The National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) recently hosted an online training session to educate members about how to spot health disinformation. Featuring Ellie Langford, a research director for NARAL, the meeting detailed the impact these supposed falsehoods have on “our lives and our elections, and how [disinformation] is spread through social media platforms like Facebook.” Ironically, though the event’s purpose was to train NARAL members to be wary of deceptive tactics, the webinar relied on inaccuracies to try to discredit the ever-growing pro-life movement. Listen:
NARAL claims most Americans favor “reproductive freedom”
The stated purpose of Langford’s presentation was to help others understand “the dishonest tactics” she claims the “anti-choice movement” and the ‘radical right’ have “pioneered.” Langford claims that the pro-life movement has been historically unpopular, and says that even before Roe v. Wade, a majority of Americans supported abortion, even most Republicans. She concluded that most Americans today favor “reproductive freedom.” (Time stamp – 1:13-2:42)
But there’s a problem: Abortion didn’t officially become part of the women’s movement until 1967, after a contentious debate took place at a meeting for the National Organization for Women (NOW). One-third of feminists resigned from the group after it voted to champion legalized abortion. This division was glossed over by the media, who highlighted NOW’s alleged support for abortion and the sexual revolution, claiming this represented the views of 28 million women.
In reality, it was more like 57 people.
Polls done before Roe showed widespread disapproval for the procedure, even amongst women. The people who were most likely to support it were sexually progressive men. It’s absolutely false to claim that “anti-choice” people went against the majority to push an agenda. The combined efforts of the media and pro-choice men propagandized the pro-abortion movement, making it seem as if it was for women, and created by women.
This tactic isn’t new, and in the past, we’ve seen NARAL rely on flawed studies to make the number of Americans who support abortion seem higher.
In addition, recent polling shows that Americans actually favor heavy restrictions on abortion, with 70 percent wanting it restricted to the first trimester. This includes nearly half of those who identify as “pro-choice.”
NARAL claims pro-lifers put ideology over science
Health disinformation, Langford said, is defined as placing ideology over science, which then puts communities at risk and helps the ‘far right’ push policies that block “necessary abortion care.” (Time stamp – 3:50 – 4:18)
But was NARAL looking out for at-risk communities when they were one of the last organizations to speak up about Kermit Gosnell? Instead of using the incident to discuss the need for safety standards at abortion businesses, NARAL claimed it was proof that regulations on facilities needed to be loosened — even though a lack of restrictions is what allowed Gosnell to escape justice for so long. Similar to NARAL, the Pennsylvania Health Department did not want there to be “barrier[s]” for women who wanted abortions. Gosnell was not an outlier, but NARAL continues to push the idea that safety standards only make abortion dangerous.
The pro-life movement is the side that’s repeatedly using the science of fetal development to show that abortion destroys actual, living human beings — while abortion proponents largely avoid the idea that another human is killed in an abortion.
NARAL tries to link pro-life movement to white supremacy
According to Langford, “anti-choice” groups, the far right, the alt-right, white supremacists, and men’s rights activists all “use the same playbook” to push disinformation. She accused the pro-life student group Students for Life of echoing memes from the “neo-Nazi blog” The Daily Stormer. Langford asserted — while giving no proof — that “not a lot of daylight separates these groups.” (Time stamp – 8:28 – 9:24)
In addition to citing no proof against the pro-life movement, it appears that Langford is either unaware of or in denial about the pro-abortion movement’s roots in eugenics and racism.
Rarely, if ever, do abortion proponents condemn acts of violence against pro-lifers. A man roundhouse kicked a woman for simply saying she was against abortion without exception — and abortion supporters cheered. Harlan Drake murdered an elderly pro-lifer in September 2009 because he was offended by the older gentleman’s anti-abortion material. Where was the condemnation from abortion supporters? Coordinated attacks have been launched against pro-lifers at their own events, and other violent assaults have been carried out by pro-choice activists.
This attack by the pro-abortion movement is just more of the same namecalling usually instituted by desperate opponents.
NARAL attacks Live Action
Lila Rose and Live Action were accused by name of spreading the “dangerous” idea on Facebook that abortion is never medically necessary. Langford stated, “In these screenshots you can see anti-choice activist Lila Rose and her organization, Live Action, pushing the dangerous health disinformation that abortion is never medically necessary. This is a claim that has been debunked time and time again by medical authorities like ACOG. And it’s an incredibly irresponsible thing to promote at a time where maternal mortality and morbidity rates are already dangerously high, especially for Black women.” (Time stamp – 12:10 – 14:21)
The ACOG is definitively in favor of abortion, yet even they have determined that pre-term delivery – not abortion – is the best course of action when health complications arise during pregnancy. Some abortionists have admitted that the supposed medical necessity of abortion is untrue, and is merely meant to make it sound “noble.”
Langford’s mention of maternal mortality rates neglected to state that they typically aren’t just measuring deaths associated with delivery. Included are fatalities from induced abortion, tubal pregnancies, and molar pregnancies. In terms of how this affects Black women, Dr. Ingrid Skop, an OB/GYN, has noted how Black women are three times more likely to have an abortion, a procedure that can negatively affect maternal health.
Langford claimed Rose’s video was flagged after being fact-checked by medical authorities (they were actually two abortionists). She also claimed that Rose, alongside her supporters, began a successful pressure campaign to remove it, citing it as an example of “anti-choicers” being allowed to violate social media guidelines while everyone else plays by the rules. But Rose’s claim was made by thousands of physicians long before Rose ever made the statement herself. As for “playing by the rules,” even Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg noted that the fact check itself was “inherently biased.”
NARAL’s focus during a worldwide pandemic is ensuring abortion access
Kristin Ford, the national communications director at NARAL, took over the webinar to present the questions from the chatbox. She emphasized how terms like “forced pregnancy” carry “real power,” and she reminded webinar participants to work with abortion funds during COVID-19 so women can have access to abortions. (Time stamp – 39:13 – 44:08)
Ford said abortionists are doing their best to provide “nonjudgmental care” for “pregnant people” — a term she claimed should be used because women are not the only ones who can become pregnant. This nonjudgmental care apparently means promoting dangerous at-home procedures. The webinar concluded without any guidance about how to connect pregnant women to essential resources aside from abortion during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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