My response to a comment. Abortion #2.

September 8, 2012

In a comment responding to my last post, Harley wrote the following – an analogy on abortion:

“An embryo is a blueprint for a human, but is not yet a human. Comparing the removal of such an unwanted blueprint, to murder, is like comparing tearing up a plan for a beautiful house, to taking a wrecking ball to a beautiful house.”

I think that’s perfect.

It’s opened a need for me to write the following:

I wrote an essay at uni, when I took up a unit of Philosophy – this comment has just reminded me of it! It was a paper about abortion and I had to argue for or against it. Pity it was written in the time of typewriters, because it’s long gone and I’d love to be able to read what I wrote…

Whilst at uni – the birthplace of my first serious relationship – I always reasoned that, should I accidentally fall pregnant (even though I was taking precautions), I would NOT have an abortion. But whilst writing my essay, I couldn’t – in my soul – feel I could ‘take sides’ and judge a woman’s reason for having to have one, by being ‘anti-abortion’.

I respect life – but I was leaning more towards the woman, than the foetus. Why? Because with all my well thought out, good intentions about abortion…what if one day I DID need to have one? I knew that if I did have to come to that decision, it would be the hardest, most gut-wrenching and heartbreaking decision I would ever have to make. And would be still.

Women don’t casually go and get one done, like a pedicure. In their lunch hour. If there WERE women who took the whole thing a little more casually (the rest being psychologically affected in some way – however small) – they would be the minority. But even THEY risk the possibility of terminating their chance to have children ever again.

Noone wins in this situation…I would even go on the line and say, no woman EVER wins.

So in my essay, I sided with women – siting that whilst the foetus cannot survive outside the womb, it’s not truly a person – especially as a teeny tiny one. The blueprint.

Today, as always, women are being immorally shortchanged by the men in power – the law makers. Because not giving women the freedom and right of choice, is wrong. It’s not fair.

There’s a simple, unjust reason for this (amongst many) – TWO people make a baby, but the person being judged and forced to have it and raise the child alone (in too many instances), is the woman – regardless of circumstance. One rule.

BUT…the man can walk away.

Question #90: How can men in government, knowing the freedom that their gender affords them, doom women to stick to the birth – and all the complications that come with the baby – and pass laws without women’s voices being heard and taken into account?

Where’s the rule that forces the man – by law – to be obligated to stick around and be an emotional and financial support? If the argument is that the foetus is a real person, then shouldn’t the father be obliged to begin that support from conception?

It’s only fair.

We should send this idea on!

Deep, frustrated breath for my sisters.


27 Responses to “My response to a comment. Abortion #2.”

  1. Harls said

    Yes! And to take this discussion to its logical but ridiculous conclusion: If the religious right-to-lifers are so concerned about human life, they should conduct a funeral every time a sexually active woman has her period – because there is a chance that period is expelling a fertilised but unviable egg, as 75% of fertilised eggs end up in a tampon. These frightening nutters would have you believe you are flushing humans down the toilet. Sorry to be so crude, but that is the harsh yet simple reality of the situation.

  2. The solution, or one of them, is not to discuss the fetus at all. The focus, necessarily, is the woman and her rights to bodily autonomy.

    The whole “your killing baaaaaaabeeies” argument gets quickly becomes convoluted, rather than keeping the theme on the woman.

    Women are not incubators and we do have full bodily autonomy. This is so basic, yet people still argue vociferously against it.

    • questionsforwomen said

      Absolutely – you’re quite right!
      It is simply astonishing that the woman is so minimally considered in all of this. Such a sad state of affairs.
      Thank you for your comment. 🙂 x

  3. Hannah Tuton said

    I just thought that one of the female “religious nutters” could add in her two cents (take it or leave it), but that analogy doesn’t sit very well with me, mainly because if one did not tear up that blue print for the beautiful house, and just left it alone, it would not continue to grow into the beautiful house.

