• Thu, Mar 1 2012

Why It’s Awesome That Female Lawmakers Are Penning ‘Joke’ Amendments In Response To Anti-Abortion Bills

Over the past few weeks, something curious as been happening in the world of reproductive rights. First in Virginia, then in Oklahoma, then in Georgia, female senators have responded to anti-abortion bills by offering up amendments that would affect men’s reproductive health decisions, in a kind of political tit-for-tat.

It all started in January, when Virginia lawmakers introduced a bill that would force pregnant women to get an ultrasound and be afforded the “opportunity” to see it, and to hear the fetal heartbeat, before they could get an abortion. In response, state Senator Janet Howell (D- Fairfax) formally suggested that men should be required to get a rectal exam and a cardiac stress test before they could obtain medicine for erectile dysfunction.

A week later, Oklahoma state Senator Constance Johnson (D) followed suit. In response to a bill called the Personhood Act, which defines life as beginning at conception and thus assigns full protection of the law to zygotes, Johnson proposed that the only place men should be allowed to ejaculate is into vaginas, and that if their spunk lands anywhere else, ever, it should be considered “an action against an unborn child.”

And then last week, a bill called HB 954 was introduced to the Georgia general assembly. Under HB 954, the outer limit on abortion would be lowered from 24 weeks to 20 weeks, and a woman would only be able to  get an abortion if her life was in danger or she was at risk for “substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.”

To be clear about who can and can’t terminate their pregnancy, HB 954 specifically says that a woman would not be able to get an abortion if her health or mental health is threatened, or, notably, if carrying the pregnancy will likely make her commit suicide: “No abortion is authorized or shall be performed…[if] the pregnant woman will purposefully engage in conduct which she intends to result in her death.”

I find that particularly horrible, and so, apparently, does Rep. Yasmin Neal (D-Riverdale). In response to HB 954, she suggested an amendment that would ban men from getting vasectomies. “It is patently unfair,” she said in a statement, “that men can avoid unwanted fatherhood by presuming that their judgment over such matters is more valid than the judgment of the General Assembly, while women’s ability to decide is constantly up for debate throughout the United States.”

So, here’s the takeaway: first of all, there are some scary things happening out there in regards to women’s health. And second of all, introducing amendments that inject some gender equality into this conversation is becoming a trend — and that is fucking awesome.

Here’s why. First of all, when we talk about abortion, we get so caught up in the politics of it, as well as the philosophical questions it brings up (questions that would be better addressed in a house of worship or a college class than on a Senate floor, for the record), that we tend to lose sight of one important fact: abortion is a medical procedure.

In that sense, legislating against it is just as fucked up as, say, legislating against heart surgery. Or prostate cancer surgery. Or…vasectomies.

While that may seem obvious, the problem is that we’re so used to anti-choicers slowly eradicating our access to abortion that by now, it seems downright normal. So when the Howells and Johnsons and Neals of the world write amendments like these, it puts the idea of politicians interfering in people’s medical decisions in the context it always should be in: that of the utterly absurd. [tagbox tag="Reproductive Rights"]

Another reason that this trend is so awesome (to me, anyway) is that these amendments are reminiscent of whimsical bloggers’ ideas, but brought to life. I’m not saying that anyone else can take credit for what these three women have done, but it’s the kind of thing you see regularly pondered on feminist and/or progressive websites  – “what if we did this to men?”

Well, it would be something like this. People would react with shock and awe, the story would go national, and it would generate all kinds of online response. Because it’s actually high time that someone fought back against anti-abortion laws in such a blunt and bold way. After all, the lovely folks who work daily towards reproductive freedom have already tried opposing these bills, reasoning with the people who write them, changing the public’s mind, protesting, rallying – and it hasn’t made the same impact as these amendments.

As Johnson told her fellow senators, “A lot of people thought that I was being facetious with my amendment in committee, and it was humorous and it has gotten international response, but I was serious as a heart attack. It wasn’t until I used the biological and scientific references to those functions that somebody heard it.”

Before we come to the end, here, I’d like to give a shout-out to the fact that these bills were downright funny. A mandatory rectal exam? No ejaculating except into a vagina? That is comedic gold. So not only are these ladies making a clear, coherent point about how unjust and immoral it is for politicians to step into women’s decisions about their health, they’re simultaneously proving that women can be funny. About abortion. It’s like “Bridesmaids 2″ up in here — two birds, one majestic stone.

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  • Aj

    I still can’t believe it’s 2012 and we’re arguing over women reproductive rights….I’m just in a state of shock.

    But kudos to the people like these female lawmakers who are taking stand (and making us giggle along the way.)

    • Cee

      Me either! The arguments these anti-choicers make are ridiculous. Its so sad that in this day in age we have such irrational people with a lack of any thought process save for the fervent religious zealots and their need to infringe on rights instated long ago! What will they do next? question a women’s right to vote? Desegregation of schools?..Oh the possibilities!

    • K

      Agreed – and these attacks are led by the same people who are spouting the nonsense that we’ve achieved complete equality in the US. What a joke.

  • Melissa

    Really? You’re talking about irrational? How is murdering a helpless child who’s only crime is being trapped inside the body of an irresponsible moron who can’t think of anyone other than herself? I am NOT a religious zealot. I’m actually not religious at all. But I do believe in two things: 1.) That killing people is wrong and 2.) That people should be mature enough to hold themselves accountable for their own reckless actions. If you are going to have sex, you should be prepared to accept the consequences, not behave haphazardly because if you’re in a tight situation, you could always just murder the child and be done with it.

    • Lopk

      Woman is raped and left pregnant from it, is this her own reckless actions?

      A condom breaks and the woman is left pregnant, the man can disappears but the woman has to raise the child alone or pay $ to try and find the real father

    • Christopher

      Melissa – While I agree people need to take responsibility for their actions, I have to point out some major voids in your argument.

      1. You left out women who are raped. Should a woman who was raped, have to carry a fetus to term? Should she not have the right to end the pregnancy?

