Youth for “Life” Argue “Women ARE Incubators!”

In front of the Supreme Court on January 22, 2010, I waded into the crowds of anti-abortion kids (followed by photographers and video, including the clip below featured in the Washington Post coverage) on a mission. I wanted to know what and how they think; how they are being told to think, and challenge them.   In every group, there was that one or two who listened, and looked me in the eye, and communicated that they had never heard anyone say what I said, and were intrigued and thinking.

I’ve met enough people who were once Christian fundamentalists, and even people who participated in these fascist social movements, to know some can be peeled away if we struggle with them over what reality is, and don’t give up on them and their capacity to understand the world and transform themselves and change, even dramatically.

Washington Post Video of the March for Life

Gagged by "Life"

Gagged for "Life"

Across the country, the symbolic protest of youth wearing red tape over their mouths with the word LIFE is said to unify the message, and show silent protest.  A pro-choice friend watching this in Houston outside Planned Parenthood earlier in the week, seeing them for the first time, wrote

We are a hell of a lot more interesting than they are.  We have facts and we can speak.   They have no facts and they are gagged. If they do this again, I’m making a sign that says, WOMEN WILL NOT BE GAGGED!

Until I was in this huge crowd of people, all with tape over their mouths, I did not realize how goofy that was.  It was hard to imagine.  Once we were in this crowd, watching them act like a bunch of people who were hypnotized, it reminded me of Jim Jones.  Several times I got a really creepy feeling.  I wish I had taken a picture of that horrible guy with the doll impaled on the pitchfork.

I took my own sign into the anti’s gathering around us.  “Abortion is NOT Murder…Fetuses are NOT Children…Women are NOT Incubators!”  I asked what they thought.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  Women ARE incubators, they argues.  No irony there.

Here are some of the claims I heard repeatedly in the crowd, some from dozens of youth:

“Thousands (or millions) of women die each year in the U.S. from abortions.

Ah no, the death rate from abortion is less than one per million abortions in the U.S.  The serious complication rate is .03 percent.

“You don’t know, because you don’t do your research.  Ambulances leave abortion clinics every day with dead women, and it’s all covered up because you all have the money and control the media.”

Where did you learn that?

“It’s true.  Just look on the internet.”

Oops.  I did.  Look for comprehensive research on the incident of abortion and its safety at the Guttmacher Institute. Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States.

Of course, you can read the claims of the anti-abortion movement all over the internet on sites such as Circle of Prayer, which gives no numbers, but claims that women receiving abortions are “raped, sexually assaulted, mutilated and killed.”  That would scare you if you thought the stories were true.  They are not.

“Women regret their abortions.” Thousands of kids carried signs saying that.

Most women feel relief over ending an unwanted pregnancy.  They might be sad or joyful, or wish their lives were different.  The ones who feel regret have had to live through decades of propaganda from the anti-abortion movement calling abortion murder, telling women what to feel.

“You are killing babies.” These kids are told they are “survivors of the abortion holocaust” which has “killed 50,000,000 babies since 1973.”

A fetus is not a baby.  It has no capacity to live independently of a woman’s body.  When it’s born, it becomes a baby, with a separate respiratory, nervous, circulatory and digestive system.”  A fetus is “living” only because it’s inside a woman, and has no independent social existence until it’s born.  Women — who are alive — must have control over their own bodies, and be able to determine whether they will carry each pregnancy.

See  “The Facts of the Matter: Fetuses Are NOT Babies, Abortion Is NOT Murder, and There Is No Such Thing as “Partial-Birth Abortion”

If you didn’t want to get pregnant, you shouldn’t have had sex.” and the variant:

“If you get pregnant, it’s your fault.”

Outside the abstinence-only classes a lot of these kids are forced to take, and probably right after those classes for a lot of kids, this idiocy flies in the face of reality.  People have sex the world over for many reasons other than conception; admittedly, in a male-dominated world, women don’t always of even often get to set the terms for sexual relations. Birth control fails, often, especially when you’re young and you’ve been lied to about how bodies work, and many young women are bullied into not using it to keep the affection of boyfriends.

Why does this have anything to do with “fault?”  Nearly half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended.  But pregnancy only happens to the woman, even if she does have a supportive partner, and it becomes her responsibility, primarily to raise children.   This is why the woman must have the ability to decide, for each pregnancy, whether or not to bear a child.

There is a lot more here to mine, and much work to be done on answering the enforced idiocy these kids are being fed.  The future of humanity, including more than half of it, depends on this.

What do you think?  Let’s have a conversation about how to answer these students.

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  1. #1 by Reynolds on January 26, 2010 - 5:56 pm

    Hi Debra. Congratulations on your actions! Obama had said to be nice to right to lifers in his book, and of course that made me mad. Its one thing to be nice to them and another to start catering to them as I think he is now doing. But I think if you can talk to them and hold your ground you can convert some of them but it is more important to protect women who are trying to access abortion. I am glad that you were part of the pro choice presence on Roe v Wade day! Too often pro choicers say let them scream- everybody knows they are crazy. Well, now that their insanity is about to enshrined in health care “reform” ! I think grassroots pro choice activism is more important as most politicians are too ready to sell women out to these bullies.

  2. #2 by Debra on January 26, 2010 - 9:55 pm

    Thanks for the thoughts and support, Reynolds!

  3. #3 by Leslie Telesca on January 27, 2010 - 10:32 am


    What do you think about Tim Tebows Superbowl ad? I have written to CBS and will boycott the channel but was wondering how you feel abou it

  4. #4 by Debra on January 27, 2010 - 4:33 pm

    Thanks for bringing that ad into the discussion. Tim and Focus on the Family are putting $2.8 million into influencing how the fans think about whether women should have any choice about continuing a pregnancy. Some pro-choice groups are objecting to the ad on the basis that “political” topics shouldn’t be part of the game. But that’s not the way to argue this.
    Focus on the Family is wrong on every single social and political question I can think of. Having their opinion injected into the body politic means we have to deliver a louder answer: women need to have the option of terminating a pregnancy for whatever reason.
    But of course, we aren’t “in league” with the NFL.

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