From the window of the bus this morning, on my way to the office, I saw that the Pro-Lifers, as they call themselves, have taken over the lawn of the Kenneth B. Keating Federal Building on State Street, filling it with gruesome photographs of dead fetuses. One poster equates a woman’s right to choose with Nazi genocide and Ku Klux Klan lynchings.
The display is offensive and exploitative. Yes, photos of abortion procedures are shocking and uncomfortable. As are photos of heart transplants and cosmetic surgery. Shock tactics do not take the place of thoughtful decision making.
In that regard, the display is also ill informed. The Pro-Life point of view is not backed by science, only faith. Its defenders endlessly repeat dogma that has been refuted by the medical community, but facts do not matter as the Pro-Lifers make their arguments. While access to abortion has been the law of the land for decades, and is supported by a majority of Americans, access to the procedure is becoming increasingly difficult for American women. Laws have been passed requiring women to undergo medically unnecessary tests before they can get an abortion. North Dakota has banned abortions after six weeks of a pregnancy, at a point when many women do not even realize they are pregnant. Texas likes that law, and wants one of its own.
The Pro-Lifer’s tool is intimidation. Doctors have been murdered, bombs set off at health clinics. Pro-Lifers are at war with Planned Parenthood, which does outstanding work with health issues on behalf of economically disadvantaged women, and actually spends very little of its resources on women who have determined that they must terminate a pregnancy. Which they do in consultation with their doctors, and not ill-informed Congressmen.
One of many inconsistencies here is the typical Pro-Lifer’s attitude about life post-pregnancy. They do not want to spend tax dollars on the health and education of the country’s young people. They are all for defunding health programs for not only newborns and children, but medical programs that ensure the good health of a fetus. Pro-Lifers are generally apoplectic at the idea of families bringing their Mexican babies here in the hope of escaping poverty. Pro-Lifers are generally pro-death penalty. Pro-Lifers are often fine with civilian casualties, including children, as collateral damage for the wars we are waging in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Leave it to the genius of George Carlin to define Pro-Lifers: “They will do anything for the unborn, but after you’re born you’re on your own.” Check out the classic Carlin video here. As is often the case, truth is not only stranger than fiction but it is also, sadly, much funnier.