The media ought to report equally and without bias. Photo credit: NS Newsflash on Flickr

Irish newspaper bans term “pro-life”


The Irish Times, a daily Irish newspaper that claims an adult readership of more than 320,000 along with more than 3.6 million unique online users per month, has banned the term “pro-life” from its pages.

The Life Institute reports:

It’s official: in case you missed it, the Irish Times has confirmed what we all knew to be true – the paper has banned the use of the term pro-life as a news description.

In an editorial on free speech and robust debate (the irony), the paper wrote:

“And while this paper, for example, does not allow the use by our reporters in the context of reporting the abortion debate of the loaded term ‘pro-life’ as a news description, the expression may be quoted from others or used by opinion writers.”

The editorial in question, which can be found here (and which is actually not centered on the topic of abortion), is ironic, indeed. The paper first waxes eloquent about ground rules of decency and decries the use of extremist terms in public debate and then summarily pats itself on the back by saying that “to prevent or be unduly prescriptive about the use of such political hyperbole in debate would be dangerously to curtail the limits of free speech and freedom of thought.”

Then, after warning that “[t]he arena of public debate in a democracy is no place for the thin-skinned,” the paper manages to poke its weak spine through its skin by presenting the above-quoted ban as proof of – well, it’s unclear what it’s supposed to be proof of, but the paper obviously prides itself on the ban.

Even more ironic than the editorial’s content, perhaps, is its title: “The Right to be Wrong.” Does the editorial board reserve that right to itself as well? Or only to those who use such egregious terms as “pro-life”?

In reality, it’s not so much the term “pro-life” that’s upsetting, but rather what the term says about those who are the opposite of pro-life: pro-abortion. (Indeed, remember the uproar when the University of Texas student newspaper used this term?)

The fact is that those who advocate for abortion under the guise of “women’s health” or “reproductive choice” are losing, and losing big. They can’t prevent the reality of scientific advancements that show life in the womb. They can’t hide the reality of the countless men and women who are Silent No More about abortion’s devastation. And they can’t undo the reality that today’s young people – the next generation of leaders – are increasingly pro-life.

So instead of trying to hide the reality of the pro-life movement, those who advocate for abortion are trying to hide the reality of their own movement.

It’s no surprise, then, when pro-lifers are described not as pro-life, but as “those opposed to a woman’s right to choose.”

After all, pro-life implies the existence of those who are not. And that’s a label that even the thickest of skins does not want to bear.

  • MamaBear

    So what this Irish newspaper is basically saying is the pro-life movement does not have the right to chose their own name.
    In an editorial, or a letter to the editor, other names or descriptions can be used to reflect viewpoints. But, in factual news articles, call groups by the names they themselves choose. I would even say this applies to the pro-abortion side, calling them pro-choice in news articles as that is their chosen designation. (Yes, I hate saying this.)
    A native American tribe in my state actually went to court several years back to force the US and state governments to use the name of their own choosing, rather than the name they said was derogatory and had been given to them by another tribe. The courts ruled the tribe had the right to go by what they wanted to go by.
    I realize this newspaper is in Ireland, but I would think the same principle ought to apply, simply as courteous civilized people.

  • Ingrid Heimark

    This newspaper has a clear left agenda, you see it by the issues they discuss, “Defenders of Israel”, “Loaded term pro-life”, even though that is the only accurate term, and using loaded words like homophobic to those who disagree. This is not a neutral newspaper

  • WalterPaulKomarnicki

    waiting to read about the next weasel words, “anti-choice’?

    • Ingrid Heimark

      of course, keeping the real issue hidden, ie the fetus right to life, must have the highest priorities

  • disqus_HXPuP9E9zS

    “Safe abortion” is probably fine according to the style sheet and editorial policy of the newspaper, however, even though direct abortion (A) is a risk factor for infertility; (B) is a risk factor for ectopic (tubal) pregnancy; (C) is a risk factor for cerebral palsy in babies conceived later; and (D) is deliberately fatal to the fetus targeted by the abortion, for a few examples.

  • WorldGoneCrazy

    Liberals make words mean whatever they want them to mean: “choice,” “marriage,” “affordable,” etc. The list goes on and on as language is redefined from the Left to mean, in most cases, the opposite of what it truly means.

  • Elizabeth Sanders

    Journalism is an ethical minefield of a career. The journalists have a responsibility to be as unbiased as possible, and I guess the Irish Times believes the way to do this is to avoid emotive language and loaded terms. I can imagine this is hard to do when addressing a contentious issue like abortion.