November 25, 2007

Stripes on A Third of Women

According to Meet the Press this morning, 75% of likely Republican voters think abortion ought to be illegal. (This stat was also mentioned in the Mercury News)

The LA Times claims that a third of all American women will have had an abortion by the age of 45.

75 out of 100 of likely Republican voters want to make a third of American women criminals.

Did they ask these folks how we ought to punish women who seek an abortion? And have they considered water boarding, especially in the case of women who refuse to turn in their doctor?

(I don’t like posting on Sunday, so you get a hit and run blog post!)

Posted by James at November 25, 2007 10:32 AM
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The problem here is the way you're using the information.

1. Where did the numbers come from? I couldn't access either link)If it is the recent ABC/Washington Post poll then the numbers break down to "75 percent say abortions should be illegal all (24%) or most (51%) of the time"

So 24% of polled Republican voters want to make abortion completely illegal. How would THEY punish women seeking abortion? I imagine they wouldn't because who would perform one? I doubt 1/3 of women 45 and under would look to have illegal abortions performed.

Oh and the ABC/WP poll included 400 Iowans..hmm that's not very conclusive.

A more interesting look is this poll:

According to this poll 27% of conservative Republicans favor 'illegal in all cases' vs. 7% for liberal Democrats. However move away from the extreme and Moderate Republicans, Independents, and Moderate Democrats all chime in at 14%

Slightly amusing is the numbers for 'legal most cases' which show 40% of Moderate Republicans in favor vs. 39% of Moderate Democrats and only 35% of Independents!

While I question any survey, this one has the benefit of being nationwide and having included over 3000 adults.

Posted by: Lefty at November 25, 2007 11:53 AM

Lefty asks:


You're kidding, right? It's also against the law to sell illegal drugs, drive fast, or rob banks - yet all of these things happen.

So I really can't tell whether your question was sincere or not, or if there was a joke in there somewhere that I missed. Are you really unaware that abortion was once illegal in the US, yet people performed abortions anyway?

These abortions were performed by doctors, nurses, and midwives with varying motives; med school dropouts; money-grubbing scumbags with labcoats; well-intentioned friends with makeshift equipment and varying levels of expertise; and desperate women who resorted to coat hangers, toxic herbal preparations, and premeditated "accidents."

And that's who'd be doing them now if abortion were to be outlawed again.

A woman who lives near the Canadian or Mexican border and/or has some money will always have more choices; but if it becomes illegal not only to perform an abortion but also to have one, I still doubt that foreign doctors will refuse to do them in their own countries where abortion is legal.

So that's who'd be performing the abortions. Just in case you were asking in earnest. And you'd have no way of knowing how many women were having these abortions because most would never admit to it. The only data you'd have would be the ones who were caught in the act, and the ones who died of complications.

Posted by: Julie at November 25, 2007 3:33 PM

Woops, the actual quote from Lefty didn't make it into my comment. Lefty had asked WHO would be performing abortions if abortion were illegal. I couldn't tell whether it was a rhetorical question, a sincere one, or a joke that I just didn't get.

Posted by: Julie at November 25, 2007 3:39 PM

How should we punish women? Typically, nobody wants to talk about that. It's easier to demonize doctors who are willing to perform abortions, also known as "baby killers."

I never understand why so many liberals allow their opponents to frame these debates. Yet I have never heard a candidate who opposed reproductive choice grilled on their proposal for punishing women.

The emotional appeals we get on this issue ask us to consider embryos the same as we consider the kids who play Little League. Where are the hypothetical questions for conservative candidates on this notion?

You're in a burning building and only have time to save either the crying and screaming 2 year-old or the container with 100 embryos which have 100 willing women waiting for them somewhere. Which do you save?

Republicans still laugh about Dukakis'legendary answer to a pointed question on crime. My question is equally fair. But don't expect to hear it at the debates next year.

Posted by: James at November 25, 2007 4:21 PM


that was kind of my point. If it's illegal the Doctor isn't going to turn you in. Punishment only comes IF your caught, and the number of woman seeking one will drop.

Personally I believe there are better options than abortion and that it should be allowed only in certain circumstances. However, the dreadful thought of women risking illegal abortions is reason enough to preserve a woman's choice.

However a big part of my comment had to do with the misleading statement that 75% of Republicans think abortion ought to be illegal. The Majority of Republicans believe in some form of legal abortion. If the question is how would those who think it should be illegal punish women, well then it should be asked to everyone with that view, regardless of party.

Posted by: Lefty at November 25, 2007 4:52 PM

75% of Republican caucus-goers in Iowa thought abortion should be illegal. There's a link to the transcript.

Actually, I meant to be more specific about that in my post (and I should have been); the poll applied to Iowa caucus voters. These are people who have more of and influence over who the Republican nominee will be than you and I.

