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Abortion, Right and Wrong, By Rachel Richardson Smith


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  • #320014

    “Abortion, Right and Wrong,” by Rachel Richardson Smith

    http://novella.mhhe.com/sites/0072882220/student_view0/additional_reading42/index.html

    This essay was writing back in the 1980s and remains the most insightful single piece of writing on the topic I’ve read, if you know of something better please do share.

    Sad part is it keeps getting eliminated, cleansed from public view.  It used to be in a much used college Writing text book, my first encounter with it in the mid 90s – then it got cleansed out of the text book during a reprint.  I actually wrote them a complaint at the time and even received a nothing response that amounted to: ‘So what, its done’

    I used to be able to find it at a couple websites, but with time it seems to keep getting scrubbed from them, now I find it’s been scrubbed from another one – so in the name of American Freedom of Speech and right to the exchange of intelligent ideas:

    Abortion, Right and Wrong
    By Rachel Richardson Smith

    I cannot bring myself to say I am in favor of abortion. I don’t want anyone to have one. I want people to use contraceptives and for those contraceptives to be foolproof. I want people to be responsible for their actions, mature in their decisions. I want children to be loved, wanted, well cared for.

    I cannot bring myself to say I am against choice. I want women who are young, poor, single or all three to be able to direct the course of their lives. I want women who have had all the children they want or can afford or their in bad marriages or destructive relationships to avoid being trapped by pregnancy.

    So these days when thousands rally in opposition to legalized abortion, when facilities providing abortions are bombed, when the president speaks glowingly of the growing momentum behind the anti-abortion movement, I find myself increasingly alienated from those pro-life groups.

    At the same time, I am overwhelmed with mail from pro-choice groups. They, too, are mobilizing their forces, growing articulate in support of their cause, and they want my support. I am not sure I can give it.

    I find myself in the awkward position of being both anti-abortion and pro-choice. Neither group seems to be completely right—or wrong. It is not that I think abortion is wrong for me but acceptable for someone else. The question is far more complex than that.

    Part of my problem is that what I think and how I feel about this issue are two entirely different matters. I know that unwanted children are often neglected, even abandoned. I know that making abortion illegal will not stop all women from having them.
    I also know from experience the crisis an unplanned pregnancy can cause. Yet I have felt the joy of giving birth, the delight that comes from feeling a baby’s skin against my own. I know how hard it is to parent a child and how deeply dissatisfying it can be. My children sometimes provoke me and cause me endless frustration, but I can still look at them with tenderness and wonder at the miracle of it all. The lessons of my own experience produce conflicting emotions. Theory collides with reality.

    It concerns me that both groups present themselves in absolutes. They are committed and they want me to commit. They do not recognize that gray area where I seem to be languishing. Each group has the right answer—the only answer.

    Yet I am uncomfortable in either camp. I have nothing in common with the pro-lifers. I am horrified by their scare tactics, their pictures of well-formed fetuses tossed in a metal pan, their cruel slogans. I cannot condone their flagrant misuse of Scripture and unforgiving spirit. There is meanness about their position that causes them to pass judgment on the lives of women in a way I could never do.

    The pro-life groups, with their fundamentalist religious attitudes, have a fear and an abhorrence of sex, especially premarital sex. In their view abortion only compounds the sexual sin. What I find incomprehensible is that even as they are opposed to abortion they are also opposed to alternative solutions. They are squeamish about sex education in the schools. They don’t want teens to have contraceptives without parental consent. They offer little aid or sympathy to unwed mothers. They are the vigilant guardians of a narrow morality.

    I wonder how abortion got to be the greatest of all sins? What about poverty, ignorance, hunger, weaponry?

    The only thing the anti-abortion groups seem to have right is that abortion is indeed the taking of human life. I simply cannot escape this one glaring fact. Call it what you will—fertilized egg, embryo, fetus. What we have here is human life. If it were just a mass of tissue there would be no debate. So I agree that abortion ends a life. But the anti-abortionists are wrong to call it murder.

