By Dave Andrusko
Pro-abortionists are forever criticizing pro-lifers for what might charitably be called an overactive imagination: Our “love affair with the fetus,” in the memorable words of Dr. Joyce Elders, Bill Clinton’s Surgeon General for about a minute and a half.
For our NRL News Today regulars, you’ll recall that Dr. Elders’ quote was one of the “notecards” that was part of the “4000 Years for Choice: A Graphic Guide to Reproductive Justice” exhibit at the University of Michigan which we wrote about last week.
I thought of the demented symbolism that ran through the exhibit when I read the defense offered by Val Vilott, President of the DC Abortion Fund. Vilott was responded to commentary that had ripped DC Abortion Fund’s practice of “giv[ing] away a silver coat hanger pendant to our monthly supporters.”
In a moment we’ll double back to Vilott and her organization which “gives out grants to women and girls in DC, Maryland, and Virginia who can’t afford the full cost of abortion care.”
The back and forth over wearing coat hanger jewelry about the neck also inspired spirited defenses, such as Patt Morrison opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times.
Morrison’s op-ed tied declining “access” to abortion clinics to the days prior to Roe v. Wade. What better visual representation of back alley/illegal/dangerous abortions, both Morrison and Vilott believe, than coat hangers?
We’ve written umpteen times about the myth of millions of illegal abortions and thousands of women dying from them. To take just one illustration, there is “A Primer on ‘Abortion Distortion’”
As I wrote, prior to Roe even members of the pro-abortion establishment conceded the mythology (at least amongst themselves).
“Mary Calderone, who edited the report of a 1955 Planned Parenthood abortion conference and who would later become president of Planned Parenthood, wrote in the American Journal of Public Health in 1960, “’Abortion is no longer a dangerous procedure. This applies not just to therapeutic abortion as performed in hospitals but also to so-called illegal abortions as done by physicians. In 1957 there were only 260 deaths in the whole country attributed to abortion of any kind.’
“But this was no recent development. According to [scholar Germain] Grisez, Calderone ‘went on to note the decline in deaths between 1921 and 1951, and she explained it by drugs and by the large proportion of abortions performed by physicians.’”
Aside from flashing their trademark coarseness, what does the coat hanger jewelry accomplish? Certainly flouting coat hangers has nothing to do with a sober analysis of the truth of abortion history. It is, rather, an attempt to hijack emotions and silence the brain. And, equally obvious, its primary goal is to render the millions of unborn victims invisible.
Does anyone, even Vilott, really believe that if we pass laws requiring that abortion clinics not be the pit holes she insists they were in the bad old days prior to legalization, this will end legal abortion? Or by ensuring that abortionists have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital when the inevitable complications occur? Or by insisting that the abortionist actually be in the room when a woman receives the two-drugs that will kill her unborn child, rather than sitting behind a desk hundreds of miles away pushing buttons?
One other thought. Morrison compares the coat hanger penchant to “the fetus-feet lapel pins bought and worn by abortion foes.” Pro-lifers ought to understand that both are “political statements”; the coat hanger pendant is not “a piece of jewelry that trivializes the matter,” Morrison writes.
But of course it does. And—equally obvious—the penchant is an attempt to rile up the younger generation of women, particularly feminists. And that’s understandable, given that nasty “intensity” gap.
A 2010 NARAL poll taken of 700 young Americans found that “Most antiabortion voters under 30 (51 percent) considered it a ‘very important’ voting issue,” Sarah Kliff, then of the Washington Post, wrote. “Among abortion-rights millennials, that number stood at 26 percent.” That’s almost exactly a 2-1 difference. That will get your attention.
When Nancy Keenan stepped down as NARAL president in 2012, she insisted that a majority of younger folks were with them but that abortion was not “a voting issue for them.” Keenan added, “If we want to continue protecting abortion rights in this country,” this had to change.
The problem for Keenan and other older pro-abortionists is that younger women find them locked in a time warp. They find the older generation’s default resort to outdated, irrelevant rhetorical devices like coat hangers almost painfully embarrassing.
But, then again, what do they have? If the future belongs to pro-lifers, what choice do they have than to conjure up an imaginary past?