The White Lily Blog

French Bill Banning Burqa Reveals Truth About Choice

The most sacred word in America’s liberal fascist style sheet is the word choice. Uttered unceasingly by President Obama, it annihilates dissent against his party’s relentless pro-abortion policies. But now that holy concept is under attack, from a surprising source. France is trying to take away Muslim women’s choice to wear a veil in public, arguing persuasively that ‘choice’ can be an illusion.

Sidewalk counselors, those people who stand outside abortion mills trying to dissuade women from entering with various resources, have been questioning the choice in pro-choice for a long time. Of the couples going to the mills, too many of the women entering appear to be reluctant to go through the door. They don’t appear normal. They often appear drugged or drunk. Sometimes, too often, they are literally drug in by a boyfriend or a parent.

It’s easy to read the body language. The girl’s eyes will be enormous with fear, or glazed. Her steps will be slow. The Boyfriend, however, will be hurrying along, muttering about being ‘late.’ His arm will be around her neck, it looks so much like an embrace; but it’s actually nudging her along. Approached, he will put himself between her and the sidewalk counselor, as if protecting her, but she will lean forward to hear around him, and it’s plain to see she would stop now for anyone, she’s clearly terrified. But he barks. He barks at the sidewalk counselor, some profanity, and, Get away! But the girl knows at whom the profanity is directed, and she complies completely. She drops her head, she gives up hope. She enters.

It’s the same with the other most frequent grouping, the whole family scene. A girl will be in the center of a small determined group of older women, a mom, an aunt, sometimes a grandmother. She looks the least determined of the lot, but she’s being swept along, and who’s choice it really is could not be more apparent.

Where family is concerned, ” choice” needs something to back it up, or it’s a pretty empty concept.

And now French feminists are saying the same thing: Muslim women are being subtly forced by their culture and their families to enclose themselves in the burqa, and France should pass a law that makes wearing one illegal.

It would be possible to have such a law, proponents say, without strict enforcement, a law ‘on the books’ but without teeth or militia. Merely having the law would suffice, however, because its mere existence “will allow women to use the ban as an excuse to shed garments they don’t want to wear, but were wearing under family pressure.”

That’s exactly what pro-lifers argue for: a ban on abortion, a rollback of Roe v Wade (especially since the Roe has repudiated her abortion that caused the legalization of abortion forty years ago). That would give women an excuse, a useful pretext: ‘I can’t do that honey, it’s illegal! Don’t even go there!’

But aren’t women already free under French law to veil themselves or not? Do not most people admit that women wear the burka and hijab voluntarily? Not at all. Proponents for the new law argue that even though it appears that women wear the veil voluntarily, it’s an illusion. They say,

“’Force’ and ‘compulsion’ can and are achieved all the time without the use of force. It’s SO common. Women will give in to something as trivial as covering up – even if they really, really don’t want to – just to keep the peace…. Families – families who love you and want what’s best for you, and whom you don’t want to hurt – can make you do almost anything.” Don’t pro-lifers see the truth of that, every busy Saturday at the mill!

Another correspondent writes, “Is the choice to cover oneself up really free if that choice is being made by someone who has undergone a lifetime of indoctrination with the message that this is the only proper way for a woman to dress? If a man tells his wife, ‘you’re free to decide whether or not you want to wear the burka, but only immodest women and bad wives choose to expose themselves.’ then that is no longer considered a choice; it’s considered social pressure and coercion.”

Just consider if those words were being applied to abortion: is it a real choice to kill one’s own child if it is being made by someone who has been taught since first grade that unplanned babies are tragedies? Because that’s what little girls are regularly taught. Just a couple of months ago, US little girls were taught by their beloved president that babies are a punishment for a mistake, and abortion fixes it. He was only repeating what they hear ad nauseum at school from teachers, guidance counselors, and school nurses.  The pressure is not only psychological, however. Research has shown that 64% of American women undergoing an abortion reported coercion that included threats of violence. And it’s just not threats! Guess what numbers crunchers found to be the leading cause of death among pregnant American women: homicide, dear feminists.

So France’s Sarkozy pretends to champion the rights of women and insists that they need a law forbidding the burqa to give them an actual choice in place of their faux choice, and Obama pretends to champion the rights of women and denies they need a law forbidding abortion that will give them an actual choice instead of faux choice. Neither one cares about the women and both care very much about their political profiles.

Of course, the two situations are unequal. The cancellation of faux choice in the matter of what not to wear would affect about a hundred Muslim women residing in France and cost them the right to clothe themselves in a burqa. They could still achieve their ends, if they so wish, by dressing modestly in the options available to Christian women, which are many. The cancellation of faux choice in the matter of abortion would give about a million and a half human babies every year a chance to see the light of day, instead of the hot flash of cold steel, the last thing they’ll ever feel.