    The sad truth is that homicide is not always against the law. Our society does not categorically recognize the sanctity of human life. There are a number of legal and apparently socially acceptable ways to take human life. There are a number of legal and apparently socially acceptable ways to take human life. “Justifiable” homicide includes the death penalty, war, killing in self-defense. It seems to me that as a society we need to come to grips with our own ambiguity concerning the value of human life. If we are to value and protect unborn life so stringently, why do we not also value and protect life already born?

    Why can’t we see abortion for the human tragedy it is? No woman plans for her life to turn out that way. Even the most effective contraceptives are no guarantee against pregnancy. Loneliness, ignorance, immaturity can lead to decisions (or lack of decisions) that may result in untimely pregnancy. People make mistakes.

    What many people seem to misunderstand is that no woman wants to have an abortion. Circumstances demand it; women do it. No woman reacts to abortion with joy. Relief, yes. But also ambivalence, grief, despair, guilt.

    The pro-choice groups do not seem to acknowledge that abortion is not a perfect answer. What goes unsaid is that when a woman has an abortion she loses more than an unwanted pregnancy. Often she loses her self-respect. No woman can forget a pregnancy no matter how it ends.

    Why can we not view abortion as one of those anguished decisions in which human beings struggle to do the best they can in trying circumstances? Why is abortion viewed so coldly and factually on the one hand and so judgmentally on the other? Why is it not akin to the same painful experience families must sometimes make to allow a loved one to die?

    I wonder how we can begin to change the context in which we think about abortion. How can we begin to think about it preemptively? What is it in the trauma of loss of life—be it loved, born or unborn—from which we can learn? There is much I have yet to resolve. Even as I refuse to pass judgments on other women’s lives, I weep for the children who might have been. I suspect I am not alone.

    Abortion, Right and Wrong
    By Rachel Richardson Smith

     

     

    #320015

    I wonder how abortion got to be the greatest of all sins? What about poverty, ignorance, hunger, weaponry?

    #320019

    By Rachel Richardson Smith:

    … The pro-choice groups do not seem to acknowledge that abortion is not a perfect answer. What goes unsaid is that when a woman has an abortion she loses more than an unwanted pregnancy. Often she loses her self-respect. No woman can forget a pregnancy no matter how it ends.

    Why can we not view abortion as one of those anguished decisions in which human beings struggle to do the best they can in trying circumstances? Why is abortion viewed so coldly and factually on the one hand and so judgmentally on the other? Why is it not akin to the same painful experience families must sometimes make to allow a loved one to die?

    I wonder how we can begin to change the context in which we think about abortion. How can we begin to think about it preemptively? What is it in the trauma of loss of life—be it loved, born or unborn—from which we can learn? There is much I have yet to resolve. Even as I refuse to pass judgments on other women’s lives, I weep for the children who might have been. I suspect I am not alone.

    I’ve heard it said that no woman is ever “happy” she’s had an abortion, nope, the emotion most have is “Relief” – the lifting of a crushing burden  (that I am in no position to judge), the feelings are rarely causal and there is a price of pain/guilt the woman carries with her  (that I am in no position to judge).

    As one of those guys who has a profoundly deep appreciation for, love of, and ability to connect with babies and young children it makes all the sense in the world to me.  There is a difference between a developing fetus   (a bundle of potentialities)   and a born child who has taken on the mantle of personhood – one that shouldn’t be denied for self-serving political purposes.

    #320407
    @widdershins
    Participant

    The truly sound thing is that those who are most against abortion are also those who are against birth control.  For the Catholic church it’s about getting more wallets in the pews.  For Republicans I think the motive is much more sinister.  As long as you can restrict access to birth control, especially making sure the poor don’t have easy access to it, that will boost the abortion numbers, which will give you a bigger devil to fight in the press.

