Opinion: Right to Life gets it wrong
Free Press Opinion Columnist
When the first “Lord of the Rings” movie hit theaters, I thought the Orcs were more horrifying than anything a child could imagine. I refused to allow my kindergarten-aged son to watch it until he was older because I didn’t want those monsters in his dreams.
Three years later when my daughter was in kindergarten, I was sporting a “Kerry for President” bumper sticker on my car when she said, “The kids at school say John Kerry kills babies.”
I resent having to discuss abortion in terms simple enough for a child to understand. It’s difficult enough to answer their simplest questions about the origins of babies or the names and purposes of body parts.
For parents who choose to fill their children’s heads with graphic images about abortion, Colorado Right to Life provides a section on its website entitled “Defend Life: It’s Wrong to Dismember Children.” The images supporters share with the public, including as many children as they can reach, are so graphic that “Lord of the Rings” would have lost its PG-13 rating for airing them.
It should be criminal to pollute young minds like that, yet those same parents, along with church leaders and other authority figures, are exploiting children to further their own delusional and misogynist agendas.
After a week of handing out cupcakes and cute baby things on the Colorado Mesa University campus, the efforts of two Palisade High School students and CMU student groups opposing abortion culminated last Friday with a presentation by Abby Johnson, the anti-choice superstar, revered for her graphic, tear-jerking stories.
The students who organized the event knew to expect trouble and had been trained to handle it, according to an interview in The Daily Sentinel. Still, they must have been a bit nervous when activists for reproductive freedom rallied outside, waving signs like “Trust Women” and “Support Sex Ed.”
There was a buzz of excitement among the feminists as a couple of anti-choice signs appeared in the crowd and then a gasp as they realized the signs were held by children. Two little boys, around 8 or 9 years old, were made to stand holding their signs, one on each side of the entrance to the parking garage. A man, who was clearly there to protect them, stood silently nearby in a gruff, tough-guy pose.
I will not begrudge any of the children associated with this event for their bravery or hard work. Older students raised $5,000 for the speaker’s fees and helped babies with a diaper-collection drive. They should be commended for their well-organized events and hard work. And no one could be braver than those little boys who held their signs in defiance of pro-choice demonstrators, whom they believed capable of dismembering them at any moment.
Sadly, these children have been duped. The Right to Life movement has stolen their innocence and manipulated them into believing that solutions come from fear. Abortion opponents refuse to consider realistic ways to reduce abortion numbers and actually hamper efforts to reduce unwanted pregnancies. They do it with their personhood laws, which would ban most birth control, and with their opposition to basic sex-education programs.
Just a few months ago, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported that teen pregnancy rates had dropped 40 percent in the last five years, thanks to a project of Colorado’s Family Planning Initiative, which provided free IUDs for 30,000 Colorado teenagers.
The Right to Life movement has it wrong. No woman has ever said, “Yay! I’m pregnant, so I can finally have an abortion.” Abortions occur for any number of reasons but that. Whatever the circumstances may be, abortions are no one’s business but a woman’s and whomever she chooses to include in that decision.
All the diapers in the world will not stop abortion, but the $5,000 Abby Johnson charges to spread fear could have provided enough birth control to prevent countless pregnancies.
Until we stop teaching children that women must be controlled to prevent us from murdering our children, women will be second-class citizens. We will reduce abortion rates when women are trusted to manage our bodies and our families.
A fourth generation Coloradan, Free Press columnist Robyn Parker is the former host of the progressive community radio show, Grand Valley Live. She is a stay-at-home mom, active community volunteer and board member for local environmental and social justice organizations. Robyn may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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