AP tells reporters to call crisis pregnancy centers ‘anti-abortion centers’
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Associated Press issued new guidelines advising reporters not to use the terms “crisis pregnancy center” or “pregnancy resource center” but to instead refer to centers that offer pro-life counseling and support as “anti-abortion centers.”
Reporters should “avoid potentially misleading terms such as pregnancy resource centers or pregnancy counseling centers,” because “these terms don’t convey that the centers’ general aim is to prevent abortions,” according to the AP’s Abortion Topical Guide.
The AP publishes the most widely used style guide, which journalists and editors across the country look to determine proper rules for coverage. According to the Daily Signal, the AP made the rule change in November 2022.
In its updated guidance, the AP states that though the centers provide “counseling, material support and/or housing,” because their purpose is to “divert or discourage women from having abortions” they should be labeled “anti-abortion centers.”
The new AP policy suggests the term “crisis pregnancy center” be used only if placed within quotation marks and if it is explained that its purpose is to “dissuade people from getting an abortion.”
The AP instructs reporters to frame the abortion debate as “anti-abortion” or “abortion rights” and to not use the term “pro-life” or “pro-choice.”
Reporters are also advised not to talk about a fetal heartbeat when referring to laws that ban abortion after a detectable heartbeat. Rather, the guide says, they should use the term “cardiac activity” as “the embryo isn’t yet a fetus and it has only begun forming a rudimentary heart.”
“The Associated Press shows itself to be tongue-tied with political correctness in trying to finesse how to explain organizations dedicated to public service,” Kristi Hamrick, chief media and policy strategist at Students for Life of America, told CNA.
“Without any sense of irony, they want to call Pregnancy Resource Centers ‘anti-abortion centers,’ diminishing the love and support such nonprofits offer to mothers and their children, born and preborn,” Hamrick said. “With that logic, hospitals must be ‘anti-death centers’ and our food support through the federal government, named ‘anti-starving’ programs.”
Crisis pregnancy centers, which typically offer pregnant women and families free resources and baby materials, have faced a spate of attacks, vandalism, and acts of intimidation since May 2022, when the Supreme Court draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked.
According to the Family Research Council, more than 100 pregnancy centers, churches, and pro-life organizations have been attacked or vandalized.