By Rai Rojas
“The usual first step in political brainwashing is to work on the emotions of an individual or group until they reach an abnormal level of anger and fear.” — Dick Sutphen
On April 6, 2006, the New York Times Magazine published a highly fictionalized account of abortion in Latin America sardonically titled Pro-Life Nation. Author Jack Hitt’s 9-page attempt at irony was passed off to the unsuspecting readers of NYT Magazine as scathing real-life testimony concerning the “regressive” abortion policies in Latin America – El Salvador to be more precise.
Mr. Hitt, having been tipped off by some of the most radical elements within the international abortion lobby, took his axe and flew to San Salvador where he began to grind the heck out of it. He’d been alarmed by wildly inaccurate pro-abortion reports regarding the dire situation facing a woman who had been sentenced to 30 years in jail for having had a first-trimester abortion. The abortion zealot in him just couldn’t resist.
But once in El Salvador did Mr. Hitt meet with prosecutors, or the police, or witnesses to the alleged abortion? Not so much. He scraped together most of his information for his investigative exposé from those who profit from abortion –legal or otherwise. In this instance the perpetually outraged women at IPAS were the ones feeding him the misinformation. (More on IPAS in a bit.)
American dollars go a long way in El Salvador and I can only assume Mr. Hitt enjoyed his time there – he may have soaked up a bit of sun, sipped some cheap rum and lounged around in a nice hotel. I’m assuming that because as was evident by his report he really didn’t spend much time investigating. After a few days and after having had his photographer take a few snaps, he finished his “investigation” and flew home where he proceeded to write the aforementioned 9-page essay on the horrors of criminalized abortion in one of Latin America’s poorest nations.
He weaved a tale full of intrigue, darkened corners, and suspicious neighbors (reminiscent of 1970s East Berlin) where women are hunted for seeking abortions. In writing it he also used all of the catch-phrased clichés that send pro-abortion fanatics running screaming into the swamps: “back alley” “prosecution” “choice denied” “forensic vagina inspectors” – yes he really did write that.
After attacking a country whose traditions he couldn’t possibly understand and whose laws he mocks, he also manages to take a couple of whacks at the Catholic Church before finishing up his anecdotal yarn with Carmen Climaco. She is portrayed by Hitt as a sympathetic 30-year old woman, idealistic, enterprising and full of promise who when faced with an unplanned pregnancy had a “clandestine” (but apparently safe) first trimester abortion.
Hitt visits Carmen in jail and paints a bleak and terrifying picture of the life she now faces in jail. He ends the story by woefully pronouncing that Carmen had been sentenced to hard time for participating in an activity so completely legal in the United States that it is seen as mundane.
Once the story was published, IPAS and other pro-abortion women set up funds for Carmen, waved the Carmen Climaco flag at every turn and of course fundraised on Carmen’s (and their own) behalf. Shamelessly IPAS even posted pictures of Carmen’s surviving children clutching jailhouse letters from their mother.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the truth. Turns out Carmen is a cold-hearted killer. She carried her baby to term, parading her full-term pregnant self all over town – she went shopping, and to work, and to restaurants – everyone in her neighborhood knew she was pregnant. When she went into labor, Carmen stayed home and once he was born, she grabbed a telephone cord, wrapped it around the baby’s neck and strangled him. So much for the vaginal forensic investigators.
Mr. Hitt is either consciously lying or the worst reporter to ever brandish a word-processor – I suspect he is both. But this isn’t about him – this is about IPAS and how they continue to skew the truth and weave it into almost unbelievable stories in their continuous efforts to further advance their radical abortion agenda and improve their bottom line.
IPAS is an abortion business based out of North Carolina – they are also one of the largest pro-abortion lobbying groups on the international stage. Their presence is felt at every United Nation conference that even remotely skirts the issue of reproduction.
Yesterday at 12:30 PM they held an event here at the UN’s 58th Commission on the Status of Women. The panel discussion was one of the most well attended events I’ve been to during the course of the last two weeks and the panel consisted of all the usual suspects.
There was a spokesperson from Amnesty International who to their great shame now considers lack of access to abortion as a human rights violation and worthy of scorn. The moderator was an IPAS woman and there were two additional IPAS representatives from Africa and Latin America.
Most of the 90 minutes was taken up with the blah blah blah choice blah blah blah reproductive rights blah blah blah we need more money. But more than anything there was lots and lots of fear mongering – this is some of what the folks at IPAS had to say:
- Criminalized abortion laws are used to punish individuals for what are accepted worldwide norms.
- Women are tortured in criminal system after having had abortions in Bolivia.
- Women are being handcuffed to their hospital beds in Brazil.
- Indigenous women are being raped by the thousands and have no legal recourse.
- Poor women are DYING en masse.
- A woman in Malawi spent 2 years in jail for suspicion of having had an abortion.
Mostly lies and/or hugely exaggerated anecdotal statements? With these people no one knows. What we do know (after a bit of questioning) is that the woman in Malawi was falsely arrested and almost immediately released BUT her release paper was lost between the courthouse and the jail and she sat there for two years. Not because of abortion, but because the criminal justice system in that province failed her. And yet not one of the outraged and scandalized feminists huddled in that room asked – “Where the heck was Amnesty International?”
They gave many more examples of the “horrors” being faced by women around the globe but these pretty much convey their sentiments best. I sat there listening and typing surrounded by women gasping and shaking their head after each grisly detail was enumerated, and only one thing kept coming to my mind – Carmen Climaco – Carmen Climaco – Carmen Climaco.
Fear mongering worst-case scenarios sells and has on occasion moved an agenda forward. IPAS has turned propagandizing into an art form so it must continue to be our job to point it out as the empty-headed blathering rhetoric of a pro-abortion movement hell-bent on higher abortion profits.
Editor’s note. In addition to being NRLC’s director of Hispanic Outreach, Mr. Rojas also represents NRLC as an accredited non-governmental organization (NGO) at the United Nations where he works with members of South and Central American delegations and other pro-life NGOs.