Drawn from this press release by Right to Impose Fundamentalist Christian Despotism.
Number of times a foetus is referred to as though it exists in a vacuum and not inside and dependent on the body of a living breathing thinking person: five
Number of times people who have abortions are referred to as victims, or people on whom abortion is performed: three
Number of times people who have abortions are acknowledged to be human beings with lives, souls, and decision-making abilities: zero
Number of times RTL considers the possibility that Family Planning may be offering early abortion services in Tauranga / the Bay of Plenty because there is demand for those services: zero
Number of dishonestly-quoted Margaret Sanger citations copy-pasted from American antichoice literature? Both of them. More on that later.
Number of bloggers rendered a little nauseous by the insincere, cissexist “oh but we have to protect delicate, misguided women!!!” rhetoric: me.
So new research is out, apparently saying that we shouldn’t allow abortion on the grounds of mental health because abortion doesn’t affect mental health.
(They do suggest rewording our current legislation so as to further make it clear that we have abortion on demand but not really because Good Moral Doctors really get to make all the decisions, a suggestion which may have slightly biased me towards the belief that they are ignorant wankers.)
That question mark in the title is there because, like all Good Science, the Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry wants some of my sweet sweet disposable income before it will grant me access to the full text. So I have to rely on the abstract, and the interpretation of a journalist. Because journalists are amazingly accurate when it comes to reporting science.
Anyway, to the abstract:
Objective: There have been debates about the linkages between abortion and mental health. Few reviews have considered the extent to which abortion has therapeutic benefits that mitigate the mental health risks of abortion. The aim of this review was to conduct a re-appraisal of the evidence to examine the research hypothesis that abortion reduces rates of mental health problems in women having unwanted or unintended pregnancy.
Conclusions: There is no available evidence to suggest that abortion has therapeutic effects in reducing the mental health risks of unwanted or unintended pregnancy. There is suggestive evidence that abortion may be associated with small to moderate increases in risks of some mental health problems.
So, did it jump out at you, too? Let’s revisit:
in women having unwanted or unintended pregnancy
unwanted or unintended pregnancy
unwanted or unintended
I don’t know about you, but I hate the concept of surprise parties. They are unwanted (and, because they’re a surprise, pretty much always unintended). On the other hand, I know people who think surprise parties are the most fun ever. They’re unintended – because they’re a surprise – but, once they occur, very much wanted.
You think me and those people might have slightly different needs and responses and experiences of surprise parties?
Maybe pregnancy is slightly similar. Maybe a lot of people get pregnant without planning it but are actually really happy to be pregnant! Maybe their pregnancy is subsequently full of sunshine and rainbows
and morning sickness! Maybe including happy-surprise-pregnancy-people in with unhappy-surprise-pregnancy-people might, I don’t know (because I can’t access the full fucking article) skew things the tiniest bit?
The next problem, of course, is making statements like this:
Abortion was associated with small to moderate increases in risks of anxiety … alcohol misuse … illicit drug use/misuse …and suicidal behaviour …
Without noting whether or not you controlled for the fact that there’s a tiny bit of stigma around abortion in our society, like maybe people who get abortions are regularly labelled murderers or something. Maybe they, like, went to a clinic to get an abortion because they couldn’t feed another child on top of the ones they already have and some preachy douchefuck waved a plastic foetus at them and they decided to get a stiff drink afterwards. I fucking would.
Not convinced? Let’s consider that the president of ALRANZ, Dr Morgan Healey, thinks the paper shows good grounds for completely decriminalizing abortion in NZ. Bob McCoskrie, who wants to lock up your uterus, thinks it shows abortion is the Great Satan and must be made punishable by death.
You suppose maybe the results are a little bit open to interpretation?
Back in the bad old days of the 1980s, hair was big, makeup was loud, and a Christchurch health clinic was torched while an Auckland clinic was threatened with firebombing.
Because the “pro-life” movement couldn’t handle the fact that people who were pregnant and didn’t want to be were obtaining legal, safe abortions in those clinics.
Thank God that was the ’80s, right?
I mean, in 2013 we just have nurses leaving work to discover the fuel lines of their cars have been cut. And health-related groups receiving mail which urges them to “Help Babies” by sending cute stuff to the Auckland abortion clinic on Dominion Road (if you’re confused by this, the clue is “guilt tripping”).
Ken Orr protests that no one in the anti-choice movement would ever do such a thing because they’re such moral crusaders for life. Just like Scott Roeder.
Funny, he said the same thing back in October after a threat was received at the Southland abortion clinic and ALRANZ. Someone even implied the threat was self-generated so ALRANZ could get sympathy.
And I guess the Auckland nurse cut her own fuel line, because as history demonstrates clearly, it’s the pro-choice movement who threaten, intimidate and murder people.
