Opinion

Amanda Marcotte’s new low: demonizing grieving fathers of aborted children

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man-sadLast week was not great for Amanda Marcotte’s image. The day after bemoaning the prospect of “forcing” Down syndrome kids on their parents (eviscerated here on LAN by Cassy Fiano), she followed up with an angry condemnation of fathers who grieve for their aborted children in stories shared by Heroic MediaSilent No More, and others. While the natural reaction for anyone with a soul would be empathy, Marcotte’s is “vomiting in your mouth.”

The instigator of her venom was “The Apology,” a recent Heroic Media video featuring the heartfelt confessions of several men who either agreed to or failed to more strongly object to girlfriends’ abortions earlier in their lives. They apologize for not fighting for the sons and daughters they’ll never get to know, who lost their chance to grow in and experience this world, and to the women considering or suffering from abortion today who aren’t getting the support they need:

Their compassion and sorrow are readily apparent, but true to form, our abortiophile can see nothing but her own sex obsession projected onto everyone else:

Freud famously posited that women suffer from penis envy, but this video demonstrates, conclusively, that the opposite is true: These cis men’s uterus envy has reached the level where they’re saying, “I had an abortion,” which is physically impossible for biological reasons.

Quite the display of doublethink: if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament, abortion orthodoxy teaches, yet apparently those same men are simultaneously consumed with jealousy that they can’t get pregnant. If Marcotte really thinks this “uterus envy” is a more logical — “conclusive,” no less — explanation than a parent’s natural grief over losing a child, then we may need a new term for the opposite of Occam’s Razor: Marcotte’s Jigsaw.

The whole video is underpinned with the belief that men should own women’s bodies so completely that even a woman’s experiences are assumed to belong to them—while the men themselves benefit from avoiding unwanted parenthood. It’s a win-win situation for these men, and the only thing they have to do is shed a few crocodile tears over their supposed “mistake” in not bullying the women they were dating into choosing to have a child.

And here we have Amanda’s contribution to the microaggression craze: tolerating your significant other’s legal power to unilaterally kill your son or daughter is no longer enough. Now you have to like it, too. To acknowledge that men have experiences too is to infringe on women’s rights. The mere act of expressing dissent and agony and loss, of giving voice to your most basic parental instincts, now constitutes an act of misogynistic oppression. And on top of that, those reactions are never to be deemed sincere.

Words fail to capture the depths of the malice on display here — and we’re still not done.

For a movement apparently trying to avoid charges of misogyny, it’s odd to see anti-choicers highlighting stories of men who wish they’d been bigger assholes to women.

Yes, this from a woman who once actually said that “conservatives rely heavily on bad faith arguments, so liberals need to hold ourselves to a higher standard,” whose hypocrisy is so absolute that she can type with a straight face, “I specifically concentrate, as a journalist, on reproductive rights, and in my many years of doing this, I’ve come to the conclusion that all the ‘official’ arguments against abortion and contraception employed by Republicans are 100% pure bad faith. All of them.” (Emphasis in the original.)

At this point, one can’t help but wonder if Marcotte’s entire career is an elaborate hoax, a single persona embodying all of abortion zealots’ worst character flaws. Like an unfunny Stephen Colbert, whose audience saw themselves in the caricature and didn’t realize it wasn’t a compliment.

[T]here’s a real flaw in many of these abortion regret stories. If getting married to the woman and having children with her was, in fact, the right choice, it’s hard not to ask why they didn’t go on to do just that. Deciding not to get married and have a child is one of those regrets that is easy to remedy! All you need to do is get married and have a child.

The stupidity burns. Aside from how she would even know how many of them go on to form families or her blithe dismissal of the emotional and trust issues from such a betrayal that might impair future relationships, just marvel at the denseness it takes to say “just get another one!” as if we’re talking about replacing a lost copy of your favorite book or movie. Children are not interchangeable. A post-abortive father is not mourning for a lost chance to become a parent, but for the death of that child. His child wasn’t a potentiality; he or she already existed, already lived, even if only one of his or her parents recognized it.

Again I find myself in disbelief that Marcotte needs something so blindingly obvious explained to her; when Kevin Williamson noted last week the “the reduction of human life to an accounting entry” implicit in her worldview, he couldn’t have been more right.

Because of all this, it’s hard to shake the feeling that this “men regret abortion” thing is less about “life” and more about reinforcing the idea that men should control women. Sometimes it’s through feints of chivalry, and sometimes through outright emotional manipulation, but it always comes back to the same idea: that women are not to be trusted to make their own decisions, so men should do it for them.

Don’t you love how she pretends she’s coming to this conclusion oh so reluctantly? As if she’d love to believe that not everyone who disagrees with her is part of a grand conspiracy to chain the nation’s women to their kitchens, but darn it, the facts just won’t let her? And that it’s apparently just a coincidence that to her “it always comes back to” the sexual inquisition every time a pro-lifer says anything?

But then, perhaps Marcotte’s latest diatribes, so dripping with cruelty and spectacularly lacking in basic human empathy, hint at why this fiction persists: it’s hard to fathom that unborn children have souls when you’ve misplaced your own.

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