Pregnant Women and Mothers Deserve Better


In the aftermath of Dr. George Tiller’s murder many people have asked whether anti-abortion rhetoric constitutes “hate speech” or an “incitement to terrorism.” This rhetoric includes language describing abortion as a form of violence, as torture, an attack on innocent life, executing a child, killing, baby-killing, murder, child murder, mass murder, like slavery, a genocide, a holocaust, worse than any holocaust.

But whether or not it is hate speech, and whether or not it can be linked directly to the murder of Dr. Tiller and other abortion providers, it is language that reveals a frightening degree of anger, disrespect for and hostility not only to the people who perform abortions but also to those who have abortions — pregnant women.



As National Advocates for Pregnant Women’s video, Pregnant Women and Mother’s Deserve Better explains, when individuals and organizations use this language — “violence,” “torture,” “an attack on innocent life,” “executing a child,” “killing,” “baby-killing,” “murder,” “child murder,” “mass murder,” “like slavery,”  “genocide,”  “holocaust,” “worse than any holocaust” — they are not just describing a procedure or the small number of doctors who provide women with abortion services. They are also talking about the millions of pregnant women who have had and will continue to have abortions, whether or not there are any doctors left alive to provide them safely.

Who are the millions of “murderous” women who have abortions? Sixty-one percent of women having abortions are already mothers. By the age of 45, 84% of all women in U.S. will have become pregnant and given birth and 43% will have had an abortion.

In other words, the women who have abortions are overwhelmingly mothers.

So we need to ask — do the people who use this language really think the mothers who have had abortions are the same as, or worse than, those who carry out torture, kill children, and commit mass-murder? This question applies to TV personalities like Bill O’Reilly, to mainstream organizations like the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops and to  peaceful picketers like those who protested President Obama when he gave the commencement speech at Notre Dame.

NAPW believes that the pregnant women who have abortions, who suffer miscarriages, who give birth, who raise children, and who love their families deserve better.

It is time for all those who care about pregnant women and mothers — whatever their views on abortion — to write, call, and, demonstrate against individuals, organizations, and institutions that use this language. It is time to explain why you think it is wrong to equate pregnant women and mothers with Hitler. Here are some things you can do:

Regardless of your point of view about abortion, it is time to ask your spiritual, religious, and political leaders to give a sermon or speech explaining the difference between the personal decisions women and their families make and government sponsored genocide. While some women do feel that an abortion ends a life, or at least a potential life, they know that their individual and very private decisions and circumstances are not the same as decisions to carry out state-sponsored genocide. Government protection of private decision-making is not the same as government authorized military action against particular groups of people. Implying that the decisions individual women make to have abortions is the same  or worse than a holocaust denying and it should stop.

Regardless of your point of view about abortion, it is time to ask your spiritual, religious, and political leaders to explain the difference between pregnancy and slavery. People can oppose abortion without equating pregnant women to slave holders and their personal decisions with the institution of slavery. Claiming that the individual decisions of pregnant women and their families is like or worse than slavery denies the history, the meaning, and the lessons that must be learned from America’s participation in the African Slave Trade and its history of state-sponsored slavery.

Students, especially, can use the resources offered by Spiritual Youth for Reproductive Freedom to counter the elaborate and well-funded college campus programs arguing that the collective actions of pregnant women and mother are worse than any genocide.

Tell your story.  The anti-abortion movement has created the illusion that there are two kinds of women: those who have abortions and those who have babies. The truth is that the vast majority of women who have abortions are already or will someday also be mothers. You can make it hard to label mothers murderers, by showing that the women who are accused of creating a “culture of death” are giving birth and doing the caretaking  that is at the core of a true culture of life. If you have had an abortion and given birth experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth, adopted or raised a child — tell your story with a picture, a sign, a 1 minute or less video and we will post it at advocatesforpregnantwomen.org/mystory .

At his Notre Dame commencement President Obama asked, “How does each of us remain firm in our principles, and fight for what we consider right, without demonizing those with just as strongly held convictions on the other side?”

One way to do this is to share NAPW’s video and its message: People can oppose abortion without equating pregnant women and mothers, and the people who support them, with mass-murderers and baby killers.

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To schedule an interview with Lynn Paltrow please contact Communications Director Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.

  • invalid-0

    “People can oppose abortion without equating pregnant women and mothers, and the people who support them, with mass-murderers and baby killers.”

    I don’t understand. What reason would someone give for opposing abortion (or wanting it to be illegal) that wasn’t a variant of “abortion kills babies?”

