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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

June-18-99

Feldt Speaks to Press Club

Gloria Feldt, President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America spoke at the National Press Club on June 18. Feldt's speech focused on how language shapes the public debate that shapes public policy.

"Did you know," she asked, that 35 states introduced contraceptive coverage bills in the last year and there were 35 articles about that?" Impressive, until you see that only 26 states had so-called partial birth abortion bills...yet the articles numbered 3,891. It's easy to see how the public's thinking has been influenced by your choice of topics."

Later in her speech, she explained more how the term "partial birth abortion" is often used incorrectly by reporters. "There's no better example than the verbal pyrotechnics over so-called 'partial birth abortion.' This is not a medical term. It's a sound bite...a PR campaign...created to incite and confuse. And it has been diabolically successful. Ralph Reed even acknowledged it was an explicit strategy to undercut the primacy of the woman and make her secondary to the fetus."

Feldt concluded by calling for "vigorous" and "informed" debate. "Debate that is intense, but without the threat of violence," she said. "Debate that produces clarity and consensus, not confusion and division. Debate that moves society forward, because ultimately, that's the point of all this debate...to achieve a nation in which we can all call ourselves free."

Media Resources: Feminist Majority Foundation - June 18, 1999


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

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