Why Pro-Lifers Are Winning the “Publicity War Over Abortion”

International   |   Dave Andrusko   |   May 22, 2014   |   9:28AM   |   Washington, DC

As much as there is to cover in the United States alone, we also try to carve out time to cover abortion/euthanasia/assisted suicide issues abroad. But it’s also intriguing—and sometimes very useful—to see how others overseas see our situation, whether they are with us or (especially) against us.

Peter Foster is the U.S. editor for the British newspaper, the Telegraph, based in Washington D.C. He tells us prior to that he was based in New Delhi.

He ran a piece today under the headline, “In the publicity war over abortion, pro-lifers are winning.“ Let’s see what is useful, unhelpful, and just plain wrong.

prolifeimage20He is not the only observer—there are plenty of American commentators—who are thrown for a loop that at the same time “liberals” are seeing a great deal of movement on the issue of gay rights, they are not “winning” on abortion. The former issue is not ours, but the implication that only conservatives resist unfettered abortion is. And it is flat-out wrong.

True, support for abortion on demand is near-orthodoxy for national Democrats. But it is not at the state level and surely not true for all people who identify as Democrats.

As an overview, nearly 6 in ten Americans disapprove of the reasons almost all abortions are performed. A sizable portion of Democrats, like all Americans, oppose abortions performed after the first trimester. Likewise in support of a ban on abortions performed on babies capable of experiencing that excruciating pain.

But Foster is useful for all the wrong reasons. As we talked about in “Why abortion clinic regulation drives pro-abortionists crazy,” Foster insists that pro-lifers do not mean it when we say women’s health is our concern when we pass such laws. (We’ll just ignore the assertion that any law that gets in the way of the abortion steamroller is, in Foster’s words, “onerous.”)

Where does the “publicity war” angle come in? Foster’s first (and primary) illustration is the Kermit Gosnell case. Pro-lifers have “been winning the wider publicity war, seizing on the horrific case of Kermit Gosnell, a Pennsylvania doctor and late-term abortionist who was given life in prison for murdering babies in the most gruesome of circumstances.”

But he misunderstands the pro-abortion response, including the virtual absence of coverage by their media friends–until reporters were shamed in writing a few stories.

Foster writes

“Tackling the Gosnell case head on would have given the pro-choice lobby the opportunity to make the wider point that late-term abortions (20-24 weeks) are already heavily regulated and only account for less than 1.5 per cent of terminations in the US.”

Who didn’t tackle the case “head on”? “The liberal media,” according to Foster. Get it? If they hadn’t “made a big mistake [of] not adequately covering his case,” the Abortion Lobby could have emphasized that the hundreds of viable babies Gosnell aborted alive and then slaughtered were only a drop in the bucket (figuratively and literally).

But what coverage there was often talked about how almost all abortions are performed in the first trimester. And the Abortion Lobby did plenty of spin-control on its own. That “a film is now going to be made of that story using $2.1 m[illion] raised through crowd-sourcing by a group of conservative filmmakers” makes the alleged missed opportunity all the more painful for Foster.

Foster’s final slam at pro-lifers is that when abortion clinics are closed, it has an impact on poor and working women. The assumption, obviously, is that a life not lost to abortion is a loss for “poor and working women.” Foster is throwing out a canard that is so old it is covered with dust.

In Foster’s Jeremiah, the implied assumption is that when clinics do close, most, if not all, do so because the demands for upgrades are too costly and/or were not necessary in the first place. If that were true, why would states that do pass these bills and investigate abortion clinics find abuses that even pro-abortionists concede are wrong?



It is an article of faith to people like Foster that Gosnell was “not representative.” But he did what he did, making a fortune by aborting almost exclusively poor women of color, so Foster felt the need to throw in this caveat:

“[W]hile his case may point to the need to tighten the oversight of abortion clinics, that is not the same thing as imposing regulations designed to shut them down.”

A grudging concession, to put it mildly. But it is as sun as the sun rises in the east that when you get to specifics, it is virtually—it not absolutely—impossible to ever find an example of “tighten[ing] the oversight of abortion clinics” that for the Fosters of this world is not “imposing regulations designed to shut them down.”

What a waste of gas. Foster came 7,500 miles just to make the same misstatements and mistakes he could’ve made in New Delhi!

LifeNews.com Note: Dave Andrusko is the editor of National Right to Life News and an author and editor of several books on abortion topics. This post originally appeared at National Right to Life News Today.