Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Why I don't really believe Patheos' Libby Anne's "lost faith in the prolife movement" story

Some pro-choice blogs are abuzz over this post by Libby Anne of Patheos in which she describes how she "Lost Faith in the ‘Pro-life' Movement." Libby Anne says her conversion into being in favor of legal abortion started when she read a NY Times article about a WHO and AGI study regarding abortions worldwide. She claims that as a prolifer, she found this "study" persuasive.

As I have noted numerous times, the studies by the WHO and AGI which attempt to guessestimate how many abortions are performed in developing nations where abortion is illegal are a joke. Anyone who takes the time to actually read the studies and find out where the numbers come from quickly realizes that there is next to no empirical basis for the numbers. Yet somehow Libby Anne (who claims to have been the president of her university's Student for Life group and been to "pro-life banquet after pro-life banquet") had 1.) Never heard about these claims before and was 2.) surprised by claims that pro-choicers believe large number of women die from illegal abortion.

I'm struggling to believe this is a true story. If she was the president of her Students for Life group, she should have come across these claims before. These claims are very popular in the pro-choice movement (the idea that banning abortion won't stop abortion is often the first thing many pro-choice people argue) and prolifers spend a good deal of time combating them. Second, she should have been skeptical of this study as she should have known that the AGI is a pro-choice organization. Third, I would guess most SFL group presidents would ask their local or state prolife group or maybe even fellow group members about such a study and its results before accepting them so trustingly.

Libby Anne then goes on to make a number of generalized, caricatured claims about the prolife movement (which she should know are untrue if she spent so much time in the movement as she claims) and suddenly (during her lunch break!!) adopts the worldview of the pro-choice movement.

Her explanation for her transition also doesn't make any sense. If the AGI study convinced her that birth control is the answer to saving unborn children and is good because of that then why would her beliefs about the value of unborn children be suddenly decreased? Libby Anne's explanation for why she no longer thinks the unborn should be protected is also not very well thought out. She claims she believes the unborn aren't persons because well...well.... she never really says. Someone who was as strongly prolife as Libby Anne claims she was would struggle with this much more. She would have had these conversations with family members, etc. and would have at least some reasoning for why unborn babies (her term) aren't persons. She also now accepts the bodily autonomy argument and sees birth as the "key dividing line."

She then shows she doesn't have basic research skills when she claims that "Obamacare stands to cut abortion rates by 75%" based on a study which shows no such thing. I find it hard to believe that real people actually believe that. Even though birth control is already incredibly accessible in this country and most women who have abortions used birth control in the last month, Obamacare forcing companies to include it on their insurance is going to cut abortion by 75%. Yeah, ok. You have to be the most gullible and uninformed person in the world to believe that.

Libby Anne claims she was dupe for defending the prolife movement. I'd bet anyone who reads this account and thinks they're getting an honest story is a dupe. To me it sounds exactly like what a pro-choice blogger would write if she was writing the fictional account of how she was once prolife but then became pro-choice. Maybe Libby Anne was prolife at one point, but this description of how she became prolife is far from an accurate portrayal of that.

UPDATE 11/1/12:
I'm sure Libby Anne is lying.  This woman is a fraud.  She was never the Students for Life president at a university. Read this comment and try to explain how someone who was so involved in the prolife movement could believe that second trimester abortions are generally "only allowed in case of rape, incest, life of the mother, or fetal abnormality."

That's the type of thing only incredibly ignorant, sheltered pro-choice people believe.  1. You have to be ignorant of abortion laws/legislation.  The closest states have come to limiting abortion is 20 weeks.  2. You have to be ignorant of how many second trimester abortions there are and how frequently they are performed.  About 10% of abortions are performed after 12 weeks. That's around 100,000 a year in our country.   

Anyone who has had any interaction with any slightly knowledgeable prolifer would never write something like Libby Anne because they would know how easy it is to shoot down and how stupid and ignorant they would look if they said it. 

UPDATE 4/2/13:
I was wrong.  She's not a fraud.  I've discovered who she is in real life.  She was a Students for Life president for a period of time.  I still doubt aspects of her conversion story.  She's not including any information about a pivotal life event which over time led to her completely changing her worldview and led her to question everything she was taught by her parents.  Her arguments are still poor.  I think this is because while she used to be prolife, my guess is she no longer interacts with people who are prolife.  She went from a conservative, prolife, evangelical bubble into a pro-choice, liberal bubble. 


  1. What makes me skeptical of her story is that the issue of fetal rights is completely unaddressed. Did you REALLY think abortion kills a human being and that the unborn have a right to life? If so, why do you not believe that any more? This is not addressed. If you still believe that, why are you siding with people who think it's okay to kill human beings?

