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Pro-choice or pro-life?

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Pro-choice or pro-life?

Post by Rhiannon Lockley on Sat Apr 07, 2012 12:51 pm

(From my blog post which originally appears here: http://onehundredmilesfromthesea.tumblr.com/post/20645520794/response-anti-abortion-extremists-are-in-the-heart-of )

Anyone who hasn’t yet read this article, which highlights the processes by which the government are pushing through their socially conservative agenda on women’s rights, and makes the case for a review of the abortion act to recognise abortion as a right as a result of women’s ownership of their bodies rather than a mental-health clause, should do so.

http://www.politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2012/04/05/comment-anti-abortion-extremists-are-in-the-heart-of-governm

I was shocked to realise the extent to which redirection of the CQC into the hunt for signatures took resources away from their usual work: a cost of 1 million and the equivalent of 1,100 working days. Where is the justification for this kind of use of taxpayer money?

At the time I asked Dorries if illegality in the processes surrounding abortion is a concern whether there would be a similar effort into investigating the illegality of intimidation tactics being used by extremist pro-life groups (filming and challenging women on the streets outside clinics - and let’s not forget our pro-life groups are increasingly modelling themselves on US groups, which this week alone has seen a bomb - yes, a bomb - going off in a planned parenthood clinic) but unsurprisingly received no response.


We live in a country where a person drawing a charcoal cross on a military building as an act of protest for religious reasons is branded suspicious and arrested but a person directly confronting and harassing vulnerable women for religious reasons is of no interest whatsoever. Presumably religious groups are considered to be acting on conscience only when they are supporting rather than challenging social conservatism.
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Re: Pro-choice or pro-life?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:54 pm

A Labour Minister shared the disgrace on nine-eleven when his Secretary sent an e-mail suggesting that it might be "a good day to bury bad news."

Although there was a Tory orgy of tut-tutting at the time, they have taken the lesson on board, and now respond to every setback with a Yah-booh accusation hoping to defuse the situation by diverting attention.
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Re: Pro-choice or pro-life?

Post by Ivan on Sat Apr 07, 2012 3:27 pm

Welcome to 'Cutting Edge', Rhiannon.

It never ceases to amaze me how right-wingers like to champion the small state when it comes to welfare provision, yet they're often very keen for governments to tell women what they can or can't do with their bodies and even try to prevent gay people from having the right to marry. 'Right-wing' and 'hypocrisy' are synonymous in my opinion.
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Abortion: changing ideas

Post by Blamhappy on Sun May 27, 2012 7:41 pm

Although, on the whole, my moral compass has changed little since childhood, and my general principles have remained firm, my specific views on subjects are often fluid, and I'm proud of that. Experience plays a large part in our perspectives, doesn't it? I'd say that's a straight-forward cause-and-effect concept. It's fairly easy to have a view on something like abortion - most people are able to give an idea of where they put themselves on a scale of Good through to Bad - yet most people will never experience it, or something tangible that enlightens them as to what it might be like to be in the position to consider it.

And, while I've always said that you don't need to experience something first-hand to be "allowed" to disapprove of it, on reflection, I do think it helps. I also think that not having experienced it means that perhaps you should tone down your disapproval of others who come from the opposite perspective. I suppose that sounds garbled, but it should become clear through this essay.

I was brought up to believe that abortion is wrong. Not even taboo – we could talk about it in the house. It was just plain wrong. My mum’s Catholic and believes that a baby is a baby from conception. (I’m pretty sure that members of all branches of Christianity feel the same way, but Catholics tend to be louder about their ideas.) Fair enough! But, having initially copied what my mum said and told everyone that I didn’t believe in abortion, I began softening that judgment as I matured. For a start, I don't think the baby is a baby from conception - I think this view is pushed because all life is regarded by the church as spiritual and made by God. It's difficult to argue that without undermining someone's faith, but I feel that a foetus in the early days is closer to a bit of biology than it is to a person. At what point it becomes a baby, I wouldn't like to say.

I think my mum has softened her stance too, in all fairness, but she still holds onto the principle that an abortion on grounds of “inconvenience” is out of order and akin to murder. So, an “accidental” pregnancy should never result in an abortion because it’s the parents’ fault and the baby should not be punished. If they can’t face bringing up the child, the child should be adopted. She feels differently about abnormalities in a foetus and the product of a rape – I think even she can see that some scenarios provide a possible exception to the rule.

To me, the above is simplistic, unfair, and perhaps even tinged with evil (although I don’t think for a second that the people who subscribe to the view are evil!).

I am neither anti-abortion, nor pro-choice. Why isn’t the in-between school of thought as prominent? Maybe because it’s hard to encapsulate in a two-word term? I don’t like the idea of abortion (surely no one "likes" it as such?), but I think that it is a necessary option and should be available to all. I think the term “pro-choice” insinuates that everyone should be able to do whatever they fancy doing, and for me, that extremely liberal stance means that we should endorse the scenario of people sleeping around and only considering the consequences once they’ve happened. Abortion, therefore, becomes an acceptable alternative to contraception. I think that’s an unhealthy viewpoint.

Having said that, I also don’t judge those who have slept around, ended up pregnant, then sought an abortion, and it would be inhumane to deny them that option.

I had already softened my stance in later (probably late-teen) years. Now, having gone through the first month* of an unplanned pregnancy, and the complete emotional and practical upheaval associated with it, my stance has softened even more. For me, abortion was never a consideration, but I am 32 years’ old, in a full-time job with good maternity provision, I half-own a flat with my supportive sister, I have supportive parents, the father os on the scene and keen to be involved, and I have a network of good friends around me.

Take away all of that, and perhaps abortion would have been on my mind. Who knows? And, knowing the extreme emotions I have gone through over the past month*, how much more awful would it have been if I had considered abortion and others had told me that this was wrong? I honestly dread to think. It’s very easy to say that I shouldn’t have got myself into that situation in the first place. Very easy.

