A Proportional Response

a-proportional-responseThere was an early episode of The West Wing in which the President had to choose a course of action after a deadly terrorist attack. Ready to unleash the full might of the US military, he was eventually persuaded to take a more measured approach. Why? Because while carpet bombing another country into oblivion may have made him feel better for a minute, it wasn’t going to achieve anything fruitful. It was going to lead to more unnecessary death and destruction.

He chose a proportional response.

The episode, and the title, stuck with me, so much so that we’ve adopted the phrase into our parenting lexicon. But lately I’ve been using the term to describe other things as well.

Each time the news of another police shooting crosses my line of vision, I see the same refrain.

Why didn’t he just comply?
Why didn’t he just do what the police said?
Maybe if he was raised better, he’d have been fine. I was raised to respect authority. 

Let’s be clear: Death should not be a proportional response for disrespecting authority. Being shot should not be a proportional response for failing to get your hands up quickly enough, for failing to get out of your car fast enough, for not putting your hands in the right place. Death should not be a proportional response for resisting arrest, for questioning why you are being stopped, for talking back, or even, in many cases for running away. Not toward, threatening, with a weapon, but away

Death is not a proportional response for ‘maybe’ or ‘could have’ or ‘looked like’.*

You can dress it up by calling it disrespecting authority, but the fact of the matter is, no matter what you tell yourself to feel better, death is not a proportional response to any of those things.

The fact that so many seem to have accepted it as such is chilling.

Each time the news of another piece of legislation restricting a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body crosses my screen, I see the same refrain.

She should have kept her legs shut.
She knew the consequences.
She should have thought of that before she had sex.

To force a woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term as a consequence of failing birth control or a night of passion or even a series of stupid, immature mistakes is not a proportional response.

To blithely declare that a woman’s entire life should be altered and defined because she had sex is not a proportional response.

To insist that a woman should carry a pregnancy resulting from rape to term, or that a girl should carry the result of an incestuous father’s rape to term is in no way a proportional response. Ever.

The forced physical, emotional and psychological toll of carrying an unexpected or unviable, or unwanted pregnancy to term is not a proportional response for having sex, or God forbid, having sex forced upon you.

Human beings are not faultless. We are not perfect. We cannot be held to standards of purity and perfection that no one could possibly meet. The consequences for mistakes or even ill-advised actions should not last a lifetime…or end one.

It is not a proportionate response to shoot someone for texting too loudly, or bringing your order too slowly, or taking a parking spot, or being a woman, or divorcing you, or any of the seemingly thousands of random things Americans shoot each other for these days.

It is not a proportionate response to say or imply that a woman should accept or even expect to be assaulted or raped because she drank too much, wore the wrong clothes, flirted, went to college.

It is not a proportionate response to let someone die because they can’t afford health insurance or to deny someone medical treatment because they made a mistake or made the wrong decision at the wrong time or even if they are cheating the system.


It is not a proportionate response to ban or condemn an entire religion for the evils of a small faction. We’ve seen this before and the consequences were some of the darkest of human nature. They weren’t that long ago. You don’t have to look far, the ink’s hardly dry in the history books.

Yet all of these are responses are used to justify what is happening in the world, in the United States.

He should have just put his hands up.
She should have kept her legs closed.
Islam is the problem.
She shouldn’t have had so much to drink.
He should work harder. 

How can we call ourselves civilized if this world of extreme consequence is one we are not only accepting, but actively pursuing? What have we become when these things are offered as legitimate response to the human condition?

We are all out of whack. We are way out of proportion. The eager willingness to justify and accept consequences that go far beyond the act that preceded them.

It is difficult–nearly impossible–to comprehend what seems to be unfolding across our lives and screens and twitter feeds these days. That an unarmed man selling cigarettes could die in a choke hold. That a child with a toy could be gunned down. That pregnant women in Texas are dying at a rate as high as developing countries. That the maternal death rate in the US is increasing. That women are being denied a constitutionally protected right to an abortion.

On my kinder days, I wonder if these extreme responses above are a form of protection. It is after all, uncomfortable to have to face the truth.

That’s on my kinder days. On other days, I can only shake my head and wonder how long it’s going to take for the powder keg to blow. Because if Americans keep justifying as a way to make themselves feel better for a moment or two, as a way of denying the problem, it’s not going to achieve anything fruitful. It’s just going to lead to more unnecessary death and destruction.


