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Let’s talk about abortion for a bit.

By Alice Bradley

Well, I see I picked the wrong topic to focus on last week, didn’t I? I was all, End the Mommy Wars, Yo! Women Unite! Then, just before posting, I found that ultrasound bill article, and I added it—didn’t bother to read it, mind you, because as we know I’m not big on the reading—and hoo doggies, it seems I passed over a real firecracker of a topic!

Actually you did precisely what I wish the media would do—get past all the mother-fretting and address some real topics. That was tricky of you, to do that like that. You’re smarter than me. Than I? You’re smarter than me is. Good you. Thank.

Because I should have addressed the abortion bill last week, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to talk about it now.

South Carolina’s Senate is expected to pass a bill requiring abortion-seeking women to first view an ultrasound of the fetus. The House passed the legislation, 91-23. The governor supports it. All evidence points to it soon being state law.

Let me first state what I think is fairly obvious, what many of my commenters said last week: This bill is beyond insulting. It assumes that the woman who has reached this decision has done so lightly, that she doesn’t know or want to acknowledge what’s inside her. It is a blanket condemnation of all women who opt to abort their pregnancies. It turns into state law something that should be a private decision between a woman and her practitioner. It’s cruel and gratuitous.

(Incidentally, the bill was passed after lawmakers defeated amendments exempting rape or incest victims from mandatory ultrasounds. Defeated them. These people didn’t even want rape and incest victims to get a pass. Now, in order for the bill to be passed, these exemptions will almost certainly be back in, but still, I think it’s important to note the mindset of those who want to see this bill become state law.)

How, pray tell, will the woman be required to view the ultrasound? If she turns her head, is someone going to force her to turn it back? What happens if the woman closes her eyes—how are we going to pry open her eyelids?

There’s a lot of noise about the mandatory ultrasound being “educational,” but that’s putting a rather euphemistic spin on it. In fact, it’s intimidation, pure and simple. It’s one more hurdle put up specifically to prevent women from having abortions. Seen as an intimidation tool, it’s not hard to see that its targets are the people with the fewest emotional, financial, and social resources: the young, the uneducated, the poor. Desperate people without options, without a plan. When these people are faced with an authority figure showing them—implicitly or explicitly—why their decision is wrong, what do you think they’re going to do?

As I noted in a previous post, Babies are abandoned regularly in the U.S., and the risk of homicide on the first day of life is 10 times greater than the rate during any other time of life. Putting up more roadblocks to abortion will undoubtedly increase the number of these grim crimes.

Reader Angie pointed out the following in last week’s comments:

“These facts are from the South Carolina Food Stamp Nutrition Education Program’s website.
• Infant mortality is an indicator of the overall health of a community. Ten of the 12 states with the highest infant death rates are in the South, with South Carolina ranking first in eight of the last ten years.
• Forty-three and a half percent of pregnant women in South Carolina receive inadequate prenatal care.
• In addition, South Carolina ranks among the worst ten states on characteristics correlated with low birth weight (i.e. prematurity, births to women with inadequate prenatal care, unmarried women and teenagers.)”

So, South Carolina: if your intimidation tactics prove effective and fewer abortions occur, are you going to step forward and support those mothers, despite all evidence to the contrary? Are you going to provide medical care, psychological assistance, day care for the baby?

Make no mistake: this South Carolina bill is not an isolated incident. This is one small step toward illegalizing abortions in each state as soon as Roe V. Wade is overturned. My rudimentary attempts at research turned up the following changes (or attempts at changes) in legislation, most of which occurred in the past two weeks:

Parental consent, a 24-hour waiting period… these bills may seem innocuous, even wise, but think about whom they’ll intimidate out of pursuing abortions. The teenagers who might hide their pregnancies and abandon their babies at birth. The working poor who are turned away at the abortion clinic in order for them to “reconsider,” and don’t have the time or resources or will to return.

Abortion is a terrible option, but that’s what it has to be: an option. Without it, we’re in for illegal abortions, backroom affairs that end in injury and death, or women risking their lives with unapproved, black-market drugs. We’ll have more abandoned babies, more child homicides. Meanwhile, legislators tell us that this option to abort should be taken away, in the name of life. That it’s for the good of the babies. It’s not true. If we really cared about the babies, we’d do something to help them once they’re born.

We’re poised to become a country where abortion is a criminal act, where women have no power over their own bodies. It’s a frightening path, and we’re hurtling down it headfirst.

Alice Bradley
About the Author

Alice Bradley

Alice Bradley was a regular contributor to Alpha Mom, writing about current events as they related to parenting. You can read about her daily life at her personal blog, Finslippy.


Alice Bradley was a regular contributor to Alpha Mom, writing about current events as they related to parenting. You can read about her daily life at her personal blog, Finslippy.

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  • divinemisk

    March 30, 2007 at 12:30 pm

    i’m glad you decided to address this alice, and i couldn’t agree with you more. thank you for putting to words my own thoughts and feelings.
    i am a pregnant woman who is joyfully looking forward to her second sonogram next week. however, if i were in a different situation and were forced to make a different (and heartbreaking) choice, the last thing i would want is the government telling me i can’t make certain decisions about my health and mental wellbeing.
    when are legislators and community leaders going to focus on unwanted pregnancy prevention, which would as a result reduce the number of abortions they are railing against in the first place?

  • Crystal

    March 30, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    You forgot that North Dakota just passed a bill forbidding any under 18 to get prenatal care without parental consent.

  • zu

    March 30, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    I am speechless…in this day and age we are still forced to discuss these things.
    Dang it!
    It’s my body- how about i have a say about it more than a mr. house representative who doesn’t even have an uterus.

  • amanda

    March 30, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    Oh, i’m so glad you said this. And said it so eloquently too. Thank you. The path this is all heading down is too terrifying not to talk about it.

  • Gayle

    March 30, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    Thank you for posting this. One of the way these laws get passed is that they remain under the radar. They are not even being discussed except by a small minority.
    Sure, there may be a lot of press when the SC looks at Roe v Wade but it seems to me that all these state bills are at least as important.

  • liz

    March 30, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    How about a bill mandating sterilization for men who get anyone under 18 pregnant, get women pregnant out of wedlock, etc.? And mandatory castration for rapists and those who commit incest.
    Oh, wait, men can’t help it.

  • JeniG

    March 30, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    Thank you for posting this. Women need to know that the threats on Roe are real and are very scary. And like you said, they are the most terrifying for women who are without support and finances. I cannot believe any person finds these laws acceptable. They are so offensive.

  • Melissa

    March 30, 2007 at 2:36 pm

    Sadly, these sort of bills are not unique or rare. My former employer maintains a list of laws and pending legislation in each of the 50 states:
    What is worse, I think, are the targeted regulation of abortion provider (or TRAP) laws. South Carolina is among the worst — their law mandates the temperature of the facility’s room, size of doorways, landscaping, etc. V. restrictive requirements just to force providers to make expensive (and, in most cases, completely unnecessary) alterations.

  • silvermine

    March 30, 2007 at 2:46 pm

    I’m one of those pro-choice anti-abortion kinds of people. I really abhor abortion, but it’s not really my place to try to legislate most of it. And most of the stuff above falls into that place of it not being right to legislate it.
    (I actually do think parental notification is important. I mean, it’s their kids.)

  • Jackie

    March 30, 2007 at 3:05 pm

    silvermine, the problem with parental notification is that sometimes it’s the parent or caregiver or guardian who got the girl pregnant in the first place. An abusive parent or guardian is not exactly going to be thrilled to discuss the situation.
    Also, sometimes notifying a parent that the girl in question is pregnant leads directly to assault and abuse by that parent. Many girls who are getting abortions do not feel safe in their own homes (because they aren’t) and so parental notification does not exactly aid them.

  • lizpenn

    March 30, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    thanks for writing this, alice. i especially like the part where you take the “requirement” that women look at the ultrasound image to its logical extreme: do we prop their eyes open with toothpicks? if we’re forcing the state’s will on their bodies to that extent, why not just chain them up until the pregnancy is over and force them to bear the child?
    i also wanted to add this link to an old barbara ehrenreich op-ed on abortion, which i love because she treats “choice” not like an abstract hot-button issue, but like an experience that is a real part of many women’s lives, including her own — she writes matter-of-factly about having had two abortions during her childbearing years, a decision she may have agonized over but doesn’t regret:

  • angela

    March 30, 2007 at 3:21 pm

    It’s so rediculous. I am proud that I marched in D.C. at the March For Women’s Lives, but I hope that everyone knows that isn’t enough. I am afraid this is just the tip of the iceberg of what is to come.
    I also believe that women can have the best of both with this issue. It seems as though it is always Pro Choice vs. Pro Life and I don’t think that should be. I am Pro Choice. I also do believe that women can be Pro Choice when it comes to believing women should make that choice for themselves and still be Pro Life for themselves. It’s easy!
    I’m glad you are highlighting this topic. Women’s issues like this are my motivation to get my medical doctorate and help women as much as possible gain the rights back to their bodies.

  • Melinda

    March 30, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    Oh,how I love you, and your blog. Did you know you had wacky, pro-life, Catholic lurkers?
    While I’m not sure that mandatory ultrasounds are a great solution to what I see as an overwhelming cultural problem, your post makes a lot of the standard assumptions that pro-choicers make when it comes to the abortion debate.
    The biggest of these is that lack of access to abortion will lead to higher rates of infanticide/abandonment. In fact, the rates of both have been steadily on the rise since Roe v. Wade, and particularly since the early nineties. Strange, but true, the more access we have to abortion, the more we abandon and kill our babies.
    I couldn’t agree with you more, though, that prying open eyelids won’t solve the problem. There is no doubt that a more loving solution can and must be found.

