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Is There Light In All This Heat?

By Deborah

Can we have this conversation without rancor? Please. Because I’ve almost never seen it done. Certainly not on television or in picket lines or on blogs. Here’s the word: abortion.

I don’t know where I stand in this debate. My tendency to empathize, to see shades of gray, to shun extremes leaves me in a policy fog on this issue. Our politicians are “pro-life” or “pro-choice.” They have to sign statements affirming their commitment to one side or the other. Can’t a person be both: Find abortion objectionable on many levels but find a total ban also objectionable? And if so, what would that look like practically – in terms of law, policy, social programs? But it’s not just policy — not on a matter as deeply felt as this. Here are the voices in my head, back and forth.

  • The church speaks out against abortion but allows exceptions – rape, incest, health of a mother. If there aren’t legal safeguards (can a woman always prove she’s been raped), what then?
  • I’m anti-death penalty, I’m anti-torture, I abhore war. I look at those who advocate torture and capital punishment but wax on about the “culture of life” (cough*Bush*cough) as hypocritical. But if I am consistent in my stances, shouldn’t I be consistently, well, pro-life? And if so, does that necessitate advocating for certain legal restrictions?
  • The LDS church, unlike the Catholic Church, does not have a firm stance on “when life begins.” The doctrine of “eternal souls” seems to provide a safeguard – that spirit could come to another body at another time.
  • But about that – about selective screenings. Are we developing a society where those with “deficits” are considered “errors” – expendable. A huge number of Down Syndrome babies are aborted – what implication does that have (even in terms of special education and social services) for those that are not? And we know that millions of girl fetuses have been aborted in the world – gender selection. How can the feminist/humanist in me not be deeply disturbed by that?
  • Reproductive rights are intricately tied to feminism – a woman’s ability to have some say over her body. And this is no small matter – a woman’s body, for much of history in some society’s, has not really been her own.
  • By the same token, does this embrace of abortion rights make some distrust or even vilify feminism. Is there room for constructive dialogue about abortion rights and reasonable restrictions in the feminist community? A building of cultural bridges?
  • Stories of women – even LDS women — who made this difficult choice in difficult circumstances and felt strongly it was the right choice. And what if a particular mother is emotionally or psychologically unable to care for a child – or what if a pregnancy would put her health in serious jeopardy? What about protecting her options to protect herself and her loved ones?
  • Stories of women – even LDS women – who have spoken to me of a lifetime of regrets from this decision.
  • Back-alley abortions
  • Partial birth abortions
  • Criminalizing women
  • Trivializing the unborn
  • Sanctity
  • Agency
  • Juno
  • Dirty Dancing
  • Protecting the unborn
  • Protecting women — sometimes at their most vulnerable

Here are my questions: Where do you stand on abortion rights? How did you come to this conclusion and how have you made peace with it? Have your views changed over the years? And if, like me, you want it both ways . . . what’s the logical policy implication?

Deborah

Deborah is K-12 educator who nurtures a healthy interest in reading, writing, running, ethics, mystics, and interfaith dialogue.

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41 Responses

  1. Alisa says:

    It’s a great question. My views have changed over the years, and changed based on the LDS’s somewhat moderate approach (moderate for pro-life). I used to think abortion was murder. Than I realized that it didn’t make sense to “murder” a child because his/her mother was raped. That’s when I started thinking that the LDS Church’s policy was more complicated than I had originally assumed.

    That said, when this discussion usually comes up, I like to take a step back and talk about unwanted pregnancy in general. I would like to think that eventually the need or desire for elective abortions can be eradicated through the help of the general public. I think education, birth control, and a solid program to help birthmothers/children are needed. If I despise abortion, what am I willing to do to stop unwanted pregnancies? I think more education and free access to oral contraceptives would help. And for those already pregnant, what choices can we offer them? What if they keep the baby? Are we as a society willing to step up and help them because they chose to keep that life going? If I despise abortion, I will support sex education, birth control, and welfare as more acceptable alternatives.

