Katie Yoder

The media’s schizophrenia: fetus vs. baby

Katie Yoder
By Katie Yoder

July 29, 2013 (News Busters) - A couple definitions from the media’s unofficial abortion lexicon:

Baby (n) any infant, pre- or postnatal, whose existence is welcome and not seen as “punishment” for the mother. Often used to gush over celebrity offspring. Example: “The world is impatiently waiting for the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, to give birth to the baby that will be heir to the British throne.

Fetus (n) any prenatal infant whose existence causes the mother complications, health-risks, or inconveniences. Often used to describe the disposable byproduct of the abortion procedure. Example: “Texas State Senator Wendy Davis is a media hero for defending a woman’s right to abort her fetus up to 26 weeks into the pregnancy.”

When they’re not outright censoring the culture of life in America, the media play games with language to make their points. Journalists use language to denote a difference between life and death: a baby that’s wanted and a fetus that’s doomed or unwanted. One is a blessing, the other a problematic “clump of cells.”

From the end of June 2010 to June 2013, the networks dehumanized unborn children by using the word “fetus” in nearly half – 45 percent – of reports in connection with death. In relation to either problems and risks or medical issues, “fetus” appeared in 93 percent of reports.

In the past year, the separation has been clear. The term “fetus” disappeared in positive situations, such as where anchors describe women as “pregnant with” children and babies – never fetuses.

In media-speak, the three networks pounded the word “fetus” into reports about death – most commonly abortion. ABC’s Jonathan Karl noted a similar law in Texas during “World News with Diane Sawyer” on Aug. 30, 2011, saying Gov. Rick Perry received “new scrutiny” for a law that said “if you want an abortion, you must first listen to the fetus’ heartbeat.” Even in a delicate case where the mother’s life was threatened, a Catholic hospital agreed to an abortion or, “saving the mother’s life, losing the fetus,” according to CBS’ Barry Petersen during “CBS News Sunday Morning” on Dec. 4, 2011.

The trend continued with Natalie Morales who, on NBC’s “Today,” Aug, 10, 2011, refrained from the word “baby” – which the World English dictionary calls synonymous with fetus – while citing pro-life unease about unborn babies’ testing results: “But some are concerned that parents may abort the fetus.” On the Dec. 6, 2011 “The Early Show,” CBS’ Cynthia Bowers explained that Mississippi refused to “declare a fetus a person.” Of course, refusing to call a “baby” a person just wouldn’t make sense.

Charlie Rose broke the media-speak rules after CBS’s Erica Hill spoke of a test to determine the “genetic code of a fetus.” Rose used “baby,” during “This Morning” on June 8, 2012, saying the test could discover “more than 3,000 genetic disorders before a baby is born” – and went on to address the situation where parents “may elect to abort.” NBC’s Savannah Guthrie reported on the story that day, but was more careful with her phrasing. She asked Dr. Nancy Snyderman “What would you learn about the fetus?” on “Today.” Snyderman responded that this “science of today” allowed “parents a chance to decide whether they’re going to continue that pregnancy or not.”

“Fetus” isn’t just for abortion though. During “Nightly News” on Nov. 14, 2012, NBC correspondent Jim Maceda told of a woman who begged for an abortion – and later miscarried and died from blood poisoning – because “the fetus still had a heartbeat.” NBC especially linked miscarriages with the fetus terminology, and, during “Today” on Dec. 9, 2011, Dr. Rebecca Brightman explained that when a woman miscarries, it can be due to “something chromosomally wrong with that fetus.”

On a smaller scale, medical concerns surfaced left and right in fetus language as Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor, explained, on ABC during May 10’s “Good Morning America,” that with Picotin, a labor inducing drug, threats “extend not just to the mother, but also to the fetus.” In a similar situation, CBS’s Rebecca Jarvis asked on the March 2 “This Morning,” about BPA exposure, “How about pregnant women? Are they passing it down to the fetus?”

Even when talking about the health of wanted prenatal babies, the networks were careful to refer to them only in close, sterile language – doctors and experts included. On NBC “Today,” July 28, 2011, Ann Curry asked, “Biggest risk of gaining too little [weight] while pregnant?” Dr. Nancy Snyderman responded “Well, you starve your fetus.” On “Today” February 10, 2011, Robert Bazell, former chief science and health correspondent for NBC, described how “doctors operate on the fetus in the womb” with birth defect spina bifida and the day before on “Nightly News” noted how “doctors cut into the womb and fixed the fetus’ spine.”

