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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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212 Responses

  1. EG
    EG December 5, 2013 at 3:55 pm |

    No. Just no.

    Would you accept a limit on freedom of religion to mean only varieties of Christianity and Judaism in exchange for the NSA stopping all domestic spying programs?

    I have a goddamn right for my body not to be used against my will.

    I might consider agreeing to such an abridgment of my rights if the deal involved building clinics offer abortions within two miles of any residence, full sex ed in schools with no opting out, no parental notifications or approval needed for any reproductive health care including abortion, no opting out of learning how to do abortions in med school, no “conscience clauses”–in other words, when they make all the concessions guaranteed to allow all women to access abortions within the first twelve weeks.

    1. Canisse
      Canisse December 5, 2013 at 5:06 pm |

      Yes, I believe that was Jill’s point. She listed all the things that would have to change for her to agree to such a restriction, and her list contained basically all of the points in yours. Her conclusion was also that it would probably never happen.

      1. EG
        EG December 5, 2013 at 5:43 pm |

        Yeah, but she said yes. I said I might consider it.

        And on consideration? Fuck no.

    2. Beatrice
      Beatrice December 6, 2013 at 2:16 pm |

      I believe, from the comments I have read on this topic, that the problem regarding contentious issues is always anchored on a certain unwillingness to compromise for the good of the majority. No political decision can satisfy 100% of the population’s needs but if the majority is helped then one can observe a positive snowball effect. So.. yes some women may ignore that they are pregnant all the way until the end of the 9 months period (I would like to see this though) and ask for an abortion at that point but then the debate is no longer about abortion, it is clearly about euthanasia! Hence the necessity to set a limit-not arbitrarily but medically informed- for both the woman and the stage of development of the foetus. If the law is built with necessary safeguards such as the exceptions included in the French law re: rape, health etc.. then it is as fair as any law can be. However, the now peripheral concerns regarding complementary preventative measures should be at the center of this debate. Abortion should only be ONE of the solutions. As it is though, it looks like some comments focus on it being the ultimate panacea that it is not. Along with it go education, social structural support and….last but not least: a health care system disengaged from all proselytizing idiots out there. Medical issues, of which abortion/contraception is one, should NOT be the realm of concern of bible thumping employers. Business/politics and religion operate a mélange de genres of the worst possible taste and ultimately the bottom line refers us back to Sophocles’ Oedipus: a society in which a father/mother could -some years later- very well “fall” for an unknown daughter/son put up for adoption at birth because mother could not have an abortion. This is reality. So, is this worth fighting about a 12 or 20 weeks limit on the fallacious ground of “moral agency” ( when having sex is already a moral agency that implies some level of control) and “body ownership” (once you are pregnant your body is no longer “yours”) rather than pushing for legalization and universal access even if it means compromising on the term limit?
      If feminists in the United States want to succeed I suggest that they reposition their arguments to include the sociological aspects of reproductive rights – cold facts- and stay clear from engaging feminists buzzwords in response to bible thumping politicians.

      1. Ally S
        Ally S December 7, 2013 at 8:16 am |

        ( when having sex is already a moral agency that implies some level of control)

        So what? Having full control over one’s uterus is a separate, but important, moral agency that uterus owners should be allowed to have. And as many folks often say, consent to sex doesn’t imply consent to pregnancy, so sexual agency is irrelevant.

        (once you are pregnant your body is no longer “yours”)

        Um, your body is always yours. The ownership you have over your body doesn’t change depending on whether you’re pregnant – just because it’s a fetus doesn’t mean it’s not technically part of your body.

        It really just sounds like you’re repeating the same old anti-choice nonsense under the guise of being concerned about women’s health.

        1. Beatrice
          Beatrice December 7, 2013 at 11:57 am |

          If you consent to sex then you ARE conscious that one of the consequences is possible pregnancy. I like to think that Uterus owners, as you call us women, are responsible owners. Unless I am mistaken we are in the driver seat (I am purposefully ignoring cases of non-consensual sex for which there are no restrictions whatsoever in France). I am absolutely, resolutely in favor of freedom of access to abortion and preventative measures but I do not like the level of discourse that suggest that we do not have “moral agency” because that we DO have at all times.
          And the claim that your body is “your body” is problematic once you ask the state to provide for its care. I am placing myself from the point of view of the legislator here and not from the women’s because emotions have no place in a debate that aim at changing policies. What J. Filipovic proposes may seem like a restriction but de facto it is not (at least in France). The 12 or now 14 weeks is the recommendation because up to that point the procedure is simple and relatively not traumatic (you get in and out). Past this limit one can still get an abortion (no questions asked) but the medical procedure gets more involved and therefore risks increase which is why there is a need for a legal framework: to protect NOT to hinder. I am sorry if I did not make my position clear. But for info I was there, in France, participating in the movement in 1974/75 and I saw that what won the day was not emotions but a wide rational discussion. I am aware however that the cultural baggage of the U.S is a quite the monster for women to fight because of the collusion between politics/religion which, in spite of what people may believe in this country is non-existent in France where these spheres are (were?) kept well separated.
          Re: the Oedipus: I was in San Francisco a few years back and there was a big demonstration in front of a church precisely about this problem. It might not be widespread but it is there. Enough that one would want to include it in this discussion as one of the valid arguments to sway the legislator… But then, I guess I am too old for the barricades.

        2. Andie
          Andie December 7, 2013 at 12:04 pm |

          P.s. Beatrice.. She says “uterus-owners” to acknowledge that some men have uteruses. Bet that just blew your mind, didn’t it?

        3. EG
          EG December 7, 2013 at 12:19 pm |

          I attribute agency and responsibility to parents who have given children up for adoption and to the children who have been adopted. If either party wishes to avoid the remote possibility of romantic involvement with birth parents or children, all they have to do is refrain from romantic relationships with people of the appropriate age. I don’t see what role government has in it at all.

          Further, if they are both consenting adults with no history of a parent-child relationship, I don’t really see why the government should give a shit.

          If you consent to sex then you ARE conscious that one of the consequences is possible pregnancy.

          Indeed. And one of the ways of handling that consequence is by having an abortion.

          And the claim that your body is “your body” is problematic once you ask the state to provide for its care.

          Nonsense. The state has no justification for existence other than the ability and responsibility to improve life and provide care for its inhabitants. It is my body, and that is precisely why the state should be providing care.

          but the medical procedure gets more involved and therefore risks increase which is why there is a need for a legal framework: to protect NOT to hinder.

          No. A first-trimester abortion is far safer and less involved than childbirth, but there is no permission-required framework around that. It is about hindrance, not protection.

        4. Ally S
          Ally S December 7, 2013 at 12:23 pm |

          If you consent to sex then you ARE conscious that one of the consequences is possible pregnancy.

          So what? That still doesn’t imply that I (as a hypothetical uterus-owner) don’t consent to pregnancy in such a situation. Many people who are unwilling to become pregnant still have sex. Awareness of consequences doesn’t imply consent to those consequences.

          And the claim that your body is “your body” is problematic once you ask the state to provide for its care.

          As an anarchist, I vehemently oppose the notion that the state has the right to own people’s bodies. But that’s beside the point. In any case, it makes no sense to say that the provision of care always implies control over the people being cared for. Women who have care-providers do the abortions for them are consenting to the abortions, and so not being controlled by the care-providers.

        5. Ally S
          Ally S December 7, 2013 at 12:38 pm |

          That still doesn’t imply that I (as a hypothetical uterus-owner) don’t consent to pregnancy in such a situation.

          Sorry, that should be read as

          That still doesn’t imply that I (as a hypothetical uterus-owner) consent to pregnancy in such a situation.

        6. kittehserf
          kittehserf December 7, 2013 at 6:41 pm |

          And the claim that your body is “your body” is problematic once you ask the state to provide for its care. I am placing myself from the point of view of the legislator here and not from the women’s because emotions have no place in a debate that aim at changing policies.

          Bullshit. Just bullshit. Is my body not my own because Medicare (that’s Australian Medicare, our universal basic health cover) happens to pay or partly pay for procedures?

          I bet you don’t think you belong to an insurance company if it pays for your dental work. I’m betting this is all about because it’s women (mostly) who are pregnant; it’s the same-old, same-old thing about women being incubators, not people.

          Also, who the FUCK do you think you are, telling people “emotions have no place in a debate that aims at changing legislation”? First, this isn’t any such thing; it’s a meaningless hypothetical. Second, if you really expect people from a class whose lives and health and basic human autonomy are regularly taken away on the basis of their ability to conceive then you really should go back to whatever Planet Superiority you come from.

      2. EG
        EG December 7, 2013 at 9:33 am |

        ultimately the bottom line refers us back to Sophocles’ Oedipus: a society in which a father/mother could -some years later- very well “fall” for an unknown daughter/son put up for adoption at birth because mother could not have an abortion. This is reality.

        No, that’s not reality. Reality consists of things that actually happen. Could you provide an instance of this actually happening? The myth of Oedipus is not actually documentary evidence.

        once you are pregnant your body is no longer “yours”

        Of course it is–where did you get this notion?

  2. 10G
    10G December 5, 2013 at 4:04 pm |

    Nono, and oh dear God, NOOOOOOO. That is wrong on SO many levels, and leaves too much room for women who want/need to terminate pregnancies to be taken advantage of/lied to/misled. No way. Sorry.

  3. liz
    liz December 5, 2013 at 4:15 pm |

    No. Just no. I know too many people who didn’t know they were pregnant until after 12 weeks.

    Why not take Sweden, Denmark, or Norway for your thought experiment. Lowest abortions rates in the world, and practically no restrictions.

    1. Canisse
      Canisse December 5, 2013 at 5:11 pm |

      With full sexual education, women are probably quicker to notice they are pregnant. And it also happens less often. And they’re less afraid to check if being pregnant wouldn’t be a complete disaster.
      I don’t actually know the statistics for women missing the 12-weeks deadline in France, but I’d guess it’s not as high as you think.

      1. Hermione Stranger
        Hermione Stranger December 6, 2013 at 12:11 am |

        But it’s not always an issue of being ill-informed, or too scared to pee on a stick. There are a wide variety of abnormal medical issues that can pop up, and while they aren’t the norm, they still happen. You shouldn’t be stripped of your right to bodily autonomy just because you would have known in time if only you had a different body from the one you actually do. People who’ve already received the short end of the stick, medically speaking, shouldn’t be thrown under the bus.

        1. Denise Winters
          Denise Winters December 6, 2013 at 12:52 am |

          Agreed. As just one example, there are a number of people whose period never fully regulates, so going several months with no period would not necessarily be an indicator of pregnancy.

        2. thinksnake
          thinksnake December 6, 2013 at 2:15 am |

          Plus people who maintain periods during pregnancy.

        3. Chataya
          Chataya December 6, 2013 at 1:39 pm |

          When I was on the pill, I had a period every 91 days. On my current birth control method (hormonal IUD), I could go years without a period. Neither method is 100% effective.

        4. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl December 6, 2013 at 1:54 pm |

          Yep. See my story below. I didn’t know I was pregnant because I was only six months postpartum and had a baby who was a crappy sleeper and still nursing a billionty times a day. Which translated to wonky periods and plenty of opportunity to mistake pregnancy symptoms for said postpartumness and and newb-induced exhaustion.

          And I had plenty of knowledge of reproduction and contraception. That wasn’t the issue by a long shot.

