About that couple taking votes whether to abort…

I got a heads up about the blog BirthorNot.com about a month ago.

A pregnant married couple is taking votes whether to abort their baby boy or carry him to term.

The last day of the pregnancy they say they can  legally abort in their home state of Minnesota is December 9, a day before the baby is 20 weeks old. And, they say, they will go however the final vote tally goes.

Although the posts appeared plausible when I perused them, the concept had “scam” written all over it. So I didn’t buy in. My thought was the couple was trying to punk pro-lifers.

In the last few days the blogosphere has gotten hold of the story, and I’ve received several emails requesting I write about it. It appears Gawker started the chatter after interviewing the couple, Pete and Alisha Arnold (pictured below left).

The reaction has been most interesting. Pro-aborts think this is a scam against them. Now, while pro-lifers are becoming incensed and begging the couple not to abort, pro-aborts are becoming incensed and wanting the couple to be shot.

Reading more closely what the couple writes, I’ve come to agree this is a pro-life stunt. A pro-abort, unless a real sicko, would not go into this sort of detail about the development of the 16-wk-old baby she may abort:

… now approximately the size of an avocado with an average crown to rump measurement of 4.6 inches.  This week bones are forming in baby’s ears so that they can start to pick up noises outside the womb.  The hair, eyebrows, and lashes are filling in and taste buds are forming.

Pro-abort Amanda Marcotte noted the Arnolds purchased the domain name on May 17, 2010. This was well before Alisha got pregnant, which I estimate was August 4, according to my handy dandy pregnancy wheel.

The Arnolds told Gawker:

During the second pregnancy, the couple bought the birthornot.com domain, and were in the process of deciding whether to put the birth up to a vote when they lost the baby.

But on their website they say:

So the dates don’t jibe. The couple said they purchased their domain before miscarrying their second baby but actually bought it the month afterward – when not at all pregnant. In other words, they preplanned this.

This corroborates that this is a publicity stunt of some sort. I wouldn’t get too emotionally involved. But I will be watching with interest to see how they play this out. Currently votes are running 81%-19% in favor of giving birth.

Meanwhile, the story has gone international.

69 thoughts on “About that couple taking votes whether to abort…”

  1. Yeah. Not funny, not provocative. Just clumsy and in poor taste. It seems like bad luck to propose what if this or that happens. I see no good coming out of this.

  2. Disgustingly bad taste.  Who in their right mind (ruse or not) would want to be associated with polling a mass of strangers to see whether the kid lives or dies?  Now that it’s gone viral, everyone in the world can see who these idiots are.

  3. I think your analysis is right on, Jill. It would be very odd if the passage you quoted had been written by someone indifferent to or in favor of abortion.
    Perhaps they are trying to highlight the moral badness of abortion by aiming to do something that gets people to recognize that they react badly to a couple treating abortion so casually and then reevaluating abortion based on this reaction.
    But if this is the case I think it’s a bad idea. If this is a fake situation the truth will eventually come out and it will not do much good in the long run.

  4. I saw this thing over a month ago, too. And this thing is perking up now? How has the blogosphere gotten so behind the curve?

  5. The dates do jibe-October-ish pregnancy ends in January miscarriage.  March pregnancy ends in April miscarriage.  I initially counted 16 weeks after Jan as well, not before.

  6. (From the Gawker)
    Pete, who described himself as a Libertarian, framed the couple’s majority-rule abortion as kind of an extreme civics lesson that he hoped would bring the abortion debate home. “Voting is such an important part of who we are as a people,” Pete said. “Here’s a chance where people can be heard about whether they are pro-choice or whether they are pro-life, and it makes a difference in the real world.”

    At first I thought this was a stupid stunt, but I don’t think the results of this poll are really what’s important to this couple.  I think they’re just trying to get the conversation about abortion going.   Read all the links….  It’s interesting to read Marcotte’s characterization of pro-lifers and pro-aborts.

  7. Marcie, that’s not what I meant. The dates not jibing are those when they said they bought the domain (when still pregnant with 2nd baby) and when they actually bought it (a month later – when not pregnant at all). I’ll go back and clarify in the article. Thanks.

