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What does it mean to be Pro-choice?

There's probably a million different ways people feel about the abortion debate. What they think should or shouldn't be allowed for others, and what they personally would do themselves, which may or may not be the same. For those that identify as pro-life, they might feel abortion is never okay for any reason, or they may have certain things they'd make exceptions for like life of the mother or rape.
But what about being pro-choice? Can you advocate a position that would, at times, legally bar a woman from obtaining an abortion she wants, and still call yourself pro-choice?

What exactly should "pro-choice" mean?

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ChestRockfield 8 Oct 17

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Too vague of a poll. Personally, I support complete choice up to the beginning of the 3rd trimester, after that I feel it should only be for the health of the mother; but I am 100% pro-choice because no matter what I think, I can't make that call for someone else. So, how does that fit into your poll? Because I hold a nuanced view but also the opinion that my views don't really determine anything. (That came out wrong, because I haven't slept since Friday night.)

If you believe it would be nice if pregnant women didn't get an abortion in the third trimester unless their life was in danger, but wouldn't ever impose that restriction on them leaving them to chose what's right for them always, then you would be option 1, "Women always have the choice. Period."


You can be pro-choice for the first 24 weeks and pro-life for the last 16 weeks.

BD66 Level 8 Oct 17, 2021

You don't think having that time restriction would invalidate the claim of being pro-choice? Let's say a 16 year-old girl was abducted, locked up in a basement, repeatedly raped, and impregnated. In her 28th week of gestation, she escapes and in an attempt to get control of her life back she seeks an abortion, but your vote was the deciding vote to make it illegal for her to get one because she didn't escape a month earlier. You think you could still be considered pro-choice at that point?
What if the "abortion" clinics in a rural area intentionally lie to women in various ways like pretending she can schedule her abortion, but claiming they can't do it yet for her safety because she has a fever or infection. Then they string her along until after 24 weeks at which point they tell her it's too late. This means that the restriction you helped to impose actually functioned as a ban or pro-life measure. Would you still consider yourself to be pro-choice?


@JeffMurray You have identified some extremely rare cases. I believe in both of those cases, the fetus could still survive on its own, so you are looking at two costs:

  1. The cost of making a woman deliver the child and give the child up for adoption.
  2. The cost of killing a fetus that could survive on its own.

I still think (even in your rare cases), the cost of #1 is less than the cost of #2.

@BD66 I'm not really asking about costs or a way to evaluate what one should do based on said costs. I'm only asking if one should be considered pro-choice if the policies they vote for or inact take choice away from women. Also, the rarity of the case is irrelevant, if your daughter was the one in a million whose choice was taken away, the other 999,999 wouldn't really matter to you.

@JeffMurray The real issue for rational people should be:

How do we set policy to minimize the sum of the following costs?

The cost of making a woman deliver the child and give the child up for adoption.
The cost of killing a fetus that could survive on its own.

Most believe that the morning after pill should be legal, so if you want to place labels on everyone, you could call all the people who believe that "Pro-Choice"

Most people believe a healthy fetus should not be aborted on its due date, so if you want to place labels on everyone, you could call all the people who believe that "Pro-Life"

To me the logical transition between "Pro-Choice" and "Pro-Life" would be the time when you could induce labor, and the baby could survive without the mother. I believe most people have similar beliefs.

That time is somewhere between 20 and 24 weeks gestation.

@BD66 You're still talking about costs and setting policy. That is not what I'm interested in here. Debating the merits of abortion and varying gestational points was not the goal of this question. I'd be more than happy to do that if you'd like, but for this thread, I'm looking to find out how people think the term pro-choice should be defined and if it's fair to still include yourself in that group if you believe in restricting women's access to abortion.


Even most pro-choice Americans oppose late-term abortion, according to a newly released poll, putting them at odds with the Democratic push for state legislation removing barriers to third-trimester procedures.

A survey conducted by with the pro-life group Americans United for Life found that 66 percent of U.S. adults who identify as pro-choice opposed third-trimester abortions, and 68 percent oppose abortions the day before a baby is born.

As expected, the opposition was stronger among all adults surveyed: 79 percent rejected late-term abortion, and 80 percent opposed day-before-birth abortion.

I'm in the 66 percent of Americans who identify as pro-choice but oppose third-trimester abortions.


@BD66 The numbers are the numbers, that's fine. (Just because almost everyone agrees on something doesn't mean they're right.) Just trying to see why people would say they are pro-choice when they support limiting access to abortion. Is it simply because we don't have a well-known phrase for the middle ground where people support not letting women have full control over their bodies? Maybe the 66-80% should be classified at limited-choice or quasi-choice?

@JeffMurray "Pro-choice with limits" is probably the best term.

If you look at all voters, you are literally looking at:

25% Abortion should be legal in all circumstances
50% Abortion should be legal (except late-term abortions)
25% All abortion should be illegal.

The majority in the middle don't even have a name. Typical in today's political environment.

@BD66 "Pro-choice with limits" doesn't seem right to me. I think it borrows too heavily from "pro-choice" when in some instances it's anything but. To me that's like fighting for equality... for most people. Maybe it should be "anti-choice with exceptions" or "pro-life with limits" then?


I would vote No. You can't put restrictions on abortion and still be pro choice. Of course that wasn't on the "ballot".

Women always have the choice would mean no restrictions...

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