Abortion is about choice – the choice network journalists make not to tell viewers of the nightmarish side of the abortion industry. TV journalists decided legislation recently adopted in Arkansas and North Dakota must be referred to as the country’s “most restrictive abortion laws,” and ABC, CBS and NBC complied. Anchors and reporters repeatedly used pro-abortion language to describe a “tidal wave of new abortion restrictions.”
But journalists also kept silent about the news coming from the extremes of pro-abortion side. In Philadelphia, the trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell is underway. Gosnell was charged with murdering one woman and eight babies born alive in the macabre, filthy clinic he ran for more than 30 years. And in Florida, a lobbyist for the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates told the state legislature that the fate of an infant born alive in a “botched abortion” “should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician.” In other words, the baby, a living, breathing, child, should have no legal protection from infanticide.
And none of the networks have mentioned either story on their morning and evening news programs.
But they were careful to warn viewers that dark forces were at work in the nation’s state houses. On March 6, CBS “Evening News” anchor Scott Pelley explained the dangers. “In Arkansas today, lawmakers have given that state the most restrictive abortion law in the country. Abortions will be banned after the 12th week of pregnancy with few exceptions,” he said.
On March 17, CBS Chief Legal Correspondent Jan Crawford told viewers that North Dakota’s “so-called personhood amendment” would amend the state constitution to hold that life begins at conception. Elizabeth Nash of “the abortion rights research group the Guttmacher Institute,” told Crawford the amendment was a backdoor ban on all abortions. “They do it by defining person as starting with fertilization instead of saying ‘we`re going to ban abortion,’” Nash said.
If banning abortion wasn’t scary enough to CBS, the amendment would impact in vitro fertilization Crawford found a North Dakota OB-GYN and a mother who’d used IVF to get pregnant to complain that the ban would outlaw the practice. “And abortion rights advocates,” said Crawford, “say this is all part of this what they call tidal wave of new abortion restrictions that are now sweeping the country.”
On March 26, ABC “World News” anchor Diane Sawyer, put on her concerned voice to tell viewers that, “Today, as expected, the governor of North Dakota signed the most restrictive abortion law in the nation … the law bans abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, and threatens to put doctors in jail, a move legal scholars say is a direct challenge to the Supreme Court decision on Roe versus Wade.”
Lest there be any confusion about what the networks want to talk about on the issue of abortion, a look at the March 31 “Meet the Press” on NBC should dispel it. After describing North Dakota’s legislation obligatorily as the “most restrictive abortion laws in the country,” host Chuck Todd said, “Peggy Noonan, this issue of abortion … Abortion and the life movement could be what motivates Evangelicals again, could it not?”
Noonan, however, didn’t want to talk politics. “This issue will not go away, abortion,” she said. “You mentioned the – the legal move that was made in one of the states to cut off abortion after six weeks. The real story this week is the haunting and disturbing story of this doctor in Philadelphia, Gosnell, who is being tried this week.” She described Gosnell’s “death mill for babies essentially born” and noted that the media silence on the story. “But if you wanted to have a sense what was happening, you could find it on the internet or in the local papers.”
Faced with a direct challenge to discuss Gosnell on-air, Todd and the rest of the panelists … ignored it and went back to political handicapping.
In the mean time, the details of Gosnell’s “house of horrors” continue to come out at trial – fetuses in jars and bags strewn throughout the office. An anesthesiologist with a 6th grade education. Body parts in refrigerators where employees kept their lunch. Jokes about aborted babies being “big enough to walk to the bus stop.”
And the procedure used in seven of the eight murder counts against Gosnell is the same one lobbyist Alisa LaPolt Snow said Florida abortionists should legally be able to use in the states Planned Parenthood clinics. Snow was testifying in opposition to the state’s Infants Born Alive Act, which she said “inserts politics where it doesn't belong” and “attempts to interfere with a woman’s ability to make her own personal medical decisions.”
Of course, the law was concerned with medical decisions about babies who have already been born, and in no way represented a threat to their mothers. “It is just really hard for me to even ask you this question because I’m almost in disbelief,” Republican State Rep. Jim Boyd said to Snow. “If a baby is born on a table as a result of a botched abortion, what would Planned Parenthood want to have happen to that child that’s struggling for life?”
“We believe that, you know, any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician,” Snow replied. When another legislator said, “I think that at that point, the patient would be the child struggling on a table. Wouldn't you agree?” Snow called it “a very good question” to which she didn’t have an answer.
The exchanges during Snow’s testimony were dramatic. We know that because they were caught on video, and would make for great TV for any network interested in telling the story of what Planned Parenthood really wants.