Recently, I stumbled upon No, that’s not how abortion is, a Tumblr whose proprietor, Arguing About Abortions, professes to be “tired of Pro-lifers spreading misinformation about and misrepresenting abortion,” and “here to call people out on their factually and statistically incorrect garbage.”
Skimming it reveals about what you’d expect: smug, angry spin for prenatal executions that fails to live up to AAA’s childishly self-serving depiction of a typical abortion debate:
Pro choicer: *Makes well reasoned and scientific argument supported by facts, science and logic*
Pro lifer: I can’t *fetus* understand *fetus* your accent *fetus fetus* SAVE DAH BABIEESSS *fetus*
This looks to be a treasure trove of blog fodder, but one particular, popular post stands out. The image to the right (creator unknown) allegedly shows how a litany of pro-life positions prove (a) we don’t sincerely believe “that abortion is child murder,” and (b) that our true motivation is “the belief that women should face consequences for having sex.”
- “Abortion bans which expressly protect the mother from all legal consequences” aren’t sincerely pro-life because “No one would endorse a law saying that parents who pay contract killers to murder their four-year-old may in no circumstances be punished,” but are meant to punish women because “By cutting off women from abortion, these laws will tend (in theory, at least) to force women who have sex to bear unwanted children.”
Yes, you read that right: not punishing women was just used as evidence of wanting to punish women. Bet you didn’t think we’d sail though the looking glass quite this early, huh? To fully appreciate the insanity, keep in mind that later the chart will accuse us of wanting these women dead. So we supposedly want to go that far, but our disinterest in imprisoning women not only doesn’t undermine the entire exercise, but actually bolsters it? Er, okay.
The simple truth is, we understand that abortion’s acceptability is a longstanding cultural sickness, legitimized through decades of judicial, legislative, media, academic, and cultural propaganda that is utterly unmatched for any other crime. Morally that doesn’t necessarily mitigate abortion seekers’ responsibility, but politically it acknowledges society’s share of the blame, and that it takes more than changing laws to undo cultural conditioning so pervasive.
Declining to prosecute abortion-seeking women until a paradigm shift in the public consciousness is the sort of compromise societies make when transitioning away from past barbarism. Maybe AAA can answer what her allies apparently cannot—why is punishing only abortionists fundamentally different than Abraham Lincoln’s desire to seek reconciliation with the South rather than making sure they suffered for enslaving blacks?
- “Opposing contraception and comprehensive sex education” isn’t sincerely pro-life because “Pushing contraception and sex-ed on teens is how countries like Belgium have achieved the lowest abortion rates in the world. No one who genuinely thinks abortion is murder could rationally oppose policies that would save tens of thousands of children from being murdered.” It’s actually meant to punish women because “The less teen girls have access to contraception and sex ed, the more likely it is that they will suffer consequences (STDs, pregnancy) for having sex.”
Or it could be that data in the US and abroad actually doesn’t show contraception reliably slashing abortion rates, that some of what pro-aborts group under “contraception” can induce abortions, that pro-aborts’ notion of “access” tramples on people’s basic rights, that we’ve seen plenty of evidence that abstinence-based sex education really is the better course, and that so-called “comprehensive” courses often contain lots of destructive life lessons. Heaven forbid we consider that pro-lifers simply believe what they say!
- “Abortion bans which provide exceptions for rape and incest” aren’t sincerely pro-life because “No one would say that it is acceptable to murder a four-year-old because of the circumstances of the child’s conception,” but are meant to punish women because “Exceptions for incest and rape are consistent with a belief in punishing women who have sex; since incest and rape victims are not to blame for having sex, they are exempt from punishment.”
At least this time they found an actual inconsistency. Not that it makes their case, though—for one, many pro-lifers don’t make those exceptions, and for another, the ones who do are also likely to be more moderate about secondary issues like birth control, contradicting the stereotype the chart’s pushing.
But even granting rape exceptions’ philosophical inconsistency, its real motivation is obvious—voters simply can’t stomach the thought of making rape victims give birth, and pro-exception pro-lifers are simply trying to propose legislation more agreeable to them. Is there any other issue where pro-aborts deny the existence of pragmatism, where they’d see a bill that only gets its backers partway to their goal, and assume their stated objectives are insincere because they’re not demanding everything at once?
- “Banning the intact D&X abortion procedure (sometimes called ‘partial birth abortion’)” isn’t sincerely pro-life because “Banning late-term D&X abortions (or any other particular procedure) will not save a single fetal life, since doctors will switch to other procedures.” It’s actually meant to punish women because “other procedures doctors switch to may have a higher risk of injuring the mother, thus making it more likely that she suffers consequences.”
This is priceless—when we push for stricter medical regulations and information about abortion’s risks, we get flooded with lectures about abortion’s safety, but when one method of late-term abortion is taken off the table, our opponents turn around and wail, “don’t you know how dangerous those things are?”
