Saletan’s Rules for Girls

It’s a well-known fact (at least, to Slate’s William Saletan) that pregnant women who seek abortions actually have no idea what abortions are. Let alone what a fetus is.
Enter Saletan’s Rules for Girls. Cleverly disguised as an article about the increasing popularity of ultrasound bills among the anti-choice sect, Saletan’s article is more like a manifesto about why us absent-minded gals need laws (and men like him) to remind us what happens in a pregnant uterus.

Critics complain that these bills seek to “bias,” “coerce,” and “guilt-trip” women. Come on. Women aren’t too weak to face the truth. If you don’t want to look at the video, you don’t have to. But you should look at it, and so should the guy who got you pregnant, because the decision you’re about to make is as grave as it gets.
…The image on the monitor may look like a blob, a baby, or neither. It certainly won’t follow some senator’s script. All it will show you is the truth.

Because obviously women who have made the decision to end a pregnancy won’t understand the “truthâ€? unless it’s put up on an easy-viewing screen. As Amanda so aptly noted in an email exchange: “If women only knew that they were getting abortions when they got abortions!!!!!”
You can’t get much more repulsive than Saletan’s rhetoric. He claims to “trust women� while simultaneously making the case that women don’t understand what they’re doing when they get abortions; that we’re incapable of making an informed decision without a helping hand from the state.
My favorite line in this mess of an article, though, has to be this: “Ultrasound has exposed the life in the womb to those of us who didn’t want to see what abortion kills. The fetus is squirming, and so are we.â€? Are we, now?
Also see a bird and a bottle, Lawyers, Guns and Money, Feministe, Echidne and Newscat.

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45 Comments

  1. LindsayPW
    Posted April 30, 2007 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    I’m only squirming because I’m slowly losing respect for Slate, which I read regularly. You know, I read this the other day, and I took offense to it. I’m glad you all caught it, too.
    But I did like how he said that people seeking abortions should also see a video of a three year old screaming for an hour.

  2. EG
    Posted April 30, 2007 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    All it will show you is the truth.
    What is this weird conflation of vision with truth? Seeing a pattern made up of reflected sound waves on a television screen is truth? How does a sonogram have any greater claim to truth than my experience of my body’s changes? Remember, the full proverb is “seeing is believing but touching is truth.”
    If you don’t want to look at the video, you don’t have to. But you should look at it
    This is my favorite part: you don’t have to look at a sonogram, but you should. I mean, it’s totally up to you, but if you don’t do it, you’re avoiding the truth. And your choice not to have a sonogram isn’t as morally good as a choice to have a sonogram. But you can do whatever you want, of course, you irresponsible bitch.
    This is such a weird idea–women don’t know what it means to be pregnant! But William Saletan does! William Saletan knows the history of pregancy! Very Tom Cruise.

  3. blucas!
    Posted April 30, 2007 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Huh, normally Saletan is pretty good on women’s issues, IIRC. This kinda surprises me. Sigh. Another “progressive” dude who doesn’t give a fuck about women’s rights.

  4. Posted April 30, 2007 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    It’s hard to slowly lose respect for Slate when Christopher Hitchens and Mickey Kaus are regular contributors. Maybe this is part of some elaborate set-up to have Dahlia Lithwick roundhouse-kick Lord Saletan on the merits a bit later on.
    In summation, Saletan columns on abortion should be safe, legal, and rare.

  5. EG
    Posted April 30, 2007 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Actually, women who decide to go through with pregnancies should be forced to watch a video of a 2-year-old throwing a temper tantrum, and then a 14-year-old stamping around, making a mess, ignoring you, whining about how she “didn’t ask to be born.” That would be “truth.”
    Except, actually, they shouldn’t, because people’s medical decisions are their own business.
    Saletan has been a dick about abortion before. He and Katha Pollitt had good exchange which you can probably find on google.

  6. blucas!
    Posted April 30, 2007 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    I agree about Slate recently, LindsayPW. I would probably stop reading it, but at least Dahlia Lithwick is still holdin’ it down.

