Dear Fake Progressives: Please Stop Helping

7 Jun

David Katz, who has M.D. in his title so you know his words carry the weight of the medical profession, has an essay up on Huffington Post, “Abortion, on Middle Ground.” And I’m sure you’ll be shocked, absolutely shocked to hear it’s the same shit, different day. Dr. Katz is a progressive who thinks abortion is a necessary evil! He is “emphatically pro-choice” but he is “just as emphatically anti-abortion.” Because, as I am sure everyone on the planet is aware and can agree completely on, “No one is ‘for’ abortion, least of all the women who resort to it.” Dr. Katz knows these women, you see. He knows them personally and understands their inner hearts. He is a listener, this Dr. Katz! He understands the hardships, what that the ladies have,  and how we need abortions even though obviously no one ever wants to have one, and also says some stuff about how our society is really violent and education is the answer.

For the progressives who feel the need to tread this middle ground out there, let me just clear something up: you cannot be both prochoice and anti-abortion. Please don’t mistake this for a “you are with us or against us” ultimatum. I hope you will instead see it for what it is intended to be: a completely rational statement meant to absolve people of the apparent epic confusion raging in their hearts as they try to reconcile conflicting personal and political beliefs. And I don’t mean that simply the personal and political are at odds; in these cases often the personal and the personal are at odds. For instance, perhaps you believe that abortion is really quite awful, but women should be allowed to have them. In this case, congratulations! You are not actually anti-abortion.

Just take a deep breath and say it with me now: I am not anti-abortion.

I am not anti-abortion, because I know it is a necessary medical procedure that people sometimes need to undergo for physical and mental reasons. I am not anti-abortion, because I know abortions save lives. I am not anti-abortion, because I have had an abortion. Yes, I’m sorry to put you in this position, but 46% of women in this country, almost fully half, will have an abortion in their lifetime. You’re allowed to be the person who says “I am anti-abortion” even though you’ve had one yourself, but that will also make you a hypocrite who took advantage of the hard work other people do when they say “I am not anti-abortion” and then disavowed that work. And I don’t think you want to be that person.


We make it so scary, so wrong; it brings so much disapproval and judgment down on us that we’re afraid to just say it. I am not anti-abortion. In fact, I am pro-abortion. I am 100% behind any person who needs an abortion having an abortion, and I place “for the sake of mental and emotional health” in the “needs” column.

Say it with me now, scarier but oh-so-freeing: I am pro-abortion.

I am pro-heart transplant, pro-appendix removal, and pro-abortion, whenever one of those is medically necessary. Now the argument will be, it trivializes abortion to say it’s as easy as appendix removal! But it doesn’t trivialize it. The medical reality is that an abortion in the first eight weeks is easier than getting an appendix removed, and the recovery time is much shorter. If that scares you, ask yourself why. Because it shouldn’t. The shame and stigma around abortion is a social invention. Abortions are a legal medical procedure that many people undergo. People who have children, people who want children, people who will never be parents – from all walks of life, we have abortions. And for that reason amongst so many others, I am pro-abortion. Go on, say it with me now, it’s freeing, I promise: I am pro-abortion.

People like Dr. Katz like to give the impression they’re making a brave, bold statement, standing up for “choice” while denigrating abortion, but people like Dr. Katz are cowards. it is easy to talk the talk of choice. You get some credibility, you open up some debate, and you espouse what are quite frankly some popular ideas about abortion as a necessary evil. You are playing a rational, middle-of-the-road card that wins you a lot of nods and the occasional popularity contest. And you do it on the backs of the 46% of American women who engage at some point in that “necessary evil,” reminding them that when the world is good and right, they – what? Magically won’t need that medical procedure anymore? The one people have performed for centuries in various ways? Yeah, let me know how that works out.

There are many doctors out there who wholeheartedly support abortion, speak of it in medical terms and are trained to perform them, but those doctors aren’t getting published. The shame and stigma around that work created by people like Dr. Katz makes talking about it not only unpopular but unsafe. You and only you can push back and create an environment where people can be honest rather than hypocritical, and you can start by saying it with me now: I am pro-abortion.

19 Responses to “Dear Fake Progressives: Please Stop Helping”

  1. freewomyn June 7, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

    I totally agree with you – there is no need to pussy foot around the issue. If you’re pro-choice, you support abortion. Period. Get a set of ovaries and be willing to defend your position.

