23 February 2012

QUOTE OF NOTE: On "pro-abortion" and "anti-choice"

"Fair or not, my interest in your POV tends to plummet the moment I read the words 'pro-abortion' or 'anti-choice'."
- Mike Croghan
Virginia, USA

I was reminded of this quote, from an acquaintance in the Emerging community, this week after listening to an episode, "Employer's Morals, Your Insurance", of public radio's On Point. In amongst a great airing of some of the many sides of the issue there was use of the language above, needlessly mudding the waters and actually making the points of each user LESS clear. 

Certainly we could all be more generous, more honest, and less manipulative in our characterizations of the others around us. This is a prime and very timely example.


Kristin M Royer said...

So this sparked some discussion on our couch here. I have to admit that I think pro-life is definitely euphemism, but I also think pro-choice skirts the issue as well. I kind of like to treat it like the gun issue, where you can be anti-gun or pro-gun rights. Is it OK to say anti-abortion or pro-abortion rights?

chrisflinchbaugh said...

Kristin, I agree. "Pro-choice", emphasizing the "choice" part", tends to tie the argument to the rhetoric of that side (whatever we call it) where it is protrayed mostly as an issue of individual liberty. That individual being the mother not the to-be-birthed.

Framing the sides in terms of their persuasion for or against does seem the most fair and appropriate for a civilized and manipulation free start to the discussion.

NPR's Ombudsman bad a blog about this last year [http://www.npr.org/blogs/ombudsman/2011/09/19/140612867/abortion-language-politically-correct-or-politically-bomb-throwing]. Here they summarized their approach:

"In an attempt to be fair, NPR and much of the mainstream news media now use the more neutral phrases "abortion-rights advocates" and "abortion-rights opponents" in place of 'pro-choice' and 'pro-life' as labels for the opposing sides."

So yes, "anti-abortion rights" or "pro-abortion rights" rings true to me as well as the versions above which maybe are even more neutral not carrying positive or negative connotations up front. A little unwieldy? Not by much but a little. And maybe that little extra thought and effort in extending correct characterization will encourage us to be reminded of the complexities and humanity of those on all the sides.

Royers, thanks for the good though-jog.

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