  7. Posted April 30, 2007 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    What an asshole. Little pisses me off more than a man (you know, the kind of person who will never be pregnant) telling me all the things I “don’t know” about abortion.

  8. Posted April 30, 2007 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    The fetus is squirming, and so are we. – Salatan
    And here we all thought that the “abortion is icky” crowd was just part of the fevered imaginings of Atrios of Eschaton. This is what passes for “serious” thinking nowadays? Is it any wonder we’re up the creek we’re up and without a paddle?

  9. LindsayPW
    Posted April 30, 2007 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Good point EG.
    I love it when I hear “Abortion should be legal, safe, and rare” someone used that at the Democratic debate a few days ago and I swooned. I’m going to die if a republican wins. Absolutely die.

  10. TinyRobot
    Posted April 30, 2007 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    I know it’s mid-afternoon and I’m a little drowsy from staring at a screen all day, but did anyone else read “satan” everytime it said “saletan” on the screen?
    No? Just me?
    Okay. Naptime.

  11. SarahMC
    Posted April 30, 2007 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    If ultrasounds show “the truth,” does that mean a fetus who appears to be nothing more than squigly black and white lines really IS a squigly black and white line? If it looks like a pig fetus, it IS an unborn pig? And if it looks like a lima bean, it really IS a lima bean?

  12. nausicaa
    Posted April 30, 2007 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Does anyone else worry about those crisis pregnancy centers faking ultrasounds to make the fetus look older?

  13. KateC
    Posted April 30, 2007 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Nope, I read Satan too. In fact I had to reread the headline 3 times because I was confused.

  14. Posted April 30, 2007 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    I think if they are going to force women to watch abortion videos before they undergo the procedure, we should also force old white men to watch open heart surgeries before they get theirs so they “know what they are getting into.” Root canals, too, should be watched before people undergoe them so people can decide for themselves whether or not they actually want to have that nerve ending removed!
    And all those kids from biology class who cant stand the site of blood and dissections are just going to have to suck it up.
    Or we could admit that some medical procedures may not be aesthetically pleasing but are nonetheless what we want to do.

  15. Kattyben
    Posted April 30, 2007 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    TinyRobot, it’s not just you!
    What I find so interesting about this is that it’s part of an emerging rhetorical strategy in which anti-woman measures are characterized as emanating from concern/respect for women. There’s been quite a bit written about this re: the Gonzales decision, in which Kennedy adopts the pro-life argument that abortion rights should be limited because abortions are bad for women.
    Satelan’s rhetoric is a variant: He says that “informed consent” laws respect women by encouraging them to face the “truth” about the nature of our choice.
    Interestingly, I’ve seen similar rhetoric in court decisions enforcing egregiously inequitable prenuptial agreements. The gist is, “Women are grown-ups; and as such, they should be held to their contracts.” Nice try, except that prenuptial agreements do not fit any definition of a “contract” and would not be enforcable in a commercial context. (It’s complicated, but if anyone’s interested [doubtful!] I’ll happily explain.)
    Anyway, I’m seeing a pattern in the way these anti-woman arguments are made. And I’m also seeing a connection: to the “separate spheres” rhetoric of the 19th century, which held that women were just too good for things like education and jobs. The common thread is that misogynists purport that their position is in fact pro-woman. Paging George Orwell…
    Incidentally, I’m pretty sick of all this talk about what a “grave” decision it is to have an abortion. For some people it is. For other people it isn’t. I don’t think most women make it lightly — it is a significant life choice, after all — but then again, I don’t think we should feel obliged to stagger under the huge moral weight of our decision just because some patriarchal asshat says we should.
    What I’ve never understood (let the flaming begin!) is why there’s so much concern about a bunch of cells no bigger than a grape, just because they’re “human,” and yet almost no concern, from the same quarter, about the routine torture of millions of animals in agricultural and laboratory settings every day. I don’t think you have to be a card-carrying PETA member to acknowledge that animals are entirely capable of suffering, and to be sickened by how much of this suffering is inflicted — not just in the name of life-saving medical research, but in the name of making a buck on cosmetics or a ninety-five cent Big Mac instead of a ninety-nine cent Big Mac.
    I had an abortion. And there is no question in my mind that I would have felt worse, a lot worse, about drowning a sack of puppies. I defend the right of women not just to have abortions, but to feel good about their decision.

