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AP Stylebook Bans Use Of Phrase ‘Late-Term Abortion’

Chris Agee
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The issue of abortion has long been rife with charged rhetoric and tensions on both sides of the debate. When it comes to mainstream media coverage of the topic, however, the pro-abortion argument is generally prioritized. That will likely accelerate due to a recent change in the Associated Press Stylebook, which journalists in countless newsrooms across the country use to determine which words to use in their reports.

This week, the guide issued an update on Twitter explaining why reporters should abstain from the use of the phrase “late-term abortion.”

The stylebook urged journalists to “use the term ‘abortion later in pregnancy’ if a general term is needed” for a story, going on to caution that “there are varying definitions of the time period involved.”

While the publication ostensibly blamed its decision on the fact that the “American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists defines late term as 41 weeks through 41 weeks and 6 days of gestation, and abortion does not happen in this period,” a number of critics responded with their assumption that there was a partisan motivation behind the change.

One response recommended calling it “crushing a baby’s skull and tearing it limb from limb.”

Pro-abortion activists, including Dr. Jennifer Conti of the group Physicians for Reproductive Health, have pushed for such revised language for years. In 2019, Conti claimed that the phrase “late-term” was “an invention of anti-abortion extremists to confuse, mislead, and increase stigma.”

Of course, this was not the first time that the AP Stylebook has received pushback for its abortion-related recommendations. It has previously mandated that the term “pro-life” be replaced with “anti-abortion” and banned the use of the world “abortionist” because it “connotes a person who performs clandestine abortions.”

As conservative writer Rachel Alexander wrote in 2017: “More often than not, style writers have been more interested in censoring conservative words while promoting language that liberals tend to favor. That’s been especially true of the AP Stylebook published by The Associated Press. It’s unfortunate, because that’s the guide most journalists rely upon.”

In response to the latest advisory, the pro-life outlet LifeNews criticized the AP Stylebook for relying on recommendations from a “pro-abortion group” like the America College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.”

“As a supposedly unbiased news source you shouldn’t rely on partisan groups to determine your terminology,” the site tweeted. 

The issue of abortion has long been rife with charged rhetoric and tensions on both sides of the debate. When it comes to mainstream media coverage of the topic, however, the pro-abortion argument is generally prioritized.

That trend is in part due to the rules included in the Associated Press Stylebook, which journalists in countless newsrooms across the country use to determine which words to use in their reports.

This week, the guide issued an update on Twitter explaining why reporters should abstain from the use of the phrase “late-term abortion.”

The stylebook urged journalists to “use the term ‘abortion later in pregnancy’ if a general term is needed” for a story, going on to caution that “there are varying definitions of the time period involved.”

While the publication ostensibly blamed its decision on the fact that the “American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists defines “late term” as 41 weeks through 41 weeks and 6 days of gestation, and abortion does not happen in this period,” a number of critics responded with their assumption that there was a partisan motivation behind the change.

One response recommended calling it “crushing a baby’s skull and tearing it limb from limb.”

Pro-abortion activists, including Dr. Jennifer Conti of the group Physicians for Reproductive Health, have pushed for such revised language for years. In 2019, Conti claimed that the phrase “late-term” was “an invention of anti-abortion extremists to confuse, mislead, and increase stigma.”

Of course, this was not the first time that the AP Stylebook has received pushback for its abortion-related recommendations. It has previously mandated that the term “pro-life” be replaced with “anti-abortion” and banned the use of the word “abortionist” because it “connotes a person who performs clandestine abortions.”

As conservative writer Rachel Alexander wrote in 2017: “More often than not, style writers have been more interested in censoring conservative words while promoting language that liberals tend to favor. That’s been especially true of the AP Stylebook published by The Associated Press. It’s unfortunate, because that’s the guide most journalists rely upon.”

In response to the latest advisory, the pro-life outlet LifeNews criticized the AP Stylebook for relying on recommendations from a “pro-abortion group” like the America College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.”

“As a supposedly unbiased news source you shouldn’t rely on partisan groups to determine your terminology,” the site tweeted.