Spoiler Alert: This post will discuss plot details from the Netflix political drama House of Cards.
It’s a remarkable time to be a witness to America’s abortion debate. With both the progression of public opinion towards life and the science behind the core question firmly against them, pro-aborts have increasingly been forced to let their masks slip. Usually this takes the form of horrifyingly blunt offspring execution justifications, but what’s even more shocking is how they occasionally endorse other ethical lapses in the name of “choice.”
This week, Season Two of House of Cards set feminazi hearts aflutter with a subplot about Claire Underwood, the vice president’s wife, admitting in an interview that she once had an abortion, which she claimed to have gotten because she was raped. The truth, however, is that her rape wasn’t connected to any of the three abortions in her past.
Not that a little thing like lying would bother veteran defenders of prenatal dismemberment. At Slate, noted dishonesty enthusiast Amanda Marcotte cheers this as a “refreshingly feminist” story unafraid of conservatives’ “tender sensibilities.” She says that Underwood’s bald-faced lie “isn’t exactly true,” as if we’re talking about a rounding error rather than claiming a false motive for killing somebody. But it’s okay, because the mean old anti-choice movement made her do it:
Claire is a character who is frequently portrayed as a scheming, immoral liar, but for once, her truth-fudging comes across as entirely sympathetic. The implication is that the American public will forgive aborting a rape-caused pregnancy but would never forgive someone who rebels against the expectation that she must have children with her husband. To protect herself from the intrusive condemnation of people she’s never met, she pretty much has to lie.
Marcotte hails House of Cards for “driving home the idea that anti-abortion sentiment stems mainly from a desire to control female sexuality,” apparently still failing to appreciate that it’s easy to make fictitious narratives look real in an, er, fictitious narrative. Give me enough money, and I could make a show about how Planned Parenthood is a front for an alien invasion, but it wouldn’t make it any truer than anything on HoC.
Afterward, Marcotte replied to critics that she didn’t consider Underwood a role model—while ignoring the real controversy, which is that the she did endorse Unerwood’s lie. And, of course, she couldn’t help but launch another delusional rant about how criticism of her argument somehow constituted broader “infantilizing assumptions about what women get out of fiction.”
Such excuse-making is particularly ironic coming from someone who, on the very same day, tweeted that “conservatives don’t deserve equal time in papers if they’re going to lie” because “Facts are a minimum standard.”
Her above link takes us to the even less civilized doldrums of Jezebel, where Tracie Egan Morrissey celebrates Underwood for coming up with—keep your spittoons handy—a “version of the truth” that used a “small, maybe irrelevant falsehood” to “maintain the integrity of her convictions, but not rub people the wrong way with her truth.” Hear that? The stated justification for your son or daughter needing to die is “maybe irrelevant.”
Refreshingly, Eric Sasson of the liberal New Republic called Morrissey out for lauding Underwood:
Egan Morrissey argues that lying and scheming to advance an important cause makes Claire a feminist warrior: The final line of her post reads, “In the context of House of Cards’ amoral, political spin machine, the end justifies the means.” I suppose if feminism means empowering women to behave in the same cruel, vindictive, and shamelessly opportunistic way that many men have behaved since time immemorial, then yes, Egan Morrissey is right. But I suspect that most women do not view characters like Claire as role models.
That’s exactly right: most women don’t admire this behavior. But then, the abortion cult that hijacked feminism and is now wearing its skin as a disguise couldn’t care less what “most women” think. “Empowering women to behave in the same cruel, vindictive, and shamelessly opportunistic way” as men’s worst is exactly what their brand of “equality” amounts to.
Meanwhile, TIME’s Eliana Dockterman admits she “actually cheered for Claire this episode,” despite Claire being a “morally bankrupt, manipulative woman who intentionally ruined the lives of her ex-lover, the First Lady and a fellow rape victim this season.” You see, “her ‘I will not be ashamed’ speech was brave and inspiring, however calculated it might have been.” At Heavy, Matthew Guariglia doesn’t even try to pretend the dishonesty bothers him. The segment sees Claire “reassert[ing] her bravery and agency”:
The admission is politically risky but Claire knows it’s the right thing to do and, as she says, she has to be honest with herself […] This shows the force of Claire’s character that over the course of an interview she can goes from the role of political wife to empowering crusader.
Indiewire’s Alison Willmore doesn’t go as far as the others, but her key takeaway is still that “the sequence is a fascinating example of minefields in feminist issues.” Lying was understandable because Claire’s “very womanliness [was] under attack because she and Frank chose to put their careers first,” and hey, it got “long-delayed justice” for both herself and her rapist’s other victims. So if “getting justice” is now an adequate motive for lying, would Willmore accept, say, a crisis pregnancy center lying to pregnant women to save babies’ lives? This is not to say pro-lifers should endorse such dishonesty; simply to point out that her logic would also open doors she wouldn’t like so much.
I have long suspected that when America finally throws abortion-on-demand onto the ash heap of history, pro-lifers will have to give much of the credit to pro-abortion forces who will have descended so deeply into their radicalism that it horrifies and disgusts fence-sitters away from their cause. And at the rate they’re tossing ethics overboard, victory could be sooner than any of us expect.