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The protestors outside Planned Parenthood are rooted in hypocrisy.
I visited our local Fort Collins Planned Parenthood for the first time on a Thursday. This is the day that the so-called ‘pro-lifers’ are often seen protesting.
I wasn’t there for an abortion, so their shouts of, “If you are here for an abortion, think about the life you are destroying,” did not make me feel guilty. It did make me feel angry, righteously angry, on behalf of all women who could be so emotionally damaged by hearing something like that. Although I don’t agree with it, I do understand the position of the pro-life movement. In fact, I used to be staunchly pro-life myself. I understand the religious definition of the fertilized egg as a human being, and I understand why people don’t like abortion.
However, I have learned that the pro-life movement is filled with hypocrisy, because the people who claim to be pro-life are more accurately pro-birth and have no real interest in lowering abortion rates – only shaming and controlling women.
Those who protest Planned Parenthood are hypocrites to stand outside and berate women for seeking care there.
They are hypocrites to seek to shut down the largest provider of birth control in the country, when birth control is a surefire way to reduce the number of abortions.
They are hypocrites to try to outlaw abortion when scientific studies have shown that outlawing abortion does not in any way reduce the number of abortions that happen – it just reduces the number of women who survive them according to a study published in the Lancet medical journal. The study showed that abortion rates are actually higher in countries where abortion is illegal, compared to those where it is promoted and embraced.
They are hypocrites for spending their time standing outside a healthcare facility and protesting, rather than campaigning for things that might actually make people less likely to get abortions. Why are they focusing on attacking the women, rather than on issues like maternity and paternity leave? Why are they not focusing on issues like adoption, and how difficult it is for couples who can’t conceive to adopt?
They are hypocrites for focusing so much of their argument against abortion on their religion, when the women they are trying to convince may not even share that religion. Telling a woman she is going to hell is not an effective way to get her to take your side. Trust me, I’ve been told I’m going to hell for many different reasons, and all it does it push me the other way.
They are hypocrites for often being one-issue voters, and voting for candidates who say they’ll make abortion illegal and cut programs that help children in schools, help the homeless, and help give hungry kids meals.
In the immortal words of my absolute favorite Catholic nun, Sister Joan Chittester, “I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth.”
My message to the protesters who stand outside of the Planned Parenthood clinic, who have yelled at me every time I’ve walked in there, is that your morality is deeply lacking.
You may claim to be pro-life, but until you stop protesting outside a healthcare clinic and start devoting your time to increasing access to birth control, decreasing stigma and shame around sexuality so safe sex is promoted and fewer unintended pregnancies happen, and creating a world where it doesn’t bankrupt a family to have an unplanned child, you are hypocrites.
Columnist Michelle Fredrickson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org