Even with celebrities, “fetus” translated to complications. On “Today” for January 1, Dr. Snyderman told Savannah Guthrie, when explaining Kate Middleton’s pregnancy threat, “you worry about risk to the fetus, risk of premature miscarriage.”

Usually, when speaking of pregnant celebrities this year, the networks provided a stark contrast in language. During “Good Morning America” on April 12, ABC’s Paula Faris gushed that Kim Kardashian and boyfriend Kanye West “were expecting their first child.” Even Kathie Lee Gifford named Kardashian’s unborn a “child” during NBC’s “Today,” on January 15, while Hoda Kotb used “baby” on January 2. Even with Kate Middleton, Brian Williams described her as “with child” on NBC’s “Nightly News” for February 19.

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Even though the networks didn’t change the fetus language of death for complications and abortion – just for the big names’ highly anticipated, wanted, babies – they ironically dropped hints on the importance of unborn life. Reports, such as “Good Morning America” on September 27, 2010, warned of risks, such as drinking. Lori Gertz, who adopted a child diagnosed with alcohol spectrum disorder, told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that “alcohol crosses the placenta, and the fetus does have the ability to metabolize it,” creating “brain damage.”

There was also Savannah Guthrie, during NBC’s “Today” on May 10 ironically alluded that fetuses could be murdered: “this potential of aggravated murder charges presumably for the unborn fetus or fetuses of Michelle Knight,” one of three women kidnapped in Ohio and found earlier this year. NBC news justice correspondent Pete Williams also admitted life on March 7, during “Nightly News” when citing the sponsor of an Arkansas law and said, “12 weeks is when a fetus has a measurable heartbeat, the sign of life.”

Not to be left out, CBS “This Morning” on December 8, 2012, featured Dr. Daniel Levitin explaining the stimulus music from outside the womb provides to the unborn. “The fetus has a fully functional auditory system by the age of twenty weeks,” said Levitan.

The language inclination hasn’t been without critics. Meredith Jessup, from conservative site The Blaze, credited Planned Parenthood and other abortion supporters on Yahoo News for the dehumanization in the “baby” versus “fetus” terminology. Pro-life blogger Jill Stanek also called out the media for using “fetus” when describing the deaths of born babies, which, she insisted, “ is absolutely linguistically incorrect, although, of course, politically correct, which is more important to so many of them.”

Another Blaze reporter questioned the use of “fetus” during the Kermit Gosnell trial by the New York Times. First Things, a publication by The Institute on Religion and Public Life which exists to “advance a religiously informed public philosophy for the ordering of society,” called the tactic, implemented by both the Times and AP, “straightforward medical inaccuracies” that “conceal a moral lie.” “To call a baby, born or unborn, a ‘fetus,’” First Things explained, “is a way of distancing ourselves from its humanity by means of medical terminology.”

Negatively charged and biased language also permeated the three networks before when reporting on life – if reported on at all. But behind every charge there’s an illuminating spark, as a shift in language betrays a censorship of life.

Reprinted with permission from News Busters

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A Planned Parenthood facility in Denver, Colorado
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

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Colorado judge tosses suit alleging Planned Parenthood used state funds to pay for abortions

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

Alliance Defending Freedom "will likely appeal" a Monday court decision dismissing their suit alleging Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains illegally used state funds to pay for abortions, an ADF lawyer told LifeSiteNews.

The ADF lawsuit claims that $1.4 million went from state government agencies to a Planned Parenthood abortion affiliate through Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.

Denver County District Court Judge Andrew McCallin dismissed the case on the basis that ADF could not prove the funds paid for abortions. But ADF maintains that funding an abortion facility is indirectly paying for abortions, which violates state law.

ADF senior counsel Michael Norton -- whose wife, former Colorado Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton, filed the lawsuit – told LifeSiteNews that "no one is above the law, including Colorado politicians who are violating our state’s constitution by continuing to fund Planned Parenthood’s abortion business with state taxpayer dollars."

"The State of Colorado even acknowledges that about $1.4 million of state taxpayer dollars flowed from Colorado government agencies through Planned Parenthood to its abortion affiliate. The Denver court seems to have agreed with that fact and yet granted motions to dismiss based on a technicality," said Norton.

