Lying for Jesus is wrong, even if you use a fancy word like ‘abortifacient’

* * * * * * * * * * * *

So, my dear evangelical brothers and sisters, can we please stop lying for Jesus by saying that emergency contraception is “an abortifacient”?

Jesus doesn’t actually want us to lie. And no matter how many times we repeat something that isn’t true, reality doesn’t change.

And pretending something is evil just so we can bravely oppose it doesn’t actually make us brave. Or good. Or helpful.

So let’s cut the crap, OK?


Lies make baby Jesus cry.


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  • BringTheNoise

    Short, to the point and right on the money. Bravo Fred!

  • Ann Unemori

    No, no, no! Lying is wrong, period, EVERYONE knows that. Even if it’s to Nazis. Even if it’s to save a life. Lying is a SIN, and JAY-Ee-zuz hates sin. So you simply Do. Not. Lie. Not under ANY circumstances. Got it?

  • Marc Mielke

    It perversely sounds like you’re defending mislabeling BC as abortifacient. I’m reasonably sure that’s not your intent. 

  • Ann Unemori

    No, I’m just surprised the evangelicals would LIE about anything. As noted, LYING is a SIN, one of the very worse of sins. If they’ve been LYING about what is and is not an abortifacient, then shame, shame, shame on them!
    Of course then the Evangelist crowd will then have to go and redefine/reinterpret exactly what lying is, and whether it’s worse to lie or have an abortion. This may take a while.

  • Kirala

     *confused* I can recall only a very few ethicists of any variety who call lying an absolute wrong in every circumstance. In fact, lying seems to be one of the ethical stances where most evangelicals tend toward It’s Very Bad, But Not Always – dark gray, but *gasp* not black-and-white. I’m not sure what you’re saying, but whether as a parody or a serious point, it’s not making sense to me.

    Anyway, as a Christian, to other Christians I always point out that Jesus himself seems to have endorsed a situation where David shamelessly lied on the grounds that there was a greater good being served. So lying could be acceptable in extreme circumstances.

    Which is all an aside from Fred’s point, which is valid – even if we were saving breathing infants, the circumstances would not justify lying about what the circumstances are. The truth would serve as a far better tool than this petty, spiteful lie anyway.

  • Ann Unemori

    I understand what you’re saying, but we’re talking Fundy Evangelicals here. Anything that’s not expressly black&white is for them, therefore *GASP* wrong.

  • Kirala

     Born, raised, and former fundagelical here, still a self-defined moderate evangelical who regularly encounters current fundies at her church and on her FB page. And lying simply isn’t something I’ve seen or seen preached as black and white. Sexuality, politics, and religion, but not honesty.

    Which is not to say that my subjective experience is representative. I’m just saying that you’re portraying territory that’s very familiar to me in a very unfamiliar light. Have others had different experiences?

  • The_L1985

     I was taught that “Thou shalt not bear false witness” applied to lying AND cheating on tests.  See, if you’re cheating, you’re lying about how much you really know, and dishonesty in general is a Very Bad Thing that Makes Baby Jesus Cry.

    I still told lies, as many children do, but I was definitely not encouraged to do so.

  • AliciaB

     I thought Ann Unemori was referring to the absolutist school of Christian morality, which would condemn Corrie Ten Boom for lying to the Nazis in order to conceal Jews from persecution. It got some publicity in the States a while back when Christine O’Donnell, Republican candidate for the Delaware’s Senate seat back in 2010, told an interviewer that she would never lie, not even if she lived during the Holocaust and Nazi officials came to her and asked her if she knew where any Jews were. She doesn’t say that she would actually turn over any Jewish people to the Nazis, but she does say that deception is always wrong even in that horrific circumstance, and that good Christians should always find an alternate path.

    So it’s a perspective that’s out there. I doubt it’s the experience of a majority of Christians, even conservative Christians, but it does exist outside of this blog.

  • Tapetum

     Back at a job I held about 15 years ago, I replaced as a receptionist, a Christian woman who held that extreme a view on lying. Her views on lying were so strict that she wouldn’t, for instance, say that one of the associates was “working on a file” unless she knew that they were actually at their desk, with that particular file, at that exact moment. Which she never knew, because she didn’t have cameras in all the offices. If someone was in the bathroom, or on a coffee break, or anything else, she would always tell the person she was talking to exactly what they were really doing – not even saying “I don’t know” unless she really didn’t.

    She didn’t last long as a receptionist. I think she thought it was because everybody in the office were sinners who couldn’t bear God’s real truth, rather than just not wanting any random stranger who called to be given the exact details of what they were doing every second of the day.

  • EllieMurasaki

    …I don’t think it is at all untrue to say that I am working on a file if I have been working on it today and will continue to work on it today, even if I happen to be in the bathroom at the moment the question is asked and therefore not working on anything right that moment. Nor do I think it is at all untrue to say that I am working on a file if it is in my to-do pile even if I have not got to it yet.

  • Ruby_Tea

    Still, it amuses me to wonder how diligent that receptionist was about reporting exactly what people were doing.

    Customer: Good morning, I have an appointment with Mary.

    Receptionist: You’ll have to wait a few minutes–Mary’s in the bathroom.  Not sure if it’s number 1 or number 2, but I did see her eating an extra-large bran muffin earlier.  Hang on just a moment, and I’ll give you a definitive answer.  *pounds on bathroom door*  Mary, I need to know what’s going on in there…

  • Kiba

    I must have been doing something wrong when I was a receptionist. I would just say that someone was away from their desk, out to lunch, or out of the office and leave it at that and offer to take a message or put them into voice mail. 

  • WalterC

     Of course you wouldn’t.

    It takes a certain level of… purity and faith to apply the computer-like approach to honesty that this woman had.

    After all, didn’t St. Steve write in his Epistle to the (Times) New Roman Church, “10101100101110111110100101011101”? I think that says it all.

  • Dave

     Back when I worked for a startup, where everybody had far more to do than we had time to do it in, a common response I would give to requests to do something relatively low priority was “I’m not going to be able to get to that, but I can put it on my list of things to not get to.”

    Oddly, people frequently seemed to appreciate it… at least they knew whose responsibility the task was, I guess.