      2. What about the woman’s health? If a doctor says that if the woman carries the fetus to term she could die, would you force her to find out?

      3. When does a fertilized egg become a person, medically speaking? Should a woman be charged with murder if the egg never implants into the uterine wall? The fertilized egg would never survive until it does so? (Also, to pint out here, most “morning after pills” work in this way.)

      There many other voids I could point out here…but I will stop here for now.

    • Danielle

      As has been stated in other replies, you make no provisions for rape. Nor, might I add, do you make provision for dangerous pregnancies which could result in the mother’s death. You also fail to make provisions for those who are in fact using forms of birth control that may fail. The last time I checked, there are only three forms of birth control that are 100% effective: 1.) Abstinence; 2.) Cauterizing vasectomies; and 3.) Cauterizing tubal ligation.

      What happens if another form of birth control fails, through no fault of the users? Many couples are unwilling to take permanent steps to prevent pregnancy because they may want children in the future. The morning after pill is also not 100% effective, although it does help many couples whose primary forms of birth control fail.

      While I don’t approve of using abortion as the primary form of birth control, I still prefer that someone makes a responsible choice to not bring an unwanted child into the world. Why should I – or anyone else – be allowed to choose what is best for another person?

      I am 29, and fully committed to my husband. Neither of us want children. Does that mean that we must practice abstinence, or seek surgical help for a permanent form of birth control?

    • Anne

      You’re right! We should totally have irresponsible morons who are in a tight situation and unable to hold themselves accountable for reckless actions procreating left and right! That’ll show ‘em!

  • Ash

    I completely agree with these women and what they’re not doing. I’ve long felt that if you don’t have a uterus, you should not have a say in what women can and cannot do with THEIR bodies.

    Also, can I just say, that as a 28 year old women with severe female medical problems, it drives me crazy that my three options are to: 1. Deal with the immense pain; 2. Take controversial medicine with serious side effects; or 3. Have a complete hysterectomy. Yet, there are meds for erectile dysfunction.

  • Lopk

    While I understand the “Ejaculating only into vaginas” was meant to be only a joke, it still concerns me that if something like this was taken seriously someone could use it as a way to take more rights away from GBLT people and more specifically this would completely limit the sexual activities of a homosexual male. While this does get a point across I just want them to be careful with what they say, they could unknowingly take further rights away from GBLT people without knowing it (Already too many denied to us right now)

    All I ask is for them to be careful with what they say and make sure the increased rights of one group doesn’t come at the cost of the loss of rights for another

    • Mjoll

      Anyone that is gay or straight has already broken this type of law in any state that has legislation against the act of sodomy. Sodomy isn’t just something homosexuals do. Oral sex can also be construed as sodomy.

      Lesbians obviously wouldn’t have any problems with law because they do not have penises nor do they have semen. And of course, it’s virtually impossible to a) have sex without getting a little of the man chowder on something other than the inside of her hoo haa and b) find someone to enforce this law. If they can’t enforce sodomy laws, they surely wouldn’t be able to enforce this silly law.

  • Marc

    I suspect the best way for these laws to get the attention of the mainstream is to submit them not as a joke, or with a smirk, but in complete seriousness. Get endorsements from Catholic groups. Run actual ad campaigns and fund raisers. Make it real. Instigate the kind of wild rumors and fear that came with Obama care, prompting (hopefully) a national backlash.

  • Cassandra

    Reproductive rights issues are tantamount to racial issues and gender equality, and these women are proving it. Biological processes happen every single day, affect peoples lives every day, and you, me, the general assembly, and otherwise should NOT have say. If it’s illegal for an abortion under the stipulation that a zygote, or fetus, is a human, than are misscariages murder? If that isn’t included in the laws as equally abominable, then the laws would be unfair and biased towards those who choose to medically ‘miscarry’. Reproductive health problems can be genetic, if carrying to full term could kill the mother because she has a genetic predisposition towards dangerous pregnancy, why is the baby, who’s rights as a human would be protected from abortion, free from murder charges for killing the woman who brought them life?
    Last of all EARTH’S POPULATION of humans is at 8 BILLION. I would like to propose that for each mother forced to carry a child, by our government’s laws, there be efficient resources given to give that child food, shelter, education, and all of the glorious things that these srnators against abortion expect the mothers to provide. We already have huge unemployment rates across the country, people who must survive despite their hardest efforts on welfare, and housing crisis. Why would encouraging more births benefit our country when we can’t even run a sustainable economy today??? GTFO.

    • Elizabeth

      If a woman has a genetic predisposition towards a ‘dangerous’ pregnancy that would kill her, WHY would she allow herself to get pregnant in the first place? Women who plead health issues as reasons for abortion are ignoring their responsibility to THEMSELVES to get their tubes tied and avoid the possibility of a “lethal” pregnancy. Tubal ligation is also far less risky to a woman’s health (emotional and physical) than abortion, and it’s reversable. As for those women who may be unaware they have such genetic predispositions until the pregnancy is further along, abortion should be a non-issue due to the survival rates of babies born as young as 20 weeks gestation (touch-and-go, but yes, they can survive). So if a woman’s life is in supposed “danger”, the baby can be delivered and saved rather than destroyed by late-term (or partial-birth) abortion. The argument for abortion for medical reasons is so tired it’s bordering on ridiculous, and seems to be merely a catch-all excuse for a woman to terminate her pregnancy. Emotional distress WAH! EVERY pregnant woman is in emtional distress whether the pregnany was planned or not. It just isn’t very relevant anymore. Bottom line: if a woman is finished having children or says she KNOWS she never wants children, she needs to take responsibility for her own body and get herself sterilized. It’s cheaper and less traumatic than abortion. BYW, in reference to the cartoon, I happen to be Catholic, and when I discovered I was pregnant with my first child (unmarried, 23 years old) yes, abortion ran through my mind, but I never acted on it. It’s NORMAL to panic and think things you normally wouldn’t think when you’re under stress, but that doesn’t mean you actually do it. And anti-abortion laws aren’t infringing on reproductive rights – we already HAVE the right to reproduce or not reproduce; once you become pregnant, you’ve reproduced: all your genetic material is now reproduced in a completely new entity. Done. The question is what to DO with that new entity called your offspring (son or daughter – like it or not, that’s what it is)- bring it to term or destroy it.

