The Instigator
Equivocator
Pro (for)
Losing
17 Points
The Contender
zgb1997
Con (against)
Winning
28 Points

Everyone should stop using the euphemism "pro-choice" when referring to abortion.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 11 votes the winner is...
zgb1997
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/23/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,548 times Debate No: 27446
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (15)
Votes (11)

 

Equivocator

Pro

Anyone who uses the euphemism "pro-choice" when she is actually talking about killing a living thing is a coward. Everyone is pro-choice. Whether you decide to allow your unborn child to live, or you decide to kill it, you are making a choice. At least have the courage of your convictions; if you believe that the correct choice is to abort your pregnancy then stop hiding your actions behind a catch phrase. If you believe that having an abortion is the best remedy to stop your pregnancy, have the courage to call yourself what you are; "pro-abortion".
zgb1997

Con

I accept this debate, and as the con side, I will attempt to prove why the euphemism "pro-choice" is appropriate when referring to abortion.

So, without further ado, I will begin.

To begin with, I believe my opponent doesn't understand why exactly the euphemism "pro-choice" is used.
Those who oppose abortion also oppose one of two choices, leaving only one (not terminating the pregnancy). That is why opponents of abortion are "anti-choice". On the other hand, supporters of abortion believe that a pregnant woman should always be allowed a choice between terminating the pregnancy, or having the child. It doesn't matter what she chooses, it matters that she be given that choice. Thus, supportets of abortion are "pro-choice".

My opponent claims everyone is "pro-choice". As I've explained in the above paragraph, that is incorrect. It is also possible that my opponent meant everyone is universally pro-choice, whether the matter is abortion or something else (he wasn't very clear while stating this so I will offer a rebuttal to both possibilities). In that case, I must point out that certain euphemisms are used in appropriate contexts, and this euphemism is no exception. Why it is appropriate? I explained that in the first paragraph.

Back to my opponent.
Debate Round No. 1
Equivocator

Pro

zgb1997, let me first thank you for accepting this debate. I joined Debate.org just today, and this is my first debate here " so I may be a little rusty.
***
There are a couple of things I did not clarify in my opening statement. Let me make it clear that it is neither my intent to debate the morality of abortion nor to justify it. I personally believe that I do not have the right to dictate to any woman what she will or will not do with her own body. While this is my belief, it is not part of this debate. The point of this debate is not the morality of abortion; rather it is about the misleading words that many use to describe abortion.

I believe that I do understand exactly why some people use the euphemism "pro-choice". To better understand why, one must understand human nature. When a man of questionable moral fiber finds himself in support of an idea which is either unpopular or morally questionable (by the standards of the society in which he lives) he will disguise the idea so that society at large will not confront him and thereby remove him from his comfort zone.

But, why does he use the word "choice"? Don't we make choices all the time; is not every minute of every hour of every day filled with infinite choice? I don't like the term "pro-choice" because it is too vague a term to clearly identify what is actually meant (i.e. pro-abortion). The use of the term "pro-choice" is clearly meant to misdirect. It is the same tactic that many politicians use when they are caught in either a lie, or a compromising position.

My opponent said, "Those who oppose abortion also oppose one of two choices". In this he is correct " one of TWO choices " and, if this were a debate on the morality of abortion I would likely give in to this misdirection and chase that rabbit. He also said that, "opponents of abortion are 'anti-choice'", which more closely speaks to the heart of this debate. The only problem is that opponents of abortion aren"t "anti-choice" any more than they are "pro-life". The term that most accurately describes someone who opposes abortion is "anti-abortion". Conversely, the term that most accurately describes someone who favors abortion is "pro-abortion".

I do rightly claim that everyone is for choice (i.e. pro-choice) and in your first paragraph you failed to adequately rebut my assertion. In your second paragraph you employ another bit of misdirection, the classic circular argument, by pointing to your first paragraph in which you claim to have explained why my claim is incorrect. However, you later (rightly) point out that I was not very clear as to my use of the phrase "pro-choice". Then you claim to, "offer a rebuttal to both possibilities". Your argument that, "certain euphemisms are used in appropriate contexts, and this euphemism is no exception," as the first part of your rebuttal answer is weak at best. In the second part of your rebuttal answer you defaulted back to the misdirection of a circular argument, by pointing to your first paragraph in which (as I previously stated) you failed to adequately make your case.
zgb1997

Con

I thank my opponent for his response and I will now offer my rebuttal.

