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Why a New Grass-Roots Anti-Abortion Campaign Is Generating Hate Online

The campaign, titled "Mẹ Ơi Đừng Giết Con" (Mama! Don't Kill Me), was established early this December by two men, Le Hoang Thach and Le Ha.

According to its website, the campaign wants to "save 300,000 lives every year by gathering 100,000 signatures to submit to the National Assembly to propose a ban on abortion." In their public statement on Facebook, the campaign reasons that the high number of abortions in Vietnam is a humanitarian crisis that has to be stopped.

Abortion, according to the campaign organizers, can lead to underpopulation and the degradation of women's health, therefore an anti-abortion law should be in place to grant women the right to demand men to use protection during sex and protect Vietnam's moral traditions and citizens for the benefit of the nation. The campaign was supported by a charity organization and had garnered more than 20,000 signatures at the time of writing.

The launch feature of the campaign. Video via Facebook page Mẹ Ơi Đừng Giết ConWarning: the video contains scenes that might upset some viewers.

The campaign was launched with a Facebook page, revitalized from an old fan page of a Vietnamese celebrity, a website and a video that has gained popularity.

The anti-abortion campaign spurred a wave of responses online reflecting different opinions. Some called the founders out for misogyny, while others jumped to their defense with pro-life arguments. The campaign and its reception have also prompted a parody Facebook page titled "Dad! Remember to Wear Condoms!", which has also caught plenty of attention.

Facebook user Vo Binh Phuong, under a post sharing a newspaper link about the campaign, wrote in a comment: "Why don't you say 'daddy don't kill me'? You shifted all the blame on women and advocated for a law that stops them from deciding for themselves."

Many female Facebook users have also raised their voice against the campaign's rhetoric, such as La Bao Ngoc, who exclaimed: "Let women choose what happens with their bodies. It's not a site for social or political propaganda."

Responding to questions such as how the proposed law would affect rape victims and people living in forced or arranged marriages, the founders responded that they will include exemptions for rape victims, incestuous intercourse and other unavoidable situations.

Facebook user Trang Nguyen Quynh penned a detailed post dissecting the logical fallacies that the campaign's arguments rest on and, according to Trang, how poorly informed its founders are on the issue, with a concluding remark:

"The main fault of this campaign's logic is mistaking cause for effect [a post-hoc fallacy]. Abortion is an effect of a string of societal problems that need to be addressed," she wrote, "but with a naive and shallow understanding of the problem, the message of the campaign turns its blame on women, putting them in a position that bears the burden of a legal and moral responsibility for an effect that is not within her total control."

Some also criticized the campaign for its exploitative and manipulative advertising tactics, such as using images of children and middle-class families to gloss over how an anti-abortion law would effect marginalized and vulnerable people who don't have the economic means and condition to raise a child.

[Photo via Creative Commons]

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