“The biggest enemy of the Catholic church is a woman that thinks, reads and votes”: On Pro-choice Catholicism

7 Sep

It is easy for activists, writers,  and lovers of everything pro-choice to speak on what must be done in the movement, ways organizations can improve, and how politicians and law makers can stop being so damned patriarchal. There are a lot of “musts” right now, no one doubts that, but sometimes a woman’s voice can be lost in the rhetoric and seemingly never-ending campaigns. This is by no means something that is done deliberately, but I have recently come to the conclusion that I must shift my personal pro-choice activism to include more emphasis upon women’s lived experiences from their  own perspective.  I think the movement will ultimately be better for including regular, every-day–woman stories, mundane as they may seem.

In my effort to reach more voices and documenting more real experiences, I took the liberty to reach out  to a woman very dear to me, a person I’ve looked up to for years, and ultimately a feminist woman who’s story I knew would be good. She graciously agreed to talk about her beliefs surrounding abortion, contraception, her time in Africa in the 1990’s  and being a teen during the late 1970’s. What follows is an endearing, fascinating, heart breaking and eye-opening  conversation about abortion and birth control in the 1970’s, religion, and one woman’s journey to find her happy median between her Catholic and pro choice beliefs.

Sophia : Thank you for agreeing to sit down with me! First I would like to start by asking, in general, what type of things were common-place in your teen years sex wise? And when exactly were you a teen?

Lisa*: I graduated high school in 1977 when I was 17, so  my whole teen years were during the onset of the Gloria Steinem era, the ERA, and the advent of birth control. Honestly, I was not sexually active until I was a year out of high school, because back in those days you got a reputation as a girl.  Boys had a reputation, too, though.  If a guy wanted sex from you right away, he was known as a “wolf.” I don’t think most of the girls in my high school went all the way until they were going steady, you know, they had developed relationships. Most of the time-and there were obviously one on one relationships- what we did, we did in groups. There were a few stereotypical king and queen of the prom, football player and cheerleader kinds of things, but because  we were graduating in the 70’s a lot of girls wanted to go to college and didn’t want to get married right away, there were other avenues for us.  I grew up in a military city, San Diego, so the Navy just started recruiting women for more leadership positions and  title 9 passed when I was a senior so the idea of women’s athletics was really coming on. There were a lot more ways for women to be independent and take a different route.

Sophia: What was common birth control?

Lisa: Condoms, foam, and contraceptive cream.

Sophia: What did that do? What did you do with that?

Lisa: It’s , you know, you put it up your vagina…

Sophia: Like Mono-stat?

Lisa: Yeah, you gotta wait 15 minutes (laughs) … Do do dooo…everything’s very hot and heavy and you gotta wait. And then douching was really big, lemon juice and water, vinegar and water, pepsi,  anything that you knew was acidic. Women would do that before [sex] and after. We had a big joke when I was in high school that we were the “pepsi generation”. We were told we couldn’t get pregnant standing up, and a big thing was that we couldn’t get pregnant when you have sex on your period.  So if a guy was down with that , girls thought it was okay.

Mostly, contraceptive wise, girls depended on a guy to pull out or to have a condom. Most girls didn’t go all the way but  they would do the petting. Petting was a big thing,  because if you got pregnant you were doomed because you had to go to a pregnant girls place, you had to leave town. Nobody, nobody,  kept their babies. Even as cosmopolitan as [California] was, no one kept their babies.

Sopha: What did women do for abortions?

Lisa: A lot of girls went out of state, or they went to Puerto Rico or Mexico, a lot of girls went to Arizona.  We had the back alley abortion, coat hanger abortions or  you would go to a midwife, or  a guy that was in second or third year of medical school. Or you would go out of state , or you go to Mexico. It was just a 6 hour drive from were I lived in San Diego.  The idea was you went away for a long weekend and you came back and nobody was the wiser.  When I was a senior in high school and then after high school, , it was the  advent of planned parenthood and free clinics and stuff, so when I went to college I was on birth control and it was great.

Sophia: Can you talk a bit about when you learned about sex and STI’s ?

