Can I be pro-choice, but still really dislike some reasons and timing?

(107 Posts)
CuntyBunty Thu 24-Apr-14 12:04:29

Can I?
I really dislike celeb culture and try not to expose myself to it, if at all possible.
I think we all know who I am talking about here, but didn't want to go on the other AIBU as it was "too too" and I wouldn't get much out of a piley-in to put the boot in.
In this case, can my contempt transcend gender? I had to Google who JC was the other day and we have very different values, but I do know that I am more privileged; better start in life, higher expectations etc.
I in no way think she should have the baby if she doesn't want it, no good could come of an enforced pregnancy, but I don't think my feelings really come from a concern for her welfare.
I have been honest here in an attempt to be better educated by the FWR posse, but I'm a bit of a mediocre feminist, aren't I?

PenguinsLoveFishFingers Thu 24-Apr-14 12:17:52

I have steered clear of that AIBU thread and I actually don't know what celeb you are on about. But I do think it's a valid topic for a separate thread to the main debate - if you identify as a feminist, do you have to support abortion on demand and to term?

I have said before that, if we what we are talking about on 'timing' is late abortions, it is ok to feel emotionally conflicted about it. On one level, I believe women must have bodily autonomy, which would support abortion to term. On the other hand, I can't shake deep upset at the idea of a 35 week foetus being terminated when it would be considered an almost full term healthy baby if it had been delivered. For me, it's one of those issues which I can accept not intellectually resolving, because it is so unlikely to ever become a pressing practical issue in the UK - no government is going to propose on demand abortion to term. So I focus on defending the rights that already exist, etc.

I also think it's ok to think that people have shitty reasons for a decision whilst believing absolutely that the law should allow them to make that decision. I have a friend who had a termination for reasons I thought were very superficial. I admit, I did struggle a bit with that. But I never let on and was supportive. And I would defend to the hilt the fact that the law was on her side in making the decision. I don't think that that makes me a 'bad' feminist. I don't think being a feminist means that you have to believe that termination is a decision people can and should take lightly. In fact, you can believe that termination is an sad and awful thing which you would never do yourself - but still be pro choice because you believe it should be safe, accessible and lawful for those with different views.

CuntyBunty Thu 24-Apr-14 12:26:36

Thanks Penguins. I guess I'm struggling with the fact that she is being held up as a media hate figure and I dislike the fact that I am not feeling much concern for Josie Cunningham.

I absolutely don't think she should have the baby if she is that set against it.
I had an early termination and said so on that awful pro-life thread. It was necessary and I didn't feel the regret and remorse (as I said on the other thread, Marie Stopes must have run out of sack cloth and ashes on that day) that the media and wider society say we must show.

I had the same gut reaction.

But actually, what I would prefer to condemn is the trashy celebrity culture fed by Big Brother-esque reality TV and the Tabloids that sets young people up to desire this sort of notoriety so much that they will do pretty much anything to attain it. But then when they do something really desperate, like this, the same culture turns on them with such savagery, like a rabid dog.

And yes, I personally think it is possible to be pro-choice and still to dislike another person's apparent reasoning about their own decision, in the sense that you know you yourself would not consider abortion for those reasons. It's just not fair to join in with the baying pack of slavering hounds in condemning her. And remember, we're hearing about what she is doing through a cultural filter that despises her. So there's probably more going on.

I don't know if that's telling you you're a bad feminist or evidence of my strident hairiness? It's not intended to be.

<looks around warily>

evertonmint Thu 24-Apr-14 12:29:38

I feel that I can be fully pro-choice (on demand, to term) while privately disagreeing with some people's reasons and/or timings, and still be a feminist. For me, it is about supporting women in
having the legal right to full control over their own bodies. It doesn't mean I have to personally agree with how an individual then chooses to act when they have that right.

I personally have never felt I could ever choose a very late abortion. I am currently not even in a position where I could consider an abortion for me, full stop. I am lucky to have not been in such a situation in the past either, but, who knows, I may be in the future. But I'm damned sure I want that option available for all women as my circumstances are not and never will be the same as anybody else's.

I also think that the moral outrage at the abortion to term debate is fuelled mostly by the idea that women are stupid, feckless creatures who will just decide to do this on a whim. Well, the vast majority of us are not. I understand from other threads that late term abortions (and by this I mean up to 24 weeks) are so very rare that they are less than 1% of the total.

If a woman is contemplating a very late term abortion, then I would assume that either she has very, very good reasons or that she is suffering psychologically in some way. In which case, the right course of action is to provide appropriate medical help. Isn't it?

PenguinsLoveFishFingers Thu 24-Apr-14 12:42:26

Ok, so I've had a google and read a bit about JC.

I agree with everything Buffy has said. To me, that article says a lot about the hideous 'celebrity' culture. She reads like a woman who either has serious mental health issues going on, or whose perception of value (hers, other people's) has been so distorted by a misogynistic and shallow 'celeb' culture that she has lost sight of how normal people who make and view such a decision.

