Saturday, March 24, 2012

Guest Response to "10 Reasons The Rest Of The World Thinks The U.S. Is Nuts" by Soraya Chemaly

So, I didn't mean for this blog to be all about the abortion debate; I may write about something else eventually. However, the abortion debate is vitally important, highly emotional, and trending in the news because of recent events.  Therefore, there is a lot to say and respond to.  

A friend of mine, Hannah Boggeln, recently wrote a response to an article which fits very well into this site's format and she was kind enough to let me share it:

I have quite a few critiques of this article, am interested in others' opinions, am would appreciate any responses given in a charitable manner. Here it the article: "10 Reasons The Rest Of The World Thinks The U.S. Is Nuts"

Please read the actual Georgia bill (HB 954) to which Ms. Chemaly refers: HB 954

I completely agree that women should NEVER be compared to cows or pigs. I completely agree that Mr. England spoke out of line. I completely agree that he cannot empathize with mothers in their motherhood. But I refuse to accept the argument that the bill he is supporting should not be passed because he is not a woman or a mother. People of all races get to vote in laws concerning minorities. And although I am not a mother, I am a woman and I support this bill and I know many mothers who would as well. So please don’t act like this is a bill supported my men who only want to dominate and torture women.
"The fetus is me." Ummm no. The fetus is the baby. It has its own DNA.

“1. Making women carry still-born fetuses to full term because cows and pigs do.” This bill, however, actually states: “The term "abortion" shall not include the use or prescription of any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance or device employed solely … to remove a dead unborn child who died as the result of a spontaneous abortion.” I think Ms. Chemaly is misinformed.

“2. Consigning women to death to save a fetus.” The bill states: “No abortion is authorized or shall be performed … unless the physician and two consulting physicians certify that in reasonable medical judgment the abortion is necessary in their best clinical judgment to preserve the life or health of the woman to … Avert the death of the pregnant woman or avert serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.”

“3. Criminalizing pregnancy and miscarriages and arresting, imprisoning and charging women who miscarry with murder.” Firstly, who is talking about criminalizing pregnancy??? Secondly, the bill did not define miscarriage, but it is my understanding that there is a difference between miscarriage and abortion. Miscarriage the natural death of the baby in the womb. Abortion is the intentional killing of said baby. Killing unjustly, yes, is “murder.”

“4. Forcing women to undergo involuntary vaginal penetration (otherwise called rape)…” Agreed. I am not in favor of this. But am in favor of required ultrasounds. We need to be informed. Even medical companies selling seasonal allergy medicine are required to tell us of side effects of said medicine. It wouldn’t hurt for us to see the fetus we are trying to kill.

“5. Disabling women or sacrificing their lives by either withholding medical treatment or forcing women to undergo involuntary medical procedures.” See responses to #2 and #4.

“6. Giving zygotes "personhood" rights while systematically stripping women of their fundamental rights.” If a zygote is not a human person because it is not human, what kind of person is it? If a zygote is not a human person because it is not a person, what is it? It has it’s own DNA. It is it’s own individual. And what fundamental rights are we women being stripped of exactly? The right to kill someone else because I don’t want him or her to exist?

"…the danger of personhood ideas creeping into health policy…" So focusing on the person is …. Bad? And building policy that protects the person is … dangerous? Tell me, if laws aren’t made to protect the person and his rights… what are they made for?

“7. Inhibiting, humiliating and punishing women for their choices to have an abortion for any reason by levying taxes specifically on abortion, including abortions sought by rape victims to end their involuntary insemination, imposing restrictive requirements like 24 hour wait periods and empowering doctors to lie to female patients about their fetuses in order to avoid prosecution.” Paying taxes on abortions is the least of your problems. You pay taxes on cigarettes because, let’s face it, they’re bad for you. But you’re complaining that you have to pay a special tax to commit murder? That your attempted murder is being “[Inhibited]”? And if by humiliation you are referring to pregnant mothers in general seeking abortions I don’t understand. If you are talking about women who have been raped, I see your point. But abortions committed by rape victims are still abortions. Extra extra sensitivity must be paid in these cases, but killing the child will not heal the mother. What is your objection to 24 hour wait periods? I absolutely agree that doctors cannot be permitted to lie to their patients. But the text of the bill does not say that. It says: “A person is not liable for damages in any civil action for wrongful birth based on a claim that, but for an act or omission of the defendant, a child or children would not or should not have been born. … [allowing suits brought] for damages for an intentional or grossly negligent act or omission.“ Lying to your patient sounds to me like an intentional omission.

“8. Allowing employers to delve into women's private lives and only pay for insurance when they agree, for religious reasons, with how she choses to use birth control.” This could also be restated to say: Allowing employers to refuse to support the choices of others which they consider to be immoral. Yes, I support that right of employers.

"who support "personhood" related "pro-life" legislation and are fighting for their "religious liberty"" So “personhood,” “pro-life,” and “religious liberty” are the bad guys….?

 “9. Sacrificing women's overall health and the well-being of their families in order to stop them from exercising their fundamental human right to control their own bodies and reproduction.” Let’s return to #2. You’ve re-read it? Ok. You are not just “controlling your body” when you have an abortion. You are taking a life. You may of course control your reproduction! It’s simple: don’t have sex when you are fertile! There is a connection, you know, between sex and babies.

“10. Depriving women of their ability to earn a living and support themselves and their families.” This bill is not “depriving women of their ability to earn a living and support themselves and their families.” It is saying that employers will not be forced to go against their consciences and that women who lie, cheat, and steal causing them to do so can be fired. If my employees were lying to me, I would want to have the right to fire them. I agree that medical records are private, but I also don’t see another way to cover the contraceptives while not forcing employers to go against their conscience, but would love to hear suggestions. Regarding the second link, it is wrong to fire a woman because she is pregnant. But nowhere does this bill even hint at that, so the second link, while being very true, has nothing to do with this.

