This is a more interesting question than I thought at first pass. How do you get over ANYTHING that one's family has taught you? It's easy to say that you've reasoned it out and decided that it's not true, but a single moment of reasoning, or many moments of reasoning, won't undue a lifetime of indoctrination into something else. That goes for families that may have taught you that you're ugly (when you're not), or brilliantly talented (when life teaches you otherwise), or anything else.

The part I don't understand is why BABE is thinking about this often. Girlfriend isn't pregnant, right? So why the obsession with the possibility that birth control sometimes (though rarely) fails? And why is she having to deal his mixed feelings on the subject? I wonder if this could be a hoax letter, one designed to get everyone arguing about a contentious subject.
if she gets pregnant then you 2 could have the baby, you know. you don't HAVE to get an abortion. unless you're both 13 or something.

but she's not pregnant, and with the pill or an IUD, she won't become pregnant. so relax.
Odd letter, devoid of info like: birth control method they are currently using and how that is going; seriousness of relationship; age of both partners; whether they want kids soon, later, or never; and anything about how the girlfriend feels and what she thinks.
Going out on a limb here-- BABE says he's bummed about bad experiences. Sometimes the bad experience is a sort of slop over from a different bad experience. As when a first intense love relationship is falling apart-- which lots of young people experience as traumatic-- when there's an unwanted pregnancy mixed in-- such that all the unhappiness gets dumped on the abortion which otherwise wouldn't have been so terrible. I could see feeling burned under those circumstances.

I've known of more than one woman who got an abortion when the man who got her pregnant abandoned her. You'd think she'd be glad she had that option, but instead, she's ended up wishing abortion had been illegal with some sort of weird notion that she'd be happily married with children if it had been.

More reading between the lines-- Is BABE saying that he loses his erection before PIV sex when he thinks of the pregnancy possibility? ("Simply don't know how to get past this thought and indulge my partner and myself sexually", "Complicated my relationships," plural, more than one.) Counseling might be necessary.
She could carry the baby to term AND THEN PUT IT UP FOR ADOPTION. Why don't people think about that possibility? Especially if it is discussed ahead of time by two adults as part of the plan for the future. Or even better: he could have a vasectomy and then he doesn't have to worry anymore, does he?

BTW Max Solomon: birth control (especially IUD and the pill) can fail. A friend was on the pill and took antibiotics and sure enough she got pregnant. Even Tubal Ligations have a 10% chance of failure. (I assume vasectomies similar.)
Oh, well then let's just not bother with BC. If there's a ten percent risk of failure, might as well just go for broke and wait to come up preggers. And then I will happily devote nearly a year of my life to incubating a parasite so that when it pops out I can just hand it over to the next person in line. Right? Easy-peasy, let's just wipe our hands of that little irritation and then go on to make some more. JFC.
@5: yes, no method is fool proof. thanks for the head's up. never knew that before. JFC.
I'd DTMFA and get a boyfriend, but that's just me.
Mr Casely - Yes; this letter would have been easy in July, but obligatory protest that DTMFA doesn't apply here. DYA, perhaps; you be the judge.
So his family that taught him well how horrible abortion is neglected to teach him how horrible premarital sex is?
Where in hell are you getting 10% failure rate for tubal ligation? It's <1% for tubal ligation, vasectomy, both IUDs, and the implant.
@venn: You're right, of course. Trade Her In For Someone Un-Knockupable is more generous, and has the benefit of being a true acronym.
@5 Here' s the thing a lot of kids put up for adoption don't get adopted. Especially if they're not white or disable in any way and will spend their lives getting fucked over by the system.

Not to mention that giving away a child, even if it's the right thing to do, if often more heartbreaking and traumatic than an abortion.

This isn't to say no one should ever give a child up for adoption, only that it's not this 'magical wand' so many anti-abortion advocates act like it is.
@11 thank you.

BABE think about it this way: you actually have no real say in whether your GF has an abortion. It's her decision. She can include you and solicit your opinion if she feels like it. She can decided that your opinion carries weight with her or that it doesn't. She can tell you about the hypothetical abortion or not.

You do get to make other decisions though. You can decide whether to have the kind of sex that can create a pregnancy, you can decide to use condoms, you can decide to have a vasectomy, and you can decide to share the financial cost of the pill or whatever other method she uses.

