BBC journalist Sophie Long sparks anger by using the phrase ‘pregnant people’ during Radio 4 show


BBC journalist Sophie Long sparks anger by using the phrase ‘pregnant people’ during Radio 4 coverage of the US ruling against abortion

  • Sophie Long used gender-neutral term on Radio 4’s The World Tonight on Friday
  • Same phrase was used in an online BBC article explaining an overturned ruling
  • BBC said Long used language ‘by the chair of the National Abortion Federation’

The BBC has been criticised for using the phrase ‘pregnant people’ in its coverage of the US ruling against abortions.

Sophie Long used the gender-neutral term on Radio 4’s The World Tonight during a visit to a clinic in Arkansas, a state that has enacted a near-total ban on terminations.

Her report, which aired on Friday night just hours after the Supreme Court decision, included interviews with pro-choice campaigners at a family planning clinic in Little Rock. Introducing the segment, Ms Long said: ‘The clinical director and chair of the National Abortion Federation, Lori Williams, said knowing how many women and pregnant people would now not be able to get care was “devastating.” ’

The same phrase was used in an article on the BBC website explaining the repercussions of the decision to overturn a ruling that had allowed women the right to terminations. It said: ‘In 1973, the court had ruled in Roe vs Wade that pregnant people were entitled to an abortion during the first three months of their pregnancy.’

The BBC has been criticised for using the phrase ‘pregnant people’ in its coverage of the US ruling against abortions. Sophie Long (pictured) used the gender-neutral term on Radio 4's The World Tonight

The BBC has been criticised for using the phrase ‘pregnant people’ in its coverage of the US ruling against abortions. Sophie Long (pictured) used the gender-neutral term on Radio 4’s The World Tonight

Last night, Helen Joyce, director of advocacy for campaign group Sex Matters, said use of the word women was particularly important when covering the ruling.

‘Irrespective of where you stand on the abortion issue, we need clear, polite, unapologetic language about the reality of human existence and that’s man, woman, male and female,’ she said.

The BBC said last night: ‘We made clear in all our reporting that the overturning of Roe vs Wade ends the constitutional right to abortion for women in America.

‘Sophie Long was quoting the language used by the chair of the National Abortion Federation. We have amended an online article.’

Source

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