Why A Father and Daughter Changed Their Opinions on Abortion

I think that if God forgives us we must forgive ourselves. Otherwise, it is almost like setting up ourselves as a higher tribunal than Him. CS Lewis

wikicommons

Before I address the issue  of contraception, I have decided to open up an aspect of my life that still causes me some moments of pain.  I often say that God takes experiences in our lives and uses them in the here and now. That means the good and the bad.

Some experiences are easy to share, like my time at Ed Young Jr.’s  Fellowship Church. Others, such as fighting pedophilia and the church, also portray me in a good light. Then there are some, such as the one I am about to share, which show poor judgment on my part. Thankfully, God is in the business of redeeming the bad to use in His service.

As I share this experience, please understand that this is my story and I am not saying that anyone else would respond, or feel, the same way.  However, it is my hope that this story will help our readers understand why I am pro-life. Because I plan to deal with the issue of contraception, I felt it was imperative to reveal my views on abortion. 

Even more importantly, I want to explain why, in spite of my pro-life stance, I am in no position to be holier than thou.

I have hesitated to discuss this story until now because it affects others besides myself. My father has passed away and so have the physicians who have connections to this story. I am going to do my best to conceal the identities of hospitals and medical professionals involved in this post.

So many people today discuss Roe vs. Wade as the beginning of the pro-abortion culture in the United States. But, it is an ill-kept secret that abortion was alive and well, prior to legalization. I am not talking about back alley abortions. I am referring to standard of care abortions done in the sterile environments of hospitals for those who could afford to pay for it.

It is important to understand that I, along with my father, were not raised in what would be considered a committed Christian environment. He had a nominal membership in a Russian Orthodox church which he attended irregularly, although he was an ardent participant in all the Polish/Russian festivals. My mother has no particular faith. Consequently, I found myself being brought to both a local Methodist church and a Russian Orthodox church at festival times.

I learned little about the faith in these churches. Was it their fault or mine? I am not sure. The Orthodox services were conducted in Russian and the incense and stern environment were off-putting to me as a child. The Methodist church was primarily a "feel good" environment. They had awesome baked bean suppers that were well attended by the community.

It is embarrassing to admit that I didn’t understand the basics of the Christian faith. For example, I didn’t understand the deity of Jesus, even as I entered my teen years. I thought he was a “good guy" who taught us to be kind to people.

My father, a family doctor for most of his life, was originally trained in OB/Gyn at the Margaret Sanger Clinic. You can read about her here. I believe it was at this clinic that my father developed his views on abortion.

Tired of delivering babies in the middle of the night, some of them in the homes of those who could not afford to go to the hospital, he did further training at a busy city hospital and began his life as a family doctor whose patients came primarily from the immigrant population. He was popular in this community because, coming from a Russian immigrant family himself, he spoke fluent Russian, Ukranian, and Polish.

Back in those day (1950s-1960s) surgeons routinely asked the referring family physician to “assist” in operations and my father loved this aspect of his work, frequently describing to us the interesting details of the surgeries. As I grew older, I began to understand that some women would receive a procedure known as a D+C, dilation and curettage link. They were not always receiving these for typical women’s diseases such as endometriosis. It was understood that they were, in fact, receiving an abortion. The medical charts would merely record a D+C for medical problems.

As I entered my teens, I was exposed to the idea that this sort of deception was necessary to help women. However, I remember overhearing my dad discuss the case of a well-known actress who was in town. She was in the process of a divorce and did not want to carry the “jerk’s” baby. Her “D+C” was handled discretely.

Fast forward to my senior year in high school when I became a Christian.  Although I sought out churches, read CS Lewis and other Christian authors, abortion, for some reason, was not brought up as an issue to consider.  Also, Roe v Wade was in its infancy and the churches in my area had not yet caught up to consistent pro-life teaching.

In my junior year of a BSN (nursing) program, I was offered the opportunity to care for a teen who was to undergo an abortion. I, sadly, saw no reason to decline. I want to emphasize that I was not forced to participate. I chose to do so. It would prove to be a life-changing experience.

This young woman was 18 and involved in a new relationship. Her boyfriend did not want the baby and her parents refused to help her. I do not remember how far along she was but the procedure involved a vacuum aspiration as part of the operation link.This would mean that she was probably within the first 4-5 months of the pregnancy. 

I gave her the pre-op medicines and accompanied her to the operating room which was filled with all sorts of doctors and nurses because it was a teaching hospital. I still remember the older operating room, painted green, and the strong smell of disinfectants. I was gowned, masked and gloved, although I was not to assist with the surgery. The surgeons in this teaching hospital were very kind to the students, often inviting them to approach the surgical field to see what was going on.

As the procedure began, I became distinctly uncomfortable. The surgeon spent some time inserting medical instruments and appeared to be cutting something internally. My emotional state reached a near panic when the vacuum aspirator was turned on and I saw chunks material and blood passing through the extractor. It hit me hard as I realized that this was human tissue. I instinctively knew something was terribly wrong with what I was observing.

I must have looked upset because one of the residents came over and asked me if I was alright. I said I was lightheaded but did not admit to my true state of feelings. To be frank, he looked a bit upset himself.

Shaken, I left the OR and proceeded to get myself a drink of water. I felt dirty although I was not, at least not physically.  The post-operative staff called me and said the young woman was waking up and needed to be attended. She woke up, alright. She was sobbing hysterically and I had a hard time calming her. The doctors had me give her something to help her to relax. I put my arms around her and quietly started crying along with her. Great nurse, huh? Actually, I am tearing up again as I relive those raw emotions.

As she calmed down, we were able to talk. She said she felt she had done something very wrong. I told her that such a feeling was understandable. She didn’t know that I felt exactly the same way about my own actions. I needed to focus on her. I would deal with my own guilt later. I urged her to speak to her priest (she was Catholic) and reassured her that God loved her. As I left for the day, the head nurse told me I did a good job. Little did she know the depths of my internal struggle.

I immediately began to research what Christians had to say about abortion. This was difficult since there was no such thing as Google. I spoke with a pastor who walked me through some Bible verses. Better yet, he helped me to confess the enormous guilt I felt for standing watch over an abortion. It would take some time before I could feel like God had forgiven me.

Shortly after this experience, I told my parents that I no longer supported abortion.  However, I did not explain my experience since they were not on board with my new found faith.

As time went on, my father would ask me questions about my beliefs. He told me a funny story from his youth. A Pentecostal church rented a room in a building in which a group of men would hold card games. Actually, it was illegal gambling and my dad, a teen, would earn some money by being the lookout for police. While guarding, he would often wander into the adjacent church services and found them fascinating. He told me that the people were very kind to him. 

One night, as my father began to fail, he asked me, “Does Jesus forgive everything?” After reassuring him that Jesus does forgive anything and everything, I asked what prompted this question. His answer surprised me. He said that he had come to the conclusion that his support for abortion was wrong and he deeply regretted the years he had spent “assisting” the “D+Cs”. He claimed that he felt like he had blood on his hands. My 80 year old father still felt the guilt decades later.

On his deathbed, my father prayed to receive Jesus as His Savior. He gripped my hand and said “Everything is alright now, dear.” That would be the last coherent thing he would say. He died a few weeks later.

There is much controversy over contraception. Some claim that the Pill causes abortions. As you will see, I disagree with some of these conclusions. As I argue the case for contraception, I do not want anyone to think that I treat abortion lightly. 

Just as I told my Dad, I believe in a God that forgives anything and everything. If any of our readers have had an abortion, I know He forgives you just as He has forgiven my father and me.

In light of this confession, I have decided to take this opportunity to introduce you to an amazing new resource that was developed in conjunction with the National Geographic Society. It is the Endowment for Human Development. link  In particular, there is fascinating section called the Virtual Human Embryo. link

The Virtual Human Embryo (VHE) Project generated nearly 34 gigabytes of embryonic imagery encompassing all 23 stages of the human embryo. This $3.2 million, 11-year initiative tapped the world's largest collection of human embryos to identify, digitize, and catalogue some of the best serial sections of normal human embryos ever seen. These images were then reviewed and labeled by one of the leading embryologists of the last half century, and are now available to researchers and educators everywhere. 

A quick glance at the project stats helps communicate the depth and breadth of what has been accomplished. The VHE Project has generated approximately:

3,347 unique digitized microscopic sections, most of which are available in four levels of magnification for a total of 12,991 images. 590 labeled figures, many with descriptions and high-resolution images. 252 movies which include “fly-throughs,” animations, and three-dimensional reconstructions.

Click on an embryo and explore the pictures and information available for that stage of development. I promise that you will not be disappointed.

Lydia's Corner: Deuteronomy 9:1-10:22 Luke 8:4-21 Psalm 69:19-36 Proverbs 12:2-3

 

 

Comments

Why A Father and Daughter Changed Their Opinions on Abortion — 281 Comments

  1. Dee, thank you for sharing the experience of your dear dad and yourself. I appreciate that this is a difficult topic to cover, and is much more divisive at many levels than over here. I want to keep my own opinions out of the fray for now, but ask, ‘What are your thoughts on RU-486?’ If you don’t wish to respond or be wedged I’ll understand. Also, the procedure that you described is not typical in Australia. Most abortions (or terminations – funny how the English language does that) in Australia are by suction aspiration and occur under 12 weeks (medically called a STOP – suction termination of pregnancy). I can pull up some stats if required. I’ll have a play now with your Human Embryo link which sounds so fascinating. I’m interested in the time when the nervous system develops. I believe that a heartbeat can be detectable around 4 weeks or so? I now hit the “Post Comment” button with trepidation…

  2. What strikes me first is how sensitively you approached this issue. Both the far left and the far right have beat us all over the head with their arguments. It’s caused me to retreat altogether from the subject. Maybe here we can explore it gracefully.

  3. Thank you for sharing. You – and your father – are not alone. Many individuals who have participated in abortion now regret that choice, whether they are medical professionals meaning well but acting contrary to their oath, or whether they are moms, dads or grandparents. Many have found the forgiveness of their loving, heavenly Father for their involvement in abortion.

    There is a lot of compassionate support available for women who become pregnant unexpectedly and for those who have participated in abortion in any way. I haven’t been where you are but I’ve walked with sisters as they’ve processed the grief of a past abortion. And I’ve walked with women whose unexpected pregnancy was a very difficult situation for them – one to which abortion seemed like the easiest solution. Regardless of the decision they made, I always sought to love them as I have been loved by God – love in all my messiness – loved because I bear the image of God and Jesus died for me.

    The human heart begins to beat at 18 days. The heartbeat is visible on a sonogram by 5 weeks. As nearly everyone admits now, abortion ends a human life – but it hurts everyone else who participates in it.

  4. Dee,
    Bravo for taking on an issue that has no easy roots or simplistic answers. I look forward to your post on contraception.

  5. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    Both the far left and the far right have beat us all over the head with their arguments. It’s caused me to retreat altogether from the subject. Maybe here we can explore it gracefully.

    Indeed they have. The far right would just as soon keep any form of contraception out of all women’s hands just as much as the far left would like to see abortion on demand as just another form of readily available contraception.

  6. Elsewhere on your blog, I have detailed my two personal experiences related to abortion. Pre Roe v. Wade, I received a call and picked up a friend who, it turns out had had a 2nd month abortion. College student, first sexual experience gets pregnant and the guy bugged out. My participation was not in the act itself, but in picking her up after the procedure and giving her a ride to her dorm.

    Second involved a spouse who had an affair, got pregnant, wanted me to agree to take the child as mine even though we were parting company, and before the end of the week I had asked to make that decision, had an abortion, then called me to pick her up and blamed me for the abortion.

    I am not generally supportive of the laws that states pass trying to limit abortion, because they target the wrong things, or take the wrong approach, like requiring an intravaginal ultrasound. I do not believe that, like some pro-lifers, including a congressional candidate last year, an ectopic pregnancy should be allowed to run its course — fatality to the mother and the child. I do think that the mother’s health CAN be a reason to terminate a pregnancy, and severe fetal deformity or genetic problems also should be an exception to the ban, as should the pregnancy of a child under 12 or 13 years of age, who could be seriously harmed by carrying a child to term. But abortion as a means of birth control, no, as long as you don’t count a morning after pill as abortion, or require a rape victim to carry the child.

  7. My only experience with this was hearing what my cousin went through. She was told that she was unable to have children. One month she noticed that she was gaining weight. Before leaving to purchase some diet supplements she took a pregnancy test as a precaution. It was positive. The whole family was elated for her. A few months later, during a routine ultrasound, doctors discovered that the baby’s brain was developing outside of the scull. All I know is that she terminated the pregnancy. But, knowing how much she had longed for that baby, it had to have been a traumatic decision. Fast forward a few years, and she adopted her first daughter from a young lady with an unintended pregnancy.

    From my limited point of view, there are so many variables to make a blanket statement about abortion. I have my own convictions, but I just can’t project them on someone else.

  8. I have been pro life ever since I knew about abortion but it has taken me years to realize there is the woman’s side of the story; that there are, as the feminists affirm, people trying to manipulate women through their sexuality.

    I still come down on the side of life but I believe a woman’s autonomy is a legitimate right as well and abortion is the conflict of two legitimate rights.

    Hopefully, some type of contraception can be developed that will have a high efficacy rate and eliminate the need in the vast majority of women.

    Thanks for making yourself vulnerable and sharing your story, it touched my heart.

  9. That is so awesome about your father’s change of heart Dee, still tearing up. And thanks for sharing.

  10. Most forms of contraception do not cause a life to cease – those that are are called abortifacients and are the ones most targeted by prolife people. To be prolife does not mean being “anti woman” – especially when half of the victims of abortion would themselves be female. There is no need to apologize for thinking that the taking of a life is wrong, and the circumstances that would perhaps justify it are few and far between, and should not be the basis of laws…”hard cases make bad law.” The vast majority of women that abort do so because they simply do not want to be found out to be pregnant and feel they cannot raise a child – I have counseled hundreds and this is from my experience. Most women, when given an ear, some love, some support, and who take the time to see what is really “going on in there” will choose to let their child live.

    The grassroots people who most oppose abortion, who give of their time, money, effort…have themselves HAD an abortion and are the strong backbone of the cause.

  11. justabeliever

    You might be surprised about the new crowd of those who are opposed to contraceptives. Tune in on Wednesday.

  12. Before Roe vs. Wade, each state had their own abortion laws. In the highly unlikely event that Roe vs. Wade is repealed, abortions will still not be illegal in every state. Even Catholic hospitals offered abortions to those women who could afford the “D&C”.

  13. I am pro-choice in that I think abortion is too personal a decision for anybody to make for another. As part of that I think reliable contraception should be freely available to all who want it, so that abortions need not be an option in the first place aside from medical or other extraordinary circumstances.

    Pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion, but I can’t wrap my mind around “no abortion” and “no contraception” outside of somebody’s personal choices – on a larger societal level, without one, you’re going to have the other. I’ll be interested to see what you have on that one, Dee.

  14. The idea of love as the greatest Commandment implies a rejection of absolutism. To understand that another human being is made of so many different complex parts–biological, chemical, cultural, social, historical…ideas, opinions, preferences, family life, abuse, on and on–means that in order to truly love them, each and every one, it is impossible to create an absolute standard that will fit everyone. To NOT demagogue, to not become a ranting ideologue IS the power to love, forgive, and reach. I’m not saying “all roads lead to God”. I am saying that learning how to love means learning how best to serve others where they ARE. As Christians, we have a guidebook, but absolute application of TRUTH always comes from the Holy Spirit. And I have never found Him to be rigid.

  15. @ Muff Potter:

    Not all people on the far right (of which I belong) are against contraception across the board.

    I think a lot of people on the right object to their tax dollars being used to pay for birth control for other people.

    I believe people should refrain from sex until marriage (as I have done), so it shouldn’t even be an issue, really.

    But I wouldn’t say that any and all right wingers flat out object to birth control across the board.

    Also, what is considered “far” right to you and to me may be two different things. I’ve seen people who seem to be left wing who consider anything even one centimeter right of center to be “far” right, even though it’s not.

    The unborn lives in question don’t get a choice in their fate in any of this.

    One reason of several I don’t support abortion is that a lot of men are in support of it. Some men pressure their pregnant wives or girlfriends to go to the abortion clinic, if they don’t want to raise the child or offer financial support.

    It’s their way of avoiding responsibility. So it’t not so much liberating females, as it is enabling selfish males and letting them off the hook. It allows women to be exploited and used by males.

  16. @Dee thank you for sharing so openly and so delicately of your experience. I am really looking forward to hearing your perspective on contraceptives. As a new Catholic, it is certainly an issue that I have been mulling over for the past couple years. I’ve been considering writing about it myself, but, wow, it is such a tender topic. Thank you for giving this topic the respect it deserves.

  17. I’m interested to see the rest of this series. I definitely agree that abortions of pure convenience and/or selfishness, as well as sex-selective abortions, are wrong. I honestly wish I could use the label “pro-life” more comfortably, but in the past few months I’ve seen a disturbingly large number of pro-lifers denying the existence of medically necessary abortions. Funny, I always thought there was agreement in the pro-life community that it is better to save one life than lose two. The fact that there isn’t makes me sad and angry. Arce’s definition of “medically necessary” above seems to be a good one (ectopics, lethal deformity, vastly underage mother, etc.). (I also don’t think that to be pro-life, once has to be anti-contraception.)

    I especially look forward to the discussion of rape/incest cases, which is an issue I wish I had more clarity on.

    Daisy’s comment about abortion giving irresponsible males an out is excellent, as is Debra Baker’s summation of the situation as the collision of two legitimate rights.

  18. Dee…opposed to contraceptives, or opposed to being forced by taxes to pay for it, as if contraception is some kind of constitutional “right” – life, liberty and the pursuit of sex without consequences as the vision of our founding fathers? I am prolife and I get angry when I am supposed to pay for someone elses’ sexual activity. That’s really their responsibility, not mine. I do know that historically the Catholic church opposes all contraception, but typically the Protestant churches do not.

  19. Just wanted to say that I had a (very early) abortion after a rape – and still to this day, even though I know that I’m “supposed” to regret it, I don’t. I sometimes wonder if that makes me unrepentant, and therefore not forgiven. you know? I will likely take that struggle with me to the grave. Since I’m not Catholic I don’t even have hope of purgatory. :/
    anyway – I appreciate how awful this whole topic is for everyone that has been touched by it.

  20. Daisy,
    I stand corrected. Not all on the left or right are in lockstep with every plank. In my own case, and I do consider myself an old school FDR style socialist, I am also a gun owner and believe that the courts have over stepped their bounds with regard to religion in the public square.

    On the other hand, I have a conservative friend through my old church who admitted privately that Glass-Steagle should be fully reinstated and that tax rates on the uber wealthy should go up to what they were before 1980. The guy is also a supporter as I am of LGBT rights. As they say, go figure.

  21. Muff, the traditional liberal/conservative continuum is blurring quickly. I have social democrat friends who make my republican friends look like flaming liberals. My next door neighbor is a gay republican who is a fiscal conservative.

    I have a great collection of old political speeches. I have played those for liberal friends who are shocked to hear JFK in his rising tide lifts all ships speech about taxes being too high. They are shocked to hear Nixon talking about creating the EPA. And so on. It is great fun.

