Reuters Misleads on Pro-Life Issues at Christian Conference

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 3, 2011   |   1:06PM   |   Washington, DC

The international news service Reuters misled its readers today in a news article covering speeches to the Faith and Freedom Conference today. The article falsely claimed speakers at the conference put social issues like abortion on the back seat.

The conference hasn’t completed — with several major speakers to come this afternoon, but Reuters put out a news article already with the misleading headline, “Social issues fade as Republicans court conservatives.”

Reuters reporter Steve Holland erroneously claimed, “Christian conservatives looking to put a Republican in the White House heard a lot about the economy on Friday in a sign that their social issues may take a back seat in 2012.”

“Many political speakers at the Faith and Freedom Coalition, including Republican White House hopefuls, emphasized jobs, debt and deficits on the day the Labor Department reported the unemployment rate rose to 9.1 percent in May,” Holland wrote. “In contrast to some previous presidential campaigns, social issues like gay marriage and abortion have not been prominent topics for Republicans hopefuls seeking to replace President Barack Obama in next year’s election.”

Holland apparently never listened to the conference, where speakers like Michelle Bachmman, Ralph Reed, John Huntsman and Congressman Mike Pence all railed against abortion to cheers and applause from the audience. The Faith and Freedom Coalition conference featured an entire panel between speakers led by Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser and Wisconsin’s Lt. Governor talking about pro-life issues. During the panel, former congressional candidate Jackie Walorski talked at length about how her state of Indiana is standing up to the Obama administration on de-funding Planned Parenthood.

During his remarks, Huntsman went on at length about the adoption of a girl from China and the human rights abuses he saw there concerning the one-child policy and the forced abortions and sterilizations that family planning officials use to endorse it.

Huntsman also said he believes there should be no truce when it comes to abortion and economic issues.

“I do not believe the Republican party should focus only on our economic life — to the neglect of our human life,” he said. “That is a trade we should not make. If Republicans ignore life, the deficit we will face is one that is much more destructive. It will be a deficit of the heart and of the soul.”

Bachmman talked extensively about pro-life issues during her rousing speech and slammed Planned Parenthood accusing the abortion business of corruption and of “committing crimes and enabling young, minor girls.”

“This organization has by their own records performed 324,008 abortions in 2008 and 2009 and that’s in addition to the trafficking of under-age girls that has gone on under Planned Parenthood’s nose,” she said. “Do you think we could start here by defunding this organization?”

“They wrote that ‘Among those rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness… life; that’s the first right,” she said. “And the incredible thing about this statement is inalienable rights are ones that man cannot give … and not only are inalienable rights ones that man cannot give that right, nor can government give it, the opposite is that government is without authority or power to take that right away.”

Yet, in his Reuters article, Holland cites portions of Bachmann’s speech but never quotes her pro-life remarks. Instead, he writes that “Republicans would have a better chance at victory in 2012 if they rally around economic issues” and quotes University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato as saying he doesn’t think Republicans are concerned about pro-life issues.

Holland also ignores comments from Speaker John Boehner who talked about the success pro-life Republicans have had in passing bills to stop taxpayer funding of abortions and abortion businesses.