  2. Steph June 7, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    I have one thing to say to this: WORD.

  3. Gordon June 7, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

    Kaitlyn, could you provide a reference for the 46% figure? The Guttmacher Institute web site puts it closer to 33%. I grant you, this is nitpicking. All of your points are valid, whether it’s 46% or 33%.

  4. SoRefined June 7, 2011 at 10:50 pm #

    Agreeing with this AS HARD AS I CAN.

    I am completely sick of the ‘allowed but disavowed’ attitude a lot of progressives have about abortion. This attitude is one of the reasons that reproductive rights are the first under the bus when people want to look ‘bipartisan.’

    It makes me approximately as angry as the coopting of values language by the right and how people on the left have allowed that to happen, when they should be saying every day and in every way that progressivism is what values life, liberty, etc.

  5. Juliana Schwartz June 7, 2011 at 11:02 pm #

    I agree and disagree with this piece. On the one hand yes, I have a problem with people who paint abortion as a “necessary evil” something awful and traumatic, that they believe should exist anyways.

    But my interpretation of the term “pro-abortion” is a bit different than yours. Because I AM pro-choice, but I do not believe that abortions are things that we should seek as a goal. I believe that we need to invest more in contraceptive education, and reproductive health access in general. Studies have shown that when comprehensive sex education is increased in schools, teen abortions rates go down, as do teen pregnancies. I think abortion should always exist, because there are cases where birth control fails, plans fall through. But I think we should avoid them at all costs.

    Abortions are not morally wrong, and rarely are they mentally scaring. I work as an escort outside of a Planned Parenthood, and I have yet to see a girl leave crying. That being said, I was able to shadow a few procedures last week, and neither were they easy. They were physically painful for the girl, and often required hours and hours of waiting, or driving if they did not live near the clinic. The logistics of arranging the appointment and a ride are frustrating. It certainly puts a kink in your week, and I don’t wish for any woman to have to deal with all that.

    So yes. I am pro-choice, but I am not pro-abortion.

  6. Kaitlyn June 7, 2011 at 11:11 pm #

    Hi Gordon,

    You’re not nitpicking at all; I should be able to support my facts! I got 46% hot off the press from a prochoice working in Kansas. I checked and found an anti-choice group (I’d rather not direct you to their site) putting it at 43%. I believe Guttmacher’s numbers, while accurate and meticulously researched, are outdated.

    Thanks,
    K

  7. stephen s June 7, 2011 at 11:53 pm #

    wonderful piece and thank you. Count me as one who was willing to say pro-choice but was reluctant to say pro-abortion. Your argument was flawless, and then I was standing where I thought I didn’t belong. But I DO belong there. Thanks for taking me down the road to: yes, I need to say that, I am pro-abortion.

  8. Sophia June 8, 2011 at 1:46 am #

    @Juliana -Thank you for commenting, and I want to say that I greatly respect your opinion and your right to your opinion. However, I would like to point out that many medical procedures are painful, require lots of waiting, long travel lengths, and even financial burden. . Having a root canal is painful, requires a long wait and is not easy; so is going to hospital to be treated for a broken bone; the list goes on, truly.

    So, the whole 9 months of pregnancy, and childbirth (obviously, and I am speaking from experience) is also going to be painful, a long wait, and involve many uncomfortable and painful experiences. Can you imagine what a painful birth, even with meds, feels like in “normal” circumstances? What if the birth is forced? How much more painful is it then? How long is that 9 month wait when you don’t want to be pregnant, but didn’t have the choice due to laws, money, or other restrictions to access?

    I would not presume to know your circumstances, but it is important to keep legal, outpatient, medical procedures in the appropriate context: when compared to things like pregnancy, and child birth (something that actually kills a significant number of women in America, it’s so dangerous) , the wait, the pain, the long car drive, all of those things you mentioned, seem not to be so terrible. In fact, those experiences seem quite on par with those of almost any other uncomfortable but totally necessary and life saving medical procedure modern medicine provides.

    Thank you again for supporting the cause, and commenting.