        5. (BFing) Sarah
          (BFing) Sarah December 6, 2013 at 3:01 pm |

          Yes, but as Jill wrote, there are exceptions to the 12 wk rule in France. It is freely accessible before that point and restricted, but NOT banned, after that point. There are exceptions made for fetal abnormality and for the health (including mental health) of the mother. So if you find out you are pregnant late and you believe that having a baby will be a danger to your mental health, you can get an abortion.

    2. Sukrose
      Sukrose December 6, 2013 at 5:40 pm |

      The abortion laws in Norway and Denmark are quite similar to the French laws. I believe the “deadline” was expanded to 18 weeks in Sweden a few years ago, but there are definitely restrictions in all the Nordic countries. I seems to me like the US laws are far more liberal.

      1. Mortality
        Mortality December 8, 2013 at 8:16 am |

        From what I’ve read about abortion in the states I’d much rather be right here in Sweden. Here I can get an abortion (if I need one) without any trouble at all. And I’m a student with next to no income. Abortions here are completely without guilt-tripping or “you have to have this ultrasound first” or any other weird stuff. Here it’s viewed as a medical procedure. It’s easy to get, cheap and the medical staff won’t treat you much different than if you come in for any other medical procedure.

        1. EG
          EG December 8, 2013 at 9:14 am |

          I have a close friend from Sweden, and from what I can tell, they do everything much better there.

  4. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 5, 2013 at 4:32 pm |

    My general stance is that abortion should be entirely unrestricted up to the point of fetal viability, and then it should be permissible in cases of the pregnant person’s health (including mental health), life or fetal anomaly.

    Given your caveat for mental health, unless you believe there are women who are having late-term abortions because of the rollicking fun I understand the abortion process to be, doesn’t this mean you support unrestricted abortion at all stages?

    1. PrettyAmiable
      PrettyAmiable December 5, 2013 at 5:21 pm |

      Sorry – and just to be clear, I do support abortion as an option in all cases precisely because I think arguing as above is political rhetoric designed to pander to anti-choice folks. I feel like we’re all better than that.

      1. mamram
        mamram December 6, 2013 at 12:28 pm |

        Yes this.

    2. Alexandra
      Alexandra December 6, 2013 at 7:32 pm |

      Not the same thing. I have bipolar disorder, and pregnancy could cause a manic or depressive episode which might end my life; that’s not the same thing as pregnancy or childbirth making someone miserable.

  5. Chataya
    Chataya December 5, 2013 at 4:33 pm |

    Fuck no. Anyone capable of becoming pregnant should be able to decide to not be pregnant whenever zie wants, whether it is at 9 weeks or 35 weeks.

    1. lyricist
      lyricist December 6, 2013 at 6:54 am |

      And anyone capable of becoming a mother should be able to decide not to be a mother whenever she wants, whether it is at 35 weeks or 3.5 years?

      1. EG
        EG December 6, 2013 at 11:54 am |

        That’s the system we have in place, genius. There’s no time limit on giving a child up for adoption.

      2. Lolagirl
        Lolagirl December 6, 2013 at 12:03 pm |

        Of course, because a 35 week fetus is totally, exactly the same as a 3 1/2 year old.

        Oh, wait, no they aren’t. Having both been 35 weeks pregnant and having a real, live 3 1/2 year old running around my house right this very second, I feel quite confident in saying your equivalency is an utterly false one, lyricist.

        But way to be disingenuous to the point of absurdity!

        1. (BFing) Sarah
          (BFing) Sarah December 6, 2013 at 3:07 pm |

          Then again, a 35 week fetus is totally viable and often completely healthy with no medical intervention…and no less alive and real once born than a 3.5 year old. But, the falseness of this argument is that people actually choose to have tons of 35 week abortions. That’s just not the case. Most people have abortions early on, which makes sense. I don’t think abortion should be unrestricted up to 40 weeks, but I don’t think it is relevant b/c people are not clamoring to have abortions the week before their due date.

        2. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl December 6, 2013 at 4:01 pm |

          Sarah, I get your point, but the truth is that even at 35 weeks a delivered fetus still has underdeveloped lungs and often experiences pulmonary distress. They also have high rates of sucking and swallowing problems, and difficulty maintaining their body temperature. To the extent that a huge percentage of them will need a stay in the NICU for at least one of these complications, Which is why I was on bed rest from 31 to 38 weeks, because we wanted to prevent my delivering such a pre-term infant.

        3. (BFing) Sarah
          (BFing) Sarah December 6, 2013 at 6:43 pm |

          Yes, yes, I know. I spent from week 18 to week 37 on bedrest with my first, due to just so many stupid pregnancy complications. It was super awesome. Everyone would love to avoid preterm labor, b/c preemies are more likely to suffer health complications, clearly. But, it is very possible that a 35 weeker would not suffer any consequences of being born early. Actually slightly less than half of infants born at 34-36 weeks are admitted to a special care nursery. But, no one would argue (would they?) that an infant in the NICU is any less alive and worthy of life than a child of 3 or 10 or whatever age. Whenever we start talking about very late in the game fetuses I cringe because I feel like 1) it is not a point that will ever likely make people re-consider a pro-life stance and 2) it is totally irrelevant and draws attention away from the vast majority of abortions. We all know MOST abortions don’t occur after viability. We are dealing with pro-lifers that believe that there is NO right time to have an abortion. I don’t think the way to argue with them about abortion is to argue that a 35 week fetus is not a real child. I feel like we need to keep pointing out that people don’t really abort 35 week fetuses, because I think that most pro-lifers get faulty information from sources like…church. I think we need to keep pointing out that less than 2% of abortions occur after 21 weeks. LESS THAN 2%! And most of those are due to extreme circumstances like fetal abnormalities and health of the mother. I don’t see what a 8 wk fetus has to do with a child…but I can see what a 35 week fetus has to do with a child…and this is coming from a staunchly pro-choice individual. I’d rather keep the focus on how rarely those abortions happen.

      3. Chataya
        Chataya December 6, 2013 at 1:43 pm |

        Well, my mother decided she didn’t want to be a mother anymore at 13 years, and it’s probably the only reason I am alive today. So fuck your disingenuous question.

        A fetus is not a baby or a toddler.

        1. Beatrice
          Beatrice December 6, 2013 at 2:57 pm |

          Chataya you may want to read a history of abortion starting with Aristotle and Hippocrates, then looking at what the medieval catholic church, through Saint Augustine, defined as a viable life form. You will be surprised that all of them agreed that the 12 weeks period is the “turning point”… and that a “baby” starts then. Hence the loose limitation in the French Law and the current debate in the U.S.

        2. Chataya
          Chataya December 6, 2013 at 4:35 pm |

          Why should I give two shits what men think about abortion? Why should I give a single shit what religion thinks about abortion? Especially one with such a stellar record on the autonomy of women as the fucking Catholic Church.

          A 12 week old fetus isn’t even viable with modern medicine. But clearly I, with my inferior lady brain, should just accept what some long dead guy with my inferior soul and fewer teeth.

        3. ldouglas
          ldouglas December 6, 2013 at 4:40 pm |

          Chataya you may want to read a history of abortion starting with Aristotle and Hippocrates, then looking at what the medieval catholic church, through Saint Augustine, defined as a viable life form. You will be surprised that all of them agreed that the 12 weeks period is the “turning point”… and that a “baby” starts then. Hence the loose limitation in the French Law and the current debate in the U.S.

          I can’t imagine a worse set of places to look.

        4. kittehserf
          kittehserf December 6, 2013 at 8:01 pm |

          Beatrice, you may notice Chataya referenced her mother being thirteen YEARS old. What has this twelve-week shit to do with that?

        5. EG
          EG December 6, 2013 at 8:28 pm |

          If I were going to research a history of abortion, I would read books about women, their lives, their practices, and then I’d look into histories of midwives.

          Augustine, the medieval Catholic Church–really, any church of any period, Hippocrates–they wouldn’t even cross my mind as being even slightly relevant.

          Weird, I know.

        6. Chataya
          Chataya December 6, 2013 at 8:33 pm |

          @Kittehserf

          Ah, I realize that was worded ambiguously, but I was using lyricists’s wording:

          And anyone capable of becoming a mother should be able to decide not to be a mother whenever she wants, whether it is at 35 weeks or 3.5 years?

          I was 13, not my mother.

        7. kittehserf
          kittehserf December 6, 2013 at 8:47 pm |

          My apologies, Chataya! I thought you meant your mother had had to have an abortion at 13, and that you came along when she was an adult.

        8. Beatrice
          Beatrice December 7, 2013 at 1:12 am |

          To Chataya, Kitehserf…re: my comment about reading the history of abortion which seems to be misunderstood. When you look at this history you will realize that throughout history women were in charge of their own reproductive problems. It is only during the 19th century, the industrial era, that demographics became a matter of importance for the state and therefore reproduction started to be the object of legal control (criminalization) until 1975. Aristotle and Hippocrates as well as Saint Augustine if you really read them were quite enlightened. My point was that in order to argue the political nature of reproductive rights it is always better to be informed of the greater framework and stay away from the drama…or the cussing on this forum. Also I wrote this as a response to Chataya’s comment (may be a problem with her formulation?) re: fetus vs baby/toddler which is I believe one of the arguments used by people opposed to abortion. If you want to read only women on the topic treat yourselves to Marie France Maurel.
          Finally one last point: it looks like as of 2004 in France the term limit was pushed to 14 weeks.
          Let’s keep the discussion civil will you?

        9. kittehserf
          kittehserf December 7, 2013 at 6:45 pm |

          When you look at this history you will realize that throughout history women were in charge of their own reproductive problems. It is only during the 19th century, the industrial era, that demographics became a matter of importance for the state and therefore reproduction started to be the object of legal control (criminalization) until 1975.

          FAIL.

          Procuring an abortion was a capital crime in seventeenth-century France.

        10. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune December 7, 2013 at 7:35 pm |

          When you look at this history you will realize that throughout history women were in charge of their own reproductive problems.

          LOLOLOLOL no. Allow me to direct you to the entirety of Indian history.

        11. Miranda
          Miranda December 7, 2013 at 7:47 pm |

          LOLOLOLOL no. Allow me to direct you to the entirety of Indian history.

          Yeah I know, “Ancient Greeks + Select Medieval Catholic Scholars” != “all of human history.”

          My point was that in order to argue the political nature of reproductive rights it is always better to be informed of the greater framework and stay away from the drama…or the cussing on this forum.

          Thanks. It’s been approximately fourteen hours since someone condescended to me about women’s rights, and I needed to be put in my place again.

        12. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune December 7, 2013 at 7:58 pm |

          Aristotle and Hippocrates as well as Saint Augustine if you really read them were quite enlightened.

          Also…Aristotle? Enlightened about women? Dude literally did not know how many teeth women had.

        13. kittehserf
          kittehserf December 7, 2013 at 8:26 pm |

          Hey, Beatrice? You don’t like the swearing on this forum, you don’t have to read it.

          “Let’s keep it civil” is usually code for “you women should stop being so angry! You should listen to what the coolrationallogical MENZ have to say when they decide what happens to your body.”

          There’s nothing civil about your internalised misogyny and your condescension, or quoting men from thousands of years ago.

          Protip: even if they were enlightened for their times (highly questionable) that only demonstrates how bad their times were. It doesn’t make them enlightened for now, or relevant, for that matter.

