Wikipedia, your #1 source for last minute bullshit college paper filler, is opening up an important question to its pedantic but knowledgable male contributors, a question that could actually have some long lasting impact on the way we talk about abortion: what, exactly, should we call the two sides in the abortion debate? Pro-choice? Pro-life? Anti-choice? Anti-life? Pro-abortion? Slutty, irresponsible, babyeating soulmunchers? Superstitious, clueless, empathy-free misogynists? What matters more — what people call themselves or what they actually are?
In an announcement that sounds like something from the first Star Wars,, Wikipedia's Arbitration Committee has asked the Wikipedia community to weigh in on what articles on opposing views in the US abortion debate should be called once and for all. The rule of the commentariat will result in a binding change to titles about the way abortion's discussed — at least on Wikipedia.
It's a question of balancing honesty with familiarity — entire books could be written about how anti-abortion policies actually remove the humanity and agency from pregnant women, and how outlawing abortion will result in women seeking unsafe abortions that could lead to injury and death, and how "pro-life" hospitals refuse to intervene in life-threatening pregnancies until the woman miscarries on her own, and how women and babies are healthiest when they can choose if and when to have children and how people who say they're "pro-life" are not actually pro-life at all, and how in the face of these facts, the phrase "pro life" is sort of cruelly ironic (also, "pro-life" implies that there are "anti-life" people out there just encouraging every woman everywhere to have abortions all the time because it tickles and pleases Lord Satan or something). At the same time, the "Pro-life" movement, while it hasn't succeeded at overturning Roe V. Wade or outlawing contraception, it has succeeded in giving itself a name, albeit an inaccurate one.
To further complicate matters, there are never just two sides to a debate, and "pro-life" is such a pretty little phrase that multiple groups with wildly differing viewpoints have adopted it. We have, say, Rick Perry, who is just pro-life when it comes to very tiny protolife that lives inside a woman's body; when it comes to the lives of already-born humans that are fighting in wars or being executed by the state of Texas or who need health care, he's a little more pro-fuck you. The Catholic Church's official position is an all-encompassing "pro-life" stance that is supposed to apply to capital punishment, euthanasia, abortion, and war. And one arm of the "pro-life feminist" movement doesn't believe in overturning Roe at all, but rather working to promote a world where abortion is minimized, motherhood is valued, and women are cared for (this is a different breed of pro-life feminist than Lila Rose, who is terrified of sluts and believes contraception is wrong).