Reporting a crime story from Colville, Wash., the Associated Press refused to use the term "unborn baby" to describe the intended victim of a crime that landed an 18-year-old man in prison for over six years:
(AP) An 18-year-old pleaded guilty to trying to hire a hit man to kill
his ex-girlfriend's nearly full-term fetus and was sentenced to more
than six years in prison.
Charles D. Young received 76½ months
in prison Tuesday after pleading guilty to first-degree solicitation to
commit manslaughter. State law allows for such a count when a viable
fetus is the intended target.
Prosecutors allege Young, then 17,
offered an undercover officer posing as a hit man $3,250 last October
to injure his estranged 17-year-old girlfriend so badly that her fetus
Yes, medically speaking, an unborn child at that stage of development is a fetus. But given that the child was viable and that a man is receiving six years in the slammer for attempting to hire a hit man, certainly a more humanizing term can be used, such as "unborn child" or "unborn baby" at least once in the story. If nothing more, perhaps, variety in word choice is a good journalistic reason.
What's more, the AP reporter freely uses the terms "child" and "baby" to refer to the unborn child, but only in the context of the child after being born:
Young, who learned of the pregnancy after breaking up with the girl,
initially expressed interest in raising his child but later told his
ex-girlfriend he wanted nothing to do with the baby, the prosecutor