Talk about an all-out advocate for abortion. “Pro-choice activist” Jessica DelBalzo says it all in LifeNews.com):

“I love abortion. I don’t accept it. I don’t view it as a necessary evil. I embrace it. I donate to abortion funds. I write about how important it is to make sure that every woman has access to safe, legal abortion services. I have bumper stickers and buttons and t-shirts proclaiming my support for reproductive freedom. I love abortion,” DelBalzo declares. …

As Delbalzo writes, “And I bristle every time a fellow activist uses a trendy catch-phrase or rallying cry meant to placate pro-lifers. The first of these, “Make abortion safe, legal, and rare!” has been used for decades as a call for abortion rights.”

“Safe and legal are concepts I fully support, but rare is something I cannot abide. I understand the theoretical mindset: it is better for a woman to prevent an unwanted pregnancy than to bear the physical and financial burden of an abortion. While my own abortion involved very little pain and a minimal financial expense, one which my ex-boyfriend was willing to share with me, even I can admit that using condoms or the pill is preferable to eight weeks of nausea and weight gain,” she writes. “However, there is no need to suggest that abortion be rare. To say so implies a value judgement [sic], promoting the idea that abortion is somehow distasteful or immoral and should be avoided. Even with affordable, accessible birth control, there will be user errors, condoms that break, moments of spontaneity. The best contraceptive access in the world won’t change the fact that we are merely human and imperfect in our routines.”

Whew. What she writes makes me a little sick to my stomach — but at least she’s internally consistent. “Safe, legal and rare” has always puzzled me. If life begins at conception and abortion takes the life of an innocent unborn baby, as I believe it does, then why should abortion be safe and legal? If life doesn’t begin at conception and abortion is just some sterile medical procedure to purge the body from some nonhuman parasitical something, then why should it be rare? Population considerations?

DelBalzo admits she has had an abortion and it’s hard not to wonder how much of the vehemence of her position stems from denial — denial of the reality that her own child existed within her and then did not. Either way, if more abortion advocates owned their positions, as DelBalzo does, the abortion debate would grow infinitely easier. More people would see clearly the choice before them: Will they choose to accept the reality that life begins at conception or deny it? Will they choose to protect the right to life or choose to be arbiters of that right?

Comments

Zenzoe 2 years 28 weeks ago
#1

I apologize for the length of my response. Suffice it to say, in short, I agree with Jessica! It's about time somebody else said it.

I wrote the following in 2008:

A few days ago, after his conservative guest referred to the pro-choice community as “pro-abortion, Thom Hartmann said, “nobody is ‘pro-abortion.’

This was in keeping with the way liberals frame the issue of abortion by insisting we want to keep it “safe and rare,” a frame that gives credence to the opinion that abortion, as the word implies in its essential ugliness, is an evil, though a necessary one sometimes. This is the key to liberal framing of the issue itself; I’m guessing Thom Hartmann corrected his conservative guest in this way to support the more palatable and politically correct frame, “pro-choice.

Still, I wish he had expanded on the subject. I wish he had defined what he meant by “nobody is pro-abortion.” Did he mean to imply, “nobody loves ‘killing babies?’” And if so, didn’t he confirm, by implication, right-wing Christianity’s belief about abortion as being evil, by his squeamishness toward the idea of being “pro-abortion?” Can we safely assume he too defines abortion as “killing babies?” Otherwise, if he had a more positive, ethically based, and reasonable definition of abortion, would he be able to make the comment, “nobody is ‘pro-abortion?’”

While I realize Thom Hartmann’s thinking on the subject is probably nuanced and more complex than that, on its face I have to say I disagree with the statement, “nobody is pro-abortion.” In fact, many of us count ourselves as being pro-abortion. That’s because we do not define abortion as “killing babies,” especially since abortion is illegal after viability, except to save the life and health of the mother.* Instead, the meaning of the word, for us, is as a surgical procedure deemed necessary by a woman and her surgeon for the life, health —mental or physical— and well-being of an adult person, a woman, where a non-viable embryo is removed from the woman’s uterus, her body. In fact, the connotations of legal abortion abound with positives —self-determination, responsibility for our lives and choices, freedom, liberty, opportunity, equality, relief, joy, expansion, and the possibility of having wanted children when it makes sense to have them, when they can be loved and supported as they deserve to be— thus, the frame, “Pro-choice.

