New York Times Blasted for Attacking Pro-Life Abortion Laws

Opinion   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 31, 2011   |   7:46PM   |   New York, NY

The New York Times is getting blasted from pro-life advocates for two weekend editorials that attack pro-life laws limiting abortions, including the new No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act in Congress that would permanently ban federal taxpayer funding of abortions.

The author of “The Two Abortion Wars: A Highly Intrusive Federal Bill” (whom the NY Times does not publish on their website) states that the bill “could block insurance coverage for abortions for countless American women” and says the bill is “pure politics.”

The second pro-abortion rah-rah piece is called, “The Two Abortion Wars: State Battles Over Roe v. Wade” and calls common-sense measures to ensure women are fully informed before an abortion “extreme” and “unnecessary regulation.”

David Schmidt of Live Action Films took on the articles in a blog post:

In reality, it would only stop taxpayer funding of abortion. The only time a women would not be able to have her insurance plan cover abortion is if the taxpayer was paying for that plan. In that case, private insurance could be purchased to cover insurance but this reality doesn’t stop the NY Times from revving up the scary language. They call the bill “pure politics” and ignore the reality that the measure is broadly supported by the American people. A Quinnipiac University poll last year found 67 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion.

The NY Times is afraid to even use the words “partial-birth abortion” because they know that the public will be repulsed by the idea no matter how good they try to frame the issue. The media knows that if they frame any issue, they can control how people will think about it. If they write in a way as to assume that the unborn is not worthy of consideration as a human life, they know the public will slowly ignore that fundamental question. Out of sight, out of mind. When the public is faced with having to answer what an abortion does to an unborn human child, the moral questions that arise are unavoidable. The reality of brutal killing cannot be denied and the public realizes that a civilized society cannot stand for such an uncivil act.

Michael New, a political science professor at the University of Alabama, offers his own insight in a piece at National Review:

The Sunday edition of the New York Times featured a shrill house editorial complaining about ongoing efforts to enact state level pro-life laws.  Pro-life proposals to regulate abortion clinics and protect unborn children were deemed “ominous”  “big brother measures” and “outrageous government intrusions.”  Both the timing and tone of this editorial are puzzling. Just last week Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell was charged with eight counts of murder for using scissors to kill babies delivered alive in his abortion mill. His clinic was described by regulators as a “filthy, foul smelling house of horrors.” In light of this, the New York Times must be the only newspaper in the country which believes that abortion clinics are somehow over-regulated.

More puzzling is the fact that the Times has a poor grasp of pro-life legislative strategies in the various states.  The editorial cites two areas where anti-abortion forces will be active in 2011.  The first area they mention is the fight over health insurance. This is odd because the key battles over abortion funding will likely take place, not in the states, but rather at the federal level. Two bills have already been introduced that will receive serious consideration. Congressman Chris Smith  has introduced  H.R. 3 “The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” which would create a permanent ban on federal taxpayer funding of abortion.  Additionally, Congressman Joe Pitts has introduced H.R. 358 “The Protect Life Act.” would rewrite multiple provisions of Obamacare in order to prohibit federal subsidies for abortion.

The second area mentioned by the Times are state-level efforts to ban late-term abortions. Here the Times fails to provide the whole story.  The editorial mentions a Nebraska law which went into effect in October which “bans abortions 20 weeks after conception” and “includes a very narrow exception for a woman’s life and physical health.”  However, what the Times fails to mention is that bill was called the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.” This piece of legislation was introduced because there is a growing scientific consensus that the unborn can feel pain 20 weeks into gestation.  Pro-lifers hope the Supreme Court will take seriously Nebraska’s assertion that they have a compelling state interest in protecting the life of  those unborn children who, according to substantial medical evidence,  are able to feel pain.

Overall, state pro-life strategies will be far more varied than the Times realizes. In Alabama, Republicans won control of both chambers of the state legislature for the first time since 1874.  Even though the state legislature has often contained a pro-life majority in the past, hostile Democratic committee chairs have often succeeded in blocking pro-life bills. A Republican majority may give Alabama pro-lifers the opportunity to strengthen our parental-consent and informed consent bills. In Mississippi, pro-lifers have almost run out of legislation to pass and have succeeded in placing a personhood amendment on the ballot this November — a strategy that is controversial in pro-life circles.

The New York Times, however, is right about one thing. Most of the important gains made by the pro-life movement are taking place in the states.  This has been the case since the 1990s.  The pro-life movement was stalemated at the federal level by having Bill Clinton in the White House. However, the Supreme Court’s 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision gave pro-lifers some more legislative options at the state level.  Buoyed Republican gains in many state legislatures during the 1994 election, the number of states with parental involvement laws, informed consent laws, and waiting periods all increased dramatically during the 1990s.  These laws have helped reduce the number of abortions performed in the United States by over 20 percent since 1990. Furthermore, pro-lifers should hope that the gains made in the 2010 elections result in a similar surge in pro-life legislation across the 50 states.

And Priests for Life director Father Frank Pavone also tackles the success of pro-life legislation:

More than half of the states have laws that require a parent of a minor to be notified before that minor can obtain an abortion. Some of these parental involvement laws require the consent of the parent; others only require that a parent be informed. Such commonsense measures enjoy strong public support, and some polls put that support at above 80%.

Most who seek an abortion do not do so because of “freedom of choice,” but because they feel they have no freedom and no choice. In so many instances, the pregnant young girl has loving parents, but is afraid of hurting or disappointing them. As a result, the very people who can best help her are the last ones she wants to tell. Parental involvement laws reconnect that frightened young girl with her own parents, enabling her to discover that the fears she had about parental rejection were unfounded, and enabling those parents to give their daughter the help and guidance she needs.

Predictably, as a result, studies have shown that such laws reduce the numbers of abortions in the places where they are in force.

But abortion is a business, and its practitioners act accordingly. Parental involvement laws make for bad business at the clinics, which is why abortion advocacy groups oppose these laws at every chance they get. Moreover, abortion clinics in states that do not have such laws advertise that fact, and people take minors across state lines to circumvent the law that requires parental involvement. Those most likely to transport a minor in this way, of course, are adult men who have committed statutory rape by having sexual activity with a minor. It has been well established, through undercover investigative activity and evidence now available to the public, that abortion clinics routinely assist sexual predators to cover up this activity by refusing to report them to the authorities.