Andy Kopsa

Off The Record: On Religion, Politics & Equality

Fetus Earrings and the problem with facts

“They make earrings out of them,”  the teenage girl told me.  Stone faced, pained.  I remember her eyes looked like they were begging.  She stretched out arm across the card table to hand me The Proof of what she said; a pamphlet with a picture of human fetuses dangling from earring hooks.  If I remember right the earrings if worn would graze ones clavicle.

We had just come to the mall, my high school friend and I to people watch (boys!), eat fried food (chimichangas) and shop for prom dresses (Gunne Sax).  It was the only entertainment we had wandering the mall, and smack in the middle of it sat that table.

It was set up outside the now defunct Walden Books and I remember it clear as day.  Stoic, mournful young women (watched over by ladies I assumed were their mothers) seated behind stacks of pamphlets, flyers and books plastered with images of dead bloodied babies.  Thinking about it now, they could have been Operation Rescue judging by the graphic posters on easels flanking the table display.

They told us they were aborted babies, they walked us through their information spread, pointed out tangled piles of discarded fetuses on this pamphlet, babies with their microscopic limbs ripped to shreds on that flyer and a picture of those earrings.  I bought it.  They hooked me and I was horrified – what woman could do such a thing?  I signed up for  newsletters scribbling my name on a piece of lined paper stuck to a clipboard.   That is all I remember.  I don’t know if my friend and I talked about it any further; we probably walked off , fed our high-metabolismed faces and tried on prom dresses.

That was over 25 years ago and the anti-choice movement is still in the business of shock, awe and lies.  I am talking about the moving vans with dead fetuses splashed on the sides pulling up in front of women’s health clinics, people with posters of dead babies weeping outside Planned Parenthoods around the country.  But it is the state and federal legislators who use false information, graphic images (implying almost full term fetuses are routinely aborted) and religious rhetoric to pass increasingly abhorrent laws aimed to end a woman’s right to an abortion I worry about most.

Reuters published a piece the other day about just this issue.  Briefly setting this up, the article is titled:  “ABORTION SAFER THAN GIVING BIRTH: STUDY”.  Here the article addresses the issue of these lies as they impact legislation and the trickle down impact it has on women seeking abortion:

Depending on the state, however, doctors legally must go over the risks of abortion in language that may be misleading, researchers said, with skewed lists of possible complications. Others require a 24-hour waiting period in between the counseling and the abortion itself.

Harwood said that laws regarding what’s said between the doctor and a woman seeking an abortion often hamper doctors’ attempts to inform patients in a balanced way.

“It is certainly an impediment to have the state dictate my informed consent process beyond the usual,” Harwood told Reuters Health.

“Abortion care and pregnancy care should not really be any different than consenting people for any other procedure.”

Davis agreed that state-mandated discussions have no place in abortion counseling. She said she was glad to see the new report, which helps dispel “misinformation” and “lies” about abortion risks included in some state laws — such as the idea that abortion is linked to cancer. (Reuters article)

I have a handful of very religious, conservative friends.  Most from elementary and high school and all on Facebook.  This affords me the ability to see the lies of the anti-abortion movement up close and personal.  I wrote the other day – on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade a disturbing interaction I had with a gang of anti-choice men on the subject of forced ultrasounds in Texas.  Here is a snippet from that exchange:

Likening – by Texas law – sexual assault (penetration via transvaginal ultrasound) mandated by the state to taxes as rape?  That is the kind of crowd we are dealing with.  The conversation deteriorated.  This from my post in The Frisky:

Under the Texas penal code penetration of a woman’s vagina without her consent is sexual assault.  In other words, it is rape  — which is punishable by imprisonment. All this is why I took umbrage, in the Facebook exchange I mentioned above, with a man who likened “rape by the state” via the Texas’ transvaginal ultrasound law to his paying taxes to “the IRS.” And the conversation deteriorated from there, culminating with one gentleman telling me I was lucky my mom didn’t abort me and to shut my “pie hole.”

It would have been simply hilarious if the premise were not so disturbing.  I wouldn’t take these things so seriously if the men on this thread didn’t represent the radical right the GOP is pandering to right now.  I would brush it off if there weren’t erroneous “heartbeat” “fetal pain” waiting period, forced ultrasound, anti-tele med, etc. bills being introduced in statehouses around the country.

