Skip to main content

Turns out, you can go on Fox News and talk about how shooting an unarmed teenager was just "God's plan", and right wingers will enrich and worship you. You can gun down, execution style, two non-violent teenage thieves, and Sean Hannity will have your back. But film yourself preparing for and talking about a legal medical procedure?

Holy Hallelujah, Batman: shit just got real.

That faint whine that's been evolving into an ear-splitting hysteria these last few days? That's the right wing screechosphere finding out about Emily Letts' abortion video. Ms. Letts filmed her abortion and published the video in part as an effort to remove the stigma and fear surrounding the procedure, as an educational effort.

The predictable outrage ensued. LifeNews had multiple articles on Letts' decision. Lila Rose of LiveAction responded with characteristic hyperbole and flair for drama. Even renowned logician Glenn Beck weighed in. But the best, absolute best*, of the frantic ravings from the right belongs to Matt Walsh. Now, readers of my blog might remember him for his failed attempt at taking on the bodily autonomy argument. Walsh is your typical feminism-is-evil (and useless -- see, anything feminism did, Christianity did better. Even though most of the misogyny feminism has taken on in the western world stemmed directly from Christianity, and was largely supported by the Christian establishment), women-don't-value-money-as-much-as-men (so the pay gap is a myth!), white-men-are-victims (so stop bullying them!) Christian conservative. As such, his ramblings are rarely worth addressing. Every once in awhile, however, he manages to put up something worth noticing. Like his take on Emily Letts' abortion. Let's start with his opening paragraphs.

It’s time for all of us to understand that we are at war, and lives are at stake. 

The enemy — the self-worshipping death cult known as modern liberalism — has become increasingly vile, violent, and deceitful, and so we must become increasingly bold, fearless, and aggressive in our response.
War. Enemy. Death cult. Vile. Violent. Deceitful. Fearless. Aggressive. For a guy worried about the scary badness and troubling naughtiness of modern liberalism, that's a lot of intense rhetoric, right out of the gate. I mean, what set him off was a young woman daring to openly speak about having a legal medical procedure; and he responds with a rant that, in its first two sentences, involves war, death cults, aggressiveness, vileness, etc. -- and he's supposedly worried about the alleged 'violence' of those he opposes?

That's just the lead-in, though. It gets better. (And by better, I mean worse. Much.) He spends some time suggesting that "dear Emily" is a "psychopath", but his smug postulations come back around to the Great Truths in time. He informs his readers that

All abortion advocacy is extremism. It is impossible to be moderately in favor of abortion, just as it is impossible to be moderately opposed to it. Seeking a middle ground on abortion is like searching for a middle ground on slavery or genocide. It doesn’t exist, and those who wish to find it will inevitably end up in favor, and those in favor of murderous atrocities are always extremely in favor of murderous atrocities. Your acceptance — however moderate – of a deep and depraved evil, will color your soul in blackness, and send you barreling into a darkness that will utterly distort your moral compass, leading you to bow at the altar of the Culture of Death, where abortion is the highest sacrament.
And no, my fellow Dark Souls, this isn't outrageous satire, meant to ridicule or diminish pro-lifers. This person and his purple patches fully appear to be the real deal. Interestingly enough, he moves from depraved evil, highest sacraments and altars of death to lunch trays in the very next statement:

Your conscience is not a lunch tray, with all of the different components separated into their own compartments.
A jarring juxtaposition of Sauron-like evil with school cafeteria monotony; but I digress. At any rate, while the facts completely contradict Walsh's assertion that people can not be moderate supporters of abortion rights, well, Matt doesn't let facts get in his way. It simply cannot be done, even though people do it all the time, because Matt says so. Anyone who disagrees is a "liar".

