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#1 of 45 Old 10-26-2003, 06:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi. Before I ask my question, I would like to politely request that we not turn this into a debate thread.
I am trying to move past debating the abortion issue.. even though I am ardently pro-choice. But I feel that shouting at each-other from opposite sides of the fence has become totally unproductive, and I am wondering if there is something better to do.

So, as a start, and to show my respect.. I will call you what you call yourselves.. "pro-life" instead of something more abrasive. And I will ask you my question..

Can we find common ground?
I think we can agree that we'd like to see fewer unwanted pregnancies.. we want all babies to be born into loving families..
What else can we agree on? What can we work toward together?

Sex Education?
Empowering women to held their bodies and sexuality sacred?
Teaching young men to respect women?

Contraception? (Ugh don't want to start an abstinence debate either...)

I am just wondering if there is a way to put away the abortion debate for a moment, to find other ways to work together?
Is it possible?

I am trying to be positive here, asking sincerely.. so lets try to keep this respectful, please.
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#2 of 45 Old 10-26-2003, 07:57 PM
 
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Dear Asherah,
Thank you for your thoughtful post.

On one of the points you mentioned, that of teaching young people better ways of handling gender and sex, I would hope some common ground could be found. It is so sad to see girls whose boyfriends are threatening them with physical harm or abandonment if they don't get an abortion. It is depressing to see women who have been engaging in flat-out dangerous sexual behavior and just keep hoping they don't get HIV. But I am not optimistic about large-scale "educational" initiatives...these things, like most other important life lessons and skills, have to be passed from a caring, involved individual adult to the special young people in his/her life. Perhaps the best straregy would be to offer interested ADULTS courses or literature on how to transmit these values to their own children, nieces and nephews, etc.


But you know, what we are all working towards at MDC--the gentle and humane treatment of children, the acknowledgement of parenting as worthy and important work, the achievement of a child-friendly society---these are all things that might change people's attitudes about parenting and children in general and, I hope, make more women excited about mothering the children they might not have planned for.
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#3 of 45 Old 10-26-2003, 09:06 PM
 
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I'm not exactly pro-life, but neither am I ardently pro-choice. I'd like to see shame divorced from sex. Right now we have a ridiculous double standard: unwed or teenage mothers are villified, and yet abortion is seen as morally wrong as well. Let's stop heaping shame upon unwed mothers. Instead, we need non-judgemental support for unwed mothers and unwed pregnant women including generous social programs to provide financial aid, education, child care, health care and parenting support for needy mothers.
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#4 of 45 Old 10-26-2003, 09:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I wish we (we meaning the whole country) could just put the abortion issue away for a while.. just sort of declare a moratorium on it.. and come together to work on these other issues instead.
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#5 of 45 Old 10-27-2003, 01:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by asherah
[B

Can we find common ground?


What else can we agree on? What can we work toward together?

Sex Education?
Empowering women to held their bodies and sexuality sacred?

Teaching young men to respect women?

Contraception? (Ugh don't want to start an abstinence debate either...)

[/B]
I'm totally confused which one is your "question" there are quite a few in there? I am right to life and the only thing I see in here which seems related to that issue to me is contraception.

Yes, people should use contraception would be my answer?

Sorry, I just don't get the point of your thread.

Thanks.
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#6 of 45 Old 10-27-2003, 03:03 AM
 
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Well I get the point of your thread and I think you have some very good points that I very much agree with.

We can change the world even if it is only one child, one family, at a time.

We can start by teaching our sons to respect women, and our daughters to respect themselves. This, even more that teaching about abstinence and contraception, is the best way to prevent sexually transmitted disease and unwanted pregnancies.

