Female Republican politicians were the most vocal about defunding Planned Parenthood

On May 18 the Journal of Women, Politics, & Policy published “Standing Up For Women? How Party and Gender Influence Politicians’ Online Discussion of Planned Parenthood.” In this study, researcher Morgan Johnstonbaugh analyzed tweets by members of the 114th House of Representatives regarding Planned Parenthood. She narrowed the focus to tweets made between July 1 and Novemeber 1, 2015, during a heated debate on whether to defund PP in response to the CMP videos suggesting PP sells fetal organs.

Johnstonbaugh hypothesized that women would write more tweets about Planned Parenthood than men, and Democrats would write more than Republicans.

For her hypothesis about gender, Johnstonbaugh theorized that “men may be disinclined from dicussing and addressing women’s issues because feminine issues are perceived as having lower status.” (If she is aware of the “no uterus, no opinion” factor — the vocal and persistent insistence that men have no right to speak about abortion — she doesn’t mention it.) Johnstonbaugh’s analysis did find that female Democrats are more vocal about this issue than male Democrats, and female Republicans are more vocal about the issue than male Republicans.

For her hypothesis about political party, Johnstonbaugh theorized that there would be more PP-related tweets from Democrats than Republicans because Democrats focus more than Republican’s on women’s issues. To her surprise, though, her analysis found the opposite to the be the case.

Female Republicans constituted 5% of the House and wrote 12.6% of the tweets about Planned Parenthood while male Republicans made up 51.7% of the House and wrote 68.6% of the tweets about Planned Parenthood.

and

While it is clear that women write more tweets about Planned Parenthood than men within their political party, female Republicans are the most active members in the online discussion.

Female Republicans were the most vocal group, followed by male Republicans, female Democrats, and lastly male Democrats.

Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah

As I read these results I wondered if they reflect the “intensity gap” between pro-choice and pro-life people: the idea that those of us against abortion are more likely to feel passionately about the issue than those who support the status quo. For example, according to PRRI, “Americans who oppose the legality of abortion (27%) are significantly more likely than those who support the legality of abortion (18%) to say they will only vote for a candidate who shares their views on the issue.”

Apparently Johnstonbaugh didn’t enterain the intensity gap theory, though. Instead she speculated that Republicans wrote more PP-related tweets because pro-life ideas are simplistic, whereas the pro-choice perspective is too nuanced to convey over Twitter:

This unexpected finding may be related to the ease with which provocative pro-life propaganda can be spread on Twitter by incorporating videos, images, and only 140 characters for each message, compared to regulations or statistics meant to support Planned Parenthood, which may require a greater amount of text or explanation.

This theory is so transparently biased I actually laughed a little when I read it. I expect pro-lifers will continue to mystify researchers who can’t see past their own worldviews.

Not all pro-choice tweets require a lot of nuance.

Johnstonbaugh points out that previous research found female Democrats are traditionally the most vocal about women’s issues, suggesting an apparent contradiction with this study’s finding. However the contradiction exists only if we view Planned Parenthood solely through a “women’s issue” lens. Johnstonbaugh’s additional analysis confirms that many people see more factors in the PP controversy.

She examines how often House members framed the Planned Parenthood discussion in the following ways:

  1. Women’s Issue: defunding PP is important particularly to women
  2. Planned Parenthood Healthcare: defunding PP will harm people who rely on the org for healthcare
  3. Alternative Healthcare: there are better healthcare options than PP
  4. Fetal Rights Issue: defunding PP will help protect unborn children
  5. Condemn Planned Parenthood: defunding PP is a way to condemn PP for immoral treatment of fetal tissue
Unsurprisingly, she found almost exclusively Democrats used the frame “Planned Parenthood Healthcare,” while Republicans used the frames “Alternative Healthcare,” “Fetal Rights Issue,” and “Condemn Planned Parenthood.” Both parties used the frame “Women’s Issue,” though Democrats used it more. But here’s the important part:

While both female Republicans and Democrats discussed Planned Parenthood as a women’s issue and healthcare issue, Republican women also discussed it as a fetal rights issue.

If you have any understanding of the pro-life perspective, this finding should be predictable. Pro-life people recognize the fact that abortion kills humans. We view those humans as children (morally relevant young humans deserving protection). So we view abortion first and foremost as a human rights violation. Of course pro-life politicians are going to discuss Planned Parenthood in the context of fetal rights. That’s basically another way of saying pro-life people will discuss abortion from a pro-life perspective.

Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Missouri

Johnstonbaugh’s finding about Republicans vs Democrats is mystifying only if you view PP solely through the “women’s issue” framing, but I don’t know why anyone would do that. You don’t have to be that involved in the abortion debate to know that many people view PP as a more complicated and controversial organization. Huge swaths of the country — including countless women, btw — see abortion as an issue that affects not only women but also preborn children. Pro-life Republican women might be less vocal about women’s issues generally, but Planned Parenthood is not simply a “women’s issue” topic. It goes well beyond that.

Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Indiana

Johnstonbaugh called her findings about Republicans vs Democrats “unexpected,” “counterintuitive,” and “surprising,” but they shouldn’t be. Pro-lifers have been quite vocal, for decades, about the facts that we view abortion as a human rights issue and we care deeply about the problem. If pro-choice people could internalize our most basic premise — not agree with it necessarily, just recognize it’s what we think — they would be caught off guard less often.

