This is part of a flyer from Prolife Across America (click to embiggen) which, of course, was tucked in a copy of the Catholic Courier. They call themselves “The Billboard People”, because they spend their money putting up billboards that are supposed to prevent women from having abortions. But let’s not buy their Disney version: you know damn well that, like most other fundamentalist initiatives, it’s just as important that women who did have abortions feel judged and shamed about what they did. The whole folder is one of the most cheerful and proud pieces of political literature I’ve ever seen. The message of the billboards is fairly hard-edged, but the pitch to give is not.
When the history of the last thirty or so years of American politics is written, the person who gets it right will have a lot to say about the “Pro Life” movement. It embodies everything about how a vocal minority can dominate our politics. It shows how laws the minority doesn’t like can be essentially nullified in large parts of the country by throwing sand in the gears of implementation, using a combination of constant protest and unconstitutional laws passed by state and local government. It shows how an unrelenting PR campaign of lies and half truths can make something perfectly legal grossly shameful. It shows how mainstream churches can become politicized arms of one party (the Catholic Church, once considered mainly Democratic or just centrist, is a great example). And it shows just how much money can be raised off of a single issue, enough for grifters to grift for a lifetime.
I don’t think it goes too far to say that the Obamacare shutdown strategy and tactics come from the far right’s experience with Roe v Wade. The base is used to adopting a convenient anti-federalism whenever it suits their political ends, hence the refusal to create state exchanges even when it costs big money. The base is used to having a few single issues where they demand absolute loyalty from their Federal representatives: Obamacare is now on the list with abortion and guns. And the base loves the sweet lies they’re told, it’s just that the lies now come from Fox rather than some blood-spattered 16mm film shown in church basements across the country like they did in the 80’s.
One more similarity: the Democrats thought they won on abortion, and they thought they won on Obamacare. Let’s give them both a few more years before we decide the real winners and losers.
“I think you should know your billboard is the reason I cancelled my abortion” — Ann
PS: the other reason is that I’m a 68-year old white man, and I got to get back to writing letters to the editor, trolling on libtard emmessemm newspaper sites (thanks, Drudge), and yelling at my TV. Bye! Luv, Ann
Abortion: Yeah, we’re still fighting about it. But almost nobody buys wire coathangers any more.
c u n d gulag
In the “God Made Me. My Parent’s Adopted Me” part, anyone notice that the baby is white?
Please call me and let me know the next time one of these Jesus-grifting God-botherer buttinsky’s, adopts a child of another race.
And please be sure to contact me when the child isn’t a baby, but a “tween” or teen-ager. And put up a billboard, billboard douche-canoe’s, if that child is of another race.
And take out an infomercial, and I’ll watch it, if the child’s sexual orientation, isn’t purely heterosexual.
Until then, you’re just Jesus-grifting God-botherer buttinsky’s, who know nothing about Jesus’s life or words.
The 0.01% dream for amerika:
Every woman pregnant with loads of children as she is trapped in a horrible marriage with no healthcare benefits, only minimum wage, massive debts trying to hang onto a shitty house with its value underwater slaving away to continue to add wealth to the 0.01%. They have a dream …
I agree that its quite likely that the right wing will keep fighting at least the good bits of Obamacare–they will try to take responsibility for the good bits (like they take responsibility for the end of smog and then tell us that this is why we don’t need regulation) and they will also try to destroy the more equalizing parts of it if they ever get back in control of the senate and the house. For instance they could end the part of the bill relating to the Medical loss ratio or shift it so that INsurance companies can go back to spending most of your premium on themselves. Or they could tinker with the baseline and push some of the insurance categories closer to mere catastrophic/junk insurance.
But the main difference between Obamacare and abortion rights is that only a few people, at a limited and vulnerable time in their lives, need abortions while 48 million people need Obamacare and once they have it they are not going to give it up. The people who are pushign back against it now, at the grassroots level, are pushing back against a phantom that is so much worse than the reality that their intensity is going to boomerang when cousins, children, etc… start signing up. And once they themselves sign up they are going to take a proprietary interest in maintaining it. Remember the old slogan “A conservative is just a liberal who got mugged?” “A supporter of the Affordable Care Act is just an asshole wingnut who finally got health insurance. They won’t support it for the rest of us, but they will support it for themselves.
