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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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

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By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

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Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
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Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

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By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

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Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

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Red Alert!

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By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

We have no choice but to reach our minimum goal of $175,000 if we are going to be able to continue serving the 5+ million readers who rely on us every month for investigative and groundbreaking news reports on life, faith and family issues.

Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

This unprecedented growth in turn creates its own demand for increased staff and resources, as we struggle to serve these millions of new readers.

And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

Your donations to LifeSite cause major things to happen! We see that every day and it is very exciting. Please join with us in making a cultural impact with a donation of ANY AMOUNT right now. 

You can also donate by phone or mail. We would love to hear from you!

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