    By the time I left that job, I had a “to not get to” list numbering several hundred items, each tagged with who had asked me for it, when, and what projects the task was associated with.

  • Lunch Meat

    What’s wrong with saying “They’re not available right now”?

  • Tapetum

    The problem with “They’re not available right now.” is that she thought she was passing on someone else’s lie. I.e. they could talk to whoever it was, but weren’t going to for whatever reason. So she would say “They don’t want to talk to you right now.” Conveying the same information, but pissing off both the client and the associate a lot more.

  • EllieMurasaki

    …sometimes people are talking to other people and it would be more rude to halt that discussion than to make the new person wait, and sometimes people are doing work that can’t be interrupted, and and and ‘they’re not available right now’ regarding any such scenario is not terribly informative but it is not untrue.

  • Kirala

     That’s not honesty, that’s TMI. “I’m sorry, I can’t say” is acceptable in the last resort, if social white lies aren’t. You can’t give away that kind of detailed info to anyone who calls.

  • FearlessSon

    I wonder how that woman felt about fiction.  After all, fiction is the highest form of lie.  Of course, it comes with a caveat that the audience knows the fiction is a lie and choose to observe it as if it were real anyway.  

    Actually, that makes me think that there may be some kind of connection between this kind of lack of imagination and fundie gullibility.  They lack practice at distinguishing between a participatory lie told to educate and entertain with the audience’s understanding, an an actual assertion of fact.  

    No wonder the two seem to blur so often for them.  

  • Jamoche

    They lack practice at distinguishing between a participatory lie told to educate and entertain with the audience’s understanding, an an actual assertion of fact.  

    I used to know someone who did grasp that fiction wasn’t true, but also was of the opinion that it couldn’t contain any truth because it was fiction and those were different things. He’d admit the “entertain” part of “educate and entertain”, but flatly refuse that there could be any “educate”.

    I’m really not sure how that’s supposed to work. It came up when I’d mentioned a particular work of science fiction illustrated some fundamental truths of the human condition or suchlike – which is something SF is good at when it tries – and he flatly denied such a thing was even possible for any fiction.

    It may explain people who look at Left Behind and fail to see that these are unrealistic characters and situations – realism doesn’t matter because it’s fiction.

  • Randy Owens

    It makes me wonder, if he was a Christian, what he thought of Jesus’ parables?

  • Jamoche

    It makes me wonder, if he was a Christian, what he thought of Jesus’ parables?

    He was; I don’t recall, because it hadn’t come up before that and afterwards I was so baffled by his incomprehensible worldview (this was not the only straw on the camel’s back) that I stopped discussing anything like that and eventually broke off our friendship. Wouldn’t be surprised if parables fell into an entirely different category from “fiction” – it’s not making up stories to entertain, you see.

  • Kirala

     Actually, I’ve heard of people who espouse the idea that every parable literally happened at some point. That view… worries me.

  • Tricksterson

    They’re probably the same people who state a psalm as evidence that life begins at conception.

  • Jim Norris

    Well, if you take Jeremiah 1:5 as evidence, it clearly states that Jeremiah at least was formed in the womb, and not in the fallopian tubes, so all we can say is that the human life of at least one prophet postdated conception.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Define ‘conception’. Could be fertilization, could be implantation–Wiktionary has both, as well as a number of other definitions including ‘the start of pregnancy’.

    (Yes, this is a question I want to ask everyone who says conception is when life starts. Not that it’s relevant to the question of does someone have the right to control their own body and the contents thereof, of course.)

  • Jim Norris

    I was assuming it was fertilization. Then again, I think life began billions of years ago and continues to this day: the ovum is clearly alive, the spermatozoon is clearly alive, so what’s the issue?

  • EllieMurasaki

    Fertilization is the moment where something that is certainly part of the mother and something that is/was certainly part of the father become a single something genetically distinct from both, to be sure. The problem is making the point of genetic distinguishment the key one, not the moment of physical distinguishment, that is, birth.

  • Pseudonym

    Yeah, I was specifically addressing the issue of when “life” begins. Forced-birthers like to claim that life begins at conception (i.e. fertilization). They’re obviously wrong, though, as both the ova and spermatozoa are alive before they merge. So I guess I’m just violently agreeing with you or something. Cheers.

  • The_L1985

    Traditionally, you weren’t officially considered pregnant until you felt the baby kick. Before that, you were too likely to miscarry. By the time the fetus was far enough along to be noticed like that, you could pretty much count on it being born. Maybe not surviving infancy, or having all its fingers and toes, but at least being born.

  • Ruby_Tea

    This view gets more traction than people may think.  Hell, it is used in the LB series repeatedly: people either fudge over direct questions just because they don’t feel like answering them (Bruce refusing to acknowledge to a parishioner that he believes Nicolae is the Antichrist) or circumstances intervene that allow Tribbles to get out of lying (David Hayseed being taken ill just before he is supposed to swear allegiance to Nicolae) or the unSaved are just plain stupid (Chang Wong being incredibly uncooperative and evasive when questioned by security, but nobody seems to care).

  • Kirala

     Who knows whether the absolute-truth view holds true there? I also rigorously avoid lying (or at least factually false statements), partly because it’s usually wrong, partly because I’m a lawyer’s daughter and don’t want false statements to be used against me, and partly because I want to see how cleverly I can deceive without resorting to false statements. And partly because the above has rendered me terrible at lying outright. Though I like to think I would do my best to lie as necessary when confronting evil.  (And of course everyday lies as necessary – “That’s fascinating.” “I’ll think about it.”)

    And I don’t think that the Tribbles are taking the right path in being weaselly during the Apocalypse, but in a better series, they might play this game to Nicky’s face for fear that the son of the Prince of Lies might have a built-in lie detector.

  • The_L1985

     ” partly because I want to see how cleverly I can deceive without resorting to false statements.”

    I became rather uncomfortably good at this in high school.

  • Kirala

     Oh, I know candor-absolutism exists among Christians; I’m just bewildered by the stereotype, because I’ve encountered it so rarely, and no more frequently among deep-dyed conservatives of the sort who bewail contraception and science than among liberal sophists. I didn’t know whether someone else had seen a serious link between “never lie” and “fundie”.