* I am not sitting in judgement of those who wear a badge and pledge to protect and serve. I am well aware of the courage and the sacrifice police officers make daily and I do not, for one moment, believe that when an officer straps on a weapon it is with anticipation of shooting so many men of color like ducks in a barrel. I know there are decisions which must be made in a split second and don’t pretend to know what it is like to have to make those decisions. But what the BLM movement is trying to get across is that in those split seconds the decision made varies dependent upon the color of your skin. Not every time. But even once is too much.

118 thoughts on “A Proportional Response

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  1. And again, I wish there were a “love” button on WordPress.

    I have to disagree with you on one point – I think it’s your “kind days” when you’re sickened over the disproportionate consequences the subjugated are being given. Because those are the days when you’re demonstrating empathy and understanding, and when you’re desperate for peace and justice.

    As always, I’m so glad you’ve shared these thoughts,

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Thank you. Some days it is difficult to feel anything resembling kindness toward some–but I try to remind myself that opening your eyes to things is difficult. It requires a lot of inward reflection, a lot of readjusting thought processes. So yes, intellectually I get why we, as humans, would justify things to make sense of them. Then other days I just want to walk around with a two by four and wallop people over the head until they see some sense.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I think the US has always been a little bit anti-intellectual and the growth of news agencies has fed into that mindset. Stylized sensation has replaced sober thought and rational thinking. Maybe we have always felt inferior to our European neighbors and their culture, so we have pushed our strength as opposed to our thinking. Some people in the US wear a badge of ignorance proudly. You’d think when a major political party spends all their energy fighting scientific fact and emphasizing feeling instead of thinking that they’d be marginalized, but these days people eat that up…it’s nuts.

        Liked by 6 people

      2. I think you’re right. It’s bizarre, isn’t it? I’ve been mildly obsessed with the idea of the American Dream as myth for a little while now, but what gets to me about the American dream is that when you achieve it, education, leisure, disposable income–people hate you for it–and they hate you because they often feel like you’ve betrayed those roots of bootstrap pulling and strength–of simple, strong, righteous,pious folk. We seem to have done a really good job of taking it to the extremes these days.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. Totally, we’ve found a new form of segregation: classism. This entrepreneur dude Tai Lopez always says bluntly, “This is America, go make a million dollars.” Overnight millionaires are becoming more common and once your status is elevated, do you really want to mingle with the low life’s (of whom you were just 24 hours ago)? Hell no! Until you blow it all and are back where you started. We make stupid people rich and famous.

        Liked by 6 people

      4. I feel like too, good education in America is still very much a privilege. And when it is a privilege, it can be resented by those who don’t have access to it. But, good education should be a right, not a privilege, in my opinion. Then we could all be proud to be intellectuals.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree, and even though I don’t fully trust the corrupt news media industry in this country, I at least believe every family should sit down together everyday and watch the news. If people are more aware of the problems, they’re (hopefully) less likely to be part of the problem.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. One of the problems seems to be that you’ve got folks distrusting news sites from both sides. We’ve got to have one or two which are relatively unbiased, but which one or two vary depending on where your politics lay. That said, you’re exactly right, if more people are aware, hopefully they’ll less likely to be a part of. As long as they agree the problem exists in the first place….but that is a whole different kettle of fish.


      2. We have a naivete about the media that didn’t exist in most of the history of this country, or elsewhere for that matter. Historically, the media was always partisan. Intelligent readers were called to consult multiple sources and draw their own conclusions about reality.

        The Cronkite era at CBS may have changed how people view the media, but in the end, that was the exception that proves the rule.

        Now it seems, we have more sources to consult and simply don’t want to think. We want someone else to do the mental lifting for us, and that’s just not going to happen, not in the way people want.

        I was fortunate to have a teacher in high school who taught reliance on original documents and not someone else’s interpretation. That’s an important skill.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. I’m not sure if I believe it’s possible to be 100% unbiased, even if it is merely the choice of what is printed/reported on. There is going to be some implicit form of bias there. But I agree with you, consult numerous sources. I think a lot of it is this 24/7 ‘news’ cycle we live in. It’s not healthy for the vast majority of us. And I include myself in there. Never before have we had so much information available, but no one’s taught anyone how to parse it out.


