“Stories for Reproductive Freedom:” A Rhetorical Analysis of Storytelling on NARAL Pro-Choice America’s Website
In the debate on abortion access in the United States of America, the pro-life movement tends to dominate strong appeals to emotion while the pro-choice movement relies more heavily on facts and appeals to logic. This division of the rhetorical landscape ignores key present-day pro-choice advocacy efforts involving appeals to pathos. I consider how storytelling is used in the pro-choice movement to share the perspectives of people who have been impacted by abortion access, dispel myths surrounding abortion, and give concrete examples of the who, why, and how of abortion. In my article, I examine thirty-three stories from the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) Pro-Choice America’s “Stories for Reproductive Freedom” webpage. I argue that the various strategies for women to share their personal experiences present in the stories I analyze demonstrate how the pro-choice movement claims a voice in the rhetorics of emotion surrounding abortion that has been dominated by the pro-life movement for decades. As the legal battle for abortion access still rages today, it is vital for pro-choice advocates to understand how and why storytelling is an important tool in the continuous fight for access to abortion.