Poor Ellen Goodman. After years of having to look stuff up in the phone book, and then a few years of being able to look for things online, Siri, the ultimate electronic adviser, comes along. Instead of being thankful, she is worried, and has come out of retirement to write this column.
Siri can do many things for her. For example, if she wants to find the nearest Chinese restaurant, Siri will find it for her. If she needs to hide the body of the next man who crosses her, Siri will advise her of the location of the nearest landfill. However, when she asked it to find birth control, it responded that it “could not find any birth control clinics.” (Hint for Ellen: There is an aisle at any Rite-Aid, CVS, or Wal-Mart where you can find lots of stuff. Or you could ask your doctor.) Worse yet, if she wants to find out where to get an abortion, Siri usually won’t tell her. In fact, it might refer her to a crisis pregnancy center, where they might, horror of horrors, show her an ultrasound of the baby, beating heart and all, and try to persuade her to keep the child. (This is all theoretical, of course. Ms. Goodman is 70 years old. But some younger, more impressionable female might take Siri’s advice and end up keeping her baby.)
To the professionally outraged, there are obvious reasons for Siri’s political incorrectness and anti-choice slant. Obviously, Steve Jobs and the programmers of Siri are part of a cabal of right-wing fundamentalists. No doubt he answers directly to the Koch brothers, James Dobson, and the Pope. Siri behaves this way because it wants to impose a right-wing lifestyle upon us, and make us all like the Duggars. Either that, or Siri just has a terribly unfortunate defect that must be fixed, now.
However, just a few minutes of thinking should enable a reasonably intelligent person to figure out why Siri can’t find abortion clinics. But thinking is hard, and a few minutes is a long time, so I will do Ms. Goodman’s thinking for her.
Abortion is not a word that people like to use. Pro-abortion activists call themselves “pro-choice.” Even abortionists don’t like to use the word. For example, our local abortion clinic was called “American Women’s Services.” What exactly are “women’s services?” Does that include the free delivery of chocolate? When this clinic closed, and the owner went to New Jersey and Maryland to perform the late term abortions that got him arrested for murder, his clinic didn’t even have a name.
If you look at other names for places that perform abortions, you will find similar use of euphemism. You (or Siri) would never guess that the “West Philadelphia Women’s Medical Society” performed abortions. It sounds like a doctors’ association, not a place where illegal and late-term abortions were performed by unlicensed workers in unsanitary conditions. Heck, even Planned Parenthood doesn’t sound like a place where you can get an abortion.
If Ms. Goodman wants Siri to figure out how to advise women how to terminate their pregnancies, then perhaps she should tell her pro-abortion friends to stop using euphemisms and put “abortion” in the name of their businesses.
Or, she could remember that Steve Jobs was adopted, after an unplanned pregnancy, and she could pause before urging Siri to potentially aid in the elimination of the next Steve Jobs.