HomeoldWhere have we heard this before? Pro-abortionists shunning “pro-choice” label

Where have we heard this before? Pro-abortionists shunning “pro-choice” label

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Wait a minute. Didn’t we just write about this? Yes, we did, in January 2013. (See nrlc.cc/1lSbzSf; and nrlc.cc/1oGwFIi).

Like a snake shedding its old skin, pro-lifers were keen to be free of the ‘pro-choice’ label. Now – coincidentally, with the mid-term elections fast approaching – we read once again in the abortion industry’s in-house newspaper, the New York Times, that “Advocates Shun ‘Pro-Choice’ to Expand Message”.

Planned Parenthood was the driving force in 2013. Citing the results of focus groups, Planned Parenthood said its “latest messaging will move away from the language of choice”. Writing on buzzfeed.com, Anna North said.

“Instead of choosing a new term to replace ‘pro-choice,’ Planned Parenthood hopes to move away from such terms altogether, framing abortion as something too complicated to be divided into two sides. A soon-to-be-released Planned Parenthood video takes this new approach, casting labels like pro-life and pro-choice as limiting and abortion as a complex and personal decision.

“We simply don’t know a woman’s specific situation,’ says the ad (not yet online). We’re not in her shoes.'”

There wasn’t unanimity last year, and there’s no total consensus on dropping “pro-choice” this year. You have to read Jackie Calmes’ story from yesterday carefully to understand why the emphasis is being placed again.

The first explanation – and the most telling – is that “advocates say the term pro-choice, so long identified with abortion, does not reflect the range of women’s health and economic issues now being debated”. Nor, they add, “does it speak to a new generation of young women who tell pollsters they reject political labels – not least one that dates back four decades to the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, which established a constitutional right to abortion.

What does that mean in English?

That the tread on the pro-choice tyre is almost completely gone. That more and more Americans are identifying themselves as pro-life, including younger women. And that Planned Parenthoods are desperately trying to expand their endlessly stupid “war on women” mantra by talking less and less about abortion and more and more about “women’s health”.

(What isn’t discussed, and what is very important, is that today’s woman – feminist, post-feminist, traditionalist – has long since grown tired of the victimisation game. To conjure up images of coat hangers and ‘back-alley abortions’ is both insulting and extremely repulsive).

What else in Calmes’ story? Pro-lifers have tried to convince themselves that even though more and more people (men and women) are identifying as pro-life, that doesn’t mean they are in favour of restrictions. Of course, this overlooks the fact that many who identify as “pro-choice” are quite willing to support at least some, if not many, protections.

“But such results,” Calmes writes, “also showed the weakness of the pro-choice label, advocates and pollsters said. So, like an accordion, they expanded to include different labels, all of which had the (intended) effect of making abortion less and less important.

What does it say about pro-lifers that they are abandoning “one of the most enduring labels in modern politics – pro-choice”? Calmes gently describes the shift away from this meaningless label as a result of it having “fallen out of favour, a victim of changing times and generational preferences”.

A more direct way of stating this would be to say that the term “pro-choice” is no longer a viable option. An even more accurate description would be to say that at a time when pro-life advocates are succeeding on so many levels, the term is too closely associated with support for abortion.


Daniel Miller is responsible for nearly all of National Right to Life News' political writing.

With the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, Daniel Miller developed a deep obsession with U.S. politics that has never let go of the political scientist. Whether it's the election of Joe Biden, the midterm elections in Congress, the abortion rights debate in the Supreme Court or the mudslinging in the primaries - Daniel Miller is happy to stay up late for you.

Daniel was born and raised in New York. After living in China, working for a news agency and another stint at a major news network, he now lives in Arizona with his two daughters.

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