Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Annual pro-life demonstrators out again

The anti-choice group on campus has a large event every spring called the Cemetery of the Innocents. Before I try to explain it, it might just be easier to show you:Yep, Memorial Mall gets turned into a giant cemetery for all those unborn babies evil women keep aborting. But only Christian babies, apparently.

I can't quite explain how much this event gets me down. It's here every spring, but you never can quite prepare yourself for when it's going to happen. They change the date and keep it very secretive so pro-choice and feminist groups can't counter protest. Only my freshman year was a feminist group able to figure it out, and set up a stand handing out condoms - a real way to reduce abortions. Though of course, the pro-lifers didn't get it. "What does sex have to do with it? That's so immature!" they whined.

Yeah, we're dealing with intelligent people, here.

I guess I should be thankful they're not the kind of group spouting Bible verses or waving signs of bloody fetuses. It's just that this event reminds me of what the majority of Purdue is really like - conservative, religious, anti-choice, and willfully ignorant about social issues - and it kind of depresses me. Can't go hide in my liberal atheist feminist bubble of friends when I have to walk past this thing five times during the day.

But of course, I'm a masochist, so I had to go poke around. If the signs that greeted you really wanted to be honest, they would say "Warning! Emotional arguments within! No substance or rational thought!"I approached the table where most of the pro-life students (mostly women, how sad), were standing. After gathering up some flyers (which I wish I could unread, dear lord the stupid burns), I decided to ask some questions:

Me: So, do you think abortion should be illegal?
Gal: Uh...well...we just want women to know there are other options to getting abortions.
Me: So you don't want it to be illegal?
Gal: Well, we don't have an official stance. I'd like it to be illegal, but even if we did people would still just get abortions illegally, and those would be more dangerous, so it wouldn't really accomplish much. Instead we want to educate people that they have this option.
Me: So do you guys support contraceptives then?
Gal: Well, we don't have an official stance, but I don't believe in them.
Me: How do you plan on reducing abortions then?
Gal: We just want people to know there's an option of adoption. People think it's either have the baby and raise it, or kill it. A woman in her forties came up and said she got pregnant at 18, and her mom gave her the option of getting kicked out of home, or having an abortion, so she had it and now regrets it.
Me: Well, I'm pro-choice, and even I would say that's bad. That's not choice, that's an ultimatum. No one should be forced into having one.
Gal: Uh...oh.

I then asked why they used Christian crosses to represent all abortions, and their response was basically "We're lazy and crosses were the easiest and cheapest things to make." Well, at least they're honest.

Really though, I'm disappointed. Pro-life groups are getting a lot smarter. They know certain things that they believe will make them look cruel or idiotic, so they don't officially make it a group stance, even though all of the members support it. They can't officially be Christian or oppose contraception or want abortion illegal or want prison terms for females, because that would expose the world to the crazy. In the past the group would babble about baby holocausts and other insane crap.

They say they're providing an option, but they also think they're right and if you chose incorrectly you're a horrible murderer who will be doomed to a life of guilt and suffering. That isn't an option, it's an ultimatum. They just hope people who come up to their table will be distracted by the cute little plastic fetuses and succumb to their emotional arguments.

I gave up asking them questions, because it was obvious I wasn't going to get a straight answer out of anyone. Wasn't holding my breath that someone would have an answer to overpopulation, caring for all of these unwanted children, the lack of families willing to adopt, rape, disease...


  1. I wish I could have met up with you to talk to them. Someone gave me a pamphlet today on 'the evolution debate' and i just looked at him and said, its not a debate. And then I might have roared like a dinosaur.

  2. So did you change your shirt?

    KP: did you try to disembowel them like you're a raptor?

  3. Nah, I wore my "Feminism is the radical notion that women are people" shirt. Not sure they would quite get that.

  4. They couldn't tell me what was in Roe v. Wade...I was amused

  5. Oh, well they probably knew they couldn't convince you when they saw you coming, Jen. That's no fun, you should have dressed as one of them!

  6. The other day someone left this comment on my facebook, in response to me posting that footage of the two Rueters' journalists being killed by the military, with no comments other than "does this concern anyone else?"

