September 05, 2006

Talking about baby promoters

I've been waiting for this book: Thinking Points, a handbook for progressives from the Rockridge Institute. It's a more complete version of George Lakoff's great little book Don't Think of an Elephant, and it's about how progressive people can talk and think about politics in effective ways.

You can read the preface online (PDF), as well as several related articles. I like this one about how to base political discussion on progressive values, and this specific look at reframing reproductive rights.

While I was building the new website for my local sexual health society, I started thinking about those "crisis pregnancy centres" that try to lure pregnant teenagers in for fundamentalist Christian, anti-abortion brainwashing. (The opposite of a community sexual health clinic.)

All the sex-positive, pro-choice folks I know use little air quotes when they talk about "crisis pregnancy centres." We need a better, more accurate name, because it would be very useful to have an easy way to warn unsuspecting young women about these centres.

You can't say, "Careful, that's actually a 'crisis pregnancy centre,'" without a long explanation of the meaningless phrase "crisis pregnancy." It's easy for that explanation to turn into a debate about abortion ethics, when the issues I actually care about are respect and safe healthcare for pregnant women. That second part is the reason that I flunk most of my renaming ideas. You can't say "Watch out for the Anti-Abortion Terror Promoters Who Fear Your Uterus," without another confrontational discussion.

Finding a new name for "crisis pregnancy centres" (are you doing the air quotes along with me?) has almost become a word game for long car rides, or long walks after drinking coffee. Opportunistic evangelism centres: no. Uterine conquest outposts: no. Emotional trauma marts: no. Pro-pregnancy centres: no, that sounds like an elite training corps that I might consider joining.

But I think I've got one. This morning, I am pleased to declare: Watch out for that Baby Promotion Centre.

Accurate, without being too hard-ass. And you can totally say, "Oh, that's a baby promotion centre," and it sounds exactly as weird as it is. It's a start.

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