This was originally published at Put Me In, Coach by Basic Pitch on June 6, 2017.
Please don’t make me choose between my bodily autonomy and baseball.
I really, really love baseball. My obsession with the Kansas City Royals is near obscene. I am this year’s hashtag, #RaisedRoyal, personified. I became a fan way back when Willie Wilson roamed the outfield, Frank White was turning double plays at second base, Bret Saberhagen hadn’t yet won his first Cy Young, and future Hall of Famer George Brett manned the hot corner. My earliest memories include watching from my mother’s lap as George Brett rushed the mound after Darryl Motley caught the final out of the 1985 World Series.
I’m also passionately pro-choice. I support Roe v. Wade. I believe a woman is not only capable but is the only one capable, of making reproductive choices for herself. I believe the efforts of certain groups, mostly backed by religious organizations, to limit or end a woman’s access to reproductive health care are doing so because they have a need to control a woman’s sexuality and personhood. Their supremacy is threatened by a woman’s right to choose.
These things should not be connected in any way, but now they are. The Kansas City Royals and Vitae Foundation have formed a partnership. This can be seen on CrownVision and in-park advertisements. Former Royals Captian and Royals Hall of Famer, Mike Sweeny, voices radio advertisements for the Vitae Foundation during every game broadcast on 610 Sports Radio. The Vitae Foundation is a Catholic organization with a mission of making “abortion unthinkable”. They do this through their aggressive marketing campaigns and their crisis pregnancy centers.
“The patient’s right to self-decision can be effectively exercised only if the patient possesses enough information to enable an intelligent choice.”
-The American Medical Association
The goal of many crisis pregnancy centers is to withhold options and distort the truth for the patient until they’ve passed the point of their pregnancy where legal abortion is possible. They offer “pre-abortion screenings” with no intention of actually counseling the patient through complicated, painful, and impossible decisions they face. Their counseling is gas-lighting with no foundation in medicine and no intention to allow the woman to make their own decision.
There is little argument that an unplanned pregnancy is one of the most vulnerable situations a woman can endure. The Vitae Foundation preys on this vulnerability to push their own agenda. Further, they focus their marketing in low-income areas with populations comprised mostly of people of color. They are predators forcing their agenda down the throats of women disarmed by their situation and ill-equipped to fight back. They are a hate group.
Beyond the ethical concerns, there are financial considerations to be made. For an organization voicing concern over dwindling numbers, it is an odd choice for an MLB team to partner with an organization designed to alienate most Americans. According to Pew Research in December 2016, 69% of Americans are against overturning Roe v. Wade. How do you bring more people in while telling a majority of your potential fans that they aren’t welcome? How do they bring more women to the park while telling them they’re not qualified to make decisions on their own behalf? How do they ask for fan support while promoting misogynist propaganda that advocates limiting the legal rights of 51% of the population?
It is long past time for the relationship between the Kansas City Royals and the Vitae Foundation to end. If the players, members of the front office, or executives want to support it outside of the game, that is their right, but it has no place at the ballpark. You can sign Planned Parenthood’s petition to end the partnership here. The choice to end a pregnancy is a difficult, often painful decision. Baseball nor the Vitae Foundation should be part of it.
If you would like to support an organization that will really support a woman in this crucial time, you can donate to Planned Parenthood here. You can also purchase this shirt to wear to your next game, half of the profits go directly to Planned Parenthood.
You can share your concerns with the Royals directly through Twitter (@Royals), by phone at 816-921-8000, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.