Just focus on the decisions that are yours to make. And, you know, also: get the fuck over the idea that abortion is a horrible, horrible thing. Unlearning some of the garbage you picked up in childhood is your job as an adult human being. Grow up and cut the cord. Let go of the religious dumbfuckery.
@11: It was a ... conservative estimate. Yuk yuk yuk.
Giving birth has 200 times the health risk of abortion.

At any given moment, there are a half million children in foster care in America.

Not all of whom are available for adoption, true.

But why should a woman risk her life and health to add another child to that mess, when there are a surplus of children who already need families?
@5: Giving birth and pregnancy are a much bigger deal than abortion. Medically, emotionally, physically, personally. People DO think about that possibility. That thought process generally leafs them to abortion instead, because why deal with all that?
BG @5: Oh please, I'm sure people DO think about that possibility. But here's a clue-stick swat for you: Carrying a baby to term is something only THE WOMAN can do. BABE can't volunteer to do it for her, to save her from having an abortion. It is also THE WOMAN's choice, ultimately. Should BABE thoroughly vet his potential girlfriends to ascertain that if they got pregnant, they'd be committed to giving the child up for adoption? (And what if she changed her mind?) Should he only have sex with women whose potential offspring he wouldn't mind spending the rest of his life with? Or should he try his best to unlearn his programming, take every possible precaution against accidental pregnancy, and possibly ask his partners that if they do get pregnant despite birth control and decide to have an abortion, he'd rather that be a don't-ask-don't-tell situation? (Recognising that some partners would consider this to be a selfish, dick move.)

Auto accidents can be "a horrible, horrible thing," but I bet that doesn't stop BABE from getting into a car. With careful birth control use, the odds of accidental pregnancy are far lower than getting into a car accident. BABE should get some talking therapy to get over this irrational fear.
Stop having sex. Or keep feeling bad. Better yet, stop having sex and feel even worse. Think on your sins.
People often use the term "abortion" as if it's a uniform event, one indistinguishable from another. But of course, when you have it makes all the difference in the world. An abortion performed in the third trimester (thankfully a rare occurrence) is indeed a horrible, horrible thing. But in the first month it is relatively trivial, both morally and medically.
Fuck your upbringing and your parents. You're an adult now, grow up.
This seems like it comes from a rather young person, "Can't get over something my parents taught me"... Guess you haven't figured out that you have your own mind. Parents, teachers, clergy, politicians, doctors, garbage collectors and florists have all been known to be wrong from time to time. You get to decide what you want to believe. Get some counseling if you can't get over this hurdle by yourself. Then if you decide you can't countenance abortion, do what you have to so you don't have to make that decision. Don't have sex, don't have sex until you're ready to have a baby, don't have PIV sex, etc...

And for anyone thinking about socking away a little sperm after a vasectomy, just in case, talk to an artificial insemination specialist first...this isn't a magic bullet that works every time. Better have enough saved up for multiple tries for every baby you want to have (as well as a considerable stockpile of cash, it is NOT cheap.
If you're so obsessively "pro-life" that it puts you into a panic every time you have sex, then what you need to do is stop having sex with someone who doesn't express a specific desire to raise a child with you. Obviously, wear condoms and make sure the woman is taking hormonal birth control, but stop acting like you're the good guy for not wanting to put your moral issues on the woman. You want to get laid even though you think the consequences could lead to a moral dilemma for YOU. Find a pro-life woman and wait until you marry her to have intercourse. Or get over yourself and have safe sex with women you trust to make the right decisions for their own bodies.
I'm with @23 -- you're not OK having PIV intercourse with this person and you'd like that to be someone else's problem. But it's yours, so stop. Wait to have sex until you can do it with someone whose decisions for her own body and life -- to abort or bear, adopt or raise -- you can honor and support. Your feelings now are telling us, and should tell you, that you aren't ready to honor this girlfriend's decisons.

Either find a girlfriend who thinks like your parents, or change your own thinking.
Classic case of wanting to have his cake and eat it, I'd say. "I want to have sex with someone I don't want to raise a child with, yet don't like the idea of abortion wah wah help me".

@ 1, the way you get over how you were raised is you grow up. You learn that life is not as simple as your parents taught you it was when you were a child, and you realize that those same parents knew this, and understood it, but simplified things for you *because* you were a child. Learning this is an essential part of becoming an adult.

