Accuracy in Media

One of the larger social issues that have bled into public discourse is abortion, which issue has been a hot topic on a state and federal level in the past several years. NowThis News has consistently sided with pro-choice activists and neglected to accurately represent both sides of the debate.

In its latest article, headlined, “Most Abortion Patients Feel Relief for Years After, Study Finds,” NowThis News heralded an academic study that reinforced a pro-choice argument: Women do not feel regret or emotional pain after going through an abortion.

The study, which was a survey of abortion patients, was published by the Social Science & Medicine academic journal by researchers from the University of California-San Francisco and the group Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH). The study comprised of survey data from about 700 people who had abortions between the years 2008-2010.

What was left unsaid was ANSIRH is a pro-choice academic group, not an impartial academic source as NowThis News implied. In the policy section on its website, the group outlined its support to “expand medication abortion access” in both the University of California and California State University systems, in addition to research on how Catholic hospitals could disrupt quality care due to Catholic doctrine that opposes abortion. NowThis News should have acknowledged, or at least pointed out, ANSIRH’s ideological leaning on the issue of abortion to provide a big-picture view for its readers.

NowThis News also attempted to debunk the anti-abortion’s main contention that women regret abortions after going through the procedure by citing the study. It said, “Here’s why the findings are also important: anti-abortion activists frequently project women’s future regret about abortion, a talking point frequently disposed as they’ve been playing a ground game in states like Indiana to persuade voters to join their cause.”

In other words, NowThis News appeared to rejoice in the study’s findings, although the study itself is in question due to ANSIRH’s pro-choice leaning. It also claimed that the study’s response rate of 38 percent was average for the research profession, which right-leaning news outlet National Review disagreed with. According to Survey Gizmo, internal surveys receive between a 30-40 percent response rate, but external surveys often receive between 10-15 percent, meaning, the study’s response rate appeared to be much higher than normal and could suffer from selection bias.

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