Tuesday, November 18, 2014

They have to lie. It's love.

Image source.

[content note: discussion of anti-abortion tactics]

I highly recommend watching this short documentary about crisis pregnancy centers and how they lie: The Fake Abortion Clinics of America.

The theme running through the whole thing is deception. The video shows pro-life advocates encouraging the idea of marketing crisis pregnancy centers as if they are abortion clinics, just to get pregnant women to come. We see a woman make a call to a crisis pregnancy center to ask how much an abortion would cost, and she is told "we don't discuss pricing over the phone" and that she would need to make an appointment and come to the center. Apparently many women come in for their appointments having no idea that it's actually NOT an abortion clinic.

Some crisis pregnancy centers are located right next to abortion clinics, so patients who have appointments at the abortion clinic end up going into the crisis pregnancy center instead, thinking it's part of the abortion clinic. And nobody tells them their mistake.

The video shows that appointments at the crisis pregnancy center are full of scare tactics and discredited statistics about the health risks of abortion. Basically the whole thing is lies, intended to make it harder to women to access abortion, and scare them out of it.

(For pregnant people who want support and don't want to have an abortion, crisis pregnancy centers are a good thing. My concern is about the lying part though.)

The thing is, from a pro-life perspective, they have to lie.

I'm defining "pro-life" as the belief that an embryo or fetus is a full human being with all the rights that any person should have, and therefore abortion is murder and must be stopped. Within the pro-life movement, there is some variation in opinions about whether it's okay to make exceptions (like having an abortion because of health issues or because the pregnancy is the result of rape) but the important thing is that pro-life people believe the vast majority of abortions are murder. The vast majority of abortions are evil. They are absolutely the wrong choice.

The important thing, according to the pro-life view, is to save the baby. It's a matter of life and death. It's a battle. And one of the enemy forces in this battle is the pregnant woman herself.

That's why they have to lie.

Lying to someone means that you don't trust that they're a reasonable person that you can have a reasonable and honest discussion with. And that's exactly what the pro-life side believes. These women who want abortions are WRONG. Pro-life centers are not about giving people all their options and helping them decide the best choice for their situation; no, they already know the best choice. They already know abortion is always the wrong answer.

And if you're trying to save a life, lying to an enemy can absolutely be an ethical choice. If you're hiding Jews in the attic and the Nazis come to your door, are you going to lie? Yes. (And apparently it's impossible to discuss pro-life arguments without making analogies to the Holocaust. Or slavery. Ai ya.)

My point is, from the pro-life perspective, it has to be this way. It's a battle against people who can't be trusted to be reasonable (and by "be reasonable" I mean "see the blatantly obvious truth that abortion is murder and is clearly the wrong choice"). Crisis pregnancy centers can't actually care about the pregnant person when the life of the "baby" is at stake- or rather, their understanding of "care" means forcing someone into what we already know is the only right choice. The only right choice for all pregnant people. It's for their own good, really, even if they disagree.

So they have to lie.

Image source.
All right, let's talk about evangelical Christianity now. Because sometimes they have to lie too.

People's souls are in danger! People are going to hell! It's a battle for people's souls but we can't necessarily tell them that directly. You have to wait for just the right situation. You have to create some kind of big event and throw a "gospel presentation" onto the end. You have to befriend non-Christians and truly take an interest in their lives so hopefully they will eventually believe you when you tell them about God.

(And I know that evangelical Christians do this out of a genuine desire to help and love people. I know I did. They believe hell is real and, though they don't disagree with God's right to send people there in the first place, they desperately don't want it to happen. They really want to love people, but unfortunately this combination of beliefs makes it impossible.)

Basically, we know what people need better than they know themselves. We know the right answer already. Let's do our best to get them to change their minds, and present it as "having a discussion."

This is not love. "You're wrong, and I need to stop you because you can't be trusted to make decisions" is not love. (And before you leave me a comment about interventions and "tough love" for alcoholics or something- is that really how you view the majority of the world's population [if we're talking about evangelism]/ 1 in 3 American women [if we're talking about abortion]? Is your life verse "God, I thank you that I am not like other people"?)

It's not love.

And in the bible I read, Jesus said to love.

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