Monday, 4 May 2009

Sarah Palin, life and intolerance

Abortion is a very divisive issue. It elicits very strong emotions from people and objectivity quickly goes out of the window in any discussions about the subject.

What makes people pro-life? Do pro-lifers really believe in the sanctity of ALL life?

Unless we consider psychopaths who kill for kicks, I would say that EVERYBODY is pro-life. I haven't yet met a woman who had an abortion for fun. It's a very difficult decision to make, having an abortion.

Women don't walk into an abortion clinic thinking "What a fantastic time I'm having today, I must have another abortion in a few months and tell all my friends not to miss it for the world!"

The doctors who perform abortions don't look at a pregnant woman and rub their hands together: "Wow, I'm going to have a whale of a time putting an end to this pregnancy!"

It doesn't work that way. A woman facing an unwanted pregnancy will ask herself many, many questions.

Can I provide for this child? Can I go through the whole nine months and give the baby away for adoption? What will my life be like with this baby? What will life be like for this baby? Do I have the right to end this life? Do I have the right to bring a baby into this world in these circumstances?

Other women face harder questions. Do I have to carry my rapist's child? Do I have to give birth to my own father's baby? Is it right to give birth to my brother's baby?

Life is precious, yes. Women who opt for an abortion are aware of that. But they also have the concept of quality of life. They have a deep respect for life and choose not to bring a child into this world with the odds stacked against a child they feel they can't have.

Some young women are not prepared to embark into motherhood or the psychological damage caused by carrying a baby to term then having to give it away, left with engorged breasts and an emptiness that could last a lifetime. Their lives are precious too.

Women are not receptacles for breeding babies. Their lives are just as valuable as those of the foetuses they choose to terminate after asking themselves very difficult questions. They are alive now, the women already here, aren't their lives worth anything?

Pro-lifers who demonize women who choose abortion don't respect life. If they did, they would respect all life and would consider the quality of the lives about which they make such a fuss. Many pro-lifers are passionate advocates for the death sentence...

They love to ask "When does life start?" Why don't they ask themselves "When does life cease to be precious?"

The lives they so passionately defend in the womb seem to be less sacred to them when children forced to be born into disfunctional families are given the label of disruptive, taken into care and drugged to their eyeballs to keep them under control. They are the first ones to say that children don't have rights.

When things go all pear shaped for the children they fought so hard to bring into being, they're not so vocal about the rights of the very same children. Right to life? How about the right to quality of life?

The governor who makes such a good case for life and would love to bring about legislation to ensure that all babies are born, regardless of the circumstances surrounding their conception, also believes that conception should be left to chance or willpower.

A person who loves life would work towards less women and young girls finding themselves in the position of having to make such difficult choices. To be able to make decisions on behalf of other people one has to look at reality and not be guided by the tenets of an intolerant church.

Being pro-life should be about respecting other women's difficult decisions without prejudice and not trivializing the whole issue by branding people as good or bad based on a very narrow set of beliefs.

Life is very precious, but it's not simple and people don't need simplistic policies and legislation.


Lisabeth said...

Regina this is very well written. It makes so much sense to me. Anti choice people do not see it this way and I wish they could. The real answer is sex education and birth control. I can't believe people in 2009 are preaching abstinence only and no sex education. They are not being realistic.

Dianne said...

Excellent insight. Very well put.

midnightcajun said...

People like Sarah Palin are not pro-life, they are pro-birth. They do not support public funded health care that could save hundreds of thousands of lives a year. They do not support gun control laws that would save tens of thousands. They support the death penalty and aggressive overseas wars that kill millions. I repeat, they are not pro-life. They are totalitarians who believe in a theocracy.

I am not a Christian. My spiritual belief is that every "spirt" or "soul" or whatever you want to call it has a right to be born into a loving family that wants it and can care for it. If these people had their way, the lives of countless young women would be shattered, while souls that could otherwise go on to be born into a loving home would instead be born unwanted and neglected, to grow up and live twisted lives. That's MY religious belief. I'm not forcing my religious belief on anyone--they can go ahead and have their unwanted babies if they like. But how dare they try to force their warped religious views on women like me?

Some women can't take birth control. Some women find pregnancy very difficult and damaging physically. Some of us find the thought of giving a child away be raised by strangers--to possibly be abused and killed (it happens)-- personally and morally repugnant.

Yes, abortion is a difficult choice to make. So reduce the number of women who need to make that choice, don't criminalize them for following their own hearts and spiritual beliefs.

Sorry, but this IS a hot button issue! Imagine if these Christianists had taken all the time, energy, and tens of millions of dollars they have spent on this issue and directed it instead to feeding the hungry, to education, to caring for the elderly. Imagine the lives they could have saved and brightened. They are not pro-life. They are pro-darkness.

Anonymous said...

Great essay, Regina.

By the way, let me remind people. Sarah Palin is "anti-choice," and not just "pro-life."

Palin is against women having the CHOICE over what we do with our own bodies.

People who are "pro-choice" advocate for many OPTIONS for pregnant women (including adoption,of course!). We are for letting each woman have a legal right to her own choices. Every woman has the right to make her own decisions. Why should Sarah Palin decide for all women?

Truth said...

First let me say that I voted for Obama and abhor the idea of Palin holding ANY public office. But, as a Christian, I am against abortion. Lisbeth says, "anti-choice people do not see it this way and I wish they could." I know that those who oppose abortion can explain their reasons why, and they could easily say, "pro-choice people do not see it this way and I wish they could." Because we live in America, we are all EQUALLY entitled to express and hold our own opinions. There are many issues on which we will disagree; the important thing is that we are blessed to be able to do so in our country.

regina said...


As I said, abortion is not a simple issue. Perhaps it's not a matter of seeing it as the other side does, but of being able to respect each other's choices and opinions.

Pro-choice advocates are not against life. They just don't want legislation that would make their choices not only very difficult, but dangerous as well.

Proper sex education would go a long way in helping young people less likely to face very distressing situations.

Without a certain degree of tolerance and respect for opposing views, this subject will continue to divide people in a very destructive way.


Kyra said...

Excellent post Regina.

I was involved in a very long discussion forum years ago and could never convince the pro-life side that I was not pro-abortion. Somehow the very subject puts the blinders on.

Actually, I never stated a side, just that I was pro-choice. Somehow, the pro-life people seem to believe that means we on the pro-choice side are pro-abortion which is not at all the case. We are simply people who believe that it is a decision best left to the woman, her medical professionals, and (hopefully), her family.

The government and anyone else should stay out of such a deeply personal decision.

Every religion has its own belief about this. Not everyone believes in religion nor should they be forced to live their life bound by the tenets of a religion they do not believe in.

Having grown up pre-Roe v. Wade in the days of back alley abortions, I believe that abortions should be available, but rare. If we provided accurate sex education and safe, affordable birth control, I believe that the need for abortion would decline.

Regardless of what decision I personally would make or advise is beside the point. It isn't my decision to make for anyone but myself, nor is it right for anyone else to impose their religious beliefs on others.

Anonymous said...

I agree with midnightcajun. People who call themselves "pro life" should be for the best quality of life for all of the living. They would be anti-war, for gun control, for quality health care for all, programs to aid the homeless, the mentally disabled who are lacking good care, the list goes on. They would be solid advocates for strict driving regulations regarding drunk driving which takes thousands of lives each year. (Europe operates under a much more strict policy regaring drunk driving). It is ironic that the current conservative politicians are for less government, except in the case of the government regulating what a woman can do with her own body. The truth of the matter is that they use these hot-button issues to advance their own agenda. One of those talking heads on TV political talk shows reasoned that they really do not want to do away with Roe v. Wade. Then, they wouldn't have one of their favorite talking points. We also have to laugh at the recent speech that Sarah Palin gave at a Right to Life meeting in Indiana, where, even she considered her options on learning of an unexpected pregnancy, a downs syndrome child. She considered the CHOICE that she would deny others.

basheert said...

Great topic Regina. I am also pro-choice. Interesting how Palin-hypocrite did have a choice and made hers however she is absolutely hell bent to deny all other women that same choice.
As a medical procedure, this is 100% about a choice between a patient and her physician. If we give the Fundies the right over this medical decision, what will they decide to meddle in next time?
Don't kid yourselves, these Rapture Freaks are all about control - I don't see them adopting or supporting "snowflake" babies, I see them only meddling around in other people's lives. I would hardly call them Christians or even religious. I was raise as a Christian with questions. I was never taught to push my own beliefs or feelings onto others.
Then again, the god I was raised learning about was a good kind and gentle god, forgiving and caring. I have NO clue who these Rapture idiots worship, but it certainly is no god I've ever experienced.
When is witch burning coming back?

Anonymous said...

I'm an older person who was strongly opposed to abortion all of my life until about 8 years ago. China's "one baby" policy opened my eyes. Women who already had one child were required by law to abort subsequent pregnancies. I was outraged. The government forcing women to have abortions? Then it hit me. The GOVERNMENT should not be able to force a woman to carry a pregnancy either. I still abhor the thought of abortion but now understand what a woman's "choice" means. The choice should be up to her, her family, and her own spiritual beliefs...not up to a government. "Roe vs Wade" is the morally correct stance for the GOVERNMENT to take.