So, my pregnancy – much as it was wanted by me - has made me soften my stance on abortion. I understand so much better what women who choose that option are going through. I can imagine what goes through their mind at the time of finding out about the pregnancy; when the realisation and panic sets in; when they feel alone in the world; when they begin feeling guilty; and even when they decide that they can’t go through with it. Why would I want to make it even harder and more stressful by telling them that it’s wrong to terminate? Why would I want to add more guilt? And, besides all that, why would I encourage the birth of yet another unwanted child?

At a different place on the spectrum is my pregnant friend Natalie. She’s not generally opinionated, she’s fairly unemotional, and she’s fairly closed off. (All this changes a little when she’s drunk, of course!) So it’s always a surprise when she has a strong opinion on something.

I had no real idea of what her views on abortion were, but I would have expected her to shrug her shoulders and say that it’s none of her business what a woman chooses to do. (I do know that she accompanied her friend to an abortion clinic about two years ago, so I would assume that she wasn't dead anti, at least.) After her 20 week scan, she decided that the law is wrong on the provision of abortion up to 24 weeks’ gestation. It’s a topic that has been debated in parliament frequently and at length, and it attracts strong views, but I very much doubt that Natalie knew anything about the news coverage. She isn't a news-viewer and she has no interest in politics.

She simply came to the realisation that her baby was a baby (as opposed to a piece of biology) much earlier than that 24 week cut-off, and she added that 50% of babies born at 24 weeks survive, which she considers a good chance. She shook her head and said, “it’s just wrong”.

I would say that my personal view is similar, although seeing as the scan at 20 weeks is often the only time that the parents get to find out that their baby has abnormalities, and that I think some time has to be allowed for them to consider whether they could cope with that, I’m not sure how much more restricted it could be. Perhaps 22 weeks? But is that early enough to satisfy those who are anti the 24 week cut-off? Is it much different? Or can the second scan be moved? I honestly don't know - this is scientist territory.

I think it’s fascinating that, while my often unopinionated pregnant friend developed a (more?) negative attitude towards abortion, my attitude softened as the result of my pregnancy. I don’t claim to hold the answers, and I’d hate to be in the position of making decisions with regards to the law, but I do think that it isn’t a “yes or no” subject. It is far from black and white and I'm glad that my views have had the chance to be challenged, albeit I'd have sooner not have gone through what I have done.

I haven’t touched on the role of the father in all this. For me, that’s even more of a grey area. Growing up, I was taught that two people made the baby, and the same two people should be involved in every decision to do with the baby. Again, this early view came directly from my mum, and it’s possible that she has changed her mind since - we haven't chatted about it for years. The difference with her life experience is that she and Dad meticulously planned, as a partnership, how and when they would have my sister and me. My situation is very different.

If the father hadn’t come around to the idea, and I wasn’t in a position to shoulder the responsibility alone with mere financial support, then what? And what about the opposite scenario? What if the father of the baby says that he’s keen to have the baby, yet the woman doesn't feel that she can?

How can both make a decision together if they’re not living together and they have opposite ideas? It has to be one or the other, and how can it possibly be the man who makes the final decision?

I think, ultimately, it has to be the woman who makes the decision of whether or not to carry a baby to full-term. That’s not to say that women should parade around enjoying the fact that they have rights and the fathers don’t. I think it’s necessary that the woman makes the ultimate decision, but I don’t think it’s a triumphant right.

The issue is much bigger and deeper than this essay gives credit for. I’ve merely touched on it, but I'm happy that I've offered a bit of insight to which users of this forum might not have been exposed to otherwise.

 
 
*This was written at the end of March.
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Pro-choice or pro-life?

Post by ROB on Sun May 27, 2012 9:01 pm

Blamhappy wrote:
I am neither anti-abortion, nor pro-choice. Why isn’t the in-between school of thought as prominent? Maybe because it’s hard to encapsulate in a two-word term?

One reason is that this school of thought is not “in-between.”

By definition, “pro-choice” means believing that the involved parties have a choice; accordingly, “pro-choice in truth” means believing that all involved parties, (1) the unborn child, (2) the mother, (3) the father, and (4) the unborn child’s Creator, all have a choice.

By definition, “pro-life” means believing that the unborn child has a right to life. Y’shua Moshiach, Jesus the Messiah, Jesus the Anointed, says, “I come that you might have life, and have it more abundantly”, recorded in the Greek Bible in a form of (you guessed it) the Greek language. The Greek word translated “life” is zoe, life, as in quality life (among other things), as distinguished from bios, biological life.

The complexity of the position that you identify defies description via a two word sound bite.


Last edited by RockOnBrother on Mon May 28, 2012 2:03 am; edited 1 time in total
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Feedback on Abortion Essay

Post by Blamhappy on Sun May 27, 2012 11:00 pm

RockOnBrother posted:The complexity of the position that you identify defies description via a two word sound bite.
Yes, good point. I was referring more to the thrust of the argument, rather than to its pure definition. I suppose I am pro-choice, but whenever I hear the term, it comes with a sentiment that makes me uncomfortable. As I described in the essay, people tend to get excited about women's rights, but for me, it's not triumphant. I don't want to declare myself pro-choice because I don't want to seem massively in favour of abortion. I'm simply not against it (and I am against the campaigns outside abortion clinics).

The problem with the religious arguments that rely on the spiritual side of things is that, if you have faith, then you are unwavering in your opinion - it's black and white. It becomes impossible to discuss because it's just a to-and-fro discussion of "yes it is", "no it's not"... I accept your religious views completely and I know that they come from love.
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Re: Pro-choice or pro-life?

Post by ROB on Mon May 28, 2012 2:45 am


Blamhappy,

About the middle of February of a certain year of a certain decade of a certain century of a certain millennium, I “waxed hot” in my condemnation of abortion for any reasons other than incest, rape, and humane considerations for the unborn child (birth defects, etc.) and for the mother (risk of death or other serious consequences of continued pregnancy.

