The reason I find both extremes of the abortion debate contemptible is because they thrive on the same dark energy; lies, half-truths, dogma and deceit.
Both of the more extreme activists take positions rooted in genuine moral quandary, but have poisoned them with years of vengeful activism. Today, almost nothing you read or hear from their media mouthpieces can be swallowed without triggering a gag reflex.
It’s time to look past the bullshit and start thinking rationally about this country’s attitude to abortion, the right to life and a woman’s right to choose – and start being honest about where the future lies.
It’s difficult to even know where to begin in dissembling the pro-life movement’s mountain of blinkered bullshit. There are just so many loose ends, I’m frankly astonished somebody hasn’t tugged one yet and watched the entire social, political and religious movement come wildly unraveled, like one of Grandma’s Christmas sweaters.
The name itself is the first ironic facet of the movement. “Pro life” is what the anti-abortion activists call themselves, despite the vast majority being staunch Republicans who accept civilian “collateral damage” in wartime, send our brave soldiers into harm’s way abroad and — almost universally — support the death penalty.
“There’s a difference between the death penalty and abortion,” one Republican friend of mine claimed. “You're executing criminals, whereas unborn babies are innocent.”
The truth is, of course, that at least 10 percent of death row inmates have been convicted or sentenced unfairly — which makes it almost certain that an “innocent” man or woman has faced the chair or the lethal injection already.
Has this changed the pro-life movement’s support of the death penalty? Even amongst those who accept that “mistakes have been made” and innocent people have died, the answer is almost universally “no.”
That doesn’t sound very “pro life” to me.
I have equal scorn for the more extreme of those who support abortion rights — especially those who do so under the guise of “feminism.”
The more rational movement that defends a woman’s right to get an abortion call themselves “pro choice” — because they believe that the decision to have a baby or not is up to the individual woman, not some stuffy right-wing conservative lawmaker (and they’re absolutely right, absolutely.)
But it is also true that by the time a woman arrives at a termination clinic clutching a positive pregnancy test, that’s a “choice” she’s already made.
The fact is this: In modern America, women have access to contraception that theoretically can prevent pregnancy in 99 percent of cases (although in reality, the truth is closer to 80 percent.) The fact that there are almost two million unwanted pregnancies in America every year is absolutely mindboggling.
This is a nation that’s sent men to the moon, split the atom and decoded the human genome — yet we can’t figure out how to use existing, proven technology to prevent getting pregnant?
As a nation, that’s a shameful statistic. For feminists, it’s a truly pathetic one.
Feminism is meant to be about independence, equality, responsibility and empowerment: which means every time I read about feminists who wears an abortion on her lapel as a feminist “badge of honor” I throw up a little in my mouth. (And it does happen. Idiot writer Jacob Appel once wrote a piece entitled “Why there should be an Abortion Pride movement.”)
Don’t get me wrong. When I hear about women and couples who experience an unwanted pregnancy, I totally sympathize. I’ve had a number of pregnancy scares with girlfriends in the past and know how easy it is for people to make screw ups. We’re the reason two million abortions occur every year — we have to accept that it happens, but e we shouldn’t be proud of that fact.
When I hear a loud-and-proud feminist boast about having an abortion, it reminds me that statistically 80 percent of those unwanted pregnancies could have been prevented. A real feminist “badge of honor” would have been to have not got pregnant in the first place or to have helped other women prevent pregnancy by getting them the education and resources they need to prevent pregnancy.
Feminists who’ve had abortions shouldn’t be proud of themselves — it suggests that feminism has failed — failed to educate, failed to provide proper access to birth control and failed to take responsibility.
Next time: Deceitful Dogma, Ugly Euphemisms and Sketchy Science tar both sides of the abortion debate.