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What Anti-Abortion Zealots Really Want

preaching anti abortion gospel lexington kentucky (5)

Recently, U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Russ Walker struck down an Alabama law that “enabled judges to put minors seeking abortions through a trial-like proceeding in which the fetus could get a lawyer and prosecutors could object to the pregnant girl’s wishes.” (CBS News)

According to CBS News:

Alabama legislators in 2014 changed the state’s process for girls who can’t or won’t get their parents’ permission for an abortion to obtain permission from a court instead. The new law empowered the judge to appoint a guardian ad litem “for the interests of the unborn child” and invited the local district attorney to call witnesses and question the girl to determine whether she’s mature enough to decide.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Russ Walker sided Friday with the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, writing that the law unconstitutionally and impermissibly imposes “an undue burden on a minor in Alabama who seeks an abortion through a judicial bypass,” and violates the girl’s privacy rights by enabling a prosecutor to call witnesses against her will.

Both the judge and the ACLU said they were aware of no other state with such a law.

Every state requiring parental consent for abortions involving minors must also have a “judicial bypass” procedure so that girls can get a judge’s approval in a way that is effective, confidential, and expeditious, the ACLU said.

The state had argued that the law was intended to allow a “meaningful” inquiry into the minor’s maturity and the process was still a “confidential, and expeditious option for a teenager who seeks an abortion without parental consent.”

The civil rights organization said it had the opposite effect, by enabling lawyers for the state or the fetus to subpoena the minor’s teacher, neighbor, relative or boyfriend to testify she’s too immature to choose an abortion, or that continuing the pregnancy would be in her best interest.

It is unclear how many such proceedings have happened since the law was enacted. Walker noted that a district attorney this summer opposed the abortion request of a 12-year-old girl who had been impregnated by a relative.


That Alabama legislators — most of whom worship the Evangelical Christian God — enacted such a draconian, anti-woman, anti-abortion law should surprise no one. Anti-abortionists will not rest until they have banned abortion, criminalized its practice, and granted personhood to human zygotes. In fact, most anti-abortionists object to abortion for any reason — including rape and incest. Some anti-abortionists even go so far as to oppose abortion even if the life of the mother is at stake, believing that God is the giver and taker of life, and if he wants the mother to live he will make it so.

Not only do anti-abortionists oppose abortion for any reason, an increasing number of them object to the sale and distribution of birth control, believing that God alone opens and closes the womb. These zealots, knowing that access to birth control reduces the need for abortion services, choose to let their peculiar interpretations of an ancient religious text trump what is best not only for women, but for the unwanted children they will bring into the world if they don’t have access to birth control.

Previously, I wrote that I no longer use the phrase pro-life to describe those who oppose abortion. The reason is simple. Anti-abortionists are only pro-life when it comes to the unborn. They will go to the ends of the earth to protect human zygotes and unborn fetuses, but once babies are born, anti-abortionists lose all interest in their welfare outside of throwing a few diapers and cans of formula the way of new mothers. Anti-abortionists are overwhelmingly Republican, supporting policies that harm countless people, including mothers and newborns. Anti-abortionists are overwhelmingly pro-war, pro-capital punishment, anti-euthanasia, anti-single payer/universal health care, and a host of other things that should, in my mind, be consistent with people hold a pro-life viewpoint. While I am sure that more than a few anti-abortionists are not as I describe here, the loudest voices in the movement support policies that are anti-family.

This is why it is impossible for those of us who support a woman’s right to an abortion to find common ground with anti-abortionists. Theologically driven, anti-abortionists will accept no compromise. Supporting abortion rights is, in the anti-abortionist’s mind, akin to supporting murder. I find it hard to work with people who think that, because of my views on abortion, I am a murderer. Even my support of morning-after drugs is viewed as advocating murder. In the eyes of anti-abortionists, the moment sperm and egg unite in the wombs of women, the results are human beings that should have the same constitutional and legal protections as I have. Insane! you say. Yes, but make no mistake about it, if anti-abortionists have their way, aborting a fetus will be considered premeditated murder, worthy, ironically, of the death penalty. Currently, anti-abortionists, as they continue their incremental assault on Roe v. Wade, are attempting to pass state laws that require burials for aborted or miscarried fetuses. According to the Guttmacher Institute, anti-abortionists continue to make it harder and harder for women to receive abortions. Currently:

