There are many ways to spot a fanatic, but a particularly damning one is when, on the rare instance where one admits to acting fanatical, it’s still somehow the victim’s fault. This was on full display in a recent Salon column by Catherine Landis, a Planned Parenthood of Middle & East Tennessee board member and Knoxville Advocates of Reproductive Rights community action team leader.
In a piece that stunningly alternates between confessions of abominably unjustified incivility and suggesting it was totally justified, Landis recounts an encounter with a pro-lifer at a Tennessee early voting station last November in which she “didn’t mean to scream,” but “could not stop,” as if “inside me some hidden beast was waking up,” wounded and stirring.
As if preemptively trying to compensate for how badly she comes across in her own account of the incident, she starts out by complaining that in the South “it doesn’t feel safe to stand alone if you’re going to publicly come out as pro-choice,” because “Six years ago, a man walked into a local Unitarian Church with a gun hidden in a guitar case because he wanted to kill some liberals.”
Yeah, and six years ago a pro-abort shot and killed a man in Michigan because he didn’t like his pro-life signs. Three years ago a man walked into the Family Research Council and opened fire because he wanted to kill “as many people as possible” for their conservative views. In recent years, other unhinged pro-aborts have committed numerous violent acts against pro-lifers, such as a rock thrown into a window of a home and demonstrators threatened with a knife and a Molotov cocktail. And Human Life International has been documenting many more.
Yet pro-aborts endlessly claim a monopoly on the victim card, as if the rare fringe anti-abortion nut means they have to constantly live in terror but the pro-abortion ones should mean nothing to us. Somehow, I doubt I’d get much sympathy from the other side (or even my own) if I threw a similar tantrum at a pro-choicer and tried to blame it on frayed nerves that the next Harlan James Drake might be just around the corner.
Speaking of which, back to the tantrum in question:
[S]omething, my dumbfounded brain, my outraged tongue, that uninvited beast inside, took over. The women claimed I was screaming, as in, “You don’t have to scream!”
But yes, I did. I can scream all I want to! I will scream bloody murder if I want to, I will scream and scream and scream some more because you are trying to take away my rights!
Or something like that. I can’t remember exactly everything I said, although I won’t deny my outburst may have included I don’t give a damn what you think and many other things that might or might not have been prudent. Blinding rage is not conducive to prudence or a reliable memory. The more interesting question to me is not what I said, but why. What caused such a raging, overwhelming, immature, unapologetic, visceral and primal reaction?
Wow! The pro-lifer must have been a real jerk to provoke such a reaction. What was her crime? Landis writes that the “woman was friendly as she invited us to explain why we were against the amendment,” but disliked the way her “voice was silky with feigned cordiality but behind it was the cocksure certainty of people who know they’re right and you’re wrong because God is on their side.” (Apparently that’s why the folks at Jezebel and RH Reality Check don’t bother faking cordiality to begin with. At least pro-aborts are never arrogant!) But what ultimately got “the beast” stirring was…are you ready for this?
You may want to be sitting down. The lady had a flier. The flier said…it said…
…it said “informed consent.”
Seriously, that’s it. If you’re as stumped as I am why that should reduce a rational human being to blind, sputtering rage, Landis explains:
It does not mean telling patients what they need to know about the procedure. Abortion providers in the state of Tennessee are required to be physicians with active hospital privileges and they already do that. They do that in the same way gastroenterologists inform patients about colonoscopies. Informed consent is what doctors do. Only in the context of abortion does “informed consent” mean legally requiring physicians to read a script written by non-medically trained politicians telling patients all kinds of factually challenged scary stories designed to induce second thoughts.
So you see, in those two little words, this poor, unassuming Planned Parenthood leader was overwhelmed by “the audacity, the disingenuousness, the callous pretense written in black and white” of pro-lifers “lying to get their way.”
There’s just one problem, Ms. Landis: you know what the difference is between informed consent in gastroenterology and informed consent in abortion. In the former, there is no vested interest in widespread deception about one of its key facts, upon which the practice’s very existence depends. In abortion there is: the destruction of a separate, innocent human being, which must be denied in order to make abortion not sound monstrously evil.
You ought to know this as well as anyone, Ms. Landis, considering you hold a substantial position with an organization dedicated to perpetuating it and other lies. So might I suggest an alternate explanation for your anger: some subconscious awareness that you couldn’t actually debate the logic of informed-consent laws without confronting your own role in why they’re needed in the first place?
That’s my bet, but Landis throws out a couple more post-hoc rationalizations for her behavior: talking to that woman “felt physically threatening,” like “the emotional equivalent of being hauled off to a cell for a crime I did not commit”—solely because of a line on a flier about abortionists having to provide pertinent information they’d rather hide—and it just feels so hard to be “a liberal in the South” who “feel[s] like you don’t have a voice” because of “a subtle sense that this is a government hating, gun-loving, God-fearing, kind-of-racist, kind-of-sexist, kind-of-homophobic, big-car-driving, live-free-or-die kind of a place.” I don’t know about you, but to me, I had to scream at that pro-lifer because I’m bigoted against my fellow Tennesseans makes things worse, not better.
Landis spends another few thousand words attempting to at least look like she made up for her intolerance by wondering “if it’s even possible anymore to sit down and talk with somebody from the other side” and recounting how she sought out a respectful dialogue with someone from the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform whom she refers to as “Sue.” Her account is full of…creative…spins on pro-life views, but her key takeaway? “We need to call the ‘pro-life’ movement what it is: a cult”:
Because like a cult, its members manage to use the exact same talking points with no deviation. Facts contradicting their stated beliefs are tossed aside. There is no room for nuanced thinking.
Proving that Landis has little to no sense of irony, this accusation came in the midst of her:
- Categorically dismissing, sight unseen, any and all studies Sue had backing up her position because “You name it, you can find a study to prove it,”
- Concluding Sue must be disingenuous solely for maintaining that “a fertilized egg is a human being” isn’t a religious belief, even though that’s a 100% true scientific fact scores of Landis’s own colleagues don’t even deny anymore,
- Admitting that Sue was a much better debater than she, but whining that it was only because Sue was a professional advocate and a Board of Directors member of a Planned Parenthood affiliate is somehow just “an ordinary person,”
- Writing, “I don’t even want to talk about abortion anymore, not in the sense of whether it should be legal or not and certainly not in the sense of whether a fetus is a person. It isn’t,” and
- Ultimately concluding that her temper tantrum was okay after all: “on the issue of abortion, I see no room for common ground and I’m not going to stop screaming.”
So the pro-abort openly ignores evidence, denies science, rejects discussion, and endorses screaming at people she disagrees with…yet the pro-lifer is the cultist?
We’re through the looking glass here; in fact, we stopped being able to see the looking glass in the rearview mirror about fifty miles ago. The hypocrisy and delusion is so far beyond parody that finding more words to say about it seems pointless compared to letting Landis’s words just hang there in all their deranged glory (Salon’s editors really do make this job too easy sometimes).
Particularly since the “War on Women” narrative began, the pro-abortion movement seems to be in the middle of a perpetual collective meltdown. That’s good for ginning up the faithful, but like with any cult, there’s only so far you can go before overreach begins jolting some of the less certain back to reality.