When It Comes to Reproductive Health, the National Right To Life Committee Literally Wrote the Media Playbook


Anti-choice activists and lawmakers have been good about putting out consistent messages in the media. Their adherence to a specific set of terms, their standard talking points, and their consistency when the topic changes and they want to re-direct an issue makes it clear there is a media playbook being consulted.

Now you can read a copy, too.

It’s the “When They Say…You Say” media guide, compiled by the National Right to Life Committee. Inside, you can see every talking point used in television appearances, radio interviews, and letters to the editor (and probably the comments on our blog posts) in one 18 page handout, including my favorite section “Say, Do Not Say,” with tips like “Say ‘Mother’ Don’t Say ‘(Pregnant) Woman’, Say ‘Unborn Child, Pre-Born Child, Baby’ Don’t Say ‘Fetus,’ Say ‘Abortion Promoters’ Don’t Say ‘Reproductive Rights Advocates, Supporters.”

Understand that the one who successfully frames the issue persuades the most people. Pro‐abortionists are masters at this. Therefore, to be truly effective advocates we must learn how to best frame the defense of vulnerable human beings by carefully selecting the language we use.

For instance, how often have we seen or heard parental involvement laws referred to as “restrictive” abortion laws, or the unborn child described as a “fetus”? Perhaps some of us have fallen into occasionally using the abortion proponents’ terms without even realizing it. The time is now to reframe the
issue by the language we use. Our cause is just, what we desire reasonable….

We must, with our words, also give the baby a face and make her a part of our human family.

When it comes to redefining words, they’ve literally written the book.

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  • cactus-wren

    Disturbing, but not exactly new:  Jack Willke wrote back in the 1990s that his anti-choice sockpuppets should always, always call the doctor who performs abortions an “abortionist”, never a “doctor”;  that if they’re forced into using the word “fetus”, it must without exception be in the phrase “the living human fetus”;  that any reference to the Roe v. Wade decision must be qualified with such words as “savage” or “tragic”.  He’s also the one who coined phrases such as “abortion mill”, “abortion chamber”, and “Planned Barrenhood”.