Friday, July 14, 2006

Blogger's Mistake Reveals the Dark Edges of the Abortion Debate

What happens when a satirical piece from The Onion on abortion is mistaken as real? We get a snapshot of the dark edge of both sides of the abortion debate. Salon has the story. The referenced response from an anti-abortion blog (warning: accompanying photo might make you sick).

The ironic thing is that the original Onion article, from 1999, is clearly not making a statement in support of abortion. That is, if you realize that it is SATIRE.

From the Salon article:

"The piece that inspired Pete's July 6 extended smack-down was a 1999 Op-Ed by fictional columnist "Caroline Weber." Pete did not realize that the Onion traffics in satire, and that the piece was a send-up of the notion that pro-choice activists are actually "pro-abortion." Weber's outrageous claims that she "seriously cannot wait for all the hemorrhaging and the uterine contractions" and that "this abortion is going to be so amazing" did not tip off Pete. In an utterly unironic retort, he cited lines like, "It wasn't until now that I was lucky enough to be pregnant with a child I had no means to support," and "I just know it's going to be the best non-anesthetized invasive uterine surgery ever!" to illustrate his disgust with the author.

On his blog, Pete expressed his rage at Weber's claim that if her HMO hadn't bowed to pressure not to cover her oral contraceptives, she never would have gotten pregnant to begin with. "Sorry ma'am," Pete responded. "If you hadn't had sex you wouldn't have gotten pregnant, it's not the HMO's fault for not supporting your promiscuity while not married." And in case it wasn't already clear where he stood on the issue of satirical abortion, Pete added, "Miss Weber, you have killed your child, which you admit is a baby/human being, intentionally. That does make you an admitted murderer."

What perhaps is most disturbing (and revealing?) is the more than 1000 comments responding to the blog post (warning: offensive language).

Abortion must be opposed, but the rhetoric on both sides, unfortunately, doesn't always show so much respect for life.


Blogger Ciaviel said...

Granted, I've earned my nickname of "Ms Literal" for good reason, but even I know that "The Onion" is satire. How could the original blogger have missed it? There are better things he/she could've pointed to, if the OP were interested in making a rhetorical point.

7:16 PM  
Blogger Chris T. said...

Amen. This conversation has become all about Team A vs. Team B, and people are acting excited because their team scored a point. It becomes difficult to do justice to all the serious issues involved in the abortion debate when we let it fall to that level.

4:04 AM  
Blogger Steve Bogner said...

Some people thrive on rhetoric, it seems. But, in my opinion, rhetoric doesn't do much good for those seeking abortions or living with the results of abortion. And, again just my opinion, rhetoric is cheaper than talk when it comes to abortion.

Getting personally involved in pro-life work is a good way to cure the rhetoric problem.

8:03 AM  
Blogger angelmeg said...

Amen Steve,

I can talk all I want about being pro life, but when I act (by supporting projects that support women in unplanned pregnancies, and women who are suffering the aftermath of abortion) then I am actually doing something about it.

By the same token, We should be working to spread the message of the Theology of the Body to young people so that they understand how fearfully wonderfully they are made.

I think it is too funny that someone took the Onion story the wrong way. Maureen gets comments like that on her blog all the time at because people don't bother to read the sidebar.

9:46 AM  

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