Rape Culture Round-up

June 24, 2013 § 3 Comments

Fearful woman

Well, folks, it’s June 24, 2013, and I’d like to welcome you to a little feature I call “Rape Culture Round-up.”  Progress on the War on Women front?  Let’s just say any moves have been lateral at best, rather than forward.

We can start with this little gem from conservative talking head Laura Ingraham.  When discussing how Plan B (emergency contraception) will likely soon be available over the counter, she opines thusly: ” It’s a good deal for pedophiles, a good deal for people who commit statutory rape against young girls.”  Right.  Because rapists and pedophiles are FIRST AND FOREMOST concerned about the consequences of their actions for their victims.  And the mentality of a rapist is such that he’s worried if a pregnancy results from the rape, he might have to stick around and raise the kid.  Let’s completely ignore how the availability of Plan B (aka the “morning after” pill) might actually help or empower a person who’s the victim of a rape or pedophilia.  Don’t mention that, Laura.  Instead, let’s introduce one of my favorite techniques (employed by both sides of the debate, by the way) the…drumroll, please…the false comparison.  

“These girls can’t get their ears pierced, they can’t take an Advil at school without parental permission. Yet, they can go into a pharmacy in this Brave New World of women’s equality and — quote — reproductive health — and get a morning after pill…I think it empowers men who want to abuse women.”

Allow me to enlighten this debate by sharing that while girls can’t take an Advil at school without parental consent, they also can’t take the morning after pill at school with or without parental consent.  If and when girls CAN go into a pharmacy and buy the morning after pill without consent, so, too, can they buy Advil without consent.  I’m not sure Ingraham understands this, but a school is a different place from a pharmacy.  They operate differently and under different rules. It’s complicated, I know.

Here’s another little factoid for those fans of false comparisons.  Girls and women get their ears pierced and take Advil for different reasons than they might take the morning after pill.  So, for example, if a 38-year-old woman finds her birth control has failed, and for whatever completely legitimate reason she has (which, frankly, is none of your damn business) she is not likely to take Advil to prevent the potential pregnancy.  Neither will a 15-year-old rape victim, battered, bruised, in shock and traumatized decide the solution is to run to the mall to get her ears pierced so that she doesn’t become pregnant.  We take Advil when our back hurts from too much volleyball.  We get our ears pierced for fun and fashion.  We take the morning after pill to prevent a pregnancy for a variety of reasons (which, again, are none of your damn business.)

Furthermore, the concern Ingraham and the others at Fox News show that the availability of Plan B emergency contraception may “empower men who want to abuse women” is, shall we say, disingenuous.  If they were truly concerned about empowering men who abuse women, they’d be talking about the following things in today’s Rape Culture Round-up:

1.  The Anonymous hacker who helped expose the Steubenville rapists might get more jail time than the actual rapists.  Let’s hope not, but way to discourage disclosure and reporting of rape, justice system!

2.  Facebook’s misogyny problem.  Thanks to the highly publicized social media campaign that threatened to lose FB some big advertising dollars, Facebook is finally tiptoeing around the notion that pages entitled, “Raping your Friend Just For Laughs” and “Kicking your Girlfriend in the Fanny because she Won’t Make you a Sandwich” might constitute hate speech, rather than humor.  Pictures of women who have been pushed down the stairs, with the caption “Next time, don’t get pregnant” might not be permissible free speech.  DON’T, however – DO NOT – post a picture on FB of a woman breastfeeding.  It will be taken down because it is “indecent.”

3.  At Microsoft’s conference last week, one of the producers of (surprise, surprise) an extremely violent video game saw fit to make a rape “joke.”  In front of thousands.  To a woman.  A woman he was absolutely destroying and pummeling in this violent video game.  Yes, friends, he told her she liked it.  She said she didn’t.  He said, “Just let it happen.  It’ll be over soon.”  Hm.  The one bright spot is that this joke was not well-received by the audience, and the producer was quickly called out for it on Twitter – by a fellow Microsoft producer, and a male one at that.  Yes, in this case, the fact that the fellow producer was male is significant.  Makes it more of a Sister Souljah moment.