  • independentminded

    This, imho:

    "People can oppose abortion without equating pregnant women and mothers, and the people who support them, with mass-murderers and baby killers."

    is a smokescreen that sets an extremely dangerous precedent, and creates even more loopholes in the Roe v. Wade ruling. It’s a sneakier way of saying that a woman should carry through with her unwanted pregnancy no matter what, and is even more dangerous, because there are many gullible people who buy into that sort of attitude, which could well serve to undermine and overturn Roe v. Wade entirely. These attacks on abortion rights, no matter how explicit or implicit indicate one thing: Even though a pro-choice POTUS has just been elected, a constant vigilance is necessary on the part of the pro-choice movement. Women can’t afford to take hard-won reproductive rights, such as the right to safe, legal abortions and contraception for granted, especially right now.

  • invalid-0

    Independent Minded: It’s a statement, not a “precedent,” that seeks to hold anti-abortion opponents who use hateful rhetoric against women accountable for their language. It’s no attack on abortion rights – National Advocates for Pregnant Women is one of the leading legal advocates for reproductive justice!

  • heather-corinna

    Well, for starters, people can make it about their OWN choices, not the choices and lives of other women, a la "When I become pregnant, I only feel okay about taking my pregnancies to term."  Or, "Abortion just doesn’t feel and hasn’t felt right to or for me."

  • crowepps

    Labeling women as ‘murderers’ and describing them as ‘hating children’ and insisting that they should have no alternative except to persist until childbirth because the true value lies in the ‘innocent fetus’ might possibly have some influence with those few infertile women who reach the conclusion that it’s morally justifiable to kill and discard the unworthy ‘container’ while cutting out a fetus to become their ‘very own’. It would be interesting to see a psychological study about the connection between slander against pregnant women and the poor treatment they receive from our society generally.

  • invalid-0

    Heather,

    You haven’t really given someone an option for publicly opposing abortion, just an option for personally not liking it based on some subjective whim. What I take aim at in Lynn’s piece is that it is one long non-sequitur. The only thing that would make calling abortion murder or baby-killing disrespectful to women would be if it actually was not murder or baby-killing. If it weren’t those awful things then pro-lifers would be more than disrespectful, they would be liars to the highest degree. But, if abortion was actually baby killing then pro-lifers would simply be telling the truth. It might be a painful truth, but it would be the truth. But in Lynn’s article she has not devoted one iota of effort to defend the idea that abortion is not murder. Therefore, she has no ground to stand on to say that pro-lifers are disrespectful when they say it is murder. It simply doesn’t follow that it is wrong to say that abortion is murder because it might hurt someone’s feelings. It is only wrong to say abortion is murder if it actually isn’t murder. And to make that argument one must show that it isn’t murder and Lynn didn’t do that. I know others have and their arguments should be at the forefront of the debate, not whining blame-game arguments.

    P.S. I also have a disdain for the Alice-in-Wonderland mentality that “for some women abortion is murder, but for others it isn’t so it should be kept legal for all women since there is disagreement”. It either is, or it isn’t murder, and public policy must answer that fundamental question.

    • http://momstinfoilhat.wordpress.com invalid-0

      Repeating it and using bold face type doesn’t make it true. Abortion isn’t treated or defined as murder by our courts, our government, our medical associations or our public. It is a safe, common medical procedure.

      So, by you and others in a vocal fringe minority keep insisting on using terms like “murder” and “baby” when it is a termination of a pregnancy, usually in the embryo stage, not even the fetal stage, you are lying and being hateful towards the women who choose to end unwanted pregnancies and their health care practitioners.

      Using hateful rhetoric like this adds to death. It emboldens murderers like Tiller, and encourages restrictions on birth control and abortion that lead to more abortion, unsafe abortions and maternal death. Not pro-life.

      • invalid-0

        So are the 200,000 partial birth abortions in this country murder?

  • invalid-0

    You can quibble on “killing,” but you cannot defend the idea that women who have abortions (more than 60% of whom are already mothers and many of whom go onto have children) are complicit in state-sponsored genocide, which is the analogy that anti-abortion are using that when call abortion “genocide” or a “holocaust.” If you can defend that idea, that is position so repugnant and extreme, that I won’t engage in argument with it.

