Ms. Magazine "I Had an Abortion" Campaign Doesn’t Represent Women

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 8, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Ms. Magazine "I Had an Abortion" Campaign Doesn’t Represent Women Email this article
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by Michael Medved
August 8, 2006 Note: Michael Medved is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host, best-selling author and veteran film critic. His daily three-hour program, emphasizing the intersection of politics and pop culture, reaches more than 2 million listeners in over 180 markets, coast to coast.

One of the daily joys of a live talk radio show involves the opportunity of catching controversial public figures in inconsistencies, contradictions and appalling hypocrisy. My show on Monday, August 7th, provided a stunning example in my interchange with Katherine Spillar, Executive Editor of "Ms." Magazine and Executive Vice President of the Feminist Majority Foundation.

She is currently leading an effort to persuade millions of American women, including prominent celebrities, to sign a petition that proudly announces their past abortions.

The form circulating on the Internet declares: "I HAVE HAD AN ABORTION. I publicly join the millions of women in the United States who have had an abortion in demanding a repeal of laws that restrict women’s reproductive freedom. I agree to have my name listed in MS. MAGAZINE as having had an abortion."

This journalistic initiative is supposed to echo the famous 1972 debut issue of MS. in which 53 prominent U.S. women, including MS. co-founder Gloria Steinem and tennis great Billy Jean King, declared that they had undergone abortions– despite then prevailing state laws making the procedure illegal.

Obviously, one of the purposes of the new "I HAVE HAD AN ABORTION" campaign is to remove or reduce the stigma attached to women who have "terminated their pregnancies."

Katherine Spillar and her colleagues obviously worry about a new generation of women who feel more hesitant, and even guilty, about exercising the so-called "woman’s right to choose."

In the course of our conversation, I confronted her with data from a new Pew Research Poll showing that the strongest supporters of keeping abortion "generally available" are men and women over 55. Among younger respondents to the survey, there’s increasing support for new restrictions on abortion, or even for outlawing the procedure altogether. The younger you go in the population, the stronger the pro-life sentiment, so that the weakest support for so-called "abortion rights" comes from women below the age of 25!

One of the reasons that so many members of the younger generation reject the glorification and glamorization of abortion practiced by so many of their mothers and grandmothers is the silly, extreme positions taken by those veteran feminists.

I tried to get Ms. Spillar to agree that aside from the ongoing debate over government restrictions, it was undoubtedly a good thing that the rate of abortions had gone down due to the new disapproval toward the process felt by so many young women. She refused to go along with this obvious conclusion, insisting there was no reason at all for women to feel embarrassed about snuffing out the nascent life of their babies.

On the air, she compared the procedure to "having your tonsils removed" except she insisted that abortion is an even safer, more minor procedure than tonsillectomy.

No one, however, feels ashamed of tonsillectomies, or tries to dodge questions about whether your tonsils are still in your throat. Ms. Spillar, however, left me startled and amazed when she refused to answer the obvious question raised by her new project.

At the conclusion of our conversation, I asked her on the air whether she planned to sign her own petition– in other words, had she herself had an abortion?

In response, she said she had thought about this question before going on my radio show, and had considered how she might answer if I confronted her. She decided that whatever answer she gave might be used against her, so in a truly breathtaking display of world class hypocrisy, she refused to answer herself the same question she expects millions of women to answer in the pages of her magazine!

Under the circumstances, I think her refusal to answer counts as more shameful than either a "yes" or a "no." If she’s right that abortion is no more significant than tonsillectomy, why shouldn’t she talk about her own experience with this procedure? If she had asked me about my tonsils, I would have admitted with no hesitation at all that I had them removed (and consumed prodigious quantities of ice cream during my recovery) as a little boy.

Either Ms. Spillar is embarrassed because she had an abortion (in which case she’s ashamed of the same experience she wants less prominent women to admit), or else she’s embarrassed to say that she DIDN’T have an abortion — an indication of even more depraved and twisted thinking. If she had never participated in ending life in her own womb, it’s bizarre to think that she’d feel reluctant to admit her own lack of guilt.

However you consider her insistence on dodging the same question she’s posing to the rest of America, one thing became very clear in our interchange. The "Pro Choice" label to describe Ms. Spillar and her comradettes is misleading.

These ladies, despite reluctance to disclose their personal history, count unequivocally as "Pro Abortion" regarding the rest of America. Their strident voices demonstrate their isolation from an American mainstream and a growing consensus that government indeed has a proper, inevitable role in discouraging abortion and encouraging respect for human life.