Ilyse Hogue, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, chose to make a pretty stupendous birth announcement today, via a big story in the Washington Post. Hogue, 45, is pregnant with twins, due to give birth in July, and just really, really freaking out anti-abortion activists who don’t get how such a thing might have happened. We’ll draw you a diagram, guys!
Hogue became president of NARAL in 2013 and married husband John Neffinger just four months later. She told the Post that her pregnancy is proving confusing to people who argue with her for a living:
The reaction beyond NARAL, however, has been much more complicated, Hogue says. “There is this whole mentality that anyone who fights for the rights that we fight for must hate children and not want to parent,” she says. “So to have the leader of a reproductive rights organization — an abortion rights organization — show up pregnant, it’s just jaw-dropping.”
At one point, she says, she walked into a hearing on Capitol Hill and an antiabortion advocate looked at her swollen belly and asked, “Is that real?”
“As though I actually had strapped on a prosthetic baby bump to wear to a hearing for some reason,” recalls Hogue, who is due in early July. “It’s like, ‘What don’t you get about choice meaning choice?’
They thought. She was wearing. A fake. Baby. Bump. Just to fuck with them.
Most anti-abortion organizations haven’t reacted publicly to the news of Hogue’s pregnancy, because that would be tremendously tacky. A lone standout is The American Spectator, the conservative magazine, whose Esther Goldberg wrote a remarkably bad piece today speculating that Hogue had used fertility treatments to get pregnant, as though that were in some way bad or shameful, said her pregnancy “marred her perfection” as a “lib-fem” and sarcastically remarked that now Hogue realizes how important choice is:
Rest assured, readers, that she received “nothing but support.” Whew! And then she had yet another epiphany: NARAL was all about choice. Hogue wasn’t obligated to abort her twins. She could choose to have them. Lucky babies! How much more wanted and loved they will feel when she tells them that they were chosen, that they are alive because she chose not to kill them.
It’s not clear if Goldberg knows that NARAL doesn’t advocate for mandatory abortions; it seems almost impolite to point out that the words “pro-choice” are literally in the name of their organization. Their mission statement, which I’m sure the Spectator could’ve figured out how to Google, if given a moment, also reads: “NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation’s mission is to support and protect, as a fundamental right and value, a woman’s freedom to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices through education, training, organizing, legal action, and public policy.”
After the WaPo story appeared this morning, anti-abortion website LifeNews also tweeted their congratulations at Hogue, who, understandably, has not responded:
Hogue pictured in 2014. Photo via Getty Images