Walsh doesn't simply contradict reality, however. He lies through omission. For example, he notes that

Gawker lament[s] the fact that Emily is receiving lots of hate mail, because you totally would never expect angry feedback when you go through the effort to nationally publicize your decision to terminate your child. 
What he doesn't tell you -- what's mentioned in the very article to which he links -- is that the "angry feedback" and "hate mail" includes death threats. Matt is a master at downplaying the actual nature of a situation when it doesn't suit him, and this is no exception. After a quick mention that she "totally" received "angry feedback" and "hate mail", without ever alluding to the seriousness of this "feedback", he further downplays it by comparing it to him "whining" that people wouldn't approve of his drowning puppies (in a fictional scenario). So death threats are just "feedback", and people should stop "whining" when self-proclaimed supporters of life respond to a woman's medical decision in perfect pro-life form: by threatening to end her life. (And we're the folks with "distort[ed] moral compass[es]".)

Walsh further distorts the truth when he strongly implies that abortion is an unsafe procedure. He produces a list of potential side effects:

Heavy or persistent bleeding

Infection or sepsis

Damage to the cervix

Damage to the uterine lining

Perforation of the uterus

Damage to other organs

Matt rigorously ignores the obvious -- that there are potential side effects to just about every medical procedure. It's worth noting, by way of contrast, that the potential side effects of a tonsillectomy are hardly more reassuring, and include 

Potential reactions to anesthetics 

- Headache

- Nausea

- Vomiting

- Muscle soreness

- Death

Swelling (which in turn can cause breathing problems, particularly during the first few hours after the procedure)

Bleeding during surgery (which may require additional treatment and a longer hospital stay)

Bleeding during healing (which may require emergency surgery, and is riskier than scheduled surgery)

As with abortion side effects, most of those are very rare. But, oh my god, we should, like, totally ban tonsillectomies, because they're not 100% safe, so therefore they're hideously dangerous!

Of course, the best part of all of this (take a guess if Matt so much as alluded to it...) is that abortion is not only one of the safest medical procedures around, it is far safer and far less likely to end a woman's life than an uninterrupted pregnancy, with 1 in 2,400 American women dying from pregnancy related causes -- as opposed to 1 in 11,000 women in late term abortions, and 1 in 1 MILLION women in early abortions.

That's right. Matt, along with the requisite medical gore fetishizing and late term fetus shots, posts the images of two young women (one of whom he refers to as having been "murder[ed]" by Planned Parenthood) who tragically died during abortions. He even slaps a quote, absurdly stripped of context, from Ms. Letts, that abortion was "right for" her, "And no one else", on the pictures of the dead women . (The quote referred to Ms. Letts' decision to have an abortion, and it being her choice to make; but, again, Matt seems to think that the need for honesty is superseded by the need to wage "aggressive" and righteous "war" against the forces of Mordor tarnished souls and dark hearts, the wayward reprobates and fearsome fiends, of the "death cult" of "modern liberalism.")

Allow me to reiterate: any medical procedure carries risks. People have died in the dentist's chair, on the operating table, and in the hospital parking lot (see: my grandfather). Every one of those deaths is tragic and utterly regrettable. But that does not change the fact that abortion is an incredibly safe procedure, and even its most dangerous phase (late term) is significantly safer than pregnancy. Matt's crocodile tears here are incredibly transparent, as the thing he's lambasting is actually considerably safer than forced pregnancy (which would carry all the usual pregnancy-related risks, in addition to the added factors like unsafe attempts to end unwanted pregnancies...).