About the middle of July of that same year, decade, century, and millennium, a thirteen year old junior high girl sat in my office with her mother and father seeking my counsel regarding the 13 year old girl’s pregnancy. There was no “extenuating circumstance”; the girl was pregnant because she had chosen to engage in unprotected sexual intercourse with a boy about her age.  I was a new social worker, educated and trained (supposedly) to offer counsel to persons in tough situations.

I “punted.” The same hot-headed zealot who, a mere five months prior, had so vociferously pontificated about abortion, passed the buck big time. I had thought that I knew all of the answers to all of the questions; now, faced with reality, I realized that I “didn’t know nuthin’.”

During that same month, another young client, unaccompanied by father or mother, sat in my office seeking my counsel. She was 12 years old, a few weeks shy of 13, and she was pregnant (first trimester) with her second child. He first child was about 3 months old at the time. Once again, no “extenuating circumstances.”

Reality’s a “booger-bear”, ain’t it? How would you counsel these two young girls?  
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Re: Pro-choice or pro-life?

Post by Blamhappy on Mon May 28, 2012 7:39 pm

Rock, it's tough, isn't it? They really shouldn't be having sex at all at that age anyway, and I have to wonder what the parents did or didn't do.

In your role as Social Worker - indeed, just as a compassionate human being - it would be cruel to do anything other than offer advice and support, but I do understand the frustration that this situation arises in the first place.

12 or 13 is far too young to be shouldering the responsibility of a new life to bring up, and that's aside from any logistical and financial considerations. What did the girls themselves say? Was abortion their first consideration? I would be reluctant to offer encouragement to a 12 year old who planned to bring a child into the world, but I dare say most would be utterly panicked by the thought anyway!

There are literally no winners in a situation like this.
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Re: Pro-choice or pro-life?

Post by ROB on Mon May 28, 2012 10:22 pm

Blamhappy wrote:
Rock, it's tough, isn't it? They really shouldn't be having sex at all at that age anyway, and I have to wonder what the parents did or didn't do.

Blamhapy,

One client, about 37 or 38 years old, was a grandmother (several times over). This client had several daughters, at least two of whom had been teen-agers at the birth of their first children.

My co-worker/close “peer” and I dug through some AFDC files (we were housed with financial services workers) performing an impromptu “virtual longitudinal study” to see if we could discern any patterns regarding teen aged (and younger) pregnancies and “motherhood.”

What we found was shocking, at least to us. The predominant pattern, perhaps eighty-plus percent, was trans-generational (a) teen-aged pregnancy/”motherhood” accompanied by (b) absence of “fathers”/sperm donors from every aspect of “mothers’” and children’s lives except for “re-visiting” the females after they had given birth to donate more sperm.

The young girls had no fathers. They were not fathered; they were sired. The young girls’ mothers had themselves been sired. Within this sub-culture, it seemed to my co-worker and me that this pattern was perceived by all “actors” as normal. The young girls learned through immersion to engage in sexual intercourse with irresponsible males as soon as their bodies were ready, to birth multiple children (often by multiple sperm donors) prior to attaining 20 years of age, and to expect no fatherly (or husbandly) interaction from the sperm donors. Those are the lessons they “caught”; that was the “counsel” they received.

Another set of clients in a child protective services case consisted of six siblings, ages 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, and 3, that ha been abandoned by their “mother” multiple times while she ran off with first one male and then another. Ironically, all six siblings were sired by the same sperm donor, a male who also had sired several other children by other females in the area.

In court, after learning that the state would allow him to be freed from legal child support obligations inn return for his signature on a document by which he relinquished custodianship (custody) and all past, present, and future claims thereto, he signed the document in a hurry, commenting (I’ll never forget this), “I want the best for my chir-rin”, pronounced just as I’ve spelled it.

A co-worker who had long term familiarity with the entire sub-culture told me that the male was trying to catch up with his “father”, who had sired more than thirty children by multiple females.

Blamhappy wrote:
In your role as Social Worker - indeed, just as a compassionate human being - it would be cruel to do anything other than offer advice and support, but I do understand the frustration that this situation arises in the first place.

It’s tough when one realizes that all the education, training, intelligence, and supposed wisdom that one has offers no solutions. It’s also humbling, which, in an interesting way, frees one up to offer the only thing that one can offer, compassion.

Blamhappy wrote:
What did the girls themselves say? Was abortion their first consideration? I would be reluctant to offer encouragement to a 12 year old who planned to bring a child into the world, but I dare say most would be utterly panicked by the thought anyway!

The girls were torn. Not being female, I cannot know of maternal instincts except through observation. Even at 12 and 13, something inside the girls made abortion undesirable. Yet they weren’t ready, and they knew it.

That’s a pretty complete summary of what the girls said. What is more revealing is the number of times they said it to my o-workers and me. It was as if we were the mothers and fathers they never had (especially the fathers).
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Re: Pro-choice or pro-life?

Post by oftenwrong on Mon May 28, 2012 10:57 pm

Any discussion about abortion quickly reveals just how many irons there are in that particular fire. The Church likes to think it has the ultimate authority, Feminists defend the rights of a woman to have control over her own body. Doctors claim dominion over all medical procedures, putative fathers demand to be heard, parents try to decide "what's best" and overall there are the usual busybodies playing their power games.

How can anybody sensibly expect a reasonable answer within the next millenium?
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Re: Pro-choice or pro-life?

Post by ROB on Tue May 29, 2012 8:59 am

oftenwrong wrote:
How can anybody sensibly expect a reasonable answer within the next millenium?

I can (and do) expect a reasonable answer within my cognizant lifetime. If you believe that such expectation renders me “unreasonable”, then please feel free to so adjudge me if you choose.
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Re: Pro-choice or pro-life?

Post by Blamhappy on Tue May 29, 2012 6:25 pm

Rock, regarding your post about the two girls you've worked with:

While you feel (I think) that it's the absence of the fathers that has caused them to sleep around and end up pregnant with no partner in sight, I feel that it's the bad parenting by the present parent that has resulted in the situation.