    I am a long time conservative who is fast becoming a Libertarian and wish I could find a “Don’t Tred on Me style” flag from the Revolutionary times. I am just done with kings and tyrants whether they are in government or church.

  22. Dee, Brave post!

    This is one of those issues that is so hard for women. Even though it takes two to get pregnant, the woman bears the societal brunt for the result of whatever it was, rape, one night fling, boyfriend, etc. I have often wondered about the man in cases of abortion when it comes to spiritual responsibility.

    Anyone have any thoughts on that?

  23. This is a thorny issue, and I’m glad the discussion here has been so respectful.
    Personally, I’m pro choice, and a lot of that is because I know that I don’t have the strength (emotional or spiritual) to go through with a pregnancy that was the result of rape (anonymous – I am so sorry for your experience, but also, I don’t think you have anything to be ashamed of or feel bad about). I’m not sure if I could go through with a pregnancy where there were severe complications to the foetus, and I’m certainly not willing to carry a pregnancy that could kill me. And seeing as I don’t think I could do any of those things, I don’t believe I should force any other woman to go through it, either.

    I’d like to recount a really tragic case that happened here about a decade ago. It’s one that, for me at least, makes it depressingly clear that this issue is so many shades of grey, rather than black and white.
    Late-ish in her pregnancy, the woman found out there were severe (but not life-threatening) disabilities with the foetus. She was also quite severely mentally ill, and the stress of that combined with the diagnosis for her unborn child led her to threaten suicide if she wasn’t given an abortion. She had a history of self harm and suicide attempts. Her ObGyn had to decide whether to perform the abortion or not, knowing that, if he refused and she did commit suicide, he’d be tried for both deaths, but if he gave her the abortion, he’d be up before the medical board for performing a late abortion of debatable necessity. Either way, he was likely to face sanctions. He performed the abortion, went up before the hospital’s medical board, and, although he was cleared and he didn’t lose his licence, he did lose his job.
    Obviously, that was a highly unusual case, but for me it just shows that abortion is not a simple black or white issue.

  24. I have often wondered about the man in cases of abortion when it comes to spiritual responsibility.

    I personally wonder the same thing. I know majority of abortions probably occur because a man made a decision first. Whether to rape, or abandon a pregnant girlfriend, or pressure her to end it, or whatever. I have a friend whose boyfriend actually forced her (drove her) to the abortion clinic and sat with her in the waiting room. When she got called back she went to the bathroom and found a window, climbed out of it, and ran down the street. She walked miles through the city to get back home.

    His initial choice is what so often leads to the abortion, so I can’t imagine that women should bear all the blame. I have long privately believed that society is focusing on the wrong end of the situation – but of course, no one can ever force men to treat women right. So we pound on the woman. And preach about the horrid selfishness of the woman. sigh.

  25. Justabeliever and Daisy,

    Why does it make you angry that a tiny fraction of your taxes are helping to pay for birth control for low-income women? Would you rather a larger amount of your taxes go toward the education, free lunch program, WIC and food stamps, and other programs to support the children born to low-income women?

    For the record, it doesn’t make me angry that my taxes go to either one. But I find it fascinating that, until the last year or so, I never heard anyone publicly complain about *their* tax dollars helping to pay for birth control.

  26. My wife too had an abortion at a young age. It had tormented her immensely for years. And still there are times she struggles. I have never judged her for this. It is heartless to do so, and I refuse. This is a complicated issue. The world is hard and cold and capricious. This guides how I live out my faith.

  27. I’d bet that most of us here have been touched by abortion in one way or the other. What Arce, Hester, Argo, and others have shared resonates with me. I believe there are medically necessary reasons for the termination of a pregnancy. I know there are wonderful stories of children born after rape, but if a woman cannot bear her rapist’s child, I absolutely do not believe she should be judged.

  28. I know someone very close to me who had an abortion- a month before she was married. She was really messed up emotionally and he pressured her into it. They divorced many years later after having two children together. I don’t know that “regret” is the right word for how she feels. She feels even today like she did not have a choice.

    So hearing her story has impressed upon me that any pro life stance must be undertaken with a dedication to giving women choices. Some are in very difficult situations, and “suck it up- you got pregnant so you have to figure it out” simply isn’t good enough.

    I am pro life, but I don’t think scripture is clear on this. That is, I don’t think the Bible says life starts at fertilization. I basically take this stance not because of religious conviction, but because it fertilization the clearest line before which we know there is no life- and better safe than sorry. However, I would never hesitate to terminate to save the life of the mother, and I would not lay blame on a 14 year old rape victim for aborting a baby.

    And one more challenge to my pro life stance: if I were in a burning building and had the chance to save either a 1 yo infant or 4 fertilized embryos, I would choose the former every time, and I assume almost any sane human would choose the same. However, if a fertilized embryo has the same life value as a baby, clearly this decision is immoral. This is something I wrestle with, because I do believe saving the baby is the correct choice.

    So I am a pro life advocate who is sympathetic to the fact that it’s a complex topic with many difficult situations. I think the church making more choices available for taking care of unwanted pregnancies is more important than pro life legislation.

  29. Well, I think that women getting contraceptives as part of health insurance came up some time ago because the men who ran the insurance companies were making Viagra part of the insurance plan. It seems that it was okay, in those men’s minds, that health insurance should pay for their ability, and the ability of all the men on their plan, to “perform” BUT NOT pay for keeping the performance from producing… pregnancy.
    It was highly hypocritical on their part and speaks to the attitude that men are owed sex but should not have to be bothered with the consequences of sex including paying for performance drugs or contraception.

    I heard this story the first time probably close to 20 years ago.
    The present story has evolved into something else, but I remember hearing it back then and agreeing that IF an insurance company wanted to include Viagra, THEN IT SURE AS HECK BETTER include contraceptives.

  30. @ Wendy:

    I’ve never actually known anyone who had an abortion (that I know of), but I have seen lots of miscarriages and risky pregnancies. I know a woman who miscarried five babies (includ. half of a fraternal twin) and my grandmother lost five also. I also know a Quiverfull mom who continued having children after the doctors told her not to. She dealt with gestational diabetes with the last four of her eleven children and finally the youngest was born with Downs. (Come to think of it, maybe Quiverfull ideology is part of why more than a few of the conservative Christian teenage/20-something girls I know have a morbid fear of childbirth.)

    So when I read about this – given the large number of miscarriages I’ve been close to – I was, along with the blogger, completely and totally appalled. This and Doug Phillips’ statements were mainly what prompted my initial comment.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2012/11/savita-halappanavar-when-pro-life-means-death.html

  31. Jeff S wrote:

    And one more challenge to my pro life stance: if I were in a burning building and had the chance to save either a 1 yo infant or 4 fertilized embryos, I would choose the former every time, and I assume almost any sane human would choose the same.

    This is good. It reminds me of all the talk about aborted babies vs. Sandy Hook Elementary students. After the massacre of all those little 6- and 7-year olds, I kept seeing memes on Facebook and links to articles with challenges such as “When you’re ready to talk about the 3,000 babies aborted today, then we’ll talk about Sandy Hook.” Another (paraphrased) statement: “I don’t see you crying over the million babies murdered last year.”

    Actually, I DO grieve over aborted babies, and I believe God grieves too. It makes me physically ill to think back on images I’ve seen of fetuses and body parts piled on top of each other near abortion clinic trash bins. It makes me sad that innocent lives are lost because of a father’s or mother’s selfishness.

    I’m equally disturbed by a culture that doesn’t fully support girls and women upon discovering an unwanted pregnancy and doesn’t provide adequate resources for for them to feel empowered, supported, and confident in raising the child. Raising a child is an 18-year commitment, and we could do a LOT better in providing the support and resources required to raise that child well. I’m so weary of pro-lifers getting on their horse about abortion but wanting to cut every program needed by those very children they claim to want to save.

    I believe a fetus has the same life value as any of us, but I do not believe the circumstances of the fetus’s life are the same as those of a 6- or 7-year old shot and murdered during the Sandy Hook massacre.

  32. Hester,

    What a horrific story. That was certainly a case for medically necessary abortion. I feel so sad for Savita and her husband.

    Before our first child was born, I had a miscarriage at 11 weeks. When I went in for the ultrasound, I had not yet begun to miscarry (only spotting at that point). I was given the choice between a D&C and a natural miscarriage, and I chose to miscarry naturally. I had a couple of friends who unfortunately had gone through miscarriages, and I expected it to be like theirs – over in a day or two. I’ve often questioned my decision – and especially the OB practice – because my experience was so traumatic.

    I didn’t start having real contractions and passing the tissue until the following week, and then it took a full two weeks to miscarry. The pain was just as bad as my four natural childbirths (later), and the bleeding heavy. My primary OB (and the on-call docs I spoke with throughout those agonizing two weeks) did not handle things appropriately, in my opinion. Finally, with my husband at work one night, I called my mom and told her I thought I might die and to come over and drive me to the ER. I guess I was out of it; I wasn’t thinking to call 911. I called the on-call doc (again) to let him know that I could not handle the pain and bleeding any longer and that this had gone on for two full weeks. That very night my body finally expelled the last of it, and I didn’t have to be admitted to the hospital, but it was scary. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems that my options should have been re-evaluated before things got to that point over a two-week period.

    With advances in modern medicine, there is no excuse for allowing a mother to die as in the case of Savita; no excuse for making a young girl carry and give birth to a baby which could cause death or permanent health problems; no excuse for allowing an ectopic pregnancy to continue; etc.

  33. I am so sorry for your experience of observing a surgical abortion of a human fetus, Dee.

    I know that some fifty million women  in this country, have aborted their unborn child over the last thirty-nine years. 

    I weep for them. 

    I weep for the nation’s loss.

    (sadface)

    Sopy

  34. @ Sopwith:

    hi, Sopy — i suspect you mean well. But it just comes across as judgemental. And grossly unfair (& ignorant). how about those 50 million men who contributed equally to the situation, and who get a free pass in some courts of public opinion (as illustrated in your comment)?

  35. I am hesitant to say much, because it is an issue that has never touched me personally in any way. The legal situation is different in Australia too, since we have nothing in our legislation equivalent to Roe vs Wade. Also, I have no facts and figures to back this, but I understand that abortions here are not allowed as late term as in the US. And of course our health system is completely different ( 2 tiered, with everyone covered by our basic medicare system, and private medical care available for those who choose to take out private insurance — which is not linked to one’s employment.

    I consider myself to be basically anti-abortion, but I am shocked by some of the extremism I have seen. To me it is axiomatic that the health and well-being of the mother come first, above the potential life of the child — that people could even question that in cases like ectopic pregnancy makes no sense to me, since killing the mother won’t preserve the child’s life anyway. A non-viable pregnancy is non-viable, and that’s it.

    Also, and I may catch some flak for this, I would certainly permit abortion after rape, preferably before the victim has a chance to even know whether she conceived or not. Rape is traumatic enough; to have to go through 9 months of pregnancy and the pains of labour as a constant reminder seems beyond cruel to me. But that should always be the woman’s choice and nobody else’s

  36. Also, I am honestly confused about the sudden equating of contraception with immorality, since most married women use it too. In the interests of full disclosure, I had a tubal ligation after my second child. I had had 2 difficult pregnancies, and preferred to concentrate on being the best mother I could to the children I had, rather than another 9 months of being too sick to look after them.

  37. sopy…. just having a hard time with your comment…

    dang, why did you have to word it like that? it really smarts.

    perhaps you have done much, directly or indirectly, to help women (especially those without privilege, having few resources & options) navigate through this so they are able to raise their child, with access to medical care, transportation, healthy food, a safe home, childcare, employment, skills, encouragement,…..

    if so, i sincerely thank you.

  38. Abortion IS birth control. Whether the reason is one of those ‘exceptions’ – situations that many Christians find themselves uncomfortable with, such as a rape or terminal fetal anomaly, or if the pregnancy is risking the life of the mother, or whether the reason is because a healthy 18 year old gets pregnant in college and doesn’t want to carry a pregnancy – in all these situations, abortion is being used to prevent the birth of a baby. So for someone to say they don’t approve of abortion as a method of birth control isn’t really a logical thing to say. Any instance of abortion is controlling birth by ensuring it doesn’t happen.

    I would love to live in a world where abortion wasn’t necessary. However, we live in a broken world, full of inequity, poverty, abuse and oppression. Many people say that they think exceptions should be made for abortion in the tragic circumstances of rape. But what about the tragic circumstances of women without health care, women who will lose their jobs or women who will be abused by spouses if they are discovered to be pregnant? Are their situations not tragic enough? Are only some tragedies or traumas worth exemption? For some women, aborting a pregnancy caused by a rape is not the answer, and for others it is. For many women living in poverty, an unintended pregnancy is an incredibly difficult situation – a crisis, a tragedy, and for many others it isn’t. Creating laws about what situations women can and cannot access abortion is not the answer. Looking at the roots – such as the lack of access to contraception and medical care, the US’s shameful lack of reasonable maternity leave…would probably do much more to effectively lower abortion rates than criminalizing it.

    Many women choose to abort because of poverty. Anti-abortion organizations combat this reason with offers of free cribs and baby clothes and talk about how affordable a baby is if you buy used baby clothes or use cloth diapers or breastfeed. But babies don’t stay babies, they grow up into children, and then teenagers. They need health care, food, education…the church-run crisis pregnancy center isn’t there to help that single mother out with their five year old when the mother needs to take another job, but can’t afford childcare and the five year old is left alone at home for hours every day.

    I am a doula, and I love pregnancy and working with pregnant mothers and babies. However, because of my work, I feel very strongly that no one should ever be forced to give birth. I also see the effect that fetal personhood laws have on restricting the medical decisions that women with wanted pregnancies can make (such as being unable to choose to have a vaginal birth after a c-section and being forced to have repeat c-sections against their wills) or being criminalized for things like falling down the stairs while pregnant.

    Although I recognize that human life begins at conception, obviously, science clearly shows this, but I do not think that a fetus is soul, and feel that the Bible clearly supports this. I can look at those amazing pictures of fetal development that you linked to and wonder at the mystery and marvel at the amazing process that God put into place to form another human, but I do not feel like an embryo is a person whose rights to life outweigh those of the woman in which it is being carried.

    I think it is unfortunate that women have to choose abortion because they have have no other options. Because long-term support is not available, and they see past the baby into the life they would have with a child, and do not see it as a doable option for them. The “adoption as a loving option” thing really isn’t for many women, and there is lots of evidence that adoption causes much longer-lasting psychological harm on the birth mother than abortion, or even the death of a child does.

    I appreciate you sharing your story Dee. I am glad that your father found peace, and it is heart-wrenching to hear stories of women who regret their abortions. As a pro-choice activist, I have heard a number of these stories. I have heard as many stories of women who do not regret their abortions as well. There are lots of things we regret in life. I regret not finishing my degree, people regret not taking jobs, or taking jobs, moving or not moving, marrying or not marrying. Some people regret having children, others regret not having them. We regret words spoken and left unspoken. We regret all sorts of choices. The journey of life is frequently marred with regret, and one person’s regret is not a reason to take another person’s choices away.

  39. @ anonymous: I think that you have every right not to regret an abortion after being raped.

    While this whole topic generally tends to make my stomach twist itself into knots, I will say… I don’t like abortion one bit, but in certain circumstances, I believe it is not only justified but the right thing to do.

    I so wish our discussions over here were not tinged with fanaticism of all sorts, as I think most people who are on one side of the fence or the other actually have a *lot* more in common than we realize.

    An awful lot of “pro-choice” women are vehemently opposed to the use of abortion as a method of birth control. And I’ve met more than a few “pro-life” folks who feel that abortion should be made available in certain cases.

    I do not for one second believe it should be approached lightly by anyone, and yet… there is a difference between the old “D+C” that was done for (I hate to use this term, but) the “convenience” of the woman who was getting it done, as opposed to those that were done to terminate pregnancies due to rape and incest; to save the life of the woman, etc.

    The Republic of ireland has had a total ban on abortions in place for some years now, and I’ve read some truly heartbreaking reports of cases where it *should* have been allowed but was not. (Including the teen who was repeatedly raped by one of her dad’s “friends”; the folks – many of them – whose infants did not develop brains – and, iirc, in a couple of instances, craniums) and so on. Anyone wishing to pursue an abortion has to leave the country to do it – most go to England, but this is very expensive and few people who might truly be in need can afford it. And ven then, people are often very torn up about it, because they have been told from childhood onward that all abortion is wrong.

    I don’t think there are any easy answers to this.

    And Dee, I greatly appreciate both your honesty and sensitivity. And that young woman needed you for certain. Who else could have given her the compassion that you did, seeing both sides of it.

    If – and it’s a big if – some people in the US were not so squeamish about decent sex ed and the use of birth control, I think the incidence of abortions would go down.

    And of course, the really intense anti-abortion people tend to dump all the responsibility – and blame, guilt and shame – on women. That creates absolutely unnecessary blame and, often, outright hostility.

    I’ve also seens my share of anti-abortion grandstanding down in the D.C. area, much of it unbearably creepy – like having little kids carry infant-size fake coffins in a Roe v. Wade (anti) rally. That is just plan despicably wrong, imo.

    ON the flip side, i think a lot more support should be provided for young moms who are facing the prospect of raising their kids on their own, especially those who are low-income. (and that ranges from inner-city kids to rural poverty – we see a ton of the latter here, and almost all of the kids are white by default – not a lot of diversity in mthis part of the country.)

    Most of all, I hate how there’s so much condemnation heaped on people who do – for whatever reasons – get abortions. We should be there for them in a compassionate and non-judgemental way, but so often this is turned into an us. vs. Them thing.

    and, as Trina pointed out in the previous thread, an awful lot of so-called “culture of life” advocates just flat-out ignore the needy who are right outside their doors, or down the block, or…

  40. “hi, Sopy — i suspect you mean well. But it just comes across as judgemental. And grossly unfair (& ignorant). how about those 50 million men who contributed equally to the situation, and who get a free pass in some courts of public opinion (as illustrated in your comment)?” -elastigirl

    elastigirl,

    HowDee!

    Are you sure your name is not ‘labelgirl’?

    …judgemental?

    ….grossly unfair?

    …ignorant?

    ha!

    You are besides yourself!

    (bad day?)

    1. When is weeping for those who suffer, -judgmental, grossly unfair, or ignorant?

    2. You wish me to ‘weep’ for the fifty million men who may NOT  have accepted responsibility for their actions and rendered assistance to these 50 million women who experienced surgical abortive procedures? 

    I can not. 

    I will not.

    I shall not.

    …might wanna stick to ‘elasticity’, as ‘labeling’ does not become you…

    Yes, I am acquainted with Abortion, and it’s after-effects, more than you will ever know.

    I care not what you think of me. I care about what you think of Christ. He came to give eternal life, not to take it. His hand is out stretched even now? What say you?

    (…by the way, I have successfully encouraged women to carry their un- born children to term in the past, ready to assist at a moments notice.)

    hmmm…

    I am quite sure you must have mis-read or mis-understood my words and their intended meaning.

    (no hard feelings!)

    Blessngs!

    Sopy

  41. @ Wendy: Thank you, Wendy!

    I do not think it is right or fair to impose certain clearly religious views on everyone else, which is the case here re. being opposed to tax dollars going for birth control coverage.

    also – and this is a *very* important point – there are lots of women who use contraception (the pill) in order to try and curtail symptoms of serious gyn problems. yep – a woman can be on the pill and not at all sexually active.

