By Clay Waters
The New York Times again provided favorable, euphemistic coverage to the nation’s largest abortion provider (er, “health care” provider), while finding ideology only among its enemies. Reporter Kate Zernike introduced Planned Parenthood’s new leader Dr. Leana Wen, who replaces Cecile Richards.
Planned Parenthood, under fire from conservatives in Washington and state capitols, chose Leana Wen, an emergency room doctor whose family fled China when she was a child, as its next president Wednesday, picking a woman who won praise for her steadying hand as Baltimore’s health commissioner during the city’s convulsive protests in 2015.
Zernike pushed hard on Wen’s inspiring personal story before her euphemistic defense of the group (while avoiding the A-word).
Dr. Wen, 35, grew up poor in Compton, Calif., after her family left China following the Tiananmen Square massacre just before her eighth birthday….
She has also pushed back aggressively on the Trump administration’s cuts to health care. She will take over Planned Parenthood’s leadership at a particularly fraught time. While Americans overwhelmingly support the organization, its Republican critics are pushing to cut its funding and eviscerate or overturn Roe v. Wade, and the Supreme Court is poised to tilt further right as critical cases on women’s health advance through the courts.
Notice how Zernike managed to write the above paragraph without using the word “abortion.”
Earlier this year, Baltimore sued the Trump administration for cutting teen pregnancy prevention funds, which resulted in a federal judge ordering $5 million in grant funding to be restored to two of the city’s programs. She fought to preserve Title X funding for the city’s health clinics for low-income women, and is leading a lawsuit that accuses the administration of intentionally and unlawfully sabotaging the Affordable Care Act.
People involved in the search said that the selection of Dr. Wen — she is the sixth president and only the second doctor in the organization’s 102-year history to serve in the role — was intended to underscore that Planned Parenthood is an organization providing health care to nearly 2.5 million mostly poor patients as well as an advocacy group.
Zernike managed to avoid the word “abortion” until paragraph eight, the only mention in the story, even though providing abortion is the meaning of Planned Parenthood’s existence.
As its clinics have closed because of cuts in state and federal funding, the organization has had to reimagine how it delivers health care, with more emphasis on telemedicine and other technology. (Planned Parenthood says that abortions account for three percent of the services its 600-odd clinics provide annually and that most of its services are testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, and contraception.)
Zernike skipped her journalistic duty to confirm that misleading “three percent” figure. Then it was back to cheerleading for Wen.
At the same time, officials said they expect Dr. Wen to be a powerful advocate for protecting women’s freedom in making their own health care decisions; it will be hard for politicians to argue with her medical knowledge about what happens when women who depend on Planned Parenthood for health care are denied it.
Sarah Stoesz, the chief executive of Planned Parenthood for Minnesota and North and South Dakota and a member of the search committee, called her “the right leader for this moment.”
Planned Parenthood has been in the cross hairs of Republican-controlled Washington over the last two years, with congressional leaders attempting to strip the reimbursements it receives from Medicaid for serving poor women. States such as Texas have gone further, banning Planned Parenthood from receiving state funds, which resulted in the closing of dozens of clinics and reductions in prenatal care, cancer screenings and birth control.
Zernike avoided saying that Planned Parenthood is by far the nation’s leading abortion provider.
Holly Scheer at The Federalist gave some context the Times left aside:
For all their talk and publicity campaigns centered around the idea of healthcare, Planned Parenthood performs a very narrow and select range of services. Don’t seek them out for routine childhood immunizations or sick care like antibiotics for an ear infection for an adult man. Don’t expect them to be able to provide a mammogram or offer maternity care. Planned Parenthood is in the business of providing abortions and getting women and teen girls on birth control….
The Family Research Council reported that Planned Parenthood saw a decrease of two-thirds in cancer screening and prevention programs between 2009 to 2016.
Editor’s note. This appeared at Newsbusters and is reposted with permission.