Wednesday, August 4, 2010

12th & Delaware

Posted by: Michelle Haimoff

Cross posted on

On Monday night I watched the premiere of the HBO documentary “12th & Delaware“ with some members of NOW’s Young Feminist Task Force (YFTF).

To summarize the movie in a sentence: Passively pro-choice (or generally indifferent) people don’t realize the severity of the pro-life movement.

Namely, they might not realize the following:

In the United States there are 4,000 Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs). CPCs are fake abortion clinics.

These fake abortion clinics intentionally present themselves as real abortion clinics (of which there are only 816 nationwide). When a woman calls and asks if they perform abortions, the clinic operators don’t say no, instead they get the woman to come in, separate her from whoever came with her, show her gory images of bloody fetuses, do an unnecessary ultrasound, refer to the baby as “him” (sex can be seen at earliest 12-16 weeks, and many of the women who come in are less than 12 weeks pregnant), and cite fake medical statistics about the correlation between depression, breast cancer and abortion. CPC workers also lie to women about how far along they are until it’s too late for them to get legal abortions (and then the pro-life movement pushes legislation against late term abortions).

This documentary focuses on one CPC, which sprouted up directly across from a safe, legitimate abortion clinic, which is regularly terrorized by clinic protestors. When women park in the real abortion clinic’s parking lot, they are often confused by the CPC’s back entrance and go there instead. CPC workers are trained not to let these women leave until they are bullied into continuing their unwanted pregnancies.

The people who run Crisis Pregnancy Centers and the people who harass patients of legitimate abortion clinics think that they’re on a mission from God to save lives. It’s not surprising, they’re religious fanatics. But they say things like, “This is life or death we’re dealing with here.” And the most extreme of them see themselves as assassins on God’s behalf, with an end that justifies any means, including arson and murder.

But after seeing this documentary, that wasn’t the most horrifying thing about all of this. The most horrifying thing about all of this, even beyond the fetus dolls that the CPC workers force women to hold, is how much these people romanticize babies but don’t care at all about children (or women).

At one point a tearful gang of young men and women beg a woman with six children not to get an abortion, promising her money, food and clothing for her child (apparently they promise everything, but never deliver). And yet if this woman was not on her way into the abortion clinic they wouldn’t help her. They have no interest in dirtying their hands with actual people out there in the world - actual women, actual children - they only care about the cute little babies they think that they’re saving (a CPC worker actually said something to the effect of, “for all you know the babychanges your abusive boyfriend,” to get a woman to go through with her pregnancy).

I wish there existed a vocal anti-personal abortion, pro-political choice movement that offered a safe haven to women who find themselves unintentionally pregnant; women who would never get abortions personally but leave God to deal with the women that do, the way they leave God to deal with any “evil” thing that people get away with.

If there was a group like that, with a presence, that could reason with the religious fanatics that try to manipulate women and intimidate doctors, I can pretty much guarantee that the pro-choice groups would do whatever they could to help them. And the net effect would be that more women would be helped, more children would be helped and more lives would be saved. Women wouldn’t be dying from illegal, unsafe back alley abortions, which they do when abortion is illegal.

Those people, the ones that would be there to help women, not judge them, would be the truly righteous souls. Especially if they could get pro-lifers to donate their time and money (and power) to the millions of children around the world with nothing. It’s shocking to me that abortion clinic protestors strut around everyday with picket signs when their energy and attention is obviously better served helping real live people on this planet right now.

It’s that kind of cherry-picked value system that makes me question if pro-lifers care about human lives at all, or if they just get off on yanking women back into patriarchal servitude.

Two of us from the Task Force had the same idea to raise money to send these clinic protestors and CPC workers to conflict regions where women and children suffer from unspeakable human rights abuses daily. Just drop them off in the middle of the Congo with supplies and their passion to save human lives. They’d be helping people a lot more there than they are here, manipulating and lying to the desperate women in this country.

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