In other words, I think you'll find that the kind of woman who sleeps around and ends up pregnant by unsavoury men is not the kind of woman who'd make a good, responsible mother. In addition, if the fathers had stayed on the scene to be involved in the girls' life, what kind of morals would they be likely to pass on in any case?

It's types of people rather than the situation itself, in my opinion, that determine how a child will turn out.

I'm not saying this from a biased standpoint (I will be a single mother); it's something I've felt for a number of years. I can give examples of single parent families that produced some of the best people in the country.

I do think that a team of two parents is the ideal - I'm not arguing for the value of single parenting over the alternative - but I don't think it's essential for the production of a well-rounded, responsible human.
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Re: Pro-choice or pro-life?

Post by ROB on Wed May 30, 2012 2:39 am

Blamhappy wrote:
Rock, regarding your post about the two girls you've worked with:

While you feel (I think) that it's the absence of the fathers that has caused them to sleep around and end up pregnant with no partner in sight…

You think aright. I and others with “irons in the fire” have speculated that a father (“real” father is redundant; I’m either a father or not a father) is like the Sabin inoculation, immunizing a girl for her lifetime from the rampant virus to which un-inoculated grown women fall prey time and time again.

Here’s a description of the “virus”:

 

I remember a key event in one daughter’s life. She was 4 years old. She was morose, crying intermittently, for no apparent reason.

Turns out that she had seen a girl in her dance class that she thought was “pretty”, and she had convinced herself that she was not “pretty.” She withheld this bit of info from her mother but told me while we two were in the car together going somewhere. I gave it enough time for her 4 year old attention span to switch gears, then I said in an offhand manner, “My goodness, you’re pretty. I’m glad I don’t have to cart around a funny-looking daughter!”

That was an inoculation that served her well as a college student as young males (“raging lions”) tried to “sweet talk” her into participating in certain activities. As she told me, she already knew she was good looking; she didn’t need them to pump up her self esteem in exchange for sexual intercourse.

Mothers can’t administer that inoculation. Absent fathers increase susceptibility to the virus.

Blamhappy wrote:
… I feel that it's the bad parenting by the present parent that has resulted in the situation.

In other words, I think you'll find that the kind of woman who sleeps around and ends up pregnant by unsavoury men is not the kind of woman who'd make a good, responsible mother.

I agree. Quite often, such women were themselves left un-immunized and have never known anything else.

Blamhappy wrote:
In addition, if the fathers had stayed on the scene to be involved in the girls' life, what kind of morals would they be likely to pass on in any case?

As Chris Rock said in the series “Everybody hates Chris”, his father was one of the few that actually came home every day. That’s a moral attribute that's not so much taught, but caught.

The sperm donors of whom you speak never demonstrate this moral attribute.

Blamhappy wrote:
It's types of people rather than the situation itself, in my opinion, that determine how a child will turn out.

That type of person is a pattern-breaker, a rare breed. I’ve known of a few women who dedicated themselves to doing it differently than their mothers, grandmothers, aunts, etc. Awesome ladies.

Blamhappy wrote:
I do think that a team of two parents is the ideal - I'm not arguing for the value of single parenting over the alternative - but I don't think it's essential for the production of a well-rounded, responsible human.

It is, in my opinion, essential. That’s why I’m in awe of those women (and a few men) who raise children as you’ve described without that essential partnership. It’s essential that a baseball pitcher have two hands, which is why Jim Abbot is amazing.

In other words, it can be done without that essential ingredient, but only by an extraordinary person.
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Re: Pro-choice or pro-life?

Post by ROB on Wed May 30, 2012 2:57 am


(Corrected version of previous post by RockOnBrother on Tue 29 May 2012 - 2:39; edit function is disabled).

Blamhappy wrote:
Rock, regarding your post about the two girls you've worked with:

While you feel (I think) that it's the absence of the fathers that has caused them to sleep around and end up pregnant with no partner in sight…

You think aright. I and others with “irons in the fire” have speculated that a father (“real” father is redundant; I’m either a father or not a father) is like the Sabin inoculation, immunizing a girl for her lifetime from the rampant virus to which un-inoculated grown women fall prey time and time again.

Here’s a description of the “virus”:


Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour

1 Peter 5:8

I remember a key event in one daughter’s life. She was 4 years old. She was morose, crying intermittently, for no apparent reason.

Turns out that she had seen a girl in her dance class that she thought was “pretty”, and she had convinced herself that she was not “pretty.” She withheld this bit of info from her mother but told me while we two were in the car together going somewhere. I gave it enough time for her 4 year old attention span to switch gears, then I said in an offhand manner, “My goodness, you’re pretty. I’m glad I don’t have to cart around a funny-looking daughter!”

That was an inoculation that served her well as a college student as young males (“roaring lions”) tried to “sweet talk” her into participating in certain activities. As she told me, she already knew she was good looking; she didn’t need them to pump up her self esteem in exchange for sexual intercourse.

Mothers can’t administer that inoculation. Absent fathers increase susceptibility to the virus.

Blamhappy wrote:
… I feel that it's the bad parenting by the present parent that has resulted in the situation.

In other words, I think you'll find that the kind of woman who sleeps around and ends up pregnant by unsavoury men is not the kind of woman who'd make a good, responsible mother.

I agree. Quite often, such women were themselves left un-immunized and have never known anything else.

Blamhappy wrote:
In addition, if the fathers had stayed on the scene to be involved in the girls' life, what kind of morals would they be likely to pass on in any case?

As Chris Rock said in the series “Everybody hates Chris”, his father was one of the few that actually came home every day. That’s a moral attribute that's not so much taught, but caught.

The sperm donors of whom you speak never demonstrate this moral attribute.

Blamhappy wrote:
It's types of people rather than the situation itself, in my opinion, that determine how a child will turn out.

That type of person is a pattern-breaker, a rare breed. I’ve known of a few women who dedicated themselves to doing it differently than their mothers, grandmothers, aunts, etc. Awesome ladies.