    Here is the insane reply I got:

    "As a liberal, I'm sure you support abortion, what's the difference here, just because it's post-natal, killing children that will one day grow up and hate us is called damage control."

    I mean really?

  7. I like the fact that you butcher their side of the argument to make them look stupid and make you look superior and supposedly enlightened. They never said "we're lazy and it's cheap." they used crosses because it's a universal symbol for the dead. It was used way before Christianity to mark a grave. Do your research before trying to spread your views as superior. They don't randomize their dates of display to avoid "feminist" groups, they encourage them to be there to counter, but they're not going to ask you to show up. But you're welcome to.

    And keep shoving words and making things up about people, it will really help your argument.

  8. Beyond Therapy: Were you there? They did say it was because they were lazy and it's cheap. And as a leader of another group, I don't blame them at all - we've done the same stuff before. I thought it was a much better than a potential answer of "Because we only care about the Christian babies."

    Bugger off.

  9. And as for the randomization of dates, they used to list their event as a Car Show so no one could plan counter-protests by looking at the reservation schedule. And they've gotten in trouble with the Student Activities Office in the past for putting up crosses at inappropriate times. AND they've illegally entered dorms to distribute information under doors. Not sure if that happened this year, since they got in major trouble for it in the past.

  10. Beyond Therapy: In which pre-Christian burial culture was a cross used to mark the deceased? I'm interested to see what you've discovered here.

    I don't think it's a universal symbol, anyway. The Vikings used ships, the Egyptians used monuments. An Ankh is not a Christian cross, though the similarities are there (so convenient for our Christian friends, of course). The Romans and Greeks cremated their dead or placed them in sepulchers, not under crosses.

    Modern tombstones are any number of shapes but only a select few seem to be crosses; the military marks the tombstones of dead members with a symbol of their choice based on their religion, and I don't think the Japanese, Chinese, or Indians use crosses unless they are Christian, either.

  11. It was used way before Christianity to mark a grave.

    I'm going to need a citation on that. And no, Justice Scalia doesn't count.

  12. @Beyond Therapy: Crosses as grave markers is solidly a Christian symbol. Before it was adopted as a Christian symbol (which wasn't common until well after the second century C.E.) the cross was a symbol of torture, not a grave marker. I challenge you to name a single culture or group that used crosses as grave markers prior to the rise of Christianity.

  13. Good to see that everyone calls out the BS.

  14. I love all of my blog readers <3

  15. "they used crosses because it's a universal symbol for the dead."
    Citation, please.

    And no Justice Scalia does not count.

    They're not even nice crosses. Personally I can't see pictures of the graveyards from the Great War without getting teary-eyed, but that's because of what they represent. I guess that's why these crosses don't affect me.

  16. Rev. Ouabache,


  17. I suppose in the thousands of years of crucifixion as an execution method it's likely some people were buried where they were executed. I suppose it's also possible a cross rather than a post was used in that crucifixion. So it's technically true a cross was used as a grave marker before Christians took it as one.

    But past that, let's see your sources, Beyond Therapy.

  18. Damn, I missed poking the troll with a sharp stick.

  19. I liked how the people handing out flyers were posted in every sidewalk within the memorial mall so you can't avoid them if you want to walk through it. I just yelled "NOTHXBAI" when they tried to hand me crap. hahahah.

  20. I'm always tempted to drop a coat hangar on the table and walk away the next time I see a pro-life table at the U of A.

  21. Oh, I just thought Purdue really like math. All those plus signs and what not.

  22. Sheesh, the fact that they keep it so secret so that other groups can't counter-protest is what really annoys me. That just comes off as incredibly cowardly. If you're going to have a mass protest about a sensitive issue, dealing with counter-protesters is par for the course. Not to mention that most pro-choice counter-protesters are very nice and professional, wheras when "pro-life" people protest at a feminist/prochoice event, or a place like Planned Parenthood, they can get very nasty/confrontational.

  23. You're right. They don't want to provide options. (Women who get abortions already know other options exist, anyway.) All these people want to do is use emotional ploys and guilt trips to harangue women into not choosing abortion.

