Abortion: the Big Lie and the Inconvenient Truth (Part 1)

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.)