Last August I witnessed an effort to disrupt women’s right to an abortion outside a Planned Parenthood clinic on the Near North Side of Chicago. The action was conducted by some outwardly friendly women-haters with the demented Christian Right organization Operation Rescue (OR).
It was very instructive regarding a topic I had not previously understood with sufficient clarity: the significant extent to which current American anti-abortion sentiment and activists are linked to a broader right-wing neofascist world view and movement.
I was approached by numerous OR proselytizers across the street from the besieged clinic. Beyond expressing their standard horror at the “murder of babies,” OR activists informed me that:
+ There’s mass poverty and crime on the Black south and West sides of Chicago because the “lazy” people living there “don’t have a work ethic” and “depend on welfare”
+ Capitalism and its “work ethic” “made America great.”
+ The Democrats who run America’s “barbarian” cities are “totalitarian socialists” who make people poor by stealing peoples’ work ethic with welfare.
+ There’s no proof that masks reduce transmission of COVID-19 or any other respiratory diseases.
+ The solution to COVID-19 is “personal responsibility,” not government action, vaccines, or masks.
+ America is being overrun by lazy and criminal immigrants who “radical liberals” have “brought into our country to destroy it.”
+ California is “home to 80% of the nation’s homeless population” because the state’s liberals offer free food to poor people on ocean beaches, thereby stealing poor folks’ personal responsibility.
+ There is “massive and incontrovertible proof” that Joe Biden “stole” the 2020 presidential election from Donald Trump.
+ The Capitol Rioters of January 6th were “peaceful protesters” trying to “save democracy and America.”
+ Fidel Castro “killed millions of his own people”
What do all these beliefs have to do with the OR activists’ opposition to abortion? Quite a bit. Smashing women’s reproductive rights may be their main cause, but their lust to inflict the female slavery of forced motherhood is linked to other parts of a neofascistic politics that mentally obliterates the reality of systemic racism, class oppression, patriarchy, and nativism.
An obsessive focus “personal responsibility” is a consistent thread running through the Christian fascist OR mindset. Abortion is for the OR zealots a sinful rejection of personal responsibility – refusal to take individual accountability for the conception of a child. There’s nothing in their world view about peoples’ personal and collective responsibility to not bring new lives into households and communities unsuitable for a decent infancy and childhood.
Why are so many Americans too poor to maintain healthy and intact households in which to raise children? Why do masses lack decent incomes, savings, homes, and other key parenting assets – this while a super-wealthy upper-class minority revels in grand parasitic opulence? The OR zealots outside the Chicago Planned Parenthood office rejected any explanations having anything to do with structural class and race inequality, technical displacement, de-industrialization, globalization, job-loss, racial discrimination, gender discrimination, underfunded and inadequate public schools, capital flight, the cancellation of social expenditures by the warfare state and tax breaks for the rich, the smashing of unions and the neoliberal dismantlement of the welfare state. All of these and other institutional, historical and structural factors related to the really existing capitalist, racist, sexist, and imperial social order are for OR activists non-existent problems that by “radical Left totalitarians” to avoid the real nub of the matter: the indolence, stupidity, and criminality of the disproportionately Black and brown poor, encouraged by elitist white liberal-Democratic “socialists” who steal poor folks’ “work ethic” with over-generous welfare programs. Those of us who think that money should be transferred from the criminal justice system or the military budget and/or from the absurdly super rich and their giant corporations to programs of social uplift that might enable poor folks to develop healthy and happy homes in which to raise children are said to be engaged in a “global” “communist” plot to undermine the personal responsibility of the poor.
Speaking of personal responsibility, all the OR activists I spoke with – at no small distance upon my insistence – were adamant anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers. They felt no personal responsibility to take basic public health measures to protect themselves and others from a pandemic. An OR street-preacher who absurdly told me that Castro “murdered 11 million Cubans” opined that masks and vaccines are ways for urban baby-killing socialists and liberals to implement the Godless state tyranny that seduces and ruins its victims with laziness- and crime-inducing welfare.
Insofar as COVID-19 can be acknowledged as a problem, the Christian nationalist right-to-birthers I spoke with blamed the pandemic on brown-skinned immigrants criminally entering the country as part of a foreign “invasion” meant to “replace” virtuous and hard-working whites with indolent and criminal people of color. Dedicated Amerikaner adherents of what a clever friend of mine calls “FRT,” short for “Fascist Replacement Theory” (a vicious narrative that has moved from neo-Nazis to the center of mainstream Republican media-politics culture), the anti-abortionists are eager to see Caucasians increase their fertility to stem white Americans’ dreaded trajectory towards minority status in the US.
In the Christian fascist OR world view, mask and vaccine mandates are tyrannical government interference with Americans’ right to control their own bodies and lives. They see no irony in coupling this narrative with calls for government to impose unwanted pregnancies on the bodies of women! As if to underline the anti-female violence of this position, they make no exceptions for rape and incest.
The OR activists are Trumpists, by the way. So what if the malignant fascist Donald J. Trump has a long history of adultery and likely even rape along with many other forms of narcissistic and socio-pathological corruption? The orange-faced demon was seen as a Christian star by the OR activists I spoke with because of his great wealth (laughably taken as proof of the super-parasitic grifter’s “hard work” and “superiority”) and above all because he appointed abortion opponents (including the rapist Brett Kavanaugh and the open Handmaid jurist Amy “Coat Hanger” Barrett) to the Supreme Court. The Trump appointees subsequently warmed the OR activists hearts by using the high court’s increasingly sinister “shadow docket” mode of snap ruling to let Texas abolish women’s constitutional right to an abortion in the nation’s second largest state. The Gilead Supremes can be expected to fully reverse Roe v. Wade next June.
