Latest Twist in Abortion Hoax

What Women Really Think
Nov. 24 2010 10:46 AM

Latest Twist in Abortion Hoax

The constant media inquiry into his site Birth Or Not has finally worn Pete Arnold down.  After he was exposed as a right wing hack and an anti-choice nut, the public dropped its willingness to accept his insistence that he and his wife were actually putting the termination of his wife's pregnancy up to a vote.  But CNN managed to get Arnold to admit that it was a hoax without his coming out and directly saying it. He said that he nicknamed the fetus "Baby Wiggles" to give people something to think about--let's face it, only anti-choice nuts actually think others are unaware ther are fetuses inside pregnant ladies--and more damningly, CNN reported this:

Arnold said the couple intended to end the vote December 7, two days before the last day Alisha Arnold could legally get an abortion, their blog says. But on Tuesday, Pete Arnold said, "We're talking about ending it early. I think people are getting it."

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It's the site they're ending, not the pregnancy, of course.  This comment cinches that it was a hoax all along, because the original site claimed it was a matter of letting the public decide.  Now Arnold, weary and beaten, is admitting that he wanted people to get "it."  What's "it," if not his ideas about whether or not abortion should be criminal behavior?  On Birth Or Not itself, the facade that the couple is pro-choice has been abandoned, and Pete Arnold has admitted he's opposed to legal abortion, despite claiming to be a "libertarian."  Of course, Arnold is saying that he was never actually suggesting Alisha would have an abortion if the public voted yes, but that has as much credibility as Tea Partiers saying they were opposed to Bush's encroachments on liberties; they just happened to be saying so in a pitch no one else could hear.

I predicted , and do believe I was the first online to predict, that this was a hoax that was aiming for the couple deciding that they loved "Baby Wiggles" too much to kill him, no matter what the public said.  And that, in turn, would become anti-choice propaganda to reinforce their myth that no one who really knew that there was a fetus in there would ever want an abortion.  As I predicted, Alisha has decided she can't do it, now that she's been looking at weekly (!) ultrasounds.  I remain skeptical of the idea that she ever intended to take abortion under consideration.  Or, at least I hope that's the case, because the other possibility that's looming is, if anything, even uglier than the possibility that this was an anti-choice hoax from the get-go.

Alisha is now saying that the site started because she and her husband disagreed on whether or not she should have a baby right now, and that she's pro-choice while he's anti-choice.  Which means, and she states rather plainly, that this Web site was put there to settle the dispute.  That, on top of Irin Cameron's interview with the couple, where Pete Arnold comes across as a domineering loudmouth and Alisha Arnold as quiet and kind of sad, means there's another possibility: Pete Arnold pushed his wife into putting up a Web site where people could vote on her extremely private choices.  He can't have been unaware of exactly what was going to happen, which is that a bunch of anti-choice nuts would swarm the place trying to shame anyone who thinks abortion is a legitimate choice.  He's one of those guys who joins those swarms! That's like assembling an army to browbeat a single woman. And of course it's mostly going to be one-sided, since the pro-choice stance is, "Whatever you think is best, dear."  To make it worse for her, Alisha Arnold has now lost her job because of this.

If Pete Arnold claims he was trying to make a point, and I think he did, though it wasn't the point he was trying to make, he failed to make anyone change their mind to the anti-choice side, but I do think he managed to wake up a few more pro-choicers to how misogynist anti-choice activists really can be.

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer and DoubleX contributor. She also writes regularly for the Daily Beast, AlterNet, and USA Today. Follow her on Twitter.