What The Feminist Breeder and the Quiverfull movement have in common


Yesterday I joked about Gina Crosly-Corcoran, The Feminist Breeder, and her sancti-question (The Feminist Breeder is so not judging you for failing to breastfeed).

What’s a sancti-question? It’s sanctimoniousness disguised as puzzlement, e.g. I simply can’t understand why other women can’t be bothered to be as awesome as me.

Gina offered a classic of the genre:

I … don’t really “get” it when a woman chooses, without any medical or social barrier, not to breastfeed. To me it’s sorta like deciding not to take prenatal vitamins because you just don’t wanna, without recognizing that they do help build a healthier baby. I will NOT be all sanctimonious about it, I’m just saying I’m human and that one’s a head scratcher for me. We have lactating boobs for a reason: to feed the babies we make.

(Here’s a pro tip, Gina: Announcing you are not sanctimonious does not inoculate you from accusations of sanctimony.)

Today, though, I’m utterly serious. The Feminist Breeder’s comments are abhorrent, not merely because they are sanctimonious, but because they are deeply and profoundly sexist. Gina’s comment echoes the Quiverfull movement of fundamentalist Christianity that she probably deplores. How? She, like the Quiverfull, invoke biological essentialism, as justification for her beliefs. The idea that women should use their reproductive organs “as Nature intended” is a bedrock principle of sexist fundamentalist movements everywhere.

Here’s how it works:

Quiverfull claim that women should be subservient to their husbands because that’s what Nature intended.

They don’t use artificial birth control because women have monthly ovulation for a reason: to get pregnant as often as possible.

They don’t countenance abortion because women have a uterus for a reason: to reproduce constantly.

Many use lay midwives for childbirth because women have a vagina for a reason: to birth the babies they grow.

Women shouldn’t work outside the home because women have bodies that grow babies and produce milk: so they can stay home and take care of them.

See the problem?

Invoking women’s reproductive organs is a way to justify restricting women’s choices. Instead of giving women the opportunity to control their fertility, end unwanted pregnancies, and raise children in the way that each individual woman thinks is best, invoking women’s reproductive organs is a way to keep them in the kitchen, barefoot, pregnant and subservient. Invoking women’s reproductive organs in a discussion of women’s choices is sexism pure and simple. It’s meant to short-circuit any discussion of women’s rights, intellectual achievements, and character by implying that those things ought to be subservient to women’s biology.

No doubt it’s a head scratcher for fundamentalists that Gina’s husband had a vasectomy to make sure that she couldn’t get pregnant after only 3 children and even though she still has ovaries and a uterus for a reason.

It is deeply misogynist for Gina to justify her sanctimoniousness with appeals to women’s reproductive organs. This is not a public health issue, it’s a reproductive rights issue.

Let’s be very clear:

A women’s decision on whether or not to breastfeed is a reproductive rights issue, no different than the right to control fertility or to terminate a pregnancy.

It is profoundly anti-feminist to tell a woman how she should use her ovaries and how she should use her uterus. It is equally sexist and retrograde to tell a woman how she should use her breasts, or criticize women, implicitly or explicitly, for not using their breasts “as nature intended.”

217 Responses to “What The Feminist Breeder and the Quiverfull movement have in common”

  1. itry2brational
    January 21, 2015 at 3:10 pm #

    What The Feminist Breeder and Skeptical OB have in common: feminism. It doesn’t matter how many times you make the “no true feminist” fallacy. Saying she/they are not feminists is like saying the Westborough Baptists aren’t true Christians. Its not a valid argument. Going around proclaiming who is and isn’t a feminist merely cements the accusation that feminism operates like a religion. So unless/until you come up with your own Tuteurean denomination of feminism, proclaiming all of your stances and intricacies and/or the accepted/proper pedagogy and dogma, you’re in no place to dictate who and/or what is or is not feminism.

    Is tampon candles lady a feminist? Is the chick knitting out of her vagina a feminist? Are the ladies with huge fake pubes intertwined feminists? Is the lady birthing paint-filled eggs, naked, while in public, on to a canvas a feminist? Are these people in Femen shoving crucifixes up their butts feminist? Is vagina cookies lady a feminist? Are the “all penis in vagina sex is rape” ladies feminists? Yes, they are all feminists and they are all nuts.

    You’re just going to have to accept that your ideology has its own crazies. You’re going to have to accept the things this ideology produces…just like every other religion.

  2. sdsures
    January 19, 2015 at 7:33 am #

    One of Gina’s FB posts from today. She doesn’t know how right she is.

  3. LJ
    January 15, 2015 at 11:43 pm #

    So you’re all about “bodily autonomy” – yet you advocate removing part of the penis from helpless newborn baby boys? And aggressively call people who disagree with you “foreskin fetishists”? (Which you quickly stopped when you realized your rabid name-calling and bizarre health claims about circumcision were destroying your credibility to everyone outside America).

    His body, his choice. He can weigh up the risks, drawbacks, and alleged health benefits when he’s 18 and decide for himself how much of his own penis he wants to keep.

    • sdsures
      January 18, 2015 at 4:10 pm #

      Is it merely a medical philosophy difference? (i.e. in the UK, RIC is almost unheard of.)

  4. Francesca Violi
    January 14, 2015 at 7:15 am #

    Morevoer, humans also have that big brain for a reason, that is to devise solutions to meet the needs of our species: we invented the wheel and, even though we have feet, many of us can choose to drive a car, ride a bycicle or a train if it suits our needs, convenience or pleasure. But for VaGina and her like probably breasts and gonads totally beat brains, when it comes to defining our humanity and the meaning of our lives in this world.

    • Roadstergal
      January 14, 2015 at 11:32 am #

      And it’s that big brain of ours that makes birth so much messier and more dangerous.

      (“Check out the big brain on Brett!”)

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        January 14, 2015 at 11:38 am #

        Hi, Egon. How’s school? I bet those science chicks really dig that large cranium of yours, huh?

        • January 14, 2015 at 2:55 pm #

          “I think they’re more interested in my epididymus”

          • sdsures
            January 18, 2015 at 4:12 pm #

            Classic quote from a classic movie. RIP Harold Ramis.

            “My parents didn’t believe in toys. We had a Slinky, but I straightened it.”

            “Let’s see what happens when we take away the puppy.”

  5. yugaya
    January 13, 2015 at 7:19 pm #

    “It is deeply misogynist.”

    Yes. The whole power of female body/intuition/other ways of knowing natural childbirth narrative is profoundly sexist.

  6. Cobalt
    January 13, 2015 at 6:41 pm #

    Big corporation wants to pay Black moms in Detroit to be milk donors.$800 per month.


    • Staceyjw
      January 14, 2015 at 12:27 pm #

      I’m sure this will give way to paying women in India $50, then finally, keeping slaves to do it for nothing. Like the baby mills, that keep women imprisoned and sell their babies in the “adoption” market or black market. Like the rented wombs (aka surrogates) of poor third world women.
      It’s always those on the bottom getting stomped on, so those on top can have what they want.

      • Cobalt
        January 14, 2015 at 4:38 pm #

        I’m torn on it. There’s a lot of outrage over it, with the outrage stance being that breastmilk will be diverted from the mother’s own babies, constituting exploitation of Black mothers and babies (because breastmilk is magic and superior to formula). The company responds that buying the mother’s extra milk will encourage more women to breastfeed and for longer (I think it will encourage lactation certainly, I don’t know about breastfeeding).

        I know I’ve said many times I would go into the personal dairy business if I had an ethical way to sell the milk (not Craigslist; this company screens, tests, and processes the milk for sale to hospitals for preemies), but I cannot experience this offer the way a Black woman would and am unqualified to judge if it’s inherently exploitative for them. I know $800 a month buys a lot of formula (assuming a complete diversion of supply, which may or may not happen) and diapers, with money left over for whatever else.

        • Jennifer2
          January 16, 2015 at 8:36 pm #

          I’m guessing this is not targeted toward wealthy Black women in Detroit who really don’t have to worry about the money. If the women are working, a pumping schedule to accommodate both baby and donation may interfere with their ability to hold down a job. If they are eligible for any public benefits, the $800 a month likely cuts into whatever TANF, food stamps, Section 8, etc. the mothers receive.

          To make the $600 to $800 a month the company says is average, a woman would need to pump 600 to 800 extra ounces a month, or 20-25 extra ounces a day. That might mean she needs to double what she’s producing for her baby. For some women, this is not hard. For others, part of that $800 will buy formula. And for some women, it will be impossible and they will not make nearly $600 to $800 a month and will forego other opportunities for potentially more income.

          I’m not saying it’s the worst ever and it may be beneficial for some women. But it does seem exploitative in the same vein as payday lending, car title loans, and many other things that are marketed as beneficial to low-income people but really offer far more benefit to large banks or for-profit companies.

  7. Alenushka
    January 13, 2015 at 5:40 pm #

    I have hands .My hand were created for hand-washing all the laundry in the house. I do not understand why women who have hands sell their souls to the big impersonal Big Washing Machine.

    • Young CC Prof
      January 13, 2015 at 7:34 pm #

      The real question is why they buy their clothes in the first place. Hands were made for spinning fiber!

      • Samantha06
        January 14, 2015 at 12:43 am #

        And for weaving that fiber and making clothes.. by hand.. I don’t understand why women would sell their souls to Big Sewing Machine either.. or Big Vacuum Cleaner.. that’s what hand-made brooms are for!

