Sunday, April 22, 2007

My Views on Abortion

Updated with links at the end. Updated again with the birth of my son.

Abortion. There's a conversation stopper. While I've always been pro-choice (as far as I can remember), I was never particularly concerned with it as my primary issue. Part of that was because I never really thought (nor do I think) that Roe will ever be overturned. See this post for why. But beyond that, I'm a man. When asked about the issue, my flippant response was that I have decided that I, personally, will never have an abortion. Not exactly a huge committment, given that I can't get pregnant. But it also reflected (and reflects) my conviction that it is a personal choice.

Then I had to wrestle with this issue in my own life. My wife was pregnant. No, it wasn't unexpected. It was about as planned as it gets without using a fertility doctor, though thankfully, we did it the old fashioned way (much cheaper). Things were fine, until about six weeks in. Then she started to have some bleeding. Obviously, this is a great concern. We thought we lost the baby. So one trip to the emergency room later, we find out that no, the baby is fine. We even get an ultrasound, far earlier than you usually get one. There we can see this tiny creature with a tiny heartbeat. Unfortunately, the bleeding just continued, nonstop. For weeks. We were assured that this is common and that it would likely stop by week 10 or 11. Still, we weren't sure. And so we discussed possibly terminating the pregnancy, because it was very alarming for my wife, and also we didn't want to take this further only to find out it wasn't viable. Thankfully, we had such an option. We already had gone through the scare of wondering if we had already lost the baby.

A week passes. She gets another ultrasound. Things still look fine, but the bleeding continued. Then it got worse. Another trip to the ER. Again, they tell her, it is fine, but they told us we should come in if she soaks more than one pad with blood in an hour. So now we have a benchmark. Fortunately, things get better. Another week passes, they do another ultrasound. Things look great. I'm amazed at how much the little bugger has grown just in a few weeks, more than doubling in size. We're getting close to 10 weeks. Hopefully then, we're told, the amniotic sack will be big enough to exert enough pressure to stem the blood loss.

We were watching TV on the bed at home. Then she felt some pain. But she wasn't bleeding. She was cramping. It was very painful, but again, we checked, and there wasn't that much blood. So we did not go to the ER right then, they said one pad per hour. I called my sister, who suggested a hot bath to ease the cramp pain. And that did the trick. Then she started bleeding more. She panicked. She took off to the ER without even waiting for me to get dressed to go with her.
By the time I've joined her there, she is bleeding enough to go through one pad every 10 minutes. Then every five minutes. Her blood pressure is steadily dropping. The machine shows the numbers in orange. Then they are both in red. But all the ER people can do is basically watch her bleed. They don't want to do anything more because of the baby. They do start to give strong painkillers to my wife, but they only help a little. So we go for another ultrasound in the ER. I expected the worse. From the looks on the faces of the people, I could tell things weren't looking good, but they did not want to say anything. And yet, again, the little bugger is holding on and actually is fine even as its mother is bleeding out. So back we go to the ER room.

Now they want to see if she's dialated. I guess if she is, it is game over, but the ultrasound didn't show it and there's so much blood they simply can't see. Now the blood pressure numbers are even lower. I'm not a doctor, but I somehow don't think 60/40 is a good number to see on a blood pressure monitor, even for a moment. My wife is still awake, but a bit out of it from the drugs. They start pumping a transfusion into her, though it can't replace the blood at the rate she's going, or at least, it seems like that to me. We get a nice scare speech about the risks of transfusion. But its not like we can say no. She signs the consent form and they get in the first of two units of blood.

Finally, the ER OB comes in and starts talking to us about the possibility of losing the baby some more. Fortunately, we have already discussed this and thought about it, having already thought we lost the baby two or three times over the past few weeks. Still, it isn't pleasant to think about it.

Nothing is stopping the bleeding. There seems to be nothing they can do. They talk about trying some drugs, but then they decide things are going too fast to give time to let them work. So that leaves only surgery as a possibility. Surgery means hosing her out. It means killing the baby. So obviously, we look into other options. Only now, my wife is so out of it, from blood loss, from the painkillers, that the doctor said she is no longer able to legally consent. Now I'm handed a clipboard. On it is consent to basically give my wife an abortion and kill our future child. And it is all on me, my decision, mine alone. Something I never thought I'd ever face, ever have to deal with. Made worse by being a decision of either kill the baby or potentially watch both my wife and the baby die. The doctors did not say at this point that it was absolutely necessary. Maybe more blood could be transfused in. Maybe she wasn't dilated - they hadn't figured it out yet. Still too much blood. So then there I was, facing the sort of choice that you usually see only in hypotheticals in ethics and philosophy classes. Only it was real. It was my wife. And I didn't have exactly a lot of time to think about it. It was just me and the clipboard. An empty line there, marked for my signature. My wife bleeding right next to me. The ultrasound of my baby, and its heartbeat, fresh in my mind from minutes before. I cannot begin to describe how I felt at that moment. One cannot know until you are in it. I won't even try. I hope I never feel that way again.

As fate would have it, soon after that eternity of minutes, they finally managed to figure out, by touch alone, through all the blood, if she was dilated. She was. Just barely. That made the pregnancy an inevitable loss, they told me. I signed the consent and they took her up for what they said would be a 20 minute surgery. Even more ironically, they took us up to one of the pre-delivery rooms to prep her for the surgery. It turned out to be the very same room we were in before our first (and thus far only) child was born. Oh how the feelings were different this time around. Oh how those feelings were amplified and made worse by the memories of the last time I was in that room. And there they left me, where I waited for word.

I sat there, wondering if I'd at least get my wife back after this. Then 20 minutes passed, and nothing. Thirty minutes. Forty. Forty five. I started to get worried and thought all sorts of horrible things that I will not put words to. Mainly, then, I start to think about the abortion debate. About pro-lifers, in particular. I think about all those meddling politicians that would want to interject themselves into everything that just happened to me, interject themselves between me, my wife, and her doctors. And then I had a strong, visceral reaction. I wanted the mutherfuckers to die. I wanted to rip off their heads and tear out their hearts, because how DARE they play politics with my wife's life? The baby was fine until the end. I wondered if that would have meant they'd force us to let my wife bleed until almost death before they'd let us abort, because well, if she's not near death, then it is just a 'health' exception, and we can't have that! Fuck them. Fuck them all. They can fucking die, as far as I'm concerned. This was what went through my mind as I sat there, waiting to see if, after my baby died, my wife had died as well. I still feel that visceral reaction when I think about it, though not quite as strong - right then and there, if someone pro-life walked in and started talking about it to me, I very well might have physically attacked them. And I'm about as non-violent as one gets.

Finally, the doctors come out and tell me she's fine and headed to recovery. Again, she's in the same slot in recovery as she was after the birth of our daughter. I'm exhausted. It is now 1 am. She will be there overnight. I make sure she's ok and I head for home.

Obviously, I'm still pro-choice. And I do still say that I'll personally never have an abortion. But if anyone tells me politicians should meddle in what should be between one's doctor and one's self, I'll tell them, politely, to go fuck themselves, and then explain why.

In the weeks after this happened, I reflected on some other things as well. While I was upset at losing the little one that I saw on those ultrasounds, it did not feel even 1/100th of how I'd have felt if we'd lost my then 17 month old daughter. Not even close. We did not have a funeral. We did mourn, in a way, but nothing like you'd do with a baby who has been born. In short, just instinctively, we knew it was nothing like that. It was a seed of a person, but it really wasn't a person yet, not in our awareness. Nobody really treats a 9 week old fetus like that. Not even pro-lifers. More food for thought.

Anyway, I wonder sometimes if this is why I decided to actually make my own blog. Because I have things to say. I'm not sure if that is why, but the timing makes me wonder. This all happened very shortly before I made my blog here. So yes, it is still relatively fresh. It is still raw. I still have trouble thinking about it. I wanted to write about it, but just couldn't. I have mixed feelings about even posting this. But I think it will be cathartic. So here goes.

UPDATE: I posted a follow-up here and here. And I have some more recent, good news here and here. And now I have a short post on the one-year anniversary of this. And now my son has been born.


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Anonymous said...

To Anonymous(') (11:26 thru 11:32)

And I believe you are one person with multiple online personality disorder. Four emails, in the span of six minutes, with two minutes response time between them, and all labeled "anonymous said..."? Even if this was a fake story, it's a heckuva lot less obvious than you.


Anonymous said...

"but if the child can be saved at the loss of the mother then I would choose the child. "

Huh? Well, that's your opinion. But not me, nope, never. Leave my husband a widower and my son without a mother? To save something that isn't even a person yet?

Anonymous said...

"If you want to be pro-life (whatever that means), fine. Then, don't get an abortion. However, when you start telling others what to do, that's where the line must be drawn." [Quoted from me previously]

"If you want to be abolitionist (whatever that means), fine. Then, don't own slaves. However, when you start telling others what to do, that's where the line must be drawn."

Sign me "Wilberforce be damned" or "Horton über alles"


Sorry, rasqual. You just proved my point. Forcing a woman to carry until term is tantamount to what you are trying to make it seem that I support. I do not believe that anyone should be told what they should be able to do with their own body. And that includes forcing the person into servitude.


Anonymous said...

When pro-life supporters talk about restrictions to the life of the mother (the sort of that would never pass constitutional muster), they aren't talking about some standard that wouldn't be obvious. Clearly, if a woman is bleeding profusely, blood pressure dropping, etc., an abortion would not be considered against the law.

That's nice. Doesn't make a lick of a difference to me. I have anti-phospholipid syndrome. When do I get my "life of the mother" exemption? When the blood clot is lodged in my brain?

There are people who just know that they're going to have complicated pregnancies. Without a health exemption they can't abort until they're on the verge of dying. And it's stupid to think that everyone's who's reached the brink of dying can be saved. And you better believe some women do not find out they have some of these disorders until late in their pregnancies. My mother went blind and started displaying the first symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis when she was pregnant with one of my siblings.

When pro-lifers talk about "life of the mother" restrictions they're talking theory and fantasy. The way these restrictions could actually work out in reality is another thing. Supporting legislation without a Health exemption is just asking for women to be killed or maimed.

And this isn't a red herring. The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act has -only- a life exemption for intact D&E. You can't tell me that the direction things are going, other late-term abortions will also be banned similarly.

Anonymous said...

People should remember Angela Carder.

If you don't know who she is, look her up right now. It's not an abortion tale, but it's a good example of what can happen when pregnant women are not given agency in important medical decisions.

To DBB, I'm glad your wife is okay, and I'm so so so sorry for your loss. :(

Thorne said...

Thank you. You've given me the courage to speak my own truth a little more clearly and honestly.

Anonymous said...

