Anti-Abortion Logic: “What if your mother had aborted you?”

In response to the near ban on abortion in Texas, the Women’s March planned a Rally for Abortion Justice on October 2nd to march in defense of abortion rights and reproductive freedom. Planned Parenthood had posted a couple ads for this rally, which unsurprisingly triggered a large amount of antiabortion supporters. Many antiabortion supporters have reacted to these ads by commenting some variation of “What if your mother had aborted you?”

Here are a few of those comments (spelling and grammar mistakes included):

“Has anyone else found it strange that people are screaming for abortions when their mothers didn’t have an abortion?”

“Better be glad your mom didn’t feel that way”

“Choose life your MOTHER did, you wouldn’t be here if she hadn’t.”

“Are t you glad your mother didn’t abort you?”

“Abortion is murder! Are you not glad your mother didn’t abort you!”

“Dear Ralleyers, Aren’t you glad your mothers did not abort you?”

“Aren’t you glad your Mother didn’t choose abortion?”

“Every one of you women should be thankful that your mother didn’t selfishly decide to destroy your life while in their womb.”

“Don’t forget to thank your mom today that she did not abort you”

“Everyone remember to be thankful that your mother chose to be pro-life and gave birth to you”

“Your mother’s all chose life for you. Sad you don’t want the same for your child. You are selfish self centered brats.”

“I like the bumper sticker that said, your mom was pro life”

“Imagine if we all would have been ABORTED!”

“If they had been aborted, they couldn’t protest. Their moms decided to keep them. Think on this…”

“What all you ‘abortion justice activists’ do not realize is that if your mother had aborted you, you would not be alive to have any say in this issue. EVERY SINGLE PERSON on this planet was a mass of tissue that fed off the host body. But for all you activists, your mother’s gave you a chance at life. Think on that for a while”

Whenever I see antiabortion supporters ask this hypothetical abortion question involving my mother I ask, “You mean my abusive mother?”

What if she did have an abortion? She probably would have been happier not having children that ended up being diagnosed with varying levels of autism during a time when autism was relatively unknown and there was little to no support for it so my parents were all alone in learning how to raise kids with autism. My father possibly wouldn’t have put up with an abusive relationship for as long as he did because there wouldn’t have been kids to consider. Since I wouldn’t have existed, I wouldn’t have suffered the mental damage I still struggle with that partially led me to supporting reproductive rights so women can have a choice about having children. More importantly, there wouldn’t have been any children to become my father’s replacements for emotional, mental, and financial abuse when he did finally decided after years of abuse and manipulation to file divorce and move to the other side of the state just to get away from her.

Antiabortion supporters ask “What if your mother had aborted you?” in an attempt to force pro-choice supporters to rethink their stance on abortion because their own mothers chose to give them a chance at life. When I think about it, I doubt my mother would have felt she actually had any choice regarding her pregnancies due to being raised Catholic. She likely was taught that it was her duty as a woman of God to bear children even if she didn’t want them and that abortion and birth control were evil, though admittedly I can’t be for certain if this was the case. What I do know for sure is (according to her) she had a falling out with the church when she divorced her abusive first husband and later when she had me out of wedlock with a different man who wasn’t involved in the church at all—her church refused to baptize me on both grounds. Maybe if a “pro-life” religion hadn’t possibly pressured her bear children regardless of what she wanted—just like the antiabortion movement does now—and then ostracized and abandoned her for having children outside some dumb archaic rules, things might have been better for her. Instead of making me rethink my stance on reproductive rights, this hypothetical scenario has only further solidified it.

Now that we’ve pondered alternative timelines where pro-choice supporters were aborted, I have a follow up question for the antiabortion supporters: What are you doing to ensure that women don’t end up like my mother?

Anti-Abortion Logic: Comparisons to Gardening

Sometime last year in the comment section of a Planned Parenthood Action post, an anti-abortion supporter used gardening as a means to defend the antiabortion idea that “consent to sex = consent to pregnancy.”

“I agree having a child begins with creating a child. You don’t plant a garden and then when a plant starts growing you destroy that seedling. You make a decision to have a garden before you plant the seeds.”

This wasn’t the first time I had seen this particular anti-abortion gardening analogy and it most likely won’t be the last time I see it. Now that my garden is planted for the summer, I remembered I had begun to dissect this analogy last year, which is why I had copied and pasted the now deleted comment.

For Christian anti-abortion supporters, it probably makes sense to use gardening as a means to explain something as the Bible compares people to fruit trees. As a gardener with over a decade of experience, I wonder if this antiabortion gardening analogy was thought up by a supporter that has never tended a garden before. “You don’t plant a garden and then when a plant starts growing you destroy that seedling” implies that gardeners always see their planted seeds and transplants to fruition and therefore women must see their unwanted pregnancy to term and “bear fruit”, but this simply isn’t true. In fact, gardeners kill many living things in their garden, including things they purposely planted.     

