Question of the day (and perhaps the century): why would anyone representing a just and righteous cause feel the need to promote that cause with lies and deception? That, perhaps, is the question we ought to be posing to “pro-life” activists. Granted, there are plenty of “pro-lifers” who are honest and well-meaning enough. But they allow themselves to be manipulated by fanatics who are blatantly dishonest – if not batshit loony. While posing as representatives of infallible truth and moral rectitude – often on wisdom obtained directly from God Herself – they perpetrate falsehood after falsehood, including one Big Lie that is the backbone of all the others.
They’ve said that abortion causes cancer. They’ve said that it causes infertility. They’ve said that women can’t get pregnant from being raped. They’ve said that abortion providers aggressively promote the service because it’s highly profitable. They’ve said that women who’ve undergone the procedure are highly susceptible to depression and suicide. They’ve said that most abortion patients have multiple procedures and use it as a form of birth control. They’ve said that Roe Vs. Wade applied the same line of reasoning as the Dred Scott decision. They’ve said that Planned Parenthood exists primarily to peddle abortion. They’ve said that the organization is aided and abetted by The Girl Scouts. (Did someone say “batshit loony”?) They’ve said that the organization supplies defective birth control in order to pump up the abortion count. (Did someone say it again?) They’ve said that fetuses feel pain before the third trimester. They’ve obtained (and often digitally altered) photos of fetuses aborted in rare late-term emergency procedures, and presented them as typical. They’ve said that emergency contraception produces an abortion. They’ve said that most abortion clinics are located in black neighborhoods – thus implying it’s all a sinister eugenics plot. Is there any lie they won’t tell in the name of Truth?
But none of these is The Big Lie. Nor is it the notion that life begins at conception; that’s just a belief that is generally at loggerheads with other dogma cherished by “pro-lifers”. A great many of them are religious fundamentalists (though by no means do all religious people believe this way), and religion of just about any flavor is predicated on the idea that we are spiritual beings; yet while believing this, they also define personhood in terms of a biological process. But religionists routinely contradict themselves all over the map. Get used to it. And get used to the fact that a great many “pro-lifers” support the death penalty and aggressive warfare that kills thousands of innocent civilians; “pro-life” applies only to the “unborn”, not to the born. Still, a sincerely held conviction, however oxymoronic, is hardly a lie.
The very term “pro-life” is disingenuous, as it shifts focus away from the core issue – i.e., how to curb abortion – to a metaphysical speculation on the definition of life – no, it’s not even a speculation, but an arrogant assertion. But this is not The Big Lie, either. The Big Lie is not what “pro-lifers” say about themselves, but what they say about The Others.
The Big Lie: Pro-Choice is the same as Pro-Abortion
Leave it to Rush Limbaugh, highly accomplished practitioner of big lies, to articulate The Big Lie About Abortion in its nastiest and nuttiest terms:
The term (“feminazi”) describes any female who is intolerant of any point of view that challenges militant feminism. I often use it to describe women who are obsessed with perpetuating a modern-day holocaust: abortion. A feminazi is a woman to whom the most important thing in life is seeing to it that as many abortions as possible are performed.
Got that? If you’re a “militant feminist”, whatever that is (I picture khaki-clad females -and males, perhaps – blasting down the wall between the men’s restroom and the women’s because the lines are longer in the latter), then you’re a stepchild of Hitler and you just absolutely love abortion.
Okay, hit the pause button. I’d like to invite you to stop and do something that the Limbaughs and Becks and Coulters and Malkins and Hannitys desperately hope you will never, ever do: think. That’s right – summon forth before your mind’s eye a parade of all the people you’ve known in your life and ask yourself this: How many can you think of who actually thought abortion was a good thing? Can you, in fact, recall even one? If so, then you’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din.
