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So as it turns out women, mysteriously, don’t fall into the category of “life” that needs protection or saving. ‘Pro-life’ is anti-woman from snout to spade.
“Unsafe abortion is responsible for 13% of maternal deaths worldwide and represents one of the four major causes of pregnancy-related mortality and morbidity”
— WHO, Safe Abortion: Technical and Policy Guidance for Health Systems, second ed., Geneva: WHO, 2012.
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.”
How many more examples do we need of the lethal nature of the supposedly “pro-life” position? Let’s clear this up by naming them correctly, for the record, when you hear the term “Pro-life” you need to replace that with “anti-woman forced birth advocate”. Why? Because what forced birthers are about is stripping women of their rights and of their bodily autonomy. Beatriz, like Savita Halappanavar, is being put in mortal peril because where she lives the forced birth brigades ideas are reality, and women really do not have rights.
“The 22-year-old woman suffers from severe and complicated illnesses. Her doctors have told her that she will likely die giving birth, and the unborn child will most likely live only a few hours, but she is prevented by law from having an abortion. “They [the Supreme Court] were not convinced this is the way… they are saying Beatriz is not in danger and she must pursue the natural way of delivery and we must see what happens,” said Mata. “It isn’t just an abortion, it is a necessity,” said Mata, in an earlier interview with CBSNews.com”
Yeah. The all male supreme court has ruled that this woman is not in danger and must continue with birth. Their noble dedication to preserving life is noted.
Beatriz is carrying an anencephalic fetus, which means it has no brain and is only expected to survive at maximum a few hours after birth, even if she carries it to full term. Beatriz has lupus, worsened by a kidney malfunction, and it is very dangerous for her to be pregnant. “The doctors are saying it’s very critical because the lupus may be reactivated and if the lupus is reactivated it is very dangerous for her health,” he added. She is now 26-weeks pregnant, and every day it becomes more risky for her to be pregnant and have an abortion at such a late stage.
This is what happens when legislate against women. Women are endangered and their lives are at risk.
According to a 2012 report from the Central American Women’s Network, 628 women have been imprisoned in El Salvador since its anti-abortion law was enacted in 1998. Twenty-four of these women were indicted for “aggravated murder,” after an abortion, miscarriage, or stillbirth. “The only way now is to go to the international courts,” said Mata. Meanwhile, Beatriz awaits her fate in hospital, separated from her 14-month old son and her husband. “Everyday, the health of Beatriz is [getting] worse. If they wait another week or two weeks, she will be too feeble to endure the operation,” said Mata.
So because of the religiously inspired pro-life fuckwittery of the Roman Catholic Church (this is what a society where they have tangible influence looks like) it is most likely Beatriz will die.
No rant today – this is too outrageous and too cold for a rant. This is an tragic (because it is preventible) object lesson – women die and are dying because they are denied their reproductive rights and rights to bodily autonomy.
That is all.
One of the cheap rhetorical tricks that forced birth advocates often use is the idea that somehow “Science” (ya know science, that vast shadowy monolithic structure) supports their crappy arguments and thus lends weight to their assault on women and their rights. One of the easiest tells illustrating the rhetorical, rather than scientific vein of this particular argument, is that idea that we have a definite grasp of when “life” begins. Unsurprisingly, the anti-choice position relies on a gross simplification of what the bio-medical position actually is on when life begins. The irony is very rich as fetus fetishists often assign the label of “anti-science” to pro-choice people arguing against them and their misguided campaign for life.
I’m not really a fan of arguing from authority (This introduction is a perspective from an evolutionary biologist, for the record.), but I swear, if see one more out of context reference to a embryology text during an argument, I will practice immediate defenestration of the offender in question.
This next quoted section is from Blazer S, Zimmer EZ (eds):The Embryo: Scientific Discovery and Medical Ethics. Basel, Karger, 2005, pp 1– 20 (ed. minor formatting changes for effect)
This chapter began with the central ethical question of ‘when does life begin?’ The evolutionary answer to this question makes it devoid of ethical
implications concerning the sojourn from conception to birth (although it has other, profound ethical implications). Instead, the evolutionary and
genetic arguments presented in this chapter indicate that a more meaningful ethical question is:
Where do we place ethical thresholds in the continual process of human
Biology provides no clear defining event to answer this question because diploid human individuality arises gradually during the mitotic phase of our life cycle and not at fertilization. Perhaps there is no single ethical threshold in dealing with the mitotic continuum and the attendant gradual emergence
of functional genotypes and individual traits. Although modern biology does not provide an answer to the above question, knowing what the question should be and what it should not be is the critical first step in any debate. Thus, modern biology, and particularly evolutionary biology and genetics, can play an important role in the ethical debates concerning the passage from conception to birth.
So let the record be set straight that science doesn’t not precisely know when “life” begins and that very possibly it is the wrong question to be asking.
Ah, the forced birth lobby has finally pissed off enough women to start the inevitable slapdown of their deplorable, retrograde fundamentally anti-woman position. Let’s keep this video in the “abortion” feed for a long time, in light of that goal, I encourage everyone to share and repost this clip on their blog, so our anti-choice friends know exactly what they are up against.