    • Welly

      Republican politicians: they really, really, really care about your baby… until it’s born.

    • K

      Elizabeth, are you joking? “Allow” herself to get pregnant? If she’s seeking an abortion, she didn’t want to get pregnant in the first place.

      Yeesh, take a course in logic or something.

  • Jude Humble

    The fact is that unless every person has absolute ownership UNDER THE LAW of his/her own body, it really doesn’t matter what other rights he/she is accorded. NOBODY should have the legal right to call the shots on using a woman’s body without her explicit and individual permission, no matter who they are–zygote, husband, or rapist.

    The society that gives its government the power to dictate that women CAN’T have abortions also has the power to dictate that women MUST have abortions. If that seems far-fetched, just look at China.

    For Republican presidential candidates to propose to restrict women’s reproductive rights is way outside the boundaries of true conservative principles. Especially considering they are proposing that HALF the American population lose ownership of their bodies. Maybe some conservative women think that’s just fine.

    Well, I’m conservative, and I damn well don’t.

  • Mary

    I’m a female, pre-law student, and I am also pro-life. Check out the group Feminists for Life. There is no gender equality until there are resources for women. We should not be punished because we use our reproductive systems. An unborn woman has a right to her own body too.

    • jmk

      So you would take away the rights of a person who already is, and give those rights to a person who simply may be.

  • Pink

    I would never abort a child, even if I were raped. I’m not religious but I do believe every life is precious. But I understand that not everyone believes the same, so I would never vote against a women’s right to choose. I don’t understand why other people aren’t like that, too. You should have the right to do whatever you want with YOUR own body. Just because abortion is legal doesn’t mean you will have to get one. So please, stop trying to control other people’s lives. Life your life and let other people live theirs.

    • Lauren

      Thank you. This response is great. A lot of people mix up pro-abortion and pro-choice. It’s not the same thing, and you just helped prove that. Thanks.

    • M

      Agreed. Great response.

    • Jojo

      I agree. The government should stay OUT of this. It’s a woman’s right to choose – choose whether she will carry the child or whether she will have an abortion. And I say this as a conservative, registered Republican woman.

  • Meredith

    Without even getting into the politics…this is incredible. Props to those women for having the guys to stand up for the rest of us.

  • Erin

    These “whimsical” jokes are not going to make any pro-life person change his/her mind about abortion. For pro-choicers, the issue is gender equality, but for pro-lifers, the issue is unborn children being killed. And you cannot debate against each other successfully if you can’t even agree what the debate is about.

    So in comparing banning abortion to banning vasectomies, what seems like a clever gender switch-a-roo to pro-choicers will instead provoke a response from pro-lifers of, “You have completely missed the point.” In any case, this particular joke is stupid in the fact that vasectomies would satisfy the needs of both sides — no unwanted pregnancies and no aborted fetuses.

    How about instead of making frivolous bill proposals no one can agree on, we focus on providing non-abortion resources for women like pre-conception birth control, adoption, pre-natal healthcare and other forms of support? I would think that would be something that both sides could agree on.

    • mwiz

      Except, Erin, we CAN’T agree on that.

      See: a panel of men deciding whether or not healthcare companies should provide birth control to women.
      See: lawmakers denying a woman in favor of healthcare companies providing birth control to women a seat on that panel.
      See: Rush Limbaugh calling women who want birth control sluts.

      Etc.

      It seems that conservative lawmakers want women to have access to neither affordable forms of “pre-conception birth control” or the options to terminate an unwanted or even possible dangerous pregnancy. Does the cognitive dissonance simply not compute with these people?

    • Lindsey

      Except that the pro-lifers arguments are often flared. For example, Christian fundies who purposely ignore that the Bible itself says that an unborn fetus is not the same thing as a living human being.

      And, have you honestly missed the fact that they’re ALSO trying to legislate a woman’s right to birth control, in a negative way? Or that pro-lifers rarely if ever try to legislate things to improve the foster system, adoptions, etc.? And are often the people trying to take away from the welfare system (which, say, people who can’t afford to have children, but are forced to, would need quite a bit).

    • Natasha

      I don’t think you’ve been paying attention to politics lately, or else you would know that both sides are not going to agree on ‘resources for women like pre-conception birth control” or healthcare for that matter.

    • jacquie

      and a man wouldn’t lie about having had a vasectomy in order to get laid?

  • MR

    Yep, and there’s an abortion rights war being fought on the Federal level right now. And that’s where it matters most, cause Federal law supercedes State law. The Federal Senate just voted 51-48 yesterday to kill an anti-women’s reproductive rights proposal that had originated in the Republican controlled House (posted below). Aj’s right the anti-women’s reproductive rights factions are on the move and it’s 2012 not 1972. I always liked Senator Harkin, Clinton outmaneuvered him for the Dem presidential nomination in ’92.

    http://www.omaha.com/article/20120302/LIVEWELL01/303029962/1161

  • Evelyn

    This is a terrific piece of journalism! I am sharing everywhere, thanks so much

  • Adrienne

    At least we, as Catholics, are consistent. Our religion does forbid men ejaculating anywhere but the vagina, we see the truth that life begins at conception, and we do forbid vasectomies. Whether or not you agree with abortion, the matter is such a grave one that joking about it is so inappropriate. Furthermore, the “comic” that you posted with your article is offensive. I had an “unplanned pregnancy.” I was angry, scared, and panicking. Never once did I entertain the thought of aborting that baby. I ended up holding my dead baby (13 weeks) in my hand, and having to bury him. I cannot fathom using humor regarding this topic.

