Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I didn't realize until now that a wedding gift could be offensive

We received today a wedding present from an older couple who were invited to the wedding, but not able to attend.  The present consists of a generous gift card, and a book.

The book is Unplanned, by Abby Johnson.  It's "The dramatic true story of a former Planned Parenthood leader's eye-opening journey across the life line".  Abby Johnson, as you may recall, made national news when she quit her job as a director of a Texas Planned Parenthood.  Citing sudden religious conviction and a new realization about how abortion worked.

They thought I "might find the book interesting, in light of our conversation" at our engagement party about my goals to work for a pro-choice non-profit-- in my dream world, Planned Parenthood, and that "Often an evil is made to look like a good, as was the case in the author's personal experience".

I would find the book an odd and inappropriate gift if they had not known about my personal politics and feelings, but the fact that they did know makes it not only inappropriate, but offensive.  It's like a very personal attack, in a way-- implying that my life goals and beliefs are evil.  I know, as JD mentioned, that they are probably doing this is some misguided effort to save my soul, but we're moving to the city they live in.  There are more effective and appropriate ways of challenging someone's views then sending them something like this as a wedding present and implying you think their path is one of evil.  It's rude and unkind and not a loving action.

I have no desire to read the book.  I read some things in the news when she resigned, saw how her story seemed a little... off (How can someone be a director of PP and not know how abortion works?  Or have never seen an ultrasound?)

Abortion is a necessary medical procedure for many women.  It is important, and while I would love for the number of abortions to be reduced through greater access and affordability of birth control and greater access to sex ed, the availability of abortion must be protected, for the sake of women's health.  I've never had an abortion, or even a pregnancy scare, so it isn't an issue that has directly affected me in the ways it has so many others, but it is so, so important, and I will fight to keep abortion safe, legal, and available for women who need it.

I just don't even know what to say.
I guess this is my first Oklahoma culture shock (even though I know they are not representative of most Oklahomans, or even any of the other Oklahomans I have met.)


A said...

I really recommend this Texas Monthly article about her -- I THINK this is the full text here. If not, you can register to read it here. Her story is SERIOUSLY full of holes -- many parts of it are flat-out lies.

I agree that they think they're helping you, but they aren't, and they ARE being offensive.

Jen Kuhn said...

I have no issue with them giving you the book. Both sides of this issue are full of propaganda, so they are no better or worse than pro-choicers.

However it seems really inapproprate for a wedding gift.

stormy said...

That's an....interesting wedding gift.

Congrats though! :D That's exciting! :)))))))

Maria said...

Perhaps you could send them this: http://www.amazon.com/How-Pro-Choice-Movement-Saved-America/dp/0465054900/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1302476491&sr=8-1 as a thank you gift. :)

Anonymous said...

For our wedding, one of my mom's coworkers gave us a book that she said would make our marriage lasting and perfect. The gist of it was that, as long as I obeyed my husband immediately and unquestioningly at all times, even against my better judgment, we were guaranteed to live happily ever after.


Anonymous said...

I felt bad for you until you said you lived in Oklahoma. Yes, you will face (unsolicited) hostility for being pro choice. Most Oklahomans you know aren't like that, true, but you shouldn't be surprised to find if a lot are.

Anonymous said...

My advice is to know when is their anniversary and give them a pro-choice book. Of course only do that if you are willing to keep fighting them forever. This is the sort of issue when no one convinces anyone ever, people that change their minds usually do so alone and for a personal reason.

Susan Walsh said...

Wow, that is incredibly aggressive, not exactly the behavior one should display when celebrating a marriage. The judgment and disapproval of your choices is bad enough, but using your wedding as a way of having the last word just amazes me. I think this might be one gift you don't have to send a thank you for.

Yod said...

OMG I just read this. Comedy gold. That's like guys who buy their wife a vacuum for Christmas.