"This is about sex and property, not life and morality." FYI: (1) scientists have discovered that there is a link between sex and life!; (2) people aren’t property; they’re people; (3) I don’t get how this could not have to do with morality? Your arguments are morality-based! (“the moral legitimacy”; “What you are doing is … morally corrupt.”)

"I think that it is stupid, dangerous and immoral to chain smoke, especially around children whose lungs it irreparably harms. But, I still have to pay for an employee to have access to lung scans, nicotine patches and oxygen tanks." This is a fallacious argument. The equivalent would be paying for an employee's cigarettes.

"These laws are not about "personhood" but "humanity."" So you’re against humanity?

“That women of color are massively, disproportionately affected by these assaults on their bodies and rights should also come as no surprise - their rights and their bodies have always been the most vulnerable assault.” Click here:

“Safe and effective family planning is the transformative social justice accomplishment of the 20th century.” Hey! You know what’s even more safe AND more effective! Natural family planning!

Thank you for your patience in reading all the way through. I would appreciate your thoughts.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


A friend of mine, Keith, tried to post the following response to my last post on abortion, but unfortunately due to technology hiccups, he wasn't able to:

"I think it is important to draw a distinction between "Pro-Life," and "Anti-Abortion." Anti-Abortionists are those who promote the legal restriction of abortion. Pro-Life, to me, should be more about promoting life and opposing abortion on moral grounds, rather than legal grounds. I believe it is entirely possible to be both Pro-Life and Pro-Choice. 

I am morally opposed to abortion when the pregnancy in question was the result of consensual sex. (However, In cases of rape, forced pregnancy, and life-threatening emergencies, I feel that abortion is not morally wrong.) I believe that human life ought to be celebrated, and that if the pregnancy was the result of consensual sex, the unwilling mother should do everything in her power to ensure that both her and her baby BOTH live fulfilling lives. I also believe that using non-abortive birth control should be a priority for anyone who engages in sexual activity and does not wish to conceive. Preventing unintentional pregnancy should be a goal of anyone who opposes abortion on moral grounds. In a perfect world, no one would even WANT to have an abortion, and those who had unintended pregnancies would choose adoption. In this sense, I am pro-life.

However, I realize that people make mistakes, and that unintended pregnancy happens. Furthermore, I feel it is wrong for the government to exert control over the contents of an individual's body. It is the exact opposite of freedom and liberty when the government can override an individual's sovereign authority over her own uterus. I morally disagree with abortion, however I believe it is even more morally wrong for the government to enforce that belief. I may disagree with women who choose abortion, but that choice is between them and God. Period. In this sense, I am pro-choice."

I asked him if I could use this as a prompt for my next post, which he agreed to.  I hope that he's reading this and that we can talk more in the future.

Keith's position seems pretty typical of those in our generation who would label themselves conservative, and he does a good job of articulating the position.  I find it particularly interesting because, up until recently, I would have agreed with him on every point.  However, there are some key concessions in Keith's position which I do not agree with.

First, I want to address the concessions for rape, forced pregnancy, and life-threatening emergencies.  The only concession here that I agree to is that of life-threatening emergencies, if there really is no other way to preserve the life of both the mother and the child.

Let me backtrack for a minute.  I do agree that women should have sovereignty over their own bodies.  However, they should also recognize that a natural consequence of sex is pregnancy, whether they are using some form of birth control or not (all of them have fail rates).  Ideally, if a woman is not willing or able to deal with this consequence by carrying the pregnancy to term, she should use her sovereignty over her own body to abstain from sex.  She should not use abortion as a back-up plan.  Even in the case where the woman made a mistake, there is still the option of adoption and there are pregnancy crisis centers which can help women who need to get in contact with adoption agencies.

In the case of rape or forced pregnancy, a woman's sovereignty over her own body has already been violated, by the criminal who forced himself on her and not by the baby which was the result.  There is no difference between this baby and the baby who was planned for in terms of innocence.  To perform an abortion in these cases would still be infanticide.  A woman going through pregnancy as a result of rape or forced pregnancy needs support, counseling and most of all love, but she doesn't need doctors or "friends" suggesting that she just get rid of the problem through abortion.  That can only lead to more heartache.

Secondly, I would like to address Keith's point about birth control.  As I mentioned earlier, all forms of birth control have fail rates.  I only know of one case where abstinence didn't work.  We would expect that with the increased use of birth control, the instances of unplanned pregnancies would go down, but the opposite has been the case.  In reality, birth control offers a false sense of security which leads to more unplanned pregnancies.

But there is another, deeper, reason why birth control is not the answer.  LADIES, YOU DESERVE BETTER!!!  If that man is not willing to have a baby with you, not willing to confront the natural consequences of sex, he is not worth having sex with.  If you want to do something recreational with your boyfriend, go to a theme park or something.

Finally, I agree that the US government spends way too much time trying to control people's choices.  However, the reality is that abortion clinics are an industry and that industry has lobbyists trying to keep that industry profitable.  For this reason, pro-life groups need to lobby in local, state, and federal governments against the abortion industry.

On my part, it is my prayer that governments will not need to legislate against abortion for it to become a thing of the past.  The real battleground is not in legislative halls, but in the minds and hearts of everyday people.  If we can become a nation that cherishes life in every form and strives to protect that life, abortion will become so morally and culturally repulsive that no woman would ever choose it anyway.