Lisabeth said...

Truth I agree with you totally that you have a right to your opinion and I think myself how lucky we are that right now you and I both have a "choice" when it comes to our own bodies. I an not "for abortion." You implied I was. And you are wrong. I personally would not choose that. But I don't believe the government or anyone else has a right to make that decision for me or any other women. You are wrong when you say I or others don't understand anti-abortion stance. We just don't get the government intervention part especially when coming from people who hypocritically also declare they are for "individual freedoms or liberties." sorry but those words have no meaning if laws are passed taking away womens control over their own body. That goes against all I believe about an individuals (womens) rights. You have every right to your view. Don't I? Can't you see our point of view.

basheert said...

If you look at this issue as a private medical decision between a woman and her physician, it makes a big difference.

The last time I looked, this country was not in the business of making medical decisions for individuals. Why on abortion?

Again, where are all those pro-lifers when it comes to adopting and supporting these fetuses?

And seriously folks, women do NOT have abortions as "birth control". This is a horribly difficult decision, one that is very hard to make. Anyone who finds themself having to make this choice has my deepest sympathy. Terminating a pregnancy is never easy and in fact, our abortion rate continues to drop.

I could never insert myself into a decision this private, nor attempt to tell someone what to do medically.

Then again, I'm not Miss Cheerleader for Medical Meddling.

She can take her twisted ethics and her intrusive interference and go jump off a bridge.

basheert said...

...right to life? So what IS she going to do with her new AK-47?????

Oh that's okay - it's just slaughtering helpless animals.

They don't count and their lives don't matter.

Face it, Barbie loves to kill.

Lisabeth said...

Truth I just reread what you wrote and I might have misunderstood. I think I typed something wrong in my first email. Sorry if I misunderstood your response.

Truth said...


Fundies and Rapture Freaks -- I cannot help but feel that some pro-choice people are intolerant of the anti-abortion peoples' opinions. : (

wes_ben said...

I agree with Midnightcajun. "Pro-birth" is a more accurate description for anti-choice conservatives. As Anonymous 00:47 pointed out, their stance on wars, guns, health care, homelessness, etc makes the term "pro-life" the epitome of an oxymoron.

regina said...


I don't think the reference to Fundies and Rapture Freaks was about people who are anti-abortion as a personal choice. It was directed at people who want to impose their views on others through legislation and who take it upon themselves to act as judge and jury over women's deeply personal choices.

If you don't fall in that category, and by what you said I don't believe you do, the reference doesn't apply to you, does it?


basheert said...

This isn't about opinions - I believe all of us recognize that people have differing opinions and that is fine. If you choose to disagree with me, that is also fine.
HOWEVER when someone who disagrees with me chooses to try to interfere with my discussions and choice between myself and my physician, they are WAY out of line.
The Rapturers and Fundies are not interested in THEIR choices. They are attempting to impose their choice on my and my daughter's life. At that point they lose all credibility and any right to even discuss with me.
It's not about religious, it's about my personal rights and their insidious attempts to take my rights away because of THEIR beliefs.
And yes it is very personal.

Truth said...

basheert---Sounds intolerant to me. Whether or not we agree, we each have EQUAL rights to hold and express our opinions. Our freedom of speech is one of our country's greatest strengths, but with it comes the responsibility of allowing those opinions with which we disagree.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Regina for your thoughtful essay. I can't believe after all these years we are still having the same debate.
Abortion is not a political issue. Abortion is not a religious issue. Abortion is a medical issue.
No one is pro-abortion.
Who benefits from this remaining a political issue? The "pro-life" movement. If the Repubs wanted to change the rules, they've certainly had enough times since Roe v Wade when they've been the majority.
Maybe GINO is heading for her next career as an anti-choice spokesmodel. She and Miss California can get together and compare strategies and hair tips.

basheert said...

So let's discuss this.
YOU believe I am intolerant because you believe you have the RIGHT to interfere in a discussion between me and my PHYSICIAN?
You also believe that I am intolerant because I say "fire away but I disagree with you" - but I draw the line where you try to legislate against MY rights?
If you want to keep that baby, go for it. If I don't, it is none of YOUR business - and when it comes to my daughter, do not even pretend to go there.
And if you go back you will see that I recognize your right to HOLD and EXPRESS your opinion - for YOU.
Nowhere in the Constitution do you ever have the right to speak for me.
I will refuse until I die to allow individuals such as you to try and legislate against my right to hold beliefs that differ from you.
And someday when your back is against the wall I will defend your right to disagree with me.

