(Originally posted at my Tumblog, STFU Fauxminists)
Reasons why Abortionno.com (graphic images warning) is a terrible source (in no particular order):
1. They have a video of an abortion/abortion images on the front page of their website, complete with dramatic music. DRAMATIC MUSIC. Just. . .lulz. Not necessarily at the images, before you clutch your pearls, but really? Dramatic music? Why? You can’t just let the images speak for themselves if they’re really supposed to be that arresting?
2. The Genocide Awareness Project. I’ve come against these folks twice in my stint as a pro-choice advocate. The first time, one of the folks that they had who was obviously one of their organizers and not a student (which means he was probably paid to boot) couldn’t even best me an an argument (I was 18 and a freshperson at the time).
3. They legitimately think the birth control pill is abortion. This one is almost as laughable as the dramatic music on the front page. You want to talk about what most scientists have agreed upon as factual basis for your arguments? How about the fact that pregnancy begins at implantation, which means that there’s no possible way, even if the pill does cause the body to reject a fertilized egg, that it can be considered an abortion. Sorry, but the science you claim to love proves you wrong (especially) in this instance.
4. They think Plan B is abortion, too. Yet the same principle applies. This one is particularly cruel, considering this is often the last ditch effort a rape victim has to prevent a pregnancy from occurring in the first place, not that they give a flip about rape victims.
5. They think abortion is genocide. This would be hilarious if it wasn’t so offensively inaccurate and culturally insensitive. Sorry folks, but just because a large number of supposed folks are dying and you need a powerful word to get your cause some more attention doesn’t mean you can misappropriate the actual cultural sufferings of other people.
6. When they show their giant dead baby billboards, they don’t even care that they could be triggering women who miscarried pregnancies that they wanted. Mostly because they don’t care about women. They have tiny signs (in comparison) up like 5 feet from the billboard sized signs. REALLY EFFECTIVE.
7. As stated previously, they are against condom use, even though it will prevent abortions.
8. The GAP demonstration is an enormous waste of money that could be used to support pro-woman remedies to ending abortion, like birth control (which is not abortion) condoms, and comprehensive sexual education (which includes abstinence). Oh, but wait, again, they’d have to care about women to support that.
9. The GAP demonstration billboards don’t even show women as being part of the equation. It’s like these people think that uteri float in peaceful, unicorn filled wonderlands until evil, mean (but misguided and ill-informed because they have stupid lady-brains) slutty women come and kill them in their tiny, exploitable slumber. Sorry, but uh, you can’t have an honest conversation about abortion without including the woman involved in the equation.
10. The pictures have been called into question more than once. Not necessarily for being fake, but for being mislabeled, which is just as bad, and totally not surprising since almost all anti-choice propaganda prefers to use pictures of fully grown infants in place of fetal images.
11. Why do we have to include Bible quotes in our abortion related articles? Oh golly, maybe be cause this is a religious crusade against women’s reproductive agency?
12. They still spread the myth that abortion causes “Post Abortion Syndrome (PAS)” even though every other reputable organization has said that a syndrome doesn’t exist. In fact, most women feel relief after their abortions, and those that regret it were either pressured into it or didn’t really want it in the first place, which of course is against the concept of choice.
13. They spread the million-times-over disproved myth that abortion causes breast cancer. Basically these people just don’t know how to science. Basically, if our big giant signs don’t scare women enough, we’ll just scare them with a heavily gender-biased disease that doesn’t actually have any connection to abortion! Totally ethical!
14. They partake in bullshit campaigns to “expose” Planned Parenthood a la Lila Rose and her idiocy, yet they fail to realize that the efforts of Planned Parenthood actually prevents up to 800,000 abortions per year. Basically, Planned Parenthood has the ovaries to do what groups like the CBR don’t – they give a shit about women and trust them enough to allow them to make informed decisions about their bodies and sexuality. That means that these women, who are not stupid unlike what anti-choicers think, make healthy choices which lead to them requiring less abortions. What a concept! If you respect women, abortion rates go down! Huh. Unfortunately groups like this have never thought to try that approach.
15. Basically, not only do they take the exact wrong approach, but they willfully spread lies. Folks at their demonstrations told me with straight faces that condoms don’t work. This is a lie. Everyone that isn’t anxious about other people’s sex lives going unpunished knows that. An organization that can’t put aside it’s problem with sex long enough to give out truthful information about condoms really isn’t reputable or trustworthy as far as reliable information.
