I meant to check out from the blogging world this weekend. A good friend was visiting and there was going to be drinking and gossiping and political discussion. Then I logged onto the computer Sunday to check my work email as I was waiting to hear if I was able to get a few women some financial aid. Anyone that’s reading this probably knows what I saw when I logged in. Dr. George Tiller had been assassinated in church and the pro-choice and pro-life movements were in the requisite shit storm. Pro-choice blogs demanding accountability, refusing to let the meme that it was one radical take control, throwing up screenshots of anti-choice organizations websites with inflammatory rhetoric and pictures of Dr. Tiller. Highlighting that these organizations have been attacking him for years and publishing his personal information such as his home address and church address as well as where his kids and grandkids went to school.
Anti-choice organizations were quickly decrying the murder they had been hoping for and trying to purge themselves of any and all responsibility (except for Randall Terry who was unapologetic in his hate). They issued perfunct statements and hoped that their more “moderate” members would step up to remind the world that they’re not ALL like this. I partially agree with that. not all pro-lifers are like that. I’ve met those that don’t protest or call women names or suggest they are going to hell. They just don’t get abortions and will often vote for pro-life politicians. Both of which are their right. However, the majority of the organizations…the ones who speak for the “pro-life” movement, do not stop there. They want a real fight, they want to cause hurt and pain and humiliation. They stand on the side walk and scream at women, they set up crisis pregnancy centers to trick others out of their legal right to an abortion. They are engaged in domestic terrorism in that they have created a culture of shame and fear around an abortion that is enough to keep people from getting one, or doctors from being willing to perform them. If a bunch of Christian Scientists were standing outside hospitals harassing those who enter it for getting medical treatment do you think it would be as acceptable to attempt to scare people away from their right to penicillin?
So for all those that claim that all pro-life people are not like that, i say fine but you need to understand the movement you have hitched your wagon too. Just because you may not agree with it all does not mean it doens’t happen and can’t be viewed as an accurate picture of your movement. I identify as a feminist. Are all feminists racist, cissexist or anti-sex work? Absolutely not, but there is a decent enough portion of the movement that is and we are especially steeped in less than sunny beginnings in regards to equal rights for ALL women. When a radfem blogger is incredibly hurtful and mean I don’t say “don’t paint me with their brush” because by sharing a label with them I have already painted myself with their brush, my job is to work within my movement to take control or to leave. I don’t get to wash my hands of it. The same with the “not like them” pro lifers. They are content to throw that label out there but that means they are allowing these huge anti-choice operations to represent them.
It all just makes me sad. Reading accounts from Dr. Tillers patients make me even more sad. These are women who are making the decision whether to take the child off life support now or keep them on for 10 more weeks just to have them pass anyway. If a child was outside of the womb and hooked up to life support do you think anyone would be screaming at a parent for making the decision to take them off to better everyones life and experience? I just don’t know if we can win. We live in a world of nuance, where everyone is different and every experience deserves to be heard and understood, where even if a said straw woman exists who gets abortions every third wednesday, that should not deny others who desperately need an abortion, and do not enter into the decision lightly. Meanwhile, the other side has angry words like the “holocaust” and “murder” and have no problem saying a women will get an abortion a half hour before she gives birth because she has a pain in her foot. They ignore laws and reality and if you try to mention them they tell you that you’re wrong. We can’t fight against that. At least not if we fight on their terms, which they consistently get us to do. I don’t know the answer and I fear we’re just at the beginning of something scary and angry and evil and I’m just feeling pretty lost.