  2. You are a complete moron. You're just an ignorant anti-choicer looking for every reason to discredit her, when everything she said was from the heart. You don't know what the hell you're talking about, and you have no right to call her a liar, you evil Pharisee. The only liar here is you, you filthy hypocrite. And the fact that you care more about an embryo than an adult woman is very telling. If there is a hell, you're in danger, because you are nothing more than a woman-hating, ignorant schmuck. Shame on you.

  3. Melody,
    That's a nice bunch of assertions and name calling but you don't have an argument. Libby Anne claimed to be a former SFL president yet knew nearly nothing about second trimester abortions. She said stuff only sheltered pro-choicers say. That doesn't make any sense to me. It doesn't match with her purported background.

    Why I am a liar? Because I believe her to be a fraud? That doesn't make any sense.

  4. You hit the nail on the head Jivin, the story is not plausible for more reasons than you listed.

  5. Anonymous5:22 PM

    I am skeptical of this story, but also several items on her blog. First of all, she was president of her student pro-life group, but she never prayed in front of an abortion clinic, or did any sidewalk counseling? It is strange that anyone that into pro-life issues would not have at least prayed in front of an abortion clinic? Another thing that is surprising about her pro-life conversion, is how "shocked" she is when she runs across any new piece of information (which she probably would and should have heard before if she were that involved in the movement, and how it forces her to just change her mind. Before she finally gave up on pro-life, she said that true pro-lifers should join with her, and insist contraception is the answer (yet something like 80 percent of all women seeking abortions had access to contraceptives...what is she going to go to their homes and makes sure they use it correctly?) She also claims to have these remarkable critical thinking skills and a love of biology, yet she does not know the difference between a dead skin cell and a fetus? Secondly, she claims to have been Catholic for a couple of years, but then in another post, she said she was Catholic for several years. She claims to have been a "progressive Catholic," but claims that when she asked questions, she was just told, "That is just what the church teaches. You have to accept." I have been Catholic for years, and have always attended fairly conservative parishes, and have never been told, "just accept." We were always encouraged to ask questions, investigate and understand Church teachings.

  6. Anonymous5:31 PM

    Yes, she believes in the Personhood Fairy, who resides in the birth canal, waiting to bestow personhood on a baby before he pushes through the birth canal.

    I spoke with a pro-life atheist and went over some of Libby Anne's claims with her, and she asked, "What convinced her to be pro-life in the first place? Her arguments now seem very shallow."

  7. Yeah, in posts since her "lost faith" post, she's used the "zygote" terminology regarding the unborn and abortion. Which is something I doubt any former SFL president would do. She doesn't seem to understand that a zygote can't be aborted because by the time the unborn reach the uterine lining they are composed of many more than a single cell. The use of term zygote regarding abortion is something sheltered pro-choicers use in a weak attempt to dehumanize the unborn. People who come in frequent contact with knowledgeable prolifers (like Libby Anne would have if she had been a SFL president) would never use this terminology because she would know how ignorant it makes her appear to prolifers.

  8. Anonymous1:20 PM

    Just who is Libby Anne? Where did she get her "PhD," what are her credentials/true background in feminism, pro-life activism, evangelicalism, and Catholicism? When she talks about feminism, she quotes...blogs. When she talks about biology, she cites....blogs. I wonder if there is anyone from her college's SFL who actually knew her.


  9. Anonymous10:12 AM

    Hi J,

    You might be interested in this, if you have not already seen it. This writer, who has a PhD in philosophy, seems to believe Libby Anne is for real, but disputes her pro-abortion arguments here:

  10. Anonymous9:13 AM

    Libby Anne is a former Evangelical who has changed her ideology but not the black and white understanding of the world that some Evangelical denominations espouse. I know many formers who are just like her. What was black in their former world view is now white and vice versa with no room for nuance or thought. So she was pro-life, now she is pro-choice and don't you dare question her position. On anything. I frequently question her positions on her blog, suggesting that there is a gray area, or that criticizing religious people for making assumptions is not valid if all you are doing is making the opposite assumption. And I get attacked in response by her and her little fan girls.

  11. Anonymous3:49 PM

    If you disagree with yer, that's fine. I do know Libby Anne's real name. I do know her university. She is for real. I don't necessarily agree with her. But it's better to disagree with her arguments than doubt her story. If you knew what it was like to grow up extremely sheltered you would understand how it is possible.

  12. Anonymous,
    Did you see my last update? I know who she is as well.

  13. If you question thing on her blog post you will be banned. I questioned her atheism once and she got noticibly hostile. She has a cabal of attack dogs that will try to bark you into a corner if you question any of her views. Chupacabra

  14. Anonymous9:43 PM

    What's the secret? Who is she? What schools did she attend? What are her credentials?