A Question for Anti-Choicers

17 May

Recently, many anti-choicers have been going on and on about a new Gallup poll that states that more Americans identify as “pro-life” than pro-choice. They seem to be using this new poll as a way to say “haha! you lose!” to pro-choicers (which would be kind of cute if these people weren’t grown adults), but that’s to be expected of them.

Whenever this subject comes up, I always wonder, how many of the self proclaimed “pro-lifers” who participated in this poll would actually be accepted into the anti-choice movement by the people who are bragging about these statistics? Would anti-choice leaders and anti-choice activists accept all of these people into their movement?

What about the people who call themselves “pro-life” because they are personally opposed to abortion, but still support the legal right to choose? What about the people who consider themselves “pro-life” but make exceptions because the pregnancy endangers her life? Because she’s suicidal? Because the pregnancy was a result of rape and/or incest? Only if she pays for it with her own money? Because there is a fetal anomaly present? Are the anti-choicers who go on and on about the “pro-life majority” going to accept these people into their movement?

These exceptioneers (as I like to call them) are not at all uncommon. 78% of Americans believe in a woman’s right to choose in some or all instances. Exceptioneers make up the majority of the anti-choice movement, and I’m willing to bet that anti-choice leaders do not consider exceptioneers “pro-life” at all.

…so why are they flaunting around the Gallup polls? Why are they showing off the amount of Americans who are anti-choice, when they don’t even accept many of those anti-choice Americans into their cult?

I’d actually be interested in receiving an answer from anti-choicers (yes, the abortiongang does accept respectful comments from antis). Do you accept the exceptioneers into the anti-choice movement? If no, then does that new Gallup poll really mean anything to you?


33 Responses to “A Question for Anti-Choicers”

  1. Serena May 17, 2010 at 12:47 pm #

    These are all really great questions – way to interrogate the poll.

  2. Eric May 17, 2010 at 1:33 pm #

    I’m stealing “exceptioneers”. I like it!

  3. Belinda Rachman, Esq. May 17, 2010 at 1:45 pm #

    There is no one on the other side who is smart enough to do the math. Anti choice = brain dead as far as I am concerned. Anyone who wants to push their religious agenda on me by limiting my freedoms ought to focus on taking care of the children who are already on the planet. They don’t seem to be too concerned about THOSE “precious lives” since they keep trying to elect people who continually vote down measures that would help these same children. Unfortunately they are not smart enough to see what hypocrites they are and how inconsistent their positions are. Too bad they don’t all move to one place and become their own country so they wouldn’t pollute the gene pool with more of the stupid same.

  4. JivinJ May 17, 2010 at 1:56 pm #

    I think this knife cuts both ways. I’d agree that most of people polled are probably part of the mushy middle who believe abortion should be legal in some but not all circumstances. Sure, there are prolife people with exceptions. It’s the same with people who consider themselves pro-choice. I would guess the majority of people in the poll who consider themselves “pro-choice” wouldn’t be in favor of unrestricted abortion and tax dollars being used to pay for abortions. Does the pro-choice movement accept self-identified pro-choicers who oppose elective abortions?

    Though I disagree with the position of someone who has exceptions for rape or incest, I don’t think there are many people in the prolife community who wouldn’t still consider them pro-life.

    I’d say “personally prolife” but not in favor of abortion restrictions isn’t really prolife since I think you have to at least favor some kind of legal restriction on abortion to be considered prolife.

    You write, “Exceptioneers make up the majority of the anti-choice movement” What do you mean by “anti-choice movement?” Do you mean people who consider themselves pro-life? Or do you mean people who work or volunteer for prolife organizations? Those are two very different sets of people.

    I think you’re missing the main point of prolifers who mention these numbers. I don’t think many prolifers believe that 47% of people identifying themselves as prolife means 47% are in favor of completely banning abortion. Instead we see a trend of increased prolife self-identification as a positive sign for our movement where the prolife label (even though it means different things to different people) is growing in popularity while the pro-choice label is shrinking.

    I think most prolifers accept anyone willing to work to restrict the abortion and promote protection for the unborn.