    Also, I’ve seen folks jump to the conclusion that any and every D & C is an abortion. Absolutely not true! (As Dee pointed out in her post.) To my mind, it’s just plain wrong to saddle people with such assumptions.

    Ultimately, nobody else can really, truly know what a woman contemplating an abortion is facing, any more than we can ever really know what a given married couple’s relationship is *really* like.

    Please, let’s cut folks some much-needed slack on these issues!

  42. P.S.: I’ve been on the pill for medical reasons at various times in the past.

    and Daisy, honestly, I think I would like to say “What right have you to judge your neighbor?” You do *not* know who needs contraception and for what reasons. And wouldn’t you rather see people using birth control that – as in the not-so-distant past – society being flooded with unwanted kids who are warehoused in some way or other?

    I might be extreme in thinking this, but if coverage for contraception is limited, I think we could be facing a return of orphanage-types systems, and frankly, that scares the crap out of me, because kids in such places were NOT well-treated. The foster care system is so full of its own wrongs and harmful adults …

    Boy, I think this is more than I’ve ever written anywhere on these issues. It’s a discussion I generally avoid like the plague, but I trust Deb, dee and commenters here won’t let it turn into a flame war or angry name-calling.

  43. @ Sopwith: Sopy – I think I have some idea of where you’re coming from in your original post in this thread, but I also think elastigirl’s got some very valid points.

    and since we can’t hear tone of voice or see each others’ expressions here, it can be hard to pick up nuances that would be obvious in face-to-face convos, or in video chats.

    Elastigirl has contributed so many thoughtful, compassionate – and often very funny – comments to this blog, and I am deeply grateful for her perspective on many issues.

    It bothers me that you called her “labelgirl.” A lot. and you know I appreciate *your* perspective on many issues, too.

    all the best,
    numo

  44. I am against government dictating what a woman must do with her body. I understand the Christian moral arguments against abortion, but I think this has to be done one on one, rather than as a blanket policy by the state. When the state does, we get Savita Halappanavar. I am horrified (one as an Indian) as to what Savita went through. I am afraid some southern states in USA are contemplating doing something similar. The end result is lot of pain and anguish on the women. And the odd thing is it is mostly men who are for this nonsense.

    A cynical reasoning of why some southern states are almost enforcing their abortion policy is not so much for religion (though it is only used as a cover), it is to force whites to have more children, so their racial decline will be halted, compared to the Hispanics who will soon be in the majority in USA. And this scares the bejesus of the whites in the south.

  45. Sopwith wrote:

    2. You wish me to ‘weep’ for the fifty million men who may NOT have accepted responsibility for their actions and rendered assistance to these 50 million women who experienced surgical abortive procedures? 
    I can not. 
    I will not.
    I shall not.

    Um, Mr Sopy I’m in a Dr Seuss mood – Why not?

  46. I struggle with this a lot.

    You can read the full explanation on my blog, but the short version is this:

    At our 12 week ultrasound it was discovered that our daughter had acrania; a neural birth tube defect with a 100% fatality rate. There was no upper skull to protect her brain in utero, and at 12 weeks, there was already significant damage. Going to full term meant potential health complications with an induction at full term. If she survived labour (unlikely) she would die very soon afterwards. We were offered a termination at that point, but could not do it. We had people praying for a miracle, and we held out for hope that maybe the ultrasound was wrong, or that we’d have some kind of miracle.

    At 18 weeks we had another ultrasound. No miracle. More damage. My wife’s emotional health was spiralling downwards. Random people would walk up to her and congratulate her and ask when she was due. Every question like a knife, twisting in her heart.

    Our daughter was induced at 22 weeks and did not survive the induction. I held her, and dressed her in clothes smaller than a doll’s outfit.

    You can call it what you like, but a nurse at the hospital put it most coldly when my wife called up prior to our appointment and she replied “you mean your abortion”.

    Technically, that’s what it was. We terminated … aborted …our pregnancy.

    That’s our story. Members of our church march each year through the streets of Melbourne in the “March for the Babies”, attempting to have the Victorian abortion laws rolled back. Without those laws we likely would have been forced to go to term. I honestly don’t know if my wife’s mental health would have survived. The end result would still have been the same.

    There are 50+ million stories in the US alone over the last 30 years. Not all of them fit into nice neat little boxes that you can shelve and judge. Some fit the extreme pro-life narrative like a hand in a glove. Some… not so much.

    We buried our daughter on the following Saturday under a cloudless blue summer sky. We visit her grave on the 17th of January each year, and above our TV is a shadow box with plaster moulds of Jessica’s tiny hands and feet.

    Life… and death… is just not as black and white as we wish it could be.

  47. Warwick, my eyes fill with tears at your loss. I am sorry, too that that nurse was so insensitive. May our Lord, who weeps with those who weep, be very close to you and your wife.

  48. Warwick,

    I’m so sorry for your loss of precious Jessica. Your story is heart-breaking.

    My views on abortion have evolved over the years from what I would consider extreme pro-life (I had lots of religious and political influences shaping my extremism) to anti-abortion except in certain cases.

    I appreciate your comment and believe it’s so important to understand that there are situations that don’t fit the usual pro-life speak:

    There are 50+ million stories in the US alone over the last 30 years. Not all of them fit into nice neat little boxes that you can shelve and judge. Some fit the extreme pro-life narrative like a hand in a glove. Some… not so much.

  49. anonymous 9:46

    My heart goes out to you. A rape is horrendous. I am not sure how women survive emotionally after such an event. You do not need to feel repentant. God loves you. Allow Him to heal you from this tragedy of such violence against you. He will. I understand for your choice. If truth be told, there are many proolife women who would make your same choice.

    Far too many in the prolife movement argue from the exception, rather than the rule. I believe the gray areas in this debate involve the issues of rape and incest. The affect of such violence on women is profound. For many, it will lead to a broken spirit.

    Finally, let me encourage you. You struggle. That means you are far closer to God than many who have pat answers and self-assured arrogance. I promise you that He is with you in this struggle and He loves you very much. Just reach out to Him and do not worry about what you are supposed to feel.

    If we can help you at all in your pain, please email us. Please know that I will be praying for you this week.

  50. anonymous

    I prmose that I will not preach about the selfishness of women alone in this debate. The point of my story is to share what happened to me. I cared about that young girl who had the abortion. I think of her today and pray that she has found peace.

  51. Natalie

    Thank you for chiming in. I knew that this subject was going to be difficult to discuss and I need all the help I can get in order for those who struggle to know God’s compassion.

  52. Aubrietta,

    I admire your work as a doula. We had a wonderful doula assisting our first birth.

    I consider myself anti-abortion, but the hypocrisy of the Religious Right on this issue is what caused me to no longer align myself with them. How can they genuinely care about the unborn when they want to abolish programs that support those children and their mothers (which churches and para-church organizations simply cannot and do not fund). When you want to cut or de-fund education, free lunch, WIC, Food and Nutrition Services, childcare subsidies, Medicaid and so on, one cannot possibly care about the long-term welfare of those children. Their goal seems to be more about getting the mother to have the child and possibly meeting a few of the very early needs of infancy, not providing the resources needed to raise that child well. It makes absolutely no sense.

    Before I began teaching, I worked in social work and mental health for many years. I’ve seen poverty and dysfunctional family systems up close and personal, and I know how vast the needs are.

    I appreciate this comment:

    Many women choose to abort because of poverty. Anti-abortion organizations combat this reason with offers of free cribs and baby clothes and talk about how affordable a baby is if you buy used baby clothes or use cloth diapers or breastfeed. But babies don’t stay babies, they grow up into children, and then teenagers. They need health care, food, education…the church-run crisis pregnancy center isn’t there to help that single mother out with their five year old when the mother needs to take another job, but can’t afford childcare and the five year old is left alone at home for hours every day.

  53. Argo

    I believe that the hard right in the pro-life community has made abortion one of the unforgiveable sins. It is not. I am grateful to have some friends who have been active in abortion recovery groups. They, too, have had abortions and now minister to women and their families who struggle with pain and guilt. It is not my intent to cast guilt on anyone by my story. It is my story alone. Hopefully I can express the compassion I have for all who have been touched by this issue.

  54. Arce

    I have always been grateful for the transparency and vulnerability that you show as you share your story. You have no idea how many times I think about the things that you have shared. May God continue to bless you life and ministry.

  55. The mandate for insurance coverage for birth control, whether private or public (e.g., medicaid), actually will be paid for by avoided costs, because birth control prevents pregnancies, births (and complications), and child health care that are covered and much more expensive than birth control. So, while it may appear that tax dollars are paying for it, or entities that provide insurance are paying for it, actually it results in lower expenditures and is a savings to those paying for the insurance. And it prevents unwanted pregnancies and therefore, prevents abortions.

  56. Wendy

    You will find that I am on the same page with you. I do not like the arguments that arise from the exceptions. I hope to show tomorrow the absolute lengths to which some of these folks will go in this debate. I felt it neceassry to share my story first so that some people could not claim that I support abortion. Oh, the nuts will still say that but they will be exposed for what they are-kooks.

  57. Anonymous,

    Thank you for sharing a bit of your story. I agree with others here who’ve said you have a right not to regret your abortion. I’ve thought so much about this. If one of my daughters was raped and had an abortion, I wouldn’t want her to regret it or feel she’d done something wrong.

  58. JeffS

    Standing ovation for this scenario.

     ”if I were in a burning building and had the chance to save either a 1 yo infant or 4 fertilized embryos, I would choose the former every time, and I assume almost any sane human would choose the same. However, if a fertilized embryo has the same life value as a baby, clearly this decision is immoral. This is something I wrestle with, because I do believe saving the baby is the correct choice.”

    I would concur with your choice. We will look at this a bit more closely tomorrow. The radical pro-life community now claim that the possibility of life is now the basis of decisions.

  59. I represent, at government expense, people (99% men) who are poor, owe child support and have not been paying it. I would advocate free birth control available to anyone and everyone. Further, if a man wants to have a vasectomy, the insurers or government out to provide that free and perhaps reimburse the man for his time away from work. It is against the law for a court or government to order a man to have a vasectomy, and probably against the law for them to offer it to a man as part of a court action. But it would make a great social medicine program. “Two days pay if you have a vasectomy!”

  60. BTW, after our second child was born, and because my wife could not use most means of birth control for medical reasons, I did “the V thing”. Two was all her body could take and if we decided to have more, adoption was available and there are lots of small children who need good parents.

  61. @ Warwick,

    So very sorry you had to go through that. Sometimes things are just not a one size fits all answer. What heartbreak.

    I am also sorry the nurse was so clinicl and technical with you. I know you would much rather have had a nurse with a response like Dee’s…weeping with those who are hurting.

  62. @ Haitch:

    I do not weep “for” “irresponsibility”, nor those who “take not responsibility”, but weep “because” of those that do not accept responsibility for their actions, Sopy, I am…

  63. Dee, I am sorry for you and your dad but glad you dealt with this issue in a sensitive and empathetic way.

    There are lots of birth control options, at low cost or no cost, if women are only aware of them.

    I read this novel years ago The atonement Child by Francine Rivers. http://francinerivers.com/books/atonement-child

    Pregnancy from rape dealt with in an extremely compassionate Spirit-filled way.

    But each woman will come to terms with an unwanted pregnancy and live with her choices. I believe that God would have us choose life but if we don’t then He is there.

    on this board we are approaching this from God’s pov and what He would want us to do…..but many people do not come from that perspective.

    My daughter got pregnant years ago and her boyfriend wanted her to have an abortion. I encouraged her to choose life but left the decision with her. Our grandson is 9 yrs old now and one of the joys of our lives. His father didn’t want him and signed his rights away so he didn’t have to pay child support.

    I do not judge anyone because I know how hard life is and how difficult it is even when you follow the Lord. How do folks do it who don’t follow Him?

  64. Dee,

    One of the most powerful posts I’ve ever read. In addition, even your friends who are pro-choice respect what you have written. To me, that is a sign that real dialogue only begins when we love and respect people with different views. Keep up the good work.

  65. So many compassionate stories here, starting with that of Dee and her father.

    Like so many Americans, both pro-life and pro-choice, who are utterly burned out on, and disgusted with, the “culture wars” I have to commend Warwick for this statement:

    Warwick wrote:

    There are 50+ million stories in the US alone over the last 30 years. Not all of them fit into nice neat little boxes that you can shelve and judge. Some fit the extreme pro-life narrative like a hand in a glove. Some… not so much.

    The “arguments that arise from exceptions” as Dee called them are so often incredibly hurtful and reduce people – real, live, women AND men, yes, MEN – to impersonal caricatures.

    The American political class, and I am mostly (but not exclusively – there is blame across the entire ideological spectrum) talking about the “Christian Right” activists who have firmly hitched their wagon to the fortunes and candidates of the Republican party, need to STOP and ASSESS their “messaging” on this issue to date with a critical eye, because – news alert – you have made a real hash of things.

  66. As an aside, Dee, I love your dad’s story of his time as a teen “police lookout” for the card sharks at the Pentecostal church. Love it. :)

  67. This is the reason why I love TWW so much and all of its commentors – this topic would not be handled as graciously and respectful at other sites. I love reading everyone’s perspective and it is a so heart breaking to hear these stories.

    When I was young, I was very pro-life. I was adopted to a wonderful family, but born to a teenage girl. I always wondered what would have happened if she didn’t go through with the pregnancy, I wouldn’t be here.

    Over the years, my stance has change drastically, mostly from a societal perspective. I would never want an abortion, but I’ve never been in the position to have to decide. And sometimes I wonder, what would I decide? But that is the key – it is a personal decision. I wish this was a black and white issue, but it’s not, and it can’t treated as such. So if that makes me pro-choice, then so be it.

  68. Arce wrote:

    . I do not believe that, like some pro-lifers, including a congressional candidate last year, an ectopic pregnancy should be allowed to run its course — fatality to the mother and the child.

    Arce – who believes that? I don’t. I don’t even know anyone who does and I’ve been involved in the pro-life movement for 17+ years. We believe that every person should be treated with dignity and that life should be treasured. Ectopic pregnancy is fatal to the woman and the embryo and should be removed so that the life which can be saved, the mother’s, is preserved. Every single time I or my colleagues have been aware of a situation where a woman has a potential ectopic pregnancy, we have referred her immediately for emergency medical care.

  69. Thank you for sharing your story. I think it’s particularly important to remember that Roe didn’t invent abortions, and that “discreet” D&Cs were pretty commonplace for those who could afford them for a long time before abortion was widely legalized.

    I don’t really have any easy place in the abortion debate. I am a pacifist, and I think abortion is an act of violence that I can’t support. On the other hand, I know that when abortion is illegal, women continue to have abortions (often at the same rate as they do in places where it’s legal, or sometimes higher), and those abortions are more likely to result in the loss of two lives rather than one. I also had an unexpected pregnancy, and I know how hard it is. My third child was a complete surprise, and even though I was in about as good of a situation as you can be when faced with an unplanned pregnancy (married, had completed my education, financially stable, healthy, supportive family), finding out I was pregnant with him was still one of the scariest and, honestly, devastating times of my life. I love him dearly and am so grateful for him, but I cried for days after finding out I was pregnant; I had a five month old at the time, and felt totally unprepared for another child so soon. I know what blessing can come out of a surprise pregnancy but I also know how frightening and world-shattering they can be, and I have nothing but compassion for women in that situation, many of whom don’t have all the advantage I had.

    So I don’t support efforts to criminalize most abortions; as a pacifist, I accept that there are many kinds of killing that are legal that I do not personally support or agree with, and I’m okay with that. I don’t think you change people’s hearts by changing laws. I just hope and pray for social changes that will make people value human life at all stages and in all cases more, and that will make it easier for women facing unplanned pregnancies to continue them.

  70. An Attorney

    I shall tell a funny, yet sad story tomorrow about an experience I had as a visiting nurse along the lines of "two days pay if you have a vasectomy". In short, if you start such a campaign, I shall donate.

  71. Dee, I have clients (yes plural) who have 8+ children by 5+ women. They maintain contact with all the children unless barred by the mother, pay child support when they can and work hard to get and keep a job, babysit for the mom when they can, etc. One’s mother has offered to pay for his vasectomy, says she would have enough grandchildren without his, and struggles to keep up with names, birthdays, etc. for her 20+ grandchildren.

  72. Vasectomies should be mandatory covered under health insurance, medicaid, medicare (!), etc. They are also cheaper than pregnancy, birth, child health, etc., for the offspring prevented, so that coverage would be a net system cost reducer.

  73. @ EMSoliDeoGloria:

    Also this from Karen Campbell. She and I are both convinced that it is only a matter of time before a Quiverfull mom dies because of Phillips’ evil (and I mean that in its fullest sense, not the usual hyperbolic way) advice. How anyone has the gall to call themselves “pro-life” when they have decreed from on high that women should die “for the cause,” from something they had no control over (where the embryo implanted), is beyond me.

    http://www.thatmom.com/2008/06/06/doug-phillips-poses-threat-to-life-of-homeschooling-moms/

  74. Hey Dee – great post.

    You’ll be unsurprised to hear that in my work with teenagers with issues this is a topic which I deal with frequently. Growing up Catholic I vividly remember my teacher (who went to the same church)getting us all to do a project where we had to colour in a cross section of a pregnant woman. (This was at a secular school, my Mother, after being beaten by Nuns at her Convent school in Dublin, would not let us go to Catholic school, yay Mama.) We then cut out & coloured in a baby, & a placenta. Then we stuck the placenta onto Mum & the umbilical cord onto baby, & ended up with sewing a little plastic bag around the baby, which was the sac. It then all nicely sat together to show the pregnancy…never have I doubted that abortion was the taking of a life. But life is not easy or kind, & there are many grey areas.

    The first time I had to deal with abortion was with my flatmate, who got pregnant through contraceptive failure. She didn’t realise she was pregnant until about 9 weeks…during which she continued as usual at her day job, making chemotherapy drugs for people with cancer. Drugs specifically designed to target rapidly dividing tissue, such as a tumour, or an embryo. You are not supposed to go anywhere near these, even with your protective gear on, if you think you’re pregnant. She discovered that the damage done was likely to be catastrophic & had an abortion. Because of my beliefs I told her I couldn’t help her do it, but would pick her up & look after her afterwards, which is what we did. These days I would have taken her too.
    A big part of my job is providing sexual health services – condoms, chlamydia tests & pregnancy tests – to our local teenage population, using the Fraser guidelines for those under 16(but over 13). I agonised about this, years ago now, until I discovered that whether or not they had contraceptives they still went ahead & had sex. It’s the lesser of 2 evils, the prevention of abortion. I also do a lot of sex education with young people, to try to raise the age of first sexual encounters & so on. I’m currently working with a 14 yr old (who has pre-existing mental health problems) who is pregnant, & whose family have tried to railroad her into a termination, for financial reasons rather than that of her welfare. She’s already bonded with her baby, as has the 14 yr old father, & I’m there to get their voices heard. Last time a girl I worked with was pressured into an abortion she took the tablets…& they didn’t kill the baby, just stunted it. SO then she had to go for the full procedure, during which a ‘Nurse’ asked this 15 yr old why she was crying…which made me cry. She was pregnant again within 6 months, never having been able to cope with the loss of her baby.
    I would certainly give a raped or abused girl/woman the chance for the morning after pill, or coil…& leave the rest up to God.

