Blog for Choice Day

34 years ago today the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade.  In honor of that, a number of feminist bloggers have declared today Blog For Choice Day and encouraged people to discuss their reasons for being prochoice.  For a complete list or participants visit here, at Bushvcoice.com.

Elizabeth Anne Wood has a great post discussing her reasons for being prochoice.

Amanda as pandagon has a very informative and interesting post discussing her experience at the NAPW conference (a women’s rights conference). 

Jessica’s post at feministing may be the most succinct:

It’s about trusting women.

One of my favorite feminists is silent on the matter: Come Hugo!  Where are you on this one?

Over at kos, Miss Laura has this post in which she highlights the dizzying hypocrisy of the anti-abortion movement.  Also at kos, Elise has this post of pro-choice Roe V Wade action – including some amazing links to sites you can visit and get active.

Finally, of my regular blogs, Reproductive Health Reality Check tackles blog for choice day. 

I’m prochoice.  I am incredibly fortunate knowing that I personally will never face an unplanned pregnancy.  There’s no danger I personally will ever need an abortion.  43% of American women have had abortions.  I have a mother, a sister, a sister in law and a niece, aunts, female first and second cousins any one of whom could find herself facing an unplanned pregnancy.  I have for years maintained I would drive them to the doctor to get an abortion if they needed and I’d be there for them afterwards.  Discovering one has an unintentional pregnancy must be a moment of horror and panic, absolute terror.  I can only imagine the feeling of horror.  There is no analogous experience for a man so I can only imagine. 

There was a time in the past when being pregnant meant a woman’s life was no longer her own.  She might be forced by her family to move away to some terrible maternity home where she’d be shamed and treated like “fallen woman” then forced to give her baby up for adoption.  She might be forced into an unwanted marriage with the father (or not).  She might be forced to drop out of school or just kicked out of the house.  She might find a back street abortion performed in unsanitary conditions, get an infection and die.  If she was very very lucky, she might find an actual doctor willing to perform an illegal (but safe) abortion.  If she was lucky.

In many places, abortion is technically legal but completely unavailable – making it de facto illegal.  According to Naral Pro Choice America, 93% of Utah counties have providers.  Utah has some of the worst regulations in the nation on abortion.  We can do better and our children need us to do better. 

It’s time for a resolution:  Not one more generation raised with body shame, misinformation and lack of choice.

 

  1. #1 by Richard Warnick on January 22, 2007 - 1:09 pm

    Just out of curiosity, where does that 43 percent statistic come from? According to the Guttmacher Institute, one in three American women will have had an abortion by age 45. I couldn’t find an estimate of how many have already had abortions.

  2. #2 by Frank Staheli on January 22, 2007 - 2:45 pm

    I don’t consider myself pro-choice, but I do think that there are very rare instances in which a woman could (should) choose an abortion. I, like you, Glenden, will never go through the process, but I think the problem now is that too many woman are too cavalier about the choice they have.

    One other point that caught my eye. Why are families so embarrassed for their daughters that they shame them and ‘send them away’? This, for many trying to live a Christlike life, is the quintessential hypocrisy. I just barely got done blogging on LDS Musings about this concept. Because of some people’s attempt to be “good saints” they shun the very people who need their love, care, and prayers the most.

  3. #3 by Glenden Brown on January 22, 2007 - 3:25 pm

    Richard – I’ve heard 43% from several sources today – feministing mainly. I believe the figure came from digging into guttmacher’s numbers and crosstabbing.

    Frank – I disagree that women are cavalier about opting for abortion. A few years ago in a class, we were doing a forced choices exercise. In this room we had males and females, gay and straight, parents and not and several women who had abortions. The questions were “Abortion is always a tragic choice” “Abortion is an easy choice.” Interestingly, the women who had had abortions agreed – it was not easy but at the end, they knew they’d done the right thing. Recounting their decisions, several of the women broke down in tears in memory of the extremely negative things said to them afterwards. I realize these women may not have been a represenative sample population.

    However, Guttmacher published reasons for seeking abortion and none of them were cavalier – they were reasons such as “Can’t afford a child”, “Can’t care for a child”,”Can’t be a parent at this time.” A large percentage of those who seek abortions already have children. I don’t belive women are cavalier about seeking abortion.

    I wonder with you why families are so embarrassed. I think parents see a pregnant unmarried daughter as a personal failure, as an accusation that they were bad parents. It’s just a thought.

  4. #4 by Hugo on January 22, 2007 - 4:35 pm

    My post is up, but I doubt it will please many people on either side, alas…

  5. #5 by Frank Staheli on January 22, 2007 - 4:59 pm

    Glenden,

    “Cavalier” may have been a poor choice of words on my part. At any rate, I’m sure that most are NOT cavalier about it. My perspective, though, is that Planned Parenthood should encourage (maybe they do; if so I apologize and will have a higher respect for them) young women to ensure that they are ready to afford a child and to care for it.

