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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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50 Responses

  1. Heraclitus (Jeff)
    Heraclitus (Jeff) April 30, 2007 at 9:04 pm |

    Shouldn’t they also be informed about the kind of stats listed at the end of your post here? Or in this one?

  2. egalia
    egalia April 30, 2007 at 9:06 pm |

    Hey, this is excellent! Thank you.

  3. Sniper
    Sniper April 30, 2007 at 9:17 pm |

    Perhaps anyone requesting any kind of surgical procedure should be required to watch a video of that procedure being done and be given a stern talk about post-operative pain and depression, scarring and stitches.

    Don’t people realize that open-heart surgery and hip replacements are ICKY?

  4. Vanessa
    Vanessa April 30, 2007 at 9:28 pm |

    Yeah, I’d say that it would be a good thing to inform pregnant women of the risks of pregnancy, including PPD and miscarriage. You know, so they can make an informed choice.

  5. hipparchia
    hipparchia April 30, 2007 at 9:29 pm |

    This almost makes me wish that we had laws requring women to get their husbands’ written consent before getting an abortion. That way, the womb really belongs to him and he would have to be the one to watch the videos, read the pamphlets, listen to the lectures, do the math, look at the ultrasound.

  6. lConservativel
    lConservativel April 30, 2007 at 11:03 pm |

    So abortion seems to come up on this site kind of allot. I’m curious what you think is important about this issue. Not stats, sarcasm, set precedent, or hand waving about slippery slopes. What is the real issue here and how do you propose fixing it? Does a fetus have value or rights? If so, how many fetus are equal to an adult women? 100? 1 million? Do we want the Federal Government making these value judgments for us? If so why? Are we so helpless as a society that we need the Government to take another of our decisions (freedoms) away in exchange for promises of safety and security? I understand that women’s rights is at the heart of this issue for most readers here, but I’m not clear on exactly what right is being fought for… This isn’t the only example of society deciding what people can and cannot do with their own bodies is it? is that a bad thing? Just some questions, this seems like a good place to ask.

  7. Betty
    Betty April 30, 2007 at 11:18 pm |

    Is !Conservative some sort of performance art?

  8. zuzu
    zuzu April 30, 2007 at 11:33 pm | *

    Allot?

  9. lConservativel
    lConservativel April 30, 2007 at 11:43 pm |

    a lot

    Sorry for the confusion.

  10. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne April 30, 2007 at 11:55 pm |

    Does a fetus have value or rights? If so, how many fetus are equal to an adult women? 100? 1 million? Do we want the Federal Government making these value judgments for us? If so why?

    So, just checking — you’re coming out in favor of abortion on demand, right? Because otherwise you’re letting the Federal government make value judgements about the relative worth of a woman and an embryo.**

    ** As I was reminded over at Pandagon, it’s an embryo until about 12 weeks (end of first trimester). After that, it’s a fetus which, not surprisingly, is the point at which even Roe says that the state can begin regulating who can and cannot get an abortion.

  11. Hugo
    Hugo May 1, 2007 at 12:23 am |

    The number of women who I’ve known who’ve said — after becoming mothers that “no one ever told me how hard this would be” is an excellent argument for requiring exactly what Jill suggests.

  12. Vanessa
    Vanessa May 1, 2007 at 12:26 am |

    I’m not clear on exactly what right is being fought for…

    Umm…the right not to have my life and health or the future life and health of my daughter put at risk?

  13. Corvus
    Corvus May 1, 2007 at 12:50 am |

    *insert standing ovation here*

  14. slythwolf
    slythwolf May 1, 2007 at 12:51 am |

    You know, we should tell them about birthrape too. In fact, I think birthrape should get a lot more attention anyway, because a lot of people really don’t know it exists.

  15. Dianne
    Dianne May 1, 2007 at 1:37 am |

    Ultrasounds. Lovely. The thing about ultrasounds is that they are essentially fuzzy pictures that are so meaningless to an untrained observer that they might as well be rorschah blots. I once posted a couple of ultrasounds on a post debating fetal humanity and asked people if they thought that the picture was of a “baby” that it would be immoral to remove from its current location until it was ready to come out spontaneously. A couple of pro-lifers admitted that they didn”t know what the heck they were looking at, the others said yes, it was definitely a baby and removing it would be a sin. Actually, it was a gallstone*. I guess cholecystectomy is murder.

    *The absolute, most recognizable image an ultrasound can give is of a gallstone. The image of a stone in a gall bladder doesn’t look like anything else. It’s the only ultrasound image that routinely shows up on 2nd year medical student tests. In short, if you can’t recognize a gallstone on an ultrasound, you might as well admit that you can’t recognize anything on an u/s.

