No, We Can't Compromise on Choice When You're Still Spreading Lies About Women

Recently an article by Katie Packer Beeson, a self described “Pro-Life Feminist” asks for a compromise on choice, so that more women like her can unite around the women’s movement. She says she’s willing to bend on some of the anti-choice zealots’ most restrictive demands, while asking us “baby killers” as she calls us, to give in to some of our more gruesome demands. She warns pro-choice activists that “ Liberals are always going to lose voters on the right and in the middle by pushing so aggressively for abortion on demand all the way into the third trimester.”

She also seems to realize that she and her lot are not widely popular across the country, and that they will continue to feel the political consequences: “And conservatives are always going to lose voters on the left and in the middle by refusing to consider legal abortion in cases of rape, incest and to save the life of the mother.”

She does realize though that women who seem to want to control and hurt other women haven’t been welcomed into the women’s movement, but doesn’t quite understand why. “I would like to join with women across the country and insist on accountability for those who harass, or worse, assault women in the workplace. I want to see women in powerful positions, making decisions for companies and for our government. I would like to see women earning equal pay for equal work. But many in the feminist movement have told me that I’m not welcome unless I’m willing to “compromise” on my pro-life position and advocate for a woman’s right to choose. Sorry, this is a core principle for me. Something in which I believe strongly. It’s a matter of life and death to me. I simply cannot join them in their cause. That disqualifies me from involvement with the National Organization for Women and even the Women’s March. It seems silly considering how many other issues are affecting women.”

So to her, the answer seems to be a compromise:

“But what if we agreed to first trimester abortion and morning after pills as a compromise? It doesn’t square with my views completely, but would dramatically cut the number of abortions in this country and save many lives. It certainly doesn’t square with the views of many liberals, but perhaps they could find it in their hearts to accept that if someone made a mistake, or is the victim of a crime, three months is sufficient time to find your way out of a resulting pregnancy. And we could certainly all agree that if a woman’s life is at risk, the decision on carrying a pregnancy to term should stay between her and her doctor.”

To this I say, sweetheart, have a seat.

Let me explain something to you:

Firstly, what you’re proposing, already happens overwhelmingly in most cases. Most women terminate an unwanted pregnancy well before 12 weeks. They push past you and your friends calling them “whores, murderers, mothers of dead babies” while trying to physically and emotionally intimidate them out of that decision. Does your compromise include ending your “street counseling” efforts and finally treating your fellow women making this decision with some dignity and respect? Are you going to stop trying to bomb, burn and shoot abortion providers in this compromise?

One reason they may not be able to do so before 12 weeks however, is that they don’t have access to a Planned Parenthood or other abortion provider, since you and your lot have worked so hard to shut them down. Or, they can’t pay cash for it, since you and your lot have made sure that no insurance, especially not Medicaid, will pay for it. So even though they know they want to terminate a pregnancy, it gets pushed farther and farther along in weeks, making it riskier to the woman, less accessible and more expensive. So maybe you can add to your compromise making abortion more accessible to all, with a promise not to degrade women utilizing this service, or trying to kill the providers?

Secondly, you scold women (and therefore doctors) for performing third trimester, “on-demand” abortions. This is not a thing. The text book definition of the term abortion is any termination of a pregnancy before 20 weeks of completed gestation. Anything between 20–37 weeks is a “pre-term delivery,” anything between 37–42 weeks is a “term delivery” and anything after 42 weeks is a “post-term delivery.” What you are making up lies about would mean that some lazy or evil woman endured nearly 9 months of pregnancy, then flippantly changed her mind and said “nah, I don’t want a baby any more, let’s take this thing out.” And some Obstetrician was like “cool, let’s do this.” And the whole L&D staff were like “here we go again!”

THAT DOESN’T HAPPEN! These extremists love to use the imagery of “these liberals believe in abortion right up until the due date of that baby, and think it’s ok to just rip it out of the womb.” Listen to me: taking a baby out of a womb on it’s due date is called a C-SECTION! This does not happen the way you describe. You are either lying to people to drum up their emotions to further your cause, or you believe so little in women and doctors to think anyone does this. Honestly, have you EVER known ANYONE who gets all the way through their pregnancy, then when contractions start says “Never mind! Shut it down!” No, me neither. It doesn’t happen. (The horrible stories we have heard about pre-term deliveries turned into infanticide, ie the Kermit Gosnell case, happened when women, who had no other resources for first trimester abortions, were desperate and were then preyed upon by this predator, who did not give them appropriate care. That was a cautionary tale about what happens when abortion is not safe, legal or accessible.) So stop using this as some kind of bizarre demand that those of us who are pro-choice are making. We are not. Full stop. Just seriously, stop pushing this grotesque fantasy as rationale for your anti-choice extremism.

Lastly, pre-term deliveries are necessary at times. Imagine this: one of the best times in a wanted pregnancy is going in for that 20 week ultrasound. People get to find out the sex, see their little bean wiggle around, and get some new pictures to frame and put on their desks. The whole scan takes like 90 minutes though, because the real reason for this scan is to check for anatomical anomalies. Most times everything is fine, and another 20 weeks later and out comes a healthy baby and happy family. Sometimes they find mild anomalies, that while wouldn’t make the family consider a termination, can give them some forewarning about complications either with delivery or after birth (cleft palates, gastroschisis, etc.) Every once and a while, though, they find something very wrong, something that we call “incompatible with life.” What started out as the happiest day of someone’s life becomes the worst. They find out their very much wanted baby has no brain, has only two chambers of the heart instead of four, finds out they have no kidneys, etc. Now, this first scan is done with a basic ultrasound, the one everyone gets. When something is found to be very concerning, a woman is then scheduled for a higher level ultrasound, which gives more in-depth pictures, just to be sure that what is feared is confirmed. This next level ultrasound can take a week or so to schedule, so now, she’s at around 21–22 weeks gestation. She gets the level two scan done, and when the horrible reality is confirmed, is given two horrible choices: continue another 19 or so weeks of pregnancy, go through labor and delivery, assume all the health risks of both, and the pain and suffering of the process, in order to deliver a baby that will either be dead, or will shortly die, possibly in a painful manner. Or, end the pregnancy early, and save the baby and parents more pain and suffering.

How long do you think it would take YOU to make that choice? Well, by the time many families do make that choice, the pregnancy could be anywhere from 22–26 weeks. Many states, who have judged these women and families as unfeeling monsters have passed “partial birth abortion bans” outlawing any termination of a pregnancy after 22–24 weeks gestation. If your gestation falls beyond that ban limit, the state government has now made that decision for you, you have to continue this doomed pregnancy no matter what. Unless you have the means to travel to a state with a later term ban, stay for three days, take time off work, etc, you’re stuck. The state made that decision for you, and good thing too, since obviously the state government knows what’s best for you and your family in this horrific time in your life.

These “partial birth abortion bans” were championed by these same women who now want to join our movement, that seeks to help, support and lift up women. They were passed by people who did not understand this process, but felt entitled to judge those seeking pre-term deliveries as evil, selfish or lazy. And they CONTINUE to push this line, that women who want abortions need to hurry up and make that choice before it goes too far. She said that in plain English in this article, and has no problems continuing to judge, smear and vilify her would-be #reSISTERhood while brow beating us in to welcoming her and her anti-choice buddies with open arms.

So, no, we can’t “compromise” on abortion, because you’re still out there telling lies about abortion and the women who seek them. If “pro-life” women want to join the movement, then you need to start by not assuming the worst of women, start understanding what abortion is and isn’t, and finally understanding what the anti-choice laws they’ve worked so hard to pass really do to us.

Adrienne Pickett