« A kinder, gentler style. | Main | The discussion begins. »

October 16, 2008



You are brave to open up this subject online and I applaud you for that. I recently had a discussion about this same topic with a very good friend of mine who is a devout Christian and pro-life. I'm not religious, bordering on anti-religious. I go back and forth on whether I consider myself an atheist or an agnostic.

Here's what I think about abortion. I think it's murder. I can't imagine ever choosing to have one. I don't think anyone has the right to take anyone else's life (which also means I'm against the death penalty). BUT. I'm pro-choice. My reasoning is that although I can SAY I'd never want/have one, I really can't understand the choices that other women make until I have walked in their shoes. I think abortion is most often a choice made out of desperation. I think it is and should be a last resort.

I think the abortion issue as it is painted in our culture is pulling people apart when actually most of us (with exceptions on the extreme right and left) agree with each other on at least some things. I think we all agree that it would be better for everyone, for women AND their children, if there were fewer abortions. So the question is what can we all do to see that fewer of them happen?

On a somewhat related note, there's a very interesting chapter in the book Freakonomics that looks at the sudden drop in crime in the 1990s as most likely the result of legalized abortion. The authors close the chapter with this: "When the government gives a woman the opportunity to make her own decision about abortion, she generally does a good job of figuring out if she is in a position to raise the baby well."

I'm not saying that keeping crime rates low justifies abortion. But it shows the problem with forcing women to have children they do not want or can not raise. A better solution of course, is to prevent those pregnancies and to offer better support for women to give unwanted children up for adoption. But the world is not perfect.

I think desperate women will do desperate things. I think making abortion illegal will cause already desperate women to have to make even more horrible choices.

Robyn, I'd love to hear what you have to say in response. And thank you for making a forum to discuss this issue in a civil and respectful way. I hope I've done that.


Well now, gettin' all political aren't ya? That's MY job! :)

You asked if you are "missing a logical link" in the pro-choice argument. Here is the most logical link I can think of: abortion MUST remain legal because making it illegal isn't going to end abortion, it's just going to make it more dangerous and costly for the women who WILL get them.

Abortion must legal, but it should also be RARE. If we want to reduce the number of abortions in this country, birth control should be FREE and available in every grocery store, mall, high school and probably jr. high in this country. (Oh yes I did just say that.) You should be able to get condoms on every street corner, in a box right next to the New York Times. For FREE. And a woman (or girl) should be able to go to a clinic and get birth-control pills for FREE.

Once we do EVERY THING WE CAN to prevent abortion, it must still be available and legal and affordable and safe because there are times when I believe it is necessary.

Can any loving, compassionate person really tell me that a 12 year old girl who has been raped by her father should be required to carry to term a baby that resulted from that abuse?? To have to hang her head in shame, drop out of 7th grade and have her life ruined forever? Of course not. Is the life of that unborn baby (I'll refrain from using the word fetus) more important than hers??

In a perfect world there would be no need for abortion; no rape, no incest, no 16 year old who couldn't afford birth control or who couldn't ask for her parent's permission to get on the pill. Until we address the real issues, abortion will be, unfortunately, way too common.


**WARNING** - While I am perfectly capable of having a civil discussion, I am incapable of not being a smart ass.

I find the arguments used to support legal abortion interesting; meaning they make me want to argue. =) Just to set the stage, I am anti-religious and could care less what any Deity may have written in a book/on tablets/revealed to his prophets.

So far we have the following arguments:

1. The "yes I believe it is murder, but I am pro-choice and anti death penalty" argument. Not really sure what to say about that one. I guess I just wonder about a society where it is safer to be a convicted killer than an unborn child.

2. The "people will do it anyway so it should be legal" argument. This is my favorite one. I have been using this one my whole life. "Your Honor, I know speeding is illegal, but people do it anyway, so clearly the law has failed." But can't we extrapolate that argument to any crime? Seems rape is illegal, but it happens anyway. By this logic, rape should be legal. It would certainly be safer for the rapist if they didn't have to worry about breaking the law. Surely we can't understand the choices the rapist makes until we have walked in their shoes.

3. The old "I shouldn't have to have a child I can't care for" argument. The problem with this one is why should it be any less valid after birth. You're down on your luck and can't do a good job raising your 4 year old. Kill him. That must be a better solution than forcing a woman to have to care for a child she can't care for.

