Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Could Someone Please Clear Up Some Abortion Semantics For Me?

Yesterday, for the first time in YEARS, and I do mean years, I quickly got into it with someone on Facebook. It was about abortion and I was arguing with someone who is very, very Catholic and very, very anti-abortion.

Right there was the problem. I kept saying "anti-abortion" and I got accused of specifically, being ignorant and pro-infanticide.

I was like, huh? I hate abortion. I don't wear it on my sleeve like lots of other Catholics, but I'm completely against it.

So then I was told that "anti-abortion" and "anti-choice" are catch phrases of the enemy side.

Again, huh?

Could someone please explain this to me on, literally, the moron level? I'm a writer and I do words, so when I say "anti-abortion," I mean, literally, against abortion.

What did I do wrong?

If this is a bunch of bullcrap semantics propaganda, I'm gonna be mad.

Again, idiot/moron level is what I need. Thanks!


  1. I think anti-abortion is fine language. There is a movement now in pro-life circles to use that terminology. Some evangelical Protestants have a group called Abolish Human Abortion and call themselves Abolitionists. Some Catholics started a FB page calling themselves "Catholic Abolitionists" (Because some Evangelicals didn't want to hang with us Mary worshippers...forgive them, for they know not what they say.)

    However, there was a time when the meme was to be positive in our language. We are antiabortion because we are "prolife" and we want to stress the positive, the reason we are against abortion, so we will insist on the term "Pro-LIfe." I think your interlocutor is stuck there.

    But this gave many people the wrong impression. For instance, in the difficult cases, such as the mother in Kansas City (I think it was there) who had pulmonary hypertension, and if the reports are accurate, at a certain point the pregnancy threatened her life. Catholics still can't approve of or allow abortion in this circumstance. And people argued endlessly, "Isn't the result of one person living better, more 'Pro-life' than the result of no person living?" Similarly with the recent Irish situation. And also with the arguments for the Methotrexate tube sparing method of taking care of an ectopic pregnancy, which works by killing the embryo and which therefore does not conceivably fall into the "double effect" rule which usually allows the treatment of tubal pregnancies by removing tube cum embryo. But people will say, "But the woman is much more likely to have further children if she has two tubes left than one, isn't that more 'Pro-life.'"?

    Anti-abortion is much nearer to our true position than is the vague "Pro-life" although that is a fine label properly understood. What we are really is Anti illegitimate killing of the innocent, or Pro obeying the law of God. It really comes down to being Anti-sin. Ultimately our highest value is that no one should sin, rather than that no one should die. Although, all else being equal we would of course prefer no mothers or babies dying.

  2. Fantastic, Susan, and wonderfully put. Seriously and I mean it.

    But I still want to know why this woman called me "ignorant" for using the term anti-abortion and why she said the term is just a cover for people who are pro-infanticide. As if!

    What bothered me is the friend whose Facebook page this happened on kind of agreed with her. Not about the ignorant part! Ha! But about the fact that a Catholic shouldn't be using the term anti-abortion or anti-choice. It seemed she knew all about this.

    The friend sometimes reads this blog, so maybe she'll eventually stumble on this and help explain. She did contact me and sort of apologize for her friend, saying she's just really intense about the abortion issue.

  3. Use the term Right-to-life. It's the oldest and the most accurate.

    Anti-abortion and Pro-choice were coined by the baby killers.

  4. LTG, that's not super helpful. WHY is anti-abortion a term coined by baby killers? It literally means AGAINST ABORTION, which I am.

    I know I can't ignore it if it's generally thought to be true, but I'm telling you, it's totally stupid and I want to understand.

  5. Maybe anti-abortion is a veiled way of saying anti-choice in the baby killer world?
    Angela M.

  6. In the Clinton years, the term "pro-life" came into favor by what had been referred to previously in the media "anti-abortion." Many in the movement at that time felt the movement was denigrated because in the main-stream media it was cast as "anti-abortion" with the Greek root "anti" seemed, they felt, to have a negative association whereas "pro-choice" using the Greek/Latin root "pro" sounded more positive. Literally, it was a semantics thing. Large right to life groups wanted to be known to be protecting the lives of babies. So "pro-life" became the preferred alternative. There also was an argument floating around that anti-abortion sounded anti-woman whereas pro-life sounded like better for the life of the mother and the baby.

