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Please can we talk about what "pro choice" means?

(399 Posts)
BertrandRussell Wed 12-Oct-16 08:18:35

Some threads on here, and coincidentally, a couple of real life conversations prompted by a recent television programme, have made me think that there is an attempt to erode the meaning of the term. For me, pro choice means that a woman should be able to have an abortion within the law because she wants to. Her reasons are immaterial.

SecretSpy Wed 12-Oct-16 08:20:51

I agree.
If you're not pro choice then you are in favour of women having to go through the pregnancy and birth of a child they don't want, which is unbelievably cruel. Imho.

BusStopBetty Wed 12-Oct-16 08:22:26

That's what it means for me too. If you start putting conditions on it, such as you approve only where the pregnancy is a result of rape, then you're not pro choice.

MatildaOfTuscany Wed 12-Oct-16 08:22:56

Yes, I agree. If a woman wants an abortion she should get to decide. I might privately think some reasons are deplorable, but that's my issue not hers. She is the one who is pregnant, she should have the right to decide whether that pregnancy continues or not.

(Though this is a TAAT).

Soubriquet Wed 12-Oct-16 08:23:58

Same here

Pro-choice is having the right to do what you want to your own body. Even if it means terminating another life because she wants to

Beachcomber Wed 12-Oct-16 08:24:23

Yes, reason is immaterial to the concept (although of course it won't be to each individual woman).

It's about women having bodily autonomy and reproductive rights - things that men take utterly for granted because they don't get pregnant.

The exercising of that autonomy and right should not have to be justified.

BertrandRussell Wed 12-Oct-16 08:27:09

I'' not sure whether I am being paranoid, but it seems to me that the pro life "brand" has been so tainted that an attempt is being made to hijack "pro choice" by saying you can be "pro choice but......"

There are, obviously, plenty of positions people can take up between "no abortion at all, ever" and "abortion on demand". But they can't be called "pro choice" can they?

BertrandRussell Wed 12-Oct-16 08:29:06

I''m hoping that it's an OK TAAT because this particular discussion has become impossible/inappropriate on the other T.............

Thefitfatty Wed 12-Oct-16 08:30:20

I would define it how you have.

However, I'm curious what you mean by "within the law"?

Because I think many people are pro-choice till the fetus gets around 22 weeks, than people get waffley about what it means.

alltouchedout Wed 12-Oct-16 08:33:30

For me it means believing in the absolute right of all women to abortion on demand, regardless of circumstances. Prior to having children I described myself as pro choice but wanted to limit that choice. Once I'd been through a term pregnancy and birth I recognised the ridiculousness of my previous stance.

GipsyDanger Wed 12-Oct-16 08:36:20

I think if you have to add a "but" you are not 100% committed to your argument. Like, "I'm pro choice but" or, "I'm not homophobic but"

I lose any interest or repect in anything said afterwards. It's like the old "I'm not racist, I have a black friend" hmm

MrsMushrooms Wed 12-Oct-16 08:40:37

I am pro-choice and believe that the reasons a woman chooses to terminate are completely immaterial, so I do agree with you there - it's the "within the law" that I find tricky, as a lot of countries need to change their laws and I believe women in Ireland, for example, should be allowed to terminate a pregnancy for any reason, even though that isn't within their law.

However, it does raise some difficult questions, doesn't it? Should that choice be limited by limited at all? EG I think that the 22 week limit is sensible even though I'm not keen on limits in general. And what about sex-based terminations? I fully support a woman's right to have her own reasons for termination... but aborting female foetuses is really difficult to get behind!

Trills Wed 12-Oct-16 08:42:09

This isn't a thread about a thread, it's a thread inspired by a thread.

It's a thread about a subject.

Pro choice means that if you are pregnant, you get to CHOOSE.

Thefitfatty Wed 12-Oct-16 08:46:54

Once I'd been through a term pregnancy and birth I recognised the ridiculousness of my previous stance.

See I was 100% yes for whatever reason, at any time, no questions asked.
However, once I had my children and realized how traumatic a late term abortion must be, I think that a brief psychological evaluation (not blaming, just to ensure the woman is in the right frame of mind for such a potentially traumatic surgery/experience) should be conducted before a late term abortion, and psychological counseling should be available after. Because I can't imagine what kind of a wreck I would be in those circumstances, or the fall out after.

BUT, I'm a realist, so I know that none of that is possible right now (especially the blame free evaluation), so I'm still 100% on demand, at any time.

BertrandRussell Wed 12-Oct-16 08:48:26

" I fully support a woman's right to have her own reasons for termination... but aborting female foetuses is really difficult to get behind!"

Well, not if, for example, a woman feels that having a particular sex baby will make her life intolerable. It is obviously wrong that it should. But I don't think we can expect individuals to make heroic stands against wrong things in society if they don't want to/can't.

Thefitfatty Wed 12-Oct-16 08:48:53

but aborting female foetuses is really difficult to get behind!

