- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 31, 2014

Planned Parenthood officials say “pro-choice” is no longer a label they like, and they’d much prefer if people started talking about the more generic — and less politically charged — issue of “women’s health.”

“[The change] is something that we have been talking about for several years,” Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told The New York Times. “I just think the ‘pro-choice’ language doesn’t really resonate particularly with a lot of young women voters. We’re really trying to focus on, what are the real things you’re going to lose? Sometimes that’s rights. Sometimes that’s economic or access to health care for you or for your kids.”

Pro-choice become popular in the wake of the 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion ruling, because it succinctly countered the pro-life tag used by those who opposed the procedure. But around 2010, Planned Parenthood said the label started falling on deaf ears of younger women.


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“The labels we’ve always used about pro-choice and pro-life — they’re outdated, and they don’t mean anything,” said Janet Colm, 62, the president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund of Central North Carolina, in The New York Times. “I used to be a one-issue voter [pro-choice], but I think most younger people today aren’t.”

It’s still not clear what phrase could comfortably substitute for the pithy “pro-choice.” But some activists have been slinging about “women’s health” and “economic security” while talking about Planned Parenthood policy.

“You just have to take more words,” said Dawn Laguens, the executive vice president of the political advocacy unit of Planned Parenthood, speaking of the need of a broader group message, The New York Times reported.

Meanwhile, those opposed to abortion — the “pro-life” crowd — have picked up on Planned Parenthood’s attempt to change the message. And they’re seeing that switch as something to cheer.

“I find it very encouraging that they find that after 40 years they have to do something different because they know it’s not working,” said Carol Tobias, the president of the National Right to Life Committee, the New York Post reported.