Let’s play make believe.
Imagine if abortion supporters had never co-opted the term, Choice. Instead, they just called for Reproductive Freedom, Women’s Medical Liberty—anything but Pro-Choice. Had Democrats never co-opted Choice with abortion, what would we think of Republicans calling our Party “The Party of Choice,” while labeling Democrats “The Party of Control?”
I think we’d love it. After all, people love choices, and Republicans offer far more choices than Democrats—far, far more. So Choice should be our word, anyway. And unlike Liberty, which conjures images of men in white wigs issuing demands, Choice is personal and contemporary. It moves us from “Don’t take my liberties…and stay off my lawn!” to “I want you to have more choices.”
The fact is, Choice sells.
Better yet, Choice-Versus-Control puts Democrats in a defensive position. Why? Because nearly all Democrat initiatives are grounded in Control, and people hate being controlled. Just listen to friends discuss micromanaging bosses, suffocating parents, HOA’s—see what I mean? If we push a Choice-Versus-Control narrative, all Democrat legislation would come under that spotlight.
I hear Republicans fret: "If we say we're for Choice, people will think we support Abortion! Democrats will mock us for claiming to represent Choice--because of Abortion! It's confusing, because...because...Abortion! All is lost! Run for your lives! The meteor is coming!
Okay, I'm exaggerating...slightly. But should we have conceded Choice so easily? I don't think so. In fact, conceding Choice has reframed all political debate in the Democrats' favor. Not good, people.
Here's the truth: There is nothing Anti-Choice about the Pro-Life position. NOTHING.
1. We Can Disarm Anger by Embracing Choice
Steeped in resentment, Abortion supporters won’t often listen to Pro-Lifers. They think we want to control them, so our first words must disarm that anger—not win a debate. That’s why I lead by praising Choice and opposing Control.
“I’m Pro-Life, but I love the reason you’re Pro-Choice. You don’t want the government telling a woman what to do with her body. I agree.”
Next, I share my Republican Choice Standard:
“I just don’t want one person’s choice taking away another person’s choice, so our only disagreement is on when another person is in play.”
And finally, I use Choice to forge agreement:
“And that’s just a question of science. We can debate when life begins, but until then, why don’t we just agree we both care about people—women, babies, everyone—and we both support Choice. Fair enough?”
Voila. In seconds, Pro-Life is no longer Anti-Choice, and I’m the nice, reasonable person in a heated topic. I’ve gone from bad guy to good guy—all because of Choice.
2. If they’re open to more discussion, I can select from many points:
- "Except for rape, the whole point of abortion is to erase consequences for choices freely made, right? Two people chose to engage in behavior that might produce a pregnancy, and now they want the consequence erased. That’s not Pro-Choice. It’s Anti-Consequence.”
- “In fact, if the unborn are allowed to grow, they’ll make thousands of choices—all of which are erased by the one choice of abortion. Erasing thousands of choices with one choice is hardly Pro-Choice, right?”
- “Pro-Life also isn’t Anti-Woman. After all:
1. The most pro-abortion person isn’t the young woman who is pregnant; it’s the guy who got her pregnant. She at least she feels some sense of nurture, while all he wants is escape.
2. Besides, half the unborn aborted are female, right?
3. And have you ever watched a Pro-Life demonstration? It’s mostly women. Why is that?”
- “Which side is controlling? Pro-Lifers only remove one choice they believe takes away someone else’s choice. Meanwhile, Abortion supporters force Pro-Lifers to pay taxes toward tax-funded abortions and pro-abortion teaching in schools. Regardless of personal beliefs, everyone’s forced to pay. Who’s controlling whom?”
Naturally, I don’t just unload point after point. But it’s good to be ready.
My response? I think they’re missing the opportunity this backlash presents.
Right now, we’re losing millions of votes from people who simply equate Pro-Life with Anti-Choice and Anti-Women. Millions and millions of votes. And by not claiming Choice, we prevent the above discussion from ever happening—meaning we can’t shed the “Bad Guy” label. We’re stuck.
Faced with a wall of single female voters assuming the worst, we’re paying a huge price for running from our own word. We’re distrusted. Unheard. Worse yet, entirely disregarded. At this point, we desperately need a discussion—even one beginning with backlash. We need people talking about Choice and Republicans, because our silence on it leaves us as villains.
Truth is, we Pro-Lifers make lots of great points, such as when the unborn have heartbeats or feel pain. We rightly warn against women assuming abortion won’t affect them, and we back this up with statistics. We’re good people caring about good people! But if society thinks we’re against the thing society loves—Choice--then they won’t listen to our great points. And that is what’s happening. We’re a bunch of smart, loving people in a deaf, angry room.
Let me repeat that: Avoiding Choice because of Abortion…leaves Republicans preaching to a deaf, angry room.
You know, I wish Democrats had never hijacked our word through twisting an issue like Abortion. It was brilliant strategy—a game-changer. Raised in Democrat circles, I know full well why they did it, and how they use it. They actually claimed a gender. Remarkable.
But now we can surprise people with simple rebranding. Let’s just say we’re for Choice, and our opponents are for Control. Then back it up. And when they launch their Abortion-based backlash, we’ll not only open a discussion that has been closed for millions of voters, but we will win that discussion, person by person.
Why? Because we are for Choice. Democrats are for Control. And truth, my friends, is on our side.