Female Republican politicians were the most vocal about defunding Planned Parenthood

On May 18 the Journal of Women, Politics, & Policy published “Standing Up For Women? How Party and Gender Influence Politicians’ Online Discussion of Planned Parenthood.” In this study, researcher Morgan Johnstonbaugh analyzed tweets by members of the 114th House of Representatives regarding Planned Parenthood. She narrowed the focus to tweets made between July 1 and Novemeber 1, 2015, during a heated debate on whether to defund PP in response to the CMP videos suggesting PP sells fetal organs.

Johnstonbaugh hypothesized that women would write more tweets about Planned Parenthood than men, and Democrats would write more than Republicans.

For her hypothesis about gender, Johnstonbaugh theorized that “men may be disinclined from dicussing and addressing women’s issues because feminine issues are perceived as having lower status.” (If she is aware of the “no uterus, no opinion” factor — the vocal and persistent insistence that men have no right to speak about abortion — she doesn’t mention it.) Johnstonbaugh’s analysis did find that female Democrats are more vocal about this issue than male Democrats, and female Republicans are more vocal about the issue than male Republicans.

For her hypothesis about political party, Johnstonbaugh theorized that there would be more PP-related tweets from Democrats than Republicans because Democrats focus more than Republican’s on women’s issues. To her surprise, though, her analysis found the opposite to the be the case.

Female Republicans constituted 5% of the House and wrote 12.6% of the tweets about Planned Parenthood while male Republicans made up 51.7% of the House and wrote 68.6% of the tweets about Planned Parenthood.

and

While it is clear that women write more tweets about Planned Parenthood than men within their political party, female Republicans are the most active members in the online discussion.

Female Republicans were the most vocal group, followed by male Republicans, female Democrats, and lastly male Democrats.

Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah

As I read these results I wondered if they reflect the “intensity gap” between pro-choice and pro-life people: the idea that those of us against abortion are more likely to feel passionately about the issue than those who support the status quo. For example, according to PRRI, “Americans who oppose the legality of abortion (27%) are significantly more likely than those who support the legality of abortion (18%) to say they will only vote for a candidate who shares their views on the issue.”

Apparently Johnstonbaugh didn’t enterain the intensity gap theory, though. Instead she speculated that Republicans wrote more PP-related tweets because pro-life ideas are simplistic, whereas the pro-choice perspective is too nuanced to convey over Twitter:

This unexpected finding may be related to the ease with which provocative pro-life propaganda can be spread on Twitter by incorporating videos, images, and only 140 characters for each message, compared to regulations or statistics meant to support Planned Parenthood, which may require a greater amount of text or explanation.

This theory is so transparently biased I actually laughed a little when I read it. I expect pro-lifers will continue to mystify researchers who can’t see past their own worldviews.

Not all pro-choice tweets require a lot of nuance.

Johnstonbaugh points out that previous research found female Democrats are traditionally the most vocal about women’s issues, suggesting an apparent contradiction with this study’s finding. However the contradiction exists only if we view Planned Parenthood solely through a “women’s issue” lens. Johnstonbaugh’s additional analysis confirms that many people see more factors in the PP controversy.

She examines how often House members framed the Planned Parenthood discussion in the following ways:

  1. Women’s Issue: defunding PP is important particularly to women
  2. Planned Parenthood Healthcare: defunding PP will harm people who rely on the org for healthcare
  3. Alternative Healthcare: there are better healthcare options than PP
  4. Fetal Rights Issue: defunding PP will help protect unborn children
  5. Condemn Planned Parenthood: defunding PP is a way to condemn PP for immoral treatment of fetal tissue
Unsurprisingly, she found almost exclusively Democrats used the frame “Planned Parenthood Healthcare,” while Republicans used the frames “Alternative Healthcare,” “Fetal Rights Issue,” and “Condemn Planned Parenthood.” Both parties used the frame “Women’s Issue,” though Democrats used it more. But here’s the important part:

While both female Republicans and Democrats discussed Planned Parenthood as a women’s issue and healthcare issue, Republican women also discussed it as a fetal rights issue.

If you have any understanding of the pro-life perspective, this finding should be predictable. Pro-life people recognize the fact that abortion kills humans. We view those humans as children (morally relevant young humans deserving protection). So we view abortion first and foremost as a human rights violation. Of course pro-life politicians are going to discuss Planned Parenthood in the context of fetal rights. That’s basically another way of saying pro-life people will discuss abortion from a pro-life perspective.

Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Missouri

Johnstonbaugh’s finding about Republicans vs Democrats is mystifying only if you view PP solely through the “women’s issue” framing, but I don’t know why anyone would do that. You don’t have to be that involved in the abortion debate to know that many people view PP as a more complicated and controversial organization. Huge swaths of the country — including countless women, btw — see abortion as an issue that affects not only women but also preborn children. Pro-life Republican women might be less vocal about women’s issues generally, but Planned Parenthood is not simply a “women’s issue” topic. It goes well beyond that.

Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Indiana

Johnstonbaugh called her findings about Republicans vs Democrats “unexpected,” “counterintuitive,” and “surprising,” but they shouldn’t be. Pro-lifers have been quite vocal, for decades, about the facts that we view abortion as a human rights issue and we care deeply about the problem. If pro-choice people could internalize our most basic premise — not agree with it necessarily, just recognize it’s what we think — they would be caught off guard less often.

Annie’s story: unintended pregnancy threatened her athletic scholarship — and her pro-choice views

[Today’s guest post is by Annie Gasway, who converted from being pro-choice to pro-life because of her experiences with unintended pregnancy.]

In January 2000, I was 21. I was on a half-ride athletic scholarship (track and cross country) at a Division I university. I was not only Team Captain but also the number one runner. I had everything going for me (and therefore everything to lose). I knew that, so I took precautions to avoid unwanted pregnancy.