  16. Dianne
    Dianne May 1, 2007 at 2:01 am |

    Actually, I have no problem with requiring an informed consent before performing an abortion or any other sort of surgery. But it should be an accurate informed consent, listing the real risks, benefits, and alternatives (including the risks and benefits of the alternatives…ie this is where women need to hear about the dangers of pregnancy). Reading one that lies is a violation of the hippocratic oath and I’m suprised that any doctors consent to do it. Perhaps they also give a real informed consent, to try to undo the damage and put a disclaimer on the fake one that it is fake but required by law.

    I’d also like to see informed consent required before a woman can agree to give up a child for adoption. It is a very damaging process and, unlike abortion, really does lead to lifelong depression in most women who do it. An informed consent before undergoing the procedure that could make one pregnant, though…might spoil the mood.

  17. Raincitygirl
    Raincitygirl May 1, 2007 at 2:53 am |

    Uh, whaaaaat?

  18. werty
    werty May 1, 2007 at 4:41 am |

    Raincitygirl- If you’re asking about birthrape, there’s a good post here.

    But I have to warn you, it’s very sad and upsetting.

  19. SunlessNick
    SunlessNick May 1, 2007 at 6:21 am |

    What is the real issue here and how do you propose fixing it? Does a fetus have value or rights?

    In my view, yes a foetus does have a right to exist – however, that right is outweighed by the right of the mother not to have her body taken away and put to the foetus’ service – which is what I contend a ban on abortion would amount to.

    Which means, I guess, my ideal fix would be the invention of an external “womb-tank.” But in the absence of that, I go with a woman having a choice whether to remain pregnant.

    If so, how many fetus are equal to an adult women?

    One adult woman is worth more than all the foetus’ that can fit in her womb.

  20. SunlessNick
    SunlessNick May 1, 2007 at 6:22 am |

    That should have been foetuses at the end there, of course.

  21. elyzabethe
    elyzabethe May 1, 2007 at 7:55 am |

    When pro-choicers object on the grounds that required ultrasounds are coercive, medically unnecessary and condescending, we’re told that we’re hypocrites — after all, don’t women have a right to know?

    A right implies that, well, you know, it’s an option that they can exercise if they want. So we can answer to these people, Sure! Women have a right to know. Every woman who goes into an abortion clinic and demands to see a pictures of the fetus before aborting it should be allowed to do so if they want. They just also shouldn’t have to if the don’t want to. That’s the nature of rights — they apply universally, but you don’t have to exercise them universally. We all have the right do vote; whether or not we do is our choice…

  22. norbizness
    norbizness May 1, 2007 at 8:21 am |

    I can’t wait for the introductory pamphlet: “That Stork Business Was Just a Bunch of Bullshit”

  23. emjaybee
    emjaybee May 1, 2007 at 8:22 am |

    like the fact that the little piece of skin between your vagina and your anus might very well rip through during birth, if the doctor doesn’t cut it to allow more room for the baby to exit.

    Um..no. Yes, you can tear, but tearing all the way to your anus is much more common if you DO have an episiotomy, because hey, the dr.’s hand slipped. Hospital interventions in general, which rush labor or attempt to, are a major cause of tears, because the skin doesn’t have time to expand naturally. Another cause? A previous episiotomy…that scar tissue is not as strong. Like making a cut in a piece of paper makes it much easier to rip, vs. an uncut piece. More relaxed, unrushed, non pushing-on-your-back births mean many fewer and less-serious tears, because women’s bodies can do a very good job at birth, given the chance.

    I’m very very pro choice, but promoting birth fear in general (unless you wanted this part to be seen as an exaggeration, which wasn’t clear) is really NOT helpful considering how many women, do, eventually, give birth. Keeping them afraid of the process makes them easier to control by the (patriarchal! hey!) system of US medicine, which wants women to lie down, take their drugs, and shut up while the nice doctor “saves” them from their horrible defective bodies, preferably by a nice clean easy-to-schedule c-section, never mind the risks that come with major abdominal surgery.

    Um, not that I have a soapbox.

  24. Sarah
    Sarah May 1, 2007 at 8:24 am |

    I am not against the idea of women being shown an ultrasound if they want to see it — particularly if the scan is being done anyway for diagnostic reasons. But I guess I just don’t see what most women hope to gain from seeing it, what information they expect to get from it that will help them decide what to do about the pregnancy. If you’re not skilled in reading an ultrasound, it will probably mean nothing to you, and particularly in an early pregnancy (when most abortions happen) you probably won’t even be able to locate the embryo in the picture, never mind seeing it sucking its thumb and waving to you, or whatever.

