Kristen Walker Hatten

5 myths about pro-lifers, and how to refute them

Kristen Walker Hatten
By Kristen Walker Hatten
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December 13, 2011 (LiveAction.org) - There are a lot of negative stereotypes about the pro-life movement. I could easily write a list of 20 or more. These five, though, are the ones I personally encounter most often, and in the most capital letters. You’ll probably find them familiar. If you don’t know how to argue against these, you should.

5. We’re all brainwashed.

Since they can’t seem to wrap their brains around how a person might make an intelligent, informed decision to oppose abortion, anti-lifers sometimes like to assume we have all been duped. I have been accused, via Facebook, Twitter, email, and comment, of having been brainwashed by the following people or organizations: the Republican Party, Christians, the Vatican, white men, television, the conservative media, Sarah Palin, and the devil. I am not making any of those up.

While I suppose there are those who were raised inside Vatican walls and never heard a dissenting opinion, the truth is that even kids brought up in homes with pro-life parents were probably exposed to pro-abortion ideology somewhere along the way. It may have even happened without their knowledge.

Let me give you an example: I loved the movie Dirty Dancing as a kid. I wasn’t allowed to watch it, but I managed to watch it almost constantly, starting at around age ten. A major plot line in that movie is a main character having an abortion. Everyone is super casual about it, although they never use the word “abortion.” The girl ends up getting hurt by the procedure, but the impression is that this is because the woman had to go to an unsafe doctor with “a dirty knife and a folding table.” Then a real doctor is called and the girl is okay and everyone dances some more. The impression I got as a kid was that abortion was a tragic and sexy thing that pretty girls sometimes had to get because they were so desirable and awesome.

I don’t remember hearing anything about abortion from my church or my mom or my friends. I only heard about it from TV and movies, and it was always portrayed in the same light: a sad but necessary thing that boyfriends should pay for while wearing sheepish expressions. I ended up pro-choice until age 27, when I made a decision, based on little or no Chinese water torture by any Popes or Palins, that abortion was wrong and must be ended.

The best way to combat this stereotype is to share your own story. Let anti-lifers know the sound, rational, scientific and ethical reasons on which you base your pro-life activism. And don’t let your kids watch Dirty Dancing.

4. We’re violent.

This is my least favorite myth because it’s the least true. The pro-life movement is by definition an outcry against a violent act.

Eight people have been killed in the United States by anti-abortion protesters. Last I heard, they had all been caught and punished. Fifty million babies have been killed — legally — by abortionists since 1973. Yet we’re the side that gets called violent. Fifty million to eight… Those are pretty dramatic numbers. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say it’s safer to be an abortionist than an unborn baby. Somebody somewhere is probably going to quote that in outrage, never mind the fact that is statistically 100% true.

The pro-life movement as a whole continuously and widely condemns acts of violence, yet anyone who professes a pro-life viewpoint is subject to being called a “clinic bomber.” Eight people — out of hundreds of millions — do not represent the movement, especially when their actions have been decried countless times.

If someone accuses you of belonging to a violent movement, remind them that since Roe v. Wade, every year an average of 1.2 million unborn children have been killed in the U.S., versus an average of two-tenths of an abortionist. The numbers don’t lie.

3. We’re all religious, conservative, and old.

There’s nothing wrong with being religious, conservative, or old, but it’s a mischaracterization. I am a conservative Catholic in my early 30s now, but when I became pro-life, I was a liberal agnostic in my 20s. While many — probably most — pro-lifers believe in some sort of deity, or at least in the human soul, not all of them do. The arguments that made me pro-life were grounded in science, ethics, and human rights. They had nothing to do with religion.

The friend who changed my mind knew better than to use a religious argument with me; I would have stopped listening. I was already wary because she was Catholic. I guess I thought she would sprinkle holy water on me while I wasn’t looking. But she didn’t. She just answered my questions — I had a lot of them — and by the end of the conversation I was, quite against my will, pro-life. I have remained so ever since.

