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  1. #1
    Senior Member sculpting's Avatar
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    Jan 2009

    Default Abortion: US verses Europe-why are we nuts in the US?

    I live in the great nation-state of Texas and we just past a bunch of laws that have had both sides of the abortion debate in rabid fights.

    The laws imposed a 20 week limit on abortions, required the clinics meet ambulatory surgery standards and required the physician to have admitting rights to a local hospital.

    The pro-life side claims a victory for god and the pro-choice side is convinced dead women will be piling up in the gutters and that women's rights to health have been eliminated.

    It seems very ...dramatic.

    However as a result of this, some data has come up which shows that our very liberal nieghbors to the east, actually have much more restrictive policies on abortion than the US. Most countries in Europe seem to deny abortions past 12-13 weeks, with Sweden allowing up to 18 weeks, but past 12 weeks, you have to visit a therapist? France enforces a one week wainting period if you would like to have an abortion.

    Our new Texas laws actually are actually nowhere near as draconian as the ones in europe, but you dont seem to see women in europe protesting those laws?

    I would love to hear the perspective of folks in other countires on the issue and how those countries have reached what appears to be a very reasonable middle ground, without the sheer nastiness of the US debate....also why are we so bonkers on both sides on the issue in the US?

  2. #2
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    Apr 2009


    Some polling on the subject.

    From the National Journal Americans (Narrowly) Support 20-Week Abortion Ban

    Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis galvanized abortion-rights supporters--and even the White House--with a dramatic filibuster of a bill that would have outlawed all abortions after 20 weeks. But the latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll shows that a plurality of Americans supports a ban on late abortions.

    Americans favor such a bill by 48 percent to 44 percent.

    Support was greatest among Republicans, 59 percent in support, but 53 percent of Americans not affiliated with either major party sided with the GOP. A majority of Democrats, 59 percent, were opposed while only 33 percent were in favor.

    The results come a day after Davis, the state senator, captured the imagination of liberals nationwide as she stood for 11 hours to block a Texas measure that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks and placed new restrictions on abortion clinics. In Washington, Democrats have lampooned House Republicans for passing a similar ban on abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy as the latest shot fired in the “war on women.”

    But the poll, notably, showed that women supported such a measure in greater numbers than men (50 percent of women in favor; 46 percent of men).

    Overall, the survey suggests that the 20-week abortion measure fractures some of the modern Democratic coalition. Among all age groups, it was young Americans--who have regularly sided with Democratic priorities in the age of Obama--who most strongly supported the measure (52 percent). The measure also received the support of 51 percent of white women, both those who are college educated and those who are not.

  3. #3


    I think the late-abortion ban aspect of the Texas legislation is a red herring. I don't think it significantly alters a woman's right to an abortion. More objectionable to more people are the new restrictions on abortion clinics that would effectively shutter the vast majority of clinics in the state. It's like voter ID laws - the premise sounds reasonable at first glance until you study the consequences and realize the true intent of the legislation.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009


    Quote Originally Posted by EffEmDoubleyou View Post
    I think the late-abortion ban aspect of the Texas legislation is a red herring. I don't think it significantly alters a woman's right to an abortion. More objectionable to more people are the new restrictions on abortion clinics that would effectively shutter the vast majority of clinics in the state. It's like voter ID laws - the premise sounds reasonable at first glance until you study the consequences and realize the true intent of the legislation.
    Assuming of course that clinics don't make the requisite changes to conform with the law.

  5. #5
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
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    To what extent are there potentially successful, extremely anti-abortion groups in those European countries?

    This is speculation based only on the assumption that Europe does not have those to the extent that the USA does, but maybe American supporters of legal abortion are afraid that any such loss of ground is just a step toward losing all of the ground. Maybe in Europe they are not pushed by a sense of threat.
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  6. #6
    The High Priestess Amargith's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
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    If memory serves, the cut off is 16 weeks in Belgium. And as I recall, that limit was chosen to give the mother the time to make that choice, but also limit the risks involved as well as avoid as much foetus to 'baby' hoopla as possible (or the question as to when a foetus becomes a person, which is unanswerable), but I never really did dig into this topic so Im going off of what was on the news back when it was a big thing. I know that the Netherlands have a later time-frame but not beyond 20 weeks if memory serves (my niece was almost 5 months when she found out and considered going to the Netherlands for this).

    As far as I know, people can be hotly for or against it, but most seem to agree that it is a choice that every person has to make for themselves; aka a morality issue, not a legal issue. It was a hot debate leading up to the creation of the law, with your typical arguments on both sides. I was young at the time, but it seemed that both parties understood there was no right answer to this and there needed to be one - a legal one. Belgium is nothing if not pragmatic about such matters and daily life tends to overtake the ruckus things like this cause. Though it was certainly a big debate. We even had our then king Boudewijn who is required to sign off on every law (mostly a ceremonial position) cause some trouble. He himself was a devout catholic who was unable to conceive with our queen, and he felt that he could not in good conscience sign off on this law. So, Belgium, pragmatic as always, understood and - after discussing the matter with the King - dethroned him for a day, had the prime minister sign I think and the next day things were back to normal

    We tend to hold more grudges and be more petty about internal, daily workings that cause friction and frustration every day such as immigration, whether Flanders or Wallonia gets more cash this year and how it is spent and how inflated the ego of Brussels is and how entitled its citizens feel and what is fair in such matters

    Old territorial disputes die hard, it seems.

    "Harm none, do as ye will”

  7. #7
    Superwoman Red Herring's Avatar
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    Jun 2010
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    It's a bit complicated here in Germany. (This is mostly Wikipedia information, I have not had one myself)

    Strictly speaking, abortion is not legal, it just isn't punishable during the first 12 weeks after nidation (14 weeks after the last period) if the woman has had a conversation with a councelor about it (mostly a formality) and followed a 3 day waiting period or if there is a medical indication or if the pregnancy came about through a crime (read: rape). After that, it is not punishable for the woman but illegal for the doctor (unless there were special circumstances) between the 12th and 24nd week.

    Health insurance usually covers the costs (about 400 dollars).

    There are about 130.000 abortions in Germany every year at a total population of about 81 million.

    They are offered at most hospitals (except private Catholic ones) and many doctor's offices, I have never heard that there was a problem with the availablility.

    As far as social debate is concerned, it's not really much of an issue. There was a bit of a row years ago when German Catholics wanted to offer their own counceling service which in many cases would have meant giving women the prove of counceling they need in order to then have an abortion anyway and Rome interfered and stopped them.

    Overall, it is not a hot button issue in German society.
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  8. #8
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Dec 2008
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    It seems to me that with most ideological-based law reform in the US, people are more worried about what law will be passed next, rather than the immediate law in question. These sorts of debates are always proxies for wider issues. Americans are terrified of a slippery slope, that, perhaps, aint all that slippery (or steep).

    Not that I necessarily blame them for being paranoid. When these issues are debated so angrily and obsessively by both sides, and the views so dramatically polarised, there's so much force pushing back on every minor change. It can get you worried about where things are going further down the road.

    I just don't think there's as much controversy surrounding issues like abortion in most other western nations. The decisions can be made with a clearer head in a calmer atmosphere.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member pinkgraffiti's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
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    The US in itself is a failed abortion, so no wonder your country doesn't like them.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    May 2007


    Why are we nuts in the US? Religion.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

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