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.

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

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

Support hard-hitting pro-life and pro-family journalism.

Donate to LifeSite's fall campaign today


Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
Lisa Bourne

, ,

Cardinal Dolan: Debate on denying Communion to pro-abortion pols ‘in the past’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

As America heads into its 2014 midterm elections, a leading U.S. prelate says the nation’s bishops believe debate over whether to deny Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians is “in the past.”

The Church’s Code of Canon Law states in Canon 915 that those “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.” Leading Vatican officials, including Pope Benedict XVI himself, have said this canon ought to be applied in the case of pro-abortion Catholic politicians. However, prelates in the West have widely ignored it, and some have openly disagreed.

John Allen, Jr. of the new website Crux, launched as a Catholic initiative under the auspices of the Boston Globe, asked New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan about the issue earlier this month.

“In a way, I like to think it’s an issue that served us well in forcing us to do a serious examination of conscience about how we can best teach our people about their political responsibilities,” the cardinal responded, “but by now that inflammatory issue is in the past.”

“I don’t hear too many bishops saying it’s something that we need to debate nationally, or that we have to decide collegially,” he continued. “I think most bishops have said, ‘We trust individual bishops in individual cases.’ Most don’t think it’s something for which we have to go to the mat.”

Cardinal Dolan expressed personal disinterest in upholding Canon 915 publicly in 2010 when he told an Albany TV station he was not in favor of denying Communion to pro-abortion politicians. He said at the time that he preferred “to follow the lead of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who said it was better to try to persuade them than to impose sanctions.”

However, in 2004 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI the following year, wrote the U.S. Bishops a letter stating that a Catholic politician who would vote for "permissive abortion and euthanasia laws" after being duly instructed and warned, "must" be denied Communion. 

Cardinal Ratzinger sent the document to the U.S. Bishops in 2004 to help inform their debate on the issue. However, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, then-chair of the USCCB Task Force on Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians, who received the letter, withheld the full text from the bishops, and used it instead to suggest ambiguity on the issue from the Vatican.

A couple of weeks after Cardinal McCarrick’s June 2004 address to the USCCB, the letter from Cardinal Ratzinger was leaked to well-known Vatican reporter Sandro Magister, who published the full document. Cardinal Ratzinger’s office later confirmed the leaked document as authentic.

Since the debate in 2004, numerous U.S. prelates have openly opposed denying Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians.

In 2008, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley suggested the Church had yet to formally pronounce on the issue, and that until it does, “I don’t think we’re going to be denying Communion to the people.”

In 2009, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington D.C. in 2009 said that upholding of Canon 915 would turn the Eucharist into a political “weapon,” refusing to employ the law in the case of abortion supporter Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

Cardinal Roger Mahoney, archbishop emeritus of Los Angeles, said in a 2009 newspaper interview that pro-abortion politicians should be granted communion because Jesus Christ gave Holy Communion to Judas Iscariot.

Click "like" to support Catholics Restoring the Culture!

However, one of the Church’s leading proponents of the practice, U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke, who is prefect of the Vatican’s Apostolic Signatura, insists that denying Communion is not a punishment.

“The Church’s discipline from the time of Saint Paul has admonished those who obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin not to present themselves for Holy Communion,” he said at LifeSiteNews’ first annual Rome Life Forum in Vatican City in early May. "The discipline is not a punishment but the recognition of the objective condition of the soul of the person involved in such sin."  

Only days earlier, Cardinal Francis Arinze, former prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, told LifeSiteNews that he has no patience for politicians who say that they are “personally” opposed to abortion, but are unwilling to “impose” their views on others.

On the question of Communion, he said, “Do you really need a cardinal from the Vatican to answer that?”

Cardinal Christian Tumi, archbishop emeritus of Douala, told LifeSiteNews around the same time that ministers of Holy Communion are “bound not to” give the Eucharist to Catholic politicians who support abortion.

Pro-life organizations across the world have said they share the pastoral concern for pro-abortion politicians. Fifty-two pro-life leaders from 16 nations at the recent Rome Life Forum called on the bishops of the Catholic Church to honor Canon 915 and withhold Communion from pro-abortion politicians as an act of love and mercy.

Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Diven Family / GoFundMe.com
Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten

‘His bones are basically like paper’: Parents refuse to abort baby with rare condition

Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten
By Kirsten Anderson

At just 11 weeks old, little Layton Diven is not like other babies. Every time his parents pick him up or cuddle him, there is a chance they will break his bones. In fact, Layton has already suffered more than 20 fractures in his short life – beginning at the moment of his birth.

Layton has Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), a rare disease that makes his bones brittle and prone to breakage. There are several types of OI, and Layton’s type, OI Type III, is the most severe type found among infants. Most babies born with the disease, like Layton, are born with multiple fractures, especially along the rib cage. Many struggle to breathe or swallow. The incurable disease is progressive, so it will get worse as he gets older.

