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Notable & Quotable: Pro-Choice No More

May 13, 2022 6:06 p.m. ET

Planned parenthood in Fairview Heights, Illinois, May 12.


E. Jason Wambsgans/Zuma Press

Excerpt from a February 10, 2021 blog post from the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts. Politico reported Thursday that the House Pro-Choice Caucus issued a memo to staff describing the word “choice” as “harmful language”:

“Choice” assumes that anyone can have an abortion, and that someone only has to choose whether they want it or not. . . . Black feminists and feminists of color have pointed out that this is not the case: the legal right to choose to have an abortion does not always mean that someone can actually have an abortion. “Choice” ignores the lived realities of people, especially black people and people of color, who face barriers often compounded by racist and classist policies that prevent them from getting the care they need. . . . Full access to care does not just mean the ability to obtain care; it also means that care must be respected and affirmed, without social judgement. Well-meaning people often contrast “pro-choice” with “pro-abortion,” as in, I am pro-choice, not pro-abortion. But it hurts people who have had abortions. This implies that abortion is not a good thing. . . .

So what can you say instead of just “pro-choice”? You can absolutely say:

• pro-abortion, pro-abortion rights, pro-abortion access or pro-abortion equity – abortion is not a dirty word.

• pro-reproductive health care or pro-reproductive freedom when you are talking about more than abortion.

• “I support access to abortion” or “I am a supporter of access to abortion”.

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Appeared in the print edition of May 14, 2022.