Many gardeners make plans to destroy seedlings resulting from seeds they plant. Tiny seeds like carrots and lettuce are difficult—if not damn near impossible—to plant one by one so many gardeners will sprinkle such seeds over the ground without worrying about proper spacing. Gardeners might broadcast larger seeds if there’s a large area to plant. Additionally, not every seed will germinate regardless of size, especially with older seed, and thus some gardeners who are more particular about spacing or start plants indoors may plant more than one seed per hole to better their chances that there will be a plant in that spot. Unfortunately, gardeners end up with crowded seedlings once those seeds that have been planted so closely together germinate. The solution is to remove (and ultimately destroy) seedlings that are too close together until you’re left with seedlings that are at the proper spacing. This is called “thinning” and it is a gardening basic that’s described in gardening books and most packets for seeds that don’t require being started indoors in colder areas with shorter summers.

Sometimes gardeners will plant things with the intention of having those plants stay in the garden and later they come to the realization they actually don’t want it in their garden. For a personal example, a couple years ago I planted moon flowers because I thought they looked pretty on the seed packet picture. The white flowers were indeed pretty, but I discovered its vines are incredibly invasive and they will wrap themselves around anything they can get their little tendrils on. The original moon flowers had gone to seed—meaning they had completed their life cycle and created more seed—and two summers later I’m still ripping out moon flower vines out of my garden plot at the community garden. Yes, I had wanted these flowers for my own viewing pleasure, but I had planted them ignorantly. In order to protect the overall health of my garden and my plans for the vegetables I had planted, I had to destroy these new moonflower seedlings. If I had let them live, they would have continued to wrap their vines around my other plants until they choked the life out of them.  

Some perennial plants grow in clumps and can become overcrowded, resulting in poor plant growth. The solution is “dividing”, which requires digging up the parent plant and dividing it into smaller sections. In plant terms, this can be quite brutal as sometimes the root ball easily can’t be teased apart and parts of the plant have to be hacked away with a knife or spade, but doing so will improve the health of the parent plant. The smaller portions that are removed from the parent plant can be planted elsewhere, making plant division a good way to propagate plants without having to plant more seed. But not every gardener wants the new plants created from the original parent plant. Case in point, I divided my massive and overcrowded chive plant this year, but had no need for more the smaller chive plants that resulted. Instead, I threw the smaller plants into the community garden compost. I essentially did the plant equivalent of how anti-abortion supporters view abortion by ripping smaller plants away from the bigger plant and left the smaller plants to die. 

Even if gardeners tediously plant their seeds one-by-one at the perfect spacing and everything they plant is wanted, gardeners will still have to deal with weeds. Think of weeds as the unplanned pregnancy of gardening. The only true way of avoiding weeds is to not have a garden. For those that don’t want to abstain from gardening, there are several methods to prevent weeds such as physical barriers like mulch, landscaping fabric, and tarps as well as chemicals that either kill weeds or prevent their seed from germinating. But like contraceptives that prevent unplanned pregnancies, these weed preventing methods are not entirely foolproof. Usually at some point, regardless of whether preventative methods are used, gardeners will end up with weeds. Like an unplanned pregnancy, the individual gardener will have to decide if they’re fine with them existing in their garden and taking up precious nutrients or if they’re going to get rid of them by ripping them out of the ground or dousing them in weed killing chemicals.

Gardeners go beyond plants and kill other living things. Look at any garden center that pops up in every big box store during the summer and you’ll find at least half an aisle dedicated to chemicals that kill or deter a wide variety of living creatures and diseases that invade gardens. Much like weeds and unwanted pregnancies, it’s up to the individual to decide on what they feel is the best way to handle them. Some gardeners wish to avoid the more toxic chemicals completely or until natural methods prove ineffective while others have no qualms about immediately spraying their plants with Sevin at the first sign of an infestation. There are times plants become too infested or diseased to be worth saving and it might be best destroy the plant so it doesn’t infect the healthy plants in the garden or the soil they’re growing in. When you’re in a community garden like I am, there are times where several gardeners have the same pest problem, but each will have different ways of dealing with it. Last year, I was pissed that the influx of rabbits had mowed down my pea plants to the ground level yet never sought to destroy them—even affectionately calling any bunny I saw “Usagi” and scolding them—while another gardener came with a BB gun with the intent of extermination.

Perhaps, the only part of this anti-abortion garden analogy that’s accurate is that gardeners make the decision to have a garden before planting. People make the decision to have a garden because they have plans for the fruits, vegetables, and flowers they put into the ground. There isn’t a garden that grows perfectly and gardeners will have to deal with gardening related issues—possibly even ones their own actions have caused. When faced with issues that would interfere with those plans, they have to make decisions on how best to handle them just as women weigh out their options when faced with an unplanned pregnancy or even a wanted pregnancy where problems were detected later.

Gardeners do destroy seedlings—even ones they planted themselves—so maybe using gardening as an argument against abortion wasn’t the best idea.

Anti-Abortion Logic: Covid-19 Will Save Lives (Re-Examined)

A previous blog post dissected the antiabortion idea that “If Covid-19 forces Planned Parenthood to be closed for two weeks, the virus will have SAVED more lives than it has taken.” As antiabortion supporters believe that fetuses are people, they believe the amount of lives that would be saved from abortion related death during this hypothetical shut down would be greater than the total amount of lives Covid-19 has taken.

Over three months after the first reported Covid-19 death, this logic has not held up even with the idea that fetuses are people in mind.

