Gone Viral

The last 48 hours have been nothing short of mind-blowing.

I posted a recap of Alexandra’s story on the Good Men Project site on Saturday. By Monday morning, it exploded all over the Internet. It landed on Salon, Jezebel, BoingBoing, Rachel Maddow’s blog and Slate to name a few. The You Tube video of my confrontation with the protesters is currently around 370,000 hits. And my amazement and incredulity at how many people have taken an interest in our story is clear off the charts.

First of all, in perusing all the chatter about our story I’ve noticed a few people making misstatements and others have had questions. So here goes:

  • This video is not made up. Our lost baby was not made up. The pain we felt from losing a child is not made up. All of it is real. Very, very real. Anyone who would fake this kind of thing is the lowest form of life, and I’m certainly not in that category.
  • I am not just doing this for the money. In fact, I’m not making ANY money off of this. Look around this site. Do you see any advertising? No. Sure my blog is getting more hits but that doesn’t translate into dollars for me. I’m set to make a few media appearances in the next couple of days, and none of them are paid. I’m just happy our story has jump-started the discussion.
  • The protesters. There is a 35-foot buffer zone in Massachusetts by law, and these protesters were obeying it at the time. So while we didn’t have to pass right next to them, they were across the street shouting things at us. So while I never felt physically threatened by any of them, it was their incredibly cruel words I was protesting. And yes, even though I didn’t get it on tape, they absolutely shouted things at us at we entered the clinic.

Now, having addressed these issues from the haters out there, I want to take this opportunity to thank the overwhelming majority of you who embraced me and enveloped me with so much unmitigated love and support it made my head spin. The thousands of e-mails, comments and tweets you’ve left me have restored my faith in, well, everything.

From the 20-year-old college student who had to navigate protesters by herself last week to the woman who is now a grandmother but still recalls the horror of having to deal with anti-choice zealots decades ago, your stories were intensely personal. And the fact that you shared them with me means more than you’ll ever know.

But I have to admit, it’s all made me pretty uncomfortable.

MJ wants to kill me because I cannot take a compliment and I certainly won’t admit I’ve done anything extraordinary.  So when people started using the word “hero” to describe me I freaked out a little. Soldiers are heroes. Teachers are heroes. Firefighters, police officers and doctors are heroes. Me? I’m an overweight knucklehead who could barely operate the camera on his cell phone after getting pissed off at a couple of ignorant old ladies for yelling at his wife.

And honestly, I didn’t really have a benevolent agenda. I wasn’t thinking about the greater good when I shot that video. I was being selfish, because it felt good to fight back against ignorance and shame the people who tried to shame my wife on the worst day of her life. My two goals were 1) Showcase their stupidity and 2) Not get arrested. I can say with 100% certainty that “Make a passionate but nonviolent argument in favor of women’s reproductive rights and basic human decency that will be viewed by nearly half a million people on You Tube” was not in my brain.

But my wife — who is much smarter than I will ever be — told me that whether it was inadvertent or not, I had done something worthwhile. Something unique. Something most people don’t talk about. And she told me it would resonate with people, especially those who have been negatively affected by similar protesters in similar situations.

I still maintain I’ve done nothing special. But I hope, at the very least, I’ve started a discussion. I hope a few people think about standing up to these people in nonviolent ways. I hope a few of the protesters conceivably take a look at what they’re doing and at least tone down the rhetoric. And while I understand the minds of ultra-religious fanatics are so set in their respective dogmas that they might not ever change, I hope people realize that doesn’t preclude the rest of us from fighting back and speaking up.

But while so many of you have thanked me for doing good, I am the one who should be doling out the thank yous.

Thank you. Thank all of you. I’m just a putz of a newspaper reporter who will never be famous. Tomorrow there will be some other viral video burning up the Internet and I’ll be an afterthought. And I’m OK with that. I’m not in this for fame and I gave up on fortune a long time ago.

But some things will remain permanent for all time.

I will keep all of your e-mails. All of your messages. All of your personal stories. It’s the most amazing feeling to open yourself up and leave yourself vulnerable to the world, and then have the world reach right back to you with open arms. There is nothing that can be done to erase the pain of what we went through losing Alex in July, but your words and gestures took as much of the sting away as possible. And for that I will be eternally grateful.

I have no idea where things will go from here, but I hope as many of you as possible stick around. Thank you all.

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77 thoughts on “Gone Viral

  1. You are a hero! To the women who have been harassed and were too scared to say anything, you are their hero.

  2. We just had a visit from Repent America to the college campus on which I work. These kinds of hateful people ARE the lowest common denominator. Fortunately for us, love trumps hate in the end. Unfortunately for the misguided Christians, if you can call them that, they will be condemned to the hell they believe in for their extremist, unforgiving, and hateful views.

    Kudos for standing up to these idiots. The best thanks anyone can give you is by following in your footsteps.

    Sorry for your loss and I wish you the best of luck in your journeys.

  3. I think you ARE a hero by standing up to those fanatics. You stated that it seemed they were not used to being confronted…well,then,you did what needs to be done! Maybe now, more people will call them out on their BS. No violence, just reasoned response like what you presented.

    I am sorry for this terrible loss that you and your wife have experienced. Sounds to me like you are a great husband and great father. Best wishes to you and your wife.

  4. I’m sorry for the trauma you and your wife experienced. A decision to end a life is the harshest one an individual can make. To have to make that decision and then face protesters just makes it more hideous. It should have remained a private moment between the you and your wife and those woman took that away from you, as well as degrading you.I’m glad you had a chance to face those women and let them know how you feel. I hope it makes them and others think, no matter what their views are. I think your video will make a lot of people think about their actions and the consequences. You did a good thing.

  5. Just dropped by from BBC April ’08. Last time I was here, I laughed. This time, not so much. So sorry your family suffered such a terrible loss. Thank you for speaking your mind to these obliviots. I can only think of them as evil, and I know for sure I wouldn’t have expressed myself so well under the same circumstances.

