Reframing The Debate: Pro And Anti-Development Prevention

Those on the pro-choice side of the abortion debate are always looking for new ways to frame the debate.  I can understand why, it’s difficult to gain support when there’s truth in advertizing: abortion takes the life of an innocent human being.  This biological fact must be avoided if you are to get people to willingly advocate for and obtain abortions.  A new article in the Huffington Post recognizes this and is making a push for re-branding abortion terminology to soften what it is abortion actually accomplishes (See: Get A Life, Part 1).

(Huffington Post) — Here’s what progressives need to do: Never use the Cells Are People metaphor, even in arguing against conservative policy. Never use the term baby or unborn child to refer to a blastocyst, embryo, or fetus.

Stop using the term abortion. It has misleading properties. When we speak of “aborting a mission,” the mission was intentional and planned, and the original idea was to bring it to an end state. What happens with an unwelcome pregnancy is nothing like this. The pregnancy was not intentional, not planned, and there was never any intention of bringing it to an end state. Rather, what is desired is development prevention, keeping any development from happening. That development can be prevented at many stages, from unfertilized cells (via morning-after pills), to blastocyst to embryo, from embryo to fetus, from fetus to a non-fully-formed-human, to an unviable human (one that can’t live outside the womb). The earlier the development prevention, the better for the woman.

Never use the expression partial birth abortion. It’s a conservative political tool, not a medical reality. Here’s the Texas GOP in its 2012 platform: “We oppose partial birth abortion.” The term was invented by a hired, conservative language professional. The image is grisly, and that was the point. But no such thing exists. The medical condition it is supposed to represent is one where a potential child cannot survive, either because it has no brain, or because of some other equally awful condition. And usually, the mother’s life is at risk. This has nothing to do with either giving birth or with more common reasons for preventing development.


The reason not to use the above language is that it can both hide reality and does not adequately communicate the moral values that underlie progressive policy. The right to limit development is a matter of liberty and family freedom. [emphasis in original]

It’s difficult to overlook the irony of the post’s title: The Sacredness of Life and Liberty.  I don’t see this as anything other than an attempt to muddy the debate.  Obviously development prevention is much easier to handle and doesn’t elicit the images and emotions like the term abortion.  This attempt at reframing the debate comes as no surprise as the number of Americans who identify as pro-choice pro-development prevention is at an all time low, standing weakly at 41% with only 38% believing abortion is morally permissible, and 61% of Americans believing it should be illegal in all or most cases.

This is low, and a veiled attempt to conceal the reality of abortion which (apparently) is far too grisly to advocate for in an honest manner consistent with the facts (Get A Life, Part 1; Part 2; Part 3).

Any Thoughts?

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