Planned Parenthood’s last annual report states that they performed 345,672 abortions, averaging out to 947 abortions per day. Based on this daily average, Planned Parenthood would perform 13,258 abortions in two weeks.

As of June 3, the CDC reports that that Covid-19 death toll in the US and its affiliated jurisdictions is 106, 202 deaths. Currently, this would average to 1,117 deaths per day. If this average held up, 15,638 people would die from Covid-19.

15,638 (Covid-deaths) – 13,258 (abortions) = 2,380 more people dying from Covid-19 than Planned Parenthood abortion.

Currently at this point in time, Covid-19 is resulting in more deaths than abortion performed by Planned Parenthood. This is assuming that fetuses are people and therefore an abortion results in the death of a person. However, data on abortion-related deaths relates to women who died from complications of having the procedure and not pregnancies that were terminated. As stated in the previous blog, 108 women died from complications from the procedure between 1998 and 2010. The death toll on Covid-19 this year is currently 983x times more than the death toll of abortion related deaths in a 12 year time span. Currently, there hasn’t been a single report of anyone dying from abortion complications this year. Covid-19: 106K+. Abortion: Zero.

Whether you believe fetuses are people or not, closing down Planned Parenthood would not save more lives than the virus has taken.

Anti-Abortion Logic: Consent to Sex is Consent to Pregnancy (now with donuts!)

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Anti-abortion activist, Laura Klassen, made a video ridiculing the pro-choice talking point of sexual consent being separate from consenting to gestating a pregnancy as justification for abortion rights, which was discussed in an earlier Accidental Activist Adventures blog.

“Consent to eating all the donuts is not consent to gaining weight. #Duh #Science #JustSaying”, says the Tweet preceding the video of her sarcastically eating donuts.

The pink wigged activist must have been too busy stuffing her face with sugary sweets in an attempt to “own” pro-choice supporters to remember one very important detail about weight gain:

You can get rid of unwanted weight.

If you eat all the donuts and find you gained weight, you don’t have to carry that weight. There are ways to get rid of it. A couple methods include diet pills and medical procedures like liposuction and lap band surgery.

You know….like how if you have sex and find yourself with an unwanted pregnancy, you don’t have to carry it. There are ways to get rid of it. Strangely enough, you can either take a couple pills or have a medical procedure done to get rid of an unwanted pregnancy.

Alternatively, women have used stairs to get rid of either of these things.

Instead of utterly destroying the pro-choice side of the consent debate, she ended up further supporting the idea she was trying to ridicule in the first place because she forgot how weight works. #JustSaying

Anti-Abortion Logic: Consent to Sex is Consent to Pregnancy

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Consent is a big deal in the pro-choice and women’s rights movements, particularly when it comes to sex and bodily autonomy. Sometimes antiabortion supporters will use consent as a way to deflect a woman’s right to an abortion and the rights over her own uterus by arguing that if a woman consent to sex then she consents to pregnancy. More specifically, that the woman consents to gestating a pregnancy that may result from the sex she consented to—“penetration is consent to gestation”, if you will.

It shouldn’t have to be explained, but consent to sex is not consent to gestating pregnancy. For clarification, this isn’t to say that sex doesn’t carry the risk of pregnancy or that there is zero correlation between sex and pregnancy, which is what many antiabortion supporters assume pro-choice supporters actually believe when they say “consent to sex isn’t consent to pregnancy”. What is truly being argued here is that an agreement to have sex isn’t an extended or implied agreement to carrying any pregnancy to term that may result from having sex.

The definition of consent is “permission for something to happen or agreement to do something”. If the woman does not agree with gestating a pregnancy, then by definition she has not consented to gestating a pregnancy.

The antiabortion movement wants to treat consent to sex like a binding legal contract or a User Agreement with fine print regarding pregnancy that would be glossed over by the average person. “Consent to sex is consent to pregnancy” is basically the antiabortion movement saying “You’re not allowed to have an elective abortion because you accepted any possible pregnancy upon consenting to sex. Did you not read the terms and conditions?” This logic would sound ridiculous if applied anywhere else. For example, telling a lung cancer patient they should be denied treatment if their cancer was the result of smoking—“Smoking is consent to cancer”. Or telling a traffic accident patient they cannot receive treatment for their injuries because it was implied they accepted the risks of driving when they sat behind the wheel.

Sexual consent is an agreement to participate in a sexual activity. One way to describe the rules is with the acronym FRIES:

*Freely Given: “Consenting is a choice you make without pressure, manipulation, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”

*Reversible: “Anyone can change their mind about what they feel like doing, anytime. Even if you’ve done it before and even if you’re both naked in bed.”

*Informed: “You can only consent to something if you have the full story. For example, if someone says they’ll use a condom and they don’t, there isn’t full consent”.

*Enthusiastic: “When it comes to sex, you should only do stuff you want to do, not things that you feel you’re expected to do.”

*Specific: “Saying yes to one thing (like going to the bedroom to make out) doesn’t mean you’ve said yes to others (like having sex).”

Nowhere does it state that engaging in consensual sex means you automatically consent to a pregnancy. But for argument’s sake, if sexual consent is connected to pregnancy consent, then consent to pregnancy should have to abide by sexual consent rules. If consent means you’re willing and wanting to do something rather than being pressured or expected to do something, those things must be present to consent to a pregnancy. If consent is reversible, women can change their mind about a pregnancy. If consent is specific and not implied or assumed, then saying yes to sex doesn’t mean saying yes to pregnancy and women can specify she doesn’t agree to gestate any pregnancy that may result from the sex that’s been mutually agreed upon.

