Friday, October 14, 2005

Bad Press for Planned Parenthood

Peggy Jo Connor allegedly beat her pregnant friend and neighbor with a baseball bat, led her into a wooded area, and sliced her abdomen open in an attempt to steal her unborn child. When I learned of this grizzly crime on this morning's Good Morning America, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the text at the bottom of the screen read something along the lines of "Woman Tries to Steal Unborn Baby" (emphasis mine). I've come to expect network coverage of such stories to refer to the unborn as a fetus so as to avoid personalizing and humanizing him or her but that wasn't the case here and I was glad.

Curious, I decided to search Google's news engine for the accused's name to see how other news sources were describing the crime. I was further surprised to find that most of them also referred to the life in the mother's womb as either a baby or a child.  Just for the heck of it I decided to search for the phrase "unborn baby" at Planned Parenthood's site. The sole result was a letter from Planned Parenthood to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt objecting to the content of a HHS website including its allegedly "anti-choice" language. Among PP's complaints:

In its definition of menstruation, the website states that "if the egg is fertilized, this lining will nourish and protect the unborn child." "Unborn child" is not medically correct language; embryo or fetus would be accurate.
The website defines abortion as "ending a pregnancy before a live birth occurs by removing the fetus or unborn baby from the uterus." Again, there is an agenda inherent in the language used.
Understand that Planned Parenthood is simply seeking to be neutral and unbiased in their insistence upon the use "medically correct language." Planned Parenthood would have us believe that "unborn child" and "fetus" are mutually exclusive categories which is as inane as claiming that it's incorrect to refer to an octogenarian as an adult. I wonder if Planned Parenthood would object to calling unborn humans "offspring." That is, after all, the meaning of the Latin word from which the English word "fetus" is derived.

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