When the news surfaced that Pete and Alisha Arnold, both 30, were letting internet strangers vote on whether they should get an abortion, readers were stunned -- they flocked to the couple's website so quickly that it overloaded and shut it down. But now, some evidence may suggest the whole thing is just a pro-life publicity stunt.
For starters, the website Jezebel contacted the Arnolds yesterday to prod them about their abortion poll. The site asked the possibly-soon-to-be parents what exactly they were concerned about regarding parenthood -- they declined to comment. "The whole thing really isn't about our concerns as parents," Pete said. What he offered instead was a bloviation on the importance of voting:
So many people make decisions on who they're going to vote for based on their stance on pro-life and pro-choice, and very people have more opportunity than just expressing their views to their representatives, so we kind of felt that it would be nice for people to voice their opinions in a way that actually makes a difference in the real world on this topic.
That seems to be an interesting point for someone considering taking the life of a baby -- a decision that has been so difficult the couple has employed the help of complete strangers. Also interesting is that the Arnolds haven't scheduled an appointment at an abortion clinic just in case they decide to go through with it -- an odd choice for a couple whose absolute last day to get an abortion is December 9.
What about the question of when life begins? Might that offer any insight?
"I believe that if you open up a scientific text book it mentions the animal life cycle and I would refer to that when deciding when life begins. Now when life is viable, that's a whole other topic," Pete said. He declined to comment on that "other topic."
The Arnolds did respond to criticism that if they keep the child it will have to live knowing its parents put its life to a vote. "I think all parents have difficult things they have to discuss with their children, whether it be that first sex talk, or drugs, or something, so this is just another thing that we'll cross the bridge when we come with it," Pete told Jezebel. "We've got a lot of time to do that."
But they continued to deny it's a pro-life stunt, or an attempt at fame.
"It's definitely not a prolife stunt," Pete said. "We are a typical Minnesota household that is split on a lot of things politically. Just because we hail from different sides of the political aisle, whether it be independent or moderate, that doesn't mean one side or the other is guiding everything we do as a couple."
Yet many aren't convinced. Moderate Left believes Pete has a pro-life internet trail:
Pierre "Pete" Arnold III also used to be a "researcher, contributor, and part time producer for the Race to the Right radio show in St Cloud." He blogged at Always Right, Usually Correct, which had a hard anti-choice bent. He used the aliases "The Pete" and "Zeeboid" - indeed, the latter is both a domain he owns and the userid for his gmail account - but it's not that hard to track down
As Jezebel points out (via Moderate Left), "Zeeboid" has updated the Daily Kos Wiki page with the following thoughts on the term pro-choice:
The term "pro-choice" is used by men and women who support a woman's right to kill an unborn child.
The term means that a woman has the right to determine whether or not she will be pregnant by killing a baby that has already been conceived.
Also Refered to as Pro Abortion
Also suspect: someone named "The Pete" has been a contributor to the blog "Always Right, Usually Correct," the blog name a pun on the word "right" usually reserved for conservatives. Clever, eh? And just in case you might think "The Pete" couldn't possibly be Pete Arnold, here's a look at the bio page for "The Pete" on the Always Right blog:
That's right, "The Pete" and Pete Arnold just happen to live in the same Minneapolis suburb and be the same age. What you can't see in the picture above is that the bio page also links to another blog run by "The Pete" called "Pete & Alisha." Remember Pete's wife's name? Right -- Alisha. The blog also has a link to Zeeboid.com (again, that's the screen name used to make the pro-choice bashing Wiki update), however it's broken. And call me silly, but a picture posted on that Pete & Alisha site from 2006 looks a lot like the Arnolds:
So what does this all mean? None of it is conclusive, right? Right. Or even if it appears it's Pete who's been writing about conservative ideas and speaking out against the term pro-choice, he could have changed his mind, right? Right. But, taken all together, the evidence seems to suggest something is fishy.
And in the end, it might not matter. As Gawker points out:
If the vote turns out to be in favor of having an abortion, the Arnolds could suddenly see the light and realize that all life is precious or something. If the vote comes out in favor of keeping the kid, it's proof that most people are pro-life.