fetal rights

LaKira's twins: Does it matter that they were killed before they were born?

LaKira's twins: Does it matter that they were killed before they were born?

A woman is shot in the back, and her unborn twins die. She mourns them for months as her deceased babies, but local law says they weren't old enough to be considered alive.

What an anguishing clash of views of humanity: one religious/spiritual, the other rigidly legal. It's a topic ripe for exploring, yet the Washington Post manages to avoid doing so. The 1,500-word feature doesn't even include the words "faith" or "church."

LaKira Johnson's story -- with its implications for the public view of abortion and life in the womb -- has gained much media attention ever since she was caught in an apparent revenge shooting among thugs. And the Post has stayed on top of the case ever since it broke the story in September.

But its follow-up story, on Johnson's ordeal, leaves the spiritual dimensions as half-viewed ghosts.

The print headline offered enormous promise: "An enormous tragedy with the tiniest of victims." So did the subhead: "A woman is shot, and her unborn babies die. But is it homicide?"

So does some of this week's feature:

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Euphemism in the news? We debate 'abortion care' terminology in front-page report

Euphemism in the news? We debate 'abortion care' terminology in front-page report

My friend and former colleague Kenna Griffin loves to "talk nerdy" about the intricacies of journalism.

That description probably fits GetReligion's behind-the-scenes discussion over two words that appeared in a Sunday front-page story in The Oklahoman — the Oklahoma City metropolitan daily where Kenna and I both used to work.

A question from reader Brandon Dutcher sparked the dialogue by our team:

You doubtless saw The Oklahoman’s front-page story on the new abortion clinic coming to Oklahoma City. One sentence in particular jumped out at me: “Burkhart did not get involved in women's rights work to provide abortion care in underserved communities — but that's where life led.”
Am I being overly sensitive here, or is the phrase “abortion care” inappropriate for a straight news story? Why not just say “provide abortions”?
My Orwellian alarm bells are going off, but I’m curious to know if anyone else sees anything amiss here.

A little background: I wrote a recent post praising an earlier Oklahoman story on the planned facility by religion editor Carla Hinton. The Sunday story about which Brandon inquired was written by Carla, a friend with whom I worked for nine years, and Jaclyn, a health reporter of whom I am a big fan. (In other words, these are not people I am in a hurry to criticize.)

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