Empowering women to hold their bodies and sexuality sacred, is probably a better way to encourage abstinence. A young woman that considers her body and sexuality sacred is not likely to become pregnant before she is ready to have a child. Likewise for a young man.
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Let's stop heaping shame upon unwed mothers. Instead, we need non-judgemental support for unwed mothers and unwed pregnant women
ITA! As a society we need to be sensitive and responsitive to the needs of young mothers and young families. Because so many woman are choosing to delay having children until they are in their 30's, we have become, as a society, even more critical of young mothers.
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#7 of 45 Old 10-27-2003, 03:48 AM
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Hi Barbara

Not to go too far off topic, but I had a baby out of wedlock, unplanned, whose father turned into a jiggling mass of jelly and ran for the hills leaving us a lone with no family to help us.

I was 35 when I had her, and have been treated no differently than a crack mama on welfare or a teen-mother by strangers and friends alike.

I think the goal should be to reduce the stigma for all unmarried mothers who have the courage to forego abortion and do it alone. The current statistic in the this country is that 66% of all births today are to single mothers. Those demographics sweep across the board of age, social status, drug status, whatever.

It has been an unbelievable eye- opener to be in this group.
The poor treatment and lack of support single mothers receive is outlandish in this day and age. Also I think the fact that many married moms are forced back to work when they somtimes don't want to leave their babes is another sign of our society under valuing parenthood.
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#8 of 45 Old 10-27-2003, 02:00 PM
 
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oatmeal, thank you for sharing your story. I completely agree, it is a shame the way single mothers are treated. Even though there is often lip service about respecting single mothers, the reality is a gross lack of respect and support!

I'm not sure what the answer is, or how to go about making a change in society's attitudes toward single moms. I think that centers that help with physical needs and education are a good start, but I fear that too often there is a condesending attitude toward the woman they help.

Some of the educational tactics that are used in highschools do nothing but stigmitize young mothers. I guess the idea is to scare young girls so that they won't get pregnant, but the backlash of this type of "education" is that single mothers are type-caste into a derogitory symbol. This method of education also puts motherhood in general into a bad light, and I fear that these woman will go into motherhood with negative ideas about babies.
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#9 of 45 Old 10-27-2003, 07:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well if you don't get the point of my thread, why post in it?

I am trying to get people on opposite sides of the abortion issue to reach out to each other instead of screaming at each other.
I am trying to see if there are things we can agree on and work toward together instead of focusing on what divides us.
I am trying to see if we can figure out a way to make abortions unneccessary instead of fighting about them.

Sorry if you don't understand the point of this.
But I'd like it if those of us who do understand it can continue to speak to each other.
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#10 of 45 Old 10-27-2003, 07:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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And, by the way, I agree that more respect for SAHMS, and opposition to the demonization of single mothers are important areas.

See.. common ground. That is what I am getting at. I am pro-choice, you are pro-life.. but we could both work toward these goals.
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#11 of 45 Old 10-27-2003, 07:10 PM
 
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I think the one commonality between those opposed to abortion and those opposed to the loss of women's rights, is that both want less unwanted children to be brought into the world.

I don't think the answer is just in teaching contraceeption, and not in teaching that sex is sacred(not everyone believes it is), but that our bodies are worth taking care of and protecting.

I think putting an emphasis on things like preventing STDs, AIDS, etc would be a great place to start. Discouraging sex because of pregnancy won't work. ome young girls have sex too get pregnant.

So, if we can convey to young men and woman, the worth of their selves, then I think we will be on the start to ending unwanted pregnancies/children.

Oh, and to get the already born children homes, no matter what their physical limitaions, or color. To do this we have to teach prospective parents about unconditional love.
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#12 of 45 Old 10-27-2003, 07:14 PM
 
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As a society we need to stop with the lip service about "Mothering being the most important job" etc and take some action that shows we actually believe it. Single moms have it really rough. Even moms with partners are still carrying far more of the parenting burden and household burden than their mates... and yet our society still expects them to "put down the bon-bons and bring home a paycheck". It's nuts. If we could make it more possible to raise a child well, actively work against the negative attitudes we might reach a real common goal. A world in which far fewer women would seek abortions strictly out of fear and desperation.
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#13 of 45 Old 10-27-2003, 07:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by kama'aina mama
As a society we need to stop with the lip service about "Mothering being the most important job" etc and take some action that shows we actually believe it. Single moms have it really rough. Even moms with partners are still carrying far more of the parenting burden and household burden than their mates... and yet our society still expects them to "put down the bon-bons and bring home a paycheck". It's nuts. If we could make it more possible to raise a child well, actively work against the negative attitudes we might reach a real common goal. A world in which far fewer women would seek abortions strictly out of fear and desperation.
Excellant Idea!!

