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Couple Lets Internet Vote on Whether They Should Have an Abortion

abortion pollA few months ago, 30-year-old Alisha Arnold found out that she was pregnant for the third time, after having suffered two miscarriages in less than two years. She and her husband Pete, however, weren't sure if they were ready to become parents, and began entertaining thoughts of an abortion. Before making that intensely personal decision, though, the couple decided to gauge the collective opinion of the most impersonal community known to man: the Internet.

In September, the married couple from Minnesota began blogging about their pregnancy on a site called Birthornot.com, where they would regularly post updates, ultrasound pictures, and updates on the status of Alisha and her now 17-week-old fetus. On the right sidebar of the blog, however, is a curiously straightforward poll, which asks, "Should We Give Birth or Have an Abortion?" Visitors can choose from two options: "Have an Abortion," or "Give Birth."

At the moment, the "Give Birth" option has 46-percent of the vote, while 54-percent of visitors have suggested that the Arnolds get an abortion. Once all the votes are tallied, the Arnolds will reportedly use the results to help make a decision, which they'll have to do by December 9th -- the last day they'll be able to get an abortion, under Minnesota state law. (The poll closes on December 7th.)

Although the couple says that the results will influence their decision, they're reserving the right to have the final say. "It's kind of like Congress," the possibly expectant father told Gawker. "They might vote for something, but the president has the final veto. If it's overwhelming one way or the other, that will carry a lot more weight." Pete says he'll go through all the votes to make sure no one's voted twice, but the trolls over at 4chan have already raided the site on a couple of occasions -- in an attempt to tilt the scales toward abortion.

The poll certainly has all the makings of a publicity stunt, but the staunchly Libertarian Pete says he just wants people to get involved in civic issues. (Y'know, like people's private lives, because that's so Libertarian.) "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."

As for the possibility that she's making some sort of elaborate, anti-abortion statement, Alisha says, "It's definitely not a pro-life campaign. I believe in a woman's right to choose." She's certainly free to do what she wants with her fetus, but Alisha would be well-advised to consider what kind of message her pathetic stunt sends to other women. If she's really pro-choice, she probably wouldn't make her decision based on what society thinks. And when said "society" consists at least partially of 4chan, the exercise loses almost all credibility whatsoever, and only makes a mockery of an issue that deserves to be addressed in more sophisticated discourse.

Tags: abortion, AlishaArnold, birth, Blog, children, minnesota, parents, PeteArnold, politics, polls, ProChoice, ProLife, PublicityStunt, top, web

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