Loaded Language on Abortion
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Dec 23, 2009 at 04:59:52 PM EST
Media Matters has a rebuttal of columnist Michael Gerson's distortions of what the Senate version of the health care bill does and doesn't do with regard to abortion coverage. But I want to highlight a further point from Gerson's text that will be of ongoing importance long after the current Battle of the Bills -- and that's Gerson's use of an important code word of Religious Right anti-abortionism.

But first let's note that Gerson is a former speech writer for George W. Bush, steeped in the Religious Right who has used his nationally syndicated Washington Post column to shill for the notoriously schismatic and antigay Nigerian Anglican Archbishop Peter Akinola.  

He has also carried the Religious Right agenda on stem cell research and functioned as a concern troll when, as an Akinola Anglican, complained that Kathleen Sebelius (then-the nominee for Secretary of HHS) was insufficiently Catholic.

Thus it should come as no surprise that Gerson describes the compromise negotiated with Sen. Ben. Nelson (D-NB) on the heatlh care reform bill, as promoting "abortion on demand."

Even though Nelson, a rare pro-life Democrat, joked in an interview that he might be considered a "cheap date," Republican leadership staffers in the Senate thought he might insist on language in the health-care bill preventing public funds from going to insurance plans that cover abortion on demand, as Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak had done in the House. [emphasis added]

Although Gerson matter of factly inserts the phrase into his prose -- in fact, there is no such thing as "abortion on demand" -- and there never has been. While the Roe decision legalizing abortion gives women the right to choose to seek and to obtain abortion care, no one is obliged to provide it. Not even abortion providers.  While women are obliged to consult with a physician; doctors are not obliged to provide the abortion. It might not be medically advisable or perhaps they have some other reason (not that they even need one.)  Thus one can demand an abortion all one wants, but there is no law that requires anyone to provide it.

For most women, whether or not to terminate or carry a pregnancy to term is a considered decision, and many religious traditions believe it is a moral choice to make. And in any case, under the law, it is a mattter of individual conscience, and as a practical matter, it is none of the business of theocratic wannabes -- although they continue to try to make it their business.  By the same token, abortion providers are dedicated physicians and as competant and compassionate as any others. They make considered decisions as to whether or not to provide an abortion for any given patient all the time.

So why then, would Gerson use the phrase "abortion on demand," when the word "abortion" would have sufficed?  It is because "abortion on demand" is a phrase of stigmatization; a highly-charged term of propaganda that suggests that women who choose to terminate a pregnancy are doing so thoughtlessly and recklessly and without regard for moral considerations. An additional connotation of the phrase is that abortion is a commerical product or service that has more in common with, say, the take-out window at a fast food restaurant than health care.  (This is also why anti-abortion propagandists use the phrase "abortion industry" to suggest that abortion providers are just greedy bastards in it for the money. Even when many abortion providers work for non-profit health care providers such as Planned Parenthood.) There are a lot of interconnected antiabortion themes buried in the framing of the right to seek and to receive abortion as "abortion on demand."  

While it is important to be aware of such loaded language and the propagandistic intentions of people like Gerson, we should also be aware that Religious Right-driven anti-abortionism can infect our own lexicon. In fact, it has been creeping into mainstream Democratic Party discourse -- as indicated, for example by the terms "abortion reduction" regarding the goals of alleged common ground approaches to abortion policy; and by "abortion neutral" in reference to the Obama administration efforts to extend the principles of the historic anti-abortion Hyde Amendment to health care reform.

Such phrases can serve as the proverbial canary in the coal mine regarding trends in politics and policy.  It is good to keep an open ear out for them.

