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Amused Muse

Inspiring dissent and debate and the love of dissonance

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Location: Surreality, Have Fun Will Travel, Past Midnight before a Workday

Master's Degree holder, telecommuting from the hot tub, proud Darwinian Dawkobot, and pirate librarian belly-dancer bohemian secret agent scribe on a mission to rescue bloggers from the wholesome clutches of the pious backstabbing girl fridays of the world.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"I'm Pro-Life and I Need My Abortion"

UPDATED: Man tries to plow SUV into Planned Parenthood in St. Paul.

At Pharyngula, PZ Myers posted a video of anti-choice protestors who believe that abortion should be illegal, because it is "murder," the "taking of a life." Yet when they are asked what should happen to women who have an illegal abortion should these activists get their wish and abortion is outlawed, these people have no answer. (Sorry, there seems to be no embedding allowed for this video.)

One dip in the video says, "Well, pray for the woman to never have any more abortions." Others say that the abortion is "between her and her God" or "on her conscience." What is the point of outlawing something if there is no punishment for breaking the law? They still have no answer.

Are these people serious about outlawing abortion - or is that effort merely a recruiting effort by the religious right, and a "goal" that would cease to unify people were it to ever be accomplished?

Or, are they carefully guarding the secret that they do believe women should be imprisoned, or even put to death, perhaps stoned, for having an abortion which they claim, after all, is "murder"?

I stated in my comment that some of the protestors, like certain high profile anti-choice fanatics, had probably had abortions and wanted to keep it legal and available for them, and I received a reply with a link to the most astonishing article you'll ever read.

"The Only Moral Abortion is My Abortion: When the Anti-Choice Choose"

Many anti-choice women are convinced that their need for abortion is unique -- not like those "other" women -- even though they have abortions for the same sorts of reasons. Anti-choice women often expect special treatment from clinic staff. Some demand an abortion immediately, wanting to skip important preliminaries such as taking a history or waiting for blood test results. Frequently, anti-abortion women will refuse counseling (such women are generally turned away or referred to an outside counselor because counseling at clinics is mandatory). Some women insist on sneaking in the back door and hiding in a room away from other patients. Others refuse to sit in the waiting room with women they call "sluts" and "trash." Or if they do, they get angry when other patients in the waiting room talk or laugh, because it proves to them that women get abortions casually, for "convenience".

A few behave in a very hostile manner, such as calling clinic staff "murderers." Years ago, a clinic counselor in British Columbia told me that one of her patients went into the procedure room apparently fine with her decision to have an abortion. During the abortion, at a stage when it was too late to stop the procedure, the woman started screaming "You murderers!" and other invectives at everyone in the room.

I, too, have heard these stories, of local anti-choice leaders who head straight back to the picket line after getting their abortions, or procuring them for their privileged daughters. A co-worker even told me about a doctor who threatened--at the probable cost of his own career for violating confidentiality--to expose a local anti-abortion nut whose daughter "couldn't have a baby ruining her college career" if he ever caught that activist protesting outside his clinic again.

Amazing, isn't it?

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Blogger The Science Pundit said...

I'm not sure why that video isn't embeddable for you. Maybe it has to do with both YouTube and Blogger having maintenance earlier tonight.

Thank you for the link to "The Only Moral Abortion .." It was quite a read. It really tore me up. On the one hand, I was astounded by the blatant hypocrisy. But on the other hand, those stories were intensely human.

We are creatures that live in the frameworks that we, with the help and guidance of others, build for ourselves. It is not just our comfort zone; it is how we see the world (and this also applies to me, and to Richard Dawkins, and even to you). Everything that we see and do, we try to fit into this framework. We only abandon this framework when it proves to be catastrophic.

So wouldn't an anti-choicer getting an abortion be such a catastrophe, you might ask? Maybe, I say. I certainly can't put myself in these women's situations, but I have had eye-opening, life changing experiences. And one thing that they had in common, is that the real change came after deep and protracted reflection. In other words, I would expect even an experience like that to take time to manifest itself in the form of changed outlook.

I would like to think that I would be the type of person (though biology dictates that I'll never know) who is too ashamed to protest the next day after going through that, but experience tells me that the turnaround wouldn't be that fast. I can sympathize with those girls who go back on the picket line.

