If Planned Parenthood Isn’t Pro-Choice, Who Is?

Despite the fact that abortion has been legal everywhere in the United States for the last 40 years, many Americans remain uncomfortable with the categories “pro-choice” and “pro-life.” At least that’s according to newly released data from Planned Parenthood. The evidence is so overwhelming that the women’s health group has decided to move away from “pro-choice” as it moves forward advocating on behalf of women’s health care.

Sample responses to Planned Parenthood focus groups include things like “I’m neither pro-choice nor pro-life,”and “I’m pro-whatever-the-situation is” which has been interpreted to mean people appear soft on choice.  The problem, of course, is that those who see themselves as “pro-whatever-the-situation is” are pro-choice because only “choice” supports the notion that a woman has the ability to take more than one course of action. You know, CHOICE. Rather than run away from the label, isn’t it Planned Parenthood’s job to explain what that labels means?

Yes. But moving away from “pro-choice” doesn’t necessarily mean Planned Parenthood can’t use this information as a way to drive home the point that “pro-life” as a label is completely meaningless. “Pro-life” policies are not the same as “forced birth” policies, and the current anti-abortion movement is a forced birth movement.

To the same measure, much of the pro-choice movement has been apologetic about abortion, leading with stories of rape victims, women facing life-threatening conditions and non-viable pregnancies to make the case for keeping abortion legal. And while those are certainly compelling stories, no woman should be forced to continue a pregnancy that is unwanted, for whatever the reason. Instead of “safe, legal and rare” pro-choice should mean “as many abortions as necessary for the women who need them.”

Hopefully Planned Parenthood moving away from the label “pro-choice” doesn’t mean abortion rights activists have ceded ground on this fundamental point — that choice is judgment-free for women, where “pro-life” is not.

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Photo from fibonacciblue via flickr.

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Steven Silas
Steven Silas2 years ago

I don't know. It seems as though the country takes three steps back for every step it takes forward. Abortion is a touchy subject to say the least and it's a lot more nuanced than the media would have you believe.

Lorraine Wright
Lorraine Wright2 years ago

Agree with Vernon W. we should stop allowing the right to dictate terms. They are not pro- life but anti-choice.

Laura Roberts

Good point, Jennifer. It does seem rather strategic. Funding always changes an organization.

Beth M.
Beth M.2 years ago

Sounds like political jargon to me. I'm pro-choice, which to me means that a woman can choose to give birth or have a legal, safe abortion. It's her body, her choice, not some politician's choice.

Heather M
Heather Marv2 years ago


Charlene Rush
Charlene Rush2 years ago

I am PRO-CHOICE, without a doubt.
However, I would prefer that a woman make a decision about ending a pregnancy, before the fetus was able to successfully live outside of the womb. Certainly, there are exceptions to everything in life.

On a personal level, no female should have to carry a fetus to term and deliver a baby that she doesn't want or can't afford.
On a monetary level, unwanted children 'most' often become society's problem, financially and emotionally. The cost to support an unwanted child until the age of 18 is far greater than the cost of an abortion.

Undoubtedly, there is not much worse, than a child who feels unloved.
For anyone who wants to see every fetus brought to term, please, by all means, put your name on the adolption waiting list. Even better, why not adopt an older child, who has been suffering without the love of parents who want him/her.

One last point, to those who are laboring under sedistic tendencies.
Not allowing abortion, does more harm to the child, than to the mother.
Furthermore, for those believers, _abortion_ is not mentioned in the Bible The Bible places no value on fetuses or infants, less than 1 month old.

Nils Lunde


Nils Lunde


Vernon Wong
Vernon Wong2 years ago

At one time, Pro Choice was labled as Pro Abortion. How much further does the Right to Choose have to run from their position? I agree that Pro Life should be referred to as Anti-Choice.

J.L. A.
JL A.2 years ago

Labels do become obsolete with time and this battle has existed for a lot of years.