  2. Starfoxy says:

    Since you asked. 🙂
    I think that any abortion can ultimately be classed as either negative (causes suffering), or positive (reduces suffering). The goal should be to reduce or eliminate the negative ones, and easily facilitate the positive ones. The trouble is no one can reliably determine which ones are which, especially not the government. The question then is, is it better to stop them both, or allow them both. Some would say that you should pick whichever causes the least suffering- but since we don’t know which abortions are which we really can’t know which path causes the least suffering. So we have to pick between types of suffering, suffering caused by one’s self, or suffering caused by government restrictions. I am in favor of allowing some individuals to make their own mistakes, rather than allowing the government to prevent others from helping themselves.

  3. Jon W says:

    Personally, abortion as birth control to my feeling is wrong and usually means society as a whole can become somewhat more coarse to life in general.

    I am in the moderate conservative category and I can see what you are saying about right to life and the association with the death penalty by protestants and some Mormons.

    Too often people I knew in Britian just saw it as another way to control birth, that to me cheapens life, allows people to make decisions for others, to in effect play god over them and I am very uneasy with that.

  4. Jon W says:

    I also agree that the association of feminism with Abortion has completely stifled the movement. It is too easily associated with a sacrament of feminist thought. Even if there are right to lifers in the Feminist movement you only really hear one side.

  5. FoxyJ says:

    A while ago I read the phrase “safe, legal, and rare” and that sums up how I feel about abortion. Legislating it away will not make it go away. I still don’t know how that looks in practice, but I think that government policy is not going to bring about that kind of change. We need a societal change and better education and access to birth control.

  6. Caroline says:

    (Who is the author of this post? Just wondering…)

    Like, Alisa, I’ve also come to the conclusion that being truly pro-life goes way further than being anti-abortion. If we want to eliminate abortion, then what are we doing to help that mother who has decided to not abort that baby? What services, education, programs etc. are we voting for to enable women to either avoid pregnancy or see that pregnancy through?

    Personally, I lean towards the pro-life side. I don’t like the idea of abortion as birth control at all. But politically I’m pro-choice because there are always going to good women who find themselves pregnant and are desperate to not have that child. Maybe it’s their 10th pregnancy and they know they just can’t handle it. Maybe they’ve been raped. There are so many situations like these where I feel like there needs to be a safe legal option for them to abort. I would far rather they abort safely rather than get a back alley abortion and possibly die from infection.

    And I also feel that it’s right for me as an outsider to respect these women’s knowledge of themselves and what they can handle. I’ll leave such a terribly difficult decision up to their consciences.

    I was just talking with my conservative husband about this a day or two ago. I said that it wasn’t clear to me that Jesus, if he were alive and preaching today, would want to outlaw abortion. Mike agreed.

  7. Beatrice says:

    I think that what is missing from most political decisions about abortions is the need to look at good empirical studies about abortions. What type of women are having abortions? For what reasons? I don’t know if a lot of research has been done on this, but I think that it is really misguided to take a moral or societal stance on abortion without looking at the people who are actually having abortions. Once we have a better understanding of this group of people then we will be better able to make legislation that will help them and hopefully reduce the number of abortions without harming women.

  8. Deborah says:

    Thanks for the comments so far — and the civilized tone. I’ll respond in more detail later.

    Ardis, your comment about the “cancer of the abortion argument” is at the heart of this post, I suppose. I just wonder if there is a “third way” in this debate. I recently read a piece in Slate about the “clash of the absolutes” — is there any hope for breaking this impasse in public discourse?

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/convictions/archive/2008/04/19/resolving-obama-s-paradox-constructively-meeting-the-abortion-clash-of-absolutes.aspx

  9. Deborah says:

    It’s me, Caroline. Just added my name . . .