  5. Angie May 17, 2010 at 2:06 pm #

    I am one of those exceptioneers you are talking about. Personally to be grouped with the anti-abortionists is appalling! I would never choose to have an abortion and will always attempt to dissuade someone from getting one within reason (is there another option mom 2 be has not considered? Is the reason temporary that could be solved with help?) However my religion and my personal beliefs do not belong in anyone else’s law book. I believe everyone has to find their own path no matter how repulsive I find it personally. I do have friends that have had abortions and I do fight for a woman’s right to have them because it is not my place to tell someone else how to live their life.

  6. ProChoiceGal May 17, 2010 at 2:50 pm #

    Considering the fact that I stole exceptioneers from the person who wrote that Shakesville post, I’m cool with that:-p

  7. Rachel May 17, 2010 at 3:33 pm #

    I hate that the poll used the term “pro-life”. Not sure if the verbiage had anything to do with the results of the poll, but I’d bet a lot of folks are reluctant to say they’re NOT “pro-LIFE”; pro-choice, to many, seems like ANTI-life? I wonder if the poll were worded differently, what the results might have been.

  8. Dee May 17, 2010 at 4:26 pm #

    I would also add that even if a majority of Americans were firmly anti-choice, that doesn’t make it the right or ethical stance. Historically, majorities have committed many atrocities, so let’s not equate the majority with the moral highground.

  9. Eric Scheidler May 17, 2010 at 4:52 pm #

    Reema —

    Thanks for the opportunity to offer a response to your question from the “anti-choice” side.

    I think JivinJ is right that both sides of the Gallup poll include a sizable segment that have mixed feelings on abortion.

    But my guess, based on my years of experience in the movement, is that there is more of this among those who self-identify as “pro-choice.”

    Just about the only people I’ve come across who call themselves “pro-life” while opposing all or most legal restrictions on abortion are politicians trying to curry favor with pro-life voters.

    But almost everyone I’ve encountered who self-describes as “pro-choice” favors at least some kind of abortion restriction (ban on late term abortions, parental notice, life/health, etc.).

    I think that’s to be expected. The label “pro-choice” was coined specifically to allow people to separate their “personal view” from their political or legal view on abortion. It’s a term designed to “give cover” to people who are uncomfortable (even deeply so) with abortion, but don’t want to see it banned outright.

    The term “pro-life” is different. The pro-life movement has never used this (or any other term) to cover people who are “personally opposed” but don’t want abortion restricted or banned. “Pro-life” has always been used, by the movement, to describe opposition to abortion as both a personal moral view and a matter of public policy. And I think the general public has understood the term this way.

    So one of the reasons these poll numbers are so encouraging for us is that they suggest our side is even stronger than the nearly 50/50 split would suggest. If it takes more of a commitment to one’s views on abortion — less of a tendency to divide one’s private view from one’s public policy position — to self-describe as “pro-life,” then we’ve less of that “mushy middle” on our side.

    But even if I’m wrong about the commitment behind these two terms, the poll numbers are still encouraging because they suggest that the “exceptioneers” are tipping towards identifying themselves as pro-life. The pro-life “brand” is attracting people who might go either way, as to what label to wear.

    If it’s possible for the exact same position (personally opposed to abortion, wouldn’t get one, wouldn’t advise anyone to, don’t think it should be totally unrestricted, but don’t want it banned either) to fall under “pro-choice” or “pro-life” depending on how one understands those terms, then it looks like more of those folks are aligning themselves with the pro-life side, for whatever reason.

    As for the reason, that’s anyone’s guess. But there seems to be something about identifying oneself as pro-life that appeals to a growing segment of the population, even if that trend doesn’t represent any actual change in views.

    And that’s good news for the pro-life side — and bad news for the pro-choice side.

    Thanks again for the opportunity to weigh in on this.

    Eric Scheidler
    Executive Director
    Pro-Life Action League

  10. Jennifer May 17, 2010 at 5:44 pm #

    Wow. The only anti-choice comment is from a man, who should have no say in the matter at all. PERIOD.

