With Roe V Wade expected to fall in the coming months, 26 states are poised to ban abortion, 13 of which states have trigger laws that go into effect immediately. While we prepare for the repercussions and wrestle with what the fallout will be, it is more imperative than ever that journalists are equipped to report on these issues appropriately. Below we have compiled some useful resources and tactics that can help journalists prepare to meet the moment:
Journalists are encouraged to get to know the providers and organisers in their state or community in advance of the decision, and to get to know the scope of their work, and what is at stake if Roe is overturned. If you plan to visit a clinic, collaborate with the clinic administrators on the best way and time to do this, which might even be virtually.
Few people are willing to discuss their abortion immediately after their procedure; consider interviewing people who have had an abortion in the past few years, and expect that whose who speak about it may only want to recount their story and experience in broad terms. Avoid asking for very specific information, instead ask more general questions that allow interviewees to answer on their own terms.
Non-gender exclusive and outdated language is also key to ethical reporting. Terms that are not used include ‘‘late-term abortion’, ‘back alley abortion’ or ‘partial-birth abortion’. Instead, journalists are being asked instead to use words like ‘later abortion’, ‘self-managed abortion’, ‘Medication abortion’ or ‘Abortion care provider’. Gender-inclusive language can include ‘pregnant people,’ ‘folks who have abortions’ or ‘people seeking abortion care’.
Avoid stock images of anti-abortion signage and images of heavily pregnant people. Instead, show images of independent clinics and Planned Parenthood and other imagery that supports access. Highlight people with different expertise in the abortion space – patients, providers, lawyers, policy makers, researchers or advocates.
We Testify is an organization dedicated to the leadership and representation of people who have abortions, increasing the spectrum of abortion storytellers in the public sphere and shifting the way the media understands the context and the complexity of accessing abortion care. They are a great resource for anyone needing to find stories.
For more information:
https://abortionfunds.org/funds/ – Support your local independent Abortion Fund. Abortion Funds are finding innovative and compassionate ways to get people the abortions they want and need. In 2022, they received 81,692 requests for assistance and supported 44,880 callers.
https://prh.org/reporterresource/ offer resources for journalists reporting on abortion. Abortion is a normal part of reproductive health care.
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