  2. Again, thanks for these words. I have US family members in the camp you describe – and they can always find some website with statistics to defend their point – that black people bring it upon themselves. He circulates ridiculous things without fact checking on snopes or urbanmyths if it serves his point. He thinks I’m just a bleeding liberal. He is a Trump supporter too, who thinks this uber rich guy is going to help out the struggling “little guys” like him. I think the argument that may get through to him are your comments about the taken-for-granted advantages of being white and the proportionate response. Always worth a try.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. It is, but denial runs wide and deep. This whole fiasco, because I can’t really accurately describe it as anything but, has, if nothing else, forced me to confront my own ideas and my own levels of comfort. It was pretty painful breaking through the wall of my own realizations of how I look at and perceive race–but once I breached the wall, I found my conscience rankle whenever I tried to separate Trump supporters from racism. I just couldn’t–and can’t do it. That may change as the conversations deepen–as they must-I hope that changes. For everyone’s sake.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Agreed totally. Any shmuck on the internet can find some bullshit article to defend his bullshit point. Most people base their political views on whatever their buddies post on facebook or what their favorite radio station host says. Instead of, wait, what’s that thing called again… of yea, FACTS. I get it though, humans aren’t rational, we vote with our emotions not our brains. Facts are so 2012. We’re in the political age of name calling and scare tactics.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. First I’d like to say that you are a great writer, with some very poignant claims. I’ve enjoyed reading many of your posts. And am happy to see them in my inbox. I’d like to offer another point of view on the abortion argument, however, and I hope you’ll consider what I have to say. I have read through your whole argument. Please read through this entire comment if you have the chance. I think you have mis-represented the pro-life cause. It is a cause entirely dedicated to human rights.

    You offer the idea that making abortion illegal is “forcing someone to carry her child,” but what if I said that making the killing of a two year old illegal is “forcing a mother to care for her child.” Many of these arguments you’ve posed could also be made for killing a young child. As the parent of two young children, I have very difficult days, and I cannot imagine how difficult they would be if I was a single, teen mother, or if I conceived the children as the result of a rape. The reality is, though, that the human already exists once the woman is pregnant. This is especially evident if we are talking about arguments for late-term abortion, but the science is there regarding early pregnancy as well. Rape is horrible and unfair. The fact that only women can carry children puts a burden on them. I understand this. But I do not believe that the death of a human being is a proportional response— even to something as horrible as rape.

    As far as the woman’s life being altered, I believe that her life has already altered. Many women suffer immense guilt after abortions. The pregnancy has already happened. The child is not a curse, but a result. And killing a child is not a proportional response.

    It is a lot of work for a woman to carry a baby to term and labor is extremely painful. If that woman conceived the child in an unfair way, like assault, incest, rape, it is even harder for her. She has basic human rights that have been ripped away from her. But it is not a proportional response to take the most basic human right ever – the right to life – away from another human being. It’s NOT fair that men don’t ever have this problem. It simply isn’t. But to take the life of the child cannot be an answer. We talk all the time about the decisions one is able to make about her own health, but the baby never gets that chance to make the decision that he/she would like a chance at life, even if it means being adopted out or growing up in poverty. No one can make that decision for the baby, and no one can know that the child is better off dead.

    I will conclude with a concession. There are some cases where the woman’s life is endangered and the baby would also die if things continued. If a mother and a toddler are stuck in a burning house and there was only time to save one, I would fault no one for having to make that horrible decision and choosing to save the mother. I don’t know what I would do in that situation. But that is my only concession on the topic of abortion. Please give me your thoughts on the above as I respect your opinions and I believe you are honestly trying to do the best to advocate for human rights.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The best response to this I know is that if you don’t like abortion, don’t have one. However, there are and should be limits on what you can tell other people to do who may not share your beliefs. What a woman does with her body is her business.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Essentially that is the crux of it, Vic. While I respect other’s opinions on this issue if they differ from mine, I only respect them insofar as they apply to their own decisions regarding their own bodies. Just as I would never tell someone they HAD to terminate a pregnancy which was inviable or unplanned. To me, there is no difference.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I commented a little bit about what you said below, Vic. But I do wonder about the comment “What a woman does with her body is her business.” I can use my own body to cause a lot of destruction. I can use my hands to strangle someone. I can use my legs to kick someone. It’s more than my own business. The question is about whether there is another human being involved, whether there is more than one body. And I have yet to get a clear answer about when that human life begins, and what it is that makes it a human?