        • Mishimoo
          January 14, 2015 at 2:01 am #

          Speaking of Big Sewing Machine, I was rather miffed that the lightbulb in my overlocker (which exploded rather spectacularly) was not covered under warranty. Luckily, Big Chem had a product I could use to fix it. My soul is clearly a lost cause.

          • Samantha06
            January 14, 2015 at 12:06 pm #

            So lost… I hope you weren’t injured when the light bulb exploded! I’ve never heard of that happening. I wonder what caused it?

          • Mishimoo
            January 14, 2015 at 10:39 pm #

            I’m fine, just frustrated because I was doing something that stays done (as opposed to the housework, which is always undone in moments).

            I was worried that it was an electrical fault, but it’s working fine now that I’ve wrangled the base of the bulb out of the socket and replaced it with a different brand. It was much easier than I expected!

          • Samantha06
            January 14, 2015 at 11:30 pm #

            Must have been a defective bulb.. glad you didn’t get hurt by the glass though! I always enjoyed sewing, it’s a feeling of accomplishment.. and you are so right, it stays done, whereas housework is just keeps going, and going, and going…. sigh..

          • sdsures
            January 18, 2015 at 4:23 pm #

            Same reasons I enjoy hand-knitting and spinning – for pleasure. I sure wouldn’t want nor be able to do it as an everyday chore like women in the 1800s and beyond.

          • sdsures
            January 18, 2015 at 4:21 pm #


      • RKD314
        January 14, 2015 at 9:36 am #

        Hey, what are these “clothes” you speak of? I have skin for a reason, buddy!

      • sdsures
        January 18, 2015 at 4:20 pm #

        Damn, reminds me I haven’t used my drop spindle in a while. (I’m serious, I spin fibre and knit for a hobby.)

        • Young CC Prof
          January 18, 2015 at 5:48 pm #

          I’ve done just enough carding and spinning to appreciate how much work it is.

          • sdsures
            January 18, 2015 at 7:43 pm #

            Very much so, but it yields nice things.

    • Lily
      January 14, 2015 at 7:20 pm #

      There’s nothing sweeter than sewing and washing every piece of your children clothes by your own hands. I am NOT sanctimonious.

  8. NoLongerCrunching
    January 13, 2015 at 4:05 pm #

    I am sure her thought process is that women should have the legal right not to breastfeed… But it’s just so *sad*.

    • Lauren
      January 13, 2015 at 4:20 pm #

      That’s akin to ‘gay men and women should have the right to get married, but it’s just such a waste’.
      She’s deeply, deeply sexist and insincere. It is sad that she cannot see herself for who she is, but just stands around ‘being supportive’ and ‘shaking her head in confusion’.

      • Liz Leyden
        January 14, 2015 at 2:39 pm #

        “Such a waste” for whom?

        • Lauren
          January 14, 2015 at 4:50 pm #

          Ahh, sorry.
          My brother is gay, and while our family made zero crap about it when he came out, there was at the time – and still persists – this idea that gay people are a ‘waste’ because they would prefer a mate the opposite gender that you are. Ex. oooh did you hear Really Sexy Male Actor is gay??!? Oh no! What a waste!
          Or, and this is much more pertinent to The Feminist Breeder and her ilk, the ‘point’ of men marrying women is to create children. So sure, in theory these people support the IDEA of gay people having the right to marry, but it’s a ‘waste’ because they won’t have kids.
          Or more accurately, they won’t have ‘natural’ kids.

          It’s a horrible, sanctimonious thing to say, and only serves to show how the speaker believes that the inherent ‘use’ of a person is to have sex with and procreate with the opposite sex, as opposed to having a fulfilling life as an autonomous person.

          Very like saying “oh I support a woman’s choice to not breastfeed, but what a waste (or it’s so sad)”.

          • sdsures
            January 18, 2015 at 4:27 pm #

            I’m glad your brother didn’t have to deal with family rejection when he came out. I was gobsmacked when I finally came out as bi to my mom, and all she said with a smile was, “I know.”

            Do you remember the TV series “ER”? Season 7 – When one of the doctors, Kerry Weaver, starts seeing a female psychiatrist (who is later outed and fired for an unsubstantiated charge of coming on to a patient), the other doctors all gossip about her. One of the doctors actually says, “If she’s not gonna use it, she should just get a hysterectomy. It avoids uterine cancer!”


  9. Kate
    January 13, 2015 at 2:15 pm #

    It’s your blog and totally your right to post whatever you want here, Dr. Amy. My only concern is that abortion is extremely divisive as you know and it makes this blog unappealing to many religious women out there who really need to hear the great information you have on the dangers of home birth. And they really need to hear it, because the crunchy/homebirth/alternative medicine trend is biggest among the very conservative as well as the the pagan/hippie type. Unfortunately posts like this mean I have to be careful who I share this blog with, because your views on abortion will turn people off before they read further. I’m not trying to start a debate here, just being pragmatic.

    • Stacy48918
      January 13, 2015 at 2:23 pm #

      It’s a shame when people allow a single political opinion to close their mind to all other related information. THAT is not Dr. Amy’s fault. Have you spoken to these people in your life about having open minds? Rather than advocating censorship to accommodate dogma?

      • Mom2Many
        January 13, 2015 at 3:43 pm #

        I really struggle with this issue too, and am sorry that you see it as not having an open mind. I really don’t want to detract from the good this blog does, because I love how Dr. Amy is a voice of reason when it comes to vaccines and the risky nature of homebirths. I have been reading here for years, and have learned so very much.
        Still, in Canada, it is legal to abort right up until the end of the 9th month…and I fail to see how Dr. Amy’s fight on behalf of those many tiny bodies is okay, but my stance is a political opinion.
        I’m willing to be educated, but to date, (40’ish years old) I do not understand how a tiny baby becomes an abortable fetus simply because the mom makes that decision. I have tried to understand, but so far, can only see an unborn child as a baby without a voice. Working as I do in child protection, this is a very big deal for me.
        No disrespect intended, I’m not looking to hurt or even judge, but I am simply trying to understand. I will also try not to respond, since I do not want to hijack this thread, nor am I looking to debate.

        • Guest
          January 13, 2015 at 4:26 pm #

          The vast majority of third trimester terminations are due to severe fetal abnormality. These are almost always wanted children who, were they to survive to term, often live short and painful lives. The diagnosis often arent made until the anatomy ultrasound at 18-21 weeks and by the time the family has gotten confirmation, met with a geneticist or MFM or other specialist, it is 23-24 weeks. I’ve known several families who chose to terminate due to these issues. It’s a horrid choice to have to make and one I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

          • Mariana Baca
            January 13, 2015 at 4:43 pm #

            Do we want to compare choosing not to breastfeed with ” It’s a horrid choice to have to make and one I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.”? Does the choice to breastfeed need to be anguished to be valid? (the same question is posed about abortion, of course — there are prochoice advocates that want to normalize the choice of an abortion, and some who want it to be a difficult choice but available, some who are personally opposed but not legally opposed, some who are not opposed to abortions of choice but are opposed to aborting kids who are disabled, and vice versa, and everything in between).

            I think this is the point being made: abortion is a difficult moral subject, even if you think it should be 100% legal. Breastfeeding should *not* be a difficult moral subject: do it if you like, don’t if there is no medical reason to do so.

          • Stacy48918
            January 13, 2015 at 5:22 pm #

            “Breastfeeding should *not* be a difficult moral subject”
            According to The Feminist Breeder it is.

          • Guest
            January 13, 2015 at 7:38 pm #

            I completely agree. How one chooses to feed their baby (breast, formula, both) is not a giant moral issue anymore than type of diapers as you indicated above. My response above was specifically in response to why someone would choose to terminate in the third trimester.

          • Ellen Mary
            January 14, 2015 at 9:58 am #


          • Amy
            January 14, 2015 at 11:59 am #

            Says the poster who redefines late-term to mean “after 8 weeks” and then uses that stat to back up her arguments.

          • Guestll
            January 14, 2015 at 12:14 pm #

            Figured out basic math yet?

          • Staceyjw
            January 14, 2015 at 1:53 pm #

            Would you even read it? You have ignored everything everyone has already posted. You have your mind made up, why you even pretend to want proof beyond me.

            I understand feeling the way you do about abortion. I am sure many regret abortions, and many regret having the baby, and even more regret adoption. But you can’t use your emotions to push for/justify laws that everyone else has to follow.

            I wish you would listen to moms that have gone thorough late term abortions.

          • moto_librarian
            January 14, 2015 at 2:01 pm #

            No, she would not.

        • Who?
          January 13, 2015 at 5:04 pm #

          Struggling with an issue is exactly the opposite of being close minded about it. Being close minded would mean ignoring everything Dr T has to say because you disagree with her position on abortion.

          Not sure it is really possible or even necessary to understand the perspectives of others you relate in your second last para. Ultimately it is about according other women the same rights you accord to yourself-to make decisions about her body and reproductive system based on her values, experience and circumstances.

        • Stacy48918
          January 13, 2015 at 5:27 pm #

          Women do not just up and choose to abort at the end of 9 months of pregnancy and implying that they do is dishonest. You should watch “After Tiller”.

          “I fail to see how Dr. Amy’s fight on behalf of those many tiny bodies is okay, but my stance is a political opinion.”
          Because Dr. Amy’s fight seeks to protect women and babies through education, better care providers, etc. but would NEVER seek to outright ban homebirth. She may be morally opposed to homebirth but she supports a woman’s right to choose it and does not try to ban it.

