Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will be hearing the case of Gonzales v. Carhart, which is effectively a constitutional test of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. With the case approaching, CBS News Senior Vice President, Standards and Special Projects Linda Mason sent an email to the CBS News staff regarding the terms "late term abortion" and "partial birth abortion." Mason wrote that CBS News should use the term "late term abortion" when referring to the procedure in question, not "partial birth abortion." I asked her why.
"We thought that 'partial birth' is a color phrase for people who are anti-abortion rights," said Mason. "This is a procedure usually done after 20 weeks. Therefore, 'late term' is appropriate. Now, some colleagues have come back to me and questioned this because the name of the law before the Supreme Court is the 'Partial-Birth Abortion.' When people refer to the case, they should call it by the correct name. But a CBS reporter should call the procedure a 'late term abortion.'"