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Planned Parenthood wants to change the language around women’s health issues

Posted by Tom Megginson | 15-01-2013 20:33 | Category: Women's Issues

Planned Parenthood wants to change the language around women's health issues

This is interesting. After successfully rallying women to vote for their reproductive rights in the 2011 U.S. election, Planned Parenthood wants to end the debate of “pro-life” versus “pro-choice” by simply rejecting the terms:

With the “Not In Her Shoes” campaign, Planned Parenthood insists that the person whose opinion about abortion counts more than anyone else’s is a pregnant woman. Everyone else is “not in her shoes” and should not be telling her what do to.


This is not a superficial attempt at rebranding. Planned Parenthood has done research. On the campaign site, they claim that:

- Two-thirds of American voters want abortion kept legal
- One-quarter do not identify as either “pro-choice” or “pro-life”
- 40% say their personal view of abortion “depends on the situation”

Their conclusion is that the “pro-choice” label is actually a barrier to gaining more political support for better access to abortion by women who want it.

Not every supporter likes this idea. Reacting to Planned Parenthood’s focus group results, which showed many people felt abortion was “not just back or white”, Slate’s Amanda Marcotte wrote:

I wish that instead of using this information to abandon the term pro-choice, Planned Parenthood would try to get focus-group participants to clarify how their vague feelings should translate into policy, though the inefficacy of that strategy is reason enough to avoid it.

Feministing’s “Lori” wrote:

I for one am excited to see a bit of nuance and creativity in the national conversation around abortion and reproductive justice, but I’m not convinced that this latest campaign amounts to more than a pretty and polished way of skirting the issue.

I have to give Planned Parenthood credit — they’ve certainly reignited the conversation, just as at the state level, Michigan, Texas work on further restricting abortion, and vice presidential loser Paul Ryan makes another go of it federally. I doubt any of these legislators are currently “in her shoes”...

Planned Parenthood (Campaign Site)

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