How did you celebrate Pro-Life Cupcake Day?

Here’s how I spent mine:
- Being disappointed upon discovering it wasn’t Pro-Cupcake Life Day
- Eating leftover cupcakes from Bitch’s clothing swap/supporting a woman’s right to choose

The Cupcakes for Life Campaign is as crazy as it sounds. One blissful day a year, bake cupcakes with pro-life messages and share them with all your friends. Why cupcakes? The site makes its motivations sound simple: “Simply because everyone wants them!”

Well, okay, guilty. (There really is a 2’ x 2’ empty cupcake box in the Bitch Office right now). But what they’re not saying is “We are targeting children.” They’re straight-up organizing elementary and high school kids to spread the message that abortion’s wrong, only instead of using bloody photographs or baby dolls, they’re using birthday parties and cupcakes to get their point across.

I don’t know how well that’s going to work (embryos are the last thing I want to think about when I enjoy a cream-cheese frosting cuppie). As my friend Maya put it, “It’s as if they were like, ‘Hmm..children. They’re kinda like stupid adults! And will naturally feel more empathy for the fetuses than women since they were in utero a hot second ago and aren’t old enough to have any semblance of bodily and emotional autonomy anyway!” Yep, nothing makes a kid ponder religion and reproductive rights like cupcakes, or “life-cakes” as they call them (again–pretty effective way to make cupcakes completely unappetizing).

And it is laughable, but browsing through their website quickly turned into a trip to the wack factory. There are detailed instructions for spreading misinformation about abortion, err I mean, handing them out to friends, and examples of dumbed-down rhetoric for third-graders, oops–I mean suggestions for how to ice your life-cakes.

(Yes I realize I’m linking to their site, providing them free promotion, etc. But it’s too fascinating to overlook, and besides, it’s a whole year to get jazzed for the next NPLCD.)

But after a while you really start to get the heebie-jeebies. Everything appears really cutesy and happy and cupcake-y but the desperation behind the pushing the pro-life message is weird, and adds a really dark element to it. For example, take this question from their FAQ:

Q.) What if my school won’t allow me to bring in cup cakes?

A1.) Give them out before or after school!
A2.) Do it anyway and be quick about it! Also be very apologetic and kind if you get caught.
A3.) Ask for permission to bring in pre-packaged cupcakes from a bakery!
A4.) Just pass out flyers and make cupcakes after school and hand them out to your neighbors in the name of life. Whatever you do, don’t give up when confronted by opposition!
A5.) Just hand them out somewhere besides school.
A6.) Ask to set up a table at your local grocery store.

I actually feel a more appropriate question would be “Q. All my old friends have stopped hanging out with me ever since the day I brought those ‘Blood of Christ’ cupcakes to class. What gives?” But when they’re encouraging kids to “do it anyway and be quick about it!” and telling them “Whatever you do, don’t get up when confronted by opposition” you really start to see the way they’re turning schoolchildren into activists and encouraging them to literally shove anti-choice messages down the throats of others. The “Ideas” page alone is pretty terrifying:

Ideas for elementary school kids:
Some kids are not ready to know everything about abortion; however, a mom could bake a batch of cupcakes that just say: I Heart Babies on them. The young student could go into class and tell all of his or her friends about how babies need lots of love as they slowly grow inside their mommies.

And all this coming at the end of a week of a new Oklahoma law requiring women to fill out an extensive questionnaire–effectively shaming and scaring a woman seeking an abortion in one sweep, and Michele “If there ever was a living incarnation of batshit crazy” Bachmann, among other right-wing factions, challenging the confidentiality clauses in health reform bill saying thirteen-year-olds will be dropping by the abortion clinic before hopping on the schoolbus home. Who knows who actually will take National Pro-life Cupcake Day seriously, but National Insidious Anti-Choice Agenda-Pushing Week seems to be a not-so unbelievable reality.

by Kjerstin Johnson
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Kjerstin Johnson is a writer and editor in Portland, Oregon. She is the former editor in chief of Bitch. She tweets at @kajerstin

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34 Comments Have Been Posted


as a feminist and a baker i am totally appalled at this crazy shite! i find the cupcakes disturbing and disgraceful, but i am more freaked out by the t-shirt displayed with the cupcakes. i have shared this with everyone, and i am determined to host a pro-choice/feminist baking day!

