoved up their junk?

    If their wives and girlfriends choose to give birth, does this mean that they’re willing to get screwed by their employers and share in the breastfeeding duties, as well? I mean, it seems only fair if they truly want to share the experience.

    Wait, what? They don’t? Jeez.

  22. mary

    Cara, you too are a developing human. As am I. We develop from embryo to fetus to newborn to infant to baby to toddler to child to adolescent to adult to full maturity to elderly to death, unless sickness or violence intervenes at any point on that spectrum. You were an embryo. You survived. Many of your relatives and would-be classmates and workmates (and would be social security payors) did not. Either one believes that human beings – all of whom are developing – deserve the protection of law – or there is no protection for anyone. Good luck when you are 65 and the government wants to dispose of you because you are a burden. And good luck to all of us when the next generation learns the lesson we taught them – that other people are to be tolerated only until they impair our quality of life.

  23. akeeyu

    Mary, we were all sperm once, too, but I’m not going to argue that sperm have inalienable human rights.

    Just for perspective, I’m pro-choice and yet have spent quite a lot of my time caring for elderly and infirm relatives. Shocking, isn’t it?

  24. Cara Post author

    No, seriously, that’s your argument? I’m disappointed, and my expectations were already pretty damn low. At least you played the “Ask the Forced-Birth Proponent a Question They Won’t Answer” game properly.
    Good luck when you are 65 and the government wants to dispose of you because you are a burden.
    Is that 65 year old person connected to another person’s body for survival? Because if so, that would be the other person’s decision, not the government’s. And no, I wouldn’t expect anyone to let me use them as my own personal life-support machine unless, for whatever reason, they really wanted to do so. Any other interpretation of that argument pertaining to abortion is just plain silly.
    You were an embryo. You survived.
    Seriously, people — and yeah, now I’m just ranting to no one in particular — there are a lot of anti-choice arguments that piss me off. Obviously. But the “WHAT IF YOUR MOTHER ABORTED YOU, HUH?” argument is an extremely strong contender for what gets under my skin the absolute most. The thing is that anti-choicers paint us as being the narcissistic ones, worried only about ourselves and not about poor little babies. But this line of thinking really gets the truth out into the open. How ridiculously self-centered and self-important is this question? “Abortion is bad because I could have been aborted or you could have been aborted.” Could it get any worse? Let’s restrict women’s freedom because I have an ego problem and consider myself to be Extremely Important! Great idea.
    The answer to the “what if” question, of course, is that I never would have been born. Wow. That’s rough. But I wouldn’t have known the damn difference. What would have happened if my mother aborted me? Well, from my standpoint it would be absolutely nothing. I wouldn’t have existed, I wouldn’t be sitting here talking about it, and none of you would have ever cared or known the difference, and neither would the “I” that didn’t exist. Anti-climactic, I know, and yet . . . logical.

  25. Dette

    Wow all I have read are comments from angry people. So what if a man wants to feel something and says so. Even if his capcity is very little, let him have the right to say, just as you have the right to say. Yes logic tells all of us that he can’t experience the physical part or even the emotional part of being a woman who chooses to abort her own child, but if he wants to take on some responsiblity for his actions, his part, let him. I didn’t want to but there came that day when I had to take responibilty for my own actions and deal with my choices too. I wonder how you would treat me? Some people need to air their laundry more then other, but does that mean that one’s dirty clothes is better then another, or just more noticable.

  26. Cara Post author

    The problem, Dette, isn’t that these men have feelings about the abortions. The problem is that they are using those feelings as a rationale to take away the rights of other people to make their own choices. If this was just about counseling men after their partners had abortions, that would be a good thing. This isn’t. It’s misogyny. Try actually reading the story. It will help you create more interesting and believable spin.

    Not that I take seriously the comments of anyone who uses the language “a woman who chooses to abort her own child.”

  27. Dette

    Talk about spin, using the word misogyny: hatred of women.
    Maybe some of us don’t use $5.00 words but we have common sense, and we do read. I can see that you don’t want to talk just fight with anyone that doesn’t think the way you do. And the part of not taking my comments seriously, well here is another. The truth will not harm you, it might hurt a little but it won’t harm you. I can’t don’t exspect you to see but I would hope that you would seek it. Have a good evening.

  28. Cara Post author

    Thanks for defining misogyny for me. All this time I thought it meant “The Love of Traditional Family Values.” Now I feel silly.

