Thursday, October 16, 2008

OK, we all know I am not a fan of John McCain. And as expected, during last night's debate, all he did was solidify my opinion. I mean, holy crap, I can't even believe some of the stuff that came out of the man's mouth.

There was one particular issue that ignited a fire within. Made me want to yell at him through the television: Do not call liberals/democrats "pro-abortion."

It's pro-CHOICE, you asshat.

It'd be like me going around saying that pro-lifers are "anti-freedom." This type of talk has driven me crazy for years.

I have told this story to people before (but never on my blog). During the 2004 election season, I was employed at a different company than I am now. Politics were discussed pretty openly. I liked the discussions. Mostly, everyone was respectful of the opinions of others, and it was pretty interesting to debate the issues with others.

However, there was an administrative assistant/receptionist that was very, very conservative. Someone said something to me in front of her one day that made it clear I supported the democrats. She looked at me and said, "You're a democrat?" I said yes. She replied, "Oh, so you're a baby killer."

Right in the middle of an office of professionals. Honestly, now. What a bitch.

Four years later, as I remember that moment, I get pissed that she had the audacity to say something like that to me just for supporting a particular candidate. She had no idea about my stance on abortion. (If you haven't already made the assumption based on this post, yes, I'm pro-choice. But that's not the point.)

She had no idea of my history. What if I had had an abortion in my past? In that case, I guess this coworker would have had reason to call me a baby killer. But would it have been right for her to do so? Hell no. Again, she'd have no idea about the situation. No idea if I had been raped, if my health had been at risk, etc. What if it was a decision I had made, but it was really hard for me? She would have been drudging up all of those old feelings, right in the middle of a work day in the middle of an office.

I know that all of what I just said is hypothetical. But the point is--she didn't know. And still, she had the nerve.

The other side of this issue: I will go out on a limb here and say that I don't think anyone who is pro-choice is pro-abortion. We simply support the right of a woman to make the choice. I honestly don't understand how people can't see the difference.

If you are pro-life, I completely respect that.

If you are pro-life, don't ever have an abortion. It's as simple as that. But you know the beauty of it? It's your choice. And what gives you the right to try to take away the choice from someone else?

The other part of the abortion portion of the debate that absolutely knocked me over was when they were talking about Roe v. Wade, and whether or not Obama and McCain would nominate someone to the Supreme Court if the person didn't agree with them on Roe v. Wade.

McCain started rambling on about how he would nominate people based on their qualifications, not their beliefs, blah blah blah. He was pressed to give an actual answer to the question, and what did he say? He said (paraphrasing), "Well, I don't believe that anyone who has ever supported Roe v. Wade would have the necessary qualifications." And then he LAUGHED.

Pardon me while my head explodes.

OK, enough. I'm more than ready. Let's vote.


jenn October 19, 2008 at 3:53 PM  

All of that makes me sick. Seriously. My heart breaks thinking of women in the situation that you talked about.

I could probably ramble for hours here but I think that we believe the same thing...
Don't want one, don't have one. Educate your children so they won't have to be in that situation.

Does it bother anyone else when a lot of the protesters are middle aged men? Puh-lease.

I also wonder statistically what women are getting abortions? I read or heard that they aren't just teenage girls, it could be any woman, which is why we should support every woman (and not talk shit in the office!)

Sorry this got a little long. It makes my blood boil.

The day at a time. October 19, 2008 at 5:17 PM  

I am pro-life. However, I used to be pro-choice. There is a website ( that answers all the hard questions. There are pictures that show aborted "fetus'" at vaious weeks. The number one reason women have abortions is because "they don't think a baby will fit into their lives." I think thats a joke. Don't freaking have sex if you don't want to have a baby. Or use protection. There are a lot of places that will give you condoms and birth control for free. Keep the legs closed ladies!! Anyways, check out the web site, i think you will be amazed!

jennrs October 19, 2008 at 7:16 PM  

Heather, absolutely fabulous post.

I'm terrified that my right to privacy and choice will be stripped from me if a republican takes office. Whether or not I get an abortion is not the concern of anbody but ME.

And, THANK YOU for bringing up the point that pro-choice does not equal pro-abortion. This is an assumption that annoys the living shit out of me.

And, to the PP, is just anti-choice propaganda using terror as a method for converting. They use God and religion as an argument for crying out loud!

Heather October 19, 2008 at 7:52 PM  

A friend e-mailed me this afternoon after reading this blog post. She said something that really rang true with me, and I wanted to share it here for any discussion that may continue on this issue.

