Drawing of the creature Cthulhu. (Image: BenduKiwi of the Wikipedia Commons.) SOURCE: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cthulhu_and_R%27lyeh.jpg

Anti-Choice Call to Action Mocked for Resembling The Great Old One, Cthulhu

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Of the 666 bills passed by the Republican-dominated Texas Legislature and signed by Governor Greg Abbott recently, quite a few high-profile horrible ones are being discussed across the country right now. The new laws on abortion have dominated headlines because of the extremeness of the limitations. The Supreme Court’s refusal to halt the law signals the possible overturning of the landmark reproductive health case Roe v. Wade.

Texas’ new anti-choice abortion bills prevent abortion six weeks into the pregnancy, a.k.a. before most people know they are pregnant. Even if you were keeping track of your cycle, you would still have to visit a doctor twice in that time period to legally get an abortion. Worse, the law includes a new provision to skirt the fact that the Supreme Court has already decided states can’t ban abortion that early in a pregnancy.

Instead of the state enforcing the law, it allows private citizens to collect what amounts to a $10,000 bounty to prove in court that the law was broken. In addition to those seeking the abortion procedure, anyone helping them can get sued, too. These are people like clergy, doctors, or even Uber drivers getting you to a clinic in or out of state lines.

While this is going to effect everyone in Texas, those without healthcare (a quarter of Texans), those in poverty and communities of color will be most hurt by this ban.

Trying to capitalize on the shameful win for conservatives, the anti-choice non-profit Live-Action decided to show what an embryo looks like at 7 weeks in development. Live-Action is known for capturing video footage in Planned Parenthood centers and editing them without context or depth to vilify the clinics for providing abolitions. Their success in making the videos go viral in the 2000s made way for a bill (by future VP Mike Pence) preventing Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funding.

Unlike their past successes, this attempt at going viral didn’t land as well because everyone saw a Lovecraftian monster instead instead of a human.

Soon creatives in publishing joined in on the fun like comic illustrator and writer Francesco Francavilla as well as horror and science-fiction writer Victor LaValle.

The Ballad of Black Tom, by Victor LaValle, is an awarding-winning retelling of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Horror at Red Hook. I haven’t read La Valle’s work because I need to read things in order, which means I have to get through 40-something pages of Lovecraft (both are short stories) before reading The Ballad of Black Tom.

Cthulhu is so iconic I didn’t know for the longest time that he was part of the Lovecraftian mythology or even that that mythology came from one writer, H.P. Lovecraft. When I did learn about who he was, I pretty quickly learned that this man was super racist and xenophobic—not like “Oh, it was the early century. Who wasn’t?” but more so to the degree that Lovecraft made most racism on the individual level at that time look tame.

It’s kind of on brand that a creature created by horror’s most popular racist would be appropriated by the right’s most popular anti-abortion organization.

(via Twitter, feature image: BenduKiwi of the Wikipedia Commons)

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Author
Alyssa Shotwell
(she/her) Award-winning artist and writer with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. She began her career in journalism in October 2017 when she joined her student newspaper as the Online Editor. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 & Oxygen Not Included.