According to Colorado law, "no public funds shall be used by the State of Colorado, its agencies or political subdivisions to pay or otherwise reimburse, either directly or indirectly, any person, agency or facility for the performance of any induced abortion." There is a stipulation that allows for "the General Assembly, by specific bill, [to] authorize and appropriate funds to be used for those medical services necessary to prevent the death of either a pregnant woman or her unborn child under circumstances where every reasonable effort is made to preserve the life of each."

According to court documents, the Colorado law was affirmed by state voters in 1984, with an appeal attempt rejected two years later. In 2001, an outside legal firm hired by Jane Norton -- who was lieutenant governor at the time -- found that Planned Parenthood was "subsidizing rent" and otherwise providing financial assistance to Planned Parenthood Services Corporation, an abortion affiliate. After the report came out, and Planned Parenthood refused to disassociate itself from the abortion affiliate, the state government stopped funding Planned Parenthood.

Since 2009, however, that has changed, which is why the lawsuit is filed against Planned Parenthood, and multiple government officials, including Democratic Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

According to ADF legal counsel Natalie Decker, the fact that Planned Parenthood sent funds to the abortion affiliate should have convinced McCallin of the merits of the case. "The State of Colorado and the Denver court acknowledged that about $1.4 million of state taxpayer dollars, in addition to millions of 'federal' tax dollars, flowed from Colorado government agencies through Planned Parenthood to its abortion affiliate," said Decker.

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"Without even having the facts of the case developed, the Denver court seems to have granted motions to dismiss filed by the State of Colorado and Planned Parenthood on grounds the term 'indirectly' could not mean what Ms. Norton and Governor Owens said it meant in 2002 when they defunded Planned Parenthood."

"That, of course, is the plain meaning of Colo. Const., Art. V, § 50 which was implemented by the citizens of Colorado, and the reason for Ms. Norton’s lawsuit."

Decker told LifeSiteNews that "Colorado law is very clear," and that the state law "prohibits Colorado tax dollars from being used to directly or indirectly pay for induced abortions."

She says her client "has been denied the opportunity to fully develop the facts of the case and demonstrate exactly what the Colorado tax dollars have been used for." Similarly, says Decker, it is not known "exactly what those funds were used for. At this time, there is simply no way to conclude that tax dollars have not been used to directly pay for abortions or abortion inducing drugs and devices."

"What we do know is that millions of Colorado tax dollars have flowed through Planned Parenthood to its abortion affiliate, which leads to the inescapable conclusion that those tax dollars are being used to indirectly pay for abortions."

A spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains did not return multiple requests for comment about the lawsuit.

The dismissal comes as Planned Parenthood fights an investigation by the state's Republican attorney general over a video by Live Action, as well as a lawsuit by a mother whose 13-year old daughter had an abortion in 2012 that she alleges was covered up by Planned Parenthood. The girl, who was being abused by her stepfather, was abused for months after the abortion.

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Steve Weatherbe

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Fledgling high-tech pro-life group marks 2,000 babies saved: 2-3 saved per day

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Online for Life, the Dallas-based pro-life marketing agency, saved its two-thousandth unborn baby earlier this year and is well on its way to saving its three thousandth by 2015.

“We are getting better all the time at what we do,” says founder Brian Fisher. “It used to be one baby saved every four to six weeks and now its two or three a day.”

But the most significant save? “It was the very first one,” he says, recalling the phone call from a crisis centre a month after OFL’s 2012 startup.  “And for me personally it was just a massive turning point … because [of] all the work and the money and testing and the volunteers and everything that led up to that moment. All the frustration of that was washed away in an instant because a child had been rescued that was about to be killed.”

Though increasing market savvy has led Online for Life to expand offline, the core of the non-profit, donor-financed operation remains SEO -- search engine optimization -- targeting young women who have just discovered they are pregnant and gone onto the Web to find the nearest abortion clinic.

Instead, they find the nearest crisis pregnancy center at the top of their results page. Since OFL went online it has linked with a network of 41 such centers, including two of its own it started this year, in a positive feedback loop that reinforces effective messaging first at the level of the Web, then at the first telephone call between the clinic and the pregnant woman, and finally at the first face-to-face meeting.