    Although I think I may remember the O’Donnell thing, which would tend to create a connection. Geez.

  • stardreamer42

     “And when at last the police came by
    (Sing rickety-tickety-tin)
    And when at last the police came by,
    Her little pranks she did not deny.
    For to do so, she would have had to LIE —
    And lying, she knew, was a sin, a sin;
    Lying, she knew, was a sin.” 
    – Tom Lehrer, “The Irish Ballad”

  • Invisible Neutrino

    How the H E double hockey sticks does that follow from her post? It looks to me like she’s parodying some of the actual stances taken by some fundamentalists in the past.

  • Marc Mielke

    Possibly I should refrain from posting until after my morning coffee. 

  • Tricksterson

    Of course Fred you realze you lost them when they saw the word “science” in the title.

  • Randy Owens

    OK, just where do you see the word “science” in the title, or anywhere else in this post for that matter??

  • Tricksterson

    Was referring to the title of the video “The Science of Plan B”.

  • Randy Owens

    Ah, I see.  Or rather, didn’t see.  I don’t often watch the video clips, and use FlashBlock so I didn’t even see a preview with the title.  My bad.

  • Lliira

    If it were an abortifacient, there would be nothing wrong with it anyway. So, er, sorry, but this is a particular lie I don’t particularly care about, except that I guess it highlights what assholes the anti-choice crowd is, but I knew that anyway. Them wanting to keep women from having control over our bodies is what I care about. They seem to have succeeded in directing people to argue over their terminology, which has the side-effect of making it seem like if Plan B were an abortifacient, that would somehow be bad.

    I’m sick of people who want me to be an incubator being able to set the terms of the argument. Just opt out. We have more important things to argue. 

  • WalterC

    It’s a legal argument. US law forbids federal funds from going towards abortion except in very limited cases; if the birth control pill were actually an abortifacient, it would mean that health insurance plans and groups that receive any subsidy or support from the federal government would not be able to provide birth control pills or risk losing that support.

    I would argue that it’s not a good idea to cede this debate to them. Not because abortion is morally wrong, but because if you let them (legally) conflate contraception and abortion, it would make it easier for them to dismantle all government support for family planing services and eliminate funding for these services to poor women. It seems like an unimportant and silly debate, and to a certain extent it is, but these people are successful at chipping away at women’s rights because they are good at winning unimportant semantic arguments like this.

  • Ben English

    It’s not even semantics. Abortion is by definition terminating a pregnancy. A ‘morning after’ pill  does not end a pregnancy, it prevents one from occurring. As Fred says, it’s a flat out lie.

  • phantomreader42

     No, it’s an ILlegal argument.  If your legal argument is founded on a falsehood, then the only way to make that argument is to lie under oath, which is perjury, a crime.  So fetus-fetishists aren’t just frauds, sociopaths, hypocrites, misogynists and monsters, they’re also criminals.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Um. There’s a difference between ‘making a false statement’ and ‘lying’. There are several variations on the first that aren’t the second, actually. Sarcasm, for instance. But the one we’re concerned with is ‘making a statement that one thinks is true’. If they honestly believe contraception is abortion, then their saying so isn’t them lying.

    It’s still a false statement that we need to correct at every opportunity, and somebody had to have told the initial lie that they’re now all repeating, but the people who say it are not necessarily lying.

  • Alicia

    You… don’t know what the word “legal” means, do you? (Hint: it doesn’t mean “true” or “correct”.)

  • phantomreader42

    To claim that contraception causes abortion is simply not true, and anyone who has any idea what they’re talking about would know that. To testify in a court of law that a claim you know to be false is true constitutes perjury, which is a crime.  Any attempt to use this lie as a legal argument will, therefore, be a crime.

  • WalterC

    I think you really did miss the original point of my post. What I was trying to say, and I apologize if it wasn’t clear, is that people who are trying to promote the conflation of contraceptives and abortifacent drugs are doing so in order to advance a legal cause — that is, they want to reform the current US law so that it prohibits federal funding of contraceptives and restrict its availability through health insurance providers.

    They tried to do this overtly some months ago but were rebuffed by the Senate, so now they’re trying to do it covertly, by revising the meaning of “contraceptive” so that it falls under a classification that is already restricted.

    It would not be a good idea to let them get away with this. Not because abortion is morally wrong, but because they have had a lot of success hemming in civil rights by writing in such assertions directly into the law. (“Marriage is between one man and one woman”)

    Unless, of course, you would enjoy relitigating Griswold vs. Connecticut, a process that would take years, while millions of women are unnecessarily deprived of access to contraception…

  • phantomreader42

     I think anything a fetus-fetishist says should be assumed to be a lie until they’ve proven otherwise at least a dozen times, and even then they shouldn’t be trusted.  They should be held in contempt of court, Congress, and just in general contempt for lying through their teeth at every opportunity. 

  • The_L1985

    Okay, you need to stop typing now. You’re not being reasonable.

    Some people are liars, and some are lied TO. The ones who were lied TO generally do not appreciate being called liars. You are making it hard for us to reach the ones who have been misinformed. Please STOP.

  • Ross

     @openid-122622:disqus “Abortion is wrong” is a moral judgment, and as such it does not have a simple truth value; it is neither true nor false in the simple senses of the words.

    “Emergency contraception causes abortions” is a statement of measurable fact about the world. It is false.

    They are allowed to have their own opinions. They are not allowed to have their own facts.

    That’s what I won’t concede.

  • Truth

    Exactly!  Just like “Murder is wrong” is a moral judgment and does not have a simple truth value.  Or “Rape is wrong.”  Or “Stealing is wrong.”  Or “Pissing on a crying orphan is wrong.”

    “They are allowed to have their own opinions. They are not allowed to have their own facts.” — I do like this, however.

    What is with the font change?!

  • Invisible Neutrino

    You are a pillock and an arse.

    Actually let me rephrase that.

    You are an arselumpish fuckmook.

  • Tricksterson

    “fuckmook”.  Mind if I use that sometime?

