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A good day to take off, Feb. 24, 2006

“Fetus!”

Those were the first words out of my wife’s mouth this morning when I brought the newspapers in and laid them on the coffee table.

She was referring to the headline on our front page today (It’s on the Web site, too), about the 22-year-old pregnant woman who was shot in Suffolk yesterday morning. The child she had been carrying for seven or 8 months died.

“If she’s eight months pregnant, it’s a baby,” she said to me in a scolding manner.

“I didn’t do it. I was at the Chamber dinner last night,” was my feeble reply.

I immediately picked up the Virginian-Pilot and flipped to the Hampton Roads section. They referred to it as a “baby” in their headline. I noticed WTKR referred to it as a baby as well on their Web site.

When I got to work I asked managing editor Douglas Grant how he suggested I respond when people call to complain.

“If the Supreme Court can’t figure out what it is, how can we mere mortals?” he said.

The issue is one I’ve spent my 44 years trying my best to avoid. My personal views aside (which, by the way, Agent Jack Bauer couldn’t pry out of me with lamp wires attached to my nipples), it’s something that evokes a lot of emotion in people and since I will never have to consider having an abortion and there is nothing I can do about the situation, I’ve found it generally best to never speak of it and to turn and walk away when others bring it up.

If you want to complain about our treatment of the story, please contact Grant at 934-9603, or at doug.grant@suffolknewsherald.com. I’m taking the rest of the day off.