Journalists are being forced to cover the abortion issue once again because of recent laws passed in Georgia, Alabama, Ohio, and elsewhere. These laws have pushed abortion into the national spotlight, and this means reporters must be familiar with the terminologies used in the debate. Helpfully, NPR Standards and Practices Editor Mark Memmott has some advice for journalists employed by the network. In a “guidance reminder,” he encourages journalists to use fair, even-handed language that will make it clear that NPR has absolutely no stake in the debate whatsoever.
“One thing to keep in mind about this law and others like it: 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,” Memmott advises.
We thought for a moment that Memmott was going to dispute that an unborn baby can have a “heartbeat,” but we suppose we’re still a few years away from Planned Parenthood endorsing that line of unscientific thought. So instead, he’s going to quibble about the difference between an embryo and a fetus.
But he’s just getting started with his all-encompassing lesson on how to cover abortion the “right” way.
“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,” he writes. “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. Also, it is not correct to call these procedures RARE — it is not known how often they are performed.”
At least he’s admitting that the Democrat propaganda that refers to partial-birth abortions as “rare” falls outside the statistical data.
“Nor is it accurate to use the phrase LATE TERM ABORTION,” he continues. “Though we initially believed this term carried less ideological baggage when compared with partial-birth, it still conveys the sense that the fetus is viable when the abortion is performed.”
Yeah, well, it often is.
Other terms banned by NPR: “Abortion clinic,” “abortion doctor,” “unborn baby,” and “pro-life.”
We’re sure that whatever “abortion rights advocate” helped Memmott compose this guidance letter is thrilled to see their propaganda legitimized by the media. Not that they ever really needed to worry.