On a FWR thread a while back, someone linked to a sample of case studies of women presenting to for a termination up against the legal limit. I think it was Marie Stopes. The stories were heartbreaking. Mostly young girls in denial about the pregnancy, drug addicts or others whose life circumstances were similar dire and chaotic and women in abusive relationships. Not JC types.

TinyTear Thu 24-Apr-14 12:45:38

But if you go to terms or close to term, wouldn't it be better to give that child for adoption?

I am pro-choice but think late ones should be considered for medical reasons only (as I believe 16 weeks, for example, is more than enough time to make up your mind...)

And if you get past viability stage, then, if you don't want the child... many childless couples would love that child

PenguinsLoveFishFingers Thu 24-Apr-14 12:50:22

Well, as I said, I am conflicted about late abortions. And I don't think the OP really wants this to be another debate about the morality of late term abortion - then it really would become a thread about a thread.

But, from a feminist viewpoint, I think the issue isn't whether one thinks it would be a 'better' solution for you. Or a better solution for most. Or whether you think it's a morally repugnant choice to terminate in those circumstances. But whether you think legally it should be the only permissible option. Which, of course, currently it legally is. The case study I referred to had a number of women who, when scanned, were found to be past the legal limit and referred to social services to talk about options for post-birth support or adoption.

It is also worth bearing in mind that adoption is just as complex and potentially damaging a decision for some women as termination. It doesn't wave a magic wand.

I agree with you Tiny, my gut reaction is that it would be better to give the late-term foetus up for adoption rather than abort. Of course it would!

But for me, that belief doesn't lead to the conclusion that women seeking this are feckless, stupid and should be stopped by a morally outraged society. It makes me think, as I said, that women seeking this either have extremely good reasons (such as the certain knowledge that the baby won't survive once born and continuing the pregnancy just prolongs everyone's suffering) or are struggling so much that they need really serious help.

For the latter group, I would hope that with appropriate support these women could carry their baby to term and then it go for adoption. But this is moot in the UK anyway, because women can't have abortions beyond 24 weeks, can they?

It is also worth bearing in mind that adoption is just as complex and potentially damaging a decision for some women as termination

Ah, but people who are anti-abortion aren't anti-abortion because they care about women are they?

TheWanderingUterus Thu 24-Apr-14 13:01:11

https://www.bpas.org/js/filemanager/files/bpas_press_briefing_late_abortion.pdf

The case study is above - reasons presented by women who were requesting an abortion after 22 weeks.

I read the Josie Cunningham story and felt so sorry for her. The choices that she has made are so self-destructive and smack of low self esteem. She has learnt from Jade Goody, Jodie Marshand Chantelle etc that over sharing about your private life and negative publicity is a good thing as long as it keeps you in the news. Other talentless individuals have gained fame and fortune, they make it look easy.

Thurlow Thu 24-Apr-14 13:02:58

I honestly can't work out where I stand on this one. Part of me thinks to be pro-choice means accepting all the reasons why women decide to have a termination. After all, what is a valid reason to one woman is not a valid reason to another.

I have had a termination mostly due to the fear of a second HG pregnancy - yet plenty of women have HG worse than I did, and willingly have more pregnancies. They would undoubtedly not agree with me. My termination was also to do with just not feeling ready to cope with another child yet, fear of how work and childcare and finances would suffer - yet within circumstances where thousands of other women would place the unborn child above their needs for a career, or more income into their family.

So one women's valid reasons are another women's idea of doing a terrible thing, even if they are pro-choice. I do suspect that many women are pro-choice but only in certain specific situations, and would see reasons like 'just not ready' from a 30-something woman as not valid.

Yet I also feel that in the majority of cases terminations should occur early, as it is 'easier' and less distressing for everyone involved, and assuming a woman discovers the pregnancy at 6-8w, even with a few weeks to make up her mind, a termination can still be achieved early on in the pregnancy. Barring not discovering the pregnancy until very late, or health issues (physical or mental, and for mother or baby) arising as the pregnancy continues, a large part of me feels very uncomfortable with late abortions.

The reasons why JC has suggested she would terminate sit very ill with me, personally.

But if you start negotiating on the reasons for a termination at any stage under the legal limit, where does it stop? It's a slippery slope from what JC is suggesting down to saying 'nope, sorry, your reasons just aren't good enough for me.'

CuntyBunty Thu 24-Apr-14 13:04:50

Thank you, you are all so patient and generous with your responses.
I remember that thread, Penguins, about late term abortions and I mentioned it in almost the same words as yours on the "pro-life" thread. It's the 1% that is used to support poor, anti choice arguments. I do remember reading the stats/reasons and they were heart breaking.

