On Tuesday night, Cecile Richards, the CEO of Planned Parenthood, was the first speaker at the Democratic National Convention to use the word “abortion.”
Many pro-abortion activists hailed Richards’ utterance as “de-stigmatizing” and a leap forward to “abortion normalization.” What is interesting about Richards’ speech is not, however, what she said, but what the other speakers in Philadelphia have not said.
For the most part, Democrats refuse to say the word “abortion.” They believe the word is political poison.
Polling suggests 81 percent of American voters support restrictions on abortion that the Democratic platform is open hostile towards. Similar polling also points to fact that the youth and minority groups — the crown jewels of the Obama coalition — believe abortion is morally wrong.
The Democrats fear that if their party truthfully communicated their pro-abortion platform, Americans would turn against the left in droves. The fact that Cecile Richards, perhaps the most radically pro-abortion woman in the country, is the only one with the strength of conviction to even so much as use the word “abortion” is a testament to the pro-life movement’s growing strength.
However, that doesn’t mean that the DNC is dodging the abortion issue entirely. Indeed, as one Washington Examiner writer described it, the Democratic convention is a celebration of abortion.
Leaders of pro-abortion groups, from Richards to the heads of NARAL and EMILY’s List, have given hyped-up addresses to the delegates. The Democrats’ platform supports essentially deregulating abortion clinics to encourage “easy access.” The Democratic nominee has abandoned her husband’s mantra that abortion ought to be “safe, legal, and rare” in favor of a new motto “legal and available with federal funding.”
Democrats know that if they speak openly and honestly about their positions, they will lose the people’s support. Because of the tireless work of the pro-life movement, the left prefers the euphemism “a woman’s right to choose.”
In George Orwell’s classic novel 1984, a totalitarian dictatorship revamps the English language to hide the truth about its tyranny from the subjects of the regime.
Orwell wrote, “[This Newspeak’s] vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meanings and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and by stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meanings whatever.”
With abortion, the Democrats have been trying to do exactly what the totalitarian antagonists of Orwell’s chilling book did. Cecile Richards’ speech is the exception that proves this rule.
Michael Lucchese works for the American Principles Project.