Blamhappy wrote:
I do think that a team of two parents is the ideal - I'm not arguing for the value of single parenting over the alternative - but I don't think it's essential for the production of a well-rounded, responsible human.

It is, in my opinion, essential. That’s why I’m in awe of those women (and a few men) who raise children as you’ve described without that essential partnership. It’s essential that a baseball pitcher have two hands, which is why Jim Abbot is amazing.

In other words, it can be done without that essential ingredient, but only by an extraordinary person.
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Re: Pro-choice or pro-life?

Post by Blamhappy on Wed May 30, 2012 10:07 pm

Interesting! So you think the man's mere presence is enough to ward off that attraction to sleeping around irresponsibly? I can't quite accept that. It's far too simple and black and white, albeit it I understand where the idea comes from.

The father of my child will be present and an active parent, by the way. I think we're talking about the complete absence, which was the case for my friend Ben, who is incredibly smart and well-rounded. Neither he, nor his three siblings, went on to sleep around and none have ended up single parents themselves. I think he's a great example. I'm not saying it disproves you - you accept, after all, that it can happen but you feel that it's rare - but just giving an example. I suppose his mum is pretty special. But who's to say there aren't tonnes of potentially "special" mums out there? I mean, I'm not sure how one can judge that she's part of a teeny weeny minority...
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Re: Pro-choice or pro-life?

Post by oftenwrong on Wed May 30, 2012 11:05 pm

It's a wise child that knows its own father.
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Re: Pro-choice or pro-life?

Post by ROB on Thu May 31, 2012 7:55 am

Blamhappy wrote:
Interesting! So you think the man's mere presence is enough to ward off that attraction to sleeping around irresponsibly?

Not exactly.

Precise communication requires precise use of the means of communication, in this care, the often woefully imprecise English language.


  • The word father should denote more than a mere man. The Hebrew term translated as begat (also found as a Greek equivalent in the Greek Bible) means essentially “became the father of”, denoting a grown male (Greek aner) that has taken on the duties of fatherhood, that owns the responsibilities of fatherhood.

    A father loves his daughter/son unconditionally, from now on, period. A father has already decided that he stands ever ready to sacrifice his life to insure the life and safety of his daughter/son, any place and anytime. A father stands ready to discipline his daughter/son whenever, wherever, however, and as often as necessary, even when doing so hurts the father to his soul, in order to provide his daughter/son the best chance he knows how to provide to become moral, ethical, decent grown women and grown men.

    That’s just a start.



  • The word presence has at least two connotations, one which follows its precise denotative meaning, and another, the more important, that is a bit more difficult to articulate.

    I grew up in the presence of my grandfather, a decent, ethical, moral man, who dies twenty years before I was born. After my stint as a child protective services/family services social worker, I did another ‘tour of duty’ as an aged/blind/disabled adult services social worker. By chance, many of my older clients had personally known my grandfather.

    More times than I can count, upon discovering that I was “T.J.’s” grandson, a client would say something like, “Mr. Johnson, I’m glad to meet you. Now, I’ve having a problem getting my social security check straight. I’ve written them and called them, and my check is still not right.”

    The expectation was that, as “T.J.’s” grandson, I would be like and act like “T.J.”, my grandfather, by exhibiting the decency, ethicalness, morality, courage, and commitment to what’s right, that my grandfather had exhibited during his lifetime. I spent a lot of time in social security offices getting folks’ checks “right.”

    I grew up in the presence of a greater father (grandfathers, in Yoruba, greater West African, and West African Diaspora cultures, are “greater fathers”) that I “met” through others.

    Presence is far more than physical proximity.



With these understandings of the words father and presence, I believe that a girl growing up in the presence of her father (notice the possessive pronoun), who she knows to her core loves his daughter beyond measure (notice the possessive pronoun), is far more likely to resist the attraction to “sleep around” with roaring lions seeking whom they may devour.

Please do not interpret this as minimalizing the essentiality of the mother’s presence. I shan’t use up more space expanding upon the connotative meanings of mother and greater mother (my grandmother, a key person through whom I knew my grandfather, was one of my greater mothers), because I believe that you have already extrapolated that connotation.

I am not, and cannot be, a mother to my daughter of whom I speak; her mother, her two grandmothers, and several aunts/great-aunts are her mother and greater mothers. More importantly, I cannot provide that essential possessive motherhood component of parenthood that my daughter needs. That’s a two-way street, as her mother and greater mothers cannot provide that essential possessive fatherhood component.

That two-way street was unexpectedly taught me by the same daughter. One afternoon, she injured her knee while she and I were home together. Her mother was away running errands. I did all I could; I washed the wound, sterilized the wound site with alcohol, bandaged it up, hugged her, consoled her, and even kissed the tears away. After awhile, she was okay, and she returned to her play.

Maybe thirty minutes later, my daughter heard the sound of her mother’s keys. As the front door opened, my daughter flew past me (as if I wasn’t there) and ran to her mother in tears, telling her mother all the details about her injury. Her mother removed the bandages, washed the wound, sterilized the wound site with mercurochrome, bandaged it up, hugged her, consoled her, and kissed the tears away. After awhile, my daughter was really okay, and she returned to her play, now fully consoled and tended to by her mother, her hero.

Within a month, it was my turn to be the hero. A thunderstorm was raising hell outside; high winds, forty-five degree heavy rain. Lightning struck just over the house. If you’ve ever heard that sound, you’ll never forget it.

I was sitting in a chair in the living room, open newspaper on my lap, facing away from the hallway that led to the bedrooms. My daughter’s mother was sitting on the living room couch facing towards the hallway. As I heard the lightning crack, I hurriedly removed the newspaper from my lap, throwing it on the coffee table in front of me, and just in time.

Out of nowhere (actually out of her room where she had been at play), my daughter streaked into the living room, launched herself into my lap, threw her arms around my neck, and just about squeezed the air out of my lungs. After a period of considerable reassurance, my daughter loosened her death grip on my neck, slowly slid off of my lap, and returned to play in her room.