The thing about pregnancy is women can get pregnant from non-consensual sex because biology and reproduction aren’t contingent upon consent. If “consent to sex is consent to pregnancy” then a lack of consent means automatically not consenting to a pregnancy in cases of rape. Right? Well, no. There have been rape victims that willingly chose to carry pregnancies resulting from their assault, indicating that sexual consent and consenting to pregnancy are completely separate from one another.

If a woman doesn’t consent to sex and therefore is raped, wouldn’t that mean a woman—a rape victim—has the right to an abortion should that rape result in a pregnancy she doesn’t consent to? No, according to the antiabortion movement. In the past, much of the antiabortion movement was in favor of abortion exceptions in cases of rape and incest, believing that it was cruel to force victims to go through pregnancy and birth. Currently, antiabortion activists and politicians see exceptions for rape as misguided because abortion is viewed as murder no matter if the circumstances of conception were consensual or not. So antiabortion supporters don’t really care about whether or not a woman gave consent, but are certainly willing to use it to pressure and shame women into gestating unwanted pregnancies.

Antiabortion Logic: Covid-19 Will Save Lives

Soon after a state of emergency was declared due to Covid-19, antiabortion supporters began spreading this statement, particularly on Planned Parenthood posts (which have since been deleted by Planned Parenthood moderators):

“If COVID-19 forces Planned Parenthood to be closed for two weeks, the virus will have SAVED more lives than it has taken.”

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Courtesy of the Alpha Resource Center (located in Watertown, WI) Facebook page

The logic being that a temporarily shut down of Planned Parenthood due to the Covid-19 pandemic would suspend abortion services, resulting in no abortion related deaths during that time period. Antiabortion supporters believe the amount of lives that would be saved from abortion related death during this Covid-19 related shut down would be greater than the total amount of lives Covid-19 has taken.

At the time of this writing, Covid-19 has taken the lives of 3,164 people in the United States this year. (And the numbers are rapidly rising. When I started writing this blog post a week ago, the death toll was 700. A couple days ago when I was finishing up writing this post in Microsoft Word, it was 1,750. The number were 3,156 as I transferred everything to WordPress. It had changed to 3,164 while adding the embedded links.)

How many women have died from abortion complications in 2020 so far? Zero.

How many women have died from abortion complications between 1998-2010? 108. The death toll of Covid-19, which has occurred in a couple months, is almost 30x more than abortion related deaths over a 12 year time period.

While antiabortion supporters may believe that fetuses are people and that abortion is the leading cause of death in America, fetuses aren’t included in death statistics because they’re not considered people. But as far as antiabortion supporters are concerned, fetuses and actual people are exactly the same. The statement that Covid-19 will save more people than it has taken if Planned Parenthood were to be shut down due to the pandemic is only correct if you believe there isn’t a difference between fetal life and actual people.

…or is it?

The hypothetical scenario assumes that Planned Parenthood would be shut down for two weeks. There’s nothing that indicates that Planned Parenthood wouldn’t resume normal operations after that two week shut down. What would stop women who are early in their pregnancies from obtaining abortions after that two week time period is over?

Although Planned Parenthood is the biggest single abortion provider, they only perform a little over a third of the total number of abortion procedures. As the meme specifically targets Planned Parenthood, the other abortion providers that perform the other 2/3 of all abortions aren’t mentioned. Therefore we could assume other abortion providers would be open. What’s stopping women who have the means from going to an independent abortion provider, even in a different state?

Putting a stop to abortion services wouldn’t stop abortions. Abortion methods have existed since sex and rape. The earliest recorded abortion method is in a 1500 BC Egyptian scroll describing a fiber tampon coated with honey and crushed dates meant to induce miscarriage. Besides centuries of unusual and often unsafe ways of ending a pregnancy, women can now go online to buy the pills you would get at an abortion provider for a medication abortion. What would stop desperate women from using methods of self-induced abortion?

Covid-19 may also lead to more unwanted pregnancies, especially if they shut down a provider that gives contraceptives and people weren’t able to stock up on contraceptives. In a perfect scenario people would practice social distancing and not even think about touching each other let alone have unprotected sex, but being quarantined and not being able to go out anywhere has the effect of making people go stir crazy. It’s unrealistic to expect couples that are stuck together at home to not have sex out of boredom and, yes, some might not even worry about protection in the heat of the moment. With restrictions relating to stopping the spread of Covid-19 putting a lot of people out of work, Covid-19 is likely creating financial situations where people cannot afford a child and those people may resort to aborting pregnancies rather than giving birth. What would stop women in lack luster financial situations from having an abortion after Planned Parenthood reopens in the hypothetical two weeks, going to an open abortion provider, or resorting to self-induced and possibly unsafe abortion methods?

The isolating and stress inducing qualities of self-quarantines and lock downs are also creating worst case scenarios for women in domestically abusive relationships, which may include sexual abuse. If women in those situations get pregnant during this pandemic and they want to abort a pregnancy brought on by their abuser, what’s stopping them from waiting for Planned Parenthood to reopen, going to a different provider that’s still open, or doing it themselves?

