Monday, January 14, 2013

PP moves away from "pro-choice" label.

Planned Parenthood is moving away from the term "pro-choice" in response polls showing dissatisfaction with abortion debate labels.
"I'm neither pro-choice nor pro-life," said one woman in a focus group commissioned by Planned Parenthood. "I'm pro-whatever-the-situation is." Said another, "there should be three: pro-life, pro-choice and something in the middle that helps people understand circumstances [...] It's not just back or white, there's grey."
Over at Slate magazine, Amanda Marcotte was frustrated with this response.  She claims that people who are "pro-whatever-the-situation-is" are pro-choice.
But if the women mean, as I suspect they do, that they are not pro-abortion but rather pro- a woman being able to make her decision based on her circumstances, that is the very definition of pro-choice.
This is also my understanding of the term "pro-choice." And I expect it's the understanding of most pro-choice activists. But is that how the term "pro-choice" translates to the general public--to people who aren't particularly involved in the abortion debate? Based on Planned Parenthood's research and response, it seems a lot of people hear "pro-choice" and feel it implies something more, a stronger stance.

It'll be interesting to see whether Planned Parenthood can transcend abortion debate labels. I think labels help people succinctly explain their perspectives; it just gets cumbersome trying to impart all the nuance every time you speak on a topic. I think the labels "pro-life" and "pro-choice" are going to be around for a long while still, but if they're not, I'm interested to see what takes their place.

 [Re-posted at Secular Pro-Life]

1 comment:

  1. It just dawned on me. Most pro-life peeps I know will resolutely call themselves anti-abortion with no hesitation. It's more descriptive and it's true; abortion is evil and destructive and I am anti it.

    But pro-choie people will never, ever call themselves "pro-abortion"... because, as they themselves say, "no one is pro-abortion" (great, so let's outlaw it!). And I guess now they're waffling on calling themselves "pro-choice", too?

    What's so bad about abortion? Why do its supporters need to couch it in squishy language? Why isn't it "We are unreservedly committed to a woman's right to an abortion and deny all human dignity of the developing embryo until whenever-the-heck-we-fell-like; we oppose and abhor all legislation to the contrary, and hold any attempt at infringing on this fundamental right to be an immoral encroachment on the basic human right of self-determination. Sic semper tyrannis!"

    Then again though, I guess I'm really glad they don't talk like that...