Most of the people I have known would be classified as “pro-choice” rather than “pro-life”. But I’ve never encountered anyone who liked the idea of abortion – and most emphatically not the people who’ve actually undergone them. And I have known quite a few such individuals; indeed, some have been very good friends. (I surely have known far more than I realized – and so have you – because most people who have had one don’t proclaim it from the rooftops.) Without exception, they were all among the sweetest, most loving and compassionate human beings I’ve ever met. All of them who talked about the experience at all concurred that it was a devastating ordeal that they wouldn’t wish on anyone. Likewise for all the women I’ve ever heard about who have had one. Yet in Limbaugh Loonyland, these women are “baby killers” and “feminazis” who feel empowered every time a pregnant teenager heads to the clinic.
In our particular galaxy, however, women and girls do not terminate pregnancies because they are evil, but because they are desperate. “Pro-choice” is not (as the term “pro-life” is designed to suggest) pro-death or anti-life. And people are not pro-choice because they deem abortion to be a Sunday picnic or a power trip, but because they are realistic enough to grasp an inconvenient truth.
The Inconvenient Truth: There will always be abortions as long as there are unwanted pregnancies.
This is true whether they are legal or banned. It’s a fascinating irony that there is such a great deal of overlap between “pro-lifers” and gun lovers. And I don’t just mean it’s ironic because they claim to revere life while being enamored of instruments of death. I mean it’s ironic because gun lovers love to say (quite irrelevantly) that “when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns”. But “pro-lifers” love to tout government-induced prohibition as the ultimate response to abortion (often before the altar of “limited government”). Does this mean they believe that guns are more vital and germane to the human condition than sex? Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them did.
(Be sure to check out Part 2 of this discussion.)
You are so right! Why anyone gets so worked up about what is in most cases a bunch of cells is beyond me – do they actually know what they’re talking about?
Thanks. After looking at your blog, I know you don’t make that statement lightly, having had an abortion yourself. I applaud you for having the courage to discuss it publicly.
You ask, “why would anyone representing a just and righteous cause feel the need to promote that cause with lies and deception?”
I learned why as part of my religious upbringing in the fundamentalist Baptist church of my youth: it is not a sin to use lies to further the work of God. This was one of the most astounding discoveries of my youth.
The logic behind it seems to be that if something is evil, and God (AKA ‘self-appointed religious nuts’) wants it stopped, then you are entitled to use any method at hand to stop it. I realized as a child that religion is an incredibly powerful tool to force your crazed, deluded beliefs onto others. It was powerful because you could make up just about any lie that was marginally believable and once you said it – in the furtherance of God’s work – it became a “fact,” and anyone who tried to point out any fallacies was a God-hating heathen (useful substitutions for the word ‘heathen’: communist, socialist, fascist, Nazi, atheist, Muslim, etc.).
The Moonies, who (despite Rev. Moon’s anti-Christian and anti-American rants) have some strong affiliations with right-wing fundamentalists, call it “heavenly deception”: lying is quite forgivable, or even admirable, if you’re doing it to advance “God’s work”.
This is part of the problem of people who see things as being right and wrong. Of course, they also want to short circuit reason as well.
Sort of makes sense since seeing things in terms of black and right absolutes is one of the main tactics of propganda!
POP, you know that I’m pro-abortion in some cases such as if it can be predicted an unborn baby will be deformed, transexual or gay-then go ahead and abort them. But I understand view of pro-lifers regarding abortion as murder. I support birth control and abortion, but I do believe in abolishing vasectomies and tubal ligations as those are maiming healthy parts. All things =, if you have a woman intact vs. a woman who has had a tubal, most men would choose the intact woman over the woman who is spayed like a bitch.
Yes, pregnancy can happen in rape, but it’s possible that stress in a rape can reduce possibility of pregnancy happening. Does abortion raise cancer risks? Possibly. & & the Catholic Church which is pro-life opposes death penalty as well-my guess is you know that.
While I’m neutral on abortion, in justness to pro-lifers they believe abortion is killing a baby-there are many women pro-lifers so it’s not men seeking to control women’s bodies. If they decided to make abortion illegal, then I would not care 1 way or another. I’m pro-abortion in some cases such as if it can be predicted an unborn baby will be deformed, transexual or gay-then go ahead and abort them. But I understand view of pro-lifers regarding abortion as murder.
