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The Uncensorship Project: Abortion Edition

TW: Hate speech (esp. racism and misogyny), death threats, and other violent rhetoric.

It will surprise no one that Rebecca Watson’s “Planned Parenthood is Not Selling Baby Parts, You Fucking Idiots” led to a flood of comments, emails, and tweets of outrage as well as the usual accusations of censorship for moderating comments and muting or blocking tweets.

If you are one of the many victims of our feminazi fascism, take heart! The Uncensorship Project is here to display your delightful comments and questions in all their ridiculous, nonsensical, often ironic glory within a context that highlights their true nature: old-timey photos.

I’ll share a few of my favorites here, but we have plenty more on the tumblr, so if you don’t see your CENSORED comment or tweet here, odds are it’s there now or will be soon.

The comments that first inspired me to get back into this project were those that revealed what an ironic misnomer “prolife” really is. For example:

Before you kill a baby. Kill yourself. #drinkbleach --@ChapesMn

Before you kill a baby. Kill yourself. #drinkbleach –@ChapesMn

This chick is seriously bat-s**t CRAZY !!! Just like a liberal to deny what is right in front of her. did you ever notice that all pro-abortion people are already born ?? Maybe if we chopped HER up and sold HER body parts, she wouldn’t be able to deny it !! --Mark Shultz

This chick is seriously bat-s**t CRAZY !!! Just like a liberal to deny what is right in front of her. did you ever notice that all pro-abortion people are already born ?? Maybe if we chopped HER up and sold HER body parts, she wouldn’t be able to deny it !! –Mark Shultz

It’s astonishing how many “prolife” people are actually pro-abortion. Here are a couple examples among many:

Your mom should've aborted your dumb ass! Do everyone a favor and kill yourself. Pathetic whiny cunt. --@KMGTHEU It's a shame that it's to late for you to be aborted!!! --@kduckfield

Your mom should’ve aborted your dumb ass! Do everyone a favor and kill yourself. Pathetic whiny cunt. –@KMGTHEU
It’s a shame that it’s to late for you to be aborted!!! –@kduckfield

Less astonishing, perhaps, was the pervasive confusion about biology and what words mean threading through the bulk of comments and tweets. Rebecca wrote about one angle of this confusion in her post Do Anti-abortion Activists Even Know How Babies Are Made?, but believing that women carry pregnancies in their stomach was only one of several misunderstandings among commenters.

The most common misunderstanding was confusing a fetus with a baby. This confusion is so pervasive, people even tried to ask Biology 101 questions as though they were gotcha questions.

Biology questions

Wait Its not baby parts its fetal tissue and its only a little bit, OK got it. What’s the scientific definition of a fetus? When dose science say a new life start? What is an offspring?
–Frank Jaeger
At what point in pregnancy is it a baby? Eight months? Nine months? You willing to draw the line somewhere? –@jmdoman

At no point in the pregnancy is it a baby. A baby is by definition born. This is one reason it is ridiculous to say that the Planned Parenthood videos show them selling baby parts. Another, of course, is that they aren’t selling fetal tissue, which they actually say repeatedly in the unedited videos (in comments such as “Nobody should be ‘selling’ tissue. That’s just not the goal here.”). PP donates fetal tissue with the woman’s consent, and donation has costs, including shipping, storage, handling, recordkeeping, and so forth, costs that vary depending on location, amount, special requests, and so on. At no point do the PP representatives in these videos discuss an amount that could come even close to making a profit. (See more information from biorepository experts in the FactCheck.org article on these videos.)

So to recap: A fetus is not a baby. It is also not a woman. Not even a tiny woman.

But what if that fetus was a woman, you'd be a misogynist --@mashxtowin

But what if that fetus was a woman, you’d be a misogynist –@mashxtowin

A fetus is also not a puppy. Never thought that needed clarification, but apparently it does.

Girl eating puppy

Willing to destroy another person 4 ur body? Willing to destroy a puppy 4 Ur body too?
–@RFILTD (ReFounders Indiana)

A related misunderstanding among comments is of what fetal tissue is. Many, MANY people sought to disprove that PP was donating fetal tissue by sending us lists of body parts shown in the videos. Where do they imagine fetal tissue comes from? Is it like dark matter existing in the interstices of the parts and organs? Researchers who work with fetal tissue need specific tissue cells, such as liver or lung cells for vaccines or neural cells for spinal cord injuries. The more cells that can be extracted from a single source, the more good can be done with those cells, minimizing source variables in the research. So yes, the more they can get, the more intact it is, the better the donation for research purposes.