    Also, it always amazes me that people go spouting off shit about how they own my body, and every other woman’s body, and then are surprised when I get pissed off and have no interest in hearing it.

  29. BettyBoondoggle

    “Good luck when you are 65 and the government wants to dispose of you because you are a burden.”

    Oh what totall bullshit. IS this really the best you can do?

    Was the 65 year old person shoved into someone’s uterus? Morons.


    “Maybe some of us don’t use $5.00 words but we have common sense, and we do read. I can see that you don’t want to talk just fight with anyone that doesn’t think the way you do. ”

    Wow Dette is a total coward.

    And the truth, dearie, is that women have the right to decide if they will be pregnant. And selfish pig monsters who abandoned them 10 years ago don’t now deserve pity because they changed their minds. Notice that the asshole in this piece isn’t ashamed at how he treated this woman – which was likely a large part of her decision to abort – but he is all teary that she had an abortion.

    He’s a selfish pig. No one gives a fuck what he thinks about he situation since it never even occured to the misogynistic fuckwad what the woman wanted.

    Kinda like you and your dipshit anti-choice ilk.

    P.S. Misogyny is hatred for women, yes. But are you so clueless as to think that hatred comes only in the raging, violent way? Doesn’t total contempt = hatred. Doesn’t total disregard for women = hatred?

  30. Edie W.

    Guys and gals, you are doing NOTHING for the cause. Picking and choosing bits and pieces from the article and not going beyond the surface makes you look uninformed and militant, not convincing. You are acting like the people you are criticizing, only worse. If you want to win, you need to tone it down.

    Here is a snippet from Chris Aubert’s website at http://www.chrisaubert.com. I find it open and honest and fair:

    A very interesting article on men and abortion appeared in the L.A. Times today. CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE ARTICLE. Although the article has only been out for several hours (at the time I write this), I have already received more than 20 emails and several phone calls about it. (I am amazed at how resourceful people are!) Several interesting questions were asked, and I thought I would address them here, to the extent anyone else has the same questions. I am also happy to answer your questions, if you will EMAIL ME.

    1.Is the article accurate?

    Answer: While I would not have used some of the phrases the author used, the article is, for the most part, accurate, at least insofar as it pertains to me.

    2.Why hasn’t this issue come up earlier?

    Answer:I can’t answer that; perhaps our “politically correct” society was not ready for it earlier?

    3.Do you think what you are feeling is a medical condition or some kind of illness or psychiatric syndrome?

    Answer: I am not smart enough to put a label on it, and I don’t think the label really matters anyway. From my perspective, it is a grief issue, and all I can tell you is how I feel. For example, if a man voluntarily goes out and gets drunk and then voluntarily gets behind the wheel of a car and kills someone, my suspicion is that he feels grief as a result. Indeed, feeling grief in such a situation would seem to me to be quite normal. Yet, having never killed anyone while driving drunk, I don’t know how or what he feels. But, I can tell you that I am the only person on the planet who knows how I feel about voluntarily participating in killing two of my own children through abortion.

    4.Do you think there is a political overtone to this issue?

    Answer:Not for me. If you think it is fun, entertaining, easy, or thrilling to tell such an intimate story to, in some cases, 1,000 people, you should try it sometime. You will quickly be disabused of that thought. As for others in the pro-life movement, their motives, to me, are not relevant. They are trying to stop the slaughter of the most helpless people in the world – innocent little babies – and if they do it for political reasons, I have no problem with that.

    5.Do you think having men involved in the abortion debate will help or hurt the pro-life cause?

    Answer: I can’t imagine how it could hurt the cause. How could more information and evidence ever be worse than less information and evidence? The truth is, men suffer after abortions, no matter what the pro-abortion crowd wants us to think.

    6.Do you think that Roe v. Wade will ever be overturned?

    Answer:Absolutely. As time passes and science gets better, it is harder and harder to ignore what I saw when I looked at the first ultrasound of my daughter. That was a baby in there, and that baby had rights, including the right to life. That’s the end of the discussion, as far as I am concerned. Anyone who is intellectually honest has to agree, and, as such, almost by definition, Roe v. Wade will have to be overturned; that is, assuming that the Supreme Court is intellectually honest.

    7.You’re just a Christian wacko.