But during indoor track season I could run a mile in just above 5 minutes, which was my time for mile repeats just a few months prior. It didn’t make sense. My coach sent me to get tested for anemia, which is how I learned I wasn’t anemic, but I was pregnant. 10 weeks pregnant.

At this point in my life, I was vocally pro-choice. I had friends and rivals who had procured abortions so their athletic careers weren’t hindered by surprise pregnancies. Now it was my turn to consider my options. Instead of returning to my (then) fiancé’s apartment, I drove to a park, sat in my car, and cried. Now that I had to face abortion head on, I couldn’t continue my comfortable lie that a fetus was just a “clump of cells.” I knew there was a tiny human growing within me. Abortion would mean ending my child’s life. I knew this as an objective, undeniable, scientific fact. Another scientific fact: I could not remain competitive at the Division I level much longer. I was in the middle of a moral dilemma, and it quickly dawned on me that I may not really have much of a choice at all.

My Division I coach had full power over my future. He could pull my scholarship at any time for any reason. [Editor’s note: Title IX specifically prohibits discrimination against pregnant athletes. When we asked Annie about this factor, she explained that their required student athlete course did not mention that information, and she wasn’t aware of that protection at the time she was pregnant.] I knew most coaches pulled scholarships for any “injury” that would take an athlete out of competition for an entire season. Even though the athlete could “redshirt” (sit out) and get the season back later, coaches usually had walk-ons who were talented enough to score points now. Coaches could free up money to give to a “healthy” athlete. As I weighed my options I realized that my rivals who had abortions may not have wanted them. I knew I couldn’t finish my degree without my scholarship. I figured without a degree I didn’t have much of a future. If my friends and rivals’ situations were like mine, and if their coaches threatened to take their scholarships if they chose to stay pregnant, they didn’t have the luxury of choice—the choice was made for them by men with power over their lives. This thought terrified me.

I went back to my fiancé’s apartment and told him. He was also on an athletic scholarship for track. I begged him to go with me to tell our coach; even he was terrified to reveal our pregnancy, but I had to find out if I could keep my baby and my scholarship. I wasn’t going to kill another human on an assumption that I might lose a scholarship.

Turns out I was lucky. My coach didn’t give me an ultimatum; I redshirted my outdoor season, came back the following year, and provisionally qualified for NCAA Nationals in steeplechase [3.000 meter race], my very first race back. I got to keep my scholarship, earn my degree, and have my baby.

Cooper and Annie

This experience made me pro-life. I realized that abortion is weaponized against women. Those in authority—those with the purse strings—can treat pregnancy as an illness and abortion as its cure. I realized women with wanted pregnancies may be manipulated into ending them, and as long as abortion is available “on demand” it will be used to control and manipulate women.

This problem trickles into accommodating difficult pregnancies as well. During my second pregnancy I required strict bedrest. I was teaching full-time, and when I asked my principal for paid leave, he said, “We consider what you are asking for to be ‘maternity leave,’ which we deem a personal choice, and so we do not compensate for it. Now, if you had cancer or something and required extended leave you could take it from the leave pool.” He knew I had just been released from the hospital with a prescription for strict bedrest, but since staying pregnant was my “personal choice” my employer saw no obligation to support me. At that point I was the primary breadwinner for our family because my husband was finishing his degree. We ended up going deeply into debt to pay our bills so we could have our second child. “My body my choice” isn’t true. Even if there is a choice, it is often not made by the woman.

There is a manufactured choice between poverty and motherhood, and abortion on demand makes it so, enabling society to treat pregnancy as a chosen “disease.” Women often aren’t making the choice they want to make. They are making a “Sophie’s choice” based on circumstance forced on them by those who have power over their destiny. It’s pretty easy to put a woman in that position when the people pushing it aren’t the ones who pay the price for it (and in fact will benefit from it). If women lack support for their pregnancies, the solution should be to create that support, not push them to end their pregnancies. I am pro-life because I am pro-woman.

Annie’s story: unintended pregnancy threatened her athletic scholarship — and her pro-choice views

[Today’s guest post is by Annie Gasway, who converted from being pro-choice to pro-life because of her experiences with unintended pregnancy.]

In January 2000, I was 21. I was on a half-ride athletic scholarship (track and cross country) at a Division I university. I was not only Team Captain but also the number one runner. I had everything going for me (and therefore everything to lose). I knew that, so I took precautions to avoid unwanted pregnancy.

But during indoor track season I could run a mile in just above 5 minutes, which was my time for mile repeats just a few months prior. It didn’t make sense. My coach sent me to get tested for anemia, which is how I learned I wasn’t anemic, but I was pregnant. 10 weeks pregnant.

At this point in my life, I was vocally pro-choice. I had friends and rivals who had procured abortions so their athletic careers weren’t hindered by surprise pregnancies. Now it was my turn to consider my options. Instead of returning to my (then) fiancé’s apartment, I drove to a park, sat in my car, and cried. Now that I had to face abortion head on, I couldn’t continue my comfortable lie that a fetus was just a “clump of cells.” I knew there was a tiny human growing within me. Abortion would mean ending my child’s life. I knew this as an objective, undeniable, scientific fact. Another scientific fact: I could not remain competitive at the Division I level much longer. I was in the middle of a moral dilemma, and it quickly dawned on me that I may not really have much of a choice at all.