        14. Donna L
          Donna L December 7, 2013 at 8:31 pm |

          Beatrice, I really think you need to find a different historical source, if you genuinely believe what you said about reproduction only becoming the object of legal control in the 19th century, and think that the beliefs of Aristotle and Augustine about “vegetable souls” and the like supports the notion of any kind of generalized early enlightenment on the subject. See these discussions of beliefs in the early Catholic Church.

          http://www.religioustolerance.org/abo_hist.htm

          And even though anti-abortion statutes began to be passed in the UK and USA only in the early 19th century, abortion had already been considered a violation of common law, and canon law, well before that. As for Europe, look at the Visigothic Code, dating back to the 7th century:

          http://libro.uca.edu/vcode/vg6-3.pdf

          And that’s not even considering non-Western cultures.

        15. Funty
          Funty December 10, 2013 at 6:08 pm |

          Yes, the religious blokes, cloistered away from society certainly wrote a lot of things about abortion, angels on pinheads and such.
          All while being a long way away from women, who lived together, worked together, shared rooms together and ending up sharing herbal recipes for inexplicable woman maladies together.

          “Everyone agreed she took the Tansy for her irregular periods”

  6. Dogster
    Dogster December 5, 2013 at 4:45 pm |

    No. Scratch that, hell fucking no. If that were the law, I’d be dead right now. I had an abortion done at 13 weeks several years ago; if I hadn’t been able to do that, I’d have killed myself. That’s not hyperbole. That’s how much I do not want to carry or birth another human being.

    And none of the tradeoffs you suggest would have helped. I was using more than one form of birth control when it happened. I wasn’t raped or abused, but was in a long-term, committed, consensual relationship. But it still happened, I needed to terminate the pregnancy, and if you think it’s worth destroying people like me to appease a vocal minority, you’re as dangerous as they are.

    1. mamram
      mamram December 6, 2013 at 12:30 pm |

      “But it still happened, I needed to terminate the pregnancy, and if you think it’s worth destroying people like me to appease a vocal minority, you’re as dangerous as they are.”

      This is 100% how I feel about this.

    2. Beatrice
      Beatrice December 6, 2013 at 3:01 pm |

      Why do you think that anyone would want to “destroy” you? A law always makes allowances for exceptions…you would be one.

      1. mamram
        mamram December 6, 2013 at 4:35 pm |

        And a law like this will always have collateral damage. You may be okay with that, but not everyone is.

      2. kittehserf
        kittehserf December 6, 2013 at 8:04 pm |

        Not good enough. You’ll still get those “exceptions” being ignored by hospitals or doctors who either don’t know or don’t care, who’d rather see a woman die than save her life by performing an abortion.

        1. Beatrice
          Beatrice December 7, 2013 at 1:19 am |

          Not where I come from! See….the Hippocratic oath (what a great man he was!) stipulates very clearly: first do no harm. And I have yet to meet a physician who would violate this oath. Where do you live Kittehserf? But…this is beside the point really.

        2. kittehserf
          kittehserf December 7, 2013 at 1:43 am |

          I’m inclined to ask where you live, Beatrice, that you seem to know nothing about the woman who was allowed to die in Ireland, because she was miscarrying and the hospital refused to help her “while the baby was alive”, or the woman who was turned away three times from a Catholic hospital in the US, while she was miscarrying, and whose life was endangered by the blood loss and infection.

          You’re in fantasy land if you think the Hippocratic Oath (which is not, btw, a binding legal thing anyway) made a shred of difference in those cases and thousands of others.

          Oh, and I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not have doctors bound by what was considered right and good in ancient Greece. We have moved on just a bit since then.

        3. kittehserf
          kittehserf December 7, 2013 at 1:54 am |

          Also, how do you equate “doing no harm” with sacrificing a woman’s life, or long-term health, or anything else, in favour of a fetus?

    3. (BFing) Sarah
      (BFing) Sarah December 6, 2013 at 3:09 pm |

      That’s why Jill specified this:

      Past the 12-week mark, abortion is restricted, unless the pregnancy threatens the woman’s life or health (including mental health) or if severe fetal abnormalities, which often cannot be identified until later in a pregnancy, are discovered. There are also exceptions for rape and incest. Minors do not need their parents’ consent to terminate a pregnancy but must come to the procedure with an adult of their choosing.

      Come on, people, read the article first.

      1. mamram
        mamram December 6, 2013 at 3:38 pm |

        I did read the article, and I feel like a lot of folks here don’t really understand how terrifying the prospect of an unwanted pregnancy/baby is for many people. An exception for mental health means that rather than having the actual right to defend myself against a malignant invasion, I’d be at the mercy of somebody else’s judgment. That’s unacceptable to me, sorry.

        1. (BFing) Sarah
          (BFing) Sarah December 6, 2013 at 6:55 pm |

          My understanding of the French system is that if you say your health would be at risk if you had the baby, they sign off on it without giving you a hard time. I get why that wouldn’t be good enough for you, though. I can see both sides of this, honestly. And I do know what you mean, as I definitely had an unplanned pregnancy myself. AND it was a medically dangerous pregnancy. And it sucked. So I get you. I chose to have the baby, but I wouldn’t want anyone else to be able to make that choice for me, so I get what you are saying.

        2. kittehserf
          kittehserf December 6, 2013 at 8:05 pm |

          Seconded, mamram.

      2. Lolagirl
        Lolagirl December 6, 2013 at 4:05 pm |

        Sarah, the point I and others have been making is that the restriction is largely a legal fiction. It isn’t enforced in any real manner. The article in question operated from the premise that there was a bright line with several exceptions. The truth is that it’s a very fuzzy line in the sand that is in practice ignored and disregarded.

        1. (BFing) Sarah
          (BFing) Sarah December 6, 2013 at 6:51 pm |

          The impression I got from the article is that Jill knows that and is pointing out how pro-lifers are using the French as an example of 12 week restrictions stupidly. What I got from the article is her saying to those pro-lifers, basically, “Um, okay. So you want the French system of “12 week restrictions”? Does it come along with all of the other aspects of the French system? Cuz I don’t think you’d like that, but I’d be cool with it!” Sort of like, “I don’t think that word means what YOU THINK it means…” I read what you wrote below about how that kind of system goes along with a French mentality, that could never happen in the U.S. I agree with that. Would never happen here. I guess I read the post differently. Like she wasn’t saying it WOULD happen here, she was just saying she would take that system over our system, if that was possible, even though it is not. Sorry, Jill, if this is not what you meant.

        2. shfree
          shfree December 6, 2013 at 8:05 pm |

          Okay, you might say that the twelve week cut off is a legal fiction, but frankly that isn’t something that I can trust. Assholes are in every profession, even in progressive (yet hugely racist and Catholic, remember) France, and even if they are performing a much needed service. And not every doctor is a Tiller, who by all accounts trusted the women who he served, or the doctor at my old clinic, who believed that BC should be over the counter and who only stopped performing later term procedures because they were physically too draining for him. (He has since passed away) Do you honestly think that every single doctor will just magically okay every single pregnant person’s post 12 week procedure here, in the US?

          No pregnant person should have to sit down and justify their reasons for having an abortion, period. That is my huge, huge sticking point here. I am just opposed at ceding the control over my body to an outsider, so I don’t see why others should have to either.

        3. Beatrice
          Beatrice December 7, 2013 at 1:30 am |

          “No pregnant person should have to sit down and justify their reasons for having an abortion, period. That is my huge, huge sticking point here. I am just opposed at ceding the control over my body to an outsider, so I don’t see why others should have to either.”
          It is not so much a matter of “justifying” your decision as it is to define a legally sound and enforceable framework and support system so that the procedure is handled with the least possible trauma. But when you talk about being opposed to ceding the control of your body to an outsider you stop making sense: short of using a knitting needle on yourself you DO have to rely on professional help.

        4. kittehserf
          kittehserf December 7, 2013 at 1:39 am |

          It is not so much a matter of “justifying” your decision as it is to define a legally sound and enforceable framework and support system so that the procedure is handled with the least possible trauma.

          What’s so difficult about states minding their own business and NOT making rules about when, how and if women terminate their pregnancies? There, that’s nice and simple and they don’t have to enforce a thing. How much of the trauma comes from the procedure itself, and how much from the endless line of busybodies, forced-birthers and sundry creepsters who keep hammering home the message You Are Wrong, You Are Killing Your Babyeeee, You Deserve To Die, Your Body Is Not Yours, etc, etc …

          There are pregnant people for whom abortion is not traumatic at all. There are pregnant people who are just the opposite. But how much of the potential psychological trauma could be removed!

          But when you talk about being opposed to ceding the control of your body to an outsider you stop making sense: short of using a knitting needle on yourself you DO have to rely on professional help.

          Not the same thing and you know it. Trusting a professional health worker to do a procedure =/= the government, or any other group, preventing a person from making decisions about what treatment to seek.

        5. shfree
          shfree December 7, 2013 at 10:44 am |

          But when you talk about being opposed to ceding the control of your body to an outsider you stop making sense: short of using a knitting needle on yourself you DO have to rely on professional help.

          You are adorable.

          I’ve read through this thread, and seen the bullshittery you have written. (Are you clutching your pearls at my cussing?) And whatever views Augustine, Aristotle, whatever other white dude from centuries ago you feel like name dropping, the fact remains they were from centuries ago, and it matters not at all to the here and now. Plus this whole issue isn’t a philosophic one, it is grounded in people’s lives and bodies. That is why people get all caught up in the “drama”, don’t want to address this hypothetical question as asked, because it affects them on a deep, profound, scary as fuck level. Have some damn empathy.

          (Oh, and real quick: don’t think a forced birthing doctor, who do exist, can’t twist the Hippocratic Oath to mean “Do no harm to the baybeeeeez, the women don’t matter as much.” because they do.)

        6. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl December 7, 2013 at 6:36 pm |

          shfree, France is not a Catholic country, it by law a secular one and that is taken very seriously there. I’m curious to hear what your first hand knowledge is regarding access to contraception and abortion services being limited as a result of religious sentiment. I and others have relayed our first hand experience with how openly they are provided in France.

          Your suspicions regarding racism in France are somewhat accurate. But, in my experience, that actually translates into providing even more aggressively open access to abortion and contraception for WOC. Because the presumption is that it is preferable for them to not have children and become even more of a burden on the social safety net.

          And yes, I find that pov disgusting and reprehensible. You will get zero argument from me in that regard.

          I’m having a difficult time finding any substantive English language sources on this subject. But here’s a link to the Wikipedia article on IVG, as abortion is called in France, that provides a pretty good outline.

          http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interruption_volontaire_de_grossesse_en_France

        7. shfree
          shfree December 7, 2013 at 8:29 pm |

          You are right, Lolagirl, in that I should have been more specific. While the government maintains the policy of lacite, (fancy French for separation of church and state, basically) it is, historically a culturally Catholic country, and that shit is hard to wipe away. Even with lacite, private Catholic schools are still funded by the government, even if the church itself doesn’t receive funds. No other religious schools get this benefit, and the education in Catholic schools is often considered superior to public, so…there you go. (I did a paper on the separation of church and state, one of the countries I wrote on was France, I can dig up the sources if you like.)

          But again, despite the fact that the majority of people in France are pro choice, and the odds that most providers would be willing to just rubber stamp any request for a procedure after 12 weeks, most is not all. And no pregnant person should have to get the okay from someone who isn’t them to have an abortion, even if it is, in practice, “just a technicality”. Because there will be a time when it isn’t. Again, that is my biggest problem with the hypothetical. It would take a situation that doesn’t exist in the world, (because I refuse to believe that every single pregnant person in France who has wanted an abortion after 12 weeks has gotten one without having to jump through some hoops that they might not have had to if they had lived near a clinic that offered late term abortions here. I get to add in my hypothetical situations too.) and asked us to try to imagine it working here, in the US. Which, no. It’s basically a pointless waste. At no point should someone else have the veto power as to whether or not a pregnant person gets to have the abortion they seek.