  8. Yes, but it will make for one awkward story to tell the child: “Once upon a time we threatened to kill you to make a point.”


    Hans Johnson
    November 18th, 2010 at 10:34 pm
    Yes, but it will make for one awkward story to tell the child: “Once upon a time we threatened to kill you to make a point.”
    I don’t know…their child might think it was cool for them to do something so outrageous to get the conversation going.  I don’t think they have ANY intention of aborting.


  10. I bet we won’t hear much from the pro-aborts about the humanity of this (fetus) baby.  They are upset that the women might be relinquishing her “sacred” CHOICE. It’s an empowerment thing.

  11. If they are pro-abortion and this is not a hoax, it´s really sick. If they are actually pro-life, I agree with Scott – it won´t help very much in the long run. But I must admit it illustrates the insanity of “choice” very well.

  12. What do you want to hear Janet? I think it’s a bit in poor taste whether they are pro-choice or anti-choice, but I guess its their CHOICE.

  13. Do I really need to explain?  Well cranium, it would be nice to hear some pro-aborts say they hope the couple doesn’t abort…um… because it’s a human baby that could bring them much joy and happiness, love, and comfort in their old age, and so on and so on…

  14. cranium, I’m not surprised. That was my point. I’m praying for the conversion of your heart and mind.  I hope you are never faced with the abortion of a grandchild or niece or nephew.

  15. What, I should expect others to bend to my whim and give me what I would like no matter what the impact on them?

    Besides which, they are not a grandchild or niece or nephew until they are born.

  16. cranium  November 18th, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    “Besides which, they are not a grandchild or niece or nephew until they are born.”

    Cranium vaccum,

    Still basking in the non-existent rays of your own intellect


    Does the sun ever set in your alternate reality?

    There is a law in physics that states a gas will expand to fill the space it occupies.

    Just how much hot air does it take to fill the space between your ears?

    When your mamma was pregnant with you, what species of embryo/fetus was present in her womb?

    Did you grow to fill the space you occupied or did you just suddenly appear one day fully formed as tho a stork had left you in a basket on the front porch?

  17. this story absolutely disgust me.if this story is true and this couple are even thinking of aborting a baby of 17weeks well they are a disgrace

  18. I don’t understand why the pro-aborts are so upset and judgemental, this couple is only using their right to choose.

  19. While important things are going on, this couple decides to do a prank. Imagine voting on whether to allow your child to live or die…..a form of survivor. Prank or not this shows how cheap life has become and how low we will go  to entertain ourselves.

  20. My opinion?  And yes I am pro-choice. And my personal opinion is that it would be a shame to abort this baby that they’ve tried so hard to conceive; that they’ve already given a name to and know the sex of, purportedly. And I’m speaking as the friend of a woman who had two previous miscarriages and is now the mother of a beautiful baby girl.
    If this is for real and they really are considering–they’re incredibly stupid to leave it up to a bunch of strangers. It’s like going to the top of a building or a bridge and seeing how many people will yell ‘jump’. I suppose it’s their choice, but I reserve the right to call it stupid.
    But if this is a stunt–and it has all the earmarks of one–it’s equally stupid. Whether they’re doing it for fifteen minutes of fame and a reality show or they are pro-life and want to make a ‘point’, it’s crass and childish.
    Either way, I didn’t vote in the poll–If it’s a prank I refuse to be part of their sample data. And if it’s real I can’t make their decision for them. They’ve got to work it out for themselves.

  21. *points to Jennifer Starr’s post* This, Joan, is the kind of pro-choice post that we don’t call for banishment over. Note the polite tone and statement of the facts without resorting to slander.

  22. I agree that it’s definitely a hoax– nobody gets a 3D ultrasound every week– but I’m not sure it’s a pro-life one.  I’m leaning toward them just wanting 15 minutes of fame.  The “size of an avocado” language was taken from BabyCenter.com.  While accurate prenatal development information is usually a hallmark of a pro-life site, it seems likely to me that this couple just grabbed whatever they found in a Google search.

    I voted for life anyway.  Why not?