Those who are truly pro-choice for women (and not merely human-hating anti-natalists who take every pretext to limit and end human life on the planet) will support the efforts of Italy’s Rocco Buttliglione in promoting a UN ban on forced abortions by the diabolical ploy of offering women survivors of natural catastrophes food and shelter in exchange for the termination of their child’s life, a common practice promoted by Planned Parenthood and other demons.

8 Comments so far
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Just to be clear, I’m not an advocate for the French ban on the burka.

Also, most women who get abortions don’t even tell their families, so they aren’t being coerced. Likely, someone in your family has had an abortion and didn’t choose to share it with you.

Comment by apostate

Dear Apostate,

How do you know that most women who get abortions don’t tell their families? How would you get accurate statistics on that? The same comment applies to my own assertion, that many abortions are coerced, but I do have some actual broad experience, as I do stand outside an abortion mill for several hours every week. So one does have a chance to see a pattern. And honestly, for every girl who charges in, four hang back. It may even be higher than that. And the unanimity of every ‘canned’ sex ed curriculum toward unplanned pregnancy is too apparent to ignore. You can sum it up by a poster that still hangs in the guidance office of the large urban high school I retired from: What you do call a pregnant teenager? Stupid!

If it’s coercion for some, it’s coercion for all.

I’m not for banning what women want to wear either. But you can see the difference in the consequences, can’t you? Certain quick death for some millions, severe inconvenience and discomfort, at worst, for other thousands. Let’s put some restrictions on both, then. Let’s make sure girls have a chance to explore all options, guaranteed by law, at least. Ultra-sound from a non-profit agency, adoption counseling, a thorough interview without the BF or, in the case of an adult woman, Moms either.

Comment by thewhitelilyblog

I used to be on the board of a Planned Parenthood affiliate. That’s my hands-on experience. There are also many women who tell their stories of having an abortion.

Are you sure that those shrinking women you see outside the clinic are not afraid of you? May I recommend a book? It’s called This Common Secret and it’s written by Dr. Susan Wicklund, who performed abortions for many years and wrote about her experiences, with the other doctors, with the patients and with the protesters like you. I am sure you will find it interesting and informative.

Many of the regulations you are suggesting are already law in most states and they inconvenience women who have little money have to travel great distances for a medical procedure which is their legal right.

I have a sincere question. What would you say to a woman like me, who would rather kill herself than have a baby?

From my personal experience growing up around Muslims, I can tell you that many women veil by choice. I am not sure what you mean by saying that coercion for one is coercion for all. How can that be? Context matters. Individual circumstances matter.

Comment by apostate

I’ll noodle the library about The Common Secret, and thank you. I really don’t get the feminist hostility toward Muslim veils–men’s is understandable enough, the eye candy gone–but we women here were makeup, and it’s a kind of veil, too. Like you, I have some experience in the struggle–civil rights, voter registration in Alabama for a year, brought a group of Selma local kids to SF State in ’65 to get them through school on scholarships, worked for the Black Panthers in Oakland, all the auto row strikes. I took women to Mexico for abortions in the sixties, and organized all those petitions and demonstrations to legalize abortion, and also arranged to get men to Canada to avoid Vietnam, joined the CPUSA and spent the next thirty years in various roles, including Democratic Party grass roots organizing in Florida, and building and democratizing the machinists’ union. I taught in the poorest schools. It was all about love–then, and now. The only thing that wasn’t about love was the pro-abortion work, including the two abortions I myself had. I wish I had those babies now, and I wish I’d given women a better deal. I was way wrong about abortion. I do have three living children, though. So I’ll check out that book, but you have to know that I’ve been down many a road and there’s no way I’ll be persuaded to support abortion again. It is not good for women.

We don’t get so many people who would rather die than have a child. We usually get people who got themselves a little confused, but when they hear what help is available through the state of Illinois and various organizations, they get it together, like the girl (and her mom, and aunt) just a month here from Ghana who turned away from an abortion last weekend. They were Muslims, and they were just waiting for somebody in this new land to tell them how things are done here, and when they learned that there were places set up to help them, they were glad to get gone from that clinic (I don’t think the counseling that ought to go on actually gets done, because we talk to the women coming out and they never say anything about rejecting the adoption pitch, for example.) It’s easy to help people who want te help. Your situation is different. I’d have to know you, to know what to say to something as serious as that. But without knowing you, I could say–a celibate life avoids pregnancy, too, and that’s what I’d recommend to a daughter of mine, if her aversion to motherhood was so great. Is it only motherhood you really hate, or do you hate anything that has an aspect of being a servant?

