At Life Dynamics, we have consistently trained pro-lifers to never use the term pro-choice to describe our opponents or their position.
However, there are times when using this term can, in some circumstances, actually benefit us.
First, regardless of anything we do or say, we will never be able to make the public, or the media, or Hollywood, or anyone else quit using the term pro-choice.
Given that reality, our best strategy is to “toxify” the term. Our goal is to turn “choice” into a four-letter word.
In this effort, we can take a lesson from our opponents. Notice that they normally refer to us as “anti-choice extremists” or something similar. But if an abortionist is shot, or there is some other kind of violence, or a pro-lifer does something illegal, suddenly they call us pro-life. This is not by accident. They are degrading the term pro-life by linking it to something bad, and over the years they’ve done a very good job of this. They figured out a long time ago that it is good strategy to associate the term “pro-life” with negative images.
That same strategy is available to us. When one of our responses negatively impacts the term “pro-abortion,” it does us little good since almost no one considers themselves pro-abortion. But when we expose the purposeful deceit and flaws in our opponents’ arguments, or when they do something bad or outrageous, we are far better off if we can make it reflect on “choice” rather than directly on abortion. Obviously, that can only happen if we use the term “pro-choice” in those circumstances rather than pro-abortion.
Second, as mentioned earlier, a fundamental strategy of the abortion lobby is to avoid having to defend or, if possible, even talk about abortion.
When we call them pro-abortion, we allow them to divert attention away from the abortion issue itself by tying us up in an argument about whether they are pro-choice or pro-abortion. Meanwhile, the time spent in this relatively meaningless argument is stolen from the far more important discussion about killing children. That is precisely what our opponents want.
Third, when we automatically label anyone who isn’t pro-life as pro-abortion, we drive a wedge between us and many of the people it might be possible for us to win over.
If someone honestly does not consider themselves pro-abortion, even if we give a response that destroys a “pro-abortion” argument they do not see it as relative to them since they do not consider themselves pro-abortion. To them, we’re talking about some radical who is out on the fringes of the abortion movement.
Fourth, the abortion industry has so overused the word “choice” that most people now recognize that it is simply a code word for abortion.
The result is that “choice” is losing its ability to insulate the abortion lobby from abortion. Additionally, the public’s growing discomfort over legalized abortion may be partly driven by their observation that even people who defend it are so adamant that they not be identified with it. When we reinforce that “choice” is just a code word for abortion, we remind them of this fact.
Understand that we are not suggesting we universally abandon the term “pro-abortion” for the term “pro-choice” – only that we should be willing to use “pro-choice” strategically.
We should use it when it would benefit the pro-life cause more than using “pro-abortion” would. As difficult a change as this might be for some of us, we have to honestly answer whether we want to use rhetoric that is effective or rhetoric that makes us feel good.