The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday March 21st

How a college newspaper can cover abortion

A few weeks ago, The Daily Tar Heel editing team sat around the table that's home to our University and City & State Desks. The meeting was guided by a question:

Should a college newspaper cover abortion?

On scrap pieces of printer paper, we wrote down potential story pitches: contraceptive access on campus, the costs of abortion procedures and North Carolina's position as one of the few Southern states where abortion is still legal. 

So, how can a college newspaper cover abortion? 

With the resources we have as a newsroom, we spoke with doctors, lawyers, activists, community leaders and UNC students. we thought critically about how we should report on the topic. We considered how the recent Supreme Court rulings have affected college-age students and N.C. residents, and what information would best serve our readership. 

Our goal — to highlight the significant medical, financial, legal and political implications of birth control and abortion access in the state. 

We chose for this special edition of The DTH to be entirely reported and produced by female and nonbinary editors and staffers. On topics that most impact us, we feel that telling these stories is our responsibility. 

We are journalists, but we’re also people — people who have to make our own reproductive decisions. 

For many, the stories in this newspaper feel personal. They mirror our experiences, capture our fears and answer our questions. We would be remiss not to address how impactful reporting on these topics has been not only for the people around us, but also for our own lives and our own bodies.  

Reproductive health is a series of incredibly private decisions. But reproductive freedoms have become central to national conversations. 

In the Abortion Issue of The Daily Tar Heel, we report on how reproductive health care impacts everyday lives. We cover the way that Supreme Court decisions have shifted the upcoming midterm elections, and highlight community responses. We identify barriers that underrepresented and low-income communities face in health care access. We feature campus, local and national resources for people seeking contraception and abortion. And we give a platform to the honest and vulnerable experiences of those who have chosen to share them with us. 

In editor’s meetings, we talked about the language we should use in every story. We’ve elected to say “people seeking abortions,” and “people who can become pregnant” in our coverage — because abortion is not something that is exclusive to cisgender women. 

Regardless of individual beliefs or choices — abortion access impacts millions of people in the United States, and thousands of people on UNC’s campus. 

Abortion is an issue that sits in doctor’s office waiting rooms. It is an issue discussed in romantic relationships and written on ballots.

Sixteen reported articles. 

Nine opinion pieces. 

With an uncertainty of the future, a look at the reproductive health care today.

The Daily Tar Heel Abortion Issue


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