DBB, thank you for having the courage to share your story, especially in the face of the abuse that was bound to come from those who cannot merely disagree with but must criminalize their opponents.

My husband and I lost our very much wanted son during delivery, as the result of a previously undiagnosed complication. The crisis happened too late for a c-section, but we learned later that even so he would have died within a day or two at most. I developed complications also and nearly died. It was a terrible situation for my husband to have to face. Knowing what he went through then, I can begin to imagine what you must have gone through. Thank you for having had the courage to make such a difficult decision in the midst of a grave crisis. Good luck on your next try, and may it have a happier outcome.

postacademic said...

Bless you.

Anonymous said...

This made me cry. Really it did...the way you took us through step-by-step, emotion after emotion (and I very sincerely doubt ALL of the emotions felt were described here)...I'm sorry for your loss.

Anonymous said...

Not all measures taken to end a pregnancy would qualify as an abortion in the layman's sense of the word. The situation described here shouldn't even come up in the pro-life debate because it falls in a different category all together.

For a woman bleeding severely, as it seems your wife was, the Catholic Church for example, allows measures necessary to save the woman's life. The only qualifier, is that it must be a situation where her life is at risk and the intention is to save her, not kill the baby. Even if the baby dies as a result, life-saving measures for the mother would be allowed.

Sorry, but I really think the only dilemma here was having to make a decision under extreme stress.

It should have been explained to you that this wasn't "abortion" in the common usage of the word. Maybe scientific use of the word abortion (it's used to refer to any pregnancy loss) in the hospital is what was confusing.

What does this sad event have to do with people killing babies simply because they don't want them?

Mike said...

Anon, as far as the law is concerned, the event described is abortion.

Anonymous said...

DBB - thank you for sharing your story. These situations are far from the minds of those who wave signs on street sidewalks. I used to be pro-life, personally and politically. Recently I realized that I am only responsible for myself and that each person is on an individual journey and that my role in their journeys is actually very small. While my role could potentially be very potent, it is still very very small.

I am now personally pro-life, but politically pro-choice. I won't argue the sentiment lost on a nine week old fetus versus an 18 month old baby because really, it's a moot point and very individualistic. Not to mention - completely and utterly irrelevant to the real issue at hand which is to answer the question - to what extent do we require the government intervening in our lives and decisions?

I am sorry for your loss, on whatever level you are experiencing it and I am relieved for you that your wife is well.

Anonymous said...

Mike, abortion in the scientific sense refers to any loss of pregnancy, including those that occur naturally or are inevitable.

Even when abortion was illegal, this procedure could have been performed without fear. Actually, failure to take measures to save the mother's life might have landed the doctor in hot water then or now.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for posting your story. That took guts and strength, no doubt, not just b/c of your grief: I don't know this, but I'm assuming you knew what kind of vitriol and soap-box speeches would be throw down in the comments. To know what was coming, and to still bring this difficult narrative forward... you are braver than many. You are to be commended.

I hope a few of the trolls who threw down here were moved by your story, and are rethinking their comments as I type mine. I believe more than a few likely are.

I hope you, your wife, and your little girl are well. Thanks again for posting your story. And may I add, though it may sound a little crass given the weight of the subject you wrote about: my friend, you've got brass ones.

Anonymous said...

I am a pro-lifer and I mourn the loss of my 9 week old in-utero child. I drop flowers off at Baby L.'s grave every few months.

Ted Sbardella said...

I think that elective termination is selfish stupid. But always the life of the mother is put before the life of the child - there is much more at stake. I would do the medically necessary abortion myself if I thought it would save my wife. But I do not think that elective termination of pregnancy should be legal ever it is a thoughtless act.

Anonymous said...

Sbate, with that disgusting attitude, I hope your wife/daughter is never raped and left pregnant.

How about thinking for a moment before you label every woman who has had to terminate an unwanted pregnancy as selfish and stupid?

Anonymous said...

I used to think that if I ever got pregnant by accident, I'd give the baby up for adoption. Now I don't think I could ever do that--not that I couldn't give it up, but I don't think I could realistically deal with carrying a pregnancy I didn't want. I've got enough severe anxiety as it is, and I'm sick all the time. Being pregnant could very well push me both physically and mentally over the edge. It really pisses me off when people talk about giving up a kid for adoption as though it's some sort of alternative the government should be able to force people into. Not without making half the human race subject to a bizarre form of slavery. Oh, wait, those of us with money could still leave the country to get our abortions. Huh, guess it would only really apply to poor women.

Chris Hill said...

I don't, personally, know any pro-lifers who would prohibit abortion to save the life of the mother (as in your case). And I know a lot of pro-lifers. I'm sure there are some, but they are the fringe.

I think your decision was hard and that I, as a hard line pro-life supporter (from conception), cannot say you did anything wrong.

I think you're upset at a false impression of pro-life ideas - you're setting up a straw man.

DBB said...

Chris Hill - I think what you fail to understand about my anger is that it isn't about any particular pro-life position. It is about the notion that anyone else has ANY say in the matter at all.

So it's not that I think any particular "pro-lifer" would take issue with what happened in this instance, it is the notion that any of them would have any vote on the matter, yea or nay. It is and should be only between a woman, her doctor, and sometimes, her family.

Anonymous said...

In 1998, the Louisiana State University Medical Center in Shreveport refused to provide an abortion for Michelle Lee, a woman with cardiomyopathy who was on the waiting list for a heart transplant, despite her cardiologist's warning that the pregnancy might kill her.Hospital policy dictated that to qualify for an abortion, a woman's risk of dying had to be greater than 50 percent if her pregnancy was carried to term; a committee of physicians ruled that Lee did not meet this criterion. Since her cardiomyopathy made an outpatient abortion too dangerous, she traveled 100 miles to Texas by ambulance to have her pregnancy terminated.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this, DBB. I would have made the same choice. Ever since I got married I knew that I could not choose the life of another over that of my wife. Now that we have a daughter, I would have a very difficult time choosing one over the other, but either of them would come before anyone else, including myself. I hope and pray that I never have to make such choices.

I grew up in a very "pro-life" community, but have become frustrated recently with the rhetoric used on both sides of the debate. I wish that everyone could step back and see that everyone desires the same thing - that there be no unwanted babies.

"pro-lifers" (typically religious conservatives) are not willing to give an inch on sex ed or distributing birth control, while those of the "pro choice" persuasion are not willing to admit that any form of abortion should be restricted at any time.

One fairly reasonable proposal that I can understand is to allow any abortion "no questions asked" for the first trimester. After that point, there would have to be life or health reasons in order to have an abortion. My wife and I became pregnant at a time when we could not afford to be, and in some ways, having our daughter did ruin my wife's ideas about how her life was going to be. because neither of us was willing to consider abortion, I know that we both briefly hoped that the pregnancy would end in a miscarriage. Now, we can't imagine life without our daughter.

I am aghast at some of the comments that have been made, both for and against abortion. To call one of them out, if I had told my wife that I would "divorce her and never speak to her again" if she had an abortion, I hope that she would have left me. Any man who would say that does not deserve to be a husband or a father.

Anonymous said...

I saw the excerpt of your post on BlogHer and am glad I came to read the whole story. What a stressful, sad, and difficult time for you and your family.

Thank you for telling your story. I think the only way we will be able to protect reproductive health care and keep it in the hands of doctors and patients, where it belongs, is for people like you to tell the truth about your experiences.

Anonymous said...

Taken from Reproductive Health Matters volume 10, issue 19, an article about the results of Poland's abortion ban:

Alicja became pregnant for the third time aged 31; her eyesight had deteriorated with each of her two pervious pregnancies. A number of ophthalmologists agreed that another pregnancy could irremediably damage her eyesight, but they refused to write a letter to that effect. One finally did write the requisite letter, but Alicja was turned away from the public hospital where she sought an abortion. The obstetrician-gynecologist she saw there told her that the letter was “not enough” and destroyed it to prevent her from using it elsewhere. Because she could not raise the money to pay for a clandestine abortion, she was forced to carry her third pregnancy to term. As a result, she is now legally blind and unable to work or care fully for the child.

There are lots of stories like this if you look around. People should be aware of them.

Chris Hill said...


I'm sorry if I've misunderstood your anger in any way. You are not setting up a straw man argument if you are upset about ANY kind of anti-abortion legislation.

You said it wasn't about "any particular pro-life position," but "about the notion that anyone else has ANY say in the matter at all." Ok, well then you're against the pro-life position as a whole, which has little to do with your story (since, as I've said, the pro-life movement rarely, if ever, supports bans that would include even "life of the mother" cases).

I think the primary difference between our beliefs is something that you have missed in your anger: those against abortion, like me (I am also mostly libertarian, in political philosophy, for what it's worth), believe the unborn fetus is a human being. That's it. And it's fine that we disagree.

If you believed that, as I do, then you must also believe that they have the same rights as you or I do as human beings. And among those rights, you have the right to self-preservation: that if I threaten your life, intentional or not (since an unborn child has no choice in the matter), you have the right to respond in kind to protect yourself (hence, your actions are justifiable).

To put up an argument for comparison to explain my point of view (a comparison - not the same thing): if pedophilia was legal, and you supported laws against it, would anyone be justifiably angry at you? My point is not that you are a pedophile (as I said before, I think you took a morally justifiable action), but that anger at taking actions that protect the innocent is unjustified, even if you disagree that those whom we seek to protect are human beings.

DBB said...

Chris Hill - the mother is a human being, too, isn't she? And pregnancy risks death - higher risk of death for pregnancy than an abortion most of the time.

So tell me, what in the law entitles you to FORCE someone to risk death for the sake of someone else? If you woke up one day and found that someone had implanted a person inside of you that now could not be removed without killing it, but that also had a chance to kill you if you carried it to term, not to mention the permanent changes it will do to your body in any case, would you feel like you should have a choice whether or not to keep that being inside you? How would you feel if the state forced you to risk death for it? Who do you think should get to decide if you take that risk? Should a bunch of strangers vote on it, or should you get to decide?

And my anger was not at a strawman - if you draw the line solely at risk of life for the mother, then you have lawyers and politicians inserted into the middle of what is an already difficult process. How close to death does the mother have to be? If doctors get prosecuted for not letting it get close enough, then they will err on the side of caution and a lot of women may die as a result. At the very least, it adds a whole new dimension to the problem. If this was the case in my situation, they may not have been able to do the abortion - they might have had to wait, increasing the risk.

And what about this situation - what if a woman has a pregnancy but it turns out that she can only carry the baby to term if she is put into an induced coma for 7 months, with likely permanent brain damage, but no chance of death. If you have only a life, but not a health exception for abortion, then the state would force this woman into a coma and force her to have permanent brain damage because hey, her life was never at risk. Does that sound ethical? Now perhaps she would willingly do this, but then that would be her choice.