    Such a difficult topic, & which I have a very hard time being pontificated upon by Preacher Men…Brilliant that you’re bringing it up here.

  75. Another line of argument that doesn’t help this debate at all is the rhetoric from the more conservative sectors of Christendom about population decline. Of course this opens up many other cans of worms, too, but it is a contributing factor in some cases.

  76. While I agree with the pro choice thought that the mother is important and should not be forced to carry a child she doesn’t want, I believe strongly her time of choice is BEFORE the act that may conceive.

    To that end I support extremely strong rape and incest laws to prevent women being forced to carry an unwanted child.

    And I support medical intervention in cases where the mother’s life is truly in danger, or the fetus has no chance of life. Horrible decisions that must be made. After all, even the uber parents aka the Duggars chose to deliver Josie to save Michelle. Had Josie died, would that have been a de facto abortion? Yes.

    All that said, the idea of “I got carried away” or “he turned out to be a jerk” or “I can’t afford a baby” or “I don’t want anyone to know” are just plain creepy.

    So a tiny baby dies to preserve your reputation, or so you don’t have to be bothered?

    Adoption is the option in those cases.

  77. Ah Rafiki, as a life-affirming person, that position grieves me (as do other positions held by Philips and VF). While I know of it, I do not know any affirm that position.

    I would suggest that any position that diminishes the value of an image-bearer by refusing to save a life that can be saved is less than fully life-affirming. I would agree with the AAPLOG statement at the link you provided above. Please know that position is the standard one within the pro-life community, the few who would sacrifice mother and child because of a sad medical situation that both cannot possibly survive demonstrate to me a lack of care for the inherent dignity and worth of women.

  78. @ dee:
    Thank you for sharing. Your story adds another human element so often lacking in this debate. And from the perspective of a medical professional at that. I hope this post and thread extend compassion to all who read it.

  79. Hester wrote:

    How anyone has the gall to call themselves “pro-life” when they have decreed from on high that women should die “for the cause,” from something they had no control over (where the embryo implanted), is beyond me.

    It’s beyond me too. It is an explicit refusal to “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” (Prov 31:8-9)

  80. a note to Wendy regarding my comments on (free) tax funded birth control:
    1. Low income women do have choices. One of them is to keep their legs crossed if they can’t afford to get pregnant. Or run to the pharmacy and buy something.
    2. Another good plan is to…this is radical…I know..to wait till they are married to have sex. Then you have a husband to help you pay for the baby, if you get pregnant. There is currently an almost 85 percent illigitimacy rate in some urban neighborhoods. I think the way out of poverty for many in the city which would radically change generations is to help young women make positive life choices. One of them, a major one, is to be abstinate until marriage.
    3. You are overlooking the option of ADOPTION as a loving choice. There are many couples – even singles – looking to adopt. This issue is not as “cut and dry” though, as it sounds….the black babies have a much harder time being adopted, and many black women will just give up and abort rather than adopt out. Again, I have counseled hundreds…so I do have some experience in this area.
    4. Personaly responsibility is important. I am not responsible for someone elses’ poor decisions. Don’t say I don’t care…I have devoted years of my life to helping women who are pregnant and don’t want to be. I have given my time and money and years of effort.

  81. Rafiki

    My dad was an interesting guy. Along the way, he also treated a few low level organized crime guys. Someday I will tell the story of opening the front door and seeing one of these guys laying on our door stoop with a nonlethal gundshot wound. 

  82. An Attorney

    You are living today what I lived a long time ago as a young nurse. So far, you do not sound burned out. Good for you!

  83. Hester

    It is not uncommon to hear some of the Calvinista set proclaim that the Muslims are taking over with their large families and that it is the Christian’s responsibility to produce more children to counteract such a thing. Talk about a strange view of spreading the gospel!

  84. Rafiki

    Vision Forum has some of the most bizarre perspectives I have ever read. Couple that with Doug Phillips portraying himself as some sort of Indiana Jones and it gets mega weird.

  85. Justabeliever,

    Many married couples are in poverty. Do you expect them to stay abstinent their entire marriage if they can’t afford kids?

    I am generally against abortion, but Libbey Anne makes good points on her blog about how so many of the “pro-life” crowd is against paying for any programs that help out poor women. They are against abortion, but unwilling to support any programs that *realistically* make it easier for a woman to choose to keep her baby. “Keep your legs closed, even if you are married” is not a strategy that is going to do much, if our goal is to actually reduce the number of abortions.

    If we are truly pro-life, we need to make it easy for women to choose life. Otherwise, they will continue to choose abortions in large numbers. “Yelling” at them does nothing to make keeping the baby an easier option for them.

  86. @justabeliever–As somebody who lives in one of those “urban neighborhoods,” I think the problem is a bit more complicated than you make it out to be.

    Marriage won’t get you out of poverty if the man you are marrying doesn’t have a job, either. In many of these same neighborhoods, the unemployment rate for young men may be 50% or more. You won’t get out of poverty if the man you are marrying is in prison, and our unequally-applied drug laws mean that huge numbers of men of color are currently incarcerated for non-violent drug offenses. Marriage won’t get you out of poverty if there aren’t jobs that pay a real family wage available, and for more and more people, they simply aren’t.

    I don’t think the poor are poor because they don’t marry; they aren’t marrying because they are poor. And you can say that women should just keep their legs crossed until they can “afford” to get pregnant, but 1) the situation is such for many in this country that they will NEVER be able to “afford” a pregnancy, and 2) human beings are not going to work that way. Sex is not something we make rational decisions about.

    I appreciate that you do work with women facing unplanned pregnancies, and that’s a great thing. But I think the problem largely lays not with individual women making bad choices but with social conditions that give people, especially those in poverty, so few options no matter what choices they make.

  87. Libbey Anne has also pointed out how despite the “life begins at conception” rhetoric, it doesn’t seem like pro-life people are doing much to support research about how to reduce the number of miscarriages. I believe something like 25-40% of all pregnancies end in a miscarriage (some very early, before the woman knows she’s pregnant). If we really believe an embyro is the same as a baby, then why aren’t we organizing fundraisers to reduce miscarriages?

  88. @ Beakerj:
    I am so thankful people like you are there to be an advocate for teens in the most difficult of situations. I used to work with at-risk teen girls in a residential treatment facility. It is emotionally charged work much of the time.

    I admire your ability to “live in the grey”. Black and white this issue is not.

  89. justabeliever

    Thank you for your commitment in the care of pregnant women. I agree that sex is best preserved for marriage and that is what I have taught my kids.

    It is very difficult to watch, as you will see in my personal example tomorrow, women having baby after baby and then watch these babies getting abused. These women often rely on the social welfare system to survive. Yet, some decry the use of tax dollars for contraceptives. Unfortunately, our tax dollars are already being used to care for unwanted babies who grow up in difficult environments and become, very quickly, the next generation to continue the cycle. I wish it was clear cut but I have spent many days in the cycle of poverty with families who will never make it to a pregnancy support center.

  90. dee wrote:

    It is not uncommon to hear some of the Calvinista set proclaim that the Muslims are taking over with their large families and that it is the Christian’s responsibility to produce more children to counteract such a thing. Talk about a strange view of spreading the gospel!

    Funhouse mirror reflections of the Other.
    “OUTBREED THE HEATHEN/INFIDEL!”
    But then, a lot of lunatic fringe Fundagelical Christianity has a lot in common with lunatic fringe Islam. Especially the Calvinistas and Hyper-Calvinistas; they agree with extreme Islam on Predestination and God’s Omnipotent Will, and you see the same side-effects. “God Wills It!” domination by control freaks and a God who is Omnipotent but not Benevolent.

  91. Also, there is something about Roe v Wade that I have never seen addressed.

    Roe v Wade made abortion-on-demand a constitutional right by Supreme Court decision. Instead of a slower process of going state-by-state through legislation, the Supreme Court effectively ruled by decree. (Joke: “In a five-to-four decision, the Supreme Court just ruled that the Constitution is Unconstitutional!”) I think this method — and the appearance of it being shoved down everyone’s throats By Decree — sparked a lot of resentment that a state-by-state legislative approach to legalization would not have.

  92. To repeat something said earlier. Offering birth control at zero cost to the beneficiaries of almost any program, whether it is health insurance for them and their child, WIC, food stamps, public health coverage (Medicaid, CHIP), etc., etc., is a net cost saver, because the cost of a pregnancy, child, etc., in any program is higher than the cost of the birth control. That is why the Obama administration has proposed making the coverage mandatory. It will save money for the insurers and for whoever is paying the insurance, including the employer. And that includes vasectomies.

  93. BTW, more than 25 years ago, my V was paid for by my wife’s employer provided health insurance, with a small co-pay.

  94. Justabeliever wrote:

    Low income women do have choices. One of them is to keep their legs crossed if they can’t afford to get pregnant.

    Such compassion and understanding.

    Personaly responsibility is important. I am not responsible for someone elses’ poor decisions. Don’t say I don’t care…I have devoted years of my life to helping women who are pregnant and don’t want to be. I have given my time and money and years of effort.

    Please re-read my comment. I didn’t say you didn’t care. I asked why you’re angry that a tiny fraction of your taxes pay for birth control for low-income women. Thank you for your interesting response.

    So does this mean that you disagree with many of the commenters here that birth control and even vasectomies should be provided free? Do you disagree with the research that providing free birth control SAVES us money and significantly reduces abortion?

    By the way, many low-income women are MARRIED. How do you propose they just keep their legs crossed?

  95. This is my second time commenting here at the Wartburg Watch. I appreciate all that Deb and yourself do to help others, support victims, and provide a forum for all different kinds of voices:)

    Just a quick bit of background about myself. I was born into a Catholic family, my parents had a born again experience when I was very young and became members of a rather conservative independent Baptist Church. My parents deeply love the Lord and I was brought up to know and love the Lord as well (which I am very thankful for). As I got older, I began questioning some things about my faith upbringing, although I in no way lost my faith in Jesus. In many ways, I can identify with many of Rachel Held Evans questions in Evolving in Monkey Town to give you an idea of where I was coming from. Met my husband in college (he was a born and bred Baptist so all was well with the families!).

    Several years ago, my husband converted to Catholicism (long story). My very anti-Catholic parents have not been happy about it. It has been a trying time for me but also a growing time. My husband attends church with my children and myself (we are now at a Methodist Church where we attend as a family). I’ve been reading about Catholicism and praying for guidance. It seems there is no one church that I am 100 percent in agreement with everything!!

    Anyhow, that background leads me to my comments regarding your actual post. I’m thankful that you were so tender and comforting to the woman who had had the abortion as well as the fact that your father found comfort with/in Jesus at the end of his life.

    About ten years ago, I had an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy. I had to have surgery as a result. It was not an easy time for me, but as the doctor explained, it was to save my life. I asked if there was anything else that could be done to save the baby, any options, and he explained that sadly, there were not. I don’t know very much about the Vision Forum, but their position regarding ectopic pregnancy, if I’m understanding it correctly, is very extreme. Even the Catholic church condones surgery to save a mother’s life in cases of tubal pregnancy.

    So, given my own experience, I completely understand that there are many gray areas which have to be taken into account. However, looking at the sheer number of abortions that take place is just astonishing. I read that about 40% of all pregnancies in New York City end in abortion! My mind cannot even grasp it all. There is definitely something very wrong with a society in which abortion is so prevalent. It is definitely not safe and rare.

    I look forward to reading your upcoming post on contraception. Since I’ve been reading up on the Catholic Church, it’s interesting that they often link the widespread use of contraception and our culture of death as they call it.

  96. If we as pro-life people really want to reduce the abortion rate, then we should put our money where our mouth is and raise money to develop even better, harder-to-mess-up methods of contraception, such as the easily reversible vasectomy being developed in India. We should be demanding this procedure be made available here, instead of having non-Indian meg beg the researchers to be included in the clinical trials.

    Imagine if something like that was available here and was easy and cheap (or free) to get! I bet many or most parents would insist their teenage sons have it done (and then they could have it reversed when they want to have a baby). It could reduce the abortion rate significantly and women wouldn’t have to decide if they want to risk any side effects of hormonal methods.

    Unfortunately, I think many Christians would be opposed, because 100% reliable contraception would make it easier for people to have pre-marital sex. I, however, think that reducing abortions needs to be a higher priority than promoting abstinence.

  97. Jill wrote:

    Since I’ve been reading up on the Catholic Church, it’s interesting that they often link the widespread use of contraception and our culture of death as they call it.

    Eh, I don’t think they make a convincing case. I’ve heard (but not verified) that abortion was already common in the 19th century, when modern, reliable contraceptives (as we think of them, anyway) were not available. Infanticide has been a problem for thousands of years. I don’t think it’s fair for the Catholic Church to try and blame condoms and the like.

  98. Wendy wrote:

    By the way, many low-income women are MARRIED. How do you propose they just keep their legs crossed?

    There was just an article out showing that the “face” of abortion has changed from being, in the 1970s, a middle-class white teenager to now being a single mother of color in her 20s. Most women having abortions today are in their 20s or 30s; most already have one or more children; most are non-white women; most are poor. The change, it concluded, is mostly due to birth control access and use. Poor women often lack access to reliable, affordable birth control, and so they are far more likely to face unwanted pregnancies.

    It’s one thing to tell 16-year-old teens to not have sex and to wait until they are more mature; it’s another to tell a woman in her late 20s working full-time at a minimum-wage job that she can’t have sex until she makes more money or finds a man who does.

  99. Jill,

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment.  I am so glad that you are finding our blog beneficial. I hope you will continue to read and chime in when you feel led.   

  100. Here are some interesting statistics.

    -The abortion RATE peaked in 1990 and has been falling since then. I would guess this is because women have better access to contraception.

    -The total number of annual abortions has also been going down since 2000.

    -15% of women getting abortions are married. 25% are cohabiting.

    -60% of the women have already had one or more live births.

    -57% of women are in their 20s.

    -50% of women are 25 or older. (So much for the pregnant teen stereotype. They only account for 17%.)

    -Average cost is $451.

    -8% of the women have NEVER used contraception, ever!

    -54% used it in the month they became pregnant, although 76% of pill users an 49% of condom users admitted they used their method inconsistently (compared to 13% and 14% “correct use.” I guess the rest used them consistently, but not with perfect use?)

    What I want to know is why these women were so sloppy about their contraceptive use? Did they run out and were unable to afford more? Did they just forget? If we could somehow get them to use their methods properly, every time, the abortion rate would have a huge drop. Maybe we need to convince them to use two methods every time.

  101. @Dee
    thank you for your kind words. I have fortunately met a wise and kind pastor who helped me deal with the aftermath of the rape/abortion. I know that most would not be lucky enough to find a Christian leader with that much common sense and compassion.

    Also: when I went to the clinic I cried to the woman and said I was feeling guilt because I came from an extreme pro-life environment. She looked at me and said: “Those same women carrying ugly signs out front? When they get in your position they come in through the back door.”

    That really gave me a shock.

  102. Even though I am extremely pro life, I am not sure what I think about turning the laws back. I am sure however that freedom of speech must be upheld. Pro-life centers and individuals should not have government restrictions other than the usual rules of any organization claiming to provide services that they cannot provide.
    I believe that stricter laws should be enforced on government funded pro choice agencies. When I worked at a pro life center I was appalled at some of the ladies stories who came to us after visiting the public centers telling me how they really were not offered choices at all but pressure to abort instead. Both sides need to stop being so hypocritical and/or misleading.

  103. @ Lori: Not to mention the fact that so many of the anti-abortion people are white and middle-upper middle class, trying to boss women of color around.

    The hypocrisy is, imo, stunning. Walk a mile or two in someone else’s shoes and they might see things a little differently.

    And *no* adult she be getting bossed around on these issues. there are so many painful decisions involved, and so many grey areas.

    And so very many of the most vocal anti-abortion advocates are men.

  104. Numo wrote:

    Not to mention the fact that so many of the anti-abortion people are white and middle-upper middle class, trying to boss women of color around. The hypocrisy is, imo, stunning. Walk a mile or two in someone else’s shoes and they might see things a little differently.

    I’ve thought of this numerous times. There are so many factors at play and issues that are impossible to understand and apply black and white solutions, unless we’ve lived it.

  105. As for the advocacy of carrying a child to term and then “giving it up for adoption,” I wonder if y’all are thinking about how hard that is for the woman who’s carrying the child and *then* is “giving it away”?

    If I were in those circumstances, I think I’d rather die 1st – and they could take the baby over my dead body.

    At least girls and young women aren’t hurried off to “homes for unwed mothers,” as they were when I was a teen. Those were not healthy places… I cannot even begin to imagine the heartbreak involved, not to mention the frequently cruel and ultra-judgmental words and actions of those who were supposed to be caring for the “unwed mothers.”

    (btw, I’m using quotation marks because of the way in which the phrases in question *actually* meant something else – those “homes” were not actual homes in any meaningful sense of the word. I could go on, but hey, you can all catch my drift…)

  106. HoppyTheToad wrote:

    I believe something like 25-40% of all pregnancies end in a miscarriage (some very early, before the woman knows she’s pregnant).

    About 20 years ago the scientific estimates were that 50% of fertilized eggs never made it to either implant or the first month. Implant as best I recall.

    There was a Nova show years ago that followed the development of an embryo and Gastrulation was felt to be the biggest point of failure in the entire process. Long before implantation.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gastrulation

  107. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    I think this method — and the appearance of it being shoved down everyone’s throats By Decree — sparked a lot of resentment that a state-by-state legislative approach to legalization would not have.

    George Will (no way shape or form liberal) wrote about this several years ago. His comment was the Supreme Court wreaked their public relations with this decision. And without it abortion would have likely been legal in most of the US within 10 years. And without all the fights.

  108. HoppyTheToad wrote:

    being developed in India. We should be demanding this procedure be made available here, instead of having non-Indian meg beg the researchers to be included in the clinical trials.

    Dee may have more information but more and more clinical trials are headed to India and similar countries as the court system here makes a bad outcome too expensive, no matter how many waivers you have people sign.

  109. What I find uncomfortable in the abortion debate is the polorizing extremes presented by both pro and anti (abortion) advocates.
    Abortion as a means of birth control is most odious to me. I struggle in my compassion index when women share they had an abortion because having a baby was not on their agenda or they were in school, etc. But often when women choose abortion those aren’t the issues that contribute to a crisis pregnancy.
    My mother in law has nine living children….a couple of miscarriages and one still born. She also had an abortion. Having a child every year with limited income, children sleeping on pull out sofas became unbearable……oh and did I mention, her husband was an alcoholic? Was she sorry to have had an abortion….yes and no. Sorry she couldn’t bring another child into this world, not sorry the child was in heaven.
    A lot of women in crisis pregnancies feel/believe they have no options but abortion. Adoption to us may sound like a reasonable, compassionate option but adoption is also a complex life changing
    decision for a women to navigate through.
    I had an ectopic pregnancy in 1976. The MD said there was no chance for a baby to survive growing in a fallopian tube. It was hard to lose a baby by having a piece of my body removed and the physical scar that remains. If anyone had suggested I’d had an abortion, I would have been devasted.
    Most of us do not live charmed lives……there is no, “one size fits all.”