Lisa: In 6th grade, the girls went with the girls and the boys went with the boys for the sex ed classes. The Kotex company supplied the female teachers with pads,  have you seen a sanitary napkin, um, belt?  (Laughs again and stands up to demonstrate.) Well, you had an elastic belt and you snap the pad on in the front and back and then you put that between your legs. That’s all we had, we couldn’t use a tampon because we could break the hymen, that was a big deal. I didn’t start my period until I was 16, and it was just awful.It was like wearing an oven-mitt between your legs. You couldn’t do sports with this big wad of stuff underneath you. If you were on the swim team you couldn’t practice or you were forced to use a tampon. The technology for us was not as good as you all have it.

But regarding the sex ed, we learned how babies were made. The girls could ask questions and boys could ask questions, at a young age (6th grade)  we really got good information.  Later on, In biology class  in high school we had the information about STD’s and how to prevent pregnancies.  My parents were really good about [talking about sex] too.

Back in my day syphilis and gonorrhea were the two sexually transmitted diseases, we didn’t have chlamydia or HIV. Growing up in a Navy town you knew that people had multiple partners were more susceptible. We were taught what to look for with gonorrhea and syphilis and the public health department was great because they would treat you for no charge and clean you up… but that was back in the glory days.

We had a lot of romantic movies but no one ever told us how to have an orgasm or anything like that. It just wasn’t anything anyone ever talked about. The Feminine Mystique and Our Bodies, Our Selves came out and Woodstock was in ’69 so that whole decade was the advent of feeling good and the Joy of Sex, all of that. So more emphasis on feeling good was made.  Prior to that though, it was all about pro-creation, it wasn’t about being pleasurable or a woman’s pleasure.

With the birth control pill, we could hook up with somebody and once we didn’t have to worry about pregnancy, we thought, ‘this is it, really?’  I had a boyfriend in college, and I just adored him, we had a great sex life, but the  thing I enjoyed the most was the hugging and kissing, the preamble, but initially I was like, ‘um okay…’  We knew what the clitoris was from a physiological standpoint but we didn’t know anything about pleasure centers or anything like that.

Sophia: Did you ever learn anything about homosexuality or trans-identities?

Lisa: No, it wasn’t taught. We had stereotypes associated with homosexuality, but there wasn’t anyone out because being in a military town you couldn’t be overt about being gay. At that time, gay men were stereotyped to like drama, theater and thought to dress really well, for lesbian women they were considered to be athletic tom boys. But there wasn’t this thing that we see now where gay men are considered pedophiles or the idea that all homosexuals are predators.  The only time we saw or heard of a trans person or cross-dresser was only with the drag queens down on Broadway. We didn’t hear about trans youth.

The big thing then was a show hosted by Phil Donahue. He had on “men who dress as women” and he had reproductive rights as a topics. I remember his show was on in the afternoon and I would come home from school and watch it with my mother. I feel like that was the sort of start of talk radio, talk shows, and all of that.

Sophia: So, switching topics a bit, would you consider yourself a feminist?

Lisa: Yeah, I joined NOW (National Organization for Women) as a sophomore in high school, that would have been 1974. I was on the debate team and I always argued why Colorado should be the state that tipped the ERA into law. I was a big supporter of Planned Parenthood.

Sophia: Are you still a Planned Parenthood supporter, being that you’re very religious?

Lisa: Well, I was very religious then, too.

I was brought up cradle Catholic, but my parents taught me that the church is an institution and I learned pretty fast that it was just a patriarchal thing. But remember in the 70’s and 80’s, American nuns were speaking out so I had a good model for that. I remember Pope Paul VI   came on a tour of the United States and spoke to a bunch of religious orders and four or five  nuns stood up and turned their back to him the entire time in protest.  It was a great.  I knew there were other Catholic women that felt like I did.  The Bible is full of stuff about talking care of your brother and feeding children and taking care of widows and orphans… So you know , I never had problems with supplying people birth control.

I remember when the birth control pills became readily available, the Catholic church made a big bru-hahah over that, about how women should not take birth control because they were thwarting God’s plan. So there was a lot of this new medicine, technology was better, women were out on the streets…liberating themselves saying, ‘I’m not going to be chained to stove anymore’ but the Catholic Church just had a conniption fit.  At every turn (of new reproductive rights and medical technology) there was ‘no you can’t do that,’ and you would go to hell for ‘killing your baby,’ if you had an abortion.  But I knew from a scientific standpoint that it wasn’t [murder]. Having that knowledge of how a fetus develops…I knew that at 12 weeks or whatever, that’s not a life.