    • questionsforwomen said

      I hear you, Hannah – I do.
      Because I’ve been afforded the privilege to be able to have children AND provide for them, I generally feel as you do – but life isn’t always so accommodating to so many other women and there’s the life of the already-established mother who MUST be heard. Her mental health, depression, societal judgement, her SHAME – all lumped on the woman and the woman only. As human beings we can’t have one rule that says an emphatic, “No”.
      It’s not good for our world.
      For me, it has nothing to do with religion and that’s why I haven’t included it in my argument – because I see it as a humanitarian issue – but I understand that for others, religion is the basis of their opinion.
      You, my dear, are not a nutter. I think the majority of women, in essence, feel the same way as you – that’s what (I assume) makes it all the more heartbreaking.
      Thanks Hannah for your comment. x

    • Harls said

      Hi Hannah, I’ll take your two cents, yours is a thoughtful comment. I think the fact that one blueprint becomes the end result without further intervention, and the other does not, is not relevant to the analogy. Both scenarios, in the right environment (eg. in a uterus, or in the hands of a building company), proceed along their logical course to the end product. My “nutter” pejorative is directed at irrational individuals (for example, those that murder abortionists, and those that profess to tell others how to run their lives) and is NOT directed at people just because they don’t happen to share my point of view. You don’t seem to fit into my nutter category. Respect to you.

  4. Verina said

    whist i understand what you are saying there several points that you do not consider..
    1. it takes two to create a life .. genetically it is half his.. why has he no say in whether it lives or dies.. when if it the child was born you would consider it enough half his to want him to help support it!
    2. very early abortions are one thing.. but you did not consider late term which happen regularly around the world. we fight to have babies born after 23-24 weeks, after 20 weeks they need to be named and buried if they are born… but if we abort them.. they don’t exist… this is a double standard… if they themselves decide to be born they are real.. if we decide they should not exist they don’t.
    3 if you think some (not all) women don’t do this casually without concern, then you haven’t interviewed enough. There are to many examples of young women who just “want to get rid of it” several times.. because society tells them it is not a life, yet it’s heart beats at 25 days!!
    4. if we found one single cell on mars the world would spend millions.. declaring they have found life.. but that same single cell in a woman is not considered life and we pay to get rid of it..
    5. Abortion has many physical and emotional side effects that are not talked about. It is not he easy way out. Many women suffer for making that decision.. we don’t talk about that…..( please read giving sorrow words by Melinda Tankard Reist)
    The issue of abortion is very complicated. it is not black and white.. the woman’s are not he only rights to be considered… it takes more than a woman to create a baby…
    and when we teach our society that life is that expendable we decay society…
    (ps I am not for banning abortion.. but your conclusions as to the woman’s rights are selfish and wrong. there is much more to it than that.)

    • Harls said

      If I may put forward some comments by way of a response:

      1. Yes it takes 2. I postulate that if the male was so keen he offered to take on 100% of the responsibility of the baby once it was born, the abortion rate would plummet. When that is not the case, the decision is rightly the woman’s alone. Where there is a shared responsibility and a shared decision by a committed couple, as is often the case, so be it.

      2. Not too many people lose sleep at the thought of a spontaneous abortion occuring a few hours after conception. Most people are horrified at the thought of late term abortions. Somewhere between those two extremes lies the “line in the sand” that is the subject of much of this debate. Ultimately, the mother’s wellbeing must prevail.

      3. I agree with the blog author: even women who “just want to get rid of it” wrestle with their consciences and don’t take the decision lightly. If they depersonalise the experience it is for a good reason and deserves empathy no condemnation. As for the heart beating at 25 days, this is an emotive invocation and means that the differentiated heart cells are programmed to contract rythmically – the embryo still just a collection of differentiated cells.

      4. See point 2. A fertilised egg is a blueprint for a human, not a human. The point about a fertilised egg being compared to finding life outside our planet is irrational and completely disingenuous.

      5. You are 100% correct, there is no black and white in this debate.

      It’s unfortunate that your comment ends with statements describing the blog author’s conclusions as “selfish” and “wrong”.

