Accuracy in Media

    The pro-abortion bias of the New York Times and USA Today was on display recently when both papers rejected a paid ad from Focus on the Family criticizing partial-birth abortion. The ad didn’t featured photographs or drawings of the procedure. Instead, it ran six frames of an editorial cartoon by Chuck Asay that focused almost entirely on the head of an unborn child about to be born. The child is wondering what’s happening as he’s being pulled from his mother and a sharp object digs into the back of his head—the start of the partial-birth procedure. The final frame shows the Supreme Court, which voted to allow the procedure, saying, “So what’s the problem?”

    A spokesman for USA Today said the ad was in poor taste. However, columnist George Will pointed out that the ad was really quite mild. He said that the Times and USA Today probably believe that any criticism of the procedure is unfit for human consumption. He called it “censorship.”

    We’ve seen more pro-abortion bias in the coverage of treatment of breast cancer, which has become a campaign issue this year. It emerged when Al Gore confused a sonogram with a mammogram. On August 9th, a press conference was held in Washington, D.C. featuring Dr. Joel Brind, a New York physician who wrote a report in 1996 that analyzed 23 medical studies on the matter. He reported that having an abortion increases the risk of breast cancer by 30 percent. He says he now has 34 studies on the link between abortion and breast cancer. “If this were about anything other than abortion,” he says, “the results would be published far and wide.”

    The National Cancer Institute even keeps women in the dark about this link. Its web site has a form that is supposed to help women estimate their breast cancer risk. It mentions race, age, family history and the use of birth control pills as possible factors in breast cancer, but it doesn’t talk about abortion. The institute released a statement last year claiming that no conclusions can be drawn about an abortion-cancer link.

    Dr. Brind spoke at a news conference that, with the exception of the Washington Times, was ignored by the media. Speakers said that other consequences of abortion are suicide, depression, alcoholism, repeat abortions, and promiscuity. In an era of litigation against big companies, one speaker, attorney John Kindley, described lawsuits on behalf of women who have had abortions. He argues that abortion clinics are not telling their patients of the risk of breast cancer or other problems from having abortions.

    A similar wall of silence surrounded the government’s approval of the abortion drug, RU-486. The drug destroys a fertilized egg and sometimes causes so much cramping and bleeding that a women has to go in for a surgical abortion. It was unclear where the drug was going to be manufactured until the Washington Post confirmed it was coming from China, where forced abortions are approved and conducted by the state. Hillary Clinton spoke at a women’s rights conference in China in 1995.

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