If you are on Twitter, follow Alexandra DeSanctis. Now, not later: @xan_desanctis. She is a National Review journalist focused on the life issues. She has an article online today that is much better than anything I could write about media coverage of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act and the U.S. Senate’s recent vote on it.
As an independent voter, I don’t go looking for excuses to trash either major party (although both offer numerous opportunities). As a blogger and a huge fan of the First Amendment, I don’t go looking for excuses to trash journalists (see previous parenthetical remark). DeSanctis in her post today, though, goes after Senate Democrats and some journalists. Tough to argue with her on this one. An excerpt:
In defense of their “no” votes on this eminently reasonable legislation [the Born-Alive bill], Democrats mustered a host of lies — including, most prominently, the easily disprovable claim that the bill is anti-abortion and restricts women’s access to necessary health care.
All one would need to do to determine whether these claims were accurate is refer to the text of the legislation, which every single Democratic senator failed to do. That is for an obvious reason: The bill text did not substantiate their assertions. Nothing in the legislation limits access to abortion or regulates particular abortion methods. The only way it touches on abortion procedures at all is that it protects infants who have survived them.
But Democrats have gotten away with their transparently political rationalizations for turning a blind eye to infanticide because the vast majority of the media is complicit in peddling them. From the moment Virginia governor Ralph Northam uttered his now-infamous endorsement of infanticide (which he attempted to clarify, but never walked back) to the moment Democrats killed the born-alive bill on the Senate floor, media outlets have been engaged in, at best, a wholesale blackout and, at worst, an effort to themselves contort the substance of the legislation.
Is any party or any politician or any media outlet permanently invested in defending infanticide? I’d prefer to think not. Until we know for sure, though, we need to call out the dead-baby caucus at every opportunity.
Sorry – “dead-baby caucus” is not a bridge-building term. But being unwilling to protect children who survive attempts to kill them: what am I supposed to call that?
I am heartened to hear from readers who are letting Senators Shaheen and Hassan know that their Born-Alive vote was…let’s say disappointing. (There. Is that a bridge-building term?) The Senators offer contact information on their respective web sites, including office locations and hours in New Hampshire and Washington. Each senator’s site also has an email contact form.
Just when I think I’m beyond surprise, this happens.
A reader of this blog who was taken aback at my post about New Hampshire’s lack of abortion regulation decided to write an op-ed column on the topic for her local newspaper. That’s usually a routine process for her. She’s active in her community, and she knows the editor. This time, the editor got back to her and asked for documentation.
In particular, he sought documentation of this fact: New Hampshire allows abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy. “Do you have the RSA so I can link the law? There should be a state law that allows…late term abortions.”
That question came from a professional journalist working in New Hampshire.
I checked his profile on LinkedIn. He has worked in this area for many years. He was around when Jeanne Shaheen signed repeal of New Hampshire’s abortion laws. He was in college when Roe v. Wade was handed down. He is a prizewinning editor. He’s a pro.
And he has no idea that late-term abortions are the default setting in the United States. Unless a state has a law placing a time limit on abortion, there is no limit. He also apparently doesn’t know that New Hampshire legislators have repeatedly refused to impose a limit, most recently last year.
The op-ed writer can’t show a New Hampshire law “allowing” late-term abortions because there isn’t one. None is needed in order for unlimited abortion to be legal. Roe v. Wadepermits states to assert an interest in protecting the preborn child at the point of viability, but it does not require states to do so.
New Hampshire lawmakers have chosen not to assert that interest.
Whether the reader’s op-ed makes it into print is between her and the editor. I hope it gets published. The editor’s initial reluctance to move ahead with it isn’t a matter of pro-abortion bias.
He honestly can’t believe our state’s situation – not yet, anyway. New Hampshire law allows abortion throughout pregnancy, because New Hampshire law imposes no time limit.
If you think that goes without saying, think again.
Update: within a few days of the initial submission of the op-ed, the editor chose to print it.
Photographer J.D.Mullane took an iconic photo in 2013 at the trial of Kermit Gosnell: rows and rows of empty benches set aside for media. “Failure to cover [the trial] was an embarrassment for American journalism, and I will always take satisfaction helping to cause that embarrassment.”
He sees another cause for embarrassment for journalists and media gatekeepers like Facebook, as he sees how the movie Gosnell is being received, or not received. His essay is worth reading in full, at the following link:
You’d think I could get through my first hot chocolate of 2017 without being moved to post here. Nope, thanks to the New Hampshire Sunday News, a Union Leader publication.
I’ve been a subscriber for decades and will remain one. The editorial page has retained a pro-life tone through changes in staff. Someone on the news side was a bit self-indulgent today, though, employing this subhead in an article by Kevin Landrigan and Dave Solomon on the upcoming legislative session.
“New efforts to restrict abortion services.”
OK, you have my attention, I thought as I sipped and savored my New Year’s mug of chocolate. I read on, curious about the use of the plural “efforts” when I’m aware of only one bill to limit post-viability abortions.
I shoulda known. The buffer zone and fetal homicide are grossly miscast as “efforts to restrict abortion services.” Here is the relevant portion of the article, page A8, carried over from the front page’s “State House to take on drugs, guns, money.” I’ll hold my remarks until after the excerpt, much as the content begs for in-line comments.
The new Republican governor is already well-known for his on-again, off-again, on-again relationship with Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.