MNS
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#14 of 45 Old 10-27-2003, 10:12 PM
 
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As a society we need to stop with the lip service about "Mothering being the most important job" etc and take some action that shows we actually believe it.
Yes! Yes! Yes! I'm so sick of hearing "Mothers have the most important job..." blah blah blah when it's clear that mothers--regardless of marital or societal status--are generally crapped on by everybody.

Not to say that single mothers don't have it worse, or to undermine the struggles unique to single mothers, but mothers in general get no realrespect.
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#15 of 45 Old 10-27-2003, 10:15 PM
 
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Let's stop heaping shame upon unwed mothers. Instead, we need non-judgemental support for unwed mothers and unwed pregnant women
ITA!!! I am about as RTL as a person can be and I am loving the idea and theme in this thread. Alot more could be accomplished if we worked together on issues that surround abortion.

I was pregnant with my first child and was unwed, although living with the father. I was still embarassed many, many times. I would see people look at my belly, my face and then my hands to see if I was wearing a ring. I used to hide my hands alot just to keep people from judging me. FTR we did marry and now have a son too. I think because as was stated earlier this country seems to look at young pregnant women as a "problem" I was looked at even more closely than if I was perhaps ten years older. I was pg with my first at 23 - hardly a child. I was pg with ds at 26 and still people did the same thing!!!!!!

Now to address the original post. While not all people view sex as a sacred act, I believe that most people can identify the human body as special and worhty of respect. Most people view the personhood of an individual as very important and I think that these are areas taht are highly neglected in our society today.

The media at large teaches women to dress and act sexy at such young ages, frighteningly young IMO. Boys are taught that to be "cool" or wahtever the term of the day is they need to "get some" and girls are buying into that same mentality as well. Girls parade around dressed in as little as possible to entice boys to look. Boys look, ask out and eventually expect something from her.

Now before someone flames me for talking about dress here I have a valid point.

If a relationship is based on physical attraction adn trpohy value alone, if she looks easy or willing as a base, then there is no real foundation of the relationship anyway. He has not learned of her personhood, her mind, heart, dreams. Only her body is paid attention to. Many girls are just the same when it comes to boys.
Covering up will not solve this. This requires quite a shift that needs to come from home and at least a little in schools. KWIM?

When asked don't I think that a woman has a right to decide what happens to her body and choose if she wants to have children, I answer with this: Yes. She can decide if she wishes to have sex and if so to choose which form of contraception is best and will be most effective for her. Threrfor I believe in contraception education and education about absitnence as well. NO WOMAN OR MAN SHOULD EVER FEEL THEY "HAVE" TO SLEEP WITH ANYONE. This should be the focus of absitnance education.
Too many times it is either expected of them or they feel pushed into it. People need to learn how to respect themselves and their bodies first, then it will naturally carry over to to other areas of life. People need to be taught that each individual person is worthy of respect and is valuable regardless of social or economic standing. That getting to know someone is important and that you can certainly enjoy being with someone without having sex with them.

Sex is literally bombarding our children at infancy. Think about waht children see on a daily basis. Go to the grocery, sexually provocative magazine covers, just channel surf for almost any kind of sexual activity imaginable on basic cable at all hours of the day, music, MTV, magazines, other kids, clothing available. Don't get me started on the clothing rant. I will just this: I would not dress my three year old in daisy dukes and a belly shirt. What does that teach her??? What does that teach my son????

we can closely monitor what our children see when watching tv and on the web, we can ask and ask and ask at the stores to put blinders on the covers of sexually charged mag covers and we can most importantly teach our children to hold themselves and their sexuality in esteem.

