The Word Abortion Industry Workers Cannot Say

A pro-choice researcher wrote about how the term “baby” is dreaded in abortion sites. Feminist author Wendy Simonds interviewed abortion industry workers for her book Abortion at Work: Ideology and Practice in a Feminist Clinic. Although the book was written from a pro-choice perspective, with a whole chapter dedicated to how to foil “antis” (i.e. “anti-choice” protesters), some interviews with abortion workers seemed to give far more ammunition to the pro-life side than the pro-choice side. After observing the workings of the facility and witnessing both abortions and counseling sessions, Simonds writes: Center staff members commonly said “the pregnancy,” “the tissue,” “the products of conception.” “Fetal tissue” was the most explicit term I heard health workers use with clients. They never, ever, called it a baby. Although Simonds does not spend much time talking about the counseling at the facility (except to say that sessions were kept short because spending too much time with each woman slowed down patient flow, ultimately reducing the facility’s income) pro-lifers can speculate about why the term “baby” is avoided. Many former abortion industry workers have talked about how they were trained never to say the word “baby” because it would make women have second thoughts about going through with their abortions. For example, former abortion worker Kathy Sparks said the following in the Christian Herald: Sometimes we lied. A girl might ask what her baby was like at a certain point in the pregnancy: Was it a baby yet? Even as early as 12 weeks a baby is totally formed, he has fingerprints, turns his head, fans his toes, feels pain. But we...

Scott Peterson Trial and Sentence Gave Massive Exposure to Humanity of Unborn Child (12/04)

The massively publicized trial of Californian Scott Peterson for the double murder of his pregnant wife Laci and unborn son Connor ended with the jury’s recommended sentence of death by injection for the convicted murderer. Setting aside arguments over the death penalty, the case itself gave extraordinary public exposure to the reality of the humanity of the unborn child, who in this case was Connor Peterson. Fox News began its report on the sentencing with the statement, “the jury that convicted Scott Peterson of murdering his wife and unborn baby…”. “Child, “baby”, “son” were often used by parties in the case to refer to the obviously living, moving and precious to his mother and relatives little Connor. Use of ideological motivated or reality avoidance euphemisms of past decades were harder to justify given the blunt realities of the case. “Fetus”, “product of conception”, “clump of tissue” just didn’t cut it although the media nevertheless still did their best through language manipulation to undermine the humanity of Connor Peterson. The charges, conforming to California law, considered that two persons were considered to have been murdered, Laci Peterson and her seven and one-half month gestation unborn child Connor. California’s fetal homicide law of 1970 states: “Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought.” One cause for concern in the judgment is that the jury classified the murder of Connor as one of a less serious degree than that of his mother. However, both were ruled as murders. The death sentence option was available to the jury explicitly because it was determined that two people...