  6. I personally do not believe in abortion. But I also don’t believe that you can decide other people’s lives for them. The choices you had to make when Alex was diagnosed were heartbreaking. Nobody has the right to throw their “pro-life” message in the face of another person, especially as they face one of the hardest, vulnerable times in their lives. I don’t consider you a hero (sorry!), But I consider you a very smart, empathetic man who made a difference and stood up against what is so, so wrong. That deserves commendation and I’m glad you are getting it here.

  7. You are a hero. Well done for standing up to them.

    I’ve just tweeted you but wanted to mention that I wrote a blog on Sunday – You can find it here: http://chrismcbriarty.blogspot.com/ – on the Colorado amendment 62; where they are trying to get abortion totally banned, as well some forms of birth control. I was pleased to see you mentioned about starting a discussion – you must be congratulated, because you’ve done that.

    I’m sorry you and your wife had to go through that whole experience, and even though you say you don’t want any compliments on it, what you did was heroic because you’re standing up for the freedom of women all over America. No matter how small or large your impact has been, it’s an impact.

  8. You are definitely a hero. There are too few that would have stood up to them like you did. And you did it from your HEART for your family. That’s what matters most. Glad it’s getting some press.

  9. What you did was awesome…You may not feel like a hero, but to people who have been through similar situations, what you did was special to them…And that is awesome…If nothing else, as PhillyD put it…You are a BAMF!

  10. I’ve been waiting for this post since the weekend. You don’t disappoint–full of truth and a nice sprinkle of eloquence. For those just tuning in, the archive is full of the highs and lows of parenting.

    You’re not a hero. So what? You don’t have to be a hero to make a difference. You’ve sparked the discussion, caused some people to re-evaluate opinions, and been a beacon for so many more. That may be a bigger, more important role than that of a mere hero.

  11. I wonder if you truely want a “discussion” or if you are just in it for the notoriety. Isn’t that what journalists are all about, fame and the next controversial story? And if you are, why are you allowing so many people to shout obscenities on you Youtube video at those who express a different opinion? And why you have yet to address those with a different opinion? Is discussion really your motive?
    Also, could you clear one thing up? Did your wife suffer a fetal demise before she went to the clinic? As your story is not completely clear on that matter, I hope you’ll answer. If the baby wasn’t dead yet, what was the rush to have a doctor crush it’s skull? Why put your sweet wife’s health and future reproductive capabilities in a greater danger by electing the abortion? you said you wantd to have more kids right? Why choose the route that would most effectively jeopardize that goal?
    Thanks hero, I look forward to your response(s).

  12. BS Detector: Obviously you’re not very well informed.

    First of all, as I said before, I’m not profiting from this. And I didn’t do this as a journalist. The blog is completely separate from my job as a newspaper reporter. So I’m not seeing any professional gain here.

    As for the people shouting obscenities on YouTube, what would you have me do? People can say what they want, just as these protesters did. I don’t want to abolish the First Amendment, I’m just looking for some common sense and decency.

    Keep in mind, this story is 3 months old. I’ve already had my say. And for the record, the Good Men Project asked me to steer clear of the comments section and just let the debate take its own course. So I’m abiding by that. But I am doing a select few media appearances to talk about it, so I’d say that’s definitely furthering the discussion.

    And on the condition of the baby, you’re 100% wrong. I was VERY clear. In the video, if you use your listening ears, you’ll hear me say “there’s a nearly dead baby inside” of my wife. Not dead, nearly dead. How much more clear can I be?? Now, my wife’s health was not in immediate danger, but the hospital could only fit us in 2 weeks later. At that point, as the doctors explained, we’d be on the border of being able to do a D&E, but there was an increased chance of having to deliver a stillborn baby. With that in mind, we chose to have the surgery earlier rather than later. You know, because it’s slightly unpleasant to carry around a dying fetus that has no chance of life.

    Childbirth is more dangerous than an abortion at 16 weeks. That is just fact. Are there dangers with this surgery — hell, any surgery — of course. But the risks were less choosing the route we did.

    You I guess what I”m really saying is you can take your BS detector and cram it straight up your condescending ass my friend. Next time you want to argue something, arm yourself with all the facts. Otherwise you end up looking like a complete moron. But I assume that’s old hat to you.

  13. Thank you for confronting those protesters! Thank you for standing up to those people who would attack a mother on one of the hardest days of her life.

    My husband and I carry the Cystic Fibrosis gene. We know this because we are raising a little girl with Cystic Fibrosis. It is extremely hard financially and emotionally for us. But the worse thing of all is her suffering and her pain. I would never willingly give this diease to a child. I love my daughter. I would not wish her gone for a moment but daily I wish for her pain to end and most likely we face years and years of her struggling to gain weight, to remain healthy, and to breathe. Things that all of her little friends do with ease.

    As such, we have decided as a family that we will not have any more children with CF. Even our two year old does not want a little brother or sister that has to use the scary machine (her chest percussion vest) and take meds to digest his/her food. The doctor can confirm CF at the 14 week appointment. This means if I become pregnant even though I’m using an IUD and family planning and that child has CF that we will abort. This doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love that child, that I wouldn’t miss that child and that I wouldn’t want that child with my entire being. It would by no means be easy. But my conviction is that I could not put my wants above the needs of my living daughter and the pain that I know another child would experience. This decision is so controversial that we cannot even share it with our family. I hope that I never have to make this decision that I never face this pain.

    But if I do, I hope I do so with the grace of your wife and the strength that you demostrated.

  14. so so sorry for your loss…and so so proud of you that you had the ability and courage to stand up for yourself and so many others. i don’t know you but i’m so proud of you. thank you.

  15. It is so hard to not feed the animals at the zoo – especially when they beg for it. But getting into an intelligent conversation on this topic with people like BS Detector is just uselss and a waste.

