Monday, March 27, 2006

Anniversary: Clara Bell Duvall, Self-Induced Abortion Death

According to the National Organization for Women web site, Clara Bell Duvall was a 32-year-old married mother of five, aged 6 months to 12 years. She and her family were living with her parents in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania due to financial problems. NOW says that Clara attempted a self-induced abortion with a knitting needle. Though she was seriously ill and severe pain, NOW says, Clara's doctor delayed hospitalizing her for several weeks. Her death, at a Catholic hospital on March 27, 1929, was attributed to pneumonia.

I'd welcome any verifying information on Mrs. Duvall's death. After all, NOW also claims that Becky Bell died from complications of an illegal abortion, when in fact she died of pneumonia concurrent with a miscarriage. (There was no evidence that Becky's pregnancy had been tampered with in any way.) But if people who think abortion is a good idea want to blame Clara's death on abortion, I'll let them claim her as somebody their ideology killed."



For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion

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13 comments:

empty said...

What's going on here is simple: the anti-choice movement thinks they can control women and force their religious beliefs on the entire nation. In fact, they insist everyone must have the same beliefs they do, which is very disrespectful to your brothers and sisters around the globe.
What they don't understand is that sometimes, life happens to a range of people, and it doesn't make them better or worse people. It's just part of the human experience.
Women deserve to be free, and they will free themselves regardless of national policy. Just like some animals will chew off their own paws when they get caught in a trap, a woman will self-abort in a desperate attempt to save her life, reputation and survival. No law can stop this.
Another flawed argument in the right-to-life argument is that the fetus has human rights. Even if this is so, it still wouldn't preclude the rights of its mother.
For example, if someone is on medicaid and has a strange disease which requires them to be hooked up to another person via a machine, no law would force another person to be hooked to the machine just so that sick person could live. Someone could do it voluntarily, but to force an unwilling party would be to commit them to slavery.
I will conclude in saying that no one has an abortion for fun. If you look at the staggering statistics of how common abortion is, you would understand control of their bodies is one of the fundamental rights that keeps us from being second-class citizens.
Taking away abortion rights isn't even about life or death of a group of cells. It's really about slut-punishing. Conservatives project the image that anyone who has sex for a reason other than to procreate is morally defunct, and this is just not so. Because they can't personally assasinate the people they see as "polluting the world with immoralities," they want them to suffer pain, disease and hardship for not sharing their religious beliefs. This, again, is very anti-humanity.
I don't know about you, but I don't plan on becoming a broodmare for the state anytime soon, and I am deeply offended by pro-life sentiments coming from people who have never been confronted with the situation.

GrannyGrump said...

Just like some animals will chew off their own paws when they get caught in a trap, a woman will self-abort in a desperate attempt to save her life, reputation and survival. No law can stop this.

How ironic that you took that image from an "antichoice" writer, Frederica Matthewes-Greene.

And is helping a woman to do something that's the equivalent of gnawing off your own arm really help? Or is it capitulating to despair?

Capitulation to despiar. Gnawing off your own leg to get free from a trap. That's the best you have to offer?

That's pathetic.

GrannyGrump said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unapologetic said...

First, I didn't know someone had already used the trap example. I promise that was a coincidence.
Second of all, I am a woman who has been in that situation. I begame pregnant in a country where abortion was not allowed, and I self-induced an abortion. I almost bled to death. That is why I fully and completely understand what I'm talking about when I say that if you take this right away from women, you're hurting society as a whole.
Also, I attempted to make other points in my argument. Here they are:
1)I am not a Christian. Why should I be forced to live by those values? I wouldn't dream of making you live by mine if you were unwilling.
2)No one has the right to exist as a parasite on another human being. There are some situations when it is irresponsable and dangerous to become responsible for a child for their lifetime. Every child should be wanted and loved, not a symbol of ruining the mother's dreams and ambitions.
3) Anti-abortion adgendas are really about controlling the sexuality of WOMEN.

GrannyGrump said...

I am a woman who has been in that situation. I begame pregnant in a country where abortion was not allowed, and I self-induced an abortion. I almost bled to death. That is why I fully and completely understand what I'm talking about when I say that if you take this right away from women, you're hurting society as a whole.

It's not hurting women as a whole. It's only hurting women who are so hell-bent on the destruction of the fetus that they would rather harm themselves than let the fetus live. You're in the minority. Why should the entire world be restructured, at great cost to other women, just to suit you? My friend's daughter DID die from an unwanted abortion she was browbeaten into. As did Allegra Roseberry. As did both their WANTED children.