Layton was diagnosed with OI in the womb, but abortion wasn’t an option for his parents, Chad and Angela Diven, who considered their baby a gift from God, no matter his condition.

“We weren't going to have an abortion, so he was born with the disease,” Angela Diven told KSLA. “God chose me for him, to be his mom, so I have to take that huge responsibility and do what's best for him.”

That responsibility comes with a heavy price. Layton requires 24-hour care, but both Angela and Chad have full-time jobs. He can’t go to regular daycare, because it’s not safe for him.

“You can't just pick him up like a normal baby,” Diven said. “You can't dress him like a normal child; his bones are basically like paper. He can't go to daycare because of his condition. He's medically fragile, and a daycare can't handle him."

Childcare costs are just the beginning, though – the treatments Layton will need throughout his life are expensive and may not be covered by insurance.

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

Layton is currently receiving pamidronate IV therapy, which will help to strengthen his bones. But in order to be able to stand or walk, he will need metal rods implanted in his legs – an operation that will cost the Divens $80,000. The OI specialist coordinating Layton’s care is in Omaha, Nebraska, while the Divens live in Louisiana. As he grows, Layton will also require special equipment, such as a wheelchair, along with extensive physical therapy.

Despite the hardships they knew would come, the Divens stepped out in faith to bring Layton into the world. Now, they are reaching out to the internet for help to shoulder the financial burdens that came with their baby blessing. The family has set up both a GoFundMe and a Facebook page called “Lifting Up Layton Diven,” where people can receive updates on Layton’s condition and contribute to the cost of his care.

To donate to baby Layton’s medical trust fund, click here.

Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Vatican's Apostolic Signatura Steve Jalsevac / LifeSiteNews
John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

Sources confirm Cardinal Burke will be removed. But will he attend the Synod?

John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry
By John-Henry Westen

Sources in Rome have confirmed to LifeSiteNews that Cardinal Raymond Burke, the head of the Vatican’s highest court, known as the Apostolic Signatura, is to be removed from his post as head of the Vatican dicastery and given a non-curial assignment as patron of the Order of Malta.

The timing of the move is key since Cardinal Burke is currently on the list to attend October’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family. He is attending in his capacity as head of one of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, so if he is removed prior to the Synod it could mean he would not be able to attend.

Burke has been one of the key defenders in the lead-up to the Synod of the Church's traditional practice of withholding Communion from Catholics who are divorced and civilly remarried.

Most of the Catholic world first learned of the shocking development through Vatican reporter Sandro Magister, whose post ‘Exile to Malta for Cardinal Burke’ went out late last night.

If Burke’s removal from the Signatura is confirmed, said Magister, the cardinal “would not be promoted - as some are fantasizing in the blogosphere - to the difficult but prestigious see of Chicago, but rather demoted to the pompous - but ecclesiastically very modest - title of ‘cardinal patron’ of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, replacing the current head, Paolo Sardi, who recently turned 80.”

At 66, Cardinal Burke is still in his Episcopal prime.

The prominent traditional Catholic blog Rorate Caeli goes as far as to say, “It would be the greatest humiliation of a Curial Cardinal in living memory, truly unprecedented in modern times: considering the reasonably young age of the Cardinal, such a move would be, in terms of the modern Church, nothing short than a complete degradation and a clear punishment.”

On Tuesday, American traditionalist priest-blogger Fr. John Zuhlsdorf also hinted he had heard the move was underway. “I’ve been biting the inside of my mouth for a while now,” he wrote. “The optimist in me was saying that the official announcement would not be made until after the Synod of Bishops, or at least the beginning of the Synod. Or at all.”

“It’s not good news,” he added.

Both Magister and Zuhlsdorf predicted that the controversial move would unleash a wave of simultaneous jubilation from dissident Catholics and criticism from faithful Catholics. The decision to remove Cardinal Burke from his position on the Congregation for Bishops last December caused a public outpouring of concern and dismay from Catholic and pro-life leaders across the globe.

Click "like" to support Catholics Restoring the Culture!

Both men speculated on the reasons for the ouster. 

Magister pointed out that Burke is the latest in a line of ‘Ratzingerian’ prelates to undergo the axe.

“In his first months as bishop of Rome, pope Bergoglio immediately provided for the transfer to lower-ranking positions of three prominent curial figures: Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, Archbishop Guido Pozzo, and Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, considered for their theological and liturgical sensibilities among the most ‘Ratzingerian’ of the Roman curia,” said Magister.

He added: “Another whose fate appears to be sealed is the Spanish archbishop of Opus Dei Celso Morga Iruzubieta.”

Fr. Zuhlsdorf observed that Pope Francis may also be shrinking the Curial offices and thus reducing the number of Cardinals needed to fill those posts. He adds however, “It would be naïve in the extreme to think that there are lacking near Francis’s elbows those who have been sharpening their knives for Card. Burke and for anyone else associated closely with Pope Benedict.” 

“This is millennial, clerical blood sport.”

Share this article

Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook