What is so complicated about the term “pro-choice” anyway?

13 Sep

Pro-choice. What does that mean? First, let’s dissect the term.

“Pro,” the prefix, means “in favor of .” “Choice,” the root word, means “the right, power, or opportunity to choose; option.”

To me, knowing these two definitions should clear up any confusion about what it means to be “pro-choice.” We, the “pro-choicers,” are, by definition, in favor of the opportunity to choose.  We want women to be able to choose what happens to their bodies. This means that we support women who want to be mothers. We support women who don’t. We support women who want to carry to term, but want to provide another family a chance at a life they couldn’t have otherwise. We support women who are hurt or confused. We support women who are excited or joyful.

Our world is one of acceptance; acceptance of the right of a woman to choose (there’s that word again!).  Also, it’s a world of trust. We trust women to know what is best for them. I can’t imagine trusting a woman to raise children or to be a mother, but not trusting her enough to know that she can make decisions for herself and her body. Ironic, no?

Now, it appears that one of the many points of contention between the pro-choice and “pro-life” movements is a matter of semantics. The pro-choice side is often accused of being anti-choice because we support a woman’s right to a safe, legal medical procedure. We are accused of “forcing” women to choose abortion. I submit that, when one is forced to do something, it is no longer a choice. Therefore, it is no longer “pro-choice.” At that point, it may, however, be “pro-abortion.”

To be pro-abortion means, again, “in favor of abortion.” “Pro-abortion” is encompassed within “pro-choice.” To be pro-choice means that one supports the right to choose an abortion, should that be what works for the woman in question.

However, one can be both “pro-abortion” and anti-choice, as in the case presented here. This man wanted his wife to have an abortion. She did not want to have one. He RAPED her when she refused. This is not pro-choice. If it were, he would have accepted her decision, *because* it’s her decision. Instead, he, being pro-abortion, but not pro-choice, decided to further remove her choice to have or not to have sex by raping her. This is despicable, and the definition of anti-choice. (For the record, the prefix “anti” means “against,” “opposite of,” “antiparticle of.”)

I do not understand the confusion surrounding these terms. The definitions are clear and concise.  The pro-choice movement and the pro-abortion choice cannot be mutually exclusive, but one can be pro-abortion without being pro-choice.


One Response to “What is so complicated about the term “pro-choice” anyway?”

  1. Serena September 13, 2010 at 12:29 pm #

    Christie, when you define the terms the way you did, it seems like such a no-brainer. I still love this old button I got in high school. It says, “Against abortion? Don’t have one.” It’s really not that hard.

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