    Answer. Thank you for that kind comment, but I was Jewish when I had my epiphany that killing babies through abortion was morally wrong.

    8.In the article, you are quoted as saying you wouldn’t have the blessings you now have had you not aborted, and as being startled when asked about the women and saying, “I never really thought about it for the woman.” Does this mean that you think the abortions were, in some way, good?

    Answer: No. First of all, the comment about the blessings is simply like contemplating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Everyone in life, I think, at times wonders “what if”? What if my mother never met my father? What if I had gone to a different college? What if I had taken that other job? What if Gore had won Florida? These are just intellectual exercises, as I mentioned in the article. Having the thought or doing the mental gymnastics does not mean that I am happy, in any way, about the abortions. I am not.

    Second, as for thinking about the women, my point was, I had never considered whether they had the same intellectual thoughts I did. It is not good or bad that I never considered this, I just never did. In this regard, I think the questioner’s point is that, somehow, I did not care about the woman. To the contrary, my concern was 100% for the women. They brought up the abortions, they suggested the abortions, and they encouraged the abortions. I was never asked my opinion, and I never gave my opinion. I never gave my opinion because, I am embarrassed to admit now, I didn’t have an opinion at the time – I couldn’t have cared less. You see, I was ignorant of the truth, and, worse, I was ignorant that I was ignorant.

    Third, I find the author’s statement, “But would his long-ago girlfriends . . . also consider the abortions a choice that set them on a better path?” The author’s use of the word “also” is completely inappropriate, and she should be ashamed. The use of this word suggests that I think my abortions set me on a better path. I do not think that, I have never thought that, I did not say that, and I reject that conclusion categorically.

    Fourth, and finally, the point of the entire interview is summed up fairly when the author writes or correctly quotes me as saying: “I struggle with it (the intellectual issue)”; in the end, my “moral objection to abortion always wins”; If I could go back in time, I “would try to save the babies”; and “I have this stain on my soul and it will always be there.”

  31. mary

    Dependence is dependence, whether the life support is a the womb or medical care for a stroke victim. There are two people involved. Cara, it seems that you are saying that even when two human beings are involved, the dependent one loses its right to exist. Is that what you are saying?

    And to the person who likened sperm to embryo: learn some basic science.

  32. Cara Post author

    As soon as you answer my question, Mary, I’ll consider answering yours. Even though I actually already have answered it more than once.

    Also, I let Edie’s comment through just because the information it contained was rather interesting in an infuriatingly ridiculous way. But what Edie thinks that we’re trying to “win,” I’m not sure. Personally, I think that personal bodily autonomy is more of a right than a prize. I also don’t know how including very large excerpts, linking to the full article and actively encouraging people to read the whole thing is unfairly “choosing bits and pieces.”

  33. BettyBoondoggle

    “you are doing NOTHING for the cause. Picking and choosing bits and pieces from the article and not going beyond the surface makes you look uninformed and militant, not convincing. You are acting like the people you are criticizing, only worse. If you want to win, you need to tone it down.”

    FUCK YOU. Is that toned down enough?


    “Dependence is dependence, whether the life support is a the womb or medical care for a stroke victim.”

    No matter how many times you repeat this bullshit, it’s still bullshit.

    A LIVING BREATHING person is far more important the the imaginary babies in your head.

    ” it seems that you are saying that even when two human beings are involved, the dependent one loses its right to exist. Is that what you are saying?”

    My brother in law needs a kidney. Hand over your kidney right now. Since you have what my brother in law needs, hand it over. If you don’t, he’ll die. He’s dependant on YOU and YOUR KIDNEY to live. Hand it over. Or be outed as a raging hypocrite.

  34. akeeyu

    Mary, you DID start out as sperm, you know. Sperm + egg = embryo, remember?

    You ARE signed up to be a living organ donor, right, Mary? Betty’s got a point, there. Somebody, somewhere, probably needs your kidney, a lobe of your liver, some bone marrow, blood, a heart, your lungs? You’re willing to give those up, right?

  35. Cara Post author

    Ouch, I hear that giving bone marrow really sucks. I imagine that the rest would, too. It would be a really hard thing to go through, even if you really wanted to do it to help a person you love. Can you imagine being forced to do it for someone you have no interest in? All that pain, recovery, loss of control over your own body? The only thing that would be worse than being forced to engage in such a profound giving of one’s self when you didn’t want to is if the process took a full 9 months.

