TV Networks Avoid Using "Partial-Birth Abortion" in Supreme Court Story

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 22, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

TV Networks Avoid Using "Partial-Birth Abortion" in Supreme Court Story Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 22, 2006

New York, NY ( — All three of the major networks avoided using the term partial-birth abortion when reporting last night on news that the Supreme Court agreed to hold hearings on a Bush administration request to uphold the national ban on the grisly abortion procedure.

According to the Media Research Center, a watchdog group, some networks went so far to avoid saying "partial-birth abortion" they came up with tremendously awkward methods to describe the procedure that involves partially birthing and then killing an unborn baby.

CBS News’ Bob Schieffer introduced the program with a graphic reading "Late-Term Abortion" over his shoulder, even though the abortion procedure is performed midway through pregnancy.

Schieffer said the court was weighing a challenge to "the ban that Congress imposed on a kind of late-term abortion that critics call partial-birth abortion."

Over on NBC, anchor Brian Williams asked: “Can the federal government outlaw late-term abortions?"

Williams won the award for the night for the most convoluted description of partial birth abortion, calling it “A late term abortion procedure that opponents of it call ‘partial-birth abortion.’”

Over on ABC, anchor Elizabeth Vargas stuck to the simpler “so-called partial-birth abortion” verbiage, MRC reported.

Meanwhile, MRC’s Brent Baker said CBS News was guilty of using code words from the abortion industry to describe the ban.

"After CBS reporter Wyatt Andrews touted how former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor had ‘protected’ the women’s health exception, anchor Bob Schieffer saw not the potential now of new ‘protections’ for the unborn, but instead worried about new ‘restrictions’ that may be ‘imposed’ on abortion," Baker said.

Not veering off course from the pro-abortion bias of former anchor Dan Rather, Schieffer even repeated unfounded warnings from pro-abortion groups, asking Jan Crawford Greenburg of the Chicago Tribune: "So does that mean this is going to be the beginning of the end of legal abortion in this country?"

Greenburg set Schieffer straight, saying, "No, there’s still five justices on the court who would vote to uphold Roe versus Wade, which guaranteed a woman’s right to an abortion."

Some reporters almost got the story straight, according to the MRC report.

ABC reporter Jake Tapper detailed what happens: “The law in question is President Bush’s ban on certain procedures where the fetus is at least partially removed from the womb before its aborted.”

CBS’s Wyatt Andrews reported how “three years ago, Congress, hoping for this very day, passed a law it called the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, making it a crime for a physician to deliver, quote, ‘a living fetus,’ and then essentially kill it.”

"Is that like being ‘essentially’ pregnant?" Baker asked.

Related web sites:
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