“It rhymes with shmashmortion”: enough talk about exceptions
27 October 2012
In the film Knocked Up (2007), when Ben (Seth Rogen) tells his stoner friends that his one-night stand Alison (Katherine Heigl) is pregnant, they offer up a wide range of responses — from congratulations to hoots. Only one of them expresses skepticism about the whole thing. And he can’t say the word.
Jonah: You know what I think you should do? Take care of it.
Jason: Tell me you don’t want him to get an ‘A’ word.
Jonah: Yes, I do, and I won’t say it for little Baby Ears over there, but it rhymes with shashmortion. You should get a shmashmortion at the shmashmortion clinic.
That’s the thing, you see: no one’s willing to say it these days. Thus, let me proclaim it loud and clear: WE NEED ABORTION. And I’m really sick of hearing about exceptions. (And watching films in which the woman always chooses to keep it.)
It’s a campaign year, so our politicians are full of new and creative ways to denounce abortion. The latest and greatest, of course, is the Todd Akins and Richard Mourdocks who seek even greater restrictions on abortion by redefining rape as, alternately, God’s gift for impregnating the ladies OR God’s way of preventing pregnancy. (Yes, my head hurts, too.)
As easy as it is for me to get sucked into that conversation, like I did the other day, the real problem is that they’ve succeeded — they’ve skewed the conversation away from a question of “choice or no choice?” to a question of “how many abortion restrictions can we pile on to an America that’s already restricting abortion at every turn?”
What’s really going on is two separate ideological movements– one about eliminating abortion and the other about redefining rape — merged into a single conversation intended to distract us.
We need to stay focused on the fact women seek abortions, whether it’s legal or not. Given that fact, the only way to ensure anything resembling equal rights in this country is to ensure that abortion is safe and legal and private. Women who live in states with radically restrictive abortion practices are already flooding into Mexico to purchase abortifacients even if they don’t understand how to take that medication. One might also say that the only way to raise a healthy young population of children is to ensure that they are loved and wanted and live with families that can afford another mouth to feed. But most of all, women need the abortion option because the men they have sex with are morons — as well illustrated by the aforementioned Knocked Up. Ben’s friends ride him for not wearing a condom:
Jonah: I can’t believe you didn’t fucking wear a bag. Who does that?
Jason: Why did we go to Costco and buy a year’s supply of condoms if you weren’t gonna use ’em, man?
Jonah: I can’t believe you did this. You fucked everything up.
Jason: The real point is not to get yourself into this position, that’s what you have to realize. You gotta know all the tricks like, for example, if a woman’s on top she can’t get pregnant. It’s just gravity.
Jonah: Well that’s true. Everyone knows that.
Jason: What goes up must come down.
ARGH. These are the guys who grow up to become Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin, people. They can’t say the word abortion aloud. But they want to tell you all about their crackpot theories — whether it’s about sex or God or pregnancy. (Their scene, holding forth on pregnancy, floats virtually every one of the Mourdock/Akin theories, BTW.)
The time has come to tell them to stop. This is terrifying — and not just for women who are raped or whose pregnancies might kill them. This is about women’s rights.