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I Used to Be Pro-Choice, But Then the Partial-Birth Abortion Debate Happened

Society & Culture  (tags: activists, americans, children, education, ethics, family, GoodNews, humans, interesting, rights, society, women )

- 1843 days ago -
January 25, 2012 ( - I was pro-choice. Although I probably wouldn't have had an abortion, I didn't feel it was my place - or my right - to dictate to another woman what she should do with her body or her life. So I voted for laws and...

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Carol Dreeszen (346)
Wednesday May 8, 2013, 11:56 am
January 25, 2012 ( - I was pro-choice. Although I probably wouldn’t have had an abortion, I didn’t feel it was my place – or my right – to dictate to another woman what she should do with her body or her life. So I voted for laws and policymakers that supported abortion. Always.

I dismissed any thought of what was being aborted. Then I started having children of my own. No, I didn’t experience an epiphany after my first baby was born. Over a 10-year period, it gradually dawned on me that I could have chosen to end the life of any one of the children I held in my arms. And I wouldn’t go to jail. I decided if they lived or died. Whether the act was legal or illegal was determined by which side of my skin the baby resided.

When the controversy over late-term, or partial-birth, third-trimester abortions erupted in the late 1990s, I started to pay attention to what really takes place during the termination of pregnancies. “Post-viability” abortions, the pro-choice preference for the name of the procedure, weren’t the most common performed at that time, but the fact that babies were killed by having their brains sucked out while their squirming legs poked from the birth canal made me pause.

An artist's depiction of a partial birth abortion.
I asked myself if partial-birth abortions were any worse than dilation and extraction (D&E) procedures in the second trimester, where forceps are used to pull apart the babies arms, legs and head with no fetal anesthesia, as if that would make it palatable. Was a D&E more abhorrent than violently vacuuming out the baby or chemically inducing its demise in a first-trimester abortion?

In the 1980s, I was a San Diego State student with almost enough credits to minor in Women’s Studies. These classes formed my staunchly feminist ideology, and I saw the right to abortion as advancing the equality of women. If abortion laws were reversed in any way, my right to equal pay and the enjoyment of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness could be compromised.

As years passed, I came to realize that outlawing abortion had nothing to do with denying rights to the women who carried the babies. I’m not a misogynist because I believe that every life should be given the same opportunity to be born. I value women enough to know that they are being used to line the pockets of abortion providers. If facilities truly felt the right to abortion must be protected because it’s best for women, why don’t these philanthropic-appearing organizations use their government funding and private donations to terminate pregnancies for free?

According to statistics compiled in 2011 by the Guttmacher Institute, the research branch of Planned Parenthood, women obtained abortions because of concern for being responsible for another person, for financial reasons, fear the baby would interfere with work or school or because they didn’t want to be a single parent. Instead of denying a baby the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, adoption is an answer to these challenges that pregnant women face.

Twelve years ago, I trained to be a speaker for the pro-life movement. Ironically, I was unable to fulfill engagements because of the birth of my fourth son. I wanted to stand before crowds and tell them that an embryo has his or her own DNA, different from the mother’s; that the heart starts beating 18 days after the baby is conceived, before most women even know they’re pregnant; and by 21 days, this “clump of cells” has a circulatory system with an individual blood type.

I can no longer sit on the sidelines and expect other people (more intelligent and eloquent, no doubt) to fight the battle to protect the lives of tiny human beings. I may not know exactly what to do, but I can stand and be counted among those who refuse to be convinced by politicians and moneymaking corporations that what is wrong is actually right. And now I vote for pro-life candidates and legislation. Always.

Carol Maxwell and her husband Scott have been married for 27 years and have seven children. Scott is the Executive Director of Culture of Life Family Services, a San Diego-based full-service medical office that provides free care to women in need with unplanned pregnancies.

David C (131)
Wednesday May 8, 2013, 12:12 pm
then you have drank the koolaid and don't realize the the US very very very few abortions are not 1st trimester and when they are, they are almost all done to save the life of the pregnant woman........what about her life??????

also, even at the best hospitals in the world 24 weeks estimated gestational age (from first day of last menses) is considered survivable and many of these children have severe brain injuries, need heroic interventions, don't dare say conception is life......

lastly, do you fully support sex education programs that focus on safer sex wth birth control, free and accessible BC to prevent unwanted pregnancies (and unwanted abortions), and plan B for those times when plan A is forgotten, etc???????????

if you want to prevent abortion, support sex ed and not just "abstinence programs" or "purity pledges", support BC, and have a reality on the definition of life......then we can have an open and honest dialogue rather than you trying to dictate to those of us who think.

Roger S (14)
Wednesday May 8, 2013, 5:59 pm
So a woman with seven kids and who never had to make such a decision now thinks she knows best?

Carol Dreeszen (346)
Wednesday May 8, 2013, 11:33 pm
Nyack..I am Pro Life...period. Pro Choice is just a pretty word for pro murder...there is nothing about the preservation of life in the words pro choice.

Dave.. it makes no difference WHEN an abortion is done..the end result is babies are murdered at ANY step along the way! As far as almost all done to save the life of the pregnant woman sorry but you are wrong on that one!

Fact #8: Less than 1% of all abortions are performed to save the life of the mother.

And I will say begins at conception! Without one the other one would still be an egg or a sperm..period!

I believe in a sex education that is appropriate for the child at the age they are able to truly comprehend what sexual education is about! None of this Kindergarten BS trying to indoctrinate our youth like what is being done today in order to further the degradation of our youth in society by poisoning their young minds.

As far as Birth control what good does the best birth control do if those using it are IRRESPONSIBLE and don't use it properly!? There is plenty of birth control out there..that is not the cause of pregnancies..irresponsibility is the cause of pregnancies and even some who have used birth control responsibly have become pregnant! So your answer as supporting birth control as the only solution to less pregnancies is incorrect! Plan B should never be an option for irresponsibility! "Responsibility" is the answer to that! Accepting the responsibility is another fact that can get in the way of those who refuse to use it wisely! Thus...the old fall back of pathetic some people are! We are past an open dialogue Dave when you make the assessment that I don't know anything about birth control! Possibly it's you in actually believing the problem is lack of birth control awareness!? Sorry..awareness if far from the problem of pregnancies!'s IRRESPONSIBILITY!!!

Carol Dreeszen (346)
Wednesday May 8, 2013, 11:46 pm
Roger..SHE is a woman..a woman is closer to knowing and feeling these kind of things than a man. And who are you to make a judgment on her for what she believes!? One either believes in the sanctity of life or one does not..when one does there is no room for any thought of abortion unless in reality it is to save the life of the Mother which in the article I just added on shows is less than 1% of the time.
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