4.  Lindy West, a feminist and a comedian, spent a few minutes on a show discussing why comedy is not the most welcoming place for women.  Please click on this and watch the short video of her reading the responses she’s gotten for this in a post entitled, If Comedy Has No Lady Problems, Why Am I Getting So Many Rape Threats?”  Please do it.  I will wait.

Well, that was fun, wasn’t it?

5.  Republicans in Congress continue to bring the crazy to the debate on abortion laws making exceptions for women who are victims of rape and incest.  Yes, Trent Franks.  You’re right.  Chances of getting pregnant from rape are practically non-existent!  My unicorn agrees with you.  Now excuse me while I run to the store to pick up my light saber that has been repaired.  Have to slay those dragons, you know!

Now, if any of you are hearing Fox News covering these stories in ways that demonstrate genuine concern for women and the appropriate derision towards rape culture, please let me know.  Somehow, though, I doubt I’ll be hearing from many of you racing to Fox’s defense.

I will leave you, though, with an absolutely brilliant response one woman had to her personal experience with rape culture.  She received a full frontal naked picture of a man wanting to date her.  She took screen shots of the picture and resulting conversation.  And sent them to his mother.  Please click on this to see it. Please do it.  I will wait.

Well, that was fun, wasn’t it?

So, this ends today’s Rape Culture Round-up, folks.  While I hope I’ll never have to do another one of these, I know I will.  For as long as our society downplays the threats to women and enables rape culture, while simultaneously and perversely denying women the means to cope with the aftermath and/or control their reproductive lives, there will be a need for columns like this one.

This post originally published on The Broad Side on June 14, 2013.

Image via iStockphoto/Marjan Apostolovic

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Vaginas to the Left, Vaginas to the Right.

June 15, 2012 § 13 Comments

My friend, Mitch, knows how to make a boy cry. So, apparently, does Lisa Brown.

Here’s one of the things I’m good at.  Seeing the other side.  I do it in many of my pieces about women’s rights…especially when it comes to advocating legal and safe abortions.  I’m going to try it again, here.  This is me, playing devil’s advocate, tongue-in-cheek style.

Let’s just asssseeewwwwwwwme that the censure of Michigan State Lawmaker, Lisa Brown, was NOT a result of her having used the dreaded (correct) term, “Vagina”  “Hoo-hah.”  Let’s asssseeewwwwwwwme that the male Republican leadership was not simply offended by the use of the word, “Vagina,”  Hoo-hah when they said she was barred from speaking because she violated “decorum” rules of the Michigan State House.  Let’s asssseeewwwwwwwme that the reason Rep. Brown’s challenge, “…Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina hoo-hah, but ‘no’ means ‘no.'” “…was so offensive, I don’t even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company…” wasn’t the fact that she used the (correct) term, “Vagina” Hoo-hah.

No, nooooooo.  Let’s give the Republican leadership of the Michigan State House a little more credit, shall we???  I mean, what if what Rep. Mike Callton (R – Nashville) found so offensive was the implication that the men in the House were interested in Rep. Brown’s “Vagina”  Hoo-hah?  That’s a real possibility, here, right?  I mean, how on God’s Green Earth could any self-respecting, male, conservative, Republican be actually interested in her “Vagina” Hoo-hah?  She’s JEWISH, after all!  Scandalous!!!

Oh, pardon?  You don’t think they banned her from speaking because she publicly rebuffed (HA!  Get it?  Re-BUFFED?) her male collegues’ lascivious advances?Hmmmm.  Why else would they be offended?

Oooo!  Oooo!  I know!!!  They were offended because when she said, “…’no’ means ‘no,'” she was implying that they kept asking her for sex, and she kept saying “No,” and that they couldn’t take “No” for an answer.  That almost implies they might force themselves upon poor helpless Rep. Brown.  And they would NEVER do that!!!  THAT’s what Rep. Callton doesn’t “…even want to say…in front of women!”  They are so ashamed of their gender’s history in this area, they could never mention it in mixed company without being reduced to a withering puddle of remorse!  Right?  No?  No…that’s probably not it…

Wait!  I’ve got it!  The offensive thing is that she doesn’t realize that those trying to legislate abortion based on religion are really just trying to save precious LIVES! What about the babies/fetuses???  How can Rep. Brown lose sight of that?  How offensive to decorum that she’s taken the eye off the prize of birthing babies in favor of her own health considerations and religious beliefs!  How dare she imply that by outlawing ANY abortions after 20 weeks, the State House would be violating her religous beliefs, and her right to consider and made decisions with her own doctor?  And putting the health of  women at risk?  And used the word VAGINA Hoo-hah in the process???

