Thursday, June 06, 2013

Abortion Advocacy: Changing Reality to Fit the Narrative

Once upon a time, a woman was in terrible danger. She needed help, but a dreadful ogre set many obstacles before her. With the help of a stalwart and resourceful companion, the woman overcame the obstacles and was saved. The end.
It's the standard fairy tale formula that we're all familiar with. It can easily be modified into a nice backstory for a superhero or action hero:
A woman was in terrible danger. She needed help, but a dreadful villain has set many obstacles before her. A hero stepped forward to save her but was unable to thwart the villain's plans in time. The woman died. The hero vowed that the woman shall not have died in vain, and decides to devote his life to defeating the villain. The end.
These are the two basic themes for abortion-advocacy political theater. Like any theater it has its stock characters:
  • Sympathetic woman who wants/needs a safe and legal abortion
  • Prolife villan
  • Prochoice hero
The outcome always hinges on whether the woman, with the help of the hero, can overcome the obstacles and obtain the safe-n-legal abortion.

Every story that Big Abortion thinks it can use for political and public relations purposes gets rewritten to follow the formula. When the facts don't fit the narrative, they get taken out and, if necessary, replaced with some non-facts to flesh out any holes in the story.

Let's look at the abortion-rights movement's favorite morality tales to illustrate the need for safe-n-legal abortion and the dastardly nature of prolifers.

Rosie Jimenez had the resources to arrange a safe-n-legal abortion. Abortion rights activists could have chosen to show Rosie the path to that safe-n-legal abortion but chose not to. Instead they left her with nothing but impressions she'd gotten from a Big Abortion PR blitz, insisting that women like her would have no choice but a criminal abortion, Rosie she believed them, acted on that belief, and died as a result. The obstacle to Rosie's safe-n-legal abortion was lack of public funding. To fit the narrative some facts must be omitted: the $10 difference in cost between the criminal abortion and the safe-n-legal abortion, the $8 Rosie had spent on a cake the day before the abortion, and the $800 scholarship check Rosie had in her purse when she died. Rosie could have overcome her obstacle by forgoing a single cake and borrowing two bucks from a friend. But painting Henry Hyde as "the man who made Rosie show up to her friend's baby shower without a nice cake" would be a pathetic attempt to demonize the man. Omit a few key facts and Henry Hyde can be painted as a proper ogre.

Becky Bell had gone to her parents once before with a pregnancy scare and had been threatened with being thrown out of the house if she did it again. Afraid to approach her parents, she began investigation her options with the help of a friend. She died with brochures from a maternity home in her purse. There was literally zero evidence that she had even made up her mind to pursue an abortion, much less followed through on the decision. She miscarried while dying of pneumonia. But the word "abortion" -- a medical term for a miscarriage -- was on her autopsy report so that single word got elaborated upon and embellished and converted into a suitable first act for a narrative that would be useful for the abortion lobby, facts be damned.

Spring Adams was left in her abusive home for two months after her father confessed to police that he had been raping her. He asked for help with his alcoholism and mental health problems. There is no available information on whose idea it was to schedule an abortion, but health officials and prochoice activists did nothing to get either Rocky Adams locked up or Spring Adams removed to a safe place during the two weeks they were arranging the abortion. When Rocky killed his daughter in a murder/attempted suicide, Big Abortion blamed "barriers" to abortion access, because "She died because nobody was addressing the sexual abuse" doesn't fit the narrative.

Savita Halappanavar, 17 weeks pregnant, was diagnosed as being in the middle of a miscarriage when she was admitted to an Irish hospital. She asked that labor be induced in order to get the whole thing over with, since she was in a lot of pain. According to Savita's husband, the doctor refused on the grounds that since Ireland is a Catholic country, labor couldn't be induced while the baby's heart was still beating. However, nothing in Catholic doctrine or Irish law forbids assisting in the delivery of a moribund baby if the mother's life is in danger. Savita died because she was not promptly given antibiotics and thus developed a fatal infection. But "She died because nobody gave her antibiotics in time" doesn't muster prochoice outrage, so the facts were changed to fit the narrative.

Beatriz's doctors petitioned the courts in El Salvador for a "life of the mother" abortion due to the mother's lupus. The petition was denied on the grounds that her life could be saved via delivery of a living baby. The doctors chose a c-section, Beatriz recovered nicely, and her anencephalic baby girl lived for five hours after her birth. But since "She didn't need an abortion after all" doesn't fit the narrative, international abortion advocates are insisting that the procedure which clearly was medically, legally, religiously, and morally an emergency c-section should in fact be classified as a hysterotomy abortion.

Life advocates need to be aware not only of the existing template and Big Abortion's propensity to edit every story to get it to fit. We need to keep in mind that the abortion machine has friends in public health and the media and will thus be able to get information processed through their PR departments and released to the public before prolifers know what's happening. They were notified of Rosie's death by the CDC, Spring's pregnancy through health department officials, Savita's death through a Health Services leak, and Beatriz's health issues had to have been leaked somehow because it was confidential medical information. Every story is already going to be tidied up and spin-doctored before we learn of it, and we'll always be playing catch-up, unless we start planting a lot of moles in prochoice organizations.

The newest generation of life advocates is doing a phenomenal job of using the tools of the Information Age. I look forward to seeing what they do to keep a step ahead of the story tellers in the future.

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