And another essential part of becoming an adult, something that should be well understood long before a person gets to the point of partnered sex, is that you don't get everything you want. You stay away from actions where the consequences are unacceptable to you, you take reasonable precautions against unwanted consequences of other actions, and you accept that even so, sometimes life will hand you a big handful of "don't-want-it".

I really hope this LW is very very young.
Dan's advice to learn about abortion and how it's a medical procedure may be easier said than done. I just googled on "what really happens during an abortion." The first several hits were all anti-abortion, propaganda to a greater or lesser degree, about maternal regret and the foetus's pain. I'm glad that more women are speaking out about having had abortions. It's private medical history that shouldn't have to be spoken about any more than colonoscopy results should be public knowledge, but there has to be some push-back against the far right.

BABE is taking some heat now so I'd like to offer him some reassurance. While it's horrible to try to deny a woman's right to an abortion, there's nothing particularly terrible about deciding for yourself that you don't care for the option in your personal dealings. Many many women support abortion rights while personally declaring that it could never be right for them. I see nothing wrong with a man talking about this issue with his sexual partners, seeing how she feels, and telling her that in the unlikely event that she becomes pregnant despite responsible use of birth control that he'd rather the resulting baby be put up for adoption, or kept in the mother's care with his full financial and emotional support, or given to him to raise or however it is that he feels. I also see nothing wrong with changing one's mind should the unlikely happen.
@25: Exactly. Carnal enough to engage in these situations while beating himself up about it, not responsible enough to fully understand the risks involved and compensate or adjust expectations properly.

It'll be good for them to move past the Catholic (or whatever) guilt into a position where he's treating himself fairly, and later his partner fairly.
In the movie Harold & Maude, there was no chance that the young man, Harold, was going to get Ruth Gordon's 79-year-old character pregnant. So BABE could go that route.
What if BABE hadn't been in indoctrinated on a topic (abortion is a horrible, horrible thing) that makes him such a douche? What if his upbringing had taught him that you can only have sex in the evening but not in the morning and yet he had a girlfriend who got horny in the morning? I suspect Dan and the rest of us would be more sympathetic and offer more helpful advice on how to shed that early imprinting.

I definitely have some imprinting I'd love to shed. Wasting food is a horrible, horrible thing when your parents grew during the depression in working-class households - fried mush at the end of the month, that sort of thing. But for me, here and now, overeating is worse than tossing out some leftovers. Sometimes I can play one bit of imprinting (don't waste money) against another (don't waste food) by rationalizing that however I eat less is cheaper than joining Jenny Craig or having liposuction. And that works. Or just keeping the pantry and the fridge stocked at a lower level (but that bumps up against the "food is love" imprinting). Sigh.
@1 How do you get over ANYTHING your family has taught you? Observation, experience, and critical thinking skills. I was raised in the sixties and seventies. My family taught me that abortion, divorce, and premarital sex were the three most horrible things in the world. They might have ranked being gay up there with the unholy Trinity if they could have brought themselves to acknowledge its existence. Before my parents died, they saw three of their five children get divorced, they saw four of the five of us live with someone outside of wedlock, and they attended my big fat gay wedding.
Divorce and abortions are like root canal surgery. They are definitely not great things (pretty sure nobody comes out of any of those three and says "Whee, that was fun, let's do that again") and we should be doing what we can to make all three less frequently necessary.
...but when you need 'em, you need 'em. I've only had one of these done, and while I didn't enjoy it, I'm sure as hell glad it was an option; the alternatives are worse. Accounts from people who got divorces or abortions sound pretty similar to my root canal experience, in that respect.
David: Do you have a freezer? Or a dog? :)
@31: "Divorce and abortions are like root canal surgery"

What is this dumb comparison?

Some people get through the first two fine, nobody had a fair experience with a root canal.
I've had two, and one was fine. As far as morals go, they're the same.
One of Mr. Savage's better answers. Instead of "Well you're wrong for feeling that way so don't feel that way," he leads with "Here are practical ways to get around that problem" and the "Hey, you're wrong for feeling that way; come around to my way of thinking" takes the second banana position. Of course, this only works when there are practical solution's to the writer's problem.

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