          The exact opposite of the pro-life crowd.

          For the record, when I was coerced to not use birth control and became pregnant, THAT was not having a voice. At 4mm, it was not a baby and choosing an abortion was finally finding my voice in a years’ long abusive marriage.

          Anyway, if your friends’ moral view OR political view so blinds them that they cannot consider ANYTHING else, yes, that’s being closed-minded.

        • Guestll
          January 13, 2015 at 6:15 pm #

          I’m in Canada as well. Can’t terminate a pregnancy here beyond 24 weeks without indications that a. the mother’s life is in jeopardy or b. the fetus has major malformations. Fewer than 2% of all abortions in Canada are done beyond 21 weeks.

          • Lauren
            January 14, 2015 at 5:02 pm #

            Ahh thank you. Just responded above to that.

            Yes it happens, and no it is not ‘illegal’ and the OBs involved do not face criminal charges.

            BTW – that particular aspect of the Criminal Code was added so that women/families who lose a child in utero past a certain week can sue the responsible party for negligence causing death, as in the case of the poor woman who lost her young daughter and her soon-to-be-born daughter in the “Costco Accident”.

        • Amy
          January 13, 2015 at 8:34 pm #

          Not trying to debate, but you did say you were trying to understand. For me it’s very simple. I became MORE pro-choice upon becoming a mother. I felt, and continue to feel, an enormous responsibility to the lives I’ve created and undertaken to care for.

          When that tiny body is inside its mother, legally, there is NO way to guarantee the rights of one without restricting the rights of the other. It’s impossible. I believe that the rights of the mother come first. I understand that others disagree with me, but I think they need to be honest that any restriction on reproductive choice DOES elevate the rights of a fetus over a grown woman. THAT is why the anti-choice position is a political position. (Also, the only positions on policy Dr. Amy has taken in this area are regarding licensing and regulation of PROVIDERS. She calls out women for making irresponsible choices, but in the eight years I’ve been reading her blog posts I’ve never, EVER seen her call for making those choices illegal.)

          To say that a pregnancy is a mere “inconvenience” that doesn’t stack up to the fetus’s right to life does a huge disservice to all pregnant women. Pregnancy can be a life-threanening condition. Birth is a life-altering experience. Forcing a woman to continue an unwanted pregnancy and give birth against her will is inhumane.

          And focusing the conversation on late-term abortions is a bit of a straw man. Women don’t abort at nine months’ gestation unless something has gone terribly, terribly wrong.

          • yugaya
            January 14, 2015 at 6:51 am #

            I was pro choice before I had children but given how immature most young adults are it was more of a yes it is something that needs to be around as a option, no I would never do it personally, and there ought to be limits in the sense that there was probably a list of reasons I considered moral or ethical enough to warrant one, and likewise a list of reasons that were unacceptable to me personally ( to quote TFB “I didn’t get it.”) Yes, I was really that stupid and sanctimonious but not mature enough to even see it when I was in my early twenties. :))) Then I had three daughters, and on top of global network of pro life harassment that women who want to have an abortion are subjected to, I realised I have brought them into the world where feminism is all about telling women what their bodies are made for.

            So naturally my attitude and my stand on abortion changed through motherhood and making the choice in life to have children. Nowadays it is best described as your body woman, your choice, and fuck off anyone who attempts to impose any moral superiority by limiting your reproductive options to what they themselves or their religion or their lifestyle are finding acceptable.

        • Allie
          January 13, 2015 at 10:46 pm #

          Um, I don’t know where you are getting your information, but it not legal in “Canada” to abort until the end of the 9th month. Abortion services, like other medical matters, fall under provincial jurisdiction, and therefore vary by province. The gestational limit, the latest point in pregnancy at which a woman can obtain an abortion, varies from 12-24 weeks, depending on the province. A woman could certainly travel from one province to another to obtain an abortion at a later point, although the cost would not be covered by the provincial medical plan if she did not meet the residency requirement (which I believe is typically 3 months). A medical practitioner who attempted to abort a fetus beyond 24 weeks, or any individual, including the mother, who failed to procure assistance in childbirth beyond the 24th week would potentially face charges under the federal Criminal Code.

          • Lauren
            January 14, 2015 at 4:59 pm #

            You’re getting this information from …where?
            I live in Canada, Ontario to be exact. And I KNOW at least two women who have had therapeutic terminations — ‘abortion’ in the lay terms – past 24 weeks, and their OBs did not face charges under the Criminal Code.
            I think you are confusing some actual information with rumour. Medical reasons do exist for late termination, and it does happen. Just very, very rarely.

          • Guestll
            January 14, 2015 at 5:19 pm #

            I also know a woman who had a termination (anencephaly) at around 25 weeks in Ontario.

            Dr. Carolyn Bennett (in the comments): http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/02/05/todays-letters-late-trimester-abortions-are-not-happening-in-canada-without-a-reason/

        • January 13, 2015 at 11:57 pm #

          Yeah, you’re not trying to judge but you say “I do not understand how a tiny baby becomes an abortable fetus simply because the mom makes that decision.”

          Like those of us who had late term abortions just changed our minds at the very last minute.

          YOU DO NOT KNOW what is like to choose death for your beloved, wanted child after more than six months of carrying it. YOU DO NOT KNOW the anguish of parents who find that said beloved, wanted child has catastrophic, even deadly birth defects. YOU DO NOT KNOW because if you did you’d never make such a statement.

          My son wasn’t “an abortable fetus.” He was and is LOVED, and we as his family made the agonizing CHOICE to spare him a life of pain and suffering, and a family that would have broken apart and lived in poverty trying desperately to offset his birth defects.

          He WAS a tiny baby. He died peacefully, was held and loved and sang to. We had his funeral as a part of our wedding, two weeks after we set him free.

          I don’t care if you “don’t understand.” Lucky. You. YOU haven’t walked a mile in our shoes!

          • Mishimoo
            January 14, 2015 at 12:09 am #

            As always, I admire your bravery and your love, and that you have the courage to stand up every time someone says something like this. You’re amazing.

          • January 14, 2015 at 12:32 am #

            It’s not bravery, it’s motherhood. This is how I show my love for my lost Isaac. But thank you nonetheless <3

          • Young CC Prof
            January 14, 2015 at 12:41 am #

            I personally can’t stand that particular straw man. Women do not carry a pregnancy for several months and then just decide to abort! Almost all late abortions are medical, due to either dangerous pregnancy complications or major fetal anomalies, and almost all “choice” abortions happen before 13 weeks, mostly by week 8.

            The remaining few late abortions, a very small number, tend to be late-diagnosed pregnancies, often in very young girls, sometimes combined with lack of access to care that delays things further.

          • Ellen Mary
            January 14, 2015 at 8:58 am #

            That is totally false. NOT all or most late term abortions are medical. It is a small fraction. Ask Guttmacher, you won’t find a more ProChoice source than that.

          • fiftyfifty1
            January 14, 2015 at 9:13 am #

            Hi Ellen Mary, are you “too busy” again to find a link?

          • Ellen Mary
            January 14, 2015 at 9:49 am #

            Perhaps the person posting an incorrect Stat could find one, but sure, it isn’t like 2 days before Christmas, so I have a little more time. 🙂
            This appears to be hosted by a partisan site but is from a 1987 Guttmacher study.

            1987 isn’t great, I’ll readily concede, but really what needs to be cited here is the idea that *most* late abortions occur because of fetal indication or that almost all abortions for choice occur before 8 weeks.

          • Young CC Prof
            January 14, 2015 at 10:06 am #

            This took me far less than a minute to locate:

            As of 2011, 65.9% took place by week 8, and 91.6% by week 13.

          • Ellen Mary
            January 14, 2015 at 10:11 am #

            I don’t consider 65% to be mostly. And your stat doesn’t address choice at all. We don’t actually know how many of those that took place before week 8 (LMP or by Ovulation?) were purely elective.

          • Ellen Mary
            January 14, 2015 at 10:13 am #

            ‘Almost all late abortions are medical, due to either dangerous pregnancy complications or major fetal anomalies,’
            This is what needed a citation.

          • Dr Kitty
            January 14, 2015 at 10:39 am #

            Ellen Mary- do you consider maternal psychiatric distress, despair and suicidal thoughts caused by being pregnant against her wishes to be a dangerous medical complication?

          • Dr Kitty
            January 14, 2015 at 11:42 am #

            Do you accept my citation that 100% of abortions after 24 weeks in the UK were performed on the grounds of foetal abnormality?

            Or is it OK for you to talk about China, but not OK for me to cite the UK?

          • Amy
            January 14, 2015 at 11:57 am #

            Are you saying that after 8 weeks is “late”? Because it’s not. At 8 weeks gestation, we don’t even call it a fetus– it’s an embryo. At 8 weeks gestation, it’s only 6 weeks after conception. At 8 weeks gestation, there’s another MONTH to go in the first trimester.

          • moto_librarian
            January 14, 2015 at 2:00 pm #

            Again, your argument is that anything past 8 weeks is “late?” Christ, most of us don’t even have our first prenatal appointment until 8-10 weeks in.

