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This woman’s abortion story will challenge your beliefs – no matter what they are

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No matter which side of the abortion debate you’re on, Kassi Underwood will challenge your beliefs.

In her book, “May Cause Love: An Unexpected Journey of Enlightenment After Abortion,” she admits her abortion was emotionally painful, which pro-lifers will like. But she claims her abortion led to enlightenment and brought her closer to God, which sounds progressive. She grieved her abortion and the loss of her baby, which may resonate with conservatives. But she was guided through her grieving process by a Buddhist abortion therapist, which feels progressive.

Underwood doesn’t seem to mind that her story makes both sides squirm because she doesn’t even like there are “sides.” She believes that both the pro-life and pro-choice camps get things wrong and have caused damage by politicizing the issue. Here we discuss how her story overturns common myths, and why she believes abortion has a “spiritual purpose.”

RNS: What kinds of emotional wounds did abortion leave?

KU: I can’t think of any emotional wounds abortion left; my pregnancy and abortion highlighted the wounds that had been with me since before I got pregnant. I could point to my childhood to explain where I came up with the ideas that caused me pain, but I take all the credit for making them up.

I made up the idea that I had to be sexually pure in order to be loved and that my primary purpose in life was motherhood. God is a cosmic matchmaker, always setting me up with painful experiences that contain the possibility of total healing. So I had an abortion and saw old emotional wounds and learned new tools for living. Thirteen years later, it seems God was saying, “Hey, quit telling me my will for your life. You have no IDEA what I have in store for you.” Truly, I did not and still don’t.

Image courtesy of HarperOne

Image courtesy of HarperOne

RNS: Why did you wait six years to start healing?

KU: I tried to start right away. I checked my college’s counseling center for a post-abortion support group, but no luck. So I read abortion poetry by Gwendolyn Brooks and Anne Sexton in my dorm and decided the only way to find support was to talk about it openly. I connected with the pro-choice messaging because I felt supported and understood to some extent. I rehearsed “my story” until the words seemed made of stone: “I don’t regret it. I feel good. It was hard. The end.”

Three years later, my ex had a baby with someone else and named her the same name I had mentioned for the baby that we didn’t have. I felt like I’d been struck by lightning, but it wasn’t acceptable to be pro-choice and feel devastated and wonder whether I’d made the right choice after all. It took three more years for the pain to motivate me to search for another way. I created a roadmap to recover my true experience and the possibility of a new life.

RNS: You say that American society often prevents healing after abortion. How so?

KU: The most obvious reason is that war isn’t healing. My abortion happened nearly 13 years ago. I still hear people yelling the exact same slogans today: same fight, different decade. How many times have you turned on the television and watched a woman speak honestly about her abortion with no political agenda? Or a woman talking about self-discovery after abortion?

We have cultural trauma around this. That’s why it’s so hard for people to talk about and hear new ideas about abortion, why people tune out discussions or nervously change the subject. Many offerings for support after abortion are fraught with political intrusions or people assuming to know exactly why we are suffering, what will make us feel better, and what our opinion of abortion should be when we leave. What’s missing is space for authentic conversations and deeper examinations of our experiences in the context of our entire lives and our culture–with the possibility of being happy and free.

RNS: What role does grief play in healing?

KU: To be healed is to be freed from fear. Grief is the tunnel we walk through to release fear. As I write in my book, a Buddhist therapist for abortion named Ava Torre-Bueno gave me a crash course in grief. All death involves loss. All change involves loss. My abortion was a loss. But here’s what Ava said that got me: all choice involves loss.

Regret and “what ifs” are defense against grieving. Per Ava’s suggestion, I started a “grief practice” of allowing feelings for 30 seconds per day. The tunnel of grief ends. A brilliant new reality is on the other side. I’m finished grieving my abortion, plus I’m pretty good at grieving on the spot. I can go straight to sobbing, then I’m done.

RNS: You say that abortion has a “spiritual purpose.” What do you mean by this?

KU: I can’t claim to know the spiritual purpose of abortion for the entire American family, but I have a hunch that it’s here to bring us closer to God, both as individuals and as a community. The way I understand it, my relationship with God is no different than my relationship with you. On the spiritual plane, there’s no difference between you, me, God. On the physical plane, big difference. On the spiritual plane, no difference. No separation.

It is my contention that the manifestation of any extreme also contains the possibility of bringing its opposite to fruition. So it’s worth considering that if abortion contains the potential for tearing our country apart – a potential that has been fully realized at this point – then it also contains the potential for powerful human connection. Understanding the collective spiritual purpose of abortion is something we will all have to learn together, as soon as enough of us have decided that war doesn’t work. The question is, when will we begin?

Kassi Underwood is the author of "May Cause Love: An Unexpected Journey of Enlightenment After Abortion"

Kassi Underwood is the author of “May Cause Love: An Unexpected Journey of Enlightenment After Abortion”

RNS: Your subtitle is about enlightenment after abortion. What do you mean by that word and how is it connected to your story?

KU: Enlightenment means compassion. Compassion means to “suffer with.” Before my pregnancy, I’d judged people who’d had abortions, so when I found out I was pregnant, I vowed never to judge again. That lasted approximately two milliseconds.

The story I tell in my book is a series of moments in which I judged people and then realized: I’m just like them. I am literally suffering with them. I write about visiting a Roman Catholic retreat run by pro-life protestors, where I spent the weekend in a state of badly hidden rage. I was judging them for judging me. Talk about “suffering with.” I had judgments I didn’t even know I had.

I felt compassion for the baby all along, it was a large part of why I chose abortion–there were elements of my life to which I did not want to subject another human being. But I still worried. It was amazing to realize, ultimately, that the baby wasn’t suffering. I was. I had chosen to suffer. I made up the idea that this spirit-baby might not forgive me, as if it were sitting in therapy sessions in the afterlife, talking about how I’d screwed it up. Once I realized this nonphysical entity wasn’t blaming me for the way I’d handled three nightmarish weeks in 2004, I felt that it had compassion for me–or maybe I finally had compassion for myself.

RNS: How do you classify your views politically: pro-life, pro-choice, or something else?

