An abortion activist stirred up all kinds of religious outrage this week after taking an abortion pill on live TV to demonstrate just how simple it is.
The incident occurred on Fox 2 in Detroit, during a bi-weekly segment called “Let It Rip,” which is essentially a short debate with a moderator. On Sunday, the topic was abortion. One of the guests was activist, Satanist, and abortion rights advocate Jex Blackmore (who uses they/them pronouns), who wanted to make it clear to viewers that even if the Supreme Court bans abortion, anyone who needs them can still get medically safe abortion pills online.
And then, to hammer that point home, Blackmore used their limited camera time to show host Charlie Langton just how easy it was to take those pills. They held up a mifepristone pill — the first of two pills necessary for an abortion — and popped it in their mouth, to the shock of Langdon and anti-abortion activist Rebecca Kiessling.
You can see it happen around the 1:20 mark of the video below:
Appearing bewildered, Langton asked: “You’re not pregnant, are you?”
“I would say that this is going to end a pregnancy,” Blackmore replied. “This would be my third abortion.”
In an email to The Post, Blackmore said her on-air claim was no charade, insisting that she took mifepristone, the first of the two pills, to end a pregnancy.
“Abortion is a common and safe medical procedure surrounded by stigma,” Blackmore wrote. “Stigma keeps people silent about their personal experiences and creates space for harmful, inaccurate narratives. My action was intended to dispel some of those myths, misinformation, and stigma.”
Just based on the reactions, Blackmore’s action worked even better than expected.
Consider the host. He seemed shocked by the fact that she might have taken an abortion pill for its intended purpose. (“You’re not pregnant, are you?”)
Consider the other guest, Kiessling, whose response on Facebook was predictably hyperbolic to the point that no reasonable person would taken it seriously. She said Blackmore was “killing her baby on TV.” She equated it to “pushing a button for a drone strike on innocent victims”… which is like confusing a paper cut with a beheading.
Kiessling went on to say that Langton called her later to say that wasn’t planned and that “their whole studio is in shock.”
Why? Because Blackmore took a harmless pill on TV? The mifepristone pill merely blocks a hormone that’s necessary for pregnancy. Because of that, the anti-abortion side likes to argue that abortions can be “reversed” after taking that first pill. That claim that has no basis in science, but that means Kiessling is complaining about something that even she doesn’t think was an abortion.
It’s all just performative whining.
It’s always performative since her brand of conservative Christianity sides with politicians who refuse to fix the social safety nets that lead to more abortions, refuse to make contraception and morning-after pills free and easily accessible, refuse to support comprehensive sex education, and refuse to support universal health care.
Blackmore’s move wasn’t a “stunt,” per se, since they were taking the pill for its actual purpose, but it was a masterful use of time. Whenever you appear on a news broadcast, you’re likely only going to get a few seconds of airtime. Blackmore knew that and came prepared. And the amazing thing is that if people want to show how HORRIBLE this segment was, what are they going to do? Post the clip of Blackmore taking the pill? There’s nothing to see. It really was that simple. It wasn’t traumatic. It wasn’t agonizing. It was no different, procedurally, from other pills we take.
Watching that clip, I was reminded of James Randi downing a bottle of homeopathic sleeping pills during a TED Talk years ago (something other activists have replicated in their own protests). Obviously, those pills were ineffective while Blackmore’s was very real, but they all knew the power of going through a motion we’ve all gone through to make a broader point. You’re only shocked if you don’t understand what’s going on.
Anti-abortion activists want you to believe all abortions involve bloody corpses and body parts. Their propaganda always points in that direction. Blackmore’s point was that a pill does the trick and there’s no drama involved — and then she directed people to a website so they can stock up. If and when the Supreme Court makes abortion illegal in several states, a hell of a lot of people worried about potential pregnancy will be doing exactly what Blackmore did — while having to deal with obstacles like Kiessling who can’t handle watching others take control of their own bodies.
Ultimately, will Blackmore’s move convince people to support abortion rights? Who knows. But good debaters know they’re rarely trying to win over their opposition. It’s about reaching people on the fence. In this case, those who have doubts about the pill. Blackmore showed us why there’s no reason to worry about them.