  10. Deborah says:

    Beatrice: Good point — if anybody has more empirical data, chime in.

    Z, I’d rather you share your point of view than individual challenges. She mentioned the extremes of both sides — and I have heard the language several times that you cannot be a good feminist unless you are pro-choice. I don’t believe it, but the idea is out there — just like the idea that you can’t be a moral person and be pro-choice. I don’t believe that either. What I am most interested in here is what people believe and how they got there. Because I’m sick of the polemics . . . .

  11. Marie says:

    I second “safe, legal and rare”. I think abortion is yucky but sometimes necessary. I will never be able to be “pro-life” because I will always support birth control, sex education, the morning after pill and stem cell research. I think that education, birth control and helping young girls delay sex is our best chance at reducing abortion. I also think that no woman should have to bear her rapists baby (nor do I think that any man should be reproducing through rape).

  12. Jana says:

    I think it was Emma Lou Thayne who said that she’s “On the Side of Life,” explaining that as a middle way position in this debate. Well, I am “On the Side of Life,” too.

    I desperately wish there to be fewer abortions and more information about and use of birth control. I also don’t think that any woman (and I do mean _any woman_) should have to unwillingly carry a pregnancy.

  13. Jana says:

    Deborah, if you have a copy of _All God’s Critters_, I do believe that that’s where Emma Lou Thayne explains her views on abortion quite elegantly and persuasively. It might just be worth reprinting some portions of her work on the blog. And I think her thoughts fit in quite well with those of us who are trying to find the “light” in this debate.

  14. Deborah says:

    Marie: Per “safe, legal, and rare.” This is perhaps the hybrid I’m talking about, but how do we get there? I reflexively like the phrase “culture of life” — but it has been co-opted politically. The language of abortion is a paradox for me — we talk and talk and talk about “it.” It can dominate political discourse. It can be a litmus test of judges and justices, for politicians. But we don’t really talk about it. How often does popular culture or conversations go there, really? I’ve seen the stats — there are A LOT of abortions in America each year. But it seems to be the most talked about taboo subject in our society. If I were young, pregnant, afraid . . . where would I go to get information about my options? Who would reach out to protect both me and the unborn child? What resources would be available if I decided to keep the child — what incentives would there be to offer the baby for adoption, if I felt I couldn’t care for it myself? Sure, some agencies exist, but . . .

    People talk about Obama helping us move to a post-racial world — where we see past black and white. Is there a post-abortion world, where people cross aisles to make something like “safe, legal, rare” a reality?

  15. Deborah says:

    Jana — I LOVE that article. I have lent out my copy — if you have one and want to post some relevant passages, please go for it.

  16. Kiskilili says:

    This is a wonderful post as usual, Deborah. I wish I could tell you my position, but I suffer from the same befuddled waffling that you’ve articulated so well. It seems easiest to formulate ethical norms in terms of categories: humans, animals, single-celled organisms, etc. The problem is that fetuses occupy an in-between space that doesn’t easily fit our categorizations, so it’s unclear how the ethical norms should be applied: should a zygote have the rights of a citizen? should a nine-month-old fetus be denied those rights? Questions like “when does life begin?” highlight our insistence on such categories (life vs. non-life), and realistically public policy requires them. But life is much more complicated than categories suggest.

    I concur with those who suggest abortion should be legal but rare, although I’m not entirely sure how to bring that about.

  17. LCM says:

    I am against abortion, except in cases of rape, incest and health of the mother. My hubby, on the other hand, political animal that he is, believes that the US should allow it up to 3 months simply because he think women will continue to get it and this way, physicians can be monitored and trained to protect womens’ lives and their reproduction. We don’t exactly see eye to eye on this, but I understand where he is coming from.

  18. Eve says:

    Fabulous post, Deborah. You’ve articulated my own ambivalences really well.

    I sometimes say that I refuse to be either pro-life or pro-choice because I disagree with the stances and tactics of both sides. But of course then I’m not sure where, exactly that leaves me.