My Division I coach had full power over my future. He could pull my scholarship at any time for any reason. [Editor’s note: Title IX specifically prohibits discrimination against pregnant athletes. When we asked Annie about this factor, she explained that their required student athlete course did not mention that information, and she wasn’t aware of that protection at the time she was pregnant.] I knew most coaches pulled scholarships for any “injury” that would take an athlete out of competition for an entire season. Even though the athlete could “redshirt” (sit out) and get the season back later, coaches usually had walk-ons who were talented enough to score points now. Coaches could free up money to give to a “healthy” athlete. As I weighed my options I realized that my rivals who had abortions may not have wanted them. I knew I couldn’t finish my degree without my scholarship. I figured without a degree I didn’t have much of a future. If my friends and rivals’ situations were like mine, and if their coaches threatened to take their scholarships if they chose to stay pregnant, they didn’t have the luxury of choice—the choice was made for them by men with power over their lives. This thought terrified me.

I went back to my fiancé’s apartment and told him. He was also on an athletic scholarship for track. I begged him to go with me to tell our coach; even he was terrified to reveal our pregnancy, but I had to find out if I could keep my baby and my scholarship. I wasn’t going to kill another human on an assumption that I might lose a scholarship.

Turns out I was lucky. My coach didn’t give me an ultimatum; I redshirted my outdoor season, came back the following year, and provisionally qualified for NCAA Nationals in steeplechase [3.000 meter race], my very first race back. I got to keep my scholarship, earn my degree, and have my baby.

Cooper and Annie

This experience made me pro-life. I realized that abortion is weaponized against women. Those in authority—those with the purse strings—can treat pregnancy as an illness and abortion as its cure. I realized women with wanted pregnancies may be manipulated into ending them, and as long as abortion is available “on demand” it will be used to control and manipulate women.

This problem trickles into accommodating difficult pregnancies as well. During my second pregnancy I required strict bedrest. I was teaching full-time, and when I asked my principal for paid leave, he said, “We consider what you are asking for to be ‘maternity leave,’ which we deem a personal choice, and so we do not compensate for it. Now, if you had cancer or something and required extended leave you could take it from the leave pool.” He knew I had just been released from the hospital with a prescription for strict bedrest, but since staying pregnant was my “personal choice” my employer saw no obligation to support me. At that point I was the primary breadwinner for our family because my husband was finishing his degree. We ended up going deeply into debt to pay our bills so we could have our second child. “My body my choice” isn’t true. Even if there is a choice, it is often not made by the woman.

There is a manufactured choice between poverty and motherhood, and abortion on demand makes it so, enabling society to treat pregnancy as a chosen “disease.” Women often aren’t making the choice they want to make. They are making a “Sophie’s choice” based on circumstance forced on them by those who have power over their destiny. It’s pretty easy to put a woman in that position when the people pushing it aren’t the ones who pay the price for it (and in fact will benefit from it). If women lack support for their pregnancies, the solution should be to create that support, not push them to end their pregnancies. I am pro-life because I am pro-woman.

March for Life announces 2020 theme

Yesterday, the March for Life announced that the theme for January’s gathering will be “Life Empowers: Pro-Life is Pro-Woman.” The theme was selected to coincide with the centennial celebration of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which recognized women’s right to vote. Accompanying the announcement, the March for Life released this spoken word video honoring our pro-life feminist foremothers, including those in the suffragist movement:

The March for Life will take place in Washington, D.C. on Friday, January 24, 2020. As always, we will be there with our giant blue banner. Stay tuned for details of our meet-up. The following day, we will exhibit at the National Pro-Life Summit (formerly the Students for Life of America conference).

Also, local and regional marches for life will take place across the country throughout the month of January. Secular Pro-Life will have a presence at the Chicago march on January 11. Want more meet-ups? We’re open to your suggestions!

March for Life announces 2020 theme

Yesterday, the March for Life announced that the theme for January’s gathering will be “Life Empowers: Pro-Life is Pro-Woman.” The theme was selected to coincide with the centennial celebration of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which recognized women’s right to vote. Accompanying the announcement, the March for Life released this spoken word video honoring our pro-life feminist foremothers, including those in the suffragist movement:

The March for Life will take place in Washington, D.C. on Friday, January 24, 2020. As always, we will be there with our giant blue banner. Stay tuned for details of our meet-up. The following day, we will exhibit at the National Pro-Life Summit (formerly the Students for Life of America conference).

Also, local and regional marches for life will take place across the country throughout the month of January. Secular Pro-Life will have a presence at the Chicago march on January 11. Want more meet-ups? We’re open to your suggestions!

NWF attends “Abortion Stories” panel at The Women’s Conference

About a year ago, Destiny of New Wave Feminists attended The Women’s Convention in Detroit. Recently she created a video (FB, Youtube) talking about attending the “Abortion Stories” breakout session. We’ve transcribed the video below. Phrases in italics signify thoughts not spoken out loud.