  36. mary

    No, “I” did not start out as a sperm A sperm is a cell with motility, a cell that belongs to the male and has his genetic endowment, part of the male. A conceptus or fertilized ovum or embryo is made up of the union of sperm and egg, with an entirely new-in-the-human-race combination of genes from the male and the female. It organizes itself, and it needs only food and proper environment to grow and develop. Just like you. I started, as did we all, as a once celled genetically unique organism that quickly developed, within a few days, an elaborate anatomy. As for unanswered questions, I have tried to answer every question. If there is one I have missed (which is easy to do with this format), please re-state it. Thanks.

  37. BettyBoondoggle

    Avoidance of the question is unacceptable, Mary.

    Are you prepared to give up your kidney? Since you so firmly believe that a women must forgo all personal boldily autonomy for depenedants, cough it up.

    The surgery will be expensive – for you. The recovery will be rough -for you. You might not live. And if you don’t do it, you’re a murderer – by your own definition.

    Kidney or hypocrisy, Mary. Answer the question.

  38. akeeyu

    Uh, Mary, I’m not sure how you escaped the sperm and egg stage that the rest of us went through, but that’s sure a neat trick.

    Also, I’m curious which ‘elaborate anatomy’ you’re claiming that embryos and blasts have ‘within a few days’. Have you ever taken a good look at three day embryos or five day blasts? I have. They’re about as elaborate as basic plant cells.

    Furthermore, as a woman who is currently all kinds of pregnant, I’m pretty offended by the suggestion that the only thing I can offer my fetuses is ‘food and a proper environment’. They don’t eat with forks and spoons from some magical external source. You know that, right? They leach the calcium from your bones, pop to the head of the line for all nutrients consumed, and put a potentially dangerous strain on major organs. Actually, in my case, you can strike ‘potential’ from the previous sentance. There’s a little more involved in the process than ‘food and a proper environment’. Sheesh.

  39. BettyBoondoggle

    “There’s a little more involved in the process than ‘food and a proper environment’. Sheesh.”

    Which she would know, if she weren’t an anti-choice automaton.

  40. mary

    A person who needs a kidney will not die without my specific kidney. That person is not dependent on my kidney, and has no right to my kidney. The child in the womb is dependent on the specific womb environment of a specific woman for its life, and has the natural right to be there, since it was formed from her in part in the natural order of things.

    But I see that hardly anyone on this board has any scientific knowledge, ability to reason, or ability to engage in any discourse other than name calling and profanity. Our schools have done wonders.

  41. mary

    By the way, your brother in law is dependent on his own kidney. If it fails, then it would be charitable for someone to donate one. But one has no obligation in justice to provide something to which another has no right. If your brother in law had a right to anyone’s kidney, that would mean that he could at gunpoint abduct someone and take out the kidney, and be within his rights. Or that he could have the police seize someone’s kidney. The word “right” has a specific meaning. Needs and rights are not the same thing.

  42. akeeyu

    “Needs and rights are not the same thing.”

    Extrapolate: An embryo may need a uterus, but it doesn’t have a greater claim on said uterus than the fully formed human being on the other end of the umbilical cord.

  43. BettyBoondoggle

    Mary, unsurprisingly, chose hypocrisy. Thanks for making it so easy to out you.

    “But I see that hardly anyone on this board has any scientific knowledge, ability to reason, or ability to engage in any discourse other than name calling and profanity. Our schools have done wonders.”

    I love it when you people hoist yourselves on your own petards.

    I also love it when anti-choice morons who have utterly failed in this debate resort to the panty-sniffing moral panicker mode. It fills me with giggles to see them fail.

    “By the way, your brother in law is dependent on his own kidney.”

    But it’s going to kill him for failure. He neesd a new one. And yours is the only one that suits his needs.

    “If it fails, then it would be charitable for someone to donate one.”

    If you don’t he’ll die. Denying him the kidney means YOU are condemning him to death. Does he have no right to life? You know, the one you claim to believe in?

    “But one has no obligation in justice to provide something to which another has no right.”

    I completely agree. NO ONE has to provide something to which another has no right. Which includes fetuses, or excludes everyone. Make up your mind.

    “f your brother in law had a right to anyone’s kidney, that would mean that he could at gunpoint abduct someone and take out the kidney, and be within his rights. Or that he could have the police seize someone’s kidney.”

