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“If a woman has (the right to an abortion), why shouldn’t a man be free to use his superior strength to force himself on a woman? At least the rapist’s pursuit of sexual freedom doesn’t (in most cases) result in anyone’s death.” – Lawrence Lockman, Republican and elected official in the United States of America.
Nice to have a handy reference poster to deal with our anti-choice, forced birth friends.
It is amazing the fuck-wittery that metastasizes when you combine religion and anti-choice thinking. I’m so disgusted and anguished over the deceptive practices at these so called Crisis Pregnancy Centers that I’m reproducing the entire article by Caitlin Bancroft written on the Huffington Post Blog. A big hearty frak-you goes out to our anti-choice christian friends. Read on about how the work of good christians in action.
“I wasn’t considering abortion. I wasn’t considering adoption, or parenting, or childcare. I wasn’t even pregnant, and I definitely wasn’t scared — at least not at first.
When I volunteered to visit multiple crisis pregnancy centers in Virginia, I thought I knew what I was getting myself into. Crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) are the foot soldiers in the war against women. These anti-choice non-profits pose as women’s health clinics then use lies and manipulation to dissuade pregnant women from considering their full range of reproductive options (ie: abortion and birth control).
CPCs use a variety of tactics to lure women into their buildings: they offer free pregnancy testing, are known to list themselves under “abortion” in online directories and search results, and may use misleading names with the hope that women will confuse them for legitimate healthcare providers. Once inside, women are treated to a carefully crafted program of manipulation designed to dissuade them from choosing abortion, birth control, and if they’re not married – sex.
In Virginia, there are over 58 CPCs, more than double the number of comprehensive reproductive healthcare centers in the state. Still, most people are unaware that CPCs exist — let alone understand the harm they cause. But I knew exactly what I was up against when I walked into “AAA Women for Choice” in Manassas, Virginia.
At first glance, the center resembled a doctor’s office. The waiting room looked like it belonged to a pediatrician, complete with magazines and children’s toys. The atmosphere provided a sense of credibility and legitimacy. Under different circumstances, I would have trusted this façade; it would have put me at ease.
After checking in, I was introduced to my “counselor,” a conservatively dressed middle-aged woman who led me to one of the back rooms. She sat across from me with some forms on a clipboard I was not permitted to see. Much like the décor, the set-up reinforced the sense of professionalism and expertise. The consultation began with the standard questions: name, address, age, date of last period?
Right as I began to relax, the Q&A took a turn for the personal and invasive. “What is your relationship with your parents like?” “How is your financial situation?” “Have you told the father?” “What is his religion?” “Are his parents religious?” “How many people have you slept with?” “Would your parents be excited about a grandchild?”
As I sat there having my life probed, the purpose of the questions dawned on me. In case the test was positive, my “counselor” wanted to know which tactic to use to persuade me to continue the pregnancy — exactly where my resolve was the weakest. Was there a loving Christian boyfriend who would make a great dad? Did I have kind supportive parents who would be excited by the idea of a grandchild? I knew I wasn’t pregnant — knew exactly what she was doing — knew she wasn’t a doctor. But my body reacted instinctively to her questions with guilt and shame. It felt like a kick in the gut when she asked if I had told my brother about the baby, and I felt a creeping sense of selfishness as I imagined the door slamming on my shared apartment, my twenties, my life. Would my parents want me to have this child? Would it matter?
The woman stopped between questions to comment on my answers and lie. “Oh, you’ve taken birth control. Let me tell you how that causes cancer and is the same a medication abortion.” I was told abortion would scar me for the rest of my life — would damage all of my future relationships and leave me “haunted.” I was told the pill could cause breast cancer, that condoms are “naturally porous” and don’t protect against STIs, and that IUDs could kill me. She lectured and lied to me for over an hour before I even received the results of my pregnancy test.
Also interspersed in the deception were subtle judgments of my life decisions. “So you do have some scruples about you,” she said at one point, referring to my low number of sexual partners. One of the most disturbing comments came when I was pressed about the sexual experience leading to my visit, the reason I supposedly needed a pregnancy test in the first place. I told her an all too common story of acquaintance rape. I had been at a party, I said, severely intoxicated and unable to consent, “I didn’t remember anything… I just wished it hadn’t happened.” Her response made it clear that the situation was my fault, “Oh so he took advantage of you. Well just don’t do it again sweetie; just don’t do it again.” It made me sick.
