Siri is no Feminist
That’s right, the new voice of the iPhone 4S has been heard giving all kinds of unique answers to iPhone users but there’s one answer she won’t give—where to find an abortion clinic. Instead, the voice assistant will direct owners to anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers. Questions she will answer, though: where to buy Viagra, where to see naked women, and places to dump a dead body.
For those who might require a little refresher, crisis pregnancy centers (“CPCs”) are typically fundie Christian-run nonprofits whose mission is to trick, misinform, lie, guilt, delay and/or otherwise cajole women into bearing children that they do not want. One of the larger CPC organizations, Care Net, puts the number of CPCs in the U.S. at around 2,300 (which according to my ladybrain averages 46 per state), and that figure does not include traditional maternity homes, adoption agencies, or Catholic Charities. CPCs are also extremely well-funded: for example, last year Care Net spent $4 million on marketing, including more than $2 million on billboards.
Of course, if these CPCs were really about killin’ baybeez, this would not be true:
What they will not offer is referral for birth control. Married clients wanting information on contraception are referred to their own doctor or pastor.
Nor would this be true:
In the past 10 years, as public funding for family planning has stalled, unplanned pregnancy rates have jumped 29% among poor women; they are now more than four times as likely to have abortions as richer ones.
So we can cut down the number of abortions by eliminating birth control. Who knew? And that goes quadruple for poor
But, as [Asheville Pregnancy Support Services CEO Deborah] Wood explains, most clients are unmarried, and “the Bible clearly states that sex outside of marriage is against God’s will for our lives.”
The bible clearly states a whole lot of seriously fucked up shit, and since it’s a work of fiction no one sane or moral would pay any attention to it whatsoever. On the other hand, reality also clearly states a few things (pdf). One would think these might be of interest to Ms. Wood, no? For example:
The proportion of unintended pregnancies terminated by abortion ranges from 67% among formerly married women and 57% among never-married women to 27% among currently married women.*
Apparently there are fucktons of married women having God-willed sex who find themselves pregnant and do not wish to bear a(nother) child. Six in 10 women having abortions are already mothers, so I think we can safely presume that they fully grasp the implications of birthing a kid. Unfortunately,
God’s Ms. Wood’s will is unclear with respect to these sluts married women and mothers.
Meanwhile, RawStory helpfully provides 10 things Siri will help you get instead of an abortion:
2. Hospitals to go to if you’ve had an erection lasting for more than 5 hours.
3. Places you might be able to score marijuana.
4. Where to dump a body: in Brooklyn, it recommends a smelting plant in New Jersey.
5. The meaning of life: Siri will alternately quote from Douglas Adams (42) or Monty Python’s “The Meaning Of Life.”
6. What to do if a hamster is caught in your rectum: in D.C., she’ll direct you to Charming Cherries Escort Service.
7. Asked how to obtain a free blow job in D.C., she’ll direct you to the same escort service. (We doubt that they are free.)
8. If you’d like to see a naked woman in Brooklyn, Siri will suggest a variety of Manhattan-based strip clubs.
9. If you’re in Queens and seeking breast implants, she’ll recommend 4 local plastic surgeons.
10. But if you ask Siri about vaginoplasty, she’ll scold you about your language.
Well thank goodness. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been torn between having that abortion I always wanted, and finally getting the damn hamster out of my ass. There are only so many hours in the day, you know? Fortunately Siri will resolve my dilemma by simply eliminating one of those choices. (And I’m sure that damn hamster appreciates her wise guidance.)
While I was writing this, the Palace received a missive from its allies at MoveOn.org:
The new iPhone is promoting anti-choice extremism.
News broke yesterday that Siri, the new iPhone voice assistant, is directing women to anti-abortion pregnancy “crisis” centers in Washington, D.C., when they ask where to get an abortion. When users in New York City ask, Siri says she can’t find any abortion clinics. When a user asked her why she is anti-abortion, she replied, “I just am.”
Siri won’t help you find an abortion clinic or even where to get emergency contraception, but she will help you find a strip club, an escort service, and where you might be able to buy marijuana. [And Viagra. -Ed.]
Apple works hard to maintain its brand as a progressive company. Earlier this summer, they cut ties with a right-wing Christian network when customers complained that the network was funding anti-gay extremism.
If enough of us weigh in and let them know we’re outraged by Siri’s anti-abortion extremism, we can get them to fix it. That’s why I created a petition to Apple CEO Tim Cook on SignOn.org, which says:
Apple: Stop promoting anti-choice extremists. If a user asks for family planning services, they should be directed to a group that offers full services, like Planned Parenthood—not to a hard-right clinic with an extremist agenda.
Will you sign the petition? Click here to add your name, and then pass it along to your friends.
Please sign the petition to Apple if you’re so inclined: Vagina-Americans and those who love them would very much appreciate it.
*Finer LB and Henshaw SK, Disparities in rates of unintended pregnancy in the United States, 1994 and 2001, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2006, 38(2):90–96.