          • Dr Kitty
            January 14, 2015 at 10:28 am #


            “1/3 of abortions occur at six weeks or earlier, 89% occur in the first twelve weeks, 2010”

            “Forty-two percent of women obtaining abortions have incomes below 100% of the federal poverty level ($10,830 for a single woman with no children”

            ” The reasons women give for having an abortion underscore their understanding of the responsibilities of parenthood and family life. Three-fourths of women cite concern for or responsibility to other individuals; three-fourths say they cannot afford a child; three-fourths say that having a baby would interfere with work, school or the ability to care for dependents; and half say they do not want to be a single parent or are having problems with their husband or partner.”

            You could read this interview with one of the only 4 physicians offering 3rd trimester abortions and see what she has to say.


          • fiftyfifty1
            January 14, 2015 at 10:37 am #

            You don’t consider 65% to be mostly? Do you have your own math system that runs off entirely different definitions? So when a pie is divided 65/35, the person who gets 35% is getting “most” of the pie? Interesting. Tell us more about Planet Ellen Mary.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            January 14, 2015 at 10:44 am #

            But do you consider 91.6% to be “mostly”? Because that’s how many occurred by week 13! So almost all abortions occur in the first trimester, and most of them (70%) occur within 8 weeks.

            Exactly what YCCP said above.

          • fiftyfifty1
            January 14, 2015 at 10:46 am #

            “We don’t actually know how many of those that took place before week 8 were purely elective.”
            So what is your point exactly? Are you saying you believe that a substantial percentage of pre-8-week terminations are planned pregnancies that are terminated due to medical problems (ectopic pregnancies, sudden onset extreme illness in mother e.g. cancer etc)?

          • Cobalt
            January 14, 2015 at 1:53 pm #

            Maybe she’s thinking of spontaneous abortions. The embryos her God kills just because He can.

          • Dr Kitty
            January 14, 2015 at 11:17 am #

            2013 UK statistics (where the NHS funds 98% of abortions and there are guidelines that women should be seen for their initial consultation AT MOST 2 weeks after referral by their GP) for comparison.

            “91% of abortions were carried out at under 13 weeks gestation, 79% were at under 10
            weeks compared to 77% in 2012 and 58% in 2003.”

            “2,732 abortions (1%) were carried out under ground E (risk that the child would be born handicapped).”

            “Main medical diagnoses for abortions performed under ground C alone which were not
            due to mental health (73 cases) were those performed because of; complications of
            pregnancy (40 cases) including hypertension, excessive vomiting, diabetes, amniotic fluid
            disorders and premature rupture of membranes; diseases of the circulatory system (8 cases); diseases of the nervous system (4 cases); diseases of the genitourinary or musculoskeletal system (3 cases), and other maternal conditions unrelated to pregnancy such as cancer and epilepsy (18 cases).”

            “Abortions where gestation has exceeded its twenty-fourth week account for less than 0.1% of the total. There were 190 such abortions in 2013 (See Table 5 and Table 9a).” All were done on the grounds of foetal abnormality.


          • FormerPhysicist
            January 14, 2015 at 11:52 am #

            65% *is* most. Most means the greatest in quantity. More than half is the greatest in quantity. You are trying to be Humpty Dumpty: “‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'”

          • DiomedesV
            January 14, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

            I make up my own maths!

          • Dr Kitty
            January 14, 2015 at 12:33 pm #

            Ellen Mary, you know perfectly well that all the statistics use LMP, because that is how the medical profession calculates gestation.

            Unlike Pro-life campaigners, who are not above using weeks from Ovulation and showing pictures of “a 10week old baby” that is actually a 12 week (from LMP) foetus. Seen it with my own eyes.

            An eight week foetus is the size of a grape and looks like a cross between an earthworm and a pink tadpole. Not recognisably human, and definitely not cute.

          • moto_librarian
            January 14, 2015 at 1:59 pm #

            So 91.6% are completed by the end of the first trimester, but that’s not good enough for you?

          • January 14, 2015 at 9:07 pm #

            So convenient, you dismiss more than half because YOU (cause y’all know it’s all about YOU) don’t “consider” it to be most -and totally ignore 91.65% (do YOU consider over 90% to count as “most?”)

          • fiftyfifty1
            January 14, 2015 at 10:34 am #

            1987! my goodness!

          • Young CC Prof
            January 14, 2015 at 10:41 am #

            It cracks me up when people try to advance an argument here with health statistics that are 30 years out of date. Kind of like the homebirth advocates who claim that in the hospital, you will be forced to lie in lithotomy position, shaved, given routine episiotomy, given Twilight anesthesia, and possibly infected with childbed fever by a doctor unaware of the principles of sanitation.

          • DiomedesV
            January 14, 2015 at 12:18 pm #

            Just remember, Ellen Mary gave up a stellar career in research academia because being at home and BF is so important to her. None of us have any idea what she’s capable of… eyeroll.

          • Guestll
            January 14, 2015 at 10:53 am #

            1987. You cannot be serious.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            January 14, 2015 at 2:50 pm #

            Back in the good old days, when Reagan was president.

          • Dr Kitty
            January 14, 2015 at 10:59 am #

            Ellen Mary, how do you feel about the women who want to have abortions before 8 weeks, but who struggle to raise the money in time, or who can’t arrange transport or childcare for multiple clinic visits at short notice?

            Many of the women who have abortions after 8 weeks do so, not because they decided on abortion later, but because restrictive abortion laws (e.g. waiting periods, multiple clinic visits, scarcity of clinics in their area resulting in long waiting lists) make accessing an earlier abortion impossible.

          • LibrarianSarah
            January 14, 2015 at 1:32 pm #

            So you got a partisan link to a partisan site by a study that is almost as old as I am. I am sure both laws and medicine didn’t change much in the past 27 years.

          • January 14, 2015 at 9:52 am #

            BULLSHIT you sanctimonious liar. Where do you get your information other than your ass??!

          • Ellen Mary
            January 14, 2015 at 9:55 am #

            How about you find a study to prove me wrong (or rather to prove YoungCC right), or is name calling your only debate skill?

          • Cobalt
            January 14, 2015 at 4:53 pm #

            Late abortions share a lot of procedural terminology with early abortions, but the reasons for them and the experience has much more in common with the decision to take a terminal child off life support.

          • January 14, 2015 at 4:55 pm #


          • Who?
            January 14, 2015 at 1:18 am #

            I am so sorry you went through that, it must have been a terribly difficult and sad time.

            Late term abortion is a difficult area, no question-that is no reason to ban or proscribe it so as to make things even more difficult for people who decide it is the least worst available path, or just what seems right to them in their circumstances.

            The right to choose is just that: it is not the right to choose and then have your choices picked over in the light of a sun other than the one that illuminates your world. The corollary of choice should surely be respect, and the acknowledgement of each others’ choices without feeling the need to attack, defend or declare ourselves at a loss because of them.

          • January 14, 2015 at 4:54 pm #

            It’s easy for anti choice propaganda to harp on late term abortions precisely because at that point it is so close to a BABY, with all its tiny parts (except not, which is often part of the diagnoses that lead to late term abortions). Protesters love to show horrible gory pictures of dead babies – yet the vast majority of women I know who have actually had one have pictures of beloved, cherished babies held by their anguished families – we keep those pictures sacred because often that’s all we have – maybe hand or footprints, or threads of hair if the baby had a bit.

          • Medwife
            January 14, 2015 at 10:23 am #

            I’m very sorry. I hope you had the compassionate care you and your family deserved.

          • January 14, 2015 at 4:49 pm #

            We did. We were treated with dignity, respect and compassion by every health care provider we encountered during the horrific two week period from diagnosis to termination and birth. It was within a few weeks of Dr. Tiller’s murder; there were a few days of worry because he was one of the doctors I could have been sent too if we couldn’t squeeze the termination in the limited window remaining before it was too late in Oregon.

            That’s a fun experience -you’re already in blinding anguish over your child’s condition and the choice to end his suffering before it truly begins, and you have to face the roadblock that one of the doctors who could have helped you was murdered.

          • Guestll
            January 14, 2015 at 10:52 am #

            I’m so sorry. Thank you for your courage in speaking up.

        • Sarah
          January 14, 2015 at 3:19 am #

          The difference is that during pregnancy, the foetus is inside someone else and after that, it isn’t. Decisions made during the former period inevitably impact on the rights and bodily integrity of the mother, decisions made after that don’t necessarily. There’s really no more to it than that. You either get why that matters or you don’t, I suppose.

        • Staceyjw
          January 14, 2015 at 1:23 pm #

          Here’s why- because as long as its in the woman’s body, it’s her choice. period. It doesn’t mean its not a baby, it just means thats mom has bodily autonomy, and trumps everything.
          If you don’t think you, as a woman, ought to have the ultimate right over what happens with your body, then I really don’t know what to say to that.
          (Besides, I don’t see many-if any- 9 month abortions.)

      • Mariana Baca
        January 13, 2015 at 4:30 pm #

        Well, it is more that if you are making the equivalence between choosing to breastfeed (or choosing not to breastfeed) and choosing to abort, in most people’s minds (pro-choice or pro-life) it makes breastfeeding way *more* charged and contentious instead of what it should be, much, much *less* charged and contentious.

        In a first world country with good water, it should be no different than choosing pampers vs. cloth diapers, or home made food vs. gerber. Minor reasons of convenience or expense or ecology to use one or the other, maybe a rash or upset stomach occasionally, but nothing to stress about morally or legally.

    • Trixie
      January 13, 2015 at 3:19 pm #

      There are hundreds of posts here on the dangers of homebirth that never mention abortion. Maybe share one of them? It’s her blog and she can write about whatever she wants. Also I’m pretty sure anyone who doesn’t want an abortion doesn’t have to get one.

