The Bizarre Anti-Choice Dream World Bolstered By Liars Like Carly Fiorina

There was a time when I empathized with those on the other side of the abortion debate. They felt abortion was murder – and no matter how wrong I knew they were, I understood that believing such a thing would mean fighting to make abortion illegal.

But I don’t understand anymore. There are too many holes in their logic, too much magical thinking and outright lies to leave room for meaningful debate. How can you find common ground if you’re not even living on the same planet?

Those intent on destroying access to abortion live in a dream world where they are right and just, even has they are continually provided evidence to the contrary and confronted with their deceptions. Never has this been more on display than in the last few weeks as Republicans have tried to defund Planned Parenthood, and Carly Fiorina’s campaign doubles down on the lie that there’s a video of Planned Parenthood providers talking about “harvesting the brain” of a live fetus.

As has been pointed out over and over, the video that Fiorina claimed existed simply does not, and so her campaign released a different video, complete with spliced and edited audio and video, to keep the lie going. And while the GOP claims that their obsession with Planned Parenthood is about donated fetal tissue – despite every completed state investigation clearing the nonprofit organization of any wrongdoing – Republicans earlier this week questioned Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards about which affiliates provide the most abortions and grilled Richards about her salary. Last time I checked abortion was legal, as was having a paying job.

But I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. Fantastical self-deception is necessary if you want to make abortion illegal. How else could you convince yourself that denying women abortions is good for them, even as that lack of access harms and even kills them?

The fantasy world that anti-choicers live in is one where women don’t really need abortions to save their life, even though women routinely have life-threatening pregnancies. It’s a world where women can’t get pregnant from rape, or if they do should look upon the forced pregnancy as a “gift”. A world where there are only two kinds of women – women who get abortions and women who have children – even though over 60% of the women who get abortions are mothers. (This particular delusion is so ingrained that when Naral Pro-Choice America president Ilyse Hogue went to a Capitol Hill hearing while pregnant with twins, someone from the opposition asked if her stomach was “real.”) Perhaps the most dangerous fantasy, though, is the anti-choice claim that if Roe v Wade is overturned women won’t be arrested for having abortions – even though this is already happening while the procedure is legal.

In some cases, as with Fiorina, these aren’t self-deceptions but knowing lies, made to provocate and rally people behind the cause by any means. And the power of these lies are dependent on the widespread, manic self-righteousness that makes anti-choicers unable – or unwilling – to separate fact from fiction. It was only three years ago, for example, that an article about $8bn, 900,000 square foot Planned Parenthood “abortionplex” went viral with people deriding the move, including a Facebook post from a Louisiana Congressman. It turned out to be an Onion article.

The gaffe would be funny if American women’s lives and health weren’t on the line. Most of us can’t afford to live in a dream world – we live in the real world, where access to contraception, healthcare and abortion are necessary for our freedom and lives. There is a right and a wrong here. Just not the ones most Republicans think.

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