Tuesday, January 26, 2010

No, it's not that simple

Angele sent me this excellent article by Barbara Hollingsworth. But I have a bone to pick with something she says:

For 36 years, [March for Life participants have] been in a quixotic quest to convince Congress, the Supreme Court, and every administration since Richard Nixon's to protect the civil rights of unborn children even their own mothers don't want.

Hollingsworth's article, first of all, starts with Angele, and focuses on her story. And Angele didn't have an abortion because she didn't want her baby. She wanted her baby very much. But she faced a lot of pressure from other people who insisted that in her very trying circumstance, abortion was the only answer. Under the relentless onslaught of loved ones and experts pressing her to do what they saw as the responsible, reasonable, rational thing, Angele finally buckled. It's a gross oversimplification -- to the point of misrepresenting what Angele went through -- to say that Angele chose abortion. The choice was to capitulate to the combined wishes of those around her, and their choice was abortion. Angele's choice was more of an unchoice.

Angele isn't alone in having made the unchoice of abortion. Ashli McCall very much wanted her baby. But a debilitating illness, and doctors too careless or lazy to provide her with the real options she wanted, crushed her. She capitulated to the illness, to the staggering and cruel indifference of the professionals around her. Again, it's a gross oversimplification -- to the point of misrepresenting reality -- to say that Ashli chose abortion. Ashli made an unchoice.

David Reardon has looked extensively into the degree to which abortion is an un-choice, made not because the woman doesn't want her baby, but because pressures -- from circumstances, from loved ones, from doctors -- crushed their spirits until they cracked, and in doing so they capitulated to what society is built to channel them into. They were ground up in a machinery of death, just so much grist for the abortion mills.

I'll concede that there are some babies put to death in abortion facilities because their mothers don't want them. There are plenty of hardcore, militant, radical abortion advocates who are very in-your-face about the fact that the children they're aborting are seen as loathsome intruders. But I'll go out on a limb and postulate that these women who are aborting because of animosity toward the baby are in the minority.

And until we grasp that, there will be no way out of the quagmire. Prolifers will keep dismissing aborting women as selfish bitches who hate babies. Prochoicers will keep dismissing aborting women's anguish as simple buyers' remorse, on a par with wishing you'd not bought that big-screen TV on credit.

It seems that there's a huge area of common ground in the idea of limiting abortions to those women who really want them, who really don't want their babies.

Let's start there -- and see the abortion rate fall.


Anonymous said...

Nice article. Interesting to note that many pro-choicers think that their issue is not about favoring abortion, but favoring a woman's "choice" to have one. So you are spot on when you claim that many women do not "choose" to have an abortion, but are often forced to do so.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to e-mail you this article I found on-line. But I couldn't find your e-mail address anywhere. So I'll give the link here: http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2010/1/24/824460/-The-Other-Terrorism

I'd just thought this would give you an idea for another blog post, perhaps a response to this.

Tonal Bliss said...

Definitely a very thought provoking post. We need to give women who are in a crisis pregnancy unlimited love, kindness, help, and compassion. Many women who got abortions oftentimes felt forced into that decision. We, as a society, should change that.

Christina Dunigan said...

I'll turn that URL into a link for you, BT1.

I was thinking of answering, but then, anybody who believes that offering women life-affirming alternatives is "terrorism" is so far sold out to evil that there's no point. You can pray for them but you can't reason with them. Until it's their daughter having a colostomy and hysterectomy at age 15 because she went to some quack.

BTW, the Rosie Jimenez story is a case in point about how the abortion lobby manages to create a corpse when they need one to drag through the streets. Becky Bell never had an abortion. And Spring Adams was the victim of abortion advocates who treated getting her an abortion as the solution to her father's abuse, instead of having the man arrested and locked up. THEY killed her by treating the baby, not her father, as the problem.

L. said...

I read something a few months back, on one of the pro-choice blogs in which a crisis pregnancy counselor at an abortion clinic says that she spends a lot of her time scrambling not just to find funds for abortions, but resources for women who want to continue their pregnancies. Wish I could find it -- she said she didn't care if a girl was a 15-year old runaway living in her car, if she wanted to carry to term, she would help her do it. That made me think, that's what being pro-choice is really about -- not thinking that abortion should be the automatic default option.

Christina Dunigan said...

