Lies the Anti-Choicers Tell Me

It’s that time of year, y’all! No, not jelly beans and Cadbury eggs everywhere time. Well, that too. No, it’s “40 Days for Life” time! Or, as I like to call it, “40 Days to End Women’s Bodily Autonomy and Exercise Religiously-Based Manipulation Based on Medical Falsehoods” time! Isn’t that just charming?

Yup, these people.

40 Days for Life (I’m not going to link them, but be assured they have a site) is an anti-choice event designed to coincide with Lent, or the Temptation of Jesus Christ. For 40 days,anti-choice protesters make it their mission to be as obnoxious as possible outside of abortion providers’ offices and Planned Parenthood clinics. Traditionally, the 40 Days campaigns consist of standing “vigil” outside of these places, praying, and sometimes fasting. Pictures of nearly full-term fetuses inaccurately portrayed as a standard abortion appear to be encouraged. I am ashamed to say that this festival of bullshit started right in my home state of Texas (really, where else?), specifically in the Bryan and College Station area, home of the uber-conservative Texas A&M University. Since its conception (*wink wink*) in 2004, it has spread like the virulent nastiness it is, and you can probably find at least a few of these creatures at your local Planned Parenthood during the next month or so.

Now for the lies! A big part of the 40 Days event is hollering at clinic-goers as they walk through the parking lot. This doesn’t go on just during 40 Days, but it does seem more frequent, and there are usually more protestors. They carry signs such as the ones to the left, each broadcasting all sorts of lies. I have seen recently “Planed Parenthood kills children” and “It’s Not a Choice, It’s a Child.” I’ve also seen signs that aren’t lies, just the slogan “Pray to End Abortion,” which I might be able to get behind if they also weren’t insistent on getting rid of birth control. I have been volunteering for Planned Parenthood in some capacity since I was eleven years old, and I have been a consumer of their services since I was about fifteen, and never have I seen more protesters than during 40 Days. Most of my work has been in outreach and education, but recently I started doing office work, meaning that I am at a clinic nearly every week. A month ago there were no protesters. Last week, there was a range of five to twelve. Every single one of them was trying to convince me to “keep my baby.” You know, the one I’m not pregnant with because I engage in family planning.

Over the past week in particular, and my experiences at Planned Parenthood over the past several years, here are some of my favorite anti-choice lies:

  • “We can help you!” No, you really can’t. Well, maybe you could, but you won’t. They never do, because pro-life isn’t actually what they are. It’s why I and many others prefer the term anti-choice. We also like “forced-birth activist,” because that is all they really care about. Those who are truly pro-life care about the life of a child its well-being, security, and happiness. They care about the life of the mother and her well-being and happiness. Anti-choicers stop giving a damn about women and their fetuses once the woman gives birth. No abortion? Check. Forced birth? Check. Have we sufficiently shamed this woman for either a) having consensual sex or b) being raped? Check! Well then, mission accomplished. They don’t support women. They don’t help them raise their children, find a good housing situation, or get a job. You know what does happen though, if they bother to interact with a woman once they have sufficiently shamed her for trying to make decisions about her body? They shame her some more, send her off to a crisis pregnancy center, and let them do the dirty work of convincing her to give up her child because she is an unfit mother (i.e., unwed, poor, not Christian, of color).
  • “Abortion is murder!” Uh-uh. No. Not legally. My body, my choice, whether you call it a child or not. Try as some might to make a part of my body another person, it hasn’t happened yet!
  • “Let me tell you the truth about birth control!” I heard this one last week, actually, and found it a little humorous. Not because I already know the truth about birth control, which is that it works, but because this guy thinks he does to. I can guarantee he’s wrong. He was going to tell me birth control is murder too, which is particularly laughable. Also that I’m going to hell.
  • “Your baby loves you!” One, I don’t have a baby. Two, most of the women going to places like Planned Parenthood or OB/GYNs that provide abortions are probably not pregnant, they want to be pregnant. Only 3% of the services Planned Parenthood provides are abortion services. If I’m not pregnant and I don’t have any children, I don’t have a baby that loves me. Unless you count my dachshunds as babies, like I do. They definitely love me. If you aren’t pregnant and do have children, the protester is probably correct your baby does love you! Thanks, protester! Anyway, fetuses don’t experience emotions.

What so many protesters ignore (because I know they know) is that people go to Planned parenthood and other clinics that provide abortion services for a myriad of reasons, relatively few of which are abortions. They go for STD testing! Oh wait, they hate that too, because dirty sluts shouldn’t have sex or something, and good married Christians don’t have to worry about that. They go for birth control! Oh wait, that’s “murder” too, right? They go for well-woman exams! There might be a pass here, but you still shouldn’t support baby-killers or whatever. They go for general reproductive health care, like treatment for yeast infections and urinary tract infections! Wait, I can’t hear you! All I hear is dirtdirtypunishmentdirtysinnerdirty.

