Eleven Inane and Insulting Anti-abortion Arguments (and How I Shed the Shamers)

Eyeroll memeIf recent right-wing insanity has driven you over the edge and you’ve decided to tell the world that you think Planned Parenthood is a good place or abortion care is a good thing (or even decided to share a personal story), you will need to get prepared for the muck that’s likely to get slung your way. Fortunately, once you move beyond your inner circle of people who matter, much of what flies through the air will be ignorant comments and insults from people who don’t. As someone who is public about why I am pro-abortion, and about my own story, here are eleven lame shaming themes I’ve encountered, along with my responses.

  1. You should be against abortion because you exist.
    Example: How would you feel if your mother aborted you? (comment)

    How would I feel? I wouldn’t. Try this exercise: How would you feel if your mother had partnered up with someone other than your dad? How would you feel if she had a headache the night you would have been conceived? How would you feel if she had rolled over in the opposite direction after sex on that key night in history and a different sperm got to the egg first? Hint: People who don’t exist don’t have feelings.

  2. It’s a baaaby.
    Example: “It is a tragedy that Tarico killed her first-born because she wanted a ‘better baby.’” (LifeNews) “These babies, and we all KNOW these are babies, have committed no crimes, yet you and yours sentence them to a horrible, painful death.” (comment)

    First “born”? Uh, no. That was the whole point. My firstborn (who exists only because of my abortion) is now a junior in college and, although I’ve had my moments, I’ve never once tried to kill her. But the LifeNews writer’s slip perfectly reflects the anti-abortion movement’s inability to tell a fetus from a child. Zygote, blastocyst, embryo, fetus: To Pro-life advocates they’re all babies or pre-born children. They use these words over and over, as if repeating them often enough will somehow make us all decide that an acorn is actually an oak tree and having a carton of eggs in the fridge is the same as owning a dozen chickens.
  3. If it’s human, it’s a person.
    Example: The fetus is alive and has human parents and human DNA so we know they are human. After this people will come up with conflicting arbitrary definitions of what makes a human a person. The only definition that makes sense is that someone becomes a human at conception because that is the only meaningful change in someone’s life. (BennyW) “How could a human individual not be a human person?” (Pope John Paul)

    At one point, Pro-lifers co-opted the Dr. Seuss phrase, “A person’s a person no matter how small”, from the book, Horton Hears a Who. Seuss’s widow Audrey Geisel, a long-time supporter of Planned Parenthood, was not pleased. In the book, the phrase refers to tiny people who sing and shout and live in community with each other and who value their own lives and world. That’s what makes them people—not sharing Horton the elephant’s species.

    Even children recognize that human and person are two different concepts. That is why we are able to imagine a Seuss character or fictional extra-terrestrial like Wall-E, or even an intelligent animal like a dolphin as a sort of person with moral standing. What makes personhood is the ability to feel; to have preferences, desires and intentions; to be aware and even self-aware; to live in relation to others; and to value our own existence. Fetal “personhood” trivializes each of these.

  4. If you’re capable of abortion, you’re capable of killing anyone.
    Examples: “Not sure why we need to put time limits on these things? 3 months . . . 3 years, by all the arguments listed above we should be able to snuff out the kid whenever it becomes convenient.” “If somebody is making things inconvenient for you just slaughter them. Kind of like ISIS.” “To quote Mother Teresa – If a mother can kill her own child, what is left for me to kill you and you to kill me? There is nothing between.” (comments)

    Look around you. Almost a third of the women you know over age 40 have had an abortion—and many of them have had several. How many of them do you think have killed an infant? Infanticide was practiced regularly on every continent by our ancestors who had no other means to control their fertility, but where people have access to modern contraceptives and abortion, infanticide becomes exceedingly rare. Most people have little trouble differentiating abortion from murder and they instinctively choose abortion over infanticide just as they choose contraception over abortion when both are freely available.
  5. You must be a bad mom, and your kids would think differently of you if they knew about your abortion.
    Example: How does your daughter feel knowing that you killed her sibling? (comment)

    One of my daughters wouldn’t exist without my abortion and the other one adores her. How do they feel about my abortion? Grateful. The Christian Right constantly slurs women who have ended pregnancies by suggesting that we love our children less—or are incapable of loving children at all. In reality, the vast majority of women who have abortions either already are or go on to be devoted moms. Six in ten women who have an abortion already have a child. In fact, our commitment to mothering is why many of us choose to end an unsought or unhealthy pregnancy.