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Hi there. First and foremost, thank you very much for the compliment. I’m pleased you feel comfortable commenting on an issue that it is obvious you feel strongly and passionately about, though it’s clear we are coming from opposite sides of the fence. I hope that means that I (at least sometimes!) come across as someone who is willing to listen. I did read through your comment in its entirety and while I don’t agree with the arguments you put forth, it is not my place, nor my intention, to tell you that you shouldn’t feel that way. But I would like to readdress a few of the points you raised.

      While I am sure there are many folks who consider themselves ‘pro-life’ in the sense of being dedicated to human rights, unfortunately the ‘pro-life’ arm of politics in my experience do not fall under that umbrella. What I see from the political arm of that moment has little to do with preserving life (or indeed preventing conception) and more to do with restricting reproductive rights. The same folk who vehemently argue they are pro-life are often very much against incentives, programs, and benefits which will actually promote healthy life. That does not mean you personally do not advocate for better access to health care and birth control and sex education, all of which would cut down on the rate of abortion, or lobby for maternal health coverage, better paid family leave, subsidized day care, better working conditions and other programs which would enable more women to carry pregnancies to term without placing themselves and their families into poverty. I very much hope you DO do those things, I think that would be wonderful. Unfortunately, the political ‘pro-life’ movement argues for none of the above, often making them pro-gestation rather than pro-life.

      Your argument regarding killing a living, breathing human being is a false equivalence by virtue of the fact that a fetus is not viable human being from a medical standpoint. While it has the potential to be so if conditions are right, before viability it is not considered life from a scientific, medical, or legal standpoint. Now, if your personal view point or religious view is that life begins at conception, I find no fault with that..but it is a personal view. My own is very different. And mine is not more important than yours, nor is yours more important than mine. We should be able to make decisions about our own bodies based on those personal beliefs.That is the very essence of choice.

      Again, your assertion that the human being exists once conception takes place is not one I agree with. There is a vast difference between the potential for life and actual life. And because I don’t agree with the foundation of your argument, it follows that I cannot agree that it is taking a life to terminate a pregnancy. Nor do I subscribe to the notion that a child born with a terminal prognosis, who will suffer horribly for a brief period of time or live in pain with no quality of life is better off having been born.

      Some women may suffer guilt after an abortion, but many more don’t. Nor do they regret it. The decision to terminate a pregnancy is not undertaken lightly by most women. Sometimes it is the heartbreaking decision to terminate a pregnancy that was wanted, but is not viable. Sometimes it is a very easy decision made by a woman who found herself in a situation with a pregnancy which was unwanted. In every, single case, the life and decision of a woman must be more important that the potential for life she is carrying. How can it not be?

      Take for instance this scenario: An adult patient will die unless he receives a kidney transplant. There is a relative who is a match. Should that relative be legally required to donate a kidney to save the patient’s life or should they retain bodily autonomy and be allowed to make their own decision? You cannot legislate a woman’s body any more than you can legislate that we be required to donate organ in order to save a life. Yet I can’t think of a single person who would advocate for forced organ donation. The basic premise is the same, taking away personal control over the decision making for one’s own body.

      For what it is worth, I know many, many people who are morally or religiously against abortion personally but also realize that it is never their decision to make for someone else. So just as I would absolutely respect your decision never to terminate a pregnancy, I would expect that you would respect someone else’s right to make that very personal decision on their own.

      Nearly a million US women obtain abortions each year. Even allowing that a third of those pregnancies would end in miscarriage (which is the natural rate), that is nearly 700,000 unwanted or unviable pregnancies brought to term. Children who may well be loved once they arrive, but many more who will be neglected, abused, killed or live short, painful lives. Many of whom would live in abject poverty and be shunned by some of the very same folks who advocated for their birth when they rely on welfare or state benefits. It would give me no greater joy than to see our efforts focused on those children who are actually here, in foster care, in poverty, those neglected and abused and looking for love, rather than focused on a small cluster of cells which only harbors the potential for life.

