Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Dark humor and the pro-life movement

Open question for our readers: what do you think of dark humor about abortion?

A Secular Pro-Life supporter poses the question in reaction to this meme which is making the rounds on facebook (along with several similar ones):

New Wave Feminists' parody videos riffing on the Planned Parenthood baby parts scandal push the envelope even further.

Abortion workers have used gallows humor for decades. Pioneering abortionist-turned-pro-lifer Bernard Nathanson shared the lyrics of an industry song, "There's a Fortune in Abortion," in the 1970s. A few years ago, former Planned Parenthood affiliate director Abby Johnson revealed that abortion workers referred to the freezer where aborted children's remains were temporarily stored before disposal as the "nursery" (among other macabre jokes).

But as far as I can tell, the pro-life side doesn't have a long history of dark humor. It appears to be a relatively recent development, probably attributable to the irreverent tendencies of the Millennial generation.

I can appreciate the arguments for and against pro-life dark humor. On the one hand, humor can reach people who aren't listening to the mainstream debate. It can also be a coping mechanism for pro-life advocates who are burdened by the millions of helpless lives lost. We need to vent somehow.

On the other hand, our whole goal here is to respect life, and the boundary between gallows humor and disrespect is extremely subjective. I happened to like the "arm and a leg" line. But I winced the other day when I saw someone tweet "If Hillary Clinton didn't support Planned Parenthood, Chelsea would have hundreds of half siblings, LOL."

What say you? Where do you draw the line, if you draw it at all?

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