  6. God loves each and every precious “snowflake.”
    Example: “God doesn’t make mistakes. God makes miracles happen.” (comment) “The Magisterium of the church has constantly proclaimed the sacred and inviolable character of every human life, from its conception to its natural end.” (Pope John Paul)

    If God doesn’t make mistakes, the existence of babies with no brain or no limbs or a teeny, slow-suffocation quantity of lung would suggest that He’s a rather big jerk. In these situations, prayers for healing fall on deaf ears. Miracles are on the rise, but only because compassionate doctors fix God’s mistakes by repairing defective infant hearts and palates and other incapacitating deformities.

    If every snowflake is precious in His sight, God has a peculiar way of showing it, because spontaneous abortion is a critical part of reproduction—one of the key mechanisms for producing healthy babies. Most fertilized eggs self-abort at some point before maturing into babies—billions to date. Why? Spontaneous abortion stacks the odds in favor of healthy babies being born to healthy moms who will be able to nurse them. Therapeutic abortion supplements spontaneous abortion when the natural “abortion mill” in a woman’s uterus fails to identify and expel an ill-conceived pregnancy.

  7. If you abort a defective fetus, you can’t respect or value people with disabilities.
    Examples:You aborted a baby that *might* have been blind? All the blind people in the world, and Helen Keller, spit at your selfishness. Shame on you. What on earth will you do if your child ever becomes disabled? Kill her?” (comment) “Valerie, I hope that someday you will know the kind of joy that my “bundle of risks” has brought to my life. Veronica will be 26 tomorrow. She will never walk, talk, see normally, feed herself, be toilet trained, etc. She has the mental ability of a nine-month-old. It is my privilege to care for her each day.” (comment)

    Pro-lifers forget that to many of us, a fetus is a potential child like the countless potential children we have said “no” to by abstaining from sex or using birth control. For me and my husband, who see it this way, it would have violated our moral values to carry forward a fetus infested with parasites, as in our first pregnancy, or one with knowable genetic defects, which we ruled out in the second. Would we have loved and cared for a baby born blind or a child who got injured along the way? Of course! What a bizarre and insulting question! Fencing my yard and teaching my kid not to play in traffic doesn’t mean I would abandon her if she were to get hit by a car.
  8. Women like you are naïve victims who need protection from your own ignorance.
    Example: “. . . once a father or a mother who are seeking an abortion see an ultrasound, it’s true that upwards of 90 percent of them decide not to have an abortion.” (Rachel Campos-Duffy) If abortion were not legal, I never would have chosen to have one.” (anti-abortion activist Hannah Rose Allen)

    Forced ultrasounds, scripted warnings of (false) abortion risks, legally-mandated descriptions of fetal development . . . . According to the latest anti-abortion strategy, the only way to protect hapless females from physical and psychological harm is to take the choice out of our hands. How inconvenient that abortion is far, far safer than childbearing, which kills 800 American women each year.

    In other disappointing news for Pro-lifers, women who have abortions don’t suffer increased rates of anxiety and depression. Also, in contrast with Campos-Duffy’s fabricated statistic, 98 percent of women who see the images from a mandatory ultrasound go through with their abortion, meaning they know their own minds. It’s true that deciding to end or carry forward a budding life is a big deal. And like any big decision, some women or men will regret their choice. But 90 percent of women report that the primary emotion after their abortion was relief and, even among those with mixed feelings, 80 percent still say that the choice was right for them.

  9. Abortion is selfish.
    Example: “There is no better example of selfishness leading to an even greater evil act; the destruction of an innocent human life. This selfishness is so obvious and disgusting that abortion proponents manufacture and inflate all sorts of ridiculous situations to make their case as though the only option is to kill.” (comment)

    Set aside the fact that on a planet denuded by human need, one on which almost 20,000 children starve to death each day, it can feel selfish to have a baby . . . . Yes, choosing, instead, to finish high school is selfish. Choosing to save for a reliable car or first month’s rent is selfish. Choosing to join the military is selfish. Choosing to become a teacher or doctor or engineer or artist is selfish. Choosing to prioritize time with your husband is selfish. Choosing bubble baths and bedtime stories with the kids you already have is selfish. But choosing not to do these things can also be selfish!