That's refreshing, L.

I know many prochoice citizens are that way -- they'll try to help somebody if they realize she doesn't really want an abortion. But it's rare to see it in organizations.

OperationCounterstrike said...

If someone tries to coerce you into having an abortion, the thing to do is call the police. Get his ass thrown in jail.

QED (Quite Easily Done!)

Christina Dunigan said...

In exactly what jurisdiction is it illegal to try to coerce anybody into an abortion?

OperationCounterstrike said...

In all jurisdictions! "Coerce" means force. "Force" means either battery or the threat of battery. Both are Federal crimes.

Putting pressure on someone is NOT coersion. Threatening to leave someone is NOT coersion. Threatening to stop talking to someone is NOT coersion. The someone CHOOSES whether or not to yield to these pressures.

You are like someone who gets overwhelmed by a clever real-estate salesman, buys some land, regrets buying the land, and therefore calls for the government to ban real-estate.

Ladybug said...

Christina, Don't know if you're heard about this:
Abortion Reportedly Kills Woman in New York at A1 Medicine Abortion Center
Woman Dies While Undergoing Apparent Abortion - WPXIX TV New York

New York, NY (LifeNews.com) -- A New York woman has apparently died as a result of a failed abortion done at the A-1 Women's Care abortion center located in the Jackson Heights section of Queens. Reports indicate emergency officials responded to an emergency call from the A1 Medicine facility at 95-45 Roosevelt on Monday afternoon.

WPIX-TV indicates a woman in her 30s was reportedly undergoing heavy bleeding and was rushed to Elmhurst Hospital Center where she was later pronounced dead.

The television station indicates an investigation into the failed abortion is ongoing and that one question officials are examining is whether the center was licensed to do abortions.

Another local media outlet, 1010 WINS, indicated the abortion practitioner severed an artery during the abortion procedure.

The A-1 Women's Care abortion business does abortions but advertises gynecology and plastic surgery on the sign located outside the building.

No one from the abortion business answered the phone when LifeNews.com contacted it for information or a quote about this story.

The New York state department of health lists A1 Medicine as a facility for plastic surgery accredited by The Joint Commission on July 13, 2009.

Other media reports indicate the second-floor office specializes in plastic surgery, laser wrinkle surgery, skin depigmentation and liposuction but does abortions as well.

Local news agencies indicated the center was still taking appointments for abortions.

This failed abortion comes after a California medical board said an abortion practitioner who killed a woman last year in a botched abortion must stop doing them. However, to the chagrin of pro-life advocates, a judge did not revoke the medical license of Andrew Rutland, as happened years ago before reinstating it.

Rutland surrendered his license in October 2002 after a two-year state investigation that resulted in accusations of negligence, misconduct and incompetence in his treatment of 20 pregnant women, newborns and gynecological patients

Rutland faced a Thursday hearing in front of the California Medical Board at a hearing in San Diego after documents showed Rutland killed a woman during an abortion by administering anesthesia to her and not knowing the proper dosage.

A judge ordered Rutland to stop doing abortions until a more thorough hearing on the case could be held.

Ladybug said...

Sorry, forgot to include the second link:

Also: New York Daily News: Queens clinic A1 Medicine probed after Alexandra Nunez is fatally injured

Kathy said...

OC -- you're wrong.

"Coerce: 1) To force to act or think in a certain way by use of pressure, threats, or intimidation; compel."

Putting pressure on someone until s/he gives into what you want IS BY DEFINITION coercion; threatening to leave someone or to stop talking to someone until s/he gives into what you want IS BY DEFINITION coercion.

Christina Dunigan said...

Thanks for the links, Rachael! I'll look into those later.

OC, for somebody who supposedly supports "a woman's right to choose" you seem pretty comfortable with the idea of abortion facilities doing abortions on women who don't want them. Your motto seems to be "As long as you don't cross the legal line into physical assault or threat thereof, you can say or do anything you want to induce a woman to abort against her wishes. All in the name of women's choice."

Christina Dunigan said...

Oh, and OC, unlike buying a lemon at a used car lot or investing in bad real estate, abortion results in a DEAD BABY. That makes anguish over an unwanted abortion just a tad different from garden variety buyer's remorse.

Lauren said...


Just saw this. A new abortion death in NY

OperationCounterstrike said...