  • Scarlett_Demon

    March 30, 2007 at 3:30 pm

    Thanks for a very interesting article! I too am an anti-abortion/pro-choice person. When will people realise that one size does not fit all and you can not force your own morals onto other people?

  • amanda

    March 30, 2007 at 3:42 pm

    i personally know the man who wrote/sponsored this bill. i’m torn about this b/c i want to give you all his phone number, and address but am not sure that that would be ethical either.

  • slouching mom

    March 30, 2007 at 4:24 pm

    Thank you, Alice. This was right on the mark. The more people who know about what’s going on in underhanded ways all across the country, the less likely it is that these kinds of laws will be voted through. People, contact your representatives!

  • Neb

    March 30, 2007 at 4:24 pm

    The one question I have is this: is it worse for a mother to give birth and then abandon or kill the baby right away, as opposed to having an abortion?
    I don’t see the difference.

  • Tammy

    March 30, 2007 at 5:17 pm

    “Abortion is a terrible option, but that’s what it has to be: an option.”
    This is my sentiment exactly. I HATE the idea of abortion, but I still agree that the option has to exist.
    It’s so easy to be anti-abortion when you’ve completely detached yourself from reality.
    Melinda, you stated:
    “Strange, but true, the more access we have to abortion, the more we abandon and kill our babies.”
    Are you trying to state that there’s a direct correlation between these two facts? That there’s actually some kind of cause-and-effect at work here? Because I fail to see how a woman can both have an abortion AND abandon/kill her baby.

  • beth

    March 30, 2007 at 5:47 pm

    i’m a huge fan of finslippy, and regularly follow your links to wonderland. i am anti-abortion though, and i disagree with your opinion regarding this issue. all human lives are valuable, regardless of whether or not they were planned or desired at the time of their conception. i know many people who were “accidents”, who were unwanted, unplanned, etc. some of those people ended up being loved and cherished by their parents, many of them didn’t. those that weren’t wanted — they have become some of the most giving, loving people i know. likewise, some of those desired children grew into selfish, destructive individuals. vice versa, of course.
    many women have no idea how becoming a mother will change their lives until they actually have their child in their arms, or until they feel the babe move in their womb. we have been attempting to train current generations to view an unborn child as a fetus, a clump of cells, a blob of tissue…anything but a baby. perhaps viewing an ultrasound, and seeing the embryo for what it is, a tiny human, will make women reconsider what it is they are destroying.

  • liz

    March 30, 2007 at 5:53 pm

    Melinda, infant homicide rates have been on the rise as restrictions on abortion have been implemented throughout the nation.

  • KarenT

    March 30, 2007 at 6:21 pm

    Informed consent is an interesting topic. If a teenager can give inforned consent for an abortion, should she not then be able to give informed consent for all aspects of her medical care? I find the situation in which a minor can give informed consent for an elective abortion but not for an appendectomy for a ruptured appendix to be incongruent. In Indiana informed consent pertaining to minors for general medical care is even more confusing. If a 15 year old mother lives with her parents, her parents give consent for her medical care, yet she gives consent for her child. In addressing the issue of consent by minors for one surgical procedure, abortion, the states should address the concept of consent by minors for general medical care. Then perhaps the teenagers would feel more comfortable seeking out reliable brth control and have less of a need for abortion. As for the young, middle class adults using abortion as birth control, I am saddened but not surprised. Recent studies with PET scans and functional MRI demonstrate that those areas of the brain involved in judgement do not fully mature until about age 24. There is still a tendency in this age group to believe that they will not get pregnant if they do not want to. As if the egg and sperm undertand the progenitor’s intent. Lastly, some of the respondents to your last post indicated doubt that there are woman you do not understand anatomy, either their own or fetal. Two things: First, spend some time in an inner city ER. Second, remember that by definition, half the poopulation has an IQ less than 100.

  • alice


    March 30, 2007 at 7:05 pm

    Beth, I don’t think anyone is “pro-abortion.” Whether or not abortion is taking a human life is, believe it or not, beside the point. The point is, abortions will happen, whether or not they’re legal. If they’re illegal, women will die.

  • alice


    March 30, 2007 at 7:11 pm

    Melinda, I thought you were dissing Catholics, and I got all defensive. But ha! No! You’re one of us!
    I would argue, Melinda, that though abortion is “legal,” there’s so much social pressure against aborting (parental consent laws, picketing, bomb threats–just to pick a few), it might as well be illegal in some areas.
    The solution would be partly to have REAL sex ed in schools and free contraception available to kids. But sadly, the government (and the Church) is too horrified by the reality of kids having sex to protect unborn lives before they’ve begun.

  • Bethany

    March 30, 2007 at 7:43 pm

    It’s a heartless bill. Consider the broken-hearted women who, for medical or other reasons, HAVE to abort much-wanted children. What a monstrous government it would be that would force them to suffer through that last ultrasound.

  • Mother Hoodwink

    March 30, 2007 at 8:01 pm

    I heard about that Texas bill about giving women $500 not to have an abortion. I find that to be so, well, stupid. How far is $500 going to go? And what’s going to stop women who know they aren’t going to have an abortion act like they’re going to and pick up some extra cash? Texas should save all their $500 checks and put it in a safe sex education campaign.
    I can’t believe that Republicans can’t see that when they take out safe sex education in schools, abortion rates skyrocket. I was in high school less then ten years ago when Clinton was still in office and was taught safe sex in school (and by my mother). If I had been taught nothing but abstinence, I wouldn’t have told my boyfriend, “Sorry, I learned NOT to have sex.” Please. Sex felt good. I did it when I was a teenager and I did it safely because someone taught me.
    I currently live in Tennessee and this is my first time hearing about this death certificate bill. I’m appalled at this.
    Thank you so much for talking about this. So many people feel that this is such a taboo issue instead of what it really is. A very important issue that should be talked about throughly and thoughtfully.

  • Melanie

    March 30, 2007 at 10:27 pm

    Alice, I love that last part- it’s what I’ve been trying to tell people for years. I’m not pro-abortion, I’m pro-choice, and there’s a huge difference. It’s amazing how many people who say they are pro-life except in such-and-such situation will mull over that and realize that they, too, are pro-choice.
    The turn this country has taken toward the scary-ass conservative really freaks me out and I wish I had something I could do to stop it. Maybe it’s a lame cop-out, but with the current administration it seems so inevitable that more damage will continue to be done in so many places – women’s rights, health care issues, welfare… I’m so scared to be raising a child right now.

  • dinka

    March 30, 2007 at 10:40 pm

    Hi alice, another pro-life catholic reader rising her hand over here.
    This law is questionable, but i wonder why is it so mean to show a woman what is going to happen? If abortion is OK then why is it so horrifying to look at the fetus? Isn’t it highly patronizing to imply that women are so easily scared that just looking at the ultrasound will immediately make them crumble and change the “informed” decision they are making? Unless maye there is another human being involved…
    I’m also one of those crazy people who believes that for many people abortion is a logical consequence to contraception. If one didn’t work, the other surely will. There has never been so much contraception available to everyone including teenagers as it is now and yet people don’t seem to have more respect for sex and what it entails.
    What solution are we really providing by offering abortion? It’s like pre-emptive war. You think you are fixing a problem but instead you end up in bigger pain.

  • Robyn

    March 30, 2007 at 11:59 pm

    I’ve always felt that making the argument that keeping abortion legal keeps it “safe” (i.e. reduces back-alley abortions, etc) is like saying that bank robbery or carjacking should be legal. Just think! If those things were legal, far fewer people would die as a result. And yet, pretty much everyone agrees that bank robbery and carjacking are wrong. How come nobody can agree that it’s wrong to not protect our society’s most defenseless creatures?
    And count me in for agreeing that parental notification is important. While I’ll grant that, as a previous poster stated, “sometimes it’s the parent or caregiver or guardian who got the girl pregnant in the first place”, to let that be the reason that no parent needs to be notified ever is ridiculous and assumes way too much. Not to mention that it limits the ever important options!
    (Love you, Alice, despite my disagreeing stance!)

  • jami

    March 31, 2007 at 10:08 am

    Another Tennessee reader – and as far as the bill introduced to issue death certificates, I believe the state attorney general shot it out of the water pretty quickly. It might also help to know that the (idiot) (white) state representative who introduced the legislation also tried to join the black legislative caucus, and pitched a fit when they didn’t really want him thanks.
    And I live in his district. Lucky me.

  • Jessica

    March 31, 2007 at 10:21 am

    I live in South Carolina and the current government is extremely conservative. The worst part is that this govenor was RE-ELECTED. It is very scary for our state.
    This bill is embarassing for our state and for all women.

