What am I doing with a blog?

Awww…heck. I dunno.

thoughts April 6, 2007

Filed under: feminism — himbly @ 7:18 pm

Hmm…how to put this.

I am pro-choice. Very pro-choice. I know, intuitively, why I am so…but I find it difficult to argue. I guess the reason why is because your stance on abortion is so closely tied with your personal philosophies, and it is sometimes nearly impossible to come even close to seeing eye to eye with someone if you don’t even agree on what life, the universe, and everything means to you.

Also…I really think that pro-life people have been fed a lot of nonsense that some won’t critically and sensibly review. That’s frustrating.

I don’t know who Caitlin Flanagan is, but she wrote this and it was posted over at Pandagon.

…the practical has always had a stronger pull on my emotions than the theoretical. Those old debates about the nature of the human soul have never moved me; surely a soul is no more valuable to God if it exists in this world rather than the next. And a thousand arguments about the beginning of human life will never appeal to me as powerfully as a terrified pregnant girl desperate for a bit of compassion.

I”m not a good enough writer nor have I properly put in the time to do enough research to back up my position on this issue. Let me rephrase that…I do know why I am pro-choice, as mentioned before, but I don’t know how to say it. Maybe this will be the first of many posts to help me figure it out.

Again, Pandagon has a great article. I hope they don’t mind me linking them so often lately…I just appreciate their thoughts.

UPDATE: another interesting view about the Flanagan article from a bird and a bottle.

If the mother’s instinct is as strong as Flangan claims it is (she calls it the strongest emotion imaginable), then why question a woman’s instinct that she can’t become a mother (or become a mother again) at this time.

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27 Responses to “thoughts”

  1. Mark Says:

    I really think that pro-life people have been fed a lot of nonsense that some won’t critically and sensibly review. That’s frustrating.

    1. What nonsense would that be?

    2. If anything, pro-lifers have had to critically and sensibly review not only what they believe, but to comprehend what the opposition believes since their opponents’ views HAVE BEEN CODIFIED INTO LAW.

    3. Frustrating? Do you know how frustrating it is to know that 1/3rd of your generation has been obliterated? Do you how frustrating it is that, as an American, this issue was taken from us voters by a gang of Justices on the SUpreme Court?

    I can tell you about frustration.

  2. himbly Says:

    Maybe read the article, Mark.

    Firstly…a caveat. I try to take into account that men have every right to have an opinion on the matter…but it is difficult seeing that you will never understand what it’s like to be a woman. I know…that sounds trite, but it’s true. Even so…you have a right to your opinion…

    1) the nonsense would be linking breast cancer to abortion. The nonsense would be that women are dying from legalized and sterile abortions. The nonsense would be that women never were in danger from illegal abortions. The nonsense would be that women (and girls) wouldn’t have abortions if it were illegal.

    To name a few.

    2) Yes…codified into law only relatively recently. Pro-choicers had the same difficulty before…and are still fighting to keep it legal considering in Canada the Conservative party is currently in power and in the US…well…you know who is president.

    3) One third of your generation has been obliterated? Through abortion? I dont’ find that frustrating…I would imagine that the same statistic applies to me…though I get the feeling you’re a bit younger.

    You’re no more frustrated than the rest of us. If you think that pro-choice people are resting on their laurels congratulating themselves on a job well done, well…you’re wrong. The debate continues and it could, conceivably, switch back at any time.

    I always find it amusing that ‘right wing’ people have turned the tables to make it sound as though they are the persecuted ones…when they have the money and the power. And the media isn’t nearly as “left” as you all would like to believe.

  3. Rebel Novice Says:

    Here’s a very thoughtful, well-written reason for being pro-choice:
    http://bitchphd.blogspot.com/2004/10/abortion.html

    The last paragraph, in particular, sums up exactly how I feel: women are the ones to do the deciding and wrestle with their own consciences.

    Incidentally, no views have been “codified into law” in Canada regarding abortion. It is not criminally regulated at all.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_in_Canada

  4. himbly Says:

    Oh! That’s true! I forgot that!

