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Internet Shock: Couple Lets You Vote on Whether They Get an Abortion

"We invite you take this journey with us as we contemplate our own options..."

An ultrasound of the baby boy posted on the couple's website.

He voted for George W. Bush in 2000. She "likes" Glenn Beck on Facebook. They are having a baby. You get to vote on whether they have an abortion.

Pete and Alisha Arnold, from the Minneapolis suburb of Apple Valley, have been married for 10 years and are pregnant for the fourth time. While the previous pregnancies ended in miscarriages, the Arnolds are hoping this one ends differently. They're just unsure what "differently" will look like: a birth or an abortion.

So in September, they created the website birthornot.com and have posted about their unborn baby boy, providing health updates, ultrasound pictures, and even videos. They've also provided readers with a choice via a poll on the upper right of the site: "Should We Give Birth or Have an Abortion?" As of publication, the "Give Birth" option leads the "Have an Abortion" 54.54% to 45.46%.

"The whole point here is to let people have a real way to voice your opinion on the topic of abortion and have it actually make a difference in the real world," Pete writes on the site. "By voting on whether to continue or abort an actual pregnancy, you are doing so much more then simply telling an elected representative your feelings.  You are actually changing something in the real world."

"We invite you take this journey with us as we contemplate our own options and encourage you to utilize this site to vote and voice your opinion in a way that will have a real consequence… in a way that truly matters."

According to the website Gawker, Pete is a libertarian -- a political ideology that generally embraces the pro-choice idea. On the "about" section of the couple's site, Pete talks about the importance of voting and calls the couple's poll an "effective outlet" for people to voice their opinions on abortion.

Whoever decides to do so has until December 7 -- the couple will then take two days to decide on the abortion, as December 9 is the last day they can legally get one in Minnesota.

The poll's results, the couple told Gawker, will weigh heavily on that decision but won't be the only factor. "It's kind of like Congress," Pete said. "They might vote for something, but the president has the final veto. If it's overwhelming one way or the other, that will carry a lot more weight."

And they said it's definitely not a hoax:

That someone would do this is almost impossible to believe, of course. We asked the Arnolds if this was some sort of a prank. "No, it's not. We are taking this very seriously," Pete replied. We then asked if this was some sort of convoluted pro-life stunt. Alisha laughed. "It's definitely not a pro-life campaign," she said. "I believe in a woman's right to choose."

Despite interviewing the couple, Gawker is still skeptical. It lays out three possibilities:

  1. It's is an idiotic prank. Pete and Alisha are intent on becoming famous any way they can, and they've hit on an outrageous way to get media coverage. But if this all was a prank, wouldn't they have gotten the word out before now? They've been blogging since September.
  2. This is a pro-life stunt. Pete said he's a non-practicing Catholic, while Alisha is a Methodist. Although the Arnolds describe themselves as political independents with Libertarian leanings, Alisha likes Glenn Beck on Facebook, and a Google search turns up an old pro-Bush comment Pete made on CNN. (Pete said he voted for Bush in 2000, but not in 2004.) Could this site be a confused parable to illustrate the peril of putting an unborn baby's life in the hands of voters?
  3. It's true. Pete and Alisha are actually going to choose to have an abortion based on an Internet poll.

It ends its story with this thought: "Regardless of your position on abortion, all of these possibilities suggest these people should never, ever raise a kid."

Readers can vote at the couple's website, and have 19 days to do so.

One last thing…
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