Well.  Maybe I should re-think this whole “devil’s advocate” role I thought I had mastered.  Doesn’t seem to be working for those of you with synapses that actually fire and connect.

Full disclosure, folks.  I, too, cringe a little when I hear the word, “Vagina.” Especially if it is spoken by one of my parents.  I don’t know why, except perhaps that it is something I consider so PRIVATE that it almost feels like a violation when anyone other than my doctors (in medical context) say it.  “Vagina” (and also, “Panties” – WTF?) are words that make me want to put my fingers in my ears and say “LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-” until I predict it’s over.   Yes, I own my own silliness and immaturity in this area – I’m human, and everyone has their own personal triggers that make them cringe.  My sister has the same trigger, which maybe implies my parents used the word a little too liberally when potty training us.  Who knows? Who cares?

In my constant quest for self-improvement, though, I will launch an effort to combat this little demon of mine, and to inure those poor men, who’s sensibilities were so callously stomped upon by Rep. Brown by mentioning a part of her anatomy correctly.  Join me!  One and all!  For my part, I will now go around singing proudly, and at the top of my lungs, “VA-GIIIIIIIIIIIII-NAAAAAAAAA” to the tune of “Volare” whenever the mood strikes me (as brilliantly suggested by a fb friend.)   Who’s in?

In conclusion, I would like to THANK the Michigan GOP.  Yes, you heard me right. THANK them.  Whereas I had accepted my little quirky trigger with relative equanimity, I now realize that discomfort with the word, “Vagina” can lead to something much more dangerous – namely, the silencing of women in our government.

An Open Letter to Pro-Lifers

March 1, 2012 § 27 Comments

I could tell you I was raped.  (I wasn’t.) I could tell you I am a victim of incest.  (I’m not.)  I could tell you my life would be in danger if I got pregnant.  (Partly true, but for this discussion, let’s say not.)  I could tell you I’m mentally challenged or ill.  (I don’t think so, but let’s please not open THAT up to debate…) These are some of the scenarios even the most ardent advocates in the Pro-Life movement might allow themselves and those they love flexibility where safe and legal abortion is concerned.  Might.

Let’s talk about a different scenario – one that is completely true.  I am a 42-year-old woman.  I have been married to my college sweetheart since I was 21 years old, and I have had sex with ONLY him for well over 21 years.  I use birth control.  We have three children: a 15-year-old daughter, a 13-year-old son, and an 8-year-old son.  They are (thank god and knock wood) magnificent, kind, intelligent, healthy kids.  I am fortunate enough to be a stay-at-home mom, comfortable financially, we have health insurance, many friends, a good support system, etc., etc., etc.

What if MY birth control fails?  I don’t have any of the extreme situations mentioned in the first paragraph.  By all accounts, a woman my age and with my resources should be able to manage just fine with a fourth child.  The child would likely be healthy, well-cared for, raised with boundless love, etc., etc., etc.

But what if I didn’t WANT to have another child?

I repeat, what if I did not WANT to?

Even though I could?  Even though the pregnancy occurred through an act of love between two married, consenting adults?  Even though chances are the child would be fine – we would ALL be fine?

What if I didn’t WANT to?  Should I be forbidden access to a safe and legal abortion?

Should the potential of the embryo inside me to grow into a human being and be born and bring light to the world and cure cancer and colonize the moon outweigh my wishes?

My wishes to cherish and spend as much time as possible with the three children I already have before I blink and they are out of the house with families of their own?

My wishes to keep the undefinable, debilitating exhaustion of new parenthood relegated to a distant memory?