Many years of

Many years of gender/women’s studies and life experience has taught me that everything is a feminist issue, and i don’t think that baking/cooking is any exception.

This strongly relates to my post earlier in the week about making conscious decisions about food- empowered decisions- we are able to fight back against a food-political system that is not interested in our holistic mind/body/spirit health. In the same way that Planned Parenthood supports taking control of our sexual health as a means of making safe and healthy sexual decisions, is important for everyone to make empowered decisions regarding food choices. If we are able to bake/cook our own foods (for family or ourselves) we are taking control of our health, and thus not allowing large (honestly now, mostly male-dominated) corporations to determine what we eat. I feel like food is often overlooked in feminist media (blogs, articles, books, etc) and that this is a huge disservice. To me, being a proactive feminist is about striving for equality for all humans, including those who make, grow, and cook our food. The burgeoning food movements (local-first, organic, regional, fair-trade, etc) reflect a growing sense of social justice that is missing from our current food system.

I wrote this quickly after reading the bitch post, so maybe it is not articulated as clearly as I would like… but what do other folks have to say about this? this comment was my post today on my blog, but i am cross-posting in order to get a bigger conversation going about feminist food politics!

Well, if it makes you feel

Well, if it makes you feel any better, someone at my school baked cupcakes for National Coming Out Day today.

(the official National Coming Out Day is this Sunday!)

i prefer things that are salty

I'm down with babies living. I just don't have much emotional attachment to fetuses.

You were a fetus at one point

You were a fetus at one point too. We all were. Fetuses are babies that are temporarily living in their mother's womb.

Pro-choicers did it first!

For the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, my roommate and I baked a cake, complete with fetus and coat hangers. It was deliciously subversive and people still talk about it.

All I can say is WTF!? I

All I can say is WTF!?

I spent that day eating cake and wishing the douchebags who killed my brother-in-law had been aborted...and hoping they get the death penalty *big smiles*

Something Other Than Anti-Choice Wackos Targeting Children

I was one of the ones doing something other than eating cupcakes made by the kind of anti-choice wackos who the outrageous comparison between modicum of sovereignty with respect to ones internal organs and love for the already born. Instead I was checking up on the progress of the United States Women's Chess Championship. The link I was looking at is: But those anti choice nut jobs probably aren't into intellectual sports like chess.


Just because someone has a differing political/moral opinion than your own does not mean they aren't intelligent. And it also certainly doesn't mean they're "anti-choice." In fact, I know many feminists who are pro-life, and not "wack-jobs" or "right-wing" or even *gasp* Christians. If you disagree with the politics, that's fine, but insulting a fellow woman's intelligence simply because she doesn't agree with you on every issue is just sad.

You Missed My Points By Light Years

Among the many points you are failing to grasp are these: Point one: Fetuses and babies are not the same thing. Claiming an early fetus or even a zygote (fertilized egg) is the same as a child is lunacy; Point two: Being pro-life and being pro-choice are not mutually exclusive. People can be both pro-life and pro-choice. Just because you've decided what you want to do with your uterus doesn't give you the right to tell other people what to do with theirs. I am a vegetarian and believe it is morally wrong for people to eat meat, but I don't demand laws against eating meat or that people who eat meat be put in jail; Point three: People who can't grasp that there is something seriously wrong with trying to traumatize, brainwash, or manipulate young children with guilt trying to teach young children that a zygote is the same as a fully developed human are not only crazy and unethical, but they are, in fact, intellectually deficient. It is not simply because they disagree with me. It's similar to asking whether "the" glass is half empty OR half full. There is no glass, but is we assume an hypothetical glass it is NOT half empty OR half full. It is both and/or neither. Theocrats will claim that God created chickens and that the chicken came before the egg. If one believes in evolution then going back in time what chickens evolved from still hatched from an egg, so the egg came first. I can be pro-life And pro choice. Some advocates of state enforced theocracy also advocate capital punishment. Now there's a conflict as has oft been pointed out; Point four: Yes, I do disagree with the politics of authoritarianism, of theocratically motivated wars, or a fundamentalist takeover of education and forcing one's religious beliefs on others. I do appreciate that my espousal of political opinion is fine with you. I am not insulting the intelligence of the people referred to in the topic post. I am insulting their stupidity. I did not call them morons or idiots because I believe their stupidity is by choice rather than genetically by birth, which of course is not the fault of the unfortunate souls who are born that way.