  23. Good points. Kelsey. And a pretty sad thing to do for fame. Then again, we’ve witnessed a rash of incidents where people have done increasingly outrageous things to get media attention. Perhaps this is the next logical step in our ‘reality’ obsessed culture?  All in all it’s pretty depressing.

  24. Carder, I thought the same thing… shades of balloon boy!
    Cranium, it is your grandchild before he or she is born. My father-in-law grabbed me at his labor day party and brought me to his friends from work and said “This is my daughter-in-law and this (placing a hand on my swollen belly) is my grandson!”
    Jennifer Starr… are you saying that if you know the gender it would be a shame to abort but if you don’t know the gender its not? My son was a boy from the moment of conception. I didn’t find out he was a boy till month 5 but a boy he was. How would my knowing or not knowing change his humanity or make it okay or not okay to kill him in the womb?

  25. >>>a form of survivor. Prank or not this
    >>>shows how cheap life has become and
    >>>how low we will go  to entertain ourselves.

    Reality TV come home to roost.

    And both the pro-lifers and the baby-killers feed into it by looking at the website and clicking the vote button. People act shocked and disgusted, but not shocked enough or disgusted enough to prevent them from participating in the objective moral evil that is taking place by looking at the website in morbid fascination and voting on whether or not to kill a baby. 

    Personally, I’m not shocked at this is happening. What is shocking is that we don’t see more of this type of stuff. What is amazing is how through the prayers of the deacons, preiests, nuns, monks, the holy father and the faithful laity that God, through his mercy, prevent’s more of this from happening. What is amazing is how God, through the gift of faith and grace, prevents people like you and I from doing things just as stupid as this couple is doing. 

    Some would argue that if the innocent child dies, he spends eternity in heaven in union with the Blessed Trinity. If the child lives, he spends his childhood being raised by two people who would decide on whether he lives or dies according to the results of an internet poll. Either way, the child needs our prayers.

    How many Catholics, who feign outrage and yet go to this website and participate in this evil, would be willing to get up a half hour early, drive to an adoration chapel on the way to work and offer a rosary?


  26. No, Sydney–that’s not what I’m saying.  I’m sorry if I didn’t clarify that. My friend didn’t know what the sex of her baby was until it was born; and when I have a baby of my own I would actually like to hear ‘It’s a boy!’ or ‘It’s a girl!’ and be surprised.

  27. Ultimately whatever this turns out to be, it saddens me. Either that they would make such an important and life-changing decision in such a cavalier manner, or that they would exploit a pregnancy for fame, financial gain or political reasons.  Both are equally loathsome in my opinion, and I have little respect for anyone who would sink that low.

  28. I may be in the minority here, but if it’s indeed a pro-life hoax and they never had any intention of aborting (which I think is the case), I think it’s brilliant!  What a bold way to get people talking about the morality of abortion, as well as seeing ultrasounds and reading about fetal development, right on the website!  Controversial yes, but certainly a conversation starter!

    Of course if it is not a hoax and they actually would consider aborting, then there is something mentally wrong with this couple.

  29. They say first planned pregnancy ended…..
    Second planned pregnancy ended….
    So they bought the website to put up for a vote whether or not to abort a planned pregnancy?  This is such a scam by attention seekers.  I think they should give the baby up for adoption – they are obviously not good parents.

  30. Peg, I must respectfully disagree.   I may be cynical and I probably am, but I generally find that outrageous and controversial stunts, whichever side of the political spectrum they fall on, tend to be less about the cause they are serving and more about personal aggrandizement.  Sort of like someone who jumps up and down and screams ‘Look at me!’  And I think either way this couple has some serious mental issues.

  31. my youngest niece (7 months old now) was a niece BEFORE she was born….last December my brother and sister in law found out that baby #4 was going to be a girl…..which I was ecstatic about.    Don’t go telling ME that my niece was NOT A BABY yet or my cousin’s baby (who is 4 months old now) was NOT a baby yet (I saw her ultrasound at Christmas. last year…I saw a tiny little person on that picture…not tissue or a blob).
    If this is a joke, that couple is sick.       The baby doesn’t get a choice….his or her fate is decided by the parents…no rights at all.