    • invalid-0

      Consider that 45 million…45,000,000…..babies have been aborted since 1973. Of them, close to 53%, if not more, have been African-American. That is over 22 million children of African American descent killed. Currently, 36 million AA live in the US. If this is not genocide, what is?
      6 million jews were killed in WW2, 900,000 tutsis in Rwanda in 1994.
      How does the number 36,000,000 of ONE race in ONE country compare to that?

  • independentminded

    The above-mentioned may be a statement, and I can’t stop somebody or other from sayng it, but I’m inclined to think that it’s a far sneakier way of trying to undermine the pro-choice movement and deprive women and girls of their rights to access to safe, legal abortions. The organization of National Advocates for Pregnant Women sounds to me like an organization that’s bent on undermining abortion rights for women and girls.  Sorry, but that’s how I see it.

  • heather-corinna

    I also have a disdain for the Alice-in-Wonderland
    mentality that "for some women abortion is murder, but for others it
    isn’t so it should be kept legal for all women since there is
    disagreement". It either is, or it isn’t murder, and public policy must
    answer that fundamental question.

     

    Really? 
    I’m vegan.  I *personally* feel that meat-eating is murder. 
    But I don’t feel a need to have my personal feelings legislated into
    policies that everyone must adhere to, even if their feelings and
    experiences differ on that point, nor do I see why there has to be
    agreement on that, particularly
    in a nation whose structure is supposed to leave room for some of these
    fundamental differences of opinion.

     

    Public policy already answers the question you’re asking, as do the experiences and lives of those of us who are women, who have been pregnant, who have made choices with our pregnancies, who have had abortions: it’s not.  And I disagree that we have to somehow prove that it isn’t, particularly to a group of people who overwhelmingly — not unilaterally, Marysia who posts here is a great example of being non-representative in that — have incredibly inconsistent views about what murder or violence is and isn’t (meat-eating isn’t, war isn’t, contraception is, abortion is, harassment isn’t, state-sanctioned torture isn’t, forced pregnancy and birth isn’t), and who also are led overwhelmingly by a group of people who cannot even experience what they want to legistalte in the first place.

     

    But even if we did?  We don’t need sophisticed arguments to disporve the idea that abortion isn’t murder.  Murder, by defintion, involves malice, intention and premeditation.  Now, a woman who purposefully became pregnant knowing she intended to terminate when she became pregnant?  Someone may have an argument there.  But otherwise?  Not so much. And you’d be hard-pressed to find that woman: good luck with that.

  • invalid-0

    Good show Heather, good show. I’ll give you that abortion may not be murder (since it is legal after all) but unjustified killing, or morally impermissible killing may be a better label. Essentially, as a pro-lifer I am worried that the pro-choice movement wants to stifle the debate that is at the heart of the abortion issue through forms of censorship. By calling pro-life arguments that lead to the conclusion that abortion kills babies “hate-speech,” that can “incite violence” I see a slippery slope towards banning pro-life speech, or creating an environment where it is de facto impermissible to publicly oppose abortion (see Canada’s banning of pro-life student groups). I would think that a free and open marketplace of ideas is a good thing and that bad ideas will be weeded out over time and good ones will rise to the top. After 35 years, there must be strong merits to both sides of the abortion debate for these arguments to remain in the marketplace of ideas. Also, click here for an example that comes pretty close to the woman you described in your post that “would be hard to find.”

  • heather-corinna

    Also, click here for an example that comes pretty close to the woman you described in your post that "would be hard to find."

    Did you miss the part where that was a hoax?

     

    This isn’t a "show" for me. And the piece here is addressing use of words like murder, not "unjustified killing" or "morally impermissible killing," which I also resent, anyway.  Assuming we all share your morals, and must in public policy, doesn’t work with this.  And who are you, or anyone else, to say what is justified for a given woman when it comes to what is inside her own body?  As well, because we know we are not all in agreement about what a fetus is or is not, and what a woman is entitled to do with her own body, "killing" doesn’t work here, either.  I’ll also be frank and say I have little tolerance for any of these kinds of conversations with male-bodied people in the first place. So, I’m not going to invest much time in this conversation with you because I simply, personally, don’t think it’s your place.  When you have a uterus, we can talk about this in more depth if you like.

     

    I personally think concerns over your right to freedom of speech here are disingenuous.  I see NO evidence that that is, at all, a risk (and I’m an ACLU client, so it’s hardly a minor concern for me or something I treat casually).   Suggesting speech can and does have consequences and power, and that certain speech can enable or nurture certain ways of thinking or behaving is not the same as suggesting a person has no right to that speech.  Rather, it’s an invitation to consider your speech carefully and to think about what it truly is expressing, which I’d expect anyone who values freedom of speech would be totally behind: if words had no power, having the freedom to use them as we choose would be meaningless.