    I could go on the offense here: Choosing to spend your time and money pursuing the (dubious) bliss of heaven is selfish. So is “letting go and letting God” manage decisions (like parenthood) that are your responsibility. So is trying to impose what seems best for you on everyone else. Everything we do is selfish to some degree. That doesn’t mean our decisions can’t also be wise, prudent, loving, brave, generous or altruistic.

  10. A child is the punishment you get for slutting around.
    Examples: “You should keep your legs together.” (comment) “Your lack of control over your own hormones, stupidity, carelessness, laziness and inconsiderateness created another life within you.” (comment) “[Better birth control would] turn our girls into whores (like you) who are as well versed in preventing pregnancy as any working girl.” (comment) “She should have to deal with the consequences.” (comment)

    I confess, I’ve never been able to wrap my brain around this one. On the one hand we are told that every child is a blessing, no matter how ill-conceived. On the other, we are told that a child is what slutty sluts deserve for having sex outside of marriage. Even more twisted: If you got raped, the baby is a blessing. If you had sex of your own free will, it’s what you had coming. Can we at least pick one or the other?
  11. God hates abortion even more than He hates fags.
    Example:“God HATES those who shed innocent blood!” (J. Melton)

    Given that women have been ending ill-timed pregnancies for millennia, the Bible is remarkably quiet about abortion, with a few vague references that together can be interpreted in either direction. One writer even prescribes a rather nasty abortion potion. Mercifully, a growing percent of people, including many Christians, don’t think the Bible is the perfect word of God. More and more see human handprints all over it, especially in its demeaning passages about women.

Someday unintended pregnancy may be a thing of the past, and abortion may be largely obsolete. Until then, millions of us will be guided by our own moral values and life goals to end pregnancies we believe are ill-conceived, so that we can devote our lives to the people and dreams that we hold most dear. If God’s self-appointed messengers insist on arguing and insulting and shaming us–well, that’s their choice to make, just as we make ours.

Valerie Tarico is a psychologist and writer in Seattle, Washington. She is the author of Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light and Deas and Other Imaginings, and the founder of www.WisdomCommons.org.  Her articles about religion, reproductive health, and the role of women in society have been featured at sites including AlterNet, Salon, the Huffington Post, Grist, and Jezebel.  Subscribe at ValerieTarico.com.

About Valerie Tarico

Seattle psychologist and writer. Author - Trusting Doubt; Deas and Other Imaginings.
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27 Responses to Eleven Inane and Insulting Anti-abortion Arguments (and How I Shed the Shamers)

  1. lbwoodgate says:

    Hang in there Valerie. You have a lot of support out here that’s behind you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lbwoodgate says:

    “If you’re capable of abortion, you’re capable of killing anyone”

    Actually, in some cases, it seems that the women that kill their children are the ones who carry their pregnancies to full term and actually raise kids for several years. Yes there is a mental deficiency here but it appears to revolve around a desire to have no children to deal with. Had the abortion option been less stressing for some of these unfortunate women I wonder if these horrific incidences would have been averted.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Susan says:

    It really bothers me to see these “prolife” billboards that tell us that a fetus has fingers days after conception, and then they show a picture of a cute smiling infant, with a bow in her hair, not the days-old fetus. Truth in advertising should prevent this.

    Valerie, thank you for your bravery, and for your common-sense analysis of these hackneyed anti-abortion comments.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. godfreydebouillon says:

    More and more, the ‘pro-birthers’ strike me as those who have bought into what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called ‘cheap grace’. It’s a no-cost way of convincing themselves (and futilely trying to convince others) what Good People they are.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Melinda Wilson says:

