Can’t We Just Call Her A Baby?
On Monday, police found a Massachusetts woman who had been murdered and her unborn child was cut from her womb. Until a few hours ago, reporters have been calling the baby a “fetus.” For example, take this July 29th AP report: “Police in Worcester, Mass., are trying to figure out who killed an expectant mother, removed a fetus from her womb and dumped her body in a closet. The fetus is missing. …the fetus could survive, but would need immediate medical attention.”
Dictionary.com explains that the term “fetus” refers to a mammal during gestation, particularly in later stages of gestation (in humans, beginning after about the second month). In other words, the “fetus” stops being a “fetus” once it is on the outside of the mother.
Later, the AP’s Bob Salsberg reported that the “baby” had been found: “A baby girl who was cut from her mother’s womb has been found alive and two people were arrested in the woman’s killing, police said late Wednesday.”
Wouldn’t she still have deserved to have been called a baby if the little girl hadn’t survived the attack? The media seems often to want to continue using the term “fetus” long after its appropriate, likely an artifact of their pro-choice sympathies. Yet you don’t have to be a pro-lifer to recognize that there are two victims when a pregnant woman is attacked and that the unborn child—particularly one that it capable of living on its own—deserves to be referred to as an individual human being in its own right.