I haven't joined in with the haters, but I was questioning my own feelings (hypocrisy?). I really dislike celeb culture, but I am 40+, so in a way, have been lucky to have remained unscathed. You all all correct, of course, in that the main wrong doer here is the media.
If I hadn't have stopped to think and post on here, I might have commented negatively on JC, to DH (who is a politics academic who works closely with the gender studies departmentgrin), had he been with me. I don't know whether he would have questioned or challenged me, but I know full well I would never "pick on" a woman like that within earshot of my DSs. I might "test" DH when he gets back from his trip away.

pommedeterre Thu 24-Apr-14 13:04:56

I think logically for me being pro choice means letting a woman do what she wants, when she wants for whatever reason with her body and foetus.

I don't obviously like the idea of late terminations (surely no one does) but I can't bear the explaining, excusing and justifying that goes on around abortion reasons. That happens all the time on the mn abortion threads. I don't think any of us should sit in judgement on any reason why a woman would want autonomy over her own body.

CuntyBunty Thu 24-Apr-14 13:06:53

I could see no good whatsoever in forcing this individual to continue with an unwanted pregnancy.

Wow, my first thread in FWR and no one has smacked me around the chops.

PenguinsLoveFishFingers Thu 24-Apr-14 13:07:03

Wandering - Thank you for that. That's the case study I was thinking of. Most of those are heartbreaking little portraits of a life in turmoil, aren't they?

Thurlow - For me being 'pro choice' means that I don't think the law should get involved in deciding reasons, just as you say. I agree that that is a separate issue from whether, at a moral and emotional level, you are comfortable with how someone chooses to exercise that right. I think people often mix those together - feeling that you can't be pro-choice if you think it's a bad choice, even if you think that it should be a legal and safe choice.

PenguinsLoveFishFingers Thu 24-Apr-14 13:08:10

We're nice really Cunty. It is a very well kept secret. Other boards often make out we're scary and aggressive, but tis a big myth. smile

Wow, my first thread in FWR and no one has smacked me around the chops.

I dunno why we have such a hard as nails rep, tbh grin

CuntyBunty Thu 24-Apr-14 13:11:27

I know you are thanks. I've read enough of the FWR boards to know. I'm quite a lazy feminist in that I've hardly read any literature, but I'm bringing my boys up to disregard the shitty status quo.

ILoveCoreyHaim Thu 24-Apr-14 13:11:58

I have had a termination and no i don't agree with this for the fact she was posting pics of the scan and talking about getting her teeth fixed free through the NHS and now she is saying she is going to abort to appear on BB. All i can say is good luck to her finding a surgeon willing to do a late term termination under the circumstances and i get the impression she could be doing this to get more exposure, reading her twitter feed she does talk about being a celeb a lot. What i do worry about is some of the postings on facebook and the effect they could have on woman who have had late term terminations, theres a lot of hatered directed at her and some of the comments are disgusting including the posting of videos and pics of late term terminations. A family member had a late term termination due to medical conditions and she really struggled with it so i think its awful if she is seeing any of the disgusting postings re being a murderer and stitching your fanny up you slag, that sort of stuff

Thurlow Thu 24-Apr-14 13:12:13

Yes, Penguins. It's very difficult to separate that sometimes, as it will be for most people I imagine. But the legal right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy has to remain. So I guess to answer the OP's original question -yes, you can be pro-choice but also dislike some of the reasons, as long as your dislike is something you keep to yourself.

I'm trying to liken it to the same way I feel about any other beliefs or opinions of friends/acquaintances - those that are not offensive or racist. If that makes any sense? We're not always going to agree with everything. I think one friend of mine has the stupidest reasons ever for becoming a vegetarian and I'd love to get my teeth into a debate with her, but it is her right to stop eating meat for what seems an illogical reason, so I shouldn't pick her up on it.

I'm aware that's not the best example but it's all I can think of right now grin

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 24-Apr-14 13:12:51

Tiny, generally "late term" abortions, which isn't medically defined, are viewed as those at 20 weeks plus.

To say "16 weeks is enough to make up your mind" is not in tune with the reality of those who have abortions beyond this point. On the whole, they haven't been dithering backwards and forwards for 12 weeks since the test - they either found out late (perhaps a teenager with irregular periods) or something has happened to change their mind (as in the case that has inspired this thread).

Having your child adopted if that is your free choice is great; carrying on with a pregnancy that isn't your choice and then proceeding with adoption can bring about severe issues.

Re OP's original question: to me, it's like the free speech quote "Sir, I disagree with what you are saying but defend to the death your right to say it".

ILoveCoreyHaim Thu 24-Apr-14 13:17:13

just to add i also believe things are not all as they seem, she probably has a PR team behind her, i just dont get how you go from doing interviews and showing your scan pics to the world to going on to do stories about terminating witihin weeks, sort of makes a mokery out of what is a very hard, emotional decison woman have to make. This is JMO and thats how i feel about it.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 24-Apr-14 13:18:00

Free dental work is a service that pregnant women receive though. I didn't need any done around that time, but if I'd been saving up for some and then had the opportunity that every pregnant woman in the Uk has to get it for free, why wouldn't i do that?

She isn't responsible for horrible pictures and quotes on her twitter feed: the people who posted them are.

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