I’m against sterlizations. There’s birth control such as the pill, condoms & old fahshioned Rhythm Method. Sterilization surgeries however are mutilations. Unless it’s a hysterectomy to save a life, they must make it a crime to do sterilizations. Sterilizations are spaying & neutering people. Also they make less attractive. All things=, if you have an intact woman vs. a woman who has been spayed, most men would take the intact woman. Same thing with a man who is intact vs. a man who has had a vasectomy, most women would choose the intact man.
I support birth control but am against sterilization surgeries. I oppose breast implants because they are fake (excludes reconstruct surgeries for women who have had breast disease). If a woman has naturally nice big boobs as singer Katy E. Perry has (she is listed as DD but there are women with bigger boobs than her), then that is good. There is nothing wrong with a woman having small boobs. Most men want a woman with natural boobs-small, medium or big vs. a woman with fake boobs. I would limit Viagra in most cases because those are performance enhancers. If a man is let’s say 25 years old and in a wheelchair, then I support him using Viagra to have sex with his wife or girlfriend and have kids with her because there’s a use to it. But I am against Viagra or any other sexual enhancement drug for old men because that’s like giving steroids to nfl player. I would also be against giving Viagra and sexual enhancement drugs to homosexuals. So I would limit Viagra or other sexual enhancement drug to straight men who are under 40 years old with a handicap to that they can father children which below a certain age it’s medicine, but after a certain age it’s perfornace enhancers comparable to Steroids as Viagra, Zestra are.
I support fertility treatments and I support In Vitro Fertilization. There are couples who want children but because the mom has problems getting pregnant or giving birth the only way for a man and his wife to have children is by In Vitro Fertilization. Let’s say that you have a man and a wife and the wife is let’s say paralyzed so that giving birth would be dangerous. I would support that couple’s right to In Vitro Fertilization (I.V.F.) so that both can enjoy having a family, raising kids, taking kids to the zoo, fun of seeing kids raise pets and so on. While In Vitro Fertilization (I.V.F.) is not perfect, In Vitro Fertilization (I.V.F.) must be there for couples who have problems having children.
I also support Artificial Insemination with regulations. If you have a straight couple and let’s say the husband has disease where treatment could keep him from having children. Man should have a right to have his sperm stored so that he and his wife can have children. If however, you have artificial insemination for purpose of single parenthood or homosexual parenting, then it is a problem. Of course if a woman wants to have a child without father involvement then what she can do is have a 1 night stand. Also I have a friend who is a Born Again Christian who has told me that he supports In Vitro Fertilization because I.V.F. is about creating life while abortion is about preventing life so there are pro-lifers who support I.V.F. In Vitro Fertilization must be there for people who have problems having children.
[…] the problem even worse. (See previous posts: Abortion: the Big Lie and the Inconvenient Truth, Part 1 and Part 2 and ACORNization: the Curious Vendetta Against Planned […]
My feeling about why those in fundamentalist faiths, tend to make so much of abortions, is that they know that this argument is one in which they actually have a basis for presenting a logical argument i.e. when a fetus is killed one has ended its potential chance at life, and therefore committed murder. So, this one is far more clear than just claiming God prefers Conservative politics, or doesn’t like those plotting scheming climate scientists—instead it actually is based on a somewhat logical proposition.
Certainly for embryo’s farther along in their development it is a believable argument that these embryos are actually alive and deserving of protection. And, although the waters are much more murky when it comes to whether a bunch of amorphous stem cells that cannot see, hear, feel pain, or think with a developed nervous system,are really alive, many people who are religious usually consider even a process of life such as the fertilization of a female egg by a male sperm, to be divine in essence because a process that leads to life can also be worshiped as a sacred event worthy of protecting, and thus, of protecting the life it may become. So, I think right wing religious conservatives, are so gung-ho about abortions because unlike so many others of their crackpot religious and political beliefs, they actually have a toe-hold on reality with this one.
