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Mar 19 2012

Abby Johnson doesn’t know what she’s talking about

Abby Johnson is one of those anti-abortion advocates. She has a different story, though: she was employed by Planned Parenthood for several years, and claims to have had an epiphany while participating in an abortion (a claim that doesn’t actually hold up), and become a forced-birth activist instead. She’s gone so far over to the Dark Side that she endorses Santorum for President, which means she’s a credulous dingleberry for god now.

But there’s one virtue to her: she’s such an awful liar for her cause that she inspires outrage in reasonable people who hear her, and they scurry out and do the research that shows she is making stuff up whenever she talks about abortion. In case you ever have to deal with Ms Johnson, she recently spoke at Colorado State University and motivated a couple of bloggers to do a very thorough takedown. Read why Abby Johnson is a liar about Planned Parenthood, and why Abby Johnson is a liar about biology. These are useful, concise resources in any argument about abortion.

86 comments

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  1. 1
    raven

    My favorite one was the woman who claimed she remembers escaping from her own attempted abortion as a fetus and years later confronting the doctor who tried to drag her out of her mother’s uterus.

    Or something. It’s so implausible, it’s a wonder even the female slavers listen to it.

    I’ts almost as implausible as Rick Santorum’s wife living for a while with an abortionist MD who in fact, delivered her as an infant. Which, as it turns out, is true.

    Or almost as implausible as Rick Santorum’s wife having a medical abortion to expel of dying fetus. Which is also true.

  2. 2
    raven

    Gianna Jessen – Abortion Survivor – confronts … – Pro-Life Blogs
    prolifeblogs. com/articles/archives/2008/…/gianna_jessen_-.php

    17 Sep 2008 – She survived a late-term saline abortion and comments, Can you … On this topic, Dr. Melissa writes about her own experience: … Limbaugh, Fluke, ‘War on Women’ and the Travesty of Cravenly Caving to Lies of the Left …

    For anyone interested.

    I’m not going to that link. My computer’s cpu started screaming about cruel and unusual requests.

  3. 3
    kevinv

    All I can think of is the character from Blazing Saddles Gabby Johnson and his authentic frontier gibberish.

  4. 4
    Matt Penfold

    We have a Conservative MP in the UK, Nadine Dorries, who claims that she became pro-forced birth are witnessing two botched abortions when a nurse.

    She has never offered any evidence to support the claim, and it seems she did nothing to report her concerns at the time.

    Of course botched abortions are not an argument against abortions. They are an argument for proper training and supervision. Something that is made more difficult when artificial impediments are put in the way of those seeking to have an abortion and those willing to carry them out.

  5. 5
    Gregory in Seattle

    If these people are so adamantly opposed to abortion, why are they always so adamantly opposed to contraception? It seems to me that the best way to reduce the number of abortions is to work towards making sure that every pregnancy a wanted pregnancy. Make contraception inexpensive, easy to obtain, and educate people on its use, and you are three quarters of the way there.

    Yeah, yeah, I know. The issue has nothing at all to do with either abortion or contraception, and everything to do with controlling the nation’s wombs.

  6. 6
    Matt125

    I completely agree with Gregory’s comment at #5. Personally, even though I’m pro-choice I see abortion as something we should strive to get rid of through good sex education and contraception policy. More honest and open sex-ed in schools, free contraception at ALL pharmacies, and get rid of the sexist hysteria from the likes of Rush Limbaugh who try to make women who make good choices look like sluts.

  7. 7
    holytape

    We really should redefine “endorsing Santorum for President.”

  8. 8
    Matt Penfold

    I completely agree with Gregory’s comment at #5. Personally, even though I’m pro-choice I see abortion as something we should strive to get rid of through good sex education and contraception policy.

    Not all abortions are carried out because the pregnancy is unwanted. In some cases it is because the foetus is not viable, or the women’s health is at risk if the pregnancy goes to term. You can have the best sex education in the world, and it will do very little to reduce incidents.

  9. 9
    Ing

    Personally, even though I’m pro-choice I see abortion as something we should strive to get rid of through good sex education and contraception policy.

    Still will not remove medically or economically necessary abortion

  10. 10
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    And that doesn’t account for contraception failure or when people just flat out make a mistake. It happens.

  11. 11
    Matt125

    Matt Penfold #8

    Absolutely, you’ll never be able to get rid of the need for medically-necessary abortions. My point was to agree with Gregory’s view that the best way to get rid of abortions (in general) was better contraception and sex-ed.

  12. 12
    Inaji

    Audley:

    And that doesn’t account for contraception failure or when people just flat out make a mistake. It happens.

    Oh, yes it does. The one time I got pregnant (and subsequently had an abortion)? I was using more than one type of contraception. It definitely happens.

  13. 13
    Gregory in Seattle

    That is why I said “reduce” the number of abortions. I know that it cannot — and should not — be eliminated, recriminalized or otherwise made difficult to get. However, I would think that even the most adamant abortion opponent would understand that there is no reason to terminate a pregnancy that never occurs.

  14. 14
    Pierce R. Butler

    Johnson, according to Life Issues Institute, has filed a lawsuit against the Planned Parenthood affiliate where she once worked:

    The lawsuit is posted here.

