Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Choosing my Words Carefully

For a couple of days now I have been pondering my choice of terminology when it comes to articulating what I feel about abortion. I have a fabulous baseball shirt from Outspoken Clothing that reads "Against Abortion? Don't Have One!" It means (to me at least) that if you are anti-abortion you don't need to have one, but don't be stepping on my rights to have one. I thought it was clear. Turns out it isn't. This weekend two women have approached me and lauded my blatant and powerful anti-abortion stance. To my horror they have misinterpreted my slogan, and if they have then how many others have done the same thing but said nothing?

I had to explain (and I did it kindly) that in fact I am pro-choice. I am firmly and unequivocally in favour of every woman's right to decide what happens to her body. This was not well received! Spitting vitriol, these women walked away. I considered what I had said to them about my beliefs and felt dissatisfied.

In fact, I am pro-abortion. I used to say that I wasn't pro abortion; I balked at what that might imply. It almost suggested to me that I might be found rampaging through the streets looking for pregnant women in order to satisfy my lust for termination. "Pro-choice" seemed a sanitized version of what I was expressing; as a label, it was also a target in debates with anti-choice apologists. Many times I have defended myself with the words "Actually, I am Pro-Choice. It doesn't mean the same thing as being pro -abortion!" Well, now I think it does.

During this weekend's marathon thinking session I have felt increasingly that I can't say that I am pro-choice if I am not prepared to say that I am also pro-abortion. I have decided that I can't shy away from what this means or what impression it might engender in others. To that end, I am going to change my vocabulary and use pro-abortion rather than pro-choice. I am also going to shift focus when I talk about the "right to lifers". They are anti-choice, anti-freedom and anti-woman; let's label them as such instead of letting them hide behind the romanticized and evocative phrase "pro-life". Lets make them uncomfortable. Lets tell it like it is.


asdgasdfaserwe said...

'Telling it like it is' is the best approach when you're in the right. It is only those in the wrong (anti-choicers) that need dirty tactics and lies to back their cause.

The reaction you got from those women indicates that they are the reason they misunderstodd your T-shirt.

ms. jared said...

hi pippa,

sorry this is off topic but i wondered if you have an email address i can contact you at? if so, please email me at msjared(at)gmail(dot)com.

it's in reference to the feminist cd exchange. :-)

xoxo, jared