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Online Abortion Vote Is Likely An Anti-Choice Publicity Stunt

Pete and Alisha Arnold made national headlines when, via their site, BirthOrNot.com, the couple asked the public to vote on whether they should have a baby or an abortion. But it appears this was actually an anti-choice publicity stunt.

I cannot handle this much nonsense after 4 p.m. on a Friday, but for you, dear Frisky readers, I will try.Yesterday, the couple’s site, Birth Or Not (which has since crashed under the weight of traffic), posted a sonogram of a fetus at 17 weeks and asked in an online poll whether they should abort. Alisha Arnold, 30, told her local newspaper, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, that she’d suffered three miscarriages and that she and her husband needed help deciding whether to carry this pregnancy to term. “We wanted to give people a chance to voice their opinions in a real situation where it makes a difference,” she said. The public had until December 7th to weigh in with their votes.

But the Arnolds, it turns out, are pretty vocal conservative activists who likely are not crowd-sourcing an actually Really Big, Serious, Important Life Decision.

According to the blogs Gawker and Jezebel, Pete Arnold has a photograph on his Facebook page of himself wearing a T-shirt which reads, “Bitter typical white person clinging to God and my guns” — a paraphrase of a comment Barack Obama made at a fundraiser during the 2008 election. Furthermore, Alisha Arnold “liked” Glenn Beck on her Facebook page and Pete mentioned voting for Bush in 2000. The most condemning evidence that the online abortion vote is a hoax, however, may be how the Arnolds themselves refer to their bun in the oven. Writes blogger Irin Carmon on Jezebel:

“They found out the gender of the child, repeatedly refer to their fetus as a baby, and talk about fetal development in terms of growing eyelashes, tastebuds, and the bones forming on his face. Does that sound like someone blithely going for abortion by crowdsource?

Last but not least, a commenter in Jezebel’s comment thread also claims the domain name BirthOrNot.com was registered on May 17, well before the couple could have been pregnant (this time around, at least).

This is the dumbest example ever of a way to “get people thinking” — my words, not theirs — about such a complicated, nuanced issue as abortion. As strongly as I believe in a woman’s reproductive rights over her own body, I still acknowledge that abortion is a difficult choice to make and some people think it’s wrong. That’s why it’s so offensive of the Arnolds to position choosing an abortion as glib of a decision as voting in an online poll. It all comes down to “yes” or “no” in the end, but the Arnolds seem to lack either the maturity or intellectual comprehension to sufficiently weigh all the steps it takes to get there. Are they really that unaware of the reasons — all the shades of gray — that cause women to terminate their pregnancies? They are trying to make a point at how black and white the issue can be by making it as black and white as possible.

Instead of the nighttime talk show rounds, can we please put the Arnolds in the “time-out” chair with the Ballon Boy dad?

[CBS News]
[Minneapolis Star-Tribune]
[Gawker]
[Jezebel]

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