Let someone dare utter the words "partial-birth abortion" and instantly the hackles are raised on pro-choicers afraid of losing their right to eliminate a certain untimely interruption through the slippery slope of American politics: from a ban on partial-birth abortions straight to no legal abortions anywhere and women doing numbers on themselves with hangers in some dank back alley.
We've become a nation so inundated by opinion masquerading as news analysis (resulting in misunderstandings of truth) that mere words can evoke a reaction stronger than ol' W discovering the White House is out of buffalo wings. God help the poor fool that gets caught in either firestorm.
Consistent with my do-gooder heart and rather innocent intention, I wrote a column for my college newspaper about how pro-choicers should support the ban on partial-birth abortions because it is a heinous, ugly, cruel act. In doing so, I describe the procedure for the uneducated populace that all-too-often decides an issue based on a clever editorial or the vociferous claims of a know-it-all acquaintance, rather than the actual merits of the issue.
The response? I'll never know. I killed it after it was critiqued by my editors. (Sensitive journalist, I am.) Apparently, "partial-birth abortion" is a "pro-life" term and the "graphic description" is too much for any readers of a college newspaper. Besides, they said, we are sure people are aware of what the procedure entails. Describing it is not necessary.
For me, taking the description of the procedure out of the column took the bite out of my argument. By doing so, I would be left re-hashing all the typical pro-life arguments, saying nothing new or original.
But that is not actually the problem. The problem is that even my own editors are so programmed by the partisan bickering on the issue, they could not see past the semantics of what I was saying to see the real issue at hand, which was that if pro-choice people were to realize the horrific nature of this procedure, even they would support the ban.
But...that argument will never get heard, at least not with my by-line. And so, I'm beginning realize that, award-winning journalist or not, being thick-skinned is the first criterion for success.
Quick, insult me and let's see if I can roll with the punches.