      • Verina said

        Yes and I did think about it.. but to only consider the rights of one person in this when so many more are involved… the father, the potential grandparent who then find out their grandchild has been aborted. The decision if known affects more than just the mother… when we act like she is the only one involved it is selfish…
        and I believe that to take this only the woman’s rights count is wrong…
        however what I should have said was this “line of thinking in society is selfish and wrong” not the author…. and for that I will apologise. I did not intend to make it personal.
        we are all entitled to our opinion… without attack and ridicule.
        it is a difficult subject with no immediate answer…
        whilst I believe that life begins at conception, and have suffered the grief of a miscarriage, I do understand the need for some early abortions and leave that to the people involved to make that heartbreaking decision.
        my big question is at what point do we draw the line…
        and what sort of society are we that says it’s ok for a woman to want her 25+ week “baby” dead rather than with someone who really wants it! after all they still have to have/deliver the child.
        I know these later abortion are much rarer in Australia but they are not uncommon.. and worldwide they are much more common. And this is a worldwide attitude problem. I really believe that we are really only given one side of the story and that is the pro-abortion side. We need to be told the REALITY of the other side because it is just as valid and important.

      • questionsforwomen said

        Thanks Verina.
        My main point about abortion is not that it’s JUST about the woman – it’s clearly not. But it is her body and it is her mind.
        In principle I AM against abortion – but I can’t support a law, made by men, denying the miriade of reasons why a woman may need to come to that heartbreaking decision.
        And once the feelings of grandparents come before that of the mother – at that moment, she stops being human and starts being an incubator…and it just doesn’t sit right with me.
        I don’t have the stats about late abortions – where are they happening? I thought there were strict rules about this. Again, I’m only looking at the society around me and most girls and women I know and teach, would do nothing but rejoice at the prospect of having a baby and respect it enough to be careful to plan it.
        But the women with legitimate reasons can’t be ostracised for the bad reasons of the few.
        Women must be given the choice – otherwise we remain under control.
        Thanks again, Verina. I understand where you’re coming from.

    • questionsforwomen said

      I’m sorry if my post appeared so black and white – I took time to write it, to express the exact opposite.
      1. I believe the man has as much say into having a baby and think it’s sad that there are situations where they cannot keep the baby because the woman feels she can’t.
      2. Abortions done late in term surely have to be in the minority…appalling and horrifying as they are.
      3. I did write that I was sure there were women who take it casually…but still at great risk to their bodies and reproductive capabilities later in life (not to mention possible mental effects).
      4. I agree – personally I feel the exorbitant amount of money being spent on space exploration is a waste, when so much could be done here – BUT I think it’s too general to say that we don’t consider a woman’s cell life. I do.
      5. I NEVER infered that abortion is the easy way out – I wrote that it IS something that (can) come with terrible psychological repercussions.
      Finally, I never said that it is only the woman’s rights who need to be considered – but to say that saying yes to abortion ‘teaches’ that life is expendable is flatly untrue.
      We are women. We are mother earth. The MAJORITY of us will not go down that path because of our gender’s nature – to create life and nurture. It’s who we are in our souls.
      So we have to support the majority – not the minority (like your examples).
      If my attempted rape had ended up being worse and leaving me pregnant, I would have had an abortion…and I would have been DEVASTATED on SO many levels. But I would have needed society to support ME.
      I’m saddened that you concluded that I’m selfish and wrong but I feel it is you who have generalised abortion with only examples of the minority. The stories around the world of women being not only raped, but coersed into sex, especially with the pressure of our current culture – there certainly is much more to it.
      Thanks Verina for your comment. x