    But Mark is from the US…I believe it’s law there, right?

    Thanks for commenting, yo. I’ll check out the BitchPhD post right now.

  5. himbly Says:

    Wow. Thanks Jacqui. That’s a pretty powerful post.

  6. himbly Says:

    …as a side note, Mark. I’ve noticed over at M’ville that all I have to do is mention pregnancy and you’re practically screaming ‘baby killer’. However, Mac says he is pro-choice (albeit reluctant) and you hush up. Now…I’m wondering if it’s because he’s a man or if it’s because he’s a conservative that you won’t actually confront him.

  7. Auguste Says:

    Do you know how frustrating it is to know that 1/3rd of your generation has been obliterated?

    This argument would be compelling if it made any goddamn sense at all.

  8. Auguste Says:

    By the way – you know who’s actually in danger of losing 1/3 of a generation?

    Iraqis.

    That’s right, I’m one of those people.

  9. Auguste Says:

    (Liberals, not Iraqis.)

  10. himbly Says:

    Hey Auguste…welcome!

  11. Alon Levy Says:

    Do you know how frustrating it is to know that 1/3rd of your generation has been obliterated?

    It’s not quite like that. Women who abort typically want to postpone rather than forego childbirth. Not coincidentally, the US birth rate wasn’t much affected by Roe. Conversely, when Ceausescu not only banned all abortion and contraception but also required all women of childbearing age to undergo monthly pregnancy tests to ensure they didn’t disguise abortions as stillbirths, Romania’s birth rate only increased for one year; afterward, it went back to its pre-criminalization level.

    Do you how frustrating it is that, as an American, this issue was taken from us voters by a gang of Justices on the SUpreme Court?

    Again, it’s not completely like that. There’s no doubt about it: if the issue were left to the voters, there would be greater restrictions on abortion in the US than there are now. But pro-lifers would still find a lot to object to.

    Polls that ask about at which stage of the pregnancy abortion should be legal find that the median voter’s position is, by a razor-thin margin, that abortion should be legal in the first three months or so. Polls that ask about circumstances for abortion find that most voters don’t support abortion on demand by a fairly small margin, but do support abortion whenever there’s any threat to the woman’s physical or mental health by a large margin and whenever the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest by a huge margin.

  12. himbly Says:

    Wow. I”m really finding this discussion interesting and I’m learning a lot. I think I will try to make this topic a regular feature here.

    “There’s no doubt about it: if the issue were left to the voters, there would be greater restrictions on abortion in the US than there are now.”

    This is interesting because I feel the same way about gay marriage when people complain about it not being left in the hands of the voters. I think, if left to the voters, that gay marriage would be in greater jeopardy than it is now. However, I also think if slavery was left up to the voters at the time, emancipation would never have occurred. Although I am all for democracy, we need to err towards the side of human rights and not public opinion.

    So, yes…I think that gay marriage and abortion are human rights in that they argue for control over one’s own life and body.

    I think that I’ll do a gay marriage post soon, too.

  13. himbly Says:

    Thanks to all who are posting and I hope you come back and that this discussion keeps going.

  14. Alon Levy Says:

    This is interesting because I feel the same way about gay marriage when people complain about it not being left in the hands of the voters. I think, if left to the voters, that gay marriage would be in greater jeopardy than it is now.

    I feel the opposite… Gay rights activists will probably get gay marriage on the books in the most liberal states, and then retreat elsewhere to civil unions, which are the median voter’s position. Then the debate will become one of civil unions vs. gay marriage, and within ten years there should be full-scale SSM in the US. Unlike the American pro-choice movement, which is DOA, the pro-SSM one is serious enough to be able to pull that off and to realize that when a state votes against SSM, the next step is to introduce civil unions there as an alternative.

    Abortion is different mostly because of Roe. The pro-choice position is law in the US, which invigorates pro-life activists while wilting pro-choice ones. Abortion is about the only issue in the US that is left-shifted – i.e. the political mainstream is to the left of the median voter.

