This will not be nice. This will not be polite. This is not safe for work. This will get loud.
It has been more than three years since I covered a progressive organizing event in my accustomed gonzo manner. This time, I am embedded inside a house that has become a fortress, for there is no safe middle ground anymore. The world is not as it was, and I no longer have the comfort of not choosing sides. Massing in the darkness, zombies attack our bastion before dawn as the first refugees arrive. Standing-to with my Viking axe-like camera setup, I try to exude my best bad impression of Ragnar Lodbrok as I take up position to enforce our boundaries.
The assault begins with FACE Act violations as members of Abolish Human Abortion (AHA), a group that outspokenly would rather see women die than have abortions, try to make what was already someone’s worst day possible just a little more horrific by piling on shame and guilt and stupid lies.
Yes, they are liars. They are lying little liars who tell wicked lies. How do you know that a forced-birth activist is lying? Simple: if they carry a sign or open their mouths, they are lying. They are never not lying. They only ever lie. Fibbing and fraud are their primary weapons.
They lie in court. They lie to the IRS. They lie about Margaret Sanger, they make up lies about Planned Parenthood, they fabricate conspiracies and creatively edit their evidence, and then lobby politicians to investigate these manufactured stories, even offering them previews of these fictions to prepare the political ground for their hoaxes.
They carry huge, disgusting signs made with photographs of extremely dubious origin. They collude with violent extremists and domestic terrorists, and spend years at a time gestating their lies and distortions in hopes of enslaving women to a patriarchal system straight out of the Old Testament. They are the enemies of history. Truth is their enemy; they despise truth.
Forced-birth activists lie about what abortion does to the bodies and minds of women. They lie about their own abortion experiences, and tell others to lie about their abortion experiences, and lie while they accuse Wendy Davis of lying about her abortion experiences, then lie about whether women regret their abortion experiences by citing made-up statistics. Preening in their moral superiority, the forced-birth activism community has erected thousands of temples to the lie — places where false prophets tempt vulnerable women with disinformation and false promises of support. Then they lie about what happens to women who are denied abortion. They lie about what happens to aborted fetuses.
The forced-birth movement perpetuates these falsehoods far beyond their own ranks. Around the world, the perverse laws generated by their lies and their political lobbying force doctors to lie to patients, and force women to lie in order to obtain abortions, making the world less honest with every new piece of forced-birth legislation.
They are liars all the way down, but they lie for Jesus, and in their minds that makes it okay to lie.
Sure, the forced-birth movement includes some sectarian diversity, but not a lot, and groups like the ones outside the Reproductive Health Services clinic often lie about other religions, spouting nonsense conspiracy narratives that are half-lie, half-fevered fantasy. These are people who dream of their savior’s return because they like to think how hot their enemies will feel when the apocalypse comes. They can’t even bring themselves to approve of other Christians who believe differently than they do. Penetrate their world-view by a millimeter’s depth and you will nearly always find religious chauvinism and other forms of hackneyed bigotry right under the surface. And because they fervently exclude all contrary sources of information, their profound ignorance of wider culture and the world outside of the evangelist bubble often causes the mask of ‘Christian mercy’ to slip from their faces and reveal an overgrown, conceited child. In 2013, AHA hilariously thought the heteronormative Sweet Potato Queens Zippity Doo Dah Parade in Jackson, Mississippi was a gay pride parade, even denouncing imaginary “pole dancers and drag queens” on their YouTube channel.
These are people for whom ‘truth’ is a set of deeply-held fictions, and their morality is entirely relative to their creepy, weird obsession over what other people do with their own bodies and lives. Religion is just the lame excuse they use to rationalize all the lying and shaming and shouting and stalking and violence they do in their lord’s name. They believe they are being persecuted because thinking so makes it easier for them to persecute others, but there is no god here at the barricades — not one that is worthy of worship, anyway. It’s just them, and they are just being themselves.
They are Christian fascists. Against them, we dare defend these places of refuge where women can take charge of their own lives in safety. We dare defend the truth, justice, and an American way where everyone’s full rights of self-determination are respected.