To follow my thinking to it's logical conclusion, you would have to think that I was only sympathizing because I figured that, given time, those girls would eventually realize their hypocrisy and come around to the right side. I'm not quite that naive, but I am (perhaps naively) optimistic that a large chunk of them did.

Apologies for the titanic comment.

January 22, 2009 12:07 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

The video embedding was withdrawn "by request" by the person who posted it.

I have sympathy for women who didn't expect to have feelings for the fetus and later regret having an abortion, although I suspect they've been listening to these "You killed your baby" people, who sentimentalize having a kid. However, they should not then run around trying to make abortion illegal for everyone else thinking that all women are as confused as they are, or that all women will react as they did. Some of us are pretty clear about what we don't want.

I don't have sympathy for women who must get their abortions in secret so that their career in the anti-abortion movement can progess, or so they can continue to project this hoity-toity image of themselves.

Abortion, like intelligent design, is a "wedge" issue: the goal is really to break the trust the public has with doctors, as with scientists, so that these activists can step into the gap and become "experts" telling women what to do and think and feel.

January 22, 2009 9:31 AM  
Blogger Crandaddy said...


If it should be made ILLEGAL, then it should have a PENALTY. What part of that do these people not understand?

If they're going to stand outside with pickets and call people murderers, then they'd better think these things through and be prepared to put their money where their mouths are when confronted.

January 23, 2009 12:59 AM  
Anonymous AJ Milne said...

The folk at the end who actually come 'round after having had an abortion, those are nice to read about...

Those that rave at the staff and call the other patients sluts, go right back to the picket line to harangue others after _just having gone through_ the very same thing those others are experiencing, those are... umm... scary. There's something more than a bit screwed up about that. Sure, I get how they rationalize it: how the others are different (sure... they're the only one in the room who's had to deal with failed prophylaxis), or how they were weak for a moment (witness Ms. 'I was depressed'), but it doesn't make what others are doing right...

And it's still pretty sick, all the same.

January 23, 2009 11:27 AM  
Anonymous AJ Milne said...

... I'd add that what I'm struck by most of all is the apparent and marked lack of empathy. Y'know, if I'd sketched a character like that, I'd picture her at most being all annoyingly cloying and church ladyish about it... y'know, how these other poor dears who're doing it for _other_ and apparently worse reasons than her just don't have the benefit of her perspective and her terribly moral upbringing... How now she gets what they're going through and how she's sure the staff are well-meaning but it's still wrong...

But no. Apparently, it ain't even that. It's still 'sluts' and 'dirty little things'. And 'murderers'. And ya really gotta wonder. It's a whole level of nasty, and it's seriously scary.

So like I said: sick.

January 23, 2009 11:39 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

I do wish people would talk more about family planning.

Birth control methods do fail. The pill fails, the condom fails, the IUD fails a certain percentage of the time. But I don't see the necessity for as many abortions if people didn't just let their ambiguous emotions rule the day. If you're even only ambiguous about getting pregnant, or your girlfriend getting pregnant, then chances are a pregnancy will happen. Look at Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston - he even said on his MySpace page that he didn't want kids. (Now supposedly they're getting married, but she's already had the kid, and now Sarah Palin's having a fit denying that they're both drop-outs. I really wonder what's going to happen to those two.)

Planned parenthood means just that - planned parenthood. It doesn't have to mean abortion only, and it doesn't. But it doesn't help when Planned Parenthood is portrayed in films like Expelled as the same as eugenics and the Holocaust. That's unfair, inaccurate, and it sends a destructive message.

As a matter of fact, I'm not opposed to teaching abstinence, but it has to be one of many methods. That's just reality. Frankly, I don't believe in having kids outside of marriage, either. It's not conservatism, it's pragmatism. I believe in waiting to have sex/have a kid until you're old enough to be settled, until you're married and have a steady income, but the reality is that's not always going to happen.

January 23, 2009 12:38 PM  
Anonymous JPK said...

"But it doesn't help when Planned Parenthood is portrayed in films like Expelled as the same as eugenics and the Holocaust. That's unfair, inaccurate, and it sends a destructive message."

From the perspective of the abortionist and the mother you are correct. The "problem" can be dealt with efficiently; no muss, no fuss. From the perspective of the fetus, it is not quite so pleasent. Its final moments are quite violent. If the fetus was lucky enought to be a puppy or horse it would at least be given a modicum of rights.