    You’re right, parents see their unmarried daughters’ pregnancies as personal failure, and THEN turn right around and commit a much worse failure by shunning them. This is a far more tragic event than the pregnancy.

    I’ve heard on internet radio today some pro-life women giving the “they’ll burn in hell for their sins” speech. What in the world that accomplishes I don’t know, unless further division can be termed an accomplishment. I wish we could have endured only one Torquemada. In an age of enlightenment, it baffles me what positive purpose these people think violent words and actions will serve.

  6. #6 by Bradley Ross on January 22, 2007 - 10:25 pm

    Frank, there must be some things we don’t compromise on, even if they will cause divisions or they will cause people to dislike us. In some cultures, slavery was okay. But is it not okay. It is wrong and I’ll choose “division” and fight it rather than accept it just to achieve a morally bankrupt peace.

    In some societies, it is okay to kill or abandon newborn infants if they are unwanted. Again, this is so clearly evil and wrong from my perspective that I’ll accept “division” if people advocate killing 1 month olds.

    I have a 1 month old. I can no more imagine killing him today than I could imagine killing him 2 months ago.

  7. #7 by Cliff Lyon on January 22, 2007 - 11:05 pm

    Nice one Bradly.

    So what are we dealing with here?

    I assume you are talking about your personal morality but are your suggesting your personal morality be expressed in law governing the personal heath of women and their decisions about the welfare of their families?

  8. #8 by Gunther on January 22, 2007 - 11:33 pm

    Do want to export this attitude, am I understanding you? I feel just like you do.

    When you are ready let’s go on Jihad!

  9. #9 by Bradley Ross on January 23, 2007 - 12:00 am

    Cliff, are you implying that our laws shouldn’t have a moral basis? Which laws would be left if we enacted that vision? Do you support the repeal of laws against bigamy? murder? speeding? littering? All have a moral basis.

    In short, the argument that pro-lifers are trying to push their morality on others is a non sequitor.

  10. #10 by Gunther on January 23, 2007 - 12:17 am

    If women want bigamy who am I to argue?

    What is morality exactly? I would submit that many arab men would rather die than be incarcerated in an American prison with the prospect of being raped, anally penetrated. Might not kill you, but it could well cause them to kill themselves. Then there is the risk of aids and Hep C. What about that? Is that part of the “sentence”?

    Explain the moral basis of our prison system. Apart from the incarceration, do we owe these people protection from sexual predators in prison? The answer will define your “morality”.

  11. #11 by Cliff Lyon on January 23, 2007 - 8:20 am

    Ah Bradley,

    You invite me to walk with you along the muddy shoulder of a road more rutted by stubborn souls shrouded in the moral superiority of faith than the far fewer men who by the tools of experience, history, trial, error, evidence, and reason, built the road itself.

    Bradley, any law can be painted in retrospect with the broad brush of a man’s morality – a morality begotten of a man’s interpretation of a book begotten of men claiming the moral authority to speak on behalf the greatest of man’s invention (religion-god) – an authority begotten by consensus of other men (priests) in a reciprocal arrangement between men negotiated upon the authority of the weakest of all authority, the premise of righteousness begotten of vision.

    But a fair review of the process of shaping those laws would require an honest man to assign them the humility of his own mortality.

    I prefer the daylight of reason.

    Bradley, you yourself report the ever-changing standards of ever-changing cultural norms all laid upon the authority of a god upon which kings are made, nations pillaged, families murdered, and the poor kicked to the curb only to turn about, straight faced to claim rights on behalf of the unborn from the very same mouth which in the next moment will defend the political authority of a nation to slaughter by the thousands the most innocent of god’s creations.

    And you Bradley will reach for reason when required and dispose of it as quickly in favor of faith and belief always in pursuit of a nice clean world paradigm with yourself in the center bathed in the self-delight of your own confident ability to mingle god, reason, law and words with the mastery of a magician to produce a pudding of certainty and conviction.

    re: Your question, “are you implying that our laws shouldn’t have a moral basis?” Pudding.

  12. #12 by Cliff Lyon on January 23, 2007 - 8:53 am

    For the life of me, I can’t find the word “moral” (or God) in the Consitution of The United States of America.

    Little help here Bradley?

  13. #13 by Gunther on January 23, 2007 - 8:58 am

    There is only the Rule of Law, and the tenets therein, either applied as a template on society forcefully, or through some form of representation.

    Our Constitution is pretty clear. A new “morality” based on fixed notions is currently replacing it.

