Pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion

by Abby Nye

Two weeks ago, Whitworth Students for Life hosted Washington State, dist. 4 senator Mike Padden, who includes a pro-life stance in his political platform. During the event, Padden discussed his beliefs on abortion and specifically how poor Washington state is doing in its efforts for pro-life legislation and awareness. It became clear as Padden spoke, that he believes the pro-choice movement is made up of those who are eager to kill unborn children. However, people who advocate for a pro-life position, or “abortionists” as Padden so affectionately called us, are not advocating for the death of unborn infants. Pro-choice is simply advocating for women to have a right over their own bodies.

Based on the views that Padden holds, it is clear that he has no understanding or regard for the history or current state of women’s lives in America. From a young age, girls are told to cover up, to be aware of our body’s effect on boys, to play nice and fair and to simply take what they are given. Girls are shamed into believing that they are at fault for what others may feel about them. Denying women a choice, and allowing men to make decisions about a woman’s body, reinforces this gross stereotype, and it needs to end.

Padden has no way of understanding that for women, it is an uphill battle of fighting sexism and moving past the guilt that comes with being the “cause” of sexual immorality. Padden was quick to call out women for wanting to terminate a pregnancy that was caused by rape, and yet he dismisses sexual harassment committed by men. “Look at all the sex harassment stuff happening today, and some of what, mainly men, are doing is wrong, but sometimes they don’t really know what is right and wrong,” Padden said. The authority on which Padden says this comes from a strictly white, heterosexual, male background.

When asked if there is any daycare, health care for children, or other services that are available to mothers who are unexpectedly pregnant for both prenatal and postnatal care, Padden listed a few non-profits, like Catholic Charities that can help with those services. He confirmed that the government was not very involved in the funding of these organizations. “Yes, the government funds a few of those,” he said before quickly moving onto another question. Despite him feeling so strongly against abortion, Padden has no system in place to help the mother. Until you have a plan in place to provide all services that would help the mother, you cannot take away the right to abortion.

It is unacceptable and inappropriate to have Padden in a position where he is making decisions on behalf of women. Without any lived experience, Padden is not able to know what a woman is going through when she finds herself with unwanted pregnancy. He has no authority to say what is right or wrong without experience as a woman. The pro-choice movement works to prevent men like Padden from being able to make decisions based on an ignorant mindset. This movement is not “pro-abortion,” it’s simply advocating for women to be in charge of their own decisions on reproductive health care.

Contact Abby Nye at