Abortion Isn’t Really A Choice When It’s The Only Option Offered
Recently Planned Parenthood announced that it was dropping its use of the term “pro-choice” to describe its policies and activities (although other abortion advocacy groups are proudly continuing to use this term).
There has been much speculation as to why Planned Parenthood is changing its rhetoric. Whatever the motives behind this change, one thing should be clear to anyone who is willing to take an honest look at women’s experiences with abortion: it was never really about “choice” anyway. Consider:
Most abortions are unwanted or take place under pressure or duress from others. For many pregnant women or girls, abortion is presented as the only answer, especially if they are young, struggling financially, unmarried, disabled, abused, or in any other way seen as unready to have a child. Those whom the woman relies on for support or advice may insist that abortion is her only option and refuse to support any other decision. She may face the real possibility of losing her partner, family, home, livelihood or education. In some cases, she may even be assaulted or killed for refusing to abort.
A survey of women who had abortions found that 64 percent of American respondents reported being pressured by others to abort, and more than half reported being uncertain or feeling rushed into the decision. Several studies of maternal deaths rates found that homicide was the leading cause of death among pregnant women and that the risk of abuse increases during pregnancy, so it would make sense to at least attempt to find out if the abuser is also pushing for abortion, as has happened in many cases. Yet abortion advocates and businesses — including Planned Parenthood — have sought to stop common-sense laws that would hold abortion providers accountable for failing to screen women for coercion.
Abortion counselors and others routinely lie, downplay and withhold information from women and their companions about fetal development, alternatives to abortion and the resources available to her, and published medical studies showing increased physical and psychological problems following abortion.
Despite research showing that most women want all the information about risks conveyed to them for elective medical procedures, including abortion, the survey of women who aborted found that most said they were not given adequate counseling (with 67 percent reporting they were not counseled at all). Withholding such information is a form of coercion or negligence, and prevents women from making a free, fully-informed choice about abortion. But again, abortion advocates and businesses — including Planned Parenthood — have opposed any effort to ensure that they are giving women this basic information.
Abortion clinics routinely fail to screen women for known, statistically-validated preexisting factors that increase the risk of psychological trauma following abortion, which is the basic standard of care for any medical provider. But yet again, abortion advocates and businesses — including Planned Parenthood — have opposed any effort to require medical providers to provide such screening when it comes to abortion or to hold them accountable for failing to screen women.
So yes, its time to stop using misleading rhetoric about “choice.” Planned Parenthood suggests that we instead look at women’s individual stories and consider that most abortions take place under extremely difficult circumstances. Unfortunately for the abortion lobby, taking a closer look isn’t likely to lead to the conclusion that abortion is an empowering solution for women.
Even the most “empowering” of abortion stories often contain the admission that abortion was seen as the woman’s only choice, or the only way out of a bad situation. Abortion advocates insist that abortion is needed to protect women from untenable situations. But it isn’t really a “choice” when the only choice being offered is abortion, or when abortion is presented as the only alternative to an even worse fate. And no matter what terminology they use, abortion is the only option Planned Parenthood has to offer.