Accuracy in Media

A pro-abortion slant is apparent in the New York Times’ reported coverage of the U.S. Supreme Court agreeing to hear a case involving a Louisiana law requiring doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

In his second paragraph, Liptak cites the law’s opponents, who “say would leave the state with only one doctor in a single clinic authorized to provide abortions.” Yet Liptak also waited until word 539 of an 821-word story (more than two-thirds of the way in) before citing an alternative viewpoint, quoting a judge who sided with pro-life activists.

The Times ratio was 4-to-1 in its quoting or paraphrasing of judges opposing the Louisiana law and a similar Texas law, even though related court rulings were more evenly split, 2-to-2. In other words, Times’ Supreme Court reporter Adam Liptak didn’t provide a balanced presentation of how judges have ruled on the matter, quoting more from judges who have sided with pro-abortion activists.

He ended the article with a quote from a dissenting judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, a court that upheld the Louisiana law: “Judge Stephen A. Higginson wrote that the Louisiana law was ‘equivalent in structure, purpose and effect to the Texas law’ invalidated by the Supreme Court in 2016.

“‘I am unconvinced that any justice of the Supreme Court who decided Whole Woman’s Health would endorse our opinion,’ Judge Higginson wrote. ‘The majority would not, and I respectfully suggest that the dissenters might not either.’”

Yet Liptak claimed that if the Supreme Court invalided its 2016 Texas ruling, this would be a “momentous decision of whether to limit or overrule a recent Supreme Court precedent,” without providing any context of how often this occurs, especially when two new judges have joined a Supreme Court bench following a recent precedent.

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