  19. Beatrice says:

    O.k. I did some digging and I did find this website http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html. It seems to be a pretty repudible source. Some of the stats that I think are particularly interesting are:
    -The rate of abortions in the U.S. have actually been going down since the 80s.
    -Women who have never married obtain two-thirds of all abortions.
    -Half of the women having abortiosn say that they do not want to be a single parent or are having problems with their husband or partner.

  20. Marie says:

    Deborah-
    I hate that we talk about abortion in politics. I believe that it is an issue that a certain political party uses to convince Christians to vote for them. I don’t think it should be a political issue but a medical and very personal one. Since I also belief in socialized medicine I think that the best place for a young scared (pregnant) girl to start would be her doctor. She needs information and support, vitamins and possibly a rape kit and a morning after pill. Why are we demonizing women who get abortions but not the men who get them pregnant? I think perhaps there is a common ground where we can try to reduce abortions by championing birth control and helping young women to have the courage to wait. It doesn’t have to be until marriage (this is a bit unrealistic for the population as a whole I think) but to delay for even a few years can really reduce the perceived need for abortion. Adoption is great as are programs that help single mothers complete their education and lesson the chances that their children will be pregnant teens. There are so many things that can be done to reduce the prevalence of abortion, I don’t think that the current “litmus test” is at all useful or productive.

    I would love it if we had an actual “culture of life” that actually valued all people including the poor, the imprisioned and those who live in countries other than ours. Wouldn’t it be great if we valued an Iraqi or Bangladeshi life at the same level we value an American life?

  21. Beatrice says:

    Marie,
    Although abortion doesn’t necessarily need to be a political issue, it certainly needs to be a legal one. Even if you keep this decision in the medical realm, you need some form of laws to dictate how doctors deal with this issue. Currently there are many doctors who refuse to give women the morning after pill or direct them to information about abortions even when the women have been raped. Doctors do this when they feel that abortion is wrong under any circumstance. Women in these cases often feel victimized for a second time. Without legislation, resources available to women will be left up to the personal desicions of doctors. In this case it seems like there needs to be a law mandating that doctors provide resources for women or direct them to another doctor that can help them. But once again you get into the fuzzy issue of whether or not their should be restrictions on who should be allowed to get a legal abortion.

  22. JohnR says:

    Deborah, you’ve worked a miracle here at the Exponent! Thank you!

    I came off my mission with strong associations between abortion and murder, but two things changed my mind:

    1) Learning more behind the science of pregnancy: how a fetus gradually develops and how natural, spontaneous abortions were extremely common in early pregnancy. I had a difficult time believing that God would place the value of a full human life on, say, a two-week old blastocyst and then create a system that would allow anywhere from 5 to 20% miscarry (many without the woman’s awareness) even in women with all the benefits of a modern diet, immunization and health care.

    2) I started talking to people about their views on abortion and found that most people did not share the extreme views highlighted in the media. They were conflicted, just like you and I and most of the commenters here are.

    My chief conflict is between my desire to respect the lives of both the unborn child and the mother. I don’t equate a newly fertilized egg with a full-term baby, but I think there is something special about the human potentiality that exists in the maturing fetus. I prefer for the government to not criminalize abortion, and to leave this weighty moral decision as much as possible in the mother’s hands.

    I decided at some point that the one thing most Americans could agree on was to have fewer unwanted pregnancies.

  23. sunlize says:

    I am pro-choice – meaning I think every woman should be able to make a choice about her pregnancy, but I would probably not have an abortion. I also like the “safe, legal and rare” idea. I shiver every time I think about “back alley” abortions. How sad and awful. Personally, I will not vote for a politician who qualifies him/herself as pro-life, and will vote that way. I would feel personally responsible if abortion was deemed illegal.

