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Today in Word Meaning

Planned Parenthood wants to move away from the word “choice.”

“It’s a complicated topic and one in which labels don’t reflect the complexity,” said Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards at a press briefing Wednesday. But, she said, the group’s polling showed most Americans could get behind a more nuanced statement of principles: “It is important that women make their own decisions about pregnancy, and that politicians do not.”

Women should make their own decisions ≠ women should make their own choices?

Women should make their own decisions ≠ pro-choice?

I confess, the nuance escapes me.


  1. This is interesting because I thought the trend was towards every single word in existence eventually becoming a euphemism for the male organ. It appears there is a slightly less prevalent but still significant move towards more and more words that don’t mean abortion, except kinda.

  2. notrelatedtoted says

    Thinking about it, I wonder if the word “decision” carries less baggage. It makes me think of facts, objective measurements, quantifiers, etc. In other words, more scientific and less moralistic, to use the science vs. religion dichotomy they like to use.

    • Interesting. To me, I think it connotes greater finality, like “I have arrived at a decision.”

    • Matthew Lickona says

      Well, yes. The whole article stresses that people think that it depends on the circumstances. Which is a fascinating claim. What depends on the circumstances, exactly? The existential character of the fetus vis a vis personhood?

      • notrelatedtoted says

        Well, it could also be that they feel trapped by the pro-choice/pro-life division. If you had those two options, and had to choose one, which would it be?

        As for the “pro whatever the situation is” I’ll bet that comes from someone who “personally believes abortion is wrong” but shouldn’t make that decision for someone else. In other words, its the by-product of muddled thinking and moral relativism.

        • notrelatedtoted says

          And, giving it some thought, it’s an interesting snapshot as to where things stand with the abortion debate. We’re clearly uncomfortable with the end result, but are using rhetoric to mask our insecurity.

  3. Lansing Priest says

    Without knowing the reliability of the poll, I was struck by the 20% of respondents that think abortion is “not a question of morality”. Yet another indication of the “muddled thinking and moral relativism” that NRTT mentions.

    • Matthew Lickona says

      It’s an elective medical procedure, LP. How can there be morality attached to an elective medical procedure?

  4. Ellen Finnigan says

    Student delivers incredible speech for National Right to Life Oratory Contest addressing these very topics.

    And in case you were wondering: homeschooled.

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