The language we use shapes the way we think, the way we see the world, and the way we live our lives. This couldn’t be more true for abortion care, and Whole Woman’s Health Alliance is working hard to create a world free of shame, stigma, and judgement. Every day, we see the positive impact abortions have on patients. Abortion care allows people to build a future that is best for them and to have control over if, when, or how they build their families.
So, there is a reason why we say we’re pro-abortion. Many abortion supporters identify as “pro-choice”, but choice is simply not enough. “Choice” assumes that everyone can get an abortion, and someone just has to choose whether or not they want one. It fails to address the many structural and societal factors that leave people with very few or no choices at all.
This is especially true in states where abortion care is restricted and clinics are scarce. If the nearest abortion clinic is hundreds of miles away, a person may have a “choice” to get an abortion – but if they are lacking transportation, the ability to take time off work, or the funds to afford care, their “choice” doesn’t exist.
It’s not uncommon for people to say “I’m pro-choice, not pro-abortion.” If you are one of those folks or know someone who is, we know your heart is in the right place. But this framing is hurtful to people who’ve had abortions and those who might need abortions in the future. It implies that abortion isn’t a moral good and that while legal abortions are needed, they are somehow bad. Language like this is stigmatizing and pushes the narrative that people who’ve had abortions should feel ashamed. Anti-abortion extremists are masters of weaponizing language, so we need to be masters of affirmation. We all know and love someone who has had an abortion, and we want them to feel supported every step of the way.
As we navigate this tremendously fraught time for abortion access, we are asking you to stand with us and commit to being pro-abortion.
Every single person should have full control over their healthcare decisions, including abortion care. To make that a reality, we can’t just fight for rights and access. We must leave our social judgments behind so that everyone who needs abortion care is respected and affirmed.
Abortion isn’t a dirty word and it’s more important than ever that we all work together to create a society that values abortion care without apology.
Here is what you can say instead of “pro-choice”:
- Abortion is a human right.
- Abortions help people thrive.
- Abortion is healthcare.
- Abortions are a radical act of self-care.
- Abortion is normal.
- Abortion providers are heroes.
- Everyone deserves compassionate abortion care.
- Abortions save lives.
- Abortions make people’s lives better.
- Abortion is a moral and social good.