I interned at Planned Parenthood during the summer of 2011, which was around the time they were commissioning focus groups to gauge people’s feelings about the labels “pro-choice” and “pro-life.” According to their findings, most people today find the pro-choice/pro-life labels too reductive to adequately characterize their complex feelings about abortion rights. Many have chosen not to adopt these identifiers for themselves, which may account for the recent drop in the percentage of Americans who self-identify as pro-choice.
I remember watching a presentation of these findings during my internship and feeling slightly uneasy. I had always really appreciate Planned Parenthood’s fierce, bold “Stand Up For Choice” rhetoric. While I understand the need for their messaging to resonate with as many Americans as possible, I’m wary of de-emphasizing the fact that reproductive choice is a right.
In a new animated video released yesterday, Planned Parenthood offers us a glimpse of their new, label-less messaging strategy. It places special emphasis on the enormous complexity of individual women’s situations – the fact that there’s no way for you, me, or a state or federal legislator to know what’s best for a woman grappling with an unintended pregnancy.
I think it’s a great video, and I hope that it resonates with people who are on the fence with regard to abortion rights. At the same time, I think there still needs to be a concerted effort to make the ‘reproductive choice is a right‘ narrative as normative as possible. That’s just me though. What do you guys think?