She said, "I am pro choice. I am also pro life." I loved that, because it hammered home the point I was trying to make with this post.

Just because someone would never have an abortion herself does not mean that no one else should be allowed to have one, either.

You can be against abortion but still be pro-choice. It's about our rights as women. The right to do what we want with our bodies. I'll be damned if I'm going to elect someone into office that would try to take that away from me and the rest of the women in this country.

And to the Hortons... I respect your opinion, and respect that you changed your mind from pro-choice to pro-life. But I'll tell you right now: No amount of abortion pictures is going to change my mind. Unfortunately, I've been seeing those pictures since I was a young high-schooler and pro-life activists would stand outside of my high school with huge posters of photos like that.

And still, I believe in a woman's right to choose.

jenn October 19, 2008 at 8:35 PM  

Agreed. I don't want to overgeneralize or say I know what all pro-choicers are thinking, but I seriously doubt that they like when women have abortions- the point is that the option is there. We just don't live in a world that we can take that away from all women.

My friend volunteered at an abotion help line. She said that a lot of the women who called in needed to get abortions done because they already had children and didn't want their husbands to hurt/leave/whatever to them if they had another baby. Huh...maybe women aren't always the bad guys.

But yes, I would classify myself as someone who is both pro life and pro choice. Good topic Heather!

The day at a time. October 19, 2008 at 8:55 PM  

Since 1973 (when abortion became legal) 40 million children have been killed by abortion. I think its funny that people are pro choice be fail to relalize that baby has no choice!

Melissa & James October 19, 2008 at 9:02 PM  

While I am not a McCain supporter, I believe I know the reason he used the term "pro-abortion" rather than "pro-choice" and it's simply politically rhetoric. Often times, pro-choice people refer to pro-lifers as "anti-choice", it's just a tactic to present the other party in as negative of a light as possible.

I am pro-life and I am anti-choice.

I'm not anti-choice because I don't believe in women's rights. I am anti-choice/pro-life - whatever you want to call me - because I believe in protecting the life of the unborn.

Heather October 19, 2008 at 9:07 PM  

I'd be interested in knowing how many abortions were performed dangerously prior to Roe v. Wade. But I'll never know that number because it obviously couldn't be documented, so the 40 million number really doesn't mean anything to me because there is nothing to compare it to.

If abortion were to become illegal in the U.S., women wouldn't stop having abortions, I assure you. They'd just be traveling to other countries to do it instead. Reversing Roe v. Wade is not going to protect the lives of unborn babies. I'm sorry, but it just isn't.

I will never understand why there are people out there who want to move backwards. Why would we want to go back to having LESS rights, LESS freedom? We are the USA, we are supposed to be the luckiest citizens on this planet, and yet we have people trying to take away our right to our bodies.

Heather October 19, 2008 at 9:10 PM  

Melissa, I know it is rhetoric. But it's also infuriating.

The day at a time. October 20, 2008 at 8:04 AM  

I don't want to have less rights or freedom, but I think killing unborn children is just wrong. If women and men dont want to have babies, then make the choice to protect yourself against it. its horrible that people use abortion as a way to "get rid of" their mistake.

40 million children have been aborted thus far, if that doesn't seem worng to people, then i dont know what this world is comming to. Thousands of children lose their life daily, wake up people its time something be done. I know that a law wont change things, but if people educated themselves I think they would see that abortion is morally wrong. I don't dont know what the answer is, but I do know that we should all care about people (ie children) who have no say at all.Isn't abortion taking the one of the rights we

Heather October 20, 2008 at 8:51 AM  

So why do the "rights" of an embryo trump the rights of the woman?

I think the problem with the abortion debate has, and will continue to be, that we're never going to agree on when a life begins. I do not look at it like 40 million children have been aborted. The embryo cannot live outside of the woman. It's a part of the woman. And I could go on and on about what I believe the state of this country would be like with 40 million additional people walking around. An additional 40 million unwanted children from throughout the past 35 years.

And I agree that all of this should start with education. Which is why I take such issue with Sarah Palin and her stance on abstinence-only sex education. Because the research has shown that it doesn't work.

I don't want girls/women using abortion as a method of birth control anymore than you do. But the fact of the matter is that shit happens. And I think that the number of women who have repeat abortions is probably pretty small.

