As advocates of reproductive rights scramble to defend the reputation of a key women’s healthcare provider amid an ongoing conservative assault, author and Nation columnist Katha Pollit is calling on those who support a women’s right to choose to come forth and say, ‘Abortion is a part of life.’
Addressing the Planned Parenthood controversy in a New York Times opinion piece published on Wednesday, the reproductive rights advocate lays down the hammer and asks: “Why does the pro-choice movement so often find itself in a defensive crouch?”
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The pro-choice majority, Pollit argues, is letting “let anti-abortion extremists control the discourse,” despite the fact that nearly one in three women in the U.S. will have had an abortion by age 45.
Abortion rights activists, she charges, fall into the trap of being “reactive rather than proactive,” which effectively though “unconsciously encodes the vision of the other side.”
She writes: “Abortion opponents say women seek abortions in haste and confusion. Pro-choicers reply: Abortion is the most difficult, agonizing decision a woman ever makes. Opponents say: Women have abortions because they have irresponsible sex. We say: rape, incest, fatal fetal abnormalities, life-risking pregnancies.”
“We need to say that women have sex, have abortions, are at peace with the decision and move on with their lives,” Pollit writes. “We need to say that is their right, and, moreover, it’s good for everyone that they have this right: The whole society benefits when motherhood is voluntary. When we gloss over these truths we unintentionally promote the very stigma we’re trying to combat.”
Further, according to Gallup, a majority of Americans consider themselves “pro-choice,” including 46 percent of men. Pollit wants to know where these voices are amid the vitriol and threats of government shutdown.
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