My wishes to not have a car seat and stroller at this stage of my life?

My wishes to nourish myself, now that I finally have some time and something creative and productive to do with it?

My wishes to have two free hands and a clear mind as I prepare my daughter for college, my first son for high school and my youngest son for his first season of swim team?

My wishes that my days of volunteering in pre-school be over?

My wishes that one day soon I will be watching what I want on T.V.?

Can you look me in the eyes and tell me my wishes for all these things, and how hard I’ve worked for them, are less important than the potential clump of cells in my uterus?

I understand why you consider a growing blastula, embryo, fetus an absolute miracle, a cherished life form, something to be protected.  I feel the same way.  I understand your religious and moral reasons for feeling passionately about this life form, such as it is.  I respect your zeal, your advocacy, your feelings.

I simply feel that I should have the right to put myself, the life (and lives) I’ve already created for myself and my ALREADY ALIVE family ahead of the potential life of a non-viable fetus. I am entitled to be respected in my ability to weigh and decide matters of such an intense personal nature for myself and my own family, understanding that anything I choose will come with unintended, possibly devastating consequences.

I understand why you might see an abortion clinic and those who utilize it as tragic and unjust.  I know the image you have of women who get abortions range from sympathetic (sad and in need of help) to judgemental (irresponsible sluts who use it as a form of birth control.)

I would argue, though, that people who fall into the image in that last category are few and far between.  Furthermore, people who use abortion as a cheap and easy fix for their irresponsible behavior (if such people exist) are presenting symptoms of much deeper societal ills than the fact that safe and legal abortions are available to them.  Just like people who use guns in an irresponsible, devastating way are reflective of a much deeper ill than the fact that guns are legal.

Finally, I would ask you this.  Can YOU understand MY needs?  Can YOU respect MY wishes?  Can you honestly say you are in a better position than I am to determine what is best for me and my entire family and our futures?  Can you assert in good conscience that this most sacred and personal individual choice of mine (and YOURS) should be limited to the following options:

1.  having another baby,
2.  carrying the pregnancy to term and giving the baby up for adoption, or
3.  a back-alley abortion?

Can you understand why, upon hearing about proposed (thankfully defeated) bill for mandatory, unwanted transvaginal ultrasounds, upon hearing about Congress proposing to allow ANY employer to opt out of providing healthcare plans that include access to birth control and abortion, that so many women AND men are looking around us with wild, crazed eyes and asking, “WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THIS COUNTRY?”

Why am I not cheering?

February 3, 2012 § 6 Comments

In a stunning reversal on an equally stunning mistake, Susan G. Komen For the Cure has apologized and restored funding to Planned Parenthood for breast exams and screenings.  Why am I not thrilled?  Maybe because despite the evidence of the absolutely mind-boggling power of social media, this whole episode is symptomatic of a much larger societal ill.  And I have many questions, since I by no means think the matter is settled.  There is fall-out with which to contend.

1.  How will pro-lifers react?  According to the Nancy Brinker, donations to Komen in the last two days increased 100%.  It’s reasonable to assume the increase was, in large part, a result of pro-life people pleased with their decision to revoke PP funds.  What will happen to these donations, now?  Will the donors ask that their money be returned?  Will they have to suck it up and accept that a donation made SOLELY BECAUSE they wanted to send the message they opposed legal abortion was made in vain?  Will there be even more outrage now on the part of the pro-life movement?  And will it be taken out on Komen?  This can only hurt Komen and the work they do.

2.  How will pro-choice people react?  As written in this article in Salon, Planned Parenthood is clearly more adept and practiced at handling controversy and criticism than Komen.  Planned Parenthood and its supporters need to be wary, though, of declaring victory.  That this whole story even happened is cause for deep concern among those who support women’s health and reproductive choice.  According to Senator Barbara Boxer (speaking to Andrea Mitchell this afternoon,) on this very day members of Congress are virtually coming to blows on the issue of birth control.  Birth control, people.  Let’s not get smug.

3.  Can Komen recover?  General consensus is yes.  But Komen for the Cure has been politicized, as many charities have.  Before this, it was possible for people to support Komen whether or not they supported legalized abortion.  Everyone wants cancer eradicated.  Now, though, supporting Komen might be harder for pro-life AND pro-choice people.