My dearly beloved broke into a laughing fit as soon as my daughter had cleared the living room. She asked me why I had so hurriedly thrown the newspaper unto the coffee table. As I struggled to straighten out the pages and return it to readable form. I told her that, as soon as I heard the lightning’s crack, I knew I had an extremely limited time to clear the landing zone. And, as you might expect, my daughter had zeroed in on me as if her mother wasn’t there.

I’ve taken a bit of message space to share these two anecdotes in order to emphasize the essentiality of both mother’s and father’s (or mothers’ and fathers’) presence. My daughter was 9 years old, or thereabouts, when both of these incidents occurred. She was far too young to care about “PC behaviour”; when she needed her mother, she needed her mother, and when she needed her father, she needed her father. If the right one wasn’t immediately available, as was the case with the injury, the wrong one would do in a pinch, but only temporarily.

Blamhappy wrote:
The father of my child will be present and an active parent, by the way.

I pray that you accept that the father of your child is the father of his child. That possessiveness is essential; your child needs to know that her/his father is her/his (possessive) father, and that she/he is his (possessive) daughter/son. Too often, the custodial parent, usually the mother, acts in such as a way as to compromise that two-way possessiveness. Please guard against that. I intend no disparagement by this statement.

Blamhappy wrote:
I think we're talking about the complete absence, which was the case for my friend Ben, who is incredibly smart and well-rounded. Neither he, nor his three siblings, went on to sleep around and none have ended up single parents themselves. I think he's a great example. I'm not saying it disproves you - you accept, after all, that it can happen but you feel that it's rare - but just giving an example. I suppose his mum is pretty special.

The highlighted sentence is the key to Ben’s decency. I believe it’s all too rare, and I know that it needs to be less rare.

My prayers are with you, your child’s father, and your child.
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Re: Pro-choice or pro-life?

Post by Blamhappy on Thu May 31, 2012 9:16 am

Although I think a child needs strong, positive female AND male role models in his/her life, I don't subscribe to the above.

It's difficult for me to comment in a way because I grew up in an incredibly conventional household with a married mother and father. My mum stayed at home through our early years and worked part time afterwards. My dad worked full time and was the bread winner. My dad took charge of finances and all the DIY. My mum did all the cooking and most of the housework. Although they shared discipline and decided between them what the boundaries were, it tended to be my dad who got the better reaction from us, so even in discipline, we fell into what you describe above.

Incredibly traditional, and in some ways, optimum (is any upbringing perfect? There were weaknesses in my household for sure).

So you might wonder how I can determine that the above scenario is not necessary for a well-rounded child. But I do... I just do.

I think a same sex couple can provide every bit as ideal an upbringing. For me, it's all about what is provided rather than who provides it. Good role models don't have to be genetically linked to the child. It is harder for a single parent to provide the optimum upbringing, but I believe that an effective upbringing certainly can be provided.

I'd sooner have a caring, responsible, struggling single mum than a chavvie, druggie couple attempting to bring me up.
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Re: Pro-choice or pro-life?

Post by ROB on Thu May 31, 2012 11:25 am

Blamhappy wrote:
Although I think a child needs strong, positive female AND male role models in his/her life, I don't subscribe to the above.

I pray that this changes as you focus upon the needs of your child for the next two decades. I agree with much of what you say. My agreements and disagreements are detailed below.

Blamhappy wrote:
… I grew up in an incredibly conventional household with a married mother and father. My mum stayed at home through our early years and worked part time afterwards. My dad worked full time and was the bread winner. My dad took charge of finances and all the DIY. My mum did all the cooking and most of the housework. Although they shared discipline and decided between them what the boundaries were, it tended to be my dad who got the better reaction from us, so even in discipline, we fell into what you describe above.

Incredibly traditional, and in some ways, optimum (is any upbringing perfect? There were weaknesses in my household for sure).

Last things first. I suspect that there is no perfect upbringing. As Assistant District Attorney Robinette (Manhattan County), speaking to a “father” who had beaten his daughter, pointedly said, “If you ever beat her again, I’ll come at you every way I know how.”

Parents are obligated to give their best to parenting “every way they know how.” No one can ask any more, and children who receive that tend to turn out pretty good.

In the Black American subculture in which I was raised, parents, both parents, (a) worked, and (b) raised children. My mother could weld the belt that I often contemplated destroying with as much effect as my father. If anything, my mother took the lead in discipline, but I found out the hard way that my father stood ready to back her up if I displayed defiance, which I did, once. I “might’ve been crazy, but I wasn’t a fool; once was enough for one lifetime.

Both parents agreed that certain things were “non-negotiable”, including honesty, courtesy, decency, ethical behavior, and moral behavior. My siblings and I were expected to take care of our household responsibilities without attitude and without fail.

Graduation from high school and college (“university” to Brits and Canadians) was a given; the question was not “Are you going to college?”, it was “To which colleges are you applying?”

Responsibility, as in taking responsibility for yourself and your actions, was quietly demanded. An example: While trying to close the living room drapes, I pulled them off track. A bit sheepishly, I found my mother, relaxing in the den, and said (as near exact as I can remember), “Mom, the drapes jumped off track.”

My mother looked up from her chair and said, almost casually, “When did the drapes obtain legs? Did they jump off, or did they jut step off?”

I quickly got my act together and said something like “I pulled them off.”

I was waiting for, and dreading, the storm that never came. Mom asked me what I was doing when I pulled the drapes off track, I told her that I was trying to close (it had just gotten dark outside), and she quietly arose and said something like, “Okay. I help you fix them.”

Another example: One evening, after arriving home from work, taking her shoes off, and relaxing on her bed, Mom called me back to her bedroom and gave a complete set of verbal instructions as to how to cook the evening meal. She then told me that if I ran into any problems, I could come back and get more instructions. She then dozed off. At that point I realized that if my father, siblings, and I intended to eat that evening, the cooking was on me.

I could give several more examples of responsibility, but I’ll stop here. Suffice it to say that, if my mother was your mother, then both of us learned to cook, sew, wash clothes, iron clothes, cut grass, rake leaves, deal with minor plumbing problems, etc., whatever your gender and my gender might be. Mom called them survival skills.

