Language in the Abortion Debate – Pro-Choice vs. Pro-Abortion
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Steve Wagner from Justice For All joins Josh Brahm and Gabi Vehrs for a two-episode discussion about common terms and labels used in the abortion debate. In this episode they focus on the labels that both sides of the debate call each other: pro-choice, pro-abortion, pro-abort, pro-abortion-choice, pro-life, anti-abortion and anti-choice.
Steve, Josh and Gabi explain why they are willing to use the term “pro-choice” when beginning a dialogue, even though many pro-life people see that as an inaccurate “weasel word.”
Steve argues that he needs to ask the person in front of him a lot of questions to accurately understand what they think about abortion, and he doesn’t want to create unnecessary impediments to the dialogue by using offensive terms that he doesn’t even think accurately portrays most abortion advocates.
Steve also responds to the following challenges to his approach:
- “But isn’t ‘pro-choice’ the least accurate label for the other side?”
- “What about when it’s just pro-life people hanging out? Should we call them ‘pro-aborts’ then?”
- “What if the entire pro-life movement decides to use gracious language while the other side uses rhetorically powerful labels? Are we giving up too much ground? What if unborn babies die because of this approach?”
- “What should I do when I see other pro-life people using terms on Facebook that I think are mean or inaccurate? Should I confront the pro-life person, or just let it go?”
Finally, Steve, Josh and Gabi discuss the terms that pro-choice people often call pro-lifers: anti-abortion and anti-choice.
In the next episode, they will discuss the terms used for the unborn. (Zygote, embryo, fetus, unborn, preborn, baby, child.)
UPDATE 12/20/13: Since recording this episode, Josh has published three articles responding to listener questions about our conclusion that we should generally call abortion advocates “pro-choice” instead of “pro-abortion.”
- “Why we should accurately describe other people’s positions.”
- “Are pro-choice advocates good at describing their own position?”
- “Should we call ANYBODY pro-abortion?”
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