Document reveals how pro-abortion movement came up with term “pro-choice”

In a memorandum from the early pro-abortion advocacy group the Association for the Study of Abortion, the term “pro-choice” was proposed and reasons were given for why the pro-abortion movement should adopt it as a slogan. The organization was trying to come up with a slogan to match “right to life” which pro-lifers had adopted. The memorandum says:

“The alternatives seem to be Freedom of Conscience and Right to Choose. I hope someone can think of a clearly better one but, in the meantime, let me say why I think the latter preferable. There are two reasons – the first superficial, the second, less so.

a. Right to Life is short, catchy, and is composed of monosyllabic words (an important consideration in English). We need something comparable – Right to Choose would seem to do the job.

b. More important, though, is the fact that conscience is an internal matter while choice has to do with action – and it is action we are concerned with.”

Memorandum of the Association for the Study of Abortion, Jimmye Kimmey “Right to Choose Memorandum,” December 1972

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Author: Sarah

Sarah Terzo is a writer for Live Action and a member of the board of The Pro-life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians and Consistent Life Network. She lives in NJ.

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