“Evil Had Sensible Brown Shoes”

For the anti-choice activist, the battle over abortion is the battle between good and evil.  “Good” saves babies, supports mothers whether they want to give birth or not, and then seems to lose interest in supporting the children once they have been born and have real needs other than a womb to grow in.  “Evil” is choosing when to have a child in the case of an unwanted pregnancy, or taking into account your own health, wellbeing, finances, and the overall effect a child would have on the other members of your family (i.e. your ability to care for them).

No place is that “good versus evil” rhetoric taken to an almost comic level than in this piece about sitting in on a briefing from the Center for Reproductive Rights’ President Nancy Northrup:

Aside from a brief enjoiner to check Facebook and Twitter and sign up for email updates about [Planned Parenthood’s] response to 40 Days for Life, that was the end of the presentation. I couldn’t leave fast enough. A fight-or-flight response kicked in, and I nearly ran the two blocks to my car. It took a couple hours before I stopped bursting into tears periodically.

I was upset because I had seen evil, and evil was mundane. Evil had a very impressive law degree and sensible brown shoes. Evil sat in pews around me with folded arms, feeling very concerned about the plight of poor women, wearing pants it bought at Macy’s. Evil looked like people you see at the grocery store. And, most terrifying of all, evil thought it was doing good.

Because every person who doesn’t believe that potential life is more important than the woman who is carrying it from the moment of conception onward must be “evil.”

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  • ahunt

    Why so sad about George Tiller and not about the approximately one million unborn who die every year? What is that the extreme form of?


    OOOOh…can’t you just feel the pro-lifeyness?

  • rachel-larris

    I really want to believe that when I attended the Personhood Now conference I didn’t look around and think “they are all evil.” Although I might have thought that about Keith Mason. When you walk into a meeting of a group with dimetrically opposed opinions calling the attendee personally “evil” is a bad way to go. (I think this even for pro-choice activists). I think they are historically misguided and that the actions that they advocate will cause a great amount of suffering and hardship…but it’s a wide gap between that and believing your enemies bath babies blood and look with glee upon suffering. 


    But Keith Mason is just an opportunist IMHO. This is a guy who knows he can ride this Personhood thing to a lot of personal fame and fortune. There are a few others in the anti-choice movement I feel are the same way. 

  • prochoiceferret

    When you walk into a meeting of a group with dimetrically opposed opinions calling the attendee personally “evil” is a bad way to go. (I think this even for pro-choice activists).


    Of course, there’s a wide range of what can be meant when one says “evil.” Sure, there’s the old standby of



    But sometimes, you might be referring to a lesser, not-so-competent form of evil, like



    Heck, for me, evil can be as banal as


  • lindzanne

    For example, when mentioning a case in Nepal, she praised public funding for abortion, saying, “A right you can’t access is not a right at all.”

    I don’t have to point out the absurdity of this statement. I have a right to drive a car, but that doesn’t mean the taxpayers have to buy me one.


    It’s always pervasice to their message, but I don’t know when I’ve read such a shamefully, willfully neglectful statement exemplifying the pro-life lack of concern for socio-economic factors in access to reproductive justice. 

    A cruel and judgemental article, rife with innacuracies and wildly conflated comparisons, and really with just a frightening tone of callousness.  I agree with Rachel Larris, placing our opponents unquestionably in the “evil” category is completely inappropriate.  And we don’t need to use harsh judgement of their annyoying but superficial details to win our arguments.  Talking about our opponents like their less than human is a step in the wrong direction, but I guess this is a good example of why it’s so difficult to get the message of the real need for reproductive justice through to those so firmly rooted in the pro-life camp.  If they’ve already decided we’re completely evil, there’s really no room in their minds for objective reasoning. 

  • jennifer-starr

    Concerned about the plight of poor women? Goodness, what a horrible and evil thing to be. Actually having the nerve to think that women should be able to make choices as if they were –oh I don’t know–actual human beings?  Shameful! 

    Actually someone should tell Ms. Walker that it  is effectively impossible to have any sort of dialog or debate with someone who characterizes anyone pro-choice as being Beelzebub in sensible brown-shoe wearing form. 


    -Jennifer (who’s off to take her undoubtably evil Tortellini Palermitana out of the oven) 

  • ahunt

    evil Tortellini Palermitana


    Just had to see this agin.

  • colleen

    It’s always odd to see self described ‘feminists’ (in this case ‘New Wave feminists. woo woo)who react to  actual feminists and their ideas by running two blocks to their car, crying for hours and then writing a silly and  insipid article for ‘Lifenews’ about the evil of feminists who don’t regard other women as breeding livestock.

    Had this silly woman thought for a moment she would have realised that the zbef mortality rate in the US alone  is many many times greater than 1 million a year. I would tell her but I’m afraid it would bring on another bout of uncontrollable weeping or worse.