4.  What is really going on here?  Truth be told, according to PP,  about 170,000 of the more than 4 million breast exams they’ve provided over the last five years were funded by Komen’s grant.  That’s around 4%.  Interestingly, abortion makes up only about 3% of the services Planned Parenthood provides.  I am in NO WAY minimizing the importance of even one of those lives being saved through the breast exam, nor am I minimizing the heartbreak involved in even one abortion performed.  Yet, the nastiness of this controversy may have been avoided (though probably not…) had everyone paused, assessed, and been forthright.

For example, imagine if the powers that be at Komen came right out and said, “We are free to fund whomever we choose, and we choose not to fund organizations that perform legal abortions.”  Say what it is and who they are.  And let the chips fall where they may.  I might no longer donate to them, but I might because I appreciate straight talk and sincerity.  In researching, I might decide the position is too abhorrent to me, or I might decide that the good they do outweighs this issue given the relatively small amount of money in the grant.

Imagine if Planned Parenthood reacted by saying, “We are deeply saddened by this, but truthfully, Komen only funded 4% of the breast exams we performed anyway.  With your support, we can make up the difference and emerge stronger than ever.”  I’m sure the outpouring of support would have been significant.

5.  Is this about breast cancer or abortion?  If it is about breast cancer, Komen should never have pulled their funding.  If it is about abortion, Komen should not have restored the funding.  Here’s what I fear.  I fear this entire episode had less to do with breast cancer screening OR abortion.  I fear it is, more than anything, reflective of how anti-community we have become.

Here’s what I mean by that.  Years ago, I joined a gym.  When I joined, childcare was included in the membership.  Within a year, the gym changed its policy and began charging extra for childcare.  I protested, and was told, “People who didn’t use it complained they shouldn’t have to pay for it.  Not everyone uses the childcare, so it’s not fair to charge them for it.”  I countered by saying, “I don’t use the men’s bathrooms, or touch any free weight over 15 pounds, but I understand my dues fund parts of the club I don’t use, or even like.  I’m okay with that because it contributes to the upkeep of the place as a WHOLE.”

Superimpose that approach onto politics.  The mentality exists wherein people cannot abide even one penny of their money being used for something they oppose.  In the last few days, I read over and over people arguing that if they give to Komen, they want to be damn sure the money won’t be going to fund that horrible Planned Parenthood organization.  They slaughter babies, you know.  By the same token, I heard people swear they wouldn’t give a dime to Komen now that they’ve made this anti-choice decision.  I was one of them.  Of course everyone is entitled to their opinions and are free to donate their money however they want.  But how I wish we could step back and take a breath.

Take a breath and accept the fact that some of your money (taxes and donations) will be spent in ways you don’t like.  Ways you find abhorrent.  I understand why people don’t want their money helping to fund facilities that perform abortions.  I respect their feelings and convictions.  I hope that respect is reciprocated when I say I don’t want my money helping to fund the death penalty, or organizations that discriminate against homosexuals.  Regardless, in the emotional whiplash of the last week, I think we could all do with a larger dose of acceptance.  Of making peace with imperfection and moving on.

I won’t rule out donating to Komen in the future, and as I said before – I may have even if they hadn’t reversed this decision.  What I’d love to see (and doubt I ever will) is a pro-life person donating to Planned Parenthood.  You know – in support of the 97% of medical services they provide in underserved communities that AREN’T abortion-related.

(I know I may live in a dream world, but it’s nice here.)

Et tu, Komen?

February 1, 2012 § 13 Comments

Hooooooo boy.  Just when I was gonna take a break from women’s issues to write about glassblowing or something.  Now this.  Komen pulls its funding from Planned Parenthood for breast screenings and exams.

Unbelievable.  Just unbelievable.  I don’t even know where to begin.  It’s bad enough there’s a war on women’s health in this country – but to enlist breast cancer survivors and their families to help wage it?  Unconscionable.