      Obviously this is a passionate subject of mine. One which I have very strong views about, have researched and read about. I felt it was necessary to outline those views here, but I hope that I have respected your personal opinion even in my disagreement with them. But I will always, always advocate for the human rights of humans over the potential humans and that includes women, men, and children. Just not the product of conception only.

      Again, I really appreciate your respectful comment and hope I did it justice. Despite not agreeing with your views, I respect the right for you to have them.


      1. Thanks for the reply. I’d like to offer a few comments on your points, which were very respectfully stated. I know that this has the potential to go into a full fledged hot-faced argument, but I have no intention of getting ugly, and you don’t seem to either, so I’d like to harness this chance to have a good discussion. I think you are right about the fact that where we really disagree is about when life begins. I feel passionately about this because, if life does begin at conception, then abortion is murder, and it’s the responsibility of the government to protect the most vulnerable lives. I don’t think that any woman who has an abortion feels like she is committing murder. I think that intentions are usually best, and the last thing I want to do is demonize these women. The organ donation argument is an interesting one, but abortion is an active action, not a failure to save someone, it is actively choosing to end a life. I understand your frustration with many on the side of pro-life. I am totally with you on that. I am not a typical “pro-lifer” in that sense. But there is another pro-life movement that is gaining ground, and hasn’t gotten enough attention, in my opinion: http://www.feministsforlife.org/ This is the type of pro-life organization that I would stand by. Religious convictions aside, it’s really an argument about where life begins, because if it begins at conception, there are really no arguments that can justify taking an innocent human life. Someone can easily say, “if you don’t like abortion, don’t have one,” but if I were to say “if you don’t like murder, don’t do it, but stay out of my business,” I imagine that wouldn’t go over well. It’s all about where life begins. And I’ve yet to hear someone that is pro-choice tell me where that life begins. It cannot be okay to kill a perfectly healthy baby at 40 weeks simply because it is still in the woman’s uterus. So when does life begin? When do “potential humans” turn into humans? I had my baby at 42 weeks + 1 day. I could have had my labor induced at 38 weeks and had a perfectly healthy baby. Would it have been right to abort her at 38 weeks? And if not, is it because she was viable? But when does a baby become viable and how come viability is what makes someone a human? Some elderly individuals are not viable without oxygen tanks, but would it be ethical to deny them these machines and does that make them not human?

        Liked by 1 person

  4. People who over-react when a black person does not obey a legal command may be furious out of fear, When a slave disobeys he or she is destroying the absolute power of white over black and that scares the hell out of bigots.The same with regard to the absolute power of men over women. Or cops over civilians.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I suspect that I posted this before we connected. There are physical reasons, not just racism, that explain (not justify, explain) some of the violence that has happened. Perhaps much of it. These findings put the blame on people who force the injured to work when their judgment is impaired.


    Liked by 1 person

      1. The bottom line is that when a citizen has a severe concussion, their ability to understand and process commands in impaired. They won’t respond quickly, if at all. At least one of the shooting victims this year was in that category, maybe more.

        When a cop has a concussion, their ability to perceive situations and make good decisions is impaired. However, because concussions are largely invisible, bosses often don’t understand how serious they can be and coworkers put pressure on the victim to keep working. At least one of the cops who was a shooter was in that situation, maybe more. Concussions are pretty common, especially in violent occupations. Police, vets and athletes, drivers and bikers all get concussions, and a cop who is a vet and former athlete probably has a long history of them.

        Yes there is racism, but there is also mental impairment among people who are not racist. We tend to want to simplify life by seeing a single cause to events, but that’s usually not how life works.


    1. Oh, it’s times like this I’m just very glad I’m not alone. These days it is easy to feel isolated in your logic, as if it’s a cross to bear rather than the way to reason out a problem. So thank you for being rational, we can use all the rationality we can muster right about now.


  6. I hope your new President will take this into account – isn’t there an e-mail address for the US President where you can express yourself to him? Or Her?, depending on what you guys decide on November 8?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have spent the last year cycling through stages of both grief and joy, because each time something happens which makes me doubt humanity, there is almost always something which immediately follows which restores my faith. But man, it’s exhausting.


