I'm an atheist. I believe in reproductive rights for women. I believe a woman should be able to abort a pregnancy no questions asked. Why should I have to also believe the nonsense that "life begins at birth"? It seems to me that a human being is created as soon as a sperm fertilizes an egg. The DNA of a human being exists from that point onward. Are we so under the thumbs of the religious right that we can't say, "Yeah, life begins at conception. So what? The woman still has control."?

Tags: abortion, conception, feminism

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No one has mentioned the responsibility issue of women who have repeated abortions. Should abortion be considered an expensive form of birth control? Is it ultimately the women's responsibility to ensure she does or does not get pregnant? Should sterilization be considered at some point?

 

I had the traumatic experience of assisting my first girlfriend as she went through an early stage abortion. It affects both of us to this day. There are mental aspects of this procedure that cannot be fathomed until you have experienced it first hand. I'll never forget the day I sat in the clinic's waiting room and witnessed another woman about to have the procedure. She was so flippant and upbeat about it all. It was as if she was about to have a manicure done or something. 

It's my belief that counseling should be provided before and after an abortion.  Especially for teenagers who have them.  I've heard of the trauma that they cause for many people, and I can't believe we are allowing them to be done without any mental health or emotional therapy for those who need it.

For most women, it is no different than having some cramps and a little extra bleeding.  While it is difficult for me to fathom that a significant percentage of women would find the experience any different than other routine, outpatient procedures, if someone were to request counseling then it should be provided.  But to offer it before and after to women who not only don't need or want it, but may find the very offer of it more traumatizing than the actual procedure, seems self defeating. It reminds me of conservative efforts to emotionally blackmail women by making them pretend to be a mommy with a baby doll or name their fetus prior to following through with the abortion. 

I truly can't understand how offering counseling to a woman would be somehow traumatizing or self defeating. You accept or decline the offer. End of story. I wish it had been offered to my girlfriend in the seventies.  Offers to counsel are an important step in the right direction. As unsettling as it was for me I know the male gender really can't make a comment on the ramifications a woman might possibly experience. Just as they'll never understand the actual process of childbirth.  

 

Then there is no sense in me trying to explain, if you truly can not understand it.

And because a male may never experience certain things intimately, it does not mean they are clueless to the point of being dumbstruck.  I've spoken to women who have had abortions and read many first hand accounts of experiences from the female perspective.  I can comment on it and I'm confident that many (not all) women would agree with much of what I say on the subject.

 

But, let's try and see if you can truly understand or not.  Regarding counseling, in some cases, are simply an excuse to guilt and shame women. Whether it is forcing women to listen to fetal heartbeats, or making them choose a name for their fetus they had planned to abort, or carry a baby doll around for a couple of days so they can experience what they are passing up, not all "counseling" is created equal.  And these are techniques that have actually been used or proposed. So, I should have been more clear.  If women are being offered general medical counsel, then I have no issues.  If women are being offered grief counseling, then I take a huge umbrage with that.

Actually... no ed. In my state... it's not optional. You MUST go to a pro-life counseling session and wait at least 24 hours before getting an abortion.

So the state doesn't have enough power already. Now we are going to have to get state approval for medical procedures?!!!

I would be more in favor of people (especially teens) getting counseling before they get tattoos or radical piercings. The counseling will remind them that they will probably be 45 year old soccer parents or insurance sales people someday.

Counseling should be accurate and aimed at providing real help though! The type of counseling required by many states for women seeking an abortion is usually a requirement to go to a place like a crisis pregnancy center where women are threatened with hell, told lies like abortion will cause breast cancer or the (completely pseudoscientific and anti-choice invented) "post abortion stress syndrome), as well as shown graphic pictures of the rare 3rd trimester abortion fetuses and be told inaccurate information on the status of their fetus... usually projecting the status of a fetus in the first trimester or 2nd trimester into the third trimester. I know what they tell women. That their fetus can already feel pain at 8 weeks, among other lies. The other problem is that our government is funding these abominations called "crisis pregnancy centers" which are often disguised as offering "options" for women with unwanted pregnancies, with deceptive names like the one in my area called "Pregnancy Help Center." The bigger problem though is that these organizations are overtly and aggressively reactionary religious Christian. They do not hold back on religious threats and religious "couseling" that the government - in my state and many others - forces upon any woman wanting an abortion... by law. One story involved a woman who accidently walked into a CPC seeking abortion and was barred from leaving until she consented to an ultrasound with the words "Hi mommy" written on the pictures and watching a graphic religious video about abortion.

Besides being unconstitutional, this is unethical to force women to go through this.

I agree... counseling should be an OPTIONAL service available to women before and after an abortion. Most women do not suffer from abortion, but in the tragic cases where a much-wanted pregnancy threatens a woman's life or there is something horribly wrong with a much-wanted fetus... then therapy would be a great thing to make available. 

But I seriously doubt that these women who do suffer from loss would be in any way helped by "counseling" in which volunteers from anti-choice organizations show them pictures of what their much-wanted dead fetus would look like, call them murderers, and slam bibles down their throats (metaphorically speaking on that last one).

Grief counseling ... REAL grief counseling should be optionally available in these cases.

But make no mistake! The "counseling" required by law right now is anything but!

Reply to ED.  I have a BsN in Nursing and NICU.  I worked my entire career in obstetrics, obstetrical ICU and OR as well as post partum and Neonatal ICU.  We were exposed to all aspects.  I was asked by my best friend, we were friends from childhood, what to do about her 16 year old pregnant daughter.  It does take two.  The boy wanted nothing to do with it. I  explained to her and her parents that there were 3 choices,  1. have the baby and keep the child, have the baby and put the child up for adoption, 3. abortion.  This family was faced with a difficult choice.  Her father adamantly expressed that if that baby was brought into the home he would leave the family.  He wanted no responsibility.  They all decided that their only choice was an abortion. This girl was absolutely not concerned and had the abortion.  I took her to the hospital, no family member would go with her.  The girl was happy and chatty, did not express or feel anything.  As far as she was concerned this was just another day.  She showed no remorse or any other emotion.  Two months later my friends daughter was in the same predicament.  The Mom just made arrangements, took her for the abortion and told me about it after the fact. Problem was that she told her sister that I had taken the responsibility, and then said that she would have never made the choice but that I had taken the responsibility and made the decision to take the daughter to have an abortion twice.  The extended family decided that they would never have considered abortion and I had convinced them and had no morality.  That was the END of the friendship of my sister friends and myself.  They have never had any relationship with me ever since.  I recommend that the family must make these decisions, take responsibility for whatever choice they make and don't involve a friend to take the girl for any procedure.  This decision should not have involved anyone but themselves.  These stigmas exist.  Oh, my daughter cannot be pregnant, what would others think, we can't go for counselling, we can't raise another child, etc.  I had explained their choices but they didn't have the guts to carry through on their decision.  I enabled them to be uninvolved and to live as if this had never happened.  There was no remorse, but when this matter became known I was blamed.  Lesson: do not allow yourself to be involved, in the name of friendship, to contribute to any family decisions.  It was painful to no one but me.

If you wanna get pedantic, the egg and the sperm could quite easily be classed as alive before they "merge". OMG Fapping is mass murder!!!!

Pedantry is not required to claim the ovum and sperm to be alive.  They are alive.  The reason people choose conception is because of an explicit or vestigal belief in ensoulment.  Some might argue that the joining of chromosomes marks some significant milestone, but personhood would be quite aspirational.  If gentic constituency is the mark of a person, then what to make of the fact that a vast majority of DNA found on and in humans are not even human?

On that note... you could call it murder when you scratch your nose and kill skin cells. lol

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