As I've said many times, I do not like abortion and I would be happy if there never was another abortion done. But it is not my place to tell someone else to risk her life based on what I would do.

Chris Hill said...


You're concern is with the exceptions, which is bad when making public policy. We don't legalize murder because sometimes it's ok to kill someone (if they are attacking you, for instance). We include the exceptions in law, but regardless of exceptions, we have said that killing is worth outlawing. The state DOES regulate issues of life and death, and thus does have a say in the issues of abortion (unless you're against outlawing killing... then I could see where you're coming from).

The specifics of "life of mother" exceptions, I agree, is not an easy thing to define. It's worth having a serious debate, and I think that a reasonable standard could be set (I think doctors would have to have a good amount of freedom in this determination, by the way). However, I do not believe that this is justifiable cause to allow abortion, in general, to remain legal.

You speak of mothers risking lives by having children. This has been true since the beginning of time, so I obviously have no dispute with you here. But if we take purely a utilitarian perspective (which I'll admit isn't always the best, but I use it for the sake of argument), with my assumption that the unborn child is a human being with the EXACT SAME RIGHTS as the mother, then we must ask, "what policy prevents the most death?" To which the obvious conclusion is prohibiting abortion.

And for what it's worth, I took back my statement that you were using a straw man.

Unknown said...

Thanks for this. And may God bless you, your wife, and your daughter.

DBB said...

Chris, you can save more people if you take all money away from rich and middle class people and distribute it to the poor to pay for medical care for them.

You still haven't addressed the health exception issue. You still haven't addressed whether it is ethical to FORCE someone to risk DEATH for someone else. So you can't just look at the fetus in isolation. It can only be born if the mother risks death. The fact that mother's have always risked death just bolsters my position that it should be her choice whether or not she wants to risk death by taking a pregnancy to term.

You talk about societal rules against killing, but if you extended your logic with fetuses to the rest of us, then you would have to criminalize not assisting someone attacked by another. In that case, if you were to witness someone being attacked, for instance, you would be legally obligated to risk your life to stop the attack, or face criminal charges for not doing so. The fact that there are no such laws, and never would be, is because we as a society recognize that it isn't proper to FORCE someone to risk their life for another.

Chris Hill said...


But there are Good Samaritan Laws...

Regardless, I don't think we're speaking on the same level. I don't agree with the way the question is caged, but if forced into it, I would have to say that yes, I do believe it is ethical to force someone to risk their life for another in the case of a pregnant mother BECAUSE the result of not doing it is, in all cases, the death of the other person.

The problem I find with your question is that you are asking about a proactive response (risking your life) versus a natural process. What I am saying is that, with no change in the natural process, the unborn child will not die (yes, there are miscarriages, etc., but we're not talking about that because there is no choice involved there). So the action being taken is the act of killing - not the passive refusal to help someone else. It seems you are upset that nature has made pregnancy as it is.

Regarding financial issues, it has nothing to do with this topic. We don't legalize murder because of financial reasons.

DBB said...

You agree with the general premise that you can't force one person to risk their life for another, but then make a special exception for pregnancies.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this powerfully moving post. It took great courage, and I am disgusted to see the number of people who will take your words, twist them, defend themselves as though this post were actually about them, the people who call you and your wife names... But you have touched far more people here, and brought a human dimension to the debate, not just a bunch of statistics and empty rhetoric. Thank you, and I am glad your wife is okay, and very sorry for your loss.

Shame on all of you who have attacked, belittled, accused, insulted, and shamelessly self-promoted here.

Chris Hill said...


Yes, but only because I think they are two distinct circumstances. One involves the active risking of ones life. The other is a passive risk (and one that would not result without the act of sex - and no, I am not opposed to birth control, but even with that you must accept the risk) in which not taking that risk automatically ends up with the death of another.

DBB said...


What exactly is the difference between "active" and "passive" risking your life? Why should that even matter? In the end, it is a question of whether you should be forced to undertake a risk to your life (by attacking a gunman, or by taking a pregnancy to term). And one could easily make the gunman scenario passive. For instance, if the gunman is trying to shoot a victim and the victim jumps behind you - using you as cover. You could passively risk your life by not moving (and save their life by stopping the bullet). Should the law require you to do so because hey, that's passive? See how it makes no difference to the ethics of the question?

Now, as to "accepting the risk" meaning that if you have sex you have to then risk your life if a pregnancy results, why should that be? Most sex does not result in pregnancy. If you properly use birth control, the chances drop to near zero. What if the woman who has sex has not had proper sex education and does not know that sex results in pregnancy? What if she's raped? But really, I question your premise - why should one always have to automatically acede to risking death from delivery every time you have sex? And keep in mind that risk falls ONLY on the woman.

Chris Hill said...


The fact the risk falls only on the woman is a result of nature. Regardless, one must accept the risks and responsibilities that come along with sex, even if they do not know what those responsibilities are. Men still have to pay child support even if the woman lied about taking birth control.

Again, I think your question is a bad one, and don't believe the scenarios to be comparable. You give examples of situations in which one would take a risk that involves a high probability of death. I have already said I have no problem with abortion if it is to save the life of the mother. The reality is that, with modern medicine, pregnancy is a relatively low risk in regards to maternal death. [As an aside, as mentioned before, "Good Samaritan" laws already do exist because we acknowledge others do have a responsibility to help (i.e., take a risk) in certain circumstances.]

To amend your example, what if a gunman wanted to kill a specific innocent person and that person jumped behind you. For whatever reason, there is no way for you to get out of the way. To save your life, you turn around and shoot this innocent person. That is a better example of abortion, and one that would only apply to the case of saving the mother's life (something I have no problem with).

Regardless of how we see the law playing out, as mentioned before, I think a fundamental difference between us is that I see an unborn child as being a human being deserving all the same rights as you and me, and you do not. Is this assessment correct?

DBB said...

No, that is not quite correct. Because again, it isn't a question of calling a fetus a person, it is a question of whether you can force ANOTHER person to risk their life for that fetus.

And your scenario isn't quite right either - you can just cut the umbilical cord. This does not kill the fetus directly, it just leaves the fetus to fend for itself. The mother simply denies her support to the fetus. That is not shooting the fetus.

Regardless of how low the risk is, it isn't zero. I just don't see how you can force someone to risk death for someone else.

And you have not addressed the issue with health exceptions versus life exceptions. Should a mother be forced to be in a coma for seven months and take permanent brain damage, so long as there's no greater risk of death than for a normal birth, just to save a fetus? If there's no health exception, that is what could happen, or something like it.

And what about when the baby is born. What if the mother can't support it and no one wants to adopt it. Will you pay for that baby's care until age 18? Will you support paying for free condoms for kids once they hit puberty and real sex education, including how to use contraceptives? Or does your support for that fetus end at birth?

Christina Dunigan said...

Not to put to strong a point to it, but from what Planned Parenthood/NARAL/National Abortion Federation stooge did you learn that ANYBODY opposes emergency surgery to save the life of the mother?

You believed lies -- told to you by the abortion lobby -- about what other people want to say and do. And then you blame us, instead of the people who lied to you.

This is another example of the abortion lobby causing as much pain and grief as possible in order to demonize anybody who doesn't consider the unborn to be pieces of shit to be flushed down the toilet at will.

DBB said...

Granny - you didn't read the whole thread and its comments very carefully - you are arguing against a strawman of your own making.

Anonymous said...

"If you want to be abolitionist (whatever that means), fine. Then, don't own slaves. However, when you start telling others what to do, that's where the line must be drawn."

I'm surprised no one addressed this slice of forced-birth stupidity. Hey, jackass, exactly how could anyone argue that slavery is ok because it's wrong to tell others what to do? Do you understand that Black people are autonomous human beings who are actually capable of making their own decisions and existing independently, whereas fetuses are not? That slavery involves *telling [i.e., forcing] others what to do* which is, incidentally, what "telling" (again, i.e., forcing) someone to give birth involves?

How do you not see that women of any color are the analogues to enslaved black people, and that forced birth morons are analogous to slaveowners? Hell, we don't even need to use an analogy - 150 years ago, you'd be the ones forcibly impregnating (read: raping) your slaves and forcing them to give birth, wondering all the time at the "unnatural tendency of the African female to destroy her offspring."

With that said, I'd like to add my voice to the chorus of *thank you for sharing this, DBB, and I'm sorry for your loss.*

Chris Hill said...


You're giving extreme exceptions and rare examples to prove your point, and I think your reasoning is flawed as a result. We don't make policy based on the exceptions. Rather, we amend laws to account for them.

To be honest, I'm not sure what the law should be regarding a mother going into a coma and suffering permanent brain damage. I tend to err on the side of deregulation (i.e., the law would allow for an abortion in this case). I don't think I would have a big problem with it being legal in this case.

Yes, the issue is whether or not the unborn child is a human being. If so, as I mentioned, they must have the same rights you or I do.

Chris Hill said...

Shira: "Do you understand that Black people are autonomous human beings who are actually capable of making their own decisions and existing independently, whereas fetuses are not?"

And that is the issue - our primary difference. If you accept that they are autonomous human beings (newborn babies can't really make their own decisions, so I'll take that issue as moot), you would come to the same conclusion as those who oppose abortion.

And, incidentally, the slavery and abortion debate have striking similarities in regards to who should be considered a human being (and thus deserving of human rights).

DBB said...

Chris - Then you would have a health exception for abortion, not just a life exception.

And outlier-type examples can help to define the boundaries - that's how the law works in many cases. You have to define the boundaries somewhere. Hypotheticals like that are the bread and butter of law school education.

And now even if you grant the zygote all of the rights of a born human being, that doesn't really answer the question, because you still would have that "person" living as a parasite on the health and potentially life of the mother, another person.

So when I said it wasn't about whether or not the fetus is a person, I meant that it is then a question of competing rights between two people, and how far can you force one person to be subjugated to another. Just because YOU are a person doesn't mean you are entitled to any sort of support from me. You are not entitled to have Me risk my life for you just because you are a person - because I'm a person too and I ALSO have rights, including a right not to be subjugated to anyone else and not to be forced to risk my life for anyone else.

That said, I don't think a zygote deserves the same rights as a born baby. I don't think you really think that either. Perhaps another hypothetical to demonstrate: If you work at a fertility clinic and the clinic caught on fire, and there was a one month old baby inside (day care?) and then there was a container holding ten thousand zygotes, and you could only save one - which would you save? I'd save the baby, and it wouldn't even be a contest. I suspect almost everyone would. And yet if you really thought those zygotes were people, it would make the only ethical choice to save 10,000 lives over one. Think about that.

Anonymous said...

