March 19, 2010

NPR has an interesting item explaining why it uses the terms "pro-choice" and "pro-life" to describe the two main sides in the abortion debate. The piece also notes the terms that other major media outlets use instead. The title of the NPR piece explains the importance of the issue well: "In the Abortion Debate, Words Matter." It does matter what labels the media use to describe the different sides because such terms can impact how people view the two sides. The label "anti-abortion" that several other news outlets use (instead of "pro-life") does not accurately describe the issue since many "pro-choice" people are also "anti-abortion." What NPR has done is to use the label that each side uses for itself--which is why both have "pro" in them, since everyone wants to describe themselves in positive terms. It seems that none of the major media outlets use the terms that the sides use to describe the other side, which is probably wise. Hopefully, more media outlets will follow the approach of NPR since it seems to be the best solution to describing the sides in this contentious issue.