Now listen.  I’ve been accused of being fair to a fault.  In my discussion of HR 358, I try my level best to empathize with both sides – going so far as to defend a doctor’s decision not to perform an abortion if it goes against his or her religious beliefs.  I still come down on the side of insisting abortion be legal, but I acknowledge the complexity and offer what seems like a common sense solution if the mother’s life is in danger and a doctor’s religious beliefs preclude him from performing abortions.

In my shredding Ray Comfort’s likening abortion to the Holocaust, I am decidedly less empathetic to his methods, but attempt to be clinical and logical in throwing a spotlight on his hypocrisy and fallacious reasoning.

In looking for information about this latest development, I read pieces by NPR, Fox News and The Wall Street Journal.  While they differed in tone, a bit, from liberal to conservative outlets, they reported basically the same information, so I consider the information coming out about it reliable.  Interestingly, I searched the Komen website and was unable to find out any information at all on the end of their partnership with Planned Parenthood.  The articles report, though, that funding was pulled because Planned Parenthood is under investigation.  The deafening cheers from anti-abortion groups makes this claim seem disingenuous, to say the least.

Here’s what kills me, though.  In applauding Komen’s decision, Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest said “The work of the Komen Foundation has life-saving potential and should not be intertwined with an industry dealing in death.”  REALLY???  What the hell does THAT mean?  That it sometimes involves decisions that result in death?  Let’s go over some of the other industries and groups that “deal in death” as part of their efforts to save lives.

1.  Medical
2.  Law Enforcement
3.  Gun manufacturing
4.  Death Penalty advocates
5.  Drug manufacturing
6.  Military

Shall I go on?   And, I’d love to know what Komen will do with that money instead.  Will they create mobil screening trucks or set up labs in the underserved communities Planned Parenthood serves?  What will they do to make up for the hundreds of thousands screenings that will NOT take place in Planned Parenthood clinics in the next few years as a result of revoking this funding?  How many poor, underprivileged women will find out about their breast cancer too late because of this?

Shame on you, Komen.  Shame on you for declaring loud and clear that in certain parts of this country, a fetus’ existence (viable or not) is more important than a woman’s.

Small Comfort for Mothers, Fetuses, and Jews

November 15, 2011 § 12 Comments

Part Four (closely related to Part Three) of I-Don’t-Know-How-Many in a series of posts inspired by “Miss Representation.”  If you haven’t seen the trailer for this movie, and you have 8 minutes, please watch it here now.  

A very good and sweet friend sent me a 33-minute video and asked my opinion.  A man named Ray Comfort – someone claiming to be Jewish – compares doctors who perform abortions to Hitler, and those who allow this to happen to the German standers-by.  It’s done more subtly and with a defter hand than I just did it, but ultimately, that’s the message.  It’s very skillful, really – so much so that I myself was not exactly sure where he was going with it.

Please watch it, if you have time.  I’d love to hear how others’ reactions compare to mine.  If you don’t have time, consider this your crib notes.  Here’s an extremely abridged version of how Ray Comfort proceeds to elicit (read, “manipulate”) the responses he wants from his person-on-the-street interviews.  My reaction to each step is in parentheses.  And, full disclosure?  I’m Jewish.  And female.  And a mother.

Step I
Q:  Ever heard of Hitler/the Holocaust?
A: Nope.
(Me – horrified this stuff is not being taught and/or remembered.)

Step II
Q:  Ever heard of Hitler/the Holocaust?
A:  Yeah, he was the the leader of Germany who started WWII and killed a bunch of Jews, right?
(Me – is there a glimmer of hope for the educational system after all?)

Step III
Q:  Hitler had his armies dig ditches and shoot Jews into them and fill up the ditches with dirt.  Some of those people were still alive.  If a German officer had his gun pointed at your head, would you drive the bulldozer that filled up those ditches?  You’d be killing those Jews who were still alive.
A:  Varied – some yes (most tinged with guilt, but admitting it was only because their LIFE WAS IN DANGER) and some no.  They’d rather take a bullet than drive that bulldozer.  Also interviewed are token neo-nazis who idolize Hitler – scary, not to be ignored, but mostly aberrations.
(Me – Very tough question.  Deep and wrenching ethical issues.  )

Step IV
Q:  If you had Hitler in the crosshairs, would you shoot, preventing the killing of millions of innocents?
A:  Yes. (Unanimously)
(Me – well, that’s an easy one…)

Step V
Q:  If you went back further, 30-odd years, and you saw Hitler’s mother when she was pregnant with him – would you kill her?  (Comfort repeatedly uses the number 30 years, even though Hitler was 44 when he came to power, but no matter…)
A:  Some yes, some no.
(Me – yes, that’s a tougher question…gee, I wonder where he’s going with this?)