  • Physician and Hospital Requirements: 38 states require an abortion to be performed by a licensed physician. 19 states require an abortion to be performed in a hospital after a specified point in the pregnancy, and 19 states require the involvement of a second physician after a specified point.
  • Gestational Limits: 43 states prohibit abortions, generally except when necessary to protect the woman’s life or health, after a specified point in pregnancy.
  • “Partial-Birth” Abortion: 19 states have laws in effect that prohibit “partial-birth” abortion. 3 of these laws apply only to post-viability abortions.
  • Public Funding: 17 states use their own funds to pay for all or most medically necessary abortions for Medicaid enrollees in the state. 32 states and the District of Columbia prohibit the use of state funds except in those cases when federal funds are available: where the woman’s life is in danger or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. In defiance of federal requirements, South Dakota limits funding to cases of life endangerment only.
  • Coverage by Private Insurance: 11 states restrict coverage of abortion in private insurance plans, most often limiting coverage only to when the woman’s life would be endangered if the pregnancy were carried to term. Most states allow the purchase of additional abortion coverage at an additional cost.
  • Refusal: 45 states allow individual health care providers to refuse to participate in an abortion. 42 states allow institutions to refuse to perform abortions, 16 of which limit refusal to private or religious institutions.
  • State-Mandated Counseling: 16 states mandate that women be given counseling before an abortion that includes information on at least one of the following: the purported link between abortion and breast cancer (5 states), the ability of a fetus to feel pain (12 states) or long-term mental health consequences for the woman (6 states).
  • Waiting Periods: 27 states require a woman seeking an abortion to wait a specified period of time, usually 24 hours, between when she receives counseling and the procedure is performed. 14 of these states have laws that effectively require the woman make two separate trips to the clinic to obtain the procedure.
  • Parental Involvement: 37 states require some type of parental involvement in a minor’s decision to have an abortion. 26 states require one or both parents to consent to the procedure, while 11 require that one or both parents be notified.

Here in Ohio, most abortions are banned after twenty weeks. As of April 2017, Ohio law requires:

  • A woman must receive state-directed counseling that includes information designed to discourage her from having an abortion, and then wait 24 hours before the procedure is provided. Counseling must be provided in person and must take place before the waiting period begins, thereby necessitating two trips to the facility.
  • Health plans offered in the state’s health exchange under the Affordable Care Act can only cover abortion if the woman’s life is endangered, or in cases of rape or incest.
  • Abortion is covered in insurance policies for public employees only in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest.
  • Medication abortion must be provided using the FDA protocol. The use of telemedicine to administer medication abortion is prohibited.
  • The parent of a minor must consent before an abortion is provided.
  • Public funding is available for abortion only in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest.
  • Most women will undergo an ultrasound before obtaining an abortion; since the provider must test for a fetal heartbeat. The woman will be offered the option to view the image.
  • An abortion may be performed at 20 or more weeks post-fertilization (22 weeks after the woman’s last menstrual period) only if the woman’s life is endangered or if her physical health is severely compromised. This law is based on the assertion, which is inconsistent with scientific evidence and has been rejected by the medical community, that a fetus can feel pain at that point in pregnancy.

Since 2011, Ohio governor John Kasich has signed into law more than a dozen anti-abortion laws, resulting in the closure of half of Ohio’s abortion clinics. Showing that they will not be satisfied until ALL abortion is outlawed, Ohio anti-abortionists are attempting to pass a fetal heartbeat bill which, if enacted, will effectively ban all abortions in Ohio. Late last year, Governor Kasich vetoed the latest heartbeat law, saying that it would not survive constitutional challenge. His veto brought the ire of anti-abortionists. Never mind that Kasich has done more to advance the anti-abortion cause that any governor, all that matters to anti-abortion zealots such as Janet Porter is that the governor refused to support their latest bill. This reveals, yet again, that it is impossible for pro-choice advocates to find common ground with anti-abortionists. Adopting a scorched earth policy where no quarter will be given, anti-abortionists despise anyone who dares to deviate from their extremist views. If Governor Kasich is now in league with Satan, those of us who support a woman’s right to choose have no hope of finding ways to meaningfully work with anti-abortionists to reduce the number of abortions. So, we go it alone, advocating for easy, free access to birth control and comprehensive sex education in the public schools. Realizing that there will always be unwanted/accidental pregnancies — for whatever reason — we believe that access to morning-after drugs is essential.