Intolerance for Tolerance of Intolerance?

It's hard seeing the forest through all those trees. The pro-life cupcake stuff was pretty disgusting but everyone has a right to believe what they want. Less attempts at brilliance and more civility will go farther than insults and intolerance of those who tolerate zealous advocacy of intolerance.

hello :) well, what i can

hello :) well, what i can say, i love women, i love children.. and cupcakes too! i am pro-life because a fetus is a human being and a woman's child. i don't believe that a person who tells me it's ok to kill my own child has my best interest at heart or understands love.
i am sorry if you feel that i am trying to hurt you or take away your 'freedom', like you i believe that there are limits to our freedom and could never compromise on the right to life. it doesn't sound like you have any respect for my point of view but i hope that you will listen to women who have had abortions and regret it and try to understand the pain that it caused them. no mother ever regrets letting her child live. i hope you will see that i am sincere in my belief and want what's best for women, just as you do. thank you for letting me comment, all the best.


I totally agree with you. All in all, I totally love Bitch, but it makes me sad that they can't accept any differing opinions on abortion. I don't even really want kids of my own, but I just can't get on board with the "it's a woman's body" argument, because,'s a baby's body. And you're very right, no mother (who isn't suffering from some severe mental/emotional disturbances) ever regrets letting her child live.

You don't get it, do you?

Being pro-life is one thing, but shoving it (literally) in other peoples' faces, ESPECIALLY children's faces, goes too far.

ummmm HELLO??

If you think that there aren't women out there that regret keeping their babies, you are seriously delusional. What we should be doing is teaching PREVENTION! So then no one has to make that difficult choice. But women should indeed have that choice. No one is telling you that you MUST have an abortion. We just don't want people like you telling us that we can't. No one wants to get an abortion - I would say a more accurate generalization is that all women would most likely prefer to go through life never having to make that decision.

To consider

I (and, I'd bet, most the women here) respect that you think you'd never have an abortion, but if you believe in laws that deny any woman that legal choice, than I can't support that.
Yes, there are women who regret having abortions, though they are a small minority. There are many women who regret giving children up for adoption, getting married or taking a new job. Should all of these things be illegal too? Being uncomfortable with the idea of abortion is understandable, but if you believe abortion is wrong, refrain from getting one yourself instead of working to eradicate basic rights for all women. Simple as that. Even if abortion were universally considered wrong, men who impregnate women have the right to flee and not take care of the child every single time. It may not be right, but the choice to not be a parent is always there for them, so why shouldn't it be for women? (To clarify, I do not think these two things are the same at all, but in the minds of anti-choicers, they seem to be.)
Something to consider: most women who get abortions already have kids. They are not the selfish, rich, single women that anti-choicers paint them as. Economically, anti-choice laws are cruelly classist, because the majority of women in America cannot feed another mouth. Should an unwanted pregnancy unfortunately occur, a woman may choose the responsible route of abortion for herself if she cannot afford to keep her family +1 healthy, educated and fed (or, in a different vein, if she cannot feed herself well enough to have a healthy baby or is addicted to a substance that may harm the fetus.) How well do you expect parents who do not want and are not equipped to provide for another child to do? Faster than you can say "adoption," think of the thousands upon thousands of dollars that it requires simply to carry a pregnancy to term, especially in this shameful time for health care. Besides, have you ever met an adopted child who did not have anger against her/his biological parent(s) for "giving her/him up?" Especially if said bio-parent(s) had other children, the adopted children are likely to experience emotional toil, possibly for their whole lives. The current state of adoption is a horrifying subject for a different time, between overpacked, inadequate orphanages and politically biased agencies that often turn away loving would-be parents and abandon children with guardians that are militant, authoritarian and emotionally, if not physically, abusive.
"no mother ever regrets letting her child live?" I am offended that anyone could think, even for a second, that such a sweeping statement could be true. My own biological mother has confessed many times that she regrets having children, and I know many people whose parents have said the same. Some people are not psychologically, in addition to physically and financially, equipped to be good parents. Be careful how you generalize, because the reason the laws of choice are necessary is that <i> circumstances are not identical for everyone.</i>
It saddens me that the anti-choicers have adopted this cupcake idea, because a similarly themed day could have been beautiful to commemorate deceased victims of SIDS.