    According to the lawsuit, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast sent close to $6 million in fraudulent claims to Medicaid. They even took steps to manipulate patient charts to hide this fraud from auditors and inspectors. The lawsuit said the organization submitted more than 87,000 reimbursement claims for services that were “false, fraudulent, and/or ineligible” between 2007 and 2009.

    [Above link is .pdf, btw.] She’s using Alliance Defense Fund attorneys (or vice-versa). No mention (in any of the anti-choicer press releases I’ve seen, anyway) as to why she’s suing instead of reporting her evidence (if any) to appropriate law enforcement officers.

  15. 15
    Matt Penfold

    Oh, yes it does. The one time I got pregnant (and subsequently had an abortion)? I was using more than one type of contraception. It definitely happens.

    I think Audley was pointing out that such a situation is neither the result of inadequate sex education nor a case of the foetus not being viable or women’s health being at risk.

  16. 16
    raven

    We’ve known for decades how to reduce the number of abortions.

    Comprehensive sex ed and widely available and inexpensive contraception.

    In European countries where this is done, the abortion rate is 1/6 to 1/10 that of the USA.

    FWIW, in countries where abortion is illegal, it still occurs. The rates can be quite high. All that happens is that it becomes occasionally fatal.

    Patient Educ Couns. 1994 Jul;23(3):161-71.
    Contraception in The Netherlands: the low abortion rate explained.
    Ketting E, Visser AP.
    Abstract
    This article gives a review of the main factors that are related to the low abortion rate in the Netherlands. Attention is payed to figures on abortion and the use of contraceptive methods since the beginning of the 1960s up to the end of the 1980s. The strong acceptance of family planning was influenced by changing values regarding sexuality and the family, the transition from an agricultural to a modern industrial society, rapid economic growth, declining influence of the churches on daily life, introduction of modern mass media and the increased general educational level. The introduction of modern contraceptives (mainly the pill and contraceptive sterilization) was stimulated by a strong voluntary family planning movement, fear for overpopulation, a positive role of GPs, and the public health insurance system. A reduction of unwanted pregnancies has been accomplished through successful strategies for the prevention of teenage pregnancy (including sex education, open discussions on sexuality in mass media, educational campaigns and low barrier services) as well as through wide acceptance of sterilization. The Dutch experience with family planning shows the following characteristics: a strong wish to reduce reliance on abortion, ongoing sexual and contraceptive education related to the actual experiences of the target groups, and low barrier family planning services.

    PIP: People in the Netherlands consider unplanned pregnancy to be a large problem that society and decision-makers should and do seriously address. The abortion rate fluctuates between 5 to 7/1000 women of reproductive age, the lowest abortion rate in the world.

  17. 17
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Gregory,
    I think we’re on the same side, here. As long as you think abortion should be legal and accessible, I’ve got no quibble with you.

  18. 18
    Pteryxx

    Johnson, according to Life Issues Institute, has filed a lawsuit against the Planned Parenthood affiliate where she once worked:

    She didn’t just work there… as a clinic director, she had systemwide access to the records she’s claiming were falsified by Planned Parenthood.

    More on this:

    Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast submitted more than 87,000 reimbursement claims for services that were “false, fraudulent, and/or ineligible,” said the lawsuit filed by Abby K. Johnson on behalf of the United States and the state of Texas in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Houston.

    Ms. Johnson is a former director of one of the clinics and had “system-wide” access to patient records and billing activities for about two years.

    Ms. Johnson, who became a pro-life activist after viewing an ultrasound and has converted to Catholicism, said Friday she filed the lawsuit under the federal False Claims Act in 2009 “to simply expose Planned Parenthood and expose their corruption, and expose what they are doing with American tax dollars.”

    “Everyone, no matter what you think about abortion, should be interested in where our money is going and how it is being spent,” Ms. Johnson said. “As someone who saw the inside of this and saw the fraudulent billing and the fraudulent claims, I felt like I had a duty, and it was necessary for me to come forward with this information.”

    The lawsuit, if decided in favor of Ms. Johnson, could result in multimillion-dollar damages and penalties from Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. As the whistleblower, Ms. Johnson could also receive as much as 30 percent of the amount recovered.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/mar/11/planned-parenthood-accused-of-6m-fraud/?page=all

    From Jezebel:

    But even though it seems highly unlikely that the allegations against Planned Parenthood of Texas have any merit, that’s not the point of Johnson’s lawsuit. “(Abby Johnson’s) job,” explained Tafolla, “is to make as much publicity in an anti-choice spokesperson role as possible.” And even a dismissed lawsuit gives the anti-choice blogging community fodder for years’ worth of fabricated anti-Planned Parenthood urban legend-style horror stories.

    http://jezebel.com/5892914/extremely-fishy-planned-parenthood-lawsuit-just-a-sign-of-shit-to-come

  19. 19
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    And Matt,
    I think Caine was agreeing with me. ;)

  20. 20
    Pteryxx

    As for this:

    No mention (in any of the anti-choicer press releases I’ve seen, anyway) as to why she’s suing instead of reporting her evidence (if any) to appropriate law enforcement officers.

    From the Times article I just linked:

    The case was unsealed Friday because federal and Texas authorities decided not to intervene in the case, Mr. Norton said.

    The suit’s from 2009 originally.

  21. 21
    aaronpound

    If these people are so adamantly opposed to abortion, why are they always so adamantly opposed to contraception?

    Because in their minds, if people have access to contraception, then they will have more sex, and because they are having more sex, they will get pregnant more (even with contraception apparently), and as a result, people will have more abortions.

