Abortion and Birth Control

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Transcripts from Constitution Day, September 2010

Abortion 14 September MCL 9am-11am (.doc)

Abortion 14 September MCL 11am-1pm (.doc)

Abortion 14 September MCL 1pm-4pm (.doc)

Abortion 14 September MCL 4pm-6pm (.doc)


6 Responses to “Abortion and Birth Control”

  1. Bethany Says:

    In response to Maia:

    This issue really all comes down to “What is a life?” The doctors, scientists, and other studied experts that you reference are only half of the stories out there. There are many, just as credible, sources that show the validity of life inside the womb, even to the first trimester. And if that fetus is alive, then abortion is, in fact, child murder.

    The morality of that fact does not change, no matter what the situation. My heart would break for that 11 year-old girl, but that doesn’t change the fact that my heart would also break for the unborn child that was “terminated” before he/she had the opportunity to grow up and turn 11.

    In addition, the physical and psychological effects that having an abortion causes to the woman are usually both extreme and destructive, including depression, infertility, and debilitating regret.

    The many viable options to abortion (most prominently adoption) give no reason for anyone to have to kill their child, even if they are not emotionally or financially able to provide for it.

    I am not anti-choice. I absolutely believe that people should be given options whenever possible and the freedom to choose. But I also believe that any choice that involves killing another human being (a choice which outside the womb would be punishable with prison or death) is not a choice that should be allowed, and especially not condoned.

    • Maia Says:


      I would wildly disagree that this comes down to an issue of “what is a life?” For an individual, that may be at the crux of your decision, but to claim that socially the “beginning” of life is the key issue misses several key points.
      1) The doctors, scientists, and other studied experts that I mentioned had nothing to do with this question, but have to do with that (false) claim you make later one that abortions are damaging to the women who have them.
      2) But you make a good point that there is inconsistent scientific evidence regarding the nature and meaning of stages of fetal development. Most of the the claims that you (you in the sense of the general public, not you specifically) are familiar with (like a fetus’ ability to “feel pain”, or those faked pictures of fetus that many anti-choice groups tout) are, in fact, fake and unfounded. HOWEVER, we do not know (and likely never will) “when life begins”.
      3) When it comes to answering this question, I have discussed the topic with many people who have a wide variety of feelings about abortion. The clear consensus that I have seen arise is that the OVERWHELMING majority of people find neither conception (nor implantation) nor birth to be satisfying lines- but instead believe that a distinct life deserving of legal/moral protection begins at some (personally defined) point within a pregnancy.
      4) Given that we have neither moral nor scientific consensus on “when life begins”, how can we possibly regulate abortion on that basis? It would be like trying to regulate food safety in terms of what is “kosher” or trying to regulate weapons in terms of what was “scary”. It would be subjective, inefficient, and ultimately unjust (as it would serve some social groups much better than others, much like our abortion laws do).

      But the central point is that, even if you were right (which I do not concede) and even if every fetus was a “life”/”child”, it would STILL not follow that abortion is always morally wrong. Throughout our society, we have consistently recognized that, while killing is not desirable, that not all killing is murder (for instance, killing to save a life, or in self-defense, or during war, etc.). Your argument is simply that the lives of unborn fetuses are more important than the lives of born women. That is unacceptable to me.

      It is also in fundamental opposition to an advocacy for women’s full citizenship. If women do not have full control over their own reproduction (even forms of control that you don’t like), they cannot exercise their full rights and duties as citizens. Not to mention the fact that restrictions on abortion are discriminatory- they create a situation where the restrictions disproportionately burden young women, women of color, low-income women, disabled women, and rural women.

      A few other important points:

      Morality is ALWAYS situational, any basic ethics class would have taught you that. I’m not even sure what to say to someone who would force an 11-year old girl to risk her physical life and mental health through forced pregnancy, labor, and birth to “save” some abstract philosophical notion of life that YOU think is important. I think you might consider a little self-reflection on what you makes you think you are entitled to judge the moral decisions of others.

