Debate:Birthornot.com

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Following on from a brief debate here between User:Dalek and User:Occasionaluse concerning the website birthornot.com, this debate page has been created to discuss the issue at more length.

Birthornot.com was created by a Minnesota couple with the poll question, "Should we give birth or have an abortion?" Doubts have been raised as to the sincerity of the couple, with blogs and RationalWiki users claiming they're probably just doing this for the sake of publicity, either for themselves (as potential Reality TV stars) or for the abortion debate in general. Let's assume that this is sincere, or perhaps debate a hypothetical case where this is, plain-as-day, what is happening.


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Feel free to add your own spin on the story. Please keep it civil!
Information icon.svg This debate was created by Dalek.


Dalek's opening statement[edit]

Let me first give my stance on the entire abortion issue, something I will perhaps write an essay about in the future. I am not entirely comfortable with abortion, and wish it were not such an accepted part of our culture. I do, however, wholly and entirely believe that it is a woman's right to choose, not a government, religion or society's right to choose if it should or should be allowed.

Birthornot.com rubs me the wrong way. I think it is wrong. I could happily present an argument from the, "They should make the decision themselves, this is a private decision," point-of-view, but I don't think that's the main source of my objections, and I do believe it is their choice to make, and therefore it is their choice on how to make that decision.

My main concern is the duty of a parent. In every decision concerning a child, I believe it is a parent's duty to do what is best for that child. I believe that creating this website is, ultimately, a grave disservice to their child, should they go ahead and raise the child. To ask for opinions from friends or family, or even to create an anonymous website requesting comments from the people of the internet to get involved would not be a bad thing. As Occasionaluse has already argued, to seek opinions and advice is often a wise thing to do in a big decision. However, my concern arises from both the very public nature of the blog and the use of an online poll.

Had the couple done this anonymously, without saying who they were, without speaking to the newspapers, what would they have lost? Everything they have lost would surely be a loss to them, not the child. Namely, publicity. In doing what they have done, releasing their names and location, along with these intentions, into the public domain of the internet, they have created a terrible situation for this potential child. I imagine (and believe) that, any child who found out that an online survey was used to discuss if they should be born or not would be very, very upset. Torn to pieces, perhaps. I think you'd have to be a very strong person to believe that you'd be fine. And even if we can be very rational and cold about it, it'd be folly to say that the majority of people would be fine with it. I also think that using an online poll, with "Yes" or "No" votes largely takes away from the case that they're just hearing all of the possible advice.

I hope this debate continues, feel free to make your own arguments and pick mine to pieces. But I will likely stand by what I am saying: An action which potentially crushes a human being emotionally, orchestrated by that child's parents is an immoral action. DalekEXTERMINATE 09:50, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

I'm not sure I understand how a child (of whatever age) finding out about their parents doing this would be so devastated. It may be weird and embarrassing, in that it would probably seem like a stupid and public decision, but beyond that I'm not sure what impact it could have. Depending on age and such, it might be seen as a sign that the parents didn't want the child, but that really doesn't seem like the point or result of the poll...and it's a pretty common childhood concern to begin with.
The only other exception that comes to mind would be if the child already believed that abortion was tantamount to murder, and thus saw it along the lines of "Hey Internet, should we kill our child?"; it doesn't seem like a standard interpretation, though. ~ Kupochama[1][2] 11:09, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps I overreact, and make it more black and white than it is. But, would you agree that NOT potentially exposing a child to that is superior to potentially exposing a child to it, and as such, they're failing as (would-be) parents - seeking publicity or asking negligently in a way which could be negative to the child, when they could equally act in a way which would not do so? DalekEXTERMINATE 11:24, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Agreed. It was easily possible to avoid the publicity stunt and thus spare their family the potential shame, aside from the various other issues with what they're doing. I wouldn't call it a major problem, but I see no good reason for them to post personal information in the first place, so it seems pretty relevant. ~ Kupochama[1][2] 11:38, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
I agree that most children would cope with this just fine, but there is potential for damage. When should you tell? Because of the publicity you will be exposed sooner or later. Telling to a 8yo on a sunny day with some unapologetic ice cream should go well, but it could turn against you a few years later. It would seem to me that the more it's discussed the bigger of a deal it becomes, so you'd better get it right the first time. Doing what they do is a bit nasty indeed.
On the other hand the parents need the publicity to fix their indecisiveness. It's understandable to end up 50-50, after all it's impossible to know the right decision with certainty. Flipping a coin or getting trolled on yahoo answers will not cut it for a serious issue. A less stubborn person will just flip again the next day. Getting hard advice/opinions out of friends is not easy, if you succeed you might just hate it. Coming up with a plan to aid in your decision is actually a responsible action, if good faith is assumed. --85.76.179.108 (talk) 12:10, 20 November 2010 (UTC)