So, while they are not representative of the party as a whole in the exact numbers and percentages, they are more at the heart of the party and have some effect on our choices and our future.

I'd like to know how those caucus voters feel about punishing women. If other Republicans or whoever would also like to answer as well, then that's OK by me.

Making abortion illegal does punish women, clearly. But making it official drives the point home well enough that no candidate suggests it. "Abortion will go down if we punish doctors" sounds like a poorly-supported social experiment. If it were about any issue other than abortion, it would be considered a liberal idea.

No, a law punishing doctors doesn't prevent abortions, it punishes doctors who assist with abortions that have already happened. And it eases people's consciences that they've punished someone for something they disagree with, without them having to actually face it.

Posted by: James at November 25, 2007 7:54 PM
Personally I believe there are better options than abortion

Spoken like a person who's never been pregnant.

Pregnancy is a life-threatening condition, not to mention extremely uncomfortable. I wanted to be pregnant and I was still miserable for months with nausea and vomiting. I know two women with permanent heart disease as a result of their pregnancies. Some women suffer emotional side-effects such as post-partum depression. And all could be prevented with a few pills early in the pregnancy, or a simple office procedure.

Truly, life's unfair and there are many horrible situations to be in. Some we can address and some we can't. An unwanted pregnancy can and should be handled medically.

You're not saving a baby. It's not a baby, it's the beginning of a process that might eventually lead to a baby. You're saving a blastocyst and forcing nine months of that process. Mom might be a drug addict, she might be an alcoholic, she might decide she hates herself or the fetus so much that she does it harm on purpose. Dear March of Dimes: Have some FAS babies. They and society are much better off now that they're born. Love, Anti Choice.

Posted by: Maggie at November 25, 2007 8:03 PM


You may think this is spoken "like a person who's never been pregnant", but that's awfully dismissive.

First, I think a father's rights should be at least considered. Secondly, I know many woman who share that opinion and they HAVE been pregnant. Lastly, I clearly stated that DESPITE my personal views I believed a woman's right to choose must be preserved. So I think it's a little unfair to beat me up over a point of view that I concede shouldn't be applied.

As for better options, one of those options is to simply not get pregnant.

Good point. My gut reaction was defensive because I hate being lumped in with the idiots on the far right. My mind didn't wrap around the presidential politics of it all.

Posted by: Lefty at November 26, 2007 1:02 AM

"As for better options, one of those options is to simply not get pregnant."

Tell that to the rape victims, the women tied to abusive partners who don't care, the women stuck in religious marriages in which birth control is forbidden, the teenagers whose only "sex education" so far has been "just say no" in the face of those raging hormones, the babies born to women with AIDS/drug habits who didn't ask to be saddled with those problems.

Or better yet, tell it to me. I use birth control. Lots of birth control. Multiple methods of birth control at once. Many years ago, honey and I got pregnant anyway. We chose abortion. Tell it to my mom. She was on the pill and using condoms when she got pregnant with me, and I changed her life - she had to drop out of college back then and never went back.

This is not an issue the government belongs in at all - it is a very personal medical decision and it needs to be legalized, period.


Posted by: leslie at November 26, 2007 1:23 AM


I suggest you go back up an reread what I've said and not look for the one sentence you can rant over.

Obviously the idea of 'not getting pregnant' is not applicable to all situations nor is it 100% full proof. I've already stated that my personal belief is that abortion should only be allowed it certain situations and DESPITE this I believe that a woman's right to choose must be preserved.

I do believe there are better options, first and foremost making sure that a woman or a couple are making the most informed and educated decision possible. You know regret and the consequences of the abortion decision go both ways, or is there no sympathy for the woman who has an abortion and then regrets the decision for the rest of her life?

BTW, if you think abortion 'needs to be legalized' then you are advocating for government involvement.

Posted by: Lefty at November 26, 2007 6:55 AM


As for better options, one of those options is to simply not get pregnant

Thank you, Nancy Reagan. I thought you meant adoption. How simple it really is. Why don't they teach that in schools? Oh wait, they do! And it doesn't work!

But let's try it on some simpler stuff. People should "just exercise" and "just not overeat" and "just not smoke," and "just not drink" and "just not gamble" and let's throw in "just not get pimples," because I really hate to look at people with pimples. Is that working for our obese, diabetic society? I don't think so. And who are most of the obese smokers getting abortions? The poor! Why don't they simply "just make money?" God, I hate it when people don't solve their own problems.

You know women who were pregnant and share your opinion? So do I. I also know sexist women. Plenty of people can't see outside of their own situation and think everybody else should "simply" live like they do to solve all of their problems.

That is a thought process I've noticed particularly in conservatives. They blame people for their problems and hold themselves/their peers and their advantaged lives/genetics up as an example.

