Spin Doctor – Pro-life and the Glorification of Gore

[warning]Trigger Warning – Contains medical procedure and video of surgery and a “spun” description of it to make it sound worse. If you aren’t comfortable? Please skip this. There is a point to the gruesome.[/warning]

You are lying in an unfamiliar bed, a woman with a fake smile in a white dress pats your hand and shoves a needle into your hand. You gasp and lie there stunned not by the pain but by the anticipation of it. By the time you realise the pain is minimal and have gotten over the sensation of a foreign object in your vein you are subject to the cold sensation of an IV line.

You lie there pondering earlier events, you were asked to urinate in a cup and were subject to a barrage of questions. You have no idea why the strange men and women in pastel clothes and a taste for crocs want it. “What possible things could they tell from a cup of urine? I do hope that’s all they want from me.”

You lie there listening to the man who prefers blue pastels, you nod along. This is necessary, you say to yourself. Let’s just get this over.

There were naysayers, sure you didn’t have to fight to get your way but people told you that it’s a part of growing old. They told you that you may lose all function. They told you things you didn’t want to hear, and now you are scared but there is nothing for it. You fake smile back at the fake smiling pastel colours and nod. There is nothing else for it. You sign a form and have the procedure explained to you. It’s gory and gruesome and you read behind the double speak. Hah! Fake smiles and fake words! You have seen through it. When they say incision, they mean cut. What difference does the tool make between the end?

The nurse changes your medication, it makes you feel content and relaxed. A few minutes ago you didn’t want to stay there and you couldn’t sit still. Now you don’t want to get up. You speak and marvel in the slur of your voice.

If you were capable of remembering clearly you would see the ward staff wheel you to the theatre and hear the words of those around you speak in the language of wizards. If you were an observer you would see the patient lie on a bed with an inclined bed with an angled head rest.

Your head suddenly flops backwards and you giggle at the sensation of being floppy, but if you could understand the reality of the situation you may be less inclined to giggle. Your head is held in a clamp so you cannot move and your eye muscles are opened by a speculum. You can no longer blink at will. You begin to look around with what movement your eye can maintain but that soon stops.

The man standing behind you injects your eyes with something from a syringe with a needle that is too sharp and too long for your eye. You would scream if you realised this but whatever that nurse gave you really makes you not care. He then reaches over your eyeball and using a needle and thread locks and immobilises the muscle along the top of your eye. You can only look down. And through this all you are awake.

A special tool is used to make a oblique cut into your eye just above the cornea. The doctor then has a choice of tools does he pick the laser? Does he pick the ice probe? What about the ultrasound? Whatever he choses, he wishes to destroy the lens of your eye. A deft cut with a needle opens up the lens bag and contact with the destructive tool destroys the lens and a little suction cannula removes the material while another adds a gel to replace the fluid being lost.

Then comes the addition of an implant. By using a nerve toxin the iris of the eye is widened and the implant is past through and hooked into the muscles of the eye. This completed, the tools are removed and the eye is closed by simply pressing the two oblique sides of the incision together.

You didn’t sleep through this, you stayed awake. And if you are feeling uncomfortable reading this then you have come to the point of this.

How we describe a medical procedure is vital to how we see it. And this is important when we discuss abortion.

This is what I described. This is a procedure I helped out with while learning my trade. This is a procedure that gives sight to the blind. A cataract is an opacity of the lens of your eye. Unlike glasses we cannot clean our lenses and over time damage and protein builds up giving it a white appearance. They can still see but not very clearly and often with age the lens gets hard and opaque and results in total blindness.

So what we do is remove the old damaged biological lens and replace it with a mechanical lens

And it really is remarkable. It is one of the procedures that gives sight to the blind. Countless old people live better lives due to this procedure and it’s simple and elegant solution.

And for many people who live alone? This is independence and an increase in the quality of life. At the very simplest? It’s giving someone the chance to see their children again. In India? I have seen people moved to tears that they can finally see their loved ones.

And it shows the power of words. Had I not elucidated what the procedure was, all that discomfort and gruesome imagery from the first part of this article would have put you off.

In this lies the key to the pro-life lobby’s most effective method. It demonises and dehumanises the staff who give out abortions by portraying both them and the procedure in an unfathomable light and portrays the procedure as gruesome. It shows pictures of a medical procedure without context and I know that most people are put off by medical procedures while I am fully capable of eating dinner while watching that video because I am inured to it.

But in one way I have informed you about the procedure, but I have couched that information in spin. Using language to make you uncomfortable with the procedure and less likely to get it.

That is one of the big parts of the pro-life movement. It portrays the abortion as a gory procedure and utilise language that is emotive and reads like a 3 month old baby being attacked and killed rather than the reality of the issue.

So you don’t see a medical procedure, you see a charnel house.

On my old blog I had a post up. Photos of my time in a morgue doing an autopsy. It was a dark and dingy morgue and we treated the body with the utmost of respect. A priest did the last rights in deference to the man’s beliefs and we cut him open and found out what killed him. In effect we gave his family closure. We gave them a definitive answer. We gave them peace of mind that he died of natural causes and without foul play. Without context it is just photos of me pulling out bits of dead person and tossing them into bins.

The man (Ramesh) died of a pulmonary embolism. He died quickly and of natural causes. He was cremated later. And this is far more respectful than what the animal liberation were doing at the time which was taking pictures of Vet procedures with no understanding of the process and portraying them as torture.

This is the same principle among the pro-life groups.

I see it as an argument not against abortion but that of someone who has seen something gross and gone “Ewww”. But it is effective, how many people are scared or nervous because they are used to the glorification of gore among pro-life protest memes? It’s a lot easier to scare people off from abortion by making them fear things that simply do not exist.


  1. jo1storm says

    Thing is, you can do that to every little thing including making a breakfast. Just try it with making ham and eggs, with toast and jam for dessert. We have smoked dead pig parts, unfertilized chicken ovum(ova?), baked ground plant parts and boiled fruit reproductive organs. With the addition of food for baby cows, if you want a glass of milk, or more squeezed fruit reproductive organs, if you want some juice.

  2. jo1storm says

    I think it is much older than Dexter. I first came in contact with that effect in “A Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy” when Arthur Dent tried to explain to the ship’s replicator what tea is. And the replicator thought it was a tricky and interesting problem and asked the ship’s main computer for help. Hilarity ensued :D

  3. yulaffin says

    I had cataracts removed from both eyes almost twenty years ago. I knew that my surgeon was going to cut into my eye but I was blissfully unaware of what the procedure entailed so didn’t think twice about going through with it (plus, I was completely knocked out when it was done). If I had read or been shown this post, I would have been terrified.

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