  • Invisible Neutrino

    Go ahead, I originally nicked it off someone posting at fandom_wank anyway :P

  • Truth

    I LOVE the phrase “anti-choice”!  It’s so wonderfully Orwellian!  It completely ignores what the “choice” is!  I mean, when it comes to rape, I’m completely anti-choice.  Same thing with murder, or stealing!  And it so wonderfully ignores the actual argument between the two sides–which is whether or not abortion is murder!  So, “anti-choice” is only correct if you realize it is actually shorthand for “anti-choice-for-what-I [pro-lifers]-believe is murder.”

    People like you–i.e., liars–are directly responsible for the pathetic state of the abortion discussion.

  • EllieMurasaki

    No, fuckwit, the actual argument between the two sides is whether people with uteruses (in particular people with uteruses that are occupied against the will of the person-with-uterus in question) have the right to CHOOSE what to do with their uteruses and the contents thereof, when they CHOOSE to do it, and without requiring anyone’s approval with the possible exception of anyone whose opinion they CHOOSE to invite.

    People who want to make abortion illegal and/or harder to access safely and in a timely fashion, they are ANTI the ability of people with uteruses to make that CHOICE. People who want people with uteruses to be able to get abortions if they feel they need them and to be able to raise the baby resulting from any wanted pregnancy whether expected or not, they are PRO the ability of people with uteruses to make that CHOICE.

    Even if we concede that abortion is murder? (We won’t, because it’s not, because fetuses aren’t people.) It is self-defense against–well, if we’re conceding that abortion is murder, we might as well say ‘person’ even though it is flatly untrue–it is self-defense against a person who is capable of killing or permanently wrecking the physical, mental, and/or financial health of the person whose uterus they’re invading. Whether this invader has a right to live or has any idea that they’re doing something wrong is utterly irrelevant next to the fact that the person with uterus has the right to self-defense.

  • Baby_Raptor

    The argument may be whether or not abortion is murder to you, but to those of us who choose to base our thoughts in reality, not on religion or our heart-strings, the argument remains on bodily autonomy. Because we *know* abortion isn’t murder, and we *know* that taking birth control isn’t murder. 

    You can constantly try and redirect it to where you feel you have the high ground if you wish, but you won’t win. 

  • stardreamer42

     I prefer “forced-birthers”. It’s more accurate, and avoids the lie that they give a rat damn about the “life” of the children they want to be forced to be born.

  • Ross

     I like “forced birther”, but there are some cases that overlooks. Like when it’s more “forced died-of-sepsis-before-nonviable-fetus-could-legally-be-removed”

  • Ann Unemori

    Honest question: how often does this happen? I admit I do not know.

  • Katie

     Its happened at least once this year.  Once is far too often.

    In addition, there was this case from the US, where if the hospital administration (this was at a Catholic hospital) hadn’t had the courage to go against official dogma, the woman would have died.

    I can’t read the full article, but this is a fairly recent article that documents the difference in the way that Catholic Hospitals in the US manage ectopic pregnancies.  Differences in management that result in worse long term outcomes for the woman. 

    I cannot find statistics on any of this, but it can and does happen, and once is too often.

  • The_L1985

     Frankly, in my opinion, even once in twenty years is once too often.

    Also, look up harlequin ichthyosis (warning: photos of the condition are horrifying) and tell me which is worse: forcing children to live their entire lives in misery, children whose only survival is in near-constant application of lotion to the skin, every single day; or ending the lives and misery of those children swiftly and with as little pain as possible?  Bear in mind that before abortion, such children were generally killed by exposure as “unfit,” or burned as “spawn of Satan,” which are even worse ways to die.

    Just to be perfectly crystal-clear:  there is no cure for harlequin ichthyosis.  None at all.  We can only treat the symptoms, and we can only do that by constantly rubbing lotion on kids’ skins.  Exactly one child, ever, has survived the first month of her life with this condition, and as aforementioned, she has to lotion every inch of skin on her body three times every single day without fail.

    To further clarify:  This condition is generally only discovered fairly late in pregnancy.  This, Ann, is why late-term abortions exist.  Not some stupid wishy-washy cow who changed her mind at the last second, but a loving couple who genuinely loved and wanted their child, and had to make a very difficult choice in order to spare that child suffering in the face of clear and unavoidable death.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Wiki names three survivors, two of whom are from the US, and says there’s a total of twelve US folks with it. So we’re probably talking thirty to sixty worldwide.

  • FearlessSon

    And it so wonderfully ignores the actual argument between the two sides–which is whether or not abortion is murder!

    Oh, I wholeheartedly agree that abortion is fetus murder.  You will find no argument from me on that point.  

    However, I hold that fetus murder is not wrong.  An abortion is a case of justifiable fetuscide.  

    The parasitic growth needs to be removed before it can threaten the host.  It is the most compassionate thing we can do for both parties.  

  • BrokenBell

    I’d be more sympathetic, but there’s too much correlation between folks who are ostensibly pro-life, and folks who vociferously oppose many things that have a strong, extensively documented effect on reducing abortion rates. Better sex ed, more reliable access to healthcare, stronger guarantees that people can take time off for maternity leave and still have a job to go back to, easier access to contraception… As soon as any of these issues come up, or half a dozen others, the absolute sanctity of the unborn child’s life goes out the window, and suddenly it’s all about personal responsibility and protecting the family institution and refusing to pay for lifestyles you object to. For all the fluff about evil hedonistic baby-killers having abortions for fun and profit, the most significant common thread between all these kinda contradictory stances is the constant rhetoric of slut-shaming; and when the choice has to be made between slut-shaming and actually reducing the abortion rate, time and again it’s the slut-shaming that wins.

    I won’t presume to know how your pro-life sentiments extend into your other political stances, but this is what people mean when they use the words “anti-choice”. It’s not chosen for being delightfully Orwellian, but as a reflection of the burning hypocrisy that is the engine driving the pro-life movement. 

  • Carstonio

    Laws banning abortion except to save the mother’s life amount to shaming women who don’t want to be mothers. Laws that add exceptions in cases of rape and incest amount to shaming women who want to have sex without becoming mothers. The point of the term anti-choice is that it’s wrong to try to force women to carry pregnancies to term. Or to force women to have abortions. Laws that do either of treat women and their wombs as wards of the state.