Dark is the hour for those of us who support a woman’s right to choose, but we must not give in or lose hope. We must continue to fight, pushing back at every turn, until the gains made by anti-abortionists are overturned — either through legislatures or the judicial system.

Other posts on abortion

Abortion Facts, Lies, and Contradictions

25 Questions for Those who say Abortion is Murder

Abortion: One Issue Voters

Preaching the Anti-Abortion Gospel

Is Abortion Murder? (A Rationalist’s Take)


  1. Avatar

    Anti-abortionist. Forced Birther. I believe the two terms describe the same type of person. The anti-abortionist will never get rid of abortion; they will only force it underground.

    In a just world the anti-abortionist would be forced to do community service at a mental health clinic. Work there long enough and the need for open access for birth control and abortion becomes harshly clear.

    My SIL was not wanted by her mom. Abortion was not an option, a fact used against my SIL all her pre adult life. So where was the love these anti-abortionists like to parade about? Why wasn’t there anyone willing to rescue her from the extreme abuse?

    Like ghosts in a Greek Tragedy the anti-avortionists gave no comfort, did no good, only moaned about how evil it would be to loose one life to ‘murder’. For the good of all and may it harm none, death is not always harm as there are some things worse than death. Not being loved by ones mother qualifies as worse in my opinion.

    • Avatar
      Donald Jones

      Second paragraph: Justice = wiping out the mental defective? Hello, Eugenics. Here’s the company you keep in Eugenicist history:

      Third Paragraph: an anecdotal story about your SIL being unloved makes a case for the wholesale slaughter of 3000+ a day? There are ministries that rescue babies from being destroyed:

      Have you seen what you’re advocating?

      • Avatar

        Thank you Donald for proving each of Bruce’s points.

        Eugenics? Are you freaking for real? How is wanting every child to be loved and wanted about eugenics? I wait with baited breath for you to connect those dots. Truly, at the edge of my seat. And no, I’m not clicking on your slimey links. Ewww. Who knows where they’ve been?

        By the way Forced Birther, do you know Planned Parenthoods motto? Every child is wanted.

        Do not pretend adoption or foster care are always viable solutions. If you really believed in foster care or adoption you and those like you would not block placement or adoption with dedicated LGBTQA couples. If you really wanted to lower abortions you would support reliable access to birth control.

        As for those ministries you believe will take all the unwanted babies I believe Bruce has highlighted cases where those model parents have killed their adopted children.

        Your hypocrisy is open for all to see. Doesn’t your Lord and Savior have a few words about not being a hypocrite? Seems to me you need to revisit your holy book.

        • Avatar
          Donald Jones

          Eugenics “from Greek εὐγενής eugenes ‘well-born’ “. Granted that you’re taking the “wellness” from the genetic realm to the emotional standard of care. Either way, you’re advocating for a set of prerequisites being in place before a child should be born. With mental illnesses like Autism on the rise in the West, you see extra care being necessary. When love, affection and emotional well-being aren’t in sufficient supply, you’re advocating the slaughter of the baby. For its own “good”, of course. (Darkness masquerading as light, like it does.)

          Speaking of Eugenics, you brought up Planned Parrenthood. Have you studied it’s founder, Margaret Sanger and/or Alan Guttmacher of the Guttmacher Institute? Find out how they relate to the American Eugenics Society (yes, that’s a thing…even Google thinks so: “furthering the discussion, advancement, and dissemination of knowledge about biological and sociocultural forces which affect the structure and composition of human populations.”.)

          These people originally made your argument. These are the people you are agreeing with.