  32. i just cant comprehend anybody even thinking about doing this as at this stage. the tiny life inside her has a little hearbeat tiny fully formed hands feet etc…i could not believe this story when i read it this morning and still cant.absolutely shocking

  33. Jennifer Starr,

    It’s nice to read your posts. You’re the sort of person I like to talk with about this debate. I hope that you stick around. :)

  34. Of course I immediately went and voted for them to have the baby and now you’re saying they may not be pregnant at all and this is their shot at a Reality TV show or something? Good grief, it was already sick enough….

  35. This is so, so sick. Hoax or not, how can anyone do this sort of thing? How could they contemplate killing their child, based solely on what a bunch of strangers think? Kristen, you are absolutely correct–these people should give the poor child to someone who will raise it properly.

  36. There are a couple of things that I’d be willing to bet on at this point. One, that this was chiefly the husband’s idea. Not that she hasn’t gone along, but I’d be willing to bet that the original notion came from him. He even set up a Facebook ‘fan page’–obviously in anticipation of the attention he was hoping to receive.  And secondly, I predict that something will crack very soon–they can’t keep up this hoax forever,and it’s becoming more and more apparent that this is a hoax. Both sides are saying it now,and what’s more,  they have proof.
    The pregnancy is real, I think. And that’s what makes this most disturbing in my view.  They’ve already experienced two miscarriages. I remember how my friend was during her pregnancy–she wasn’t even able to breathe until she was sure that she wouldn’t miscarry again.
    The stress that Alisha Arnold must be under–not only from the invective hurled at them but from the various press probably camped outside their door–must be terrific. And if it is her husband’s idea, how insensitive of him to put her and the baby through this to score a political point. And shame on her for going along with it.
    I’m betting within a week or so that we’ll see them on The Today Show saying how hard this has been. And while it may sound harsh, my opinion will be that ‘you brought it on yourselves’.

  37. “….last December my brother and sister in law found out that baby #4 was going to be a girl…..which I was ecstatic about.”
    Don’t you mean “was a girl,” not “going to be?”

  38. Ah, yor bro ken, your usual incisive commentary and cutting wit I see. What a valuable contribution.
    The attribution of terms such as ‘grandchild’, ‘niece’ or ‘nephew’ to a fetus is purely subjective.
    Dr. Nadal is right, these people are a bit thick, no matter what their viewpoint.

  39. Then he’s on a level playing field isn’t he :-)
    “not serious people’ – what does that mean? Are we less than ‘fully human’?

  40. Everyone, everywhere should pray for these people to abandon this perverse and craven project and for God to open their hearts to the twisted nature of what they are doing. Regardless of their intention, its hideous.

  41. You know, if every woman who considered abortion put her decision up for a vote on the internet, we would have FEWER abortions…because she would take time to consider her other options, take stock of her life situation, and realize that she’s not as alone and desperate as she first thought.

  42. I’m enjoying a day off, and have a few moments to reflect upon this whole fiasco.

    I have to ask, is this couple’s plot to determine their unborn’s fate, whether real or faked, any more horrific than:

    -a scared teenager deciding to abort because she’s afraid she won’t be able to finish school?

    -a mother of three small children deciding to abort because her husband was leaving?

    -a capable career woman, unexpectedly but delightedly pregnant, deciding to abort because her boyfriend “hadn’t signed up for” a baby?

    -a bright young woman, against the wishes of her boyfriend, deciding to abort because her mother had emotionally abused her and convinced her that she could never be a good mother?

    -a married mother of one born child deciding to wanting help to abort her second immediately because the morning sickness was keeping her from going to work?

    -a beautiful teen with strong family support deciding to abort because her boyfriend wanted her to?

    These are all clients of mine. Real women.

    All had booked abortion appointments and some had actually gone to the clinic, some more than once. None were helped with their actual problems by the abortion providers, none were asked if this was what they really wanted or if their conclusions leading them to abort were based in facts rather than fear. 