*****
Okay so I don’t have a ton of time but I want to tell you guys real
quick about something that happened last year at the women’s conference in
Detroit. This was a conference that was put on by Planned Parenthood—that was
one of the big sponsors—and the Women’s March. So the people who had removed us from the Women’s March. They had a conference and I registered with my full
name and everything and they accepted it. And so I was able to go, and it was a
fascinating experience.
Obviously I was surrounded by a lot of very pro-choice women. I did not
go there in any way to protest them or start trouble. I really kind of just
wanted to be in dialogue with them, and to talk to these people who I think so
many of us in the pro-life community maybe even without realizing we’re doing
it, we have dehumanized them. You know, we made them the enemy. So I thought it
would be a great opportunity to just go and sit and hear them. And listen to
them, listen to why it is that they think abortion is such a necessary
quintessential part of feminism.
Abby Johnson also went with a couple people from her organization. So I
was not planning going to this one particular panel, but at the last minute I
decided to go. And it was called “Abortion Stories.” And I walk in, and Abby
was there with her people, and of course Abby’s very recognizable. So she’s
sitting a little bit away from me. I saw people kind of pointing at her. They
knew who she was. So at the beginning of this session, somebody went to the
front and said “We know that we have some people in here who disagree with
this. And we want to make it very clear that if anyone disrupts, you will be
removed immediately.” And Abby was like What?
Me? Nooo.
It was really funny because we really weren’t there to disrupt!
We just kind of wanted to listen. Luckily I was sitting far enough away I don’t
think anyone realized that I was also like a “pro-life spy” or whatever.
[Laughs] Is that what they thought was going on?
So I listened to this panel. It was 4 or 5 women. A couple of them had
had multiple abortions. One of the more outgoing women on it, she was
hilarious, but she kept talking about how she had had this Etsy shop where she
posted abortion related stuff. So she had this flask that she takes with her to
all her speaking engagements and it says “I love my abobo.” And she says “I’m
going to sell these on my thing.” As someone in recovery myself, I kept
thinking Why do you take a flask to all
your speaking engagements?
That—I don’t know—that’s a signal to me that
maybe something isn’t resolved with you about your abortion.
So anyway I listened to them tell their stories and answer all the
questions. They started doing a Q&A. And there was a young woman who stood
up. She said her name was Coco and she was with a Planned Parenthood actually
here in Texas. “How come Planned Parenthood is constantly saying ‘It’s only 3%,
it’s only 3%’?” Because a big part of what they had talked about during their
presentation was how we stigmatize abortion and how there’s a stigma around it.
So she said “Aren’t they in turn actually adding stigma to abortion by saying
‘It’s only 3%’?” And everyone in the room agreed. The outspoken woman on the
panel said “That’s why I say go work for a small, independent abortion
provider.” And everyone starts cheering, like they were kind of anti-Planned
Parenthood. And all of a sudden I’m like Am
I in on some weird pro-choice secret? Like people don’t actually love Planned
Parenthood as much as Planned Parenthood would like us to think they do?

And so the woman was like “Okay, okay” and she sits down.
So at this point there was a reporter who had said she wanted to come
with me if I was going to ask any questions or anything. And she said “If I
can’t be at the session with you, if you could just record it.” So I had
literally just turned my phone on to record and caught the Coco thing. Because
I thought I don’t know if I’m going to
ask a question.
Again, I didn’t go to this to start trouble. But before Coco’s
question they had said “Does anybody have any questions?” And it was just kind
of a long silence, nobody in the room did, and so I almost asked at that point.
And then Coco got up. And so then it was my turn because now the same thing
happened: they were like “Do we have any questions? Any questions?” And it’s
kind of silence. And I thought You know
what? I might as well.
So I raised my hand. All the stories we were hearing
were very positive abortion stories. And I said, “What if a woman’s abortion story
is not positive? What if she was coerced into an abortion? One that she didn’t
want. Is she allowed to be a part of your campaign as well? Or would that be
considered stigmatizing abortion?”
And I remember the outspoken woman who had called on me looks at me,
straight in the face, and she says “Do we have any other questions?” And starts
looking around the room. And the coolest thing happened at that moment. A woman
right in the front row—her hand shoots up—and she says “No. That’s a good
question. Answer it.” And so I’m assuming this woman in the front row is
probably post-abortive and definitely pro-choice, and here she was advocating
for my voice to be heard, which I thought was just kind of beautiful. 
So the woman looks at her and she goes, “Well I guess I really just
didn’t understand the question.” And the woman behind that lady says my
question! Explains it. Which was also really cool. Here these women were saying
“No, we want an answer to this.” So she says, “She’s asking if a woman had a bad
experience and was coerced into an abortion, can she tell her story as part of
your campaign?” And the lady goes, “Well, first of all, if a woman comes to us
and she wants to have her baby, we send her on her way with a pack of prenatal
vitamins and a picture of her sonogram and we say ‘Go be a mom.’ This does not
happen. There are not coerced abortions.” And of course she thinks she’s
putting it to rest with that.
Another hand shoots up from a third
woman in this room who says “No. She’s saying if a woman was coerced, can she tell her story?” And at this point, somebody
else on the panel who’s a little better at PR jumped in and says “Well we
wouldn’t want to be hurting a woman. We wouldn’t want her—if she has unresolved
issues with her abortion—we wouldn’t want to be re-wounding her by having her
share that story. We would want to get her into a healthy place before she
shared her story.” And I was like, That’s
kind of a cop out
, but that was a much better answer.
So then this session wraps up and nobody was escorted out. None of us
started any trouble, right? And the next day I’m meeting with that reporter. So
we’re down at the little hotel coffee shop and she had her recorder on because
she was interviewing me. And all of a sudden Coco walks up. And she says, “Hey,
I hate to interrupt you guys. I’m so sorry. But I just wanted to say thank you
so much for asking your question yesterday. I get that question all the time
and I never know how to answer it. Thank you for doing that.” And I’m just
like, “Of course!” Clearly she has no idea who I am or she would not be
thanking me for doing this.
And I said, “You know, at the end of the day, I am a feminist. And I
hate women’s voices being used as propaganda. And I think there’s a much larger
conversation we need to be having about the nuance within abortion and the fact
that there are women who are pro-choice out there who feel like it was the
right decision for them to make. But they still have these wounds. And I know
this because they’re my friends. I have many pro-choice friends who don’t
necessarily regret their abortions, but they still know exactly how old their
child would be today. They still think about it. They still wonder what their
life would have been like if they would have had that child.”
“And when we don’t allow women the ability to express that because we
label them as ‘stigmatizing abortion,’ I think that’s incredibly cruel. And I
think, especially as a feminist, I don’t believe we should be in any type of
bondage. I don’t think we should be chained barefoot and pregnant to a stove,
but I also don’t think that we should be in emotional bondage from an abortion
that we’re not allowed to talk about unless we put a smile on and say it was
the best thing we ever did. Because for so many women, it’s a very complex
multifaceted issue, and we have to let them talk about it. We have to hear
their stories.”
So with that, I’m really excited to see these new groups cropping up
that do after-care, you know, abortion healing, that’s not religious, and is
more wide-ranging. I spoke to a woman on the phone today that I’m just really
encouraged by, because she was saying she has pro-choice friends who are
post-abortive, and they want to be able to talk about their abortions. And
she’s pro-life but she wants to be able to offer them a safe space to do that
as well. And I think that is just one of these ways that we can really break
down this divide between the pro-life and the pro-choice side, where it’s
constantly dehumanizing the other side and not looking at them fully, but then
expecting them to understand the humanity of the unborn person when so often we
disregard their humanity.