I love me some Jesus, but you know, I really don’t love the church. I learned in the 70’s that the male hierarchy of the church would do everything in their power to keep people in a box and ignorant. I mean, in terms of the Church’s position on when life begins the Bible says that Adam wasn’t viable until God breathed life into him. So you have to breathe to be a life, that’s what I believe.

I go to a Convent for mass now, it’s all women and the Nuns there are great. They do a lot of great things social justice wise there. I brought your dad there once and he was  totally outnumbered, it was great, now he knows how women feel.

For me, at the end of the day, I think the biggest enemy of the Catholic church  is a woman that thinks, reads and votes. So they do what they can to prevent that.

Sophia: So, you lived in Africa, what was abortion and reproductive rights like there?

Lisa: There was a lot of folk medicine that women would ingest if they wanted to miscarry because in my part of the third world you wouldn’t want to go to the hospitals there.  It wasn’t an option. It was that  bad.  I was in Cameroon, West Africa, for 2 years with the Peace Corps from 1990 to 1992.

From a family standpoint, it reminded much of the US in 1800’s where women helped other women with the children and the work. So the idea of having a lot of kids wasn’t necessarily a hindrance. But,  those women didn’t really have any other options either. In that society, the more children you have the more virile, and thus successful,  you are, for the men.  So there was that motivation to have lots of kids, from  the man’s perspective of course.. Also, most families didn’t name their children until 5 or 6 years old because infant mortality was so high.

There were definite roles for women but the society is very tribal, like 23 tribes in Cameroon (which is the size of California) and heavily Muslim in the north. They got a lot of support for having kids, most women had about 5 kids and there wasn’t any stigma if you had a baby out of wed lock. Also, because there was not social welfare for people in old age, for women, the kids were like a security blanket to take care of them in old age. Still,  one of the things we did was teach women how to use condoms and foam, that’s all they had, and say, ‘you know, you don’t have to have any more kids if you don’t want them.’

In terms of birth control, they had, like, a crude IUD, where they would put lemon seeds or something in the uterus and they use a lot of herbal medicine. But like the woman in Idaho burying her fetus, if they didn’t have resources for a baby they just had, they would put it in the jungle or if the woman had a twin they would pick which one they wanted and put the other one in the jungle. That was readily accepted because you had to live, you can’t afford to keep the baby, you had to live.

I would like to conclude with a heartfelt  thanks to Lisa for agreeing to talk so openly about her experiences.

* Name changed to protect her privacy.

20 Responses to ““The biggest enemy of the Catholic church is a woman that thinks, reads and votes”: On Pro-choice Catholicism”

  1. anonymous September 7, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

    Apparently San Diego hadn’t come out of the dark ages in the late 70’s. Hard to believe. I grew up in a farming town of less than 2000 people, in the same time frame that Lisa is talking about. Every sexually active girl could obtain BCP’s and health screening from the county health department. A girl “got a reputation” if she was promiscuous, i.e. sleeping with a large number of guys. Guys got a reputation for being ‘users’ and not treating girls nice in general. I can count at least seven abortion clinics within a one day trip, and all in state. No one died or nearly died from ‘back alley’ or ‘coat hanger’ abortions. The ERA pretty much died in 1979, mostly because radical feminists overstepped what started as reasonable verbiage, and ticked off a large number of women in the process. It also was a push for more federal control over rights and choices. I’m not disputing Lisa’s account to be contrary, but it hardly seems possible that we’re both talking about the same time frame. Especially as compared to the rural-ness of where I was, and the seemingly more progressive nature of a large metro area.

  2. anonymous September 7, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

    oh…. and one more thing….people had their own beliefs about homosexuality, and those beliefs were not subject to interpretation based upon values. However, there were several openly gay people in my very small school, and no one persecuted them. A. because overtly persecuting people wasn’t allowed, and B. because we either considered them our friends (not based upon who they preferred to have sex with), or just let them be. On the other hand, they didn’t insist on special treatment just because they were gay.