  • Frankie

    March 31, 2007 at 10:52 am

    Not to be argumentative, but to Beth and the others who are anti-abortion and feel that life changes once you feel that babe move in your arms, are you willing to take and care for the child if it doesn’t?
    How many unwanted children have you adopted? Because these children, born to mothers who didn’t want them in the first place, end up living lives that are nothing short of a nightmare. Do you know what Reactive Attachment Disorder is? Many of these children born to parents who didn’t want them, abandoned them and the WERE adopted by people who cared suffer from this. Their lives are forever damaged and the system just doesn’t pour as much money into trating their disorders as it does into the the propaganda to prevent abortion. If it did, the mental health programs all over the country wouldn’t be struggling so much.
    If you want to rally for these unborn children, fine. But consider them once they are born. That’s when everyone seems to forget about them. And my opinion? If you haven’t adopted an unwanted child yourself than you have absolutly no business voicing any negative opinion whatsoever about what a woman should do with her unwanted preganancy. If you have no intention of being part of the solution for that woman, then stay out of her problem. Spare her the moral platitudes and fairy tale happy endings. In her world, they don’t exist for her and certainly NOT for her unborn child.
    So I ask again. How many unwanted children have you adopted or do you plan on adopting?

  • Crystal

    March 31, 2007 at 12:53 pm

    Parental consent is nice, but not nearly as important as prenatal care.
    If we actually educated our kids about sex, protection and STD’s we’d have a lower pregnancy rate. The reason some kids think they can’t get pregnant the first time is because they were never educated properly about sex.
    My husband and I have already agreed that our kids will be given thorough sex ed, have access to wonderful sites like, know where the condoms are, and be given birth control pills (including whatever options are available for boys at that point) with no questions asked.
    In countries with the lowest teen pregnancy rates, the key isn’t access to abortion (although they have it) it’s good sex education, rather than the lame abstinence bullshit you get in the majority of schools these days.

  • Scarlett_Demon

    March 31, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    Following on from Robyn’s comment above; I do think that the issue of parental notification needs to be thought about very carefully. I personally am very divided on the subject! As a Mother I would be angry, indignant, horrified even if my underage daughter was given an abortion without my knowledge. I would want to be able to talk it through with her, comfort her and help her to make what would probably be the biggest decision she had ever had to make. On the other hand, when I was 15 years old and pregnant through rape the absolute last thing I wanted was for my Mother to know. It would have made my already very difficult life even harder to cope with, not to mention that I wanted very much to deal with it in my own way.
    As it happens I had a miscarriage, and to this day my Mother does not know that I was pregnant at 15. When I became pregnant a little over a year later however, I did not lose the baby and I chose to keep him. I told my Mother in my own time and in my own way, and she was through her shock supportive.
    I think the biggest problem we have here is that there is no ‘one size fits all’ option. Different people and different situations require different methods of handling. Unfortunately I have not yet come up with the answer!

  • Nuclear Blonde

    March 31, 2007 at 1:00 pm

    What we seem to lose sight of is whether the government has a right to determine whether an individual can be denied a medical procedure? Roe v. Wade, predicated on the due process clause of the 14th Amendement: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”. R v W set a sliding scale of government interest in a pregnancy–with the first twelve weeks–when a fetus is dependent on the mother for sustenance–requiring no government interference, and subsequent trimesters–when the fetus becomes less dependent–requiring more government interference.
    So, anti-choice (or, as my more radical sisters call it–pro-forced birth) folks, where in the Constitution do you have the right to deny other American citizens the choice to determine what happens to their body? You have a religious imperative? Then we are a theocracy? Like, say, Afghanistan?
    We are a country guided by a Constitution, one that we are overwhelmingly proud of, one that we are willing to send men and women to die for, and yet many of us are willing to derisively set it aside as it disagrees with our religious beliefs.
    The Democratic Party has recently rewritten their policies related to abortion, and I find their stance rational. Abortion should be the last option, but it should be safe and legal. Let’s focus on thorough sex education, availability of reliable and safe birth control, quality health care and easy adoption. All of the research indicates that when sex education is readily available, and birth control accessible, pregnancy rates decline.
    But let’s not toss out the Constitution. As Justice Blackmun wrote, as the majority opinion on Roe v. Wade: “Our task, of course, is to resolve the issue by constitutional measurement, free of emotion and of predilection.”

  • Sarah

    March 31, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    Wow they don’t call this a hot-button issue for nothing, but at least I feel that so far all comments have been (mostly) respectful and thoughtful.
    To clarify my position – I’m pro-life because I believe that it is immoral to kill a human being, that a baby is a human being from the moment of conception, and that two wrongs never make a right.
    I would love to see every pregnant woman supported from the beginning by family and friends, and by the state when it is clear that family is no support. I believe in real and honest sex education from an early age, getting more complex as the child grows older. I believe in teaching children to respect their bodies, and that it is okay to enjoy sex outside marriage when they feel ready. I believe in responsibility, which means contraception that is easily available and affordable.
    I have thought long about this, and I cannot birng myself to support abortions even in the case of rape, as I cannot accept that it is the baby’s fault. The only excpetion I would make would be in the case of a child pregnancy, as I think this comes under my general execption that when two lives are at stake, it is right to save one at the expense of the other. I don’t ask that everybody agree with me on this. I know how difficult it is to be this cold-hearted to a rape-victim.
    Despite my personal beliefs, I don’t like any of the mentioned laws, except maybe Missisipi because it’s honest. If abortiong is legal, it should be free from harassment. End of story. And I second the comment that Texas should save these 500 $ cheques for better sex-education and support for children once they’re born.
    Finally, my aplogies for the comment if it’s too long or if it offended anybody. I am a Catholic btw, for whatever that means to you.

  • Alexandrialeigh

    March 31, 2007 at 7:21 pm

    Well-written, Alice! I posted about this on my blog last week, too, and I’m completely horrified by this kind of legislation.

  • Christopher

    March 31, 2007 at 8:50 pm

    I’m not sure what the problem is–pro-choice women want to make informed choices, right? This technology allows women to be MUCH more informed of one of their choices. For women who are already fully informed of what abortion is and what it does and to whom, they still have the ability to abort. However, many women have been sold a pack of lies–that it’s just tissue, formless, etc. They call the thing inside of them a “pregnancy,” for example. Even calling it a “fetus” is more accurate than the euphemism, “a pregnancy.” Nobody has “a pregnancy” inside of them.
    Having been through a crisis pregnancy (where my girlfriend chose not to abort), and having known four women (all close friends) who have had abortions, I’m more than familiar with the gut-wrenching fears and challenges involved. I’m also very aware of the effects of abortion. However, it is painfully obvious that the number one reason pro-choicers want such legislation abolished is because the technology would indeed put the end to a lot of “euphemizing.” It’s pretty tough to call a kicking, playing, heart-beating developing human a “pregnancy” or a blob of tissue. Fully informing women of the realities of abortion would bring this profitable industry to a screeching halt.
    4,000 abortions are performed every day in this country because, in many cases, the manipulation of language and women’s ignorance of abortion’s realities allows it.

  • Belinda

    March 31, 2007 at 9:50 pm

    I’m still reeling from Crystal’s comment, up top. Denied PRENATAL CARE without parental consent if you’re under 18? WHAT does this solve?

  • beth

    March 31, 2007 at 11:47 pm

    nuclear blonde, my opinion on abortion has nothing to do with religion. as a child, i looked up the word in the dictionary to find out what it meant. immediately, i knew that abortion was wrong. if anything, science pushed me towards being pro-life. nblonde, you also asked “So, anti-choice (or, as my more radical sisters call it–pro-forced birth) folks, where in the Constitution do you have the right to deny other American citizens the choice to determine what happens to their body?” a woman (and a man for that matter) knows that when she has sex, no matter what, there is always a chance of pregnancy. that is the point at which she exercises her american right to choose what happens to her body. i know that if i speed, there is a chance i will get a ticket. i know that if i drink and drive, i can possibly end up in an accident that will kill others. i know if i gossip, there is a chance that those i gossip about will find out. i know that if i have sex, even if i think i am protected, there is always a chance of getting an std or becoming pregnant. though the chance of something undesirable happening in all of the above circumstances may be slim, it is not impossible, and as such, must be something i am willing to deal with it.
    frankie, if i wanted to conventionally adopt, i would not be approved. however, if i had a friend, sister, anyone who was expiring under the weight of an unwanted pregnancy or child, i would do everything in my power to take care of the child.

  • Margaret

    April 1, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    You rock, Alice. Thanks for a fabulous post.

  • alianora

    April 1, 2007 at 2:32 pm

    I wont get into my feelings on abortion or pro-life, or the lack of sex ed, or the fact that I currently live somewhere that has a very high teen pregnancy rate – its very normal out here, where EVERYONE knows that “condoms give you diseases.”
    But, I do have to say, mandatory ultrasounds? Psh. I am currently 35 weeks pregnant, with a wanted pregnancy, and even at my 20 weeks appointment, where we found out it was a boy and they pointed out hands and face and penis – it was still not completely real. This kid kicks me in the ribs 400 times a day, and yet…he’s still NOT COMPLETELY REAL to me.
    So, why, especially for an early term abortion, which if you choose to get one, please get one early, would seeing a tiny bean on a fuzzy screen change your mind?

  • kate

    April 1, 2007 at 3:39 pm

    rah rah.