In the end, no one is ever going to force anyone to have an abortion. No one is ever going to say, you can't have a child until you are 18, if you get pregnant before then, you have to have an abortion. Because that would be horrible, right? Taking away that choice?

I just don't think it is up to me or my government to decide what a woman does with her body.

ktmac32 October 20, 2008 at 12:27 PM  

I have to chime in here. After reading your post Heather all I could think of was a bumper sticker that I once saw that said, "Too bad Democrats don't hate abortion as much as they hate the War in Iraq & President Bush." It just made me angry to see that people are so small minded that they would think that liberals are standing around thinking "You know, I just love it when women get abortions!". I agree with your earlier comment from your friend being Pro-choice and Pro-life, I feel the same about myself. I can't imagine what would happen to this country if we had 40 million children added to our already weak foster care system or being neglected by parents who did not want them in the first place. I think every woman has the right to choose what she does with her body, and I also believe that everyone is entitled to an opinion. Kudos on a fabulous post.

ashleigh,  October 21, 2008 at 9:01 AM  

I have beenreading the posts with a lot of interest. I live in Canada and have my entire life. Up here abortion is legalized and it is covered under our health plans. I am not sure what it is like down in the states but here the baby can be aborted until a certain period as it is not considered a person yet. I am pro-choice, who am I to tell somebody that they are not able to have an abortion?? It is not my body it is their's! And sure someone may have all these statistics on how many babies have been aborted since it became legalized but woman have been aborting babies for centuries and not doing it a safe/healthy way for the woman. 40 million may have been aborted since 71 but millions upon millions more have been aborted before that. Honestly I would rather someone have an abortion than have the baby and abandon it in a trash can somewhere or hide it and drown it in a bath tube. That is my opinion, take it for what you will.

Anonymous,  October 21, 2008 at 3:43 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Heather October 21, 2008 at 4:10 PM  

Anonymous, I just wanted to let you know that I didn't delete your comment because you disagree with me. I deleted it because it was inappropriate and offensive.

Heather October 21, 2008 at 4:28 PM  

Here is the anonymous comment, minorly edited:

"So Heather, if a baby is miscarried it is no big deal right? After all, it's just an embryo. Heck, why even give unborn babies names. What if a pregnant woman was in an accident with a drunk driver and the baby died and she survived. The drunk driver shouldn't be charged with murder/manslaughter because after all no one really died, right?"

Heather October 21, 2008 at 4:41 PM  

Now to respond...

There are thoughts and experiences that I could discuss to explain my stance on some of this stuff, but I'm not willing to do so with strangers on a public forum. Sorry.

So all I can say is that the things you brought up involve WANTED babies. Expectant parents and families who WANT the baby. It's a completely different situation.

In certain cases, I'm sure that there are women who are grateful for miscarriages. Maybe they wanted an abortion but they were wrestling with the decision. Maybe they had an abortion scheduled for next week and the miscarriage came first. Or maybe they live in a country where abortion is outlawed. (Imagine that.)

But more often than not, you're talking about women who WANT their babies. So OF COURSE it would be a big deal to them and their families if the pregnancy was lost.

With the whole drunk driving accident/miscarriage scenario you mention, you are talking about Connor's Law. And no, I don't necessarily agree with it. In the case of Scott Peterson, yes, it probably made sense to charge him with the murder of both his wife AND his unborn son. Why? Well, she was 8 months pregnant, the baby could have survived outside of her womb, she was visibly pregnant, he intended to kill her AND their son, etc. etc. But really, he was going to serve a life sentence/get the death sentence regardless of the baby. To me, all Connor's Law does is make the families feel like the life of the child is somehow acknowledged.

But say a man throws an 8-weeks pregnant woman down the stairs and as a result, she suffers a miscarriage. Say the man didn't know she was pregnant. Should he be charged with murder? I'd say no. It's a sticky situation.

My stance on abortion is not about the abortion. I'll say it again: It's about the choice.

Suzi October 21, 2008 at 7:59 PM  

I’ve seen in several of the comments here various statements about people being pro-choice because they don't want to impose their morality on others. Isn’t that in fact what all laws do? Many abusers (spousal/child/physical/sexual) believe that there is nothing wrong with what they are doing. Does this mean that we as a society should allow it?
Then there are the nudists. Just because they personally don't have an issue with public nudity doesn't mean I want to see them strolling the aisles at the local grocery store like that…

Heather October 21, 2008 at 10:56 PM  

To me, this is similar to the gay marriage debate. I don't understand why people are against gay marriage. How does it affect you if two men get married? If two women get married?

