Antonia Zerbisias offers an odd definition of "intimidation"
Toronto Star columnist Antonia Zerbisias has long been a not-so-subetly-kept secret of Canada's loony left (a category of left wingers who should be considered a subcategory of the hateful left, themselves a category of left wingers).
Parading her political thought under the guise of mainstream respectability, Zerbisias has, on occasion, let her true nature slip through the facade -- such as when she suggested Dick Cheney should shoot Michelle Malkin in the face and more recently, when she questioned Irwin Cotler's loyalty to Canada on account of his children volunteering for the Israeli Defense Forces.
But, as is so often the case with individuals such as Zerbisias, it seems that whatever lunacy or silliness (however the case may be) has transpired to date may only be the tip of the iceberg.
Zerbisias recently suggested that Christians embarking on an ambitious new protest campaign against abortion are actually out to intimidate women seeking abortions.
"The birds of `pray' who will be targeting women's clinics in Canadian cities for the next 40 days really don't care about saving lives," Zerbisias wrote. "If they did, they wouldn't be so much about intimidating the desperate women and girls who are seeking abortions."
Intimidation? That sounds truly horrible. Certainly, any rational person would want to know precisely what it is that these "birds of pray" are doing that is so intimidating.
As it turns out, Zerbisias' comments refer to the 40 Days for Life campaign being staged by various anti-abortion groups. For 40 days they'll be praying and fasting outside of abortion clinics, as well as conducting a door-to-door petition.
Of course, any rational individual would wait for actual violence to occur as part of the 40 Days for Life campaign -- or at least some kind of threat -- before accusing them of indimidation.
Perhaps something like one of the participants in the 40 Days for Life campaign were to pull a gun on a woman seeking an abortion. It isn't as if Zerbisias' cohorts in the extreme pro-abortion movement haven't made any excuses for such incidents.
Hell, some of them have even participated in acts of intimidation.
Zerbisias seems to conclude that the praying protesters only want to take women's rights away.
"No matter how much they will attempt to cloak their vigils outside two Toronto clinics with solemn vows to 'never stop defending life,' their true agenda is unveiled by their lack of support for babies once they're born, their often impoverished mothers and the kind of sex education and contraception accessibility that would avoid abortion in the first place," Zerbisias insists. "Nowhere on 40DaysForLife.com is there any discussion of any of these matters."
"That's why it's easy to assume that what the anti-choice movement is really about is exactly that: no choice for women," Zerbisias continues. "No choice when it comes to their reproductive rights, no choice when it comes to being free to pursue independent lives, no choice to have careers, no choice at all."
In the wake of the revelation that the 40 Days for Life website doesn't address post-birth support for single mothers, contraception or sex eduation, one may be willing to say "fair enough" (at least to that fact, if not to her rhetoric).
But then one would wonder what Zerbisias would have to say about anti-abortion organizations -- such as Feminists for Life that do have something to say about the matter.
Among the various resources available via the FFL website include calls to change cultural attitudes toward single parents to create an environment more conducive to single parenthood, notes on how to raise children inexpensively, and advice on how to cope with an unplanned pregnancy.
When writing about Feminists for Life, Zerbisias has failed to mention these things.
For her own part, this isn't particularly damning. But some of Zerbisias' compatriots in the pro-abortion movement have more deliberately overlooked such things. In a column appearing on the Talking Points Memo website, Ruth Rosen accused FfL of being "cleverly disingenuous".
As anyone who paid attention to the various controversies that swirled around former US Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin knows that FfL's slogan is "women deserves better choices".
That at the very least, is something Feminists for Life and the pro-abortion movement should be able to agree on, even if they fundamentally disagree on abortion.
But despite the fact that FfL's website does address some of the issues that Zerbisias criticizes 40 Days for Life for not mentioning, Ruth Rosen makes a rather unsurprising conclusion.
"In the end, I decided that Feminists for Life is neither about feminism nor about choice," Rosen writes. "It is a cunning attempt to convince young women that choice means giving up the right to 'choose.'"
So, it would seem that no matter who is writing, and no matter what the conditions, the pro-abortion movement insists that the anti-abortion movement simply opposes choice -- that they oppose freedom.
Against this general rhetorical backdrop it's hard to treat Zerbisias' commentary as anything other than disingenuous.
In this particular column, that disingenuity begins when she accuses Christians publicly praying of "intimidating" women, and takes deeper root when she follows the typical pro-abortion rhetorical tactic of accusing them of simply hating freedom.