A reality check for anti-choicers

// 31 July 2007

‘Pro-lifers’ call for abortion to be criminalised. They stand outside clinics where the procedure is performed and harass patients and staff. But if abortion was outlawed tomorrow, what would the penalty be for women who had one anyway?

Check out this mini-documentary on YouTube, where an interviewer asks a group of these protesters outside a clinic in Libertyville, Illinois what should happen to women if they had an illegal abortion. Turns out, most of them kinda haven’t thought about it.

Over at Newsweek, Anna Quindlen has more:

You have rarely seen people look more gobsmacked. It’s as though the guy has asked them to solve quadratic equations. Here are a range of responses: “I’ve never really thought about it.” “I don’t have an answer for that.” “I don’t know.” “Just pray for them.”

So, based on this assessment, you have to wonder why they’ve spent years calling for abortion to be banned. Most of the people shown in the film don’t think having an illegal abortion merits jail-time, a position which doesn’t sit very well with their assertion that abortion is murder. Even in their own heads, they don’t really see it as murder: otherwise the answer to the interviewer’s question would surely be easy. A long spell inside a prison cell.

But it’s illuminating that they’ve not even thought about the women: it’s like a blind spot. A woman’s rights are so far down the agenda, it’s possible for someone to campaign to restrict those rights for years without giving one thought to her. On the one hand, it’s nice to know these protesters aren’t actively trying to oppress women. But on the other hand, they’re kind of pushing really hard to do just that. It’s time for them to wake up and notice the actual human beings they are hounding in person at that protest, and the half of the population whose rights they are trying to erase.

Picture by stormbear, shared under a Creative Commons license

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