    • JENNIFER CHECK

      I don’t think the author means a married unplanned pregnancy. I’m assuming you were obviously married when you got pregnant since you’re Catholic and no sex before marriage! It’s a joke about women getting pregnant and therefore flip the eff out and start to think differently.

    • Elle

      Yeah, why were you angry and scares when you had the support of your husband? And how could you be shocked when you weren’t using birth control in the first place? After all, Catholics don’t have premarital sex and they don’t use birth control, right? :) And how do you feel knowing your dead blob of cells is in hell right now because it was never confirmed?

    • K

      Thanks for the laugh! Consistency in Catholicism!

      The loss of a fetus is NOT considered, but YOUR God, to be a loss of life.

      That’s in your Bible. Perhaps you should spend more time reading your holy books and engaging in your own contemplation of your religion instead of listening to others who are lying about your religion to you.

    • JMK

      You do realize that not everyone is Catholic, right? You do realized that some people don’t even believe is God or a soul, right?

      How would you like it if someone stepped in and told you, “There is no God so there is no point in being sad over a fetus. You are going to get an abortion against your will.”

      Forcing you to get an abortion is the same as forcing a woman to have a baby against her will.

    • jp

      How can you have an ‘unplanned pregnancy’ when you are Catholic? That would imply failed contraception (and I thought contraception was a Catholic dealbreaker?) or it would imply you having unprotected sex expecting not to fall pregnant.

    • Julie Waters

      “Let’s ignore the fact that a fetus saps nutrients from the mother, potentially harming her. Let’s ignore the fact that women die each year from carrying to term. Let’s completely ignore that pregnancy is an atypical state of being for a normal human being with incredibly painful and sometimes harmful and long-lasting side-effects.”

      So…. because a fetus requires nourishment while in utero, it’s okay to destroy it? After a child is born, it requires a LOT more nourishment, energy and time then when in the womb, should we be able to ‘abort’ them then as well? I don’t understand why people think aborting a 24 week pregnancy is okay – they are viable by that point. A baby can survive if it is born at 20 weeks! I felt both my children move at around 14 weeks. Babies have a heartbeat by the time most women realize they are pregnant. When people say abortion silences a beating heart, they are not lying.

      I got pregnant at 18 and the father disappeared. I was pro-life then and I kept my son. I have never regretted it – and I am not a religious zealot. I simply value life, my own emotions, and children. I don’t know when ‘life begins’ in the womb, and I know that no one can tell me exactly when a fetus starts developing pain sensitivity, emotions, or a soul, if those do exist. And since no one can tell me, I don’t feel right about getting rid of a pregnancy. I do understand that sometimes abortion is inevitable, and my heart goes out to women who experience that – I know it is painful and emotionally damaging and I would wish that no women who wants a child would ever have to lose it. Even when you don’t want a child, keeping it is incredibly rewarding and amazing. I shudder to think that I might not have met my wonderful son just because I was young and people were telling me to get ‘it’ aborted. Well, he wasn’t an it – his name is Jake and he likes to play with our dog, go to the beach, build forts, and play with his little sister. Just the thought of missing out on him is making me tear up.

      As for pregnancy being an atypical state of being…. are you being serious? Why else would we have sex organs? Without pregnancy humans would have died out a while ago. I can’t even think of anything else to say to your that part of your comment.

    • jacquie

      yeah, and no catholic men masturbate, right?

  • leah

    I got pregnant at 17. Do you think that was an expected pregnancy? As my now 4 year old will tell you, I was then and am still now pro life. I fully believe that if a woman thinks she is in a relationship where she is willing to risk pregnancy by having sex, then she should be willing to take the risk of pregnancy. I also think it is disgusting that any woman could have an abortion at 20 weeks. I do not know why that is even an option. I could feel my girls move at 16 weeks, to feel that and then have them ripped from your womb and murdered is, in my mind, and act that should be punishable by death.

    • leah

      ** I fully believe that if a woman thinks she is in a relationship where she is willing to have sex, then she should be willing to take the risk of pregnancy.**

    • Welly

      How violated would you feel if you had been forced to have an abortion? How horrified would you feel if the government said “we don’t agree with your choice” and made a law requiring teenagers to have abortions? What if they said that you, as a female and legally a child, don’t have the capacity to make decisions for yourself, so you had no say it what happened to your body or your unborn child.

      The horror of being forced to carry a pregnancy, especially a pregnancy conceived out of painful means, is the same. Except abortion is 11 times safer than childbirth, and when abortions were illegal they accounted for 50% of maternal deaths.

      You see, making abortions illegal doesn’t stop abortions. Abortions have been around since 1550 BCE (far longer than the Bible, which has no mention of abortion by the way). The only thing making abortions illegal does is make abortions dangerous. You’re not saving babies by making abortions illegal, you’re killing women.

    • Lindsey

      So if you were on drugs, or would most likely die, or if the fetuses inside of you had an obvious defect that would cause them to live in horrific pain before dying…that’s still murder? So, I guess if you’re brain dead and in a coma, you just want to keep going on and on and on, bankrupting your family and whatever else, too? Because taking you off life support is also murder?

    • K

      Leah, thanks for the clear illustration of what this is about – punishing women for having sex.

      Let’s ignore the fact that a fetus saps nutrients from the mother, potentially harming her. Let’s ignore the fact that women die each year from carrying to term. Let’s completely ignore that pregnancy is an atypical state of being for a normal human being with incredibly painful and sometimes harmful and long-lasting side-effects.

      Those sluts deserve everything they get – that’s what you’re saying, right?

      Would you deny treatment for HIV? Syphilis? Yeast infections? UTI’s? All of those can be transmitted for sex. If someone’s willing to risk sex, they should be willing to risk all those things, without the hope of treatment – is that what you’re saying?

      Sure sounds to me that’s what you’re saying.

    • danielle

      “to feel that and then have them ripped from your womb and murdered is, in my mind, and act that should be punishable by death.”

      do you not see the irony of your beliefs?

