Pro-Choice Politics

The “Pro-Life” Movement Is A Popularity Contest

There, I said it. And I meant it, too. The “pro-life” movement is a popularity contest, and it’s rigged so that women can never win — because women can’t win by fighting to cash in their own rights for the rights of hypothetical persons who have yet to even exist (see also: political sellout).

A few posts back, I was explaining how a social justice movement depends on adapting to the needs of intersecting causes, and how if a self-proclaimed social justice movement fails to do that, it becomes nothing more than a glorified popularity contest that will run even if no one outside their little popularity contest bothers to engage at all. Well, after contacting The Canadian Centre For Bioethical Reform on their Facebook page yesterday, with minimal expectations but just the faintest hope of gaining their cooperation to eradicate misogynists from their own movement (and thus, eradicate their presence outside abortion clinics), it became blatantly transparent that this is an organization that just doesn’t want to get its hands dirty while other people continue to work either to clean up their house or make a bloody fucking mess of it. Well done, CCBR. I hope you were aiming for making yourselves look like a pathetic bunch of lacktivists, because that’s what you’ve accomplished.

You see, I first met members of the CCBR at the art gallery launch of their co-opted “abortion caravan” campaign. I spotted the people who have been sexually harassing and slut-shaming women outside an abortion clinic, standing right behind them with their Knights of Columbus signs and wearing their typical self-righteous smug fuck shit-eating grins. So I started yelling until I was nearly frothing at the mouth, about what kind of people they are. And I kept yelling until a whole line-up of CCBR staff and volunteers looked like they were going to burst into tears, and I actually planned on continuing to yell until they all dispersed. A woman stepped forward and started to essentially tell me that if I’m not willing to be nice about it, I shouldn’t say what I’m absolutely blood-boiling furious about. I told her not to police my tone, and I lost a few decibels of volume because my voice was wearing out from all the yelling. Then she claimed there’s a “language barrier” in the crux of this problem. I told her it’s not a language barrier that causes someone to tell women they deserve to be raped — this is an ideological barrier.

I shouldn’t be surprised at all, then, that the CCBR included pictures of me prancing around topless (an act which they labelled “obscene”) in a propaganda video about what terrible people we are for attempting to interfere with their demonstration (they have utterly failed to comprehend the meaning of personal autonomy, including the right to basic democratic freedoms). It just wasn’t enough for them to have sicced a police officer on me to slut-shame me for being topless (and putting the fear into me of a tax-payer-funded rape and/or beating, in doing so). It wasn’t enough that they stood in defense of people who have told me and my friends that we all deserve to be raped, that we’re all asking for it, that I in particular am disgusting, and that we should all be ashamed of ourselves (but with special emphasis on me). No, it wasn’t enough, because they had to shame me too. But they don’t want to be directly associated with people who actually say and do these heinous things, so when they quoted my blog on their various clone webpages, they denounced the words and actions of the people with whom they stood without even shifting their weight that day.

And they think that’s all they need to do, so that’s all they are willing to do. This is why I troll their asses — all “pro-life” organizations, not just the CCBR. This is how they’ve made a life-long (political) enemy out of me. It’s why they are told they don’t have a right to stand around outside abortion clinics for the express purpose of shaming women. It’s why anyone looking at their “movement” from the outside can plainly see that they are promoting hatred of women, and why the majority of people who oppose their “movement” hammer on the point that the issue isn’t about hypothetical persons, but actual women. And it’s why anyone looking at them from the outside really pities the women within who are transparently brain-washed by religious ideology, into thinking that the desires of 6% of this country, for the reproductive inclinations of the other 94%, need to be written into law.

The fact is that this really isn’t even about which ideology is espoused by a marked minority. It’s about what they won’t admit. What that marked minority won’t admit is that it is a well-known fact that well over half of all pregnancies are terminated prematurely and spontaneously by miscarriages (also referred to as spontaneous abortions). They also won’t admit that in studies that are designed to address the relationship between abortion and access to contraceptives or other methods of Avoiding Unwanted Pregnancy, the actual proportion of women who get pregnant and don’t want to be is around 1% or even less. They won’t admit that if the “unborn children” of that 1% are legally protected by trading the rights of all women for the rights of those hypothetical unwanted fetuses, we will see consequences ranging from women being fined thousands of dollars for “thought crimes” (i.e., admitting to a passing thought about abortion while pregnant) to life sentences in prison and forced sterilization as punishment and rehabilitation for miscarriages, stillbirths, and induced abortions (which would be especially true among women living in poverty, on a fixed income, or who are working for very little income, because they would not be able to afford an adequate legal defense).