Those of us younger than 36 can count ourselves fortunate that our mothers didn't, in the words of the appeals court justice Barksdale, mark us for termination. Life is subjective today. It is violent. But unlike past ages, the violence today extends to the mother's womb. For 36 years some 50 million children were not only deprived of life, but thier brief moment of existence was punctuated by a pain that cannot be put to words.

What is galling is the same people who complain about the lack of family planning are the same people who demand a social insurance state that can only come about in a nation that has large families. When Bismarck implemented social security in the 2nd Reich, Germany had a fertility rate of 4.7 cildren/couple. Here, it is 2.1 . Social Security alone is one giant unfunded liability of some $56 trillion. State pensions account for another $38 trillion in underfunded liabilities. Today we demand state financed healthcare, goverment subsidized university education; clean air/water; goverment subsidized agriculture, birth control, arts, etc... the problem is there aren't enough workers to subsidize all that. Those 50 million children could have come in mighty handy.

January 25, 2009 8:05 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Um, doctors perform abortions on horses and dogs, too. I was at the vet with my cat when a dog needed an abortion, no lie.

The "fetus" that is usually aborted is not those stillborn babies on placards that antiabortion fanatics parade around with. That's a lie and they know they're lying. The fetus doesn't have any consciousness.

It would seem to me that you have bought wholesale into an e-mail hoax. Your numbers don't add up. But even if they did, and you like to look at human beings in such a cold manner, we would simply have that same amount of people out of work right now.

If you don't like abortion, do you also claim to not want to punish the women who have them? That's the question this blog post posed. Why make something illegal if there's no enforcement? Or is abortion just an emotional volleyball for antiabortion groups to gain political power and money while having no intention of really outlawing it? (Rather like the Reaganites who secretly never wanted the Soviet Union to fall?)

January 26, 2009 1:40 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

By the way, which jobs exactly would they be filling? The ones that we have been exporting to China and India since the late 1970s?

Besides, I spoke of preventing pregnancy. Planned Parenthood prevents many more pregnancies than performs abortions. Do you factor that into your calculation of the supposed impact on Social Security? If not, why not?

Your anti-choice stance now has nothing with the fact that you, or your girlfriend (if you're a guy) could have already had or may have an abortion in the future. As we have seen.

January 26, 2009 2:06 PM  
Anonymous BobApril said...

I suspect that those who leave the clinic and return to the picket line have much the same attitude as a televangelist (pretends to have while) apologizing to his congregation - the only way to return to grace is to become even more fervent against the sin they committed. That way, of course, they get to have their cake and eat it, too.

January 28, 2009 11:49 AM  
Blogger breakerslion said...

The whole thing is just a human instinct exploit, like a computer virus. No one really gives a rat's ass if (insert non-affiliated ethno-cultural group here) women have an abortion. No one really cares if your non-aborted offspring grow up to be soldier-casualties, um, "heroes".

Protecting one's own children however, is instinctive to a fault. It's a nice hot button for social scavengers to push over and over again once they have achieved transference of emotion. "Poor 'lil thing, can't defend itself!"

Why does the religious ranter tell you that you should be outraged? Because after he's through, he gets money and power from people who believe him. All else is part of the show.

I suspect the most rabid among the anti-choice group fall into two categories: those who have been told by their parents that they were (the result of) a dumb fuck, and those who think it matters if their own bloodline should end in the future.

January 28, 2009 12:35 PM  
Blogger Mona Albano said...

I have always thought that when an anti-choice protester turns up for an abortion for themselves or a family member, the clinic should do the abortion only after the protester and patient sign a statement that they are exercising their legal right to choose to have an abortion and that if they ever protest against abortion again they give permission for their statement to be published. And nowadays, I'd add a disclaimer that a video of them signing could be published as well. And I'd put it on YouTube.

I've been sick of those hypocrites since I found out that Canada's Attorney General was introducing measures against abortion with one hand and forging his lover's husband's signature on her mandadated-by-anti-choicers spousal permission to have an abortion with the otheer.

February 04, 2009 7:48 PM  
Blogger Mona Albano said...

Sorry, "mandated."

