To reverse the trend of Roe, certain podcasts have been telling the lived experiences of mothers who reflect on their pregnancies in light of the SCOTUS’ decision in Dobbs.
One mother observed a difference in the care she received at her bedside after two miscarriages that occurred eight months apart. These were on either side a Texas 6-week ban on abortion. Presumably doctors were reluctant to treat her as personally after the law was passed. This could have been because some supervisory entity misinterpreted her charts and deemed them to be abortion provision, not miscarriage care. The podcast host’s warning was that this could become nationally frequent because of Dobbs.
Another podcast contrasted two moms who were both 16 years old when they got pregnant. Both felt that they were forced into making the choice they did and they are now speaking out on the Louisiana abortion issue. It’s quite a story to hear how their parallel circumstances counterintuitively led them to the beliefs they hold today.
The interviewees, the mothers, in these podcasts shouldn’t be grilled—they’ve already shared so much to a national audience; we can only take them at their word. But I can rebut the words of interviewers. Media organizations of all political stripes continue to flaunt bias in the name of equity and truth, and they are not concerned with the safety of their listeners.
Two useful euphemisms the interviewers implemented throughout conversations were the phrases “found yourself pregnant” and “discovered you were pregnant.”
Orwell’s 1984 is approaching cliché at this point in criticism from the right. But, there is another instance where the language is changed to reflect the culture.
The interviewer asked a mother, “How did you find yourself pregnant?” The mother snickered in an isn’t-it-obvious? way, “Well, I had sex.” The host laughed, on the inside at herself for asking such a stupid question and on the outside in a don’t-you-see-what-I’m-getting-at? way.
Usually, when we “find ourselves” in an unwanted circumstance, like double-booking activities with friends, we’ll say we’re in a pickle. Being faced with a pregnancy isn’t being in a pickle. Even a 15-year-old, relenting to her boyfriend’s insistence, recognizes the enormity of sex. Both the 16-year-old mothers and their baby attested to it in their episode.
Yes, teenagers should know that sex is the primary outcome of sex. For the moment, I think the host confuses double-booking with creating a child by using the same phrase as how it came about.
In the podcasts, I found the second euphemism, “discover you were pregnant,” even more sly and tactical.
‘Discover’ connotes a eureka moment. Our ancestors could have been royalty or were hated criminals. Sometimes, people discover hidden treasures in their homes or find out that their spouse is unfaithful. These are all situations in which the discoverer has no role. Not so in sex and it’s intellectually dishonest for the host to phrase it as such.
Even though a baby was beyond the 16-year-olds’ thought of possibilities, for today’s listener to hear that someone can simply “discover their pregnancy” is to tell them they can divorce procreation from its mechanism. These people are taught a low view about sex and continue to pursue it ignorant of biology.
These two turns do what all euphemisms do: make a reality more palatable. More dastardly, it is palatable only for those who use the euphemism so they can reject that reality to keep their bias – and lifestyle – unchallenged.