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  • Writer's pictureRobyn Spradlin

From Pro-Choice to Pro-Decision?

May 17, 2022

WASHINGTON, DC – The Pro-Choice Caucus in the House of Representatives was boiling when the Senate failed to codify Roe v. Wade last week. In a statement, U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Barbra Lee (D-CA) said it was “inexcusable” not to pass the legislation providing all Americans rights to abortion care. The two continued, “We are frustrated, we are upset and we are angry – but we are also more determined than ever. Our fight to protect Americans’ access to abortion care did not end with today’s vote in the Senate; it has only just begun.” Their discourse ended with their belief that “every person deserves the right to make their own decisions about their bodies, lives and futures. We know that the American people are with us in this fight, and we will never give up.”

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

A Gallop poll conducted May 3 -18, 2021, showed that 48% of Americans believed abortions should be legal only under certain circumstances, 32% thought legal for any reason and 19% believed abortion should not be permitted at all. The poll also revealed that 49% of Americans said they were pro-choice and 47% were pro-life.

However, the messaging surrounding abortion is changing. Since the Supreme Court’s draft opinion was leaked that threatened to overturn Roe v. Wade, the Pro-Choice Caucus in Congress sent Democrats a list of “dos and don’ts” on abortion messaging. As a result, the word “choice” is no longer favored and is exchanged for “decision.”

The Washington Times reported that the Pro-Choice Caucus warned that “choice” is considered “harmful” and switching to “decision” is “helpful.” Abortion advocates insist “choice” creates the assumption that everyone can get an abortion should they “choose” to do so. However, black feminists point out, “That’s not accurate.” Activists insist that having a legal right to something doesn’t translate into getting an abortion. They claim that “choice” ignores lived realities, especially in people of color neighborhoods. The “safe, legal and rare” abortions of the Clinton era are traded for “safe, legal and accessible.” “Unwanted pregnancy” is being tossed for “unexpected pregnancy,” and pro-abortion, pro-abortion rights, pro-abortion access and pro-abortion equity are all encouraged by Planned Parenthood because “abortion isn’t a dirty word,” so they say.

Democratic strategist Lis Smith tweeted her concerns last Thursday, “If this debate devolves into policing of terms like “pro-choice” “pro-life” and “safe legal and rare”- we will absolutely lose it. We cannot purify ourselves into oblivion on a majority issue like this, but it seems like our side is doing everything to make that a reality.”

The Cumberland Times-News reported, “There is a hardening of ideology with the Democrat party, if not the country.”

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