Let’s see, fifteen reasons right off the top of my head? No wai.
If you need some good, unbiased, factual information, I recommend the Alan Guttmacher Instititute (although they don’t have flashy, dramatic music-filled gory videos, bummer, right?) or ReligiousTolerance.org.
Aside from being a demonstration of how little research some dudes feel they need to do before becoming experts on issues that primarily affect women, it’s also an example of how the dictionary really shouldn’t be your primary source of proof or thought when it comes to deeply complicated social and moral issues (affirmative action/racism being good examples of other issues in which the dictionary really doesn’t go deep enough). I mean, really, would it be so hard to consult a sociological text?
It’s like these people are so pompous they think that no one has ever thought to look in the dictionary before. So they take a gander, see whatever they want to see, stop thinking, and then lay it down and type QED thinking they’ve just saved humanity and their ego all in one brilliant rhetorical maneuver.
It’s a big ol’ fail.
The comments are even worse. We’ve got the old “But remember when everybody thought slavery was ok?” in the facebook comments section. Unfortunately, this person who is appealing to history didn’t learn it very well, since she forgets to recognize that abortion was illegal before women had to fight to decriminalize it. So, in her metaphor, it’s the folks with HER position that may as well have been proponents of slavery, especially since the pro-life position is geared toward extracting free labors from the bodies of those deemed less worthy of agency.
Anyway, I am going to repost my swift and comprehensive smack-down of this article here, because I think it needs to be seen by more folks than just those who go to my little school newspaper’s measly website. In case you didn’t go to the link and you’re wondering what the creative writing references are, the dude who wrote the original article is listed as a creative writing major. Oh, and yeah, I am a snarky, condescending asshole.
Creative writing, huh? Guess you weren’t kidding.
“Abortion advocates probably wouldn’t say they like the procedure but argue that abortions should be available for extreme cases, like rape, incest or when the life of the child or mother is in serious danger.”
Um, what? Actually, I’m pretty sure I think abortion should be offered on demand and without apology. Women shouldn’t have to skulk in dark corners just because dudes don’t think they deserve the right to bodily autonomy, or just because dudes think that if they’re gracious enough to grant it, it should still be legal but salaciously clandestine. As if enough self flagellation will somehow justify the grasp that patriarchy has had to loosen on women’s wombs.
“Biologically, of course, an unborn child is a living person, but some would argue that the child is a human, but not a person. However, the difference between them is semantic. According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, the two words are synonyms. It is only in the legal sense that an unborn child does not qualify as a person deserving the right to life that we all enjoy.”
Wow, you really got in depth on this issue, huh? All it took was a simple dictionary look-up by some dude who figured folks had never thought of that before and hard-fought battles get wiped away along with any hope women might have for respected rights to bodily autonomy and self determination? Well golly. Alert National Right to Life. It’s like this argument has never been demolished before by the simple assertion that maybe dictionaries don’t define our philosophical discussions. You know, because the dictionary hasn’t caused us to hold funerals for miscarriages, count fetuses in the census, give pregnant women ample use of the carpool lane, or require police investigation of every late period.
Golly, maybe the question is bigger than what you chalk up to semantics.
“It is purely arbitrary to say that humanity, or even life, begins at birth, which is why so many anti-abortion lawmakers continue to push for stricter abortion laws, despite the fixity of a Supreme Court decision, in an effort to stop the very real deaths of more than one million children per year.”
You know, you might be right. But you know what? Saying that life begins at conception is arbitrary, too. Just as arbitrary. Well, maybe not JUST as arbitrary, considering the politics of conception are just as dripping with misogyny as abortion politics. So personhood begins at conception, huh? You know what the implications of that are? That the only action necessary to create human life, more people, is ejaculation – and that’s crap. You know what it actually takes to make a person? The bodily organs, life functions, consumed calories, 9 months incubation time – of a woman. This whole conception battle is extremely reminiscent of when “scientists” decided that the egg waited patiently for sperm to fertilize it. That’s something we all know now to be untrue, but when someone desperately wants women to remain socially defined as passive receptacles, it becomes an issue of contention. The fact of the matter is that the assertion that personhood begins only after ejaculation is almost as misogynistically dismissive of women’s contributions to society as the stifling of that contribution via abortion restrictions themselves.
