February 07, 2013

Reminder that whether you are ‘pro-life’ or ‘pro-choice’ has nothing to do with whether or not you, personally, would have an abortion.

Contrary to popular belief, “pro-choice” simply means you think abortion should remain legal and accessible.  If you think people should have the choice, even if it wouldn’t be your choice, you are pro-choice. See how that works? So if you support Roe v. Wade, congratulations! You are pro-choice! Welcome to the club.
You think a person has the right to be in charge of their own uterus? High-five!
I have seen many people who are under the impression that they are "pro-life" because they would never choose to terminate a pregnancy themselves. According to Gallup, 53% of people think Roe v. Wade should not be overturned. You'd think this meant that 53% of people would identify themselves as pro-choice, but apparently only 48% of people claim that label. What gives? Is there a stigma against identifying as pro-choice?

Planned Parenthood, a known leader in the fight for reproductive freedom, has recently let go of the "pro-choice" label for a small collection of reasons, the most notable being that it "suggests that what a [person] does about a pregnancy is simply another choice like picking a red or blue car, thereby trivializing the abortion decision".

Another criticism of the pro-choice label is that it, well, implies abortion is always truly a "choice" when sometimes it is actually a necessity: "[People] don’t always have a true “choice.” Choice is only possible when [people] have the resources to select either option. When there is no funding for abortion or no clinic to go to, [people] don’t really have a “choice.” The opposite is also true. [People] who have abortions often say they feel like they have “no choice.” They don’t mean they were coerced; the abortions are their decisions. They mean that they do not have the economic resources, social support, or capacity to care for a child." (via)

I'd like to think that the reason many people avoid calling themselves pro-choice is for the aforementioned reasons; not because there is anything wrong or shameful about having an abortion, but because they feel that the term itself is a poor fit for the movement. But something tells me that the striking 52% of people who do not identify as pro-choice do so for the following reasons:
  1. Simply being ill-informed on what the term really means (as stated in the beginning of this article -- they are under the impression that because they would not abort, they are "pro-life").
  2. They feel that because the alternative to "pro-choice" is "pro-life", that being pro-choice must mean that they are "anti-life" (which is, of course, ridiculous -- studies show that in areas where abortion is legal, pregnant people are much less likely to die from back-alley abortions).
  3. They want abortion to be illegal.

Whether you proudly label yourself pro-choice or not, one thing is certain: if you want access to abortion to stick around, you should use your voice and speak up. While support for other liberal ideals, such as same sex marriage, have been steadily increasing for years now, support for abortion is actually slipping lower. As of 2013, 53% of people would not support the overturn of Roe v. Wade -- but in 2006 that number was at 66%. This is bad news, folks, but the fight's not over yet. Get out there and show your support.


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