Abortion Myths and Lies

This is about those anti-choice standbys, myths and lies.  We’ll start with Neil’s post (4Simpsons) about abortion and guilt, then move into the comments:

Pro-choicers may claim that people feel guilty because others make them feel guilty.  There could be an element of truth to that.  But abortion is legal and 90% of the media are strongly pro-choice, so why would the “minority” view have such an impact?

If the “90% of the media” stat seems like it was pulled out of the nether regions, thats because it was.  There’s actually a fair amount of evidence suggesting just the opposite.  In fact, the media routinely frames the debate in terms that favor the anti-choice side of the aisle.  In fact the LA Times article Neil links to is a piece that discusses the abortion debate safely in anti-choice territory, using a notion of potential life as a means to tug at readers heartstrings and suggest men’s heartbreak over their female partner’s choice to not see a pregnancy to term is reason to prevent that choice from ever occurring.

The mere legality of abortion does not translate into availability (Amanda, Pandagon, emphasis mine):

But the idea that reduced access to abortion might be a factor is an intriguing one to me. It makes me wonder if anti-choicers have more success at punishing women for sex through forced childbirth when abortion is technically legal but unavailable to a lot of poorer women than if abortion is outright banned.

most women probably think, in the back of their minds, that if they need to get an abortion, they’ll be able to get one pretty easily. Katha Pollitt picked up on how this erroneous assumption played out in “Juno”—there’s very little chance that a teenage girl in a Midwest state could get a speedy appointment without having waiting periods or parental notification in her way in real life. I’d also add that there’s a high chance that, depending on how big her town is, the possibility of finding an actual abortion clinic in the yellow pages under “abortion” might be very slim indeed, since 87% of American counties have no abortion provider. But I’m guessing that with the common nature of abortion and the relentless debate about it, a lot of Americans are under the impression that there’s a clinic right around the corner in every town.

And there is still severe social pressure surrounding abortion.  Far right groups picket and threaten clinics and individual doctors who provide abortions.  Religious families and some communities of faith put intense pressure on women to avoid abortions as a matter of the gravest morality.  And finally the mere act of expressing yourself sexually, if you are a woman, is viewed with barely concealed derision (Comment by Jersey):

If you give me a valid reason why you had your abortion, by all means I’m cool. Kill a baby because you are a slut, didn’t want to play safe sex because real sex felt better, or that it was “all a mistake and I don’t want to live with the consequences”…eh, no, that’s BS to me. I am one of those rare ones who think if you get raped or incested, keep the child to term and give him/her up for abortion afterwards. Women do have the right to control their bodies, but they have no right to deciding whether a fetus should live or die. When the fetus becomes a rational adult, let that person decide then to commit suicide or not.

Jersey isn’t all that rare I’m afraid.  (Perhaps only in his insistence that “incest” is a verb).  The view he is representing puts the life of the fetus, even the life of a fertilized egg, above the life of the woman.  And it feeds some of the more vicious lies surrounding the abortion debate.  No, women who have sex are not sluts.  No, it is not a child when its a clump of cells in a uterus.  It is a potential child.  If you believe that even a fertilized egg is a person, then menstruation is murder in your view.

Every step of the way, from sex (freely or forced in the eyes of the real nuts) up to the abortion, is fraught with a society that tells you at every level abortion is wrong.  The pressure on women is intense.  So when I read a line like this (from the LA Times article):

We had abortions,” said Mark B. Morrow, a Christian counselor. “I’ve had abortions.”

I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry.  In the end I’ll settle for joining feminists who recognize the anti-choice side for what it is, an effort to reinstate male control over female sexuality and liberty.  I’ll join in, and I’ll fight.  I warmly invite you to do the same.

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7 Responses

  1. Too funny. Even the LA times article, which was quite the oddity in that it showed some negative aspects of abortion, referred to pro-lifers as “antiabortionists,” just like you call us anti-choicers. They can’t even refer to us as pro-lifers.

    Boo-hoo re. not enough abortion clinics to go around. Why don’t you donate to give free abortions to women who can’t afford them, or go start some free clinics? Pro-lifers give their time and money to support what they believe in.

  2. Neil,

    Because no one swallows the “pro-lifer” moniker anymore. Not when you devalue the lives of women. Pro-choice is at least accurate.

    You have no idea what I do and do not give time and money to. But that is quite beside the point. Supposing I gave significant amounts of money to pro-choice organizations and clinics. Would you really be ok with that? Or are you simply attempting, when you guess that I don’t pay for to support the cause, to suggest pro-choicers aren’t as committed?

    Are you trying to suggest that the pro-choice crowd is pro-abortion, and hence donating to “give free abortions to women” is something we’d do?

    Sloppy.

    I am not, in fact, pro-abortion. I am pro-choice. I think lowering the abortion rate is a great thing. It means more people are having protected sex, using contraceptives, and in general avoiding a procedure that is painful and sometimes traumatic (often thanks to anti-choicers).

  3. “I think lowering the abortion rate is a great thing. It means more people are having protected sex, using contraceptives, and in general avoiding a procedure that is painful and sometimes traumatic (often thanks to anti-choicers).”

    Well put..

  4. Dan, I’m just pointing out your ad hominem arguments and hypocrisy.

    Instead of arguing on facts and reason, you start out with name calling (anti-choicer!) and use the tired old anti-women ad hominem attack. It doesn’t necessarily mean your position is wrong, just that you don’t have enough confidence in it to avoid personal attacks.

    My point on your giving was simply this: I’m pro-women, and help them with my time and $$$ (and I’m not talking about taxes, I’m talking about donations out of my own pocket).

    So if you are so pro-women and concerned about a lack of abortion clinics, what are you doing about it, other than writing personal attacks on pro-lifers?

    “an effort to reinstate male control over female sexuality and liberty”

    Oh, you are so very, very brave!

  5. Neil,
    The anti-choice moniker is dead on. People who are against the right of women to choose what to do with their own bodies, are, by definition, anti-choice. The anti-woman moniker is also true, as it defines the larger movement. This includes placing the value of a fetus above the life of the mother, as in the recent SCOTUS case, ignoring the dangers to women of making abortion illegal, and in general a body politic that is often found on the wrong side of issues central to women.

    And I find it hilarious that you think my descriptive arguments a distraction, when you freely speculate about my donation habits!

    You are trying to draw me into a debate you think you can win. “I donate to my causes, you do not”. Firstly, you are wrong. I do put my money where my mouth is. I certainly put my time there. And I believe one of the most fruitful ways to do so is by drawing attention to attempts to clamp down on women’s reproductive choices. After all, that kind of ignorance doesn’t fare too well in the light.

  6. Of course I’m anti-choice. I just wish you pro-abortionists would learn how to finish a sentence.

    I’m anti-the choice to crush and dismember an innocent human being. I’m proud of that. I really don’t think people should have the legal right to do that, whether the human being is inside the womb or outside it. Call me anti-choice all you like, just finish the sentence.

    Let me know when you start donating to help poor women pay for abortions they can’t afford.

    Or hey, donate to a Crisis Pregnancy Center. These organizations don’t do political lobbying against abortions, we just help women make the best “choice” and support them when they “choose” life. And we don’t charge $350 (or whatever) like PP does.

    Seems like something a pro-choicer could rally around, right?

  7. P.S. I only brought up the giving part because you lamented the low amount of abortuaries. Seems to me that the pro-abortion movement would be making donations to fix that problem. There are way more Crisis Pregnancy Centers than abortuaries, and most of them are funded privately (the one I’m on the board of is 100% donor sponsored).

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