Not hard to get the results you want when you ask loaded questions

By Dave Andrusko

Aaargh. I grant you this may not be the most articulate beginning for a post, but as an expression of frustration, it’s perfect.

Today, the New York Times ran a story under the headline, “The Major Supreme Court Cases This Term and What the Public Thinks.”

Adam Liptak and Alicia Parlapiano examine 13 cases, including three that have already been decided. Of concern to us, one is abortion, a second is mislabeled and would take ten paragraphs to untangle.

Suffice it to say about the latter (no doubt to the Times’ chagrin), a majority of the public agrees with the principle that employers with religious and/or moral objections should not be forced to provide health insurance coverage for products and procedures they find “‘morally unacceptable.”

Back to Abortion. The Times is asking about the June Medical Services v. Russo, which we addressed as part of a larger story today.

The Times got the majority support for the answer it decided by frontloading the question. It reads as follows:

Louisiana passed a law requiring abortion providers to be able to send patients to nearby hospitals, a practice known as “admitting privileges.” This law would mean that all abortion providers in the state except for one would be forced to close. Some people believe that Louisiana’s law violates women’s constitutional rights. Other people believe that the law does not violate women’s constitutional rights. What do you think? |

Here are three of 30 objections that could be made.

1. “[R]equiring abortion providers to be able to send patients to nearby hospitals.” If you don’t know the context, why would the average person care if an abortion clinic can send patients to a nearby hospital [“admitting privileges”]? Reason? The law is intended to guarantee continuity of care when there is an emergency following an abortion!

2. All but one abortion clinic would be forced to close, we’re told. Consider what Louisiana is actually requires. (Hint. It asks nothing unique or unfair of the Abortion Industry.)

Every physician at all outpatient surgical facilities in Louisiana must have admitting privileges at a local hospital. All, that is, except abortion facilities.

As Louisiana Right to Life explains, “These hospital privileges are common-sense safety protections to ensure that when an emergency happens at an outpatient facility, the physician can handle the complication without any delay by having the patient admitted to a local hospital and following up her care there.”

3. “Some people believe that Louisiana’s law violates women’s constitutional rights. Other people believe that the law does not violate women’s constitutional rights.” Is the second sentence even marginally related to the objectives of the Louisiana legislature which overwhelmingly passed the “Unsafe Abortion Protection Act”?

No! Act 620 was the response to legislative testimony that illustrated “the dangerous history of Louisiana abortion facilities, the common-sense nature of admitting privileges through the words of doctors, and personal testimony of women hurt physically and emotionally by abortion.”

Come on, guys. Is that the best the New York Times can do?

Well, given a younger and younger staff which sniffs dismissively at the very idea of a marketplace of ideas, maybe it is.