  3. Sophia September 7, 2011 at 8:21 pm #

    Hello,

    Thank you for reading and commenting. I think a lot of factors go into why a person has one interpretation (that usually differs from others’) of how one’s life is in an area in the country, which would lead them to have a far unique feeling and outlook on their experiences . Because this piece is meant to show how one woman felt during her life in the 1970’s and therefor completely subjective, it’s reasonable to suggest her feelings and experiences are representative of her life and hers alone . I apologize if this reads as a broad definition of what the 70’s was like for all women in all areas of the US… it certainly was not meant as such.

  4. Lisa's Truth September 7, 2011 at 9:23 pm #

    Hi Anonymous – “Lisa” here. The point of the interview was the juxtaposition of a Catholic upbringing vis-à-vis the sea change of established ‘moral norms’ during the 1970’s if you will, not a debate on the access of birth control per se. It was about MY struggle to reconcile Catholic teaching with my conscience, and MY LIFE experiences.

    BUT
    I have to take exception to your “late 70’s SEXperience” – insofar as it pertains to a girl’s (I was a girl in 1977) ability to secure contraception. I find it hard to believe that all the sexually active girls in your small h.s. were able to obtain BCP bc the Supreme Court didn’t even rule on a minor’s ability to have access to BCP until decisions betw 1976-1979, in which girls could receive pills without their parents’ permission (see also ‘judicial bypass’). Roe v. Wade was not decided until 1973, and like most Supreme Ct rulings or federal statutes, it takes a while for the states to implement and/or change things to comply. (For example- Brown v. Board of Education (’52), desegregating the Armed Forces in 1954; Lau v. Nichols (’74); US women in combat positions 2001, etc)

    Women (try Googling ‘Rosie Jimenez’) were still dying from coat-hanger abortions as late as 1977 bc the Hyde Amendment halted access to abortions for women on Medicaid. Perhaps all your friends had enough money to go to a clean clinic or hospital but Rosie didn’t (she lived in Texas, not sure if it was a farm), and neither did many other poor women of color during that decade. Of course, that continues to this day.

    I wish I had grown up in the bucolic nirvana that you did, but I didn’t. It thrills me to no end to know that your classmates were able to access birth control so readily, so openly, and without societal pressure thwarting your sexual awakenings, not to mention the full-on embrace of homosexual persons in your small town. Wherever this tiny agri-paradise is located, it is truly avant-garde.

  5. anonymous September 8, 2011 at 12:46 am #

    Exception noted. Now please allow me to rebut,since you have misconstrued the tone of my comment.

    You said you were well educated in matters pertaining to sex and contraception. You have also stated that you did not have access to contraception because of parental notification laws. So therefore, you chose to have sex with the knowledge that your methodology would, in the face of overwhelming statistical evidence, likely result in pregnancy. So the need for abortion access in the late 70’s boiled down to not taking the responsibility to ask your parents to help you, or not exercising self control until you are able to procure conraception on your own. Demonstratively irresponsible un-adultlike behavior, which might be an indication that teens are too young to handle the responsibility of a sexual relationship.

    Obviously, the state run health departments employed people who flauted the law, primarily because, as a government entity, they thought they knew better than our parents. They didn’t want to help us understand why we might want to wait to have sex. They didn’t want to help us respect ourselves as women, or accept responsibility for the consequences of our actions, they just didn’t want us to get pregnant. So some of us got our BCP’s and screwed as many guys as we could, and we hated ourselves when we finally understood the real meaning of a committed relationship. We wished we had listened to our parents, and our ministers, and the people who REALLY cared about us.

    And the gay guys and lesbians? They were just kids we grew up with. We were sorry they chose the lifestyle they did, because it resulted in the untimely deaths of about 60% of them, from aids and suicide, but they were just kids we grew up with. They didn’t demand to wear dresses to the prom, or shout that they were discriminated against, or require special attention. There was no reason not to like them. We told them to their face they were sinners, and they agreed, and they called us sinners right back, and we agreed. Cause we all knew that we could judge right and wrong, but we weren’t the ultimate judge of someone’s sin.

    And finally, since you asked me to google Rosie Jiminez (and I will), and since you claim to possess scientific knowledge that a 12 week fetus is “not a life”, and since the moderator would not post my comment that had a link to a sonogram of a fetus at 12 weeks, please google 12 week ultrasound, watch a few, and tell me what you see.