    • Dr Kitty
      January 13, 2015 at 4:36 pm #

      I’m sorry your friends are so blinkered that they cannot read anything written by someone who supports autonomy and reproductive freedom.

      I’m sorry that they feel everyone has to toe their own particular ideological line to make their opinions on any other subject valid.

      Dr Tuteur’s beliefs about autonomy and choice are constantly being called into question by people who claim she wants to ban Homebirth and UC, or force competent women to have CS against their will. She is constantly accused of being anti-woman, a misogynist, a tool of the patriarchy, anti-feminist.

      Her stance of openly and repeatedly stating that she supports women having the right to make EVERY reproductive choice is therefore important.
      I don’t think she should have to obfuscate that position just so some close minded people feel more comfortable listening to her by having their own position validated.

      But that is just my opinion.

    • yugaya
      January 13, 2015 at 7:29 pm #

      Wow that is so wrong, I don’t know what to say really. When you oppose something, especially if you want to oppose it in a constructive way and not out of ignorance, you simply must try to learn as much as you can about what people who hold contrary views believe in and why.

    • Nik
      January 13, 2015 at 9:41 pm #

      I’m a Christian and had an abortion. Given the number of Christians and religious people in the US and the number of women who’ve had abortions, I’m hardly alone. Providing safe access to abortion doesn’t reduce abortion– sexual education, access to effective birth control, and social safety nets that make having a child as a young mother not such a death knell for yourself and your child as far as suffering goes are all things that deter abortion. Abortion needs to be talked about and needs to stop being treated like this huge black cloud, even if you oppose it, because all that does is end up silencing and shaming the people who’ve had them, and the people who’ve had them are the best way to determine what could have been done to lead to a different outcome, whether that’s providing good sex education, free condoms, or affordable or free daycares for young moms. I applaud Dr. Amy for speaking frankly on the subject.

      • Nik
        January 13, 2015 at 9:42 pm #

        That should say reducing access to safe abortions doesn’t reduce abortions.

      • Cobalt
        January 13, 2015 at 10:04 pm #

        A cultural norm of teens using IUDs would probably do a lot to reduce the abortion rate, both by reducing the teen pregnancy rate and by changing family planning habits for them as they age.

        • KarenJJ
          January 14, 2015 at 12:00 am #

          I don’t know about the US and I’m only relying on memory, but from what I understood about the abortion rate in Australia (or just in Sydney – I’m trying to remember a news article from years ago) was that the majority of abortions were from women in stable relationships with existing children. Not sure how true that is, but it would be interesting to delve into the stereotype of the single teenager accessing abortion vs the mother in a relationship who has had a contraception fail.

          • Cobalt
            January 14, 2015 at 7:54 am #

            It’s not just preventing teen pregnancies that become abortions, although that is a sizable portion of abortions. There’s also young women who have unexpected pregnancies and have a baby, then have abortions for subsequent pregnancies because they already have a kid they can barely afford and the abortion is now in the best interests of the existing child. A woman who refused to have a “selfish” abortion at 21 might be willing to have one later to protect her existing child.

            If the first pregnancy had been postponed until the woman was older and in a better position to raise a family, those subsequent abortions may very well be avoided. Having your first child too young can lead to a lifetime of poverty and instability if you’re not ready and you don’t have a good support system. The existence or reasonable threat of poverty and instability contributes to a lot of abortions, in every age group. Preventing some of that by delaying the first child is most reliably achieved with long acting, reversible, very effective birth control.

          • fiftyfifty1
            January 14, 2015 at 11:44 am #

            ” A woman who refused to have a “selfish” abortion at 21 might be willing to have one later to protect her existing child.”
            I see this all the time.

          • Cobalt
            January 14, 2015 at 8:19 am #

            From Guttmacher, some recent US statistics:

            Nine in 10 abortions occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.[5]
            • A broad cross section of U.S. women have abortions:[3]
            58% are in their 20s;
            61% have one or more children;
            56% are unmarried and not cohabiting;
            69% are economically disadvantaged; and
            73% report a religious affiliation.

            The overall U.S. unintended pregnancy rate increased slightly between 1994 and 2008, but unintended pregnancy increased 55% among poor women, while decreasing 24% among higher-income women.[1,6]

            • Overall, the abortion rate decreased 8% between 2000 and 2008, but abortion increased 18% among poor women, while decreasing 28% among higher-income women.[3]

        • Ellen Mary
          January 14, 2015 at 8:54 am #

          That isn’t a moral argument, it is an admission that Combined Oral Contraceptives are relative failures compared to IUDs. If IUDs didn’t reduce unintended pregnancies, it would mean they didn’t work.

          Also pointing out that IUDs are strongly encouraged, if not quasi-mandatory in China (and they are circular so they can’t be removed @ home even by the ambitious) & their abortion rate is ever so much higher than ours, altho their are certainly other factors.

          • fiftyfifty1
            January 14, 2015 at 9:16 am #

            What do coil IUDs in China have to do with Mirenas in the USA?

          • Ellen Mary
            January 14, 2015 at 9:37 am #

            She is saying ‘greater use of IUDs (not just Mirenas, which is actually IUS) = lower abortion rates. China has much greater use of IUD & a higher abortion rate, altho I concede that there are other factors.

          • January 14, 2015 at 9:50 am #

            America isn’t China.

          • fiftyfifty1
            January 14, 2015 at 11:00 am #

            No she never said “‘greater use of IUDs = lower abortion rates” she said “A cultural norm of teens using IUDs” could reduce the abortion rate. And it turns out that studies back her up on this.
            What exactly does the use of semi-permanent coil IUDs placed in postpartum Chinese women in the face of a one child policy have to do with 3-year easily removable IUDs in teens here in the US? Oh I get it: You are trying to misleed by implying that Mirenas in the US won’t/don’t work when it has been shown they do.
            Have all the opinions you want Ellen Mary, but stop lying.

          • Roadstergal
            January 14, 2015 at 11:37 am #

            I’m willing to bet that their use of IUDs does indeed reduce the abortion rate vs no IUDs if you’re dealing with a one-child policy with a mandatory abortion if you become pregnant after one. Because common sense.

            Compare apples to apples, and whichever way you look at it, effective contraception reduces the abortion rate.

            (This should not be construed as support for forced abortion, but merely a note that the existence of China does not invalidate Cobalt’s point.)

          • LibrarianSarah
            January 14, 2015 at 1:29 pm #

            So absolutely nothing. Gottchya

          • Cobalt
            January 14, 2015 at 1:23 pm #

            I was going for practical, not moral, but it’s not an immoral argument. Every abortion is a result of some sort of failure somewhere, women don’t set out to have an abortion, it just becomes what they feel is the best choice in whatever situation they’re in.

            Women don’t say “Oh, an abortion sounds nice, I’m going to go get pregnant so I can have one”. As a culture we can aim to prevent some of these failures, most cheaply ones that relate to unreliable, unavailable, or sabotagable birth control. It’s fairly low hanging fruit.

          • sdsures
            January 18, 2015 at 4:47 pm #

            Re China and IUDs. Citation please?

        • Roadstergal
          January 14, 2015 at 10:00 am #

          The Washington University study nicely demonstrated that access to free LARC (implants, Mirenas, etc) reduced the unplanned pregnancy rate and the abortion rate substantially. Not only is LARC more reliable overall, it’s harder for partners to sabotage.

          I’m pro-choice – and massively interested in anything we can do to reduce the abortion rate. I know the anti-legal-abortion crowd likes to label pro-choicers as pro-abortion, but I’m not – if we reduce the _need_ for abortion, it’s a win all around. I don’t give any credit to anti-legal-abortion folk who don’t support free access to effective BC.

      • Ellen Mary
        January 14, 2015 at 8:50 am #

        I am a Christian who had an abortion & regrets it every single day. I was personally fooled by the euphemistic language of the ProChoice movement & their ‘feminist’ rhetoric. I thought if it was just *early* enough it was just meaningless ‘products of conception’. That was before scientific sites like Virtual Embryo were online, so you could see nothing is further from the truth: the embryo & fetus is highly organized from very early on. It was also before much of today’s online peer to peer networking, so it was impossible to counter a bogus theory I had about having already damaged the baby. (BTW, I tried to have it even earlier but Planned Parenthood made me both wait & have several TV ultrasounds, because contrary to ProChoice rhetoric, they DID feel that it was necessary to visualize a pregnancy in the uterus to rule out ectopic before dispensing RU486. I wasn’t given a ‘choice’ about the TransVaginal U/S. That was just a standard part of care & not optional if I wanted their services. Just sharing that to illustrate another area where the NARAL spin is incredibly misleading).

        I also thought the abortion issue being used here is an issue because from the article you might think that the ONLY reason to be critical of aboortion in any way is if you are a cursed sexist bio essentialist.

        • sdsures
          January 14, 2015 at 9:15 am #

          I just had a look at the Virtual Embryo website. Fascinating!

        • January 14, 2015 at 9:49 am #

          Ellen Mary: it’s always about HER.

          • Ellen Mary
            January 14, 2015 at 9:51 am #

            Ad Hominem: it always works in SOB comments.

          • LibrarianSarah
            January 14, 2015 at 1:28 pm #

            That is not an Ad Hominem. That is just snark.