Sununu calls himself “pro-choice,” which was why his deciding vote to block state grants to Planned Parenthood in 2015 became such a flash point in the campaign.
Less than a year later, Sununu got the chance for a makeup call on the matter and reversed field, endorsing grants for Planned Parenthood.
Sununu had opposed them last year due to the allegations that other locals of Planned Parenthood had paid for fetal body parts, allegations that were never taken to court to be proved.
What is less recognized but worth watching next year is whether Sununu gives any political support to restrictions on abortion laws that he did endorse in 2016.
For example, Sununu said he would sign into law the repeal of the still-unenforced law that requires there be a buffer zone around abortion clinics so that their patrons aren’t harassed by pro-life protesters.
Further in a mailing to pro-life voters, Sununu said he favors the so-called Health Care Freedom of Conscience Act that permits all employees of health care providers to refuse to work or counsel anyone regarding services that they morally oppose.
Those services include abortion, birth control, stem-cell research and euthanasia.
Finally, Sununu said that unlike the last two governors who vetoed such measures, he would embrace legislation that treats an unborn fetus as a person when it comes to the state’s homicide laws.
“I need your help to restore strong, value-based governance to our state,” Sununu wrote to pro-life voters days before his Nov. 8 victory.
Pro-choice advocates remain hopeful they can convince the legislature not to pass these measures.
The subhead is astounding, more so when you realize that the post-viability bill did not rate a mention.
One more time, folks: the buffer zone law does not protect abortion access, and repealing it would not restrict abortion access. “Harassment” can be addressed under disorderly conduct laws, which have not been used against New Hampshire pro-life witnesses in recent years. The failure to use such laws before infringing on the First Amendment is what doomed the Massachusetts law struck down by a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court in McCullen v. Coakley.
Further, the unenforced law would not “require… there be a buffer zone around abortion clinics.” The law as written gives abortion facility management sole discretion on whether, when, and where a zone may be posted.
The experience in other states with buffer zone laws in effect indicates that abortions go on regardless of the presence or absence of a buffer. The presence or absence of such a law has no effect on any right to abort.
Also under the subhead mentioning “restrict” is a brief mention of conscience legislation, as though respect for conscience rights means a restriction on abortion and is therefore a bad thing.
Finally, fetal homicide legislation finds itself under a subheading about “restrict[ing]” abortion services. The writers decline to use the words fetal homicide legislation, preferring treats an unborn fetus as a person when it comes to the state’s homicide laws.
Fetal homicide laws are on the books in more than three dozen states. Abortion is legal in all those states. No fetal homicide law, including the versions introduced in New Hampshire over the past quarter-century, would affect ANY decision made with the consent of the pregnant woman – including abortion.
That bears repeating. Fetal homicide laws are NOT applicable in any case where the death of the fetus occurs with the mother’s consent. Fetal homicide laws have nothing to do with abortion.
Fetal homicide legislation gives prosecutors the right to seek a homicide charge against people like drunk drivers and abusive partners whose actions cause the death of a fetus, against the will of the mother.
The New Hampshire Supreme Court in 2009 – that’s going on eight years ago – had to overturn the conviction of a man whose drunk driving resulted in the death of Dominick Emmons. The unanimous Court concluded at that time, “Should the legislature find the result in this case as unfortunate as we do, it should follow the lead of many other states and revisit the homicide statutes as they pertain to a fetus.”
A minor point, by comparison: the writers of the article mention two vetoes of fetal homicide legislation. There has been only one, by Governor John Lynch in 2012.
I doubt today’s news coverage would seem half so egregious had it not been under the words “new efforts to restrict abortion services.” Buffer zone repeal, fetal homicide laws, and respect for conscience rights don’t amount to restrictions.
Should you be moved to comment on the Sunday News coverage, you can leave a comment online under the article, reply to the paper’s Twitter or Facebook links to the piece, or email a letter to the editor via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thumbs up to the New Hampshire Union Leader for trying to undo the smack-my-forehead moment that resulted from their January 17 coverage of New Hampshire’s 2016 march for life. In case you missed it – and it was easy to miss – this was on page A3 today, in the daily “corrections” box, highlighted here:
This “oops” referred to the caption in Sunday’s coverage of the march. I saw it the day I returned from a trip, and I was very confused that the caption bore no relation to the photos I had seen elsewhere taken by people who attended the event. The Sunday News’s coverage via caption was obviously off.
Here’s the Sunday caption, and I’ve highlighted the goof in bold type: “Pro-life marchers, above, are blocked by pro-choice supporters from walking along Concord’s Main Street during Saturday’s annual NH Right to Life’s March for Life. At right, presidential candidate Rand Paul, standing at right, speaks with Garrett Lear, known as the “Patriot Pastor,” of Wakefield on the State House steps. There were about 100 pro-choice supporters and about two dozen pro-life supporters.”
It’s fair to note that the New Hampshire Sunday News, which is the Sunday edition of the Union Leader, carried a photo from the march on page one, above the fold, with a reference to the remainder of the coverage on page C12.
This underscores the importance of pro-lifers posting their own eyewitness accounts and photos of events, and sharing those accounts as much as possible by every means.
It’s also an occasion to thank the Union Leader for doing the right thing by issuing a prompt correction. How many people pay as much attention to corrections as to the stories to which they refer? Not enough, I imagine – but the corrections are essential nonetheless.