Related reading: ALRANZ’s press release
The latest proof of today’s heading comes to us from Daily Kos, which reports:
In just the past year, the Church has called upon its faithful followers to march, to starve themselves, to go to jail, to even take up arms—all to protect those fetuses. No exceptions. None. Not if the fetus is already dead inside the womb. Not if the fetus is going to kill the actual living woman carrying it. No goddamned exceptions EVER.
Well, except for one: when it’s going to cost the Church money.
That’s right. When your Catholic doctor in your Catholic hospital screws the pooch, killing you and your Sacred Unborn Feeeeeeeeeetus (+10 points for twins!) suddenly they care a whole lot about how SUFs aren’t really people.
Play it again, Sam:
Jason Langley, an attorney with Denver-based Kennedy Childs, argued in one of the briefs he filed for the defense, the court “should not overturn the long-standing rule in Colorado that the term ‘person,’ as is used in the Wrongful Death Act, encompasses only individuals born alive. Colorado state courts define ‘person’ under the Act to include only those born alive. Therefore Plaintiffs cannot maintain wrongful death claims based on two unborn fetuses.”
Yeah, court! Don’t you dare go overturning long-standing rulings which make foetuses non-people. Because foetuses aren’t people!
Wait. What? Are we seriously looking at a Catholic organisation insisting that foetuses aren’t people … when it might hit them in the wallet?
Ain’t that a hilarious – in a laugh-or-you’ll-cry – illustration of their priorities.
I can hear you already, defenders: “but they’re entitled to a defence under the law! They’re entitled to use the current law to get themselves out of damages!!!”
I have but one question: what would Jesus do?
Clearly the anti-choicers have received their talking points, and hot on the heels of FLI’s pack of lies, Right to Life has jumped up to declare we have to “protect” women (his way of saying “pregnant people”).
Just think about that.
We have to “protect” pregnant people … from choosing to have a medical procedure they want to have. From taking control of their own bodies. From a decision which, by the time they’ve jumped through the hoops of our legal system, I think we can be pretty damn sure they want to make.
Exactly what kind of mindset do you have to have about pregnant people – in your narrow-minded worldview, “women” – that you declare that they must be “protected” from actions they choose to take?
Exactly who are you addressing if “women” – over 50% of the population – are merely the objects who need to be protected?
And exactly how strong can your arguments be if you have to consistently
use American antichoice talking points lie about iconic lawsuits to back them up?
I wasn’t going to post about this because it is just so not done to blow one’s own trumpet, but Bomber in a post at Tumeke has granted me the title of Chaotic Good Blogger of 2012.
Which is kinda awesome if you know how much of a geek I am. If you don’t, you may not have been paying attention.
The truly awesome thing, though, is the second comment on the post:
Wow.some heavy misses there.
QOT is kind of irelevant because nice girls don’t kill foetuses these dayswithout goo dreason. .And “Not Nice”, girls don’t count. So that is a big wide cultural miss. ‘Tis my opinion that Russell Brown is a left wing circle jerker. Other than that, your judgementr is right on. Keith Ng. One of the best invetigative journos of 2day.
I can’t entirely make out what Monique Angel is saying there, but according to her blog she’s a Pete George fan – and Pete George doesn’t understand how D&D alignments work (warning: link contains Pete George) which is also good for a giggle.
But thanks for the hate, Monique! Interesting point, though: a “big wide cultural miss”? According to Monique’s blog she’s living in San Francisco, so maybe she’s missed that being a stroppy sweary bitch isn’t actually that unusual among Kiwi Gen Ys.
Anyways, I digress. Like it says in the headline: you know you’re winning when people feel the need to whinge about your pro-choice-ness on fairly lighthearted posts on Tumeke, of all places. If you really were irrelevant, they wouldn’t care so much. (Though not so much they pay attention to what they’re typing.)
This is simply the inevitable outcome of “pro-life” thinking: denying a woman medical treatment because her foetus – a foetus which is going to die anyway – is more important than she is.
Because “pro-life” attitudes result in laws which value a dying foetus over a live woman. Because “pro-life” laws create situations where doctors – people who, “pro-lifers” are so fond of telling us, are Sworn To Do No Harm – are so afraid of the legal consequences, so bound by illogical, irrational regulations (and, depending on how you read that “this is a Catholic country” comment, so married to their personal religious beliefs) that they will stand by while a woman goes through incredible pain and dies.
Because hey, the doomed foetus had a fuckin’ heartbeat, people. And we know how much pro-lifers love heartbeats. As long as they belong to a foetus, of course, and not a living, breathing, thinking, loved woman.
