BBC’s Amol Rajan slammed for using ‘pro-life’ phrase in Roe v Wade interview | Amol Rajan


One of the BBC’s most prominent presenters has come under fire for using the term ‘pro-life’ to describe anti-abortion campaigners in a discussion of the US Supreme Court’s overturning of the Roe v Wade case.

The term, considered partisan, was used twice by Amol Rajan during the Today program on Radio 4, in segments about the landmark decision ending Americans’ constitutional right to abortion.

The BBC News style guide advises journalists “to use anti-abortion rather than pro-life, unless it’s part of the headline of a band’s name”.

The first mention was in a discussion with Sarah Smith, the BBC’s North America editor, about the repercussions of the decision. While Smith called the abortion protesters “anti-abortion,” Rajan called them “pro-life.”

“As you say, Sarah, this is not the end but the end of the beginning,” he said. “Because for the pro-life groups, for the pro-life coalition, who’ve been campaigning for this for many, many years, since Roe v Wade actually, they’re very ambitious, right, there’s much more than they want to achieve.

The second time was during an interview with Erica Hofland, a clinician at the Red River Women’s Clinic in North Dakota, in which he said, “The argument of pro-life organizations is that life is c ‘is the life “.

Women’s organizations in the UK criticized TodayTheir use of the term, which they said was “disappointing” and “denotes the enormous power and influence” of the anti-abortion lobby. Hannah Barham-Brown, deputy leader of the Women’s Equality Party, said: ‘Anti-choice activists have long tried to hide behind the facade of being ‘pro-life’ when in reality they are all except – they are really trying to restrict women’s freedoms.

“Banning abortions only bans safe abortions and women will die as a result of this decision, and thousands more will be criminalized or risk continuing with pregnancies they did not choose.”

She added: “It is of course disappointing to hear a ‘pro-life’ framing on the Today program – unwittingly or not – but it speaks to the enormous power and influence of the groups and politicians at the forefront of these efforts to control women and spread a false narrative that they save lives.

Kerry Abel, president of the Abortion Rights group, said to be “pro-choice” was the neutral position. “It’s not between an absolutist anti-abortion position on one side and pro-abortion on the other. Having access is the neutral position.

She added: “We know from the close ties between the gun lobby and anti-abortion activists that they are not pro-life. Pro-life for whom? Women die when they don’t have access to safe abortions. We call these groups “anti-choice” not “pro-life”.

A BBC spokesperson said: “The style guide suggests anti-abortion as the preferred term, but the use of the term pro-life by presenters and contributors is not against BBC editorial guidelines. “


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