Given “Cyrus” Trump’s status as God’s white-supremacist agent of Gilead – as the appointer of fully three anti-abortion jurists to the nation’s high court – his electoral defeat at the hands of nonwhite voters is seen by OR activists as the Devil’s criminal work. Those who answered God’s call to “take back our country” and return the holy white Nation to its true citizens on January 6th are seen as heroes who will “save” America from “socialist infidels” atop dark and sinful cities of rampant sexual promiscuity, hedonism, miscegenation, and welfare dependency.
Jason “Keeps on Yappin” Storms, a national OR leader who spoke for hours outside the Planned Parenthood clinic in Chicago, was a Capitol stormer last January 6th. He was one of many anti-abortion activists at the fascist Capitol Riot. As the abortion escort group Pinkhouse Defenders has noted in a comment on Storm’s celebratory video of the attempted putsch:
‘On January 6th, 2021, there were SO many anti-abortion extremists in Washington D.C at the U.S. Capitol. This Venn Diagram is a circle – the extreme right wing and anti-abortion extremists – these factions are pretty much the same. All this entitlement that anti-abortion “protesters” feel at clinics was on display at the Capitol. They felt like nothing would happen to them, because it rarely if ever does. People that are in reproductive rights and justice work have seen this behavior for years, and literally saw SO many antis that they know at the Capitol. Derrick Evans, the West Virginia lawmaker who live streamed on Facebook going into the Capitol, has a restraining order against him for stalking a clinic escort at the last clinic in WV. John Brockhoeft, convicted clinic arsonist, was there. Tayler Hansen, the anti who painted “Baby Lives Matter” in front of clinics last year, was standing next to Ashli Babbit, the woman who was shot inside the Capitol, and was interviewed by Laura Ingraham on Fox News. And SO MANY MORE. For instance, OSA Assistant National Director Jason Storms. Storms was hanging off the scaffolding at the Capitol as he made this video, declaring support for ‘Revolution 2.0.’ Storms later released a statement, where he supports the actions of those in the Capitol Tuesday. He later took both down from his Facebook page, but not before others could record it.’
The right-to-birth Christian nationalists I encountered last August are the nice and polite, baby-talk version of the nation’s fascist cohort. The anti-abortion freaks I ran into are choir boys and girls compared to their paramilitary friends the Proud Boys, the Three Percenters, and the Oath Keepers et al. when it comes to menacing the nation.
The OR kids, many of them female, ask you pleadingly why you want to kill cute little babies. They roll their eyes when you tell them you’ve been to Cuba and observed a healthier society than ours (“I just can’t believe you said that! Oh my God!”). The often muscle-bound, assault rifle-toting, and mostly white male militia and streetfighter crowd likes to wear t-shirts saying, “Pinochet Did Nothing Wrong” and “6MWE” (Six Million Wasn’t Enough”). Saying anything nice about socialist Cuba is legitimate ground for execution as far as these Orange Caliphate shock troops are concerned. These jackbooted vote-tally-banners and Trumpasmic State militants don’t want to argue with liberals and leftists on street corners. They want to disembowel and decapitate liberals and leftists and throw them out of helicopters.
The baby-talk OR kids I foolishly tried to debate last August will show little concern for the lives of liberal and Left protesters beaten, bloodied, and killed by the keepers of fascist oaths both within and beyond the paid police and military after the Republifascist Party steals the 2024 presidential election. That’s the kind of government interference with human bodies they approve and feel no personal responsibility to oppose. They will advocate no rescue for the victims of those who would execute the final abortion of democracy and social justice in the name of redeeming the Holy White Patriarchal Christian Nation.
1. A pointless endeavor. Rational argument with Christian fascists like the ones who chirped nonstop outside the abortion clinic in Chicago last August only makes them worse. When presented with evidence challenging their faith-based ideas, the Christian nationalists just dig in deeper, consistent with Leon Festinger’s findings on “cognitive dissonance.” You can’t rescue the ever more radically eliminationist right-wing from neofascist delusion. Don’t even try. The more people suffer and die from despicable failures to vaccinate and mask, the deeper the pandemofascist anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers’ zeal. The more overwhelming evidence you present to them showing that the fascist Trump’s Stolen Election story is a Big Lie worthy of Hitler and Goebbels, the deeper the Amerikaners’ attachment grows to “Stop the Steal.” With every clip you show them of Capitol Rioters viciously attacking Capitol Police officers, the fascist marauders’ defenders cling harder to the notion of the January 6th putsch attempt was about peaceful people doing God’s work in the name of “law and order.” With every fact and study you present them on the horrific combined and cumulative impact of capitalist disinvestment, America racial apartheid, slavery, Jim Crow, genocide, and racist mass incarceration on Black America, the more passionately they blame the Black poor themselves for their position at the bottom of America’s deep socioeconomic wells. The more stories you tell them about the horrors women faced when abortion was a crime in the US, the more fervently they believe that a woman’s right to control her own body is a sinful assault on freedom and responsibility. Such is the deeply entrenched madness of the petit-bourgeois, billionaire-backed Amerikaner cohort, with whom numerous fake-left grifters and Tuckems-bootlickers idiotically want progressives and leftists to try to make supposedly necessary and possible common working-class cause – this while a much larger cohort of far more genuinely oppressed and potentially progressive and revolutionary masses remain demobilized and depressed.