  • colleen

    Concerned about the plight of poor women? Goodness, what a horrible and evil thing to be.

    If you were a ‘New Wave Feminist’ you would understand that poverty is not a problem and neither is overpopulation. Besides if a woman is really hard up she can go on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition or marry a wealthy Republican.

  • jennifer-starr

    Kristen Walker is the same “New Wave Feminist” who wrote an article asserting that being pregnant, giving birth and raising a child was ‘no big deal’ and not a crisis even if you’re a teen or living in poverty. It’s not like, you know, having a Winnebago–which is apparently much more momentous in her world.  *snort*  The premise is so idiotic that it must have been thought up by a teenager or someone with no experience in taking care of children– and she seems to be under the impression that they stay babies forever.  Read here  if you can stomach it–I felt the urge to bang my head on something after the first paragraph: 


  • robin-marty

    but I think I definitely smell evil there…

  • colleen

    I read the entire blog and now I have a headache.  It appears that ‘New Wave Feminists’, all two of  them,  have a great deal in common with Phyllis Schafly and the Vatican.



  • colleen

    I think it’s well cooked, evil bacon.

  • deardear

    I think there’s often tacit approval lurking behind such blithe disregard for the horrific wrongness of terrorist acts against abortion providers. Some pro-lifers seem to get squirmy and defensive whenever Dr. Tiller’s murder is brought up because they can’t confront the fact he was murdered. They’re too far down the rabbit-hole of their own ideology to realize it’s not legal, much less morally acceptable, to shoot someone because you don’t personally approve of their job description, but lack the intestinal fortitude to admit what they actually think: that abortion providers have it coming. Thus any mention of murdered abortion providers gets spun back with evasive hand-wringing like, “Well, what about all the unborn babies getting killed?” While I wouldn’t call this mentality a sign of “evil,” I definitely think it’s evidence the person’s ethical compass is extremely off-kilter. 

  • wholearmor

    I assume everyone here is anti-choice after the child is born.

    – Scott 

  • prochoiceferret

    I assume everyone here is anti-choice after the child is born.


    Nope, a woman can terminate future pregnancies even if she chooses to give birth. Heck, many women become even more pro-choice after they have kids of their own.


    … Oh, I’m sorry, were you passive-aggressively trying to equate abortion and infanticide? Yeah, that’s not going to work so well here.

  • forced-birth-rape



    Anders Behring Breivik christian terrorist, pro-forced-birther.

    What he thinks about womens rights, women need to breed, breed, breed.

    He has the same ideas for women as republicans, conservatives, and pro-lifers.


    1. Limit the distribution of birth-control pills (contraceptive pills): Discourage the use of and prevent liberal distribution of contraceptive pills or equivalent prevention methods. The goal should be to make it considerably more difficult to obtain. This alone should increase the fertility rate by 0,1 points but would degrade women’s rights.

    2. Reform sex education: Reform the current sex education in our school institutions. This may involve limiting it or at least delaying sex education to a later age and discourage casual sex. Sex should only be encouraged within the boundaries of marriage. This alone should increase the fertility rate by 0,1 points.

    3. Making abortion illegal: A re-introduction of the ban on abortion should result in an increased fertility rate of approximately 0,1-0,2 points but would strip women of basic rights.

    4. Women and education: Discourage women in general to strive for full time careers. This will involve certain sexist and discriminating policies but should increase the fertility rate by up to 0,1-0,2 points.

    Women should not be encouraged by society/media to take anything above a bachelor’s degree but should not be prevented from taking a master or PhD. Males on the other hand should obviously continue to be encouraged to take higher education – bachelor, master and PhD.

  • crowepps

    I am not “anti-choice after the child is born”.

    I trust parents and doctors, working thoughtfullly together, to be able to determine what is in a child’s best interests, and so I support their right to agree that “do not resuscitate” orders are sometimes appropriate.

    I am against pointless suffering in all its forms.

  • ljean8080

    in the book,karen,by her mother,marie killiliea,a lot of doctors were against treating her.

  • jennifer-starr

    I don’t remember doctors not wanting to treat her, but Karen’s CP was not life-threatening–as far as I recall she didn’t need any sort of life support or heroic measures.  Though I do recall a doctor recommending that they place her in an institution and forget about her. But when you read that story you do have to keep in mind that Karen Kililea was born in the 1940s and they didn’t have the  therapies and support systems for children with cerebral palsy that they do now. As a matter of fact, a lot of that came about because of Karen’s mother Marie; thanks to her a lot of kids with CP have a world of help out there. 

  • crowepps

    I really don’t think it’s very useful to consider what they did 60 years ago, when the parents weren’t given much information but instead were just supposed to do whatever the doctor told them to do, because that’s sure not the way things are done now.  When parents and doctors disagree now, parents promptly ask for and get a second opinion.