Progressives are masters at changing the definitions of words either to hide or push an agenda. The issue of abortion is no different. In a new piece by George Lakoff called The Sacredness of Life and Liberty, Lakoff teaches progressives that they shouldn't be using terms like baby or unborn child to describe "cells" in the womb. Lakoff also rails against the Texas GOP for daring to use the words pain or victim to describe the condition of the
unborn child cells during abortion. And yes, Lakoff calls for the use of the word "abortion" to be abolished too.
The notion of a crime victim, of course, implies the ability to experience mental or physical pain, afflicted by a villain. The GOP introduces this notion by supporting legislation that requires doctors to "provide pain relief" for cells and cell clusters during abortion.
Here's what progressives need to do: Never use the Cells Are People metaphor, even in arguing against conservative policy. Never use the term baby or unborn child to refer to a blastocyst, embryo, or fetus.
Stop using the term abortion. It has misleading properties. When we speak of "aborting a mission," the mission was intentional and planned, and the original idea was to bring it to an end state. What happens with an unwelcome pregnancy is nothing like this. The pregnancy was not intentional, not planned, and there was never any intention of bringing it to an end state. Rather, what is desired is development prevention, keeping any development from happening. That development can be prevented at many stages, from unfertilized cells (via morning-after pills), to blastocyst to embryo, from embryo to fetus, from fetus to a non-fully-formed-human, to an unviable human (one that can't live outside the womb). The earlier the development prevention, the better for the woman.
And that partial birth abortion thing just doesn't exist, it's a myth according to Lakoff, so why mention it at all?
Never use the expression partial birth abortion. It's a conservative political tool, not a medical reality. Here's the Texas GOP in its 2012 platform: "We oppose partial birth abortion." The term was invented by a hired, conservative language professional. The image is grisly, and that was the point. But no such thing exists. The medical condition it is supposed to represent is one where a potential child cannot survive, either because it has no brain, or because of some other equally awful condition. And usually, the mother's life is at risk. This has nothing to do with either giving birth or with more common reasons for preventing development.
So how does Lakoff belief progressives should frame the abortion issue? By using conservative principles and words to do so of course.
You can think of it as a pro-liberty issue. It is also a matter of having the family that makes sense to you, and so it is a pro-family issue, a matter of Family Freedom, the freedom to plan your own family.
The bottom line is this: Abortion stops the beating heart of an unborn child in most cases. Because science is moving in the pro-life direction, the more technology we have developed throughout the years has opened our eyes to how early life actually begins inside the womb, progressives like Lakoff are resorting to not facing the reality of life, but changing the language surrounding abortion.
Katie Pavlich is the Editor at Townhall.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiepavlich. She is a New York Times Best Selling author. Her latest book Assault and Flattery: The Truth About the Left and Their War on Women, was published on July 8, 2014.