        8. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl December 7, 2013 at 9:33 pm |

          I agree with your positions on the rest of this stuff. The french women I’ve known who have received abortions never reporting experiencing any sort of gate keeping involved in obtaining the procedure. And while I agree with your concerns that the statutory scheme as written carries with it that potential, the cultural and political climate in France simply doesn’t give rise to opportunities for that to happen. Overall, I’m absolutely in agreement with you that this whole hypothetical is not worth entertaining anyway.

          My objection with your France is a Catholic country premise is also because I’ve seen that tossed around in various conservative journalistic circles as a sort of parallel to the premise that the U.S. is a Christian country. Neither is true, with the former being even more untrue than the latter. Both used for bullshit reasons to try and force religion onto any and all. Regardless of their affiliations or inclinations a/religiously.

        9. Meropi
          Meropi December 10, 2013 at 8:51 pm |

          What’s so difficult about states minding their own business and NOT making rules about when, how and if women terminate their pregnancies? There, that’s nice and simple and they don’t have to enforce a thing. How much of the trauma comes from the procedure itself, and how much from the endless line of busybodies, forced-birthers and sundry creepsters who keep hammering home the message You Are Wrong, You Are Killing Your Babyeeee, You Deserve To Die, Your Body Is Not Yours, etc, etc …

          The trauma the state is concerned with is primarily physical trauma, since the more advanced the pregnancy the more complicated, more invasive and riskier the procedure. There is nothing wrong with the existence of legal framework for medical interventions that pose increased risk. It is medically sounder to strive to prevent a higher number of riskier procedures in order to decrease the rates of complications resulted from them. It is better both for people with uteri and for the state when there is less exposure to risk. And again, it does not mean that later term abortions are not prohibited, just regulated. And this system works. Not just in France, pretty much everywhere in the EU.

        10. shfree
          shfree December 10, 2013 at 9:52 pm |

          My objection with your France is a Catholic country premise is also because I’ve seen that tossed around in various conservative journalistic circles as a sort of parallel to the premise that the U.S. is a Christian country.

          Ah, I see, I view it more as a warning than anything else, kind of like a “Beware, falling rocks” sign. My concerns are probably overstated, because France is certainly more socially liberal here and definitely more secular, but I still am frustrated on a visceral level of how France structures their abortion policy. Maybe it is just because of my experiences with my health issues, but even though they easily rubber stamp those abortions, it sticks in my craw that pregnant people still have to ask for permission, and have to give a reason why they want one. And it can’t just be “because I want one.”

        11. Meropi
          Meropi December 11, 2013 at 5:37 am |

          And again, it does not mean that later term abortions are not prohibited, just regulated.

          I obviously meant to write ‘it does not mean it is prohibited’.

        12. Meropi
          Meropi December 11, 2013 at 5:37 am |

          And again, it does not mean that later term abortions are not prohibited, just regulated.

          I obviously meant to write ‘it does not mean it is prohibited’.

      3. Meropi
        Meropi December 10, 2013 at 8:59 pm |

        @shree – Don’t mean to be pedantic but I assume you’re referring to ‘laïcité in your post. It has the same root as the adjective ‘lay’ in English.

        1. shfree
          shfree December 10, 2013 at 9:39 pm |

          Yes, that is what I mean, and no, it isn’t pedantic to correct my language here. French isn’t my native tongue, and I only remember enough to get in the way of any Spanish I’ve tried to learn academically.

  7. Computer Soldier Porygon
    Computer Soldier Porygon December 5, 2013 at 5:16 pm |

    What a bizarre question. Gun to my head? Yeah… maybe.

    Thankfully, there is not a gun to my head, and I’m just some jerk with an internet connection who doesn’t get to make sweeping decisions like that. Phew.

  8. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
    The Kittehs' Unpaid Help December 5, 2013 at 5:23 pm |

    What everyone else already said. No. It’s just not good enough.

    1. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
      The Kittehs' Unpaid Help December 5, 2013 at 5:30 pm |

      Plus, “guarantees” we would never fight it again aren’t worth a bucket of cold spit. Governments come and go. Fanatics get the balance of power. It’s happening right now in Victoria: an evangelical who’s against any abortion holds the balance in the State government, and suddenly there’s a push for legislation removing the requirement for anti-choice doctors to refer patients. “Oh no, we’re not trying to restrict women’s access to abortion, we’d never take that away,” huffs the Premier, but what is this if not stealthily doing just that, by putting more power back in the hands of anti-choice doctors?

      So yeah, bullshit about the likelihood of women’s reproductive rights ever being set in stone like that. It’s wishful thinking, and what’s the point of thought experiments like that, seriously? The Repugs are never going to make a deal like that anyway. Give the reactionaries an inch …

      1. EG
        EG December 5, 2013 at 5:48 pm |

        It’s wishful thinking, and what’s the point of thought experiments like that, seriously?

        I agree. I hate hypotheticals.

        Snapple used to have a series of commercials spoofing “thought experiments” like this, called “Which would be worse?” My favorite one went something like this:

        Joe: Which would be worse, to have to sleep in a nest every night, or to have to end every sentence with “Just kidding”?

        Bill: Uh…what if I had to call 911? Would I have to say “Just kidding” then?

        Joe: Yes, but you could say it in the romance language of your choice.

        Bill: Could I have pillows in the nest?

        Joe: No, but you could have a spare nest for overnight guests.

        The only way to win this game is not to play.

        1. ldouglas
          ldouglas December 5, 2013 at 7:50 pm |

          If you don’t enjoy this type of question/post, don’t engage with it. No need to come into it and tell everyone else to stop thinking about the question.

        2. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help December 5, 2013 at 9:01 pm |

          Excuse me? Someone asks if I’d give away a right that could be the saving of my life (or other lives: see Dogster’s comment above) and because they frame it as a “thought experiment” we’re not allowed to say FUCK NO to the idea, or mention that thought experiments are distasteful?

        3. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help December 5, 2013 at 9:02 pm |

          Also, asking what’s the point of thought experiments =/= telling anyone else to stop thinking about it or engaging with it.

        4. ldouglas
          ldouglas December 5, 2013 at 9:04 pm |

          Someone asks if I’d give away a right that could be the saving of my life (or other lives: see Dogster’s comment above) and because they frame it as a “thought experiment” we’re not allowed to say FUCK NO to the idea

          Of course you are. That’s why it’s a question.

        5. EG
          EG December 5, 2013 at 9:46 pm |

          No need to come into it and tell everyone else to stop thinking about the question.

          Do let me know where I did that.

        6. kittehserf
          kittehserf December 6, 2013 at 3:23 am |

          ldouglas, then why the fuck are you complaining because EG and I said we don’t like hypotheticals or thought experiments? You’re the one saying we shouldn’t be on the thread, yet accusing us of doing just that. To wit:

          “If you don’t enjoy this type of question/post, don’t engage with it. No need to come into it and tell everyone else to stop thinking about the question.”

  9. ldouglas
    ldouglas December 5, 2013 at 5:38 pm |

    In a heartbeat. When I look at the arc of the abortion fight in this country, it’s not one that looks super promising for pro-choice activists; in general, the trend is increasing restrictions on abortion (whether openly or covertly). The unfortunate reality is that the other side is better funded, better organized, more energetic, and more popular (and getting still more so every year). The only relevant questions I see is this: “would the system we got with that trade be better than ours is currently or likely to become in the future?” I think the answer is a resounding yes, which makes it a no-brainer.

    I think the people who are responding “it’s wrong to limit abortion to 12 weeks” are right, but also missing the point. The question is if trading a bad thing- limiting abortion to 12 weeks- for several good things- including better access to abortion and vastly improved reproductive health care- is worth it. It’s totally legitimate to say you don’t think it’s a worthwhile trade, but the simple fact that you’d prefer not to limit abortion to 12 weeks doesn’t answer the question.

    1. Tony
      Tony December 5, 2013 at 6:41 pm |

      But no trade is being offered.

      The only way to get a good deal would be to bargain from a position of strength. Asking to bargain when you’re down doesn’t lead to much compromise from the other side, as it signals we’re about to be defeated.

      1. ldouglas
        ldouglas December 5, 2013 at 7:15 pm |

        It’s a thought experiment, not a question about political strategy.

        1. EG
          EG December 5, 2013 at 7:30 pm |

          If it’s not a strategy exercise, what’s the point?

        2. ldouglas
          ldouglas December 5, 2013 at 7:48 pm |

          Because it’s an interesting question?

        3. EG
          EG December 5, 2013 at 9:44 pm |

          Tastes vary, I guess. It doesn’t seem very interesting to me–more like “Would you rather give up tea or chocolate?”

          Now, an interesting question would be, in the words of a late friend’s ex-boyfriend, “If you had to choose between being ten feet tall, or having your eyes on stalks, which would you pick?” Now that’s interesting.

        4. TMK
          TMK December 6, 2013 at 12:04 am |

          It is a question of: when it comes to such things, would you prefer living in France or USA?

          Seems more reasonable than eyestalks.

        5. Hermione Stranger
          Hermione Stranger December 6, 2013 at 3:26 am |

          No, it’s a thought experiment about political strategy. .

        6. EG
          EG December 6, 2013 at 8:42 am |

          when it comes to such things, would you prefer living in France or USA?

          No, that wasn’t the question, as numerous commenters have pointed out, because it doesn’t reflect the reality of either France or the US.

          Now, I never claimed that eyestalks were reasonable, just interesting.

  10. Denise Winters
    Denise Winters December 5, 2013 at 6:02 pm |

    No. I believe in completely unrestricted abortions (there may be a few exceptions, but none I can think of right now). Also, this thought experiment and the notion of restricting abortions at fetal viability, in my opinion, undermine the reality of abortion in the U.S. in regards to how many late-term abortions are actually performed and why they are done. It also moralizes abortion as something other than a medical procedure (which I accept for a personal perspective but not a legal one). It would be a tempting offer, but at the end of the day would mean sacrificing what I feel are the rights of others for things I personally want. In addition, I feel that those kind of changes can come in part as a result of women’s autonomy increasing.

    1. Denise Winters
      Denise Winters December 5, 2013 at 6:10 pm |

      Also, I would hope that free medical care came with the packages for those people who would take extreme measures to end unwanted pregnancies. Which is part of the problem with this hypothetical, it does nothing to address all the other infrastructure that would need to be in place for this to even be plausible, including:
      – Paid medical leave for all employees
      – Amazing transportation systems to all areas
      – Translation services available on short notice to all medical facilities
      – The deal-makers would have to be magical creatures capable of making sure the deal was not subject to change

      I think it is one of the biggest faults of the pro-choice movement that we are essentially always on the defensive and often play into anti-choice rhetoric and talking points without doing enough to point out the reality of the situation (especially regarding so-called late-term abortions).

    2. ldouglas
      ldouglas December 5, 2013 at 7:48 pm |

      No. I believe in completely unrestricted abortions

      Not the question.

      1. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
        The Kittehs' Unpaid Help December 5, 2013 at 9:03 pm |

        It’s the answer to the “would you trade” question.

        1. ldouglas
          ldouglas December 5, 2013 at 9:07 pm |

          No, it’s not, because “completely unrestricted abortions” weren’t one of the two options provided in the hypothetical.