    Thanks for the analysis of the many faces of the pro-lifers. I’ve cut off friendships from good friends and even a few close relatives because of their pro-choice bigotry. I’ve engaged in serious debates with these people – all to no avail. They screech out all of the reasons against abortions that you listed. My mother at age 17 gave birth to me; she was unmarried and chose not to marry but to remain at home with her mother. As I grew up she always thought that my congenital heart condition was due to God punishing her for her “sin.” Early on, I knew this God was simply a nasty, mean spirited male. So growing up as a fundamental Christian, at age 18 I converted to a “born-again” atheist, where at age 69 I remain. I’ve tried explaining my pro-choice viewpoint, using most of your solid explanations as you described. To no avail with these people. I marvel at their mentality. How in the world do they presume it to be their business what a woman does with her own body, and more mysterious, how do they know when a woman does have an abortion? Do women go around bragging about their procedures, is there a general broadcast that is put out whenever a woman is scheduled for an abortion? What about all of those photographs of abortion clinics with a large sign on the building stating, “Abortion Clinic.” Since when is a health procedure advertised so blatantly??? Going back to the rationale that I exist because my mother chose not to abort me, I have attempted to discuss with pro-lifers my opinion on this idea, that I have no opinion on it because if I had been aborted, the question is moot. And I have argued with people that my mother indeed should have aborted me because her life would have had more quality, for certain. The people to whom I have made this statement deliberately turn it around, interpreting that I’m depressed and wish I’d never been born. Pro-choice people can’t “educate” these people who as a nonprofessional I deem to be mentally disturbed. Thanks for your essay on this topic. My hope is that many more people will think pro-choice. It would indeed be a disaster if Roe v. Wade were overturned.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing your story and perspective. I understand how you can say, My mother shouldn’t have had to sacrifice her life–and in that sense it would have been better if I wasn’t born — while still cherishing your own life.

      I do wish more women were able and willing to talk openly about their childbearing decisions, as I think that is the only way we will get past the shame and stigma. But as in the early gay rights movement, right now speaking openly is an act of defiance. It feels and is risky, and not everyone can afford to do so.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. wostraub says:

    Valerie, your “snowflake” argument is spot-on. Something like 106 billion human beings have been born into this world, with roughly 20% having undergone spontaneous abortion by God before birth. That’s about 20 billion human snowflakes by my calculations, certainly far more than the number of people God killed in the Noachian flood. “Pro-life,” my ass, although abortion critics will simply argue that God has every right to take away life for whatever reason he deems fit.

    If abortion is seen as the murderous prevention of life, then every wifely headache, every condom, every “I’m too tired tonight”, every IUD and every instance of successful “rhythm” or premature withdrawal constitutes a murder. What a barbaric world these pro-lifers live in.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. And as I understand the science, if you include fertilized eggs that fail to implant or that self- abort within the first few days, that number jumps from 20 billion to 60 billion.


      • Sha'Tara says:

        In my opinion, these are, sadly, spurious arguments. The vital element missing from this approach relates to consciousness, the one thing that differentiates humans from any other life-form. At what point does a germinating seed become a plant? According to these arguments, only when it pokes its little green sprout out of the soil. Couldn’t be more wrong. When the shell cracks open in the soil, there’s your plant. Terminating consciousness is terminating life. But since “science” so-called is impotent to deal with this vital aspect of human life, people choose to ignore it and basically make fun of the whole aspect.

        I don’t support “pro-lifers” because they obviously are hypocrites, control freaks and have no interest (exceptions accepted) in protecting life. If they had any interest in saving lives they would be very vocal opposing corporations and the military that kill over 40,000 innocent lives daily, mostly little children and their mothers by denying them access to food and health care because of greedy exploitation and resultant oppression, resulting in famine and reactionary violence.

        The best pro-life arguments I’ve seen so far in these comments are those supporting sex education and full, free (or cheap) access to effective methods of contraception.

        Bashing one’s enemies and mocking their ignorance only pushes them deeper into their corner. It actually justifies them, making them think they are martyrs for a real cause. Totally counterproductive.

        “There are two things which cannot be attacked in front: ignorance and narrow-mindedness. They can only be shaken by the simple development of the contrary qualities. They will not bear discussion.” (Lord Acton)


      • Thanks, Sha’Tara. I agree that the best anti-abortion approach is more knowledge and better contraception. I think of these arguments as having internal value, not external value. Actually arguing with Pro-lifers is pointless, and I could have done a better job making that clear.


      • Sha'Tara says:

        and my reply to you is, I spent a very bad afternoon thinking about how harsh I was in that response. I sincerely apologize to you… and everybody. Again, sorry. I am learning a lot here and I appreciate this blog. Thanks for all your hard work.


