Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Conspiracy? Or just Misogyny?

This whole Tiller thing has been disrupting my sleep and my prayer life. I am so very angry - at Dennis Roeder, at the violent "pro-life" fringe that endorses speech that incites violence, at those who willfully close their eyes to the real reasons women and families choose to have third-term abortions (hint: it isn't because a baby is "inconvenient" or unwanted). I'm even mad at Alveda King again - but that's a whole other story, and really doesn't have much to do with her, per se.

These fringe "pro-life" groups* that support, endorse, or at least don't condemn violence against abortion providers really confuse me with their lack of logic, though. So, their opinion is that these abortion providers are mass murderers. Okay, I totally disagree with that premise, but whatever, I'll roll with it for now. They think these "mass murderers" should be sent to jail for "murder."

What confuses me is why they don't think that the women who get abortions should go to jail for conspiracy to commit murder. After all, these women are paying someone to kill their baby, right? Now, I know that my law "degree" comes from the school of "Law and Order," but I'm fairly certain that paying someone to kill someone else is the very definition of conspiracy to commit murder. What's more, in a lot of places it's a capital offense.

If the life of an unborn fetus is equal to that of a one-year-old, or an elderly person, or Kobe Bryant, and if someone paid someone else to kill a child, or an elderly person, or Kobe, both the killer and the person who paid for that would be facing lethal injection by the state. So why doesn't the violent "pro-life" fringe call for the person who pays an abortion provider to terminate a pregnancy to also face the death penalty? Why is it only the abortion provider who's the target of rage and violence?

This is where well-meaning pro-life people talk about the poor, distraught woman coming in to a clinic in utter ignorance of her other choices, and being duped into "killing her baby." She's not a conspirator, she's another victim.

Sorry, FAIL. First of all, it's not so easy to get an abortion. You can't just walk in one day and have one. There's a pregnancy test, and counseling, and in many states, a required ultrasound. The counseling includes information on all the options available to a pregnant woman - abortion, adoption, and parenting. But honestly, really? In this day and age - women don't know their choices? Considering that the average woman who has an abortion is in her twenties with at least one other child, she probably has heard of what "abortion," "adoption" and "parenting" are at least once before. Even abstinence-only-until-marriage education probably talks about at least two of these choices (parenting and adoption).

It's amazing to me that in this day and age so many people - and especially women - will espouse this kind of garbage. It's so very misogynistic - "Oh, this poor woman, she is just not smart enough or rational enough to make this choice for herself." It's no wonder that one of the pro-choice slogans is, "If you can't trust me with a choice, how can you trust me with a baby?"

A woman knows what she is doing when she chooses to have an abortion. She may have mixed feelings about it, she may even feel sad about it, but she also, most of the time, feels relief, because for whatever reason, continuing this pregnancy is not the right choice for her. But one thing she is not ignorant of is the results of her action - the termination of a pregnancy.

Since she knows what she's doing, and since the "pro-life" movement says that abortion providers = murderers, then women who pay for abortions MUST = conspirators to murder. It's logic, people!

Hearing this argument gain absolutely no currency in the "pro-life" movement, fringe or otherwise, leads me to believe that at its root this movement is not really about "preserving life" at all. It is not even about the equality of fetal life with life outside the womb. I am tempted to say it is about "making sure every baby conceived is born" and misogyny, but I'm not so sure that's true. Fundamentally, I think it's about controlling other people's lives and choices. Which seems so un-American to me.

* Not all pro-life groups condone violence, so I'm not talking about everyone who's pro-life. If you are pro-life and condemn this kind of speech or action, say so loudly and clearly. That puts you in the mainstream of the pro-life movement, and you won't get "scare quotes" around the designation when I talk about you.

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