If you will permit me to bring in the topic of Scripture, I would like to invite you all, pro-choice and pro-life alike, to consider the book of Exodus, which is quite clear on the subject. Even if Scripture means nothing to you personally, it remains food for thought.

To begin with: Exodus 20:13. Thou shalt not kill. But that is too easy and not descriptive enough. We now turn to the next chapter. Exodus 21. This chapter deals expressly with individual crimes and the attendant punishments.

The punishment for killing a man is death. The punishment for killing a woman is death. The punishment for injuring a woman is an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life.

The value of a man or woman's life is set, all are equal. One life for one life.

Now I ask you to turn your attention specifically to verse 22 in this chapter, please read it carefully.

Almost incongruous, surrounded fore and aft by "shall be put to death" as it is, but the text is no less explicit. The life of an unborn child is valued at the parents' discretion.

DBB said...

Actually, scripture there is clear - killing a person merits death. Killing a fetus (i.e. making a woman lose a pregancy) merits a fine. So I guess God there doesn't see it as murder.

But then since I'm an atheist, I really don't care what it says, any more than I care what Buddha says on the topic or the Koran or any other book written by people claiming to speak for a diety.

Chris Hill said...


Yes, the extremes can help define the boundaries. That's why I have no problem with saying that the boundary for outlawing abortion ends when the life of the mother is at stake.

Regarding a zygote taking nourishment from the mother, the argument seems off topic to me. A newborn baby cannot fend for itself either and also takes nourishment from his mother. If no one desired to take care of the newborn child, would we allow them to be killed? Of course not. By law, we force someone to take care of the child.

You are right in saying there is a line that must be drawn between the competing rights of two individuals. As mentioned, the law already does require some to sacrifice for others. In addition, the act of sex (regardless of knowledge of consequences - if I murder someone without knowing there is a death penalty in that state it doesn't mean that I won't get the death penalty) makes one a willing party to the consequences that result (yes, rape is an issue, but I'm not dealing with that here: I'm speaking as to the general practice of abortion). We draw our lines at different points.

Yes, I do believe a zygote deserves the same legal rights as you or I do. But saving lives in a fire is not necessarily a net sum equation. If it was between an elderly man and a newborn baby, both holding the same legal rights to life, I'd probably save the baby - maybe even if there were two elderly men. I believe the law must treat zygotes as human beings (if not humans, then what are they?). Legal rights and deciding whom to save in a fire are two different things.

DBB said...

Are you saying you'd save the baby over the 10,000 zygotes?

Chris Hill said...

Anonymous and DBB,

Actually, the more proper translation from Hebrew is "you shall not murder." Killing, such as in war, is not always wrong.

Also, the fine for killing an unborn child was due to someone unintentionally causing a miscarriage. As the bible also treated unintentional killings of others differently (i.e., not necessarily the death penalty, when murder very clearly required it), there is no reason to take that as the bible saying an unborn child doesn't have the same rights.

To clarify, however, since we've been having a discussion the last couple days: While I believe the bible is true, I do not believe it is necessary to show that abortion is unethical, and often discredits those who are pro-life when quoted in an authoritative manner to those who don't recognize its authority.

Chris Hill said...


In the moment, to be honest, I don't know what I would do. I would probably save the baby.

You ask a question of ethics using a utilitarian argument. I'm speaking of laws, however.

In a fire, would you save you wife and child or the 20 men who are there with you whom you don't know? There are many other factors involved when speaking about ethical choices. Regardless, the law should still treat everyone the same.

DBB said...

I know there is a quandry when it is someone you know versus a multitude you do not.

But the question was do you save a stranger who is a baby or do you save 10,000 strangers who are zygotes? If you would chose the baby in that situation, you have to ask - why is that? Why do you value the baby 10,000 times more than a zygote if you, as you say, think both are equal? What would you chose the baby? Justify that choice.

Chris Hill said...


The biggest reason in the moment would probably be emotion. That doesn't justify it, but speaks to the quandary of choosing between someone you know and a multitude you don't (which is an emotional response).

The more logical reasons involve the fact that, one, the baby can feel pain while the zygotes cannot, and two, there is no guarantee that any of the zygotes will even make it to birth (since, presumably, none are in mothers and we haven't developed the ability to grow babies to term outside of a woman).

I've tried my best to answer the points you've made and questions you've asked. I believe you've avoided some of mine, however, namely that we already do force people to sacrifice for others and that the act of sex makes one a willing partner to the sacrifice that may need to be made (and yes, I am speaking of women, because by nature's choosing, they are the ones who are pregnant - this is not an "it's not fair because the man doesn't have to do anything" issue [they do have to pay child support by law, though, which is again another example of forcing one to sacrifice for another]).

DBB said...

Where in the law does it FORCE someone to risk their life for another? I don't think you've provided any examples outside of abortion. If you have and I missed it, I'm sorry, but please tell me again.

And I said both baby and zygotes were strangers, so it isn't about resucing someone you know.

Why do you not draw any conclusions about your choice of only a single baby over 10,000 zygotes? What you say sounds like the arguments used by the pro-choice side to indicate why they don't see abortion as murder.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the issue is whether or not the unborn child is a human being. If so, as I mentioned, they must have the same rights you or I do.

And since neither you nor I have any right to use another person's body as life support without their consent, a fetus would not have that right, either, even if we grant for the sake of argument that it's somehow an autonomous human being (I suggest you look up that word. Fetuses are many things, but autonomous is not one of them!).

Anonymous said...

You're not trying to give fetuses equal rights: you're attempting to give them special rights over women's bodies that supersedes that woman's rights. You're reducing women's bodies to the status of property of the fetus, justifying it with some permutation of "but the fetus NEEDS it" as if that's any more an argument for forced pregnancy than "but this dialysis patient NEEDS it" is an argument for forced kidney "donation." And the personhood of dialysis patients isn't even in question!

Your attempt to draw an equivalence between child support and pregnancy is ridiculous (and do you think only men pay child support?). We all are forced to cough up money to maintain shared infrastructure, for instance, education, highways, the social safety net - but that hardly means the government has the right to force you to cough up a kidney or blood or any other tissue. Financial support and biological support are two very different things.


Anonymous said...

Chris Hill,

You've said over and over that fetuses should have the same rights as any other human. So it sort of begs the question: Girl fetus or boy fetus? Because you've already indicated that women have rights that can be subjugated in order to support another, that these women should be obligated to support another life with their bodies, even against their will. So is it okay to abort girl fetuses? After all, their rights are less important than those of boy fetuses, they can be subjugated. So I guess in fertility clinics, when women end up with multiple viable implanted embryos and they need to selectively abort until they get to a manageable number of fetuses (because oddly, the human body does suffer from carrying quintuplets), they should abort the girls first? It's an interesting perspective.

Also, I'm curious about your position on sex. Because people have sex, they've taken the risk of pregnancy, right? They know that sex leads to pregnancy, so it's really too bad if they get pregnant when they don't want to. And while pregnancy isn't ALWAYS what happens, it is relatively common. So if they choose to have sex, then they shouldn't be allowed to violate the rights of the ensuing fetus by terminating the pregnancy. Right? After all, the reason that people have sex (and have the capacity to have sex at all) is for reproduction.

So what about a girl who goes out on a date? Date rape is very common, most teen girls know this now. And yet they STILL consent to go out on dates! At night! Often with boys! So if they choose to date, they shouldn't be allowed to violate the rights of their rapist by defending themselves and possibly injuring or killing him. Right? After all, the reason that most teenage boys go out on dates is to get laid.


Anonymous said...


I didn't say it forces one to risk their life. However, it does force one to make sacrifices of livelihood. The issue of risking ones life is a moot issue, since I've already agreed with you that abortion to save the mothers life should be legal.

The issue of saving the baby over the zygotes is related to the familiarity dilemma by the fact that both are emotional responses. In addition, I gave logical reasons why it is more practical to save the baby. Regardless, I see it as inconsequential as to how the law should treat individuals.

Anonymous: "you nor I have any right to use another person's body as life support without their consent"

I agree. However, the act of sex is consent to the consequences that may result. Regardless, would you thus conclude that an unwanted newborn baby (who cannot fend for himself and lives off the nourishment from his mother) should be able to be neglected within the bounds of law? Again, it comes down to the question: is the unborn fetus a human being?


Yes, financial and biological support are different (although providing financially often requires biological sacrifice - stress, etc.), and I was not trying to equate pregnancy and child support. My point was merely that we currently do force people to sacrifice for others.

To your comment: "You're not trying to give fetuses equal rights: you're attempting to give them special rights over women's bodies that supersedes that woman's rights."

I disagree. Both have the right to life. I'd also refer you to my response to "Anonymous" above.


No, of course boys/men do not have more inherent rights than girls/women. That's an absurd conclusion from what I've said - that I would support killing female fetuses first.

Regarding my position on sex, I don't know exactly what you're asking. Do I like it? Yes. Is it solely for reproduction? I don't believe God would make it so enjoyable if that was all it was for.

The issue of rape again speaks to the primary question: is the unborn fetus a human being? If so, we have two humans with competing rights. If the pregnancy is carried to term, the woman's rights to her body have been violated, since she took no voluntary action to produce such consequences. However, if the unborn child is aborted, then a human's right to life has been violated. In such a case of competing rights, I believe the law must protect the greater right.

Anonymous said...

That was me. Sorry. Blogger is set up poorly if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

Yes, financial and biological support are different (although providing financially often requires biological sacrifice - stress, etc.), and I was not trying to equate pregnancy and child support. My point was merely that we currently do force people to sacrifice for others.

Which equates pregnancy and child support - otherwise, pointing out that we force people to cough up money is absolutely irrelevant to the question of "Do we force people to let others use their body against their will?"
I disagree. Both have the right to life. I'd also refer you to my response to "Anonymous" above.

So if the woman needs your kidney to live, she can just force you to give it to her? I mean, you'll still get to live, so what's the harm? In fact, I bet there are people who need your kidney to live right this very minute, so shouldn't you be making your transplant appointment? Or does your right to bodily autonomy allow you to just let those people die?

Again, the woman doesn't have the right to force anyone else to let her use their body - NO ONE does - so the fetus doesn't and shouldn't have that right, either.

The issue of rape again speaks to the primary question: is the unborn fetus a human being? If so, we have two humans with competing rights. If the pregnancy is carried to term, the woman's rights to her body have been violated, since she took no voluntary action to produce such consequences. However, if the unborn child is aborted, then a human's right to life has been violated. In such a case of competing rights, I believe the law must protect the greater right.

Be sure to post after you've recovered from surgery and saved all those lives.

Anonymous said...

And Chris, you didn't actually respond to Sandra's question. You saw the word 'rape' and spat out the party line, but maybe you should go back and see what she's actually asking.

DBB said...