There’s a difference between Obamacare and abortion though. Abortion only happens to poor, slutty, non-white women. When rich white women need to restart their periods because of an inconvenient shutdown they’ll just call it “going to France.”
Obamacare will quickly become compared to SS and Medicare. And yes, the rich will continue fighting against it, but it will be harder because the middle class will become dependent on it.
This fight is also different. We can all go after Obama for giving stuff to the Republican controlled house in order to keep the economy growing, however anemic. But he’s not fighting this because he no longer wants chained CPI. He is fighting this because, as a Constitutional scholar, he knows this is a challenge to the very structure of our Democracy. This is one of those cases where very few other people would have been the right president at this time.
And for all of you who are going to say “why didn’t he do this sooner” notice what we are fighting over: Funding government and eventually the debt ceiling. We don’t have any “ever American’s taxes are going up” or “millions of Americans will lose unemployment benefits.” Is that reason totally logical? No, but at the same time, the Republicans don’t have stories of middle class people going “why won’t the president help us?” And, as the WW2 memorial makes clear, they would, even if their hypocrisy threatens to tear a hole in the fabric of space-time.
@c u n d gulag: I think they mean that once conceived, a fetus was ‘made’ by god’s will and only after birth is it the parents responsibility (note that means after birth, the child and parents are left holding the bag and the 0.01% will pay zero extra taxes to support that useless pile of carbon except to exploit it.)
What’s a “Proufe”?
The Red Pen
One of the stories in Robert Anton Wilson’s Schrödinger’s Cat Trilogy is called “The Fetus People.” It takes place in a future (around 1990?) where abortion is performed by taking a pill and is indistinguishable from abortion. Robbed of lurid imagery, the “fetus people” as Wilson calls them, lose their grip on the culture and abortion stops being an issue.
Oh, Robert, for someone so incredibly cynical, you were sure naive on that one.
Bill E Pilgrim
@aimai: And a Libertarian is someone who was mugged walking home from Megan McArdle’s house.
They think they won because Dems are so damned shortsighted and impatient. These fuckers here, they’ll stick to the issue until they die or see reason-whichever comes first. If our side can’t get that level of tenacity, we’re destined to keep fighting these wars nearly every decade.
Bill E Pilgrim
@Chyron HR: I think it’s an ingredient in pouddeing.
They also spelled canceled the UK way. Aliens! Foreign agitators!
@c u n d gulag: Please call me and let me know the next time one of these Jesus-grifting God-botherer buttinsky’s, adopts a child of another race.
This is an unfair generalization, actually. I’m pro-choice, but having worked in the foster care system and adopted two kids of my own from said system, it was my experience that a large number of people who volunteer to be foster parents and foster-adopt parents are evangelical Christians trying to live up to their “pro-life” ideals and the vast majority of the time, they take in and/or adopt minority kids. IIRC, a lot of the kids fostered by Michelle Bachmann and her totally not-closeted husband were non-white and I have relatives (white) who recently adopted a Hispanic baby from a teen mother.
None of these kids were being saved from being aborted, but that’s beside the point. A more disturbing fact is that the vast majority of kids in child welfare custody across the country are minorities. And due to the way the criminal justice system disproportionately impacts communities of color, it’s very hard to place these kids in homes in their own communities that are deemed “safe” by the system, so it’s usually off to a middle class family in the burbs. Second, the very same Christians who selflessly step up to take in these kids will then turn around and vote for Republicans who want to gut the very social programs that could support and protect them. Their parents go to prison instead of rehab. No health insurance. No Head Start. No daycare. And of course downsize Child Services departments and their horrible unionized staffs, meaning that more cases fall through the cracks and kids die. But hey — pro life!
@Bill E Pilgrim:
A libertarian is somebody who should be mugged for having been at McSuderman’s house.
They are already trying to undermine ACA by refusing Medicaid expansion money and not setting up state exchanges, plus withholding funding for HHS to deal with having to set up exchanges for many states.
Despite all this the ACA has soldiered on and looks to be making a difference in the lives of people.
Unlike the abortion issue, you aren’t going to be able to picket a general practitioner’s or pediatrician’s office to deny people access to their Obamacare without blowback against your cause, because everyone has gone to a GP or pediatricrian and knows they aren’t “baby killers”.
They are doing their damnedest now to undermine the law and it is not working. I’m not sure what else they can do.
@c u n d gulag:
The drive from the Twin Cities up to Duluth is littered with these ads, all of them on Clearchannel-owned billboards.
