I swear I didn’t set out to spend three posts in a row haranguing the hacks at RH Reality Check, and I promise I’ll get back to the many other pro-abortion propagandists out there soon. But when they keep offering up such spectacularly disastrous attacks…well, birds gotta fly, fish gotta swim.
On Tuesday, Lauren Rankin, a Women’s and Gender Studies (don’t laugh) student at Rutgers University who ironically focuses on “the political use of shame,” went on a diatribe inspired by something WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said in the course of praising libertarian icons Ron and Rand Paul. He credited what he called their “principle of non-violence,” including “aspects of non-violence in relation to abortion that they hold.”
Boy, did that confound Rankin!
It is unclear, at least to me, how opposition to abortion is grounded in a commitment to non-violence.
If the fact that you can make it to the graduate-school level and still utter such self-evident nonsense – not merely favoring legal abortion but claiming to not even know why anyone else would consider it violent – doesn’t tell you all you need to know about the state of American education, nothing will. And it tells you just as much about RHRC – ostensibly a professional site all about understanding the abortion debate – that whoever edits this crap let it slide.
(Before we continue, let me clarify that while I will obviously defend the quoted sentiment Rankin attacks, I consider Assange himself an international criminal and do not support him in any way.)
According to the National Abortion Federation, there have been 6,461 reported incidents of violence against abortion providers since 1977, including eight murders and 17 attempted murders. Abortion providers and clinics have faced numerous bombings, cases of arson, butyric acid attacks, death threats, kidnappings, and more, all from opponents of abortion rights. In 2009, Dr. George Tiller was shot and killed while at church with his family. His convicted killer, Scott Roeder, is heralded as a “hero” in some anti-choice circles.
Apparently Women’s and Gender Studies doesn’t teach self-awareness, or Rankin may have noticed that it was just a smidgen on the hypocritical side to slime the pro-life movement with the crimes of a tiny minority the week after her website made headlines for opposing the awfulness of (supposedly) painting the entire abortion industry with a broad brush.
And let’s not forget that statistically, none of her numbers – spread across almost four decades – even begin to approach the number of total homicides committed in a single year, or the murdering done by the abortionists themselves since Roe v. Wade. Or that people on Rankin’s side get violent, too – more than 300 murders and 152 attempted murders since Roe.
In 1965, eight years before Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in the United States, illegal abortion accounted for 17 percent of all deaths attributed to pregnancy and childbirth. And today, around the globe—mostly in the developing world—at least 47,000 women die from unsafe abortions each year (roughly 13 percent of maternal deaths worldwide) and many times that number suffer serious and sometimes lifelong health consequences.
And whatever the pre-Roe percentage actually was, it declined thanks to medical advancements, not legalization. Think that might be kind of a big factor in the developing world, too? To say nothing of the infantilizing message pro-aborts send with this talking point’s assumption that women can’t be trusted to evaluate dangerous choices for themselves when given the facts.
It is impossible to quantify how many people in the United States avoid accessing safe and legal abortion care because of fear of harassment and intimidation, but with 5,165 abortion clinics reporting some form of disruption or harassment in 2011 alone, it’s safe to assume that it plays at least a small role; people often avoid accessing the basic reproductive health care to which they have a constitutional right because of virulent hostility from abortion opponents.
Ah, the pro-abort’s favorite kind of claim: “impossible to quantify.” After slogging past the heavy-handed use of clichéd adjectives to drive home how unquestionably wholesome Rankin really, really wants you to consider abortion, one might note that perhaps the abortion industry’s definition of “disruption or harassment” isn’t exactly objective. In pro-aborts’ minds, do you actually have to do something – say, block a door, make a threatening phone call, scream in a patient’s face, etc. – to qualify, or do Rankin and her ilk consider it inherently harassing to dare to protest or sidewalk counsel at all?
Next comes some generic whining about the latest wave of state abortion restrictions and clinic closings putting women’s lives “literally at risk.” She doesn’t back up that insipid claim with anything, so I’ll simply suggest that interested readers revisit how well that line of attack held up the last time we examined it.
While these white, cisgender men may be able to pick and choose which political positions they like from the Pauls, marginalized groups do not have that luxury. They are essentially asking women and people of color to praise politicians who disdain and combat their very existence. This is not petty partisanship; it is a fundamental lack of respect for who we are as people […] this is evidence of general disdain for and bigotry against women, people of color, LGBTQ communities, and other marginalized groups.
Though she’s obviously full of it when she sneers about the pro-life bills they’ve introduced, I honestly can’t fault Rankin for calling out Ron’s newsletter disgrace or Rand’s Civil Rights Act fiasco. Both were genuine, serious scandals. But however badly those stories might reflect on the Pauls as individuals, they have nothing to do with the pro-life cause. They’re libertarians, part of a movement that’s all over the ideological map – farther to the right than Republicans on various economic questions, often at home with leftists on foreign policy, drugs, and gay marriage…and divided amongst themselves on abortion.
For those of us on the front lines of the fight for reproductive rights, many of us women, it is both demoralizing and sexist to hear these men scold us for not embracing Ron and Rand Paul more fully. As people who will never need to access abortion care, it is telling that they aren’t more willing to check their privilege and listen to the individuals whose health care and basic reproductive rights are eroding before our very eyes.
By now, you’ve probably noticed how saturated Rankin’s tirade is with talk of “health care” and “reproductive rights.” But something else stands out even more starkly. Out of 1,403 words, not once did she even mention – let alone refute – any reason why someone would consider abortion violent. She wrote an entire article about this shocking, horrible, outrageous statement, put it right in the title…and then strenuously avoided discussing her own subject’s plain meaning. “Look at all this other (alleged) violence!” is not an argument that what you’re defending isn’t also violent.
See any violence here, Lauren?
This is a recurring habit of prenatal execution apologists. Each screed is more hyperbolic, belligerent, and self-pitying than the last one, but the substance backing it up never rises proportionally; if anything, the logical and evidentiary standards keep going down. They arrogantly believe they can endlessly issue increasingly narcissistic and onerous demands, but have no obligation to confront any of the truths standing in their way. Someone disagrees with your desires? Simply pretend their cause for concern doesn’t even exist, and fabricate a new, uglier motive to attribute to them instead.
If “privilege” is what roils Lauren Rankin so, she should look in the mirror. She and her fellow travelers fall well beyond obtuseness, beyond insensitivity, beyond even ideology. This is pure, unapologetic megalomania.