KU: I want you to know how much I appreciate that you asked. I do have a political view, but I don’t have a name for it. I think we’ll look back on the abortion war as one of the greatest embarrassments in human history and an incredible source of pain for so many people. I hope we’ll realize that the media story being told about abortion is not in agreement with reality.

Women have had abortions throughout recorded history, dating back to 2500 B.C.E. Jesus never said the word. When the United States made abortion illegal from 1867 to 1973, the rate remained approximately the same as today. Not everybody who’s had an abortion wanted one. Many women feel fine after, yet many suffer greatly.

There’s much more to say, but a poster that hung on my apartment wall the year after my abortion sums it up: “We will meet, all of us women of every land, we will meet in the center, make a circle, we will weave a world web to entangle the powers that bury our children.”

RNS: Your experience with abortion is not like the typical story told by the media. How so?

KU: I think every experience with abortion is unique. I just tried to be honest. Historically, the pro-choice and pro-life movements have used people who’ve had an abortion to market what they’re selling. The pro-lifer’s sign reads, “I regret my abortion”; while the pro-choicer’s sign says, “I don’t regret my abortion.” It’s all very high school cafeteria: pick a lunch table or sit alone. That’s a tough place to be after an abortion. I had to get scary-depressed to admit that my experience was bigger than the story I allowed myself to tell.

About the author

Jonathan Merritt

Jonathan Merritt is senior columnist for Religion News Service and a contributing writer for The Atlantic. He has published more than 2500 articles in outlets like USA Today, The Week, Buzzfeed and National Journal. Jonathan is author of "Jesus is Better Than You Imagined" and "A Faith of Our Own: Following Jesus Beyond the Culture Wars." He resides in Brooklyn, NY.

144 Comments

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  • great interview. fascinating approach to healing and grieving, good for a large audience whether people have undergone an abortion themselves or not

  • Sorry, but the article didn’t change my view. If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one, but don’t force your personal belief on someone else.

  • Whether she likes it or not, she is pro-choice, just like Sara Palin is at heart, because the pro-choice side has never denied the pain of the decision or the regrets that come with it, there only point is that government (and other people thru the power of government) shouldn’t be forcing the choice on other people in the most private of times

  • An abortion is about the baby. No matter what arguments are made, at the end of the day, the baby is still dead.

    In Christ,

    The enemy hates clarity

  • Which is why my wife, when pregnant, always said “honey come over here and feel the undifferentiated mass of protoplasm kick.” If what is inside the mother is not a human being, then abortion is morally acceptable. If there is a human being in the mother, then an abortion intentionally kills an innocent human being.

    In Christ,

    The enemy hates clarity

  • Good to know your wife wanted her pregnancy. But if she didn’t, you would have no say in the matter. As she bore all the burden of pregnancy while you stand idly by.

    What you consider moral and what must remain legal are two different things. While I understand your view, I see how it relies on hysterical appeals, dishonest language and pretending that women are incapable of making decisions concerning what goes on in their bodies.

    If you don’t consider women to be people, your view is entirely justified. I disagree. We won’t come to an agreement. I am fine with that.

  • The same as everyone else’s. Or at least that of sane people. Living outside its mother’s womb.

    Let me put it in even plainer terms, if we were sentient platypuses and laid eggs outside our bodies, abortion would not be an issue. Anyone could just take care of the eggs. But since we are placental mammals a fetus lives inside its mother’s body and at her will. Until you can separate the two in a physical sense, any talk of equating it with a born person or even a person in a legal sense is dishonest, morally compromised and a complete fantasy.

  • “I can’t claim to know the spiritual purpose of abortion for the entire American family, but I have a hunch that it’s here to bring us closer to God”

    Pure nonsense…sin separates us from God, it’s the deliberate rejection of God’s will. An abortion for convenience, in particular, is a grave sin. In its commission, the mother places herself and her desires above God’s. Such acts don’t “bring us closer to God”. What a soft headed assertion.

  • It’s not a “personal belief” that a fetus is a human being. It’s a scientific fact. Abortion ends a human life.

  • So a woman’s desires alone determines legal personhood. I suppose a mother, who post abortion realizes she killed her baby, can now be tried for murder? After all, since she now thinks her dead child was a person, she must therefore be held liable for her homicide. Beliefs are all that matter right?

  • Isn’t the miracle of life magical? It’s amazing how different existence is from outside a womb in comparison to gestation. At least it is to sane and honest people. You don’t strike me as one.

    Your argument is rather stupid and overused. There are clear factual differences that you ignore to support the basic fiction that a fetus is a person but a pregnant woman is not.

    Late term abortions are invariably done for medical reasons by women who had intended to keep their pregnancy. The overwhelming majority of voluntary abortions are done long before any notion of viability is possible. Nobody performs abortions on viable fetuses unless medically necessary. So yes, the ability to be born is very magical in a sense and very sensible a benchmark.

  • Silly response. Birth is not magical despite your assertion. The child does not change by virtue of being outside the womb. And viability determining personhood is just another empty assertion without foundation. Try again

  • True, but immaterial to the legality of abortion. It is a nice argument for your notions of morality but nothing else.

  • And so the abortion war goes on in our comments (with one exception). When peace is finally declared, some decades from now, this book may be cited as one marking a tidal change in America.
    By the way, David Hume, I don’t hear her forcing her beliefs on anyone. Just the opposite, in fact. It’s pro-life and pro-joice groups that do that. She’s reporting the reconciliation and peace she found in her own life journey. Besides, if you were a woman, you might feel differently. You might see her struggles as a sign of hope for yourself. Now that I think about it, even men have profound losses that need to be faced and reconciled before we can find peace. I’m going to give this book a try.

  • Yes. It’s in her body, she bears the burden of pregnancy uniquely, her will is the only factor determining whether a fetus comes to be born.

    To say otherwise is to claim a woman is your chattel property to control at your will. That her body belongs to you the government.

    ” I suppose a mother, who post abortion realizes she killed her baby, can now be tried for murder”

    That is a truly stupid argument having nothing to do with what I said. Maybe it would be helpful not to rely on such a fact free script here and perhaps make some effort to understand arguments and facts posed. Honesty and sanity are not hallmarks of your position.

