The House Pro-Choice Caucus wants Democrats to choose not to call abortion a "choice" and instead refer to it as a "decision" because, the group argues, the prevailing phrasing can be harmful to the abortion rights cause.
In a memo to staff, the group of lawmakers advised Democrats on the "Do's and Don'ts" of abortion messaging as the party mobilizes for the midterm elections after the leak of a Supreme Court draft majority opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade if it becomes the final decision.
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Abortion rights activists have long referred to abortion as a woman's "choice," often dubbing themselves "pro-choice." Even the caucus bears the term in its name. The recommended abortion rhetoric reboot has been subject to internal scrutiny by some Democrats unsure about changes, Politico reported.
Meanwhile, conservative activists have been deploying the term "choice" more frequently in their opposition to vaccination requirements and support for a "school choice" public education model.
NEW: The Pro Choice Caucus has just sent out messaging materials to House Dems on Roe draft.— Sarah Ferris (@sarahnferris) May 12, 2022
One of the recommendations: Don't use "choice." pic.twitter.com/nqVA8W1nWT
Last year, the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts, which supports equitable access to abortion, took issue with the use of the term "choice" to support abortion. The group said it preferred "pro-abortion" instead of "pro-choice" partly because "abortion isn’t a dirty word."
"'Choice' assumes that everyone can get an abortion, and someone just has to choose whether or not they want one. Not everyone can get an abortion when they want one. Black feminists and feminists of color have pointed out that this isn’t the case: the legal right to choose to have an abortion does not always mean someone can actually get an abortion. 'Choice' ignores the lived realities of people," the group said.
In addition to rejecting "choice," the Pro-Choice Caucus is also calling on Democrats to ditch the Clinton-era abortion defense line "safe, legal, and rare" and use "safe, legal, and accessible" instead.
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"Unwanted pregnancy" should become "unexpected pregnancy," and "back-alley abortions/coat hangers" should be "criminalizing healthcare," according to the memo. When states pass laws enabling healthcare providers to refrain from carrying out abortion procedures due to religious objections, the caucus recommends opting for "refusal of care" or "denial of care" instead of "conscience clause/protections."
The Washington Examiner reached out to the Pro-Choice Caucus for comment.