This is really just a small sample of what we get during 40 Days for Life, and whenever protesters are out there doing their thing. I also commonly hear that they will pray for me, though I’m sure that’s not a lie. They probably will, whether I want their prayers or not.  I’m also wondering how long it will take the ones currently staked outside the clinic where I volunteer to realize that I’m there to work, not to receive services. I imagine they’ve start singing a different song when they discover this. I’ll keep y’all posted.

So, have you seen 40 Days protesters recently? Other protesters? Did they leave you alone or shout you down? Any particularly ludicrous heckling? I want to know!

By Elfity

Elfity, so named for her tendency to be a bit uppity and her elf-like appearance, is a graduate student and professional Scary Feminist of Rage. She has a propensity for social justice, cheese, and Doctor Who. Favorite activities include making strange noises, napping with puppies and/or kitties, and engaging in political and philosophical debates.

38 replies on “Lies the Anti-Choicers Tell Me”

There’s always one or two people outside my Planned Parenthood most Saturdays when I work there – we are apparently a 40 days for life site, but I haven’t been there for the past few weeks, so I’m not sure how many are there now.

The one who are always there usually are holding a sign that says “Pray to Stop Abortion”.  Which I think is funny, because they must be praying right up until about 4pm, which is when the abortions stop, because by then, I’ve finished doing all the abortions.    See, prayer DOES work.

The Planned Parenthood I work at is just so different, it’s like we’re on another planet. I’m at HQ for the Los Angeles affiliate, and we have no protesters. I haven’t seen a single one in the 9 months I’ve volunteered and worked for them, or at any clinic I’ve done outreach at even. We have security like, whoa, but it’s subtle. My biggest problem getting into work is a lack of parking. We do tons of education and outreach, work with other community groups to help increase access to affordable healthcare, just bust ass keeping women healthy. I want to smack anti-choicers with first person accounts of what life was like for the average woman before legal contraception and abortion, back when dying during pregnancy or childbirth was common. Contraception allows women to no longer be enslaved by biology, and holy cow, does that terrify some people.

How interesting! I know of a couple of clinics that very, very rarely have any issue, but here in Texas the protesters are everywhere. The political climate is just so different here that opposition is everywhere, from the protesters to my facebook feed to classmates.

Yeah, they put up those disclaimers, but it’s impossible to not see because the signs are so large and in one of the most high-traffic areas. There was also had a truck driving around with banners on it. Several of the signs likened abortion to genocide (complete with images of Hitler), which is so fucking wrong I have trouble forming coherent thoughts about how angry I was.

EDIT: This was supposed to be in reply to Elfity on my first comment at the bottom of the page. Sorry.

I’d go a step further than saying they don’t care about women as soon as they’ve given birth, and say that as soon as a woman chooses not to abort, they consider it a victory and fuck whatever else happens during the pregnancy.

That in mind, I do simply call some of them anti-abortion. There are a few out there who have really considered their position and landed on a different side than mine. I still think they’re crazy, and I still have never understood their reasoning for forcing women to give birth, but I can almost respect them. I’d rather try and change some minds than get angry about the crazies who want to spread lies. The best thing I can do is educate people.

And this nastiness is why I feel like I have to apologize for my religion when I explain that I am Christian. I wish like hell that more churches were on board with the idea that women do not need others to maintain their morality for them (or that science is not the boogie man out to murder baby Jesus for that matter). Lord, save me from your followers!

On my way to work every morning I have to drive by a house that has a huge sign staked out next to the highway that has a silhouette of a mother holding a baby and written in that annoying font that’s supposed to look like kids handwriting is: “Life – it’s a gift, not a choice.”   It’s huge – like big enough that if you’re doing 65 down the highway you can read it without taking your eyes off the road.  Now, they don’t have this out just for Lent, it’s up all year round.  As obnoxious as it is, I had almost become desensitized to it.  Then this morning, it wasn’t there.  I don’t know if it blew down, if it was vandalized, or if the property owners had a change of heart, but I was amazed at how much better I felt this morning.  Just not having that crazy rhetoric shoved on me before I’ve had my second cup of coffee makes a world of difference!

My roommate tried to explain to me yesterday that the reason women are having fewer children is clearly because we’ve taken birth control and it has destroyed our ability to bear children.  My response was, “Or because we’ve decided we’d like to have lives of our own and it’s harder to give birth at 40 than 20.  And because of weird environmental stuff that we had no control over.  And because maybe we don’t fucking WANT to.”  But to no avail.