Christina and Kathy, suppose I threaten to leave my girlfriend unless she gets plastic surgery. Am I "compelling" or "coercing" her, by your definition? How about if I threaten to divorce my wife unless SHE gets a face-lift? Is that what you would call "coersion"?

Should we maybe think about outlawing plastic surgery, in order to protect people from being coerced into it by threats of abandonment from their lovers?

What about if I threaten to leave my wife, unless she buys me a car for my birthday? Should we outlaw car-sales, in order to protect her and others like her, from being "coerced" by people like me?

If not, why not?

Christina Dunigan said...

OC, I didn't say that we should outlaw abortion because women are so often coerced into it. I say it should be outlawed because no decent society fails to protect its youngest, smallest, weakest, and most vulnerable members.

My point is that the organizations and facilities that claim that they are only supporting abortion so that women may freely choose it are at best deluding themselves, at worst part of the coercion. When I see prochoice Ted Kennedy stood out among abortion supporters as being strongly opposed to the common practice of doctors frightening women into abortions after prenatal diagnoses. ALL procoicers, from the ordinary guy or woman on the street, to the highest echelons of prochoice lobbying groups, through Congress, should be standing in solidarity with measures to prevent abortions from being performed on women who don't want them.

If we only did abortions on women who actually WANTED them, who were aware of the nature of the unborn entity and who had genuine animosity toward it and wanted it to die, who had no interest in help avoiding abortion, the abortion rate would plummet. But then, so would the political clout of abortion advocacy organizations and politicians.

Christina Dunigan said...

Lauren, here's a link for that url you provided on the recent death. Thanks.

Kathy said...

OC, it's not *my* definition, but the dictionary's.

OperationCounterstrike said...

Kathy, the definition you posted says: "To force to act or think in a certain way by use of pressure, threats, or intimidation; compel."

Threatening to leave someone is not "force". It's a threat but not a violent threat. It's not "compel", either.

The examples in Christina's post include PRESSURE and MINOR THREATS, but not "force" nor "compel". So at best they qualify as HALF-COERSIONS by your definition.

But I would argue your definition is simply wrong to include pressure and threat in the definition. Putting pressure on someone is NOT coercion! As long as they have the option of RESISTING your pressure, they are not being coerced. Also, threats of MINOR punishment are not coercion either! You have the option of refusing my demand and willingly submitting to my minor punishment.

As long as you can choose whether or not to yield, it's not compulsion nor coercion. Any dictionary which fails to recognize this is WRONG.

Ladybug said...

OC wrote:
Kathy, the definition you posted says: "To force to act or think in a certain way by use of pressure, threats, or intimidation; compel."

Threatening to leave someone is not "force". It's a threat but not a violent threat. It's not "compel", either.

Actually, all the behaviors you described above and choose to defend are considered emotional/pyschological abuse, which is recognized by professionals in mental health. These fall under the category of "abusive expectations" or "emotional blackmail" This is defined as the other person playing on fear, guilt, compassion, values, or other "hot buttons" to get what they want.
This could include threats to end the relationship, totally reject or abandon the person, giving them the the "cold shoulder or silent treatment, withholding support, threatening physical harm to someone if you don't get your way, and using fear tactics to control a person and their actions.

Central Dupage Hospital: Abusive Behavior Checklist

Emotional Intelligence: Types of Emotional Abuse
http://eqi.org/eabuse1.htm#Types of Emotional Abuse

The Emotionally Abusive Relationship: How to Stop Being Abused and How to Stop Abusing
by Beverly Engel, MFCT (Marriage, Family, Child Therapist)
Paperback / Wiley / August 2003

Ladybug said...

The examples in Christina's post include PRESSURE and MINOR THREATS, but not "force" nor "compel". So at best they qualify as HALF-COERSIONS by your definition.

Half-coercions or not by your definition, these behaviors are considered emotional abuse by mental health professionals and the women who exprience it.

Ladybug said...

Putting pressure on someone is NOT coersion. Threatening to leave someone is NOT coersion. Threatening to stop talking to someone is NOT coersion. The someone CHOOSES whether or not to yield to these pressures.

Also, I ment to include this in my above post, as these are also considered emotional abuse. And to tell the victim that they choose the outcome is known as "victim blaming" and is inappropriate when the victim has been subject to emotional/pyschological abuse. Actually, this discussion has inspired me to write a blog post on this issue.

