If you read my writing, follow me on social media or listen The Loftus Party the podcast I am on, you have heard me say I am really too tired to get outraged very often. I prefer to point and laugh and to point out logical fallacies and hypocrisy as means of making a point. I also love a good and respectful policy debate as they are necessary and productive.
However, on Monday, my outrage meter went into the red zone. Very few people bring out this reaction in me, but the CEO of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, a filthy and deliberate liar can get me there. I watched her interview with Katie Couric and was so disgusted by the end, I was actually angry. It was so full of outright lies and faulty statistics I wanted to scream. I will break down the interview in another post, but the misinformation was very typical and not surprising. What sent me over the edge was Cecile's personal abortion story.
Cecile Richards, the CEO of an organization called Planned Parenthood stated she had a convenience abortion when she found out she was pregnant with her fourth child because her family was "complete". You read that correctly, the CEO of an organization that purports to teach effective family planning waited until confronted with a life and death decision until deciding her family was complete. With all the extremely effective and even permanent birth control options available her, she had an unplanned pregnancy and chose abortion. Irony anyone?
So after ranting at Katie Couric for such a biased and clearly political "interview", I took a deep breath. During the interview Couric mentioned one of the most disgusting hashtags ever created, #ShoutYourAbortion. I thought to myself that we needed a pro-life message that blew that away and mentioned it to my friend Jodi (@AplMom on Twitter). She asked our followers for ideas for a hashtag to celebrate people who chose life. So many ideas came, but Annemarie (@Liberalheretic) hit on the perfect message #MyUnintendendedJoy.
Why is it perfect? First, it uses the abortion industry's own language against them with unintended. Second it contains the word joy. The abortion industry likes to say unwanted children are abused and neglected. That their mother's lives will somehow be ruined by taking on an unwanted burden. This is simply not the case.
In the absence of e-mail lists to build an intentional hashtag, like Planned Parenthood and even the pro-life organizations have, we told friends and started tweeting. We tweeted our stories.
And it caught on. Stories of young mothers who were alone and scared, yet chose life. Older moms who got a surprise they can't imagine not having in their life. Dad's who clearly live for their children. Adoptive parents, birth mothers, siblings and anyone who loves a child who was not planned and now literally lights up their world started sharing personal stories. So much joy, so many beautiful families. We had created a hashtag people were smiling about and grateful for, even if they did not have a story to share.
Then something amazing started to happen. People would share their story of choosing life themselves while declaring they are still pro-choice. You know what? That's awesome! Choosing life for your child isn't political. It's personal and any story that affirms choosing life should be celebrated regardless of your politics.
At the end of the day #MyUnintendedJoy might be the first bipartisan hashtag on Twitter that dealt with a policy issue. That is why it matters. People on both sides of the abortion policy debate had stories to share. And if one woman saw a story she identifies with that gives her the courage to choose life, today, tomorrow or six months from now it was an effort well spent.
In full disclosure, my preferred policy is close to that articulated by the Clinton Administration. Bill Clinton spoke of abortion in terms of being safe, legal and rare. I don't want to create a black market for the procedure that puts women's lives in danger. However, I would add one caveat to Clinton's position. When used for convenience or as a form of birth control, it should also be considered reprehensible. Full stop.
In a civilized nation, I do not believe we should be discussing the termination of viable babies in the womb as serious policy. But Democrats do. Free, on-demand and without apology throughout the pregnancy is their policy position.
Conversely a ban is not a serious policy discussion. Changing hearts and minds using scientific understanding of fetal development and putting restrictions on the procedure seems prudent. According to the latest Marist poll, 85% of Americans agree with that basic approach and this is where all serious policy discussion should be centered. Safe and legal with limits and recognition for exceptions in the circumstances of rape, incest and life of the mother. I applaud President Trump's Executive Order ending the barbaric practice of leaving babies who survive the procedure to die on a table, as well as the elimination of funds to NGO's that provide the procedure in other countries.
So for the majority of women tweeting on #ShoutYourAbortion and Cecile Richards herself, that is correct. I find you reprehensible. Your "I got pregnant in college and had an abortion and I am now a lawyer" tweets make me ill and do not lead to my acceptance. My Unintended Joy showed up when I was the mother of two toddlers finishing my graduate degree full time. I got kicked out of campus family housing, took out additional student loans, rented a house and bought a hideous minivan that I drove for seven years while paying off my debt. And together the four of us marched forward.
For my trouble, I enjoyed a wonderful and rewarding career and am the mother of three amazing kids. The last of which is a smart, funny and big-hearted teen who makes my life, the lives of his family and the lives of his friends better just by being here. And the best part is, I never have to wonder who he might have been. That's called #Winning.
*A special thank you to Twitchy, The Federalist, Breitbart and other media outlets for sharing the stories. And my heartfelt thanks to Mary Katharine Ham and the Fabulous Kira Davis for sharing their deeply personal stories.