    It is difficult to argue with people who believe life starts at conception and ends at birth. But let me tell you what I know:

    I know how painful this was to Aaron and his family. I know how much they wanted this baby. I know what the baby slowly dying inside her was doing to MJ. I know how difficult the decision was, I know how medically sound the decision was, and I know how whatever they did will stay with them the rest of their lives. And most importantly – I know they did the right thing.

    And it is that knowing that helps me, and absolutely helps Aaron and MJ deal with the political and religious zealots who want to protect the unborn but have no concern for the living. We all have our opinions, our beliefs, and we are all equally entitled to them. But those who hate are always wrong, even when they wrap that hate in the cloth of God.

  16. You’ve mentioned that you’re not looking at the Good Men Project discussion, so bear with me if I repeat the thing I posted there….

    Having read a lot of pro-life literature and websites, I can say those protesters outside the abortion clinic are NOT the most exemplary of their kind. I hope you can one day forgive them.

    My questions for you come from my heart, I hope you don’t take offense if I ask.

    You said, on the idea of waiting 2 weeks more: “there was an increased chance of having to deliver a stillborn baby.” and “Childbirth is more dangerous than an abortion at 16 weeks. “. To the baby? I thought the diagnosis was that Alexandra would not survive anyway. I can’t help but wonder: Wouldn’t it be more comforting, have a sense of closure and a chance to grieve properly by seeing Alexandra, holding her tiny little body in your hands, even if she was deformed? Hasn’t the abortion robbed you of even that consolation?

    “It’s slightly unpleasant to carry around a dying fetus that has no chance of life.” I’ve had 3 successful pregnancies and have imagined what it would be like to be in your wife’s position. But I think of it this way. If someone you loved dearly was in a car crash, and when you get to hospital they say “it’s better you don’t go in to see him/her. The crash has horribly scarred him/her and he/she has not much longer to live!”. Would you turn away and go home, or confront your worst fears and still want to see that person for yourself? That’s how I’d feel, even if my baby looked like a monster, I’d still want to KNOW. To abort that child would be not to KNOW forever what he/she looked like.

    “But the risks were less choosing the route we did.” – abortions have risks too. Wouldn’t an abortion make it risky for her to try again for a child? I can’t remember where I read this, something about how natural miscarriages/stillbirths don’t put women at risk for cervical cancer the way abortion does. Not sure if I remember it clearly…

    I wish you and your wife peace after this traumatic experience. I can only think of another viral video called 99 Balloons, about another baby who doctors say wouldn’t live a single day, but he did for 99 days and brought incredible joy to his parents in spite of what must have been enormous emotional and financial hardship.

    Thanks for listening.

  17. @daddyfiles: I am very well informed it’s just that your video is unclear as you state very early that it was a fetal demise and then later say a fetal demise was imminent. I was hoping you’d set the record straight. And now I am armed with the truth that you had your unborn child murdered so as not to inconvenience your mental stability. And it doesn’t appear to have worked.

    What would I have you do with the people shouting obscenities? I dunno, maybe ask them nicely to engage in a friendly discourse instead of hateful rhetoric. That’s what a person honestly wanting a discussion would do. Or here’s an idea, have the discussion. Don’t lock yourself in a room basking in the glow of the 5000 people calling you a hero. Maybe listen to other peoples opinions, take them to heart, hear what they have to say. Otherwise, it’s obviously not a discussion that you want to have.

    Do those media appearances allow for people to join in the discussion or is it more hero worship?

    You claimed your wife was 16 weeks pregnant. But then you just said that you’d be on the border of a D&E if you waited 2 more weeks. Did you do any research on this or just blindly take your doctors advice? D&E’s are widely performed up to 24 weeks. Are there no other hospitals in Massachussetts?

    You claim an increased chance of delivering a stillborn. What, exactly, do you think happened on the operating table of the abortion clinic? Instead of your child being allowed to pass as nature intended and your wife’s body naturally expelling all her bodily hormones, chemicals, and prostaglandins (which, ironically, have been shown to help in the natural mental healing process), you chose to rush to the clinic, have your dying child’s skull crushed with forceps and extracted with a vacuum. Also considered “stillborn”.

    You also claim that “childbirth is more dangerous than an abortion @ 16 weeks” and claim it’s a fact. Not according to any reputable medical journal, ACOG, RCOG, or the World Health Org. So, then, how is it a fact?

    Finally, you and your family honestly have my sympathies. No human being should have to endure the loss of a child. I have been through this situation myself (different disease, still fetal demise) and I can tell your readers with 100% accuracy, it’s the worst thing you’ll ever have to go through in your life. That being said, I wish you and I could tone down the hate and rhetoric for 5 minutes and have a real discussion.

  18. @BS detector: Can’t you see that your screen name alone would make anyone feel offended and/or threatened? It accuses the person, basically calling them a liar, before you even type the first sentence of your post. Not a good foot to start a hate-free, friendly discussion about such a loaded topic. And did you ever stop to consider, maybe, just maybe he doesn’t really LIKE talking about this? Telling his story is one thing, but it’s another thing completely to have a decision you made criticized by others. Friendly or not, it’s a very touchy situation and what he and his wife need is support. Not a bunch of nebby people telling him how he made a mistake and their arguments on why! To me the equivalent would be if someone in his family passed away and he chose to cremate rather than bury the body, and then someone comes up and tells him that his choice is immoral and wrong. He did what he thought was best for all involved, and right or wrong, it was his very difficult choice to make. If you really sympathize with him, maybe you could just leave him the heck alone to deal with his grief however he feels like dealing with it, and not attack him for his methods?

  19. Rose: The answer to your question is no. We did not want to hold our dead baby, our baby who had no chance of living. To us, that would not be more comforting at all. It was would be that much more devastating. I understand for you it is different. I respect that. To each his own. But you’re assuming that your feelings are the correct feelings, and you’re judging me for not sharing them.

