Stinging Themselves

Boy, the Breitbart Generation of conservative activists really do love them some phony “stings.” The latest involves fake inquirers for abortion services at Planned Parenthood clinics who claim to be seeking gender selection of children they managed to find one clinic where the input counseler (subsequently fired) didn’t throw them out of the office, but instead honestly answered their questions about when they might know the gender of a fetus in order to secure an abortion if it turned out to be female. This has been turned by anti-choice activists and their conservative cheerleaders into exposure of a vast conspiracy to wipe out baby girls and eventually the entire gender.

Note there is no evidence this is a “problem” in the United States, or that the problem that does exist elsewhere (most famously in Asia) would be eliminated by making abortions illegal, or that Planned Parenthood, or anyone else, even in this one isolated case, is encouraging gender-selection abortions. Nor do the people screaming about this (or other “horrifying” motives for terminating a pregnancy) offer any way to completely eliminate the possibility of a gender-selection abortion without banning abortion altogether, which is, of course precisely what they want to do.

So this whole enchilada is basically yet another exercise in self-excitement for right-wing activists aimed at demonizing their opponents. But they are stinging themselves if they think this sort of stunt is going to convince Americans to ban the 98.5% of abortions that occur at a stage of pregnancy before gender identification is even possible to head off this entirely imaginary threat.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.