Esteem in youth, contraception in adults. together this will work. But still women and men will choose to not use it, regardles of what STD's they may get, the babies they may abort or the regrets they may one day have.

I am Christian, I will teach my children abstinance. Certainly. I will also teach contraception. It is part of becoming an adult to learn about fertility and how the body works, we now have many ways to take charge of that fertility and I will begin that subject when my dd becomes a fertile woman.

i am not naieve either. Sex feels good, it is a strong drive, it can be overwhelming in the heat of the moment. While I hope and pray that my dd and ds will give their future spouses the gift of their virginity, I am not denying that may not happen.

Respect for ones personhood and contraception can go a long, long way.

I am not sure how people on the other side of the fence feel about this, but I also think that caring for a child as a young mother is made too difficult. Schools ALL schools, places of business and such should be required to offer FREE and GOOD, SAFE daycare for those children so the mom can stay in school and then transition to a job untill she gets on her feet and can pay for quality daycare.

If the mother does not want to raise the child adoption should be focused on as well as just saying to "get rid of it". Adoption needs to made much less expensive. All good homes cannot afford the steep fees for adoption. We can provide nicely for our children but we could have never even afforded 5000.00 to adopt.
Adoption should not be something that only more wealthy people can afford, but something looked at as a real service for and to the mothers and children who need loving, safe good homes.
Homelife should be emphasised more than anything and fees if needed should be rock bottom or waived just to get these children out of the "system" and into families where they will be loved and cherished. Cut the red tape and the bull. Do something real about this. Aborting is not the answer to this situation, less greed is. I do not know all the scrutiny that a family goes through to adopt, but I think much of it may be frivolous, like income requirements, like as if a poor family are less qualified to care for a child than one that makes more money. As long as food can shelter and clothing can be met, nough said!
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#16 of 45 Old 10-27-2003, 10:42 PM
 
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I also wish the need for abortion would be reduced. I think it's very sad. Here are some suggestions:

Create teenage pregnancy prevention plans that focus on boys, not girls. Girls do not get themselves pregnant - very often, they have a boy's help! Girls often become pregnant against their will - rape, incest, etc. Also, high school (and younger) age girls who become pregnant often got that way with a man who was college age or older. Men should be educated about rape, statutory rape, etc.

Bring back the true welfare state. None of this welfare-to-work! Pay mothers to stay home and raise their children. Pay them thousands of dollars! If they want to go to college (or get a job) pay them enough so their kids can go to the highest-quality school or daycare available.

Realize that married mothers don't have it so easy either. My situation: I am married, but as far as I'm concerned I may as well be single because dh is a full-time student (as am I). My university provides support to single parents in the form of special scholarships and loans, educational opportunities that other students don't have, etc. I think that's good, but I think these programs should include all parents.

Provide contraception. Teach abstinence, but don't tell kids it's the only option, or even the best option. Make contraception available to all kids of all ages, without parental knowledge.

Provide pregnant teens (well, all women, really) with excellent prenatal care of their choice. Encourage them to have the birth experience they want. Let them know about home birth. Provide breastfeeding education and support.

Make adoption a more realistic option for everyone. Don't exclude potential adoptive parents just because they are poor, homosexual, or single. Screen foster parents (more than once!) to make sure they are truly fit to be parents. Make sure that the home a disabled, drug-addicted black child is placed in is of the same quality as the home that got the perfectly healthy white child. (And yes, every fervently pro-life person should have at least one adopted child!)

Finally, let pregnant teens and single mothers know that they have done nothing wrong - they have every right to bear children, and that in doing so they greatly benefit the world around them.
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#17 of 45 Old 10-27-2003, 10:47 PM
 
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Originally posted by Greaseball
Girls do not get themselves pregnant - very often, they have a boy's help!
Can you link to some studies that support this claim?
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#18 of 45 Old 10-27-2003, 10:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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HA!