  • Sarcastic yes, silly no. What is silly is failing to note, or in your case deliberately pretending, that conditions of living inside the body of another and autonomous existence are similar or identical.

    To be crass, a woman can leave her baby in the care of others to eat a meal, sleep or go to the bathroom. She clearly cannot do that with a fetus. To pretend this is unimportant is to admit that facts do not matter to you.

    Legal personhood is given at birth for a reason. They are autonomous beings by then. It’s why you have a birth certificate, not a conception one.

  • “So I had an abortion and saw old emotional wounds and learned new tools for living. Thirteen years later, it seems God was saying, ‘Hey, quit telling me my will for your life. You have no IDEA what I have in store for you.’ Truly, I did not and still don’t.”
    This woman makes her case based on the idea that abortions happen to bring those being relieved of the burden of childbearing closer to God! If this pregnancy were truly bringing her closer to God, it’s amazes me that somehow she didn’t prayerfully grapple with the two legitimate options–either to keep the baby and have sufficient faith that her family and supporters would help her provide for her child, or put the baby up for adoption and offer her/him the chance at a great life being loved by a childless couple.
    I don’t claim to know the mind of God, but it amazes me that this woman didn’t see these among her choices. Six years later her story would have made for a more inspiring book, for BOTH those who favor abortion and those who oppose it!

  • Sorry, the only body being dismembered belongs exclusively to the baby and the burden of death falls exclusively on the aborted human being. That fact far exceeds the burden of pregnancy. And legal personhood is not determined by another person’s feelings about them.

  • ” the burden of death falls exclusively on the aborted human being.”

    But still an irrelevance to the issue. Your views are borne of treating women as your personal chattel property and incapable of making personal intimate decisions concerning their bodies without asking for your approval.

    “And legal personhood is not determined by another person’s feelings about them.”

    Which is also true but it is a response to an argument never actually made. The great thing about that argument is it renders yours completely null. You have completely wrecked the entire notion of the anti-abortion POV with that one sentence.

    It is not one’s personal feelings which determine personhood, but physical autonomous existence. When one is born, living outside a womb, they are separate and distinct beings from all other people. Hence birth is the bright line for determining personhood.

    Ironically YOU are the one who feels a fetus should be considered a person and feels a woman is not. Your emotion and opinion being the determining factor in legal personhood in your eyes and little else.

  • Nonsense, viable babies are still subject to abortion and death even though they are “autonomous beings by all objective definition. Being “autonomous” has nothing to do with personhood. Assert it all you want but it still isn’t true.

  • A mere legal technicality that will be changed. Baby is an imprecise term, human being is quite specific. Abortion kills humans.

  • I’m being quite unemotional and objectively factual about the conversation. You’re the one spouting invective and nonsense.

  • “viable babies are still subject to abortion and death even though they are “autonomous beings by all objective definition”

    You did not bother to read my comment about late term abortion. If it could be born, doctors will induce birth. But late term abortions for a viable fetus are invariably only done in a medical emergency for the mother. But it is clear such considerations do not register with you.

    True, but putting autonomous in quotes doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

    “Being “autonomous” has nothing to do with personhood.”

    It is the ONLY criteria of personhood.

    You are simply being whiny for its own sake. Autonomy is the only measure of legal personhood which exists which does not attack the legal personhood of others. You clearly do not consider women as people, so your view is easy to justify under such terms.

  • If you can’t tell the difference between born and unborn, then you can’t even pretend you are being unemotional or objectively factual. Nice talking to you. Have a nice day.

  • “Being “autonomous” has nothing to do with personhood.”
    It is the ONLY criteria of personhood.

    More unsupported nonsense. Putting words in all caps doesn’t make them true.

  • Because women will no longer be declared as legal people? They will be chattel property of the state the moment they are pregnant?

    Anti-Abortion views clearly kill objective fact-based thinking.

  • No, just finding you boring, dishonest and obnoxious. No point wasting bandwidth with you. It is rude to other posters to clutter a thread with back and forth sniping which has ceased to make factual points or coherent arguments a few posts ago.

    If you want to declare yourself the winner go ahead. Whatever satisfies your flagging ego.

  • A glorified way of saying, “nyuh-huh”

    Autonomy has always been the benchmark of personhood. That first breath of their own.
    “Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life”
    Genesis 2:7

    I get the impression you don’t really understand the concepts of autonomy or personhood. Making this a rather pointless conversation.

    Have a good one. Bless your heart.

  • Thus demonstrating why I think a lot of women feel like the interviewee. But it doesn’t affect the legality of the procedure.

  • We both agree that abortion kills perfectly innocent human lives. However, I believe those helpless humans deserve legal protections, you don’t. You consider these humans to be fully expendable for the sake of personal convenience and nothing more than biological trash. I consider them victims suffering death because they are inconvenient to the mother. There’s the difference between us.

  • “However, I believe those helpless humans deserve legal protections, you don’t.”

    You don’t believe pregnant women are worthy of any consideration or even acknowledge their existence here. At no point is personhood a zero sum game between two beings, except in your nonsense. Which is why abortion is legal in the first place.

    “You consider these humans to be fully expendable for the sake of personal convenience and nothing more than biological trash.”

    Again, you find pregnant women to be so expendable that you fail to acknowledge they exist. “Convenience” is only something to be noted if women were beholden to you for their personal decisions concerning their body. Truth is nobody has to care whether you approve or disapprove of a woman’s decision. It is not yours to make.

    Your arrogance, dishonesty and complete indifference to the lives of women is pretty much the hallmark of your phony moralizing. All women must answer to you in all things. Their existence is of no concern, only the fetus inside them.

    Its all about exerting control over women. It is why Conservative Christians were so eager to back a serial adulterer, cheat, liar, bigot, and sexual predator with such gusto. It was never about values, it was always about imposing on others.

    On that note I will depart. Feel free to get the last word in. I have said my peace.

  • You’re full of nonsense and pathological denial of facts but you did have the courtesy of confirming my observations about your thinking. Thank you. Unborn human beings are the equivalent of medical waste to you, they have no rights including the right to their own life. I understand completely. There are many parallels in history.

  • I am so glad you were able to refute arguments and statements which were never made. How creative of you.

