The New Generation of Abortion: “What Choice?”
The cover story of the January 14, 2013 edition of TIME magazine, entitled “What Choice?” by Kate Pickert, brings to light new emerging issues with respect to the familiar topic of abortion. The article discusses a number of current problems that are threatening and weakening the pro-choice effort. These problems consist of time and money-wasting “red-tape,” opposing ideology between Republican and Democratic parties, opposing views within the same parties, and conflicting regulation at the Federal and State levels of government. Not only do these external forces of politics and government impose on women’s personal freedom to choose, but problems within the pro-choice movement itself are causing it to collapse internally, caused by a generational gap and a shift in the mindset of younger pro-choice activists.
Although women have won the right to have abortions, actually accessing abortion services has become increasingly difficult. The pro-choice movement is currently up against “92 abortion-regulating provisions” (Pickert, 2013, p. 40) that were passed by 24 states in 2011. Some of these provisions include banning “medication-induced abortions” (Pickert, 2013, p. 42), “requiring abortion clinics to be licensed,” and requiring clinics to strictly adhere to architectural zoning laws such as having 5-foot wide hallways (Pickert, 2013, p. 43). These provisions are making access to abortion services more costly to provide and regulation more difficult for clinics to adhere to, which is consequently reducing the number of abortion clinics and available doctors in the United States (with some states only having one clinic).
However, the main thrust of this article is that although Roe v. Wade was a great coup and “crowning achievement of the 20th century women’s movement” (Pickert, 2013, p. 40), the pro-choice effort is lacking unity and losing the battle. The underlying issue is the shift in the mindset of the younger generation as to how they identify with the pro-choice movement. The movement is no longer strictly about women’s personal right to choose. The new generation now associates the pro-choice effort with the term “reproductive justice,” a phrase coined during the 1990s by black feminists (Pickert, 2013, p. 45). This term conveys a shift in the movement toward a more holistic cause, which tries to appeal to more women and men by encompassing “a broader, more diffuse agenda that addresses abortion access but also contraception, child care, gay rights, health insurance and economic opportunity” (Pickert, 2013, p. 45). This modernized and multi-dimensional outlook is more appealing to the younger generation, which is an important goal to achieve if the fight to maintain a woman’s right to choose is to be protected.
The article has a number of strengths and weaknesses. The article’s strengths lie in the fact that it brings to light new issues surrounding abortion, and raises the awareness of the shift in the mindset of the current generation. It does not seek to address the traditional abortion argument of pro-life verses pro-choice, but instead seeks to modernize the movement by expanding the issues under concern and trying to attract a wider audience. A weakness of this article is that the author seems to be biased toward the pro-choice movement, thus not presenting a truly impartial view point. Also, the article doesn’t provide any details about how the younger generation is attempting to change the perception of the antiquated views on abortion. The author could have presented some ideas about what people can do to help the cause (if they are in favor of it), rather than primarily focusing on what is slowing the movement down.
Furthermore, abortion is one of the reproductive health issues that cannot exist apart from the moral and ethical issues that surround it. Whenever life and death is at the