    I can understand being curious, but why not just look at a picture in a textbook or on a website? The clinics could even have an example picture to show. Having a medically unnecessary ultrasound just seems like a pointless endeavour and a waste of everyone’s time and resources. Although presumably the woman (or her insurers) would be paying for it?

  25. Frumious B
    Frumious B May 1, 2007 at 8:31 am |

    I was stunned to hear an interviewee on NPR say that abortion is safer than giving birth. I wasn’t stunned at the fact, I knew that already. I was stunned that NPR aired the comment.

    Although presumably the woman (or her insurers) would be paying for it?

    That’s cute how you think insurance would cover a pre-abortion ultrasound. Sorry, not trying to be super harsh on you, but this comment brought all my cynicism to the fore. The woman would be paying for it, meaning the woman would not be getting either the ultrasound or the abortion b/c in many cases the financial burden would be too high. Yes, the financial burden of childbirth is high, too, but there’s a different calculation involved in coming up with x number of dollars to get an abortion as opposed to the baby is coming out and it won’t wait until I have the cash.

  26. evil fizz
    evil fizz May 1, 2007 at 8:37 am | *

    That’s cute how you think insurance would cover a pre-abortion ultrasound.

    Not that my experience is reflective of of the wider reality, but my policy would. (I’m insured under a massive group plan via my father’s job at a very large employer.)

    The real question to my mind is whether Medicaid would shell out for it. The going rate for a pelvic ultrasound (last I checked) is between $400 and $1500.

  27. Nomie
    Nomie May 1, 2007 at 8:43 am |

    I understand that women’s rights is at the heart of this issue for most readers here, but I’m not clear on exactly what right is being fought for…

    The right to get a goddamned abortion. The right to bodily autonomy and not being forced to be a life support system for an unwanted intruder for nine months.

    How is that not clear?

  28. Reba
    Reba May 1, 2007 at 8:50 am |

    So if we’re not bright enough to know what pregnancy entails when we make the decision, to end it (which shows we know something of what it entails), how the hell can we be trusted to raise children?

    I have had an abortion. I have had two children. Having children put my life at serious risk and I chose to do it anyway, despite the warnings. They let me make that particular decision. Then I made the decision that I didn’t want to do that again and scheduled a tubal ligation. My husband stepped in and offered to go under the knife instead, because recovery time was faster and we couldn’t really afford to have me out of work for very long. So if I am trusted to make the decision to procreate and to end my ability to procreate, why should I not be trusted to make the decision to NOT be pregnant when that is the best thing for all involved?

    And don’t argue with me about what would be best for an embryo, because when I did have the abortion, it wasn’t for me that I made the decision. What pro-life people really don’t seem to understand is that there are times when you are saving a life – or two – by making this decision. Unless you know exactly what sort of medication, genetic modifiers, level of mental stability, etc. the woman is dealing with, you should stay right the hell out of her business.

  29. Sarah
    Sarah May 1, 2007 at 9:02 am |

    That’s cute how you think insurance would cover a pre-abortion ultrasound.

    Heh, I thought that might be a bit optimistic. I’m not familiar with the US healthcare system, in case you couldn’t tell. But still, whoever is paying for it, if this has to be done for every pregnancy, necessary or not, that’s huge amounts of money being poured into something completely pointless. It seems like a horrible waste, though I guess people can waste their own money if they want to. But they should not be obliged.

  30. Shinobi
    Shinobi May 1, 2007 at 9:07 am |

    Soooo… I was thinking maybe some day I might want to revise my stance on having kids.

    But after reading about the whole Epistosomy thing, HELL NO.

    And by the way, I’m 25, and I have never heard of that before. Thanks health class! Is there some conspiracy not to tell us about this so that we’ll get suckered in to doing it? Because I am NOT doing that. I’m going to go hide under my desk from all the scary penises lest they slip and get me pregnant.

    …this reminds me of a quote… but I don’t remember who it is from “If men had to bear children, abortion would be a sacrament.”

  31. Silver Owl
    Silver Owl May 1, 2007 at 9:49 am |

    It’s not the women that need to see live births, the birth of a still born, the care of a premeeie, everything that can go wrong during pregnancy, everything that does happen during pregnancy but the men in the forced birth movement.

    The idea that women have no idea whatsoever of what happens in pregnancy is a projection of the ignorance of the men in the forced birth movement.

    It would be cool if the techonology were in place to hook up electrodes to their brain so that they could experience it.

