The Associated Press Stylebook, an English style and usage guide used in journalism and news writing, is under heavy attack after forbidding the use of the phrase “late-term abortion.” Since its announcement of the update, many have criticized the Associated Press for politicizing the media.
“Do not use the term ‘late-term abortion.’ 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 stylebook announced in a tweet on Tuesday.
Instead of “late-term abortion,” the style guide suggests the use of “abortion later in pregnancy” in cases where a writer needs a general term. AP, however, advises specificity as there are varying definitions of the term depending on “the time period involved.”
In response to the tweet, pro-life organization LifeNews.org criticized the stylebook for letting the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists – a group said to advocate for pro-abortion rights – determine its terminology.
The AP tweet also got a series of criticizing comments from Twitter users. One pointed out that the change is a “blatant attempt” at mitigating the horror of abortion.
Another critic decided to shroud his message in sarcasm. “Late-term abortion’ is too aggressive a way to describe stabbing a viable unborn baby in the heart with a needle containing potassium chloride & delivering its lifeless corpse,” he wrote, adding that the move is an attempt to populate “our elite class traffic in euphemism.”
For a third user, the change shows how sensitive people are about abortion in a bid to pretend the act doesn’t involve killing a human. There were also comments that stressed the inaccuracy of the favored term.
“Late-term abortion” is a medically inaccurate and made up term by the right-wing to stigmatize abortions. There’s literally no such thing. Using that phrasing to be “unbiased” is feeding into their extreme agenda and lazy reporting. https://t.co/kiIUbJiZll
— Lauryn (@Lauryn_Fanguen) December 7, 2022
"Late-term abortion" is a medically inaccurate term and should not be used in journalism related to reproductive health.
But don't take my word for it, take AP's. https://t.co/41eJIVfwqm
— Kate Smith (@byKateSmith) December 7, 2022
The blowback that accompanied Associated Press’s latest decision mirrors a 2017 piece from The Hill. The piece asserts that the stylebook is engineering its universal writing guidelines to censor words associated with conservatism.
Citing the switch from “pro-life” into “anti-abortion,” its ban of the word “abortionist,” and other instances of terms discouraged or advised to favor liberals, The Hill said that a lot of bias is built into AP’s stylebook.
AP’s latest update in writing style comes after the Dobbs Supreme Court decision to overturn the 1973 Roe v Wade ruling that established abortion rights. Agreeing that the right to abortion is not “deeply rooted” in the history and traditions of the United States, the Supreme Court handed decision-making power regarding abortion access back to the states.
That decision boosted the pro-abortion movement as many states opted to codify abortion rights.