  16. SarahMC
    Posted April 30, 2007 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Thank You, Kattyben!
    I used to debate with pro-lifers a lot, and no matter how much I’d talk about fetuses not having the capacity to suffer or think, my long-winded scientific explanations were always met with, “But it’s human!” To which I say: I don’t care what species it is; I care whether it has the capacity to suffer. That’s why I’d kill a human embryo before killing a dog. Maybe it’s because I’m an atheist, and I don’t believe humans are “better” or “more important” than other animals. I hate when people dismiss the plight of cattle or whatnot just because they’re “not human.” So what?!

  17. Posted April 30, 2007 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Kattyben, I agree with you 100%.

  18. oenophile
    Posted April 30, 2007 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    What I’ve never understood (let the flaming begin!) is why there’s so much concern about a bunch of cells no bigger than a grape, just because they’re “human,” and yet almost no concern, from the same quarter, about the routine torture of millions of animals in agricultural and laboratory settings every day.
    Kattybean, I’m a vegetarian who hasn’t eaten meat or fish since the ’90s. I also do the organic milk, eggs, and ice cream thing. Most people find this to be inconsistent with the fact that I’m conservative.
    If y’all would be happy to stop people from snickering when I order a veggie meal at a Fed Soc event, that would be great. ;)
    Flame away….

  19. Wildstarryskies
    Posted April 30, 2007 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    So, when will we be seeing “truth in advertisting” as in re: the costs of childbirth and raising a child?
    I always hear about how women are like, not educated about abortions and need people to give them all the information (this is crap, I know).
    But those same people, they gloss over the costs of pregnancy and child care. I’d like to see legislation pushed to inform potential mothers of the costs, as in re: financial, physical, emotional. I’d like to see every teenage (I didn’t say girls only!) have to undertake a complete financial accounting of what it would cost to raise a child for 18 years.

  20. m_m_ides
    Posted April 30, 2007 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    Funny that no one wants to show the process of childbirth in order to make a decision about whether or not to carry to term. I mean, if seeing squiggly lines can sway us simple, impressionable women one way, surely the whole process of delivering the child could be useful as well?

  21. Posted April 30, 2007 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    yet almost no concern, from the same quarter, about the routine torture of millions of animals in agricultural and laboratory settings every day. – Kattybean
    My dad’s about as carnivorous as you can get and he still wonders about that one. Of course, he’s the type of person to even wonder if plants feel pain too.
    They used to call people like my dad “conservative” … now “conservative” means reactionary … whatever happened to real conservatives who, um, actually wanted to conserve stuff?

  22. TinyRobot
    Posted April 30, 2007 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Wildstarryskies, I agree. The “pro-lifers” I’ve met only seem to care about the unborn. They don’t give a shit about the kid after he’s born. (Pardon my French.)
    I always ask abortion opponents why they don’t spend their time opening childcare centers or fighting for the rights of the millions of kids who live in utter poverty in our country? Sure, those kids are alive, but just barely.
    My 23 cents.

  23. Posted April 30, 2007 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    The term “pro-life” only applies to potential life. TinyRobot, you’re right, they don’t care about the kids once they’re born…or the lives of the mothers who have decided to choose an abortion.
    I believe there are statistics floating around the intarwebs somewhere that show the most vehement anti-choice pols are also those who have voted AGAINST measures that would provide economic and social support to mothers and children. (I’ll provide a link if I can find one…sorry, I’m feeling incredibly lazy)
    “Family values,” my ass.