To this writer, to be anti-abortion” is to be “anti-life” in all the ways that the absence of choice, freedom, liberty, opportunity, and equality would mean; not to be “pro-abortion” would mean being pro-oppression, pro-inequality, pro-tyranny, pro-forced-maternity and all the suppressions of the human spirit that bring depression, implosion of life’s possibilities, trauma, poverty, child abuse, and a whole world of ugly realities. Sure, for the woman who carries a pregnancy to term and has a happy experience, such ugly realities may never come true—her child is a beautiful reality, and nobody can deny it. But for many, many others, those who are coerced into completing an unwanted, unplanned pregnancy by guilt or by wrong-headed authority figures, by poverty or non-access to health services, the result can be ruinous to their lives and tragic for the lives of their unfortunate children. (Especially since conservatives thwart legislation that would be pro-the actual-lives of these children in any practical sense.) Furthermore, where a woman has no power to control her reproductive destiny, it cannot be said she has equal status in society with men, or she has equal opportunity. As it has been said, to underscore the absolute undesirability of being a slave to one’s biology, if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a holy sacrament.

If we are not willing to own abortion, ugly as the word may be, don’t we corroborate the right-wing connotation of abortion as “baby-killing?” If we are unable to testify, give witness, as to the positive values derived from abortion, we avoid the discussion and avoid spreading the good word.

Finally, not all women suffer from guilt over their abortions, either before, during, or after the abortion. And the women who do not suffer mental distress are not uncaring, low-class people with messy, irresponsible lives.

I remember the day I accompanied a professional woman I know to her abortion appointment. I remember how she emerged from the surgical room into the waiting room with a big smile on her face, how she proudly strode through the clinic doors to the car, happy and free as all women have a right to be. She never cried. She never had a moment’s regret over her decision. And the children she eventually had were wanted; they were chosen.** If you believe in God, and you believe God is in charge of everything, that God works in mysterious ways, perhaps abortion is one of those mysterious ways. Who is to say what and who God wants? Without abortion, this woman’s chosen children would never have been born. Can anyone say it was wrong for them to be born?

—Zenzoë

* from Wikipedia: “The Court ruled that the state cannot restrict a woman's right to an abortion during the first trimester, the state can regulate the abortion procedure during the second trimester ‘in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health,’ and the state can choose to restrict or proscribe abortion as it sees fit during the third trimester when the fetus is viable (‘except where it is necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.’”) Dictionary definition: Termination of pregnancy and expulsion of an embryo or of a fetus that is incapable of survival.” The etymology of the word has it as “disappear, miscarry.”

** This in no way means I think the children who result from unplanned pregnancies are necessarily unwanted, nor are they any less precious than the children who result from planned pregnancies. This is a paradox the anti-choicers have difficulty comprehending. To them, the issue is a simple, black and white one, without paradox, without complicated nuance, without layers and shades of gray.

media_muse 2 years 28 weeks ago
#2

Since I believe we each have our own innate inner moral compass the decison to abort is the decison of the moral compass holder ONLY.

I find the moral compass makes the situation less complicated for us quibbling humans because I have not ever seen a sane conversation regarding this matter.

To my mind:

If you don't want an abortion don't have one.

If you believe another ought not have one then all you can do about it: is NOT have one yourself. And, mind your own business - that's what YOUR own moral compass is for - keeping yourself on track.

I consider the whole thing insane by the way it is couched in either pro- choice OR pro-life. This matter is way too complex to reduce it to these two simplistic descriptions. I would offer something to the effect of: pro life choice. Because it really is about how one pro-motes their life & choices.

Calperson's picture
Calperson 2 years 28 weeks ago
#3
Quote media_muse:

Since I believe we each have our own innate inner moral compass the decison to abort is the decison of the moral compass holder ONLY.

To my mind:

If you don't want an abortion don't have one.

If you believe another ought not have one then all you can do about it: is NOT have one yourself. And, mind your own business - that's what YOUR own moral compass is for - keeping yourself on track.

What if there is a serial killer that is on the loose murdering people? Do we just let them follow their own moral compass? We don't want to kill people randomly but if someone else wants to we should let them and just mind our own business?