    No, it doesn’t make any sense.

    I won’t link to it, but the great font of fundie stupidity Mike Egnor has made this very argument on his blog. And he wasn’t making a joke. He really thinks more contraception means more abortions.

  22. 22
    Gregory Greenwood

    Johnson started her presentation talking about the BTK Killer, Dennis Rader. She told the eager crowd that Rader had been a well-respected community member before it was discovered that he was a sadistic murderer. Johnson then attempted to draw a parallel between Rader and Planned Parenthood, asking the audience if we should have let Rader go free because of the good he did while simultaneously being a serial killer. When the audience predictably answered no, Johnson claimed that the situation was similar with Planned Parenthood. She tried to refute the argument that Planned Parenthood does a lot of good for women’s health by saying that we can’t ignore the horrors that take place in Planned Parenthoods just because of the benefits they also offer.

    Because a medical procedure that saves vast numbers of lives and forms a critical element of the maintenance of the bodily autonomy of women is naturally exactly the same as the sadistic murders perpetrated by a serial killer in pursuit of his own twisted gratification.

    There really are no depths to which the anti-choice brigade won’t sink, are there?

    Johnson claimed that PP enforced an “abortion quota” at the clinics – a claim with absolutely no evidential support, but one that has nonetheless been perpetuated by conservative opinion-leaders. Here’s what the PP employee had to say:

    I imagine that these are set by Palin’s mythical ‘death panels’? Honestly, this dosn’t even make sense – what possible purpose or (credible) agenda would abortion quotas serve? Who would benefit? Johnson appears to be claiming that Planned Parenthood is engaging in a master plan to abort feotuses just for the hell of it. It comes across as less a political position and more a paranoid delusion.

    Seemingly terrified of sex, Johnson also claimed that PP condoned the teaching of sexual positions using stuffed animals to children as young as four, some of this instruction occurring within the Girl Scouts due to their partnership with PP. This claim, like so many of Johnson’s, doesn’t have the benefit of being supported by facts, but is instead an urban legend propagated by right-wing extremists.

    And again with the craziness – does she seriously expect anyone who isn’t already a fully paid up, sex-hating, misogynist fundamentalist to buy into the idea that PP is teaching sex positions to four year olds? It would be funny if it wasn’t so sick.

    Johnson claimed that PP was attempting to promote the spread of HIV by encouraging patients with the virus to keep the information private and to withhold from their partners.

    Wrong, all wrong. It is the Catholic Church that is seeking to promote the spread of HIV by lying about microscopic holes being engineered into condoms.

    Again, why even bother with such an obvious lie? I cannot decide whether Johnson is genuinely delusional or simply a liar for jeebus…

    Near the end of her speech, Johnson squeezed in a quick dig at atheists when she rolled her eyes at working with pro-life atheists (sadly, they do exist), and said that the problem with these groups is that “all the atheists are becoming Christian.”

    Ah, I see. Liar for jeebus it is then…

  23. 23
    sqlrob

    The case was unsealed Friday because federal and Texas authorities decided not to intervene in the case, Mr. Norton said.

    Which says to me, this is absolute and total BS. Texas miss a chance to pillory PP? Yeah, right.

  24. 24
    Pteryxx

    Again, why even bother with such an obvious lie? I cannot decide whether Johnson is genuinely delusional or simply a liar for jeebus…

    Those lies aren’t particularly obvious to people who aren’t us, with our science-skepticism-critical-thinking backgrounds and fount of real knowledge to draw from. Sex ed is banned down here in the US south, remember? These are people who actually believe that Obama’s a Muslim, global warming’s a scam and evolution’s a discredited belief system of genocidal god-haters. They don’t know anything about Planned Parenthood that didn’t come from a church, CPC or right-wing-biased article.

    For instance, see Zingularity and Brayton. (In general, not on PP.)

  25. 25
    ButchKitties

    Because in their minds, if people have access to contraception, then they will have more sex, and because they are having more sex, they will get pregnant more (even with contraception apparently), and as a result, people will have more abortions.

    I have an uncle who has made that exact argument to me. But this is the same uncle who is against mandatory safety equipment for cars because he thinks if cars have seat belts and air bags, then people will drive more often and more recklessly and as a result, vehicular fatalities will increase.

  26. 26
    What a Maroon, oblivious

    Because in their minds, if people have access to contraception, then they will have more sex, and because they are having more sex, they will get pregnant more (even with contraception apparently), and as a result, people will have more abortions.

    Much, perhaps most, of the pro-life crowd believes that the sole valid purpose of sex is to try to produce babies (in the confines of a “traditional” marriage, of course). So the underlying factor in all of their positions is to stigmatize anything that will lead to sex without babies (including gay sex, masturbation, oral sex, etc.).

    If their only concern was to reduce the number of abortions, they’d be handing out free condoms and ensuring easy and cheap access to pills, IUDs, and so on.

  27. 27
    dianne

    There really are no depths to which the anti-choice brigade won’t sink, are there?

    Well, since we’ve already got them bragging about lying, rape, and murder I’d have to say, probably not. Once the one bishop admitted that he preferred murdering women to allowing them to have an abortion, there really was no further down for them to go.

  28. 28
    David Marjanović

    Because in their minds, if people have access to contraception, then they will have more sex, and

    Stop right here.

