ABC Promotes Pregnant 'Man' Four Times in Two and a Half Months

June 9th, 2008 3:58 PM

On Monday's "Good Morning America," for the fourth time in just two and a half months, the ABC program featured a segment on the so-called pregnant man, Thomas Beatie. Since first reporting the story on March 26, GMA has been fascinated with the case of the woman who had surgery to become a man, but kept her reproductive organs and is now having a child.

On Monday's show, reporter Ryan Owens fretted, "But how will society treat this less than conventional family?" The journalist offered liberal, non-judgmental platitudes such as "Today, Thomas says, different is normal." Spouting more sayings from Beatie, Owens recited, "Love makes a family, he says, and that's all that matters." On April 4, correspondent Andrea Canning lauded the transgendered woman as "the man the world has been waiting to meet." On March 26, GMA news anchor Chris Cuomo, cooed, "Oddity aside, biology aside, it is all about love of this child and as long as that's present, everything else is really going to be normal." Each story avoided what many would consider to be a salient fact: Despite media hype, men do not, in fact, give birth to children.

Even co-host Diane Sawyer seemed to be having trouble with the story. On Monday, she announced, "Beatie, the transgendered woman who became a man and she will -- he will give birth next month."

My NewsBusters colleague Ken Shepherd noted that is also heavily promoting the story. Also, for more on the subject, see the Culture and Media Institute.

A transcript of the June 9, 2008 segment, which aired at 7:31am, follows:

DIANE SAWYER: But first, the candid new photos of Thomas Beatie, the transgendered woman who became a man and she will -- he will give birth next month. The extraordinary images have rocketed around the world and Ryan Owens has the new ones and the details. Ryan?

ABC GRAPHIC: New Pictures of Pregnant Man: "I Feel Fantastic"

RYAN OWENS: Indeed, I do. Good morning, Diane. Anyone still having a tough time wrapping their mind around the idea of a pregnant man, well, the proof is certainly in these photos. The 34-year-old man, born a woman, is due to give birth to a little girl in less than a month now. The stunning new photos show Thomas Beatie and his wife just four weeks before he's due to give birth. Thomas is a transgender male who kept his female reproductive organs so he'd be able to conceive and then did it through artificial insemination.

[Clip from "Oprah Winfrey Show."]

THOMAS BEATIE: I feel it's not a male or a female desire to want to have a child. It's a human desire.


BEATIE: And I'm a person and I have the right to have my own biological child.

OWENS: His wife Nancy actually performed the procedure at home with a syringe. They admit their situation is out of the ordinary but insist their daughter will be raised by parents in their traditional roles.

NANCY: He's going to be the father and I'm going to be the mother.

HELEN FISHER, PHD (Biological anthropologist): What's really astonishing about this particular pair is that they actually behave like a man and a woman in a very traditional marriage and will probably bring those roles to the family and the little girl will grow up like all little girls grow up with a daddy and a mommy.

OWENS: The Oregon couple took Oprah along on an emotional doctor's appointment when he was six months pregnant.

BEATIE: Now that we know the pregnancy is healthy, these are tears of joy.

OWENS: But how will society treat this less than conventional family?

FISHER: It's not really your history, but how you behave and who you think you are and what you bring to a relationship.

OWENS: Today, Thomas says, different is normal. Love makes a family, he says, and that's all that matters. But money certainly helps and any parent out there knows how expensive it can be to have a child. This couple has not been shy, we should point out, about selling their story and their pictures every step of the way. Also, this morning, the couple has revealed for the very first time, Diane, they do want more children so we expect to see pregnant man part two.

SAWYER: And it's not clear which hormones have been adjusted in way ways but you said he's still shaving?

OWENS: He is. There's a photo, we chose not to show it here, of him shaving his face while pregnant, so --

SAWYER: Okay. Thanks to you, Ryan.