Published on February 4th, 2014 | by Rayne1
Why the prolife movement is its own worst enemy
(WARNING: Some of the links may feature horrific and misleading photos designed to shock, sicken and emotionally manipulate women)
I don’t understand the so called “pro-life” movement.
Actually that’s not entirely accurate. I understand the simplistic argument “We want to stop abortions”, it’s the need to control others disguised as morality that I don’t understand. I see pro-lifers mouthing the words “it’s for the children” but all I hear is “because we want to police your sexuality”.
Let’s face it, the pro-life movement is its own worst enemy when it comes to achieving its goals of stopping abortion. In examining pro-life ideology – do they really want to end abortion? or do they want to police sexuality by using abortion as a smokescreen?
Or perhaps – they want to end abortion by policing sexuality and the sexual lives of others.
Pro-lifers like to promote the idea that abortion is murder, that terminating a pregnancy is the same as murdering children while latching onto the ideal that the only reason why women get abortions is because they’re irresponsible and using it as a convenient way to avoid the consequences of having sex. Last time I checked, wearing a condom not only assisted in preventing the transmission of diseases but also assisted in not getting someone pregnant/not getting pregnant so one can assert that the decision to wear a condom is a couples way of stating they A) don’t want any diseases and B) don’t want any unwanted pregnancies. Further to that point, there are a myriad of reasons why women (and couples) will decide that not bringing a pregnancy to term is the best thing for them. Including but not limited to (as discussed in this study in Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2005)
RESULTS: The reasons most frequently cited were that having a child would interfere with a woman’s education, work or ability to care for dependents (74%); that she could not afford a baby now (73%); and that she did not want to be a single mother or was having relationship problems (48%). Nearly four in 10 women said they had completed their childbearing, and almost one-third were not ready to have a child. Fewer than 1% said their parents’ or partners’ desire for them to have an abortion was the most important reason. Younger women often reported that they were unprepared for the transition to motherhood, while older women regularly cited their responsibility to dependents. CONCLUSIONS: The decision to have an abortion is typically motivated by multiple, diverse and interrelated reasons. The themes of responsibility to others and resource limitations, such as ﬁnancial constraints and lack of partner support, recurred throughout the study.
I’ve been engaging with a pro-lifer on Twitter over the last few days and the interaction has had me thinking quite a bit. Firstly they seemed to equate sex with “pregnancy” which we’ve already discussed above.
But wait, if you use the super duper effective method of studying your fertile time, pregnancy doesn’t have to be a byproduct of sex. There are ways in which you can monitor when you’re most fertile, except studying your fertile times is much more difficult when you have irregular periods/fertility issues. This particular pro-lifer is promoting the idea of monitoring their fertility cycles so they know when to not have sex as a way to not get pregnant. This is often called “Natural Family Planning” and has been in used alongside abstinence only education as the pro-life communities answer to sexual education for years.
As well as the Natural Family Planning method, this particular pro-lifer had some cringe worthy, often outright lies to say about birth control.
I’m not sure where this pro-lifer is getting her sexual/sexuality education from but the sex education we have in Australian schools never mentions nor promotes the idea that we should all go out and fuck like rabbits. Its aim is to fully inform people about sexual matters, about how to stay safe, how to communicate your emotions and feelings within relationships, within your peer group and in regards to sexual matters. We even have sections within sex education that speak about waiting until you’re ready to have sex and how to communicate if you feel peer pressured into having sex.
Low moral standards and a child growing up without a father is far more important than protecting against diseases apparently. Current studies have concluded there is no more risk to a child in fatherless homes than if they have a father present in their life. I’m assuming “low moral standards” is another way of using self respect as a weapon against women.
I don’t want to infer anything that isn’t accurate here but it seems this pro-lifer is saying that in her mind – the only way one can have a loving relationship with their partner is by not wearing condoms during sex. I wonder if she knows that thrush can be spread from partner to partner through unprotected sex?