It seems Covid-19 shutting down Planned Parenthood for a couple weeks would only delay abortions at best (assuming women didn’t decide to go to an independent provider) and, at worst, would create situations that would lead to more unplanned pregnancies and abortions—possibly unsafe abortions.

Antiabortion Logic: Planned Parenthood Gives Out Faulty Birth Control

Possibly to justify the claim that Planned Parenthood is “all about abortions”, many antiabortion supporters claim that Planned Parenthood purposely gives out faulty, low dose birth control so that women will end up with unplanned pregnancies they’ll abort.

There’s a couple possible reasons why antiabortion supporters believe this.

A consumer watch dog group, Consumer Report, released a report on condom performance that stated that two out of the three condoms Planned Parenthood offered ranked low on their list of reliability. The original report appears to be no longer accessible from the Consumer Report website, but information on it is still spread through antiabortion articles and groups today. Two things should be noted about this report: 1. It was initially criticized because they performed only air inflation tests on the condoms, which pumps air into the condoms until they burst. 2. The report was done in 2005. At the time of writing, the no-longer-accessible-report is 15 years old. As usual, antiabortion groups rely on old data to back up their claims.

Guttmacher reports that slightly over half of women who had an abortion stated that they were on birth control at the time of getting pregnant, giving more reason for antiabortion supporters to believe Planned Parenthood is giving out faulty birth control. Antiabortion supporters completely ignore that every type of birth control method—even the best kind—has a failure rate. The CDC reported that 10.2 million women are on birth control pill. Statistically speaking, with a typical failure rate of 7%, up to 714,000 women get pregnant while on the pill. That’s just women on the pill and that number is much higher than the number of women who had an abortion after getting pregnant while using contraceptives.

It’s such a huge falsehood that even Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood employee and current antiabortion activist, stated in a 2015 Facebook post, “There is a widespread myth running around the prolife movement that Planned Parenthood gives out faulty, low dose birth control in order to create more abortions. Now, I will be the first person to come out and expose the poor practices within Planned Parenthood, but this is not one of them. Planned Parenthood gives out the exact same type of birth control that you would receive at any pharmacy.” This is a woman that attacks Planned Parenthood every chance she gets and even she says the idea that Planned Parenthood is distributing low dose birth control to make more abortions is bullshit. Unfortunately, she’s also a woman with a sketchy, constantly changing story about why she left Planned Parenthood and encourages antiabortion crisis pregnancy centers to misrepresent themselves to getting potential, abortion-minded clients to believe that they offer abortions or that they are an abortion clinic so she’s not exactly reliable for the truth. But it turns out, Abby—despite the untruthfulness in her history and the work she does now—is actually telling the truth on this one as it matches to what I can personally attest from my own experience with Planned Parenthood.

A little background: In 2007, I started getting reproductive health from a family planning clinic called Western Dairyland Women’s Health Center. In 2014, their two locations were acquired by Essential Health Clinic, which had been around for over 40 years. Essential Health Clinic ended up merging with Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin this August and their remaining locations officially became Planned Parenthood health centers.

I had gotten a birth control refill right after the merger was announced, but before it went into effect and the clinic was still Essential Health Clinic. The next time I needed a refill, I would have to sign up as a new patient of Planned Parenthood (though I technically wasn’t a new patient of that clinic and staff. It was kind of weird.)

During the appointment I signed up as a new patient of Planned Parenthood, I was asked numerous questions regarding my birth control:

*Is your birth control working? (No pregnancies in the time I’ve been sexually active so “Yes”.)

*Are you at risk for an unplanned pregnancy? (What do you mean?) Are you taking your birth control properly? (Same time every day. I also have condoms and Plan B just in case)

*Do you want to become pregnant in the future? (Oh Hell no!)

*Do you want to stay with your current birth control method? (Yes. Its working!)

*Do you need condoms or Plan B with your birth control refill today? (Good on condoms, but I think my stash of Plan B expired so I’ll take that. Side note: I wish I had gotten condoms to compare with the stash I got from Essential Health Clinic.)

The questions and the multiple offerings of birth control methods seemed to indicate Planned Parenthood was about preventing unplanned pregnancies rather than encouraging it—which is what the staff did under the Essential Health Clinic banner.

Essential Health Clinic had prescribed me a birth control pill called Aubra as well as stocked me up on Plan B brand emergency contraception (something I rarely ever used, but had on hand just in case). When I officially became a patient of Planned Parenthood, I was given Aubra EQ and EContra One-Step as my birth control pills and emergency contraception respectively. The change in brands might convince antiabortion supporters that Planned Parenthood does give out defective birth control pills, but years of personal experience have taught me that name brand isn’t important with medication birth control. Since 2007, I’ve been on several brands of birth control pills. I started off on a brand I don’t remember the name to until being switched to Lutera. It was explained to me that sometimes the companies that manufacture these pills are taken over by other companies and the medications are rebranded as something else, but the pills themselves stay the same. I was switched to Aubra a few years later. Now I’m on Aubra EQ, which is made by the same company that made my Aubra pills (Afaxys). The important thing is not the name of the pills, but what’s they’re made of. I had an empty pack of my old pills and an expired Plan B packet to compare to the new medications I got from Planned Parenthood.