Comment by thewhitelilyblog

“Sidewalk counselors”?

I needed a little comedy in my day. Thanks!

Comment by Julie Carter

When you say abortion is bad for women, you necessarily mean it’s bad for some women. It is quite good for others. There are many many women — in Catholic countries that ban abortion outright, for instance – where women are so desperate to end their pregnancies that they die in the process of obtaining an illegal and unsafe abortion. Those women ARE like me, and it’s not a small number. We deserve some consideration in your worldview so that if we do find ourselves in a position where we can’t abide a pregnancy, we don’t die as a result.

You made your own mistakes. Let other women make theirs. We are all adults. We don’t need to be protected from the consequences of our freely made decisions. Women shouldn’t be treated like children, as if they don’t realize what an abortion is, and can’t be allowed to decide its impact on their lives on their own.

Many women abort because of financial reasons. But it’s the truth that there is very little help available. I’m not sure what help you are talking about but none of these pro-life orgs offer much more than a few diapers and baby clothes. Once the baby is born, both the pro-lifers and the government stops helping mothers. This is a huge problem, and I would respect pro-lifers a lot more if they focused on helping women once they’d convinced them to turn their lives upside down to have babies they couldn’t afford. I would respect them a lot more if they worked towards government giving greater help to those who need it. I am in agreement with you that women shouldn’t abort if they don’t want to, but it is not the availability of legal abortion that is causing this to happen, it is the lack of public support for poor mothers.

Interestingly, it’s pro-life politicians who consistently vote against the interests of mothers and children, and pro-choice politicians who vote to help them.

Adoption is harder for women, by the way, than abortion. Way harder. It just doesn’t get talked about as much. I, for one, could never give up my baby, but I also couldn’t raise one. I don’t believe in putting women in such heartbreaking positions.

Abstinence is not a reasonable position to hold. Sex is a natural part of life. No matter how much you might wish for it, abstinence simply isn’t realistic and doesn’t work. The politics of women’s lives are the politics of the real world. Abstinence side-steps reality.

Comment by apostate

Apostate, you remind me of a woman who stays outside the mill every Saturday, rain or shine. She is about thirty five. She, too, says she was not cut out to be a mother. She always laughs when she says it and gives that little hand wave: you know,’ motherhood and all that stuff.’ Because it’s more than just physically knitting up and birthing a little human body.

And the both of you are missing half of life, and she as well, as a practicing Catholic, is missing half of Christianity. Because one can’t help but notice that with this easy gesture she dismisses just about every opportunity to take care of others. She never sees what people need at the baby showers we hold for women who turn away–never sees the missing napkin or the empty glass. Same in other stuff. Her directions aren’t totally reliable, always missing a turn; if she forwards around some piece of legislative news we need, something is missing– a date, enough background info, something necessary. She doesn’t put herself into the shoes of others, in this case readers. This of course is bad writing, and bad Christianity, too. If there is any message in that faith, it’s to serve others. That’s what the cross means. Just that. Pride is the enemy of that. I’m too smart (cute, valuable, complicated), to notice that someone needs another piece of cake. This is such an essential piece of life! When my son says he and his wife are working on being good servants to each other and that, as an administrator at work, he is trying to serve his staff, I know he’s on the right track to get it together someday even though he’s not going to church–I’m trying to say this attitude of service to others seems to be essential to pagans and nonbelievers too. This is mental health! And, for every women I’ve ever heard say it, I’m not cut out for motherhood, I’ve always observed an ambivalence about serving others in general.

And truly motherhood–or a servant attitude– doesn’t rule out excellence in any other damn thing. I challenge the notion, that to make it in the world of men and commerce and science, one has to adopt their mentality. My best friend in school is head of the statistics department at Purdue for decades. No small achievement, and she was like that in first grade. I remember one slumber party where we were all drunk and she was sleeping with a pencil and paper by the bed in case she woke up with the solution to trisecting an angle. It was like that–she was and is a genius. Thanks to an early and thoroughly Catholic education that didn’t oppose motherhood and career, she’s also a mother (and says it’s the crowning achievement of her life, and if that makes you cringe–get over it! We’re LUCKY LUCKY LUCKY to have this burden!)

