The Extremes of Choice

I’m still thinking about how polarized we are, on our opposite sides of the abortion fence.   It’s like we keep digging ourselves deeper into our own trenches.

On one hand, we have the “no exceptions, no way, no how” side.  They apparently believe  that the already-born mother should die to save a developing fetus, apparently even if the fetus is going to die with her.  I am righteously indignant at the idea that someone else is going to tell me ~ or my daughter ~ that we should literally die rather than have an abortion.

Lots of women ~ and men ~ would be willing to die for their child.  I probably would, as far as that goes.  And if the mother is willing to risk her life, that’s her choice for sure.  But it’s not usually mandated by someone else.

I was ranting about this at home the other night, and my partner pointed out that the “Women and Children first” rule, if the ship’s going down, is actually pretty close to the same thing ~ a mandate to die to save others.  I tried to argue that it wasn’t the same ~  that presumably it’s just women and children first, not instead of the men.

But anti’s would argue the same thing, they’d say the mother might not die the doctors might be wrong, a miracle could happen, and so on.  So I finally had to concede that it probably is pretty close to the same thing ~ mandated heroism.  But at least in that case the people you’re saving are already born.

And of course it wasn’t an actual law saying men had to go down with the ship, it was just the Captain who was really expected to die, right?  The other guys were just supposed to be heroes, there wasn’t any legal enforcement of the rule.

What’s interesting to me is that I didn’t want to give up my stance that this horrible position toward abortion was mandating death for some women and that this was more awful than just about anything ~ which reflects how polarizing this whole thing is.  So it took some effort to budge me an inch, for me to even say, “Ok, yeah, that is similar in a way ~ and so maybe that was wrong too!”  {Just for the record, he wasn’t arguing against abortion, just pointing out the similarity of society mandating who should die when.}

In retrospect, the challenge to my thinking was helpful.

Anyhow, in the same way, when I read what  Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, a Republican Representative in Maryland said, it challenged me.  He said: “Most abortions, most abortions are for what purpose? The just don’t want to have a baby! The second reason for abortion is you’d like a boy and it’s a girl, or vice versa.”

I read that and thought, “WHAT???  It is not!!  That is NOT the second reason for abortion!!”

So I did a Facebook appeal for the facts of the matter, and because I have awesome Facebook friends, I got a link to this study from 2004.  The sex of the child is not even a reason given in that study, much less one of the main reasons.

Another friend pointed out that women usually don’t even know the baby’s sex until 18-20 weeks into the pregnancy, while only about 2% of abortions happen after the 20th week.

So I’m feeling reassured that, once again, this congressman doesn’t know what he’s talking about, when I see this:

and I thought, “Oh.  Yikes.  Well.  Yes.  There is that.”

And I totally agree with that.  The other end of the no-abortion spectrum, right?

Except ~ I’m going to whisper this part, ok?  If women were really doing it all the time because they didn’t like the baby’s sex, just because they wanted a boy, or wanted a girl and didn’t get one ~ um…. I’d have issues with that.

There.  I said it.

I still wouldn’t think abortion should be against the law.  I would still ttotally support the right to choose.  But I think that would bother me.

Which is exactly what Congressman Whatever wants me to think.  If I even half-way believe him, it makes it an effective argument.

On the other hand, I think that tinge of doubt on my part maybe moves me out of the deepest of polarized trenches?   Maybe the goal is not to dig myself as firmly as possible into one spot and stay there regardless.  Maybe I need to be open to my own shades of thinking.

Or maybe I’m over-thinking the whole thing.  Feel free to leave angry comments ~ or kind, gentle comments would be better ~ explaining why I’m wrong.  But the argument in my head is about how to move away from the polarity of positions, to recognize that it doesn’t have to be total extremes from either end.

And I have to go escort this morning, so I’m out the door now.  Don’t forget to join us for our

Escort Training

Saturday, September 8th

9:00 – 10::30 a.m.

Breakfast and good times for all.  You don’t have to attend the training to be an escort, but it helps.  Email us for information on where or if you have questions.