    • parlerparler

      And I think it’s disgusting that our government is slowly chipping away at even preventative measures. There will be more unwanted pregnancies, and more unwanted children, and more deaths due to unsafe abortions–your suggestions are fantastic Leah!

      In any other “developed” country this is such a non-issue. You have the choice, because that’s what living in a progressive society is about. No one making your decisions for you and treating men and women equally.

      And other countries laugh at us. I’m European-American and when I travel people are shocked that policy makers care SO MUCH about what I do with my body and not important things like the economy and how screwed we are as a nation.

      So you sit there, on your moral high horse, as this country decays and your child has nothing to look forward to because you’re too concerned about limiting freedoms.

  • Welly

    That comic is pretty funny, and I have know three different women, all strongly “pro-life,” who all had unplanned pregnancies and subsequently got abortions. I remember one girl telling me, in regards to my anxiety disorder and the medication I take that causes birth defects, and told me that if I was going to have sex I should accept any pregnancy, whether the child was deformed or not. A month later, she told me she was pregnant and she was going to get an abortion. She didn’t even think twice about it.

    The debate isn’t about contraception or morals or forcing anyone’s values on anyone. It’s about controlling women. It’s about telling women that they are second-class citizens. It’s about showing women that we are under their control.

    • Sam

      Silly. Whereas some people may indeed attempt to leverage this debate in such a way as to use it to, as you say, control women, that does not mean that the issue is not one about which we may debate. There are serious ethical implications in the act of abortion. To ignore the questions raised about what we consider a life, or more importantly, a human life, is a pretty terrible thing in itself. To frame the argument as merely the right of a woman to her own body is shallow, and an easy way out. The issue is complex; it is one deserving of serious consideration. To do anything else is worthy of condemnation

    • Welly

      Indeed. My sister was strongly “pro-life” until a friend of hers had an unplanned pregnancy. Other friends were telling the friend – still in high school – she should have the baby, even though the friend didn’t want it. My sister said, “I don’t think it’s fair for them to decide for her!” I said, “you know that makes you pro-choice, right?” She’s been brainwashed by my mother into thinking that “pro-choice” meant “pro-abortion” in like, EVERY case.

      And Sam – the issues with abortion are complex, but those are issues a woman must deal with herself. It IS SOLELY a women’s right to her body issue.

    • K

      Shoot, that previous comment was responding TO Welly, not BY Welly. It was MY sis who turned pro-choice, XD

    • Sam

      Welly, that’s absurd. There are no issues of ethicality on which only some specific population may comment. It is not solely an issue of a woman’s right to her body. While that’s pretty damn important there are other, perhaps even equally significant, factors to consider. You contradict yourself in admitting the issue’s complexity and then saying that it might be boiled down to merely one ethical consideration. You are as bad as your mother insofar as you feel a need to label those who would participate in the discourse, and turn it into one in which there are only two sides. Both you, she, and your sister would be better served by trying to understand all possible stances on this argument.

  • Welly

    I would also like to share a story I heard recently, about a woman who discovered with her husband that the child they were expecting had died. She had two options: either carry her dead baby until she either miscarried or gave birth to it, or have an abortion. For her health and safety, she and her husband agreed to terminate the pregnancy that they were so expecting.

    Due to a particular law in their particular state, she would be forced to have a transvaginal ultrasound before being able to get an abortion. If she refused to look at the monitor and stare at her dead child, she would be denied the procedure. By law, they would be allowed to continue the transvaginal ultrasound until she looked at her dead child, even if she cried, screamed, and begged them to spare her the pain.

    Too many people are trying to use the law as their way of punishing people for doing things they disagree with. They’ve demonized certain things so much that they forget that there are real people with real reasons behind their decisions, and real pain that is attached to it.

    • NN

      @Welly — So well stated- thank you for sharing that horrible but very appropriate story. Most pro-lifers seem to think every terminated pregnancy is from some libido-monster who is too lazy to carry a child, when the truth is, you can never know the pain of another, nor can/should you decide for that person. Of course it would be better if women who didn’t want to get pregnant didn’t end up that way – but if the right to life camp truly would like fewer abortions, perhaps they should stop cutting funding to Planned Parenthood. The context of all of the positions taken together are about forcing women into motherhood, and without any supports in place.

  • John Lawler
  • Patrick McLaughlin

    All three of the proposed amendments are complete non sequiturs. Legislators ought to learn a little bit of logic before they are eligible for election.

  • Jay mats

    All of this is a distraction. Our government doesn’t work for US anymore.

  • Greg Petliski

    Hell yes! I will voluntarily give up masturbation for one month in support of not ejaculating except into vaginas!

  • Elaine

    I think this was a great move on their part, and it really does cause you to think “that’s absurd!” and then step back and realize “Wait, this is ALL pretty absurd.”

    There are situations in which advice is recommended, but if your advice is to make sure a woman doesn’t have a say with her own body, that’s when it gets rocky. It’s a woman’s choice if she wants to carry the fetus to term. If she’s married, then it’s up to that family to discuss it themselves. It is NOT up to ANYONE else. Not the government, not the senate, not the neighbors.

    Just the family involved, or just the woman involved.

    I don’t need someone dictating what I do in my daily life, I certainly wouldn’t want some person dictating what I ought to do in dire situations either.

  • kcsummer

    The author is so “full of herself” and “amused” by her cleverness that she fails to see that being ridiculously absurd just emphasizes the point that women who insist on abortion at will are beyong reasoning with. This sanctimonious, self-righteous female does NOT represent my views just to be clear. You see I have learned that personal accountability is the mature and responsible thing to do. Those who allow themselves to get pregnant by not taking precautions (because the government didn’t GIVE IT TO HER FREE) are the epitome of selfish children who haven’t learned to share and its always the other kids fault. The world does not belong to such women it belongs to us all whether men women, or babies in all forms. I have to wonder if their parents never taught them manners or if they just decided on their own that no one matters but themselves.

