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What’s Really Driving the “Pro-Choice” Movement?

At Slate, Amanda Marcotte frets about the right-wing “assault on reproductive rights,” and ticks off several “anti-choice” bills being introduced across the country. To hear Marcotte tell it, these bills are absolutely terrifying – one would require women to receive ultrasounds before undergoing an abortion and another would mandate abortion patients to submit to a 72-hour waiting period and a “listen to a lecture from an anti-choice activist” before having the procedure.

If these are actually two of the most brutal attacks on the abortion industry in this country, then the “pro-choice” movement can pretty much declare victory and call it a day. Because once you strip away Marcotte’s hyperbole, it turns out that the actual bills are aimed at fostering choice, not obstructing it. Requiring women to receive an ultrasound is the opposite of pro-choice. After all, making a “choice” simply means deciding between two options, based on the information available. Women’s rights advocates like Marcotte should be lobbying for doctors to arm female patients with as many facts as possible. Instead she seems to be arguing that this piece of information (ultrasounds) shouldn’t be included because it’s too persuasive.

As for the bill mandating a 72-hour waiting period and meeting with an “anti-choice activist” (actually a crisis pregnancy center representative), that doesn’t seem particularly objectionable, either. Regardless of your opinion on abortion, few can deny that it’s a difficult and weighty decision that shouldn’t be made recklessly. Anyone who would change her mind about it in three days probably wasn’t completely confident with her decision initially. And the purpose of the meeting at the crisis pregnancy center is simply to inform women of their non-medical options – adoption, childcare, and other issues that can factor into the decision.

It’s fine if Marcotte wants to argue against these laws, but it’s not really accurate to frame them as attacks on “choice.” When it comes to this decision, too much information is never a bad thing.



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