The Friday edition of Georgetown University's The Hoya newspaper gave Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards 19 paragraphs of favorable coverage in an article utterly devoid of a contrasting point of view.
Acting more like a Richards press agent than a reporter, Hoya staff writer Cecia Soza favorably described Richards’s appearance on April 20 at the Jesuit university under the auspices of the student-run Lecture Fund as a courageous act of dissent in the midst of “a week stacked with anti-abortion panels and discussions for Georgetown’s Life Week.”
And wouldn’t you know it, Ms. Richards was so kind as to, after her speech, “engag[e] in a dialogue with co-planners and moderators Lecture Fund Chair Helen Brosnan (COL ’16) and Finance Chair Elizabeth Rich (COL ’16).”
Of course, no mention was made, as was by the Catholic News Agency’s Adelaide Mena, that unlike previous Lecture Fund appearances, Richards’s talk was woefully short on actual, well, dialogue:
Lilly Flashner, a junior at Georgetown who attended Cecile Richards’ April 20 lecture, told CNA that the event was a “rally for people who already agreed with her.”
“It was definitely not the free exchange of ideas,” as would be proper at a university, Flashner said. “There was no free discourse.”
Previous lectures have been given by President Barack Obama, PayPal cofounder Peter Theil, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Conservative commentator Ann Coulter, and ballet dancer Misty Copeland. Lecture Fund events always include a question-and-answer period from the student body, typically around 30 minutes.
But in this case, Flashner said, the question-and-answer period for the student body was cut to 10 minutes, which allowed for four questions, with event organizers using the remainder of the time to ask personal questions of Richards.
Flashner commented that Richards “wasn’t prepared for people to disagree with her,” and presented the lecture as if Georgetown University and all young people at the talk agreed with her positions. When she did receive a challenge from the audience, Richards resorted to insults and “talking down to” the student who asked the question, she said.
Julie Reiter, a junior, asked one of the four questions permitted after Richards’ talk. She pointed to a report from the Guttmacher Institute – formerly a semi-autonomous division of the Planned Parenthood that is now an independent organization – which found that 94 percent of Planned Parenthood’s “pregnancy services” are abortion-related, and less than 1 percent are adoption-related.
“How can you say that when a woman walks into your clinic, she has a choice?” she asked. “From the outside, it would not appear that this is complete health care if one choice is so favored over the other.
Richards told Reiter, “The Guttmacher is not Planned Parenthood, but I appreciate whatever statistics you’ve come up with,” prompting crowd members to applaud and laugh and Reiter.
In addition to leaving out any dissenting voices, Hoya staff writer Soza uncritically used the terms “reproductive choice” and “reproductive justice,” two euphemisms of abortion-rights advocates, without either scare quotes or the term “so-called” as a qualifier:
Richards noted the importance of the current administration’s support in advancing the progress on women’s reproductive rights.
According to Richards, the activism of millennials has been instrumental in fighting back against attempts to stall reproductive justice.
Somehow I think the unborn children sacrificed on the altar of “reproductive rights” would find any “justice” in their execution.