Controlling Language in the “Contraceptive” Debate

Pay close attention to the media’s reporting on President Obama’s mandate on contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing pharmaceuticals. When you hear the subject reported, it’s rarely reported with that specificity, with that accuracy. Typically, the media simply refers to the Obama mandate on “contraception.” That’s it. Many reporters are leaving out the words “abortion-inducing pharmaceuticals.” It’s a rather significant—indeed, fatal—omission.

It’s a sin of omission that aids and abets President Obama’s purposes, as he and his staff frame their decree against the Catholic Church as a matter not about abortion-inducing pharmaceuticals, or even religious liberty, or conscience exemptions, or the Constitution—but strictly about a “woman’s right to choose” “contraception.”

In this debate, language will be critical in leading and misleading a dumbed-down public. The media will be Obama’s willful ally.

A case in point was shared with me by a colleague who works for one of the major news networks. He’s an orthodox Roman Catholic. In the copy of a commentary that he sent to his editor, he referred to President Obama’s mandate providing “FDA-approved contraceptives, sterilization, and ‘morning-after’ birth-control pills.” This was accurate, of course, but that accuracy is damaging to the progressive cause. And so, the editor changed his copy and went with this description instead “FDA-approved contraceptives and sterilization services.”

Note: no mention of abortion-inducing pharmaceuticals. That was curiously deleted.

He who controls the language, controls the public debate, and thus controls the public.

My friend’s example is happening everywhere.

Who are the victims of this? Ironically, it’s the women who listen to, watch, read, and trust these mainstream news sources. They believe they’re getting truthful, honest reporting. To the contrary, they are being misled, to the point that they may be merrily using these so-called “contraceptives” and giving themselves abortions—many abortions—without evening knowing it.

Well, ignorance is bliss, I suppose.

Or is it? I bet these women feel this in their soul, in their conscience.

Yes, that’s one conscience exemption that not even President Obama and his fellow progressives can stop.

Dr. Paul Kengor


Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values. His books include “The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism” and “Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.”

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  • Greg Groebner

    “He who controls the language, controls the public debate, and thus controls the public.” – So who specifically is the controller here?  Can’t names be named?  What should be our reaction from reading this article?  Any action items?  Or should we sit here and wring our hands?

  • Editor

    The action items could be, for instance, don’t let the pro-contraception side put words in your mouth. And…make sure that you use precise language in the public forum that conveys the fatal realities of artificial contraception. That’d be good.

  • markeyjoe

    Hey, why doesn’t the Gov’t just mandate that the Prescription Drug
    Manufacturers give birth control pills, other BC devices and
    abortifacient (morning after) pills for free, then everyone will be
    happy, right? then the doctors that perform surgical sterilization can be
    mandated to do it for free and then abortionists can be mandated to abort
    the babies for free

  • daughter and mother

    The media has kept the topic on “right to buy contraception”, ignoring the fact that we are talking about the right to be give away free contraception.
    Even more alarming should be, that the right to concsience, and the right not to be forced to buy a particular product, ( sorry, havent the jargon for that!) is the main issue. Only Churches have the right to claim religious objections, not affiliated hospitals and schools or indiviguals or private business.
    All the world needs now is love, sweet love. Oh. I meant contracepted love…

  • “We will conquer the world because you fools think that words are labels that are properly or improperly pasted onto things. We know that words are little dynamite sticks in people’s minds, and we hold the fuse.” – Mao Tse Tung

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