Thursday, September 15, 2005

What do the non-opponents say?

I'm stealing this idea from Best of the Web, among others, but it is so blatant one cannot help but be disgusted with the portrayal.
A federal judge has declared unconstitutional Michigan's law aimed at banning a procedure that opponents call partial-birth abortion.
This is quite similiar to when the New York Times (and others) reported about partial-birth abortion by stating, "Opponents say that procedure involves sticking a needle into the head of the fetus after it is partially removed from the woman's body." And those that are not opponents say... what exactly? The implication caused by stating "Opponents say" automatically tells the reader that this is the view of one party to the matter, but not the other - and that somehow the other party would disagree. But in a matter where everyone agrees on the facts and events that are happening, this is clearly misplaced. The sole purpose of 'opponents say' in a case such as this is to fool the reader into misunderstanding factual events as opinion.

Much as is the case with any troubling issue, when one is properly described - or especially if one sees - the event in question, they are much more likely to be sensitive to the issues that surround it. By misportraying how partial-birth abortion actually works, the media is ensuring that those who may be disgusted or more sensitive to the plight of the baby upon understanding the process are led to believe that this is a biased description by opponents: But in reality, "it's not that bad." This bias by the media is disgusting, misleading, and completely dishonest.

The media's responsibility is to the public's knowledge; not the interests of any group. To show images of bombed clinics and mothers who are facing the agony of deciding whether or not to abort their child, but not show the flip side of the baby being aborted, is unfair reporting as it is. Granted, the sensitivities of the general public (and my own personal belief) would suggest that this should not be shown; however, the media - particularly in a case such as this where it cannot be shown - has the responsibility to describe what happens as accurately as possible.

As a side note, it is interesting to note the wording of the article when describing D&X:
Doctors label the procedure "intact dilation and extraction," or D&X. During the procedure, generally performed in the second trimester, a fetus is partially removed from the womb and the skull punctured. Some doctors say it is the safest option for women in some circumstances.
Some doctors say it's safe in some circumstances? That sounds like a resounding... "Maybe." If you have 10 doctors in a room, and 4 or 5 say a[n optional, and possibly immoral] procedure might work, would you get it?

I didn't think so.

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  1. I agree. "Some" doctors saying in "some" circumstances does not exactly sound like the definitive word on the matter.