  • “Women have had abortions throughout recorded history, dating back to 2500 B.C.E. Jesus never said the word”.

    I don’t believe Jesus also said anything about driving a heavy ox cart through the crowded streets of Jerusalem while highly intoxicated either. Can’t recall if he said anything about a husband beating a wife who failed to obey either. There were lots of things he didn’t say.

    But we are told in the Gospel that John the Baptist leapt for job when he heard the voice of pregnant Mary. This passage clearly suggests the fetus’ awareness of self and holy mission.

    The interviewee displays a splendid sense of religious self delusion.

  • Victimizing anyone, especially killing them as with the use of abortion, is wrong. I’ll tell that to anyone.

  • Very good interview with a very wise woman. It takes wisdom and humility to admit to all we don’t know without paralyzing fear. Kudos to Kassi Underwood, another brave woman.

    “What’s missing is space for authentic conversations and deeper examinations of our experiences in the context of our entire lives and our culture”

    Yup. Trust women to do what they need to do and take care of themselves in a way that is effective.

  • “This woman makes her case based on the idea that abortions happen to bring those being relieved of the burden of childbearing closer to God!”

    No she didn’t Sable. She said that was the effect her abortion had on her. She specifically Did Not generalize it to all women everywhere. She said others might have a similar experience, while others won’t.

    Ms. Underwood is the one who is most intimately acquainted with her own spiritual experience. Her description of what she experienced can be trusted as true for her. She did say that some will try to inauthenticate what she feels and experiences because it does not fit their narrative for their particular political position.

  • I don’t believe this woman had a spiritual experience–only an emotional one, which she later saw as an opportunity to write about and market, given how abortion is such a controversial issue. The writer here is her lackey who makes it sound like her book and story will appeal to both sides. That’s just conjecture and clever marketing!
    What response do you have to that hard choice she had of either marshaling the faith to believe she could have kept the baby and relied on the support of family and supporters, or else carried it to term, prayed for a healthy baby and put it up for adoption? Gee, I guess you missed that part, or else you defaulted to abortion-first, the usual leftist position!
    BTW I’m not “Sable!” That 4th letter is an I, SABIOTODO is Spanish for “know-it-all!”

  • So inside the womb, it’s a fetus which may be destroyed (“killed” would be incorrect terminology), but once outside the womb, the fetus becomes a baby and may not be destroyed, or more correctly, may not be killed.

    “Living outside its mother’s womb” would not would not cover “stillborn,” which covers not only after delivery, but before delivery as well.

  • It didn’t change my pro-choice view of abortion, and I doubt it will change the minds of anyone in the anti-choice camp (or mitigate their desire to mete judgment), but I can appreciate the attempt to divest from the politics of it.

    On a related note, I’m more than happy to concede that a human life is ended in an abortion. But human life isn’t really the issue, is it? There is a deep strain of hypocrisy in those who describe themselves as “pro-life” when in fact human life is tangential. If it were really a primary concern, I think some of these same people would be as vocal in supporting refugees, the poor, and the homeless, and be as active in anti-war protests, as they are in protesting abortion. In my experience, they aren’t. Indeed, they’re very often the same people who vote to prevent the poor from obtaining government support, turn away those seeking an escape from violence, and as often as not advocate for a hawkish approach to adversaries (which means putting even more human lives at risk). More to the point, if it were really about stopping abortion, more of them would support comprehensive sex education and contraception, both of which have a track record of reducing the incidence of abortion.

    When will someone on the anti-choice side admit to this? I suspect never.

  • Yep. You have it. Its all about the autonomy. The ability to exist without being inside the body of another person.

    As for stillborns, they are not killed at all. They die by natural causes. Not a relevant reference.

  • I didn’t mean to offend you by writing “Sable,” it’s just shorter. Sorry.

    Why do you believe she did not have a spiritual experience? Why do you feel you know her experience better than her? You weren’t there, didn’t know it was happening, don’t know her, etc. So on what do you base your choice that what she experienced was not spiritual?

    Regarding the question in your 2nd paragraph, I didn’t address it at all. I was responding to your comment and you said you were “amazed” that she didn’t address that. Okay, so? I guess I didn’t feel a need to say anything about how that amazed you. There was no “defaulting.” It was unfair of you to make a baseless assumption about me that you apparently generalized. Now you’re asking me about it so I will respond.

    I have no idea whether Ms. Underwood considered “marshaling the faith,” etc., before deciding to have an abortion. If she did, but still went ahead, I have no idea why that was. This is a very brief article. I think one would have to read the book to learn all those details.

    How’s that Sabiotodo? (Did I get your name right that time? In the font on my tablet it looks like an “L.”)

  • Spuddie isn’t defining autonomy correctly. The common medical definition of autonomy is the quality or state of being independent, free, and self-directing. The common legal definition is the quality or state of being self-governing. Per Spuddie’s criterion, a senile old man rendered incompetent by a stroke, a completely psychotic individual, a baby in the NICU on a ventilator, a person in the midst of open heart surgery, or even the quadriplegic war veteran, are not “autonomous” since they are not currently capable of an independent existence. Yet, they remain human and people with a right to their own life. A human person will always find his or her physical independence varies with the different stages and circumstances of their biological life. But lack of independence doesn’t make them less of a person. A human individual is always a human individual, from the moment of conception through death because they can’t be anything else.

  • Uh huh…everything is about her…..nothing is about the baby who never had a chance…because of her…….

  • Murder is murder no matter how hard you try to make it sound “spiritual”. If killing a baby makes you feel closer to GOD then you better check out which god you are feeling closer to.

  • You believe abortion is murder.
    I believe making your adult peers submit their bodies to your will is slavery.
    We both call our respective contentions “facts”.
    And we both can produce evidence to support our respective contentions.
    So what do we do now?

    Believe it or not, there is a compromise:

    How much money would you charge me to submit your body to my will?
    How much would you charge me to live the next 21 years according to my dictates?
    How much would you charge me for you to support and raise an infant to adulthood?
    And how much would you charge me for you to raise that child according to my dictates?
    Go offer that combined amount of cash to a woman who intends to have an abortion.
    Add whatever additional cash she chooses to charge you for agreeing to your terms.
    Then see if she actually agrees — because, after all, it is her choice, isn’t it?