4. I of course love the Freakonomics argument. If we killed all the people we think will be criminals before they commit crimes, there won't be any crimes. I think the Nazis tried something along these lines once.

I think the thing that bugs me most about the 'pro-choice' folks is that they won't be honest. The truth is, not having the right to on-demand abortion would be inconvenient. Throughout history men have had rights that future generations have judged to be atrocious. Men have had the right to treat women like property and to own slaves and at the time they had those rights, they had any number of arguments as to why it was ok, but the truth is, it was just inconvenient to give up those "rights". It appears that woman have finally gotten the chance to prove that they could handle their "slavery issue" better than how men handled it. Unfortunately, it is just too inconvenient to do what is right.


Heidi and Kate - thank you, sincerely, for your responses. I have a busy morning but am planning a response and should have one for you by early afternoon or so. (Just didn't want you to think I invited you in for the discussion, only to let my husband take over the arguments for me.)

Speaking of my husband... Marc, thank you, sincerely, for finally participating in my blog. I'm slightly less thankful that you stole a few of my arguments, but mostly I'm pleased that we are thinking so similarly on something we haven't really discussed in years. Marital synchrony rocks, y'all.


Marc, first: hello, Robyn's husband!
Second: while nobody appreciates a smart-ass more than I do, I have to argue with your point that rape can in any way be compared to abortion.

Rape is an act of control, power, violence and violation against another human being with devastating, long-term affects on the victim. True, in the simplest of terms, abortion could be described the same way EXCEPT: a fetus is not a viable, thinking human being. Late term abortion (when the fetus IS viable) should NEVER be allowed except in the case of medical emergency.

As for the "it is going to happen anyway so it might as well be legal", again, you've greatly over-simplified the argument. Back-alley abortions are dangerous and sometimes deadly. It's not about convenience; it's about keeping the procedure legal so that it can be safely done by a trained, medical professional. That has no resemblance whatsoever to speeding.


First: hello quasi-vegetarian-tree-hugging- bleeding-heart-liberal- smart-ass-atheist-bird-nerd- crafter, Kate!

I am confused now, are you arguing my side or yours? Your argument for why rape and abortion are practically the same thing is wonderful. I am going to start using it. Thanks. I will add this to it, so you can also use it when you argue my side. Luckily, the rape victim has the rest of their life to recover from those affects. The 3 month old fetus gets screwed because it doesn't have a big enough lobby in Washington to get protection.

Here's a question for you. IN 50 years, when science is able to extract a 3 month old fetus and save it (and don’t doubt for a moment that won’t be possible), what will your position be?


Hey sis,
I am going to actually take a chance and comment here, in the hopes that you won't start lecturing me like I don't know anything (like you and marc usually do) on something that I don't agree with you on by trying to make me "see reason" or feel inferior. I love you and marc, but seriously, let me tell you some thing...I would have an abortion if I got pregnant right now. You wanna know why????? huh huh huh???? Ok, I'll tell you. Because a) I am not financially stable enough to have monthly/weekly prenatal visits and can't constantly stay home from work when I have morning sickness or my blood pressure starts to sky rocket,let alone once the baby is born because they are very expensive beings as you well know, b) because I want my baby to have a mother and a father who are in love and want to be with each other for ever like you and marc and mom and dad (I'm as single as single can be right now for those of you reading this who don't know me) AND c)because I could never carry a baby in my belly and feel it grow and kick and fall completely in love with it and then have to give it up at the end for an adoption if I'm not ready to be a mother yet. So, as my sister and because I love you so much and hope that you finally see me as a woman now and not a child who needs a lesson, I'm telling you that women should have that right to choose whether or not they can go through with a pregnancy. And if they choose to have an abortion (no matter how trivial you think their reason might be) you don't have the right to get in their face and tell them they are wrong. If I had an abortion would you support me or would you shun me???(because it's sort of sounding like you and marc would if that were my choice)! Sorry to get very passionate about this, but Robyn I am a NURSE on a birth center, I encounter this issue everyday, more than you do! You are entitled to your own opinion and I know you are a mother, but please don't make other people's right to choose a moot point.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad