Blog for Choice

Monday, January 22nd, 2007 · 23 Comments »

Blog for Choice Day - January 22, 2007

Today is Blog for Choice day, and the good folks sponsoring the event have asked us bloggers to write about why we’re pro-choice. It’s a terrific idea, and I expect the intertubes will be flooded today with excellent posts listing all the reasons to support women’s reproductive freedom.

I, however, am going to be a contrarian asshole.

I’m tired of giving the reasons why I’m pro-choice. I’ve been giving the reasons why I’m pro-choice for 30 goddamn years, and the thing is, reasons don’t matter. Not to the people on the other side, the weepy irrational twit-headed godbags who want to extend full citizenship rights to 8-celled clumps and herd women into forced-incubation camps. They don’t even understand reasons.

Listen: 30 years ago I took the pro-choice side in a high school debate on abortion. I gave a good solid presentation, listing all the reasons why it was right and necessary for women to have the right to an abortion: because it’s a matter of fundamental bodily integrity, because the decision to bear a child belongs solely to the person doing the bearing, because women will seek abortions no matter what and if they’re illegal then thousands of women will suffer or die from back-alley hack jobs, etc., etc. When I sat down, I was genuinely curious to see how my debate opponent would answer my arguments.

She didn’t even try. She didn’t address a single point, didn’t discuss a single question of law or rights or statistics. Instead, she pulled out a piece of paper and started reading: “Mommy, I’m 8 inches long and I have all my organs! I love the sound of your voice…” It was the Talking Fetus pamphlet! Yes, that thing. It was making the rounds 30 years ago and it’s still out there today. It’s like the Christmas fruitcake that won’t die.

Anyway, my debate opponent read this thing with a trembling voice, her eyes welling with tears as the wee diary-keeping embryo drew ever closer to its destiny with Jesus. By the end she and the whole class were sobbing — snot dripping out, the whole bit. I leaned my head against the wall and wished our teacher would schedule a lesson on propaganda.

I don’t remember if, when I got up to respond, I actually said, “You do realize that this wasn’t really written by a baby, right?”, but I was certainly thinking it. It wouldn’t have mattered though. At that point my classmates would have sooner voted for roasting live kittens than for abortion, and in fact in their minds it was pretty much the same thing.

And that’s still how the anti-choice people think, which is to say, they don’t really think. They just fantasize about talking fetuses and cry. So, instead of trying to fight them with reasons, maybe we should just circulate some really, really sappy pamphlets. I know: we could do one written from the point of view of a woman bleeding to death on the floor of a motel bathroom as the illegal abortionist hightails it out of there
with the cash and the coathanger in his pocket. It could end with the dead woman in Jesus’s arms, asking “Whatever happened to Roe v. Wade?”

Filed under: Blogging for Choice, Reproductive Rights · Tags:

23 Responses to “Blog for Choice”

  1. will says:

    It really is not a topic that is worth discussing with some people, unless you can draw them out with stories.

    Your little sister/mom is raped by a MUSLIM!!!! oooohhhhhhhh scary!!!! Should your mother/sister have the baby that is going to turn out dark and an evil Muslim??!??!?!

    ok, not really. I couldnt really race/religion bait like that. But the only people that you can discuss abortion with are the rational majority. Those people who believe in some varying right to reproductive freedom. It is possible to pull them slowly, ever so slowly to greater reproductive freedom.

    There is a duty to continually educate, if for no other reason than to correct the horrible, misleading opinions disguised as facts.

  2. B. Dagger Lee says:

    Yeah. What if Hitler had been aborted, huh? And Judas? Maybe we could have aborted Pol POt and Stalin? And David Brooks!

    If we had only aborted Saddam Hussein!

    yrs, B. Dagger Lee

  3. B. Dagger Lee says:

    You know, if you could do that little music linky thing, you could play Jello Biafra’s “Let the Fetus be Aborted” today. That would be preemo.

    yrs, BDL

  4. B. Dagger Lee says:

    Yes, nothing gets me chattering away like jokes about abortions. I’m afraid that Miss Patsy and I probably make at least one abortion joke a day!

    Miss Patsy had one, but I never did. Our little shorty dog is nicknamed “The Borty,” or BDL’s “Little Borty,” because I never got to have one.

    There. Now you know the depths of our depravity.

    Oh, I could go on and on.

    yrs, BDL

  5. Infidel says:

    One could go on and on about the single cell. The wonderous mechanisms, not fully understood as yet, and that which is understood, only understood by the few who really take the time and effort to know. In my feeble knowledge I know there are ribosomes, mitochondria, rna, dna, vacuoles, all the things most people get exposed to at sometime in a biology class. The people that take it to the nth level, the ones clear on the transfer of microthingies through, in and out of, the membranes of subcellular structures, the interworkings of those cellular components- facinating just facinating who could not have a deep and abiding reverence, respect for such a keen cool and purposefull set of laws materials and circumstance, and then to multiply each of those cells into tissues, differentiate them into organs, combine them into organisms- the wonder and majestic awe that should elicit goes beyond mere presence. But there it is- the cockroach…smash!! fuck’n bug.

  6. Violet says:

    B. Dagger Lee, wasn’t it Sarah Silverman who cracked, “I want to have an abortion, but my boyfriend and I are having trouble conceiving”?

  7. Violet says:

    Will, don’t you owe us some hilarious godbag stories?

  8. ehj2 says:

    Infidel [5] points to the hypocrisy of the stance; a kind of species-ism. Only humans matter. The emotional narratives used by the fundamentalists to limit women’s rights don’t apply to the depraved horrors we inflict on billions of other animals in factory farming.

    Since logic and reason are about as comprehensible to these people as ancient Greek, in my mind, it is a completely reasonable stance for us to set aside reason to deal with the unreasonable (those lacking capacity in using the tools of reason).

    The world is, as Wittgenstein famously said, the way it is. Wishing, or acting as if, it werent’ so is futile. Sometimes the only defense against a gun is another gun. There was a time when the only defense against a tank was another tank. Submarines are still considered the best deterent against other submarines.

    It can feel like stooping to their level to confront fallacious reasoning with fallacious reasoning (i.e., with emotional drivel), or to confront violence with violence. But the philosophers have said that the wise woman is all women to all people. She can accommodate herself to all situations. She can dine with publicans and sinners and speak in the coin of their direct experience.

    This doesn’t mean we speak down to the ignorant, any more than we speak down to children. But we employ the narratives and symbols of their comprehension.

    Bottom line: here’s to being idiots among the idiots.

  9. B. Dagger Lee says:

    Violet: I’m a Sarah Silverman fan, but I just started tracking her a year or so ago. Is that in “Jesus is Magic?” or elsewhere?

    My brother told me the comedian David Cross also does an abortion schtick that’s funny.

    ehj2: Yes! We mirror their unreasoning with the equally absurd; we play jester to their idiocracy.

    And may I take the opportunity to recommend Idiocracy, the movie. Some good scenes. Miss Patsy and I were laughing really hard.

    Later, after I’ve done my assigned tasks for the day, I’ll tell you all my “My Mom Tried to Abort Me” story! It has a moral and everything!

    yrs, B. Dagger Lee

  10. will says:

    “Will, don’t you owe us some hilarious godbag stories?”

    Only if you are nice to me from now on. Promise?!?!? Promise?!?!?

    At the most recent Supreme Court argument, one man cared so greatly about the children that after he had interrupted the oral argument with his scream about the “children”, he grabbed a chair and flailed about, almost hitting a 8 month pregnant woman with the chair.

    They don’t really care about actual children, only hypothetical children.

    Maybe later, I can post some stories about the crazy people.

  11. Violet says:

    Only if you are nice to me from now on. Promise?!?!? Promise?!?!?

    Actually…as it happens Ginmar is going to be away from blogging for a few weeks and suggested I smack you a few times on her behalf while she’s gone. So watch out.

    B. Dagger Lee, I don’t recall exactly where I saw that gag, but I haven’t seen “Jesus is Magic” so obviously it wasn’t there. I think it was a Silverman TV thing a couple of years ago on HBO or the Comedy Network.

  12. Sandra says:

    I love this post – thank you.

    I have yet to hear a rational response to why the religious right only believes in the ‘sanctity of life’ until you’re actually born.

  13. will says:

    “and suggested I smack you a few times on her behalf while she’s gone. So watch out.”

    So you are going to resort to to name calling and cursing, instead of logical discussion?

  14. Mandos says:

    I have yet to hear a rational response to why the religious right only believes in the ’sanctity of life’ until you’re actually born.

    In the West, at least: innocence. They believe in a sliding scale of innocence. At age 0 (conception or before), you’re maximally innocent, and hence you’re maximally deserving of protection. The more sinful you are, the less deserving of protection. Birth gives you a large initial bonus on your Relative Sinfulness Rating, depending on the specific doctrine in question.

  15. roamaround says:

    Great choice post, and I can totally relate to your debate experience. I’ve been there on abortion too, and then recently when my students did a debate on the war, the reasoned arguments against the war got eclipsed by three words: bravery! freedom! patriotism! Anti-choicers aren’t the only ones who don’t think.

    After decades of being pro-choice, I recently had an epiphany of sorts about it. It happened after a saw a documentary about “jane” Chicago’s clandestine abortion service (‘68-‘73) and read the comments of Judith Arcana, one of the founders.

    In a 1999 discussion, she said that part of the reason we have lost ground on abortion rights is that we fail to confront the fact that an abortion does constitute the death of a human life, a baby. By avoiding that reality, we limit our ability to discuss what is actually being done, what choice is being made.

    I resisted that idea for awhile. I was so used to euphemisms like “choice” and avoidance of the term “baby.” It took me a lot of thinking and reading to get that what is really at issue in abortion is whether or not WOMEN should be granted power over life and death. To me, that was different from thinking that a fetus isn’t really a baby and it’s just a medical choice.

    To say that women have the right to take away a life that is within them is the ultimate challenge to patriarchy. MEN (and male power structures) are granted the power to take lives in many situations, including the lives of their children throughout much of history. The evil of abortion is the idea that women are taking charge of their own bodies and not being obedient, passive incubators.

    It has also changed my arguments because the question then becomes not whether or not it’s a baby, but whether or not one believes that only God can grant life or take it away, which is a personal religious choice that has no place in public policy. Yes it’s a life and yes women have the right to end it. If your god tells you not to, then don’t do it.

    Let women decide.

  16. Kaitlyn says:

    Well, this is my first year blogging, and I haven’t done anything for 30 years, so I went ahead and did it.

    It’s really disjointed, and I blame the meds I was on, and am still on.

    Your story of the debate is sick… that wasn’t a debate… I don’t even recall debate being offered or required at my school, which really sucks, but I’m in the heart of godbag country.

  17. Violet says:

    MEN (and male power structures) are granted the power to take lives in many situations, including the lives of their children throughout much of history.

    Ain’t that the truth. Consider how long it took western civ to get to the point where fathers didn’t have the power of life or death over their wives and children, yet people freak at the notion of women having the power of life and death over blastocysts living inside their own bodies.

    By the way, if anyone hasn’t read it yet, I recommend Chris Clarke’s take on being pro-choice: The Truth About Fetuses

  18. Mamacita says:

    I too decided not to do the same stuff and wrote a Lettermanesque “Top Ten Reasons” This was fun, especially, “Enjoy impotent rage of Pat Robertson.” Was very therapeutic!

  19. hipparchia says:

    i’m slow. i just today discovered blogging for choice day. better late than never, i hope.

  20. RadFemHedonist says:

    Are people really still that stupid, you know what makes be burst into tears? People’s rights being violated. The pathetic stupidity of these anti-choicers, it’s appalling that they can’t even think their way out of a paper bag. How disgustingly sentimental can you get? Talking feti??? If I ever have a pet, I will name them abortoTWBRC. They will be the crusading goldfish/other animal (goldfish gave me the biggest laugh, I could have said parrot but that’s already been done).

  21. Kali 55 says:

    Very tood points, is this blog still open?

  22. Kali 55 says:

    Very good points, blog still open?

  23. Violet says:

    That depends on whether you’re a spammer.