    Maybe my rural town seemed to be the ‘bucolic nirvana’ of ‘sexual awakening’ where everyone screwed everybody and no one cared, but that’s not how it was in the late 70’s. I was merely challenging your assertion that birth control was not available, and that people were still shoving coat hangers up their vaginas, as if in the present day bigger, better, cleaner clinics and more of them is a good thing. Seems to me that it was really a better thing that most of us still had to go behind our parents backs, and that we still felt the fear of stigma and shame. Maybe it made us more careful. Maybe it protected our health. At the very least we can look back and know someone cared enough to make it difficult to be stupid.

  6. Dee September 8, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

    “They didn’t want to help us respect ourselves as women.”

    Choosing to have sex has nothing to do with whether we respect ourselves as women. We can have sex and respect ourselves. Our self respect is not predicated on what we do with our reproductive parts. My body and life have value beyond my hymen and marital status.
    ———————————————————

    “So some of us got our BCP’s and screwed as many guys as we could, and we hated ourselves when we finally understood the real meaning of a committed relationship.”

    And most of us use birth control, enjoy our bodies and feel no shame or self hatred at all. Some of us choose to enter committed relationships later in life without regretting our past sexual history, while others (like me) choose to avoid committed relationships altogether… and both groups are full of happy, well adjusted, fulfilled individuals (again, like me).
    ——————————————————–

    “I was merely challenging your assertion that birth control was not available, and that people were still shoving coat hangers up their vaginas, as if in the present day bigger, better, cleaner clinics and more of them is a good thing.”

    Yes, more, better, and cleaner clinics ARE better. It’s vile to wish for less, and dirtier clinics for women.
    ———————————————————

    “Seems to me that it was really a better thing that most of us still had to go behind our parents backs, and that we still felt the fear of stigma and shame.”

    Shame is always something that makes antis glad. I’m glad not to wish fear and shame on women.
    ———————————————————
    “Maybe it made us more careful. Maybe it protected our health. At the very least we can look back and know someone cared enough to make it difficult to be stupid.”

    It didn’t make us more careful or more healthy. As abortion statistic from antichoice countries demonstrate, people still had sex, and women died without access to the care they needed.

  7. anonymous September 8, 2011 at 9:13 pm #

    Dee:

    So you are telling me that teenage girls never have sex because they are pressured into it, that they never say yes for fear of losing their some guy who says he’s her boyfriend (who just wants a piece of ass), that they don’t party and do things that they’re ashamed of? Why is it that you feel shame has to be taken out of every conversation about sex? There are many practical and emotional reasons for young girls to exercise self-control and self respect when it comes to who they decide to have sex with. There’s nothing wrong with being ashamed of bad, thoughtless, careless, or dangerous behavior. That’s what compels us not to repeat it. Some women actually do wish that they had saved themselves for the man they married. Are you the one who decides they shouldn’t feel that way? Your hymen and your vagina might not mean self worth or value to you, and that’s your reality. Maybe it’s not mine.

    “And most of us use birth control, enjoy our bodies and feel no shame or self hatred at all”

    Once again, your reality. Also you shouldn’t assume that I don’t love and enjoy every aspect of my body and the pleasure of a sexual relationship. As a matter of fact, I feel sorry for you and you distaste for comittment. You have excluded yourself from an even more intense level of experience, with much deeper dimension. No one knows how to experience pleasure with you more than someone who knows you intimately.

    It was fear that kept us aware. Why is that necessarily a bad thing? We made sure we followed the instructions on how to take our pills. We didn’t hook up for one nighters with an endless list of guys we didn’t know, and end up drugged, raped, or dead. Not such a bad thing. Fear and shame make me glad? Well, not in the way you imply, but I’m glad it kept me out of the worst trouble. I didn’t contract an STD. I didn’t have to worry about getting an abortion in a nasty clinic. I didn’t have a child to raise when I was 16. Do you realize what you are saying? When you send a message that what ever feels good to you is ok, and there is no reason to cultivate self-control (whether out of fear, or just as a practical, adult, decision), you invite unintended consequences. Some of them hurt.

    Committment is not a bad word.
    Self-control is not a bad character trait.

  8. Dee September 8, 2011 at 11:01 pm #

    “So you are telling me that teenage girls never have sex because they are pressured into it?”

