ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Disingenuous Language of Progressives on Abortion

At least the "Progressives" are open and honest about their desire to mask and distort the true nature of procedure that is partial-birth abortion. I posted previously on how the Left and the Media prefer the medical term "Dilation & Extraction" (which I abbreviated to D&E... apparently, they prefer D&X, but I have heard D&E before) or "a certain type of late term abortion. Anyway, AlterNet has this wonderful post on what language the Left should use when debating this matter:

Talking points on the federal abortion ban
Posted by Deanna Zandt at 12:00 PM on February 23, 2006.

Stop reinforcing conservative frames loaded with distorted fallacies.

With the Supreme Court having agreed to hear the case of the previously-rejected 2003 federal abortion ban (not to mention South Dakota's banning of abortion on Wednesday), it's time we have a quick lesson in talking points about this issue. It's been frustrating for many of us to see a number of progressive folks referring to the type of abortion the ban deals with using a certain phrase that won't be repeated here. Why? Lesson #1 in sociolinguistics: using the term reinforces the frame. Sure, that's what the Republicans named their law, but it is grotesquely misleading and skews the debate away from what this ban is about: human rights, and more specifically, reproductive rights.
no explanation provided by Deanna here - apparently it's just accepted as fact that "partial birth abortion is misleading.
A slightly better alternative to the conservative, misogynist frame that has been used by some is "late-term abortion." Amie Newman noted in The Mix yesterday that this is also misleading, since "late" could also mean a blanket ban on whatever the speaker defines as "late." Too much gray area here: "late" could mean anything after the first trimester, for example.

Others have suggested that progressives should refer to the actual medical procedure that conservatives are seeking to ban -- without provisions accounting for a woman's health, which is often the only circumstance under which this procedure is performed -- called dilation and extraction, or D&X. My own opinion lies here, since referring to the acronym would free up linguistic context for talking about the woman's rights. However, a quick informal poll among friends showed me a few wrinkled noses at the word "extraction," some saying that it conjured up something just as gruesome as the forced-birth side's frame.

This isn't an exercise in the name game, either. ("This is not a test!")
Why, yes... yes it is a name game! All emphasis above is mine...
The ban that Congress is pushing through is not just dangerous to women in its existing form, but is a slippery-slope initiative paving the way towards increasing restrictions and prohibitions on reproductive freedom by demonizing women who obtain the procedure and criminalizing doctors who perform it. (It's been noted that a similar ban in Wisconsin caused doctors to stop performing all abortions.)

Thus, the floor is open to suggestions and discussion. The one thing that should be clear, as we enter this phase of debate, however, is that progressives everywhere must stop using the conservative frame -- even in "quotes" and with putting "so-called" in front of it, you're still using it! -- for good. The ban itself can be referred to as the "2003 federal ban on certain abortions" when necessary.

Ultimately, the debate about this ban ends up nitpicking various constraints and allowances about time limitations and situational factors, and ignores the larger picture: our value of, and commitment to protecting, human rights. We should all be focused on retaining our collective reproductive and privacy rights... not debating and reinforcing fundamentalist lies outlawing women from taking care of themselves.

The comments that follow show how disingenous the "progressives" are when it comes to the debate. Some suggested terms:
  • Last Month Abortion (I suspect that Deanna would still object)
  • "abortions typically performed to preserve the health or life of the mother."
  • "critical choice" abortion
  • "emergency abortions" ("Who's going to oppose emergency abortions?" according to the commenter)

Cool terminology aside
Posted by: Prometheus 6 on Feb 23, 2006 3:47 PM
It's more important to square away the argument.

You start by establishing there is no such thing as a "partial birth" abortion. Force it to be defined in medical terms. Much easier to argue "dilation and extraction procedures" as necessary medical procedures...the very dryness of the term will remove a lot of heat from the discussion.

This shows that the "progressives" recognize that their position is so radical, urging that almost fully developed babies be terminated through a gruesome procedure, that they cannot honestly debate the specifics of the procedure. They recognize that 75% of the country is opposed to such procedures, but are unwilling to allow any limits on reproductive choice fearing that giving any ground will have negative impacts in the future.

As I've said in the past, I'm personally against abortion... and I'm against Roe vs. Wade - not because I'm against abortion, but because I do not see any reference to abortion in the Constitution... But, I don't propose outlawing abortion... I propose letting the people decide the matter, through their elected representatives. This is the democratic process. If the "progressives" think that they truly have public support for their position, they should persuade their fellow citizens to allow abortions up until the 9th month.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Comments (2)
Elohimus Maximus said...

Thank God someone is personally against abortion! I am against abortion too, but its so rare to hear someone taking a stance on it. I congratulate you! I just wrote a post today that you might find interesting.

St Wendeler said...

My stance on abortion was not the primary focus of the post, but take from it what you will...

and yes, eliminating abortions so that we could all have personal slaves is an interesting concept.