Political Animal


May 29, 2012 3:32 PM Stinging Themselves

By Ed Kilgore

Boy, the Breitbart Generation of conservative activists really do love them some phony “stings.” The latest involves fake inquirers for abortion services at Planned Parenthood clinics who claim to be seeking gender selection of children they managed to find one clinic where the input counseler (subsequently fired) didn’t throw them out of the office, but instead honestly answered their questions about when they might know the gender of a fetus in order to secure an abortion if it turned out to be female. This has been turned by anti-choice activists and their conservative cheerleaders into exposure of a vast conspiracy to wipe out baby girls and eventually the entire gender.

Note there is no evidence this is a “problem” in the United States, or that the problem that does exist elsewhere (most famously in Asia) would be eliminated by making abortions illegal, or that Planned Parenthood, or anyone else, even in this one isolated case, is encouraging gender-selection abortions. Nor do the people screaming about this (or other “horrifying” motives for terminating a pregnancy) offer any way to completely eliminate the possibility of a gender-selection abortion without banning abortion altogether, which is, of course precisely what they want to do.

So this whole enchilada is basically yet another exercise in self-excitement for right-wing activists aimed at demonizing their opponents. But they are stinging themselves if they think this sort of stunt is going to convince Americans to ban the 98.5% of abortions that occur at a stage of pregnancy before gender identification is even possible to head off this entirely imaginary threat.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • ACLS on May 29, 2012 3:42 PM:

    I remember seeing a poll once that asked some group of people (don't remember the definition, but childless and American) which gender they'd pick for their first child, if they had the choice. Apparently some 60% said girls. But pretty evenly matched.

    Anyway, this whole thing is catnip for them because they get to pretend Planned Parenthood wants to enforce China's one child policy or something stupid like that. I'm curious as to who, if anyone takes this stuff seriously outside the echo chamber anymore.

  • gummitch on May 29, 2012 3:49 PM:

    This has been turned by anti-choice activists and their conservative cheerleaders into exposure of a vast conspiracy to wipe out baby girls and eventually the entire gender.

    Ironic, isn't it? It's not the pro-choice crowd that wants to eliminate the entire gender; quite the contrary.

  • g on May 29, 2012 3:54 PM:

    I don't understand the point of these "stings".

    People who work with the public are trained to be professional and not react emotionally to what a cold-call customer says. Even with a truly offensive customer, it's much better to keep calm and try to end the conversation without a conflict.

    Maintaining a professional manner doesn't mean the worker condones or endorses the customer's supposed intent.

  • stormskies on May 29, 2012 4:09 PM:

    This pigs are nothing but emotional juveniles who need somebody to attack/scapegoat/whine about almost ever second of their psychological perverse and pathetic lives. They always seem to need so sort of 'siren' going in order to feel alive, and to use as a way of not having to look at themselves at all because, in reality, what they would actually see in the mirror would be something akin to the 'brown shirts' of Hitler's time.

  • Ron Byers on May 29, 2012 4:40 PM:

    What amazes me is the MSM seem to look past the self-serving nature of these fruitless "stings" and simply relay the story without much comment. I mean if they don't cause the hackles to go up on some assignment editor's neck nothing will. That some "news" organization would air this drivel shows more about the low journalistic standards of the "news" organization than anything else.

  • John on May 29, 2012 5:17 PM:

    What exactly did the counselor who got fired do wrong that warranted termination of employment?

  • Sparko on May 29, 2012 5:25 PM:

    The game plan is to show that they are not at war with women. They are so obviously colluding with Super PAQS and Mitt. They run these "stings" as part of the GOP'sdis-information campaign. Really someone needs to throw Rove and his minions in the slammer.

  • Jerry Schwarz on May 29, 2012 5:30 PM:

    I find it ironic that these are the same people who want to force women to have ultrasound examinations before they get an abortion. How do they think women find out the sex of their fetuses?

  • Davidwonk on May 29, 2012 7:30 PM:

    A guy I met who's in a local tea party org told me with pride that his tea party once featured a presentation by a gonzo Breitbart-like "journalist" that explained how to pull off a DIY sting on political opponents.

    This technique has been grass-rootified!