    Just look at how Republicans have painted women on birth control in the past.  I think it was coke-head Rush Limbaugh raging against some woman’s high birth control costs and her fight to keep her insurance paying for it.  I don’t remember the details, but the cost of what she needed was outrageous.  I don’t know why.  He did a weeks long smear campaign against her, heavily insinuating to the point of almost blatantly stating that she was a whore.  Obviously the high price of her birth control meant she had to take a lot of it.  And she had to take a lot of it because she was having so much sex with so many guys.  That’s how once-daily pills work, right?  You don’t pay by the pill, you pay by the mileage you get from it, right?

    Really the demonization of women seeking abortions is just an extension of their usually much quieter demonization of women seeking any form of control of her own body.  We often forget that it is only within many of our lifetimes that “rape” became a recognized thing between married couples.  The right for women to vote isn’t much older than I am.  It was not that long ago that all decisions were made by the man of the house, the end.  And I think for a lot of the older men, that’s what they’re really pissed about losing.

    #320419

    I like that she had to take a lot more birth control because she had a lot more sex than the regular dosage could handle.

    Gotta love the disconnect from realty that they really don’t give a damned about, it’s the story you can weave that matters, not the facts.

     

    The part that blows me away is how most of the people seem absolutely okay with that.   How’s that work, particularly all those that actually do appreciate science and physical facts and rational thought process?   Or are there simply way the hell less of them than any of us rationalists are willing to admit?

    #320422

    The right for women to vote isn’t much older than I am.

    Hell USA women haven’t achieved legal equality yet.

    THE 97-YEAR-HISTORY OF THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT
    A brief history of the long battle to pass what would now be the 28th Amendment
    BY LILA THULIN

    SMITHSONIANMAG.COM | Nov. 13, 2019, 4 p.m.

    https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/equal-rights-amendment-96-years-old-and-still-not-part-constitution-heres-why-180973548/

    #320436
    @widdershins
    Participant

    The part that blows me away is how most of the people seem absolutely okay with that.

    I’ve often mused how a person can be lied to, know that it’s a lie and be so completely okay with being manipulated that they actually repeat that lie.  Only very mentally unstable Republicans ever actually believed that Bill Clinton was building concentration camps for Christians.  And even some of them had to that know something was up when Obama was still building those same camps, but for our children to be government educated so they could be indoctrinated as liberals without parental interference.  It is not only the most ridiculous claim you’re ever likely to be told with a straight face, hands down topping the alien husband story (which is, let’s face it, actually a whole lot more plausible), but it actually got recycled for a second go!

    So they must know they’re being lied to.  They must know that they are repeating a lie.  The woman who once spent 20 minutes trying to convince me that Obama’s birth certificate was a forgery and then, when I didn’t buy into that, spent another 20 minutes trying to convince me it wasn’t a birth certificate must have known that it could not be both a forged birth certificate AND a real non-birth certificate.  It can’t be both real and forged, a birth certificate and not a birth certificate.  I just don’t understand what the hell can go wrong in your head that someone can lie to your face, you know it’s a lie and you’re not only okay with being lied to, you’re not only okay with being manipulated, but you’re okay with spreading the lie.

    Hell USA women haven’t achieved legal equality yet.

    And they will not, even with the passage 28th Amendment.  So long as there is a single enforceable law on the books anywhere which establishes different rules for men and women we will never be “equal”.  And the right to go topless for women or the same legal ramifications for a man going topless isn’t making it to federal law any time soon.  Nor is the right for equal treatment for credit or insurance rates.

    #320819
    @write4u
    Participant

    This is an excellent movie about Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a force. The 85-year-old Supreme Court Justice has long fought for women’s rights, but what some people don’t know is that one of Ginsberg’s earliest cases actually sought to prove discrimination against a man. The new On the Basis of Sex trailer puts that very case — Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld — front and center. The case, in which a widower was denied his wife’s survivor benefits, is how Ginsberg got her foot in the door with gender inequality, and now it’s the basis of a dramatic feature film. Needless to say, the first On the Basis of Sex trailer will leave you feeling so inspired.

    https://www.bustle.com/p/the-ruth-bader-ginsburg-movie-trailer-is-finally-telling-the-justices-origin-story-video-9773405

    #320880
    @sree
    Participant

    What’s going on here. You people are not women. Why do you care about abortion? I see men pushing baby carriages going to the green market. Are you afraid of being targeted?  It’s so sad.

