DadWagon: pro-choice-ish?

August 11th, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  7 Comments

I came across an amusing video at The Onion this morning. “New Law Requires Women To Name Baby, Paint Nursery Before Getting Abortion.” A headline such as this requires little explanation or political education to understand, but it did provoke a thought: how many parents are pro-choice?

My girlfriend’s pregnancy is, by modern medical definitions, considered “high-risk,” which meant there were any number of elaborate tests in her first trimester to verify the health of our child. Sobering stuff, to be sure, and as a result, we had a conversation about what we would do if the baby had major developmental issues. We agreed that we would terminate the pregnancy.

I think, however, if that scenario had arisen, I would have had a very hard time going through with it, and this is something I very definitely would not have felt prior to having JP. I’m not saying I would have attempted to prevent my girlfriend from having an abortion–I’ve been trained in the dialectic of whose body is whose, as befits a NYC liberal. But it would have been very hard, even factoring in the massive emotional, physical, and financial difficulties of raising a child with health problems.

Pregnancy, even for a man, makes one aware of a very simple fact: there’s a human baby floating around inside that belly. Now, again, don’t get me wrong: I’m not arguing against abortion in any legal, ethical, or even moral sense, only a personal one. Neither am I interested in entering into a pointlessly boring political argument about reproductive rights. I just want to acknowledge that having a child can alter the way you feel about abortion, or at least it did in my case.

I’m curious to hear what other parents have to say on the topic. It doesn’t come up all that often in pleasant conversation, if you know what I mean.

New Law Requires Women To Name Baby, Paint Nursery Before Getting Abortion


  1. Amy says:

    August 11th, 2010at 1:51 pm(#)

    I totally hear what you’re saying. I’m ardently pro-choice politically, but I’ve come to realize that I’m pretty personally pro-life now that I’m on the having kids side of two very wanted pregnancies. I, too, underwent testing under the guise that maybe we’d terminate if there was something wrong, but in reality I can’t imagine how catastrophic “something wrong” would have had to have been to actually go through with it.

    It burns me up when people equate pro-choice with pro-abortion. I wish that no one would be in a situation where she had to get an abortion, but situations do arise for some women, and I’ll always support the right to choose.

  2. Aaron says:

    August 11th, 2010at 2:00 pm(#)

    Wow, way to take on an emotionally charged topic in a constructive and respectful way. I agree with you and Amy. I am politically pro-choice, but personally pro-life, and see no reason that a person can’t be both with comfort. I think it’s interesting how the abortion debate has caused such a rhetorical backflip. Being pro-choice (keep your laws off my body) is very much a conservative stance, while the belief that the state should regulate reproduction is one that liberals would normally be more comfortable with in another situation. If we could shift the debate to how to create a society which honored and supported each life both philisophically and financially than I think maybe there could be some suprising common ground.

  3. Chris (@tessasdad) says:

    August 11th, 2010at 2:16 pm(#)

    Excellent post. I agree with all of you. Politically I am ardently pro-choice but when I first felt my wife’s belly and felt my daughter’s movement, it was sort of an epiphany for me to see myself become instantly and personally pro-life.

    The most frustrating thing for me about all of this is exactly what Amy brought up above: being pro-choice is much different than saying you are pro-abortion. Nobody is pro-abortion, but it’s the way it gets portrayed in all discussions we see about it in the media and it grinds me to no end. The other frustration is seeing these fanatical pro-lifers also being pro-death penalty and pro-war.

  4. eeo says:

    August 12th, 2010at 2:23 am(#)

    Right after having my second baby I read an article about the state of abortion rights in the USA. While I have always considered myself very pro-choice, the emotions of just having a baby caused me to react to the article in a surprising way… more emotional than I ever would have thought, pre-kids. This cause me to do some digging into my own belief/ethical system once I got my rational brain back and I can to understand that a clump of cells turns to a baby when that baby is wanted. For me, my second child (the first was a surprise, so the circumstances were different) was a conscious decision, something that we were trying for, so she became my baby the moment the pee stick showed two lines. For couples who are trying to get pregnant or adopt, they have babies in their hearts before the life has even been created. For those who are not ready for a baby, its just a clump of cells. (First trimester, 2nd/3rd trimester abortions are a different beast.) When you acknowledge this way of thought, a different sort of understanding of peoples’ choices becomes clear. I suppose the most heart-breaking of all are those that have a wanted baby in their bellies but feel they have to terminate because of health reasons.

  5. eeo says:

    August 12th, 2010at 2:30 am(#)

    Wow, I should have proof-read before I clicked “submit comment.” As incoherent as that response was (that’s the state of my brain at 11:30pm), I hope you understand the gist.

  6. spoxy says:

    August 12th, 2010at 9:47 am(#)

    I loved eeo’s comment: “…a clump of cells turns to a baby when that baby is wanted.” This thought had never crossed my mind but when I think about it it’s a fantastic idea that totally makes sense. So thank you!

  7. Tim says:

    August 12th, 2010at 4:50 pm(#)

    I’ve never really wavered because I’m too well versed in the science. A first-trimester “baby” is not much of a baby. And by the time where you get to the point where a fetus is a baby that would be viable without the mother, abortion is really only going to be appealing to people who are going through some very rough things (horrible genetic disease or stillbirth being most likely).

    It insults the intelligence that any woman would be pregnant for 6 months and then use abortion as a form of ridiculously late birth control.

    However it does get votes.

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