I am a fan. I have purchased “factor gear” for my husband. I record your television show and generally see at least half of the program every day. I admire your efforts to stand up for “the folks.” It is little wonder that your show is the number one program out of all the cable news channels.
I thank you for your coverage on George Tiller and how he made his blood money.
However, in your effort to be fair, balanced and factual you often tie yourself up in knots on the issue of abortion and I beg you to reconsider the language you use in debating this issue in order to be consistent and clear while remaining on solid scientific ground.
I am no stranger to the abortion issue. Many years ago, I helped my best friend through an abortion and began to writing and reporting on it reluctantly. Over the years, I have done nine documentaries and countless columns on this subject and now consider myself to be somewhat of an expert.
Please drop the use of the word “fetus.” It is a medical term for unborn young of any vertebrate animal, particularly of a mammal, after it has attained the basic form and structure typical of its kind. More specifically, fetus refers to a human being in the womb in the later stages of development. The use of this term is appropriate in a medical school or operating room.
However, in Journalism 101 reporters are taught to use plain, simple, everyday language. We do that in covering every other medical issue. When talking about someone who suffered a myocardial infarction, you would say, “He or she had a heart attack.” When talking about someone who has a fractured distal radius, you would say, “He or she has a broken wrist.”
The term “fetus” was popularized and sold to the mainstream media by those who promote abortion because they do not want to talk about what is being aborted. This term makes the child in the womb seem less human. However, “unborn child,” or “preborn baby” or simply “baby” are all accurate terms, and I would argue, more descriptive and appropriate when it comes to reporting the news. Don’t worry about making your friends who are abortion rights activists comfortable. That is not your job (even though, deep down, I know you are a warm and fuzzy kind of guy).
On Monday, in your interview with Kansas City Star reporter Mary Sanchez, who unjustly characterized you in a recent column, you referred to what Tiller was doing as the “ending of a potential life.” When Sanchez corrected you and said, “It’s the ending of life,” you when on a diatribe about not getting involved in semantics. Bill, with all due respect, Ms. Sanchez was right. You owe her an apology and you owe it to your vast audience to make that correction.
The child in the womb is a “living, developing human being.” However, that statement can be made about any human being until he or she reaches adulthood. Nothing magical happens at birth except the way a child breathes and receives nourishment.
When forced into a corner, abortion advocates will refer to the child in the womb as a “potential life” or a “potential human being.” These terms simply are not accurate.
Please bear in mind that, under Roe V. Wade and its companion case Doe V. Bolton, states can ban abortion of a viable baby unless the mother’s life or heath is affected. Health is further defined as psychological, emotional, physical or familial. Since three of these four categories are subjective, in effect, if a woman can find a physician like Tiller willing to perform an abortion, she has a legal right to obtain one at any time through the full nine months of pregnancy. This has given us the most extreme law on abortion of any country in the world.
Roe should be overturned because it is barbaric and based on world-is-flat technology.
In the run up to the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice, we will be hearing a lot about legal precedent. What about Plessy V. Ferguson which upheld segregation? Who wants to defend that precedent?
The Supreme Court has reversed itself more than 100 times and, based on the scientific evidence available today, should reverse that decision on abortion.
Bill, you have done a lot to change the culture but there is much more that needs to be done. Language is very important in this debate. Please don’t acquiesce by adopting the language of the abortion activists. Keep it simple, factual, fair and balanced.