A married couple have sparked outrage by setting up a website to let the public vote on whether they should have – an ABORTION.
Pete and Alisha Arnold, both 30, launched www.birthornot.com because they are unsure if they want to be parents.
They launched the X Factor-style vote so the public can ”make a difference in the real world”.
The couple, of Minneapolis, USA, are uploading regular scan images of the foetus, which is a perfectly-healthy boy they have nicknamed ‘Wiggles’.
Alisha is now 17 weeks pregnant and web users have until December 7 to cast their vote – just two days before the 20-week cut-off line for a state-legal abortion.
The latest results shows a fairly split opinion, with 46.27 per cent voting to keep the baby and 53.73 per cent wanting the couple to have an abortion.
Writing on her blog, Alisha said she fears the pressure of juggling motherhood and a career could cause her to have a nervous breakdown.
“Part of the American identity”
She wrote: ”I’m not convinced that I want to change the status quo. I feel that as I age I’ve actually gotten more selfish and set in my ways.
”I’m afraid that I will eventually regret starting a family and ‘settling down’, as they say.
”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.”
Their solution to the dilemma was to set up a public vote, which the couple say is in the best traditions of American democracy.
They state on the site: ”Voting is such an integral part of the American identity.
”We vote on everything from the best singer on American Idol to who the next leader of the free world will be.
”Wouldn’t it be nice to voice your opinion and have it actually make a difference in the real world? Why not vote on whether to continue or abort an actual pregnancy?”
Pete and Alisha, who have been married for nine years, both work in the IT industry and are keen bloggers.
They have suffered two miscarriages in the past ten months – the first at 16 weeks and the second at five weeks.
Despite falling pregnant for the third time, the couple say they are unsure whether to proceed because they have put off having a child for so long.
Writing on his blog, Pete said: ”We’ve put off having a kid for so long that I worry there is stagnation in our desire to do so.
”At first we put it off to finish our childhood, and then I decided mine was not going to end without a push.
”By that time Alisha had just gotten a new job and was getting settled, so we put it off longer.
”Now, nearly ten years after our marriage the prospect of being in my 50s when a kid graduates childhood is a bit unnerving.”
Some claim the website is a pro-life publicity stunt but the couple have strenuously denied this.
“You need professional help”
They told US website Gawker: ”We are taking this very seriously. It’s definitely not a pro-life campaign, we believe in a woman’s right to choose.
”It’s kind of like Congress. 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.”
David Davidson, who voted anonymously on the poll, had a change of heart after viewing the baby scans – and he begged them to consider their actions.
He said: ”Just because I acted like an immature little child who didn’t weigh the cost of manipulating this poll because I thought it would be ‘funny’ doesn’t mean you should sacrifice your child to the internet deity that is ‘Anonymous’.”
Another anonymous user added: ”If you’re dumb enough to let random strangers on the internet decide the fate of your family, then you are certainly not mature enough to be parents. You need professional help.”
Despite this, Pete and Alisha have continued with the website and ”support people encouraging others to voice their opinions on an issue as large as keeping a baby or not.”
Pro-life groups slammed the abortion vote website.
Mike Judge, Head of Communications for The Christian Institute, said: ”If it’s genuine, it’s appalling. Even if it’s a prank, it’s in very bad taste.
”Abortion is a highly sensitive issue. If there’s anything anything good to come from this it is unlikely. I don’t support it whether serious or a prank.
”I’ve never seen anything like it, I can’t conceive of anything so immature.
”This isn’t the way to do it, to raise an issue. Having looked at the website and noting the couple’s language, I can’t believe a pro-choice supporter would use that language.
”We deal with lots of different issues. Would you get someone’s father or mother suffering Alzheimer’s and run a poll to see if we should put a pillow over their face? It’s just not the way to go about it.”