NWF attends “Abortion Stories” panel at The Women’s Conference

About a year ago, Destiny of New Wave Feminists attended The Women’s Convention in Detroit. Recently she created a video (FB, Youtube) talking about attending the “Abortion Stories” breakout session. We’ve transcribed the video below. Phrases in italics signify thoughts not spoken out loud.

*****
Okay so I don’t have a ton of time but I want to tell you guys real
quick about something that happened last year at the women’s conference in
Detroit. This was a conference that was put on by Planned Parenthood—that was
one of the big sponsors—and the Women’s March. So the people who had removed us from the Women’s March. They had a conference and I registered with my full
name and everything and they accepted it. And so I was able to go, and it was a
fascinating experience.
Obviously I was surrounded by a lot of very pro-choice women. I did not
go there in any way to protest them or start trouble. I really kind of just
wanted to be in dialogue with them, and to talk to these people who I think so
many of us in the pro-life community maybe even without realizing we’re doing
it, we have dehumanized them. You know, we made them the enemy. So I thought it
would be a great opportunity to just go and sit and hear them. And listen to
them, listen to why it is that they think abortion is such a necessary
quintessential part of feminism.
Abby Johnson also went with a couple people from her organization. So I
was not planning going to this one particular panel, but at the last minute I
decided to go. And it was called “Abortion Stories.” And I walk in, and Abby
was there with her people, and of course Abby’s very recognizable. So she’s
sitting a little bit away from me. I saw people kind of pointing at her. They
knew who she was. So at the beginning of this session, somebody went to the
front and said “We know that we have some people in here who disagree with
this. And we want to make it very clear that if anyone disrupts, you will be
removed immediately.” And Abby was like What?
Me? Nooo.
It was really funny because we really weren’t there to disrupt!
We just kind of wanted to listen. Luckily I was sitting far enough away I don’t
think anyone realized that I was also like a “pro-life spy” or whatever.
[Laughs] Is that what they thought was going on?
So I listened to this panel. It was 4 or 5 women. A couple of them had
had multiple abortions. One of the more outgoing women on it, she was
hilarious, but she kept talking about how she had had this Etsy shop where she
posted abortion related stuff. So she had this flask that she takes with her to
all her speaking engagements and it says “I love my abobo.” And she says “I’m
going to sell these on my thing.” As someone in recovery myself, I kept
thinking Why do you take a flask to all
your speaking engagements?
That—I don’t know—that’s a signal to me that
maybe something isn’t resolved with you about your abortion.
So anyway I listened to them tell their stories and answer all the
questions. They started doing a Q&A. And there was a young woman who stood
up. She said her name was Coco and she was with a Planned Parenthood actually
here in Texas. “How come Planned Parenthood is constantly saying ‘It’s only 3%,
it’s only 3%’?” Because a big part of what they had talked about during their
presentation was how we stigmatize abortion and how there’s a stigma around it.
So she said “Aren’t they in turn actually adding stigma to abortion by saying
‘It’s only 3%’?” And everyone in the room agreed. The outspoken woman on the
panel said “That’s why I say go work for a small, independent abortion
provider.” And everyone starts cheering, like they were kind of anti-Planned
Parenthood. And all of a sudden I’m like Am
I in on some weird pro-choice secret? Like people don’t actually love Planned
Parenthood as much as Planned Parenthood would like us to think they do?

