The BBC is involved in the controversy following the US Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade, after one of the news presenters used a controversial term in the broadcast.
Today presenter Amol Rajan used the term ‘pro-life’ twice in the air to describe anti-abortion activists.
On the flagship BBC radio news programme, Rajan eschewed the BBC News style guide advising journalists to use the term “anti-abortion rather than pro-life” in a discussion of the repercussions of the ruling, using the latter description in a discussion with the BBC’s North American editor Sarah Smith:
“As you say, Sarah, this is not the end but the end of the beginning. Because for the pro-life groups, for the pro-life coalition, who have been fighting for this for many, many years, since Roe v Wade actually, they’re very ambitious, isn’t there, there’s a lot more they want to achieve.”
The second came during an interview with a doctor from North Dakota, when he said, “The argument of the pro-life organizations is that life is life.”
Hannah Barham-Brown, deputy leader of Britain’s Women’s Equality Party, told The Guardian newspaper that the use of “pro-life” was disappointing: “Anti-choice campaigners have long tried to hide behind the facade of ‘pro-life’ to hide when the reality is that they are anything but – they are really trying to curtail women’s freedoms.”
This criticism comes just a day after another BBC presenter, Sophie Long, who stands for Radio 4 The world tonightwas criticized for using the phrase “pregnant people” during her program’s coverage of the Supreme Court ruling and its adoption in Arkansas of an almost complete ban on terminations.
Long quoted the National Abortion Federation as reporting that they said, “Knowing how many women and pregnant people would now be unable to receive care was ‘devastating’.
The BBC later amended the report on its website.