I was also not a conservative, and many — including the friend I mentioned — remain pro-life and liberal or Democrat. The atheist, liberal New Yorker writer Nat Hentoff, after “coming out” as pro-life, experienced a backlash of negativity from fellow writers, intellectuals, atheists, Jews, and Democrats, but he stayed pro-life and a “civil libertarian” for the rest of his career.

A lot of people, when they think of pro-life activists, think of little old ladies saying the rosary outside a clinic. God bless those little old ladies and the work they do, but the truth is the pro-life movement is becoming a youth movement. Despite the fact that society in general seems to get more secular and less conservative, more and more young people oppose abortion. There is no consensus as to why, but it may have something to do with advancing science and technology. We know far more about the unborn human today than we did when Roe v. Wade was decided.

If someone tells you all pro-lifers are middle-aged white Christian Republicans, tell them they’re wrong — even if you are a middle-aged white Christian Republican. I have known pro-lifers of every age, color, religion, and political persuasion. If you don’t, try to get to know some. They’re everywhere! Check out Secular Pro-Life, Pagans for Life, or Atheist and Agnostic Pro-Life League. They may have a perspective you haven’t considered, which will help build your arsenal of pro-life knowledge and arguments, and make your parties more interesting.

2. We’re hypocrites if we oppose abortion but don’t oppose (fill in the blank).

Can you be pro-life and pro-death penalty? Yes. Can you be pro-life and support the war in Iraq? Yes. Can you be pro-life and eat meat? Yes.

You can’t compare these things to abortion. You can’t compare anything to abortion, except certain instances of euthanasia, which by the way are also covered under the pro-life umbrella.

Abortion is child murder. It’s the intentional killing of an innocent human being. And when I say “innocent,” I mean it in the most literal sense. I don’t mean “innocent” of murder, shoplifting, or appearing on “Jersey Shore,” though all of these are undeniably bad things. I mean completely innocent. The unborn child has never harmed a living soul. He did not cause his own existence. He did not ask to be conceived. He is brought to life and, in an abortion, he is killed, most often for the same reason he was conceived: because his mother made a choice.

No act compares to abortion in its heinousness. So don’t let anyone tell you that you must oppose the death penalty, or war, or meat if you are pro-life. Explain the difference between incidental death and intentional. Explain to them the difference between a cow and a human. Explain to them the difference between a convicted criminal and an unborn baby.

1. We have an ulterior motive.

This is the most common argument you will hear, and it honestly doesn’t even deserve the term “argument.” It is a non-argument. An argument would be, “Abortion is okay because the fetus isn’t human,” or “Abortion is okay because the unborn deserve no rights.” Those are arguments. They’re wrong, but they’re arguments. Instead, I am often accused of pretending to be against abortion when what I really want to do is one of the following:

Take all human rights away from women.

Stop everyone from having sex.

Encourage child abuse.

Make promiscuous girls feel bad about themselves.

And so on. So instead of saying, “Abortion should be legal because….,” the presenter of this “argument” says, “Well, you just want to enforce your Puritanical sexual values.” Or, “You just want people to have babies they can’t afford.” And so on.

Look. I’m gonna take this opportunity to come out with it: I am secretly okay with abortion. I honestly don’t mind if women go into clinics and pay doctors to suck their children out of them. What I’m really after, what I’ve really wanted all along, is to engage in “slut-shaming.”

This is my favorite non-argument ever. Written by “freelance journalist and stand-up comic” Amanda Grimes (whose graduate thesis was on “gender and stand-up comedy”), this blog made me literally wipe tears of laughter from my eyes. So she’s got the comedy part down! According to Grimes, pro-lifers aren’t really interested in saving lives. What they secretly want to do — wait for it — is make slutty girls feel bad about themselves. You heard me. The ulterior motive behind the pro-life movement, according to Andrea Grimes, is “slut-shaming.”

Ms. Grimes, if by “slut-shaming” you mean encouraging young women to behave in ways that will result in less pain for themselves, their children, and society, it is certainly on my list of reasons for opposing abortion. However, I hate to break it to you, reason number one is that I am actually nutso enough to believe in the sanctity of every human life. Sorry to disappoint. Now get back to that groundbreaking, totally relevant thesis!

