Pro-Life: Terminology

I am very much interested in dialogue between those who support abortion and those who oppose it. I think if we can get past the mudslinging and name calling, we can get some real work done.

I was reading another blog yesterday that used the term “anti-abortion.” I don’t like being called an anti-abortionist any more than someone might not like to be called anti-life. The most common terms I have used and come across seem to be “pro-life” and “pro-choice,” and I know both sides want to rename each other in order to vilify them. A sure way to shut down conversation before it begins is to make a name negative. Any emotionally charged debate has the potential to devolve into meaningless shouting; lay some groundwork and agree on terms or risk arguing on separate planes.

So here’s my olive-branch suggestion for the day: “pro-life” and “pro-choice.” If I am pro-life, I am NOT automatically anti-anything. I am not  anti-women, anti-women’s rights, anti-abortion, or anti-freedom. If I am pro-choice, I am NOT anti-pregnancy, anti-children, or anti-life. These terms each have their own meanings, that’s why they’re different words. The only true place to begin is at a position of mutual respect for the other side.


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