The husband behind the BirthOrNot web site that caused an international controversy over a vote on an abortion has now admitted the web site was a hoax.
Pete and Alisha Arnold put up the web site under the claim that they were conflicted over a decision about whether to have an abortion and take the live of their 17-week-old unborn child or give birth to the baby.
In new comments to CNN, Pete Arnold said his wife supports legalized abortion but he admitted the couple put the web site online knowing they never intended to seek an abortion.
Arnold also admitted what bloggers from both sides of the abortion debate revealed days ago — that he purchased the BirthOrNot.com web domain about four months ago — well before Alisha became pregnant.
“We chose our words very carefully,” Arnold told CNN about public statements saying the site was legitimate during the international press craze that followed the initial stories.
He said Arnolds, who live in Minnesota, wanted to put up a web site that would engage people on the issue of abortion because so many feel it’s a topic that doesn’t touch them personally.
“A lot of people elect representatives based on this issue alone, yet nothing happens, nothing comes of it, nothing changes.” he said, telling CNN the couple called the unborn child “Baby Wiggles” to give people more to consider.
“My intent is not to deceive people, but at the same point, I do want people to talk about this. This seemed like a pretty good way to further the discussion, because people don’t ever seem to want to talk about it for real if there’s no name on it, no Baby Wiggles,” he said.
Before Arnold admitted the hoax, pro-life nurse and blogger Jill Stanek said she thought that was the case.
“Although the posts appeared plausible when I perused them, the concept had “scam” written all over it. So I didn’t buy in. My thought was the couple was trying to punk pro-lifers,” she wrote.
“The reaction has been most interesting. Pro-choicers think this is a scam against them. Now, while pro-lifers are becoming incensed and begging the couple not to abort, pro-choicers are becoming incensed and wanting the couple to be shot.”
Stanek said the detailed descriptions of the development of the unborn child and the couple’s posting of ultrasound pictures led
her to believe the couple is pro-life and using the web site and the attention to show the absurdity of abortion.
“I’ve come to agree this is a pro-life stunt. A pro-choicer, unless a real sicko, would not go into this sort of detail about the 16-week development of the baby she may abort,” Stanek said.
Blogger Amanda Marcotte, who is pro-abortion, noted the Arnolds purchased the domain name for the web site in May and, as pro-lifer Stanek says, “well before Alisha got pregnant, which I estimate was August 4, according to my handy dandy pregnancy wheel.”
The Arnolds told the web site Gawker, which broke the story last week, that they bought the domain during their second pregnancy, which ended in miscarriage and maintain the web site is legitimate because they planned to put that pregnancy up for a vote but waiting until they became pregnant again.
“The couple said they purchased their domain before miscarrying their second baby but actually bought it the month afterward – when not at all pregnant. In other words, they planned this,” Stanek concludes. “This corroborates that this is a publicity stunt of some sort. I wouldn’t get too emotionally involved. But I will be watching with interest to see how they play this out.”
Pro-abortion bloggers confirmed Pete Arnold had worked with a conservative radio talk show and frequently posted online as a conservative and had advocated the pro-life perspective.
Earlier this week, KSTP-TV reported that Alisha Arnold was fired from her job at Eagan, Minnesota-based software company TempWorks. KSTP obtained an internal memo showing the web site and press attention were deemed a “grave threat” to the reputation of the company.