Why the Guardian is changing the language it uses to describe abortion bans


(Joseph Bayly) #1

“Pregnancy and fetal development are a continuum,” said the [American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists] president, Dr Ted Anderson. “What’s interpreted as a heartbeat in these bills is actually electrically induced flickering of a portion of fetal tissue that will become the heart as the embryo develops.”

I don’t wonder that this doctor is confused, given that the electrically induced flickering of the clump of cells in his chest is obviously not a heartbeat. How could it be, since he is himself heartless?


(Lucas Weeks) #2

Since this is also on the topic of abortion, I’ll post it here:


(Joseph Bayly) #3

FYI, that piece Lucas posted is by David Daleiden. You probably remember him from the undercover videos that the Center for Medical Progress did a few years ago.


(Dani McNeilly) #4

On a similar topic, here’s something recent from NPR explaining why they use certain terms as they report on abortion-related news:


(Lucas Weeks) #5

Ooo, that NPR article makes me :rage::

Why are NPR journalists themselves told not to use them? In the case of “pro-choice,” the language is accurate. Those on that side want women to have the option to choose whether to have an abortion. People who oppose abortion rights don’t see it as a choice between two morally equivalent positions, but, opinions aside, that language does go back to the central focus of the legal and political controversy: it is a choice that the Supreme Court so far has ruled lies with the pregnant woman.

“Pro-life” is a bit murkier.

It seems to me that, by the nature of the case, to “not take a side” in the abortion debate is to take a side. This is because you simply can’t decide to be neutral on whether or not it’s a person. There is no middle ground.


(John M. ) #6

Sure. But each side has its preferred terms (“pro-choice” and “pro-life”). To use those terms involves a certain amount of question-begging, but it’s hard for anyone to squawk too much.

But framing the question around being for or against “abortion rights” is question-begging of epic proportions. And scolding your reporters for calling an unborn baby a “baby”, as though anyone calls an unborn baby anything other than a “baby,” well, that’s just advocacy.

Full disclosure: I didn’t read the NPR article posted.