In The Giver, a novel written by Lois Lowry over two decades ago, a boy named Jonas lives in a utopian society where emotion is not experienced and lies are not told. Although this utopian society is actually extremely flawed and impractical, it holds something worth noting: its emphasis on precision of language.
In chapter nine, there is a dialogue where Jonas expresses his hunger by saying, “I’m starving.” He gets taken aside by an adult and lectured on language precision because he was not actually starving, but rather merely hungry, and to describe his hunger as starvation would be a lie. To quote the book directly: “…the reason for precision of language was to ensure that unintentional lies were never uttered.”
So when we, as a society, stray from language precision and replace it with deceptive rhetoric, lies take root.
In a video message to NARAL two years ago, President Obama made several imprecise comments. He praised the fortieth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v. Wade, and then continued to make more unsettling comments.
We…gather to recommit ourselves to the decision’s guiding principle: that women should be able to make their own choices about their bodies and their healthcare.
Precision of language please, President Obama. What he really must mean is that women should be able to make their own choices – not just about their own bodies, but about the child’s body that they carry within them.
We know what we are better off as a nation when women are treated fairly in every aspect of life…where all Americans should have the freedom and opportunity to reach their potential.
This statement stood out to me the most – the irony of it is too cruel. Again, I implore President Obama to be more precise in his usage of language. If women were treated fairly in every aspect of life, they would be protected in their mother’s womb from the moment of conception. If Obama believed in a nation where all Americans should have the freedom and opportunity to reach their potential, he would protect our most innocent, defenseless Americans to ensure they get the opportunity and freedom of life itself.
To everyone at NARAL Pro-Choice America, thank you for your tireless advocacy for the health and wellbeing of women and families. I couldn’t be prouder of the work each of you is doing to make the world a fairer and more just place for all Americans.
In language I saw as more accurate and fit in conveying President Obama’s message, I have rewritten the last excerpt:
To everyone at NARAL Pro-Choice America, thank you for your tireless advocacy for the exploitation of women, and the destruction of preborn children and families. I couldn’t be prouder of the work each of you is doing to make the world an intangible place for select, preborn Americans.
Again, in chapter nine of The Giver, Jonas learns that “…the reason for precision of language was to ensure that unintentional lies were never uttered.” And this is why those who are pro-abortion will never use precise language, because to do so would be to expose the truth.
The pro-abortion industry not only abuses children and women but also language. After all, our words are supposed to deliver the truth, not craft our own.