    All of them, because of a friend, or a family member, or a complete stranger standing outside the clinic, told them that it wasn’t too late to reconsider and to get help, ended up in our PRC’s counselling rooms.

    The scared teenager was informed that she did have the option to finish school and have her baby. She enrolled in our parent support program and a few weeks ago gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, a few days after she graduated from high school.

    The mother of three cried, kissed the printouts of her ultrasound scan, determined to keep her baby with our support even without her husband’s, and then lo and behold, a few weeks later, he came crawling back, begging to reconcile. Their little girl is due in a few weeks.

    That capable career woman needed nothing but a listening ear and some encouragement. The tears streamed down her face as she watched her child dance on the ultrasound. She told her boyfriend to buck up and face up to fatherhood- and he did. She sent flowers to our office the next day and credited us with saving her relationship, her sanity and her child’s life.

    The bright young woman just needed to hear how beautiful and capable she is. She has come back weekly for encouragement, and everyone except her damaged mother, including her father and her boyfriend’s parents, are thrilled to support her and welcome the birth of their grandchild. We have hope that her mother will come around in time.

    The married mother of one was offered an appointment with a capable doctor who put her on an over-the-counter medication which calmed her morning sickness. Her little boy is due to be born any day now.

    The beautiful teen discovered, after not showing up for her second abortion appointment, that her boyfriend was already sleeping with someone else. She’s now capably caring for her darling baby boy while studying and working part time, with lots of support from family, friends and her community.

    The horror in this couple’s pregnancy decision process is not the method that they have apparently (or want to appear to have) chosen.

    The horror is that, regardless of how it happens, their child may be killed.

    Some people desperately want to protect the child and feel helpless that they are limited to a vote on an internet poll.  Others, because of their ideology, are forced to say “well, it’s their choice” even though their skin must be crawling at the prospect of little Wiggles being dismembered. If they aren’t secretly disturbed at the thought of a child the size of their hand, barely weeks away from viability, being torn apart limb by limb, they really should get some professional help.

    I’m not sure I agree with this couple’s tactics, if indeed, this is a “pro-life” plot to shine a light on the horrors of abortion, but regardless, it’s working.

    Every day, tiny human beings like “Wiggles” are not being given nearly as much consideration by their parents. At least this couple is taking their time making their decision. Many of my clients go from discovering their pregnancy to booking their abortion in under 24 hours. At least they are not dehumanising him or claiming that he is just tissue or a clump of cells. They are being scientifically honest by sharing their ultrasound scans and updates on his development.

    Be sad for “Wiggles” and be heartbroken for the millions of other unborn humans who have not been offered these most basic of considerations. They go to their deaths unnamed, unseen, unconsidered, unmourned. Their lives are measured by a few hundred dollars and a plastic bag or a drain for a tomb. Be motivated by the millions of mothers who realise too late that they had other options, but in fear, took what seemed the path of least resistance, and discovered in hindsight that a child grows up and leaves home, but an aborted child can haunt you forever.

  43. I must agree with Sandmama–whatever the intent may be, this is hideous. And now according to reports the mother is on bedrest due to the stress this is putting on her. If they actually care about this baby they will pull the site and come clean, because the political gain isn’t worth all this. It may be too late to put this genie back in the bottle, but maybe they can find some peace of mind in telling the truth. It will set you free, as they say.

  44. Very beautiful post Michelle. I am looking forward to volunteering at a local CPC soon. Don’t have much time, but I hope even a very little time will help. Thank you for all of the loving help that you provide women in time of need. God bless you!

  45. Why is the title of ‘grandchild’ upon the biological offspring of your biological offspring subjective? Why is the title of ‘niece’ or ‘nephew’ upon the biological offspring of my sibling subjective?

  46. Michelle,

    THANK YOU for your post!! THANK YOU for being there for women that need your help and support so desperately!! I am grateful to you and all of the others that reach out to women in their time of need and offer what I wanted for myself before my abortion. God bless you!

    I love this

    None were helped with their actual problems by the abortion providers, none were asked if this was what they really wanted or if their conclusions leading them to abort were based in facts rather than fear.