By the way, for the record, you know what changed Grimes’s mind about abortion? I’ll let her say it in her own words:

Well, I got off my religious high horse and on to a sex life I enjoyed and found fulfilling.

That is… profound, isn’t it? She went to college, lost her virginity, and found out sex was fun! So then she discarded all the morals her parents went to the trouble to teach her, and ”went right the f*** out” and got on birth control, which, as it often does, led her to going right the eff out and feeling okay about abortion. “I believe wanting to take that choice away from others is deeply about shame and punishment and judgment, and not about righteousness and love.”

Guess what, Grimes? Just because you believe something about us doesn’t make it true.

So apparently, Ms. Grimes did not believe in the sanctity of life. She was merely having fun “slut-shaming.” But just because she didn’t have strong, factual, righteous, loving reasons for opposing abortion doesn’t mean that’s the case for you, or me, or any other pro-lifer.

Don’t let anyone assign you intentions that aren’t yours. We are pro-life because we care for women and their children. We are pro-life because we believe in human rights. Don’t give an inch when it comes to your reasons for opposing abortion.

If you engage in any kind of pro-life activism you are going to encounter resistance. Not all of it will be honest, pleasant, or fair. If they haven’t yet, people are going to assume things about you and assign you traits and beliefs that don’t belong to you. (We’ll get to the name calling in another article.)

Learn to politely, rationally, tell them why they’re wrong, and bring the issue back to what it’s really about: the reprehensible act of abortion, what it truly is, and why we have to stop it.

Reprinted with permission from LiveAction.org

 


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This woman mocks pro-lifers every week but raises money to save animals

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By Ben Johnson

Tina Haver Currin and her husband, Grayson, have become heroes in the feminist blogosphere for mocking pro-life counselors who oppose abortion. But the feminist couple, who spend their Saturdays holding irreverent signs in the midst of sidewalk counselors in North Carolina, do not approve of killing in every case: They raise money for a no-kill cat shelter and have an abiding concern over “the ethics” of eating meat.

Tina, a “creative strategist” at Myriad Media and former English teaching assistant at UNC-Chapel Hill, is a self-described “atheist” with a penchant for “black metal” – a genre of heavy metal music extolling Satanism, with occasional ties to the neo-Nazi movement. She met her husband, Grayson, through a friend and bonded over their love of similar music.

She says she and Grayson were driving past A Preferred Women's Health Center, a chain of abortion facilities with an office in Raleigh, in March when the site of pro-life sidewalk counselors angered them.

After her husband suggested they make their own signs to stage a counterprotest, they took pictures of themselves holding placards with such derisive messages as “Honk if you're horny” and “Bring back Crystal Pepsi.”

Another sign simply said, “pro-cat.”

They began documenting their shenanigans on their blog, Saturday Chores, and soon they received profile pieces in Cosmopolitan and The Huffington Post. The executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, Suzanne Buckley, recently sent Tina “a *heartfelt* thank-you” for her efforts.

“It's true that we're mocking people,” Grayson Haver Currin – who adopted his wife's maiden name when he married – told several media outlets. But Tina said their actions have been well received, except for “some creeps on the internet.”

While the couple cannot fathom anyone being concerned with unborn children – the first sign they ever made had an arrow pointing at pro-life advocates with the words “Weird hobby” – they are heavily involved in protecting stray cats from being put to sleep.

Tina is an organizer of the annual HepCat race to benefit the SAFE Haven Cat Shelter and Clinic, which its website describes as “a nonprofit, no-kill shelter” in Raleigh.

Tina, who has been a vegetarian since she was 12, told Cosmo that one of the first disagreements she and her husband had was over “the ethics and the politics of” eating meat. (The other was “about Grayson using gender pronouns.”) In time she convinced her husband to give up the joy of eating Bojangles chicken.

The born activist has taken to the streets throughout their marriage. She was arrested as part of the “Moral Monday” protests at the state capital, the weekly liberal protests against the policies of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory. In addition to McCrory's policies on abortion, she has said she is “upset about voter ID laws, [and] reduction of education funding and social programs.”