You're not being realistic about this issue. Sexuality, male/female relationships, violence, and pregnancy are far too complicated to apply any kind of "people should simply" logic to them. Women need to be freed from pregnancy and child care so they can make choices about their lives. I can see that you feel an inequity in the other direction, but it's a result of the same prejudice and biological fact. No other person can take responsibility for a woman's pregnancy (no other person can carry it), so no other person should be able to force a woman to go through it. Once the child is born, then I think dad should get a say. In a loving relationship, he "simply" shouldn't get his wife pregnant until she agrees to carry the baby, right? Not sure what your problem is.


Posted by: Maggie at November 26, 2007 9:56 AM


My problem is simply a blog post that wasn't clear about its source info or its intent.

the '75% of Republicans' figure is misleading at best. However in the context of Iowans having a great deal of influence and needing to provide more in depth answers to these types of questions? I can agree to that.

As for abortion itself, You and everyone else can rant and rave as much as you want, my opinion is unchanged. I believe it should be allowed in only certain circumstances. I believe there are other options that should be explored. Adoption is certainly one, but so is taking some responsibility to not get pregnant in the first place. (You are much too smart to think that I'm applying that to every woman and in every situation.) I also believe that despite all this a woman's right to choose must be preserved. Partly because I'm not a woman and partly because I fear a return to illegal abortions performed in a dark alley.

What is absolutely hilarious is that I've said this about 3 or 4 times now, that at the end of it all abortion must remain legal. Despite this, I'm getting antagonized for the views you don't agree with. I can't have a different opinion than you? Because you and others have no doubts about what you might be ending, it's a question that I'm not supposed to wrestle with?

Because I say I know women who share my opinion, who have misgivings about abortion you dismiss it as "Plenty of people can't see outside of their own situation and think everybody else should "simply" live like they do to solve all of their problems."

Who are you to deny the validity of my or anyone else's opinion? Can you possibly feel that because someone doesn't see the issue the same way you do that they are incapable of forming an intelligent opinion?

I have said over and over again that despite my misgivings I do not favor making abortion illegal. If that is not good enough for you and anyone else too bad. Through this serious of comments I have not once called into question your views and have done nothing but respect your right to your opinion. Perhaps it is too much to ask that you respect mine.

Posted by: Lefty at November 26, 2007 10:47 AM


Or course you have a right to your opinion. It's not very clearly spelled out and it's simplistic and narrow, but you have a right to it.

Appealing to the authority of mothers who agree with you also doesn't make your opinion valid. Opinions don't get to be right based on how many people agree with them. But again, you have a right to an invalid opinion. Why don't you elaborate on it? There's no reason to worry that arguing against my opinion isn't "respecting" it. It's just an opinion, it has no feelings. I would like to be enlightened by somebody else's point of view. I'm sorry you don't feel the same, but perhaps that is why you have persisted with such a narrow opinion, and it's not going to make me stop writing.

Here's a solution to the abortion problem: men can "simply" stop ejaculating. Is that reasonable? No, it's silly, but it accomplishes what you suggested: women should "simply" not become pregnant. (Also silly.)

My point is it's not simple. To suggest that women should "simply" not become pregnant is offensive and condescending, and the idea that it's reasonable or even possible needs to be dispelled. If you don't want to think about it, that is your right, as you say. Maybe other people are interested in the arguments. Maybe you should provide a counter-argument so they have more information.


Posted by: Maggie at November 26, 2007 11:04 AM

I think it's hilarious (not) to talk about having abortion be legal in certain circumstances but not others. Rape? Incest? Do you know how long it takes to prove these things? The soonest you can test for paternity is ten weeks, and at that stage it's risky; but that'd still be a piece of cake next to proving nonconsensual sex.

You can always speak of things that people "should" do and situations that "should" exist and the way you would like things to work; but if these things do not correspond to reality and if you're not willing to examine them in the context of reality, they're meaningless.

If these empty and timeworn arguments are the best you can offer, then it's disingenuous to act offended or surprised when people jump all over them. Or to backpedal and say that wasn't your point, or try to deflect to a different part of the issue, or whatever. Maybe you can fool yourself that way, but it's not the best way to prove that you've given serious thought to an issue.

Posted by: Julie at November 26, 2007 12:03 PM

I won't get sucked in to yet another exhausting debate on aboriton.

I just want to ask for the missing math.

If 75% of Republicans polled think abortion ought to be illegal


1/3 of all American women will have had an abortion by the age of 45

What percentage of the 75% of Republicans who want to outlaw abortion have had one?

Probably not possible to pool results and get the stat I'm looking for, but wouldn't it be nice to know that now that they've had theirs, nobody else can have one?

This 75% are in good company: dads who rape daughters, strangers who rape strangers, family friends who rape their friends' kids, and pedos who look online (and elsewhere) for fresh lives to ruin.

Let's also remember that even the most careful couple can have a condom that fails.

Ok, that's all I wanted to say!

Posted by: Patti M. at November 26, 2007 12:50 PM

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