And with abortion, it's the same thing. Why do people care what other women do with their bodies? I don't think an embryo should be considered a person with rights. I just don't.

How does an abortion affect anyone besides the woman having it?

Why do you want to force a woman to have a baby she doesn't want/can't support/etc.?

Adoption is a wonderful thing and I'd love for women to choose adoption over abortion, just because I know how many people are out there who'd love to be parents. And there are many women who do choose that route. But it's not for everyone. And again, just because you make abortion illegal does not mean that women won't still have them. And even if you could somehow force a woman to stay pregnant and give birth, that doesn't necessarily mean that the resulting child will be put up for adoption. How many news stories do we see where abused children are taken away from parents? When children are killed by parents?

I just think that if people are so gung-ho on protecting the lives of children, there are better ways to focus your energy (on children that have already been born) than on abortion. What about stricter sex offender laws? What about that guy who lives near your local school who raped a 4-year-old and only served a couple of years in prison? Why don't we focus on changing that?

Stephanie October 22, 2008 at 12:46 PM  

This is a very interesting and healthy debate. I am pro-life, and the main reason is because my parents had me when they were 18 and 19 years old. They could've chosen to have an abortion and go on with life as usual, but they chose to keep me. I wouldn't be here otherwise. I am so thankful that they chose my life. I believe that the babies should be protected-because they can't make that decision for themselves. How can we take their right to life away just to make the woman's life easier. I don't think that pro-choice equals pro-abortion. Neither do I think that pro-choice supporters want babies to die. You are right in saying the pivotal point is when the life begins. I do believe that life begins at conception. I agree with a previous comment on the reason John McCain worded it that way-it was to get his point across and pin his opponent.

Suzi October 22, 2008 at 12:51 PM  

We will never be able to quantify how abortion affects everyone. There is no way to tell what the potential of those lost lives would have been. One of those lost lives could have developed a cure for cancer or aids. One of those lost lives could have been a police officer or social worker that would have stopped something horrific from happening to a child. One of those lost lives could have been the love of someone's life. One of those lost lives could have been a close friend. I know for sure the last one is true. A dear friend of mine was going to aborted by her mother but after talking to firends/family about it she decided to keep her. My life would have been affected more than I can express here if my friend wasn't a part of it.

Heather October 22, 2008 at 1:07 PM  

I honestly do not mean to belittle anyone's beliefs, and I hope I have not done so. The reason this issue is so controversial is because in many ways, everyone is right. I can see how those who are pro-life see the baby as a life. I also understand that scientifically, an embryo is just a cluster of cells.

The problem is that we (pro-life vs. pro-choice) are never going to agree. But the main reason for my post was not to argue that everyone should be pro-choice. My issue was with pro-lifers believing that those of us who are pro-choice are pro-abortion. I don't like abortion at all. I would love for there to never be another abortion. But I also don't think it should be illegal.

Going back to some of the earliest comments, it all centers around education. It's my understanding that in Canada, they have half as many abortions per year as we do. There is something to be said for that and the system they have built up there.

I don't think the answer is in outlawing abortion. That's my main problem with much of the pro-life movement. Let's talk about educating children/teens about sex, birth control, etc. in more effective ways, and educating pregnant women about the alternatives to abortion. But I still don't think abortion should ever be illegal. For some, it is still the best option.

Suzi October 22, 2008 at 1:40 PM  

The scientific community has not agreed that an embryo is just a cluster of cells. Like everyone else there is disagreement among scientists as to when life occurs.

The day at a time. October 22, 2008 at 7:48 PM  

This is in response to Suzi's last comment (i 100% agree with you and just want to back you up with one example from a test book)

This is what one text book says...
"[The Zygote] results from the union of an oocyte and a sperm. A zygote is the beginning of a new human being. Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm ... unites with a female gamete or oocyte ... to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual."

I've done a lot of research on medical terms especially pertaining to pregnancy. I have TONS of examples to this very same nature.

As far as the choice argument goes you cannot talk about choice in isolation. Our laws don't work that way. Our choices are either recognized or restriced based on the circumstances. There are laws agains drunk driving, rape, theft; these are all "anti choice." These laws take away legal protection from one choice in order to a more foundationl freedom. Therefore wouln't all laws legislate morality? It seems to me that we are only free to choose as long as our chice doesnt harm or kill someone and doesn't our government exisit to take away those choices that do?( that isnt the sole function of our government)

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