The next time you hear “my body, my choice” screamed at you, it would be good to politely remind the activists they are not supposed to say “my choice” anymore—it offends women.
Activists in the know, for example, are now using a more emphatic and clunkier “my body, my decision.” In fact, liberal protesters, including “Squad” congresswomen Pramila Jayapal (Wash.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.) and Ayanna Pressley (Mass,) chanted “my body, my decision” while walking to the Senate to ask for abortion “rights” on May 11.
It’s official. The leftist site The New Republic reports that Planned Parenthood and radical feminists are expunging the use of “choice” from their lexicon. The move is surprising since “choice” has long been the weapon of choice in the feminist arsenal of words. It conveys the fuzzy idea of casual “freedom” that appeals to many people.
That’s the problem. It’s too casual.
Everything must trigger a crisis in a woke climate of expanding sensitivity. The woke left is canceling “choice” because it is not radical enough to reflect the post-Dobbs times.
Not Radical Enough for Social Revolution
Radicals claim “pro-choice” sounds too polite to frame the whole conversation about abortion. In casual conversation, “choice” signifies picking between two equal alternatives, like chocolate or vanilla. It insinuates that women make inconsequential decisions without deliberate thought, thus trivializing the issue and women in general.
“Choice” is also too individualist. For a long time, feminists have claimed that abortion is an individual choice “between the woman and her doctor.” The new radicals now claim that “choice” erases the broader social and structural context surrounding the movement.
One person does not make a revolution. Abortion cannot be reduced to a personal thing. It must be part of the larger progressive fight that involves all society lest it become irrelevant.
Indeed, “choice” is not sufficiently progressive. It does not allow for the racial, equity and gender issues that intersect with the abortion fight. The present phase of the sexual revolution demands a broader approach to survive.
Choice Covers a Multitude of Deceptions
A compelling reason to abandon the “pro-choice” label is that it does not correspond to the present political reality. Instead of clarifying the situation, the word “choice” serves to mask, obscure or distort the plight of “poor women.” It spreads a sense of complacency about access that works against the abortion cause.
“Choice” insinuates that any woman can get an abortion whenever and wherever she wants. However, pro-death activists rightfully note that the efforts of the pro-life movement have severely limited access to abortion. Fortunately, vast sectors of the nation, and now whole states, are blessed by being without abortion mills. Thus, a Planned Parenthood Action blog post notes the term “choice” does not represent “the lived realities of people” who face barriers that are, of course, “often compounded by racist and classist policies.”
Other activists complain that the term “pro-choice” serves as cover for those who do not want to say openly they are pro-abortion. By hiding behind the expression, the “pro-choice” person insinuates that, while at times needed, abortion is really not something good. It creates a climate of shame and silence that stigmatizes those who have had abortions.
The New Republic’s Harry Cheadle decries the ability of cynical corporate leaders and rich liberals to co-opt words like “choice” to make it appear they are sufficiently woke. “It’s a dodge, a pathetic sop to the left from corporations and other powerful institutions,” he claims. They “assume that invoking on-trend progressive words and phrases will make up for all the injustice and misery they cause.”
According to this class struggle Marxist narrative, these liberal business elites are using the revolution against itself. They adeptly and cynically appropriate words like “choice” to virtue signal and benefit the management class. In this case, it is better to eliminate “choice” since it is irreparably compromised.
Showing Its True Face
Getting rid of the word “choice” marks a new phase in the pro-life battle in America. The pro-abortion side has long tried to repackage its nefarious message to appear more mainstream, pleasant and normal.
Adopting the word “choice” framed the debate as a woman’s freedom issue, not the killing of innocent life. However, instead of mobilizing radical activists, the term created a class of soft supporters that saw abortion as a mere option, not a critical cause.
Hence, the word must be discarded since it no longer aims to advance the sexual revolution.
The pro-abortion movement now suggests a harsh replacement term: pro-abortion. No more masking. No more playing nice after Dobbs. It wants to “out” its moderates and force them to face the brutal reality by unapologetically making them say the forbidden a-word. Thus, the Planned Parenthood Action blog recommends “pro-abortion, pro-abortion rights, pro-abortion access, or pro-abortion equity—abortion isn’t a dirty word.”
The abandonment of choice suggests the debate was never about choice. The dictatorial nature of the left forces its agenda upon everyone. It will not brook opposition. It demands compliance and now shows its hard face.
After the Dobbs decision, this imperative to impose abortion upon the nation at any cost accelerated. It becomes clear that Americans are to be given no choice.
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