  11. Sharon May 17, 2010 at 6:58 pm #

    From what I can see about the poll and the questions asked (not much info is given about exactly how the questions were asked), I think the poll was poorly done. I think asking someone if they are pro-life or pro-choice is too vague, with no middle ground available for the “exceptioneers” to identify with. I believe that, in order to get meaningful answers and statistics, you have to actually ask the questions: Are you against abortion in any and all circumstances? Do you think it should be illegal to obtain an abortion? Do you agree with allowing abortion in cases of rape? Do you agree that the government should not be involved in abortion decisions and that it should be a decision between a woman her physician? Etc. You have to actually ask the real questions. Too many different definitions can be given to both “pro-life” and “pro-choice” for this poll to be truly meaningful.

  12. ProChoiceGal May 17, 2010 at 7:44 pm #


    I personally find that position problematic. I expect anti-choicers to portray abortion as the “bad” choice, but it really saddens me when I see it coming from pro-choicers. Women who have abortions in our society are constantly being shamed. It’s sad. I believe that, as pro-choicers, we have to accept abortion as just as moral of a choice as pregnancy or adoption. Legal abortion isn’t enough. We must have legal, accessable abortion that comes without shame.

    Exactly my thought process. Of course people want to embrace the term “pro-life”. Who doesn’t consider themselves pro-life? Most people love life, and certainly wouldn’t want to be identified as an “anti-lifer”. The term “pro-life” in itself is very problematic. There is nothing pro-life about anti-abortion.

    Of course! Whether 10% of people are against women’s rights or 99%, I know I’m on the right side. Taking away people’s liberty just because they’re pregnant is so, so wrong, and it always will be.

    Eric Scheidler-
    As I said before, of course the term “pro-life” is going to attract people. No one wants to be seen as an “anti-lifer”. The term “pro-life” itself is problematic. I am pro-life. I love life. I’m for life. I can’t use that term to describe myself, however, because people have been brainwashed into believing that anti-women’s rights is somehow equal to “pro-life”.

  13. ProChoiceGal May 17, 2010 at 7:44 pm #

    Oh, by the way, ProChoiceGal=Reema in case anyone hasn’t figured that out yet 🙂

  14. KushielsMoon May 17, 2010 at 8:34 pm #

    I know a woman who says anyone who isn’t against all abortions, for all reasons, isn’t really prolife. Do you think abortion is okay to save the woman’s life? Then this particular woman would tell you that you are NOT prolife.

    There are other people who will outright attack and bash their fellow “prolifers” simply because that prolife thinks an abortion after rape is acceptable, or if there is a deadly fetal anomaly. If you aren’t all the way in, you aren’t accepted by those folks.

    Of course, then there are other people who, like Angie above, who are personally prolife and politically prochoice, but often use the term “prolife” to describe themselves.

    In general, I don’t think there is much consensus among antichoicers or people who use the term “prolife.” And while it is true there also isn’t a perfect consensus among prochoicers, we don’t seem to have such a wide variety of what we think being prochoice means.

  15. Rox1SMF May 17, 2010 at 8:35 pm #

    JivinJ: “I would guess the majority of people in the poll who consider themselves ‘pro-choice’ wouldn’t be in favor of unrestricted abortion and tax dollars being used to pay for abortions.”

    I’ll step up and say I’m in the minority of pro-choicers then. It’s not my job to judge any other woman’s medical decisions, and I’d be more than happy to kick down a few extra bucks every paycheck for public funds to be made available for women who can’t afford an abortion to be able to get one if they want one. Of course, I suspect I’m in a minority simply because in my opinion an embryo/fetus has no rights beyond those it is granted by the owner of the womb in which it resides.

  16. Ivan Hennessy May 17, 2010 at 9:04 pm #

    It is telling, to me, that pro-life is called, positively, a brand. It tells me that it’s not a mistake that the pro-life movement consistently allies itself with parties/movements which praise conforming conduct without regard for the internal lives of the people they acquire to their ranks.
    Exceptioneers seem analogous to “cured” homosexuals. They are welcomed while they walk the line, accomplishing to goals of those who’ve set out the agenda, cast aside when they slip up and act out their true feelings.

