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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sometimes anti-abortion spokespeople act like it's huge news or a total outrage that abortion providers and abortion-rights advocates are hesitant to discuss flaws in their colleagues, partners, or movement. "See," the antis say -- and you can almost hear their crossed arms and satisfied smirk -- "They're only worried about protecting themselves, even if it means protecting their predatory, dangerous, greedy peers." And anti-abortion "activists" are constantly manufacturing problems to "investigate" and "expose" as well -- like when Lila Rose tries to prove that Planned Parenthood staff protect child traffickers, when actually they're telling the fake traffickers that young women can receive free checkups there (true), and then alerting the police (appropriate). 

In such an atmosphere, where tapes are heavily edited and even simple statements get twisted to mean something else entirely, is it any wonder that we fear perverse or disproportionate consequences, from antis and employers alike, if we speak up about the non-manufactured problems that do exist? 

Don't misunderstand: all of us, pro- and anti-choice, want dangerous abortion practices or abusive providers to be brought to light. But those are few and far between, way rarer than anti press would have us believe. So we have to spend our time dissecting what's real and what's BS, and meanwhile, there are more subtle issues that can't take stage, like "I prefer X style of abortion care provision while the only clinic in town provides it like Y," or "My organization has a fantastic mission but terrible leadership," and so forth. Stuff that I really want us to work on. Stuff that would move abortion care from "widely safe, usually decent, sometimes wonderful" to "uniformly excellent." 

I won't give a million more examples right now, but I'm working on it. But if, for example, you want to know why it's taken me weeks to draft (and months to conceptualize) a critique of Planned Parenthood's current position in our field, all you have to do is take a gander at shit like this: 

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