“By the way, we support marriage equality, too,” she blogged.

But it was not until they began opposing the pro-life movement that she gained any notoriety. Now, she said, her movement has ballooned from just two people to dozens.

She told The Huffington Post she “probably” had 60 people supporting her side outside the abortion facility last week. A photograph for the following Saturday showed perhaps half that many people in attendance.

Her ultimate goal, she said, is to have enough pro-abortion protesters to “crowd them out,” so that pro-life sidewalk counselors “don't have a chance to show their signs.”

“We would love to see this more humorous take on combating these hateful things spread,” she told Cosmo


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Growing ‘Women Against Feminism’ movement draws fury

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By Hilary White
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Critics of feminism have long said that it is entering the final stages of its long career, with more of its assertions about the nature of human sexual and social relations being contradicted by the evidence and fewer young people following its dictates every decade. But in the last few weeks, it seems that feminism’s last gasp is being used to direct insults at young women who are lining up to publicly reject and ridicule it.

The Tumblr site Women Against Feminism has started a social networking trend in which thousands of young women photograph themselves holding signs bluntly denouncing feminism, giving a sharp indication that the feminist brand has become poison to young, hip, and internet-savvy women.

Mainstream and journalistic feminists have lashed out at the site and its followers, entering into an online spat over the increasingly popular photos. The signs say, “I am not a victim,” and “This is what an anti-feminist looks like.”

They continue: “I am an adult who is capable of taking responsibility for myself and my actions. I define myself and derive my value by my own standards. I don’t need to be ‘empowered’. I am not a target for violence and there is no war against me. I respect me and I refuse to demonize them and blame them for my problems.”

The messages held by the women pinpoint with pithy and acerbic precision exactly the reasons given by many critics that the movement has lost favour with young people. They call it a creed of double standards that promotes victimhood and endorses bullying of anyone who critiques it.

The site’s explanatory page, which was taken down for unknown reasons in the last two days, said, “Feminists are the only people who lose their minds with rage when you tell them that women already have the same exact rights as men. That’s not good enough. They want more. They desperately want to be victims. They want a privileged social position.”

The author goes on to accuse feminism in general of systematic censorship, discrimination, elitism and “policing other women” who do not toe the line – as well as baseline misandry. The anonymous creator denounced feminism’s adoption of “abortion as ‘empowerment’”:

This opinion is unpopular, but I don’t agree that I need to have my baby scraped out of my uterus in order to feel empowered. But the abortion industry (i.e. Planned Parenthood) makes a ton of money off this perversion of empowerment. ‘Abortion as empowerment’ teaches women to see their wombs as nothing but garbage bins full of disposable waste.

One of the contributors wrote, “I don’t need feminism because my self-worth is not directly tied to my victim complex. As a woman in the western world I am not oppressed, and neither are you,” says one. Another: “I don’t need feminism because I don’t need to bully someone to share my opinions with others.”

Some come right out and say that feminism promotes exactly the evils it purports to fight against: “I don’t need feminism because I believe in equality, not entitlements and supremacy.”

Although the site and its contentious photos have been running around the internet for many months, arguments among journalism’s feminists started breaking out this week after a mocking Buzzfeed feature helped the site gain momentum on social media outlets.

Some feminist journalists simply flung insults. Lillian Kalish sniffed on Ryot, “These Women Who Think They Don’t Need Feminism Don’t Know What Feminism Is.” “Did these posters ever think to look up the actual definition of feminism?”

Nuala McKeever, in the Belfast Telegraph, called the women posting the photos “silly, ignorant, vacuous wee girls with absolutely no thoughts beyond their own self-absorbed inanities.”

Time Magazine’s Sarah Miller said, “I Really, Truly, Fully Hate ‘Women Against Feminism’—But…” Miller wrote, “[T]he tendency to see sexism everywhere is proof that feminism is healthy and vigilant, and that is not necessarily a bad thing, because misogyny is insidious and rampant… We need feminism.”

But Miller added, “Still, the pain that we experience as women—even physical—does not give us the right to tell people there’s one way to think or feel, or to assume that we have some god-like understanding of everyone’s motivations.”