  110. As Jill said, there are so many gray areas in this issue. I have tried to comment several times but stopped. So here goes once and for all. I am pro-life but I do value and try to understand every woman’s decision. I don’t think that messing with a woman’s hormones via hormonal birth control is a good idea. There is medical research that backs up this idea. So I choose not to utilize that tool. But that is my decision that I have made after much research and consultation. I will defend a woman’s right to make the very best decision for herself.

    There is also a gray area in the very term “abortion” itself. In the medical and insurance community, any delivery of a live fetus prior to the age of viability (approximately 24-25 weeks) is classified as an abortion, even if that is not the intent. If a woman’s amniotic sac breaks at 18 weeks and her labor is induced, the documentation on her chart is “abortion”. A natural miscarriage is also called a “spontaneous abortion”. Pro-life advocates who want to ban abortions need to understand that the language is not clear enough to ban all “abortions”. Conditions of imminent fetal demise do require an early delivery and that life-saving procedure would be seriously threatened by a ban.

    Even with my pro-life beliefs, I understand abortion based on a genetic or physical disability diagnosis received in utero and at the same time it breaks my heart. Please follow me here for a minute. When I was first “diagnosed” with Ankylosing Spondylitis a few years ago, one of the diagnostic requirements was the presence of the gene HLA-B27. I didn’t have it but the symptoms existed and my “diagnosis” flip-flopped many times. We have currently settled on “its still a possibility”. I can remember being 19 years old and racked with pain, thinking that I would never want my future child to endure what I have and would consider abortion if that gene was discovered in the fetus. Some of my treatments actually required me to be on birth control before taking the medications due to the risk of severe birth defects. Here’s the kink -the diagnostic criteria have since changed. There are many cases of positive AS diagnoses without the gene (especially for people of Asian or African decent). Now the primary risk factors include the gene, widespread symptoms, and “frequent gastrointestinal infections”. My own diagnosis has since changed to widespread degenerative osteoarthritis – it is currently in 20-25 joints and counting. What has also changed is I have worked through the depression surrounding my disabilities and know that my life still has value. Personal viewpoints change throughout life and I will not judge or condemn people for making different choices. Research all possible options. Watch videos of various procedures. Talk to people on both sides. Make the choice that is best for you.

  111. Jill

    An ectopic pregnancy is an emergency and the pregnancy must be ended to save the life of the mother. There should be no hesitation on the part of any thinking person on this issue. I have been reading that there are some numbskulls out there who think that an ectopic pregnancy should be allowed to progress, even if it risks the life of the mother. This sort of thinking makes me want to throw my hands up in the air and say “Lord, come quickly. It’s getting nuts down here.”

  112. As I mentioned earlier, I consider myself anti-abortion for the most part, with an understanding that there are not black-and-white, one-size-fits-all situations (many of which we’ve discussed here today). *Because* I care about the welfare of the unborn and their *entire* childhood and future, I’m also vehemently opposed to the Religious Right’s insistence on de-funding or under-funding programs that assist low-income children and families.

    I don’t agree with everything discussed in the following article, but I agree with most of it. It is enlightening, educational, complete with reasearch and statistics, and addresses everything we’ve discussed here (even Justabeliever’s “keep their legs crossed if they can’t afford to get pregnant” comment).

    http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/10/30/how-i-lost-faith-in-%E2%80%9Cpro-life%E2%80%9D-movement-1

  113. This will not be received well by some, but this entire discussion is a symptom of sin. While of course impossible in a fallen world, if everybody lived by God’s design we wouldn’t even have to be talking about this. (Duh right?) Good article btw Dee. I met a women back in the 80′s who was an assistant for an abortion doctor for a while in her late 20′s without thinking anything about it. It was a job her training qualified her for. Until they did something wrong one time and the child was born alive and started to squirm and cry. She was completely aghast and started trying to save her, but the doctor jerked her back and told her “let that fetus die”. She ran out, locked herself in a closet and threw up. The realization came crashing in on her that she had been accessory to countless killings of infant human beings without even considering the ramifications one way or another. She quit.

  114. dee wrote:

    I have been reading that there are some numbskulls out there who think that an ectopic pregnancy should be allowed to progress, even if it risks the life of the mother. This sort of thinking makes me want to throw my hands up in the air and say “Lord, come quickly. It’s getting nuts down here.”

    How easily they play with the lives of others in their theology.

  115. @ linda:

    “…I believe strongly her time of choice is BEFORE the act that may conceive.”

    “…the idea of “I got carried away” or “he turned out to be a jerk” or “I can’t afford a baby” or “I don’t want anyone to know” are just plain creepy.

    So a tiny baby dies to preserve your reputation, or so you don’t have to be bothered?”
    *******************************************

    Hi, Linda.

    Such a complicated topic (bleeding into equally complicated subtopics).

    I can’t shake the feeling I get from a number of comments that there is a sense of judgementalism, of shaming, toward women faced with unplanned pregnancy. (your wording is pretty harsh) It is, of course, a fact of life that women have to bear the consequences of sex (pregnancy) — but it unfairly focusses the spotlight only on her. Even when she is pressured into an abortion by her male partner or perhaps family, she is the target. She is the villain. She is the only one emblazoned with the scarlet letter A. The logic that it took 2 seems to short-circuit in the discourse, which leads me to wonder:

    Why isn’t “his” time of choice (before the act) more of the conversation?

    Why is the “creepiness” of “I got carried away” & “I can’t afford a baby” only applied to the woman and not the man? Did he not get carried away, too, while not being able to afford a baby?

    Why does the fact that “the guy was a jerk” get sidelined?

    Why is the burden of choices and responsibility (& indignation if not done right) focussed only on the woman? At least as far as the rhetoric goes.

  116. @ Sopwith:

    Hi, Sopy.

    Sounds like it was mutual unappreciation day for our respective comments. I misunderstood your meaning. It sounded like an indictment on those 50 million women. And that you were weeping for the unborn children. Had this not been a misunderstanding, perhaps my “labels” would be valid descriptors, then?

    This topic is a lightning rod. And there will be much reaction & misunderstanding. I’m sorry for offending you.

  117. Greg 

    Welcome to TWW. The world is fallen. In a perfect world this blog would not even exist. May we all have the courage to listen deeply, seek to understand, and offer the compassion and the grace of Jesus to one another. Most people wander through life with unresolved guilt and pain. He came to free us all. 

  118. Elastigirl/Sopy

    I am so grateful that you come to this blog and share with us. Both so different yet both exhibit grace. Love you guys.

  119. linda wrote:

    While I agree with the pro choice thought that the mother is important and should not be forced to carry a child she doesn’t want, I believe strongly her time of choice is BEFORE the act that may conceive.
    To that end I support extremely strong rape and incest laws to prevent women being forced to carry an unwanted child.
    And I support medical intervention in cases where the mother’s life is truly in danger, or the fetus has no chance of life. Horrible decisions that must be made. After all, even the uber parents aka the Duggars chose to deliver Josie to save Michelle. Had Josie died, would that have been a de facto abortion? Yes.
    All that said, the idea of “I got carried away” or “he turned out to be a jerk” or “I can’t afford a baby” or “I don’t want anyone to know” are just plain creepy.
    So a tiny baby dies to preserve your reputation, or so you don’t have to be bothered?
    Adoption is the option in those cases.

    Hi Linda : I want to say that I completely agree with you about the point at which a person (not just a mother) has a choice, to abstain from sex. I agree with you theoretically. However, more & more people are becoming sexually active in cultures where there is no acknowledged/understood/visible/conceptualised idea of abstinence. They literally don’t know that this option exists, being raised in cultures where everyone has sex, or tries to, & so it’s just done, like eating or breathing. I think that for those who grow up in a Christian home, or join a church where this is common currency this can be almost possible to imagine (I don’t know your background or context or where you’d fit into this)…in the same way that they can’t imagine a culture in which this is a choice. There are times I’m around very insular church people & I realise that they & some of the kids I work with are living on totally different planets & are utterly foreign to one another.
    One of the things I do when I speak to young people about sex & contraception is to bring this up as a legitimate option…as is taking a break from sexual activity once started. It’s really a very privileged position to be in.

  120. P.S. The ectopic pregnancy thing? I was once in a discussion where this was kind of dismissed as being so rare it didn’t really have a place in the discussion, so was a red herring. What she didn’t realise was that she was talking to an audience where many were very close to a gorgeous 23yr old, who’d grown up in our congregation,(a christian & married) who had almost died from a ruptured ectopic pregnancy two days before….It kind of undercut her credibility.

  121. thanks, Dee — you’re something of a “public figure” (i was going to say celebrity, but then I felt you were better than that) — so I go “oooooooh she mentioned me!” when you do.

  122. Greg Smith (Tiribulus) wrote:

    This will not be received well by some, but this entire discussion is a symptom of sin. While of course impossible in a fallen world, if everybody lived by God’s design we wouldn’t even have to be talking about this.

    In Tim Keller’s book “Generous Justice” book he points how how many times the words “justice” and “righteousness” are paired together in scripture. He defines “justice” as “giving people what they are due, whether punishment, protection, or care”, and “righteousness” as a way of living which if everyone did it, would render justice unnecessary. Note that BOTH things are commanded by God countless times in scripture and neither can be ignored. There are many who wish to focus on one to the exclusion of the other. It is the social conservative’s tendency to say “live better and this won’t happen”, but that falls short of God’s commands in scripture. If God thought “focus on righteousness and all will be taken care of” he would have never commanded us to do justice, yet he clearly calls us to justice over and over again.

    I think most Christians understand that righteous living would eliminate a large number of abortions; what is not immediately clear is what “justice” means in some cases. For example, if a 14 year old girl is raped and makes the decision to abort her baby, what does “giving her what she is due, whether punishment, protection, or care” mean? And what does it mean for her community’s involvement and how they provided for her? If these questions are not part of the discussion, we are not being obedient to the full council of scripture.

  123. Jeff S wrote:

    Greg Smith (Tiribulus) wrote:For example, if a 14 year old girl is raped and makes the decision to abort her baby, what does “giving her what she is due, whether punishment, protection, or care” mean? And what does it mean for her community’s involvement and how they provided for her?

    I think the idea of punishment is a really important one; so often I see people argue vehemently that abortion is murder and should be illegal, but then if asked what the legal penalty should be for a woman who had or seeks an abortion, they demure. I’m not sure you can have it both ways. If abortion is criminalized, then women who have abortions are criminals, and should face criminal penalties. And yet so many of us know women who’ve had abortions–women we love, women we don’t think deserve to be in prison or treated legally like murderers, even if we don’t agree with the choice they made. But you really can’t separate the two: wanting abortion to be illegal wouldn’t magically make abortion go away, but it would make women who have abortions criminals who receive legal punishment, and very harsh punishment if we feel it’s equivalent to murder.

  124. @ Aubrietta:
    Wow! That was really good. Those are my feelings exactly. Trina’s feelings on abortion: See Aubrietta.

    I know someone who has had maybe at least 4 abortions. This person kept two of her pregnancies, and so would now have 6 children. It is unfortunate that her parenting skills are extremely lacking. I dont feel guilty for saying that I am glad that she decided not to have the other children. The level of responsibility that others have needed to assume for her to parent her kids is heavy and overwhelming. This woman should never have other children.

    Life is not fair. There are people who want kids and can’t have them, and there are fertile myrtles who get pregnant when somebody just happens to look at them. God allows babies to be born to people who kill them after birth, and yet, women cant have them who want them terribly and would be the best mothers.

    I believe that our bodies were designed to produce a baby when sperm and egg meet. I am not afraid to say that I do not think that God is in the selective parenting process. I know people will throw Scripture at me, but I am looking at what is before me, in reality, in this world. I know children and adults who will never recover from what their parents have done to them. Therefore, I find it hard to believe that God is involved in selective parenting.

    But from Scripture, it seems that only God can kill babies. Some will say that he has that right, he is God. There are many passages telling the Israelites and whomever to go and kill all the men, women and children and babies. The curses he sent over Egypt; and many other examples in Scripture. I can’t necessarily see that there is a verbatim command that every time a sperm and egg meet, that it must result in the birth of a child.

    But I do think there is a value to humanity, and therefore, I believe that (and I will be hypocritical here) that late-term abortions are rather heinous. But admit that I have no idea when it is that a person receives their “spirit”. I dont think that is necessarily the qualifying factor either. If I were to get an abortion, if I ever decided, I believe the most loving way to do so would be as early as possible.

    There are far too many greys and greens, and shades of black, and off-whites to judge every woman’s situation. I know a couple with six children who cannot afford them who actually practice pregnancy prevention. Some would say that God wnated these kids to be here. BUt I wonder then, where is God? Because they are suffering, and they have to actually send a child away to live with a relative because they cannot afford to keep all of their children home. So does that mean its wrong to abort kids, but it’s right to be forced to have them, adn then forced to choose which child you need to give up and send to a family member? What about the child’s psyche? How does a child heal from feeling that mom/dad gave me up? HOw did mom and dad make that choice? Maybe it’s because they dont love me?

    As I said, too many realities and situations that we can never know or judge appropriately. It is why we should leave the judging to God. Only he knows, and only he can rightfully judge.

  125. elastigirl

    What are you smoking? Me? A public figure?? Oh good night! I am sitting in a kitchen with dirty dishes, a vaccuum cleaner balanced precariously on the counter, worms from the local bird store needing to be put in the refrigerator, three pug dogs needing to be fed, while trying to figure out how to warn my son about spring break in Panama City, FL. Well, in some respects I am public. Most of you know my foibles. But a figure? I need to lose about 10 pounds then there will be a figure to consider.

  126. BeakerJ

    I agree. Ectopic pregnanacies are not rare. I saw a fair share of them in my short time in nursing. They scare me to death!  Sepsis from an ectopic rupture is serious. Gosh, the rold is full of idiots.”The ectopic pregnancy thing? I was once in a discussion where this was kind of dismissed as being so rare it didn’t really have a place in the discussion, so was a red herring.” Someone needs to remove her from the circuit. Good night!

  127. Oh and what I find funny about the living righteous demand that will make a difference is this: my friend’s sister worked for an abortion clinic as a nurse and said that a majority of the women they saw were married Christian women. I was appalled becuase she knew that I was a believer and wanted to rub it in my face. But it is true in many instances. Keeping one’s legs crossed is not always an option for the married. Sexuality is complicated and complex to just blanketly tell people not to have sex. It is even worse that the church tells people not to have sex…ever…if they never marry. Sexuality is more complicated than that, and even a mystery such that we dont really have a right to tell people what to do with their bodies forever. It is no wonder why people get married JUST to have sex. I totally get that.

    So before we get all this imagery in our heads about the low income minorities, irresponsible teens, rape victims, etc… Realize that it is very possible that you are sitting in the pews next to married women who had abortions while they were married. How is that sitting with you right now?

  128. dee wrote:

    elastigirl
    What are you smoking? Me? A public figure?? Oh good night! I am sitting in a kitchen with dirty dishes, a vaccuum cleaner balanced precariously on the counter, worms from the local bird store needing to be put in the refrigerator, three pug dogs needing to be fed, while trying to figure out how to warn my son about spring break in Panama City, FL. Well, in some respects I am public. Most of you know my foibles. But a figure? I need to lose about 10 pounds then there will be a figure to consider.

    :-) I love “nobody specials.”

  129. Dee–

    you are! worms ‘n all. even the publickest of public figures live mundane lives behind the scenes.

  130. @ elastigirl: Yes, they do. (Which is one reason I’ve always loved Jodie Foster’s decisions regarding her privacy, and that of her family. being an actress and director is a JOB, not a free pass for everyone with a camera to invade your life and splash it all over the world.)

  131. @ dee: I must admit that I’m completely dumbfounded that anyone would think this crazy sh*t about ectopic pregnancies.

    I mean, the egg did not implant in the right place, and the woman is going to DIE if there’s not some kind of intervention on her behalf. There’s NO way that a full-term baby can result from an ectopic pregnancy.

    Also… having experienced peritonitis from ruptured cysts, man – how could anyone justify putting another person through the sheer physical pain involved in an ectopic pregnancy? (Not to mention the psychological aspects of it all…)

    Guys, please don’t take this wrong, but… if men could get pregnant, we would not be facing anything close to the tensions and arguments on sex, sexuality, pregnancy, birth control etc. that are happening here and now.

    And I am doubly sure that the Vatican would come down firmly on the side of birth control if this were the case. (Only half j/k.)

  132. Numo–

    Some women have menstrual cramps strong they do measure as contractions. And they deal with this monthly. Men have no idea what that must feel like. So these issues about birth control, etc… all regarding women’s bodies are bunk to me if you’re not a woman and don’t therefore, have a vagina or uterus. In addition, having a child is also very hard on some. I could go on and on but I won’t.

  133. numo–

    In addition, I’ve never heard anybody complain about NOT being born… : / But boy, the many I’ve met who wished they weren’t. Again, there’s no black and white. It’s all tough stuff. REAL tough stuff.

  134. @ Trina: I know the feeling all too well, T. Went through it for several decades before I opted for the only surgery that would put an end to it.

  135. @ Trina: See some of my comments above re. orphanages and “homes” for unwed mothers and various other things that existed not all that long ago (well into early adulthood, in my case).

  136. Also… I remember the 1st case in the city of New York where a child who was in foster care was legally returned to his birth parents.

    within two weeks he was dead. the dropped him out of a window in their high rise.

    things like that REALLY make me think twice about prohibiting access to abortion. so many kids are born to people who are in no way capable of caring for them, and who often subject them to tremendous violence.

    We all know stories about that; if not personally, then through the news media.

    I would LOVE to see the anti-abortion folks do something REAL for all those at-risk infants and children.

    who knows… if we really *did* do something for them, the abortion rate might just drop, too.

  137. @ Dee:

    Well, if you ever want to dig deeper into Vision Forum, I have an entire box of CDs from them that my family inherited from our homeschool group and I’ve been looking for something to do with them…if you’d be up for a reader-submitted Great Critique of Patriarchy. ; )

  138. Numo wrote:

    I would LOVE to see the anti-abortion folks do something REAL for all those at-risk infants and children. who knows… if we really *did* do something for them, the abortion rate might just drop, too.

    That would require more funding. They want to CUT funding right and left. They’re angry and resentful NOW that their tax dollars fund social welfare programs. They’re certainly not going to voluntarily sign up for MORE programs to help these folks. They just don’t want women who didn’t keep their legs crossed to abort their babies. Do they *really* care what happens to them afterwards?

  139. numo wrote:

    Also… having experienced peritonitis from ruptured cysts, man – how could anyone justify putting another person through the sheer physical pain involved in an ectopic pregnancy? (Not to mention the psychological aspects of it all…)

    1) I have experienced peritonitis from perforated diverticulitis, November 2006. No fun.

    2) “How could anyone justify…?” In almost anything, the most rigid and theoretically/theologically-perfect “God Saith what you should do” ALWAYS comes from those who have never experienced your situation. (Remember Job’s counselors?) And since XY-chromosome men cannot ever have an ectopic pregnancy, patrios are very sure of God’s Will on the subject.

  140. Lynn wrote:

    Dee may have more information but more and more clinical trials are headed to India and similar countries as the court system here makes a bad outcome too expensive, no matter how many waivers you have people sign.

    And the Third World gets bent over the barrel and a**-raped again while First World lawyers get richer and richer.