  15. himbly Says:

    Good point(s).

  16. himbly Says:

    Interesting. I was just thinking more about this. Where are you finding your information on voter’s positions? Just various polls you’re keeping up with? Do you not think that the vocal religious right would hurt the idea of even civil unions and that it’s only the gay rights activists keeping that much?

    Just questions…I’m not sure what to think about the popular opionion on SSM.

    I think, though, that the average person is going to have less of a visceral reaction to SSM than to abortion issues.

    and why do you think taht the political mainstream is to the left of the median voter in abortion issues? I mean…that’s great, but why is that?

  17. Alon Levy Says:

    Yeah, polls… for SSM, the poll I keep referring to is CNN’s 2004 exit poll, which breaks American voters down as 25% SSM, 35% civil unions, 37% no legal recognition. On the other hand, Polling Report has a poll from last month that says it’s 26/24/44. Asking just about civil unions or just about gay marriage yields majorities against in both cases; the only way to get civil unions majority support is to first make it clear that they’re a middle position between SSM and no recognition.

    About the mainstream of abortion politics, it’s because of Roe, mainly. The percentage of people who support Roe is far greater than the percentage of people who even answer “Always legal” or “mostly legal” on generic questions, let alone the percentage of people who don’t favor greater restrictions. Basically, Roe turned pro-choicers to the dominant faction, and left-shifting the debate is one of the advantages that confers.

    That, and before pro-choice organizations wilted, they came up with an incredibly powerful rhetorical framework, which emphasized freedom and the right to choose. No one likes being against choice. No one likes being against life, either, but in the US, all other things being equal, choice trumps life rhetorically. Pro-lifers have had NARAL’s ineffectiveness and D&X for the last fifteen years, and all they’ve managed to do is near-tie one 2006 poll.

  18. marnie Says:

    This post and several of the comments are intelligent, articulate and thought provoking. The pro-choice view is an intrinsic part of who I am. Becoming a parent myself only made me more so. It comes down to an unshakable belief that pregnancy is all consuming, every instinct is to protect the life inside you. Going against that basic, biological imperitive would require a massive will. That being the case, every woman will do what is right for her and her unborn, she will come to terms with her own concience, she will make a decision, and then she will live with it.

  19. Jaŋari Says:

    Very well-said, Marnie.

    Alon: Asking just about civil unions or just about gay marriage yields majorities against in both cases,
    Do you mean to say that if a referendum on the issue was called, that if the option was either ‘no legal recognition’ or ‘civil unions’, that the ‘same-sex marriage’ people would vote ‘no’?

    We had a similar situation a few years ago when the issue of Australia becoming a republic was put to a referendum.
    The wording was (source):
    A PROPOSED LAW: To alter the Constitution to establish the Commonwealth of Australia as a republic with the Queen and Governor-General being replaced by a President appointed by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Commonwealth Parliament. Vote YES or NO.

    What happened was those who wanted a directly elected Head-of-State were convinced that they had to vote ‘no’, otherwise we’d be forever stuck with a government-appointed puppet. The monarchists won.
    A far better solution would have been to ask firstly ‘Do you wish to replace the British Monarch as head-of-state with an Australian person, Yes or No’
    and then:
    ‘If ‘yes’, would you prefer an Australian elected by a two thirds majority or parliament, or directly elected by the electorate?’

    Sometimes the issues don’t shoehorn very well into an either-or scenario or a yes-no question.

  20. himbly Says:

    Marnie,

    It’s great to hear from parents who are clearly active and responsible in their child’s life discuss their pro-choice standpoint. I”m not a parent, so I’ve always wondered that if/when it happens if I will change my mind. The BitchPhD post that Rebel Novice linked to was along the same lines. Dedicated to her child but wouldn’t wish a woman be forced to be in that position. But I really am interested in the idea that a woman, if motherhood is all consuming and there is ‘instincts’ that kick in, has even more right to make up her own mind.

