Peter J. Smith

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Pro-life husband, pro-abort wife behind ‘BirthorNot’ abortion poll: deny hoax

Peter J. Smith
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ST. PAUL, Minnesota, November 24, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Minnesota pro-life husband and pro-abortion wife have admitted they are the couple behind the BirthOrNot.com site, which featured a poll asking visitors to decide whether they should keep their unborn baby or choose abortion. Many have expressed shock, and some have even alleged that the site is a pro-life publicity stunt, but the truth is stranger than that.

Pete and Alisha Arnold, thirty-something Minnesota suburbanites are expecting a baby, which is in its 18th week of gestation. They set up the shocking internet poll to ask readers, “Should we give birth or have an abortion?” The site went viral last week and prompted a great deal of outcry from both those in the pro-life and pro-abortion camps.

After some digging, however, the Arnolds’ identities were uncovered and the matter was declared by some to be a hoax, given the husband’s propensity for posting on conservative blogs and websites.

The husband-wife pair, however, at first denied that the site was meant to be a hoax - but that is where the story starts to get stranger. Pete Arnold later told CNN that, in actual fact, abortion was never really on the table from the beginning for the unborn child, nick-named “Wiggles.” He said he bought the domain site BirthorNot.com before Alisha became pregnant, and that he wanted to create a dialogue about abortion.

“My intent is not to deceive people, but at the same point, I do want people to talk about this,” Arnold told CNN. “This seemed like a pretty good way to further the discussion, because people don’t ever seem to want to talk about it for real if there’s no name on it, no Baby Wiggles.”

However, Alisha Arnold has since responded to her husband’s statements on CNN in a new post, “I believe in choice,” on their site, saying that she firmly believes that a woman has the right to abort her unborn child. And while she says she is growing closer to the baby, and would probably not abort at this stage, Alisha said abortion was definitely on the table in the beginning - contrary to what her husband Pete told CNN.

“My husband may wish that that was the case, but our early disagreement about this pregnancy is what lead us to start the website in the first place,” said Alisha. “I clearly stated this to the reporter at CNN but my opinion was not included in the article that was published.”

Arnold said her hesitancy about carrying on the pregnancy was due to the trauma from three miscarriages she had already experienced after coming off the pill.

“Pete and I are on different ends of the spectrum when it comes to our beliefs about abortion,” she explained. “I’m sure I will receive considerable harassment about this post, but to me until the baby can survive without the mother (otherwise known as viability) it is not a feasible life.”

“Even though my husband’s opinion and beliefs matter to me, I, as the one carrying the baby have the final say about my body and our unborn child,” she said.

Alisha Arnold did indicate, however, that a number of comments she received from concerned individuals during this whole poll business, did help reassure her to carry through the pregnancy.

“[A]lthough I am still cautious about allowing myself to become attached, I am feeling more optimistic about moving forward,” she added.

Pro-life blogger Jill Stanek said on her blog that Alisha Arnold’s difficulty bonding with her unborn baby is both “understandable and sad.”

She likened the massive votes that the poll received in favor of abortion to a “cyber-Colosseum [sic] mob” and said that the Arnold’s disagreement over the life issue was to blame for this “ill-conceived scheme”.

“Now we just have to pray for the safety of ‘Wiggles,’ Alisha’s continued bonding with him, and the security of their marriage,” she concluded. “I’m also hopeful that through this experience Alisha will be converted on the Life issue.”

In any event, the Arnold’s internet endeavor has proved harmful personally, and economically. Alisha was recently terminated as an employee at the Eagan software firm, “TempWorks.” Local 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS obtained a company memo which stated that Alisha was a grave threat to the company’s reputation and employees were to defriend her on Facebook if they valued their jobs.

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