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.

2 comments:

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