Tuesday, May 25, 2010

'Pro-Life' Might Be a Meaningless Term

Amanda Marcotte makes an excellent point in her column at RH Reality Check:

On this week’s podcast, I interview Jessica Grose, who wrote an excellent article for Slate explaining why the Gallup polling that shows a jump in the number of Americans who identify as “pro-life” doesn’t necessarily mean what it might seem to initially. After all, while 47% of Americans embraced the label “pro-life”, the number of Americans who thought abortion was “morally wrong” actually declined, and support for the right to abortion remains high. So high, in fact, that the only logical conclusion is that some people who identify as “pro-life” must support the right to abortion.

In other words, the term “pro-life” is more of a tribal identifier or a feel-good term than it is a political stance.
This always seems right to me. In my conversations with people about abortion, they tend to think about "pro-life" in terms of what they might do if they were faced with the decision to have an abortion. If they think they probably wouldn't have one for various religious, moral, or even financial reasons, they view themselves as "pro-life." This seems to have little to do with their attitude about whether abortion should be legal or not.

1 comment:

Kerry said...

Exactly. No one is anti-life. We're all pro-life. In fact, you might argue that the only people who are anti-life are death penalty supporters (many of whom are anti-choice).

I am pro-life. I like life. I like keeping things alive. I'm anti-death penalty. The circumstances under which I personally would consider abortion are narrower than those for many other people.

But I absolutely believe abortion should be legal. In fact, I think having access to safe, legal abortions keeps women alive. That's pro-life.

It's a shame that term has become so distorted.

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