  32. jackie
    jackie May 1, 2007 at 10:04 am |

    The funny thing about this for me (not funny-haha, but funny-odd) is that a LOT of women who have abortions have had children first, and many of those women, in those pregnancies, have seen ultrasounds before. I have twins, and I had five ultrasounds during my pregnancy, which is pretty standard for multiples. Believe me, I know what a developing fetus looks like! Does it change my views on abortion? Not a whit.

  33. Jivin J
    Jivin J May 1, 2007 at 10:07 am |

    Dianne,

    I’d also like to see informed consent required before a woman can agree to give up a child for adoption. It is a very damaging process and, unlike abortion, really does lead to lifelong depression in most women who do it.

    Do you have any evidence which proves the majority of women who make an adoption plan end up with lifelong depression? Or are you just making that up?

  34. Dianne
    Dianne May 1, 2007 at 11:00 am |

    Do you have any evidence which proves the majority of women who make an adoption plan end up with lifelong depression?

    Quite a bit , actually, although the problem is acknowledged to be understudied.

  35. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne May 1, 2007 at 12:45 pm |

    Do you have any evidence which proves the majority of women who make an adoption plan end up with lifelong depression?

    I don’t see any recent studies about, say, the differences between open adoption and closed adoption. And the Australian study seems to involve older women from when having a child outside of wedlock was already severely socially punished.

    I’m all for people being informed, but I’m not sure that we can really do an exact comparison between a woman whose parents smuggled her out of the house, put her in a maternity home, and wouldn’t let her see the baby for even a moment with women who are able to choose the adoptive parents for their child.

    The person I know who went through an open adoption was raped by her ex-boyfriend, who subsequently committed suicide. Her biggest fear throughout the pregnancy was that his parents would find out and try to sue her for custody. She seemed pretty much at peace with the decision and I didn’t see a huge amount of distress/grief/regret from her.

  36. Jivin J
    Jivin J May 1, 2007 at 1:14 pm |

    Dianne,
    I see nothing in either of those two abstracts (far from “quite a bit”) which says making an adoption plan “lead to lifelong depression in most women who do it.”

    Does the full text say that?

    The conclusion of the first study states, “The relinquishing mother is at risk for long-term physical, psychologic, and social repercussions.”

    The second study which is 20 years old and examined a mere 20 women says the study “demonstrates a very high incidence of pathological grief reactions which have failed to resolve although many years have elapsed since the relinquishment”

    So unless the full text says something like relinquishing a child for adoption “lead(s) to lifelong depression in most women who do it,” you might want to refrain from making that rather spurious and unsupported claim.

  37. Dianne
    Dianne May 1, 2007 at 2:56 pm |

    Uh, Jivin, you may want to read more closely. The first study was a review. ALL the papers that were reviewed for the review showed the same thing: long term, often lifelong, depression and other psychological problems after relinquishing an infant. I didn’t add more links because I didn’t want the post to get caught in the spam filter. Try medline or, better, a psych database if you want more.

    Mnem: Anecodotes aside, there is some, very preliminary evidence that open adoption is less traumatic for all concerned than closed adoption. Certainly, having a baby just disappear (the classic “closed adoption”) has to be hard.

  38. Dianne
    Dianne May 1, 2007 at 3:06 pm |

    Quick link to a keynote address with references that gives a summary of research into the problems of adoptive children and relinquishing mothers into the 1990s. I think that all women considering giving up their children for adoption should be required to read it. Just for the sake of informed consent, you know.

  39. lConservativel
    lConservativel May 1, 2007 at 3:40 pm |

    SunlessNick Says: … #20

    Thanks for the reply SunlessNick. That makes sense to me too, this will certainly be a factor in who I vote for in the future.

  40. twf
    twf May 1, 2007 at 4:17 pm |

    I’m pregnant, and I will not be re-reading this post. Not because I don’t know that all of those complications are possible, but because, knowing them, I have nevertheless chosen to continue the pregnancy. I just don’t feel like being disgusted and frightened right now.

    And when I had an abortion ten years ago, I knew exactly what I was doing then too, and what the risks and benefits were. I didn’t need condescension or an ultrasound.

  41. Theodora
    Theodora May 1, 2007 at 4:53 pm |

    lConservativel Says:
    I understand that women’s rights is at the heart of this issue for most readers here, but I’m not clear on exactly what right is being fought for.

    For me personally at least… the right to live. The complications of pregnancy would most likely be fatal for me due to living with life-threatening medical issues. Even with the best birth control, even sterilization, the failure rate is still non-zero. My husband and I know that if an accidental pregnancy were to occur, we would immediately seek an abortion as early as possible. And a future in which abortions were banned and a pregnancy would mean near-certain death for me is a terrifying prospect. I assume that you are a male and have absolutely no concept of how that feels. Do you know what it feels like to be scared to have sex with your own spouse because you weren’t sure if it was worth the risk of an accidental pregnancy (yes, I have actually felt like this in times when my health was unstable)?