    Exactly. To you, a woman *HAS* to supply the fetus’s needs. So, what’s to stop any other person who might need her organs from taking them? If the fetus has a right to live, why don’t ACTUAL people?

    If women have no right to bodily autonomy, as you claim, then you should have no problem handing over that kidney. If you think women do have the right to decide what happens to their own bodies, then you’re a hypocrite for supporting anti-choice misogynists.

    Instead, you’re waffling and waxing idiotic about how the rules don’t apply to *you*. How convinient.

    “The word “right” has a specific meaning. Needs and rights are not the same thing.”

    Ah, so imaginary babies have a “right” to life but the 65 year old in your example, doesn’t.

  44. Cara Post author

    Needs and rights are not the same thing.

    I agree wholeheartedly. That’s been my argument all along. And yet, somehow we’re the ones unable to reason. Our schools really have done wonders.

    Not able to engage in discussion without the use of profanity? Yeah, the words FUCK and SHIT are so much worse than saying things like “women who murder their babies.” What happened to civil society?

    If your brother in law had a right to anyone’s kidney, that would mean that he could at gunpoint abduct someone and take out the kidney, and be within his rights. Or that he could have the police seize someone’s kidney.

    Well you seem to want the police to be able to seize women based on what they do and don’t do with their uteruses. Difference?

    Oh, right, it’s a wittle cute tiny baby, and it’s inside a heartless bitch who wants to murder it for her own selfish reasons that she has no right to, like control over her own body. Right?

    Which again, brings us back to the question that you refuse to answer. I’m probably going to ban you shortly anyway, but if I get one more response that doesn’t include an answer to the question that I’ve pointed out to you on three occasions, that’s just going to be instant banning. And, since I’m pretty fucking convinced at this point that it’s not going to get answered, I suggest you say your goodbyes.

  45. Dette

    I have a question for all, how many of you have had abortions? Your anger is deep and it shows. Another question are you the same as you were before you had one?
    To the person that called me a coward, I’m sorry, but you don’t know me, yet, name calling seem to be what you like, it sure makes me want to listen to you.
    Oh by the way I am a donor and that is because my brother, showed me what it means to give.
    I am asking these questions in a nice way and I would like a response without such hatred attached. Is it possible? If not just don’t bother posting this, because you see I don’t need to fight with you or anyone to live my life to it’s best. I have learned maybe the hard way but I have learned.

  46. Cara Post author

    Dette, I have never had an abortion. If I was pregnant, I would have one. I don’t ever want children.

    It’s absolutely none of your business, by the way, and so it’s up to everyone else whether or not they want to answer it. But you don’t have to have had an abortion to be pro-choice. Many women who believe that they would never personally have an abortion are pro-choice. I know many of them.

  47. Jim W.

    I ask this question with respect, and with all seriousness. I am new to the prochoice/prolife debate. It seems like many of the posts here contain personal attacks, bad words, etc. Is that really necessary? Is that the way the prolifers are, too? Sorry if this sounds uninformed… Thanks.

  48. lepidopteryx

    I have had both a child and an abortion.
    I found out I was pregnant with my daughter after I had broken up with her dad. He wanted to get married when I told him I was pregnant. I saw no reason to marry someone that I knew I did not want to be with just because I was pregnant. I told him that I had decided to have the baby, and that it was entirely up to himif he wanted to be a part of its life. If he did not want to, then I would ask nothing of him. If he did, then I would expect him to help support it. He agreed that was fair, and he has been a part of her life.
    When she was a toddler, I went back to college. I had been dating the same guy since my daughter was an infant. I was on the pill. My doctor didn’t warn me to use a backup method when he prescribed antibiotics. I got pregnant. I was barely making ends meet as it was, and my then-boyfriend had recently lost his job. Another mouth to feed was simply not an option.
    I believed then, and still believe, that ending that pregnancy was the best option for everyone involved.

