What's the difference between the Occupy Wall Streeters who cluster on the street outside Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley, and anti-choicers who clog up the sidewalks around abortion clinics? The OWS crowd, of course, is comprised of 'protesters'. But as Jezebel points out, anti-choice groups are now considered, by their own lofty evaluation as well as that of Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and John Roberts, 'counselors'.
What kind of person thinks they're qualified to provide counseling without any training or psychology background? Apparently, the same kind of person who can't stop talking about how much better life was in the past before birth control pills were available or women could work outside the home. Jill Filipovic of Cosmopolitan headed out to a Boston Planned Parenthood to find out more about these self-described 'pro-life sidewalk counselors', and just how well they embody the concept of cognitive dissonance.
The people Filipovic spoke to claim that they're not out to harass anyone. They describe their actions as 'loving' and 'caring', and they insist that they're out to help the women just as much as the fetuses! It's just that they can't actually describe having any interaction with those women beyond talking them out of an abortion: once the pregnant person leaves the Planned Parenthood premises, they might as well cease to exist as far as the counselors are concerned. And as far as the lack of harassment goes, of course they only have a few choice loving, caring things to say to patients:
"You should have nothing to do with this place, killing our babies. We can offer you real help with a problem pregnancy. It's the ultimate child abuse center!"
And of course:
"Your baby doesn't have to die today! You're already a mother!"
The fact that the anti-choice crowd thinks hurling the words 'murder' and 'child abuse' at women across a parking lot is somehow equivalent to counseling them is only part one of a series of utterly deluded statements recorded by Filipovic. Many of them aren't content to use their amazing counseling skills just to combat abortion, either - the birth control pill is another target of their wrath. Despite all scientific evidence and rational thought to the contrary, these people consider the Pill to be murder. Natural family planning, of course, is their tried-and-true alternative. "It does work though," one woman tells Filipovic, before going on to mention that she wound up with nine children thanks to NFP. Oops. 60% of the time, it works every time!
The interviewed protesters go on to rhapsodize about an imaginary golden age of history before Roe v. Wade, when abortion didn't exist and women were 'free' to fulfill their role as mothers. The word 'selfish' gets thrown around a lot: women today are greedy creatures who've eschewed their god-given role in the home because they want cars, clothes, careers, education, bodily autonomy.
But at the same time, protesters describe how modern society has turned women into helpless objects controlled and manipulated by the demands of men. 'Selfish objects', one protester hastily clarifies, in a sad attempt to reconcile a worldview in which women are both greedy, self-serving libertines and sad, pliable puppets for men.
Other forms of 'counseling' provided by these brave souls includes an individual marching outside the Planned Parenthood building in a Grim Reaper costume (you know, like your therapist usually wears to your appointments) and a man wearing a sandwich board with a bloody fetus head depicted on it. Fred DeLouis, the man in the sandwich board told Filipovic how things used to be, in the good old days:
"[Women] had equality [...] But they had to be obedient to their husbands. That's where equality comes: where the mother stayed home and raised the children in God's light, and the husband worked, and everything was great. When I grew up, there were no problems."
"Society was great before they had abortions," he went on, an eighty-year-old man whose view of equality is to have some people - the male ones - be more equal than others. Whose view of the past has been magically erased of Jim Crow laws and civil rights struggles, of sexism, of violent homophobia. "Because there wasn't as much evil in the world." More evil in the world? Well, I guess he would know.