It was the style back in the last century for girl heroes to protest that they’d never be mothers–like Jo in Little Women, for example. I did myself. (And I was an excellent mother of boys, once I got a taste, the first up the tree, the first to get dirty. We had a blast, they remember it still.) Your case of it is tied to supposed deaths to lack of abortion, a pitiful state. I don’t believe it. We did not have legal abortion, and none of us died. We were hard scrabble Irish and Lithuanian from Holy Angels parish in East St. Louis, Illinois, not some surburban enclave. And we could find abortions if we wanted one. There were places in St. Louis and Chicago–I could get in the car and drive to the block very right this moment, fifty years later. None of us died, and from the sixties, I can tell you (with shame, now) the illegal clinics in Mexico were excellent (it was my job, in our Berkeley collective, to research them; I am saying this, here, with shame, now).

But like the women of France who could have a law to back them up if they wanted to resist veiling (you found that argument powerful enough in the post, Apostate, though you may deny it now), we had the law to back us up if we didn’t want an abortion, if we wanted the little twit to marry us. Legal abortion has made women into slaves. Not the reverse. And it hits African American the hardest! One in seven, their chance of marrying. Want to say, oh well, who needs to get married! Dear heart, THAT’S the old-fashioned idea. We do. And the world needs us to because it maybe could reverse the population slide in some countries where the anti-conception, pro-abortion, antii-natalist attitude has really taken over. You might check out an interview with Korean Planned Parenthood out today, here’s the interesting link:
Not only does PP call on Koreans to have kids, she–I think a she, name doesn’t reveal it–calls on Korea to build marriage. Because it helps, you see. They’re dying. (It’s really hard to get absolutely the right birth rate; not a thing that suffers tinkering, well, we’re finding out to our sorrow–Iran is another case in point, they’ve fallen from–I’m rounding off–something like 5.5 births per, to 1.8 births per, in only ten years since they began to promote birth control, and they’re freaking out. It’s an unspoken force behind the demonstrations, in my opinion.)

We can’t keep a law sets society back so much just because some women think they can’t lead a celibate life and insist on having sex when they know birth control fails at times and so they’ll ‘need’ an abortion at one or several points. You’re not offering figures for your assertion that there are many such women, and I don’t have figures to offer, either. I wouldn’t trust a single set of figures on either side. But I’ve got fifty years of active organizing on my side of the tug of war, of talking to women, of representing women. Most women adjust to motherhood. Most women adjust to adoption. Making abortion hard to get is good for us. That’s the truth. That doesn’t say a word about that fact that it’s human lives, not one out of say one hundred, if we accept your version, or one out of ten thousand if we accept mine, but every single time abortion is used a human life is terminated. I’m not saying anything about that because it’s possible to harden one’s heart against that. Of course one pays a heavy price for this most ungreen of procedures, that so violates the fine design of the fine work that is woman.

I do by the way agree with you about economics. I am trying to educate Catholics that we are not to make common cause with protestants on worship of the Free Market. I’m working on an article now in support of Michelle Mauder and a group trying to interest Obama in a worker buy-out of the big three auto, or they may have changed it, at least GM. That would be a cooperative, and this is the Catholic alternative to both socialism and advanced, imperialistic capitalism. There was a proposal in health care, too, around cooperative ownership of facilities (rather than government owned). My bank is a coop, and the East End Coop in Pittsburgh is my own most familiar example of how it works (it’s the best! like Whole Foods but cheap!), but cooperatives work all over the world. Check out Mondragon in Spain. The people who produce and the people who consume own the industry, in some mixture thereof, it can vary, in actual alienable shares, not like government socialist ‘ownership.’ Yet it’s a cooperative. Non-profit. You probably know of others yourself–like electrical coops. This is called, as a general principle, distributism, and the governing principle, shared risk, individual ownership of benefit. It’s the best of all worlds. It’s working well in third-world situations, too, like small loan coops, small business coops. (The Vatican promotes these in the UN, by the way.) I tried to sketch out how it would work in the science fiction thing I’m working on in the blog, but why couldn’t future space development be owned by all of us? Or the new oil revenues, in that oil they haven’t developed yet, if it comes to that? Why should Gulf own that? Why not the people–in real shares, I mean. That’s a quiet but enormously important distinction. There are alternatives to what we have. Unfortunately most of my Catholic friends are completely ignorant of the Church’s support for state organizing of these ventures, to help the people (e.g. Pius XI’s Quadragesimo Anno). They buy the protestant model, which is pretty much the republican economic platform. I am trying to get this word out. Would you like to me ping you or whatever when I get the post written? The Michelle Mauder one?

Peace to you, Apostate.

Life IS a series of heartbreaks. That’s why the cross of Christ is such a fitting accessory.

Comment by thewhitelilyblog

[…] French Bill Banning Burqa Reveals Truth About Choice […]

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