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They Want Women As Mothers or Dead

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Because I don’t have enough things to be furious about this year, a bill was introduced to the Ohio house this week that would completely ban abortion.

I am furious for a lot of reasons, that many people more articulate than me can do a better job of explaining. But there is one very particular thing about the anti-abortion movement that pisses me off: the branding.

They are so, so good at taking words that sound nice, phrases that sound sweet and friendly and things no rational person could possibly want to argue with, and applying them to ideas and ideals that are abhorrent. Take the name “Right to Life”, to pick a totally random example. I mean, we’re all supposed to be for people’s rights. Life is a gift, a blessing, the only thing you have that’s really yours. Anything called something like that has to naturally be in everyone’s best interest.

Or take the crisis pregnancy centers. All they want to do is help the poor women and their babies, and, as a billboard near me reminds us “The best adventures are unplanned”!

Do y’all see just how good anti-choicers are at emotional manipulation?

And then there’s this nice government representative:

Rep. Nino Vitale, an Urbana Republican and joint sponsor, characterized the absence of exceptions for the mother’s life as a “save them both” bill. 

Oh my gosh, if only someone had thought that maybe, in a precarious pregnancy, the ideal outcome would be for both parties to survive! The reason this doesn’t always happen is just laziness, I guess shrug emoji.

Let’s take a look at that idea, the right to life. Your life is yours, your body is yours, and even in cases where it could be argued that you’re really not using it (organ donation following brain death is optional after all), no one is going to force you to give up any of it on the chance it might save another. Your right to your life is sacrosanct. Unless, according to Rep. Vitale, you’re pregnant.

My personal inclination, and I think this is true of a lot of people I tend to agree with, is to stick to the facts, the figures, the numbers. Logic will win and the facts will set us free. If only everyone knew more about how pregnancy worked, or how common miscarriages really are or, or, or. Cultural conservatives have no such qualms, and I’m sorry, and believe me, it makes me so sad to say this and mean it, but. What sticks with you longer, a list of stats or something catchy like “abortion stops a beating heart”?

Pro-choice people need to stop being delicate, oh goodness we can’t argue against life, and go for the throat. You’re not trying to change the minds of people who are anti-choice, you’re trying to force them to reveal themselves to the people who think about abortion in vague ‘oh it’s not very nice and I’m a nice person’ terms, who’ve never really thought it through. For too long anti-choicers have defined the terms, had all the catchy slogans, gone for the heart instead of the head. I completely understand not wanting to sink to their level.

…BUT if you do, may I offer some suggestions? Here are some mean, emotionally manipulative things to ask anti-choicers.

“How is a bill that prevents women from receiving life-saving medical treatment ‘pro-life’?”

“People are better at doing jobs that they like. Since parenthood is the most important job there is, why don’t you think parents should be volunteers?”

“But wouldn’t an abortion ban force women who’ve had the tragedy of a miscarriage go through a criminal investigation? How could you do that to them?”

“How could you risk letting a mother die and letting the children she already has grow up without her?”

“Don’t you think children do better when their mother is alive?”

“If the choice of whether or not to have a child is taken from women, how can any child be truly certain that their mother wanted them? Don’t you think it’s important that children know they are loved?”

“You’re not choosing life, you’re prioritizing potential a life over an existing one”

“Why do you only want women to be mothers or dead?”

I want to make it as clear as possible that the so-called ‘Pro-life’ people are choosing a life. They are making a choice, and they are trying to make that choice for all of us.


Header image by Celia Yost.

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