    Which also brings me to this thought. Up at the top, Mark talks about 1/3 of his generation being obliterated. Now, lets pretend that makes sense and he’s talking about abortion. I find it interesting that he doesn’t realize that even when abortion was not legal, or spoken of much, women were getting them all the time.

  21. himbly Says:

    “Do you mean to say that if a referendum on the issue was called, that if the option was either ‘no legal recognition’ or ‘civil unions’, that the ’same-sex marriage’ people would vote ‘no’?”

    I think what alon is saying is that if you have a vote for either SSM or no recognition, that the vote would swing to no recognition…but once voters are let in on a third, in between, opion ‘civil unions’ then the votes tend to swing towards that.

    Which I’m finding interesting. What, then, is so powerful about the idea of calling it a marriage? There is a huge semantic argument here. Or is there a difference between civil unions and ssm that I”m not understanding?

  22. Alon Levy Says:

    Civil unions only confer state-level benefits, because so far the federal government recognizes no such thing as civil unions. SSM confers full benefits, because the federal government recognizes marriage.

    At the federal level, I think there’s a similar thing with international recognition. Israel fully recognizes other countries’ SSMs but not civil unions, and I think France treats married single-sex couples as married for immigration purposes.

  23. Mark Says:

    Where to begin?

    “but it is difficult seeing that you will never understand what it’s like to be a woman”

    Irrelevant and weak. One need not directly experience something in order to comment or have an opinion.

    “the nonsense would be linking breast cancer to abortion. The nonsense would be that women are dying from legalized and sterile abortions. The nonsense would be that women never were in danger from illegal abortions. The nonsense would be that women (and girls) wouldn’t have abortions if it were illegal.”

    You’re uninformed.

    1. Around 30 studies have linked abortion to breast cancer. Do you wish to deny those studies also?

    Nor is breast cancer the only malady that increases. So does depression, sterilization and suicide, among others.

    2. Yes, women DO die from legalized abortions.

    3. Pro-lifers have never claimed that women were not in danger from illegal abortions. They did (and do) point out and women are not in fact dying by the thousands (as was falsely claimed in the U.S. in 1972 during arguments for R. v. W.). That claim was a 100% lie, and a convenient one at that.

    In any case, this point avoids the humanity of the unborn and shifts it to the woman at issue. Most (all?) pro-choice arguments intentionally (and conveniently) avoid or minimize the unborn baby.

    4. I have never read of anyone in the pro-life movement claiming that abortions would end if the procedure has been made illegal.

    “If you think that pro-choice people are resting on their laurels congratulating themselves on a job well done, well…you’re wrong.”

    Except I don’t think that at all.

    “I always find it amusing that ‘right wing’ people have turned the tables to make it sound as though they are the persecuted ones…when they have the money and the power. And the media isn’t nearly as “left” as you all would like to believe.”

    Again, you’re uninformed, and I’m glad someone is amused.

    1. When your taxes are used to pay for a grossly unethical procedure, yes, there is some “persecution” involved. Let me provide you with my address and you can mail me a donation which I’ll immediately forward to a major pro-life organization in the U.S. or Canada. Would you agree to that?

    2. When an unelected group of lawyers wrangles an issue from the individual states and thus forbids the average American from voting on the matter, yeah, there is some persecution.

    3. I can’t speak for the Canadian media, but there is mountains of evidence that the U.S. media is very much to the left on most issues. If you need examples, just ask. I have PLENTY to keep you reading for months.

    “I’ve noticed over at M’ville that all I have to do is mention pregnancy and you’re practically screaming ‘baby killer’.”

    Strawman argument and very unfair. No one has called you this as far as I know. I certainly haven’t read it. Mitchieville is a very good natured site and we tolerate all sorts of people very well regardless of political viewpoint. At most, Mitchieville mocks such viewpoints, but I cannot imagine anyone openly insulting you that way.

    “However, Mac says he is pro-choice (albeit reluctant) and you hush up. Now…I’m wondering if it’s because he’s a man or if it’s because he’s a conservative that you won’t actually confront him.”

    Your ass_umption is that I was aware of his position on the matter (NO, I was not).

