Considering that opposition to abortion has carried the labels “pro-life” and “right to life” from the beginning of the controversy, our adoption of the phrase “all lives matter” following the rise of Black Lives Matter shouldn’t be a stumper.
But it is at the perpetually pro-abortion Vox, where Emily Crockett writes on just how outrageous this “co-opting” is. Weird that a website billing itself as experts in “making sure you understand what just happened” can’t understand a straightforward reference to the prenatal lives abortion extinguishes….
Rep. Mike Moon of the Missouri State House sponsored a bill called the All Lives Matter Act, which would define a fetus or embryo as a “person” from the moment of conception. It would also get rid of language that requires the state’s existing “fetal personhood” law to comply with the US Constitution and other Supreme Court jurisprudence like Roe v. Wade — language that saved the original fetal personhood law from being struck down by the Supreme Court in the first place […]
“By sponsoring this bill, Rep. Moon suggests that the state of Missouri codify into law the assertion that Black women are killing their own children, are incapable of making decisions about their own bodies, and cannot control their sexual desires,” writes Christine Assefa at the Feminist Wire. “All of these characterizations perpetuate historical, violent, and harmful stereotypes of Black women that reveal the deeply-rooted relationship between race and sexual politics.”
I trust it won’t come as a shock to most readers that none of that is even remotely suggested in the bill, which simply declares that “the life of each human being begins at conception and is hereby deemed a person” with “protectable interests in life, health, and well-being,” including “all the rights, privileges, and immunities” of born persons. The title is the only thing that can be construed as any sort of reference to race, and even that is actually tweaking a racially-charged slogan into something more equal and universal.
At the risk of presuming to explain something to the professional explainers, here goes: preborn babies have lives just as surely as do the victims Black Lives Matter claims to speak for. Abortion ends those lives, in effect saying that some lives—including a great deal of black lives—don’t matter. So naming a pro-life bill the All Lives Matter Act declares exactly what the name says, highlights the hypocrisy of those who are more selective in which lives they respect, and challenges everybody to take a real no-exceptions stand against violence.
None of this is particularly complicated, yet seems to escape Vox anyway. From there Crockett detours into an overview of pro-lifers discussing abortion’s disproportionate impact on black babies (never mind the truth of black abortion numbers or that we’re talking primarily about the predatory nature of the abortion industry rather than the black women they prey upon), concluding with:
Reproductive justice advocates of color say that these kinds of comparisons are wildly offensive because of the brutal history of reproductive coercion in slavery. Enslaved women had no rights to their own offspring, much less their own bodies — they were sold or beaten if they couldn’t or wouldn’t reproduce, and if they did have children, there was no guarantee they’d ever get to raise them.
And this, boys and girls, is a shining example of why “Voxplain” is best defined as a synonym for “lying.” This comparison is wildly dishonest for two reasons. First, nobody is calling for any sort of “reproductive coercion,” and prohibiting abortion certainly doesn’t fit the bill. I promise you, even if the Constitution were amended tomorrow to ban any abortion for any reason, choosing not to conceive a child would remain 100% legal.
Second, Crockett ignores that her example bears far stronger similarities to abortion itself. “Brutal,” no right to their “own bodies,” “beaten”… these are all far more applicable to tearing apart a tiny, helpless body with sharp instruments or deadly chemicals.
The problem with both the slavery comparison and the “black genocide” meme is that they inevitably compare black women to slaveholders and mass murderers. Black women are the ones choosing and obtaining abortions in order to plan their families and lives, and black women are the ones targeted when protesters and politicians use this kind of rhetoric.
No, they compare the act itself to past acts of violence and subjugation. It’s remarkable—pro-lifers are constantly told we’re too simplistic, too blind to the complexities of individual circumstances and shades of gray, yet it turns out we’re far more capable of factoring in the many varying nuances of why women abort and how much they truly know about what the procedure does.
But whatever may be said of a particular woman in a particular situation, abortion’s unmistakable similarities to slavery and genocide remain unchallenged. Note that Crockett doesn’t discuss those similarities anywhere in her article, not even attempting to show the pro-lifers she’s demeaning don’t have a germ of a point or reassuring her readers that she’s not proving them right that pro-aborts reject the premise that all lives matter.
Instead, she tries to distract with warmed-over faux indignation about racial insensitivity. In doing so, Emily Crockett provides a representative sample of the deceitful evasiveness that the majority of mainstream abortion debates boil down to—marking perhaps the first time that Vox, albeit in an accidental and roundabout way, actually fulfilled its purpose as “an organization genuinely dedicated to explaining the news.”