What about homosexual men who molested boys in the Catholic Church? Are we not allowed to speak up? Are we to just mind our own business and "keep ourselves on track" as you say?

I'm sorry my dear friend. I just cannot keep my head in the sand like that. When people are commiting atrocities against other people I must speak up, and I must defend the helpless, the weak, and those that cannot defend themselves.

Maybe one day your heart will open enough to feel that way too.

media_muse 2 years 28 weeks ago
#4
Quote Calperson:
Quote media_muse:

Since I believe we each have our own innate inner moral compass the decison to abort is the decison of the moral compass holder ONLY.

What if there is a serial killer that is on the loose murdering people? Do we just let them follow their own moral compass? We don't want to kill people randomly but if someone else wants to we should let them and just mind our own business?

Calperson thank you ever so much for your exceedingly EXCELLENT example of my point there is no sane conversation of abortion. My dear fellow we were talking about that and NOT serial klillers. Wow, what a wild right turn that was!

Quote Calperson:

[quote=media_muse]

What about homosexual men who molested boys in the Catholic Church? Are we not allowed to speak up? Are we to just mind our own business and "keep ourselves on track" as you say?

I would heartily support anyone who was ever molested by a priest in the Catholic Church to speak up. This would be the proper use for your moral compass if this is your situation.

I would also hold the space for the blessing to help you perserve with speaking out. This would be the proper use for my moral compass in this circumstance.

I hope that some day you will be able to connect your heart to your moral compass so you will understand what I am saying. The examples you have given have nothing to do with the sacred right one has to manage their own moral compass.

Obviously a serial killer is NOT USING THEIR MORAL COMPASS.

Obviously a priest molesting innocent children is NOT USING THEIR MORAL COMPASS.

Just because we humans have a moral compass does not mean that we always use them. AND just because we don't always use them doesn't mean we don't have one either.

I send you blessings - may you walk in beauty. May beauty surround you. May you be held by the beauty of your own knowing heart. May your heart be comforted and held in grace by that which is greater than ourselves.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 2 years 28 weeks ago
#5

Really, some of these conversations are ever so tasteless.

Alberto Ceras 2 years 28 weeks ago
#6

I didn't think that my comment was tasteless, leighmf, but maybe you weren't referring to it. I'd really like to have your response to my rather categorical statements. If any need clarifying I can do that. Thanks.

doh1304's picture
doh1304 2 years 28 weeks ago
#7

Intellectually I'm with Calperson on this: really there are three possible positions - conception, viability and birth. Where I part company is personal morality - choosing conception is to me strictly a moral (religious) position, and those who hold it therefore have no right to force it on those who do not. Sorry Cal, your serial killer analogy is only an illustration of the depth o your conviction, not evidence.

As for the distinction between viability and birth, in my 30 year old but extensive experience, the only time a woman would wait for the third trimester (barring medical) is when others interfere.

And by the way - I know about twenty women who've had abortions, and none had the slightest hesitation or second thoughts. "and rare" is indeed an hypocrisy; you hold one moral position or the other, period.

Calperson's picture
Calperson 2 years 28 weeks ago
#8
Quote doh1304:

.... choosing conception is to me strictly a moral (religious) position,

I disagree totally and absolutely. For many, declaring life begins at conception has nothing to do with religion and is 100% scientific.

What do you know about DNA? Do you know that the mother has a particular DNA signature? Do you know the father has a particular DNA structure? Are you aware the baby has her own unique DNA signature?

It is this DNA sequence which defines us scientifically, and separates us as individuals. When you observe a murder trial from a courtroom, is it not one unique DNA signature accused of extinguishing the life of another unique DNA sequence?

Bush_Wacker's picture
Bush_Wacker 2 years 28 weeks ago
#9
Quote Calperson:

I'm sorry my dear friend. I just cannot keep my head in the sand like that. When people are commiting atrocities against other people I must speak up, and I must defend the helpless, the weak, and those that cannot defend themselves.

Maybe one day your heart will open enough to feel that way too.

If you really mean what you say her Cal, then you must also believe in supporting welfare, food stamps, social security, medicare, medicaid, and all social programs designed to defend the helpless, the weak, and those that cannot defend themselves. All of which you demonize over and over in your posts. I call bullshit on this.