      • Verina said

        please see my above comment and my explanation and apology for my wording.
        I agree with you that men in government do not have that right.
        I also agree that more needs to be done to support the woman in this awful position. And I also agree that some circumstances about abortion are out of bounds to everyone BUT the woman.. ( eg rape incest. etc)
        I don’t see my examples as the minority… maybe in australia but not in the rest of the world…
        the largest group of reason for abortion is “unplanned” “can’t cope” “don’t want one now” “not able to support”
        The reason there is so little support for those women don’t really want an abortion but feel that is their only choice and for those who for whatever reason must or have had one..
        is because as a society world wide we have been told that abortion is not a big deal.. the emotional side as you rightly pointed out (that you would be devastated and need support) is drastically undervalued and ignored.. and that it wrong. There should be no judgement of the women who have made this decision but love and support and caring and emotional, physical and psychological help.
        let me quickly relate 2 stories that I heard this week.
        1. mother pregnant at 30 weeks decided that she could not cope with having the child, became depressed, and suicidal over the issue so dr’s performed a late term abortion to get rid of this baby to help the mother. She still had to deliver it, but dead.
        2. a discussion with a mother whose baby was diagnosed with anencephaly (developed without a brain) at 19week ultrasound.She decided to continue with the baby expecting her to die at birth. She didn’t she lived incredibly for 4 yrs! She never spoke, rarely moved and didn’t grow much…
        and died 12 mths ago this month… but her life impacted complete strangers for the better! People learned compassion, empathy, and the value of life from this little girl and her loving family.
        I am not judging either mother… both stories are heart breaking but different.
        But we have become a world (not individuals) that see that it is better to have a dead baby that infringe on the “rights” of the mother…
        The number of abortions performed world wide each year is astronomical. Studies show around 42 million!!! each year!!!
        we as a world have a serious problem! better education for girls and boys about preventing pregnancy.. and greater understanding at the real cost to life of abortion.
        We need better education and support before and after the event.. we need less judgement and we need more value placed on life as a whole…

      • questionsforwomen said

        It seems that we’re pretty much on the same page – education is definitely the way – but it has to educate all areas, not just abortion = wrong. Was it wrong for that mother to have an abortion at 30 weeks? I don’t think so. Her suicide would have been the end of her AND the baby. The law needs to support that.
        The only sentence that I slightly disagree with is that the world has an attitude that a dead baby is better than the woman’s ‘rights’. I think that respect for life is prevelant – but education can help those needing guidance.
        If there were 42 million more babies born every year – our planet would literally collapse. Our mother earth – already in peril – cannot sustain that.

    • Abortion forced pregnancy has many physical and emotional side effects that are not talked about. It is not [t]he easy way out. Many women suffer for making that decision.. we don’t talk about that…..

      Many women suffer and die during pregnancy too, pregnancy is almost always hard on womens bodies. Abortion, by the numbers is a much safer procedure.

      And I hope you are not regurgitating anti-choice talking points with the psychological trauma angle, because it is bullshite. Basing what you say on poorly constructed, biased research is not a good way to attempt to make your point.

      Did you know what would reduce the suffering of women? The security in knowing that they can choose what is right for them based on how they feel. No waiting periods, no waivers, no rape-tastic vaginal ultrasounds, just knowledge that they can obtain the medical procedures they deem necessary.

    • but your conclusions as to the woman’s rights are selfish and wrong. there is much more to it than that.)

      Your fetus worship is showing and its ugly.

      What goes on in a woman’s body is her business.
      Full stop. No exceptions.

      That is what the term full bodily autonomy implies and in our civilized society adult humans (in theory) possess it, there are no “exclusion zones” for the uterus.

