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Oh brother, Tailsteak's doing a storyline on pro-life protestors, and he has them protesting at a sexual health clinic that doesn't actually perform abortions? Ugh, what a silly, one-dimensional, strawman, unreaOH WAIT NO.

It's hard to nail down cause and effect with abortion, there are a lot of societal elements that correlate with it - education, legality, religion, income... but I honestly have a hard time believing that the stereotypical yelling-and-posters style protest has a measurable effect. I mean, it can be hard for me to put myself in the relevant demographic's shoes, but I really can't envision a scenario in which I'm halfway up the stairs on my big day, some stranger yells at me that I'm a murderer, and I think "Wait, what? Abortion ends a human life? Why, I'd never considered that! I suppose I'll just carry this kid to term, then!".

I have to assume that, in the absence of effectiveness at acheiving their stated goal or empathy for the yellees, these protests must actually be about a sort of moral posturing, a way of asserting to oneself and to one's group that one is Good because one is on Team Good Guy. Of course, this is a very easy sort of moral superiority to achieve, given the fact that roughly half of any given crowd literally can't have an abortion. (I shall ignore, for charity's sake, the other possible motivation - overt hostility towards young, desperate, destitute uterus-havers.)

As much as I rag on pro-life protestors, though, I have to admit I do have empathy for those who happen to hold a pro-life position. After all, one must draw the line of personhood somewhere, and conception is as good a spot as any (though it does result in a rather macabre worldview wherein most people die before anyone knows they exist). Given the aforementioned correlations, though, I'd say those pro-lifers are better off focusing their efforts on promoting sex ed, increasing access to prophylactics, preventing sexual assault and coercion, and, of course, raising the standard of living for the lower classes. After all, if there's one thing that the Life and Choice camps can agree on, it's that in an ideal world - a world we should all work towards - abortions wouldn't be necessary at all.

Oh, and I suppose as long as that poster is still in the background, I should keep linking to where you can read it and buy your own print.

....Oh, and I should mention that if protestors were giving out *quil to pregnant women, they'd have to be giving it out in capsule form, since the syrup has alcohol in it.

(Monday afternoon, INT: sexual health clinic)

MH (looking away while SH draws blood): So I caught a little static from the fetus huggers on my way in.
SH: Oh, they didn't do anything inappropriate, did they?
MH: Nah, they knew the rules - radius from the door, slogans and signs only. Some of those signs were pretty horrendous, though.
SH (with vial of blood): That's never struck me as a particularly cogent moral argument. Close-up photos of open heart surgery are pretty stomach-turning too, but no one ever protests a triple bypass.
MH (holding cotton swab on elbow pit): I don't think it's a moral argument so much as shock and awe. It's an advertisement that appeals to emotion.
SH: See, to me, that's worse. It assumes that the decision whether or not to terminate a pregnancy can be entered into lightly, as though it were an impulse purchase of gum at the checkout counter.
SH: I've met with hundreds of women who were considering abortion, and I can tell you, there's not a single one who hadn't had a sleepless night worried about the consequences of her actions.
MH: Mm. Maybe someone should tell the protesters they'd be better off handing out Zzzquil.
SH: Also, it might help matters if this were a facility that actually performed abortions...