See, now this is great stuff.
This is what I was hoping for.
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#19 of 45 Old 10-27-2003, 11:20 PM
 
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I agree with much of what has been suggested, esp. that kids need to be taught respect for themselves.

I think there needs to be a whole societal change though in the ideas of sex. I will teach my children about how wonderful sex is, I will tell them openly how great it feels, and be very open about sexual issues, but I do not think it is just a religious thing to promote abstinence.

There are very serious issues with rape and incest, in which the girl has no choice, and other than raising our boys right, and being extra cautious who our kids are with, I just don't have the answers of how to end those things, I just have such little understanding of what makes men do those things.

On the topic though, of abstinence, when it is one's choice. It is very worthwhile, even for non-religious people, to teach that as wonderfully fabulous sex is, and how it's only purpose is not pro-creation, but that conceiving a child is always a chance that a man and woman (boy and girl, etc.) take when having sex, there is no 100% birth control, and so, when people (heterosexual)who are not sterile (or already pregnant ) chose to have sex (even with "protection") they are making a choice that *could* result in the creation of a new life.

I will talk my kids through what they would do if they conceived a child before they were ready. People need to realize that while sex is wonderful it is not just about you and feeling good.

I just think we have spent so much time telling people that if they would just correctly use "birth control" then we wouldn't have unwanted pregnancies, and this is so simply not true. I can't count how many people I know who have conceived babies while using birth control.

We need to raise kids who have high self-esteem, as well as high levels of personal responsibility, and the ability to consider the life they may create, we need to expect a lot from our children, and therefore we have a lot of work to do.

As I said, there were lots of great ideas already in this thread, and I agree with a lot of them, but I just think a major portion of the problem is how our society has distanced sex from creating new life.

:Patty :fireman Catholic, intactalactivist, co-sleeping, GDing, HSing, no-vax Mama to .........................:..........hale:
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#20 of 45 Old 10-28-2003, 12:07 AM
 
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I am not trying to start a mean debate, but I am quite skeptical of the idea that stay-at-home-moms should be paid ---HOWEVER I am open to being informed and enlightened....

These are my thoughts: Where is this money going to come from? I know that some moms here at MDC, I think asherah and EFmom included (correct me if I'm wrong), have chosen to continue working for reasons other than financial need. Why should they have to hand over more of their money (if we're talking about taxes) or their time (if we're talking about WOH employees shouldering the burden of company policy) , which represents time spent away from their children, so that I can stay home with my boys without having to baby-sit part-time to make ends meet? Or is it the hard-working dads who are going to have to put in more hours and say goodbye to more of their hard-earned money--leaving them with less energy for their children and more financial stress? If any dads are left, that is---we've already witnessed the lovely effects of at what happens when men are replaced as protectors/providers by Big Daddy Government...

SAHM's make a different kind of material/financial contribution to their households. I really don't think we ought to be paid by outsiders to do it. You get wages/a salary for working for someone else--you get other rewards for putting your effort into your home & family full-time.
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#21 of 45 Old 10-28-2003, 12:33 AM
 
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hhmmm.. I haven't gotten the impression that anyone thinks SAHM should get money, per se. Most of the comments have been focused on respect. I think it is not crazy to look at the ways in which money forces women away from their children and see if we can keep them together more. More realistic family leave would be one way. Companies making a far more genuine effort to provide quality, on site day care, flex time jobs and shared jobs for those who want or need them. What about figuring breast milk production into the gross national product like Iceland (I think) does. Front of the line privledges in grocery stores for moms (or anyone... duh!) with two or more kids under 4 or 5 in tow. Hawai'i has a small state run office that helps moms meet up to organize baby hui's (play groups). I had never heard of such a thing before... why not? Why doesn't everyplace have that?

I am reminded of something I read in Molly Ivins book "Shrub". Discussing the woeful situation that Texas schools had fallen into someone said something about how critical it is to educate and care for the children. A politician in the room replied "Oh yeah? Do the little F***ers have PAC?"
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#22 of 45 Old 10-28-2003, 02:15 AM
 
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Why should I care about anyone's children besides my own? Because I believe in that silly proverb about it taking a whole village to raise a child. No, I don't know where the money would come from (well, I have ideas, but that would start a whole other thread!) but I think it's the right idea anyway.