    The deformity has NOTHING to do with our decision. Frankly, if the legs were going to be fused together but our baby would’ve otherwise been healthy, we would never have aborted our child. So please know that how our baby would have looked played ZERO part in our decision. It was the missing vital organs. No kidneys, no bladder, etc. That’s what was killing our baby. And because doctors told us there was no chance at life, we made our decision.

    BS: You lose all credibility when you claim I “murdered” my baby. Read my blog. Take a look at how much I love my son. If Alexandra had any shot of life, I would’ve loved her just as much. So don’t you dare talk to me about murder. I’m all for informed debate, but don’t talk to me about toning down hate and rhetoric while you’re calling me a murderer.

  20. Murder (verb) – to kill or slaughter inhumanly or barbarously.

    I guess we have different definitions of humane.

    As if your credibility and blatant misinformation to the 2 ladies you were arguing with does you any justice there hero. I hope your son never cuts his finger. Seeing how you deal with things, instead of allowing it to heal, you’ll likely have it amputated before it even stops bleeding, eh? If you continue to employ this line of reasoning.

    At the very least, be honest. You are not in it for the discussion as you claim. You love the hype, the hero worship, the attention, and the possibility that you will one day get a real job out of this. Like you said, it’s time to stop living off your wife and do your part.

  21. Thank you so much for your strength and for sharing your story. Wishing you lots of strength, healing and love.

  22. You are a hero. Heroes are just pissed off people who act. And you did act. The greater good thing comes by itself afterwards, when the rest of the world gets to notice what that guy has just done–as you surely know by now.

    I’m also sorry you and your wife had to go through all of this.

  23. By the way, noone is saying you’re the first guy who does it. But I really think all people who ever confronted this kind of hate and extremist intolerance felt represented and identified through those 2’40 minutes.

  24. “I wish you and I could tone down the hate and rhetoric for 5 minutes and have a real discussion.”
    You first.
    And a question: do you give blood on a regular basis? Have a filled-out organ donor card? Registered with the bone marrow registry? Because if you’re into being humane and pro-life, certainly you’re willing to do your part, right? Give up your time and a piece of yourself to save another human being?
    I’m guessing no. I’m guessing the only thing you’re willing to do to show people how “humane” you are is attack a dad who’s been through hell, call him a murderer, insult his wife (who has been through a worse hell)…and on his own blog, no less.
    Real classy. It would be funny, if it wasn’t so pathetic.

  25. I am so very sorry for your loss and the fact that you and your family have had to go through all of this. You have turned a horrible situation into something positive and meaningful. You and your wife are amazing and deserve all of the happiness in the world. I wish I could give you all a huge hug. We are sending you lots of love from down in Texas.

  26. I don’t know where BS Detector got his medical degree but where I got mine I learned that a woman is more likely to die from giving birth than a 16 week termination. That is a medical FACT.

  27. Chelseadawg
    1. The Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization, & other health groups estimate that in excess of 60,000 or 70,000 women die per year from complications of botched abortions.[New York Times; 1 Dec 2000]

    2. Women who have abortions have a 30% higher risk of developing breast cancer. Some estimate the risk, for girls under 18 who have abortions, actually rises as much as 800%.

    3. Severe bleeding, sometimes fatal, is COMMON for post-abortive women. 2-3% of women who have abortions suffer a perforated uterus.

    4. According to the World Health Organization, women who have abortions have an extremely high risk of severe infection.

    5. Women who have abortions run a significantly higher risk of developing cervical, ovarian and liver cancer.

    6. Legal abortion is reported as the fifth leading cause of maternal death in the United States, though in fact it is recognized that most abortion related deaths are not officially reported as such. In fact, it has been documented that the actual number of deaths, as a result of abortion, is 30%-40% higher than the CDC actually admits.

    7. Cervical lacerations, a typical result of abortion, lead to higher cases of miscarriage, premature births and birth complications.

    8. Post abortion women are 7-15 times more likely to have Placenta Previa, which leads to birth defects and abnormalities, and severe risk to the woman.

    9. Women who have abortions are almost 3 times more likely to have Endometritis. Additionally, many post-abortive women also suffer from adenomyosis.

    10. Post abortive women are far more likely to develop infertility (2%-5% of post-abortive women become sterile), partly due to chlamydia infection. Infertility is also caused by bone and flesh fragments, of the aborted baby, being left in the womb.

    And those are just the physical complications. If I must, I will provide you the documented psychological dangers as well.

    So please tell us what college taught you that nonsense so we can expose them. And please let us know what state you are licensed to practice in so we can reprot you to the state medical/ethics board.

  28. I cannot imagine the pain that you and your wife went through and continue to feel as all this brings it all back up. Thanks for sharing this and keeping it out there that having that choice is what matters. You are both incredibly strong and wonderful parents.

  29. Rebecca:
    “do you give blood on a regular basis? Have a filled-out organ donor card? Registered with the bone marrow registry?”

    I actually gave blood last Saturday (type B+), have the organ donor heart sticker on my drivers license, and am registered to donate both bone marrow and PBSC. My bone marrow transplant was already performed to save my cousins life. And I remained registered on the Be The Match Registry as the first go-round was painful but the results were more than rewarding.

    Which cliche is next, that I don’t adopt kids? Well you got me there, I only take in foster children until they find a permanent home. Currently have only 1 but did have a set of triplets that did not want to be separated (2 boys one girl). Had em for nearly 6 years until they went to their forever family (at 14 years of age). And we still see them every week.

    The only thing I find funny is the calls that this guy is a hero. Usually heroes give up a piece (or all) of themselves to save other people’s lives. Soldiers are heroes… Firefighters and ploicemen are heroes (sometimes). This guy killed a child and verbally accosted 2 old ladies. Regardless if “they did it first” or not, since when do 2 wrongs make a right… or a hero?

  30. Wow, BS Detector, way to post citations for your wild claims. Every one of those effects you list are a result of -unsafe-, -unregulated- abortion which is not performed by a trained medical practitioner within the correct facilities.