    As a future health care provider, I would like to see access to information and availability to birth control increase. For example, intrauterine contraception (IUC) is one of the best birth control methods due to low risk of user error and low rate of failure. And it can last for up to 5 years. While they tend to be more economical when compared to birth control pills, they are still really expensive. I wish they were less expensive. Some places will do a sliding scale deal. Of course access to barrier methods are important for preventing STIs.

    I think support for pre-,peri-, and post-natal care for babies and their families and should be drastically increased. I think America’s culture does not always value childbearing. Look at the maternity and paternity time available to parents. Sometimes there is none. Women who would breastfeed can’t always do so because their job doesn’t allow them enough time or space to use a breast pump. It’s frustrating. And I could go on and on about this forever.

  24. maria says:

    I have known several women who were victims of violent sexual acts. One of those women, a women I love dearly, was married with children. She became pregnant because of the assault. She chose not to have an abortion. I cannot imagine the heartache of bringing a baby into the world, only to have to explain to children why that baby was being given up for adoption. Mercifully, the pregnancy ended in miscarriage. In no way would I have denied her the option of abortion. I think it was her right. That being said, she should have access, easy access, to that abortion, without fear of being emotionally assaulted again by the medical and legal community. She should not have to prove the assault. The trauma is enough. Because women like her need to have access to abortions, no questions asked, the system will definitely be abused by less deserving women. Inconvenient pregnancies caused by sexual activity between consenting adults should not end in abortion. But abortions must be available to traumatized women, and so the system, like all systems, will be abused, in order to protect the innocent victims.

    I have a question. So many people detest the idea of abortion, of killing potential life. Is there a difference when looking at fertility clinics that fertilize thousands of eggs, find a few viable ones, implant them in a uterus, and flush the rest, killing those potential lives? One life existed in a uterus, one existed in a lab. They both existed. They were both terminated, by a conscious choice. Is one more moral than the other?

  25. Dora says:

    As always, I weigh in on the side of education … about sexual maturation, sexual practice, birth control, relationships, parenthood, etc. I tend to think of this as teaching women to fish, instead of giving them a fish.

    I do believe in the sanctity of life. So much so that I believe coersion is a perversion, even the coersion to do something “right” or “good.” The only society worth living in is one where people choose to do right. Isn’t that what the plan of salvation is all about?

    Personally, I think that I would never get an abortion. However, for all the reasons that Deborah succinctly listed above, I defend a woman’s right to make their own informed decisions.

  26. Deborah says:

    First, it’s a relief to read through this and see reasoned (divergent) responses, without vitriol. Yeah!

    Maria: Stories like the one your recount pose a powerful argument for keeping abortion safe and legal. As for your second question, it further muddies the gray area for me. But I confess to making judgment calls about weighting “life”: I am not a vegan or even a vegetarian. I have less guilt about eating fish than I do about eating cows, and I would never contemplate eating a primate. I feel very differently about late-term abortion than I do about he morning after pill. Where does the shift happen for me? I don’t know . . . and I think it’s precisely that ambiguity that befuddles me, that does notlet me say Yeah! or Nay! to a singular label. I prefer life to death, would prefer that unwanted pregnancies were reduced so that women were not faced with this choice . .. how’s that for a non-answer?

  27. Starfoxy says:

    I feel very differently about late-term abortion than I do about he morning after pill.

    I feel I should address this to clarify a common misconception. There is the ‘morning after pill,’ also called emergency contraception which is taken within 3 days of the sexual encounter and works primarily by preventing ovulation, and conception altogether, just like regular birth control pills.

    There is also a chemical abortion pill, which is only given after a pregnancy has been confirmed. The two operate on different principles, and shouldn’t be conflated. Granted some might still consider EC to be an abortion, but it would be the same sort of abortion as regular birth control pills.

  28. Deborah says:

    Starfoxy — Thanks. One question: I was under the impression that Emergency Contraception prevented implantation, but not necessarily fertilization. Am I wrong here? Regardless, I don’t consider it abortion — just a foil for the fertilized eggs Maria was talking about.

