Progressives and abortion

Posted in Uncategorized by gritchik on April 3, 2012

With interest this afternoon I watched an exchange between several progressive bloggers that devolved into a boycott of an aggregator site because a couple of bloggers took issue with two posts, made by men, on the subject of abortion.  Other than offering encouraging words to the site’s administrator, I stayed out of it. Or, rather, tried too.  Hence this post.

As regular readers will know, I’ve posted often on abortion and went after several politicians, most notably PC leader Tim Hudak, because of their anti-choice positions. So I read the blog posts in question (found here and here). And found that I didn’t really have an issue with either. That doesn’t mean I agree with them, it just means I believe they have a right to speak their mind on this topic. Don’t like it? Don’t read it.

In the first post, Gordie Canuck says that he is pro-choice but has issues with third trimester abortions.  Wanna know something? So do I. And I’m in very good company. A nickel to the first person who can name who said the following:

“We don’t abort babies, we want to abort fetuses before they become babies… Around 24 weeks I have ethical problems doing that.”

That was none other than one Dr. Henry Morgentaler.

The second post, I think, nay hopewas a satire because anyone who suggests that Tory MP Stephen Woodworth presents a “strong argument” for a public discussion on abortion must have been having a bit of a chuckle before he hit “publish.” That, or his goal was to stir shit up.

As I watched the Twitter war escalate I was struck by how virulent and rigid the most lefty of lefties are on the subject.  You’re either with us or you’re against us, they seem to be suggesting.  I believe we’ve heard that before. And none of us progressives liked it very much.

Which, belatedly, brings me to my point: When progressives fight among ourselves on polarizing issues such as abortion, only the conservatives win.

If we – progressives, that is – believe that the only position on abortion is unfettered access at all points in a woman’s pregnancy, we become as doctrinaire as the people we oppose. And, what’s worse, we lose the support of those, who, like Dr. Morgentaler did, have ethical problems with late-term abortions. We lose the support of those who favour choice in most cases.

Who wins? The conservatives. Every fucking time.

24 Responses

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  1. awreeves said, on April 3, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Well done.

    • Qui ça? Moi? said, on April 3, 2012 at 9:21 pm

      Not a hypothetical case.

      Echography at 7 months show the fetus has no brain.

      Outside the woman the fetus will live about 15 minutes.

      But hey, it is a late-term abortion.

      • gritchik said, on April 3, 2012 at 10:37 pm

        I apologize for my previous comment if you were referring to a specific reason, in this case, anencephaly, for the need for a late term abortion.

        My issue is not with late term abortions for medical reasons – whether the health of the mother or the fetus.

        My condolences to you and your family if you were referring to a personal tragedy in your comment.

      • deBeauxOs said, on April 4, 2012 at 9:37 am

        Gritchik, this medical condition is anencephaly. I hope that your inadvertent smack-down was not of a personal account of a pregnancy that ended in this manner.

        One in 10,000 fetus in North America develops in this manner; the figure is higher in countries where exposure to lead, chromium, mercury, nickel and other teratogenic agents are unfortunately more common.

      • gritchik said, on April 4, 2012 at 9:43 am

        My apologies. The comment was written as if it was a general suggestion that a fetus has no brain at 7 months.

        Having had a cousin who was carrying an anencephalic fetus, I am well versed on this condition. My condolences to anyone who’s had to suffer through such a traumatic event. And, yes, I support their right to terminate the pregnancy under such circumstances.

  2. deBeauxOs said, on April 3, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    There are doctors who have ethical problems with all forms of abortion including the IUD and emergency contraception provided after sexual assault. If they won’t provide the health care their female patients need, they must refer them to professionals who can.

    That is what Dr Morgentaler did.

    When the government starts establishing and legislating the moment a zygote, embryo or fetus becomes a person, you can expect that religious busybodies like Woodworth will want miscarriages investigated.

    When women lose the right to control what happens to their bodies, they lose the right to choose or refuse pregnancy.

  3. Scott Ross said, on April 3, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    What’s wrong with having a public discussion on abortion? Public discussion is inherently and intrinsically valuable. Considering many commenters on my blog have held factually false views I think such a discussion would bebeneficial. I support abortion, but I don’t support irrationality.

    • gritchik said, on April 3, 2012 at 11:21 pm

      I have a problem with this public discussion on abortion. This is no neutral, maybe-we’ll-learn-something kind of debate.

      It’s a motion being introduced by a right-wing pro-life activist member of government. A government which now has a majority.

      The whole thing is disingenuous – this is not a discussion, it’s a set up. It is the first step toward limiting a woman’s right to choose.

    • deBeauxOs said, on April 4, 2012 at 12:17 am

      Clearly the thrill of getting all this unwarranted attention at your blog is making you a little giddy.

      The “discussion” that MP Woodworth is holding is not an ordinary “public discussion”. It is inherently an attempt to define legal personhood for zygotes, embryos and fetuses – and thus to criminalize medical interventions or miscarriages, as those bring the gestation period to an end.

      Isn’t it ironic the Harper government can justify bullying its way into women’s uteruses, while rationalizing it shouldn’t regulate the registration of weapons that can and do kill people?

      Yes, those many commenters at your blog hold factually false views that are anti-choice, and their irrational beliefs favour the rights of the “preborn” over the rights of pregnant women.

  4. JJ said, on April 3, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    Dr. Morgentaler did indeed personally find the idea of late-term abortions ethically troubling, but he somehow managed to restrain himself from imposing his *personal view* on others through the coercive power of the State. Dr.M also made it clear that he thought late term abortion should be available to women, without restriction, because almost all of them are done due to dire health issues.

