Analysis

In Ferguson, Michelle Goldberg finally finds an “abortifacient” pro-choicers can oppose

tear-gas

Pro-aborts are officially running out of things to attack pro-lifers over. In a convoluted attempt to give the situation in Ferguson, Missouri an abortion angle, The Nation’s Michelle Goldberg identifies an issue that purportedly shows we’re not “actually concerned about the well-being of the unborn”: the fact that we’re not protesting tear gas.

Yes, really: 

In 2011, Chile temporarily suspended its use after a University of Chile study linked it to miscarriage and fetal harm. Investigating the use of tear gas in Bahrain in 2012, Physicians for Human Rights found that local doctors were reporting increased numbers of miscarriages in exposed areas. And UN officials have connected tear gas to miscarriages in the Palestinian territories.

Then again, a 2010 report from the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (hat tip to Steven Ertelt) found “no harm during pregnancy in several animal studies,” and another “no teratogenic effects associated with exposure to CS during pregnancy, even when injected intraperitoneally.” 

This means it’s likely that police in Ferguson, Missouri, have been spraying abortion-causing chemicals on crowds of civilians. 

Or, to be more precise, civilians opening fire on and lobbing Molotov cocktails at cops. Call me crazy, but I really don’t think “don’t hang out in the middle of riots” is so complicated a safety tip that pregnant women can’t be trusted to figure it out. (But pro-lifers are the ones “infantilizing” them. Right.)

That’s not to say there’s no such thing as police abuse or overreach, of course, or that every action by Ferguson law enforcement has been justified. But any exercise of force has the potential to be misused. Saying tear gas must be banned because it might cause miscarriages is a bit like calling for a ban on bullets because they can hit civilians. The blame for unintended effects lies with the guilty party, not the tool—if a legitimate use of tear gas kills an unborn baby, the mother who put her child in such a dangerous situation is responsible; in an illegitimate use, the officer(s) who made the decision should be held accountable.

Leaders in the contemporary religious right have long argued that they’ve transcended their movement’s racist past. “The white evangelical church carries a shameful legacy of racism and the historical baggage of indifference to the most central struggle for social justice in this century, a legacy that is only now being wiped clean by the sanctifying work of repentance and racial reconciliation,” Ralph Reed wrote in his 1996 book Active Faith.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because Goldberg is regurgitating a hit job against social conservatives that gained a bit of traction a few months ago when Randall Balmer in Politico purported to expose the “Real Origins of the Religious Right”—a hit job that The Federalist’s Aaron Earls demolished.

Goldberg’s version compactly weaves together a handful of mutually reinforcing lies. First, “the anti-abortion movement” is swapped for “the contemporary religious right” because The Narrative cannot acknowledge secular reasons to oppose abortion. Second, casually assert that your targets have already admitted their guilt. And to weave it all together, find an admission from someone who superficially sounds like he’s talking about who you’re talking about.

Of course, to recognize that parts of American religious communities were once racist isn’t quite as significant a scoop when you recall that racism infected parts of every major institution in our history—including the pro-choice Democrat Party and the “reproductive freedom” movement. Evidence of racism by actual pro-life figures or organizations? Goldberg has none.

They have tried to align themselves with the African-American community by calling abortion “black genocide.”

Or it could be that African-American pro-lifers are the ones calling abortion “black genocide” and leading the charge to expose it as such. There are few things that scare a pro-abort more than dissent from a member of a minority group who’s left their intellectual plantation.

Now, in Ferguson, they could take a stand that is genuinely pro–civil rights and anti-abortion, by demanding an end to the use of tear gas on a traumatized community. At a time when some erstwhile small-government conservatives are openly supporting the mad excesses of the police state, they might even have an impact. So where are they?

As one of Goldberg’s more discerning commenters noted, the primary answer is obvious:

“Why aren’t you protesting against this thing you didn’t even know could cause abortions until 5 minutes ago?”

Gee, good question.

Does anybody want to predict what pro-lifers will be blamed for next? Wars, diseases, weather? Personally, I can’t wait to learn how I killed the dinosaurs.

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