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:
It’s astonishing how many “prolife” people are actually pro-abortion. Here are a couple examples among many:
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.
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.
A fetus is also not a puppy. Never thought that needed clarification, but apparently it does.
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:
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.
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.
Some combined tone policing with the inevitable Godwinning:
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.
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.
No. You’re really not.