Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Ninety-four Trimesters and Counting

I'm not certain what level of media attention that this is garnering, so I'll start by bringing all of my readers abroad up to speed on what I know has at least caused quite a stir locally. Here you go. Now, for those who don't want to be bothered, the Coles Notes version is this: an anti-abortion group camped out in downtown Fredericton, displaying large graphic photos of aborted fetuses and handing out pamphlets to passerby. Many pedestrians and motorists found these pictures to be in poor taste, which prompted many complaints to police and many shouted insults. I'd assimilated this information from various sources over the last couple of days, so I was aware of it, but it didn't really impact me in any significant way, so I didn't really give it much thought. That is, until I found myself standing in their midst yesterday morning, and subjected to discussion with them, heckling from their detractors, and attention from television cameras.

I gather that they were out and about on Monday as well, but I didn't see them at all while either walking or driving, so they apparently relocated on Tuesday. There was a notification on the radio that very morning that they were out in force again, but it hadn't even occurred to me that I might run into them on my way to work. So, when I passed through the graveyard and suddenly found myself among them, I was taken rather by surprise. And, in an extra bit of cosmic humour, I just missed my walk light, which left me standing there for roughly a full minute, with refuge tantalizingly waiting just across the street. I've never wanted to get to work so badly in my life. I've been more comfortable crossing picket lines, and let me tell you, I've had some very awkward moments in picket lines (long story, involving a co-op term on base and some ambiguities surrounding the specifics of my employment).

As protestors go, though, they were admittedly a pretty light touch. They were friendly and polite, and only a couple of them left their sign-holding positions to approach me and ask me if I'd like an informational pamphlet, to which I awkwardly smiled (as if I am able to smile in any other fashion), replied "sure", and took a pamphlet. Now, don't get me wrong-- that shouldn't necessarily be interpreted as an endorsement. I'm pretty sure that if they were standing there in Nazi uniforms and handing out pamphlets entitled "Ethnic Cleansing: Not so Bad?" that I'd still have reacted in precisely the same way, simply in the interests of avoiding an awkward conversation. I guess that I should probably be ashamed of that, but it's a pretty fundamental character trait-- I will go to great and often irrational lengths to avoid awkward social encounters of any kind.

Now, had that been the end of it, I likely wouldn't be bothering to relate this story. However, after I had been standing there conversing with them for roughly twenty seconds, the jeers began. The first was a passing motorist, who honked his horn and gave us the finger. Now, presumably (or, hopefully, I guess I should say) this, and everything that followed, was directed not at me but the people around me, yet I still couldn't help but begin to feel very nervous. Then another driver passed a few seconds later and shouted "Go home!" and also flipped us the bird. After that, a pedestrian passed by, gave us a baleful stare, and spit on the ground at our feet. Then, the light turned red, which, while prompting the joyous arrival of my walk light, also left those waiting in the quickly growing line of vehicles time to more thoroughly express their hostility. As I crossed the street as fast as I could without breaking into a jog (making a point to avoid the locations that the TV cameras seemed to be pointed at), and tucked the pamphlet into my pocket as surreptitiously as I could manage, the shouts and insults quickly grew in volume, frequency, and intensity:

"You're not welcome!"

"What is wrong with you people!?"

"Get the fuck out of our city!"

"Fuck off and go home, assholes, before I have to get out of this car and make you!"

Finally, one woman leaned out her car window, looked directly at me, and shouted: "That's disgusting. You should be ashamed."

Her words may not seem as harsh as some of the others being bandied about, but these were directed at me, and I was taken aback at the intensity of the... hatred in her voice. Hatred is definitely the word. I've never in my life heard someone speak with such hate, let alone someone in Fredericton. And she wasn't the only one-- I heard similar acid in many of the other shouts. If she and all of the other motorists and passerby had suddenly started throwing rocks, I wouldn't have been surprised. In fact, I was fully prepared to duck-- I could already see the angry mob solidifying in my mind. I was beginning to fear for my own safety. I just can't quite process it all. I mean, I'm not ever sure that I think the imagery was all that inappropriate (I'm still in the process of deciding), but even if I did find it incredibly distasteful, I still can't fathom it causing a reaction that intense. You'd think that they were holding was a NAMBLA rally, to engender such a response as they did.

At that point, I did break into a jog, and I didn't stop until I reached the mall entrance. So terrified was I that I might be associated with those protestors again that I snuck into the bathroom at my earliest opportunity, and, after making sure that no one else was in there, quickly shoved the pamphlet into the garbage can and left. Yes, that's right-- I was afraid to use the garbage can in my office. I spent the whole day mulling over the events of the morning and dreading my return trip after work, but, fortunately, there was no sign of them at the end of the day. I presume that they all moved on to their next stop: Saint John.

