Tim Drake is an award-winning writer and former journalist and radio host with the National Catholic Register/EWTN. He currently serves as New Evangelization Coordinator for the Holdingford Area Catholic Community in the Diocese of St. Cloud, Minnesota. He resides with his wife and five children in St. Joseph, Minn.
I have found half a dozen headlines about the murder of abortionist George Tiller that use the word “pro-life” to describe his suspected murderer or his associations.
“In regular news stories, they always use the term ‘anti-abortion,” said Brian Gibson, “Now they start calling the person who did this ‘pro-life,’ when he’s not. They’re rubbing our noses in the term.”
Gibson is director of the St. Paul, Minn.-based Pro-Life Action Ministries.
The Associated Press Stylebook is quite clear on how they want news organizations to report on abortion. The stylebook says, “Use anti-abortion instead of pro-life and abortion rights instead of pro-abortion or pro-choice.”
You’ll see this come into play any time a secular news outlet reports on the topic. Some newspapers will even change letter writer’s words from “pro-life” to “anti-abortion,” not letting individuals choose their own terms for describing themselves.
However, notice how all of that changes when there’s been any violence that can be linked to the pro-life movement in any way, even when there is no clear connection.
Here’s just one example, from Bonnie Erbe, writing for U.S. News and World Report.
Notice how her title, “Tiller Murder is Terrorism, and All Pro-Life Extremists Are to Blame,” uses the words “terrorism,” “all,” “pro-life,” “extremists,” and “blame.” Her intention is clear. A simple Google search reveals several more such titles.
Gibson added that in the over 20 years that he’s been involved in sidewalk counseling and peaceful, prayerful protest outside of abortion businesses there’s never been a single instance of violence by pro-life activists associated with his organization. Instead, he and others associated with his ministry, have had to confront the hostility and intimidation of others - name-calling, vulgarity, and being pushed and shoved. People like Gibson are the real face of the pro-life movement.