Abort or not: Minnesota couple to follow online poll results
Pete and Alisha Arnold say they are leaving the decision to the public about whether to abort the healthy, 16-week-old fetus dubbed 'Wiggles.'
Thu, Nov 18, 2010 at 08:16 PM
BIRTH OR NOT?: The poll results were split before an article appeared on Gawker.com, but the publicity garnered a significant amount of votes — and vitriolic comments — and was at 81 percent in favor of giving birth. (Photo: iStockphoto)
A Minnesota couple says they are leaving the decision about whether they should get an abortion up to an online poll posted on a website showing ultrasounds of the healthy, 16-week-old fetus dubbed "Wiggles."
Pete and Alisha Arnold, both 30, insisted that the website is not a prank or a convoluted anti-abortion campaign, in an interview posted Thursday on Gawker.com.
"We are taking this very seriously," Pete Arnold told Gawker, adding that while the poll will influence their decision heavily, it won't be binding.
"It's kind of like Congress. They might vote for something, but the president has the final veto," he said. "If it's overwhelming one way or the other, that will carry a lot more weight."
The poll results were pretty much split before the article was posted, but the publicity garnered a significant amount of votes — and vitriolic comments — and was at 81 percent in favor of giving birth and 19 percent in favor of abortion by Thursday evening.
"What a pathetic and disgusting ploy to get your 15 minutes of fame," one commenter wrote.
"Do you not understand how many people in this world want babies and cannot have them?" wrote another. "Have some compassion."
One third of 545 commentators were against abortion; their strong feeling summed up in this comment: "You guys are sick. Give that poor child up for adoption after you have him, maybe then he'll have a chance at some semblance of normalcy. God knows he won't get it with you."
The Arnolds said they've been married for 10 years and went through two miscarriages earlier this year. They set up www.birthornot.com because they're not sure they're ready for parenthood.
They plan to keep the poll open until Dec. 7 — two days before the pregnancy will be too far along to be legally terminated in Minnesota.
Alisha's posts describe her boredom while on bed rest after a near-miscarriage early in the pregnancy, her trouble digesting pre-natal vitamins and her fears about pregnancy and motherhood.
"I'm afraid that I will eventually regret starting a family and 'settling down,' as they say," she wrote in a September blog post announcing her pregnancy.
"I fear that the constant pressure to be the perfect wife and mother while maintaining a full-time job will eventually cause my brain to implode and lead to a nervous breakdown."
Pete's initial post described his excitement "at the prospect of being a father" and hoped that the baby would be healthy, along with fears of being an older parent.
Copyright 2010 AFP Global Edition