Pete and Alisha Arnold became internet celebrities after their controversial website, birthornot.com, became a viral sensation. In case you haven’t seen it, birthornot.com is primarily a poll site, on which the expecting couple asked their internet audience whether they should have an abortion or a baby. Whether you thought it was a prank, a political statement, or an honest plea for help with one of life’s most loaded decisions, birthornot.com was hard to look at without an emotional response. Now, the couple comes out with their big decision about their pregnancy, and a little background on the decision to put the choice to the public.
Anyone who looked closely at birthornot.com will probably be unsurprised to learn that the couple has decided to move forward with the pregnancy. I found it hard to believe that a couple who seemed so invested in the experience of being pregnant and tracking the development of the fetus would be seriously considering termination simply because they weren’t sure if they were ready.
But an interview with the couple suggests that their unsureness was no joke.
In U.S.A today, Pete Arnold talks about the motives behind birthornot.com. Apparently, Alisha was ambivalent about being pregnant and was considering abortion early on. As Alisha explained in a recent blog post:
Recently we were quoted by CNN as admitting that terminating the pregnancy was never on the table. This is simply not true. My husband may wish that that was the case, but our early disagreement about this pregnancy is what lead us to start the website in the first place.
I clearly stated this to the reporter at CNN but my opinion was not included in the article that was published. Although my intentions about this pregnancy may have changed over the course of the last few months I definitely didn’t start out feeling confident about proceeding with it.
You may think that I have selfish reasons for considering abortion, but anyone who has experienced doubts about whether they want to have a baby surely knows that it’s not an easy decision to make.
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfmoms/detail?entry_id=77714#ixzz17O9CzRxU
Pete, on the other hand, is a vocal opponent of abortion, well known from his pro-life comments on various web sites. So it goes without saying that he wanted to have the baby. The couple claims this difference of opinion drove them to ask for input from others about which way to proceed.
And then the site took off.
At some point in the process, Alisha realized she had become “invested” in the pregnancy and had changed her mind about terminating. As I’ve said, this was pretty apparent. But the couple says they decided to keep the poll in action until the set deadline, I guess as a sort of social experiment. The site took in 2,006,363 votes. The end results, according to Pete Arnold:
Votes counted by unique IP (computer) address: 74% for a baby, 26% for an abortion
Votes counted by hits to the site: 78% for an abortion, 22% for a baby
Pete’s politics make it a little hard to trust this information 100%. I wonder how their daughter will feel when she finds out that her parents were considering aborting her, but couldn’t decide, and asked a bunch of strangers? I guess they could tell her they were never planning to go through with it. But even so, I’m guessing Baby Wiggles will be pretty freaked out when she happens upon this information. Which she’s likely to do. In this age of permanent history, all it takes is one slip of the tongue and a quick google (or gloogle, or whatever the search engine of 2025 will call itself).
Read about the Arnolds in USA Today.