    • KC.SUMMER.IS.A.BIGOT

      KCSUMMER: if you want to know who sounds “full of herself”, & like a “sanctimonious, self-righteous female”: It is you.

      Take your hate somewhere else, we’re all stocked up here.

    • Ellen

      If you want women to be accountable, you must allow them moral choice.

  • Anne

    Danielle, DARLING, don’t you see how absurd your statement is. You are offended that someone else try to make decisions about what happens to another?

    That’s precisely what this PRO CHOICE WOMAN is advocating – its inconvenient for her and so she chooses to execute the the other person involved even though the other person never asked to be conceived. It IS arrogant to believe you have a right to control another to the point that its somehow okay to kill them.

    • Rachel

      Abortion is not the same as murder, Anne. Don’t be ridiculous. Having an abortion is a woman choosing to NOT allow another “person” to use HER BODY to live off of. Would it be okay if the government FORCED YOU AGAINST YOUR WILL to donate blood or organs to a dying relative? Regardless of what you would do in that situation or what you think is “right” it is NOT YOUR PLACE, and it is NOT the government’s place to strip a woman of her BASIC RIGHT to her own bodily autonomy and her right to make her own medical decisions. A “person’s” right to live NEVER, EVER overrides another person’s right to choose what to do with their own bodies.

    • Abortion Jim

      You’re really stretching there using the term “person”. It’s pretty arrogant of you to think someone should have the right to govern someone else’s actions over their own body parts. Next time you get a yeast infection I will be rallying against you for taking medication to murder that living “person” you’re incubating.

  • gnorm

    Why do women want to be just as irresponsible as men? I guess it’s only fair.

  • DLL

    So…if a man ejaculates in a vagina while using a condom as birth control, what is “HIS” responsibility if “HIS” condom fails and a pregnancy occurs?

    • Sam

      The act of sex is a shared responsbility, so the man’s portion of that would be to help raise the child, supporting it and its mother financially, emotionally, socially, and psychologically. Interestingly, those responsiblities mirror those of the mother. So you see? The whole process makes sense.

  • J B

    Um, wow. Those jokes are not clever at all. They make no sense… “The only place men should be allowed to ejaculate is into a womens vagina” would be like outlawing menstruation (not allowing sperm or eggs to go to waste), which is not only stupid, but impossible. “Men should be required to get a rectal exam and a cardiac stress test before they could obtain medicine for erectile dysfunction” would be like women having to get the same thing done before they can obtain medicine for female sexual dysfunction. And banning men from getting vasectamies would be like banning women from getting their tubes tied. None of these are at all related to abortion.

    • Jayne M

      I don’t understand what you saying J B. Those things are just as related to abortions rights as the Church is to the State. The Church has no place in State afairs. Men want to legislate what a woman does with her body then men to should face the same regulations or better intrusions for their bodies. Women are people Women have rights and men do not have the right to tell women what they can or cannot do with their bodies. When men can get pregnant they have the right to tell themselves and only themselves what they can do about that pregnancy, until such time men have no right telling wlmen what they can and cannot do about pregnancy since men cannot get pregnant!!!

      Women have rights that are just as unailinable as any rights men have and men need to learn or men will be swept out of the way in favor of those who do understand equal rights for all.

    • Morgan

      JB, I hate to say it, but I sort of see your point that some of these things are unrealistic comparisons to abortion. They prove a point if you look at it like pro-choicers do, but you can’t really expect pro-lifers to feel that way. However, the comparison of men being required to have a rectal exam and cardiac stress test before obtaining medication for ED is directly comparable to the exam required before women can receive birth control. The requirement for this is a pap smear and std screening, which is medically a good thing, however not something all women that want birth control want. I am not saying this requirement is bad, just that the proposed requirement before receiving ED medication is equally valid. The way this correlated to abortion is more abstract, it is about who makes decisions about ‘MY’ (as in me or you, whoever) body and what information they are using to make these decisions. When the information used is medically sound research it is much more okay for legislators to make decisions for ‘ME’, such as the requirements before getting birth control. When information being used to make these decisions is emotional, such as ‘YOUR’ (outsiders) belief in a religious text that is not okay.

  • Melissa

    @ Elle – what a cruel and disgusting response to someone sharing an opinion and hard experience. You sound like a spoiled little girl. I also believe she said she was Catholic, not above being human and making mistakes. I am pro- choice but I am completely turned off by bullying and entitlement.

  • Ben

    Why is this allways about men persecuting women? I dont understand why so many women on here make this out to be only men making these stupid laws against women. There are plenty of fundamentalist women out there, who are religious retards, that are pushing this anti choice rubbish.
    For my money, if both MEN AND WOMEN take a bit more care, this is a kinda mute argument.
    Im very glad, and proud of my twenty four year old university graduate son. And also thankfull that both i and my 17 year old girlfriend and i did not abort back in 87. But thats our choice. As it should be for all.

  • Vanessa

    “abortion is a medical procedure…”

    … that kills unborn babies. Hurray for killing babies! They are annoying, aren’t they? And K’s response that pregnancy saps nutrients from the mother and is potentially harmful to the mother — well geez, that’s not the most inane, ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard in my whole entire life, at all. We should just outlaw reproduction entirely. You want to do something so dangerous and potentially harmful? Nope! Not allowed. Something so harmful shouldn’t happen. The entire human race will be gone within a single generation, but pffft. To be fair, after having read some of these things, I’m all for a lot less people around. So I guess I’m pro-choice after all! Now, is there an age-limit on the people we’re going to decide whether they should be allowed to live or not based solely on what’s convenient to us, or can I just go *apeshit*? ‘Cause I’d really like to.

    • Abortion Jim

      Please don’t go apeshit, ’cause no one really cares what you think. But I support your enthusiasm for killing babies.. Hurray!! It’s probably worth mentioning that unborn babies aren’t babies at all. Abortion is the equivalent of deworming an animal or cutting cancer out of your tits. They’re all parasites unable to live without their host, they aren’t sentient, have no intelligence, and they’re potentially awful if untreated. Reproduction shouldn’t be outlawed, that’s an idiotic argument from an uneducated unempathetic perspective. But, people should have the choice to form their own future.