  49. Dette

    first thanks for answering the first question, even as Cara put it it’s not my business. I know many women and men too that would not personally have or help in an abortion, that are pro-choice too.
    Thank you for sharing lepidopteryx I too have 2 living children and an abortion. I was divorced and working 2 full time jobs and whatever I could to make ends meet, my former husband couldn’t seem to hold a job, so we received no support. I also dated the same nice guy for a long while. My 2 brothers moved in and out, so I was responsible for 5 people a lot of the time. When I told my boyfriend, he said it was up to me, whatever I wanted to do, right. I consulted a doctor at PPP and was told that I might not be able to go full term, because of a large cynst on my right ovary. I had a slim chance if I quit work and took it easy. I decided and thought that it was the right thing to do. That was some 20 plus years ago, you see I can’t remember the exact details. I guess it was so extreme for me to deal with that I supressed it and dealt with life but I became a different person. After all these years and all the therapists and self denial and abuse and the nightmares. I ask myself if what I did long ago was legal and justifiable right for my life, why did my unconscious torment me.
    I thank you again and I do believe that everyone has their rights to live their life according to their beliefs and to also be accountable for their actions.
    How much time should a woman spent in jail for an abortion?
    My answer is: For a illegal abortion, she should stand trial and let a jury of her peers judge her.
    For a legal abortion, it’s legal there is no law broken, but for some of us, we will serve a lifetime of what if.
    Now I know that some of you will absolutely want to write back with anger, but that is not why I told you anything about me. I wrote to just express my thoughts and my rights, or maybe a need.

  50. BettyBoondoggle

    “I have a question for all, how many of you have had abortions?”

    I have not had one. Neither would I have one.

    “Your anger is deep and it shows.”

    “To the person that called me a coward, I’m sorry, but you don’t know me, yet, name calling seem to be what you like, it sure makes me want to listen to you.”

    Ah so calling us “angry” is okay, but someone – ME – calling you a coward (not without reason), is not okay? Excellent double standard there, coward.

    Let me ask you a question – would you not be angry with hypocrites who want to rob you of your rights because of their bigotry and poor excuses?

  51. Cara Post author

    I ask this question with respect, and with all seriousness. I am new to the prochoice/prolife debate. It seems like many of the posts here contain personal attacks, bad words, etc. Is that really necessary? Is that the way the prolifers are, too? Sorry if this sounds uninformed…

    It is uninformed, Jim, but let me answer your question with a question. Say you have sex with a woman. And then because of the sex she had with you, she decides to chain you to a chair for nine months. As a result of being chained to the chair, you’ll face all kinds of medical issues — after all, you shouldn’t sit for so long. You don’t want to be chained to the chair. She says that it’s too bad, because it would be irresponsible for you to not be chained to the chair.

    Then say that there were slews of people who believed that you should be chained to the chair. There are political movements specifically designed to keep you chained to the chair. You have the legal right to not be chained to it, but these politicians keep passing laws to make it more difficult for you to get unchained. If you were to get unchained, or if you express a desire to get unchained, you will face protests, be called a whore and told that you’re a bad, irresponsible person who should feel guilty about not wanting to let someone else decide how you do and don’t use your body. If you do decide to get unchained from the chair, there are very few people you’ll feel comfortable telling about it; you’ll never know who will judge you. Religious people tell you that your decision to get unchained is evil. Other people think that it’s just irresponsible — you agreed to have sex with the woman, didn’t you?

    So. This is your situation. It’s possible, by bad luck, to end up in this situation every time you have sex. Do you believe that having sex allows another person to chain you to a chair, to take over your body for nine months? And if not, and you were constantly facing protestations that it did, think you might let a “fuck” or two out?

    You see, Jim, the “pro-choice” vs “pro-life” debate is very personal to women. It’s not a philisophical debate. It’s about our actual lives. Women are being metaphorically chained to chairs, and the men they have sex with say that it’s their right to keep them chained because of the sex that they once had.

    Dette, I don’t see why you would believe that anyone would write back in anger because you’ve decided to tell us your personal story with abortion. For the most part, those of us who are pro-choice tend to be very non-judgmental about that decision, even of women for whom the decision was difficult. That doesn’t mean we’re going to agree with you. And I do find it to be unfortunate that you have let your negative experience translate into a belief that abortion is wrong and that it’s acceptable for men to try to restrict the abortions for the women they’ve slept with. But I do sincerely hope that you find a way to forgive yourself for only doing the best you could with what you had.

  52. Dette

    Your anger is still showing B and the name calling is still there, and yes I wouldn’t like anyone to force there will on me either. By the way I didn’t say everyone did I. For the record a coward is what by your difinition and how do I apply?
    Cara I am sorry if I generalized everyone and judge them on nothing. I guess I still have learning to do. I have forgiven myself for doing the best I could with what I had. Yet I do wonder what could have been and that is why things are different now, with me that is. Again thanks for taking the time to respond. I have to ready to go to my second job, now. Seems things haven’t change much over the years as far as that.

