All taken from Merriam Webster Online Dictionary (The years that follow each term are the year of the first known usage of that word)
Pro-Life (1971): Opposed to abortion
Pro-Choice (1975)/Pro-Abortion (1972): Favoring the legalization of abortion
Anti –Abortion (1866)/ Anti-Choice (1978): Opposed to abortion and especially the legalization of abortion
I hear the above terms used often. The definitions I discovered are different from what they mean in discussions, debates, arguments and protest signs. First, let us look at the term Pro-Life. I identify as being Pro-Life. This word to me means that I value life beginning to natural end, not that I am simply opposed to abortion. It means I am also opposed to infanticide, assisted or unassisted suicide, murder, mercy killing, and the death penalty. Do I believe that I have control over all of these things? No. I would however like to be a part of creating an environment where we believe in the goodness in other people, that all human life is valuable, and in the rehabilitation of criminals. I also would like to be a part of a society where those that have help those who have not, etc. Sounds idealistic, but isn’t people being selfless and caring for others that what all of us would rather see? I am also held to a higher standard by those in opposition to my stance than merely being “opposed to abortion”. I have often seen arguments arguing the hypocrisy of the Pro-Lifer that believes in the death penalty, and accusations that Pro-Lifers stop caring about life after birth.
Now, take the term Pro-Choice. I was surprised to see the definition stop at legalizing abortion. The word choice implies to me that one would favor choices, not that it is interchangeable with Pro-Abortion. I would like to see more Pro-Choicers held to a higher standard: if you are advocating for choice, shouldn’t you be advocating for all choices, including supportive environments for women that choose to respect the life growing inside them and continue their pregnancy? (This concept does not address the issues with not supporting the women and men that are being aborted as casualties of this choice).
Finally we have the terms that seem to be appearing with more frequency as of late: Anti-Abortion and Anti-Choice. Anti-Abortion is not a term I take issue with. I am, indeed, Anti-Abortion. Anti-Choice, however, implies that I am against a woman having choices at all and that is simply not the case. If you recall, I identify as being Pro-Life, so I do not see abortion as being a choice because that innocent life that an abortion would take deserves a chance to live. I do support a woman’s true choices. She deserves a supportive environment if she decides to raise her child or if she decides adoption is her best option. Women that felt their only option was abortion need support and care after the trauma. I also believe in eliminating the reasons a woman would feel backed into that decision (more on this later!).
I found the years of the first usage of these terms to be interesting. Most of them require no further explanation, but to see that Anti-Abortion predates them all by nearly 100 years… I don’t know what to think about that!
Do you have similar or different thoughts on the analysis of these terms? Any terms to add?