There has been no shortage of pro-abortion response to Time’s January 14 cover story, “What choice?”, which made the case abortion proponents have been losing the war ever since they thought they won the war in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
The article’s author, Kate Pickert, listed a variety of reasons: a plethora of pro-life laws passed in the states, public sentiment, science, stigma, aging abortionists, and generational in-fighting.
The latter point was proven by a spate of commentary by pro-abortion Millennials defending themselves while attacking their “legacy” leaders.
Aside from that, I was surprised there hasn’t been much push back.
The latest Millennial to take a shot at her aging forebearers, pardon the pun, is Katie Stack, who was featured in MTV’s 2010 abortion special, “No Easy Decision,” about young mothers who decided to kill their preborn babies.
To her credit, Stack conceded many of Pickert’s points, although Stack always circled back to blame the “legacy” movement.
Here’s a thought I found particularly interesting, quoting Stack from AmplifyYourVoice.org:
According to a 2012 Gallup poll a mere 38% of Americans find abortion “morally acceptable.” Rarely is abortion publicly defended outright. For generations the motto of the prochoice movement was “safe, legal and rare” – driving home the idea that abortion, though it should be available, was not an ideal outcome.
This did not go unnoticed by the anti-choice movement. In fact, their strategic decision to focus on the fetus (through gestational age limits and ultrasound requirements) evolved due to this weakness in the rhetoric around abortion.
The growing youth militia of the anti-choice movement has been especially well trained in capitalizing on this.
(I included that last paragraph because I liked the phrase, “growing youth militia.”)
When Planned Parenthood announced this week it was abandoning the term, “pro-choice,” there was this tidbit of agreement with Stack, quoting from Buzz Feed:
Executive vice president Dawn Laguens added that language about making abortion “rare” actually polled very poorly, because women found it judgmental and shaming.
It was actually pro-abortion President Bill Clinton who coined that quickly popular phrase in 1992, one that “legacy” feminist Hillary Clinton endorsed.
In fact, until recently most abortion proponents supported “safe, legal, and rare” as “captur[ing] the essence of a desired national policy on abortion,” according to a 2006 Guttmacher piece, and “simple positive language… [that] framed the pro-choice position in a way that was firmly liberal yet appealing to voters uncomfortable with the inescapable reality that abortion involves ending a potential human life,” quoting Slate in 2002.
As recently as 2011 a Millennial at Feministing wrote she liked the quote.
But how quickly fortunes can turn, even on memes. I’m quite sure we will no longer read agreement from the other side that abortion should be “rare.” It does indeed open a door for our side.
“Safe, legal, and rare” was a key component of pro-abortion rhetoric debate for over two decades. Do you agree it backfired? If so, why didn’t they see it coming?