  • HerrMetik

    April 1, 2007 at 4:39 pm

    Hi there. Let me first say that I am young, and I’m male, so I can’t really say I’m speaking about a topic that affects my in the same way it does others. I didn’t even read the whole entry nor all the comments before I decided to write my own one, because I was so stirred up by what I read: “…Babies are abandoned regularly in the U.S., and the risk of homicide on the first day of life is 10 times greater than the rate during any other time of life. Putting up more roadblocks to abortion will undoubtedly increase the number of these grim crimes.”
    Well, true. But making abortion easier means just turning these “grim crimes” into a legal, clean and – in much ways – comfortable variant of abandonment. Instead of dumping a newborn into a trashcan where it almost certainly will die, the fetus is killed before birth. It gives me the creeps to think that this should be a more humane way to deal with a desperate situation; to me, it’s just a sterile, clinical one. Not better. I am from Germany, and I’m not very familiar with the situation in the U.S., nor do I know much about the whole pro-contra-abortion debate. But I know that in my hometown there is a “Babyklappe” (erm… baby-lid?) where one could safely and anonymously leave an unwanted child. I believe that Alice has written about a similar device in Italy. To me, it appears to be far better (and, well, far more necessary) to create a social environment that allows people in need to deal with their situation than to just make it easier to abort an unwanted child. I like the idea of a place for unwanted children beter than the one of easier acces to abortin clinics.

  • Ginjoint

    April 1, 2007 at 6:00 pm

    Frankie, your post was wonderfully written. I hope you don’t mind if I “use” some of your points when discussing this issue with others. Beth, if you would be “approved” by an adoption agency (wow, that sure was an easy out for you!) would you then step in and adopt the child of a woman who was intimidated by these tactics and gave birth instead of aborting? Or would you only do it for someone you knew personally? What about women who have no one who would or could help them out?

  • Ginjoint

    April 1, 2007 at 6:13 pm

    Yes, HerrMetik, a wonderful place for all the unwanted children! Yes! And Republicans would be oh-so-happy to fund these *cough*orphanages*cough*! With well-paid, well-trained staff, who are given good insurance benefits, and respected for their work!
    There’s a saying in America, something along the lines of, “Yeah, and monkeys fly out of my butt.” You get the picture.

  • Sandra

    April 1, 2007 at 8:50 pm

    OH. MY. GOD. This scares the sh*t outta me. I live in Canada, where so far we seem to be a little bit more liberal minded and respect people’s right to make their own choices. But this scares the crap outta me because, sadly, we always seem to follow in the U.S.’s footsteps for some unknown reason.
    I have had an abortion. Has anyone else here who made a comment had one? Are you to ashamed or scared to own up? I am NOT ashamed. It was not an easy decision nor was it taken AT ALL lightly. I was using contraception. In fact I was using condoms because, having volunteered w/AIDS patients at the beginning of the epidemic, I was well aware of the necessity of protection for birth control and std’s. However, unbeknownst to me and my partner, the condom slipped off. Yes, it happens. When we realized it (before the “climax” – sorry if that offends anyone) we immediately replaced it. Apparently those few unprotected moments were enough for some sperm to slip by. This is the only incidence in which I was unprotected (even briefly) and what do you know? I was pregnant. By this point I was no longer w/my partner and for my own personal reasons (which I don’t feel I should have to justify) I could not have a baby at that time. It was a very hard choice to make and again, I did not take it lightly. But I am so grateful that here in Canada it was legal for me to get an abortion and I didn’t have to pay for it (which I could not have afforded at the time). I still was subjected to pro-lifers picketing outside the clinic where I had the abortion though. That was a lovely addition to an already awful day. But I do not regret my decision and I am not scarred or in constant pain about it. Do I wish it could have been different? Of course. But I do not regret the abortion and I am grateful I had that option.
    And for anyone who thinks that women use abortion as birth control, are you out of your mind? Have you had an abortion? If you had you would know it is extremely unpleasant (to put it mildly), can in fact be painful, take quite awhile to get over physically, can lead to complications for the woman (infection and the like), is not easy to obtain (as we have seen from the above information)… I could go on and on. There might perhaps be a very very small percentage of women who have repeated abortions but I would wager that percentage is extremely low. Believe me, if you have been through one (even one you don’t regret as I don’t) you are loathe to go through one again. I believe most women who have an abortion come to a very difficult decision and it is usually a one time deal.
    Further, my mother had an abortion back in the day when it was illegal (and I only recently found this out) and almost died. She almost bled to death and was in the hospital in a coma for a week. Are we seriously considering going back to these days? Because, believe me, abortion will always exist as long as sex exists.

  • beth

    April 1, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    ginjoint, i’m sorry that you feel i took an “easy out”. i would step in for any unborn baby, regardless of if i knew the woman personally or not. unfortunately, i don’t have the funding or the resources to save all unwanted children. no one does. that doesn’t mean i think so called “unwanted” children should be aborted. i don’t feel that you, or anyone else for that matter, has the right to determine whether a child’s life is worth living or not.

  • L

    April 1, 2007 at 9:17 pm

    It makes me sick that fetuses have more rights than women in this country, and that the very second a fetus becomes a newborn baby, it stops getting all this attention from law makers and nutjob right wing conservatives. all the anti-abortion stuff wouldn’t be half as insulting if they wanted to take care of children as much as fetuses. but instead they cut head start, cut access to pre natal care, and try to make the whole abortion problem just disappear.

  • Ginjoint

    April 1, 2007 at 10:35 pm

    Oh Beth…and I don’t feel that you, or anyone else for that matter, has the right to determine my reproductive path. BTW, I didn’t suggest for you to “save” ALL unwanted children. Perhaps just one. Wait, you can’t afford to raise a child? Neither can many of the women who choose to abort their pregnancies. Of course, there’s also millions of folks in America without healthcare insurance to pay for prenatal care, which becomes an issue if one thinks that adoption is the end-all solution to this. Women shouldn’t have to put their lives on the line so that another couple may become parents. Do I value the life of a born, sentient woman over that of an embryo? Yes. Yes, I do. That is not deciding whether a child’s life is worth living; it’s protecting and valuing the life that already is.
    Sandra, thanks for sharing your experience.

  • Frankie

    April 1, 2007 at 10:52 pm

    ginjoint, yes, please feel free t use anything of ine you please.
    Beth, as for your abilty to adopt, has the government determined that you would not be approved? Have you tried? If you go through your local Children Services board, where most of these unwanted children are being taken into care, they will actually give you a stipend in most cases to adopt the child, as well as pay for the childs medical insurance, so resources are not an issue. If the government in your state has determined that you would not be approved, then I am sorry. It sure does suck to have the government legislate your family, doesn’t it?
    My challenge remains that those who would legislate a womans choice or support the legislation of a woman’s choice put their money where their mouth is. It is wonderful that you care so much about the fetus. Now, show your love for that child.
    And Beth, you don’t need the resources to save EVERY unwanted child. How about just one? One less child left with the emotional hole in it’s heart when he is born into this world to a mother that doesn’t want him.

  • Lumpy

    April 2, 2007 at 12:21 am

    What is too often forgotten in the abortion debate is the fact that pregnancy is a medical condition that, even today in the US with the best prenatal care available, can lead to serious physical and mental illnesses and even death. That’s why in medical literature they regularly talk about pregnancy morbidity and mortality. That is why the OB in the emergency room explained that my baby was “actually a parasite” that could threaten my life. No person, male or female, can be forced to jeopardize his or her life for anyone else–that’s why you cannot be compelled to donate a kidney or piece of liver to someone even if you are a perfect match and would save a life. The very fact that millions of women decide to give birth is a testament to their self-sacrificial love, but no one should be able to compel a woman to go through pregnancy and birth. (And I say this as a mother who experienced severe illness after giving birth to my first child.) And as for this idea that forcing a woman to look at an ultrasound is “educational:” what, exactly, is the lesson you feel she needs to learn? That she is pregnant? That there is another life in her? She already knows that. It doesn’t change the reasons, be they social, economic, emotional or physical, that she has decided to end that pregnancy. It is purely punitive and threatening.

  • jkeay

    April 2, 2007 at 8:19 am

    OK, I haven’t read all the comments, but I have a question that may not have been asked yet – who in the world can actually tell what the hell is going on in an ultrasound, anyway? Whenever I see one and a parent-to-be says, “See? There? That’s the head. See the little toes?” I say, “Sure, sure I can see it. Beautiful!” But inside I’m thinking…I can’t see jack. I know, it’s beside the more pressing ethical/moral/philosophical points, but I’m talking practical here! Silly law makers – not all women are radiologists, did they not know that when they wrote this bill?

  • dish

    April 2, 2007 at 9:35 am

    Alice, I loved your question to SC (and, I’m assuming, to other states working on these ridiculous restrictions) about what they plan to do to help the women who may now go to term with their pregnancy if abortion becomes a more difficult option. I work with a group in PA that does just that- provides housing, education, clothing, supplies, and whatever else a woman might need- including direct access to adoption services if that is a better option for her. I wish there were more groups like this in all 50 states.
    And, for the record, I am pro-choice. But I admire the work of this particular pro-life group- they provide action where most only provide words.

