With crushing predictability, the faux-feminists in the UK press have decided that the real villain in the decades-long plot to overturn Roe vs Wade en route to establishing a Christian theocracy is… trans women.
The argument, if you can call it that, is simple: trans men wanted to be included in discussions of reproductive healthcare; that somehow erased women; because there is no such thing as a woman any more the US Supreme Court banned abortion. So it’s all trans women’s fault.
Better to concoct a ludicrous conspiracy theory than admit the truth: much of our media has spent years ignoring the Christian Right’s attacks on LGBT+ people and reproductive rights, preferring instead to publish a constant torrent of Christian Right anti-trans talking points and to platform Christian Right-funded anti-trans groups.
As the internet cliche goes: I can’t believe leopards are eating my face, says woman who voted for the Leopards Eating Your Face Party.
The simple fact is that the global anti-trans movement is part of the global anti-gender movement, whose target isn’t just trans people. It wants an end to same-sex marriage, to LGBT+ rights, to contraception, to abortion, to human rights for anybody who isn’t a socially conservative cisgender straight Christian.
You couldn’t ask for a better example of how this is all connected than the anti-abortion goons intimidating and filming people outside the Sandyford Clinic in Glasgow. They’re there to target women seeking abortions, but – happily for the goons – the Sandyford’s other services mean they get to intimidate people going for sexual health services, for rape counselling and for transgender health care. Over the weekend they moved to the City Centre to harangue people going to Pride, because of course they did. The war on women’s reproductive freedom and the war on LGBT+ people are the same war.
And this morning there was another example. On BBC Scotland, the discussion about whether we should have buffer zones around abortion clinics – zones that would separate the Sandyford clowns from vulnerable people – invited the ADF to contribute.
The ADF isn’t just the organisation responsible for funding many anti-abortion groups around the world or the organisation involved heavily in anti-abortion legislation in the US, including the Mississippi case that led to the Supreme Court overturning Roe vs Wade; it’s also the organisation that provides “experts” in anti-trans legal cases in the UK, and which promotes intolerance and hatred towards LGBT+ people globally. And part of its job is to launder that hatred, by providing nice-seeming, media trained people who will absolutely come on air to discuss their ‘reasonable concerns’.
Another US group that’s long tried to influence classic “culture war” cases in the UK is the anti-abortion “dark money”-funded legal army Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). openDemocracy revealed in 2019 that its international wing had spent nearly half a million pounds on lobbying in the UK over just two years. The group does not disclose who its donors are, and has even gone to the US Supreme Court to defend donor secrecy.
ADF’s lawyers have previously said they are working to ensure ‘that bad European precedents don’t spread further in Europe, then across the sea to America’. It worked on the high-profile ‘gay cake’ cases in both the UK and US, defending Christian bakers using free speech arguments.
ADF has also publicly opposed protest-free “buffer zones” around abortion clinics and supported calls for “freedom of conscience” provisions to enable medical staff to object to providing legal abortion services. And it claims the UK government adopted its recommendations on free speech and academic freedom at universities.
Rather than platforming them, journalists should be investigating them.