It only got worse after a positive pregnancy test. At another CPC (the deceptively named “A Woman’s Choice” in Falls Church, Virginia) I could hear two employees whispering before entering my room, plotting strategies to reveal the test results and best manipulate my reaction. When they did finally clue me in, my concerns were casually brushed aside and used as ammunition for their agenda: I could care for a baby with no job, my parents would certainly help, and I could absolutely handle the stress. They even argued that I could be a law student while pregnant: “It will probably be good for the baby,” the woman said, “because you will be sitting down all of the time.”
At this center and elsewhere, the conversations were always the same. It didn’t matter how many times I said that l didn’t want to be pregnant or be a mother the CPC staffer would continue to bully me. Their tactics were so blatantly manipulative that I should have been able to fight back. I wanted to have a response, some kind of self-defense. But I couldn’t find anything to say. I am pro-choice feminist activist and I often discuss these kinds of difficult and emotionally sensitive topics at work and in school. Yet these women’s so-called concern left me defenseless, struggling to find a response that didn’t play right into their hands.
The way that these women treated me made one thing very clear: they didn’t care about me, my future, my happiness, or my relationships. I was simply a shell that needed to be distracted and kept questioning until it was too late for me to make my own choices, and too late for me to decide if this is what I wanted — or not. I truly can’t imagine the pain that CPCs inflict on women who are actually struggling with an unintended pregnancy. I left each CPC feeling humiliated, terrified, and panicked… and I wasn’t even pregnant.
I think we can all agree that it is wrong to shame someone seeking guidance. It is wrong to lie to someone in order to manipulate her future. It is wrong to treat women like walking wombs. Yet these tactics are core to the mission of Virginia’s crisis pregnancy centers. They advertise to scared women who need help, and they claim to offer unbiased information, guidance, and support to those who need it. But instead CPCs treat women the way they treated me — like disobedient children who need to be schooled in religion and saved from their own decisions. To them a woman is a vessel for a future baby, nothing more.
Ultimately, my undercover CPC investigations allowed me to witness firsthand the cruelty and deception at the heart of the anti-choice movement. As a result, I am even more dedicated to ensuring that every woman has the freedom to make her own deeply personal reproductive health decisions. Surprisingly, I also realized that I agree with Virginia CPCs on one point: when a woman walks through their doors, a life is at stake. But throughout all of my investigations, I was the only one who thought it was mine.”
PZ Myers discusses abortion and how asinine the anti-choice positions actually are. From the article Abortion rights are human rights.
However, the equivalence of mother and fetus is an untenable proposition. A mouse has more complexity and autonomy than a fetus, and we don’t even hesitate when the choice is between the life of a mouse and a human being. We don’t even argue about it. And to argue that a single-celled zygote or even an embryo with a few dozen cells at implantation is anything but a negligible component of any moral equation is utterly absurd. It’s a fantasy of the deeply ignorant, the kind of people who think the babies on Pro-Life Across America billboards are actually accurate representations of the age-specific fetus, to think that there’s something cute, adorable, personable about a self-organizing mass of cells.
So I have to agree, and think the only reasonable conclusion, is reflected in this memorial to Dr George Tiller, the man murdered by an anti-choice fanatic.
Dr. Tiller listened to his patients, he trusted their decisions, and he knew that the people he was helping deserved his ear and his trust. He treated his patients like people (which really shouldn’t be such a radical position but, because of how anti-choicers have shaped the narrative around abortion, it is). He believed that those he helped were more important than the fetus inside of them. That is not a morally-bankrupt position. THAT IS THE MORAL SIDE.
Trusting patients, seeing them as individuals, believing in their abilities to make decisions for their own specific lives: THAT IS THE MORAL SIDE.
Thank you for everything you did, Dr. Tiller. Thank you for everything and everyone you championed. Thank you for risking your life to provide your patients with a safe and legal medical procedure. Thank you for doing so with no regrets, no animosity, no judgement, and no apologies.