    Why are they always wasting so much time harassing people outside womens' clinics? If they truly cared about children they'd be helping poor and hungry children. They'd be out there educating and supporting women so there wouldn't be unintended pregnancies. But their behavior shows their true goal isn't saving or protecting life, it's controlling women.

  24. I find it extremely difficult to classify these people as "pro-life". Study after study, poll after poll shows that anti-abortion activists are the same people that support the death penalty.

  25. "what the majority of Purdue is really like - conservative, religious, anti-choice, and willfully ignorant about social issues"

    You may have a point about the majority of Purdue being conservative, religious, and anti-choice (I noticed how you framed that to make it a negative), but “willfully ignorant about social issues? Your bias is showing. Usually I can see where you are coming from in your posts even if I may disagree with your position. But this post is just plain disingenuous. And the pro-choice side at Purdue is not without egg on their faces.

    I remember about a year or two ago a group paid for an insert in the Exponent showing pictures of partial birth abortions in an attempt to show the realities of abortion and promote alternatives such as adoption. In response the local liberals wrote letter after letter to the editor raging about how they could not believe the Exponent would allow something contrary to their opinions to be in the newspaper.

    “They say they're providing an option, but they also think they're right and if you chose incorrectly you're a horrible murderer who will be doomed to a life of guilt and suffering.”

    And you make it sound that if someone chooses incorrectly according to your opinion, to be pro-life, they are deciding to be “willfully ignorant about social issues”. You claim this group had nothing but emotional arguments, but your post is mainly emotional arguments in return.

  26. It sounds harsh, but I firmly believe it is willful ignorance. Pro-lifers who use the "Look, a baby!" argument against abortion rarely have a case beyond emotional arguments. All of the arguments on their flyer are either debunked, unscientific, or emotional (unfortunately I don't have a scanner - but they're nothing new).

    Part of being pro choice is supporting all choices. If a woman wants an abortion, fine. If a woman want to keep a baby, fine. Adoption, fine. If people want to coerce or shame or legally force women into their choice, that is simply not right.

  27. It is not harsh, it is irrational. There are many rational arguments for pro-life positions and many rational pro-life supporters. Whether or not this particular pro-life group falls in the rational category or not I do not know. You sound a little too emotionally committed to your opinion for me to take what you said seriously. You make it sound like all pro-life supporters are complete whack jobs with no brain. That simply is not true.

  28. If that's how I came off, then I apologize. I *do* believe this group at Purdue - which I have talked to nearly every year here at Purdue - fall into that category. There are definitely pro-life people who aren't trying to jam it down your throats and have sensible arguments. This group, however, has failed to impress me.

  29. Some pro-lifers have said to me personally:

    "Pro-choice is a label people like you have given to something that leaves no choice for the unborn child, ... See Moreand two wrongs don't make a right. If a woman is dying and the baby is going to live, she has reached her expiration date"

    I can understand the wish that the woman would keep the child, but right now I cannot help but laugh at the irony of stating you are pro-life, but just not the life of the mother.

  30. Jen,
    If you acknowledge that not all pro-life supporters are willfully ignorant then that is cool. I was hoping that when your wrote this post you were simply too upset to realize how you sounded.

  31. "we just want women to know there are other options to getting abortions."

    Options...Hey that's the definition of pro-choice!

  32. When I saw that sign reading "Because everyone deserves a birthday", I couldn't help but imagine another sign that said "Because every sperm deserves a birthday", featuring a drawing of a sperm wearing a party hat.

    For the record I'm not biased against ova; they should get party hats too.

  33. And that just makes me think of saying "My sperm would love to have a party in your pants" to a girl.

  34. i just thought you'd like to know: in the firefox tabs i have up, yours is shortened to "Blag Hag: Annual pro-life demons..." and i found it kinda funny. also, now i know demonstrators has the word demons in it.

  35. Atheists,


    you little liars do nothing but antagonize...

    and you try to eliminate all the dreams and hopes of humanity...

    but you LOST...



    Einstein puts the final nail in the coffin of atheism...




    atheists deny their own life element...