    I could be wrong…

  17. Sarah May May 17, 2010 at 10:13 pm #

    I’m a prochoice individual because I am a medical professional and I think for myself. My own thoughts lead me to think that having an abortion is not a choice I would make for myself. However, I have never been pregnant so I cannot say with certainty. I think that there are situations where it would be a choice I would for sure consider. If the fetus had a severe deformity that would dampen its quality of life or if the choice was between my own life and the life of the fetus. I will always choose to live.

  18. Emily May 17, 2010 at 10:21 pm #

    I think asking someone if they are pro-life or pro-choice is too vague, with no middle ground available for the “exceptioneers” to identify with.

    When it comes to how someone will vote, the label matters more than the nuances. Most people trust the label when a candidate identifies by it, but they don’t go digging in their record to see how that candidate has voted. I think the line of questioning depends on the goals of the survey. When I worked for Marist Poll, some respondents would ask me “What do you mean by that?” And the answer we had to give, unless there was a definition provided for us, was “It’s whatever you think it means.”

  19. Sara U. May 18, 2010 at 2:30 am #

    Its scary to think that these so called pro-lifers are brainwashing our society into thinking its acceptable to take away such a fundamental right like the right to decide what happens with our bodies and ultimately, our lives and futures. Do I agree with irresponsible people who use abortion as a method of birth control? Absolutely not. But do I support a woman deciding to have an abortion for her own personal reasons? I sure do. Keep the seperation between church and state, and fight for your right to take charge of your own life…because if you don’t fight, nobody else will.

  20. Not Guilty May 18, 2010 at 6:57 am #

    Here’s the thing. I don’t care if 99% of the population is “pro-life”. If *I* want an abortion, it is MY body and I am entitled to it. This is where democracy goes astray: tyranny of the majority. If the end of slavery was left to the “majority”, we’d still have slaves. If the civil rights movement was left in the hands of the “majority”, non-whites would still have to sit at the back of the bus. And because the right for homosexuals to marry was a decision made by the “majority”, they still can’t in the U.S. This is where Canada separates.

    Many times, the “majority” will not make the right decision, and when that decision affects the lives of another group, they shouldn’t be allowed to. That is why Canadian courts made the decision to allow gays to marry, not the population. Granting another group rights does NOT remove or lessen the rights of another group. Giving me the right to control my body affects nobody but me. So ya, I don’t care if 99% of people are anti’s; so long as I am pro-choice, I get to have an abortion.

  21. Not Guilty May 18, 2010 at 7:05 am #

    I guess the best way to distinguish myself is to use the term pro-abortion since pro-choice has been so muddled. But that is a loaded term. Maybe pro-women? I do not support legislated exceptions to choice. If a Canadian woman thinks that she should have an abortion at 7 months simply because she wants one, then who am I to take away that choice? The chances of her finding a doctor who won’t just deliver the baby are slim. The chances of a woman seeking such an abortion are nonexistent. But of course anti’s don’t get that. They assume that left to their own devices, women are horrible human beings who would “kill” a “baby” that could live outside the womb just because. So I am pro-woman because I know woman can be trusted to not do that. Women do not need the government to tell them it’s wrong.

  22. Shannon Drury May 19, 2010 at 12:07 pm #

    All of this is proof of the urgent need to drop the “pro-choice” label entirely. After all, suffragettes didn’t fight for the CHOICE to vote, even though voting is not mandated by law. We have the RIGHT to reproductive freedom. Period.

  23. Bruce May 21, 2010 at 5:11 am #

    It is telling, to me, that pro-life is called, positively, a brand. It tells me that it’s not a mistake that the pro-life movement consistently allies itself with parties/movements which praise conforming conduct without regard for the internal lives of the people they acquire to their ranks.
    Exceptioneers seem analogous to “cured” homosexuals. They are welcomed while they walk the line, accomplishing to goals of those who’ve set out the agenda, cast aside when they slip up and act out their true feelings.