Both Aubra and Aubra EQ have .1 mg of Levonorgestrel and .02 mg of Ethinyl. Both Plan B and EContra One-Step have 1.5 mg of Levonorgestrel. The pills I was given at Planned Parenthood are basically exactly the same as the pills I’ve been on for years to avoid an unplanned pregnancy, which has so far been successful. In fact, Afaxys states on their website that Aubra EQ is comparable to my previous birth control pills Aubra and Lutera and that EContra One-Step is comparable to several brands of 1.5mg Levonorgestel emergency contraceptives including Plan B.

Here’s a couple of pictures showing the old and new birth control pills and emergency contraception.

 

The idea that Planned Parenthood is dishing out defective birth control medication to create more abortions appears to be nothing more than antiabortion propaganda to get people to believe Planned Parenthood is about making money on abortion.

Life Chain: A Sad Display

The Life Chain is an antiabortion vigil held on the first Sunday in October. My first experience with the Life Chain occurred on trip with my husband where we had to pass through Wisconsin Dells. At the time, I didn’t understand it was a nationwide event and wondered why there would be antiabortion protests in a city that lacked an abortion clinic. I don’t believe I even knew the event was also held in my town until antiabortion supporters recycled the Life Chain signage to regularly protest the women’s clinic I was a patient at. For the past three years, I had painstakingly made signage out of black poster board and counter-protested the antiabortion supporters that gather on the bridge every October.

Under normal circumstances I would have shared my experiences counter-protesting and how my mere presence irritated these people like a grain of sand in a plain oyster or a delicate vagina. However, I was unable to make it to this year’s Life Chain due to my physical and mental health. Counter-protesting the Life Chain is already an anxiety inducing event that drains me both physically and mentally and it wouldn’t have been fair to put my already exhausted self through that. I felt guilty doing so, but I decided to put my health over antiabortion supporters that had an ax to grind and a need to feel good about themselves.

The Jackson County chapter of the Wisconsin Right to Life still carried on with their hour long vigil and later posted several pictures from the event. And what a pathetic display it was! Of course, I mostly mean this as a women’s clinic patient and pro-choice supporter that had personally experienced and witnessed some of these individuals with these same signs harassing women outside the BRF Essential Health Clinic for over two years right up until its last day of operation. This display does absolutely nothing to serve the needs of the women and children they so adamantly claim to care about. This display only serves the egos of antiabortion supporters by making them believe they’re saints of human life for standing outside a mere hour when actually they’re flamboyant peacocks patting themselves on the back for doing next to nothing under the guise of actually doing something.

But there’s another reason why this particular Life Chain was pathetic: it didn’t follow the rules.

Life Chain principles state, “Maximize your Life Chain. Space your participants up to 100 feet apart. Only 53 people will cover a full mile; 215 will cover 5 miles; 530 will cover 10 miles.” According to Google maps, the length of the bridge is about 1056 feet. 10 people could create a chain that covers most of the length of the bridge. There appears to be 30 or so people in the pictures, which would have created a chain that would extend from the bottom of the bridge to the stoplight near the Walmart.

Instead of one long chain, the pictures show each side of the bridge had a chain. There still would have been enough people to make two chains that would be at least almost a third of a mile long, which would be from the bottom of the bridge to about the Co-Op Credit Union, but neither chain reaches the other side of the bridge!

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Two uneven chains that don’t even reach the end of the bridge.

Rather than being evenly spaced in order to maximize the chain, most stand in pairs or small groups. It does appear some of these people are engaged in conversation or grouped together so they can talk to each other, which would be consistent with Life Chains I have counter-protested. This would go against the principles: “Insist on a true ‘prayer chain,’ free of frivolity, idle chatter, and interaction with motorists.”

The Life Chain principles also state, “Half of our signs should be Abortion Kills Children—Life Chain’s foremost life-saving message.” One picture shows about 23 signs being held. Granted, the pictures aren’t the best, but those signs are rather distinctive with the bold, royal blue lettering and are easy to spot. I count about three or four of those particular signs in the one picture.

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So many signs. So few are the bold “ABORTION KILLS CHILDREN” sign that Life Chain principles state should be featured predominantly. 

Additionally, “The publicized Life Chain time period is 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. in each time zone, but each Coordinator may adjust the time to meet local needs. Please hold a 90-minute Chain if at all possible.” The Facebook page for the Jackson County Right to Life has been posting a Life Chain event every year since 2015 and all of them have been listed as an hour long. At first I thought it might have been a limitation regarding Facebook Event pages, but found you can set times to half-hour intervals. Also, the event page for the “Unplanned” movie showing is set for 6:30, proving that the group is capable of setting events on half hour marks. What they seem to be incapable of is holding these Life Chains for the 90 minute length time.

It’s one thing for a pro-choice supporter like myself to think that this vigil is terrible, but it’s a whole different matter to be terrible based on the values set by the people that created the vigil. Hopefully my health will be better next year so I can counter-protest the sad spectacle myself.

Anti-Abortion Logic: Men should have a say in abortion decisions

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Anti-abortion supporters have long stated that men that help create pregnancies should have a say in pregnancy decisions, usually alongside the old saying about sex “It takes two to tango”. More specifically, that those men should have the say in a woman’s decision to have an abortion.