And so the woman was like “Okay, okay” and she sits down.
So at this point there was a reporter who had said she wanted to come
with me if I was going to ask any questions or anything. And she said “If I
can’t be at the session with you, if you could just record it.” So I had
literally just turned my phone on to record and caught the Coco thing. Because
I thought I don’t know if I’m going to
ask a question.
Again, I didn’t go to this to start trouble. But before Coco’s
question they had said “Does anybody have any questions?” And it was just kind
of a long silence, nobody in the room did, and so I almost asked at that point.
And then Coco got up. And so then it was my turn because now the same thing
happened: they were like “Do we have any questions? Any questions?” And it’s
kind of silence. And I thought You know
what? I might as well.
So I raised my hand. All the stories we were hearing
were very positive abortion stories. And I said, “What if a woman’s abortion story
is not positive? What if she was coerced into an abortion? One that she didn’t
want. Is she allowed to be a part of your campaign as well? Or would that be
considered stigmatizing abortion?”
And I remember the outspoken woman who had called on me looks at me,
straight in the face, and she says “Do we have any other questions?” And starts
looking around the room. And the coolest thing happened at that moment. A woman
right in the front row—her hand shoots up—and she says “No. That’s a good
question. Answer it.” And so I’m assuming this woman in the front row is
probably post-abortive and definitely pro-choice, and here she was advocating
for my voice to be heard, which I thought was just kind of beautiful. 
So the woman looks at her and she goes, “Well I guess I really just
didn’t understand the question.” And the woman behind that lady says my
question! Explains it. Which was also really cool. Here these women were saying
“No, we want an answer to this.” So she says, “She’s asking if a woman had a bad
experience and was coerced into an abortion, can she tell her story as part of
your campaign?” And the lady goes, “Well, first of all, if a woman comes to us
and she wants to have her baby, we send her on her way with a pack of prenatal
vitamins and a picture of her sonogram and we say ‘Go be a mom.’ This does not
happen. There are not coerced abortions.” And of course she thinks she’s
putting it to rest with that.
Another hand shoots up from a third
woman in this room who says “No. She’s saying if a woman was coerced, can she tell her story?” And at this point, somebody
else on the panel who’s a little better at PR jumped in and says “Well we
wouldn’t want to be hurting a woman. We wouldn’t want her—if she has unresolved
issues with her abortion—we wouldn’t want to be re-wounding her by having her
share that story. We would want to get her into a healthy place before she
shared her story.” And I was like, That’s
kind of a cop out
, but that was a much better answer.
So then this session wraps up and nobody was escorted out. None of us
started any trouble, right? And the next day I’m meeting with that reporter. So
we’re down at the little hotel coffee shop and she had her recorder on because
she was interviewing me. And all of a sudden Coco walks up. And she says, “Hey,
I hate to interrupt you guys. I’m so sorry. But I just wanted to say thank you
so much for asking your question yesterday. I get that question all the time
and I never know how to answer it. Thank you for doing that.” And I’m just
like, “Of course!” Clearly she has no idea who I am or she would not be
thanking me for doing this.
And I said, “You know, at the end of the day, I am a feminist. And I
hate women’s voices being used as propaganda. And I think there’s a much larger
conversation we need to be having about the nuance within abortion and the fact
that there are women who are pro-choice out there who feel like it was the
right decision for them to make. But they still have these wounds. And I know
this because they’re my friends. I have many pro-choice friends who don’t
necessarily regret their abortions, but they still know exactly how old their
child would be today. They still think about it. They still wonder what their
life would have been like if they would have had that child.”
“And when we don’t allow women the ability to express that because we
label them as ‘stigmatizing abortion,’ I think that’s incredibly cruel. And I
think, especially as a feminist, I don’t believe we should be in any type of
bondage. I don’t think we should be chained barefoot and pregnant to a stove,
but I also don’t think that we should be in emotional bondage from an abortion
that we’re not allowed to talk about unless we put a smile on and say it was
the best thing we ever did. Because for so many women, it’s a very complex
multifaceted issue, and we have to let them talk about it. We have to hear
their stories.”
So with that, I’m really excited to see these new groups cropping up
that do after-care, you know, abortion healing, that’s not religious, and is
more wide-ranging. I spoke to a woman on the phone today that I’m just really
encouraged by, because she was saying she has pro-choice friends who are
post-abortive, and they want to be able to talk about their abortions. And
she’s pro-life but she wants to be able to offer them a safe space to do that
as well. And I think that is just one of these ways that we can really break
down this divide between the pro-life and the pro-choice side, where it’s
constantly dehumanizing the other side and not looking at them fully, but then
expecting them to understand the humanity of the unborn person when so often we
disregard their humanity.

Hi. We exist. – XOXO Pro-Life Women

(Original graphic on FB here.)

Pro-choice feminist groups continually insist you can’t be feminist and “anti-choice.” Netflix’ recent “Reversing Roe” documentary cut tons of footage of pro-life women and showcased almost exclusively men for the anti-abortion side. The incessant “war on women” trope leaves casual observers believing this is a strongly gendered debate, with women fiercely defending abortion and men trying to control women’s bodies. It’s all a lie.

Roughly half of American women are against abortion whether you look at the issue by labels (“pro-life” vs “pro-choice”) or by views on abortion legality. Tens of millions of American women are against abortion. We are a HUGE demographic, and this fact has been true for decades.

Make no mistake: we aren’t being overlooked because we’ve been sitting quietly in the background. Women lead many of the major pro-life organizations and speak out on the issue regularly. There are countless female pro-life leaders in addition to the women pictured above, such as Carol Tobias of National Right to Life​, Lila Rose of Live Action​, Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life of America​, Marjorie Dannenfelser of Susan B. Anthony List​, Abby Johnson of And Then There Were None​, and Serrin Foster of Feminists for Life​. Nellie Gray founded the March for Life​, which has consistently been the largest pro-life event and largest annual political march for years. We sure would appreciate it if the pro-choice side and the media would stop trying so hard to pretend we don’t exist for the sake of a narrative. We are RIGHT. HERE.

Women in graphic, starting at the top left and moving clockwise:

Maricela Lupercio, Latinos For Life
Eva Muntean (right), Walk for Life West Coast
Christina Bennett, ABC Women’s Center
Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa, New Wave Feminists
Aimee Murphy, Rehumanize International
Catherine Foster, Americans United For Life
Monica Snyder, Secular Pro-Life
Kristen Day, Democrats for Life
Albany Rose, Post-Abortive Pro-Life
Cessilye Smith, Abide Women’s Health
Kelsey Hazzard, Secular Pro-Life
Terrisa Bukovinac, Pro-Life San Francisco

Update, 5/20/19: In this excellent Vox article, Matthew Yglesias summarizes quite a bit of polling data finding little if any difference in views on abortion by gender.