  36. Speaking of sperm, what about unconceived babies? My immune system kills tens of millions of them every day. All those potential lives wasted, though the idea of changing diapers on tens of billions of babies, the pro-life alternative, is rather daunting. I think that having to live with this is why men are more prone to violence. A woman might kill a half a million unconceived babies in her lifetime, but men must deal with a daily holocaust.

    P.S. Do Christians bury unborn, unchristened babies under the sign of the cross?

  37. Just out of curiosity, was there anything they did have an "official" position on? Seems like there's lots of unofficial positioning going on there.

  38. Speaking of sperm, what about unconceived babies?

    Indeed. Were they consistent, pro-lifers should make it a criminal offence for a fertile woman to refuse sex. Now now, gentlemen, form an orderly line! 8-)

    An argument to use against Catholics who say that every sexual act must be "open" to the creation of new life is that it must then be religiously unlawful for a post-menopausal woman to marry. In fact canon law has no problem with this whatsoever.

  39. Beyond Therapy claims "they used crosses because it's a universal symbol for the dead. It was used way before Christianity to mark a grave."

    No. Crosses are not "a universal symbol for the dead." Crosses are erected in cemeteries to show that the person buried there was a Christian in life. If crosses were in fact "universal" you would find them in Jewish graveyards (as one example); this is not the case, however.

    Even if you could point to an example of a pre-Christian culture that marked graves with crosses--and I'm not saying you can't; the cross is found in many cultures (though I'd like to see your example)--that doesn't prove the "universality" of the cross as a symbol of the dead. I know for a fact (having been to a number of burial places) that many cultures, ancient and modern, don't use crosses to mark graves.

  40. I always feel horrible when people like these are singled out as "conservatives" or "right-wing".

    I feel this way because I am conservative. I identify as Libertarian, but in a Penn Jillette way, not a Glenn Beck way.

    I believe in limited Government interferance in my life. I believe that we should all pay into the things that we all use and benefit from, like infrastructure and healthcare (I'm Canadian and LOVE my healthcare) but I don't want to pay for things that are useless wastes or are against my views (like Catholic school) AND wastes.

    I also believe in personal freedom. That means I'm pro-choice and an ally. Homosexual marriage? Sure. Abortions? Absolutely.

    These people are the religious right and I loathe that I am lumped in with them. How can you ask for limited Government involvement in your life and yet rant and rail about the lives of others not meeting your expectations and therefor needing control?

    Senseless fuckers.

  41. ooo I can see the firestorm brewed a lot since yesterday.

    The symbol of the cross is actually the symbol of the zodiac or sun wheel. The 12 animals of the zodiac are constellations that the sun travels through. These are also known as houses. The vertical and horizontal lines of the cross is the equinox (death) and solstice (life) dividing the year into seasons. This symbols go back 2000 years or more before the birth of Christ.
    Ancient Egyptians had the 'ankh'. It was a cross with a 'loop' at the top, symbolizing the eternal circle of life. Often placed at a grave as a symbol of one stage of life to another. You may say the ankh is not a cross, but it is, as ankh is the informal name of the ansated cross.
    Check Wikipedia or an archeological dig/discovery to discover jewelery/emblems/monuments with the cross on them, used to signify the sun and the transition from life to death.

  42. This comment has been removed by the author.

  43. Beyond Therapy: The Sun Wheel, as you call it, nor the ankh, are Crucifixes, which are the crosses specifically used by Christianity, with one axis longer than the other.

    The Sun Cross consists of two equal length bars within a circle. The Ankh consists of a loop with a cross below it featuring a longer vertical bar than crossbar. The crucifix, as taken by Christians as a symbol, features two bars with the vertical longer than the other.

    By your argument, Christian graves should be marked with X-shaped crosses, Y-shaped crosses, or anything else that constitutes a cross.

    The Crucifix is no more than Ankh than the Ankh is a Sun Cross. They're all different symbols with different origins that only bear a passing similarity between one another.

    Hell, the Celtic Cross actually combines the Sun Cross with the Crucifix.

    See: The Manji and the Swastika.