  • BrokenBell

    Indeed. I was responding specifically to the idea that there’s some noble or necessary reason that women must be stripped of their autonomy in this way, but it’s disgusting that the simple idea of women being coerced into serving as incubators for potential children is not abhorrent enough by itself.

  • phantomreader42

     Your very name is a lie, just like every other word out of your vile mouth.  No surprise from a fetus-fetishist. 

  • The_L1985

     Don’t be so cruel.  I used to be just like him.  Trust me on this, you win over more flies with honey than vinegar.  Be calm, and kind, and keep telling him the facts.  This right here tends to be quite the eye-opener; it certainly was for me.

  • Carstonio

    I’ve supported the legality of abortion for more than three decades, and those stories still surprised me. The phenomenon seems very similar to homophobia from people who are either in the closet or in denial about their homosexuality – do you suspect that the two psychologies are the same?

  • banancat

     Honestly, sometimes I wonder if some pro-choicers are doing more harm than good by insisting that abortion really is bad but it needs to be kept legal for those other people who need it.  I think what we need most is to remove stigma from having sex in general.  Even many progressives will talk about unwanted pregnancy and STDs in generic, distanced terms like it’s not something we would ever be personally shamed with.

    I’ve never had an abortion but I did have a cancer scare with HPV a decade ago.  I make a point of not hiding that because it’s not something I need to be ashamed of and I have enough relative privilege that it won’t cause many problems in my life if I don’t keep it secret.  I really appreciate it when women who have had abortions share their stories.  Society can change and we can remove the shame and stigma from having an abortion, but that has to be our goal instead of just keeping it legal.

  • Carstonio

    I wasn’t making that argument myself. My own reason for keeping abortion legal is about bodily autonomy – no one should force a woman to carry a pregnancy to term or to have an abortion. 

    No disagreement about the need to remove the stigma from sex in general, and I would focus particular attention on removing the stigma from wanting to have sex without wanting to become a mother. 

    That double standard applies on the child-raising end as well. There are many reasons why some children grow up without fathers in their lives, yet the scorn is heaped on the women who set out to become mothers outside of opposite-sex marriage (single women and lesbian couples). These women are labeled as selfish as if it weren’t possible for straight married couples to have self-serving reasons for procreating. And the bashers don’t fret about the fatherless children of widows, or of mothers abandoned by husbands or boyfriends. Too many people feel justified in questioning women’s motives in anything sexual. 

  • The_L1985

    Er…technically, most “pro-lifers” aren’t being completely honest either.  Most folks I’ve met who call themselves “pro-life” support war, capital punishment, the abolition of welfare, and other things that very demonstrably make people die in far greater numbers than abortion ever did.  Since death is the opposite of life, that pretty clearly makes “pro-life” a rather misleading term.

    Yet, for some reason, “anti-abortion” isn’t a very popular term, even though it’s much more accurate.

  • EllieMurasaki

    It’s also overbroad. Most folks are anti-abortion. Some of those show that by making abortion as hard to access as they can, and others by making unwanted pregnancies as rare as they can and by making sure people with unexpected but wanted pregnancies but not enough resources for a baby can get the needed resources to have the baby.

  • The_L1985


  • EllieMurasaki

    I usually go with ‘anti-legal-abortion’. Or ‘pro-life’ because it is after all their self-identifier.

  • Random_Lurker

    >>Jesus doesn’t actually want us to lie. And no matter how many times we repeat something that isn’t true, reality doesn’t change. <<

    I believe this sentence contains the explanation for why fundies are willing to lie.  They live in a culture that emphases faith- that if something goes wrong in your "Walk with God", it's your fault for not believing hard enough.  The cure? Believe harder.  The result is a sense, sometimes unstated and occasionally explicit, that belief itself creates truth.  They aren't lying! They're just saying what they BELIEVE to be true!

    Also, there's the usual scumbags at the top that pass this stuff down to their flock in order to scare them into being fleeced for power and/or money.  Blind trust in authority is another way to generate and keep wrong beliefs.  Of course, these guys are lying and actually know it.  I don't think, however, that the average Christian is lying on purpose.  Obstinately holding to a world/social/theological view that inevitably results in not caring about reality? Sure. But intentional deception is usually not involved.

    Not that that excuses them much.  They still refuse to accept correction and education, which is just as bad IMO.

  • Ross

    Certainly, there is a sense in which what they do isn’t so much lying as rejecting our reality and substituting their own.

    Perhaps there should be a different name other than “lie” for what they do; a normal sort of lie is an attempt to deceive. But these people aren’t actually trying to deceive someone — what they’re doing is making an invitation: they are inviting the listener to come live with them in their alternate non-fact reality.

  • Sircool2320

    This used to be my e-mail signature for quite some time, and I think it pertains heavily to this post:
    “A lie in the name of Jesus Christ wins brownie points with Satan.”

  • James Probis

    Truth: anti-choicerrs gave up the right to call themselves ¨pro-life¨ when the first clinic was bombed. People who are actually pro-life don post lists of doctorś names with those whoǘe been murdered crossed out.

  • Ann Unemori

    Wish there was a way to differentiate between those who honestly try to help a girl deal with her pregnancy, including persuading her not to abort and then give her real help on what to do, and the Xian terrorists who destroy abortion clinics, not caring how many other lives they ruin. It’s like shooting Dr. Mengele in the head, but making no effort to help protect the Jews.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Abortion != Holocaust.

    For many people, abortion is the best option, or at least the least-bad option. Unless you yourself are the particular person in question, you have no business so much as expressing an opinion on the matter, unless specifically asked by that person for your opinion, by which they need not abide. You certainly have no business attempting to persuade them to choose one way or another.

    You are welcome to make them aware of ways to support a child should they choose to have one, since not everyone knows about (for example) WIC and that’s the sort of thing that could make the difference between being able to afford adding one to the family and not being so able. You are free to silently hope that knowing about those options will influence them to choose giving birth. You must not try to convince them of what the right choice for them is.

