Instead of trying to understand different cultures and religions, some in the media are trying to stamp them out in favor of their own opinions. Talk about media superiority.
On Monday, CNN tweeted out multiple times that “in a deeply devout country where abortion is illegal, progress is slow.” In this particular case, the outlet pointed to the Philippines. And instead of trying to comprehend the majority-Catholic country, correspondents lamented what they saw as drawbacks for the teen pregnancy rates there: religion and the protection of unborn life.
The tweets linked to a CNN story by international correspondents Alexandra Field and Kathy Quiano called “16 and trying not to get pregnant.” The piece came as a part of a CNN series, As Equals, that focuses on covering “gender inequality.”
But the tweets didn’t entirely match the story, which argued for contraception to avoid abortion at one point.
“In the absence of accessible contraception, many women here have had to resort to abortion as a means of birth control,” Field and Quiano wrote.
But the story still looked down on “illegal abortion.” Based in Manila, the piece began with 16-year-old Hazel Encarnacion, a mother to a 3-month-old daughter.
“The fiercely proud new mother says she wants to wait five years before having another baby,” wrote Field and Quiano. “That’s easier said than done in the Philippines, a deeply devout country where abortion is illegal, and a lack of knowledge about modern family planning methods means that birth control isn’t widely used.”
In other words, the Catholic Church, and its teachings, were at fault – even as some laws and politicans became birth control-friendly.
“Illegal abortion is performed in a climate of fear and shame resulting from strict legal and religious prohibitions, according to the UN,” they wrote. “The Philippines is deeply religious, with Roman Catholics accounting for 80% of its population.”
But instead of trying to understand the culture and religion or interview even one person who disagreed, CNN’s story revolved around Encarnacion, women who obtained illegal abortions, and a Likhaan representative. (Likhaan, an NGO which provided Encarnacion with a free contraceptive implant, boasts Planned Parenthood and the United Nations as supporters and funders.)
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Here’s what Field and Quiano left out:
1. The Catholic Church teaches that abortion, a “crime against human life,” is an excommunicable offense for the woman and any “formal conspirators” who help her. The Church teaches that abortion kills a human person, who should be “respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception.”
2. The Church forbids the use of contraception and birth control. The Catechism of the Catholic Church cites why providing contraception for others violates religious freedom for Catholics: contraception prevents “giving oneself totally to the other” which “leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love.” As Pope Paul VI explains in Humanae Vitae, contraception translates into rising marital infidelity, lower moral standards and increased viewing of women as “mere instrument[s] of selfish enjoyment.”
In other words, Church doctrine teaches that actively preventing conception or “every action which … proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” is “intrinsically evil.” (“Periodic continence,” such as Natural Family Planning, is allowed because, it “respect[s] the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom.” And no, that does not include the Rhythm method.)
There are more than one billion Catholics in the world, including the United States, with Pope Francis leading them. But while the pontiff is a media favorite, journalists and writers too often pick and choose which Church teachings to report. Talk about a media bubble.