Hold the Sprinkles: National Pro-Life Cupcake Day Is Upon Us

Here at the Ms. Blog, we don’t usually turn down cupcakes. But over the next few days, we’ll be forgoing any of the tasty deserts handed out by the Cupcakes for Life movement.

In case you didn’t see it on your calendar, this Sunday, October 9, is National Pro-Life Cupcakes Day, designed by folks against reproductive choice who want to “spark conversations specifically about the children who never get to have a birthday.” (Jehovah’s Witnesses? No, those fetuses not carried to term, on whom the anti-choice movement wants to bestow personhood.) Since the “holiday” lands on a weekend this year, the Cupcakers say it’s OK to celebrate it on Friday or Monday instead, because their goal is to encourage students to bake “as many birthday cupcakes as humanly possible” and hand them out for free at their schools. And while you’re handing them out, hit your fellow students with falsehoods about the after-effects and “risks” of abortion.

Naturally, many pro-choicers roll their eyes at the holiday. Responses to previous National Pro-Life Cupcake Days have ranged from criticizing their website’s spelling to bemoaning the ruin of baked goods. My first reaction, too, was the proverbial eye-roll over the ridiculousness of putting sugary frosting and brightly colored sprinkles on issues as important as abortion and reproductive rights, and then a jaw-clench over the idea of anti-abortion propaganda being forced on children through the Trojan horse of a cupcake. And I just had to laugh at the FAQ, “What if I run into someone who is pro-choice and they smash cupcakes in my face?” (Answer: “Wipe the cake off your face and share the rest of them with someone less angry inside. Go with courage and go with love, the unborn need you to be their voice.”)

My next reaction, though, was that Cupcakes for Life has a point. We should talk to children about abortion rights, and give them factual information. It might be a hard conversation to start, but children may be better prepared for it than we think. They’re already learning about politics and law and sex and health and civil rights. And that’s what an abortion-rights talk could touch on. Here’s how one parent broached the subject with her daughter, and how she kept talking about it over the years.

I certainly don’t think that handing out cupcakes and telling kids that “1 of every 3 children are never allowed to have a birthday” will do the trick.

So I pose this question to you, readers: Do you have ideas about or experience with these necessary conversations about abortion and abortion rights? And do you have a good recipe for Choice Cookies?

Photo from Flickr user saaleha under license from Creative Commons 2.0.


  1. I have yet to meet anyone trying to push cupcakes on me for this purpose. But if I do, I’ll ask that person for “as many birthday cupcakes as humanly possible” to represent all the eggs that went unfertilized during my reproductive years and thus were disposed of by my body through menstruation. After all, doesn’t each and every one represent a poor little child who was never allowed to have a birthday because I selfishly did not get pregnant every single time I ovulated?

    • The eggs and sperm that do not meet are not humans. They only become humans when one of each meet through the act of intercourse.

  2. I used to be a most adamant anti-choicer there was. I used to think being Republican was being a good Christian (thankfully, I learned). I had these extreme views only a few years ago in my late teens. Well, now thankfully, I re-evaluated everything I learned, and I am now DEFINITELY pro-choice.

    Personally I think we need to have a level-head when talking with these people. It was level headed Democrats who took the time to talk to me that got me to wake up! My ultimate wake up, however, was voting for McCain in 2008. I vowed to myself, after Obama won, never to vote a Republican in again. I kept my promise, and now I am glad I did. There is most definitely a War on Women, and it needs to stop. We need to convince people.

  3. Ah, yes…because women shouldn’t worry ourselves with issues like having to pay rent, utilities, affordable and accessible health care…etc.

    We should just be concerned with consuming frosting with pretty sprinkles!

    Yet more proof that they are out of touch with women’s lives.

  4. I saw fetus-shaped cookie cutters at a craft show last weekend. I was telling a friend today how fun it would be to use them to bake cookies, then spend all day walking out of Planned Parenthood clinics while people are praying in front of them and saying, “I hope they NEVER make abortion illegal again.” Maybe it’d be fun to have a counter-baked-goods-themed protest.

  5. I hate to say it…but the Cupcakes for Life movement is actually quite clever! I laughed out loud at the symbolism of representing a “first birthday” that the fetus will never have *big sad pouty face*. In all seriousness, I didn’t roll my eyes, or get outraged. I did however crave a cupcake and would be happy to eat scrumptious looking one if it was handed to me, especially for free. This technique of theirs is deliciously manipulative. It’s got sass! And in keeping with the pro-lifers long-standing tradition of false facts- I hope the tops of their home-baked delights come with “actual size” candy fetus. Yummy! This campaign reminds me of how in junior high, the kids running for class president always won based on how much candy they could throw at the gym crowd full of “free-thinking” voters. There will always be the people out there who can be bought or persuaded with tasty treats and sugar-coated bent truths. But hopefully we all grow out of that stage and just enjoy the food for what it is and keep it separate from the facts. i am now and will always be PRO CHOICE…I’ll just enjoy being the opposition at the rallies a little more now that I know there is going to be cake there.

  6. I’ve just discovered this blog and it’s a brilliant (although terrifying) read. It seems to me facetious to use cupcakes to publicise a political stance on such a serious issue.

    The pro-life movement in the UK is gathering pace and support and I’m so scared that our abortion laws are at risk. I don’t want to move to a situation where women’s bodies are the main political battleground at Westminster.

  7. Julian Morrison says:

    I propose countering this with some deeply Gothic black-frosted-dark-chocolate “cupcakes for death” distributed by people in black lace and black makeup.

  8. Ick. I think I may have to start a cupcake day outside prisons for the birthdays all the victims of the death penalty will no longer have. Somehow I don’t think most “pro life” folks would be on board with that one:(

  9. I just went to the Cupcakes for Life website and read this in their FAQ section:

    Q: What if I run into someone who is ProChoice and they smash cupcakes in my face?

    A: Wipe the cake off your face and share the rest of them with someone less angry inside. Go with courage and go with love, the unborn need you to be their voice.

    I SAY… that “frequently” asked question and answer lacks realism and detail! It should be re-written more accurately as;

    Q: What if I run into someone who is ProChoice and appreciates my delicious free cupcake? I know that when they walk away that they are silently thinking to themselves that my efforts could have been better spent baking cupcakes for the hundreds of hungry and birthday-less children in foster care or who are homeless and suffering on the streets.

    A: Most educated and compassionate people outside of our narrow cause do believe that Cupcakes for Life is simply a joke. After all, we are re-enforcing the stereotype of ProLifer’s being ignorant, arrogant and puerile individuals who manipulatively feed their poisonous black & white world view to everyone they can. But this is a fair point and we can’t deny this truth. All of us at Cupcakes for Life know that we are doing this for one reason and one reason alone…OURSELVES!!! Oh…maybe two reasons, we also LOVE cupcakes! But who doesn’t?!? Now get out there and force feed your cute little condemning cupcakes on everyone you meet, you don’t need to get along with others to feel good about yourself!

  10. It makes you wonder, doesn’t it. The economy is tanking. Their members of congress..etc are doing nothing to promote jobs, affordable housing. And the latest strategy is to bake cupcakes.

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