Lanthorn response to letter to the editor

Audra Gamble

As the author of the article “Anti-abortion demonstration ignites debate,” I would like to clarify something. Since the publication of the article in the April 2 edition of the Lanthorn, there has been a great deal of discussion on social media and on the Lanthorn website comment section about the word choice I used in the article.

Many Lakers, students and faculty alike, took issue with the idea that I used the term “pro-abortion” to refer to those advocating women having the ability to have an abortion. This is simply not true. At no point in the article did I use the term “pro-abortion.” Nowhere. Not a single time.

I did, however, use the term “pro-abortion rights” to refer to those who did not agree with the Students for Life demonstration. Additionally, I refer to those who oppose abortion as “anti-abortion.” The only time any term other than those two are used is in a direct quote. I will not change the wording in a direct quote because I find it ethically wrong to alter what someone said to me in any way.

I purposefully chose to use the terms “pro-abortion rights” and “anti-abortion” because these are the terms listed on page two of the 2013 Associated Press Stylebook as the accepted terms. The AP Stylebook is like a dictionary for the journalism industry. It is the professional authority on how to format words, numbers and other issues of style. The exact entry under the word “abortion” is as follows: “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.”

At the Lanthorn, we strive to be as professional as possible in our work. This includes playing by the same rules and rule book as the professional news organizations do. This means always adhering to the AP Stylebook.

I and my fellow editors at the Lanthorn chose to stick with the AP Style guidelines because we felt they were the most clear labels we could put on these groups of demonstrators without invoking any sort of other implications (for example, “pro-life” has been misconstrued in the past to mean those that oppose the death penalty, etc.).

We understand there may have been some confusion about the wording used in the article, and we welcome any and all members of the Laker community to contribute a letter to the editor about this subject if they feel so inclined. Information about how to submit a letter to the editor may be found on the bottom left corner of our opinion page, A4.