Anyway, the 2003 partial-birth abortion ban was panned by some pro-lifers because it prohibited one method of baby execution while leaving equally gruesome methods untouched. Others defended it for establishing valuable legal precedent and drawing national attention to what abortion can look like behind the euphemisms. So its wisdom is debatable, but merely reading the procedure’s description—“Decompression can be accomplished with forceps or by making an incision at he base of the skull through which the intracranial contents are suctioned”—makes its motivation obvious.
It takes a special kind of willful denial to talk about stabbing a baby’s skull and sucking his or her brain out and rather than instantly recognize how such savagery sickens people to action, instead conclude we are actively trying to increase the odds of maternal death.
- “Advocating less generous welfare for poor single mothers” suggests we aren’t sincerely pro-life because “According to conservatives, welfare encourages poor women to have children. If one beliefs that abortion is exactly the same as murder, it should be worth paying for welfare to lower the child murder rate.” It’s actually meant to punish women because “By keeping poor single mothers poor, opposing welfare increases the consequences of having sex.”
“Welfare spending reduces abortion rates” is another claim that the evidence fails to prove, no matter how many times pro-aborts repeat it as if they read it from a stone tablet. And can our opponents process the possibility that perhaps there are social ills related to welfare spending that warrant opposition for their own sake?
- The chart at least concedes that “Opposing a vaccine for the human papilloma virus (HPV)” neither “support[s] or contradict[s] the belief that abortion is murder.” But it’s still meant to punish women because “If the vaccine is successfully blocked, nearly 4,000 American women a year, all of whom have chosen to have sex, will die of cervical cancer. Allowing the vaccine would spare them this consequence.”
This is dishonest on two levels. First, the 2011 dispute concerned Texas Governor Rick Perry’s executive order making the vaccine, Gardasil, mandatory in public schools, not any attempt to ban it or cut off access. Critics felt it infringed on parents’ rights by forcing their daughters to take a vaccine they weren’t convinced was safe, and treated a disease not communicable through casual contact, which is the traditional justification for mandatory inoculation in public schools.
Second, you may have noticed that pro-Gardasil Perry is pro-life, as presumably were most of his supporters, meaning the argument didn’t fall perfectly along conventional partisan lines.
- “Morally condemning extremists who bomb abortion clinics” suggests we aren’t sincerely pro-life because “If abortion is exactly the same as murder, then abortion in the U.S. is evil on a scale greater than The Holocaust, and people who bomb abortion clinics should be idolized.” However, the chart concedes that it’s also inconsistent with the “punish women” narrative because “If more clinics were blown up, more women might have to face the consequences of having sex.”
I suppose we really shouldn’t be surprised that those who advocate the power to kill your own children can’t grasp that pro-lifers really do revere the sanctity of every human life and our duty as citizens to respect the rule of law, that we genuinely hold ourselves to higher standards than “the end justifies the means.” Though it does show you just how desperately far they’ll go to avoid grappling with challenging beliefs.
Further, just try to imagine what would happen if the pro-life movement suddenly said, y’know what? You’re right, so to be more consistent we’re going to endorse violent anti-abortion vigilantism, call for every abortion-seeking woman to be thrown in prison, and take the rape exceptions out of every pro-life bill we can find. Do you think the other side would respond with, gee thanks, and now that you’ve convinced us your views are sincere, we’d be happy to dialogue with you on a more respectful level? If you believe that, I have a pair of pink sneakers to sell you.
- “Opposing U.S. government funding for the U.N. Population Fund” suggests we aren’t sincerely pro-life because “The UN Population Fund does not provide abortions, but it is probably the world’s leading provider of birth control and reproductive health education to the third world. Defunding the Population Fund leads to tens of thousands of additional abortions every year. (Contrary to anti-choice claims, the Population Fund does not support forced abortion in China.)” It’s actually meant to punish women because “Cutting off funding to the Population Fund makes it more likely that third world women who have sex will suffer consequences such as STDs, unwanted childbirth, fistula, and maternal death.”
That would be the same UN Population Fund that declares abortifacients a “human right” for which it’s necessary to “transform gender attitudes and cultural barriers that impede access to and use of family planning.” That would be the same UN Population Fund whose Global Youth Forum calls for all governments to enact “policies and programs that ensure young women have access to safe and legal abortion, pre- and post-abortion services, without mandatory waiting periods, requirements for parental and spousal notification and/or consent or age of consent.”
And while plenty of pro-lifers would dispute the Fund’s reassurances that it doesn’t support China’s forced abortions, its own statements are more than enough for Americans to distrust where it would send their tax dollars.
We’ve well documented our foes’ efforts to wash their hands of abortion’s horror by fantasizing that nobody else really thinks abortion’s that bad either, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a variant reach quite the extremes of this one’s ridiculousness and malice. Hopefully, dissecting it has provided not only a sobering window into the depths a human mind can sink to, but also a handy reference to the personal attacks you can expect for defending life.