  • Ann Unemori

    All true. Still, I also muse on the flip side of the coin, infertile couples faced with knowing they will never have the child they seek, even as a young pregnant girl is anxious to end her own sad dilemma. No, I’ve never been in that situation, but that doesn’t mean I can’t think, and be concerned.
    No one is saying abortion is a good thing, and we are all better off if there is less need for them.For another side of the issue, check out these links:

    Mr. Wright could use some worthy opposition.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Shame there aren’t any kids older than infancy or browner than snow or with physical or mental baggage out there for the poor sad wannabe parents to adopt.

    (I sympathize with people who want children who are genetically related to them and who find themselves unable to produce such children in the traditional way. I do. But they start losing sympathy points in a hurry when they start saying that there won’t be any children for them to adopt unless people are forced or persuaded not to abort. That is an appalling thing to do to the children whose bioparents are either dead or with parental rights terminated but who are not sufficiently young, white, and undamaged to be considered acceptable adoption material, and that is an appalling thing to do to the people who do not want to be pregnant. It’s also bullshit, in that most people who are denied an abortion do not in fact put the resultant babies up for adoption.)

    What government measures do you support to maximize the chance that an unexpected pregnancy is not, due to physical, mental, and/or financial health problems, going to be an unwanted pregnancy, and to minimize the chance that an unexpected pregnancy will occur at all without implying that someone who does not want to be pregnant should not be having sex?

  • Carstonio

    What government measures do you support to maximize the chance that
    an unexpected pregnancy is not, due to physical, mental, and/or
    financial health problems, going to be an unwanted pregnancy, and to
    minimize the chance that an unexpected pregnancy will occur at all
    without implying that someone who does not want to be pregnant should
    not be having sex?

    This. Anyone who proclaims an opposition to abortion should favor the prevention, whenever possible, of the circumstances that lead some women to consider abortion. If the person insists that women choose abortion out of selfishness, or treats the issue as though it’s a matter of convincing women to make certain choices, that’s not really opposition to abortion. That’s simply opposition to the idea of some women not wanting to be mothers whether or not they would ever have abortions.

  • Ruby_Tea

    That’s simply opposition to the idea of some women not wanting to be mothers whether or not they would ever have abortions.

    Which is a current staple of right-wing thought, anyway.  Motherhood is the highest and only calling to which any woman should aspire, and any women who don’t want to be mothers (and even who don’t want to be mothers RIGHT NOW) are horrid, unnatural beasts.

    Fear the childfree!

  • Carstonio

    That very well might go back to authoritarianism. In this case, viewing the parents as godlike figures, the father as the all-powerful ruler and the mother as the all-benevolent source of life. No recognition of the couple as humans with their own needs and imperfections. Some of these authoritarians could actually have existential panic at the thought of their mothers being ambivalent about parenthood, like they themselves might never have existed or have been wanted.

  • EllieMurasaki

    You know, I reeeeally don’t want to venture onto the turf of someone who thinks I fall into one of the following camps:

    Now it is possible that some intellectuals are merely sociopaths, and unable to make the simplest moral judgments about whether there is or is not something wrong with killing babies, Negroes, Jews and rape victims to achieve momentary pleasure or temporary convenience.

    It is possible that they worship Moloch, and to see babies sacrificed to the dim and bloody gods of remote pre-history gives them a drunken thrill in their jaded lives, a sense of power, and soothes their terror of the devils and trolls they think rule the chaos they opine the cosmos to be. Since they are moderns, one might assume they are as unaware of their own motives as they are of simple moral principles.

    The other possibility is that some or all of them are haunted by the tiny ghosts, crying for mommy, of babies never born, which number in the millions, and can be heard weeping along the moors on moonless midnights; and therefore the intellectuals seek to silence the voice of conscience which forms the only ears by which mortal hear the voices of ghosts.

  • Charity Brighton

    Incidentally, the “sociopaths” described in that paragraph appear to have a lot more empathy and human decency than the pro-life absolutists who are deaf to the anguish of (for example) rape victims, starving children, the neglected and abused living who they proudly abandon. At least the kitten-burning baby killers are haunted by their million unborn victims; these other guys don’t seem to feel anything at all for their living victims, as well as the ones whose lives they carelessly disregard.

  • Jamoche

    In many of the LJ comms where I hang out, posting a link like that would require the note “personal journal; do not troll”. Discussing them is fine and if they come to the public comm where they’re being discussed it’s fair game, but even for raging asshats it’s rude to invade their space. 

    Especially that one; he’s well known for not being interested in anyone’s opinions but his own.

  • Madhabmatics

     Mostly it’s practical: If you go there to tease them, they will slither out of their hole and follow you back to where you normally post and then they just fester and breed in there like rats in a grain silo, or libertarians anywhere.

  • Jim Norris

    Why not say abortion is a good thing? Unwanted pregnancy is a bad thing (GOP politicos’ projections of God’s will notwithstanding). Less of that is an unmitigated good, as far as I can tell.

    Mr. Wright’s opponents are the ones in need of worthy opposition. He mentions the effort “to rid the world of Negro babies […] was the express purpose of the founder of Planned Murderhood, Margaret Sanger” as a way of slandering Planned Parenthood’s current mission with the eugenicist leanings of its founder, as though the organization still endorsed every belief of the anti-abortion Sanger.

    Of course, as someone who finds Wright’s example of “barking-mad moonbat lunacy” (a Marxist analysis of human reproduction) to be pretty reasonable, I’m probably not his target audience, and perhaps could count as a member of that worthy opposition. Then again, note that he considers everyone using contraception, married or not, as “women of loose morals, who wish to float in a cesspool of consequence-free sexual encounters…” and that the father is naturally “the king and lord of his family and establishes their laws; his role is more combative than the maternal role , and he is naturally suited for toil and war, and so his role also includes elements of breadwinner and warrior;” describes waffling and fear as “effeminate;” and… well, to be honest, that’s about the point where I lost track of anything resembling a semblance of an argument.

  • Carstonio

     Depends on what a “good thing” is. That could mean that abortion’s availability helps reduce suffering in situations where the alternative are worse. But it could also mean that women in general should have abortions, and while that’s an obvious straw man, many people seem to believe that of pro-choicers.

    Gender essentialism is apparently the Zelig of barking-mad sociological ideas – it keeps turning up in almost any issue that relates to female sexuality.