    • Fed up With your ignorant bullshit

      You want to know something about all those poor little unborn babies? They are not sentient. They are not self aware. They do not feel pain. The majority of abortion happen in the first trimester – despite anti-choicer’s attempts to delay them as far along as possible.

      Know what else? It’s not a person, not by the dictionary definition anyways, but that’s actually quite irrelevant. You can’t, by any logic stretch of the imagination, grant equal rights to two entities in a parasitic relationship. Yup, that’s exactly what it is. K’s assertion is medically, FACTUALLY correct – possibly why you think it’s so ridiculous? – A fetus is NOT a separate entity when it is PHYSICALLY ATTACHED TO and RESIDING WITHIN the body of a woman. It is not separate individual – it is COMPLETELY dependent upon the woman for life and sustenance.

      And if that woman doesn’t want to run the risk of a pregnancy**, it’s HER prerogative – and no one else’s. What you would do in her instance is irrelevant, b/c you’re not her. So shut your mouth along with your legs.

      **And there are some VERY real risks for women’s health with pregnancies, just you hope you never discover for yourself the hard way what they are. Because that’s what make up the majority of second- and third trimester abortions: fetal abnormalities, fetal death, or a life-threatening condition for the mother.

      But hey. You’ve got ignorance to spread, and judgements to cast. Try getting out into the world sometime, you ignorant child. It’s a little more than black or white. (While you’re at it, pick up a book or two.)

  • Will

    I can see why abortion is so tough. On the one hand, it’s about killing babies, which I support. On the other hand, it gives women a choice, amirite?

  • Daisy

    WOW! Have we all missed the point or what?! Abortions, in many many cases is about the responsibility of both the man and the woman.
    A pregnancy is the possible result of sex. And even if you are doing everything to prevent it, it can still happen. An abortion is one way of “cleaning up the mess” so to speak and in my opinion a cowardly way. If you believe, as I do, that life begins at conception, than an abortion is murder. If you do not believe that, than believe this, abortions erase the possibility of a life, is that what you really want?

    Keeping religion out of it however, let’s look at it this way.

    Say you go out on the town one night, have a drink, get in the car and drive. And let’s say you get in an accident and kill someone. Because of your lack of judgement you are now in a big mess. The law dictates that there are consequences for your actions and even though you didn’t mean to hurt anyone with your lack of judgement, you still have to pay the consequences. Even if you were stone cold sober and doing everything right, you can still kill someone with your car and you still would be responsible for the consequences. You chose to drive.

    An abortion is the medical procedure to clean up your lack of judgement. To be clear here, I am NOT writing about rape victims only consenting people who decide to have sex. (I am also not commenting on when a mother’s life is in danger or the baby is diagnosed to have tremendous malformations in-utero.)

    Every time you get behind the wheel you have to take on the responsibility of protecting your self and others from harm, and every time you have sex you need to do the same. And yet accidents still happen. Should there be no consequences?
    If you are not ready to take on the responsibility of pregnancy than you should not be having sex, man or woman. But an extra burden does fall on the woman because she is the one who is responsible for carrying the child. So act accordingly.
    Yes, women and men have the right to choose what is best for them medically speaking. My body, my choice right? So if you feel that legislators are all men and make decisions about your well being, than make some for yourself. Don’t have sex unless you can burden the responsibility of a pregnancy. And stop whining about it. Really. You make us all look bad. Just for the record, I don’t believe in free contraception either. Please, people, start taking responsibility for your actions and teach your children to do the same.

    I hate abortion, but that is just my opinion. For some it is nothing more than a medical procedure. (I feel sorry for those people actually) but that is why it needs to remain legal. I like the idea of an ultra-sound before the procedure, I don’t want to pay for someone else’s irresponsibility, and if someone chooses to have an abortion instead of taking responsibility for their actions, it doesn’t take 20 weeks to decide.
    Women know they are pregnant within 4 or 5 weeks, if we are worried about the health and well being of women than it seems that appropriate to have the procedure sooner, when there is less risk to the mother. The longer the pregnancy the more complicated it becomes. You can’t have it both ways.

    Scientifically speaking, life does begin at conception. Cells divide and grow;. life begins. Call it a baby, or a fetus or, as some of you. said, a parasite, it is still a life.

    Just a personal aside, have any of you who advocate abortions at 20 or so weeks seen an ultra-sound of a baby of that age? it’s pretty amazing!

    • daryl

      Daisy,

      Your comparison to abortion being the same as hitting someone with a car is the stupidest thing I have ever read.

      Scientifically speaking the hair on my head as cells that divide and grow, should we all stop cutting are hair? I guess I should also stop cutting my fingernails? How about the virus that I “kill” when I take antibiotics? Does it have a right to live?

    • JayKay

      I disagree with you on a lot of points but the only one I’m going to get into is your assertion that no one should have sex unless they they are willing to carry out a pregnancy. I don’t understand how you can state something that is obviously a personal decision with such conviction, as if it were the best option. Everyone is different. I’m still in college and I like to have sex. Protected sex with a committed partner, but still sex without any desire to become pregnant. I don’t plan on having children until I’m in my 30s – if at all – just like my mom did. There is no way in hell I’m going to deny a biological desire that is perfectly healthy and totally awesome just because I don’t want a kid. I hope I don’t get pregnant and I’ve taken action to ensure (as much as I can) that I won’t. But if I do…the life I already have is more important to me than whatever life is in a first trimester fetus.

  • JBroce

    “Here’s why. First of all, when we talk about abortion, we get so caught up in the politics of it, as well as the philosophical questions it brings up (questions that would be better addressed in a house of worship or a college class than on a Senate floor, for the record), that we tend to lose sight of one important fact: abortion is Murder, the death of a child.”