Who is now dead. Because antichoicers imposed their morality on her even at the expense of her life in the name of a going-to-die-anyway foetus.
It’s just so fucking ridiculous, so fucking illogical, it almost makes you wonder whether the motivations of “pro-lifers” are really what they claim.
Or, you know, they could just actually hate women.
PS. Not all women can get pregnant; not all pregnant people are women.
PPS. Oh, and yes, this happens in New Zealand, too. The circumstances are less clear – maybe a whole lot of doctors simply forgot how to practise medicine well, instead of maliciously endangering a woman’s life for the sake of a foetus – but whatever the case, this should never happen to anyone.
Update: This article gives some more horrifying context to the bullshit situation of abortion in Ireland.
I mean seriously, when you have to issue a press release entirely to say “we met to discuss our options and pinky-sweared each other that we won’t shoot anyone” you may like to consider the company your movement is keeping.
Meanwhile, I will continue to question the non-violence principles of an organisation which claims to “[respect] the life and human rights of all people born and unborn” which nevertheless continues to treat women like walking incubators.
Note that “Silent Witness” paragraph snuck in the middle there? I doubt they’re talking about classic BBC crime drama. Because Jesus was all about glaring at women in need of medical care from the sidewalk and waving faked dead baby pictures at them.
Within 24 hours of appearing on Close Up, Alison McCulloch of ALRANZ received a threatening email directed at her and the Southland abortion clinic.
ProLife New Zealand decided this was a great opportunity to stage an online performance art piece known colloquially as “Witness The Gigantic Throbbing Double Standard“, by first stating ALRANZ is:
making a MASSIVE deal out of a SOLITARY and anonymous email which they claim is threatening violence against them
… and then, entitling their post “The very real violence and intimidation of the pro-CHOICE movement in NZ” they …
have a massive cry over a solitary four-year-old YouTube video.
Yes, “real violence” indeed. (It uses cuss words! Oh noes! And also, I totally heard from my friend’s cousin’s brother-in-law that someone totally tried to set a prolifer on fire this one time. Trufax. Because that wouldn’t be the kind of thing antichoicers would raise at every single opportunity.)
It may just pay to note that this is happening in the context of Southlanders For Hate saying they “would continue to find ways to stop the [Southland] abortion services from continuing”.
Sorry, antichoice scum. The simple fact of the matter is that, to someone who doesn’t buy your contemptible Holocaust comparisons, only one side of this debate has an extensive history of violence against the other.
So please, stop embarrassing yourselves by pretending that there is even a vague equivalence between the angry rhetoric of prochoicers and your movement actually killing people. I’ll even be charitable and ignore all the pregnant people you’ve been happy to let die – whether from haemmhoraging to death on hotel room floors, committing suicide, or simply being denied lifesaving medical treatment – and ask you this: who’s your Dr Tiller, you sadistic, controlling, violence-inciting thugs?
One thing about being a feminist is that you’re often marginalized or ignored or basically told to shut up because “come on, it’s not like there’s a group of dudes meeting in a dark, smoke-filled room to specifically plan how they’re going to pay women less/dehumanize oppressed groups/ensure rape culture is promoted.”
Well, here you go, sunshines. A document specifically advising antichoicers to say “mother” instead of “pregnant woman” (the irony of course being that many people who get abortions already have kids!) and “protect unborn children” instead of “ban abortion” and “abortionist” instead of “doctor” – while people who want to restrict your life entirely to the productive abilities of your uterus get to go around using their medical cred to give their arguments weight.
And let’s be clear here – I’ve always had something of a prochoice language playbook in my own head. I don’t say “pro-life” because that obviously frames opponents as “anti-life” (though they usually just say “pro-baby killing”). I say “anti-choice”. But the difference to me is this: calling a doctor an “abortionist” – when no doctor solely performs abortions – is dishonest framing designed to produce an emotional response.
Calling “pro-lifers” anti-choice is only “framing” in that it rejects their own. They are opposed to choice. They do not want pregnant people to be able to choose to have abortions. They are generally also opposed to the choice to use contraception, the choice to have sex outside of marriage, etc. Their specific goal is enacting legislation to remove people’s choices.
So yeah, I think “anti-choice” fits rather nicely. So nicely that in their own documents they advise not using the word “choice” at all.
There’s probably an antichoice argument that says “oh, but I do think doctors who perform abortions are so disgusting that it should be called out!”
But let’s look at that list. That list isn’t about “we think term X is more accurate because …” That list has a single purpose: using emotionally-laden language to perpetuate the idea that abortion is icky, that doctors who perform abortions which may save people’s lives are evil, and above all that women are good for nothing but popping out babies.
The document that list comes from? Is entitled “Defending the Pro-Life Position, and Framing the Issue by the Language We Use.”