To begin with, my opponent once again attempts to argue how our whole lives are filled with choices, and thus "pro-choice" is too vague a term. Yes, our lives are indeed filled with choices; but those choices may refer to many things. One of those things is abortion. When one speaks of abortion, it is clear that "anti-choice" refers to opponents of abortion, and "pro-choice" to supporters of abortion, for reasons already explained in round 1. Many terms can be used in different contexts; otherwise human commnication would be very limited. I believe it is very clear why and how the euphemism "pro-choice" is used when it comes to abortion.

My opponent further argues how the term "pro-choice" is meant to misdirect. I do not see how one can be misdirected by that term unless he is completely unaware what he is talking about. It is very improbable that one would speak of abortion and not be aware he is speaking of it; that is most contradictory. If the topic of a conversation, monologue, speech, letter etc. is abortion, then it is logical that all the words used therein are meant to describe abortion and, by extension, the term "pro-choice" (or "anti-choice") is used in the context of that topic. If the topic is clear, there can be no misdirection.
Thus, one can not speak of "disguising" one's opinion. If, for example, I am talking to my friend about abortion and I state I am pro choice; I find it very reasonable to believe he will understand what I mean. He will most certainly not be misdirected and believe I am referring to the choice between two types of fruit.

My opponent then attempts to refute my argumentation by saying that there is a problem in the fact that opponents of abortion are as much "pro-life" as they are "anti-choice". That is true, but I do not see the problem. One can call opponents of abortion "anti-abortion", "pro-life" or "anti-choice". The meaning is the same, provided the topic is abortion; which it obviously is. Those terms are very often used and very familiar to people, and I fail to see the problem in having more valid terms for a certain thing.

He concludes by saying my response: "certain euphemisms are used in appropriate contexts, and this euphemism is no exception" is weak, and it stays at that. He claimed my response is weak, but he did not justify that claim or offer a valid rebuttal to it.
He then further states how I resorted to the "misdirection of a circular argument". I do not see how simply pointig out something has already been dealt with in a certain rebuttal is misdirective. I prefer to call it "practical", for I see no need to write the same refutation for the same point twice.

My opponent's final accusation is that my case is weak and inadequate; another statement without justification.


With this rebuttal I have further explained why the term "pro-choice" is appropriate, refuted my opponent's rebuttal which was basically the same as his opening statement, albeit without explanation and based on simple accusations such as "your rebuttal answer is weak". I believe that makes it very obvious how after this rebuttal and two of three rounds, con has already made it clear why the euphemism my opponent opposes is appropriate.

Back to my opponent.
Debate Round No. 2
Equivocator

Pro

I would like to thank Con once again for taking time to present a well thought rebuttal. I realize nearly too late that I have conducted my portion of this debate almost completely backwards. As I stated earlier, this is my first debate here. It has been many years since I last participated in a formal debate – and that was an oral debate, not written. I once enjoyed debating but have forgotten how difficult it can be, especially if one bumbles into it unprepared. I feel as though I have brought a crayon to a cock-fight. So, again, I thank Con for bearing with me as I attempt to relearn the ropes – as it were.

In my final rebuttal I will focus in on defining and defending my position as it relates to the debate topic (I know now that this is something that I should have done in my opening statement).
When I say that everyone should stop using the euphemism "pro-choice" when referring to abortion, I realize that I am attempting to defend my own opinion. Regarding opinions, P.T. Barnum said it best, "Opinions are like a-holes; everyone's got one." This fact alone makes defending my opinion prohibitively difficult, but not impossible.
My error in the wording of this debate topic was in selecting only one abortion euphemism. In truth, I take issue with all abortion euphemisms because they are loaded terms. They are intentionally selected to appeal to emotion rather than logic. I refer to an article from Wikipedia which precisely describes both "pro-choice" and "pro-life" as loaded terms:

The abortion debate refers to the ongoing controversy surrounding the moral and legal status of abortion. The two main groups involved in the abortion debate are the self-described "pro-choice" movement (emphasizing the right of women to choose whether they wish to bring a fetus to term) and the self-described "pro-life" movement (emphasizing the right of the unborn child to be born). Both of these are considered loaded terms in general media where terms such as "abortion rights" or "anti-abortion" are preferred. Each movement has, with varying results, sought to influence public opinion and to attain legal support for its position, with some anti-abortion advocates even going as far as using violence. [http://en.wikipedia.org...]

