The American anti-abortion group Repent America has taken their fight against abortion to a whole new and zany level. No longer content to only picket clinics and harass women, they have decided to target Stericycle, the company that provides, among other things, abortion waste disposal services. It seems as though up until a few months ago Repent America and their leader Michael Marcavage were under the impression that abortion waste either evaporated into the ether, or perhaps burned in the “literal hell and a lake of fire where the unsaved will burn for all eternity” that they warn of in the “about us” section of their predictably poorly-designed website.
For it was not until January that Repent America diverted their strategy from a campaign to stop abortion to a campaign to stop abortion waste disposal. As a blog post on goddiscussion.com astutely points out, “CSS [Campaign to Stop Stericycle] does not explain what it thought, previous to the January 10 revelation, was being done with, or what should be done with abortion wastes besides sanitary disposal.” Again, I suppose they would have assumed burning in a lake of fire, which, much like tire burning, is bad for mother earth in terms of toxic pollutants.
CSS has gone so far as to put pressure on the companies that lease trucks to Stericycle, demanding that they end their relationship with “blood money profiteers.” And of course, in the midst of all this, Repent America is trotting out all the hackneyed comparisons between abortion and genocide, insisting that abortion is JUST LIKE the Holocaust, since “today in America, a diabolical scheme for the ‘mass annihilation of unwanted persons’ remains in our midst.” CSS also seems to believe that the liberal application of quotation marks serves as an acceptable substitute for “facts” or “arguments.” On their website they refer to abortion “clinics,” “medical waste,” and “bio-hazardous waste,” as if to suggest that these are deliberate linguistic coverups for “baby killing emporiums,” “crying baby fetuses,” and “blood of sinners.” I think they should try “reading” a “punctuation” guide.
But none of this is new: dangerously false historical comparisons, linguistic misdirection, rhyming nicknames for abortion providers who have been murdered in cold blood. We’ve seen all this before, and it never ceases to alarm, terrify, and amuse. What is new is the attack on this service that allows the clinics to operate in a safe and sanitary way. This is one step up from blocking the front door, or lying down on the drive way.
And in the same way that I can’t imagine what Repent America and CSS thought was being done with the waste before they uncovered Stericycle’s evil plot to murder all the babies, I can’t imagine what they think their efforts to stop Stericycle can accomplish, even if they succeed. I think it’s more likely that abortion clinics would, you know, find a new waste disposal company, rather than “shut down” their “clinic.” And Stericycle certainly isn’t likely to turn down the business.
This, once again, demonstrates a certain detachment from reality by the anti-abortion movement in America. They think they can use bloody pictures, Nazis, and this stock photo of a crying baby to stop abortions from being performed.
This isn’t likely to work because abortion is a vital and necessary service that saves the lives of hundreds of thousands of women. But just because your opponent is yelling nonsense at you and taking absurd liberties with history, the english language, and logic does not mean that you can lose focus or vigilance.
And irony of ironies, Stericycle just posted a revenue increase of 18% to $410.4 million from last year.