Typically if the pro-choice side acknowledge pro-life women at all, in the same breath they dismiss us as internalized misogynists. Thus, apparently, no matter what data show about gender and views on abortion, it can’t undermine the non-falsifiable theory that those against abortion just hate/want to control women.

But if the roughly half of American women who are against abortion are just internalized misogynists, why do they generally break with men on issues outside of abortion? Polls find substantial gender differences on views of gender pay gap, rape culture, and gender equality. And yet–for decades now–there has been no such gender difference in views on abortion.

The reality is women as well as men can and do recognize our prenatal children as valuable, and not simply in a “personal preference” way. It’s not about misogyny; it’s about caring about humans at every developmental stage.

Update, 2/2/20: From William Saletan over at Slate:

On federal funding of “family planning and birth control for lower-income women,” the gap between men’s and women’s answers was about 10 to 20 percentage points. On funding of Planned Parenthood clinics that provide “birth control, STD testing and treatment, and cancer screenings,” the gap was similar. But on funding clinics that “also provide abortions” or that “also provide referrals for abortions,” the gender gap disappeared. The Harvard poll found the same pattern: Women were more likely than men to support funding of Planned Parenthood, but not more likely to support Medicaid coverage of abortions.

Why would the gender gap on reproductive health care dissolve when the question turns to abortion? Apparently, something about abortion bothers a lot of women in a way that birth control and STD treatments don’t.

Further Reading:

The “Anti-Choice War On Women”
7 things pro-lifers wish our pro-choice friends understood about us.
Can I Be A Feminist Too?
An Interview with New Wave Feminists
When did feminists abort the pro-life position?

Hi. We exist. – XOXO Pro-Life Women

(Original graphic on FB here.)

Pro-choice feminist groups continually insist you can’t be feminist and “anti-choice.” Netflix’ recent “Reversing Roe” documentary cut tons of footage of pro-life women and showcased almost exclusively men for the anti-abortion side. The incessant “war on women” trope leaves casual observers believing this is a strongly gendered debate, with women fiercely defending abortion and men trying to control women’s bodies. It’s all a lie.

Roughly half of American women are against abortion whether you look at the issue by labels (“pro-life” vs “pro-choice”) or by views on abortion legality. Tens of millions of American women are against abortion. We are a HUGE demographic, and this fact has been true for decades.

Make no mistake: we aren’t being overlooked because we’ve been sitting quietly in the background. Women lead many of the major pro-life organizations and speak out on the issue regularly. There are countless female pro-life leaders in addition to the women pictured above, such as Carol Tobias of National Right to Life​, Lila Rose of Live Action​, Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life of America​, Marjorie Dannenfelser of Susan B. Anthony List​, Abby Johnson of And Then There Were None​, and Serrin Foster of Feminists for Life​. Nellie Gray founded the March for Life​, which has consistently been the largest pro-life event and largest annual political march for years. We sure would appreciate it if the pro-choice side and the media would stop trying so hard to pretend we don’t exist for the sake of a narrative. We are RIGHT. HERE.

Women in graphic, starting at the top left and moving clockwise:

Maricela Lupercio, Latinos For Life
Eva Muntean (right), Walk for Life West Coast
Christina Bennett, ABC Women’s Center
Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa, New Wave Feminists
Aimee Murphy, Rehumanize International
Catherine Foster, Americans United For Life
Monica Snyder, Secular Pro-Life
Kristen Day, Democrats for Life
Albany Rose, Post-Abortive Pro-Life
Cessilye Smith, Abide Women’s Health
Kelsey Hazzard, Secular Pro-Life
Terrisa Bukovinac, Pro-Life San Francisco

Update, 5/20/19: In this excellent Vox article, Matthew Yglesias summarizes quite a bit of polling data finding little if any difference in views on abortion by gender.

Typically if the pro-choice side acknowledge pro-life women at all, in the same breath they dismiss us as internalized misogynists. Thus, apparently, no matter what data show about gender and views on abortion, it can’t undermine the non-falsifiable theory that those against abortion just hate/want to control women.

But if the roughly half of American women who are against abortion are just internalized misogynists, why do they generally break with men on issues outside of abortion? Polls find substantial gender differences on views of gender pay gap, rape culture, and gender equality. And yet–for decades now–there has been no such gender difference in views on abortion.

The reality is women as well as men can and do recognize our prenatal children as valuable, and not simply in a “personal preference” way. It’s not about misogyny; it’s about caring about humans at every developmental stage.

Update, 2/2/20: From William Saletan over at Slate:

On federal funding of “family planning and birth control for lower-income women,” the gap between men’s and women’s answers was about 10 to 20 percentage points. On funding of Planned Parenthood clinics that provide “birth control, STD testing and treatment, and cancer screenings,” the gap was similar. But on funding clinics that “also provide abortions” or that “also provide referrals for abortions,” the gender gap disappeared. The Harvard poll found the same pattern: Women were more likely than men to support funding of Planned Parenthood, but not more likely to support Medicaid coverage of abortions.

Why would the gender gap on reproductive health care dissolve when the question turns to abortion? Apparently, something about abortion bothers a lot of women in a way that birth control and STD treatments don’t.

Further Reading:

The “Anti-Choice War On Women”
7 things pro-lifers wish our pro-choice friends understood about us.
Can I Be A Feminist Too?
An Interview with New Wave Feminists
When did feminists abort the pro-life position?