I am afraid that my inner struggle with this issue will continue. I can't say that I want legalized abortion to cease to exist. I do not want other's to make choices for me or to dictate what I can or can not do with my body. Yet I can't quietly stand by and allow Pro-Choice groups to sugar-coat abortion. I see abortion as a necessary evil. I would never expect a child impregnated through an incestuous relationship to have to carry the baby to term. I would be morally conflicted to force a rape victim to carry her baby to term should she choose not to. I would be torn having to choose whether the baby dies or the mother dies in cases where the mother's life is in danger.
Those cases are very real cases in which abortion is an option. It may be a gut-wrenching decision that the mother has to make but she should have that option. She should also have all the facts as painful as those facts are. Planned Parenthood and Pro-Choice groups lie to there members when they say it is simply about choice and a few cells being scraped out of the uterus. It isn't just a few cells, it's a life. The Pro-Choice argument "that it's not a life but a group of cells" boils down to the very last sentence in Ben's post, " The ultimate purpose of personhood analysis is to determine whom we can kill and still get a good night's sleep."
I won't trivialize the Diva's honest struggle by trying to fit it into a pre-determined set of "talking points", and I would strongly encourage you to resist doing so as well. It is clear (from this post, at least) that she remains pro-choice in the legal sense. It is also clear that the Diva is thinking seriously about the issue of abortion and facing some ugly truths about it.
(As an aside, we pro-lifers should also have the courage to face the ugly truths about our position. Banning abortion will not end abortion with the wave of a magic wand, although it is a necessary and moral course of action. Women will still abort. Doctors, and even some misguided feminist fools, will still offer the tragic "kindness" of abortion. How will we respond to them?)
I won't exploit the Diva's introspection for political point-scoring ... but I will exploit a few of her commenters. At the time of this posting, the Diva's "quiet" reflection had 79 comments. Some of those comments are thoughtful & serious, but others are just ... disturbed.
I'll start with the very first commenter:
You're advocating forced pregnancy. Women are not brood mares.
Comment by Bee - March 24, 2006 @ 3:40 pm
First, the Diva's post doesn't actually advocate anything except for being honest with ourselves. As far as I can tell, she remains pro-choice. She's simply asking questions and expressing her own moral struggles on the issue. Second, even us pro-lifers don't advocate forced pregnancy or transforming women into brood mares. This is the sort of pointless ad hominem attack that achieves nothing more than making yourself feel superior. "Hah! Take that, evil anti-choicer!" Yes, nice zinger, but will you please make a rational argument now?
The next commenter spends a few more electrons, and actually tries to make a valid point or two:
Every abortion is a tragedy. The amount of tragedy in the world is breathtaking.
Making women and doctors into criminals for killing fetuses will not stop the tragedy.
It will, however, force millions of children into homes that are unable to care for them. It will take away the childhoods and educational opportunities of thousands of girls. And it will put Congress in charge of all the wombs in America, instead of the Doctors and the women themselves.
If you are pro-life, donít have any abortions. Speak out against abortion. But reject making laws that try to force others. The government simply cannot make this choice. It is a choice for women and their doctors, period.
By the way, no group is being given the authority to decide who is and who is not a person. That is settled law: a person is a person when he or she is born. Arguments can be made that this isnít the best definition, but it has lasted through the millenia, and so far no other definitions have been possible to justify. You justify your definition by pointing at a ďfeelingĒ you get when looking at an ultrasound. Honey, laws have to be a bit more concrete than that.
Comment by Michael ó March 24, 2006 @ 4:00 pm
At least "Michael" manages to avoid the ad hominem attack, but he still makes the first error that Bee made: assuming advocacy where there isn't any. Perhaps he should comment on my blog if he really wants to argue so badly. ;) By the way, these are the same tired pro-choice talking points that we've seen before. If anyone really wants me to counter them, I'll do so ... but not in this post.
Skip down a few comments (several of which are from the Diva herself, responding to Bee & Michael), and we see this gem:
Personally, (and notwithstanding the ďso only murderers can make laws about murder?Ē counter) I think anyone who does not have a uterus should stfu about laws regarding abortion and ďchoicesĒ.
