There may not be a more painful oxymoron than "feminist comedian." MTV flash-in-the-pan Sarah Silverman and "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" co-creator Lizz Winstead teamed up in New York City on Nov. 18 for a telethon to fund abortions in Texas via NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Think Jerry's Kids -- children assisted by the Muscular Dystrophy Association -- except instead of saving them, the unborn are eliminated. They call that "reproductive justice."
Silverman and Winstead appeared together that night on MSNBC's "All In with Chris Hayes," where Hayes described the event as a "telethon to help Texas women trying to survive the onslaught of right-wing deprivation of their right to choose."
This was not a Mensa meeting. Silverman cracked, "I also, much like much of the pro-lifers, I believe in protecting the child -- you know, when she is being forced to have a baby at 14." Hayes replied, "I think abortion is so taboo, and it seems like that taboo is part of what enforces the very repressive politics on the issue." Silverman shot back, "Yes. I think vaginas really, really scare people, honestly." Honestly?
At the telethon, Silverman dragged out her typical shock-jock shtick, offering her own "vaginal napkin" as an auction item. Periodically, a woman dressed in a giant plush vulva costume -- "courtesy of the sex-toy store Babeland" -- came onstage to announce the money total raised. "We're actually going to do a live abortion in this show," Silverman joked. "With a union provider," Winstead added. Well, slap my knee.
In the event's introduction, a "comedy" skit was shown about a middle-aged white congressman showing up in a woman's vaginal ultrasound, saying that with new laws mandating ultrasounds, he'll be on screen for a while. Later, the same actor was used as a narrator who announced, "An average American politician wouldn't know a uterus if it hit him in the face." The man was then hit in the face with some sort of fake uterus. "So why do they keep making so many laws about uteruses?"
In this cartoon world, conservatives are perpetually clueless women-haters. As Winstead announced on MSNBC, "It's just an endless barrage of disinformation, and so when this comes down, it's never based in fact, it's never based in medical fact, and it's based in shame."
Yet pro-life politics begins with the medical fact that the unborn child is a developing human being. It's also a medical fact that said developing human being can be viable as early as 23 weeks. It's the pro-abortion side that is in scientific denial. For them, it's emotional. It's not a baby until the woman decides to exercise her right to "choose" to let it live.
Winstead also announced on a different MSNBC show: "I never have understood how anybody gets a seat at any decision-making table by saying ... 'I'm not a doctor, and I know nothing about science, but' -- OK, out!"
It is a bizarre notion that only doctors or scientists get to have an opinion about abortion. It's especially odd since Winstead has no college degree of any kind.
Winstead also sounded this alarm on NPR's talk show "On Point" in 2012. She proclaimed that only people who "love science" should be allowed in politics. "I will never forget watching one of the early debates, the Republican debates, and the question was 'Do you believe in evolution?' and there were 10 candidates on stage, and three raised their hand. And at that point, the moderator, who I think was Chris Matthews, should have just said, 'All right, you seven can leave! And the three of you move in, and we'll have a real conversation about reality.'"
When feminism calls, religion is shown the door. God the Father is too patriarchal. But female autonomy is sacred. Winstead's 2012 memoir, "Lizz Free or Die: Essays," described the horror of her Catholic upbringing when women in her family were always -- horrors! -- having babies. "There were always babies around -- sometimes there were so many, it seemed they came in bulk, like our family was the Costco of procreation." She admitted: "I have never been into babies -- I didn't and still don't have the 'mommy gene' -- yet these women talked of nothing else." Winstead was the youngest of five children, so where would she be if her mother shared her beliefs about motherhood?
Winstead also admits having an abortion at age 16. "I have pom-poms in my room! I can't be a mom!" She said a woman at a crisis pregnancy center told her she could choose either "mommy or murder." Winstead protested: "How could she say she was pro-life when she wasn't pro-my-life? That wasn't pro-life; that was profane."
When the telethon ended, Winstead and the abortion advocates had raised $53,000 for abortions in the Lone Star State. That wasn't pro-life. That was profane.