  24. anorak
    Posted April 30, 2007 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure if I’ve shared this part of my abortion story before, so if I have, please excuse the repetition.
    I had an ultrasound beforehand, as it was a bit unclear how far along I was.
    I didn’t have to look at the monitor, but both me and my partner did look.
    And what we saw was…a forming fetus. It was somewhere between a “clusture of cells” and a “widdle baby”.
    Did it make me not have an abortion?
    Obviously not. Personally, I’m glad I saw the ultrasound, it made it real for me. I had only found out I was pregnant a day before, and had 6 days to decide, as it turned out I was almost 3 months pregnant (!!!), which is the cut off here for simple abortion (I’ve forgotton the technical names for the two procedures, though not the differences).
    Honestly, it did make me feel sad, but also happy, in a way, to see that my body was able to “do” pregnancy. ( I do plan on having a child some day).
    The idea that a woman should be forced, however, to see an ultrasound is so patronising, paternalistic, revolting it makes me want to hit something.

  25. TheSoyMilkConspiracy
    Posted April 30, 2007 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    “they don’t care about the kids once they’re born…or the lives of the mothers who have decided to choose an abortion.”
    No, pro-lifers don’t even give a shit about the embryos/fetuses/babies/whatever you want to call ‘em – it’s a total facade for their real agenda: making sure sex has as many consequences as humanly possible. If they really cared about the precious babies, they’d support birth control and emergency contraception (which 99% of them don’t). These are the same people who oppose the HPV vaccine even though it prevents CANCER because they think it encourages promiscuity. HELLO!? Haven’t we figured out that the only thing they ACTUALLY care about is punishing us dirty whores for our Jesus-hatin’ ways? The more consequences sex has, the better they can employ slimy fear tactics in their abstinence-only brainwashing. This isn’t rocket science, people.

  26. Mina
    Posted April 30, 2007 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    “My favorite line in this mess of an article, though, has to be this: ‘Ultrasound has exposed the life in the womb to those of us who didn’t want to see what abortion kills. The fetus is squirming, and so are we.’ Are we, now?”
    …and what about those women who wanted their pregnancies at first, did get ultrasounds, and *then* chose abortion *after* they saw their fetuses?
    “Does anyone else worry about those crisis pregnancy centers faking ultrasounds to make the fetus look older?”
    Now I wonder if any fake the images to always make the fetuses look healthy and male…

  27. LindsayPW
    Posted April 30, 2007 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    I wouldn’t put it past them Mina.

  28. djfemme
    Posted April 30, 2007 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    “patriarchal asshat”
    I love it.

  29. werechick
    Posted April 30, 2007 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    I eat meat, but, dammit, I reserve the right to not view the process.

  30. Pickleberry
    Posted April 30, 2007 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    Tinyrobot- (RE your first comment)
    I saw the same thing.
    Also…there’s a funny editorial cartoon pinned to a professor’s door at my Uni… it’s of a cardinal bending down towards a small child saying “I’m sorry, you’re no longer a fetus, therefore we can no longer protect you.”

  31. oenophile
    Posted May 1, 2007 at 4:45 am | Permalink

    Aye. Let the attacks begin.
    There are good reasons to oppose a MANDATORY HPV vaccine. Among them:
    -little girls are not guinea pigs; Gardasil has not been analysed for long-term efficacy and safety;
    -chlidren already have too many mandatory vaccines, many of which are not necessary to prevent the outbreak of disease;
    -an 18 year old woman can get it if she chooses to be sexually active at that time;
    -viruses mutate; will this thing really protect women 40 years from now?
    -it’s not the job of parents of middle schoolers to line Merck’s pockets.
    As for childcare, etc… most of it isn’t anti-child, it’s anti-big government. They don’t believe in providing it via someone else’s tax dollars, but most support local charities that do a tremendous amount of work to help women and children. Fact is, big government is inefficient. There’s no requirement to use that particular mechanism to accomplish a goal.
    Catholic Charities raises money for people living in poverty, has a programme for new mothers to provide them with everything from cribs to legal services, and, heck, even provides long-term care to the elderly in nursing homes.

    As for the ultrasound issue… well, let’s be fair. Both sides of the debate are focused on what is really in the woman’s body before abortion. Some women may be comforted to see a blurry screen, feeling that they are not far along in their pregnancies and humanity develops along with the baby. Some women may sincerely not know how fetal development works and decide against abortion, which would avoid a result that she would regret.
    I guess I have a hard time seeing how MORE information can be a per se bad thing. I’m completely on board with not patronising people while you’re giving them said information, or giving them a choice about what information to receive, but, generally, allowing anyone more information and more choices during a difficult process is a good thing.