“Should it make a difference if the child is dismembered first, then delivered, or delivered first, then dismembered?”
This is something you should ask the group of exclusively dudes who stood around Bush as he banned the D&X procedure via the “Partial-birth abortion ban”. D&X procedures are actually safer for women (Who don’t exactly obtain late-term abortions willy-nilly, but what’s a little hydrocephalus along with your forced gestation and birth, huh?), but since women’s safety is hardly tantamount for those who seek to ban abortion procedures at all, it doesn’t surprise anyone that they would still ban the procedure outright even if late-term procedures aren’t banned completely through such legislation.
“Reducing abortion rates should be something everyone can agree upon, regardless of whether one believes it is murder. Legislation can only go so far, so anti-abortion advocates like those marching in Washington should continue fighting to change minds, so human life can be given the value it deserves.”
Hey, you know, if they put half as much of that effort into not lying about the efficacy of condoms and other forms of contraceptives, they might get somewhere. Fetal worship gets the state of women, the adoption process, anti-poverty efforts, or anything that might contribute to a lower abortion rate nowhere. It’s an enactment of extreme callousness and lack of nuance (let alone ability to focus on practicality) to continue this woebegone quest to “inform” people that these anti-abortion folks have a belief just as arbitrary as placing personhood post-vaginal canal.
Abortion foes either can’t see the forest for the trees, or their goals are not as heroic as they try to make them sound. You cannot ban abortion without accepting/asserting that the reproductive subjugation of women is morally sound. Not to mention, even proving fetal personhood doesn’t put you past argument about the merit of bodily autonomy and integrity, so all in the all the conclusion of this article is shaky at best.
Nice try, but it would behoove you to write creatively about another subject, I think.
So, I’m a total Twitter convert. I used to be one of those people that was like “omg TWITTER”. Well, that was before I saw awesome pro-choice folks tweetin’ the smackdown on the regular. You’d be surprised how effective 140 characters can be in refuting anti-choice lies.
In any case, one of the folks that I’ve become acquainted with via Twitter by the name of Sunny Burn has recently created an awesome meme. Meet Anti-Choice Guy. He’s perfect to say all of the wingnuttery that pro-lifers spout on the regular. You need some misogyny? Well, he’s got it in spades! Some in every color! So, start making some macros and send them her way to get featured.
In honor of the 38th anniversary of Roe v Wade tomorrow, this edition of DJ Feminizzle Friday will be dedicated to the amazing 70s.
And, just for good measure, some disco.
Yes. Two from Donna Summer. She is just. that. epic.
I just want to start this out by saying that I feel so old. I think there’s something about the ever-changing yet ever-the-aggravating-same nature about activisming that makes even a just ripened tomater like myself feel like I’ve been left in one of those produce fresh-keepers too long.
I originally got into blogging because I found out about Blog 4 Choice when I was just barely 16. At the time I figured it was the only thing I could really do to add to the discourse or to possibly shape social thought about abortion rights. At the very least, it would be a place to put my rants so that I wouldn’t explode while watching pro-life politicians bloviate about babies they had no intention of giving a crap about once they exited the women in whom they had a vested interest in controlling.
So, it’s 5 years later, and maybe it’s just me, but I feel like the game has changed so much. It used to be that I knew who I could trust to protect my reproductive rights, at least for the most part. Prettymuch, if there was an R after someone’s name, you’d steer clear, and if they had a D, you’d be a-okay. These days I feel like it’s completely changed. Not in a Freaky Friday opposites switching way, no. Now it just seems like you can’t trust anybody to actually stand up for women, be they democrat or republican. When before you could at least rely on democrats to give at least a wimpy defense of abortion rights, we now have democratic lawmakers selling out abortion access for millions of women like a big, sexist bargaining chip.
“Sorry ladies, but we need this, you don’t mind, do you? Really, it’s for the best.”
It’s outrageous. I can’t think of any other way to describe the actions of democrats when it come to choice this year.
The feeling of not knowing who to trust continues. Even women themselves, prominent ones (as there have always been anti-choice women), are out parading themselves as examples as to why every woman should be forced to bear a child with Down Syndrome no matter what their socioeconomic class, or why women as a whole should make lemonade out of their rapes. The rise of the anti-choice “mama grizzly” who cares all about big government except when it wants into a uterus of a fifteen year old rape victim is terrifying.