  • invalid-0

    Public policy also made it ok for Nazis to kill Jews in concentration camps in Germany and elsewhere doing WW2, and the defense against these acts was that it was oked by public policy as well as following orders, so not really murder.

    Public policy also wanted make it acceptable to enslave others and allow for things such as lynchings, segregation, etc., to go on.

    So just because public policy says so does not make abortion less of a murder, if indeed human lives are snuffed out.

    I seriously doubt you actuall would appeal to public policy before 1973, when abortion was still banned. You are only using that argument when it suits you, knowing full when if public policy turns against abortion, you would be crying foul.

    The only way you can disprove abortion is murder is disprove that human lives are in the womb. It does take malice to snuff out one’s own child to “get on with one’s life” (or otherwise, the likes of Susan Smith would be not be punished). Abortion is definitely premediated. And unless the woman is forced by others to do so, most often very intentional. The fact of whether or not she has sex with or without intent to have a baby is totally irrelevent. Nice try though.

    The baby in the womb has his or her own DNA and has his or her own gender inherited from his or her parents. Sorry, but that makes the baby very much human being.

    • independentminded

      Seriously, this whole argument:

       

      Public policy also made it ok for Nazis to kill Jews in concentration camps in Germany and elsewhere doing WW2, and the defense against these acts was that it was oked by public policy as well as following orders, so not really murder. Public policy also wanted make it acceptable to enslave others and allow for things such as lynchings, segregation, etc., to go on. So just because public policy says so does not make abortion less of a murder, if indeed human lives are snuffed out. I seriously doubt you actuall would appeal to public policy before 1973, when abortion was still banned. You are only using that argument when it suits you, knowing full when if public policy turns against abortion, you would be crying foul. The only way you can disprove abortion is murder is disprove that human lives are in the womb. It does take malice to snuff out one’s own child to "get on with one’s life" (or otherwise, the likes of Susan Smith would be not be punished). Abortion is definitely premediated. And unless the woman is forced by others to do so, most often very intentional. The fact of whether or not she has sex with or without intent to have a baby is totally irrelevent. Nice try though. The baby in the womb has his or her own DNA and has his or her own gender inherited from his or her parents. Sorry, but that makes the baby very much human being.
       

      doesn’t even begin to hold water.  Moreover, it’s an argument that’s all too often used by the anti-choice people to try to deter women and girls from getting abortions and undermining the right for a woman to decide for herself what’s best for her, and to control her own body.  Invoking such horrors such as the Holocaust and slavery isn’t the way to go, especially because there’s no comparison between abortion, the holocaust and slavery.  Fetuses weren’t worked to death, burned in the ovens, and forcibly brought from one place to another to work without pay.


      • invalid-0

        that’s why they can avoid being sexually active if they are not ready for the well-known and nature-intended consequence of intercourse: babies!
        Also, a baby is not part of a woman’s body. Are you your mom? What about in-vitro fertilization? Who are we putting in????

  • invalid-0

    If human beings are indeed killed in the womb via abortion, then it is not hate speech to say what it is. It is telling the truth.

    Basically, slaveowners once resorted to tactics abortionists used: 1) they argued their right to own slaves as property as matter of their privacy and none of the business of the abolitionists, 2) they accused abolitionists of speech that incited violence and hatred agaisnt slaveowners (a large part of their justification for secession and war), 3) they denied humanity to those they enslaved, 4) they hid behind the argument that it was legal at the time so that somehow makes right, and 5) they told those abolitionists that if they opposed slavery, then don’t own slaves but don’t force their religious views on them (and yes, most abolitionists were indeed evangelical Christians).

    It looks like the abortionists stole the slaveowner playbook.

    • invalid-0

      The issue is not whether or not a fetus is a human being. The issue is whether or not we should take away womens rights when she gets pregnant. You want to call pro-choicers slave supporters? Fine, I can use that logic right back at you. The definition of slavery is “forced labor”. Isn’t forcing someone through a pregnancy, quite literally, forced labor? Why should women have to change their lives forever* for the sake of the fetus? Sure, it’s very nice of a woman to do that, but she should not be forced to.
      *A pregnancy has lifelong effects on a womans life. Many of the physical effects are temporary, but many are not. That is not even taking into consideration the emotional effects of a pregnancy. You can’t just pretend that every woman will just go on living exactly as she did before, even if she does give the child up for adoption.