          Indeed, there are many scriptures opposing hypocrisy. I’m not against many forms of birth control (preventing conception), however, chemical abortions and ripping limbs off of a baby aren’t forms of birth control. I find it much more hypocritical to believe that killing the pre-born is somehow “good” for the child. However, you’re not the first, or the last, to espouse this position, you just don’t enjoy the Eugenicist label that has historically accompanied it.

          • Avatar
            Bruce Gerencser

            Your argument falls flat when one adopts the position that a clumps of cells, a fertilized egg, a zygote is not a baby. Potential life, yes, but not a baby. In fact, the overwhelming majority of abortions occur in the first trimester.

            This is why anti-sbortionists use photos of late term aborted fetuses in their advertising. Hard to raise passions with photos of zygotes or fetuses 4-8 weeks old.

            I presume you support owning slaves and treating women as chattel. After all Christians believed these things in the past, so you must too. Absurd? Yes, it is, no different from you trying to tar those of us who support abortion as eugenicists. We are not, and to suggest otherwise is a deliberate distortion of what is actually believed.

          • Avatar

            Donald wrote “Either way, you’re advocating for a set of prerequisites being in place before a child should be born.”

            Yes I am advocating for a woman to know when having a child is best for her family. I advocate for a woman to be empowered, not constrained to pop out child after child as you Forced Birthers prefer.

            I said it before and I’ll state it here again. I live my life for the good of all and may it harm none. I’ve lived long enough to know there are worse things than death. I would hope you, Donald, don’t have to discover what is worse or maybe that is exactly what you need in order to see abortion is not murder as a fetus is NOT a child.

            What am I thinking?

            You have no curiosity Donald as you continue to recite anti-abortionist lies. Your mind is incapable of seeing facts which contradict what you’ve been told to think.

            I pity your narrow view. Hope life broadens it for you.

          • Avatar

            Donald Jones: Maybe you should take up abortions with your God?

            You wrote:

            I find it much more hypocritical to believe that killing the pre-born is somehow “good” for the child.

            Why does God kill many babies through miscarriage?

    • Avatar
      Andrew James Patton

      A mother abusing her child like that is evil, indeed, it is a kind of murder. Yet, I cannot see how she would be better off dead; rather, those who hate must be restrained from putting their malice into practice.

  2. Avatar
    Justine Valinotti

    Connie–For a few years, I worked with kids. After a while, I could tell which ones weren’t wanted. They invariably came into this world because, for whatever reasons, the mother could or would not have an abortion. A few couldn’t afford it or had other mitigating circumstances–or opposed abortion on religious grounds. But, most often, they were bullied into giving birth by family members or other significant people in their lives who believed every fetus had the “right” to be forced into this world.

    • Avatar

      Those who have had boots on the ground understand reality. It is too bad most folks prefer their preconceived notions.

      My goal in advocating for abortion would be the number of procedures to be very low. That takes access to birth control and availability of accurate sexual education. Low abortion numbers is possible as long as Forced Birthers do not control the budget purse strings.

  3. Avatar

    What do anti-abortionists want? To re enslave women, without the rights to control our fertility. If we can’t control our fertility we can’t fully live our lives.

  4. Avatar

    If someone isn’t mature enough to have an abortion, how the hell are they mature enough to go through pregnancy and birth? And to be a loving, stable, caring parent for the next 20 years or so? Aaagh.

  5. Avatar
    Donald Jones

    To address Bruce’s disposable “clump of cells” argument: It’s ironic to have atheists, who lay claim to reason / facts / observations in a lab / science, use this argument. The science is extremely clear. The cells in the first trimester grow/split /live/thrive independent of any signals from the mother. The cells of the forming child are alive and have all the genetic material of a whole human. It’s a fully distinct and genetically whole human in the earliest stages of development.

    I’m not sure where Bruce would draw the line at which life begins (or how he would argue for no point prior to the one he arbitrarily draws), but science says conception.

    Indeed, as Bruce says, most abortions are performed in the first trimester.

