Friday, February 5, 2010

framing the debate, abortion cooties, and fake pro-choicers

I confess...this one's political. A friend and I have been exchanging emails. She's applying for a job at NARAL-MA and I was a board member for a while in GA so wanted to share some thoughts. They've been rattling in my head and thus I am sharing them with you.

Mainly, I'm thinking about how the debate is both the same nationwide and very different by region. In all regions, I think a "Prevention First" message is always important. No one wants abortions...we want women to have the right to choose one if necessary, but we'd all rather use education to help prevent unwanted pregnancies from the start. And, no matter where you are, I think language-framing is key. It's hard to argue against the phrase "pro-life" and I truly and deeply believe that being pro-choice is a life affirming view. Taking control of the labels, using the phrase "anti-abortion" or (even better) "anti-choice" puts the language on our side.

But there are notable differences between Georgia and Massachusetts. In Georgia, a lot of the political side was a fight against what we called "abortion cooties." Plenty of political figures were pro-choice, but many (especially outside Atlanta) feared being very public about it. I think we almost have the opposite issue in MA. "Pro-choice" is a much more popular tag. Which leaves us having to distinguish between those who are pro-choice in name and those who are pro-choice in action...a Scott Brown pro-choice vs. a Martha Coakley pro-choice.

The structure of NARAL-MA and GA are also very different but that's not nearly as interesting to think about. Well, at least for me.

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