  7. Your article is on spot. I wish proportional response from the USA existed since cold war. Or during all the wars that followed. We can put down all the bitterness we have today, to the lack of proportional response.
    I was touched by one particular expression- about the ink being hardly dry in history books.
    Love this peace. Looking forward to more like these.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sarah, those are incredibly true words up you’ve written, and I think you’re likely very right. I spent a half day this weekend in the Czech Republic touring a synagogue which had an enlightening exhibit about Czech Jews before and after WWII. And I thought, this was a blink of an eye–how have we found ourselves on the verge of something so similar so soon?


    1. I do believe that there are deep-rooted fears that prompt many of these shooting–most of those fears are unjustified and are based in centuries of institutionalized racism. I doubt many of them are conscious. The problem is that those fears trigger–literally-reactions which are often not only unwarranted, but deadly.


      1. They go back much further since we all evolved from tribes and that helped us to survive. Go to any football match to see tribalism action. It can be violent and take over the crowd situation.
        Steven Pinker pointed out we are not blank slates and we carry a large evolutionary baggage.Politics itself has a tribal side and it rears its head where ever there is a them and us mode of thought. It is not necessarily removed by education as we can see in ISIS many of them have excellent educations. When men accept all humans deserve equal respect in other words they become humanitarian by determined effort then some progress will be made.


      2. Where’s Darwin’s Evolutionary theory when you need it? There are definite elements of nature that are at play-biological,emotional, chemical and hormonal. But I like to believe a lot of those things can be overcome with exposure to differences and diversity, education, and open-mindedness, in conjunction with the long, slow march of progress. Some people are just angry. Some are just blood thirsty. But I think a lot more are empty and they let themselves be filled with anger which slowly turns to hate. Add a bit of righteous God-given under the banner of heaven stuff in there and it’s a powder keg, educated or not.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Diversity has been with us since the year dot. When the white man arrived in America he found lots of warring Indian Tribes being stronger than all of them he took over with the white tribe. Education is a golden calf we worship as we carve up the world for our own benefit. Civilisation is a thin veneer we are still largely apes in suits and ties. What has advanced is technology which means we are more dangerous than ever before. Religion our only hope of progress has been subverted by ambition and greed to serve our tribalism.


    1. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to reason this out (for my own purposes of understanding) and it’s almost impossible to untangle all the threads that have led us here–from a heightened sense of fear to media saturation to racism and sexism to legitimizing use of force as a trade of for feeling safe (or in some instance, better than). Someday maybe I’ll get to the center of the knot. But I doubt it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Be comforted,at least that the issue you tried to address is a social phenomena that is not peculiar to America. It is here in my country, entrenched and manifest in the dispensing of justice and the allocation and distribution of the common wealth to the people.
        In my country, a petty hungry thief gets say five years jail term for stealing a homeless goat, while a high profile politician who gets his hands busy on the common wealth ,and by ill-luck or providence get caught, is encouraged to enter into plea bargain to return just a fraction of the stollen money to the national treasury so that he can enjoy the loot, dominate the political space and history of the country.


    1. Thanks. It’s a tough one. Can we have we have more punitive punishments? Absolutely, though I’m not sure I’d go as far as and eye for an eye. Are harsher punishments a deterrent or merely a way of making us feel better about the black, rotten bits most of us carry around with us (but are able to keep at bay)? It’s an interesting question, I think.


  8. I have never seen the situation expressed so clearly before. Kudos to you for doing that. Humans these days have such delicate sensibilities when it comes to using offensive language and images but for some reason, those sensibilities are lost in the instances that you outlined and more. It’s really something to shake your head at.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Trust me, I shake my head daily. If not hourly. Thanks, I think we’ve lost a little bit of something along the way. I don’t think it’s gone for good, I just think we need to reset things a little bit.


    1. Unfortunately I don’t think it is an issue which is isolated to the United States, as you can attest to. It makes you wonder what it is within us that drives us to treat each other so horribly at times.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I loved this! A brilliant, perfectly put-together, mind-triggering and self-reflecting (‘self’ because we are all part of this society) writing. Thank you so much for sharing your opinion with us!


  10. Thank you for giving me exactly the words I was looking for. Every time I try to take a stand on any issue, I am always met by the “But why did..”. And I end up sounding rather feeble when I start with my “But just because…” or my “two wrongs don’t make a right” response. This-what you’ve said here- is exactly what I think, but didn’t know how to say. A proportional response. That is what we are looking for.