    Time to fight for real, lest the Bradleys’ rule you.

  14. #14 by Jenni on January 23, 2007 - 9:06 am

    I participated in Blog for Choice Day yesterday on my personal blog http://green-jenni.livejournal.com/151932.html

    but I wasn’t as happy with my contribution this year as I was last:
    http://green-jenni.livejournal.com/66453.html (really gives a more Mormon spin on the issue)

    I’m not as pleased mainly because this year I tried getting into the minds of “pro-lifers” — and there’s really no way to break through moral “certainty” with any kind of logic.

    It takes a lot of moral certainty to believe that writings by a lot of fallible human beings are direct words from God (and then to trust that a group of even more fallible human beings who decided what was included in the “collected works” weren’t using their own prejudices and were directed by God, and then again ditto for translators), and despite contradictions throughout the “collected works” to believe certain directives completely and utterly while disregarding other directives. And on top off all this, expecting everyone on the planet to follow those directives as intrepreted by a narrow segment of society, who have their own preconceived ideas and prejudices.

    When one draws on moral certainty, the issues of those opposing their views, no matter how compelling and tragic, become of no consequence.

  15. #15 by Caveat on January 23, 2007 - 9:15 am

    A bus-load of moral certainty and a semi of…what, Cliff,.. Pudding?

  16. #16 by Frank Staheli on January 23, 2007 - 8:36 pm

    Bradley,

    I agree that there are certain principles that we should not compromise. But to foist our principles on those who focus on different ones doesn’t make a lot of sense. I’m sure you agree that there are rare cases in which abortion is a legitimate option.

    Jenni,

    I was impressed by the thought you put into both of your blog posts. The more recent post, contrasted with Bradley’s response on your site illustrates the divide between people clinging to polar opposites of an issue. I really wish that those on both sides of the issue would take a little bit of time and try to imagine what it must be like to be on the other side.

    It caused me to think, and I wrote on Simple Utah Mormon Politics, that I am both pro-choice and pro-life, but I would rather that we all referred to ourselves as “Pro-Contemplation”.

  17. #17 by Gunther on January 23, 2007 - 9:04 pm

    It is just so important to read the Constitution, and follow Supreme court decisions, it describes what is your right to demand, and what those would demand of you, and defends people from certain social mores that others find offensive.

    What we as a culture will accept is delineated therein, and there are avenues for creating news laws of the land at the Federal level, via the Supreme Court rulings.

    Roe vs. Wade is a Supreme Court decision which granted a womans right to an abortion. That is the law, we now argue over minors and parental consent. Any changes to this currently would have to be undergone by the SC again.

    I think that most would agree that abortion for any reasons is a misfortune, but currently guaranteed under Federal law. This is reality.

  18. #18 by Cliff on January 23, 2007 - 9:07 pm

    Frank,

    Just go with “pro-choice.”

    And the next time someone suggests pro-choice equals pro-abortion, you jump down their throat with everything you have.

    Nobody hates abortion more than the anyone else except the women who have to make that horrible decision.

    Pro-life equals pro-government intervention into the personal moral decisions of women and families by rich white guys. Thats all.

    No one has ever called me pro-abortion twice.

    …but it is not, after all, my decision.

  19. #19 by Frank Staheli on January 23, 2007 - 10:05 pm

    Cliff,

    You have a good point. But “Pro-Contemplation” it is for me. I really think that a lot of women DON’T think about it as a horrible decision, but I have no evidence of it.

    Something I haven’t brought up until now is the fact that I don’t personally think it was an issue to be decided by the federal government. That’s one of the reasons I hope Ron Paul runs for president.

    Gunther,

    Semantically I disagree with your point that the Supreme Court would have to decide the issue again. Congress has Constitutional authority to limit the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, so it would be possible for Congress to limit SC on abortion and then write a law overturning the Roe decision. I would prefer, however, that SC’s jurisdiction be limited, and THEN Congress legislate that the decision belongs to the individual states to decide, where it once and properly existed.

  20. #20 by Gunther on January 24, 2007 - 7:50 am

    That could occur Frank but would be immediately challenged, and sent right back to the SC. This is our system. Likely to brought to decision as soon as possible. bush has packed the court, it would be interesting to see how they rule. Precedence rules our legal system, the States cannot decide an issue that has reached the SC can now be relegated to the States, and remain the Constitutional Republic we were founded under. Genie is out of the bottle so to speak.

    The Supreme Court has the final say in the legality of a bill viva vi the interpretation of the Constitution. Once decided by the Supreme Court the Congress has nothing to say, it’s law. Congress has no jurisdiction over this Frank. Once a challenge is brought and a bill or action is brought to the Supreme Court, Congress is out of the decision making process. Remember?, it’s how we ended up with this shiftless president, The Supreme Court decidered, and appointed bush pres, unprecedented but unchallenged. Abortion is the domain of Federal legislation.

