Many in the media are racing to report that Ivanka Trump publicly identifies as “pro-life.” But instead of using her words, they’re opting for their own.
RealClearPolitics recently published a piece by Philip Wegmann after he interviewed Ivanka Trump, daughter and advisor to President Trump. In the middle of his piece, Wegmann revealed that, for the first time, Ivanka described herself as “pro-life.”
Abortion is one “area where Ivanka has undeniably changed,” Wegmann wrote in the piece published on October 29. That’s because of what she told him about her position.
“I respect all sides of a very personal and sensitive discussion,” Ivanka said, “but I am also a mother of three children, and parenthood affected me in a profound way in terms of how I think about these things.”
She added, “I am pro-life, and unapologetically so.”
Many in the media latched on to Ivanka’s newly-revealed position, but, in doing so, they hesitated to use the term “pro-life” in their headlines.
“Ivanka Trump says she is 'unapologetically' anti-abortion,” Business Insider’s headline read. Newsweek announced, “Ivanka Trump Is 'Unapologetically' Against Women's Abortion Rights.” Raw Story likewise added, “Ivanka Trump says she is ‘unapologetically’ against abortion rights for women.”
Women’s magazines and feminist sites were no exception. Jezebel’s headline repeated, “Conveniently, Ivanka Trump Comes Out as Anti-Abortion.”
“This is reportedly the first time Trump has made her anti-abortion stance public, perhaps in a bid to connect with the suburban women President Trump has been hemorrhaging,” staff writer Ashley Reese guessed. “It’s almost as if her support for working moms and women in developing countries was a mirage of shallow bulls*** from the jump!”
Vanity Fair chose the most complex wording by far: “Ivanka Trump Says She Respects ‘All Sides’ of the Debate over Abortion, which She Is ‘Unapologetically’ Opposed To.” The subheadline added, “The first daughter isn’t sorry she wants to take abortion rights away.”
Politics correspondent Bess Levin translated the news to say, “it would also be easier to believe that Ivanka was passionate about women’s empowerment, particularly of the economic variety, if she didn’t apparently believe that women should be forced to have babies regardless of the circumstances.”
But regardless of how the media feel about Trump, the distinction between “anti-abortion” and “pro-life” is an important one. Some leaders and writers who recognize the unborn understandably embrace the “anti-abortion” label because it’s concise, can appear less polarizing, and focuses on the one issue: abortion.
The term “pro-life” addresses something more complex – and takes more time and thought to digest.
Pro-life means recognizing the inherent dignity and worth of the human person, from the moment of conception to natural death. Because abortion poses the greatest threat to this – by intentionally ending tens of millions of innocent lives worldwide each year – pro-lifers focus their efforts on challenging abortion in order to create a culture of life.
Yes, pro-lifers are against abortion. But they don’t just say “no” to abortion; they enthusiastically shout “yes” to life – and a society where abortion is unthinkable. A society where women don’t feel like they have to “choose” abortion in order to pursue their education or career, pay the bills, keep their partner happy, or care for the children that they already have.
The pro-life movement is already working on this, by supporting pregnancy centers that provide pregnant women and moms in need with free resources including housing, health care, clothing, educational classes, and job support. Some, including one in Miami that was recognized by the White House last year, offer “pregnancy tests, sonograms, peer counseling, parenting education, adoption referrals, and opportunities to learn about healthy sexual values and personal growth.”
That’s not to mention what pro-life individuals do personally. In a Twitter thread that went viral last year, pro-life Americans revealed what they’ve done in their own lives to promote life and support pregnant women and new moms. The list is a long one: raising money for and volunteering at pregnancy centers, organizing diaper drives, arranging transportation to doctor appointments, adopting children, fostering children, babysitting, paying for single moms’ education, providing financial counseling and life-skills classes, and more.
This is what pro-life means. And so, when the media choose to use phrases like “anti-abortion” or “against abortion,” they’re leaving something out: that “yes” to life.