Cathy Young, however, responded in Time, saying, “Stop Fem-Splaining: What ‘Women Against Feminism’ Gets Right.” She writes, “The charge that feminism stereotypes men as predators while reducing women to helpless victims certainly doesn’t apply to all feminists—but it’s a reasonably fair description of a large, influential, highly visible segment of modern feminism.”

The site, Young says, “raises valid questions about the state of Western feminism in the 21st Century — questions that must be addressed if we are to continue making progress toward real gender equality.”

Sarah Boesveld wrote in the National Post on Friday that the site shows that feminism has become “complicated” and “sometimes alienating.” She quotes an email sent to the paper by 22 year-old Australian Lisa Sandford, who “believes in equality for the sexes” but firmly rejects feminism as “rude and nasty” and intends to be a stay-at-home mother. 

Sandford wrote, “If feminism really accepted equality, they would not tell me my views are wrong, they would accept it and let me be.”

Browse the 'Women Against Feminism' archives here (warning: occasional strong language).


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Steven W. Mosher and Anne Roback Morse

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Welcome Baby Filipino 100 Million!

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By Steven W. Mosher and Anne Roback Morse

Population Research Institute welcomes the birth of little Chonalyn Sentino. Baby Chonalyn was born this past Sunday to parents Clemente and Dailin, and was feted in the Philippines as “Baby 100 Million.” PRI welcomes Baby Chonalyn as well, saying that she will be a blessing to her family, her community, and her nation.

The Philippines is one of the largest Catholic countries in the world, and its people value children. For this reason, it has been a target of the population controllers for decades. It was one of the countries singled out by Henry Kissinger’s National Security Council in 1974 for special “attention” and, more recently, has been bullied by the Obama administration into passing its first population control law. 

The bill, which was touted as being all about promoting “reproductive health,” was actually intended to drive down the birth rate. For example, section 15  requires that all couples receive a “Certificate of Compliance” from the local Family Planning Office before becoming eligible for a marriage license.

Some in the Philippines are decrying Chonalyn’s birth, repeating USAID’s talking points about the “dangers” of overpopulation. They welcome Chonalyn as an individual little girl, while simultaneously calling for future little girls and boys to be removed from existence.

The Philippine Star wrote that the birth symbolized a “large population that will put a strain on the country's limited resources.” Another paper cited the executive director of the official Commission on Population who bluntly said “We'd like to push the fertility rate down to two children per (woman's) lifetime.” And the Global Post cited “concerned advocates” who thought the current population was not a “complement with the country's economic growth.”

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

But many other Filipinos aren’t buying into the anti-people hysteria. Francisco Antonio, a Filipino Chemical Engineering graduate student at Yale, adamantly rebutted the notion that there are too many Filipinos, saying: “I celebrate life because population control is defeatism disguised as pragmatism. And because human creativity holds more potential for protecting this planet and its inhabitants than any other resource I know of.”

A Filipina currently living in California told PRI that she welcomed the transition of her country to 100 million persons: “Filipinos are not a burden to the world population, because we not only care for our own but also for others in the world. One of the greatest and most sought after exports of the Philippines is our skilled, motivated, and exemplary workforce. And these workers tirelessly cultivate their family and community abroad and in the Philippines. We are a very social and civic minded people. We care and share because it is part of our culture and we do it with a smile.”

 Ed, a Filipino accountant, also celebrated the birth of Baby Chonalyn: “The typical Filipino does not associate a baby with ‘cost’ or ‘expense’ but rather as a ‘blessing’ and a ‘gift.’ This is because Filipinos recognize that true happiness does not come from the accumulation of material wealth or prestige, but rather, from true, genuine, and strong relationships with other people. [Filipinos] value life, not because the Church says or the Pope says so, but because they recognize it to be true. And the truth about the value of life, will continue to shine, long after the debates are over.”

It goes without saying that we at the Population Research Institute also welcome Chonalyn’s birth. We need more Filipinos, not fewer. 

Reprinted with permission from Pop.org.


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