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School Papers Advertise that Rape Victims Should Birth Attacker’s Baby

April 20th, 2010 • Contributed by Dino Corvino
Posted in: Abortion, Sex Ed

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We found this great piece by Alex DiBranco on the Change dot Org Blog, and thought we should share it.

Of all the creepy things I don’t want to see in my campus newspaper, up around the top of the list is advertisements lying to and shaming rape victims who choose to have an abortion.

In a series on RH Reality Check, Robin Marty looked at anti-choice advertising by the Human Life Alliance (a Crisis Pregnancy Center). Marty reports that the “advertising supplement” is riddled with lies, starting with the Table of Contents, where it claims that abortion in America “is legal through all nine months of pregnancy for any reason.” Seriously, if that was true, pro-choicers wouldn’t have any work to do.

From there the insert pursues further common anti-choice deceptions, such as breast cancer scare tactics; inaccurate conflation of birth control with abortion; and gory, frightening, but completely false descriptions of abortion procedures and side effects. But what really takes the cake is the shaming and manipulation of rape and incest survivors, who are told they will feel they’ve “conquered” their assault by giving birth.

The advertising supplement informs students, “In the only major study of pregnant rape victims ever done, Dr. Sandra Mahkorn found that 75 to 85 percent chose against abortion” (underlying message: so if that is your choice, something is clearly wrong with you). What was the “major study”? Why, it was the decisions of 37 women who came to the study’s author for advice. Besides the fact that this is not enough women to be scientifically significant, gee, I wonder if the biases of the rape counselor against abortion had any impact. The medically unsound ad further takes it upon itself to tell doctors to advise against the trauma of abortion for rape victims, without consideration of the unique situation facing each woman.

Oh, and in case of incest, according to the insert, abortion has never ever had a positive impact for the victim. It’s just the abusive parent who wants it; “the incest victim is more likely to see the pregnancy as a way out of the incestuous relationship because the birth of her child will expose the sexual activity.” Really, incest victims should hope they get pregnant as a means of escape? And it won’t be clear to anyone unless she give birth? There are better ways to address incest than saddling a child — since most incest victims are minors — with a child she can’t take care of, and her immature body might not be prepared to give birth to.

The Human Life Alliance has particularly targeted University of Wisconsin schools, with at least seven papers in the system agreeing to disseminate their lies (kudos to the student newspapers who have rejected these ads). Many students are upset at seeing the deceptive ads, however, and are speaking up; in a Letter to the Editor in the Student Voice at UW-River Falls, Nikki Shonoiki denounced the inaccurate “ads”: “Nothing was being advertised here; instead, you [the editor] contributed to the dissemination of 12-page tasteless booklets of disinformation designed to denigrate and shame women who receive abortion care.” And at Stony Brook University, where a campus paper also ran the ads, the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance began a campaign against these problematic inserts and Crisis Pregnancy Centers.

Insist on truth in advertising by signing this petition telling student newspapers running HLA inserts to join their peers who have rejected these inaccurate, agenda-driven ads.

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