I am the black sheep of the family. Born into a family of religious conservatives, I some how managed to turned out to be the latte-sipping, wine-swilling, arugula- munching, pro-choice, feminist, heathen liberal. My father blames this on my mother’s side of the family and being raised on the ‘left coast.’ My father is super religious, super conservative. He thinks that one of our family members is in a cult because she manages a yoga studio. He really lost his nut when said relative went to India for several months to learn more about her craft. We have all tried to convince him otherwise, but he will not hear it.
Every few weeks, he sends me a newsletter written by a former Nixon aid, who, aside from being an ex-con, is now a minister. It takes everything I have not to scream when I read some of the absurd “news.” Sometimes, I will write back and argue. Sometimes, I just let it slide. Last month, he sent me this article: Abortion and the occult: a glimpse inside life at a death mill (Warning: link is to a bogus anti-choice “news” site).
I had no idea how to respond. The article and the interview linked within it reminded me of the hysteria surrounding the McMartin Preschool Trial. Tales of ritual satanic abuse spread through that community like wildfire. Lives were ruined.
I had never read anything like this before. I’m sure this is not the first time the anti-choice movement has tried to link abortion providers to the occult. This is just the first time it has been presented to me. I am used to the antis portraying abortion providers as moneygrubbers, murderers or Godless sinners. My experience working with abortion providers does not resemble those portrayals. Most are not making money from providing abortions. Most put themselves and their families at risk by offering abortion services. Most of them practice a mainstream faith. Most of them are supported in their faith community. None of them take what they are doing lightly.
It’s easy to shrug off this woman’s account as the ranting of a zealot. While reading her account, I sniggered and rolled my eyes. Then I realized that a lot of people would find her account credible. The anti-choice movement wants abortion providers to be money-grubbing, drug-addled, promiscuous, devil worshipers. As if the pro-choice movement didn’t have enough hurdles, dwindling funding, Republican control of the House of Representatives, a Supreme Court with a majority that is very anti-woman and anti-choice, we have to fight back against zealots like Abigail Seidman and her crazy claims.
I ended up not responding to my father’s email. I know that I will never change his mind on the subject. He is elderly and set in his way. Instead, I have vowed to put more effort into putting a positive image of the pro-choice movement and abortion providers. The anti-choice movement has a lot of money and political clout behind it. My contributions (financial or otherwise) may be small, but hopefully it will make a difference.