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« Anesthetizing Imagination | Main | A great way to spend a year »

April 23, 2007

Calling a Spade . . . Something Else

It is interesting that in the NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and NOW responses to the Carhart decision, one phrase that never appears is "partial-birth." In the other media commentary I mentioned earlier, the controversial procedure at issue is most often referred to as "so-called partial-birth abortion." Both sides know that words in this debate matter.

A Point reader seems to suggest that using the term "partial-birth" to describe the process puts an unfair spin in the analysis -- but I think it would be hard to come up with a less dramatized or gruesome way to explain it.

Mollie at GetReligion further comments on this word war, noting that:

Most reporters chose to portray the ruling in the language you might hear from those who advocate for abortion, rather than more neutral language or the language you might hear from those who oppose abortion. By that I mean that we were told the ruling was a loss of rights for women or abortionists rather than an expansion of protections for unborn children or the mothers who carry them. . . .

I’m not arguing that the medical term isn’t “intact dilation and extraction” (so called because the child is removed from the womb via the cervix and then killed). Such bias against the language and rhetoric of abortion opponents is so expected these days that it’s almost become the norm, but we should remain diligent. The issue won’t stop being contentious so reporters should redouble their efforts at neutrality.

This is no small point, and it goes far beyond mere semantics. About the only conceivable reason for altering or ignoring the common name for this type of abortion is to distract the public from its egregiousness. It focuses only on the perceived right to choose to abort, with disregard for how brutally that right may be carried out.

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Comments

Anna

Partial birth abortion is the neutral term. Intact dilation and extraction is the liberal term. What it really is though is murder and it's rarely called that.

STANLEY PORTER

TODAY'S BREAKPOINT, HOMOSEXUALITY AS
TAUGHT IN OUR SCHOOLS.
THE AGENDA IS NOT JUST TO TEACH THE
CHILDREN TO ACCEPT, OR TOLERATE,
BUT TO APPROVE A LIFESTYLE THAT IS
COUNTER NOT JUST TO OUR CHRISTIAN
MORALITY BUT AGAINST NATURAL LAW.
WE HAVE TRIED TO EXPLAIN THIS TO OUR
FRIENDS FOR YEARS. TOLERANCE IS NOT
APPROVAL! MUCH PRAYER IS NEEDED.

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