Thursday, July 24, 2008


By Shannon S.
South Dakota Community Organizer

My mornings are pretty routine day to day. I get up, shower, get ready, get my son up, get him ready and off to daycare. I get into work, log on to my computer, and voila my day has begun. Pretty typical.

One of the very first things I do once I’m at work, is spend about a half an hour reading the news and blogs of the day.

This morning I was thrilled to learn that our Congresswoman, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, and her husband Max are expecting.

Then I came across this and my excitement for our lone Representative quickly disappeared as I learned that someone was taking such a joyous event and turning it into a political talking point.

The post on Dakota War College suggests that one’s views on abortion change as one gets older, more mature, and starts to have families. It goes further to suggest that perhaps Ms. Herseth Sandlin will change her views on abortion simply because she’s pregnant

It’s preposterous to think that just because a woman or a couple becomes pregnant, their opinions on the role of government automatically change. The issue of abortion is a personal matter. Let me say it again… Abortion is personal.

While I cannot speak for her, I know that Rep. Herseth Sandlin believes it’s not the role of the government to intrude into those deeply personal very difficult decisions that families make together. And, again I cannot speak for her, but I’m willing to bet, that view is not going to change simply because she’s pregnant.

One more note while I have your attention. This line is my favorite from the post:

Most people have to experience the birth of a child themselves for it to really
sink in.

This statement offends me in so many ways I cannot even count them. But, then again, it’s pretty typical of anti-choicers. They are all about the birth, but have very little concern about what happens to the child after it’s born. To suggest that one forms an opinion on the issue of abortion based on pregnancy and birth is ludicrous. As the mother of a child who is adopted, I resent this line of thinking. Anti-choice forces often point to adoption as a solution to abortion. But, they obviously are just saying that, because the minute they start to write their thoughts down, they forget all about the adoption piece of the puzzle. If I were raising a child I actually gave birth to my opinion would be different??? WRONG.

Congratulations Max and Ms. Congresswoman!


Stefanie said...

Well stated.

And it should be pointed out that, although there are many men out there who can put themselves into a women's place, there are always some out there who cannot and will not.

So, I find it very interesting and a bit ironic that the editorial was written by a man.

stefano said...

I read the referenced blog and I don't understand the ferocity of your response. All he was saying was that the birth of your own child sometimes changes your view of things. He wasn't saying that it was a lead pipe certainty that the legislator would change her position on abortion. In fact the title of the blog started: "Here's One We Can't Predict, ..." Frequently there's more heat than light from the different sides of this debate which doesn't advance the views of either side.

Joe said...

Feminist Naomi Wolf said "Pro-choice advocates tend to cast an abortion as "an intensely personal decision." To which we can say, No: one's choice of carpeting is an intensely personal decision. One's struggles with a life-and-death issue must be understood as a matter of personal conscience. There is a world of difference between the two, and it's the difference a moral frame makes.
You say "The issue of abortion is a personal matter. Let me say it again… Abortion is personal." I think Wolf has it right except that the abortee, if he/she knew what was happening might take it personally. What do you think?

Amanda said...

Nice post, Shannon. It's sad that the focus is not more heavily placed upon the actual raising of a child.

As a birthmother and a an adopted child, my perspective has not changed. It is a woman's choice to decide what she can and cannot physically, mentally and emotionally handle.

PS--Check out my blog. There is something you might be interested in. Check the 2nd item on the Big News post.