One other little legal issue to point out - NO ONE can be forced to do any task in part because forced labor (not to use a bad pun here) on anyone's behalf is considered slavery, and the Constitution was specifically amended to outlaw slavery.

That's why, for instance, if you make a personal services contract, like I agree to be your butler for $100,000 per year, and then you pay me the money, you cannot sue me to force me to fulfill the contract (to be your servant for a year) if I abscond with the money. You can ONLY sue for monetary damages, because even though I am legally obligated to provide you that service, I cannot be forced to provide it, because that is considered slavery, and is thus unconstitutional.

So on that basis, regardless of what you want to say about the 'competing interests' of the two people, fetus and woman, the fetus is constitutionally barred from forcing service on the woman. (Yes, I know, the Supreme Court hasn't dealt with it in these terms, but it certainly makes sense...)

beansa said...

To Chris Hill:

There is a problem with your argument - the first premise begs the question, Is a fetus a human being? You are asking us to concede this point, because without that concession your argument doesn't fly.

Even more important than that, though, is the assumption that human beings have a "right to life". There is no inalienable "right to life", there are always circumstances in which a life can be terminated. We demonstrate socially,legally and morally that life is accorded different values at different stages and in different situations. We expect soldiers to sacrifce their lives for the "greater good," we execute some criminals, we allow one human being to kill another in order to *Defend his Property*, for the love of God. We judge one human life to be worth more than another all the time.

Sure, we have a constitutionally granted "right to life", but that right only exists insofar as the law is willing to go to protect it. The "right to life" does not *trump* all other rights. A fetus' "right to life" is surely mitigated by it's utter dependence on the body of the woman and by the harm it can cause to the woman. And I'm not talking about (just) the risk of death inherent in pregnancy and childbirth. I'm talking about all the other kinds of emotional, mental and physical (not to mention financial) harm attendant to pregnancy and childbirth.

And lastly, your assertion that a woman "consents" to pregnancy and all of it's attendant risks via her consensual participation in heterosexual intercourse is akin to saying that because I willingly drove a car I "consented" to be in an accident and "consented" to the resulting bodily harm.

The fact is, shit happens. Birth control fails, people make bad choices, people aren't fully educated, whatever the reason, sometimes there are unplanned pregnancies, but that doesn't mean a woman should be forced to carry a pregnancy if she doesn't want to. Period.

To DBB, Thank you for sharing your story. I arrived via the Carnival of Feminists and I'll be back, I'm sure. I hope you and your family are doing well.

Tipper said...

Thanks for sharing your story; I imagine it was a heartwrenching situation for everyone involved.

I do believe that in a circumstance where abortion would only be allowed an abortion when her life was in grave danger, her doctors would have been quick to say she was in grave danger. They were operating under the assumption that you would do anything to save the fetus, as most people who get pregnant purposefully do, and probably wanted to give themselves enough time to figure out the problem AND save the baby. Or, maybe, they were cruddy doctors; it took them that long to do anything, didn't it?

I think your story does less to illustrate the idea that your wife would've died if she couldn't have an abortion (because I doubt that they will ever outlaw abortions if a woman is about to die if she doesn't have one) than the whole "woman's right to choose" issue. Really, rabid pro-choicers should be outraged that YOU were the one to sign the documents. It was the woman's choice, period.

But, certainly, this wasn't an abortion for convenience's sake, and anyone who thinks it was should be ashamed of their reading comprehension skills.

Anonymous said...


Forcing someone to give of themselves financially does require work on their part, which can be biologically straining. For you to think I equated giving up a kidney and giving up money, however, is to read beyond what I said.

Which part of Sandra's question did I not answer? I don't belong to any political party, and it does us no good to throw out arguments as 'partisan' (they should be either right or wrong on their own merit).

Regarding competing rights, perhaps I was a little unclear in my previous post. There are two issues at hand.

The first is the issue of consent. By having sex, a woman is giving consent (by nature's doing) to the use of her body to a child. Call it unfair if you will, but I did not choose the method of child bearing. If I decide to give one of my kidneys to someone who needs it, and they do the surgery, I cannot ask for it back. I have already given my consent through the act of voluntarily doing the surgery. In the same way, a woman gives her consent to the use of her body when engaging in sex.

The second issue is the issue of rape. In this case, a woman's body has already been violated by the rapist. It is a horrific violation of her rights to her body, and perpetrators should be punished severely. However, the violation has been done. Now we have the competing rights between two human beings. If we seek to preserve the rights of one person, the other may suffer discomfort, humiliation, and possible health complications. But if we seek to preserve the rights of the second person, the other dies. In this case, we have two competing rights due to a violation of rights already taken, from which we must choose which rights are better. I believe the right to life is.

Regarding you taking my kidney from me, I believe the rights to liberty and life are coequals. Thus, you may not force that. However, if a doctor, to the knowledge of neither of us, puts us both under and takes one of my kidneys and gives it to you (to save your life), I do not believe I have the right to demand the surgery be undone. I can (and should) seek justice from this doctor. But the injustice was done by the doctor, and it would be just as much an injustice for me to demand you die for me to get my kidney back. Besides, this is somewhat a bad example because pregnancy does not often lead to lower life expectancy.

Unfortunately, while the issue of rape is important, I'm afraid you don't even support abortion being illegal between consenting adults. Thus, it is somewhat of a moot issue for the time being, since we disagree on a more fundamental level.


That's an interesting perspective. You've obviously thought this whole issue out from different views, and I appreciate your thought provoking questions (it doesn't change my mind, but it makes me think things out).

I believe the situations are uniquely different and I'll prove it with an example: we force parents to take care of their children. Yes, parents can give up their children for adoption, but that is not possible in pregnancy. The only viable caregiver is the mother. In addition, we also force hospitals to take care of dying patients, and we have Good Samaritan laws. In other words, while we do not force contractual obligations in your example, we do force the care of individuals to a point (no, we don't force one to give up their kidney, but as I mentioned, I don't believe this is a fair comparison, because pregnancy does not normally reduce ones life expectancy).


the first premise begs the question, Is a fetus a human being? You are asking us to concede this point, because without that concession your argument doesn't fly.

You are absolutely right. If I am wrong with my premise that the fetus is NOT a human being, then my conclusions are wrong, and I would have to conceded that abortion should be legal.

I disagree that we have no right to life. I believe, as Thomas Jefferson wrote (taking from John Locke - who writes about this stuff in great detail - I refer you to his 2nd Treatise on Government for a much more thorough discussion of the matter), that it is an inalienable right. However, there are times when that right is given up. For instance, if I murder someone, by violating their right to life, I have given up mine. Thus, the death penalty is appropriate. In addition, our military is called to sacrifice their lives at times in order to preserve the lives of others.

Yes, there are times when lives are to be sacrificed. But that disproves the idea of the right to life just about as effectively as saying that because someone has to work to survive they don't have liberty.

I don't believe the right to life trumps all other rights (as mentioned, I believe liberty to be equal). But in pregnancy, it does trump the emotion, mental, physical, and financial harm done to the mother (and possibly father).

Your comparison of a car accident and pregnancy doesn't line up. Cars are not supposed to crash by design. Sex is supposed to create children by design (birth control is an attempt to alter the design - I have no problem with it in general, but you must accept the risks).

The fact is, shit happens. Birth control fails, people make bad choices, people aren't fully educated, whatever the reason, sometimes there are unplanned pregnancies, but that doesn't mean a woman should be forced to carry a pregnancy if she doesn't want to. Period.

You're saying that because bad things happen, we should do more bad things to make them better. Let me ask you, based on my assumption that everything rests upon: should you be able to kill your newborn child because no one wants him/her and they will cause you emotional, physical, financial, and mental harm?

Answer that and I believe you'll see that it ultimately comes down to the question of whether or not the unborn child is a human being.

beansa said...

"Sex is supposed to create children by design (birth control is an attempt to alter the design - I have no problem with it in general, but you must accept the risks"

If this is true, then why are human beings capable of having sex when the woman is not fertile? And this only refers to a very narrowly defined, heteronormative definition of sex.

Also, you didn't address how the right to life can be forfiet - legally - not just by someone who has been proven guilty of murder, but by someone who has been preemptively judged to be a threat to another's well-being or *property*. If I can shoot someone for breaking into my home, I damn well better be able to kill someone for taking up residence inside my body.

As for your question about whether I should be able to kill my newborn baby - I don't understand how the question is relevant. Provisions have been made, socially, for unwanted babies. I could drop it off at an ER or a fire station, no questions asked. Since it is no longer dependent on my uterus for it's life, there is no need for me to kill it. If you're just trying to ask me, in a roundabout way, if I believe an embryo or a fetus is a human being, the answer is no.

Unknown said...

Thank you for posting this. I can't carry to term, and this says more clearly than I can the fear that my husband and I share.

Anonymous said...

DBB and everyone else:

Unfortunately, I'm going to have to bow out of the discussion. I had a few days off last week and over the weekend, but now it's back to work. I appreciate the discussion and hope I was able to be clear about my views.

God bless,

Anonymous said...

Ok, sorry, one more before I go:


The newborn baby question is relevant and shows that the foundational issue breaks down to the question: is the unborn fetus/child/etc. a human being? You say we have provisions to take care of an unwanted child. Agreed. But the hypothetical questions is, what if we don't? Would you support infanticide in this case?

Regarding sex, I'm afraid you completely missed my point. Of course anal/oral/anything but "heteronormative" sex will never produce children. Are you saying abortion should be legal in the case that anal sex produces pregnancy? Your point has nothing to do with the discussion, since my point was that "heteronormative sex" has the possibility of producing children. Those who engage in it must accept the risks involved, even if the woman isn't fertile at the time (since the act itself is primarily designed by nature for procreation, and there is always a chance for it no matter how small).

Lastly, regarding someone breaking into your house, the reason you have the right to shoot them (and I'll again refer you to Locke, who explains it much more brilliantly than I will) is that because they have, by their choosing, violated your right to liberty, there is no reason to think they will not also be willing to violate your right to life. The underlying premise is that they have chosen to violate your liberty. An unborn child has chosen nothing.

Unknown said...

I have a few things to throw out there.

First, DBB, that was quite the ordeal that I would never wish upon anyone. Thank you very much for sharing your experiences with us. I wish you and yours prosperity and happiness for all your days.

Chris Hill, The Good Samaritan Laws are more for the protection of the people who attempt to help and make things worse than to assign people who view the problem the responsiblity to help. Hence you can kill some one in defense of self and others. This actually helps the idea that abortion should be legal in that Defense of Self and others is almost entirely based on YOUR perception of the threat to your and others' lives. Thus Pregnancy, which carries with it the risk of death from an identifiable person (the fetus) you are allowed to kill it if the percieved risk is great enough.

