Public Editor

June 6, 2014

Debate over Planned Parenthood terminology

A brief this week referred to Planned Parenthood by a term that two readers thought was loaded language. The abortion debate always requires close attention from journalists.

Two different readers this week turned my attention to a brief about a leadership change at Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri.

Both of them took exception to the item’s reference to Planned Parenthood as an “abortion provider.”

According to the organization, abortion services make up only a very small percentage of what they do. Their website says more than 90 percent of what they provide is “preventive, primary care, which helps prevent unintended pregnancies through contraception, reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections through testing and treatment, and screen for cervical and other cancers.”

Of course, they do also provide abortions — and one could say that the controversial nature of that work, particularly in this region, is one of the factors that makes their leadership change newsworthy. But these readers’ point is still a valid one.

One of them also pointed out another item in the brief that runs counter to The Associated Press’ recommended style, which The Star follows. It said the Center for Reproductive Rights “advocates for abortion.” According to the AP, that should be “advocates for abortion rights,” which is more accurately reflective of their work.

Related content

Comments

Videos

Editor's Choice Videos