    If and when he mentions this, I’ll grill him just as I grill you. Also, your implication that I am sexist is not worthy of a response.

  24. Mark Says:

    Auguste,

    Your infantile profanity aside, what is it about my response that does not make sense?

    1. Roughly one-third (around 33%);

    2. of the people in my generation (the people within my age group);

    3. who would have been born alive;

    4. have been eliminated (i.e., killed);

    5. through this procedure.

    Regarding the Iraqi people — I note your huge change of subject — considering that Iraq’s population is roughly 25 million, 1/3rd (or about **8.3 million**) would have to die in order for your statement to be correct. No such thing is happening, but no matter. I sense that facts aren’t things you take too seriously.

  25. himbly Says:

    “Where to begin?”

    Indeed.

    “Irrelevant and weak. One need not directly experience something in order to comment or have an opinion.”

    I admitted this and actually said that men are entitled to their opinions on this matter. Unfortunately, for you, this is actually not weak nor is it irrelevant, as has been discussed in these comments.

    “You’re uninformed.”

    You’re gullible.

    “1. Around 30 studies have linked abortion to breast cancer. Do you wish to deny those studies also?”

    Show me them.

    “2. Yes, women DO die from legalized abortions.”

    Show me this, too. I’m not a doctor, but 1 & 2 don’t make intuitive sense to me. Why would large? moderate? amounts of women die from a sterile, and fairly simple procedure? Simple in that it is common enough to be done correctly and safely.

    “3. Pro-lifers have never claimed that women were not in danger from illegal abortions. They did (and do) point out and women are not in fact dying by the thousands (as was falsely claimed in the U.S. in 1972 during arguments for R. v. W.). That claim was a 100% lie, and a convenient one at that.”

    But the risk is much much greater, no? from a non-sterile abortion?

    “In any case, this point avoids the humanity of the unborn and shifts it to the woman at issue. Most (all?) pro-choice arguments intentionally (and conveniently) avoid or minimize the unborn baby.”

    This part is difficult as it requires a shift in perception of what a baby is and what a fetus is. I can’t argue your point of view other than to say I don’t feel the same way.

    4. I have never read of anyone in the pro-life movement claiming that abortions would end if the procedure has been made illegal.
    So…it should be unsafe, then?

    1. When your taxes are used to pay for a grossly unethical procedure, yes, there is some “persecution” involved. Let me provide you with my address and you can mail me a donation which I’ll immediately forward to a major pro-life organization in the U.S. or Canada. Would you agree to that?

    well..you got me there. That probably sucks for you, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t choose to keep abortion legal jsut so you didn’t have to contribute.

    “Strawman argument and very unfair. No one has called you this as far as I know. I certainly haven’t read it. Mitchieville is a very good natured site and we tolerate all sorts of people very well regardless of political viewpoint. At most, Mitchieville mocks such viewpoints, but I cannot imagine anyone openly insulting you that way.”

    I was exaggerating to make a point…hence the word “practically”…as in “you didn’t call me that, but you are very excitable about the issue”. If you were not aware of his position, you can look at the comments where we were having a discussion…I think the post about the Scary Spice being pregnant. INteresting that you stopped reading just as he said that. Also, this isn’t a strawman argument because I didn’t set you up to be someone who you are not.

  26. himbly Says:

    “This argument would be compelling if it made any goddamn sense at all.”

    This is infantile? My goodness…what do you do when someone says the ‘f-word’?

    “1. Roughly one-third (around 33%);

    2. of the people in my generation (the people within my age group);

    3. who would have been born alive;

    4. have been eliminated (i.e., killed);

    5. through this procedure.”

    I really don’t see the merit of this argument.

  27. himbly Says:

    My question is, then…to anyone who cares to answer it (though it’s been addressed a couple of times): Why would you deny a woman her own choice and leave it to her own conscience? And there’s all sorts of circumstances that we could talk about…for argument’s sake, lets talk about the most dire ones: extreme poverty, drug addicted women, rape, teenaged girls.


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