You might think that such an experience might cause me to identify with the protestors a bit, but it actually had quite the opposite effect. I simply cannot fathom why a person would submit themselves to something like that. I'd like to think that I'm fairly socially minded, but I wouldn't touch such a polarizing social issue in that kind of setting with a ten-foot clown pole. The majority of such issues don't have any direct impact on my life one way or another, and I guess I'm fortunate in that, but even if they did I don't think I could bring myself to care enough to behave in such a fashion and submit myself to such intense public scorn.

The funny thing is that I actually find this issue to be a bit less clear-cut than many other similar issues, and while I am pro-choice, I am not firm in my convictions on this matter. In fact, I likely would have at least given their pamphlet a read had it been, say, distributed by a single person not surrounded by dozens of other people displaying pictures of aborted fetuses, because that single person likely would not have attracted any notice, which would in turn have allowed me to read what was handed to me without fearing for my own safety. It wasn't the imagery or the message that I was disgusted with, though-- it was the behaviour of the people of Fredericton.


Anonymous Mike said...


Don't ever take the pamphlet. I just finished saying to Nathan that when you take the pamphlet it's at least suggesting to them (and anyone watching you) that you have some sort of interest. If you didn't want to associate yourself with them you should never have taken the pamphlet.

I understand you're not confrontational in public, but a "no thanks" isn't confrontational. My response of choice would have been "go fuck yourself with a dead fetus" or something. THAT'S confrontational.

Furthermore, stuffing it in your pocket when people can see you doing it really just makes you look like you're ashamed you have it or you're guilty. Or that you're saving it for reading later. If you'd thrown it on the ground you might have been better off.

I have monster issues with people telling women what they can and can't do with their body. Especially since it isn't black and white. Holding up signs of bloody fetuses isn't going to accomplish anything. "Oh, that's what it looks like... gross."

Looking at a picture of open heart surgery probably wouldn't be more appealing. Doesn't mean that we should STOP open heart surgery.

Anyways. I'm not surprised people yelled at you that crazily if they saw you talking to them and accepting their pamphlet. If them hate them, and you look like you're willing to give them a shot, they'll hate you just as much.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006 2:25:00 PM  
Blogger Jordan said...

Don't ever take the pamphlet.
I disagree. I disagree fervently. Noone should be persecuted simply for choosing to read the arguments of one side of an issue, even if the argument is something as silly as "see how gross this looks?" How can people make intelligent decisions about issues without listening to both sides? When a Jehova's witness shows up at my door, I listen to what they have to say, I take their reading material, and I bid them a polite good day. Do I have any intention of adopting that religion? No. In fact, I think it's downright silly. But I still might be curious to see what it is that they believe in, if for no more reason than to understand where they're coming from, or see precisely how silly it is. And I should be able to do so without crazy people treating me like I just ate a baby.

If you'd thrown it on the ground you might have been better off.
To reiterate: my primary interest is in avoiding conflict. To my mind, throwing a pamphlet to the ground while surrounded by those distributing them is not the best way to go about doing so. My fervent wish was simply to offend as few people as possible.

Anyways. I'm not surprised people yelled at you that crazily if they saw you talking to them and accepting their pamphlet.
I am. I am very surprised, and very disappointed, that people would react in such a way to me OR them. I just don't understand why people can't discuss polarizing issues like these without carrying around signs or screaming at each other. All that does is scare all of the reasonable people away.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006 3:06:00 PM  
Anonymous NOS said...

As for why someone would subject themselves to such abuse in the name of a cause, I submit that the entire purpose of using the images that they do is to generate a violent response in order to discredit "the other side." Unfortunately, I think vehicles in busy traffic on hot days are probably the best possible place to look for suitable victims in this regard. You've certainly referred to your own vitriol threatening to burst out of your vehicle on occasion.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006 3:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Not to mention that showing pictures like that isn't going to help anyone sitting on the fence. It's not like I'll go "OH, THAT's what a fetus looks like after?! That's so gross! I'm totally on board."

The way they went about it didn't do anything but aggrivate people, and I'm not sure that aggirvating them is going to win them any support.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006 3:55:00 PM  
Blogger Jordan said...

You've certainly referred to your own vitriol threatening to burst out of your vehicle on occasion.
Fair enough, but I doubt that I'd ever actually scream anything out my window at anyone.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006 3:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Vern said...

It makes perfect sense to me why someone would use something like that in an anti-abortion campaign. Isn't a main issue whether or not a fetus is 'alive', and wouldn't be being disturbed by dead ones admit that they ARE alive?
Of course, we all know that aggravating things just makes people defend their own sides all the more vehemently.

I have issues with people who say that it's a woman's choice what she does with her body in terms of abortion, mainly because raising a kid shouldn't be put down to 1 person unless they wish to raise it by themselves (in which case, abortion is the furthest thing from a mother's mind), and this statement implies that it is only her. It implies that the man has no choice or role. It's his kid/fetus as much as hers, even if she does have to carry it around for 9 months in her body, and responsibility should fall on him as well. The statement, while empowering to women, seems to think that a woman can and should be able to decide and raise a kid by themselves, which is bullshit. No one, man or woman, should think that they have to decide something like that on their own, and both potential parents should become active in whatever decision is made.