          • January 14, 2015 at 4:44 pm #

            Ad Hominem: it doesn’t mean what Ellen Mary thinks.

            Also, it doesn’t work in SOB comments, because the commenters consistently break down badly constructed arguments. But “y’all” love to throw the accusation out!

        • SporkParade
          January 14, 2015 at 11:23 am #

          It doesn’t matter how complex an embryo is; life begins at birth. Products of conception only have as much meaning as we ascribe to them.

          • sdsures
            January 20, 2015 at 3:30 pm #

            It would depend on how “life” is defined. Can “products of conception” laugh, coo, or crawl?

        • Guestll
          January 14, 2015 at 12:23 pm #

          YOU regret your abortion. YOU. I’m also Catholic and I don’t. I’m 43, didn’t meet my husband til 37, would have loved 3+ kids, lost several, spent untiold $$ on ART, and am lucky to have the one that I do have. I don’t regret it one iota. I was 17 and the condom broke, and although that was an accident I own my choice. And you’ve completely missed the point as to why the abortion issue was used in this piece, but colour me unsurprised.

        • sdsures
          January 18, 2015 at 4:45 pm #

          Medical fact: if a fetus cannot survive outside the womb, it is not a person and does not have equal rights under the law (in the US). It does not legally become a person under the law until it draws breath (same if it is born prematurely – it gets rights the moment it draws breath, no matter how underdeveloped it is). If a fetus is stillborn, then it can never be said to have been alive, legally.

          I know you are evaluating the situation differently, but I’m evaluating it from a scientific and legal perspective. I cannot allow emotion to cloud my assessment.

      • Staceyjw
        January 14, 2015 at 1:06 pm #

        Better yet, why not quit focusing on penetrative sex (PIV) as the only thing to do sexually? There’s a million other things people can do, together or alone, why continue thinking PIV is the one act that is not only most important, but a must-do?

        Intercourse is *always* a risk to the woman, and shouldn’t be done lightly, even though it’s seems like it’s no big deal these days. Just avoiding those risks (pregnancy, which can mean death, diseases, etc), is risky: BC is not harm free, all diseases cannot be cured, condoms break. And seeing as how only a minority of women even enjoy PIV, its really not worth it for the majority of females.
        And this isn’t even getting into the consequences for those babies from unwanted pregnancies, be it abortion, adoption, or birth.

        IMO, the old religious edict “Sex for reproduction only” is a good one, and while I don’t agree for religious reasons, I agree in it’s practicality.

        • Roadstergal
          January 14, 2015 at 1:15 pm #

          Do you mean only a minority of women enjoy it, or only a minority of women orgasm from it? I don’t orgasm from vaginal intercourse only, but I enjoy it greatly.

          • sdsures
            January 18, 2015 at 4:37 pm #

            It was surprising for me to learn this. It’s a result of how vaginas are, anatomically: there are very few sensory nerves inside it. As a result of Freud’s work, for years, women were told that a clitoral orgasm was “immature”, that only a vaginal orgasm was “the right kind”. This created much anxiety in the majority of women who were not capable of orgasming through PIV sex alone. They don’t teach kids this stuff in sex ed in schools. But, as it turns out, once people learned about the existence and function of the clitoris, it was a relief (so to speak). They’d been misled for many years.

            Now, go forth and enjoy yourselves! (The movie “Kinsey”, with Liam Neeson, was my source for this information. It’s very good.)

          • Alenushka
            January 19, 2015 at 11:30 am #

            A fictional movie is a rouse of your information?

            Do you know that no one believe Freud anymore right? And that the study in this move is from previous century?

            Orgasm from penis in vagina intercourse and enjoyment of intercourse are two different things. Sexually skilful couples employ many modalities to achieve pleasure for all parties participating in the act (People do not always have sex in twos).

            I do not know how many women and men you have seen in reals life having sex but probably far fewer than I did. Women enjoy intercourse with penis, finger, dilod etc. Straigh, gay and bi women.

            An here why women actually feel awesome sexual sensations in their vaginas. http://blog.museumofsex.com/the-internal-clitoris/

          • sdsures
            January 19, 2015 at 4:09 pm #

            All of the information I stated can be found at the Kinsey Institute, which does indeed exist. Using the movie as a source was a method of popularization of the information. The real Kinsey Reports are very dry reading material – I know, because I have read them.

          • sdsures
            January 19, 2015 at 4:12 pm #

            Although you are correct that nobody believes Freud anymore, his work is still invaluable in terms of the study of the history of psychology. Without his work, there would be no one-to-one therapy, no exploration of how childhood can affect adult behaviours. You also seem to have missed my point that the information about the types of orgasms also was sourced from Kinsey’s original work, which was many years ago. It was simply reproduced in the film. I don’t need a movie to tell me about human anatomy. That can be found in most medical texts and certainly on the Internet. However, I felt that relating the information in a less-dry form would make it easier for laypeople to understand.

          • sdsures
            January 19, 2015 at 4:14 pm #

            “An here why women actually feel awesome sexual sensations in their vaginas.”

            Again, not everyone.

          • sdsures
            January 19, 2015 at 4:16 pm #

            “Orgasm from penis in vagina intercourse and enjoyment of intercourse are two different things.”

            Didn’t I just say that?

        • Amy
          January 14, 2015 at 7:54 pm #

          Or how about we keep abortion safe and legal, and let each couple decide which sexual acts they find enjoyable? I guarantee a lot of people are doing those “million other things” along with intercourse because they like both.

        • Poogles
          January 14, 2015 at 11:11 pm #

          What evidence do you have that only a “minority” of women enjoy PIV sex? I find that incredibly hard to believe.

          • Alenushka
            January 19, 2015 at 11:22 am #

            Devotees of Andrea Dworkin think that everyone is like them as they huddle tear stained copy of “Intercourse” convinced that the world is there to get them.

          • sdsures
            January 20, 2015 at 3:16 pm #

            I’ve never read it nor heard of her.

        • Alenushka
          January 15, 2015 at 6:54 pm #

          Where did you get you date on PIV. Just because you do not like it, it does not mean majority of women do not. Maybe you should see a sex therapist

          • sdsures
            January 18, 2015 at 4:31 pm #

            Have you ever read any of the studies put out by the Kinsey Institute? Aversion to PIV sex is only one of many reasons why people may or may not choose to engage in it. For some it is a personal choice, others, for medical reasons. Enjoyment or lack thereof may not enter the equation.

          • Alenushka
            January 19, 2015 at 11:21 am #

            Please, stop channeling late Ms Dworkin.

            The rest of us, in sex positive women community moved on many years ago.

          • sdsures
            January 20, 2015 at 3:16 pm #

            I don’t know who you’re referring to.

          • sdsures
            January 18, 2015 at 4:41 pm #

            “Intercourse is *always* a risk to the woman, and shouldn’t be done lightly, even though it’s seems like it’s no big deal these days.”

            Another thing that people get confused about is the word “intercourse” itself. It actually is defined by “an act between two people”, in this case, sexual congress. It does not only mean PIV sex, but any and all forms of sexual congress, including non-penetrative.

            (Don’t look at me – I just know stuff.)

          • Alenushka
            January 19, 2015 at 11:20 am #

            20th Century called and it wants your dog eared copy of “Intercourse” back.

          • sdsures
            January 20, 2015 at 3:13 pm #


            Latin: “inter” meaning, between two or more.

            1) communication or dealings between individuals or groups.
            “everyday social intercourse”
            synonyms: dealings, relations, relationships, association, connections, contact, interchange, communication, intercommunication, communion, correspondence, negotiations, bargaining, transactions, proceedings; More

            short for sexual intercourse.
            synonyms: sexual intercourse, sex, lovemaking, making love, sex act, act of love, sexual relations, intimate relations, intimacy, coupling, mating, going to bed with someone, sleeping with someone; More

    • DiomedesV
      January 14, 2015 at 12:35 pm #

      Those women are being hamstrung by their own rigidity. That’s their problem.

    • SarahSD
      January 14, 2015 at 2:40 pm #

      The post is about biological essentialism, which can one of many arguments opposing abortion and while it might co-occur with it, is distinct from the broadly held religious belief that life begins with conception. Certainly in the extreme interpretations of the fundamentalist Quiverfull movement, biological essentialism is a religious belief. But it is not the same as the debate about when life begins. In the context of the post, abortion is just one of many issues onto which biological essentialism forces a side. You don’t have to support abortion to understand the logic of, and even disagree with biological essentialism.

      It is my understanding that Dr. Amy is staunchly in favor of bodily autonomy for women, and this includes the right to access abortion. But this post is about the logic of biological essentialism, not about whether there are or aren’t other theological justifications to override women’s autonomy.

      • sdsures
        January 20, 2015 at 3:28 pm #

        Logic and theology rarely see eye-to-eye.

    • Alcharisi
      January 16, 2015 at 1:33 pm #

      Dr. Amy has written posts about same-sex and single parenting with which I (as a queer lady) profoundly disagree. However, she understands the difference between factual arguments and moral ones–and usually states very clearly what kind of argument she’s making when. So even though she and I have that profound moral disagreement, I recognize that said disagreement has no effect on her ability to interpret obstetric data and communicate those interpretations to laypeople such as myself.

    • sdsures
      January 18, 2015 at 4:28 pm #

      Abortion may be a divisive topic, but that doesn’t mean people should ever stop discussing it to avoid damaging other nebulous people’s sensitivities.

