In today’s Gosnell coverage, some of the nation’s most prominent media outlets called Gosnell’s victims “fetuses.” The New York Times wrote that “the defense battled over whether the fetuses Dr. Gosnell was charged with killing were alive when they were removed from their mothers.”
Meanwhile the AP said with matter-of-fact ghoulishness, “That left the jury to weigh charges involving fetuses identified as Baby A, Baby C, Baby D and Baby E.”
These are straightforward medical inaccuracies (no human outside the womb can be called a fetus) that conceal a moral lie. To call a baby, born or unborn, a “fetus” is a way of distancing ourselves from its humanity by means of medical terminology. Once we start referring to unwanted children in the womb as “fetuses,” we pretty soon start speaking of them outside the womb that way, too.
That the Times and AP likely committed these solecisms unintentionally only reinforces how they reflect the logic of abortion rights, a logic that works whether we like it or not to undermine flimsy distinctions between born and unborn, baby and fetus.