Men are already given special treatment in the anti-abortion movement. They’re not told to keep their dick behind a closed pants zipper while holding an aspirin between their knees. Rarely are they shamed for having premarital sex and/or having sex when they weren’t ready to bear the responsibility of child-rearing and certainly never in the same capacity as women are. A man is given even more special treatment when he doesn’t want the woman he got pregnant to have an abortion while the woman’s wish to terminate an unwanted pregnancy becomes even more irrelevant to the anti-abortion movement than it already is. In order to drive the idea that men should have a say in pregnancy options, these men are made to be anti-abortion martyrs through things like memes that say “Her ‘choice’ was my child”, protest signs that say “Men Regret Lost Fatherhood”, and emotionally charged videos of men pleading outside of abortion clinics to the women they got pregnant not to abort her pregnancies.

But how much does the anti-abortion movement truly believe that men should have a say in abortion decisions?

George Takei’s Facebook page posted a story regarding a situation where the husband wanted to have a say in his wife’s abortion. In a now deleted Reddit post, a woman asked for advice:

“I have no idea what to do. I found out our baby’s gender today, and I had to beg my husband to come to my ultrasound. He didn’t want to but he gave in and said he would come. I knew he wanted a son so I worried he’d be upset but I didn’t think something like this would happen. As soon as the doctor said it was a girl, my husband’s whole demeanor changed. And he just went silent. And then he made me leave my appointment early. I tried to object but he grabbed by arm really hard and told me we were going home. I had to lie about why I was leaving. In the car, he was very agitated and I asked him why and he told me he doesn’t want a girl so I’ll get an abortion and well try again for a boy. I told him I’m not going to do that and he said “Yeah okay we’ll see.” I told him he can’t force me and he told me “you have two options honey you can have your girl and get pregnant again right after and pray that it’s a boy or you can do it the easy way and get an abortion right now.” I just started to cry and he shushed me and kept squeezing my thigh painfully tight. He’s been in a bad mood all night since but we haven’t talked anymore about it. I know this all sounds crazy and I know that it is but I’m just lost on what to do. I don’t know why he would put me in this position. I can only hope that he calms down and lets it go but I don’t think that will happen. My friends would never understand and I just can’t bring myself to talk to my father or brothers about this. I don’t know what I should be doing.”

George Takei’s Facebook has its fair share of conservative minded users that are quick to speak their opinion. Yet there didn’t seem to be a single comment rushing to the defense of the husband to demand his rights in pregnancy option-based decisions and how men should have an equal say.

Perhaps this is because the now-deleted Reddit post paints a perfect picture of something both anti-abortion and pro-choice supporters are against: coerced/forced abortion. Googling “forced abortion” or “coerced abortion” will yield some results from anti-abortion organizations relating to stories of women who were forced to have abortions. Heartbeat International, one of the biggest networks of anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers, has reading material available for sale called “Preventing Forced Abortion”. The man in charge of the protest at the now-closed Essential Health Clinic of Black River Falls claimed that he would protest abortion clinics and see women being dragged inside against their will.

The “rights of the father” is only relevant to the anti-abortion movement only when a specific situation has arisen. It’s like how some arrogant heterosexuals insist on Straight Pride parades, but only during the month of June when confronted with LGBTQ+ people and rainbow flags. Like the idea of Straight Pride, this idea that men should have the say in pregnancy option decisions is brought up to invalidate a specific group of people—in this case, women who want an abortion while the men that got them pregnant does not.

But if a man wanted an abortion against the woman’s wishes, the anti-abortion movement is silent until they need to lament about instances where those same women were dragged to abortion clinics unwillingly by the same men that wanted the say in whether or not they have an abortion.  When the woman wants to carry a pregnancy to term like the anti-abortion movement wants, it’s not about what the man wants. It’s one of the few times the anti-abortion movement agrees that women should make their own decisions regarding their own pregnancies without interference from other people.

Yes, coerced abortion is most definitely wrong. However, its a bit hypocritical to campaign for men having equal say or even the say in abortion decisions in order to force women into options they do not want, but then turn around to say forcing women into options they do not want is wrong when the woman is being coerced into having an abortion against her will.

Analyzing Pro-Life Headlines: “New York’s Abortion Law Means on Demand Any Time Before Birth”

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Earlier this year, New York passed the Reproductive Health Act, updating its abortion laws that had been in place even before Roe v. Wade determined abortion rights for women across the country. As expected with any law that doesn’t roll back on abortion rights, the anti-abortion movement threw a tantrum over it. Six months later, anti-abortion supporters still falsely argue that it allows for infanticide and “abortion on demand” right up until birth.

Previously, New York allowed abortions up to 24 weeks gestation and anything after was banned except when necessary to save the life of the mother. It didn’t cover women with nonviable pregnancies or women with health problems that were worsened by pregnancy yet wouldn’t kill her. With the Reproductive Health Act, elective abortions up until 24 weeks remained unchanged, but added exceptions for “absence of fetal viability” and “when necessary to protect a woman’s life or health” that would need a medical provider’s approval.