And now, as a big, weepy cherry (or should I say orange?) on top of this giant shit sundae, we have a Speaker of the House that sends his staff to meet with an anti-choice terrorist like it’s afternoon tea with Oprah or Barbara Walters or something – as if it’s a totally mainstream, a-okay thing to do.
So, we’ve got two problems: The people that were supposed to be our allies have sold us the fuck out, and this has in turn emboldened anti-choice forces.
Right now, in my state legislature alone, we’ve got a fetal personhood bill comin’ on up. Normally, this wouldn’t scare me at all. I would laugh, make fun of anti-choicers by saying that they think that fetuses should be given the right to vote even though they don’t even have the ability to think, and then brush it off because it has no chance of passing.
But my state went red during the midterms – reeeally red – and I’m not sure that this bill won’t pass. That is beyond frightening. Oh, but it gets better. It’s not just my state, of course. The Kentucky State Senate recently passed a forced ultrasound bill. The “we’re only going to focus on jobs and the economy” newly elected republicans in the National legislature are making sure that women won’t be able to pay for their abortions even if they have private insurance. And, of course, there’s also the “pro-life” pharmacist who was willing to let a woman bleed out rather than fill her prescription for an anti-bleeding medication on the off-chance that the woman in question was an abortion-having hussy that apparently deserved to die.
Our rights are under attack, our language is being co-opted, and anti-choicers are getting craftier every year. I don’t know exactly what needs to happen. Maybe the pro-choice movement needs to collectively drink one of those new giant Starbucks coffees. We need a jump start. I don’t know exactly what it’s going to take, but we need to get our shit together and start really holding people accountable rather than waiting our turn like some folks might rather us do.
I’m with Alice Paul on this one – if the democrats won’t support us, maybe it’s time we stopped supporting the democrats and campaign only on this issue. The only problem is that there is no alternative. I think the best thing we can do is simply demand that our democratic candidates espouse an unwavering pro-choice stance. It’s time for pro-choicers to use primaries. Let anti-choice democrats know that their misogyny will cost them their spot in the legislature.
And when someone tries to tell you that anti-choicers are really the ones who care about women – when they lie, co-opt pro-woman language – call them the fuck out. This is a movement that has built itself upon erasing women completely from the pregnancy and birth equation. The pro-life movement has based itself in the misogyny that a woman’s agency does not compete with the interest the state and/or her fellow citizens have in her reproductive capabilities. This whole “look at the parade of pro-life women we have, and abortion hurts women, and women deserve better than making their own choices, etc. etc.” is bullshit, and more needs to be done to reveal that to the masses.
There’s a lot that’s going badly for the reproductive rights movement right now, I think. 2011 has become a time of uncertainty in reproductive justice like no other that I have personally experienced. So, the question this year from Blog 4 Choice is this:
Given the anti-choice gains in the states and Congress, are you concerned about choice in 2011?
To that, I give this very eloquent response : Hyuh, yeah. Like really really. Shit’s gotten really serious, and we have a lot of work to do to make sure our rights aren’t rolled back like we’re in a bizarre Wal-mart commercial.
I think we can do it. We’re on the side of justice. We’re on the side of women. We’re on the side of better health for everyone. We’re on the side of prevention. We’re on the side of the American people.
If we focus on that and keep our values and goals clear – if we don’t waver or compromise – we will prevail through this tough time. As Gloria Gaynor would have said in the 70s, only five years after the time Roe was decided:
We will survive.
So, this is how it seems dominant groups are prone to work.
If an underrepresented or undervalued group makes any kind of progress, it is an assault. An assault! For some reason, actually being made to face the fact that not everyone follows the same life path, or not everyone makes the same decisions, or not everyone IS the same nor SHOULD they be, dominant groups pretend as if they’ve been slapped in the face.
It happens all the time. When women make gains for equality, we have to wonder things like “Are they out for dominance over men?”, “How equal is too equal?” or even “Will there ever be another male nominated to the Supreme Court?”. When LGBT folks get the basic right to serve in the military, suddenly everyone gets concerned about sexual assaults and harassment. When people of color attain civil rights victories, words like “reverse racism” are conjured and laws are created to make sure those foreign brown people don’t feel welcome in our “melting pot” of a country.