  32. annajcook
    Posted May 1, 2007 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    I agree with you, oenophile, that opposition to making HPV shots mandatory does not all come from the religious right. My mother “opted out” of having us vaccinated back in the early 80s, and my first response to the mandatory idea was NO WAY. There are legit health concerns (after all, they said hormone replacement therapy was safe, and look what happened there) and concerns about the business lobby.
    However, I have had people argue with me that making it mandatory is the only way to bring the price down and make the vaccine available to low-income women. As someone with really basic health insurance, facing a $400ish out-of-pocket price tag if I decide to get the vaccine, I understand those concerns!
    So it’s a hard call (in my opinion), and I definitely don’t by the line of thinking that vaccinating girls against cancer will make them promiscuous. We vaccinate girls against Rubella in part because it’s dangerous for women to get sick while pregnant. No one complains that this will make them think about having sex.
    * * *
    I guess I have a hard time seeing how MORE information can be a per se bad thing.
    I generally agree with you on this. If ultrasound legislation was about funding a full range of ob/gyn services for women, so that–regardless of our material resources–we could have full access to the information we needed to make difficult decisions, I would probably support it. However, it is usually heavily prescriptive legislation, which dictates what information women must recieve whether or not it is medically accurate.
    These laws often entail doctors certifying women’s competency to make the abortion decision–i.e. that she’s been “fully informed” that her action will “severe the maternal bond between her and her child”–and since the only competent decision pro-life people think women can make is to stay pregnant, this opens doctors up to all sorts of challenges that they’re not adequately informing their patients.
    Pro-life activists who champion this sort of legislation have made it very clear that they believe evil pro-choice doctors are callously manipulating women into having abortions they would “naturally,” as mothers, not choose to have. Their agenda is NOT to give women medical information–it’s to bully them into making the only decision THEY believe is the moral one: carrying the pregnancy to term.

  33. SarahMC
    Posted May 1, 2007 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    So… blind women aren’t allowed to get abortions? Or are they exempt from this requirement?

  34. roymacIII
    Posted May 1, 2007 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    they don’t care about the kids once they’re born…or the lives of the mothers who have decided to choose an abortion.
    Oh, they care very much about the lives of the women who might decide to get abortions. Those immoral, dirty women who dared to have *gasp* teh sex.
    I guess I have a hard time seeing how MORE information can be a per se bad thing. I’m completely on board with not patronising people while you’re giving them said information, or giving them a choice about what information to receive, but, generally, allowing anyone more information and more choices during a difficult process is a good thing.
    Is there some legislation that would prevent women from getting sonograms if they wanted? Is there somebody out there preventing women from getting more information if they want it?
    As someone who spends a great deal of time doing random research and generally consuming as much information as I can, I’m a total supporter of people having as much access to information as they want. I don’t see where anybody is suggesting that women shouldn’t have access to information that they want- it’s the idea that they should be forced, or that they’re too stupid to understand what’s happening that seems to be objectionable.

  35. EvilPotato
    Posted May 1, 2007 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    The squeamishly anti-choice position always reminds me of a video two male friends of mine put together for a fake political campaign in a government class in high school, in which the dialogue went something like this:
    “Abortion is a hot-button topic these days. How do we feel about abortion?”
    “We strongly support a woman’s right to choose!”
    “While making sure that everything lives everywhere, forever.”
    “As long as she makes the choice… to keep her baby.”
    Ah, I love having smart, pro-choice men in my life.
    In other news, my lip curled involuntarily when I read this: Second, the woman should also be offered a six-hour videotape of a screaming 1-year-old.
    Apparently, Saletan believes that women who consider abortions are less educated about the facts of life than your average four-year-old.