  29. Starfoxy says:

    Emergency contraception and regular birth control pills work by doing three things:
    1. suppressing ovulation (through hormone regulation)
    2. shortening the viable life of sperm (mostly accomplished through drying out the mucous membranes)
    3. preventing implantation (by weakening the uterine lining)

  30. maria says:

    I appreciate the clarifications on the emergency contraception pill. I only had a vague idea of how it worked. I was wondering if it would be possible, ever, to allow the age of viability to determine and define what constitutes an abortion. In the medical community, the age of viability is basically the gestational age at which doctors can save a baby. They may not be able to save all babies, but there is a history of having saved babies at that age. That age has been decreasing, I think it is now hovering somewhere around 24 weeks gestation. I know this might seen like we’re letting doctors “play God” but the laws that govern man, when that little body is saved by medical science, allows that body a spirit. That little body becomes a soul, it has the breath of life. It lives. Discarding a fetus after a time when we can prove we can help that little body live, in my mind, can easily be defined as an abortion. Is is possible to look at the termination of pregnancies before that time as a medical event, not a moral trajedy? Could that possibly improve the moral dillemma so many face?

  31. Marie says:

    Beatrice-
    The place of policy and law in medicine makes me cranky. It reminds me of the case of the pharmacists who refused to fill birth control prescriptions (and refused to pass the prescription to someone else to fill). I feel that if you are a pharmacist your job it to fill prescriptions regardless of your personal beliefs. If you choose to become a doctor you have a duty to your patients to give them the information they need to make informed decisions about their own health. I wish that we didn’t need a law to make that happen. I personally am going into family medicine rather than women’s health because I don’t want to deal with abortion on a daily basis. I think that if your personal beliefs make you incapable of doing your job you should find another job. Anyway – isn’t this something that is more the job of the AMA or other certification associations than the federal government? I wouldn’t want a law to be passed saying that every doctor has to perform abortions but I would support professional guidelines that require a medical provider to give information about abortion, adoption, and prenatal care to pregnant women or to direct them to a doctor who will (or loose their license). Same goes for offering victims of rape emergency contraception: if you won’t do it find someone who will or find a more appropriate job.

  32. Ana says:

    As reluctant as I am to get into any debate on this topic, I do want to say I think we too frequently look at abortion as a single issue in a vacuum. This discussion is getting more nuanced, and I appreciate that a lot.

    My opinion is that abortion has to stay legal and safe for the instances where it is truly needed – and I think those instances are pretty much what the Church says they are. I used to think (in much younger days) that a woman should have to be willing to prosecute for rape or incest to get an abortion. Now I see that as much too hairy for what are probably obvious reasons- there’s just too much he said, she said, false accusations, etc. With all that, I don’t see how a change in the law is compatible with the Church’s stance.

    The goal of reducing abortions is not going to be reasonably accomplished with restrictive legislations or Supreme Court reversals. There needs to be a comprehensive change in the way we handle reproduction. People who want children need to be able to have children, through fertility treatments or adoption if necessary, with good healthcare and social support. People who don’t want children need to be able to avoid getting pregnant or choose adoption in the case of an unplanned pregnancy, with good healthcare and social support. Public campaigns to eradicate stigma on birth control and adoption would be vital in my reproductive /family-building utopia.

    Now, a couple of interesting stories.

    My oldest son’s birthmother didn’t learn she was pregnant until she was 5 months along. There’s a lot I don’t know about her. But on her paperwork, under “religion,” she wrote “Baptist,” crossed it out, and then wrote, “Catholic.” I have always wondered if she was thinking about explaining why she didn’t abort my son. I know a lot of people want us to think about abortion and adoption as separate issues. But come on. I have to wonder … if she’d learned about this pregnancy earlier, would I have my 8-year-old? Would he be alive?

