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Wordle removes the word ‘fetus’ after Supreme Court opinion leak

Viral word game Wordle has removed the word ‘fetus’ in response to the Supreme Court’s plan to overturn Roe v. Wade.

If you played yesterday’s Wordle and you guessed right, you would have seen the word fetus. Or maybe not. Despite the New York Times’ best efforts to pull the word ahead of time, plenty of players saw the now-removed word.

It comes in the wake of reports that the Supreme Court – where conservative judges outweigh progressive ones – plan to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that showed the US constitution protected a woman’s right to an abortion.

US Supreme Court
The Supreme Court / Credit: Joe Ravi

According to the New York Times, the word ‘fetus’ was pre-loaded into the game as the correct answer for May 9, 2022, all the way back in 2021.

Reports of the Supreme Court plans were only revealed by Politico last week, but you’d think it would leave enough time for the Times to make a change. And you’d be wrong.

Apparently, “current Wordle technology” means the new word could only go into effect for those who had already refreshed the game. Take it from the Times:

At New York Times Games, we take our role seriously as a place to entertain and escape, and we want Wordle to remain distinct from the news“.

That’s from Everdeen Mason, editorial director of games at the New York Times. You can see the blog post here, and you might even notice they completely eschew the word ‘fetus’.

Supreme Court protests
Protests for women’s rights outside the Supreme Court / Credit: ABC

It seems to be in line with efforts from the New York Times to remain entirely apolitical with their word games. Since being acquired earlier this year, Wordle has removed a number of words, including whore, wench, and slave.

And yes, we know it’s ‘foetus’ in Australian English, but that’s a six-letter word!