I know. It's so hard. I just have to tell myself that if they didn't abort them the girls would be born into a situation where they are unwanted and unloved and liable to be horrifically abused if not murdered immediately after birth.. sad

fldsmdfr Wed 12-Oct-16 08:50:59

For me it's definitely abortion on demand. And having faith in women's ability to make serious decisions about their own lives. E.g. noone has a late term termination on a whim.

The fact is in most of the UK abortion is illegal unless you have two doctors agree that you need one (situation in N Ireland obvs worse!). The principle there is that a woman isn't trusted to make that decision. It might not be that way in practice, but I think the legal position should be changed to abortion on demand on principle.

Sandsnake Wed 12-Oct-16 08:51:18

I consider myself pro-choice - I believe in abortion on demand for any woman without need of a reason. But I think that the cut off limit of 'viability' (currently 24 weeks) is completely right. Does this make me genuinely pro-choice? I've heard arguments in the past that it doesn't.

SomeDyke Wed 12-Oct-16 08:51:20

"but aborting female foetuses is really difficult to get behind!"
I was thinking about this last night. seems to me that individually, a woman should have control over her own body. but if she wants to abort for the 'wrong' reasons, that is a problem with the society she is part of, hence we tackle that, rather than restricting her rights when she isn't the one 'at fault' there. We don't 'put right' the sexism of patriarchal society by removing her rights, or deciding we know better than her as regards right and wrong reasons for needing an abortion.

Rockpebblestone Wed 12-Oct-16 08:55:50

I''m hoping that it's an OK TAAT because this particular discussion has become impossible/inappropriate on the other T....

Bertrand, I'm wondering if this was in response to my posts on the other thread. See below:

"I think there are degrees to being pro-choice. You could be pro-choice, beyond the law, as it exists now. Saying that it is a woman's right to abort, using any method she chooses, for the whole duration of a pregnancy - which would be an absolute. Or you apply certain criteria regarding the circumstances where abortion is an acceptable option to choose/be offered - as within the (current) law. SP whilst questioning the existing legal abortion criteria can still be pro-choice but not absolutely pro-choice. I'm not sure how many people are absolutely pro-choice, as outlined above."

"Bertrand ok, if that is how you define it, it is not an absolute concept. It varies from country to country, as abortion laws vary between countries. It changes over time, as laws are changed. And then, with your definition how do you go about producing a set of laws which are are 'pro-choice'? With your definition, in a country with abortion laws which offer very limited choice, pro-choice would mean something very different to what it does here."

"My post did not mentioned reasons. I talked about criteria. It fits in this country, as a woman can abort for any reason she chooses but only within a certain time criteria except for certain exceptions. A foetus identified as having Down's can be aborted up to being full term. Equally women cannot use any method she likes to abort - it has to be carried out by a qualified practitioner. Otherwise, such as a case where a woman administered drugs obtained from the Internet, to herself, to induce a miscarriage, she was acting against the law."

I am unsure as to why these posts may have made you feel like I was attempting to shut down discussion.

I am pro-choice, in that I think a woman should not have to justify her reasons for abortion, our law, to any other person. However I feel our (UK) law is correct to impose criteria, regarding restricting when abortion is allowed to take place (to the best of my knowledge, there was something about GPs being able to restrict this further on the other thread, after you left it that I am uncertain about and rather unsettled by).

Rockpebblestone Wed 12-Oct-16 08:56:45

within our law. Typo.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Wed 12-Oct-16 08:58:12

Two things can be true at once though.

You can be 100% pro-choice (I am, I believe in abortion to term for any reason at all which I've come to realise is the only logical belief for me) and believe that if the world was a better place for women and girls and people with disabilities, fewer women would choose to terminate, and that wouldn't be a bad thing.

So I absolutely agree with Sally Phillips that the language around DS needs to change - we've discussed this here before that the amount of pressure put on some women by some HCPs to abort is entirely anti-feminist - but I do not agree that Sally Phillips is pro-choice.

SeekEveryEveryKnownHidingPlace Wed 12-Oct-16 08:59:57

You can be pro-choice and still think that sometimes the choice made is a bad one, or is made without full understanding, or is made for dubious reasons which you don't support or which wouldn't convince you to do the same in that situation.

For me, the risk of those contingencies is not enough to start fiddling around with the general principle of choice.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Wed 12-Oct-16 09:01:13

I suppose it comes back to that age-old argument about how free our choices really are <musing> if a woman chooses to abort a female embryo because that embryo's life would be intolerable, or because the mother would be placed in a difficult situation for not producing a boy, then that's not a free choice and we should work to change the context of that choice. Of course, what we shouldn't be doing is attacking or stigmatising the woman for making what was the right choice for her in those circumstances.

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Wed 12-Oct-16 09:08:08

If you are pro-choice to term, how comfortable are you with the hypothetical situation where one doctor is desperately trying to save the life of one foetus/baby while next door another doctor is trying to end the life of another foetus/baby? Say both at 30 weeks gestation for example.

I think a woman should have the right to terminate the pregnancy, but not the life.

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