Some twenty years ago, I was with my family in New York City. It was Christmas season, and we annually celebrated my daughter's December 2 birthday by going to the city for a play, dinner, and of course to see the holiday sights. She was somewhere around five years old.
We were approaching the line to see the famous window displays at Lord & Taylor. As we approached I saw there was a commotion; some yelling on the sidewalk at what looked to be a street vendor. As I got closer my mouth fell open in horror. It was a woman standing by a table with a huge poster depicting a woman in full hideous, heart-wrenching bondage. As I attempted to get my small child away from this scene I did yell something to the effect that she should be ashamed of herself, which of course, was the kind of attention she was seeking.
The purpose of this display was to point out to the public the abuses of pornography. I would have been fine with that intent and her first amendment right to such a protest. But it was abhorrent that she chose to do this where children were passing. To my mind, she was as much a part of the pornographic culture as what she claimed she was protesting, but in a more deceitful and emotionally disturbed way.
This is what I see happening with all the nation's focus on abortion. It has nothing at all to do with protecting life. There is in fact an inverse relationship of concern about life before birth to life after birth. Those who most loudly support abortion bans are the least likely to want to care for the pregnant woman herself, much less the newly born infant. Proof of this is the lack of support for health and nutrition programs, and our pathetic infant mortality rate, the shame of civilized nations.
If it is not about protecting life, what is the anti-abortion movement about? For one thing, it is control. It is forcing women who have unprotected sex to lose control over their bodies and their lives. And the anti-contraception movement is about forcing women to not have protected sex, further losing control of their lives.
And the reason for the vehemence of the supporters of this cruel and ignorant cause has more to do with voyeurism and exhibitionism than just about anything else. Imagine spending as much time obsessing about sex and a woman's body as our legislators have done. It would be a diagnosable condition if the false moral imperatives were not celebrated as "Christian values." The combination of the positive and negative attention that this crusade engenders is no less than thrilling to these self-appointed arbiters of a woman's morality. And the ironic cherry atop this disgusting sundae (if you will...) is the legitimacy that it gives to the prurience of the crusader.
So, much as the woman who masqueraded her fascination for pornography as a protest, our anti-abortion protesters focus their lives, and their political campaigns, around matters of a woman's body. Creepy? You bet. And isn't it time we saw these really dysfunctional people for what they are?