by Jon Sanders
Director of the Center for Food, Power, and Life, Research Editor, John Locke Foundation
The abortion movement cannot name itself properly without putting people off, but it hasn’t had much success with euphemism, either.
Even the movement’s matron saint, Margaret Sanger, referred to abortion as a “horror” alongside infanticide (Sanger favored contraceptives to “put an end to the horrors of abortion and infanticide, as she wrote in Woman and the New Race, Truth Publishing, 1920, p. 25).
Wait, the “New Race”?
You caught that, eh? Yes, Sanger was a “progressive,” which meant in the 1920s that she was a fierce advocate for eugenics. Her ilk was responsible for North Carolina’s hideous forced-sterilization program. They were also, in Germany, responsible for the Nazis’ eugenics program, which incidentally led to the downfall of her favored euphemism here.
It seems the Nazis used the term “Birth Control.” This was all well and good until the rest of the world found out what the Nazis meant by “Birth Control.” That is why Sanger’s “Birth Control Federation” decided to rebrand itself “Planned Parenthood.”
The group formerly known as the “National Abortion Rights Action League” rebranded itself after realizing their moniker was in sore need of euphemism. They dropped the direct reference to “Abortion Rights” and started calling themselves “NARAL Pro-Choice America.”
Now it seems that “Pro-Choice” is also not putting a sufficiently positive spin on “the horrors of abortion.” The Washington Times reports:
Planned Parenthood officials say “pro-choice” is no longer a label they like, and they’d much prefer if people started talking about the more generic — and less politically charged — issue of “women’s health.”
“The change] is something that we have been talking about for several years,” Cecile Richards, the president of 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. We’re really trying to focus on, what are the real things you’re going to lose? Sometimes that’s rights. Sometimes that’s economic or access to health care for you or for your kids.”
Pro-choice become popular in the wake of the 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion ruling, because it succinctly countered the pro-life tag used by those who opposed the procedure. But around 2010, Planned Parenthood said the label started falling on deaf ears of younger women.
“The labels we’ve always used about pro-choice and pro-life — they’re outdated, and they don’t mean anything,”said Janet Colm, 62, the president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund of Central North Carolina, in The New York Times.
In other words, the plan now is to conflate abortion with safer topics, especially health care for … your kids? (Well … “good luck.”) If inflating popular support for abortion by piggybacking it on popular support for healthy kids doesn’t work, what then?