NPR Ends Use of Misleading “Pro-Life” Label

The religious right has used the “pro-life” label to make their views sound more palatable as they deny women the fundamental right to control their own body. NPR has decided to avoid the use of such labels. They are also avoiding “pro-choice” in an effort to keep the language more descriptive and politically neutral. Here is a memo distributed at NPR:

NPR News is revising the terms we use to describe people and groups involved in the abortion debate.

This updated policy is aimed at ensuring the words we speak and write are as clear, consistent and neutral as possible. This is important given that written text is such an integral part of our work.

On the air, we should use “abortion rights supporter(s)/advocate(s)” and “abortion rights opponent(s)” or derivations thereof (for example: “advocates of abortion rights”). It is acceptable to use the phrase “anti-abortion”, but do not use the term “pro-abortion rights”.

Digital News will continue to use the AP style book for online content, which mirrors the revised NPR policy.

Do not use “pro-life” and “pro-choice” in copy except when used in the name of a group. Of course, when the terms are used in an actuality they should remain.

Actualities in the final line refer to a clip or tape of someone talking. Obviously they cannot edit the language used by others.

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  1. 1
    Robin Snyder says:

    I actually don’t think the use of “anti-abortion” is an accurate way to distinguish between those who support or oppose abortion rights. Most of us are anti-abortion (good grief, who WANTS to have to have one?), but we DO want to protect the right to have one if needed. I am anti-abortion but pro-abortion-rights.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    I agree, “anti-abortion” by itself is too vague. I could accept “anti-legalized abortion” as well as “anti-abortion rights” but just saying “anti-abortion” does not have the same meaning.

  3. 3
    Marco says:

    NPR to stop using misleading "pro-life" label. 2 use more appropriate term: "Utercontrolists" #p2

  4. 4
    Cassandra Rice says:

    I agree with Ms. Snyder.  I don’t know any who is pro-abortion but I know many people who want the right to make their own choices.  I’d like to see NPR continue to use the term pro-choice since this debate comes down to a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices;  I think the term ‘pro-choice’ is a neutral term.   Using the term anti-abortion will likely cause the debate to become even more vitriolic.

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