WUNC-FM acted appropriately when it recently changed the wording in an on-air announcement of contributions by Ipas, a Chapel Hill-based international women's rights and health organization.
The local National Public Radio affiliate told Ipas representatives that the words "reproductive rights" had to be modified to avoid any potential conflict involving the Federal Communications Commission.
Federal regulations prevent public stations from endorsing any particular political or social view. WUNC's management was right to change the wording, because a person potentially could tie "reproductive rights" to abortion.
The dilemma for public radio stations is that the FCC does not specify what constitutes advocacy language - Ipas should consider the station's delicate position before thinking of withdrawing its support.
Understandably, Anu Kumar, Ipas' executive vice president, said she disagrees with WUNC's interpretation of what "reproductive rights" implies. She stated on Ipas' Web site that the phrase is not a euphemism for abortion but includes "the right to infertility treatments, the right to contraception, the right to information, the right to live free of rape and violence."