Reclaiming the language on abortion

Wednesday marked the 41st anniversary of the landmark court case Roe v. Wade. Since the 1973 case, which legalized abortion throughout the United States, an estimated 55 million babies have been aborted. Fifty-five million. That’s roughly one-fifth of the population of the United States. Not enough perspective for you? Over the course of 41 years, we have aborted slightly more babies than the entire population of South Korea in 2013.

Here are President Obama’s words from his Wednesday speech reflecting on Roe v. Wade:

“Today, as we reflect on the 41st anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, we recommit ourselves to the decision’s guiding principle: that every woman should be able to make her own choices about her body and her health… We reaffirm our steadfast commitment to protecting a woman’s access to safe, affordable health care and her constitutional right to privacy, including the right to reproductive freedom.  And we resolve to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, support maternal and child health, and continue to build safe and healthy communities for all our children.  Because this is a country where everyone deserves the same freedom and opportunities to fulfill their dreams.”

Wow, I have to say I’m impressed. It’s a huge feat of language manipulation to turn a speech celebrating the killing of millions of babies into a celebration of the American dream. Let’s just take a moment to break down the language used in this statement, because, after all, language really is everything, isn’t it? According to Texas senator Wendy Davis, “tightening language” is equivalent to telling the truth.

First, the president claims the “guiding principle” of the Roe v. Wade decision is “that every woman should be able to make her own choices about her body and her health.”

Honestly, women, does this make you happy? Is it satisfying to know that the government defends your ability to make “choices” about your body and “health”? If so, forgive me for seeing this as a total heist of the words “choice” and “health.”

Let’s start with choice. What is choice? You choose what kind of car you’re going to drive, what you’re going to have for lunch, what you’re going to wear. But those are little choices, insignificant in the grand scheme of things. What happens when choice involves ending a life that has begun inside of you?

I wrote a blog post about abortion in the wake of the Kermit Gosnell trial, but the idea about “choice” is highly relevant in the wake of the president’s statement:

“The point is that once you’ve conceived that baby, your decisions aren’t about your own body. They are now about the life of another human being. Planned Parenthood will tell you, when you go in for an abortion at six weeks, that your baby is nothing more than a mass of cells. I know because that’s what they told me when I almost made the worst mistake of my life. I found out later that same week that that mass of cells already had a detectable heartbeat.”

So aborting your baby is your “choice,” according to the president and other abortion advocates, and one that they’re going to support because it’s all about your body and “health.”

Health, huh? Don’t kid yourselves—the abortion industry has absolutely no concern for the health of the women who get abortions. Not only is abortion a death sentence to an unborn child, it’s also a huge risk to the woman having it. After having one abortion, a woman is 2.3 times more likely to get cervical cancer. Abortion increases a woman’s risk of having ectopic pregnancies in the future, which can be life-threatening to her. According to a study conducted in Denmark, “Women who had abortions were 3.4 times more likely to commit suicide compared to women who had not been pregnant in the previous year and 6 times more likely to commit suicide than women who delivered.” The list goes on and on.

Your “choice” isn’t a choice about your health. Planned Parenthood reaps roughly $164 million each year just off of abortions. Are we really to believe this is still about our right to “choose” in order to protect our “health”?

It’s a ludicrous argument, but once again, it’s all about the way it sounds. It sounds good to say you support a woman’s right to choose, and it sounds good to say you stand for women’s reproductive health. But if you really are for those things, don’t you think you should be concerned about the numerous risks that go underreported in order to keep the industry thriving? It sounds a lot better than saying you’re not “pro-choice” and that you fall into the category of people who are allegedly waging a war on women.

The thing is, there is a war on women going on. It’s being waged by those who think we’re too stupid to see through the slick slips of language that have turned “killing a baby” into “supporting a woman’s right to choose” and “pro-abortion” into “pro-choice.” Women deserve better. We deserve to be told the truth, the whole truth, about abortion, without the media stringing us along with pretty language that glamourizes the murder of unborn babies and in the same breath claims to be for “build[ing] safe and healthy communities for all our children.” The hypocrisy! We have to take back the language that pro-abortionists have stolen from us in an attempt to pull the wool over our eyes, and show abortion for what it is—the murder of unborn babies, the destruction of lives, the scourge of our society that one day we will all have to answer for.

Chelsea Sherman

Chelsea Sherman

Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Runner, Regent grad student, freelance writer and blogger, Crossfit enthusiast, dancer, and most importantly, mom