Friday November 19, 2010

Couple uses internet poll to decide whether to abort or not

By Matthew Anderson

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota, November 19, 2010 ( – A young couple from a Minneapolis suburb is leaving it up to internet users as to whether they will abort their baby or not. Pete and Alisha Arnold, whose baby is in its 17th week, are using an internet poll to ask readers, “Should we give birth or have an abortion?” The couple says that they will use the results of the poll to help make their decision about whether to keep the child.

While the site also features a blog where Pete and Alisha post comments, the main purpose is the poll concerning the baby’s life. In the upper right hand corner, the site says, “You can vote and choose whether we abort or keep our unborn child. For the first time, your vote on the topic of abortion can make a difference.”

The poll currently stands as 80.51% in favor of giving birth, while only 19.49% want the couple to abort the baby. The Arnolds say they will close the poll December 7th, two days before the last day they could get an abortion.

The couple has said that they are leaving the fate of the child to voters because “Voting is such an integral part of the American identity.”

According to the site, the Arnolds have had three past miscarriages. The two most recent miscarriages were in January and April. The couple, in their thirties, has described both of these earlier pregnancies as “planned,” leaving many to wonder why they would consider killing this most recent child.

In their first posts to the website, Pete and Alisha’s reactions to becoming parents were widely different. Pete described himself as “excited at the prospects of being a father” and said he was crossing his “fingers and toes that this one goes off without a hitch.”

However, Alisha expressed more reservations about the pregnancy. She said that she fears the expectation of being a “perfect wife and mother while maintaining a full-time job.” She also said that she was “afraid that I will eventually regret starting a family and ‘settling down’.”

As the pregnancy has gone on, more and more signs point to a healthy baby. Many posts detail the baby’s development by describing doctor’s appointments and using information from different pregnancy resources. All the most recent doctor’s appointments have shown the baby to be developing normally and that Alisha is “right on target for her due date of 4/28/11.”

Alisha commented that being in her 17th week, this is now the longest pregnancy she has had to date. According to Alisha, the baby that miscarried in January was only 13.5 weeks in development.

Recently, a controversy erupted on the site over users of a message board call “4chan.” In a blog post dated yesterday, Pete explained that members of 4chan had been posting links to alongside pictures of pornography in order to encourage people to visit the blog and vote to have the baby aborted.

Before visitors of 4chan started encouraging users to vote for the abortion, only 21% of people had voted in favor of killing the child. After the links were posted, that percentage jumped to 55%, although that number has since reversed strongly in favor of allowing the child to live.

According to Pete, he and Alisha will still consider the abortion based on the votes from those at 4chan. In the aforementioned post, Pete said, “I see 4chan as encouraging people to vote in the poll. How they do it is beyond my control and should not influence decisions about what we are doing here.”

“We don’t see a difference between this and what politicians or supporters do in regards to campaigning”

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