The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is attempting to reframe the abortion debate by labeling abortion restrictions as “forced pregnancy.”
The ACLU has been pushing this phrasing in a variety of media, including video spots since at least last fall. A statement released with the most recent video stated that the group’s goal in using such loaded (and dishonest) terminology was to fight back against the growing number of abortion restrictions being proposed or enacted across the country, and to push back against the potential for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade with a decision in the Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization case.
The PR spot is portrayed in the style of a pharmaceutical TV ad and shows a woman examining a pregnancy test and then conversing with a doctor. “Are you seeking an abortion? Talk to your doctor today,” the spot begins. In the style of a pharma ad’s medical disclaimers, the ACLU spot lists the potential barriers to obtaining abortions. To sympathetic, swelling strings music, the voice-over falsely states that abortion is “essential healthcare,” and that “unnecessary restrictions and politically-motivated bans may apply.” Fine print on the bottom of the screen reiterates that message, and the end of the ad threatens, “abortion is subject to political attacks and may soon be unavailable.” Finally, the screen darkens and bold text declares, “Banning abortion is FORCING PREGNANCY.”
But the idea of “forced pregnancy” is a nonsensical concept. The vast majority of all pregnancies arise through consensual sex, one potential result of which is pregnancy. Pregnancy itself is a natural biological process with a natural and expected end (if all goes well): the birth of a baby. Once that process has begun, that new human being continues to develop in the womb naturally unless a miscarriage occurs, or force (abortion) is used to purposely end that life.
Preventing the killing of a preborn child is not comparable to forcing a woman into a state of pregnancy to begin with. A pregnant woman is already a mother, with a child in her womb. Abortion forcibly removes a child from his or her natural environment in the womb. As noted by Alexandra DeSanctis at National Review, “Laws against abortion don’t force women to be pregnant; they require parents who conceived a child after engaging in the act by which children are conceived not to enact lethal violence as a means of ending pregnancy or avoiding parenthood.”
What the ACLU also fails to acknowledge is that the growing number of restrictions on abortion is a reflection of what the American people support. This is shown in recent Marist polls, as Live Action News has reported, where 71% of people of any political affiliation want abortion to be heavily restricted and regulated.
Changing the language around abortion is an Orwellian attempt to change the way people think about it. “Forced pregnancy” is a term that makes no sense in itself, and attempts to bypass the ugly reality of abortion in an appeal to a liberty while ignoring a human being’s right to life.
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