  10. OBPI Mama
    January 13, 2015 at 1:44 pm #

    All the quiverfull moms I know, feel they are “leaving their childbearing upto God”… whether that means they get pregnant every year or don’t get pregnant for 4 years. Their goal isn’t to have a baby every year (most I know are pretty nervous about that) or to not get pregnant every year. I do disagree with them believing we should all leave our childbearing upto God in the same way and we’ve discussed how we view it differently. My own mom was quiverfull and then she got pregnant with her 7th and just felt soooo done. It was quite a journey to realize that that was okay for her to be done and she broke away from that mindset.

    • Amy
      January 13, 2015 at 8:37 pm #

      I don’t think you can call it leaving it totally up to God when you’re deliberately weaning in order to speed up a return to fertility.

  11. January 13, 2015 at 1:04 pm #

    If Gina believes that her reproductive organs must be used to their full potential simply because they exist, then she ought to divorce her husband, since he is making that impossible. Or take a [fertile] lover.

  12. January 13, 2015 at 12:53 pm #

    Or how she should use her vagina for that matter. Reproductive rights extend to the full range of how women choose to use their bodies, or not use their bodies as the case may be. Full autonomy is nothing less than being able to avail yourself of whatever technologies are available after being informed of the risks and benefits of those technologies, and being able to apply your own set of values to those decisions. I respect GCC’s right to avail herself of her boobs, her husband’s right to avail himself of a vasectomy…I only wish she could respect my right to avail myself of a maternal request cesarean and the use of formula from time to time…

    • Mishimoo
      January 13, 2015 at 9:53 pm #

      On a side note – It really bugged me that I had to sign a permission slip for my husband to be able to access a vasectomy. It’s his body, his choice, and I shouldn’t have to sign off on it.

      • Medwife
        January 13, 2015 at 11:09 pm #

        You did??? I have never heard of that!

        • Mishimoo
          January 13, 2015 at 11:32 pm #

          I did (It might be an Australian thing though) – It was an acknowledgement that I am aware that he was having a vasectomy, that it would result in loss of fertility, and may not be reversible. He couldn’t have the vasectomy without it because we’re married, which is unfair. I believe that I have as much right to use his sperm as he has to use my ova – that is, none. No one should be able to force another person into assisting them in their reproductive efforts.

          • Young CC Prof
            January 14, 2015 at 12:25 am #

            In some places, a young man who isn’t married may have a hard time getting a vasectomy at all.

          • Mishimoo
            January 14, 2015 at 12:50 am #

            Which is also very unfair.

          • FormerPhysicist
            January 14, 2015 at 11:58 am #

            I’m okay with signing off on the knowledge, but not a need for permission. If my husband changes his life insurance beneficiary, I get a notice.

        • Amy
          January 14, 2015 at 4:27 am #

          Some physicians require spouses/partners to sign off on the procedure to protect themselves against possible lawuits. I don’t think it’s a legal requirement.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa
          January 14, 2015 at 10:24 am #

          When I was planning to get my vas, I had to determine where it was going to be, in terms of proximity. I ended up going to one that was more conveniently located. However, the other place I had talked to did require a consultation that included the spouse. I don’t know if she would have had to sign anything, but she would have had to come to the consultation appt.

          The place I went to did not have that requirement. I asked them about it and they said, nah, you are a big boy. It’s true, I was 42 at the time (and my wife was 40). We weren’t having any more.

      • sdsures
        January 14, 2015 at 9:28 am #


      • Liz Leyden
        January 14, 2015 at 12:49 pm #

        Thanks to a sad history of women being sterilized without their consent, some states impose waiting periods for sterilization. My state requires a separate consent for Medicaid sterilizations.

  13. Sarah
    January 13, 2015 at 12:50 pm #

    I love the way she’s now busily trying to rebrand ‘stupid’ as an ad hominem in the same way as fat, ugly etc. Rather than an entirely accurate response to her having said something that she correctly identified as foolish. Chutzpah, dense or even parts both?

    • Tired Momma
      January 13, 2015 at 1:02 pm #

      I find her ugly. I find anyone who uses profanity like she does, insults her children, disrepects her husband and who is overall very rude ugly. She could look like
      Miss Universe but she is still ugly. It’s like that old saying “pretty is as pretty does.”

  14. Tired Momma
    January 13, 2015 at 12:49 pm #

    I just wanted to point something out. Due to her age (BFing hit an all-time low in the 70’s), her mother’s age (teenager) when she was born, and situation (raised by poor grandparents), Gina was probably not breastfed.

    She graduates with a MA in the spring and seems pretty healthy. So isn’t she herself an example of how unimportant breastfeeding really is?

    • Therese
      January 13, 2015 at 1:14 pm #

      Not really, no one here is really impressed with her MA, she just barely managed to pass half of her classes and she is missing half her teeth and has some kind of mental health disorder ( don’t remember which one.) Not that I think breastfeeding would have helped with those things, I just hardly think she is an advertisement for how well formula fed babies turn out!

      • Smoochagator
        January 13, 2015 at 1:20 pm #

        She is an advertisement for how formula fed babies turn out exactly like breastfed babies: as products of a myriad of different inputs and decisions, some that their parents make, some that society makes, and eventually, a lot that the individual herself makes. You can breastfeed a child or not, and neither choice is a guarantee that he or she will turn out to be successful or healthy or even nice.

    • Sarah
      January 13, 2015 at 5:02 pm #

      Hmm, when you put it like that, maybe I ought to breastfeed after all…

  15. guest
    January 13, 2015 at 12:14 pm #

    This, a thousand times this. And that’s coming from someone who chose to breastfeed – because it was my CHOICE.

  16. Ellen Mary
    January 13, 2015 at 11:31 am #

    Let us not forget that the right TO Breastfeed & carry to term & NOT use contraception are also reproductive rights and rights that are amply & profoundly threatened on the globe. I cannot stand it when people insist that the right to not BF or not carry to term or to not be fertile is the only right that is threatened. The converse is arguably threatened for MORE women globally.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      January 13, 2015 at 11:36 am #

      Who insisted that those were the only rights that were threatened? Oh, right, NO ONE!

      • Ellen Mary
        January 13, 2015 at 11:41 am #

        Maybe you were speaking to Gina & she, like most US feminists leaves the other reproductive rights out of the discourse (except possibly the right to BF free on interference), but by their constant omission, the dialogue is limited. A little like HomeBirth activists focus on the right to evidence based care but omit criticisms of the ridiculous non-evidence based care that can take place at home.

        • Sarah, PharmD
          January 13, 2015 at 11:55 am #

          Maybe she was talking to Gina… since the post is about Gina. LOL

          • Trixie
            January 13, 2015 at 1:52 pm #

            Don’t be silly, Sarah. Every time Dr. A writes anything, she’s actually thinking about Ellen Mary.

        • Nik
          January 13, 2015 at 12:08 pm #

          I run in a lot of feminist circles and I don’t know anyone who supports limiting women’s choices in the opposite arena. The only limits I see feminists agree with are ones that are more public health issues rather than woman’s reproductive right issues. But let’s not pretend that a woman’s right to have a lot of babies and breastfeed are the biggest issues facing us in the US when we’re at a record low of abortion providers and abortion is under direct attack politically across the entire nation.

      • Roadstergal
        January 13, 2015 at 1:47 pm #

        I actually read the post as linking what one can generally take it as read that we agree upon and promote – right to bodily autonomy overall – and showing that TFB’s boob essentialism belongs right in there with practices and views that we already find abhorrent and condemn. That is, the stuff EM rails about is the basic context of this post.

    • Ellen Mary
      January 13, 2015 at 11:38 am #

      I do appreciate your framing of BF as a reproductive right but it cuts both ways: if it is a reproductive right then partners, doctors, parents & bosses lose their right to interfere with its free exercise. In that case of medical professionals, they lose their freedom to widely engage in less than evidence based practice, especially regarding medications & tests. Not a day goes by when I don’t hear about a mother being given totally erroneous info on BF & a medication or procedure.

      • Haelmoon
        January 13, 2015 at 12:16 pm #

        Reproductive rights are about choices. Sometimes, a choices that a woman wants is not actually available to her, not because of some societal or governmental obstruction, but because of a natural one.
        I wanted to carry each of my babies to term, but all three were born prematurely. Nobody forced them to delivery early, it was a consequence of nature – placental abruption. I also chose to have two children, but as I just mentioned, I have three. Why? Because my birth control failed (Mirena), but I still had the option to carry the pregnancy or terminate it. For my personal belief system, I chose to continue the pregnancy (in spite of the risks to my health), but I would have been equally supported if I chose not too.
        My reproductive choices were not respected by nature, my my rights were protected.

      • Sarah
        January 13, 2015 at 12:41 pm #

        It seems like not a day goes by when you don’t try to crowbar it into discussions here either. Get off your hobby horse.

    • Rachele Willoughby
      January 13, 2015 at 11:38 am #

      I don’t think anyone here is questioning that. I myself have five children and I know I’m not there only one here with a big family. We’re not knocking anyone’s choice to have a big family/breastfeed or saying that the right is never threatened. It’s just that’s not the quote being discussed right now.

    • moto_librarian
      January 13, 2015 at 11:46 am #

      It’s really tiresome when you make every post about you, Ellen Mary. Give it a break. Please.

