There's nothing unusual about this, but about the thousandth time this morning, in reading an editorial from the weekend in The New York Times, I marveled at how long it took to get past all the pro-choice euphemisms ("women's health," "reproductive health and freedom," "safeguard women's lives," "free speech") and get to the one operative word upon which the issue turns:
President Obama on Friday began dismantling his predecessor’s broad and damaging assault on women’s reproductive health and freedom. He lifted the odious gag rule that President George W. Bush imposed on international family planning groups and began trying to restore financing to the United Nations Population Fund.
It was a reassuring message that Mr. Obama takes seriously his duty to safeguard women’s lives and basic rights, including free speech and the choice of whether to bear a child.
The gag rule was first imposed by President Ronald Reagan. It barred any health care provider receiving American family planning assistance from counseling women on abortion, engaging in political speech on abortion or providing abortions, even with its own money…
By my count (actually, by Microsoft Word's count — what, you think I've got time to sit and count them?), it took 113 words to get to "abortion." Which actually isn't all that bad, I guess, compared to some instances I've seen. But it strikes me as about 100 words, or two paragraphs, late, by any reasonable standard of getting to the point.
But then, I'm a word guy — and specifically, an editorial guy — so I probably notice stuff like that more than most people do. Also, I disagree with the NYT on the issue, so I'm that much more likely to notice how much they feel compelled to dress up the concept, with layer upon layer of rhetorical clothing, before bringing it out.