        2. Denise Winters
          Denise Winters December 6, 2013 at 12:54 am |

          My very first word typed is “no.” The very first word is my answer. The rest of my comment(s) is me musing on how I think the hypothetical question reinforces anti-choice rhetoric and the reasons why.

        3. kittehserf
          kittehserf December 6, 2013 at 3:53 am |

          Apparently this is really an opinion poll where one can answer yes or no, and other comments or musings aren’t allowed. Who knew?

        4. ldouglas
          ldouglas December 6, 2013 at 4:11 am |

          My point is that “I’m in favor of completely unrestricted abortion” isn’t relevant to the question Jill posed.

          If I asked “would you support a policy that created slightly more unemployment if the same policy cut violent crime in half” and you responded “no, I’m not in favor of unemployment,” that’s just irritating. You get why, right?

        5. ldouglas
          ldouglas December 6, 2013 at 4:13 am |

          To elaborate; go ahead and muse about whatever you want, I’m not saying people should limit their responses to ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ I’m saying that being in favor of unrestricted abortion is totally compatible with either response to Jill’s question, so to say “No. I’m in favor of totally unrestricted abortion” misrepresents what the question actually was.

        6. EG
          EG December 6, 2013 at 8:39 am |

          “completely unrestricted abortions” weren’t one of the two options provided in the hypothetical

          Jill has set the conditions and there shall be no deviations! You must answer the question as it is posed and only the question she posed! You may not assess or alter the question in any way!

          Since it’s a hypothetical, which is to say, completely imaginary nonsense, why shouldn’t we alter it at will?

      2. Chataya
        Chataya December 5, 2013 at 10:19 pm |

        Yes it is. The question is “would you agree to restrict abortion if it meant xyz happened.”. The answer is no.

      3. Denise Winters
        Denise Winters December 6, 2013 at 12:59 pm |

        To elaborate; go ahead and muse about whatever you want, I’m not saying people should limit their responses to ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ I’m saying that being in favor of unrestricted abortion is totally compatible with either response to Jill’s question, so to say “No. I’m in favor of totally unrestricted abortion” misrepresents what the question actually was.

        No, no it does not. It means that I answered no to the question, and then explained why. I would not agree to this deal (answers the question) because I believe abortions should be unrestricted on the patient side (explains why I answered no). I then went on to explain why I find the question itself undermining and playing into conservative rhetoric (ignores the reality of why post-first trimester abortions are sought and how many are actually performed). People who believe in unrestricted abortions might answer yes, but it does not apply to me. Clearly, my personal belief would make me skeptical of such an offer and likely unwilling to accept it.

        It does seem like you are trying to define the parameters of the question and what answers are acceptable. You just attacked my post for including qualifying statements and completely ignored the fact that I gave a clear and resounding no (I used a period after the no, not a comma. The next sentence is a qualification of my personal reasons for saying no, not a qualification of the no itself).

        1. ldouglas
          ldouglas December 6, 2013 at 4:27 pm |

          . It means that I answered no to the question, and then explained why. I would not agree to this deal (answers the question) because I believe abortions should be unrestricted on the patient side (explains why I answered no).

          What I’m trying to say (and I genuinely am sorry that I phrased it in an aggressive way- I regret that) is that it’s misleading to say being in favor of unrestricted abortions is a reason to answer no. I’m in favor of unrestricted abortions and answered no, because I’m also in favor of vastly expanded reproductive health services.

          Are you in favor of accessible contraception? If you say yes, then also being favor of unrestricted abortion isn’t a reason to answer ‘no.’ Thinking unrestricted abortion is more important than accessible contraception (and so on) is a reason to answer no.

          Your original phrasing suggested being in favor of unrestricted abortion was incompatible with answering yes, which is why I’m pushing this so hard.

        2. ldouglas
          ldouglas December 6, 2013 at 4:34 pm |

          This should read: I’m in favor of unrestricted abortions and answered no yes, because I’m also in favor of vastly expanded reproductive health services.

        3. Denise Winters
          Denise Winters December 6, 2013 at 5:40 pm |

          How is it misleading for me to give my reason? I am saying the reason I would answer no is because I believe this, I really don’t see it as your place to decide what justifications I can or cannot have for my personal answer. What you are doing seems like trying to dictate to me what my thought pattern must be. Saying no because I believe in unrestricted abortions does not necessarily mean that I see them as more important as widespread contraception access. As a matter of fact, in this case it means that I see them as inseparable aspects of a comprehensive healthcare system that values people’s autonomy. Restrictions on abortion challenge the ability of people, especially targeted towards women, to make healthcare decisions for themselves and decide their coarse of action. It places and extra burden on people who regularly do not have periods for long lengths of time or have periods when pregnant and as outlined in the OP it leaves the ability to decide on carrying after 12 weeks up to doctors instead of patients. No, I do not support this because I believe abortions should be unrestricted and do not think accessible contraception can come at the expense of access to abortion.
          And the hypothetical itself reinforces conservative ideology because it plays into the rhetorical frame of abortion needing to be reduced/restricted in and of itself (I want the circumstance mitigated that often lead to decisions to abort, but don’t think the the medical procedure itself should be viewed as some horrible last result), it also offers women’s (group targeted) autonomy as something can be bargained over and takes away from the framing of comprehensive reproductive rights as something I think we should be striving to make a fundamental human right.
          A belief in unrestricted abortions is a perfectly legitimate reason for me to have answered no. It reflects my reasoning and my belief, I really don’t care about yours and will not augment and qualify my answers based on what you think my reasoning should be.
          Maybe you should have just asked me why my belief that abortion access needs to be unrestricted leads me to answer no instead of extrapolating about my reasons or attacking my own internal reasons because they don’t mesh with what you think they should be.

        4. ldouglas
          ldouglas December 6, 2013 at 5:49 pm |

          No, I do not support this because I believe abortions should be unrestricted and do not think accessible contraception can come at the expense of access to abortion.

          Do you think accessible contraception can come at the expense of access to abortion? Because if you’re answering the question Jill posed, you can’t have it both ways.

          If you’re just refusing to answer the question, fine, but that’s not what you said.

        5. Denise Winters
          Denise Winters December 6, 2013 at 7:02 pm |

          Do you think accessible contraception can come at the expense of access to abortion? Because if you’re answering the question Jill posed, you can’t have it both ways.

          That is the exact thing I just answered, you even quoted where I gave my answer to that question. Its almost as though you rephrased my stance as a question. I am so done, any benefit of the doubt you could have possible gotten from me just went out the window (it should have several posts ago when you started to extrapolate on what I must mean and dismiss my personal reasoning for my personal answer).

        6. ldouglas
          ldouglas December 7, 2013 at 12:44 am |

          What I’m saying is, as phrased, the question is saying “given that you can only have X or Y, which would you prefer?” You keep responding I want X and Y, which is fine, but not relevant.

          Are we just totally failing to communicate?

        7. Ledasmom
          Ledasmom December 8, 2013 at 10:22 am |

          But it doesn’t seem to me that that is the actual question, ldouglas. The actual question is “Would you limit abortion to 12 weeks if it meant getting a full range of other reproductive health benefits?” It doesn’t actually say “Do you want to be stuck with the current situation or accept (x) compromise”; it says, in effect, “Do you want to go on from the current situation in the hope of improving it or accept a compromise that restricts certain rights in return for expanding certain others?” Do you see the difference? In the first case the current situation is the one you’re stuck with. In the second case you have the option of improving the situation in the future. You’re arguing as if, if you don’t take the French solution, what we have now is what we will have forevermore. It’s only in that interpretation that you can’t have both unrestricted abortion and comprehensive contraception availability.

  11. Miriam
    Miriam December 5, 2013 at 6:42 pm |

    Maybe? But what’s the point of even positing this hypothetical since it’s not just unlikely but also impossible in the real world? (as in, it is not possible in the real world to strike a bargain and agree to never fight again. There’s no way to enforce it)

    Given that we’re in an era where for many women outside of major cities abortion is functionally outlawed, this hypothetical seems less interesting and fun to me than a waste of good column space. And a slightly dangerous waste since I feel like it subtly plays into anti-choice stigmatizing of post-first trimester stereotype.

    Right now, I think it’s more important for pro-choicers with platforms to be amplifying the reality of non-urban women. So much of mainstream media is produced by people in urban areas–generally people in positions of relative privilege–that I think it’s very easy for other people in urban areas to have no idea how successfully anti-choicers have blocked abortions since 2010. I know that I’m in my urban Blue State bubble, I could very easily have no idea about this if I didn’t choose to read progressive blogs. I wish you’d used your platform to do more to talk about this.

    And also, because I think the signal can always be boosted, for those looking for end-of-year donations, the National Network of Abortion Funds is doing what they can to get women the information and funds needed to get from where they are to a safe abortion.

    1. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
      The Kittehs' Unpaid Help December 5, 2013 at 9:04 pm |

      Given that we’re in an era where for many women outside of major cities abortion is functionally outlawed, this hypothetical seems less interesting and fun to me than a waste of good column space. And a slightly dangerous waste since I feel like it subtly plays into anti-choice stigmatizing of post-first trimester stereotype.

      QFT!

    2. Angie unduplicated
      Angie unduplicated December 6, 2013 at 7:47 am |

      Please remember that for minors and for numerous poor women in rural areas, any contraception except for barrier methods is often outlawed by gooberMENtal fiat or by poverty, which is a law unto itself. We should be demanding all of the same benefits that Frenchwomen have.

  12. Lolagirl
    Lolagirl December 5, 2013 at 6:55 pm |

    What I think you’re missing with the France analogy Jill is that they also have pretty liberal rules for permitting abortion after the 12 week gestation mark. Waivers can be granted for the health (both physical and emotional) of the pregnant patient as well as fetal condtitons that are incompatible with life well into the second and even the third trimester. I’ll have to dig up some cites, but my understanding is that the pregnant patient’s doctor has to fill out some paper work documenting those circumstances, but that the bar is set pretty low and that there is little, if any, scrutiny done to prevent circumvention of the 12 week rule.

    But, yes, the generous social safety and easy access to medical care net in place in countries like France arguably also helps to keep their abortion rates low. But it isn’t as simple as saying that abortion needn’t be done after the 12 week mark either because France.

    1. Beatrice
      Beatrice December 12, 2013 at 5:00 pm |

      Seconding all that you’ve said here, Lolagirl.

      (I’m not that Beatrice above, and I’m embarrassed that we’re sharing an internet name)

  13. Andie
    Andie December 5, 2013 at 7:01 pm |

    Nope. This scenario still allows for swathes of women to be thrown under the bus.

    1. Fat Steve
      Fat Steve December 7, 2013 at 1:56 am |

      Nope. This scenario still allows for swathes of women to be thrown under the bus.

      Would you be willing to allow women to be thrown under a bus if they were provided with padded body armor and unlimited healthcare?

      1. Andie
        Andie December 12, 2013 at 5:55 pm |

        As someone who was nearly run over by a bus while pregnant (I wish I was kidding) I’d have to say no. That shit is traumatic as hell.

  14. Scott Cunningham
    Scott Cunningham December 5, 2013 at 7:25 pm |

    A foreign man is talking so this is just sure to be relevant, but

    It’s better to reject outright the very idea that your body is anybody else’s business. It’s absurd on the face of it. Why even pretend that they have any business making laws about other folks’ bodies? “Oh yes, we accept that men should rightly control women’s bodies and make all these laws but let’s tweak a few details please.” You must be joking.