    There, I fixed it. And no I dont want to regulate what a woman does with her body, I want to regulate what a woman does with her babies body. The only way im pro choice is if the mothers life is at risk. I think a mother has a choice to decide her life or the babies life. That or possibly horrible health complications, or deformities to the brains and such. But even those im ify on. And for those trying to state that its irony in wanting the death penalty for anyone…how stupid do you have to be to not see a difference between a guilty person to do anything they wanted to do with their life but became a convicted murderer, and an innocent life that had the unfortunate luck of ending up in the womb of a very selfish woman?

    And to the other JB, I completely agree with you, and you made much better comparisons which are gender equivalent.

    and for those that say the bible doesnt mention abortion…It mentions plenty of times that an unborn child is considered a child.

    • Kacie

      I’m not carrying a rapist’s baby, no matter how many people tell me it is a “gift”.

  • JNC

    Murder is murder. You can say that it is your choice to kill an innocent baby who didn’t ask to be be created any more than you asked for it to be created, but keep in mind that you are the one that made the CHOICE to have sex in the first place. SELFISH.

    • Helen

      What if the woman having the abortion got raped JNC? You’re saying she has to keep it otherwise it’s murder?

  • Alexis

    I know these people think they’re cleverly proving their points with these amendments, but to anyone with the ability to reason things logically, they are absolutely stupid.

    No man can ejaculate anywhere other than a vagina? Why? Because sperm is equal to an unborn baby? Wrong. Wasting sperm is not comparable to abortion, it is comparable to women having periods. Not one pro-life person in the world will ever argue that having a period is killing a baby. It’s not, and neither is ejaculating. Thus, that response is stupid.

    Men won’t be allowed to have vasectomies? Why? We have established that sperm is not an unborn baby. Having a vasectomy is not comparable to an abortion, it is comparable to women having their tubes tied. To my knowledge, no one has attempted to regulate women having their tubes tied, so to say a man can’t have a vasectomy (even “jokingly”) is ridiculous, and has nothing to do with abortion. You have not made the point you think you have.

    • Dare

      Incorrect. Young women who request to have their uterus removed, or their tubes tied, or an ovary removed, are constantly denied the request by doctors who tell them they “might change their mind”.

      This is not an opinion, this is a fact. It is a constant of both the medical field and of legislation to regulate women’s choices about their own reproduction, and not to limit men’s choices.

    • MrBallonHands

      I think the bible, from which many of the politicians whom these legislators are opposing draw their guiding principles, would argue that wasting sperm is comparable to abortion.

      I mean, Onan was struck dead on the spot for pulling out.

  • BioethicsStudent

    As a woman pro-choice at the level of policy, I can applaud the sentiment behind this article while ultimately having to condemn many of the “clever analogies” employed by lawmakers in response.

    Because most of the dialogue in the comments section has devolved into the typical hyper-polarized and emotionally charged “debate” surrounding abortion from a conversation about the article’s subject matter, I’ll preface my criticisms with my stance on abortion.

    At some level, I think abortion is wrong in that it denies a an unborn fetus it’s potential to thrive and succeed (notice that I say “potential”; at certain levels of development fetus’s do lack cognition and pain reception), and I think that making value judgments about quality of life runs a dangerous risk (who are we to say that a child born to lower income families lacking resources won’t go on to derive enjoyment and pleasure in their lives?). I think in lots of cases, preventative measures can prevent unwanted pregnancy and that in many but certainly not all, cases

  • Dan Olson

    To compare sperm to humans is falacious. The basic right is not the right to kill your preborn child , but the right to life, for without life the other rights become meaningless. Like seatbelts, these laws save lives. When you look at an ultrasound,you can see what’s truly there.Why do some people find that disturbing ? It is a human being whose life is worthy of protection. Child killing should be disturbing. I believe there is a God. I believe He has a sense of humor. I don’t think He is laughing at this and I don’t think that’s just me.

  • DBarr

    Of, if the pro-foeti people had their way, all women would be treated the way they are in “Zorba The Greek.”

    They’re working on it. One zygote at a time….

  • Danna Kelley

    A woman has a right to decide for herself if she wants to get and pay for an abortion.
    Using abortion as a method of birth control is irresponsible, and should not be a choice. How many times can you make a mistake and get pregnant? How do you stop just this one thing?

    • Leah

      Some abortions are medically necessary to save the life of the woman.
      I guess as a woman I shoudl have no choice about saving my own life?

      http://oursilverribbon.org/blog/?p=188

    • Alexis

      @Leah: How many? What percentage of abortions are medically necessary? I wouldn’t guess more than 2%. So why do we need the other ~98%?

      Beyond that, “medically necessary” means different things to different people. I would accept the literal meaning, and very very few things would make it necessary to kill a fetus in order to save a woman’s life. Most complications in a pregnancy are only a problem toward the end of a pregnancy. Pre-ecclampsia being the major one, I think. Yes, the pregnancy may need to be terminated, but terminate only means end, it doesn’t mean end by killing. Efforts can be made to keep the baby alive, even as early as 21 weeks, long before pre-ecclampsia causes any harm to mother.

      In the extremely rare case of an ectopic pregnancy, yes, I understand that needs to be terminated as soon as possible, generally within the first 5 to 8 weeks. I can accept that as a reason, because the inevitable rupture would kill both mother AND baby.

  • Erika

    Yes. Women have a Constitutional right to kill their babies. Why can’t the damn pro-lifers deal with that? It’s no one’s business if a kid is killed except the woman carrying it in her womb! America is supposed to be about freedom for EVERYONE! Since when does everyone include babies? NEVER! So keep your religion out of my uterus!

  • Cait

    I love all of the PRO LIFERS here who say things like ‘I only agree with abortion if the mothers life is in danger.’ Or, better yet, ‘I think abortion is ok if the baby would have deformities or brain problems.’ Abortuon is black & white. There is no gray area. You are Pro-Life OR Pro-Choice.