Recently, many advocates for abortion rights have expressed a desire to move away from the “pro-choice” label. They’re making branding arguments, but if you listen to some of the recent discussions from politicians, they’ve not just abandoned the pro-choice moniker but also the reasoning.
No longer pro-choice in word
In recent months, abortion rights advocates have been moving away from using the word “choice” in their speeches and marketing materials. From politicians to abortion providers themselves, many have stated they no longer want to use the language of choice, despite that being their primary phrasing and public framing for decades.
A Jewish women’s group supportive of abortion said “‘Pro-choice is not correct. … We have to start saying ‘pro-abortion.'”
On their website for proper messaging during protests, Planned Parenthood, the nation’s leading abortion provider, repeatedly advises against using choice, including “heavy ‘pro-choice’ messaging’ under the section “language and symbols to avoid.”
Within the House of Representatives, numerous groups form around shared causes, one of which is the Pro-Choice Caucus. After the initial leak of the Supreme Court opinion that would eventually over turn the national right to an abortion, the caucus sent out a memo detailing proper messaging for its members. The first word under the headline “HARMFUL LANGUAGE”: Choice.
Yes, the “Pro-Choice Caucus” describes the word “choice” as harmful language when discussing abortion-related issues.The "Pro-Choice Caucus" in the House of Representatives sent out a memo describing the word "choice" as "harmful language" when discussing abortion-related issues. Click To Tweet
Obviously, not everyone agrees with this language change, but it is noteworthy that prominent politicians and leading advocates for abortion have shifted their phrasing to downplay the idea of choice. It’s particularly of note since many of those same people have shifted their actions as well. They are no longer advocating for pregnant women to have a choice; they’re advocating for abortion.
No longer pro-choice in deed
One of the most prevalent arguments against people with pro-life views is that they only care about the unborn and do little to nothing to actually help the woman or baby after birth. In response, pro-life individuals often point to crisis pregnancy centers that provide free tangible care and support before and after the birth of a baby.
One would think that, regardless of someone’s view of abortion, everyone can affirm and laud nonprofit organizations that offer free resources and help to mothers and babies. You would think that, but, unfortunately, you’d be wrong.
In the weeks since the Supreme Court leak and eventually ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, these centers have been the target of violence. If you search online for crisis pregnancy center vandalism, you find reports from Massachusetts, Colorado, Tennessee, Virginia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oregon, Florida, Minnesota, and more. All across the country, these centers are being attacked and threatened.
This should provide pro-choice politicians an easy opportunity to maintain their convictions but to also loudly condemn violence or at the very least tone done the inflammatory rhetoric used against crisis pregnancy centers. Unfortunately, those condemnations, if they’ve been given at all, have been drown out by politicians calling for legal attacks on these centers.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren said, “We need to shut them [crisis pregnancy centers] down here in Massachusetts, and we need to shut them down all around the country.”
And she is working to do just that by authoring a bill that would fine crisis pregnancy centers $100,000 or “50 percent of the revenues earned by the ultimate parent entity during the preceding 12-month period” if they engage in “advertising with the use of misleading statements related to the provision of abortion services.”
When asked what type of speech, she would consider misleading, Sen. Warren included “trying to mimic Planned Parenthood’s colors.” To be clear, Planned Parenthood’s primary color is blue and they also frequently use pink. This means that Sen. Warren’s bill would seemingly fine crisis pregnancy centers for use of the traditional colors associated with pregnancy and babies.Sen. Elizabeth Warren's said her proposed bill targeting crisis pregnancy centers would fine them for "trying to mimic Planned Parenthood's colors," which are most often blue and pink—the colors most closely associated with pregnancy… Click To Tweet
In what other instance do progressive politicians favor government support and funding for businesses that charge clients for services, like Planned Parenthood that brought in revenue of $1.6 billion according to their most recent annual report, while seeking to outlaw nonprofits that provide resources for free.
One could respond that pro-life individuals have the same goal: shut down the facilities with which we disagree. In one sense, yes, this is true. Due to our convictions that abortion ends a human life, we would seek to close facilities that strictly offer those services as a means of birth control. But in other sense, that argument falls apart.
For starters, pro-life people do not care if Planned Parenthood continues to exist and provide healthcare for women. The organization often asserts that abortions are only 3% of what they do. If that is the case, they should be fine to continue operating in states with abortion restrictions while offering the other 97% of their services. The goal of the pro-life movement is not to shut Planned Parenthood down. The goal is to end elective abortions.The goal of the pro-life movement is not necessarily to shut Planned Parenthood down. The goal is to end elective abortions. Click To Tweet
Secondly, pro-life centers are already offering more care than abortion providers. By Sen. Warren’s own statement, crisis pregnancy centers outnumber abortion clinics 3-to-1 across the country. Yet her solution is not to provide more of the types of care she supports, but to outlaw those with whom she disagrees.
Lastly, this is the practical demonstration of how abortion-rights advocates are moving away from the pro-choice rhetoric and reasoning. The pro-life position is not framed in terms of choice. The heart of the pro-life movement is the idea of limiting a choice, if that choice involves the unnecessary ending of a human life. Sen. Warren and others like her have long argued that they are the ones who defend choice. Yet now we see they do not want more choices. They seemingly want support and availability for one particular choice—abortion.