    I could be wrong…

  24. Kristine May 23, 2010 at 9:20 pm #

    Somebody in the comments said something about how most pro-choicers would be against abortion if our tax dollars were used to fund it, trying to point out an alleged pro-choice hypocrisy.

    I disagree.

    The way I see it, our tax dollars are already being used to fund schools. If I’m paying for children and teenagers to go to school, I don’t want them dropping out because they’re forced to become a parent. I don’t want them failing school because they’re too busy trying to hold down two jobs and care for a baby.

    And statistics have shown that children born to teen parents are more likely to follow down that same path. It’s a downward spiral, filled with pain, drug and alcohol abuse and, worst of all, girls who are too young to try and start a family who have to lose sight of their dreams to raise a child, even though they themselves are not done growing up yet.

    So if my tax dollars are going to fund education, I want every child to be able to take full advantage of it. I want them to make the most out of school, and grow up to follow their dreams and become educated, functioning members of society.

  25. Karla May 29, 2010 at 10:04 pm #

    I am “anti-choice” or “pro-life”…whatever label you would like to fit me with. I first want to thank you for actually having a civilized discussion with the exception of a few who would like to see me move to my own country (ha-ha) I too would like to add that I am educated woman and not some bible verse fanatical crazy that condemns people to hell because they do not have the same views that I have. With that having been said…I have been to many discussion groups in my area (TN/VA area) as well as around the US…Most of the people I talk to consider themselves pro-Life but do have the exceptions…I could Never look at someone who was raped/incest and tell them that they are wrong for not wanting to have the child…I would hope that they do consider adoption…because sooo many women (including myself) would love to have another child and have had no luck…for so many people that child would be a blessing….yet I as a woman and just a person with a heart could never force them to do that…..But there do need to be regulations….using abortion as a form of birth control and late term abortions should not be an option…I would love it if both sides could be adult enough to sit down and make these restrictions….If you are a victim of rape/incest…if in fact carrying this child would cause you to lose your own life…(which I almost did myself…and my child was “suppose” to have down syndrome and did not…Mommy is perfect and daughter is perfect…happy…healthy…3 years old) These need to be discussed….But a “uterus inhabitant” who can survive outside of the womb is a baby…it has worth…and it did not ask you to have sex…we as women too need to take responsibility for our actions. I am appalled at the reports of children surviving the abortions and suffering for days/weeks…I know this is not the intentions of the mother or doctor involved and I am sure it appalls them as well…something does need to be done about this…suffering is suffering and everyone should agree about that

    Thank you again for letting me voice my opinion

  26. Steph May 29, 2010 at 11:37 pm #

    There is a fundamental difference here. I can’t agree to the abortion restrictions you stated above because they harm women’s health and liberty. Abortion restrictions in the US are already as such that abortion is illegal after 24.6 weeks (pending extreme circumstances), which is when the fetus can survive outside the womb. Almost all abortions performed in the US occur at a point in pregnancy when the fetus cannot survive outside the body of the woman. I don’t understand anti-choice’s obsession with the most rare abortion cases performed by the likes of Dr. Tiller, Dr. Hern, and Dr. Carhart. It makes no sense to me. These procedures are the EXCEPTION, not the rule.

    As far as the people who are “survivors” of abortion, I really think it’s a bunch of bullshit, an anti-choice tactic to scare and shame women. Honestly, if this is occuring, it’s horrible medicine, and more proof that we need doctors to be TRAINED to perform abortions so that they can be performed correctly.

    If a woman wants an abortion, she wants an abortion, and she shouldn’t be faced with guilt, shame, coercion, or any other scare tactic from antis.

    For factual information about abortions performed in the US: http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html

  27. Shayna May 29, 2010 at 11:46 pm #

    Karla – thank you for your civil tone. I truly believe that the reports of women flagrantly disregarding any and all other forms of birth control in favor of having abortions are the product of an overactive anti-choice imagination. Abortions are too painful, expensive, and time consuming for any woman to want to engage in them on a regular basis!