  7. Hi, Valerie
    Have you considered the possibility that anti-abortion arguments shouldn’t be taken at face value? I say that because they start with a conclusion and then desperately attempt to find any means available (no matter how rubbish) to justify the diktat.
    My observation on these debates, being connected to countries where not too long ago abortion (and birth control) were banned, is that going deeper we can trace it back to the very basic patriarchal notion of control.
    Anti-abortion-ism is actually about social order, hierarchy and the systematic subjugation of women.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think you are absolutely right. If you say, “Hey — we know how to dramatically reduce abortion via comprehensive sex ed and long acting contraceptives” then the anti-abortion folks change their tune and start talking about slutty teens and women who shouldn’t be having sex. It becomes clear that what really concerns them is controlling who has sex with whom, when, where, and for what purpose. I’ve started challenging them on comment threads by suggesting that they get involved in real abortion prevention efforts–lobbying for better sex ed, for example, or helping to make long acting contraceptives available, and when I do that they show their true colors.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. LeeAnn says:

    Speaking from a woman of the sixties who had an illegal abortion and also was forced to go to a home for unwed Mothers and coerced into relinquishing my child, I wish I had had an abortion even as horrible as it was. My Son and I have reunited but having a baby and being abused and religiously traumatized by the women at home for unwed Mothers. I would choose abortion that experience totally changed my life for the worst when having the abortion never enters my mind even though it was painful and traumatic. Of course I am not pro abortion but back then there was no birth control. I am for free birth control and for Gods sake woman please take them.


  9. allanmerry says:

    All 11 of those chosen anti-abortion viewpoints are actually complete baloney, indeed. The second of the two comments posted by Ibwoodgate (today at 3:59 am) caught my eye. (Hey, 4 AM? Who are you folks who stay up all night anyway? Few of us Old folks. :-) Probably there are some factual statistics that could be sourced to support Ibwoodgate’s supposition, Poor women who have bourn and begun raising children might later kill their offspring at higher rate because they (and their households) have less recourse to abortion care and less choice for other reasons; AND because their lives are general more fraught and stressful- “crazy making” – in numerous other ways too. Next, my note on “argument #6:” The bottom line Answer is, to date, There is no GOD, OK? (OOps, I’m being sarcastic there.) Engraved Tablets and spoken or written worlds are NO EVIDENCE. Current progress in Science has positively shown that the live individual Human brain is commonly capable of unreal hallucinations of myriad kinds. Back to the Modern Human and ever since. There is no real world evidence whatsoever, to date, that a Godlike entity exists. Unless and until science actually apprehends and confirms the existence of some as yet unknown “Cosmic mechanics” entity: a new Force, Particle, Wave, Field, etc. That conceivably could open a new line of Cosmological research. An addition to tool kit of Real World Physics. That which has been responsible of ever stinking bit of progress in human physical life support to date. OK, so my closing Mantra: I often call myself a “Tentative” Atheist- (but a Committed Tentative Atheist) – only because of that slim possibility. The Scientific Method is a mystery to the masses (sorry to say), and a great lot of pseudo science is created as a result. There IS a bright line between Serious Philosophy and Real Science. The two fields inform one another, but the ongoing pursuit of what is real is science alone.


  10. Troy Stark says:

    Valerie, the objection to abortion in #3 reminded me of a book I found very interesting: Damasio is the author, a cognitive neuroscience expert, and the book is named “Self Comes to Mind”. It is an excellent description of what is currently known regarding consciousness and the author’s theory of how consciousness develops…. in short: we are not born as conscious as we will likely become and among adults, we are not all as fully conscious, or even as much a fully developed person, as some others. I do enjoy the more developed people – thanks for your “Away Point”.