Personally, I think we have to start at some point where we say these primitive bundles of cells developing in the first few days are not really infused with human life and spirit, even though they indicate that a process leading to life has begun. We need to use embryos to do effective stem cell research (even thought less direct methods have been developed) because such research has the potential to lead to cures for chronic illness that currently threaten or will in the future threaten, many millions of us, who otherwise would be doomed to die. We’ve also got to realize that forms of birth control like the pill and the plan B pill which can prevent a pregnancy from taking hold after only one or two days—after, for instance, a violent rape that also has the very real potential to ruin the life of an innocent victim as well as the amount of care, they could reasonably expected to provide for the children that result from their abuse, are in themselves important factors to consider before throwing away all but the black and white crayons that you draw conclusions with.
Most importantly, as you say, hardly anyone, including the unfortunate women who are victims of rape or abuse are really gung-ho about ending a human life–even if it results from being violent raped. So lies that imply that young women freely use abortions as birth control or that unscrupulous doctors are itching to abort children as a means of receiving huge amounts of money, are obviously coming from the same loonies who lie about so many other issues in our society. To really have compassion means putting aside what you or I might like to believe is true, in favor of really understanding how these young women suffer over needing to make such decisions. All human beings like sex, but sex is not always wanted by two willing partners. We also can’t we expect young people to simply toe the line and use safe sex measures like condemns before every spontaneous attack of romance—Just as we can’t expect mature adults to always pay attention to preventative measures and various ways of having safe sex either!
I have never heard that religious zealots are taught as part of their religious training that it is permissible to lie in order to reach a “righteous goal,” or moral result. However I am aware that many of them do just that in situations where a lie will enable events to unfold as they want them to unfold i.e. we have all been told not to bear false witness against our neighbors, but the going standard seems to imply that when Jesus personally instructs us that lying is alright, we can then lie our pants off in our self-justified religious bliss–never even entertaining that possibility that the voices we hear are really residing withing our own minds. What fanatics don’t seem to understand is that clever lies and misinformation are the very same instruments that have been used by dictators and ruthless political power seekers from the beginning of recorded history, and, that they have seldom lead us to positive results. Even if one believes that the “holy spirit” has given him or her the power to bear witness to Gods law, that in no way gives anyone the green light to lie and scheme in any manner that leads to a desired result.
Almost every politician today uses lies, or occasionally stretches the truth, but those who are really acting with valid moral authority rarely have any reasons to lie about what they believe. It is truly sad that so many people who perceive themselves as being religious authorities remain unaware of the havoc and confusion that they are really contributing to the world.
Although I can’t speak for God, I do remember something about a truly loving being who came upon some religious hypocrites that were about to violently stone to a woman to death because she was guilty of “adultery,” As I remember. this guy asked those who were without sin to cast the first stone. Of course all of these so-called righteous men skulked away in shame because they had no further excuse to justify their own violent actions in the name of God.
The world would be a far better place if we all could walk a mile in the other persons shoes, and really understand everything that effects the choices we make. If it seems invalid that radical anti-abortion fanatics should feel no hesitancy when killing a doctor who is alleged to be killing children, that’s purely and simply because they really SHOULD feel hesitant about any such paradoxical and contradictory rationalizations which can be readily used to justify their actions–since these are obviously only excuses to play God—even more so, than those of use who feel life begins with a developed fetus and not just a bunch of unthinking, unaware, and undeveloped cells, and thus feel that sometimes the beginning of a process, is not the same as the beginning of a life itself!
[…] movement, which has no qualms about how it goes about persecuting them. And as we’ve seen before, many “pro-life” fanatics have no problem with lying their righteous asses off. […]
[…] both wrong question and wrong answer. We’ve already discussed, for instance, the issue of abortion: many people are obsessed with trying to argue that abortion is a terrible thing (which we all […]
[…] Yes, that’s the actual title. (If you don’t see anything wrong, please read our two discussions of abortion and the one on straw […]
[…] we’ve seen already, the “pro-life” throng will tell any and every lie they can dredge up to defame […]
[…] play on the level. To be more frank, they tell lies. Many, many lies. Including, of course, the Big Lie that pro-choice individuals are “pro-abortion” — that they consider abortion a […]
[…] totally dominate the public forum on the issue of abortion, as they do on everything else. Consequently, you will hear the media frame the issue in terms of […]