Moving Beyond “Choice”

Over at New York Magazine, there’s a piece up on Planned Parenthood’s recent decision to “move beyond” the term “pro-choice”. There is apparently some dismay that the term “choice” has come to be associated primarily — indeed, almost exclusively — with abortion. “It’s a complicated topic and one in which labels don’t reflect the complexity,” said Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards. (New York Magazine‘s straw poll of friendlies produced an entertaining lineup of alternative terms the movement might adopt, including pro-family, pro-logic and pro-sanity.)

I’m a bit of a wordie, so I might be reading too much into this retreat from a central term. But if Planned Parenthood is no longer comfortable taking the loud and proud approach, they must surely be reflecting a shift in the audience. The notion that the pro-abortion message might not play as well as it once did seems to bolster Mollie’s contention on the most recent Ricochet Podcast that the pro-life movement, contrary to the prevailing gloom, has made some significant strides recently.

What do you think?

  1. Devereaux

    I would submit that the left regularly takes stands that the majority of the American people do not agree with. When the going gets rough, and they start taking hits, they promptly change their name. So liberals are now progressives, which is what they were before they were liberals (?shades of Kerry anyone).

    Ergo I would agree that your perception is completely accurate. Abortion has lost a lot of its glamour. Even in the black community, where it is most rampant, the people are beginning to wake up to the shear numbers of “dead”. The Left has tried hard to not attach that label to a fetus, but people are coming to realize that it is exactly what abortion is.

  2. Pseudodionysius

    Inside Planned Parenthood, you can’t say the words “baby” or “fetus” but, rather, “Products of Conception” or PoC for short. When the opposition is having to re-engineer their euphemisms I’d say the culture is moving against them and they sense it.

  3. Israel P.

    The term “pro-choice” itself is fake. They consider “the other choice” to be invalid.

    It is simply another version of the old quote “Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue. — François duc de la Rochefoucauld, French epigrammatist (1613-1680).

    Like hypocrisy, so euphemism.

  4. Indaba

    Did you see the TV show Parenthood? This season, one of the teenage boys has a girlfriend and they get pregnant. The young man wants to go to their parents and wants to keep the child but she does not want to. They go to PP which counsels them on adoption and other options. It makes PP look like an efficient system but one that does not give the option of helping a young woman talk with the father of the baby. The young man is devastated by the dreadful experience and his mother never knows.

    Although the show is supposed to be left, i like the family stories, this certainly showed the consequences and the life damaging loss for the young man, maybe the producers were seeing it differently. So, the message by that and Juno are certainly filtering through.

    Also, the majority users of abortion services are black women, and they are doing a silent genocide which is being recognized. Sharpton should spend more time in that than going on about guns.

  5. D.C. McAllister
    C

    I wrote about this on the member feed, but you can also read about it here. PP is basically latching onto the relativism of the day and re-propagandizing its agenda in more palatable terms to get even more voters on the Dem’s side. They’re so dependent on government money that it’s a matter of survival for them to stay in business. NPR’s Tell Me More also talked about this from another direction, basically repackaging “compassion” in the context of abortion. You can read it about it here.

  6. Percival

    Everything I needed to know about how the Left expresses itself about itself, I learned in 1984.

    (the book, not the year.)

  7. KC Mulville

    So the US government gives them $542 million dollars last year; half a billion. They claim that they segregate all that money so that it has nothing to do with actual abortions.

    One wonders why the rest of their services are so expensive.

  8. LCLee

    My brother and his high school girlfriend got pregnant. She wanted an abortion, but he begged her not to. He offered to support her and the child, raise the child himself, give it up for adoption – anything to let the baby live. She selfishly chose abortion. It has been a traumatic thing for my brother and our whole family to endure. It happened many years ago, but none of us can forget the child that didn’t have a chance to join our family. Planned Parenthood is not about helping people – it is about death. I also have a son-in-law who went through some tough times in his early 20s and became convinced he shouldn’t be a father. He went to planned parenthood and they happily did the snip-snip. I’m still amazed that they would do that to a young healthy 22 year old instead of giving him council that would help him see the importance of waiting. Fortunately he grew up and gained perspective and when he married my daughter he promised to have it reversed. They are now the joyful parents of a beautiful baby boy. Take that Planned Parenthood!

