Words mean things. Using language correctly is important, because how you use (or abuse) words can make or break your credibility in an argument. When lives are at stake, the cost of misuse is devastating.
I can only hope that Rep. Chris Smith's (R-NJ) words, delivered October 31, at a House Foreign Affairs Committee meeting, were transcribed incorrectly by the NRLC. He is too eloquent and valiant a persuader for the cause of human life to be saddled with this linguistic aberration:
I respectfully submit that the term "unsafe abortion" is the ultimate oxymoron.
All induced abortion, whether legal or illegal, is unsafe for the baby. It is also unsafe for the mother, who is at risk not only of physical injury, but also of long-term psychological damage including severe depression.
I think he must have said, "The term 'safe abortion' is the ultimate oxymoron." "Unsafe abortion" is a good example of redundancy or reiteration, but it is certainly not an oxymoron (unless you're one of the Weïrd Sisters of NARAL).