Still Swerving Around the "Partial-Birth Abortion" Label

The Times avoids the "provocative" (but accurate) label of "partial-birth abortion" in headlines, while fencing the phrase with quotation marks in stories.

Thursday's Times led with the Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling that upheld the 2003 Partial Birth Abortion Act. Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse, virulently pro-abortion outside the pages of the Times, delivered a decent story for her Thursday lead "In Reversal Of Course, Justices, 5-4, Back Ban On Abortion Method."

Yet just like the Times' headline writer, Greenhouse avoided a straightforward identification of the procedure of partial-birth abortion, instead using quotes around the phrase, despite the fact the law in question (passed by bipartisan majorities of Congress)is named The Partial-Birth Abortion Act.

"By identifying the intact procedure and giving it the provocative label 'partial-birth abortion,' the movement turned the public focus of the abortion debate from the rights of women to the fate of fetuses."

Reporter Robin Toner focused on the political angle in "Ruling Catapults Abortion Back Into '08 Race."

Toner also put "partial birth" in quotes. "The 'partial-birth' ban, aimed at a type of abortion known medically as intact dilation and extraction, was the product of years of effort by abortion opponents in states and on Capitol Hill."

Neither Toner nor Greenhouse went into any detail about the gruesome nature of the procedure. Both concluded their stories by quoting liberal opponents of the ruling, with Greenhouse allowing a law professor to characterize Justice Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion in emotional liberal terms.

"One law professor, Martin S. Lederman of Georgetown University, commented after reading Justice Ginsburg's response on this point that Justice Kennedy's opinion was an attack on her entire life's work.'"

Justice Ginsburg is an abortionist?