Two final things. Boys/young men were not allowed to strike girls or women with the intent to do harm. The only exceptions were if such action was necessary to (1) prevent death or (2) prevent serious injury/harm. This was non-negotiable; that’s why “Sapphire” beat my butt in eighth grade art class. But I tore her “boyfriend” up; for every lick I got from her, he got two licks from me.

Also, I need to nip in the bud any horror about the corporal discipline that my siblings and I received. We always knew what was expected of us, so when the hammer was lowered, we knew (1) what we had done, (2) how we could have avoided the hammer, and (3) how to ensure that the hammer was never lowered again. As I grew into manhood, I became grateful for that dad-blasted belt and the two parents who welded it when necessary.

Blamhappy wrote:
So you might wonder how I can determine that the above scenario is not necessary for a well-rounded child. But I do... I just do.

I didn’t say necessary; I said essential. If it were necessary, my aunts and mother, whose father died when they were very young, could not have grown into the fine adult women that they are. Likewise, my father’s mother died when he and many of his siblings were yet children, and they grew into fine adult women and men. In fact, one of my mother’s sisters and one of my father’s sisters were my greater mothers, and two of my father’s brothers were my greater fathers.

When the essential is not available, one does it the best way one knows how.  

Blamhappy wrote:
I think a same sex couple can provide every bit as ideal an upbringing.

I know that they cannot. I believe that intentionally creating that scenario is extremely irresponsible.

Blamhappy wrote:
For me, it's all about what is provided rather than who provides it.

My daughter taught me that, to her, it’s about both. Had I not been available, she would have run to her mother in the storm seeking safety and security. When her mother was not available, she ran to me seeking consolation and compassion.

Neither is ideal, but her mother cannot be me, and I cannot be her mother. My daughter understood that instinctively, and held on until her mother arrived as she would have held on until I arrived.

My mother, growing up without her father’s physical presence, was fathered by her grandfather (until he died) and her uncle (by marriage). She never forgot her father, and he was then and is right now her her father. Her mother, my grandmother, my greater mother, one of the finest human beings I’ve ever know or known about, could not replace her father.

Blamhappy wrote:
Good role models don't have to be genetically linked to the child.

I agree one hundred and fifty percent! The greater father to my mother and her siblings in their teens and as they grew into womanhood was her uncle by marriage, in no way related genetically. Three of my greater fathers, including a man who was one of the finest history and English/language arts teachers in his state, and a man of such exceptional courage that it brings tears to my eyes to even type about him now, were uncles by marriage, in no way related genetically. Here’s the “skinny” on the latter:

RockOnBrother wrote:
Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?
by RockOnBrother on Fri 4 May 2012 - 21:17

My uncle was a captain (O3) in the United States Army in WWII. During operations in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy as a chaplain with a Negro transportation unit, he received a Purple Heart and Silver Star. At Anzio, in harm’s way with his troops, he saved one soldier from German 88 artillery fire and was wounded trying to save another soldier. His story was recorded on old, thick 78 rpm records and sent to radio stations across the USA to be played during War Bond drives. My aunt, his wife, received a copy of the record and played it for me on an old Hi-Fi sometime in the late 1950s. My uncle never talked about it; he mourned the death of the soldier my uncle was injured trying to save.

Few people have the honor and privilege of knowing a true hero. Yet, solely because of skin color, my uncle was intentionally disrespected by his own countrymen even when in uniform. One evening in late 1945, my uncle, in uniform, captain’s bars visible on his collar, was walking with his brother on a downtown street. Two white (lowercase intentional) enlisted soldiers, in uniform, walked past without so much as a glance at my uncle. His brother told me what happened next.

My uncle said in a commanding voice, “Hup! Back up, soldiers!’ The two white soldiers backed up. My uncle pointed to the captain’s bars. “What do you see?” They answered “Captain’s bars.” The two soldiers then saluted and tried to walk off. My uncle called them back, commanded them to salute again, and mad them hold the salute until he was satisfied. He then returned the salute and said “Carry on.”

While the drama unfolded, angry white men gathered round. My uncle’s brother told me that he was getting a bit anxious, but my uncle never acknowledged the angry bystanders’ presence.

http://cuttingedge2.forumotion.co.uk/t229p60-is-winston-churchill-grossly-overrated#18250

I count it an honor to have been called “nephew” by this man.

Had my father not been able to be there during my siblings’ and my formative years, these non-genetically-related uncles, along with my father’s brothers and two of my mother’s first cousins’ husbands, would have stepped in to ensure that we received fathering from our greater fathers.

Blamhappy wrote:
It is harder for a single parent to provide the optimum upbringing, but I believe that an effective upbringing certainly can be provided.

I'd sooner have a caring, responsible, struggling single mum than a chavvie, druggie couple attempting to bring me up.

I agree one hundred and seventy-five percent!
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Re: Pro-choice or pro-life?

Post by Blamhappy on Thu May 31, 2012 11:46 am

Well, we agree on some things and disagree on others. I don't pretend to be an expert. I'm only 32 and have much more living to do.

I'm getting there, though!

Thank you for you well-thought out, and well-written feedback. It's fascinating and enlightening.
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Re: Pro-choice or pro-life?

Post by ROB on Thu May 31, 2012 12:45 pm


Guess what? I was 32 when I “became a father to” my firstborn. It was a thoroughly humbling experience.
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Re: Pro-choice or pro-life?

Post by Blamhappy on Thu May 31, 2012 4:44 pm

You do seem humble. You come across really well on here, actually.
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Re: Pro-choice or pro-life?

Post by ROB on Thu May 31, 2012 8:41 pm


Thank you, Blamhappy. That’s a high compliment to one as arrogant as me.
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Re: Pro-choice or pro-life?

Post by Blamhappy on Thu May 31, 2012 10:45 pm

You're not arrogant. You have strong opinions, but I have no issues with that. Your tone is pleasant Smile
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Re: Pro-choice or pro-life?

