Daily Texan ‘Pro-Abortion’ Headline: ‘Readers Rightfully Reacted with Anger & Frustration’

Late last month, The Daily Texan ran a story on an abortion rights rally in Austin, referring to the protesters and their larger cause as “pro-abortion” in a front-page headline and within the piece itself. The DT soon after corrected what it called “an editing error” and “an editorial oversight” in the story’s online edition — but not before a fallout ensued among many students, faculty and staff at the University of Texas at Austin.

As the paper noted, “Readers rightfully reacted with anger and frustration, both to this error and to what some perceived as journalistic bias in the article itself.”


One example of the angry/frustrated responses, from a UT professor: “I am appalled at the misleading language used in Christina Breitbeil’s article …  The ‘pro-abortion’ label is completely inaccurate — as many people who commented on the piece stated, one can be personally opposed to abortion for themselves while still being comfortable supporting another person to make that choice for her own body (and/or uncomfortable with giving the state power to make that decision for her). On that same token, using phrases such ‘pro-choice’ and ‘pro-life’ are problematic because they are too politically charged and entrenched to reflect neutral language.”

A snippet from a separate letter to the editor, submitted by a UT student: “What is going on with your front page? Is there any editorial oversight? And, do your reporters research, or even Google, their topic before churning out their copy? Kinda sorta? First, someone who supports reproductive rights and access to abortion is not ‘pro-abortion.’ Read an AP Style Guide.”


For the record, the rule of thumb, according to AP style: “Use anti-abortion instead of pro-life and pro-abortion rights instead of pro-abortion or pro-choice. Avoid abortionist, which connotes a person who performs clandestine abortions.”


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One Response to “Daily Texan ‘Pro-Abortion’ Headline: ‘Readers Rightfully Reacted with Anger & Frustration’”
  1. J Stearns says:

    Why not be consistent? If you are going to call one group “anti” something than fairness requires the same? Why does one side get the affirming “Pro” and the other the negative “anti?” Fairness requires the following: