Choice News

Monday Motivation: Scientifish

Welcome to the Monday Motivation, an eye-opening look at what the anti-choicers are saying about us this week.

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Here’s some wacky anti-choice logic to start your week: The Concord Monitor argues that Planned Parenthood’s “reprehensible” Mother’s Day message–in which mothers explained why they supported choice and were glad they had the ability to plan their families–was actually “rubbing salt in the wounds” of women who had abortions or lost children. The logic behind the latter is that women who have had abortions automatically and universally regret it; the logic behind the former is that women who lose their children automatically oppose abortion, because they would prefer a world in which all pregnant women would have to bring children, wanted or unwanted, into the world.

By similar logic, Mother’s Day itself rubs salt in the wound of those who wanted to have kids but couldn’t conceive, or those who didn’t want kids but would still like to be celebrated. Would choice opponents be satisfied if we just did away with Mother’s Day and called the second Sunday in May Celebrating Women Day? Given that anti-choice activists believe zygotes have more rights than women, I’m not holding my breath.

The brain trust over at Breitbart really put on their real medical doctor lab coats this week, reporting on some actual news about birth control pills and some fake “news” about abortion pills.

The real-ish news is that, according to a single study, birth control pills may thin the cortex in certain parts of the brain, including an area related to regulating emotions. Although the actual scientists who conducted the study were quick to say there was no proof that the pill was associated with “moodiness” or other neurological side effects (and a separate study showed the exact opposite effect, cortical thickening, in 2010), that didn’t stop Breitbart from insinuating that birth control makes ladies go unhinged, nor from citing completely unrelated studies about people who suffered cortical brain damage.

(Catholic World Report also featured a hyperventilating story on the study last week, provocatively headlined, “Is the Pill Shrinking Parts of Women’s Brains? New Report Suggests Yes,” coming to essentially the same conclusions.)

In other science-y news, Breitbart has resurrected the absurd anti-choice claim that medical abortions using RU-486 can be “reversed” by administering large doses of hormones to women. Pinning the notion that abortion is a permanent procedure on “lying” “abortion promoters,” the right-wing site claims that pro-choice advocates have managed to keep the supposed abortion reversal procedure a secret, despite the “fact” that an unspecified “surprising number” of women who choose medical abortion immediately regret it.

As RH Reality Check points out, the “reversal” claim, which doctors in Arizona will soon be required to explain to patients before performing abortions, is medically flawed, based on a sample size of six patients, and unsupported by any peer-reviewed science, anywhere.

And sorry to turn this into Breitbart Watch, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention the report with a screaming subhead that begins, “A new chemical abortion clinic, calling itself a ‘posh spa’…” The piece goes on to claim the clinic is actively billing itself as a “spa,” or “spa-like,” in quotes, three more times. First rule of journalism? Don’t put something in quotes when nobody said it. Turns out that only abortion opponents are claiming the clinic, which does indeed advertise in D.C. (with billboards that say “Abortion? Yeah, we do that”) but does not bill itself as spa-like or a spa, posh or otherwise.

Finally, the Atlantic  ran a much-linked piece about the 20-week abortion ban just adopted by the U.S. house that ostensibly examines the political divide between people who are pro-choice and “pro-life.” The author concludes that politicians would do better to listen to public opinion and fall somewhere “in between” the two positions (a spot the writer conveniently defines as passing 20-week bans and the like, because the American public says so.) Two things to note about all this: 1) Fortunately, we do not determine the constitutionality of laws in this country by surveying the American public. And 2) What a Google search will tell you, and what the Atlantic doesn’t see fit to point out, is that the author of the piece, one Charles Camosy, is a Catholic theologian and ethicist who fervently opposes abortion rights.

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