  • HerrMetik

    April 2, 2007 at 10:20 am

    Erm… I’m sorry, but I do not “get the picture”, Ginjoint. Foreign-language sarcasm with a completely different cultural background can be confusing – please, don’t get harsh on me. Yes, the staff of this stations is well-trained (they are nurses, after all), and I can only hope that they are well payed. I truly believe that the staff at the orphanages (you are right, that’s what they are) is well-trained, since you need special training ad qualification to work there. I can’t say anything about the wages, but for the insurance, well, that’s mandatory in my country. And yes, I am fully aware that this ist NOT that one and only brilliant solution to a complex, multi-layered social problem of which pregnant teenagers and abortion-laws are parts of. I just consider it an alternative to abortion.
    Let me make this clear:
    Under certain cirumstances (one of them beeing the expressed wish of the pregnant woman), abortion is not illegal in Germany. If anything, I would support a more liberal handling. I hate those pro-choice or pro-life labels: I am strongly opposed to ruling out abortion as an option, and I am as well opposed to choosing this option. What really makes me uncomfortable is how the language obscures the procedure. I don’t see much difference between abandoning a child before or after birth. It is, however, not my choice to make.
    There is a phrase which realy frightens me – “It’s MY body!”. True. But I often imagine that it could be MY child. I could be the father. What about my right to love and raise my child? This simple, black-and-white label-making I read and hear makes me sick. It’s not the reasoning about abortion that scares me, but very often it’s the use of this egocentric slogan.

  • kookaloomoo

    April 2, 2007 at 10:57 am

    Wow, Alice, way to get people fired up!
    My own feelings about the subject of abortion are very complex, mostly as a result of having had one 15 years ago. At the time, I was 18 years old, headed for college in (literally) 2 days when the pregnancy test confirmed what I already knew. I told my parents, who called me a whore, packed me a bag, dragged me out of the house and locked the door. At 9:30 at night in rural New Hampshire, I found myself barefoot, wearing my pajamas on the porch of my parents’ house. I had nowhere to go, no way to get anywhere, and no one to help me. I spent the night in the barn and tried to figure out what to do. My brother found me in the morning and delivered a message from my parents: if I agreed to have an abortion and not tell a soul about the pregnancy, they would give me the rest of my tuition money and drop me off at college as planned. Otherwise, I would not be allowed back in the house except to pack my belongings, and they never wanted to see me again. I had never gotten far enough in talking with them the night before to tell them that I had already made an appointment to have an abortion the following week. My brother came to pick me up at school 10 days later and bring me to the hospital, where I aborted twins. I didn’t see or speak to my parents for 3 years. It has taken a decade of therapy (for all of us) to build a relationship with my parents again. They are now the happy grandparents of the toddler my partner gave birth to. I am infertile as a result of complications from the abortion, and am acutely aware that I gave up my one and only chance to have a biological child (twins!) of my own. I have suffered enough pain, guilt, and loss. Had abortion been illegal, had I been unable to afford the $800 to get one, had I been forced to view an ultrasound and know ahead of time that there were two heartbeats, who knows? Maybe my parents would have had a change of heart and helped me, but I doubt it. I would have been homeless, broke, alone and pregnant. This was in 1992. I suspect my situation is not uncommon. I may be pro choice, but there was no choice to be made.

  • snplgal

    April 2, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    Frankie! BRAVO! You made the exact point I was going to. People, before you get all up in arms about women wanting to think of their fetus as a “lump of cells”, please, take a moment and adopt a crack-addicted baby and raise it for your own. We tend to think that there is no such thing as a new-born baby that will go un-adopted, but I am willing to bet that there aren’t families waiting in line to adopt the babies of drug-addicted mothers.

  • Frankie

    April 2, 2007 at 1:07 pm

    I would add that the child does not need to be born to a drug addidcted mother or born drug addicted itself in order to end up with a life time of problems. The simple act of rejection can impact a child in ways that will damage it’s life forever. I have seen the result of this and many are not prepared to raise and nurture this kind of child. These children often end up being placed back into the overloaded system that essentially spawned them in the first place, when it let their biological mother down.
    On the flip side, I also hear what HerrMetik is saying in regards to responsible fathers. If there is a a responsible father or partner willing to care for his child and raise it in a nurturing environment after birth, well, that is a serious consideration. Unfortunately, too often, this person is absent. But bravo for those willing to step up!

  • Cobwebs

    April 2, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    A few years ago I read an excellent suggestion for putting this particular issue into perspective (sadly I can’t recall where I read it, or I would give proper credit): Let everyone who claims to be “pro-life” sign a national registry and agree to provide full financial support to raise an unwanted child to adulthood.
    This would certainly help weed out the hypocrites who want to force their views on others without taking any responsibility for the consequences.
    Great post, Alice!

  • Anonymous

    April 2, 2007 at 1:23 pm

    Thank God I live in Canada where it would take a WHOLE LOT for this kind of BS to ever happen. How unbelievably sad and dreadful.

  • Joanne

    April 2, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    Quote: “The solution would be partly to have REAL sex ed in schools and free contraception available to kids. But sadly, the government (and the Church) is too horrified by the reality of kids having sex to protect unborn lives before they’ve begun.”
    When I read something like the quote above, I wonder why aren’t the kids (and adults) horrified about having sex and protecting the unborn?
    Why is it not the person who is getting pregnant’s responsibility to use contraception or to deal with the consequences? I don’t mean this as an attack on anyone, it’s just … I think the Church has made its position pretty clear on premarital sex/contraception/ abortion, right?

  • aefraney

    April 2, 2007 at 3:05 pm

    WOW. thanks to alice for writing this! I followed the link from finslippy and who knew this was on the other end! I thought it would be about Henry!haha.
    Thank you to Sandra from Canada and kookaloomoo for their stories, I think they are the most important thing to listen to when making judgements about this topic. Those quick to put abortion in one column or the other (pro-whatever) should talk to more who have experienced them.
    I can empathize with both sides, as most of us who have posted seem to be able to do….(Beth, can’t you too?)
    I am a social worker in TN and have all too often worked with families who should NOT have children raising 5 or 6 of them, in environments that welcome sexual and physical abuse, no access to GOOD resources, have no money for food on their table…but the mom is pregnant again…eveyone is on disability and welfare. I am not saying that this is every situation but there are so many people out there that should at least have the right to have an abortion if they want…without the ridicule of a physician making them watch a sonagram. And we’re all assuming right now that they would understand it. Most of the people I work with are mentally handicapped or very low functioning.
    And then there is my very good friend who cannot get pregnant, but our foster care system and f***ed up DCS agencies are so far out of wack that it’s almost impossible for her to adopt (and yes, she’s tried everything). The baby she is fostering now will probably go back to its crack-head prostitute mother…because the system is set up for reunification (which is bs). But I digress. We will never all agree on this topic, but who are ANY of us to deny someone the right to choose?
    I’m pro-choice/anti-abortion, but if I whole hearted-ly agree with the woman who said she has a baby but admitted if she were in a different life situation, what her choice would have been when she got pregnant. I personally think that it is NEVER our right to judge or dictate what others can do, and if we’re saying we’re Christians…it should be even more so that way. WHO has the right to judge but GOD himself? Surely not me….when I meet Him, I don’t want him to look at me and ask, “who were you to point the finger at someone else and judge their actions?”..

  • Ginjoint

    April 2, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    Wow, Kookaloomoo, that is a powerful story. I don’t know what to say…I feel stupid and inadequate and all newbie-ish doing this: (((hug))) but I don’t know what else to do. I am so sorry you went through that.
    (I almost typed “I’m so sorry you had to go through that,” but you didn’t HAVE to go through that. It was other peoples’ attitudes that did it to you. And the debate marches on…)

  • twink

    April 2, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    @Melinda: Correlation is not causation. Another number that has grown in the last 15 years is the discrepancy between the highest and lowest incomes in the U.S., and I’d bet that has more to do with increased infanticide than the availability of abortions does.
    My story: Got married. Got pregnant within a week, despite birth control. Was not ready to have a family (had had long-distance engagement, needed time to learn to be married before introducing a third person into the equation, had no support network and no job, etc etc). Decided WITH HUSBAND to terminate pg. Am now (several yrs later) mom of twins, still married, deliriously happy in my little life.
    We made a decision about that first pregnancy based on the needs of our marriage. Our children are well cared for and healthy, and they have happy, healthy parents.
    We needed that option. I am glad the ultrasound screen at the clinic was turned away from me; it WOULD have changed my mind, I’m sure. But it would have been coercion, and it would have forced us into a situation in which we could not adequately care for a child.
    I won’t forget it, but I don’t regret it either.

  • Lori

    April 2, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    How can lawmakers decide that some girl has to view her unborn child before deciding to abort it? Why don’t you just kill her instead? And everyone acts like it would be easier to put the child up for adoption. OK, realistically here- could you give soemthing up after you’d carried it to term and given birth? I couldn’t. So what then, they end up raising the child without the means and spew bitterness about having the child. I love how when people mention adpotion that so many people say, “Yes, I would adopt a child and take it into my home as my own.” But sadly enough, I don’t think that numbers on adoption rates or the hundreds of thousands of children waiting for parents, sitting in orphanges HAVE FOUND YOU YET. It is like saying, “I am going to plant some shrubs over there…” AND NEVER DOING IT OR THINKING ABOUT IT. It isn’t that simple- adoption.
    You are probably the same people who walk by the poor mom with the cart full dirty kids and full of food on the first of the month and make snide comments about how you shouldn’t have children if you can’t feed them and take care of them right. I think that people should stop attacking what rights we have worked so hard to gain and keep and work on PREVENTATIVE MEASURES. Let’s just not even get to the point where abortion is a option. Idealistic, I know

  • velocibadgergirl

    April 2, 2007 at 4:10 pm

    “If we really cared about the babies, we’d do something to help them once they’re born.”
    Amen, amen, and amen some more.

