Pro-life advocates were stunned to read a guide published by National Public Radio on how to properly use phrases while reporting on the abortion debate, and found it to be brazenly partisan.
The guidance cautioned reporters against describing the “fetal heartbeat” bills as referring to the heartbeat of a fetus — they instead say the heartbeat can be detected weeks before the embryo develops into a fetus.
The guidance objected to the terms “late term abortion” and “partial birth abortion,” and claimed those phrases had “ideological baggage” that implied the fetus was viable when the abortions were operated.
The guidance also said not to use the phrase “abortion clinics.”
We say instead, “medical or health clinics that perform abortions.” The point is to not to use abortion before the word clinic. The clinics perform other procedures and not just abortions.
Another section cautioned against phrases that would lead the reader to believe an aborted fetus was a baby.
The term “unborn” implies that there is a baby inside a pregnant woman, not a fetus. Babies are not babies until they are born. They’re fetuses. Incorrectly calling a fetus a “baby” or “the unborn” is part of the strategy used by antiabortion groups to shift language/legality/public opinion.
Ramesh Ponnuro of the National Review excoriated the guidance as “unself-consciously propagandistic” in its support of the pro-abortion side of the debate.
“It turns out that the longstanding practice of NPR has been to use the terms that are favored by one side of the abortion debate,” he added. “Guess which one!”
“Every single word-usage option is resolved in favor of language preferred by those who support liberal, widespread access to legalized abortion, against those who would further restrict the practice,” responded Quin Hillyer in the Washington Examiner. “Throughout the notice, the tone drips with contempt for pro-lifers.”
Here’s the latest on the abortion debate:
Can we expect a Supreme Court showdown over Alabama’s abortion ban?