09 March 2011

Anti-choicers are not fighting for the "babies"

Amanda Marcotte at AlterNet brings up a point I've danced around since I started doing clinic defense: anti-choice protesting isn't about the "babies" and preventing unwanted pregnancies and their termination; it's about an obsession with women and girls having sex.

If it were truly about the "babies," the protestors would show up during snowstorms. But at the clinic where I escort patients, they stay away in bad weather. The big crowds come out only once per month, and the really big crowds come out only in the summer. News flash: the patients still came in for their procedures when there was snow and ice on the ground.

If it were truly about the "babies," the protestors' car wouldn't have a bumpersticker that reads CHASTITY, they wouldn't hand out anti-sexuality literature to patients and staff, and they wouldn't yell, "Save yourself for marriage!" at the young women going inside. But this is what they do at the clinic where I escort patients. News flash: by the time those young women are entering the clinic, it's too late for them to save themselves for marriage.

If it were truly about the "babies," the protestors would spend their time, money, and energy in programs that help women with unwanted pregnancies. They would adopt unwanted babies and welcome foster children into their homes (some 3000 per year in Philadelphia alone come into the system). They would spend time with their own kids and grandkids instead of yelling at the young women and their support persons -- partners, parents, and friends -- seeking healthcare.

If it were truly about the "babies," as Marcotte writes, the anti-choicers would actually seek to fund Planned Parenthood and other family planning services more. This is because abortions happen when women have unwanted pregnancies. Comprehensive sex education and contraception reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies that women have, which reduces the number of abortions that women seek.

I won't even link to Ross Douthat's recent NYT piece about monogamy and his thesis, at best strained and at worst just bizarre, that there is a direct, causal correlation between sexual activity among post-sexual revolution unmarried women and their unhappiness. That he gets a sounding board for his judgmental rants on the Newspaper of Record is simply sickening. At least the commenters have taken him to task for twisting the results of a few studies, cherrypicking statistics, and drawing illogical conclusions from them to fit the point he was trying to make. Because if it were truly about the "babies" for Douthat, he wouldn't argue against funding family planning, which gets more women out of the labor and delivery room and into college.

Oh, wait, I just figured out why the NYT keeps Douthat on staff. Remember that awful story from Texas yesterday about the 18 guys accused of gang-raping an 11-year-old girl? The New York Times investigated and asked "What was she wearing?"
Residents in the neighborhood where the abandoned trailer stands — known as the Quarters — said the victim had been visiting various friends there for months. They said she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s. She would hang out with teenage boys at a playground, some said.
. . . and then quoted a local who says,
These boys have to live with this the rest of their lives.

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