    These people want to punish women for having sex – and they want to use pregnancy as a punishment.

    I won’t link to it, but the great font of fundie stupidity Mike Egnor has made this very argument on his blog. And he wasn’t making a joke. He really thinks more contraception means more abortions.

    Or, rather, he tries really hard to believe that, because even he can see that punishing women for having sex is just too unreasonable.

    Wrong, all wrong. It is the Catholic Church that is seeking to promote the spread of HIV by lying about microscopic holes being engineered into condoms.

    See? HIV is God’s punishment for having more than one sex partner !! By lyingly claiming there’s no way to prevent it, the Catholic Church wants to scare people into monogamy.

    (If you got HIV from a blood transfusion or something, well, I suppose that’s collateral damage.)

  29. 29
    David Marjanović

    and they want to use pregnancy as a punishment

    Or birth, at least, for in pain shalt thou bear thy children, saith the LORD thy God.

  30. 30
    Pteryxx

    (whoops, screwed up my Brayton link in 24.)

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2012/03/15/why-the-southern-strategy-works/

  31. 31
    Gregory Greenwood

    Pteryxx @ 24;

    I keep forgetting just how much control fundies have over education and popular media in some quarters of the US. As a Brit, I have the good fortune to live in a country where the god-botherers don’t have that much power… at least, not yet.

    As you say, this is mostly just preaching to the choir – fodder for those who have already drunk the kool-aid and have become marionettes of the church.

    The funny part is that some cretins like Johnson will role up to a place like this and still expect the arguments that go down so well with brain-washed god-bots to simply blow rationalists and skeptics away, and then feel oh-so persecuted when we all whip out our Occam’s razors and slice their argument to pieces.

    Of course, back in the day they would have simply burned pesky atheists like us, and now that option is off the table they have had to resort to plan B – character assassination and disinformation… and now we are back to why so many people would believe these lies again.

  32. 32
    oligarchyofwimmin

    I agree.

  33. 33
    Poggio

    What absolutely nauseates me is the medical misinformation that these lunatics like Abby Johnson spread about prenatal development and care; and with a sickening self-righteous smile on their face, as if by merely opening their mouth they were somehow knowledgeable about anything other than their own self-promotion. ugh. I need a shower.

  34. 34
    raven

    There really are no depths to which the anti-choice brigade won’t sink, are there?

    Probably not. It’s religion after all.

    The forced birthers/female slavers have been sponsoring xian terrorism and murdering MD’s for decades.

  35. 35
    Anthony K

    oligarchyofwimmin

    There’s nothing suspicious about that moniker, none at all.

  36. 36
    Gregory Greenwood

    David Marjanović @ 28;

    See? HIV is God’s punishment for having more than one sex partner !! By lyingly claiming there’s no way to prevent it, the Catholic Church wants to scare people into monogamy.

    False fear as a means to control – many oppresive states (and notionally ‘liberal’ ones – the UK and US in recent years spring to mind) may use the technique, but they should really be paying royalties to the religions that invented it.

    (If you got HIV from a blood transfusion or something, well, I suppose that’s collateral damage.)

    Or just another exmple of the sky fairy’s poor aim – afterall, he apparently flattens half a state with tornadoes becaue he is angry about ‘teh ghey’, and low-cut tops result in earthquakes that cause damage in an area measured in hundreds of square miles. A sharp-shooter he is not…

  37. 37
    Gregory Greenwood

    raven @ 34;

    Probably not. It’s religion after all.

    The forced birthers/female slavers have been sponsoring xian terrorism and murdering MD’s for decades.

    Yup, they prove their supposedly great respect for human life by… murdering people.

    Violent and stupid – it’s the fundie way.

    ——————————————————————

    Brownian @ 35;

    oligarchyofwimmin

    There’s nothing suspicious about that moniker, none at all.

    What’s the betting that this is Matriarchy attempting a little light morphing?

  38. 38
    What a Maroon, oblivious

    Actually, god intended HIV to be punishment for eating chimps; everything else is collatoral damage.

  39. 39
    Anthony K

    What’s the betting that this is Matriarchy attempting a little light morphing?

    I’d say it’s a pretty safe bet. For someone supposedly smarter than most, he’s not all that clever, unless complete and obvious telegraphing of your moves is all the rage among the brainies these days.

  40. 40
    Muse

    I’ve met Abby – she’s unpleasant in person also. She was out protesting my clinic not too long ago, and I swear our regular antis were practically falling down to worship.

  41. 41
    Pteryxx

    Gregory @31:

    I keep forgetting just how much control fundies have over education and popular media in some quarters of the US. (…)

    As you say, this is mostly just preaching to the choir – fodder for those who have already drunk the kool-aid and have become marionettes of the church.

    Um, I’m pretty sure that doesn’t follow. This isn’t preaching to dedicated allies, it’s poisoning the discourse. Right? By ensuring that ordinary rank-and-file citizens react with bias against any mere mention of Planned Parenthood, thus predisposing them to reject accurate information.

    Something similar happened to me with evolution… as a biology TA, I had a student ask me “But you seem like a decent person, how can you believe in evolution?” So they’re trying to create the situation where failing to hate Planned Parenthood makes you suspect.

  42. 42
    timgueguen

    Gregory, I think the claim about abortoin quotas is to imply that Planned Parenthood is promoting abortion to make money off the proceedure. I’m pretty sure more than a few anti-abortion types openly state the goal of PP is to make money off abortions.

