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A confusing story from pro-abortion NPR shows us how important precise language is to the abortion debate

by | Sep 26, 2023

By Dave Andrusko

This story, which appeared on the relentlessly pro-abortion NPR, carries this headline: “What does the word ‘abortion’ mean?” A colleague who also read the story, quipped “News outlet that has been lying about what abortion actually is for years shocked to find out that people don’t know what abortion is.”

The story (“shared exclusively with NPR”) is based on a study from that epitome of objectivity the Guttmacher Institute. Since the study isn’t public yet, we have to rely on Selena Simmon-Duffin’s account. She begin.

The study was done by a team at the Guttmacher Institute, a group that supports abortion rights. What the researchers did was lay out vignettes of different people experiencing different things in their pregnancies, and then asked, is this an abortion – yes, no or maybe?

Lead author, Alicia VandeVusse, tells Simmons-Duffin

Our biggest takeaway is that people do not hold sort of a shared standard definition of what is and isn’t an abortion.

We found that there’s a lot of nuance and ambiguity in sort of how people are thinking about these issues and understanding these issues.

Simmon-Duffin chimes in

I mean, basically, there is no scenario in which everyone was like, that’s it, that’s an abortion.

To which VandeVusse responds

No. Yeah. I mean, even – I mean, we had a card that said, had a surgical abortion. And 67% of respondents said, yes, that’s an abortion and 8% said maybe, but 25% said no.

She offers some examples (“vignettes”) of the scenarios people were asked to respond to. The first is of a woman whose first ultrasound reveals her baby has died—no heartbeat.

“Two-thirds of the survey respondents agreed it was not an abortion, but a third said it was an abortion,” according to Simmon-Duffin.

VandeVusse says, “We don’t speak openly about a lot of reproductive experiences, particularly abortion but also miscarriage. I mean, these are both stigmatized and very personal experiences. And so I do think that that is in large part why people, yeah, they may have been encountering these situations for the first time or considering them for the first time.”

Guttmacher always has the same agenda: “destigmatize” abortion and make sure no pro-life law ever goes unchallenged. So how does this “research” further their agenda?

Simmon-Duffin turns to  pro-abortion Professor Ushma Upadhyay, who was not involved in the study, but who is up to her eyeballs in making the case that there should fewer restriction on mifepristone —ideally none at all. She tells Simmons-Duffin that policy makers “probably have very similar misunderstandings and lack of understanding.”

According to Simmon-Duffin, “Upadhyay thinks clear terms and definitions can help. She recently published a statement on abortion nomenclature, which was endorsed by ACOG, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.”

Aha. We wrote about this “abortion nomenclature” and the Associated Press’s recommendation to just follow them blindly last month.

“Do not use the term ‘late-term abortion,’” the AP intoned. “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.”

The last week of a pregnancy is the ONLY time you can use “late-term abortion,” and, come to think of it, since “abortion does not happen in this period,” voila, no late-term abortion, right?

Does anyone not on the abortion industry’s payroll (or in its thrall, like the AP) believe that nonsense? Who is their source? Planned Parenthood?

Of course, they don’t have a vested interest, right? So when they tell us “There’s no such thing as a ‘late-term abortion,’” we can take that to the bank, correct?

They are right on one thing: precise language is absolutely critical.

Categories: Media Bias