Washington Times Criticized for Revoking Pro-Life Spokeswoman’s Award
by Steven Ertelt
January 1, 2004
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The Washington Times newspaper is receiving criticism for disqualifying Patricia Heaton, an Emmy-award winning actress and Feminists for Life’s honorary chairman, from winning a new annual award.
In December, the newspaper took votes from readers for its first annual "Nobles and Knaves" contest, to celebrate and bemoan the best and worst people of the year.
Feminists for Life was pleased to see that Heaton, a star on the hit comedy series "Everybody Loves Raymond," was one of the nominees for Noble of the Year.
The pro-life organization receives hundreds of emails each time Heaton stands up for the pro-life perspective and pro-life groups frequently request her to speak at conferences and banquets.
When Feminists for Life learned Heaton had been nominated by the Times for the award, the group emailed its members and encouraged them to vote for her at the newspaper’s web site.
That’s when the Washington Times cried foul and disqualified Heaton from winning, even though she received more than twice the number of votes as did British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the second place finisher.
"Miss Heaton, an unabashed backer of the right-to-life movement, received far more votes than any other candidate," the Washington Times said in an article accompanying the award announcement. "However, many of those entries were apparently inspired by an e-mail that went to the information list of the group Feminists for Life."
"We are loathe to discourage responses to this contest or diminish the actions of Miss Heaton, whose public support of the pro-life cause deserves high praise," the paper continued. "However, the mailing violated the spirit, if not the letter, of this contest."
In a letter to the editor published by the Times, FFL’s President Serrin Foster wrote, "We would have been happy to abide by any contest rules, had they been published."
Foster said no rules were given for the contest — only that readers vote for their favorite nobles and knaves.
"Our members feel a special connection to Miss Heaton, whose fresh pro-woman perspective and enthusiasm give a powerful public voice to their own pro-life feminist commitments. Naturally, we wanted to inform them that she had been nominated to become a Noble," Foster explained.
"Even if our members had not been emailed an announcement celebrating Patricia Heaton’s nomination and directing them to The Washington Times, we are certain that she would have scored highly," Foster concluded.
"What distinguishes Feminists for Life…is our long-term commitment to those brave mothers" of unexpected pregnancies, Heaton wrote in the "Rewarding Motherhood" issue of FFL’s quarterly, The American Feminist.
Since joining FFL, Heaton’s priority has been to restore motherhood’s dignity and celebrate womanhood, because women deserve better than abortion. As Heaton says, "Women who experience an unplanned pregnancy also deserve unplanned joy."
Related web sites:
Feminists for Life – https://www.feministsforlife.org