  5. lamehousewife said

    Hi Paula,
    Let me share with you my own story. Several years ago I was suffering what some people would call a severe depression. Others would call it a spiritual crisis. I was pregnant with my third child at the time. I did not think I was capable of having any more children, mentally speaking. I felt like I couldn’t even take care of the 2 boys I was taking care of. On top of that, I was in a country that was unfamiliar to me; I had no friends; and my husband was not supportive. He did not want the child. I went to the doctor’s at 16 weeks pregnant just to confirm the pregnancy. They asked me with complete indifference if I wanted to keep it. Me. I was in complete darkness, desperation, fear. I seriously considered it. If it had not been for my family, if they had not taken me and my boys in at that moment, I would have done it. But, praise the Lord! I did not and I have a nine year old, very vibrant son, full of laughter joy, brightness. It would have been the worst mistake ever to deny him the chance to come into this world and me the chance to know that I could love him and other people the chance to know his presence. I was desperate nine years ago. I was in complete darkness. The doctors didn’t care what that decision would have done to me. They did not care about me personally. My husband did not care and still does not. He would not have been here to pick up the pieces of post-abortion trauma. He would have been relieved to not have to spend a little more money on his son. He represents why men want women to have abortions. It keeps him in control of his money. It keeps him in power over sex. It helps him to use women over and over again. He didn’t want me to have a choice as to whether or not to have an abortion. He wanted to manipulate me so that he could have control over my body and what it does naturally. He also has decided to have nothing to do with not only that son, but all of our sons. He only cares about himself. That is a sad condition to be in…
    Please take a look at and
    Abortion is hurting women perhaps more than you think, and it is actually the way some men have learned to keep their economic power. Absolutely men should be supporting a child with finances from day one of conception. With that I totally agree!
    That said, there are several men coming out because they are so saddened when the mother of their children destroy a life that they would have cared for. Some men feel powerless because they want children. It’s really not fair to think that men should not have a say in whether a child lives or dies. They can’t carry children in their body. That is the woman’s sacred gift.
    Women have the tremendous responsibility to open the future up for all of humanity. She denies freedom to the future if she denies one person the chance to live because there is no future without a woman’s cooperation to give life to the world, even when the circumstances seem dire at the time. If she denies the future the chance to exist through her, so too has she denied the future the chance to experience true freedom because freedom can only be experienced by the living. If that is the case, she truly does not believe that her own freedom is possible here and now (thoughts from “Reconstructing Feminism” featuring Simone de Beauvoir).
    Now, this gets into a whole lot of other issues, stemming particularly from the time of the sexual revolution. Sexual abuse, psychological abuse, and sexually transmitted diseases have increased tremendously since that time. Our sexual behaviors at present are not healthy. They are degrading. They are depressing. How awesome would it be for a man to love a woman so intensely that he knows how her body works, her specific seasons, her abilities, her gifts, and takes care of them with the utmost concern with her! But, that is a topic for another time, although connected.

    • questionsforwomen said

      Thank you for sharing your story with us, Juliet! I think it is a blessing that you now have your son to cherish and it seems you were one of the lucky ones to your wonderful family’s support. It saddens me terribly to hear of your husband’s control.
      I think we could spend two life times talking about individual stories – some ones to celebrate and others horrific. But you’re right – times have changed. Therefore there needs to be better actions and decisions made, on this issue.
      But it can’t be, “NO, you can’t”.
      …and the men I talk about are those in government who argue to make that call.
      I know there are many women, even ones dear to me, who are against abortion – I am too to an extent; when it’s done for the ‘wrong’ reasons – but I truly feel that on the whole it’s a HARROWING decision to make and one that, for the majority, needs our support. Of course, it’s not to just say, “You want it? No? OK step through this door and let’s get to it,” but truly work through options and councelling – if a woman decides to continue, how wonderful! But if not, she must be supported.
      Thank you for your wonderful perspective on this issue.
      PS I’ll check out those sites tomorrow. 🙂

  6. Verina said

    my genuine question is why did the 30 week baby have to die??
    I agree we could not risk the mothers suicide.. but if she had to deliver it anyway.. why did it have to be dead? why if she did not want the baby ( and that is her decision) why could it just not have been kept from her ?
    this is what I mean by a society that prefers a baby dead, than a womans rights be violated..
    there are strict rules… and this was an exceptional case.. but still 30 weeks the child was viable .. does the child at that stage have no rights at all??

    • questionsforwomen said

      I misread the example (well, I didn’t quite grasp that it would have to be aborted, then delivered…chilling) – yes, I agree – that baby should not have died. It most definitely had a chance at survival and an adopted family. A terrible shame.

  7. Verina said

    It is.. and yes we are effectively on the same page. I enjoy your questions and they are very thought provoking and challenging. It is good to be shaken every now and then to take a good look at what is happening, why and what it says…
    thanks for your thoughts and balance and politeness…

  8. misfitamanda said

    Reblogged this on Musings from a misfit named Amanda and commented:

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