And, of course, when a network that has run shows called “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom” happens to air one 30-minute special that takes an unbiased view of abortion at the oh-so-primetime hour of 11:30 PM, Christian anti-choice groups flip their shit.
An assault! An assault, they say! A plague o’er just your house!
I mean, it’s like MTV actually decided to put on responsible programming and to talk to teenagers as if they might have brains, a capacity for understanding and thinking about complex issues, and moral compasses! And they used. . .shudder the thought. . .facts! They must be stopped.
At least, according to the “Youth pro-life leadership” which tilts their hand a bit too much by the end of that post, revealing how much their opposition to abortion is rooted less in caring about the lives and well-being of women and children and more in being incensed that something isn’t in line with their religious dogma. Again, the existence of these women and their story being told in a 30-minute television show is an attack on the rights of pro-forced birthers to make sure you can’t make decisions about your viewing pleasure any more than you can your own uterus.
Really, it’s a shame how much oppression Christian anti-choicers face in a country in which the Speaker of the House is meeting with anti-choice domestic terrorists. Will they ever get to be equally heard? Excuse me while I wipe away John Boehner’s tears.
In other somewhat relevant news, if you would like a good, but disturbing, laugh, read this. I really wish they would make that commercial. . .as a Digital Short on SNL.
I just saw Gloria Feldt’s “Wear the Shirt” contest, and I think that it’s an awesome idea. Message shirts, to me, are such an important part of the movement and of social justice work in general. I have a collection of Planned Parenthood shirts that I’ve gathered over my years of activism and volunteering with them. I think this is my favorite one:
If you can’t read it, the shirt says “Sex Ed: Protecting Our Future”. I wore this for an event the group I was leading held on my college campus about a year ago. We were asking students walking by one of the most trafficked buildings on campus to write down sex myths that they heard growing up or in school. Things like “You can’t get pregnant your first time” or “Two condoms are better than one”. We collected numerous myths about sex and safer sex as a means to show the enormity of our sex ed problem. The event ended up being extremely successful, and many people participated – some even learned that the things they believed about sex weren’t true! All in all, it was part of an effort to show how important it is to have comprehensive, fact-based sexual education in our schools. Sexual education is something I’m extremely passionate about. In middle and high school, I went through both abstinence-only and comprehensive sex education, and I can definitely tell you which one was based more on fact and which one deterred me from sexual activity more. Seeing warts on a penis definitely trumped watching a video that encouraged girls to “save their shoes” lest they be dirty and beaten up by the time they wanted to give them to their husband. I may have only been 13, but I knew that was just a ridiculous concept.
I’ve seen the effect that lack of sexual education can have. I’ve seen friends become infected with STIs, girls that just don’t have any sexual confidence just because they don’t know anything about their bodies or what gives them pleasure, and girls have told me stories about their past sexual experiences that clearly constitute sexual assault, and they clearly feel violated about it, but they don’t give it that name just because they’ve never been told that they have a right to be treated differently, or that what happened to them was not “sex”. It’s true when Planned Parenthood puts out the message that “Real Sex Ed Saves Lives”, so that’s why I’m so proud to wear the slogan of “Sex Ed: Protecting Our Future” (the cheesy thumbs up might give away my glee). It truly is a matter of protecting future generations.
As I’m sure you can also see, I make a point to add as many feminist message buttons as possible during events. I may or may not go a little bit overboard. But the fact of the matter is that when you’re engaging with people, they’re looking at you, and there’s a possibility that they’re going to read your shirt, or your button, etc. etc. If they can read your succinct, catchy message, it will probably stick with them, so you’re doing your job even more just by standing there.
I think feminist message shirts also show solidarity. The best example I can think of is when I went to Washington, DC with Planned Parenthood during the summer of 2009 to lobby for healthcare reform. Every participant wore a hot pink shirt that read “Planned Parenthood: Healthcare for every community”. A wave of pink descended upon Capitol Hill, and you could see the difference it made. As our group spoke to legislators, it was obvious that they had taken notice that there were so many people in pink shirts all here for the same reason. This is out group from Florida:
It shows unity. There’s also been many times when I’ve been at other events and people have come up to me and thanked me for being involved with Planned Parenthood.
Message shirts are extremely important (and fashionable!). So the next time you want to express a social or political ideology or idea, work that runway, and make fashion work for you! There ain’t nothing more in style than creating change!