THE CHOICE "THAT DARE NOT SPEAK ITS NAME"
NARAL has repackaged itself for the third time. A NARAL press release dated January 6, 2003, announces: "America's Most Recognized Defender Of A Woman's Right To Choose Unveils Massive New Mobilization & Education Initiative. On the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, America faces an anti-choice White House, Congress, and the potential of a Supreme Court willing to roll back the right to choose. In response, the nation's most effective pro-choice organization has a new name--NARAL Pro-Choice America--and a massive nationwide mobilization initiative."
Why the name change? NARAL's polling must have shown that it is a lot easier to sell "choice" than "abortion." Being the "most recognized" and "most effective" pro-abortion lobbying group has a serious downside, don't you think? And people don't like abortion. In fact, even NARAL's president, Kate Michelman, once admitted to the Philadelphia Inquirer (12/11/1993): "We think that abortion is a bad thing. No woman wants to have one." (Attacked by fellow pro-abortionists over the remark, Ms. Michelman promptly denied having said it. But the interview had been taped, and the Inquirer stuck to its story.)
Committed pro-abortionists don't want to admit that "abortion is a bad thing," but the people at NARAL seem convinced that the word abortion is a bad thing: The two pages of the NARAL press release feature the words "choice" or "choose" 22 times but not once the word "abortion." To borrow a phrase from the poet Oscar Wilde, NARAL stands for a choice "that dare not speak its name."
It's instructive to review the evolution of the NARAL name.
Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a co-founder of NARAL, recalls in his book Aborting America (1979, Doubleday, New York) that "[t]he Planning Committee of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws held its first meeting at 12:30 P.M., Tuesday, February 25  in the office of Stewart Mott at 515 Madison Avenue [New York City]. The public unveiling of N.A.R.A.L. took place at noon on Thursday, May 8, a fine sunny day." [Pages 47 & 61.]
After the Roe v. Wade decision of 1973, NARAL retained the acronym but changed its name to National Abortion Rights Action League.
As the right-to-life movement gained strength, and as the general public became increasingly aware of abortion being a "bad thing," NARAL in 1993 expanded its name (without changing the acronym) to National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League. Obviously, the fudge term "reproductive rights" was supposed to detract from NARAL's single-minded promotion of the right to the "bad thing," abortion. "Reproductive rights" was used by the Clinton Administration as the code word for abortion rights.
And now it is NARAL Pro-Choice America--complete with a sheet of "directives on new name" from NARAL. According to these directives, "NARAL is no longer the acronym for the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League." So what is it? A nonsense word?
More "directives" from NARAL about the new name: "Do not use lowercase letters Do not use periods to separate the letters in the name NARAL. Do not use bold or italics in any part of the name N.A.R.A.L. pro-choice America"--oops, my mistakes! And so on.
In the press release NARAL president Kate Michelman declares, "This mobilization will secure the right to choose the same way we won--one American, one neighborhood, one community, one state and eventually one nation at a time. The pro-choice movement began at the grassroots and will continue to grow from the bottom up. NARAL Pro-Choice America's mobilization is more than just a political movement or an education effort. It is a reflection of a simple truth: Americans will defend their freedoms."
While the late Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun would have been pleased by NARAL's "mobilization," it surely would have been news to him that it was the pro-abortion "grassroots" rather than seven unelected men on the Supreme Court that made abortion legal through all nine months of pregnancy.
At NARAL's big fundraising and kick-off dinner for the new name and campaign on January 21, 2003, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright declared with Clintonian brazenness: "These are the days when the truth seems under siege. But do not doubt--truth is a durable thing, provided only that the truth tellers are tough and persistent, undiscouraged and unbowed. That's a pretty good description of NARAL under the leadership of Kate Michelman."
Well, truth is a durable thing, but not in NARAL's hands. NARAL has had trouble with the truth from its very beginning. Here is a telling episode related by NARAL's cofounder, Dr. Bernard Nathanson: "How many [maternal] deaths were we talking about when abortion was illegal? In N.A.R.A.L. we generally emphasized the drama of the individual case, not the mass statistics, but when we spoke of the latter it was always '5,000 to 10,000 deaths a year.' I confess that I knew the figures were totally false, and I suppose the others did too if they stopped to think of it. In 1967, the federal government listed only 160 deaths from illegal abortion. In the last year before the Blackmun era began, 1972, the total was only 39 deaths. [T]he actual total was probably closer to 500." [Aborting America, p. 193.] When it comes to lying, NARAL has continued being "tough and persistent, undiscouraged and unbowed."
NARAL's make-over exercise sounds bombastic and dishonest and looks like a silly game of pretend, ready to be dismissed. But it would be a serious mistake to dismiss it. NARAL will raise millions of dollars and spend them on a barrage of pro-abortion/"pro-choice" propaganda. It will hire operatives and send them into the states to create mischief at election time. And it will flood the news media with press releases full of deceptions and falsehoods--and we will see many of them appear in print and on the airwaves.
Our job is to outwork and out-organize NARAL and speak plainly and truthfully about abortion and the right to life. Join us and be counted.