The Associated Press Stylebook, a widely-used guide for journalists, recently prohibited the use of the phrase "late-term abortion" in its latest edition. The move has sparked criticism and accusations of political bias.
The stylebook is a crucial resource for news agencies, providing guidance on usage and grammar. As such, any changes to the stylebook can have a significant impact on how language is used in journalism. The latest update to the stylebook, which was released this week, included the prohibition on the use of the phrase "late-term abortion,” which has drawn no small amount of attention on social media.
The Associated Press appeared to point out that the stylebook's decision is based on medical and scientific evidence, not political considerations.
Posting on Twitter, the AP Stylebook wrote: “Do not use the term ‘late-term abortion,’”adding that “The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists [ACOG] defines late term as 41 weeks through 41 weeks and 6 days of gestation, and abortion does not happen in this period.”’
“Instead, use the term ‘abortion later in pregnancy’ if a general term is needed, but be aware that there are varying definitions of the time period involved,” the stylebook account added. “Be specific when possible: abortions after XX weeks when XX is known in the context of the specific story.”
The phrase is largely viewed by progressives as a politically charged term that has been used by anti-abortion activists to stigmatize and delegitimize abortion. Critics argue that the stylebook's ban on the phrase is an example of political bias and an attempt to influence how journalists cover the issue of abortion.
Some journalists defended the AP Stylebook’s decision, arguing that the phrase "late-term abortion" is imprecise and misleading, while critics ridiculed the organization for politicizing the term.
“ACOG is a pro-abortion group. As a supposedly unbiased news source you shouldn’t rely on partisan groups to determine your terminology,” wrote Life News, a pro-life organization.
“When SCOTUS came up with three trimesters in 1973, late-term was understood to be post viability or the 3rd trimester. Now you’re redefining it to be the 6 days before term. That’s not medicine, that’s propaganda designed to gloss over late-term abortions,” the group added.