We’ve all heard the classic line ‘I’m not a feminist but...’ followed by a pretty clear defence of gender equality. Often those reluctant to use the label ‘feminist’ to describe themselves are happy to engage with its central tenet of social and political equality for men and women. Arguably the term ‘pro-choice’ could be said to suffer from similar ‘PR’ problems. Although the majority of the public do support a woman’s right to choose a smaller number of those surveyed would likely identify themselves using the label ‘pro-choice’ through reluctance to be associated with a term which is often construed as being overly political or radical.
So what does being pro-choice actually entail?
The US website RH Reality Check has an interesting take on what ‘pro-choice’ represents politically but defines the term more generally as being ‘short-hand for a group or individual who believes a woman should be able to choose an abortion if and when she desires to terminate a pregnancy that is either unintended and untenable, or simply untenable.’
So even if you can’t imagine a situation in which you yourself would choose to terminate a pregnancy, or would want your partner to, but you would not wish to take this right away from someone else, you are pro-choice. If you believe abortion is a valid option for a woman facing an unwanted pregnancy, you are pro-choice. If you believe women’s legal right to access abortion should be protected you are pro-choice.
Joyce Arthur on why 'pro-choice' isn't the opposite to 'anti-abortion' here