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Ode to "Pro-Choice"

Can anything good come out of the Los Angeles Times?

True, the Los Angeles Times has long been a bastion of modern liberalism, often touting that political line on various issues -- including abortion. And this liberalism doesn't stop with ideas. It has even extended to names, subtle names which put a spin on issues from the outset of any serious inquiry.

Take the abortion debate, for example. While the Times has long donned the pro-death movement with the laudatory appellation "pro-choice," it has dubbed the pro-life movement as "anti-abortion." In fact, the Times, just last year, defended this policy tooth-and-nail, against strong opposition, a swarm of letters, and several pickets. Like a bad magician who didn't fool anybody, the Times continued its all-too-obvious sleight of hand which simultaneously sweetened the wells in favor of the pro-death camp, while poisoning the wells against the pro-life camp. The Times, as Thomas Campbell once wrote, became enamored with "the magic of a name."

Recently, however, the title "Pro-Choice" has vanished. That's right, the Times no longer uses the term. In its place, the Times now uses terms such as "abortion rights advocates," "supporters of legal abortion," and "those who favor abortion rights."

Why the sudden change? According to Managing Editor George Cotliar, the name-change is an attempt to "bring greater precision and fairness" to its coverage of the abortion debate. And the Los Angeles Times is not alone. While the New York Times and Washington Post have long-avoided the "pro-choice" label, the Chicago Tribune dropped it about a year ago.

While boding farewell to "pro-choice" is a move toward "greater precision and fairness," the new labels are still far from accurate since they do not remove the subtle hint that those in the "abortion rights" camp are for certain rights while we in the "anti-abortion" camp are against them. It is much easier, you know, to be a friend as opposed to being a foe, to take the affirmative side of a debate rather than the negative, to say "yes" as opposed to saying "no."

Of course, one could just as easily characterize the pro-life community as those who are "human rights advocates" (or "supporters of human rights" or "those who favor human rights") and characterize the pro-death camp as those who are "anti-human rights." Talk about sending Planned Parenthood into orbit! How quickly we would hear of "unfair bias" and lack of "journalistic integrity." Maybe PP would even take out a full page add to put the Times to shame (just ask AT&T!).

The moral of this story is that no matter what label "abortion rights advocates" wish to use, we in the pro-life camp should still be wary, since abortion is not, in the words of Shakespeare, "a deed without a name." For just as a rose would smell as sweet by any other name, even so abortion is murder by any other name.

DGH


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