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Anti-choice loonies try to put a wrench in the DNCC

By Amanda Marcotte
Tuesday, August 26, 2008 15:55 EDT
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I’m feeling very positive about Obama’s chances of winning this week. Why? Because I don’t think I’ve ever seen these levels of right wing desperation. Completely unable to make a case for McCain or against Obama with the public, the wingers are flailing around trying to grab onto any wedge issue they can. Because the one thing the right wing noise machine has turned into an art is exploiting people’s resentments and turning them against each other. The PUMA thing is a classic example, and sadly, some morons are falling for it.

But this post is about how the right wingers seem to be screaming, “LOOK FETUSES” in a desperate, last minute attempt to get people on their side. The anti-choice nuts have descended on Denver and are demanding that the Democratic party revoke the citizenship rights of half the population and turn ownership of their bodies over to a cadre of misogynist right wingers. I suspect they’ll fail in this stated mission, and I suspect they know that, too. So what are they trying to accomplish by making asses out of themselves?

Mostly, it’s a distraction. One thread that’s interesting is how they’re picking their targets for abuse. The African-American Caucus was targeted for disruption, as was the interfaith prayer service. In other words, they’re targeting black delegates and religious delegates for abuse, though I have little doubt that they think they’re “educating” people by yelling at them. As if there’s a single person in America who is unaware of the parameters of this discussion. Which goes to show that the targets of anti-choice protests are assumed to be especially stupid by anti-choicers. Why black people and religious people especially? There’s a host of complex reasons, but it boils down to this—anti-choicers feel like they are entitled to dominate and control those two groups of people, as well as women. (Yes, I’m aware there’s significant overlap between these three groups, but that just makes it worse. If you’re a black Christian woman, they probably think they get to set your alarm clock for you and monitor your underwear purchases.)

Michelle Malkin especially thinks that you are stupid. Her entire career is built on exploiting racist anxieties in white people and she trucks with white supremacists, but all of a sudden she expects you to think she’s a great spokeswoman for racial harmony. She’s so against abortion she sucked up her nerve and spoke to actual non-white anti-choice protesters to bolster the bizarre claims of anti-choicers that reproductive rights especially hurt women of color. Considering that black and Hispanic women use abortion just like white women, I’m hard-pressed to understand why it would somehow be better for these women would be better off being sent to back alley butchers. The slim bit of evidence that anti-choicers cling to in these assertions is the fact that black women have a disproportionate number of abortions—so the conclusion is that Planned Parenthood is out to get black people. Renee puts this assumption to bed.

imply because a planned parenthood centre is in a particular neighbourhood, does not make it more likely for a woman to have an abortion. First a woman must have her birth control fail, or engage in unprotected sex to become pregnant. She must then make the decision as to whether or not to have the baby, put the child up for adoption, or have an abortion. What this means is that a woman is actively deciding to walk into a centre. Those that work for planned parenthood do not troll the streets looking for pregnant women on which to perform an abortion. They do not tie women down and force them to submit to a procedure to which they are not desirous of. Too claim that positioning of the centres are a major factor in the decision making process, subverts the degree to which African American women are in possession of agency and autonomy. Does she believe that we are so easily swayed that merely upon seeing a clinic we would be persuaded to make a life altering decision like having an abortion?

The anti-choice assumption is that women get abortions because they are stupid, full stop. That if they knew better, then they would never do it. Extrapolating out from that assumption, then, the whole “black genocide” argument means that anti-choicers think that black women are especially stupid. Which is, of course, why Michelle Malkin is riding this train. It’s not because she opposes racism, but because she fucking wallows in it. Why do black women have more abortions than white women? Well, you could, you know, look into it. Black women are more likely to live in poverty, and living in poverty is a huge risk factor for unintended pregnancy. In addition, when women in abortion clinics are surveyed, most say that they can’t afford a child or have too many responsibilities right now to add another one. As far as I know, the incidence of women answering, “I’m too fucking stupid to know better” is near zero.

The big Planned Parenthood in Denver was built not to exploit the city’s residents, but because Planned Parenthood is trying to raise the level of service that patients get. They’re a non-profit, and so hard times in the past meant that their service levels were lower than they’d like to offer. But nowadays, they have a lot more money through strategic management of funds, and they chose to use that extra money to build really nice centers so that lower income women that come to them are getting the same level of service as women who can afford private doctors.

But no matter. The point of all these exercises, I do believe, is to distract people from the issue that they’re likely to vote on—the economy and the war—which would put them firmly in the Obama camp. It’s about trying to put a wrench in the Obama campaign, not to actually convince anyone. And from that sense, I think the wingers are going to fail. They don’t have enough bodies and energy to really do any major damage at the DNCC. They can, at best, piss people off and eat up dozens of minutes of their time. But seriously, who do they think they’re going to chip off by crashing caucuses? I’m inclined to think that if your caucus is interrupted, most people’s first reaction is to resent the interrupter.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
 
 
 
 
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