If you (all the guys) even just had a one-night stand with someone, and they ended up becoming pregnant, wouldn't you want to have a say in what's going to happen to your fetus/baby? What if you had the means and wanted to raise it even without her involved at all after giving birth, and she wanted an abortion still? If I were to get pregnant from a guy that way, I think it'd only be fair that I track down whoever it is and let them know. To go and get an abortion without letting the other person be involved is cowardly.

*Even if one potential parent is a pro-choicer and has litte/no qualms about aborting it, the other potential parent might not feel the same way.*

(Note: I'm only excluding same sex couples from this because, well, they can't have kids of their own without outside help, and, uh, aborting it afterwards would be ridiculous.)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006 5:15:00 PM  
Anonymous NOS said...

I don't think Jordan (or me on SP) intended to actually debate the actual abortion issue, but I suppose it's inevitable.

Anyway, nobody thinks that a woman should make the decision in a vacuum. But the fact is, when it comes right down to it, in the final analysis if a decision needs to be made, it should be hers to make. She's the one going through the (somewhat painful, so I'm told?) process, putting her own life on the line, and who will be responsible for the child from then on (presuming it is kept.)

Presuming the option is on the table at all, at the end of the day the woman's choice is the only sensible way to do things. If she wants, she can discuss things with her partner, her family, whoever. Or not. These things are beyond our control, everybody handles life issues as best they can, and unfortunately that doesn't always turn out the way after school specials do. If she goes out and has an abortion without consulting anyone, well, that's unfortunate and possibly irresponsible (let's not forget that everyone's situation is different and there are plenty of people in the world not worth consulting with) but them's the breaks. We should not try to impose a more strict condition on the choice; that way madness lies.

What if you had the means and wanted to raise it even without her involved at all after giving birth, and she wanted an abortion still?

Well, what if I did not have the means to support it, did not want to raise it, and could not afford the child support I would owe, and she wanted to have the child still? I can argue and plead my case if I want, but no way should my preference override her decision, and so that means in the end, yes, one woman makes the choice.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006 6:21:00 PM  
Blogger Darcy Cameron said...

People who are anti-abortion have always seemed a bit short-sighted to me. I mean, it's one thing to say abortion is murder and we need to save the babies, but what then? They're obviously still unwanted. Who's going to take care of them? How many babies have those protestors adopted, I wonder. What happens when all the orphanages are full, not like that's an idea life for a child anyway. They don't want to abort them, but it seems to stop there. They don't want to take care of them for 18 years either.

As for your particular situation, I'd have given anything to have seen you standing there amongst them. Anything! Just picturing it now makes me laugh (not that I'd have done anything differently had it been me).

Wednesday, July 19, 2006 6:26:00 PM  
Anonymous vern said...

Ok, I didn't mean to go ahead sounding all anti-abortion, I was upset about this, 'it's all a woman's choice.'

"She's the one going through the (somewhat painful, so I'm told?) process, putting her own life on the line, and ***who will be responsible for the child from then on (presuming it is kept.)*** "

That phrase is EXACTLY why I don't like it when people say it's all a woman's choice. It is NOT only the mother who is responsible for raising a child. Was your father not involved in raising you? Would you not be responsible for raising any kids you may have? Well, ok, ultimately, it does end up that it's all the woman, but from a societal perspective, it damn well shouldn't be, and by saying it is shirks the responsibility of men in raising kids. I know, ultimately it is a woman's choice because it's in her body and yes, I know its her choice to not tell anyone about having an abortion either. And no, I'm not living in a dream world where everyone has support for raising a child, family, means, money, etc, and no, I'm not saying that people shouldn't have abortions. I didn't want to outline cases and clauses; I know that not every situation of pregnancy is a happy or easy one to deal with.

I guess what I AM saying is that I'm in favor of bringing a child to term if someone wants it, father or mother, and a mother should consider the possibility that the father might want it. You give a situation where the man doesn't want it, but the woman does, and that you shouldn't decide to abort it. I gave a situation where the woman does want to abort it, while the man wants to keep it, and I don't think the woman should decide to abort it if she won't be involved in the life of the child afterwards, despite the pain of giving birth, and despite a 'usual' (whatever that is) risk to herself. I've never thought of childbirth as particularly dangerous in this day and age, but if it were to be so, or is usually, then my opinion would change. (and would change given a number of other cases).
I actually hadn't thought about marriage until clicking on your link. In a situation where a husband wants kids when the wife doesn't, the woman still has a choice to leave her husband, and kid, with him. Yes yes, abuse changes everything, and yes, divorce is rather extreme, but if a married couple are really struggling over an issue such as this, perhaps its best they aren't married. No, I'm not saying that the woman should just give in to her husband's wishes, and vice versa as well; all the power to them to find an agreement either way. I also hadn't thought about laws and regulations about it, beyond allowing it at all, but I assure you, regulation of such things is something I don't even want to discuss with a 10 foot pole. I'm practically anti-law, period, and would be much happier if things were taken more on case by case than with following laws. (And I'm sure this idealistic and probably doomed to failure view is FAR more controversial and irrational than being anti-abortion.) Also, just because I may be leaning towards anti-abortion, it doesn't mean I'm going to fall down the slippery slope just because I've taken a step or two on it. And just because I think of something a certain way, doesn't mean I'm going to think poorly of someone who makes a choice or who sees things in a way I don't, as you should know from my rant about judging people :-p