  43. 43
    Azuma Hazuki

    The obvious solution to this is to exterminate all males and promote lesbianism! I volunteer* to be one of the androcidal commandos! There will never be another abortion ever once the world is made only of womyn-loving-womyn as Goddess intended from the beginning!

    Oh, wait, this isn’t really about abortion? It’s actually about making sure those with two X chromosomes act like good little broodmares as the Lovecraftian nightmare story these people dare to call God intended** (or so they think)? Well who’da thunk?!

    * with tongue firmly in cheek; IME, the real man-haters are the straight girls…

    ** and seriously, Christians are the last people who should be pushing abstinence. If abstinence really were 100% effective, they wouldn’t have a religion! According to Matthew and Luke anyway =P

  44. 44
    Gregory Greenwood

    Pteryxx @ 41;

    Um, I’m pretty sure that doesn’t follow. This isn’t preaching to dedicated allies, it’s poisoning the discourse. Right? By ensuring that ordinary rank-and-file citizens react with bias against any mere mention of Planned Parenthood, thus predisposing them to reject accurate information.

    While you are certainly right that this functions as a means of poisoning the discourse, I think it is also used as a means of reinforcing the position of those already ‘on board’ with the anti-choice position – helping to quash any sneaking doubts and whipping up the base into a fervour against ‘baby-killers’, such that abortion is not merely seen as ‘problematic’ or even ‘immoral’, but is instead transmuted into such an unconscionable evil, such a vital front in the culture wars, that willful lying and misrepresentation, and even violence and cold-blooded murder, are not simply permissable but are a moral imperative to the true believers.

    This is not just about chilling the discourse among those who might be prepared to talk, it is also about transforming those who are already beyond the point of being reachable by discourse into fanatics prepared to employ force. That is why the anecdotes are so lurid; they are calculated to provoke the rage of those who already believe abortion to be a great evil.

    As raven said @ 34, the link between anti-choicers and out-and-out xian terrorism is not merely coincidental.

    Something similar happened to me with evolution… as a biology TA, I had a student ask me “But you seem like a decent person, how can you believe in evolution?” So they’re trying to create the situation where failing to hate Planned Parenthood makes you suspect.

    It reminds me of a famous story about the former USSR when Stalin was in power (I don’t know if it is actually true, but the attitude seems familiar).

    So the story goes, it was widely believed that Stalin had secret police present at all his speaches, and after he finished speaking and the applause began, it tended to continue for an absurdly long period, because if you stopped clapping prematurely you were likely to be hauled off on suspicion of being an agent provocateur. Allegedly, the audience only stopped applauding when senior officals did so, thus signalling that it was safe to stop clapping.

    I can imagine any number of fundies being quite happy with a similar set up where anyone who doesn’t repudiate the Devil/teh ghey/Darwin/femininism/Islam loud and long enough has their name noted down for later ‘correction’…

  45. 45
    Pteryxx

    This is not just about chilling the discourse among those who might be prepared to talk, it is also about transforming those who are already beyond the point of being reachable by discourse into fanatics prepared to employ force. That is why the anecdotes are so lurid; they are calculated to provoke the rage of those who already believe abortion to be a great evil.

    …You’re right, and I’m ashamed that I’m *still* so prone to presume good faith that I missed this.

  46. 46
    Pteryxx

    I can imagine any number of fundies being quite happy with a similar set up where anyone who doesn’t repudiate the Devil/teh ghey/Darwin/femininism/Islam loud and long enough has their name noted down for later ‘correction’…

    …This might explain the current Republican party.

    Hang on, isn’t this essentially a negative “tone” argument? Regardless of facts, failure to, I don’t know, repeat them loudly and luridly enough?

    (I’m sorry, this is overlapping what I’m learning from the discussion of empathy versus compassion in the JohnTheOther thread…)

  47. 47
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Oh, god, don’t tell me she’s THAT far go…

    …oh. Different misogynist named Abby. Please continue.

  48. 48
    Gregory Greenwood

    Azuma Hazuki @ 43;

    The obvious solution to this is to exterminate all males and promote lesbianism! I volunteer* to be one of the androcidal commandos! There will never be another abortion ever once the world is made only of womyn-loving-womyn as Goddess intended from the beginning!

    If I am to perish at the hands of androcidal commandos, then my last request is to choose the manner of my passing.

    I throw myself on the mercy of the wise Femputer, and request death by snoo-snoo!

    Hey, if you have to go out, you should at least go out your way…

  49. 49
    truthspeaker

    So it’s not that she doesn’t know what she’s talking about, she’s just lying.

  50. 50
    kianmead

    Am I wrong to think, the stuffed animal anecdote is wishful thing, of the clergy wanting to bugger children.

    But the “moral” boundaries these people skirt to avoid telling the truth is no longer a surprise.

    No wonder Bill Maher is anti vaccination….Unconsciously he has been inducted into the everyone lies camp….promoted and practiced by christians. In his case, he limits it to corporations perverting the medical profession. Which is largely truth, but not all true.

    PS vaccinate your child….

    PPS Lying for Jesus = emotional truth triumphs over scientific truth. Something we atheists need to address better.

  51. 51
    Gregory Greenwood

    Pteryxx @ 45;

    You’re right, and I’m ashamed that I’m *still* so prone to presume good faith that I missed this.