    See? Everybody wins.
    I recommend you start saving your money now. And tell all your like-minded friends!

  • “I don’t believe this woman had a spiritual experience.” Whatever her experience, it was her experience, not yours. What you “believe”, in this case, is beyond irrelevant: You are in fact making up a story about someone you don’t even know, and then presuming to impugn her character. In other words, first you lie about her, then you abuse her accordingly. Got humility?

  • “it’s amazes me that somehow she didn’t prayerfully grapple with the two legitimate options–either to keep the baby and have sufficient faith that her family and supporters would help her provide for her child, or put the baby up for adoption and offer her/him the chance at a great life being loved by a childless couple. … it amazes me that this woman didn’t see these among her choices.”

    What makes you think she didn’t consider these options?

    Maybe this woman lacks “family and supporters [who have the wherewithal]”, and thus entirely depends upon her job to support herself (if not her family), a job which she cannot afford to lose, but one which she will likely lose if she takes medical/maternal leave, and a job for which the market does not offer a ready replacement.

    I hope this resolves your amazement, because these options-limiting circumstances are not rare.

  • “their desire to mete judgment” — Well said!
    In fact, for some, The Joy of Judging Others seems to be practically an addiction.

  • That passage is more than likely made up or at least unverified so your argument doesn’t really apply here.

  • I cite an indesputable and fully verifiable fact about human life and you offer a silly and unsupportable opinion on slavery. Very typical.

  • “I write about visiting a Roman Catholic retreat run by pro-life
    protestors, where I spent the weekend in a state of badly hidden rage. I
    was judging them for judging me.”

    This description of a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat couldn’t be more off the mark. It’s an ecumenical program, it is not run by “pro-life protestors” and as to people judging Ms. Underwood, that is highly unlikely.

  • Moronic and overused analogy from a terrible script.

    A born, but enfeebled person still has independent interests that are free and self directing. You just don’t understand the termsyou are using. Independent meaning one can act on behalf of such people without requiring their own personal interests be affected. Evidently you never heard of guardianship.

    At no point is this true for a fetus. But delusional dishonest people like yourself like to pretend they are doing so. It only makes sense when one does not consider a pregnant woman a person and is merely their property. But a fetus only exists because the mothers will and biological systems deem it so.

    The amount of lying bullshit required to equate a fetus to the born is a great indicator of how much disregard some people have with facts. If someone else can care for a fetus besides its mother it would make sense. Of course it doesn’t.

  • But completely accurate. No citation to the alleged Bible passage? That should be an easy one. If you were honest.

  • So much rambling, no little coherence or logic. Personhood simply isn’t related to physical independence. It’s absurd to suggest it is. A baby on a ventilator in the NICU is both 100% physically dependent on others for survival, not remotely automonous by accepted legal and medical definitions, but still a person. Personhood is, instead, entirely related to being human, it’s who we are from the moment of life to our death. Our humanity and only our humanity defines us as people. Your argument to the contrary is empty, illogical, and inaccurate as expected. You replace these attributes with emotion, foul language, and name calling. Again, as expected

  • “But a fetus only exists because the mothers will and biological systems deem it so”

    Conception is spontaneous, gosh, I never knew.

  • Do your own googling. I’m not your homework buddy. Although you certainly could use one it’s readily apparent. Such a lazy thinker.

  • OK, liar. Don’t support your own claims. I don’t care. You already proven yourself to be veracity impaired before.

  • You either:
    1. Didn’t actually read what I wrote
    2. Didn’t understand it
    3. Didn’t care and still wants stick to their script.

    “100% physically dependent on others for survival”

    Others, plural. Not a single unique person. Not in anyway which affects their lives or interests. One can even act on behalf of the infant without affecting their own personal interests. Independent of the interests and survival of other people.

    I used an example which you ignored before but is worth repeating.

    A mother can leave her baby in the care of others while she eats, sleeps or defecates. The baby can eat, sleep and defecate without the mother being there. She can’t do it for a fetus. A mother doesn’t have to be present to keep a baby alive. Completely untrue for a fetus.

    Analogy fail on your part.

  • By accepted medical and legal definition, a baby in the NICU isn’t autonomous, it isn’t physically independent. Your argument about personhood resting on autonomy is empty and falls completely apart. In fact, it’s silly. Direct your anger at dictionary publishers, tell them you disagree.

  • By the second response it was obvious you made it up. You are not making yourself look any more credible with your preening.

    So where again in the Gospels is
    “we are told in the Gospel that John the Baptist leapt for job when he heard the voice of pregnant Mary”

    You are the one who believes this stuff, you should know this. I don’t care. I know you are a liar already.

  • You didn’t understand what autonomy means and desperately avoid learning it. It is not about physicality. Its why its a given that a baby and person on life support is still a person. Its about legal interests and separate and distinct lives from others. You didn’t read what I wrote or simply want to ignore it to keep up with your nonsense script.

    A baby has independent interests which are not linked to its mother or any other human being. Its why multiple people can take care of one. [You really missed that point entirely] A fetus does not. One cannot act on behalf of a fetus or its life without harming the mother’s interests or her body. To claim a born child is in the same situation is to be a lying sack of crap. I already explained the difference in existence between the two in the most simply form possible. You simply did not get it.

    You don’t understand the argument because you are not prepared for it. You can’t make an honest rebuttal to it. So you pretend important facts do not exist or should not. You work off of a script which deals with irrelevancies to the actual material legal issues.

  • Stick to accepted definitions and avoid your fevered musings of fantasy. You’ve gone off the deep end of speculative and unprovable nonsense. And therefore immaterial. A baby’s life and body are completely independent and unique from the moment of conception. A baby and it’s mother are always separate and distinct human beings. Admittedly, the baby depends on the mother’s body to provide it a habitable environment for life and they are critically linked. Linked but with completely different physicalities in every regard. The mother is indeed its critical biological incubator. But nothing more. Just an incubator. The baby is not part of the mother and the mothers body does not include the baby’s body. Personhood doesn’t depend on whether one lives in an incubator.