      • Ellen Mary
        January 13, 2015 at 11:55 am #

        That isn’t what I was trying to do. Sorry that is how it was perceived. The post was about BioEssentialism & Reproductive rights & Control of Fertility & Breastfeeding & I was exploring an aspect of those topics, which is that controlling your reproductive fate can also look like BF longer than what is considered acceptable or despite interference from well meaning people in your care circle, or having 7+ children, or carrying to term when your government says you can’t.

        Dr. Amy is free to delete. I am sure that spanking me will get this post a lot of hits tho, so y’all are free to do that too.

        In a way, Gina & the PRC have something in common, in their attempts to control reproductive rights.

        • Haelmoon
          January 13, 2015 at 12:12 pm #

          I am not sure when the government ever interferes and says a woman “can’t carry her fetus to term”. I am not sure what you are getting at. There are times when medical professionals will recommend an early delivery, but I am not sure that is about reproductive freedom, but more about the realities of having a baby. Nature is not perfect and sometimes we have to deviate from delivery plans because it is safer for mother, baby or both.

          • January 13, 2015 at 12:56 pm #

            That’s where you get into informed consent -yes you may carry to term, but if you do, your child might not survive under these circumstances….

          • Haelmoon
            January 13, 2015 at 1:08 pm #

            Absolutely!! Informed consent is an essential aspect to any rights, including sexual and reproductive health rights. It is important that it is a two way street – physicians should not force decisions on patients, but patient have to realize that physicians and other health care providers are also autonomous beings. We have rights too. It is not ok to expect the medical team to agree with your decisions if they carry high risk compared to alternative treatment, but is it your right to expect compassionate care regardless of the decisions you make.

        • moto_librarian
          January 13, 2015 at 12:23 pm #

          We don’t live in China (which is the country I assume you are referring to in regards to forcing you to limit family size). I’m pretty sure that everyone here finds that practice abhorrent. It’s also pretty damned clear that most women are far more likely to be forced to carry a pregnancy to term or to repeatedly get pregnant because they are not allowed access to birth control or abortion. Those are far more pressing issues than whether or not your feelings are hurt because someone doesn’t understand why you are breastfeeding a three year-old.

        • Trixie
          January 13, 2015 at 1:51 pm #

          What’s with the y’alls lately? Seriously! You know Dr. A won’t delete you. You just aren’t making sense.

        • January 13, 2015 at 9:23 pm #

          Yeah, because dr. Amy is soooo known for deleting comments.

    • Amy M
      January 13, 2015 at 12:04 pm #

      Reproductive rights are about women having the CHOICE to use their bodies as they see fit. That includes child brides in the middle East who are forced to bear children in their early teens, often to their detriment, as well as women in China who are restricted by the government to having only one child. The choices of women in both of those groups are restricted, so I think its fair to say that both groups do not have complete reproductive freedom.

      Someone should correct me if I am wrong, but my impression is that in much of the developing world, at least in places where women do not have full civil rights, the women are also denied reproductive rights (maybe their fathers can marry them off to whomever whenever, and their husbands can demand sex whenever, no rape in marriage.) That’s a lot of women who can’t use contraception when they want to, or even need to in some cases.

      In America, that’s not really the case, but there are groups, like the Quiverfulls that Dr. Amy mentioned that deliberately subscribe to a viewpoint in which the woman surrenders her bodily autonomy to her husband. I suppose if a woman decides to join such a community, of her own free will, we could say she is exercising her right to choose this way of life. But for girls born into it? They are not choosing, and I’m pretty sure that if they don’t like the community rules, they are booted.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      January 13, 2015 at 12:16 pm #

      Someone very wise just posted this comment on yesterday’s thread:

      “Feminism is manifested in the ability to choose, not in the choices one makes.”

      • Mom2Many
        January 13, 2015 at 1:44 pm #

        Haha, wasn’t that you, Bofa, that made that statement? Incidentally, I think it IS very wise…I had actually copy and pasted it onto my ‘quotes’ file! Hope your head doesn’t swell too much now! 🙂

        • The Bofa on the Sofa
          January 13, 2015 at 1:51 pm #

          Actually, I misquoted myself. I think the comment on the other thread was, “Feminism is not manifested in the choices we make, but in the ability to choose”

          I really should do a better job of accurately quoting my wisdom.

          • Mer
            January 13, 2015 at 5:42 pm #

            That’s going to be fun to attribute that quote in real life,

            “Feminism is manifested in the ability to choose, not in the choices one makes.”

            The Bofa on the Sofa

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            January 13, 2015 at 9:27 pm #

            Why do you think I just attribute it to “a wise person”?

          • Mer
            January 14, 2015 at 6:04 pm #

            I suppose that is a “wise” thing to do indeed.

    • Guestll
      January 13, 2015 at 12:42 pm #

      Where are you talking about, where these rights are amply and profoundly threatened on the globe? Other than China?

      • Ellen Mary
        January 13, 2015 at 1:29 pm #

        Other than the most populous country that is home to the most women?!? Yeah, I guess all those women are totally irrelevant. If someone asked: what’s going on on 2015 on Earth, those are the ladies whose reality is most representative. But there are plenty of other places.

        Well we could start with discussing Hysterectomy crisis in India. Or the lack of a Prenatal care & safe OB services in many different countries.

        • LibrarianSarah
          January 13, 2015 at 2:30 pm #

          It is disingenuous to claim that something is MORE of a problem globally when it only really applies to one country on that globe. Sure let’s talk about all that. We can also talk about child brides in the Asia and the Middle East, Female Genital Mutilation in Africa, or whatever else you want to bring up to distract you from the fact that the church you go to and most likely the candidates you vote for support reducing women’s access to contraception and abortion right here in the United States.

          Maybe you should stay out of these conversations if you don’t actually want to talk about these issues instead of going “look over there! A squirrel!” on every post where Amy brings up abortion.

          • Ellen Mary
            January 14, 2015 at 9:04 am #

            You don’t know anything about the church I go to or how/if I vote. But nice job @ insinuating that as a woman, my opinion cannot possibly be my own if it isn’t in line with your dogma.

          • fiftyfifty1
            January 14, 2015 at 9:24 am #

            She never insinuated that your opinions weren’t your own. What she said it that the church you belong to (and you’ve said you belong to the Catholic Church in the past,right?) supports reducing women’s access to contraception and abortion. That is indeed what the Catholic Church does and you know it. As for what political candidates you vote for, I would be very interested if you voted for pro-choice and pro-contraception candidates and would sincerely like to hear more about that if that’s the case.

          • LibrarianSarah
            January 14, 2015 at 2:26 pm #

            I guess it is time for reading comprehension 101 again. First of all when you post that you are a catholic I know quite a lot about the church you go to and how they feel about reproductive rights. Secondly, the words “most likely” mean I admit that I don’t “know” how you vote but if I was a going to place bet’s I would put my money on you voting for a pro-life candidate. Thirdly, nothing in my comment insinuated that your opinion isn’t your own. In fact, YOU are the agent in both those scenarios. YOU are the one going to church and YOU are the one voting. You as a woman or just a person is the active agent actively and hypocritically supporting reducing the rights of others to make a choice that you yourself already made. Did I make myself clear that time Ellen Mary? I don’t think you are brainwashed. I think you are a hypocrite.

        • Guestll
          January 13, 2015 at 6:06 pm #

          I asked you a question. Other than China. I didn’t dismiss China.

          My life’s is about trying to improve the lives of women and children in developing countries, but you — you just use them as props to justify your me-me-me-this-is-all-about-me worldview. You don’t want women to have choices, you just want them to make the choices you’d make.

        • Amy
          January 13, 2015 at 8:42 pm #

          Actually, no. There are around 7 billion people on the Earth, and slightly more than half of them are women, so around 3.5 billion. China has about 1.2 billion people, and again, we’ll assume about half of them are women (although precisely due to gender selection, it’s actually fewer than that). So, say 600 million women in China.

          Assuming ALL of the women in China are subject to forced abortions (which they’re not), that’s around 17% of the world’s women. That means that that “reality” is NOT representative for the other 83% of women.

          • Ellen Mary
            January 14, 2015 at 9:02 am #

            Most of them are subject to OCP. That means their fertility is controlled EVEN IF they never are subject to a ‘forced abortion’.

          • fiftyfifty1
            January 14, 2015 at 9:26 am #

            But it’s still only 17% right? You agree with the math right?

          • Amy
            January 14, 2015 at 12:03 pm #

            You’re still only talking about China! And you’ll note that my argument assumed that ALL women in China WERE subject to forced abortion. Even assuming ALL women in China are restricted from having more wanted children, that’s STILL a minority of women worldwide.

            Your original point was that the restrictions women in China face are representative of the restrictions women face worldwide. They’re not. No details you add are going to change that.

      • Cobalt
        January 13, 2015 at 8:23 pm #

        Gendercide is a problem in India as well.

        • Guestll
          January 13, 2015 at 8:36 pm #

          Thanks and I know that, but I was asking Ellen Mary to substantiate her statement.

    • January 13, 2015 at 1:43 pm #

      I swear, we need a version of “what about the mens” for this type of comment.

      What part of protecting and advocating CHOICE did you miss?

    • fiftyfifty1
      January 13, 2015 at 8:24 pm #

      “I cannot stand it when people insist that the right to not BF or not carry to term or to not be fertile is the only right that is threatened.”

      Fair enough. Please provide a link to even a single quote by anyone on this blog (or for that matter any blog) where someone insists that the right not to BF, not to carry to term or not to be fertile is the only right that is threatened. Go ahead, we are waiting.

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