Worthwhile Reads: Abortion and Pro-Life Groups

The articles collected here deal with abortion and pro-life groups. The first argues that rape exemptions are harmful because they serve to divide abortions into those that are “legitimate” and “not legitimate,” or at least “acceptable” and “less acceptable.” The second asks why pro-life groups aren’t working to improve workplace rights for pregnant workers. The third discusses efforts to use the undercover techniques made famous by James O’Keefe and Lila Rose to investigate pro-life pregnancy resource centers. And finally, the fourth looks at just how bad pro-lifers are at discussing abortion.

Every woman’s reason is unique: Why rape exceptions and abortion stereotypes are harmful, on Feministing

The standard “rape, incest, and life endangerment” exception language is part of this broader tendency to categorize abortion into types. The heart-breaking fetal anomaly. The teenager who didn’t know any better. The poor mother who can’t afford another kid. The condom that broke. We create these stereotypes because we want to put a face to abortion, and there aren’t enough real women telling their stories–for all sorts of understandable reasons. (And, of course, we deploy the ones that are most likely to be sympathetic to the most people–and the other side does the opposite.)

But, more and more, I think these abstract, simplified stereotypes do more harm than good.Because it’s only natural for people to stack them up–to place them in their own personal hierarchy from acceptable to not-so-acceptable reasons. Not just anti-choice people. Everyone does this. We’re all judgmental assholes. And nothing is easier to judge than a nameless stereotype. Which defeats the purpose. The potential power. That “empathic leap” that Irin talks about. People don’t feel empathy for stereotypes. Or rather, they may feel a sort of abstract sympathy. But we only feel true empathy for people we really know.

The Crisis Project: Birth Control Kills the Baby? on Feministing

The Crisis Project is a new movement started by young people to investigate the fraud behind Crisis Pregnancy Centers, or as I like to call them Crisis Propaganda Centers.  We’ve written a lot about CPCs on this site, so most of you already know that they are in some cases tax payer funded right wing anti-choice disasters.

Many women walk into a CPC unaware that they are being given advice from people who are not required to be medical personnel and that have an anti-choice agenda when dispensing “advice” on their reproductive health and family planning options.

“Pro-Life” Groups Still Silent on Protecting Pregnant Workers, on The Slacktivist

If you’re a disabled worker, then you’re protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you’re a pregnant worker and not hindered in job performance, or if you’re pregnant and completely unable to work, then you’re protected under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. But if you’re a pregnant worker and able to perform some, but not all, of the functions of your job, then you slip through the cracks and you’re SOL. That means that some pregnant women may be forced to choose between keeping their job and keeping their pregnancy.

Now, since the “pro-life” and “pro-family” movements of the religious right are all about preventing pregnant women from choosing not to keep their pregnancies, this would seem like legislation they ought to be supporting.

And yet, as I noted last month, I haven’t yet seen any support for this, or even anymention of it, among such groups.

Why Are Religious Conservatives So Bad When It Comes to Discussing Abortion? on The Friendly Atheist

Republicans have been digging their own graves every time they talk about abortion. Which is great for those of us who are pro-choice, but awful for the state of our country when people like this are getting elected all over the place.

But this is why the media needs to keep pressing Republicans on social issues like abortion and gay marriage. They don’t know how to talk about it in an effective way.Every time they open their mouths, they’re finding out that lines that get applause in church aren’t working with people outside of it. That’s a good sign. I love it when ChristianSpeak gets pushed further into the outskirts of what passes as reasonable dialogue.

It’s stunning that so many people — who want to be government officials — could be that callous about the health and well-being of American women.

  • smrnda

    Good point about the people in crisis pregnancy centers having no requirements of actual having any medical knowledge whatsoever. Religious organizations often seem to get a free pass to provide services for which they have absolutely no qualifications whatsoever. I’d also point out the ‘drug treatment’ programs like Teen Challenge as being guilty of the same offense.

    All said, protections for pregnant women regarding employment are a meaningless abstraction. The laws wouldn’t protect the majority of pregnant women at all, and companies would often rather fire a pregnant worker than make minimal accommodations, and I’ve known plenty of pregnant women fired for throwing up on the job. And yes, to all you middle class people out there, working class people get fired for throwing up on the job. The reason? The people who run companies view middle class women as human (more or less) and working class people as *things.*

    Christians don’t stand up for working women, or workers, since their leaders are basically business and marketing gurus who brand themselves with religion.

    All said, I’m glad that the rhetoric has become so extreme that it doesn’t fly outside of a church, and that the echo chamber has made the right incapable of seeing how extreme their views sound to average people.