Friday, March 12, 2010

The Tebow Effect, Take Two!

Post-abortion outreach ads in NYC subways invoke vitriolic response

As Jill Stanek said, "They hadn't even seen them yet but hated them." Just like the Tebow ads.

She quotes this article, in, March 8, with the headline, "Don't look now: You may not like the ads you see"

Well, at least "Don't look" is an improvement over the "Don't you dare let anybody see this!" response, sight-unseen, to the Tebow ads.

This time the objectionable ads are display ads in a subway. Each depicts either a woman saying, "I thought life would be the way it was before," or a man saying, "I often wonder if there was something I could have done to help her." And they refer people to the web site Abortion Changes You.

Of course, hardcore abortion enthusiasts are up in arms.

"The campaign suggests that feelings of sadness and self-harm are the universal experiences for someone who had an abortion," said Samantha Levine of NARAL Pro-Choice NY. "And there's no evidence to suggest that that's true.".

Um, actually, no. It says, "Abortion changes you." If abortion enthusiasts are right, then abortion changes you, just in positive ways. You know, the old increased self esteem, maturity, strengthened relationships, healthy shiny hair and improved bowling scores and all that. What's not to like, right?

The article continues:

But Michaelene Fredenburg, who started San Diego-based Abortion Changes You after her own abortion, says her ads are more about helping people than politics.

"I had an abortion when I was 18," said Fredenburg, 44. "I had a hard time.... I wanted to reach out and say you're not alone."

If you do an Angie the Abortion Tweeter, and twitter your abortion to tell everybody how easy and marvelous it is, you have no hidden agenda! You just want to "demystify" abortion and let women know it's okay to talk about it! But if your abortion was a bad experience and you want to allow other, similar women to have a voice, then you "have an agenda".

So it's not that they don't want women to talk about their abortions. It's that they only want enthusiastic, satisfied customers to talk about abortion. The way to "demystify" abortion is to silence all the woman who came away less than delighted with the experience, to hear only from the women who are going to enthuse about their abortions.

It's not a matter of "Trust Women" at all. It's "Trust women who really like abortion."

Jill also links to Fran Johns at

I have no reason, other than it seems a great way to sell stuff and make a few bucks, to question Fredenburg's altruistic intentions in founding Abortion Changes You....

Jill points out that abortionists sell their "services" and "make a few bucks", and they're presented by abortion supporters are selfless altruists. Abortion Changes You is a nonprofit. Unlike many abortion mills. It's okay to make a profit directly from women's fear and isolation and desperation and despair. It's evidently not okay to raise funds for a public awareness campaign to let people hurting after abortion know that they're not alone.

Jill also notes what kirbygirl87 has to say at

Not every women is depressed and regrets her decisions. Not every boyfriend or husband wants to interfere with the women's decision. What if the women felt she made the right decision, and what if the partner supported the decision?

Um... if she has no depression or regret about her abortion, she probably won't pay any attention to the ad. For the same reason happy steak lovers ignore PETA ads. We really are okay with eating meat. If women really are okay with abortion, then the ad won't interest them. Duh.

And the ad with the man doesn't address whether or not he "supported her decision". It addresses whether or not he did enough to help the woman he loves, be it a sister or a daughter or a girlfriend or a wife.

Why do ads like these always depict the women as sad and questioning her judgement [sic], do women do that often? Do we change our minds? Do we regret the decisions that we make? Not often.

First of all, I'd say that there's some pretty strong evidence of women second guessing their own choices just in the phenomenon of women who change their minds when they find out their fetus survived an abortion attempt. Those are the fortunate women who got a second chance with their babies. Other women weren't so fortunate. But the self-proclaimed champions of "informed decisions" evidently have a huge problem with women even knowing that regret is possible, that having second thoughts is possible.

Second of all, if the vast majority of women really are delighted with their abortion choices, then Abortion Changes You is just wasting their donors' money, right? If the vast majority of women are really so okay with their abortions, then the ads are speaking to empty air.

Thirdly, how many regretful women and mourning fathers will it take before the self-proclaimed champions of women's well being consider them significant enough to even allow them to speak out?

But Jill points out that not all abortion supporters are being so testy and defensive. Tracy Clark-Flory at has this to say:

Here's the thing: I think we should acknowledge that abortion can change you, that it isn't necessarily an "eh, whatevs" event. For some women, it may be akin to getting a tooth pulled; for others, though, it results in a profound and haunting loss. None of this goes against the dominant pro-choice message, which is that women should be allowed to make their own reproductive choices based on what they feel is right for them. Women have different experiences of abortion and they should be allowed to make different decisions, too.

Still, Clark-Flory falls short of getting it. Should women be allowed to feel regret, and to speak out about it? Or is the rule "If you don't have something nice to say, say nothing"?

That isn't to say I'm super pumped about the ads, though. They present one side of the story, which is that abortion changes you, period. Not that abortion can change a woman, but that it always does, and that is quite simply a lie.

Does she have a similar disdain for sweeping proabortion ad slogans? How about "Don't like abortions? Don't have one." That's saying that every woman who has an abortion LIKES abortion. That's quite simply a lie. How about "Keep abortion safe and legal." That's saying that all legal abortions are safe. Which again is quite simply a lie.

It isn't the sort of message born of concern for women, but rather a concern for converting women.

Again, if abortion is the positive, woman-affirming experience its proponents claim it is, then the ads won't be effective in "converting" women, any more than PETA ads turn Burger King patrons into vegans.

Also, you know what is guaranteed to change you and your life in a profound way? Motherhood.

Yup. I remember Johnson & Johnson having a campaign for baby care products with the slogan "Having a baby changes everything."

But I don't recall seeing any subways ads featuring a woman knee-deep in dirty diapers with the text, "I thought life would be the way it was before."

As Jill said:

No one in the world maintains life won't change after having a baby. But hardcore pro-aborts do indeed try to say life won't change after abortion. Refer back to Levine's quote above.

A much wiser head than mine had something pithy to say that I think applies to these nervous nellies of choice: The lady doth protest too much.

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