JPK, an abortionist is someone like Frank Sinatra's mother, "Hatpin Mary." If you want a safe abortion, you go to a doctor. Those of who grew up where and when abortion was legal can thank God that they, their mothers, sisters, lovers, and wives are unlikely to die of septic abortion. No one is for abortion. But legal and safe abortion is definitely the lesser of two evils when it comes to terminating a pregnancy. When abortion is illegal, women die.

We do not demand to use someone's body against their will, even if it will save a life, much less a potential life.

If you're worried about money, one Swedish study was made of women who asked for abortions and didn't get them vs. those who didn't ask. It concluded that every dollar spent on abortion saved $130 in welfare costs. And I don't think welfare was very generous in the 1930s.

February 04, 2009 8:03 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

I have always thought that when an anti-choice protester turns up for an abortion for themselves or a family member, the clinic should do the abortion only after the protester and patient sign a statement that they are exercising their legal right to choose to have an abortion and that if they ever protest against abortion again they give permission for their statement to be published.

Unlike these protestors, doctors have ethics rules, and one of them is confidentiality. They cannot reveal the names of those who have had an abortion – for any reason - and that’s why the doctor in my story threatened to do so to the ruin of his career. It would have ruined his career.

Ethics are what separate the doctors from the quacks, the scientists from the pseudoscientists, the educators from the indoctrinators, and the scholarly journals from the “but this is peer-reviewed, too!” nonsense. Ethics so often gets lost in the debate about “teach all sides” and “be open minded.”

Human being have spent millennia figuring out that what can be said to be true has much to do with the reasons one has for saying something is true. If the doctor turns into a gossip, gathering dirt on anti-abortionists who have abortions, then he becomes an unethical doctor no matter how outrageously, infuriatingly unethical these women are. Abortion is still legal, and they are breaking no laws, but the doctor would be breaking them – ruining the public’s trust in not only that doctor, but his colleagues.

I understand what you’re saying – it’s unfair – but two wrongs don’t make a right. If we respect women’s privacy, then we respect it for all women, hypocrites though they might be.

I raised this question not so much because to show up these women as being horrible, as to point out that, if abortion is merely a political football played by people who secretly don’t want to ban it, that is an ethics violation as well! It violates the trust of all those who sincerely oppose abortion, as well as those who want to keep abortion legal. It poisons the debate. However, those who sincerely oppose abortion must also think about the consequences of outlawing it, as opposed to trying to prevent it. I am all for preventing abortion.

Science and scholarship and medine are largely a question of ethics. If it started going around the blogosphere that Ken Ham was charged with a crime, I would still have to utilize critical thinking and ask: Who accuses him? What’s their evidence? Have they demonstrated his guilt? Did the court follow correct procedures? I am abound by these rules, even though he isn’t. That’s what makes the difference.

February 05, 2009 10:40 AM  
Blogger Reynold said...

I just would wish that no one would have one...I wouldn't do anything to those that did. In my opinion they've gone through enough.

My problem is with the religious right when they call themselves "pro-life". Why? Check this out.

So whom does God wrong in commanding the destruction of the Canaanites? Not the Canaanite adults, for they were corrupt and deserving of judgement. Not the children, for they inherit eternal life. So who is wronged? Ironically, I think the most difficult part of this whole debate is the apparent wrong done to the Israeli soldiers themselves. Can you imagine what it would be like to have to break into some house and kill a terrified woman and her children? The brutalizing effect on these Israeli soldiers is disturbing.

Yeah, that whole article is pure gold...

February 07, 2009 8:23 PM  
Blogger Rev. Barking Nonsequitur said...

"Those of us younger than 36 can count ourselves fortunate that our mothers didn't.. mark us for termination."

OK, think about it. Why would it matter to you if you had never been born?

At any rate, it is population that is destroying the planet - has been since we hit 1B - and that was not so long ago.

Who gives a shit about ripping apart something with a underdeveloped nervous system. For x's sake, you must cry a river when you snag a fish.

February 10, 2009 5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Who gives a shit about ripping apart something with a underdeveloped nervous system."

This definition fits a live baby.

May 15, 2009 12:07 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

This definition fits a live baby.So how are anti-abortionist able to justify abortion when they want one?

That's what this post is about. Not whether you're pro- or anti-choice, but why "pro-lifers" get abortions and feel justified in doing so.

Your answer?

May 20, 2009 11:44 AM  

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