    That sort of unsafe practice is one which is fostered by those who violently or vehemently stand in opposition to the legal practice of abortion.

    As to the original article; ‘hero’ is a description which is overused to the extreme, to the point of devaluation of the word. A hero is one who puts their own safety at risk in order to safeguard another. A person of distinguished courage who takes actions solely for the good of others with no thought to the personal risk or cost.

    By that definition, however, you certainly are heroic in your unflinching confrontation of these people acting in a truly beastly manner towards women who are already facing what has to be one of the most horrifying experiences a person can face.

    Perhaps it was motivated by anger or the desire to protect your wife from their reckless hate and fear-mongering; but those who support abortion do find themselves put at risk from the willfully ignorant and religion-blinded. Your lack of hesitation in doing so, and doing so on film to be displayed to the entire internet definitly counts under the umbrella of ‘willing to put personal safety aside for the good of others.’

    Hopefully this courage will be an inspiration for others to similarly (and, most importantly, nonviolently) confront others who would compound tragedy with terror, and heap more pain upon an already unbearable situation.

    Good for you, indeed.

  31. Yeah…right.
    You’re a troll hiding behind a fake label, spouting out false information to further your own agenda, leaching onto someone else’s blog and spewing nothing but venom to stroke your own ego…you’re just a saint of humanity, aren’t you? Uh-huh.
    Oldguy, I think you had it right. Don’t feed the trolls, they just get off on it. They can get entertaining, though. Worth a laugh.

  32. Thank you for standing up for your family, yourself, and your decisions in life. It is hard to not have many options, but the ones you do have are less than pleasant. I appreciate that you gave the protesters options that make more sense than standing on a sidewalk for hours holding a sign. That is what pizza places do when they have a special. Everyone has their views and opinions on this subject and it’s hard to discuss without upsetting one side or another. Wouldn’t it be easier to just love people and help them? Maybe even give a little bit of time to understand people?

    Thank you for sharing this, I really can’t thank you enough.

  33. Dude,
    You win the prize for Dad of the year. I watched that clip and it made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. If I were in your situation I probably would have totally lost it and done something to compromise my integrity, but you held it together and expressed your outrage in a relatively civil tone. You exemplify everything that is positive about the first amendment. You, sir, are a patriot in the purest definition of the word. Thank you for having the courage to be both angry and in self-control at the same time. Your video is a lesson in nonviolence.
    DtD
    “Oh I am an angry Father? I sure am”
    F**kin eh brother. PS I don’t support violence against any group or individuals. I just don’t have the temperament to handle conflict as well as you.

  34. Here’s what you are: someone with enough poise to stand up to those protesters. Most of us would have been purple and speechless with rage. Props, too, to your wife, for her grace and strength through this all.

  35. I’m only eighteen, completely immature, and scared to even think about having kids or abortion.
    The topic was brought up a few times during my school years (Just graduated May of this year) and I’ve constantly been mixed between Pro-Life and Pro-Choice. I’ve never chosen either because Pro-people just seem so extreme at times and there’s always a special circumstance, such as yours where abortion would seem right.

    I saw the video and your article through a chain-reblog on a site called Tumblr. It was very sad and yet very inspiring, I think what makes you a “Hero” in peoples’ eyes is that you were a father that took a stand against protesters like them, even if you say it’s selfish on your part.

    It’s just really sad that just because you took a stance and it went to youtube that there’s always one person trying to start controversy on whatever you post it on. I shall be reading your site, I think parenting is a fun thing to read about! (I’m a very strange teen, haha)

    Sorry for your loss and I hope you continue to take stances such as what you did in that video!

  36. Well, I think you are a hero.

    Last time I was in my conservative hometown, I was driving past the local Planned Parenthood and saw the protesters outside. So I stopped the car, went in and made a donation. When I came back out the protesters had gone to lunch (leaving their signs up against a tree), so I didn’t have the satisfaction of telling them what their protest had inspired. Still, I think it’s something we all can do. Places like Planned Parenthood provide all kinds of health services to women, not only abortions, and as the writer of this blog points out, people go to women’s health clinics for all kinds of reasons. People who genuinely want to make the world a better place don’t do it by harassing strangers. So next time you see a protest at clinic, go in and donate, even if it’s only a few bucks, and come back out and tell the protesters the powerful effect that they’ve had.

  37. @Rebecca
    Oh I see, what I do with my life either doesn’t fit into your quaint little worldview, or it’s terribly inconvenient to your argument. So you dismiss it. The only reason you brought any of that up in the first place is to try to discredit me. If you were standing in front of me, I’d give you a washcloth to wipe the egg off your face. Then, the very best you have to offer is “you’re a troll”.

    The problem is that it bothers you that someone would like to restrict your right to murder for convenience. That someone believes that unborn children have rights. That everyone has a right to life and to die naturally. You are exacly like the white man that used to own slaves. You had to devalue them as 3/5 human to justify any atrocity that you commit against them. Well guess what… we are here to stay sister. We will fight you until everyone is treated with equality. And you will lose.

  38. @Daddyfiles: Sigh. I fed the troll. Now he’ll follow you around like a lost puppy who forgot to take his meds. My apologies.
    You did something very courageous, something that I hope a lot of people will be willing to do in the future. If nothing else, you made people think.
    (Those who can think.)

  39. Rebecca – a friendly slap on the wrist for feeding the animals! :)

    They don’t want a discussion – they want a stage. Don’t give it to them.

  40. theoldguy – I’d certainly enjoy a discussion on this topic. No stage, no pandering, no name calling, no pejoratives, no hidden agenda, and most importantly, no trolling.

    Where should we start? If you are not interested, is anyone else interested? Please tell me it’s not lip-service because this is an important discussion.