Spare me

"i don't believe that a person who tells me it's ok to kill my own child has my best interest at heart or understands love."

And wanting to not let women make their own decisions about their bodies automatically makes you have their best interest and understand love?

You don't know what's best for anyone except for yourself. Which is what is truly great about the pro-choice movement, is that it doesn't say what a woman should or should not do with her body, whereas with the pro-life movement, it does assume that it's 99% of the time always wrong to have an abortion, which is total bullshit in my opinion. You don't know best, so don't sit there and pretend that abortion is always wrong.

"i am sorry if you feel that i am trying to hurt you or take away your 'freedom'"

Well sweetheart, if you are pro-life, and if you vote pro-life, then you better reconcile with the fact that you ARE trying to take away mine AND your freedoms.

And no, I can't respect this kind of political action. Any kind of political action, on the whole spectrum, that involves children when it shouldn't, is wrong and disgusting. I think it's wrong when pro-choice people bring their kids and have them hold signs is wrong, just as this and bringing kids to pro-life rallies is wrong.

"i hope you will see that i am sincere in my belief and want what's best for women, just as you do."

If you truly wanted what was best for women, you would let them make their own fucking decisions instead of wanting to make some of them illegal.

"hello :) well, what i can

"hello :) well, what i can say, i love women, i love children.. and cupcakes too! i am pro-life because a fetus is a human being and a woman's child. i don't believe that a person who tells me it's ok to kill my own child has my best interest at heart or understands love."

You have never had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. It didn't matter how much I wanted to keep it. I was already bleeding internally, and I would die if I didn't kill my own child.


I guess they're trying to reach out to hipsters with the cutesy DIY schtick. At least they aren't passing out tiny plastic fetuses to children.


Oh, but <a href="">they are. </a>

<blockquote>Hand the cupcakes out with plastic baby fetus's, they normally come at the size of a 11 week baby which is the age and size of the average abortion.</blockquote>

dig that inappropriate apostrophe!

"do it anyway and be quick

"do it anyway and be quick about it!"

That sounds like masturbation advice from one 12 year old to another.


Although Bitch is by far my favorite magazine, one where I find comfort and community with other awesome feminists, every once and awhile I'm completely disappointed and saddened by an article. Well, not even necessarily an article, but some of the things in it. For example, I'm a feminist, pretty liberal on almost every point, and I, too, think Sarah Palin is a little, However, I believe in a woman's right to choose-- her opinions, stands, politics, and moral decisions. This includes women who want to be Republican, pro-life, or even...Christian! *gasp!*. It's unfortunate that many of the readers and writers at Bitch can't accept these womens' right to choice and encourage them as fellow feminists fighting for the rights of women. While I'm not Republican or conservative, I am pro-life and I am (although I hate to use the term, but it's simple) Christian. Because of these things, I am not (a) unintelligent, as a reader so rudely implied on this comment board, (b) a "wack-job" (c) "right-wing nut", or (d) any of the other extremely rude and offensive things implied of someone who loves Jesus and believes that it is not a woman's body, but a baby's. The thought that all my beliefs about women and fighting for true freedom from our patriarchal society could be completely discounted simply because I don't agree on the abortion issue is, well, sad.

Not really the point.


I don't think Kjerstin meant for this post to discount anyone's beliefs, except those who believe that young children should be tricked into relaying an anti-choice message with cupcakes. Certainly being a Christian does not make you unintelligent in any way, and it's unfortunate that any fellow feminist would imply as much.

However, leaving pro/anti-choice politics aside, I think the crux of this issue is that "Cupcakes for Life" is encouraging children to join the abortion debate by offering them cupcakes. It's insidious, and it's wrong to ask young children to join in a political debate before they're old enough to make up their own minds.

