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NPR Drops ‘Pro-Life’ for ‘Abortion Rights Opponents’

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By mmguestblogger  •  March 26, 2010 10:52 AM

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NPR was probably one of a few left-leaning mainstream media outlets using the terms “pro-life” and “pro-choice” in abortion coverage. The media usually refer to people who want to protect unborn life as “anti-choice,” “anti-abortion” (a label I wholeheartedly embrace), and “anti-abortion rights.” (Also see How the Public is Manipulated: Newsweek Shows Pro-Abortion Bias)

Well, NPR caved to the pressure and decided to parrot other news organizations. From the NPR staff memo:

NPR News is revising the terms we use to describe people and groups involved in the abortion debate.

This updated policy is aimed at ensuring the words we speak and write are as clear, consistent and neutral as possible. This is important given that written text is such an integral part of our work.

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”.

Who wants to be against rights, right? In fact, the Bill of Rights drafters were hopelessly limited in their outlook. Those 10 enumerated rights don’t go nearly far enough.

Our rights have expanded to include the right to health care and housing we can’t afford, the right of privacy to kill unborn babies, and the right to not be offended. In 2010, these rights are on the same level as the right to free speech, free exercise of religion, and free association.

And whoever came up with that right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” jazz was provincially narrow-minded in a dead-white-male kind of way.

Mainstream media, take a memo, and frame all news stories this way:

  • Refer to abortion supporters as “right to life opponents”
  • Refer to gun control supporters as “gun rights opponents”
  • Refer to “hate speech” backers as “speech rights opponents”
  • Refer to racial preferences advocates as “constitutional rights opponents”


Have I missed any?

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