On Black Friday, I watched on Twitter as a shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs unfolded real-time, and while I had to leave to go to my taiji class, I knew several things immediately. I knew that the shooter was overwhelmingly likely a man, most likely a white man, that he had mental issues, that he was probably Christian, and that he was rabidly anti-abortion. I also guessed that he probably watched Fox ‘News’ on a daily basis. It’s not because I’m a brilliant profiler, but because this is who commits the majority of mass shootings in America, neatly cross-sectioned with those who are most ardently anti-abortion. In other words, it’s not fucking rocket science. I also predicted that the shooter would be called a loner and that media would not call it terrorism. I tweeted my thoughts on the subject, and then I had to go to taiji–which I sorely needed. The last thing I saw before I left was that the shooter was shouting something about ‘baby parts’ as he shot–which I’ll get into later.
After I returned home from taiji, I checked the news again, and I was right. The shooter was white, male, supposedly Christian, and rabidly anti-abortion. Later, the NYT wrote that acquaintances described him as “a gentle loner who occasionally unleashed violent acts toward neighbors and women he knew.” There was an outcry on social media at the inherent awfulness of that wording, and they quickly took out the word ‘gentle’ from the sentence. From that same Salon link, the NYT later changed the sentence to read that he was an “itinerant loner who left behind a trail of disputes and occasionally violent acts toward neighbors and women he knew”, but the bias to describe white shooters as loners (and in this absurd case, gentle loners who are prone to violence!) in the mainstream media (MSM) is so strong, I was able to call it before it even happened.
My disgust with the refusal to call it terrorism grew as I continued to read reports on the shooting. Let me back up a step. All through the first day, the media and public officials were cautioning people not to jump to conclusions as to the motive of the shooter. What the fuck? It’s clear what the motive was–the man shouted it as he was shooting. “Baby parts” for those fortunate enough not to be in the know, was a key phrase used in conjunction to heavily-edited videos that an anti-abortion group illicitly shot at Planned Parenthood. In it, they appear to be discussing the bartering of fetal tissue with a PP doctor, which somehow morphed into the selling of baby parts in the mind of rabid anti-abortionists. These videos have been debunked, but it matters not in the mind of anti-abortionists. They are not going to let facts change their minds, damn it.
Let me take you down a side road for a minute. Abortion is as close to a one-issue vote as I get. In general, I don’t gauge a politician on one issue because while I’m an idealist in some ways, I’m a pragmatist at heart. In the upcoming election, I look at the Republican field and think, “No fucking way I want any of them to be president.” Therefore, I will vote for the Democratic candidate, come hell or high water. It’s actually one reason I’ve cooled off on politics, but that’s another post for another day. In this case, I don’t have to worry because both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are strongly pro-choice, thankfully. Anyway, I am in the minority of pro-choicers in that I believe abortion should be 100% legal with no questions asked. I don’t think it’s a moral issue, at least not in the way anti-abortionists maunder on and on about it. I think it’s highly immoral to force a woman to have a child she doesn’t want, but that’s not what anti-abortionists mean when they talk about the morality of abortion.
I also think we’ve ceded way too much ground on this issue. By we, I mean pro-choice politicians, specifically. Abortion is legal in this country (nominally, anyway). Instead of saying, “It’s legal. Suck on it” to anti-abortionists, we’ve agreed that, yes, it’s a difficult, awful, terrible choice, and yes, any woman who has an abortion should be branded with a scarlet A for abortion on her forehead for the rest of her life, and she should never know joy again. We don’t point out that 99% of women do not regret their abortion*, which is pretty fucking important given that many of the ridiculous waiting period laws are passed to make sure the little lady doesn’t regret her impetuous decision. It infuriates me that these assholes think they know what’s best for me–they fucking don’t. Also, even if a woman regretted her abortion, that doesn’t necessarily mean she also thinks it was a wrong choice to have made at the time. Also, also, we don’t ask women who’ve had children or given them up for adoption. In fact, when I tried to Google adoption and regret, most of the links were on regret and abortion. My hunch is that there are more women who regret having children (even if they won’t admit it out loud) or giving them up for adoption than there are women who regret having an abortion, but i can’t prove it because as I said, we don’t ask that fucking question to women who have children or give them up for adoption.
We should work on making abortion rare is another tack we’ve agreed to which I think is bullshit. I’m not saying that I want abortions to happen willy-nilly, but that the goal of making abortions rare is not one I’m interested in. Incidentally, if we really want to make abortions rare, then we would raise the living standards across the board, but we’re not allowed to talk about that, apparently.Anti-choicers have been reduced to fighting for abortion only being ‘allowed’ in cases of rape, incest, and when the health of the mother is in danger.
Going down another side road, an alley, if you will, I actually respect hardcore anti-abortionists for the consistency of their beliefs. If they believe that a fetus is the same as a baby, then there should be no exceptions made for when abortion is or isn’t allowed. I don’t agree with them, obviously, but at least they’re being truthful about their beliefs.** The ones I can’t stand are the ‘exceptions made in the case of rape, incest, and mother’s health’ because it’s puts to rest the lie that it’s about the fetus. If you really believe that a fetus is a fully-realized life, then you wouldn’t make exceptions for anything. The fact that many anti-abortionists are willing to concede some if not all of the cases I mentioned above only underscores that it’s more about punishing the wanton slut for all the hot, sweaty, slutty sex she’s been having than it is about the sanctity of life. I’ve heard some variant of, “You shouldn’t play if you’re not willing to pay” as a defense of being anti-abortion, which in itself reveals that the person saying it thinks sluts shouldn’t get to enjoy sex for free!
By the way, the idea that forcing someone to have a child as a consequence is also immoral to me. It’s bizarre that these people who claim to value life and to love children view them as a fitting punishment to what they view as a crime (slutty sex, to be tiresomely repetitive). Can you imagine being a child of a parent who never wanted you in the first place? That is a recipe for disaster, and it’s folly to say, “Oh, you’ll love your child once it’s born.” That is utter bullshit as well, and it’s something I heard from people when I told them I didn’t want to have children. We know it’s bullshit because of the child abuse statistics in our country. According to the Administration for Children and Families (Department of Health & Human Services), there were approximately 679,000 children who were neglected or abused in 2013. That’s another thing that angers me about anti-abortionists–they don’t give a shit about actual, living children.Your life is precious until you’re born, and then you’re on your own, motherfucker! I will be charitable and say that some of them indulge in magical thinking, “Oh, just let the precious baby be born and everything will be OK!”, but others, such as Republican politicians, are actively against making life better for existing children, which makes them fucking hypocrites in my book.
I also shake my head at the people who say, “Just don’t have sex if you’re not ready to be a parent!” Come on. Abstinence-only sex education (which is a oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one) is a colossal failure because teens have been having sex since the beginning of time. It’s wishful thinking to believe that if you don’t talk about sex, teenagers won’t have it. In fact, studies have shown that teens who are properly educated about sex are less likely to get pregnant. Which makes sense when you think about it rationally. There are other things wrong with that statement such as some people don’t want to be married/have children. Oooh, ooh, me! I’m waving my hand wildly in the air. I once asked my Christian cousin what I should do if I didn’t want to get married or have children–never have sex? He said yes, and he’s lucky I didn’t laugh in his face. Sex is fun; sex feels good; sex is good for your health. Sex is a way to feel closer to someone, and sex is just pretty awesome in general. More to the point, it’s unrealistic to expect sexual people not have sex.
I don’t understand these people, and I’m sure they would say the same about me. We live in very different realities, and there’s no connection between the two of them. Pro-choice activists like to emphasize that it’s a woman’s right to choose what to do with her body, which it should be, of course, but that doesn’t matter a whit to the anti-abortion believers. To put it bluntly, they simply don’t give a shit about that. They only care about the fetus making it through the birth canal, come hell or high water. So, any arguments we make appealing to that reason is for naught. They. Don’t. Care. Their ultimate goal is to make abortion illegal once again. Barring that, they want to make it de facto banned, if not legally outlawed. In fact, the anti-abortion politicians probably prefer the former since it gives them something to stump on come election time. Texas is in the middle of a legal battle that if the anti-abortionists prevail will leave the second-most populous state of roughly 27,000,000 people with 10 clinics that provide abortion. Ten. In the whole fucking state. They’re not the only state cutting back on providing a completely legal medical procedure, either. Part of the reason I quit writing about abortion was because it was depressing to constantly report on the laws that were shrinking the access to abortion. Remember, these same people say they can’t do a thing about the gun violence that is proliferating across the country, but by god, they can make sure women are breeding as god intended!
I burned out, and I felt I was spitting into the wind when it came to blogging about abortion. The anti-abortionists have dominated the debate so thoroughly, it seemed hopeless to try to fight them. This despite the fact that fifty percent of Americans are pro-choice to some extent, while forty-four percent of Americans consider themselves pro-life. In other words, there are more of us than there are of them,*** and yet, we’re constantly on the losing side of the debate.
Part of the problem is that Democrats, in general, want to find compromise and try to see the other side of the issue–at least historically. While I think it’s usually a good thing to try to find common ground, it’s simply not possible in this case for reasons I have already outlined. Therefore, I suggest that we don’t get pulled into debates about the morality of abortion and instead redouble our efforts to ensure that abortion remains legal. We have a lot of ground to retake, and we’re not going to do that by continuing to allow the anti-abortionists to define the term s of the debate.
I know I started out talking about the Planned Parenthood shooting and then derailed myself by ranting about abortion, but I feel so passionately about this issue, I just had to get it out.The idiotic and draconian restrictions against abortion that are being passed around the country have chilled me to my soul, and I cannot keep quiet any longer. The one thing I know about anti-abortionists is that they never give up. Ever. Which means we can’t give up, either. I will return to the PP shooting and how I feel about PP in general (very positively. They do so much good for the people who need them the most. I stand with them today, tomorrow, and forever), but it will have to wait for a future post as this one is already over two thousand words. Obviously, I have a lot to say on this subject, and I will not shut up about it.
*The sample size is not ideal, but the length of the study makes up for it somewhat.
**To an extent. If they truly believed that fetuses = babies, there would be more shootings like the one in Colorado Springs. They would be chaining themselves to Planned Parenthood clinics and refusing to leave for any reason. They wouldn’t just be protesting–they would be doing more if they truly believe that PP is killing millions of babies every year.
***Just as there are more Americans who want stricter gun control laws than those who don’t, but yet, nothing happens on that front, either.