According to this article, Planned Parenthood will soon begin a public marketing campaign aimed at ridding their movement of the term “pro-choice.” As one who stands on the other side of this debate, I am glad to hear it. A movement only changes their rhetoric when they understand at least subconsciously that they are losing the argument. Ask anyone familiar with debating in the public square and they will tell you the same thing. If your rhetoric is convincing hearers of your point, you use it over and over again. One never changes the wording of a winning argument.
While the article linked is overly optimistic about this change (the site is unabashedly liberal and heretofore proudly “pro-choice”), I read the article as the work of one who understands that they stand with those losing the argument. Even more, they understand that the momentum against them is growing day by day. Whenever one is on the wrong side of momentum, they easily rejoice at any change. The mantra of the losing is “Someone do something.” The author of this article is just glad that something is being done because it as least offers the possibility of a change in momentum.
So will it work? Well, I must admit that for a losing argument, the change is shrewd. They want to leave the arena of universally accepted rights and wrongs. And that shows understanding of the morality of our day. No longer do they care to convince every person that such a “choice” is moral, they want to argue that it is not possible to determine that universally. They will echo the culture which already teaches that each person must determine their own morality.
They are prepared to pull every heartstring they can get their fingers around to get people to come into the gray fog they hope to wage war in. As the article notes, their new commercials will feature taglines like "Only you know what it’s like to walk in your shoes" and "Decisions about reproductive health are personal. You can help keep them that way." They understand that as long as anyone agrees that abortion might be okay for some people in some situations, they will likely not support changing laws regarding abortion.
And know this: those behind this wording change want those of us who call ourselves pro-life to step into the fog to war as well. For quite some time, they have been masters of slight of hand argumentation. They want everyone to be talking about the exceptions rather than the rule. What about rape? What about incest? What about those in extreme poverty? They understand that if all the discussion remains about these things, their daily massacre of those not conceived in any such situation can continue unabated. We cannot allow the discussion about abortion to be about these things. We do best to refuse to enter the fog.
I would suggest that we must simply stick with our winning rhetoric. And what is our rhetoric? We are pro-life. We are for the lives still thriving in their mother’s womb. We stand against those who would end their lives. If we present that simple point often and well, the answers needed for exceptional cases will also be clear to those listening to us. If we remain focused on what can be clearly seen outside the fog, we will succeed.
Our rhetoric is worth keeping not only because it is winning the day, but because it is true. It is God’s rhetoric. “Thou shall not kill” was his long before it was ours. And he has written this deep on the hearts of all people we will be engaging in our world. We need to speak it in order that the fog might clear and all might hear this word of truth ring deep within them. And since it is not our word, we trust that the Spirit of God goes with it and before it.
They are changing their rhetoric. We are winning. God has given our cause momentum. We continue on with the same message. We are pro-life.