Except for Bacterial Vaginosis, Chlamydia, Genital Herpes ,Gonorrhea ,Hepatitis B ,Hepatitis C ,Human Papillomavirus ,Lymphogranuloma Venereum (LGV) ,Syphilis ,Trichomoniasis just to name a few. The risk of catching all of the above can be significantly lowered by wearing condoms, dental dams, gloves and having safe sex.
This isn’t the first time a pro-lifer has lied about sexual matters, condoms and risk. The Huffington Post and others have released articles from teens and adults who had been enrolled in abstinence-only education programs:
“I remember in school in one time I had a teacher who was talking about abstinence and she said ‘Imagine you’re a stick of gum. And when you engage in sex, that’s like getting chewed. And if you do that lots of times you’re going to become an old piece of gum and who’s going to want you after that? That’s terrible, nobody should ever say that. But for me I thought ‘oh my gosh, I’m that chewed up piece of gum. Nobody re-chews a piece of gum. You throw it away.’ And that’s how easy it is to feel like you no longer have worth, you no longer have value. Why would it even be worth screaming out? Why would it even made a difference, your life already has no value.”
“[G]irls were given two glasses of water and told to chew up food and spit it into one of them. Their teacher — a guest speaker from an anti-abortion “crisis pregnancy” group, then asked them which glass they’d rather drink. The lesson, in case you haven’t guessed already, is that premarital sex makes you a gross glass of regurgitated food.”
” The Charleston Gazette reported that Stenzel came to a West Virginia school last week and made some incredible claims. Incredibly false, anyway. Some of the gems students were able to walk away with were, “If you take birth control your mother probably hates you,” and “I could look at any one of you in the eyes right now and tell if you’re going to be promiscuous.
If you forget everything else I tell you today, and you can only remember one thing from me today – this is what I want you to hear; If you have sex outside of one, permanent, monogamous relationship – and monogamy doesn’t mean on person at a time – if you have sex outside of that context you will pay. No one has EVER had more than one partner and not paid. She goes on to explain how birth control is the devil and makes girls “ten times more likely to be carrying disease” than those who don’t take it. Oh my god. She then goes as far as to claim that girls taking birth control “could end up sterile or dead.”
Kathy O’Donnell: “He told us there was no such thing as rape”
Jeremy Geopfert, 31: “We were told that masturbation would make us sterile”
Shawn Murillo, 35: “I was disciplined countless times for sharing accurate information about sex”
It’s pretty evident from the links above and the common method of equating spat on food with the human body, typically aimed towards young women – that pro-lifers believe that women should be the gate keepers for sex and should be kept chaste and “untouched”. This is a creepy ideology reflected in the “purity ball” phenomenon found in the United States:
“Your body is a wrapped lollipop. When you have sex with a man, he unwraps your lollipop and sucks on it. It may feel great at the time, but, unfortunately, when he’s done with you, all you have left for your next partner is a poorly wrapped, saliva-fouled sucker.”
an abstinence educator at the Eighth Annual Abstinence Clearinghouse Conference
The above quote is one I repeat often when speaking at colleges and feminist events. It’s shocking, telling, and, frankly, disgusting. Unfortunately, it also epitomizes the message that the virginity movement is working so hard to send to women: Sex makes us less whole and a whole lot dirtier.” Source.
“Making women the sexual gatekeepers and telling men they just can’t help themselves not only drives home the point that women’s sexuality is unnatural, but also sets up a disturbing dynamic in which women are expected to be responsible for men’s sexual behavior.” Source.
“Whether it appears in a story about a man killing his girlfriend while calling her a whore or in trying to battle conservative claims that emergency contraception or the HPV vaccine will make girls promiscuous, the purity myth in America underlies more misogyny than most people would like to admit” Source.
We seem to be going around in circles. First this particular pro-lifer won’t teach their kids about contraceptives but then they’ll teach their kids about contraceptives?
There’s the Natural Family Planning line. I was waiting for it.
This is a great comment. Interesting there is a rise in “virgin births” in teens in the United States and recent studies have found that teen pregnancy is the highest in states that have abstinence only education. Color me not shocked.