  36. oenophile
    Posted May 1, 2007 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Agreed, Anna & RoyMac.
    The one issue, Anna, that I disagree with you on is an economic one: mandating HPV will actually INCREASE the cost. There is but one supplier of it, who has a patent on it – i.e. a government-granted monopoly. (FYI: I’m all for patent rights.) At the moment, Merck has to charge no more than many consumers will voluntarily pay for its vaccine – and $400 isn’t that bad, all things considered. If it is mandatory, however, people lack the option to not purchase it and there are no competitors – ergo, no downward pressure on prices. Government mandates eliminate the free market, which will drive up prices unless the government also forces Merck to (if it’s even Constitutional) dispense the vaccine at set prices.

  37. annajcook
    Posted May 1, 2007 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Hey,
    Clarification (I mis-typed my thought). The argument I have heard is that mandating the drug will mean insurance is more likely to cover it. I haven’t looked into the issue any further myself.

  38. Posted May 1, 2007 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Give Me the Intellectual Credit I’m Due and Just Call Me Evil, Okay?

    So, I was planning on writing some grand post about how truly, deeply wrong William Saletan got his piece on the Supreme Court decision upholding the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, but there’s not a whole lot to add to what…

  39. Mina
    Posted May 1, 2007 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    “If ultrasound legislation was about funding a full range of ob/gyn services for women, so that–regardless of our material resources–we could have full access to the information we needed to make difficult decisions, I would probably support it.”
    I would too. Also, ultrasounds are a way to get info for many decisions, not just decisions about pregnancy. Doctors can use them to look at the insides of other parts of the body too, like the gallbladder and kidneys and liver:
    http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=genus#part_two

  40. Marette
    Posted May 2, 2007 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    When I had my abortion, I had to ASK to see the ultrasound. (She just assumed I didn’t want to see.) At only 5 weeks, of course there is not much to see but a little black dot on a screen.
    It is utterly bizarre (at least to me) that anyone could assume that all women who have abortions “do not want to see what abortion ‘kills.’ ” It is also just as strange to me that no one ever holds any of the men who impregnanted the women seeking abortions responsible for putting them in such a situation.
    I do not believe that being pro-choice has to be at odds with being pro-humanity and having emotions about an unborn life growing in your body, even if it is only a little cluster of cells. And as a feminist, I actually resent some of the pressure to “de-humanize” a new human conception as a way of protecting a woman’s reproductive rights.
    Why not speak honestly about the experience of having an abortion, rather than diminishing it? Are we afraid that this will feed into the arguments made by the anti-abortion camp? I would argue that this actually limits our expression of who we are as women, which is exactly what feminism should promote not restrict! I feel that an abortion can be a very traumatic experience, and that women who are PRO-CHOICE should feel free and comfortable expressing that and talking about it openly and honestly. Acknowledging the emotions that we feel does NOT weaken our position. I believe it only makes it stronger in showing that women make CONSCIOUS decisions about their lives, their bodies, and their potential future families.
    The circumstances that lead to unplanned or unexpected pregnancies can be very complex. It is normal for women to feel a multitude of emotions in that moment. And just because a woman makes the choice to have an abortion, does not mean she should feel pressure to repress the emotions she has about it in order to remain strong in being pro-choice.
    Instead, I think that we should focus on the reality that unplanned pregnancies can happen to anyone. And that not only the potential mother (and father)’s lives will be affected by her choice, so too will the life of the baby if she chooses to have the baby. So, it is a very intense moment with very little time to make a decision (another important point that no one ever seems to mention in dicussions about abortion).
    Just as we emphasize the importance of NOT judging or stigmatizing women for their choice, we should also allow them the opportunity to have a voice and to express real emotions for the potential life that they may have very real feelings about.

