‘Pro-choice’ label has no place in abortion debate

Published 4:16 pm Sunday, September 7, 2008

To the Editor:

Remember when the hyphen was used to break or wrap a word to the next line? Remember when, during the 1960s as the women’s movement gained momentum, a new use began? When a woman married, the hyphen allowed her to retain her personal identity.

Women’s organizations like NOW gained momentum. Women were publicly acknowledged for significant contributions in family, business and government. Respect for women became an accepted part of American life. Women did indeed deserve equal treatment, opportunity and, most important, financial compensation equal to men.

A political subtlety crept into being when Roe vs. Wade became law. Some women aligned to the position “pro-choice.” Roe vs. Wade appeared to solidify a woman’s rights. Women suggested this allowed them an absolute right to manage their bodies. Women have always had the right to manage their bodies; Roe vs. Wade did nothing to change that. That position, “pro-choice,” can be very misleading.

Women have always had choice. They can make a choice to engage in, or not to engage in, a sexual act that could lead to pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases or other unintended consequences. That linchpin term “pro-choice” is not necessary as an identifier of women’s rights.

I dare say that fewer than 5 percent of those in the “pro-choice” camp will ever even have to consider an abortion. It is time to pull the word “abortion” out from under the shield of “pro-choice.” To abort a fetus intentionally, one that deserves full protection as a human being from the point of conception, is morally wrong; it is murder. Remember the Laci Peterson case? Scott Peterson was eventually convicted for two murders — in a state that sanctions abortion.

The cumbersome use of the hyphen as an identifier, like in the phrase “pro-choice,” to shield abortion is passé. Men recognize and accept the fact: “Women are indeed equal to men in all matters beyond gender.” As hyphen use disappears when children arrive and family identity is established, let’s call a spade a spade and get the act of “infanticide” out from under the shield of “choice.”

We all have and decide or make choices daily. We are charged by the Almighty with the task of “choice” all day, every day, of our lives — unless, of course, you subscribe to “predestination,” which is an entirely different discussion.

John D. Murphy