Thursday, October 12, 2006

Look, honey, they're having a two-for-one sale!

Ineffective PR: the other day I witnessed a plane cruising along towing a big ol' banner. "10 Week Abortion," it said. Below this was an eight hundred number; beside it some sort of blurry picture that I couldn't see well because it was far away and I wasn't wearing my glasses. The picture, presumably, was of a fetus, and the purpose of the banner, presumably, was to agitate against abortion, but my immediate, confused thought upon seeing the message plus the phone number was that it was meant as an advertisement for the procedure in question. "From now 'til Friday, big savings at Bob's Abortion Shack!" Or maybe that was the intended purpose. I don't know.

I mock. But I'm not totally unsympathetic...strike that: I am totally unsympathetic to assholes who try to make their point by waving around pictures of feti. Or to the massive hypocricy of declaring oneself "pro-life" while supporting republicans.

But leaving aside the fact that stridently anti-abortion types tend to be kind of dickish--pretending these people don't exist--I don't think it's a totally clear-cut issue. I consider myself a pro-choice absolutist. No ifs, ands, or buts. "But partial-birth abortion, blah blah blah." No. Fuck off. That's not an honest point to raise. Late-term abortions are very rare, and mostly for health reasons, as you well know. The entire point of that argument is to get you to concede that some abortion should be banned. Once they've got you to concede that, you've lost the moral high ground. It's the same as the "ticking time bomb" pro-torture argument. If you admit that torture would be okay in some paranoid wing-nut's insane, hypothetical fever-dream, you'll just start to admit more and more. It is nicely crystalized in the old sexist yet pithy joke: "Will you sleep with me for a million dollars?" "Sure." "How about ten dollars?" "What kind of a girl do you think I am?" "We've already established that; now we're just working out the details." Sorry: I refuse to be that kind of girl.

So. But I don't think it's an issue that you can drain of its emotional charge, and I have a serious problem with people who think that it's a totally neutral procedure, like an apendectomy, and that the only reason anybody who has one feels guilty or depressed is because of the relentless screeching of anti-abortion types. Certainly, these assholes exacerbate the stiuation, but I don't think they are the only factor. I'm not saying that I think anyone has an obligation to feel guilty, or anything nutty like that--the fewer who do, the better. But I also think that the claim that it's a totally invalid thing to experience is totally specious, and that all you're going to do is confuse and further injure people who are in an emotionally fragile state anyway. To me, it evinces a remarkable lack of empathy.


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