    Don’t worry, you can borrow some of my bitter cynicism – I have plenty and to spare, or so people keep telling me…

    @ 46;

    …This might explain the current Republican party.

    They certainly seem to be heading in that direction. You deserve extra intertoob points for comparing them to a Communist regime – you just know they will hate that.

  52. 52
    Pteryxx

    Gregory, thanks… it’s not simple lack of cynicism with me, it’s a failure of theory of mind, but that’s the topic of the OTHER thread. It’s been several years and I’m still trying to grasp the heuristic “outrage makes neurotypicals believe things”.

  53. 53
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Gregory Greenwood:

    I throw myself on the mercy of the wise Femputer, and request death by snoo-snoo!

    So… are you Zapp Brannigan or Fry? :p

  54. 54
    Pteryxx

    More or less on-topic: both those Atheist Elephant takedowns PZ linked are really good, detailed, reference-filled dissections of Abby Johnson’s lies and biology fails. The second one even called her out directly on Twitter:

    A little while ago, I had the pleasure of attending a talk by Abby Johnson at Colorado State University. What, for me, began as an interesting endeavor, ended up being something I had to sit through and stomach. Why, you ask? Most, if not all of the things that came out of her mouth having to do with science were flat out wrong! It was like getting slapped across the face over and over and I could do nothing about it. Eventually, my disappointment grew to the point where I tweeted this:

    [screenshot: KGWritePad: There is so much anatomically, neurobiologically, and medically wrong in @AbbyJohnson 's lecture that it won't fit in 140 characters. #sad]

    After the talk (and not being able to ask my questions, since she only accepted around five), I stood outside trolling some people until I decided it was a lost cause. Then, I discovered this in my Twitter feed:

    [screenshot: AbbyJohnson: @KGWritePad do tell.]

    Oh, Abby Johnson, you don’t know what you have gotten yourself into. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

    http://atheistelephant.com/2012/03/among-other-things-abby-johnson-didnt-pay-attention-in-biology-part-ii/

    This needs amplified (and applauded!)

    Also, the author’s defending against some Innocently-Ignorant commenters:

    Nevertheless, I will concede your point that the method which pro-lifers have chosen may not be the best and is perhaps ignorant of better methods used by other countries (I myself am uncertain as to my position on abortion legislation, due to the uncommon but serious cases of rape, incest, life endangerment, etc). This may justify, when describing their position in further detail, using the term “anti-choice”.

    HOWEVER. I again must insist that to use this as an overarching label and motivation is, to use your words, “demonizing” those attempting to protect unborn children.

  55. 55
    coleslaw

    Actually, god intended HIV to be punishment for eating chimps; everything else is collatoral damage.

    I thought the chimps got it from eating monkeys.

  56. 56
    jaybee

    Johnson’s associated “Talk” page on wikipedia has some interesting information:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Abby_Johnson_%28activist%29

    Johnson had two abortions herself. It is OK for her to do when she needed them, but not for other people.

    It also mentions she is converting to Catholicism. The first line of the Talk page says: “Abby and her partner were still waiting for an annulment ruling on 4 August.”

    Huh? She has two abortions, is married, has a child, and that marriage can be annulled, as if it didn’t happen?

  57. 57
    Ing

    (I myself am uncertain as to my position on abortion legislation, due to the uncommon but serious cases of rape, incest, life endangerment, etc)

    Goddamn it! It’s not uncommon!

  58. 58
    Jadehawk

    Huh? She has two abortions, is married, has a child, and that marriage can be annulled, as if it didn’t happen?

    yep; that’s how conservative catholics get divorced without getting divorced. why they can do that i don’t know, but they can.

  59. 59
    Jadehawk

    Finally, I did get the opportunity to ask Johnson a question regarding the means by which we could reduce abortion. I asked her to comment on the tremendously lower rates of abortion in many western European countries, specifically the Netherlands, and her response was the perfect example of the type of ignorance Johnson embodies and indeed celebrates.

    Johnson claimed that (not surprisingly) she wasn’t aware of the abortion rates of such countries, but from what she understood they had a strong family commitment to teaching children about sex and that it wasn’t something imposed by the government or in schools.

    HAhahahaHAHAHAHAhahahaha

    is that before or after they murder grandma with euthanasia?

    HAHAHAhahahaHAHAHAH

    she’s a female santorum, alright.

  60. 60
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Seemingly terrified of sex, Johnson also claimed that PP condoned the teaching of sexual positions using stuffed animals to children as young as four,…

    Mummy laid an egg (fun fact: Amazon.com does not even have a picture of the cover (!)) has some interestingly looking sex position (I think doing it on a bouncing ball could be a bit tricky).
    My kids both love it and the younger one is two. Oh the horrors, they’ll grow up thinking that sex is fun!
    And they don’t only know how babies come out of the womb, they also know how they get in there in the first place!

  61. 61
    michaelbusch

    @raven:

    We’ve known for decades how to reduce the number of abortions.

    Comprehensive sex ed and widely available and inexpensive contraception.

    In European countries where this is done, the abortion rate is 1/6 to 1/10 that of the USA.

    The difference isn’t quite that great. Your reference quotes rate in the Netherlands as 5-7/1000/yr. The CDC estimate for the USA rate in 2005 for the US was ~15/1000/yr (for women between 15 and 44 years of age).