  41. All I can think of to say to you is “thank you”.
    Thank you for standing up for your wife.
    Thank you for being brave and confronting those fanatics in an intelligent and rational way.
    Thank you for standing up for millions of women who choose to have an abortion.
    I will never forget this video.

  42. I fed a really cute goat once. Seemed very nice. Right up until it bit me. Not calling anyone a goat, but…

    Discussions of the situation Aaron and MJ faced are one thing. Discussions of religious and philosophical positions that are never going to change are another. I’d rather respect your position and disagree than tear it down so I can feel better, or you can. And believe me, I live for real debate and discussion!

    Don’t feed the animals…

  43. theyoungguy: I’ll bite. What’d you have in mind?

    The problem here is many — not all, but many — people on the pro-life side are also extremely religious. They believe abortion is wrong because “God is pro life,” as read the sign being held by one of the protesters off camera. So for them, the pro-choice opinion not only goes against their opinion, it goes against God’s will. And since God is infallible in their eyes, they are convinced they are right no matter what.

    I am not religious. That doesn’t make me any more intelligent than anyone else, it just means I’m not relying on the Bible to form opinions.

    And my opinion on this matter is that no one is trying to stop anti-abortion protesters from feeling the way they do. No one is trying to change their minds. Their minds are made up. But what they are doing is they are actively attempting to take a legal and necessary medical procedure away from others, and make it forbidden. Even though it doesn’t affect them. Even though the fact that women they’ve never met want to have an abortion that will not impact their lives one iota, they feel it is necessary that everyone should abide by their particular set of values and beliefs.

    What about live and let live? If you’re against abortion, that’s fine. Don’t have one. But is it really wise to yell at strangers and make them feel horrible about one of the most personal and difficult decisions they will ever make? Personally, I think it’s ineffective and cruel.

    I’m not saying I’m right. I’m saying my wife and I did what was right for us, and I don’t believe it’s the business of anyone else to judge us or try to shame us.

    I’m eager to hear your side, but if you resort to calling me a murderer then I see no reason to respond.

  44. i don’t know you…you don’t know me…i don’t have a story of my own to tell…
    but i think you (and your wife) are amazing. even though you’re being incredibly humble, what you did was brave, and it resonates with me. i don’t really have the words…
    i stumbled upon your story via thegloss.com, and watched your video at work. i had to take a moment to visit your site and thank you.
    so, thank you. from the bottom of my heart.

  45. daddyfiles1
    I’m going to respond based on the premise that you are the guy who made the video. But, as he’s responded on here to other people, I’d like to know about the name change (adding a ‘1’ to the end of your name). It would help me to ensure that I’m talking to the man (Aaron) in the video.

    Also, I have no desire to call you any names, murderer or otherwise, as I’ve found it’s always detrimental to a debate/discussion.

    I too, am not “religious”, though I would place myself in the skeptic file. If there’s a God and he wants me to follow him, I’m sure one day he’ll drop by to let me know. Until then, I’m cool with whatever nature throws at me.

    What I am is pro-life. And I do not say that lightly. I am against war other than for self-defense or preservation. I am against capitol punishment. I do not expect everyone to be like me, but I would like to consider this an evolved and advanced society. IMHO – that can only happen when we stop commiting acts of violence for any reason.

    As for the protestors, do you really want them getting into your life and your situation before they lecture you or yell at you? I sure don’t. I’d rather that any protestor knew as little about me as possible. And besides that, isn’t that what protesting is all about? Yelling, screaming, marching, and carrying signs trying to raise awareness about an particular violation of a right or a legal injustice? I have marched, several times now, in protest of routine infant male circumcision. Most of those marches included a protest in front of ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynocologists). We shouted at doctors and would-be doctors going in and out of the building to raise their awareness of what is considered (world-wide) as an unnecessary and inhumane practice of mutilation. I don’t particularly know any of those doctors, I just know that what they in that building promote stands in contrast to world-wide acceptance and decent human behavior.

    I have not yet protested abortion in public. But if I were, I am not sure why my tactics would be different. Or why they should be. And intactivism has been effective too. The CDC recently confirmed reports that Male Circumcision is down around 33% of newborn boys. From a statistic that was in the high 80’s when I started, this represents significant progress. And there’s a common theme between abortion and circumcision. Circ was long thought to be a decision best left to a parent and their doctor. That, since a baby didn’t have a voice, it’s opinion on the matter just didn’t matter. Thanks to the hard work of many good people, who fought in the trenches, and got the word out, that let people know exactly what they were doing and how it was unnecessary, the status quo is no longer.

    Maybe villifying those women because they were religious or trying to impose a religious view is justified. But then what happens when the pro-life person is not religious? When the prolife person is a humanist? Would you have shot me on camera and accused me of being religious? I mean, you don’t know me and I don’t know you. And you didn’t seem to know those women… but you got angry because they didn’t know you. My question is, should they?

    Thanks for your time amigo, my best to your and your wife. I hope for nothing but peace for you both.

  46. youngguy: The difference is when I’m signed into my blog it adds the 1 at the end.

    Thank you for your response, first of all. For starters, I did not record them because they were religious. I recorded them because they were hateful, cruel and insensitive. And, if you notice, I have not ever said they don’t have a right to be there. They do. I would never in a million years want to take that right away. But I disagree whole-heartedly with the manner in which they protest.

    I’ve met pro-lifers through this experience who have been civil and respectful. They protest, but they do so in a much different manner. They hold signs, but not of dead babies. They offer help if it is wanted. And they pray silently if they are religious, but they do not yell or shame. If that were the case here, this would all be moot. Don’t get me wrong, I still would’ve given them a snide glance and cursed them under my breath, but I would never have approached them because they were making a point while maintaining some basic human decency.

    I don’t want to get sidetracked on the circumcision debate. My son is circumcised and I did all the research and talked to many doctors. Basically they said it does have some medical benefits, but is certainly not necessary. I chose to do it because it cuts down slightly on infections and some studies show circumcised men have lower instances of penile cancer. But that’s neither here nor there.