I agree with Jordan that people should be more civil, and I like to think I'm prepared to listen to all sides of a story. I think it is rude the way people reacted to the protestors.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006 8:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

What nathan is saying is that even though the man might want to keep the baby, there's not a lot he can do if she wants to get an abortion. It's not his uterus. She makes that call. And yes, if you have a child, you're responsible for it. It doesn't matter if OTHER PEOPLE are also responsible, that woman is still responsible TOO.

Just because other people are involved doesn't mean that you're absolved from responsibility you might not be ready for.

Furthermore, it's been confirmed by those who've actually SEEN aborted fetuses that those signs were actually false in the first place, and that they were miscarriages, not aborted. It was on the CBC today.

The issue here for me is that they did nothing but rile people up. Putting up shocking and falsely captioned photos doesn't aid the cause. If I was on the fence about abortion and I drove by there with my kids in the car (and trust me, you were given no choice, since it was on Prospect street and in rush hour traffic when you can't just pull a u-turn) I would be more disgusted by the fact that I was forced to look at something like that. I wouldn't be "oh hey, they have a valid point, excellent." I would be more like "what the fuck do they think they're doing, this isn't the venue for this sort of thing, couldn't they get a more sensible message across with something other than bloody photos."

We don't have kids. It's not as personal. I'm convinced that we just sort of shrug this imagery off. But you know what? Not everyone will. And those people are pissed that they had to look at this crap.
Imagine you've got two kids and you make sure they watch pg-13 movies. They have a curfew. They're not spoiled. You try to keep things appropriate for them. Then imagine you're driving home and spazzes are waving these signs around. And your kids say "why's that little baby all bloody?" or "what's wrong with that baby mommy?"

What do you say? "oh, that's an aborted fetus... that's when...etc."

You catch more flies with honey. All they've done with this (and it's obvious by the anger and controversy they've raised just by BEING there) is turn people away from their cause.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006 10:42:00 PM  
Anonymous vern said...

I fully agree with responsibility of both parties. I thought I made that pretty clear.

Yeah, I agree, the pictures are upsetting people and its obviously not working. Kinda sad that they didn't even put up abortion pictures. Betcha all the miscarriage pictures were from later in pregnancy to make them look more like, err, babies.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006 10:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Craig said...

Perhaps I have a different perspective on this issue, pehaps not.

When I was about 20 I attended the funeral of my nephew, Bradley. He was miscarried at 6 months. He was the first and only child by by oldest brother and his 2nd wife. They never tried again. I was present at a funeral where a soft white casket, roughly 2 feet in length, carried by a single pall-bearer, was lowered every so slowly into the ground. It was by far the saddest moment in my life. I'm not overtly sentimental by nature but even as I write this I still feel a twinge...

I just had my first child, Sydney, in January. She was born healthy and each day I come home she is there smiling, learning, growing, and loving.

You can discuss womans rights, free will, an individuals right to choose, make all the logical and political arguments you want but in the end we're talking about ending a life. You can't say its human at 6 months and at 3 months its not. It's just semantics. What about the childs right to choose?

The main fault I see in the anti-abortion movement is that perhaps there should be more caring and less protesting. Let's help the women with unwanted pregancies so they don't need abortion services.

We need more services like the Fredericton Crisis Pregnancy Centre.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 1:46:00 PM  
Anonymous NOS said...

in the end we're talking about ending a life. You can't say its human at 6 months and at 3 months its not. It's just semantics.

That's a bit too facile. Everybody has gut feelings about things, but we don't live our lives by them. The "Aw, c'mon" argument just isn't persuasive. I could just as easily say "You can't say that lump of tissue with less sentience than a cat is equivalent to me or you," which is just as unreasonable way to phrase things.

I mean, an argument that "abortion is wrong, don't do it, ever" is perfectly coherent. But I'm a pragmatist at heart, and to me, such a position is too problematic to endorse. I don't want to argue specifics, but the thought that *any* of this is obvious is exactly the sort of thinking that leads to people screaming across the street at each other, which (let's remember) was what Jordan was talking about in the first place anyway.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 3:43:00 PM  
Anonymous NOS said...

