June 27, 2005

If the Frame Fits...

Katha Pollitt has an interesting insight at the end of her column on Lakovian framing:

There's a word that doesn't show up much in the new abortion frames: women. Maybe it doesn't poll well. 'Reframing' abortion is actually a kind of deframing, a way of taking it out of its real-life context, which is the experience of women, their bodies, their healthcare, their struggles, the caring work our society expects them to do for free. Lynn Paltrow, the brilliant lawyer who runs National Advocates for Pregnant Women, thinks the way to win grassroots support for abortion rights is to connect it to the whole range of reproductive and maternal rights: the right to have a home birth, to refuse a Caesarean section, to know that a miscarriage or stillbirth--or simply taking a drink--will not land you in jail. The same ideology of fetal protection that anti-choicers wield against abortion is used against women with wanted pregnancies. More broadly, Paltrow argues that the right to abortion would have more support if it were presented as just one of the things women need to care for their families, along with paid maternity leave, childcare, quality healthcare for all, economic and social support for mothers and children, strong environmental policies that protect fetuses and children.

But when was the last time you heard a Democrat talk about paid maternity leave? It's been reframed right out of the picture.

I could write something about virtue and care ethics here, but my mom and I are going to go have ice cream, so you'll have to use your imaginations.

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