The counter to that arguement is that at least 1 other person (and possibly 12 in the form of a jury) has to agree that the threat was there, and people don't believe that pregnancy produces that kind of threat.

Another question, do you prefer quantity or quality? An unwanted child, born into a poor or uneducated or both family is not likely to have a "good" life. These children, whether they are given up for adoption or kept, generally face more hardship and strife early in life than those children born to parents who want them and are prepared (ficaslly, emotionally, physically, whathaveyou). These unwanted children are generally the ones that are noisey, undisiplined, and disruptive, causing problems for both the family and the people that get exposed to those children. In a perfect world where every child was wanted and planned for the quality of life of everyone, including the children, would be much much higher than it is today. I would not be surprised if crimes of all kinds went down. Of note, since abortion became legal (getting us closer to that ideal of only parents that are ready for children have them) crime has shown a marked decrease, in general. Obviously I believe the quality of life is more important than the quantity, particularly taking into account that the world is basically over-populated as it is.

A counter example to my above arguement is posed, indirectly, by the movie GATTACA. In that only healthy babies are kept, and people lose their drive to greatness - only seeing the limitations of their situation.

Another way of looking at the act of making abortion illegal is a rather Knee-jerk inspiring one. Forcing a woman to carry a pregnancy is raping her. Physicaly you are preventing her from removing a foreign unwanted human from her reproductive organs. Stated another way, you are forcing your will upon her body. As far as the sexual aspect of rape is concerned, you are forcing a traumatic event upon her that can have far reaching ramifications on her sexuality and even her emotional and mental state. I don't know about you, but I don't take kindly to people trying to rape my friends, let alone every woman in America.

As DBB said in his explaination of his emotional state outside that emergency room "About pro-lifers, in particular. I think about all those meddling politicians that would want to interject themselves into everything that just happened to me, interject themselves between me, my wife, and her doctors. And then I had a strong, visceral reaction. I wanted the mutherfuckers to die. I wanted to rip off their heads and tear out their hearts, because how DARE they play politics with my wife's life?...Fuck them. Fuck them all. They can fucking die, as far as I'm concerned. This was what went through my mind as I sat there, waiting to see if, after my baby died, my wife had died as well. I still feel that visceral reaction when I think about it, though not quite as strong - right then and there, if someone pro-life walked in and started talking about it to me, I very well might have physically attacked them. And I'm about as non-violent as one gets."

I may be wrong, but isn't that how most adults feel when they think about their friends and family getting placed in danger? particularly protective fathers and husbands when they think about their daughters and wives getting raped? There's a reason his emotions settled upon that kind of rage.

My apologies DBB if I mis-interpreted your rage at the time.

I am of the opinion that people should share and discuss their viewpoints with one another, but they should in no way attempt to force people to follow the moral code they are advocating.

Now for some of my responses to the ethical situation posited during the Chris/DBB debate. Particularly the guy hides behind you from the gunman.
1. Assuming you can't kill (or otherwise stop) the gunman, and the gunman will kill you to get to they person, I would get out of the way if I could, if not turning and killing the person hiding is perfectly legal (self defense).
2. Assuming you can stop the gunman (without killing either gunman or hiding fellow), stop the gunman. Duh.

As for accepting the risk of pregnancy by having sex, and that somehow means the woman consents to having her body used as an incubator; keep in mind that if, at ANY TIME during sex the woman tells the man to stop and he doesn't, the entire encounter is considered rape by law, and appropriate actions can be taken. So it stands to reason that a woman can at ANY TIME withdraw her consent to be an incubator.

I feel the Car analogy is actually rather apt. You and all the people on the road (your partner) acknowledge the risk that someone's car might fail and cause an accident (birth control). If you are involved in this accident, you have a large amount of legal compensation due. If someone is driving recklessly (no birth control) for whatever reason (no licence (young,inexperienced), no knowledge (poor sex ed), stolen car (rape), etc.) you have a similarly large amount of compensation and protection afforded you by the law, including medical attention (abortion) and money to get you back on your feet (child support).

Just some food for thought.

I Doubt It said...

Thank you for this. I had a miscarriage prior to my two daughters carried without trouble. It was very early and therefore, I felt the loss of an idea, a hope, not a baby. I have two lovely girls, much wanted. I will remember your story the next time this delicate topic comes up. I understand how important it is.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this heart-wrenching story. I am sorry you had to go through this and I'm glad you wife is alive!

I want the government and the religious nutts out of my underwear and the underwear of every couple in America. Instead, if they give so much of a crap, then they need to get down on their knees and pray.

Stacy said...

That's frightening. I'm sorry you and your wife had to go through this. Is she fine now?

DBB said...

Yes, she's fine, though she does worry about it happening again as we try to have another child (which we plan to do soon).

Sue said...

My husband (then my boyfriend) decided to abort our baby because of the social pressure it would face.

I know he was practical and I know that I wasn't, but the pain has never really gone away. Not for either for of us. That way, you're lucky your choice was clearer.

I'm glad you wrote about this. Sometimes I need to be made to think from his point of view.

Sue said...

For the record, despite my own past, I still believe you shouldn't have a child if you're not willing to commit to it. No baby deserves an unwilling home.

asha said...

Thank you for your post. I wish every one of those self-righteous "believers" would read it. These decisions should never be put in the hands of politicians, secular or sectarian.

Anonymous said...

Please see this link that show an Iranian girls had be harmed by Iranian police because here topcoat were not like some model who Islamic Government had determined by Quran!

Many Iranian People do not like Islam but government Kill and harm them.

قال زهرا بنت رسول الله از جهنم:

خداوند فرمود بواسته دروغی که برخدا بسته ام و خود را بانوی برگزیده خدا درجهان نام نهادم و چادر بسر کردن را بر زنان جهان اجباری کردم و چون به خاطر گناه زهرا بنت رسول و پدرش و خاندانش بر زنان ایران ستم می شود و دختران را کتک می زنند.

خداوند امر کرده زهرای بنت رسول درجهنم کسش باز شده و اهل جهنم و بهشت بر کس او می رینند و زهدان حضرت زهرا پر از گوه شده .
و مکرو و مکرالله

حزب مبارزه با ستم اسلامگرایان (فاکرین حزب الله ) اعلام کرد چون ریشه همه بدبختی های ملت ایران و جهان اسلام است به ازای هر ظلم به هر ایرانی میلیون ها کیر خر و کیر خوک و ...کامنتی به کس و کون آل محمد رسول الله روانه خواهد کرد.

کیر و سنده خوک تو کس حضرت زهرا بنت رسول الله

به حزب ما بپیوندید و کامنت دونی ها را پر از آنچه شایسته آل محمد است کنید.

کسانی که به زبان های خارجه مسلط هستند کامنت دونی های وبلاگ های خارجی را مستفیض فرمایند.

هرکس روزانه در 10 وبلاگ انگلیسی زبان یا عرب زبان آنچه شایسته محمد رسول الله است را بنویسد تا خارجی ها متوجه علاقه ایرانیان به اسلام شوند. اگر فقط 1000 نفر هم از حزب ما استقبال کنند بزودی اکثر سایت های دارای رنکینگ اینترنت پر از ابراز نفرت ایرانیان نسبت به اسلام خواهد شد.

برای خلیج فارس بمب گوگلی درست کردید که چرا دریای فارس را عرب کرده اند فرهنگ عرب حاصل تفکر محمد رسول الله پست تر از شیطان و حیوان را به فرهنگ درخشان 2500 ساله ایرانی برگزیده اید؟ نگرانید که چرا خلیج فارس را عرب نام گذاشته اند ولی ناراحت نیستید که از بیخ عربتان کرده اند؟

ستاد حزب مبارزه با ستم اسلامگرایان.
و نحن الفاکرین الغالبون
We will have all hizbolla women fucked by dogs.
Now God, say you must fucked Mohammad and Quran by send message to all people of world.
This message sent from Iran

MomEtc. said...

This is precisely why I remain pro-choice. There are people who would've sooner let your wife die than allow the pregnancy to be terminated.

I remember sitting in the hospital waiting for my hysterectomy (I had advanced cervical cancer). They gave me a pregnancy test and told me I'd have some decisions to make if it turned out I was pregnant. Luckily, I wasn't, but I would have terminated in a heartbeat so I could get my hysterectomy and the cancer removed. I knew there were people who would sooner see me wait for cancer treatment and keep the pregnancy had I been pregnant. Like you, I say FUCK them.

Mountain said...


Thanks for your story. May I ask a few questions. In the interest of full disclosure I am pro-life without exception. I am sorry for the loss of your child (as I know you are) and I am thrilled that you wife survived the ordeal. I would like to know what the doctors said was the cause of the bleeding? Did the abortion end the bleeding or did the ending of the bleeding cause the abortion.

The intentional killing of a human being is always wrong but if in an effort to save one life the other dies that is not the same thing. I could be wrong but I don't think your doctor said if I kill the child she will live because to my knowledge that would never need to be done. Like the Last/first post by mom who said she had to have the pregnancy test before the hysteroctomy. Even if she was pregnant it would not be an abortion to have a hyst. She would not be trying to kill her child but removing a cancerous organ.

There is a major difference in intentional and unintentional killing.

If you do not respond I do understand but I thank you for considering it anyway.

DBB said...

Mountain - The doctors intentionally killed the baby to save my wife's life.

And I have a question for you - you say you are pro-life without exceptions. So what is your view on, say, the Iraq war? Or on the death penalty? Would you force someone to give up a kidney to save the life of another?

Mountain said...


I know you may not know but I am curious as to how the direct intentional killing of your child saved you wife. How does performing an abortion stop the bleeding. If the doctor explained it I would be grateful to you for sharing it with me so I can be better informed.

I against any war (violence) that it not in direct defense of life. As for our war in Iraq I think it is absurd. I am against the death penalty in our society because it is carried out arbitrarily. However in a just system the state has the right to exact effective punishment and protect its citizens.

As for the kidney I am unclear as to how it fits the discussion. But nobody has to do anything to help another person. It would be the loving thing to do but we are not obligated to lay down our life or even sacrifice for our friends.

However It would be wrong to kill someone to get their kidney to save your life.

DBB, I do not judge you or your decision. I am sad that you had to be in that situation. I am sure you acted in good conscience and really that is all you could do.

With everything said I still don't think that there is ever a reason to directly kill a child to save a life.

Also story like yours in no excuse to have it legal to kill 1.3M children every year.

Professor Zero said...

Great writing DBB!

Anonymous said...


I was directed here through a link on a LiveJournal forum.

I'm still a teenager at this point, and it frightens me to think that I may become an adult in a world where situations like yours are classified into strict, black-and-white categories of "abortion allowed/abortion prohibited."

