NewYorkTimes 28 July 2014
For all the talk about women’s issues in this year’s midterm election campaigns, something is missing. One of the most enduring labels of modern politics — pro-choice — has fallen from favor, a victim of changed times and generational preferences.
That shift might seem surprising in this political season, when there has been a renewed focus on reproductive issues like access to abortion and birth control. Yet advocates say that the term pro-choice, which has for so long been closely identified with abortion, does not reflect the range of women’s health and economic issues now being debated.
Nor, they add, does it speak to a new generation of young women, who tell pollsters that they reject political labels — not least one that dates back four decades, to the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision that established a constitutional right to abortion.
“The labels we’ve always used about pro-choice and pro-life — they’re outdated and they don’t mean anything,” said Janet Colm, 62, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund of Central North Carolina, as she prepared to take several younger women to a summer protest at the legislature in Raleigh. “I used to be a one-issue voter” — pro-choice — “but I think most younger people today aren’t.”
No pithy phrase has replaced pro-choice. Activists talk mainly of “women’s health” and “economic security,” usually with policy specifics.
“You just have to take more words,” said Dawn Laguens, the executive vice president of the political-advocacy arm of Planned Parenthood and an early proponent of a broader message.