    But the truth is – if there are women who do this, is their behavior worth taking away all women’s autonomy over their bodies? We still drive cars even though there are drunk drivers (and are able to buy alcohol for that matter), and people still get tattoos even though many people come to regret them. Guns are sold despite their use in the commission of crimes — There is more on this here: http://abortiongang.org/2010/03/there-is-nothing-wrong-with-using-abortion-as-birth-control/

    The bottom line is that even if what you are saying is true (and I doubt that it really is), the implicit right to your own body, and your own decisions overrides judging the decisions of another woman. It’s perfectly fine that you would never have an abortion – but that’s your choice – just like it’s every other woman’s choice how to handle her body.

  28. Karla May 30, 2010 at 1:43 am #

    My own cousin has had 4 abortions…I love her but do not agree with her…She is the Exception you were talking about…all of her pregnancies are from consensual sex (thank Goodness)…If her birth control fails…She has admitted that having an abortion bc it is not in her plan to have a child until she has her career set…so how many “oops” do you get?

    From reading the link above at guttmacher…I greatly believe that education could help to at least reduce the number of abortions…18% of abortions are from teens…Abstinence does NOT work even if you grind it into the teens head…(it didnt work for me) If they are going to have sex at 16 and 17…teaching them the responsible ways to prevent pregnancy is not the same thing as telling them to go ahead and do it…and over 1/2 of abortions are from women in their 20s…I was 24 years old and did not realize that my antibiotics rendered my birth control pill useless…many women make the same mistake…it doesnt make us dumb….most all of us are guilty of filling a medicine and not reading the little paper that comes with it.

    The only thing I can say is…for myself…you are right…I could never have an abortion…My daughter was not planned…it didn’t matter that I had a LOT of complications during pregnancy…or even that my blood work (done at 20 weeks I think but am not real certain) told my doctors that there was a 1 in 6 chance that my daughter would have down syndrome…She was mine…in my heart she was part of me…I don’t have all the answers but I would walk through fire for that kid…and I have a hard time understanding why everyone is not like that…That is not meant to peeve anyone or to shame anyone who has had an abortion…I am not perfect just passionate…that is what makes this topic so difficult…for both sides of the fence

  29. Shayna May 30, 2010 at 7:04 pm #

    That’s exactly it – we are all different. What compels one may repel another – and it is accepting our differences what allows us to respect one another, and resist and urge to judge another woman. You may not agree with your cousin, but it really doesn’t matter – her decisions are her own.

    A pregnancy or a child should not be a punishment for what you or I or anyone else views as irresponsible behavior, and that’s what forcing a woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy is – a punishment, taking her body hostage, and telling her that she is no longer an adult capable of making her own decisions — would you want to live that life? I wouldn’t – and since we don’t know who would be making that decision, drawing that line, you don’t know if you would find yourself on the wrong side of it.

  30. Josh Brahm July 8, 2010 at 12:49 pm #

    Warning: icky pro-life man here, accepting the invitation to answer the question. 🙂

    “Do you accept the exceptioneers into the anti-choice movement? If no, then does that new Gallup poll really mean anything to you?”

    Let me answer the second question first. No, that poll doesn’t mean much to me. Yeah, I saw it posted on a bunch of blogs and Facebook wall posts, but it certainly doesn’t mean the kind of victory a lot of pro-lifers thought it was by just reading the headline. The details of the poll give a much better picture of society’s view of abortion, which is more complicated than just “pro-life” or “pro-choice.”

    I spend a lot of time talking with pro-choice people about this subject, and the majority of them believe abortion should be legal, but they don’t agree with the morality of “birth-control abortions” or late-term abortions.

    Some pro-lifers might just get frustrated at a person like that. “They’re just pro-abortion,” they might say. I take a different approach. There is a lot I can agree with that pro-choicer about. So maybe we discuss those topics, establish some common ground and mutual good will, and then have a respectful conversation about parts of the debate we disagree on. When both people come into the conversation with an attitude of humility, being open minded and seeking to find more truth, awesome dialogues can happen.