    1. I think it’s a good policy for many things in life. We use it when we parent. (Is it a proportional response to take my son’s iPad away for a week or threaten to cancel Christmas just because he’s being a bit fresh? usually not.). I hope it helps you when you’re trying to explain how you feel.


    1. The biggest difference in our views, and the reason for which I offer the question does not need ‘justification’ is that I do not view the potential for life as life. I am not religious. I have no religious views which dictate my feelings as to when life begins. I base my own personal views and beliefs on science and medicine. Now that said, I do not think my views hold any more importance than yours do when it comes to personal choice. I would never suggest to someone that they terminate a pregnancy they wished to carry to term. I would never suggest that someone MUST terminate a pregnancy which has proven to be unviable or which would result in immeasurable suffering for both child and mother. That is their choice, and their choice alone. It is between woman, doctor, and IF they believe in God, then in God. So to answer your question, it is not an innocent baby to me. It has the potential to be, yes. But as a cluster of embryonic cells, it is just that, potential. You may not agree with that, as I do not agree with you, and that is absolutely fine. As long as we both recognize that neither of us have the right to tell someone else to do with their body or which belief or view they must subscribe to. To do so is to take away ALL choice.


      1. You follow medicine and science? GOOGLE fetal development. GOOGLE what science says. At 12 weeks gestation, when many abortions are performed, the human fetus has a head, with a brain, arms, legs, functioning internal organs. The human offspring, when it is aborted at this stage, feels excruciating pain. This is NOT a choice, this is a child. I really don’t care if you believe in God or not. You say you believe medicine and science; inform yourself because you and millions of mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers have been duped. You CANNOT believe everything you hear, most people do, and have. Abortion has ended billions of lives and ruined just as many in the people who have to live with having been part of it. Abortion cripples women emotionally: Google it. It harms everyone it touches. This is a fact. There IS hope, always. People who have had abortions can somewhat heal emotionally, with help. Such help is available. People don’t have to live with bottled up fury or anything of the sort. Instead, it is highly important to deal with these things that literally tear you apart. I don’t know if you’ve had an abortion. That is your business. I don’t judge. I could have too. For heavens sake though, why should a horrible thing like that ruin someone’s entire life? I believe in mercy and forgiveness and that there is ALWAYS hope. And please forgive me, Happy Thanksgiving. I don’t live in the States.


      2. You are obviously very passionate about this subject, something I understand, even though our beliefs differ. We can trade articles and statistics all day long. You can find ‘evidence’ to back you up that I won’t believe and I can find ‘evidence’ to back me up that you won’t believe. You are asking me to believe something that I disagree with and vice-versa.

        The one aspect of your comment I can speak with authority about is this: aabortion does not cripple women emotionally. You may believe it to be so, but that does not make it a fact. Four out of every ten pregnancies in the United States end in termination, many of those women are mothers already. They are not emotionally crippled. In fact, studies have shown that once a woman has made up her mind to terminate a pregnancy, the vast majority do not change their mind regardless of efforts to stop her. And while I am sure that many, many women regret having to make such a decision, I am sure that all of them are also grateful they are able to do so safely and legally in the United States. Every woman I know who has terminated a pregnancy (for a variety of reasons) is sad she had to face the choice, but not a single one of them regret the choice. None of them are crippled by it. All of them live full lives absent of fury. Nothing is tearing them apart. If indeed this were true, there would be close to a million women a year in the United States exhibiting the symptoms you describe.

        Where we absolutely agree is that there is often hope. My hope that we can, as a society cut down on the need for abortion. That means better birth control, better sex education, paid family leave, health care, screening, subsidized day care, closing the wage gap, stricter domestic violence laws. All of those things make it easier for women and families to carry pregnancies to term. All of those things are proven to cut down on the rate of abortion. But at the end of the day, it is still my body, my choice, as it is your body, your choice.

        And thank you for the Thanksgiving wishes, they are much appreciated.


      3. No one is arguing fetal development, however, you are wrong that most abortions take place at around the 12th week. 2/3 of all abortions take place at or before week 8. In total, 91% take place before week 13

        The biggest reasons for abortions which take place further into the 1st trimester are difficulty in obtaining an abortion or failure to recognize a pregnancy. That is, most women who choose abortion would do so well before the 13th week if they could. 58% of women would have liked to have terminated earlier. 60% said the delay was due to funding, travel or making arrangements. Considering that the vast majority of US counties (89%) don’t have a single abortion provider, this is a very real problem. When women have to travel to obtain an abortion or must come up with the funds to do so, it doesn’t change their minds. It merely delays the termination.