  141. Jeff S wrote:
    dee wrote:

    I have been reading that there are some numbskulls out there who think that an ectopic pregnancy should be allowed to progress, even if it risks the life of the mother. This sort of thinking makes me want to throw my hands up in the air and say “Lord, come quickly. It’s getting nuts down here.”

    I believe this is called “BEAM ME UP, JESUS! THERE’S NO INTELLIGENT LIFE HERE!”

  142. Lori wrote:

    I think the idea of punishment is a really important one; so often I see people argue vehemently that abortion is murder and should be illegal, but then if asked what the legal penalty should be for a woman who had or seeks an abortion, they demure. I’m not sure you can have it both ways.

    I used to get piled on from both sides when I proposed to split the difference and class it as manslaughter. Not as serious as murder, but at least acknowledging a homicide (deliberate induced death of something genetically/biologically human) has taken place.

  143. Lori wrote:

    I think the idea of punishment is a really important one; so often I see people argue vehemently that abortion is murder and should be illegal, but then if asked what the legal penalty should be for a woman who had or seeks an abortion, they demure.

    I think some of that is that Fundagelicals and Calvinistas and Christianese Culture Warriors tend to be “punishment-happy”. Who are some of the biggest rah-rah cheerleaders for the death penalty?

    Conversation I keep having with my writing partner (a burned-out preacher-man):
    Q: “Did we go crazy, or did everybody else?”
    A: “There will come a time when men will go mad. And they will lay hands on the sane among them, saying ‘You are not like Us! You must be Mad!’” — one of the Desert Fathers

  144. Thank you, Dee! I haven’t been able to read all of the thread, but there are some great comments here. If the Pill or IUD do have the potential to be abortifacient, then there is a possibility that I might have caused an abortion, in my own body, so I cannot and would not ever be in a position to judge, although I am pro-life. I can say from experience as a volunteer for years in pregnancy resource centers at the local level, that NO ONE at the centers I have been involved with would ever be accusatory or judgmental, regardless of a woman’s decision. The focus is to supply valid, current information, loving, ongoing support on multiple levels, i.e., parenting and budgeting classes, baby supplies, maternity and children’s clothing, post abortion support for those who want it, maternity housing and financial networking helps, and of course, to share the gospel.

    I have noticed that as legal, elective abortion has become mainstream in our culture, the country as a whole seems to be waking up to the reality of the situation. Many less young people, percentage wise, are in favor of abortion compared to the past generation. Kind of like how the Church historically, has grown in numbers the most, in times of intense persecution.

  145. I guess I am confused about a lot of things and what I am about to say will label me as a mean right winger, judgemental, etc. But when anger about funding cuts for whatever programs we have tried for decades to erase the problem of human sin do people understand what is going on out there? Food stamps recipients are up 40% in my city. There is a waiting list of 6000 people on subsidized housing list for just my county alone. Just how long can this can go on? More and more people who used to fund these things through local, city, state payroll taxes are out of work and now need help.

    And it is wrong to expect both men and women to practice more chastity? In my city one can go to PP and get all the free birth control they want. There are clinics all over the place for this. It is not a question of lack of resource.

  146. BY the wy, we have the problem in my state of CPS workers knowingly leaving abused children in their homes. As some of you saw, one went to prison. I watched a friend of mine in the state senate grill CPS over it’s practices and I was so proud of her for telling them, this is NOT a money problem. Don’t tell me you send a child back to an abusive home because you have no money. And she was right because in 3 cases just that day, there were grandparents begging for the kids but were refused. These grandparents had been trying to get the system to listen to them for years to no avail.

    The answer is rarely more bureaucrates deciding peoples fates

  147. I agree, anon 1. Should have mentioned that these local centers strongly advise abstinence. It confuses me too, how jobs are outsourcing (what jobs are left) partly because of the myriad of taxes, requirements, etc., by the governments. How long can it last? If the only jobs left are government related, they still rely on wage earners’ money, because the very rich and very poor have loopholes a’ plenty. I feel sorry for the average, hard working, honest joe and his small business employer, but I’m especially moved by the men and women who are the working poor, because they refuse to take a handout they didn’t earn. And to think, our country is still much better off than most. Come quickly, LORD.

  148. Daisy wrote:

    I believe people should refrain from sex until marriage (as I have done), so it shouldn’t even be an issue, really.

    I’m sorry, do you truly believe that no married woman has a need for contraception? Do you believe that there is no possibility for a married woman to have an unwanted pregnancy? If you do, you are truly naive.

  149. Dee,
    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story of redemption. God seems to be reminding me lately that he redeems – Les Miserables, sermons from different unrelated places, and stories like yours.

    I think we’re close to the same age. When I was in high school youth group, one of the ruling elders of the mainline Presbyterian church wanted to present a talk on abortion. The man who sat down on a chair in the middle of the psychedelic black-lighted youth group Sunday school room, made a life-long impression on me, and I hope on all the others who sat cross-legged on the floor around him.

    I knew this man – his daughter was my best friend. He was a well-loved OB-GYN in our Carolina mill town, and was as kind and gentle a man as I have ever known, loving his wife through difficult illnesses, being mom and dad to 4 kids when she was hospitalized. I remember hearing him tell of studying for med school exams while walking a colicky baby in the wee hours of the morning.

    Dr. S started talking about fetal development and abortion. His voice broke as he said, “I have been very fortunate in my professional life that I have only had to participate in 3 abortions. Each time, they were ectopic pregnancies, and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that the mother would not survive without this procedure, and that the baby would not live.” Tears rolled down his cheeks as he continued, “And though I knew there was no other way, I will never forget holding a tiny, completely formed human being in my hands. I will never get over it.”

    From that day on, before I even knew there was a term for it, I was pro –life. But even so, we were very ignorant. In my second pregnancy, I was exposed to rubella. We were overseas, and it was a few days before I could contact my mother to check to see if I had already had it. I remember the doctor saying, “If you find out that you didn’t have it, we have some time to make a decision.” I had no idea what kind of decision he was talking about, but now I realize he was talking the D&C thing.

    It’s been a while since I’ve been politically involved in the issue – but 25 years ago, it seemed to be understood in the evangelical Christian pro-life arena that abortion for the true health of the mother, such as with ectopic pregnancy, was not considered abortion, but allowable self-defense. The issue of rape was a little more difficult. I felt very sensitive to the agony of such a situation, but the idea that a child would pay with his life for the sins of his father was hard for me to get around. Still, I remember evangelical preachers who were pro-life making allowances for bona-fide mother’s health issues, rape and incest.

    So, some of the comments above have surprised me — I’m getting the impression that people believe they are not pro-life unless they are against abortion in every single instance. I am immovably pro-life, but I believe that in the instance of a bonafide situation where the mother would die, or both mother and child would die if the child were to continue to develop, this is not murder, but self-defense.

    Thank you.

  150. Anon 1,

    I appreciate and understand what you’re saying. No doubt there are social workers in the system who are doing a poor job supervising and monitoring the children on their caseload. Having worked in Permanency Planning (Foster Care) at DSS and various other social service agencies, I can say that things aren’t always so simple. When funding cuts force a social worker to carry a caseload of 50 or more foster children, it’s absolutely impossible to keep up with your responsibilities. The work will almost literally suck the life out of you.

    I’ve read of social workers in urban areas whose caseloads (sometimes in the hundreds) are so unmanageable that they’ve signed legal documents in an effort to absolve themselves legally should anything happen to the children in their care. I’m not saying it’s right. I’m saying that, unless you’re there and you’ve worked those cases and understand how overwhelming it is to do the work for that many kids, it’s difficult to understand.

    Handing children over to willing family members isn’t simple either, and frankly, many of the family members who “beg” for the kids aren’t determined to be eligible for various reasons. As much as we’d LOVE to give them to grandparents and other folks begging for them, many are no better than what the kids came out of.

  151. Nickname, Dogmatism on this issue is so confusing. Here is another example of “what would you do”? A former SBC pastor and his wife who are very old friends of my mom’s had a son who was born with some sort of brain stem problem. he is a total vegetable and was from day one. He has lived in a care home for 50 years. They could not even find a place locally so he is about 2 hours away. Once when discussing this with her, she told me had she been able to know and abort 50 years ago, she would have. At the time I remember being so shocked to here HER say such a thing.

  152. As for asking people to practice more chastity, no, I don’t think it’s wrong. We are raising our children in a Christian home and are teaching them to wait for marriage (without the purity stuff!). However, we live in a fallen world; we’re going to be dealing with sin (in the lives of Christians and non-Christians)injustice, inequality, the poor, the uneducated, unfairness, tragedy, hurt, and pain until Jesus comes back.

    It’s easy for folks with an education, a good job, a secure place in the middle or upper middle socioeconomic class, and family resources and support to judge those who don’t have those things. I’m not at all saying you do, but believe me, I know many – too many – Christians who do.

    Having 40% more in your locale on the Food and Nutrition rolls isn’t because programs have tried “to erase the problem of human sin”. It’s because human sin is in full swing. There are fewer and fewer jobs that pay a living wage; fewer and fewer families can make ends meet and put food in their mouths and their children’s mouths with their income.

    In Sunday’s newspaper, I read an article that quoted economists as saying that, in 20 years, we could face 50% unemployment due to overseas contracts and technology replacing workers. Pure profit for corporations. Today, I read (again) that low-wage jobs are becoming the norm and the middle class continues to disappear. All the while, corporations have never been more profitable. They are making money hand over fist. In our area, *another* plant announced its closing today laying off over 100 workers.

    I agree that it’s going to be hard to continue to meet the vast needs when the middle class continues to disappear and so many are unemployed or working low-wage jobs. But there are resources and money out there.

  153. anon 1, I’m speaking personally here, not for local pregnancy centers, but I can remember as a child, feeling uncomfortable around people with Down’s Syndrome, for example. Now, I see the person, not the condition. Some of the sweetest spirits I’ve ever known have been in people with Down’s. And some of the most logical, and spunky, some vastly intelligent and gifted people have severe disabilities. I know you cited an extreme case, and I don’t want to judge this mother, Lord knows it has been very difficult, very painful, very expensive, but I now believe that the son is here for God’s great purposes, mainly to grow those who care for him, to bless those who care for him, and that he himself will have special blessing in heaven.

  154. ar

    Welcome to TWW. You have jumped in on a difficult issue. Tomorrow I will discuss contraception and my surprise at the growing verbosity of those opposed to contraception in all circumstances. In order to be totally open, I have had a tubal ligation and used birth control.

  155. anon1

    “we have the problem in my state of CPS workers knowingly leaving abused children in their homes.” There have recently been some trials of social workers who have shirked their responsibility in such circumstances.

  156. RB

    I hope to give you some insight into this issue tomorrow on this Pill stuff causing abortions. You will slepp easier, I think! This stuff is being pushed by an extreme group of people.

  157. @ dee: btw (a lsight change of subject), Jerry Sandusky and his attorneys will be in court near here on Thursday to appeal his sentence.

    Penn State has also been aggressive in quashing former coach Mike mcQueary’s lawsuit (he’s the one who saw and heard Sandusky with one of the victims in the locker room)… he lost his job because he was/is a whistleblower.

  158. @ Nickname: That is a very moving story, Nickname.

    Yet… there is no possible way that fetus could have survived. What a terrible double bind.

    I have heard of the same kind of sorrow in veterinary medicine, when fetuses are aborted to save the life of the mother. I don’t think anyone can be immune from feeling sorrow in such a situation, even though a life has been saved.

  159. Thanks, Dee. I have forgiven myself if that was ever the case, because I know God has forgiven me! Loved the C.S. Lewis quote, btw. And as he also said, “God is God and we are not”. :-) I also know that most in medicine now believe there is little to no abortifacient potential with the Pill, but would appreciate seeing the data.

  160. I also agree with abortion performed for ectopic pregnancy, or for some other reason where the mother’s life is endangered.

  161. “But there are resources and money out there”

    I agree, so whatis the problem? There are a lot of very rich liberals, you know. :o)

  162. numo wrote:

    former coach Mike mcQueary’s lawsuit (he’s the one who saw and heard Sandusky with one of the victims in the locker room)… he lost his job because he was/is a whistleblower.

    McQueary doesn’t have totally clean hands. After he reported the incident he did nothing else and continued to work with the man and kept his job at Penn State.

  163. A gentle warning.

    This discussion is not soak the rich or cut taxes to $0 and life will be just fine.

  164. My late 20s son does not think it is ethical to have sex without a condom due to the possibility of sexually transmitted disease, let alone pregnancy. Of course, pill or IUD do not prevent disease transmmission. He does not do the instant into bed thing either, but has had several long term relationships that he hoped would result in a life-long commitment, and has had his heart broken.

  165. Greg Smith (Tiribulus) wrote:

    I met a women back in the 80′s who was an assistant for an abortion doctor for a while in her late 20′s without thinking anything about it. It was a job her training qualified her for. Until they did something wrong one time and the child was born alive and started to squirm and cry. She was completely aghast and started trying to save her, but the doctor jerked her back and told her “let that fetus die”.

    Greg, I want you to know that I am a liberal and have rejected large swathes of Augustinian/Western theology. But even so, whenever I hear of horrific incidents like this, my gorge rises, my eyes mist over, and I start to cry.

    It doesn’t have to be this way. Some insist that Christian sexual mores are the only answer, yet others do not hold to those mores. If abstinence and purity work for a segment of the population, so be it. If for other segments who choose to be sexually active outside of marriage and use various contraceptive methods, let that be okay for them too. Either way, we as humans have the power to halt horrors like this in real and pragmatic ways.

  166. @ Lynn: I . but Graham Spanier – though no longer president of PSU – still has tenure, and is still on the faculty.

    Why should McQueary have been busted for actually working with the grand jury investigation *and* publicly stating that he was the graduate student who testified to the grand jury (investigation still not ended), and end up without a job?

    There’s a lot of hypocrisy in “Happy Valley,” imo.

  167. numo wrote:

    There’s a lot of hypocrisy in “Happy Valley,” imo.

    Totally. Was at a conference there last May. Lots of sad staff who were frustrated that they could not fix/make go away the issues.

  168. @ Lynn: I think a *lot* of folks (not just faculty and staff) wish they/we could fix things.

    otoh, there are the rabid Paternoites… and the governor’s pathetic (imo) attempt at trying to get the NCAA to ease up on the PSU football program.

    It saddens me to see the overall reputation of Penn State – which is a very good school – tarnished by both the excessive emphasis on football *and the ways in which so many excused and enabled both Sandusksy and others within the system who were taking advantage of the power and reputation afforded by association with the football program. (I have no love lost for Graham Spanier, who always struck me as a man in love with his own image, and one who relentlessly used PSU’s TV and radio stations to drum up PR for himself. He was quite vacuous and I’m really not surprised that he now has a job with the Feds – one that requires a high-level security clearance. All image, no substance, but knows how to make himself look good…)

  169. anon 1 wrote:

    BY the wy, we have the problem in my state of CPS workers knowingly leaving abused children in their homes.

    While certainly CPS can and does make mistakes, I also think we need to recognize that they are operating under the valid, research-supported idea that it is best in nearly all cases for a child to remain with their biological parents if it all possible. We live in a complicated, fallen world. It’s nice to think you could take a child out of a less-than-ideal home situation, put them with a great foster family, and have a happy ending, but that’s not usually how it works. Most children fare better in the long term staying with their birth parents than they do being removed from the home, even if their birth parents have serious problems and they are taken away to a good home.

    Sometimes what we think should be the case just isn’t. It’s like when people complain about schools not holding children back as much. The problem is, study after study has shown that grade retention leads to worse, not better, outcomes, even if that flies in the face of common sense. You take two kids performing equally poorly, hold one back and pass the other on even though they haven’t mastered the material, and in the long term, the child who was passed on without mastering the material will end up doing better and have a significantly lower chance of dropping out.

    Our world is broken and sometimes there are no ideal solutions. When a child is in a bad home situation, there is no quick or easy fix. As counterintuitive as it might seem to us, keeping a birth family intact is generally best–even if there are serious problems like drug addiction or abuse that need to be dealt with–for the child in the long term; pulling a child out of a dysfunctional birth family into a wonderful foster family isn’t necessarily or even usually going to be best for that child. There are obviously exceptions (like severe abuse and parents who are completely unable to care for their children), but that’s the rule, as research findings have borne out. So CPS is operating with that in mind, and that’s the side they are going to err on.

  170. I am very familiar with a case where CPS took the children from the mother, who was the victim of abuse and had minimal exposure to illegal meds (supplied by her about to be ex after stealing her prescribed meds) and put them in the home of an abusive grandparent who had a record for dealing drugs, with most of the evidence being statements by the abusive grandparent!

  171. A Friend

    I will pray for the heart of your son. The 20s are such an emotional roller coaster as many begin to think about getting married. My house is full of those in that age range and I empathize!

  172. “The Jewel Of Wartburg”

    “Real dialogue only begins when we love and respect people with different views.” -PWB

    HowDee,

    hmmm…

    Real dialogue begins with love and respect, with the understanding that kind folk  are entitled to express their personal views in a civilized manner without reprisal. Wartburg Watch prides itself in understanding this. So do many of it’s readers.

    Many a consummate professional in the Internet community is amazed!

    So am i.

    (grin)

    Brovo! Wartburg!

    Sopy!, I am…

    (hum, hum,hum…”Doe, a deer, a female deer, Ray, a drop of golden sun Me, a name I call myself, Fa, a long, long way to run Sew, a needle pulling thread, La, a note to follow Sew. Tea, a drink with jam and bread. That will bring us back to Do (oh-oh-oh).” 

    ..the good work..YaHoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

    If any one be in Christ, they are a new creation, the old is passing away, Behold! the new is coming on fast and glorious! Watch for it!

    ;~)

  173. Eagle

    Sometimes i weary of all these “me too” generic sermons and posts. Everyone claims to be against child sex abuse but cover it up when it happens in their backyard. I am furious that SGM would sermonize on abortions, acting as it they are on the right side of God ,when they *allegedly*allowed garbage to occur to children in their back yard. It is all talk.

  174. John

    Please differentiate between Calvinists and Calvinistas as we have done on this blog. TWW does not reject Reformed theology even if Deb and I are not Reformed. We reject Calvinistas. We have defined this in our FAQ section. As you will see today, I plan to agree with a major Calvinista ministry on a particular matter . Yes, I know, it is sleeting in hell.

  175. Anon by Choice

    Love the name, BTW! I had to have a child who was being abused, no question, removed from a home. He was sent to a foster care home where he died after falling down the stairs. The family he went to was decent so this was not due to abuse. It took me a long time to get over that one.

  176. Lori wrote:

    I also think we need to recognize that they are operating under the valid, research-supported idea that it is best in nearly all cases for a child to remain with their biological parents if it all possible.

    Are you saying the research supports that a child being abused is better off remaining in an abusive situation? What if there are two parents and only one is abusive- is it better for the child to live with both or the one, non-abusive parent?

  177. JeffS

    In my time as a nurse who followed up in these situations, I found my self wishing that I was Solomon and could find a magic formula for the best solution. The frank physical/sexual abuse was clear cut for me. Get the kid out of there.

    The difficulty came with emotional abuse combined with parents who had a substance abuse problems or mental health issues. Look at all the celebrities in the new who fit this paradigm. I finally had to stop doing this sort of followup after 3 years. It was too painful and not always clearcut. 