    Best,

    Sophia

  9. Aviv June 8, 2011 at 4:24 am #

    Ok, let’s start off with some definitions.
    Definition of PRO

    1
    : an argument or evidence in affirmation
    2
    : the affirmative side or one holding it

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pro-

    If you are pro-something, you are actively wanting that something to happen, just as if you are anti-something, you want that something to not happen. If you are pro-choice, you are an active proponent for people having a right to choose. By labeling yourself as pro-abortion, you are saying you wish to actively forward the cause of people getting abortions.

    This takes me to my next point, of you hating these progressives who are on both sides – Dr. Katz is basically stating that while abortion is a horrible thing, there are a number of circumstances in which it is necessary and therefore should be a persons choice. This is not wrong, and doesn’t deserve an article such as this to ridicule a man who is not a proponent of homicide of innocent life.

    Abortion, indeed, should not have to exist in a perfect world. There’d be every nuclear family (or gay/lesbian adopted family)who bring happy, healthy children to life. There is no circumstance in which abortion should be celebrated, as it is always precedented by something bad (e.g. rape, unable to raise a child due to circumstance, simply don’t want the child [which is generally a result of poor choices/lack of foresight], child will have a birth defect, etc.)

    Unless you actively have a bloodthirsty wish to stab half-formed foetuses in the face (and i’m sure there’s enough psychos out there who would), you too should be both anti-abortion and pro-choice, because it means you are both open minded and humane.

    You say you are pro-heart transplant and pro-appendix removal; surgery is the same deal, in a perfect world no-one would need it, it is invasive and no one should have to undergo massive surgery unless it outweighs the negatives of not having surgery – the same goes for abortions.

  10. Kaitlyn June 8, 2011 at 8:58 am #

    Hi Aviv,

    You’ve given me a lot to comment on here! Let’s begin with the definitions. I’m a smart girl; I understand my use of the word “pro.” Consider me an argument in favor of abortion, a walking, talking argument that everyone does and should have the right to decide whether they carry another life to term. Big decision. And every individual needs to be able to make it for themselves.

    I get the sense, however, that you are *not* prochoice, as no one I know in the prochoice community would compare abortion to “homicide” or a “bloodthirsty wish to stab half-formed fetuses.” Neither of those things remotely resemble what abortion is, and the comparison is offensive, demeaning, and shaming. Unfortunately, despite his seemingly sincere best intention, Dr. Katz’ argument is all of those things as well.

    Of course, unlike your comment, Dr. Katz’ argument does not make me want to reach for the booze or bang my head against a wall, so I do appreciate his middle-of-the-road approach in that sense.

    Since you were so kind as to share a definition with me, I will share some information regarding abortion with you. In the first eight weeks, the “fetus” is a collection of cells. It most closely resembles a cotton ball (the size of a kidney bean!: http://www.babycenter.com/slideshow-baby-size?slideNumber=6) and looks nothing like a human being. Ending a pregnancy during that time is absolutely not complicated and can usually be done by taking a pill. I know people find this bothersome, but its a medical reality. This is why people so often miscarry in the first trimester; the hold those cells have is quite tenuous.

    I do not hate Dr. Katz. I don’t hate the people who stand outside clinics and yell and threaten innocent patients, including the teenagers there for their first pap smear, and I absolutely do not hate you. I’m sure in your evenings at home you’re all absolutely lovely people, and I believe hate in your heart is bad karma. However, I take serious issues with your beliefs and argument, which I feel are misguided at best, harmful at worst, and in all cases do real psychological damage to real people on both the pro and anti side of abortion.

    Thanks,
    K

  11. luckymama June 8, 2011 at 3:16 pm #

    I am really concerned about this post… you include mental health as reason to get an abortion. Let me tell you of all the women I know who found themselves pregnant who didn’t want to have the baby but, now that they have met their child and gotten through certain circumstances in their life, cringe at the thought that abortion would have been considered “beneficial” for treating depression, etc. And I know of a few who went through with it to “help” their situation, and now they can’t stop crying, so to speak. What think you? Wouldn’t you rather encourage the woman with access to resources, including a mental health checkup, knowing they can come back later if they choose? Abortion, after all, is not the goal, right?

  12. Kaitlyn June 8, 2011 at 10:51 pm #

    Hi luckymama,

    First, I just want to say that expressing “concern” over this post comes across as patronizing, although I am sure that was not your intention. Your reasons for concern are unclear, and your worry is unnecessary.

