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Hullabaloo


Monday, April 17, 2006

 
Giving Women Freedom

by digby


NOW did another one of its interesting shows on the South Dakota abortion ban last friday; it's now available on the website if you missed it. They went deep into the forced pregnancy movement in South Dakota and once again, I was struck by the profound dishonesty of many of its leaders. You will see spin and gibberish that even Karen Hughes would be ashamed of:

HINOJOSA:
MEET LESLEE UNRUH...SHE FOUNDED THE ALPHA CENTER IN 1984 BUT MOST PEOPLE NOW KNOW HER AS ONE OF THE MOST POTENT PRO-LIFE ACTIVISTS IN THE STATE...

UNRUH HAD AN ABORTION HERSELF IN THE 1970'S. AND WHILE SOME MIGHT THINK THAT BANNING ABORTION IS AN ATTACK ON WOMEN'S FREEDOM, UNRUH SAYS SHE WANTS TO BAN ABORTION PRECISELY TO PROTECT WOMEN'S FREEDOM.

UNRUH:
This freedom, sexual freedom is costing women and their lives. Where's the sexual freedom? There is none. Because those of us who have suffered through the abortion, we're not gonna be silent anymore. We're gonna speak up and we're gonna tell the truth. Because abortion hurts women. Silent no more.

[...]

UNRUH:
I've been that woman. There is no freedom after an abortion. You carry an empty crib in your heart forever. There's no freedom.

HINOJOSA:
And so, when you hear people saying, "Someone like Leslie is trying to actually take away women's rights and taking away their freedoms--"

UNRUH:
I'm giving women freedom. We are giving back the women what they really want. This is true feminism.


This woman is "giving" women back their freedom by taking away their right to abortion. She's smiling, upbeat, cheerful and sunny --- the all-American gal. And to me, she seems downright otherworldly. I don't know what she's talking about. She's babbling incoherently.

It turns out that Unruh is more interesting than your usual forced pregnancy zealot. She's also the prime mover of the state's abstinence only education movement. Freedom is having no sex at all.

And then there's this:

HINOJOSA: LAST FRIDAY NIGHT, YOUNG GIRLS FROM AROUND SOUTH DAKOTA CAME TO SIOUX FALLS FOR A SPRING BALL. THIS ONE IS CALLED "THE PURITY BALL" IT'S A YEARLY EVENT RUN BY LESLEE UNRUH'S ABSTINENCE CLEARINGHOUSE.

THE IDEA IS THAT THESE YOUNG WOMEN COME WITH THEIR FATHERS. TO CELEBRATE THEIR SEXUAL PURITY.

UNRUH:We think that its important for fathers to the be the first ones to look into their daughters eyes and To tell her that her purity is special, and its ok to wait until marriage.

HINOJOSA:IT MIGHT HAVE ALL THE TRAPPINGS OF A REGULAR PROM... BUT THIS ONE ENDS A LITTLE DIFFERENTLY.

GIRLS RECITING PLEDGE:"I make a promise this day to God...

HINOJOSA:
THE YOUNG WOMEN HERE ALL MAKE A PROMISE TO THEIR FATHERS THAT THEY WONT' HAVE SEX UNTIL THE DAY THEY GET MARRIED.

GIRLS RECITING PLEDGE:...to remain sexually pure...until the day I give myself as a wedding gift to my husband. ... I know that God requires this of me.. that he loves me. and that he will reward me for my faithfulness.


You have to see it to believe it. They are all dressed up like prom goers, the dads in tuxes and the daughters in evening gowns looking all grown up. They dance, they laugh, they giggle. And then father and daughter stand up, holding each others hands, staring into each others' eyes and the girls make these vows as if in a wedding ceremony.

As I watch it occurs to me that this is why they don't have an exception for rape and incest. It's one of the creepiest things I've ever seen.

You will notice that there's no "mother-son" ceremony in which boys pledge to their mothers to stay pure until they give themselves as a gift to their wives. There is a Victorian impulse at work here that has nothing to do with fetuses. This is about women being autonomous, independent, sexual humans.

Here's Unruh again. If you aren't listening closely, the cadence of her speech makes it sound like she is perfectly reasonable. But she might as well be speaking in another language for all the sense it makes.

UNRUH:
I think there should be no abortions in my state.

HINOJOSA:
So to get to that point, you want to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

UNRUH:
Yes.

HINOJOSA:
And people might say, "Well, the way you prevent unwanted pregnancies is through contraception."

UNRUH:
No. It's wrong. We don't need, we don't have a shortage of condoms in this country. We should not be worshipping condoms. Let's start just telling the truth.

HINOJOSA:
But when some people say that truth might be, Leslee, that by limiting the information, by limiting access to contraception, that you may-- you may unintentionally be contributing to more unwanted pregnancies--

UNRUH:
No. I think it's-- by "limiting" is all spin. Let's quit making people think that everybody can go out there and just as long as they have a condom, they're safe. They're not safe emotionally. They're not safe physically. Let's just start telling the truth.


She might start by trying to make a persuasive argument instead of blurting out non-sequitors about "freedom" and "truth" without ever explaining why this is so. She's full of snappy slogans, but she never honestly says what's on her mind.

I'll let Lance Mannion do it for her:

Once upon time we were all good and well-behaved, if plagued by demons and temptations within. You know, back in the day, when lynching was a spectator sport, children were worked to death in factories and mineshafts, and employers thought nothing of hiring goons to beat and kill workers who dared strike for safer working conditions and decent pay.

Then came the Fall, and with it moral relativism, post-modernism, Freudianism, Marxism, feminism, birth control, Roe v. Wade, situation comedies that make dad into a buffoon, and black people who expect to live in our neighborhoods and send their kids to our schools...whoops, did we say that last one out loud? We meant entitlements, the nanny state, and the culture of dependence brought about by Welfare.


And the poor little wimmin just don't know what's good for 'em. Leslie Unruh's gonna set them free.


Update: Here's a piece from USA today that is surprising good. And important.



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