You can't say its human at 6 months and at 3 months its not. It's just semantics.

I had a longer reply that the Internet Tubes swallowed up, but I really can't be bothered to recreate it. The gist of it was: Providing an "Oh, c'mon now" argument and refusing to admit that the situation might not be clear cut and obvious is exactly the sort of mentality that, left unchecked, leads to people screaming at each other across the street from one another. And that was all Jordan was complaining about to begin with.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 4:09:00 PM  
Anonymous NOS said...

And I see now that the internet did not swallow it after all. Double post! Jordan, feel free to delete one, the other, or neither, at your discretion.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 4:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Kim said...

Ah what a contentious issue. I'm pretty staunchly pro-choice (as anyone who's ever spent time discussing it with me will know) but I do respect that other people may feel differently.

What I have a big problem with is when people feel the need to force their beliefs down my throat on an issue that is in no way black or white. If there were a single protester with pamphlets I might take the pamphlet or politely say "No thanks, I'm afraid I don't agree with you." I'm also not big on confrontations so if someone really wants to give me a pamphlet (and just give me a pamphlet) then I'll take it. It's when they want to tell me why my stance is oh so horrible that I get unhappy. I feel the same way when people pull out the religious pamphlets (and had a very similar discussion recently with the in-laws to be).

As for the actual issue, I see your point Vern about how in many cases the woman should consult with the man who was responsible. It is his responsibility too. However, in a lot of cases it gets really murky. One-night stands for example. Do you know someone well enough to make that call for them? But are you really prepared to make this decision with the help of a virtual stranger? I do strongly believe that although the man should have equal responsibility, when you come down to it, it's still the woman's life which is more grossly affected (from nine months of pregnancy to maternity leave, hell, even things like the possibility of breastfeeding). It's really hard to guarantee that the woman will never be necessary after birth. I certainly don't think it's cowardly though. Maybe not the right decision for everyone, but not cowardly. It might be nice to say that the father needs to be responsible and he does but there are still biological restrictions that make total equality in that sense impossible.

I also don't like the idea of forcing women to have a child because her partner/one-night stand wants one. While usually not life-threatening, it is a pretty complicated biological process stretching out over three-quarters of a year or more that can be at best pretty darn uncomfortable at times and can even be pretty painful. It can screw with your blood pressure, definitely screws with your hormones and makes you really achy. Some women can get really severe "morning-sickness" that lasts for quite a while. The men can't really help with that. They should get to express their opinion (except in cases of force, abuse, medical reasons, other similar cases, etc...), and hopefully both people can come to an acceptable arrangement. If not though, I do think the woman should have final say.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 7:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Vern said...

Its funny though, that if a mother gives birth in an alley and puts her kid in the trash, killing it, that's infanticide and a criminal punishment. (ok, I just re-read that, and I'm giggling) All the difference is another few months. No one seems to have qualms about that. It's not like being pushed through the birth canal infuses a baby with more life than it already had. The only life it's ever known so far is in the womb. I suppose we should go by convenience what's right and wrong. And this is a good example of why I don't like laws.

I think the main reason I don't like abortion doesn't have anything to do with whether the baby's alive, but that it has the potential to become someone. I know, that's a pretty poor argument, probably use by anti-birth controlists, which isn't me. But once you're already pregnant, the decision's staring you in the face.
I wish I had more gut feelings to go by on things.

Yeah, this is a complete aside to what Jordan was upset about. I was happy to say nothing until Mike piped in. (Put the blame on someone else, that's it.)

What's with me having to put in the stupid letters twice all the time now. They were right the first time!

Thursday, July 20, 2006 7:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Vern said...

I guess I just see 9 months of inconvenience (ok, maybe more than just 'inconvenience') as paling next to the entire life of someone else.

But as far as needing a mother after birth, there's formula. (alright, it's not supposed to be very good) BUT you can buy breastmilk from breastmilk banks apparently.

As far as actually giving birth goes, (I forgot to mention), one of my landlady's had a baby, and she told me she was on so much medication up that she didn't feel any pain.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 7:56:00 PM  
Anonymous johng said...

They were here in Moncton also.

I feel it was wrong of them to do what they did. It was depraved and should not have been displayed out in the public like that. Those images were worse than anything I have seen in a horror/gore flick. I was more concerned with the parents driving their children home after school.

I'm not pro-choice, or anti-abortion. I haven't made a decision in either way. Frankly in my mind, it's clearly situational and the circumstances are a major thing to consider.

My opinion is that abortion is in no means a form of birth-control.
Both parties should be taking the precaution of birth control.

I took the pamphlet myself.. and after I saw the pictures I tore it up and threw it in the garbage.
I have no problems listening to someone talk about their beliefs, but a situation like this was distasteful.