    Another story. My friend learned at her 20 week ultrasound that her baby had a severe birth defect that would not allow her to live more than an hour or two past birth. She counseled with her bishop, who told her that abortion was an acceptable choice in this circumstance. She couldn’t do it; she felt like it was wrong. She had a very difficult 6-month-long pregnancy and her daughter died after 50 minutes. 50 very precious minutes, to be sure. And lot of people learned a lot from walking with our friends through this ordeal. But it scarred them very deeply. My friend said that if another baby of hers were diagnosed prenatally with the same condition (and that’s something like a 1 in 4 chance) she would end the pregnancy immediately. Do I want that option available for her in a safe environment, without legal repercussions or hoops to jump through? Yes, yes and yes.

  33. Deborah says:

    Ana: Thanks for sharing both stories. I have a very dear friend whose story is similar to your second tale . . . such a hard situation.

    Speaking of stories, I think the first time I thought seriously about this issue was in my first year of teaching. Before that, I was rather reflexively pro-choice, but it was all so abstract. I had a boy in my class with mental retardation — I can’t remember the name of his disorder, but it presented a lot like Down Syndrome. One spring day, I attended his baseball game — he played outfield. His mom and I began to discuss childrearing, and she told me that his physical therapist had recently revealed that she had terminated a pregnancy after discovering the fetus had this very same disorder. “I suppose everyone is entitled to make their own choices,” the mother said to me, “but I have to switch therapists. I just can’t bear the thought that my son might be viewed as expendable.”

  34. Beatrice says:

    Marie,
    Really good points. I am glad that you responded to my comments because you offer other options that would help women be able to find resources that they need other then laws passed by the federal government. I guess my overall point is that a women’s options and resources shouldn’t be limited simply because she sees Dr. X rather than Dr. Y.

  35. EmilyCC says:

    I don’t have anything profound to add about my views on abortion rights–they’ve been more eloquently expressed already. But, I have a story…

    When I was a chaplain at a hospital that performed late term abortions, I thought about this a lot, especially when I had to walk past the protestors who gathered outside the building once a month.

    I remember a Catholic woman who found out she had a tough cancer when she was 21 weeks pregnant. Should she wait three weeks and deliver early, hoping the baby would live? Should she abort and start the radiation immediately?

    I was scared to death to talk to her and her family and prayed the whole walk to her hospital room. But, when I got there, she, her husband, and parents had such peace about the ultimate decision (to terminate the pregnancy and begin raditation the next day). A room that could have been full of anguish, worry, and fear was filled with peace and light. A wonderful gift of the Spirit to a family who had a long journey ahead of them.

  36. I wrote a post about where I stand on abortion rights over at FMH and titled it “The Pro-Love Movement.” It covers some of the issues you mention here, especially the question “Can’t a person be both?”

  37. gladtobeamom says:

    For me it all comes down to motive. That can be deeply personal. I think there is a lot of choices that should remain available to women though I deeply disagree with partial birth abortions, abortions to choose sex and teenagers being able to have an abortion without their parents permission or knowledge. There are so many different circumstances. In some cases I believe the choice was already made when the women had intercourse and in some they are not given the choice such as in cases of rape.

    I attended a fireside where a girl who had been raped choose to have the baby and give it for adoption. That was great for her. Each situation can be so different. So again it comes down to motive. Is is selfish, or self serving I believe it is wrong. If it is best in cases of health and wellfare it is not.

  38. JohnW says:

    Oh, I’m interested in the idea of teenagers needing parental permission. I’m wondering if that should be the case if the teenager in question is above the legal age of consent or marriageable age.

  39. Caroline says:

    John, I recently voted that a teenager should not have to get parents’ permission to have an abortion.

    I think in the vast majority of cases, it would be very good for the teen to get that permission, but I’m concerned for the girls that suffered incest or have abusive fathers. I would hate to put those vulnerable girls in an even more dangerous position.

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