By Kristan Hawkins
At the 40th year of legal abortion in America, our nation remains divided on the most important human rights issue of our time. We cannot afford another 40 years of bloodshed and tears. We cannot stand by and watch another 55 million die from the deceit of the abortion industry. We must abolish abortion in this lifetime.
The most recent Gallup poll has 44% of respondents identifying themselves as pro-life and 48% as pro-choice, where we’ve been stuck, give or take a couple percentage points either way, for decades. However, this same poll found that only 29% of those who responded want Roe v. Wade to be overturned. What happened to that other 15% who claimed they were pro-life?
Clearly, there is some confusion about what being pro-life means.
We at Students for Life of America have been first-hand witnesses to this confusion on our nation’s college campuses. When we first started, our Regional Coordinators would ask passers-by if they were “pro-life” or “pro-choice” in an attempt to get students to sign up for a new pro-life group. Usually, students would stop by and ask, “Which one is that?” That’s when we knew we had a problem.
Planned Parenthood, with its millions of dollars for marketing, has helped garner this confusion. Yet this past January, they announced that they were moving away from the term “pro-choice” permanently. Although they have tried to blur the “pro-choice/pro-life” lines, it’s still too linked with abortion.
Every American, even those who protest against us, knows abortion is tragic and wrong. They admit that nobody wants an abortion; what they don’t talk about is why. Distancing themselves from the word “abortion” is a smart move for Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry. They know that while it is profitable for them, they lose when they mention the word “abortion.”
And the data proves their assumptions right.
Last summer, in a study that SFLA conducted, we found that young people supported Planned Parenthood by a ratio of over six to one (66% “favorable” vs. 11% “unfavorable”). A plurality of even those who even identified as conservative (44%) and pro-life (46%) were “favorable” towards Planned Parenthood.
The reason? 48% said they did not know whether or not Planned Parenthood offered abortions and an additional 11% thought Planned Parenthood did NOT do abortions. In the study, respondents’ favorability towards Planned Parenthood was directly proportional to whether or not they knew the organization did abortions. Those who were unfavorable towards Planned Parenthood were much more likely than its supporters to know about their abortion services (69% to 40%).
Most Americans simply have no idea what Planned Parenthood is really about and when you tell them it’s abortion – their favorability falls.
So, what’s their goal? Never bring it up.
What should we do?
When we talk about abortion, we need to use the one word that terrifies Planned Parenthood and its other supporters: “abortion.”
My personal conversations with former Planned Parenthood workers confirm this fact. Recently, I was speaking with Abby Johnson, the former director of a Texas Planned Parenthood. I asked her what was the most damaging thing a “pro-life” group could do to the Planned Parenthood in their community – she responded, “Bring up the fact that they do abortions.”
Now, I’m not saying to abandon the use of the term “pro-life” altogether, but we must realize that the term “pro-life” allows the person using it to give it their own definition.
For me and others I work with, it means that we are dedicated to abolishing all abortions in our lifetime. For others, it means that they are personally against abortion but wouldn’t stop a friend from having one. And for another group of people, it means being against abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, unjust war, nuclear weapons, sex trafficking, and so on.
While the term “pro-life” can have many connotations with different meanings to different people, being anti-abortion very clearly states what we are against. There’s no confusion there.
In addition, it makes “abortion” the key issue and shoves the term back in the face of Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry.
Friends, for years, the mainstream media has attempted to turn “anti-abortion” into a pejorative term and in reaction, pro-lifers have chafed at the press refusing to call us by our preferred name.
But if something is as evil as abortion, you should want to be clear about what you are fighting against. After all, the slavery abolitionists of the past were anti-slavery, not pro-worker freedom. The anti-smoking campaigns of the 1980s and 90s were just that, not pro-clean air campaigns. It’s Mothers Against Drunk Driving, not Mothers For Sober Driving. It’s anti-war, not pro-absence of conflict. If you truly believe in your heart that something is wrong, you must say it and not be afraid of putting it in a negative light.
Instead of shrinking from the “anti-abortion” classification, we should embrace it. We ARE anti-abortion. We are anti-abortion because it kills the most innocent and vulnerable among us; it degrades, deceives, and hurts women; it tears apart our families; and it has taken a third of this generation from us.
If we are going to succeed in putting the abortion Goliath Planned Parenthood out of business along with their allies in the abortion industry, we must drill it into Americans’ heads that the terms “Planned Parenthood,” “reproductive health care,” etc. are synonymous with abortion.
Be courageous and don’t be afraid to tell people what abortion is and why you are against it. Be that annoying person who talks about abortion everywhere you go.
Why? Because when we talk about abortion in our schools, churches, families, and communities, we win because the truth is illuminated.
Don’t be afraid to call yourself anti-abortion or an abortion abolitionist, because that is who we are, and our ultimate goal is to abolish abortion in our lifetime.