Is anyone really shocked that banning abortion doesn’t actually affect the abortion rate? It just means that women will go elsewhere for them. Color me not shocked again but countries with the highest rates of abortion are ones where it’s illegal.
There’s the fallacy that people only terminate pregnancies due to irresponsibility.
I have no words for this response. For those of you, dear readers, who don’t know what Tay Sachs is – Tay Sachs is a genetic disorder that is often fatal to the child by the time the child is 4 years old. Common symptoms include:
It is likely that your baby will be much slower in reaching developmental milestones, such as learning to crawl. Additional symptoms usually develop after about eight months of age and quickly become more severe. They include:
- increasing muscle weakness that progresses toparalysis (inability to move body parts)
- increasing loss of vision
- loss of hearing
- difficulties swallowing (dysphagia)
- muscle stiffness (spasticity)
- lack of interest in the world around them
- repeated fits (seizures)
Due to the increasing damage to the nervous system, children with Tay-Sachs disease become increasingly vulnerable to infection, particularly lung infections. Many children with the condition die from a complication of an infection such as pneumonia. Most children with infantile onset Tay-Sachs disease die at around four years old because of complications from repeated infections.
I identity as pro-choice. I don’t want to force people to have abortions that they don’t want – I want abortion to be safe and legal so women will stop dying from dodgy backyard abortionists. If women don’t want to have a child that will only know a life of pain and suffering until s/he dies at age 4 barely able to breathe – they should be able to spare that child the pain and that suffering and terminate the pregnancy.
Well that’s what I think, the pro-lifer on the other hand believes Tay Sachs babies are born “for a reason” which implies they don’t actually give a shit about the quality of life for the child either.
Alas! a blog has created a great table highlighting the mixed messages the pro-life movement promotes, debunking the “it’s for the children” smokescreen parroted by a majority of pro-lifers. The movements reliance on abstinence only education, the usage of “slut shaming” techniques to keep teenagers from having sex, combined with purity balls and the lies they spread about contraceptives makes for a very dangerous mixture.
Libby Anne over at patheos.com recalls her journey away from the deceptive pro-life movement in her article “How I Lost Faith in the “Pro-Life” Movement”
“The reality is that so-called pro-life movement is not about saving babies. It’s about regulating sex. That’s why they oppose birth control. That’s why they want to ban abortion even though doing so will simply drive women to have dangerous back alley abortions. That’s why they want to penalize women who take public assistance and then dare to have sex, leaving an exemption for those who become pregnant from rape. It’s not about babies. If it were about babies, they would be making access to birth control widespread and free and creating a comprehensive social safety net so that no woman finds herself with a pregnancy she can’t afford. They would be raising money for research on why half of all zygotes fail to implant and working to prevent miscarriages. It’s not about babies. It’s about controlling women. It’s about making sure they have consequences for having unapproved sex.
But I am very sure that there are other dupes out there. If you’re sitting there reading this thinking “but I really am in it to save unborn babies,” I am sure you’re not alone. After all, I was one of you.
If you are one who has been a part of the pro-life movement because you really do believe in “saving unborn babies,” it’s time to cut your ties with the movement. You may be an honest and kind-hearted person, but you’ve been had. You’ve been taken in. It’s time to let go. It’s time to support Obamacare’s birth control mandate, it’s time to call off opposition to birth control, and it’s time to get behind progressive programs that help provide for poor women and their children. It’s time to make your actions consistent with your motives. While I am myself no longer morally opposed to abortion, I and others like me share your desire to decrease the number of unplanned pregnancies and to ensure that every woman can afford the option of keeping her pregnancy”.
As for the myths promoted by the pro-life movement? They’re easily debunked as well.
The pro-life movement can’t succeed in ending abortion while promoting lies and misconceptions or outright attempting to ban contraceptives. If you want to end abortion, either you need to promote information that will prevent unwanted pregnancies or rally together to make life easier for women to raise children.
Also for those in the pro-life movement who have abortions when it suits them – you’re still a bunch of hypocrites.
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