Even understanding all of this probably would not have made much difference to the anti-abortion crowd, who care more about the imaginary baby they’ve concocted by personifying a fetus with characteristics it does not have than they care about women. This was abundantly obvious on Twitter, especially in response to this tweet:

Fetus could write poetry

Rights to body

You gave someone rights to your body or you wouldn’t have a baby to exterminate.
–@RWReagan1

Gave up rights

You gave up certain “rights” when you consent to sex. Period.
–@seanhinckley

These tweets and many more like them illustrate the crux of the issue, that those against abortion believe that women are less valuable than an imaginary baby and that we do not deserve the same rights to our bodies that men do. Sex, in their eyes, is giving up the right to our own bodies. Pregnancy apparently always results from consensual sex, except consensual really just means indentured servitude to men and imaginary babies. It’s not surprising that so many people blame women for their own rape or refuse to call rape rape considering the pervasive belief that women deserve only a tenuous hold on human rights.

Some even went so far as to essentially describe women as valuable only for reproduction, the perfect storm of misogyny, transphobia, and heterosexism.

Incubator women

The womb was created for ONE reason. She hates to admit that her body exists for a baby.
–@sarahzview

Even those who claim to be pro-choice, to believe it’s wrong to police a woman’s body, have no problem policing how a woman expresses herself. The tone police were out in droves in the tweets, emails, and comments on Rebecca’s post, from the blatantly sexist comments about a woman using profanity to the more subtly but equally sexist insistence that they knew what she was trying to achieve with her post and that they knew better how she should have gone about achieving what they thought she should be achieving.

Tone police

While you make good points, you fail by using profanity and insults. Grow up. –@KHLthe2nd
Well if you can wade through all that ladylike PROFANITY, the “lady” is WRONG. –southernproud
Your facts are correct, but you’re offensive and act just like a republican. . . . You just want to rant and feel smart. Calling others stupid don’t make you smart. –Carlos Allende McFadden
Name calling does not become you. –southernproud

tone policewomen

I know swearing makes you feel empowered but honestly your language says far more about you than your issue. –Mary Dinan
While I may agree with you on content, you will turn off many people by using the “F” word. Can’t you get your point across without cursing??? –sharon Tonsager

Gregg McPhedrain

Please check your pampered ass princess…no one thinks your intelligent.
You can disagree and still not be a cunt about it.
–Gregg McPhedrain

Some combined tone policing with the inevitable Godwinning:

FOUL mouth

Do you kiss your Mother with that FOUL MOUTH.
What’s the difference between Planned HOLOCAUSTHOOD and Hitler’s NAZIS “Final Solution?
–MikeL Kafir

Antisemitic comparisons were of course accompanied by the racism most of us have witnessed in anti-abortion activists’ coopting of the Black Lives Matter movement, because nothing shows how much you care about life than exploiting and belittling the death, pain, and oppression of actual people to save imaginary babies. If you’re writing in to quote Margaret Sanger or make a eugenics argument, consider how much you are doing to combat racism in this century and how it affects actual living people, such as, say, the women of color you devalue and actively harm when you campaign against one of the only affordable healthcare resources some have available to them.

The racism was particularly stark on Twitter.

Racist dummies

Amen sister. Abortion helps to disproportionately wipe out the spawn of leftists and blacks. I say kill with prejudice. –@e_the_o
What if it was a little black baby with his hands up saying “don’t abort, I dindo nuffins”? –@HavenMonahan

So yeah, we moderate our comments and Twitter at our own discretion. This is not a platform for anyone to spout their often racist, always sexist arguments against Planned Parenthood or abortion in general. This includes the bigotry in many comments with pro-choice disclaimers.

Pro-choice but

I’m pro-choice, but . . .

No. You’re really not.

Melanie Mallon

Melanie Mallon

Melanie is a freelance editor and writer who just moved to a small town outside Minneapolis with her husband and two young kids. When not counting how often the words "pride," "liberty," and "freedom" are used in local business, road, and pet names, she spends her time wrangling commas, making colon jokes, and raising her two kids to be critical thinkers. She is the managing editor of Skepchick Events, a Grounded Parents admin, and a Skepchick contributor. You can find her on Twitter as @MelMall, on Facebook, and on Google+

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14 Comments

  1. August 11, 2015 at 4:45 pm —

    That was hilarious! I’m sure it’s a coincidence that so many of the comments are not only misogynist, but also racist and/or anti-Semitic…. And quite a few of them have a rather narrow definition of the term “pro-life,” when it comes to Rebecca’s life. They do their movement proud.

