In all the coverage of the new anti-abortion laws being passed in various states, have you ever noticed that the language being used in news articles seems to have a decidedly pro-abortion slant to it? It’s not just your imagination and this isn’t happening by accident. For one example, check out the NPR style guide’s instructions on how to talk about abortion. Some of the rules they impose are startling to say the least. For example, should you refer to a fetal heartbeat bill by its name? Not if it can be avoided. (Emphasis in original)
Proponents refer to it as a “fetal heartbeat” law. That is their term. It needs to be attributed to them if used and put in quotation marks if printed. We should not simply say the laws are about when a “fetal heartbeat” is detected. As we’ve reported, heartbeat activity can be detected “about six weeks into a pregnancy.” That’s at least a few weeks before an embryo is a fetus.
If that’s not enough for you, when it comes to late-term abortions, NPR doesn’t even want reporters using the word “abortion.” I guess that sounds too messy. (Again, emphasis is from the original copy)
ABORTION PROCEDURES & TERMINOLOGY: Use the term intact dilation and extraction to describe the procedure, or a procedure known medically as intact dilation and extraction; opponents call it partial-birth abortion. On the latter, it is necessary to point out that the term partial-birth is used by those opposed to the procedure; simply using the phrase so-called partial birth abortion is not sufficient without explaining who’s calling it that. Partial-birth is not a medical term and has no exact parallel in medical terminology; intact dilation and extraction is the closest description.
They also don’t want reporters to say “abortion clinics.” The preferred terminology is “medical or health clinics that perform abortions.” You’re also not allowed to say unborn unless quoting someone. The reason? Because “unborn implies that there is a baby inside a pregnant woman, not a fetus.”
You’re also supposed to say “abortion rights supporter(s)/advocate(s)” and “abortion rights opponent(s).” Can you guess what you’re never supposed to say unless it’s in the name of a group or organization? I bet you already knew it. “Pro-life” is verboten.
NPR isn’t alone in this, of course. Here’s one gem from the Associated Press style guide.
abortion: Use anti-abortion instead of pro-life and abortion rights instead of pro-abortion or pro-choice. Avoid abortionist, which connotes a person who performs clandestine abortions.
There you have it. You’ve probably noticed it already, but it’s not just a series of choices made by individual liberal reporters. It’s right in the style guides. Terminology commonly used by “opponents” (pro-life people are referred to as “opponents” in all of these documents) is not allowed. The standards are in place to speak of pro-abortion activists favorably.