10 thoughts on “The Extremes of Choice

  1. The problem with restricting reproductive freedom based on the prevalence of sex-selective abortion (which really isn’t an issue in the U.S., but occurs more in other countries) is that it doesn’t address the actual problem.There are places where girl children are economic burdens, because of endemic poverty, absence or prohibition of women doing paid work, and dowry systems. There, sex-selective abortion isn’t the disease, it’s a symptom. Where women are (more) valued and economically productive members of society, sex-selective abortion is a non-issue.

    Sex-selective abortion has become a Republican boogeyman the same way late-term abortion has; it’s something that occurs very rarely, which anti-choicers over-emphasize, completely decontextualize, and then use to mislead people down the slippery slope of trying to pick apart what might be the “acceptable” reasons for abortion.

    • Oh, really, really good point. Yes, and that’s exactly what happened. Not that I actually went to the dark side and became anti-access, cause that would never happen, but I did get seduced into thinking about when it’s ok and when it’s not. And really, it’s as simple as TRUST WOMEN.



  2. Outing Myself – This subsection of the abortion issue has always hit close to home for me . . .

    Pardon me BUT it’s none of your or Rep. Roscoe Bartlett’s business if I want to completely and utterly plan the sex of my pregnancies that come to term or plan the gender of my children. How I plan my family is up to myself and my partner, no one else gets an opinion.

    In my case I do not want to bear any males, it’s a choice I made many, many years ago for my own valid reasons, a choice that is re-evaluated periodically and does not waver. Having made this decision, I know that finding out the sex accurately early can be easy (it’s a simple blood test available OTC) and although Planned Parenthood doesn’t do diagnostic ultrasounds an ultrasound with an experienced tech could sex the pregnancy accurately by 14 weeks.

    I am lucky to have married into a family that seems to do nothing but breed girls (5 generations with almost 45 children and only 4 of them are boys), the odds are stacked in my favor that I will not conceive a male pregnancy.

    I am not the typical women you think of when sex-selective abortions are mentioned, I am not casting aside a female pregnancy late in the game because my family, culture and society tells me to – I would be making an educated decision for myself to not bear a a male pregnancy. Nor would I be doing it at 20+ weeks, it’s entirely possible to find out the sex of the embryo very early and I would make every effort to find out as early as possible.

    Sexing embryos is very possible at a 95% accuracy as early as 7 weeks using a maternal blood test.

    Ultrasound is very accurate even at 12 – 14 weeks for determining fetal sex

    While I understand your discomfort of this thorny issue, you need to trust women to make the best decision for them and their families. Don’t let Rep. Roscoe Bartlett’s make your doubt your pro-choice stance, someone who can’t even obtain accurate abortion statics doesn’t deserve the ability to make you waver on your pro-choice position.

    • And now I’m just mortified.

      I was really, really wrong on every single level, wasn’t I?

      I’m sorry. Thanks for sharing this, which just completes my “gulp, I was wrong,” experience. It’s exactly what I needed to hear. Seriously, I suspect this may not have been easy for you to write, but whether it was or not, I really do appreciate it.

      Thank you.


      • ” . . . but I did get seduced . . . ”

        That’s exactly it, people are seduced into anti-choice thinking and before you know it they’ve slid all the way down that slippery slope into no exceptions.

  3. I read something recently that actually said that the Titanic was the exception to the rule — that in reality women and children are only half as likely as men to survive a sinking ship. That rather than “women and children first” the mantra is more “every man for himself”

    but that’s not my point.

    No person should be forced to bear a child she doesn’t want. To be forced into slavery as an incubator because of the tenacious biology that has designed our bodies to get pregnant as often as possible (and will sometimes not be circumvented in it’s cause) is wrong.

    I’m pro choice.
    i’m pro responsibility.

    I think that making a decision NOT to have a child is just as responsible as choosing to have one and give it everything you have.

    • That’s really interesting about the “women and children first” thing. Not surprising – in the same way that women had abortions long before it was legal. We don’t live by rules alone, that’s for sure. But interesting. I kind of figured the rule was invented to keep men from shoving the women and children aside in the race for lifeboats, but I thought that might be too cynical. Apparently not.

      So I’m reading the rest of your comment, and nodding, cause I’m agreeing with everything you’re saying, and when I finish, I go back and read it again, and it hits me.


      That’s what you’re saying, isn’t it? At least that’s what I’m hearing you say, and I needed to hear it. That’s the point, and that’s what I was overlooking.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s