    And your anti-choice fanatics aren’t offering a deal. It looks from the outside like the only concession you’ll get out of them is your right to stay home reading quietly from a Bible if you promise to never work again or set foot in public while a woman without a husband’s written permission within curfew hours.

    And late term abortions are used mostly for unexpected medical emergencies. Whose idea was it to invent term limits? If I head-desk appropriately I’m going to owe my university some serious coin for the damages.

    1. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
      The Kittehs' Unpaid Help December 5, 2013 at 9:08 pm |

      Your comment makes sense to this foreign woman, at least, Scott!

  15. Rialmar
    Rialmar December 5, 2013 at 7:51 pm |

    I think what the other commenters above are basically saying is that to the extent that our reaction to the ‘but, France!’ argument from the anti-choicers has been that France has all of these other benefits, we haven’t been stating the core of our real response accurately. What we should be saying instead is, ‘But France doesn’t actually restrict abortion to 12 weeks, not if you look at the fine print. So what was your point, again?’

    1. Miriam
      Miriam December 5, 2013 at 10:36 pm |

      Yes, this! Just as the US has legal abortion everywhere on paper but in reality many places have effectively outlawed it, France is the reverse. We really need to be taking every opportunity to educate people about the reality, not wasting space with silly thought experiments

    2. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
      The Kittehs' Unpaid Help December 5, 2013 at 10:49 pm |

      Also, why, for the love of little green pommes, should one item of basic healthcare (not benefits, like they’re a favour or a privilege: healthcare) be a bargaining chip for others? That sucks even if it wasn’t about bodily autonomy.

  16. shfree
    shfree December 5, 2013 at 8:38 pm |

    IF abortion were as accessible as it is in France, full stop, it would probably be more accessible than it is now, and they have these wonderful social safety nets.

    However, the twelve week restriction doesn’t mean that a pregnant person wouldn’t have to go shopping around for a doctor if they happened to come across one that is anti choice and wouldn’t sign off on an abortion at the thirteenth week. Hell, estimating gestation is just that, an estimation, and said doc could just guesstimate a week that puts the pregnancy just over the line, even if another doc would say it’s okay. You know, if we are talking hypothetical situations here. So, my answer would be no. A woman shouldn’t have to justify why she wants to have an abortion to anyone, really. It’s a matter of health, not a moral issue.

  17. Cassandra7
    Cassandra7 December 5, 2013 at 8:43 pm |

    No. Absolutely not. For a woman to have full human status she must have control of her own body.

  18. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune December 5, 2013 at 9:18 pm |

    I dunno, Jill. I see all that, and all I hear is “but what if Palpatine was NICE? Bet you never thought of that!”

    1. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
      The Kittehs' Unpaid Help December 5, 2013 at 10:25 pm |

      If Darth Vader really had played the bagpipes, everything would have been different.

      (I won’t embed it here, but Google Vader and bagpipes and you’ll see what I mean.)

      1. Ledasmom
        Ledasmom December 12, 2013 at 11:00 am |

        A belated thank-you for the suggestion to google Darth Vader and bagpipes. May I also suggest googling Darth Vader, Santa and flaming bagpipes?

        1. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help December 12, 2013 at 5:53 pm |

          Whoa, that’s the best! :D

    2. Miranda
      Miranda December 6, 2013 at 4:36 pm |

      +1

  19. ldouglas
    ldouglas December 6, 2013 at 1:12 am |

    OK, I get that there are reasons to say “no” to the hypothetical question Jill posed, but a lot of people seem to be arguing with something she never wrote.

    1. Ens
      Ens December 6, 2013 at 3:26 am |

      I’m just curious how many people would trade the other way — if you had to lose that range of reproductive health benefits, but in return you get abortion that’s unlimited until basically birth (I know Jill said until fetal viability, but I’m trying to make the tradeoff to the most permissive stance), how many people would agree.

      I mean, maybe you’d all say yes. I have a suspicion that a lot of people wouldn’t trade in either direction; in other words, they won’t decide what’s worse.

      Which is fair! Don’t think that I’m trying to say that you must make the choice. But I am curious how much is actually choosing the other health benefits, and how much is just refusing to choose.

      Myself…I think I am inclined toward not limiting abortion, given the choice. Note for context: most of my family and friends are in Canada and that’s where I usually am living, and though I’m not living there right now I have sufficient resources that I’m not too concerned. So I’m not sure I can properly fathom the difference that this full range of other reproductive health benefits would make, while I can more easily imagine how a 12 week cutoff could ruin everything. This said, I also think that the chance of ever getting rid of a time limit is lower than the chance of improving healthcare more generally.

      1. ldouglas
        ldouglas December 6, 2013 at 4:07 am |

        Yeah, this is the point I’ve been making.

      2. EG
        EG December 6, 2013 at 8:46 am |

        No, I’m not trading. Our rights are infringed upon quite enough, and I’m not going to consent to or approve of any of it.

        1. ldouglas
          ldouglas December 6, 2013 at 4:31 pm |

          If you replace the word ‘trade’ with ‘would you prefer to live in a world with X policy or Y policy’ does that solve the issue?

        2. EG
          EG December 6, 2013 at 7:34 pm |

          Not really. It’s like asking “would you rather lose your left hand or your right hand?” I’m not making that choice. I need both hands. If I lose one, I’m not going to validate it with some kind of consent.

        3. ldouglas
          ldouglas December 6, 2013 at 8:12 pm |

          Not really. It’s like asking “would you rather lose your left hand or your right hand?” I’m not making that choice. I need both hands. If I lose one, I’m not going to validate it with some kind of consent.

          Easy, left hand. I’m right-handed.

          And refusing to make a choice is a choice too- it’s just putting it into the hands of other people. If someone asked me if I wanted a hundred people to die or a thousand, I wouldn’t be consenting to the murder of a hundred people when I (in a heartbeat) chose the former. And if I didn’t choose, I’d be at least arguably responsible if the latter happened.

        4. ldouglas
          ldouglas December 7, 2013 at 12:46 am |

          I need both hands. If I lose one, I’m not going to validate it with some kind of consent.

          Also- that’s not what consent is, and refusing to make the choice just means you have a 50% chance of getting the hand you actually wanted more cut off.

        5. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve December 7, 2013 at 2:00 am |

          Not really. It’s like asking “would you rather lose your left hand or your right hand?” I’m not making that choice. I need both hands. If I lose one, I’m not going to validate it with some kind of consent.

          RIght now you have both your hands. It’s like asking “would you rather lose your left hand or gain the ability to travel through time?”

        6. Donna L
          Donna L December 7, 2013 at 4:21 am |

          And refusing to make a choice is a choice too- it’s just putting it into the hands of other people

          You seem to have a great deal of trouble grasping that none of this is real, and that many of us are unwilling to play the game of pretending that it’s real.

        7. EG
          EG December 7, 2013 at 9:25 am |

          Except it’s not real. You seem to be having a hard time with this. I don’t have to indulge bullshit hypotheticals that will never occur.

          And we just differ in opinion on the hand question. I think that selecting makes you complicit in the illusion of consent. You buy into the idea that it gives you some control. I don’t. The control is had by the person who sets the term of the choice, not the person who’s forced to make it.

          It would depend on who those 100 or 1000 people are, by the way.

    2. Midvinterblot
      Midvinterblot December 6, 2013 at 3:31 am |

      Can’t you see that posting this hypothetical question on this website means lending support to anti-choice groups?

      1. ldouglas
        ldouglas December 6, 2013 at 4:31 pm |

        Nope!

        1. Midvinterblot
          Midvinterblot December 8, 2013 at 11:07 am |

          Me neither, because that would fucking stupid.

      2. Alexandra
        Alexandra December 6, 2013 at 7:40 pm |

        I dislike this sort of argument. What, Jill can’t talk about what she wants to talk about on her own blog, because it helps pro-lifers, despite the years of her advocacy for pro-choice positions? I don’t buy it.

        1. Midvinterblot
          Midvinterblot December 8, 2013 at 11:09 am |

          I dont buy it either, but you know, irony is really hard to do in written format.

    3. Miriam
      Miriam December 6, 2013 at 6:52 pm |

      Actually, most of us answered (albeit in my case, a very wishy-washy answer) and THEN argued against formulating the question for a variety of reasons. We multi-tasked.

  20. Lolagirl
    Lolagirl December 6, 2013 at 9:20 am |

    Getting back to the initial hypothetical, sure, I would take the French rules system wrt abortion over what exists here in the U.S. in return for a greater social safety net and and access to contraception and health care.

    As long as that system works exactly like it does in France, and the 12 week rule is not actually enforced, and women have virtually unfettered access to abortion services through the second trimester and into the third (for health/mental issues of the pregnant patient/fetus.)

    1. (BFing) Sarah
      (BFing) Sarah December 6, 2013 at 7:00 pm |

      Yes, I agree with this.

  21. Ledasmom
    Ledasmom December 6, 2013 at 9:25 am |

    You know what I think of when I think of contraception, abortion and France? There was a lot of pressure for the company that brought mifepristone (RU-486) to market in France to withdraw it, which they did, and the French minister of health at the time ordered them to put it back on the market. He called it “the moral property of the women of France.” “Moral property of the women”. And that is why I don’t even see the point of coming down on one side or the other of this hypothetical bargain: I cannot imagine the situation here ever getting to where such a bargain could be made in good faith.

  22. DAS
    DAS December 6, 2013 at 9:53 am |

    As others have mentioned above, the French law on abortion has very robust health and life exceptions to the post-12 week abortion ban. So yes, I would take the deal for a post-12-weeks abortion “ban” (provided the same exemptions that exist in the French law, the same implementation for waivers that exists in France, the same de facto access to abortion clinics without fear of harassment, and the same fee structure for pre-12-week abortions that exists in France) in exchange for a robust system of health care and support for pregnant women (and all people, in fact).

    I will also add that I personally know anti-abortion people who would accept the same deal, albeit maybe with a few differences in terms of how to deliver the expanded health care and social services that would be part of such a deal. I suspect that the key reason why such a deal doesn’t exist has nothing to do with the views of most anti-choice folks but rather the desire of anti-choice politicians to keep the abortion around as a hot button issue. Another phenomenon I have noticed is that many “conservatives” will actually take fairly moderate or liberal positions but then complain that any politician who takes those positions is a “radical liberal” (I once heard a nominally conservative person echoing, without realizing whom she was paraphrasing, Marx’s theory of labor and then denouncing Obama as a socialist in the same conversation!): I would reckon that most anti-choicers who would personally sign onto such a deal would never vote for a politician who would sign onto such a deal. And the politicians know that it’s the votes that matter not people’s stated opinions. To be fair it isn’t just conservatives who say one thing and vote another way: how many of us who would be willing to take this abortion deal would trust a politician who would be willing to take such a deal to be reliably pro-choice?

    That being said, as a cis male, my willingness to make such a deal is, in a sense, meaningless: I will never actually be pregnant and hence never have to face the possibility of an abortion.

  23. Athenia
    Athenia December 6, 2013 at 10:15 am |

    Would I sign it? Probably not.

    I say probably not because I keep thinking of Savita and how technically there were exceptions in place for her, but they all failed her because those around her were not concerned about her life.

    As others have been saying, the 12 week “ban” in France works cuz people in France actually give a crap about a woman’s life, whereas Americans generally don’t.

