NPR says don’t call Gosnell an “abortionist” or even an “abortion doctor”

By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation

Photo Illustration by Lyne Lucien/The Daily Beast

It is no secret that serial killer Kermit Gosnell earned millions by performing abortions. And yet, National Public Radio refused to allow the term “abortionist” to describe him in a proposed underwriting credit for the NPR program “Fresh Air.”

The executive producer of the film, “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer,” told The Daily Beast that he offered a compromise: “abortion doctor” in promotional copy. But NPR nixed that because it was not considered value-neutral.

NPR would not permit the use of the word “abortion” in connection with Gosnell. Period. Only “doctor.”

Even though Gosnell was an abortionist—and had been one for decades.

If I were to choose an emoji to accompany this story, I would select one which conveyed the emotion “unsurprised.” This is because I once worked for an NPR member station and sometimes filed freelance reports for NPR.

I can vividly recall one day when I fielded a call from a public radio donor—who also happened to manage an abortion facility. She objected to my use of the phrase “abortion clinic” to describe her operation.

She argued that her clinic did not simply perform abortions, but also engaged in family planning. What she neglected to mention was that the vast majority of the money she made came from abortions.

But she made it quite clear that her donor dollars were helping to pay the radio station’s staff, so the not-so-veiled threat was that we had better not call her facility an abortion clinic—or else no funding for us.

At that time, NPR was careful to note that it did not accept paid advertising. But it did allow “underwriting credits” which would acknowledge the financial support of various enterprises. Still, there seemed to be tight restrictions on the type of verbiage that could be used for the credits.

But such rules can mask reality. To hide that Kermit Gosnell was an abortionist is to reject the reality of abortion itself—the ending of an innocent human life.

Gosnell’s grisly trade led him to deliver (at least) hundreds of full-term babies, after which he would “snip” the spinal cords of these living babies. He crossed the blurry line between late-term abortion and infanticide and, in the process, earned three consecutive life sentences in prison. He also was convicted of involuntary manslaughter of an unsuspecting female immigrant patient, Karnamaya Mongar.

News outlets can play with words but, in the end, the stark reality of visuals—such as the frozen remains of Gosnell’s victims police discovered in this “House of Horrors”—cannot be denied.

Refusing to use the word “abortion” is not value-neutral at all. It shows a profound lack of respect for the life-affirming values millions of Americans hold dear.