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Dublin: 12 °C Saturday 25 October, 2014

Couple ‘considering abortion’ create online poll

A couple in the US say that they are putting the fate of their unborn child to the public vote.

A screengrab of Birthornot.com's homepage
A screengrab of Birthornot.com's homepage

PETE AND ALISHA Arnold from Minneapolis have announced that they are expecting their first child – but the couple are unsure whether they are ready, or able, to be parents.

It’s a predicament many people have found themselves in at some point in their lives. However Pete and Alisha have a novel way of dealing with such a dilemma: they have launched Birthornot.com – a website where users can log on and vote on whether the Arnolds should go ahead with the pregnancy or abort their unborn child.

On the website, the Arnolds ask users the question: “Should We Give Birth or Have an Abortion?” At the time of writing, the votes stand 80:20 per cent in favour of Alisha giving birth. The votes will be counted until the beginning of December; two days before the 20th week of Alisha’s pregnancy, after which an abortion is illegal.

The couple say that the poll will heavily influence them but the final decision will be their own.

Genuine?

In an interview with Gawker, the Arnolds denied that they were playing a prank, looking for attention or engaging in a convoluted pro-life campaign. Alisha said: “I believe in a woman’s right to choose.”

The Arnolds include biographical details about themselves on the website, and explain the reasons they are considering terminating the pregnancy. These include three previous unsuccessful pregnancies; a “stagnation in [their]desire” to have a child; and Pete’s being unnerved by the prospect of “being in my 50s when a kid graduates childhood”.

(Both Pete and Alisha are 30 years old, by the way.)

The couple have also posted ultrasound images on the site, which they say are of their unborn child - a boy.

But despite the Arnolds’ insistence that they are genuine, some find it hard to believe that any couple would put the fate of their unborn child into the hands of random people on the internet.

Jezbel claims that Pete Arnold used to be a “researcher, contributor, and part time producer for the Race to the Right radio show in St Cloud,” adding “He blogged at Always Right, Usually Correct, which had a hard anti-choice bent”.

While it is unsurprising that Alisha says she is “overwhelmed”, we will let you decide if Pete’s words sound like those of a man who is weighing up one of the most important decisions of his life:

Voting is such an important part of who we are as a people… 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.

Whether the Arnolds are trying to make some kind of political or moral statement – or whether they are honestly asking for help – critics are certain about one thing: This is not the best way to do it.

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