Abortion-rights proponents’ desire to see abortion-rights rhetoric purged of its euphemistic language is laudable; however, it is not likely to happen. Indeed, the June 14 Outlook essay “Reclaiming abortion” included many standard pro-choice euphemisms: procedure, women who terminate pregnancies, reproductive health, reproductive rights, reproductive freedom — all common code for abortion or for access to abortion.
What does it mean to “terminate pregnancies”? What happens during that “procedure”? The “stigma that keeps abortion shameful and politically contentious” has nothing to do with a woman’s personal circumstances, as activists argue, but comes from our increased understanding of the humanity of the fetus as revealed through modern sonograms.
Given this, it makes perfect sense for abortion-rights advocates to persist in conscience-dulling euphemisms: termination, selection, reduction and, especially, fetus. The word child must be avoided at all costs.
P.C. Brown, Potomac