    In other words, whatever Dr.Morgentaler’s private views, his public practice was the status quo. He just opted out of doing late abortions himself. Sounds like a reasonable solution to me, and with no interference from the State, imagine that.

    The reason some of us are so angry is because we’ve got a major assault on our rights coming up in 3 weeks: not the best time for our progressive allies to be proselytizing about their inner conflicts over abortion. I don’t expect everyone to get in lockstep, but I most definitely expect everyone to resist the urge to support the people attacking us!

    • gritchik said, on April 3, 2012 at 11:05 pm

      You’re a little thin-skinned if you believe you were being attacked because a couple of bloggers dared to be critical of your position.

      My problem is when so-called progressives try to impose their extreme, fringe view on the rest of us. And bully those who don’t 100% subscribe to that view and then condemn them as misogynists or worse.

      All you end up doing is alienating those who would otherwise support a women’s right to choose.

      • JJ said, on April 3, 2012 at 11:42 pm

        First of all, I wasn’t talking about either of the bloggers making an attack, I was talking about Motion 312 being an attack. However, progressive bloggers who support the motion do give comfort and encouragement to anti-choicers by agreeing that this debate will be “a good thing, clear the air, get out the information” etc. That is not what the debate is about. The long game is fetal “personhood”, which would be disastrous to abortion rights. Just look south if you doubt it.

        Secondly, I can’t be “imposing” anything on anyone if all I’m saying is leave us alone. I’m not recommending the state-mandated restriction of anyone’s rights. THAT is an imposition. Now which side of this argument is doing that?

        Look, these guys can proselytize and navel-gaze about abortion to their heart’s content any other time and it won’t bother me. But please: not when we’re about to face a major threat to our rights. It’s not too hard to figure out… or is that just too much to ask?

  5. Scott Ross said, on April 3, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    JJ I never supported anyone attacking anyone else, if you think otherwise cite me. You were the one being rude and calling names.

    • JJ said, on April 3, 2012 at 11:20 pm

      I’m not talking about you Scott, I’m talking about this upcoming “debate”, which is an attack on my rights.

  6. ck said, on April 3, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    because it’s done, that’s why. As in been there, done that, time to move on.

    The kind of ‘debate’ proposed by woodworth is similar to debates in the US where some states have enacted some rather draconian laws that attempt to circumvent Roe v Wade. Heck, they’re in the process of criminalizing miscarriages and yes, attempting to ban birth control. Is this the path we want to take? Like American Conservatives, Harper’s conservatives have that knack of just not knowing where to stop.

    Honestly, with so many Canadians losing their jobs these days, danger of losing universal health care, asbestos still legalized, environmental regulations being cut, OAS at 67, dumb on crime omnibus bills, a warrantless online spying bill, etc. etc. (I could go on, but I just don’t have the time right now), why go back in time to debate abortion?

    Oh, really rich of Woodworth saying he wants “open discussions” and an “informed public”! Given that the Conservatives have broken records of cutting debate for important bills.

  7. drog1867 said, on April 4, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    HI gritchick, just wanted to say thank you for what I consider a fair and reasonable representation of my view, and that I appreciate your respectful manner.

  8. drog1867 said, on April 4, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Not sure my 1st comment registered or not.

    Thanks for giving a fair represenation of what I wrote. OBviously its a contentious debate, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be mature and respectful to one another.


  9. ASME said, on April 4, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    This return to an abortion discussion is soooooo obtuse.

  10. pale said, on April 5, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    You are being disingenuous. You are saying that Women in Canada ARE getting late terminations just because golly gee they felt like it?

    There are no hospitals or Doctors in Canada that will perform a late term abortion without a bloody good reason. Health or a significant health issue with the fetus.

    You do not state that fact, you just willy wash around it.

    And that is what much of this whole bunch of crap is about BTW. The lies, and the mythology. That you, are furthering with this kind of post.
    Yup. Own opinion. Fine and dandee. But do include the actual truth please.

    • gritchik said, on April 8, 2012 at 4:45 pm

      Hardly. I never once said that I favour any kind of restrictions on abortion. And I didn’t misstate anything as I wasn’t making any argument for anything other than the fact that progressives (liberals and Liberals) are entitled to hold differing, albeit still pro-choice, views.

      My support was for the bloggers in question (whether I agree with them or not was irrelevant). My point is when holier-than-thou so-called progressives become as doctrinaire as the people they oppose, everyone – in this case, on the left – loses.

      Your comment to my post makes my point beautifully. Thank you.

  11. Fern Hill, idiot | Warren Kinsella said, on April 8, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    […] If someone said something about abortion, she was all over it. I don’t recall her linking to Henry Morgentaler’s statement that late term abortions – around 24 weeks – is something with which he has ethical […]

  12. cindy smith said, on April 11, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Whats wrong with having a public discussion on: segregation? democracy? slavery? 911 services? medicare for the elderly?

    • gritchik said, on April 11, 2012 at 9:57 am

      I never once claimed I support a “public discussion” on abortion. My position is clearly stated in previous posts. But, typically, you and your ilk deliberately attempt to reframe the discussion to suit your agenda.

      This discussion was never about M312, it was about whether or not 2 bloggers had a right to post their views on the subject.

  13. The company you keep « gritchik said, on April 11, 2012 at 11:46 am

    […] response to my posts (here and here) I’ve received vulgar emails not fit for posting, comments suggesting that I support […]

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