Accuracy in Media

Clearly everyone is talking about Roe, but we were very impressed with this little piece of hidden bias from Bustle. The writer reports that Judaic attitudes to abortion could be considered different from certain Christian ones: “Jewish teachings allow for and support abortion care.”

That’s not exactly true. Judaism is about as fractious on this issue as Christianity is. Views differ as one moves through the spectrum from Orthodox through Conservative and Reform to Liberal – as they do from Catholicism to Episcopalian, for example. That Orthodox view is very close to the Catholic – medical treatment to save the life of the mother that has the effect of killing the fetus is regrettable in that side effect but clearly allowed. And so on through the varied positions.

But we’re offered proof here of that Judaic view: this fact sheet from the National Council of Jewish Women. But the NCJW is “a” view within Judaism, not “the” view. More than that, the NCJW was, back in the day, one of the founding organizations behind Planned Parenthood. You know, the people who undertake some 40% of all abortions in the U.S. each year.

Our point here isn’t about Roe, nor about abortion itself. It’s that choice of justification or proof that we’re pointing out. You mean the part of Judaism that helped found Planned Parenthood thinks that abortion is justified? You do? And this is to be offered as an impartial source for the more general attitude of the religion to abortion?

Bustle generally looks at Style and Celebrity for a young female audience. It ranks around 100 in news and media publishers in the U.S. and gains some 20 million visits a month as it does so.

Of course abortion is going to be an issue for the outlet and the readership. Calling on possibly less biased sources might be a good idea, however. Ones that possibly aren’t quite so obviously partisan – and provably so for a century – on the issue.

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