It is not about disagreement. It is quite simply my right to tell you to butt the hell out of my beliefs.

And I will stay out of yours.

By the way, how many adoptive snowbunnies have you rescued?

Emily said...

Women don't walk into an abortion clinic thinking "What a fantastic time I'm having today, I must have another abortion in a few months and tell all my friends not to miss it for the world!"Thank you for saying this-- it needs to be said, or rather more people need to understand it. Nobody wants to have an abortion, or for more women to require abortions(well, with the possible exception of really cynical and selfish doctors).

Truth said...

basheert---I believe you are intolerant of people who disagree with you because of the anger and name-calling in your posts.

basheert said...

You have elevated yourself to the level where you believe you are qualified to JUDGE me?

And you wonder why you people have NO credibility.

Is it just that you cannot read and interpret, or is that what is on your talking point sheet?

basheert said...

Thanks Emily - you said it well.

The problem is that some people believe they are competent to make familial medical decisions for others without medical input.

Therefore we can only assume that Palinbots have gazillions of children they have adopted to "save" them.

Truth said...

"you people" Wow! Assumptions, generalizations, and intolerance. I will leave you to your anger and hatred.

LisanTX said...

Regina--this is an excellent post and excellent comments.

Regina--you are performing a great service with your blog. People have quickly found that this is a place for intelligent discussion. Thank you!

Gail said...

A fetus is a part of a woman's body. It is not an independent life. If a woman chooses to chop off a piece of her body, for whatever reason, that should be her choice.

Hey, everyone seems to think it's just aokay for parents to chop off a piece of their baby's penis (CIRCUMCISION) and that's just so fine and normal!

Now, that strikes me as real and pure abuse.

basheert said...

Truth - thank you sincerely. I do not need you or your sick ideology as a part of my family decisions.

When you have walked in our shoes....

basheert said...

Gail - before you judge or pass judgment, please educate yourself about the original religious meaning and purpose behind the circumcision ritual.

This has nothing to do with abortion - or a woman's right to choose.

Perhaps you haven't "met" "Truth" yet ... or you are simply another religious fundy looking for a place to Rapture themself. all honesty, NONE of you righteous individuals has the right to speak for me or my family - and even less right to judge us.

Have you measured the size of your mind?

When Truth attacked me for my DEFENSE of his/her right to their own belief and my right to disagree, well it became obvious that the monkeys were out in full force.

crystalwolf aka caligrl said...

I have to agree with basheert & Regina here! Truth you are the one full of hatred and intolerance!!! Yes go play somewhere else please.
Keep your fundie BS to yourself.
GINO made women pay for their own rape kits in Wasilla b/c they contain Plan B pill! All you funies would push your religious agenda on all of us. He if you don't want to use B/c and pop a million babies out fine. Remember Repubs are against welfare! Who takes care of all those 'innocent's'????
And yeah, lets kill animals...they have no rights no souls, right TRUTH????
Let me tell you something! I have met animals with more soul than you or GINO will ever have.
Now using my friend Bubbles saying:

Anonymous said...

It's pretty eye-opening to see how a discussion on abortion devolves into a recapitulation of Regina's title of her post, "Life and intolerance."

A very good reason why there should be seperation of church and state...Yikes! I didn't think that "Truth" was imposing her views on anyone but just the mention of her Christianity brought in another set of incendiary expectations to the discussion. BTW...I'm not a Christian...just an observer of life. Troubling discussion.

Lilybart said...

Pro-choice could be called, Anti-prosecution of women for controlling their own bodies.

And if I were raped and pg, I would be PRO abortion for sure!

Kyra said...

Wow. Bring abortion into the conversation and it brings out the intolerance big time.

Amazing how we are all entitled to our own opinions UNTIL it conflicts with your religious beliefs.

How on earth, Truth, is Basheert intolerant for stating that others opinions should not become legislation when it comes to making medical decisions about her body? You are the decider of intolerance? The only intolerance I saw was yours.

KaJo said...

Actually, Gail, no, a fetus is not "part of a woman's body". It's a parasite. It's a foreign entity existing solely from the nutrition, the blood, the warmth the mother's body gives it, and it gives nothing back. In fact, the fetus will suck vital calcium from the mother's bones if she's not stringent about pre-natal care.

Wow, I cannot believe what you said about circumcision. I haven't read up on the "original religious meaning and purpose behind the circumcision ritual" as basheert refers to, in a loooooong time, but I'll bet it had/has a LOT to do with hygiene. The religious ritual ensured all young males' basic hygiene were protected by this procedure.