  • Tammy

    April 2, 2007 at 7:07 pm

    Sarah wrote:
    “I have thought long about this, and I cannot bring myself to support abortions even in the case of rape, as I cannot accept that it is the baby’s fault.”
    Sarah, I can only assume that you’ve never been pregnant or carried a baby to term?
    I ask this because I have, and I’ve done it willingly and by choice, and even having made that choice, it was still the hardest, most gruelling, most emotionally and physically taxing thing I’ve ever done in my life.
    It took me weeks to somewhat recover from childbirth, and it took months for me to fully recover. I had third-degree perineal tearing that required dozens of stitches and which rendered me semi-incontinent for almost a year (and this incontinence will no doubt come back to haunt me when I’m elderly).
    And I had a fairly normal, textbook labour. I have friends who’ve had much more traumatic deliveries, which I won’t describe here. Not to mention post-partum depression, loss of income due to being unable to work prior to and after childbirth (and woe to the single women whose doctor orders her to full bedrest; financially, she’s fucked), and the myriad other issues that pregnant women have to deal with.
    You’re saying you’d wish this on someone who’s already been horribly victimized and brutalized by rape? I’m sure you’re a nice person, but I have to say that you just have no idea of the magnitude of what you’re saying.

  • Tammy

    April 2, 2007 at 7:39 pm

    Oh, and not to mention months and months of complete strangers coming up to you, asking about your pregnancy, touching your stomach, and asking you how excited you must be about giving birth. I’m sure that wouldn’t be traumatic for a rape victim at all.
    She could just smile politely and say, “Oh, actually I was raped and I’m forced by law to carry the fetus to term. Thanks for asking!”

  • jenn

    April 2, 2007 at 11:21 pm

    I am not addressing the special circumstances of medical danger to the infant or mother, rape, or incest as these account for a very small portion of the abortions performed and deserve to be looked at separately.
    I am pro-choice. I just disagree with most pro-choicers about where the choice is. You see I think every woman has the right to chose when and with whom she has sex. I don’t think she should have the right to chose to end another person’s life. When a woman choses to have sex, she knows there is a chance, even with contraception, that pregnancy can occur. At that moment when choosing to have sex, the woman willingly accepts that risk. Thus that woman should take responsibility for any child resulting from her choice. If a woman doesn’t feel like it is the right time in her life to have a child, or that she isn’t in a financial situation where she can support a child then maybe she should say “No” to sex. Huh, novel concept. The last time I checked there is no legislation in this country forcing anyone to have sex against their will.
    I believe a life is created at the moment of conception. I believe that life has the same rights to life and liberty that the mother has. I believe that denying the child the right to life because it is inconvenient to the mother is unconscionable. There seem to be a lot of people who like the abortion option because it “neatly” takes care of the “problem.” I keep reading that it is better to have an abortion than to have a child abandoned or abused or be made to feel unwanted. My question is, who is it better for? Society, the mother, the baby? Society doesn’t want to see the cruelty that happens to children and abortion is just the medical procedure “that removes a lump of tissue.” The mother doesn’t want to have to raise the child or put the child up for adoption or go through a pregnancy. Abortion lets her “get it over with.” But what about the baby? Abortion ensure that the baby will never live to be abandoned, abused, unwanted. It ensures that the baby will never be loved or cared for.
    You see I think society wants this to all be neat and clean and a procedure that “takes care of the problem” becomes the easiest solution. But I do not believe it is the best or right solution.

  • NoShowMo

    April 3, 2007 at 2:49 am

    I currently take a medication that causes severe birth defects, when it doesn’t cause actual miscarriage. If I want to get pregnant, I have to go off the medication for three months before starting to try to conceive.
    If my contraception were to fail while on it, and god forbid I got pregnant, I would have to talk with my doctor about the risks and likelihood of either an earlier miscarriage, or having to deliver a baby that died in utero, or abortion. Those would be my choices.
    I’ve never been pregnant, and do not wish to become pregnant now, but I can tell you that risking my future fertility by waiting 30+ weeks for the inevitable is not a choice that seems particularly appealing to me. Yet, in the first trimester, the “life or health of the mother” exception that states have (so far) preserved would not yet apply to me.
    Each woman’s situation is unique and fact-specific. It cannot be categorized or summed up neatly in one legislative box or another. Medical conditions and their treatment (and pregnancy is in this category) should be between a woman and her doctor, along with her partner (if appropriate). Whether you believe it’s a life or not (and most people do), until that life can live without an umbilical cord, you don’t get a say.

  • Mom101

    April 3, 2007 at 7:47 am

    Thank you for being unafraid to discuss this -= it’s so important.
    I wonder whether every teenage boy who wants to have sex without a condom should be forced to look at an ultrasound too.

  • Greatexpectations

    April 3, 2007 at 9:26 am

    “I have thought long about this, and I cannot bring myself to support abortions even in the case of rape, as I cannot accept that it is the baby’s fault.”
    Wow. I’m almost speechless.
    I don’t really think that is your decision to make until you have been the rape victim, until you have some criminal’s growing baby in your womb.
    I mentor a young lady who was raped at 11, forced to have the baby and raise her. The result is that this girl will most likely barely graduate high school because she is so depressed. She dresses in all black most of the time and is deathly afraid to talk to people. She had NO friends. I’m sure her sexuality will forever be compromised. She is dirt poor and the idea of “counseling” is just unacceptable in her culture.
    Every day I think about how brave she is, and freakin’ ridiculous it is for her to have to face that monster’s eyes in her daughter’s every day.
    And, yes, she looks just like him.

  • Been There

    April 3, 2007 at 12:49 pm

    I had an abortion when I was 18. As others have stated, anyone who thinks that going through the decision-making process and then the actual procedure is something that can be done casually is out of their mind. I received amazing counseling from the provider, making sure I knew exactly what I was doing and what would happen. Despite that, though, it was a long, painful three-day process. I was so ashamed that only my boyfriend knew I had done it for years.
    It is not a choice that people make lightly. It is not a choice that ANYONE can make except the person going through it.
    Even having done that once, I am pro-life for my own self now. If it were to happen today, I’d have the baby. But I have NO right to make that decision for anyone else.
    P.S. I agree with others that the only way to get the abortion rate down is to teach sex ed in school. And I HATE that legislators refuse to make that possible, then refuse to deal with the consequences. If we could just all accept as fact that teens do have sex – and they do people! No matter how much you want to deny it and teach abstinence as the only solution THEY WILL ALWAYS DO IT – then we could move forward with a common goal of reducing the number of abortions through sex ed.

  • Slim

    April 3, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    “I am not addressing the special circumstances of medical danger to the infant or mother, rape, or incest as these account for a very small portion of the abortions performed and deserve to be looked at separately.”
    =I am ignoring the difficult and painful exceptions that blow my tidy little theories out of the water.
    Odd, coming from someone who also declares “You see I think society wants this to all be neat and clean.”
    Some members of society are not la la la-ing our way to a place where life’s big decisions are all neat and clean. Some of us realize that is not possible. What we want is for difficult decisions to be made by the people who know the circumstances best, giving those people the necessary tools and trusting those people to make decisions seriously, thoughtfully, honorably, and responsibly.
    If the law made optional ultrasounds free for women considering abortion, I’d be fine with that. I’d also like it if all women and legistlators were provided with a brief but accurate guide to the development of the embryo and fetus, so we’d know exactly what’s at stake, biologically.

  • Tina

    April 3, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    Okay, I know this is hot button issue. While I think this law is pretty stupid, let’s just get the opinion of someone who was an unwed pregnant teenager. No one forced me to keep the baby or to place my baby for adoption; no one would have known if I had gotten an abortion.
    I went to a totally free agency that paid for my medical care (and I believe is available in most states) and had counseling sessions with other girls in my situation and one-on-one with a counselor. I got to go through stacks of folders from prospective adoptive parents. There were hundreds of families in my area that wanted to adopt those “unwanted” children. I picked a family and was able to get to know them. Going through labor and carrying this child was emotionally and physically taxing. It was hard on me, but now years later I still hear from “my other family” and get pictures of my birth son, who has a great life with parents who desperately wanted children, but couldn’t have any of their own.
    I’m glad that I was able to give them that opportunity and I could have aborted, it sure would have been easier, but I didn’t. I often think about all those parents who I didn’t pick, who had to wait, who might still be waiting for some young girl to pick them. I think teaching people that abortion is not the only option would be great, because so many girls would relise their own value if they could do something like that for someone else. For the child, for those adoptive parents.
    I just hate seeing abortion treated as a form of birth control.
    Years later when I was trying to get pregnant and couldn’t get a positive pregnancy test in the home-kit test, I went to Planned Parenthood thinking they would have better technology then just peeing on a stick. I can’t believe the pressure I felt from them in my ultra-conservative state to get an abortion. On my planned pregnancy. They kept telling me I had “other options.” Over and over and if I wanted them to tell me more about abortions or if I wanted a pamphlet, or really, don’t you want me to tell you what the abortion schedule is this week? I wanted to scream at them that I was trying to conceive. So maybe other women feel pressured to get an abortion too and feel like they really should just get an abortion and get it over it.