I’ve wanted to look into producing a billboard with the cute baby picture and the text “When I’m 16 I’ll realize I’m gay. Will you still want me then?” There needs to be at least one billboard like that in each direction on 35W, preferably located in Michele Bachmanns district.
Your imagination is your friend and guide to the future, in this case. Let it fly, and laugh/weep as the ‘unlikely’ unfolds before your eyes.
Word. Not true that adoptive parents won’t take in minority or special needs, or older, children.
And some of those middle class adoptive parents may rationalize voting against providing social services to women and families in need because — well — the MCAPs make better parents. Don’t they?
I want to see a pro-life billboard with Trayvon Martin on it.
I want to point out that another similarity between the tactics and ideology of the Anti Choice people and the Anti Obamacare Republicans is that its all or nothing for both groups. You could be anti abortion and still work to lower the actual incidence of abortion by increasing sex education, increasing access to contraception, and working to financially support struggling families and fully implementing VAWA. But the anti choice people won’t do that because a) working with the unsaved and impure is dangerous and b) they believe that half a loaf is not better than no bread. Its an ideological and theological proposition they are defending, not a policy position.
This is why, if people remember, when Rick Perry was asked why he continues to support Abstinence Only Education in Texas while the teen pregnancy rate soars he was sincerely stumped. He couldn’t understand the question. What does the efficacy of a policy have to do with its utility? You demonstrate to the teenagers what kind of person they should be by urging abstinence. The fact that they fail to be abstinent and then get pregnant is the whole point of the excercise which is to separate society into good people who do what they are told and bad people who get punished by getting pregnant. If people could have sex and not get pregnant you wouldn’t be able to enjoy their suffering.
Ditto for Obamacare. You could criticize the law in any number of ways if you were thinking about it in terms of how it solves a problem like “people don’t have access to health care.” And you could tinker around the edges to increase the number of people served, or lower the costs, or make it easier to register, or raise the quality of the insurance offered to them, or go to single payer–but all those compromises and technical issues were actually raised during the original struggle to pass the bill. The anti Obamacare people don’t care about efficacy and they don’t respect the idea of a policy which is tailored to fix a problem. They don’t believe its a problem that people can’t get access to health care because they can’t get access to health insurance. But they do think its a problem that Obama and the Dems are giving people something that they want. So the “solution” to this “problem” can never be any kind of rational, technocratic fix. It can only be abstinence and denial and destruction. That’s the religious world view. You are either saved, or doomed. No middle ground.
I get where you’re coming from on this, mistermix, and yes, there will probably be organizations that will wage an endless campaign against “Obamacare”. But I don’t think this can be sustained the way the reproductive rights wars have been, because overall healthcare is a much more complex target and as such doesn’t lend itself quite as easily to all-out negative protesting.
OT: Mistermix, did you see this news yesterday the Montana Democrats seem to have recruited a fairly ok candidate for the 2014 Senate race there and would you happen to know anything about him. Asking since you’ve previously had stuff to say about politics in that area.
@jonas: This is correct.
Default, and cause so much chaos that the US becomes a Somalia-like failed state.
No United States = no Obamacare, and they win. Guns for everyone, too, and Christianist militias can take over large chunks of the remains.
I’m afraid that that’s the real endgame.
“One more similarity: the Democrats thought they won on abortion, and they thought they won on Obamacare. ”
The Klan only shows up during reconstruction. And the Klan ALWAYS shows up during reconstruction. That’s the lesson. We haven’t won until conservative ideology is eradicated, like smallpox. And even now we have the CDC to watch out for smallpox.
Remember, the Right freaked out about Medicare in the 60s and Ronald Reagan even cut ads claiming it was a nefarious Soviet plot to turn us all into collectivized serfs. Of course even Friedrick Frickin’ Hayek recognized that health care was a legitimate public good — like highways and defense — that the government should provide and all those teapartiers in their subsidized Hover-rounds don’t think of themselves today as victims of communist oppression. Abortion — like gay marriage — will remain a political issue for a long time because the normalization of both of these things undermines what the religious right sees as their fundamental truth claims, namely the foundational moral connection between women, childbearing, and subordination to male authority as revealed in the Bible. I don’t see something like a modest government program to subsidize the purchase of private health insurance having a similar long-term resonance. There’s nothing in Obamacare that threatens to reveal that their reading of the Bible might not be true. Two happily married men, or a woman who has sex outside of marriage and nonetheless leads a successful life sans kids, do.
