Accuracy in Media


When Democrats moved to block a bill in the Senate that would have required doctors to try to save babies who survive abortion attempts, the media sprang into action to defend the Democrats.

The Washington Post cast the measure negatively in a story headlined, “Senate blocks bill on medical care for children born alive after attempted abortion,” by Mike DeBonis and Felicia Sonmez.

“The Senate voted Monday to block consideration of a measure that would punish any doctor who fails to provide medical care to a child born alive after an attempted abortion,” the story begins.

The bill’s opponents, “argued that it represented an unjustified attack on abortion rights, preventing doctors from exercising their best medical judgment and exposing them to possible lawsuits or prosecution.”

Besides, the Post argued in its news piece, this was just political theater.

“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has sought to put Democrats – and 2020 candidates in particular – on the record on the issue after recent comments made by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D). McConnell also plans to hold a vote in the coming weeks on the Green New Deal climate change legislation as he has cast the Democrats as extreme.”

DeBonis and Sonmez write that Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who sponsored the legislation, described it as an “infanticide ban,” but this “characterization has infuriated abortion rights supporters, who note that infanticide is already illegal and argue that Sasse’s bill is actually meant to dissuade doctors from performing late-term abortions in the first place.”

It quotes the head of Planned Parenthood saying the bill must be called out “for what it is – a direct attack on women’s health and rights,” and points out the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Women’s Health Association and the American Public Health Association all oppose the bill.

Besides, the Post reported, late-term abortions – which it says is the real target here – accounted for only 1.3 percent of abortions in 2015. And Democrat lawmakers “have made an aggressive and often-exasperated case that infanticide is already illegal and that the ‘born alive’ bills are a stalking horse for more-thorough abortion restrictions.”

Politico pointed to Sasse’s floor speech – in which he accused Democrat senators who vow to look out for society’s “’voiceless and vulnerable’” of “hypocrisy for opposing” the measure – as proof that it was not needed to protect infants but rather just to make points.

“Ahead of the vote, the bill’s Republican sponsors and outside anti-abortion groups lobbying for its passage made it clear that the intent of Monday’s vote was to undermine the growing pool of Senate Democrats running for president,” Politico’s Alice Miranda Ollstein wrote.

Vox took a similar approach with “A Republican-backed bill to protect ‘abortion survivors’ just failed. It still matters” – subhead: “The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act may be part of a larger strategy for 2020,” by Anna North.

North’s explanation of how we got here applied a whitewash that is becoming typical of these descriptions.

“The issue came to the fore earlier this year when Virginia Delegate Kathy Tran said in a committee hearing that a bill she was sponsoring would technically allow abortion when a woman was showing signs of labor,” North wrote.

“She later said she had misspoken, but video of the hearing went viral, and the controversy grew when Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam made confusing statements in support of the bill that some took as an endorsement of infanticide. President Trump mentioned the controversy in his State of the Union speech, calling for tighter federal restrictions on abortion.”




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