    Either you’re dense or willfully refusing to understand what I wrote, because on every argument you are obfuscating/misconstruing what I said. I never implied that no girls have sex under pressure. As a prochoice pro-autonomy feminist, I believe in a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body, so I am against coercion, whether the coercion is to have sex or to abstain against her wishes.
    —————————————————————–

    “Why is it that you feel shame has to be taken out of every conversation about sex?”

    Because sex is not shameful. Simple as that. It is a bodily act no more moral or immoral than eating. Other elements, such as the introduction of coercion, can make it shameful, but the act itself is not.
    —————————————————————–

    “There’s nothing wrong with being ashamed of bad, thoughtless, careless, or dangerous behavior.”

    Agreed. Sex doesn’t have to be any of those things. In fact, it often isn’t any of those things.
    —————————————————————–

    “Are you the one who decides they shouldn’t feel that way?”

    No, I’m not. Neither do you get to decide that the SHOULD feel that way. That’s the whole point of my earlier post. Neither of us gets to decide whether a girl who has sex should feel shame or not. She gets to decide whether it’s something that she wants to do and she gets to decide how she feels about it.
    —————————————————————–

    “Your hymen and your vagina might not mean self worth or value to you, and that’s your reality. Maybe it’s not mine.”

    I didn’t pass any judgment on people who choose to save themselves for marriage or who choose to commit to one partner after a previous sexual history. The judgment came from your side. More on that below…
    —————————————————————–

    “As a matter of fact, I feel sorry for you and you distaste for comittment. You have excluded yourself from an even more intense level of experience, with much deeper dimension. No one knows how to experience pleasure with you more than someone who knows you intimately.”

    Right there! THAT was the judgment thing again. The self-righteous “I feel sorry for you” because the best experience is YOUR experience. THAT’s my problem: not the fact that you want to wait for marriage/commitment, but your presumption that this is the life path that suits us all. It. is. not. I am a happy, fulfilled, complete individual who LOVES her life just as it is. There are many like me out there, just like there are many like you out there. Do NOT feel sorry for us; we are enjoying our lives exactly as I presume you are enjoying yours.
    —————————————————————–

    “I didn’t contract an STD.”

    Neither did I. Neither did many sexually active, educated women.
    —————————————————————–

    “I didn’t have to worry about getting an abortion in a nasty clinic.”

    Neither did I, for two reasons: 1) I had access to education about birth control, as well as the BC itself, so I never became pregnant, and 2) thanks to prochoice legislation, I can walk into a clean, wonderful clinic.
    —————————————————————–

    “I didn’t have a child to raise when I was 16.”

    Neither did I. Neither did so many women who used birth control correctly because they had access to it and education about it. Neither did so many women who became pregnant due to lack of access, but then went to an abortion clinic so that they might not become parents until they were ready.
    —————————————————————–

    “Committment is not a bad word.”

    Commitment can be a great thing. It can also be an awful one, depending on the person. Once again, you’re making presumptions that what brings you joy will bring me joy.
    —————————————————————–

    “Self-control is not a bad character trait.”

    No one said it was. Self control does not imply negation any more than being prochoice implies promiscuity. Self control implies exactly that= taking control on one’s own self. This means examining one’s own desires and life goals, as well as the tools at one’s disposal before making an informed decision about one’s future. Self control- taking control of one’s self- means thinking for one self, and not bowing to coercion, be it coercion to have sex or coercion to abstain from it. Love it when antis replace the word “negation” with “self-control” in an effort to make them synonymous.

  9. anonymous September 9, 2011 at 1:22 am #

    Dee:

    You locked on to the fact that I’m anti-abortion, and you haven’t stopped judging me since. You have consistently ignored the context of my comments in an attempt to heighten the rhetoric of this engagement.

    Have sex with all the people you want. I would expect no more and no less from you based upon your self-description. I have no investment in your sex life. If I choose to feel sorry for you, based upon experience and opinion, for missing the spiritual connection and dimension that love and committment add to a sexual relationship, then that is my prerogative. Don’t construe it as “self-righteous” and “judgemental”. If it strikes you as such, it’s you that has to examine why it does. If you are as fulfilled and happy and autonomous as you say you are, it should take a lot more than my pity to rattle your cage. I’ll feel sorry for you if I want, and I do.