But perhaps the most cynical and disturbing feature of his entire hyperbolic meltdown is the inclusion of Charlotte Dawson in his list of and-no-one-else's. According to Matt, Dawson, "racked with guilt after having an abortion, hanged herself". While it is true that she had an abortion, and that -- over a decade later -- she hanged herself, her ex's tell-all interview and another online Twitter battle with trolls (Ms. Dawson had attempted suicide in 2012 after a similar entanglement), both occurring at that time, are at least as likely candidates for "contributing factor". But the really chilling part of all of this is there is only one crowd who routinely belittles women, shames them, showers them with guilt for choosing to terminate a pregnancy. This would be the crowd that thinks death threats are appropriate "feedback" for exercising the legal right to obtain reproductive care of your choice; that filming your abortion is the equivalent of producing a "snuff film"; that to dispel myths about abortion is the mark of a "psychopath"; that to support a woman's right to chose is to be "vile", "violent" (unlike, apparently, sending death threats), and "murderous". (Sound familiar, Matt? Those are all your words). It's the crowd that stands to gain the most from convincing women that they're evil, vile, murderers if they choose abortion, the crowd that exploits the death of every woman driven to suicide, shame or sadness over an abortion. It's the pro-life crowd.  It's the pro-life crowd that, when the inevitable outcome of shaming, badgering and harassing women for making their own reproductive choices is realized, sheds its crocodile tears. It's the Matt Walsh's of the world who, in one breath screech "depraved death cult, murderesses!!" and in the next weeps, "Look what abortion does to these women!"

And that level of duplicity, of brazen deception, is really the most disturbing of all. It's one thing to spew unabashed hatred toward anyone who thinks a woman has a right to decide when and if she'll be pregnant; it's another to pretend that you actually give a damn about the women you just poured your rage-filled heart into blasting. It's like Matt forgets that we can read his whole post, that we can remember that half a page ago he was ranting about blackened souls and murderous cults of death performing the high sacrament of abortion, right before pretending to grieve the loss of those "murderers". Or maybe he's just hoping that, if the sanctimonious moralizing fails to reach his readers, if the overt misrepresentation is spotted, if the tired emotional appeals are too overblown, then maybe, just maybe, the last ditch gore attack will have the hoped-for impact.

At any rate, I have to give Walsh credit -- his is the most absurd, the most duplicitous, the most bizarre hodgepodge of anger and pseudo-concern I've seen in a long time. And that's no small feat, as the right's righteous indignation (and all the crazies that brings along with it) was on full display for this one.

* Of those that I've seen, at least. If I've missed anyone even more, ahem, noteworthy than Mr. Walsh, feel free to nominate them in the comments.

Originally posted at Rachel's Hobbit Hole

Originally posted to Rachels Hobbit Hole (on Daily Kos) on Fri May 09, 2014 at 08:20 PM PDT.

Also republished by This Week in the War on Women.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Wow, I hope this brave woman has a ... (19+ / 0-)

    good support group. These people are armed, god-fearing, and crazier than a shit-house rat!

    "Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius." -- Arnaud Amaury

    by terremoto on Fri May 09, 2014 at 08:41:09 PM PDT

  •  Did I miss a link to the current Walsh post? (7+ / 0-)

    I apologize if I did, otherwise, can you add it?


    No, you can't fix stupid. You OUTNUMBER stupid. -Wildthumb, 1/10/2013

    by newinfluence on Fri May 09, 2014 at 08:46:42 PM PDT

  •  Hey, Matt Walsh. *I'm* an extremist in your... (12+ / 0-) Because I advocate for access to abortion and have since Colorado first liberalized its law in 1967. As Letts bravely showed, abortion can be, typically is, in fact, a positive choice, the right choice for the woman who makes it. That this fact makes Walsh ooze hatred from that pustule he calls a heart. But he should know that there are those of us who are as relentless and determined to keep abortion legal and restore easy access to it throughout the nation as there are vicious, lying fanatics like him trying to control women's lives and sexuality.

    Thanks for your post, Rachel191.

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Fri May 09, 2014 at 11:31:41 PM PDT

  •  death threats are a form of terrorism and should (6+ / 0-)

    be prosecuted as such. I fully support anyone's right to disagree - death threats are not a "disagreement". Emily Letts is a very brave woman - as she pointed out she counsels other women needing abortions and I'm sure is fully aware of potential for a violent response.

    The death threat seems a particularly American response (think virtual lynch mob) - and it seems now a given that anyone advocating a "controversial" liberal position should expect a slew of death threats. This is totally unacceptable - the intent is clearly to terrorise an individual and by extension all those who think like the targeted individual.

