Words are powerful things, and people on both side of the reproductive rights issue know this. Which is why they choose their words so carefully.
The words used irk me, because, the way I see it, the words my side uses actually mean what they say. The words the other side uses, on the other hand... have twisted and shaded meanings.
When we say we're "pro-choice," we mean exactly that. We support a woman's right to choose: we support her right to decide what happens to her body and her life.
We are not "pro-abortion." NOBODY is pro-abortion. No woman tries to get pregnant for the sole purpose of going to the abortion clinic.* Planned Parenthood is not going around to high schools, picking up sixteen-year-old girls, sticking turkey basters in them, then taking them to the clinic six weeks later.
There is no such thing as "pro-abortion." So, people, please stop using that term. Because it makes you look dumb.
The goal of the pro-choice movement is to reduce the number of abortions, by giving women information about and access to birth control, health care, and how their bodies work. Our goal is to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies so that no woman has to be faced with making that choice. But, we know we are far from being anywhere near a time when there will be no more unwanted pregnancies, so we want the option of terminating the unwanted pregnancy to be there for the women who choose it.
In theory, the pro-choice side and the anti-choice side want the same thing: no more abortions. The pro-choice side understands that in order to get there, we need to address the problem and find a way to reduce (ideally, eliminate, but that's pretty unlikely reality) unwanted pregnancies. In order to do that, we need to educate women about their bodies and about the options available to them -- primarily, all the different methods of birth control. We also need to make these options available to them, by making birth control affordable and easily accessible.
The other side thinks we can achieve utopia by telling people to do as they say. Which is a reasonable view to hold when your head is deeply burrowed in the sand.
(Okay, so that last part was a little snippy. Or, a lot snippy. But that's how I feel. But I shouldn't be snippy when I'm trying to foster civil discourse on the issue. So, I apologize.)
But you can understand our frustration, can't you? Obviously abstinence doesn't work. We've tried it, and it's failed miserably. What does work? Birth control. Can we please get it in people's hands? Can we please teach them about it? Can we please give them access to it? Can insurance companies please cover it, at least as often as they cover Viagra?
You know what else works? Education. Explaining to people that sex makes babies. Yes, you and I know this full well -- you and I are educated and smart. We have access to computers and the Internetz and we have enough free time to write and read blogs, so we're living pretty cushy lives. I bet you come from a home with one if not two involved, caring parents, who talked to you about the birds and the bees, like I did. To you and me, the idea that someone would not know that sex makes babies is laughable, but to people whose lives are very different than yours and mine, IT'S NOT.
Then again, considering the fact that there exists a TV show called I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant, can you really doubt that there are people either uninformed enough or unaware enough or in denial enough to now know sex makes babies?
(And speaking of TV... how many teens on TV are having rampant sex, with nary a consequence? Ooh, sure, every now and then one of the girls will have a "scare." For tension and all, during sweeps. But does she ever get a positive on the EPT? In the real world, I mean, not Juno-world. Or "I can get a job at Ralph Lauren just because I want to and raise a baby in New York as a single mom with no nanny because the script says so" world. Because babies are no work at all, really, all you do is play dress-up and patty-cake with them all day. But that's another rant.)
I had another point to make, but that rant took me a little too far off-track, and now I can't remember that point. Since it's past my bedtime, I'm going to leave it at that for today (after all, I have a whole month, right? There's time, young Padawan. Patient you must be.)
Tomorrow I'll address the other side's lingo. Because I have a lot of issues with it. Indeed, I might even have a whole subscription.
(And, later on, I will finish the thoughts I started babbling about in the last post. For your sake, gentle reader, I decided to organize my thoughts better on the subject before sitting down to spew at the keyboard again.)
EGADS! I just remembered the point I was going to make. But I'll leave it for tomorrow, as it requires some research and I really need to get to bed. So, the pro-life lingo post will have to wait until Friday, it looks like.
*Many years ago, I remember reading an article about the new stem-cell research that was being done to cure Alzheimer's. The article told of a woman who asked her doctor if she could get artificially inseminated and the doctors could use the stem cells from that embryo to help her father, who had Alzheimer's (I don't remember the details, but that's the gist). Some might say this woman "got pregnant to have an abortion," but those people would be wrong. What this woman wanted to do was create stem cells for the doctors to research or work on her father because she was desperate and wanted to help her father, and she was willing to do anything in her power to help him. She was not getting pregnant "to get an abortion" because it's fun. Nobody does that, nobody thinks that way. Nobody is "pro-abortion."