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March 25, 2011 / Anna Louie Sussman

The New York Times finally covers the abortion $@&#!storm in South Dakota

The New York Times finally did its bit on the anti-abortion legislative madness happening in South Dakota.  According to the article:

A law signed by Gov. Dennis Daugaard on Tuesday makes the state the first to require women who are seeking abortions to first attend a consultation at such “pregnancy help centers,” to learn what assistance is available “to help the mother keep and care for her child.”

The story is very “balanced,” which is to say, both sides get equal airtime.  The reporter also tastefully ended with a quote from the pro-choice camp.  However, I would have liked to see more of a description of what the actual places are like — what goes on in a pregnancy crisis center?  What kind of (mis)information are they peddling?  How does this contrast with the medically sound information that is offered by trained physicians at clinics such as Planned Parenthood?

Information like this would help the reader decide if it is a good or bad thing that women be sent to these centers before being allowed to execute her own, difficult decision to go through with an abortion.  I watched an excellent documentary last year at the IFC called “12th and Delaware,” about a pregnancy crisis center and an abortion clinic that are across the street from one another in Florida.  The filmmakers spent a year with the staff of the crisis center; their footage shows a tremendous amount of inaccurate information being dispensed to young — often very, very young — women who in some excruciating cases do not have enough of their own information to evaluate whether or not this information is valid.  Pamphlets scattered around the centers tout a (totally bogus) link between abortion and breast cancer.  Employees coax women away from the abortion clinic by literally promising them “anything they need,” as in, money, food, clothes (Are they going to pay for that child’s college education?).  They drag one poor mother in and before the door shuts, you hear them saying “why don’t you pick out a toy for your child?”  It’s incredibly coercive and flat-out deceptive.

The article also curiously failed to mention a previous bill introduced in South Dakota that would have permitted homicide in order to save a fetus.  Thankfully, this bill failed, but it would have been worth mentioning in the story, in order to indicate how viciously hostile the legislature is towards women’s reproductive autonomy: lawmakers would sooner sanction murder than let a woman choose.

So much other anti-choice nastiness is cooking in the Midwest; I look forward to more reporting on it in the paper of record.

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4 Comments

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  1. lenny / Mar 25 2011 11:57 am

    i used to do clinic defense in california. we would form a human chain around planned parenthood clinics so that girls/women would have a support network as they enter the building to undertake a scary & heartbreaking procedure.

    the hostility–the yelling, spitting, the photos on their signs–always made me sad for humanity. it’s sad people resort to the worst parts of themselves in order to control others.

  2. Mark Vanselow / May 25 2011 11:15 am

    Anna, you claim that:

    “medically sound information…is offered by trained physicians at clinics such as Planned Parenthood”

    So abortion is “medically sound”, Anna? Sticking metal implements inside a woman’s gentials and yanking a dying child from the womb of its mother? Injecting saline into the womb and burning the child alive?

    Really, Anna?

    Medically sound?

    Like some Kool-Aid?

    Of course, the medical industry is full of quacks who still think research procedures such as vivisection are “medically sound”…and never mind all the poisonous crap in prescription medicine people take every day.

    Anna, in case you haven’t lived on the same planet as Yours Truly for the past 33 years, the medical industry as we know it today doesn’t operate for altruistic reasons. Please stop deifying your “medically sound, trained physicians” from Planned Parenthood. They don’t walk on water.

    I would also like to know, Anna, what authority you have to proclaim the link between breast cancer and abortion as “totally bogus.”

    Evidently, you accept “medical expertise” from the Planned Parenthood side, but ignore the research by pro-life physicians, neither more nor less “qualified” than those at Planned Parenthood.

    Anna said:

    “Employees coax women away from the abortion clinic by literally promising them “anything they need,” as in, money, food, clothes (Are they going to pay for that child’s college education?)”

    Erm..they LITERALLY promised as opposed to FIGURATIVELY, Anna? Anyway…

    The key word is “need.” College is not a need, Anna.

    Food is a need. Clothing is a need. Shelter is a need. If college were a “need”, Anna, everybody who never went underwent education beyond high school would be dead.

    Anna: why do you presume all children need or wish to enter college, anyway? University graduate elitist snobbery on your part? A person’s life is nothing unless they can one day enter university like yourself? So they may someday get a job at a newsrag and scribble half-baked opinions that are no more objective than the politically-conflicting beliefs that they denounce?

    The world could live without highly-strung rag writers. I’d like to see your Upper-Middle-Class Paradise neighbourhood, Anna, last more than two weeks without the high-school graduates (and in some cases drop-outs) who empty the garbage from the household bins that line your street (your writing reveals a lot about how you look down upon others “less fortunate” than yourself). While you’re at it, do your own plumbing, electrical repairs, painting–all wonderful things typically performed by schmucks who never went to college and acquired marvellous little things called “apprenticeships” which are free and open to anyone regardless of academic qualifications. But heaven forbid people get their hands dirty to create the dry-cleaned, whitebread, heat-and-serve world you live in, Anna.

