The obnoxious jerks standing on the corner near Planned Parenthood with their stupid anti-abortion signs.
They were out there again, yesterday, when I went to pick up the pills that keep me from needing an abortion (let’s hear it for modern medicine). A man with a pro-adoption sign that wasn’t too bad, because, okay, sure, adoption is fine. Nothing wrong with adoption. And then a woman with some cheesy fetus drawing inside a big heart. I don’t know what it said, exactly, probably "abortion stops a beating heart" or somesuch.
It was funny, without knowing those jerks were there, I had been feeling a strong urge to make Paul go with me to Planned Parenthood — I thought it was just so we could spend more time together. But it turns out to have been crucial for preventing me from going to jail on assault charges.
I was trying to pinpoint why they make me so face-punchingly angry. I mean, in general I support public protests and sign-carrying as a crucial part of the foundation of a free society. People have the right to peaceably assemble and petition the Government for a redress of grievances, absolutely. Do I object to the corner-standers just because I object to their cause? Or are their actions really fundamentally different from the actions of other protesters?
It seems like they are. I always feel like the nature of their protest isn’t general, I feel like they are trying to pick a fight with me, specifically. Like they are trying to specifically invade my privacy.
So it’s partly the nature of what it is they are protesting. Roe v. Wade was decided in favor of abortion rights on the basis of an assumed right to privacy. Anti-abortion protesters assume I do not have that right.
So, by standing outside the place where I am going for medical care — and, for nearly ten years without health insurance, Planned Parenthood was my only health care provider — they aren’t just protesting the fact that I might choose to have an abortion and urging me to choose something else. They are also implicitly protesting that right to privacy.
Their signs are directed outward, at passing cars. They want to change the laws of this land so that I, as a woman of hypothetical childbearing ability, do not have a right to privacy, do not have a right to decide what happens in my body.
Also, the fact that they are standing outside Planned Parenthood specifically, as opposed to standing outside the courthouse or whatever, makes it actually seem like they are trying to shame me for going to Planned Parenthood. Their signs address only abortion, but their presence is like a protest against every service Planned Parenthood offers, including STD testing and birth control.
And, also, whether it’s justified or not, whether it’s ideologically consistent or not, I have to confess that anti-abortion activists just piss me the hell off.
I feel like, by elevating my hypothetical fetii to personhood, they have removed my own. They’ll tell you it’s something different, of course. But there’s no getting around it, they’ve made a judgment call: who’s more important, an actual person, or a potential person? And they’ve picked the potential person. Because the actual person is just a woman and she shouldn’t be having sex if she doesn’t want to have all the babies God chooses to send her and she must be a slut anyway.
The potential person, on the other hand, since it doesn’t actually exist, is more holy and pure than anything in this world.
It’s more important than the woman, obviously, but it’s also more important than little babies that actually exist. Apparently. Judging by the actions of the anti-abortion movement. Because they all seem to be right wingers, and the instant the baby is born it goes from being the holiest thing imaginable to being a hideous drain on society. Unless it’s born to, or immediately adopted by, a wealthy, heterosexual, white, anglo-saxon, Protestant, married couple.
Now, the thing is, I don’t personally know the irritants down on the street corner yesterday. For all I know, maybe they’re warm-hearted liberal types who will personally adopt the baby you can’t care for, who support the right of gay couples to adopt, who support a social welfare system that helps poor families take care of their children. Maybe they do display the same dedication to the welfare of real-live children as they do to the pure imaginary children in their heads.
So why were they standing on the street corner with those signs? What did they think that was going to accomplish?
I mean, the sign didn’t say "I, personally will lovingly adopt your baby if you can’t take care of it." It was just a generic "Adoption: the loving choice." Right, because women who might get an abortion have never heard of adoption. And certainly the doctors at Planned Parenthood will never mention it as an option, my goodness, that would deprive them of the precious opportunity to perform an abortion! Because that’s all they care about over there! They just think abortions are such a jolly good time that they can’t wait until the next one! Which is why they provide birth control… oh, never mind.
Do they imagine that they’re going to change my mind about anything? Or are they hoping to intimidate some insecure pregnant high school girl? Or is it mostly for the benefit of the passing cars, and pissing off women going to pick up their birth control pills is just a bonus?
I suppose they have done one public service. Young women? You want to know where Planned Parenthood is? You know those anti-abortion jerks you’ve seen standing on the corner? Yeah, that’s where it is.