Opinion

What should we make of the Josie Cunningham saga?

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Josie Cunningham has been in the spotlight for her plan to abort her baby, the child of either a football player or surgeon, so she could appear on Celebrity Big Brother. And while Josie has ultimately decided not to go through with her abortion, there is still more to consider.

An interview with Josie from The Mirror shows that she did not truly grasp her situation, or at least did not care. Her only consideration was fame:

Wannabe celebrity Josie Cunningham last night confessed the chance of appearing on TV’s Big Brother was worth more than her unborn child’s life.

Puffing on a cigarette and rubbing her baby bump, the controversial model and call girl – who will have her abortion at a clinic this week – said: “I’m finally on the verge of becoming famous and I’m not going to ruin it now.

“An abortion will further my career. This time next year I won’t have a baby. Instead, I’ll be famous, driving a bright pink Range Rover and buying a big house. Nothing will get in my way.”

>”All those people who have trolled me and hated me for being me are going to be put in their place when I make it. Why should I give that up to have a baby?”

Despite Josie’s attempt, sources for the show reported that they would not be considering Josie.

Also as a result of her behavior, Josie got into spats with othercelebrities” and received angry tweets and messages, including death threats.

Certainly nobody deserves death threats. And they led to bringing abortion advocates farther into the furor of the debate, who defended her decision to abortion while completely distorting the issue.

Martin Robbins did so in writing for The Guardian. His sub-headline reads:

Josie Cunningham’s decision to put career first is no different to that made by thousands of women seeking abortion. So why has she been subjected to a national hate campaign?

In some ways, Robbins does have a point. Abortion kills children regardless of the reason mothers abort. Josie differs, though, in how she presented her situation. Her behavior was appalling, and appropriate criticism of it can be warranted. “Twitter burns,” to use Robbins’s words, because there are ramifications to “[a] woman exercis[ing] her reproductive rights.”

Robbins claims that “[m]uch of this seems to come down to basic snobbery” and that “[t]he coverage of this story has seen newspapers spew the sort of rhetoric that wouldn’t look out of place in the 1950s.” What is truly snobby is to act as if, because it’s 2014, women have a free pass to act however they please because of “reproductive rights.”

In her post for The Telegraph, Catherine Scott writes how it is “pure hypocrisy” to not be completely pro-choice in any circumstance. And oh, people are also against abortion to “shame women”:

Of course, this may all be a giant publicity stunt that will come to nothing. In which case, we should commend Cunningham for being a master of controversy generation, because she pushed a button that she knew would have the British public up in arms, a public whose liberal sheen soon wears off to reveal a desire to control and shame women.

Why should Cunningham be commended? And why shouldn’t we scrutinize women for having an abortion? Apparently we should let women do whatever they want. Because hey, feminism.

It is not shaming to point out the reasons not to have an abortion. Women don’t get a free pass just because they’re women. In reality, it is anti-women to say that women shouldn’t be held accountable. We are already held accountable for nearly every other aspect of our lives, except to the abortion industry when we’ve had sex.

Catherine Scott and other fervent abortion advocates don’t represent choice and “reproductive rights”; rather, they represent abortion on demand for any reason, without any judgment or questioning allowed.

Scott is indignant about people questioning those who have abortions and their reasons. Remember, her post is about  “outlin[ing] the pure hypocrisy”:

My Facebook and Twitter feeds have been full of tut-tutting about Cunningham’s irresponsibility, and while I’d rather read this than the “evil whore” comments to which Cunningham has also been subject, it’s evidence that liberalism has its limits.

Deep down, many people who claim to be pro-choice still see a woman’s reason for getting an abortion as:

a) up for scrutiny, and

b) existing in a hierarchy of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ reasons.

