-By Warner Todd Huston
National Public Radio has decided to change its labels for the two sides of the abortion issue. Unfortunately, its change skews the debate rhetorically in favor of the pro-abortion side by softening the fact that they are for abortion and by making of their position a "right."
Previously, NPR was using the terms "pro-choice" and "pro-life" but a recent post by the NPR Ombudsman, Alicia Shepard, delved into the ire that the pro-abortion side wallows in over the fact that the pro-life side has "won the war of words" because they are identified as supporting life. Shepard decided that NPR should "pick more neutral terms."
Shepard thinks that using "pro-life" and "pro-choice" is "loaded language" that skews the debate to the anti-abortion side. So, to fix it, NPR apparently decided to try and skew it all towards the abortionist's side.
On the air, we should use "abortion rights supporter(s)/advocate(s)" and "abortion rights opponent(s)" or derivations thereof (for example: "advocates of abortion rights"). It is acceptable to use the phrase "anti-abortion," but do not use the term "pro-abortion rights."
Do not use "pro-life" and "pro-choice"...
To identify pro-abortion forces as "pro abortion rights" skews the rhetoric in favor of the abortion advocates equally in the way that Shepard claims "pro-life" skews in favor of the anti-abortion side. First of all it assumes that there is a "right" to kill a baby. This phraseology also assumes that the pre-born have no right to be allowed to be born. NPR's new term decidedly skews the rhetoric in favor of the abortionists, giving them positive a connotation.
Secondly, it paints the pro-life side as being against "rights" by calling them "abortion rights opponents." The truth is, however, that the pro-life side is in favor of the rights of the pre-born to be born and protects their right to their own lives.
And why not use "pro-abortion" as a label, anyway? They are for abortions, after all. There is nothing strictly negative about that label if you are for abortions and think them wholly legitimate. In fact, if pro-abortionists are against the term pro-abortion, doesn't that mean that they are trying to obviate from the fact that "pro-abortion" really is a negative connotation from the beginning? I mean, if they are so all fired up about abortion, why wouldn't they be proud to be called pro-abortionists? Why is it bad to say pro-abortion if they are for them?
It is good that NPR decided to search for verbiage that isn't "loaded," of course. But it is sad that instead of finding neutral terms, NPR decided to skew it so that the pro-abortion side gains the favor of positive rhetoric.
On the other hand, could anyone be surprised at this turn of events?