Post by Ivan on Sun Nov 08, 2015 4:09 pm

The Westminster Parliament may be about to devolve abortion law to the Scottish Parliament. Is that significant? It may not be; the SNP government says it has no plans to change the law. However, there are worrying parallels with the USA. When the anti-abortionists failed to get their way with the federal government, they set about trying to get the law changed state by state, with some success. Many women now have to travel hundreds of miles if they want a safe, legal abortion.

Yvette Cooper has written about this proposed devolved power, saying “it could open the door to a new round of intensive, targeted pressure for restrictions both north and south of the border, and the fragmentation of important healthcare rights, which won’t be good for women in Scotland or England and Wales”:-

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You only have to read some of the comments under the article to see how emotive the issue of abortion remains. There is also an added dimension, because some SNP supporters insist on taking every opportunity to attack Labour and imagining that every thought, word and deed by Labour politicians is an attack on them.

Where I take issue with Yvette is over this remark: “Some people oppose abortion on principle – perhaps on faith grounds – and I respect those views”. Why should religious views automatically command our respect? As long as we accept the principle that religious faith must be respected simply because it is religious faith, it is hard to withhold respect from the faith of people like Osama bin Laden and suicide bombers. As Richard Dawkins wrote in 'The God Delusion' (p.306): "If somebody announces that (what they believe) is part of his faith, the rest of society......is obliged, by ingrained custom, to 'respect' it without question; respect it until the day it manifests itself in a horrible massacre like the destruction of the World Trade Centre, or the London and Madrid bombings." Or the murder of doctors who perform abortions, as has happened in the USA.

The bottom line is that you will never stop abortions, but the law can be misused to stop safe abortions. It makes me sick that some predominantly male, predominantly affluent legislators want to tell poor women they must bear and raise alone children they cannot afford to bring up. They want to force teenagers to bear children they are not emotionally prepared to deal with. They want to tell women who wish for a career that they must give up their dreams, stay home, and bring up babies. Worst of all, they want to condemn victims of rape and incest to carry and nurture the offspring of their assailants. Legislative prohibitions on abortion arouse the suspicion that the real intention is to control the independence and sexuality of women.
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Re: Pro-choice or pro-life?

Post by boatlady on Sun Nov 08, 2015 6:08 pm

how emotive the issue of abortion remains.

I'm inclined to think that the only people entitled to feel emotive about abortion are those personally affected - pregnant women, their partners and the medical staff carrying out the procedure - it isn't really anyone else's business in my view.
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Re: Pro-choice or pro-life?

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Nov 08, 2015 11:09 pm

The 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world (according to Vatican figures) may beg to differ there, and what a cruel idea it must sound to any couple unable to start a family.
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Re: Pro-choice or pro-life?

Post by boatlady on Sun Nov 08, 2015 11:22 pm

It's a medical procedure and the decision whether or not to carry it out is a medical decision and should be as privileged as any other medical decision.

I was part of a couple unable to start a family - it's painful, but that doesn't give me any right to judge anyone else's decisions.
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Re: Pro-choice or pro-life?

Post by Ivan on Fri Jan 15, 2016 8:21 pm

Who’s driving high abortion rates? It’s the religious right

From an article by George Monbiot:-

Here is the fact that everyone debating abortion should know: there is no association between its legality and its incidence. In other words, banning abortion does not stop the practice; it merely makes it more dangerous.

There might be no causal relationship between reproductive choice and the incidence of abortion, but there is a strong correlation: an inverse one. As the Lancet’s most recent survey of global rates and trends notes: “The abortion rate was lower ... where more women live under liberal abortion laws.”


For the whole article:-
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I've felt that regardless of where the funding for an abortion comes from---

Post by Aspca4ever on Sun Mar 20, 2016 12:13 am

This issue isn't anyone else's to have a vote about, because this is SUPPOSED to be between the woman & her doctor!
And for the number of 'fake-faithful' that will: lie/bomb/harass/ picket/shoot up/kill nurses & doctors...PP clinics ...well that IRONY just leaves them with no leg to stand on.

Keep closing all of those neighborhood PP clinics that provide all 'well check ups' {for all of those local family members} besides the 3% of the abortion procedures that only make the 'fake-faithful' heads do a 180° head spin---and the back alley close-hanger/butcher will become a money maker business once again Evil or Very Mad
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Re: Pro-choice or pro-life?

Post by boatlady on Sun Mar 20, 2016 10:30 am

That is so true
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Re: Pro-choice or pro-life?

Post by sassy on Sun Mar 20, 2016 11:19 am

I'm certainly glad that it is not something we still have to fight for in the UK. However, the position for women Ireland is still is not as happy and many are still fighting for rights over their own bodies.
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Re: Pro-choice or pro-life?

Post by Aspca4ever on Sun Mar 20, 2016 11:36 am

sassy wrote:I'm certainly glad that it is not something we still have to fight for in the UK.  However, the position for women Ireland is still is not as happy and many are still fighting for rights over their own bodies.


I'd always hoped the our 'Roe VS Wade' had put an end to this 'CHOICE' issue; yet that was just another pipe dream for many Americans --- our Republican control house & senate have managed to keep gnawing away at this 'Abortion Bill' for the past 7+ years.  With no less then 11 attempts to force the repeal of 'Roe VS Wade' and defund the Planned Parenthood Clinics that are located in so many lower income/socially depressed areas of this country.  That's what the 'Fake Faithful' have done to our political system; stagnant/non-stop attacks perpetrated by lies and wasted time and money in our government daily process. headbang

The FIGHT CONTINUES ~~~
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Re: Pro-choice or pro-life?

Post by Ivan on Wed Jan 25, 2017 5:38 pm

As long as you live, I doubt if you'll ever see a photograph of seven women signing legislation about what men can do with their reproductive organs.

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Re: Pro-choice or pro-life?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Jan 26, 2017 10:49 am

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Eric Berkowitz
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Re: Pro-choice or pro-life?

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