Planned Parenthood has decided that the term "pro-choice" is too limiting for women and wants to open the door to a broader discussion and fewers labels.
Forty years after Norma McCorvey, the "Roe" in Roe v. Wade, won the constitutional right for women to end their pregnancies before they reach their second trimester, Planned Parenthood, the largest U.S. provider of reproductive health services and a major lobbying force in Congress, is taking a step back and considering how it wants to describe abortion rights advocates.
Since Roe v. Wade, there have been two widely accepted terms for the aforementioned group: pro-choice and, before that, pro-abortion.
According to The Atlantic, the term "pro-choice" didn’t enter our lexicon until a reference in a 1975 Wall Street Journal article. Prior to this, most Americans were inured to describing abortion rights advocates as "pro-abortion."
You won't hear that label very often today. As Lily Rothman writes in The Atlantic, the phrase "pro-abortion" is taboo. It's blunt, confrontational and almost free of ambiguity.
Today, however, Planned Parenthood wants to place ambiguity back into the abortion discussion. It feels prenatal life rights aren't a black and white issue, and it wants to change the way Americans think about a woman's choice.
According to a recent research binge by the organization, reported on by Buzzfeed, women are sick of labels, which more often than not fail to take into account an individual's circumstances and background. Take, for example, the recent Gallup poll that found 35 percent of voters who identified as pro-life also believed Roe v. Wade should not be overturned, while 7 percent of pro-choice respondents thought it should be.
That information, along with a Planned Parenthood survey that found 40 percent of participants felt their personal view of abortion "depends on the situation," has the organization's leaders abolishing identifiers and embracing the chasms in the abortion discussion.
"It's a complicated topic and one in which labels don't reflect the complexity," Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said at a press briefing earlier this month.
Planned Parenthood Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens in particular derided the word "choice," which she feels puts a harness on a woman's right to choose what she wants for herself in a given point in time, under a given situation. Now that women have more rights and freedoms, "'choice' as word sounds frivolous," she said.
Perhaps a survey respondent best described the reasoning behind Planned Parenthood's decision to ditch labels when she remarked, "I'm pro-whatever-the-situation is. There should be three: pro-life, pro-choice and something in the middle that helps people understand circumstances ... It's not just back or white, there's grey."
MSN News on Facebook and Twitter