    What I wonder from your perspective is how do you know all the people going in and out of that building are directly involved in furthering circumcision? Some of them are probably secretaries, office workers, etc so your yelling at each person regardless of their involvement seems more than a little ineffective and nonsensical to me.

    But my big question to you is this. How does it affect you if women have the legal choice to opt for an abortion? I understand it’s against your morals, but in the end, how does it really have any impact on your life? And why can’t ardent pro-life advocates just tend to their own business while leaving the people who do want/need to have an abortion the hell alone?

    I simply do not understand the perpetual need to inject themselves needlessly into a situation that doesn’t involve them.

    And thank you for the discussion. This kind of discourse is something I’m always happy and willing to engage in.

  47. @BS detector
    Do you not get tired of being plain out wrong? You are so stuck on the fact that people are calling him a hero that you are being completely oblivious to everything else. You are just as terrible as those women outside the clinic. His wife was carrying a nearly dead baby inside of her that had no chance of survival so excuse the fuck out of her for having an abortion.They did not choose for this to happen to them. To women who have had abortions and were going to the clinic and had these protesters shout horrible things at them, he is a hero to them. I don’t understand why you have taken such offense to that. He stuck up for his wife and for himself and people are admiring that, why you feel the need to twist this and make him out to be a bad guy is so beyond me.

  48. I am o proud of you.
    I saw your video come by on my facebook feed and I thought, “Thank God, it’s happened.”
    You deserve every second of this viral stuff. When it all settles down. I know you’re going to be just as amazing and down to earth of a guy. <3
    Enjoy it.

  49. Thank you. Whether you think so or not, you are a hero of sorts. Being selfish does not negate heroism. You were thinking of yourself and your wife, and in doing so also spoke out for others who have been too scared or depressed to do so.

    I literally stood up from my chair and starting clapping and cheering after seeing your video on the young turks.

    These people live an an insular community, and are never challenged. They pick on the weak and defenseless. Thank you for doing what is right. And my condolences for your loss.

  50. Daddyfiles:
    Let me first say that I appreciate your response. In some weird way, I feel like I’m talking to a celebrity so I’m getting a weird giddy feeling as I type. =)

    I get that you didn’t record them because they were religious, but between your blog and the things people have written on your youtube video, it seems that their religion is the motivating factor behind a lot of it. It seems to beget a lot of hatred towards Christans while at the same time, people are getting fired for even mentioning muslims. It just strikes me as odd. but most likely, irrelevant.

    I didn’t mention the circumcision idea to start a debate on it, it was simply to relate my protesting experience. I could have used some Father’s Rights marches, but the circ one seemed more relevant. As for knowing who was a doctor and who was a secretary or other person going in and out of a building, it doesn’t really matter. When human rights are violated, it’s cause for war (for lack of a better term). In war, there are casualties. There has never been a war, to my knowledge, that did not cost innocent people their lives. But they are acceptable losses towards the greater good. You do your best to minimize the damage, but in the end, it’s impossible to sort them all out. Think about this, do you remember the protest of the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis Minnesota? People were bussed in from all over America. They held signs, sang songs of protest, marched in the streets. And it didn’t take very long before the people decided their message wasn’t getting across and they had to act. They started to destroy the town. They beat up anyone that stood in their way. The police had to wear full riot gear to fight back the protestors. Or dare I even mention the Rodney King riots? Time, in those cases, was of the essence. If the King rioters waited to organize a peaceful rally or petition their congressmen, how many other black men would have had to suffer ass-whoopins by white police with wooden batons? So, as you can see, time was of the essence in your case. Please do not take that as a defense of what these ladies did, rather a reason and how the same tactics have been used successfully in the past.

    How does it effect me if women have the choice for abortion? There are countless ways. First, any child that I help to procreate would be a part of me as well. Yet I do not get a choice. I do not get to abort. Yet it would effect me, emotionally, psychologically, possibly even physically. The mental health of the woman is often stated as a need to keep abortion legal. What about the mental health of fathers?
    Your question though is misleading. There are literally hundreds of laws that would probably never affect me, does that mean I should not have an opinion on them? Odds are, I will never be the victim of a rape. Does that mean that I should keep my opinion of rape to myself? Should I not stand up for the innocent victims of rape? Should I not shout down with my loudest voice, any proponent of rape? If there were a building where men could go to legally rape women, do you not think there would be both male and female protestors outside, carrying signs, and verbally assaulting anyone that went through the door?

    You last question “why can’t ardent pro-life advocates just tend to their own business while leaving the people who do want/need to have an abortion the hell alone?”
    My answer to that is simple. Why didn’t people leave those who wanted/needed to own slaves alone? Why didn’t the people who wanted to allow women to vote just sit there and shut the hell up? I think, when people see an injustice, whether it effects them or not, have a duty as human beings, to stand up and say something. It’s the very same reason you said something to those ladies. You perceived an injustice and did what you thought would make it right. Judging by the amount of comments and views of your video, many people agree with you.
    Two more quick questions for you. For the first time in like 30 years, more Americans poll as pro-life (If memory serves, it was like 51% to 42% pro-choice). Polls also indicate that in most states, if abortion were put on a ballot, it would be made illegal. First, what would you and your wife have done if abortion had already been made illegal and how would your life be different (other than the 15 minutes you’re getting now =)? Second, do you think, with Americas sentiment obviously trending into the pro-life direction, that Roe v Wade will be tested in some matter in the near future? And if you have time, what do you think the outcome(s) will be?

    Thanks again. I certainly appreciate your time and the tone. this is a tough discussion to have. I am glad to have it with you.