    What it comes down to for me is this: I trust other women to make the medical choices that are best for them and their families. I do not trust the government to do so for me, or for others.

  42. lConservativel
    lConservativel May 1, 2007 at 10:10 pm |

    Theodora Says: …#43

    Thank you for taking the time to help me see the issue from your perspective and share some of your personal experiences, I appreciate that.

    What it comes down to for me is this: I trust other women to make the medical choices that are best for them and their families. I do not trust the government to do so for me, or for others.

    This I can relate to very strongly and, although you might resent me for pointing this out, is a very conservative idea.

  43. zuzu
    zuzu May 1, 2007 at 10:30 pm | *

    This I can relate to very strongly and, although you might resent me for pointing this out, is a very conservative idea.

    Which kind of begs the question: Why do conservatives support restrictions on abortion?

  44. mythago
    mythago May 1, 2007 at 11:25 pm |

    As I’ve posted before, when a faux-life “informed consent” bill got an amendment requiring “informed consent” about childbirth as well as abortion, the original sponsored killed it.

    The faux-lifer translation of “informed consent” is “lie to, bully, and shame those sluts so they take their punishment and give birth like good girls”.

    As for adoption, good grid. If faux-lifers can make shit up about abortion causing breast cancer, why not make shit up about the negative effects of adoption on birth mothers?

  45. lConservativel
    lConservativel May 2, 2007 at 12:33 am |

    zuzu Says:
    Which kind of begs the question: Why do conservatives support restrictions on abortion?

    I really don’t know Zuzu. Restricting abortion does not line up with my understanding of social or political conservative ideology.

    I’m sure you all have access to wikipedia so I’ll let you confirm this yourselves but as far as I’ve ever known social conservatives don’t like fast change and political conservatives think the federal government fucks up everything it touches, so keep it small and simple. So I’d like to know how anyone could say creating laws to restrict abortion is a conservative idea. I’d imagine that this is actually just a misconception created by people identifying themselves with an ideology they have never bothered to actually learn about. Ever met a self described feminist who didn’t actually understand what it means to be a feminist?

    But I’m just a mechanic in central Illinois, what the hell do I know.

  46. Dianne
    Dianne May 2, 2007 at 2:09 am |

    And if we’re requiring women to get information about ALL the risks and benefits of abortion, should we mention that abortion reduces the risk of uterine cancer??

  47. Reba
    Reba May 2, 2007 at 8:25 am |

    Well, Conservative, it seems that you know what a traditional midwest conservative is. Most of the folks I know here in Central IL are of the mind your own business unless it’s vital not to, what the hell is the government doing with our money but throw us a little farm love, and pay a little more attention to education opportunities already – school of thought.

    Sure, my husband claims it’s the third notch on the bible belt, and in some ways it is, but we haven’t been shunned for not attending church and, as near as I can tell, no one is going to judge me for how I vote, though they do appreciate it when people DO vote. I know folks denigrate “flyover country” but most of them haven’t spent time here. I spent most of my life as a coastal girl, but there’s a certain peace on the prairie – which may be why folks don’t so much care what you do, even if they would rather not know you do it. There’s more than Chicago politics keeping abortion legal in IL. Considering our government, no one wants them interfering in our lives more than they do.

  48. Jivin J
    Jivin J May 2, 2007 at 8:50 am |

    Dianne,
    You still haven’t come up with evidence to support your spurious claim that adoption “lead(s) to lifelong depression in most women who do it.”

    I see nothing in either of the two abstracts which indicates “most women” who make an adoption plan have “lifelong depression.” I’ve never argued adoption isn’t without the risk of a woman getting depressed – I’ve argued I think it is probably very unlikely you have any evidence to back up your original claim and the evidence you’ve provided leads me to believe I was right.

    You made a sloppy, overly-broad statement and you don’t have the evidence to back it up.

  49. Margaret
    Margaret May 2, 2007 at 12:05 pm |

    like the fact that the little piece of skin between your vagina and your anus might very well rip through during birth, if the doctor doesn’t cut it to allow more room for the baby to exit.

    As a mother of two, I see this cut as a western form of FGM (female genital mutilation). After painful complications from this cut (episiotomy), I still feel the scar 25 years later. After doing research on how often this cut is actually needed, I found: 2 – 4 percent. I found also that I had not needed it – my doctor had done it as a matter of routine.

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