As reproductive politics are once again consumed by an attack on Planned Parenthood, it is worth stepping back and asking why this organization is so particularly reviled by the anti-choice movement.
Journalists have an ethical duty to report the truth, to correct errors quickly, and to take responsibility for their work. As noted here by Kurt Eichenwald writing in Newsweek, the New York Times has not only failed in its responsibility, but has kept online a version of a story that has been completely discredited.
After Maine Gov. Paul LePage made national news earlier this month by claiming to have “pocket vetoed” 19 bills that became law without his signature, messages started popping up in my inbox saying things like “An accidental win!” and “Maine—accidentally—outlaws shackling pregnant women?”
Doing social change work is scary and will make you uncomfortable; it will change you, for better or for worse. But that’s part of what showing up and taking a stand means. And what choice do we have?
According to Erick Erickson, a regular Fox News contributor, editor of RedState.com, and guest host for Rush Limbaugh, women who seek reproductive health care are “pregnant female animals” with no ability for autonomous thinking.
True Detective‘s second season has rolled out a character who thinks she’s infertile because of abortions in her youth. Sadly, this is just part of a larger pattern of this supposedly mainstream show regurgitating ugly right-wing myths about women.
Just as much as these videos are part of a highly orchestrated campaign to discredit Planned Parenthood, they were also part of an ongoing campaign to target and harass individual abortion providers and others connected with the safe and legal provision of abortion care.
Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ), for example, was not “chilled” enough by the video to do anything about it when he first saw it at least a month earlier than it was released to the public, as he admitted to Roll Call.
A group hopes to encourage affirmative consent by creating an app that asks partners to record each other saying “yes” before having sex—but it might just cause more problems than it solves.
The phrases being thrown around by conservative legislators and organizations aren’t medical terms. They’re intentionally deceptive bits of propaganda, and they create an anti-choice political frame for conversations about abortion care that are not rooted in sound science and medicine.