    • crowepps

      (and yes, most abolitionists were indeed evangelical Christians).

       

      Aside from the Quakers and the Episcopalians, you’re correct.  Of course, so were the slave OWNERS.

       

    • http://momstinfoilhat.wordpress.com invalid-0

      Anti-choicers deny the woman the autonomy and sovereignty over her own body, deny her humanism, and say that her privacy is irrelevant.

      Their bodies are only there to serve the future possible baby, and women should be forced to carry an entire pregnancy to term, literally “labor” under duress, and support a not-yet-life that some are saying is more important than hers.

      I think the comparison of pregnancy to slavery is a lot more easy to make than the comparison of abortion to slavery.

  • invalid-0

    “So, I’m not going to invest much time in this conversation with you because I simply, personally, don’t think it’s your place. When you have a uterus, we can talk about this in more depth if you like.”

    Very well. I’ll go have a conversation with someone else and listen graciously to their opinion regardless of their gender. Have a good day.

  • invalid-0

    I’ll accept a parallel between the Holocaust and abortion when you show me the fetuses that were literally worked to death, the fetuses that were raped, the fetuses that were shot en mass and buried while still alive, and the fetuses that were forced to work in crematoriums burning bodies of other fetuses.

    If you can’t, don’t trivialize the Holocaust and the suffering of Holocaust victims by comparing it to abortion.

  • invalid-0

    I’ve been at this for awhile, but I do not think I’ve ever read a better or more succinct rebuttal to the Holocaust comparison. If I may, Wednesday, I’d like to add your perspective to my own well-used responses, whenever this canard gets trotted out.

  • invalid-0

    I’ll go have a conversation with someone else and listen graciously to their opinion regardless of their gender.

    Thank you so much for recognizing the rudeness of your characteristic contempt towards women and authoritarian attitudes. I hope that you will be able to keep your word and change your normal manner of interaction. I wish you luck.

  • invalid-0

    Let’s be real: Forcing people to give birth would be a form of enslavement; legal abortion is not.

    Lifers, I ask you this: Do you think a person should be forced, by court order, to provide a kidney to another if there is no other donor available? Should we all be required to donate blood at regular intervals? Can the government hold me down and perform a medical procedure on my body without my consent if it will save a life?

    No? But you think that the government should be able to hold a woman down and force her to give birth? That, by court order, a woman should be made to sacrifice her body for 10 months for the benefit of another being? That the potential for life legally outweighs my actual life?

    The fact is, no one can be forced to give of his body for the benefit of another–even to save a life. That is well established by law and precedent. So, even if you equate a fetus with a person already living among us–an idea I find offensive–the government cannot force that person to sacrifice his or her body for the benefit of another being.

    The fact that you think you can control my body–that you think you own me–makes me very afraid. I am worth something, and every day you tell me I’m not. Every day, you try to strip me of my humanity, of my fundamental sovereignty as a person. You say that one-half of the population is worthy of bodily integrity, but that my half is not.

    You should be ashamed, lifers. And, believe me, you don’t want to bring slavery into the rhetoric because it only works against you.

  • invalid-0

    If that’s what you “think,” why don’t you visit their website and see the reproductive freedom vision of this organization instead of spreading uninformed slander about their mission. http://www.advocatesforpregnantwomen.org

  • http://buy3.discountgenericshop.com/map.html invalid-0

    i think only mother can make the descion of abortion

    • independentminded

      Is this:

      i think only mother can make the descion of abortion
       

      or are you serious? 


    • invalid-0

      Me too. In an ideal world she would be able to trust her support system or partner enough to discuss it with them, but the ultimate decision I think should remain hers to make, without fear of judgement, intimidation or hate. I wish we lived in an ideal world.

  • invalid-0

    United States of Gilead

  • independentminded

     the ultimate decision I think should remain hers to make, without fear of judgement, intimidation or hate. 
     

     

    says it all, in a nutshell, Khinky.  Thanks.  I couldn’t have put it more articulately myself. 

  • invalid-0

    That should be 22 million….but still, a heck of a lot of people dead!

  • crowepps

    Considering that so-called ‘Partial Birth Abortions’ have been illegal except to save the life of the mother since Bush signed the PBA Ban in 2003, they can’t be, because they must never happen –after all, ProLife activitists ALSO insist that abortion is never necessary to save the life of the mother.

     

    Don’t you guys EVER update your bumperstickers?