Yes, liberalism does have its limits. And it is normal to consider that there may be good and bad reasons to have an abortion, even when pro-choice. Surely one can admit that an abortion is a permanent decision, with ramifications, including regret. Well, Catherine Scott is unable to do so as she inserts her pro-abortion lies:

Those of us who know that the myth of mental illness caused by ‘post abortion syndrome’ is a toxic lie spread by pro-lifers, and know that the factor most likely to distress a woman seeking an abortion is not being able to obtain one quickly enough, should not find it surprising that some women do not get upset about undergoing a legal procedure that is 11 times safer than giving birth.

It is ironic that abortion advocates would still cling to the talking point of it being nobody’s business, and a matter of privacy. Josie doesn’t want privacy. She wants people to know her name. The abortion advocates care because they are defending abortion, not Josie. She is a poster child to them.

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Abortion supporter Mary Elizabeth Williams writes in Salon:

You can go the full troll and tell the world that you want an abortion for the least sympathetic reasons, but for those of us who support choice, we can’t dictate your moral actions for you. If I believe you have a right to decide whether you want to have a child and you are within the legal parameters of how far into the pregnancy abortion is permissible, your reasoning should be your business.

Josie Cunningham has chosen life, though. How she came to this decision is not without drama. Madison Pierce, writing for The Federalist, mentions:

Cunningham’s admission that she was considering abortion in pursuit of fame garnered quite a bit of ire in the U.K. last week, and her second change of heart has critics wondering if the entire thing was a publicity stunt in which Cunningham got exactly what she wanted: people talking about her. Cunningham says it wasn’t but also says that she “must be doing something right because at least everyone knew my name. I had 13,000 Twitter followers overnight – I didn’t care if they hated me…People are going to hate me, so at least I was getting famous in the process.”

Josie Cunningham likely was seeking an abortion for the fame. Or, if you’re an advocate of abortion, she was doing it for her career. But what if Josie did it only for fame? Is that something abortion advocates can so readily stand behind?

The truth about what abortion does was able to get through to Josie. What do abortion advocates have to say about that? The information Josie looked at to help choose life was criticized by Martin Robbins’s flippant remarks:

Many talk erroneously about murdering babies or children, one woman asking if she can feel the 18-week-old foetus kicking inside her.

What makes such talk erroneous? Such a term could not be more inaccurate. Not just because abortion does murder babies. Such talk, at least in part, is why Josie didn’t have the abortion! It came from a pro-lifer, though, so it must be biased.

As much as Josie may love the fame and the limelight, she seems to have had a true change of heart in many respects:

Leeds model Josie travelled to London the night before her appointment but spent frightening ­sleepless hours watching videos of abortions close to the 24-week legal limit.

She says: “I’d had so many angry tweets from people telling me to look at pictures of foetuses at 18 or 19 weeks and to understand what I was doing.

“I was so stubborn I just ignored them. But as I lay awake the night before the appointment, I cracked. I felt the baby kicking again and I couldn’t stop myself from looking on my phone. What I saw horrified me.

“They looked like fully formed babies and I read there have been 66 cases where aborted foetuses have come out alive because their mothers left the decision so late. I lay in bed and sobbed. Doubts crept in.”

Josie left for her appointment at the north London clinic on Thursday. But feeling her baby move that morning was the final straw.

“I tried to put it to the back of my mind because I was determined I’d made the right decision. But suddenly none of that mattered any more,” she said. “I told the driver to take me back to the hotel. As soon as I realised I was going to keep the baby, I felt happy – like a weight lifted.”

The situation is not going to be easy for Josie Cunningham. She is trying to quit drinking and smoking. And the young woman is facing uncertainty and devastation with the two men who may be her unborn child’s father. Abortion advocates sought to use her to criticize those who come to a realization and dare think twice about a woman having an abortion. For anyone who questions what those who question Josie’s parenting skills want, as Tauriq Moosa did for The Daily Beast it is worth pointing out that an abortion for a child is not the answer. Josie chose life. Her child has a shot now. And those who support and stand up for life should commend her for that much, at least.

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