Imagining ulterior motives for pro-lifers is perhaps pro-abortion commentators’ favorite pastime. Though staggeringly condescending, and a near-guarantee to derail any hope of productive dialogue between the two sides, it’s nevertheless inevitable that those supporting the power to murder one’s unborn sons and daughters will develop intense defense mechanisms to avoid thinking about the horror they champion. If they can convince themselves that nobody else really believes that abortion is murder, they feel exempted from having to confront the possibility in their own minds.
Their chosen ulterior motive: pro-lifers just hate sex! And the premiere wearer of this particular tinfoil hat: Amanda Marcotte, whom we at Live Action have taken to task many, many times for this sort of thing. Her latest musings on the subject claim that our side is “giving up the pretense that it has no interest in policing women’s sexuality and only opposes abortion rights because of fetal life,” that we’re increasingly willing “to admit that what really offends [us] is that women are having sex without [our] permission.”
Her evidence: a new report by the Family Research Council on the demographics of women who obtain abortions. Their findings:
* The majority of those who abort have one abortion only: Whereas about five percent of ever-pregnant women report having two or more abortions, 15 percent report having one.
* Abortion occurs most widely among younger women: Among women who report having had one or more abortions, nearly half are 20 years old or younger, and three-quarters are 24 or younger.
* Women with multiple sexual and cohabiting partners have a markedly higher abortion rate: Nearly 90 percent of women who report one or more abortions have had three or more male sexual partners.
* Almost 60 percent of women who report one or more abortions have cohabited with two or more men.
* Abortion rate is lower among women from biologically intact or intact, adoptive families: Whereas about 26 percent of women from broken families report some abortion history, only 16 percent of women from biologically intact families or intact, adoptive families report abortion history.
* No marked difference in abortion rates across income categories, no clear relationship detectable between abortion rates and education: Abortion rates do not vary markedly among women of the different income categories assessed in this report.
* No clear relationship or pattern is detectable between abortion rates and women of particular educational attainment levels.
Sounds to me like useful information to better understand some of the cultural, educational, and economic factors surrounding abortion, which, last I checked, pro-aborts claimed to be all for making “rare.” But thanks to Marcotte’s hang-ups about anyone with a less laissez-faire view of promiscuity than hers, all she can see is “OMG sluts!”
The researchers – a term that needs to be used somewhat loosely, due to the extensive statistical distortion employed in this paper – were incredibly intent on portraying abortion as a product of sexually loose women on the prowl. They mostly succeed in portraying themselves as remarkably prudish and out of step with mainstream realities. “Almost 90 percent of reported abortions are procured by women who have had three or more (male) sexual partners,” the researchers write, clearly expecting the audience to reel in terror at the idea that a woman might not marry the first boy she kisses.
“The idea that a woman might not marry the first boy she kisses?” That’s the one thing you can look forward to in every Amanda Marcotte diatribe: a new hilariously lazy straw man, kind of like the prize inside a cereal box. And this may just be my sheltered right-wing upbringing talking, but I’m pretty sure there are big differences between a kiss and sexual intercourse.
Anyway, according to researchers Marcotte does approve of, the Guttmacher Institute, only 13% of abortion-obtaining women cite “physical problems with the health of the fetus” as their reason, only 12% cite a “physical problem with my health,” only 1% cite “was a victim of rape,” and less than half a percent cite “became pregnant as a result of incest.” So that does mean the great majority of abortions happen because two people knowingly created a son or daughter they had no intention of keeping, or at least treating humanely.
Marcotte can sneer all she wants about people who dislike the phenomenon of so recklessly bringing new lives into the world only to snuff them out and think it’s something worth confronting. But then it’s on her to explain why our society cultivates an appreciation of responsibility and consequences in virtually every other walk of life – driving, alcohol, drugs, studying, healthy eating, earning and saving money, you name it – but should carve out a massive, glaring exception when it comes to sex, hysterically stigmatizing any talk of the same principles, even though sex’s power to change entire lives is every bit as potent as in all those other subjects.
She goes on to criticize some of the study’s findings and methodology, but whatever merits her critique may have, I’m frankly not inclined to take seriously statistical analysis from someone who claims that 99.9% of Barack Obama’s critics who deny being racist (which is basically all of us, considering that’s one of the left’s favorite blanket slanders) really are racist.
No, the ultimate whopper is that Marcotte claims that the “willingness on the part of anti-choice activists to be open about their hostility to female sexuality” is no longer in dispute because of this report, comments by Mike Huckabee that the media shamelessly misrepresented, and pro-lifers protesting ObamaCare’s contraception mandate, which we’re apparently supposed to conclude has nothing to do with abortion even though the scientific evidence makes clear that the covered drugs do function abortively.
To survive, her thesis needs two assumptions to be true: that concern about promiscuity and belief that abortion is murder cannot be sincerely held simultaneously, and that any mention of women’s share of the responsibility for unintended pregnancy somehow implies that the speaker doesn’t believe that men are just as responsible. Marcotte completely fails to back up either assumption.
Our above discussion should be enough to show that the former is invalid; if not, the simple fact that promiscuity creates most of abortion’s victims more than settles the mystery of why pro-lifers would be interested in both topics.
And the latter is one of pro-aborts’ most ridiculously insufferable talking points. Abortion’s defenders frame the debate entirely around women’s sole legal power to kill their unborn sons or daughters, because of their health, sexuality, lives, futures, etc. So naturally, in debating whether women truly “need” abortion to avoid unwanted pregnancy and parenthood, pro-lifers respond by analyzing those claims and making counter-arguments about what women’s rights, options, and responsibilities really are. That’s what passes for their “evidence” that pro-lifers only hold one of the two sexes to our stated standards.
Lastly, if we really don’t care about pre-born life and it’s all about sex, then how does Marcotte explain pro-lifers’ opposition to destroying embryos to get stem cells, human cloning, or euthanasia, none of which has a sexual component? Whose sexuality were we trying to police in the Marlise Munoz case? How do special-needs kids fit into our master plan? Why wouldn’t we be content with abortions that a woman’s male partner approves of? And shouldn’t pro-lifers who allow rape exceptions – allegedly because, in her side’s caricature of pro-life thought, the woman “did nothing wrong” – actually be more likely to oppose contraception, when the reality is that supporting rape exceptions and supporting contraception are more likely to go hand in hand because they’re the more moderate stances? And why would so many women believe in, fight for, and yes, lead a conspiracy to oppress their own sexuality?
These questions don’t fit into the narrative because the narrative has nothing to do with truth. It’s just a story about monsters under leftist women’s beds, to feed the persecution complex that takes their minds off abortion’s bloodshed and fuels the abortion lobby’s foot soldiers. But don’t worry; when the sex inquisition fantasy outlives its usefulness, we can be sure the imaginations of Amanda Marcotte and her ilk will conjure up a new one.