  • Jim Norris

    Yeah, what you said might be closer to what I meant. I think that it’s important though to note that many people don’t consider abortion to be merely a necessary evil; it can also in certain cases be a profoundly liberating exercise of one’s personal bodily autonomy. I don’t think any non-straw-women are getting pregnant with the intention of aborting those pregnancies though. Large portions of the forced-pregnancy movement buy into these huge conspiracies where millions “abortionists” (a.k.a. doctors) and “abortion mills” are not only gleefully torturing birthed infants with one toe still in the vaginal canal, but that they’re motivated by greed and the immense profit margins of this practice. It’s like the underpants gnomes became fetus gnomes or something.

  • Donalbain

     No one is saying abortion is a good thing

    Ahem. I am!

  • adrienne

    John C. Wright is a mendacious fuckwit. He has been a mendacious fuckwit for quite awhile now. 

  • Charity Brighton

    I wonder if these guys would go away if we just stopped talking to them.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Probably not.

  • Dave

    > I wonder if these guys would go away if we just stopped talking to them.
    I often wonder this. My expectation is that if we didn’t respond, we’d get less than 10% as many posts from them, but they wouldn’t go away altogether.

    But I don’t anticipate us ever doing the experiment.

  • aw/swpa

    I happen to be a receptionist. I say either “he is not in this office today” or “she is away from her desk right now.” 

    In some cases, absolute honesty helps. For instance, to protect employees working from field locations without security, I am not allowed to say where someone is except “here” or “not here.” So that’s what I say: “I’m sorry, but I’m actually not allowed to say where someone is except if they are in this office.” It’s a pretty final statement – there’s no working more information out of “I’m not allowed.” Whereas if I dance around that point I can get pushed into awkward spots: 

    “Uhhhh he’s working somewhere else today…” “Where? I need to talk to him!” “Well um, he’s in another office…” “Which office?” “He’s, uh working out in the field…” “Can you let me know where?” “Well, I’m actually not totally sure where he is…” “Can you give me his phone number then?” “That would actually require me to know where he is…” “Can I talk to someone who does?”

    It’s so much easier to just say it outright and then redirect them to something I can practically do: “He’s not in this office today. Would you like his voicemail?”

    That said, when they are in our office that day, vagueness is a necessity. Clients don’t need to know exactly what a person is doing right then. It just opens up a can of worms of what the client thinks is more or less important than attending to them right that moment. For instance, frequently a client will arrive very early for an appointment (sometimes in terms of hours). Some workers will make their best effort to see the client when they come in, but others will say “They’re really early. I’ll be out at (originally scheduled time).” They may or may not actually be in the middle of something else, or helping another client, or have another scheduled appointment, right then, but that’s still what I’m going to say: “They’re with another client right now/have an appointment scheduled soon/are in the middle of something at the moment. Can you hang out for awhile or do you want to come back at (appointment time)?” Again: redirect to something practical.

    Anyway, sometimes brutal honesty makes the most sense, and sometimes deceptive vagueness is more appropriate. The common factor in the best choices is shutting down avenues for argument by offering a practical action to be taken. When people are miffed that they aren’t the #1 priority right then and complain at you, the best approach is to let them get it all out and just give sympathetic noises: “Ohhh” “Ugh” “How frustrating…” until they’ve voiced their concerns and then, again, redirect to a concrete action. “Unfortunately she is not available right now, but I will let her know you stopped in. What’s a phone number she can reach you at?” 
    I find very, very few people who have a problem with this approach, and I’ve worked in a few offices with pretty difficult clientele.

    This concludes today’s Lesson in Proper Recepting. Tune in next time for “Appeal to Authority: When to Call a Supervisor” !

  • Katie

    The majority of women who seek an abortion are not unmarried teenage girls (who, in this fantasy, are carrying a healthy white baby), the majority of them are married  or partnered women who already have at least one child.  Many of these women have had some disruption in their life in the year prior to them having an abortion- an abusive relationship, a serious illness, the loss of a job.  Some of them, no doubt, would choose to have the baby, if doing so did not endanger the welfare of their family, including their  existing children. 
    This means that if you are serious about reducing the rates of abortion, you first have to face the facts that slut-shaming isn’t going to work, unless you expect the poor to be celibate, even if married and encouraging  adoption isn’t a solution, unless you’re deluded enough to thing that its remotely possible-practically, emotionally, socially, for a adult mother to give  her second (or  third or fourth….) baby up for adoption.
    The solution to reducing abortion is to increase access to contraception,  improve access to healthcare, improve maternity leave,  improve access to affordable daycare, and generally make it easier for families.  To the very best of my knowledge, all of these things are opposed staunchly opposed by religious conservatives, who will, at best, offer women wholly inadequate private charity. 
    As an aside, I’m really, really sick of anti-choice people talking about ‘putting the baby up for adoption’ like it is an easy choice, and as though its never damaging for the birth mother.

  • Francis

    Mr. Wright could use some worthy opposition.

    What?  A pitbull?  Or am I being harsh on our canine relatives?  But if you want lengthy opposition I’ve been through the whole thing here.

  • phantomreader42

    IF they are making the claim that contraception is abortion arena, they would have to be an expert witness for their testimony to that fact to be relevant.   If they have the legitimate qualifications to offer such testimony, they would have to know that what they were saying is false.  If they don’t know, then they must have been lying about their qualifications and knowledge.  So either they lied about contraception, or they lied about knowing what contraception does. 

  • EllieMurasaki


  • J.Christine de Medeiros Alves

    How is it not an abortifacient?  It has a two-fold function like the pill.  It suppresses ovulation and renders the uterine environment uninhabitable to the zygote in the event that its first function fails or if ovulation has already occurred.  That’s an abortifacient. .  The ones who are lying are those who claim that the morning after pill does not prevent implantation or interfere with an existing pregnancy.  Simple science;  no need to drag poor Jesus into it.   

  • EllieMurasaki

    [citation needed]

  • Lori

    The only “citation” that is going to back up that argument is the notion that life obviously begins at conception. It appears that the comment was made by someone who takes that as a given and assumes that everyone else must as well. IME there’s no productive conversation to be had there.