I am honored that some of my meager tax contributions each year go to helping poor mothers.

SAHM's (or any parents) are not just helping themselves and their own children. They are helping the rest of society. Just an example - if any of us end up in a nursing home, who do you think is going to give you a bath and bring your dinner? That's right, someone else's kid. I just hope to god that when it's my turn, I get the kid who was raised in a loving home and whose mother was supported in her job as a parent, and not the kid that was left to cry all day in a crib at a state-run daycare center while his mother worked 60 hours a week at Burger King.

Who do you think it is out there, shooting other people's kids, blowing stuff up, ripping everyone off, selling drugs, etc.? Probably not the kid who was listened to. Not the kid who always had a parent to talk to. Most likely, it's the kid who was told he didn't matter because he was just a kid. Or the kid whose mother was told she shouldn't have gotten knocked up.

Early experience matters. Parents matter. Parents are not optional, not luxuries. Children have a right to spend time with their parents in their early years. As a parent I care about every child, not just my own. It's in my best interest to care about everyone, and the best interest of the community as well.

Now, if we could all just care about each other...
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#23 of 45 Old 10-28-2003, 03:40 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by kama'aina mama "Originally posted by Greaseball --
Girls do not get themselves pregnant - very often, they have a boy's help!"
Can you link to some studies that support this claim?
ROTFLMAO :LOL :LOL That's great!
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#24 of 45 Old 10-28-2003, 03:42 AM
 
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Good ideas being thrown around here.

Great thread asherah! Thanks for starting it!
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#25 of 45 Old 10-28-2003, 10:13 AM
 
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Greaseball~

I completely agree with everything you posted!!!!

It boggles my mind when people complain about their taxes taking care of poor people. I for one am happy to be of some help, especially sincee we can't afford to donate to charities outside of our taxes.

AND, if we don't take care of our young people, and they don't grow up to get jobs and pay their taxes, where do you think social security will come from. It's the generation after us that pays for it.
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#26 of 45 Old 10-28-2003, 10:23 AM
 
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I don't think I deserve a paycheck from the gov't for being a SAHM, but I do think that SAHMs should get social security credit during the years we spend out of the workforce caring for our children. According to Anne Crittenden, SAHM-hood is a major predictor of poverty in elderly women.
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#27 of 45 Old 10-28-2003, 11:16 AM
 
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sorry potty diva for the misunderstanding
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#28 of 45 Old 10-28-2003, 11:32 AM
 
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asherah, sorry for taking your thread off topic. We don't need to get caught up fighting about whether it's our personal responsibility or a government one....it ends up being an unproductive waste of time.
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#29 of 45 Old 10-28-2003, 11:41 AM
 
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Respectfully Super Pickle,

What in the world are you talking about?

I don't think I mentioned your psot at all, or your opinions.

Please don't bring me into a fight here.
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#30 of 45 Old 10-28-2003, 02:05 PM
 
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I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this thread!!!!! I have wanted to see a bridge like this built somewhere, anywhere, for a LONG LONG time!!!

I 100% agree about the need to educate EVERYONE better about mutual respect and ownership of ones' own body. Recently someone in my church did a study of our teens and young adults to try to find out what factors contribute to premarital sexual choices. The overwhelming majority of the young women who had sex did so because they didn't want to lose their boyfriend (talk about self esteem issues!!!) while the overwhelming majority of the young men did so because it feels good. Something is definitely wrong w/ this picture, and I don't think it is unique to those of my faith (as also reflected on this thread).

BTW, I would LOVE to get paid for my hard work here at home! Regardless of the fact that I could choose other paid work in addition! Wait, isn't that the whole point of child tax credits? : Wow, I get paid DIRT! Oh, no, that's peanuts. I guess that's 'cause they assume I'm an ELEPHANT!
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