    There is quite a bit more I could say in rebuttal, and perhaps I’ll publish a link to this post on my blog. I feel we have reached the point where the conversation will deteriorate on both sides, so I’ll resign before it does.

    I’m rather pleasantly suprised, and will take this opportunity to offer credit where it is due – thank you moderator for allowing someone who is anti-abortion to participate in the discussion. I realize that you will give props to Dee and Lisa for ‘schooling’ me good, but that’s ok. It is your blog, after all. I am mildly disappointed that you wouldn’t publish the link to the twelve week sono in rebuttal to Lisa’s claim that she had scientific evidence that a 12 week fetus isn’t a life. I guess I would view this as consistency on your part, so I won’t be angry about it – it’s certainly available for internet savvy people to google, anyway.

    Good nite.

  10. anonymous September 9, 2011 at 2:19 am #

    I pray, one more indulgence –

    Dee: How old were you in 1977?

  11. Steph September 9, 2011 at 10:25 am #

    Hi Anonymous. You’ve now graduated to TROLL status, as you continue to harass our bloggers and commenters. I will no longer approve your comments. Please take your vitriol elsewhere. Thank you.

  12. Dee September 9, 2011 at 11:19 am #

    @Anonymous

    I’m amused that you’ve ignored every single point I’ve made about how girls should or shouldn’t feel about their decision to have (or not have) sex.
    ——————————————————-

    “You locked on to the fact that I’m anti-abortion, and you haven’t stopped judging me since.”

    Actually, I’ve said very little about abortion. Most of my post was about a young woman’s decision to have sex without wishing shame/fear upon her.

    ——————————————————–
    “You have consistently ignored the context of my comments in an attempt to heighten the rhetoric of this engagement.”

    I’ve literally quoted you verbatim and then addressed each argument. You can’t get more contextual than that. Meanwhile, you conveniently ignore what I have said and just resumed your talking points.
    ——————————————————–

    “Have sex with all the people you want.”

    Thanks, I’ll do that.
    ——————————————————–

    “I would expect no more and no less from you based upon your self-description.”
    Actually, you know nothing about me. I have friends who think exactly like me and are virgins. We believe in freedom to choose when to have sex and in what type of scenario. As I stated earlier, you confuse pro-choice with promiscuity. Some of my prochoice, liberal friends are choosing to wait until marriage, others for the right man, and NONE of them are passing judgement on others, or expecting them to follow their lead. That’s what choice is about: the choice to sleep with no men, one man, or many men. There are feminists who fall into each of those categories. This is, once again, where your judgmental colors are shining through. You assume because we’re feminists, that we’re sleeping around. Some of us are, some of us aren’t. We’re all different in the choices we make, united by our respect and celebration of each other’s choices.
    ——————————————————–

    “If I choose to feel sorry for you, based upon experience and opinion, for missing the spiritual connection and dimension that love and committment add to a sexual relationship, then that is my prerogative.”

    First of all, your pity is false. Your type gets off on spewing condescension masked as pity. It’s not pity, but a demonstration of how morally superior you think you are. Secondly, your pity, if it were real, would be wasted on someone who knows that single-hood is the thing that makes her happiest. Every woman (like every man) exists in a myriad of dimensions, she may be a mother, a big sister, a daughter, a volunteer, a co-worker, a friend, and employee, an activist, an artist, etc. It’s sad that you think- with ALL these dimensions- that I can only find true happiness by obsessing about my private parts. I derive fulfillment and joy from these other dimensions. A boyfriend/husband would only make me miserable.
    ——————————————————–

    “Don’t construe it as “self-righteous” and “judgemental”. If it strikes you as such, it’s you that has to examine why it does.”

    It strikes me as such because it is. Your posts have made it very clear that you feel we should all follow your life path. Otherwise, we’re wrong and “missing out”. That’s what being judgmental is. You keep bringing up that I oppose your life choice of saving yourself for marriage when I’ve stated repeatedly that I don’t. I oppose the imposition of that life choice on every other woman.
    ——————————————————–

    “If you are as fulfilled and happy and autonomous as you say you are, it should take a lot more than my pity to rattle your cage.”