  • The_L1985

     If ovulation isn’t taking place, then the lack of extra uterine lining is irrelevant, because there is no egg to be fertilized.  Therefore, it cannot be an abortifacient, because there is no zygote to abort in the first place.

  • phantomreader42

     You do not know what the word “abortifacient” means.  And the reason you don’t know is because you can’t ALLOW yourself to know.  Because if you gave up your willful ignorance for even an instant, you’d realize how full of shit the forced-pregnancy cult is. 

  • banancat

    It looks like our newest troll is a drive-by, but in case s/he is still lurking, I’ve saved more lives than “Truth” ever has.  So if s/he continues to post trolling comments, I will donate $10 to Planned Parenthood in her/his name, so that s/he can also save some lives through providing healthcare.

    As for J. Christine, I am still unsure whether she is outright lying or just plain wrong about how science works.  I’m feeling generous so I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt, but if she continues to insist without any credible citations, then I’ll send some money Planned Parenthood’s way with her name on it too.  Or I wonder if there’s some charity I could donate to that would help schools to actually teach accurate things?

  • Francis

    How is it not an abortifacient?  It has a two-fold function like the
    pill.  It suppresses ovulation and renders the uterine environment
    uninhabitable to the zygote in the event that its first function fails
    or if ovulation has already occurred.  That’s an abortifacient.

    Being generous you might be thinking of the copper coil here or you might be slightly confused.  (I went into what each of the contraceptive methods does on my self-link on the previous page).

    Plan B, like the pill, suppresses ovulation and thickens the mucus round the womb.  This doesn’t render the uterine environment uninhabitable – it renders it almost impassable.  Sperm doesn’t pass -> no conception.  And Plan B isn’t that great and has a very limited time window because it doesn’t do a hell of a lot if conception has already occurred.

    The copper coil on the other hand does render the uterine environment uninhabitable – meaning that it kills the sperm before it ever reaches the egg.  That isn’t abortion either.  No conception means no abortion.

    For that matter rendering the uterine environment uninhabitable in general can’t be abortion because the sperm need to pass through there to reach the egg.  If it’s uninhabitable, the sperm die.   It is only abortion of the uterine environment is rendered uninhabitable after conception.  Edge case that – and the only method of contraception I’m aware of that does this is a copper (rather than hormonal) IUD implanted significantly post-coitus.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    I have long since wished that the abortion-alarm-bell-ringers would just go AWAY.

    Playing angels-on-a-pin semantic games with what is an “abortifacient” and what exactly constitutes one is just playing into the hands of anti-abortionists.

    The proper answer to such games-playing is: “WHO CARES?”

    The important thing is that women should, as men pretty much already do, have full control over their reproductive choices.


  • EllieMurasaki

    I would love to agree with you…but if the law starts declaring that contraceptives are abortifacients, we lose some of the ground we’ve gained, and that is not acceptable.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    Yes, but the whole point is that the very topic of “what is an abortifacient” is an absurd and ridiculous semantic quagmire entirely of the making of people too concerned with controlling women’s bodies.

    The use of contraception as well as post-contraception abortion should be simple: Available to all without question.

    Any bandying-about of definitional semantic nitpicking as regards what should be available to whom and under what conditions is simply stepping on reproductive freedom of choice.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yes, in an ideal world I could snap my fingers and that would relieve everyone of the desire to control others’ bodies.

    *snaps fingers*


    Because nothing happened, we have to deal with the world as it is. One of the things about the world as it is is that certain people are trying to redefine a popular method of asserting control over one’s own body as a subcategory of an unpopular method of asserting control over one’s own body, where the popular method is much easier to obtain than the unpopular method. If they succeed, it will become vastly more difficult to get hold of the damn pills. This cannot be allowed to happen.

    Of course we can and must simultaneously push for the wider acceptance of abortion and abortifacient pharmaceuticals, and for the right of people to control their own bodies generally, but we cannot let them define contraceptives as a flavor of abortifacients either. What good does it do to blockade the front door if the back door is standing open?

  • Invisible Neutrino

    And what I’m trying to say is that even engaging with people who want to play semantic games over what constitutes an abortifacient implicitly concedes that they even have a valid point.

    The simple answer is, “No, a condom is not an abortifacient. Yes, RU-486 is an abortifacient. Get the fainting couch and deal with it.”

  • Ross

     Personally, I think it’d be awesome if we could roll out some more pharmaceuticals that actually are abortifacent, so that when the anti-choice committee goes on their rampage, they’re put in the position of having to say how these ones differ from the other ones, thereby exposing their own lies.

    (Also because  there being a wider variety of options available to a person looking to not be pregnant is a good thing)

  • Ross

     Yeah, no. 

    Because facts actually matter. The answer to “contraceptives are abortifacients” is “No they are not.” 

    If you say “Well nevermind that because what’s really important is–” you’ve already lost because you have agreed with them on the most important thing: that objective reality doesn’t matter. Once you’ve conceded objective reality, they have 100% won. Because all your “What’s really important is” doesn’t matter without objective reality to back it up. They can just say “You’re wrong, women can’t have fullreproductive control since giving women full reproductive control  is scientifically proven to lead directly to nuclear war.” or whatever they like, because you’ve already conceded the importance of their claims being based in objective reality.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    Ahem, no.

    The point I am making is that the entire debate over “what is an abortifacient” is purely designed to waste the time and energy of advocates of freedom of reproductive choice.

    Nobody would care what exactly makes an abortifacient or have to argue that thing X is not an abortifacient in order to soothe the ruffled feelings of anti-abortionists, except that there are people who are bound and determined to control women’s bodies.

  • Ross

     Whether or not contraceptives are abortifacient may not be relevant to the question of whether or not they should be prohibited. But the fact that they are lying is incredibly relevant.  It is important that they have moved out of the realm of “moral judgment” and into the realm of “objective fact”. It is incredibly important that they are making a claim that is not based on subjective morality. There is an irreducable “But that’s just your opinion” about “Abortion is wrong” or “abortion is okay” — but there isn’t one about “contraceptives cause abortions”. And it is entirely relevant that the argument they are making to enforce their subjective moral judgment is hanging on a bald-faced lie.