The last few days I’ve been watching the twitter stream of the hashtag #livetweetingabortion started by Angie Jackson to document her abortion live on the Internet. I’ve been following Angie on twitter for a while and knew about this, but following mainstream media reports (see above link) there seems to have been more interest in the whole abortion “debate”. Additionally, yesterday Angie reported that she had had death threats from one of the religious people who had been debating via the #livetweetingabortion hashtag. The person in question has denied they sent the death threats, so I will not discuss that matter further. I also believe that Angie is looking into the threats, and where they came from, through legal/police means. However the alleged death threats did pique my interest hence spending more time lately following the #livetweetingabortion tweets and making a few comments of my own.

This blog post is some further thoughts from myself, plus additional comments taken from the tweet stream.

Any debate on abortion always come down to the rights of the unborn baby versus the rights of the mother. Many anti-abortionists, who strangely call themselves “pro-life”, state that abortion should never be used under any circumstances. A plainly stupid and ignorant stance. As @snobographer pointed out in the following tweets there are more deaths of mothers during live births than there are due to legal abortions. There are also many infant deaths during live births.

@snobographer: 13 deaths per 100K live births in 2003 http://bit.ly/9sHipw

@snobographer: Less than 1 death per 100K legal abortions in 2000

The State of Our Health – Women’s Health: Death In Childbirth

The death of infants is much more common – the nation’s infant mortality rate was 679 per 100,000 live births in 2004. From U.S. maternal deaths on the rise article.

From these reports it is clear that in some instances it can be lethal for the woman to go full term and for the baby to be born . One would have to wonder how many of these deaths could be prevented if the woman had had an abortion earlier in the pregnancy? Ah, I hear all the anti-abortionists scream ” but millions die by being aborted every year”. Well that’s not strictly true. The majority of abortions are done very early on in pregnancies before the “baby” can really be classified as a “baby” or a “person”. Every sperm is not sacred. If the so called “pro-lifers” really are pro-life then surely in some instances they should allow abortions especially if is going to save the life of the woman? Unfortunately the vast majority of anti-abortionists / “pro-lifers” see it all in black and white where no abortions can be good or allowed. What the anti-abortionists / “pro-life” brigade don’t seem to realise is that abortion has been going on since the dawn of time and will occur even if it is made illegal (as they seem to want to make it). One of the reasons abortion has been made legal (in varying degrees) in many countries is that eventually it was realised that illegal abortions were being carried out anyway and that women were being harmed during them.

I agree that late term abortions can be an ethical and moral dilemma (see the question further down) and I would prefer late term (post 22-24 weeks) abortions weren’t carried out except under exception circumstances. However I see very little problem with women choosing to have an abortion early on in the pregnancy. After all it’s a womens body and she should have a say in what she’s allowed to do with it.

Another argument put forward by the anti-abortion / “pro-life” brigade is the psychological ordeal women go through having an abortion.

as @aagblog said “RU486=appalling psychological ordeal? I’ll show you an appalling psychological ordeal. PARENTING”

especially if the women is not prepared for it or doesn’t want to do it. Looking after a baby is a huge commitment and many women suffer various forms of mental anguish, including things such as post-natal depression, after having a baby. I personally know more women who have suffered a psychological ordeal from having a baby than ones having an abortion.

I can imagine that some women could be traumatised by having an abortion, for all sorts of reasons. Society in general still stigmatises abortion to some extent, though this is mainly driven by the religious. It certainly doesn’t help when religious bigots campaign outside abortion clinics. There is (depending on who you speak to) an instinct for (most) women to have babies, so I could see that for some women getting pregnant might ignite their maternal instinct, but, for whatever reason, they decide to terminate the baby, no matter how much they rationalise it, there may still be some doubts or regrets in their mind. For these women some form of counselling or therapy might be useful, though I’d prefer they went to a qualified psychologist first, however a trained counsellor, or even sometimes just a good friend may be all these women need. There are religious post-abortion counsellors, I just hope that organisations like ARIN provide the counselling in a non-judgemental way, free from any religious language, and free from stigmatising abortion in general. However it would seem very few women actually do have a “psychological ordeal” from having an abortion.

as @triptrain pointed out from one of the studies looking into the negative psychological impact of abortion:

