Friday Feminist Fuck You: Alabama anti-choice protestors

These Alabama “pro-life” protestors retraumatized a mother whose baby died in utero:

Pro-choice marchers recalled a particularly painful event last month when a woman whose baby had died en utero was coming to the clinic to have it removed. In an awful coincidence, that was the day, Watters said, when the pro-life demonstrators collected a children’s choir on the sidewalk to sing “Happy Birthday Dead Baby” to anyone driving in.

“Will had to physically restrain the father,” Watters said, nodding to one of the men marching in a pro-choice jacket. “And by the time she walked through them, she was an emotional wreck.”

Are you fucking serious? Alabama has some of the most strident laws restricting access to safe and legal abortion in the country. The Alabama’s Women Center for Reproductive Alternatives–one the few places women in need can turn to since 93% of counties in Alabama don’t have a single abortion clinic–is required to publicly list the days when the procedure is conducted. And that fact allows for a perfect storm in which staunch ideologues clash with women whose personal circumstances are unknown to them.

Pro-lifers, you don’t know every woman’s situation when seeking an abortion. And the presumption that any woman takes that decision lightly is grossly naïve and insulting.  Were you phased at all when you realized the tragedy that brought this mother to the clinic? Did you have a tiny inkling that perhaps you don’t have the right to impose your values on another woman?

As we approach the 40th anniversary of Roe, the public discourse around a woman’s right to have a safe and legal abortion is locked in an incomprehensible whirl of shifting legal definitions of life, personhood, and rape, and numerous restrictions have achieved the inconceivable in the aftermath of that landmark legal ruling: It’s now extremely difficult for women to access safe options for terminating their pregnancies nationwide.

And, on top of everything else, at this clinic in Alabama, they might find themselves sprayed in the face with holy water.

SYREETA MCFADDEN is a Brooklyn based writer, photographer and adjunct professor of English. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Guardian, BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post, Religion Dispatches and Storyscape Journal. She is the managing editor of the online literary magazine, Union Station, and a co-curator of Poets in Unexpected Places. You can follow her on Twitter @reetamac.

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  • Franzia Kafka

    The last time I stopped to speak with a small group of protesters at our clinic (mostly elderly people and stridently religious people who attend church every day, the fringe kind who also think that birth control is abortifacient), I made a donation in their name and let them know before I left. I always remind myself not to engage too much, as it’s not a productive place or time to do so.

  • QuantumInc

    This is saddening but also inevitable. They are not discriminating in their opposition to abortion. They don’t demand that Planned Parenthood stop doing that one thing, they demand Planned Parenthood stop existing. I would imagine that there are tons of women seeking more mundane services that still get called “baby killer”. In their fury they’re not going to double check. I understand the logic, yet disagree. A. Embryos and Fetuses are both human and alive B. Ending a human live is wrong, Therefore…

    Though technically, isn’t reducing a woman to an emotional wreck their goal anyway? More precisely, to raise the sense of shame a woman might have about an abortion (or perhaps even contraception or sex before marriage) to the point where she reverses her actions back to what they think one should do. So I guess this case was high-profile for some reason, and presumably they apologized when and if anyone got the chance to explain that the baby was dead anyway, but besides that almost any woman seeking an abortion risks a similar experience.

  • Jemma Howitzer

    “Will had to physically restrain the father,” Watters said, nodding to one of the men marching in a pro-choice jacket.

    Well, Will is officially the asshole of the day. Jeez, Will, you still don’t feel enough shame to maybe take a couple days OFF of marching and think about what you’re doing? If I was there, I would have physically restrained Will, so that the father could do his business.

  • Roze

    I feel really sorry for this woman and angered that anyone who has a brain and a sense of compassion could harass a woman already going through such an emotionally draining experience. This should be illegal and it does not make sense to me how they get away with this, It’s sickening and wrong in any sense of the word.

  • Adam Dollar

    This is the kind of thing that makes me ashamed of my state. Even if the woman was there for an abortion, why attack her when she is in such a vulnerable situation? For such a religious state, many if its citizens race to throw the first stone.

    Seriously, a children’s choir? These children couldn’t posibly understand enough about fetal development to have a stance on abortion. It’s just another case of parents pushing their own agenda through their kids.