It's important to recognize this sort of misleading, dog-whistle language.
Demanding an abortion will get you just as far as demanding a tonsillectomy will.

by nogodsnomasters on Sat Dec 26, 2009 at 11:44:21 AM EST

Here are something rules for the get of your particular file which is in the computer get help file explorer windows 10 basically you should try it with the name which you have saved in the computer.

by anke99 on Mon Dec 31, 2018 at 01:03:23 AM EST

They have been constantly talking about the use of the best CBD oil for treating anxiety and depression. I think that this is the best chances these patients have for a normal life.

by hasnainkhatri on Mon Apr 27, 2020 at 08:01:57 AM EST

WWW Talk To Action

Cognitive Dissonance & Dominionism Denial
There is new research on why people are averse to hearing or learning about the views of ideological opponents. Based on evaluation of five......
By Frederick Clarkson (330 comments)
Will the Air Force Do Anything To Rein In Its Dynamic Duo of Gay-Bashing, Misogynistic Bloggers?
"I always get nervous when I see female pastors/chaplains. Here is why everyone should as well: "First, women are not called to be pastors,......
By Chris Rodda (180 comments)
The Legacy of Big Oil
The media is ablaze with the upcoming publication of David Grann's book, Killers of the Flower Moon. The shocking non fiction account of the......
By wilkyjr (102 comments)
Gimme That Old Time Dominionism Denial
Over the years, I have written a great deal here and in other venues about the explicitly theocratic movement called dominionism -- which has......
By Frederick Clarkson (93 comments)
History Advisor to Members of Congress Completely Twists Jefferson's Words to Support Muslim Ban
Pseudo-historian David Barton, best known for his misquoting of our country's founders to promote the notion that America was founded as a Christian nation,......
By Chris Rodda (106 comments)
"Christian Fighter Pilot" Calls First Lesbian Air Force Academy Commandant a Liar
In a new post on his "Christian Fighter Pilot" blog titled "BGen Kristin Goodwin and the USAFA Honor Code," Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan......
By Chris Rodda (127 comments)
Catholic Right Leader Unapologetic about Call for 'Death to Liberal Professors' -- UPDATED
Today, Donald Trump appointed C-FAM Executive Vice President Lisa Correnti to the US Delegation To UN Commission On Status Of Women. (C-FAM is a......
By Frederick Clarkson (118 comments)
Controlling Information
     Yesterday I listened to Russ Limbaugh.  Rush advised listeners it would be best that they not listen to CNN,MSNBC, ABC, CBS and......
By wilkyjr (81 comments)
Is Bannon Fifth-Columning the Pope?
In December 2016 I wrote about how White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who likes to flash his Catholic credentials when it comes to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (229 comments)
Ross Douthat's Hackery on the Seemingly Incongruous Alliance of Bannon & Burke
Conservative Catholic writer Ross Douthat has dissembled again. This time, in a February 15, 2017 New York Times op-ed titled The Trump Era's Catholic......
By Frank Cocozzelli (56 comments)
`So-Called Patriots' Attack The Rule Of Law
Every so often, right-wing commentator Pat Buchanan lurches out of the far-right fever swamp where he has resided for the past 50 years to......
By Rob Boston (155 comments)
Bad Faith from Focus on the Family
Here is one from the archives, Feb 12, 2011, that serves as a reminder of how deeply disingenuous people can be. Appeals to seek......
By Frederick Clarkson (173 comments)
The Legacy of George Wallace
"One need not accept any of those views to agree that they had appealed to real concerns of real people, not to mindless, unreasoning......
By wilkyjr (53 comments)
Betsy DeVos's Mudsill View of Public Education
My Talk to Action colleague Rachel Tabachnick has been doing yeoman's work in explaining Betsy DeVos's long-term strategy for decimating universal public education. If......
By Frank Cocozzelli (56 comments)
Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy......
By Rachel Tabachnick (214 comments)

Respect for Others? or Political Correctness?
The term "political correctness" as used by Conservatives and Republicans has often puzzled me: what exactly do they mean by it? After reading Chip Berlin's piece here-- http://www.talk2action.org/story/2016/7/21/04356/9417 I thought about what he explained......
MTOLincoln (242 comments)
What I'm feeling now is fear.  I swear that it seems my nightmares are coming true with this new "president".  I'm also frustrated because so many people are not connecting all the dots! I've......
ArchaeoBob (89 comments)
"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (174 comments)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (143 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (142 comments)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (151 comments)
Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (146 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (125 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (190 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (144 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (84 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (189 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (79 comments)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (108 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (106 comments)

More Diaries...

All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.