“This review identified several factors that are predictive of more negative psychological responses following first-trimester abortion among women in the United States. Those factors included perceptions of stigma, need for secrecy, and low or anticipated social support for the abortion decision; a prior history of mental health problems; personality factors such as low self-esteem and use of avoidance and denial coping strategies; and characteristics of the particular pregnancy, including the extent to which the woman wanted and felt committed to it. Across studies, prior mental health merged as the strongest predictor of post-abortion mental health. Many of these same factors also predict negative psychological reactions to other types of stressful life events, including childbirth, and, hence, are not uniquely predictive of psychological responses following abortion.”


and what do you think would be the biggest cause of the stigma, and therefore the need for secrecy? My guess – religion. The vast majority of people who complain about abortions are religious people, I have never heard of a non-religious group campaigning against abortions outside a family planning clinic, but I have seen the evidence of a lot of religious groups doing it. What must the poor women who are attending these clinics be going through having to make the decision to have an abortion then having to run through the gamut of small minded bigots to have it done?

This tweet (via Twit-Longer) sums up the “debate” nicely:

On Monday 1st March 2010, @snobographer said:

#livetweetingabortion #prochoice #prolife

Okay so let’s review, shall we?

We’ve established:

That most women who’ve received abortions don’t regret it and aren’t traumatized by it http://bit.ly/bekDT3

That the few women who are traumatized are women in communities where #abortion is stigmatized http://bit.ly/bMAQej

That the maternal mortality rate for live births is more than 13 times the rate of death for abortions

What things are like for women and girls when their rights to make their own reproductive decisions are restricted

And we’ve established just how much the lives of women and girls matter to the #prolife community

Anything else?

Yes, Some of the christians on twitter are neither very ‘christian’ or ‘pro-life’ when they threaten @antitheistangie or anyone else for that matter.

One of the ‘pro-lifers’ has a blog on which they have a question for people who are in favour of abortion. The question is pre-empted by an article on a rather disturbing incident in an abortion clinic.

Having read most of the, mostly sycophantic comments, I was going to reply, but they want me to login and I’d rather not, so here is what I would have said:

are you male?
If so you have no right to say what a women can or can not do with her body. Additionally you have no concept of what being raped would be like and the natural consequences thereof.

What you “pro-lifers” all seem to forget is the life of the mother. Sure the child of a rape victim might grow up OK. However, how is the women going to feel toward that child? Resentful? Would having the child send her into depression? Suicidal? You can’t and will never know, and it will be different for every woman. Therefore abortion should be legally and safely available to them. Preferably in the early stages of pregnancy.

are you religious?
Then you have no right to dictate what the rest of us do, solely based on what your religious tracts tell you to believe.


Oz (a sympathetic, non-religious male)

The reply was, in part, a response to people who responded to the comment, from a religious person, that sometimes abortions should be allowed, particularly in “cases such as rape, incest and immediate life-threatening health issues”. This is a very logical and sensible view to hold, it’s a pity not all religious people hold this view. Whilst I’m all for pro-choice and allowing abortions, it does seem there should be some limits, which I believe there are in most countries, usually after the 22-24 week period they aren’t allowed except in serious life threatening (to the mother) situations.

As usual there was some discussion between two opposing faiths. It always makes me laugh when one christian tells the other they aren’t a True Christian. If none of the christian faiths can agree on which one is the right one, then why should we believe in any of them? Ask anyone of any “Christian” faith and they will tell you they are a Christian. However followers of one of these branches of Christianity will often tell you that followers of another branch aren’t “Christians”. If they can’t even get their definition of “Christian” right, what chance have they got of getting anything about their faith right?

From wikipedia this nice picture shows the major branches of Christianity

Christian Branches

Of course these branches get broken down even further, check the directory listing Christian Denominations and Sects on Yahoo Directory for a much bigger list of different “Christian” faiths.

If there is only one God there should be only one faith, so until that occurs why should the rest of society have to accept anything you have to say based on your particular interpretation of God and his so-called holy book? So some faiths don’t accept abortion, fine don’t have one. But shut the fuck up about everyone else who wants one and stop trying to prevent others from having one just because you’ve interpreted your faith to say that they shouldn’t.

Feel free to leave a comment, if you haven’t commented here before your first comment will have to be moderated (to stop spammers) after that you’re free to comment. However please try and keep it relatively civil.

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Filed under abortion, atheism, atheist, christianity, religion

3 responses to “#livetweetingabortion

  1. Yes lots of repressed angry individuals seem to tun up when you mention the A word. I note that SA has apolitical party whose only platform is anti abortion.

  2. tenquid

    If you don’t believe in abortion, don’t have one. Simple as that.

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