    Furthermore, colloquially, there’s all of this compassion given to women who have made “the toughest decision of their lives”. If, as Bruce says, it’s simply a “clump of cells”, this should not be a difficult decision. Your aunt didn’t struggle emotionally when she had that mole taken off of her shoulder. The mole is a “clump of cells”, not a baby in the womb. Therefore, the compassion given to women who choose to abort exposes the “clump of cells” lie. It’s either emotionally difficult to kill a baby, or it’s a simple clump of cells and we barely remember the procedure.

    I encourage Bruce to expand on the assertion that today’s arguments are fundamentally different than Eugenicists in the past century. That would be an interesting discussion.

    To Connie’s point that women should be “empowered” to kill their young: If this is how women chose to use power, it may warrant reconsideration. Growing and shaping future generations used to be seen as empowering. Now empowerment comes at the point of a suction tube.

    ” I live my life for the good of all and may it harm none.” (–except the pre-born, who we are empowered to summarily destroy.) By all means, take pride in the way you mask the darkness and pretend to bring light into the world.

    (links removed)

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      Please leave off from posting links to articles and videos you think will “educate” us. You can safely assume that the readers of this blog have a working knowledge of the various anti-abortion arguments. Many of us were once anti-abortionists. I was for almost fifty years.

      I have never said that the clump of cells is not in some way “life.” It will, if left to grow, likely grow into a human being. Until it does, it is potential life.

      If women have free, ready access to birth control, emergency contraception, morning after drugs, and early access to gynecological care, I suspect that the number of women who regret have abortions would go down substantially. However, thanks to people such as yourself, all of these things are increasingly hard for women to obtain — especially poor women — that the time when women have abortions is farther into their pregnancy. The blame for this rest solely on anti-abortionists.

      I support a woman’s right to an abortion up to viability. Once the fetus is viable, the state goes have a vest interest in protecting the welfare of the fetus. That said, the overwhelming number of post-viability abortions occur because of major fetal defects or the life of the mother is in danger. Anti-abortionists love to advertise the horror of late-term abortions, complete with pictures, neglecting to tell people that only about 12,000 abortions a year are late term and almost always the result of medical necessity.

      I refuse to dignify your eugenics charge. Abortion and contraceptive rights have nothing to do with eugenics, Whatever Sanger and Planned Parenthood were a century ago, Planned Parenthood is different today.

      I assume you have said all you need to say on this subject, yes? No need to keep hitting rewind and play.

    • Avatar

      “Growing and shaping future generations used to be seen as empowering”? Not for the many women in the past who had poor health due to innumerable pregnancies, it didn’t. Not for the many women suffering ever-increasing poverty because there were too many mouths to feed. Both these scenarios are still widespread in much of the world today, in places where there is little or no access to birth control.

      You’re talking, Donald, as if abortion is a new idea, a modern concept that only came along maybe in the 1960s. But it has ALWAYS been with us. Women died aborting themselves or after entrusting themselves, in desperation, to practitioners who had little or no medical competency. Poor women above all, of course (the rich have always been able to pay for expensive, hygienic help from a “discreet” doctor.) You obviously hate the thought but this is one way how women HAVE chosen to use power since time immemorial, not because they glorify in killing but because they are in a situation you yourself, by virtue of your gender, will never possibly be in. They’ve been raped, or they are in poverty and can scarcely support themselves much less anybody else, or they have serious physical and/or mental health issues which will be exacerbated by pregnancy and the inevitable extra workload that a child brings. I don’t think it is the exercise of power per se that bothers you, is it? It’s that women are exercising it rather than agreeing to be dictated to by men. Your comments make it obvious that you are perfectly happy with the thought of MEN exercising power!

      I’d rather live in a world where women have access to legal, hygienic abortion rather than the other kind, and I know I’m not alone in that.

  6. Avatar
    Donald Jones

    Rachel and Bruce, you seem to be saying that abortion is a necessity now because of dire economics or the state of healthcare in America. I’ll agree with you that the global monetary system is repugnant. I’ll agree that the US healthcare system is atrocious. Both are boiling over with fraud, waste and corruption. This causes many hardships on the working class (here is where I mention a few authors) . Financial hardship is simply not the topic we’re discussing. Rachel aptly points out that financial hardship and abortion are not new concepts, but they’re decades old. Again, one doesn’t necessitate the other. This isn’t an article regarding sound money and how gold has been a consistent store of wealth over time, but that currencies have their buying power inflated away from the masses to the powerful. I’m not certain how anti-abortionists or abortion-abolitionists are responsible for those corruptions, as Bruce asserts, but again, not the discussion at hand.

