Thursday, July 2, 2009

Anti-choice or Anti-abortion?

A reader wrote me an email objecting to my use of the term "anti-choice" in a previous post. She suggested the following: "The term anti-choice by definition means “one who opposes ALL choices”, no matter what the topic of choice be. The opposition to abortion does not stem from the opposition of choices in general (as the term anti-choice would lead one to believe)." On a logical level, this reader is right. So are we justified in using the term anti-choice?

In politics, choosing the right name (for your party, your ideology, your set of beliefs) is half the battle. Lenin used the fact that during the voting on some obscure issue his faction received the majority to call his group 'Bolsheviks' (meaning the people of the majority, people who are bigger). Guess what happened to the opposing faction? Well, not many of them were left alive to tell the story. Then there is the example of the Spanish fascist dictator Francisco Franco. When his group of military leaders started an illegal uprising against the legitimate democratically elected government, he coopted the name 'Nacionales' (meaning 'the Nationals') for his cause. I'm sure that just the name itself was a huge advantage in terms of propaganda.

Now look at the anti-abortion crowd. They are pretty smart to have chosen the term pro-life for themselves. I mean, who wants to be anti-life? Of course, nothing prevents many of them to protest abortions and support the death penalty in the same breath while still proudly claiming to be pro-life. Of course, their respect for life often fails to include any interest towards the life forms that are disappearing off the face of our planet every single day. If they can defy logic and reason by claiming that opposing abortion somehow means support for all life in general, I'm sure the opposing group is justified in claiming for themselves a much smaller field, that of choice.

These are the rules of political engagement, my friends. If we set out to combat people who call themselves "pro-life", we are, in my view, perfectly justified in calling ourselves "pro-choice" and them "anti-choice."

To answer my reader's question: no, I will not switch to using the term anti-abortion. As long as there is at least one person calling themselves "pro-life", I will refer to them as "anti-choice."


Anonymous said...

These people are too pathetic to even leave a comment, so they recur to sending personal emails.

Be ready to field messages from them for a long time now.

Clarissa said...

I invited readers to send me their comments if they don't manage to post them for whatever reason. So all's fair.