Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day 14: From The Onion: New Law Requires Women To Name Baby, Paint Nursery Before Getting Abortion

When I first saw this tweet, I almost passed out -- until I saw "via @TheOnion." Then I felt a little better.

I watched the video, which I'm embedding below, and while part of me wanted to share it, part of me didn't (and I'm still not entirely sure I'm going to publish this). I know The Onion is doing it's social-commentary-through-satire and that they are pointing out the ridiculousness of all the many, many laws mandating what a pregnant person* must do before being allowed to get an abortion (viewing a sonogram, mandatory waiting periods, and other crap I don't want to bother remembering).

The problem is that when in reality we do have such preposterous laws (or proposed laws; the most ridiculous ones have thankfully been defeated), the joke walks a fine line. "Crisis pregnancy centers" send you home with diapers and baby booties and onesies so you can "think over" what you're going to do with your unplanned pregnancy. So how far off are we really from painting a nursery?

I also hesitate to post it because of the language used (which is the language anti-choicers use all the time). We all know that a fetus has the potential to develop into a baby, but the fetus is not a baby. And it's not an "unborn baby," any more than I am an undead corpse; it is a developing fetus, one that could develop complications (or maybe already has). It is a parasite.

A baby is a living, breathing, autonomous human being (dependent, but autonomous -- it breathes on its own, eats and digests on its own. It can't hold the bottle, but it sucks and swallows and digests all on its own. For the purposes of this specific situation, that's an autonomous being); a baby has already been born and it is no longer part of the "incubator," no longer attached to them and dependent solely on them for survival -- a baby is dependent on someone, but since it is not attached to any one person's uterus, any other person, besides the person from whose uterus it came, can assume the caretaker role.

Many people who have an abortion do want children, and love children and babies, but for a wide variety of reasons, cannot carry that pregnancy to term at that point in their life. Therefore the flippant talk of babies and nurseries in the Onion video, as if the fetus were already a baby, can be triggering for those people who had to make a difficult choice -- for their sake and the sake of that potential child.

(This was supposed to be a short, quick blog post, showing you a funny video. Well, so much for that...)

So, if you want to watch it, there it is. The joke is very well done; I just wonder how long it'll take before we see this conversation play out seriously on Fox News.

New Law Requires Women To Name Baby, Paint Nursery Before Getting Abortion

*First I wrote "woman," but that's an incorrect generalization, as A) I meant cis women, not all women, and B) trans men can also get pregnant.


  1. I think it's great that The Onion did this spoof. It shows that they view these laws as ridiculous, and probably side with the pro-choice side. I think it's bold of them to take that step, too. And the video itself I think is brilliant. (I loved the part about the pharmacists being required to chant "may God have mercy on your soul" when giving out birth control prescriptions)

    For the spoof to work they *have* to use the pro-life language, because they're impersonating a rabid "pro-life" group. It's part of showing how ridiculous the whole thing is. Unfortunately I don't know if there's a way for satire to be politically correct, they might be mutually exclusive.

  2. I think I'm just overly-sensitive to that language. It's not "political correct-ness," it's suggestive language (I'm not getting the right words... calling a fetus a baby bugs me.)

    I also think this goes back to the RWNJs being so extreme and ridiculous now that even satire makes you wonder if it's real, because the real guys are so off the wall now.

  3. It's interesting that the language you choose pushes the needle equally far the other way, from the language pro-lifers choose. They call a fetus a baby, while you call it a parasite. It's all just spin, isn't it? The word "baby" conjures up abundantly positive emotions and associations (usually), while the word "parasite" does the opposite, in perhaps equal amounts. It smacks to me as a departure from the real truth - language as justification.

    FWIW, i'm generally a Christian pro-choice, anti-abortion kind of person, if that makes sense ;)

  4. Ryan, the difference is that my language is accurate. A fetus is not a baby; it is, however, a parasite. Look up the scientific definition -- the fetus lives off the mother, and in many cases harms the mother as he takes all of its life-supporting nutrients from her. This is why pregnant people need pre-natal vitamins, need to watch what they eat, need to get enough rest, etc. They must make sure they are providing their bodies with enough "stuff" to support their life and feed the fetus/parasite inside.

    A baby exists outside the uterus, therefore a fetus is not a baby. A parasite is a being that feeds off another, often harming it; this is what a fetus does.

    I am using words to say what the words actually mean. How is that a problem?

  5. Anonymous10:49 PM

    Im with miss cox on this...In that I think the onion could have made their satiral point just as well if not better with the use of correct scientific based language...And also, again, considering just how off the wall the bible thumpers are, I do have trouble sometimes telling satire from the real insanity.

  6. Anonymous7:01 PM

    So is a "fetus", that is just about to be delivered, still a fetus, or is it a baby? What about a "fetus" that is 8 months old. When, dear people, is a fetus a baby? More importantly, when does it get a soul? When it breathes air on its own for the first time?
    I think we all feel more comfortable pretending it is something other than a human being because we can't actually see it. It reminds me of that movie where they pushed a button and someone they couldn't see and did not yet know, would be killed and the killers would receive a bunch of money. In the case of abortion, you get the assurance of a better life without the punishment(as mrs obama calls it) of a baby. I personally could not possibly cut the arms and legs off of any human being no matter how small. I always say if I can't kill someone with my own two hands, I shouldn't hire it done. Seems logical to me.

  7. "When, dear people, is a fetus a baby?"

    It becomes a baby when it is born. Why, dear people, is this simple scientific fact so hard for you to grasp?

    "More importantly, when does it get a soul? When it breathes air on its own for the first time?"

    Really? You're asking when does it breathe air on its own for the first time? AS SOON AS IT EXITS THE WOMAN'S BODY. In other words, WHEN IT IS BORN. And, if you read your Bible, you'll see that the soul enters the body with the first breath of life -- the first time it breathes air on its own.

    "I always say if I can't kill someone with my own two hands, I shouldn't hire it done."

    I'm glad you make a habit out of killing people, and have developed this system for doing so.

    Do you slaughter your own pigs when you want some bacon, or do you hire the butcher at your local grocery store or restaurant do it for you?

    What about gas for your car? Do you go overseas and kill your own innocent civilians in this war, or do you hire the US military (via the taxes that you way) to secure our oil interests in the Middle East?