    A mother doesn’t need to have a college fund set up for her child right from the word go. It’s 18 years away. Things can turn around for the mother. It’s called hope. Your hysterical attitude: “My god, how WILL she afford the college fund that is EIGHTEEN YEARS away!” is ludicrous. You’re basically saying slay the child now, because things will just get worse for the mother and child if both are allowed to live.

    Anna Louie Sussman–last of the great optimists.

    Lenny described abortion:

    “…a scary & heartbreaking procedure.”

    Funny, Lenny…and you ADVOCATE these women entering the abortion clinics?

    You even ADMIT it’s a “scary, heartbreaking procedure.”

    Yeah, no kidding, because in their heart of hearts, these women KNOW the crime they’re about to commit. As YOU know. But you dare not admit it for the same reason the meat industry turns a blind eye to the suffering of animals, why politicians ignore the carnage of warfare…it would force them to have a conscience, and we can’t well have people putting their conscience ahead of political vanity.

    I mean, that would make people…erm, compassionate!

    Lenny said:
    “..the hostility–the yelling, spitting…”

    Yep, because only pro-lifers do this–heavens above, I’ll just forget the time those nasty pro-abortionists dropped multiple f-bombs asI was standing still, not saying a word, supporting the pro-life cause. Let’s forget the gutter language they spewed with total disregard to the small children who were present, the fact one of them violently charged a pro-life sign, damaged the sign (someone else’s property for which they paid several hundred dollars) and needed to be restrained by police.

    Yep, that never happened, because according to Lenny, that’s only those nasty pro-lifers who do that stuff.

    Or were you going to tell us that pro-lifers can also be a rotten lot at a later date, Lenny, but omitted that fact for the time being?

    Finally, Lenny said…

    “..the photos on their signs–always made me sad for humanity.”

    I agree–if it weren’t for abortion being so horrible, you wouldn’t have to look at signs of mutilated children subtitled with anti-abortion slogans. Yep, abortion is “scary, heartbreaking, sad for humanity.” Precisely the reason why people oppose it.

    Fancy that, hey?

    One last bit of irony from Anna:

    “..lawmakers would sooner sanction murder than let a woman choose.”

    What Anna means is “Lawmakers would sooner sanction murder than let a woman choose to kill her child.”

    Anna will be here all week, ladies and gentlemen…try the tofu!

  3. Anna Louie Sussman / May 25 2011 12:04 pm

    Hi Mark,

    Thank you for your comments. I think, as I might also have in my writing (and as we all do), you make some assumptions that are unfounded, in this case about me. I’m traveling today but will try to respond to some of what you’ve written next week.

    Best,
    Anna

  4. Mark Vanselow / May 27 2011 1:44 pm

    Admittedly I belaboured some points, but the essence of what I have said still stands true. For the sake of clarity and brevity, I shall rephrase and shorthand my previous statement thusly:

    (A) Did you or did you not suggest, very strongly, that anti-abortion advocates should provide pregnant mothers considering abortion with a college fund for the child? Tertiary education is not a fundamental need for survival and you have no idea how the first 18 years of a child’s life shall develop, nor can you predict accurately how the mother shall handle the raising of her child. To use this argument as leverage for your position (i.e. anti-abortion advocates do not go far enough in helping mothers because they won’t pay for college tuition) is ludicrous.

    (B) Is it not true, Anna, that a foetus is a living being, and do you believe, Anna, that injecting saline into the womb of the mother to burn the child, or simply using metal implements to remove and dismember the child from the womb can be classified as “medically sound” procedures, keeping in mind these procedures are endorsed as “safe” by Planned Parenthood?
    (But safe for whom?–certainly not the child!)

    Anna, your article reeks of pessimism regarding the effectiveness of the anti-abortion movement and your “college” remark reveals more about yourself than you’d like to admit.

    Just for the record, Anna, not all anti-abortionists are hyper-conservative religious zealots. I know you didn’t say otherwise in your article, but it bears mentioning all the same.

    Speaking for myself, I am opposed to the death penalty, a pacifist, a vegan, and an atheist to boot. I know this confuses a lot of narrow-minded people–not just extreme left-wingers, but extreme right wingers, too–how can someone who believes all these things be pro-life? Well, how can someone who believes all these things NOT be pro-life? My pro-life stance has nothing to do with religious beliefs, nor is it part of following a right-wing checklist. Just as I regard the killing of adult humans as reprehensible, in the same way that I feel the slaughter of animals is barbaric, I also feel very strongly about protecting the children from the scourge of abortion.

    Open your eyes and you shall see that my pro-life stance is consistent with my other stated beliefs. I am a peaceful person and as far as I’m concerned, if the best “solution” the human race can devise for pregnant mothers facing a crisis situation is to kill their children and toss them into the garbage, then maybe humanity itself is heading for the trash heap. It’s bad enough that food and wealth is distributed unevenly and so many people are left to starve and die. We are more than able as a race to care for all, the newborn and the elderly, the sick and frail; we are able to live peacefully alongside our neighbours in others countries. So more’s the pity we have a culture of death in our society–and people wonder why the humankind is becoming an absolute disgrace.

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