Words form the foundation of language. It is through them that we ask questions, express our feelings, and explain our ideas. Words lose their communicative value, however, if their meaning is uncertain. I experienced this first hand one evening when visiting a somewhat bucolic part of Asia. My hosts (a kind family) offered what they described in English as dog food. This puzzled me for two reasons: I hadn’t expected commercial dog food to be available there, and because the thought of having a can of Alpo didn’t seem very appealing. The offer became even less appealing when I realized that what they were referring to as “dog food” was, in fact, soup made from a dog. I like to think that I adapt well to new experiences, but the prospect of eating an animal I had known only as a pet was simply too much. In North America, there is also a term whose meaning is misunderstood: choice. It means one thing to most tax payers, but as we shall see, the abortion movement attaches a very different definition to it. Unlike my dinner experience, however, the discrepancy here is rooted in deception.

In 2007, Roxanne Fernando was found beneath the snow of a frozen ditch. Her disfigured body had been preserved by the harsh Canadian winter, and thus went unnoticed for nearly a week. Roxanne had recently discovered that she was pregnant, much to the chagrin of her boyfriend, Nathanael Plourde. Not being a fan of children, Plourde soon arranged for his girlfriend to undergo a “therapeutic abortion.” Seeing nothing therapeutic about killing her baby, Roxanne refused to do so. At this point, a less determined man (or one with a scrap of humanity) would have begun discussing other options. Perhaps he would have suggested adoption, or simply made plans to support his child. Mr. Plourde, however, had no lack of determination. Not being a quitter, Plourde decided that since Roxanne wouldn’t kill their child, then he would just have to kill them both. Enlisting the help of two equally determined fellows, Plourde and company abducted and savagely beat Roxanne to death. When their work was done, the trio tossed Roxanne’s bloody corpse into the ditch where she would eventually be discovered.

Roxanne’s murder came to the attention of Rod Bruinooge, a member of Canada’s Parliament. In 2010, he introduced a bill that would have outlawed coercing a woman into having an abortion. Dubbed “Roxanne’s Law,” the legislation specifically listed threats of physical violence, financial harm, or the denial of housing as prohibited types of coercion. On October 29, 2010, The Toronto Star ran a headline that asked, “Will ‘Roxanne’s Law’ turn back clock?” Below it, the article quoted parliamentarian Megan Leslie, who said, “I really see this bill as reopening the door to this idea of fetal rights because the bill actually refers to a fetus as a child. If we can open that door even a crack,” Leslie continued, “to this idea of fetal rights — which in my opinion promotes anti-choice ideas — that has an impact on women’s rights and freedoms when it comes to the very personal decision about abortion.”

You may be wondering how a law that bans threats and coercion could be called “anti-choice.” That’s probably because you think the word “choice” has something to do with making an informed decision of one’s own free will. In the context of abortion, however, the phrase “defending choice” is defined as ensuring that abortions are offered with as little oversight or regulation as possible.  Of course, this inevitably results in vulnerable women and girls being pushed into making “choices” under duress. Evidently, it is a minor issue when set against the larger backdrop of  ‘rights and freedoms.’ This understanding of choice does not stop at the border. In fact, investigations by Live Action have shown it to be a veritable credo at Planned Parenthood.

To most Americans, the pimp/teen prostitute relationship would seem like an exploitative and unequal one. Thus, if a pimp were to convince his 14-year-old employee to get an abortion, then this would appear to be a less than consensual choice on her part. Planned Parenthood, though, does not share the sensibilities of most Americans. When Live Action investigators went to a Planned Parenthood clinic and presented themselves as a pimp and underage prostitute, they found employees only too eager to help. This could be written off as a freak event, were it not for the fact that the scenario repeated itself again and again in multiple states. Protecting the choice to have an abortion, even when that choice may have been encouraged with the back of a hand, is of paramount concern.

Many are deeply dismayed that their taxes are going to fund abortion. The fact that their money is being used to the kill the unborn, often by pulling them apart piece-by-piece, is revolting to them.  But it should sicken them even more when they discover that they are paying to perform abortions on unwilling mothers. The public must realize that when it comes to abortion, the meaning of choice isn’t as bad as they might think. It’s worse.

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