    –(actual) Jew Stephanie Savage

    • August 12, 2015 at 12:11 pm —

      It is, however, important to recognize Margaret Sanger’s endorsement of eugenics, but just as important to remember that a flawed advocate doesn’t mean birth control is inherently evil.

      I wonder where the pro-lifers were when Indian women were being coerced into sterilization by IHS? Were they anywhere near Peru during the Fujimori administration? I know their man in Washington supported José Efraín Ríos Montt.

      • August 12, 2015 at 1:33 pm —

        I completely agree! My favorite founding father is Thomas Jefferson, despite, well, you know, everything else about him other than his stand on church/state separation and his anti-religious comments, plus that liberty thing.

        • August 12, 2015 at 3:07 pm —

          Another important point is that it’s not fair to judge people for sharing common opinions and mores of their times. Yes, we praise people for being forward-thinking, but does anyone really believe that people in the future won’t be shaking their fingers at us?

  2. August 11, 2015 at 5:04 pm —

    I’m pro choice, but I’m not lying about that.

  3. August 11, 2015 at 6:56 pm —

    The puppy one was especially dumb. I know most people have an easier time empathizing with animals in the abstract–but I suspect that most people, whatever their gender or views on abortion, would strangle a puppy with their bare hands if it would otherwise put them through the trials of pregnancy and childbirth.

  4. August 11, 2015 at 7:34 pm —

    I love this article. Well reasoned and backed up with facts. I also loved Rebecca’s article. Much support and love!

  5. August 11, 2015 at 11:02 pm —

    The expectation of “civility” is so old. I don’t always feel like being civil while people are uncivilly saying I or anyone else is not deserving of equal legal protection.

  6. August 11, 2015 at 11:34 pm —

    Melanie Mallon,

    WOW! I can feel the “love” from all these “nice” people!

  7. August 12, 2015 at 11:56 am —

    Ur body? Man, does everything end up in Iraq? Also, no one thinks your intelligent? Really? (Seriously, if you’re going to flame someone’s intelligence, you shouldn’t misspell things. It just looks really stupid.)

    I like the ‘kill with prejudice’ one. Apparently they don’t realize that the ‘with prejudice’ part of ‘terminate with prejudice’ means you’ll never hire the person again. (Hence, terminating Col Kurtz with prejudice being a euphemism for killing him.)

    I would’ve saved the iron lung pic for antivaxxers, but that’s because I’m tasteless like that.

    I do like how one of them has an anarcho-capitalist flag in his avatar, but doesn’t realize that legalized abortion is a natural consequence of anarchy. In fact, legalized everything is a natural consequence of anarchy.

  8. August 12, 2015 at 12:04 pm —

    Pro-choice (practically, yeah, I guess people should be able to do what they want…but it sure seems depraved to me…) atheist here who is troubled by the PP videos.

    The art here is somewhat interesting, if not undergrad level stuff, but not sure how effective it is other than getting a lot of huh huh huhs from people who are already in agreement with you.

    When “pro-life” people say “someone should have aborted you” that’s not really your cue to come back with the (not so snappy) “It’s astonishing how many ‘prolife’ people are actually pro-abortion” they are clearly being sarcastic, which you should be able to recognize. Also this “it’s not a baby til it’s born” thing is really just semantics. We all know it.

    • August 12, 2015 at 5:07 pm —

      I’m amazed at your ability to see sarcasm in only one side of a conversation.

      I wonder why that is?

      • August 13, 2015 at 12:02 pm —

        One sarcastic comeback to another seems pretty juvenile to me. And not clever. Granted, the initial comments from the “other side” were immature, as well. In my view, this is a rather serious matter. It’s troubling that people see fit to joke about such a debased lack of respect for humanity.

        • August 13, 2015 at 12:40 pm —

          Now I am really confused. You seem to be defending the commenters depicted in the (less then undergrad level, in your words) artwork as “clearly sarcastic” and yet the sarcastic replies to those commenters are seen as juvenile. Is sarcasm ever okay or is it strictly verboten when discussing “serious subjects”?

          Never mind, I’m not confused anymore, this is simply a tone argument. Name-calling and threats should not be countered least we upset the people who call names and threaten.

          That has work so well before, why didn’t we think of that?

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