  53. BettyBoondoggle

    “Your anger is still showing B and the name calling is still there, and yes I wouldn’t like anyone to force there will on me either.”

    I will call you whatever I like as long as you act like one. If you dish it out, expect to take it. I respect Cara and if she tells/asks me to tone I down, I’d do so gladly. If *she* does.

    Of course you don’t want anyone to force their will on you. So why is it okay for you (meaning anti-choicers) to do it to others?

    I don’t pretend not to be angry – as Cara already explained this is an intensely personal issue to women. If you are not one, you have no way of understanding the stakes. Yes, I am angry that there’s a large crop of morons who pretend to care about life – until the kid’s actually born, and who don’t care at all about women. I do not apologize for the anger. I say, if one is not angry, they are a fool.

    “the way I didn’t say everyone did I. ”

    This sentence makes no sense.

  54. lepidopteryx

    Just to make it crystal clear, the only regret that I have is thar my doctor was negligent in not telling me that oral antiibiotics interfere with the body’s ability to absorb other oral medications.
    I have no regrets over the abortion itself. If I had wanted another child, I wouldn’t have been on contraceptives in the first place.

  55. Dette

    Sorry about the sentence B I was in a great hurry. It was suppose to say by the way I didn’t say everyone did I.
    Anger is yours, take imbrace, or do whatever. I was just like you, and said the same things you are saying, then one day it all changed.

  56. lepidopteryx

    “My answer is: For a illegal abortion, she should stand trial and let a jury of her peers judge her.”

    So if she lives in a state where abortion is only legal if the mother’s life is threatened, but she and her OB/GYN agree that she shouldn’t have the baby for other reasons (even if that reason is simply that she doesn’t want it), and she has an abortion a week after peeing on a stick, she and her doctor should be put on trial? You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me.

  57. Arnetta

    This has been very interesting to read. I was almost afraid to comment… but, what the hell? So, Im against abortions. Im more like straddling the fence… but for the most part Im against them. I dont believe a woman should kill her unborn. But I dont think a raped woman should be forced to live with the product of her rape. Yes, I know you have to pick a side… either for it all the way or against it completely… but I havent decided yet…
    In response to the issue at hand, I do not feel a man should have the right to make the decision of whether or not to abort for a woman. In the perfect world, a man and woman who have decided to have sex with one another will be in loving, happy relationships where they could discuss these issues and agree upon a solution… but in my perfect world the topic of abortion wouldnt exist… neither would rapes, killings, chauvenistic(sp) pigs, feminists, or George Bush… lol
    The main thing I grapsed from this article and all of the back and forth commenting is this: Women are so concerned with how men disrespect them and hate them but then YOU FEMALES DO IT TO EACH OTHER. No wonder men try to get over on us all the time… they see we cant get along. Women are always catty, bitchy, and judgemental…. to other women. How does the bickering amongst prolifers and prochoicers really make a difference? Answer: It doesnt…

  58. Cara Post author

    So, if women defend themselves against other women who are jumping up and down eagerly to gain approval from the patriarchy, we’re upholding the patriarchy? Call me confused.

    Also: if you want to have a nice, rational conversation with feminists, it helps to 1. not put them on a list of horrible things with chauvinist pigs and Bush 2. not use phrases like “you females” and not use words like “bitchy” or “catty.”

    Also, just for the record, who is being judgmental at the moment? Hmm. And any pro-choice person here who has “judged” someone else has done so because that person was using their “judgments” as a reason to control women’s bodies and lives. I couldn’t agree with you more; being judgmental is not a good thing. But saying things like “I don’t believe a woman should kill her unborn” is indeed pretty damn judgmental, particularly on a thread where women have already talked about their own abortions.

  59. BettyBoondoggle

    There’s no way Arnetta is actually female. Or, if she is, someone gave her a lobotomy before letting her post.

  60. Cara Post author

    I personally do believe that she’s female. Unfortunately, a lot of women do think this way. I’ve met plenty of them, and they make me very sad.

  61. al

    Arnetta… PEOPLE are argumentative, etc, not just women. And discussions like these do help. Ideas are everything- they define society. Changing even one person’s perspective is important.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s