  178. Jeff S wrote:

    Are you saying the research supports that a child being abused is better off remaining in an abusive situation? What if there are two parents and only one is abusive- is it better for the child to live with both or the one, non-abusive parent?

    I’m saying that the results for kids in foster care are pretty dire, no matter what their home situation was like. Obviously if we’re talking about two birth parents, the situation is different. But, yes, if you look at research on outcomes, children tend to fare better in the long-term and be better-adjusted adults when they stay with their birth parents–even if there is addiction or abuse in the home–than if they are removed to foster care.

    Obviously if a child is in physical danger, that’s not the case. But when we’re talking about emotional abuse, neglect, addicted parents, or abuse that *just* crosses the line–which, in most cases, is what you are dealing with, not horrifically extreme abuse–the child is probably going to fare better in the long-term if their family stays intact. That’s not to say things will be perfect or great for the child, but just that the sad reality is that there isn’t any ideal outcome.

    I know people who’ve fostered the children of drug-addicted parents. And as painful as it is for them to have to return the children to the parents, and as much as common sense might have us think that the children are of course better off with attentive, loving, non-addicted foster parents, that’s just not how it generally works. The children will probably do better in the long-term if they are reunited with their parents. Honestly, they probably won’t end up doing all that great either way, in most cases (certainly, of course, there are exceptions, people who do wonderfully after being raised in horrific circumstances). A child being in a healthy, non-abusive, non-addicted family from birth is best. But, in many situations the best isn’t an option, and social workers are left trying to figure out how to proceed. Current research indicates that keeping a family intact whenever possible is going to lead to better results than breaking up families.

  179. Dee, it’s just a little trigger for me- because using my child to keep me in my marriage was a tool for my church. “Don’t be selfish- think about your son”.

    I WAS thinking about my son, and I know it is so hard on him. Whenever she has visitation he gets pretty anxious- it’s easier now that she moved to another state and he sees her less frequently. But the handoffs always break my heart. He doesn’t understand- he just wants his mommy and daddy together.

    She was never abusive toward him, though she did spend a lot of time avoiding him. But I worried as he grew older and understood more of what he was seeing- what view of marriage did I want him to see? What kind of behavior did I want him to view as acceptable in his own home? And what about when he disappointed her and he could understand the significance of suicide threats and throwing things when she didn’t get her way? I just cannot imagine that is a healthy environment in which to grow up.

    When he spent Christmas with her out of state I was worried, and I worry when she comes to visit. I worry on one hand that I should be pushing more time for them together (I don’t call and hound her to come visit), and on the other hand I feel like I want to keep him from her altogether (but I hear about how important it is for children to be with their biological parents).

    This stuff gets personal really quickly and it’s easy to drive yourself nuts trying to do the best thing for your child. In the end I’ve made my choices and now I just have to trust God with the outcomes, but a lot of my choices were made with the goal of doing the best things to protect my little boy; it would hurt so much to know that I made things worse.

  180. Jeff S wrote:

    This stuff gets personal really quickly and it’s easy to drive yourself nuts trying to do the best thing for your child. In the end I’ve made my choices and now I just have to trust God with the outcomes, but a lot of my choices were made with the goal of doing the best things to protect my little boy; it would hurt so much to know that I made things worse.

    I tend to think that, as your son grows older, he will understand the motive of your heart regardless of any mistakes you might make. What you just described sounds like my family. My parents didn’t divorce until I was in my 20s, but my mom also threw things and threatened suicide. She was also verbally and emotionally abusive. One of my siblings has cut her off completely for her own sanity. The other sibling and I do our best to be friendly to her. But all of us have a very close relationship with our father. We turn to him for advice. We will defend him like a pack of pit bulls. He regrets some of the decisions he made, but we never questioned his love. My heart goes out to you. I pray that you and your son will grow as close as my siblings and I are to our father. I wish life was more fair. But, I think love is more powerful than any mistakes.

  181. Eagle, I don’t have a love affair with a fetus.

    I love my son (adopted). Period. At any age.

  182. Eagle

    The Ferengi were a race of people on Star Trek whose entire society was based on business. Here are the Ferengi Rules of Acquistion. 

  183. Is it just me, or, after reading that list, does it seem like the world is full of Ferengi? This one seems often too true: “285. No good deed ever goes unpunished.” My heart tells me there are good people out there. I think I’ve just been associating with the wrong ones for too long.

  184. @ Aubrietta:
        “I think it is unfortunate that women have to choose abortion because they have have no other options. Because long-term support is not available, and they see past the baby into the life they would have with a child, and do not see it as a doable option for them. The “adoption as a loving option” thing really isn’t for many women, and there is lots of evidence that adoption causes much longer-lasting psychological harm on the birth mother than abortion, or even the death of a child does.” 
    There’s just a little bit of evidence that the death of a child just might cause a little bit harm to that child, as well. :( If abortion is preferable even to adoption, why is it “unfortunate”?

  185. numo wrote:

    Also… I remember the 1st case in the city of New York where a child who was in foster care was legally returned to his birth parents.
    within two weeks he was dead. the dropped him out of a window in their high rise.
    things like that REALLY make me think twice about prohibiting access to abortion. so many kids are born to people who are in no way capable of caring for them, and who often subject them to tremendous violence.
    We all know stories about that; if not personally, then through the news media.
    I would LOVE to see the anti-abortion folks do something REAL for all those at-risk infants and children.
    who knows… if we really *did* do something for them, the abortion rate might just drop, too.

    I’d also love to see both anti- and pro-abortion folks do more for at-risk children, but I’m troubled by the implications of what you said earlier. In this tragic example, the parents apparently “wanted” the child– both when NOT choosing a “safe/legal” originally and again just 2 weeks before choosing NOT to “want” hm. So SOMEONE ELSE would have needed to have made the abortion “choice” FOR the parents ahead of time, right? Someone might have decided MY parents weren’t capable of caring for me, and that I’d have been better off dead than at risk… How would I like that now? :/

  186. The reaction I had to Smith’s anecdote was visceral. I am endowed with it by my creator. It exists independently of the Christian Bible, Jewish Talmud, Muslim Qu’ran, or any other holy book. It is common to all men, from affluent intellectuals in 21st century America to the meanest tribesmen in the last primeval jungles.

    I am no longer a Christian by all of the itemized classical and doctrinal measures of what constitutes Christianity. Let’s just say that I’m a present day deist who believes in the supernatural miracles & divinity of Jesus.

  187. da Son of Man is there at the right hand of God, Muff !

    …help is on the way?

    sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer…Lord! have mercy, sweet hour of prayer!

    Sopy

  188. @ Dave A A: I think maybe you are assuming that I meant that the parents should have chosen to abort… but that’s not really the case.

    I was speculating, more than anything. It’s heartbreaking that so many people who are incapable of caring for children properly (let alone loving them) have them anyway.

    You know, like all the tiny victims of shaken-baby syndrome…

  189. Muff,

    I totally cringe at the “evangelical” label anymore. I don’t know what I am. A Jesusist? A Trinitarian? Perhaps the last thing we need is a new label as there are no new labels that quite get it. (wink)

    The reaction we have to such things as what Smith related is part of image bearing if we acknowledge it, I suppose.

  190. I will spare you all my opinion, since I agree with most of you about what constitutes sensitive and moral behavior. But, I have to caution you to define your terms, because I’m sure there are going to be flamers, and “moral outrage” to spare on this subject. I presume everybody loves life, and loves babies, and most people don’t go for an abortion because they are fun. But it bothers me that we, I mean society, are trying to legislate morality here. The minute you make a rule, there will be an exception. The larger issue is teaching people how to be moral, not what rules they have to follow. We have to do a better job of education, both men and women, about sex and its consequences. By the time a woman needs an abortion, it’s too late. And suppose a person is not moral or is not a Christian, do I impose my morality on someone else because of my opinion? No matter how nice and compassionate our rules, we become the Christian Taliban. We fail as a society to make life important, and it doesn’t matter abut my opinion until we get that straight. Therefore, the only thing we can legislate is the safety of these things once a woman’s choice is made. ( I’m putting on my armor now!)

  191. Be careful about shaken baby syndrome. Apparently the science is weak, and several recent cases have been tossed due to failure to catch other evidence of a different medical problem. To accuse a parent or sibling is devastating even if later exonerated.

  192. Anon 1, Muff:

    Some early followers of Jesus were called “Followers of the Way” as in the Way of Jesus. I think being called a “Follower of Jesus” would put one in very good company.

  193. VelvetVoice wrote:

    And suppose a person is not moral or is not a Christian, do I impose my morality on someone else because of my opinion?

    I actually agree with the overall tone of your post, because I think legislation is not the way into people’s hearts.

    However, we DO impose morality on someone else when we say things like murder or rape are wrong and require legal punishment. The issue with abortion is that there are fewer numbers who regard it as immoral or a violation of a person’s rights.

    The million dollar question is why we (as a society) don’t regard abortion as tantamount to murder. Some would say we don’t because of sin, others would say it’s because it isn’t the same as murder.

    The central issue to all of this is: “Is a fetus a person with the same rights as a person who has been born?” Answer this, and everything else falls out naturally. If a fetus is not a person, then it would be monstrous to tell a woman what she can do with her own body. If a fetus IS a person with the same rights, then to kill him or her is monstrous without a really good reason.

    Everything else is just rhetoric. “Pro Choice” folks are not “Pro Abortion” or “Anti Life”, and “Pro Life” folks are not “Anti Choice” or those who “want to control women” (though there are obviously extreme wackjobs on both sides of this).

    All I constantly hear on this topic is rhetoric and a demonetization of the other side- and no one really even talks about the core question. Amazingly enough, while this is a “Christian” issue, the scripture really doesn’t overwhelmingly answer the question of the personhood of a fetus, though I think there are inferences that can be made.

    So yeah, when you have a real life situation where people lives are severely impacted by the choice of whether or not to have an abortion and all you have is the rhetoric to guide you, people are going to pick the pragmatic answer. If there’s going to be change, it has to happen at a deeper level than rhetoric.

  194. @ Dave A A:
    I guess the difference between your point of view and mine, and what I said further on in my comment is that I don’t actually think a fetus is a soul and as such, I don’t think an abortion is “the death of a child”. To borrow the slogan “it’s a maybe, not a baby”.

    Considering that in Levitical Law God did not consider the death of a fetus a murder, but a property crime requiring a fine, not the death penalty, and under certain circumstances had the priests in the tabernacle administer a “bitter drink” to cause a miscarriage, I feel like the Biblical justification for “abortion as murder” just isn’t there.

    This brings another thought to mind. The majority of anti-abortion sentiment, lobbying and protests are faith-based. Most of us commenting here, I assume, live in countries where freedom of religion is a foundational value. And yet, we Christians are trying to legally impose our moral code onto the entire nation – including people for whom their religion, or lack of religion does not hold the same view of the abortion as we do.

    I am pro-choice. I do pro-choice activist work. I assist pro-choice organizations in their lobbying work, I counter-protest anti-abortion rallies, I bring my young sons with me to all of this. am open about my work, my friends know where I stand. Three years ago, a friend of mine, a Catholic in seminary on his way to becoming a priest called me because he had a friend who was pregnant and considering an abortion. He wanted me to talk her because I was a doula. I was reminded him that I would support her choice for an abortion if that is what she wanted. He still wanted me to talk to her. So I did.

    She was unemployed, and had been illegally served eviction papers to her place because she was pregnant, she had no support from family or the father. She desperately wanted to continue the pregnancy but was considering an abortion because she had no other options. This scenario is tragically frequent. I opened my home to her to live with us as long as she needed and for whatever amount of money she could afford, I helped her find a midwife and the things she needed for a baby, after 8 months, we helped her move when she was able to afford her own place. I still talk with her every day, and do everything I can to support her, both practically and financially – single mother-hood is difficult. I am not a hero. I am a Christian and I am pro-choice. In supporting her choice to keep her pregnancy, I saw it as a life-long commitment. I’m not going to duck out after the fetus was “saved”. This is the piece that is missing in basically every single anti-abortion organization I have ever encountered. They “save” the fetus. Then they move on, leaving the mother without support. In my mind, this is a horrific sin. That is not pro-life, that is pro-fetus. If you are going to claim to be pro-life, you need to be pro-life-long – supporting life by improving health care access, employment, housing and all the other things necessary for the mother to create a home and a life for a child to thrive and grow into a healthy adult.

    Sorry, that’s a ramble. A bunch of thoughts that came into my head before I had a chance to drink my coffee.

  195. Thanks Jeff for addressing my issue. I have seen your posts on other websites, so I know your situation and sympathize with you. But amongst men, you are an exception.

    There was a post on FB recently, a rapist can pursue custody of the baby of his victim in 31 states. Surely, the law needs to clarify these things so a woman isn’t victimized for her entire life.

  196. Aubrietta wrote:

    hey “save” the fetus. Then they move on, leaving the mother without support. In my mind, this is a horrific sin. That is not pro-life, that is pro-fetus. If you are going to claim to be pro-life, you need to be pro-life-long – supporting life by improving health care access, employment, housing and all the other things necessary for the mother to create a home and a life for a child to thrive and grow into a healthy adult.

    I would just like to say, I agree on this point very strongly. And this what was I was trying to say earlier with the woman I know who had an abortion because she didn’t feel like she had any options. She had her future husband telling her she had to, her family telling her she had to, and no idea how should would survive with the child if she didn’t.

    When I think about her situation, I think about how much different it would have been if the church had been there to promise her support and help- to give her a different option. She was a messed up teenager, but eventually she got “unmessed” up many years later (after a divorce and two children). That’s wonderful for her- but what about the child that never was born? Do we lay the blame for that at her feet? She was vulnerable and trapped, and everyone she trusted said abortion was the only option.

    I truly wish she hadn’t had the abortion. I would have known and been very close to the child if he had been born- but he wasn’t and so I never got a chance to meet him. (Apologies for the male gender- just trying to avoid an awkward sentence).

  197. VelvetVoice wrote:

    There was a post on FB recently, a rapist can pursue custody of the baby of his victim in 31 states. Surely, the law needs to clarify these things so a woman isn’t victimized for her entire life.

    That is really disturbing :(

  198. @ Aubrietta: Agreed with most (if not quite all) here, and your point re. the young immigrant woman is one of the things I was also trying to get at upthread.

    Unfortunately, what you did is an exception… I so wish it was the rule!

  199. numo wrote:

    Point taken, but people do, as you know, abuse infants…

    And there are some people who see abuse under every rock. Many of them imaginary rocks. My mother is one.

  200. I, like so many of you, have yearned for an open honest dialogue concerning this very complex and emotional issue. I have found the comments thus far to be encouraging, challenging, and thought provoking.

    I was very pro-life for many years. What started to sway me was when I begin having children. I had several children in not-very-many-years. They were all planned. I had my faith, a church family, a stable marriage, a loving and supportive extended family, a handful of good friends, a (small) home with a nice yard, a Bachelor’s degree (income potential) and although we were low-income, my husband’s income was steady. But even with all these things on my side, I have found parenting to be far, far, harder than I ever dreamt. It has been far more inconvenient, tiring, and emotional than expected. It has also given me a great deal of joy, love, delight, and satisfaction…the ole’ cliche ~ the toughest job you’ll ever love.

    But if I was having those feelings *with* everything ‘on my side’, how much more complicated would it have been lacking relationships, income, a yard for my children to play in, a husband who handled plumbing and vehicle issues, etc? It gradually dawned on me why some women consider abortion an option. It’s just too much.

    But how often in life does God not answer our prayers? How often do things not go our way? How often do we have trials and disappointments? No matter a person’s religious views (or lack thereof), most people have experienced a hard time, only to have it work out in a good way down the road. Time and again, I’ve witnessed unplanned pregnancies turn out to be blessings, whether months or years after the birth. We don’t know the future. Aren’t be playing God instead of trusting Him to redeem a situation? And then there are people who do not have God as a part of their lives…do we have a right to force them into thinking like us for their own good?

    One part of this issue that has not been mentioned is money. Abortion is big business. Just as banks don’t loan money ‘just to be nice’, it takes a very strong person to be objective when abortion money is at stake. Has anyone read “Blood Money”? Carol Everett was a director of several abortion clinics in Dallas. She claimed to be a Christian, attending church every Sunday, and even keeping a Bible in her desk in the clinic(s). There and elsewhere I’ve read about quotas being met, abortion goals, etc. Financial compensation for pregnancy hotlines and clinic employees if their client actually goes through with an abortion, trying to increase abortions by 5 a day, etc.I’m sure there are many employees and volunteers who believe they are truly helping women, but the money issue is squishy to me.

    I go back and forth observing my teenagers. They’ve worked very hard academically and are now enjoying the reward of college scholarships, etc. A baby could ‘ruin everything’…child support, loss of education and the young adult experience, visitation and custody issues…ugh. And yet the regret and hypocrisy if I was to have a hand in an abortion! Are we not called to be a voice for the voiceless? An advocate for those who can’t advocate themselves? Saving women from something they’ll possibly regret and mourn?

    These are some of my thoughts…back and forth, back and forth.

  201. @ Lynn: Yes. But maybe you could ask some public health nurses, docs, social workers et. al. about things that they see.

    I *know* that some people see abuse everywhere, just as some xtians see demons under every teacup and in every shadow. And I also know of more than a few instances where people have been falsely accused of physical abuse.

    But I feel as if your saying what you did minimizes the pain and heartbreak experienced by those who are (or have been) abused, and I find that extremely troubling. (See lawsuit against SGM!)

  202. @ numo: One thing that comes up with children of Asian, African American and Native American descent: many are born with bluish birthmarks (the so-called “Mongolian spot”) and there are documented cases of parents being accused of child abuse by people who were not aware of the existence of these kinds of birthmarks.

    I feel for the parents who went through so much grief over false accusations, and yet… it highlights the importance of both proper education *and* vigilance.

    I do not know if there are easy answers to all questions in this category, but I do know that real physical and psychological abuse is all too common and, far too often, there are no interventions, there is no help given.

  203. numo wrote:

    @ Dave A A: “I think maybe you are assuming…”
    I did intend more to ask whether my inference was correct, rather than assume that you implied that Big Brother should force *choices*. “It’s heartbreaking that so many people who are incapable of caring for children properly (let alone loving them) have them anyway.”

    Totally! Short of Big Brother arranging abortions, we just need to of a much better job of protecting the kids from such *parents*.
    My state made quite a few improvements in our child protection policies after a little boy went missing with great publicity, and thousands searched for him. It turned out that Mom and boyfriend had killed him and tossed him in a canal. It also turned out that Mom had previously beaten his baby brother, who’d been taken away. But there was a policy loophole since Dad had custody of the little boy and Mom still got visitation.

  204. Lynn wrote:

    And there are some people who see abuse under every rock. Many of them imaginary rocks. My mother is one.

    My experience is there are far more people who deny abuse than who “see it under every rock”.

    It seems every time abuse is brought up there are many voices to rise up and remind us that it is a rare occurrence and to be careful. This can make true victims of abuse begin to question themselves and their ability to perceive reality.

    The reality is, the church is not going to be guilty of creating a culture that cries “abuse!” falsely any time soon.

