A suburban Minneapolis-St. Paul couple touched off an Internet frenzy Thursday with their "birth or not" website -- an online poll on asking whether the woman, who is 17 weeks pregnant, should have an abortion.
"We wanted to give people a chance to voice their opinions in a real situation where it makes a difference," said Alisha Arnold, 30, of Apple Valley, Minn.
She and her husband, Peter Arnold, began the online vote because she was still healing emotionally from the most recent of three miscarriages, she said. They weren't sure whether she was ready for a baby.
"I wanted to wait longer because I was losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle," she said. "I wasn't sure what to do."
The solution: a poll. "We are using it to help determine our decision, but we will still make the final decision," she said.
News of the couple's Web poll, at www.birthornot.com, spread to news websites and blogs. Bloggers debated whether it was a hoax, an effort to influence the nation's debate on abortion or simply a bizarre use of the Internet to publicize a normally deeply private matter.
Arnold said she and her husband, who was away on business Thursday, are both computer software trainers. She said they had been contacted by news outlets from Seattle, Canada and locally. They've also received some hateful e-mails, like "we were idiots and don't deserve to be parents and were irresponsible," Arnold said.
The public can weigh in until Dec. 7, the site says.
The vote, as of 11:30 a.m. EST Friday, was running 4-to-1 in favor of birth: 75,734 to 17,882.