Monday, December 20, 2010

Anti-Choice Propaganda Links Abortion to the "Occult"

I'm noticing a trend -- more and more radical anti-abortion voices are trying to connect abortion with the Devil and the "occult." As you may recall, a right-wing Christian film called The Abortion Matrix claimed that abortion and "witchcraft" are somehow linked. Fundamentalist books such as Demonic Abortion do the same. Now, a woman claiming to be the daughter of an abortion clinic worker is making similar accusations.

In an interview with LifeSite News, Abigail Seidman makes outrageous statements about an abortion clinic where she claims her mother worked. Seidman alleges that the abortion clinic was a haven for goddess worship and pagan rituals. Like The Abortion Matrix, her allegations make full use of fundamentalist Christian fear and misinformation about neo-paganism.

Seidman claims that "occult believers" form the core of the pro-choice movement. She describes the unnamed clinic at which her mother worked as saturated with "occult imagery and practices", including goddess art and new age music (!). She accuses the clinic of choosing counselors who lacked degrees in a relevant field, insisting that one counselor was even a prostitute. To boot, Seidman accuses the clinic's male doctor of being a "sex addict" who slept with most of the female staff. Interestingly, she never actually names the clinic.

From here, the accusations grow even more bizarre. Seidman tells LifeSite News that after the clinic closed at night, staff would smoke marijuana and consume hallucinogens. Female staff members would intentionally get pregnant in order to have abortions, she claims, which would involve female-only abortion ceremonies with chanting and singing. The staff, she insists, had a "lesbian separatist" culture and worshipped goddesses from Hinduism, Egyptian mythology, and ancient Mediterranean religions. All of these deities were acknowledged as facets of the one ultimate Goddess, also called the Great Dragon -- a term which appears in the Bible as an epithet of Satan. The Judeo-Christian god was understood as a jealous figure who brought violence and patriarchy to civilization, she alleges.

Propaganda like this disturbs me for several reasons. First, it demonizes neo-pagans, depicting them as hedonistic, sexually insatiable, and in league with the Devil. Promoting these stereotypes does a disservice to real-life neo-pagans, who encounter ugly misconceptions all too often. When neo-pagans are cast as depraved and subhuman, they can easily become targets for discrimination (and worse). Second, such propaganda demonizes abortion by associating the medical practice with bizarre occultism. Instead of making a case against abortion with rational argument and evidence, the Seidman interview relies on overheated fears. The effect is to cast abortion providers as hideously evil, rather than as human beings providing medical services.

When radical anti-abortion voices like Seidman make outrageous allegations about supposedly "pagan" abortion providers, when books like Demonic Abortion claim that abortion is a tool of Satan, and when films such as The Abortion Matrix try to link abortion and "witchcraft", I really do wonder what these people are thinking.

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