On July 18, the newspaper published a commentary by Texas Sen. Wendy Davis regarding that state’s state law banning abortions after 20 weeks, requiring women’s clinics to meet levels of safety and requiring abortionists to have hospital admitting privileges. Her commentary was a classic example of doublespeak.

This linguistic trick attempts to disguise the nature of truth and distort language for political purposes. George Orwell, author of the book “1984,” describes this distortion as defense of the indefensible through euphemisms and cloudy vagueness.

I suppose anyone doing doublespeak cannot avoid talking out of both sides of their mouth. Davis certainly does that. On one hand she calls for protecting women’s health care eight times. On the other hand, she protests raising the minimum standard of safety. And what level are we talking here? Are we talking Massachusetts General Hospital level with state-of-the-art technology? No, it’s the level required for dentist offices and ambulatory surgical clinics. By her statistics, 37 of 41 clinics could not meet the minimum standards. Does this show that she sincerely advocates for better health care for women?

The bill bans abortions after 20 weeks. The rationale? Science has proven that the unborn child feels pain at 20 weeks. Davis resorts to Orwellian cloudy vagueness by failing to even use the word “abortion.” I can understand that. It does conjure up nasty images.

I cringe to think how much doublespeak was in Davis’ 11-hour filibuster. Perhaps if she spent 11 hours in an abortion clinic and saw what was really happening, she would become a more honest seeker of truth.

Kathryn F. Swegart


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