When most people think about comedy, the subject of abortion is typically the farthest thing from their minds.
That is, unless, you’re a member of the Lady Parts Justice League.
In a recent op-ed appearing in Teen Vogue, Solange Azor describes her radically pro-abortion, grassroots organization as one where participants use their “art to raise awareness about the erosion of reproductive rights.” The Lady Parts Justice League circulates memes, stages protests outside of crisis pregnancy centers, and escorts women into abortion clinics. They’re activists, through and through. But what separates them from other pro-abortion activist groups is, apparently, their emphasis on humor.
Because according to the article’s subtitle, “Yes, abortion can be funny.”
On their website, the Lady Parts Justice League describesitself as “a coven of hilarious badass feminists who use humor and pop culture to expose the haters fighting against reproductive rights. We believe if there is not laughter, dancing and sexy time in your revolution, you need to fix that.”
The militant, in-your-face approach to abortion may be a relatively new direction for the pro-abortion movement. But it’s the League’s Vagical Mystery Tour, in particular, that relies upon comedy to encourage pro-abortion activism around the country, reportedly using laughter to “bring people in.” The vanful of abortion comics, writers, and activists tours around the United States each summer, and puts on shows in cities with “limited abortion access.” Humor has a place in abortion politics, says Azor, because it addresses “the frequently obfuscated space of joy, pleasure, and relief in discussions about abortion.”
Ultimately, the goal appears to be to de-stigmatize abortion. More specifically, the Lady Parts Justice League hopes to erase the stigma of pursuing abortion out of one’s own self-interest. Claiming that the present pro-choice narrative relies too heavily upon the abortion stories that tend to elicit sympathy, Azor (herself a comedienne with a standup routine titled “Vibrators, Veins, and Abortion”) believes that abortion--performed for any reason--ought to be a completely normalized “life process” and “medical procedure.”
In the name of normalization, once the comedy show is over, an on-stage discussion ensues between the audience and an actual abortion provider. Shows are allegedly performed in a “USO format.”
The Vagical Mystery Tour was originally founded by the Daily Show’s Liz Winstead. This summer’s lineup also includes Greg Proops (of Whose Line is it Anyway? fame), and assorted other B-list performers. In their own words:
“Our team travels around the country in support of clinics. By day, we escort patients, prepare staff meals, repair fences or paint murals. By night, we do comedy shows and turn audience members into a support network, connecting them with clinic workers during a post-show talk-back. This gives people a commitment to their community that lasts long after we leave town.”
While the Lady Parts Justice League may have made a valiant attempt to sound noble in its stated mission, young readers of Teen Vogueought to beware. Yes, the group compares itself to Habitat for Humanity, and claims that its’ Vagical Mystery Tour is filled with joy and laughter. But the fact remains that there is nothing even remotely funny or normal, for mother or baby, about the reality of abortion.