Every summer, families visit the county or state fair to bond with their fellow community members, eat unusual foods (often on sticks), and meet local lawmakers. But in recent years, fair season has turned into a time for anti-choice activists to re-emphasize their agenda in the public sphere.
A firestorm erupted last month at the North Dakota State Fair when Minot Right to Life began passing out tiny rubber models of 10- to 12-week fetuses to unsuspecting children. The father of one 5-year-old who received a fetus model wrote a blog post titled Dear Pro-Lifers: Can You Stop Being a Bunch of Weirdos? “Whatever group is out there trying to promote the pro-life message by handing out squish alien babies, stop. You’re doing more harm than good,” he wrote. (via ABC News)
Setting up shop at fairs and other public events in an effort to reach a new audience and spread anti-choice talking points isn’t just a U.S. phenomenon. Prince Albert Right to Life in Canada set up a table at the Summer Fair Trade Show hosted by the Prince Albert Optimists Club. There, among the circus-like performers, the anti-choice group offered fliers about chastity and a number of fetal models to examine. “Too many people take it for granted that if something’s in the way, you can just get rid of it,” one member of the group told the Prince Albert Daily Herald. “They don’t want to take responsibility for the situation that they got themselves into in the first place.”
Val Hettrick, co-president of the group, said that the group exists to offer a different message to young girls in crisis. “It’s easy to counsel a young girl to have an abortion. It’s also easy to feed her contraceptives up to her eyeballs.” (“Contraceptives up to the eyeballs” does not appear to be a current fair offering, but maybe that can be arranged for a future event.)
Some of the most adamantly anti-abortion politicians are reenforcing their agendas at the fair, too. According to the Associated Press, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant told the audience at the Neshoba County Fair that “he has a ‘divine responsibility’ to oppose abortion” and that he will spend the next two years focusing on “public safety.”
Luckily, for all the squishy alien fetus booths that may be out there, there are also plenty of pro-choice folks at the fair.
You might even get a “condom on a stick.”