Sure, the feminist party line on abortion (and my own view) is that it should be safe and legal, but also that every woman has the right to decide for herself what she does with her own body. Even if this is not your viewpoint, "Cupcakes for Life" is still deserving of criticism (which is what Kjerstin is doing in this piece). Asking young children to pick a side in this matter by offering them sugary baked goods is disgusting no matter what your beliefs may be.

Thanks for your feedback, and I am truly sorry if you have felt alienated or discounted in any way by the Bitch community.


Thank you, Kelsey, and My Mia Culpa

As anonymous pointed out, although in different words, I needn't have been so condescending (especially since I don't have a uterus). Thank you Kelsey, for restating the thrust of the piece. For a broader more human view I would recommend reading (if you can find them) "Pregnant By Mistake, The Stories of 17 Women" by Katrina Maxtone-Graham, "Birthmark" by natural mother Lorrainne Dusky, and "The Search for Anna Fisher" by Florence Fisher. We should probably be aware that Conservative Republicans try to use abortion as a wedge issue. And try to stick together for women's and human rights. There is CURRENT UNDER-REPORTED NEWS HAPPENING TOMORROW, Sunday, October 11th, 2009 the following two events are going on: The National Equality March in Washington D.C.. starting at the SW corner of McPherson Square 15th and Eye Street at 11:30, October 11th, 2009. More Info at the NOW website (National Organization for Women) at: and the continuation of the United States Women's Chess Championships in Saint Louis October 3-13th, 2009 info info available at the website of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis at: In addition to the videos and photographs there are annotated games like the King's Indian Defence played against Irina Krush (2490) by I. Zenyuk (2271) that can be clicked through move by move. Both events are real hard news.. pop culture? Probably not so much. Thanks for bearing with my unnecessarily pretentious over verbose rant previously (I said redundantly repeating myself all over again). Liked the post anyway. Thanks.

There is a difference between opinions and laws. Ok?

I don't think the pro-choice feminists on this site have an issue with someone being personally anti-abortion. I think they have an issue with someone passing laws that force EVERYONE to be anti-abortion. Do you see the difference?

They aren't telling you you can't have your opinion. They're telling you: please don't LEGALLY force YOUR opinion on everyone else. If you just happen to oppose abortion on a personal level, but don't think your opinions should be backed up by laws that apply to every woman, I don't think anyone here has a problem with that.

Also, the statement: "it is not a woman's body, but a baby's," is a little concerning. Whether a fetus is a baby/fully formed human/life is obviously arguable. But I'm not sure it's arguable whether a woman's body is involved or not. (hint: it is.)

There are laws that force

There are laws that force morality on everyone already-it's called the Penal Code. Last I checked, murder is illegal-even if you "personally" are fine with it. Get a grip and join the 21st century-those old tired ideas are outdated and embryology has taught us that a whole person exists before birth. Stop being so dang selfish.

Thank you Tabitha-a THINKING

Thank you Tabitha-a THINKING woman's comments are refreshing!


I wonder if they plan to help celebrate the birthdays of the living, conscious children who are too poor/starving/underprivileged to be able to celebrate <i>their</i> birthdays? You know, the children who have feelings, have daily struggles to live, who would probably enjoy a cupcake on their birthday. Unlike a ball of tissue.

Yum, cupcakes.

I read this article and my reaction was: Well, we'll just see about that.

And I made some pro-gay/pro-women/pro-choice cupcakes. It was fun and tasty.

I went to their website and

I went to their website and it reminded me of the character of Professor Umbridge from Harry Potter: the very embodiment of saccharine kitsch with much darker motives.

Seriously-this blog is

Seriously-this blog is CREEPY-the question is-WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? Unbelievable. So sorry that the topic of life offends you. The truth is, YOU are the anti-choice ones. The only people you support are the ones who believe in abortion on demand. Get real. Any woman who would destroy her own flesh and blood isn't really a thinking woman. And after all, you people try your dead-level BEST to hide the truth from the women who are scared to death to have a baby. You don't give her any other options, let alone tell her the truth of what abortion does to a genetically distinct, separate person. I doubt ANY of you pro-aborts has ever seen an abortion video-"gross!" You are real charmers! I won't be back to this ridiculous site. Good riddance? The feeling is mutual!

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