The Associated Press highlighted new language guidelines this week for how journalists should cover and write about pregnancy.
During a question and answer session with AP Stylebook employees, an individual from Washington D.C. asked the following question:
Since there is now a lot of discussion concerning abortion access and abortion rights, I wanted to know what is the AP's guidance concerning noun and pronoun usage. For example, can we still say "a woman's right to choose" Or is that no longer allowed? Should it be changed to "a person's right to chose?"
Should we avoid using gender nouns and pronouns altogether now?
I know there are ways to write that avoid using gendered language. But I still want to know if we should avoid mentioning gender at all (barring the exception of it being in a direct quote, or if the gender is used as a formal name of an organization, etc.)
Here's how the AP answered:
Here is our new entry. By extension, we'd still refer to a woman's right to choose unless the story is specifically addressing the experiences of people who do not identify as women.
Phrasing like pregnant people or people who seek an abortion seeks to include people who have those experiences but do not identify as women, such as some transgender men and some nonbinary people. Such phrasing should be confined to stories that specifically address the experiences of people who do not identify as women. See gender, sex and sexual orientation.
The new language removes biological facts from reporting. Given hundreds of media outlets across the country use the AP Stylebook to guide how stories are written and what language is used, Americans are about to be flooded with the term "pregnant people."
The language presents a problem for abortion activists and Democrats, who claim Roe v. Wade must be upheld to protect the rights of women.
If men could get pregnant, this wouldn’t even be a conversation.— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) May 4, 2022
This decision isn’t about strengthening families - it’s about extremism. It’s about control.
We will fight for the right to choose. pic.twitter.com/Yky1Q3RNqJ