Note that the two euphemisms covered by the Wiki article are called "self-described…movements." The Wiki article later lists other abortion euphemisms such as "anti-choice", "anti-life", "pro-coercion" and "pro-death". Two terms in the article with which I have no problem are "pro-abortion" and "anti-abortion", because they each accurately and logically describes a person's position with regards to abortion without adding emotional slanting.
I refer to a class outline from Lander University's Philosophy department to help more accurately define the meaning of emotional slanting:

I. Language can be analyzed into the two aspects of literal meaning and emotional meaning.

A. Emotive words are words that carry emotional overtones. These words are said to have emotive significance or emotive meaning or emotional impact.

1. Two different words or phrases can have literal (or denotative) meanings which are similar, but differ significantly in their emotive significance.

2. Often, we speak of "slanting" as emotive significance; i.e., a word or phrase can be positively slanted, neutral, or negatively slanted.

B. Emotively neutral language is preferable when we are trying to get to the facts or follow an argument; our emotions often cloud our reasoning.

1. When our purpose in language use is to communicate (i.e., the informative use), then, if we wish to avoid being misunderstood, language having the least emotive impact is the most useful.

2. When resolving disputes or disagreements between persons, it is usually best to try to reformulate the disagreement in neutral language. [http://philosophy.lander.edu...]

Alright, that was long and boring but it segues nicely into my next point. The reason I prefer the more logically accurate terms "pro-abortion" and "anti-abortion" to describe a person's position on abortion is because of surveys like the following:
The Public Religion Research Institute[1] conducted a survey What the Millennial Generation Tells Us about the Future of the Abortion Debate… which produced the following unexpected statistic:

The binary “pro-choice”/“pro-life” labels do not reflect the complexity of Americans’ views on abortion.

    • Seven-in-ten Americans say the term "pro-choice" describes them somewhat or very well, and nearly two-thirds simultaneously say the term "pro-life" describes them somewhat or very well.
So, let me get this straight; of the group surveyed, 70% say they are "pro-choice" and at the same time 66% say they are "pro-life". Cool, simple arithmetic: (70% + 66% = 136%) Ok, maybe not so simple. Should not the end result be 100% (or less if some choose not to answer)?
For instance, let us assume that there are 100 skydivers in an aircraft large enough to hold them all. The aircraft has exactly two jump doors, one on the left and one on the right. Each sky diver must make one of three decisions:
1. Jump from the left door
2. Jump from the right door
3. Don’t jump at all

When the jump is complete and the count for each door is tallied, there should be no more than 100 skydivers counted through the doors (assuming no one chickens out.) After the jump, if I conducted a survey and first asked each sky diver if she considers herself a "loosy-door jumper", then later asked each skydiver if she considered herself a "tighty-door jumper" I would not be surprised to get results greater than 100%.

I am certain that if the people in the Millennial Generation survey had been asked in emotively neutral language (i.e. whether they were "pro-abortion" or "anti-abortion") that the end result would not have been over 100%.

In my previous post (Round 2) I stated that the use of the term "pro-choice" is clearly meant to misdirect. Con retorted, "I do not see how one can be misdirected by that term ["pro-choice"] unless he is completely unaware what he is talking about. It is very improbable that one would speak of abortion and not be aware he is speaking of it."

Con's opinions, however, are not supported by the any facts. The results of the Millennial Generation Survey not only prove that it's possible, but indeed that it is very probable that 36% are easily misdirected by the emotionally slanted term.

There are many others who demonstrate confliction about abortion euphemisms. A good example can be derived just from the following URL:

<< http://safe-legal-abortion-is-prolife.tumblr.com...;

On this website I found the following blog entry:

“Pro-life” does not just mean “pro-birth.” It means “pro-the lives of everything, including the yet to be born.”

Well, you’re right one one[sic] count: pro-life does not mean pro-birth. Pro-birth is a part of being pro-choice. Pro-forced birth, however, is a part of pro-life. As for the second part of your statement, you forgot to add “with the exception of pregnant persons, whose lives are secondary to that of the almighty fetus.”[2]

The entry above is a great example of negatively slanted emotive words. In round 2 my opponent stated "it is clear that…'pro-choice' [refers] to supporters of abortion". However, the URL title to the blog entry above (safe-legal-abortion-is-prolife) refutes my opponent's assertion. This blogger clearly believes that pro-life refers to supporters of abortion.

Because many abortion euphemisms are such loaded terms it is difficult to debate the topic.

[1] http://publicreligion.org...

[2] http://safe-legal-abortion-is-prolife.tumblr.com...

zgb1997

Con

I thank my opponent for this debate. I will now close the matter with my final statement.

To begin with, as my opponent pointed out, this defence he offered came far too late, but I will respond all the same.