@Chyron HR: That struck me, too. Really shitty logo design.
It is interesting however that abortion remains the only social issue that the GOP doesn’t get killed on. The gheys, guns, environment. All the social issues are trending away from them but abortion is still unpopular. So I understand why they will keep fucking that particular chicken.
Jaysus, man, get a grip. You just can’t allow yourself to be happy for even a minute, can you? Obamacare only just started three days ago, but it’s already failed! We’re doomed, dooooommmmmeeeedddd!
dpm (dread pirate mistermix)
@Nethead Jay: I saw that. I don’t know Minana politics as well as the Dakotas and Wyoming, but I’ll see what I can find out.
That’s because there are still way too many dudebros on the liberal/left side who couldn’t care less about abortion and women’s health. It’s always been something that’s expendable if giving up abortion rights means we might get a slightly better deal for unions or other male-centric issues. I remember a whole lot of “left-leaning” men saying in 2004 that “we” (meaning, of course, women) would have to give up abortion rights in order to win elections. Sorry, ladies, that’s just how the world works!
@Hawes: True. And I’ve often wondered why. In europe this is such a settled question that most of my European friends (conservatives and leftist) find it a completely baffling aspect of American politics.
I think it’s because one can feel *especially* righteous while also being a blind follower of a tribal stance. It’s like you’re campaigning for justice and liberty and freedom for widdle babies, how could you possibly be wrong? As someone said, in a weird way it’s not *really* about abortion, which is why there are anecdotal stories of former protesters finding their way into abortion clinics because “they need this”… it’s about having no doubt that you are the side of lightness and good and the other is evil. It’s very easy to make this a black and white issue if you’re not engaged in real thinking or empathy.
I don’t have a problem with it. It’s an ad campaign, essentially giving the Pro-Life message. It’s not lobbying for changes to the law or advocating shooting doctors or being dicks to vulnerable women heading into clinics (though I have little doubt they wouldn’t object to that latter one that much.)
Of course, I’m also for handing out free birth control to folks and educating them on its proper use, universal health care, public pre-schools and day care centers, and increasing funding to food stamp and school meal programs, and I think abortion should be eliminated from people having better options and making the choice themselves, rather than imposed by government, so I realize I’m not a very good representative of the pro-Life folks.
@Linda Featheringill: You are of an age (like myself) that you know what a wire hanger means. I saw an ad for a choice group or campaign in which they used PLASTIC hangers. I wish I had noted the group’s name and written them about their error.
Yes, if only women would choose to stop having pre-eclampsia or fetuses with anencephaly, then abortion wouldn’t exist anymore!
I didn’t link to the picture of fetuses with anencephaly like I usually do because I do think you’re well-meaning, but I don’t think you realize that a lot can go horribly wrong during a pregnancy through nobody’s fault and abortion will always need to exist and be accessible as a last resort in those cases. Even if birth control were 100 percent reliable (which it isn’t), pregnancy is always a gamble.
@Comrade Dread: I think yours is about the only reasonable stance which can be called “pro-life”. It’s logical and reality-based, empathetic, and not enforced by coercion or shaming. I completely respect that. However you should know that even if we get free birth control to everyone that wants it, it does sometimes fail, like it did for me in my early 20s. There will be cases of rape made worse by pregnancy. So there will still be cases. Though it will hopefully approach what we used to say: Legal, safe, and rare.
@c u n d gulag: While your view of the ad is possible, I think it is different, maybe more subtle than that. I think they are referring to an idea in which all children come from God and are given temporarily to parents by God to raise. It also takes child creation away from parents and that nasty behavior (you know, sex).
This TPM piece on the original tea party really does explain a lot.
The teaholes don’t want government. They don’t think we need it. They have religion and think that everyone who practices theirs will be good people just like them. Taxes are the devils work, taxes pay for government, therefore neither is necessary or even desired. Anything not provided by god is bad. Therefore anything government provides is bad.
These people are insane. Always have been. And they want to take the rest of us down with them.
@Mnemosyne: I’m not a fool. Simply an idealist at times.
Due to my being male, I haven’t experienced pregnancy, but I have supported my wife through two difficult ones so I’m aware that things can go horribly wrong.
