AP Tells Reporters to Never Use the Term “Pro-Life”

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jul 12, 2017   |   10:38AM   |   Washington, DC

For evidence of pro-abortion bias in the mainstream media, people need look no further than the AP Stylebook, a widely-used journalism manual.

The book is a publication of the news wire the Associated Press, and almost all American journalists begin using it in college. It is widely used in print, broadcast and online news outlets to keep things like punctuation, terminology and other writing mechanics consistent.

However, politics also has drifted into the AP Stylebook, including on the abortion issue.

Fox News reports the 2017 AP Stylebook instructs journalists not to use the term “pro-life.” It also says journalists should avoid using the terms “refugee” and “terrorist.” Instead, the stylebook, like editions before it, tell journalists to use “anti-abortion.”

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Rachel Alexander wrote about the bias in a column at The Hill:

Even when individual authors do not adhere to the bias of AP Style, it often doesn’t matter. If they submit an article to a mainstream media outlet, they will likely see their words edited to conform. A pro-life author who submits a piece taking a position against abortion will see the words “pro-life” changed to “anti-abortion,” because the AP Stylebook instructs, “Use anti-abortion instead of pro-life and pro-abortion rights instead of pro-abortion or pro-choice.” It goes on, “Avoid abortionist,” saying the term “connotes a person who performs clandestine abortions.”

The AP Stylebook has instructed journalists not to use “pro-life” for many years.

“We call them pro-abortion rights and anti-abortion rights because it’s the right to abortion that we’re talking about,” Linda Mason, a CBS senior vice president, told NPR in 2010. Uttering the words, “pro-life,” Mason said, “leaves people scratching their heads.”

The style guide for BBC journalists is even more biased. It instructs journalists to use the term “pro-choice” rather than “pro-abortion,” and “anti-abortion” rather than “pro-choice.”

Some pro-life advocates do not mind the term anti-abortion, but the term does not fully explain the movement. Pro-life advocates call themselves pro-life because they support the right to life for unborn babies. Pro-life also includes issues beyond abortion, such as embryonic stem cell research and euthanasia, because they also destroy innocent human lives.

In contrast, the term pro-choice does not explain abortion activists’ position. They are not merely advocating for any “choice”; the specific choice they want is for women to be able to abort their unborn babies.

Pro-life blogger Calvin Freiburger points out the problems with the term “pro-choice”:

The problem is that ‘pro-choice’ is so vague as to be meaningless. Everybody’s “pro-choice” on some things and “anti-choice” on others. In a sane world, you’d think that “pro-choice” meant favoring greater personal freedom on a whole range of issues.

…“Pro-life,” on the other hand, specifically denotes a concrete principle: the sanctity of all human life, which entitles every human being to equal protection from fertilization onward. If the right to life of those outside the womb were seriously endangered in our society, pro-lifers would be there, just as we are for the unborn.