Stories like yours are making me realize that my body must be mine to make my own decisions with. Thank you for helping to educate a not-yet-fully-grown gal.

DBB said...

Emmy - glad I could be of some small degree of help.

Anonymous said...

i think that it is very interesting the fact that during your entire story you refer to the "nine week old fetus" that was living in your wives stomach was "our child." QUOTE: "...we have already discussed this and thought about it, having already lost the BABY two or three times over the past few weeks. Still, it isn't pleasant to think about it." How could you throughout your article call that "nine week old fetus" your child, and then in the end contradict yourself by saying "but it really wasn't a person yet...nobody really treats a 9 week old fetus like that." Now i understand that this was a terrible loss and i'm very sorry about it, but i'm confused with your opinion and who you justify as "a person" or not. If the fetus was nine weeks old that means that it was developed much more than "a seed." The seed you're referring to is a zygote, and you're baby was further than that stage. so the fact that you can't call it a person , is plainly just sad. sorry

Anonymous said...

You know, I'm shocked, honestly shocked, at these statistics being thrown around: "7% of pregnant women are ok to have an abortion", etc. This is very simple: if restriction of access to abortion kills even 1 woman, just 1, then it is too many. Before you get up in arms and start off with "Well, one fetus lost is too many! Eat your own logic, b**ch!!", hush, and read the rest of the post. (That is, if you're interested in WHY I think that. I'm sure some of you don't care, or will purposefully misconstrue it anyway. This post isn't for YOU, anyhow!)
A fetus is a POTENTIAL life (for various reasons, not even looking at abortion, that baby may never make it to term). A woman is an ACTUAL life. That someone would choose the POTENTIAL over the ACTUAL astounds me, and I can only explain it by guessing that because the ACTUAL is human and fallable, it messes up and errs from time to time, and people want to divorce themselves from that imperfection.
Now, the POTENTIAL, well, that's super-human. It's AWESOME. That is, it's awesome until it becomes ACTUAL (that is, it is born). In that case, no one really gives a shit about it anymore unless they want to go on some moralizing rant. Think about it--the child has (unless there are rich parents involved) inadequate access to good nutrition and healthcare, and poor to middling education. Frequently, it has 2 working parents who are struggling to give that beautiful person all they deserve to have a good chance at making something out of themselves in this world. Too bad for them, you say. Slut should have kept her legs closed in the first place! Or given it up for adoption to more deserving, unfortunately childless, parents (admit it--you have to be wealthy, patient, and able to take a LOT of time off of work to adopt. Wealth makes worthiness, in our society.)
Then, well, we no longer care about the child-thing until it reaches "age of responsibility" (which is not necessarily the same as age of majority, since we will put people under 18 to death in our prison system--respect for life, hah!). Once it reaches the "age of responsibility/majority", then America becomes interested in it for one of a few reasons: a) it can join the military, wherein its life will be controlled "for the greater good of the nation" by an arm of the government b) it will start making money, in which case, the government gets a slice, or c) we can imprison it and put it to death.
Pop quiz: can anyone explain to me, without eye-for-an-eye reasoning, how it is consistent with the "pro-life" philosophy espoused by George W. Bush and co. to put people to death? Obviously Bush has figured it out, to judge by his tenure as Governor of Texas.
I've heard the reasoning, well, they screwed up. Ok, so you forced someone to have the kid so that they could have an inadequate chance at life (please don't pretend that all kids have the same opportunities from Day 1--it's really demeaning), only to force that person to die when you deem that they wasted that 'gift of life' (that is, when they went from AWESOME, super-perfect POTENTIALITY to disappointing REALITY) that you were so kind as to force upon them?
Newsflash: most anti-abortion stances, particularly when they come with a pro-death penalty mentality, have NOTHING to do with respect for life. STOP PRETENDING. It is about control--control over the woman and her child, over all children, from cradle to grave. The state has a fundamental interest in exacting as much control over the process of life and death as it possibly can. That's just the cold, hard fact of statehood. If you recognize that and are ok with that, and believe you are right to desire control over others, at least you're honest. Just stay the hell away from me.
For DBB and those he loves: I hope that you and your wife always have the opportunity to do what's best for you.
For everyone else: I just pray that every child may be a WANTED child. Then, and only then, can it be loved, cherished, and raised as a child of God/Goddess/Deity/Humanity SHOULD BE.

Anonymous said...

shouldn't be worrying about abortions. should be worrying about poverty, education. Solve that and you reduce irresponsibility... everyone wins

LJ said...

DBB, what a great post.

To Anonymous with a 1 yr old - you haven't been there you don't understand. The loss of a 10w old fetus is different than the loss of a 7 month old fetus and is different than the loss of a baby who is born alive. In all cases, we are sad because we have lost hopes and dreams. But it is different. I know this because I have been there on all except for losing the live birth. I haven't been able to have a live birth yet.

We were sad when we lost the first pregnancy at 10w. We were devastated when we lost Audrey at 7 months into the pregnancy. There is a difference. If we lost a live birth at 1 day, 1 month, 1 year, 20 years that would still be different than losing Audrey.

Every couple grieves in their own way and not everyone wants some pro-Christian dogma shoved down their throats.

kat said...

when i read ur story i nearly cried.
im sorry for ur loss but i am relieved that ur wife is ok.

i have always been pro-choice and will always believe. it is the hardest decision to make to, but if one has the courage to make that decision then i believe they should be given the right to follow through with it.

old enough to know better said...

I am 70 years old and an old Army nurse. I am recently retired, so I know a bit about this. I'm simply responding because many pro-choicers here simply don't know what they are talking about, and while I appreciate their passion, they are quite simply wrong. No doctor, pro-life or otherwise would dream of allowing a mother to bleed out like that!
I know how 'hot' that the abortion issue is, and admittedly I am on the pro-life side(because I don't believe in abortion for convenience), however, this is a red herring to the pro-abortion camp. They simply love sad bloody stories of mothers dying because of some heartless 'pro-lifer'...which is really disingenuous at best.
I must inform you that this situation you describe has happened, (or something like it) several times in my long career, and each time, the baby had to be taken to save the mothers life.
I read your story with incredulity that the staff even allowed your wife to deteriorate that far!!
Even *before* Roe V. Wade the mothers life was always saved, if we could save it. Sometimes you can't. The uterus can bleed a woman out quickly. Thats what I was taught in nursing school. Every nursing student knows from the first that the uterus can bleed out a woman in less then an hour if left unchecked. Obviously your wifes obvious distress at loosing her baby was influencing their protocol.
The pro-life position is to try to safe both, but the mother is foremost. In the case of maternal/obstetrical hemorrhage which happens from time to time, (tho' rarely) because of placement of the placenta(Sometime we never find out why) D&C is almost always the only solution..
I just know that in the medical field, before Roe V. Wade, this was a 'no brainer': if mother was bleeding to death, we didn't even ask fathers consent...the doctor simply removed the fetus and stopped the bleeding.
Thank God your wife's uterus survived. Sometimes that had to go too.
And God bless your new little one.
D. Little, RN for 45 yr's.

trish said...

Thank you for sharing your heatbreaking a ardent pro-life woman ...I can say That I would have made the same tragic decision.
life is aweful sometimes.........
no pro-life person I know would have said anything to you that day.
unfortunatly life and death abortions are the exception not the rule.
Thank you again....I am enriched by your sharing.
I am going to check out the rest of your site.

Unknown said...

possibly removing the "pro-life" and "pro-choice" labels will help.

There is no such thing as a "pro-life" movement. This movement is specific in it's attempts to create laws to control medical decisions. This has nothing to do with "pro-life".. but is pro-legal control.

the "pro-choice" counter to this does not believe in "murder is ok" or any of the rest of that garbage. This movement is about ensuring that medical decisions are not bounded by legal constraints, but are to be bounded by the involved people's belief's and decisions.

When abortion is considered as an option, that consideration needs to be made by the people directly involved. Just like the doctor's can choose not to supply that option to their patients, their patients do have the personal right to be involved in that decision. If that decision is to sacrifice everything they need to in order to raise a child, then great.. it's their decision. If their decision is not the one above, well.. it is their decision.

Perspective. Personal beliefs are personal. Imposing personal beliefs by creating laws to force certain decisions (or lack of decisions) violates the right to personal religion. It also removes personal responsibility. By attempting to force certain decisions through the laws without also taking legal responsibility for the decision, we create a situation where we are imposing servitude. (Compulsory service, a form of slavery)

We cannot just look at the source of our beliefs, but also at the consequences of forcing others to conform to our beliefs.

Neva Li said...

Sadly, no one gave your child a choice. I'm very glad your wife survived and that you were able to replace the child you wrote off and disposed of. I understand it makes you feel better, somehow justified in what you did, but pro choice is such a gutless turn of phrase when what it really means is pro death.

It is very rare for the father to be at all involved in the decision to terminate life - and that alone should be reason enough even if one cannot support the real intent of the Constitution - which was the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all.

DBB said...

Neva Li - You don't know the meaning of the word choice, do you. I am not pro death. I do not rejoice at hearing of an abortion. I respect the right of a woman to make that choice for herself. If she chooses to carry to term, with all the risks to her health and life that that entails, that is also her choice and I fully support that as well.

Some might accuse you of seeing women as disposable baby incubators. I really don't know you, so I reserve judgment.

Tonal Bliss said...

First of all, I am glad that your wife is healthy. I hope that you two continue to remain healthy all throughout your lives.

" really wasn't a person yet, not in our awareness."

You mentioned that the fetus was a baby, then a "bugger." You mentioned that you suffered loss. Awareness doesn't change who is or who is not a person. I'm not aware of who is in a certain house on the block down my street. The people that live there are certainly still persons.

Today the laws regarding abortion are extremely liberal. The extreme legality of abortion didn't prevent the fact that your wife came close to death in this very frightening situation.

Anti-abortion laws that give the exception in cases when the mother's life is at risk would not have reduced the availability of this abortion.

For the most part, us "pro-lifers" that you wanted to kill and rip heads off of wish to protect mothers AND unborn babies.

Those who changed from the pro-life to being pro-choice must not know the facts of the abortion debate very intimately. Maybe the same goes for you, DBB?

Websites with information:

I hope that any future pregnancies that you two experience will be safer. God loves you. See ya.

Deb said...

I found you via a Google search. I'm the head editor for the Pregnancy, Birth & Adoption channel on Blog Nosh Magazine ( I'd like very much to republish this post on Blog Nosh if you're interested. You would retain all creative rights to your work. If you're interested, drop me an email at missivesfromsuburbia at

Tonal Bliss said...

Deb, if you publish his story, please do so minus the political statements. The one statement most inaccurate is DBB's thought that Pro-Life laws would have put the life of his wife at greater danger. No Pro-Life law would outlaw a medical procedure that would save the life of his wife.