  9. Pencilvania

    I think teachers’ unions see the School Choice issue coming, and want the word ‘choice’ buried.  They know the argument ‘if you can choose when to have children, why not choose how to educate them?’  is short & sweet & true & effective.

  10. Spin

    I’ll tell you what I think:  if Planned Parenthood would focus on helping their clients actually plan for parenthood, instead of how to plan for not-parenthood, they would have so much trouble.  

  11. Seeker

    This is a typical left-wing tactic. When the left can’t win on the merits, it changes the language, the “packaging” its policy is wrapped in. “Gun control” isn’t working, so the left tries to change the language to “gun safety” or “gun violence.” Trial lawyers got a bad image after countless frivolous lawsuits are shown to be a pox on the American business climate. So, the American Trial Lawyers Association changes its name to the American Association for Justice. Gone is talk of tax increases, only to be replaced with talk that everyone “must pay their fair share.” The left’s policies and goals are to same, only the language they employ has changed. And, it’s sad that with a lot of Americans, the language change will work.

  12. Severely Ltd.
    Pencilvania: I think teachers’ unions see the School Choice issue coming, and want the word ‘choice’ buried.  They know the argument ‘if you can choose when to have children, why not choose how to educate them?’  is short & sweet & true & effective.

    This never occurred to me but I don’t doubt it. When you’re dissembling, you need to think two moves ahead–Oh what a tangled web, etc.

    Choice might prove to be embarrassing in many contexts as the coercive side of progressiveism “progresses”.

  13. Edward Smith

    I’m not about to jump and down in celebration.

    There’s a long way to go.

    But those pictures of fetuses in the womb with hands and feet and hearts have been doing their job.

  14. Rachel Lu
    C

    I vote for “pro-logic”. It’s hard to say it with a straight face, but it sets up the pro-lifers nicely, because people love to draw a contrast between “logic” and “love”.

  15. dittoheadadt

    Once again the Left demonstrates their habit of changing their labels when their labels become baggage.  Progressive to Liberal to Progressive again.  Global cooling to global warming to global weirding to climate change.  Abortion to choice to ?.  I’m sure there are more examples.

    Meanwhile, the Right continues to use the same labels as always.  Because we’re not trying to hoodwink anyone about what we believe, about what we stand for, about our foundational principles.

  16. Hartmann von Aue

    I point this and other positive developments (32 pro-life laws passed by state legislatures in the last 2 years alone, record attendance at pro-life events like the March for Life, 25 abortuaries permanently closed in the last 5 years) out to discouraged pro-lifers as often as I can.  We have been saving more lives than ever and making progress in driving back the evil on the state and local levels. Now is not the time to grow faint, just because a fanatical babykiller was narrowly re-elected to the presidency.

  17. notmarx

    That the term pro-choice has begun to exhaust its effectiveness — because in the collective subconscious it has come to be dyed in the ugliness of what’s hiding behind it — is a cause for hope.  

    Tempering that hope is the realization of how devastatingly effective a stratagem it’s been.  I worry that the next relabeling may be similarly effective. 

    But as our Edward Smith says, “…those pictures of fetuses in the womb with hands and feet and hearts have been doing their job.”  Twenty-five years ago, I heard my daughter’s racing heartbeat, months before I saw her slimy little face — I can’t be fooled.  The number of those who have been similarly, instantaneously disabused is growing.      

  18. Pseudodionysius

     “It’s a complicated topic and one in which labels don’t reflect the complexity,”

    No Labels. I call them Frumpy. There’s certainly no kids’ clothing labels interfering with their business.

  19. Foxfier

    I have an urge to make a mean joke about how it’s because the Left is finally realizing they don’t want Those People to actually make a choice, even when they can tip the scales by terrifying women during a highly stressful part of their lives and flatly lying about the basic biological facts.

    It’s just not very funny, though, when my kid’s been kicking the crud out of my belly button from the inside.  I posted baby pictures of kiddo months ago.

  20. Lamont Cranston

    The abortion industry has a simple problem: their propaganda has been overwhelmed by high-resolution ultrasounds that mothers are posting to Facebook to announce their pregnancy.

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