Pro-abortion Groups and their Allies in the Press Change Language and Terminology to Suit Pro-Abortion Goals

By Laura Echevarria, Director of Communications and Press Secretary

Editor’s note. This appeared in the December issue of National Right to Life News. Please share this story—as well as the entire 46-page edition—with your pro-life family and friends.

In the last few years, we’ve seen the mainstream media downplay complaints about the suppression of free speech on social media platforms and the like. But when it comes to their favorite issue—abortion and efforts to prevent the illegal spread of information about the abortion pill –the tables have turned.

For example, recent New York Timesarticles include an opinion piece that is replete with errors with an obvious pro-abortion slant. Even the headline of the opinion piece was ripe with insinuation: “The Next Anti-Abortion Tactic: Attacking the Spread of Information.”

Note that the headline says “information” not “misinformation” or even “illegal information”even though the piece is centered on how pro-abortion organizations are working to get around pro-life laws by illegally providing information about abortion, about how to obtain an abortion, and about the use of abortion pills. (You could get old and gray waiting for these pro-abortion media giants to talk about the dangers associated with abortion pills.)

The Washington Post followed the New York Times with an article outlining plans by a number of pro-life groups to curtail misinformation and illegal activity regarding the distribution of abortion pills by pro-abortion groups. 

The title of that article? “Antiabortion movement seeks to jail people for ‘trafficking’ illegal pills: Six months after their Supreme Court victory, conservatives complain that strict new laws are not being sufficiently enforced.” (They aren’t!)These articles and opinion pieces employ nuances such as quote marks around “trafficking” to imply that this information is questionable or in doubt. 

New?  What is new is the intensity. We’re seeing a vigorous push by pro-abortion groups to influence the way reporters cover the abortion issue—to bend, shape, and mutilate the narrative to favor their side.

For example, the pro-abortion group Physicians for Reproductive Health (PRH) dedicated a page on its website to “resources” for journalists who cover the abortion issue. On the website, PRH argues that voices reporters should avoid when covering the abortion issue include: “Anti-abortion organizations claiming medical expertise…,” “Anti-abortion politicians,” “Anti-abortion religious organizations,” and “Other anti-abortion organizations.” In other words, any pro-life organization, such as National Right to Life, should always be avoided.

Not long ago, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists [ACOG] issued new guidelines about how to talk about abortion. From the article that appeared in the publication Quartz,

ACOG’s new guide stresses the importance of removing the stigma around abortion, beginning with the way it is discussed. The vocabulary presented by the organization replaces common phrases with more accurate terms, and details the reasons why changing the vocabulary is important.  

“More accurate”?  Hardly. ACOG’s guide uses loaded language such as calling the pro-life view “anti-choice.”

The greatest offender of all is the Associated Press. Interest groups understandably want reporters to use their preferred language. But the Associated Pressrecently revised its Stylebook to include euphemisms that boggle the mind. 

“Do not use the term late-term abortion,” the Stylebook intones. “The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists defines late term as 41 weeks through 41 weeks and 6 days of gestation, and abortion does not happen in this period.”

Did you catch that? Under this definition, it is not a “late-term abortion” when a baby is aborted at 40 weeks!

Such tactics are not surprising or unusual. In an era when language has been tipped on its head because of “wokeness,” the language used by most reporters and publications has long been consistent with this kind of ideology. 

The only thing that has changed is how open abortion advocacy groups and the press are in acknowledging this push for pro-abortion language.