In my previous comment were websites with useful information. It would benefit you to research the topic a little more.

Other than these political inaccuracies and misstatements about the Pro-Life position, DBB's post was very interesting.

C Woods said...

DBB - This post moved me to tears. You did an excellent job of explaining how you felt ---the emotion was so raw, it hurt to read it. I think many pro-lifers think the decision to have an abortion is always made frivolously. I cannot imagine being in your position ---having to make a decision about 2 lives. Having to decide in such an emotional state without having discussed it with your wife, would have been even more difficult. Many of us will have to make similar decisions in our lives, not just about abortions, but also about stopping life-support systems for critically ill family members. I hope I am not in that position, but if I am, I hope I can do it with even half of your courage.

Tonal Bliss said...

Rainbow Girl, I am a very, very pro-life person. I am NOT against the decision that was made by DBB. Also, pro-life laws would not restrict this decision by DBB and the actions done by the health care team.

This case is somewhat similar to ectopic pregnancy in which the unborn baby must be removed (and thus die) to save the life of the mother.

In DBB's decision, it was a decision to save a life (rather than a decision to kill a life).


Tonal Bliss said...

My last post was supposed to be directed at C Woods. Sorry about the mistake. :)

DBB said...

Deb - as far as publishing this - why not just link to it? That's the beauty of the web. Pleny have already.

CWoods - thanks - it was a difficult situation, but all of that has now been subsumed by the subsequent birth of my son who actually turns one year old this weekend.

Segamon - my post was not inaccurate regarding laws that put mothers in danger. Prolifers specifically seek to eliminate any "health" exception for abortion bans. The direct consequence of that would be to force doctors to let a situation develop to where it is actually life-threatening before the decision to abort could be made. There's no getting around that.

If you can point me to evidence that the prolife camp has dropped that as an issue and is fully in support of health exceptions in abortion bans, that at least, I will correct. But I don't think there is any such evidence to be found. (Of course, I oppose those bans entirely - I think it is between a woman and her doctor, period. It is not yours or anyone else's business.)

Tonal Bliss said...

DBB, when the phrase "health exception" is used, it means a plethora of exceptions. For example, take ABC News' reporting just last July: "Doe holds that the health exception permitting abortion after viability should be based on a 'medical judgment...exercised in the light of all factors -- physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age -- relevant to the wellbeing of the patient,' as ABC News' Supreme Court reporter Jan Crawford Greenburg noted over the weekend."

Translate the law of Doe v Bolton into current practice and it translates into using emotional distress as a "health exception." Thus, abortionists (like Dr. Tiller) can justify even the latest of late-term abortions upon this "health exception" even without a clear and present danger to the life of the mother.

Laws regarding ectopic pregnancy are unrelated to abortion laws. Why? Because ectopic pregnancy is a fatal condition for the mother. The cure for ectopic pregnancy is the removal and death of the unborn child. To prevent a mother's death in a case like yours would require the same type of judgment that is required for ectopic pregnancy.

The case you and your wife faced was completely unrelated to abortion law. Your wife's and baby's lives were in danger. The only solution was for one to die. What is the moral dilemma? Hmmm... to let one die or to let two die?

Again, I am very happy that your wife is alive and well. Congratulations on having a baby recently, btw.

Check out the following article with videos for more information:

DBB said...

Thus, abortionists (like Dr. Tiller) can justify even the latest of late-term abortions upon this "health exception" even without a clear and present danger to the life of the mother.

This quote from you speaks volumes - here you are admitting that your problem with a "health" exception is that it allows abortions where the mother's life is not in danger - bringing us right back to where we started - forcing a doctor to let a situation get to the point where a mother's life is threatened before being allowed to act.

I'm sorry, that is just plain wrong. And who are you to dictate what level of mental damage is really relevant? Shouldn't that be between a woman and her doctor and none of your damn business? Mental health is just as important as physical health. Health is health.

Regardless of what our individual situation was, it was still no one else's business but ours. How about we make a deal - you don't interfere in my wife's health decisions, nor my daughter's nor my sisters, and I won't interfere in yours. Leave the government out of it. Isn't government the problem anyway?

Tonal Bliss said...

In your blog post you stated that you wish that you could kill pro-lifers like me. You can either choose to take my opinion into consideration or not. Others that read comments on your blog can do the same thing. I also suggest you review the link that I provided.

My concern is with both mothers and unborn children. Thank you and God bless you.

DBB said...

In my post I recounted a visceral reaction I had at the moment I was waiting in a birthing room to see if my wife would live or die.

That you now twist this into saying I wish to literally kill prolifers shows me that you are not really serious about having a discussion.

You can have all of the opinions you want. My problem isn't with your opinions. It is with the fact that you want to force your opinions down everyone else's throats rather than leave it to individual women and their doctors. If you wish to never have an abortion under any circumstances, that is your business. I won't tell you you have to. Why can't you offer the same courtesy to others? Why does your opinion have to trump everyone else's through force of law? If you want to use the power of persuasion to talk women out of having abortions using honest argument, I have no beef with that. If you want to change the law to take away their freedom of choice and force them to risk their lives to carry babies to term, I have a big problem with that.

Tonal Bliss said...

I agree. I was stretching the context of your visceral reaction to kill pro-lifers. The visceral reaction, however, is based upon a false understanding of the majority of pro-lifers' intentions.

My desires for abortion law are based upon the fact that the unborn are human beings that deserve protection just like born people do.

This is about the right to life, a right which trumps all other rights. I am NOT against women's rights as long as those rights do not kill any other people.

I fathom that you disagree with my assessment that the unborn are human beings. Read up. Scientists disagree with you. Did you review the link that I gave you regarding the "health exception"?

Again, I am glad to see that you and your wife are now healthy and were able to have a child. May God bless you.

Unknown said...

A woman who has been were your wife has. Isn't it the truth that prior to RvW, medical necessity was not withheld. Why does such a learned man as yourself not grasp that. In fact, that well-known fact is common knowlege to the common person. You and your wife did not commit a convenience abortion for the sake of saving yourselves the trouble of hosting a life unplanned or unwanted. Pro-life supports the end of convenience abortions to be honest. That is what RvW provided - legal euthanasia of a living being that is unable to defend itself - murder. So is captl punishment. Unfortionately we fail on both sides (right and left ) to understand life.
I was given 48 hrs to live (tubal pregnancy that was bursting my tube and causing internal bleeding and severe pain). I personally knew that I could opt for the medical intervention but I had sworn a vow that nothing could make me terminate my pregnancy (my "pro-life" husband was trying to force me to abort).

Faced with this diagnosis only weeks after vowing to him that nothing (in all his tactics) could make me kill my baby, I sat stunned in the dr's office thinking ... this is it? i have to eat my vow? I asked my Dr, 'is my baby alive right now?' and he said yes. I resolved not to kill my child. The Doc pleaded with me saying that I didnt understand if I wento home it would get worse, by the time I wanted help there wouldnt be time to save me - 'you will die'. I stood up and replied 'so be it'. it took every ounce of physical strength I had to move my legs enough steps to get out of the office and to my car. Like lead in my shoes walking uphill with a tractor beam sucking me back - i strained for the lobby door. Dr's voice calling after me to come back. Nurses faces shocked and in disbelief as I pressed by them. Once I was pulling out of the parking lot a really strong sense of total peace came over me that i have never felt before or since. I went home and waited to die knowing that whatever time my child had left, I would be there with it protecting its last few hours of life and peace. I wasnt afraid in the tiniest bit. I didnt tell my husband or friend or any family members. I had recently given my life to Christ and now I wondered what heaven was going to be like. I lasted longer that 48 hrs but one night decided to pray for my child - i named every organd and thing about my baby that i could think of - falling asleep eventuall. That night I recieved a miracle - heaven came to me. I awoke in the wee hours of the night to see a glowing white figure at the foot of my bed. I asked it 'who are you'. it answered 'I am the one who is sent from the one'. He extended his arm and touched me and spoke in an unrecognizable language and vanished. I felt instantly better. the bleeding and cramps stopped. I went back to the Dr to get another ultrasound and they found that my baby was inside my womb and now was fully formed.

I didnt know how to pray because i was brought up in a home that did not practice religion - but I was determined that i wanted my baby to live.
I already had one abortion before i became a believer in Christ.

God was merciful and forgave my former act - my husband deserted us - I went all the way through a very rough 9 montsh and hard delivery alone - but I know why believer say even in adversity God is there. My daughter is graduating high school in 2 weeks - a beautiful, loving, healthy young lady.

God forgives our mistakes and sins.

And he loves us even if we dont know it. I didnt know it. but now I do.

I know God is good, God is great, God is glorious - the angel taught me to understand this.

Note: At the time I faced this decision, I considered myself pro-choice.

DBB said...

Shining - I hate to break it to you, but there is no god. And your story illustrates nothing but that you made a choice - which is all the pro-choice movement asks. That these life and death decisions for the mother (because to carry a baby to term ALWAYS places the health and life of a mother at risk) are for the mother alone to make, in consultation with her doctor and anyone else she cares to ask (like friends or family).

Note that if you had no choice and instead were strapped down in the hospital and told that it doesn't matter what you want to do, they are going to sacrifice you for the baby, then the story would be more consistent with the anti-choice position - the moral of your story seems to be that you made the "right" choice - but how is that relevant if you don't ever have a choice?

Tonal Bliss said...

DBB, why be so disrespectful to shining? She was pouring her heart out with her story. She does disagree with you, but everyone disagrees with everyone!

Her story shows that extreme sacrifice can result in rewards in the end.

Her viewpoint and statements show that truly life-threatening pregnancies can be terminated even if elective abortion would be illegal (as was the case when many states had it illegal prior to Roe).

We know that you don't agree, DBB. Nothing's new from what you just posted. Sadly, your disrespect to other human beings is nothing new either.

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Unknown said...

Enjoy your blog just found it... must thank you for this post out of the ones I have read. I have always been a pro-choice, just because a person should live as they see fit. Though this gives me such a better insight into a person being in that situation. I don't see how people or government could possibly think they have any room to criticize or dictate personal decisions in such situations.

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Anonymous said...

"But if anyone tells me politicians should meddle in what should be between one's doctor and one's self..."

Laws are by their very nature coercive; they impose obligations on us. To that extent every law is an instance of politicians meddling with our lives. The politicians who oppose legalized abortion obviously do not grant your premise that abortion is a decision that "should be between one's doctor and one's self".

The "pro-choice" position is a rather paradoxical one. It involves the notion that a woman has the right to abort but did not herself have the right to be born. It is a curious thing that an individual that had no right to be born should have any other rights.

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