Anti-abortion supporters and articles claim that it is this inclusion of the mother’s health that makes it possible to get an abortion on demand up until birth. The law itself doesn’t explicitly define “health” and Doe v. Bolton upheld that “health” includes psychological and emotional health. Therefore, it is argued that women in New York can abuse a loophole in the law by claiming emotional or psychological stress and get approval for an abortion.

We could argue there aren’t throngs of women who wake up one morning in their third trimester that their pregnancy is unwanted and would go as far as to manipulate abortion laws to their advantage because they are past the point of legally being able to terminate their pregnancies. But let’s just assume somewhere in the state of New York there is a woman attempting to get a late term abortion under the “health of the mother” exception by faking a mental illness. Would she be able to obtain that abortion as easily as the anti-abortion movement claims? Not exactly, for several reasons.

  1. It might raise red flags with medical staff

The hypothetical scenario anti-abortion supporters have imagined involves a woman 24 or more weeks into her pregnancy going to a doctor and demanding a specific and  invasive procedure not normally used to treat depression before pursuing or even refusing other treatment options. It’s about as suspicious as a person coming into the emergency room demanding prescription pain killers to relieve their pain instead of taking higher doses of Ibuprofen or aspirin first.

  1. Viability and Delivery

If a woman seeking an abortion after 24 weeks gestation is able to get approved for an abortion for mental health reasons, there’s a reasonable chance abortion wouldn’t be used to terminate the pregnancy.

Jen Villaviencio, an OB-GYN in the Midwest who provides abortions, explained that “if a mother’s life is at risk and she is pregnant with a viable fetus, most often delivery is pursued, not abortion. The care becomes about saving both the life of the mother and the fetus.”

“Viable” refers to the point where the fetus is able to survive outside the womb, with or without artificial support. Most experts agree this is around 24 weeks gestation, which is when New York cuts off elective abortions and any abortions after this point require a doctor’s approval. Therefore, assuming the pregnancy itself is healthy and the fetus is developing normally with no defects, the hypothetical woman we’re talking about is carrying a viable fetus. If inducing a natural delivery or performing a C-section didn’t pose any major risks based on other factors, then those options could be pursued over an abortion.    

  1. How mental health issues are treated

The anti-abortion idea that a woman can fake a mental illness and the doctor will be like “Okay. Here’s your abortion!” is not only a ridiculous theory, but an insulting one that shows how little the anti-abortion movement knows about mental health and how it is treated.

Depression isn’t “being sad” (and, yes, I’ve seen it described that way by some anti-abortion supporters in regards to RHA.) It’s a complex mood disorder that often, if not always, requires work to figure out the best treatment plan that will alleviate symptoms without creating new ones. In the past two years, I’ve been on four different medications in varying dosages before I finally found the right combination that not only works with my brain, but doesn’t make me want to puke out my guts and faint from dizziness. Even then, I have to make follow up appointments to check if they’re still working, inform my doctor if they ever stop working or made me feel worse, and make adjustments when and if they are needed. If it was discovered I had suicidal thoughts I planned to act upon, I could be placed in a mental health facility for up to 72 hours under Wisconsin’s Chapter 51 law. Anyone I’ve ever known seeking treatment for depression has ran the gauntlet through this same hit-or-miss process to find out what actually works for treating their depression.

Why would a pregnant woman with no previous documented mental health history be able to bypass this process for treating a complicated illness that sometimes requires long-term treatment just because they are seeking abortion services? Mental illness is not something that can be cured instantaneously with a single use treatment or procedure and any doctor faced with a woman asking for an abortion late into her pregnancy to cure her depression should be aware of this.

  1. It still needs a doctor’s approval

Anti-abortion supporters talk about this loophole as if it guarantees that a woman will get an abortion if she just asks on the grounds of depression. The reality is the woman needs the approval for a medically indicated abortion from a medical provider, who can refuse approval  if he or she found it unnecessary for treatment or even detrimental to the woman’s health health. It’s not exactly “abortion on demand until birth” when after a certain point the entire decision hinges on the expressed approval of a specific person. Additionally, several New York laws also allow for religious refusals to provide abortion care, which the RHA does not interfere with.

But that’s between a woman and her doctor…as it should be.

5. The number of doctors that can perform third trimester abortions

If a woman heading into her third trimester gets approval for a medically indicated abortion, there has to be a doctor qualified to perform a third trimester abortion. How many doctors can perform that procedure? Currently, there are a total of four doctors that openly practice abortions into the third trimester.

Not four doctors in the state of New York, but four doctors in the entire country spread across three clinics in Colorado, Maryland, and New Mexico. For women living in New York’s most famous city, New York City, its an almost 4 1/2 hour drive to get to the closest clinic in Bethesda, Maryland.

If there aren’t any doctors in New York that can perform the procedure then the woman may have to travel to another state to have it done. If money or travel is an issue, an abortion may not be possible for our hypothetical “woman in the later stages of pregnancy faking mental illness to obtain approval for a medically indicated abortion”.

 

It is within the realm of possibility that women could exploit a perceived loophole in the Reproduction Health Act and fake a mental illness to obtain a post-viability point abortion, but it seems unlikely  with several road blocks a woman would have to go through in order to do so. At the very least, it likely isn’t as easy as the anti-abortion crowd makes it out to be.