You, sir, were a moral man on a moral mission. And I won’t forget it. WE ARE THE MORAL SIDE.
Well said. Also, a brief summation from the comments section of that same post which bears repetition; many thanks to mythbri for making clear and concise argument:
This conversation has been had over and over again with other similar commenters here. Is any further evidence necessary to demonstrate that there are non-religious folk who are still anti-choice (even though both of these commenters seem to be in the “I’m pro-choice, but” category)?
Here is why I despise “I’m pro-choice, but” people more than people who are just plain anti-choice:
You are setting arbitrary conditions on my humanity.
Do you understand this? Do you get that I am a person with bodily autonomy 100% of the time. Not just for 20 weeks. Not just for two trimesters. Not even 99.95% of the time.
I am a person (with all the rights that entails) 100% of the time.
That does not magically change when or if I become pregnant, and honestly, it scares the SHIT out of me that anyone thinks that it does.
You know why the anti-choice and the “I’m pro-choice, but” positions are necessarily misogynistic? Because you are making the assumption that there are women out there that are making choice that you don’t approve of, and that your opinion of their choices is even remotely relevant or worth respecting.
You think that it’s okay for a woman’s choice about her own body to be irrelevant. You’re okay with the fact that arbitrary “viability” restrictions on abortions DO cause women to have children they don’t want. You’re okay with the fact that these arbitrary restrictions DO cause women to lose their health or their life. And while you’ll probably claim that you’re not “okay” with these things, this is the fucking reality of the situation. Okay? Your wishfulness for a perfect legal solution does not magically make this solution the reality, and if you’re aware of that and are okay with the collateral damage this causes to some women who slip through this imperfect and wrong system, then I’ve got nothing further to say to you.
You know why I despise you “I’m pro-choice, but” types? Because I don’t see you doing anything to curb the erosion of reproductive rights that we face in the U.S. I see you shrugging your shoulders and saying “That’s plenty of time” or “They can always go somewhere else for an abortion.”
You know why I despise you “I’m pro-choice, but” types? Because in these discussions, there is barely a smidgen of difference between you and an anti-choice type.
Deal with it.
Make no mistake, the pro-life-forced-birth lobby are advocating slavery for women. Dianne, in a comment on Pharygula, captures exactly the position our anti-choice friends would like to put women in.
Query: Why are they talking about the circumstances of the conception as though that matters? A forced pregnancy is slavery, regardless of the circumstances that led to the pregnancy. In the US, at least, people are never, under any circumstance other than pregnancy, required to give use of their body to another under any circumstance, even to save the life of the other person. Why are fetuses granted more rights than living people?
Hypocrisy is flowing from the anti-choice sites like turds from a overfull diaper. The idea that they are somehow committed to the preservation of life is the weapons-grade bullshite that religious thinking actively promotes. The pious f*cks are equating abortion to the recent mass murder at Sandyhook Elementary School.
How dare you?
You (fetus fetishists) purport to have moral standards and then crassly use the murder of children to further your own anti-woman agenda. I’m certainly glad that religion is such a fine moral compass and guide for behaving as a caring empathetic, human beings.
An image repost, but hey its still amazingly relevant.
So stop, just stop with the “what about the baaaaby” whinging and try to clear your addled cotton-filled heads for one microsecond. Promote your toxic anti-female agenda – go to town (usually church) – awesome, we need exemplars to show how incredibly wrong you are.
But don’t use the deaths of innocent people to enhance(?) your attack on women. It is gross and disgusting.
Reading though threads on abortion always raises my blood pressure, but it is worth it for gems like this:
“Either it is okay to abort, or it is okay to rape”
Occasionally I shock people by saying that all anti-choice men are, on some level, rapists. Many never complete the act of rape personally*, but they are all of the rapist mentality. There’s no real difference between a man who will tell a woman that she doesn’t have the right to control how her uterus is used and one who will say that she doesn’t have the right to say how her vagina is used.
*Though, of course, if they vote for “pro-life” politicians, they are effectively participating in the sexual assault of numerous women.