  47. Jennifer Starr,

    So you, being pro-choice would prefer this couple make their decision in a more private manner, correct?  Then you would feel better about their choice to kill their baby?

    I think what this couple is doing is great.  Exposing the hypocrisy of the pro-aborts…

  48. God bless you Carla, for loving your family (including Aubrey) and loving other women who have lost children to abortion.

    I’m not participating in this vote. It’s ludicrous, and I think I might have more respect for this couple if it actually turned out that it was all a hoax.

    To think that they would create this legacy for their son even before he is born, if he gets to be. Unlike newspapers of yesteryear which were quickly thrown out, the internet is forever. They will have to move to another country and change their identities if they decide to birth and don’t want their son to know the dramas surrounding his gestation.

    They have just put a big target on themselves for the media and all the loonies to keep following, and even if they were originally just seeking attention, it appears that none of the attention they’ve been getting is positive. It certainly can’t be beneficial for their child, Alisha’s health, or their marriage.

  49. Oh, and Segamon- please volunteer whatever hours you can afford. We need so much help, both with client situations and behind the scenes. I am sure that you have talents, ideas and contacts that will be of benefit to the CPC/PRC nearest you.  Even a few hours a week is a blessing (our offices are staffed by about 70 volunteers, many of whom give just a few hours a week- it all counts- we are an amazing team, working together for life.)

    Someone at RH Reality Check just commented that there should be research into where CPCs get all our funds from because surely, it can’t be all from individuals. I literally laughed out loud. We have never, ever ever, in our 25 year history, received a single dollar from the government. Yep, it’s all from individuals, and individuals who give to churches and community groups. No Warren Buffet or Bill Gates to bankroll us with their millions, just lots of caring individuals, many giving just a few dollars each week. 

    While I am on the subject…holidays can traditionally be a lean time for CPCs/PRCs financially, as families have so many other demands on their finances, and since we would consider it unethical to create a scandal and make money with Google ads on our website (LOL) please remember your local CPC/PRC while you’re carving the turkey or trimming the tree!

  50. I’ll admit, I did vote on this. Not because I wanted to, but because at the time, the votes were somewhere near 800-600 in favor of aborting. As sick as it felt to even vote for such a thing, I couldn’t have lived with myself knowing I could’ve helped, but instead did nothing.

  51. Yes, Jasper–I would prefer this to be a private matter, but not for the reasons that you may think. In my opinion we’ve become far too voyeuristic a society. From people sharing the most intimate details of their lives on TV talk shows to reality shows where people live out their lives and in some cases their children’s lives in front of the camera, we’ve become a society obsessed with ‘reality’.  We’ve taken people with no talent (except for that of notoriety) and elevated them to the status of ‘celebrity’. Our public has gotten from the point of ‘Enquiring minds want to know’ to ‘need to know’ and even beginning to think that we deserve to know.
    If a total stranger approached you in a store and began discussing his sex life, you’d think he was a nut. Yet this happens on talk shows all the time and we watch. I’m not being holier than thou–I’ve been guilty of watching too.
    And predictably, due to this,  we’ve had people doing increasingly desperate things in an attempt to grab fame or money or just a little attention for themselves. In my opinion the Arnolds, whatever their actual motives might be, fall into this group.
    Alisha Arnold is on bedrest right now due to the stress. The press is probably ringing the phone off the hook and camped on their front lawn. They’ve received vicious hate mail. They’re putting their life under enormous stress. For God’s sake, this is a woman who has miscarried previously. Is she willing to do so again for the sake of politics or fame?  At this point I’m beginning to think that this couple is either callous and pathological or missing their brains.
    So yes, I would prefer this to be private. It’s a private decision that should not be public–and whatever the outcome I’d prefer not to know. I don’t need or want to know. But I know I’m in the minority, and in a year or so one of the Arnolds will probably appear on the front of a magazine and be on Oprah or  the latest season of ‘Dancing with the Whatevers’. Such is life today.
    Personally?  If I were Alisha I would choose to keep the baby. But I’m not her. And it’s not my baby.  I can’t take that responsibility for her, which is why I refuse to vote in the poll.

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