The most important defense my opponent offered is that terms that may in different contexts have different meanings, such as "pro-life", "pro-choice" etc. are loaded and sometimes misunderstood.
That much is true, no expression is universally understood and many can be sometimes misleading. But a fact no one can deny is that the terms my opponent is debating against are the most frequently used terms when it comes to abortion and perhaps most understood amongst loaded terms.

One can argue whether those euphemisms should be used in a survey, seeing it applies to that wide masses of the people and there will always be somebody who doesn't understand, but such people most often do not understand any phrases when it comes to such complited matters; they are simply unfit for such discussions. Yet, they must still participate in a survey since they are part of the population - that is why the survey given as an example is not the most applicable of examples.

As for the wikipedia example, I must point out certain things regarding the media:

As said on prochanceactionnetwork-canada.org:

Mainstream media, under the influence of anti-choice lobbying and propaganda, contribute significantly to the promotion of basic misconceptions about the pro-choice position and abortion services to the general public.

A fundamental misunderstanding of the abortion issue lies in the way people often refer to anti-choice and pro-choice as "two sides." In fact, the anti-choice are in favour of forced motherhood, and the opposite of that is forced abortion. We oppose both of these extremist positions.

The media attempt to warp those meanings into something else, into two fundamentally different sides. As the text further explains:

Pro-choice occupies the broad middle ground on the abortion issue. A large majority of North Americans believe abortion should be decided privately between a woman and her doctor. Pro-choice people include those who are personally against abortion or feel uncomfortable with it, but who would not impose their viewpoint by law onto all women. Pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion.


This is obvious from the very term "pro-choice". This is why "pro-choice" is used. I've already explained in r1 that pro-choice means exactly what this source says and it is obvious that the media argument is refuted; because the media are irrelevant - they are the ones trying to delude, trying to change meanings.

My opponent further attacks my case by saying arguments are best led in neutral language to help with formulation, but since "pro-choice" already has a defined meaning in the context of abortion, it is not necessary to change the wording.

As for the skydiver example, the terms my opponent offered cannot be defined, nor did he offer a definition. Pro-choice and pro-life can be defined in the context of abortion, and that is the main difference.

Finally my opponent rightly remarks that I said "pro-choice' [refers] to supporters of abortion". That was a mistake on my part, but later in the debate I explained in detail what pro-choice means, to which my opponent had no complaints, except the part about misleading certain people.

"On the other hand, supporters of abortion believe that a pregnant woman should always be allowed a choice between terminating the pregnancy, or having the child. It doesn't matter what she chooses, it matters that she be given that choice." This was my defition of pro-choice, to which no complaints were offered.


After this final rebuttal, I shall shortly remark that I:
a) managed to offer a definition for the euphemism in question and prove its widespread use
b) have shown (which also applies to a) ) how a certain degree of misdirection which is alwas present is not a problem of the euphemism per se

My opponent, on the other hand, failed to defend his case, and most of his argumentation was given in r3, and offered no decisive proof of misdirection, except the example concerning the media, which I have refuted.

I thank my opponent once again, and urge the voters to vote con!
Debate Round No. 3
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by zgb1997 4 years ago
zgb1997
Equivocator, that is nothing unusual. Most debate judges (and voters) presume what pro or con believes from what was said in the debate.

Thanks for the congratulations, this was an excellent debate ;)
I enjoyed it!
Posted by Equivocator 4 years ago
Equivocator
My sincere thanks to Con (zgb1997) for taking on this debate, and congratulations on your success.
Posted by Equivocator 4 years ago
Equivocator
Pro knows what Pro believes better than anyone else here. Pro never said that Pro believes the terms "pro-abortion" and "pro-choice" to be equivalent. Please stop presuming to know what Pro believes. If you believe you know what Pro believes then say something like "I think Pro believes" or "In my opinion, Pro believes."
Posted by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
Very well said, tapsen.

There are many who hate abortion, and would never seek one - and yet still do not want the politician, with his randy bull-horn, fingering about inside of their daughters and wives. A government small enough to fit inside a uterus is not a small government.

