The anti-choice movement doesn’t care about abortion. That may seem like a bizarre claim, but two stories highlight how sound it is.
We start in Colorado, where
For six years, Colorado has been involved in one of the largest birth control experiments to date: offering no-cost long-acting birth control, like Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) and implants, to teens and poor women.
The results are in, and they are just what any good liberal would predict. The New York Times reports, “the birthrate among teenagers across the state plunged by 40 percent from 2009 to 2013, while their rate of abortions fell by 42 percent, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.”
In addition to fewer teen moms, there was also a decline in unplanned pregnancies for single women who were younger than 25.
This is what the anti-choice claims they want: fewer abortions, and fewer babbies killed. The IUD and pill, after all, work by suppessing ovulation and thus prevent fertilization from ever occurring. This is why people on contraception “kill” fewer babbies than those who aren’t.
If the anti-choice movement was about limiting abortion, you’d expect them to be overjoyed at this, and eager to encourage it.
Defeated H.B. 1194 would have provided $5 million in tax dollars to continue the program, which gave low-income girls as young as age 14 long-acting contraceptive implants and intrauterine devices (IUDs) — for free and without their parents’ consent.
The bill’s defeat “is truly a victory for women and girls in Colorado,” said Jennifer Kraska, executive director of the Colorado Catholic Conference in Denver. “I think it was an eye-opener for a lot of people for Colorado to say this is not where we need to be spending our money if we want to impact the lives of women and girls.”
Huh. Instead, they’re overjoyed the program was dismantled and that more babbies will die.
Next up, we have adoption. This is the anti-choice movement’s favorite answer to abortion: simply give birth to the kid, and a long line up of families will be eager to take it from there. So the anti-choice movement should be doing everything they can to encourage adoption.
As governor of Florida in 2001, Bush had the opportunity to test his theory on public shaming. He declined to veto a very controversial bill that required single mothers who did not know the identity of the father to publish their sexual histories in a newspaper before they could legally put their babies up for adoption. He later signed a repeal of the so-called “Scarlet Letter” law in 2003 after it was successfully challenged in court.
The anti-choice-friendly legislature of Florida thought it was a good idea to shame some people giving children up for adoption, which would discourage people from putting their kid up for adoption, and encourage more abortions. Again, this isn’t what you’d expect if the anti-choice movement was about abortion. But if that’s true, then what is it about?
One of the reasons more young women are giving birth out of wedlock and more young men are walking away from their paternal obligations is that there is no longer a stigma attached to this behavior, no reason to feel shame. Many of these young women and young men look around and see their friends engaged in the same irresponsible conduct. Their parents and neighbors have become ineffective at attaching some sense of ridicule to this behavior. There was a time when neighbors and communities would frown on out of wedlock births and when public condemnation was enough of a stimulus for one to be careful.
Creating shame and stigma around sex is critically important for religion.
All patriarchal religions are hell-bent on maintaining the gender binary, which is the social construct that defines sex and gender as the two distinct and rigidly fixed categories of male and female. It is a critical component of the strategy to keep people shamed and guilt-ridden. In my book The God Virus, I talk about how guilt and shame are the currency by which people stay infected with religious ideas about sexuality. What would happen to most religions if shame were not part of sexuality? Without shame, the notion of virginity, for example, would be meaningless. Remove that shame, and it becomes clear that men are programmed to protect a daughter’s virginity as if her body were his property and not her own.
Abortion is just one part of this shame cycle; those “crisis pregnancy centres” aren’t there to prevent abortions, they’re there to bring you to God. Workers at one of the largest CPC chains in the USA have to take this pledge:
The primary mission of the center is to share the truth and love of Jesus Christ in conjunction with a ministry to those facing pregnancy related issues. The pregnancy center is an outreach ministry of Jesus Christ through His church. Therefore, the pregnancy center, embodied in its volunteers, is committed to presenting the gospel of our Lord to women with crisis pregnancies — both in word and in deed.
The anti-choice movement only uses abortion as a tool for shaming people into religion. They don’t actually care about the unborn.