Accuracy in Media


It’s March for Life day in Washington, when tens of thousands descend on the nation’s capital to march in opposition to the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision on abortion.

The Washington Post took two opportunities to attack pro-life Americans on Friday – a story from its religion writer about why being pro-life is not “pro-science,” as the theme of this year’s march contends, and another about a court ruling that could lead to Planned Parenthood losing funding in Texas and elsewhere.

Under a kicker – or label headline – that reads “Acts of Faith,” Julie Zauzmer of the Post wrote “The March for Life says it’s ‘pro-science,’ despite medical consensus favoring abortion access,” in which she contends medical organizations that treat pregnant women and their babies support abortion on demand.

She cites quotes from Ben Shapiro, the conservative pundit who was to speak at the March for Life, saying, “’When I speak about abortion, I don’t talk in terms of religion. I might make a spiritual appeal at the end. I always speak in terms of logic and science. I’ve never cited the Bible.’”

She also quotes him saying, “’I don’t think there are very good scientific arguments on the other side, which is one of the reasons I’m not pro-choice. The basic scientific definition of human life begins at conception. That is the most basic scientific definition of human life.’”

She then sets about unwittingly proving him right.

Her proof is that an abortion doctor who works at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says 90 percent of the membership “disagrees” that a zygote that “directs its own development” – the conclusion of a peer-reviewed research paper making the rounds of March for Life attendees – makes those “indeed living individuals of the human species.”

The doctor doesn’t say the research paper’s information is wrong, only that it’s ‘a gross exaggeration of an incredibly complex topic” and that, as Zauzmer wrote, “medical professionals don’t have a working definition of when life begins.”

Meanwhile, in “Court rules against Planned Parenthood in Texas ‘sting videos’ case, bringing it a step closer to getting defunded,” writer Meagan Flynn took offense that a court took seriously the videos of Planned Parenthood discussing the illegal sale of fetal tissue of aborted babies, “an interpretation Planned Parenthood has disputed,” she told readers.

Sam Sparks, a district court judge in Texas, had ruled that, despite producing the videos, the state had not produced “’even a scintilla of evidence’ suggesting Planned Parenthood should be disqualified from Medicaid based on the videos, Flynn wrote.

“But on Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit said [the judge] is the one who had it all wrong.” The ruling, Flynn wrote, “gives weight to the sting videos and the conclusions Texas reached based on them in a way the court hasn’t offered before.” In fact, she pointed out, Louisiana and Kansas had their appeals rejected because they did not specifically cite the videos, as Texas had.

She then seemed to suggest only abortion doctors should be able to address disputes about Planned Parenthood funding. “Sparks had all but crumpled up that report [on why the state should defund Planned Parenthood] and thrown it in the trash,” she wrote. “He noted that the people who led the report – a lawyer and orthopedic sports-medicine surgeon – had no background in reproductive health care.”

She quoted Seth Chandler of the University of Houston law school, saying it would be tough for Planned Parenthood to prevail now.

“The problem, Chandler said, is even if Sparks still believes based on the evidence that the sting videos are bogus, the state can likely demonstrate they were still a good enough rationale for its decision to cut ties with Planned Parenthood. The videos are largely subject to interpretation,’ Chandler said, but the 5th Circuit would be more likely to give Texas the benefit of the doubt.”

It’s hard to know what she means by “subject to interpretation,” but Planned Parenthood and the organization that produced them both had them tested by forensic video experts who found they had not been materially doctored.




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