  205. numo wrote:

    @ Aubrietta: Agreed with most (if not quite all) here, and your point re. the young immigrant woman is one of the things I was also trying to get at upthread.
    Unfortunately, what you did is an exception… I so wish it was the rule!

    I too wish that what I did was not the exception. I often say that if the time, energy and money spent by the people lobbying for or against abortion was spent exclusively on bettering health care, housing, education and employment opportunities for the poor…there would be far fewer abortions.

    Fontyla wrote:

    One part of this issue that has not been mentioned is money. Abortion is big business. Just as banks don’t loan money ‘just to be nice’, it takes a very strong person to be objective when abortion money is at stake. Has anyone read “Blood Money”? Carol Everett was a director of several abortion clinics in Dallas. She claimed to be a Christian, attending church every Sunday, and even keeping a Bible in her desk in the clinic(s). There and elsewhere I’ve read about quotas being met, abortion goals, etc. Financial compensation for pregnancy hotlines and clinic employees if their client actually goes through with an abortion, trying to increase abortions by 5 a day, etc.I’m sure there are many employees and volunteers who believe they are truly helping women, but the money issue is squishy to me.

    I think the money thing is a much bigger issue in countries like the US where health-care is for profit. In Canada where I live, profit is not a factor, and as such the “blood money” issue isn’t there. I know more than one person in fact where the clinic has refused to perform an abortion because the woman was not sure enough. The $$ pressure just isn’t there.

  206. numo wrote:

    But I feel as if your saying what you did minimizes the pain and heartbreak experienced by those who are (or have been) abused, and I find that extremely troubling.

    Not at all. Just adding to the “this is not just obvious with easy decisions” conversation.

    My point about my mother was if she reported abuse to CPS then CPS would investigate. Rightly so. But I and my brothers would have to wonder. Is this a legitimate case where someone needs help and action must be taken immediately or is a family about to be wreaked due to a fantasy? Or with other people just a big misunderstanding. And there’s no easy answer.

    During our 9 month day care experiment we had with our son 23 years ago, there was one parent who got dragged into the CPS net due to her child having a ringworm infection. Someone at the day care reported it as a possible cigaret burn. The facts quickly came out. But to close out the CPS case the parent had to deal with a few months of interviews, surprise inspections, and interviews with neighbors and others due to the rules that of how a case had to be closed out. And now the parent has a rep.

    There’s no easy answer for any of this.

  207. Anon 1 wrote:

    I totally cringe at the “evangelical” label anymore. I don’t know what I am. A Jesusist? A Trinitarian? Perhaps the last thing we need is a new label as there are no new labels that quite get it. (wink)

    Take it from someone with 20 years in-country in Furry Fandom: There is no way to distance yourself from loud crazies who use your label and proclaim they are one of you. If you change your name/label, there is nothing to prevent the crazies from hijacking that label and using it, too. And the next one after that. And the next. Until you’ve built up a linked list of hijacked euphemisms and labels worthy of a George Carlin monologue.

  208. Jeff S wrote:

    It seems every time abuse is brought up there are many voices to rise up and remind us that it is a rare occurrence and to be careful.

    I don’t believe that most cases of abuse are fake. But I know from personal experience that there are some who see it when it is not real. Which just makes it harder to deal with the real cases.

  209. Lynn wrote:

    During our 9 month day care experiment we had with our son 23 years ago, there was one parent who got dragged into the CPS net due to her child having a ringworm infection. Someone at the day care reported it as a possible cigaret burn. The facts quickly came out. But to close out the CPS case the parent had to deal with a few months of interviews, surprise inspections, and interviews with neighbors and others due to the rules that of how a case had to be closed out. And now the parent has a rep.

    This sounds like sweet music to any Kyle’s Mom or busybody with an axe to grind against their neighbor or ex-friend. Just turn them in for child abuse with the false accusations carefully done for Plausible Deniability and let CPS and Megan’s Law Registries do the rest. (Cue Church Lady Superiority Dance.)

  210. Lynn wrote:

    I don’t believe that most cases of abuse are fake. But I know from personal experience that there are some who see it when it is not real. Which just makes it harder to deal with the real cases.

    And there is the Satanic Panic of the Eighties, where a lot of “Ritual Child Sexual Abuse” accusations got made left & right (aided by a bunch of True Believer “Recovered Memory Therapists” pursuing a pop-psych fad of the time). It turned into a Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory crusade with a lot of “fake but accurate” spectral evidence. Survivors of that (especially those falsely acccused) are going to be very very gun-shy.

    And then there’s the story I’ve heard time and time again of false accusations of spousal abuse and child abuse being used as weapons in divorce proceedings. In most tales of this sort, it’s the woman making the accusations to get custody or more $$$$$ or just to stick it to her ex. Whether they’re true or not, stories like this have become widespread memes.

  211. I do know of a case where child services got involved and things went very bad for a really great family.

    It was a family with 13 children (not a quiverfull family or anything like that- they had two children of their own and 11 adopted- they owned apartments and kept adopting children from terrible situations, many with disabilities and mental issues) that went to our church. An anonymous teacher phoned in an issue with a discipline method (non physical) that the parents used at the direction of a secular counselor for a child with an emotional disorder (so this was very tailored toward the child). Child services whisked all of the children away and it became a looong battle, though ultimately the family was exonerated by an independent evaluator who fond no indications of abuse and offered the strongest praise for their parenting skills. The most difficult part of this situation was hearing the stories of how each of these children were taken away from their parents without even getting to say anything to them- it broke my heart because I know that the mom had told each of them “You will never have to go to another home again” when they took them in.

    So the system can break down both ways for sure. In this case there was an ignorant, anonymous tip that was followed without any research in the Lynn wrote:

    I don’t believe that most cases of abuse are fake. But I know from personal experience that there are some who see it when it is not real. Which just makes it harder to deal with the real cases.

    I believe you. And I actually do know of one very big case of a family at my old church where there was no abuse and the family spent a loooong time proving it, doing a lot of damage to the children in the process.

    So your statement is fair, and perhaps mine too much of a knee jerk reaction.

  212. Ugh, I’d decided against giving all of the details of that case, but I guess I didn’t properly delete my comment.

    Oh well.

  213. Lynn

    Of course there is always those who use situations for their own advantage. However, the best that we have available to us today is to report any concern to CPS. If one lady was always making a complaint and they proved to be consistently false, said person would get in trouble. 

    However, when it come to child abuse, it is best to err on the side of the child. The vasy majority of reports to CPS have some basis in fact. We have to let CPS figure it out and sometimes it is just not fair. But, who said life would be fair. 

    As for myself, when confronted by a horrible story in my former church, I had no definitive proof. But, the report of the involved family seemed consistent with the truth. I took a chance, put up with grabage for doing so and acted on what I believed to be the truth. Life is like that. There is rarely 100% evidence. One had to base it on the evidence presented. 

    In light of the heinous charges in the SGM lawsuit, I think it would be best to discuss this false reports at another time. Unfortunately, such discussion could be a springboard for those who want to “prove” that SGM would never, ever do such a thing.

  214. @ Jeff S:
    If you guys could delete this comment- I’d appreciate it. It’s really off topic of abortion and somewhere I didn’t intend to go. My hope is that the case involved was an exception- but either way, it has little to do with abortion.

  215. Jeff S wrote:

    Lynn wrote:

    My experience is there are far more people who deny abuse than who “see it under every rock”.

    It seems every time abuse is brought up there are many voices to rise up and remind us that it is a rare occurrence and to be careful. This can make true victims of abuse begin to question themselves and their ability to perceive reality.

    @Jeff S Thank you for making this point. I just finished writing about an experience I had in the church where this was the case.

  216. Fontyla, You are so right……children give you a new perspective on life don’t they. And make you change your mind on different issues.

    My mid 30′s daughter, new mother, stable marriage, etc says she can now understand why women work after a baby…and why young men shake their new babies.(hers cries a lot at 8 months still)It is an extremely difficult job and while I am not a liberal, I think it does take a village. We need to provide support, encouragement and comfort to those people we come into contact with every day. They do not deserve or require our judgement or condemnation but our compassion and kindness.

    A lot of things become clearer to us as we gain life experience and hopefully some wisdom along The Way.

  217. I remember on an older thread, some of you were talking about how some Christians are poor tippers, especially after Sunday morning church services.

    This story reminded me of that:
    Man claiming to be pastor leaves waiter note: ‘I give God 10%. Why do you get 18?’

    I do think tipping has got out of hand. It used to be 10% (for competent service – more if the service was really great), then restaurants began upping it to 15%.

    Now it looks like it’s getting even higher – and they often automatically add it to your bill, without telling you, so you may wind up giving 10% on top of 10% (or 15% / 15%).

    On the other hand, I don’t think leaving a sarcastic comment on your receipt (and bringing up God to boot) is classy or sensitive.

    I don’t know if anyone replied to my last post in this thread. I have not scrolled up and down the page to see all the new posts. I just wanted to drop by to leave the link to the story about the tipping pastor.

  218. As a follow up to my last post:

    I have since read some of the comments under that story about the pastor who skipped on a tip, and I see a few people have said they know pastors who left huge tips.

    Some have said they knew of church people who gave money and tickets to waitresses who they found out were struggling single moms who needed money, or one waitress-mom who was trying to scratch together money to buy her kid tickets to a theme park.

    So there are some Christians who are good tippers or who help wait staff in other ways. I guess they just don’t get as much publicity as the cheap skates.

  219. tem wrote:

    We need to provide support, encouragement and comfort to those people we come into contact with every day. They do not deserve or require our judgement or condemnation but our compassion and kindness.

    Tem, this reminds me of a Plato quote: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” I think Plato understood ‘love your neighbor’ better than some Christians I know. May God grant us all tender hearts toward one another.

  220. @ Jenny:

    definitely being “tangential” here — but not totally unrelated.

    Lately i’ve been ruminating on how I think Jesus saw the inner person in dealing with people. In being with a person, he saw the inner child, frightened, rejected, betrayed, lonely, self-identifying with ugly/stupid/unwanted, in physical pain, emotional pain.

    I’m wanting to be able to see a person as a whole person. Not merely the exterior, whatever that might be. But the inner person, vulnerabilities, struggles & all — just like me — & worthy of compassion.

  221. Jenny wrote:

    Tem, this reminds me of a Plato quote: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” I think Plato understood ‘love your neighbor’ better than some Christians I know. May God grant us all tender hearts toward one another.

    Love the quote Jenny!
    I also like this one from Plato. They should have it chiseled into a granite obelisk outside Dover Air Force base:

    “…Only the dead have seen the end of war…”

  222. … tangentially speaking …

    elastigirl: Good on you! You will bless so many people with your efforts.

    M.P.: Plato is a veritable gold mine of great quotes. One of my favorites is “There is truth in wine and children.”

    …we now return to our regularly scheduled program …

  223. @Jeff S, I concur, I thought your comments most pertinent. I’m trying to remember, was it the 80′s or later in the UK where there were some horrific stories of the damage done by what could be termed over-enthusiastic social workers/case workers.

    fwiw, I understand that much children’s casework now occurring here is being done by British social workers. I don’t know what visas they are employed on. I was disturbed to hear this, especially given the background of children being removed from the UK to Australia (see ‘The Leaving of Liverpool’ or ‘Oranges and Sunshine’). This issue is seriously bugging me. Family & Children’s Services (different names in different states) have always been underfunded, which glaringly says to me that the needs of children at risk are not considered important (then there’s those with disability, and aged care…I’d better stop, I’m starting to get fired up).

  224. Lori wrote:

    if you look at research on outcomes, children tend to fare better in the long-term and be better-adjusted adults when they stay with their birth parents–even if there is addiction or abuse in the home–than if they are removed to foster care.

    Lori, this does not sit with me at all, but instead of replying why, I think I will forward this thread to a friend who is a social worker and foster mum and see if she wants to jump in and comment…

  225. Daisy wrote:

    So there are some Christians who are good tippers or who help wait staff in other ways. I guess they just don’t get as much publicity as the cheap skates.

    I remember hearing that Jerry Falwell used to make a point of tipping big to offset the Christian cheapskates.

  226. @ Aubrietta:
    Hi Aubrietta, can you link info on women taking longer to overcome adoption than abortion – with open adoption these days the exact opposite is said to be true in all social work circles so I am curious where you got that stat – I’m in Canada too.

  227. @ Haitch:
    Possibly if it is one bad situation to another, some jurisdictions manage and pay child protection very poorly, on the other hand, adoption vs. staying with addicted parents is proven to be far better. Typically, children don’t get removed until much damage has been done – due to views like this. It is in the child’s best interest to be placed with a loving capable caregiver as soon after birth as possible, however, most neglectful parents don’t get caught, investigated or intervened upon until many crucial years have passed. Going from one deprived environment to another is disruptive to a child but going from a depraved environment to an enriched environment has shown gains – less with each year passed.

  228. @ VelvetVoice:
    That could have international implications – in Canada, a parent can apply to immigrate under a special visa. If a rapist could obtain a birth certificate showing he was the father, he could then apply under family class. If people on visas, waiting for permanent residency or citizenship, knew this, they could, potentially, rape enough women till one got pregnant, had the baby, then insist on parenthood rights. Not sure what you do in the US with non-citizen immigrants who claim a return to their home country would result in torture, but in Canada they can never be deported. That would be another loophole for them to gain citizenship – as all the human right’s tribunals and civil liberty groups won’t let a person be returned to a “dangerous” country (they have a constantly updated list). So, a rapist, waiting in jail could then apply for citizenship – that is just crazy – I am sure Canada has a silly law like that somewhere on the books too.

  229. Val wrote:

    @ Aubrietta:
    Hi Aubrietta, can you link info on women taking longer to overcome adoption than abortion – with open adoption these days the exact opposite is said to be true in all social work circles so I am curious where you got that stat – I’m in Canada too.

    I’d am curious to read the information you have in regards to this. Abortion does have an end date….adoption does not.

  230. @ Lin:
    I can’t access the social work journal’s fire-walls (grumble) but I did find an interesting link:
    http://www.apa.org/pi/women/programs/abortion/mental-health.pdf

    Most studies have been poorly done, so the data is weak, but many women who suffer mental health effects from abortions also experience higher rates of violence, so, if the data doesn’t factor in violence towards them, it can skew that data to show negative mental effects from abortions.

    More ammo for supporting women who would have a baby except for reasons such as income, vulnerability, etc. Hard to be pro-life and do nothing.

    The info on open adoptions was from our adoption journey, we adopted our of our children from the Provincial government, not privately. The child has special needs. We had no legal obligation to maintain contact with the birth parents, but it was strongly encouraged as it is a better outcome for both birth-mother and child, and very different from the closed adoptions of the past. My province actually can put custody orders on adoptions for birth moms to have guaranteed specified access to her child once adopted, so even legally the door is not always closed for birth-moms. In my child’s case both birth-mom and child were wards of the Province, although an attempt was made to keep them together, she didn’t have the capacity, nor the familial support, but in cases where both mother and child are fully functioning as adults (no disabilities present), the parents (especially birth moms) can get custody orders written into the adoption orders.

    Crazy, but due to best practice studies.

    I may have those papers with me, outlining open adoptions and birth mom’s often moving on and losing contact with the adoptive families, but they are the govn’t's so I don’t want to copy them, besides I don’t even know how to post them onto the internet without my e-mail (I’m a little technically challenged in this area), so it is just what we were taught as we went through the adoption classes. None of the birth parents with kids in provincial custody had the option of adoption (it was forced on them), as the child was removed from them, so it may have been in that selected circumstance openness helped the most.

  231. @ Val:
    Thank you for giving some background on my query. I haven’t read the link yet but will. I am technically limited too. :)

  232. @ Val:
    Agreed. “Get them young” my foster mum friend says. You still have a chance of undoing the damage and turning them around. I think the Jesuit saying about a child up to seven needs to be updated – it would have to be under five now. Anything after that might be too late. What do you think?

  233. Haitch wrote:

    @ Val:
    Agreed. “Get them young” my foster mum friend says. You still have a chance of undoing the damage and turning them around.

    I agree with you and your friend, Haitch. Research in the past few years is showing how vital love and a caring environment in infancy and the early childhood years are for the healthy development of a healthy brain and socially adept individual.
    I read a book on this topic a couple of years ago. It may have been this one http://books.google.co.za/books/about/Why_Love_Matters.html?id=EHrTxAHXf4kC&redir_esc=y or similar. The one I read detailed what happened to poor little Jamie Bulger (little British toddler mutilated and killed by two preteen boys several years ago) and gave the backgrounds of his two tormentors and killers. I wouldn’t wish that kind of upbringing on anyone.

  234. @Estelle, little Jamie Bulger is a kid that I can’t get out of my mind. It sometimes flashes into my memory and I always internally wince, always. Similar for Daniel Morcombe, a Queensland boy. You never forget them.

  235. @Haitch, I think about two little sisters who disappeared on a long distance bus journey across South Africa. I never heard if anyone found them.

  236. Dee, it’s so sad. They were put on a bus to travel to another city to stay with family. I don’t remember if anyone was accompanying them, I don’t think there was, but about halfway through the journey, the bus stopped for everyone to get out and when it was time to board again, they had disappeared and it was night time. I don’t remember much more, it was several years ago but I remember being devastated at the news and feeling so for them and their family. Not knowing what has happened to your child must be the worst nightmare.

  237. Estelle

    Today Deb is going to write a post about sex trafficking and the Super Bowl. Many children who simply disappear are often used in this heinous trade.

  238. @ dee:
    Dee,
    Would appreciate your response to the Williams article you linked in tweet a couple hours ago– especially the “Who cares” title and the “a life worth sacrificing” conclusion.

  239. DaveAA

    As you know, I am against abortion in most circumstances. The prochoice folks,for years, adopted a narrative that one was not aborting a humna, merely cells in a prehuman state. This post changes that paradigm.

    Williams now says that  prochoice people know it is a human being and believe it should die anyway. She is prochoice and adopts this position. It was the human element which caused my panic when I watched the abortion that caused me to reverse course. I am truly startled that someone can admit that they are killing a human and think it is jusitfiable.

  240. @ dee:
    Those were my thoughts as well. 30-40 years ago I thought, “If people can be convinced that it’s a human life, not just a piece of tissue, they’ll change their position.” Now, many are convinced but unchanged. I don’t see it as a jump to imagine that in a few years, when I’ve become an economic, lifestyle, or even just an emotional drain on society, I’ll be “a life worth sacrificing”.

  241. @Dave A A, I think you’re right, I can see the euthanasia debate hotting up in countries with ageing populations.

    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/424291/20130115/deaf-identical-twins-marc-eddy-verbessem-win.htm

    See link above – did anyone comment on this and I’ve missed it? The Belgian twins who chose euthanasia. I found it most disturbing and it has set off big alarm bells in my head. I’m really struggling with it, as while I understand the choice to end your life at your choosing (I’m trying to word this very very carefully), I wonder at the ‘choice’ involved and the ability to really consent. I’m sure this was carefully considered and debated in ethics committees, but is there really no hope that can be given to two men going blind? Yes, they had other medical complications etc, but what does it say about a society that the men decided to no longer embrace it? This scenario has left me very discomforted, and I’m not blaming the Belgians per se (maybe I would though if I was Dutch – ha ha !)

  242. DaveAA

    I am sure that it will happen to me. but they will have to pry my computer from my cold, soon to be dead, hands. I shall leave this world blogging…..

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