    You didn’t rattle my cage. You amuse me. I see through you and I’m always happy to point out inconsistencies and lies from antichoicers. I’m happy and fulfilled with me education, my work, my volunteer work, my activism, my sister, my mother, my pets, my writing, my hobbies, etc. Thinking about who gets to penetrate me is really a tiny, tiny portion of my life.

  13. Dee September 9, 2011 at 11:31 am #

    @Steph

    Definitely a troll. I’ve never felt the need to go to an antichoice blog and comment, but they always seem to want to comment on ours. I apologize for engaging her, but I wanted to illustrate that my experience and the experiences of many run counter to the picture she paints of sex. I hope I wasn’t inappropriate.

  14. Anonymous September 10, 2011 at 9:52 am #

    Grammar Girl here: women are people, not objects. The title of this thread uses an incorrect signal word.

    *The biggest enemy of the Catholic church is a woman WHO thinks, reads and votes.

    It’s an ironic mistake for a feminist to make, but I’ll forgive you this time😉

  15. Aoife September 10, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    Hi guys,

    I thought Sophia’s interview with Lisa was very interesting, and although I can’t personally understand how a pro-choicer could reconcile calling themselves a Catholic with one of the most misogynistic and anti-child organizations in the world, I respect her decision.

    Apart from that, there was only one point in the whole article that I really took issue with, and that was Lisa’s claim, ‘Having that knowledge of how a fetus develops…I knew that at 12 weeks or whatever, that’s not a life ‘. I was really shocked when I read that, as it goes against virtually all mainstream medical and scientific evidence.

    And I wanted to ask, if I may, respectfully, why the moderator did not allow anonymous’s link to the 12 week fetus sonogram to be posted. I know you said she was a troll, but why did you censor that post, yet continue to allow her to post several other comments? I have to ask because it does look like you were afraid of her presenting the information as it shows Lisa’s claim to be clearly false.

    I just wanted to add that I am pro-life personally and pro-choice politically, lest anyone accuses me of having a vested interest here. I have no agenda. I believe every woman should have a right to unbiased medical information and that it is her decision alone to pursue all reproductive options.

  16. Anonymous(Grammarian) September 10, 2011 at 6:27 pm #

    *This is a different Anonymous from the troll above. My apologies, I just wanted to leave a casual note, not confuse myself with another writer.

  17. Anonymous(Grammarian) September 10, 2011 at 6:30 pm #

    As a rule:
    things THAT (a chair THAT is blue)
    people WHO (a woman WHO thinks)😉

  18. Steph September 10, 2011 at 7:34 pm #

    Hi Aoife: I didn’t publish the comment with the link to the ultrasound because it’s not clear to me if that youtube video is real or not. The youtube clip was to some couple’s personal ultrasound, and frankly, that kind of intrusion creeps me out (not to mention it isn’t scientific evidence of anything). If anonymous had linked to scientific data from a reliable source, that would’ve been totally fine.

    As a side note, “when life begins” is a personal question that no one agrees on, including medical experts. The ultrasound video doesn’t “prove” Lisa wrong. It just shows a 12 week fetus. Some people would say that’s “life” on par with a living person. Some wouldn’t.

  19. Burtie September 20, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

    To Anon 1 – I had you pegged as a troll before you ever mentioned abortion. It wasn’t hard, what with the “We told them filthy sinning homosexuals what they were, and we were proud of it. Luckily they all died from AIDS or shame” schtick.

    None of us wants ‘special treatment’, we just want to be treated as equal humans regardless of who we’re attracted to. I do like dresses, but as a femme dyke that’s how I roll. I can’t think of any gay man that would want to wear a dress to his prom unless he was promoting his drag act.

    Anon 2 – a 12 week foetus is a gift to someone who wants it, a tragedy to someone who doesn’t. Either way it is essentially a parasitic organism that requires the blood, breath, and basic building blocks of it’s host to survive. It is not an independent life, it is not capable of surviving alone, it depends on a mutual symbiosis. The decision to allow that relationship to continue is solely in the hands of the owner of the uterus. If you don’t like that, then don’t have a termination. But don’t resort to falsehoods about babies, and independent life, when a foetus is, at best, only a potential life.

  20. Aoife January 14, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

    Hi Burtie,

    Sorry, I just wanted to clarify – who is this anon 2 who you’re referring to? Do you mean anon grammar or me?

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