Additional consequences of bestowing legal personhood upon fetuses (thereby criminalizing all forms of abortion by default) include an automatic ban on all abortives; but also in vitro fertilization as well (because they have a low implantation success rate), intrauterine devices for contraceptive purposes (because you can still become fertilized with an IUD, but you miscarry unless implantation occurs in the fallopian tubes), and all current medical treatments for life-threatening or fatal complications of pregnancy (such as abortion for ectopic pregnancy, or abortion to save the life of a mother whose pregnancy is a threat to her own life — as we saw recently in the Dominican Republic when a 16-year-old pregnant woman was sentenced to her death by doctors who refused to give her cancer treatments because it might terminate her 9-week pregnancy). We would also start to see police and social services monitoring the daily activities of all pregnant women, who would then be at risk of being incarcerated for the safety of the unborn “persons” they are carrying if they are reported on suspicion of child endangerment.

Of course, “pro-lifers” won’t admit any of this, and will insist that this isn’t what they want, because prayers will change people’s hearts but laws will put the already vulnerable at even greater risk. And they demonstrate this, of course, by voting for, promoting, and supporting politicians at all levels of government who want to open the “abortion debate”, which they pretend won’t result in a change of laws, even though it’s a transparent attempt to do just that. So why am I really surprised that the most they will do to eradicate sexual harassment, slut-shaming, and promotion of rape culture from the tactics adopted by their own side, is talk about how that’s not what they stand for?

It’s not a social justice movement, it’s a fucking popularity contest. It’s not about protecting the unborn, because once they are born, half of them are at risk of government-sanctioned oppression they themselves have helped to ensure. It’s not about non-violence, because their ideology hinges upon a bone-chilling tolerance for violence against women. And it’s not about rights, either, because when you take away women’s rights, fetal rights mean fuck all. How could it possibly be about changing people’s hearts when the preferred outcome is that women are disposable human incubators with a limited number of uses?

4 thoughts on “The “Pro-Life” Movement Is A Popularity Contest

  1. yes – yes – yes –

    Pro-choice IS the only way to go.

    One more observation:

    Women who have abortions are often sad about them, and as a famed poet/song-writer once said “There are no hero’s on this battlefield.”

    I am pro-choice, but that doesn’t mean I believe that women who have abortions are oblivious about the consequences, or that they don’t feel pain. I would much rather see fewer women having abortions, because the women I know who have had them, have still suffered – but nobody sent them a “get well” card, or flowers, or offered them any amount of moral support.

    SO – instead of protesting abortion – don’t you think it would be awesome, if there was a movement to offer support to women who have abortions – that they might get flowers, get-well cards, and some moral support?

    It’s important to protest – but I wonder, for all the efforts you make for this movement, do you think that the people involved might start to work with women who have abortions ? To offer them moral support? To offer them flowers, and cards, and let them know that they aren’t alone?

    I am pro-choice. But I’m also disturbed by the fact that women who have abortions are often on the outskirts of the very movement that works in their favor.

    It may help to know that you’re all out on the streets – but in most cases, they still leave weeping and sad, because they have no moral support.

    Perhaps the protest movement would be better spent “Inside” – helping women who are actually going through this!

    Afterall – you’re never going to stop the onslaught of “anti-abortionists” outside the door.

    There has to be a better means for conquering those people….because all they want to do is judge and damage.

    So please “think outside the box.” Go inside, and help women who are in the midst of having an abortion – show them support, and what community means. You’ll do far more good this way, than standing outside with a sign.

    • It is with those women in mind, that I write these blog posts, write my signs, and present myself in a way that is not going to be traumatic to them as they pass through the neighbourhood or access services.

      Having worked in a medical office before, I would not feel entirely comfortable with going into the clinic with that purpose in mind — I am also bound by the so-called “bubble zone” law, to keep a minimum distance from each clinic, and would therefore be likely to be arrested if I tried anything (how much good that would do for anyone…)

      That sounds like a really wonderful idea, but I am not sure how I would be able to take part in it without imposing upon women who are complete strangers to me and already steeped in a highly emotionally charged experience. Having met the abortion clinic staff, however, I have little doubt that they are all well cared for and treated with compassion.

  2. clarification: I mean – those who are “pro-choice” need to go inside, and work with women who are exercising their freedom of choice!

    I am completely pro-choice all the way! Please don’t misinterpret me :)

  3. Pingback: The Construction Of “Pro-Life” Rhetoric | HaifischGeweint

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s