Step VI
Q:  So, you value human life?
A:  Yes
(Me – oh, how silly of me.  Now I know where he’s going.)

Step VII
Q:  How do you feel about abortion?
A:  Variety of answers, from “I don’t know” to “I’m Pro-Life, but I would never judge anyone else because each situation is different” to “Hellz, yeah, it should be legal…”
(Me – really appreciating how many are trying to acknowledge the complexity of the different situations…)

Step VIII
Q:  At what point in the womb does the fetus become a life?
A:  Variety of answers, from “I don’t know” to “3 months in.”
(Me – difficult question – I’m Pro-Choice and I have a very hard time with this one.)

Step IX
Q:  Finish this sentence.  “It’s okay to kill a baby in the womb when…”
A:  Most are taken aback, but the answers range from “Never,” to “When the mother can’t take care of it” to “When it results from something that should never have happened.”
Q: (follow-up)  Why kill the baby for the crime of the father?  What justifies killing a baby in the womb?  Why advocate killing children in the womb?
(Me – hold it right there – something’s not right.)

Step X
Q: Hitler declared Jews “non-human.”  Isn’t declaring fetuses “non-human” the same thing?
A:  Answers vary from “Hmmmm…” to “I guess you’re right!”
(Me – hoooooo boy.)

Step XI
Q:  Have you changed your mind about abortion?  Would you vote for someone who supported abortion?
A:  Yes!  No!
(Me – oy.)

Step XII
Q:  All sorts of questions about believing in god, heaven, hell, the 10 commandments, that Jesus died for everyone’s sins and how all we have to do to be cleansed of our sins is accept Jesus as our savior.  Then we can get into heaven.
A:  Cool!
(Me – Okay, this guy Comfort is sooooooo not a Jew like he says he is in the beginning…)

I had to think hard about where Comfort twists the argument.  Was it in Step IX, when he asks people finish the sentence “It’s okay to kill a baby in the womb when…”?  What he is implying, and trying to get others to imply is that if an abortion is performed, both the doctor and the mother think it’s okay, rather than that it’s the lesser of two potentially horrible evils, BOTH with deep and lasting consequences.  I think that’s extremely unfair.

Was it in Step X, when he equates declaring Jews “non-human” with declaring fetuses “non-human”?  Jews with years of life ahead of them, years of life behind them, jobs, educations, families, relationships and ties to this world?  Equated to non-viable fetuses?  This, to me, is a warped comparison at best, and the height of intellectual dishonesty at worst.

Was it in Step IX, when he challenges the few who dare to suggest that in cases of rape or incest, an abortion might be permissible?  When he comes back at them strongly with questions like, “Why should the baby pay for the sins of the father?”  And in this entire phase, there is no mention – NONE – of the impact being forced to have the baby would have on the MOTHER in these situations???  Does she merit any consideration, here?

There is no mention of what’s permissible when a mother’s life is in danger.  This fascinated me, because in Step IX, I kept waiting for someone to finish his loaded sentence with “when the mother’s life is in danger as a result of the pregnancy.”  If anyone gave this answer, it ended up on the cutting room floor.

Strange, because, in Step III, when asked if they would fill in the ditch with dirt, even if some Jews were still alive in it, we heard several of them say, “ONLY because my life was in danger.”  And stranger, because Ray Comfort seemed okay with that.  He didn’t go after them then like he did when, in Step IX, people said there were situations when abortions were permissible.  Does he feel that it is worse to end a fetus’s life than to end a Jew’s life?  Surely that would be twisting his words, and I’d NEVER do that.

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