I recently saw a documentary about women who suffered in the ďrape campsĒ in Serbia. One of these women dissolved into a weeping, bawling mess describing how, when rescued, she had yelled and screamed in a hospital in order to have a 3rd trimester abortion - eventually only getting one because she informed the doctors if they did not do it, she would walk into a minefield.
I cannot even begin to imagine the pain and anguish in all of this.
However, the thought that some guy in South Dakota (who will never know what it feels like to have all you major organs slowly pushed into your chest cavity over 9 months) believes he has the right to tell women they MUST carry the child that is the result of rape or incest, makes my blood boil.
If women lose control of their own bodies in this current climate, they will find it very, very difficult to get back.
Comment by Nigel Humphries ó March 24, 2006 @ 4:29 pm
So now a pro-choicer who merely expresses some moral uncertainty is equivalent to the thugs who ran the Serbian rape camps? Or maybe the Diva is trying to push pregnant women into minefields? Sheesh....
Oh, "Nigel"? It would seem that the Diva is a woman, so ranting about "anyone who does not have a uterus" seems to be wildly inaccurate. Furthermore, the basic premise is illogical, unless you're also prepared to exclude white people from all discussions about racism and/or civil rights. I don't need to be black to think that Jim Crow laws were unfair, and I don't need a uterus to think that we shouldn't be killing our children within the womb.
The next pro-choice sharpshooter to take aim at the Diva:
No woman seeking an abortion is ever counseled that it is just ďa few cells being scraped out of the uterus.Ē
Every doctor and nurse who provides abortions understands the extraordinarily difficult choice that every woman must make. A number of doctors and nurses have been murdered and maimed for giving women that choice.
Obviously you take that choice for granted. Thatís both good and bad. Itís good because it SHOULD be a womanís choice - but itís bad because you havenít thought about what womenís lives would be like if they didnít have the choice.
In much of the world today, women do not have the choice. And as a result, they die. That used to be the case in America before Roe v. Wade, and that will be the case in America again if Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, and Alito get their way.
Comment by Wanted Child ó March 24, 2006 @ 4:58 pm
Obviously this comment was left by a wanted child, because our society doesn't allow unwanted children to live, much less post snarky comments on other people's blogs.
Hey, Michael is back to try again:
ďIt isnít just a few cells, itís a life.Ē
Sometimes a few cells are just a few cells. Is one cell a life? Is two?
OK, Diva, I read the rest of your post. So you want to stand in judgement over each womanís decision ó you say sometimes abortion maybe should be legal in cases of rape or incest. Well, Iím telling you you do not have the right to second-guess someone elseís decision, and neither does Congress. So agonize all you want about when abortion is moral. But reject making laws that give the motherís choice to anyone else besides her. Any time you make such a law, you are going to turn women and their doctors into criminals, and take everyoneís focus away from the motherís health.
With this Congress, every girl in the country might become the next Terry Shiavo, her personal tragedy played out all over TV and in the halls of Congress.
Why canít you just realize that Congress has no right to make personal health decisions for people? Jeez.
If you believe current abortion law is appropriate, then we actually do not disagree. But try to be more clear ó your post makes it sound like you want to change the law, and take choice away from mothers, or somehow take away choice in some or most circumstances.
Comment by Michael ó March 24, 2006 @ 5:00 pm
He should have quit digging as soon as the Diva pointed out that he was in a hole. How about that righteous condemnation, huh? According to Michael, the Diva wants to "stand in judgement over each womanís decision" ... I didn't see any judgement in her post, except perhaps judgement for the people who spread propaganda that seeks to trivialize abortion. Perhaps Michael thinks that an appropriate display of condemnation will shame the Diva into swallowing her qualms? If he can make her feel bad about her doubts, maybe she'll go back to being an abortion cheerleader?
I don't know the Diva past this one post of hers, but I'll make a guess that this strategy is likely to backfire. Once someone starts to ask questions, shouting at them about how evil they are for even daring to ask such questions is usually counter-productive.
I could go on (and on, and on), but I won't. Here's the question that I want to ask: Why is it so wrong for a pro-choicer to ask questions or express doubts? Why must the Diva be brought back onto NARAL's plantation at all costs?
(cross-posted to Naaman the Ex-Leper)