This Genius Chrome Extension Corrects “Pro-Life” To “Anti-Choice”
By now, you are probably aware of the horror show that is abortion access in the US right now, and how that horror show continues to become more horrible, especially for low-income patients and people of color.
Language is key in the conversation about abortion. Remember when anti-abortion folks really wanted to make everyone believe partial-birth abortion was a thing and tried to legislate a bunch of crap about it? And had some degree of success? When in fact “partial-birth abortion” isn’t even a medical term?
While “pro choice” is sometimes regarded as an imperfect term, there is a much more at stake with the term “pro-life”- namely that people have latched onto it as a legitimate representation of what the anti-abortion movement is and seeks to do.
Who can argue with “pro-life,” after all, at least on the surface? Who’s not in favor of life? We know, however, that what so called “pro-life” activists are up to has nothing to do with life and everything to do with robbing people of dignity and choice. The recent effort to defund Planned Parenthood exposes the actual agenda of the anti-abortion movement: it’s about separating people who need health care from that health care (including abortion, which falls under the category of health care) and stigmatizing one’s health care decisions.
The (fine, one) problem is that the media has latched onto “pro-life” as being the opposite of “pro-choice,” when in fact, a more apt term to describe “pro-life” would be “anti-choice.” “The term “pro-life” has the ability to couch and cloak an agenda that’s antithetical to what it sounds like it’s supposed to mean,” said Andrea Miller, President of the NIRH. “We’re at a critical juncture in regard to both laws and the public discourse on abortion – things are very heated and polarized, and the terminology contributes to the demonization of people who choose abortion.”
In an effort to highlight the huge problem that is the “pro-life” label, and to change the public conversation around abortion, activists at the National Institute for Reproductive Health, has created a Google Chrome Extension which, when installed, replaces the term “pro-life” with the more apt “anti-choice.” “Anti-choice” appears in bold in the article you’re reading. I installed the extension before I started writing this article, and then realized that in order to write this, I would have to uninstall it, because it literally would not let me type “pro-life.” So it works, is what I’m saying.
According to Miller, the extension is “a great technique to raise awareness about what’s really behind the “pro-life” position and what it means to hold that position. Since Roe v. Wade was passed in 1973, there have been more than 1,000 laws passed to restrict abortion access, in spite of the fact that we know people in the US want abortion to be safe, legal, and affordable, and for the people asking for the choice to have one to be respected. That’s not what the current laws, or the politicians, are reflecting.”
There have been over 1,0000 uses of the extension so far. (The anti-choice site LifeNews.com has developed their own extension, which replaces “anti-choice” and “anti-abortion” with “pro-life.”) Says Miller, “We’ve seen a lot of interested in our social media channels, people saying, “Finally! This was driving me crazy!”
The NIRH extension is illuminating, even if you consider yourself to be familiar with the tactics of the anti-choice movement. Seeing “pro-life” re-framed as what it really is – misogynist as opposed to righteous, undermining instead of liberating – changes the way one interacts with media, exposing exactly how deeply abortion stigma has permeated thinking, and how vital it is that the conversation shift.