    It would also need a 2/3rds majority in both houses, and I seriously doubt women wouldn’t decide to kick out their rep if he voted to repeal it. It’s 2007, let’s not make people who want an abortion go to Canada. The States can only make getting a abortion more difficult, they have no say in banning it, that must come from a high court ruling. Yet since bush has turned the Constitution into a good damned piece of paper, anything is possible now, including the bi-partisan dictatorship, which has steered the country onto the beach.

    Interesting point though, since the issue is out of the domain of either of the bozos. The Federal government in its charter was to provide for the common defense, conduct foreign policy, and regulate interstate commerce. Where abortion comes under this framework is open to debate, if it does at all.

  21. #21 by Frank Staheli on January 24, 2007 - 10:59 am

    Gunther,

    Maybe you understood the Constitutional point, but at least as a point of clarification for anyone else who is ‘listening in': In Article III Section 2 it says that with a handful of exceptions where it has Original Jurisdiction, “…the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.” Congress could (and I think should) make an exception that the Supreme Court no longer has appellate jurisdiction in abortion cases (it has no original jurisdiction for abortion cases anyway). Then ONLY the states could rule on abortion, which is where it should be.

    In case anyone’s wondering…I’m not referring AT ALL as to whether abortion should be legal…what I am referring to is simply that it is not a constitutional duty of the federal government to decide.

  22. #22 by Jenni on January 24, 2007 - 11:42 am

    Frank,

    I appreciate your thoughtful response. I would argue that pro-choice IS pro-contemplation. You have 3 very difficult choices that you have to navigate through, and I have never met a woman who hasn’t taken that choice very seriously. I believe that the casual abortion seeker that you mention is more of a figment of the anti-choice movement’s paranoia – such women are rare indeed, as abortion is a painful at worst and causes physical discomfort at best, not to mention scary and invasive and embarassing.

  23. #23 by Gunther on January 24, 2007 - 12:13 pm

    The path these days seems to be making it up as we go Frank. The Roe vs, Wadw decison puts the “original jurisdiction” in Federal hands, the states abdicating to the pressures.

    Jenni very good points, I would imagine it is why some would like parental or guardian consent in the cases of teen abortion. It could be argued that a teen girls state of mind in pregnancy could be in need of some counseling in the decision. Does not sound too unreasonable. Since the parents are liable for a childs well being, the chance to lead in this responsibility also seems reasonable, and for that a parent has to know.

  24. #24 by Frank Staheli on January 24, 2007 - 4:13 pm

    Gunther,

    I did some research (by no means exhaustive) that seems to indicate that Congress would not be acting in an “innovative” (unprecedented, illegal) manner if it indeed did remove the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction to hear abortion cases.

    If you have insights that clarify and disagree with this perspective, I will be glad to hear them and even stand corrected.

  25. #25 by Gunther on January 24, 2007 - 6:15 pm

    Me either Frank, don’t know for sure. However precedence is THE most important concept that governs our legal system. It would have to be a pretty convoluted argument to go back to the original decision and somehow prove it wrong, abortion being upheld and overturned at the state appellate level, depending on the State in question, as a historical matter. Describing its “wrongness” as a tenet of a belief system, will cause social strife on many levels other than the issue.

    Life is currently defined as AFTER a fetus leaves the womb and is viable. It is oddly the exact middle between life beginning at conception and the right to infanticide. It seems that the moderate heads prevailed on this issue. Despite my dislike of the practice, I don’t know how, or if, I could prosecute someone who obtained one illegally if abortion was outlawed.

    The whole affair is bad enough. Who cares for the infant if it is unwanted, and the costs of pregnancy, who will pay? If the woman does not take care of herself, abandons the child, we pick that up? Who adopts fetal alcohol babies? I would agree to taking up this challenge this the minute we stop blowing people up overseas for our version of civilization.

    Then there is the matter that the SC chooses what cases it will hear. Repealing Roe vs. Wade might not get a hearing, though now with the packed court….break out the coat hangers. It would be crazy. I do not support abortion, other than for health of the mother, it represents some very irresponsible activity. Like a fish getting killed because you poured oil down the drain in your carelessness.

    That said, the law stands.

    Along the lines of the repeal of slavery and civil rights declarations, that overturned State laws that up held these abominations. In these cases, what was legal, was made illegal, in abortion what was illegal, was made legal. Not sure if there is the issues are equivalent. It is not unheard of, but it did in both cases make quite a stir.

    Just what we need, more stir, anyone got a swizzle stick?…Frank, seems you do(laugh).

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