  11. Lowell Bushey says:

    Hi, Valerie,

    Great essay! I like the acorn/oak tree and egg/chicken analogies. An acorn is a fertilized egg, any egg that has the “white thing” in the yolk is also fertilized. You also made a good point that “Even children recognize that human and person are two different concepts.” (The “pro-life” people, not so much. :))


  12. allanmerry says:

    Valerie, I forgot a bit that I meant to include in my Monday comment. Where I opined on the relation of science and philosophy. Here, my proposition is probably related must closely to your “Argument No. 3.” If it’s Human it’s a Person. That illustrates the line between science and Philosophy. “Life” has quite satisfactorily been defined scientifically, including the “Human” variety. (Actually, in one entirely consistent formulation, there is no real divide between the organic and inorganic- i.e. not “lifelike”- realms. It is a continuum all made out of the same “set” of “cosmic supplies:” Matter and energy, and all their permutations. Anyway, OK, so a sperm is labled Human within that context. Maybe we will eventually even learn more specifically when a “human in formation” first experiences some form of consciousness. Yet, the question whether we must never intentionally kill any entity that can be deemed part of a Human is completely a Philosophic subject. A matter of choice in the structure of human social organization. And one among a million like it that the Human species is enabled to make and necessarily must entertain. On it’s Own, here in the absence of any apprehendable evidence that a “higher power” exists to dictate or advise in our choices, Until then, to dissent from abortion, one must understand that is nothing more than one’s personal choice. One may disagree with another’s choice but none have any natural right to call it wrong, nor to torment the other. Philosophy entitles you to form your opinion and to advocate it; and the study of Philosophy helps in forming reasonable viewpoints if one wants to promote them. This is also to say that communal standards about things like abortion reside in the “political” sphere. And advocacy of such opinions has no right of appeal to any natural “law.” OK, one last throw in: “Argument “No 4″ -” If you abort, you’re capable of killing anyone.” And the point is?? Indeed you and I are capable of that, whatever our opinions about abortion.. And an abortion opponent is just as capable of actually killing someone else, for any of myriad complex personal reasons. (Have evidence to the contrary about that asserted “fact?” Feel free to declare it. But cite your “source,” so that it can be examined and it’s validity judged.


  13. Gunther says:

    I have some arguments to be used against anti-abortionists:

    Item 4. “:If you’re capable of abortion, you’re capable of killing anyone.”

    1) We train soldiers to kill anyone and anything. Remember the book Kill anything that moves which was about the US Military in the Vietnam War committing widespread murder. How many pregnant women died from US firepower or force the women into pre-labor of a child before its tme and the woman and/or baby died prematurely?

    2) There are stories on the internet about cops these days where they are physically abusing pregnant women. Can you accuse them of trying to commit abortion?

    4) Corporations kill about 3,000 people every year from food poisoning; kill about 45,000 Americans every year by denying them health care and 74 people died in the GM cars due to . efective ignition switches and the company knew about it but took no corrective action? How many pregnant women died from affordable health care?

    5) The NRA and the gun lobbyists is pushing their own items to weaken or eliminate gun control laws in all 50 states. How many pregnant women died from all this lobbying?

    Item #6 God loves each and every precious “snowflake.”

    Yeah, then why the USA has one of the highest homicide rate in the world compare to other first world countries. Remember Newton massacre, Virginian Tech, Columbine, the multiple deadly shootings in places like Chicago especially on the weekend?

    Item #7 If you abort a defective fetus, you can’t respect or value people with disabilities.

    People including cops have no respect or value people with disabilities. You look at private schools and charter schools in the way they can cherry pick their students so they don’t have to accommodate special need kids or kids with disabilities. In addition, you have people parking in areas design for disabled drivers and don’t care if they are breaking the law. Furthermore, when corporations and wealthy people causes disabilities among the general population through various means, they tried to avoid paying any kind of compensation for the damages they cause. Finally, you have many government agencies throughout the country refusing to modified the entry and exit entries of their buildings to accommodate the disabled people.

    Item # 11. God hates abortion even more than He hates fags.

    Asks these anti-abortionists if they have any kind of written statement from God where God stated that he hates both abortion and fags.

    I leave you with these thoughts.


  14. richardzanesmith says:

    With these arguments you address, Valerie, I’m right with you. They’re each coming from a place of hostility and judgement, not from a love of humanity (or why would you be so hated?) Maybe philosophically,though,I struggle with the greyer areas on this subject …the dawn of life is not some magical doorway one walks through, a womb from which on one side is non-human-but once born, or removed(C-section) voila! vital human…THIS is the part internally where i find no resolution about. Extremely late term abortions (abortions of those old enough for C-section birth) though rare, is ethically still awful, even when it is the legal choice of a woman. Even those of us most passionately pro-choice OUGHT to also feel something distressing about these and do what we can to assure they are extremely rare.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you 100%, Richard. I think that personhood exists on a continuum, and some morally relevant qualities begin to emerge during gestation. I’m not aware of any state that permits abortion after the second trimester other than to terminate a pregnancy that will never grow into a child (e.g. a fetus that is developing without a brain or without lungs) — or to save the life of the mother. Are you aware of exceptions to this?

