Last year, Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion vendor in America, encouraged its affiliates to stop using the term “pro-choice.” According to them, it just didn’t resonate with young women any longer, essentially because a majority of young people view abortion negatively and “pro-choice” is too associated with abortion.
Such linguistic games suggest that the abortion industry knows it’s losing the young generation. But how far will they go to try to gain support of women? And more importantly, perhaps, will it backfire?
Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion chain, writes in Elle magazine that there needs to be less of a stigma surrounding abortion:
Just last week, three high school teenagers approached me after a political rally. There were two young women and one young man, all of them looking impatient and excited. They told me about a new project they launched for women to share their stories about abortion via social media, in order to help decrease stigma. One of the young women began to cry as she talked about what it’s like to see the forum she helped create provide connection and empowerment for women she’s never met.
Why is there a stigma in the first place? This current generation of young Americans has grown up with easily recognizable sonogram images of their brothers and sisters. Young adults can see the child isn’t a clump of cells, but rather a human being unto itself, just a lot smaller than they are. Science tells us that life begins at conception, without a doubt. Maybe there is a stigma surrounding abortion because people are inherently uncomfortable with a procedure that ends the life of a defenseless child. It’s a natural gut reaction to an absolute truth.
Cecile Richards has good reason to worry about the stigma of abortion — actually she has billions of reasons. Planned Parenthood raked in $1.2 billion in revenue in 2012-2013, according to their own annual report. More abortions mean more money. It’s just business to Planned Parenthood, and the less abortion is stigmatized, the more money can be made from mothers who get them. Don’t believe for a second this is about women’s health. It’s not.
In fact, one abortion advocate wants to go as far as promoting abortion as a “social good.” Katha Pollitt is out with a new book about reclaiming abortion rights:
I wanted to talk about how abortion is part of what makes it possible for women to have a decent, reasonable life in which they have children when they’re ready to have them, and it’s good for everybody. It’s good for children to be wanted and to be well timed, and it’s good for men, too. We forget that. But when you have women having random — expected to have random children with random people, just because a stray sperm gets in their womb, this is not good for anybody.
Good for the baby that just lost its life? Or good for the mother who may be suffering mental or physical harm? I don’t think so.
Over at Slate.com, Hanna Rosin was falling over herself to praise Pollitt, going so far as to say that abortion is empowering: “Having an abortion left me with a sense of what a great power it is to be able to give life but also a sense that I can trust myself to use it carefully.”
Women do have incredible power when it comes to life. Their bodies were designed to grow and sustain a tiny human being. Now that’s real empowerment.
Will making the case that abortion is a social good — like clean air, clean water, literacy or electricity — persuade impressionable college students or middle-of-the-road Americans who are on the fence about abortion? It's doubtful.
Students for Life of America has been touring college campuses this fall with our Planned Parenthood Project, which uses stats and figures from the organization’s own annual report to tell the truth about the abortion giant. Many students, anti-abortion and pro-choice, are genuinely interested in what we have to say, and we do it with compassion and care.
Many young Americans will have that gut reaction that abortion is neither a social good nor an empowering experience. Abortion advocates are struggling on how to frame as a positive something that destroys life — the greatest social good we have — because they know they are losing the argument.Kristan Hawkins is president of Students for Life of America. Thinking of submitting an op-ed to the Washington Examiner? Be sure to read our guidelines on submissions for editorials, available at this link.