From today's Los Angeles Times, a story about a college student who has taped Planned Parenthood employees in various states suggesting she lie about her or her boyfriend's age after she posed as a 13-year-old seeking an abortion.

Journalists might note the absurd linguistic hoops the Times copy editors are willing to leap through in order to avoid the term "pro-life," preferring "anti-abortion" or the hardly neutral "abortion foe" (one wonders: where is the abortion fan?).  Reading this story reminded me of the 2004 review in the Times of a Richard Strauss opera in which reviewer Mard Swed's description of "Die Frau Ohne Schatten" was changed without his knowledge from a "glorious and goofy pro-life paean" to a "glorious and goofy anti-abortion paean" at the copy desk. (Read it here).  Swed, of course, meant "life-affirming," but the rules are the rules.  The Times later apologized twice, once for the error and then again for suggesting in their original apology that Swed was the source of the gaffe.

Jim Keane, S.J.

Comments

Anonymous | 4/29/2009 - 9:02am
The scenario: a college student does some old-fashioned, on the ground, investigative reporting that exposes how the employees of a major "reproductive health" institution are breaking laws. The result: a big, corporate media source decides to investigate the student and her "connections"...not follow-up on the conflict in the major reproductive health institution. Is this the sound of liberal media's death rattle?
Anonymous | 4/28/2009 - 4:37pm
I think you answered your own question on who is "pro-abortion." Planned Parenthood. I am not sure that question was ever in doubt. There is a world of difference, however, in supporting Planned Parenthood's agenda and insisting that all abortionists be fined (pre-Roe) or jailed (the necessary consequence of a human life amendment or law).
Anonymous | 4/28/2009 - 10:28am
Dr. Bernard Nathanson, co-founder of NARAL, former abortionist, and convert to Catholicism, has written about how important it was for NARAL to come up with a mediagenic term to describe the organization's mission. ''Pro-abortion'' was discussed and discarded, for example, as too vivid and confrontational. Finally, someone hit on ''pro-choice.'' Give credit where credit is due; adopting ''pro-choice'' was a brilliant advertising move. What is more American than having choices? Unfortunately, the pro-life movement has been on the media and marketing defensive ever since.
Anonymous | 4/27/2009 - 4:40pm
"Where is the abortion fan"? Wonder no longer, try George Tiller for starters.
Anonymous | 4/27/2009 - 10:57pm
I find it interesting that the LA Times won't use ''pro-life,'' being that it was this paper that exposed the pro-choice bias in reporting on abortion throughout major papers in an enterprising investigative report back in 1990. (http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-shaw01jul01,1,7379263.story?coll=la-news-obituaries)
Anonymous | 4/27/2009 - 9:01am
It comes as no surprise the L.A. Times will not use the term "pro-life." They are who they are. But if the pro-life community uses the term "pro-abortion," the pro-choice community is up in arms with their nuanced explanation.