      Liked by 1 person

      • richardzanesmith says:

        thanks Valerie, I really am unaware of the laws and where they draw lines. That is good to know…THAT is the part i’ve always had the toughest time with…i gotta tell you…I’m a softy and I just love holding tiny newborns! :-)


  15. mysanal says:

    Reblogged this on Mysa.


  16. Mr. Militant Negro says:

    Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™.


  17. Elaine says:

    Dear Valerie Tarico,

    I do not know if you will ever read this reply, but here goes, anyhow…

    I am writing this comment as a thank you – to thank you for your heartfelt openness, your tolerance and pragmatism. To thank you for giving women – some of whom might otherwise be stigmatized and marginalized because of their life choices – a voice.

    I came across your post whilst undertaking University research into the horrible phenomenon known as “slut-shaming” (which, from my perspective, is little more than bullying). I have a background and qualification in Psychology, also in Social Work, and am currently undertaking postgraduate research in the field of applied Social Science. Believe me, such fields of study and practice likely benefit hugely from enquiring and open-minded practitioners such as yourself.

    Unless a person has faced an issue such as abortion personally, it is often very hard for them to understand and to empathise with. I suspect that many pro-lifers are the types of ignorant and complacent people who go about thinking “well, it will never happen to me”! One cannot help but wonder just what decision THEY would make if they DID find themselves pregnant as a result of rape; or pregnant and penniless, abandoned by the child’s father; or pregnant with a child that, if born, would exist only in a persistent vegetative state. Hmmm… I suspect that some might well change their views. Others, methinks, would have the child but then instantly turn all “Pontias Pilate” and wash their hands of the child by fobbing it off for adoption (hardly caring or responsible!).

    Unless we as a society comprehend the multitudinous, and often intersecting, reasons why women have abortions, then not a one of us has any right to comment upon whether abortion should be considered “wrong”. Reasons can include anything from being raped; being a victim of incest; being coerced or threatened into non-consensual sex (not quite obvious rape, but definitely assault, and in my eyes rape); getting accidentally pregnant because they knew little about sex (maybe because they had learning disabilities, or lived in a strictly religious family); being unable to sustain a pregnancy to full term (due, perhaps, to disability or illness); getting pregnant whilst in a relationship of domestic violence, and being terrified of what the man might do to the child… I ask, does anyone truly feel they have the right (god given, or otherwise) to criticise and condemn women whose life circumstances they probably know nothing about? It strikes me that naysayers, anti-abortionists and pro-lifers often open their mouths long before they have engaged their brains, and undertaken any real thinking about why it is that some women end up having abortions. Seems like a lack of empathy may be somewhat of an issue!

    Hence my own studies of “slut-shaming”. I note an innate societal hypocrisy when it comes to human values. Lots of humans appear to have the philosophy “do as I say and not as I do”! They will criticise other people for what they see them doing, whilst simultaneously committing errors, or even deliberately misbehaving, themselves. So, you may get a woman who is a racist, who rushed into marriage then separated jus as quickly from her husband, and whose children underperformed at school criticizing another woman who had an abortion, who chose career over kids, or who likes to do “masculine” things like ride a motorbike or get tattoos. I mean, WHO, in this scenario is to blame? And THAT is why I study “slut-shaming”. Because many of the women calling other women “sluts” have no better, but sometimes worse, relationship morals themselves.

    And that’s what you get with the abortion naysayers! Hypocrisy! Don’t they realise that being judgmental is equally as much a “character flaw” or “moral failing” as is having an abortion, getting tattoos, listening to Punk music, being a career woman, having an inter-racial marriage, being open about your sexuality… etc. etc. … and all the myriad of other things that judgmental people like to snark about?

    Maybe the work of the scientific and research community can begin to correct some of these hypocritical societal attitudes? I live forever in hope!


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