The assault on reason, which undergirds the pro-abortion movement, has taken yet another step toward the absurd. A popular terminology guide for journalists has been altered to promote the abortionists’ cause further.
The Associated Press (AP) Stylebook issued new guidelines instructing journalists about how to write about abortion. The AP Stylebook is a go-to resource for journalists in the English-speaking world.
Recommending a Ban on ‘Late-term Abortion,’ But Only in Terminology
The most important aspect the AP wished to note was posted on its official Twitter page. Taking issue with the term “late-term abortion,” the AP wrote that such an abortion is only defined as happening between 41 weeks and 41 weeks and six days—at which point, an abortion “does not happen.”
The AP’s Twitter post read: “Do not use the term ‘late-term abortion.’ The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists defines late term as 41 weeks through 41 weeks and six days of gestation, and abortion does not happen in this period.”
Instead, the AP stated that the term “abortion later in pregnancy” should be used, adding the caveat that writers should “be aware that there are varying definitions of the time period involved. Be specific when possible: abortions after XX weeks when XX is known in the context of the specific story.”
The online Stylebook also warned journalists about using the terms “pro-life” or even “pro-choice,” with the AP instead instructing reporters thus: “Use the modifiers anti-abortion or abortion-rights; don’t use pro-life, pro-choice or pro-abortion unless they are in quotes or proper names. Avoid abortionist, which connotes a person who performs clandestine abortions.”
Somewhat predictably, pro-lifers offering help to women were also to be redefined under the AP’s updated guidelines. The AP took issue with pro-life “counseling centers” or “crisis pregnancy centers,” grouping such places under the general description of “anti-abortion centers.”
Almost as a warning to journalists, the AP wrote that such pro-life centers should be written about with a caveat: “If using the term anti-abortion center, explain later that these often are known as ‘crisis pregnancy centers’ (with quotation marks) and that their aim is to dissuade people from getting an abortion.”
While such pro-life centers offer counseling and assistance to mothers to find another option instead of abortion, the AP stated that journalists should “[a]void potentially misleading terms such as pregnancy resource centers or pregnancy counseling centers; these terms don’t convey that the centers’ general aim is to prevent abortions.”
Trans-Inclusive Abortion Terminology
The AP has not skimped on its attention to the transgender movement in the release of its updated guidance to journalists. The recommendation now reflects what is commonly described as more “inclusive” understandings of women, including “transgender men and some nonbinary people” in this description.
Normal biological terms are not ruled out, however, as the AP wrote that terms such as “[p]regnant women or pregnant girls, or women seeking abortions/girls seeking abortions” would be “acceptable.”
However, the AP also included instructions for situations involving abortions performed on “minors” or “people who have those experiences but do not identify as women, such as some transgender men and some nonbinary people.” In these instances, the AP stated that journalists should employ phraseology such as “pregnant people or people seeking abortions.”
The new guidelines were widely praised by abortion activists, with NARAL writing: “Do not use terms that lie about abortion. How’s that?”
Pro-abortion group Progress Michigan highlighted the key importance of language in the abortion debate. “The language we use when talking about abortion matters. Bad actors use bad language because it makes it easier to spread disinformation. We won a huge victory for abortion rights in Michigan, but we can’t stop fighting lies.”
Abortion giant Planned Parenthood also welcomed the AP’s new guidance. “When we talk about abortion, especially abortion later in pregnancy, words matter,” wrote the abortion provider’s South Carolina Twitter account. “This is a great step in the right direction.”
A Weaponizing of Discourse
Not surprisingly, pro-life activists have reacted firmly to the AP’s overt promotion of abortion. Kristi Hamrick of Students for Life of America stated, “the Associated Press is gaslighting as policy in joining the pretense that changing definitions changes facts.” Hamrick added that the AP was “putting pro-abortion politics over facts to weaponize discourse.”
In additional comments to the Christian Post, Hamrick added that the pro-life movement needed to respond in turn by instructing people about the “scientific facts” relating to abortion. “The pro-life movement will need to educate the public, legislators and the courts on scientific facts, as the AP and others pretend that babies in the womb are something different than the rest of humankind, with different internal parts,” Hamrick stated.
Hamrick is by no means wrong in asserting that language is crucial to the abortion debate, and the AP is also well aware of this aspect, as evidenced in its new policy.
Indeed, the widespread promotion of abortion relies upon the particular use of language, which divorces people’s perception of abortion from its bloody reality. Abortion is the murder of an unborn child. Were every abortion to be described in such straightforward terms, society at large would find it harder to ignore the reality of each abortion.
However, by using words such as “termination” instead of “murder” or “pro-choice” instead of “pro-abortion” or, more accurately, “pro-infanticide,” the pro-abortion movement is gradually able to desensitize society.
The misuse of language is even more evident when referring to “late-term abortions.” Even the very phrase “late-term” is now too precise for the pro-abortion movement since it denotes proximity to the normal completion of the full term of pregnancy. Hence the move to redefine even this point and simply describe the barbaric late-term abortions as being “later” than others.
Yet a manipulation of language is nothing new. It is at the center of every moral issue, as seen in the account of Adam and Eve’s Original Sin in the Garden of Eden.
In responding to the serpent’s temptation, Eve initially rebuffs his suggestion to eat the forbidden fruit, saying, “God hath commanded us that we should not eat; and that we should not touch it, lest perhaps we die.” Yet in response, the serpent contradicts this Divinely revealed command and statement, saying: “No, you shall not die the death. For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil.”
Acceptance of evil relies upon portraying it as something other than it is. Abortion—the bloody murder of innocent, unborn children—is no different. Pro-lifers must be sure to resist the attack on language in order to continue the fight against the murder of the unborn.
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