Frenier: I’m pro-choice, but I oppose Prop 5/Article22

By Carol Frenier

I have always believed that women have the right to abort in the first three months of pregnancy.  I have believed this even as my own moral views have become more pro-life over the years. Why? Because we live in a society that believes in personal liberty and that values restraint when it comes to interfering with another person’s decisions, however much we may disagree with them.

Carol Frenier

But a difficulty arises when one person’s liberty conflicts with that of another — the key issue behind Prop 5/Article 22. By the third trimester (at least) it is impossible not to see that a fetus is a separate human being from the mother who is carrying her. Even Roe v. Wade acknowledged that beyond the first three months the state had both the right and obligation to regulate abortion to protect both mother and child.

How to resolve this conflict? I support the growing consensus/compromise that a woman has a right to abort in the first three months of pregnancy — up to the point often described as the “quickening” — after which the child’s claim to life has greater weight than the mother’s right to choose. Prop 5/Article 22 fails to consider the child’s claim to life at all.

Women have been wounded culturally and sometimes physically, and it is understandable that we want to reclaim our own bodies. But as birth givers, we are also the natural defenders of the bodies of our unborn children. In our pain we have pitted autonomy against compassion. A compassionate society does not legitimize the destruction of a child in the ninth month of gestation as Prop 5/Article 22 most certainly would do.

So I will be a “no” vote in November, and I hope that the legislature can come up with something more specific and more inclusive in the future.

Carol Frenier holds an MA in Feminist Film from Goddard College and is the author of Business and the Feminine Principle: The Untapped Resource.

Image courtesy of Public domain

16 thoughts on “Frenier: I’m pro-choice, but I oppose Prop 5/Article22

  1. I seldom take issue with the fine things Carol Frenier writes that come from critical thinking. I do not see that in this short piece that puts subjectivity over objectivity and reaches a judgment on whether abortion up to three months is acceptable that is so profoundly wrong, cruel, and inhumane. She speaks things that are right and true such as living “in a society that believes in personal liberty and that values restraint when it comes to interfering with another person’s decisions…” I would suggest that “life” must replace the word “decisions” when you are talking about taking that life.

    Carol’s observation is so correct that “By the third trimester (at least) it is impossible not to see that a fetus is a separate human being from the mother who is carrying her.“ And I would focus on her words “at least” for it is so clear that what is about to breathe her first breath outside her mother is a precious, cuddly human baby. “At least” tells me that she recognizes that before the third trimester there also may be a “separate human being from the mother.”

    To point to “quickening” (when the mother feels the baby moving inside) as the defining point where the “child’s claim to life has greater weight than the mother’s right to choose” is no more than engaging in one of the fictions that prochoice people try to use to justify the killing they advocate.” It’s just a blob of tissue,” “it’s not a baby, its just a potential one,” it has no meaningful life, life begins at birth, no one really knows when life begins, or “don’t impose your religious view on me.”

    Sight unseen but nonetheless amazing is when a fertilized egg implants and begins the process of sustaining her little life moving into rapid and noticeable developmental changes. The brain, spinal cord and nervous system are forming and at day twenty-one the heart begins to beat. With a month the backbone, muscles, arms, legs, eyes, and ears are appearing. So much has happened in this life process and short days later fingers appear on hands and the eyes gain pigment. At day forty there are brain waves. At six weeks the human liver is producing blood cells and the brain is controlling movement. This life showing is becoming obvious to the mother and it won’t be long that the world will also know.

    I would suggest all go to and see the pictures of many of these stages. I won’t go on but will leave it to you to decide if “at least” life is apparent about this time that everything has grown to be the obvious things that are found in an adult human and the life systems are working.

    We all know that everyone has a unique set of fingerprints. Our developing human has hers at 9 weeks. She can be identified as a person unlike any other that has ever or ever will exist. Long before the third trimester, it is obvious to anyone not engaging in fictions that this is a human child. It is undeniable. Nothing can change that, Carol.

    Carol correctly concludes that “a compassionate society does not legitimize the destruction of a child in the ninth month of gestation” but it should not legitimize the destruction of any child at any stage of gestation. How I wish that all mothers, that she calls “birth givers” being the “natural defenders of the bodies of our unborn children” would be tenacious in their defense of a child at any point in the wonderful development that ideally begins at conception and ends at death.

    When we view the various stages of human development from birth to death it becomes obvious that we are all in that same game as the newly conceived child. All points in the continuum are significant and when someone interrupts it at any point, death of a human results.

    Thank you for voting against Prop 5/Article 22 which regardless of your thinking reaches the correct action to take. I am hopeful that Carol’s progressive move toward prolife thinking will take you totally to the truth of the reality that from conception on, this is a human who has the right to live.

  2. When the community is still passionately debating an issue is it prudent to resort to laws and our government to settle it for us? That is, to use majority rule to demand that an unconvinced minority submit to the majority? For those arenas where the community has not yet achieved a settled consensus mightn’t it be premature to imposed solutions. A citizens’ control of their own body vs their child’s life might be such an issue. We spent the first several decades of our history debating property rights vs slaves being property. Our attempts to settle that issue by government imposition still reverberates. Would it be wise for the contending sides in this present debate to continue their missionary conversion work with each other and hold off making laws and amendments?