OperationCounterstrike said...

Um, no. These activities CAN BE considered coersion IF they are abused. For instance, if you are dependant upon someone, unable to walk out. But merely saying "if you don't go buy me a lollipop I'm gonna go marry the girl next door instead of you" no way is that coersion and anyone who says it is, even if it's God himself, is wrong.

OperationCounterstrike said...

Simply yelling at someone can be considered coercion if you abuse the process. However parents yell at their kids all the time and no one imagines it's abuse.

Your argument turns on a semantic quibble. If you're gonna restrict abortion because of "coersion", then you also have to restrict all other chosen activity. Someone's mom yells at him to be on the volleyball team. So let's ban volleyball! Can't have the kids getting coerced, can we?

Lilliput said...

Christina, I don't think the coercion is coming from the outside. I think you are right that prob most women that have abortions don't want to have thme but internally they struggle with whether they will be able to afford to keep them without having to give up too much of their own or their other children's lives.

Here in the uk if a single women gets pregnant she gets an apartment and benefits and free healthcare to raise her child no questions asked. I know you guys are against this kind of set up simply because it does cause a proliferation of fatherless children running wild and causing havoc. I have read somewhere that the pregnancy rate is the same in rich and poor teenagers but the rich tend to have more abortions and maintain their standard of living while the poor are trapped in poverty by their children.

This is the coercion that is taking place. A woman can't live on dreams and fantasies and if she can't afford to bring uo her child in a good enough manner - she has to make a choice she doesn't want.

Kathy said...

As long as they have the option of RESISTING your pressure, they are not being coerced.
If someone holds a gun to my head and says that he will kill me if I don't give him my wallet, I *still* have the option of RESISTING his pressure (although he would kill me), so by that definition, putting a gun to my head is not coercion.

As long as you can choose whether or not to yield, it's not compulsion nor coercion. Any dictionary which fails to recognize this is WRONG.
One always has the option of choosing whether or not to yield, but that doesn't mean that one was not coerced into it. In fact, it is the very definition of coercion -- to go along with the choice preferred by another and not one you would make were you free to make your own choice and not under the pressure of another. There are certainly varying levels of this, from mild pressure brought by a used-car salesman to close the deal (though you *could* walk away, he puts pressure on you, he coerces you to buy a car from him -- that's his job), to death threats. The level of coercion depends not only on the threat or pressure placed on the individual being coerced, but also the level of power that the coercer has over the one being coerced.

If I were pregnant and someone walked up to me on the street and said, "If you don't get an abortion, I'll never speak to you again," that would I suppose be an attempt at coercion, but there would be no actual pressure applied to me, because I don't care whether this stranger ever speaks to me again. But if my husband or someone else near/dear to me said that, it would be coercion because he would be threatening a loss of relationship which is important. Yes, I would still choose whether or not to kill my child, but it is coercion.

You are the one who said that coercion is strictly and solely force, and that forcing someone to have an abortion (which you must mean to drag someone off kicking and screaming and physically restrain her on the abortionist's table while her child is sucked out of her body) is illegal. Sure, that sort of force is illegal; but that is not the sum total definition of coerce. Give it up, OC.

OperationCounterstrike said...

Kathy, yes you have the option of resisting the guy with a gun to your head, but then you get shot! So THAT case IS coersion.

In any case, this is just a semantic argument. If as you say, threatening to leave someone if she doesn't abort consititutes coersion, then I would say there's NOTHING WRONG with coercing someone, at least nothing wrong with coercing them using mild, non-physical threats like that one.

So I guess the correct answer to you is yes, women are being "coerced" (your definition) into having abortions, but it doesn't MATTER. Just as it doesn't matter that people are being coerced, by salesmen, into buying cars they don't want.

Anonymous said...

"So I guess the correct answer to you is yes, women are being "coerced" (your definition) into having abortions, but it doesn't MATTER. Just as it doesn't matter that people are being coerced, by salesmen, into buying cars they don't want."

I think it matters to the woman involved. And having an abortion is not the same things as buying a car, as its a matter of life or death, so bad analogy there.