And the lies and rhetoric are only going to get worse.  This is an election year.  Nothing rallies the right-wing base like a poster of a bloodied fetus.

6 comments on “Fetus Earrings and the problem with facts

  1. Aka
    January 26, 2012

    Gees, where do I start? Do I start with I HAD AN ABORTION? How about a fetus/baby is NOT a woman’s baby? How about the separate DNA, SOUL, SPIRIT, BLOOD TYPE, HEART, BRAIN? How about a baby at 12 wks feels pain? What do you NOT understand about a woman’s CHOICE NOT TO GET PREGNANT? So, murder of a human, whom scientists have determined human life begins at conception, is okay? Yet what if a human child, still invetro, the same size as say…….. a 4 wk old small breed puppy, is born and able to survive? Is it wrong to kill the puppy outside the womb? Of course! Not able to survive without the mother or other intervention. Yet killing this child is NOT WRONG because it’s behind a ‘closed door’, unable to survive without the mother? After a child is born, it’s not viable without intervention. What exactly is the difference. A human who gets nourishment via a ‘feeding tube’, aka, umbilical cord, is less human? What about babies put on feeding tubes after the ‘door is opened’ and they still are not viable? Can we just cut off the food, or the arm, or stab it to death because it’s less human? This murdering of babies and all the excuses is demented and evil. We’ve murdered millions of people. Probably one who would save the planet, cure cancer, love you more than you could ever know……..

    • Aka
      January 26, 2012

      meant to say ‘woman’s body’……..

    • akopsa
      January 26, 2012

      Terry, it is Terry isn’t it? You are throwing a lot of information at the wall here. You are making religious arguments – not scientific ones. Please link to all scientific information you have, including the interesting veterinary information. If you care to, there are links embedded in my story and available through the search function on my website if you would like to see my sources. Also, in an effort to help women “not to get pregnant” shall we then pay for their contraception?

  2. Erica Schmidt
    January 26, 2012

    So sorry you’ve had to interact with the underbelly of hickdom. It’s unfortunate but fellas like the one you’ve discussed the Texas with are all over the political spectrum and should be called out for their base nature. The article you’ve referred is but one of many articles on the safety of child birth vs. abortion and should not be taken as a whole. After giving birth to six childre, soon another, seeking to be continually informed about medical issues surrounding birth, I can tell you there is a lot of misinformation out there about the effects of different methods doctors employ in the birth process that put women and their children in unnecessary risk. Plus, many women enter pregnancy unprepared for the changes and challenges that pregancy and labor brings. Education is crucial, not just for the conception process but for the bearing and birthing of children as well. Too many women just trust their bodies to the medical establishment with a just get it over mentality. Fear of the unknown can drive any person to insane measures, including the ending of a life that may be that woman’s greatest blessing. Maybe instead of forcing women to have sonograms before their abortion, our schools could do a better job in explaining the developement process of unborn children with ultrasound graphics presented in the classroom (just one idea) Too much of the abortion debate has been focused on the rhetoric and not enough on the science. Too many girls are growing up in schools where they know more about Justin Beiber than their own bodies.

    • akopsa
      January 26, 2012

      I think good sexual education including how one get’s pregnant, how to properly use contraception, the forms of contraception and efficacy of methods if one chooses to have sex, men’s responsibility in sex and relationships, that no means no, what rape is, no shaming around sexuality and LGBTQ issues as well as the benefits of abstaining from sexual activity as the only true way to not get pregnant or an STD is at a minimum the least we can do for our kids. Also important that a young man and woman understand their options – all of them, birth, abortion, morning after pill, adoption – all are legal and viable.

  3. srhamblin
    February 16, 2012

    Andy: Thank you for your article. I was beginning to go crazy thinking no one else thought mandated transvaginal ultrasound was sexual assault. Where is the outrage?! You nailed it perfectly. State sanctioned RAPE. The mind that thought of this and the others who agree with it are very sick individuals. They are just one step away from the “honor killings” that exist in other extremist cultures.

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