One of the nastiest and most thought-provoking ads the pro-life movement in the US ever ran was of a very pretty little girl, aged about six, in a red dress, nappy hair with a pink ribbon. She stares out of the poster with a solemn, thoughtful expression. The caption: The Most Dangerous Place For An African-American Is In The Womb.
Three of the tropes the prolife movement favour come together in that advert:
- that a pregnant woman and her fetus are each other’s enemies – or at least, that you can’t support a pregnant woman if you want to show support for the fetus she’s carrying
- that abortion is dangerous
- that the right to choose abortion is a particular threat to African-Americans
Ask an American prolifer and they will tell you that Margaret Sanger (1879 – 1966) founded Planned Parenthood with white supremacist intentions, and offer as “evidence” some highly selective quotes from Sanger’s writings and the high proportion of abortions among African-American women. The notion that Sanger founded Planned Parenthood as a kind of dead-hand conspiracy to have black woman have abortions is so absurd on the face of it that I’d always dismissed it as just one of those American things, like the belief that evolution is “just a theory” (yes, like gravity) or that the Grand Canyon was caused by Noah’s Flood. Clear nonsense believed by people whose highschool textbooks were written to avoid being provocative with science and who get current events from Fox News.
Lyall Duff thought he’d made his Facebook profile private. The lesson everyone should take from the Telegraph’s “investigative journalism” – finding a few ranty sweary posts and quoting or partially quoting them – is that Facebook is never reliably private.
The SNP have suspended Lyall Duff, but it is too late to take his name off the ballot for Murdostoun ward in North Lanarkshire: the Telegraph waited to disclose Lyall Duff’s posts until after the deadline precisely so that the SNP’s possibilities for damage limitation would be minimal. This will benefit Scottish Labour; they won a majority on North Lanarkshire council in 2007, and half of the seats in the Murdostoun ward. The Telegraph ran another story this morning with an opening:
Labour questioned why the SNP was prepared to pass new legislation cracking down on sectarianism in football matches but has so far refused to expel Lyall Duff. They accused the First Minister of crying “crocodile tears” over the affair.
Why are the Telegraph runing a press campaign to help Scottish Labour win one more seat in a local authority ward in North Lanarkshire?
On 23rd March, the Guardian broke the news that SPUC (the “Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child” to give them their full, misleading name) had a presentation for schoolchildren that wasn’t so much anti-abortion as anti-science. The headmaster who invited SPUC into his school to give a prolife presentation to the children says he provided “balance” by asking a feminist group along too, but this showed a real lack of interest in the children’s scientific education and wellbeing.