In a "National News" article in the December 20 issue of Newsweek, national correspondent and deputy Washington bureau chief Debra Rosenberg used the Republican terminology "the gruesome procedure of partial-birth abortion" to refer to a recent law prohibiting a procedure most commonly used in terminating later-term pregnancies.
The bill, which Republican lawmakers titled the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, was signed into law by President Bush on November 5, 2003, but federal judges in New York, San Francisco, and Lincoln, Neb., have since rejected it as unconstitutional, as the Associated Press reported on September 8, 2004. The procedure subject to the ban accounted for an estimated 0.17 percent of all abortions in the United States in 2000, according to a study by the Alan Guttmacher Institute.
In an article titled "Anxiety over abortion," which discussed potential changes in Democratic legislators' positions on restrictions on abortion, Rosenberg wrote:
Democratic lawmakers have found themselves boxed in by a pro-choice orthodoxy that fears the slippery slope -- the idea that allowing even the smallest limitation on abortion only paves the way for outlawing it altogether. As a result, most Democrats opposed popular measures like "Laci and Conner's Law" -- which makes it a separate federal crime to kill a fetus -- and a ban on the gruesome procedure called partial-birth abortion.
Rosenberg's reporting echoed the Bush administration's description of the ban. As the Associated Press noted in an April 21, 2004, report about the controversy surrounding "the very name of the banned procedure": "Congress and opponents of the procedure call it 'partial-birth abortion.' Doctors and activists on the other side of the issue use the medical term 'intact dilation and extraction.'... The Bush administration has argued that the procedure is gruesome, inhumane, painful to the fetus, and never medically necessary." In past articles for Newsweek, Rosenberg has referred to the procedure by its proper medical term, or at least referred to it as "so-called partial-birth abortion."
Media Matters for America has previously documented FOX News Channel's near-ubiquitous use of the term "partial birth abortion."