By Dave Andrusko
On Monday, National Right to Life sent out an important media advisory headlined, “Mainstream news media again subjects Republican pro-life positions to hyper-scrutiny and extrapolation, while ignoring President Obama’s positions on current legislation on late abortions and abortion for sex selection.”
What is surprising is not that pro-life politicians are crushed at every opportunity or that in general Obama’s positions are given a pass by the mainstream media. It is rather that there is virtually no attention paid to Obama’s positions that are radical by any standard.
National Right to Life pointed out that while reporters are eager to provide sustained attention on matters not currently under consideration in Congress or likely to be considered by the next Congress, “there is little interest by these journalists in performing a symmetrical exploration of the outer parameters of President Obama’s policy positions on abortion — even with respect to bills that are under active consideration in Congress.”
For example, abortion is legal for any reason in the District of Columbus until the moment of birth. “On July 31, 2012, by a solid majority of 66 votes (220-154), the U.S. House of Representatives voted for a bill (H.R. 3803) to overturn this policy, and replace it with a ban on abortion after 20 weeks fetal age (the beginning of the sixth month), except to save the life of the mother,” NRLC wrote.
Where is President Obama on H.R. 3803? There have been virtually no media inquiries made about the President’s position. And there was no follow up to the one inquiry that was made.
There is another important bill that received solid majority support in the House– the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (H.R. 3541), a bill to prohibit the use of abortion for purposes of sex selection in the United States. At the eleventh hour, after one inquiry, we learned that President Obama opposed the bill.
His reason? “The government should not intrude in medical decisions or private family matters in this way,” a spokesman said. How original.
Little if any attention has since been paid to H.R. 3541, even though a recent poll found that 77 percent of the public (80 percent of women, 74 percent of men) favors banning the use of abortion for sex selection. NRLC’s media advisory ended with this:
Thus, while consumers of the mainstream news media are likely to view and read countless stories that affirm that Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan have expressed opposition to abortion “even in cases of [fill in the blank],” they are likely to see far fewer reports that President Obama supports allowing legal abortion “even when used for sex selection,” or exploring President Obama’s position on whether abortion should be allowed “even up to the point of birth” in the nation’s capital. For the mainstream news media, the “even in cases of . . .” knife only cuts in one direction.
“For the most part, the mainstream news media prefer to characterize President Obama’s position in terms of hazy generalizations, avoiding specifics such as his actions to allow unrestricted abortion for sex selection and late abortions,” said NRLC President Carol Tobias.