  51. So violence is ok if it gets you what you want…wow. You think RODNEY King is an example to use of how to get what is right? How about MARTIN LUTHER King instead? Scary…

    I’m telling you, that goat licked my hand before it bit me. It seemed entirely reasonable. I thought I could interact safely with the goat. Damn thing…

    DON’T FEED THE ANIMALS! But what do I know… :)

  52. All discussions about abortion, always, end up with the meaning of personhood. You might as well skip the usual prior arguments and get directly into it. For example, the analogy the young guy made about slaves. Of course you can’t leave a slaver alone. The answer is immediate: slaves are people. So is a fertilized egg, some say. No it’s not, some others say.

    You may skip the stuff about DNA, too. I think most people are sick of DNA arguments (and twins), be it defending them or refuting them. In fact, given it seems like we’re going to witness a civil and intelligent discussion, it would be nice if it were original, too. Don’t let it turn into a FAQ’s crossfire, like almost all discussions about abortion are.

  53. thank you for standing up to them. not many people have the balls to do so, and it’s not like they’re accomplishing anything but berating innocent women.

  54. Just saw the video and the background story. First, I’m really sorry that you and your wife had to go through all of that.

    It’s pathetic that those protesters only think of people who get abortions in such a narrow-minded way. Come on, no girl grows up with the goal of getting an abortion one day.

  55. Thank you for posting that video. It means a lot to me to see others who are willing to stand up for what is right. I am just a 15 year old kid procrastinating on his history homework but that video was well worth my 2:40 seconds.

  56. youngguy: Wow. I’m going to respectfully end at agreeing to disagree here on all counts.

    First of all, the fact that you want to go to war over circumcision is unbelievably frightening. Hell, the fact that you even compare it to war shows a massive disconnect from reality. And lastly, that you are willing to accept the loss of innocent lives over it is, well, a little too crazy for my taste.

    You advocate destroying a town simply to get your political point across. I have news for you my friend, that is terrorism. And the fact that you’re openly advocating unnecessary violence means you are a person with whom I no longer have any desire to converse.

    Respond if you have to, but I’m all done.

  57. I hate to be one of those people who leaves a little piddly comment like “yeah, you tell em!” and nothing else, but I wanted to add another voice to the support you’ve been given. Thank you for having the courage to tell them how you felt. I wish only the best for you and yours, especially after those insensitive cowards rubbing salt in your wounds at a time of such grief.

    Also: Yeah! You tell em! ;)

    Be good.
    -R

  58. Thank you for unmasking these hypocrites! I wish you and your family all the best!
    Greetings from Austria.

  59. I don’t have the words I need to express how I feel about this. I’ve been reading about this since you first posted it, and I’ve been speechless. I think that what you did took amazing amounts of courage and integrity. I think that the people who protest outside clinics should be… I don’t know what I think should be done to them. I know that they are legally provided the option to protest, but that shouldn’t include the option to make other people miserable.

    Best I can come up with, in my lack of words, is to simply say that I have been sending positive thoughts your way and will continue to do so, and hope that this isn’t too awkward.

  60. I am sure I am echoing many other posters when I say thank you. You were composed the entire time and that, sir, speaks so much about who you are. I know you were hurting but it was obvious that, above all else, you were protecting your wife.
    I am so sorry for what you and your family are going through but, as I am sure you can tell from the comments you have received, you have the whole world behind you now. I hope that you speaking out will make people think twice before they judge someone they don’t even know. Best of luck to you and your family!

  61. You are a wonderful example of a father and husband. I can’t tell you how much I admire you for standing up to those self-righteous dingbats. I’m a Christian, and in my opinion, their methods are completely inappropriate. Causing more emotional pain to those that are already suffering is intolerable and inexcusable. You handled it incredibly well.

    Take care!

  62. I just have to thank you for taking care of so many wackjobs as I can guarantee that for a few moments the world has been a kinder, gentler place.

    You have done good and while the reason for this “journey” of yours is terrible you can rest comfortably knowing that you did the best that you could do. It is too bad if some people can’t see it.

  63. You’re wife is right, you did do something extraordinary. You stood up for something you felt passionate about. The people who stand outside of the clinics are bullies, no different than those cruel children on the school yard hollering day after day at the kids they’d not like. We fight hard to protect children whonare being bullied, I teach my children to stand up for each other, their friends, and for strangers who are being bullied. More of us should stand up for ourselves and not shy away from the few – but hurtful – bullies. I don’t see these same extremists outside McDonalds yelling at people buying their kids that crap – but sadly tasty – food.

    I wonder if see same people would be so willing to have private aspects of their lives scrutinized, and then hollered at when they were making a tough choice that was right for them & their personal and private situation…?

  64. I’m sorry you had to go through all of that and I’m even more sorry that people doubt your intentions–money? Are you kidding me?

    I don’t know who is worse, the protesters or the doubters.

    People just suck, ya know?

  65. Thank you for sharing your story with us. You are an awesome human being. I wish there were more like you.

    *hugs*

  66. Hey. My name is Katie and I’m a 20 year old student from New Zealand. Just wanted to say, thanks for standing up to those woman. I am a Christian and hate the way we are represented by people such as these. I hope they see how big this video has gotten and feel ashamed enough to change. I am so sorry for your wife’s and your own loss. Keep up the great work :D

  67. Wow, you are fantastic. The message that you have put out will have far more impact on the world than a couple of bigots standing outside abortion clinics. This message will be reaching the people who need it – who like you have had to make difficult (but necessary for whatever reason) decisions. I am 15 weeks pregnant with twins and would be absolutely heartbroken to be in your position… but know that because of you speaking out, Alexandra’s life will influence so many more lives than just yours and your wife’s. Thank you for confronting those people… It was so necessary.

    Thank you. :-)

  68. you r amazing! I m so glad that you stood up to them since they obviously have no clue. your wife should be proud of you!

  69. I’m not pro choice and after 4 children have never gotten the genetic testing at the beginning of my pregnancies. That being said I could never imagine living through this. I feel for you. I alost lost my first son. All theese people protesting don’t know the situation and someething should be done about how they treat women. Abortion of healthy babies wouldn’t happen if anyone cared about the baby when it was born.

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