I was going to call the cops after I got home that's how angry I was. Not that they could have done anything, but I wanted a complaint to be taken.

Also, here in Moncton apparently there was physical violence involved when they had their signs up on Champlain. I've heard stories of people needing to goto the hospital.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 8:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Briefly to speak to the "possibility of life" that Vern brought up. I think in that case I don't approve of the "I'm pregnant, oh fuck, I'm not ready for that, abortion time!"

What I do approve of are situations where that babies quality of life is going to be a hideous travesty. This is why it's not black and white. I mean, sure... there's the possibility that a child who will be mentally disabled could have a great life. That child could also lead a shitty life.

It's important to remember that not everyone has had the same quality of life that we have. I couldn't imagine what it would have been like growing up around drug addicts... or alcoholics. I can't imagine how sad parents are when their kids are born with brutal and horrible illnesses and they die young.

I'm not saying that just because their life may be short that it's not worth living, but I AM saying that the issue is so far from black and white that it's not even funny.

I was chatting with my boss earlier and he mentioned that there's a state in the US that's about to make ALL pregnancy terminations illegal, even those that occured via rape or sexual assault. Even some steady supporters of anti-abortion had come forward to say they thought that was going too far.

Could you imagine giving birth to the child of the man who held you down and violated you? Really? Do you say "well the kid might have been nice."

Anyway, I agree with the last dude there. 100%. They were out of line, incoherant, irresponsible, and inconsiderate. Probably other things that start with "I" too! No matter what stance you take, you simply have to agree that there are too many shades of grey. That's like saying "killing someone is wrong" period. What if it's Hitler. What if that person is about to kill your family? What if they're hooked to machines and can't feel or think?

Thursday, July 20, 2006 11:28:00 PM  
Blogger Jordan said...

*checks page, sees 20 comments*

*freezes like deer in headlights*

*hides under rock*

Friday, July 21, 2006 9:18:00 AM  
Anonymous craig said...

Not everyone will. And those people are pissed that they had to look at this crap.

Interesting that we see Holocaust images and say 'never again' then people see an image of partial birth abortion and get alarmed that they would 'show that in public'.

I agree its disturbing and perhaps the sidewalk isn't the place to display such images, however it doesn't make them any less factual. The truth of the matter is that abortion apologists don't want the general public to take a close look at the details of abortion. What do you think happens to the fetus after an abortion? They're treated as medical waste and discarded as such.

As a society we are astonished and disgusted by whale hunting, the killing of endangered species, etc...and enact laws to prevent such acts, but abortion is allowed to continue.

Does this make sense?

Friday, July 21, 2006 9:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Vern said...

I think your Holocaust example makes sense. (The other ones, not so much) I remember going to the Art Gallery in grade school and there was a presentation about the Holocaust with some pretty horrendous pictures, albeit, none of them bloody. Parents were probably informed about it, but I don't *remember* anyone not allowing their kid to go.

No, people don't want to think about abortion as killing something. But the response that these people were getting obviously wasn't making people think about that, no matter if their point has or doesn't have validity. Whenever you throw a debate point across too strongly and too in-you-face, you're much more likely to push people to other side stronger, and name-calling and anger ensues.

"Briefly to speak to the "possibility of life" that Vern brought up. I think in that case I don't approve of the "I'm pregnant, oh fuck, I'm not ready for that, abortion time!""...which is why I call myself anti-abortion.
But I'm still all for testing amniotic fluid for genetic problems and then deciding to abort if there are problems, all for euthanasia, all for the drug-addict mother who knows she's not going to last 9 months without substance abuse have an abortion, and cases where someone REALLY isn't ready or equipped to have a kid. I don't like the attitude of non-chalance about aborting that some people giving off, (no one here comes close to that.)

Friday, July 21, 2006 10:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Kim said...

You know, I'm pretty sure there's some sort of internet law over invoking Hitler or the Holocaust. :-)

Although I must say, I strongly disagree with the last comparison between images of the Holocaust and images of aborted fetuses. I don't have a problem with people knowing what abortion looks like. But guess what, those pictures are likely not it. I have a problem with waving pictures around in public just like I would with any other gory or innapropriate pictures being waved around. We would find waving pictures of people killed in an accident tasteless. You want to have an exhibition held indoors with accurate pictures so people can see what it is, okay. But make it scientifically correct and make it people's choice to go in.

I think all of us here have been quite privilidged and can't really imagine what it may be like to grow up in much different circumstances. I don't really think that abortion should be used as birth control. I probably would never get one. But if Suzie Q from wherever feels that she really needs one for whatever reason, well that's up to her (and if she has the option, her partner).
This issue is far too complex to simply view it black or white. And I agree with Vern that an all-encompassing law would never work (I've heard of that state that is passing one and am completely appalled). But frankly, one of the big problems and one that people skirt around is that not everybody agrees on when the fetus is alive. And I certainly don't mean to incite arguments over it (although I have no problem with debate). Some people don't consider the "potential life" as Vern put it, to be present until after a few months. Some consider it immediately. Some not until birth. What's the real answer? Nobody knows. You know what you believe and that's fine. But someone else may not believe the same thing and it isn't something that can be proved either way.