  • “A baby has independent interests which are not linked to its mother or any other human being. Its why multiple people can take care of one. [You really missed that point entirely] A fetus does not”

    One of the most ridiculous comments ever written. Unborn children suck their thumbs, play with their umbilical cords, touch their genitals. All for personal interests, learning, and pleasure. Completely independent of their focus on their mother. They also feel pain and react to it completely independent of their mother. These activities are consistent with an independent life.

    Now start yelling about women being slaves. Also don’t forget to be a potty mouth in the process.

  • I can’t help it if you don’t understand (or just want to ignore) the arguments used in response to your nonsense.

    ” A baby’s life and body are completely independent and unique from the moment of conception.”

    If you ignore the fact that it lives inside its mother and is entirely dependent on her bodily functions for continued existence. That no other human being on the planet can do this. You always seem to forget that women are an integral part of the discussion. They are so inconvenient to you.

    ” Linked but with completely different physicalities in every regard.”

    Translation: although my statement was based on ignoring a material fact which drives the important definitions here, I will continue regardless. It is the fact they are linked and the fetus is inside her which makes all the differences here. You are just being dishonest by handwaving it here.

    “The mother is indeed its critical biological incubator. But nothing more. Just an incubator. …”
    “Personhood doesn’t depend on whether one lives in an incubator.”

    The sick twisted part of that statement is equating a pregnant woman with a machine. You have no regard for them as people. I got that early on. You made it absolutely clear. A fetus is evidently a person, but as woman is nothing more than an incubator.

    There is no way in hell I can possibly take you seriously as someone with an honest, sane or legitimate point of view after such statements. You are a repugnant human being.
    http://www.snopes.com/radiotv/graphics/middle.jpg

  • You already gave the game away with your little admission that you regard women as nothing more than glorified incubators. Now you can go. There is no point in pretending you have something important or relevant to say here.

  • Every time I hear this argument, it makes me realize how many people really think that conservatives simply don’t care about refugees, the poor, the homeless, etc. It’s crucial to understand that based on differing worldview presuppositions, people can come to different opinions on how to help the poor and marginalized. Conservatives opposes various government programs because we believe government is only hurting the poor, not helping them. We ought to be able to dialogue through our disagreements on how to best love and help other people without impugning the motives of our political opponents and assuming they just hate people.

    That said, you say you happily concede that abortion involves the willful ending of a human life. Have you met anyone who is pro-life and who also supports willfully murdering the poor or homeless? I doubt it. We may disagree about how to go about helping such people, but nobody is calling for it to be legal to kill the marginalized. The only ones saying it should be legal to kill an innocent, defenseless human being are those in the pro-choice movement. By that logic, why should any other form of murder be illegal?

  • “Have you met anyone who is pro-life and who also supports willfully murdering the poor or homeless?”

    Actually yes! Killing someone through indifference is not any different from executing them. They defend denying access of the poor to food, medical care, shelter, clean water, living wages. Even defend sending people to their more literal deaths by denying refugees a place to stay.

    Its interesting that you premise your argument on “innocent human life”. As if the woman considering an abortion is unworthy of any kind of consideration in the discussion. Being so “guilty” that you must assume control over her life and choices. A fetus does not exist in isolation. It exists inside the body of another human being and depends on that person for its very existence. It would be factually and logically remiss to ignore the interests of the pregnant woman in all of this. But that is what your POV depends on. Declaring a fetus a life worth consideration and ignoring that of the woman.

    “By that logic, why should any other form of murder be illegal?”

    Because one has to be born to be murdered.

  • The really good news is at the federal level and in 38 states the unborn have definitive legal rights. Progress is slow but the trend line is in the right direction. Life will eventually carry the day, the culture, and the law. It’s just a matter of patience.

  • “The mother is indeed its critical biological incubator. But nothing more. Just an incubator.”

    Your words.

  • Of course the woman considering an abortion deserves consideration. But nobody is arguing that the mother should be killed, only the baby. So it’s a false equivalence. Our right to life (the right not to be murdered) is foundational to all other rights, which is why it comes before all other rights.

    “Because one has to be born to be murdered.”

    Even if that made sense apart from an arbitrary, subjective moral universe, the OP disagrees with you, and I was responding to him. He agrees with me that the unborn human is a human, yet apparently thinks humans located inside a womb don’t have the same rights as those of us outside the womb.

  • Not really. You are as misinformed on that as well. They only have rights in terms of the mother’s.
    People you described as:
    “The mother is indeed its critical biological incubator. But nothing more. Just an incubator.”

    If you guys had legitimate consensus you would have tried to overturn Roe v. Wade by Constitutional amendment. Too bad your view is so wildly unpopular to even consider it.

  • “The mother is indeed its critical biological incubator. But nothing more. Just an incubator.”
    Your words.
    Nothing more needs to be said. 🙂

  • The crux of your argument is that since a fetus is the life being terminated, we need never consider the woman at all here. You are arguing that a woman has no control over what goes on in her body. That she must defer to your opinion or the governments on the matter. Its not a false equivalence here. It is the interjection of your opinion into a matter where it simply never belonged. A denial of the woman’s existence as a person with her own body.

    A fetus may be terminated by the decision, but it is the woman who bears the entire burden of bringing it into the world and caring for it thereafter. As the sole bearer of such burdens, she also has the sole decision authority here as she sees fit.

    What I never see from the anti-abortion crowd is treating the woman as a person. She is constantly ignored, minimized, insulted, or reduced to being considered a biological machine. It is always focus on the fetus and pretending the life which keeps it in existence is of no consequence.

  • Tell your mother that, as soon as you come up from her basement of course. I am sure she will be pleased with such a description.

  • Oh ouch! That hurt so much. So witty! LoL!

    I am absolutely sure my mother loved me dearly in the womb. Of that I have no doubt. But it wasn’t her deep maternal love that kept me alive and allowed me to grow. It was exclusively the biological machinery of her womb. She would agree. She was my incubator.

  • It’s hard to argue with someone who believes a person magically becomes a person after passing through the birth canal. If you’re going to deny science and biology and hang on to that superstition, that’s up to you but we won’t be able to have much of a meaningful debate. I only replied to the OP because he was honest enough to admit that abortion involves ending a human life. At least at that point we can have a discussion over whether or not murder in the form of abortion should be legal.