    The rate in the Netherlands is a factor of two to three less than that in the US, so your point is still valid.

  62. 62
    Gregory Greenwood

    Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart, purveyor of candy and lies @ 53;

    So… are you Zapp Brannigan or Fry?

    Fry, definitely Fry. It may be that I am already a buffoon, but I would far rather be a basically harmless, even quite-decent-some-of-the-time buffoon than a self-obsessed, narcissistic, toxically misogynist ersatz Kirk buffoon.

  63. 63
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    I ♥ Fry (almost as much as I ♥ Bender).

    … a self-obsessed, narcissistic, toxically misogynist ersatz Kirk buffoon.

    Not Kirk. Shatner. Zapp Brannigan is supposedly based on Kirk, but if William Shatner played himself instead of acting* as Kirk. (Hopefully that makes sense.)

    *For certain values of acting, anyway.

  64. 64
    raven

    Adolescent Sexual Health in Europe and the US
    ww.advocatesforyouth.org/publications/419?task=view

    The United States’ teen birth rate is nearly eight times higher than that of the Netherlands’, over five times higher than France’s, and over four times higher than

    religioustolerance.org:

    The percentages show the rate for each country expressed as a percentage of the U.S. value. For example, the Netherlands abortion rate per year is 4.2 per thousand adolescents which is about 15% of the American figure.

    The numbers I quoted USA versus Netherlands were for adolescents, teenagers.

    U.S. teen pregnancy and teen birth rates are the second highest among 46 countries in the developed world.

    There is room for improvement here. And all the Abby Johnson’s of the country do is try to stand in the way.

    The teenage birth rate is important, being highly correlated and causal with life long poverty.

  65. 65
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Raven:

    My favorite one was the woman who claimed she remembers escaping from her own attempted abortion as a fetus and years later confronting the doctor who tried to drag her out of her mother’s uterus.

    I LOL’ed.

    Gregory, #5 and Matt125, #6: You are not helping by positioning abortion as something “we should strive to get rid of,” no matter how much you favor keeping it legal. The more you wring your hands about how “terrible” abortion is, the more ground you cede to the forced birthers.

    Abortion should be safe, legal, and readily available to any woman who wants one.

    Jaybee, #56: But, you see, it’s OK, because she’s repented and dedicated herself to JEEEZZZUSSSSSSS. Fundies of all kinds love nothing so much as a “sinner redeemed.”

  66. 66
    Gregory Greenwood

    Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart, purveyor of candy and lies @ 63;

    I ♥ Fry (almost as much as I ♥ Bender).

    Fry is one of my favourite characters, but I must admit that I too love Bender just that little bit more.

    Not Kirk. Shatner. Zapp Brannigan is supposedly based on Kirk, but if William Shatner played himself instead of acting* as Kirk. (Hopefully that makes sense.)

    It makes perfect sense. With every passing year Shatner seems to become ever more of a parody of himself, and the man’s ego is legendary.

    *For certain values of acting, anyway.

    “Damnit… Audley… he’s just… a man… not an… acting… machine!”

    Now all we need is a scantily clad young woman with her skin unconvincingly dyed green, some Red Shirts to kill off (because you can’t have anything original series related without Red Shirts dying in droves), and for Kirk’s shirt to spontaneously tear for no reason, and we’ll be set…

  67. 67
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Seriously, this is the last off topic post out of me!

    Gregory Greenwood:

    “Damnit… Audley… he’s just… a man… not an… acting… machine!”

    XD

    Just to make things a little weirder, Incubus was on IFC the other day.

    Esperanto!

  68. 68
    Matt125

    @65 Erm, please can you tell me where I said anything contrary to that? I am definitely in support of them being legal and readily available. Maybe I do ‘wring my hands’ at the thought of some abortions but I accept they represent a tiny minority and are done for all the right reasons. My point was that the best way to reduce them is contraception and sex ed.

  69. 69
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Matt125, you wrote:

    I see abortion as something we should strive to get rid of

    You will never get rid of abortion, for multiple reasons listed previously in this thread. The goal should not be to get rid of it, or even to reduce it, because the latter is always hijacked by forced-birthers who want to reduce access to safe, legal abortion.

    The goal should be to provide women with as many reproductive alternatives as possible and let the numbers fall where they will. The end.

  70. 70
    michaelbusch

    @raven

    The numbers I quoted USA versus Netherlands were for adolescents, teenagers.

    Ah. The number you quoted in your first source was for the overall rate, so I got confused. Sorry about that.

    There is room for improvement here.

    That is most certainly true, regardless of which rate we’re considering.

  71. 71
    Tsu Dho Nimh

    Abby Johnson claims: “due to a personnel shortage she was called in to assist”

    I call BS on that claim, because having an untrained person “assisting” would be worse than going short-handed.

  72. 72
    Matt125

    @69 Ms. Daisy

    Fair enough, I did say that. It was silly.

  73. 73
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I call BS on that claim, because having an untrained person “assisting” would be worse than going short-handed.

    I work on API drugs, and having an untrained person involved with processing the batch could cause it to be tossed out, never approved. Which is why I can’t do anything in production other than “checked by” these days. Real medicine should be even stricter. It has been noted that her story doesn’t always add up.