    I would caution Bruce’s standard of “viability” as the beginning of life. This is somewhere after the 20 week mark and sets a precedent for killing those on dialysis or other life sustaining machines. True independent viability looks like an age bell curve. Very few on either end are capable of feeding themselves and performing all the activities of daily living without assistance. The high cost of healthcare would impact the extremely young and extremely old if we were simply discussing “viability”.

    I appreciate the swift conclusion to the Eugenics debate. The Jaffe/Berelson Memo “Beyond Family Planning” is compelling. (Jaffe was V.P. of Planned Parenthood.)

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      In the United States, anti-abortionist are overwhelmingly politically conservative and vote Republican. There is, then, a direct connection between economics and abortions. Anti-abortionists tend to support economic policies that harm the poor and working class — often against their own self-interest.

      I reject any and all connections you make between fetus viability and end-of-life adult health choices. This is a straw man argument that has no basis in fact.

      The swift conclusion of the eugenics debate was due only to my refusal to play your game. Again, you are attempting to distort the discussion at hand, which is what? That anti-abortionists will not rest until ALL abortion is outlawed; that some anti-abortionists want to also deny pregnancy termination to victims of rape and incest or the life of the mother is at stake; that some anti-abortionists want to outlaw most/all forms of birth control; that most anti-abortionists have zero interest in any form of compromise when it comes to abortion, demanding criminalization and a total ban of abortion procedures.

      If you have nothing to add as far as the subject of this post, I will assume you are done preaching the anti-abortionist gospel, I know I am, for one, tired of hearing it.

  7. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    I can approach the abortion debate from multiple perspectives, because I was a Green-Card/whoops baby myself, born before 1973. I had heard about two almost-siblings being aborted. I didn’t like the idea of other kids around me being killed’–as I saw it. I also never saw life as a gift, but there were things in life, though few, that I enjoyed. I knew that it was better for my siblings not to be born, but I had a problem with how it was done. They ought to have given pain control at least. Doctors often choose not to give babies and older kids pain relief anyway, like circumcision for example. And splinting fracures,or stitching. Chauvinistic and conservative thinking in effect. I have genenitic diseases that wrecked my Quality of life. And suffer discrimination as a result. I don’t think eugenics is wrong in most circumstances. The disabled community is split over the issue of preventive abortions. Depends on who you talk to. Some who were told(stupidly) that God wanted them that way, hated God openly. Never say this to disabled people. It will backfire. If abortion is outlawed, it will be commodified for the rich, who can afford it. And pay the police to ignore it. This happened in Los Angeles, up to Roe. I know, in a personal way, about the doctor’s rings that performed them, you see. The unaborted will be shunted to the abuse-to-prizon pipeline. Abortions are so expensive now, that since 1977 after the Hyde Amamndment was passed, birthscare paid for, burnout abortion. Or contraception. So you all these angry abused kids running around for 40nyears. Most serial killers were born before Roe. Harry Holmes, one of America’s best known serial killers, was born into a Fundamentalist home. He was among the cruelest as well. American culture,Fundie and not, is toxic. I’m not comfortable with fetuses who can breathe, and live outside the womb, being put on a table and left or strangled or whatever, in an abortion procedure. Or any size one, not being given pain meds and sedated first. I know the details of the procedures, and can’t claim it’s painless. End fetal pain, you end that arguement. By the way. Whites do abort more than Blacks and Latinos do. Maybe that’s why all the controversy here. Or one of them. How can kids become more valued so they AREN’T abused, AREN’T aborted. Does Fundie attitudes promote humane treatment of children ?? Until this happens, no one will listen, Fundies, to what you say. No one would believe the excuses for allowing abuse, that I heard all these years ! George Tiller, the abortion specialist, recounted how politicians and others who railed against abortion in public, was approached by them in private. For services for wives and girlfriends who needed an abortion from a professional. No back-alley abortions for THEM, eh !!

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