    If you really think pro-life people don’t care for women, maybe you should visit one of the thousands of crisis pregnancy centers run by pro-lifers and compare how they treat women with the way women are treated at the average Planned Parenthood. You might find that the real world is far different from what the media’s narrative.

  • “It’s hard to argue with someone who believes a person magically becomes a person after passing through the birth canal.”

    That is a ridiculous overused argument. By the time a fetus is capable of viability, being born in one form or another, they are usually long past the point where they can be aborted except in cases of medical emergency with the mother. It is not magic, it is common sense that birth is the bright line for personhood.

    It is ridiculous and magical to believe that a being attached and entirely dependent on living inside a woman’s womb can be considered a distinct person with interests which can be separated from hers. As I stated before, your POV is dependent on ignoring the existence of the woman or declaring her interests of no importance.

    You are incapable of a meaningful debate because you are not looking for one. You want to argue the issue entirely on your own terms. Terms which have a major factual gap to them (a fetus is inseparable from its mother until viability) and a conceptual one you want to sweep under the rug (a woman has interests which need to be taken into consideration).

    “If you really think pro-life people don’t care for women”

    I know so! You won’t even consider their existence in a debate. Your whole POV is about ignoring or insulting their existence.

    The only concern at these “crisis centers” is to cajole the woman into birth. It is the fetus that they care about, not the woman. Hence their constant need to withhold info or flat out lie to women in their care.
    https://rewire.news/article/2015/03/10/epidemic-lying-crisis-pregnancy-centers-exposes-moral-rot-anti-choice-movement/
    http://www.salon.com/2016/05/11/the_big_anti_choice_lie_crisis_pregnancy_centers_tools_of_the_christian_right_are_only_good_for_making_women_scared_and_miserable/

  • Just a side note: The baby in the womb is genetically DIFFERENT than the mother. It’s a separate human being. Both mom and dad contributed to its existence, yet the baby is separate from both parties. A separate human.

    The baby is not some piece of deli meat to be sliced, diced (and if the abortionist works for Planned Parenthood) sold for parts while the sellers munch on high-dollar restaurant salads.

    Baby salad for sale, Spuddie. That’s what America’s gig has come to. Abortion as birth control, just like in the RNS article. Black abortion rates ringing higher than Black birth rates in New York City. That’s insane (some would say “genocidal.”)

    America is living on borrowed time. Maybe all sides can agree on that?

  • Not even a mention of the topic this time? I understand. You have your priorities. It’s a shame you deny yourself what you so generously serve to strangers like me.

    Still, I’d like to know your answers to my “3 Simple Questions About Civil Rights (Yours and Hers)”:

    1.) Does she get say-so over your life, your rights, your freedoms, your body?

    2.) Does she get to hold you to her metaphysical beliefs and related regulations, requirements, and restrictions?

    3.) What do you suggest if she’s facing the all-too-common situation where she’s poor, has nobody who can help her financially, and therefore depends upon her job to support herself (if not her family)… a job which she cannot afford to lose, but one which she will lose if she takes even a brief medical leave, and a job for which the market does not offer her a ready replacement? What do you suggest — other than abortion — to resolve her otherwise obviously irresolvable dilemma?

    As you no doubt realize, the above scenario was the inspiration for my previously described compromise, which you so quickly dismissed without offering any alternative. My goal was, and is, to spotlight the ruinous financial burden you seem to expect women to bear for the “privilege” of submitting to your dictates.

    I haven’t seen this issue addressed by you or any other anti-abortion commenter.

  • Your points have been addressed ad nauseum over many years of debate. The issue of financial burden is most certainly real and I both personally and in my political activity support helping unwed and poor mothers. The US, across all levels of govt combined, spend $7T in total annually. 48% or about $3.3T of that total goes to welfare/social assistance forms of spending. We are a very generous nation with our tax dollars as we help the needy. By comparison, the entire economy of France or the UK is less than what we spend on the various types of welfare. And these numbers don’t include private charity work either. So, yes, we take care of the needy already. Women and children are not destitute and starving in the streets. The financial burden you describe is not ruining lives or crushing the afflicted. It’s pure hyperbole. This financial burden also pales in comparison to the burden of death inflicted by abortion. There is no recovery from death as there is from financial hardship.

    I note with amusement how you completely ignore the life of human child in your post. That life us as valuable as any other and must be protected as such. That isn’t a religious belief, it’s based on scientific fact and the fundamental purpose of civil law.

    So, I will continue, with patience and persistence, to continue the slow but steady increase in legal rights for the unborn.

  • “I note with amusement how you completely ignore the life of human child in your post.”

    Of course I ignore it. That’s your “baby”, not mine.

    As for “amusement”, I see no indication of it in your comments. Instead, I see hostility, condescension, sniffy “rulings”, and a bizarre obsession with composing and delivering a barrage of replies seemingly purpose-built to project your own apparently intense sense of frustration and outrage upon others.

    Murder? You speak as if only your claim counts.
    Slavery? You speak as if only your denial counts.
    Unborn? You speak as if only your beliefs count.
    Women? You speak as if only your wishes count.
    Dialog? You speak as if only your words count.

    You would make an exemplary absolute ruler for a few seconds before your ouster.

    But I appreciate your answer, however couched it is in your predictable derision. (And though your affected dismissiveness is but a puff of hot air, I hope my merely human response manages to meet your inestimable standards for amusement.)

    I see how hard you work to distract from inconvenient truths, but when it comes to women’s right to abortion, the fact remains: You don’t get to control your equals.

  • I have to laugh out loud when Larry-Spud asserts that “one can even act on behalf of the infant without affecting their own personal interests.” Clearly she/he has never nurtured a child — it is not possible to take any kind of responsibility for a child without it affecting one’s “personal interests.” I gave birth to two children and they certainly”affected my personal interests” far more after birth than before.

  • ROFL! This atheist pops up like a cuckoo on every thread telling us all how we should “interpret” the Gospels that he has never read. I think he’s afraid to. He sticks to what he hears 3rd hand from other ignorant atheists.

