NEW Letter to the Editor Graphic

I am disappointed with the Kansan’s use of the term “pro-life” to refer to an anti-abortion organization in the Monday, Nov. 13, edition. I hope you and the copy editing staff are aware that the AP Stylebook says to “Use anti-abortion instead of pro-life and abortion rights instead of pro-abortion or pro-choice.”

I appreciate that this story was included in the Kansan even though I do not share views with the group. I have great respect for people who stand up for their beliefs in generally unwelcome environments, like a college campus biased highly left can be for someone against abortion. However, it is disingenuous to refer to a group concerned solely with the fates of unborn fetuses as “pro-life.”

The “pro-life” moniker has been attached to the Religious Right since 1979 — six years after the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. In that time, there has been notable coalescence of evangelicals against abortion access, and they have seen some success in passing restrictive laws. However, in the same time period, the “pro-life” movement has not similarly attached itself to other causes like campaigning for expanded access to healthcare or for abolition of the death penalty.

Texas has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world, according to a study in the Obstetrics and Gynecology journal and compared to data collected by UNICEF. How is that possible in a GOP stronghold with millions of evangelicals, most of whom probably identify as “pro-life”?

The “pro-life movement” is a misnamed moniker for a movement more focused on forcing women to give birth rather than ensuring women and their children live happy lives with ample supplies of food, shelter, clothing and healthcare.

In summary, words matter. While current anti-abortion activists may see themselves as “pro-life,” it is your responsibility to accurately describe them, their actions and their goals. I hope you will do better in the future.

Brianna Leiker is a graduate student from Kansas City, Kansas, studying civil engineering.

— Edited by Brianna Childers