    Most of the sickos sending death threats are probably easily traced, since they have to use social media to reach their target. These armchair fantasists would melt away like the Bundy militia if the FBI came calling. I think we would have a much more honest public discourse in this country when the specter of death threats is removed, and people of all opinions are free to express them without needing a safe house.

    •  I’ve no statistics on relative frequency, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ahianne, nextstep, FloridaSNMOM

      but death threats are far from uncommon elsewhere.  Often the reasons are political, but not always.  I was just reading about a driver in Germany who caused an accident that put him in the hospital for a couple of days and seriously injured a passenger; when he got out of the hospital and had a chance to look at his Facebook page, he found death threats.  A couple of months ago a young German man filmed himself brutally mistreating a puppy and sent the video to his ex-girlfriend, apparently as a threat; the clip ended up on YouTube and Facebook, and he immediately received death threats.

      The one that really gets, me, though, is a very nasty ‘joke’ that’s been played at least three times that I know of in various parts of Germany: kids using WhatsApp have received chain letters threatening them and their mothers with death if they don’t forward the letter to at least 20 people.

      •  yeah - right after posting that I realised I was (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        completely forgetting about the range and scope of death threats elsewhere - whether its drug cartels warning journalists in Mexico, fascists in Europe or Islamic fundamentalists just about anywhere (including using laws of apostasy that can lead to the death penalty). Now we can add to the list of things that can get you a death threat - going to school in northern Nigeria and being gay in Uganda.

        Sigh. I forgot the company we keep.

  •  Y'know, Rachel, you can cite statistics (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You can cite statistics about the relative mortality rates of pregnancies vs abortions (or any other medical procedure) til you run out of server space to store them all, and it probably wouldn't make the least bit of difference to fanatics like Matt Walsh, or change his vile opinions in the slightest.

    Extremists like Walsh have convinced themselves, over decades of being (mainly) on the wrong side of public opinion, that abortion is a matter of absolute (im)morality - usually via the vocabulary of religion - and thus has no excuse, or ANY valid counter-argument. Citing statistics is meaningless; absolute opposition to abortion (and/or contraception), to the fetus-fetishists is God's Own Opinion.
    And no others need apply....    

    •  Facts aren't there to convince the loons (0+ / 0-)

      Facts are there for the audience, who might not know the facts, and mistake being passionate for being right (as our brains are wired to do).

      Facts help non-loons realize who the loons actually are.

      Nobody deserves poverty.

      by nominalize on Mon May 26, 2014 at 06:07:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  the fetus cultists won't change their minds (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    anymore than Ken Ham will about the age of the world.


    LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

    by BlackSheep1 on Sat May 10, 2014 at 10:42:29 AM PDT

  •  Walsh may be right about one thing though... (0+ / 0-)

    It is becoming increasingly impossible to find a middle ground on abortion.  Not because a middle ground approach is contrary to common sense; it is not.  I used to espouse the belief that abortion, as a personal choice, could never be an option for me.  It is contrary to my personal belief system.  However, as it applied to others my thoughts were that abortion should always be a safe, legal choice in the case of rape, incest, health or life of the mother or severe developmental problems with the fetus.  Further, I reasoned that, as long as abortion was legal, it should be available equally to any woman who chose to use it, and it should be safe & affordable.  However, I have watched as RWNJ's, conservative religious zealots, & mysogonistic pigs have chipped away at women's reproductive rights, most disconcertingly, the rights of poor women with few choices to begin with.  And, I realize that, right now, middle grounds and grey areas are luxuries we cannot afford.  So, until women are put in control of their own reproductive destinies, as common sense dictates; and until these forced birthers care as much for the lives brought into this world as they do the unborn fetuses, my position has clarified dramatically.  I am now completely in favor of legal (early term) abortion.  Period.  Walsh's extremist position would sentence a woman to death if carrying a fetus to term would pose such a risk.  My new position allows the person most affected -the mother who is at risk - to make the decision for herself.  It's not radical or extreme...  It's common sense.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site