    1. DAS
      DAS December 6, 2013 at 10:54 am |

      Some of us wondered if what happened with Dr. Halappanavar being denied an abortion was as much about racial bias as gender bias: the authorities who denied her a medically necessary abortion were simply unconcerned about a brown heathen. In that vein, I wonder if minority women in France are able to get abortions after 12 weeks as readily as white women of Catholic backgrounds are: would a doctor as readily just sign off on an abortion for a Muslim woman of Algerian descent as s/he would for a white secular woman whose family was historically Catholic?

      IOW, those of us who would support a “French-style” compromise would only support that compromise if it worked as it supposedly does in France. But does it even work that way in France? I really don’t know …

      1. Athenia
        Athenia December 6, 2013 at 12:09 pm |

        Thanks for bringing this up! I wanted to go back and edit my post to be more specific, but it was already too late. I agree whole heartily with you.

      2. Lisa
        Lisa December 8, 2013 at 1:25 pm |

        Or possibly if a brown Muslim would find it easier to receive the post-12 week abortion than a pure, white, Catholic girl, whose demographic is shrinking.

  24. Rob in CT
    Rob in CT December 6, 2013 at 11:18 am |

    I dunno, 12 weeks is pretty early.

    I agree there is a point at which it makes sense to agree to a compromise (IF said compromise would actually hold – that is that both sides would actually stand down, and I don’t believe that), but 12 weeks is too early, IMO.

    20 weeks, maybe. Maybe. I think you have to allow enough time for people to have the screening done for chromosonal abnormalities. In my experience (2 kids), that’s done around 18 weeks (which means that you could easily end up past 20 weeks if you have test + followup test + schedule abortion, so even 20 weeks as a cutoff worries me). And sure, you could have “exceptions” built in, but as others have said I don’t really trust that they will work properly.

    But I don’t think something like this is actually on offer, or will be. I don’t think it’s actually viable. What constituency exists for it, and who will fight – hard – to ensure the compromise holds? Most of the people that this appeals to are moderates without really strong convinctions on the issue. Their support is likely to be tepid, and done largely to get the issue off the table. But those who would hate the deal – Left and Right – would hate it with the passion of a thousands suns. They might be outnumbered (poll data suggests a deal sorta like this might have majority support), but that doesn’t necessarily matter. Look at gun control – big majorities favor stricter laws, but those laws don’t get passed. A highly-motivated minority blocks them. Ditto taxes on the rich.

    So, in addition to being a bad idea (12 weeks, anyway), it’s a pipe dream. My $.02

    1. Lolagirl
      Lolagirl December 6, 2013 at 11:29 am |

      During my last pregnancy, I didn’t even realize I was pregnant until 17 weeks or so. By the time I got in with my OB for an appointment, scheduled an amniocentesis, obtained the amnio and got the results I was already at 21 weeks. I was prepared to terminate if anything came up on the test results, and happily I live in a state with liberal rules up to the 24 week mark and live close to a University hospital that could and would do the procedure without any hassle.

      That’s a luxury most people don’t have here in the U.S.

      Meanwhile, in France, it would have been a similar nbd anywhere within the country, because of the reasons already discussed above.

      1. Rob in CT
        Rob in CT December 6, 2013 at 12:16 pm |

        *Nods* Yup, there you go. Past 20 weeks. Let alone 12.

        This is why I’m very skeptical of drawing a line at a particular point. It sounds like the French line is very fuzzy.

    2. Laura
      Laura December 6, 2013 at 3:54 pm |

      Yeah, the idea of a 12-week limit is scary. I’ve never been pregnant, but my periods have always been irregular, and I can definitely imagine getting pregnant and not realizing it until past 12 weeks. The thought of being forced to carry to term because I passed some arbitrary deadline is terrifying.

  25. Ally S
    Ally S December 6, 2013 at 11:26 am |

    I understand that Jill’s question has two possible answers, and I can see how saying “I’m against abortion restrictions” shouldn’t be considered an actual third answer (because of course, that’s Jill’s opinion as well). However, it is entirely fair to refuse to answer the question either way and instead say that there is something wrong with the question itself. And that’s why so many people are saying that they’re against abortion restrictions in response to the question.

    It’s like if a right-wing libertarian walked up to me and asked “Are you against crony capitalism?” The possible intended answers are yes or no, but since I’m a socialist, I would refuse to answer the question and instead respond with something like “I think capitalism itself should be abolished.” My reason for providing such a response is not that I’m some Radical Anarchist Girl who wants to answer questions however she wants because fuck the system, but rather it’s that I think the question is unimportant to me. So “I’m against abortion restrictions” technically isn’t an answer, but it is a valid response to the question. (Hopefully that distinction doesn’t sound too silly.)

    1. Chataya
      Chataya December 6, 2013 at 7:50 pm |

      Yes, it’s like someone offering you the choice between a giant douche and a shit sandwich, and you respond “neither.” The bread might be good, but there is still that turd in the middle.

      1. Fat Steve
        Fat Steve December 7, 2013 at 10:44 am |

        Yes, it’s like someone offering you the choice between a giant douche and a shit sandwich, and you respond “neither.” The bread might be good, but there is still that turd in the middle.

        I would prefer a giant douche. A shit sandwich sounds much grosser and could make you ill.

        OMG I answered a completely unlikely hypothetical and my head didn’t explode!

        1. Ally S
          Ally S December 7, 2013 at 11:00 am |

          You can also reject those choices (assuming they aren’t being forced on you) and say that you think the question is weird and creepy because you don’t want to deal with fecal matter at all, walk away, and tell everyone to stay away from the creep who offered you either a shit sandwich or a douche bag.

        2. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve December 7, 2013 at 11:13 am |

          You can also reject those choices (assuming they aren’t being forced on you) and say that you think the question is weird and creepy because you don’t want to deal with fecal matter at all, walk away, and tell everyone to stay away from the creep who offered you either a shit sandwich or a douche bag.

          Right, but due to Chataya’s past record of posting, I do not regard her as a creep. So I assume she’s asking the question based on all the posts above about hypotheticals, rather than having some creepy douche/feces fetish.

          Jill is a writer who is trying to entertain an audience, so she turns this into a hypothetical question based on the France example, but the question here being posed is basically: Which is more important- unlimited access to abortion or a full range of other reproductive health benefits? There are four possible non-jerky answers to that question: a) unlimited access b) other benefits c) both are equally important for various reasons d)I don’t know. ‘I don’t see the purpose of this question,’ IMO, falls into the category of jerky answers.

        3. Ally S
          Ally S December 7, 2013 at 11:24 am |

          I like Chataya as well – and my comment wasn’t directed at her, given that she’s not actually asking anyone that question. =P

          I don’t think it’s rude to criticize the hypothetical itself. I mean, I certainly don’t think Jill is reprehensible for posing it. It’s just that I don’t think it’s an important question in any way. At least not to me.

        4. EG
          EG December 7, 2013 at 11:39 am |

          I don’t see what’s so jerky about “I don’t see the purpose of this question.” I don’t see the purpose of it. I can’t imagine a situation in which the choice will be presented like this, I can’t imagine a situation in which I would trust the promises of forced-birthers, and I can’t imagine a situation in which my singular decision regarding this question would be decisive. So what’s the point?

        5. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve December 7, 2013 at 6:04 pm |

          I don’t see what’s so jerky about “I don’t see the purpose of this question.” I don’t see the purpose of it. I can’t imagine a situation in which the choice will be presented like this, I can’t imagine a situation in which I would trust the promises of forced-birthers, and I can’t imagine a situation in which my singular decision regarding this question would be decisive. So what’s the point?

          You mean you aren’t finding this an endless source of fun? ;)

        6. kittehserf
          kittehserf December 7, 2013 at 6:55 pm |

          Pull your head in, Steve. Are you ever going to be pregnant? Is this bullshit hypothetical playing with actual, real threats to your life, health, welfare – even with the chance of you being imprisoned, as some US states want to do to women who have abortions? This isn’t light-hearted what-if stuff, it’s viscerally enraging that we still have to fight for basic healthcare, and the suggestion of trading one basic right for another purely because we can give birth is too disgusting for words. No, some of us are not going to play this fucking game, and doing the “oh it’s just a hypothetical, your head won’t explode, don’t be a jerk!” has got me to the FUCK YOU point with your comments in this thread, which doesn’t generally happen when I read what you say.

        7. bookshopcat
          bookshopcat December 7, 2013 at 7:53 pm |

          Steve, this is a lulzy game of hypotheticals to you, but you’ve lost sight of the fact that it’s something that actually affects a lot of commenters here. Try to remember that you’re engaging with real people who have a major stake in the issue, not online “fun debate” programs designed for your entertainment, OK?

          I had a pregnancy scare several years before my hysto, and if it had been more than a scare, I’d have faced serious obstacles getting an abortion. (I had no support system, a bad minimum-wage job, and didn’t live in an area that had accessible reproductive care for trans guys.) The idea that I could have been backed into that sort of monstrous corner still scares me ten years later. Maybe you find it funny to hypothesize about trade-offs and limiting access to people in those situations, but honestly, the idea that this sort of thing is just an idle game to you makes me feel a bit sick.

        8. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve December 7, 2013 at 9:12 pm |

          Try to remember that you’re engaging with real people who have a major stake in the issue, not online “fun debate” programs designed for your entertainment, OK?

          Seriously? You don’t get that the little ‘wink’ at the end of my comment denoted that I meant the opposite of what I said? I was admitting to EG that it wasn’t fun.I think she got it as she didn’t respond.

        9. bookshopcat
          bookshopcat December 8, 2013 at 10:22 am |

          Yeah, seriously, Steve. It must be nice to be able to take emoticons and “haven’t you read my posting history? don’t you know I’m not like that?” at face value; sadly, chronic untreated PTSD really gets in the way. I realize how inconvenient it must be to interact with people who’ve been traumatized to the point where they just don’t find this sort of thing fun, but everything I’ve seen from you on this thread is stuff I’ve also seen from people who spent a lot of time gaining my trust before deliberately violating it. All I know for sure is that you have some reason to want to play the game while also keeping people from thinking you’re Like That, and that anyone who does that sort of thing should be treated with suspicion.

      2. kittehserf
        kittehserf December 7, 2013 at 10:11 pm |

        Steve, throwing this:

        OMG I answered a completely unlikely hypothetical and my head didn’t explode!

        was a totally stupid, shitty thing to say. You didn’t make it AT ALL clear if you didn’t like this hypothetical; you’ve just thrown silly comments around and come across to more than one person like those all-too-common dudes who think these things are just mind games and don’t matter.

        1. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve December 7, 2013 at 11:20 pm |

          was a totally stupid, shitty thing to say. You didn’t make it AT ALL clear if you didn’t like this hypothetical; you’ve just thrown silly comments around and come across to more than one person like those all-too-common dudes who think these things are just mind games and don’t matter.

          It was a flippant thing to say and I apologize. I will also admit that I wasn’t thinking about the issue itself and was merely defending the whole concept of hypothetical situations as a literary device, and that as such was insensitive to the fact that it was women’s reproductive choice which was said issue. I also, as you have said, made ‘silly comments’. However, I find the last bit of your comment to be a bit insulting and faintly ridiculous. Just because something isn’t imbedded in my original comment (offhanded or otherwise) doesn’t mean that I don’t think these things don’t matter. I would think you have read enough of my stuff on here to know that’s not true.

        2. kittehserf
          kittehserf December 8, 2013 at 12:46 am |

          That’s my point, Steve: I do know you’re not one of the people who doesn’t give a shit about these matters. That’s why it was doubly annoying that you were – take note, this is what I said – coming across like the dudes who don’t care.