    Abby Johnson and others are bringing anti-abortion back into favor now because want their movements to reflect abortion as the main cause they champion without including euthanasia, death penalty and human trafficking (all of which are linked in the 'Pro-life' movement). Again, semantics. I tend to use pro-life because I am against any form of unnatural death, but that's just me. There actually has been a very well circulated poster for the March for Life that came out this year that lists all life issues and became quite a controversy with several more folks choosing to identify as anti-abortion.

    1. Anonymous, thank you for answering in the way I was looking for.

      What a twisted web, though. It makes me think there is factionalism in anti-abortion/pro-life circles, which makes me sad and actually pisses me off a little. It's like the Traditional Catholic thing.....aren't we all on the same side?


    2. there is infighting, it's sad to say. The old guard who thinks the young upstarts...etc, etc...same as any long term movement. I forget who recently said that if you can't be on the front lines with love then work from behind the least when dealing with the abortion vulnerable. I also think that alot of folks let down the guard in "friendly" circles so that they can vent their spleen there instead of when dealing with those they're trying to help or convert...for the same above reason of needing to bring love to the vulnerable.

    3. It goes deeper than just semantics for the divisions. The aforementioned Abolish Human Abortion had a string of anti-Catholic sentiment on their facebook page and blog leading up to the March for Life. Katrina Fernandez, aka The Crescat, took them to task over it. It got really ugly. I was definitely upset by their posts, but I decided to pray for them instead, but that divide is huge. In the south we have different days we can pray outside abortion clinics (in our area) because so many do not want to pray alongside Catholics.

    4. Praying for them is the best way to handle this. You have to understand that to them a certain understanding of how we receive salvation, of how sinful man is made righteous before God, IS "the gospel," is Christianity. To them, if one does not believe in salvation "by grace alone through faith alone" one is not a Christian.
      Objection to our praying the Rosary, or praying to the saints is all secondary to that. This is the typical heretical concentration on one aspect of the truth to such an extend that it distorts and blots out other aspects of the truth. But they have all been taught this, and to question it for them is to question their entire faith and their relationship with the Lord.

      I think we are the ones with the larger perspective, so we need to be the ones who are tolerant when they cannot be so.

      If praying on different days is necessary, well that is too bad. When I did a Rescue it was evangelicals and Catholics together and I appreciated that. But even if you do it different days, you are both working to end abortion.

      I don't think this is necessarily connected to the issue of using Pro-life or antiabortion, except incidentally in that Catholics have used Pro-life for so long. Frankly, I think the "Abolish Human Abortion" people have a hold of a powerful idea when they call themselves "abolitionists, " and I don't think we should let them have exclusive use of it; I think we should thank them and borrow it and run with it.

  7. My: $0.02: The discussion is about abortion, not "choice" or "life." Many "pro-choice" people have no interest in enabling my choice to own a machine gun, and many "pro-life" people are happy waging (just) wars and executing murderers.

    The only honest terms for the discussion are "pro-abortion" and "anti-abortion," just as the only honest terms for the slavery debate were "pro-slavery" and "anti-slavery." Issues like "states' rights" were separate issues, just like the vague, positive terms "life" and "choice" refer to other, overlapping issues.

    People who use the labels "pro-choice" and "pro-life" are using euphemisms in an attempt to influence their audience, which is dishonest. Your friend sounds confused to me, at best.

  8. Charlotte,

    Just use Right-to-life. It's a lovely term that explains the nature of the problem we face because that is what is happening, babies are denied their inviolable right to life.

    Why use the enemy's term? Whether it be the pro-abortionists, or the anti-Catholics separating themselves from euthanasia.

    Why in the world anyone who is against killing babies in the womb would want to distinguish themselves from those who are against killing the innocent outside the womb is beyond me.

  9. Not so much about terms, more about fractionalism within the movement..