"just as much as classifying the fetus as a "baby" is. Staying away from rhetorical arguments and sticking to what actually happens would probably actually help the conversation between the pro-lifers and pro-choicers a lot."

That really cannot happen, can it?

If you believe that life begins at conception, then you have to be against abortion, don't you? Moreover, if you believe that abortion is murder, then it should not matter if the pregnancy was the result of rape.

It seems to me that the only really helpful discussion that true anti-choicers and pro-choicers can have is how to prevent pregnancy.

That is the tremendous difficulty that we have.

Original Lee

Happy: The real question is whether people are using this as "convenient" birth control, i.e. birth control in the absense of attempts to prevent pregnancy. The pro-life crowd often seems to imply that women are just shrugging their shoulders and saying, "Whatever -- I won't worry about contraception now, I'll just get an abortion if I have to."

*clap* *clap*
A very good way of putting this - I think you got it exactly right.


Agreed. What sane person is going to voluntarily think "birth control is too much hassle. I will just get an abortion whenever I get pregnant."

Bitch | Lab

I love it when I've heard people say that women have incredibly painful late-term abortions because they want to fit into a prom dress. I couldn't believe that when I read it once.


will, that's only true to the extent people's issues about abortion are separate from a general worldview about sex. The people who say "except in cases of rape or incest" aren't, as you point out, really pro-life; their opposition to abortion is knotted up in a huge, ugly mess of feelings about women and sexuality in general. There's no need to prevent unwanted pregnancy if unwanted pregnancy is a just punishment for immoral women, after all.

Hence the phrase abortion on demand. It's meant to invoke the negative image of a pushy, argumentative woman insisting on something she doesn't really deserve.


About the New York City vs upstate NY thing, I grew up upstate and now live in the city. It's a huge difference, in terms of culture; most of upstate is both fairly rural and conservative.

Where I grew up I could only find one Planned Parenthood I could get to when I decided to become sexually active, and when I inquired about getting an exam that would allow them to perscribe the pill, they said they were booked up for, basically, a couple of months. (I decided to get everything done through my college instead at that point.) There are three PPs in NYC itself.

Also, there's a question of simply getting there: enough of upstate is middle-of-nowhere that if you don't have reliable access to a car or someone to drive you, you may just not be able to *get* to an appointment. In the city, again, there are three different PPs, and even if you have to travel from Brooklyn to the Bronx to make your appointment, it's still much easier and cheaper with public transit than it would be upstate.


Will, there are some abortion rights supporters (including me) who do in fact believe that life begins at conception, but also believe that no unwilling woman should ever be forced to gestate a pregnancy, so that not every embryo has a right to be born.

I`ve tried to have the "how to prevent pregnancy" conversation with pro-lifers, but the ones I know believe in abstinence until marriage, and see contraception as an "enabler of poor choices." Also, since there is a (slight) chance some forms of contraception can prevent implantation of a fertilized egg, pro-lifers are never going to support some of the more effective forms of it.

Don`t even get me started on the Catholic view of contraception.



I agree completely that the idea is to make the concept of abortion sound like a selfish, cruel extravagance.


Your theory being that some lives are more important than others? I am not sure that I agree with that one. But that is another topic for another day. My point was only that it is not likely to have a sane discussion when one side believes that it is murder. The logical consequences of that thought are pretty scary, in my mind.

However, I am staunchly pro-choice. I am also very excited to say that I have a ticket to see the oral argument at the Supreme Court on November 8th!

The Happy Feminist

The logical consequences of that thought are pretty scary, in my mind.

I'd be interested to hear more of your thinking on that, Will. I guess the problem with viewing the fetus as a full human being with rights separate from the mother's is that mom can be charged or sued if she behaves in any way that could be said to endanger the fetus. Because her life is inextricably bound with the fetus, it would give the state carte blanche to regulate her behavior -- from what she consumes to what activities she engages in. Scary indeed.

In such a world, I would advise everyone to avoid ever getting pregnant and choose the adoption option instead!

The Happy Feminist

Wow! Will you report back on the oral argument? Any interest in doing a guest post on it?

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