  44. @Beyond Therapy:

    This might shock you to learn, but the constellations we know and love are European and Middle Eastern only. Many other cultures have their own, distinct, separate constellations that have nothing to do with the zodiac.

    For reference, I've checked out many articles on Wikipedia regarding ancient or non-Christian burial rites, and I haven't seen a cross yet. I'll be willing to believe you...when you post a source to support your claims. It's not my job to research your thoughts.

  45. Minor point of information, the Sun Cross was adopted as the badge of the indigenous Norwegian fascist movement in the Thirties.

    If you're crucifying your cook in the peristyle garden, as one needs to from time to time to improve service, you'd probably go for the X-type, because it has two legs you can plant in the soil. Much easier. In fact, to do a crucifixion you don't really need any sort of cross, you could nail your slave to anything. A Y-forked tree would work perfectly well. I understand they use barn doors and fences in some countries. The point is death through dehydration, with tortured muscles and joints from hanging off something and trying to avert suffocation by pushing up with the feet. If the birds come and peck his eyes out before he's dead, all the better deterrent effect.

    When the Romans crucified hundreds or thousands at a time, I expect they used T-type or X-type crosses for speed. By the time the cross replaced the fish as the Christian symbol, there was no one alive who'd seen it done.

    Otherwise I would like to say that the equal-armed cross is such an obvious thing to draw or make that it's hardly surprising that different people use it. Give two sticks to a monkey and sooner or later he'll make one.

  46. >Only my freshman year was a feminist group able to figure it out, and set up a stand handing out condoms - a real way to reduce abortions.
    Careful, the Catholic Church might set up a counter-counter-protest

  47. Hugo Grinebiter: Actually, they commonly used just a post when they were in a hurry. Your arms were up over your head and nailed to the post there, which actually seems even worse than being on a cross. I'm not sure why they even used crosses rather than just a post.

  48. Actually, I suppose the reason for using a cross was likely so they could bind you to it with rope more easily, in case the nails managed to pull out.

  49. I'm not sure why they even used crosses rather than just a post.

    To anticipate the Renaissance paintings and Beyond Therapy's arguments, I guess........

  50. Hey, if it makes you feel better...I used to be One of Them in college. Was a co-founder of a pro-life group at my uni, albeit one that was pro-contraception (as long as it was pre-conception) and called itself feminist. We didn't believe that women were lesser, we believed that conception=life...and that's pretty much where we stopped thinking. All fetuses=babies to me from fertilization on. (Needless to say, I was not a Biology major...)

    I was young, devout, raised very conservative/religious, dating boys who were the same, and so was not having to worry about pregnancy for myself.

    After I left school and got out into the world, the fact that a) all pro-life orgs are anti-contraception AND largely run by men really started to bug me and b) reading stats about how it was countries that provided abortion (plus good sex ed/contraception)actually had lower abortion rates really hit home.

    And then getting old enough to develop some suspicion of my government and to appreciate that protecting every fetus from fertilization on would basically involve locking women up to keep them from doing anything dangerous--and that was not just or right.

    And I also read the stories of women who had abortions--early ones and late ones. And realized that the demonized women who had abortions for the hell of it, at any stage of pregnancy, didn't exist. That the slaughter of innocents I was taught that I was fighting was imaginary.

    And now I'm pro-choice. I've been lucky enough to never need an abortion so far, but I would have one if it were best, and I would help any friend who came to me and needed one.

    Sometimes, we grow up and change.

  51. We had a few of these nuts (not this organization, I'm sure, but same vein) set up near my town. I actually had the displeasure of driving my brother over to help them set it up. Didn't know what I was driving him to at the time, of course... I hate living in a Baptist household...

    "we just want women to know there are other options to getting abortions."

    My ass you do. Why the mock graveyard then? Why such a grisly display?

    No, the intended message here is "abortion = murder." No way around that.

  52. It's not that hard to reduce abortions. All people need to do is quit having sex unless they want to have a baby. That would also definitively stop the spread of STDs. Yeah, contraception can help with those things, too (namely condoms), but the thing to remember with that is that just after contraception became commercially available that both STD and abortion rates skyrocketed.
    Abstinence is the way to go.

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