Once you’ve written something as blatantly ethically bankrupt as Mary Elizabeth Williams’ notorious “So what if abortion ends life?” Salon piece — which, you may recall, contained such gems as, “All life is not equal” and claimed that a preborn son or daughter targeted for death is a “life worth sacrificing” — there’s pretty much no low too low to sink to next.
So the dishonesty with which Williams attacks my July 3 Live Action piece on life-of-the-mother abortions should come as no surprise. Her dishonesty begins with the tiny detail that nowhere does she mention my name or Live Action’s name, nor does she include a link to the post for readers to verify what I actually said.
I only learned of Williams’ piece thanks to the diligence of pro-life blogger Jivin Jehoshaphat, who notified me on Twitter and was subsequently blocked by Williams for holding her accountable. (Just in case she changes it, here’s an archived copy of exactly how the page looked on July 6 at the time of this writing.)
“When will the side of ‘life’ acknowledge the lifesaving side of abortion?” Williams asks, sneering that “arguing with the vehemently anti-choice faction is like arguing a can of soup — pointless and unsatisfying and possibly crazy.”
After summarizing Paola Dragnic’s BuzzFeed article I discussed last time (but before moving on to me), Williams lies about what really happened to Savita Halappanavar, complains that Paraguay wouldn’t kill a child carried by a 10-year-old rape victim, blasts efforts to save a child’s life in the Marlise Munoz case (never mind that such efforts have been successful in other cases), and bemoans the “alarmingly limited options” of women whose babies have fatal abnormalities.
Aside from the particular facts she misrepresents, here’s where Williams’ 2013 admissions — that “life starts at conception,” that abortion is “not a black and white issue,” that fetuses “don’t qualify as human life only if they’re intended to be born,” that there’s no “single magic moment when a fetus becomes a person,” and that it “seems absurd to suggest that the only thing that makes us fully human is the short ride out of some lady’s vagina” — come back to bite her. Once you’ve conceded all that, you’ve also conceded that on some level at least, it’s respectable to come to different conclusions about how much weight that fetal life deserves in all of the cases she mentions.
But never mind moral contemplation; there’s a pro-life blogger to demonize!
Naturally, a leading “life” based site has seized upon Dragnic’s Buzzfeed story to praise women who made “the opposite choice, to risk and sacrifice their own lives that their sons and daughters might live,” noting that “any discussion of abortion, particularly one rooted in firsthand experience, is incomplete if it ignores the party it most deeply affects.” This is the almost laughable classic stance. Even if there’s a slight nod to the possibility that sometimes a woman might actually die bringing a nonviable fetus into the world, it comes with the caveat that a really noble and good woman would take the chance anyway. But don’t worry, across the world, approximately 800 women a day die from pregnancy and childbirth complications, so you get your wish, team “life”!
I am really, really, really, sick of the despicable lie that abortion is just a straight up act of selfishness, committed by baby hating she-monsters and the devil doctors who provide them services […] the fiercely delusional side of “life” doesn’t see things that way. They don’t want to consider the hard choices that make up reality. And they don’t want to consider that if you say that a human life has value and you steadfastly refuse to value women, you’re not just ridiculously hypocritical, you’re being downright dangerous.
Reading that, it’s no wonder Williams chose not to give her readers more than a snippet of what I actually wrote — her accusations that I think “a really noble and good woman would take the chance anyway” and that “abortion is just a straight up act of selfishness” are awfully hard to square with the parts where I say “this was no case of ‘inconvenience’ or casual disregard for her child’s welfare,” “all our hearts break for her ordeal,” or that “none of us truly know[s] what we would do in any of their shoes, and different situations where the odds of survival for both mother and child can vary wildly are not perfectly analogous.”
Her claims that I’m somehow “downright dangerous” or giving no more than “a slight nod” to life-of-the-mother cases rings hollow against the paragraphs I devoted to pointing out that such deaths are beside the point, for the simple fact that no major pro-life activist or legislation in America would take the choice away from women in life-threatening situations. Geez, Mary, I even specifically mentioned challenging people like you to give me an example to the contrary.
And Williams’ assertion that I “don’t want to consider the hard choices that make up reality” is simply asinine, as she’s responding to an article I specifically wrote to consider the subject.
But the truth would have killed the mood of righteous indignation she was going for. Williams wanted to gin up hatred in her audience, making women fear they were potential victims of yet another anti-choice misogynist, so she decided she couldn’t trust them to follow a link and make their own informed decision about what a bad, bad man Calvin Freiburger is. And because Salon’s editorial standards are somehow even lower than we thought, they’re all too happy to comply.
That Mary Elizabeth Williams is both fanatically pro-abortion and wildly dishonest are not coincidences. Pro-aborts are constantly proving that character flaws love company, and a flaw as severe as comfort with the slaughter of innocents is virtually never alone.
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