  41. Marette
    Posted May 2, 2007 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    When I had my abortion, I had to ASK to see the ultrasound. (She just assumed I didn’t want to see.) At only 5 weeks, of course there is not much to see but a little black dot on a screen.
    It is utterly bizarre (at least to me) that anyone could assume that all women who have abortions “do not want to see what abortion ‘kills.’ ” It is also just as strange to me that no one ever holds any of the men who impregnanted the women seeking abortions responsible for putting them in such a situation.
    I do not believe that being pro-choice has to be at odds with being pro-humanity and having emotions about an unborn life growing in your body, even if it is only a little cluster of cells. And as a feminist, I actually resent some of the pressure to “de-humanize” a new human conception as a way of protecting a woman’s reproductive rights.
    Why not speak honestly about the experience of having an abortion, rather than diminishing it? Are we afraid that this will feed into the arguments made by the anti-abortion camp? I would argue that this actually limits our expression of who we are as women, which is exactly what feminism should promote not restrict! I feel that an abortion can be a very traumatic experience, and that women who are PRO-CHOICE should feel free and comfortable expressing that and talking about it openly and honestly. Acknowledging the emotions that we feel does NOT weaken our position. I believe it only makes it stronger in showing that women make CONSCIOUS decisions about their lives, their bodies, and their potential future families.
    The circumstances that lead to unplanned or unexpected pregnancies can be very complex. It is normal for women to feel a multitude of emotions in that moment. And just because a woman makes the choice to have an abortion, does not mean she should feel pressure to repress the emotions she has about it in order to remain strong in being pro-choice.
    Instead, I think that we should focus on the reality that unplanned pregnancies can happen to anyone. And that not only the potential mother (and father)’s lives will be affected by her choice, so too will the life of the baby if she chooses to have the baby. So, it is a very intense moment with very little time to make a decision (another important point that no one ever seems to mention in dicussions about abortion).
    Just as we emphasize the importance of NOT judging or stigmatizing women for their choice, we should also allow them the opportunity to have a voice and to express real emotions for the potential life that they may have very real feelings about.

  42. Marette
    Posted May 2, 2007 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    When I had my abortion, I had to ASK to see the ultrasound. (She just assumed I didn’t want to see.) At only 5 weeks, of course there is not much to see but a little black dot on a screen.
    It is utterly bizarre (at least to me) that anyone could assume that all women who have abortions “do not want to see what abortion ‘kills.’ ” It is also just as strange to me that no one ever holds any of the men who impregnanted the women seeking abortions responsible for putting them in such a situation.
    I do not believe that being pro-choice has to be at odds with being pro-humanity and having emotions about an unborn life growing in your body, even if it is only a little cluster of cells. And as a feminist, I actually resent some of the pressure to “de-humanize” a new human conception as a way of protecting a woman’s reproductive rights.
    Why not speak honestly about the experience of having an abortion, rather than diminishing it? Are we afraid that this will feed into the arguments made by the anti-abortion camp? I would argue that this actually limits our expression of who we are as women, which is exactly what feminism should promote not restrict! I feel that an abortion can be a very traumatic experience, and that women who are PRO-CHOICE should feel free and comfortable expressing that and talking about it openly and honestly. Acknowledging the emotions that we feel does NOT weaken our position. I believe it only makes it stronger in showing that women make CONSCIOUS decisions about their lives, their bodies, and their potential future families.
    The circumstances that lead to unplanned or unexpected pregnancies can be very complex. It is normal for women to feel a multitude of emotions in that moment. And just because a woman makes the choice to have an abortion, does not mean she should feel pressure to repress the emotions she has about it in order to remain strong in being pro-choice.
    Instead, I think that we should focus on the reality that unplanned pregnancies can happen to anyone. And that not only the potential mother (and father)’s lives will be affected by her choice, so too will the life of the baby if she chooses to have the baby. So, it is a very intense moment with very little time to make a decision (another important point that no one ever seems to mention in dicussions about abortion).
    Just as we emphasize the importance of NOT judging or stigmatizing women for their choice, we should also allow them the opportunity to have a voice and to express real emotions for the potential life that they may have very real feelings about.