  3. It’s important to focus on preserving the fetus and ignoring the real child. Ignoring Ted Bundy’s ignored and overlooked childhood needs resulted in at least three dozen and possibly five dozen dead women. The funeral industry benefited greatly from his birth. So let’s come to agreement on the point at which we should force a woman to bear a child.

      • No.

        As a child of a compelled parenthood, I do not think people who are opposed to abortion have a single (family blog) clue about fetal, perinatal, neonatal and child development. My sins and errors of commission and omission cannot be undone; there are people whose lives would be better had I never been born.

        The institutions and cultural values my parents lived by and were praised for conforming to too frequently included personally and socially damaging practices. Our family values included traits that would have made the Stasis beam with pride. There were none of Ms. Frenier’s ilk to give me better guidance, and people around me have paid, some dearly, for it. My parents could have done better with the other ten siblings had I been aborted, but she (and my father) never had a choice.

        • cgregory, I can’t imagine the pain of your continuing existence. Is there anyone in your life who’s life you improved?

    • Ted Bundy’s mother being “forced” to bear a child is no excuse for his evil actions as an adult. As adults, we all make choices. Some are good and some are bad, but we all remain accountable for our own actions and their resulting consequences. We cannot condone any action by placing blame on someone or something other than ourselves. When we face challenging circumstances, we can either choose to wallow in them or find a way to rise above them by seeking help and wise counsel. We can also choose to help others overcome their difficulties. The idea that we can “cleanse” our society by allowing babies that might be born into what some may judge to be less-than-ideal circumstances is not the answer to purging the evil that
      exists among us.

      • Having come perilously close to Ted Bundy’s situation, I can assure you that his evil actions were the result of NO ONE paying attention to the dysfunctional family environment. At the age of four, he put knives in his aunt’s (everybody in the family pretended she was his sister) shoes, then lurked in the hopes he would see her get hurt. Nobody paid attention to the abuse his grandfather (everybody pretended he was his father) indulged in. Nobody noticed his ADD problems. Read “Defending the Devil.”

        This is why I challenge so-called “pro-lifers” to adopt. By and large, they don’t.

  4. Re: I’m pro-choice, but I oppose Prop 5/Article22


    Re: I have always believed that women have the right to abort in the first three months of pregnancy.

    Then you’re not ‘pro-choice’, Carol, because others choose differently.

    Much of our problem is in the semantics. I’m for School Choice too. But the School Choice for which I advocate is also limited.

    We must do our homework and come to a consensus. Three months, or 15 weeks? What about rape, incest and physical complications that threaten the mother or the child? I know a woman who, when pregnant, was diagnosed with cancer. The alternative surgery to save her would have killed her unborn child. She ‘chose’ not to have the surgery. Her child lived. She didn’t. The proverbial Solomon’s dilemma. Will our consensus include these possible permutations?

    I agree. The first step is to vote NO on Prop 5/Article 22. Then let the real work begin… right away.

  5. I too am intending to vote “No” on Proposition 5, but from quite a different perspective.
    I contend that a “fetus” is a separate human being from the moment of conception. It is a baby created in God’s image that has his or her own DNA and a unique purpose in life. Who, given the chance, will be loved and learn to love, and develop his or her own personality and set of skills.
    A compassionate society with any moral compass at all does not legitimize the destruction of a child at ANY stage of development.
    That child has a claim to life from the moment it is conceived. Any attempt to deny that claim is akin to murder. I will vote “No” on Prop. 5 as a voice for those innocents who have no voice about the value of their lives.

    • There is an excellent article posted on Vermont Daily Chronicle – Silverstein: Science prof gives abortion debate a grade of ‘incomplete’

      The ‘moment’ of conception is not as easy to determine as some would have us believe. But our inability to judge when that moment occurs is no excuse for kicking this can down the road. Based on what we know, today, we can certainly make a more informed decision than we did back in 1973. And that understanding alone will dictate that we continue to study our life process. The more we learn, the more informed our future decision making will be. Vote NO on Prop5/Article 22. Don’t kick the can down the road. Let us take stock of what we know, today, and act accordingly.

  6. Well, Ms. Frenier, start coughing up the $320,000 per viable fetus that neither the pregnant woman nor the sperm donor can or want to. If you don’t, who will? The so-called lack of interest in the welfare of real children is an elephant in the room inhabited by the so-called “pro-lifers.”

    • cgregory, I’m repeating a portion of the adoption statistics I referenced above.

      “there are up to 36 couples waiting for every one baby placed for adoption.”

      They know full well the cost of raising a child. “In the USA, [in 2012] there are approximately two million infertile couples waiting to adopt, many times regardless of the child’s medical problems such as Down Syndrome, Spina Bifida, HIV infection or terminally ill.”

      Perhaps you might consider turning your own life around by promoting adoption. You would be making many couples very happy and help the children avoid the pitfalls you unfortunately experienced.

  7. The loonie ghoulish left wishes to legalize murdering babies probably past birth while at the same time won’t allow killing murder’s…

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