OPINION: The ‘pro-life’ movement needs a new name

The exterior of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Terre Haute, Indiana. (Courtesy photo by Paul Sableman via Flickr)

According to the most recent edition of the Associated Press stylebook (the book that reminds newspaper editors how to spell), the “pro-life” movement should not be referred to as such. “Anti-abortion” is the preferred term, with “pro-abortion” replacing the similarly colorful term “pro-choice.”

Why is this? I’m no AP editor, but I think the answer is simple: hypocrisy.

I don’t exactly endorse abortion — as my mother always says, “No one is smiling after they abort their child” — but the “pro-life” movement has nothing to do with life as we know it.

I understand why abortion is a controversial subject. It’s the ultimate conundrum in moral philosophy: is abortion a form of murder? More generally, does preventing something from starting carry the same weight as stopping it?

I personally think calling abortion “murder” is way too harsh, especially for the women who have to go through it, but the “pro-life” movement has turned vilifying people for their choices into an art form.

In 2015, a self-professed Christian man named Robert Dear killed three people and wounded nine others in a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado. In fact, anti-abortion violence has been so common in the past few decades that there’s a list of incidents on Wikipedia over 100 entries long, with most of the crimes taking place at Planned Parenthood clinics.

Members of the anti-abortion movement obviously denounce this kind of violence, but I find that very hypocritical considering how much the movement has railed against Planned Parenthood to this very day.

According to the Washington Post, only about 7 to 14 percent of Planned Parenthood visits are for abortions, depending on how you estimate it. This would indicate that the majority of Planned Parenthood’s patients are there for contraception, prenatal services and other health concerns that aren’t related to abortion.

Yet the Susan B. Anthony List, a “pro-life” non-profit organization, has spread the claim that 94 percent of Planned Parenthood’s services are abortions. The organization, and others like it, also hold frequent rallies to defund or abolish Planned Parenthood and its “radical abortion agenda.”

Their strategy is certainly working. On Monday, Planned Parenthood announced it would be closing a clinic in Fort Wayne, Indiana, due to immense backlash from “pro-life” groups. This particular clinic didn’t even perform abortions.

The medical professionals who work at each and every Planned Parenthood clinic face an unbearable amount of harassment from the “pro-life” movement just for doing their jobs. I wonder where violent extremists get their ideas from, then?

While the topic of abortion does deserve nuance and moral debate in its national conversation, the numbers don’t lie. Planned Parenthood is a non-profit resource center for people with concerns about their reproductive health because pregnancy is terrifying and we all know it. You might even say it’s for people who want to plan out their parenthood, hmm?

“Pro-life” and “pro-choice” are just political buzzwords used by people who want to make you feel bad for not agreeing with them. Despite its name, the “pro-life” movement in particular has shown a lack of interest in the lives and wellbeing of pregnant women.

Even babies, those precious little bundles of joy, seem to lose their importance after they’re born. Why aren’t there more news stories about “pro-life” organizations pumping money into adoption centers? Sex education doesn’t seem like a concern either, and single parents are out of luck.

Veterans, immigrants, the homeless and the poor all seem like groups of people who are alive and in need of assistance, but the “pro-life” movement isn’t rallying for their lives. It’s about fetuses, nothing more.

Maybe they should call themselves “pro-birth” instead.

Kyle Hampel is the opinion editor for the Collegian and a senior in English. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

Those words you just read were written by me, Kyle Hampel. I am a 2019 graduate in English. I have strong feelings about barbeque pizza and the Oxford comma. I am a former copy chief, community editor, feature editor, designer and deputy multimedia editor. Beloit, Kansas, is proud to call me their own, along with several other towns I've lived in that aren't as special to me.