        Women are rational, complex beings. They are eminently capable of making decisions regarding their own bodies. I do not deign to make those decisions for them, nor would I want anyone making those decisions about my body on my behalf.

        I am fully aware that for those who believe that life begins at conception the idea of abortion is difficult. I understand that it is difficult to swallow the idea that for many, the idea of safe, affordable options to terminate a pregnancy are not difficult. It is an option that millions of women a year are able to make, for a variety of reasons.

        Perhaps we would all do better to focus on the reasons why women choose abortion and concentrate our energies in that direction. Lifting women out of poverty is a good start. Affordable health care is another. Access to birth control is yet another.

        Regardless of how difficult it may be to understand how or why someone could make the decision to terminate a pregnancy, it is my strident view that women must be granted full control of their bodies. It is the foundation of freedom, it is the foundation of equality.

        I say this with the utmost respect for your opinion, but I will not be answering any more comments. Further back and forth will not change your opinion, nor will it change mine. You are entitled to your personal opinion and belief, and I respect that. Just as I am entitled to mine and would expect the same respect in turn.

        Perhaps both of us could channel our efforts in a way that strives to make life better for the lives of those who are here and present.


      4. Dina – I realize you won’t be answering back, and I am sorry. For myself, I enjoy a good discussion and really value truth-seeking and honesty.

        My response: If you realize that the human fetus is not just a clump of cells – and, in scientific fact, it is not, it makes it very difficult, in my opinion, to accept that a woman is merely exerting control over her own body. The truth is that the baby’s body is not her own. It is dependent on her, yes, that is because she is the child’s MOTHER. Abortion is really the choice of a woman to take her child’s life. This ‘hard choice’ is seen as the ONLY choice, so often. I argue that it is something VERY damaging to both the women and their child, as well as the father, and, further, it effects the whole of society.

        I care deeply about each human person. I sincerely believe that abortion does great harm and is a BAD choice, for someone who thinks they have NO choice. There are beautiful choices still, involving LIFE! In this culture which tries to tell us that, in some way, death is preferable to life, people have lost hope. I maintain there is ALWAYS hope, that LIFE is BEAUTIFUL and VERY much worth living!

        Take care, I hope. Thanks for chatting!


      5. I’m not sure with whom you are heart-to-heart, but you do seem somewhat uninformed. Abortion is an ancient custom, documented in 1760BC, and there is no explicit prohibition against it in the Bible. In Assyrian law, the woman could be executed for aborting only if it was against the husband’s wishes. The first recorded evidence of induced abortion is from the Egyptian Ebers Papyrus in 1550 BC.

        In the US, the first law banning druggists from selling products to induce abortion was passed in Connecticut in 1821. That’s 200 years after the first settlements. Wonder why?

        Jesus did not address abortion, although the practice was known in his time. Don’t you wonder why?

        I have a simple point of view: Government has no right to determine what a woman does with her body. Slavery is illegal. You have even less right. If you want to influence what happens to a fetus, you might offer to adopt it and pay for its college education. Up to you. However, if you don’t want to accept responsibility, then don’t say anything at all. You may not like it, but it’s not your decision.

        Or as the saying goes, if you don’t like abortion, don’t have one.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Vic Crain: The whole point is that it is NOT the woman’s body. It’s someone ELSE’S body which is destroyed in abortion. Simple fact.

    Thou shalt not kill. Very clear. Because murderr exists in history, does that make it acceptable?


    1. OK, are you a Christian Scientist and a vegetarian? Let’s look at this objectively:

      (1) You have a virus and bacteria in you. Do you let them exist or kill them? They are also living organisms created by God.

      (2) Animals have souls. Do you butcher them, or just eat what someone else has?

      (3) Do you condemn soldiers for killing?

      In my view, there is no “person” until birth, so I reject your argument. If this practice were to have been condemned by the ancients, they would have so written, and some did (just not Jesus and his followers).

      Murder is not to be desired, but may be necessary in certain circumstances. I don’t consider abortion murder. I don’t care if you do. You simply have no right to tell someone else what to do.


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