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The Word 'Rescue' in 'Operation Rescue'

December 16, 1990

As a close follower of your coverage on the issue of abortion, I read with interest your story "Protest Stymies Santa Ana Clinic's Abortion Activities," (Dec. 9) on Operation Rescue's blockading of the clinic in Santa Ana on Dec. 8.

Naturally, I also read your multipart story several months ago about the abortion issue and the media bias now associated with it. It is with that series in mind that I write this letter.

I have yet to understand why your paper refuses to refer to Operation Rescue's activities as a rescue. The word chosen is protest. I can appreciate it if they think the term is inaccurate or inappropriate, but it is not their job to make this judgment for their readers. In referring to the activity as a protest, you create a perspective in your coverage that is biased. Your paper refers to homosexuals as "gays," which is a term they chose for themselves. That's OK, but use the same standard when describing the activities of Operation Rescue.

Also in reading your article in the Orange County section, the reporter says the "demonstration . . . drew about 400 people representing both sides of the issue." The impression given is that the 400 demonstrators were equally divided between pro-life and pro-choice, which was not the case. Then the picture in the Highlight shows two pro-choice people with signs and one pro-life person. Just a coincidence? It gets more difficult to believe that this is all inadvertent.

K.C. WILLIAMS, Orange

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