    On the first question, I’m not really sure what it means to “accept someone into the anti-choice movement.” It’s not a fraternity. I’m not even sure what the “anti-choice movement” means. Full-time activists? Volunteers? I can honestly say I’ve never been in a ceremony with baby-feet pins and heartbeat signs all over the walls, accepting converts into the movement and handing them a plaque. (Although that would make a hilarious parody video. Someone should talk to CollegeHumor about this…)

    What I do know is that I appreciate the chance to talk with anybody about the subject of abortion, no matter what their position is. I always have more to learn, and whether the other person leaves a conversation with me having learned anything, I try to learn from them.

    A more interesting conversation that developed more in the comments thread here is the weaknesses of the terms “pro-life” and “pro-choice.” I’ve written on that subject before as well. Both of those terms are too vague to be accurate.

    “Pro-life” implies that abortion advocates are not pro-life for those human beings they believe are full persons. That just isn’t true.

    “Pro-choice” is also too vague. I am vigorously “pro-choice” when it comes to women choosing a number of moral goods. I support a woman’s right to choose her own health care provider, to choose her own school, to choose her own husband, to choose her own job, to choose her own religion, and to choose her own career, to name a few. These are among the many choices that I fully support for the women of our country. But we can all agree that SOME choices are wrong, like torturing toddlers for fun. No one is “pro-choice” about that. I also believe that killing innocent human beings simply because they are in the way and cannot defend themselves is wrong. I don’t think we should be allowed to choose that.

    I’ll add another one I hear from “pro-lifers” all the time: “pro-abortion.” Here’s a term I’m really tired of. After having talked at length with hundreds of pro-abortion-choice people, I think that the majority of them would be mischaracterized by being called “pro-abortion.”
    The term “pro-abortion” implies, whether intentional or not, that the person is in favor of the issue in question. Most pro-abortion-choice people I’ve talked to don’t like abortion, but they feel it’s a necessary evil. They are “pro-the choice to have a legal abortion,” so I think the term pro-abortion-choice is a very fair term. They do too. (For this same reason, I think the term “pro-war” is too vague to accurately describe the view of those that agree with “just war” theory. It’s too simplistic and should be avoided if attempting to choose words carefully. No one really thinks war is a wonderful thing.)

    Having said all that, I’m not sure what to do about the weaknesses of these terms. I don’t use the term “pro-abortion.” I usually refer to abortion advocates as “pro-choice” on my show, because it’s less cumbersome to say than “pro-abortion-choice,” and I don’t want to explain the term every time I say it. At least most people know when I say “pro-choice,” I’m just trying to respectfully refer to people that are pro-legal-abortion.

    Same problem with the term “pro-life.” That term is even in the name of my show, even though it has it’s weaknesses. But what do you do when terms are so embedded in the language of our culture? Wouldn’t I just come across as a weirdo for using bizarre (albeit more accurate) terms that no one else uses? I legitimately am open to ideas here.

  31. Shayna July 8, 2010 at 11:29 pm #

    Josh – I appreciate your attention to the detail of labels, because the labels do matter. When I call myself pro-choice I am referencing pro-reproductive-choices. Like you said, though, it is a cumbersome thing to say, and I think all parties involved are well aware that that’s what I’m for having a choice in the matter of. Not a choice of paying taxes or a choice in sending your children to school or to the salt mines. So, no, I don’t think the term pro-choice needs to change. It’s only used in this context – and in this context it’s meaning is clear.

    Pro-Life though… that’s just an insult, because I believe firmly in the value of life. We just define it differently (which you seem to understand).

  32. Josh Brahm July 9, 2010 at 12:36 pm #

    Yeah, I guess I could respond that “pro-choice” is insulting to me, because I firmly believe in the value of choices. I mean, this is America, after all! Personal liberties are a very important right. I just don’t believe the particular choice in question should be allowed.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me, Shayna.



  1. What does the Gallup poll on abortion really mean? | Abortion Gang - May 23, 2012

    […] are some of the people who think abortion should be legal “sometimes” perhaps prolife? Yes. But we asked antis last year if they would really accept people who found abortion to be okay sometimes (if you […]

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