These people support a public that can keep its own counsel on such matters. Without panty sniffing politicians... And are therefore called an equivalent of "pro-decide-for-yourself."
Posted by tapsen 4 years ago
tapsen
Con was correct, though failed to realize pro's inherent misunderstanding. Pro believes the terms "pro-abortion" and "pro-choice" to be equivalent when they are not. A person may be personally anti-abortion and yet believe that persons may make their own determination as to whether they believe that. For example, someone who opposes abortion for religious reasons may still believe that their religion need not be imposed on others by the government.
Posted by tulle 4 years ago
tulle
Nice votebomb, utahjoker.
Posted by Chuz-Life 4 years ago
Chuz-Life
Sorry for the typos on my vote comments.
Posted by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
For a first debate, this was an impressive debut. I hope that the voting does not warn you off.
Posted by zgb1997 4 years ago
zgb1997
As far as I have managed to understand, people on this site tend to counter-vote when not enough explanation for a vote is given in the "reason for voting decision".
Posted by Equivocator 4 years ago
Equivocator
This was my first debate here. Although I knew that others would vote on this debate, I had assumed (incorrectly it would seem) that the votes would be cast based solely upon the preset voting categories (i.e. Agreed before/after, Conduct, Grammar, Arguments, and Sources) of the Pro/Con. However, after looking on the Votes tab at "Reasons for voting decision:" I now realize that some people vote only to counter other people"s votes. Of seven votes cast thus far, the reason given by two of the voters is to "Counter" othervoteridisagreewith. Funny, I didn't read that in the brochure.
11 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by Muted 4 years ago
Muted
Equivocatorzgb1997Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Sources most certainly go to Pro. Other than that, I tie this debate. (Edit: Arguments for same reason as DeFool)
Vote Placed by AlwaysMoreThanYou 4 years ago
AlwaysMoreThanYou
Equivocatorzgb1997Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Yeah, utahjoker is votebombing.
Vote Placed by drafterman 4 years ago
drafterman
Equivocatorzgb1997Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Those who oppose abortion also oppose one of two choices, leaving only one (not terminating the pregnancy). That is why opponents of abortion are "anti-choice". On the other hand, supporters of abortion believe that a pregnant woman should always be allowed a choice between terminating the pregnancy, or having the child. It doesn't matter what she chooses, it matters that she be given that choice. Thus, supportets of abortion are "pro-choice". - Debate over.
Vote Placed by emospongebob527 4 years ago
emospongebob527
Equivocatorzgb1997Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Counter utahjoker.
Vote Placed by tulle 4 years ago
tulle
Equivocatorzgb1997Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro failed to show that pro-choice = pro-abortion, because it actually doesn't. While it may be a euphemism for some, he could not prove it was a euphemism for "everyone". I think Con did a good job of stating his argument and is the clear winner.
Vote Placed by Chuz-Life 4 years ago
Chuz-Life
Equivocatorzgb1997Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: When the people who use "pro-choice" in their fight to keep Voluntary Abortion LEGAL and they are acting as PROponents for keeping ABORTION legal and not concerning themselves at all with the alternatives to abortion? It's clear. They are as Pro-Abortion as an equally zealous proponent for Gay Marriage would (justifiably) be called "Pr-Gay Marriage" and not just "pro-choice."
Vote Placed by utahjoker 4 years ago
utahjoker
Equivocatorzgb1997Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro wins uses more sources and makes the argument more convincing.
Vote Placed by One_Winged_Rook 4 years ago
One_Winged_Rook
Equivocatorzgb1997Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: I agree that they should change the names.. both "pro-life" and "pro-choice" are misleading, however, to change "pro-choice" to "pro-abortion" would also be misleading. They don't want everyone to get abortions. I think "reproductive rights" or something of that manner would fit better. Since Pro didn't specify a better name, (since Pro-abortion is lame) I give the win to Con.
Vote Placed by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
Equivocatorzgb1997Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Competency in marketing anything - including social policy - requires quite a bit of skill in wordcraft. This has led those seeking to communicate either side of the contraceptive/abortion debate to use terminology that they feel is most beneficial to "the cause." Pro argues that "pro-choice" is a poor characterization because in order to be "pro-Choice" one must also be "Pro-abortion." Con argues that "Pro-Choice" advocates are one facet of a more complicated issue, the facet that values "choice" more than any particular decision. Pro argues that the term "pro-Choice" is an attempt to misdirect the public, but does not adequately explain how this is unusual or extreme in this case, as opposed to all other forms of advocacy. Conduct to Con for Pro's late argument and for the unnecessarily inflammatory use of the word "coward." More in Comments.
Vote Placed by miketheman1200 4 years ago
miketheman1200
Equivocatorzgb1997Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro effectivley explained how using these euphemisms can be misleading and can always mean other things. I definatley started to side with Pro after asserting that the best terms to use in the context of the issue are "anti-abortion" and "pro-abortion" because you know exactley what people stand for. Conduct to con for Pros continuel new arguments. Sources to Pro because he had them. Spelling/grammer tie