  74. 74
    timpate

    Hello all! Tim here, co-author of the posts PZ so kindly posted here. I just wanted to let you know, if you’re interested, that you can tell Abby Johnson directly what you think. If you go to http://www.abbyjohnson.org/contact/, you can submit mail which she reads and responds to personally. Just a thought…

    Enjoy, and thank you all for the support!

  75. 75
    RFW

    #64 raven says:

    The teenage birth rate is important, being highly correlated and causal with life long poverty.

    Try “caused by absence of decent sex education courses in schools.”

    I was just reading the Wikipedia article on the children’s book “Everybody Poops”, and it inspires me to wonder why no one has written a book for kids, “Everybody Has Genitals and Everybody Uses Them”.

  76. 76
    Ing

    “Everybody Poops”, and it inspires me to wonder why no one has written a book for kids, “Everybody Has Genitals and Everybody Uses Them”.

    Asexuals exist.

    Now we can move on

  77. 77
    Jadehawk

    Try “caused by absence of decent sex education courses in schools.”

    out of curiosity; was that meant to contradict something n raven’s post?

  78. 78
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    “Everybody Poops”, and it inspires me to wonder why no one has written a book for kids, “Everybody Has Genitals and Everybody Uses Them”.

    Asexuals exist.

    Do asexuals who don’t urinate exist?

  79. 79
    Kagato

    I think I’ve found a straightforward misogyny test.

    Just ask someone, “Do you think pregnancy is a suitable punishment for a woman having casual sex?”

    (The correct answer is “What sort of goddamn question is that, you asshole?”)

  80. 80
    hamburger

    If these people are so adamantly opposed to abortion, why are they always so adamantly opposed to contraception? It seems to me that the best way to reduce the number of abortions is to work towards making sure that every pregnancy a wanted pregnancy.

    You assume sanity, and you assume that there can be no witting or unwitting dysgenicists out there. Well, it is not so. You will discover on further investigation that ‘pro-life’ is in good part people who want their own kinds of deranged people conceived and born. It’s no coincidence that they obsessively hate eugenics and Margaret Sanger.

  81. 81
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Matt125
    I think you mean the right thing. It is, both from an economical and medical perspective much better to prevent unwanted pregnancies than to abort them, and the best tools we have there are good sex education and readily avaiable contraception.
    I don’t think that anybody here disagrees with that.
    But we should very carefull about the wording here.
    The forced birthers side tries to frame the issue as if we conceded that an abortion as such is something terrible and evil and only marginally less evil than forcing a woman to give birth against her will.
    Don’t let them take you in, don’t give them that angle.
    Even with good sex ed and contraception, shit still happens. Women will still get pregnant from consensual enthusiastic sex, and they will still seek abortions for no other reason than not wanting children.
    And there’s nothing wrong with this.
    We need to take the whole contraception and abortion discussion back. Although rape and medical issues are angles from which we can tackle the utter misogyny of the forced birthers, we mustn’t lose the priciple of women’s human rights and bodily autonomy out of sight.
    Abortion: legal, safe, and non of your damn business.

  82. 82
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    The argument that childbirth is supposed to be painful by God’s will was made when anaesthetics were invented, and IIRC one doctor was murdered. I do know that one midwife was executed for using herbal concoctions to ease the pain of childbirth. Back to the 16th century, lads!

  83. 83
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    The argument that childbirth is supposed to be painful by God’s will was made when anaesthetics were invented, and IIRC one doctor was murdered.

    That is, BTW, also the angle of the “Natural Childbirth Community”:
    Pain is god, pain is necessary, if you get an epidural or , oh beware a C-section, you’re cheating and harming your baby.
    They’re not murdering doctors, only babies via incompetence.

  84. 84
    David Marjanović

    yep; that’s how conservative catholics get divorced without getting divorced. why they can do that i don’t know, but they can.

    AFAIK, they do have to produce an excuse like “the marriage was never consummated”. And/or you have to be considered important. A candidate for president of Austria had her marriage annulled, but IIRC she never had children.

    Just to make things a little weirder, Incubus was on IFC the other day.

    Esperanto!

    Yep. I once found a bit of soundtrack of that one. Shatner’s pronunciation is surprisingly good.

    That is, BTW, also the angle of the “Natural Childbirth Community”:
    Pain is god

    Tpyos is god.

    and harming your baby

    …somehow, because the preternatural is contractually obliged to damage someone’s health.

    Naturalistic fallacy.

  85. 85
    cactuswren

    I think I’ve found a straightforward misogyny test.

    Just ask someone, “Do you think pregnancy is a suitable punishment for a woman having casual sex?”

    (The correct answer is “What sort of goddamn question is that, you asshole?”)

    “What kind of person are you, to say a beautiful little baby is a punishment? So you were punishing your mom by existing in her womb before you were born?”

    (Believe me, the years I spent on talk.abortion, I ran across ALL the pro-illegal-abortionist arguments and claims, up to and including “So this woman got a pelvic examination when she was eight months pregnant, and somehow the doctor got a bubble of air into her womb*. For the rest of her pregnancy the woman had to sleep sitting up, because every time she laid down the bubble got over the baby’s face and its crying kept her awake!”)

  86. 86
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Gregory Greenwood:

    Hey, if you have to go out, you should at least go out your way…

    -Then I choose to go out immediately post orgy (with Jason Statham, Ricky Martin, Channing Tatum, Mark Wahlberg, Chris Evans and David Boreanaz

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