Being a Christian has nothing to do with it. It's basic human decency, the kind of morality that any child on a playground can grasp: Pick on somebody your own size. You don't need to be a moral giant to grasp that.

As for the "Every child a wanted child," you act as it that's something intrinsically unwantable in the child, when it's women like you who choose to be unwelcoming and unwanting. You could just as easily have chosen to be loving and accepting, but you didn't. You chose to be judmental and rejecting. You nearly paid for your lack of love with your life, but instead of it making you more loving, it made you even more determined to build a world based on rejection and killing.

You're alive. Your child is dead. And you're wallowing in self-pity that it was so difficult and risky to achieve his or her death. I'm glad you survived, but I can only pray that one day you value other people's lives as well.

Unapologetic said...

Reproductive rights are at the core of women's human rights as a whole. Many generations have had their talents stifled and been forced to drop out of school, quit their jobs to get married, etc., due to an unwanted pregnancy.
If the 40 million women around the world who had abortions this year(both legal and illegal)did not chose that option, the world's problems would be magnified tenfold.
In an ideal situation, every woman would be in a loving, non-abusive relationship, have self-confidence, and not be backed into a financial situation where she must be dependent on a man for her survival. Unfortunately, this is not reality.
Women make up the majority of the impoverished population because of years of oppression, discrimination and sexual objectification that still goes on today.
Abortion has nothing to do with hatred of the fetus, or hatred at all. It has to do with survivial in a society that hasn't been kind to women.

GrannyGrump said...

So you propose women become even worse than the men, and that will fix it?

Read The Rebel by Albert Camus and ponder the difference between his paradigms of rebellion versus revolution. In a nutshell: Rebellion is when you say, "No more! I will not tolerate this assault on my worth as a human being!" Revolution is when you say, "Screw this! I want to be on top for a change!" and you become even worse than your oppressors.

When you propose that they way to rise above oppression is to kill innocent people who have done no harm, that's acting like a chicken who's so low in the pecking order that she's pecking baby chicks to death. You're being part of the evil.

Rise above evil. Don't magnify it and pass it on.

Unapologetic said...

Your deeming of womens' reproductive freedom as "evil" is the issue I'm attempting to address here. Women's sexual freedom is not "evil" in all theological avenues.
This is absolutely a situation where you value the "rights" of a fetus over that of the mother. The fetus was never anyone's mother, sister, aunt, etc., but you make it the most important aspect in the debate.
Children have very few rights in society as it is, but the anti-choice crowd somehow suggests that a fetus trumphs the living, breathing citizens who are contributing to society.
Why shouldn't an agnostic, or athiest, legal adult be allowed to abort for whatever reason she sees fit?

GrannyGrump said...

Reproductive freedom is far from evil. It's a good thing.

Abortion, on the other hand, has nothing whatsoever to do with reproductive freedom, since you can't even perform an abortion until reproduction has already taken place.

This isn't about whether or not women have rights. It's about whether or not they have responsibilites, like other grown-ups. It's about whether simple, elementary morality -- such as the fact that you're not to go about killing people just because their presence troubles you -- applies to women.

You say no. I say that we need to aspire to basic human decency at the very least. You say that's too much to ask of a woman.

Unapologetic said...

What you basically said in your last post is that abortion isn't really about "life," as anti-choicers claim it to be, but in fact, it's about control.
Specifically, you want women to "take responsability" for their actions. In a nutshell, you want to punish "loose" women for having unmarried sex?
I believe there was a congressional representative who said abortion should become illegal because it allows women to "have all the goodies without paying the price."
Compare the "slut-punishing" mentality (pardon my french) to someone with lung cancer...would doctors and legislators refuse to treat this patient because she obviously smoked cigarettes her whole life? We all know cigarettes are harmful (and in some religions, immoral) the same way we know sex causes babies. However, we don't run after lung cancer patients shouting at them they're suicidal.
There's a prevailing lie in the pro-life movement that women who get abortions are selfish, irresponsible, or shirking the duty of motherhood. If you educate yourself on the realities of women who aborted, you'll see that's anything but true.

GrannyGrump said...

Look, if you can't grasp, "Killing babies isn't nice," we're not operating in the same moral universe and there's no point in having a conversation.

Unapologetic said...

If you can't understand the scientific basis that it's not a "baby," I would have to agree with you.

GrannyGrump said...

If it's not a baby, you're not pregnant.