Associated Press Refers to Newborn Infant as "Fetus" in Another Assault Story

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 13, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Associated Press Refers to Newborn Infant as "Fetus" in Another Assault Story

by Tim Graham
July 13, 2010 Note: Tim Graham is the director of media analysis for the Media Research Center, a media watchdog group. He was a White House correspondent for World magazine in 2001 and 2002. The following originally appeared on the NewsBusters web site.

Last year, Brent Bozell lamented the murder of Darlene Haynes in Worcester, Massachusetts, with her baby cut out of her womb, and how the media called it a "fetus" — even after the baby was born in a violent kidnapping. Now there’s a Massachusetts repeat, except this time, it was the baby that was killed in a Boston-area nail salon assault.

On the Boston Herald website, the AP headline was "Wellesley woman indicted in death of fetus." AP reported that "Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said Sunday that Ayanna Woodhouse will be arraigned on charges of manslaughter and aggravated assault Monday in Suffolk Superior Court."

AP added: "The female fetus was delivered by emergency Cesarean section, but did not survive."

The Herald also assigned its own reporter to the story, with the headline "Prosecutors: Unborn baby in deadly Dot attack ‘had no chance’."

Reporter Laurel Sweet had more respect for the humanity of the baby (and the denial of the mother’s "choice" to carry it), but the F-word crept into her copy as well:

The stomping death of Tori Catron’s unborn daughter as the mother-to-be was beaten and dragged across the floor of a Dorchester nail salon was an attack so brutal she and her baby “had no chance,” assistant Suffolk District Attorney Leora Joseph said today.

Ayanna Woodhouse, 25, stands accused of killing the 6-month-old fetus by ripping the placenta from Catron’s uterus with her kicks the night of April 10 inside Tulip’s Nails Salon on Neponset Avenue….

Joseph said both Woodhouse and Catron left the scene before police arrived, with Catron immediately feeling pain in her pelvis. She later went to the hospital. Her daughter was delivered stillborn by emergency C-section the morning of April 11.

In 2008, Bozell wrote a column demanding a ban to the word "fetus" in news stories:

What a cold, humanity-negating word that is. Happy pregnant women carry "babies." But indecisive or panicked pregnant women carry a "fetus." How discriminatory that sounds in regard to an innocent human life.

"Fetus" has a dictionary definition: the young of a mammal that resembles its parents in physical form, in our case, a human with hands and feet and eyes and a beating heart. But to our media and political analysts, it has a different definition: a subhuman appendage, a disposable mass of tissue, a slave to our whims, and too often, a casualty of our irresponsibility.


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