And frankly even if you could prove it to me, I would still consider there to be exceptions such as medical emergencies, rape/sexual assault, etc... Nine months may not seem that long but it can be an eternity for a sick or traumatized person.

I do agree that people need more options such as better adoptions and a better foster care system to at least provide better choices. But forcing them to do one or the other is still wrong.

I will continue to fight for the right for women to make a choice (as well as for stopping the killing of endangered species).

Oh, and Sorry Jordan for ranting on your blog.

Friday, July 21, 2006 10:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

In response to craig, those pictures WEREN'T of aborted fetuses. They were of miscarriages at about 7 months into the pregnancy. They were picked to shock people into thinking it looks worse than it does.

Also, as someone who studies the Holocaust with their masters work, I think your comparison is way off base. There is a substantial difference between the calculated murder of an entire subsection of humanity and abortion. Substantial. Try to tell me otherwise.

People who are pro-abortion aren't anti-fetus. It's not aggressive. You don't see people waving signs that say "no fetus can beat us".

The Holocaust is shown to people so that we don't ever repeat something as brutal and horrible as 6 million irrationally dead. Not just 6 million dead though... 6 million dead in but a few years. And ORGANIZED. Machinery of death.

Showing students the horrors of the Holocaust in order to say "we can't let something like this happen again" (which we did in Rwanda anyway because the members of the UN are a bunch of pussies who didn't want to use the word "genocide" so they wouldn't be obligated to act) is entirely different.

I don't buy that argument at all. And I'm not an "abortion apologist." I think people should be given a choice.

I want you to consider an associate of my girlfriend's. She was pregnant and she didn't know it. She got cancer. She had to have radiation therapy. She found out she was pregnant weeks later and that child had been exposed to deadly radiation that ensured that that child would be born disfigured and brain damaged.

She had an abortion.

What do you say to that. Do you say "love the baby anyway! give your life to the care of someone who may never even speak! leave it in God's hands."

I reiterate. I am not advocating quickie abortions. I'm not advocating abortions for those who just "don't want a baby."

I AM however advocating circumstances that make rational sense. Situations where the mother could die giving birth. Tell me if you were pregnant and the Doctor said to you early on "you're not going to survive this." that you wouldn't be seriously considering an abortion.

It's fucking NOT black and white. That's why I'm NOT an "apologist."

Also, to your bit about not killing animals. We rally to stop that because those animals are endangered because we fucking killed them all. We're trying to right a wrong that we acted on this planet we inhabit. I'm sorry, but one possible child (and I say possible, because that's what a fetus is) amongst BILLIONS OF HUMANS is vastly different than the death of animals which have less than 1000 of them in existence.

If the extent of your anti-abortion argument is "it's illegal to kill other things" and "i've seen pictures that were more gross" you're going to have to try a lot better, because there's no fucking way it's as black and white as that.

Friday, July 21, 2006 10:50:00 AM  
Anonymous craig said...

They were picked to shock people into thinking it looks worse than it does.

Show me a picture of an aborted fetus that doesn't look 'worse'.

Also, as someone who studies the Holocaust with their masters work, I think your comparison is way off base. There is a substantial difference between the calculated murder of an entire subsection of humanity and abortion. Substantial.

I see. Abortion isn't calculated. Accidental then?

Try to tell me otherwise.

Ok, here goes.

According to the US CDC 884, 000 (approx) children were aborted in 1998.

Let's mutliply that number over 7 years (assuming the same rate of abortions over subsequent years) which happens to be the length of WWII.

Let's see 884K x 7 = 6,188,000. I believe the generally agred upon number of Holocaust victims is considered to be approximately 6 million.

That's just the US. Globally we're talking far greater numbers. As tragic and deplorable as the Holocaust is it did eventually end. Abortion is onging.

She got cancer. She had to have radiation therapy. She found out she was pregnant weeks later and that child had been exposed to deadly radiation that ensured that that child would be born disfigured and brain damaged.

My condolences to your friend. I hope she is feeling better. A tragic experience on many fronts to be sure.

Also, to your bit about not killing animals. We rally to stop that because those animals are endangered because we fucking killed them all. We're trying to right a wrong that we acted on this planet we inhabit.

I don't recall advocating the slaughter of animals, we just need to get our priorities in order. People first.

Despite Mike's protests to the contrary and focus on the grey areas, of which there are admittedly some, the subject is much more black and white than he would truly like to acknowledge.

The majority of abortions are to 'get rid' of an unwanted 'problem'. Rape, genetic abnormalities, etc... do happen but let's be realistic. Would they make up for even 5% of abortions?