      Your claim that abortion has destructive physical and psychological effects is simply false. While certainly, some women may experience, for instance depression or suicidality after an abortion, this is not a typical experience. As a group, women who have abortions are no more at risk for mental, emotional, or psychological distress than other women who experience unplanned pregnancies (and choose to carry to term, whether keeping or adopting). The statistics you’ve probably seen compare women who have abortions to all women-many of whom don’t experience unplanned pregnancies- which is not an appropriate control group. In fact, the most common experience emotion women who have had an abortion report is “relief”. While some women do in fact have very negative experiences of abortion (often because they were either pressured to have the abortion in the first place, or more often, because their social network made them feel guilty and ashamed afterwards), they are not the norm.

      By the age of 45, 1 in 3 women in the U.S. has had an abortion. Are you trying to argue that 1 in 3 women are experiencing depression and debilitating regret? Really stories after abortion are much more like this: http://www.imnotsorry.net/

      In addition, the medical risks that you imply are complete bunk. Abortion is singularly the safest surgical procedure which exists. When performed safely, by a trained physician, they carry a LOWER risk of causing future infertility than a full-term pregnancy and labor. Abortions are NOT linked to breast cancer (according not to pro-choice sources, but to such “biased” sources as the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute).

      While there are many options for unplanned pregnancies, and I would affirm a woman who chose to make ALL of those choices, not just the ones I would make. I firmly believe that women need to have access to all of the social, political, and economic resources to make the best reproductive choices for themselves, their families, and their communities.

      You can say you’re “not anti-choice” all you want. But you want to eliminate a vital choice (one which women have been making for millennia, which you know perfectly well cannot be eliminated for anyone but the most powerless women) because you find it ethically distasteful… Well, my dear go back and read the part I said initially, about how anti-choicers believe that they “can make better decisions for your family than you can”…

  2. Lucky Says:

    Pro-Choice. It’s a women’s right.

  3. Latericka Goldsmith Says:

    I do not belive in abortion, but at the same time i think it should just be left up to the women about what she wants to do with her body

  4. Ta'Necia Carter Says:

    I totally agree that abortions should be anti choice now i know that Christains don’t believe in killing but every situation is different and no one has the power to say keep a baby if you are not ready or stable enough to raise it, especially a 12 year old. As a country lets no judge but lend a helping hand the world is hard enough.

  5. Maia Says:

    Ah, abortion, the big bad A-word that we’re never supposed to talk about…

    I understand that some people are uncomfortable with abortion, and feel that it is (often, if not always) a morally unacceptable choice. But most everyone I’ve ever spoken to has agreed that there at least SOME situations in which abortion is morally RIGHT.

    For example (and I am aware that this is an uncommon situation, but it is also a real one), when faced with an 11-year old victim of incest, for whom giving birth would be both physically risky and psychologically dangerous (since, for a child who’s already in denial about their sexual abuse and pregnancy, labor could easily be experienced as a secondary trauma to the abuse), who can really argue that this is not a morally right abortion???

    So, if most of us (the reasonable people) agree that, at least SOMETIMES, abortion is morally right…

    Then the question simply becomes- who do you trust to figure out which abortions are morally right, which are wrong, and which are neutral? Who do you trust to make that moral decision

    Me? I trust women.

    And that’s what I want to tell all the anti-choicers out there. (Note that I am specifying those who are “anti-choice”, as in, those who want to make it so others cannot make their own choice about abortion. If you are “pro-life for me, pro-choice for everyone else” then you are on the “reasonable people” side with me.)

    You can wrap you anti-choice nonsense in all the propaganda about “poor murdered babies” and scientifically inaccurate lies about abortion and psuedo-religious B.S. you want. We all know the truth. We know that what you really think is that…

    “I believe that I can make better choices for your family than you can. I believe that what my pastor told me (about medicine) is more accurate than what doctors, scientists, and other studied experts tell me (about medicine). I believe that my (religious) values are more important than your ability to live a healthy life. I believe that women who have sex (especially outside of marriage, you dirty dirty sluts) should be punished- and that punishment should be pregnancy. I am anti-choice.”

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