It’s clear by now Planned Parenthood didn’t consult its friends before announcing plans to drop the term “pro-choice” from its lexicon.
Seems like a huge deal to me, particularly since Planned Parenthood offered no replacement.
Planned Parenthood doesn’t make marketing missteps, but I think it just did.
Certainly Planned Parenthood must have alienated groups like NARAL Pro-Choice America, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Feminists for Choice, Catholics for Choice, Rock for Choice, Medical Students for Choice, Republicans for Choice, Center for Choice, 4000 Years for Choice, Clinicians for Choice, Voice of Choice, Choice USA, yadda yadda.
It took a week for NARAL to gather its wits, but finally on January 17 it issued a response, digging in its heels to expand the meaning of the term wider than ever:
[I]t’s important that NARAL Pro-Choice America also see “choice” in much broader terms. Choice means having access to birth control and choosing when to make the personal and financial commitment to bring a child into the world. It means taking steps to ensure you can provide for and protect that child to the best of your ability.
Of course, it makes perfect sense to protect children “to the best of your ability” you didn’t kill yourself. But I digress.
Last week abortion supporter Whoopi Goldberg became so confused on The View she decided pro-choice is pro-life… but that people who say they are pro-life are not that at all but are anti-abortion… but actually, we’re all pro-life…. Um… jump to 1:21…
On January 22, A. B. Stoddard, associate editor of The Hill newspaper, responded to an October Fox News poll indicating that 50% of Americans called themselves pro-choice and 42% pro-life:
But you know, though, those people would argue that using those terms is not really accurate polling. Everyone’s pro-life, even if they support the right to an abortion.
Um again… jump to 4:01…
Note that despite the insane mash-up of terminologies, the left lean now is toward life: Abortion proponents want to be considered pro-life. Strange times indeed.
Here’s the classic thing. Whenever you’re losing an argument, there are five things you want to do:
1. Make the debate personal rather than objective: Determine right and wrong by your personal circumstances, not some objective standard.
2. Make the debate complex.
3. Offer no rational arguments, only labels.
4. Appeal to the majority.
5. Reduce the entire thing to personal circumstances that no one else has a right to understand or judge.
PP is five for five on this particular video clip. You couldn’t have done it better.
Let’s watch that ad again, with Scott’s points in mind…
What does it tell you that they are publicly trying to reframe the debate? It tells me a couple things:
1. They’re terrified of images of abortion being widely distributed in the public. Feminist Naomi Wolf put it well in a 19 New York Times article, when she said, “When someone holds up a model of a six-month-old fetus and a pair of surgical scissors, we say, ‘choice,’ and we lose.” “Choice” holds no power against the power of the backdrop of an unborn human that has had his skull stabbed and brain sucked out. “Choice” just doesn’t work. The images convey the truth the language attempts to hide.
2. The other thing it conveys is PP is afraid that the pro-life movement is increasingly a younger and more motivated movement. The other side of this debate is dealing with an aging population of activists who have made no real arguments to advance their cause, and now are trying to reduce everything to labeling and personal circumstances. They’re in trouble.
On their side they have the law and the political establishment, and that isn’t going to change any time soon. And we’re going to have to work a whole lot harder to get involved politically. But for now they have the upper hand politically, but they don’t have the upper hand in terms of where their movement is going, and the argument. They have no argument.
As for the terminology flux:
I can think of article that argued in 1995 that they needed to switch from “choice” to “consent” – that “choice” was empty and did not compete well in the marketplace. This argument against the word “choice” is not new. This is just a typical cyclical thing for them, a test balloon to see what happens.