  • D.Regina

    April 4, 2007 at 11:58 am

    I had an abortion at age 23. It was a very difficult, sad, awful decision to have to make. I had had a fling with an old friend. We were living in the middle of nowhere Colorado, both pretty broke. I was about to move to Ohio to go back and finish my degree – he was moving to New York.
    When I found myself faced with an unplanned pregnancy, I thought about what I would need to be able to parent.
    1) A supportive family & community – didn’t have it, as I was moving to a town where I only knew a couple people, and my relationship with my parents and sister was awful.
    2) Financial security – didn’t have it. Not even close. I was making about $8.00 an hour at the time.
    3) A secure and solid relationship with the baby’s father – he was an old friend, and a loving person, but he and I had no base at all on which to build a family. At all.
    4) Readiness and Desire to be a Mom – I was full of mixed emotions. I did not want to have an abortion, but I did not want to have a baby either.
    So I had the abortion. If we lived in a country that provided any sort of financial support for young, poor families I might have made a different decision. If I knew I could be financially secure while finishing my degree I would have had at least one of the four, and I would have felt more secure and ready to have a kid. But there was no safety net.
    So I had the abortion. I prayed about it, and the day of I just turned my heart over to God. And, as cheesy and ridiculous as it sounds, I felt loved and held by God the whole day. I was full of grief, regret, and sorrow, but I also felt at peace with my decision.
    Then I left the clinic.
    And there were a bunch of protesters outside. I was with my partner, and we were the only two people in the parking lot. There were maybe 10 or 15 protesters, and the two of us, and the guard at the clinic door. The protesters chanted – at me – “MOMMY, MOMMY, WHERE’S YOUR BABY” as we walked to the car.
    It kills me, even to remember it now.
    People who treat other people like that, and yet are sure of their own moral and spiritual superiority, are the most dangerous people on Earth.
    Abortion is a personal decision, it need to remain legal, and our government needs to create active supportive programs for young, struggling families so that they can actually have a choice.

  • erin

    April 4, 2007 at 12:42 pm

    As a pro-choice woman, I have to say I’m fairly impressed with the calm and thoughtful comments from the pro-life folks on this board. On the other hand, I’m kinda embarrassed by the reactionary, snide comments of some of my pro-choice fellow travelers (not all, but some). I think a big problem with this entire issue is the general inability to have a rational conversation about the issue and address the underlying problems (why there are unwanted pregnancies in the first place)–from reading some of the pro-life comments I get the sense that we’re in agreement on things like providing better birth control access, etc.

  • Lumpy

    April 4, 2007 at 1:57 pm

    “I am not addressing the special circumstances of medical danger to the infant or mother, rape, or incest as these account for a very small portion of the abortions performed and deserve to be looked at separately.”
    Just one problem (and there are many) with trying to bracket off situations of threat to the life and health of the mother from other decisions to have an abortion–of saying that abortion would allowed (and who, by the way, would make that decision? The doctor and mother? Or the government?) in cases of threat to life/health, and that all other pregnant women would be forced to carry to term and give birth–is that it is not always clear that the life and health of the mother are at grave risk until it is time for the birth.
    Since others have been brave enough to share their stories, I’ll share mine. When I gave birth to my first child, after an easy and perfectly healthy pregnancy, something went horribly wrong. In the middle of my emergency c-section, while the doctors had pulled my uterus out and were squeezing it to stop uncontrollable hemoraging, the anesthesia failed. I felt everything, cut open and taken apart on the table. Because my blood pressure skyrocketed from the pain and I was in danger of a stroke in the middle of the operation, I was given a dissociative anesthesia called ketamine. It works instantly by creating a total psychotic break with reality, completely severing body and mind. I didn’t die, but I developed drug-induced psychotic disorder and post-partum psychosis for almost two years. I became seriously mentally ill. I lost my health, my faith, my job, my mind, my identity, and my son’s babyhood. I don’t remember much of it. The stress almost destroyed our marriage, and we lost our savings and our house.
    Whether or not you believe that life begins at conception(which actually, I do) does not change the fact that no other human being, even your own baby, ever has the right to threaten or take your life. If you choose to take that huge risk–if you CHOOSE to carry a baby and give birth, it is your right. But it is never the right of the baby to demand it.
    Every person has a right to life. But no one person’s right is greater than another’s. No woman should be forced against her will to jeopardize her life, her health, and her sanity.
    (And in case you are curious, I am no longer psychotic but still in weekly therapy, I have had another child, and I am a Catholic theologian.)

  • Frankie

    April 5, 2007 at 8:46 am

    Erin, it is very easy to stay calm when the position you are defending is not threatening to demiolish your basic right to make a decsion regarding your own body. Defending yourself against others who disagree on a message board may be uncomfortable, but it isn’t potentially life threatening. If a person believes that this medical proceedure should remain legal, safe and free from intimidation tactics then now is the time for anger and reaction. At least we are not throwing pigsblood and picketing mothers as they walk out of the hospital with their newborns!
    And to the peron who experienced pressure to abort when going to Planned Parenthood for help conceiving, that is unfortunate and I’m sorry you experienced that. But that is nothing compared to the pressure women experience in reverse. Again, at least no one was threatening you or trying to legislate you out of your right to conceive. Imagine if the government tried to put a limit on how many times we could reproduce? Or how many kids we could have? How many attempts at InVitro? What if you had to pass a test, proving that you could financially and emotionally handle a child before being allowed to have one, per our government and based on THEIR standards? What if birth control were mandatory? I bet even the pro-lifers would not feel so *calm*.

  • Heather

    April 6, 2007 at 12:18 am

    My body, my choice. Always. Period. I am in favor of a few things that, I feel, would make abortion less of a form of birth control, and more of an “educated option”.
    If my 16 year old daughter wants an abortion, I should be notified, but not necessarily have a say. I agree with notification because if, on the slim chance, something goes wrong, I will have no clue and she, still hiding her abortion, probably will not ask for help. I don’t think I should have a say because it’s her body. Even at 16.
    If they are going to issue death certificates, I am assuming those are states where, if a mother is assaulted, the mother can legally persue her assailant twice – once for herself and once for her baby? Assinine.
    I am also in favor of the 24 hour waiting period, or counseling regarding your options. I think too many people jump to abortion as an option. IT SHOULD ALWAYS BE AN OPTION, but you should also be aware of OTHER OPTIONS.
    I think paying a woman $500.00 to keep her baby is insulting. If you’re giving your baby up for adoption, most states allow for your care to be covered by the adopting family anyway. Most agencies offer help to the birth mother at no charge to her whatsoever. That piddly amount is like saying, “$500.00 is all your baby is worth to us. Never mind your physical or emotional well-being.”
    There will always be emotions tied to this subject, so you can only expect people to be objective to a point… There is no right answer… There is only what is right for you. If it’s wrong for you, don’t do it, but don’t take the option from me because of the way you feel.

  • dinka

    April 6, 2007 at 10:36 pm

    “.. it’s nothing compared to the pressure women experience in reverse”
    I’m really curious where is this terrible pressure to “keep the baby” coming from? Just from looking at the comments here, it seems the pressure was to get the abortion or get lost. I am still waiting for the story where the teenage girl gets pregnant, tells her parents and they tell her: KEEP THE BABY OR ELSE! Or the boyfriend who says: Oh, you’re pregnant? You are not going to get rid of it are you? I’m DYING to be a father.

  • Sarah

    April 7, 2007 at 12:40 pm

    Tammy, you’re right. I’ve never been pregnant. I’m engaged to my long-term partner, and we don’t plan to have kids for another few years. I’ve been sexually active for 6 years, with the same man, and we have always used birth control – either condoms or the Pill. It failed us once. The condom burst, and that night we went directly to a hospital for the monring-after pill. I am glad that this was freely available even if it was actually pretty expensive. I’m telling you all this because it seems that it is not right to have an opinion on abortion unless you’re gone through it yourself. Perhaps being pregnant would change my mind, but I doubt very much that it would change it in favour of abortion.
    Greatexpectations, I’m very sorry to hear about that 11-year old girl. I would actually have supported her having an abortion. Maybe you didn’t read my whole comment (I understand, there were lots of comments) but I would never deny abortion to a pregnant child. It may seem arbitrary but in my opinion a child has no business being pregnanat, and the pregnancy is actually putting the child’s life at risk (physically and psychologically) so I favour abortion in this case. Lesser of two evils to my mind.
    Regarding the more general case of an adult pregnant as a result of rape (it does happen and I can’t be pro-life without discussing it) I know how awful it is for the woman. I know how it will be a daily reminder, and if she chooses to keep the baby, may become a physical reminder every day of its life. I know that it is terrible for her. But, it’s not the baby’s fault. The baby is half-her, and I believe that the baby has a right to life that even supersedes her right to a quick end to a painful reminder. I would hope that after carrying to term she could give it up for adoption to a family who wouldn’t hate it for what it represents. But, I’ve never been raped, much less pregnant by a rapist. My opinion is worth what it’s worth.

  • jody

    April 7, 2007 at 10:03 pm

    You know, the thing I keep hearing from Frankie is something along the lines of “These women are going to be forced to keep these unwanted babies, and these babies will grow up into unloved, abused children.”
    What is being said here is that YOU are deeming an abused childs life as unworthy, worthless and without merit. Wow. That sort of sounds like mental abuse to me. Sort of what an abusive parent might say to a child.
    Talk about a double standard. Since when are we given permission to decide if a future child’s life will have merit or not? Are you saying that poor children who have a life of suffering are better off never being born? That sounds VERY prejudice to me. Frankie, why don’t you tell that to a child who has RAD? By putting those words in print, that is exactly what you are doing. Preserving those hurtful sentiments for a generation of RAD children to come and read, confiming their worthlessness that their parents taught them and planting the seed that says “I would have been better off if she had aborted me”. Holy cow.
    As an OB-RN, I have been present for an US that was performed on a woman 8 weeks pregnant who had been in a car accident. She was having abdominal pain, so an US was ordered after she revealed her pregnancy. She saw the baby on the screen and was stunned. The baby was moving and wiggling around. The mother began crying and blurted out “I was scheduled to have an abortion next week, but seeing this, there is no way I can go through with it”.
    Seeing is believing.

