Associated Press waters down abortion rhetoric to skew against pro-life movement

by Jacob Fuller

Katie Kerekes, FISM News



The Associated Press has updated the guidelines in its stylebook for journalists to advise against language that could be interpreted as pro-life, yet another move in a seemingly coordinated effort to trivialize the reality of abortion via euphemistic language.

Guidelines include revisions to the language in which journalists are to replace the terms “pro-life” with “anti-abortion” and “pro-choice” or “pro-abortion” with “abortion-rights.”

The AP Stylebook is widely accepted as the journalistic standard for publication guidelines across the nation, yet disregard for this particular update can be expected among conservative news organizations in the industry, including FISM News.

“The Daily Signal” is another example.

“Words have power,” wrote Virginia Allen and Mary Margaret Olohan of the conservative news source, “and it is no secret that the media sometimes uses the power of words to shift or alter the narrative around an issue or story.”

Concerns regarding the alteration of language surrounding the abortion debate beg the questions of continuity, accuracy, and clarity.

“Given the prevalence of left-wing rhetoric in the mainstream, it is likely that these guidelines will be followed by the majority of news outlets, a move that could further erode the trust that Americans have [in] legacy media,” wrote Alex Timothy of “The Post Millennial.”

Further revisions include the omittance of the term “fetal heartbeat” to be replaced with “cardiac activity.”

“Advanced technology can detect a flickering as early as six weeks, when the embryo isn’t yet a fetus and it has only begun forming a rudimentary heart. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says it is not accurate to call that a heartbeat,” the guide reads.

The guide suggests replacing the phrase “late-term abortion” with “abortion later in pregnancy,” further distancing the language from the violent details of an abortion procedure.

The Associated Press also advises a change to the language surrounding crisis pregnancy centers to minimize their role in providing care for mothers facing an unexpected pregnancy. Journalists are advised to use the phrase “anti-abortion centers.”

“These terms can be used for centers set up to divert or discourage women from having abortions, by using counseling, material support and/or housing in an effort to persuade women to bring their pregnancies to term,” it says.

Changes in the rhetoric raise concerns over widespread misrepresentation of the over 3,000 pregnancy resource centers nationwide, The Daily Signal argues.

“If news outlets want to represent the pro-life and pro-choice communities accurately, they will be wise to ignore these latest updates from the Associated Press Stylebook,” they conclude.