Thursday, December 3, 2009

One-sided Story

So I spoke about this article in my presentation for my final paper on abortion coverage in the media and I was so surprised by this article that I wanted to write about it further here. The article is by David D. Kirkpatrick of The New York Times and it is called, Health Bill Revives Abortion Groups.
The headline of the article says "Feeling a threat from proposed legislation, both sides are mobilizing supporters like they haven’t in years." A huge problem I found with this article is that it is mostly about the pro-abortion side and what they are doing to fight for their cause. There are at best, two to three sentences about anti-abortionists and every link within the story is to a pro-choice website or directing readers to pro-choice petitions to be signed that will be sent to legislators.
I, personally am pro-choice, but this article still disturbed me. I believe in a journalist's fundamental responsibility to unbiased reporting and this article is in complete violation of that.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Oklahoma v. Women

If Oklahoma state lawmakers have their way, the government will have access to records of women's personal lives and be able to post the details on the internet. This may seem simply troubling and uncouth until it is discovered that the law specifically targets women seeking abortions, then it becomes a gross political game, and an abhorring one at that.

According to a New York Times editorial on Oct. 26, 2009, Oklahoma tried to pass a law that would require women seeking an abortion to fill out a 10-page questionnaire about their reasons for having an abortion, including the woman's relationship with the father and other highly-personal information. It also required some abortion information to be posted on a public website.

The editorial put it in better words than I could. It read, "The law’s purpose is political. Its real aim is to persuade doctors to stop performing abortions by placing new burdens on their practice, to intimidate and shame women, and to stigmatize a legal medical procedure that one in three women have at some point in their lives."

Thankfully, the Center for Reproductive Rights received a temporary restraining order to keep the bill from going into effect on Nov. 1.

The editorial was clear and concise. It gave the facts and some statistics to back up the information, such as the fact that one in three women will have an abortion in their lifetime. That well-chosen statistic made me realize how close-to-home the issue is. it is a personal one that affects more women than most people realize.

The editorial stated plainly that the government has no business probing into the personal lives of women on such an intimate subject and I whole-heartedly agree.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

More Hot Topics

I was doing a search for abortion videos on Youtube and I came across a clip from an episode of The View. It is one of the most interesting discussions I have heard recently on the topic of abortion. Joy makes the most compelling point when she argues that pro-life advocates and pro-choice advocates are fighting over two different issues. She argues that pro-lifers should change their title to anti-choice because that is a more accurate representation of what they are advocating. She goes on to say that it is offensive to her that people think she doesn't value life because she is pro-choice. I think this is an excellent argument. All the ladies on the show had intelligent, in-depth, extremely passionate views. Elizabeth was defending the pro-life movement, and even though the other women were giving her a hard time, she held her own and made some valid arguments as well. The discussion was completely candid and full of passion, and that is what made this clip hold my attention. I even watched it twice in a row because I found it so fascinating.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

With all of the debates going on over the new health care bill, adding fuel to the fire is the ongoing battle over federal funding for abortions. The New York Times published an article September 28th covering the issue:
It spoke about republicans and moderate democrats wanting more restrictive language added to the new bill to ensure that abortion is not funded at all by tax-payer dollars.

The article didn’t do an adequate job explaining why the issue is so important. I understood that we had a 30-year-old ban on using tax-payer dollars to fund abortions, so I didn’t understand why the House and the Senate feel the need to change things now. I was also confused because Obama has been saying for months that the new health care bill will not give federal money to fund elective abortions, but the article seemed to have an underlying message that made me feel like I was missing something. The article makes a point that White House officials have declined to elaborate on what Obama means when he talks about federal funding for abortion. I didn’t get the whole picture until I found this article:

The article basically fills in the gaps of The New York Times article. It explains that there are loopholes to the bill that Obama is cleverly disguising, such as “reproductive health” being covered by his public plan, under which abortion is sure to be included. Obama is saying that federal dollars will not be used to fund abortions, but the reason that opponents of the bill want tightened, more restrictive language is because they feel that it is too easy for the president to manipulate regulations so, in fact, abortion will be covered by tax-payer dollars. In my opinion, the article did a better job explaining the whole issue than The New York Times article that just left me confused.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Legal v. Illegal, Abortion Rate Stats

Following coverage of the abortion battle is something of a roller-coaster ride. It is such a hotly-debated issue and each side generally makes a strong argument for being either pro-life or pro-choice.

The more research I do, the more questions keep popping up in my brain. The pro-lifers argue that legalizing abortion will cause women to be more casual about the decision and the number of abortions will rise. Pro-choice advocates say that making abortion illegal won’t stop women from going through with the procedure, and it will only force them to take unsafe measures, such as having the procedure done in back-alley clinics with untrained doctors. So which side is correct?

Finally, I came across an article in The New York Times that put to rest a lot of my questions. A global study concluded that abortion rates were the same in countries where it is legal compared to those where it is illegal. It concluded that making abortion illegal has no effect on a woman’s decision to terminate her pregnancy. The only difference is that in countries where abortion is legal, the procedure is considered safe, and where it is illegal, the procedure is dangerous and performed in secret.

There is a lot more conclusive information from the study, so here is the link:

From a critical viewpoint, the article was informative and eye-opening. It did answer my question regarding what the best plan of action to take is to reduce the need for abortions, which the study proved, is the use of contraceptives, and not abstinence education. The one thing that bothered me about the article was the amount of statistics the reporter used. The entire article was jam-packed with numbers and research conclusions. I found myself having to weed-out the less essential information in order to get to the important facts. It was comparable to the effects of compassion fatigue. By the middle of the article I had read so many statistics that they lost their impact.