    #320920
    @mriana
    Keymaster

    They care because the woman they love, be it their wife or even daughter may need an abortion for whatever reason. I’m over childbearing years and I care because if I had had more children I could have died. The doctor said so after I had my last child, but I had him at a Catholic hospital and you know how that goes, even though I wasn’t Catholic. I also care about other women who maybe in the same or similar situation and need an abortion so they could survive or any other reason they may have. That said, all these men here believe it’s the woman’s body and she has the right to decide for herself concerning her health care. That decision should only be between her and her doctor and no one else. I don’t think the men you’re railing against are uncaring nor do I believe they’d force a woman to have a baby. IMHO, a woman should not only have the right to have her own credit care (yes, there was a time, within my lifetime, a woman couldn’t get a credit card), but also have the right to terminate any pregnancy she wants for whatever reason, as well as make an honest informed decision about it and it only be between her and her doctor and sometimes her husband, if she has one, and no one else. It’s none of your damn business if she has one or not. These man you think are afraid of being targeted probably don’t see it as being their business either. That’s not sad, it’s well informed.

    #320957
    @sree
    Participant

    Mriana, the way I see it, if men have moral fibre and didn’t mess around, women won’t need abortions. The problem is, men are weak and the women enabled them in their weakness. If we have a law giving a man forty lashes on his butt for causing an unwanted pregnancy, we won’t need Roe v Wade.

    #320963
    @mriana
    Keymaster

    Besides abortion, you have heard of birth control, right? That said, it takes two to tango, so men aren’t alone concerning having sex and making babies. Men can use condoms OR as soon as it’s available take birth control too, which they are currently working and just about have it. However, there are more reasons to have an abortion than just “messing around and getting pregnant”. Sometimes a baby is wanted, but it’s not viable, yet the mother’s body isn’t spontaneously aborting it (miscarriage), so she chooses to discontinue the pregnancy (abort it). There are a multitude of reasons to get an abortion. No one needs 40 lashes for having sex and causing an unwanted pregnancy. either.

    A good friend of mine, Valerie Tarico, wrote about her own abortion. I can’t find it now, but she was married when she had hers. The fetus was not viable due to a parasite, most often found in cat waste, if I understood correctly. That parasite would have caused the fetus and eventually a baby lifelong problems if it made it past 9 months and was born. She and her husband chose to terminate the pregnancy, even though it was a difficult decision, and months later she became pregnant with a healthy baby. She eventually had two healthy daughters. She writes a lot about abortion and reproductive rights. Here’s her story. She’s not one bit ashamed of her abortion either and neither is her husband, who supported her through it. So it’s not just about aborting unwanted fetuses. Abortion is far more than that and if you think it’s just about unwanted babies, then you’re really uninformed.

    #320971

    Besides abortion, you have heard of birth control, right?

    Mriana you simply don’t appreciate the situation.  Sex between humans is filthy act of savagery, like all them animals on the old time farmstead –  abhorrent to their sensibilities.  Do you feel it baby??????????

    Birth Control allows people to “get in touch with there feelings” – but getting in touch with their own feeling or pray telling enjoying the feeling of another  –  that’s just the worst – God would never approve.

    Unless we are making a baby – we have no business touching some else’s privates.

    They believe it will make a better world.  Just look at the celibate priests they turn out, who could want for anything more balanced and pure?

     

    Yeah, go ahead take that salt table.

    #320974
    @mriana
    Keymaster

    I was talking to Sree, but CitizenChallenge you’re really down on intimacy between two people who love each other. The act of savagery only comes into play if one is being raped. Sex doesn’t have to be a violent act.

    #320987
    @write4u
    Participant

    CC-v.3 said ; Yeah, go ahead take that salt table.

    I’m glad you dropped the hint. I’d hate to see people misrepresent your beliefs.

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