Boston Globe Accused of Bias Again on Abortion Issues

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 2, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Boston Globe Accused of Bias Again on Abortion Issues

by Maria Gallgher
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
December 2, 2003

Boston, MA (LifeNews.com) — The Boston Globe is being accused again of bias against pro-life advocates, this time about a letter to the editor.

The newspaper recently ran a letter to the editor from Massachusetts Citizens for Life regarding the federal ban on partial-birth abortion. But the letter was run only after an intensive five-week lobbying campaign by pro-life leaders.

According to Nathan Nascimento, field director for Massachusetts Citizens for Life, the letter was originally sent to The Globe on October 15, but was not published until more than a month later.

The letter was written in response to the first of what became numerous letters denouncing the partial-birth abortion ban from pro-abortion groups such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL.

Nascimento says that it took more than a dozen phone calls to get the pro-life letter published.

In the end, The Globe’s publisher, Richard Gilman, assured Massachusetts Citizens for Life that he would like to be made aware of any perceived bias in future articles or op-ed pieces.

"Massachusetts Citizens For Life is the state’s largest pro-life organization and the state affiliate of National Right to Life," said the group’s spokesman, Darby Duffin. "As such, one would think that The Boston Globe would consistently seek out our position when reporting on issues such as abortion, euthanasia, stem cell research, etc." 

"However, we have frequently had an uphill battle with The Globe obtaining equal or fair coverage," Duffin said.

Claims of pro-abortion bias are nothing new at The Boston Globe.

In July, the newspaper was called to task for an article which erroneously reported that the U.S. House had voted to outlaw embryonic stem cell research. In fact, the House never took such a vote. Embryonic stem cell research is legal, although the House did vote in February to ban the creation of human embryos through cloning.

"The House-passed bill would have no effect on research using non-cloned human embryos," Douglas Johnson of National Right to Life told LifeNews.com at the time.

Likewise, in March, The Globe mistakenly reported that partial-birth abortions were used in the 20th to 26th week of pregnancy "because of fetal abnormalities or medical conditions threatening a woman."

However, Martin Haskell, the Ohio abortionist who popularized partial-birth abortion, has conceded that the vast majority of such abortions are performed on the healthy babies of healthy mothers.

As a result of that error, Christine Chinlund, the Globe’s ombudsman, wrote that new guidelines had been adopted at the paper.

"The Globe would not say or imply that the procedure known as partial birth abortion is used only when medically necessary — thus recognizing that [it] is also used by healthy women who carry a healthy fetus," Chinlund wrote.

The ombudsman for The Globe did not respond to LifeNews.com’s request for comment concerning the latest charges of pro-abortion bias at the newspaper.

However, The Globe is hardly alone in its biased coverage on partial-birth abortion. Mistakes in newspaper coverage of the issue have been so numerous that National Right to Life issued a detailed memo on misconceptions about the partial-birth abortion ban.

A number of the nation’s leading newspapers have adopted a pro-abortion editorial stance. Research also indicates that a vast majority of national journalists identify themselves as "pro-choice" on abortion.

But while concerns about biased reporting may be commonplace, secular newspapers and television stations provide much of the information Americans receive about abortion. Therefore, pro-life leaders say it is absolutely critical that readers call their local papers to task when evidence of bias surfaces.

While Massachusetts Citizens for Life is hopeful that the Boston Globe will become more responsible in its coverage, Duffin notes that the paper’s credibility has suffered as a result of its pro-abortion bias.

"They have disenfranchised a great many of their readers and its reputation as one of the nation’s finest newspapers has suffered. The Globe has a long way to go in re-establishing its journalistic credibility as that of a fair and balanced news organization," Duffin said.