In defense of the sanctimonious women's studies set || First feminist blog on the internet

Know your enemy

I read anti-choice blogs, websites and op/eds often. Why? Not just to get mad, but because I think you have to really understand what you’re up against before you can properly counter it.

One thing I always find interesting about the anti-choice movement is their relative success in convincing the general public that stopping abortion is their only concern — when actually, mainstream “pro-life” groups oppose everything from sex education to contraception to invitro fertilization. Anti-choice blogger Dawn Eden writes a telling post about her views on invitro fertilization. For those unfamiliar with Ms. Eden, she was fired from her position as a copy editor at the Murdoch tabloid The New York Post a few months back for injecting her anti-choice views into a news article on IVF. She is ferociously anti-sex (unless you’re married, which she desperately wants to be), and really hates Planned Parenthood for giving out honest information about sex. I read her blog occassionally if I feel like getting pissed off, but generally leave just kind of feeling sorry for her. But this post is particularly interesting, as it further demonstrates that the most extreme anti-choicers (who usually are the ones running the major anti-choice organizations) aren’t just anti-abortion; they’re anti- any reproductive choice, including aiding women in having children.

Luckily, I think the anti-choicers are digging their own graves with their ridiculous opposition to stem cell research, IVF, and birth control. Those issues expose them for who they really are: extremists who only want women to have one choice (marriage and as many babies as God gives). The vast majority of people believe that women and men should have access to birth control and reproductive technology; stem cell research is also gaining a lot of support. So to the anti-choicers, I say, keep at it. And by all means, get louder. You’re only helping us out.

11 thoughts on Know your enemy

  1. I have a feeling that you’re right. The more radical these characters become (and subsequently becoming more prideful, to throw out a word they hate having thrown at them) with respect to their positions, the easier it will be to counter them.

    I do want to comment on this, though:

    Luckily, I think the anti-choicers are digging their own graves with their ridiculous opposition to stem cell research, IVF, and birth control.

    I find it very interesting that science has given them these things to oppose. They extrapolate from some dogmatic definition of “life” that is not supported directly by their holy books. It is as if these activists have developed a cult around the goal of dismantling the biological sciences: be it evolution or developments in the field of reproductive health. And for what end? I have a hard time believing that salvation is the real answer.

    “Power is not a means; it is an end. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. How does one man assert his power over another? By making him suffer.” -George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

  2. very true – the extremist, even fundamentalist, position weakens the ideology as a whole (and that is a good thing i agree). it is interesting to me that the biggest threat of the 21st century, whether religious/moral/or political, seems to be extremism. we all need to value compromise and rationality like ben franklin. even in high school back in the 1990’s i could see my history teachers polarized between left and right, discouraging the kids like myself who dared to be pragmatists.

  3. Virulently anti-sex people like Dawn who aren’t married do give me pause–I have to wonder, and I know this is just idle gossip but still, what they think married sex is like. The hostility she shows towards unmarried sex makes me want to write her and say, “Dawn, ring or no, people do it exactly the same way.”

  4. maybe dawn thinks that we girls who do it outside of marriage are screwing with her chances of getting hitched. maybe she’s afraid all the guys are too busy with us foxy fuckers to hunker down with her. the old
    “why buy the cow”, only here, “why by ANY cow”…

    I tried the link to her post and it didn’t work for me…

  5. Just to chime in on the reading of anti-choice blogs/web sites: My favorite is I’d highly recommend it for some anger-inducing reading.

  6. Hi,

    I dig your site–read your feed each day. I find it engaging that you use choice and stick the opposition in quotes “pro-life”. As if changing the word, from “life” to “choice” is a feminist move. It isn’t. It’s purely semantic.

    I think the argument needs to move out of the binary gutter both camps love to keep it in. Face it. In a free market economy that depends upn social cooperation as a key function to survive and gradually expand–this is that you stasify your desires and that allows me to satisfy mine, that is in a market that is autonomus, diverse, and experimental–we do not own our bodies. CHOICE is not an issue, unless we make it one. And to make body politics potent, especially in feminist discourse, we have to remove abortion as THE issue. It isn’t the issue. Ownership is the issue. If you want to continue to play the exchange game with the Religious Right, you’ll never stop talking about THEM.

    It isn’t enough to vote, it isn’t enough to use the left or right slogans. You must cease to participate in the meaningless, purely quantitative, banter–the daily dose of over-rationalized everyday speech.

    sounds like a broken record. and it is broken. You already sell yourself cheap to make a living. Resist selling yourself cheap in the discourse. Silence is not the answer; redirection is; changing the field of discourse; creating a new speech about this. The life/choice binary bullshit is trite. Fact is, Christians, although Jews and Muslims in the US aren’t innocent, want women back in the homes. They want women in Victorian garb. They want to beat them back into submissive positions–to own responsibility for raising proper bourgeois workers. This is the arena the abortion debate belongs in. It is simply unconstitutional to prevent women from seeking any medical care. It isn’t a right, by the way. It is a privilege. To make a choice: that’s an ethical issue. And the virtue of any choice is only able to be determined by the community after the fact.

    If you want to argue you know what is GOOD in any situation before the fact, then you are close to absolutism. And you are really no different from the Religious Right, from the Fundamentalists.

    anyway, keep writing. I look forward to your posts each day.


  7. btw, I apologize for the YOU tone in my comment…i meant it rhetorically…but it sure sounds rude. How about WE, or even I…a humble one. I shouldn’t soapbox.

  8. I couldn’t make myself read all of Dawn’s post, but I can’t resist pointing out that her complaint about all of the embryos that get created by IVF only to be destroyed doesn’t take into account that this is very much like what happens naturally. Many, probably most, fertilized embryos never implant, period. (Period. Get it?) This is presumably due to factors beyond our control, but it does make me wonder how they would explain why God created a system in whichy so many embryos don’t implant.

    Who knows, maybe they’ll start insisting that we refer to every menstrual period as a miscarriage….

    Ryan, your point is very similar to one that I like to make about the idea that “life begins at conception,” which is that it’s completely unlike the model of procreation described in the Bible. In the Bible, there are no ova, no individual sperm, no embryos or blastocysts. What there is, is “seed,” which the father plants in the mother’s womb. Now, why they should take up this idea of embryos and genes with such enthusiasm, when many of the same people are gung ho to deny Darwin, is a very interesting question.

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