Alberto Ceras 2 years 28 weeks ago
#10

Is there no one in the Thom Hartmann Community capable of a rational discussion, one devoid of personal attacks?

Zenzoe 2 years 28 weeks ago
#11
Quote Alberto Ceras:

Is there no one in the Thom Hartmann Community capable of a rational discussion, one devoid of personal attacks?

Quote but wait, Caroline Fairless on another thread:

Why do you compromise such a powerful piece of writing, Alberto, with something so hostile, directed at someone you've hardly met, even on line? What do you get out of that?

Alberto Ceras 2 years 28 weeks ago
#12

.And this is my comment - complete, word for word - the one that prompted Caroline's response:

Alberto: Still with us, Caroline? Astonished still? Amazed? Disgusted? Repulsed? Shocked, chagrined, mortified?

No hostility was intended then nor do I detect any now. I simply wanted to know if she had changed her mind about the Thom Hartmann Community after reading some of the many comments that her post had elicited.

I am still open, and desirous, of a rational discussion directed at my earlier statements. I'm going to see if I can move them just below this comment.

Alberto Ceras 2 years 28 weeks ago
#13

Abortion ought to be the woman's decision, forget the bullshit about when conception occurs, whether it might be contrary to some people's religious beliefs, the crap about DNA, etc. And, please, someone consider the consequences for an unwanted child. What sort of life might that unwanted child have?

It's the woman's body, it's her decision, period. Below are more of my thoughts on this matter. Is there anyone who can respond rationally - not emotionally - to them? And for god's sake, not with biblical references:

a. Ideally, from this moment forward, no woman would ever become pregnant.

b. The above not being in effect, and ideally again, if a woman should become pregnant it would have been from a conscious decision on her part.

c. If a woman does become pregnant - whether purposely or without forethought - and then later chooses abortion it should be her choice and her choice only.

In addition, reasonable governments would:

1. Distribute contraceptive devices free of charge, dropping them from the air where warranted and practical.

2. Encourage and reward same sex marriage.

3. Pay both men and women a substantial sum for permanent sterilization.

4. Tax heavily those persons who have more than two children.

5. Require all health plans – government and private - to provide contraceptive, sterilization and abortion coverage with charges commensurate with other medical services.

The essays cited below might give you some idea of why I'm soured on our species (yes, I know there are a few good eggs, the authors of these two essays for example):

Not just forgettability, denial and shuttered eyelids, too. If you can spare a few minutes here’s a moving essay from an eyewitness to history – history that’s largely been (being) swept under the rug, a brief synopsis of man’s inhumanity:

(from UK's fine newspaper The Independent)

PATRICK COCKBURN SUNDAY 18 MARCH 2012

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/patrick-cockburn-the-strange-forgettability-of-some-civilian-massacres-7576284.html

Patrick Cockburn: The strange forgettability of some civilian massacres

World View: It is too soon to know if the deaths of an Afghan family last week will alter things in Afghanistan, but some atrocities have the power to shape history

For another fine essay from The Independent, one perhaps not as unrelated as might seem at first glance (incidentally an essay authored by a man):

http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2012/03/16/for-attitudes-towards-rape-to-change-society-needs-to-drop-its-sexual-double-standard/

For attitudes towards rape to change, society needs to drop its sexual double standard

By James Bloodworth

Friday, 16 March 2012 at 11:08 am

Zenzoe 2 years 28 weeks ago
#14
Quote Alberto:

http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2012/03/16/for-attitudes-towards-rape-to-change-society-needs-to-drop-its-sexual-double-standard/

For attitudes towards rape to change, society needs to drop its sexual double standard

Very good article, Alberto. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

media_muse 2 years 28 weeks ago
#15
Quote media_muse:

If you don't want an abortion don't have one.

If you believe another ought not have one then all you can do about it: is NOT have one yourself.

This was offered as a simple pragmagtic solution. Our founding fathers were brillant when they advocated & set up our governance to separate church & state. It seems like we would be better served by following this part which is part of our governing documents.

We have seen in our usa political arena & the blogging here what is happening by not following their magnificent brillance with just this one example regarding to abort or not. There is NO possible way this country (or our world) can hold the millions (billions) of opinions & beliefs - of every single person - by mandating anothers morality on to another. We can opine away all day, or diss someone who disagrees with ourself or murder them and none of this has solved this problem.

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