Apparently, a lot of people readily believe that folks are so morally corrupted that they support the legalization of after-birth abortions. Is this where young people now figure on the issue of abortion? Well, some conservative groups certainly want us to think so – and they will go so far as to set up unsuspecting students in order to manufacture that belief.
There’s a story being bounced around the internet about students in Virginia who signed a petition. The article (WATCH: Students sign petition to legalize abortion after childbirth), which is published by Campus Reform and reposted by Freedom Outpost, explains:
The petition, which was circulated on GMU [George Mason University]’s flagship campus in Fairfax, VA., just outside Washington D.C., by Media Research Center reporter Dan Joseph said it was aimed at sending “a message to our lawmakers that women have the right to choose what to do with their bodies and babies” even “after their pregnancies.”
As of today, 35,000 people have ‘liked’ the article on Facebook, 4,500 have tweeted it and almost 1,100 have posted it to Reddit.
I don’t know about them, but my thought process went like this:
- An organization is petitioning to legalize the abortion of birthed babies? That sounds way too outrageous and therefore not very credible.
- Why would an organization such as Media Research Center, whose website states that it is committed to “neutralizing left-wing bias in the news media and popular culture” and whose work is “unique within the conservative movement”, be asking university students to sign such a petition?
Note that these aren’t even moderate conservatives. We’re talking about the sort of conservatives who proudly quote Ann Coulter describing their Dishonors Awards gala as “the one fun dinner in Washington all year”.
Campus Reform prides itself as “America’s leading site for college news” and a watchdog that “exposes bias, abuse, waste, and fraud on the nation’s college campuses”. It is a self-disclosed project of the Leadership Institute, a group which itself is remarkably more explicit about how it leans. The Institute, according to its website, “teaches conservative Americans how to influence policy through direct participation, activism, and leadership.” Freedom Outpost, for its part, actually doesn’t have a link or section on its website explaining its mission, goals or philosophy, but a quick scan of its content reveals it to be a virtual GOP troll cave.
We’ve all heard (and hopefully heeded) the warning that some things can appear too good to be true; conversely, some things can appear too bad to be true. One of my favourite Judge Judyisms is that if a story doesn’t make sense, either important information is missing, or someone is misrepresenting the facts. In this case, it’s the latter.
Here’s the video of how the Media Research Center petition went down:
While posing as an archetypal pro-choice hippie, MRC’s Dan Joseph managed to scrounge all of 14 signatures in an hour. But many of the people who commented on this story here couldn’t seem to agree on the meaning of the term ‘fourth trimester’, which actually refers to the period after the baby is born. This period is also referred to as post-pregnancy, which, who knows, maybe some people might even take to mean the time after a woman becomes pregnant. At any rate, Joseph doesn’t bother explaining this to the students (one of whom is aged 15) who were caught off guard and probably thinking about their destinations. The few people who declined to sign were the only ones who seemed to be paying attention. In one instance a young lady asks if this type of abortion will cause harm to the child, to which Joseph replies: “Well, the child wouldn’t be there anymore, it’s abortion.” She proceeds to sign. Does she understand that he’s talking about killing a newborn baby? Probably not.
Aside from the fact that these signatures are the products of ignorance and manipulation, the exercise was pointless. A straw man was fabricated to sensationalize an idea that’s not even remotely being considered by anyone. Abortion is a legitimately controversial issue. When it is done, it is usually with heartbreak, after much soul-searching, and out of necessity, or at least perceived necessity. But these conservative groups are essentially saying, “Several university students signed a petition that they may or may not have realized calls for the legalized sacrifice of newborns; therefore abortion is wrong!” I would be laughing at the tantrums people are throwing if it wasn’t so embarrassing and frankly, scary, that countless people are so eager to believe something that is obviously fictitious.
The MRC petition represents neither the true values of young Americans, nor the modern secular liberal decay of morality. All it shows is that:
- Some college students aren’t against abortion in general;
- If you catch strangers off guard (particularly people who are still developing intellectually and emotionally), they will do and say dumb things; and
- People can be easily manipulated when they’re misinformed, and when they assume that people are being honest and working for a good cause.
All of which we already know.