Friday, July 21, 2006 1:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Jesus fucking christ.

It's not a motherfucking campaign to end the fucking fetus!!!

They don't put fetuses into trains and send them to fucking deathcamps. You want to know what the cause is here? People fucking and not being smart about it. That's the fucking cause.

You would honestly make abortion illegal and overlook the so-called 5%? Really? Lets say your wife were walking home tonight and was sexually assaulted and you later found out she was pregnant. Then say it's illegal to abort that fetus.

You can't paint it with a broad brush like that. Seriously. It's not black and white. That's like saying euthenasia is black and white. That's like saying gay marriage is black and white. That's like saying the FUCKING BIG BANG THEORY is black and white. It's like saying that fucking GREY is black and white.

But whatever. There's obviously no reasoning with you.

Also, people first is a great way to keep this planet running. You know, that one quickly running out of resources. You know, that one where you buy goods made by people JUST LIKE YOU who are exploited daily. That one where millionaires keep things going just to make more millions even though the environment is spiraling out of control. If it's people first than explain the way the world works to me. Explain why there WAS a holocaust. Explain how people get raped. Tell me how the fuck PEOPLE FIRST makes any fucking sense.

Tell me people first after you run over someones cat on the way home. Fucking nuke the whales indeed.

You're a great man... a man who paints all pictures with a big black and white brush... right and wrong.

Anyone can count and compare corpses, it doesn't make you a humanitarian.

If you think the holocaust is comparible to abortion then you're fucking stupid. Hands down. I should get personal, but that sort of comparison is so obviously apples and oranges that it's almost ridiculous. Just because they both involved death doesn't mean they're equivalent.

If you're going to be anti-abortion because of death then I hope you're also a vegetarian. I hope you're against inhumanity to animals. I hope you're against the death penalty. I hope you're friends with the SPCA and that you would take in an ophan. I hope that you donate money to people in need. I hope you don't roll your eyes at the homeless. I hope that you'd pay money to medicate a sick pet. I hope that you'd keep your parents hooked up to a machine even if they were vegetables.

That's black and white asshole.

Friday, July 21, 2006 1:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I just killed 100 million potential babies with one wipe of my tube sock.

Friday, July 21, 2006 2:04:00 PM  
Blogger Rob G said...

As a society we are astonished and disgusted by whale hunting, the killing of endangered species, etc...and enact laws to prevent such acts, but abortion is allowed to continue.

There's a difference between an endangered species and the human race with a population of 6 Billion+ where a portion consume excessively more than it needs to.

I have also mentioned on SP that in my eyes you can not say your anti-abortion and then be a person who eats meat/fish or any part of a once living animal. Did it not have the right to live just as any other creature?

So tell me Craig. Do you eat meat? Do you help the poor and needy? Do you dedicate you life to helping others? Or do you just work your job and just care for your family and friends and help others somewhat?

The way I see it...We are just organisms trying to survive in our enviroment.

go ahead...get all witty and use counter examples. I could give two shits how you think abortion is wrong. It still doesn't change a fucking thing.

Friday, July 21, 2006 2:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Craig said...

So tell me Craig. Do you eat meat?

Steak, rare, tasty!!!

Do you help the poor and needy?
Yes, on both counts. Do I dedicate my entire life to either, no.

The way I see it...We are just organisms trying to survive in our enviroment.

I seriously question placing humanity on the level of animals. Being flesh and bone does not make us equal.

They don't put fetuses into trains and send them to fucking deathcamps. You want to know what the cause is here? People fucking and not being smart about it. That's the fucking cause.

I could give two shits how you think abortion is wrong. It still doesn't change a fucking thing.

This will be my last post on this topic. I had hoped for a mature discussion but that appears impossible.

To those with reasoned responses pro or con I thank you.

Jordan, an intersting topic. I look forward to your next post.

Have a nice day :)

Friday, July 21, 2006 2:43:00 PM  
Blogger Jordan said...


I wrote a post about how depressed I was that people couldn't debate this issue without getting angry and unreasonable (a post that was only tangentially related to abortion, BTW), which in turn spawned a thread full of discussion about abortion that has now officially become angry and unreasonable. This was never intended to be a forum for pro/anti-abortion debate, but I was inclined to let it continue so long that as the discourse remained civil, which is clearly no longer the case. Now, I know that most of you were being reasonable and respectful, but rather than let this quickly intensifying anti-Craig fest continue, I'm closing this comment thread. Were I involved in this argument, I would be inclined to let it continue, for fear of being accused of closing the thread as some kind of personal victory, but, given that I've stayed out of it, I feel like I can do so with a clean conscience. I'll not have my blog descending into madness unless I'm the one of the people who bring it there. :-)

I apologize if closing this thread further pisses everyone off. I'm sure all of you know where to find me if you'd like to register a complaint.

Friday, July 21, 2006 2:43:00 PM  

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