“Testing is crucial,” says Fisher. “We test everything we do.” Early on, Online for Life insisted the clinics it served have an ultrasound machine, because the prevailing wisdom in the prolife movement was that “once they saw their baby on ultrasound, they would drop the idea of having an abortion.” While the organization still insists on the ultrasound, its own testing and feedback from the CPCs indicates that three quarters of the women they see already have children. “They’ve already seen their own children on ultrasound and are still planning to abort.” So ultrasound images have lost their punch.

OFL has had to move offline to reach a significant minority who have neither computers, tablets, or cell phones.  Traditional electronic media spots as well as bus ads and billboards carry the message to them.

As well, says Fisher, “unwanted pregnancy used to be a high-school age problem; now that’s gone down in numbers and the average age of women seeking abortion has gone up to 24.” By that age, he says, they are “thoroughly conditioned by the abortion culture. Even before they got pregnant, they have already decided they would have an abortion if they did get pregnant.”

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What they need—and fast, in the first two minutes of the first phone call—is sympathy, support, and a complete absence of judgement. Online for Life is always gathering information from its network on what responses are most effective—and this can vary city to city. The organization offers training to clinic volunteers and staff that stresses a thorough knowledge of the services on tap. “Any major city has all sorts of services—housing, education, health—available,” says Fisher.

The problem that OFL was designed to address was the crisis pregnancy centers’ market penetration. Three percent of women with unwanted pregnancies were reaching out to the CPCs, and seven per cent of those who did reach out were having their babies. “So about 2.1 children were being saved for every 1,000 unwanted pregnancies,” says Fisher. “That’s not nearly enough.”

So Fisher and two fellow volunteers dreamed of applying online marketing techniques to the problem in 2009. Three years later Fisher was ready to leave his executive position at an online marketing agency to go full-time with the life-saving agency. Now they have 63 employees, most of them devoted to optimizing the penetration in each of the markets served by their participating crisis centers.

The results speak for themselves. Where OFL has applied its techniques, especially with its own clinics, as many as 15-18 percent of the targeted population of women seeking abortions get directed to nearby crisis pregnancy centers. “It depends on the centres’ budgets and on how many volunteers they have to be on the phones through the day and night,” he says. “But we are going to push it higher. We hope to save our 2,500th child by the end of the year.”

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Shock: UK mom abandons disabled daughter, keeps healthy son after twin surrogacy

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By Pete Baklinski

A UK woman who is the biological mother of twins born from a surrogate mom, has allegedly abandoned one of the children because she was born with a severe muscular condition, while taking the girl's healthy sibling home with her.

The surrogate mother, also from the UK — referred to as "Jenny" to protect her identity — revealed to The Sun the phone conversation that took place between herself and the biological mother over the fate of the disabled girl.

“I remember her saying to me, “She’d be a f****** dribbling cabbage! Who would want to adopt her? No one would want to adopt a disabled child,’” she said.

Jenny, who has children of her own, said she decided to become a surrogate to “help a mother who couldn’t have children.” She agreed to have two embryos implanted in her womb and to give birth for £12,000 ($20,000 USD).

With just six weeks to the due date, doctors told Jenny she needed an emergency caesarean to save the babies. It was not until a few weeks after the premature births that the twin girl was diagnosed with congenital myotonic dystrophy.

When Jenny phoned the biological mother to tell her of the girl’s condition, the mother rejected the girl.

Jenny has decided along with her partner to raise the girl. They have called her Amy.

“I was stunned when I heard her reject Amy,” Jenny said. “She had basically told me that she didn’t want a disabled child.”

Jenny said she felt “very angry” towards the girl’s biological parents. "I hate them for what they did.”

The twins are now legally separated. A Children and Family Court has awarded the healthy boy to the biological mother and the disabled girl to her surrogate.

The story comes about two weeks after an Australian couple allegedly abandoned their surrogate son in Thailand after he was born with Down syndrome, while taking the healthy twin girl back with them to Australia.

Rickard Newman, director of Family Life, Pro-Life & Child and Youth Protection in the Diocese of Lake Charles, called the Australian story a “tragedy” that “results from a marketplace that buys and sells children.”

“Third-party reproduction is a prism for violations against humanity. IVF and the sperm trade launched a wicked industry that now includes abortion, eugenics, human trafficking, and deliberate family fragmentation,” he said. 

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