Am I to assume that you don't care if a woman is coerced into NOT having an abortion as you don't care if a woman is coerced into having an abortion? Or are you like the blogger to the article I posted above and think that coercing or conseling women about abortion, if it leads them to choosing not to have an abortion, is terrorism? Here's the link to save time: The Other Terrorism

OperationCounterstrike said...

By the definition of "coersion" which includes yelling at someone, I don't think it matters any time.

By the CORRECT definition of "coersion" which requires the use of violence or threat of violence, it bothers me both ways.

And the article you linked is not about coercing women; it's about murdering doctors and other abortion workers, and bombing clinics, and arson, and all those other things right-to-lifers, but not pro-choicers, do.

Anonymous said...

Um, keep reading. The blogger goes on to say that even protesters, even old ladies who pass out pamplets outside abortion clinics, are terrorists!

OperationCounterstrike said...

And they are! Now that right-to-lifist terror is an ongoing, regular, predictable, systematic terror-campaign, anyone who says "abortion is murder" is collectively guilty.

"Abortion is murder" implies tht murdering an abortion worker is no worse than what the abortion worker was doing. That, my friend, is incitement.

Anyone and everyone who says or even THINKS "abortion is murder" should be AT LEAST charged with a hate-crime and in some cases should be tried in a military prison as a member of the other side in the War on Terror.

Christina Dunigan said...

Well, technically, OC, it's more execution than murder. But it's still killing an innocent and helpless human being. Maybe abortionists really ought not to be doing something that, when described honestly, might lead people to want them dead. Just as child molesters ought not to molest children, rapists ought to stop raping, etc.

Systematically killing small, innocent human beings IS a deplorable and loathsome thing to do. And we live in a shameful time when doing such a deplorable and loathsome thing is legally sanctioned and supported by a sizable minority of the population.

It used to be that rape and pillage were considered a soldier's right, part of the spoils of war. Now we've recognizes them as loathsome and deplorable and have categorized them, rightly, as war crimes. Some day killing tiny helpless human beings will be looked on with the abject and total horror that is appropriate by all but the psychopath. And somebody has to lead the way to the day when abortion becomes as unthinkable as soldiers just raping and looting as they go.

Might does not make right. Parents have responsibilities toward their children. Your inability to grasp these concepts doesn't make them any less true.

OperationCounterstrike said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Christina Dunigan said...

It's hardly surprising that a prochoicer wants somebody to die just for disagreeing with them. After all, your philosophy is that somebody's mere existence is reason enough to kill them.

Prolifers just want people to stop killing people. Prochoicers want people who want the killing to stop to die. And the ones who want the killing to STOP are, in your estimation, the "terrorists".

OperationCounterstrike said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Christina Dunigan said...

How is telling a killer to stop killing terrorism?

You are a prime example of how intolerant and hateful Leftists are. You want everybody who disagrees with you or whose existence ruffles your feathers to die. And we're supposedly the intolerant ones? All we ask you to do is stop killing babies, and you want us to be waterboarded and killed.

Maybe deep down you know you're embracing something deplorable and it makes you testy and defensive.

OperationCounterstrike said...

Christina, I'd hardly call myself a leftist. I'm left on some issues and right on others.

For instance, I'm very far right on the issue of how violent street-crime should be punished. I think we should repeal, or at least fundamentally re-interpret, the prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. How much further right can you get than that???

Anonymous said...

WOW! And you have the nerve to claim pro-lifism is murder?

Repeal cruel and unusual punishment? Wow. just--just wow.

OperationCounterstrike said...

Blame, lemme ask you, suppose you were facing a 25-year sentence in a BAD prison, but you could stay out of prison by taking 25 lashes. Would you do it?

Most people would. I sure would, in a new-york minute.

And yet, the prison sentence is NOT considered "cruel and unusual", but flogging IS. That's nuts!

It costs more to keep someone in prison than it would cost to send them to an Ivy-League college. We literally cannot afford to punish criminals any more! All because of the prohibition against "cruel and unusual" punishment.

It's most definitely time to re-evaluate what counts as "cruel and unusual".

Kathy said...

Y'know, OC, I actually somewhat agree with you on this, though I daresay we would still disagree on the particulars. Does anyone say that our "justice" or "criminal" or prison system is actually working?

And when prisoners are able to file lawsuits saying that having their demands for a midnight snack being refused constitutes "cruel and unusual punishment", then we've gone way off the deep end.