In the good old days, most who took a position on abortion were content to be known either as pro-abortion or anti-abortion. Then, as the pro-abortion establishment shifted the battle from one of ideas to one of words, the anti-abortion crowd came up with the idea of calling themselves pro-life; and the pro-abortion crowd followed suit and trumped them with that propaganda masterpiece known as pro choice. (Of course, the dominate media refused to play along, continuing to refer to one side as anti-abortion, while immediately switching to the preferred pro-choice moniker for the other.)
Whether the change from anti-abortion to pro-life was necessary is debatable, for the former label is nothing to be ashamed of as it accurately expresses a major thrust of what we now call the pro-life movement. After all, if something is wrong, be it slavery, or child pornography, or abortion; why would not any rational, moral, human being want to be vehemently anti-slavery, or anti-kiddy-porn, or - yes that awful, pejorative term - anti-abortion. (Who today wants to be pro-choice on slavery or pro-choice on child pornography?) In any case, pro-life includes the idea of anti-abortion while delineating the general principle behind resistance to abortion, i.e. a reverence for the sanctity of all innocent human life and pro-life extends the scope of the movement to include other related issues where defenseless human lives are threatened like infanticide, euthanasia, and genocide. The pro-life label is full of information about the true nature of the movement that it seeks to define. In other words, pro-life is a refinement and extension of anti-abortion, proclaiming not only opposition to abortion, but also the motivation behind that opposition.
But what about the pro-choice label? Does pro-choice to provide a better or more exact definition of the position than pro-abortion, or is it a verbal smokescreen which allows the conscience to avoid the moral considerations involved in at best not resisting abortion, or at worst advocating, committing, or profiting from acts of abortion? If pro-choice is really proposed as a term of substance, if it truly defines ones approach to the fate of the unborn child and is not merely a camouflage of the true nature of the abortion culture, then there are at least three possible ways to understand what is meant by pro-choice, i.e. what is the motivation, the world-view behind a person's acceptance of abortion.
1. By pro-choice some mean that abortion is actually a good thing in many or even in most cases. This person is the activist, the one who believes he is helping women and society, who welcomes abortion as a blessed remedy for many of the evils in society. This is the person who should be proud to wear the old label, "pro-abortion." This is the most consistent of positions and its holder should not be ashamed and hide behind the pro-choice facade.
2. By pro-choice some mean that there is no right or wrong, no better or worse road to travel in life. All choices are of equal value and everyone can and should just do what they want. This is the road to anarchy, to the complete breakdown of society. It leads to the world we are fast approaching where all that are small or weak, those who have no advocacy group, are defenseless against the strong, the majority, who are able to impose their choices on others at will. This is the nightmare world of social Darwinism gone haywire, but at least it is a consistent nightmare and its holder should eschew the niceties of the pro-choice society for the fraternity of the survival of the fittest
3. By pro-choice some mean that though some choices are good and others are not, the ability to choose is a higher good that must not be restricted in order to prevent some lesser evil. This is the guy who line is "I am personally opposed to abortion, but I believe that every one has the right to chose abortion for themselves." That this is a morally bankrupt position, can be readily seen by applying the same approach to owning slaves, committing rape, having sexual relations with children, or any number of other "choices' that people sometimes want to make. This is the most logically indefensible position on the pro-choice team, but those that hold it are the mascots and the boosters of the pro-choice squad, for they provide the numbers, the political cover, that allows the zealots of positions 1 and 2 to work their will on society.
(Where on the pro-choice spectrum those who make their living in the abortion industry fit is difficult to determine.)
The fact is that the term pro-life is almost unequivocal in its clarity and those who take this name must stand in the bright light of its definition for all the world to see. The line that the pro-life label draws in the sand is clear and there is no place to hide.
On the other hand pro-choice is a great umbrella that almost anyone can get under. Pro-choice allows fellowship among many disparate groups. The true believers, who promote abortion through active support and performance or collusion; the cowards who think abortion is wrong but are unwilling impose restraint on the evil of others; those who could care less because theirs is a world with no right or wrong: all these can stand together under the broad pro-choice canopy. And the slickness of its wide surface, (that propaganda masterpiece!), protects all those in its shelter from the bright sun of scrutiny, from the rain of tears and the cold sleet of death that they have all in concert brought upon this world.
What does it mean to be pro-choice? A rose by any other name is still a rose, and pro-abortion is still pro-abortion, no matter what its called.