Right Wingers Protest Contraception and STI Screening, Pretending It’s “Abortion”

By Amanda Marcotte
Monday, November 26, 2012 9:41 EDT
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Roy Edroso’s ever-hilarious weekly round-up of the ever-delusional right wing blogosphere is particularly excellent this week, as rightbloggers tried to wedge their fantasies and hobbyhorses to the holiday news cycle. I especially loved how many insisted that Obama didn’t mention God in his speech, when a quick perusal of the full text shows that he mentioned that ancient myth twice. Defeated by Ctrl-F! Why did we ever think these people were political geniuses, again?

But what really stands out is that the conservative obsession with other people’s sex lives continues to roam about unleashed. In previous years, they understood that freaking out and denouncing the near-universal sexual habits of Americans was politically stupid. Not just because it makes them sound completely out of touch, but because the behaviors that whip them into a frenzy of hate—premarital sex and contraception use—are behaviors that they themselves have and often continue to participate in.  I suspect they all think that it’s different when they do it, the same way they think that it’s different when they accept financial assistance from the government. But that’s a hard line to sell. So, in previous years, their obsession with your sex life has been packaged as feigned concern for fetuses, or whipping up anxieties about adolescent sexuality. This year, however, right wingers seem to believe the existence of Sandra Fluke somehow changed the rules, making it somehow more politically feasible to accuse the rest of the world of being dirty perverts.

It’s not just the wingnut who fantasized about spending the holiday yelling at grown adults for their “copulation driven” decisions, though that really would be enough. No, what was really amusing was the number of conservative dudes whipping themselves into a frenzy over “discount abortions”.

And besides, a news report went around that a Planned Parenthood outlet in Florida was offering a Black Friday discount on office visits, which the brethren immediately reinterpreted as discount abortions! ”Planned Parenthood Offers Black Friday Discounts on Abortions” headlined (naturally) Jim Hoft; “PLANNED PARENTHOOD OFFERS BLACK FRIDAY DISCOUNTS ON ABORTIONS,” hollered Human Events (“It’s an Obama world… Now you can go shopping and then go in and kill your baby”); “Discount Death,” yowled Robert Stacy McCain; “Planned Parenthood Offers Black Friday Discounts on Murder Of Unborn,” extrapolated the David Brooks faves at Front Porch Republic; etc. (Oh, well, it’s not like they haven’t tried it before.)

Not just because it’s a total lie* (a Planned Parenthood was offering $10 off office visits, which means mostly well woman check-ups and contraception consultations—not that anti-choicers like those things any better), but because of their bizarre assumptions about what everyone-but-them thinks about sex. Like women see the a $10 off coupon and are like, “Well, I was going to stay a delicate virgin until marrying a nice young man my father selected for me, but now that I only have to pay $490 for an abortion instead of $500, I’m going to go ride every cock in town!” Or perhaps they believe the abortion itself is the exquisite erotic pleasure, since god knows having your uterus painfully suctioned out provides the kind of satisfaction no mere mortal man can. Some times I think right wingers confuse the vacuum aspiration machine with the Excessive Machine in “Barbarella”.

Not that logic has anything to do with this, of course. Their unending rage at younger women for conducting their sex lives without letting some leering old cranks have a say has brought them to this place, where they resent anything that makes sexually active women’s lives even slightly easier, be it $10 off a Pap smear or getting better insurance coverage for contraception. At this point, we can’t assume that they use “abortion” in the same way the rest of us do, to mean “terminating a pregnancy”. It’s a catch-all phrase for any and all health care that allows women to have healthier sex lives and more control over their lives. That’s how $10 off a Pap smear becomes a “discount abortion”. The line between Pap smears and abortions is apparently fading for them, as both procedures start with the assumption that sexually active women deserve to be healthy, an assumption we can safely assume these days they really do not share.

*Out of curiosity, I looked up the services offered by the two Planned Parenthood branches offering the $10 off an office visit on Friday thing. One doesn’t offer abortion at all, and the other has medication-only abortions that you have to make an appointment lasting 2-3 hours for. Which means that it’s unlikely someone got a discount on an abortion on Friday, unless they already had the appointment made. However, depending on how the deal was advertised, it might have helped push some women to get screened for STIs or see a doctor to get on a more effective form of contraception than they’re using now. But of course, as we all know, not having STIs or preventing pregnancy are “abortion” now to anti-choicers.

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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