    The goal is for all women (or pregnant persons) to *have* and therefor be able to *consider* all possible options when they become pregnant. Abortion isn’t a “cure” for depression and I have never heard it touted as one. However, there are cases of women who have suicidal tendencies which are triggered by an unwanted pregnancy – if a woman would rather kill herself than carry a pregnancy to term, abortion should certainly be considered.

    Saying “abortion is not the goal” unfortunately stigmatizes women who wish to carry their child to term and find out that the fetus isn’t viable or that they themselves will not survive the pregnancy and/or childbirth, and have an abortion as a result. The shame and stigma around abortion make them feel that they have failed, or done something wrong, by taking care of themselves, their bodies, and their families. Abortion is not a goal; abortion is a means by which goals, such as health and safety, are achieved. It needs to be a viable and respected option.

    Thanks,
    K

  13. Dee June 9, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    @luckymama

    The myth of the woman who met her child and instantly regretted considering abortion actually plays out like this: woman wants abortion, can’t/won’t get it, meets her baby, decides it’s adorable, and still has a world of problems raising it (whether financial or mental).

    For every such woman that cringes at the thought that they considered abortion, I can tell you of a woman who regrets having become a mother, or who became an abusive/neglectful mother. The author of Hiroshima in the Morning, Rahna Reiko Rizzuto, did NOT want to be a mother, but became one to please her husband. Eventually, she left her children and moved to Asia. Then there’s the more extreme case of Andrea Yates, who was forced (once again, by her husband) to become a mother 5 times. I stress that she did NOT want children. She eventually lost her mind and killed them.

  14. Shannon Drury June 9, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

    Abortion is necessary. Period.

  15. Liberalhouse June 9, 2011 at 6:43 pm #

    Thank you for this article! I too am one of the pro-choicers who often use the apologetic language, mainly because I live in a rural area, and often this is the only way you can even get people to consider the pro-choice stance. I see now how muttled my language has been though, and this gives me some real food for thought (which I always love). Thanks again!

  16. hogan June 12, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

    I definitely believe abortions should be safe, legal and available to all women, but I also wish that fewer abortions were necessary or desired. I guess I agree with some of the people you’ve decimated here in the comment section. I guess that makes me a “fake progressive,” so be it… it’s a complicated world. I say this having strongly considered abortion once and firmly believing that women need the right to choose.

  17. Kaitlyn June 12, 2011 at 10:09 pm #

    Hey Hogan, I don’t see *one thing wrong* with wishing for a more perfect world in which people had all the things they need to prevent unwanted pregnancies. I wish on every star for the same thing – and I also work very hard in real, practical ways to actually *provide* those things for people – and I don’t believe that makes you, me or anyone else a fake progressive. However, giving everyone the tools they need to prevent unintended pregnancies 100% of the time would unfortunately still not eliminate the need for abortions, so I work every day to combat the stigma around the procedure. Thanks for engaging in the discussion.

  18. Aoife June 17, 2011 at 11:16 pm #

    Coming from a country where abortion is illegal, and as someone who very recently changed her political stance on abortion (I no longer oppose a woman’s right to explore all reproductive options, including abortion), I have to admit that I don’t share your views. The fact is that I DO believe abortion IS ‘a necessary evil’, and I obviously choose those words carefully and not without a valid reason. I’ll come right out and say it: I HATE abortion. I always have and I always will. And if anyone asks my opinion on the subject, I will make that clear because I have no doubt that it is killing and the taking of a human life, hence why I strongly oppose it on a personal level.

    However, and I stress this: MY opinions on abortion are completely irrelevant when it comes to another woman choosing whether to continue with a pregnancy or not. It doesn’t matter what I think about it: neither I, nor anyone else, has any right to judge or interfere with such an incredibly personal decision. I accept a woman’s right to choose, end of, however much I disagree with her and believe that she is doing something wrong. I trust women. And I’m sorry if that makes me an opponent or a ‘fake progressive’ because it’s not my intention to stand in the way of anyone’s reproductive rights. But I’m not going to lie either about why I will never be able to embrace abortion in principle. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Abortion gangster come out of the closet: I am pro-abortion | Foundation Life - June 8, 2011

    […] June 8, 2011 By admin. Under All, Life-Duplicity, Life-Education     Kaitlyn at The Abortion Gang just hates leftists who claim to be pro-choice but anti-abortion. I am […]

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