Well, in the words of the Bard, “The world must be peopled!”  And some of us aren’t ANTI-Natalist, we’re just Not-Just-Yet-Natalist.  So when people tell me that I won’t be able to have kids unless I do it RIGHT NOW OR ELSE ALL OF MY BABIES WILL DIE OR HAVE DOWN SYNDROME BECAUSE I TOOK PILLS I get a little angry.  Because, you know, science and stuff.

But then what’s the difference between telling people they have to have children vs. telling people they can’t have children?  Either way, you’re taking away people’s choices to run their own lives as they see fit.  And even if you put qualifiers on it, they would be hard to quantify.

Adoption is hardly ‘childcare’, it’s parenting. And it is often a lot more complex for all parties involved (birth family, adoptive family, and the child) than many of its advocates would make out – especially for foreign adoptions. The “just adopt!” refrain is very simplistic.

Sitting these people down to a comprehensive sex education curriculum would probably blow their minds. They have chosen to ignore all facts so they can rest easy in their moral high ground. They cannot be reasoned with, they will not stand to be educated and only personal experience could ever change their mind. I get the concern for the unborn, I just wish they had some concern for the living.

I’m just so irritated with the fact that they absolutely will not listen to scientific reason. They just refuse, covering their ears and going “lalalalala can’t hear you!!” I can understand being against abortion as a personal and moral conviction, but they don’t care about anyone’s quality of life at all.

No, they do not listen to science any more than they listen to statistics or fact. I have a lot of anti-choicers on my facebook (because up until about 4 years ago I was an extremely conservative christian) and as a Canadian, it irritates me SO MUCH when CANADIANS demand that Planned Parenthood be closed in the US. People refuse to understand that it is often THE ONLY place women can get affordable healthcare.

I lived in the US for two years, and we have it so good here in Canada, any woman can get a yearly physical for free, Canadian conservatives I know refuse to understand that poor women, underemployed women, women who have jobs with shitty health insurance do not have that luxury in the USA.

This is just so sad. So fucking sad.

Ugh, I can’t even come up with a better response. This is such an example of when idiotic so-called “common sense” overwrites scientific progress, understanding of basic sociological trends, and any kind of good faith.

My old school chaplain used to speak a lot about what he called “those of the faith acting in good faith”. For him, good faith was objective, calm, understood scientific fact and could look beyond blind faith. Blind faith, he said, was useless faith, and no true connection to God. It may seem schmaltzy to engage with these cretins on a religious level, but beyond my utter disgust for people who could display such a lack of humanity there is very little except cold, flinty rage.

I hope they fail, is all I can really say.

I like that definition of good faith versus blind faith. It really comes down to a combination of blind faith and willfull ignorance. I think it also ties in with the Right’s anti-intellectualism, which I will never be able to comprehend.


Well, thank goodness these anti-choicers are adopting unwanted children, improving sex education and access to contraception to cut down on unexpected pregnancies, and lobbying our federal government for increased funding to social and medical programs that help low-income children and their parents! Oh. Oh wait, they’re not? Oh ok.

The anti-choice movement isn’t about life – it has never been about life – but rather about exerting control over women’s bodies. The sooner the rest of America realizes that, the better off we’ll be. No matter what any anti-choicer says, this is rooted in religion – because only in religion do we have the idea that women cannot make decisions about their own lives and their own bodies; men and men alone are the heads of household, the land owners, and the priests. Women have no say over anything that happens to them – they are property whose only real purpose is to bear a man’s children and serve her husband.

It is two thousand and fucking twelve. Fuck that shit. I am so goddamn tired of these people. No argument they put forth stands up to any sort of logical scrutiny.


There were protestors who set up those enormous, grossly inaccurate signs on my college campus for a few days last week. I didn’t realize it was “40 Days for Life”, but that must have been why there were there. Honestly, I didn’t have the time or energy to argue with them so I just put my headphones in and walked quickly past. There were at least some awesome pro-choice groups protesting against them and handing out free condoms. And someone vandalized one of the anti-choicers’ warning signs so that it read “Warning: Graphic Images (And false information!)”. So that was nice to see. But the whole thing just makes me so incredibly sad and angry.

Ugh, they come to my campus every now and then. Actually, the first year that I sought out a campus pro-choice group was the first time I saw them on campus. I can’t wrap my head around how they’re allowed to do that. Even the anti-choice students don’t like it, since it’s just so damned disturbing and graphic, apart from being destructively inaccurate.

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