  • Well, it’s not surprising that slavery usually comes up in the abortion debate. The pro-choice arguments are mostly the same. Don’t believe in slavery, don’t keep slaves. They’re not “real persons” in a legal sense, anyway.

    And Lord Melbourne’s response to William Wilberforce’s abolitionist arguments is worthy of the Planned Parenthood itself: “Things have come to a pretty pass when religion is allowed to invade public life.”

  • Larry-Spud doesn’t get that the fetus is an “innocent life” not as opposed to its “guilty mother” but as opposed to a life that has been convicted of a crime and thus may justifiably be ended by execution.

    One talking in English, the other listening in Hindustani. Sigh.

  • Another empty response that ignores the presented facts and reality. Predictable. Keep clinging to your facile emotion and absent logic. We’re patient, persistent, and slowly changing the law. Unborn children now have codified legal rights at the federal level and in 38 states. We have four years to shape the Supreme Court in our favor. Progress is slow but we’re getting there.

  • Not challenged in the least. The individual in question has engaged in a magnificent job of self deception. I don’t discount the difficulty of facing an unplanned pregnancy, nor that it was a difficult decision, but it was manifestly the most selfish one. The canard that “Jesus didn’t” say this or that is absurd. If one examines His teachings with care and context, no rationally honest person can argue that abortion is in line with His teaching regarding the burdens of life. I find Ms. Underwood to be confused morally on many fronts with respect to what she seems to declare as her Christianity.

  • i had an abortion many years ago. For me the essence of the issue,now, is that each human being has a right to live, to paraphrase Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Ethics,” from his or her Creator and this right starts at conception. i lost my child through my own choice, exercising my legal right, but not considering his right to live. It was, and is, a brutal loss. From my experience and that of women i’ve listened to through RAchels Vineyard, other healing programs, i think abortion is deeply wounding to people and to the world. It is an act of violence and a symptom of our brokenness.

  • it is interesting to consider the points put forth by prochoice friends regarding refugees, the poor. There is some truth in it. I’m a Catholic. And, i would submit that many religious people, care a great deal about the disenfranchised, putting our money and time where our mouths are. Not because of politics, not done perfectly or consistently – far from it. But because Jesus said this: He said love each other.

  • Apologies for the late reply. I agree that, in general, people don’t listen to each other anymore. I’ll even agree with you that most Christians are caring people. However, I also think there are inconsistencies between Christian theological concerns versus political, and alignment of one with the other isn’t always a good thing. But, since this thread is several days old now, I’ll just move on to one point of clarification re: the ending of human life.

    I think you, like many in the anti-choice camp seem to do, imagine heartless white-coats armed with forceps murdering babies as they exit the birth canal. This is not what I’m talking about when I refer to ending of a human life and, apart from some extremely rare situations, is not what happens anyway. To get down to brass tacks, where anti-choicers go wrong is in thinking of every stage of human embryo development as equivalent to the mother and/or other fully developed human person. Even the fertilized egg. But to my mind, there’s no equivalency. So, I have no problem saying that, yes, when an embryo is destroyed, so is human life. Not a unique, special person with hopes, dreams, and unrealized potential brutally murdered, mind you, but rather a collection of cells that may or may not develop in such a way as to become a human person.

    To put it another way, there is no equivalency between ending embryonic human life and murdering a human person because these are not equivalent categories. Bottom line: when I wrote “I’m more than happy to concede that a human life is ended in an abortion,” I meant something quite different from what you inferred. Simply, abortion and murder are two separate concepts.

  • How sad it is that so many are willing to find rationalizations to justify the murder of an unborn child who wants nothing but to live.

  • What sad humanity that can so easily create rationalizations to justify the murder of its own children. Is there no warmth in the human heart any more.

  • I would care about such opinions if not for the cognitive dissonance of declaring that a fetus is a person, but a woman isn’t. Where is the warmth and concern for those who aren’t gestating from that crowd? It’s non existent. It’s all about being sanctimonious.

  • No change in my belief structure here — my belief structure is based on the Bible — not a wishy-washy story in some left wing ‘religious’ blog. In the end the woman committed murder. Not sure if she has asked for forgiveness — the only time the word ‘forgive’ was mentioned was about the baby that she murdered. This is what the Bible says … If she is sincere about what she has done God will forgive her.

  • What a scary and difficult place to be. Praise God she’s grown and good is coming from it. I would say, though, that adoption is a better alternative. I can’t speak for every pro-lifer but for me, it is about life, and more than just the unborn. My wife and I are adopting 3 children from Uganda because families there can’t support them and organizations like UNICEF (yes, the almighty UNICEF) want them to die in their villages so there are less mouths to feed. I hope pro-choicers don’t condone that. I grant you that a lot of religious/Christian people are tunnel-visioned when it comes to abortion, but the consequences of taking a life in the womb is as tragic as taking the life of an infant, toddler, teen, or adult. Please view this brief article: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/pro-life/pre-born/the-sled-test-four-top-arguments
    Comprehensive sex education is an answer to reduce abortions, but it will never truly be comprehensive, because the culture refuses to validate the physical and emotional significance of abstinence. It may get a mention in sex ed but it all boils down to the best way to be protected while you have “fun.” Having learned the hard way, living a life of sexual freedom is not valuing life either. There is a tendency to use people in varying degrees to meet our needs. We need to face the fact that no one values life the way we ought to, myself included. For that we need to repent. Blessings to you and yours.

  • What is troubling about the anti-life side of the abortion argument is that individuals such as yourself consistently create straw men arguments about refugees, the poor, homeless, underprivileged, etc., etc., to avoid the fact that abortion is the willful killing of an innocent human being.

    Why is it that the anti-life side has such a hard time simply sticking to the specific practice of abortion instead of obfuscating the issue. Is it because deep down you know it is killing and you just don’t have an argument? Are you trying to appease your conscience or what?

  • Sorry, you are dead wrong when it comes to abortions being done past viability. Abortions can be done at any time during a pregnancy, for any reason. In some states it requires the approval of 2 doctors. The anti-life side gets around this by both “doctors” being abortionists and getting a cut of the proceeds. Easy.

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