In a move that will take them further to the left, abortion-rights advocates are drastically changing the way they talk about access to the controversial procedure. “Pro-choice” is out. “Positive good” is in.
The abortion-rights advocacy group NARAL Pro-Choice America has released a six and half minute video entitled “Comedians in Cars Getting Abortions.”
In reality, however, the video is right in harmony with the increasingly popular argument that abortion should be thought of as an everyday, normal procedure and positive social good.
In fact, explicitly pro-abortion rhetoric is here in a big way.
The plot of the 2014 comedy “Obvious Child” centers around the main character procuring an abortion on Valentine’s Day.
Similarly, in late 2015, millions watched the main character from the popular television show “Scandal” undergo the procedure to the tune of “Silent Night,” a Christmas carol celebrating Jesus’s birth.
Recent social media campaigns, such as #ShoutYourAbortion, encouraged women to publicly praise their abortions, and had their intellectual foundations in think pieces such as Salon’s “I Am Pro-Abortion, Not Just Pro-Choice.”
In that op-ed, the author puts the motivations for such movements plainly:
“I am pro-abortion like I’m pro-knee-replacement and pro-chemotherapy and pro-cataract surgery. …
“I believe that abortion care is a positive social good. I suspect that a lot of other people secretly believe the same thing. And I think it’s time we said so.”
And in a recent op-ed for The Washington Post, the author argues that calling abortion a “difficult decision” surrenders the abortion narrative to the pro-life movement:
“It is a tacit acknowledgment that terminating a pregnancy is a moral issue requiring an ethical debate.”
Such a pro-abortion tone has also entered the official platform of the Democratic Party. As John McCormack notes at The Weekly Standard:
“Although Democrats said their goal was to make abortion ‘rare’ in 2000 and 2004, they deleted that word in the 2008 and 2012 platforms.
“The 2012 platform included implicit support for tax-funded abortions, but it did not explicitly call for the repeal of the Hyde amendment.”
A draft of the 2016 Democratic Party platform, by contrast, explicitly calls for repealing the Hyde Amendment, the law that prevents taxpayer-supplied Medicaid funds from paying for most abortions.
Hillary Clinton came out in January of this year in support of repealing the Hyde Amendment despite a recent Marist poll showing 68% of Americans nationwide, including 69% of women, oppose the taxpayer funding of abortion.
The presumed Democratic nominee has also dropped the term “rare” when discussing her support of “women’s health” and abortion:
Defending women’s health means defending access to safe, legal abortion for all who need it—not just women who can afford it.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 10, 2016
The explicitly pro-abortion rhetoric comes as the major players in abortion-rights advocacy consider even the term “pro-choice” too dated and limiting.
In 2014 Cecile Richards, president of the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told The New York Times:
“I just think the ‘pro-choice’ language doesn’t really resonate particularly with a lot of young women voters.”
Instead, Planned Parenthood began to focus on the broader message of “women’s health” and “economic security.”
By moving beyond characterizing abortion as a choice and instead characterizing it as an absolute good, the pro-choice camp is setting new terms for the abortion debate.