  43. Marette
    Posted May 2, 2007 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    When I had my abortion, I had to ASK to see the ultrasound. (She just assumed I didn’t want to see.) At only 5 weeks, of course there is not much to see but a little black dot on a screen.
    It is utterly bizarre (at least to me) that anyone could assume that all women who have abortions “do not want to see what abortion ‘kills.’ ” It is also just as strange to me that no one ever holds any of the men who impregnanted the women seeking abortions responsible for putting them in such a situation.
    I do not believe that being pro-choice has to be at odds with being pro-humanity and having emotions about an unborn life growing in your body, even if it is only a little cluster of cells. And as a feminist, I actually resent some of the pressure to “de-humanize” a new human conception as a way of protecting a woman’s reproductive rights.
    Why not speak honestly about the experience of having an abortion, rather than diminishing it? Are we afraid that this will feed into the arguments made by the anti-abortion camp? I would argue that this actually limits our expression of who we are as women, which is exactly what feminism should promote not restrict! I feel that an abortion can be a very traumatic experience, and that women who are PRO-CHOICE should feel free and comfortable expressing that and talking about it openly and honestly. Acknowledging the emotions that we feel does NOT weaken our position. I believe it only makes it stronger in showing that women make CONSCIOUS decisions about their lives, their bodies, and their potential future families.
    The circumstances that lead to unplanned or unexpected pregnancies can be very complex. It is normal for women to feel a multitude of emotions in that moment. And just because a woman makes the choice to have an abortion, does not mean she should feel pressure to repress the emotions she has about it in order to remain strong in being pro-choice.
    Instead, I think that we should focus on the reality that unplanned pregnancies can happen to anyone. And that not only the potential mother (and father)’s lives will be affected by her choice, so too will the life of the baby if she chooses to have the baby. So, it is a very intense moment with very little time to make a decision (another important point that no one ever seems to mention in dicussions about abortion).
    Just as we emphasize the importance of NOT judging or stigmatizing women for their choice, we should also allow them the opportunity to have a voice and to express real emotions for the potential life that they may have very real feelings about.

  44. Marette
    Posted May 2, 2007 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    When I had my abortion, I had to ASK to see the ultrasound. (She just assumed I didn’t want to see.) At only 5 weeks, of course there is not much to see but a little black dot on a screen.
    It is utterly bizarre (at least to me) that anyone could assume that all women who have abortions “do not want to see what abortion ‘kills.’ ” It is also just as strange to me that no one ever holds any of the men who impregnanted the women seeking abortions responsible for putting them in such a situation.
    I do not believe that being pro-choice has to be at odds with being pro-humanity and having emotions about an unborn life growing in your body, even if it is only a little cluster of cells. And as a feminist, I actually resent some of the pressure to “de-humanize” a new human conception as a way of protecting a woman’s reproductive rights.
    Why not speak honestly about the experience of having an abortion, rather than diminishing it? Are we afraid that this will feed into the arguments made by the anti-abortion camp? I would argue that this actually limits our expression of who we are as women, which is exactly what feminism should promote not restrict! I feel that an abortion can be a very traumatic experience, and that women who are PRO-CHOICE should feel free and comfortable expressing that and talking about it openly and honestly. Acknowledging the emotions that we feel does NOT weaken our position. I believe it only makes it stronger in showing that women make CONSCIOUS decisions about their lives, their bodies, and their potential future families.
    The circumstances that lead to unplanned or unexpected pregnancies can be very complex. It is normal for women to feel a multitude of emotions in that moment. And just because a woman makes the choice to have an abortion, does not mean she should feel pressure to repress the emotions she has about it in order to remain strong in being pro-choice.
    Instead, I think that we should focus on the reality that unplanned pregnancies can happen to anyone. And that not only the potential mother (and father)’s lives will be affected by her choice, so too will the life of the baby if she chooses to have the baby. So, it is a very intense moment with very little time to make a decision (another important point that no one ever seems to mention in dicussions about abortion).
    Just as we emphasize the importance of NOT judging or stigmatizing women for their choice, we should also allow them the opportunity to have a voice and to express real emotions for the potential life that they may have very real feelings about.

  45. Mina
    Posted May 2, 2007 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    “Instead, I think that we should focus on the reality that unplanned pregnancies can happen to anyone. And that not only the potential mother (and father)’s lives will be affected by her choice, so too will the life of the baby if she chooses to have the baby.”
    …and so too will the lives of any children she already has, if she chooses to have one more baby. Unfortunately, some people ignore the reality that unplanned pregnancies can happen to mothers too instead of only childless and unmarried teenagers.

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