          I usually laugh at your jokes or flippant comments; hell, I make flippant comments or snark often enough myself. But this was ill-placed in a thread that’s already got some very annoying and downright creepy stuff going on.

          I admit it also presses my buttons, because I loathe mind-games and thought-experiments and devil’s advocate stuff; it’s so often just bullshit that treats real issues as parlour games.

          So, my apologies for jumping down your throat, and I accept your apology wholeheartedly (despite preceding lecture).

  26. mamram
    mamram December 6, 2013 at 12:26 pm |

    So even though I always use contraception, I’d still have to have a monthly or bimonthly pregnancy test just to be sure I don’t accidentally forfeit my bodily autonomy? Honestly, to me, this is a kind of terrifying proposal. I’m bad enough at managing regular physicals and visits to the dentist, adding this would make it very likely that I’d fuck up at some point and be penalized with motherhood against my will.

  27. Laura
    Laura December 6, 2013 at 3:47 pm |

    Nope. The bodies of women and other people who can become pregnant are not bargaining chips.

  28. Kristyn
    Kristyn December 6, 2013 at 4:04 pm |

    I would not. Unfortunately this idea ignores why women have later term abortions. I had an abortion at 18 weeks 1 day after a fetal diagnosis of Potter’s Syndrome which would have resulted in suffocation at birth for my firstborn. Women like me do not find out about these devastating fetal abnormalities until 18-20 weeks or even beyond so preventing us from soaring our children pain is, in my opinion, inhumane.

    1. karak
      karak December 6, 2013 at 4:50 pm |

      So, you didn’t actually read the article, just the title?

      1. Donna L
        Donna L December 6, 2013 at 8:30 pm |

        That was uncalled for.

  29. karak
    karak December 6, 2013 at 4:49 pm |

    I’d rather have restricted abortions actually be available with all kinds of services than than the system of “fuck you, deal with it” we have now.

    And I usually try not to say shit like this, but seriously this comment section is cringeworthy. The point is, between a rock and a hard place, would you choose this? It’s not like Jill is the President of Abortion announcing her new policies.

    Fact is, if you argue for the system we have, you’re throwing more people under the bus, just different people. Any thought exercise about the future of abortion in this country is going to include a caveat that certain people are going to get fucked over. Being all pissed that Jill is working within that constraint doesn’t make you moral, it just makes you someone that’s decided to be not engaged so you can have principles and blame other people when you don’t like the outcome, never taking responsible for the implications of what you say.

    1. ldouglas
      ldouglas December 6, 2013 at 5:10 pm |

      Everything about this.

    2. EG
      EG December 6, 2013 at 5:36 pm |

      Neither am I the President of Abortion, so why does my refusal to accept the constraints of a hypothetical that will never happen make me blameworthy?

      Nobody, but nobody, in this comment section is arguing for the so-called “system” that we have.

    3. Denise Winters
      Denise Winters December 6, 2013 at 5:54 pm |

      So, you are denigrating commentors who supposedly only disagree with you over who to throw under the bus? This hypothetical in no way involves taking any sort of responsibility for moving forward, it is a pointless hypothetical that some of us believe reinforces anti-choice rhetoric and involves a scenario that ignores the actual aims of the anti-choice agenda. But because we argue no, we would not take this compromise that, as outlined and not including making it easy to get a waiver, would leave large populations of women under the bus and would leave the decision to have an abortion or not in the hands of doctors, we are refusing to take responsibility for moving forward on reproductive health? This hypothetical doesn’t even include the underlying social structure necessary for these changes to be equitably implemented.

    4. Donna L
      Donna L December 6, 2013 at 6:14 pm |

      it just makes you someone that’s decided to be not engaged

      It makes me someone that’s decided to be not engaged with a hypothetical choice that’s never, ever going to be presented in anything like those terms, and bears little or no relation to anything else that’s ever actually going to happen.

      It doesn’t make me, or anyone else, someone that’s decided not to be engaged with the underlying issues. That’s a leap that goes well beyond logic. In fact, it’s absurd.

      1. karak
        karak December 6, 2013 at 9:39 pm |

        I think abortion should be legal right up until halfway through the third trimester; that is not going to happen anytime in the next few decades, anywhere.

        I’m the kind of person that thinks standing on impractical moral ground is a way to not make choices. What I want is never going to happen.

        Using a metaphor from upthread: if I was under the imprisonment of someone who was going to cut off my hand, and demanded I choose which one, I would choose. The fact it’s a shitty choice doesn’t mean that it’s not going to be made if I don’t make it. That’s how you get both hands cut off.

        If we refuse to choose–if we refuse to entrench ourselves in a position–we won’t win this war. We’ll have a very nice little box in the history books and live in a world with no abortions at all, because we had no real goals, just thoughts.

        1. EG
          EG December 6, 2013 at 10:45 pm |

          Perhaps you could explain how refusing to make a choice that, in Donna’s words, is “never, ever going to be presented in anything like those terms, and bears little or no relation to anything else that’s ever actually going to happen” is somehow “standing on impractical moral ground”?

          You see, Jill made up this scenario. It is not real. So making a choice within it? Is not realistic. Making a fake choice is not more realistic than refusing to make a fake choice. If anything, refusing to engage in silly hypotheticals is more realistic, as it involves acknowledging what the actual situation is.

          You want to pretend to choose between shit on a stick and a shit sandwich? Go right ahead. But don’t pretend it’s some kind of virtue.

        2. kittehserf
          kittehserf December 7, 2013 at 12:01 am |

          EG, exactly. Why shouldn’t we answer this question with “I’m not playing that game”?

          This is one of the things I hate about fucking hypotheticals. They posit such, well, tyrannical situations, to make you choose between Crap Option One and Crap Option Two. What’s the point? People can and do refuse to go along with shit, they do fight against it. My reaction to “Answer 1 or 2″ questions like this is usually “3”.

    5. Miriam
      Miriam December 6, 2013 at 7:11 pm |

      Jill is not working within a constraint. There is no reality here. There is a made up question that posits a choice that is not being offered anywhere real, wouldn’t be offered to the Feministe commentariat in the extremely unlikely event that it were to become a real choice, and contains at least one premise that is actually impossible to ever be real.

      Meanwhile, in the real world, more and more states are defacto banning abortions for any woman who does not have the means to get to a state with friendlier politics. There has been no trade. Quite the opposite.

      So I’m sure you can understand why some of us might not see this as a fun little parlor game or want to see precious column space wasted on a hypothetical scenario. And that’s WITHOUT even getting into anti-choice’s successful rhetorical and legislative strategy of pushing general abortion restrictions by framing some women’s rights as acceptable to compromise on (I’d link, but I’d hope on a site like this we’re all familiar with the Hyde Amendment at least).

      1. kittehserf
        kittehserf December 6, 2013 at 7:56 pm |

        So I’m sure you can understand why some of us might not see this as a fun little parlor game or want to see precious column space wasted on a hypothetical scenario.

        This, so much. Hypotheticals on subjects about women’s lives so often devolve into someone doing the “But I’m just playing devil’s advocate!” after spouting horrendous things, and while I know Jill is absolutely not doing that sort of bad-faith thing, this article still leaves me with a bad taste in the mouth. What’s the point of it? When would forced-birthers and misogynists in general in the US’s reactionary parties ever agree to abortion rights, let alone proper healthcare and sex education? They wouldn’t, it’s a fantasy. Even in that fantasy, who would believe they wouldn’t cut it down to eight weeks, then six, then four, then none?

        1. kittehserf
          kittehserf December 6, 2013 at 7:57 pm |

          How the heck did that turn red? Weirdness, thy name is WordPress.

        2. tigtog
          tigtog December 6, 2013 at 8:04 pm | *

          I’ve fixed it now. Looks like you accidentally hit one of the other formatting buttons when you meant to close the blockquote.

        3. kittehserf
          kittehserf December 6, 2013 at 8:59 pm |

          Thanks, tigtog!

  30. rw1928
    rw1928 December 6, 2013 at 7:26 pm |

    I have to be honest, it does worry me that people on the left are even having this conversation, I just think that We should probably not even consider such things when We have a monumental fight ahead of us to secure safe access to pregnancy termination for everyone in the World, which I think should be the goal for everyone in the pro-choice movement and We should not be deterred by any perceived flaws or failure in the movement, We should not compromise as it is far too important for women, especially poor women, and women underserved and forgotten by society.

    That being said, this is just a hypothetical imo. The same people fighting to end access to safe abortions are the same people who would never agree, in the U.S., to socialized medicine on the scale that Jill is writing about. At the same time, I don’t think that is actually what We’re attempting to conceptualize.

    As a moral person, I would have to accept a deal that gave all of humanity access to all of the healthcare they needed in return for a 12 week ban on abortions. This would, however, include everything presumably. Everyone gets a check up, everyone gets healthy food, everyone sees the dentist, medicine available on every street corner, etc. That’s the greater good, even though the other proposition would be, in my eyes, fundamentally immoral, I would have to side with the greater good.

  31. BroadBlogs
    BroadBlogs December 6, 2013 at 10:20 pm |

    I am afraid we would still end up with a lot of needless deaths from women who resort to self-aborting or back alley abortions after 12 weeks. I would really hope that we wouldn’t have to make this kind of choice. (I’m sure you agree, Jill.) And of course, the French are advantaged by a culture that isn’t so squeamish as to limit sex education, contraception availability, or make girls ashamed to use birth control.

  32. Jerry
    Jerry December 6, 2013 at 10:42 pm |

    The problem with the thought experiment is that it imagines the forced-birthers behaving in a way they never have. They don’t compromise — they take ground. If you imagined you’d worked out some grand bargain restricting abortions to 12 weeks in exchange for a whole basket of good things, they’d be back the next day, fighting with undiminished ferocity to ban abortion completely, and, no doubt, to also eliminate some or all of the good things from the basket.

    1. kittehserf
      kittehserf December 7, 2013 at 12:02 am |

      Jerry, exactly. That’s what’s wrong with this whole thing.

  33. Would you limit abortion to 12 weeks if it mean...

    […] That’s the question I’m addressing at Al Jazeera this week, and I actually say yes, I would sign on to that deal.  […]

  34. The wrong question: on limiting abortion in return for reproductive health benefits | Feminist Borg

    […] Filipovic of Feministe recently made a post in which she poses the following question: “Would you limit abortion to 12 weeks if it meant […]

  35. Lisa
    Lisa December 8, 2013 at 1:31 pm |

    All of the things we’d need to change about our current system (at least in the U.S.) in order to fulfill the carrot portion of this compromise are things that should already be taken for granted, so no, I don’t think it’s a valid trade-off. I shouldn’t have to be willing to give up food in order to have access to oxygen.

  36. Laura
    Laura December 16, 2013 at 7:26 am |

    I’m in the UK. We have an NHS. I have access to excellent, free at the point of use, health care. I use it. I have given birth on the NHS, aborted on the NHS, get contraception on the NHS, have smears on the NHS. We also have a welfare state, so I have enjoyed paid maternity leave and paid time off work to attend maternity appointments, etc.

    And I would say: NO. Never. None of these make a 12 week limit reasonable. Technically we do not have abortion on demand here- up to 24 weeks it is legal if two doctors agree it is in your best interests (and of course there are exceptions when it can happen later)- but in practice it pretty much *is* on demand, (for most women: obviously some face far greater barriers, some come up against anti choice medical professionals, etc).

    Rather than accepting crumbs I would keep fighting for the full loaf.

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