  • alice


    April 7, 2007 at 11:09 pm

    Jody, the mind reels. Because Frankie is pointing out that children who are abused and unloved develop severe emotional and mental disorders, you’ve leaped to the conclusion that she thinks these children are *worthless*? One can actually wish that such children never had to be born into a life of pain, and still value the life once it’s born.

  • lauri

    April 7, 2007 at 11:53 pm

    “I believe a life is created at the moment of conception. I believe that life has the same rights to life and liberty that the mother has. I believe that denying the child the right to life because it is inconvenient to the mother is unconscionable.”
    jenn…i understand that you have strong beliefs regarding abortion. so do i. i happen to believe that the mother should absolutely have priority to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. however, it doesn’t matter what either of us believe. the bottom line is that our constitution protects a woman’s right to decide whether or not to carry to term and give birth. if you believe that abortion is wrong, don’t have one. just because you believe in something, no matter how strongly, nothing gives you the right to impose your belief on others who do not agree.
    also, i have read so many comments of people wondering what the difference is between aborting an embryo at 2 weeks gestation and disposing of a newborn in a trashcan. are you kidding me?! in one case, you have, accurately, a ball of cells, without limbs or organs and lacking the form of human or any other animal. yes, this ball of cells will eventually grow into something more if left be inside of a person who chooses to carry to term. BUT in early stages of pregnancy, we’re talking about a little mass of potential life without consciousness or a nervous system, which does not yet physiologically have the ability to feel pain. and you want to know what the difference is between ending the growth of that and throwing away a baby with fully formed nerve endings, who can cry and sleep and move and definitely feel pain??
    pro/anti-choice discussions do not usually revolve around whether or not to “kill” a near-fully-formed 3rd trimester fetus. many, if not most, abortions take place before much development has occured. i realize that terminating in any stage makes many people cringe. the truth remains, however, as alice put it… abortions will occur no matter what. making them legal and safe protects women who do not have the means to or choose to not become mothers from a particular pregnancy. it is an abomination of basic human rights to force a woman to bear a child for another’s purpose.

  • jody2ms

    April 8, 2007 at 1:44 pm

    Alice, I agree with your last sentence completely. But that is not what Frankie said. She was using it as an arguement for abortion, and that is what makes the mind reel.
    What is the difference between what she said and an abusive mother who screams at her child and says “I wish you were never born!”? There is no difference. It is just coming from a different source.
    Abuse should not be a rah rah point for abortion. We should be doing something about our terrible CPS system, our morals, and the lovelessness that is rampant these days. THAT is the problem, and correcting these things is the solution. Abortion is not.

  • JChevais

    April 12, 2007 at 7:14 am

    This is chilling. I have goosebumps.
    Again and again and again I praise whatever higher power there is that I’m not an American. I’m sorry. Don’t take it personally because it is not against Americans per se. On the whole, Americans are a nice bunch.
    I’m just glad that I don’t live in a country that is capable of idiocy like this. Thankfully, my children were born in a country that has the infrastructure necessary to support families.
    It’s posts like this that make me realise how blessed I really am.

  • Lisa in OK

    April 18, 2007 at 5:42 pm

    Pro-Choice: How come it never applies to the time BEFORE a woman decides to jump into bed with some guy? How come it always applies to the consequences of said jumping?
    Why don’t we all just completely abandon our own responsibility in the creation of the child. That sounds like a wonderful idea! It’s all the MAN’S fault! He did this to me!! That guy I met at the bar last night was apparently NOT “THE ONE”. After that night of completely unprotected, mindless sex, he didn’t even call me back.
    Get a grip. If you don’t want kids, don’t have sex. If you decide you are going to have sex, deal with the consequences. Learn how to say no before you jump into bed, not after you find yourself pregnant. Women always talk about wanting to be empowered and be in control of their lives. Well, NOT jumping into bed with the next guy that thinks you are hot is one way to be empowered.

  • Kathy Kerr

    April 22, 2007 at 11:52 pm

    Today thousands of woman are having abortions, not because of a medical
    problem but because of an unwanted pregnancy. Woman are using abortion as a means of birth control, and it is wrong. If a woman does not have enough sense to use a type of birth control such as birth control pills, the shot, or a condom she should not be having sex. Having unsafe sex increases the chances of becoming pregnant and having an unwanted pregnancy. If you do become pregnant abortion should not be the easy way out. You need to recognize the responsibility for your carelessness and think of the best thing you can do for your unborn child. If you believe you are not ready or cannot support your child and you feel the best thing you can do is to give your child up for adoption then you have something that most woman do not, courage. There are hundreds of couples who cannot conceive children of their own and who are waiting and hoping to have the enjoyment of a child in their home. Adoption agencies take drastic measures in choosing couples who they believe can adopt a child. Couples are monitored and interviewed continuously until being put on a long waiting list as a potential candidate. Families who are adopting spend thousands of dollars and are willing to sacrifice the rest of their lives caring for a child that they have never seen before. On the other hand, a mother who is willing to take on the responsibility and raise her child possibly alone with no help will find that she made the right decision by keeping her child alive instead of throwing away an innocent life.
    One method of having abortion, is the partial birth abortion also known as D and X which is, dilation and extraction. The arms, legs, and torso of the unborn child is pulled out of the uterus until just the head is inside. As the wiggling innocent child is hanging from the mother the abortionist takes a pair of forceps and stabs the baby in the back of the neck near the end of the skull. He then tears a large hold in the neck, Then a suction catheter is inserted into the womb sucking out brain matter and skull fragments. The body of the dismembered child is then thrown into the trash. Another method, deals with a fully formed living baby that has been removed for the mother right after birth. The baby is alive, moving, breathing, healthy, and screaming. The umbilical cord is clamped, not cut off. The baby then struggles in pain for several long minutes before dying. Some Infants have lived through this procedure and are put up for adoption while the mother must live with the fact that she tried to murder her unwanted baby. Other methods include D and E which is dilation and evacuation, where the embryo is chopped up and dismembered inside the womb and then sucked out. Saline abortion or “ salt poisoning ” also takes place in the womb. A needle is inserted into the amniotic sac and saline is inserted. The unborn child breaths in and swallows the salt, poisoning the child at this point the unborn child’s skin starts to melt off because of the high amount of salt. Studies show that it is now clear that the network which conveys pain humans, the spino-thalamic system is fully established and connected by 20 weeks into the pregnancy. What is more apparent is that premature newborn babies and late-term aborted babies feel more pain then babies delivered at full term. So this means as the body of the unborn child is melting and burning off it can feel it happening. The woman then goes into labor and delivers a dead mutilated baby. This is very dangerous and life threatening to the mother but, any mother willing to poison her own healthy unborn child must be willing to take a risk of losing her own life at the same time. Other types of abortions are the Abortion pill, D and C, and urea abortion.
    Any abortion you are willing to have is wrong and immoral and it is something you ill have to I’ve with for the rest of your life so putting your child up for adoption would be the best thing you could do for you and your child. A marred couple, Claudia and Richard had found out they were going to have a baby they were ecstatic. Six months into the pregnancy they found out that their unborn son had fluid in the brain which prevented the brain from developing. The couples specialist showed the couple an ultrasound of the babies heart which had a hole in the chambers that restricted the blood flow. They were told that the baby would never survive, they were devastated. They were faced with the hardest decision they would ever have to make. Should they go throw with the pregnancy knowing that their child would not survive, or should they have an abortion to humanly end the pregnancy. The couple did not believe in abortions but they felt that it would be the best thing for the child so they decided to go through with the termination of their baby. It was very emotional and hard for the two of them but eventually they adopted a child and are happy. Yes this sounds like a great thing to do with the best interest for the child but where do you draw the line. There are families that have severely retarded and
    terminally ill children and adults but there is nothing we can do for them except watch them fade away. It would be wonderful to help them end their suffering just like Claudia and her husband Richard but we cant. Just because you are doing something that is best for someone else does not make killing someone the right thing to do.

  • shannon

    May 13, 2007 at 10:19 am

    I would like to first state that EVERYONE has a choice. There is alwats a choice. Lets be frank here. A lot of women who choose abortion, do so easily. There are many women who use it as a form of birth control. These days there are so many couples waiting to adopt and willing to cover all the expenses for a pregnancy, that you can’t seriously say that women with unplanned pregnancies have no choice other than abortion. Being a young single mother myself, I looked into ALL of my options and there were plenty. I think that seeing a picture of the baby on the ultrasound is a great idea. I think it’s fair for them to at least have to face what they’re about to destroy. Maybe it would make the women who do use it as a form of birth control to not take a life for granted as so many of them do. If seeing the picture makes them upset then maybe their not making the right choice and should re-think their decision. I don’t think it’s meant to be used as a fom of intimidation, more like a eye-opener to what they’re really about to do. To see how big of a decision they’re about to make that can’t be taken back. You say it would just cause the women more emotional distress, but I guess the truth hurts.