I’m don’t want to outlaw abortion. I want to give women the assurance that if they choose to carry a baby to term that we as a society are not going to just give them a hearty handshake and send them on their way, but that we will continue to support them throughout their child’s life.
I remember The Editors at The Poor Man saying this. He described himself as being in the “bargaining” stage of grief, but that was the thing he put up for negotiation.
I said at the time that I thought it’d eventually bite the Democrats hard if they did that, because it would give economic conservatives an opening to run to their left on abortion in rich blue areas. Fortunately we didn’t get to test the theory, but all the blowups that happened in 2012 with idiot conservatives going off about “legitimate rape” only made me think my instincts were correct.
@Chyron HR: Bad typography. The typeface they used placed the “L” and the “i” too close together and makes them look like a “u”. I read it as proufe also for a little bit and then realized what the name was and what the problem with the typography was.
Yeah, I think that’s key.
The plain fact is that whether it’s foreign policy, economics, or social issues, the GOP ideology always adds up to finding the weakest, most poorly defended person in the room and kicking the shit out of him/her while he’s down (poor people, unions – but not police unions!, illegal immigrants, historically disenfranchised minorities, women, small countries – but only when they can’t fight back!) Telling themselves that they’re standing up for defenseless little babies being ruthlessly holocausted out of existence allows them to look at themselves in the mirror and go on doing these things, because if they’re standing up for defenseless little babies, they’re not really bullies, are they? So much the better that in the process, it allows them to go on kicking someone they really didn’t like anyway (women).
c u n d gulag
I commend those pro-lifer’s who are adopting minority babies, and I apologize for including them in with the ones who don’t give a rat’s patooty about the child(ren), after the mother has to go through “Forced Labor.”
They’re living up to their principles.
My abortion theory: it remains a hot-button issue because people are inherently, instinctively divided on it. We sort of FEEL that it might be wrong to end a viable pregnancy, but we also FEEL that it’s wrong not to be able to control our reproduction. Either position, taken to an extreme, threatens our species, so I don’t think we’re wrong to feel a bit conflicted.
That’s why the “safe, legal, and rare” position seems so appealing. It eases the cognitive dissonance of people who still feel a bit conflicted, but also don’t want to deny bodily autonomy for pregnant women.
The far right doesn’t feel conflicted, though, because they don’t think anybody except white male property owners has bodily autonomy.
…And, speaking of 2012, that’s the one way that conservatives actually do lose on abortion, by going on about the blessing of rape pregnancies or repeating some antediluvian legend that rape victims can’t get pregnant.
They got backed into a corner on rape. For years, there was this reductio ad absurdum pro-choice writers would do, where they’d point out that if conservatives really believed abortion was murder they wouldn’t be supporting rape and incest exceptions. Well, by gum, they went ahead and stopped endorsing the rape and incest exceptions, and started justifying that in public, which led to high-profile embarrassments.
@Chris: True. Plus, anti-abortion rhetoric allows them to get some frothing-at-the-mouth blood libel in against all liberals everywhere.
@jonas: The recent scandals about foreign adoptions being “re-placed” via Yahoo/Facebook/Craigslist are about 95% evangelical Christian.
People who homeschool, use Pearl discipline, and don’t believe in counseling take on a traumatized child who needs socialization and professional help. Chaos follows.
Bless you for adopting! This was in no way personal… just a sad, terrible situation that has recently come to light.
@Mnemosyne: Well, that’s the peril of coalition governance. We have to convince them that it’s worth fighting for. And frankly, I think we’ve been doing a better job than we did ten, twenty years ago.
I’m sure some states will work extra hard to screw people, but the difference is Obamacare touches all aspects of health care.
Everyone is in its grasp!
It affects Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance and employer insurance.
It is a lot harder to screw around with something everyone is a part of versus a specialized service, like abortion, that only effects a subset of people.
Why are these things always so badly designed? Is it because the good graphic designers are all urban and liberal or just gay?
Why are these things always so badly designed? Is it because the good graphic designers are all urban and liberal or just gay?
@aggressively-passive: Yes, to all questions and the dupes. You should see some of the eyebleeding wares posted by my fundy “preacher” cousin who offers life counseling services and health counseling-while being nearly 350lbs and wheezing when walking.
Yep, I have to gaze upon one of their billboards every morning and evening in the middle of my commute, it’s at one side of the street between my bus and train. Ugh.